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Calling this Stream of Consciousness because it sounds better than desultory

Random Randomness

January 16, 2013

in random

I confess the reason why I took to Twitter so passionately was because I am the ultimate “idea man”. You know, like those people that go in front of movie studios execs to pitch movie ideas? (I learned of the movie industry from TV shows so YMMV) I have lots of one-liner ideas but that is the extent of my “genius”. Every day I walk through life making running commentaries on people I see, things I observe, news I hear, and [invisible] thought bubbles that pop up over my head. Not to mention the memes and quotes that make me laugh as I rapidly scroll through Facebook streams on my phone.

Oh, I should write about THAT.

I’d open my laptop, jotting a couple of lines down, and immediately running out of steam.

Dead. Nothing. Void. Hollow caverns echoing with the witty one-liners.

“There should never be a BUT following a true apology. Lance Armstrong apologizes like my husband.”

Manti Te’o would have stood out like a sore thumb in NFL since he’d probably be the most faithful and gentlemanly boyfriend amongst all the NFL players.”

“Frankly I could care less that he lied. I am more concerned about the culture that forced Manti Te’o to fabricate a girlfriend who died of a [fake] tragic death.”

Echo. Echo. Echo.

 

I hope you will forgive me for the mental purge here. My brains are hurting with all the echo. Ok, smart ass. I know you can’t really get rid of echo by “purging” them. It’s just a figure of speech though I am definitely mixing analogies here.

 

I am sitting inside the train station again on a Saturday morning, waiting for Mr. Monk, my 10-year-old boy, to get out of the weekly religious class run by a Catholic Church that more than one Catholics have told me is TOO conservative even for them. There are reasons we are keeping him there and I will not get into them. Suffice it to say that my sons and I have had a lot of great discussions and I hope, we are “training” them to be critical thinkers.

What don’t kill you will only make you stronger.

 

What does it say about me that I love being in a crowd of strangers and feeling alive amongst the hustle and bustle? Invisible yet alive. This is the kind of crowd different from say, going to a conference or a party. There is no pressure, no obligation, no anticipation to socialize with each other. And absolutely no networking. I ABHOR the concept of “networking” by the way. I’d rather die. There I said it. Probably why I will never get ahead on the career ladder. I wish for my kids super-duper Google-Fiber-grade networking capability (ha ha I slay me). That’s all that matters nowadays isn’t it no matter what kind of job you are holding?

 

Got my new Kindle Paperwhite this week. I could not shut up about it, I know. I am sorry, ok? Leading to the moment before Marvin arrived (yes, I named my Kindle Marvin. 2 points if you guess Marvin who?) I had been restless, full of anticipation. I have never felt such excitement since… I can’t remember really. I lead a pathetic existence, yes. Now I curl up with Marvin in bed in the dark, caressing his comfortingly textured, paradoxically smooth skin (and promptly fall asleep. I like the concept of reading though). In the recess of my consciousness however I cry, “Traitor!” indignant for my deep love of rubbing my fingers with a book page in between, feeling the heft of somebody else’s words and thoughts in my palm.

Mr. Monk inherited the ex-Marvin now named Tardis. “Bigger on the inside”, get it? 10% into The Hobbit, he exclaimed, “I love Kindle!” he who previously had adamantly been on an anti-electronic-book tirade. “It is just so amazing. It’s like a book but more awe…” I held my tongue that wanted to argue as he curled up in bed with Tardis, so absorbed by what was happening in The Hobbit that he did not even bother to finish his sentence.

 

Facebook introduced GRAPH SEARCH this week. To me it boiled down to one thing: Discoverability. They are not changing their privacy policies per se and you continue to keep your privacy settings. The biggest (only?) difference now is that we can no longer afford to mindlessly LIKE or comment. Your friends will now see what you are liking and commenting on on their streams. We need to watch for WHAT we are liking, and if you are Interneting at work, WHEN you are liking because obviously when you are LIKING you are not WORKING.

I am not liking this.

 

A friend of mine noticed that I LIKED this article:

I Can’t Stop Looking at These South Korean Women Who’ve Had Plastic Surgery (thank goodness it is not something I’d be ashamed of when caught liking) and shared a piece of wisdom from Tina Fey with me. Of course a long tirade swirled inside my head that would have become an awesome blog post were I able to form cohesive sentences and string them together logically into paragraphs. Instead, Imma taking the easy way out. Ctrl C. Ctrl V. SHARE.

