Friday, December 2, 2011

Girl crush

Writing this here while swamped at the office so I can remember to follow up on this fragmented thought.

After watching a screening of The Iron Lady last night about the highly polarizing Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, and also from observing constant patterns of snarky girl behavior around me (and within myself), I'm always left to wonder:

Why do women hate each other so much?

I think we have to stop confusing "strong female" with being anti-everything-about-your-gender. Breaking the mold doesn't mean you have to crush it in the process. Chill out, ladies. There's room for everyone here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No I'm not lucky, I'm blessed, yes

I am thankful for so much. (Including out-of-context rap lyrics that serve as appropriate titles to my photo albums and blog posts.) But really, I'm often overwhelmed by how much I've been given in this life that I can barely fathom taking up the task of returning even a fraction of it back. Here's to trying.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


So many people to pray for. Just keep in mind this too, will pass.

"What is to give light must endure the burning." -Viktor Frankl

Friday, October 14, 2011

A list of grievances

Things that have really pissed me off this week:

1) Backlash against the public mourning of Steve Jobs' death - Like, really? He pioneered personal computing and brought the world to our fingertips, making it accessible almost anywhere we go. YA'LL ARE JUST HATIN'. America can't claim dominance in many fields these days, but two resources we've always had in abundance are creativity and entrepreneurship. We thrive on this. And Steve Jobs was both qualities incarnate, leading one of the most innovative companies ever made and retaining the outsider spirit that made him iconic. Can you please give the man who literally changed the way we live more so than any other figure in recent memory some freakin' respect? Sheesh.

2) Dismissive criticism of Occupy Wall Street protestors - Not everyone who's rallying for the wealth disparity in this country to be erased is 'lazy' or 'privileged' or 'whining about problems people in third-world countries would be ecstatic to have.' Some people have done all the right things, worked to the bone, sacrificed any remote luxury and even basic necessities, and still barely scrape by. Look at this. Be moved. Understand.

3) How infuriatingly small hors d'oeuvres are at fancy parties - OK so maybe this says more about me than any perceived fault of the catering service, but if you want to avoid the mass of hungry bodies swiftly pouncing on every defenseless waiter who's holding a tray, I must insist on supersizing that shiz.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Husband-hunting, Part 1

Ever since I left school four months ago, my mom's favorite topics of conversation have narrowed down to two: find a job and find a husband. Now that I'm somewhat inching closer to the first, she's refocused all her efforts to the second. The same person who adamantly insisted that my distraction-addled brain couldn't possibly afford to think about anything else besides getting good grades for the past four years has now morphed into a vocal advocate of my marital fortune. She's also come to terms with, and graciously supported, my "writing aspirations" and is most likely (re: definitely) banking on me marrying rich, if she doesn't want to worry about me contentedly living off cup ramen for the rest of my adulthood. Despite having had relationship-resembling-but-not-really-a-relationship-type-things in the past, I've never brought home anyone to introduce to my family in that implied way and I think that is starting to be cause for concern. Though I've explained to her and my equally worried grandma that "serious" dating is a drag on my life that I don't have the tolerance to deal with right now and that I would only bring home someone who I already knew they'd approve of, their fears remain ever so fervent.

On the other hand, my dad, thankfully, still doesn't seem to consider me as someone who would be remotely interested in the opposite sex and gets extremely uncomfortable whenever my mom starts in on this angle of conversation. Hardly ever at a loss for musing commentary, he falls silent and waits for the moment to pass so we could get back to talking about Obama's reelection odds and the latest Newsweek cover. I'm actually quite scared of the day that I'll have to break it to my dad and say, "Surprise! I'm a girl! With a boyfriend!" More scared for whoever said boyfriend will be who has to face paternal inspection, but I guess meeting the parents is just one of those romantic rites of passage. A necessary evil. An appraisal of goods. A nerve-wracking, ego-crushing, soul-numbing experience. Look forward to it, guys!

A discussion over dinner at Syracuse, when they came to visit for the day:

Mom: So, what kind of qualities do you want in a guy?
Me: Why, are you going to find my husband for me?
Mom: Well, I just want to know in case I meet someone!
Me: Someone without too many emotions or feelings. Smart and responsible, but also playful. Christian, obviously. Good hygiene. Kind of tall.
Mom: So... someone like your dad!
Me: Uh, I guess.. (Dad laughs awkwardly)
Mom: Men like your dad are hard to find though.
Me: Well, I think I just need him to be kind of calm and mellow to balance out my crazy obnoxiousness.
Dad: (emphatically nods) I agree. That should be the first thing you look for.

