Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Been trying hard to figure out my future after Ryan Reynolds.

It's never an easy thing to do, but it seems even worse lately. I know I should be more grateful that I work in a field that has jobs, and I am. Whining is human nature, I think, no matter what the circumstances.

So for now, I'm trying to let go and see what happens. Like my mother likes to say, you can't do things 억지로 (by force of will). What will be, will be.

There are a couple of very interesting prospects and a couple of not-so-interesting prospects, so I'm just hoping that one of the more interesting jobs will stick and I'll be on my merry way soon enough.

Have to go finish a movie about a green guy first, so I'm going to hop to.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

R.I.P. Elizabeth Taylor

I thought Elizabeth Taylor would live into her 100's. She had that grande-dame-dripping-with-diamonds essence to her that made me think she would just keep going.

I've only watched a couple of her movies, but she was a legend for her beauty, rightfully so. There's nobody that's really ever had the same look, the same style.

I know she suffered a lot of health problems, so I hope she is at peace. I'm glad we have her movies to remember her by.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Asians in Libraries

There's a viral video going around lately. Search YouTube for "Asians in Library" and a ton of re-posts come up. You may want to watch it before reading this post, or just read the transcription below.

I transcribed her rant because I like things in text format. Here it is:

Okay, so, here at UCLA, it’s finals week. So we know that I’m not the most politically correct person, so don’t take this offensively, I don’t mean it towards any of my friends, I mean it towards random people that I don’t even know in the library. So … you guys are not the problem. The problem is, these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every single year, which is fine, but if you’re gonna come to UCLA, then … use American manners.

So, it used to really bug me but it doesn’t bother me anymore, the fact that all the Asian people that live in all the apartments around me, their moms and their brothers and their sisters and their grandmas and their grandpas and their cousins and everybody that they know that they brought along from Asia with them comes here on the weekends to do their laundry, buy their groceries, and cook their food for the week. It- seriously, without fail, you will always see old Asian people running around this apartment complex every weekend, that’s what they do. They don’t teach their kids to fend for themselves. You know, they don’t also teach them, is their manners. Which brings me to my next point.

Hi. In America, we do not talk on our cell phones in the library! Every five minutes, I will be- okay, not five minutes, say, like, fifteen minutes, I’ll be, like, deep into my studying, into my political science theories and arguments and all that stuff, getting it all down, like, typing away furiously, blah blah blah, and then all of a sudden, when I’m about to, like, reach an epiphany, over here from somewhere, “Ohhh, Ching chong ling long ting tong! Ohhh!” Are you freaking kidding me? In the middle of finals week. So being the polite, nice, American girl that my mama raised me to be, I kinda just gave him what anybody else would do, that kind of, like, [grimaces, makes “shh” gesture], you know, “it’s kinda- it’s a library, like, we’re trying to study, thanks!” And then the same thing, five minutes later, but it’s somebody else, you know, I swear they’re going through their whole families, just checking on everybody from the tsunami thing- I mean, I know, okay, that sounds horrible, like, I feel bad for all the people affected by the tsunami, but if you’re gonna go call your address book, you might as well go outside, because if something is wrong, you might really freak out if you’re in a library and everybody’s quiet, like, you seriously should go outside if you’re going to do that.

So, thanks for listening, that was my rant. I just, even if you’re not Asian, you really shouldn’t be on your cell phone in the library, but I’ve just never seen that happen before, so, thank you for listening and have a nice day.

There are a lot of opinions about this video that are already out there in the world. (And by "the world" I mean "the internet.")

Her recent open letter to the Daily Bruin included, according to the Huffington Post:
In a statement to the Daily Bruin campus newspaper, Alexandra Wallace said she has chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA because of what she called "the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats and being ostracized from an entire community" in the wake of the three-minute video.

"In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture," Wallace said in the statement, her second apology of the week. "Especially in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Japan, I would do anything to take back my insensitive words. I could write apology letters all day and night, but I know they wouldn't erase the video from your memory, nor would they act to reverse my inappropriate action."
Sigh again.

So. I'm sure it's quite apparent from my blog, but I'm very proud of my Korean heritage. It's how I grew up, it's what stares back at me whenever I look into a mirror. Being Asian-American is something that no white American will ever understand- just as I won't ever know what it feels like to be white or black or anything other than what I am.

My first reaction to this, of course, was anger. A moment of flashing red rage, even. But then I calmed down and let my blood pressure stabilize (something I have to do quite frequently as of late) and I realized: this girl, for as ditzy as she is while speaking, says things that Asians say (shout) to each other. That I say to my sister. That my friends and I discuss.

