Friday, December 17, 2010

Ascension from a pissy mood

There is so much negativity and tension in the world. It circulates around us, among us, and within us. It seemingly emanates from strangers, coworkers, and--most potently--our friends and family. Each interaction is coated with this toxic negativity.

Sometimes I feel it build within me. The pent-up resentment, the irritation. It boils beneath the surface. I imagine scenarios where I blow up at the wrong-doers, self-righteous in my anger and victimization.

But now I'm telling myself this: In the end, all the bullshit we get worked up over will mean nothing. Don't succumb to the toxic negativity. Rise above it. Be honest with yourself and with others. And have compassion for the people who live day to day in bitter resentment until they die. Because life is short, and we have only so long to make most of the time we have.

My father passed away when he was 67. And I'm almost halfway to his age. I will likely die of a heart attack like he did, thanks to heredity. I avoid fried food, red meat and pork, and exercise several times a week to toll my genetic death clock.

But one day, I will die. And in the moments right before I die, I might look back at my life, and wonder why I got worked up over bullshit. It was all so meaningless, and I should have spent more time being happy.

Hopefully I will have that deathbed-epiphany sooner rather than later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hintidy hint hint

It's a common to cite the great irony of America being obsessed with weight, but also having the most of it.

Recently, my company has been posting Weight Watchers posters all around the office. In the facility's cafeteria. On the tables. On walls. Near the bathroom. By the water fountain. Near every exit and stairwell and elevator. Not to mention, we seem to get weekly company-wide emails promoting the company's subsidized Weight Watchers program.

Is this a hint? Are they calling us fat?

Sure, there is a rotund coworker or twenty around the office. But this blatant pushing of Weight Watchers on us is getting borderline offensive.

Imagine if a boyfriend or spouse did this. You come home from work, and on the door is a Weight Watchers poster. You open the fridge, and there is a Weight Watchers ad. You sit at the dining room table, and there is a Weight Watchers flier. You check your email, and you see a Weight Watchers email from him.

I think most men in that situation would their balls chopped off.

Anyway, I get it. The company wants to lower their subsidized health insurance costs, particularly those related to heart-disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. So they only want to help you so they can help themselves.

I wish there was a way of implementing this initiative without feeling like we're being passive-aggressively told that we're fat.



So I am one of those people who have several different email accounts, one "real" email account, one for my blog, one for spam, etc. Well, one of the ones that used to be my "real" email account but now a back-up email account got hacked! Some logged into my account and spammed all my contacts!

This is the FIRST time I've been hacked. I'm pretty good at detecting phishing emails and spoofed websites. I update my antivirus and antispyware pretty regularly (almost neurotically). But somehow, somewhere, something got through!

So, aside from feeling somewhat violated that my email account got hacked and also feeling mortified that all my contacts got spammed, I realized that all these people from my past, whom I never deleted from my contacts, were spammed as well.

This includes: ex-boyfriends, toxic friends, and friends-turned-enemies. I'm sure all of them were pleased to see an email from Yellow Gal waxing eloquent on the virtues of Viagra.

How embarrassing!

Fortunately, so far, none of my former acquaintances replied back with a, "Hey, how's it going, you bitch?" response.

So far.

Argh. So embarrassing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yellow truth

I called my mom's house on Thanksgiving Day to wish her a happy thanksgiving. No one picked up the phone. I called her cell phone, twice, and left her a message. No returned call. I also called my brother and left a voicemail. Again, no returned call.

The day came and went, and I hadn't heard from any of them. Then I thought, maybe they were in a terrible accident and they're in the hospital. But wouldn't someone have called me?

I called the house again on the Friday after Thanksgiving. My mom picked up.


"Hey, mom."

"Oh, hi." She then proceeded to answer a question I had asked two voicemails ago.

Then I said, "So how was your thanksgiving?"

"Oh it was good. It was just your brother and I so we went to Old Country Buffet," she said. "It was so crowded. How was yours?"

"Oh, it was good too. Had it with another couple, and we brought some side dishes."

"Oh, good to hear it was good."

"So, um, why didn't you call me back yesterday?"

"Oh," she said. Then she gave a huff of a laugh and said, "Oh, cell phone reception is bad here."

That's funny. Cell phone reception seems to work fine the other 649,932,091 times you've called me to ask about how to turn on the computer or change your screensaver.

