Wednesday, April 30


1. Why does one's ability to drive competently decrease as the value of the car being driven increases? No slam on my friends with nice cars, but if you drive a BMW or a Benz, chances are, you drive horribly. You either go too fast or too slow. You either signal obsessively or not at all. You play mind games with your fellow drivers. You talk on your hands-full cell phone, eat a bowl of chili and read a book at the same time. You think lane markers, stop signs, yield signs and exit ramps are suggestions. N.B.: Jaguars are the worst, and it doesn't matter if you're male or female, young or old, black, white, Asian, whatever. You and your Jaguar do not belong on the road.

2. Staying in your lane is not hard. If it is, you should just stay home.

3. Turn signals are standard -- nay, REQUIRED -- on all vehicles for a reason. Use them.

4. This morning, I watched as a car coming towards me turned on its left-turn signal. Then it made a right turn. What IS that?!

5. My dear fellow SUV owners: you are driving a 4000+-lb. weapon of mass destruction. Don't be an idiot about it. You CANNOT drive at normal speed in the rain and snow. You CANNOT take corners fast. You ARE NOT ENTITLED to swerve in and out of lanes. You MAY NOT tailgate another car, especially one with children or old people in it. You MAY NOT leave snow on the roof and hit the highway, blinding everyone behind you. You MAY NOT take up 1.5 lanes on the highway. Also note: if you drive an Escalade, see #1 above.

6. If you have children in the car, why are you speeding excessively, swerving in and out of traffic, doing your makeup, reading the newspaper, not buckling them into their child seats, cursing and screaming out the window at the driver in front of you, giving the finger to the driver behind you, chatting on the cell phone about nothing important, turning around to scream at your children in the back seat, and not staying in your lane? Come ON. Stop being an ass.

7. Why can't men deal with women who drive faster than they? READ MY LIPS: I am NOT going to drag race you. If you can't keep up (or you need to prove your manhood by attempting to) that's YOUR problem.

8. If your car is emitting nasty gases from the exhaust pipe, GET IT FIXED. I don't want to smell your nastiness all the way home. AND you're giving me cancer.

9. Don't pass me, then get in front of me, then slow down. That just tells me you're a jerk. And it makes me mad. And then I just have to bump you at the next stop light.

10. You know, some days, I just want to drive the exact speed limit with my sunroof open, hair floating wildly in the breeze, smelling the aroma of spring and trees and dirt and sunshine, grinning stupidly at my fellow competent drivers. So if you see me doing that, don't honk, don't curse at me, don't tail me and threaten to hit me, don't even put the pedal to the metal as you screech by me in a vain attempt to prove that you're cool. Just pass me gently and say hello.

Tuesday, April 29


. . . because my father never knew his father, a North Korean doctor conscripted to aid the North Korean army at the outbreak of the Korean War.

. . . because my father, my uncle and my grandmother suffered the crossing into South Korea, not knowing if my grandfather and aunt would meet them later or had died.

. . . because my father, as a toddler, had to prop himself on the roof of a train traveling through South Korea, fleeing the North Korean army, keeping himself awake so he wouldn't slide off and onto the tracks, and emerging from tunnels with a soot-covered face.

. . . because my father grew up in a tiny shack shared with 10 other people.

. . . because my father was so poor that he couldn't afford schoolbooks, but was so smart that he tutored his classmates and used their books to study for just a few hours before exams.

. . . because my father went to a top-tier university anyway.

. . . because my father has no memory of eating in North Korea, but even now craves North Korean cuisine.

. . . because my father was so poor that my mother's family didn't want Mom to marry him.

. . . because my father had enough grit to make money, and enough integrity to wait for her.

. . . because my father thought a cup of moldy rice, an ounce of laundry soap powder, a can of Spam, and a square of Hershey's chocolate was a luxury that no one else in the world knew about.

. . . because my father still can't believe he can have red meat whenever he wants.

. . . because my father emigrated to the States with nothing but an enormous English vocabulary stored in his humongous brain.

. . . because my father and mother picked up a used twin-size mattress from the street and slept on it for their first year in New York, "the most romantic year of their lives," they claim.

. . . because my father had to walk a mile to the grocery store to buy half-priced days-old bread and eggs to nourish my pregnant mother.

. . . because my father learned English faster than any of you because he had to, and because he could.

. . . because my father dragged me to church every week as a child, knowing my faith was a freedom no one could deprive me of.

. . . because in 1994, my father learned his father had died in 1975, two months before I was born.

. . . because my father also learned his father had remarried, creating an insta-half-family of younger half-brothers and half-sisters that he would never see.

