Sunday, April 29, 2007

sheer dumb luck?

I drove Di to the airport around 3:15 this afternoon after a long wknd filled with excessive amounts of food, alcohol, and shopping. the road to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is quite familiar to me, since I've probably flown through there at least 20 times in the year that I've lived here... and the drop-off road in front of the terminals is quite familiar to me as well, since I've dropped off numerous buddies there after a long wknd of good times.

this afternoon's visit to ABIA started off like any other. head out from apt, take the short 15-minute drive to reminisce over the fabulous wknd, pull up to the curb in front of the Continental gate. pop trunk, help Di grab her bags, give her a big hug and then hop back into the rice rocket to go on my merry way (to work, which is where I am now). as I pulled out of my spot and eased back into the main flow of airport traffic, I went over the usual huge speed bumps and turned up my music as I drove toward the airport exit.

...except this time was different. because this time as I was rounding the curve that would bring me outside of the immediate drop-off area, I noticed that a cop turned his car around and began to follow me. not only did he begin to follow me, he turned on his sirens and tailgated the shit out of me. WTF? so I pulled over, put on my hazards and sat there, wondering what the hell I had done wrong in the 90 seconds or so since I had left the curb.

the officer (tall, white, sporting a yellow Live Strong bracelet) ambled up to my window and asked for my license and proof of insurance. as I was leaning over to oblige, I asked him what I had done wrong... and he informed that I had been pulled over for SPEEDING. apparently the area immediately in front of the airport has a speed limit of 15 mph, and I had been driving at the exorbitant speed of 25 mph. I apologized for the mistake and handed him my wrinkled proof of insurance and brand-new TX drivers' license, all the while thanking my lucky stars that I had decided to Do The Right Thing and pay the money to get a TX license that would match my TX tags (a recent acquisition, and only because my MD tags had expired)and TX insurance card (acquired on practically the first day I moved here because my rates went down when I moved here, heh).

someone must have been looking out for me, because not only did I get off with just a polite warning to "watch my speed, ma'am, and drive careful," but also because if I had decided to hang onto my MD license I would have been in major trouble. so, then, not only did I have a great wknd with Di (highlights included champagne cocktails + cheese @ hotel san jose, shopping for jewelry in my "SoCo" neighborhood, interior mexican food and margaritas @ manuel's, a relaxed viewing of bend it like beckham aka the best DVD ever, delicious breakfast tacos @ mi madre's, a long walk around the town lake trail, homemade margaritas by the pool at my apt, the most INCREDIBLE sushi ever @ uchi, cocktails in the warehouse district, make-up purchases @ sephora, hyde park bar and grill's famous fries and a root-beer float stop @ sonic), I got pulled over and only walked away with a warning! I feel like I need to go do something nice for someone else now to continue the cycle of good karma. anyone need a hand with anything? call me and I'll hook you up.

btw, friends, I'm on the road for the rest of the week to such exciting places such as "Pine Bluff Arkansas" and "McKinney Texas," which should be hilarious... I'll try and update as much as I can. in the meantime, peace out!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

portrait of a morning

my alarm clock went off at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. this morning. there was no happy Texas sunshine streaming in through my blinds to greet me. three little birds were not singing on my doorstep. instead, I fumbled around in the dark to snooze once (okay, twice) before dragging my ass out of bed and into the shower. it reminded me of winter mornings back home when I'd purposely get ready in the dark for as long as humanly possible so I could delay the painful moment when I had to turn on the excruciatingly cruel bathroom light. in fact, I did the same thing this morning... washed my face in the dark... peed in the dark... brushed my teeth in the dark... hell, even put in my contacts in the dark. I didn't turn on the light until right before I jumped in the shower because I had done a hair experiment the night before (sounds serious, doesn't it?) and I decided that my desire to see the results was worth the pain of turning on the light (in case you were wondering: the hair experiment was going to sleep with my hair in a bunch of braids to see if that would make it curly. it sort of worked but the OCD part of me was bothered that the top half and very ends were straight, so I don't think the plan will live past the experimental stage).

thankfully, the shower worked its usual magic of erasing the last remnants of sleep and getting me fully awake for the day ahead... although let's not get ahead of ourselves... it's not like I jumped out of the water singing songs or doing jumping jacks or anything. I had my eyes open -- that was victory enough. the usual post-shower routine followed... apply lotion... blow hair dry while checking the crackberry... apply make-up... stand in closet half-naked while I try and scrounge an acceptable outfit together... make bed and roll out.

