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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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After watching this week’s episode of Law & Order: SVU, I was reminded of Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” theory.  When his controversial statement first went public, I disregarded the entire thing as trash.  I gave no attention to Todd Akin and “legitimate rape” because I didn’t want to waste my time contemplating such a garbage and ridiculous statement.

Less than a year later, here I am, putting some time and thought into this “legitimate rape” theory.  The expert witness on SVU testified that “the body shuts down ovulation under stress of legitimate rape.”  And wait- it gets better- one juror actually bought this nonsense and obstructed the conviction… of a rapist.

Here’s my problem: Todd Akin apologized and “took back” his words because he was hurting the Republican party AND Mitt Romney.  But I’m sure Akin still believes in legitimate rape… I mean, it takes more than a public outrage to change a person’s personal opinion.  With that said, there is probably a handful… or a group of… people out there who believe in this legitimate rape myth that has been chiefly propagandized by Dr. John Willke.  Willke has been published in fringe anti-abortion journals and strongly promotes the notion that women rarely become pregnant after being raped because of natural physiological defenses against pregnancy.

Ok, so we are supposed to believe that rape victims can control whether or not they get pregnant after a rape… because apparently they are so emotionally traumatized that their eggs can’t be fertilized… by mind control.  Yes- and I just became the Queen of Nova Scotia.

When a woman sticks to her story and says she was raped, we can at least give her the benefit of the doubt and fairly see the case in court.  And if she’s pregnant and decides to keep the baby, well that sits as evidence of the rape.  Certainly… it does not mean that because she is pregnant, she wasn’t raped.  There just… isn’t logic connecting the two ends.

If anything, this whole “legitimate rape” theory seems to kick itself repeatedly.  Think about it this way- let’s say legitimate rape is true.  Well, we can’t really count on physiological functions to be accurate all the time because things happen.  And so a woman gets raped, her physiological reaction is “broken” at the time and she gets pregnant by her rapist.  Now, she can’t cry rape because she’s pregnant… which means her rape wasn’t legitimate.  Shoot.  What does she do now?  ABORTION (maybe illegally depending on the laws in this “legitimate rape” world”).  Wait, I’m sorry, but isn’t this whole legitimate rape idea supporting pro-life?  I think that wall just fell down… just as the Berlin Wall collapsed…

The victim in SVU has to continually suffer and face her rapist (for child visitation rights) due to that one juror who believed in the botched theory.  So this is fiction, it’s going to happen in real-life one of these days.  And what if it happens to you?  to your friend?  to a family member?

There is absolutely no basis in Willke’s theory.  I am not really sure where he got those funky ideas from, but to be honest, one has to be pretty stupid to buy it.  And sure he is a doctor, but he is not a female.  What does he know about being raped and the consequences of rape (emotionally and physically)?  Does he really know what goes on in a woman’s mind and body during rape?  The answer is NO.  Only rape victims know… because they experience the torture first-hand.  Willke really has no right to judge whether or not a rape was legitimate.

Please don’t believe this “legitimate rape” trash… it’s like believing Nazism.

If you do, I just might have to pull out the “Chewbacca defense.”

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If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

I have two favorite books: The Count of Monte Cristo and Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas.  These two books are complete opposites and so I love them both for different reasons.

Starting with The Count of Monte Cristo

This is a classic by Alexandre Dumas and I remember absolutely adoring this book when I first read it as a 12-year-old.  After reading Jodi Picoult’s The Pact, I went through a phase of reading almost every book I could get my hands on.  Well, one day, I ran out of ideas of what to read, so I looked at the list of books my sister had to read for her Best Sellers class- surprise, surprise, The Count of Monte Cristo was on the list and it wasn’t long since I finished Gone with the Wind.  In other words, I was craving 1) a classic and 2) a long book that I could take my time with.  Monte Cristo was not an easy book to read, especially as a middle school-er.  To be honest, I was a little bit bored at first- mostly because I was confused with all the fancy French words and French locations.  And the book cover certainly didn’t help (the first time I read this book, I had the stormy seas cover pictured above).  I had no idea where the book was going… but Dumas got the wheels going fairly quickly compared to Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.  At the time, I thought the book was super slow in the beginning, but probably due to the fact that I was truly, truly bored.  Now that I look back on it… well, what can I say- it’s one of my favorites now!

