How to cross the street

You can tell a lot about a couple by the way they cross the street.

On Saturday, I witnessed four coupled-up street-crossers in the span of about 30 minutes. That’s what happens when you’re strolling down Fifth Ave in search of the perfect suit.

(The suit wasn’t for me, by the way. I spent most of the shopping portion of the day reading on the so-called boyfriend chair.)

On Saturdays, Fifth Avenue becomes a fashionable version of football. The teams are shoppers decked in their best leopard print ensembles, sizing each other up from opposite sidewalks. The “walk” sign flashes, and each team – a herd of maybe 20 or so – must reach the other side in the time allotted with little injury.

You must be ruthless. Standing between you and the end zone are a clueless tourist pointing at the sky, a mom who refuses to carry her barely mobile toddler, a grandpa recovering from a hip replacement. An elbow here, a jab to the ribs there. All’s fair in the sport of crosswalk.

Further, you must be prepared for the unforeseen. A stiletto-wearer might step into a crack or a carriage-carting horse might sideswipe a straggler.

Most interesting is how people reveal their true selves in the face of possible death by cab. In most cases, they will fall under one of two categories: Leave No Man Behind or It’s Every Man For Himself.

It is in that split-second decision that the couple is put to the test.

At Crosswalk No. 1, I watched a man cross just as the light turned green. Behind him, his wife or girlfriend was just stepping off the sidewalk. She was on the phone. She stopped.

“We can’t go yet!”

But it was too late. The man was almost across the street, barely acknowledging her.

At Crosswalk No. 2, another possible death by cab. This time, the woman was stepping out into the street just as the light turned green. She wasn’t looking. The man, waiting with the rest of us, reached out to pull her back.

As cars passed, they looked at each other, she with the sheepish “Oops” face, and he visibly annoyed.

At Crosswalk No. 3, the couple was hand in hand. They stepped out into the street together, confident the cabs were going to stop for them. They kept talking, never missing a beat.

At the fourth crosswalk, the couple was in the midst of conversation. A cab approached, but there was enough time to get to the other side. The woman darted across the street; the man hesitated.

“Ha,” she told him seconds later. “You’re always hesitating.”

It’s likely I’m looking too far into this. (Lucky for you, dear reader, I’m a fervent too-far-into-this-looker who likes to inject stories where they may not belong. As for the rest of you.)

Where the rest of you might see a man who saved a woman from certain doom, I see a woman so used to the man shielding her that she doesn’t even bother to look both ways anymore.

After all, relationships are made of little crosswalks. They are unpredictable. They are risky. You never know if, in the face of adversity, the person you’re with is going to look out for you or leave you behind.

Which makes it all the more frustrating. I mean, life would be so much easier if we could employ a reliable test to gauge a person’s crosswalk mettle. Like: Hey, you, let’s meet at a crosswalk, where I will close my eyes, step out into the street and, though I will not tell you this beforehand, you will pass my test by making sure we both make it to the other side.

But that’s not exactly foolproof. For one thing, you could be crushed by an overzealous texter should your mate be distracted by a unicyclist, a no-pants-wearer, a Uniqlo of epic proportions.

The more accurate measure, I think, is the one taken over time, time and time again. Because should you both survive one crosswalk mostly unscathed, albeit clumsily, there’s always the next one.

And maybe, hopefully that one will be a hand-in-hand kind of thing.

My sister the dinosaur

It was the kind of day — no, week — when everything was just going wrong. The kind of week better spent in bed, curled up under my sheets, crying to something “Dashboard Confessional.”

So there I was, utterly miserable, when my sister gchatted me.

Elaine Omg hahaha
A horrible pic of me got posted on the NYK Facebook
Fml fml!!!!
Me where where where

The night before, my sister and brother had gone to a Knicks game at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. With Amare and Carmelo out, my sister was there for the “Linsanity.” She even made a poster.

This poster caught the attention of a journalist, who, likely under the auspices of a well-intentioned editor saying: “Go forth, young man, and find an Asian!”, asked my sister why she was a fan of the Linmeister.

Her response? “He’s awesome!”

Seconds passed. Cue awkward staring contest.

In my sister’s defense, when given something unquotable, the reporter is supposed to ask more questions. Like “Why?” “Explain.” “Elaborate.” The guy did none of these.

My brother stepped in[1][2].

The poster also caught the attention of a photographer. He took a picture. It was posted on the Knicks Facebook page. ESPN picked it up.

What should have been a moment of glory for my sister, a die-hard Knicks fan since we immigrated to the city during the Starks and Ewing era in 1992, became a clear example of how the internet can be a not so nice place.

The first comment?


