Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Probably everyone has heard of the "me too" movement where women share stories of being sexually assaulted. And it's obviously really good to see people showing support and solidarity and all that good stuff.

However, something didn't sit quite right with me. Not with the people sharing the stories; they're totally within their rights. I just resent the implication that pushy and coercive behavior is "normal" from men and that society shouldn't expect anything different.

Cuz let me say, I've done a non-zero amount of dating in the last five years and I've known a whole lot of "average" guys and "socially awkward and clueless guys" and even some kind of self-centered guys. And SOMEHOW all of them seemed to have to trouble hearing my "no" the first time. Even before the first time. I've seriously never been on a date with someone who didn't want me to feel comfortable as their first priority.

It's not like I've been dating saints on earth here. Pretty normal dudes.

Am I just some super savvy, super assertive Wonder Woman? Hahahahahaha no.


Do I have super intuition in social situations? Hahahahahaha no. I've invited people over I didn't know that well and gone over to people's places that I didn't know super well.

Now, I do have a knack for picking out shy nerdy dudes who far from wanting to put some "moves" on a girl, far prefer to know a girl is into them.

Maybe I just have a magical field protecting me? I don't get cat-called either. Now, being straight up and down might have something to do with that. But still. I go outside. In the city, even. While female. And people call after me "Have a nice day, young lady!" or "I love your hair!"

Wow. I dunno, maybe people have the capability to behave like actual people.

So that's why I don't buy any stories that try to tell me that it's unreasonable to expect men to treat women with a basic level of decency. Because I've seen it. I've been respected by all types of men of different ages, cultures, and levels of relationship to me.

Don't show me a horse and tell me it's a unicorn. Or, fine. Unicorns are running free in herds across the continent and you just don't want to admit it because it means admitting you're just an ugly donkey.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


It looks like I will start an internship at California Magazine at UC Berkely in the second week of January. The internship is five days a week 10-5 and it will be for three months so I will finish before I graduate from San Jose State.

I am surprised this happened because I'm used to companies just taking my resume and emailing me back two weeks later with "Unfortunately we had A LOT of super good applications for this spot so we obviously didn't take your mediocre one."

At this point I don't even remember how I found the internship in the first place. It might have been the SJSU job site but it might have been Craigslist. I had originally applied to California Magazine back in June but at that point I was still commuting to San Jose twice a week so the editor I corresponded with told me to apply again for the next semester.

In November I had several more failed applications so I sent in a lackluster two sentence email reply to the original thread saying "Hey, still jobless...You said apply again so this is me applying again." I didn't think I would get any response so I put a minimum of effort into it, only because I knew I would feel worse if I never tried at all. I also attached my new resume because the career center helped me make it actually good.

However, the same editor did message me back a week later and called me to arrange an interview. (Of course I happened to be in the magazine room at SJSU getting ready to work on SHiFT so several people heard the conversation and it was awkward to have to take a phone call because no one calls me ever argh!)

The editor asked me to come in with two pitches for the magazine. They didn't have to be anything elaborate and they didn't have to be written down. So I after trolling the UC Berkeley news website I came up with four and wrote them down with bullet points and links. 

On Thursday (December 7) I dressed up pretty, printed out my neatly-typed pitches and another copy of my resume, threw two SJSU magazines I had worked on into my backpack, and took the BART up to downtown Berkeley. My clipper card came in handy because I could put money onto it directly instead of buying a ticket.

I found the office with no trouble even though the email had gotten the street name wrong. (Apparently this was my "first test." Ha.) but the email had described a gate around the side so when I passed a gate near my destination I managed to figure out it was the one I needed when I walked through and saw a sign for the Magazine office on the side of the building.

Inside I got to meet the editor in chief, employees, and other interns. If you know me, you will know I'm not actually that good at interviews. Or meeting people for the first time. Or projecting a sense of confidence while talking. So I think I could have done better at the interview. However, it turned out the editor had taught English in Japan some years ago, so we had a weird connection there.

Bringing extra pitches turned out to be a good idea because he didn't like three out of the four of them because they were too bland or didn't fit the tone of the magazine. He also said that none of my pitches had a "wow factor." I felt like I could have done better with the pitches, but I also wanted to say that I charge extra for wow factor.

