Saturday, November 29, 2008

Even Name Calling Has Its Place

This morning I woke up early and as gingerly as I possibly could. I remembered the nauseas, sickly state I had been in when I went to sleep the night before and was afraid to move too quickly. I didn't want to disrupt the contents of my stomach or jostle any dehydrated parts of my brain.

As I slowly moved my toes from beneath the comforter, parts of last night made their way to the surface. I remembered walking up to the half-empty bar towards the end of the night and ordering Pearl and myself two Fair-Haired Maidens.

"What's in that?" the bartender asked quizzically.

"Oops. I mean two Red-Headed Sluts," I corrected myself.

"Ohh ok, you got it," and with a wink, he turned to concoct them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reunited At Long Last

I don’t remember how we first came to know of each other. I don’t even know how we first met. Our relationship came easy, a natural progression; some might even call it love at first sight. So while I don’t remember the early details, I do remember the important parts, mainly the passion, the love.

When I introduced you to my friends, everyone, with the exception of a few (losers if you ask me), loved you from the start, but no one loved you like I did. There was Roy, and he was a close contestant vying for your love, but when he was sick with a sore throat and refused to have you, I knew I had won. I would have you no matter what, through thick and thin, through sickness and in health.

When I decided to move back to the Bay Area, I knew the end for us was near, but I refused to fully believe it, afraid that I might forget you or you me. As my time left in L.A. grew shorter and shorter, I started seeing you more and more. What turned into a visit every so often, maybe once a week, turned into visits every other day, then daily, then multiple times a day. I started lying to those closest to me, just to have you near to me again. When I’d ask friends to visit you with me, they would give me an odd look and say, “Didn’t we just go yesterday?” or “We were just there 3 hours ago.” So to avoid this fiasco, I started telling white lies, “No, we didn’t just go. You’re thinking of like, 4 days ago. That was 4 days ago!” or “Oh yeah, I didn’t end up stopping by for breakfast. Do you want to go with me now?”

And when we would meet, those first few moments were sweet, then tangy, slightly tart, but always, always marked by an indescribable drug-induced-like high. Was it crack you fed me? I had my suspicions, but it didn’t matter anyway, so happy I was to be with you.

When we finally parted ways, I spent my nights and days wondering when we might be reunited next. And in my waiting and yearning, I must admit to you now, that I was unfaithful. Do you know how hard it was for me? Do you even know?

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. If I couldn’t forget, I hoped to fill the void with another. I wanted to replace you, to stop wondering if late at night you were looking up at the same night sky I was and thinking of me. I found comfort in a number of different companions, but soon found that whatever comfort was to be had was small indeed. With time, I came to accept that I would never be able to replace you or forget you. I accepted this, but still I burned for you.

So now you know, Pinkberry. I’ve laid out my heart in front of you and give it to you to do with it what you will. All I ask is for you to hurry up and open so we can see each other again. I don’t care how many people come to see you now that you’ve decided to move up to the Bay. I know you’ll recognize me. I’ll be the one who visits 3 times a day and orders a medium original with mochi, strawberry and mango toppings with a sample of your new pomegranate flavor on the side.

(Thanks Preethi, you are the bearer of such wondrous news.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Wake Up Call

There is nothing quite so terrible as being woken up before 9 on a Saturday morning by heavy construction in the unit next door. After trying my best to ignore the drilling and hammering -- tap tap tap TAP TAP tap tap TAP! bbzzzzt! bzzzzzzzt! tap TAP! TAP Bzzzzt! -- my desire to fall back asleep turned into anger. What the heck kinda show were they running next door? Was it the new guy who had just moved in mounting a whole gallery of art to the ceilings in there? Or was it construction? Trying hard to discern between the bbbzt's and tap's, I woke up a little more and figured it was most likely construction. You think my landlady would have at least given me some kind of notice, sheesh. I mean, here I was about to call her out of courtesy to confirm that it was indeed construction and not some weirdo putting up a Chihuly exhibit for commercial purposes. Because if the new guy really was doing that, I'm sure she would like to know too.

