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walking down the memory lane

Seeing how I have been on a midlife crisis overdrive…

Yes, I think I may as well come out and admit it to myself. I have been going through some sort of personal crisis ever since I started this blog in 2008. Some sort of late-onset-puberty/rebellious stage sans hyper-libido. *sigh*

For someone who’s 120% sincere and honest when she vomited a post titled With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old, and who’s scared out of her wits of turning into some sort of predator, really, the last thing you needed to show her was a show dedicated entirely to time travel and alternate reality, starring a nerdy yet sexy 29-year-old actor and a 49-year-old actress in one of the most romantic star-crossed-lover (literally in so many ways) storyline. [Oh god, don’t you just LOVE the British? This anti-Hollywood-rule pairing would never, ever, have happened in the U.S…]

What if… BEEEPPPP. Not allowed.

*red flashing light* Compartmentalize. Compartmentalize. *red flashing light* *Steel door coming down*

Brain. Shutting down. Nope. We never ever want to go there. Just stop it right now.

Someone that I don’t know particularly well cornered me in the office one day and asked me a very blunt question about my personal life. I laughed. I laugh a lot, I’ve noticed. I explained to her how I am an expert in compartmentalizing my thoughts and emotions. Because that’s how people survive and function in reality, no?

This. Is not a cry for help. I just need to get over it. It’s full moon after all.

It’s amazing how I’ve managed to not mention the thing I have been obsessed with for the past month even once. Moving along…

I have my own time warp right here: Found this mix tape made by a classmate of mine when we were in college. He made several mix tapes for a girl that he was pining for. [Incidentally, like a plague, I now recall at least four other guys were smitten with her at the same time in our senior year. Still can’t figure out why. We’ve all known each other all these years, and all of a sudden, finger snap, they all fell in love with her…] I have no idea whether he’s given her the tapes, but the rest of us swooned over the mix tapes and like the stereotypical “great guy who never gets the girl”, he made a copy for all of us. I wonder what happened to him. I hope he’s well. Whoever he’s with, I hope she’s not having what I’m having…

Compartmentalization. Complete.






February 7, 2012

in through the looking glass

Hundreds of Taiwanese release sky lanterns on Saturday, January 28, 2012, in New Taipei City, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Today is the Lantern Festival. I completely forgot about it. It was only when I noticed the headline on The Atlantic, “Chinese Lantern Festival 2012” that I remembered.

Today marks the end of the Chinese New Year.

Looking through the beautiful photos, I wish I could say, “Yup. These remind me of home.”  Of my childhood.

I wish I could say, yup, I am of that beautiful custom and of that exotic tradition.

The truth is?  I grew up in a concrete jungle much like every other cosmopolitan city around the world. Globalization is an overwhelming equalizing force indeed.  The pictures look much better than what I remembered of Lantern Festival back home. Mine for many years were cheap plastic lanterns, with light bulbs inside. Candles were simply too dangerous.

As I am writing this post, I now am remembering a special lantern that looked like a big pull toy dog made of white paper that looked like real furs. I remember now how proud I was of my special lantern. I could not wait for the day to arrive when I could go into the street, joining the children walking around with lit lanterns. (I guess it was fun way back when…) I am crying now because I also remember that my special lantern caught on fire and was burnt down not long after I joined the crowd in an impromptu parade.

I was inconsolable for days afterwards.

Wow. That flashback is rather traumatic…

[Regroup via visiting Twitter and talking to random strangers… ]

[Ok. I am back!]

The funny thing is, this picture showing sky lanterns was indeed taken in Taipei. However, releasing sky lanterns is a tradition fabricated (or perhaps “invented” would be a better, at least kinder, word?)  Taipei, like all cosmopolitan cities, are feeling the erosion of traditions. People are feeling the longing for a splendid past that frankly most of us had never seen. And so we decided to start making our own, and believing in the histories of it.

Self-invention. Us urbanites are experts.



I saw Duran Duran’s live concert on Friday. I have been excited and nervous about this for several months now. When I announced to my boss and my coworker that I was one of the lucky people with tickets to the sold out show, they said, “That’s embarrassing.” I LOL’ed. “No. We mean it. Don’t tell anybody!”

That’s the problem with a band called “The Pretties Boys in Rock” during the 80s when they were super popular. The magazines called them The Fab Five. And I remember arguing with my girlfriends who was the best looking. My favorite has always been Nick Rhodes. What can I say? I have a thing for guys with mascaras. Except Clockwork Orange… The other girls would always come back with John Taylor. Oh yes. That man (boy?) was gorgeous, with a square jaw that was perfectly chiseled. It makes you shiver just thinking about it. Curiously it was never Simon. Just seemed to be too obvious an answer to claim that your fav is the lead singer. Duh. Ho-hum. So we continued to fight between the Bass guitarist and the keyboardist.

