hamster generator


What mean teacher would give this student a C? This is brilliant!

Oh and if your hamster is bent in a backwards C shape in its wheel like the one in that article, your wheel is WAY too small for the hamster!

thanks for the link Calvin.


I heard about the AZN television network from my various APA mailing list and I've been watching it on channel 69 here where I am. I have to admit I didn't have high hopes after seeing a couple of the other attempts at Asian American TV programming that were just plain cheesy. But I've had this channel on for the last few hours and I can't stop watching. There was some show with "Jim and James" that cracked me up. They remind me of my friend Dan back home. Super funny guys. Before that there were some interviews with some local APA arts groups here in SF like Locus Arts and Bindlestiff Studios. It's kind of funny because a woman I had coffee with from Hyphen Magazine was the one being interviewed. It was also interesting to see some of the performers because I'm on the mailing lists for all these groups but can never make it out to check them out because many of their events take place in the early evenings when I'm working or during rush hour. After that there were some interviews with APA rappers and dancers.

Now it's back to Jim and James asking an acupuncterist if he only "gives it" or if he "takes it" too. I'm impressed by the talent on their Egg program (really relaxed, really natural...unlike StirTV eeek sorry dudes, I couldn't stand watching Stir and the web site was even worse -- since when is favourite clothes an important part of a host's bio and educational/professional background not?!?). Stir still airs on AZN. Anyways, I found the production of the other stuff I saw on AZN really professional. Not too many of the I-just-wannabe-like-MTV style cuts or the amateurish, non-moving camera or excessive zooming/extreme close-up type productions.

I just have to remember to tune in on Monday nights for the films. Hooray for AZN.



I just got an email from the office of International Programs at my school


*** Many opportunities to intermingle language with community activities.
=== Compliments of the Edge Campus Ministry ===
& Covenant Presbyterian Church community
I can't begin to explain how much it angers me when Christian churches trick people into coming to their church. They also host a free "welcome dinner" for unsuspecting international students. Kinda like when girls at my undergrad university would tell me they love my shoes or something I'm wearing and then proceed to invite me to their bible study group. Stop fucking with me! Did you *really* like my shoes or did you just bear false witness against thy neighbour? Huh?

If people want to find Jesus I'm sure they will head to the nearest church. They're everywhere and there's no mistaking those little (or sometimes large) buildings with the cross structure up top. These aggressive recruitment campaigns just piss me off. I have a right not to have people approaching me. I get enough yahoos at school walking around with clipboards and flyers trying to shove their cause down my throat.


I just realized that I'm gonna need a way to keep track of what the hell I'm doing each day and I killed the batteries on two PDAs last school year which leaves me with none. Actually two of my laptop batteries went all to hell too. I have bad chemistry with batteries but I don't like doing things on paper. Daytimers were so early 90s (and heavy).

Ideally I'd have a Treo or something of the sort with the camera, phone, PDA in one. Preferably with wifi so I can walk around campus connected. Preferably not something running on that God awful Palm OS that has shown zero innovation over the last 6 years. I was shocked to see nothing had changed from my Palm IIIx (which I sold because the screen was garbage) to the Sony Clie (which has a dead battery). Unfortunately the good shit costs a minimum of $200 used and I don't have that kinda cash. Suggestions anyone?

I've given up taking my laptop to campus because, well, the battery is fucked so I have to tote around the power cord and, secondly, because it hurts my back and neck to haul all that shit the 6 blocks I walk to campus from my car.



Big day tomorrow. It's the first day of school. I have no classes but I'll be running a Writing Lab in my department again and TAing a Social Issues in Communication course with an instructor who plans to explain the link between media studies and masturbation. Should be a fun semester despite the fact that the class has 75 students. I hope to hell I don't have to grade ALL the papers.

I've been having a hard time getting to sleep lately even though it's never really been a problem before. I need to re-train myself to make midnight my bedtime so I can get shit done in the mornings before I have to head to school or get to work on my thesis/reading. Like ship out stuff I sell on eBay. My leather Claiborne purse went for a disappointing $5.50 (before shipping which I charge $6 for). At least it didn't go to that moron who asked me to stop the auction early for her so she could win the purse to match her outfit. Oh well, a little cash in my PayPal account is better than giving all my stuff indiscriminately to Goodwill.