On the bright side, he seemed impressed with my level of experience and the work I had done on SJSU magazines in the past. I had actually forgotten I was the co-editor of Access until he flipped open the cover and there was my picture inside. Oops. In general, I don't think magazines for your own school "count" because they're often requirements or electives for students only. Sometimes no one even wants to work on it. So it made me happy that someone thought a couple semesters writing mini-articles was an accomplishment.

He also seemed satisfied with my answers about why I was interested in this magazine in particular and my career goals in the future. I pretty much said I loved the writing part and wanted experience doing something not SJSU related, but that I knew journalism jobs were hard to come by and I might have to compromise. Luckily for me, my interviewer said he was looking for the realistic answer. I could have gotten someone who wanted unbridled confidence, the type of person who would answer "I've wanted this since I could walk I'll never do anything else ever even if I destroy myself trying to make it because I have such big ideas!" (i.e. not me)

I left two magazines behind thinking it was the right gesture even if turned out to be the equivalent of throwing those copies in the trash. I also took two copies of California Magazine, which I now realize I could have used as karmic revenge, but at the time I just wanted to seem interested in the magazine.

I returned home thinking that I wasn't the best candidate ever but I should feel proud no matter what because I had taken a chance and put myself out there. The editor told me several other candidates would be interviewing and I would hear before he left on vacation on the 17th.

That Saturday I told my mom I had interviewed for an internship but they would probably give the spot to someone on campus. She agreed with me (THANKS MOM FOR YOUR BOUNDLESS CONFIDENCE) and in general dissed my recent job hunting efforts.

As the week went on I kept checking my inbox even though I felt stupid doing it. When I didn't hear back I felt more and more sure that I hadn't gotten the internship. However, as I gained distance from the interview the idea of the magazine had less allure for me and I began thinking about other things so I wouldn't feel too bummed out if I got another rejection.

On Friday I lay down in the afternoon and woke up to see a voicemail on my phone. It was from the editor at the magazine. He just said he wanted to talk with me soon because he was leaving for vacation the next day.

My mental process was "Hmmmmm...I don't think he would go through the trouble of asking me to call him back just to tell me I didn't get the position."

Cynicism is the way to go.

So he asked if I still wanted the position and I said, "Yep, second week of January is fine." Surprisingly, he also suggested that I write an article based on the one pitch he didn't think was terrible. (Even with no "wow factor????")

It was pretty undramatic but I took great pleasure in gloating to my family about how totally awesome I was. My mom took credit and said having a parent who went to Berkeley must have tipped the scales in my favor.

However, I respectfully disagree and say I did it all by myself by hard work and talent. Weirdly, even though I've had a professor give me generous assistance in the way of writing letters of recommendations and finding internships to apply for, this one in particular I found on my own.

Recently, I've been thinking that my skills and experience aren't valuable and I will always lose out to someone who has a slightly better resume, or even someone who doesn't have a lot of skill who talks a good talk and projects a huge amount of passion and confidence. Sometimes I do feel really down on myself, that I'm just some unlikable person who's not good at anything.

Now I'm looking forward to an exciting work opportunity. So far I am the only confirmed intern but they will likely be hiring another one. I don't know what happened to the other people who interviewed. Maybe my preparation did help me seem more reliable. I could have come in with no pitches written down and no previous work to show and expected to get by on being a good talker.

I don't know the real story, but it gives me more confidence to think that something good about me stood out.

Sleep Is a Need

I don't like it when people joke about not getting enough sleep. Especially, I hate the trope "Parents will never sleep again LOLOLOLOL." First off, it just makes me feel awful because I have such bad sleep issues. I don't do well on less than seven hours. So I'm afraid I can never be a parent because you can't take care of a kid when you are sick all the time yourself.

Another thing that bothers me is why lack of sleep is considered funny. Why? Sleep is a basic physical need like a whole bunch of physical needs humans have. Like the need to eat, drink, stay clean, regulate body temperature, and not be in pain. (Guess what? Sometimes not getting enough sleep interferes with a whole bunch of those other things!)

Would anyone joke, "Welp, I guess you just won't eat for the next 18 years LOL!" or "Get used to being dehydrated!" or "About to pass out from heat stroke? Hahaha me too, but all the time!"

