Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Keep the Doors Open Rally - March 17, 2003

Wow... never thought that I'd be a political activist. But yesterday I drove up to Sacramento with my boyfriend Mike to protest the budget cuts Governor Gray Davis wants to make that will severly impact California community colleges. It's really outrageous; he's going to cut 6 percent (or about $800 million) from community colleges, while the University of California and California State University systems will *get* money -- 4.1 percent increase for UC and 1.2 percent for CSU. (BTW, my numbers may not be accurate. I'm getting them from the online articles for today's Sacramento Bee: "8,000 protest college cuts" and "New day dawning? Community college students march on Capitol."

I dunno how many people showed up -- I've seen numbers from 5,000 to 13,000 -- but it was a *crowd.* Lots of people with signs. ("Buy Books Not Bombs" "Dump Davis, Not Students") There were opportunities to register to vote, public speakers, music, and chants. Lots of security too: Highway Patrol, mounted officers, Capitol building security, etc. It was highly energized, but there was no rioting. Overall, it was a good experience. Hopefully we got our point across. If not, there's another rally Saturday April 5th, again, at the Capitol Building.

More info:
California Student Association of Community Colleges


Wednesday, March 05, 2003

"The Entirely True Confessions of a Magical Girl"

Here's my new story: "The Entirely True Confessions of a Magical Girl." (I've also posted it on fanfiction.net.) It's a parody of all those anime magical girl shows. If you've at least heard of Sailor Moon, you know what I'm talking about. I think it's pretty funny.

The Entirely True Confessions of a Magical Girl

Author’s Note:

Not all events stated in the following account are factual.


Sure, I had gone through a phase when I wanted to be a magical girl. A clichéd pony-tailed, mini-skirted, thigh-high-boot-wearin’ Defender of Justice. Saint-Bishoujo-Magical-Priestess of some obscure futuristic deity destined to save the universe, snag a college-age boyfriend, ace all my classes, and become the most popular girl on campus—all in time to get a full night of beauty sleep.

Sheesh, c’mon, I was thirteen. Transformation sequences with floating sakura blossoms, 40-second-long magic attacks, and shiny pink wands all lost their appeal once I hit eighth grade. By the time I had graduated high school I had long since discarded those fantasies in favor of sexu- um, other types of fantasies. I had realistic goals: get a car, get a boyfriend, get an apartment…. Y’know, all the things that every eighteen-year-old girl wants.

Well, the first semester of community college went okay, it was just during the beginning of my second term that I got, well, an unusual visitor.

Alright, let me set the scene. It’s four p.m. on a Wednesday. I’m chillin’ like a villain in my bedroom, listening to music and studying. Okay, I wasn’t studying per se, but lounging on my bed, chewing gum, and flipping through a magazine. (I only bought it for the articles, I swear!) Since no one else is home (Hell yeah, I still live with my parents! Free food, satellite TV, DSL Internet… geez, do you think I could get a job that paid enough for me to move out and enjoy those luxuries at my current slacker/student status?), my door is actually open. A rare, and at this point untimely, occurance.

I didn’t notice him at first. Just heard some mumbling before I paused the CD. "Kelly. Kell-lley!"

"Huh?" I looked around then unimaginatively asked, "God?" Somehow, I had never imagined God’s voice to be so… phlegm-ey. And since when had the televangelists hinted that God had a British accent?

"No, I am not God. You are Kelly, I presume?"

"Um… yeah?" I wasn’t sure if I should be talking to strange, disembodied voices if they didn’t belong to some religious figure that my parents would approve of. Sticking to the side of precaution, I rolled over and started picking disinterestedly at my toenail cuticles, feigning boredom in case "they" were watching me.

"At last. I have been searching for quite awhile."

"Hmm, really?" I murmured, leaning over to rummage through my desk drawer for toenail clippers. Just in case. Lousy weapon I know, but, hey, I was unprepared. Would you want a pointy metal file rammed up your left nostril? Nah, didn’t think so. "Are you actually visible, or what?" I said, letting a small amount of valley-girl impatience creep into my voice.

"Of course. I’m in the doorway."

I looked but didn’t see anyone until I let my gaze drop to the floor. Well well well. Whaddya know? A talking banana slug. "A talking banana slug?"

For some reason, despite the distance and inscrutable slug-like absence of facial features (i.e. eyes, nose, mouth) I could tell he was getting slightly irked.

Okay, sensitive subject, I thought and reminded myself never to piss off a slimy creature oozing mucus that was small enough to curl comfortably into the toe of one of my Sketchers. Gross.

"Someone’s got to do the job!" He retorted in a sluggy snarl.

"What job?"