Don't know if I should be insulted by his immediate (and rare) input, but I'm glad we're on the same page?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Paging Madam Pomfrey

Confession: I still have a debilitating case of Post-Potter Depression. Not even a little bit ashamed.

“After all this time?”


Why yes, I did just use a classic and emotionally charged exchange between two of the main characters in the series to properly reflect my melancholic feelings about being unable to let go.

OK, maybe it’s time to lower my head.

UPDATE: My perpetual adoration of the most hipster house at Hogwarts has finally been validated -- I was sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore (beta). I also apparently brandish a 10 3/4 inch wand made of laurel and phoenix feather.

SUCK IT MONKEYS. Lemon, out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On race and religion

For the first time in a while, I encountered and was incredibly enraged by a racist person tonight.

I don't know if he would describe himself as such, since he was of obviously foreign descent and maybe only yells racial slurs at people he deems to be harmless, in places where he feels safe and justified in his irrational anger.

But how you act and what you say when you're upset is the most telling of one's character and so to me, he is -- to the core -- racist.

Situation: I pulled out of the library and made a sharp left turn on to a local road. It was close and I probably could have waited for his car to pass, but there was still an ample amount of space left between our cars. Suddenly, he zooms up and drives in the opposite lane in order to move in front of me and stops his car (a Mercedes, no less). I give him a long beep from my horn. Instead of continuing forward, he gets out, slams his door, and stalks over to my window. Before I can even lower it, he's fuming.

"I have a 9-month pregnant woman in the car! What the fuck do you think you're doing?! Do you know what you could have done? You people.. you people are fucking insane!"

Ah, "you people." He was clearly delighted that not only could he swing his big metaphorical dick around by posing as this lady's knight in cotton-clad armor, but also that he'd be able to pepper his rant with illogical asides meant to offend my ethnic self.

"If you have a 9-month pregnant person in your car, shouldn't you get going instead of stopping in the middle of a road and coming over to talk to me?" I reply.

He catches himself. Wait, I speak English? Without an accent? And articulate myself better than him?

"Yes, I'm going but I could SUE YOUR ASS. You're lucky I don't call the cops right now because what you did, they would give you BIG TICKET. BIG TICKET!"

He then says some other variations of suing me in increasingly nonsensical terms, because you can apparently sue people now based on hypothetical scenarios where an accident COULD have happened and in which there were no other witnesses present to verify either side's account. In short, he's trying to intimidate me with empty threats.

Blink, blink. "Okay," I say.

I tell him we would not have gotten into an accident. He yells at me some more. I stare. He's almost done with his tirade. Oh, but of course he can't just walk away. No, his inflated sense of self-worth and manhood won't allow him to silently retreat. As he turns from my window, he releases one last blow, a vain attempt to lace his argument with provocation. The one I'd been anticipating, but hoping he wouldn't be so base enough to say: "I see where I'm going, because I don't have small eyesack like you."

That's when I lose it.

I scream. I lean my head out the window, cursing at his back. He doesn't turn around. He has been spewing hateful bullshit at me for the past two minutes, but can't even give that final slight to my face.

He gets in his car and I want to crash into it so badly, want to reach inside and drive my fist to his mouth. Do anything to get the sure-to-be-smug expression off that coward's face. Instead, I speed past him and take deep breaths, try to tell myself that I'm better than that, better than profane thoughts and ad hominem attacks.

But I'm not.

I spend the next ten minutes speeding down the highway, driving the same route twice because I don't know where I'm going, I can't think about anything else except how senseless and stupid everyone is. When the only thing they have left in their arsenal to support a floundering argument is a desperate jab at someone's appearance. Real classy stuff.

I'm not going to lie -- I've made sweeping racial generalizations and said impulsive, superficial comments about people to hit them hard. It's easy. It rolls off the tongue. Anyone can look at someone and say the first judgmental thing that comes to mind. Especially when you're angry and especially when you can later attribute such casual cruelty to "the heat of the moment." That's not really who I am, you say. That person had it coming, others tell you.

