Sunday, July 29, 2007

Let's Get Symmetrical & Feel Alright.

They say that symmetry equates to beauty. According to Wikipedia, in evolutionary psychology, symmetry, especially facial symmetry, is one of the traits associated with the health, physical attractiveness, and beauty of a person. And if it's in Wikipedia, you know it must be true. I've heard that Denzel Washington has one of the most symmetrical of faces, which if the theory holds, makes him one of the most attractive men around. Which I suppose he is. And while I am an advocate of such beauty ideals as natural beauty, inherent style, and pretty much anything embodied by Liya Kebede - I was never fully sold on the symmetry bit until now.

Through a series of rather unfortunate events, I'm coming to realize that whether we realize it or not, this very notion is built into our genetic makeup. Maybe it does have to do with beauty ideals, or maybe we're just wired to compete and compare. What one side has, the other must eventually follow suit. Take, for example, the following:

When I was in the sixth grade, I ended up with stitches just above my right knee - a freak accident from foolishly trying to do axels before I knew how. The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out on the ice, with my blade protruding from my right thigh and blood everywhere. The six stitches eventually came out, and I was left with a scar the size of a quarter. Twelve years later, I find myself with another round of stitches, this time in my left knee from having tripped and fallen at work. Scars from injuries sustained on both legs. It all comes back to symmetry.

Not wanting to be left out, my arms followed suit. Two weekends ago, while playing tennis, I somehow managed to spin around and fall while swatting an off-balanced forehand. As I peeled my face off the pavement, I saw that my right elbow was speckled with blood. Ominous. Just yesterday, I fell down a set of hardwood stairs. Lo and behold, it was my left elbow that broke my fall, and I was left with a bloodied, possibly fractured left arm. The extensiveness of the damage remains to be seen. If beauty really were about symmetry, I must be off the charts.

I wonder if I ought to simply double-fist it. Next time I catch myself plummeting rapidly to the floor, I shall extend both elbows, and thereby save myself two trips to the emergency room. Kill two birds with one stone, if you will.

And that, I suppose, is the evolutionary process. I like to think that man learns from his mistakes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Favorite Things.

Like brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my faaaavorite things..

Creativity. Bright & rustic. Flower arrangements I designed for Easter.

Chocolate + cupcake. From my birthday chocolate crawl.

And The Beat Goes On.

I'm in a fight with my washer/dryer. We're no longer on speaking terms. I have no desire to be in the same vicinity as said Machine-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. This has been manageable by simply throwing in detergent and skulking off; good riddance! I am pounding away at my keyboard as we speak.

It all began with my second favorite pair of jeans. Being the sneaky little machine that it is, it decided to play games with me and v. deliberately, shrink the denim pant. The first time was funny. I have a sense of humor; I can take a joke. And then a second and a third and a fourth.. As a result, I am currently one pair of light blue Citizens short, and I no longer fit into the entirety of my pants collection.

I don't know where this sudden grudge came about, but one thing's for sure. Unless it coughs up my long lost pendant or 7 mates to my mismatching socks, I'm not apologizing first.

And to think, we were such good friends until I started working at Google..

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Addiction. It's been years since you've mastered it - attended meetings, found support in a network of friends, resisted and then eventually succumbed to intervention. And somehow, despite the odds, you muster up the will to overcome. You think you're doing well. But how quickly we tumble off the wagon.

I sit here typing away at 3:57am, eyes bloodshot. And I want just one more fix, or that's what I've been telling myself for the past seven hours. One becomes two becomes three becomes eight.

It was never good for me. I saw the damage it did, but I didn't care. I took health sciences. We had D.A.R.E. at our school, and I saw the Rachael Leigh Cook commercial. You know the one:

This is your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.
(Partnership for a drug-free America.)

The drug of choice being Korean dramas.

I have been sober for almost ten years. With the exception of one weekend at home, when I was unwittingly lured by what I thought was my alma mater, UCLA, projected on screen (it was in fact, "Harvard"), I can honestly say I have been clean. I have this theory that Korean dramas do psychological damage, putting to rot the minds of fanciful girls in LA and greater Asia. And I had since made it my personal mission to lobby against said damage before it was too late.