once I was out and about (with a steaming vanilla non-fat latte from my neighborhood coffee joint in hand... the shower can only do so much sometimes), I felt a lot better and drove to work with the windows open and NPR on the radio. I got a sweet spot in the parking garage, headed into my office, collected my laptop and notebook and project folder and crackberry and trekked over to the main building for my 7:30 am meeting (WHY GOD WHY).

the meeting was a success. they loved most of the work, and it's all systems go. boo yeah, etc. I had another meeting immediately following that one... which brings me to now. 10:23 a.m. it feels like I've been here for an entire morning, although I must (begrudgingly) say that I've already gotten a lot done.

the main problem of getting such an early start? is that it's only 10:23 (well, 10:24 now) and I'm already starving for lunch. if I didn't have another meeting in five minutes I would so be at whole foods right now buying a slice of pizza or something.

mmm... pizza...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

in praise of my brilliant career choices

I must say, I gotta hand it to this guy, because he hit the proverbial home run with this brilliant gem about (my) bullshit jobs. [note my comments in brackets]

Advertising Executive

Create perceived need/value for inherently generic or worthless products [an excellent description of what I do for a living, although I must be a geek and argue that I am lucky enough to work on a great client whose products are definitely expensive but not necessarily generic nor entirely worthless]

$$: Ground-level workers with writing ability move quickly to the top, immediately snagging low to mid-six figures; those who can spin mythological concepts surrounding quotidian household objects can command up to seven figures. [very, very true about the power of being able to wax poetic about common household products. however, wtf is this about seven figures? someone's holding out on me here.]

The upside: Great expense account living [yes - mwahaha], see your handiwork everywhere [also a yes -- I am always keeping an eye out for ads that I've worked on], the wonderful feeling of being creative and corporate at the same time [yes again... I'm wearing jeans to work today and working with my feet up on my desk].

The downside: Must take meetings with the AFLAC duck. [I've luckily been spared from that ridiculous duck, but who knows what the future holds...]

The dark side: You're considered a dinosaur at forty. [very, very true. some may even consider me a wise old veteran at the ripe age of 26.]

here is a link to the page of awesome-ness, in which you can click on other bullshit jobs to see how you stack up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

erm... is this thing on?

sorry for leaving such a doom-and-gloom rant-filled post up there for so long... I promise you that I am still alive and kickin' here in the ATX, just a bit swamped with being angry at work, the media, and the weather. but today is Monday, and a fresh opportunity to make it a kick-ass week instead of one in which my ass gets kicked, so let's be optimistic, shall we?

reasons to be optimistic:
  1. I painted my toenails pink on Fri night
  2. my lovely friend Paula is in town
  3. although I am much more likely to endure extreme suffering the next day, I can still booze with the best of them
  4. I bought kicky red shoes on Sat and am wearing them to work today
  5. my lovely friend Di is coming to town this Thurs
  6. I had delicious SONIC this wknd! old-fashioned root beer float for LESS THAN $2. oh how the mind boggles.
  7. I'm working on a new business pitch at work and I! love! new! business! the energy! the adrenaline! the pressure! the opportunity to show off! mwa ha ha bring it on people. I'm going to kick ass.

see? optimism? warm and gooey feelings? do I not overwhelm you with my sunshiny outlook? my happy red shoes and (hot-rollered into submission) curly hair? my health-conscious and nutritious snack of fresh orange wedges?

is it too much for you? crap. sorry, my fellow cynics, do not run away. here are some reasons to have a Serious Case Of The Mondays:

  1. yesterday's weather was all misty and undecided, like should I rain? yes? no? yes? no? hmm. I know! I'll just mist in the meantime and drive people crazy while they debate whether an umbrella is a) necessary or b) guaranteed to make the user look like a high-maintenance geek.
  2. the kicky red shoes I bought are slightly too big and make flapping sounds while I walk.
  3. Austin is known as a city with fantastic weather, where it's sunny nearly 300 days out of the year. this week's forecast? gray, stormy and unpredictable.
  4. am afraid that the looming piles of work will prevent me from spending quality time with the aforementioned lovely Paula and lovely Di. crap.
  5. the fresh orange wedges were a bit old and therefore a bit hard/crusty on the corners.
  6. the pressure of the new biz pitch (the first one I've worked here in ATX-land) just may be the death of me.

just choose your preferred list of reasons and roll with it, you know?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

knee-jerk reaction

depending on when I wake up in the morning, I usually try to listen to NPR as I'm getting ready for work. like most of the other people in this country, I was incredibly saddened as I listened to the coverage of the VA Tech tragedy... wondering how those students' lives have been affected... feeling sad for the families of the victims... etc. and then I heard them reveal the name of the shooter and the fact that he was a 23-year-old Korean kid, an English major from northern virginia.