Who's going to stop this cycle of hatred, then? If the users continue using it and the victims retaliate by lashing out at the user and to future offenders too, how does any sort of acceptance occur? Let alone, dare I say it, love? Speaking as a Christian, one of the hardest things to follow and implement is the commandment to love your enemies. Loving people who love you is expected. Enemies are different -- they should be crushed. Primally, it's self-preservation and logically, it's only fair. An eye for an eye is justice in its purest form.

Jesus didn't preach justice, though. He preached mercy and compassion. He preached forgiveness. The man who endured not only verbal spite but also repeated physical violence that culminated in his hanging above a jeering crowd for three days -- that man went to his death asking for God to forgive the very people who hammered the nails into his bloodied limbs. How can anyone do that? It's completely irrational. Out of his mind, some would say. Our culture thrives on comeuppance, on perpetrators getting what they deserve. When the underdog shoots the fatal bullet at his foe, we cheer him on and celebrate his rightful vengeance.

But that's why Christianity is different. That's why it's irrational. That's why it doesn't make sense in society. And that's why it takes a great leap of faith to believe it's true, and your efforts to make peace and reconciliation aren't for nothing. It accepts hypocrites like me who have been negatively affected by others (as you can clearly tell by the bitter tone of this entry) and impresses upon us to stop and reconsider what we think and ultimately say.

So at the very least, I forgive this man and the other racists that I'm bound to come across both personally and through other people. I ask for forgiveness for my own bubbling loathing of him and hope that I can reach a point where I won't have to exercise restraint on my hostility and can be naturally imperturbable. (Unlikely, but who knows?) And I pray to not be tempted into acting the same way he did to either stranger or friend. Whether you're a believer or not, I think we can all agree that racism is divisive and unproductive, and reveals the inhumanity of those who enable it. Trust me, racists don't need our help in looking utterly ridiculous when they do such a standup job of it themselves.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The upside of hurricanes

So unless you live several feet beneath the earth under a teetering pile of heavy rocks (to which I say, I'm sorry and you better GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!) or haven't encountered any form of media or other human beings in the past 48 hours, here is your delayed newsflash (although if you're reading this blog over checking the news or looking outside your window, you need to reset your priorities): there was a hurricane this weekend. You're welcome.

Not only was there a hurricane, but it was apparently supposed to bring the apocalypse along with it. Fun!!! Or at least that's what you'd think from all the coverage this Irene character had been getting. I'll be settling down with a good book to read by candlelight once this hullabaloo has passed.. IF I LIVE.

My parents were supposed to get on a flight to Korea last night, but it got delayed until Wednesday. My dad's taking his sabbatical for 10 months over there, doing research with companies, teaching at the university, and generally embracing his full-fledged nerdiness. My mom is going for a couple of weeks to help him move in and make sure his apartment is stocked with more than just ramen packets and peanut butter (left to his own defenses, my dad would have the eating standards of a college frat boy).

So rather than spend the weekend getting ready to leave and wrapping up last-minute errands, my mom closed her store early due to the 'inclement weather' and came home while my dad had a teleconference with his colleagues to tell them about his updated travel plans. This resulted in all five members of my family (including my sister, who came to visit) being in the house together on a Saturday with virtually no plans of leaving it for the first time in a while. Our power was still on but we were anticipating losing it as we listlessly roamed around the house, looking out the window every five minutes to gauge the level of our impending doom. The only foray I made outside was with my sister to get ice cream from the nearby Baskin Robbins -- a must-have commodity during any natural disaster, really.

After we got back, all of us sat down in the kitchen while my grandma placed a steaming hot bowl of spicy broth in the middle. We slowly devoured it, intermittently chatting about the storm-hype, our relatives' health, and (nerd alert!) the efficiency of LED light bulbs. We dug into one of the two quarts of ice cream purchased and let ourselves happily languish around the table. No time-checks, no gotta-go's. We eventually migrated to the living room, where we watched the ongoing news reports of storm preparation and heard the raindrops begin to patter on the roof.

We lost power the next morning and the walls of our house gradually went from a chipper white to ashy gray, then became blanketed in black. As soon as we realized that our lights weren't turning on, my sister and I stared wide-eyed at each other and yelped, "THE ICE CREAM!!!" Racing downstairs, we rapidly distributed bowls to everyone and demanded that they keep scooping before the jamoca almond fudge devolved into a puddle of brownish goop (and THAT'S the proper word usage, Gwyneth). We managed to go pick up a large pizza pie amidst the road detours and brought it back home to have our second meal together this weekend.