"Oh, um, okay," I said. "Well, talk to you later."

"Take care," she said.


So my mom is lame. Emotionally unavailable and lame. Which I hate to admit, but I am too sometimes. I suppose I could have called my mom out on her lameness and stated the italicized thought above. But then would I have wanted to hear the Yellow truth? That she didn't want to call me back and wish me a happy thanksgiving? That these holiday sentiments are a product of my American assimilation and only encourage maudlin triteness? That, quite frankly, she didn't want to talk to me that day or the day before?

I told the Fiance this and he is always hesitant to rag on my mom. He just hoped we wouldn't be like that with our kids.

Here's to hoping that emotional unavailability is a cultural trait, not a genetic one.

Super ordinary

I am a fan of superheroes. I'm not a supernerd or anything; I don't collect comic books or study the genre and all subgenres of superheroes. I'm just a general fan of stories involving people with extraordinary powers.

Superheroes seem to be born with their powers, or acquire it later in life. Also, their powers are sometimes alien or chemically-induced (or supernatural) in nature, or an enhancement of their own naturally existing skills. Like Superman versus Batman. Wolverine versus Iron Man.

On the History Channel, Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman, X-men, among others) has a show about superhumans, which explores the premise that there were (and are) people with "superpowers."

So I asked myself the question anyone who has ever read or watched a superhero story line would ask herself: What would my superpower be?

Hmm. I can make my eyes, hands, and feet water at will. Not exactly appetizing, I know. But I never need rewetting drops. And when I'm at the supermarket and I encounter those superthin, plastic produce bags that are nearly impossible to open, I make my finger moisten at will and then am able to open the bag.

Okay, so it's not really a fantastic superpower, unless I could produce amounts massive enough to stop a bank robbery or prevent a truck from exploding.

I can also remember details of things that I hear about or experience. At first, I thought all my friends had early onset of Alzheimer's because they couldn't remember all the details I remembered. But it turns out I just have a better memory than most people.

If I see a movie once, I can recite lines from it. If someone tells me a story about someone at a random cocktail party, I can recall all the details of that story years later.

I don't forget people I meet, so frequently, I'm in the situation of meeting people for the second time, and they don't remember me because the encounter was so brief.

My old buddy the Naysayer has dated countless women over the past several years. And I remember all of them--even better than the Naysayer himself.

"Who was that girl I dated with the nice hair?" he asks me.

"Was it first year or second year of grad school?" I respond.

"First year."

"Okay, that was Rita."

"What about that girl in college I met at a party?"

"The one who baked you cookies?"



I'm not sure how this "power" really helps either. It's not that I'm a superlearner. I remember "human" facts, like stories about people, faces, and events. And it's not that I was great at history in high school--in fact, I disliked history. I think it has to do with experiencing the human facts as they happen.

Okay, okay, so I'm not going to be a superhero anytime soon. But it's nice to think that if some interstellar, cataclysmic event occurred...I could be.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A not good guy

I was chatting with Yellow Mom on the phone today. She asked how the Fiance and I are doing. "Good," I said.

"Things are good? That's good," she replied.

"Yep, things are good."

"You know, that's good that things are good," she continued. "You're not an easy person to live with."

I laughed. "The feeling is mutual."

"You need to be with someone good. Especially with your personality."

Normally, I would take this as a blatant attack on my lovability; but I understand exactly what she's talking about.

I know I get cantankerous sometimes for no reason at all. I take things out of context, take things personally, or respond sensitively to random remarks. Yes, these are my flaws, and sometimes I'm amazed that there's someone out there who will put up with it.

"You know," she continued, "it's good that Fiance is a good man. The number one quality to look for in a husband is that he is a good man."

Well, duh, I thought to myself.

"Money, education, intelligence," she said, "those are secondary to being a good person."

"Okay," I said.

"I mean, those are important," she qualified, "but goodness is number one."

"I get it," I said. "Yes, Fiance is a good man. He tolerates me and is patient with me."

"Good," she said.

I never really thought it would be a question: every chick wants a good man, right? I mean, isn't being a good person a fundamental trait that the One must have?

Then I thought about it. There are some women who are drawn to bad guys. Yes, there are really bad guys, like the ones who molest kids and moonlight as hitmen. Then there are bad guys, like the ones who cheat on their women. And then there are not-really-bad-but-bad guys.

