Rant: Loudmouths at Concerts

October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Why in the world do people go to shows if they’re just going to talk the whole time?!

At the end of July, I attended SummerStage at Central Park. It’s fun because it’s outdoors, and you can bring blankets and food and have a nice picnic along with the music. Dawes and First Aid Kit were billed equally as headliners, but First Aid Kit ended up performing before Dawes; I suppose the latter is more well-known, but I was there for the Swedish ladies.


We weren’t sitting that close to the stage (as you can see, that area up front is standing room only), but still close enough to ostensibly be there to hear the music. On the outer edges of the makeshift venue were stands where you could buy food or drinks.

People around us talked the whole time, and using their outdoor voices. The din of everyone’s conversation relegated the opening act to background music. It didn’t help that the volume of the music wasn’t nearly loud enough throughout the whole show.

I didn’t mind so much at first, but once First Aid Kit came on stage, a group of young adults (not pictured) came and sat down at an open spot in front of us. And boy were they having the time of their lives! Just talking and laughing noisily like they were at a bar.

I’m not a confrontational person by any stretch of the imagination, but occasionally I can get going when filled with righteous anger. And no assholes were going to keep me from giving First Aid Kit my full attention. So I stepped over and said to the loudest guy, “Can you guys talk quieter please?!”

It was not my most grammatically proud moment. But at least they finally realized other people were actually trying to hear the music.

It was also — and still is — baffling to me that people would pay money ($37.50 per ticket, not super expensive but not that cheap either!) to go somewhere and just talk over the performers. I get that maybe most of the people were there for Dawes and not First Aid Kit, but what about common courtesy to the musicians as well as the rest of the audience?!

Alas, the same thing happened to me last night at a concert for MS MR. It was a great show with two amazing opening acts (Vérité and Jack Garratt). I was perched at a prime spot on Terminal 5’s second floor balcony.


Just as Vérité finished their set, this white couple about my age came and stood next to me at the railing. And oh my god they would not stop talking!!!!! They blabbered through Jack Garratt’s entire performance, and I could barely concentrate on how awesome he was due to their loud, inane chatter. Eventually, the guy on the other side of them told them to hush.

Before MS MR came on, the people on the other side of me left, so I moved down the railing to get away from the two loudmouths…but they ended up moving right along with me! And continued their inebriated banalities through MS MR’s first few songs.

Seriously, why were they even there?! There are places where you can go and order drinks and talk loudly and it’s called a fucking bar!

I got so fed up that after a few songs, I leaned over and yelled, “Can you two stop talking for ONE SONG?!?”

The guy was like, “Whooaaaa” but neither of them actually acknowledged me. They quieted down some but continued talking, and at that point I had to conclude that they were just drunk. How else can you be so obtuse?

I can put up with a lot at a concert. Invasion of personal space, like when the woman’s long flowing hair fell into her beer and then somehow wiped that beer on the back of my hand, I won’t make a big fuss about if you’re contributing to the atmosphere of the show by actually enjoying the music. If you’re dancing and bump into me, I don’t care.


I don’t know if this is a NYC thing, or a young people thing, or a cheap-ish concerts thing, but oblivious assholes like these should just stay away from live shows. I would posit, however, that it does have something to do with age (and booze).

When I went to see Todrick Hall’s Twerk du Soleil show last year, his opening acts were a couple of aspiring pop stars who were basically mediocrely talented teenagers singing covers. But the audience, comprising also mostly teenagers (yes I felt out of place and old), were respectfully quiet during these performances! Or they weren’t drunk enough to not care.

It pains me that my peers see fit to talk over artists with actual talent, like First Aid Kit and Jack Garratt. They deserve better, and so do I.

The Demise of Facebook Photo Albums

January 27, 2014 § 2 Comments


If you compare my previous two blog posts to all of my other ones, you’ll see that I don’t normally include this many photos, especially personal ones. Normally, if I had a lot of pictures I wanted my friends to see, I would put them in a Facebook album. I used to spend a decent amount of time choosing/editing photos and writing clever captions for my FB photo albums, especially when I was doing fun things like traipsing around Hong Kong. And I totally judge people who dump all 260 of their blurry vacation photos into an album.

But recently I’ve felt that the FB album is…dying. With the rise of Instagram, and especially after it got integrated into FB newsfeeds, the act of uploading or interacting with a photo is that much more temporary. Even people who don’t use Instagram behave like this — my mother, who put together dozens of huge (physical) photo albums in me and my brother’s formative years, is now obsessed with uploading one-at-a-time pictures of sunsets, homemade biscotti, etc. onto FB. (I do find it rather endearing and entertaining.)

