12.27.2008

love

As an unmarried 32-year-old I obviously am no expert but I find strategizing in relationships a la Rules of the Game is manipulative, overly defensive, and self-serving. I can understand how it can be important not to just jump right in the deep end with unrestrained optimism and I can understand why wearing your heart on your sleeve all the time could invite heartbreak, but I don't like the idea of hard and fast rules aimed at self-protection like Women should'nt say 'I love you' first. I think, in my mind, I file this sorta thing under "thinking too hard" and "using your head when you should be using your heart" and "silly social rules that perpetuate a static and essentialized notion of gender and that reinforce traditional gender roles in heterosexual courtship." Okay why does feminist theory get into my musings about everything. Anyways, it is an interesting topic. What's been your experience?

12.22.2008

holidays

So I made it through grading hell and survived the drive from Seattle to Vancouver. The drive was actually pretty easy as I took off 3 hours before the huge snow storm that blanketed the pacific northwest. I5 got a tad bit sketchy with compact snow up around Arlington, WA but with some slow and steady maneuvering it was fine. Even had time to stop off at the duty free store for some 75% off Lancome and liquor for some friends. Those of you who take the truck crossing northbound into Surrey, show your AAA/BCAA card for a discount, even on fancy cosmetics (but not liquor). This is at the first duty free store, not the second one.

First night I got to see a couple of friends and their awesome 6 month old who is rarely without a big toothless smile on his face. I can only hope for a kid as awesome as him. He even sleeps through the night.

After that it snowed and snowed and snowed some more. I've been stuck at home since Saturday as a result. It's not really a bad thing since I have a lot of work to do over the holidays. So far I've finished No-No Boy, a novel that I have to teach this quarter for an American Ethnic Lit class. Now it's time for exam reading which includes The Deathly Embrace: Orientalism and Asian American Identity, which I've been dying to read.

I've also been appointed to cook/prep for the potluck Christmas dinner which means no fucking way I'm making turkey. Too much pain, too much time, and no one but my younger cousin even likes turkey. My older cousin whose family used to host each year particularly hates it. So we're doing Chinese food and whatever. I guess you could call that fusion even though I don't really fancy fusion restaurants.

Here's what I got planned:

Other people’s contributions so far:

Chinese mushrooms
Chinese cake (probably with that gross chestnut cream shit, ugh)
Others TBD

Mom buy/make:

Curry beef brisket
Roast duck
Gai lan with garlic, and oyster sauce

Me to make:

Salad with grated cheese, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, crumbled hard boiled egg, sliced ham
Honey garlic chicken wings
Tomato basil bruschetta
Goat cheese red pepper phyllo pastries
Mixed berry trifle

12.17.2008

seclusion

I read this article about public schools locking up mentally disabled, autistic, and special ed kids in seclusion rooms where some have been left for hours. One even hung himself. Yes here in the great United States of America. How fucked up is that? If teachers aren't trained to deal with special kids then get some who are. Oh I forgot, not enough funding for such things. Let me just say that we had a lot of kids with mental disabilities in my elementary and jr. high school and they had a very small class and many assistants trained especially to work with special ed kids. A couple of my childhood friends are special ed assistants now. Do such positions even exist in public schools here? Maybe there is one for the whole school rather than several for one small class. Money needs to be allocated for things like this. But here money goes to senseless wars and things like building stupid fences at the Mexico border. Public education and health care are so pitiful here. I hope Obama is able to undo some of this mess.

ex-pat

So I read this headline, "Canadian Living in SF gets 6 1/2 years for soliciting 'girl' for sex," and thought for a split second, this better not be someone I know. Canada really is not all that big. Thank the gods, it's some old white dude. Freakshow.

shooting

Another shooting about 10 blocks from my place. This one is pretty ballsy. Someone shot someone in the head outside of a youth event protesting violence. 

In less violent news, I've been doing fairly well with my post-exam-grading, pre-going-back-to-Vancouver to-do list. I took most of the weekend to unwind but did manage to start on the list. Done to date: dropped off gifts to committee members and other helpful faculty, revised exam reading lists, returned library books, registered for some of next quarter's credits, paid bills, opened my stack of snail mail, filed my huge pile of miscellaneous unfiled shit, vacuumed, organized my closet, sent post dated cheques for January's rent and Internet, uploaded a few batches of old photos, and got some snow boots (just in time) and a new messenger bag cuz I just am not a carry a handbag everyday kinda girl and my two other bags have broken zippers from overuse. So. Hopefully I will be all ready to go by this Saturday and the weather will cooperate so I can get home safely.

But before that can happen I need to chip away at my to-do list a bit more yet. I still need to: fix my printer, shred my pile of shit to shred, change Oscar's cage, upload my friends' wedding photos, and finish up some sewing and hemming. The snow should keep me home most of tomorrow to work on all that I think.

12.01.2008

sucks

Just spent a bit of time chatting with a good friend who recently had her second child. I went on her facebook to remind her to add some other friends so she could check out their baby pics. That led to a series of random clicks to the pages of our mutual friends, most of whom are in Vancouver. That was such a bad fucking idea.

Surfing FB and seeing all those baby, wedding, vacation, [insert other indicator of personal achievement/luck/success/stability here] photos reminds me of just how stagnant my life is. I haven't traveled overseas in 17 years and don't really have the time, money or travel companions (with compatible schedules or interest) to do it with anyways. We were thinking of going to Thailand, the one place I can maybe afford but now that chaos has erupted there, it's a no go. I did surf onto an old friend's fb page and it looks like she is doing a 180-day round the world honeymoon. How pleasant for her. I live alone in a dark rainy cold city (did I mention I have seasonal affective disorder?) below a couple of noisy racist assholes and the only thing certain about my future is uncertainty. I can barely afford my rent and bills, my department constantly fucks with me by forcing me to swap advisers, and even if I did have a lot of friends in this city, I wouldn't have the time or money to hang out with them. Pretty soon I get to go home for the holidays where my parents will test my patience by nagging at me for trivial things and I will sit in traffic alone trying to visit my happily married friends way on the other side of town. Being the fifth wheel rocks. Oh and if we go out and hang out with other folks, I will inevitably be asked the most annoying question ever. What are you going to do after you graduate?

Well. Let's see. I am on a student visa so I live in a country where I have no rights. At all. Most of the programs that are hiring are in the midwest (or some ridiculously small town) where I refuse to live. But that's okay because I have not published jack shit which will make it really hard to get a job anyways, as does the fact that the university would have to fork out some cash to deal with my visa issues and I doubt we'll be out of this recession by 2010. So what am I going to do after I graduate? To be honest, I don't fucking know and sometimes wonder if I even care anymore.

The other annoying question is where are you going to live after you graduate? Well. Let's see. I have to live where 1. I can find a job 2. I am legally allowed to work 3. I will not have to re-live the racial ignorance that plagued my childhood 4. I will not die of loneliness. I'm not sure that there is such a place.