Anyway, the book remains as one of my favorite reads of all time because of its intense plot and beautiful writing.  I love reading about revenge because there is always so much emotion and passion behind it- pure reason why I think Oldboy is genius…

Dumas presented Monte Cristo’s wonderfully cruel revenge plot in such a realistic way.  As I read the book, I definitely felt the hatred and the satisfaction that Monte Cristo fostered in his heart with each step of the way.  The only part that got to me a little bit was the complexity of his plot.  As if the French names were not hard enough to remember, the twists and turns of his revenge put me in a doozy at times and at times, made me question why he was doing what he was doing.

The other fantastic thing about this book was that Monte Cristo hopped around a lot… I felt like I was traveling through Europe with Monte Cristo.  In addition to journeying with Monte Cristo through his carefully planned revenge plan, I was able to learn about France and Italy.  In fact, I learned so much about Italy that when I took my Italian class in the 8th grade, I was able to connect so many things back to Monte Cristo, historically and geographically.

This book is one of the books that I am glad I did not toss aside because of the plain cover.  The stormy seas cover is really not that bad though… compared to the man cover (pictured above next to the stormy seas one).  If, at the time, I judged books by their covers, I would have picked up Monte Cristo at some point (if it was the stormy seas cover).  My sister bought me my own copy of Monte Cristo the year after I read the book and it had the cover with the man on it.  Now, if I hadn’t read the book and I judged books by their covers and I received a copy of Monte Cristo with the man on it… I would never have given Monte Cristo a chance… or at least at the time.  I think I would have read Monte Cristo eventually.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas is a different story- I read the book because of the cover (partially the reason).

This book was out of the ordinary for James Patterson, obviously… I was quite shocked that James Patterson could even write a sappy love story after reading all of his Alex Cross stories.  Suzanne’s Diary was definitely closer to the style of Nicholas Sparks… but better.  I know most people get hyped up over Nicholas Sparks, especially the girls… and especially after A Walk to Remember and The Notebook were adapted into films.  Gosh I remember being in elementary school and all the girls were crazy for Nicholas Sparks after seeing those movies.  For the record, I read the books first- even before the movies came out- and went through my own little phase of Nicholas Sparks fandom.  By the time every other girl in my grade were obsessed, I was over it and moved on to James Patterson (and then came Jodi Picoult… before she grew wildly popular with youngsters, but that’s a different story).

I consider this book as one of my favorites because it was the first book that made me cry… for like 5 minutes straight.  Ok… 5 minutes is an exaggeration, but still- no sappy story made me cry like this one.  A Walk to Remember and The Notebook got my eyeballs wet, but no tears rolled down my face.  Suzanne’s Diary made my face wet with salty tears.  Now that you know this… don’t hold it against me.  -__-

Recently, I found out that Suzanne’s Diary holds a little bit of truth to Patterson’s love life.  Actually, I remember reading that somewhere on the book jacket… but I must have forgotten since it was so long ago (yes, I’m old now…).  Well, Patterson fell in love with a woman and dated her for several years before she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.  He didn’t have romantic relations with anyone for a long time after she died.  Eventually, he finally married his current wife and had a son with her.  It may not sound like much of a story, but there’s so much emotion in it… for Patterson and Matt (the male character in Suzanne’s Diary).  I think this sappy book was a success partly because Patterson put his heart into it… emotions were embedded in each word.  And the ending… was perfect- open to readers to decide whether or not it was a happy ending.

When I saw the book on the shelf in the library, I picked it up because I was curious.  The cover had a path that led to the sea, almost inviting me to open the book and read it.  And of course the title attracted me- who doesn’t want to read a book that has “diary” in the title.  This book was just fantastic, inside and out.

A good book resonates with us even after we finish it.  We find ourselves immersed in the book, living the life of the characters, and constantly wondering “what happens next.”  Often times, we judge books by their covers.  But I think there is more to it- there’s always something that pulls us to certain books… something within the books.

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Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

웃어라,온세상이 너와 함께 웃을 것이다. 울어라, 너 혼자 울 것이다.

Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Weep and you weep alone.

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time- and it stood out to me when I first watched Oldboy.  You may or may not have noticed, but the quote is also displayed as the tagline on my blog.  This quote has resonated with me so much because it is a statement of the harsh reality that we live in and it was perfectly displayed in Oldboy.