Doesn't that sound really sadistic? If I knew a person who had to deal with these issues I wouldn't think they were funny. I might not be able to change circumstances, but I would try to help. In fact, I know one person who has severe diet restrictions and is also a parent. She has to spend a good chunk of time planning out her meals, and even so I'm sure she often feels ill. I don't think it's funny.

I don't understand why people aren't suggesting tips for parents who struggle to get adequate sleep to stay healthy, since this is apparently such a big deal. I don't know why sleep is the one basic need people view as a luxury. As a person with sleep issues, I will tell you right now IT IS NOT. Yes, some people can get by with less than others, but if you go below the minimum amount you need, your basic ability to function is drastically impaired.

And I don't mean, "you really shouldn't push yourself for longer than a week, but most people can get by on an hour or two for a while if they really need to." I don't recommend that for anyone, but if I go a single night with less than six or seven hours, my personality changes drastically and I can't do basic things like drive on the freeway.

So no, not funny.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Video: Another one about Arrival

Because one super long blog post reviewing the movie wasn't enough, I made a video! It pretty much is a blog post I was too lazy to write down anyway.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Smoke Detector Story

Here is my story! I actually finished typing it in time for Halloween haha. There might be a few typos but here it is!

Smoke detector story

In a world of eyes, she was all ears. She had been this way as long as anyone could remember. Even as a toddler, when her parents tiptoed up to her room to check on her during the night they would open the door only to see her eyes shining back at them in the dark. She cried at fireworks and even at movies, where the dialog hit her ears like thunder.
              Now she would often startle people out of their wits by appearing suddenly around a corner or on the other side of a door. She would stare at them serenely as they jumped and yelped, for she had been hearing the shuffling of their feet, their voice, or the faint jangle from their earbuds for several seconds before she saw them.
She first heard it a month after she moved into the apartment. As she washed her hands before bed, a little beep pierced through the crash of water and into her ears. As soon as she registered the sound, she knew she had been hearing it for a while now, perhaps several minutes, without knowing.
              A few seconds later the beep repeated itself.
              “It must be a smoke detector, low on batteries.”
              In pajamas and slippers, she stepped out into the hallway. Orange geometric-patterned carpet and vaguely yellow walls made the space feel constricted, yet stretched. From the open window, a cool breeze touched her shoulder.
              Up and down the hallway she wandered. Sometimes the beep seemed louder at one end, sometimes at the other. The echo deceived her. But the walls only held red circular bells—they contained no sound but a truly ear-splitting jingle in the event of a fire.
              On the stairs, the beep immediately became muffled, so she knew it had to be on her floor. She pressed her ear to each door in turn, waiting nine seconds at each (she had it timed) to judge the beep’s volume. Now she had it—it was 203, the room next to hers. No wonder she could hear it so well in her bathroom, which shared a wall with the other apartment.
              She knocked on the door but heard no answering movement from within. So she waited.
              She knocked again.
              At the third failure, she returned to her room. From her living room couch, her cat stared at her with suspicious green eyes. As she fumbled in the closet looking for her files, she heard clearly the beep through the closed apartment door. These doors were heavy, secure. But not heavy enough.
              She read off the 24-hour number of community management. But she only reached a machine prompting her to leave a message or call 911 for emergencies.
              “Well, it’s not an emergency,” she thought, and left her name. That was all she could do for the night. In her bedroom—yes even here she could hear the faint suggestion of the alarm, now that her ears had been attuned to it. Inescapable as her own pulse throbbing inside her veins.
              She put in her earplugs, turned on the fan, and tried to sleep.
“Hello? I’m the person who called last night. The alarm is still going off—I mean, low on batteries. But it’s loud. It’s really annoying. I work from home, so…anyway if someone has a key or you could contact the owners, that would be great. My number is…”
That day she took refuge at a local coffee shop where she could hole up in a corner with her laptop. AS she walked back to her home, she dreaded having to enter that hallway and be at the mercy of a noise, whenever it came. The noise that screamed, “Hey! Pay attention to me! Don’t forget me! I mean something is wrong!”