Oh yeah, our Toastmasters area contest is now 10/1 which means I can attend and I can also make it to TO for Simon's cousin's wedding on 9/17. Wedding #5 of the year that I'll be attending. Tasha and Sheldon's will be #6 in October (YAY Banff!!). Got a cheap $353 flight to TO but I'll be spending a third of my trip on the damn airplane -- total of about 16 hours roundtrip for a Friday to Sunday trip. I hate flying. I don't know how you people more than 5' tall can stand it.


sitcom moment

We had a weird sitcom moment last night. But I'll have to give some background first. When I was little I was watching something like Growing Pains or Family Ties with my parents and I asked why the characters would get up in the middle of the night to make themselves a sandwich. And since it's a sitcom, often another family member would join him/her so that a dialog could ensue. Well my parents responded that it's a white people thing to get up from sleep in the middle of the night to make a meal, sorta like how they wear shoes in the house and we don't. "OK," I thought to myself as I stored that away in my memory.

So last night we went to bed around 2am, which is getting to be the norm, in fact it's almost 2 now dammit. I could not sleep for the life of me because I was thinking about my Toastmaster's speech contest and what I should talk about. I was also kind of hungry even though we had a kick ass dinner at a new Greek place by the Albertson's here. I tossed and turned and heard Simon tossing and turning too. At 4am he got out of bed and went downstairs. I didn't hear any typing so I knew he wasn't taming his servers at work. Then I smelled food so I headed downstairs. Very much a sitcom moment except there were no sandwiches. Simon was slurping up a bowl of udon with chili bamboo shoots and I heated up a big bowl of Thai curry chicken. That helped me sleep even though I woke up this morning with some bad heartburn. Maybe I should've made a sandwich.


ebay morons

So I got my order 16 tank tops from a merchant on eBay. Bunch of trendy Forever 21 style disposable tops to wear out. $55 including shipping is about all it costed me. I have no shame, I'm poor as hell and I'm no label whore. In fact, if I had more skill and time, I'd make all my clothes myself. Actually I did sew about 5 skirts while I was in Vancouver including the one I wore to DQ's wedding. Anyways, one of the tops was defective so I emailed the guy who was very nice and offered to send a replacement. He didn't have the exact top that was defective so he sent a photo of another one. It was one of the ones in the lot that I received already. Wouldn't you think to check that?

Then second email he sends a photo of this orange and black floral shirt that looks like it came straight from hell, then asks my size. First I mention I don't like the shirt but why is he asking my size? I just ordered 16 shirts from him in small. Is that so hard to figure out?

I'm also selling a purse on ebay right now. Another one. My Kenneth Cole one sold for $23 but I STILL have not received payment grrrr. Anyways, so someone emails me to say that the purse matches an outfit perfectly so she needs it and asks if I'll end the auction at her bid for her. She has a really good rating and promises to paypal immediately. I respond by telling her that if the price is right, then I'll consider it. I'm thinking if it's a big number it's better to get it to her than to someone with a poor rating who doesn't pay at all. She emails back saying "thanks~ but i was referring to opening bid. :) there really arent that many pics of it, like the inside."
OK, moron, there ARE pictures of the inside, if you are so unsure, why did you contact me to end the auction for you? Secondly, why the hell would I end an auction at the opening bid of $1.99 just so you can match your stupid outfit? Do you understand the concept of how an auction works? Bidding to drive up the price for the seller? I don't owe you any favors!


bad questions

As I've written before, it's about that time . Do or die as they say. When you get to your late 20s and early 30s the pressure is on to, you know, that M word. I get a slight pang of nausea thinking about it actually. Ironically, it also seems to be a time of changes and, oftentimes, turmoil. Let me give some examples.
- Within the last 3 months, five of my friends have ended medium to long term relationships.
- Another friend who's been with her guy for 8 years is in a rather bad situation that she needs to escape.
- And about 3 years ago, another friend ended a relationship after 7 years.
- Two years back, yet another two friends were unexpectedly let go just as they were contemplating proposing.
- And last year, another friend moved out of her bf's place after 4 years.
- I also personally know of someone who announced that their wedding was off a couple weeks before the big day.
- And now a repeat of that (read the 8/17 post).