I hate to be pessimistic but most times, we can trust no one.  We surround ourselves with people that supposedly love and support us, but that’s during good times.  What about those times that we really need someone- who’s there?  It’s those people who are there for us when we are in dire need of help that we can truly depend on and who we should value.  Everyone else… where were they when we needed them the most?

“Laugh and the world laughs with you.”  When we are happy we find ourselves surrounded by laughter and people.  Everyone is your friend and you are everyone’s friend.  I’m not going to deny it- it’s a good feeling.  It makes us feel on top of the world.

“Weep and you weep alone.”  When we need help, a favor, suddenly the laughter and people disappear.  As quickly as they appeared, they are gone.  Everyone suddenly “has something to do” or “they are busy.”  Let down, the emptiness in our core grows even deeper.  We are left alone.

Even though networking and connecting with people are great things, it is all fake.  Fake relationships that are built upon false impressions and expectations are weak and won’t last long.  And it’s such a sad thing to see that our society has grown to be built around falsities.  Where did the belief of “help thy neighbor” go?  It’s like the whole value system in our society has dissipated…  The concept of “individualism” in America seemed like a good idea, but is it worth it to have a culture based on individualism when it has led to isolation and loneliness?

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You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?

So… I had my butt groped by this old, creepy Mexican man.  I’d erase this incident, for obvious reasons.

I had just came back to New York after spending 6 weeks in Korea and I was leaving in less than a week to California for college.  As usual, I accompanied my parents to Flushing for grocery shopping and whatever else we came across on the streets.  Well, that one particular day, my mom decided to buy some new dramas as we passed a street vendor that sold pirated Chinese dramas.

Now, let me mention that it wasn’t some shady street corner- this corner was in the midst of bustling people.  I was minding my own business, rummaging through pirated copies of new Korea dramas (City Hunter… to be specific) when I felt my butt cheeks being squeezed.  I have never had my butt touched by someone else, let alone SQUEEZED by someone else.  In fact, I thought I was hallucinating at first because I was pretty sure no one would run around the streets touching butts.  Also, I was in the city- where accidental bumps and gropes happen all the time (innocently… I think).  But then I continued to feel stroking on my baby soft butt- that’s when I whipped around and noticed this old, creepy Mexican man standing too close for comfort and smiling at me.  Too shocked, I couldn’t even talk.  He walked away quickly and before I knew it, he disappeared into the crowd.

I turned to my mom and said to her, “Uh… mom… I think my butt just got groped by an old man.”  I felt disgusted and sick to my stomach but I was still in shock at the fact that it even happened to me.

That was the first time I was creeped out by a pervy Mexican man.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting outside on a bench in the park near work and got hit on by another old, creepy Mexican man (story documented in a past post).

Last week, I caught a middle-aged Mexican man checking out my legs as I was trying on shoes.

I don’t get it- why old, creepy Mexican men all the time???

Seriously… getting my butt grabbed wasn’t a pleasant experience, especially since I’m not a very… hands-on kind of person.  I like my space… until I get comfortable with someone… but otherwise I always keep my distance.  And the other two incidents aren’t helpful in terms of putting the butt squeezing in the past.

If I could erase that horrible memory, I think I’d be less scared of being in crowded places and around people.  Because… every once in awhile, I still see that creepy, old Mexican smiling at me while grabbing my tooshie…

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Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?

While I love to sleep, I am afraid to sleep at the same time.  When I am asleep, I lose my guard- I am unaware of my surroundings and lose control of my mind and body.  Sleep is also a passageway that takes us from reality to the world of dreams… and nightmares.

I think most of us would agree that we would want our dreams to last longer.  It is unfortunate that I really can’t remember most of my dreams.  They are a nice contrast to the reality I am in, but I can never seem to make them last.  The second I wake up, I lose all “memory” of my dream-

Now, I’ve tried lucid dreaming after I read about it in the newspaper some years ago (okay, I’m not super old… but it feels like way long ago that I was still in elementary/middle school reading Newsday).  Anyway, lucid dreaming is very, very difficult to do.  I am a separate me in my dreams as opposed to the me in the real world.  It’s like… I have no will, no control over the dream version of me.  I do what I do in my dreams with a separate mind.

