Friday, October 21, 2011

Sick day

One of the wonderful consequences of cohabiting with the one you love is that you double the probability of getting sick.

When my hubs got sick several days ago, I felt perfectly fine, despite his coughing, sniffling and wheezing all day. But after a few days of nonstop exposure, I too started coughing, sniffling and wheezing. Bleh.

I imagine that once a couple has children, the probability of catching a cold triples or quadruples (depending on the number of kids).

If there is ever a test for my immune system, the future is it.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Being happy

Ever since I was a child, I have wondered what makes people happy.

One of my friends apparently has everything. She is intelligent and attractive, has a high-paying job with minimal hours, does intellectually stimulating work, and has a boyfriend who adores her.

Yet she always finds something to be unhappy about. And she complains.

A lot.

She complains about the boss who likes her so much, he annoys her. (Never mind she always has glowing performance reviews.) She complains about her mortgage payments and interest rate. (Never mind that her salary enables her to pay her mortgage payments tenfold per month.) She complains about her weight. (Never mind that she's skinny as a stick.)

Her negativity extends beyond herself to her immediate surroundings and acquaintances. Suppose I planned a soiree and 99.9% of it went swimmingly. Afterwards, she will bluntly point out the 0.1% that went awry and discuss how it went awry.

This behavior irks me because:

(1) Negativity is contagious. If I am surrounded by negativity, I begin to breed negativity.

(2) She has so much more going for her. To complain about her weight in front of ladies heavier than she is, or complain about finances in front of ladies who make less than she does or who don't even have a job is uncouth, to say the least.

And then it occurred to me: She might be incapable of being happy. Something fundamental in her chemical wiring renders it impossible to be happy. No life circumstance -- no matter how wonderful or serendipitous -- could ever make her happy.

Then I think about my other girlfriend. She grew up without a father, and so her mother struggled financially throughout her childhood. She was sexually abused by an uncle when she was in high school. And not too long ago, her mother passed away from a long battle with ovarian cancer. She does not make that much money and works long hours, yet somehow, she is a happier person. Yes, she suffered when awful events occurred, but she never lost her natural tendency to be positive and forward thinking.

This friend is somehow hard-wired to be a happier person, regardless of life circumstance.

I remember a study that I once heard that struck me. (Bear in mind, it could be from a movie or novel and, therefore, entirely fictional.) It was a study of two groups of people over a six-month period. One group tended to be positive and happy. The other group tended to be negative and unhappy. The study then focused on positive life experiences, such as winning the lottery or getting married, and negative life experiences, such as becoming quadriplegic, or losing a spouse or friend.

It turned out that when the positive/happy group suffered negative life events, they were temporarily depressed, but eventually reverted back to their positive/happy state. And when the negative/unhappy group enjoyed positive life events, they were temporarily uplifted before reverting back to their negative/unhappy state.

Are some people born with a physiology that enables them to be happier than others?

Is happiness simply a matter of neurological fate?

As for me, I think I've become happier as I've gotten older. Maybe because I found a life partner. Maybe because I learned not to sweat the small stuff as much. Maybe because I have a little more perspective on life. It takes time to realize that the things that do inevitably go wrong in life end up working out, albeit not perfectly. And after experiencing the passing of a friend or relative, you learn to focus on the important things in life instead of trivial matters.

I have distanced myself from the above-mentioned negative friend, and grown closer to the happy friend. And I think that helped too. Surrounding oneself with positive people rather than negative folks uplifts the mood.

These are the things I tell myself when I get annoyed by an obnoxious driver during rush hour or a snide remark at work. They are what they are -- inconsequential life circumstances that have no bearing on my happiness.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Forget me not

What would life be like if we had no memory? What if we had no memory of people or events? Instead, our entire existence would be the sum of our immediate sensory perception. I wonder if we would we be happier or sadder. Every scar and bruise would be a mystery, and every person would be a stranger. (Heaven for an extrovert, hell for an introvert.)

We would have no memories of pain. But we would also have no memories of joy.

It's strange. The more distant a memory is in my mind, the softer it becomes. Kind of like a photograph that was once crisp and clear, and later fades, curls and blurs with time. It almost seems like part of a dream, or part of a novel you once read years ago.

Other memories are visited more often, with the most salient and pleasurable elements specially preserved, if not magnified. That BBQ at the park with the old college friends. The grill smelled smokier, the boxed wine tasted sweeter, and the cool grass prickled your toes just a bit more in your memory than it might have in reality.

It's your memory, though. You can do what you want with it.

Right?

I think about the people who are no longer in my life. They loiter in the back of my mind and reappear at particular moments in time, like when I'm waiting in line or when I see an oddity that reminds me of them. They reenact scenes or conversations I had with them and then, when their performance ends, they bow and exit stage left.

Then I wonder. Am I a memory in someone else's mind? The raven-haired girl who wanders into someone's dream, recites a bitter or sweet line, and leaves the room? Does my appearance onstage conjure joy, sadness, rage, or pity? Or am I not even in the cast?

I wonder if it is better to be remembered or forgotten. When I reflect upon my life, I think I'd rather be forgotten by those in the past, and remembered by those in the present.

Things learned the hard way #582,376

Never rely on anyone to be accountable.

(This statement is the kinder cousin to the corollary, "Trust no one.")

Earlier this week, I had spoken with my manager about an Issue. "I'm on top of it," he assured me. "Don't worry about it, I'll let the Senior Boss know I'm on it."

This morning, however, I received a terse email:

Yellow Gal,

It has come to my attention that [the Issue] was not resolved. I took care of it. In the future, please ensure that [the Issue] is resolved and update me on its status.

Thanks.
Senior Boss


Immediately after receiving the email, I called Senior Boss.

It rang twice before he picked up. "Hello, this is [Senior Boss]."

"Hi Senior Boss, this is Yellow Gal, how are you?"

"Fine."

I waited for him to ask how I was doing. After three seconds, I realized that wasn't going to happen, so I said, "I received your email. Manager told me he took care of the Issue, and would talk to you. I assumed he resolved it."

