California Coastal Cleanup 2008

For whatever reason, I loved participated in cleanups. It wasn’t just cleaning up…but I always knew that my (generous) volunteering was often rewarded with foods and gifts. I remember as a kid I would clean up Berkeley Aquatic Park annually. I always hoped to find needles, but instead I always found stinky empty plastic bags.

So of course in my altruistic spirit, I persuaded my partner in crime to participate in the California Coastal Cleanup Day. Bright and early, we headed down to a nearby reservoir where a large group was dispersed over the park.

Let’s go to the most remote area, I said!

I had a few objectives:

  • find a dead body
  • pick up as much trash as possible (and beating that family of giddy preteens)
  • hunt in an undeveloped area
  • eat as much as possible from the thank you lunch
  • And I accomplished all four goals plus: leaving with 100+ mini-burrs on my pants (which I picked out individually for an hour), a sore leg from falling and sliding two feet on a dirt hill, finding not one but two dead bodies (*cough* bodies with feathers), finding a car bumper, accumulating bottles/cans all the way from the 70s until the present, 10 rusted metal rings, stinky empty plastic bags, a tire that we could not pull out of the ground, Whole Foods paraphernalia, a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant and full stomachs.

    Ok and a selfless moment.

    It's a front bumper!

    The final results

    A solitary weekend

    Typically, I spend the entire weekend with my partner in crime, but this weekend, the partner was off attending to “matters of importance”.

    So in effect, I did the following to keep the mind nimble, the fingers quick, the consciousness occupied, and worries sedated:

  • participated in planning a reunion—almost five months in advance
  • picked up animal crossing doll
  • eat froyo
  • failed attempt to visit California Academy of Sciences on opening day
  • get lost going to Stern Grove
  • dizzy frustrating getting lost trip on highway 1 and the 280
  • picked up only a small bag of dried apricots at the Alemany Farmer’s Market
  • took parents to Hard Knox Cafe to experience soul food
  • visiting Dolores park for the (uninteresting) indie arts festival
  • watching Circus Bella push huge cylinders of water over (at first, i thought they were causing trouble and nearly went over to push the cylinders of water back up
  • explored clothing and book stores
  • went to the Greek Festival but decided that the fee wasn’t worth it
  • wandered in several home decor stores

  • bought three nectarines, a strawberry basket and a head of lettuce
  • finished writing persona-based scenarios
  • replied to urgent emails
  • ate pork and beans
  • eat dim sum
  • fix grandmother’s digital antenna and VHS player
  • went to SF Comedy Day
  • unimpressed with the lineup
  • tea at Samovars!
  • tidy up and clean room
  • I am picking up something, he said

    We were running late. He called the guy and asked when was the latest he could come by.

    “10:30 pm,” he told me when he hung up the phone. I prodded him for what he was getting. He just replied, “Wheeling and dealing.”

    I assumed it was another trade for something useless for something useful. One’s man trash is another man’s treasure.

    At 10:10 pm we were talking to the optometrist about Clear Optometry. He showed me his watch, tapping its face. I awkwardly made our exit and we rushed to the car.

    On the way, he made a call apologizing for the delay, saying he would be there in 10 minutes. I helped him with the directions, specifying the turns and the exits. And we were there in 10 minutes. He pulled into a spot. Locked the door while I patiently waited. The neighborhood had graffiti on the walls. But it looked like to be luxury condominium type place.

    The feeling almost felt similar when we went to a sketchy part of turn to get his phone unlocked where the guy had invited him inside the house. So I cowered down slightly in the car, glancing in the rearview mirrors.

    I saw him standing in front of a brightly lit new-ish building. A figure stepped out and they shook hands. He got something. They seemed to exchange small talk. A small wave and that was it.

    He returned, unlocking the car and tossed something into my lap.


    It’s almost how I looked like in the game!

