the water got high and she never got dry

Friday, February 24, 2006


Yesterday, after an exhaustive Frappacino-fueled search at the mall, I found a bridesmaid's dress! Woot! I actually bought two, to give the bride a choice, but there is one I like better, and August agrees with me. Thanks to August for going along for the ride. Both dresses are black, strapless and A-line, just what the bride preferred. I had some doubts about the whole strapless thing, due to my lack of necessary boobage, but anything can work with the right bra.

$3 martinis were imbibed in celebration and then I proceeded to stay up all night, thanks to my inability to deal with the amount of caffeine in Frappacinos. I still have a headache. Bleagh. When you're awake at 3 in the morning thinking about a handout you could make for your students, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Spent last weekend holed up inside away from the hellish cold, and totally geeking out by watching hours of Battlestar Galactica. The boy has gotten me hooked. He now entertains himself by calling me Boomer and making jokes about my Cylon programming. Dork. Left the house long enough to lose a few bucks at poker.

Went to a poetry slam cabaret, which we enjoyed, despite the guest hip hop-spoken word-jazz fusion band overstaying its welcome by quite a bit. Some of the poets were really good, including Cynthia French and Amy Steinberg. During the show I was reminded yet again that although I am pulled both ways, I am more drawn to creativity than science. I just don't have a super-computer science brain. But if someday I can get a gig writing about research, I feel like I'll have achieved the perfect happy medium.

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
-amy steinberg

Thursday, February 16, 2006

only when we get to see the aerial view

will the patterns show
we'll know what to do
i know the last page so well
i can't read the first
-nada surf

When thinking about remembering, forgetting and the cycles of love, I think of that scene at the end of Pleasantville where Joan Allen is sitting on a bench and one minute it's Jeff Daniels beside her and the next it's William H. Macy. At the time I thought nothing of it, I just interpreted it as the ambiguity of which man she might choose and the pleasure of having that choice.

But the image has stuck with me as capturing the kind of déjà vu when you meet someone new and start all over again, how sometimes everything in the scene appears the same except for the leading man and how it feels like it happens so quickly.

I think we forget just enough and remember just enough of what love was like the last go-round to make us willing to take the plunge again. The heart is very good at justifying itself, in a Jedi mind trick sort of way. It can downplay the joy you felt with someone else and remember each and every flaw of theirs, so to better appreciate how right the new love feels.

And it conveniently whisks away the memories of how much it hurt the last time things crashed and burned, or how it wasn't a sudden fiery mangling of flesh and steel, but a slow, sad descent from love as a haven to love as an old and bad habit.

These are not the painful memories you are looking for.

A consequence of all this memory sleight-of-hand and reconstruction of the past is that you start to wonder what was real. Time has not been kind to the way I think of the ex-boy, especially compared to how I used to think of him and compared to how I feel about the Boy, who sets an almost unfairly high standard of everything a boy should be.

So sometimes I've wondered, was any of it real? The way I used to feel about him? Did I love him? Was he worth loving? More importantly, does it even matter? Love and life just keep cycling through and I'm slowly learning to stop looking back so much.

Whatever it is that I need to hold onto from the past will stick with me of its own accord and everything else will fall away like so much clutter in periodic bouts of spring cleaning, with some of it swept into the trash and some of it set aside to be recycled.

but when you hold me like you do
it feels so right
i start to forget
how my heart gets torn
when that hurt gets thrown
feeling like you can't go on

turning circles when time again
it cuts like a knife, oh yeah
if you love me got to know for sure
'cause it takes something more this time
-david gray

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

it's always better when we're together

Wow, I've been busy. Friday was an odd day for me, as one good friend was having a very good day and another good friend was having a very awful day (August is in my thoughts, please go over and say hi). Highlight of the weekend was getting together with friends for board games and the best damn chili ever (which I now have the recipe for!). Monday was long, I was at school for about 11 hours, but at the end of it I got to see the Boy, eat cupcakes, and watch the Daily Show.

I know Valentine's Day is dumb and artificial, blah blah blah. It's all true. But I still had a lovely, low-key holiday (also our 11 month anniversary) with the Boy. The weather was unnaturally warm and beautiful, so I just felt perky all day. Dinner at Biaggi's was amazing, with mussels pomodoro to die for. The Boy's chicken pietro was fabulous and I had the most tender and yummy pork chop in the history of pork chops, swimming in parmesan and gorgonzola butter. Delish, to channel Rachel Ray.

I can never pass up a chance to play skeeball, so we went down the street to Chuck E. Cheese, played several games and gave our big bunch of tickets to the most adorable little girl who looked at us like we were Santa Claus. Had a nice long drive, with stars o'erhead to guide us home, where we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries and the Boy surprised me with gifts, which were in direct violation of our "no gift" rule. I guess it was more of a guideline than a rule.