My friend, "Angela," is dating a guy whom she is absolutely crazy about. She thinks he's super good-looking, intelligent, and funny. They've talked about marriage and kids. They've even looked at rings.

But there's something about him that rubs me the wrong way. I'm not exactly sure if he's a not-really-bad-but-but guy, or just a guy who is not good for my friend. Here's the background:

When they first started dating and hooking up, he started kicking it to a mutual friend of ours, "Beth." While still dating Angela, he sent text messages to Beth, asked how she was doing, and wanted to chat with her some time. He said lately he had been just staying in these past weekends, keeping it low key. He called her nicknames, like "shorty."

Later, we find out that he had been "staying in" all right, staying in and hooking up with Angela.

Now, technically speaking, the guy didn't do anything wrong. Angela and the dude weren't exclusively dating at the time he started kicking it to Beth. Until a couple Defines The Relationship, both parties are free agents. And even if they were in a relationship, he still didn't do anything wrong. He was just being "friendly" with Beth.

Still though, a little shady, no? Why would you kick it to a girl while having sex with her friend?

Notwithstanding this blip, the couple proceeded to Define The Relationship and became an official item.

I, however, noticed other red flags. For one, he constantly checks out other girls in front of his girlfriend, Angela, points out how fine these other women's tits/ass/legs are, and then proceeds to encourage Angela to hit the gym more often.

Is this "bad" behavior? He isn't abusing her or cheating on her.

When I hang out with him in a group (and Angela isn't there), he frequently begins his sentences with, "Man, if I were single":

"Man if I were single, I'd be going out every weekend instead of staying in."

"Man if I were single, I'd get a Porsche."

"Man if I were single, I'd be dating 18-year-olds." [Note: plural 18-year-olds. Also note: he is 35 years old, and so Angela.]

Now, he has never said, "I wish I were single." He simply fantasizes about being single.

I typically counter him by saying, "Dude, I've been single for 99% of my adult life. Dating is awful. Painful. I can't wait to not be single."

"Dating is not hard," he said. "You girls just don't know where to look, or you try too hard, or your standards are too high."

"I just I feel like I've been there, done that," I responded. "And I'm done. Done with the mind games, the Rules, the high hopes and the disappointments. Done with weeding through socially retarded guys. Done with dating. It's time for the next phase of my life."

He didn't seem to get it.

So is it me? Or does it seem like my friend's boyfriend isn't ready to settle down? More than that, he seems a little disrespectful towards her. He doesn't abuse her. But checking out a hot chick, pointing out her 36-DDD breasts and 23 inch waist, and asking his girlfriend why she can't hit the gym more just doesn't strike me as something that a "good" guy would do. On top of that, in front of our friends, he nagged her about hitting the gym -- I repeat, in front of her friends. Bear in mind, she is in no way FAT. Just because she isn't Jessica Alba doesn't mean she's FAT.

Angela loves him so much and seems almost grateful that she "has" him. Her sister, who is a clinical psychologist, met the boyfriend. Afterward, Angela asked her sister what she thought.

"He's a nice guy. Charming, good-looking, likable," the sister said. "The only thing is--I'm only saying this because I love you--"

"What?" Angela said.

"He strikes me as the kind of guy who would cheat on you."

"Oh," she said. Of course, the sister is just being overprotective...or jealous...or right.

A year later, they're still dating. He hasn't proposed yet. And some of us hope he doesn't. I think that might make me a shitty friend. We should hope for the best for our friends, and if this guy makes Angela so happy, we should hope for the best for both of them, right? We have talked to her about the guy's shadiness, but she brushes it off. After all, there is no strong evidence that he is a bad guy.

He just strikes me as man who isn't exactly good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You reap what you sow.

Okay so I'm not running tonight. Looks like I'll be running a couple 9-mile days.

Not putting on my running shoes

I don't particularly feel like running tonight. But I know I should. I try to run at least 25 miles a week, and I've got to do 18 more miles by 11:59 pm this Saturday. I can do a couple 9 mile days, but I'd rather not.

Sometimes I feel like I have to work off a debt. Like if I eat a piece of red velvet cake, a couple slices of pizza, or a few too many corn chips. I feel like running is the non-bulimic way of purging the bad calories. Exercise is the poor man's plastic surgery.

