Jeremy Lin, “38 at the Garden”

After I caught Husband weeping at the end of “38 Madison,” an HBO short film on Jeremy Lin and what he meant to the Asian American community, I didn’t watch. After listening to Larry Wilmore wax poetic about not only the exceptionalism of his game but the tremendous racism this kid faced, I tuned in. I too wept. I remember Jeremy Lin’s spectacular run with the Knicks — it was ten years ago. It got me through my pregnancy with Wonder Twins. (I have blogged extensively about that time. I think I even did an obnoxious post, crediting the two men who were supporting me — Husband and Jeremy Lin.)

To me, someone who does not speak Sports Ball, Jeremy Lin’s spectacular run with the Knicks seemed like magical realism. He did well enough that even I could appreciate the tremendous athleticism on display. It seemed like he came out of nowhere. The media coined him a Cinderella story, and I think he was signed with the Raptors, and I never thought of him again.

This documentary goes through his seemingly meteoric rise and made me rethink how I see his success. Honestly, Larry Wilmore’s thoughtful, intelligent commentary also makes me see the story entirely differently. This was not necessarily a Cinderella story. The kid was working out like crazy and drilling himself all the time to get himself to an elite level. We didn’t know about him because no one let him play. he was the top pick in high school in California, and no one had scouted him. Don’t ask me to quote basketball statistics — but let me say, he is exceptional, yet didn’t get picked up. What is that about? Larry Wilmore thinks it’s racism that’s so entrenched — we are not accustomed to seeing elite Asian basketball players, that despite the evidence, Jeremy Lin did not compute. His run with the Knicks was not a fluke. He was capable of such greatness the entire time. He was just never given the chance.

I remember the joy Jeremy Lin gave Spike Lee — and I was like dude, I don’t know what makes me happier — Jeremy Lin, or Spike Lee’s reaction to Jeremy Lin. Spike Lee spoke with disappointment with Jeremy Lin’s decision to leave the Knicks, and I bought it. Now I understand that it was the Knick who didn’t decide to keep this kid — despite the hype he brought to the team and his incredible talent. How does that feel? When you have indisputable evidence of your greatness, and you still don’t get the job, but they frame it that it was actually your decision? Ay caramba.

The Larry Wilmore podcast also made me think of not only the racism people face but the racism they internalize and how they limit themselves, that it’s funny people’s reaction to “white privilege” is that of capitalism — “I didn’t grow up with money.” His point is no peeps, it’s about you’re allowed to be your full self; minorities are not even permitted to dream of a life beyond certain parameters. This whole old-school approach of raising kids to do well academically and not explore outside interests is from a scarcity mindset — this is your lane. This is where you can thrive and nowhere else.

It really makes me think about how I was raised and how I’m raising my children. (New flash: my mom and I are clashing over my management of my children’s academics. No surprise there.) When I encounter parents who are obsessed with “the right schools” and are focused on Ivy League-or-bust, it strikes me as old-fashioned. It’s also such a way of life that focuses only on the future. If you only focus on the future, you will never be happy now, and these children — they’re actually alive right now. I can see it in my kids — they’re already up and down, find school and conformity a drudgery. I mean, none of us can raise snowflakes. It’s the real world, dude. But I can offer them a mix of living for the future and living for now. Maybe my beef with the old-school way of raising children is that the dreams are too small. Dream bigger.

coffee shop ha ha

I’m working in a coffee shop today, and I have to tell you, it is shocking how many people order drinks with oat milk. Is it that good? This is seriously like the new almond milk.

Also, the owner is going through chemo. 🙁
Also, some people come to coffee shops to work and talk, and don’t seem to realize that’s not my bag

Deep thoughts.

lol: How to Express Anger at work

I have noticed “LOL” is like the new way office people express passive aggressive thoughts. It’s either they’re really mad and they add “lol” to soften the message. Or they really want to challenge you directly so they ask a blunt question like “What the hell is going on with this project? lol” “As established by my previous email, which I’ve attached for your convenience, we’ve already concluded this matter.”

The ultimate act of aggression and “I told you so” is when someone forwards an email you missed and cc’s everyone and their mother.

It’s modern warfare! And it’s fascinating.


I cannot overstate how much I am sick of housework. There are several hours of it to take care of on a daily basis and it never seems to make a dent. Of course, the food and laundry stuff is priority. The rest falls by the waist side (is that the saying?), but the basics of shopping/cooking/cleaning up so the mice don’t enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet take a few hours a day.

A friend told me about thinking about time as a budget — hopefully, you get about 8 hours of sleep, then you have to work 9 hours at least (more like 10-15 currently), then you have about 2 to 4 hours a day of housework, which leaves you with…three hours a day to do what…An hour to tuck in kids and maybe hang with them? An hour to hang with hubs? An hour to lie on the couch and wonder WTH as you stare a teetering pile of board games, laundry, and miscellaneous mysteries on the floor?

No more housework. Housework is banned. It is not inspiring. I will do the bare minimum, which is time-consuming enough, but I’m going on strike.


Oh my god, Wonder Boy Twin told me that my dad used to sneak candy into his hand.