I have a long day tomorrow and I really don't feel like facing it.

BlogHer

In my pursuit for distractions from exam reading I checked out the web site for BlogHer which holds annual conferences for women bloggers. There are various categories to which you can submit a link to/feed from your blog. Naturally I clicked on Race and Ethnicity. Browsed about 8 pages and nope. Not one Asian blogger. I think I'll stick to my other blog community - Rice Bowl Journals (btw, they moved so update your bookmarks).

late

I'm usually pretty good at getting to bed by midnight, earlier on school nights. But when I don't have an appointment or class in the morning it's hard to find a reason to get up and so I let myself go to bed way too late the night before. I just can't help it though sometimes. I get work done too so if I'm up doing work I let myself stay up even later. Obscenely late. Like now. This is going to foul up my sleep schedule tomorrow. I know it. Consistency with anything is so damn hard for me for a lot of things. It's almost as though I get bored or wound up when things run too much on a schedule and things don't change.

11.26.2008

violence

So this rise in youth gang violence, and it is a real rise not just a perceived one, sucks the big one. This all happens just south of where I live, not too far south. Meanwhile up in the neighborhood around my university there has been a bunch of strong arm and gunpoint robberies, one just last week in broad day light a block off the main street we call the Ave. I'm not sure what's scarier, the combination of these two problems or the more organized crime shootings in Vancouver that are on the rise as well. Vancouver being a port city means various ethnic gangs and one that calls themselves the UN (members of a variety of ethnicities) are battling to head up the rampant drug trade up there and they seem a lot more organized than the street gangs of 16 and 17 year olds down here. But when you're carrying a gun and shooting people and catching folks in the crossfire, it doesn't matter your age or affiliation. I hate guns.

11.25.2008

San Diego

Got back in Sunday night after a 4 day trip to San Diego for a conference. Took K with me since it was a great opportunity to catch some sun, relax a bit and see his brother's family. Thursday night we hit up a nice brew pub restaurant called Karl Strauss where my friend and fellow panelist joined us later for some beers. We headed to another bar after that one closed and it looked very promising with its great number of beers on tap. Unfortunately those taps mostly poured shitty beer like Coors and Bud. Friday noon was my panel which went well but was poorly attended because it was in the alternative hotel where all the presenters boycotting the Hyatt (owner supports Prop 8) moved their panels, and because it's a huge ass conference where folks are spread out because of the sheer number of panels running concurrently. Oh yeah, and no one gives a flying shit about Asian American issues.

After the panel we went out for a nice lunch where K got to meet my conference buddies. We had Mexican food since most of us (from Washington and Illinois) are deprived of good Mexican grub. That night we went to our awkward department party where food was free but drinks were a huge rip off. It wasn't too long before I wanted to scream. Being confined to a room with a number of people whom I dislike for one reason or another (generally I can sum up as ego, power, race, gender type issues) makes me want to drink heavily, and my Ketel and tonic was $10 so that wasn't practical. Finally we got out of there and reconvened with the other graduate students across the street where an old prof of my joined us. Eventually we called it a night.

Saturday was San Diego Zoo day. The niece and nephew were a lot of fun and almost on their best behavior. K's brother is very...different, even more different than I had imagined and in almost every possible way. Overall it was a really fun day and we got to see koalas, pandas, giraffes, elephants, and a bunch of animals from Asia and Africa that I really couldn't identify or remember the names of. I just remember thinking there is a load of venomous snakes and spiders all over Asia, Africa, and South America and it scared the shit out of me to think about it. Unexpected highlight of the day was the the Asian male tour guide for the tour bus who had this extremely cheery, forcefully gay, lispy style of speech even when he announced really morbid animal facts, e.g. "...and the mother lion lays out in front of the den to prevent predators from completely destroying her helpless young!!!" It was like musical theater meets Lorne Green's New Wilderness (that 80s TV show where you got to see animals up close hunting and ripping the guts out of their prey) and it was delightful. That night was spent hot tubbing and then dining in Little Italy before I met up with some old profs from San Fran for drinks.

Sunday was our last day which we spent touring Old Town. Nice to stroll around in the sun and check out some of the old buildings. Not the most exciting place I've ever been to but perfect place to spend a few hours outdoors before heading to the airport to go home. I miss the sun and warmth already. Pacific Northwest bleh.

11.11.2008

remembering

In elementary school we had to memorize this poem and recite it in assembly. Did other Canadians out there have to do this too? I know nothing about poetry but I like this one. It's called In Flanders Fields:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields… — John McCrae

11.10.2008

transit

I arrived in plenty of time for the 12:27pm bus today. Someone was already there waiting. It didn't show. So I thought the 12:44 is cutting it close for my 1pm doctors appointment but it might do. 12:44 came and went and still no bus.

1pm, nearly 40 minutes after I arrived for a bus that is supposed to come every 15 minutes, a bus passes my stop, lets someone off and takes off. Apparently another bus was right behind it, which means they're both so fucking late that they are one behind the other, with probably a third one not too far behind that one. So I had to run like hell to arrive at 1:16pm for my appointment.

Luckily the doctor saw me but if she decided not to I would have been charged for missing an appointment. I am all for taking transit to reduce carbon emissions but it is a gigantic fucking pain in the ass when they are unreliable, especially when (1) it's raining (luckily it wasn't today) (2) when I have an appointment that was difficult to schedule (3) when missing that appointment costs me money that I don't have.

Seattle, you need to get your transit system shit together. Seriously. And about that Prop 1 for the building of a light rail... That should've been approved about 20 years ago.

11.05.2008

Obama

Well that happened faster than expected. We hadn't even gotten our check at Smith when it was announced that Obama took Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Florida. Obama was the new president of the United States of America. 44th President of the United States. America, I am so proud of you. The last eight years have been painful and I came to realizee just how conservative and stagnant the U.S. can be, but tonight I realize that you are ready for a change. And it wasn't barely a win for Obama, it was a landslide. As a Canadian, and a left leaning one at that, I never thought your people would get their shit together to really welcome such a progressive (and black) president but tonight you proved me wrong and I could not be happier. So congratulations the rest of the world is very very proud of you. But let's just take a moment to thank Obama, the American people, and the rest of the world for silently cheering him on. Bravo. Here's to hope... You go Obama!

11.04.2008

deaths

I'll get to the election in a moment but first gotta cover some other shit going on in my neighborhood lately. It's sad and frustrating at the same time. Last Thursday, a 61-year-old former custodian (in the building where my office is now) at UW commit suicide publicly in the middle of Red Square by dousing himself with gasoline and then setting himself on fire. He obviously had a statement to make and I wish people would tell his story. All I know from a colleague is that he had worked at Uwajimaya, a large Japanese store, previously and had some sort of grievance there that had gone unsettled. He had been let go at UW as well but the circumstances are not entirely clear. I think his side of the story deserves to be told.

