Monday, December 6, 2010

My New Phone

So this weekend, I was officially pushed off the Blackberry bandwagon, and dragged on to the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) Microsoft bandwagon.

"Why?" you might ask.
1. Because M$ + AT&T is giving us a great deal.
The phone is buy one get one free, M$ reimburses the buy one, and the plans are hugely discounted.
2. Because Adam wants it, and everyone else in his office has it.

There were three choices at AT&T for the WP7: Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, and LG Quantum.
For some odd reason, Samsung has been the phone of choice for everyone, probably because it has the best resolution. And, of course, we went with Samsung. I had no objections with that since I've always been a Samsung lover, since my stint with Telus Samsung phones.

To be honest, I'm not a huge phone person. I don't need to have the latest technologies, it just has to do what I need it to do (phone, txt, and now email, internet, and chat), so when Adam was all excited about what a great deal it is to switch, I said okay without putting up much of a fight.

So what is my initial review of the windows phone 7 on the Samsung Focus after having it for two days?

Preface, Disclaimer, Message.

It’s important to remember that my review is hugely biased. One of the reasons why I chose a blackberry for my first smart phone was because I was attracted to the chat functions. First there was E-mail, then there were the IM apps, and of course BBM was something that was irreplaceable. What made it all even better was that I had one inbox where all my msgs were combined into a single spot, be it SMS, Email from various accounts, or BBM. One push notification, one button.

My biggest gripe with the windows phone is that it doesn’t have any of that luxury. Currently there aren’t any, and I mean none, messaging applications. No BBM is a given, no whatsapp is understandable, but no Live Messenger? No Yahoo!? No Googlechat? Not even E-Buddy, which is what most iPhone users have been relying on. My relationship with Google Voice also ended, which was an app that allowed me to call and SMS Canada for FREE. Also, I have my work e-mail and gmail sync’ed to the phone, they are separate apps, which totally sucks. I’m sorry, but this really hurts. Considering those were the only things I ever used my Blackberry for, this phone leaves me bored and wanting.

But, like Eddie said, the market for this phone has not matured yet, and I really do see great potentials for it. The chats are hopefully coming, and either way I’m going to be in front of my computer for most of the days anyway.

UI, Home, Live tiles.
If there is one thing that Windows Phone should be boasting about, is its clean, simple, and elegant UI. It’s really just gorgeous. However, I do have my reservations about whether it would stay this clean once all the apps are available. The hardware consists of three buttons: back, home, and search.

The Home button brings you to the home page, where there are live tiles – sets of squares that are updated in real time. That’s a pretty good feature. So you can see my weather bug app tells me the temperature right now, Adam’s square shows his most status and picture, and the basic msging apps (emails and sms) pushes the updates to the live tile. You can pin as many apps, people, webpages to your home page and order them easily, but I can picture it being confusing once you have too many apps pinned and no other way to organize them. Similarly, if you swipe left, you are at the “all” applications page, where each application that exists on your phone is listed in alphabetical order; again, no way to organize it any other way. Apparently, MSFT wants you to search.

UI, Search, Voice command
No matter where you are in the phone, you are supposed to be able to search for what you are looking for. If you are in the all-apps page, then pressing search allows you to search for the app. If you are in your browser, the search button brings up Bing. Search in the “People” app brings you up a search for your list of contacts. The search window provides you with a little microphone icon for voice command, click on it and you can say what you are looking for out loud. I tried it a few times and it always performed accurately, including “New York Times Magazine” and “Hardware”. Pretty darn cool. You can also command the phone to call by saying something like “Call Adam Mobile”, all of this working very accurately and there’s no fear of accidentally calling your mom when you want to call your girlfriend…

UI, Back, Setting.
To be honest, this simple and clean UI can be a little hard to get used to. First off, there's no OK button. Instead, it's replaced by a Back button, which is very confusing. Every time i do something, I keep clicking the home button instead. Apparently, the idea is that you dont need to SAVE anything. But what is counterintuitive is that there are no shortcuts when you are in a screen. So for example, I write on someone's wall in FB. I touch Post, to send the msg, and then i'm still on the person's wall. Okay, what can I do now? Besides clicking on some random person's name who's posted on the person's wall, I can only press the Back button, which will obviously bring me to an error msg telling me that the msg cannot be posted, since I just posted it. It's also confusing when I'm in any settings. There's no Save or OK, if you click on a setting, it changes it, and then you have to guessed it, Back. Awkward. In general, figuring out where the settings are for each app has been a pain. Generally there is a bar at the bottom where you can touch to get a menu, but sometimes if you touch and hold the title of the page, you can be taken to a setting too. Another problem is that there are so little settings available that you can spend all your time searching for something, only to find out you’ve searched in vain. No, there is no setting that allows you to “like” someone’s comment in reply to your status, nor is there one for changing your wallpaper, they simply don’t exist.

Feature, Basics, Beta
Adam has been loudly complaining about why msft hasn’t been crazily marketing this phone; my theory is that it’s because there have been too many features that have been cut prior to a release so the phone is too embarrassing to be marketed. To illustrate, before we got the phone, I read an article about how there's going to be an exciting OS update in the next month.

The article: It will include customized ringtones, cut and paste options , and turn by turn navigation.
My assumption: You can assign ringtones to a specific person, every call shares the same ringtone. Cut and paste option will be enhanced. Turn by turn navigations--i'd never use it anyway, i always use Google Maps app on the phone.
The reality: There really is no cut/copy and paste. In fact, there's no highlighting either, since that's only useful for copy and pasting. You can't add your own ringtones. It comes with set ones and you deal with it. And there's no Google Maps app. I feel like I’ve been transported to 2001.

To be fair, all that you would expect from a phone is actually there, such as phone, messaging, email, etc. It’s the little luxuries that we never thought were luxuries that are cut. Can I live without copy and paste? Of course I can. Can I live without Justin bieber ringing when my bbf calls, yeah I guess. The upcoming OS update is promising big updates—let’s hope it lives up to expectation.

Integration, People, Calendar.
Another selling point, or the main selling point, of this phone is its multi-platform social integration. This feature is actually a bit hard to explain. There’s an app, or a hub, called “People”, which essentially is a supercharged address book. The settings allow you to link your Gmail account, exchange account, Windows live account, and Facebook account. Once you sign in these accounts, the phone will pull your friends/contact list, all the information associated with them, and your schedules together. When you go to People, a list of your contacts show with their pics from FB next to their name (you can change the setting so that only the manually add show up and not all your entire facebook list of “friends”). Click on a name to see their contact information, touch to call a number, view a website, or write on their wall; swipe left to see their facebook wall. Currently Twitter cannot be integrated, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes out in the next OS release. The calendar app is also very cool. It will poll your facebook events, google calendar appointments, and exchange schedules into one calendar and provide you with reminders. Also cool is that all your pictures albums from FB is linked to your Pictures app/hub, which is similar to the “People” app/hub, essentially a folder that stores all the pics you’ve taken and saved.