. . . because my father found his sister and her family somewhere in the barren wilds near PyongYang, then learned she was dying of cancer, and all his learning and training and access to medicine couldn't do a darn thing about it.

. . . because my father receives letters from his North Korean family expressing concern for OUR well-being.

. . . because my father put my brother and I through school, and doesn't remind us that he did.

. . . because my father's mother died in 1996, having never remarried, having never heard from her husband or her daughter again.

. . . because my father works 11-hour days and considers his income a gift.

. . . because my father calls his life of fatherless, powerless, status-less poverty in Korea "the good old days."

. . . because my father lived his life in spite of a crazed, selfish, delusional, self-centered, irrational, evil man whose son continues to carry on the less-than-illustrious legacy of starvation, isolation, deprivation, falsehoods and murder, and to whom, if I was ever given the chance, I would simply pose the question "Who the HELL do you think you ARE?" Then I would wait, staring at him quietly and shaking with rage, as he tried to explain himself and his godliness and his wisdom and his policies, until his explanation sputtered down to " . . . nobody."

. . . because there are children today who are experiencing the very same thing.

But don't be concerned about me. I'm not going to go postal. I'm not going to threaten, attack or kill anyone. I'm not going to trash my home, throw dishes against the wall, scream hysterically or hurt myself or anyone else. I'm not going to make some insane pilgrimage to North Korea and storm up to his ridiculous Mercedes Benz with the ugly spoiler on the back and demand reparations. I'm not even ANGRY. I'm just fueled. I'm simply going to remember daily why I'm here in the first place, and keep getting up in the morning and doing my thing, in silent rebellion against those who seek to oppress, and in honor of my father, who has already survived.

Monday, April 28


Ahhh, it's that time of year again. Time to raise your face to the warmth of the sun which is still cool enough to not burn you to a crisp. Time to break out the open-toed shoes, the Birkenstocks, the flip-flops. Time to refill the propane tank and fire up the grill. Time to lust after the luscious aroma of charbroiled meat wafting through a neighborhood near you. Time to gather up some of the cronies for some Ultimate Frisbee, or volleyball, or wiffleball, down at the local elementary school field. Which brings me to my next point: time for my force field to thaw.

See, I have a force field, roughly the size of a dining room table for 12, hovering around my cranium. From about late-October to mid-April, my force field is relatively inactive. Once it thaws, however, the tractor beam within is unleashed, sucking in anything that enters the force field and causing it to hit my head. Over the course of my entire life, my tractor beam has managed to pull in:

- beach balls
- volleyballs
- a baseball
- softballs
- wiffleballs
- a plastic practice golf ball
- ping pong balls
- tennis balls
- red rubber kickballs
- field hockey balls
- a plastic hockey puck
- basketballs
- soccer balls
- footballs
- frisbees
- plastic bouncy balls
- a lacrosse ball
- a boomerang

It's not that I'm clumsy; I'm coordinated enough to dance, do step aerobics and multi-task most of my activities. It's not even that I'm often in the way of these objects; the majority of the time, I'm innocently sitting off in the distance, chatting with force-field-less friends. It's just my damn tractor beam. I can't turn it off, I can't deactivate it, I can't even counter it with some contrary gravitational force. I can only be thankful that I have yet to suffer any severe damage as a result of these incidents (some might disagree, actually, but they'd be wrong).

I should probably just wear a helmet everywhere from May to September. That would probably severely limit my social life, and a helmet wouldn't really go with any of my nice summer sundresses, but at least I wouldn't be the only idiot at the picnic holding a bag of ice to my forehead the whole time.

Friday, April 25


No, not like centipedes.

I'm talking about things like "coincidental" (I use quotation marks because I don't think anything is coincidental) occurrences such as the flight numbers of the airplanes involved in 9/11 adding up to 12, 13, 14 and 15; President Lincoln having a secretary or someone named Kennedy, and President Kennedy having a secretary or someone named Lincoln; etc. I just love love LOVE stuff like that. I love the shivery feeling that runs up my spine when I see or read things like this. I love wondering how all these "coincidences" fit into God's plan for all of us little human beings. I love being disturbed by the people who sit around and take the (extensive) time to compile such lists. I love mulling over theories, possibilities, impossibilities, unknowns. I love thinking that God has His hand on EVERYTHING, whether we know it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we care or not.

So here's another one, passed on by my friend SR:

The Center Of The Bible

Q: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 117

Q: What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 119

Q: Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?
A: Psalms 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118
Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118
Add these numbers up and you get 1188.

Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?
A: Psalms 118:8

Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

Psalms 118:8 (NKJV): "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."

Oooooh. Creeeepy. But true.