and my heart sank even further.

and I can't really articulate why.

is it that he's Korean? is is the fact that they repeatedly referred to the guy as "South Korean student" even though he'd lived in the DC area since he was a kid? was it the fellow English major-ness? or the memories of mentoring younger Asian students in college and learning that Asian students have significantly higher rates of depression, mental instability, and suicide than their fellow college-age peers? maybe sadness at the fact that so many Asian kids are under intense pressure, yet lack the systems necessary to deal with it in a way that is both healthy and effective? I mean come on, to complete the stereotypes, his parents work at a dry cleaner. were they so busy working to chase the American dream that they forgot about their kid?

or maybe it was more just "shit. why did he have to be Korean? how is this going to affect his family? their community? the VA tech community? the larger Blacksburg community?" my friend Di pointed out that there is no rhyme or reason to mass murderers (in terms of ethnic profiles), yet for some strange, inexplicable reason I am bothered that the largest massacre to take place at an American university will be because of one Korean kid from NOVA.

it's a complicated set of feelings that don't really add up to one neat and clear diagnosis/takeaway. on one hand, I feel empathetic, and sad, and wonder what kind of life he led, and what would lead him to do something like this. on the other hand, I'm pissed that he sold us all out like this. that he killed this many innocent people. that he put us out there in such a horrible way. on another hand (yes, I am some kind of three-handed freak... roll with me here), I wonder if this will help bring important issues to light. if this will teach Asian parents (hell, all parents, but in this case, Asian ones in particular) to talk to their kids, to give them the love and support they need, to push them in a way that's still safe. far more educated people than I have written about the effects of raising children in a post-Columbine world. pale kids who wear black trench coats were forever villified, and parents lived in fear of raising a kid who might turn out to be a social outcast. what will the effects of this tragedy be? will the stereotype of the over-stressed Asian kid cause others to back away? I mean, geez, way to blow the "model minority" myth out of the water, you know?

I'm going to end this here for fear that this will turn into a preachy post, and who the hell am I to preach intelligently on this kind of topic? I didn't have this kind of upbringing, I don't have kids, I haven't studied psychology. there are people who are far more intelligent than I am who will be writing about this for years to come. in fact, I can only imagine the field day that the media is going to have with this one... race issues, psychology issues, child-rearing issues, gun-control issues, school safety issues, immigration issues, etc etc etc. I can only describe my knee-jerk reaction, which was "damn. did he have to be Korean?"


Monday, April 16, 2007

weekend stories

so maybe it's presumptuous of me to assume that you care what I did this weekend... or maybe it's just a really boring story? but that is what I'm going to write about here, so... pls close your eyes if you think this post will bore you.

friday night was one of those "okayyy, twist my armmm, I'll come out for ONE DRINK and ONE DRINK ONLY" nights that turns into "hey! I'm drunk! when did that happen? wait! I've been drinking for four hours! heyyyy, who tricked me?" deals. the "one beer after a long day" plan quickly turned into a "drink with my work buddies for four hours and then go eat fish tacos afterward to sober up" situation.

saturday was deliciously lazy. I slept in late, spent the morning cleaning my apt and watched a horrendously bad movie on the Disney channel (princess diaries, in case you're wondering... I heart Julie Andrews and would seriously stab the doctor who screwed up her vocal chords with a butter knife if I ever came across him. that asshole. I mean seriously, you mess with fraulein maria, you're so asking for it). you know those days where you are really just craving some alone time? it was one of those times. eventually (around 3:00? 4:00? something like that), I decided that hey! maybe I should change out of my pajamas! and went for a quick run before meeting up with some buddies to watch a friend perform at the south asian festival here in town. she was fantastic, and the indian food they had was absolutely delicious... mmm... grilled chicken... beef biryani... chickpeas. yum.

sunday... hmm. sunday was a beautifully warm and sunny day. after saturday's incredible slothfulness, I decided to be productive. after some errands, a quick stop at the office and a long run on town lake, I met a friend downtown for the annual austin fine arts festival. there were several blocks of downtown austin that were blocked off with hundreds of artist booths, fresh food and live music (of course... it's austin). it was one of those sunny afternoons where it's cool in the shade but as soon as you step into the sunshine it feels like warm honey is dripping down your cheeks and shoulders. absolutely delicious. the rest of the night was spent doing some work and cooking dinner.

and thus another week begins. it promises to be a pretty hectic one, so apologies in advance if I'm not posting that often. today was already a pretty long day... one that could only be redeemed with a delicious homemade meal (thin pork chops, some asparagus spears, and red potatoes), a few large glasses of wine, and some quality television. cheers!