So what does this all mean? I dunno. That's tough to answer, but all I can say is there's a few questions you should never ask:

1. If you see a friend/acquaintance sans partner at social outings a few times in a row, don't take it upon yourself to ask where so-and-so is. Just don't, not even for the sake of small talk or conversation. The chances are they might've broken up, feel like the world is ending, and they're not ready to make a public announcement of it yet. Just enjoy their company, buy him/her a drink, and don't ask.

2. If you're at a wedding or, hell, any social function, don't ask couples who are dating when they're going to tie the knot. You can pretty much assume everyone in the world has already asked them that a million times, they're sick of coming up with witty answers, and if it's not yet a topic of conversation between them because it's just not time, the question just makes things uncomfortable. Trust me, when someone gets engaged, you'll fucking hear about it. Until then, just don't ask.

3. Finally, if you are asking a SINGLE friend when they're going to get married, you're either an asshole, a complete retard, or a Chinese granny... so just don't.


speech contest

It's speech contest time again at Toastmasters. I entered and took 2nd place at the Area level before for my 2-3 min impromptu speech evaluation. This time I'm thinking to enter the humorous speech contest. This is a hard one because the audience is very diverse, particularly in age, and it's tough to talk about stuff that makes everyone laugh. Any ideas? Contest takes place 9/7.

Humorous Speech - Original humorous speech with theme (no acting or monologue), 5-7 minutes long

Help I need a really good topic!

comment spam

I noticed bloggers on blogger.com are getting attacked with comment spam like this (from Mel's blog)
Anonymous said...

Good one ! Think I'll file this with "Jack's Favorite Blogs" lol--- I'm trying this type of site Texas Holdem Poker Hope this helps !

Trying to be all personal and then ending with/embedding a link to some stupid site for gambling or even vaccuum supplies. Make it stop, it's pissing me off.



Reading my friend's blog reminds me of my own issues with people who don't make an effort. You know those "friends" who don't open evites, don't reply to emails, don't return calls, don't call when they're in the neighbourhood, and generally don't make an effort to keep in touch because they think they've got better things going on in their lives? People like that don't deserve your efforts. We lead busy lives and my philosophy is to cut bait with people who don't reciprocate. There are some people I once considered good friends. We've taken trips and road trips together and we've never had a falling out of any sort. But they got lazy, anti-social, and selfish, and when they couldn't even make the effort to open an evite or to reply to an email I sent to keep in touch I stopped trying. I later found out a bunch of those folks got married and even had kids in the year or two that we lost touch.

Cut bait, don't look back, keep the good friends you've got. Good friends don't have to be people you see every week or even talk to every month, but wave hi once in a while so I know you're alive and it's all good.

People who don't make an effort eventually find themselves very very alone and sometimes go scrambling around to reconnect when things go to the shitter for them. I have a hard time pretending like things are OK with people like this when they finally come out of the woodwork because they need something from you. All I'm thinking silently is - have you no shame?

dancing shoes

Simon didn't like the swing lessons I dragged him to a couple years ago (too feminine or something he says) but we're going to sign up for ballroom dance lessons. I believe cha cha and waltz are being taught. I don't even know what those dances look like. I was hoping to do salsa but that's on Monday nights and weekday evenings are always too busy. The Foster City Leisure Guide came in this week. Lessons start 9/11 (easy to remember) which is a Sunday. $10 a drop-in. We have a weird feeling the instructor is our neighbour who has a custom license plate that alludes to dance somehow, but I don't remember exactly what it says. He looks like the dancing teacher type.

OK back to watching the assassination attempt episode of West Wing for the third time.


Apparently blogging invites flattery. I got all sorts of flattery in some comments to a recent post here from a guy who is desperate to get people to visit his site and complete offers to help him with that free iPod program.

My xanga page, which is nothing more than a recruiting page for thesis interviewees and a picture of myself, invited the following series of emails:
hi my name is manuel i am a photographer for gente magazine. i would like to
hire u to model for the magazine. how much will u charge
Vanessa Au to mrraider805 More options Aug 11
(4 days ago)
very flattering but i'm not a model. just a scholar
studying the import modeling scene for my Master's thesis.
Manuel Alamillo to me More options 12:08 pm
hours ago)
hi its me manuel again, i would like to photograph you. i
think you will be very perfect for the magazine section i have for you. let
me know.