"Well he didn't," Senior Boss said. I could hear the irritation grating in his voice. "I understand what you're saying. But in the future, talk to me directly instead of just speaking with Manager."

"Understood" was what I should have said. "Okay!" was what I chirped.

There were a few seconds of subsiding silence. Then he proceeded to talk about other work matters.

So yeah. Even if it's your manager or someone you typically rely on, follow up. A tiny thought flitted through my mind that maybe I should have looped back to Senior Boss - but I didn't.

Listen to the tiny thought.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Resolution (sort of)

I received the following message from "The Blogger Team" after reporting all 151 of my plagiarized blog entries:

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

We have received your DMCA complaint. Upon recent review of the blog(s) mentioned in your complaint, it appears that the post(s) in question no longer exist(s). If this matter is still a concern, please reply to this email with detailed information to enable us to locate the allegedly infringing content.

Regards,

The Google Team

So that's that.

I guess she deleted the blog herself rather than waiting for Blogger to investigate and shut it down.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Violation

Plagiarizing someone's blog is not only a legal and moral violation. It's a personal violation.

I have blogged about so many things - my childhood, my father who passed away, conversations with my mother, men I have dated before I met my husband, racism I have experienced, feelings of self-doubt, neurosis, and insecurity. These moments are intimate to my life. They are mine.

To see someone take those memories and feelings, and replace a word or two with some other inane noun or verb is such an insult to the original memory or feeling. It is a violation of the most intimate kind.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's still on.

I looked through Thinking's blog, and learned she plagiarized multiple other bloggers.

I contacted and emailed each and every one of them, and posted the precise link to Thinking's blog that copies their blog entries. Hopefully, Blogger will take down the blog.

I attempted to comment on Thinking's blog, but she moderates her comments, so obviously she will disapprove any comment pointing out her plagiarism. She also conveniently deleted my previous posts on her blog about her plagiarized blog entries.

It looks like Crystal Jigsaw and I were the most heavily plagiarized. We'll see what happens next.

151 Plagiarized Entries (at least)

Man. This took me forever. Thinking plagiarized over 150 of my blog entries. I listed them below for the sole purpose of shaming her. The thing that angers me more than plagiarizing my writing is that she changes my blog entry just enough to make it slightly different -- and therefore exceedingly worse!

I guess the inferior writing does it give the entry a flair of authenticity.

http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/06/that-evening.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/06/agreement.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/06/fake-people.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/05/scary-people.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/05/person.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/05/question-remains.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/hmmmstop.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/going-down.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/dont-burn-bridges.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/little-girl.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/on-edge.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/monday-leave.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/big-event.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/kind-of-day.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/voice.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/03/hr-hopes.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/10-days-trip.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/unwelcome-stereotype.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/im-modesty.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/ice-cream.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/praise-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/plight-of-beautiful-wife.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-ll-be-watching-you.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/02/confrence-of-apples.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/other-side-of-fence.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/dinner-time.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/crap.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/collateral-damage.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/procrastinating.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/dash-of-rash.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2011/01/wish.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/12/melodramatic.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-am-superhero.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/mind-reader.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/self-pity.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/pakistan-standard-time.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/woh-ishq.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-own-people.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/slim-bhai-again.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/11/bad-move.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/baaahhhh.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/good-flirt.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-am-too-old.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/blogging-risk.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-did-it.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/random.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/escape.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/vacation.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-mother.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/enlightenment.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/one-year-old.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-feel-fat.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-i-am-working-with.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-am-white-swan.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/gulab-jamnn.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/racism-rey-siz-uhm.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/other-side.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-am-dollhouse.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/obessesion.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/beauty-saloon.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/wedding-anniversary-part-b.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/09/bl-bath-lover.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/follow.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/pakistani-crowd.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/fiction.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/why-hasnt-he-called-me-yet.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/not-that-into-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/once-upon-jealous-wife.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/its-in-name.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-forgive-you.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/08/fall-for.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/wedding-anniversary.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/there-is-this-traffic-police-officer.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/we-human-beings-have-several-type-of.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/embarrassing.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/mercy.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-heart.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/missing-you.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-or-die.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/mother-may-i.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/when-you-stop-talking-to-someoneor-had.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/07/tough-time.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/ugly-part-2.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/grace.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/mirror-mirror-on-wallhuh.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/heaven-help-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/ugly.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/romance-was-in-air.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-belief.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/boycott.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/employed-citizen.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/sincere-tip.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/it-wasnt-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-was-not-poor.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/red-shoe.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/06/let-it-go_01.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-know-you-were-scared.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/terminal.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-disorder.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/toxic-friends.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/thats-way.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/underestimate-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/disappearances.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/be-my-guest.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/lonely-hobby.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/skin-is-thick.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/its-not-whenits-how.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/little-details.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/ring-of-truth.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/fear-of-change.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/best-friend.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/lizard-bb.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/good-first-impression.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/three-thoughts-of-day.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/adjustments.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/beyond-doubt.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/im-going-home-soon.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/tmo.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/good-work-hr.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/life-plan.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-dont-care.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/secret.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/in-need-of-self-improvement.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/its-sunday-night.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/03/modestyhmm.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/as-children-i-always-liked-to-chase.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/mantras.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/ball-woman.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/just-number.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-see-you.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/ugly-and-ignored.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/we-are-same.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/happy-birthday.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/neighbours-sovereignty.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/nice-life.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-am-bad.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-mother-had-given-me-five-fresh-red.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/01/jee.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/01/idioticme.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/01/dirty-furry-sock.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/01/follow-me.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-want-my-shampoo.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/12/non-reunion.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/12/threatened_11.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/11/sacrifice.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/11/sheep-in-big-city.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/11/thinking.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-dream.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-have-nail.html
http://thinking-lifeandyou.blogspot.com/2009/10/babymaniacs.html



It's on like Donkey Kong.

Well I tried.

It turns out that Thinking has not only plagiarized my blog, but other bloggers as well. And continues to do it to this day, despite her apology on my blog.

