Like mother, like daughter

March 31st, 2010

I’m back in socal cleaning out my mother’s house. It’s an endless chore and I make slow progress. What’s been interesting to me lately is discovering how some of my behaviors are inherited from my mother even though I might have never known they were her behaviors (or at least not consciously been aware of knowing). For example: saving receipts. Like every single receipt for everything, and organized by year. I’ve decided finally to start shredding old receipts — anything not from the current year — but apparently my mother didn’t own a shredder. I’ve found 20 year old receipts. In fact, lots of other 20 year old documents. And receipts and documents for all the years since then too.

I found this binder the other day full of magazine and newspaper clippings. Which is a new habit of mine — instead of keeping whole magazines, I rip out the few pages I want to keep and organize them in a binder. I guess I got that from my mom too.

It’s amazing how much of someone’s life you can piece together by her accumulated bits of paper: travel routes via gas receipts, favorite foods by restaurant receipts, personal interests by saved clippings. Some of it I save because sometimes I discover something new or because I want to remember some moment with her, but most of it I shred. Because I’m trying not to be a hoarder.

Clowns are always scary

January 16th, 2010

Especially little doll clowns. Think Chucky. Now he’s not a clown, but he’s only a little bit of makeup away from it. Why on earth do clowns scare us? And given that they’re scary, why on earth are they children’s entertainment?! Clowns only make sense on Dia de Los Muertos when dressed and painted up as they are, they can confuse the wandering dead to save humankind. Otherwise, they are freaky — just imagine someone walking around in a Halloween costume all year long. That’s what clowns are. Big freaking scary monsters with too much red on. Red is the color of hate and evil and blood. That’s what clowns are covered in from head to toe. Red. Blood. *Shiver*.

I am easily amused. I’ve been threatening to get rid of cable TV for like a year now. You know what I’m going to miss the most? The commercials. Not all of them, just the good ones. Like this one.

I love words

January 14th, 2010

Clearly, I love words. And I love any use of language that makes me laugh. Especially when it includes lots of dirty words — because words aren’t inherently dirty; it’s the way you use them that makes them so. I’ve only seen this commercial once on TV recently, but it’s been on YouTube for 2 years so it’s not new. But my gosh it’s funny. Just listen to the actual words they’re using. My favorite is lint licker and cootie queen. Oh my god does that sound dirty. It just goes to show you that the right sized word with a hard beginning, middle or end (or any combination of the afore) and said in the right tone can make even the most mundane words (like kumquat) sound dirty and bad.

Birthday GRE

January 5th, 2010

I took the GRE about 2 weeks ago on my birthday and just got my scores today. Well, I saw them when I finished, but got my analytical writing scores for the lame ass essays I had to write. Shockingly low scores. Or, I should say the scores themselves are OK, but the percentile ranking seems awfully low given the scores.

I’ve heard the computer adaptive test, you know, adapts to the way you answer you questions so if you answer incorrectly, the next question is easier and vice versa*. So imagine my horror when over half way through my verbal test, I get a question with “disappointment” as one of the words. Now, I can’t tell you the actual question, but the word in the analogy was on par in difficulty with “disappointment.” I was heartbroken. I thought, holy god, how could I have fucked up this badly on the test so far that they have to give me baby words?!

But it turned out to be ok because I got the scores I wanted to get on both sections. In one week of studying, I boosted my combined GRE scores over 300 points so that week of studying was well worth it. I focused on practicing math problems over and over again and learning new vocab. I had some old Kaplan GRE workbooks and used those to study, but I wonder how much, if anything has changed in the past decade. I think the books I had came from early 2000.

Not that I care anymore cause I doubt I will ever have to take the GRE again! Woohoo!

* I say “I heard” because the GRE books I studied from were old. I have no idea if the current GREs are the same, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say they were the same.

The mind fuck of coupons

December 18th, 2009

Let’s face it, more of us are cutting coupons nowadays. It’s something I used to do with my parents when I was little. Something I still occasionally do, but now I do it semi-regularly. But they’re sort of a mind fuck really. Of course, no one wants to pay full retail price, but sometimes you’re lured by the “value” of a deal into buying crap you don’t really want or need. Just because it’s a bargain somehow justifies the purchase.

