Taking Mama to MOMA (eau de urine)

moma_building_amcrmar07_271.jpg Sometimes, on days like today, when there are weird body smells on the subway, I wonder how much longer I will live here in good ol’ NYC and why on earth I got my folks to move here. For example, a girl puked into her sandwich bag and lap on the F to MOMA today, which inspired Mom to tell me a series of commuting stories, like how she sat next to a woman who had actually peed. Or the time she sat next to a homeless man without realizing it until a particular odor reached her nose, but by then, she didn’t want to leave for fear of hurting his feelings. And this is just way up there in guilt-daughter moments, topped only by the day I found out their building is owned by the Mob (don’t mention it around them. They don’t know.)

But enough about regret. Let’s put all those malodorous memories aside — I still like having easy access to the old people, b/c they make me laugh. Dad emerged from his apartment with ski hat, sunglasses, backpack on, to the sound of Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider” theme song from his computer and told me flatly he was not interested in museum hopping.

At MOMA, Mom and I braved the crowds of Europeans to check out the art. They have those freebie self-guided audio tours that you just place against your ear in front of corresponding art work. We wandered through Lucian Freud and got to etchings of his daughter “Bella,” Mom leaned over as if to whisper and shouted “she’s so ugly”…which caused me to convulse since everyone else was library-quiet. I made her go into the contemporary art gallery with me, which she said looked like bed sheets (it was kinda dull).

So that’s all. Over xmas, my husband and I observed that the parents are getting older and quirkier, and that still seems to be true.

chocolate is not the answer

images6.jpg There’s a bin of chocolate on my desk, literally a bin, from some vendor who is trying to butter me up, and I keep reaching for the stuff (and it’s not even “healthy” chocolate, but like cheap, milk chocolate Hershey’s stuff which you know probably never leaves your intestinal system) because I’m wondering how to do stop being so out-of-control bored at work? and what should I do with my life? But it’s not answering either question for me.

Okay, I have removed the bin of chocolate and given it to the receptionist. how’s that for superhuman will power.

This holiday thought

I went to Niketown b/c of my husband’s xmas request and I just want you to know, paying full retail price is BS and it makes me cranky. Bah humburg

Southern White Christians, the last group you can fun of

tina_fey.jpg Or so says this guy I met at lunch at work.

“They’re the last group of people you can make fun of!” he says “The rednecks!”

Then he went on to make a bad redneck joke. See, yes, I’m sensitive about all this stuff, so I don’t think you can make fun of Southern White Christians (never mind the fact that I doubly can’t b/c they are now my in-laws), but my biggest beef with these jokes? They’re not friggin funny.

My husband says a lot of comedy is based on lowering the status, usually someone else’s, and I feel like, as writers, maybe we should try a little harder then. It’s not that I’m pro-PC blandness when it comes to ethnic/demographic groups; I just need believeable characters and some dang funny jokes. Make me laugh damn it!

For example, let’s take Tina Fey. She’s done good and bad race jokes.

Bad Tina Fey: On SNL weekend update, she had a schtick about how this Chinese person in China couldn’t find his house b/c everyone looked alike. I thought 1) wow, you’re really not as liberal as we’re supposed to think you are 2) that’s kinda racist but MOSTLY I thought 3) You’re friggin lazy!!!! What is this, the 1950s? Am I destined to hear jokes from Dean Martin’s era forever?

Good Tina Fey: Recent “30 Rock” had her Middle Eastern neighbor seem like a terrorist, playing on all her sneaking paranoid feels. She calls Homeland Security, but then later finds out, he was just training for “Amazing Race.”

Okay? Got it? Racism = Bad Jokes. Subtle, social satire on racial relations = Good Jokes.

That’s all. I’m so sick thinking about all this stupid stuff. What is comes down to–just give me a good friggin part already.

Holiday Tip

images3.jpg In the elevator at work, I read this tip from a nutrition counselor for kids: Instead of traditional Christmas cookies, why not help your children decorate pieces of whole wheat bread with fat-free cream cheese and vegetables!

Sure, I think there’s too much sugar available this time of year and in general, but seriously, are you trying to depress children? That’s like when you’re kid wants a Barbie, and you give them like a Sassy Sue or a My Little Pony. They KNOW it’s not the same thing, dude. Just SKIP the friggin cookies, don’t do this sad, pale imitation of life as we know it.

Funny accents are funny! Ha ha ha!

asians.jpg Okay back to that audition, so I walk out and have this great speech in my head. Here’s the dream speech:

“Hmmm, I hear what you’re saying, and I realize I’m not the actress for this project, and this project is not for me,” I’d say, picking up my Coach bag [I don’t have one, but while we’re at dream mode, let’s also make me ten pounds less on a good hair day]. “Having Asians on stage with funny accents or speaking jibberish doesn’t work for me — since I still deal with racist behavior in my daily life, and gosh, I would never want to perpetuate this idea that offending Asians is okay. Lots of luck!”

And then of course, the playwright and director would be stunned by my shrewd, balanced speech. After I leave the room, they confer, and realize how insensitive they’ve been and offer, to make it up to me, to produce this operatic play I dream about writing. “Ms. Lee! Ms. Lee! Come back!” etc. etc. etc.

Of course, reality? Less interesting: I did the sides with an accent that kind of vacillated between vaguely French and Korean (I suck at accents and felt ambivalent at best about this request) and I just got out of there as quickly as possible, self-esteem still in tact.

In their defense, they were doing a “sendup of stereotypes,” but it’s too soon for that stuff. It’s not like we’ve come light-years from the time where Mickey Rooney’s bit as a bumbling Asian landlord in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ruined that movie for me. “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” has a similar buffoon character (but I understand that film really offends just about everyone.) Do you see the picture I posted? What is that? Ironic? Yeah, still not funny.

And all this makes me think about what this blog is all about–family, race, and celebs–and confirms what Nancy observes, that I have strong feelings about being Asians. I don’t know what the heck they are, but they’re strong.

My husband says I could’ve walked out, and next time, I will. I like my husband.


images2.jpg So this play I’m currently in, as awful as it is, has cemented some of my more positive feelings about acting, like this is something I can do, I have some mad skillz, blah blah blah, and I cruised this regional theater audition got a call back, and then kaboom. Or a mild-ka-boom (let’s not be crazy). You know how you know exactly what to say AFTER the moment passes?

Here’s sort of how my audition for “Jewtopia” went:

DIRECTOR: Can you read the side again with an accent?
PLAYWRIGHT: Like do you have a Mongolian dialect?
ME (smiling, wanting to please): No, I didn’t have time to study one. You mean, read the Mongolian section with a Mongolian accent? (refering to the lines written in “Mongolian”): Oh, wait, is this part really Mongolian?
PLAYWRIGHT: Sort of. I don’t know. No. Just do the thing with an accent. The whole play is a sendup of stereotypes, so if you could do a funny accent, that would be great.
ME (slowly truth dawning on me): Oh, oh, oh you want me to do the whole part with an Asian accent.
DIRECTOR (smiling, happy I got it): Yes!

Oh yeah, this is a reminder why I’m not a fulltime actress.


ist2_1117809_icey_branches_for_a_winter_background.jpg It’s finally winter today, and the sight of ice-covered branches always reminds me college, when I would return to my dorm when the library closed at midnight. It was a cold, unbearable schlep in February and it always made me want to give up on life, you know, b/c I’m so positive. I’m so happy that I don’t ever have to study ever again.


images.jpg Hey, for my friends I’ve been sneak-communicating with via facebook.com, that site is now among the blocked at my office. Busted!!! No worries. I will find another way to smuggle messages to the outside world. He hhe hehee