APEX, Inc. put on quite a nice little shindig last night at the Tribeca Rooftop (talk about panoramic views!). We had FILET MIGNON for dinner. Nice. We honored Jeannie Park (executive editor at People magazine) and Justice Doris Ling-Cohen (first female Asian-American NYS Supreme Court Justice). Also nice. My brother used a fork and knife and generally acted like an adult, even using big words once in a while, and managed to converse regularly with my friends and I. Very impressive. And we got GOODY BAGS!!!!!! Thank you, corporate sponsors. We like goody bags. Of course, no event of any significance gets by me without some random thoughts interspersed along the way . . .

1. How the heck does one pronounce "Desbrosses" (the street on which the Tribeca Rooftop is located)? "Des-BROSE-es"? "Duh-BROSE"? "Des-BRAHSS"? "Des-BRAHSSES"? "Duh-BRAHSS"? It's just easier to say "it's in Tribeca, you know, where the streets don't have numbers" and let the poor souls find their own way.

2. If (white) young urban professionals are yuppies, and black urban professionals are buppies, what are Asian young urban professionals? There's just something too Oklahoman about saying a-yuppies.

3. Why would people pay upwards of a hundred dollars for a Jennifer Love Hewitt CD, even for a good cause?

4. Who knew there were so many young Asian-American professionals out there? Where ARE we? Why aren't we politically ACTIVE? Why do we have no voice in American society? Why do we dress up nice and go to these benefit dinners and honor these amazing groundbreakers, then complacently return to our mundane lives? Why are we happy making lots of money, but don't do anything worthwhile with it, such as supporting organizations like APEX with all our hearts? Why are we still having "first Asian-American this" and "first Asian-American that"? Why are we still amazed at each other's accomplishments? Why do we still need to fight to have these accomplishments recognized and repeated in subsequent generations? Why do we disdain our parents' struggles in coming to the States and raising children and working here, by not living up to our mental, physical, emotional, financial, political potential?

5. I hope my friend Wonger was the top bidder on those MTV: TRL tickets because she's going to take me and we are going to make fools of ourselves on television.

6. Why did I even consider, however momentarily, paying $300 for a basket of makeup?!

7. Why are so many high-ranking Korean-American women married to Chinese-American men, and so many high-ranking Chinese-American women married to Caucasian men? What is this phenomenon called, and why does it happen? I'm all for loving your neighbor no matter his color or ethnicity, but come on, you Asian-American men - RISE UP!

8. Why does white wine intoxicate me faster than red wine?

9. When are they going to open up the on-ramp to I-95 off the Henry Hudson Parkway, so I can stop taking midnight detours through upper Manhattan and the South Bronx?

And file this one under "These Strange But Funny Things Happen to Me All the Time": on my way down to the city yesterday evening at around 6pm, I was in the driving vicinity of an electric blue Audi with a white baseball cap propped against the rear windshield, driven by a tall man with dark brown hair, passengered by a short woman with light brown hair. On my way home from the city, at around 1am, I was again driving along with an electric blue Audi with a white baseball cap propped against the rear windshield, driven by a tall man with dark brown hair, passengered by a short woman with light brown hair. Funny. I almost waved at them, but thought they might think I was drunk and/or crazy and call the police. Really, I just felt like they were my friends at this point . . .

Thursday, April 24


Is a very powerful drug. Thank God it occurs naturally in our bodies; I can't imagine the abuse it would endure otherwise.

Yesterday, I received some very excellent news, and it got my heart pumping. I became light-headed, shaky, short-of-breath and more excited and scared/thrilled than I had been in a mighty long time. The woman who had resolved to take the evening off and relax suddenly felt a desperate need to RUN. So, I changed into some serious workout clothes (no simple sweatpants yesterday, thank you very much), hopped on the treadmill, pushed up the incline, pumped up the speed, and RAN and RAN and RAN. In fact, I ran so much, I ran a full mile -- four laps, in a row, without stopping or resting. Now, I know this will not sound like a big deal to you who actually run for pleasure (crazies), or who run those insane 6-minute miles (I timed an only-slightly-pathetic 12:30 minutes), or who are just generally in better shape than I. But you have to remember that I have not had to run a continuous mile since the required state-wide 9th grade physical fitness test. That was -- ahem -- 14 years ago.

And THEN, because I was still OD-ing on the surge of adrenaline, I decided I'd do some push-ups. Let me just say that I have NEVER done a real push-up. Not a single one. Not when I was a flexible 7-year-old tomboy; not for the dumb 9th-grade physical fitness test. And before you get all excited for me, I didn't do any real push-ups yesterday either. Even the fake ones, done with the knees bent -- I can only manage about 6 of those at a time. Yesterday, I did TWENTY. Another small but significant victory for my physical health. The day I do ONE REAL PUSH-UP is the day I buy everyone I know a round of drinks. Don't hold your breath.

