I pretty much quit going to DrinkClub almost a couple years back because the music wasn't to my liking and the people I used to go to see also stopped going. The latter was my primary purpose in dragging my ass out every Thursday (aside from when I worked the door for no reason other than to make some cash). Those fine folks I saw each week (Lily, Rich, Denny, Jonathan, Chris, Tan, Joe, Karen, Winston, Shinob, Elton, Jen, etc etc etc) have moved away or found better things to do on a Thursday night and have since been replaced by a homogenous crowd of barely 21 year olds, the guys dressed in black, the girls barely dressed at all. Everyone posing and preening and the ladies sporting the least amount of clothing frequently perched atop some stage or podium gyrating to loud hip hop music while scanning the crowd for guys who might be checking them out.

Still, I try to make it out there for Halloween as the costume contest always makes it worthwhile. I could always count on Denny and friends to come decked out in something outrageous. So last night Simon, Lisa, Shannph and I got dressed up and headed to Loft 11. In we walked and there we were in a room of about 60 people, mostly guys, all dressed in the typical Asian party attire - black clothes. I rejoiced for a brief moment, thinking we'd surely win the costume contest. But common sense kicked in and I realized that there's no way Kelvin would give away a prize only by default. We sat, drank a bit, sat some more, waited to see if anyone from the old crew would show up. No one did. We headed outside to Crepes a Go Go, talked to some admirers of our costumes and then left. I kinda miss having a place where I know all my distant friends and acquaintances will be on a given night. Kinda like Funktion Fridays back in Vancouver. There's no longer a place "where everybody knows your name", a place where I endured music I truely dislike in order to catch up with friends. And I was really disappointed in the lack of Halloween spirit! Are young people too cool to dress up? Maybe it's time to start an unofficial DC alumni lounge night. Someplace quiet where we can hang out, drink and talk.


get me a free iPod!

OK Hougee, I am one of your referers so now I need 5 people to sign up too


according to Wired, it's legit. check the articles on http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,64614,00.html

Just go to the site, pick your iPod, refer 5 friends or send out the url it gives you, then complete one of the sponsor offers. I picked the inkjet one and got the cartridges cheaper than usual (I used to get em with Carrot Ink) and they also put in free blank CDs and free mag subscription to Forbes (well I chose that one because I didnt really want Blender or Bride or Golf).

You might sign up for some junk mail, but that doesnt tend to bug me too much. what bugs me is spam but I'm sure you all have those clever emails for offers like this so that spam gets consolidated there.

crunch time please vote

I can't vote in this country so I figure the least I can do is encourage others to. And it's not an impartial message. I want you to vote for Kerry. I like Nader's ideas and beliefs, but get real. The US is in dire straits, people are at war for nothing, now is not the time to waste a vote on that guy just in an effort to make a statement.

Here's some un/underreported news about the war in Iraq, much of it from recent vets and families of the troops deployed to Iraq. It'll blow your mind. Please read and please vote.

Interview with founder of Iraq Vets Against War
Iraq Veterans Against War Web Site



I think I like Halloween more than I like Christmas. Last year I was an Extreme Makeover contestant (plastic surgery show) and Simon was a surgeon. Before that, priest and molested altar boy, and before that ghost and ghostbuster.

This year's costume is secret, and definitely may not be as comfortable as last year's costume. But we still don't know what we're doing for the evening. We've done the Castro street thing which was fun but chaotic so probably will pass on that this year, despite the new safety measures, bag checks and security. A nice multi ballroom party (i.e. not too crowded) with a bunch of folks around my age in elaborate costumes for $20 or less would be ideal. Suggestions? The Alf and Alf thing at the Hilton is the only one under consideration for now because Mykonos will be spinning.


Jon Stewart media hero

My favorite part of the CNN Crossfire bitchslap from razor-sharp comedian Jon Stewart. Boy did he catch the hosts off-guard. They were expecting him to come in and crack some jokes but were left grasping at straws when Stewart got serious about his disgust with the show and its thinly veiled conservative agenda (what he called "being part of the strategy"). This will be considered a media masterpiece for decades to come.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.
STEWART: You need to go to one. The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...
CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.
STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey. (LAUGHTER)

See it here: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2652831.