Then on Friday night there was a gang related shooting leading to the death of a teenager a few blocks from where I catch my bus. Not much talk of youth gang activity around here. Sounds like they need to spend some dollars there to get that issue looked at. I'm not terribly interested in living near an area where I could get caught in the crossfire.

Then yesterday K saw a guy in his mid-30s up on the Aurora Bridge which is across from his office. One moment he was there, the next he was in the Adobe parking lot.

So obviously things are going all to hell, at least in my corner of the world here. I'm going to go out to watch the election with friends up on Capitol Hill and hopefully the evening will end with me running through the streets shouting OBAMA! I'm nervous and excited and hope he can help turn things around in this country.

10.29.2008

repost

Obama was on primetime tonight and whoever worked on that project needs to win a fucking Emmy or something. It was an amazing, thoughtful, touching, but never negative, finger-pointing or angry. Seriously. Haven't seen anything like it in my life and that's probably because there hasn't been a leader like him in my lifetime. The writers and producers and directors must be talented but we're talkin' Obama here. The man is amazing all on his own. This video just helped to convey that.

One thing I found almost as amazing though is the comments left by the public in response to the video. Here are some of my favorites:
PantherCityIndie See Profile

I grew up the son of a political cartoonist. I have every reason to be cynical about politics and politicians. I was only ten when Watergate dominated the headlines, but I remember it well. How can you not when your father constantly talks about it and provides a daily editorial?

I watched the video on HuffPo's YouTube link, since I was in school while Obama's ad ran on TV. I had my headphones on while sitting at my PC. It was next to impossible to resist being moved (not that I went in with that purpose in mind) by what I saw, and how the ad was done. If you saw me in person, you'd see a six foot four inch guy that might appear like he'd go for McCain, being in Texas, being white, being a Navy vet, living in a conservative city in a deeply red state. You would be wrong. I voted yesterday...it likely won't win Obama the Texas electoral vote count, but I wanted my little bit to contribute to his popular vote column.

I became eligible to vote in 1980. I've voted in almost every presidential election. This is the first one where I did not hold my nose while in the voting booth. Once, perhaps ONCE, in my 28 years of voting life, I'll have cast a vote for someone who is much closer to how I understand the world and my country than what I've seen in my lifetime.

---

Evelyn See Profile

When I see America through Obama's eyes, I get that feeling in my chest, that catch in my throat. I see a beautiful America. When I see it through McCain-Palin eyes, it looks like a bitter, angry, scared, hateful America. I like Hope better than Fear.

---

4everdem See Profile

Barack Obama makes me want to be a better person.

I love my country. I am so lucky to be an American.

I have hope for the next 4 years.

Please Vote.

---

bf2renegade See Profile

For the first time in my 25 years living, I felt empowered and dignified by casting my vote to a TRUE president; an inspirer, a captivator, a motivator, a fellow man. Following the entire election activities from both campaign with an objective attitude, I am compelled to put my vote on Obama. I felt tears running down my eyes when I saw this "infomercial." This is truly a historic moment, not just because a person of different race is running for Presidency, but because that someone IS paying attention to the American People and their needs. I have so much anger towards the McCain/Palin campaign and their supporters that I've been wanting to spew out, but after watching Obama hold his composure and maintain the course, that is when I learned the lesson that he preaches out; that no matter how much anger you have, retaliation should always be the last resort.

---


10.22.2008

cable

Or lack thereof. For a while there I had hundreds of channels because the last tenant forgot to cancel their cable. I think they also forgot to submit a change of address to USPS because I get more of their mail than my own. I even have their voter package thingy. It's been 6 months, would you please update your fucking address!!!???

Anyways, cable. After I lost those channels I had your basic over the air stuff. It was kinda blurry but if I wiggled the cable just so, or if I held the cable in that sweet spot and watched TV with cable still in hand, I got some network channels with only a few lines running across it. After I moved some shit around though I lost that sweet spot despite numerous ghetto configurations e.g. cable propped up on a large candle. Now I don't get shit. What I get reminds me of the movie Poltergeist and that scares me. Instead of looking for a solution I just gave up. Honestly I don't have time to watch TV and a lot of what is on those channels is complete crap, like Two and A Half Men. Who the hell watches that? It's not even funny. If I'm going to stare at the TV it's going to be with K watching a movie or good TV series on DVD. Right now we're into True Blood, Dexter and Weeds.

I was never one to use the TV as background noise because I find it frazzles me and distracts me from those few coherent thoughts that enter my mind once in a while. But when you're eating breakfast, or doing some housework, it's nice to have something on. So I find my media consumption habits have changed. I'm listening to a lot more Internet radio (the new age stations on Shoutcast. Yes new age, you jerk. I can hear you all laughing from here). I've also been listening to a LOT more NPR which I've learned often reports in depth Canadian news which is awesome. So that's what's been on lately and I think it's been a fantastic change. I can sort of absorb news and political discussions while doing other things. I spend less time consuming crap. The only drawback has been getting hooked on some of the interviews and stories which means I stick around to listen to the end, which means I ended up being tardier than I already am.

morons

What is that list that folks post about stupid criminals? I think it's even sweeter when the person caught doing bad things is a beauty queen. It just is. Don't you agree?

For example, if you are planning to do a little dine and dash, getting away with it is a lot easier if you don't leave behind a wallet containing your ID and stash of pot.

10.21.2008

eviction?

I go so long between posts that blogger changes its UI everytime I login. Jeesh. It's not that I have any lack of things to say, it's just that I've got so many activities (film fest planning, yoga, lindy hop) going on outside of school plus "micro-blogging" on twitter keeping me occupied. But I won't abandon this blog. Twitter restricts the number of characters per post and I'm far too long winded to be constrained by that.

So neighbour update. I always have assholes for neighbours no matter where I move, even state to state. The two douchebags upstairs invited friends over in the middle of the week two nights in a row a few weeks back. Noisy, messy, drunk friends who were stomping up and down the stairs and dropping fucking popcorn all outside my door. Someone has also left gum on the carpet outside my door on two occasions. It's not like gum just falls out of your mouth unless you're four fucking years old. I'm pretty sure it was deliberately left outside my door. The morning after one of their little get togethers their window screen ended up in the parking lot below all mangled and shit. So I called the landlord to tell them about the noisy guests, window, and popcorn. She came that afternoon to clean up and I heard her talking to the douchbags, asking them when they are graduating etc. I have a feeling they won't be invited to renew their lease. Maybe they'll even get evicted.

Good because not only are they douchebags, they are racist douchebags. I can hear every word they say through these flimsy ass walls of my shitty ass 10-unit apartment complex, especially when they are YELLING at the TV at the top of their fucking lungs while playing their stupid first person shooter games. The other day one of the shitheads repeatedly yelled "fuck you n*****!" Yeah. The n-bomb. Did I mention they're white soccer-playing jocks from Seattle University. Yeah I googled them. I wanted to know what these losers are about.