from the mouths of babes

am rushing around like a madwoman today, so instead of a proper post, i bring you this piece of comedic genius:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

cherishing the normal

yesterday, I went to work. I had a busy-ish day filled with meetings, though I managed to steal a few moments to catch up on the news and my favorite blogs. I had a breakfast of diet coke (um... oops), some homemade pasta salad for lunch, and an afternoon snack of all-natural microwave popcorn. the day ended on a positive note when we saw some new creative concepts that were fantastic.

after work, I put on my brand-new sneakers, clipped on my ipod and went for a run along town lake. I tried not to get too jealous when I ran past the dog park ("I want a dog! oh, wait, that's a lot of work. hmm... crap. plus I know nothing about raising dogs. hmm... crap. plus my job has unpredictable hours and random trips out of town. hmm... crap"), and I tried not to stare too hard when I jogged past a cute guy. I admired how my new sneakers made it feel like I was running on clouds, and I mentally thanked my parents for the birthday $ they gave me that paid for these new sneakers (which I had desperately needed).

when I got home, I took a quick shower and then ambled next door to Doc's, a great neighborhood bar with a huge outdoor patio. I sat at a picnic table with an ice-cold greyhound (vodka grapefruit) and a huge salad and laughed at my buddy Jordan as he told hilarious stories about his horrible new job. then I went home, watched some old Sex and the City episodes on DVD, and went to bed.

with advance apologies for the uber-cheesiness of the following statement, it's days like this that make me realize how fortunate I am. ordinarily I would have tried to write a funny blog post about how boring my day was, how you'd never think this was from a girl who considers herself reasonably adventurous and will climb wet rocks to go waterfall-jumping in Costa Rica or go spelunking with human skeletons in Belize. day of meetings? yawn. you spent your birthday money on new sneakers? dude, what about some Manolo Blahniks? and great new creative concepts? you ad geek.

but sometimes? I think about all the people who would kill to have this level of normalcy in their daily lives -- just one day in which you don't have to worry about some international hunger crisis, or deal with hate crimes, or wonder whether your family is safe, or hope your health would improve to the point where you could go for a jog, or be afraid that your cancer will spread -- and I realize that you know what? sometimes a boringly normal day is just what the doctor ordered.

(okay I'm SOOOO done with the cheeeeeese. sorry people. I'll try and write something super-cycnical next time. how about chronicles of my dating life? heh. that'll be good and cynical. but also way too personal for blog material, so maybe not. hmm. well I'll come up with something.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

apparently denture cream and depends are just around the corner

as I was celebrating my cousin's kid's 8-year-old birthday with family in virginia this past wknd (what does that make her, btw? my cousin? my second cousin? my cousin once removed? does anyone know?), I spent some time catching up with my uncle. he's gotten somewhat sentimental in his old age (I think he's 70+ and thankfully very healthy and strong), and I make it a point to spend at least a few minutes chatting with him at every family gathering. he's known me since I was born (obviously), and he and my aunt were pretty much my surrogate grandparents while I was growing up (since I never really knew either of my grandfathers and both of my grandmothers still live in Korea)... you know, the usual stuff... we would have to do whatever he said, they would spoil us rotten at Christmas, they liked listening to me play piano during family events, etc...

so we chatted about my job, about my potential interest in grad school, about my current clients, yadda yadda yadda. and next, in what's starting to become a tradition at every family gathering, he began lecturing me on how I should find a nice man and get married soon. I politely laughed it off and told him that while I am open to the idea, it's not likely going to happen any time soon, that I'm only 26 and have plenty of time (this is quickly becoming my stock response, along with a quick retort that he should be talking to my brother, who is three years older than me... but you know, the whole Asian family / he's a boy thing... etc.).

he agreed that "my generation" was doing things differently but then told me that he wanted to see me married before I turned 30, which gives me exactly four years to get my MRS degree. no pressure or anything. when I asked him what the logic was behind that very stringent timeline, he told me that "once you hit 30, the next thing you know... you're 60!"