My landlady's phone number isn't programmed into my work phone, so first I had to rummage around to find it. With a minimal amount of opening and slamming drawers, I found it. Vision blurred, voice froggied, I called.

"Sylvia, is there construction going on next door?"

"...," A long pause from Sylvia.

"It's Sobrina."

"Ohhh," she said. It was one of those "oh's" where you know in about a minute you are going to feel just a little bit dumb for calling all in a huff. "You didn't check your voicemail yesterday, did you? Yeah, I left you a message to let you know the unit next door is getting new windows and construction would start at 8."

And then I remembered why I had to ransack the house for her number to call her on my work cell. I noticed last night around dinner time that I had misplaced my personal phone somewhere but was too lazy to look for it.

So she did call....

"Hey, well, listen Sobrina, if there's a better way to reach you or to leave you a message..."

"Oh, no, heh heh. That's ok, that is the best way." I remembered chiding her early on for calling me on my work cell and making a specific request for her to only call me on my regular phone. Heh, heh. Who's the jerk now?

She ended with, "Ok, well, your new windows aren't scheduled to be in until the spring. We need to recuperate some costs first."

After we hung up, I stopped feeling bad about being a jerk when I realized that this new next door neighbor jerk of mine scored himself some new carpet, hardwood floors, new paint, brand new appliances and new windows. Really??

And to top it all off, as I made coffee in the kitchen, I found myself staring straight out the window into a man's crotch. There was a man on a ladder dangling cords and things right in front of me. I recognized that black vest he wore... When he had to move my trash cans to get to the side of the house, I had had enough.

"Umm, what are you doing?" I opened the back door and asked.

"I'm just putting in a line for your new neighbor there," he said. As he turned to face me I read the corner of his fleece vest -- Comcast.

So here is this new guy, not even moved in yet, waking me up with an entire construction crew at an unholy hour on Saturday morning and reaping all the benefits of my hard work with Comcast. My 50 phone calls into them probably resulted in him having to make only 1. And he'll get to enjoy the benefits of high speed internet while sitting in his newly upgraded home.

And what do I get? Maggots, dust, diddlysquat. Call it by any name you want, but nothing is pretty much always nothing. At least his first Comcast bill probably won't be $4.12 down from $62.56. Yes, that just goes to show how much of a discount daily pestering will get you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When You Know It's Time

To make it through 6 periods a day, we relied heavily on certain things to get us through it all. $1 bean and cheese burritos sustained us through the lunch hour, cutting fifth period gave us an afternoon rest and hanging out by someone's car in between classes or by a spot of grass we had come to claim as "ours" -- these were some of high school's highlights.

For the most part, life was simple. We showed up, we suited up and we went home. We saw our friends every day and went over to other people's houses to eat their snacks. No one gave much thought to things like having children or getting hitched, except for the creepy high school sweethearts that never make it past 5 years of marriage anyway.

Then one day, while you are still preoccupied with bean and cheese burritos, you'll get an invitation in the mail from someone who used to be in your "group" requesting your presence at their upcoming wedding. If you're me, you'll think 2 things: 1) Someone I know from high school that I actually cared about is getting married?! 2) So that's what Brian's middle name is!

While picking out a wedding present for him off his registry at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I thought about how weird it was to be doing so. Not because I never thought Brian would get married or that no one would ever have him, I just never pictured any of us getting married. At all. I still like to talk now and then about how shocking it was that one of the most quiet, brainy and least likely of our high school classmates got pregnant right after graduation -- and that was years ago. And here I am now, asking the cashier if the gift I picked out might be wrapped in wedding silver and white and tied up with a piece of fluffy taffeta.

Nathalie and I paid him a visit this week, a few days before his wedding. For old times sake, and to pay homage to an award winning photo we took together senior year, we took this one. It doesn't look nearly as convincing as the original below it, but it's in line with how much distance I believe should be in between one's tongue and someone else's face.