My relapse began with a family visit. As my grandma can no longer remain on her feet for extended periods of time, we had an early dinner at EOS and called it a night, which meant Korean drama marathon. And so, this little family unit of mine took to the couches and bonded, Korean style. Although initially skeptical, the wonderment of the non-linear plot structure soon wore me down. It was better than any trainwreck I had ever seen.

The anatomy of a Korean drama is as follows:
The FORMULA is circulated around the production world. Give or take a few tweaks to the job here and various names for characters there. It doesn't change, but you didn't hear it from me. Mix in two parts crack cocaine, and voila! A miniseries is born.

My brother and I like to play up the drama, with exclamations of: "Ooooh.. He looks piiiiiiiiiissed!" This, of course, results in my mum shooting us a look, which we gleefully ignore. It's too much fun. My grandma, meanwhile, is dozing in and out of consciousness on the couch. Andy likes to break it down: "This is the common scene in Korean dramas - the ub bwoh joh* scene," he explains to me, knowingly. "You see, here, his preconceptions about her are changing." He knows because he has just moved back home, where K-dramas are a nightly fare.

My brother is also surprisingly analytical. "There is a strong foundation for a relationship, Erika. Take notes." He runs an exegesis on the composition of the scene at hand, noting: "Is there supposed to be some hidden innuendo about how they drive a white Hyundai Sonata?" I stare blankly at him and roll my eyes. "Isn't this thing called Winter Sonata or something?" My views of my brother are slowly changing. And I'm supposed to be the English major.

With symbolism like that, how can I resist?

* translates to piggy-back

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Options. I can characterize my life by the abundance of options. Having had the option to have so many options, I have become something of an ingrate. This is something I actively attempt to undo on a daily basis.

Fear, in essence, is an option. There are those who run away from their fears, and then there are those who face them head on. I think I fall somewhere in between. But then there are those cases where fear transcends being fear and transforms into reality. Fear is no longer an option but is now the life you are living.

I don't normally do this, but it's been a pressing concern. I don't know how many people read this blog of mine, but I need to make a plug for this and I don't care how un-blog/column-like it sounds. One of my cousin's best friends, Michelle, recently got diagnosed with leukemia. She is 25. And while treatment is thus far looking promising, there is someone who has not been so fortunate.

It is incredibly difficult to find a bone marrow match for a minority. If your siblings are not a match, you'd better start searching. Supposedly, for a caucasian, there will typically be up to 15 matches already in the database, but for Vinay Chakravarthy, after having 162 donor drives and 9458 people registered, he's left scrambling. We're talking days, not months or years.

I read an article in the recent Vanity Fair - the Africa edition, guest edited by Bono. And Mr. Grammy winning Do-Gooder-Multi-Hyphenate goes on to say:

"This is an emergency - normal rules don't apply. There are no easy good or bad guys. Do you think an African mother cares if the drugs keeping her child alive are thanks to an iPod or a church plate? Or a Democrat or a Republican? I don't think that mother gives a damn about where that 20-cent pill comes from, so why should we. It can lead to some uncomfortable bedfellows, but sometimes less sleep means you are more awake."

And he's right. How or why you get swabbed is irrelevant. There's this book called the Lazy Environmentalist by Josh Dorfman. Basically, the idea is to seamlessly incorporate green living into your daily routine without altering your quality of life. Modern living seems to revolve around convenience. Go ahead. Be a lazy bone marrow donor. If you are or have any friends who are South Asian (or Chinese-Viet or anything else), please.. what is keeping you? Consider sacrificing one lazy Saturday afternoon, lunch hour at work, or trip to the Fillmore district to get swabbed. You may potentially save a life.

The following site will have all the information you need in terms of procedures and upcoming drives:

Help Vinay.

Also important to note that after you register to be a donor, please FOLLOW THROUGH and be a COMMITTED donor! Vinay actually found a match, but was devastated to learn that the potential donor decided not to go through with the bone marrow transfer process.