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The Prodigal Son

It’s rare to have a satisfactory/watchable procedural nowadays. It’s either very corny or sloppy. (I couldn’t stomach The Blacklist–no matter how much I like James Spader.) Ever since Instinct, which tittered at the edge of being insufferable, The Prodigal Son has been my guilty pleasure of late. I don’t mind that it’s ridiculous and outlandish–I’m not watching it to learn how police or profiler or criminals work, nor am I watching it for gripping emotional intensity. I like that they randomly throw literary and historic references which often prompts me to go down Wikipedia rabbit holes. Plus it’s generally beautifully shot and is pleasant to look at. And you can’t argue that it’s always good to get a dose or two of Michael Sheen.

The first few sentences of this book charmed me. I always have a soft spot for clever humor. However, 1/10 through the book, I started to feel like my emotions are toyed with a bit too much for my liking.

First, I was appalled and thoroughly disappointed by Alistair’s behavior. Even though I feel like I understood it, and I can promise that I wouldn’t behave any more admirably in his shoes. However, I hold him, a character in a fiction, to a higher standard, perhaps unfairly. I almost couldn’t not continue. I felt like my heart was broken and I couldn’t bring myself to lift the book again. Until a few days later. And I was joyous to find the restored humanity within Alistair and was delighted with the demise awaits those other awful people, especially the despicable Sergeant Major. The author took such exquisite care to deliciously detail every inch of what had to be their ultimate epic destruction, but wait, no, they sailed on by. Oh well, at least Alistair had found Duggan and there was a new ray of hope to sustain me. As my spirit was gradually and reliably lifted, I was suddenly struck by the impending doom which I knew for almost certain. The author did it expertly and I was left in tatters.


Plays that moved me
2/28/20 London (Playhouse) Cyrano de Bergerac (James McAvoy)
6/3/18 NY (Public) Cyprus Avenue
9/28/17 SJ (Hammer) NT Live: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
5/3/13 NY (Gerald Schoenfeld ) Orphans (Alec Baldwin, Tom Sturridge, Ben Foster)
4/13/13 SJ (City Lights) Hedda Gabler
4/19/13 SJ (Olinder) Proof
5/27/10 London (Open Air) The Crucible
5/05/10 London (Lyttelton) The Habit of Art
4/2/06 Alameda (Altarena Playhouse) Death of a Salesman

ones I really enjoyed
2/27/20 London (Wyndham) Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt
3/22/19 NY (Park Avenue Armory) The Lehman Trilogy (Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles, Adam Godley)
3/20/19 NY (59e59) After
6/1/18 NY (Golden) Three Tall Women
6/21/16 NT Live: One Man Two Guvnors
4/3/16 PA (Aquarius) NT Live: Hangman
4/26/15 PA (Theatre) NT Live: A view from the bridge
11/5/14 NY (SAMUEL J FRIEDMAN) The Country House
11/5/14 NY (American Airline) The Real Thing
11/2/14 NY (Barrymore) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
5/29/14 SJ (SJRep) The Big Meal
4/24/14 London (Olivier) A Small Family Business
4/23/14 London (Criterion) The 39 Steps
2/16/14 SJ (City Lights) Smell of the Kill
6/29/13 SC (Del Mar) NT Live: The Audience
5/19/13 SC (Del Mar) NT Live: This House
5/4/13 NY (McKittrick Hotel) Sleep No More
5/5/13 NY (Golden) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce)
5/4/13 NY (Samuel J. Friedman) The Assembled Parties
3/24/13 SC (Del Mar) NT Live: Alan Bennett’s People
10/27/12 SJ (SJ Rep) Freud’s Last Session
10/19/12 NY (Classic Stage Theatre) Ivanov
10/14/12 NY (Walter Kerr Theater) The Heiress
03/22/12 SJ (SJ Rep) God of Carnage
10/16/11 SJ (City Lights) August: Osage County
5/26/10 London (Old Vic) The Real Thing
5/01/10 London (Criterion) The 39 Steps
2/1/09 Palo Alto (Lucie Stern) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
3/9/08 SJ (Stage Theatre) Glengarry Glen Ross
?/?/05 San Jose (SJ Rep) Making Tracks

