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:


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


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.


Friday, January 14, 2011


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


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.


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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