I don't get it, what's the deal? Gente is some sort of Latino magazine. I'm 5' tall and have the classic ex-gymnast build (ever seen American Gladiators?), though he can't tell from my head shot there. I wonder what it is that this guy wants. I bet he's just another pervert posing as a photographer who takes nasty pictures to wall paper his room with. Move along Manuel, there's plenty of girls out there who'll fall for this but hell will freeze over before I get sucked into something this stupid.


busy busy

So I forgot to mention that on Thursday I was offered a second job at school. Yay! The pay sucks as usual since the CSU system pays its TAs and GAs way the hell less than the UC system TAs (and we don't get tuition waivers or free health insurance like they do), but any money is welcome money. Espcecially since I had just that day contacted my prof/graduate coordinator to offer to TA pro bono for him just to beef up my CV with more teaching experience. So now I get that experience and a pay cheque for assisting with Media and Social Issues course in addition to my job as the writing lab instructor. This is totally going to get in the way of working on my thesis and Phd applications but I'll have to make it work.

Friday night, we headed out to the San Mateo County Fair. I've never been and thought it'd be a fun way to spend an evening since we don't usually do much on Fridays but lay around and watch a movie at home. We met up with everyone, had some turkey leg, a beef sandwich, some garlic fries, beer, and funnel cake and then headed over to watch the hypnotist show. I've seen this type of show before in Vegas and this one didn't quite wow the crowds so much. His volunteers were mostly in the 13-15 age group and far too self-conscious to be suseptible to suggestion. He ended up with about 2 who seemed genuinely hypnotized and one of the two was an older lady. It got pretty chilly out so we toured the petting zoo, arts and crafts, and the area where people sell stuff. It's pretty much a scaled down but more expensive version of Vancouver's PNE or Toronto's CNE. We headed over to Stinger for a few drinks which, for Simon and I, turned into a few drinks too many after taking those last two shots with the bartenders. Someone, I don't recall who, suggested we go to IHOP where I put away a basket of deep fried cheese sticks. They were actually pretty awful, much worse than the homemade ones I concocted for our turkey fryer party if I do say so myself. They also did nothing to sop up the alcohol because the next day I was hurting bad. No pilates class for us. A small meal at home and a slow painful stroll through Target to get some necessary household goods before heading out to my friend DQ's wedding.

Wedding was at Koi Palace and the food was awesome. (Congrats again Dennis & Kim!) We were a half hour late due to hangover sluggishness but the show didn't get on the road until 2 hours after the designated start time (not really sure why), but really the food was worth the wait. It was nice to see some folks I hadn't talked to in a while. Too bad stupid me brought a camera with no compact flash card in it. Anyways, somehow the party wrapped up by 11pm or so and we didn't have any plans so we decided to check out this place that Denny keeps talking about - Lucky Chances casino in Colma. He goes there for the food but we were too full to try it. Still, we had to see the place since we were in the neighbourhood. The parking lot was full so we opted for the free valet parking. We took a few steps inside and I could feel the tired eyes of all the Asian gamblers turn in our direction. We were a little out of place in our post wedding get up and I swear to you the place was sketchier than an after party in Vancouver's Chinatown at 5am. I was just waiting for some Vietnamese dude to yell doh mah and a Chinese guy to respond with lay say pook kai and maybe deliver a few random bullets across the room. That didn't happen but still I was not feeling at ease at this place. We walked around and observed people playing strange games with dice and dominos that we'd never seen before and trust me Simon is no gambling rookie. We watched the Texas hold em tables for a while before we decided it was time to head home.

Oh yeah, Simon has been really diligent about updating his blog lately. And Herman started one too.