Even in the privacy of your own home, what kind of person uses that kind of language? Seriously. The n-word does not just roll off the tongue of anyone I know.

On a separate occasion one of their friends popped out the door and saw me coming out of my apartment. He put his head back inside and whispered something to one of the guys that I couldn't hear. Douchebag then yelled back to his friend, "is it Asian?" That was followed by audible giggles and "shhhhhh" from his other guests. I take it the neighbor was asking about me. They could at least have used a pronoun that refers to a person and not an object.

Anyways, upon further stalking I discovered that douchebag #1 is a 22-year-old from a town in Arizona with a population of 200K, 86% white, with a significant Mormon population. Douchebag #2 is a 23-year-old political science (???) major from an even smaller town in Washington's "tri-cities" with population of 55K people, 83% white. Both towns are very conservative and overwhelmingly Republican. Gee, I wonder if it's a coincidence that these two rejects were bred in small white conservative Republican towns. I think not.

Seattle, especially our predominantly gay and racially diverse neighbourhood of Capitol Hill, is way too big of a city for their narrow little minds. Maybe they should just go home! Fuckers.

10.05.2008

shirts

Couple more sales before Cafepress cuts me my first cheque (that's check in American). Check out my store! http://www.cafepress.com/cdn_heart_obama

This shirt designing stuff is fun. I wish I had the artistic ability to do this kind of stuff for a living. For now creative pursuits will have to sit on the back burner as I finally have a tentative date for my doctoral exams -- early March. Counting backwards, I'll have to read about a bazillion books and articles each day. Awesome.

Teaching is going okay. My first discussion section for the Intro to Asian Am studies course I'm TAing is full of bright talkative students, mostly seniors. My second section, not so much. Lots of staring down at their notes, fidgeting, generally avoiding eye contact with me even with softball questions like, "could someone briefly summarize the anti-Chinese violence that took place in Rock Springs, Wyoming?" It was a 4 page article, people. Step up already. Jeez.

9.22.2008

weekend

So I did a last minute trip to Vancouver this weekend. I spent last week getting nothing done and hating my life as usual so when I decided to head up Thursday I had a whole day full of errands to run first. Things that had to be done like getting my glasses fixed, laundry, getting a new silent hamster wheel (did I mention I adopted a little hamster named Oscar?). Weekend was good even though it rained on Saturday. I took my friends out to a very condensed lindy hop drop in lesson where they pretty much covered 3/4 of what I have learned in 12 weeks into 50 minutes. I finally lost my social-dancing-with-strangers virginity at the Stomp it Off dance that came after the lesson. The live band was pretty fun.

I brought up some DVDS to watch on my parents big new TV. One of them was Wedding Crashers which I heard was funny. I got through maybe the first 10 minutes and I had to shut it off. It was stupid and not funny and Owen Wilson is really annoying and plays the same idiot character in every movie. Also saw the Accidental Tourist which was pretty good but a little slow and depressing. The movie I saw that I liked best this weekend though was Stranger than Fiction. I heard that Ebert and Roeper liked it but I am just not into the moronic Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Owen Wilson etc type Hollywood movie so I never saw it before but it was surprisingly awesome. I don't even want to explain the plot because I don't know how to do it without giving it away but just trust me. It's good. I have a new respect for Will Ferrell and wish he would do some more non-moronic movies now.

9.15.2008

ugh

It shouldn't take weeks to put away an airbed and sleeping bags I brought out for visitors Labor Day weekend (I'm a neat freak so this is by no means normal). The handrail I took down to paint a month ago (and left on the stairs) should've gone back up before K came over out of pity to put it back up yesterday. I shouldn't be sleeping 15+ hours on a sunny day on the weekend. And it shouldn't take me a whole summer to write a response paper for 2 credits. Sitting motionless for hours while the rest of the city is out enjoying what's left of summer, probably also a bad sign. The fact that I have no idea when classes start (including the one I teach) and feel nauseated thinking about it is also not so good. I had a long to-do list for the summer -- finishing a paper I already presented at a conference, updating Endnote, reading about 10 books for exams, putting in a paper for publication, figuring out more details on what I'm doing for my diss. Big fat zero on that list. I read one book. ONE. Christ. I have a TA meeting today and getting myself dressed and on a bus to campus is going to be like moving a mountain. I would like to return the brain that mother nature gave me for one that isn't defective.

9.10.2008

LDS

Look what happens when I'm at my computer all day. I blog a lot and I catch up on blogs. Man oh man was it worthwhile to read Pants's blog again. Her brother had a Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints themed costume party. OH my fucking god. The photos are hilarious. I must share.

Palin

Just a collection of some of my favorite reader comments to news articles about Palin.

- If she won't answer questions, the media should work around that and instead yell "Look! Gays!" or "Condoms!" near Palin and just watch her dive under the podium in fear.
- For trying to appeal to Hillary-style feminists, it sure seems funny that the men around her are telling her when she can speak and when she can't.
- Of course she's not scared to answer any questions; she's incapable of answering them. John McCain and Britney Paris Palin '08.
- The last thing Crazy McCain wants for Scary Sarah is for her to be unscripted...she might put her proverbial foot in it (she is going to do it anyway) and scare those that thought she was a Goddess! Run Sarah Run...we are coming after you with our San Francisco Values and you might get cooties!
- During the debates there will be no scripts allowed. So if I were her, I would carry a bible. she is going to need it
- the Hillary comparisons have got to stop. Hillary never would have hid behind a man like Palin hides behind McBush

And this was a more general comment I found. A bit tragic:
-Democrats have science, reason, and humanity on their sides. Republicans have . . . . a love of Jesus and lots of flags. And yet the Republicans will probably win again.

Seattlites

Another reason why I like living among Seattlites. I don't think you'd read these kinds of comments from readers in many other cities.

ABC

The US presidential election coming up is going to be historic and frankly it's making me very nervous. I thought Americans, even conservative ones, would have the brains to see through McCain's bullshit and the absurdity of his pick of running mate. Then again Americans also gave W 4 more years so I should learn to be less surprised.

In any case there is an election going on in my neck of the woods soon too. Our PM, Conservative Stephen Harper is trying to hold the federal election early knowing full well that an Obama win could sway Canadian voters to vote further to the political left.

The new saying in Canada is ABC -- Anything But Conservative. Wanna know why?

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams (also a conservative) says of PM Harper,
"Even without a majority, he has cut funding for minorities, cut funding for literacy, cut funding to students, volunteers, museums and arts and culture groups right across the country [and] his government cut funding to women's groups and … actually went so far as to remove the federal mandate to advance equality for women."
More here.

I should get one of those shirts that say "Don't blame me, I voted Liberal." Canadians (including ex-pats), please vote Harper the fuck out of there. He is messing up our country.