              But it found her before she even got to the hallway. Out in the courtyard, with a raucous fountain shooting six feet in the air, she could still hear the insistent beep floating down from the apartment next to hers.
              “How can they stand it?” she wondered, looking at the housewives in their saris, chatting on a bench just under the apartment’s balcony. They seemed oblivious to the noise.
              Her cat didn’t seem to notice either, and she was glad for her sake. In the animal brain, time stretched and the future barely existed. Those eight seconds of silence overwhelmed the one second of noise, rather than the other way around. But when she turned on the fan over the stove for the white noise, the cat’s ears went back with annoyance and she bounded over to her cat treehouse.
As the days wore on, the lights never came on in the other apartment. The blinds remained forever shut. No potted plants or furniture decorated the balcony. While she often heard footsteps in the unit above, or TV pounding up through the floor, not a rustle nor a murmur came from the unit next door. The place was as silent as a tomb—except for the beep every nine seconds, which kept that probably-empty space forever on her mind.
              She had developed a routine now. Run through the hallway, head down, key in hand. Turn on the fan when cooking. Never go out on the balcony. Keep her laptop packed so she could take it with her to the library or cafĂ©. If she watched TV, she put the subtitles on. With white noise in the background she couldn’t hear the dialog. Without it, she heard the beep during every quiet part. Work was the same problem. She edited podcasts for a company remotely so she needed to listen closely to normalize the sound.
              Overall, she didn’t spend much time in the living room anymore, where the beep was hardest to block. She ate on a tray on the floor in her bedroom, and brought more of the cat’s toys in there. It was a good system, but sometimes the cat woke her up at 3:00 am to be let out to the litter box.
              After a week she stopped hoping that the owners would return and change the batteries, just as she stopped hoping anyone would answer when she called community management. Many in the complex had family overseas and went abroad for months at a time. She reasoned that this must be what happened to the owners of 203. If they had stopped living in the place for good, there would have been people coming in and out a few times a week for viewings.
One night she happened to arrive in the usually-empty hallway just as a couple was leaving. A roundish girl with a friendly face and her bearded boyfriend.
A rush of longing for human sympathy prompted her to remark, “Annoying isn’t it?” (beep)
The girl heard her right away. “I’m sorry. What’s that?”
“The smoke detector. It’s been going off for weeks now.”
“A what?”
“A smoke detector.”
“Where? Do you think there’s a problem?” The girl’s eyes grew large with worry.
“No, it’s—”then the alarm went off again. She winced. “I think it’s low on batteries.”
“Oh, good. You had me worried there.”
“But it’s pretty annoying.”
The girl showed a concerned face. “Where exactly are you hearing it?”
“Out here, and in my room.”
“What does it sound li—”
“That was it!”
The three of them stood silent for anther eight seconds. The bearded guy looked at his watch.
“Oh, that! I think I’ve heard that yesterday, now that you mention it. I didn’t know what it was. You have really good hearing!”
The guy said, “Babe, we’re gonna be late.”
              Before the girl turned to leave, she offered, “Hope it stops soon.”
              The couple turned the corner and the elevator dinged as it arrived on the second floor. Before the doors hummed shut, she heard a burst of laughter. But she didn’t know if they were laughing at her or at something else, having forgotten the conversation entirely.
“Hi, um, it’s me again. I’ve been calling about the smoke alarm. Just wanted to notify you that it hasn’t stopped. I haven’t seen the owners of that unit, or I would talk to them. This is just an update.”
Each time she returned to her apartment to sleep, she hoped the beep would be gone, or at least staring to get softer. If the hallway was quiet when she entered she would delude herself into thinking the silence had stretched beyond the allotted eight seconds. Then the beep would come again, slicing through her ears, making her crash down to reality.
              She Googled “How long will a smoke detector go off before the batteries run out?” No one seemed to know. Official sites stressed the importance of changing batteries regularly. Someone on Yahoo Answers said, “Basically, you’re out of luck. Try earplugs.”
Now she had spent more time living with the beep in her new place than without. Her old place had been a studio in a divided-up house, where the landlord had charged her 50 dollars extra for her cat and the downstairs neighbor tended to set an alarm for 10:00 pm on Fridays and leave for the night at 9:30. Her next door neighbor had to get up for work promptly at 7:00 am and therefore set her alarm for 6:00 and hit the snooze every ten minutes for an hour.
