Reverb 10: Wonder

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Chris says: He treats every situation as if he was walking in for the first time.

Me? This year, it was about applying a twist to each experience.

Game mechanics. And play.

Gaming is transformational. It makes you look at things differently.

The scavenger hunts that Chris and I took part of—from BANG to City Chase to the hunt within De Young…they made us look at places differently. The Journey to the End of the Night made us look at people differently.

During the latter part of the year, I became fascinated with zombies. And I thought about how I would survive. How others would survive. What life would be like. Could I endure with all the changes? It was play.

But it all came back to games. I have connected and disconnected with people over games, because they bring out a lot of the natural instincts in people.

As Plato once said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Reverb 10: Moment

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.


It was a moment of discovery, challenge, fear for myself, fear for others, and success all at once.

I described it earlier in a succint form.

It was the Journey to the End of the Night. We (the group of people we were with) were on a bus heading west on Haight. The bus itself was a safe zone—chasers couldn’t tag us the runners. However, they were egging us on and watching our every move. In a lame attempt to throw them off our trail, I said that we would get off soon, thinking that we would get off in 10 blocks. At the last minute right at Central and Haight, Chris whispered, “We are getting off here.”

Unfortunately, it was one block away from the safe zone.

Chris and Jeff ran storming off the bus. I was confused and hesitated at the front bus door, surely confusing everyone else behind me. That hesitation was what saved me. Standing in the doorway, I could hear silence and see only darkness. It was perfect weather for San Francisco. Not too hot, not too cold. No rain…and the air drifted with only a slight menace on the day before Halloween.

As I stepped off the bus…in those few seconds, I heard screams of glee that could only be from chasers. We were in attack. And then I heard it…screams of terror or perhaps disappointment from a chaser who had been tagged.

Running down Central from Haight to Page was more dark that I had anticipated. The dim street lights were insignificant, barely lighting the street and definitely not the sidewalks.

My adrenaline quickly built up and I knew…I just knew that I probably couldn’t do the sprint. I immediately moved left, lowering myself to the ground smelling the dusty concrete—a smell so like the city of San Francisco. A parked car shielded me from view from those in the middle of the street.

I saw Jeff—in his bright red getup—get tagged. My black costume as a ninja saved me, blending into the darkness. In between the cracks of parked cars, I could see that the chasers were celebrating. They were dancing, almost as if around a prize. A chaser girl was bragging as she took Jeff’s ribbon. “A trophy!” she exclaimed to a fellow chaser. Then she laughed. An evil long-drawn-out laugh.

I realized that she had no idea that I was there. She could not hear my breathless anxiety building up and up.

But there was no time. Did Chris make it? I heard nothing…nothing familiar that seemed of his voice from ahead or behind. Was he ok?

My tongue was dry. No time. My senses sharpened. I had to make it to the safe zone. I sprinted, but halted when I saw a shadowy figure ahead. Someone from the game? Someone not? She turned around and said, “Are you…” I dodged slightly to the middle of the street and ran ahead.

And there on the bright lights on Fell street right near the panhandle, I saw a familiar figure. Chris. He was standing in a way to say What’s happening? Where are you? Are you ok?

He spotted me and hesitated, knowing that I could have crossed the boundary of being a chaser too.

“I am safe!” I exclaimed.

I ran toward him in embrace and said, “I made it! But I don’t know if other people did…”

Reverb 10: Writing

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

There is a shallow response to this prompt. Sleep, floss, washing dishes—the mundane tasks of everyday life that don’t deserve to be written about.

Yet, there’s a deeper response. Everything influences each other. By not sleeping, I sometimes see the world differently in a tired state. Perhaps by not washing the dishes, I annoy others in the household who thus cause an event that wouldn’t have occurred. Or floss…well the results of teeth issues certainly is writable.

I primarily write about my own life—a wholly egocentric view. Writing is a time for me to reflect and de-stress. How can I do without anything when everything is a small piece of the bigger picture…of me.

Although I certainly could do without alarms. Or the idea that I have to be somewhere on time would be superbly nice.