9.08.2008

NCA

The National Communication Association is an academic association that I'm a member of but one that tends to anger me to no end. And I'm not the only one. Their daily digest of distribution list postings are full of angry members' rants. There has not been one response to the flurry of angry emails from the execs. Here are a few of the complaints:

- They are holding this year's annual conference at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego which is being boycotted by most other academic and professional organizations and citizens' groups because the hotel's owner contributed thousands of dollars in support of a proposition to ban gay marriage. They are also in the middle of a labor union dispute (their room cleaners have to clean more rooms for the same pay and have no job security)
- They wanted us to register for the conference so far ahead that most people get stuck with a gap between paying the money and getting the money reimbursed by our departments. This is a gap that hurts graduate students and people in teaching positions who still have tight budgets
- The convention program is looking more and more like a phone book and NCA does not allow us the option to just view it online to save a few trees
- The hotels with discounted rooms for the conference are full except for one, and the conference is still 4 months away
- They charge a big wad of money for the preconference courses/seminars but the instructors they recruit to teach/lead them don't see most of that money
- Younger scholars and people of color have complained of just not feeling very welcome at the conference (I'd agree)

And my complaints:
- They send us the badges in the mail and if you forget to bring yours to the conference you have to pay for a replacement badge -- why not just save the postage and envelopes, have the badges at the conference and have a badge pick up station at the check in? (they could learn a thing or two from organizers of tech conferences I tell you)
- The web site is horrendous which is particularly embarrassing (as in I'm embarrassed for them) because they are a communication association. It is impossible to find anything on that site and their new flashy "RFP tracker" is not even a web application, it is a link to a 53-page PDF file (OMG, are you kidding me?). Oh and they can't even keep the font sizes and styles consistent from page to page (ever heard of CSS?). Ugh, I could go on and on. The web site is just pathetic. Pair a design student with an information architecture/comp sci student together on an internship and let them have at it. It couldn't get any worse.
- Almost all the faces I see in the newsletter are of old white folks, usually men. You'd think it was a newsletter for AARP or something (oh wait, AARP would have more people of color in their publication). One of the articles in the last issue of Spectra (their newsletter) was a rant from a grumpy old professor who was annoyed with laptops in the classroom and with students bringing Blackberries and Palm Pilots (he admitted he didn't know the difference and, yes, he said Palm Pilots). Laptops are how we electronically take notes these days, those mysterious things that replaced typewriters which replaced stone tablets. See where I'm going with this? Technology serves a purpose and it's related to communication and an important topic of study in our field for people very unlike him (thank the gods). His claims about technology getting in the way of learning were hyperbolic and serve only as an indication of how out of touch he is with the way business (and academics) is done these days.

I guess I could sum them up as old fashioned, inefficient, disorganized, bloated, out-of-touch, and inflexible.

9.05.2008

pingpong

Really looking forward to seeing this Jessica Yu film
http://www.pingpongplaya.com/us/index.html

Here is the facebook group with listings of when and where to catch it
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16504443114

redneck

The words of Bristol Palin's baby daddy from his MySpace page:

On his MySpace page, Johnston boasts, "I'm a f - - -in' redneck" who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes.

"But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess."

"Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass," he added.

He also claims to be "in a relationship," but states, "I don't want kids."

from the NY Post. Nice.

random

Here is a random collection of thoughts and updates since I'm not having coherent thoughts lately.

- Good article on why we like Facebook and Twitter
- I bought a shirt from Threadless of unicorns humping under a rainbow and it rocks
- Watching the RNC is far too grating so I follow FakeSarahPalin on Twitter instead
- Went to the famous Red Mill burgers for first time this weekend and it was tasty, but I was disappointed that there was no option to have a fried egg on top
- Got the $39 introductory massage special at the franchise Massage Envy and it was surprisingly good
- I went social dancing (lindy hop) for the first time at the Century Ballroom and had a great time (especially after I made K dance with me NOT in the cool (i.e. highly experienced) kids part of the dance floor where people know what they're doing and most teach classes. Instead I looked for the part of the dancefloor where people looked like they had just learned a basic east coast swing at the free half hour pre-dance lesson. I fit in better there.
- I start another series of intermediate level lessons next week and can't wait since this partner dancing stuff is the hardest, most intimidating thing I've attempted since learning to snowboard 10 years ago. Actually, this is harder and scary in a different way (scary in terms of kicking strangers in the shins and looking perpetually confused, out of step, and stupid vs. scary as in I could fall off a snowy cliff and die right here scary).
- I'm putting in an effort to reduce my consumption of red meat (except for the trip to Red Mill Burgers) for the sake of sustainability (House of Prime Rib would be another exception if I ever head there again in the near future)
- I decided not to submit a paper to a conference for 2 reasons - 1. it'll be on my birthday 2. there is no division for race and ethnicity and I think that's lame 3. (ok 3 reasons) it's in Arizona and I'm saving up my good shit for a conference in Honolulu (after you go to a few academic conferences and realize how draining and expensive it is, you tend to get a bit pickier)

8.27.2008

over

Summer that is. There was supposedly a heat wave here while I was in LA but, as usual, by the time I got home it was back to thunder showers and downpours. We got some great weather during July but I spent that month trying to manage a difficult teaching schedule. I got to travel a bit for August but travel for weddings is not the same as travel for relaxation because, well, it's hectic and not super relaxing. I spent the last week or so finishing the unpacking I didn't get around to back in April when I actually moved. Also did a lot of painting in my apartment so it looks inviting and maybe even pretty rather than slummy. I have one accent wall painted "sliced avocado" colour now and it looks pretty damn good.

Got less than a month left of summer, in which time I still need to write a short paper, reformat my computer (and/or get a new one before this one blows up), and respond to a call for papers for a conference in Phoenix. My "free" wifi stolen from a neighbour disappeared after I got back from LA which sucked the big one. Luckily it magically came back today so I've been glued to my computer the whole day. Oh and of course, with the reappearance of my free wifi comes a problem with my cell phone. It's not dialing out. Great.

I don't think part of September is enough for me to recharge my batteries and mentally be ready for another grueling school year. But I don't have much choice.

I need more sun and more time to be ready for school.

8.20.2008

August

I'm finally back in Seattle after spending most of the last three weeks out of town. It's been an awesome, though not terribly restful, three weeks. The first week I headed up to Vancouver by myself while K headed to Sac to see his mom as well as his niece and nephew who came up from San Diego to see him and their grandma. I had no idea that it was BC day long weekend so there was a lot of eating and more time to hang out with my friends than usual. One of my best friend's also had a nice banquet to celebrate his baby's one month birthday (moon yuet) which is a Chinese thing to mark a newborn making it to one month and effectively out of the woods so to speak since those early days are still sort of touch and go. My friend's brother was also in town from Fresno so it was cool for us to all hang out. I can never get enough of my Vancouver friends.

