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.

Top 10 Defining Songs of the 2000s


The one common language.

They often say that to aliens, music sounds like a way of putting sounds together. Why, they would ask. What evolutionary purpose? Pleasure perhaps, their scientists say. But we don’t croon songs to each other to find mates (especially those tone-deaf of us like me). And yet to me, it’s sticky.

In high school, I didn’t know what music was. Having grown up with KOIT 96.5, I only know soft sounds. Contemporary music. And pop music. Then shamefully, boy bands. Only in college did I start building a music taste—first it was techno, then emo, then finally indie twee pop. And with music, I often was enamored by the lyrics. As I started blogging and journaling, the lyrics would say what I couldn’t say.

This list may not represent the music I recommend, but it represents the influencers. Whether it’s shamelessly bad. Or just shamelessly good. These were the songs through lyrics and tones…that influenced some of the things I have done in the past 10 years.

10. Metric – Combat Baby

When I first saw Emily Haines on stage at Riottt in 2006, I knew.

9. Rikki – Suteki Da Ne (Isn’t it wonderful?)

This was the reason I was obsessed with Final Fantasy in college. But I never even played the game. I loved the visuals. And the music even though I spent hours upon hours searching for translation. Back then, the videos were passed around like jokes and this was one I kept.

8. 2gether = U + Me = Calculus

This is how I learned what a parody was. Although I loved the idea of the cute one. He passed away 2 years later.

7. Jimmy Eat World – Lucky Denver Mint

Jimmy Eat World was an excuse for me to enter the world of indie rock. A boy of course was the impetus. Did I even like J.E.W.? I don’t know, but I saw them twice in concert.

6. New Order – Bizzare Love Triangle

I know, not a band of the 2000s. But it was a song that defined moments. I chose it as karaoke so often. It is about a tryst. It is about a triangle. And if I get married, this will be somehow interwoven in.

5. Tai Mai Shu – Freestyle

My sister memorized the words and could recite them in a moment’s notice. I didn’t know what it was back then, but it was my first exposure to a viral video.

4. ‘Po Girl – Long Way Home
Listening to them was a way that inspired my writing. Especially inspiring my lacking lyric writing. I can’t make things rhyme.

3. Kiss – Because I am girl

One of the first songs on my blog

2. Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

1. Muse – Starlight

Honorary Mention: Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead

10 years ago and then 10 years later

10 years ago…
It was December 31, 1999.

I was still in high school at Acalanes, only halfway through my senior year. That year, I suddenly realized that everything was going to be different…for the better. I had hope.

It was before I decided that I wanted to record everything. Back then, I shunned the idea of a diary.

I was sheltered. Only recently had I began meeting people online. I made one single friend that I actually intrinsically valued. I didn’t understand drugs, alcohol or music.

I thought I was going to be a computer scientist and make a lot of money. Even though I wanted to be a writer. I had applied to only four colleges: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD and UC Davis. Despite pretty good grades and “above average” SAT scores…and an incredibly reflective essay, I didn’t think of applying to private colleges knowing that no teachers would recommend this shy, quiet, nearly mute girl.

On that night, my sister and I were downstairs watching the countdown on MTV. Sure, it was 3 hours behind, but that day I learned what the top 100 music videos of the 90s were. I don’t remember the top music video, but all I knew when it counted down…the 2000s were supposed to be better.

10 years later…

I have lived in San Francisco for three years and am working as an user experience designer since 2006. Some say it’s a highly coveted field. I have my bachelors from Berkeley and a masters from Carnegie Mellon.

I record everything and am a fan of social media. Shamelessly, I almost use every social network out there. I have a blog and am thinking of starting a few more.

I know a lot of people in San Francisco, particularly those in design or are hipsters. And I know more people IRL than I know online than in the middle of the 2000s. I understand my goals now. I understand what I don’t like. And it’s getting easier to deal with those quandaries that come up everyday.

I am working today and tomorrow. My coworker told me that I was Miss Popular when she asked me what I was doing tonight. Party-hopping, I said. I am heading to three parties, not because I will get bored. But because I don’t want to miss the opportunity of meeting new people.

There’s something about the next 10 years that is exciting. Having settled into work life, I am suddenly now at an impasse. I am looking for a change. To reinvent myself. To find happiness.