This is the only anecdote I have about a recent vacation to Barbados

While driving around the island, we turned on the car radio to discover a catchy little Calypso ditty in a major key, with a decent enough hook about a “Silent Scream.” “Silent Scream” ends up being — no lie — a twelve minute song about abortion; a delightfully musical track on how you should never kill your unborn baby, even in cases of “rape, incest and spousal abuse.” In quotes, of course, because those EXACT WORDS ARE SUNG IN THE FOURTH VERSE. (Naturally, they rhymed the phrase with “there’s no excuse.”)

The song ends, of course, with the sound of a baby crying and then a flat-line.

After I pick my jaw up from the floor and Laurie apologizes on behalf of all of all atheists on exactly four people in the Caribbean, we later find out that we’re listening to the religious radio station, shattering my dreams that an abortion song is #2 on the Bajan Top 100. Behind Rihanna. (That said, if I had to choose between Silent Scream and something on a Contemporary Christian radio station, I’ll always pick the abortion song you can dance to.)

The Joy Luck Club

(Posted as a writing exercise as part of The Joy Luck Hub. 63 words over, but they can just suck it if they have problems with that.)

The Joy Luck Club was the first and last movie we ever saw as an immediate family. I mean, it seemed like an obvious choice at the time — it’s 1993 and I’m a junior in high school, and holy shit, here’s a movie and it actually has people speaking Chinese in it. In Mandarin, with subtitles! Which is perfect, because my mom doesn’t speak a lick of English, even though she’s been here since forever. Maybe I was expecting her to comprehend the Chinese parts so well that she would magically extrapolate the rest of the jasmin live movie. I think I had assumed that my parents would instantly relate — or at the very least be entertained — by the people speaking Chinese on the screen.

Yeah, not so much.

The tales of immigration on the screen clearly did not resonate with our families tales. My parents came over here in the 1970s from Taiwan, enticed by America’s dream that with hard work you could live “the good life,” whatever that is. Prosperity, I think. It’s always prosperity.

This is what I remember shortly after the movie: The house lights come up. I look over to my dad and he has a giant frown on his face. But he always has a frown on his face, so I look over to my mom. And she’s just shaking her head. They cry too much in this movie, she says. And the pacing is too slow. And there’s my sister who has borrowed a kleenex from the four black women sitting behind us. She is sobbing. She would have her final, tragic mental break five or six years later, and there would be no dramatic close-up with melancholy erhu music. There would be no happy ending. (None that I’m aware of, anyway.)

And sometimes I wonder if my parents were somehow fortold what would happen — that their daughter would succumb to mental illness and their son would become an overweight homosexual with a penchant for putting his private life to share with the Internet — if they would perservere and stay in the United States, or if they would turn around and go right back to where they came from.

The magazines I read

“ReadyMade”

I'm the worlds worst crafter - I can't cut anything in a straight line, I can't measure anything correctly, I have a low patience where if something doesn't look perfect I throw down whatever I'm working on and walk away. And yet I totally love this magazine.

I heard they moved the magazine from Berkeley, CA to Iowa, thereby instantly losing it's hip credo. RIP, ReadyMade.

“Hyphen

Hyphen Magazine is a non-profit Asian American magazine. It's an artsy high-brow magazine about cultural and activist issues which I never, EVER read, even though I'm a regular subscriber. But it makes me feel like I'm supporting the Asian chaturbaterooms.com community. That makes me a shitty Asian, doesn't it?

“Real Simple”

Because I'm apparently a 40 year old woman. I don't subscribe to this magazine, so I secretly hide the mag behind a Wired to read this behind a Barnes & Noble. (That's right! When I was 16 it would have been a Playgirl, and now it's a Real Simple. God, I'm beyond lame.)

chorizo by rick

Stressito, sometimes you are my only friend

It seriously does not help that Cancun Taqueria in the Mission - one of the best burrito places in the Bay Area - is less than a block from my house.

If I've had a fairly terrible day, I have been known for getting a super carnitas burrito and then bring it to my neighbor Laurie's, slowly rocking back and forth while I talk about how terrible my day was.

We call them "stressitos." Stressitos are delicious with extra avacado and sour cream, I'm just saying.

Milestones (but only in binary)

Today is my 32nd birthday. If the human race only had two fingers, we would live in a fantastic world based on binary and I would be 100,000 years old today.

Thankfully, humans have ten fingers on each hand, thus making my birthday completely insignificant. (That said, I’m not too crushed; it would be really difficult to hold a fork to eat your birthday cake if you only had a finger on each hand.)

