Last day of September

Is not September 31st. But I do wish it has 31 days like October or December.

Rather unfair, wouldn’t you say?

That makes my remaining days in LA about one day shorter.

I never think it that way early in my journey in the US. Reaching the end of this chapter, I want the time to slow down, to freeze.

“With your experience in America, you would do great back in China.”basically summarizes what everyone has been telling me thus far.

I wonder how much of it is sugar-coated encouragement given how much confidence they have in my capacity, to which I know I deserve.

I have been driving myself crazy about my future back home, as if I have a much better idea if I still got to stay in LA.

Here is something I’ve realized: I’ve been a pessimist since I got to America. With every hope, my reaction is: Really? Are you sure?

Even when I landed the ‘dream job,’ the looming fear had been: when I would be let go. Until I was. A nightmare came true, more or less.

I’ve been guilty of tracking the subscribers as if it’s an arms race against the likes of Tim Ferriss. I was so upset when I found out that the first day playbacks has dropped significantly with the last episode, largely because the freshness has worn off amongst my families and friends. Or that my blogs don’t get enough reads.

Honestly, I feel the resistance, daily and hourly. The snarly voice [Think: Brett Kavanaugh, or Lindsey Graham] nags in my head, “So what? You ain’t no writer. Get out of my lawn.”

With that in mind, I’ll keep showing up here, with my blogs and my podcasts just to show Brett and Lindsey are very, very wrong.


Yours truly,

The rest is history

I just saw off my friends, the couple who let me stay at their apartment for my last month here in LA.

By the time they are back in mid-Nov, I’ll be long gone.

They’re going to East Coast for a long business trip. They wanted me to stay longer so I could say goodbye to them after they are back.

I couldn’t.

Barbara, my friend back in shanghai is leaving for Australia in early November. My student visa may be shaky since I’m not enrolling for any classes. I have to go even though I don’t want to.

Sitting in my friends’ spacious living room, now even more spacious without the two of them and their dawg, I tried to do my daily meditation. I couldn’t. Something stuffed in my chest. My breath has been shallow for the last few weeks for all kinds of reasons.

Today there is something more.

I first met the husband at Trader Joe’s when we were in the queue. I asked him about the LA June Gloom weather. That extended to an half-hour conversation outside the grocery shop until his wife called asking where {on earth} he was.

And the rest is history.


Yours truly,





One word


I’m glad that I get to witness the development of the Kavanaugh hearings before I leave the country.

Quite an eyeopening experience for someone who’s from China.


Yours truly,






All can be achieved in a matter of seconds regardless of the quality in our age.

The other sides don’t need quality.
They want speed.
Because speed equals to attention, which equals to busyness and respect.

But does it really?

I find myself frustrated lately. I keep refreshing my email inbox every 15 minutes right after I send something important to me, which I need an instant yes or no.

Just tell me if you would give me this, or not.

If not, why.

If not now, when.

I drive myself up the wall for what?

After several hours of silence, I decided to do some chores: more packing and cleaning just to get my mind off the things I so wanted instant answers from the people whom I don’t have a) power over; or b) control over.

I got a lot done. By now, I’m quite happy for today’s accomplishment.


Yours truly,


RBYZ: Hollywood Inside Out (#005)

If you were born into a Hollywood family, would you do anything else other than film?

My guest this week is an aspiring visual artist. Last year, she quit her job, traveled around half of the globe for four months before moving back to LA, starting afresh.

Her bio is quite unique—

I can write upside down and backwards; I always say hi to left-handed people; I helped dress the models at the Elie Saab Summer ’06 Couture Show in Paris; Blair Waldorf wears a headband I made when she says “I love you” to Chuck Bass in Gossip GirlI have a pretty good relationship with my cell phone and technology; and I love reading children’s books as an adult.

Meet Amee Carter, who dares to differ even it means hitting rock bottom.

What you’ll hear:

  • Is groundedness even possible for someone born in Hollywood?
  • What are the disadvantages to be in the family business apart from its clear advantages?
  • How to look at the world like a production designer?
  • How does she find courage to break out of the familiar world? What’s the drive behind that choice?
  • What does it feel like to have 17 home bases in four countries in a year?
  • How not to be fazed working with the greats? What’s the advice?

It’s not about you. It’s about the work.

Links from the episode:

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic


Yours truly,

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

30 under 30

I decided, out of blue, to check Forbes’ 30 under 30 list.

Well, not totally out of blue…

A young VC and I had a meeting the other day. At the end of it, she asked a very flattering question.

