Reverb 10: Action

December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

Next step.

Harness creativity and make it happen.

I used to say that I enjoyed doing design…the kind of design that I do for products. The kind where the design is so integrated and seamless that it’s barely noticeable.

Although the world has changed with the use of the iPhone, design changes people slowly. Behavior perhaps. It may solves problems.

But the thing I wanted to strive for—to think about the world differently, to change beliefs…design almost isn’t enough.

And so this is my next step: to do something where I can do that.

Reverb 10: 11 Things

December 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. Fees
Ticketmaster fees. Bank fees. ATM fees. Shipping. I will go to whatever lengths to avoid these. Whether it’s to buy directly from the ticketholder. Switch banks. etc.
Expectation: Save money

2. Plaque
I will floss better. I swear.
Expectation: Teeth health

3. Aches
Most likely caused by not so great posture at the computer. Lack of frequent exercise. Thus, will try to find ways to building muscle strength and reduce positions that may cause aches.
Expectation: Feel better

4. Envy
Build something that I can be proud of. The portfolio. The blog. The side project. Actually finish.
Expectation: No envy!

5. More tsotchkes
Don’t take stuff because it’s free. Give it away. Really.
Expectation: More space

6. More scratches and dents on the car
Actually learn how to back up properly. How does the steering wheel actually work? That’s something that I need to know.
Expectation: Clean car!

7. Uncertainty
Make it more concrete. Demand it so.
Expectation: Certainty

8. Social anxiety in unneeded places
Not quite sure how to achieve this since I have failed every time. But to take it slowly and truly believe in myself.
Expectation: Everything will be open!

9. Awkward conversations
I wonder if the more that I realize that something is awkward, the more awkward it would be? If I believe that it isn’t and believe it so…would it be less awkward? I had one too many awkward moments this year. So I look forward to have less…or even better, none.
Expectation: Greatness in every way

10. Allergies
Feeling like I want to die with tears falling my face? Certainly not. I should be more diligent with the nasal spray. And cleaning. This is the first year that I have less full-blown days during December without allergies. It’s a miracle!
Expectation: Open!

11. Poor health
I hope that good health will be with everyone close to me. I always wondered if that’s the best wish of all.
Expectation: Good health for all!

Reverb 10: Wisdom

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Choices are hard. There are the choices to attend events, to talk to someone, to return an email, to leave conversations.

And yet what was the wisest decision? There are many choices that I made that led to many other choices that led to many things and other decisions.

Could it be any of these?

1. When I decided to follow up on a lunch offer which resulted in a good friendship

2. When I decided to invite random people to a spontaneous dinner party

3. When I said no more

4. When I attended a happy hour far in the east bay

5. When I decided that I would have a car in San Francisco

6. When I decided to go with my current roommate than wait for other potential candidates

7. When I contacted someone via twitter that led to something bigger

Who knows, because the results haven’t completely played out. Yet.

Reverb 10: Party

December 9 – Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Not my birthday, but Chris’ birthday party!

At 29, he can still blow out candles!

People: his friends
Music: why needed when there’s video games being played!
Food: Anything that can be fried. That means ANYTHING!
Drink: Lots of sparkling stuff from Sodastream!
Clothing: Things that are willing to smell liked fried foods.
Sheneigans: Unique ideas to be fried like…”Coke”, sweet potato, raw chicken, calamari, twinkie, ho hos, already fried stuff!

Reverb 10: Beautifully different

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful

When I was 13, I was not shy about meeting people online (unlike IRL). I talked to everyone from people younger than me to people who were older than me. Back then, there was no sense of danger…but I found talking to older people to be boring. In some way, I always thought that I was superior—I was someone who could string words together and naturally questioned everything.

There was a thirty-something male that said, “Your words are lyrical.”

I didn’t know whether it was intended to “flirtatious”, but I interpreted it that my skills were stronger than his.

For years afterwards, I wondered why my words pulled people in. In college, there were people who became entranced with my writing. What was it? It was not my appearance. I showed people my blog/journal and they would read it incessantly. What was it?

Was it my naive observations? Or the innocent projections that I had in the world?

About 5 years ago, I started on a small project as an anonymous blogger. It was here that I threw in my deeper observations—the observations that I could write about without an impact on my everyday life. It was here that I wrote about pain, suffering, disappointment, and hope. I wrote purely about my own perspective and laid it out in words. I was surprised that I gathered so many followers, who followed my “lyrical poetry”.