Hardware, Images, Sound.
The quality of the camera is amazing. The quality of the sound, whether from music or phone or movie, is phenomenal. The youtube and its 3rd party supplementary app works great. Adam says there is apparently a TED app. I’ve been watching movies using the Netflix app and I just love it. My biggest gripe with the hardware is how ridiculously sensitive it is. The buttons at the bottom are WAAAY too sensitive. Every time I am doing something, I'd end up at some other screen because my palm hit the back or the search button. As Matt chan put it, it’s rather infuriating. Imagine by anger when I’m watching Maid in Mahattan and every time I had to move my phone to a more comfortable position only to accidentally brush the search button and I’m all of a sudden staring at Bing. GAH! But I don’t know what’s worse, accidentally clicking Back/Search, or accidentally sending msgs when I’m not ready because I accidentally touched Send on the screen, which is just as sensitive. I have a screen protector on the phone, and it makes things worse for some odd reason. When I want to move my screen up or down, it acts like I clicked on something and i'm in some application i dont wanna be in. If i'm in a browser, where there are no links on the page for me to click on, then it will enlarge or minimize the page. Perhaps it just takes time to get used to, but I’m really feeling the frustration.

Apps, Work, Play
What else is worth noting? Today I discovered a few things about my phone. If I’m in the Facebook app newsfeed page (which has very little features as well, no push notification, cannot save images other ppl uploaded of you, cannot like someone’s comment, etc.), I can shake my phone to update. Today when I received an Email with an attached PDF, I was prompted to download Adobe PDF reader app, and now when I click on the Adobe app, all PDFs I saved on my phone is listed there. There is an MS Office app I have yet to try, but it has access to onenote, word, excel, powerpoint, and sharepoint, and it works like the Adobe app where you click on the type, and a list shows up allowing you to access your files. The Games Live app allows you to sign up for a live account, link your Xbox Live games, and download games. I haven’t looked into it deeply other than design my avatar, but it certainly looks promising. Oh, and the browser! Works wonderfully!! It renders webpages beautifully. When I click on a drop down menu, it actually takes me a an options page where each option is enlarged and rendered pretty.

Bottom line, Conclusion, Hope.
The phone is no doubt aesthetically pleasing. The performance is fast, it doesn't lag, and it doesn't bluescreen (!!!). I haven’t found anything that’s broken or doesn’t work on this phone yet. If the feature is there, it will work beautifully. I think that’s definitely something to be said in this fast-paced world where things are released before they are perfected to ensure no one else will steal the market. The phone can be the most awesome thing in the world, unfortunately, at this moment, it’s still pretty far from reaching its potentional. I’m definitely looking forward to discovering new things about this phone in the next few weeks and, of course, the next OS release.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You're Not Like Other Girls

The other night, I watched Sex and the City 2 from the DVD I ordered from NetFlix. The movie was horrible... I mean I watched the entire run of SatC and loved the show, I even watched the first movie and rather enjoyed it, but this second one just dragged on and on and on without any plot. Every guy character that had some important relationship with the girls from the show had a tiny stint in the movie without a full storyline and yet there are a bunch of plot fillers like some old famous woman performing the ENTIRE "All the Single Ladies" dance routine.

But I digress, as the point of this post is not a review of the movie, but about a very singular part of the theme of the movie. Admittedly, it appears that when making this movie, the producers seemed to have realized that they don't have a very strong plot, so they will have to sell it by luring women with all the ideals in life a woman wants achieve, though pragmatically unattainable. This includes:
  • A closet that looks like this:
  • with the rest of the apartment looking like this (in NYC of course, and this image doesn't include their gigantic kitchen:

  • a husband with a name like "John James Preston" who is a financial tycoon, tall, handsome good looking, and just wants to stay home and cuddle with the wife (i.e., Mr. Big in the movie)
  • an ex-boyfriend like Aiden, who is sexy, fun, laid-back, travels around the world and is still in love with you even though he's married and have three kids
  • a group of girlfriends who can drop everything in their rich and busy lives at three week's notice to go to Abu Dhabi with you.
  • Have a career that allows you to have flexible schedule, including two published books and freelance for Vogue
  • Go to your gay best friend's wedding and have people go up to you and tell you how much they admire you
  • Dress up glamourously everyday even when you've been at home all day
  • Dress up even more glamourously for the evening, when you got to a huge Hollywood premier
  • Have both the men your life (husband and ex who is still in love with you) tell you that you're not "like any other girl"
Of course, the list goes on, but I stop here because this was something that really resonated with me.

In the movie, Carrie runs into Aiden at Abu Dhabi, and she goes out to dinner with him, and while chatting, they have a moment and Aiden looks into her eyes and says, "you're not like any other girl", and ten minutes later, though he loves his wife and kids, Aiden cheated on them by kissing Carrie. Mr. Big, after finding out that she has kissed Aiden, decided to buy her a huge black diamond ring when she got home from Abu Dhabi to remind her that she is married.

"Why black?" She asks.
"Because you're not like any other girl," he replies.

Beyond the fact that Mr. Big did something so fairy-tale like that this story-line really belongs in Twilight (zone, too, if you will, pun intended), what really behooves me is that Carrie appears to be just like any other girl, and when she does deviate from being like every other girl, it's a trait that no men want.
  • she spent her life chasing after Big and wanted to tie him down
  • she doesn't know anything about the world, doesnt care about anything in the world besides her shoes and her clothes, and can't have a conversation with Aiden about worldly matters
  • she doesnt cook, at all, because, she tells Big, "you knew that I'm not that type of girl when you met me"
  • she drags her husband out after a long day of work to a hollywood premier that he doesn't want to go to and gets upset cuz he's flirting with Penelope Cruz
  • she goes to Abu Dhabi and makes out with her ex-boyfriend because Big hurt her feelings
I'm not saying that Carrie's character in this movie has no redeeming qualities, but to say that she is not like any other girl would be a bit of a dramatic stretch. Similarly, every time I hear a girl say that they don't think they are like other girls, it's usually a gross generalization on their part where they have specific traits that don't align with social expectations of female roles.

What Carrie embodies here is a fulfilled desire where some of her traits deviates from the social expectations of how a girl should behave, and therefore she is desired by men (there is, of course, some general sexism going on here that I won't get into).

The reality is, to have this desire is completely normal, and to some extent, benign. Women don't want to be like every other women because it would make them special. Who doesn't want to be special? Every girl wants to hear that they are not like anyone else and that they are special.

So in this case, what makes one special? Should you have to work on being special? There is definitely something to be appreciated when women are able to do extraordinary things in life, such as become the first female president or abandon their common life and perform charity work with people that need help. But plain janes like us, what can we do to make us special?

I have met people who go out of their way to be unique. Unfortunately, some who trash other girls and say they are nothing like the regular girl. I have also met girls who do illogical things to get attention and make them stand out from the crowd.

Should you have to try to be special and unique? Or is everyone already special and unique in their own ways?

And here, I think, is an interesting lesson from SatC2. There is nothing special about Carrie in this movie, in relations to the girls in the entire world. In fact, no one in the world would say that Carrie is a unique character (especially when most girls who watch SatC identifies with her). What Carrie does have though, are people whom she loves who also think that she is special....And isn't this what love is? To have people who love you appreciate you and find you to be unique for just being you, no matter how plain you really are.