The second?

“5 head!”

The third?

“Yea her forehead is pretty huge”

The fourth?


The fifth —

OK, you get the idea.

The comments were cruel. Fantastically mean-spirited. Absolutely dehumanizing.

The lens had compressed and elongated my sister’s face in the worst way. The fivehead, a prominent feature among us Bowl of Pastas, was on display for the sick, sad world to see.

What normally looks like this:

Looked like this:

It was incredibly unfair. My sister is obviously hot in real life, and most of the commenters were obviously not the sharpest knives in a drawer of really blunt knives, namsayn? If I had absolutely no life, I would have looked through all of their profiles, saved their public images, scoured the interwebs for publicly available information and court documents, and dedicated a viral-worthy blog post to their miserable existences. But, as I absolutely did have better things to do, I decided against it.

Which left me doing the next best thing.


But it went beyond your customary IM laughter. I laughed in real life. I laughed so hard my face turned red, I got sweaty, and I couldn’t breathe. Squeaks could be heard arising from my desk, where I trembled from the lack of oxygen. It’s the kind of laughter that only worsens the more you try to stifle it. The kind that gets you right in the gut.

My terrible day officially became the day I cackled into the ether.

Someone else who was having a bad day called my sister. It’s not really clear what transpired during that call, because the friend was laughing too hard.

“See,” I said. “You’re bringing joy to the masses!”

In typical sports fan fashion, my sister had this to say:

Elaine And someone’s like, “I wonder if she was a Knicks fan before.” That’s the only one I got mad at.

Later, my brother gchatted me. Maybe he had some words of wisdom.

Me the comments are so terrible they’re funny
Allan hahaha i know
Me one of them said she looks like this guy

Allan ahahaha
this is awesome
one of them is like
she can fit a dozen headbands on her forehead
Me hahahahah
Allan “She looks like the leader from iron man”
Me hahahaha
i like that one
someone said the knicks should take it down or she might kill herself
Allan hahahaha
Me my stomach hurts

Soon, the comments died down (with the last ones pointing out the lens distortion),  and the next day, my sister did end up sharing the link on her Facebook.

This all reminded us that the internet, cruel as it is, is a fickle thing. What seems like a big deal now will likely be forgotten three hours from now. Unless, of course, your distorted mug becomes a meme, posted on a blog, reposted on another blog, and posted on reddit.

Looks left and right. So far, so good.

[1] Me: How come the reporter didn’t prod her? Like… How? Why? Maybe he sucks, too.

Allan: Yeah, I think he does suck. Because he asked her one question, then after she answered, asked me the same question. WTF. Give me something else. Pick my brain. I have important things to say!

Me: Hahaha. She probably has no idea what basketball is and was told to look for Asians at a Knicks game. Ooh. I like how I switched to the female pronoun when talking about lack of sports knowledge. I am sexist! Unintentional.

Allan: Sure, sure. MEN ARE SUPERIOR. 

[2] My sibs also got into a Taiwanese paper. My sister used Google Translate.

Came from the south of Virginia, the Pori Bada and his wife Lin Hao (Allan & Elaine Bolipata) said, “In the past, live in New York, diehard fans, has always been the Knicks, Lin Hao, an incredible performance, the enthusiasm of the team once again renewed. ” Pori Bada and his wife opened three hours by car from afar, and production support LinShuHao slogans waving at the scene.

Me HAHAHA. this is great.
Allan  she is having a rough week
Me  the knicks, source of misery.

Meanwhile in Twitterville, vol. 2

This time around, my top 10 links mostly lead to things I’ve featured on Tumblr. This could mean one of 50 things. Either I’ve finally figured out a purpose for my Tumblr (Originally, I’d used it for camera phone pictures — something Instagram kind of rendered obsolete) and have been linking to it more, or of everything I’ve linked on Twitter, my Tumblr links are the best of them.

I’ll pretend it’s the latter.

Enjoy yo lazy clickin’ Sunday!

1. I’m always amazed by the talent on Vimeo. This one is of New York
2. Generation Flux: Why it’s not the strongest or the smartest that survive
3. Drowning is nothing like how it’s portrayed on TV
4. Why creative people are eccentric
5. R.L. mothereffing Stine
6. So you want to become a National Geographic photographer?
7. A heartbreaking GQ interview with Michelle Williams
8. Woody Harrelson, a reddit AMA gone hilariously wrong
9. For The Day The Music Died
10. When I grow up, I want to be this guy 

What you didn’t click on but should have: Deranged IHOP commercial. Can we bring back the ’60s, just for ads like this? And the Newsies. C’mon now. This stuff is fabulous.