When I dug up the original, I couldn't believe my tongue was actually touching his face. It makes me think people do grow up, and when people no longer feel comfortable licking you, I guess it is time to get married.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bad Copyeditors Hurt Everyone

Let's say you are out for a stroll one day and run into two alternate interior angles formed by the same two parallel lines and transversal, and you just so happen to know how these angles could be expressed in algebraic expressions (8x-2 and 3x+17). Let's also imagine that a man in a white poofy shirt comes galloping along on his horse and demands that you tell him the measure of the angles, lest he shall challenge you to a sword fight right then, right there.

Unshaken, you quickly realize that alternate interior angles are equal to each other so you think no problem! Set the 2 expressions equal to each other, do a little algebraic footwork -- badda boom badda bang, you got your answer!

This, my friends, is how it would work in a right and just world. But when you find yourself trying to solve this problem in a book you bought and paid good money for to help you study such things, there will be no right answer, especially if you are using a Kaplan GMAT book. There will be no right answer from the a) - e) answer choices to choose from because the editors, or nose-picking interns, or whoever put this book together, will misprint the numbers in the equations so that all your time spent manipulating and combining like terms will be in vain.

Inevitably, you will become frustrated and lose sight of the fact that you are supposed to be studying to get into business school because all you can think about is how you could have done a much better job of editing and proofreading this book.

One good thing about frustration from studying is that it often leads to some of the best, most satisfying study breaks. Today my study breaks are spent on this awesome webcomic site Irene shared with me.

Aside from being clever, funny, nerdy, "awww" evoking and all that, his "About" page makes me want to be his friend. I really am a sucker for quirky "About" pages and funny emails. Someone help me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Growing Up

Last Friday, after losing a week-long fight to battling my Thai food craving, Nathalie and I went out for a pad kee mao lunch. Somehow, the topic of conversation veered towards the more grown-up issues of life, as it seems to do whenever we have time for long conversations. Namely, she asked when I planned on getting married and when my first born was to be birthed. She claimed that these were normal questions to ask, especially since (she claims) I'm always talking about what I'm going to do with my kids when I have them. I'm pretty sure the only thing I've said remotely related to this was that I hope crocs are still in style when I have kids so that they can wear them too. What can I say? To me, having someone to dress in rainbow leggings and crocs would be the most exciting part of having my own baby.

All this talk about babies and marriage is strange to me. Maybe because when I picture these things for myself, I picture an older, more mature me doing these things, someone who thinks like me, but is not really me. She is a sophisticated woman who has straight, kempt hair and has the remarkable patience to cook dinner on a nightly basis.  But one should not be fooled by her semi-domestic ways. She is also mysterious with a hard edge, like the leading lady in a Bond movie. She is an excellent conversationalist, even better at mingling with strangers at black tie affairs and effortlessly makes small talk with her children's school teachers.

I, on the other hand, spend no more than 2 minutes arranging my hair in the morning and only cook things that can be prepared in less than 8 minutes. In fact, I keep waiting for the change to happen where one day I feel more grown up (not to be confused with being an adult, someone over 18. I imagine being a grown up involves more of a feeling, a weight in one’s soul, it sounds pretty heavy if you ask me).

Will it be marriage that will do it? Children? A mortgage? Surely, one day I'll feel it and I'll know. I just want to be prepared for it because no one wants to wake up at 45 one day with lines across their face and piles of debt in their closet and 5 kids to take care of and think "I'm old." No, I want to see it coming, which is why I've been watching out for it.

On Saturday, I went to a Stanford co-op party with Irene. On the walk over to the party, I noticed all the ladies we were with were wearing sweatshirts, fleeces and long sweaters. One person wore what resembled a hockey jersey. We also wore jeans and flip flops or sneakers. Aside from our faces, a bit of neck and our hands, every part of us was covered.  If you were out looking for girls showing skin, it was definitely not us. As we walked along we observed groups of girls wearing micro mini's and tall boots and noted that these were probably freshmen. Looking at them reminded us of the chilly weather and so we zipped up our coats and put our hoods on.