So, of course, this morning, I'm in absolute pain, dulled only a wee bit by the residual adrenaline still coursing through my body. Later on, I'll have to take some Motrin to take over where the adrenaline leaves off. This evening, I might have to imbibe a little wine to ease the tightness of all the damn muscles in my body. This weekend, I might have to get a deep tissue massage to alleviate the aches that just won't go away. In a few years, I might have to have physical therapy to fix the damage done by those 20 fake push-ups. But for now, I relish the pain like my first bite of hamburger after Lent. YUM.

Wednesday, April 23


OK, come on, all you aspiring doctors of the world! Come and tell me that my morning vitamin ritual is a farce! I can take it! Check out my brother's 2-cents:

"the previous doctor i worked for advised all his patients (unless they were severely deficient) to stay clear of all vitamins. there's no reason for a person to exceed his 100% daily value of minerals like manganese, chromium, hell, even vitamin B and C. i mean, it's one thing to take calcium supplments, but it's a whole nother story if ur poppin pills that have crazy amounts of what are useless, perhaps even potentially harmful vitamins and minerals."

Sigh. It's not like it's COCAINE.

On a warmer, fuzzier note, everyone should check out what nice things my bro said about me today on his blog. Women, you should all have a brother like mine . . .

Okay, remember my med-school friend, JW, who told me that the good effects of multivitamins were all in my head, and that I didn't need them as long as I ate a reasonably balanced diet? (I don't really know why I didn't believe him. Is that a bad sign that I'd rather believe a column in SELF magazine than a budding family practitioner?)

WELL! It turns out he was right, at least in the opinion of another physician. Another pal, Dr. SMK, has confirmed that as long as I eat right -- which I do . . . or endeavor to do -- I don't need the daily multivitamin, and no, it doesn't really do anything to reduce stress. Is this a vast right-wing medical conspiracy to make me unhealthy, or do JW and SMK actually know what they're talking about?

I was wrong; I admit it. But we have yet to see how long it will take to actually get me to STOP taking the multivitamin. I'm a Scorpio. I'm a lawyer. I'm the oldest child in my family. I'm my father's daughter. I'm stubborn as a mule, and I don't care if it's all in my head . . .

Tuesday, April 22


Okay, I finished Complications. A very moving read, but if you're prone to nausea, keep a glass of cool water nearby to calm yourself. The flesh-eating bacteria chapter gets gruesome.

I've moved on to Cold Zero: Inside the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, by Christopher Whitcomb, a 15-year veteran of the FBI. I've only just started it, so I'm still in the section where Whitcomb has just joined the Bureau, and is still the FNG -- the F*ckin' New Guy. FNG status sucks. You get the crappy car that doesn't start when it dips below 50-degrees outside. You get the cob-webby desk in the back corner of the room next to the dripping radiator. You get left behind to man the office and deal with the lady who walks in to tell you about her alien abduction. You get to do everyone else's paperwork and fetch their coffee. AND they make fun of your shiny new gun. I don't know if I could handle it. The prospect of being called the FNG and treated thus until someone newer than me comes rolling through makes my jaw clench . . . at what point would I break and hysterically scream out "I HAVE A REAL NAME AND I GRADUATED FROM QUANTICO TOO!!!"? If that happens, I'd just have to pack up, turn in my probationary badge and shiny new gun, and crawl home to my mommy.

This Thursday, I'll be attending the annual gala benefit dinner thrown by and benefitting APEX, the Asian Professional Extension. My brother and my friend Wonger are both involved with APEX, so of course, I must attend and do my civic duty as a New York Asian-American professional (although I'd probably attend anyway). The evening should be interesting for two reasons: (1) to see how much money I spend on the silent auction -- something about the "silent" aspect of it makes me feel like I'm not actually SPENDING the money . . . until the charge shows up on my credit card bill a month later; and (2) to spend an evening with my little brother, now an aged 23 years-old, who presumably will be acting like an adult. I have never really seen my brother act like an adult. Sure, we elbow each other to be quiet during grown-up events, and we silently pass notes to each other in church reminding each other NOT to laugh out loud, and we bow politely and chatter coherently with our parents' friends. But we've never both attended the same grown-up social event (inebriated backyard BBQs don't count) where beer pong is not part of the program. And it's a SIT-DOWN DINNER! With CLOTH NAPKINS! And SPEAKERS! And WINE! And SCHMOOZING! This is going to be so, so interesting . . .

Monday, April 21


Lent is OVER! I can eat RED MEAT! I had a CHEESEBURGER for lunch today! I am so HAPPY and PROTEIN-FILLED!

