Despite the welcome sight of sunshine peeking through my curtains this morning I woke up in a mad panic. I fucking hate that. I went to bed with a conference proposal half finished which means that I probably had nightmares about it all night. Actually I had a dream about five pin bowling but that is beside the point. I have to go out of town two or three more weekends before the end of this quarter and whenever I do the math it means that there is just not enough fucking waking hours to do all the reading and writing I need to do to survive this term. Add to that all the grading, lesson planning and research. I am more organized than anyone I know but that does not make it any easier. Tonight I will have the pleasure of waking up hourly in a series of panics about sleeping in which always happens when I have to get up early.


going to Canada

I've been reading a lot of blogs about Americans and their trips to what they call "the great white north" or "Canada." Okay Americans, this post is for you. First of all, quit refering to my motherland as the great white north. Most of the time it is not covered in snow and if you think white refers to skin colour I will have to plant the blade of a hockey skate firmly into your eye. Also please, stop fucking saying shit like "I'm going to Canada" or "my friend lives in Canada" or "my trip to Canada" or "my granny is in Canada." For you Seattlites, it might help if I tell you that hearing that gives us the same reaction that you folks have when tourists say "Pike's Place Market."

Canada is a big huge fucking country, bigger than yours and it has PROVINCES and, oh my god, CITIES! Do you not chuckle just a little bit when a foreigner says "I'm going to America"? You guys even turned that shit into a movie called Coming to America to point out how people who aren't from here are stupid and think it's just one indistinguisable land mass. Guess what? Canada is not one indistinguishable land mass either and no you cannot walk to Niagara Falls from Vancouver for Christ's sake. (actually you could if you were Terry Fox or Steve Fonyo but you don't know who the hell they are, do you?)

When Canadians visit "America" we say things like "I'm going to Vegas" or "I'll be visiting Los Angeles" or even "I'm staying in lower Manhatten" or "the Mission district of San Francisco." We do not say, "I'm going to the United States of America for vacation." Please, please, recognize that we have provinces and cities and try to figure out which of those you'll be visiting before proudly announcing that you'll be gracing "Canada" with your presence.

film, food, falling

Friday night I went out with a few folks to see the Red Doors at the North West Asian American Film Festival down in the International District and late happy hour after that at McCormick and Schmicks ($4 fresh salmon burger, $3 for 3 raw oysters, yum). I was struck by how few films were in the festival and how few people attend. I have to remind myself sometimes that this is not San Francisco where tickets sell out days before the day the film screens and there are lines stretching for blocks to get into the theatre. Are there that few Asians in Seattle? Are they just not into the arts? I think it might be a combination of both?

I had a first today. I went out to a film by myself. Kudos to me for getting to the ID and back without the guidance of a GPS unit. There was something awesome about going to see a film by myself. No one to keep track of, wait for or talk to. Today's was a collection of shorts called Asian American Activism and I really enjoyed it. They varied in theme and length but all were well chosen and thought provoking and it was just this kind of stimulation I needed to come up with some more research ideas and just get into that head space. After the film, I went next door to have a bowl of pho before heading to Fremont to pick up my glasses which took forever to adjust thanks to my lopsided ears and large lump protruding from one side of my head which I think is a part of my skull. On the way home I stopped off at the liquor store and learned that WA state taxes the shit out of liquor here. Good thing there's always duty free.

Tonight I went to a classmate's potluck. You know when people in movies jump off a building and seem to scream forever and ever until they finally hit the ground? I had that moment tonight but I wasn't jumping off any buildings. I had finished looking at some photo albums and stacked them up on the floor. I turned around to get the big tupperware full of rice and stir fry I had brought and walked toward the sink forgetting that I had just put that pile of albums on the floor. Next thing you know I'm wondering why my foot is not making contact with the floor. Rice is flying everywhere. My foot finally reaches the little rug on the floor and then I slip violently and lose all control of my center of gravity for a second time. It felt like a lifetime before I finally landed knee first then body in a heap on the floor still clutching the tupperware now only half full of rice and stir fry. I guess it really is engrained in Chinese people not to waste food and to hang onto it for dear life. It was acrobatic and spectacular. I could tell from the look on everyone's face. One woman commented that at one point I reached a completely horizontal position in the air. Luckily I was in the company of people I consider friends now and, oh yeah, no bleeding and just a sore knee. Not even a bruise. I am a rock star.


what would you do

Imagine you are in "Canada" (because Americans can't name Canadian cities) housesitting for an uncle who is overseas. You go out to say hello to a friend and close the garage door behind you. When you go to head back inside you realize that the garage door is jammed and you can't get in because all the other entrances are barrel bolted from the inside. Luckily you have the keys to the rental car and a map to a relative's house drawn on a post it note but no phone, no laptop, no change of clothes or underwear and no way to get back into the house. You call the uncle and he says there's no way in with eveything bolted from the inside. The neighbours don't speak English and would probably freak out watching you break in. What would you do?