I actually went out for once on a Thursday night (although, admittedly, I volunteered to be the designated driver so it wasn't all that wild). Denny was planning on going to popscene at 330 Ritch with some coworkers. They bailed so it ended up being just Denny, Shannph, Simon and I. Denny mentioned it'd be British pop so I was there in a heartbeat. The web site promised a variety melancholic melodies from the likes of the Cure (my personal favourite), the Smiths, Charlatans UK, Depeche Mode, Ride, Stone Roses and many more. This is pretty much all I listened to from grades 8 through to, well, occasionally today with the addition of Canadian band Grapes of Wrath, which I played to no end and still do when Simon isn't around to complain about my "suicide music". I have to say it was REALLY weird to hear these tunes at a club and trying to dance to it. That kinda music was something I tended to listen to in solitude while weeping quietly in my room and writing bad poetry lamenting the angst that was teenagehood. Ah, those were the days. *sigh* So tonight they played one Cure song, a couple Smiths, and a mix of some Bjork and John Lennon. The rest I wasn't so familiar with, perhaps some selections from some indie bands as well like they promise on their flyer. It was a fun crowd. I never knew you could dance to the Cure until now and there isn't really a particular way to dance to this stuff, you just sorta do. Will definitely go back.



Posting that one purse on Ebay has been a huge time suck. Not just because I keep checking for bids and watchers but because I've gotten into the habit of looking for cheap stuff. I learned that people are selling "lots" of items e.g. lot of 15 tops for $29 (so far) and they're all really cute things. So now I'm "watching" 12 auctions, a couple of them ending today. As a result I find I'm structuring my day to make sure I'm home by my computer when the auctions end. You think that's bad? A while back I cured myself of my obsession with checking the "free stuff" category on Craigslist and the clearance section on Amazon, but with all this Ebay activity I've gotten sucked back into that behaviour as well. Did I mention I don't even have money to buy anything? I'm heading to campus today to hand over the last couple thousand dollars I need to fork out for my graduate education. Good thing the kids start school next week so I can get back to tutoring. I sure need the money.


my deal of the day

My printer quit on me as soon as I clicked to print my proof of repatriation and evacuation insurance. Out of ink again thanks to the 20-30 page papers I have to print for school. So I dug into my bulk mail for those email notices from Carrott Ink and Myinks.com to see what specials they had going on. Carrott Ink had my cartridges (Canon s600, the best and most economical printer ever going strong at 5 years old) for $7.95 each (MSRP $11.95).

MyInks.com has a 20% off sale and free 10 sheets of photo paper with every purchase and free shipping with $50 purchase. OK so the $50 minimum is hard to reach, especially when everything is 20% off prices that are already about 1/2 off MSRP but I bought the value pack of 9 assorted cartridges and added a few more colour ones to meet the $50 minimum. After all was said and done, my cartridges costed about $4.45 each, got the free photo paper, and my free shipping. At a real store I wouldve paid around $10 a cartridge. Shitty thing is I have a LOT of cartridges now but if my little printer keeps performing the way it has the last 5 years, things will be just fine. I *heart* my Canon S600.

OH and speaking of deals, Simon got a 4 motor massage chair online from Amazon for around $80, free shipping. Those things are usually several hundred to several thousand bucks. Can't wait til that comes in!


cleaning house

I designated today my deal-with-stuff-I-hate-dealing-with day, which means calling big companies and sitting there on hold waiting to deal with administrative crap like finding out why my health insurance premium went up, asking how to get a smaller premium, and getting my proof of insurance faxed to me so I can register for school. I also worked on sumbmitting a proposal to present a paper at a media studies conference, reformatting my laptop and trying to figure out where/how to get the cheapest repatriation of remains/evacuation insurance (again to lift my hold on school registration). What that means is I need insurance to pay in case I die and need my remains autopsied, put in a box, and shipped back to Canada. Nice huh? That took a couple phone calls to Student Health Services and getting put on hold and passed on to other people's voicemails just to find out that no one knows the url of the online insurance dealer recommended to me last year by a woman who no longer works at my school. The only thing I hate more than talking on the phone is being put on hold or forwarded to people's voicemail boxes.

After that I paid some bills online, checked my account status, double checked some credit card statements, shredded a pile of credit card offers, started working on my tutoring/work schedule for Fall, and looked up call numbers for some recommended reading that my thesis committee gave me during my thesis proposal meeting. I guess this is the kinda stuff that rich people get their personal assistants to do for them. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I were paid to deal with this crap but I don't. Anyways, I ended my day with a post on eBay. Gotta do some Spring/Summer cleaning around here. I'm going to see how the sale of this goes before posting my other stuff.

