Monday, May 30, 2011


the above is pretty much how i feel right now. i know this is your number one source for all things hockey-related (in which case, how sad for you), and since i will be traveling the next few days, here we go!

1. here it is, kids. i am going to go franzen and just show my unabashed devotion instead of pretending that i'm not invested in this team. and i'm going to declare this love using one of the more recent forms of technologically-facilitated expression, the blog. zing! so what does this mean? i'm going to go one step above espn, yahoo, globe and mail, EA sports, and all of the other prognosticators and declare that the vancouver canucks will win in 6. the downside to this is that they will win in unfriendly territory. the upside is that i won't have to lose my mind during a game 7. and this is actually about me. sorry if you thought this was about the 40-year drought in vancouver or the 18-year drought in canada or cam neely returning to the town that prematurely rejected him or the fact that mark recchi is the oldest player to play in the stanley cup finals or that this is the first final featuring two french-canadian coaches or even the disappearance of the boston pizza chain in vancouver.

2. i am a bit worried about my hometown and i fear that they will just spontaneously combust. how is this different from 1994? here is my take. the '94 canucks were a good team, but the '11 are the freaking best team in the NHL. thus, the city, which is already beyond starved for a championship, is sitting on the edgiest of edges. want proof? here are two youtube clips that a vancouverite filmed. you'll see what i mean. the entire city is enveloped in this. don't expect anything to be accomplished in vancouver over the next two weeks. all of those straight-to-DVD films and USA dramas will have to be filmed elsewhere or take a hiatus.

3. aren't boston sports fans the worst? yeah, they totally are. i don't know if i can stomach a world in which all four of their teams dominate their respective leagues.

oh, you wanted like sports-y analysis? uh, i dunno, luongo is always a gamble, though he was channeling someone else during game 5 of the last round. he's been fairly consistent since his terrible mid-chicago series breakdown. nonetheless, it was news to me that guy was nominated for a vezina. apparently boston has a horrendous power play, while the canucks have one of the best in the playoffs. i don't know whether this means that the canucks should play very physically and forget about any disadvantages of playing shorthanded. fairly safe bet since the canucks' penalty kill is pretty darn good. nonetheless, why give the other team extra opportunities, even if they succeed only 9% of the time? i know so little about boston since the two teams rarely play. i guess chara is important?

we'll see what happens, dudes. we've been burned so many times that it is somewhat challenging to think that anything emerging from this town can actually win, but here's hoping.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

something more fun

whoa, sorry for the downer dudes. i feel like i'm going to have to take that post down at some point, so get it while it's sad.

anyway, i'm having overwhelming 90s nostalgia, as my team is in the stanley cup finals for the first time since 1994. yes, this is incredible for many reasons, least of which is that i was well into my teens back then. judging by the comments on that youtube video, clearly i'm not the only one who loves this song. (e.g., "best nba theme EVER. it defined an era," "i still get goosebumps everytime i hear this song.")

what can be more 90s than tesh + vest + goatee + theme to NBA on NBC?

and as my friend tyler pointed out: invisible basketball dribbling! for more on the theme's resurgence, see here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

an open letter to e

below is my comment to e's comment to my last post. 

e, this point, that pakistanis are the greatest victims of terrorism, is perhaps arguable, but there is a very compelling case to be made for it. first off, we have to define what "terrorism" means in this context. in my view it's composed of activities by state or non-state actors targeting civilians, or activities resulting in civilian deaths in far greater proportion to legitimate military / insurgent targets. of course, i'm declining to define what proportion is inoffensive enough to exempt said activity from my working definition, but suffice it to say that i believe the drone bombing campaigns over western pakistan, and yemen, and libya absolutely qualify as acts of state-sponsored terrorism. i know that that this statement alone will, for some people, nullify everything i say below, but i think it's important for us to divorce ourselves a bit from our creeds and flags, and think of these issues in terms of our principles and principles alone. i consider you, e, a fair mind and a very serious thinker, so you are not among the aforesaid people. you do what a friend does best -- challenge my convictions and make me think more clearly about them. i hope you do the same here.