If you visit her page right now, the first post dated August 25, 2011 titled, "If I were a beloved Husband!," is plagiarized from fridz's blog entry, "if i were a boy."

Her next post dated August 22, 2011 titled, "Who is THINKING ?" (not Thinking, obviously), is plagiarized from Crystal Jigsaw's blog entry, "Who Is Crystal Jigsaw?"

And many, many other entries have been copied, pasted, and tinkered with just enough to render them non-identical. I plan to contact these other bloggers, contact Blogger, and call Thinking out on her blog.

Is this personal?

Yeah, this is personal.

Friday, August 05, 2011

The permanence of love

Last night, a friend passed away.

She was one of those girls who was always in a good mood. Funny, slightly goofy, and unafraid to stand in front of a crowd during karaoke and belt her heart out. She was an aspiring violinist, and played in a few chamber orchestras in the city. Her dream was to play for the New York Philharmonic. She was my age.

The moment I found out she was pregnant, I congratulated her and her husband on their expectancy. She was super excited and stoked to be an expecting mother. They found out they were having a son and I was so happy for her.

Yesterday, she checked into the hospital. Later that evening, they induced labor and she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl. The doctors noticed something was very very wrong, and called her family immediately. When the family arrived, the doctors delivered the bad news: she had suffered from internal bleeding, and passed away.

It is devastating on so many levels. Her husband is a widower at just age 35. He lost his life partner, his best friend, his wife. They seemed so happy together, and all of a sudden she's just gone. The infant daughter will no doubt be showered with love for the rest of her life. But she will never know her mother. And her birth will forever be linked with her mother's death.

I think of my friend. She was so vibrant. I remember her counting the days to her giving birth, her exclaiming that in just X number of days, she was going to be a mommy. Her baby shower was just a couple weeks ago.

It just seems impossible that someone who can be so full of life one day be simply gone the next. Where does that life force go? That energy, that expectant joy and excitement? Does it simply vanish? It just seems so shocking and stark, it makes no sense.

Her daughter will never know her mother. But I know that the daughter will learn about her mother when she grows older, through videos, photographs, and stories. The daughter will listen to recordings of her mother playing the violin. She will watch her parents' wedding video, and see photographs of her mother dressed as Batgirl at her last Halloween party.

I have faith that the rest of the family will inherit the love my friend would have had for her daughter, and will shower the daughter with that love. That love will never vanish. It will live on in those who share it.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Run.

I really want to run tonight. Run the anxiety out of my toes. Run the thoughts out of my head. Running is one of the few times where you are in complete control of the situation: how long you run, how fast you run, what you wear.

If you want to stop, you can stop. If you want to go farther than yesterday, you can. No judgment.

It's kind of nice.

Redemption

I believe in redemption. I believe people can make a mistake and later have the choice to do the right thing.

So far, my admirer/plagiarizer has not issued any public apology or detraction on her blog. It makes me sad. And it puts me in a very uncomfortable, unfortunate situation. I really do not want to go onto each entry and post my original entry to discredit her.

I really want to give her the choice. Everyone deserves a chance.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Plagiarized blogs abound

I googled "plagiarized blog" and numerous websites popped up on other bloggers who have been plagiarized. Looks like I'm not alone:

A published author named Mary W. Walters discovered her blog was being plagiarized extensively just a couple weeks ago, and is looking into what she can do.

Another blogger, Truthful Mommy, has had her blog plagiarized multiple times. She provides several solutions, like installing software that prevents people from copy-and-pasting her blog text.

There are also articles on preventing blog content theft:
and so many more!

Thanks to techiedevil, a blogger on Internet Marketing Journal, I learned how to prevent content theft by employing a script that prevents copy-and-pasting as suggested by Truthful Mommy above.

We'll wait and see what happens next!

Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery

I just discovered someone has been plagiarizing my blog! I am both flattered and disturbed right now. Well, if you're reading this, "Thinking," I have just outed you.

The blogger, "Thinking," has a blog entry, "I am White Swan !" dated September 23, 2010, that is almost word-for-word identical to my blog entry, "I am a white swan," dated December 3, 2005. "Thinking" added a sentence or two, but they're pretty much the same. Click on the two hyperlinks, and judge for yourselves.

Just found another one, "Not that INTO me ?" dated August 12, 2010, which is eerily similar to one of my older entries, "He's just not that into me?" dated December 25, 2005.

I don't have the time or energy to see what other entries "Thinking" copied and slightly modified for "originality's sake." Suffice it to say, I don't mind if people quote, copy, whatever from my blog. Just give me some credit!

Of course, I read all the comments to "Thinking's blog entries" and read them as if they're responding to me. Also, I will post a comment on her blog. Who knows how many other bloggers have been plagiarized?

To quote Thinking, "I am honored" to have been plagiarized. (See? This sentence is an example of attributing credit.)

Our avatars

Social networking is an interesting phenomenon. I am thinking of Facebook, in particular. It is a projection of what the user wants the world to see. Witty status updates, selected photographs showing only your good side, and only the interests, books, and movies you're not embarrassed of. Your profile is a well-crafted depiction of the person you wish others to see.

Not unlike online dating, in a way.

Or blogging. Admittedly, I shape my blog according to the messages, anecdotes, and fictions I want to convey. Yes, I sometimes include the unhappy, embarrassing, humbling moments, but even those moments are crafted.

Does anyone ever want anyone else to know the "real" us? Not just the embarrassing stories your college friends know, but the shit, despair, and humiliation. It was bad enough to go through it once; why relive that shit again by revealing it to people? Each new acquaintance is a blank slate from which you can construct your new persona. You were never a neglected child, an abused teen, or battered wife. You are simply a new person to this new acquaintance.

Revealing one's "real" self is a rare event, perhaps only to a select few -- a best friend, a significant other, at most. And that revelation of your true self is only when you truly believes you won't be judged for your flaws, mistakes, or traumas. It is also the only way to achieve genuine intimacy.