I stepped out to go study at a friend's, my last familiar bastion of electricity left in town. Six hours later, I drove home through deserted streets devoid of working street lamps or traffic lights -- the scene, by all means, looked like the eve of a zombie outbreak. Driving past those dark houses was eerie but kind of nice, knowing that the families inside were hunkering down, getting ready to do nothing but sleep. Solidarity, I say! I got home, joined my own, and waited for the storm to pass. Just like everyone else.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The final countdown (cue dramatics)

Way back in September, my freshman-year RA (holla holla, Rachel Fus!) sent me and all my former floormates a guide to having a highly productive and memorable senior year. I remember wanting to print out the whole thing and tack it to my wall because when something's not in my immediate vision, I tend to forget it exists. Lo and behold, my brain dispelled the information a week later and allowed the incredibly thoughtful message to be sucked into the black hole that is my Facebook inbox. Luckily, I was reminded this week by a friend of all the awesome and useful tips that Rachel had gone to great lengths to give us, her Brockway babies, and I anxiously went to retrieve them. Her advice spanned four categories: social, academic, prep for the future, and graduation. I'm going to copy-paste the "social" part here so I'll have it on hand to check things off of and hopefully anyone who stumbles upon this won't despair for the seemingly-void-of-culture-and-life that Syracuse is sometimes (unjustly!) misunderstood to be. I'm even willing to sacrifice a most sacred activity in my life -- deep, precious sleep -- to fulfill a majority of these before I graduate. That's dedication, ya'll.

"Take a minute to reflect on your last three years at SU. What were you thinking that first day when you walked in the B*Rock? What were expectations? What were goals? What have you loved doing?

You’ve got one year left, I’m betting you’ve still got a lot of things you want to accomplish. Keep track. Make a bucket list (if only because it’s SO much fun to check off those little boxes) Here are a few suggestions:

  • • Go to Senior Sunday at Faegan’s (especially the last one)
  • • Commit to finishing beer tour early in the year
  • • Go to sh*t (you think you’ll have insane lecturers and free concerts and expensive art galleries at your fingertips next year – yeah, try again)
  • • Eat the free apps at Rachel’s (in the Sheraton) at Friday Happy Hour
  • • Learn the Alma Mater
  • • Belt it out at Singers karaoke night
  • • Ride the mechanical bull at Daisy Dukes
  • • Go to the New York State fair for all the agriculture/livestock/funnel-cake kitschy good times you could ask for (also, rockin’ concerts!)
  • • Take advantage of the trips to lake placid and white water rafting, you’ll never be able to do them again for so cheap & with a chauffeur
  • • Dinosaur BBQ (need I say more)
  • • Go on the best Spring Break you can afford (unless you’re becoming a teacher, you’ll never get “spring break” again)
  • • Document the year: take pictures, start a journal ( I have a collection of tickets and programs, etc spanning back to my first day. I doubt anyone is as much of a pack rat as me but I love looking back at it)
  • • Play golf or tennis at Drumlins (it’s free!)
  • • Eat some tasty food during Restaurant Week
  • • Explore the Wescott neighborhood east of campus, Armory and Clinton Squares downtown, or, if it’s your thing, the Everson Museum of Art.
  • •See the shows: Danceworks, A Capella After Hours, First Year Players
  • host a party! (your friends will thank you)
  • • Take a fun elective like Human Sex or Beer & Wine Appreciation
  • • Show Jimmy Boeheim your appreciation
  • • Go to a lacrosse game (we hold the record for most National Championships)
  • • Play in the snow (snow football, sledding on dinging hall trays, build a snowman – odds are you won’t have this much snow in your front yard ever again)
  • • There’s a whole big world outside of campus. See some of it:
  • • Smell the roses in Thorden Park (just don’t do it after dark)
  • • Get a slice at Cosmo’s when you’re heading home after the bars
  • • Treat yourself to a leisurely brunch at the All-Night Eggplant (which is neither open all night nor does it serve eggplant, go figure) off Erie."
Time to get crackin' -- let's make it worthwhile?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Anatomy of a coffee shop

I took this photo this weekend at 2nd Story on Westcott Street, where my roommate and I lounged around in slow-motion for four hours. (Though we carried our conversation itself in rapid-fire fashion and earned some reproachful glances from the silent patrons around us.) I've decided that I'm going to build a cafe for my own personal use adjacent to my future house. Impractical? Perhaps. Necessary? Definitely not. Still going to exert valuable brainpower in imagining its floor plan and furniture and extensive pastry selection? Fo'shiz.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The great escape

To remedy my extremely sporadic updating behavior, I'm going to start writing about things that happen during my day, whether they be trivial or earth-shattering (don't expect much of the second). Best wishes to me!

