So all the conservatives are happy with this Samuel Alito fellow that Bush brought in to save his rep with the right leaning folks. I find this scary. It's a weird feeling to be scared in the country you are living in, especially when that country is the United States. I never would have predicted feeling this way back in 2000 when I decided to move down here. There sure have been a lot of changes in the past 5 years. I was still living out of a hotel room during the 2000 election, but I sometimes wonder what life would have been like here if Gore had been elected (as he should've been).

my shitty week

So Simon met the new neighbours. They're nice enough apparently, just too stupid to realize a parking stall full of crap is ours and not theirs. Oh and they don't have one screaming child, they have TWINS. Twins who were running around and screaming AGAIN this morning. Oh and my fixed car wasn't so fixed. After getting my master and slave cylinders replaced it still didn't drive right and now it is likely a clutch job, and possibly (if I'm really unlucky) a transmission thing. So I am without car. I cancelled my office hours today and will walk to my tutoring appointments as usual. After that Simon will likely have to work from home at least a half day so I can take his car. This is really a HUGE pain in the ass. In my stupidity I also sent away for a set of GRE scores TWICE by accident. Another $60 down the drain if I can't get them to void the request. Is it my feng shui or what the hell is going on here?


new neighbours

Came home late last night after taking out Simon's coworkers from Shanghai for dinner and drinks. This kept us busy all weekend so we didn't see our new neighbours move in next door. When we came home last night they were parked in our parking stall. It's pretty easy to figure out that this is our stall and not theirs since we have boxes in the parking area, a broom, and pictures of owls that we put up to scare away the pigeons. There is also a big empty stall NEXT TO ours that would belong to THEM. Then this morning I was woken up by a screaming kid running up and down the stairs in the apartment next door. We went out to run errands today and they are now in our parking stall AGAIN. Great. So Simon's about to go knock on the door to tell them to move their damn car. I miss my old neighbours, the friendly quiet husband and wife who had crazy screaming tantrums at 6am. At least that was entertaining. Screaming kids are not entertaining, just really %$#@ annoying.


new blog alert

Just wanted to announce the go-live of another blog. http://www.nilsnet.com/ My pal from NetIQ.

His content is much more intelligent and certainly less whiny and dirty than mine.

Update on my car, it's fixed. Thanks Ron the greatest mechanic in the Bay Area. I spent the day at Simon's office trying to work on my statement of purpose for UC Davis. Unfortunately he took me to Super Taqueria in San Jose for lunch where I ate a super burrito. It weighed about 3 lbs in my conservative estimate. Of course when I see anything stuffed with avocado and carnitas, I can't help but finish it. That led to immediate drowsiness and a complete inability to think. I think dinner will have to be 2 coffees and a salad.


drunken friends

OK so I have to admit I just recovered a little bit from my bad mood by reading Will's blog again for the third time. At least to the part about his drunken rampages.

I also have to share part of an email that my friend who will remain anonymous sent me. This part comes after the part where he describes how plastered he got at a party. Here's when his gf is driving him home.
As Jane was parking she woke me up saying we're almost home; not knowing the car was still moving I opened the door and fell to the ground puking. Jane had to stop the car; carry me up; clean me up; and bring me to the bathroom; then go back and finish parking the car.
Then he recounts the day after. Yes, doing stuff with a mad hangover:
The day had finally started to look brighter when I found a premium parking spot right in front of Julie and Colin's place. The chances of finding such an amazing parking spot on a Canuck's home game night is next to impossible. We stayed at their party for a little while before having to rush out to Tasha's. Going back to the parking spot I realized why I found such a good spot as my car was being towed away. Apparently there's no parking on the street on game night.
Thank you friends for your drunken tales that make me laugh and keep me from listening endlessly to the Cure while counting the reasons why my life sucks more than everyone elses.

bad mood

So it rained today. I fucking HATE RAIN. Sometimes I even hate people who like rain because they probably have never lived in a place where it rains more often than not. So yeah, rain lovers can go to hell, the same place that people who don't NEED glasses but love to wear them also go. So the weather combined with lack of hockey, plus car problems (driving with intermittent access to 3rd and 4th gears SUCKS), plus expecting to unload a lot of money for my car problems and grad school application fees ($60-120 a shot times 13 schools), and topping that off with no Halloween for me is making me very sad/mad or perhaps smad. I'm smad. I think to make things better I'm going to go to my friend's house tomorrow (hooray satellite) to watch the Canucks play the Avalanche and have a beer or 5 to make it feel all better. But right now I need to adjust all the grades from some midterm and finish reading Julie of the Wolves before my student does. So those who have read this book, is it really possible for a human to get all chummy with wolves like that (by emulating their gestures and howls) without getting your face torn off and eaten? For those children who came to this page in error whilst Googling for this novel, I apologize.


