Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Falling on the Deaf Ear

On a busy and narrow street in Seattle, I got in the cab that was called for me by the receptionist of the office.

Cab driver: Where are you going? (He sounds weird, slow, but I did not think much)
Me: W hotel.
CD: Where?
Me: W-----hotel
CD: Wal---mart?

I cast a serious look to make sure he was not bullshiting with me. He looked mentally challenged. He reminded me of the guy who sat in the basement in the movie Office Space.

I sighed and tried louder :W hotel
CD: Oh..Da Buuu Yiuuuuuu....Hotel
Me: Yes...(Rolling my eyes, I know it is not my accent-I don't have one speaking just W!)

I then said something that I regretted :How much does it cost for you to wait and take me to Redmond afterwards?

CD: Where?
Me: Redmond
CD: Do you want to go to Red Wood, instead of W hotel?
Me: No. I will go to W first. But I need to check out..(I stopped for there is no point of continuing..)
CD: Where?

He began to talk to himself all the way, mumbling. I was wondering how does cab drivers get their license in this town. Luckily we arrived at W in 3 minutes with no major drama.

CD: So...here is the DA Bu Yuuuuu hotel
ME: Thanks, can you give me a receipt?
CD: OK. I think we can go to Redwood.
ME: No, Receipt please. I am pointing.
CD: Oh I am sorry. So do you want to go to Redwood?
ME: Redmond. I am going to Red-Mond!!
CD: OK. I will take you there.
ME: No. I am not going now.
CD: You are not?
ME: I will go later.

I am getting out of the car, like fleeing.

CD: Oh, but for a while, I thought you are going to Red-Mond....

Dark cloud came out of my head like in those Japanese cartoons.

Seattle, it is full of surprises. I was actually amused.

But check this flash out: the little angry asian girl in red. She sounded like me too.

I hope this make you laugh. It made me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Who Do We Fall in Love With--Freudian's way and My Own Way

My parents used to have lots of fights. They were young parents, beautiful, but poor intellectuals living in a medium-sized city in the north of China, which could be conservative and depressing.

They fought and got into cold war of non-speaking regularly, primarily becuase of self-inflicted poverty due to my father's generosity to friends and relatives. I used to take his side, now I undertand my mother more--holding a family together and having three daughters to raise.

One morning, seeing my father in deep stress and silence, I was maybe 12, I said: "Don't worry. It will all pass." I felt like an adult for the first time in my life.

We Chinese mostly reserve our feelings for each other within a family. We don't hug or kiss or say I love you ever. We wells up what we feel. We are opaque in experssing love and care as a race. Communist condemnation of feelings toward anyone besides Chairman Mao did not help the matter either.

So if I was a bad lover, not as sweet as you think I am, blame the government.

My father was stunned that I can say something like that, at that age. He felt moved. He held my face with both of his hands and smiled at me, for 10 seconds feeling like forever, a little sad smile. He did not say anything.

And that was and is our moment.

He was and is a handsome man with dark and large eyes which are always warm-which I inherited, maybe his wit as well. He laughs loud and smiles heartily. He is a very outspoken and warm person, he loves to tell stories and he is funny, especially before he had a stroke on 2002. Now he is more quiet.

Maybe all my life I am looking to have that moment again with the man I love, he who laughs with warm eyes, and tells funny stories, and write, with passion.

When do I know that I love you? It is when I stared into your large and brown eyes, when you smiled, I felt that I found you, when you laughed and told me a joke that is funny or funny to youself. When I leaned my face on your shoulder, the eyes that I can look into and feel that deep and deep within, it is a warm heart, maybe burdened and tired, but it is warm and is seeking for warmth--I did not give you enough. And you are a man with touching words and drawing hand.

My father is a journalist and he writes beautifully. He reads all kind of books and he collects. He tells stories in gatherings. People listen to him tentatively. He made them laugh. But he is lonely as well, not so many people really care about his stories or truly appreciate them. They are way too calculated and dull to match his zeal of non materialistic things or to understand his contempt of worldly success. So he is lonely at heart. He is poor most of his life because he did not focus on getting ahead and he is too generous--you don't have to be rich to be generous.

Like you have been lonely in the world full of shrewed advertisng exectuives most of whom do not really care for your storeis or drawing. They worry about pitch, sales of business and scope for work. You write good stories, you are killingly charming and you are a kind person to people. You are a good comdian, alone in the spotlight, making the audience laugh.