Mean Girls gifThe way we interact with media has undoubtedly changed. People take literally less than a second to scroll past a photo on their feed; what’s going to make them stop and click through an entire album? Pages of gifs on Buzzfeed are the exception, I suppose.

This change makes me a bit sad. Photo albums are good for storytelling. You can see a setting, zoom in on the food, zoom out to see the people, follow the camera from place to place. One snapshot isn’t nearly enough to get all that information. Besides, because most of these photos are taken spontaneously and/or with a phone, the quality (content, composition, whatever) usually sucks, unless you’re some kind of pro Instagrammer with hundreds of followers and really great lighting.

Anyway, what it boiled down to was that I had a ton of photos from winter break, and I didn’t want to simply upload them to FB because nobody would see them. Thus, they made it onto my blog instead, which was the obvious solution if I was interested in telling a story. I’m not saying that all 1,000+ of my FB friends read this blog, but I believe it served my purpose better in this case.

As for social media, I’m curious to see whether people will find another platform to store and share their photo collections, or if social photography has more or less permanently evolved to instapix.

In the future, I’d love to spend time putting together physical photo albums like my mother did. It’s always such a treat to flip through the thick, yellowing pages to see what we all looked like in the ’90s. (I was scrawny and very nerdy-looking. #teamglasses) Of course, that would require me to figure out how to actually get photos printed, a modern-yet-retro convenience that I never got around to learning, like operating a manual car wash or dishwasher. One thing at a time!


Me at around 9 years old, from a family photoshoot we did (minus dad) in China

Thoughts About Boobs

December 12, 2013 § 7 Comments


I’ve been thinking about breasts lately. Why? Well, I’ve just been confronted with small incidents that made me pause and think. But all this ruminating mostly comprises a mass of thoughts that have yet to lead to a conclusion, so I’ll dump them below in an effort to sort them out. Here goes:

1. Some men are obsessed with breasts

In forums and comment sections where people discuss things like “My husband has a small penis” or “NYC women don’t date short men,” you will inevitably find embittered straight men who compare these perceived physical shortcomings with breast size.

“Women can discriminate based on height and penis size but we’re seen as shallow if we won’t date a woman with small breasts?!??!” they rant.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The “Fat” Lady On TV

October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been following the hubbub over Wisconsin TV anchor Jennifer Livingston for the past few days with only a passing interest, but after reading the latest news of Kenneth Krause’s half-hearted apology (“I’m sorry you were offended” is never a proper apology), I’d like to express my thoughts on the matter.

Part of Krause’s rationale for his email was his experience being “obese as a child.” I’m tempted to go into the fat-kid-internalized-childhood-hate-and-now-spews-it-as-an-adult territory, but the email reads as more condescending than hateful — a more subversive kind of harassment.

My first question is, how much of his motivation lay in the fact that Livingston is a woman? Women are routinely held to a stricter standard in terms of appearance, and they are also easier to harass because they don’t fight back. Would he write the same email to a male anchor?

When this topic was brought up in my Writing & Reporting class, some of my classmates said it was unprofessional of Livingston to take time on-air to address a private letter. Livingston has said that she only addressed it because of the response she received on Facebook after her husband posted the letter; I’m sure that being a mother of three daughters also influenced her decision. While I don’t think I would’ve made the same decision as Livingston, I support her actions. Any time a woman defends herself in the media is a victory. Women are frequently criticized publicly: If she’s attractive, she’s probably fake or a slut. If she’s ugly, well, she could go die in a fire and nobody would care. If she doesn’t want children, she’s a selfish, emasculating dragon lady. If she’s a mother, she’s probably doing a million things wrong like feeding her children processed food and being too tired to have sex with her partner. This unrelenting public criticism makes it even easier for private individuals to judge one another and believe that it is necessary (and even good) to call out a woman’s “mistakes.”

In his email, Krause suggests that Livingston is a bad example “for this community’s young people, girls in particular.” OK, first of all, what kind of young people are watching the local news and using the anchors as role models? When I was a teenager, those people were old and boring as far as I was concerned. (Kids these days are too glued to their cell phones anyway.) Second of all, as a woman news anchor, Livingston is an excellent example to girls who want to be successful professionals and working mothers.

There’s been some controversy over Livingston’s use of the word “bully.” Stephanie Hanes at the Christian Science Monitor argues that Livingston’s misappropriation of the word “stops the conversation and leads to a fight over the label rather than the content.” Um, the drastic irony here is that Hanes, who begins to make a substantial point about Krause’s “unacceptable” and “sexist” criticism, veers off to point out how one email doesn’t equal bullying. Wow. And Linda Stasi at the New York Post (why was I reading that anyway?) actually goes so far as to accuse Livingston as being the bully (what?). The “you can’t complain about your life because people out there/people like me have it worse!” argument is not valid. And the way Stasi describes other female anchors’ “ample chests” makes it pretty clear that she has no problem judging other women. The fact that most of the commenters agree with her reasoning just makes my head hurt.