I got on icq back in '97 or so, when I was getting on the Internet via SFU's freenet dial up. ICQ was, to my knowledge, one of the first consumer-oriented IM clients (I'm not including IRC and all the stuff that non-technical people had no understanding of) and I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. But after most people made the switch to the faster, lighter Y! and MSN messengers I uninstalled icq. I think, but I'm not sure, that many of my old acquaintances in Vancouver are still exclusively on icq so I just reinstalled it. Low and behold there they are, some of them anyways. But most of my contacts appear to be offline....which leads me to ask, does anyone use this thing anymore? Or have I permanently lost contact with some old acquaintances? I used to use Trillian but it was kind of a bitch, had to install patches everytime Y! changed some settings so it wouldn't log in.


Just read a few chapters from a great book "Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers" by A. Quart (2003). It discusses the duping of teenagers by the MTVs, Abercrombies and other mega corps. Good read, I recommend it.

I would've thought that by now teens would've smartened up and started a massive anti-trend movement but those marketers are just too clever. I'd argue that, in fact, people are being duped even into their twenties, marching around with labels emblazened on their chests, backs and bottoms as if to say, you can tell the kinda girl I am because I wear Juicy. It saddens me that people cannot find a means of constructing an identity without the help of deliberately overpriced brand name goods to tell a story for them. What irks me even more is that what used to be anti-trend and counter culture is also being packaged up and sold. There is some chain store, the name escapes me, that sells all the stuff you need if you want to be a skater, goth or punk. Back in my day, that used to mean removing labels, making your own clothes or buying it from a second hand store. Doing anything to be unique and not getting duped by all the mass identity vendors. But that is no longer, for you can buy yourself an "alternative" identity. In Quart's book she made mention of a couple enlightened teens who have publicly expressed their disgust with the attempts by corporations to buy them. One dressed up as an Old Navy employee and walked around telling all the customers about the child labour that goes into making the merchandise. Another protested their public school's acceptance of sponsorship by McDonalds. If only all young people had the smarts to understand the manipulation.


about nothing much

Friday night and like the last two weeks I'm sitting at home grading papers and surfing Craigslist for free shit. If I were feeling better I'd be at DNA Lounge watching Kaskade spin for $5 (deal or what?). But after triumphantly getting over that "tickly throat, cold coming on" feeling a couple weeks ago, I started getting all drained and headachey again. Time for more ginseng tea and rest.

We were talking about blogging in class the other day. Brent asked, would bloggers actually read to a room full of strangers their innermost thoughts and musings? Probably not, so why do they publish them online? I didn't answer because I didn't really want to reveal my blog to my class but the answer comes from the words of McLuhan himself. The medium is the message. Delivering your thoughts online is quite different from doing it in person. The message is mediated, it's received differently. Reading written work is more personal and thus it seems more appropriate as the sender to share personal thoughts and feelings with an anonymous audience than to stand in at the front of a room broadcasting them verbally. Am I even making sense? I don't know. In any case, I don't really go into anything all that personal on this blog anyways. It's mostly my outlet for ranting, sharing insight (on the rare occasion because I'm not all that insightful) and poking fun. I also think my head would explode if I didn't do this.

Moveon.org Go Game (scavenger hunt) happens tomorrow. I hope I don't wake up sick. Meet us at Medjools in the Mission at 5pm if you want to catch the afterparty and slide show of the event. Our team is called the Canadian BushWhackers and we even have team shirts so you won't miss us.


city stuff

Probably the only good reason I can come up with for living in SF proper would be the many cultural events that take place on weeknights. I just can't free up the time to make it up during the week for film showings and such. *sigh* Hopefully some of you can. Check these out on the Manja site. I think I'll try to get to the Mountain Warriors Asian American Comedy thing and to the Maxine Hong Kingston reading on the Saturday afternoon. (Anyone else wanna come with me?) I'll have to miss all the others. Sucks. There are just no good APA cultural events in the peninsula.


giving thanks

Since it's Canadian Thanksgiving still, you're supposed to give thanks. But for most of the last 5 years I've been more pissed off and unhappy about my life than thankful. Mostly because everytime something good happens, something shitty happens right after. So I'm going to write a smart ass list of things I'm thankful for. Really I'm not this negative in real life (see #3 below).