fun ones
2/26/20 London (London County Hall) Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution
6/2/18 NY (American Airline) Travasties
4/10/16 SF (Curran) An Act of God
11/4/14 NY (Gerald Schoenfeld) It’s Only a Play
8/9/13 Palo Alto (Stanford) The Importance of Being Earnest
09/02/12 Alameda (Altarena) Private Lives
7/11/09 Sunnyvale (SCCT) The Importance of Being Earnest

Memorable dances

The feels
2010/05 Royal Ballet – Chroma by Wayne McGregor

2012/11 國家戲劇院 – Rossini Cards, Mauro Bigonzetti – Fondazione Nazionale della Danza Aterballetto

2017/02 SF Ballet – Jiří Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels, a new work commissioned for SF Ballet, set to Rach 2
2017/04 SF Ballet – GHOST IN THE MACHINE, Composer: Michael Nyman, Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

2017/04 SF Ballet – WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR©, Composers: Ezio Bosso and Antonio Vivaldi, Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon

2018/03 PNB – The Perpetual State, Music: Francis Poulenc (Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, FP 61, 1932), Choreography: Ezra Thomson

2018/03 PNB – Red Angels, Music: Richard Einhorn (Maxwell’s Demon, 1988-1990), Choreography: Ulysses Dove

2018/05 NYCB – Not Our Fate, Music by: Michael Nyman, Choreography by: Lauren Lovette

FLASH FOOTAGE: Preston Chamblee and Taylor Stanley in Lauren Lovette's NOT OUR FATE

FLASH FOOTAGE // For romantics, Lauren Lovette's Not Our Fate has a windswept feeling that's palpable in this pas de deux between Principal Dancer Taylor Stanley and Corps Member Preston Chamblee. See it tonight and tomorrow on the Classic NYCB program. Tickets available at nycballet.com/classicnycbspring.

Posted by New York City Ballet on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018/06 PNB – Tide Harmonic, music joby talbot, choreography Christopher Wheeldon

2018/06 PNB – After the Rain Pax de Deux, choreography Christopher Wheeldon, music of Arvo Pärt

2018/06 PNB – Appassionata, Benjamin Millepied, beethoven

Dances that are very enjoyable/pleasant

2017/02 SF Ballet – Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings with music composed by Sufjan Stevens.

2018/05 NYCBallet – Glass Pieces, Music by: Philip Glass, Choreography by: Jerome Robbins

Made for SF Ballet

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

Composer: Michael Nyman
Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

Composers: Ezio Bosso and Antonio Vivaldi
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon


Orphan Black s1-s3e3

一開始覺得十分精彩,欲罷不能。尤其是Tatiana Maslany 的演技實在驚人。
但是第二季開始慢慢覺得劇情不斷繞圈圈,一個問題接著一個問題,一個機構後面又有一個機構,感覺很像為了有謎團而有謎團。越來越不耐,引入 Castor 之後覺得劇情應該會因此會更緊張沉重,而有點反感。但沒料到第三季看下來,倒是Castor的部分有觸動到我。本來覺得Mark很陰森詭異很討厭的 (Seth 也是),但最後都很讓人不捨。

shelf life

I have (finally) come to the realization (and accepted) that most interpersonal relationship has an expiration date.

The idea was raised to me (not in these words exactly) over 10 years ago, but back then I refuse to accept the mere idea of it.


Feeling depressed.

Nothing catastrophic yet I feel something on pressed on my chest and it’s hard to breathe.

My mind cannot concentrate. I tried doing my daily German — an episode of Jojo, 50 Lingvist vocabulary and translate a short article.

I have to take deep breaths. It alleviates the pressure for a second, but it also makes me wanna cry.

But thinking about crying actually makes me feel a little better.