I miss you. I miss seeing you.

So being funny is important a quality to me in man, being able to make others laugh.

J is a stand-up comidian guy. He is less handsome than you are, although taller, which is only marginally valuable to me. You are my goldern height remember, best for the kiss with me only need to slightly raise myself. He has qualities that I like a lot--smart, confident and extremely funny, playing chess in Washington square park from time to time.

We were both bored in a birthday party by people around us. I was anti-social as always. His emails during our brief contact reminded me of yours, witty and funny. I told him the only night we went out for a drink and dinner: I think you are very funny, but I am not available. I am still in love with a man, although I don't know what he is doing right now.

So that is that. Last I heard of him, he is climbing a mountain and continues to have performances around the city.

Weeks ago, I was entertaining a friend who came to visit me from Memphis. She took her co-worker. A Chinese man whom we found out having graduated in the same year as me from college in Beijing. His school is not far from mine. We know some common people. A small world. And then we really really had a lot to talk about.

He told tales of Chinese antique, he talkd about how he felt like a pilgrilm in the Palace Museum of Taiwan where the best collections of Chinesae calligraphy and paining were on display. He is funny. He wrote a 8-pager letter to a famous composer and described his feeling of music and they became friends. He has been passionate.

I told him at the end of the night, "You remind me of my father." That in a weird a way to me almost sounds a flirt but I could not help it.

He is the same type of Chinese intellectuals as my father, widely read in Chinese classics, enjoying the appreication of calligraphy, collection, pottery and poetry, not necessarily succesful according to commen standards. He tells stories vividly and is funny. He is ecastic because of the all kind of books he got from the Chinese bookstore in New York and he loves my book collection.

"My spiritual food" he said. He will read them at the quite night of Memphis.

He is tall and handsome as well, that helps too. But he is also married with two kids. He promises to read my blog and he promises to write his own and share with me.

Soon after he went back to Memphis, he sent me an email: I am glad to have known you. I wished I was a single and live in New York for sometime in my life." He does not know the lonely and dull days I had to endure in Memphis years ago, a caged soul and a caged heart. And I do not leave a glamorous single woman's life in New York either, but better--I am in love here.
He does remind me of my father, happy and warm. But he is lacking the sadness and darkness that will make me feel lastingly alluring. So we are safe on that ground. It is a purely surprising delight of meeting someone interesting and familiar, funny.

So although I love funny, what kills me is the dark and sadness inside, some vulnerabilty and cruelty that forever belongs to a boy.

My father is not sad or dark at all. Freudian's theory does not help here. So I must have picked that liking along my own way, some where. Maybe that is something I got by my own. Something I could not leave. Prince of darkenss, my bat man. I was looking at your drawings.

Whether sadness indicates a deep soul is debatable, but it definitley indicates distance from shallow and crude taste of life or lack of self reflections. "Don't think too much". That is one way to avoid feeling sad. But that is the way of living like animals, assuming they don't think and operate fully on instincts.

When I was 20, I fell in love with a man who was dark, twisted and problematic. He wrote poem, smoked non-stop, pale, and pursued every girl that he found attractive, did not have a job of any sort. But he sang and he told me improvised ghost stories, which usually ended up funny than creepy. Then he changed or I changed. He became arrogant, and thought that the only way to measure his value and success is through a successful Wallstreet career. He was no longer that lost boy, but a grown man who thought that he finally found his direction. And I stopped loving him sometime ago. Maybe it is not him, maybe it is me.

I maybe looking for my own reflections, for I also have that dark and sad side, from a childhood of fights and poverty, from a society where crulety was aboudant. I felt hurt and alone when I grew up. I closed off to the world and tried to inmagine that I live somewhere else. I was escaping something for my whole life until I came to the US, and then I was seeking something until I got close to you.

You said you were glad to be that escape for me. It was not an escaping place, it was where I want to be, where I feel alive, what I am looking for.

I have ruined it--have I. I have been too pushy maybe because I was unsure of something really good an happy is happening. Do I deserve it? Can I be loved here by you when I was a fresh out of boat outsider, with my limited vacabulary in your language?

It was not the cowardness to love that ruins it, it was the cowardness to be loved. Stupid and flawed me.

Or maybe darkenss is a permission that we give ourselves to behave badly, or a mask that we use to hide our true weakness and the desire to be better; and sadness is the easier way out, the admission of failure and inablility to change or act. I promise myself that I hereby cease to be dark and sad.