Case in point: Macy’s sent me these 20% off all day, one day coupons. They basically want you to shop all day and use this coupon. I get it. And between the holiday sales and the coupon, you could buy a lot of stuff not at retail price. But I’ve been really busy lately with graduate school applications and haven’t had time for shopping, so I basically forced myself to shop on Wednesday. Not only was it their “last” One Day Sale, but I had used the 20% off coupon and now I’d have to use it as many more times as I could that day to get the full value of it. So I have a crappy day of shopping when I don’t want to shop, and I end up spending more money than I want to because it’s a “bargain.” And I love bargains — I went to the ballet this week and the Mr asked if I was wearing new pants. Nope, just pants I’ve had for years and have never worn before. Cause I like to buy shit on sale. Whether I’m going to use it or not.

The other problem with coupons is that sometimes I use a coupon and actually spend more money. For example, Target sends me coupons. I <3 Target, but they’re inconvenient to get to so I don’t go there as often as I might if they were closer. I sometimes buy items I wouldn’t normally buy just because I have a coupon for it. Little things like their Archer brand snacks, or home & beauty products I don’t normally use. The crazy thing is that sometimes I pay more for a particular item (like brand name feminine hygiene pads) because I have a coupon for it when I would actually pay less just buying the Target brand like I normally do. I know; it’s completely illogical! But I’m telling you, the psychological effects of coupons is complex and devious.

I am quite seriously considering going back to my irregular and not very frequent use of coupons to retain my sanity about shopping.

Ah, the shopping season…what torture

December 4th, 2009

I hate shopping for Christmas. It’s so much pressure to come up with the perfect gift. Or not even the perfect gift, how about just any gift that the recipient will actually and genuinely enjoy. I usually want to give up year after year. I know I’m like years behind, but last month I started an Amazon wish list because sometimes I do things I wish other people would do. I wish everyone I had to shop for at Christmas had a freaking wish list!!

I was reviewing my list last night so I could email my loved ones and was thinking to myself what a random mix of stuff it was. I mean, it’s all stuff I want and I purposely picked items in a range of prices, but I wonder if it takes the fun out of getting Christmas gifts because it takes away the element of surprise.

In recent years, I’ve begged family members to send me Christmas wish lists and sometimes I look at the things on there and think…I can’t get them this as a Christmas present — it’s too practical, or not special enough. My father is the worst to shop for. He has everything he needs, doesn’t send a list, and never intimates he has an especial desire for anything. And this year I missed his birthday because I was out of the country and now I have to make sure his gifts are doubly wonderful. My sister is the best at giving gifts; she always pleasantly surprises me with something. Special too is when you get an unexpected gift from a family member — that’s always sweet.

I’d like to put cash on my Christmas list. I think we Americans are too ambivalent about cash gifts. Other cultures seem to think nothing of it, but we seem to think it’s a cop out or impersonal, and only gift it when specifically asked for it. I say cash is the universal gift. Give it freely people. I’ll distribute it equally into in my writing fund, my whisky fund (almost the same as my writing fund), my new car fund, and my bathroom remodel fund. But before I do that, I’ll buy a drink and toast you for your special gift.

And in case you thought I had no holiday cheer, I leave you with one of my very, very favorite holiday songs. I listen to this song every year and I love both the original Vandals version and the No Doubt one below:

Where my gifts, Santa? I’ve been good.

November 27th, 2009

I saw this commercial today and loved the song and tried to find it online, but it turns out it’s not a real rap song (though it should be!) Comedian Maria Bamford did a series of Target ads for their 2-day sale. I don’t know who she is, but she’s on my radar now. The commercial is awesome.

Where my gifts, Santa? I’ve been good. Better bring me sport equipment like you should! Where you at Santa? I ain’t playin’. I’ve got a nice crib to park your sleigh on. Where those elves, where your wife? You bring me the fancy electric knife. You don’t know me Santa. I’ve been good. I’ve got plenty of milk and cookies in my hood. Fa la la LA LA. Ho ho ho. Fa la la LA LA. Ho ho ho.

One night in Bangkok…

November 23rd, 2009

…makes a hard man humble” And my last night in Bangkok certainly did. So I’m blogging the trip in reverse almost. At least I hope to. You know I kept that paper blog during my trip. What did the ancients call it? Oh, a diary.

