Things to celebrate today -- one of my students got through two rounds of an annual public speaking contest and has qualified to compete with two other speakers at the final tomorrow. I've been accepted to contribute to an encyclopedia which will be published in 2008 (I don't want to reveal details because I haven't received/read the contract yet). I only have 19.5 more speeches to grade (I stopped halfway through the first one to blog, damn adult ADD). Denny made it safely to Eugene, OR on his solo move to Seattle. Upon last update, he was in a movie theater in Eugene, OR and was the only one in the whole theatre.



So I don't have many channels with basic cable. Most of them are home shopping channels for some reason. So if I'm taking a break I watch whatever's on and remotely interesting, usually it's on the Discovery Channel. Today I landed on a show that turned out to be Desperate Housewives which I've never seen before but have heard of. Maybe it was a rerun, I'm not sure. It would almost be a funny show had it not been for the repulsive stereotypes. Gabrielle has a maid/surrogate mother named Shao-Mei who, of course, speaks in horribly broken English. Of the few minutes of screen time for this character she is demanding (dragon lady) because she, as Gabrielle's surrogate mother, is able to hold the unborn baby hostage in return for making her boss reverse roles and take care of her. She complains that her meal served in bed does not come with crackers and throws a pickle on the floor. Gabrielle threatens to send her back to Shanghai where she'll "be on all fours in a rice paddy" as soon as the baby is born. Shao-Mei then disappears after stealing all of Gabrielle's clothes. Gabrielle goes down to a Chinese Restaurant looking for her and when the waitress doesn't cooperate, she threatens to send the authorities to "see what really is in the mushu pork." I can't even begin to count how many anti-Asian stereotypes were in this episode alone. There's no way I can watch another one. That was just vile. Fuck you Desperate Housewives.



So my students have started delivering their final speeches. This project is called the advocacy speech (formerly called the protest speech) and it involves motivating a sympathetic audience to take action. The speech is given out on Red Square which is a central area in my school where there is a lot of foot traffic.

So the students are graded partly on their ability to deal with environmental conditions whether they be seagulls flying overhead, hecklers, noisy airplanes flying by or what have you. Well my students sure got to deal with their fair share of challenges today. My first class had a mentally unstable homeless man walking around the area making very loud noises that I can only spell as "mreeeh." I saw him walking towards the speaker and I started to worry a bit but luckily he detoured toward the garbage can nearby, still making these loud noises. After that, another speaker was up. During her speech a couple of ducks, regulars in Red Square, decided to walk in front of her, down the steps, and for a little sight seeing around the audience's ankles, and then back up the steps in front of her. Damn they were soooo cute. Distraction #3 was the crowd of elementary school kids. They were actually not terribly noisy but one of the idiot teachers instructed them to run up the steps toward Kane Hall, right in front of my speaker. WTF?

In my second class, one of my students was doing a speech advocating that our state mandate the HPV vaccine. Just as soon as she said "teenagers are having sex" you could see the two crazy Jesus folks walk towards us with this HUGE, I mean like 12' tall sign held up in harnesses they were wearing. The sign said something like repent for your sins among other things. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing the word hell. One of those crazies decided to park himself right behind the speaker so we could all see his big huge sign. On top of that, some folks decided to set up and test an amplified sound system for an ROTC event to take place later that afternoon so that speaker got to compete with someone saying "test, test 1, 2" through a microphone.

I have to say nothing beats teaching. Everyday is different and usually pretty interesting in one way or another. You can't say that for most desk jobs.



A former professor of mine who is only a few years older than me sure had a big year. He released a CD, got engaged (I didn't even know he was dating anyone), bought a house, and got an awesome new job on the other side of the country. Man things sure happen fast when you hit your 30s. I am so happy for him. He totally deserves all of that. I like it when good things happen to good people.

Admittedly that also means I hate it when good things happen to bad people and when bad things happen to good people.



What happened to the sun? It was nice out yesterday. I got a chance to run around Greenlake and get some work done before having a friend over to watch Art School Confidential yesterday. The movie was a little dark and twisted for a comedy but pretty creative. Today I got up at noon and had a solid 3 waking hours to do work and watch Anaheim beat Detroit before taking a nap. I just cannot stay awake without more light. I'd sure be screwed if I lived up in Alaska.

Couple more weeks of papers and grading before I get to head to Vancouver to unwind and then to the Bay Area for the summer.



I just finished watching The Lords of Dogtown (2005) which documents the real life stories of the pioneers of professional skateboarding who started the sport in a rundown neighourhood in Venice, CA in the mid-1970s. Did you know three of those original pro-skaters were Asian American, and one of them female? Yup, Shogo Kubo, Jeff Ho and Peggy Oki. Unfortunately they're secondary characters in the movie (if that).



Yesterday I attended Robert Jensen's talk titled "The Academy and Activism: Neutralizing Neutrality and Moving Past Polemics" and this afternoon he joined the graduate students in my cohort for a class and a dinner. Jensen is probably best known (I'm guessing) for his article U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts, which was published in the Houston Chronicle three days after 9/11 and invited a number death threats and poorly articulated diatribes about being callous and unAmerican. Here is a quote from that article:
... this act was no more despicable as the massive acts of terrorism -- the
deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S.
government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades
throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted
civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to
understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts of
terrorism by client states. If that statement seems outrageous, ask the people
of Vietnam. Or Cambodia and Laos. Or Indonesia and East Timor. Or Chile. Or
Central America. Or Iraq, or Palestine. The list of countries and peoples who
have felt the violence of this country is long. Vietnamese civilians bombed by
the United States. Timorese civilians killed by a U.S. ally with U.S.-supplied
You can probably see why that article ruffled a few feathers.