    Things that I want to do that is out of character

    Several years ago, someone asked me as I was sitting alone at a party whether I liked to read. Not wanting to pigeon-holed, I immediately responded, “No!”

    But it did match with my character of what people knew. Yet one day I want to (or have the desire to)…

  • Take a flying trapeze class
  • Be a food champion
  • Be on reality show (ok just kidding)
  • Teach
  • Be a lawyer
  • Manage people
  • Be a movie director
  • Banishing the awkwardness

    “And so she…” I would tell the story almost haltingly, but not as fluid as I could in writing. “And then she sent it off…”

    People would laugh, but would they laugh out of politeness or because it was really funny? After thinking of the thousand avenues I could take, I decided to take an improv class starting tomorrow to improve my outward communication.

    Strangely enough, I tested as a “PERFORMER” in a popular personality test. I do like being the center of attention, entertaining people. And it’s true, I can be with the right set of people. I do dominate sometimes with an aura.

    But most of the time, in the company of strangers, I become quite the opposite—the wallflower. Even though instances, I dream of breaking out. Sometimes I do…when I feel a lot of positive energy growing in the room usually with the presence of alcohol. I may be the first one to dance. The first one to sing loudly and obnoxiously on the karaoke system. I have.

    Last year during this time, I started writing my own comedy routine, wondering if I could make it to an open mic night. It veered left field out of my usual personality, but not only did I want to surprise people, I wanted to prove it to myself. I thought a lot of great jokes—but couldn’t think of the right delivery. An ex-boyfriend once said that I was one of the funniest people he knew. Other people have said that I have this mysterious aura, an allure of lyrical words…

    I just hope I can vocalize it all.

    I have dreamed about being a musician, a dancer, a comedian. It’s definitely not a dream job, but I want to do it once.

    And so improv. Plus I want to have witty comebacks to pushy salesmen.

    I can only hope one day to be as uncompromising as you.

    Look in the dictionary under the word intangible and you know what you’ll find? The definition of intangible, which is Chris. (lol, neat little movie reference, heh)

    Chris is so unpredictable, so unbelievable, so remarkable, that he simply defies convention no matter how well you think you know him. He literally does it all, anything and everything, and yet never fails to be unassuming and unpretentious throughout it all. There are very few people who would say they’d jump off a bridge for a friend, but Chris is the only one i know who has actually done it!

    How many guys do you know who’ll sweep a stranger off her feet and into a tango at a school function? Or dedicate a chapter to you in a book he has written? Or fight off an armed robber with his bare hands? Or give a toast as a gentleman of honor at your wedding? Or geez, even arrange a personal around the world trip on his own dime??? *huffpuff*

    I first read the Friendster testimonal 2.5 years ago, automatically recoiling in mixture of awe and anguish. It sounded genuine, true and honest. Even with all the embellishments, I remember thinking how could I…of all people…be the one.

    I am happy and proud to be with someone who can change lives like that. And is admired.

    From 5th/Mission to 2nd/King

    I was rushing. Having not checked my email all day, I realized the meeting was at 6 pm. But I had to finish the last parts of my project. Okay, quick, send it out. I pressed send and spun in my chair. Bathroom.

    Grabbing my stuff, I pattered down to the stairs. The elevator was broken. I let myself run down free…with slight caution. I was afraid of falling.

    It was already 6:10 pm. I decided that I would just get there and deal my indecision of attending later.

    On the way, I made two phone calls. A followup to Noah. He didn’t pick up. I breathlessly left a message. Then another to my sister. I set my phone to silent, not wanting it to bother me.

    Passing by 5th street, I hesitated. I could just go home…I wouldn’t make it on time anyway. Nobody would miss me.

    But I already planned to attend. And so I walked briskly down Mission, then down 3rd.

    I saw knots of people unfurling, spilling out of buildings in waves. Then the small trickle that followed. The ones that came from small companies—small droplets rolling up to Market to catch the bus, the trolley, the train home.

