Tuesday, December 21, 2010

don't eat shrimp with orange juice and vitamin C, it will make "有毒的三鉀砷 (即亞砷酸酐),又稱為三氧化二砷, 其化學,式為(As2O3) " you'll die right away... sorry to irritate yo

Above was the subject line of a recent email from Dad. Below, the text, all in Chinese, translated by Google:
** Very important to eat them .... taboo ***

*** *** Shrimp + orange = dead **

** Eat them drink orange juice is suicide, when **

*** Shrimp + vitamin C = arsenic ***

Taiwan, the night the girl died suddenly ** ***

Sunday, December 12, 2010

lawyers in love

B.: In the year and a half we've been dating -

S.: We haven't been together for a year and a half.

B.: August 2009 until now. That's a year and four and a half months.

S.: See?

B.: I rest my case!

S.: I would have said sixteen months.

Monday, December 06, 2010

defensive line

It's really cool in football how when a defender intercepts a pass, the defense suddenly switches into offense mode and the defensive linemen start blocking a path for the runner. I like both when cornerbacks make interceptions (because they are fast and agile) and when tight ends make interceptions (because they are not too fat and not too fast, perfectly average, like the Mario character in Super Mario Bros. 2), but best of all is when a defensive lineman some how gets the ball in his paws and bolts toward the end zone. Because once you get past the defensive line, how in the hell is a quarterback going to stop a runaway refrigerator? Here's a good video of the unstoppable defensive lineman:

That is my only real thought of the day.

Also, today me and my brother and his fiancee took Grandma to two amazing things: (1) Silicon Valley dim sum, meaning it was authentically delicious Chinese food (Chicken feet!! Mmmmm!!!) in a pleasant, clean, upscale atmosphere (so hard to find!); and (2) Costco. Costco is ordinarily spectacular enough, but this time it was especially fun because we got a motorized cart with a basket in front for Grandma to motor around in. It was built low to the ground and heavy, like a Corvette, and she loved steering through the crowds, saying, "Ex-Q me!" She even picked up a few driving habits naturally, like looking over her shoulder before turning and not stopping and starting suddenly in traffic! I foresee a new way to spend time with Grandma!


Bananarchist to S.: "You're argumentative."

S.'s response: "No, I'm not."

Note to self: S. doesn't like it when you point out irony to her.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


B. met me today at the Daly City Toyota dealership for brunch. I was there to take my Corolla in for routine servicing. They turn the engine light on at 20,000 miles so you have to go and spend $90 to get a boy named Johnny to flip that light off. I almost took a picture of the Daly City Toyota dealership's Valued Customers Wall, where Siu Fong's name tag was pinned next to Jerry Asuncion's and Jin Park's, etc. The population in the dealership was 95% Asian. The girl at the cash register told me to take a Santa-shaped chocolate from the mini-sleigh it was riding in because the dealership had "hella chocolate." It also has huge TV screens, a cafe, and a lounge area where people can wait with their complimentary coffees and pastries.

We opted instead to eat the bagel sitting in B.'s brother's Camry, with the shockingly violent Bruno Mars love song "Grenade" playing in the background. ("I'll catch a grenade for you / I'd jump in front of a train for you / Throw my hand on a blade for you / Take a bullet straight through my brain.") B. misheard me when I said, "It's pretty early," and she repeated, "Yeah, this bagel is really herby, isn't it?" God I love how validating B. is, even when she validates what she hears from me as complete nonsense.

We drove through Colma to have Filipino brunch at Lucky Chances Casino. Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about Colma:
Colma is a small incorporated town in San Mateo County, California. The town was founded as a necropolis in 1924.

With much of Colma's land dedicated to cemeteries (17 for the interment of humans and one for pets), the dead population outnumber the living by thousands to one. This has led to it being called "the city of the silent," and also has given rise to a humorous motto among some residents: "It's great to be alive in Colma."
Lucky Chances Casino is where animated human forms in this necropolis go to make the transition to their final resting places. It is a 100' x 100' room lit by fluorescent tubes 50 feet above the floor. Everybody under this light looked appalling. Here, too, the population was 95% Asian. B. and I stood behind a table and watched men in sunglasses stack plastic circles in front of them, and earned a dirty look from a card dealer. We ventured to the cashier, where I asked a series of idiotic questions in an artificially high voice ("Umm, can you tell me how this works???"). The man thumbing chips behind the counter was laconic. ("No.") But this is what we gathered: the casino operates because the house does not play; the players take each others' money, and the house takes a fee for each bet made. This was the most sense we could make of a nonsense situation. B. noted that even though she understood every word in "Progressive Omaha Jackpot," as a phrase it evoked no meaning in her mind.

We had a similar experience moments later in the Cafe Colma, a 24 hour diner serving Filipino breakfast that sits inside the Lucky Chances Casino. All of the letters on the menu were recognizable, but they were all jumbled up into meaningless order. Spamsilog? Sinigang bangus? Siopao? Neither B. nor I had had Filipino food. After much consultation, spying, and solicitation, we learned that the suffix -silog added to a dish means you get garlic rice and eggs on the plate, with whatever precedes the -silog. Spamsilog = Spam. Bangsilog = bangus. We ordered tapsilog, chicken adobo, and siopao. For some reason I expected Filipino food to be cold and vinegary and salsa-like (because of the necropolis setting), but the chicken adobo was a savory stew of spices I associate with Chinese food, garlic and soy sauce. Quite good. The siopao was a gigantic steamed bun filled with sausage, ground pork, and egg. We concluded, upon palming it, that it was a C cup. "At least," B. said.