no Halloween

All I can say is this week sucks the big one. My car is semi-functional and I have a tonne of shit to do and not enough time to do it and I'll have to miss out on Halloween for the first time in 4 years. Just no time to pull it together this time. All I'm thankful for is that I have a friend who is a mechanic so he doesn't rip me off AND I get a mechanics lesson with every fix. If you need a mechanic in San Jose let me know and I'll give you his info. There is no one I would recommend more. I just wish he didn't live so damn far away. It's a long drive to get there sans 3rd and 4th gears (at times). Stupid slave cylinder.

Oh yeah, so my schoolmates have really worked hard on their vlogs and podcasts on http://www.nooneslistening.org. It's amazing the connections you can hook up when you introduce yourself as an ex-reality show "star." Irene has interviewed Craig from Craigslist and Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia. Pretty cool huh? How they can spend so much time on the production of this and still get through grad school is a mystery to me.


damn nachos

Dcee decided to drive down here from Vancouver (alone) and got here a day earlier than expected so I took a break from my 2nd working weekend in a row to go for a beer at BJs in San Mateo with him, K and G. I had just finished working out (ran my two miles and the gym closed) so I was kinda hungry. But I totally defeated the purpose of my workout by wolfing down most of the nachos I ordered for the group. Dammit. And I have a blood test tomorrow morning that is going to show a hell of a lot of cholesterol. Oh well, I'm helping a friend move tomorrow so I'll try to carry the heavier stuff, or do lunges with the boxes....or wear ankle weights...or something...

I'm just happy that I finished a first draft of the lecture on race and media I'm giving next week and before 3am too. Bonus.

Crap it's been 2 hours since I left BJs and I'm still full. Is there crack in nachos or something? Once I start, I can't stop.



We just got a new member at Toastmasters who came out with us tonight for "post Toasties", i.e. drinks at a local restaurant. We checked out the new BJ's in San Mateo and it was really good. Tasty beer, melt in your mouth pot roast sandwich, and, according to Eva, good dessert. So our new member, originally from India, was telling us that his wife had never done exercise until two years ago when she entered a gym for the first time. Under extreme duress she signed up for a training program for a marathon where you also must raise over $2K for children in India. So that was it, in May of this year she signed herself up and couldn't get out of it. Between May and now she has worked herself up to running 21 miles by following a mentor with a training program. Is that inspiring or what? It almost makes me want to take up running. This past Sunday I ran 2 miles and then walked a half mile. The run portion took me 24 minutes. That already seemed like an awful long time and I ran pretty damn hard considering I suck at this. I think I'll try to work up to maybe 6 miles and make that my goal. I can't understand how people can do anything for 3-4 hours straight. I can't even watch a movie for that long without a break, snack, or nap...or all three.


checking fluid levels for idiots

I've been having troubles gearing down in my car and I get a squeeking noise when I turn my steering wheel all the way so I decided to do some DIY research on how stuff works. First thing to always check are your fluid levels. I am a car maintenance retard, first class. I found these sites pretty easy to follow:

http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/parts/articles/45400/article.html (even has a video)

Also check your belts:

My dad thought my shifting problems might be due to low brake fluid but I checked and it's all there. The squeeking noise is likely a need for a new power steering belt as my power steering fluid is all there too. In any case, I'm taking my car to a kid in my neighbourhood who is a certified mechanic/student/car club founder. I found him on craigslist and he promises to check out the car for free and clutch jobs (God forbid) start at $250 from him which is actually not a bad deal. I'll let you know how the kid works out and post his info if he meets with my approval.


stair treads anyone?

So my dad's retired now except he's still running a small business making and selling custom stair treads made with an aluminum rail, epoxy and silica sand. Anyone need custom treads for their stairs for patios? They come in DIY kits. http://www.grippertreads.com Yes I realize the web site is ghetto and lame and doesn't even have rollovers for links but I built it and I was busy. He has customers in the US and Canada. And please don't mention that you heard about them from this blog. They don't need to know.