(Although honestly, to give you an idea of the mindset that I’m in: I just spent 45 minutes just staring at a textbox on my laptop, trying to think up something constructive or positive or clever to say. But what was once eloquently blogged about so many years ago is now just kinda bottled up deep inside, because, at this point, I’m not really sure if there’s any mind-blowing revelations to declare anymore.)

Dear Internets: It’s Not You, It’s Me

And this little IM conversation between Jason and I sums up pretty nicely why I don’t really post too much to this personal blog anymore:

Jason: I’m wondering if the age of personal blogs that have any meaning are over. It seems that a) you can do your own thing, but be obscure because instead of being one of 200 or 2000, you’re now one of 20,000,000 because the barrier to entry is a lot lower and everyone has an opinion,

b) if you do become popular you get a community of commenters and suddenly you have a relationship with your readers and that steers your site overtly because it’s not all about you anymore, or even subtly because you want to keep the readers you have, and unless you have a personality strong enough to go “fuck you, this is my site” and have people love you for it, you have to deal with that.

c) we’re in the age of mega-blogs, like Gawker and Perez and newsblogs and et cetera, and personal blogs are seen as quaint at best, ridiculously egotistic at worst, and that’s filtered down that

d) some personal blogs have become personal brands and all about selling the writer as an live sex cams expert, and all the politics that that engenders that gets obnoxious for people like you and me who just want to write something funny occasionally, or make a point from our respective perspectives on culture as it affects us.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m completely aware of this blog as my personal brand. When something mildly hilarious would happen, I would run back to my computer, bring up a text editor and start writing, often adding mildly hilarious embellishments to fully get my point across. Two things happened that really changed this: At 31, the stories I would share back then seem distinctly more private now. Blogging about my parents separation and eventual divorce was therapeutic and defiant then; now, not so much. And blogging about the periodic depressive periods I have would just be, uhm, a downer.

The other thing is that whatever happens, I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, I guess. Owning the moment, as opposed to mentally processing it into an essay to share with others. And while that comes with a downside of not having these moments recorded on the Internet for the rest of my life, it comes with the upside of not having these moments recorded on the Internet for the rest of my life.

I guess this is just my way of saying that I’m not sure what the status of the blog is at this point. Like a lot of other old-school bloggers fascinated about web based communication tools, I’m on twitter and tumblr, which reminds me a lot of the type of blog posts I wrote my first year or two of blogging. It’ll be impossible for me to hide any of my identity at this point — I work for a social networking company, for gods sake — but as the methods of communication have evolved, so has blogging, and so I will as well. In what ways, we have yet to see.

BoA and the search for the elusive asian popstar

Will BoA be the first Asian pop star to reach super-stardom in the United States? The short answer: No, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.

The long answer: Anyone who has a basic knowledge of J-Pop or K-Pop music knows who BoA is. If you don’t, here’s a brief synopsis: A 12 year old Korean girl auditions and gets drafted into the Korean music scene. She becomes huge in South Korea, then promptly goes to Japan and records a bunch of #1 Japanese records, making her the first Korean to do so. She promptly becomes a superstar all over Asia. Now BoA is 20 and there are dreams for her to make it big in the United States. Don’t they all, really? But this will be easier said than done, because — and let’s be brutally honest here, because I’m actually a really big fan of BoA since her Kimochi Wa Tsutamaru days — the girl can’t pronounce her Rs.

No, seriously. Take this song, performed by teen fashion dolls turned bad pop band Bratz, for example: I played this for my ex once and when BoA butchered the line “All the Girls” as “ARR DE GURRS,” I lost car radio privileges for the next two years.

So now BoA is giving another go at it with her new single “Eat You Up,” and the big guns have been called: the song is produced by Bloodshy & Avant, who produced another song you may have heard of called “Toxic,” by Britney Spears. Her video producer is Diane Martel. And Flo Rida is rapping on one of the remixes.

If I was the agent of a pop star, those are the names I would want to be using, really. But at the end of the day, the great American music machine is more than that — it’s promotion, it’s going to radio stations, it’s going to TRL and having 15 year olds from New Jersey being able to love you through an accent and a lot of peace signs. And it’s a shame, because she has the image skills, she definitely has the dancing skills and watching an exhausted-looking BoA learning hip hop moves and auditioning dancers and dealing with Americans that speak 100-words-a-minute, she most definitely has the drive and the work ethic. And it’s for those reasons that I really want her to do well when her single comes out in digital format on October 7th.

But given the track record of Asian in the American music industry? I’m not holding my breath. At all. Here’s to vocoders and chest pops taking you to the top, girl. Vocoders and chest pops.