I'm thankful that:

1. I made a small wad of money on a weird stock option grant 4 years ago that has allowed me to blow it all on my overpriced graduate education now, I'd otherwise be in Vancouver working some shitty job for some shitty software company or not working at all.

2. I can lose weight almost as quickly as I can gain it. I'd otherwise be depressed about how hopeless it is to maintain a decent build made stocky from years of gymnastics. (find one slim ex-gymnast out there, yeah there are none)

3. I can express myself with words. I'd otherwise pent up all my negativity (rather than let it all go here on blogger so I can maintain an outwardly normal demeanor)

4. I don't live at home (ie with parents). I don't think this one really needs explanation. I'm 28 for Christ's sake.

5. I don't currently live in Vancouver where it can rain for 20 days straight (no I'm not joking) which really wears away at my emotional well being.

6. I have a car. I would die if I had to take public transit. I love our environment and do what I can to protect it (but I won't get on a bus with a bunch of stinky crazy people and cranky bus drivers)

7. I am healthy. Except for mild asthma, tendency to get nauseas and allergies to damn near anything that is edible.

8. I am not allergic to alcohol like several people I know. What the fuck would I do if I couldn't get wasted once in a while.

9. I'm not shy. I know people who are and it's a huge obstacle in their lives. Being able to carry on a conversation with strangers is really a life skill, and way more fun than hanging out in the shadows wishing you were invisible.

10. I don't have any handicaps or disfigurements. Near sightedness certainly doesn't count. I saw a guy on Discovery Channel and half his face was basically a huge red mole that kept growing throughout his life. It even changed the shape of his eye, nose and mouth and his bone structure. It would be really hard to live his life.


I was wondering how Bush managed to say all those big words and names without mispronouncing them or garbling the order of his words and changing the meaning of what he intended to say during debate #1. Well now I know. Check out this article on Bush's mystery bulge which appears originally on Salon.com (but requires subscription) so I found it on the Guardian. It's hilarious. I still cannot get over how many people can be duped to support this clown.


Canuck Thanksgiving and baby hams

Simon and his sister rescued a couple baby dwarf hamsters from a pet store today. They asked for baby dwarfs and the person at the store said they don't sell them anymore because they had some that were nasty and bit people. But they had some in the back that some people had dropped off at the store so they got 'em for the price of feeder mice (i.e. snake food), which is what they would've become if they hadn't been rescued.

Just got back from our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner over at Dereck's place. As usual we debated why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving and why we do it earlier than the Americans. As usual everyone seemed more interested in sharing a precious moment in solitude with their Molson's or Labatt's, than in figuring out an answer so I've done some research:

From http://www.thanksgiving-traditions.com/html/canada.html:
The Canadian Thanksgiving makes an interesting counterpoint to the holiday celebrated by its southern neighbor. As mentioned earlier, the first North American thanksgiving event occurred in Newfoundland in 1578. In the 1600s, Samuel de Champlain and the French Settlers who came with him established an “Order of Good Cheer.“ This group would hold huge celebrations marking the harvests and other events, sharing their food with Native American neighbours.

From http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p2614.htm:
The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are more closely connected to the traditions of Europe than of the United States. Long before Europeans settled in North America, festivals of thanks and celebrations of harvest took place in Europe in the month of October. The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts!


slow mo

Friday night and yup I'm at home. It's become a rather comfortable habit. The alternative is typically to be in a crowded bar in semi-comfortable shoes getting drinks spilled on me and losing my hearing as the loud bass chips away at my ear drums. Shit am I ever getting old. But really, I have an excuse for being home. It's midterm grading day tomorrow at my prof's lovely home in Bernal Heights. I have even made a pot of fried rice for the occasion. So much homework to do this weekend but I will have to take a break for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner Sunday night at D's place.