Sometimes I'm in a pissy/anxious/melancholy mood, and I run with the hope that it will lift my spirits. Exercise is the poor man's xanax.

And sometimes, I don't feel like running at all. I have to force myself against my will to wear my ratty t-shirt and shorts, pin my hair back in the most ridiculous yet effective way to keep the stray hairs from sticking to my face, slip on my double-knotted shoes, and step on the treadmill. I force myself to push the start button and force myself to listen to my iPod and run.

Run even though every fiber of my being rebels against it.

Run even though the song I paid 99 cents to download is doing absolutely nothing to motivate me.

Run even though it feels completely and utterly futile.

Run because I have to.

Sometimes, I ask myself while I'm doing it, "Why am I doing this? What exactly is compelling me to get on a machine and voluntarily subject myself to discomfort?"

Then I tell myself to just stop thinking about it. Accept the fact that you're going to run x miles, and it's gonna happen. Just run.

Asian Standard Time

We all know about "Asian time." It basically means "being late."

If something starts at 5 pm, Asian Standard Time (AST) is probably 5:45 to 6 pm. If someone says they are ten minutes from your house, they are probably half an hour from your house.

It's something I've grown to accept from other Asians; and others have grown to accept that about me.

In any event, my fiance is the quintessence, the epitome, the personification of Asian Time.

It is maddening. For example:

Today, he tells me he'll be home around 8. Okay.

So I -- naively believing that he would be home at the time stated, even though every other time proves otherwise -- start the process of cleaning the pots and pans, cooking the brown rice, preparing veggies, and seasoning and heating chicken breasts.

8 pm rolls around and he's nowhere. I eat alone, watch some Hulu, and look at the clock. It's 8:30. At this point, I text him when will he be home. He doesn't respond.

At 8:50, I call him. He doesn't answer.

I call him again. He finally picks up. I ask him when he'll be home. "Yeah, we're all still hanging out," he says. "Maybe around...9:30?"

9:30? 9:30? In AST, that probably translates to 10 am the next morning.

I get annoyed and tell him, "If you weren't going to show up until 9:30, then just TELL me you're not going to show up at 9:30. Don't lie to me and say you're going to come home at 8 pm."

"Okay. Sorry." He then hangs up and proceeds to hang out at the bar he is at.

Now if this happened once or twice, I'd be whatevs about it. But it happens ALL THE TIME! I explicitly asked him to tell me what time he honestly things he'll be home, and if he's late, to give me a heads up. That's it. I don't care if he stays out until 11 pm -- just don't tell me you'll be home at 5 pm and show up at 11 pm. that's all I'm saying.

There's Asian time and then there's rude Asian time. I myself run on Asian time, but at least I text/call and say, "Sorry, I'm going to be fifteen minutes late." He doesn't.

I googled the subject of one's significant other coming home later than the time stated (yes, I googled it) and this woman was complaining on a message board about her husband doing a similar thing. All the other commenters chimed in and agreed. I felt slightly validated. It's not me. And it's not just me.

That's it. Just had to vent.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hankering interrupted

I was visiting Medium-Sized City in the Midwest and had a hankering for Korean food. One of my friends from law school (non-Asian) was born and raised there, and so I decided to ask her for restaurant recommendations.

"Hey," I asked her, "do you know any good Korean restaurants in Medium-Sized City?"

"Hmm," she said, "Korean restaurants?"

"Yeah, Korean restaurants."

"Hmm," she said again. A long pause. "There's a Benihana's."

"Really," I said. "A Benihana's."

"Yeah," she said.

"Benihana's isn't Korean."

"Oh, well, I don't think there are any Korean restaurants."

Something about that conversation bugged me. First, I later learned that there were in fact Korean restaurants in Medium-Sized City. She just didn't know (or didn't care to know) about them. Maybe it bugs me that the extent of "exotic food" people will try is the Olive Garden or, if they're particularly adventurous, P.F. Chang's.

Second, a Japanese chain is not an acceptable substitute for Korean food. Maybe all East Asians "look the same" but their cuisine is not.

Yes, I realize my post reeks of coastal snobbery. I know not all Caucasian girls born and raised in a medium-sized city in the Midwest will be completely ignorant of Korean restaurants or find that Korean food and Japanese food are interchangeable. I'm sure there are some who are probably very adventurous and have tried eating bats in Cambodia or marinated raw meat from Ethiopia.