according to wikipedia, last year alone there were 50 separate terrorist incidents in pakistan (excluding drone attacks). these were generally carried out by al-qaeda in pakistan, or a like-minded group like lashkar-e-taeba or jamaat-e-islami. these attacks were generally low-tech acts of violence (e.g., suicide bombs) carried out in public spaces. notably, in the last few years, these attacks have taken place in places like lahore, where my family is from, which is far from the badland west where the pasthun population resides and which is largely indistinguishable from afghanistan. while the sheer volume of deaths that has resulted from these acts does not compare to, say, a single act of terrorism like the september 11th attack on the world trade center, the effect of these attacks is palapable in everyday pakistan in a way that september 11th's is not  (except when it's evoked by brain-dead shitheads like giuliani and schumer -- he of the genius "no-ride" list proposal -- and other cynical exploiters of that event). that is to say, terrorism has disrupted pakistani society much more than it has any other society on the face of the planet -- unless you count iraq and afghanistan, which i don't because i think those two places are uniquely fucked up places in which terrorist activity targeting civilian populations and insurgent attacks on military targets are caught up in a whole incomprehensible morass. to put in another way, afghanistan and iraq are sites of war -- unlike pakistan, at least officially,  which is a site of non-militarily justifiable acts of terrorism.

now, it should be said that the wikipedia numbers are pure nonsense. they account only for high-profile events that have gotten press. i rely more on think tank numbers like the pakistan institute for peace studies, whose 2010 report states that there were 2113 terrorist acts in pakistan last year alone (again, not accounting for drone attacks) in which almost 3000 people were killed and almost 6000 injured. now, if drone attacks are counted, an additional 1000 people in pakistan were killed. this figure, 4000 people, is simply staggering, and i have not seen anything else anywhere in the world that compares to it -- again, with the exception of afghanistan and iraq, which are active theatres of war. more important, each year since 2001 has seen an uptick in terrorist acts in pakistan and deaths resulting therefrom. and with the killing of osama bin laden, it should be clear that any reprisal will be visited first and foremost on the pakistani people. such has been al-qaeda's (whatever that even is now, given its many diffuse forms across the world) modus operandi of late.

as for your other point, i appreciate it fully. human beings have no obligation to act in a principled manner or to put their emotions at bay. i get this. i totally do. know that, but know also i have a monumental problem with the notion that it's unobjectionable to celebrate the death of "someone who specifically targeted americans for being american." why is this relevant? seriously, why is it? if a person kills one person in a botched robbery, do we celebrate his execution? if a serial killer kills ten blonde women because he has some insane sexual fetish, do we celebrate his? if he kills ten black people because he's a white supremacist, same question. i have a huge problem with hate crimes legislation -- let me state that from the outset -- but the notion that a person's intentionality should affect my view of his bad acts is totally lost on me. this isn't about osama bin laden -- or it should not be. this is about us. our reaction to his death -- indeed, the way his killing was comissioned -- that speaks to our best or worst selves. i have a convert's zeal for this country and its bedrock principles. therefore, i cannot understand how it can be that we, collectively, have asked so few questions about the conflicting details of operation geronimo. it turns out bin laden wasn't armed. it turns out he wasn't using his wife as a human shield. it turns out that he attempted to surrender. brennan -- the deputy national security guy -- stated this was a kill operation. why was he not arrested? why was he not haled before a civilian court in the united states and given full due process rights and made to answer for the mountain of evidence compiled against him. why was he dumped in the sea? seriously, why? he was a piece of shit who couldn't give a fuck how his muslim victims were buried, and we're, well, we're denizens of a country that couldn't give a shit how the muslim victims of our drone attacks are buried. why afford this man a so-called islamic burial? what constituency does this satisfy?