That doesn't make it right. She doesn't know what it's like to straddle two cultures and try to appease both sides. She's a blond white chick that's grown up in one country with one culture, speaking one language and never feeling any cultural conflict.

It's like the 'n' word. If you're not black, you don't say it. Would Alexandra Wallace walk up to a Chinese person and call them a chink? Would she use the 'n' word if a black person was talking on the phone in the library? No. (Well ... I hope not.)

Can Asians be rude? Unquestionably.

Can Asians talk on the phone like nobody's business? Absolutely.

Did this girl take the right approach for her problem? Definitely not.

Her little 'shh' and “it’s kinda- it’s a library, like, we’re trying to study, thanks!” isn't an actual action. She had the balls to make this video and put it on YouTube, inviting a world-wide audience. She didn't have the balls to walk up to someone and say, "excuse me, could you, like, take your phone call outside? I'm stressed from finals"?

If it bothered her so much, she couldn't study at home? I find, for non-confrontational people, that avoidance is generally the answer. If you're passive-aggressive, making a YouTube video really isn't the solution. Going home and having her political science epiphanies in the silence of her room would've been so much easier. And it wouldn't have driven her out of UCLA, a school that I'm sure she wanted to attend and worked hard to attend.

One of the staggering things about this rant, to me, is that it didn't take place in a school with a relatively small Asian population. At UCLA, Asians outnumber whites, 37% to 32%. That's a domineering Asian population, and one that has existed at UCLA for a long time. UCLA, USC, and UCI- these schools are heavily Asian, and while a racist rant wouldn't fly anywhere, I would think that one would have more foresight than to rant against the biggest racial group in one's school.

As I said, I do see some of her points. I went to my cousin's university while I was in Korea, and I was struck by how many people talk on their cells in the library (yes, we went to the library, he's a dork and I'm a nerd). I also know how some Asian parents are, having grown up with predominantly Asian people. Yes, Asian families can be quite coddling and over-protective.

However, most of the Asians I know didn't stay in their dorms or apartments during weekends. We all high-tailed it out of there and went home. Even the kids I know now, that are in college, go home for weekends (if they're close enough to, and most of them are). If their college isn't close enough to home, then obviously, their parents don't go visit them on weekends, either.

I think one of the worst things about this is actually in her open letter after the rant went viral. She says "In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture."

"Asian" is not a culture. Ask any Asian person what their culture is. They won't say "Asian." They'll say "Korean" or "Chinese" or "Japanese" or "Thai" or .... you get my point. We are not one people, the "Asian" people. Just as "Europeans" aren't one culture. We speak different languages, have different customs, and go to war with one another. That single sentence showed her ignorance and her complete unawareness even more than her (horrible) imitation of an Asian person talking on the phone.

That tsunami? It didn't impact all Asian people. It took place in Japan. Japanese people are living it. Vietnamese people aren't calling their families in Vietnam to make sure they're okay from the tsunami, I promise.

She didn't receive any form of discipline from UCLA for this video, and on one hand, I know why. Free speech is one of the rights that Americans are most proud of. But the right to free speech doesn't stop a thoughtless person from getting beat up, getting threatened, or getting driven out.

I can say from first-hand knowledge that Koreans are fiercely protective and proud. We don't always get along with each other, but if an outsider starts poking or harassing one of us, we all leap to defense. We're quick to anger, jump easily into frays, and consider the failing of one Korean as the failing of all of us (remember Virgina Tech?). The victory of one is a victory for all (Kim Yu-Na, Jang Mi-Ran). An insult to one is an insult to all. Alexandra Wallace insulted an entire continent's worth of people. That kind of thing does not go unnoticed.

It depresses me that a really young person, born in the United States in the 1990's, could have made that video. I don't know what else to say. It's depressing that she thinks she's "being the polite, nice, American girl that my mama raised me to be" because what does that say about the state of the American youth? And if this is the American youth, with all the advantages and freedom of this country, what is the youth of the world thinking, doing, reading, abusing, watching, learning, saying?



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Slainte Mhaith!

I'm celebrating Saint Patrick's Day by getting home before 11:00 for the first time all week and having a glass of (very non-traditional) wine.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Quake in Fear

In a time like this, the racial matters, the complex history, and the uneasy relationship really don't matter at all.

To donate to the Japan relief effort, people in the U.S. can send a text to 90999 with the word "REDCROSS" and they will charge your cell phone bill $10.

Or go to the Red Cross's international website.