And if we are still so inclined at working to become a different person, perhaps the thing to do is just to work at self-improvement, rather than work on being unique? Would that be more unique? Maybe that's why Carrie is special in the movie, because she is always self-reflecting and always trying to figure out what the right thing to do is?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank you Movember

for helping me realize that I find men with facial hair attractive.

Latest realization of turn-ons:
  • facial hair
  • nerds who are passionate about humanities (or any sort of field they can excel at--whether finances or technology, but especially humanities).

Already realized turn-ons:
  • shaved head...not necessarily due to natural hair loss..haha
  • witty, i.e., smart and funny

All-time biggest turn off:
  • men who spend too much time on their appearance, including working out and dressing up.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blind Faith

I turn 27 in January.

A couple generations ago, at age 27, people were already married for a few years and were having kids. Things seem to have been so easy back then, to find the right person, to be with the right person, and to have a family with the right person.

Or was it?

I guess the theory doesn't stand if you start accounting for all the divorces, and the billions of books on relationship published since the beginning of time.

I grew up in the suburbs and so did most of my friends. We're all about the same age, plus or minus one or two.
None of the people in my groups of friends are married. Some are in serious relationships but with no immediate plans of marriage. Some are in pseudo-serious relationships with no plans of marriage. Some are single.

Those who are single are looking. They deal with their uncertainty in many ways. Some are scared to let themselves take the plunge even when meeting the potentially right person. Some are dating serially in hopes of finding the right one soon. Some try to change themselves, some don't. Some lament about their lack of relationship status, some try not to think about it, some convince themselves that they are happy, some really are happy.

Those who are in pseudo-serious relationships are the ones who are settling. Some have convinced themselves that they are with the right person, even though deep down inside, they are still wondering whether the person they are with is the one. Some know they don't truly love the person and that there are problems, but they don't know what else to do. Some people are happy with settling. Some people are not. Some people are not even sure. But when you settle, everyone else around you can tell.

Admittedly, relationships aren't easy.

In fact, relationships are so complicated that there's just no right way of doing something. I didn't settle and I accepted the fact that I could be single for the rest of my life. But that doesn't mean there aren't people out there who can settle, who wants to settle, and who needs to settle. And there are people who can't bear the fact of being alone. I dated around but I didn't sleep around. But that doesn't mean that there aren't people who don't date around and still found the right person. It also doesn't mean that if you sleep around you won't.

And then there's a difference between being in a happy relationship and being in love. I genuinely believe that you can be in a happy relationship without being in love, but it depends on your personality.

I'm no relationship expert, but here is my take on it...

A happy relationship, for me, is this:
  • Self-knowledge. Understand yourself, know your strengths and flaws, and don't be greedy. Nothing in life will ever be perfect, but if you can figure out the best ratio for gain and compromise for you, and you alone, then it's easier to be happy.
  • Commitment. Make sure you can commit to your decisions. If you decided to settle, don't question it and regret it. If you are going to question it and regret it, then don't settle and commit to not settling. If you're always flip-flopping in between, things will never be easy.
Love, for me, is this:
  • Risk. To let yourself love, and be loved, is always always always a risk. Because you can wake up one day hurt and wounded. Because you can wake up one day alone, and regret never having settled for someone whom you did not love but would have kept you company forever.
  • Luck. But luck comes to those who are prepared.
  • Belief. Sometimes it's just blind faith that the right person will come along.

I honestly believe that we all have so much time still to find the right person, as long as we keep believing. Cheesy, I know, but I really mean it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Politics of Politics

Walking around the city and even surfing around on FB, I am bombarded with the phrase "Did you Vote?"
Even my temporary MA driver's license said in big bold letters "YOU DID NOT REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY."

The best part is likely when I was at the T stop and a woman tried to hand us pamphlets while saying "Did you vote?" We shook our heads at her, subconsciously rejecting the pamphlet and answering her question. She scowled at us like we are awful American citizen.

Look lady, you can try to shame us into voting, but do you really want a Canadian voting on American politics? We'll turn you socialist in no time! (Okay, maybe not with the recent Ford election...)

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Rock

I realize the following paragraphs will become a conversational piece, especially for some of you who have been silently keeping up with this blog, but it probably doesn't mean what you think it means.

On my flight back from SFO on Wednesday, the woman sitting next to me reminded me of Kim Kardashian, except in her late 30s if not early 40s. She had long dark black hair and olive skin, and despite she moves and talks with the utmost forced femininity, the thick amount of makeup couldn't hide all the thick and thin lines across her entire face. From afar, there's no doubt she looked good: leather jacket, TNA leggings, still in good shape, etc. It's not hard to tell that she takes good care of herself; from the American Express she keeps swiping on the screen in front of me, the Mac Air she was using the entire flight, and the GIGANTIC rock on her finger, you can tell she has both the time and the money to take care of herself--and she does.

I swear the diamond on her finger was unnaturally large, maybe the size of a dime, and obviously a lot thicker (2-3cm?). I'm not gonna lie, I couldn't stop looking at it and secretly wished that one day I can sport a rock this big. And herein lies the irony---just a few days ago, J, one of my awesome awesome coworkers at Fremont, was telling me how she had a dream wedding last year in Prague with close families and friends for an entire weekend (40 ppl) and a dream honey moon (10 days on a small Greek island, removed from any signs of tourists, at a cottage on top of the hill, overlooking the island) while completely forgoing an engagement ring. Her wedding ring had a diamond on it, but it was not those big engagement ones.

At the moment when J was telling me about her whole wedding, I was thinking that this is exactly what I had always wanted--I don't wear jewelery and I don't care to have a large wedding that requires a year's worth of planning--I just want to celebrate the occasion with people i love, and just have fun.

And here is where I feel like I need to clarify again: If you guys are thinking that I must be wedding-crazy and that you guys are about to be attending our wedding, just know that nothing is happening any time soon.

But yes, I have been thinking about weddings and honeymoons lately, and what I want to do for mine. I can't seem to help it. Recently, left, right, and center, I'm attending weddings, looking at ppl's wedding photos, and hearing people talk about weddings. I know I have mentioned all of this before, but when I was little, I never thought about what my wedding would be like, or what my ring would be like, because I just never thought about it. Now that everyone is getting married, it probably won't hurt to just think about what I would want to do one day, because, admittedly, it is an important day--I don't want to look back one day and regret that I had a nonchalant attitude towards me taking a huge step in my life, right?

Anyway, every time I go to a wedding, hear about a wedding, read about a wedding of someone I know, etc., my mind will change a bit. I do know that I want a wedding with just people I know, and not a bunch of people I've never met in my life. And I want simplicity and elegance, which sounds cheesy but thats the type of cheesy i want.

But what about the rock? Big? regular? or none at all?
Thankfully, this decision won't need to be made imminently.
In all likelihood, if i were a billionaire (or married to a billionaire) i'd want a gigantic ring but end up never wearing it.
Since I am a middle-class consumer, I guess perhaps I should really opt to skip the engagement ring and put the money toward something else. Would that be too pragmatic?