My dad has always loved children, and even handicapped, etc. towards the end, you still tell he possessed an incredibly impish spirit. Loved to joke and lit up whenever children were around. He kept candy in all jacket pockets, and when I’d come see my parents, while my mom was yammering about some kind of life course correction requests, he would shake my hand and walk away. When he shook my hand, he passed a candy. It was so funny because I could be over 40 and he still did it to me. “Don’t tell mom,” he’d whisper along with the pass.

I told Wonder Twin Boy this whole history and he informed me my dad said the same exact thing to him — “Don’t tell Mom.”

Now, I think it’s rude. Ha ha ha.

Just kidding.

You can’t change an act that works this far into the performance.

palm springs

The first time I went to Palm Springs, CA was to go to the Palm Springs Film Festival, which was organized by someone I did an indie movie starring very famous people. Like Marissa Berenson was the lead, and the guy playing her husband was in “The Truman Show” as Jim Carrey’s dad and shushed me when I said I didn’t like Laura Linney’s hyper-articulated acting style. (He said she was so lovely. And I didn’t like her acting at the time of “the Truman Show,” but I am freaking obsessed with her now. Have you seen her Lady MacBeth turn in ” Ozarks”? Please. Like she does have this weird, stylized way of talking, but man, does she connect with her material. I bow down.) I was the maid having an affair with this white guy I just mentioned, and this film festival founder was like Marissa’s therapist or something in the film. Man, I had no idea how famous these people were. I was just bopping around my own business, going to wardrobe, getting weird like dust applied to my eyelashes to give the mascara more real estate to land upon, looking quizzically at the camera dude who said “Wow, Korean people are so pretty!” (like what was that? Was that flirting? Should I have tried to “get with that”? Humans are sometimes totally perplexing to me.)

This Palm Springs guy said “oh you should come out to the festival!” I don’t think he meant it. It was just like a nice thing to say to someone, but that year, I had broken up with my boyfriend of four years, whom I had loved for so long, since high school. So I decided, yes, I should go. I shaped like a post-breakup, independent woman itinerary. Yeah! Look how bad ass I am! I booked a flight, hotel. Headed to the West Coast on my own. First part of the trip, Palm Springs, me alone; then later in the week, an old college friend, whom I used to be close to who then had become weird towards me, was going to visit with her boyfriend.

It was a terrible idea. I don’t like to drive, so I bought tickets to films and went alone. The only people who walked were homeless people and people who were out jogging. I’d get to films, the only one who arrived by foot, sweaty. Then I’d walk back to the hotel and cry. I was so desperately lonely. I had not known that’s how I would feel post-breakup. I hadn’t experience many relationships. I’d call my poor parents at night and weep and say how lonely I was, and they were upset with their helplessness.

But then things got easier. The film festival owner was a very kind man. He and his wife kind of took me under their wing, on what was probably the most insanely busy week of their year. I got tickets to the festival’s like most exclusive pic, a lesbian love story called “Aimee and Jaguar” and the festival guy’s wife drove me. I just took the kindness for granted, as a young, inexperienced person would. But when I look back on it now, I so greatly appreciate their kindness. Humans can be so incredibly lovely at times.

The last bit of my trip, my old college friend came to visit. Things had not warmed between us necessarily, but she enjoyed making fun of her boyfriend (now her husband). I remember how he would drive us to movies but in order to get the most affordable (free) parking spot, he had kept a bike in the trunk. He’d drop us off and pick us up, but bike to his car. She has since married him and had four children, and by all social media accounts, seems fine. We were so close freshman year and then she had to leave because of a medical condition. She was distant when she returned and we never returned to that closeness.

Anyway, tonight, I remembered that intense loneliness I had felt as a young person, and though sometimes when you’re young adult, you don’t want the comfort of your parents, I called them anyway. It didn’t comfort me at the time, but tonight, I recall that time with great fondness for the people all three of us were.

so professional

I’ve been called “professional” multiple times in my work life. I think the reason I get this a lot is because I appear calm under pressure. And the word seems to apply to how people conduct themselves — so when I’m told I’m “professional,” it’s also because when I’m around coworkers who are abusive or bullying or in some other way quite unpleasant, I can divorce myself from my feelings and respond as if they are communicating like a normal person.

I think that’s a really crappy definition of “professional” and it’s not necessarily a goal worth the time, but we all do it. There’s one person in power who acts out, and we all ignore it, even though it’s so bizarre and embarrassing and toxic and draining and hurtful too. So when I’m told I’m a professional, or behave so mega-professionally, I don’t necessarily take it as a compliment.

everything everywhere all at once

My mom offered to take me to the Michelle Yeoh film, which I jumped at. Not only did I want to see it, I am having trouble unwinding when I’m not at work. I need to be extremely distracted to get out of the relentless cycle of to do lists that wrack my mind. The quantity of work that needs to get done is overwhelming. I liken it to standing in front of a trembling dam holding back an ocean just ready to rush and run you over.