I was apprehensive also because, well, I am a realist. How often when you are reunited with your childhood love do you find that present reality matches up to the memories you have been keeping in a vault?

When I got to Chicago Theatre, it became clear to me that I was not the only one there to relive my youth. I have never seen so many middle-aged women dressed “correctly” for a rock concert in one place. The ladies knew why they were there and they came prepared. There were so many women dressed in their rock regalia, complete with black stockings, chokers, pink (or purple or whatever) hair, and tattoos. Lots of tattoos. Almost everyone was wearing boots. I even saw a pink boa.

What would their teenage daughters have said?… 

It was kickass and uplifting. Fuck those young girls who think WE should behave OUR age. But it was also depressing at the same time. I know I know. I have issues. But it made me sad to reflect on why I was there. To relive my youth. To grasp at something that was not there any more.

Fortunately I very quickly consumed four cran-vodkas and I was my ol’ spunky self again. (You’ve got to know I am being a bit sarcastic about the whole being spunky part…)

If you just google, you will see that Duran Duran has fully embraced the 21st century and social media, and that means they are all over Twitter. Not only was live Twitter stream with the hashtag DuranLive projected on the screen before the show started, in the middle of the show, there was an official Twitter session!

Nick, can I wear your red scarf for 5 seconds? #duranlive

Someone tweeted the girl in front of me is crazy. Am gonna assume that’s not me since im no longer a girl #duranlive


In the end, it was awesome. It was awesome not because they reminded me of the gorgeous boys that they once were. I am not saying they are not handsome any more. They still are. If you’re born with great bone structures, unless you totally fucked yourself up with drug and alcohol, time will be kinder to you than to the rest of us. John Taylor for one is still rocking that square jaw. *shiver* And of course, I swear to god, even from the back of the theatre, I could see Nick with his mascaraed eyes and his red scarf being all fabulous and sexy. They put on a great show with great energies, and boy, can Simon sing. In fact, I came home and watched some of their old performances from the 1980s, and I think Simon sings even better now. There is experience in his voice and performance. Like matured wine. Yum. And John can still rock that bass. And Nick… Well. Nick lives forever. (You’ve got to allow me to retain some shameless teenage fangirl crushing…)

Of course, knowing most of the lyrics and being able to sing along made this an even more awesome night. I was glad I went and lived through some time-space discontinuum phenon: It’s surreal to see your band crush perform live on stage, even if there was a 25-plus-year time gap.

For one night the crowd shared a communal experience. We sang. We danced. We screamed. We partied with our teenage selves.

(And in my usual, annoying way, I have to add this:) Then we went back to our normal lives. Most likely in the suburbs. Hopefully this stays with us a bit longer…

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande


Pictures of poor quality below and video compilation of even poorer quality after the jump.



Old Soul

October 12, 2011 no manual for parenting

My 8 year old, Mr. Monk, is on a “Back to the Future” kind of mission lately. He’s acquired two rotary phones earlier this year for a buck each at a garage sale. Probably my fault for I might have explained to him, with too much excitement, how we used to hate folks’ phone numbers […]


I’ve never been to me*

September 21, 2011 therapy in session

This post is inspired by The Bloggess‘ latest post I have no fucking idea what I am doing which has inspired 500 (and counting) comments so far, including the three comments I’ve left there… *cough cough* yes, I am a comment hog…  I have been grappling with this question: Who am I? since high school, and […]


Where I’m From

August 16, 2011 therapy in session

I am from sunshine, sweat, and bricks of humid air. I am from have you eaten yet. I am from rice, salted fish, stir-fried greens, from soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, from ginger, star anise, and cayenne peppers. I am from concrete jungle, clothes lines stretched-across the rooftops, the smell of sun in the fabrics, […]



June 23, 2011 through the looking glass

As I was sitting in the cafeteria during lunch hour today, I noticed that the music selection has been veering towards the 80s this week. “Did you notice the music?” I asked my one co-worker who has transferred to the new office with me. (So yes I am now surrounded by actual people every day […]


Running Away

May 6, 2011 therapy in session

Did you ever consider running away when you were a child? I thought I was the only one until I read this post by Matt Posky, talking about his failed attempts at running away (often thwarted by his mother’s playing along). Running away. When I was in kindergarten, I often wished I were adopted. (Let’s […]



March 7, 2011 through the looking glass

    I started getting it, bit by bit, that the thing between parents and children, the thing that ties you together is that all your life, you are forever watching them walking away. [The inadequate, rough translation mine] I read this in a book by Lung Ying-tai, a renowned cultural critic in Taiwan, on […]



December 11, 2010 therapy in session

I have been thinking about ants a lot lately. Or rather, the absence of ants. It probably has a lot to do with all the holiday-related activities happening in this house: cookie baking, frosting, sprinkling, gingerbread house decorating. Every time when I see Mr. Monk walking around with a sugar cookie that he has added […]