I headed back to Seattle the day before K and I took the train down to Eugene, OR for a wedding. The train ride was pretty relaxing. It was my first time meeting that group of friends and they were awesome and fun and smart and incredibly good lindy hoppers. It was exciting because it was also my first time taking what I've learned at lindy lessons to the dance floor and my first time watching K dance lindy. I've wanted to do this for a long time and I have finally found folks (and a bf) to dance with. Kinda sucks that they've got about 10 years of lindy experience on me since I just never had a circle of friends that was interested in all that. Part of the problem being I was a permanent fixture in the rave scene ten years ago. Oh well, better late than never, and this is something I can do even when I'm old like one couple that was ripping it up on the dance floor.

I just got back from 4 days in SoCal for a friend's wedding where I got to see many of my Bay Area friends including a couple who are moving to NYC. It was awesome to hang out like old times, including having a few too many drinks and going out late to eat. One lowlight of the trip was some raging drunk white dude who ran past us yelling "fucking gooks." I wish one of my friends wasn't so tired because he said he would have otherwise kicked his ass, and there were certainly more of us than there were of, well, him. Oh well. The rest of the weekend was a lot of fun and the wedding was a combination of good friends and open bar, which made it pretty entertaining.

Now that I'm back it's time to tackle my two summer credits, get some paint on my apartment's walls, and try to get some down time before madness starts again.

8.05.2008

Greyhound

I've taken charter buses a few times that I can remember. Once from UBC to Big White for the annual CVC ski trip and another time from Chicago to Urbana. On that trip to Big White I remember one of the buses full of university students like me at the time slipped on that dangerous Coquihalla Highway and landed on its side. No one was hurt but that was freaky. My trip to Urbana was not eventful but I would say that it wasn't the most comfortable way to travel and the bus station in Chicago is less than pleasant. Everyone there looked down on their luck and generally miserable. Anyways, I think the most dramatic thing to happen on a chartered bus took place a little while ago in Manitoba:
Without any apparent provocation, Li allegedly began stabbing McLean, who had reportedly been dozing. Terrified passengers poured off the bus.
The accused then allegedly decapitated McLean and paraded around the bus with his head. Li is also accused of consuming parts of McLean's body during his subsequent four-hour standoff with police. More...

7.29.2008

ice cream

Last Friday K had to pick up his credit card he left at Flowers on the Ave and I had to pick up a prescription at school so we worked in the morning from a coffee shop and then had lunch up in the U-District before working the rest of the afternoon from the graduate library cafe. It's kinda nice to have someone to work with so I don't find a quiet spot to take a nap (which happens a lot).

When it was quittin' time we decided to take a walk out to Wallingford for a treat, homemade ice cream at a local shop called Molly Moon's that makes awesome organic ice cream from scratch, including the sugar cones. He had honey lavender and I had thai iced tea. Other flavors included Vivace coffee, bubblegum, balsamic strawberry and other on their web site. So yummy. Baskin Robbins and crap like that just doesn't compare. Although I have to say I really like the Starbucks coffee ice cream.

Trying to finish my last week of working with these teens. There are a few of them I can't wait to never see again, but a few of them have grown on me, but those were never the ones who had discipline issues. 2 days of grading what feels like a billion speeches, report card comments and then I head to Vancouver to spend a week reading and relaxing.

7.22.2008

burbs

Headed up to Vancouver this weekend to see my friends' new baby boy. He has too much clothes but we couldn't resist bringing him a onesey that says "iPood" and another set of oneseys with little sayings on them. My favorite one says "what, I don't smell anything." Spent Friday evening at their place having drinks and holding the baby (an unusual combo but we didn't drink that much I swear). Saturday, K and I had brunch with my parents at Earls Restaurant. I went to their web site to find the location and it had a quote there that says "I don't flirt, I selectively engage" which I find rather offensive. Is this a fucking restaurant or white version of a Asian-style PR club for Christ's sake? They're known for hiring pretty, skinny, white waitresses. I don't think I've ever seen a male server, or one that is fat or non-white. Only reason we went there was to use a giftcard we got from a vendor of my dad's. Not planning to go back.

For the first time we spent the whole day in the burbs. I took K to a Korean spa called JJ Family Spa Plus, the only one in the Lower Mainland. I was hoping for something like Lynnwood's Olympus Spa but unfortunately it sort of sucked. The woman barely greeted us when we came in, the jacuzzi was dirty, men's steam room not working, two of the soaking tubs were empty (leaving just the dirty jacuzzi), there was a freakin' TV in the charcoal room (how are you supposed to relax?), they wanted to charge money for use of the massage chairs (like the ones at Sharper Image), the shampoo and conditioner dispensers were empty, and when I returned my key the woman didn't even look up from her computer screen. Bitch. They are planning to renovate but it looks like they already started but continued to take customers at full price. So unimpressed. Still, like K said, it wasn't a bad way to spend a couple hours -- laying around in a heated room on a bed of salt, charcoal or "yellow earth."

Oh well. We did have a nice afternoon visiting Belcarra Park where a couple caught a really big crab and kids were catching little fish with fishing line tied to a tree branch. Lots of them were doing that and having great success at it since the water is clear enough for you to see the fish biting less than a foot below the water's surface. That's what kids should be doing, not playing video games on a sunny day. They looked to be having an awesome time.

Stopped at White Pine beach on Sasamat Lake on the way back where we sat on a park bench and looked out at the water. My friends were either at a stag or taking care of baby for the evening so we walked down to the local theatre to watch the Dark Knight. I'd never spent so much time at a theatre -- 1 hour wait, 1/2 hour previews, 2.5 hour movie for a total of 4 hours. It was awesome to walk there and back in the middle of the night when it's nice and warm out.

The goal for Sunday was to eat fish and chips at the famous Pajos. Even the newborn came out and we all walked around Steveston, got some sun, and had some gelato for dessert. A perfect Sunday afternoon, at least until we went to the Duty Free on the way home. This snooty middle aged white woman in the cosmetics section would not stop following me. I clearly did not look like one of the foreign Asian visitors who drop loads of cash on cosmetics so I'm pretty sure she was thinking I was going to steal something. I wanted to turn and ask her if she ever followed white women that closely. Instead, I kept looking at different things in her section to watch her follow me. It was almost funny because she was so obvious. I did a couple extra laps through the aisles to give her some much needed exercise. I need to think of more strategies for dealing with white salespeople who follow me in stores. K dealt with it by leaving the area for the wine section. I prefer a more confrontational, or at least entertaining approach.

7.15.2008

bus

Every bus ride is such an adventure. Today a woman made a loud phone call to the bus authorities to complain that her busdriver drove by her with a half empty bus after making eye contact with her. She had to wait a half hour in the hot sun until the next bus, the one I was on, arrived. With the gas prices going up, there seem to be more people on the bus. What's really annoying though is that public school kids take public transport rather than getting a yellow school bus for their field trips. What that means is they fill up the bus and the bus has to skip the regular commuters who are left waiting for the next bus. I realized recently that some buses are air conditioned while others aren't.