              She had been so happy to snag the new apartment, where she only had one neighbor to worry about. But this one unit produced a sound annoying on a scale she had never even imagined possible, and she was the only one in the building who was bothered by it.
              Maybe it was something wrong with her, that made her irresistibly attractive to smoke detectors, car alarms, midnight arguments, alarm clocks, barking dogs, trains, and rattle-y shutters on windy nights. If there were people who could see ghosts and whom ghosts followed mercilessly, maybe she was the equivalent for annoying sounds, those nearly immaterial presences who could so easily be ignored in plain sight.
              Hot tears squeezed through her eyes as she wondered why she couldn’t just ignore it, let it just be there in the background and not something that had to be noticed. How could a person let such a tiny thing get to her? But she couldn’t. No matter how hard she tried, her ears, unlike her eyes, just weren’t made to shut.
In the middle of the night, she woke in a cold sweat. Fumblingly, she switched on the light, even though what had scared her would in no way be affected by the change.
              It was there. In her dream. She had been walking down the hallway, weighed down by her computer bag and groceries, knowing her cat needed to be fed. But each time she turned the corner, she found herself back facing the same hallway, her room at the far end. Or it stretched and no matter how fast she walked she never came to the end.
              But the beep never changed, even when her heart was racing. It came every nine seconds like clockwork. She had it memorized. How could she not? Every moment at home was spent either avoiding it or straining her hears for the slightest change that would mean it was weakening. Though she didn’t dare remove her earplugs, or turn off the fan, she thought she could hear the faintest suggestion of the beep even now. Were her ears playing tricks on her? Now it came after five seconds. Now thirteen seconds passed with nothing.
              Either way she couldn’t win. If she did nothing the beep would keep her up. But if she added white noise, her overactive imagination would start replicating the beep on its own.
“Community management. How can I help you?”
              “Oh! Um…I…I’m the person who was calling last month. About the smoke detector that’s low on batteries.”
              They laughed. Obviously the knew who she was. “Yes, we sent maintenance check three weeks ago but he couldn’t find anything wrong. Are you sure it’s coming from inside a unit?”
              “Yes. It’s 203. I checked.”
              “So we actually can’t enter some of the units, since they’re privately owned. We don’t have a key. The maintenance guy knocked but no one answered. Have you ever seen your neighbors on that side?”
              “No, I’ve never seen anyone come in or out. The lights are always off.”
              “Yeah, we’ve got people who lock up, go back to their home country for six months, a year, that kind of thing.”
              “Yes, I know that. What can I do?”
              “You say it’s not going off right, it’s just low on batteries?”
              A reassuring laugh. “It’s not actually dangerous then. You don’t have to worry about it.”
              “But it’s really loud.”
              “Yeah…There’s not much we can do about the hallway. Close you’re front door when you’re inside. The walls are pretty thick so you shouldn’t hear it anymore.
              “I can still hear it.”
              “We haven’t gotten any other complaints from that complex.”
              “I’m the closest. We share a wall.”
              “Closing the door should still muffle the sound. Try doing that.”
              They asked, “Are there any other concerns I can help you with?”
Light was coming in through the blinds, but she was still awake. In the early morning stillness, punctuated by the beep, she padded out in her flip flops to the main room. Her cat mewed for breakfast so she had to attend to that first.
              Then she walked out onto the balcony. The sound was louder out her, without even the fountain’s crashing to muffle it. The clouds were just beginning to turn golden.
              She leaned over the rails and peered into the other balcony. Closed blinds as usual. No potted plants or deck chairs. A lone thermometer read 62 degrees, although to her it felt warmer than that.
              The sliding glass door was unlocked.
              She looked away, let a beep pass, and looked back. How had she not noticed? The little lever was down. On her door, that definitely meant unlocked.
              As the morning wore on, people would come to sit in the courtyard, walk their dogs, let their kids run on the lawns. She quickly scanned the area for signs of commuters on their way to the office, and saw no one.
              Slipping off her flip flops, she threw one leg over the railing. From behind the screen door, her cat watched, tail swishing like a pendulum. The wall separating the balconies wasn’t very thick, so she just had to stand on the slats and step sideways, then over.