A few weeks ago, I sudden felt a craving for ballet. Luckily, SF Ballet’s season just started. I got to choose between Program 1 The Joy of Dance and Program 2 Modern Masters. It was this clip, an original short film by Ezra Hurwitz inspired by Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings, that sold me.

The Joy of Dance consists of 3 dances — Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony set to Mozart’s Symphony No 35 in D, Jiří Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels, a new work commissioned for SF Ballet, set to Rach 2, and Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings with music composed by Sufjan Stevens.

Unfortunately, Haffner Symphony felt like a boring filler, but Fragile Vessels properly blew me away. Bubeníček employed a lot of classical techniques but he choreographed the piece with abandon. Every move the dancers made is with purpose. It has a lot of passion and heart. It’s not of desperation but of power and earnest to life. The second movement was particularly gripping. The choreography made the familiar Rach 2 sounds new and refreshing with nostalgic passages. The lighting and costume also accentuated the dance perfectly. The last time a ballet excited me so much was Wayne McGregor’s Chroma at the Royal Ballet (watched Chroma at SF Ballet as well, but was not impressed), but that didn’t even come close.

In the Countenance of Kings did not disappoint either. Justin Peck’s choreography matched Sufjan Stevens’s grand composition. It was busy and joyous, and I observed hints of jazz elements. It was such fun!

I love the two pieces so much so that I almost want to buy another ticket for the evening performance (I’m even willing to suffer through the hollow Haffner Symphony again). But I didn’t. Only because I want to go home to Daniel. Heehee..

[Deutsch] Das Learnen

大學畢業之後每隔幾年就會冒出要來複習德文的念頭。但沒有一次可以複習超過 Lernziel Deutsch 的 Lektion 2. 大概在三年前我不經意地發現 ‘Deutsch: warum nicht?’的 podcast, 便開始有機會就聽一聽, 但是成效不彰。直到後來找到了的教材本, 認真地認單字(仍舊像學英文一樣不背單字), 吸收文法, 做練習題。有些練習題感覺很蠢, 但後來想想, 他的重點不是要考倒我, 而是藉由重複來加深印象吧。所以我都盡量乖乖地做了。

我的個性就是貪多嚼不爛,撐到 Series 3 的時候我又開始”蒐集”各式各樣的德文學習資源: vk的德語群組,italki的德文學習文章,更多的德文podcast…不過還好我自己安排的DWN進度都還是有跟上。現在DWN Series 4 也快結束了,但是 subjunctive 跟 conditional 還是有點混亂啊!想到就覺得慌張。不過,畢竟DWN不是文法教材,我的疑問應該可以在別的文法教材裡找到解答。繼續加油囉!

Arya: Part 2

Arya doesn’t like to go out. She doesn’t even like walks if it means going further than 100 meters away from home. She absolutely abhors car rides. She would always pant and prance. She would try to stand up and look outside, but not in a happy way. However, we discovered that piano music somehow calms her down. She would be pacing and agitated, but as soon as piano notes start to flow, she’d settle and lay her head down. So we ended up creating a playlist just for her, and we’ll make sure to put it on at the start of our journeys.

Arya: Part 1

We adopted Arya (Aiya, 哎呀, puppy) on the labor day weekend of 2013. We were planning to go somewhere but we got lazy. Instead, because I wanted to look at cats at the shelter (even though we kind of agreed that the condo is not suitable for cat(s)), so we went to the shelter. At the shelter, the cat I wanted to entertain the idea of adopting was adopted already, so we went to check out the dogs, because Daniel loves dogs.

Daniel knew that there’s a beagle. She stood out among all the chihuahuas and the pitbulls. We checked her out through the glass. She sure was cute, and I noticed that unlike other dogs in the shelter, she was not excited when we show up at the window. She stayed in her bed, half acknowledged our presence. We went to the front desk to inquire about her and learned about her sappy story.

She was used as a breeding dog. Her vocal cord was removed and part of her ears were cut, for whatever reason. She was about 11-12 years old and she has been in the shelter for 3 weeks and no one really checked her out. Probably because of her age.