By the time I got to Bangkok for my last night before my flight home I was almost desperate for some company. Just someone I could speak some fucking English to. Those 21 hour bus rides and over night trains — no one to talk to. On the local buses I took, I was the only person that didn’t speak Lao. By the time I got to Bangkok, I was absurdly lonely. And for a big, confident, self assured gal, being absurdly lonely is…absurd.

Isaac and Kerry told me they’d gotten prettied up in Bangkok before they went back to the states. So I went to mall. I’d avoided it in Laos because I was busy looking at other things, but I do enjoy checking out malls in different countries so I went to the mall Isaac suggested. Indulged in some Thai underwear because Asian bras fit me (cause I’m Asian) and I spent less than $50 USD for 2 pairs of bras and 2 pairs of matching underwear — unheard of at Victoria’s Secret (and yet they were just as sexy).

I wore my cleanest dress. The one dress I’d brought for special occasions. The one I’d never worn before. It’s a travel dress; I bought it on sale at REI. It’s not that sexy. But at the end of the evening when I ended up at an Australian pub across the street from my hotel (only cause I knew there’d be English spoken there and they were playing MotoGP on one of their big screens), drinking Jamie’s all alone…the one guy who finally talked to me said he thought I was a Thai whore until he heard my English.

I guess part of me has to be proud that I could even pass for a Thai whore.

Procrastination…is updating your blog

November 20th, 2009

I found this on someone’s blog and this is so the bane of my life.

Goodbye Laos!

November 8th, 2009

Endings are always bittersweet. I’m at Bangkok airport waiting for my flight home. I’m not really looking forward to going home just yet. Oddly the things I am looking forward are little things: going on a run, wearing something I haven’t worn about 10 times in the last month, a bath, laundry, and cooking for myself. I’m so sick of eating out.

Traveling in Laos

October 21st, 2009

I haven’t been blogging because I’m traveling through Laos at the moment with Isaac and Kerry. At least for another week and then I’m on my own. It’s indescribably amazing. You can read about our adventures at their blog at Laos is wonderful. That is all.

Starting to get desperate

October 8th, 2009

The 2nd to last day before my trip and I’m starting to get desperate. I made sure to do all my driving errands today because a) I hate to drive in the city and b) I cannot make another freaking run to REI this week because if I do, I’ll stab myself.

Hello Kitty Luggage tagI was at REI earlier today (twice! I think I lost an earring there so I had to return to try to find it) and completely forgot to get the luggage tag I meant to get there. So I was forced — against my will — to get a Hello Kitty luggage tag at the mall (I tried the travel store but they didn’t have any cheaply priced luggage tags).

I also forgot the Glide at Sports Basement (where I was also at this morning) and was forced to try to find it at the mall (the SF mall is right next to my gym so easy access). I went to Footlocker and Lady Footlocker and asked for Glide and everyone wrinkled their noses at me. I knew what they were thinking. I wanted to tell them, “It’s for chafing. Not for sex!” but I refrained. Seriously though, I don’t know why Glide is not more commonly recognized. It’s sort of like an active person’s fix-all.

So now I have my Hello Kitty luggage tag. And plenty of Glide. Oh, and I went to BevMo to stock up on little tiny bottles of alcohol we can fit into our quart sized Ziploc bags for the flight. Really, I think that’s all we need. Next up: traveler’s checks and a flight to Bangkok!

This is why I don’t wax more often

October 8th, 2009

I went and got a Brazilian bikini wax today — you know, maintenance for the Laos trip to minimize any need to shave. I’ve done this now 3 times in my life in probably about as many years. The first time just because I’d never done it before and wanted to, you know, experience something new. The second time as a present to my significant other. This time for the trip.

I do it so infrequently, I completely forget how painful it’s going to be. It’s probably why I wait an entire year to go back because it takes that long to wipe out the memory of the pain. I tend to laugh as a coping mechanism for a variety of reasons and excruciating pain is one of them so every time she’d yank a strip of hair off, I’d start giggling. We were talking about all sorts of things, and everything made me laugh. I probably sounded high.

It started off nice and easy — the edges weren’t as densely populated so it hurt less. Then the searing pain. The “want to gouge out the eyes of this person who’s doing this to me” pain. The “oh my god, what the hell was I thinking” pain. And the “good lord, I can’t take anymore pain”. Oh yes. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t hurt is a big fat fucking LIAR!

