Monthly Archives: December 2010

Thanks, baby

Dearest Colorado,

A couple weeks ago we had a little conversation about your lack of effort in our relationship, and I voiced my concern that you’re not giving as much as you used to. But lo and behold, I fly back from a week long trip in California with exhausting 60 degree weather, and what do you do? You welcome me back home with open arms and freezing weather, even dumping a few inches of clean snow in my neighborhood. And I only got delayed a couple hours at the airport.

You really are the bestest, Colorado. I’m sorry I ditched you on Christmas for dirty ol’ California (I know, I know, I keep going back, even though I know it hurts you inside. It just calls to me again and again like a two dollar… yeah.) But we’ll be together for New Year’s, I promise. You brought in snow and wind and the works before the year is over, just like I asked, and I can’t express my gratitude enough. I’m glad we’re able to work this out, and I promise to put in more effort as well for the New Year. All in all –

Thanks, baby.


— Yes, I am back from California and am now reunited with the internet. Update of my vacation to be posted soon. ^_^


Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Learn to drive!!

From a stereotypical point of view this may seem a bit out of place and rather comical coming from an Asian woman, but you are more than welcome to take that broken stereotype and watch me run over it with my Honda (yeah, yeah, I drive a Honda, I never said stereotypes are completely wrong).

Twice this past weekend I almost get run into by people merging into my lane without realizing I’m there. First time it’s after dropping my friend off at the airport; I’m in the middle lane and in this guy’s blind spot. Slowly but surely he comes drifting along into my lane from my right, no turn blinker in sight. Many people apparently have this “honk the horn” instinct and immediately honk at people wronging them on the road, but mine had yet to be developed and I instead hit the brakes and slid over to the other lane. Fortunately he saw his mistake, got back into his lane, and flashed an apologetic wave in my general direction. I was appeased. Miffed, but appeased.

Next time it’s after dropping my brother off (maybe I should just stop driving people around?) and this time I’m right next to the girl on my left, as in, fully within view by even a basic sideways glance. But did she glance? No. She just starts barreling towards me and the moment I see her crossing the line my newly acquired honking instinct kicks in and I slam my fist into the horn. Note that this was as I was looking at her, and not for a single moment did she even bother to look in my direction as she drove, just stared straight ahead with this bored, glazed look in her eye. I hate to use this word, but this damn… teenager almost ran into me because she couldn’t be bothered to turn her empty airhead, or even shift her eyes towards her destination.

I’m baffled, appalled, and pretty freaking annoyed. At least the guy the day before gave me a friendly wave and noticed his mistake. This girl didn’t even realize she made a mistake and just scoffs at me with a teenager eye roll when I honk at her, casually slowing down and getting right behind me and then tailing my ass as if I was out of line for keeping the peace.

Seriously girl? You wanna go? Eye-roll me one more time in your broken down Camry, kid, I dare you.

Granted, I didn’t stay annoyed for very long (it’s so much effort, and so tedious), but those few minutes of frustration coupled with the incident the day before  really did do a number on my faith in drivers around the country. Not to say that this faith was ever that high to begin with, but something as simple as checking the lane you’re driving into or even using the turn signal should be habitual for people.

If you can pick up your phone from the bottom of the passenger seat floor while driving, or shuffle around your Starbucks frap and breakfast burrito, then you should be able to click the stupid lever right next to your hand. It’s that simple. There is no excuse for driving a two ton machine at 60 mph and not even having the slightest comprehension of your surroundings.

Ah, humanity. Thou hast done it again.

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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in Uncategorized


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The fairer sex?

Usually when someone is described as physical, aggressive, and super competitive, one thinks of a husky manly man doing his manly man thing and plowing into a brick wall with all muscle and no helmet just because his guy friends said he couldn’t and bet a beer against him.

That manly man has probably never gone grocery shopping during the holiday season. And for that I call him out as a complete, total pansy.

We’ve all seen the madness on the news about Black Friday mornings and Early Bird Sales, with videos of lines of people circling around a Best Buy at 3 in the morning or being trampled at a Target to buy items on sale. But do we ever think of the grocery stores?

Well we should. One evening last week I go out to our local grocery market holding my nifty little shopping list with ingredients for baked awesomeness. I figure I’ll go in, grab a few bags of walnuts and lemons, drift by the eggs and pick up a few sticks of butter. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Lo and behold, I walk through the hair dryer-esque entrance, while nimbly avoiding eye contact with the Salvation Army guy (they always stare at you in the back of the head with kind, gentle, piercing eyes, with that bell constantly ringing in your ear saying  “greedy little consumer~ greedy little consumer~ give back to the poor you selfish whelp”). Oh the guilt. It aches. But I haven’t carried cash since the last recession; not about to change that to appease the clamoring bell of holiday giving.