7.09.2008

teens2

And an update on that summer program I'm working for. Well the last two days have started with stern lectures from the program directors about unacceptable behavior. The latest incident involved three of the boys wrestling in one of the classrooms and damaging some computer equipment, which they'll have to pay for. I'm thinking they need to do a tougher screening process. Teens who think that wrestling and breaking shit, shouting to one another outside administration offices, and taking naps during class right in front of my face are not college ready.

fall

It drives me crazy how people in this country love to file lawsuits. If you get wasted and fall out of a window to your death, it is your dumbass fault. Your parents should be embarrassed, not angry about "free swinging windows" and other "hazards" in your son's fraternity house. Blaming others for your kid's stupidity is pathetic. [broken link has been fixed]

7.05.2008

treehouse

On weekend mornings, it's become a bit of a custom for K and I to have breakfast at his place while listening to NPR for an hour or two, sometimes even longer. There were so many great stories this morning. My favorite for today though was a follow up to this story about Dave who lived in a treehouse in Seattle. What you don't get to read in the news are the details and what happens after the story is considered old news.

Dave grew up being bounced from foster home to foster home. He's been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Years back he sent through a bad divorce, lost his job, lost his home and became homeless. He's in his early fifties and he made the news when the city decided that the treehouse he had built on city land and lived in for two years was going to have to be torn down. He's known as the squirrelman because he loves animals and shared his treehouse with little critters including a squirrel he had tamed, a rat and a ferret. Well after he got evicted he became a bit of a local celebrity because people in the area knew him and loved him and so some folks got together to buy him an RV to live in, and he cried. What the news didn't report is that there is a really happy ending. A woman who lives outside of Seattle who also has a special bond with animals, lives off the grid, at one time with several wolves, yes wolves, and other animals. Dave now parks his RV on her land and lives with her and together they take care of animals. She doesn't charge him for rent but he works for her and it sounds like he has a permanent home and a life again. I wish I could find the story on the NPR or KUOW site but I can't remember what time it was or what show I heard it on. But it was a really touching story so I thought I'd share. I like happy endings especially for people who haven't been so lucky in life but haven't lost their passion for life. I hope things get better for him.

7.02.2008

teens

It's been yet another unplanned hiatus. Teaching a college prep program for underprivileged teens from 8:30- 10:30am and then teaching my own undergrad class for 2 hours in the afternoon is kicking my ass. I pretty much come home and prepare lectures, videos, and review the readings until it's time to go to bed. It's been really hard to train my body to sleep at a decent hour like most people. Everything else has fallen by the wayside -- laundry, dishes, groceries, time with K, time to relax and watch TV. I think I would have more energy if my teen class didn't eat away at my fucking soul. Let me tell you about my students' behavior today. One of them pulled his hood over his hat and face and put his head on the table and closed his eyes. This on a day when his classmates are delivering speeches. I called him out on it. What does he do next? Puts on shades, puts his head on the table and starts drawing on the desk with a pencil. I got him put on probation. And these speeches. Holy shit. Some lasted barely more than a minute (on a 3-4 min speech), many had no arguments, and most of them treat the assignment like it's some joke. Most of them are so bad that I'd be tempted to score someone higher for going to the front of the class, lifting an ass cheek and letting one rip. I cannot deal with snarkiness and stink eye. Someone remind me to never take these "working with teens" type jobs again. They're not for me.

6.19.2008

activities

So I'm on a supposed break between spring and summer quarter but I've been spending it developing a course that I'll be teaching for 5 weeks. It'll be the first undergrad class that I teach standalone and it's on a topic that is right down my alley so I'm pretty excited but doing all the readings, developing reading questions, coming up with assignments and previewing all the videos I plan to show (plus making up questions to answer after the video) has been a lot of work. Fun but still time consuming nonetheless. To keep things interesting and to force myself to get out and get some exercise I've been going to ashtanga yoga once a week and will be registering for 12-week series with K starting July. I also started lindy hop lessons which are also once a week and, man, does that ever involve a lot of sweating. What I learned on day one was that the other swing classes I've taken in the Bay Area were definitely West Coast swing and not lindy. But I'm actually enjoying this a lot more. I never really got into the West Coast swing classes, it didn't help that I didn't have a willing partner at the time either. K is about 10 years ahead of me at lindy hop so I go on my own which is fine by me since he's out on his bike those days anyways. Maybe one day I can dance with him and not just in the living room. So there you have it. I'll be forced to get out and move my ass at least twice a week. I've already lost almost 4 pounds just doing all the walking around in my neighborhood, to the bus stop, to K's and to my activities.

6.16.2008

parents

My parents came to visit this weekend. They had to head south to fetch something they bought online from their PO box in Blaine so they continued down the I5 for a visit. Most people have normal conversations with their parents by the time they hit their 30s. Unfortunately, my parents' idea of communication is driving from the back seat (both of them, simultaneously) and offering unsolicited advice and annoying commentary on every. single. fucking. thing. I. do.

Here is an abbreviated list of things on which they commented/questioned:
- my place is too old and the landscaping unkempt
- front door is too squeaky
- why is there no in-suite washer dryer
- everyone has a covered parking spot except me and another tenant
- why do they have to swear in this movie
- organic peanut butter is too oily (it's separated and you need to mix it up, it's just like that)
- stairs to bedroom are too steep
- fridge is too big
- microwave should be tilted at a different angle
- curtain, which is temporarily covering my my storage nook, is too sheer
- not enough meat in the fridge
- bathroom tap is too hard to turn on
- there should be a strainer in the tub to catch hair
- where is the sugar, why do you put honey in tea
- why buy a knife set when I could take their old knives and sharpen them
- why so many cables near the baseboard heating
- knobs in the bathroom are loose
- why are there not more towel racks for guests
- I should mask when I paint walls (I DID MASK)
- I should have cable, it couldn't cost that much
- why are there no facecloths
- bus stop is so far away
- non-slip mat in the tub should be hung up daily to dry
- electrical bill too high for one person
- too many keys on my key chain makes it too heavy and will break my car's ignition

They were relentless and K had to listen to some of that, and also had to deal with me losing my patience and thus he deserves a large trophy.

The only peace I got was when I put on a movie Friday and Saturday nights. That bought me a total of 4.5 hours of them not criticizing me and how I live my life. After they left on Sunday afternoon, I collapsed on the couch and fell asleep for two solid hours.

6.08.2008

race

So I went to K's bike race in Ballard this weekend. It was pretty fun. I can't believe I stuck around all day. It was a crit which means they ride a 1km course on closed off city streets. The more advanced levels (category 1, 2, and pro) go around for 70 min, cat 3s do I think 50 minutes and his level, cat 4s and 5s do 35 minutes of continuous riding around the course. K got off to a bad start thinking his foot was clipped into his pedal. It wasn't, which caused him to slip forward and crotch his top tube. He didn't ever manage to get back on track, but at least he didn't crash like a couple of other riders in his category, one who broke his pinky finger and another who fractured his elbow and lost a bunch of flesh. Yeah, this confirmed that I will never ever take up a sport that involves trying to be faster than someone else.

