Archive for May, 2010

Words are seeping out quickly

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Her anger I cannot see
Her displeasure I hear only from you
The words stab the wounds that were never there

Chains of wood
Breakable, but unyielding
To me, to only me

Come and catch me
Before I stumble
Over the forgotten two by two

What would you say
If she in a mindless tornado
Flung here on my path?

What takes a lot of my money away?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Insurance.

In Animal Crossing, it’s quite natural that a Lyle the weasel appears selling hard to get you to buy insurance. And so duped, you pay. A lot. The payouts don’t happen enough though to offset.

Vote no for measure 17! Because insurance companies will assume the reason that I haven’t driven for years is because I had a DUI or some other lame reason. Which is wholly untrue. The moment that I become a suburban soccer mom…I shouldn’t have to pay over $1500 just because I chose a “car-free” lifestyle of living in the city.

But who knows, right. Insurance does pay off sometimes. Health insurance. Life insurance. House insurance. People paying the insurers are paying a large group that will help the unfortunate. It seems like it should work.

Quite naturally, I always assume that a lot of things in life should be free. A socialist. But that’s not the country that I live in. Right now. It’s different. It’s about receiving large sums and then deciding what to do with it.

Do people pay more for property insurance and property taxes…and interest on mortgage? Will inflation offset those costs that cannot be recuperated?

“Here, let me introduce you.”

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I barely knew anyone at my friend’s bday party save for the bday boy and another friend. Everyone else I knew was several years younger than me. And although I tried to withhold my judgment, they were not city dwellers. I could smell the i-hate-driving-in-san-francisco and the suburbia-is-my-love on all of them.

But well, they made it to the city to party at a local hip bar/restaurant/club. Not my scene since I was 24.

I danced…almost with uncertainty at the edge of the group. Several guys who I would call azn with spiky over-gelled hair and a shockingly doused with cheap cologne arrived.

One of the girls I chatted with about ice cream earlier look at me and said, “Hey Jenn, let me introduce you.”

I shook hands with a guy. Jerry, I think.

“How do you know the birthday boy?” he asked.

I laughed, trying to be cordial, “At a conference! Well a party! How do you know the birthday boy?”

It was loud and he had to lean forward to hear. He made some witty remark and not completely understanding, I just nodded.

Then in less a minute, he turned to another friend and said, “Let me introduce you. This is Will. This is Jenn.”

I turned to talk to Will. “How do you know the birthday boy?” Will asked, talking into my ear to outshout the music. Lady Gaga was playing now.

I rephrased my answer and exclaimed, “At a party!”

And once again, Will turned to another guy. “This is Aaron.”

There was nobody else down the line. We had the same conversation about knowing the birthday boy, how often we came here (yes even though I live close by, this is only my third time), and what we did for fun.

Chris said that I killed the conversation when Will asked if I wanted a drink and I told him bluntly that I didn’t drink. I guess that I should have played along.

I am twentee-eight!

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

[photo would be inserted here of today’s events if camera was not misplaced]

Yay and it was totally awesome! Thanks to everyone who made it totally special. Especially the taiche! I am now drowning (happily) in candies. The way that I have always wanted to! :D

Simple way to make Jenn happy: buy a bag of fruity candy. Hard, soft, squishy, round, square, triangular…that’s right!

When I was turning sixteen, a friend asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I asked for starburst, gummi worms, skittles and the like. It was like the best birthday present ever!

Fall Preview: My Generation

Friday, May 21st, 2010

This morning it struck me. It has been almost 10 years since I graduated from high school. 10 years. Since I last paraded the “class of 2000” sign around.

It took me about 2-4 years after I graduated to become bitter, resentful of my high school experience. Then another 5 years to come to terms with it. In the last year though because of Facebook, I came across high school classmates. There was the girl who I befriended only because I had nobody else to befriend…who is now a struggling actress in New York City. Another girl who never talked to me but now started a band and in some outreach has tried to get me to go to her shows. And two other girls that I ran into once when I was in the Marina—they are schoolteachers now.