I just haven't met any of them. But maybe I just need to make an effort to find them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My new favorite "movie"

on lawyers. Tragic yet funny.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The inevitability of familial nagging

I see my life as temporal increments of nagging from my mom, other Yellow relatives, and family friends. Through their Yellow lens, life is not a series of achievements or milestones. It is defined solely by what is deficient and lacking.

When you're single:
How come no boyfriend?
Why are you still single?
What's wrong with you?

When you're in a relationship:
When are you two going to get married?
Has he proposed yet? Why not?
What's wrong with you?

When you're engaged:
How long before marry?
Why is your engagement so long?
What's wrong with you?

When you're married:
When are you going to have your first baby?
How long you wait before having kids?
What's wrong with you?

When you have you first child:
Congratulations - when is the next child coming along?
Have you begun saving for Harvard yet (Yale, safety)?
What's wrong with you?

When you have two children, one boy, one girl, both Harvard-educated:
Your son and daughter married with children yet?
How come you not ask them why not married? They should be married by now.
What's wrong with them?
And what's wrong with you?

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm engaged! It's only been a few weeks since he popped the question. It's pretty exciting stuff, and I'm happy.

We're beginning the wedding planning process which, judging from my few engaged friends who are frantically wedding planning, does not sound like a walk in the park. I acknowledge though that it is probably a rite of passage for those of us who don't want a city hall or Vegas wedding. (Though every bride has told me that at some point during the wedding planning process, she is tempted to elope. Eek.)

So things are, all in all, very very good.

One day last week, however, I get an email from my ex. The same ex whom I haven't spoken to since my last post about his snideness towards me. I told myself I'd never talk to him again because he contributes absolutely nothing positive to my life.

Well, he emailed me, basically asking me what was up and updating me on what was going on with him. For some reason, his email struck me as being pitiable. I kind of felt sorry for him. Like, the guy had to be pretty lonely to be contacting me out of the blue after about a year. And I don't flatter myself, I don't mean in a romantic-longing kind of way. For all I knew, he could still be dating the same girl he was dating when I last spoke with him.

It just struck me as being inexplicably sad.

So, should I respond? Should I ignore? Shouldn't I at least tell him I'm engaged? I thought I should.

So it was a matter of email or phone call. The Naysayer harped on me to call instead of emailing. Yes, it is tacky to tell someone you're engaged via email. But that rule applies to a friend or relative. This Ex is a scornful human being. Did he deserve the same courtesy that a normal decent human being deserved? Particularly if I told myself I'd never talk to him again?

Well, as the Naysayer pointed out, he was at one point a huge part of my life and a potential husband-to-be.

FINE, I decided to call him. And, yes, I got his voicemail. I left the most awkward voicemail ever.

"Hi. This is Yellow. -- um, Yellow Gal. I got your email and I'm returning it. With a phone call, I guess. Um. Yea, I have something I want to tell you. I'm at 555-555-5555. Talk to you soon. Thanks."


He called me back, and finally, I caught him on the phone.

"Well is it good news or bad news?" he said.

"Um, it's good news," I responded. I was inexplicably nervous. "I'm engaged."

"Ah, that's what I guessed," I could hear him fake-smile on the phone. "Congratulations."


"Is it because you're pregnant?"


"You're pregnant, right? That's why you're getting married?"

"Um," I said, trying not to let him get to me, "judging by the fact that we're aiming for a spring 2011 wedding, no, it's not because I'm pregnant."

"Are you sure?" he said. I couldn't tell if he was stifling a derisive laugh or just being incredibly self-deprecating. "It couldn't be...for love?" Then he chuckled awkwardly.

Folks, this man is 38 years old. Thirty-eight years old. He has practiced law for 13 years in a large law firm. And he has the emotional maturity of a 12-year old.

Another gem from our conversation was his question, "How much is the ring?" And, oh yeah, he asked me if I was pregnant another ten or eleven times.

And by the way, he is still dating the same he was dating from last year. So why the snide comments?

Anyway, while the phone call was unpleasant and irritating, I'm ultimately glad I did it. I know now, more than ever, that: (1) I dodged a bullet when I broke up with him, and (2) I am so incredibly lucky and fortunate to be with an awesome guy like my fiancé.
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