I know I majored in English and everything, but it seems to me that he might be missing a few decades in there, no...?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

preparing for the onslaught of ass-cold weather

i'm heading home to my beloved DC this wknd to hang out with family and friends for the long wknd. i'm writing this quick last post before i head to the airport and am sitting on my couch with the balcony door wide open. the sun is streaming in, a gentle breeze is blowing, and it is a perfect 72 degrees (which is actually a bit cool!). in fact, earlier today, as i finished up some errands and stopped to chat with my dear EO, i decided to take the call while laying by the pool, settling deep into the comfy chaise lounge and stretching my bare toes to meet the sun.

yet as i was packing last night, i was confronted with a serious dilemma: what the hell am i supposed to pack for my trip home? i had just checked the DC weather forecast and it said the wknd would be really.freaking.cold (lows in the low 30s!), and i was having trouble figuring out what clothes to bring. a friend helpfully pointed out that i had lived in the DC area for over two decades of my life and should therefore be used to the schizophrenic weather that characterizes a mid-atlantic spring (warm and sunny one day, freezing temps the next)... but now that i've in sunny tejas for an entire year, i feel like i've forgotten how to dress for cold weather.

so this was me, packing last night: "okay, so, a sundress for my friend naomi's religious ceremony on sat morning, maybe a cute little sleeveless top and jeans and sandals when i meet some friends for dinner... wait, no, crap... 30 degrees, think 30 degrees, woman! shit. i'm out of practice. okay, try #2. sooo, wool skirt plus knee-high boots and nice sweater for naomi's religious ceremony, perfect... wait, no, crap... my knee-high boots have a tear in the leather and i never got around to getting them fixed because i hardly ever wear them here. and why the hell do all my sweaters look exactly the same? oh, right, it's because i didn't really buy any news last season because i didn't wear them that often. crap."

and on and on it went. DC buddies: if you see me this wknd stubbornly wearing a short-sleeved shirt and open-toed shoes in 34-degree weather and freezing my bollocks off, don't make fun of me, okay? promise? i live in texas now. have some pity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

coming from a cultured, well-traveled 26 year old who loves to cook...

this is what i had for dinner for last night:

1) half a box of kraft macaroni and cheese
2) corn out of a can, heated up in the microwave
3) large glass of orange gatorade (i had just gone for a long run)

i attempted to "fancy it up" by adding some grated parmesan and shredded cheddar to the macaroni and cheese (for maximum cheesiness!) and then a few pats of butter and a dash of s&p to the corn...

...but that was my dinner, and honestly, if you didn't know me, you'd think i was a 12-year-old kid who's not allowed to use the stove instead of a woman who recently bragged about roasting her first whole chicken and making chicken soup from scratch.

i'm obviously a wee bit embarrassed... but... well... the truth... is that i enjoyed every (processed, pre-manufactured) bite. :)

Monday, April 2, 2007

gross... but funny... but gross...

dudes. our main building has a sewage leak and it seriously smells like a fragrant combination of rotten eggs, potpourri, and ASS. yum-diddly-umcious! and do you want to know how much of a dork i am? i am such a huge dork, that my first thought upon encountering the horrific smell (aside from "HOLY CRAP!... literally, holy CRAP!") was "hmm. i bet this is what dungbombs would smell like."

(btw, for all you fellow HP lovers out there... who's excited about book seven?! i am! i am! snape is totally going to be revealed as having murdered dumbledore on dumbledore's orders. and i think harry will continue to hate him but they will manage to reconcile their differences. okay, enough HP geeking out over here.)

ahem. ignore that little aside. so yes, our office smells like complete and total ass today, and i feel awful for the people who have to sit in it and pretend like they can work while the smell of sheer nastiness fills their nostrils and seeps into their every pore... and admittedly feel a bit guilty that i am nice and safe over here in our little satellite office next door.

on an unrelated note, as i was telling my mom yesterday, i am getting old and cannot party like i used to. well, i can, but i end up paying a dear price for it the next day. this past wknd was my dear buddy paula's last wknd in austin, so we partied it up both fri and sat nights... the end result of which was me being a completely lazy waste of space on sunday afternoon. saturday i at least made it out the pool (it was mid-80s and sunny on both days this wknd) and out for a few quick errands, but sunday was spent lying on my couch, alternately popping advil and orange gatorade (nectar of the hungover gods) and watching drumline on tbs ("one band! one sound!").

MOST IMPORTANTLY, i must tell you all that i had my first sonic experience this past wknd, and oh my dear lord, it is just as good as i knew it would be. i mean come on! it's a drive-in! where you order from your car, pay with your card right at the little menu screen, and they bring your food to you! they serve breakfast all day and over a thousand drink combinations (i had peach iced tea, paula had cherry limeade... or was it strawberry?), and you can order tater tots instead of fries! plus they give you mints and bring extra condiments out on a "smile tray!" i'm telling you, all you DC people who see the commercials on TV but don't get to experience the magic that is sonic's drive-in, i feel your pain because i was once one of you... but not anymore, suckers, because i totally had a foot-long coney with tots on saturday and relished every second of it! we enjoyed our food with the sunroof open and all the windows down with motown music blaring out of the speakers.

good times, good times...