Sometimes I feel like pragmatics and relationships are mutually exclusive. It's like trying to put logic in love...

Monday, October 25, 2010


Although I don't blog as much as I used to, which was a few times a day in high school and undergrad and a few times a month at Oculus and during grad school, my online activities has only increased. On the right column, you can still see my rarely updated twitter, my often updated yelp reviews, my whereabouts on my calendar and people's blogs i do follow.

It's probably better this way because my blogs used to have what I thought was better content, but since I've finished school and am on the full working life, my thoughts and my writing have been devolving into series of unfinished thoughts and superficial posts that doesn't entice me to look back and re-read my entires. At least the conversations I have and re-post here I still find amusing.

For a while, I played with the idea that perhaps the (not-so) newly lack of blogging is a reflection on the emo-teen years everyone goes through. It's true that the older you get, the less you seem to want to release all your pent up emotions from your puberty-induced hormones by some form of self-expression. And maybe it IS that I no longer NEED to write, and therefore I don't. But I do miss writing and and the analysing that comes with it. Hopefully, I will make the effort to find the time again some time down the road and practice writing things that are more observational, and if i'm lucky, insightful.

And...this is what happens when I sleep all day and wake up at 2am PST/5am EST...

Monday, October 11, 2010

About my bags

There used to be a period in my life when I hoarded handbags. It's true. I even made a blog post about my handbag inventory back in the days. In August, I went back to Toronto to move most of my stuff out of the house because my family was moving. It turned out that this "moving" became the purging of all my childhood and young adult life memorabilia. Now that I am writing this blog I wish I took some photos to maintain the memories of the stuff I threw out...such as my gigantic collection of pencils (the ones that need sharpening)...I want to cry just thinking about it. Imagine this: I donated approximately 10 garbage bags worth of clothes, shoes, and bags, and stuffed animals, recycled 3 giant boxes of old paperwork and school work, and tossed out 3 garbage bags of STUFF.

But I digress: I wrote this post because I wanted to talk about my handbag fetish (or lack thereof?). I mean, I feel like my fetish is pretty mild in comparison to many people I have known or read about. When I was young, I had one wallet that I often kept losing and never believed in handbags. When I started going out with Mike, he said he would like me to carry handbags so he can put his stuff there and it was then I began buying a ton of bags. Within our two years and some months of relationship, I must have accumulated 15-20 bags.

About a year after we broke up, my horrible bag hoarding issue also broke up a little (partly because it was replaced by a horrible shoe hoarding problem that's outside the scope of this blog post (but do recall my shoe inventory blog post made a few years ago)). By breaking though, I mean that I stopped subscribing to forums that talk about handbags and I stopped paying attention to brand-name handbags. I didn't stop buying, I just bought less and stopped researching. By the time I was leaving for Boston, I had a gigantic Tupperware of handbags (comes up to my waist) plus a few sitting in my dresser, most of which I donated during the purge.

This weekend, Adam's family came to Boston and we spent literally all weekend shopping. At Wrentham Outlet, Adam bought me my second Kate Spade item: a cross-body bag for our trip to Europe in November. Honestly, I haven't been this excited since he got me my Salvatore Ferragamo Saffiano wallet since last year around this time. While admiring my new KS bag, I decided to clear out my collection to see what I have left (*silently cries*).

And here is the essence of my post: my remaining bag collection.

Salvatore Ferragamo:
  • Black Saffiano continental wallet <3

Kate Spade:
  • Cranberry Maddie <3
  • Black signature Noel Thomas Crossbody <3

  • small white soho flap shoulder (FS)
  • small navy signature top handle pouch <3
  • large beige leather madison wristlet
  • purple signature wristlet
  • small red soho signature wallet

  • three nine west bags (2 FS)
  • two puma bags (1 RT)
  • one old navy cross-body sling
  • one big aldo bag
  • one small aldo evening bag
  • one transit clutch
  • one guess shoulder bag
  • one buffalo back pack bag thing
  • one pacsun slouch hobo
  • one guess continental wallet (RT)
  • one no name oversized yellow synthetic bag I got from HK <3
  • one no name pink shoulder bag I got from TW (RT)

Total: 24ish
FS: I want to sell them
RT: Ready for retirement (donation)

At this point, if you are still reading, you probably have realized that I am totally quantity > quality. I don't own any real haute-couture bags like Chanel or Prada or BV or even Gucci and LV...mainly because I can't afford them. I've been threatening adam that i'm just gonna go out one day and buy a $3k bag, but I have yet the courage. I also keep asking myself whether i would actually keep a bag forever and use it regularly for the rest of my life to make that money worth it at my income level, and the answer has always been no.

Also note that I have rather large coat collection....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My blank is better than your blank

lynnie: plus, im convinced that no matter what ur place looks like, mine is gonna be better
Matt: disagree
lynnie: you would, wouldnt you
Matt : mine has hand laid wood floors
yours has BOSTON
ergo, mine is better
lynnie: yours has you, and mine has ME
ergo mine is better
Matt: it has not been established that u are better than me
therefore your argument is flawed
lynnie: haha so is urs
Matt: whereas my floors are DEFINITIVELY better than Boston
lynnie: how does that even work
my car is better than your slippers
Matt: well you see
matt's floors = awesome
and boston = the suck
lynnie: my lamp is better than your door
Matt: and since awesome > the suck
lynnie: my bathroom is better than your pencil
Matt: then by association, matt's floors > boston
lynnie: my book is better than your chair
Matt: yo man, my pencil totally owns ur bathroom
u have not seen my epic pencil
lynnie: LOL
my tissue box is better than ur booger
Matt: if God wrote the commandments w/ a pencil he would surely use one just like mine
unfortunately he actually chiselled them into stone
lynnie: my chisel is better than your stone
Matt: I don't have a stone
lynnie: wait
i dont have a chisel
Matt : lol even if u did that would not be a particularly sour point for me
lynnie: my name is better than your mirror
my elevator is better than your middle finger
Matt: my hour is better than your LIFE
lynnie: haha, see finally u make a comparison that makes sense, though untrue
Matt: or... completely true
lynnie: fine u can have that one
Matt: LOL
lynnie: but my apartment is still better
Matt: I'm not sure that's the one u wanted to give up Lynn

Monday, October 4, 2010

old ppl stuff

Things to remember when renovating a house:
- always have light in the shower rooms and tubs for easier cleaning
- tubs are easier to clean when not attached to the wall (standalone)
- drain for the tub needs to be removable
- toilet too close to the wall = harder to clean the floor
- floors and counters with material that never looks dirty are hard to clean
- cabinets too high are stupid
- make sure shower head is detachable for cleaning rest of bathroom
- double-sinks are awesome in the kitchen
- best type of stove is the electrical spiral ones be continued

Monday, September 27, 2010

One In, One Out

Adam has this ridiculous policy called "One in, one out", referring to my clothing and shoes shopping habits. When I buy a new pair of shoes, an old pair of shoes needs to go. If I buy a new piece of clothing, it must replace another piece of existing clothing in my closet.

