ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Thursday, August 31, 2006


i just got my first-ever facial today! (keep the dirty jokes to yourself, please.) it was the most incredible, relaxing, indulgent, pampered experience i've ever had - basically an hour-long face massage (with a tiny bit of painful pore-squeezing for a few minutes in the middle - but the next half hour of glorious face massage made me forget all about that).

my face was literally glowing at the end. i let them convince me to buy some overpriced cleanser and toner by "skinceuticals." they actually did very little pressuring, but i think i just wanted to continue the feeling of indulgent beautifying pampering. and nothing says indulgent beautifying like $25 face wash.

speaking of indulgence, i've mostly been vegging out this week, trying to recover from my cold, and enjoying my last bit of freedom. yesterday me and a friend watched 10 one-hour episodes of Six Feet Under on dvd. ten hours!! we were basically in a coma by the end. it was awesome.

Monday, August 28, 2006


i went to my first-ever bachelorette party this past weekend. it was pretty tame, though, and i was still pretty sick so i was kind of in a daze the whole time. it was more like a slumber party, but that was fine by me. i think slumber parties are way overdue for a comeback.

most surprisingly fun activity of the weekend: playing the napoleon dynamite board game.

Napoleon Dynamite Game

it's kind of like pictionary. you choose two random animal cards, and you have to draw the combination animal so that your teammates can name each of the component animals before the timer runs out. it's a lot more fun than it sounds. we kept on drawing animals and guessing them way after we finished the moving-around-the-board part of the game.

i had the bad luck to draw the combination of a cat and a wolverine. a cat is easy, but a wolverine? do you know what a wolverine looks like? i tried to draw the guy from the x-men, but even that didn't work out. oh well.

i was, however, able to impress my friends with the trivia fact (which i just recently learned) that a liger

is in fact a real animal, like a mule. who knew?

Friday, August 25, 2006

cotton candy

i went to a giants (baseball) game last night. it was really freezing. and we lost.

but i ate a lot of cotton candy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

birthday recap

my birthday celebration was a great success. it provided a long-delayed incentive to clean/organize the apartment and get some of my stuff packed in preparation for moving. karaoke was super-fun. here's my set list:

1. into the groove - madonna
2. wind beneath my wings - bette midler (once again, my biggest hit)
3. the sign - ace of base
4. downtown - petula clark

this adorably nerdy boy at the karaoke bar bought me a drink because it was my birthday, and at the end of the night he asked me if i wanted to hang out sometime. i felt really bad turning him down ("first, i already have a gentleman friend; second, i'm moving to new york"). i know that it takes a lot of guts to go up to someone you don't know and take that kind of risk, and any rejection will pretty much leave you feeling like an idiot, no matter how nice the person tries to be. oh well. i gave him and his friends the last of my cupcakes right before we left, so i think that helped.

and then i woke up today with a full-on cold, including sore throat. maybe from the long plane ride? anyway the timing is perfect so i don't care - i'm just going to watch TV and eat soup all day and recuperate.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

about my stalkers

let's just get this all out on the table, shall we? there's this message-board community full of people who used to just be obsessed with hating my BF, but now many of them seem to have adopted me as an additional object of their curiosity/hatred/affection/fanaticism. i confess that lately i've been reading what they write about me pretty regularly - just an inexplicable complusion to know what other people are saying about me.

mostly they like to trade insults about me, many based only in their febrile imaginations, others with some truth, others that are matters of opinion: that i'm annoying, ugly, flat-chested, anorexic, a "jewess," stereotypically jewish, a JAP, a skank, a hippie, a gold-digger, a lesbian, a boy; that i have too low self-esteem, too high self-esteem, smell bad, have poor personal hygiene habits. . . did i mention ugly? oh, and they hate the lip ring. (but if you think those are bad, you should hear what they say about my BF. :)

it's cool, it's not a big deal, i can handle it. it's mostly bizarre and somewhat entertaining. i just wanted to give you normal readers an idea of some of the stuff that's going on behind the scenes.

