Caster Semenya: A Lesson in Sensitivity

South African Runner Caster Semenya

By now I’m sure you all have at least heard about the controversy about South African runner, Caster Semenya.  She ran the 800-meters in like 1:55:45 and tore past the other women. Now officials are questioning whether or not Semenya is actually a woman. Serious? Are you serious?  I’ve actually read some crazy theories about Semenya, ranging from offensive to just stupid. People have been arguing on how to answer this apparently necessary question, not knowing what’s the best way short of just asking her to drop her shorts. The damn girl (who is only 18) just won the 800-meters and we can’t even let her enjoy it.

Yesterday morning on KGMB9, their morning crew discussed and unintentionally poked fun at the recent controversy. I’m not really sure what was the point of this dicussion? Maybe just some filler for time? But nevertheless, it ends up being a bunch of people making fun of Semenya for looking different. Honestly, I think somewhere in the middle of their “discussion”, they feel bad about poking fun at Semenya. The mood changes when Billy V. says he’ll refer to her as “she” until proved otherwise and offers his congratulations. Everyone else perhaps feels they’ve overstepped a boundary and the anchorwoman notes that Semenya was teased heavily while growing up for her “masculine” appearance. Yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t really offended by what they said. I don’t think their comments were hateful, but just the fact that speculation on Semenya’s gender was necessary to air on the morning news seemed unnecessary.

Now, I get called sir (or even one time, ma’am-sir — whatever that is) once in a while. It irks and sometimes amuses me, depending on how it goes. Once at a McDonald’s drive-thru, I was called “ma’am-sir” by the very gay Filipino boy who gave me my food.  I just sort of looked at him–mainly because that was the first time I had heard that term before. I told him “thank you” to see if he’d change his response to “ma’am” (which most do after they hear me talk – I have a pretty girly voice), but nope. He just stuck with ma’am-sir. Which could have meant transsexual for all I know? I can’t imagine someone arguing with me that I’m a guy after I’ve told them I’m not.

People will say to me, “well, you dress like a guy, so why are you surprised when you get called sir?” First of all, I don’t dress like a guy–I dress like myself. Ideas of gender, especially in fashion, are pushed on us by society and change according to a number of different variables. They are not, as some might think, fact or absolute.

Why must we feel the need to label others? Is it because it is therefore easier to categorize and group people in to us versus them?

I’m not going into protocol for these types of events and whether or not this could have been avoided because I’m not familiar enough with the process. My point is that Semenya’s situation–to a lesser or greater degree, depending on the individual—is unfortunately not unique.  Whatever happens with Semenya should be a lesson to all of us in sensitivity.

Seriously, do you want to be the jerk who rags on someone just because they’re different?

More Movie Music with Imogen Heap’s Ellipse

Imogen Heap's Eclipse 2009

When I got my hands on the new Imogen Heap album, Ellipse, I had to listen to it right then.  The first time through, I had it on in the background while doing some work. I loved and felt it deserved my  full attention, so I gave it a listen without any distractions. It didn’t feel the same the second time around and I couldn’t understand why. But now as I listen to “Between Sheets” for the fourth time while writing this entry, I realize that Imogen Heap is meant to be played in movies and for your inner monologue.

imogenHeap’s music is the kind that’s made for the movies. It’s dramatic without drawing too much attention  to it. Her music allows the other characters to have their moment and, if anything, serves as the perfect mood enhancer. I know that if my boring life were being made into a movie, I’d like Imogen Heap’s music to be played during all the important scenes.

I read somewhere that this album was recorded entirely in Garage Band, which–if true– is a testament to Heap’s talent as a musician and producer. Her voice is so incredibly unique and all-consuming through your earphones that you’ll forget where you are.  She knows the range and ability of her voice and is a master at using it to create a perfect, lush swirl of sound.

Her latest release, Ellipse, feels familiar and yet excitingly new. Some tracks (like First Train Home,  Tidal, and Between Sheets) feel reminiscent of her previous album, Speak for Yourself, and will probably be on those list of songs you’ll be addicted to and then later irritated when you hear it in some pretentious indie movie months later. Other songs are quirkier and less catchy, but definitely shows her range as a musician. If you watch her video blogs, you can see the kind of instruments she includes in her songs. It’s kinda crazy!