Natural disasters are the scariest things in the world because they cannot be anticipated, they cannot really be prepared for, and they are instant killers. My heart goes out to everyone that's stuck in the tsunami.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Korean Solidarity

For someone who speaks Korean every day, I don't have many Korean friends. There are unique reasons for this, but most of them stemming from the fact that my Korean roots are different than others'. My sister and I are grounded in a much more traditional Korean way, a much less LA Korean way. We're different from Koreans in Korea, too, of course, because my parents' Korea is from the 1970's and 1980's.

In Albuquerque, of all places, I found a friend that happens to be Korean. One of my co-workers is a Korean woman who moved to the States after she had completed college (incidentally, she went to university in the city where I was born). She's been in the U.S. for a while now, and is married to an American.

She and I speak a strange Konglish to each other, switching to full Korean to annoy our co-workers, and she's just a funny, sweet person.

Today, she ran up to my desk while I was picking at my sandwich and said, "Jeanny! Stop eating!" and ran off. (She says my name the way Koreans pronounce it, which gives me a pang of homesickness every single time.)

She scampered back with a double roll of kimbap (or gimbap, 김밥), wrapped in, as Koreans are wont to do, about fourteen yards of plastic wrap.

Sometimes, it's the small gestures that put a surprised smile on your face. This unexpected and delicious picnic food always makes me happy, and never more than today.

It's not that I'm sad or depressed or anything, because I'm not. I'm fine here, if annoyed at how busy I am. But eating gimbap, tasting that distinct seaweed, crunching through the pickled radish ... it brings home to my mind and I am reminded of how much I really do miss it.

I think I'm going to try to make some gimbap for my lovely Korean friend on Saturday (we're all working), when I can get away with coming in later. If I'm up to it, maybe I'll even document it. Gimbap's one of those things people always ask about, and it's really easy, just time-consuming and a bit fiddly to get the technique down.

Really good gimbap, but still not as good as my mother's. Of course. ^_^


Monday, March 07, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

(Title of the post is just because of The Clash ... it's not a literal question. I already know the answer.)

It's getting to that time again. The time on every movie where I start belaboring the point about how many hours I work, and how I never do anything but work, and how insufferable my co-workers are. Blah blah blah.

More interestingly, this is the first time I've ever worked outside of LA in my entire career (okay, it's just 8 years ... but that's a long time when you're 28!) and therefore the first time in my life that I know for sure that a big move is imminent.

It's not that I don't like Albuquerque, because I do. But within a couple months of moving here, I knew that this wasn't the place for me. I don't know where, exactly, "my" place is. I usually assume that I will land back in LA, just because that's where my family is. Who can say for sure, though? I don't think William thought he would still be in Korea. I don't know that Diana or Amanda knew that they'd be back in the States by now. People take odd and sometimes meandering paths to get to their destinations, and even their current destinations are not guaranteed to be permanent.

One of the best and worst things about moving to Albuquerque was knowing that I wasn't going to be here permanently. I used to have a tendency to nest, because I stayed in my apartments for long periods of time. I decorated, I had home improvement projects, I painted and bought and knick-knacked ... no more. I live a spare life with little furniture and a mindful eye towards downsizing. I like it. I like knowing that I can pick up and move in a couple days.

It's difficult, too, of course. I stopped buying pantry staples because I started thinking things like "I only have three months left. Will I be able to go through another package of vermicelli?" "I should get the small package of rice, I don't want to have to lug rice back with me to California." "I can't buy that package of 12 soaps, I won't use them all." Hooray for forward thinking, but I know I'm still going to have the odd thing here or there that will travel back to LA with me come May or June (hopefully May. I pray for May).

Also, I have a sort of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to work. Right around the time it starts getting busy (I worked my first Sunday on this show yesterday), I start thinking that I'm going to stay wherever I am and not leave. Moving sounds so painful. What if the next place I go is even worse than here? Better the evil I know than the evil I don't, right? I'm friends with the people I work with now, do I really want to start over in a new place, where I don't know anyone? I think it's a mixture of exhaustion and delirium caused by fatigue.

I've already been having those little thoughts poking at me about Albuquerque. It's cheap to live here, I like (some of) the people I work with, I could save some money and tough it out another year, right? Maybe even less, depending on the project ... doesn't that sound good?

In reality, no. I miss my family, and I miss LA. And frankly, there are other, more interesting places to live that I'd like to try. I want to meet new people from different cultures. I want to live somewhere that is completely foreign to me. Albuquerque is neither foreign nor captivating- it's like a million cities in the United States. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but I need a change from this.