Back to the grocery market. All seems quiet. It seems like a nice place, albeit a bit crowded. Tis the holiday season, and I stand tall with amiable feelings. It’s obvious from the get go that maneuvering a cart will be difficult, so I grab a shopping basket instead and walk towards the produce section for some nice lemons. Suddenly I see a woman halfway across the produce section eyeing me and make a beeline for the lemons, rushing towards them in a speedwalk and placing herself and her cart squarely in front of the pile of citrus. Really?

I shake it off. Ok, so maybe she just really, really wanted lemons and just noticed that perfect one just sitting there. Whatever, it’s cool. I hardly even raise my single eyebrow of disbelief and just get the ones on the side. Look back at the list. Ah, brown sugar. Great, I can do brown sugar. Let’s just waltz on over to the-

Oh, sorry, bumped into you. Oh, you too, that was odd. Hey, what the hell, you definitely just pushed me. What what? Quit looking into my basket, woman, get your own damn lemons, they’re right next to the oranges and the She-Hulk.

Finally, brown sugar. I find the kind I want and begin to reach out to get one, when suddenly a small hand bursts in from my right and snatches the bag I was reaching for within a blink. Ninja much? My eyebrows of disbelief are both apparent now and I glance over to my right to see a tiny woman stare me down like a 200 pound gladiator. O…k… maybe she forgot her medication and only brown sugar will calm her down. Someone that small has got to have some sort of ailment, right? Yeah, fine, it’s cool. We are. Totally. Cool.

I admit, it’s getting a little tense now. Every woman passing me by in the lanes feels like they’re emanating rays of doom, and my faint holiday cheery smile is being replaced by a set jaw of determination. Sure, there are men here and there, but they mostly seem to fade into the background and move with their backs against the walls. I begin to notice that the slim hands gripping the shopping carts are clenched until the knuckles are white, and all the elbows sticking out remind me of when my dog takes his alpha male stance and growls at the neighbor’s mutt. Elbows out, shoulders squared, body tense, hair on the back of the neck sticking straight up. Yup. Just bumped into another one.

Even getting a stick of butter felt like I was fighting for my life, with women half my size suddenly bulldozing me away and reaching for the same brand (I made the mistake of reaching for the sale item). My eyebrows of disbelief are now situated above wide eyes of utter shock. What are these women eating that make them so strong??

Needless to say the rest of my trip to the grocery store was much less jolly than I had hoped, and the fact that I eventually got out with the necessary ingredients plus all my limbs intact was a small Christmas miracle of its own. Suddenly the Salvation Army guy seems like a huggable teddy bear compared to the silent furies lurking within, and I stumble my way to my car for a nice long breather.

Traffic never felt so peaceful.

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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Is a barrel of monkeys defined by the barrel, or the monkeys?

Talk to anyone above the age of 14 about the source of today’s problems (drugs, murder, rampant teeny bopper sex) and one of the main issues that will come up over 90% of the time is “society”. It creeps into our homes, breaks apart happy families, and if you don’t watch it, it will strangle your dog and give Grandma a heart attack. This bizarre new repeated concept of the 21st (and 20th, depending on who you ask) century is the cause of the downfall of today’s youth and forcing our elderly to recall the good ol’ days of innocent hitch hikers and 5 cent movie tickets.

Society, as if it’s some free willed thing out of our control, unassociated with our daily lives. But what is society? Is it not simply the culmination of people? Their values, their cultures, their lifestyles, their habits and preferences. Isn’t the term “society” just an all-encompassing thing that means “us”? By blaming society, we blame ourselves of this plague of whiny emos and smelly hipsters.

An outcry emerges from the back of the theater. “No!” it cries. “Blame society; it’s the media, the corporations selling useless products and trends to the innocent consumer! Down with Apple/Google and MTV! Long live independent thinkers and freedom!“.

True, the media is a huge part of what drives consumer preferences, and businesses hold no prisoners in the advertising wars for their wares. Their ads, though, are based on polling existing consumers; what they would like, the colors they’re attracted to, the important relativities of convenience and quality, etc. Music videos, movies, and visual entertainment in general is driven by a huge consumer preference: sex. Sex sells. An old adage that rings all the truer today than it has 1000 years ago. Companies can’t sell what we don’t desire, and if they give us a new product we’ve never heard of and don’t need, they give it qualities that are already desirable to us. Can we really blame the conglomerates for their hostile takeover of the world, giving us… exactly what we tell them we want?

We come back around and around again in a chicken or the egg-esque argument, circling around the cycle of blame until we somehow realize we’re in this self-fueled monster of a machine. We blame society for acting the way we guide it to act.

Like the self-consuming beast, how can we blame society as a whole, when we are what society is made of? Strikingly similar to a barrel of monkeys (both in chaos and smell), you need both the barrel and the monkeys for the image to make sense. Question is, in this situation what exactly is the constricting barrel, and who is the trapped monkey?