I am not sure why I was suddenly so put off by the upcoming fall series of My Generation. It’s a documentary-like style series that met a class in 2000 and returned in 2010 to see what happened. But is that really what would have happened? I couldn’t even see myself in any of the characters.

But perhaps, it was the fact that it was something that we value so much for it’s the quintessential experience of life. But when we look back, it can be either the greatest moments or the moments of bitterness.

The car ate my phone, literally: Round Two

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Toad unlike me gets the privilege of driving the BMW

Yes, Toad had a good time driving the BMW!

But that’s not what happened last weekend.

I called my phone over and over again. We were now frustrated having stuck our hands completely under the undercarriage of the driver’s seat. Now you see the BMW front seats with an engine to move the seat forward and backward. I personally think a manual push and pull suits me just fine. With all these mechanics, I began to worry that the phone was crunched between some gear. And as we moved the seat, we waited to smell some smoke, some mind-blowing crunch. But nothing. Somehow we were able to play a scavenger hunt (winning the team name contest of “No sheet Sherlock”) and having the famous wet-style chicken wings at San Tung even with the missing cell phone at the back of our mind. Not to mention that I was sleep deprived.

Chris finally deduced after much searching (and listening carefully)…and finding this weird bump in the ground…that the phone must be stuck in some weird hole. Because of my lack of understanding physics (the only physics class I ever took was in the 8th grade), I did not understand how momentum would carry a phone forward when the car was in motion. Huh? Or how driving up a hill wouldn’t work. How about a steep hill? Nope, not unless the car did some crazy swerving.

Chris got the brilliant idea of using a mirror and I lent him mine. After some 15 minutes of searching, he found my phone. Well as in, he figured out where it was with a mirror. Then thus began the attempts of grabbing it with chopsticks, tongs, tweezers, wire clothes hanger…to all failure. Turned out the momentum had lodged the phone far in this…hole thing…stuck.

Ugh.

On Monday morning, Chris brought his car to the dealership. It turned out my phone was stuck in the air vent. And moreover, when Chris described the ordeal, the mechanics immediately knew the issue. “It’s stuck in the floor air vent right?”

Well then!

The mechanics…yes plural as in not one, not two, but three people attempted to get my phone out. First they put the car on a steep incline. Then they tried to close all vents to blow it out at full force of the AC. Then they used a slim jim which successfully pulled out my phone albeit scratching my screen. And they didn’t even charge Chris a single penny. Reminder to self: go to the dealership for such things and insist that it’s a design flaw.

The phone despite being a Blackberry pearl was a hand-me-down and just $20 to unlock. So I didn’t care. I should be like the guy who posted a thread titled you’ll laugh. iphone stuck under seat vent. I did think it was amusing through this ordeal, because a car could eat my phone!

One thing I realized is that I don’t really even need a cell phone (except for those cases where I need to make an immediate meeting) as most of my communication takes place through digital means. Is this why I am resisting getting a smart phone?

By the way, the mirror that Chris used to spot my phone initially? It’s gone. Because the car ate it.

The car ate my phone, literally: Round One

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

It was Friday night. We somehow found ourselves at a friend’s game night longer than expected and I was so glad to be back. I wanted to collapse and sleep for hours. But I needed to find my phone. I stumbled out to the car, blindly putting my hand in the front seat and the back seat. Using Chris’ phone, I heard my ringtone—the default ringtone on the blackberry. Ok, good it’s here. Not stuck in Santa Clara nor stuck in Stanford, the two places I had stopped by that Friday evening.

Not being able to find it, I stumbled back and collapsed into a log-like sleep. The following morning, I searched my phone again, calling it with the various devices I had on hand. Still nowhere. Chris later attempted an in-depth search. We called it, determining that it was in the right side of the car. It was near the driver’s seat. We shoved our hands every which way, put our heads upside down. Everything, but it was nowhere. Even in the dark, nothing lit up, nothing vibrated. But every time we called, we could hear that distinct ringtone…ringing somewhere in the deep belly of the car.