Reverb 10: One Word

Inspired by Suki (a requested change—it’s not the Suki originally from the East Coast, but a Suki of the West Coast), I decided to try to take part of the reverb project. It’s the monthlong project for reflection on the past year. Particularly since I am almost writing for the void nowadays.

Here we go!

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

This year, 2010, is competition. It’s not that I have been on marathons or anything like that. Unlike many years, this was the year that I became more competitive. Professionally, I finally reached a plateau that guaranteed me everything for the next steps.

But what was it about competition.

There were the hunts.

In February, it was the Chinese New Year Scavenger Hunt.


In March, it was the insanity of the Foodspotting Scavenger hunt.

Angels on Horseback at Anchor and Hope

Then throughout the year, it was the Jejune Institute.


In July, it was the City Chase in Seattle


And of course, the famous Street Food Scavenger Hunt.

Kitchen Disaster FINAL!

In October, it was the Journey to the End of the Night.

The entire group before the fall

It stretched all my creativity, all my athleticism, all my thinking-on-my-feet. But most importantly, in this competition, it was all about teamwork. The ability to understand how far my teammates were going to go. Knowing their strengths, their weaknesses…contrasted with my very own.

That was 2010.

As for 2011, I hope that it’s going to be discovery. Sometimes I blame my environment for the sheltered childhood that I had. I am constantly seeking a way to catch up. And at the same time, leave my zone of comfort. And that zone, it’s always very small. We’ll see.

Zombie Bookish: Round Two

Last year, after much deep thinking and re-thinking and seeking recommendations, I had decided on World War Z: An oral history of the zombie war for the book club that I hosted. And following the theme of others who made food that matched the theme of the book, I made…zombie food! And this year, for my hosting for October/November, I did the same thing. But the book was not from the human perspective, but from the zombie perspective. This year, I chose Brains: A Zombie Memoir which I had spotted when I walked into a book store.

Final: Trailer of the Street Food Scavenger Hunt

Final post of the amazing street food scavenger hunt.

It has been more than 4 months since I started it. In it, I exhausted my creative reserves for the better. At the time, I had been considering changing my career path because there was a need inside me for “pure creation”. I couldn’t find a way to get it fulfilled. Yet with the challenges of the scavenger hunt, I was able to exercised the pent-up creative energy. Like a monster, it was released.

There have been things that the entire thing has taught me. Despite my usual quiet demeanor and incredible social anxiety, I do love performance. I love being the center of attention for better or worse. I seek for it, perhaps for this drive to be noticed and remembered.

Yet when I am aware of this sudden moment, I am unfortunately very self-conscious. I want to immediately dive for the closest dark corner and not bear witness to what I often believe (though logically not) is an embarrassment of myself. If only I could separate those two parts of me.

In the fourth grade, there was a class presentation about some historical topic. I decided that acting it out—a monologue would be the best idea. I had rehearsed and it was fine when I was alone in my room. But suddenly in front of the class, I was in panic as I walked to the front. I don’t remember doing the presentation, but I could only remember the many many many eyes on me. But I really wanted to do it—I really wanted to be a performer, being able to influence people in ways I could quietly sitting at my desk.

I am thankful that technology has allowed us to somewhat time-shift performance so that we don’t have to endure the performance and viewing at the same time.

And thus finally a trailer that I created using the new iMovie! This sums up everything that went on in the month of August!

Zombies and me

I have never been a fan of the horror genre. For years, all that it spoke to me…was jumpy scares, cheap tricks, and gore. Growing up, I was horrified by movies like Critters and Chucky (now how did I ever watch those—to this day, I am not sure).

But there was this Chinese Hong Kong movie that my grandmother was watching (back when she was ok living with my parents, possibly to share in child care). There was a guy walking like a zombie…but there was comedy slapstick. I dd not enjoy it all.

But years later, the zombie genre warmed up to me with Shaun of the Dead…then finally 28 Days Later. Then I realized. It’s not about zombies at all. it’s about the people who are dealing with the zombie apocalypse. It’s about THEM. The remaining humans.