Who's my cute little Ouroboros? Yes you are~ yes you are~!

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Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


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We need to talk

Dearest, sweet Colorado,

I know we don’t always get along, and we have our little fights. When I had to go take my Chinese final somehow you ended up dumping two feet of snow that very morning to make my journey even harder. Not only that, the very next semester you bring blinding frost and sleet to my doorstep. In May. I know, I know, I may have said a few mean words to you those days, and I don’t always give you the attention you deserve, but you know I still care about you. You’re the bestest state I know, and I’ve lived in quite a few.

Even when you throw 80 mph gusts at me, I don’t mind too much. It gives me a chance to wear my favorite wind breaker, and it keeps those pesky mosquitoes away for most of the year. West Nile virus has yet to reach me, and I have you and your dryness to thank. Sure I have to buy a kajillion bottles of lotion and chapstick every year, but I consider that a small price to pay for our relationship. What’s a few dollars compared to your amazing mountains, laden with hiking trails and ski resorts. You always know how to put out when I need it most, and I appreciate that.

We haven’t always treated each other the best, but I’ve always gone out of my way to forgive you. Sometimes it’ll be that time of month for you again and you throw sunshine in the morning, rain in the afternoon, and sleet/snow in the evening. But you always bring back the sun in time for rush hour commute, and I appreciate the effort you put in to make me happy. It means the world to me, really.

But now you’re going too far. I don’t know if it’s something I did, or maybe we’ve just been together for too long, but you’ve let yourself go this year, and I don’t know if I like your new attitude. I know I’ve been gone a lot, but times change, Colorado, and you can’t just keep messing with the temperatures every time you’re angry at me. Just this summer you had a solid 90’s streak with sunshine for weeks, but the moment I come back you give me torrential floods and rain? My flight took an extra 4 hours that day, and I had really looked forward to seeing you again too. That hurt me deep, Colorado, I thought our relationship was more important than that.

You’re still my bestest state, Colorado, but this winter I just don’t see the commitment. Hell, you even forgot one of our favorite traditions together. Halloween is supposed to always be cold and frigid and keep the kids away from my house, but this year you didn’t even try; there were munchkins walking around everywhere because you just couldn’t bring yourself to be presentable. Look at Minnesota over there, it gave so much snow that the damn Metrodome roof collapsed on itself. That’s commitment. That’s putting in effort. You’ve only given a couple flurries here and there, and none of them even lasted more than an hour.

Even Florida is doing it better than you this year. Just today, parts of it were 20 degrees colder than us. Twenty degrees! How am I supposed to think that you’re serious about us when you let friggin Florida show you up? Are you trying to humiliate me on purpose? I’ve always been proud to have you, Colorado, but now I can’t even take you out to nice places, it’s so embarrassing the way you’ve just stopped caring. It’s like I don’t even matter.

Is it me? Have I done something horrible? You’re still giving a lot of snow in the mountains, so I know it’s not completely down the drain, but I’m worried about you, Colorado. It’s been so warm lately that my grass has yet to die, and my dog doesn’t even feel the need to grow a winter coat. It’s already the middle of December, and before the New Year I hope you shape up and get your act together again.

What we have together is special, and I’m trying my best to give you space and understand your needs, but I have needs too. I need to jump into my backyard with a foot of snow, I need to wear my wool coat, I need to have to wear gloves to go get the mail, I need to bitch and moan about frost on the windshield. I’ve been patient with you all year, and I’m hoping that our relationship is important enough to you that you’ll start acting normal again and bring things back to the way they were. Because you really are my bestest state.

Thinking of you


Posted by on December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized


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The core is the limit

Read an interesting article about the future prospects of geoengineering. In order to save you the 1.8 seconds it would take Google to tell you what this is, I will briefly explain: We are playing God once more.

While this is a relatively small field of study that has only boomed in the past three years, it is by no means, a small-scale idea. As the world becomes more concerned by drowning polar bears and weeping lemurs who no longer have that summer abode in the forest, we are also quickly realizing that stopping this destruction is harder than we thought. “Turn off greenhouse gases”. Great. Fantastic plan. We’re already 50% there!

Tell that to China, India, and every other post-colony nation-state that is realizing just how screwed over the European conquests have left their previously underdeveloped economies. They want their piece of the pie, and this pie requires a 30 billion metric carbon tonne knife to cut. Fuzzy polar bears can only do so much to put fast-food on the table and automobiles in our air-conditioned homes. Besides, most of them live in zoos anyway, right?