I've been wanting to enroll in an introductory Economics course during my past three years in college but never had room in my schedule to do so, unless I wanted to wake up for a 9:30 a.m. section on Fridays (the thought of which, though obviously thrilling, made me want to carve an imprint of my body in my mattress and burrow among the bits of cotton inside to only emerge for mealtime). I also heard the class involved unnecessary amounts of work and commitment, two items not at the top of the list of Things I Excel At. During the last ten minutes of my registration appointment, however, I found an ECN 203 lecture that only met twice a week during reasonable hours and, from what I heard from a friend in the class, was taught by a harmless, easygoing professor. I happily enrolled.

Now, let me share a little bit about aforementioned friend. Her name is Jaehee, and she is crazy. Not in a would-plead-insanity-in-court kind of crazy (though I wouldn't put it past her), but the more charmingly unfiltered, fearless type who still warrants a raised eyebrow and "WTF?" in her direction every so often. I attended my first class and since the course had started a week earlier, tried to see how I could catch up on the material. I quickly figured out that this wouldn't be happening. Why? There wasn't enough material to actually be caught up on because a) this professor was asked last-minute to teach the course and didn't have a proper schedule of content we'd be covering and b) he spoke with a thick foreign accent that brought the already incomprehensible economic jargon to new heights of incomprehensibility. Oh, and he also insisted on writing notes on a chalkboard and removing his ashy scribbles with an eraser that left behind large white traces, rendering any future written information totally unreadable.

Overall though, he was a well-meaning guy who was just hopelessly ill-prepared to teach this course. And he didn't take attendance, so.. you know how that goes. I was all set to skip today's class to finish up some work for the one I had afterwards, but I ran into Jaehee during a snack break (something we both often indulge in) and through her powers of coercion and deceptive physical strength, was dragged to class with her. After about 15 minutes into lecture though, we determined that we would most assuredly not be learning anything for the next 65 and considered how we could exit without making a scene. Other students got up and left periodically but we had stupidly chosen seats smack dab in the middle of a row near the back of the lecture hall. This conversation ensued:

J: Next time he turns around, we're just going to climb over these seats and RUN FOR IT!!!
Me: ...Okay.

We threw our bags behind our seats to prepare for the getaway and scanned the premises to see how it could be accomplished. We would only have to scale two rows to get to the door and though we'd probably attract puzzled glances from people sitting nearby, it was expected par for the course. After several false starts, where we would try to get up only to immediately sit back down when the professor turned our way, Jaehee, frustrated, took it upon herself to lead the charge and announced, "Let's just leave now!" She then promptly stood up and scrambled over the seats, but in the process, caught her foot on an armrest and knocked it on the metal back of a seat which just so happened to produce a very loud, reverberating sound plainly heard around the room. Heads quickly turned and people started laughing once they recognized that the strange brown-haired figure doing parkour in the back was obviously someone trying to leave undetected. That someone had failed. Miserably.

At this point, I had sunk down in my seat with palm to face, hoping that God would finally grant me the ability to magically transport myself out of awkward situations so that I wouldn't have to get up and identify myself as The Other Asian Girl once we were inevitably reported for public disturbance to the Economics department. I had no choice though, since my bag was already on the other side and I knew Jaehee would be waiting for me to come out. (By now, she was already out the door as she figured it would be better to act as if stumbling on an armrest and straddling chairs to leave a class was completely acceptable behavior and continued to exit.) Thus began the most excruciating seven seconds of my life, as I mumbled sheepish apologies to the guys sitting behind me while weaving between their legs to walk out in a somewhat civilized manner. (I decided that after what just took place, following Jaehee's example of resembling a spider monkey breaking out of federal prison would not be the best form of departure.)

When I burst through the double doors into the building's atrium outside, I found Jaehee curled up in stitches on the floor, in tears while laughing at possibly the worst and most harebrained attempt ever made to leave any sort of formal function. And so ends my short-lived career as a curious Econ-course taker. But my new life as a professional escape artist? Effective immediately.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Musing of the day

Why is it that the people who think they're complicated always turn out to be the most predictable?