We went in to meet her.

I’m never a dog person and I was not familiar with dogs/how to deal with dogs. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how I was supposed to behave. But she was very mild. She just came over and smelled us for a bit. I think I found her acceptable. (Plus she did look adorable.)

We went home to sleep it over, because a life is not something to be rash about. And we decided, yes, we want to give her a home and we want to make the rest of her life as pleasant as possible to make up for her suffering (that we assumed she’s been through.)

Pup pup

You were never a puppy — when we first met you, you were already 11, allegedly. Your heartless previous owner only told the shelter that you were about 11. You were 24 pounds, a chubby little thing. (According to the record you gained 2 pounds the 3 weeks you were at the shelter. Probably because you were too cute looking. No one, except for the potential adopters, could resist.) You are always a puppy to us.

Your big eye balls, pudgy feet and cute paw paws. That’s why your official name, Aiya, never really stick. (Especially when you don’t answer to ANY name.) You’re our puppy, pup pup, puppilon (like papillon), lonlon.

I love it when it’s food time and you get so excited when we walk toward your food bucket. You’d jump so high. It’s your only energetic moment and you truly act like a puppy (not that I know what a puppy should be like.) Daniel would instruct you to sit (and you follow that command so well!) but I always enjoy your energy and enthusiasm very much.

I don’t care that you don’t do tricks. What do I need a dog that does tricks for? I just wanted to spoil you and make you as happy as you can be.

You deterioration happened so fast, but it feels like a lifetime ago when you were happily sniffing stuff in the house or on the grass, with your tail alertly raised, following invisible trails that lead you to nasty ivies or under the backyard deck.

I’m sad that I don’t have a chance to make you happy anymore. I’m sad that I don’t get to see you doing the stuff you like anymore. But I’m glad you don’t have to suffer anymore. :(


We didn’t ask to keep your ashes. (We chose cremation because we cannot bear your little body being eaten away by maggots, at best.) Because, what are we going to do with your ashes? It’s not you. When we eventually left the hospital, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was abandoning you. Even though I wasn’t. And you wouldn’t care even when you were alive. (You always happily walked away with them without even looking back.) I didn’t want to leave you. But I don’t think you care either way. More accurately, I didn’t want you to leave me. But you did, and there’s nothing I could do.

You brought me such joy that I never could imagine. I don’t understand why I bratty little thing can mean so much to me. You understand hand gestures/what we want you to do, but you only do it if you feel like it. You don’t like being touched, but when we seem to have forgot about you, you would walk over and demand some rubbing. I really really hope you enjoyed the three years you were with us. We really tried to make sure you’re happy and comfortable.

Miss you so much

When I was in the bathroom, I remembered you’d poke your nose in, push the door wide open. You might even walk in, make your rounds, barely acknowledge my existence. It was kind of a nuisance but of course I secretly took it as your wanting to check up on me (even if it most likely wasn’t.) I would tap the door close once you’re in the bathroom with me and you would try to use your nose to nudge the door open. So cute.

2016/17 First Look

The Wiki

9/12 DWTS
9/19 Kevin Can Wait
9/19 The good place
9/20 Bull
9/21 Speechless
9/22 Notorious
9/22 The Pitch
9/25 Secrets and Lies

10/2 Madam Secretary
10/3 Conviction Hayley Atwell
10/3 Timeless
10/27 The Great Indoors
10/27 Pure Genius

Time After Time
The Mick
Shots Fired
1/7 Emerald City


Somehow the title of the novel was not at all appealing to me. That’s why I hesitated to open it even though I’ve had the book for a while. (I don’t even remember what prompted me to get the book. It must have had come up as a recommendation based on a book I read previously.) But I was desperate.

The book was easy to read. I wouldn’t call it a page turner, but it kept me interested and engaged. The story was like a neat little puzzle, while the “mystery” was not the point, where the pieces come together nicely one by one throughout the story.

It bugs me a little bit how every little piece fits perfectly in the story. I cannot shake that feeling, even though I kept telling myself that it’s the point of fiction. Nevertheless, it’s very enjoyable.