But what is that weird bloated feeling?!

Another book you should all read: Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande. It is a small compilation of short essays about this surgical resident's life as a surgical resident. It's not too chock-full of scientific terms, but there are enough to make you feel like you're watching a particularly good episode of "ER" or "CSI." Gawande writes like I imagine he might talk -- no excessively long words or hazy concepts here. Just good, honest story-telling about the highs and lows of being a surgeon, making mistakes, healing people, hanging out with other surgeons, and exploring the mysteries of the human body and the increasingly bizarre science of medicine. I think I'm going to buy it for all my medical-type friends. The rest of you should put your names on the waiting list at your local library. It'll make you want to go back to school and become a doctor . . .

When did I become self-conscious about my appearance?
Yesterday, there was Easter-egg dyeing for the children at our church. As expected, it was a mess and most of us steered clear of the dye station and the gaggle of kids gathered around it, indiscriminately dropping eggs into bowls of blue, lavender, yellow, pink, green and orange dye. IK, a little girl about 2 1/2 years old, spilled an entire bowl's worth of blue dye onto her cute little light blue cotton dress. The spilled splotches created a not-truly-fashionable tie-dyed design, only on the front of the dress, of course. But IK didn't cry. In fact, I don't think she even flinched or thought about drying herself off. She was too busy supervising her eggs. Secretly, I think she thought it was hilarious -- a small rebellion against the required cleanliness of her short life. Never mind that everyone grinned at her, mentally clicking their tongues and quietly thinking "Well, THAT dress will never be worn again!" IK finally took herself to her mother -- the stains had dried and set by now -- to show off her interestingly designed eggs. Mom's only response to the botched tie-dye job: "Look how pretty you look!" IK looked down at herself and grinned.

When did I become shy about chasing boys?
E, a 27-year-old pal of mine, is quite popular with SH and JH, 2 sisters, aged about 3 and 5, respectively. I don't think that they even have little girls' crushes on him -- he just loves annoying them and making them chase after him around and around the church fellowship hall, confusing them by simply crouching down behind another person or running through a doorway and not coming back out. SH and JH streak after him in glee, never realizing that even when he merely walks fast, they can never catch up to him. They shriek and giggle and shrilly order him to stop. Sometimes, JH will just stop in her tracks, turn to me and say "I don't want him anymore" before walking back to her friends. Sometimes SH will shuffle in E's general direction, biting her lower lip, eyebrows furrowed in sheer concentration and will, like a huntress after the kill. Most times, you can distract both girls by sticking food in their faces as they jog by. Other times, you can get them going simply by waggling your eyebrows and hitching a thumb towards the filing cabinet behind which E eagerly awaits the next stage of the chase. Eventually, all three of them become exhausted and join the rest of us for dessert, sitting down like civilized folks. But SH and JH's strategy has me thinking: why can't I chase boys too, with such open glee and adoration and screaming fun?

When did I start worrying about my face?
I don't consider myself particularly prissy or overly self-absorbed regarding my looks. But I always make sure to discreetly blot my shine-prone forehead, nose and chin before getting my photo taken, or going to meet friends, or if I know I'll be involved in lots of close face-to-face time with people. So it was interesting to again watch IK -- she of the tie-dyed dress -- as she peeled off several tiny Easter-egg-decorating stickers and stamped them on her own face. One on the tip of her nose, one on each nostril, one on her chin, one on each earlobe, and three on her not-yet-shiny forehead. The girl probably wouldn't even understand if I tried to tell her about the treacherous T-zone, that enemy of combination-skinned women everywhere, much less the hazards of sticking foreign objects on sensitive facial skin. And then, to my slight discomfort and great amazement, IK went around the room generously offering to decorate all of our faces as well. Me, I was unsure of the state of my own forehead -- it would be embarrassing if my T-zone didn't cooperate and the stickers refused to stick. So I got a little yellow smiling sunshine on my right hand instead. But I sure wished I was 2 1/2 years old, free to stick anything I wanted on my face and have people think I was cute, and, well, lucky.