This is my friend's situation right now so if you see an unshaven guy with a 2 of spades tattoo wearing clothes that isn't his breaking into a house in Richmond please don't call the cops. I expect he'll have the details on his blog soon. (unless, of course, things go even more wrong and he ends up in jail for B&E).


So I decided to take advantage of my health insurance (hooray for grad school funding) and get another pair of glasses since I get $100 for lenses and $70 for frames. I got a pair of cool frames at 4 Your Eyes Only in Wallingford for $180. Before getting the lenses ($335 for 16.7 high index eeeek), the lady let me charge just the frames and take them with me to compare with other glasses. She said if I found something else they could just refund the frames. Sounded like a good idea.

Today I stopped in at the ever so popular Eyes on Fremont (ranked in NW Source and City Search). I found another pair of frames for $180 that I liked and asked Andrea there what she thought. She took a couple measurements and was honest enough to say that she thought my frames from the other store were better for me. Can you believe that?? I asked how much their 16.7 high index lenses were....$220 and 10% student discount. That's more than $100 less than the other place ($335 and same student discount). I called the other store for a price match and they tried to convince me that their anti-reflective coating was "premium" and they have a 2 year warrantee and couldn't match the price. Andrea at Eyes on Fremont explained that they had a 1 year warrantee, which was good enough for me especially if I'm saving a hundred bucks! So it was a done deal. My frames are from 4 Your Eyes and my lenses are from Eyes on Fremont and I've saved over a hundred bucks.

Next time I'll just head straight for Fremont. They have a tonne of really cool frames for about the same price or less, and you just can't beat that price for high index lenses.


small world

Went out for a beer at Fado's last night so Denny could meet up with some friends and so I could invite my friend Lieon to meet them and get to know some other physical therapists so he can hopefully find a job here after he passes his board exams. Turned out these two groups of people already knew/knew of each other through other Canadians who live in Seattle. Everytime someone started a sentence with "so do you know so and so" the answer always seemed to be yes. Every Asian Canadian in a major US city seems to know one another. I thought I left Vancouver to escape all this incest but if you keep your nose clean and don't burn bridges, it's kinda cool that we are all connected I guess.

I'm almost done all my reading for next week so I can prepare for the pile of student papers I have to grade tomorrow. Need to churn out a couple conference submissions and I think I will be okay.

Oh, we went out to the Nintendo employee store to buy Wiis today. Thanks Wing!! I get to play with it until Simon comes up to visit next month and takes it back to SF. If I can lose 9lbs playing this, I'm getting my own.



I had a very busy and very fun weekend so I'll have to write this post in point form so I can catch up on my reading.
Thursday -- Simon and Denny arrived from SF and we headed out to 80s night at a club in Capitol Hill and it was AWESOME
Friday -- Extreme sleep deprivation. Solid and fun day of teaching where we dealt with Eurocentrism, Whiteness, and issues of Asian Americans and agency in film. Happy hour with my grad school friends at Finn MacCools where fish and chips were $3.95
Saturday -- Not enough sleep again. Met up with Laura and Phill for snowboarding at Snoqualmie. Taught two newbies how to turn and later how to link turns. Not very strenuous for me but I was happy just to get up to the mountains. Late lunch at Tamarind Tree (very good). Many friends and my cousin came down from Vancouver to meet up with us. We had dinner at B&O Espresso where service was ridiculously slow. Drinks at Metropolitan something or other where PBRs were 25 cents after 11pm. Played Wii until the wee hours at my friend's house
Sunday -- Lunch at Rocking Wok at an impossible to find location in Wallingford. Said goodbye to friends as they headed back to Vancouver
Monday -- Detox and recovery. Simon went home.

Snowed again today but that's okay because I have Tuesdays off to read, grade, and prep lesson plans. Revived WearingRacism blog. Need to go to bed early tonight and try this early morning thing again tomorrow. Wish me luck.


mystery solved

OK so you know how I thought I was accidentally included on a distribution list run by some chick who excessively uses lame emoticons and says all sorts of cheesey and/or annoying shit e.g. her signature which reads "Think BIG. STRETCH your vision. Be all you CAN BE. TREAT others like you want to be treated." Could you be any more cliche?? Holy cow, how nauseating.

Turns out it was no accident that I'm on this email list. She decided to list her IM handle on her signatures yesterday and I recognized it immediately. This is the woman who put up a post for housing in Seattle that she was renting out in August. The place for rent was not what I was looking for but this bitch used my email address to add me to her Yahoo IM and would not stop harrassing me about coming to her house, being best friends forever, bla bla bla so she could tell me more about this great opportunity with W0rld Financial Group. I am not into bullshit get rich schemes especially those that involve annoying the hell out of all your friends and family and then using their social networks to piss off all their friends too. I immediately put her on my blocked users list so I guess her way to get at me was through this email distribution. Caitlin needs to get the fuck out of my life now.