Which year of the 90s were you born?

I felt ambushed and limited.

“90.” I panicked. “How about you?”


Good for you.

Since reviewing every possible category of 30 under 30, I’ve been feeling like shit the whole day today.

I’m 30 already. The next time I might get a slight chance to get on that list is 40 under 40?

Do you ever wonder why Forbes ever makes that list for fuck’s sake? Every year?

To make young people feel inspired, empowered?

But do we? I don’t need to be a man to feel utterly emasculated.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Thanks Forbes.


Yours truly,

The Customs – Part 2

Thirteen boxes are resting at the Shanghai customs.

My parents tried to claim them yesterday. They were told that they would have to pay RMB 200 a piece. And I have 13 boxes there. Feel free to do the math.

But the good news is, they’re in good hands and the customs would keep them safe, and most importantly, free for me until early November. By then, I would already be home.

If I show the customs my entry stamp back into the country, I would get my stuff back  tax-free.

But I would have to pay for the ride from the customs to my Shanghai home. I will need to rent a van and do it all over again. This time with my parents.

Win some. Lose some. All interesting.


Yours truly,

PS. New episode out today. Check it out by clicking here.

The speech diet

Having lived in LA for three years, I don’t even feel {like} using phrases {like} {feel like}.

Or words {like} totally, literally, awesome, amazing, freaking out, Oh My God… Just to name a few.

I made an effort to favor words {like} wonderful, lovely, good…

I was in England for a while. So it wasn’t that difficult.

So what does a Valley girl sound like? Watch this video at 2:30.


My podcast guest this coming Tuesday has a bit of Valleyspeak. I thought about sending her a mixtape of {likes} she’s dropped I’ve cut out to show my {like} for her. That doesn’t sound too {lik}able, does it?

But {you know}, we don’t know what we sound like until we do a taping, until we really listen to ourselves talk.

I’m guilty of {you know} and {hmm}. And I {know} it.

Why do we speak the way we speak?

Why do the Jimmy Kimmels speak the way they speak?

For the rest of us, we are in a rush. We are insecure when we’re put under the spotlight. We assume if we talk slower, people might think we are inarticulate. So we fill the gaps with {like} {hmm} {you know}… as if those words would make us sound smarter.

Any cure?

I went on a speech diet replacing {you know} and {hmm} with…


All I can is this: it {totally} works!


Yours truly,

PS. Stay tuned! New episode coming out tomorrow at 00:00 PST.

The Customs – Part I

Mum texted me that she got notifications. From the Chinese Customs.  Thirteen letters in total.

But you have fifteen boxes, right?


What does it mean? What shall we do?

Calm down.

But my stomach tightened up. I felt queasy already.

Is it the two boxes of books?  My mind starts racing. I have a book about Chiang Kai-shek and two on Soong Mei-ling. I was hesitating whether I should take them with me on the plane when my friend was helping me with the packing.

I asked for his opinion. “Do you know how many packages are coming in and out of your country at any given day? They wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about your stuff. They have bigger fish to fry. Don’t worry about it.”

Let’s see how things would unfold…

One way or the other, the joke’s on me.


Yours truly,


The coolest girl

In the crowd… Do you know one of those girls growing up?

I do.

She has taste. What she throws on is effortless, timeless.

She has brains. What she says is witty, funny.

Everyone wants to be like her. But nobody can but her.

Every girl wants to be her friend.

Every boy wants to take her hand.

But only the lucky fews get to be near her.

That’s the trick. That’s part of the game, the fun, the pain.

She reveals just enough about herself. The best side. The coolest side. The perfect side.

The rest leaves to her fans’ imagination…


When I watched South Korean’s 2011 female friendship movie Sunny,

I knew who I was. Na-mi, the protagonist.

Na-mi got it all. The friendship. The respect. The love. The acceptance.

My own version of the movie would be somewhat different:
I was without the guidance of the coolest girl. Choon-hwa, who’s also as pretty as it gets. Or the accompany of the prettiest girl. Young Soo-ji, who’s also as cool as it gets.
What I got was cold shoulders, the no-response responses…

I couldn’t find myself in any of those happily-ever-after movies. Maybe that’s why I wanted to be a storyteller in the first place…

One day, not too long ago, I got up and a voice whispered in my ears:

Everyone else is taken.

Every other label has been used.

I’ll be myself. Cool or not. Pretty or not.

I’m done pretending. I’m done trying.

I’m just me. Take it. Or leave it.


Yours truly,