Was it because I was unafraid of expressing myself? In my candid way?

During the last week of undergrad in spring finals week, I ran into someone I knew as we had exited the library. Jason. He and I had a huge falling out right after freshman year. We made small talk as we slowly walked in the same direction toward our apartments. I said things my usual way, questioning and prodding. As we walked, I could see him smiling in the dark, shadowed by the street lights. I asked why…why me, why are you still speaking to me, after I had treated him so badly before.

He said, You’re—you’re—. And he paused, trying to find the right words, just…different.

Reverb 10: Community

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

There’s the digital communities. The likes of Foursquare, Twitter, and Foodspotting.

But in the year of 2010, it was the community of food. I had partially discovered it in 2009 when my fascination in making food from Thailand and street food started. But 2010 was when it really started.

It was partly my joining of Foodspotting and the Big Eat 100 of San Francisco.

Angels on Horseback at Anchor and Hope

My constant attendance at the SF Food Wars.


And my creative creations from using leftover Christmas cookies….


…to creepy zombie creations.

Meat heads are tasty

And of course, street food.



In creating all of this, I met food bloggers. I got to know some of the street food people. It was so brand new and intimidating. But I was a eater and I was granted permission to indulge.

As for community, now that I have glimpsed from the outside, I wanted to get a chance to glimpse it from the inside looking in. Now I want to be a part of it.

Reverb 10: Make

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

Beyond work and career-related things, it was a holiday greeting card of Chris and me.

In preparation for a friend’s ugly sweater party on Saturday, I had researched what was generally considered a ugly sweater. In doing so, I ran into many “awkward” Christmas family photos.

Suddenly inspired, I thought…well WHY NOT.

I asked Joe whether I could borrow Jem and prepped. But then suddenly at the party, I mentioned my idea to my friend and she immediately suggested that we take the PHOTO in front of her christmas tree. Chris and I made our pose.

Then the following day, our friend sent us the photos. I took the photo and applied several effects—soft focus, brightly colored frame, holiday decoration, and an appropriate text message.

And now I am in the process of writing another accompanying message. To APPEAR soon on your screen!

Reverb 10: Let Go

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

Marina. The second one.

When I had first met her, she was different. Unlike many of my friends, she did not go to college and never graduated from high school. She was rarely interested in intellectual discourse. She was a big spender. She drank almost without apology. She was living paycheck to paycheck. She worked a menial job or was jobless. She almost never said no. She grew up in San Francisco, raised in the Mission district. She had a 6 year old son who she saw only every other week or less. She was dependable.

We had bonded because of someone we knew mutually. That friend broke ties with me because I had chosen to be friends with her. But at the time, it did not matter. I went with what seemed best, easy, and friendly. We had the same music taste. We were born in the same year.

But the splintering began as time passed. Although I would like to believe that there are no class differences in the US, there are. Expectations were different in my social circle. I was more comfortable with low-key activities…and had gotten slightly yuppie over the years. Money was not supposed to be a primary issue.

As a Christmas present last year, I told her bluntly that I would help her get her high school diploma. Whatever it took, I had said. I researched tutors. She had started studying the GED books in the library. I called a few tutors and interviewed them. Then I talked with her about the process—what it would take—the sessions she would attend. I said that I would pay for them—over $300 in goodwill and possibly more. And it wasn’t that I was trying to be a saint, I really did want to sincerely help…and in some way, help her decrease her complaints of not finding a job and being fired frequently. But when I told her what she needed to do, she immediately dropped it. And over time, I just decided to drop it too. The day that she read my Christmas present, she said nothing and closed the card. It was the last time that we spoke of my attempt to help her.

As the year wore on, I started to feel like I was being used. I was asked by her for everything. How to submit the passport application. How to apply for so-and-so. Easy things. Things that I obviously didn’t know. Granted, I was being snotty. But it wasn’t in me to be the know it all, I wanted to compel her to figure out things on her own. Inspire. But I was too selfish all the same.

One day, it ended. I remember what she said, “Friends help each other.” I didn’t see her helping me. Name the last time that you helped me I shot back and there was only silence.

Or did she? To know someone who was outside my comfort zone?

In my birthday card of last May a few weeks before the above conversation, she had apologized for being distant as of lately. She had considered me a close friend and regretted not seeing me more. It was a $5 pop-up card of a gumball machine. She knew that I had love for sweets.