It’s been a week since I finish Imagine Me Gone. While I’m still trying to digest it and hopefully write something coherent about what I think and, more importantly, how it made me feel, I’m on a quest for the next book to read. It shouldn’t have been difficult. I have, already in my Kindle, over 100 samples of books which, at one point or another, look appealing to me. I also have over two dozen books that I intended to read.

First, I turned to Jade Sharma’s debut novel Problems . I finished the entire sample and I felt like I can definitely continue to read it, but I’m not convinced that I want to delve into a novel about addiction. Moving on, I came to Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups. However, the characters seem unrealistically quirky, and I had no patience to even sit through a softball game at an engagement party, even though the opening of the book was great — “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” I opened Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, but as soon as I realized it is set in WWII, I retreated. Then I unwittingly stumbled upon The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I didn’t realize it’s yet another book set in WWII because it started off with cheesy plot device — pretend to set the stage in the late 90s, fabricate a scenario that creates a question intends to hook and throw you into a “flashback”. However, it was not the fact that the main story is set in WWII that turned me off. The way the characters are portrayed is like a teenage girl’s attempt of a romance novel, affecting her non-existent knowledge of the world and human.

And then we came to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I don’t remember why I got this book. Either a personal recommendation, which I doubt, or it is a “you might like this as well” suggestion by GoodRead or Amazon based on the other books I liked. I did not have high hopes because I did not particularly like the title of the book. But I was drawn in faster than I could imagined. It’s very likely because the novel seems to be about books and book loving people.

I think I’m happily settled for a while.


So I’ve started listening to Cortex (after Daniel started to re-listen to it and Hello Internet), because now I do want to manage my monkey better and through that, live a better life. The first few episodes inspired me to rearrange my iPhone icons. It was long overdue. I was periodically organizing it to make sure it has some sort of logic, and when I downloaded a new app, I’d try to put it in a logical place. However, after a few strikes of laziness, it got out of hand and I stopped trying.

And this is what happened: (Grey might have an heart attack. Daniel almost did.)

I don’t even know when and why Pinterest, an app that I barely use, ended up on the first page. That is probably why I could never, really NEVER, find it. It has no place on the first page! (It still took me more than 10 seconds to find it on the above image as I write this.)

I started to reorganize it and try using folders. I used to hate the ideas of folders on iPhone. The only 2 folders I had, which were on the very last page, are games, which I’m trying not to play, hence hidden, and Apple stuff that I cannot remove. I didn’t start out with a clear rule of arrangement and no specific/tangible end goal, except for making it look nicer and make my workflow more efficient. Daniel disapproves. Therefore, now I’m trying to think about it more.

It is indeed very difficult.

Currently, I define my pages as: constantly used, frequently used, and rarely used but because I don’t remember their names so I don’t want to uninstall them and not being able to reinstall them when I need them. Because of these three categories, I have three pages instead of two even though I can really fit everything into two. Putting the Obsessions (Facebook, PTT, Plurk, VK, reddit, twitter) into a folder is me trying to break the established neuro-pathway where my finger autonomously taps on them whenever I find myself with one minute or two (sometimes even less) of “spare time”. I didn’t really obsess over vk, reddit or twitter, but having a folder with only 3 apps is an abomination to me, so I brought them in.

Now I don’t know what else to do.

The central idea of Grey’s home screen arrangement principle that Daniel is advocating for is easy access for important apps and search for the rest (which neatly reside in a folder). I couldn’t get behind the idea initially because, to be honest, I never used the search function and the thought of training myself to adopt a new behavior is unthinkable. But I think the argument is legitimate — anything that is not on the first page usually cannot be instinctively and instantly located, and therefore, instead of wasting brain juice (albeit a few seconds), one should just search for it when needed. I figured out how I can get to the search bar (while talking to Daniel to exhibit how I really don’t ever use that function) and I’m getting used the idea of searching. Now my phone looks like this. We’ll see how it goes.

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