Coincidentally, I happened to catch a bit of the Daily Show the other day when he was talking about how Chicago lost out to Rio de Janeiro in their bid for the 2016 Oympics and he makes a crack about bikini waxes. It starts at 4:10 in the clip below, though the whole thing is funny if you want to watch it in its entirety.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Chicago Nope
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

Prepping for Laos

October 6th, 2009

Photo by annamaticI’m in the midst of mad preparations for my trip to Laos. “Mad” because I’m a procastrinator. I bought tickets in July and I’m just now really starting to get ready for my flight in four days. I’m traveling with a couple I know for most of the trip, then solo for a while. You know how I need my solo time.

I’m looking forward to many things on the trip: getting away, seeing lots of new things, experiencing a completely different culture, tasting new food, walking endlessly, rain, heat, meeting new people, seeing new animals (if I’m lucky — you know how I love the furry things), and getting to know the couple I’m traveling with even better. I’ve never spent more than a few hours at a time with them so I’m immensely curious how this will turn out. I’m fairly certain it’ll be easy and fun, but I think the unknown is inordinately attractive to me and having never traveled like this — so intimately with so few people — it will be interesting. I’ve traveled solo and I’ve traveled with significant others and with large groups, but never by myself with another couple.

Photo by Fabio GismondiOther than yoga and the vaccinations I got, preparations include getting legal docs in order in case I die in Laos. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to and I think if my mother hadn’t died so suddenly and we hadn’t gone through probate, I wouldn’t even be thinking about it, but I am. Unlike any other trip I’ve taken before, this time I’ve got an emergency contact list to send to close friends and family which includes any information they might need in case I die like the person who has my will and the person who’d know about all my financials.

Another thing I’ve realized is that when you go away for a month and you’re uncertain of your accessibility to the internet, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. I’m not a big fan of autopay because I hate to store my credit card credentials with any sites so I’m realizing now that I need to prepay accounts or make other arrangements.

But that’s all the boring shite. Fun preparations include getting my travel reading list together, deciding on which camera to take, downloading podcasts, and figuring out what I absolutely want to see during my month in Laos. Goodbye internet, goodbye phone. I won’t miss you one bit!

Yoga is sexy

October 4th, 2009

What is it about yoga instructors that make you think of sex? I’ve been doing yoga at home but decided to take a class at my gym today and I wasn’t even remotely attracted to the instructor and yet I found myself…yes, thinking of sex.

I think the meditative aspect of yoga combined with the focus on breathing and the purposeful arrangement of the body really pulls you away from your mental state and into a keen awareness of your physical state. With a clear head free of intruding thoughts and a heightened sensual awareness, it seems reasonable that one could easily make the leap to thoughts of sex. And I’m not the only one…

From the upcoming Couples Retreat which looks hilarious, is a bit of the trailer (note that I start the clip at 2:05 — the relevant bit — so you’ll have to start it from the beginning if you’re interested in the whole trailer).

From Sex and the City. Samantha has given up sex because her hot yoga instructor has, but it doesn’t last long. Don’t ask me why I couldn’t find this clip in English — I just couldn’t. It doesn’t matter; just read her lips.

Commercials make me laugh

October 3rd, 2009

This commercial is so…weird. Yet hilarious. It always makes me wonder what exactly Halls Refresh is (is it gum? a liquid centered cough drop? what?!)

Relationship advice from Zombieland

October 3rd, 2009

We saw Zombieland (trailer below) last night and I loved it in that cheap, entertaining kind of way of most zombie movies. I don’t know why zombie and vampire movies are so great, but maybe it has something to do with the type of dramatic stories we humans enjoy.

Of course, for me the fact that the main progtagonist is a geek boy who wins over the hot chick doesn’t hurt the story. You know I love the geek boys and love it even more when they win. And yeah, it’s a movie, but I believe that geek boys not only deserve super hot chicks, but they can get them too.