Update: I just emailed her to tell her to get me off her list and the crazy lady has an autoresponse set up that reads:
If you don't see my response to your mail immediately...please be patience
with me. Please rest assured that I will answer your mailpromptly when I
get a computer access. You are the best! Smiles ;0)


I just came to the realization that grading 2 1-page response papers per week from each student means reading 128 pages per week of student writing. I'm supposed to give a check if it's done but me being me, I can't do it. If I see something that reflects a great deal of growth or insight, I can't help but comment. If a student writes something funny or clever, I can't help drawing a happy face. If a student totally missed the mark, I have to say something to get them on track. If they invent their own punctuation (e.g. its'), I have to fix it. If a student shares something deeply personal (which happens more than I thought it would), I feel like I have to recognize that. I know that I'm here to do research and focus on me because that is what I was recruited to do, but admittedly I like reading these response papers and right now I prefer doing that to starting on a proposal for my methods class. I think this might be a hint that a pedagogically focussed career is for me? There is something deeply fulfilling about teaching and it's certainly nothing I felt while doing ANYTHING at a software company.

I'm just happy that I'm finally out of my holiday funk (God damn I hate Christmas) and that my friends are all coming to visit this weekend. Yay, drinking, eating and snowboarding!


Dragon Boys

On the so-bad-it's-comical CBC series that I get to watch on Channel 99 -- Globe and Mail story.
And that statement about it being OK for a white executive producer to make a movie about Chinese Canadians? The answer is no. You have no right to define us, speak for us, or reconstruct our experiences for us thank you. Do you have a role to play in issues of race? Yes. Start by reading this and this. And this (pdf) is also a good read.

CNY predictions

Chinese New Year is not here until Feb 18th but I was interested in checking out the accuracy of 2006's predictions. This was my fortune for 2006:

With a Dog year the Dragon will clash so you will need to take extra care this year but remember being prepared will give you the edge to make sure the year is good for you. Overall the year will bring change and this can be good for career and also business as it can steer you in a different direction that will be better for you. To improve your luck, keep fresh red roses in your office and home and wear red clothes. All Dragons need to be careful of wealth this year, do not worry about this as you will have money coming in but you need to concentrate on retaining it, so no gambling or taking risks.

I have to say, it wasn't too far off. I did move in another direction in more ways than one.

And for 2007:

[this one kinda sucks]
Dragon is very happy to see the pig. After a year of challenges by the yipping dog, the dragon is ready to sit at the banquet table and rest. The tired dragon must remember that the dog is not far away and the clouds of the dog year still dampen his fire. The pig year will bring fullness to the dragon who eats slowly. Self control does not come easily to the fierce dragon, but this year there is little energy stored after battling the dog. The wise dragon will spend resources with caution and build strength for new cycle starting with the rat year in 2008. Enjoy the quiet return to fullness and do not get frustrated at your weakness after battle with the dog all year in 2006. Your strength will return. This year plan trips and business ventures that will not need your full power. Success will come slowly. You will find many reasons for frustration with family and coworkers. It is not the fault of others that you cannot provide the energy you need this year. Control your fire breath and you will receive more assistance and find good fortune

[here's another from chineseastrology.com that's a little less confusing, sort of]
Pig years bring popularity, celebrity and an increase in reputation to lucky Dragons. During this year you may acquire income from more than one source and by the end of the year, new dreams may well have become reality. Express your personal opinions carefully, and demonstrate both consideration and respect. An auspicious year to take charge of your inner life and discover its hidden springs! Meditation, healing qigong, reiki or any of the metaphysical arts would be a harmonious pursuit for you in 2007. Use this year to continue plans already in motion, while you also start to branch out into new avenues. You are amongst the few who can do both.


I really hate the management at my apartment. My latest maintenance request:

With the wind storms the siding has ripped off the outside of the apartment
in many places, one of them being a big patch below my bedroom window. It sounds
like more of the siding is coming off as I can hear it from inside at night. I
am also concerned that rain will soak through the insulation and cause mold to
grow in my walls. Further, I am concerned that having the outside of my
apartment missing in patches will affect the apartment's ability to retain heat
and could increase my heating costs. Even before the storm there was one piece
of siding missing from my neighbor's apartment for 3 months and still is

When will the management be fixing this?



The last 5 or 6 years NYE has been kinda quiet or disappointing, or one year, spent alone when the snow trapped me in my home. I have to say that last night was the best NYE ever. My closest friends were all there and we had a hotel room upstairs from the party. The music was awesome. Some really creative 80s/progressive house remixes. We partied until 5am before retiring to the room. What makes me sad is that parties like these are numbered. Once my friends start popping out babies, it'll be an end of another chapter. Hopefully they put that off so we can have a few more years of fun.

What's really cruel is starting the first full day of school on Jan 3rd. Today was recovery day, tomorrow is drive back to Seattle day, and school starts bright and early the day after that. Ugh. So exhausted.