The rest of the world -- including our parents, friends, and coworkers -- is kept at arm's length; they see only a filtered version of our true selves. None of them know the "real" us. They only know our projections.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My list of places to visit (in no order)

  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Egypt
  • Portugal
  • New Zealand
  • Thailand
  • India
  • Turkey
  • Czech Republic
  • Japan
  • Costa Rica
  • Philippines
  • Ireland
  • Amsterdam
  • China
And revisit:
  • France
  • England
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Brazil
I just need to win the lottery, that's all.

An update

So I should probably mention that I'm married now. Yep, married. Yay! (And don't ask me how many times someone said to me, "Hell has frozen over," at my wedding no less.)

Like advancing from "virgin" to "non-virgin" status, transitioning from "single" to "married" status isn't as mind-blowingly, awe-inspiringly explosive of a change as I thought it might be.

It's an easy transition. It's a nice transition. And it feels good to know I'll be with the same dude 'til I kick it.

When one gets married in her thirties versus twenties, there's a greater expectation to bear children sooner (as my mom has made abundantly, excessively, painstakingly clear to me on an hourly basis). One of the advantages of marrying earlier is being able to enjoy being married - traveling the globe with your spouse, going to the theater followed by late night frivolity - without the immediate fear of one's eggs drying up.

If my man and I want to have kids, we will not have the luxury of time to "enjoy being married."

That said, I'm glad my single life went the way it did. Sure, I still wish I had the chance to go speed-dating or attend a "bring your ex" party. And a few more pretty boys to play with and break my heart would have been entertaining fodder for this blog. But I feel like I got a lot of dysfunctional dating accomplished in the time allotted.

Disappointments, social retards, mind games, awkward moments, and rejection really make you appreciate the person you end up with.

Am I saying that someone has to treat you badly to enable you to appreciate being treated well? Not necessarily. But after finding so many dudes who don't fit, finding someone who does fit is pretty amazing.

One acquaintance put it, "It's a goddamn miracle." Not sure if that's a compliment or insult (I'm pretty sure it's the latter), but truth be told, I agree: it is a goddamn miracle to find a guy who fits you...and you fit him.

I still suck.

Following my 20/20 hindsight post below, I was confronted with another race-based comment by a coworker.

Three of us were standing in someone's office, when the following occurred:

Coworker #1: "Wow, I've been on the phone with all these foreigners today."

I think to myself, Foreigners? Did he just say 'foreigners'?

Given my vast knowledge of racial self-awareness, wit, and quick-paced thinking, I responded with a very assertive: "Huh."

Yet, without skipping a beat, Coworker #2 said: "Coworker #1, we're all foreigners. Wait, unless you're a Native American? No, I didn't think so."

Coworker #2: "[Stammering justification, explanation, etc.]"

Seriously, I suck.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

20/20 hindsight

My (white) friend was at a football game with some (white) friends at a large university. While sitting in the bleachers, they struck up a conversation with a couple (white) neighbors, a current university student with his father. At one point in the conversation, the student said, "I like it here a lot. The only thing is that there are too many Asian girls. All the Asian girls are detracting from the pretty girls here."

My friend and her friends just sat there and pretty much failed to respond. When she later told me this story, I was annoyed for two reasons:

(1) The comment was a direct insult to my peeps.
(2) She didn't stick up for me. None of them stood up for yellow womankind. They just took it.

I realize people are entitled to their opinions. Just like there are dudes who think all Asian chicks are hot, there are dudes who think Asian chicks are ugly. But still. A part of me gets mad thinking about how my friend didn't do anything to stand up against the racist comment.

But then another part of me reflects on my own behavior and gets mad for all the times I didn't stand up for something when I should have.

The other day, I was in the ladies room, chatting with a coworker. I asked her if she hung out in the city a lot (she lives in the burbs). She said, "Oh, no, there are too many people there -- it's so scary!"

"Oh really?" I asked, wondering how "too many people" could be scary.

"I was walking in the East Village the other day," she said, "and I was surrounded by all these black people. I thought I was going to get robbed!" She started laughing.

I was stunned and involuntarily smiled back. "What? Why would you think you were going to get robbed?"

"All those black people!"

Instead of standing up for what was right, I stammered, "Oh the East Village is safe..."

Later on, I was kicking myself for not saying something else. Of course, the responses flow to me now:

"Why do you think black people would rob you? That's racist."
"I have friends who are black and, um, none of them have robbed me."
"My fiance is black and he's never robbed anyone."
"I'm black."

(Okay the last two were hypothetical.)

I guess it's hard to think on one's feet when one is confronted with a statement so shocking and unexpected. Now that I think about it, there have been a number of times when I've been confronted with blatant racism and I had no idea how to respond. I can deal with low-level racist comments, like, "Asians are good at math" or "What are you?" But blatant comments like "I hate Mexicans" or "Asians are shitty drivers" - not so much.

I realize that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. I just gotta conjure my anti-racist comebacks faster!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Peacefulness.

Classical music playing on the radio, against the backdrop of ambient city noise streaming in from an open window.

Friday, April 08, 2011

wo ai ni

I'm not Chinese but I know what it means.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Little gal

I am a complete woman. I know who I am and know what I want.

Yet every once in a while, I get bouts of neurotic insecurity, the kind that should only plague girls ages 10-17, not women who are educated and experienced in the real world. It is during these bouts of insecurity that I question my intelligence and my appearance--specifically, my weight.

Today I went to see my doctor for a regular check-up. She took my blood pressure and said, "It sounds healthy. Blood pressure can be on the low side for skinny people."

Hold up. Was she saying I was skinny? Skinny?? No, perhaps she was saying my blood pressure was healthy, but added an irrelevant bit of trivia on skinny people.

"So it's healthy?" I said.

"Yes," she said as she put the stethoscope away.

"But it was on the low side?"

"Yes, it's lower than the average person; but that's usually the case with skinny women."

"Oh okay," I said calmly, placing my hands on my lap. Inside, my heart fluttered at the thought that my doctor said I was "skinny," a word I reserved for the likes of Calista Flockhart and Keira Knightley. (Granted, I know I weigh more than 80 pounds, unlike Ms. Flockhart and Ms. Knightley - but still!)

