on the occasion of bluishorange.com’s 10th birthday, a list of things about 31-year-old me that would surprise the hell out of 21-year-old me

ye olde fish in a blender

ye olde fish in a blender

Dudes, bluishorange.com is 10! I’ve been running this motherfucker ever since February 23, 2000, when I didn’t have any lunch money. Why didn’t I bring lunch with me that day? Why didn’t I go out and buy some food with my bank card? Hell, that office was a whole 10-minute drive from my then-apartment, so why didn’t I just go eat at home? These are questions for the ages, my friends, and we’ll probably never know the answers.

Anyway, here it is, a list of things about 31-year-old me that would surprise 21-year-old me:

  1. I have not become a professional writer.
  2. Not being a professional writer does not bother me too much.
  3. Not being famous does not bother me too much either.
  4. I knew how to sew, knit, make jewelry, and do a whole host of other craft-related things. If you name it, I can probably figure out how to make it.
  5. I have not even moved to another state, let alone another country.
  6. I am still a damn web designer.
  7. I went to my 10-year high-school reunion and didn’t hate it.
  8. I own and know how to operate a very nice digital camera, and have been paid for doing so.
  9. I own and know how to operate a chihuahua.
  10. I drove all the way around the United States. With the chihuahua.
  12. I recycle.
  13. My diet consists mostly of vegetables and not pasta flavored with packets of gelatinous cheese-like goo.
  14. And yet I’m 30 pounds heavier now than I was then.
  15. I have been to jail.
  16. I have been to Ecuador.
  17. This website is still here.

Or maybe the things that would not surprise 21-year-old me are more interesting:

  1. I am not married.
  2. I do not own a house.
  3. I do not have any children.
  4. It is still very important to me to have a job in which the main goal is not selling people mass-produced stuff they don’t need, or trying to convince them that they need more stuff.
  5. I’m still sporting more than one hair color at any given time.
  6. I have not removed any of my piercings.

To celebrate this dubious milestone, I’ve gathered some of my favorite posts into a best-of category. And here’s another thing that might have surprised 21-year-old me: looking through my archives to find those posts was difficult.  Looking through my archives is always difficult, really.  They’re a record of all the stupid things I’ve done and ill-advised decisions I’ve made and people I wish I hadn’t hurt and people I wish I’d never met in the first place. One’s twenties is the appropriate time for such things to take place, but mine are chronicled on the internet! For everyone to read about in often-cringeworthy prose!

See, 21-year-old Alison? It’s a good thing you’re not famous.

i thought my life would be different somehow

I turn thirty-one tomorrow. Tonight I vacuumed my apartment, washed the dishes, dusted the furniture, dyed my hair, painted my toenails, and put all my clothes away. I was thinking about what it was like when I was a kid and I would always feel different on my birthday.  I would wake up on May 6 feeling as though some subtle thing about me had changed overnight. I wasn’t nine anymore, I was ten, and that meant something.

I miss that feeling. Maybe waking up to a clean apartment and pretty red toenails is the next best thing.

These days I have a hard time focusing on the good things in my life. I have a great apartment, an adorable dog, good friends and family, a job, a car that works, a city in which I finally feel at home. I can make almost anything that doesn’t involve welding or a saw, my hair looks great, and sushi is readily available.  These are things I need to remember.

Oh, nine-year-old website, what will I do with you?

didn’t you used to be bluishorange

It comes as no surprise to me that it is Ernie Hsiung who has said exactly how I feel about this website right now.  After all, our websites grew up together:

In another world and time, 8Asians.com would have no ads and would be similar to what my blog used to be – completely ad free.

What killed this?  Jealousy.  Jealousy in that you see other people around you doing similar stuff, and then you meet them at parties or social gatherings and they’re like, “I just booked a sponsor for $1,000 and I’m going to hang out in Asia for a week [true]” or “I just scored a sweet book deal with Random House and I’m only 20! [also true]”  And you think your self, “girl, you’re like twelve years younger than me.  Where’s my thousand bucks and book deal?”

And then you realize to your horror that you had a pretty successful site that has been around for years, and apart from random strangers recognizing you from Florida you don’t really have anything to show for it, besides your dad pissed that you’ve written about his business for the Internet to see.  If my dad is going to be pissed at me, I might as well cash out from it.

Maybe that will change if I suddenly get laid off or fired, and free time is ample; but I feel like as I’m getting older I’m less creative, less funny and instead of having kids or a partner to spend it with, here I am, trying to do the hustle.

I don’t technically think that I have NOTHING to show for this website. It’s gotten me friends and dates and jobs and skills and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  But sometimes I look at the nearly nine years of writing and photos and miscellany I’ve put on this site and think, WHERE HAS IT GOTTEN ME, REALLY.

I’m currently dating a guy who doesn’t read my website. At all. Has never been to my website as far as I know. Doesn’t follow me on Twitter. Doesn’t look at my photos on Flickr. Doesn’t read my secret LiveJournal. And you know what? It’s nice. He’s the first guy I’ve dated in a long time who didn’t fall for me on the internet first.

The other night I was telling him some story or other about myself, one of those stories I almost always tell to people I’m getting to know. I was halfway through when I realized that in the weeks I’ve known this guy, I’ve never, EVER needed to preface a story with “I wrote about this on my website at some point,” and watch for his reaction to see if he remembers reading it so I can tell the short version, the way I’ve done with so many people over the years.

It’s nice, is all.