Honestly I think my clubbing days are over (with the exception of a hard core night when a good DJ comes to SF). I like the bar hopping and lounging but even that is getting tired. My ideal evening would be dinner and live theatre, comedy club or out for a film (and I'm not talkin' a Hollywood blockbuster). Even if, God forbid, I ended up living the single life again, I don't think I could do the meeting people at parties thing. I'm just too damn exhausted all the time.


keep your germs to yourself

I feel like shit. My head is in a fog, I'm exhausted and I have that tickle in my throat. And I know it's because sick people have been wandering around spreading their damn germs. You know I don't care about your work ethic and how you want to show the world you are tougher than your cold/flu by coming to work/school when you are sick. You end up touching doorknobs and coughing germs into the air and making people like me sick. People like me who have 10 pages of writing to turn in this week. Damn you! And those of you with children. I see them sneezing into the air or, even more pleasant, sneezing into their hands and wiping it on their pant leg. Keep them at home and away from me!


work area

In response to Lucky Kat and Wilco's recent posts, I am sharing with you the place where I spend countless hours reading, writing papers, blogging and shopping for bargains. I wish I had a work space as big and neatly organized as Lucky Kat's. Mine is rather tight and lacking adequate storage. I also wish I had a monitor setup like Wilco's. This monster of a monitor takes up all my desk space and it's noisy too. I should learn not to stick post its, RX refill stickers and pictures on it. Looks so sloppy. Note the kick ass rice cooker. I took that off a homemade necklace Denny was wearing after some costume night at DrinkClub.

my work area Posted by Hello

play the MoveOn Go Game

Will sent me this and it sounds like fun. It's a Go Game fundraiser for the MoveOn PAC. I didn't know what a Go Game was until I went to the Go Game site. It sounds like some combo of Amazing Race, Bay Area Backroads and The Apprentice all with a cell phone. From the Go Game site:
Teams of 4 to 8 individuals compete with one another to complete missions in the
most ingenious, daring, and creative fashion. These missions are downloaded to
each team's web-enabled cell phone. The mission may be a clue, a creative
challenge, directions to the next event, an engineering problem, a public
display of outrageousness…the list goes on! The answers to the challenges, or
the "Proofs" are created by each team in the form of digital photographs,
digital video, audio recordings and text input.

The MoveOn fundraiser will take place in the Mission district 10/16. I'm going to try to convince Simon to do this. If we can't contribute a vote, the least we can do his help raise funds for anti-Bush awareness.


queen of craigslist

In 2 hours, two of these chairs will be mine, all mine. I cannot begin to describe my talent in finding used treasures and selling my crap on Craigslist. I will soon bid farewell to this piece of shit kneeling chair that I despise so much. I already sold the last one for something like $40 (hey Simon paid a lot for them originally and they sell for $90 online now). Yes he had two piece of shit kneeling chairs. I'm sure they are great for your back and posture but only if you consciously sit up straight as a board. But when you're slaving away at papers for 6 hours or more, ya want something with some back support.

Next goal is to find a chair mat for $5 or less. Bless all of you fine folks at Craigslist! I can satisfy my need to shop with little to no money!

soon to be my chair!Posted by Hello


SF Love Parade

I've never seen so many people rolling in the middle of the day while dancing madly alongside really lame floats on the Embarcadero. It was a beautiful day and a great party. Glad I got out because it doesn't look like we'll make it out tonight. Here's my favourite pic from the event today.

Dog at the SF Love Parade Posted by Hello

And last night, while I planned to watch a old Wayne Wang film, I turned on the TV to PBS Independent Lens and there was a great documentary about an amazing woman I had never heard of. Maggie Kuhn was an activist who fought for peace during Vietnam, for the rights of women and ethnic minorities and every left leaning cause under the sun from the '50s until her death in 1995. In her old age she fought for the rights of older people and told them to take advantage of the freedom they have to speak out without persecution (for the most part). She explained that when you're old, you have nothing to lose and you can say whatever you want. What an amazing woman.



They come and go far too quickly. Staying in tonight while Simon works late on some RFP. Boy do I not miss working late on documents about software bla bla bla. Probably pop in a movie in a few minutes (Dim Sum by Wayne Wang, old indie film I read about and borrowed from the library) before I hit the sack. Going to judge a Toastmasters area competition for the first time tomorrow morning and then hopefully head to the SF Love Parade tomorrow afternoon with the Foster City crew here. A parade of partying, sunshine, electronic music and always the random naked people running around. What could better define this great city. I will miss it so much if/when I ever leave. There just isn't the population, arts/music community or government to encourage or support big events like that in Vancouver (the no fun city). There are street fairs, food fests, comedy fests, film fests, and art and wine festivals galore. Even people who claim they're "too old to go out" have so much to do during the daytime. Been thinking about whether I should/need to move away to do my PhD in 2006 and it pains me to even consider it. Life is too unpredictable to deal with sometimes.