party animal

this week i'm going to good-bye parties three nights in a row. each more fun than the last, so i expect hanging out with my friends tonight (those who are left in town) for my own little good-bye/birthday celebration will be the most fun of all. last night i blew the crowd away with my karaoke rendition of "wind beneath my wings," sung with earnest passion to the friend in whose honor the get-together was held. i may let myself be convinced to do a repeat performance this evening. i can't deny my public.

it is SO AWESOME not having a job or school or bar studying to do for a little while. i highly recommend it. no responsibilities plus the jet lag that causes me to stay up til 4:00 a.m. every night have turned me into a much more fun person.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

my birthday and other good news

1. my birthday is tomorrow. but i've been getting lots of nice emails, text messages, phone messages, from friends wishing me a happy birthday today. this shows the power of friendster and myspace. i put my birthday as august 22 on both of those, because i wanted my astrological sign to show up correctly, and the stupid automatic-sign-calculators on those websites kept insisting that i was a virgo, when i am in fact a leo (by a few hours). but don't worry, dear friends, i wouldn't know anyone's birthday, either, unless friendster told me. so, thanks! all those expressions of love make me feel very...loved.

2. i just have to share some exciting news: yesterday i got a phone call from the law review at my law school telling me that they want to publish a piece i submitted to them in may. it'll go in the "notes and comments" section (for student-written pieces) 'cause i'm a recent grad. this is the best thing to happen to me academically in a long time, so it feels really really great. i'm going to be a published author!!!

in case you're curious, the article argues that employment discrimination against transgender people because of their gender non-conformity ought to be legally considered sex discrimination per se, and thus automatically prohibited by laws like Title VII. that argument has actually been making surprising headway in the courts in the past few years.

questions from the peanut gallery: am i annoying?

i've been getting some random heckling in the comments section, so instead of continuing to answer them in the comments section i thought i might as well take it to the main stage.

Anonymous said...
Are you as annoying in person as you come across in your videos?

i don't think most people would describe me as annoying. i definitely was regularly described as annoying in my hyperactive youth, but i've done a pretty good job keeping that in check ever since i started becoming aware of social conventions around age 12. these days i think most people (at least those i don't know very well) would describe me as shy and quiet in person. i guess that's part of why i started this blog, you know? to give myself permission to be more free and open and take more risks than my strict internal censors will usually allow when i'm interacting with other people in person. it's fun - you should try it.

but i do think i can be a rather charming conversationalist, and pretty funny, when the mood strikes me, so maybe you'd find that annoying, if you're the kind of person who finds any expression of self-confidence annoying. if that's you, you would almost definitely be annoyed if you saw me singing karaoke, too. or doing a silly dance on the great wall of china when no one was around.

china #2: end of the trip

i'm home now, so i'll wrap this up quickly. i don't have the camera-card handy, but maybe i'll post more pictures later.

sunday we just wandered around beijing doing random things and struggling to communicate with taxi drivers by means of little cards on which the hotel concierge wrote out our destinations in chinese characters. practically no one in beijing speaks english - the opposite of japan. and i have concluded that chinese is basically impossible to speak (even to prononce the simplest phrases) without intensive langugage study - again unlike japanese. so it was a little scary to be out and about on our own, but i suppose it was a memorable adventure.

sunday night we finally had "peking duck" for dinner. it was at an appropriately seedy restaurant in a tiny back alley filled with fruit stands (at 9:00 at night!), dimly-lit storefronts, and guys selling roasted meat on skewers. in case you're like me and have no idea what peking duck is, it's just basically duck meat sliced up that you dip into a sweet "duck sauce" and put into little tortilla-like wrappers. i dubbed it the "duckrito." it was pretty yummy.

monday morning we flew from beijing back to tokyo, had a 4.5-hour layover in the tokyo narita airport, then flew 9.5 hours back to san francisco. i feel very lucky that we were able to fly business class - the seats reclined to almost completely horizontal, which was awesome. so i took some japanese sleeping pills, put on an eye mask, and slept almost the whole way home, arriving in SF monday morning. (i would have thought that would help me avoid the whole jet-lag thing, but i wasn't tired until about 2:30 last night, and i just got up now, around 2:00 p.m. on tuesday, so i guess i am still adjusting after all.)