Just a lovely evening with a lovely man.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

EPA Warns of Dangerous Levels of Romance in the Air

Lloyd Dobler all the way (courtesy of PLD) You have to quickly register if you want to read the whole thing, but if you love John Cusack, it's worth it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

tater, tater, tater, tatertots ho!

"It's like crack!"
"What, semen?"
"Uh, no. These tater tots."

Thanks to bittersweet (Sure, she just mentioned them in passing but I'm highly suggestible when it comes to food), I was craving tater tots yesterday , and tater tots I got, courtesy of Taco John's, a franchise I have studiously avoided in my five years here after I found out that they put tater tots (oh, sorry, potato oles) in their tacos. That's just sick, man. But the Boy and I could not resist the siren call of six tacos and a pound of tater tots for 7.89. A pound of tater tots, people! This could be put an end to all the world's problems. Sonic tater tots used to be supreme, but I have a new love now. *Homer drool*

Although their "Super Potato Oles" and their "Potato Oles Bravo" sound gross - tater tots topped with beef, cheese, beans, tomatoes, olives, and other taco related items. Why mess with perfection, people?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

also, dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature

One of my deeper, darker wishes as a child was to have big blue eyes. I never really wanted to be blonde, but what I would have given for big baby blues.

As woefully outnumbered as I was by white classmates, I didn’t have much appreciation for my Asian eyes and their pesky epicanthic folds. I definitely had a bit of the classic “Why does nobody around me or on TV look like me” identity crisis.

I hated being asked where I was from and this loathing increased the older I got. “Texas? But no, really, where are you from?” No really, I’m from Texas.

I’m not all that skilled with chopsticks. I get by, but unless it’s sushi, I’m just as happy to use a fork, something that earns a lot of good-natured ribbing from friends. What can I say, as the very model of an assimilated Asian-American, I didn’t use chopsticks at home and at restaurants, they weren’t a novelty item to me.

The ex-boy and some old friends liked to say that they didn’t even think of me as Asian, I didn’t give them a hard time about it, because I knew they meant well – that they didn’t see me as their Asian friend or girlfriend, they just saw me. But sometimes it bothered me to hear the ex-boy say that. I am indeed Asian, so what does it mean to not see that?

When it comes to race and gender matters, the ex-boy used to joke about how militant I was. This also bugged me. I don’t think I qualify as militant because I care about race and gender relations, nor does it make him a bad person that as a white male, he had absolutely no perspective on the minority experience.

I find it interesting what things make me laugh as opposed to cringe, when my skin is thin versus thick. Why does it bug me when someone is needlessly and arbitrarily referred to as “Chinese” instead of “Asian”? Do they really know the person was Chinese, not Japanese or Korean? A lot of the time, I can’t tell just by looking.

An ex-friend once made a crack behind my back about how I never seemed to find her Asian fetish comments funny. Talk about “yellow fever” was a big thing in college, it certainly didn’t help that there were two other white guy-Asian girl couples in our group. “I wish that I was Asian, but only so that I could get a boyfriend.” One of my least favorite comments ever. A friend of the ex-boy’s first comment to him after meeting me? “I didn’t know you dug Asian.” My impression of this guy never improved over the years.

But at the same time, my friend M, who is an equal-opportunity spouter of outrageous and un-P.C. things, completely fails to offend me with his over the top jokes about Asians. And after the first guilty laugh, “Supplies!” cracks me up every time.

I’m very conscious of stereotypes and one of my unfortunate quirks is the almost personal sense of embarrassment or chagrin when either a TV character or a real life stranger conforms to an Asian caricature, whether it be a horde of Japanese tourists or a waitress who speaks broken English or goofy William Hung being the unattractive, asexual Asian guy. I think I feel a sense of wanting to distinguish myself from them – “See I’m All-American and speak perfect English, I’m not like that at all!” This is something I still struggle to overcome.

My parents made the executive decision when my brother and I were young that it would be too difficult raising us to be bilingual. They couldn’t possibly have known that my brother and I are both really good at picking up other languages, or how many times they’d have to utter a disclaimer about our not speaking the language when introducing us to other Koreans, or how much I wish I could have retained that part of my heritage. I suffered from that common problem of not fitting in with non-Asians because of how I looked but not fitting in with other Koreans and even family members because I was too Americanized and didn’t even speak the language.

Just as this post is a bit of a hodgepodge of thoughts, so is my racial identity composed of bits and pieces from both cultures that I am still trying to knit together.

And I’ve learned to love my eyes.

Friday, February 03, 2006

i hear my voice and it’s been here

I’ve been a tongue biter all my life. From hesitating to ask a question or second-guessing the accuracy of my answers to not complaining when I'm not crazy about the way the stylist cut my hair, I am struck mute at the most inconvenient of times.