When did I learn not to take a compliment graciously?
R has impeccable style, of which I am insanely and irrationally envious. R is 8 years old. She has a strong but willowy body that gets her to school and back every day, that picks up her little sister and places her gingerly on a kitchen stool so she can reach the food we're all eating, that creates behind-the-scenes mischief, and that streaks around busily amongst her friends at church. R, simply put, also has cool clothes. She has mastered the sheath dress with gauze overlay, the little white t-shirt with black cardigan, the striped stocking with slightly clunky black shoes, the cross-the-body messenger bag -- canvas, of course. You tell her you like the braid in her hair; she smiles and says "thank you." You admire her hip messenger bag; she grins and says "thank you." You inform her that her dress is very nice; she smiles and says "thank you." You tell her she really has an eye for colors and patterns; she smiles and says "thank you." All this before she runs off to join her friends for volleyball, stuffs her face full of mini-cheesecake, or rescues her sister from a trip over untied shoelaces. What happened, such that if someone says I should wear dresses more often, I shrug my shoulders; if someone says my hair looks good, I say it's a low-humidity day; if someone likes my shirt, I tell them I got it for really cheap at Old Navy; if someone admires my eyelashes, I say it's just genetics? My bad. To all who take the time and energy and love to look at me and care, thank you.

Friday, April 18

RANDOM . . .

My brother is taking the MCAT next Saturday -- everyone think good thoughts for him, okay?

Why is the Secret Service called the Secret Service? I mean, they're EVERYWHERE, and they're not camouflaged. The President rolls into town, you KNOW which guys are the Secret Service agents. No other normal person walks around in a stuffy suit, looking unreasonably gruff, taking themselves SO seriously (ok, ok, I know they're protecting the President with their very lives), with an EARPIECE wired up. No one else ignores you when you speak to them, or shoves you out of the way when you get 'too close.' They are not the Secret Service. They are the Obvious Service. As Hooch suggests, they should wear hot-pink jumpsuits and tall Dr. Seuss Cat-in-the-Hat hats. The identifying decal on their government-issue sedans should be an enormous sticker depicting an eyeball, taking up half the front windshield. Scary-looking. And OBVIOUS.

Have I told you about lap taffy? It's apparently another term for male genitalia. And this confuses me. Taffy is pliable, soft, gets softer the more you play with it, and CHEWY. I thought men had a thing about teeth and their genitalia. Why liken it to something that is chewed until it disappears?

A medical student friend of mine told me last night that I don't need to take my daily multivitamin. When I told him that my B-complex made me feel better and less stressed, he told me it was all in my head. So I made him some decaf coffee and let him think it was regular. When he found out it was decaf, he said he couldn't stay up and study anymore. I told him it was all in his head.

Wednesday, April 16

Lately I've been reading many news stories that mention the military officers whose job it is to impart the news of a soldier's death to his or her families.

Today, the New York Times briefly profiles Col. David Kilbourn, the officer responsible for delivering news to such families in Connecticut.

Photo by Getty Images

Tyler Jordan, 6, and Amanda Jordan received the folded flag from the coffin of Gunnery Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan. It was presented by Lt. Col. David Kilbourn during a service April 2 at St. Patrick Cemetery in Enfield, Conn.

To have to look a 6-year-old boy in the face at his father's funeral as you hand him the flag . . . what a job.

Tuesday, April 15

Just when I thought life couldn't get any better . . .


Monday, April 14


I gave up red meat for Lent.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I'm not even Catholic!!!

40 days of no burgers, no steaks, no home-marinated kalbi, no dumplings, no chili, no hot dogs (for whatever beef those are worth. . .), no meatballs. Agony. And it's almost over!

But the prevailing question is: does Lent end at sundown of the Saturday before Easter, Easter morning, sundown of Easter evening, or the midnight between Easter and Monday? The answer to this question is very important. It could mean a difference of up to 48 hours in the time in which I can sink my teeth into a luxuriously juicy filet mignon.

So, my trusty Hooch did a touch of research on my behalf. Apparently, Holy Week climaxes on Holy Thursday -- yep, in THREE DAYS -- so I technically could burger up in front of "Friends." Or I could stick it out to the traditional Holy Saturday sun-down deadline, and gnaw my steak that night (damn Daylight Savings Time). Or I could just see long I can really make this teensy sacrifice and wait till the Easter Dinner at church, where there BETTER BE SOME BEEF!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 10

Hello, there.

Iraqis greeted Marines in the center of Baghdad.

photo by Oleg Popov/Reuters

Last night, my dad and I plopped onto the sofa to watch the 11 o'clock news on NBC, catch up on the progress of the war, view some Yankee game highlights, check out the upcoming weather. Then all of a sudden, Chuck Scarborough took us to a clip that just about brought us to our knees.

We watched as Marine Cpl. Edward Chin climbed a statue of Saddam Hussein in the middle of Baghdad and draped an American flag over his head. We watched as Chin's family back home in Bensonhurst, NY, was interviewed, expressing their glee at seeing their brother, son, fiancee on television. We watched as Chin's parents, in their familiarly stilted English, told us how proud they were of their son, that he is a hero. It wasn't so much the taking of Baghdad that enthralled us; instead, we turned to each other tearfully and simultaneously said, "Hey, he looks like us!"