Yet, I roll over on my red sheet at night and reachs out, touching the side where you slept when you spent the night. It is only void now. I wish I was holding you longer and tighter when I had you.I wish I said " I love you" more. But I cautioned and doubted something real and true. I was more opaque than you were, in bed or out.

When real love was here, I should have embraced it with smile rather than tears of darkness or doubt. Yet I said: I don't recognize it. Prove it for me. Why don't you call? Why are you NOT eager to see me?

You had it, after so long.

So at 4 in the morning, I am typing this up, looking back, thinking of what I love and why I have loved, does it even matter, it is the heart that you have to give "without reservation" that defines love. Love means no way out and no way back, in the only way it can exist.

Only now I know. Is it too late for us?

To offset the effect if any of my melodrama and monologue writing and salute to all funny man that we women find irresistible, please go to Citizen of the Month Site (sidebar link) for some immedate and intense dosage of "Funny Treatment".

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fat Cat Sleeping on Books

Red dreams of having such a life, although choice of book may vary.
Following is an FFA matrix for 13 factors:
Run A B C D E F G H I J K L M
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1
3 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1
4 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0
5 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
6 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1
7 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1
8 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
9 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
10 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
11 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0
12 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
13 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
14 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
15 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0
16 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1

Friday, August 11, 2006

Red in Trouble

She walked in, a trashy blonde looking woman, she walked in the conference room and she said: we may need to bring in some testing specialist, agency usually don't do the type of advanced testing that I did before. "

Her arrogance offended me. "You mean, Fractional Factorial test?" I cut in.

She was surprised: "Yes." I was amused and satisfied. "We do that all the time here".

That is partially the truth. I know how it work, but I did not design it myself. And we did it once here in my seven year's tenure here.

If there is one thing I am really proud of and can bear no doubt, is my book-smartness--I would not have a blonde girl outsmart the Asian data girl--since when the identity of Asian data chick became so sacred to me, maybe since when you first knew me, the unexpected.

She heard me, so she now push for it. She is not stupid, she is not even that annoying. So today, I know I need to set up a Fractional Factorial testing matrix for 13 factors based on 23,000 target. There is a way, which I did not know yet.

I miss him, an extremely overweighted statistican man whose talk about some sort of Shrinkage model made every man in the meeting trying so hard not to giggle. The shrinkage model is supposely for solving the equation of Fractional Factorial analysis.

His equally overweighted wife called me the other day to check whether I still have my job---I almost said: Can I have your husband for 2 hours?" If you have seen them, you know how hard it is to ask. But I almost did.

I have been overworkd, sick at heart, broken for us, longing to go away for a vacation, crying inside, yet my mask of the strong and smart girl remains intact on surface. It began to crack. It just began to crack.

Or maybe it is the rain. Or maybe it is the fractional factorial matrix, or maybe it is all that memory and feeling of you it has brough up from my heart, from my conscious and subconscious, from every waking and sleeping moment of my life.

Why I am still here doing this, not with you? Because.

Did I say that out of courage instead of wisdom, we do this all the time, like when we say: love is forever. It is what we say that we had to stand up for, defend, materialize and deliver.

Words are promises. Words are sacred.

The blonde is waiting. The clock is ticking. People are looking, but pretend not looking. I could walk away or wait for someone to do it--we do need a statistican to figure this out and we don't have one. The one we do, I only know he has a fixation of Asian woman and his gaze creeps me out, but if he can design the matrix, all will be good.

Yet I don't trust him. I will read my book tomorrow, I will learn it tomorrow. For the red is fearless and fierce.

I will find a way on my own.

Maybe I will become an expert on FFA, as I said. Maybe that is what I am destined for.

I promise my self--do not bend. Red in trouble is when red is in her best, always.

Believe in me, but send me anything you know about Fractional Factorial design--my smaller readership is too artsy or bohemian for this crap, I am afarid--but I will ask just in case, and send me any contact of your smart or geeky friends as well.

Meanwhile, I am going Googling, not for some name or faces that I miss, but for my FFA. Truth be told I should not use Google for this, but hey, they are the number one.

I want to hear you say it again, when you pronounced those words, fractional factorial analysis, good time we had.

Good time I am having now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Out of Focus

Red Shoe and Red Menu

at Slate

where we first knew each other differently

when we were both

in the mood for love