    I arrived, the building with huge glass windows. One inside with huge tvs meant to showcase the dynamism…the speed…there were so many people chattering inside.

    The webpage said they were on the 4th floor. I hesitated, walking around in a circle. It was 6:45 pm. Now or never. I glanced at the nearby light rail. The AT&T Park. Nobody will notice if I walked and got on the train, whisking me back to my former destiny. I will be an ant like all the ants.


    And so I forced myself to call. “Yes I am here for the meeting. I am downstairs. Sorry I am so late, I hope it’s not over yet.”

    A few moments later, I gave a sheepish smile sitting down in the glass conference room with all unfamiliar faces. I took a breath and settled in.

    Then I mistakeningly said…FREE LUNCH!

    Yesterday at work, I realized that there was going to be a Brown Bag. Meaning there was going to be lunch provided. Having my prepared salad, I shoved in the work fridge trying to adjust all the random containers in there.

    In haste, a round container with an unsecured top fell. It fell, spilling its contents all over the floor. I panicked. But then I hesitated, thinking sure the lasagna is still good. Five second rule all over the hardwood floor of the design studio.

    But the reasonable person principle came back to play. What would a reasonable person do? Giving a small sigh, I scooped it back into the container and dropped it into the garbage. The IT guy came over and got a glass from the cabinet. I stepped aside from him, wondering if he noticed. He bumbly said hello and I said hello back. When he left, I grabbed a paper towel and wiped the reminder of lasagna from the ground and fridge, trying to cover my tracks.

    I teetered a bit in the kitchen and made sure there was no bits.

    I sighed, realizing what a reasonble person would do.

    In an email, I drafted to the san francisco office, “Sorry to whoever had lasagna for lunch. I accidentally knocked it over, spilled its contents on the floor. It was in a circular black unlabeled container. I’ll buy you lunch!”

    Holding my breath, I clicked send.

    For the rest of the day (with an exception of one person whose lunch it really was), I got requests to buy someone lunch. From people whose grandmothers sent lasagna from Italy to people’s imaginary wives made them lasagna.

    Fortunately, I know who never brings lunch to work.

    I need my coffee, they say

    “Oh we don’t drink coffee,” my dad must have said to my cousins who were staying at my parents’ house a few years ago.

    A hunger grew in their eyes and they took the rental car to the downtown of the suburb. Fortunately for them, Starbucks had already spread to every block in the suburb. But they’re Asian. Every morning it was a constant search for the black warm liquid. They’re not white like a coworker of mine who presents a new organic coffee bean every other week at work. Spamming the entire company, he shakes the bags of coffee beans in triumph. Coffee.

    I don’t need coffee. In fact, I often roll out of bed to whatever I am doing that day. I usually hunt for orange juice at work, but if there’s none, I would settle for a banana. Then the day begins.

    But what would happen if I started taking showers in the morning? Like every other white person I know. Is hot water on my face not enough than the buzz from the ugly dark liquid in a Styrofoam cup?

    Purposefully decentralize yourself

    She had an unique name and I was curious. Besides, she wasn’t romantic interest nor was she even a friend. With recent drama (that’s none of my business), I had to know.

    I proceeded to google her. I found her blog easily. Her linkedin. Her portfolio. Her flickr feed.

    Then…her twitter feed. I couldn’t help looking through several pages.

    I deduced certain facts. There were stories hidden in the small tweets. Small comments alluding to something bigger. Comments about what she was doing and who she was with. Then I found myself in summize wondering what conversations she was having. Links scattered in her twitter to other parts of her life. It was a free conversation describing inner thoughts and future plans.

    But wait. I don’t really know her. I have been seen her 3 times barely for a minute each time—usually accompanied with slightly awkward hellos and goodbyes. Her high heels are more recognizable then her face. She had become a mysterious celebrity. Overnight.

    Note to self: work on purposefully decentralizing self in all social networks.