It’s worth reiterating Livingston’s point that overweight people know they’re overweight — especially if they’re women on TV — and have probably tried to combat it and don’t need the condescending advice of others. The only issue I have with Livingston’s response is the line “…your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.” Whoa, lady. I know what she’s getting at, but as much as the word is used in that manner, I don’t accept the word “fat” as a flat-out insult, and it’s not helpful to frame it that way.

Other than that, Livingston’s response was measured and well thought out. She didn’t bother naming Krause because she wanted to use the situation as a jumping-off point for a lesson about the true example people set for their children. We need to foster an environment where children choose healthy lifestyles out of self-love and not self-loathing, and I think that both Livingston and Krause were trying to promote that message (the latter in a more…roundabout way). The fact that his identity was even dug out was, I suppose, an inevitability of this era. But it does make for a better discussion, and I hope that women in positions to speak publicly continue to defend themselves should the chance arise.

Things I Might Do

April 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

These are some of the things I would do if I had the resources to do (mostly) whatever I wanted with my life after growing up a bit (without bingeing on the luxuries), ranked in somewhat chronological order. I realize that some of these are frivolous while others are near-impossible (unless the Romneys adopt me, perhaps), but if I had full control over my life, these are some choices I would make. The beautiful thing about life, however, is that we never are fully in control, so it’s safe to say that most of the following will never come true, and I’m OK with that.

1. Lasik surgery

I think I look better with glasses than without, but my eyesight is only getting worse with time, and I don’t want to be blind by the time I’m too old to find my glasses on the nightstand. I’m not sure I’ll have the guts to go through with it, though, because they slice your eye open!!!! It’s too much to handle. I think my blood pressure rises every time I think about it. Still, I see it as an inevitability. If only insurance covered the procedure.

Cost: $4000+

2. Custom-painted car

If I had the option, I would buy a Mini Cooper and get it painted hot pink, probably with a black top and two black stripes down the front. I’ve wanted a Mini since before I was 16 (it is the most popular brand among women, after all), and having a pink one would just be the icing on top of the Barbie cake of my life, if I liked icing. This is risky, though, because I’d worry that my car might get keyed or egged by hateful people. As Taylor Swift put it, people throw rocks at things that shine, and a hot pink Mini shines pretty hard.

Pretty much exactly like this

Cost: $21,600 + $7,500

3. Personal chef

I can keep my house organized and take care of most household things fine, but cooking is something at which I am purely mediocre, and if I could, I would really rather just hire someone to cook dinner for me (and maybe do the dishes ha ha though it seems most of these services are more on the delivery end than in-home) than have to worry about it myself. I’m not a picky eater, so it wouldn’t really be difficult for whomever I hire, as long as they can make authentic Chinese food. I usually do OK making food for myself, but the thought of someday having to make dinner every night for a family (or even myself + husband) is just too much. I don’t think I could handle the pressure. Good thing gender roles are more fluid these days, meaning I won’t be saddled with the full responsibility of it in the future, right? Speaking of kids…

Cost: $11,700/yr for a personal chef AKA deliveries, $55,000/yr for a private chef, cost of groceries not included for either

4. Surrogate

The thought of being pregnant freaks me out and is totally unappealing. It might be weird or taboo to admit this publicly, but oh well. (I still want kids!!) I think it would be awesome to watch my baby grow…in somebody else’s body. Yup. If I could be a seahorse, that would be pretty super. I have a feeling this is the least likely to happen out of all the things on this list (if I can count my future spouse as a personal chef, heh heh) simply due to the astronomical price, which makes me sad.

And would I outsource the already-outsourced pregnancy (ie. out of the country, to save money) or be a helicopter biological mother? What kinds of people become surrogates, anyway? Would I be able to find a smart, healthy young lady? I’d like to hire a white woman just to be absolutely sure that it’s my baby that comes out. LOL

Cost: $100,000

5. Adopt

Kind of goes along with the previous one, but more compelling. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to adopt a child (probably a girl) from Asia (probably China). I was a bit deterred after learning that some people steal babies to sell to adoption-seekers, which is absolutely appalling. There are already so many unwanted children in the world and you’re going to steal a baby that somebody is already taking care of to sell to an unsuspecting couple?! WTF!