So here’s some relationship advice for geeks that I’ve gleaned from that fabulous movie:

  1. DON’T try to date the super hot chick that has nothing else going for her
    Listen, forget about 406 (the hot chick that lives two rooms down from you). She may be sizzling hot to look at, but if that’s all she’s got going for her, she’s not for you. She will only come to you when she needs something, then take advantage of you as soon as she needs to too (like when her zombie lust for brains takes over and she needs to feed on you).
  2. DON’T date the super hot chick that has no one else but you (a complete stranger) to turn to when she needs help
    Look, I know it’s nice to be seen as the hero and all, but if she’s got no one else she can turn to in her desperate time of need, the girl has relationship problems.
  3. DO go for the hot chick who’s got brains
    You don’t want an intellectually inferior girl. Trust me, you’re too smart for that. You want someone that can match wits with you. Someone that can outwit the brain thirsty zombies just as well as you can. She’ll improve your life by adding to it rather than draining your energies like a lesser girl might. Plus an intellectual chick will not only understand you better, but will appreciate you more.
  4. DO go for the hot chick who’ll kill for her sister
    You want someone that really loves people. Someone who’ll kill to protect her family from the advancing hordes of the undead. Because someone like that knows how to form deep attachments and you don’t want a shallow kind of love, do you?
  5. DO be patient
    An intellectual gal is likely to be a little headstrong and independent. This isn’t necessarily a fear of commitment or a lack of interest in you, it’s simply that she’s more thoughtful about who she’s going to get emotionally involved with. She’s thinking about you and weighing her options. This works in your favor because you have a lot going for you. You’re smart, you’re sweet, and you’re dedicated to her and this will probably win her over in the end.
  6. DON’T be afraid to kiss her
    She may be smart and independent and strong, but a girl doesn’t mind you making the first move. Take a risk and give the poor girl a kiss. If she hesitates, then maybe you should go back to step 5. If she pulls away in disgust, then she’s probably not interested. Or you have a zombie coming at you from behind.

Men of a certain age

September 30th, 2009

I’m not a huge fan of TV, but I have a weakness for it. I don’t religiously follow any shows and I don’t watch most of the currently popular TV shows. I like crime dramas like Law & Order and CSI. I like Dexter and the Closer. But there’s a new show coming up on TNT called Men of a Certain Age that looks promising. I love this preview. Because I’m getting to be that age and it’s time I take my dreams back!

Yoga is hard

September 26th, 2009

Anyone who says yoga is easy isn’t doing it right. One of my preparations for my Laos trip (in 2 weeks!) is to get a yoga routine down so I can have some form of exercise I can do while I’m away. I figure gyms are out of the question, and I’m not sure how much running I’ll get in so yoga is a good no equipment necessary, can do anywhere kind of workout.

Gaiam Power Yoga Total Body Workout DVDSo I bought this DVD: Gaiam’s Power Yoga Total Body DVD with Rodney Yee. I would’ve preferred a female host or at least a video instructor who didn’t vaguely remind me of my ex, but my options were very limited. I wanted an hour long total body workout and thought any yoga without “power” in the title might be too easy. This seemed perfect.

After four hours of sleep, a six hour drive, one meal for the day followed by a one hour nap, I thought it might be a good time to try out the DVD for the first time. My plan is to do it every day until I leave so I get used to the moves. I was wasted — not drunk wasted, but not at the top of my physical form. And the DVD killed me.

Every time I went from a Standing Forward Bend to a Mountain Pose, my head got light, I saw stars, and I seriously thought I’d pass out. And there was a lot of that in the beginning of the DVD. That was followed by several poses I’d never done before. I’ve only taken yoga probably less than 10 times before. I was sweating, uncomfortable, and hoping desperately it would end when I’d only been at it for 20 minutes. At one point I thought I broke something in my shoulder — doing an Upward Bow which I wasn’t quite prepared for.

But I made it through to the end. One day down…14 more to go then I’ll be doing yoga next to the Mekong River!

Sisterly love

September 24th, 2009

I’m back in Southern California working on cleaning out my mom’s place again. I’m pretty sure we won’t be done until at least the end of the year because there is so much stuff.

We had lunch with my favorite aunt and uncle, and my dad. After lunch my aunt told us stories about my mom — stories I’d never heard before. My mother never told us stories about herself. I always knew this aunt was her closest sister, but hearing about their lives together made me miss my mom, wish I’d made her tell me stories, wish I spoke Korean fluently, and made me realize once again how much my aunt loved her and still misses her.

I looked in vain for a good photo of my mom and my aunt when they were young. Then I decided I’d settle for any photo of the two of them, but couldn’t find one in the stash of photos here. They’re probably in my stash of mom’s photos in San Francisco. But here’s one of my favorites of my own sister. She and I weren’t as close as my aunt and mom when we were younger, but we certainly are now.

My sister and me in Ohio
My sister and me: Elementary school years in Ohio