Tonight I spoke with him one on one and I cannot describe how exciting it was to have this opportunity. I thanked him for writing that article because it voiced a very unpopular opinion, one that I held but did not dare to discuss with anyone but my closest Canadian friends. I thanked him because when "my people," and I mean this in a collective sense meaning anyone of Asian, South Asian or SE Asian descent, make claims like this we're immediately dismissed and often told to "go home" if we "don't like America and all it stands for." Opinions like this are, after all, used as "proof" of our unassimilability in this country. In Asian American studies classes we talk about the millions of lives lost in SE Asia at the hands of the United States all the time, but this sort of thing doesn't enter into the wider discourse unless someone like him -- a white male professor -- initiates that dialog and he did and I couldn't imagine if he hadn't.

I also thanked him for writing The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege. I confessed that one of my most terrifying teaching moments was introducing the idea of whiteness and white privilege to a racially diverse class that included many white students. I told him that I made a very conscious and deliberate decision to front end the lesson with articles written by white men about white privilege because I felt that being an Asian woman simply wouldn't give me the credibility to get the message across. I admitted that at the end of the class I felt guilty and disappointed that I would not feel comfortable giving that lesson in my own words in my own skin. It's not fair that I feel that I have to direct students to articles written by white men in order to teach about a topic that I can articulate myself, but I feel like I have to and I hate it. We joked about our differences: white - Asian, male - female, older - younger (looking), tall - short. "Well you're screwed," he concluded with a laugh. But in all seriousness, Bob reminded me of what's really important. It's teaching and helping people to understand these things. It's about being strategic and doing what works for you. You can try to overthrow the system and I think we (as in people of color) are taking baby steps to at least shift the so-called system, but sometimes in the here and now you need to just work within it and do little things to make a difference. I forgot to thank him for this conversation. So, Bob, thanks for this (and for being a privileged white man who gets it).

phone pics

Finally downloaded a bunch of photos from my cell phone. Thought I'd share. So this one I took at Long's Drugs during their closing sale. That sale was funny because as the merchandise made its way out the door they started consolidating so you'd have stuff like pork and beans next to the engine oil next to the condoms. I took this photo because the actual La Victoria is a taco place in San Jose where we'd go eat afterhours in the rare event we actually went south to party instead of up to San Francisco. People would get in deep shit for stealing the sauce from the table because it's their own hot sauce and is actually sold in stores even in Seattle. From what I remember they even had a security guy at the door.

This is my campus in March. The cherry blossoms are beautiful. Those clouds were not as threatening as they appear in the photo. That was a warm sunny day.

This is a used bookstore up the street from my campus.

Here is the aforementioned cat.

This is what you get at Cafe Ori in Bellevue for under $7. Yes, for that much you get the big bowl o' noodles AND that huge pork katsu (2 pieces stacked).

There is a little tiny shack on the way up to Snoqualmie Mountain that serves ostrich burgers. Yum. I think the building is red and you'll miss it if you're not looking for it.



To do list:

- work
- edit my friend's wedding video
- go to gymnastics class in Mountain View
- take a course at a community center, maybe an instrument
- write one paper and submit it to a conference
- do lots of reading (reading list needs to be developed still but definitely some hard core theory and cultural studies stuff I need to catch up on)
- pick up running again, aim to do 10Ks without feeling the need to throw up



I recently met a person, pardon the vagueness as it is deliberate. You know how you aren't supposed to talk religion or politics with people when you first meet them? In my first conversation with this person (whom I will probably have to tolerate for at least a year), he asked about my research interests and then argued with me that Oriental is not an offensive term and that Asian is more of a problematic term because it leaves out some people in Asia, like Russians and people from Kazakhstan. I made a failed attempt at being patient as I explained that Asian is a term of collective identity that gives us (as in yellow people) some political strength through solidarity. He would not compromise and just pushed the argument harder. He was in complete denial of the social and political implications of this racist notion of Orientalism as it is constructed in the west. He argued that black people call themselves the N word so "Oriental" is also okay. I responded that Asian American people DO NOT call themselves Oriental and even if they chose to reappropriate that term (like queer for example), it doesn't give other people permission to use it unless that permission is granted rather than assumed. Asian American history really needs to work its way into the public school curriculum because obviously there are a number very misguided people out there.

Oh and did I mention this heated argument took place in MY HOME within five minutes of meeting him? Aside from taking Ethnic Studies 101, this person also needs to take a lesson from Miss Manners on how to make small talk with people you've just met.

Canadian accent

What do you do when you don't feel like working on a paper and people are generally pissing you off so that you can't concentrate on anything and you want to hurl someone or something out a 10 storey building? I look at cuteoverload and then I do dumb quizzes like this:
What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

North Central. This is what everyone calls a "Minnesota accent." If you saw "Fargo" or "Drop Dead Gorgeous" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Some Americans may mistake you for a Canadian.

Canada. You probably get irritated when British people and Europeans think you're from the States, but over here we wouldn't make a mistake like that.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?


just gettin' by

It's week 6 and I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a paper to rewrite in an attempt at publication, three final papers/projects to work on, advisor (or lack thereof) issues to resolve, students freaking out about their speeches, and speeches to grade. Everything was pretty manageable but all of a sudden I feel like there is more work than hours to get it done. Oh and the Canucks are fucked if they don't win tonight. I have to put aside a couple hours to watch that 'cause it's do or die.

It doesn't help that Facebook has been such a distraction. It's been cool though to reunite with some of my closest friends from high school/junior high and also some neighourhood kids I used to play with.