i know there are still many details not known about geronimo. i know that. and it may turn out some of my questions have legitimate answers. i hope so. but putting aside protestations about america's egregious violation of pakistani sovereignty -- an irrelevant point, as far as i'm concerned given the pakistani army and intelligence services' incompetence in catching bin laden / duplicity in allowing him sanctuary -- and putting aside the basic human need, perhaps, to celebrate something, anything, after 10 years of confused, neo-imperial brutality in various parts of the muslim world, i put to you this: upon hearing news of bin laden's death, doesn't a mature population push aside its base instincts, and think about all that has been lost and can never be restored? doesn't it think about what we -- as a nation -- have lost, but also allowed ourselves to lose? when bin laden was shot dead in abbottabad and then dumped into the arabian sea, i couldn't help thinking we're now a nation that cannot stomach its own core values. we cannot put one of the world's greatest criminals on trial. as a fiercely proud, and thoroughly skeptical american, i wonder if america is now a shadow of itself. would tocqueville recognize this country? would tom paine be proud of it?

also, and i mean this question seriously, say you're a ten-year old pakistani boy whose entire family -- none of whom were involved in any kind of terrorist activity -- was killed in a drone strike. say you're face is half-charred and you lost an arm in the strike. say you did nothing -- clearly -- to deserve this. nothing at all. say "it's rather human to enjoy the elimination of one's enemy." who is your enemy in this situation? the guy in missouri manning the drone? leon panetta? barack obama? what measure of vengeance are you allowed? put aside creed and flag. put aside who-started-what, and tell me. what kind of world are we barreling towards? what have we wrought?


Sunday, May 8, 2011

lady matters

happy mother's day, moms and children of moms! a series of recent events have made me appreciate and think a lot more about women and moms. call it a latent awakening.

when i worked at the firm, one of the very prominent male partners started a women's initiative, which was designed to encourage the retention and promotion of women. some women objected to the fact that a man was in charge, though many others (including myself) thought the program never would have gotten off the ground or supported with actual resources without a male rainmaker championing it. whether it was actually effective remains uncertain, but at least the program existed and not just in name.

say what you will about working at a firm, but i was fortunate enough to have a male supervisor who included me in important conversations, sought to introduce me to his clients, and valued my work. i never once felt singled out or differentiated because i was female. in fact, he taught me to have confidence in my work and also that male bosses could be respectful. he was one of the few men who felt secure enough in his own masculinity to consistently work with--and be challenged by--intelligent women. i definitely appreciated it at the time, and i lament that he may have been an outlier.

call me ignorant, but i really didn't appreciate how different it is to be asian and female in the professional world. thanks to the aforementioned boss, i was shielded from a lot of prejudices. i think growing up in a predominantly asian environment also helped; i never viewed my being asian as a handicap. hongcouver gave me the breathing space to try on different identities, free from the weight of having to represent an entire race or ethnicity. that's why when i got to college, i found it a bit laughable that i had to be part of either the gucci-clad asian mafia or the hymn-singing baptists to be sufficiently asian.

then i got to law school and i think at some point in my first year it hit me: i had never voluntarily spoken up in class. then i looked around in my section and realized that none of the other asians had either (though there were only like 6 of us out of 100 or so students). i thought all along that i just didn't like speaking in class, but this made me think, is it something about being asian that prevents me from speaking up?

before this turns into some gender and identity politics 101 term paper, let me give you a bit of context. this is not false humility, but i've always viewed myself to be somewhat asexual. and i don't mean that in a negative way, if that's possible. somehow i deluded myself into thinking that when people view me, they see just me, not asian. female. i've never felt the need to be overly aggressive to compensate for being female. i also don't tend to be the quiet, stereotypically subservient asian. then recently, i was interviewing this dude as part of my case, and he said something to me in a manner that immediately drew attention to the fact that i was the only woman in the room. it was fucking patronizing and unnerving. the senior male on my side came to my defense and subtly, but definitively, put this guy in his place.