I hate drinking

So last night was supposed to be a grad student get together at Miyake's in Palo Alto. Like dinner and a couple drinks. Of course everyone ends up bailing except for the two people whom I would normally go drinking with anyways, oh, and Denny, my friend who has attended more of these functions than most of the students. But whatever. We got the sake bombs rolling before the food came and it started a pretty interesting evening. Most of the folks there were older than the usual Stanford college crowd. Older as in they were more their parents age. Luckily this couple walked in and they looked to be a new couple. You could just see the discomfort and awkwardness in their interactions. So M decides to help their date along by getting them to join in a sake bomb. Unfortunately it just wasn't enough to loosen them up. We observed that the guy was so nervous he couldn't think of stuff to say and just kept scratching his head. His date, well, she couldn't stop talking and it's not clear the guy was really listening. We tried to get them liquored up some more but they left. So much for our good deed. After about 5 or 6 more sake bombs with the table behind us, we headed to Old Pro for a beer tower. On the way there we spotted someone walking their cat on a leash. Weird. Over at Old Pro, R and I played a hearty game of foosball with Denny. He kicked our asses so bad Denny played with one hand against the two of us and still won. Meanwhile M was chattin' up three guys until she sensed a certain level of discomfort with her brushing up against them and the guy she was working on explained that they had to leave because his boyfriend was about to pick them up. Ooops, time to turn up the gaydar there. A ping pong match and game of air hockey later (I lost due to scoring on myself, duh), it was time to head home. I didn't realize that I had probably had about 9 glasses of beer if we count the sake bombs and beer tower. And that is why I was hurtin' today. Thank God for the hearty stew and rice they serve at the school's salad bar. I wouldn't have made it through my day without it.



Do not adjust your monitor. Yes, I did change out my background gif. I did not feel like working on my grad school applications so I decided to muck around in Photoshop and change my background because it was too bright and was starting to get on my nerves.

Simon is supposed to be blogging about his business trip to China but I just realized that Norris told me recently blogger/blogspot is blocked in good old communist China. Too bad. So I'll pass along what he said. Shanghai is dirty, people are ridiculously shy, and his hotel room is super tiny. Jason is having Montezuma's revenge like symptoms and it took many attempts to find a store that sells Gatorade. That's all I've heard from him so far except that he's out playing golf today.


grad application weekend

I've grounded myself, at least until Sunday evening when I go for sake bombs with the other grad students at Miyake's. I am going to attempt to do 13 doctoral program applications in one weekend. So far I've done 1/2 of two applications. Fuck. Each program has about 10+ components - often 2 transcripts for each school attended, statement of purpose, online application, GRE scores, 3 letters of rec, financial affidavit for international students, writing sample, supplementary application for the department, CV/resume, international student form, fellowship/teaching application, and some miscellaneous shit for other schools. Some of those components go to the Graduate Admissions people, other stuff goes straight to the department you are applying to. The schools are not consistent in how they handle these docs and where they need them sent. I have a monster Excel spreadsheet to track all this and it's still hard. My advice to those of you thinking of applying to grad school, especially tougher programs like PhD, MBA, law, medicine:

1. Start your research early. It took me 4 months to narrow down my list of schools
2. Start your statement of purpose early and allow for at least 2 rounds of editing and revisions
3. Have smart profs you trust give you feedback on your statement of purpose
4. Give people at least a month to do your letters of rec and give them all the info they need - addresses, mailing labels, info etc.
5. Get ready to bend over - if you are American, you can cry poor and request they waive the application fee of $60 - 120; If you are international it adds up quick. ETS also charges $15 for each school it reports your scores to.
6. Read the fine print - International students often have deadlines that come 2 to 3 months before the regular deadline
7. If you haven't done your GRE/LSAT/GMAT yet, do it ASAP to allow for a rewrite in case you need one (like I did because I got all ADD, got the urge to pee and had to hold it, and then miscalculated how much time I had left for that last reading comp question). Studying for those exams is no walk in the park, be prepared to dedicate several months of hardcore study especially if you're not used to standardized testing (e.g. you didn't take the SAT). Princeton and Kaplan make the best study guides and Kaplan gives free practice tests at their centers with minimal sales pitching at the end of it. Bring earplugs to the exam. There will be annoying people there (foot tappers, mouth breathers, pencil tappers, throat clearers, snot snorters you know...). General rule, if your quant and verbal don't add up to 1000, you REALLY need to retake the exam as that is a bare minimum cutoff for some schools. If you're going for a science/tech/math related program, you better score pretty darn close to 800 on your quant. If you're going into English/Humanities, you better score pretty darn close to 800 on verbal.
8. Use Adobe Acrobat full version to fill in these damn PDF forms. Handwriting would be hell. And who in the world still uses a typewriter?
9. Buy a buttload of stamps and envelopes and make sure you have your own printer.
10. Be organized and, again, START EARLY as this is a massive undertaking
11. Don't plan on writing your thesis concurrently. It won't happen. I will even bet you $20 right now.