And I know there are a handful of people who exited our brief acquaintance thinking of me as the quietest, most boring person they’ve ever met. At big parties I fade into the background, just a “nobody girl with a radar to the scene”. Although it’s definitely not as bad as that cheesy Buffy episode.

It’s not that I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. But in a world filled with extroverts, it’s very easy for me to be drowned out and it’s only with certain people that I can be totally comfortable with and talk a blue streak with. A friend of mine in high school wrote me in as “Most outgoing” in her yearbook. We met through mutual friends and in that domain I had no reason to be quiet and retiring.

I thought of all this because of the immense amount of socializing that went on in Palm Springs and how shy and awkward I felt at one big party, surrounded as I was by friends and strangers who excel at the art of mingling and schmoozing and effortless small talk. Or the people next to me on the plane who shared their life stories over the course of three hours. Divorce, alcoholism, career woes, they laid it all out. This is so foreign to me.

And I thought of how when I’m with the Boy, I never feel shy or awkward or boring or too quiet. “We can talk or not talk for hours.” And I think of how this was true from the very first moment I met him. I always clam up with strangers, but with him I was so comfortable from the start.

I still bite my tongue. I’ve realized that when it comes to my feelings, I do this because I devalue both my emotions (telling myself they’re irrational or that it’s ridiculous for me to feel that way) and the ability of the other person to deal with them (assuming they’ll think I’m irrational or neurotic instead of being accepting and supportive, even if they don’t agree or understand.) And sure, I chalk some of this up to the horrible communication I had with the ex-boy, but I’m not blaming that relationship for everything. I’ve also got years of hurt that I wasn’t able to express at the time.

My dad’s drinking and anger were the primary sources of hurt in my childhood and it was rare that I could turn to either of my parents for solace or comfort. And that taught me to keep my mouth shut. That pain is something to be dealt with alone. A pattern that has been years in the making is a bitch to undo, but I’m sure as hell trying to be louder.

holding your breath again
you're holdin' on, holdin' on
i can feel it
holding your breath again
someday you're gonna have to let it go

say that you would, say you will
say all the things that you never could
say what you want, say what you feel
tell it to me like that, tell it to me light,
tell it to me right
could you tell it to me real this time
-abra moore

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

with no variations of aggravations

My head is just abuzz with a million things. Palm Springs was beautiful and I had a rockin' time, lounging by the pool, eating almost every meal al fresco, drinking a little too much (and having the worst hangover of my life the next morning), earning blisters, staying at a Motel 6 in a sketchy neighborhood, and enjoying being the only girl in a group of guys. But even though the scenery was gorgeous and the weather perfect, I was more than ready to come home to my boy and my own bed. No more motel room beds, snoring roommates, or tiny scratchy towels and no more missing the Boy.

So being home, good. Getting my iPod in the mail yesterday, good. Cellphone nonsense, not so good. Until yesterday I was still sharing an account with the ex-boy but we'd finally arranged to split it and I thought he'd taken care of everything (that was my 2nd mistake. The first mistake was having the account in his name.). I ended up not just setting up a new account with the same provider because it would be cheaper to switch over and share a plan with the Boy.

The first aggravation was not being able to keep my phone number. But even though I lamented having to get a new phone and new number, I thought, "no big deal." Standing there in the store with the Boy, I did have a little voice in the back of my head saying "You've just gotten disentangled from the last shared account and now you're jumping right back into a new one? Is this wise?" But it went away. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have a deep-seated confidence in the relationship.

But then I get home and there's an email from the ex-boy and he's completely bungled everything and technically we still have an account together for 20 more days (even though my old phone stopped getting service last night) and there's a dispute over how much money I owe him and I just want to scream. We'd recently stopped talking but I still thought we could end on a civil note, I was going to email him to let him know I put a check in the mail yesterday and to thank him for helping me get the iPod in the first place.

Now I’m just pissed and sick and tired of being aggravated by him. The current snafu isn't that big a deal, it's just that it snowballs into all the past feelings of irritation at his inability to be a grownup.

With no more email contact, I thought I'd finally get some peace. But being irritated at him now keeps me engaged in the past and I have no desire to be. So I'm trying to just take deep breaths and let it go and stop mourning the fact that so many of the good memories are being eclipsed. The final link has finally been broken and who knows, maybe for whatever reason, we're not meant to part on good terms

So I'm awash in new gadgets. New iPod, new phone, and now I'm thinking of selling the digital camera I got for Christmas and getting a new one. My parents bought me an Olympus Stylus 600 but after having used it a few times, I've been pretty disappointed in the picture quality. The Boy has a Kodak Easy Share V530, which is super cute and he's pretty happy with it. But I can't help combing all the camera websites trying to figure out which one I should get. If anyone has a camera (compact or ultra compact, mid-range in price) they'd like to endorse, I'd love to hear it.

Less ranting next time.

But goodbye's too good a word, gal
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right
-bob dylan