A nytimes article put it together nicely:

Zombie love, however, is always communal. If you dig zombies, you dig the entire zombie concept. It’s never personal. You’re interested in what zombies signify, you like the way they move, and you understand what’s required to stop them. And this is a reassuring attraction, because those aspects don’t really shift. They’ve become shared archetypal knowledge.

There’s something so concrete and easy-to-grasp about zombies. Usually, you can outrun them. And it’s an easy shot (if you have the right tools and equipment). You know how they will infect you. And you know how you can hear, smell, spot them. They aren’t mischeievous. They don’t analyze problems and solve them. They cannot communicate (at least in most genres). They are…simple.

But when overwhelmed or being unprepared, that’s when they are dangerous. Sure, zombies may be a metaphor for disease such as AIDS (and it’s just this fear that got me a super-expensive vaccine for yellow fever). But it’s the simple concept coupled with the survival genre that is so intriguing.

In elementary school, I often was the last player on my team to get hit out in dodgeball. I was always that good at hiding and being passive in the background. Unfortunately, I could not throw or hit. To this day, I am always good at dodging balls. And like the previous story of this year’s Journey to the End of the Night, I can out-survive the masses. But in truth, could I survive once I am with others like me?

They never chased me – FINAL

What is this thing that I have been raving about for months? And took so long to write about.

Journey to the End of the Night is a free street game of epic proportion. Players race through the haunted cityscape of San Francisco to a series of checkpoints, while avoiding being caught by chasers. Those who fall will become chasers themselves, rising in undeath to pursue their former friends and allies. No skates, no bikes, no cars, just your feet and public transportation.

Last year over 600 participants showed up at Justin Herman Plaza to experience a sprawling night of costumes, alleys, haunted houses, skeletons, bells, stealth, and signatures.

This year, it was over 1000 participants.

And this is what transpired in summary:


  • Doing the race with a friend dressed as a chicken!
  • Running with Chris
  • Learning to trust nobody and walking in the middle of the street
  • The mad dash from checkpoint #1 to a bus stop on Stockton
  • How I escaped being tagged by being weary and slow, walking on the other side of the street watching Ta-ching and Chris being “accidentally” tagged right at the border of the safe zone at checkpoint #3
  • Long line at checkpoint #3
  • Disappointing experiences at the checkpoints due to the large amount of people
  • Long waits at bus stops at Mission and 16th
  • Realizing that the chasers were not playing fair, not knowing the safe zones and wearing “runners” ribbons as trophies
  • Having to correct chasers multiple times at where the safe zones were located
  • Realizing that Cynthia had been tagged although she kept it hidden for awhile
  • A failed experience at building a “recipe” at Duboce Park
  • The CRAZY chase before checkpoint #6 down Central where we tricked chasers: I hesitated getting off the bus because I was confused as to our strategy and watched Chris & crew bolt for their life. Seeing Ta-ching and others being tagged. I hid behind cars, letting the chaos break up on its on. Then I ran to the checkpoint. Safe.
  • Sadly tripping up the sensors at checkpoint #6
  • Surprisingly meeting with Eric at checkpoint #6 even though he still dressed as a chicken!
  • Diving into a bush at Mason and Fulton thinking that a chaser was going to tag me when it really didn’t matter
  • Being stuck in a bush for several minutes while Chris tried calling me although I was right behind the bus shelter stuck in a bush
  • Running across the street to safe zone of Golden Gate Park
  • Being tagged less than 100 feet from the final checkpoint and having to tell the chaser that I already was in the safe zone
  • Making it to the end with the bestest person EVER!
  • Do people want to know how others really think of them?

    Having had so many experiences, I know that most people do not want to know what others really think about them. As an adult, it’s easier to compromise and accept. In an effort to attain happiness.

    Every so often, it surprises me when a friend asks so bluntly. For the tricky questions that I used to love in college. The questions that would end up into long discussions, hurt feelings, unwanted emotions, insecurity, vulnerability.

    Not many people have thick skin.