Freddy KruegerSo… what does lucid dreaming have anything to do with nightmares?  Well, to me, good is to bad as dream is to nightmare.  If lucid dreaming is possible in dreams, then I’m sure it can be possible in nightmares as well.  Just think back to Freddy Krueger…  I know, I know- Freddy Krueger is a hellish figure none of like to think about at any given moment (let alone in our sleep or daydream, him visiting us in those place is a major no-no).  But, seriously, Freddy Krueger took nightmares to a new level.  He took control of people in their sleep- and when I was a kid, I’m pretty sure his nightmare on elm street had SOME effect on me and my period of nightmares.  To this day, I’m not sure what was going on with me when I was ages 3-5.  I spent those couple of years with nightmares almost every night.  They were short nightmares though- things like getting hot oil poured in my eyes, walking into an empty elevator, etc. etc.  In the middle of the night, I would always wake up and hear the faucet running and someone pacing up and down the stairs… but there was definitely no one around- everyone in the house was sleeping.

That period of my life was short-lived, but still comes back to haunt me on certain nights.  There are nights where I try to wake up by opening my eyes but I can’t seem to do it.  Obviously something terrifying is happening to me and I know that I’m dreaming… but I can’t just “leave” my dream.  Whatever these experiences are, I feel like there’s something that I don’t know… but should know… which makes me concerned.  It’s really scary to not be able to wake up- I swear I can even hear my family going about their morning routine and yet I’m stuck in the nightmare.  And when I say I can’t open my eyes, I mean that they feel like they are glued together and that I have to pry them open with scissors or something.

Come to think of all the freaky things that happened to me, I also believe I encountered my dead grandma in my old house.  I won’t go into detail but after an orange caused a ruckus and the TV mysteriously turned on 3 times, I believe my grandma was there.  You can be a non-believer of ghosts all you want and call me crazy, but I experienced it and know that what happened was not “coincidence.”

When I was in late middle/early high school, I would wake up nearly every night in pain because I felt someone snipping at my calf muscles with scissors.  I talked to my doctor about it, hoping that it was some medical problem, but nothing was wrong with me or my legs.  Yet, every night, I felt the same cutting feeling.  I was paralyzed in pain and could barely walk the next day.

Sometimes I really believe that I live in a horror story.  From a young age, I experienced all these crazy things that children that age don’t normally experience.  I understand that it is normal for children to have night terrors, but mine were not night terrors.  And interestingly enough, after my little bout with nightmares from ages 3-5, I became indifferent to horror films.  Seriously.  People think I’m weird because I watch all these asian horror films, which get pretty gruesome, and have no emotion at all.  I wonder about it as well- instead of getting freaked out and scared, I get this high.  For example, the foot cutting scene from Takashi Miike’s Audition is a scene I absolutely love and would watch over and over again.  Some of these types of scenes stick out and replay in my head.

So then- I haven’t had a huge nightmare in awhile, you know, those ones that scare you so much that you never forget them.  But there is one nightmare that I constantly had during that time when I was 3-5 and has periodically visited me in my sleep.  Nothing insanely scary, but I really dread this dream of falling down an empty elevator shaft.  This nightmare happens so fast (probably less than a minute) and always jolts me awake.  When I wake up, I am always on the edge of my bed.  But in the nightmare, I’m always alone, walking towards an elevator.  When the elevator comes, I step in without looking- ultimately, I step into an endless black hole that I think represents my death.  Why do I keep having this horrific nightmare?  I still can’t figure out the reason… every night, I prepare for this nightmare by remembering to lucid dream.  Well… the problem with that is that I don’t have lucid dreaming skills.

Sleep can be so comfortable and relaxing at times… but I’m always hesitant when I go to bed, especially at night.  I believe in ghosts… and I think death comes out at night to take people.  I wonder how many more times I have to step into that endless elevator shaft…

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Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

I’d like to start off with the fact that as boring as my life may be (as a whole), every day is quite unique (okay, maybe not EVERY day… but most days).  Weird things happen and I get surprised quite often.  My life isn’t exciting in the sense that I’m a huge risk taker and that I “live life on the edge.”  I mean, I don’t ever dream of tight rope walking or sky diving… no… I’d squeal like a prissy little girl if I were ever in those types of situations.  BUT, I can say that there are things about me that people would never have guessed and quite frankly, I would never have guessed about myself.  Aaaaannndddd here is the post where I share some of these oddities in my life.

