perms and skiing

rr-richardmarx.jpg Did your mom ever get you to do things you never wanted to be doing–ever? When I was little, it never occurred to me I could say no, or run away from home. Mom just seemed all powerful and wise, and whenever she announced something as fact, I accepted it as fact. For instance, when we moved to New Jersey, she announced “Everyone in New Jersey knows how to ski,” thus began a crash course with my cousins on a bunny hill somewhere in Pennsylvania.

The fact that “Everyone in NJ knew how to ski” stressed me out–was I going to fit in? (We moved there when I was ten from Staten Island.) Would I make friends? So I went down that bunny hill over and over again. My only skill was stopping by throwing my body down to the ground. There was one time I was flying down the hill, headed straight to the bunny lift line. I had already thrown my body down, my one offering from my meager ski skill arsenal, but was still going pretty fast. I yelled “Get out of my way! I can’t stop! I’M A BEGINNER!” I remember approaching the fence at an odd angle, as people desperately tried to WALK away quickly (they were beginners so did not know how to ski yet) from my crash landing. After that, Mom sprung for a lesson and the teacher greeted me “Oh, so you’re the one who crashed into the fence this morning.” When I finally did start making friend in New Jersey, none of my friends knew how to ski.

But the biggest Mom move highlight is reserved for the perms she made me get. For some reason, Koreans (at least they used to in the 80s) looooooooove a good perm. My mother’s logic was that a volumnious perm helped make my gigantic, Korean noggin and pancake round face look more…petite. I have to say, having had two, and witnessing them on other Koreans, it does no such thing. In Staten Island, when I was 9, I was subjected to the Cleopatra–like the bangs and the chin-length that form, you know, that pyramid look. It was kind of awful, but I could live with it, and it even looked pretty when it grew out. The perm Mom forced me into getting when I was 10 right before I moved to New Jersey was not as kind. It also had bangs, and a layer cut close to the sides of my head, plus length in the back. It was like Richard Marx’s hair (pic attached) on a girl. My childhood friend Alex says she remembers me entering the class with my windbreaker hood on, which I refused to take down for the entire day.

And for that, my mom deserves a big shout-out. Thanks Mom.

The only other kid with a perm that year was Patrick Marque, a phillipino kid with a medium-size head. He also had the close to the sides of the head, long in the back mullet look. We had the same hair, but he looked much better than I did.

Harry POtter Mania

images6.jpg I started reading the Harry Potters last month and am up to the fourth title, and I love them. I’m obsessed. I’m going to see if I can go as Hermonie or Harry Potter for Halloween. When I check them out of the library, the security guard laughs at me, me being a grown woman and all reading the YA book, but I DON’T CARE. I pooh-poohed the series as not for me when the books first came out like seven years ago. The world went gaga for them and I was oblivious. Now whenever someone ticks me off I tell them “20 points from Griffendor” which means nothing (and sounds really weird when said aloud.) The plot is incredible, and as the writing and story and character development just get better with each book.

This kind of reminds me when I got into the show “24” after it was on the air for five years. I would like pop into my office mail room and start yelling “My name is Jack Bauer and I’m a Federal agent! You’re going to have to trust me!” and they all just stared at me blankly. I mean, they’re fans too, but they’ve already dealt with the ups and downs of like season 2 which was made in like 2002 (I’m not including any spoilers b/c Nancy is just starting to watch them).

one of the random things I am grateful for

2834135-flatiron_building_the_first_skyscraper-new_york_city.jpg I got to work in the Flatiron Building. It was just for two years when I was a measly editorial assistant for St. Martin’s Press right after college before I took off for graduate school. The elevators were infamously slow so you could never sneak in late really, which was okay, b/c I was early as a NJ commuter (they paid me $18,000 a year, so I lived with my parents). The elevators were hydraulically powered, so inevitably, you had to listen to someone cracking a joke that “someone flushed a toilet” whenever you were stranded in teh lobby. Inside, the 18th floor’s decor was kinda goofy, b/c the CEO’s wife was responsible for it, and you know how that goes. The power offices were indeed those weird corners, and I just love that building. The job, at the time, I loved less. At the time, I thought we were cheap labor, but looking back on it, it didn’t seem so bad. The mean bosses don’t seem so mean, and I met a lot of cool people my age who were similarly clueless as to what they wanted to do. I think back on funny moments when Keith Kahla, who is now some hot shot, had to show his hot shot boss how to use an ATM machine because he did not they existed. Or my old boss passing random notes to editors to tell them they were handsome. And now, I feel lucky that I got to work in publishing, b/c now I have to work for money. Ha Ha Ha!

But just look at that bizarre, beautiful shape of the first skyscraper in NYC.

time-out to commemorate…

23462946.jpg …the fact that on saturday, 2 a.m., i finished a decent draft of my young adult novel. some friends know i wrote one draft two years ago that blew, took time out to outline, and spent the past year going at it again.