over the following days and weeks, i started asking all of my female friends--who, by the way, are uniformly smart as hell and beyond accomplished--whether they'd been treated differently because they're female. they mercifully did not judge me for asking such a laughably naive question and shared their stories. while a handful of situations were a bit ambiguous and subject to interpretation, every single one had experienced discrimination and i appreciated their willingness to be matter-of-fact about their (sometimes emotionally fraught) stories. then it made me wonder, have i willfully ignored this subtext all along? maybe. it probably was some type of a survival mechanism. there is a fine line between recognizing this prejudice and allowing it to undermine your confidence.

what is the takeaway, if anything? a few things: this deepened my appreciation for two women in particular--my mom and hilary clinton. no, i'm not equating the two, you fools, though my mom was a pioneer in her own way. even though her own parents vocally discouraged her from pursuing any meaningful formal education, my mom defined her own way by building several successful businesses for herself by using her street smarts, instincts, and impossibly dogged work ethic. oh yeah, she had four kids on top of that, bitches! though she's not very traditionally feminine almost to a fault, she taught me many more valuable things than how to correctly apply make-up, cook an elaborate meal, or be a consummate (or even a middling) hostess.

then hillary clinton--i'm late to the hilary bandwagon. i always vaguely admired her for being tenacious and successful, but man, make it in that fucking boys' universe! i cannot even begin to understand the degradation and humiliation she has had to withstand.

anyway, the above photo is for all of your amusement. happy mother's day.

ps. best recent purchase? huey lewis & the news's greatest hits. amazing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Canada Just Killing It, Like Always

Look, people (person?), I think it's weird that you're so consumed by your national bloodlust that you haven't thought twice about the conflicting details of the Bin Laden kill operation and whether it comports with our national values. Or that your response to the admittedly strange, frankly unbelievable circumstances in which he was found is to proclaim that we stop all aid to Pakistan and regard it as a terrorist state -- despite the fact that the United States has thousands of troops and tons of military equipment and other supplies in Afghanistan, which got there through Pakistani ports and would have to get out the same way; despite the fact that the greatest victim of terrorism in the world today is Pakistan, its people, its police force, its soldiers; despite the fact that an incompetent Pakistani army or duplicitous Pakistani intelligence agency is not interchangeable with its people; despite the fact that we continue to drone-bomb the Pakistani countryside, which, understandably, might cloud its people's feelings about American wonderfulness. I think it's weird that you, strawman, disregard obvious geopolitical complexities for easy "USA!" sloganeering. But that's just me.

Still, while we can disagree about politics and policy, here and abroad, it's nice to know there remains some common ground between us: We can still agree, for instance, that Canadians are just killing it--straight murdering shit--with their amazing awesomeness at life. Really, just a paragon of democratic values that country is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


c4ts helpfully reminded me that i'm old. the first time i really recognized that milestones were passing me by was when i turned 18 and realized that could never be drafted into the NHL. yeah, i know, i'm also female and have never played ice hockey in my life, but i was at least of age. the second milestone that passed me by was when i could no longer be a contestant on the real world. then life kind of hummed along, until i realized that i no longer qualified for the world bank's young professionals program. someone helpfully pointed out to me today that i'm 5 years too old to be a navy SEAL.

indeedily doodily--i'm old.

being so old is a bummer, no secret. i dunno, maybe others march into their 30s, completely at ease and eager. i loathe birthdays. before you become concerned, let me try to explain: it's not like i had some amazing life goal / bucket list and i'm sad that i didn't meet my own standards. no, this is just some overriding...unease. i think i'm mostly just bummed about the passage of time because there is something so inherently optimistic about youth. granted, i've always been cynical and kind of over it, but even my proto-daria self knew that opportunities abound for the young. you may be wondering, do i even feel like i missed out on anything in particular? not really! i know. this whole navel-gazing makes no sense.

i guess this is just an extension of my being sad over age-ing out of the NHL. i am more affected by the irrelevant.

uh what? back to our regularly scheduled programming.

what old white guys ask me at work

"e, what is your witching hour?"

wait, what?!