Once inside the party we danced to the terrible house music, each song lasting longer than the last, the same repetitive beat playing over and over. The bathrooms were dirty with drunken boys and girls hanging about. When I accidentally opened a stall door on a boy mid-pee, a girl I assumed was his girlfriend stepped in front of me to snap the door shut and made sure to give me a glare. Like I wanted to see her Boy Charming peeing mid-stream.

After dancing to the same song for what felt like an hour, I glanced at my phone hoping maybe it was late enough to head home without feeling like a loser. Unfortunately, it was 12:11.

Was this a sign of growing up that I wanted to go home early? Or did this party just serve to reinforce my dislike for dancing to techno music?

When Irene broke out her moves and eventually ran out of appliances to imitate after doing The Dishwasher, The Laundry Machine, The Sprinkler and The Light Bulb Changer multiple times, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t an indicator of my turning into a full-fledged grown up. It’s just a reminder of my love for easily digestible, catchy, fun-to-dance-to Top 40’s.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When it comes to signing waivers, you’re either damned if you do or damned if you don’t. Usually I find that I’m more damned if I don’t, so typically, after briefly skimming waivers, I sign away my life. The other day it was a matter of signing away my favorite Kate Spade glasses. The ones that frame my face just so, the ones that look so good that people wonder if they are new every time I wear them. How can you go wrong with glasses like that?

Because I so briefly skimmed the waiver they had me sign before they would work on my glasses, I don’t really remember what it was informing me of. I think it was saying something to the effect of “Since these are your own frames and not some you bought here, and because you love them so much, be aware that if we break them, you will be SOL.” I can’t really remember the details, but it was either something to that effect or I was just asked to sign my receipt.

You might imagine the worst that could happen wouldn't actually be that bad; they might bend them weird, or put a scratch in them. Or maybe, just maybe, they might break them all together. The latter was what happened during this fateful transaction.

When the optical lady called a few days later, I could tell from her voice that something was wrong. “I regret to inform you that the lab has broken your frames….” She kept talking, but all I could think of was pieces of broken plastic, my perfect frames gone forever. I perked back up when I heard her say “You can pick any other frames in the store though, free of cost.”

I was there in no less than a minute, but it quickly became apparent that either eyewear fashion had deteriorated overnight or Costco’s selection was just not up to par. Where once my Kate Spade glasses looked like this,

the replacement Kate Spade’s Costco offered looked like this:

I would like to take a moment here to ask who, besides the grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood (before the wolf ate her), looks good in hexagon shaped eyewear?? And why are they so tiny with barely enough lens area to cover the shape of a normal eyeball??

I ended up picking out some Clark Kent-like glasses, even though I could tell the lady behind the counter preferred all the other pairs I tried on to this pair. The lens area was large, offering more than enough lens room to see clearly through, like looking out from the windshield of an RV.

Because I’ve never thought black-framed glasses go well with my skin tone, I asked if Clark Kent’s glasses came in any other colors.

“Well, it says in the computer they come in honey, but I don’t have a pair here to show you what that looks like. But hold on…” the optical lady informed me. She placed a call to the Costco in possession of a honey-colored pair.

After hanging up, she said, “Well, she said they’re sort of a … mustard color. That doesn’t sound too appealing huh?”

But it did sound appealing. I envisioned honey mustard glasses on my face and this image pleased me.

“Just go ahead and order them. They sound nice,” I told her.

 Who knows what they’ll look like. I did a quick search and I think they might look like this,

or they could look like the sublime color of McDonald’s Chicken McNugget’s dipping sauce.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Wedding Lesson: Part Three

After the many months, weeks and days spent researching the difference between embossed, letterpress and engraved invitations, looking for the perfect dress and deciding who of your friends can be most trusted to give a brief and entertaining, yet not terribly embarrassing speech at the reception, all your effort boils down to one big day. Specifically, it comes down to having all these tiny (and not so tiny) details come together perfectly with minimal prompting and micromanaging on your part, all while trying to look your best for impromptu photo ops in your very expensive and non-stain forgiving white dress.

A lot is riding on this day because with the cake itself costing as much as a 10% down payment on a small 2-bedroom home, many people cannot afford a re-do wedding if something does not go to their liking. This pressure, understandably, can be the cause of a great deal of stress. This stress exponentially increases if you decide to have multiple parts and ceremonies in your wedding. But with all this said, know that it can be done.

Here are a few tips and pointers on how to survive your own Cambodian-Japanese-American wedding (if you decide to have one, too.)

1) Let your wedding party wear Aladdin pants at some point during the ceremonies.

Without fail, no matter how nice of a person you think you are or may be, when it comes to how you will behave in your wedding, there is no doubt that you will at times turn into a flame-spitting, two-headed monster. Much of your craziness will be directed at those you claim to love and care about most -- those in your wedding party. If you do not disclose your crazy potential from the get go, this may cause bitterness and resentment among those you scream at. Because you don't have time to apologize to everyone on the big day, you can make up for it with colorful Aladdin pants and you'll feel the tension just melt away. Just ask yourself this, who doesn't like wearing poofy pants?!

2) Putting on poofy pants is harder than it looks. Save yourself the time and trouble by hiring someone who puts on Aladdin pants like a pro.

Step 1: Wrap the cloth around yourself. Fold it so that it looks like the picture in step 2.

Step 2: Fold and make a knot.
Step 3: Wrap a piece of string around your waist to keep the pants up.
Step 4: Tie the piece of string in the front, in front of the fold.
Step 5: In your wrapping and folding, the back should look like this.
Step 6: Voila! Poofy pants.

A few tips: The secret to getting the poof just right is wearing shorts underneath. No one will know, and you'll look all the more poofy because of them.

And of course, there is simply no replacement for giving them a good ol' fashioned poof now and then.

The best part of the pants is that the excess cloth is twisted up and tucked up in the back and it's called your tail. No joke.

3) To get your future spouse accustomed to waiting for you, start by having him wait for you in between costume changes or just because. Plus, people like dramatic entrances.

Justin thinking Where the heck is she? Am I supposed to put on my poofy pants now or later?
Justin thinking There you are! I've been waiting here for like a whole song now.

4) While he waits, bide your time by doing one of the following:

Bejewel yourself if you haven't already.

Touch up your make-up.

Or just look smashing.

5) Now that you've established with your groom that the party shall not start without you, make sure the rest of the guests are also keyed into this important point. A good way to do this is to organize a small procession, complete with a string band, outside in which all of your guests must participate.

Don't worry about the neighbors. They deserve to know about your big day, too.
Justin says, "Do I wait for her here or there? And then I give her this fruit?"

And just when the procession is about ready to call it quits from bearing all the fruits and gifts they're carrying, the bride will appear.
Ta da!

And if she deems the procession adequate, she will accept the fruits and gifts.

6) Do something important together before taking the final plunge. Like getting your hair cut together.

7) Make everyone sit on the floor cross legged so that their legs fall asleep. This is just one those things you do because that's how it goes.

8) As punishment for making your guests sit uncomfortably for the entire morning, they will throw things at you, and this is their right. You should confer with your future spouse about what grains you would like to have thrown at you. If no grain is agreed upon, the crowd will choose for you.

After throwing things at you, all will be forgiven if you pose like royalty and let everyone take pictures with you.

9) Have someone give you a pep talk to calm any frazzled nerves.

If that doesn't work, there are other things you can do....

Or forget about the nerves and remember pictures will be coming soon. Remember that you want to have nice ones to show your kids, so re-focus on primping.

10) If, after all this, the wedding is still on, make sure to smile.

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