Yesterday, one of my sandals broke, which means I can now legitimately buy a pair of new sandals without Adam nagging, as opposed to sneaking them in and then arguing with Adam when he discovers the addition, which is what I usually do.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hey Mr. Postman

So it's been almost a week since we received any mail.
Normally i wouldnt be worried except i was supposed to have received my credit card bill and Netflix dvd at least three days ago, but nothing.
Someone in this world has our mail right now, and I'm wondering what they're doing with it...who knew I'd be missing mail?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is this world coming to?

Recently, I've been hanging out on a public forum. I've been participating in the chats and reading people's opinions on anything and everything. Perhaps it's a site-specific issue, or perhaps its an American thing (the site is local), or perhaps, even, it's just my lack of experience on Internet chat forums, but in these forums, a lot of time is being spent on arguing left wing vs. right wing perspectives on every-day social manners, such as whether people should bring coffee into a restaurant, whether a guy should pay for dinner, and whether you should dress up to go to a restaurant or to go on an airplane, etc. etc. Most of the time, you get extremist trying to argue that the world is going haywire and society is debased.

Today, someone even started a thread about how the world is falling apart because children spend too much time indoors with the internet and other gadgets and that curiosity is no longer upheld as a important part of life.

So, because I don't know how to hold my tongue, I replied:

I know I sound like I'm just asserting my same points in all the previous threads , but perhaps the arguments people bring out in these threads essentially converge into the same thing about what is this world coming into.

I, too, grew up in the early 90s where cell phones were the size of bricks and a game console system is for families with a lot of money. I loved hanging out with my friends on my bikes to go to the park or local convenient store to buy chips and candy with my measly allowance. Sure, I have my reservations about the way the next generation is growing up--I mean, is spending all this time in front of electronics and the Internet good for them?

But the reality is, I don't know.

I don't think curiosity is obliterated because we spend time indoors. In fact, because of the Internet, I probably gained a lot more knowledge, useful for not, than I would have should Internet not have existed my entire life.

I also am reserved about the argument that we don't appreciate things like music and books because they come more easily at our disposal. To regurgitate what I've been saying in many other threads, thirty years ago, our grandparents were lamenting on the generations deteriorating and that they spend TOO much time in record stores and disco clubs.

I am neither arguing that society is changing for the better or for the worse. To me, it is just a plain fact that society *is* changing, as it always is and always has been. And with these changes, what doesn't change is the social responsibility of improving the changing system and ensuring that, in spite of new values and new manners and new grammar, even, the fundamental ethics in life, and more importantly, humanism, are still continually being taught and nurtured into the next generation, whether it is through social media or through any other lifestyle choices and means of entertainment and living.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Regardless of how many times I watch up, I always bawl my eyes out at the opening sequence and the part where he goes through the Adventure book last time, and then let her go. My all-time favourite movie., though I always struggle before watching because I'm not sure if I want to suffer the emotional ordeal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

story of a live-in couple

adam: i have so much to do....[lists his things]
me: do you want me to help you pack then?
adam: yeah, sure
me: ok, what do you want to bring? which shirts? the orange polo? blue-stripe polo?
adam: uh....what?
me: the polos, which ones? the orange one or the blue stripe one or both?
adam: ...oh! both
me: ok, what about t-shirts and shorts?
adam: uh...what?
me: t-shirts and shorts? which ones?
adam: you know when my parents go on vacation, my mom just packs everything for my dad.
me: .........

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Do you see two common themes?

J: speaking of forgetting to bring (haha) thank you for delivering my watch to Jen next week :D
L: oh yeah
dammit i better remember that
maybe i need some incentive for me to remember
J: hahaha
Daily fb wall reminders, with personalized messages attached?
L: um, that will make me forget :D
J: evil :*(
L: so lets talk about incentives :D
J: lol, what is it going to cost me
L: i dunno...what do u have to offer?
J: friendship? Baskin Robbins coupons?
L: not free ice cream? just coupons? valuable is your watch again?
J: it has sentimental value!!
fine free ice cream!
L: which means it's invaluable you would say?
and that it's worth more than the cost of the watch itself
J: lol I am so being hustled
L: and ice cream is what? $3.00?
J: plus tax
L: i am thoroughly enjoying this
in case you haven't noticed :D
J: yes, I am fully aware!
L: so 3.50 for a very nice Seiko watch with invaluable sentimental values attached
sounds like i'd be gypped if i accept this offer
J: damn it, if you were Adam I could throw in ***ual favours :(

[subject was conveniently changed]

[some 20 minutes later]

L: btw, what's it feel like to be without your watch?
J: I had to revert back to an old watch that ran outta batteries! So I replaced that. It's weird. A lot heavier than my other watch, took some getting used to
L: oh, so i guess you really would like your watch back, huh
J: what do you think?! :P
L: oh, i'm just making sure, that's all
it's important to put a fair price on what i'm selling so fact check is warranted :D
J: :(
L: haha
sad face doesnt work on me
i use that on other ppl all the time
J: :****(
L: you still have four days to make acceptable offers
so no worries
lots of time to think about it :D
E: yo
L: yaow
E: did you pass my Quest shirt to Jay Kwan?
we forgot it at home
we should keep it hostage until u pay us back tho
since now im hustling jay
i might as well hustle u
E: we'll be mean to you
L: How? im not even in the city
E: when we visit you
L: haha, u cant visit me and be mean to me
that defeats the purpose!!
E: yes i can! i can go see Adam.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cougar Alert

Yesterday, I posted the following on my FB:

Mike Zhang and I are trying to figure out who I should go for, Leonardo DiCaprio who is 8 years older than me, or Taylor Lautner who is 8 years younger than me. The real questions is, which one can I pull off better, dating an 18 year old or a 35 year old? Btw, Inception has rekindled my love for Leonardo DiCaprio. Gotta dig out my old posters from Romeo & Juliet and Titanic ♥

It garnered a lot of responses...mostly girls.
And then monica msged me today.

- mun.:

so did you decide
leo or talyor

whoever i can get!
i think taylor might be tired of all the old women drooling over him

i just googled taylor lautner
his abs are....
i feel like a pedophile

- mun.:
you must have saw this one
8 pack!

i did! i asked adam if they were photoshopped
he said they were real

- mun.:
how do you tell
look kinda airbrushed in that pic

thats what i was telling him
and i said makeup helps it get defined better
but then we looked at a few other ones
and he deemed them real
i'd like them to real
so im really not gonna refute that

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Testing the i___

I'm currently on the adam's iPod touch using the app called blogwriter lite. I'm pretty impressed with this gadget. The iBook app is my favourite. I think if I had an iPhone I'd end using it 24-7 because I can do anything on this almost anywhere. Crazy. I'm still not a fan of the touchscreen keyboard though.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inception is a must-see

Inception is not mind-blowing: the ideas are all too familiar, there is no profound or thought-provoking ideas.
Inception is not a challenging piece of puzzle: everything is explained before you need to figure anything out.