when we got to the SF airport, only one of the three bags we'd checked had arrived. of the other two, the airline was only willing to admit that one existed. that was a fun argument. actually, we just got a call today that they received my missing suitcase today, but that means my BF's is still at large. poor thing. :( but i am glad to know that my 8 pairs of shoes and new japanese stuffed animals will be returned to me. not to mention my favorite stripey purse.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

china #1: the great wall

today (saturday) in beijing we went to the "forbidden city" (the former emperor's palace which was off-limits to the public for, oh, hundreds of years, until 1925), which was kind of boring, and to the great wall of china, which was pretty awesome. being there seemed almost surreal. it felt like an accomplishment in itself - something to check off the list of important things to do in a lifetime.
walking along the top of the wall mostly consists of a lot of climbing up and down stairs, because the wall runs along the mountaintops.

some parts of it are insanely steep. walking down again was almost as difficult as climbing up. here's a picture of me making a face to help demonstrate how steep the steps are:

Friday, August 18, 2006

japan #6: last japan day

fine, you want boring photos of scenery? here are boring photos of scenery.

oops, i'm in that one too. for more pictures taken by our official trip photographer see

yesterday (thursday) was our last real day in japan, in kyoto. we took a day trip to mount hiei, a beautiful mountain with lots of important and old buddhist temples.

but mostly it had gorgeous tall trees, fantasy-movie mist, cool weather (as opposed to the stifling heat and humidity in kyoto and tokyo), and...monkeys! we saw actual monkeys by the side of the road as we were driving back down the mountain. so awesome. here's a brief bit of video evidence:

later that afternoon we took a train to osaka, where we were going to be leaving for beijing the next morning. we got in around 7:00 p.m., but we were too tired and lazy to do anything the rest of the night except watch old american movies on TV, order random treats from room service (me: soup, sorbet, hot chocolate; him: dim sum, beer), and look at the picturesque view of the city lights out of our hotel room window.

i think it was our most "lost in translation" experience so far.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

japan #5: my own vending machine video

last night we took the bullet train from tokyo to kyoto. before leaving tokyo yesterday, i decided to star in my very own vending machine video. (but it turns out i needn't have worried - there are just as many vending machines in kyoto as in tokyo.)

good lord, my arms are skinny.

Monday, August 14, 2006

japan #4: american clubhouse sandwich

last night i wanted to go to this tempura restaurant for dinner, but i misread the closing time (it said it closed at "21:30", which my addled brain interpreted as 11:30). so instead i had to eat dinner at the bar/lounge in the hotel lobby. i got an "american clubhouse sandwich".

p.s. here's a very glamorous picture of me in the ueno neighborhood yesterday evening - one of many many areas of town with millions of flashy neon signs everywhere.

p.p.s. check out my awesome camera skills in this informative video about japanese vending machines.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

japan #3: ice cream

this soft-serve ice cream tastes just like mcdonald's - i.e., delicious and refreshing.

japan #2: lost bag

help, i put my bag down and now i can't find it!

Friday, August 11, 2006

japan #1: new hat

in japan. i don't even know what day it is. we arrived yesterday afternoon at about 4:00 p.m. and got to the hotel around 6. then i slept from 6 until 2 a.m., at which point i woke up and couldn't get back to sleep until about 5 a.m. my body is very confused.

it's about 1:00 in the afternoon now. this morning we walked around the ginza area of tokyo, mostly wandering around the gigantic department stores (depaato). i bought a new sun hat to replace my dearly departed white one. check it out:

bonus language lesson segment:
"where are the hats?" = booshi wa doko desu ka?