So for this day only, I will savor the inadvertent, utterly superficial validation from my doctor, validation that should only exist for girls ages 10-17. This doesn't mean I'm not going to try to lose 5-10 more pounds before my wedding. But it will do for today.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The more you know.

My friend, an attorney in a law firm, is also leaving his current position. His new job is pretty sweet: in-house counsel at a Fortune 300 company. After it was announced that he was leaving his position in a couple weeks, a few other attorneys in his practice group asked him to let them know if there are any additional openings in his new company.

What he said was "Absolutely."

What he thought was "HELL no."

He has seen the shady, underhanded things they do, the shortcuts they make, and the lapses in judgment. He's seen them drop the ball and blame it on someone else. He witnessed them breaching another coworker's privacy. Gossip, back-stabbing, and tattling to the partners--the list goes on.

"Why the fuck would I want to bring them over to my company?" he asked me. "Not only would they fuck up everything, they would make me look bad for recommending them."

"You have a point," I said.

"And the thing is, they KNOW that I know their shady bullshit. Do they really think I want my new company to hire a bunch of back-stabbing, incompetent lazy-asses?"

"Well, maybe they thought you guys were such good pals, you'd recommend them anyway," I said. He started shaking his head vehemently while I was talking. "Also, maybe they thought it wouldn't hurt to ask."

"Oh hell no," he said.

Amused by his growing agitation, I said, "Or, honestly, maybe they didn't think they did anything wrong."

After I said that, I think his head almost exploded. It made me laugh, but he didn't think it was that funny.

So what's the lesson here? It is perhaps a corollary to the "Don't burn bridges" axiom: Don't be a back-stabbing, incompetent lazy-ass. Or at least don't let your bosses or coworkers know you are a back-stabbing, incompetent lazy-ass.

Because you never know.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I choose (2).

To respond to my post below, (2) is worse.

In other words, I'm leaving my job for another job.

At first, I really didn't want to. My current job is just so damn comfortable. But after some lengthy contemplation (i.e., typical Yellow Gal neurotic fretting) and lengthy discussions, I decided to take the leap into another role. Something more challenging, a little scary, but hopefully more promising.

It definitely helped to hear my senior manager tell me that if, down the road, I ever changed my mind about leaving, I would be welcome back.

Now the goal is to maintain efficiency for the two remaining weeks I have left without lapsing into Slacker Mode (last triggered during senior year of high school).

Then the next new adventure begins.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Which is worse:

(1) Taking a chance, and regretting you did?

or

(2) Not taking a chance, and regretting you didn't?

Ironic thing is, you cannot know whether or not you regret something until you already regret it.

Frak!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

People stop asking you this question by the time you reach your twenties because: (1) you are already grown up, and (2) you should already know what you want to be.

I've reached most of my nominal goals in my life, and still I wonder. The question now isn't exactly what do I want to be, but what do I want to have achieved in my lifetime?

When I reach the end of my life, I'd like to be able to look back and say, "I've lived a full life. And I'm happy I did all that I achieved."

I feel a number of cultural forces vying within me at this point in my life. There is the desire to reach my utmost intellectual potential. My parents bred us kids to study, do our best, and achieve as much as we could. We were blessed with above-average IQs and were somehow commissioned with the duty to live our lives to our fullest potential.

Then there is the desire to be a balanced family person, to have a social life with friends and family. My parents worked 12-hour days every day because they had to, given our modest circumstances, and left us kids at home alone to eat TV dinners and have our after-school meetings and concerts without a parent in the audience. I always envied the other kids whose parents were there to pick them up or greet them at home when they came home from school.

But you can't have it all, can you? You can't reach the top of your company by working strictly 9 to 5. And you can't work 12-hour days and be there for your kid's play or orchestra concert.

So then the question becomes, "What will you regret more?"

I remember speaking to a lawyer who left her large firm job to work at a smaller firm with more reasonable hours. And she told me with a sense of regret that she made sacrifices detrimental to her career because she was a mother.

Currently, I feel like I've plateaued in my position. There was a steep learning curve, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. My managers like me, I've received glowing reviews, and I'm on top of my game. The downside is, I don't feel very intellectually challenged. I stated as much in my most recent review, and my managers said they'd give me more opportunities. But I look at people who've been with the company for years, and I don't see them in intellectually stimulating positions. It's mostly project management, sprinkled with bouts of minimally higher-level thinking.

The job is, however, very relaxed. I have very flexible hours with flexible coworkers and managers. I am rarely stressed and I know that this job would be ideal for someone with an active family life.

I know there are jobs that are more intellectually stimulating, but they are perhaps more stressful or require more hours. And I really don't want to be a deadbeat parent.

So there seem to be two sides of the spectrum: (1) staying in an intellectually-bereft job with the flexibility to be an involved parent and spouse, or (2) pursuing a more ambitious, stimulating position with social limitations. There must be a balance between the two scenarios.

I suppose, though, that in the end I'd rather have my family and friends by my side on my deathbed, rather than a 10-digit bank account balance and a nice title at a company.

Hmm, maybe the answer lies there.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The unmentionable stereotype

So as I alluded to in my previous post, the girls (all of whom are yellow girls) spoke about penis length. Simply put, they said that all yellow guys were small and that yellow guys of our shade of yellow (i.e., ethnicity) were the smallest of all the Asians.

One yellow girl dated one--and only one--yellow guy, and his penis happened to be literally one inch long, erect. Based on this one--and only one--experience, she deduced that the entire Asian male population must be one inch in length erect, and has dated only non-Asian men since then. WTF?

I said to her point blank, "I would not judge an entire race's penis based on the penis of one guy." She could only acknowledge my opinion with an indifferent shrug.

Another yellow girl, however, noted that every yellow penis she has seen was one to two inches in length. WTF?

I have, ahem, dated non-yellow men. And believe me, there are indeed one-inchers outside the Asian race. There are also one-footers within the Asian race. Relegating Asian men to sexual stereotypes is akin to relegating Asian women to sexual stereotypes. If there is one Japanese nymphomaniac girl who has a gang-bang fetish, does this translate to all Asian women being nymphomaniacs who have gang-bang fetishes?