It’s not perfect (that’s for sure) but it’s finished! I wrote a complete story! anyway, hopefully, the agent I sent it to will take seriously and like it. Extending yourself sometimes feels like inviting more self-doubt and negative predictions about the future and general self-deprecation, so I’m taking a time-out to give a shout-out to myself that i actually FINISHED it. Halleleujah!

Amazingly, once I finished it, I suddently had free brain space to tackle other languishing projects like my taxes from 2006 or unclogging the tub drain, which I only do like once a year. This year, it was a scary gray, bumpy mass that I swear to god looked like a poltergeist. I was scared.

I might even take out that half-finished jig saw puzzle under my living room couch. Oh yeah, the world is mine. I can take on whatever Herculean task that lies before me. Quick, get in your requests before this feeling fades to black.

Best dressed at the U.N.

images3.jpg Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, Best U.N. Dresser. Nominated by my friend Jen. I have to say, I totally agree.

Take a look at his looks across the ages:

images4.jpg images5.jpg

That leopard print…

If he could talk to Kim Il-Jong…

Oh, you kooky Hamid Karzai


images2.jpg I don’t know. I’m not saying he’s not doing a good deed by the earth and all that jazz, but there’s something a little too glam about Gore getting a Nobel Peace Prize. I feel like it should go to someone with a lifelong commitment to whatever they’re getting recognized for–he’s too young. But what with the Oscar and the hanging out with the Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s a little hard to take him seriously as a Nobel guy.

Also, I hope he doesn’t run for President. I feel like his time was over and his election effort was a TON of money and he needs to step aside for other folks to run. It’s weird enough having two or three possible Democratic candidates I could live with it. I don’t want it to get even more divisive. Plus, I remember the whole recount business with Florida. My husband gets mad when I say the American people deserve the guy they voted for, b/c he reminds me Gore technically won his election and Bush stole both elections he won. I would just like note Gore should’ve maybe focused on winning his home state Tennessee over rather than worrying about a state run by the brother of the opposing candidate. Just saying.

this is why I can’t get my nails done

6-heigl_gallery.jpg Dude, many pals love the mani and pedi, and I would do it if I could. It’s an affordable self-care kind of thing, and your nails look GREAT. But b/c everyone in a nail salon is Asian, I just can’t do it. A Korean my mom’s age scrubbing my stinky toes? Please. The thought practically makes me squirm and scream “I’m sorry I didn’t go to law school and broke all your motherhood dreams.”

In addition to which, I find pedicures painful. I once got a back massage at one of those Korean-dominated nail joints, and b/c I was Korean, the woman felt comfortable with me and told me her entire life story–how she and her husband are living in different countries, working two jobs, to one day earn enough income to live together. I was like AAAACCCCK!!!! Sure, someone open to life changes would be like “this is my life’s calling. I will help this poor woman.” But me? I’m limping along these days and am only focused on getting home tonight, putting on my PJs, and watching my taped “Grey’s Anatomy.” I gave her a big fat tip and never went back.

Though, P.S., the woman in the photo clearly isn’t Korean. To me, she looks like Vietnamese or Cambodian. Could be wrong.


3-rihanna_gallery.jpg I think Rihanna is so pretty and the Umbrella song is darn catchy. At kareoke, I at least get the “ella, ella, ella, A, A, A” part right. But why can’t she brush her hair out of her eyes? Just once in a while. Is that so much to ask?

writers in brooklyn

images.jpg OH my god, Norman Mailer lives in my neighborhood, according to No wonder I can’t get any volunteer work for writing with kids. Not that I’ve read any of us stuff…or plan to. I’m still on book 1 of the Harry Potter series. I took five years to finish Anna Karenina (boring). None of my friends would loan me their copies b/c they insisted I needed to own it. Boy, what a snail-paced story. Okay, I know from the Oprah show, the heart of the book is Levin and his farming ways, and when he went to winter in Moscow and kept spending more scheckels than he meant to, it reminds me Manhattan night life, but Anna, ay caramba, among other things, she was very neurotic about her lover.

So, no Norman Mailer for me (unless you have a title you highly recommend). I’m just going to have to admire his fame and achievement from afar.

Scott Speedman

scottspeedman02.jpg What happened to this actor? He was in Felicity, a show I fell for despite myself. My cousin used to make fun of me by whispering the mainstay of their dialogue to me, which was basically –“Are you okay?” “Yeah, yeah, I think so. Are you?”–over and over again.

I’ve seen this guy in the West Village at La Bonnboniere, and he is spectacular-looking in real life, like people, cowabunga. The last picture I remember seeing him in was “Evolution” or “Underground Evolution,” a vampire thriller, or a thriller about gargoyles and vampires, starring Kate Beckinsale. The first installment ended with him being transformed into some weird hybrid of the two said species. And I was like, what the hell is wrong with Hollywood? They take a perfectly hot young man and turn him into something grotesque. It’s like they preserved his body but gave him a different head–and he looked like a minotaur or something.

I know all I’ve been talking about is TV lately, and I don’t want you think that’s all that’s in my unconscious…but sometimes, that’s all I’m really able to articulate.