It was like the car ate my phone.

So why didn’t you cite me?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

I caught the 8:19 am train. My “backup” train in case I miss the 8:14 am train (non sequitur: which I missed today because I spent too much time loitering around the energizer stations because of bike-to-work day yeah yeah).

In my usual morning commute, I put my feet up on the rail near the wall and relaxed with my sunglasses on with my bags all over the seat next to me.

Then I heard it. We were already in Burlingame, more than 10 miles from my initial start point in San Francisco.

“Tickets please.”

I grabbed my ticket which I had carefully placed next to me. And realized to my horror that I had not validated it which I have never forgotten in the last 3 years of riding the caltrain.

I immediately jumped up, took off my sunglasses and lamely told the conductor my digression, “I forgot to validate it.”

I didn’t even get a chance to panic as the conductor started to lecture me. He “validated” my ticket and said, “I am supposed to cite you. You know that San Francisco has 6 validators and that at least one of them should work.”

I managed to say some lame excuse of rushing into the train, but couldn’t find the right words that seemed appropriate.

He admonished me further and I could tell the fellow passengers wanted the whole conversation muted. We all hate conversations like this because it ruins the morning commutes.

Then he said again, “I am supposed to give you a citation.”

I nodded and then sat back down.

As I begin to process what had happened…I wondered why he didn’t give me a citation. Why not? About 6 months ago, I saw a guy do the same thing but he willingly asked for the citation as a punishment for his forgetfulness.

Was it because I was carrying around the bike-to-work day bag? Was it because I spoke in a soft voice? Was it because I was Asian? Was it because I was female? Was it because I was dressed somewhat professionally? Was it because he decided that he didn’t want to have a bad day?

Even though I lucked out, it bothered me the rest of the morning. Luck like that doesn’t last too long. After all, this is the fifth time that I have been yelled at by the conductor.

How to be who you want to be

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

During my freshman year of college, I had a crisis. After the “boyfriend” broke up with me, I was at a loss of who I was and who I would be. Or so I thought. I found myself arguing with everyone and anyone.

“I don’t know who I am,” I once said to a friend.

She calmly imed me back, “Just take bits and pieces of people and be that someone.”

And so I did. I wanted to be a performer, so I embodied the spotlight-loving persona. I wanted to be a designer, so I took designy way of speaking. I watched, I observed, I stole.

In some way, it was just the shell. Only the building blocks of shell. And it worked. Somehow people believed that I was bubbly, extroverted, a performer.

There are times that I worry about the façade that I created. It does crumble, but I am impressed, especially so impressed when a coworker comments that I appear confident when actually internally, the confidence is not there.

A few days ago, I suddenly was at a loss. There was a power struggle in the room—one that I wasn’t planning to be part of. None of the personas that I had taken were the pieces of what I wanted to be. And then I fell back to my usual self—panicked, anxious and shy. It was horrifying.

But the moment I walked out of the room, away from the power struggle, away from the testosterone…it was better. The sun warmed me again and I chatted on the phone as if nothing had happened.

Too much of pork

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The other white meat, the campaign had went in the early 2000s.

In my foodspotting amazement, I indulged myself in San Francisco’s love of pork from sweet breads to pork belly to sliced bacon. And then Bacon Camp.

What is up with the love of this thing…the pig?

Charlotte loved the pig. It is a rolling mass of fat, satisfied messing about in mud. It is the face of the so-called swine flu, emphasized in the pig parading about during bay to breakers. Then during many of the artisinal underground markets, people savored the richness of pork belly in buns—a recipe that hipsters loved from Momofuku.

It was annoying.

When cooked…even when slowly cooked…unlike chicken or beef, the meat doesn’t become tender. It stays together…like one block of a thing. The fat is what makes vegetarians turn when they smell bacon. Bacon on its own? It’s nothing. When wrapped around so many things…it can be something.