I don't know why I get so defensive over this conversation, seeing as my Fiance isn't the same shade of yellow I am. I have to admit though, it is not the first time a yellow gal has made those observations to me. Asian girls of various ethnicities, from East Asian to South Asian, and even non-Asian girls have made similar sexual stereotype-laden observations to me. A fair number of my yellow friends date only white guys in part because of the size difference. But also a fair number of them have dated/are married to other Asian guys.

So what does all this mean? I was clearly in the minority in the group. I knew that nothing I could say or argue would change the minds of these women because few things are more persuasive or damning than personal experience. As a yellow guy told me, stereotypes exist for a reason: they are based, in part, on truth.

Still, though. Yellow stereotypes get under my skin.

Out of the club

So went the "girls' night out." It was "okay," for the most part.

The thing was, I felt mostly left out.

A core group of the girls were single and chatted nonstop about boys, single life, and dating standards. I tried to chime in when I could, but because I am apparently no longer a card-carrying member of the Single Girls' Club, my opinions were largely disregarded.

Hello, I still remember what it was like to date. Doesn't that earn me some street cred? It's been a few years, but still!

It also didn't help that I wasn't as tight with some of the more vocal single girls. I suppose every group has that dynamic.

Anyhow, the topics covered included, among other things, male pattern baldness, height, race, chivalry, wealth, penis length, physical attractiveness, and social retardation. Only one of the girls actually posed a question to me, "So how's wedding planning?"

When one of the girls mentioned her sister was pregnant, I was the only one who exclaimed, "Oh my god, that's wonderful!" The other ladies looked at her with concerted indifference, as if she were reciting the weather forecast from two weeks ago.

So in the end, it was fine. But being the only girl with a ring on my finger that evening, I felt a bit...alienated. I suppose when one door opens, another door closes, and I can no longer partake in the excitement and glamor of modern single life. I can only sit in the periphery of a booth table at a bar and listen nostalgically to angst-ridden, inside-joke-laden stories of the single life I've already lived.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Um, maybe not

A girlfriend just informed us that she invited a few guys out to the bar tonight.

Um, I thought this was a girls' thing?

Also, she joked that a couple of the other single girls might be inviting their "male acquaintances." Once again, the opposite sex finds ways of infiltrating our free time.

Oh, and it gets better: one of the guys who is coming out tonight is someone I went on a few dates with a few years ago who was a really bad kisser. Oh and he might bring a "female friend" with him too.

Should be FUN! After discovering all these men were coming/invited tonight, I invited the Fiance along, but he declined. For some reason, he'd rather stay at home and watch TV rather than come out with a gaggle of girls and their random male connections. The fact that I briefly dated one of these dudes didn't even faze him.

Now, instead of a girls' night out, it's a girls-meeting-up-with-random-guys' night out.

So much for my grand notion of having my own golden girls.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Friday night

Tomorrow night is going to be a "girls' night out." We're watching a show, we're eating wings, and we're drinking 'til god knows when. It's been a while since I've had a girls' night out.

In the last several years, my social circle has predictably dwindled to my sig other. And now that marriage, children and a two-car garage are on the horizon, the prospect of going to a bar and ogling/turning down the advances of strange men doesn't sound as exciting to me as it did before.

Man, I'm old.

The other night, I was having a nice dinner with the Fiance, when I noticed a table across the room where three gray-haired ladies were enjoying their meals. I watched them banter, sip their red wine, and laugh hysterically. They seemed to transform into high school girls. It looked like the kind of friendship that had weathered decades of heartache, drama with the in-laws, teenage children, and mortgage payments.

I wondered to myself, am I going to have my own golden girls? Will I still be having a girls' night out in my sixties, except eating medium rare steak with red wine instead of wings with beer?

One can only hope. So, in spite of my newfound homebody-ness, I am going out. Not all out.

But out with the girls.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Acceptance of props

I suspect that as a woman, I have a hard time accepting props. I read somewhere that when someone compliments you, you shouldn't argue with the complimenter. Just accept the compliment and say "Thank you."

Some examples:

Coworker says: "Wow, you did a great job writing that memo."

Instead of saying: "Oh, no, it was a really easy subject, so it didn't require that much effort or intelligence to begin with, plus I had a lot of help from ten other people."

One should say: "Thank you. I'm glad I could help out the team."

Friend says: "Oh my god, your new haircut looks amazing!"

Instead of saying, "Oh, no, it's a little lopsided, and it makes random wavy hair look even wavier, not to mention it shows how thin my hair is and emphasizes my big forehead."

One should say: "Thank you. I like it too!"

I got a lot better at accepting props with time. Once in a while, I'll get props that I don't think I deserve. So sometimes I literally have to stop and remind myself to say "Thank you."

By arguing with the complimenter, you are: (1) putting yourself down and making yourself look worse, and (2) calling the complimenter a liar. Sometimes my friends argue with me when I compliment them, and it frustrates me.

So when someone says you're awesome, it means you're awesome, damnit. Accept the props!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don't know, don't care

I saw a commercial for a search website the other day. A woman was sitting on the couch with her laptop. While surfing the web, she clicked on something and suddenly discovered that several people were searching for her. Her face instantly lit up and she exclaimed something to the effect of: "All of these people are searching for me? Wow!"

Wow indeed. You have a bunch of stalkers.

Okay okay, not all people who search for someone are necessarily stalkers. We've all probably been guilty of googling folks, unbeknownst to them.

Interestingly though, there are a quite few websites that search for those who are searching for you:

http://www.whoissearchingforme.com/
http://people411search.com/
http://who-me.com/

Honestly though, I don't think I would ever sign up for that kind of search service. I don't want to know if people are searching for me. I don't care if it's an ex-boyfriend, some guy I had a huge crush on in high school, an old friend I lost touch with, or someone from the missed connections page from Craigslist. If they are important to me, I am already in touch with them.