No one emphasized the fact that Chin is Asian-American. No one gave us statistics about how many Asian-Americans are currently serving in the Armed Forces. No one made a big deal about interviewing an elderly Chinese-American couple whose English syntax was off just a touch, whose words were pronounced with just a bit of a curl. No one thought anything of any of it, apparently.

But for me and my dad, it was HUGE.

Asian-America, REPRESENT!

Wednesday, April 9

6 - 1

Our latest hometown favorite SLAMMED one yesterday evening:

Photo by Getty Images

Watch out, Major League Baseball. IT'S ON.

See you in October, boys.

Tuesday, April 8

OK, I found something to talk about: Chemical Ali's DNA.

When the Allied troops thought they had killed Chemical Ali, the Brits decided to run some DNA testing on the body. This assumes the fact that the Allies had DNA to compare to that of the dead body. This assumes the fact that the Allies got the real Chemical Ali's DNA from somwhere. How did they get this original DNA sample, you ask?

I like to think that MI5 or the CIA or whoever has operatives, spies, moles, paid turncoats hidden and placed all over the world. These people perform very simple tasks: they take teeny little photos of key players with their little pen-cap cameras; they pluck stray hairs off of pillows and scrape bed sheets for skin cells; they record conversations onto miniscule cassette tapes weaved into their hair. Then they slip all this info into inconspicuous mailing envelopes, pass them off to the local pastry-shop owner, who hands it off to his wife, who places it in her daughter's school textbook for the math teacher to find, and the teacher hands it off to a guard in front of the Washington Monument during an international class trip, and then all of a sudden, it lands on George Tenet's desk.

How cool is that?

(NOTE: this is all a figment of my overactive wanna-be law enforcement imagination. If you are with MI5 and/or the CIA, please don't come find me and threaten me. I have no idea what I'm talking about. I just watch a lot of movies. If you are a terrorist and you want me to tell you how I know all this, don't bother. I don't want to talk to you.)
I don't really have anything to say today (which I know will surprise those who know me well), so as a public service message, I will simply propose to you two books that you should look into:

1. Lord of Sunset by Parke Godwin: come join me in my healthy obsession with English history. This one goes pretty far back, to the years leading up the 1066 Battle of Hastings. I've never read a book like this before, with the author convincingly telling the story from the perspective of almost every main character in the book. And there's something about the language of the book -- something that I can't identify or pin down -- that is unusual and more compelling than other authors' language. Is it simply that it's well-written? Is it that a character's thoughts are written down EXACTLY as I would think them myself? Is it that the characters are insightful and self-aware and honest without being overbearing or too-intelligent-to-be-human? I can't explain it. Just read it.

2. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrien LeBlanc: you've probably seen this one hyped in recent months. So far, it lives up to the hype. The literary counterpart of the television documentary, it's far more interesting and reads like an intensely good novel, if only because of the incredulity you will feel when starting the book, and the longings to return to it as quickly as possible when you put it down for bathroom breaks. Part of you is fascinated, in the "it's too bizarre/funny/sad/tragic, you can't make this stuff up" sense; part of you is intrigued at the inside look, gleaned from 10 years spent with one extended family in the South Bronx; part of you wants to ignore the reality and just pretend it's a good book; part of you objectively admires the excellent writing which turns a simple biography into a compelling saga. It's no rollicking good time, but read it anyway.

What a boring blog entry. Can someone entertain me so I have something to write about?

Friday, April 4

I'm feeling appreciative today. Maybe it's the chilly-rainy-weather-outside-so-I-feel-cozy-inside feeling that makes me thoughtful. So today, in no particular order, I will appreciate some of my favorite people-who-are-not-my-family. Don't be sad you're not on the list -- it's not comprehensive, and you might show up on a later list on another rainy pensive day . . .

1. Hooch: I'm looking right at her so she popped into my head first. I work with Hooch. Hooch makes me laugh. Hooch makes me roll my eyes in mock exasperation. Hooch talks to me in South Park voices and sings to me in cat voices. Hooch slings out one-liners faster than I can blink. Hooch is smart and helps me with my work. Hooch has the most gorgeous smile and reddest hair. Hooch has a hot tub I am going to hang out in (but that's not the only reason I like her).

2. MsJKo: (What a pathetic attempt to protect these people's identities -- anyone from NHF could figure THAT one out . . ..) MsJKo also makes me laugh. MsJKo tells the best stories about work. MsJKo prays ceaselessly and encourages me to do the same. MsJKo has unending faith and bottomless humility. MsJKo drinks a lot of coffee like me. MsJKo doesn't like vegetables and it's fun to try to make her eat them. MsJKo loves to sing to me. MsJKo has more energy than anyone I've met, and thus recharges my spirits.