              On the other balcony, she looked around again. No one had seen her, apparently, unless someone were watching unseen through a darkened window. She couldn’t help that now. She tried the door. It slid open slowly, sticking a little so she really had to pull. But it was unlocked. The beep got louder without the glass shielding her.
              She stepped into the apartment. This one had carpet in the living room so her feet made no sound. Otherwise it was the same layout as hers. She walked past a spindly black dining room set, an empty bookcase, a leather sofa. The walls were bare and white. A red light flickered on and off above the front door. The beep was definitely coming from there.
              She dragged a chair from the dining set over and climbed up to inspect the smoke detector face-to-face. She could feel the plastic hub vibrating under her fingers with each beep. Luckily, it wasn’t the kind where you needed a screwdriver to take it apart. (She hadn’t thought to take any tools with her when she climbed across the balcony wall.) You just pressed a flap and it popped open.
              There were no batteries in the compartment.
              Her heart squeezed in her chest, blood pounding in her ears. She was crazy. She was really crazy.
              Behind her, the bedroom door swung open. She whirled around teetering on the chair and nearly falling.
              And she saw them.
              “I’msorryI’msorryI’msorry! I’m not a house breaker, I promise! I haven’t taken anything. Oh my god, your face…”
              Unable to turn around or break her gaze, she stepped off the chair, kicking it out of the way, and fumbled with the door. Even though it was the mirror image of her own, she couldn’t manage to unlock it.
              Somewhere far away, the elevator dinged and the doors hummed open. Out in the hallway, steps pounded in her direction.
              “Help!” she called. “Can you hear me? I’m stuck! Call 911! Someone…”
              But her voice came out hoarsely, unconvincingly, as in a dream. It sounded like something on the television. After all, what was more likely, a tenant watching a horror movie, or a would-be house breaker getting trapped in another unit?
              After a brief pause, the steps pounded on down the hall and away. She cried out in despair, “No, don’t leave me! Don’t…get back, get away! Don’t touch me…don’t…”
Mira sat on her favorite bench in the courtyard, chatting busily into her iPhone, watching her four year old son as he zoomed around on his scooter. The child wore an orange safety helmet.
              From somewhere behind and above her, a cat was yowling and scratching at something. It was really quite annoying. This was supposed to be a middle class complex. People really shouldn’t be allowed to have pets.
              “Look at me!” her son yelled, before going back to his undirected whee-ing.
              “Yes, lovely,” she called back. “No, go ahead. How much for organic chicken? You’re kidding…”
              Somehow, she had the impression she had heard that same cat—or maybe other cats—recently. But as soon as the idea occurred to her, it faded before the urgency of the BOGO at WholeFoods and when she would next be able to get over there.
              Behind her the sound of scratching intensified. Then there was a rattling as of a screen door sliding open. The yowling stopped. A few seconds later the bushes crashed, as if an object the size of a small animal had dropped from the second floor balcony.
              The cat peeked out cautiously from underneath the branches, but the human of the bench kept making irrelevant noises, oblivious. After hissing at the small human when it came too close, the cat padded off to search for small birds and rodents.
“Hello? Community management? Yeah, there’s an alarm going off in the room above me. Like a clock or something. It goes off, stops for 15 minutes, and then starts again…Yeah, I tried banging on their door a bunch of times but no one answered. Their cat was super loud last week too…I think you should fine them…No, that’s not good enough. I will seriously deal with this if you don’t…

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Evolution of Open Mindedness

This series of statements shows the progression of a closed mind to an open one. Pick your own jumping off point.

1. "The X are so stupid! They don't even know 2+2=4!"

2. "Actually, the X are as good at math as anyone else."

3. "The X have had less access to math learning resources, so don't be so quick to assume they're stupid for not knowing math."

4. "The X have an alternate, equally valid, numbering system in which 2+2=5. Both answers are 'correct.'"

5. "2+2=4 is an oppressive system used to elevate the privileged white male! Anyone who says 2+2=4 is wrong!"

6. "The Z are so stupid. They actually think 2+2=4!"

I'm around a 3? I think? When I start running into 5s and 6s I know I've spent too much time on the internet.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I'm writing a story

I'm writing a horror story based on an experience I had a few weeks ago with a smoke alarm that wouldn't stop beeping in the unit next to mine. If the story turns out okay, I will post it on here.

I already made a Youtube video summarizing what happened because I thought that might be funny.