I don't know where I'm going to go. I have no idea what path I'm supposed to take. My mother tells me that my nose bleed incident is a sign that my body doesn't want to live away from LA, and she could be right. Or it could be a fluke accident that just means that it takes some flexibility and practice to live away from "home."

If anyone knows of an awesome visual effects job in a foreign place, let me know!


Friday, March 04, 2011

Care Package

My parents sent me a (giant) care package that I got today. A pleasant surprise at work!

I got lots of yummy things, including jujubes and a new tea (pictured). I love jujubes fresh and dried! I like the big ones, the little ones, the ones in between. Yum.

Lots of other things, too- all edible, of course. Koreans love feeding each other!

Thanks, parents!


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

2011 Oscars: The Clothes

I watched the Oscars this past Sunday without all that much interest. Yes, "Alice in Wonderland" was nominated, but I didn't think it would win (though I was excited to see my bosses in their couture during the telecast), and I didn't have any overwhelming favorites.

I did rather favor "The King's Speech" because I love Brits and I adored Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter at the BAFTAs. They were darling. Add in Tom Hooper and David Seidler, the cutest little old man ever, and I melted into a puddle. So I was really glad they got their Oscar, even though I haven't seen "The King's Speech" yet.

Anyways, the dresses are what women want to see, aren't they?

Anne Hathaway did a fairly decent job as MC, along with her completely stoned co-host, James Franco. ("127 Hours" looks so frightening, I cannot even fathom sitting through that movie.) She had very lovely costume changes, which I won't include since she was working.

My favorites from Oscars 2011 (click on the pictures for bigger versions):

Helen Mirren in Vivienne Westwood. I love dear crazy Vivienne Westwood (and her long-time collaboration with Helena Bonham Carter), but this is Vivienne toned down and done right. The color is so pretty, and the cut is so flattering. Helen Mirren's just gorgeous- she's 66 years old!
So lovely without being vulgar or flashy. And a great role model for women that refuse to dye their hair as they get older- she looks great with the white and gray hair, it suits her skin tone and also really looks beautiful with this dress.
Michelle Williams in Chanel. Simple and yet not boring. I liked Chanel's haute couture spring 2011 collection a lot, aside from all the disco sparkles. It seemed like a nice return to lady-like silhouettes. This dress was not nearly as form-fitting in the collection, but the modifications were smart and beautifully done. She looks so cute with this pixie cut- she's just very clean and fresh looking, I love it.
Mila Kunis in Elie Saab. I thought she was going to show up in a bold, graphic color, and was pleasantly surprised at the pretty girly lavender. She was extraordinary in "Black Swan," and I'm firmly a fan of hers now. I think she's lovely in a very Russian way, with those huge eyes, and she looked like a lacy little confection in this dress.
That little bit with Justin Timberlake during the awards wasn't very funny, though. I still can't believe Natalie Portman (in a nice Rodarte gown) won an Oscar while Mila Kunis didn't even get nominated. Unfair.
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy. This dress looked a lot more saturated (much closer to lavender) on TV than it does in photos. I loved the pops of yellow, but wished the lilac was a different color ... something brighter, bolder. There were a lot of light-colored dresses this year, and I always prefer color to washes of paleness.
I love Cate Blanchett. She's always interesting to look at, and never makes boring decisions for big awards shows.
Hailee Steinfeld's (in Marchesa) been really spot-on through awards season, even if she does veer towards pale and colorless. I love that she looks her age, dresses appropriately- cute, princess-y, everything expected of an early teen- and seems so happy to be where she is. The original version of this dress was a giant puff of black and white and shiny, and while I'm glad she veered from that, I wish she had veered into a color.
Scarlett Johansson in Dolce & Gabbana. I really liked this dress when I first saw it and thought it was one color (the brighter, more pinkish purple color). I still like it, but still wish it had been one even color- the color changes with the see-through areas are a bit much. Still, really like this dress.
And though this was from the Vanity Fair party and not the actual Oscars, I loved this one:
Jessica Biel in Versace. I'm glad she's a brunette right now, because a blond in a gold, neutral-colored dress would have annoyed me. I thought this dress was exquisite, and she looked amazing.

I can't even talk about the dresses I didn't like, because they were many and varied and some of them were hideous. I didn't like as many of the sparkly dresses as I thought I would (shiny!) because they were either styled badly (Amy Adams), weirdly boring (Anette Bening), or just ugly (Melissa Leo, why??).

I'm sure I would have more to say if I were feeling 100%, but I'm still not quite there yet. And I'm really craving samgyetang (삼계탕), which I don't usually even like. Time to pop another pill and try to focus on work. Blech.