Inception is well-executed in story-telling, cinematography, special effects, music, casting: 3 levels of reality happening at the same time, haunting actors, beautiful scenes, and full 2.5 hours of tension, suspense, and dramatic music.

Inception is essentially a menage of classic greatness:
There is nothing new about the content, you can find all the ideas in many classic psychological sci-fi thriller, and, of course, Freud.
There is nothing new about the style; you can see shadows of the Matrix, Ccean's Eleven, James Bond, Blade Runner, 2001.

But it makes you feel like you're watching something completely new and original.

It is a good story that was told in a way that made it better.
It is a real "good movie"
It is what all movies ought to be.

If I had to say one bad thing about the movie, it would be that it was too packed with action--Non-stop from beginning to end--I'm not sure how my heart handled it.
But for some, that only makes the movie that much better.

Go see it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Technology Overload

Last night, I reformatted my Netbook from XP to Windows 7, with negative help from the boyfriend. Kudos to Microsoft, and technology in general nowadays, for making everything so dummy-friendly. Actually, to be fair, I gotta thank my brother who managed to provide me a uber copy of windows that had every edition on a formatted usb flash and all I needed was a product key. If I had to format my usb key into an hdd I don't know if I'd ever reformat...

It's funny though: I bought my netbook right before I went back to Taiwan so I can bring it everywhere with me. I left my darling VAIO at home for my mom, gave back the XPS to Oculus and I was left with this tiny little thing that lags when I (used to) play Restaurant City. Not to say that it didn't serve me well while I was in Taiwan, but by the time I got to Boston, the netbook was left in the tiny apartment corner and only taken out when we felt like streaming something to watch in bed, which was very rare.

To be honest, the Netbook lost its glamour when we each got a Blackberry. The BB is no iPhone, in that surfing the net is not "ideal", but it serves its purpose for FB, twitter, google map (!!!), whenever we need to look up life trivia, and, of course, definitely for E-mails and messaging.

So after I installed all the necessities back onto my netbook, I looked at its pretty face and wondered when will be the next time I'm going to use it; all the while, Adam is sitting next to me YouTubing videos of basketball players and cars on his iPod Touch.

And here it is.

Between Adam and I, we EACH have:
  • a work desktop,
  • a work laptop, and
  • a blackberry;
Together, we have:
  • a new Dell Studio desktop,
  • a Netbook,
  • and an iPod Touch.
How many other ways do we need to be connected to the interwebz?

Seriously, we have no need for more machines. We can't even find a use for the desktop and netbook at home anymore. We thought about hooking the desktop up to stream movies on TV but it was too much work, both setting it up and actually using it (on top of that Netflix and HD channels provide an over abundance of entertainment). At this point, even my mother has more machines than she can use (my leftover desktop and laptop and my brother's leftover desktop...)

Adam and I have been thinking about getting a Mac (iMac? MacBook? Mac Mini?). One can argue that getting a Mac is not about purpose, but just about keeping up with technology...right?

I think they should rename our generation to generation spoiled.

But don't worry, we currently do not have the funds to purchase an expensive Apple item.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, most of the stuff I have is red...including my desktop that's not pictured here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


No one in my family has a green fact, the concept of having plants was obscure to me until my first coop term, where, at the end of the term, I received a pot of plants as one of my goodbye presents. At first, I was confused and excited...ooh my very own plant. I placed it next to my window and watered it religiously..until one day, I discovered fruit flies around the plant, at which point, I tossed the whole pot into the garbage and brought it down the garbage chute. Insects in the house...didn't know civilization was going backwards(!!!)

We were at IKEA a couple months ago, trying to figure out how to make our place look better with decorations and we bought some art and I wanted some fake flowers or sticks as decor. At the fake flower section, I saw a bunch of fake potted plants, because, y'know, IKEA isn't a nursery so it's gotta be fake right?

I spent a lot of time picking out the best looking plant ("Wow, Adam, these are amazing! No two fake plants look alike, they must spent a lot of time on the mould!"), accidentally depotting some by picking them up from their stem, and getting soil all over the floor and my clothes ("Man, Adam, IKEA is amazing! Can you believe how many realistic looking plants they have? Even the soil looks real!"). I even bought a white plant pot to put the plant in, because that would match our bathroom better than the ceramic looking pot in which the plant was plotted.

A few months later, while I was in the bathroom, I found a brown leaf on the floor. Weird, I thought to myself, where did we go to attract a brown leaf into the house.....if this were a movie, there would a loud "DUN DUN DUN" from the background music the moment it hit me and i looked up at the plant sitting on the shelf.

I've been watering it regularly now. It still looks unhealthy. I just looked up instructions on the IKEA website and it says to leave it in bright, but not direct, sunlight. There's no room where our window is for that plant and having soil in the bathroom is enough for me. Mr. Real Plant, hopefully you can survive in our bathroom with being watered whenever I remember and am feeling sorry for you....Just pray that you're not going to attract any fruit flies, k?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How much is it worth?

Adam and I were on a mission today to go to the mall to return a bunch of stuff. Two weeks ago, Adam and I went shopping for summer clothes and I bought a bunch of stuff from Aeropostales, only to find similar stuff for a lot cheaper at H&M and the AE outlet (I know some of you cringe at the thought of returning stuff, but I'm all about the buy first, decide later policy that all retail stores push for hahahaha).

Now there was a halter top I bought at H&M (without really trying cuz the line was too long) and a pair of jeans from AE that didn't fit me right. These items costs $5 and $14 respectively and many people would say, oh why bother trekking all the way to the mall to get $19 back. And they are probably right, but since I need to return a large $$$ worth of stuff at Aero anyway at the mall, why not right? If I don't, they would just end up sitting in my closet (like another shirt I bought for $7 at H&M) with the tag still on and never be worn.

So I'm at the H&M store, holding my $5 piece of cloth and the line was ridiculously long. I'm at a cross-road here. Is it worth the time to line up? One might argue, yes, you're there anyway, what's another 15 minutes, $5 is still money, while another might chastise: $15 minutes is worth way more than $5.

Last week, when I went camping, I noticed Adam's cousin-in-law with a beautiful looking pedicure. I've never gotten a pedicure before, and have only gotten manicures twice. If you can find cheap places, a mani+pedi is $30. If you don't look hard enough, a mani can cost you $25 while a pedi $45.

Now, if you decide to do your own at home you can buy your own nail polish for $5 and the top coat for $7. And if you want really do it up, a nourishing undercoat for $10 or add a kit (like I did) for $40 and you can get french tips or stamps of designs for $45. Ok, so the cost is about equivalent but with a spa treatment you get to have exfoliation, scrubs, aroma oil, massage while with a DIY kit, you can do your nail polish over and over and over again, up to 20 times(!) with the same amout of money.

Sometimes, when I have a rough day at work, and I don't feel like cooking, we eat out. Sometimes I have a rough week at work, and I run into this dilemma: We've been eating out for the last two days, there's produce in the fridge that's rotting, but I'm so hungry and exhausted and by the time I'm done cooking I'd be insanely hungry and cranky and we'd still have to clean...but if we eat out, the food is expensive, and the produce would be wasted AND it's less healthy.