Mom had heard on a podcast that it was for older people. Not so. It is an extremely stylized take on a middle-aged, immigrant mom who’s got lots of regular life pressure, but in the middle of a meeting at the IRS, gets recruited to rescue a plague on the multiverse. There are multiple relationships in pain in the A story line – mother/daughter, husband/wife, mother/her father. These folks are a mess.

This is not a film for the Baby Boomer generation. Is it even a film for Gen Xers? Depends. I have friends (one) who said she needed go to take a breather from it – there is so much visual stimuli, costume changes, fight scenes, storylines, and two dildos. Mom walked out after one hour.

I loved it. I thought the script was really tight with its A story line, before it introduced B story line and multiple tangents that came together. You get so much insight into the state of all the primary relationships within ten minutes in just cutaways. That’s some efficient storytelling.

The fight scenes – and the acting they required – are remarkable. I love all martial arts films so they didn’t lose me the way they lost my mom. I admired the choreography and the way the actors moved so smoothly (I mean, god, the stretching alone deserves like an Oscar. Is there an Oscar for stretching? Of course not). And is there anyone but Michelle Yeoh who could play that part? (It was originally pitched to Jackie Chan, but honestly, I don’t think anyone else could handle the physical and emotional demands of the part.)

I am mixed about her acting. I don’t love it. I think I really like the American school of acting where it’s over the top and the acting choices at the top of the scene are crystal clear. But that’s not Michelle Yeoh’s jam. She looks uncomfortable to me when I see her in films – however, her gifts in moving are totally deserving of celebration and it is part of acting for shizz – and not only that, the woman is (I think) close to 60, yet moves like a dream, as if she posses a supple, flexible twenty-something machine and she looks strong.

She has one scene where her character accesses martial arts expertise for the first time – her body moves like an expert, while her face has to convey the shock of what her body can do. That’s no mean acting feat. All the Asian characters speak a mix of English and Chinese – that is how people who are bilingual communicate, but dude, if you didn’t grow up like that, how on earth can you pull that off? There is so much about acting that is technical.

But all that granular analysis aside (sorry, bad habit, whenever I want to figure something out), I liked the story. To my surprise, I didn’t relate to the daughter character, but the mother. The mother’s constant criticism has shaped that daughter into being a sad person – that constant barrage of not-good-enough feedback can make you into someone who is permanently defeated. (Luckily, I have healed parts of that my experience for myself and Mom and I can have other colors to our relationship – though I panicked that I would do that to my own daughter. I like went home and apologized in advance.)

The person I related to was the Michelle Yeoh character, the put-upon, stressed-out mother, who is so in the weeds with the vagaries and demands of daily life, that she has no mental/emotional real estate to be present and notice that she hurts her husband and daughter, and is still caught in the emotional trap of trying to please her father.

She starts the movie running around trying to throw a party, cook food for her father, and review receipts for the IRS. She’s absolutely like the rabbit character in Alice in Wonderland, who is constantly feeling late.

Oh no, I thought. That’s me. I’m that. How am I going to detach myself to these relentless, daily tasks breathing down my neck and be present? And then, what’s weird, is the whole thing reminded me of my dad. I bawled for a good half of the film. These missed connections, the speed of life – I mean, I think I was pretty present with dad for the most part, but life still whips by.

Anyway, I liked the film. I thought it was a tremendous work of art, and I appreciated how hard everyone worked on it. At the same time, no way should my mom gone and she should have left earlier. Ha Ha.

i belong here. i deserve to take up space.

I was going to say I don’t think Asian Americans have had a harder time than this recent pandemic spate of hate crimes, except I think, I know, there are have been periods of violence before. Of course, there’s Vincent Chin’s murder, but there were also periods of time in the 1900s or so (sorry, not a historian. I’m worse. I’m past middle-aged, voracious reader with a weak-ish memory, so my recall is not perfect), where Chinatowns were burned to the ground. So. The racism has always been there, but with the pandemic, we are all socially isolated and we actually need social interactions to keep extreme beliefs in check. There’s a reason why there tends to be more conservative views in rural and suburbs, and more progressive ones in urban areas. When you live in a densely populated area, you are forced to interact with each other. (I mean this very generally, and I’m totally stealing this explanation). For some reason, the universe’s crazy frequency is locked in on Asians. But I think this awfulness will die down.

But all that reasonable stuff aside, this has been an incredibly disheartening time. Personally, my anxiety has been jacked up to an all time high. I can tell my choices (like skipping the subway) didn’t make sense to some friends (Asian and non-Asian). I now carry 2-3 mini weapons in my purse when I leave the house. I kind of experienced this in the beginning of the pandemic when Asian peeps were just getting punched, not killed around March 2020. One of my cousins (a tiny female) got sucker-punched in midtown. I ordered a blonde wig and mace (the wig was absolutely ridiculous and was returned). So the anxiety is real. And I know I’m not the first to feel like a moving target because of how I present to the world, but it’s eye-opening. The silver lining is it gives me radical empathy for people who walk around the world with the fear all the time. Jees.

As of this writing, there have been three racially targeted massacres this week, two of which targeting Asians, one targeting Black Americans. Is it guns? Is it racism? How are they going to fix this one?

I have no idea.