3. Ha: Ha is my sister, or at least should have been. Ha seasons food exactly as I would. Ha is goofy and honest and laughs a lot. Ha makes funny shapes with her chin. Ha spills her guts to me and receives mine in return. Ha lets me poke her little baby for fun and call her Froggy Legs. Ha doesn't laugh when I tell her my most shameful insecurities. Ha prays for me and mine from 3000 miles away. Ha married a man who is like a brother (and who torments me like I'm his LITTLE sister!). Ha sleeps a lot -- I can relate to that.

4. Wonger: Wonger is my soul sista, even though we're both Asian-er than Asian. Wonger will toss back a beer with me. Wonger stalks Yankee players with me. Wonger understands what I say, even when I don't say it. Wonger knows the right questions to ask and the right moments to tell me I'm okay. Wonger likes the same stupid things I do -- and wait, they're not stupid! Wonger teases me about being attracted to girly-men.

5. Soy: Soy keeps me busy during the day . . . emailing. Soy decorates her home in warm, soothing colors. Soy is calm, intelligent, intuitive and sensitive. Soy can crack me up with a glance out of the corner of her eye. Soy is trustworthy. Soy knows what's what, with me, with herself, with everyone -- she takes no BS from anyone. Soy takes care of me. Soy longs for weekly massages as much as I do. Soy is in tune with her Lord and encourages me to be the same.

6. Jaime: I feel I have to add at least one man to the list, so I will add Jaime. Jaime is funny and spazzy -- for example, he prays for the lobsters to wake up (there IS a context to that). Jaime makes Soy very happy. Jaime is a good leader and inspirer (I doubt that's a word, but it sounds less cheesy than "an inspiration."). Jaime is unafraid to be open and honest. Jaime has no shame . . . in a good way. Jaime is stable and mature without being stodgy. Jaime is philosophical and makes the rest of us think a little harder. Jaime is a good man who is starting to become a true brother to me (no slam on my blood bro).

I'm so happy right now.

Thursday, April 3


It seems that every few days, I light upon another idea of what I would want to be were I not already an attorney. Most of my ideas are driven by the television I watch (although I have yet to feel like I want to be The Chosen Vampire Slayer of my generation), but some are legit and could potentially, in several years and after several more academic degrees, maybe, in my dream-world, happen:

1. Crime Scene Investigator: I want to be Marg Helgenberger from CSI. She's smart, she's tough, she does socially valuable work. Or maybe I just want to have the training she has: the ability to take it all in at one glance; to use all my senses to instantly solve a mystery; to use my finely-tuned powers of perception and intuition; to use the best of science and technology to execute justice. That last one might be hard because I can barely do long division, so I don't know what kind of forensics PhD program would admit me.

2. FBI Profiler: Like Ally Walker from Profiler, but without the crazed and murderous stalker. She's smart, she's tough, she does socially valuable work. And this is stupid, but she had the BEST SUITS and packed heat.

3. Caterer/Wedding Coordinator: I like food. I like froufy things. I like weddings. I like organizing things. I like cooking things. I like decorating. I like making things look pretty. I like ordering people around. It's so perfect, it's not even funny.

4. Bookstore Owner: I could be surrounded by my beloved books and just read all day, and no one could yell at me for doing so. I OWN the place.

5. TV Monitor: I don't actually know what these people are called, but they're assigned to watch TV all day long (ok, maybe not ALL day long) and keep an eye out for certain things -- clients' advertisements, competition's advertisements, etc. ARE YOU KIDDING? I'd be SO good at this, and perform my job ever so diligently, too.

6. Navy SEAL/Special Ops: Okay, let's immediately file this under "Pipe Dream." I can't do ONE real push-up, so don't even talk to me about the tens of thousands I need to do to even get these people to glance at me. But they infiltrate, support, surge ahead, rally, rescue. And they're BRAVE. I want to be brave.

7. Mayor of New York City: I don't know how many jeers I'm opening myself up to here. Certainly, no mayor that I've lived through has had an easy go of it. But come on, I'd be so fun!

8. White House Press Secretary: Like CJ Cregg on The West Wing. She's smart, she's tough and she does socially valuable work. Oh, and she's tall. Oh, and once again with the GREAT SUITS. Plus, she gets to work with Charlie and Josh and Donna. Yes, I realize these are made-up television characters, but this is MY blog.

I think that's it for now. Let me watch TV tonight and see what else I can come up with. Until then, I love the law and I love my job more, so I'll hang out here until the Navy SEAL thing works out . . ..