Later, B. sent me an email saying, "Thanks for the depressing morning. Casinos and cemeteries - can't wait for our hike next time we hang out!" and the forwarded three NSFW amateur videos of women giving birth. I recommend you go straight to 3:30 on this one:

I thought I would finally have some time free today, so I wore my sports bra and running shirt all day, expecting to find some hilly paddock on the mid-Peninsula to trot circles in. Finally, Saturday - after a long week of working like a dog, meaning working not at all like a dog works, sans-exercise, having no time to move myself from anything other than a staring-at-computer or eating-at-desk position, letting my body revert to the jellyfish-like consistency it had before I started P90X - I would have some time to jog.

Instead of jogging I went to the Hillsdale mall to make my annual purchase of lesbian business casual work attire. Did I tell you that last year I got a invitation to a lawyer event in San Francisco that read "Attire: Festive Northern California Business Casual." Readers, what the fuck is Festive Northern California Business Casual? S. said it meant sweaters embroidered with Christmas trees. I thought it meant Santa suit.

S. thinks I have a bad habit of justifying everything by saying it is "California casual," e.g., why I can call my boss an asshole (I really did this, to his face!) and have him laugh it off, why R. takes a break from her workday to run a company-sponsored 5k in a salt marsh, why S. and me and my brother and his fiancee spent an additional 90 minutes after finishing our food at the Benihana in Cupertino chatting with the cute young Bengali family sitting at our table about methods parents use to hide video gaming systems from their addicted children. Sometimes I use California casual to excuse my fleece outerwear; sometimes it means obsessive outdoor fitness; sometimes it means matter-of-fact ethnic diversity. California casual is actually a car dealership employee inviting you to have hella Santa-shaped chocolate out of a mini-sleigh! My life aspiration is to always be Festive Northern California Business Casual.

Then work called. As I hauled my new oversized trousers and undersized shirts to my car - DAMN THIS RECTANGULAR BODY - I got an email. Opposing counsel is motion-happy, and you are to write an opposition brief. Come to work.

So I went to work.

Here's the weird thing. It was okay. Work has been really good recently. I try not to talk about my job on this blogsilog, but I'm going to make an exception. Something changed a few months ago. A partner took a chance on me and asked me to do some work for him. I think he thought it was okay. I think he thinks I'm okay. And so I've been getting more and better work.

And even weirder, the more work I get, the more I like it. The nature of the work has not changed - Big Computer Company A sues Big Computer Company B over a invention both sides claim as their own, Law Firms C and D litigate like beavers - but my feelings for it have. I like being given responsibility. I especially like when this beloved partner sits me down at the beginning of a project and explains exactly how hard it is going to be and how high his expectations are for what I will produce. I like to be pet on the head and told I've done a good job. I like to feel crushed when I've disappointed the partner with a crappy draft, and I like to feel eager to prove my worth the next round. What it comes down to is that more work for me means more approval from this Daddy figure. Of course by now you realize I've imagined NC-17 rated sequences with him re: management technique.

I'm in this feedback loop where the more work I get, the more useful I feel in the firm, and the more useful I feel the more confident I act, and the more confident I act the more I feel empowered to ask questions, to ask for the guidance I need to produce better work. More confidence also means I behave more like myself (i.e. Festive Northern California Business Casual) rather than the scared shy person I was being before, which makes less stiff, more likable, which I think makes it easier for people to work with me. All of which, I think, gets me more work. Which I like, because it makes me feel useful, confident, etc.

I had a hard time adjusting to the corporate culture of BigLaw for almost a year. I hid in my office and just did whatever work came my way and tried to draw as little attention as possible to myself. I think what I found hardest was that I felt I had to suppress any hint of weirdness and silliness in order to fit in, but I still had to be chummy in that way professionals call "collegiality," which felt fake. Like a laugh track, or something.

It did weird things to me. At the beginning of this year, I had just returned from three months of international travel. I had moved from my shared apartment with beloved O. in the big faraway city of Chicago - where I had clearly-defined schedules, income, expenses, habits, friends, and hobbies - back into my parents' house in the suburbs, where, if things felt familiar at all, they were familiar in an infantilizing way. (Like being told to take a bath at night, or forced to put ugly XXL t-shirts on my car seats to prevent scuffing.) My known world was disrupted enough as it was, but on top of this feeling fake at work did funny things to my emotions. I hit a nadir sometime in February when I went out to a cafe with R. and O., best friends since childhood, and felt uncomfortable. At a loss for words. They said I didn't seem like myself. I lay on that divan in that cafe like a clam, cold, heavy, buried in underwater sand. I love that stupid fucking metaphor! A woman I had just met told me "Your personality is usually light, but recently you've been heavy" before offering to spin crystals over my heart chakra, and my reaction was not to run screaming but to say You are absolutely right.

Nobody at the firm said act straight or die. I must have imposed the burden upon myself to suppress my personality. I'm overcautious and guarded when I'm in a new social situation. I am hella shy but people think I'm being aloof. I scribbled a furious note on my notepad during the first session of the memoir class I took at Stanford this fall, as people went around the room introducing themselves: "BE MORE OPEN ABOUT YOURSELF." I felt embarrassed for being too guarded to be loose/flexible/creative about describing myself, while my fellow memoirists let their wacky personalities out right at the beginning. My nickname on my college rugby team was "Buddha" because people thought I was shy, quiet, and inoffensive. I spent my first six months in Chicago pretending I was straight. What the f?? You get older, you think you've found your confidence, and then you experience something new and it throws you back to square one. You know? I'm so slow to adjust.

I discussed the taste of human flesh with a colleague at the copy machine last night around 9:30. He called it "long pork." I told him to cut his hand off and try.

I consider this a victory.