Anyway, my heart goes out to the orphans of the world, and I’d love to do my part to provide a home for one someday. Also, as someone who ranks overpopulation as one of the World’s Most Pressing Problems Of Today, I think it would be great if people could adopt the children that have already been born instead of senselessly procreating like there’s no tomorrow, which there won’t be once this planet’s resources dry up and everyone has to move to Mars.

Cost: $20,000-30,000

6. Mr. Duker

This one is kind of bizarre, but my favorite band director once told us (in middle school) that someday if we got rich, he would really appreciate it if we could help fund him to take a trip to outer space because he really wanted to go. I wrote it down in my notebook and haven’t forgotten, for some reason. Since then, Mr. Duker has gotten married and had at least one baby, so I’m not sure if he’d be down for a trip outside the atmosphere, but if I could, I would happily send him to space and back, for all the good times in band class.

Cost: $200,000?

Space travel is free if you're nyan cat

On Etiquette, Or The Lack Thereof

April 19, 2012 § 4 Comments

This is something that I’ve seen more than a few times in my life, and most of the time it’s (sadly) been in China or perpetrated by Chinese people. Sigh. I hate to post a rant about my own people, but this is just embarrassing and most of all RUDE!

I went to another press event this afternoon — it was a very intimate affair, with only seven media people and about just as many of the brand’s employees flitting about. We were tucked in the corner of the cosmetics department behind the counter of the brand whose launch we were attending, seated in folding chairs almost elbow-to-elbow. It was scheduled to start at 2PM but didn’t begin until around 2:30, which is an issue in itself, but I’m slowly getting used to this delayed timekeeping. (The only thing that worries me is that I’m not sure if I make a good impression by showing up on time — and first — or if I just look like a huge n00b. But mother would be proud.)

Once the event was ready to begin, the general manager started her welcoming spiel and was half a sentence in until she noticed that two of the attendees were still on their phones, so she paused to let them finish. One of them quickly ended her conversation, while the other literally kept going for a full minute while the rest of us waited. I was like, are you serious?? Do you not see us sitting here waiting for you? (Cue dramatic eye-rolling from me.) She wasn’t speaking loudly or anything, but obviously they wanted everyone’s full attention before beginning. After all, there were only seven of us in the audience.

As the event went on, we got to watch a demonstration of one of the brand’s new facials, conducted by one of their professional international trainers who had a British accent. About five minutes into it, as the therapist was explaining the process, the lady sitting next to me received a phone call and actually picked it up. I was flabbergasted. Like, who is so important that you can’t miss one call? (I wouldn’t know because both these women spoke Cantonese into their phones.) Do you not know that there’s this thing called texting that allows you to communicate with other people without blatantly disrupting what’s going on around you?!

She carried on her conversation quietly, but since she was sitting right next to me, I was distracted both by her talking and my ire, so I just side-eyed her as demeaningly as I could without appearing unprofessional. There aren’t many other options for reacting to this situation.

This is seriously a problem, guys. I remember during class one time at HKU, a girl actually picked up the phone during the lecture (it was in a regular-sized classroom) and ducked behind her laptop so as not to be noticed. (I might have blogged about this before.) I was shocked. I mean, these people can’t all have a relative on his deathbed, right?? Or a friend flying in from overseas who is calling from a pay phone? Those are the only acceptable scenarios I can come up with.

Anyway, I might just be particularly sensitive about this. I even hate it when I’m with a friend and she constantly checks her phone or texts someone without telling me what she’s doing. Like, are you with me or are you with your phone?? Can you give it a rest or at least let me know what’s going on that’s so interesting over there? Ugh. People and their phones need to learn some manners.

Phones In The Library With Their Asians

March 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

someecards realBy now, I’ve read and watched countless responses to Alexandra Wallace’s rant about Asians in the library. Most have been entertaining or insightful, and I didn’t think that I would have anything to add to the conversation; however, one issue has gone unaddressed, so I’m going to speak out about it.

In certain responses, both online and with people I’ve talked to in person, people have drawn attention to the way Alexandra is dressed. “She’s kind of…popping out,” a guy friend said to me. I’ve heard things from “slut” to something along the lines of “you dress that way because you try to hide the fact that you’re fat.”

I definitely don’t condone the racist things Ms. Wallace chose to say. But I also cannot support slut-shaming, which is basically what most of these comments do. “I can’t respect her or take her seriously because all I see are her boobs” is what they translate into. And whether you say that while being serious or being humorous, you’re still fighting racism with sexism.

From what I saw, Alexandra was clearly getting comfortable sitting on her bed in her room talking to her webcam. Yes, maybe she could’ve covered up more, but please. What she wears is none of your business — there’s no way she could’ve foreseen that video playing from millions of computers around the world. Can you be a mature, non-sexist adult and look beyond her wardrobe choices to the actual person?

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