100% natural glass/acrylic

This is where geoengineering comes into play. An old idea evil mastermind plan that is  gaining some momentum, suggesting all sorts of things from emitting stratospheric aerosols to block sunlight, liquifiying atmospheric carbon dioxide and pumping it into the ocean floor, to simply throwing a ton of massive mirrors into space or mixing cold ocean water with the higher up, warmer water to limit carbon dioxide outflow. This could only lead to extraordinary success with zero to no repercussions!

Funny thing about humanity. We’re very short term. Our theorized evolution was relatively short. Our amazing leap into agriculture and permanent settlements was relatively short. Our ability to destroy in a decade what took millions of years to create just caps off our short term abilities. We are a byproduct of the Earth’s one night stand with Fate that will cost it millions in child support and years of post-partem depression and rampant alcoholism.

Even with this background we still somehow fool ourselves into thinking that doing what took the Earth millions upon millions of years to do within one lifetime will come up with the same results. Animals will adapt just fine. Ecosystems will still keep up. It’s not like the human psyche is affected by the sun, weather patterns, or ocean life. No need to worry about the apocalypse when we have *science*. The same science that somehow rejects its own notions every 50 years and tells us that the miracle cure we were so fond of as children is what caused us to age early and die of cancer as adults.

Granted, geoengineering is still a very young field. So young that this blasted WordPress spell check keeps underlining the word in those squiggly red lines. But the imposing bleakness of the hope of limiting greenhouse emissions at all will continue to push us further into solving the problem at the other side of the spectrum. Since we can’t change our petro-guzzling lifestyles to suit the world, we will change the world to suit our lifestyles. What could possibly go wrong?

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Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


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I’ll do it later

Remember those little instances in life where you try so hard to avoid spending energy/time on something that you put just as much energy/time into avoiding it? Like the project that’s due in a day; instead of buckling down and just getting the damn thing over with, you spend hours trying to concoct an elaborate scheme to give you one more day to finish the project. Not only is this mathematically unsound (one day of thinking = one extra day past deadline) but it adds a level of stress to your life that was unnecessary to begin with (if said plan fails, then what? etc…).

Stupid, right? And yet here we are, a world riddled with procrastinators (up to 20% of people in a study in America claimed to be chronic procrastinators) and last minute-miracle workers that toil nights away and stress through the day doing everything OTHER THAN the one thing we should be doing. There are a huge collection of studies done about this plague of procrastination, and they all conclude on different causes, blaming lack of self-confidence, perfectionism, impulsive behavior, lack of intrinsic motivation, . One study showed that people who did procrastinate, though, worked at a pace of up to 11 times faster than that of normal people when they actually sat down and got their shit together.

I can personally attest to this phenomenon: in college I would put projects that usually took half a semester to finish and crammed it all into two days of working off nothing but my own panic and large cups of black tea. I would wait to study for a final until the absolute last minute, and then sit down and read through the ENTIRE textbook within 18 straight hours, taking notes and creating outlines at the same time. Not only did I get the job done on both accounts, I got it done well, receiving high scores that should not be allowed to exist. Of course this caused me to go through a hilarious bout of sleep deprivation, which I might post about… later.

Now imagine that we procrastinators worked at that pace consistently. Think about it, 11 times more than average. We would get so much shit done in our lives. But no, the drive to do things doesn’t kick in until we absolutely have to, or we run out of things to do on our to-do list (apparently a lot of procrastinators have meticulous to-do lists…)

At least we know how to have fun, right?

Um, no. We even procrastinate having fun. Really now? Really? It’s like people in Colorado who have never gone skiing in their lives (that is one thing I have never procrastinated in.. oh wait. I still haven’t bought a 4-pass. >.<) or never take advantage of our awesome mountains for summer hiking. So now not only can we not get our jobs done in a timely manner, but we even put off our vacations? What sort of twisted world is this?

Notice I write about this topic because I procrastinated writing a post for almost a week. I actually like writing. What does this say about the status of my grad school and job applications? =.=

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Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Simple goodness

Tea is good.

Tea is good when it’s hot.

Tea is good when it’s hot and warming up your hands.

Tea is good when it’s hot and warming up your hands so you can go make more tea later.

Now for the 10 seconds that you were reading those words and staring at the picture, did you worry about the economy? The political situation of the world? Did you fret about how expensive your groceries were getting or just how much money you’re going to be needing to use on your heating bills this season? For one second did terrorists or racists or all out bigots hack your mind? Were they followed by groping TSA agents?

No. You were thinking about tea. And all its hot, hand warming goodness.

Wasn’t that a simple way to make life awesome?

Sure, it only lasted a few seconds, and now you’re probably thinking about the economy and groceries and heating bills and terrorists and airport pat downs. But at the end of the day (or in the middle, the day isn’t picky) you can always just zone off into the simple world of hot tea or a good book or a mind numbing video game. Or all three at once!

Just make sure the tea isn’t too hot for when you spill it all over your lap in excitement at beating a level… that is all.

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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Uncategorized


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