 Tina Fey

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Lucky

July 25, 2012

in therapy in session

Before she started telling you the story, she would have said, before anything else, “This journal entry has a happy ending.”

The red light on her phone was blinking. Somehow she’d missed a phone call when she knew that nobody would be calling her. Not on her cell anyway. Her husband was out of the country, her children only TXT now, and her mother would only call the landline (because she’d never bothered to give her her cellphone number) and always when it was way past bedtime (because figuring out time zone difference becomes a lot harder once day light savings time change is (not) taken into account)

The unfamiliar number shown had the local area code. With smart phones nowadays our relationship is discreetly judged by whether you show up as a name (from Contacts) or as a mere phone number. The persistent blinking red light indicated that the person had left a voice mail. She was annoyed. Really. Who in this day still leaves voice mails? She dreads checking her voicemails on the very few occasions when some un-indoctrinated people leave them. The problem is they never ever come out clear. Press 1 to repeat the message. Press 1 to repeat. Press 1. Often she ends up pressing 7, reasoning that if the message is important enough, the person will surely call back.

It was a call from some doctor’s office but she could not make out which. She did not think twice when she missed another call from the same number later that day. The call showed up as a mere number and therefore automatically deprioritized. Funny how stupid her logics sound in hindsight.

She jumped when her phone suddenly rang in the midst of the somber silence as she and her children huddled in front of the television, watching the retelling of the horror in Aurora, CO, unfold.

Hello. You need to go in for a follow-up. It’s probably nothing. But we just want to make sure. They noticed something… that looked… calcification…

She held her breath and blinked. She’d forgot about the mammogram the day before.

The doctor wants you to schedule an appointment with the hospital right away and she will fax the order in. Call me right back and let me know the time.

She knew that the doctor’s office was concerned when they waited to hear from her. She went back to sit in front of the television at first as if she had just received a phone call from a telemarketer. The chaos on the screen made her comment out loud how fragile life is.

Oh.

She remembered the call and what it could possibly mean. She wanted to cry.

What if? No… It can’t be, right? No way this is happening to me. Maybe I should be freaking out now? She asked herself. Let’s see how good I really am at compartmentalizing.

She shook her head violently. Stop thinking about it! There is nothing you can do about it except waiting until Monday morning.

When her mind immediately, out of habit, presented silver linings to the worst case scenario, “I can finally quit my job!” I am such a fucking idiot, she chastised herself, ashamed and worried that if her friends who had fought and survived knew this was her first thought, they’d be offended by how she’s trivializing the whole thing. It’s not a fucking excuse! This is no child’s play. For some people, this is real. Too many people actually.

She shook her head violently. Stop thinking about it! There is nothing you can do about it.

She did not tell anybody about the phone call. In fact, by Monday, she herself had forgot about the follow-up appointment and almost missed it. She woke up late on Monday morning because for three nights she stayed up channel surfing. She cried through Brideshead Revisited.

At the hospital, the technician made her stay for the result. Just in case he needs to see something more, she said.

When she pulled her book out from the purse, she felt guilty for not feeling anything. Maybe I should cry, she wondered, what’s the proper behavior at a moment like this? When the radiologist walked into the gowned waiting room and called her husband’s name, she was startled by how scholarly he looked. Almost bookish. Like a professor. He blurted out even before their hands parted, “Everything looks fine,” and smiled. “I didn’t want you to walk down the hallway wondering.”

The humid air rushed into her lung when she pushed open the heavy door to the garage. Her breath suddenly caught in her throat. She fled into the car and shut the door before the violent tears came.

You are such an idiot, she murmured.

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Motherhood in the beginning is sickeningly isolating, especially if La Leche League gets their hold on your conscience. Your partner may be super duper awesome and really do the concept of 50/50 co-parenting justice. BUT. When you are up at night alone (because someone has to get up to go to work so you can pay for the diapers and shit) with a crying baby that simply will not go to sleep without putting up a fierce fight, yeah, it really sucks. You (ok, I) feel so helpless, abandoned even. Day after day. Night after night. Waiting for that tyrant who took over your existence to relent and show you some mercy.

I don’t think I’ve ever properly recovered from that trauma of isolation and abandonment. And I believe this psychological scar greatly contributes to my loss of faith in the myth of motherhood and my subsequent cynicism. Paying lip service to what a great sacrifice it is to be a mother is the society’s way of keeping our mouths shut: Yes you are all awesome superwomen. Without you, the civilization will end. Now STFU and make me a sandwich. Nobody in power (yes, balding white male I am talking about you) gives a shit about making it easier for women who maybe want to be mothers and something more.