I was going to go work out to psych myself up for all this but instead I got suckered into going to happy hour at El Torrito. Damn you Shannph. Now I'm kinda sleepy and loopy from my two sleeves of beer. Oh well.

could you imagine

Could you imagine reading this article and replacing "Canada" with "USA"? Hehe yeah right. Folks here are too busy chasing down people at the border with shotguns.


I'm feeling an urge to go home soon to the land of decent health care, educated citizens, friendly cops, liberal government, hockey mania, and clean streets. If only it were as sunny, exciting (in a big city sort of way), and populated as it is down here. Those are the things I really love about the Bay Area. That and a faster life than back home. You know where people in their 30s actually go out and makes themselves the center of their lives, instead of hunkering down right away with kids.

Dammit why can't I have the best of both worlds? If I could inject the Greater Vancouver Area with a few million good handpicked people from San Francisco (and other American cities with mostly Democrats :), increase the wages, stir in 300 more days of sunshine, and build a decent highway system, I think I'd have the absolute perfect place to live.


nothing much

The week went by fast since I only got back into town Monday night. I was flooded with email about finding cheap tickets to watch the Canucks (or at the very least the Flames) play San Jose. For some reason we used to get super cheap like $25 tickets to watch games here. Now Canucks seats are no less than $60. What the hell happened? I know it's not because the lockout stirred a sudden interest in hockey in this country. I don't know if you Canadian folks know but there is ZERO hockey coverage on network news here. Nothing, nada, zip. Can you believe that? Someone mentioned that the only network covering a little bit of hockey is OLN. I didn't even know the pre-season ended already. Reading the scores and plays is not quite the same as seeing them for yourself. Now I don't know if you Americans know, but hockey is such an obsession that during the NHL lock out, Canadian news talked about every other hockey league they could find - junior hockey, European league, Pee Wees ANYTHING just to make sure Canadians got their fill. I am so sad there is no hockey here. I hate baseball.

On an unrelated note, I was at the school's media access lab today to preview a video called Masters of the Pillow that I want to show for my Race and Representation in the Media lecture that I'm delivering in 2 weeks. It's a documentary about a UC Davis prof who made the first Asian American p0rn. It's a pretty good documentary, you should check it out. The problem with watching this at the lab though was that they assigned me to viewing carrel #4 which is only a half cubicle with my back open to people walking by. It was really hmmmm uncomfortable to watch a video with intermittent sex scenes - yes with full nudity and penetration - knowing someone might walk by. I have to admit I had my finger on the channel button to change it in case someone were to stroll past. I used it several times. Most memorable line from the video came from the male star who had never done anything like this before and had no other film experience. He asked, "uh so where did you want me to do the so-called money shot?"


the man who didn't move

Something funny happened during this Banff wedding I forgot to mention. When Simon and I headed over to the wedding reception we passed by this old Asian guy passed out on a couch in the hotel hallway. That was about 6pm. After the reception ended, the bar shut down and we headed to room 301 Shel and Tasha's suite for the after party. After some more dirty jokes and an exhaustive explanation of what it's like to grow up Chinese in Jamaica, I left and headed back to our room. This was about 3am. I took the same route back to my room as I did going to the reception and low and behold, old Asian dude was still KO'd in this chair. I went back to tell Bryan who came out to check if he was breathing. Indeed he was. So I turned off my flash and took this picture. I wonder what his story is. Is this your dad? Did his wife kick him out of the room? Did he get lost? Is he even in the right hotel? Did someone slip GHB into the wrong drink?

We will never know. Anyone have any ideas?