Which brings me to an interesting thing I just learned. I was on LinkedIn, just checking up on my contacts, when I decided to view my profile. On the lower right hand corner of my profile page, there was a box that read, "Viewers of this profile also viewed..." and listed other random people who may or may not be connected to me.

I then saw a name that looked strange to me. I clicked on it, and it was obviously a fabricated LinkedIn page (zero connections, nonsensical name, fake employer name). However, I saw just enough clues to realize who it was: Some crazy dude I had a fling with years ago.

Now, perhaps, it was some random third party who happened to view my profile and this other fake profile. But remembering how crazy the guy was back then, I knew better. He had created a fake profile and was looking at my profile.

Needless to say, it freaked me out just a little. In terms of level of freaked-out-ness, it wasn't quite the "Oh crap, I'm pregnant!"-level, but closer to the "Oh crap, I left my passport on the airplane"-level. Harmless, nothing life-altering, but creepy nonetheless.

The question is, why create this fake profile, only to plant those clues for me to see? He picked a fake name that was eerily similar to his name. And the fake employer name was also a permutation of his employer's name. So instead of "Bill Gates" working at "Microsoft," it said "Williamford Tages" working at "Macroshaft." If he wanted to completely hide his identity, why didn't he make it "John Smith" working at "Smith, Inc."? What would it accomplish to give me clues that he was searching for me? And why is he looking me up years later?

It's a little creepy because the flingship ended pretty badly -- lots of drama, lots of hard feelings, lots of third parties getting involved, which bloomed into more drama. To this day, it remains a black mark on my permanent dating record.

So, seriously, this -- [insert vehement hand-gesturing] -- is why I don't need to know if someone is searching for me. Because it raises all of these unanswerable questions. Questions I don't want to think about. Questions I don't want to know the answers to.

Which leads me to my next point: Don't you wish you could take all the people you dated in the past, and transport them into another dimension where you would never have to see (or worry about seeing) them again? This is a little more humane than hoping they were all dead. They would all be unscathed, but in a separate universe where you would be completely unbothered from eery LinkedIn search results, Facebook friend suggestions, or accidental/misdialed phone calls.

I know the universe does not revolve around me, but if it did and I were omnipotent, that would be one of the first tweaks I'd make to existence. (God, if you are listening, this is a hint.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Hierarchies"

I saw a bit a while ago from Carlos Mencia on Asians. Mencia is unapologetically irreverent and a self-described "equal opportunity offender." If you're offended by ethnic slurs, then you should probably not listen to his comedy, nor should you continue reading this blog entry.

**Please be warned that I type out racist slurs in this blog entry, and I do so as quotations only, and not in the pejorative sense.**

In one show, Mencia spoke about the apparent hierarchy among Asians, using some pretty strong ethnic slurs, which I will quote. According to Mencia, the Chinese were at the "top" of the Asian hierarchy, while the Vietnamese were "pretty much niggers of the community." He said that Filipinos were the "beaners" of the Asian community because they're "just like [Mexicans] - [they]'re indigenous people that got banged by some Spaniards."

I wondered about his categorizations. Is there a hierarchy of Asian ethnicities in the general Asian community?

I'd say so.

My Korean friend was dating a non-Korean Asian guy and was a little nervous about telling her parents about him. Finally, one day she told her mom, "I'm dating someone Asian...but not Korean."

Her mom paused for a moment, sensing something in my friend's voice. "I can tell by the way you tell me that he is either Filipino or Vietnamese."

He was Vietnamese.

My friend from law school (who is Caucasian) once hosted a Japanese exchange student during college. He told me how eager he was to show her their town's local Asian supermarket. They drove into the parking lot of the supermarket, which was apparently Chinese. The student suddenly changed her mind and did not want to go inside. He had no idea why.

I interrupted him and said, "Is it because she thought it was 'dirty'?"

He looked at me, startled, and said, "That's exactly what she said. She said because it was Chinese, it was dirty. I was totally shocked."

My friend (a Filipina gal) was chatting with a Chinese dude, and he actually "ranked" the Asian ethnicities. #1: Chinese, #2: Japanese, #3: Korean...and at the bottom were the Filipinos. (Yes, he said it to her face.) I have heard other Asians say that the Vietnamese were at the bottom.

From what I've seen and heard, the racist Asian hierarchy seems to place the East Asians (Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese) at the top, and the Southeast Asians (Vietnamese, Cambodians, Filipinos, etc.) at the bottom. The South Asians (Indians, Pakistani's, etc.) are around the bottom too.

For a population that is stereotypically smart and educated, we can be pretty racist and ignorant. I think some of the most racist comments I have heard firsthand were from Asian Americans. We're not only racist against other races, we're racist against ourselves!

But when you think about it, aren't there racist hierarchies among other races? An African American coworker was talking to me about the African American community. She was very very light-skinned and told me how there was a divide between darker-skinned women and lighter-skinned women like herself. I heard a radio talk show host, who was light-skinned as well, talk about how he experienced the same disparity when he was in college.

And I don't need to mention Chris Rock's controversial bit on "Niggas vs. Black People."

I would venture to guess there is even a "hierarchy" among European ethnicities. In the U.S. at least, I would say that, if there were a perceived hierarchy, those of English or German ancestry look down on those of Irish, Scottish or Italian ancestry. And aren't the Aryan features of blond hair and blue eyes superior to those of the brown-eyed brunettes?

I don't think any of this racism (or "ethnicism") will go away anytime soon.

In the end, I guess every race - regardless of which race - is an equal opportunity racist.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So I think I made my coworker cry.

Not intentionally of course. But I had to review some of her work product. And, quite frankly, there were a lot of mistakes.

I began marking up her work with a red pen because that is my default color to use when correcting mistakes. But then there were so many mistakes, the ink began to run together, so I began using a green pen. I also used a yellow highlighter to mark the fields of the work that were deficient. It took me a few hours to mark up, and in the end the entire mark-up looked like a red, yellow, and green mess. I left it on her desk so that she would see it the first thing the next morning.