 

By now you probably have heard of /read the article on The Atlantic penned by Anne Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All: The Myth of Work-Life Balance”. Dr. Slaughter is a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She served as Director of Policy Planning under Hilary Clinton from 2009 to 2011. Eventually she did quit the high-demanding job that frequently kept her away from her children, a fact that spurred the authoring of this article.

The premise of this article that has been shared and re-shared, lauded, debated, and of course, critiqued, thousands of times could be summed up in this:

Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.

I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts that need to be widely acknowledged—and quickly changed.

 

Although the article does not end in a despairing note, the hope it provides, the solutions suggested — necessary changes in policies, laws, representations, and cultures, simply seems too far to be within imaginable reach. Nevertheless, I actually felt relieved after I read this, that I have not simply been a whiner, or been less fortunate in terms of my choice of a spouse, or timed having children incorrectly, or not been committed enough. It is also good to know that “wanting to have it all” has been grossly exaggerated into “becoming a super human”

I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).

When in fact all we are asking for is to NOT to have to make compromises that our male counterparts in marriage/relationship (i.e. fathers of our children) are less likely to be asked to make, and when they do make those compromises, are less likely to be judged or criticized for it.

I have no wisdom to part with nor intelligent comments on the debate that has been raging on somewhere out there.

One minute I am all Let’s take over the world mother-f-ers. The next minute I wish I had never got into my head to be somebody when I grew up. [Please don’t leave angry comments about how being a mother IS somebody. You know that’s not what I meant. Take your mommy war and agenda somewhere else please.]

Why do we tell our girls to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, mathematicians, that they can be all that they want to be, if in the end, should they get married, they are expected to bear children, and should they become mothers, they are expected to become perfect mothers?

There are regrets that I would never dare to have, What-if questions that I would never dare to ask. If I get to stand at the crossroads of life, which would I choose, hypothetically? And which hypothetical answers will hurt whom and how much?

 

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I am from the Internet

May 2, 2012 random

I’m waiting for the day when, if you tell someone ‘I’m from the internet’, instead of laughing they just ask ‘oh, what part?’                         xkcd I met a fellow blogger yesterday.  It no longer feels weird to me to meet someone who I have been […]

13 comments

Out of My Mind

February 5, 2012 random

I went to a grade school talent show on Friday evening that lasted 2.5 hours. Yesterday we had Catholic brainwashing religious class, band festival at our local senior high school, gymnastics meet and team dinner. Today is the Chinese school New Year celebration performance: reporting for rehearsals at 9 am [it’s now 3 am] and […]

11 comments

I just want to go home

June 1, 2011 therapy in session

  Sometimes, for no reason at all, I would get a severe attack of homesickness. Without any provocation, my heart would ache and I would get a sensation of emptiness and at the same time heaviness inside my stomach. I recognize that feeling well. It is an intense loneliness that comes from a herd animal […]

35 comments

Narcissus: A Rambling in Four Parts

April 3, 2011 therapy in session

I saw these for sale when I made an emergency run for coffee at the store: a dozen for $1.99. I normally do not buy flowers, the same reason I do not make the bed: What’s the point? But I made an impulse purchase that day and I am glad I did. Whenever I pass […]

80 comments

Can’t Hardly Wait

March 28, 2011 a picture is worth a thousand words

    Some random associations from a picture I took this Sunday. Budding. Can’t hardly wait. Spring Awakening. Frank Wedekind Frank Wedekind who in 1906 gave us a play criticizing the sexually repressed society with depictions of group masturbation and other subjects that scandalized theatre goers. This quote attributed to Wedekind which made me chuckle […]

54 comments

Things I learned today

January 29, 2011 random

. I will never ever be able to fold a fitted sheet perfectly no matter how much time I spend on it. Fitted sheet, consider yourself folded. . . . Checking my email is never going to be “QUICK”. I will always spend more than “Just one minute” when I log in my email account. […]

30 comments

Saturday Smörgåsbord

January 22, 2011 random

I have been watching SpongeBob with Mr. Monk this whole day except when I am being the Chauffeur. (And I know I am not the only Weekend Chauffeur around here…) You know what I admire SpongeBob the most? He does not seem to understand the concept of Envy and Jealousy, and therefore he is always genuinely over-the-top […]

43 comments