The man who didn't move

Shel and Tasha's Banff wedding

Back from our weekend in Banff where we attended Sheldon and Natasha's wedding. So those who don't know, Shel is Simon's friend from York University. I hadn't met either of them until this weekend but we've been reading each others blogs, which we found by accident, for a while. Natasha used to date a friend of my friend Ben and followed the links to my blog where she and Shel saw a photo of Simon and connected the dots. I found their blogs by stalking out my readers using SiteMeter. Weird!

So to keep this brief I'll bullet point the most memorable things about the weekend:
- Natasha and Shel are as funny, interesting, and intelligent as I figured they were from reading their blogs
- The ceremony was beautiful (beyond words...check out the photo below)
- The reading from the Velveteen Rabbit about being real was SO cute and original, just like the couple
- Meeting the wedding party and their close friends at the Hot Springs Saturday night was fun, drinking with them and drawing dirty pictures of the Captain Morgan pose at the hotel was even more fun
- The reception featured a candy buffet, wedding cupcakes, a chocolate fountain, WWE takedowns by the bride, breakdancing and many other varieties of what I'd consider "dancing with reckless abandon" (in other words, that was the craziest reception I've EVER attended)
- Open bar is always a good idea - when the well drinks are a little rough, just add soda and one of the colored mixes
- You know the bride and groom are cool when they happily toast your table with a vodka shot (not tea or apple juice)
- You know the bride and groom are cool when they invite everyone to their suite for an after party (or did we invite ourselves...I don't remember)
- Having the reception in the hotel that most guests stayed at makes it even more fun (and easy to get home)

Simon's speeding ticket which he got 5 min after leaving the airport in Calgary

Beautiful place for a ceremony (albeit a tad chilly out there in Banff)

Shel and Tasha getting ready for the cupcake cutting!

The bride tackling one of the groomsmen ala WWE

Breakdancing is what truly makes a wedding reception memorable

My first wedding AFTER party!


patrolling US-Canada borders

I had such a wonderful time reading this post and all the comments that I must share.

Thank you Egan and all the other Americans who don't hate Canadians.

The part from the Globe and Mail is hilarious. I must copy and paste for your reading pleasure

"I have a great idea for the Minutemen. They could prop up trees in danger of falling over the border, [thus] constituting illegal lumber imports. Alternatively stop cows going in either direction, and arrest American grannies buying life saving drugs cheap in Canada".

Holy that is funny shit. If you're confused by the quote go to the link above and read Egan's post in its entirety.

No One's Listening

Thought I'd post a link to a podcasting project that a few of my pals from school (Skye, Chris, Irene, and Mandy) are working on.



Hooray for a few things

1. My Internet is back up (I was about to blow my top here)
2. Vancouver was rated the best city to live in the WORLD http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4306936.stm
3. The gash in my finger healed. So in case you're wondering...when you accidentally take a hunk of flesh out of a finger with a chef knife (and it was a big one; I had to get on all fours to keep from passing out), closing up the gash tight with a bandaid (sort of like stitches) for a week allows the flesh to just sort of fuse back together. Amazing! I wonder how much money I saved not going to get stitches.
4. The weekend is almost here
5. I'm competing in my first Division level public speaking contest Saturday morning. I advanced after taking first place at the Area level in the humourous speech contest last week (woohoo my first trophy since I did gymnastics). I didn't even think my speech was all that funny because funny for me usually means talking about lewd or obscene things, lots of swearing, bit o' toilet humor, and a good helping of sarcasm. My speech has none of that since I talk about the challenges of being short. Go figure. Wish me luck.


Quickly in Foster City

So we went to try out the bento box dinners at Quickly on Friday night. I was so excited to have a place that we could take a walk to, eat late and have a bubble tea. With the bento boxes the bubble tea is free so that's even better. So among us we, got the assorted fried steaks box, two chicken steak boxes and one tofu & octopus. The latter was edible and so was the fried steaks box if you don't eat the green beans from a can crap. But the chicken steak boxes were SO SALTY they really were not edible. They must've soaked the chicken in salt water before adding more salt and frying it up and adding a bit more salt before serving. They also got me the wrong bubble tea, brought out the food in reverse order, and took forever making it. I think I'm going to stay away from Quickly until they can get their act together. I heard the one in Millbrae isn't half bad but in FC, they have a lot of kinks to work out first. Yuck.