Some of those who values the importance of money would tell me: stay in line and return the shirt, buy your own nail polish and do it yourself, and eat at home.
Some of those who values time, convienence, and comfort might tell me: don't stay in line and donate the shirt, go treat yourself at the spa once in a while.

What do/did I do? I stayed in line and returned the shirt--it's going to clog up my already collapsing closet. I have bought my own expensive nail polish kit before--my enthusiasm lasts for about two times and now i have ugly nails all the time. I sometimes suck it up and cook, sometimes we end up eating out for a week.

Growing up and living an environment where we're more privileged than many others, there really is no right answer. My only solution to this cognitive dissonance is a philosophy to not be wasteful. If I don't return that shirt, I'd be wasteful. If I buy nail polish I'm never going to wear I'm going to be wasteful. If there is food at home and I don't cook it, I'd be wasteful.

That's my goal now..less waste the better, though I might still have ugly nails because I'm too cheap to go get manicures often, but at least I won't have bottles of nail polish in the closet that dries up before they are done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rogue Hero of our Building

Living in a condo, one of the conveniences is being able to take your trash out whenever you want and tossing it down the trash chute.

The rule of the building is, if you have large items that don't fit down the chute, you are allowed to leave it in the chute room. If these items happen to be recyclable, they will not get recycled. Although we do have a large recycling/trash room downstairs, many people get lazy and just don't recycle their large boxes.

I don't know if this happens just on our floor, but we also have some lazy (or germ-phobic) person(s) who enjoy(s) leaving their garbage bags in the trash chute room, rather than tossing it down the chute. This makes the room smell pretty badly, needless to say. So after a couple of these incidences, we saw a hand-written sign taped next to the chute by a fellow resident that asked, not very politely, for the person who does it to stop.

When I saw it, I giggled uncontrollably: "So I'm not the only person who gets annoyed, eh!" I tell Adam. Unfortunately, that sign did not scare anyone except for the building management, who replaced the sign with an official notice that stated what belongs down the chute, what belongs in the room, and what does not belong in the room. Nevertheless, the disrespect for rules (or illiterateness) continued.

Yesterday afternoon, while I was happily (or miserably, you decide) sitting in front of the computer doing my work, I heard a lot of commotion outside of our door that, I thought at the time, could have been from our neighbours across the aisle, but was a little too close to our door for me to feel safe. I chose to ignore it, like all normal (or abnormal) people.

At around 6pm, Adam opens our door from the outside and shows me a sheet of shipping paper taped to our door, addressed to Jessica Something or another, apartment XXX, with a handwritten scribble on the sheet saying something like, "Stop leaving your garbage in the room or management will come get you." Another apartment number XYZ was scribbled across the sheet.

Beneath this taped note, was a pile of garbage (thankfully nothing gross, just a large biodegradable packaging paper and some torn up large boxes.) Oh, so that was what that commotion was...'s some of my observations and theories:
  • My name is not Jessica something something, and we don't live in aparment XXX (we live in apartment XXY, right across from XXX). So this rogue law enforcer must have been illiterate like the person(s) doing the littering...
    • OR, she/he might have some of form of spatial dyslexia
  • The hand written XYZ on top of the sheet makes me suspect that perhaps the original person who did this put it at the wrong door, but the litterer wrote a different number...
    • ...You know...I can't explain why there was another apartment number scribbled on the sheet at all....doesn't make any logical sense.
  • Technically, that pile of garbage does belong in the trash chute room, since it's oversized, so it does prove to me that rogue law enforcer is illiterate.
    • ...But to be fair, we live in a pretty yuppie condo, so the chances of people being illiterate is pretty low...I really have no explanations
Anyway, Adam and I stared at this mess for a bit, then we decided to gently nudge the garbage across the hallway and place the note on the door of apartment number on the shipping sheet (not the scribbled over one, since that one was too far down the hall). Five minutes later, I decided that I wanted to take a picture of the pile, but it was already gone...

In the evening, each unit of our floor got a notice from the building manager asking the rogue officer to please stop taking the matter into his or her own hands based on his or her own suspicion...

All I can say is that I am sorry I didn't open the door during the commotion and took a look at our illiterate rogue hero.

Oh, and Adam thinks our rogue hero is a girl because only girls would do passive-aggressive things like that. But I think it has to be a man, cuz it's pretty juvenile and all girls can read.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's not as easy as it looks

Buying ham at the deli in Stop n Shop (grocery store)

Me: can I get 200 grams of the lemon chicken breast shaved?
Guy behind the counter: GRAMS?
Me (in my head): *AH CRAP THIS IS NOT CANADA*
Me (out loud): erm...sorry I meant...erm...what do you guys use here for measurement for buying deli meat? ounces?
Him: Uh...pound...
Me: Oh...well is a pound a lot?
Him: *silence while trying to digest my question*
Me: ...I'm so sorry.. I'm Canadian... I meant...what do people usually get?
Girl next to me: Is it for two people for a week?
Me: YES!! YES!!
Her: I usually get half a pound to 3/4 of a pound for that
Me: oh yes! Thank you!! I'll get 3/4 of a pound then
Him: *looks at me* Um...How about we try 1/2 pound first, and see from there if that's enough for you?
Me: oh ok.. let's try that..shaved please
Him: *raises eyebrow while getting the meat*

While he cuts, he tries to make conversation with me about Boston. When he was done, there was about 0.65 lb of shredded meat, that looked like a lot of meat.

Him: Is this too much for you?
Me (in my head): *YES!! And why is it shredded... D: *
Me (out loud): Umm... no...I mean yes...but don't worry I can deal with it...

Lesson learned: they use a different measuring system (duh..) and shaved means something else than what I usually get when i asked for shaved in Canada....
*EDIT* I asked an American friend if they get it shaved, and he said they call it "thinly sliced" here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

my hair smells like vanilla hazelnut coffee

Things that went into my coffee today:
  • lead from my automatic pencil (lesson: never click your lead pencil to try to get the lead out above your coffee
  • my hair (lesson: never try to set up a monitor with ur laptop with ur coffee near you)

Friday, June 11, 2010

At that age?

I'm starting to get a little sick of reading about people my age getting married and having babies on facebook. Although they are mostly classmates from high school or college, and not any of the friends I hang out with regularly, it still reminds me of how OLD I am and how my body is expiring.
Yet I am so not ready to get married yet, let alone have a baby.


On another note, I wonder what it is about all my friends being my age or older, with none of them close to marriage? Socio-economic background? Which one of you is gonna be first? :D

Oh, btw, Congrats Ben and Yvonne, way to make me feel old =)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Undertaking of Cuisine New Orleans

  • po'boy
  • crawfish etouffe
  • deep fried alligator
  • catfish
  • jambalaya
  • gumbo
  • cafe au lait
  • beignet
  • fried oyster on half shell
  • crawfish bisque
  • muffuletta
  • red bean and rice
  • popeye's (fried chicken..hahahaha)
  • hand grenade
  • hurricane

Not Checked
  • turtle soup (adam tried)
  • boiled crawfish
  • praline
  • rabbit
  • bbq shrimp
  • shrimp bisque

Monday, April 19, 2010

Laziness is my tragic flaw

So as tax season comes to an end, I have a story to share with you about my taxes this year. Let me just begin with a disclaimer about how much I hate numbers and I shall begin.