Work done on my thesis and Ph.D. applications zero.


annoying gym people

I headed up to the cardio room to do some running after my pilates class this afternoon. This new member, I could tell because she was sporting one of the athletic club T-shirts they're giving away to the new members, got on the elliptical with her CD walkman and started SINGING. And, no, not quietly to herself but loud so the whole fucking room had to listen to her. Then this other woman got on the seated bike machine and within 2 minutes tried to flag down a guy who was leaving the room but he didn't hear her. Another woman leaves (probably because that bitch who was singing next to her) and the lady on the bike successfully flags her down and orders her to tell a staff member to turn down the A/C because it's blowing in her face. How about getting off your fat ass and getting the staff member yourself? It's not like she logged any more than 2 minutes on that machine. The staff member makes his way over there and says "turn down the A/C? Well it would turn down the vents for the whole room, not just the one facing you." From the back of the room I couldn't hear the words they exchanged after that but the staff member went to the dial, turned down the A/C and then went to the back of the room to turn on the fans for everyone else. That selfish bitch. She could have just moved her ass to the next bike over, the one not directly in front of the vent. As if that weren't enough, she then asked the guy to change the channel on ALL 3 TVs. Seriously, WTF??



I'm so excited, we found some great deals on flights to Calgary for a wedding we need to attend in Banff in October. Cheaper than flying to Vancouver, although every destintation seems to be cheaper than Vancouver lately. We're going to arrive on a Saturday evening, attend the wedding Sunday, then hopefully not be hungover so we can see some sights on Monday before flying out that evening. Anyone have any suggestions for what to see? The Banff hotsprings is open til 11pm and looks like a good bet for the night we arrive. I haven't been to Banff since I was 3 so I don't remember the trip at all. Man, I love it when people have destination weddings so we have an excuse to see someplace new. My last "someplace new" trip was Cabo San Lucas in March. Hopefully at some point I can save enough money to go to Australia or Asia. A second trip to Europe would be great too.


highlights - Jane's and Joe's visit

Here's the pics from Jane's and Joe's surprise weekend visit. They came, they shopped, they ate. Good times! Aside from that I think their goal for the weekend was to wear as much green as possible hehe.

Jane and Joe arrive in Foster City Sunday 6:57am after a 16 hour over night drive from Vancouver

After sleeping in until 1pm, they replenish with pho at Marina Plaza

We head up to Union Square after lunch where, uh, they eat again

The next day we had lunch at In and Out in Mountain View en route to Gilroy to shop

And in Gilroy, more eating! This time garlic fries.


Wow what a weekend. We thought it'd be a quiet one because Simon was a bit sick so we stayed in on Friday and watched The Life Aquatic. One of those boring movies that is supposed to be subtle in its humour in a clever sort of way but I didn't find it clever, funny, or remotely interesting for that matter. Saturday night we stayed in again and I made some jewellry and stuff but at around 8pm I got a call from my friend Jane from Vancouver. She announced that she and my friend Joe were in Portland and were en route to San Fran to visit. They mentioned something of the sort but I thought they were joking. Sure enough they arrived 7am Sunday morning (It's a 16 hour drive Vancouver -> SF). They had pulled an all nighter. They slept that morning and then in the afternoon we headed to Union Square. Went out for dinner that night in Palo Alto and then to Gilroy the next day to finish off their whirlwind visit. Luckily they have much to show for their short time here. They scored some great deals at Macy's and at the Gilroy outlets e.g. $17 Calvin Klein jeans and $9 Banana Republic skirt. I thought I was impulsive once when I turned a day trip in Seattle into an overnighter so we could go to a party that night. Trekking all the way to SF though is a different level all together.

So back to normal life now. I kinda feel inspired to do some sort of barely planned road trip on impulse but it probably won't happen. Ah well. My next big decision right now is whether or not to spend $9.99 on one of those Entertainment Coupon Books because that's how much they cost when the whole thing expires Nov 1. Regularly they're $25. I figure we order some $6 movie tickets and get a 2 for 1 dinner and it breaks even. Hmmm... OK gotta go buy groceries and prep for Toastmasters. My turn to speak, I'm going to do a cooking demonstration (speech #3 advanced manual - The Demonstration Talk).