Monday, August 07, 2006

book review: the nanny diaries

i'm on such a reading frenzy lately, i have to start writing book reviews or i'll have nothing at all to write about.

this weekend i read The Nanny Diaries. it was pretty terrible. all the characters, including the protagonist, her love interest, her friends, his friends, and the antagonist family/employer, were dull, cliched, two-dimensional caricatures. i didn't find them believable, so i really didn't care what happened to any of them. i mean, the main character's best friends were named "sarah" and "josh." need i say more?

it was disappointing, because it sounded like a great premise to me: an up-close look at the ultra-rich behaving badly. everyone loves that stuff - see The Simple Life, etc. it could have been very witty and fun, if it had a plot that actually went somewhere and characters that the reader could care about.

the book also had a very dated feel to it, even though it was only published four years ago, because of the frequent reference to cell-phone ownership to signify that someone is rich/spoiled/important/annoying. i mean, come on. even in 2002 cell phones weren't that uncommon. i didn't have one, but i knew a lot of non-rich people who did. it's unfortunate that the authors chose to attach so much character-defining meaning to a device that became ubiquitous so quickly.

plus, the ending was unnecessarily depressing. that was really the cherry on top - an incredibly unsatisfying finale to a thoroughly unsatisfying experience.

RECOMMENDATION: do not read this book. but keep your fingers crossed that the movie, coming out soon (starring scarlett johansson), will make better use of this potentially interesting material.

Nanny Diaries

Friday, August 04, 2006


the one casualty of my trip east was my white sun hat.

it was in my suitcase with some oily bath stuff (bought in NY) that kind of exploded a little. i have no idea what the inky-looking stains are.

anyone know if there's a way to wash a hat that's labeled "100% paper"?

life after the bar (is good)

here's what i did yesterday:
- watched a lot of tv
- did some exercising to a show that happened to be on "fit tv" called "total body sculpt with gilad" - for which i'm paying the price this morning. ow!
- painted my fingernails and toenails
- spent about an hour listening to my new japanese language cds (in preparation for my real post-bar trip) (ookii kuruma desu = 'it's a big car')
- ate caramel corn for breakfast, a super quesadilla suiza from el farolito for lunch (jonesing for decent mexican food after my brief visit to the east coast), and pepperoni pizza from goat hill pizza for dinner
- watched "the hills have eyes" on dvd in the evening, against my better judgment. i cannot handle scary movies.
- that's it.

life is good.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

back from the abyss

i've returned! sorry for the long hiatus. i was in new york for a few days, taking the NY and NJ bar exams - both hellish - and then i spent about five days relaxing in the sweltering heat of rehoboth beach, delaware (my childhood annual vacation spot) with the bf and his family. that was really fun. i got to spend time with an adorable baby and an adorable grandmother, among others. we played skee ball, went on the "haunted mansion" ride at funland, took an "old time photo," ate hard-shell crabs, and drank gallons of birch beer (the official soda pop of the beach). but i spent most of my time eating caramel corn from dolle's and candy from candy kitchen, and reading racy literature (Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, etc.) and racy memoirs (Pimp by iceberg slim, etc.). i don't know why i'm such a pervert. i haven't had time for fun reading in so long, i had to go for the smuttiest.

here's me doing karaoke at the beach the day after the bar exam ended. it's bette midler's "from a distance." (i am going through a seriously passionate light rock phase.) sorry it's a little off-key - it was hard to hear the music. the audience was actually very enthusiastic, though you can't really tell from the video. lots of people were singing along. i think they especially liked the "god is watching us" part.

yesterday we flew back to SF with a brief stopover in new york. in the 115-degree heat, i experienced my second-ever NYC celebrity spotting: america's next top model's nigel barker.

i am the world's biggest ANTM fan, so it was very exciting. i think he was possibly even checking me out.

but that may have been because i looked sort of freakish compared to all the other pretty and sophisticated ladies around, though - i was wearing short shorts, a loose-fitting t-shirt, pink sparkly flip-flops from walgreens, sunglasses, and my big white hat. not to mention the fading henna tattoo of an anchor, on my arm, that i got at the beach.

but my bf said he was totally looking at me, like, several times. i really don't think of myself as the kind of girl that people would notice like that - you know, a pretty girl or whatever. so it was quite an unexpected thrill.

p.s. i won't know whether i passed the bar 'til november, so i'm just putting it out of my head until then. from a purely statistical standpoint, i probably passed. but who knows.