Friday, January 30, 2015

'shining and perishable.'

“It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in "Wuthering Heights" with one's head in a Food Fair bag.” -Joan Didion
I've always had this feeling that New York was trying to physically eject me from its system. I'm pretty sure every transplant feels that way at one point or another here in this city that never, ever sleeps. 30-day Unlimited MetroCard won't work. It just won't work at any turnstile. I literally just bought the card Wednesday evening--two days ago. I used it without issues all day Thursday. I stored my card in the exact same pocket of my purse that every card before it has sat. On Friday morning, as I was running to catch the morning 1 train, my card wouldn't work. I tried three times before giving in and using my backup card I keep with a few dollars on it.

The same thing happened as I was rushing off this afternoon to a shoot at NYU. Post-work, I went to the station attendant at Union Square and asked what was wrong and what could be done. She punched a few keys on her computer after inspecting my card and slid it back to me. "You have to call 511," she said.

"But what's wrong with my card?" I asked.

"Call 511." At least she let me through the service door without having to swipe a card.

On the back of every card is a note to call 511 or go online to MTA's eFix website to learn more about how to solve MetroCard problems. I jumped on the website on my phone while waiting for the train and discovered the only option was to fill out a form (more on that below) and snail mail in my card.

I stopped off at 30 Rock to use the printer, but first stopped at the station booth in case the attendant could give me more information or, heaven forbid, a new card.

No such luck.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

'sometimes, the silence guides our minds.'

If you know me, you know I don't like the snow. It's beautiful after it settles and I love sitting on my couch and watching the flakes fall through the giant living room windows, but I don't care to be outside in the gusty snowstorms that have come to define what "snow" has meant to me in New York.

I remember the first time I was in falling snow. It was junior retreat in high school, and it felt foreign and magical. It felt like anything was about to happen.

These days, I don't know how magical I find the snow. Perhaps I don't find anything in life too magical anymore. When I think back to high school, it feels carefree; when I think back to college, it feels filled with a love I've yet to discover again. I know it's easy to think back and see the past with rose-colored glasses, but even being back in Orange County last week, I felt like I was 22 again--only this time without the pressures of "the future."

I feel like I didn't learn a thing about myself until I moved to college. The person I was growing up in Sacramento feels like an entirely different being than who I am now. Orange County, then the brief period in DC--those feel like formative stages of my life. New York has been formative, in some ways, but it feels like I'm still searching for a foundation here so it isn't just another rocky transition period with an uncertain end.

But in the meantime, I've been enjoying solitude as I think about what comes next and how to find it. I took a walk today after work and watched Harlem unpack itself from the snow. It felt cathartic. It finally felt like the beginning of the new year.

Riverside Park playground

Saturday, January 17, 2015

the one with the game-changers.

There's an incredible moment at the start of the second season of Friends. Ross has just walked off the plane from spending time in China for work, and Rachel is waiting for him with flowers because she's realized she might have feelings for him. She sees him, smiles with hope, then immediately freezes because Ross walks off the plane with another woman and kisses her.

The character's name was Julie. She was a paleontologist who went to college with Ross, and they reunited while on the trip. She was smart and had funny lines and wore the same cool 90s clothes the other characters wore. She was also of Chinese descent.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

seeking: representation.

Look, this isn't an indictment of Margaret Cho, who I am a fan of. It's just uncomfortable to see one Asian person get some actual camera time during a high-profile award show, not to celebrate or recognize that person's achievement, but as a punchline.

Aside from Big Hero 6's nomination, I don't think there were any other Asian Americans out there receiving nominations this year at the Golden Globes.

There's this line from the LA Times obit for Sumi Haru, who co-founded the Screen Actor's Guild's Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee, that I've been going back to a lot:
"Twenty years later, we're still struggling for realistic representation," said Haru in the 1990s. "But we've made progress. I would have given up long ago if we hadn't made any progress."
I'm looking at my calendar. It's 2015, and we're still struggling. We're making progress, but damn.

I guess it really is Aaron Sorkin's world; we're just living in it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I don't think my name is a particularly complicated one, or perhaps I don't enunciate well enough (as evidenced by the times I got "Lacey, Chasye, Jesa," etc. on my cups--if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know the struggle), but I literally spelled out my name this morning for the Starbucks barista: "Traci. T-R-A-C-I."


"No no," I interrupted. "T-R-A--"

He tried again. "T...R...E..."

Here's the thing about this morning: I was already really agitated because some guy had rammed a trolley cart into me when I was getting off the elevator, leaving a nasty bruise on my left ankle, so I was already not having a great start to the day. "T-R-A-C-I!" I practically shouted, in case the noise from around us was getting in the way.

The barista scribbled something quickly and passed the cup along. I paid, and moved down the counter to wait for my drink.

And then I got my cup:

I mean. Close enough...?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

leftovers: December.

Happy 2015! December flew by in a blur. Every year, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to go by quickly, and then before I know's the new year. I barely remember the finer details of the month, except that it was better than December of 2013, but I do remember feeling overwhelmed and busy for most of it.

But not too overwhelmed and busy for some snapshots (for those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that).

If you're new to this "leftovers" series, it's basically a dumping ground for just some of the photos I took during the month that didn't make it to my social media profiles.

So here we go...!