He visibly squeezed and slimed himself into a proud pose (Proud for a slug. I’m using the term loosely.) and stated: I have searched far and wide for you, Kelly [I am omitting my last name because of superhero anonymity, y'know. Hey, I don't make the rules.]; entrusted with the privilege to inform you of your true identity as the Warrior of Wisdom, the Protectress of Prosperity, the Huntress of the Hunted, the Crusader of Conformity…. (I don’t know if that’s exactly what he said. I can’t remember his exact words and will just cut off the rest of his speech. It was boring anyway, and he rambled on in that vein for some time.)

When he came to the end of his shtick he waited with an expectant sluggish attitude.

"Eh?" I asked blankly, snapping my gum loudly.

He lost it. I mean, veins were popping and everything. "You are a magical girl!"

I laughed. This whole conversation was obviously a dream induced by too many unnatural Starbuck’s beverages, too much stressing over homework, and too much inhalation of Hi-Liter fumes. "Uh-huh. Yeah, right."

"Really!" He insisted.

I gave him a skeptic look. This situation was as plot-twisty as a noontime soap, but with none of the good-looking guys. "Well then, why couldn’t you have told me this, like, five years ago?"

If a banana slug could blush, he would have done so. As it was, he managed to look a little sheepish. "Mrmumbrumrum…"

"Come again?"

"I said, I have been SEARCHING for the past SEVEN YEARS! I’m a slug, not exactly a cheetah, you know." This was one scathingly sarcastic slug. Maybe we can actually get along… What am I thinking!?

"Seven years?"

"It took me three friggin’ weeks to get myself upstairs!" He snapped.

"You can’t fly? I thought all animal guardians to magical girls could fly, or teleport, or something."

He shot me a withering look. "What, a talking slug isn’t ‘magical’ enough for you?" I heard him mutter under his sluggy voice, "Ungrateful kids these days…."

I chose to ignore that last comment. "What do you want? Bottom line."

"I already told you! You are the fourth Warrior Priestess of the Second-Class Goddess Danyu."

I opened and shut my mouth a few times. Oh-kaaay. "Couple of questions for you, Slimey. One: Who is Danyu? Two: Why aren’t the first thee ‘Warrior Princesses’ enough? Three: Don’t you think I’m kinda old to go prancing around wearing tights and a tiara?"

Peevishly, he said, "Danyu is the goddess of commerce and trade. The tiara and tights are optional."

"Hold on. I don’t like American materialistic and commercial values. I can’t just go against my ideals and work for the goddess of consumerism. And, you didn’t tell me where the other three Warrior Princesses or whatever are. Why can’t the three of them handle the job?"

"Um… well…" he looked away, sliding uncomfortably on a puddle of slime. "The last three have, well, disappeared."

"Disappeared! There’s no way I’m taking this job then."

"But you’ll get high-risk pay. You’ll also get your own apartment, magical vehicle, and theme song." He pleaded.

"Nuh-uh. Absolutely no—did you say theme song?" I raised an eyebrow.

"Oh yeah!" He nodded emphatically, sensing that the bait was about to be taken.

"Hmm…" I must say, with profound embarrassment, that I was suddenly in a sparkly fantasy world of self-appreciation with floating music notes and dramatic music with choirs singing praises. Lalalalala… She’s the courageous crusader of conformity, wishy-washy warrior of wisdom, pretty protectress of pros-pear-it-TEEEE! Magical wonderful simply-simpatico WARRRR-EEE-ORRR of DAAAN-YUUUUUUU! For a grand finale I would pose seductively, with the white-robed choir kowtowing in reverent awe on the floor around me.

Peering through the glittery mists of my daydream, I noted the satisfied look on the slug. I shook myself from my fantasy. "We’re gonna need to settle on a few conditions first."

"Conditions? This is not debatable! You get your own apartment and car! What else do you want?"

"Widescreen TV with DVD player, Playstation 2, $200 gift certificate for a low- to moderately-priced store where I can purchase games for the aforementioned PS2, and the movie The Labyrinth on DVD." I thought quickly. "Oh, and I’ll need a computer, printer, and broadband access. Preferably a PC. I’ll still need to do homework, y’know."

Oops. I seemed to have angered him again. "No way in bloody hell can I just walk into the Ministry of Arcane Archetypal Affairs and request a ‘gift certificate for a low- to moderately-priced store’ so you can buy video games!"

"Well, there’s 'no way in bloody hell' you can walk into the Ministry of anything."

He did an admirable job of sputtering, severely lacking in salivary glands as he was. "Don’t mock me."

I smirked. "I was just innocently pointing out facts."

"Innocent my left-" Thankfully, he didn’t finish that thought. Taking a few deep breaths, he calmed himself a bit. "TV, DVD player, The Labyrinth, PS2, PC computer, printer, broadband. I am not going to ask the Ministry for a $200 gift certificate."

"Fine. We’ll need to have a contract drawn up."


I nodded. "Yeah. I want to make sure I have an escape clause to wiggle out of this."

Instead of arguing the point, he just deflated. "Fine. I’ll have the Ministry revise the usual contract. Happy?"

"We’ll see."