Disclaimer: I hate numbers.

Ok, so, being the lazy butt I am, I didn't want to do my taxes on my own, especially having to figure out the laws on filing taxes as a Canadian working in the U.S., so I tried searching for accounts to help me. First I went to H&R Block, who told me I was unable to claim anything as a non-resident alien and was highly unhelpful to me. Then I went to an accounting firm who told me they were going to charge me $1300 to file my Canadian and U.S. taxes. On the weekend before the American taxes were due (April 15th), just when I was about to go to H&R taxes to get taxes filed and conceded to the fact that I wasn't going to get a return, Adam offered to do my American taxes, and I'd get Mike, Adam's best friend who is an accountant, to file my Canadian. (Thank you Adam and Mike!)

Adam spent all day reading up on taxes and did the rough draft on my State and Federal taxes. I copied the content to a final draft and mailed it on three days before it was due. YAY!

Today, I sent in the American forms to Mike so he can help me claim foreign tax credit. However, when he received my State income tax, he couldn't figure out where all the numbers came from. Apparently:
  1. When I copied the numbers over, I copied some of them on the WRONG lines.
  2. When Adam did his rough draft and made mistakes, he forgot to fix all of them, so I copied the mistakes.
  3. Adam mistakened one of his 4's for a 9, so, for example, $___4 was on the first two pages, but when transferred on the last two pages, it became $___9.

Yup. So if any State government tax auditors are reading this, I apologize. On the bright side for the government, I paid $5 more in taxes than I was really supposed to have. That counts for something, right?......

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


A lot of people look for change. After graduating, after settling into a comfortable job, they start to wonder what's next. Me? I'm wondering what's next too, except not rhetorically.

The past couple of months...well I guess almost a year now, my life has been in continuous transitional periods. Life keeps throwing curveballs at me and I just keep telling myself I just gotta get through this transitional period. Eventually, I can get comfortable, to know what I am doing, and continue doing it without worry.

Alas, it has been difficult. To call the period right after I graduated unstable would be unfair. I planned to be in Taiwan and everything worked out perfectly for the two months I was there. Even though it wasn't a perpetual gig, it was stable for the time being. Then I came to Boston, for a little less than a month, my mind was filled with what-ifs. What if I can't find a job? What if I find a job and I can't get my TN? What if I don't like Boston? What if Adam and I get into a fight, where would I go?

And then, miraculously, I found a job. My first interview and bam, a job. I came on board in late October as the only technical writer. The last dude was let go and didn't leave much behind and no one knew much about what he was doing. The team lead I was working with on my first project was extremely helpful though, and gave me step-by-step guidance on where to find my files and gave me training on how to use the product. Right after that, he gave his two-week notice because he decided it was time for a change and got a different job. At that point, it wasn't so bad, I had what I needed for that project already and I was able to do what I wanted to do. But then when I was done with the first project, chaos ensued. In January, the company I was working for got acquired by a larger company, and then the developers at my work started to leave one by one. By the time I started on my second project and a new product, no one knew where the files were, not even the developers who were left, and no one cared enough to teach me stuff. It's okay, right? Once I figure out how CVS, or Concurrent Versions System works, things will get better. Another project and some frustration later, at the end of February, it was announced that the office is shutting down. now what? Chaos, really. People in the office were busy trying to figure out whether or not they are staying, negotiating for severance packages or a new salary, etc., etc., while I...well I was lucky enough to keep my job, unlike those we were given a severance package then later was offered a higher salary to move to Fremont, I haven't been here long enough to even get a raise. Like I said, lucky to keep my job. And now, as the office is closing down, I just have to get through it all.

You know, I know I shouldn't complain. The fact is that not only did I find a job within a month of arriving here, now I get to work with a team of people, rather than alone, and I have a very wonderful boss/mentor. Now I just have to get through this transitional period where I need to figure out the best strategy to find where my files are before the migration of the servers, whether or not I'm going to be working from home or working from the office, my role as a writer working remotely, and whether or not I can live up to the expectation that has been bestowed upon me, the girl with the Master's degree in English.

Just keep pushing. One day, stability will happen and I will be complaining about how empty my life is....right? Right?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The fine line between ignorance and racism

So this woman just started to talk to me on the T this morning, asking me where I'm from. When I told her Canada, she started telling me about her experiences in Quebec. Then she asked me where I'm really from. Trying not to get offended because of her assumptions, I told her I was born in Taiwan. She proceeded to ask me where Taiwan was, since she has only heard of Thailand.

Me: Off the coast of China.
Her: Thailand?
Me: No, China. It's an island South of Japan.
Her: *blank look on her face*
Moment of silence
Her: You know half of my family is Asian...I'm not kidding
Me: *blank look*
Her: My brother married a woman from Thailand.
Me: *blank look*
Her: His kids look completely Asian.
Me: *blank look*
Her: They look really beautiful....but you know I'm just worried for them, because, well y'know racism and all....
Me: *stare*
Her: Yeah, the other day, I heard the most racist thing...well, I'm not going to tell you, it's just horrible.
Me: It happens. *turns away*

It's an awful thing, people who are racist without really knowing it. It's not a horrifying KKK racist, just a result of ignorance, but then again, isn't all racism a result of ignorance? What's worse, being racist and knowing it or being a racist with the belief that you're the complete opposite?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I love Sandra Bullock

I adored Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech yesterday at the Oscars. It made me absolutely teary:

Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down?

I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists that I see tonight and that I’ve worked with before and I hope to work with in the future, who inspire me and blaze trails for us. Four of them that I’ve fallen deeply in love with I share this night with and I share this award with.

Gabby, I love you so much. You are exquisite. You are beyond words to me. Carey, your grace and your elegance and your beauty and your talent makes me sick. Helen, I feel like we are family through family and I don’t have the words to express just what I think of you. And Meryl, you know what I think of you and you are such a good kisser.

I have so many people to thank for my good fortune in this lifetime and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I know.

To the family that allowed me to play them, the Tuohy family, I know they’re in here and you’ll probably hear her in a minute......Maybe not. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to…

The family that made this film that gave me the opportunity to do something different. John Lee Hancock, Gil Netter, Alcon, Warner Bros., the actors, everyone who’s shown me kindness when it wasn’t fashionable, I thank you.

To everyone who was mean to me when it wasn’t… George Clooney threw me in a pool years ago. I’m still holding a grudge.

But there’s so many people to thank....not enough time, so I would like to thank what this film is about for me which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So…

If I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys until I was 18 because she was right. I would’ve done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home. Piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist, you had to practice every day, and for reminding her daughters that there’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love. So, to that trailblazer, who allowed me to have that. And this. And this. I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women and my lover Meryl Streep. Thank you.”
Regardless of whether you liked her before this or not, her speech was all win: graceful, humble, and full of class. Not to mention she looked dazzling. Below is the clip, at least until YouTube removes it.