Although I am quite fond of this album, I feel like it doesn’t adequately showcase her talent as a performer. Her arrangements are complex and packed with quirks (much like her fashion style). Listening to this album over and over again will be quite fulfilling, but it limits you to hear this one specific arrangement of these songs. As a live performer, she’s constantly re-inventing these gems and each one is worth listening to.

To illustrate my point, I’ve included a live video of “Let Go” by Frou Frou. It sounds so different from the original, but I find myself liking both versions the same, as if they were two completely different songs.

So if your inner monologue needs new music, check out Ellipse. It’ll make the movie of your life that much better.

Incognito: Celebrate Shokudo’s New Late Night Menu with Metromix!

metromix launch party shokudo late night menu

Next week Tuesday (Aug. 18)  Shokudo is launching their new late night menu and Metromix will be there to celebrate! Shokudo is one of my favorite hangout spots to grab drinks and grub with my friends. With the addition of their $3 late night pupus and drink specials, you can bet we’ll be there to take advantage of the $3 honey toast (yes, you heard me right).

So come down to celebrate–the event runs from 10pm-1am. There’s incentive to come early: gift bags go to the first 25 guests and the first 100 guests will receive masks to wear during the party. Who can say no to Metromix SWAG?!

Here’s the original listing from the Metromix Page.

Below are some of the Shokudo dishes I’ve been loving lately. Notice how the Honey Toast is right smack dab in the middle.

Shokudo's Bento Box Shokudo's Honey Toast with Vanilla Ice Cream Beef Balsamic Vinegarette Tataki

Celebrate John Hughes and Kick Ass 80’s Music at Acid Wash

Acid Wash FREE 80's Night at SOHO

Hawaii’s favorite FREE weekly 80’s night has moved locations to the trendy SOHO in chinatown. If you don’t mind the rain tonight (I imagine this is hurricane tropical depression dinky spit storm Felicia), I think SOHO is going to be bumping! Tonight is a really special occasion–they’re doing a John Hughes Tribute and encourage you to dress as your favorite John Hughes movie character! They’re having a costume contest and the winner will win 2 free roundtrip tickets courtesy of GO! Airlines. How awesome is that?

Acid Wash is also the unofficial after party location for the No Doubt show! So after dancing your asses off to Gwen Stefani, come down to SOHO and dance your ass off to your favorite 80’s bands.

80 S Pauahi St.
Honolulu, HI

Review: (500) Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer

You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to see this movie. It was so worth the wait.

In the first minutes of (500) Days of Summer, the narrator warns you that  “this is a story of boy meets girl. You should know up front this is not a love story.”  The movie follows the growth and collapse of Tom and Summer’s relationship. You know from the beginning that they don’t end up together and yet you root for them anyway.

Tom and Summer are such likable characters that you want them together, even if it becomes quite clear (to us and not quite to Tom yet) that they aren’t meant to be.  It’s a heartbreaking realization and something that I’m sure we’ve all experienced in our lives. This movie is about love as much as it is about the collapse of a relationship and how love affects our memory.

500daysofsummerThe elevator scene where Summer tells Tom she loves what he’s listening to is one of my favorites in the movie. It reminded me of those moments in my youth when I felt connected to another human being through something as small (and yet significant) as a song.

(500) Days of Summer spoke to me in a very personal way. How often I’ve been in Tom’s shoes, trying to re-count my steps and mis-steps in a relationship I’ve cherished. I’ve been attached and broken by girls like Summer and found myself (like Tom does) in the process of putting myself back together.

My gripe with a lot of romantic comedies is that the head-over-heels love between the two characters feels forced. We are forced to believe that during a 20 second montage of clips (usually shown about 15 minutes before the movie ends) that the new lovers are filled with an all-consuming love that we’re supposed to hope for in our own lives.  Sure, big dramatic declarations of love are entertaining, but it feels empty to me when I see it on screen.This movie realistically portrays the small romantic moments and heartbreaking defeats a couple shares with each other.  The progression and demise of their relationship feels real and like in our own lives sometimes, you want the relationship to succeed even when it’s destined to fail.

As a side note, the soundtrack is amazing. I’ve had it on repeat for hours now.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone.