From the monthly archives:

September 2010

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Interesting headlines today:

“[From NPR] U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.

At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, government data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.”

[From Forbes] Duarte, Calif., home to the 91008 ZIP code, is a small suburb northeast of downtown LA, near the Los Angeles national forest. The median cost of a house in this tony town is a whopping $4,276,462, making it the most expensive housing market in the country.”



For perspectives, here is what 91008 looks like from above:




Perspectives are important.

Case in point: The U of Chicago Law Professor who wrote a blog post complaining about being poor on an income of $250K and ignited a firestorm. What made me laugh out loud and cry inside at the same time was the fact that he was genuinely surprised that people were outraged. Much criticisms and analyses have been published over Professor Henderson and his irk vs. the “electronic lynch mob”. My favorite quote by a pundit came from Paul Krugman  (incidentally the 2008 Economics Nobel Prize winner) who penned in his blog post titled “Have you left no sense of decency?” (It’s a very short post. You should consider hopping over and read it in its brilliant entirety…)

“But 30 years ago people with high but not super-high incomes generally felt ashamed of themselves for griping — or at least, felt that they would be ridiculed if they gave voice to their gripes. Today, all restraints are off. The fuss over Messrs. Henderson and Stein is the exception that proves the rule: they wouldn’t be providing this spectacle if they didn’t normally swim in social circles where complaining that you only have 9 or 10 times median family income is considered totally acceptable.

Pretty soon, we’ll be having serious, completely un-self-conscious discussions in major magazines about the servant problem.”

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I am going to bet that at one time or another 99% of the women were asked one or all of these questions:

“Which Sex and the City gal is your favorite?”

“Which Sex and the City gal do you want to be?”

“Which Sex and the City gal are you?”

I never knew how to respond. Because deep down in my heart, I know who I resemble the most, dread resembling the most even though I also know, deep down in my brains, that I am crazy (also self-presumptuous and self-delusional) for thinking so.

Laney Berlin.


Laney Berlin. From Episode 10, Season 1, originally aired on August 8, 1998. “The Baby Shower”.

It is no surprise you have no memory of her. My google search only came up with ONE picture of her:

Laney is the Fab Four’s former friend, or more accurately, frienemy and to Samantha, rival.

Laney Berlin. You can’t really describe her. You just had to know her. Chances are eight years ago you probably did.

Laney did A&R for a record label… Every time she went on a scouting trip, she came back with some hot new group… and a gynecological condition no one had ever heard of.

Those things make so many public appearances, they need a booking agent.

Disclaimer: Of course I am nothing like the above. I’ve never had a hot body for me to lament the loss over it. I’ve never had a wild, rebellious streak in my life, that is, until now… mostly inside my imaginary inner world, and even at that, with limitations. Tis sad that I channel Woody Allen even in my wildest fantasy.

In fact, Laney was another Samantha… until she found herself an investment banker, got married and moved to Connecticut. The Fab Four reluctantly went to Laney’s Baby Shower at her stereotypical suburban MacMansion surrounded by stereotypical suburban Stepford Wives. The gifts they brought? A fistful of cash. A bottle of Scotch. And pastel condoms.

Incidentally I gave birth to my first child in March 1998. I squirmed as I watched a dichotomy being artificially formed when the world of Sex and the City was split in two: Me and the pregnant, suburban Laney on one side; the gals on the other (And goddammit I want to be on that side with the Fab Four too!) and what happened when Laney tried to cross the bridge, back to the other side.

Laney, despite the outward appearances of marital bliss and contentment, felt regretful of her choices. Back  in the city, the gals found a pregnant Laney crashing Samantha’s party, demanding vodka (and attention naturally], offering to show her tits, and struggling on the stripper pole.

[Carrie] This is at once so sad…  and the most fabulous validation I’ve ever gotten in my life.

The image of Laney on the table surrounded by the party-goers who are obviously appalled has stayed with me since. I understand that 99% of the disapproval came from her being so “due any day now” pregnant and you simply DO NOT SHOULD NOT imbibe alcohol (and Vodka at that!) when a child’s life is at stake. However Laney on the table also symbolizes for me the attempt to grapple with the erasure of one’s (imagined or not) identity and the desperate attempt to retain/regain the last vestige of youth/freedom/autonomy/carefreeness/etc. It is that desperation that makes it so sad, that I respond to viscerally.

Every time when I behave like a wild child, act and dress against what I believe is age-appropriate and role-appropriate, flirt with strangers, skip down the sidewalk, party like it is 1999 (or 1997 aka 1 BC – “Before Child”), because this is who I am without thinking, I get a flashback of Laney on the table and I am immediately paralyzed by an onslaught of self-consciousness. I put myself in my place through the eyes of the others:

“Do I look like I am trying too hard? Too desperate? Do I look ridiculous? These people… What are they thinking of me? Are they laughing with me or at me?”

And the thought that I absolutely abhor:

“Do they feel sorry for me?”

I am desperate to not appear desperate. Insane? I know.

This is why every time when I am at a party I make a beeline to the bar and down 2 shots of vodka before the party starts for me. Because as it turns out, thank goodness, Laney Berlin can be warded off with alcohol.

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Missing a hole here

September 24, 2010 random

I woke up to a bad allergy attack this morning: runny nose sneezing itchy, watery eyes itching of the nose or throat p.s. I just copied that litany from the back of my bottle of Zyrtec. I’ve got them all. As I was using up the last tissue from the giant Kleenex box, I was […]


Moon Struck

September 23, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

I have witnessed history tonight (or last night). I reveled in the glory that was the Super Harvest Moon. According to NASA, on September 22, 2010, For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a “Super Harvest Moon”… Northern summer […]


Wordless Wednesday

September 22, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

Eat Pray Love. Why not?

September 20, 2010 through the looking glass

Now that the fever towards the book and the movie has died down, hopefully, I feel it is safe to explain why I cannot bring myself to pick up this ever-popular book. And really, it is not like there were not a pile of books in my house waiting for me to finish, and that […]


This is 100% innocent. I swear.

September 14, 2010 random

Dear Soren Lorensens, I know I have not been a good blogger: for one, I haven’t managed to respond to the comments you kindly left me so I don’t go into yet another bout of depression thinking that nobody loves me. I have also not been leaving comments on your blogs. I am killing my […]


Sundays in My City – Flying Over New York City

September 12, 2010 through the looking glass

I love New York City. I truly do. I wish it were really my city. . . . . I took these pictures in August when I was there for BlogHer 2010. I was thinking of New York City more than usual because of the anniversary of September 11 which was the day before this post […]


Remember where you were when you heard the news?

September 11, 2010 this i believe

Remember where you were when you saw it? For the first time? I am sure all of us (those old enough) do. I was in Boise, Idaho then. I was working as a management consultant, traveling Monday through Thursday. By then, I have been on the project for almost half a year. I wanted to […]