OKAY SO I KNOW what it's like to work hard on something and have it returned to you bleeding with mark-ups. You get pissed off. You feel defensive. It's personal because this is your work and someone else is criticizing it. I get it. I've had it done to me. But if I wrote "1 + 1 = 3," and someone crosses out the 3 and puts a 2, I might not be happy about it, but I get it.

Anyhow, the next morning, I could tell my coworker was a little pissed. There were instructions about the project that the supervisor never relayed to her. In fact, some misinformation was communicated to her, which forced her to redo a lot of her work.

I felt bad. And even apologized to her for giving her so much work to do. She said it wasn't my fault, just some misinformation was communicated to her, and she was frustrated.

Anyhow, I walked by her desk later in the afternoon. She was talking to another coworker, and I saw that her face was bright red. She blew her nose and dabbed her face quickly, but I saw a couple tears fall down her cheek.

"Oh my god, are you okay?" I said. The other coworker looked at me and smiled sympathetically.

"I'm fine," she said. "Just having a bad day. Stressed at work, things going on at home. Whatever, I'll get over it." She blew her nose again.

I felt bad. "Oh, I'm sorry." I didn't know what to say. I wasn't that close with her, but I felt really bad that she was feeling so crummy. I almost felt guilty for being so harsh on her work, but I had to be - if I didn't, the end work product would have been patently defective.

So yeah. That was my first time being on the other side of the fence.

Bleh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

RSVP no

I've noticed that some people like to feel victimized. When something doesn't go their way, or some mishap befalls them, they curl into a fetal position and bemoan how the cruel, unfair world is out to get them.

I know this because I have done this.

Frankly, we've all probably thrown ourselves a pity party or few in our lives when things just suck. So I have to wonder, why do we feel the need to feel like victims? Like the world is out to get us? Isn't that counterintuitive? Perhaps it is a mechanism to deal with negative events in our lives. There is some glory to being a martyr.

When I hung out a lot more with a Debbie Downer friend, I used to think that being positive took affirmative effort. That the default mood was depression and angst, and to arise from that default mood, one had to summon the extra energy to not be depressed or angst-ridden. But now I think it's about frame of mind.

Like most people, I get annoyed from time to time about stupid b.s. at work. Someone drops the ball because he procrastinated on a project. So you're the one who has to take on his workload. Someone was lazy and didn't feel like doing something. So you're the one who has to take on his workload.

Usually, in a perfect universe, when Person A fucks up, Person A is the one who must deal with the consequences. At work, however, when Person A fucks up, Yellow Gal is the one who has to deal with the consequences. At this point -- when the work mishaps combine with my In-A-Perfect-Universe ponderings -- I begin selecting the font and text for the invitations to my pity party.

Instead of getting mad, however, I should change my frame of mind. Instead of thinking, "Because of these lazy fuckups, I need to work late," I should remind myself that the more work that I do, the more valuable I become as an employee. And, without throwing anyone under the bus, I need to let my managers know that I've done more than my share of work.

If Person A has only accomplished projects 1 and 2 during the calendar year, and if Yellow Gal has accomplished projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, during the calendar year, a reasonable manager would surmise that, when it comes to raises, promotions, or (god forbid) layoffs, Yellow Gal is probably the more valuable candidate.

The key is to self-promote. (Or so they tell me.) The old school ethic of working hard and hoping the higher ups will notice won't fly. Unfortunately, the old school ethic of working hard and hoping the higher ups will notice seems to be the classic, stereotypical Asian work ethic.

I detest people who brag about themselves. You know the ones. They dominate the conversation at lunch or board meetings, regaling everyone within earshot with tales of their valor on Project A, Presentation B, or Client C. They boast, they laugh at their own jokes, and they heartily agree and nod when they get props. I really dislike those people. And no matter what, I don't think I could ever be That Asshole.

So there seems to be a fine line between cockiness and confidence. I just need to find it and remind myself: as people pile more shit on you, remember to let the higher ups know. In the end, it makes the shitpilers look lazy, and makes you look awesome.

Pity party averted.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Resilience

A coworker just told me about her ex-husband and how, at her son's wedding, she did not want to walk her son down the aisle with her ex-husband.

Now everyone harbors ill will towards an ex, right? Then she told me what he did. He:

(1) cheated on her during their marriage,
(2) left her and their children, and
(3) told her the reason he cheated on her and left her was because she was fat and ugly.

Wow.

Honestly, I couldn't believe he did that to her. The sad thing was that she believed what he said . . . for years. She believed that, if she were more attractive, if she were thinner, perhaps the family would still be together. She believed that it was her fault that he cheated on her and left her.

I couldn't imagine the kind of damage that line of thinking does to a woman. As she told me her story, though, she seemed totally recovered from the trauma. She moved past it, apparently, and can now look back on it when some objectivity. And she ended up walking her son down the aisle with her ex.

But seriously, how do you get over that? I'm not sure I could.

I never cease to be amazed by the strength of some people.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The hurtful truth

Did you ever have to have a conversation you really, really, really did not want to have, but you had to have?

I do.

It's nothing terrible, shady, or heart-breaking. But I run the risk of offending someone deeply and personally. This conversation may even strain the friendship. But I have to do this. I want to tell the person directly, rather than allowing the person hear it from someone else.

To make myself feel better, I will list other conversations that are no doubt MORE difficult to have than the one I'm about to have with my friend.

Difficult conversations between friends:

-"I want to end this friendship."
-"The reason I don't hang out as much is that none of my friends like you."
-"I think your boyfriend/husband is cheating on you."
-"I slept with your boyfriend/husband."

Difficult conversations between significant others in a relationship:

-"I can't have children."
-"I have a sexually transmitted disease. It has no cure."
-"I don't love you anymore."
-"I cheated on you."

Okay, that didn't make me feel better. In fact, that was actually a little depressing to write out. I hope that no one ever has to say/hear these things. But if they do, props for having the guts to say it.

Sometimes I feel like my decisions are based on the lesser of two evils - which course of action will cause less anxiety/pain? Biting the bullet and telling the person the bad news directly? Or having the person find out this information from someone else, or some other way?

I might know the answer to this question, but it doesn't mean I like it.
 
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