  1. I am a HUGE asian horror fanatic- I watch those films like no tomorrow… and they don’t necessarily have to be gory… plot and cinematography are the important parts.  Even thriller and psychological films are good!  I have to admit, Japanese ones give me the biggest high… especially their short stories.  Just saying…
  2. Yesterday I was at an outdoors social and I thought I stepped on a noodle… but then I realized that there were no noodles at the social- I looked down and saw a worm on my flip flop.
  3. I stood next to Brazil’s women’s national volleyball team.  OuO
  4. I went to the 38th parallel north (Korean DMZ) and straddled North and South Korea (in one of the Conference Rows).
  5. I hate black and gray socks.
  6. When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be one of those nurses who wiped away sweat and blood for the doctor.
  7. I used to get really bad motion sickness and so when I was little (either 5 or 8 years old?), I was the last to get off the plane when we arrived in Shanghai because I was still throwing up in the air sickness bag.  And then as I was getting off the plane, I threw up again (quite suddenly) right in front of the pilots and flight attendants.  Thank goodness I was little and cute because if I did that now… I wouldn’t get ooh-ed and ahhh-ed at.
  8. I don’t like it when people get too close to me.
  9. For about the first 3 weeks I was in Korea, I bowed to everyone who walked past me… including teenagers my age…
  10. Guys who speak Italian- enough said.
  11. I was born in the US and I went to ESL.
  12. I met golfer Andrew Choi!
  13. I had an obsessor (stalker wasn’t the right label…) and couldn’t get rid of him no matter what I did.  He didn’t cross into the danger zone or anything… but made me feel super uncomfortable all the time.  Thinking back… still makes me feel all weird.  *shiver*
  14. I used to really like this guy who is now a um… “demon doer.”  ((O___O))
  15. My 7th grade english teacher thought I was suicidal and put me in a really awkward conversation with her and my guidance counselor…  May I just note that she was also the lady who randomly went to the window and cried in the middle of class one time.
  16. I don’t microwave  leftovers- I just eat it.
  17. When I shower, I like the water so hot that my skin is red after I’m done.
  18. I sometimes speak other languages in a conversation (by accident).  If you reallllyyy listen and pay attention, you’ll notice it and go “wait, what’d you say?”
  19. I do accounting in my dreams.
  20. I have photographic memory… and I sure do use it. 😉

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Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

When I was a child, I wished that my parents bought me all the toys that I wanted and basically let me do whatever I wanted.  But now that I look back as an adult, I’ve realized how great my parents were- by holding me back from getting all the newest toys and wearing the latest trends, they taught me to be my own person.  I am thankful for that.  I am also thankful that I had a stay-at-home mom. Many of my friends had moms who worked.  Their lunches were roughly thrown together combinations of bologna sandwiches with juice and pudding.  My mom would pack me a box of rice  with 2 side dishes, water, juice, and a variety of fruits.

I really can’t complain about my childhood- but if I were to change anything, I wish I had gone outside and played more…  I definitely stayed inside a little too much for my own good.  My friends spent their weekends and summers playing outside in their backyards while I stayed inside and did work.  My summers from elementary school to about 11th grade were either spent at home doing math problems from library books or at 학원 (hagwon).  I hated it at the time but I can understand why my parents did this… I wouldn’t be where I am today, academically, if I didn’t go through that boot camp.  But I regret losing my youth to books.  Youth is something that I cannot regain or relive.

Having kids is a challenge- I don’t have any of my own yet but I know it will be a hassle to raise them.  They will disagree with me at times and reject the things that I tell them- but it is because they lack understanding.  When I have my own kids, I will stay at home and raise them myself, just like my mom did.  I want to see them grow with my own eyes and raise them with my own hands.  I want to be a mother who will always be there when they need me.  And as much as I hated doing work instead of playing outside, I will make them do the same.  They will hate me for it, like how I didn’t like my parents for doing that (I thought I was getting punished), but they will grow to understand why I did what I did.  But at the same time, I want them to treasure their youth.  In terms of balancing academics and free-time, I will let my kids decide for themselves how to create the right balance.

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