I haven't watched a race since I went with my parents to watch the Tour de White Rock in BC when I was a kid. It was kind of like watching Indy (I went to Infineon a couple years ago to see Danica Patrick), all the excitement but without the noise and stink. Plus you get to stand right up close and watch them go by. Part of the fun for me was also seeing all the awesome dogs that people brought out with them. Seattlites love their dogs. One big black dog I saw was a 2 year old that was 120 lbs (ie bigger than me) and still growing. He made the retriever he was playing with look like a chihuahua. So cute.

Anyways, yeah, it didn't do much more than sprinkle a bit all day that day but I was wearing 3 layers under a down jacket to stay warm. The sun made an appearance today but the forecast calls for more rain this week. Yuck.

6.07.2008

seriously

This weather has got to fucking stop. It's June. This morning I had to turn on the heat. I could no longer stand wearing a fleece jacket or down vest INDOORS. My 5000 lux seasonal affective disorder lamp plus turning on the heat is not meant to simulate spring/summer for the whole year. By now we're supposed to have real, not simulated, summer. I'm starting to wonder if this is a climate that I can tolerate long term, especially when I'm so sensitive to lack of sunlight. Dammit California spoiled me. Then again, when I think about it, I was pretty miserable in Vancouver during shitty weather months too.

I got up at 10am or so today, had something to eat, and could not keep my eyes open. Crashed on the couch for 2 more hours for a grand total of 11 hours of sleep and I still feel like shit. I'm on my third cup of Red Rose tea which I made extra strong so I can put in a couple solid hours of reading for my exams.

Good thing I have to do something that involves leaving the house. Gonna watch K's race in Ballard this afternoon. In fact I should be getting out of my pajamas right now but it's just so fucking hard to get motivated to do anything. Winter, you need to go away really soon. My mental health and productivity are at risk here. I've already had to take most Cure songs out of my playlist for fear it will only sink me deeper into this weather-induced melancholia.

6.05.2008

hair

I don't know where the hell Owen Sound, ON is but if you do, please boycott Nathaniels Restaurant. According to this CTV story, a woman who worked there shaved her head to raise $2700 for cancer research and in return she got "laid off." The reason? She wouldn't wear a wig. How fucking backwards is this? It's is so wrong on so many levels. The most obvious issue is that she is being punished by her employer for making what I'm sure she imagined to be a sacrifice as it would be for most women. Secondly, how does her hair style affect her ability to serve customers? Does this mean that any woman with a shaved head would not get a job there? How about a woman who has no hair because she really has undergone chemo, then what? There is no way that could be legal. And finally, isn't the men-short hair, women-long hair expectation just a LITTLE bit stale? What is this 19 fucking 40? How does having a penis or vagina determine what length hair is socially appropriate? If some of the restaurant's customers agree with the owner, I don't think I ever want to step foot in Owen Sound or be anywhere near those people. I am glad this made national news, Nathaniel's owner and chef Dan Hilliard, shame on you. Asshole.

6.04.2008

Ruby

To Ruby Chow,

Thank you for being an inspiration.

Sincerely,
me

-------------------
From The Seattle PI

Gov. Chris Gregoire called her "the soul of Seattle" who "exemplified so much of what makes Washington great."

"She stood up for the underrepresented, especially Asian Americans, from the time she was a young woman. She was a role model for women of all backgrounds and a fierce believer in the importance of families. And she was a successful businesswoman and politician. Throughout her life, Ruby did what women do best. She built bridges, and because of that, she left our state better place for us all. We will miss Ruby, but her legacy will live on."

logo

(4:21:21 PM) me: btw did you see this logo? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1901656/OGC-unveils-new-logo-to-red-faces.html
(4:21:48 PM) K: pretty damn funny
(4:21:54 PM) me: how awesome is that
(4:21:55 PM) me: seriously
(4:22:15 PM) me: a government entity gets a logo of a guy jacking off. i love it
(4:23:07 PM) K: so good
(4:23:47 PM) K: did you see the one for the christian childrens home that look like Jesus was getting a bj from a kid?
(4:24:00 PM) me: HAHAHA no that is awesome. send me the link
(4:24:13 PM) K: they took it down
(4:24:16 PM) me: shit

(4:27:06 PM) K: here's one that started that thread a few years back, http://www.thelogofactory.com/2006_images/info-imgs/bad-logos1.jpg
(4:27:53 PM) me: that is excellent

(4:28:14 PM) K: http://www.blog4logos.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/funnylogos-2.jpg
(4:28:34 PM) K: http://www.frederiksamuel.com/blog/images/kuda.jpg

and one more:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/84/268480215_85b6fc0cc8.jpg?v=0

damn I can't stop, a few more:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_N_ukhicsi_A/Rl3sgiL6urI/AAAAAAAAABg/b3oC2iqAaaw/s1600-h/logo102.gif
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_N_ukhicsi_A/Rl3r3yL6uqI/AAAAAAAAABY/YTRz1PqlEgs/s1600-h/logo101.gif

ugh

Had a meeting with the department chair yesterday that made me want to quit school right then and there. Went in requesting support on an issue that jeopardizes basically my whole academic career, and got interrogated and blamed instead. If there were a department or nearby school to defect to, I'd be doing it but instead I'm pretty much stuck. All I do is service for the department. I keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble and in return I get unapologetically fucked up the rear with a chainsaw at every turn. The only allies who have any sort of power (i.e. tenure) exist outside of my own department. How pathetic is that? Now I'm not really motivated to do anything but lay on the couch in front of the TV...unfortunately the free cable I was enjoying decided to cut out today. Another fabulous day in the life of me. At least Obama won.

6.02.2008

bus

Lately I've been getting aboard a bus driven by a woman who, according to one of her many pictures posted in the front windshield, loves her job. Yup, there really is a little picture taped to her windshield that says, "I love my job." I like getting on her bus because there is always a bouquet of fresh flowers tied to the big bus fare collection machine. She also has a whole collection of puppy and kitten pictures taped to the windshield. When kids get on the bus, she gives them a little postcard to color. She also had doggy treats on hand for canine riders. She usually has someone up front to converse with but often she also opens her window or door at intersections to chat up other drivers and random people on the street. I like her. She's cool. She's also the one who yelled at a bunch of obnoxious teens who were bothering other passengers and blocking the aisle. Those teens then pulled the race card and called her racist (according to a conversation I witnessed between her and them on a separate occasion). Anyways, if you're being an asshole and get called out, don't pull the race card, all that does is trivialize REAL issues of racial discrimination and there are many. Don't cry wolf. Anyways back to the bus driver. It's cool to find someone who loves her job. It's a rare thing.

6.01.2008

eats

K introduced me to a couple good eats recently: Liberty where they do old-school pre-prohibition style drinks with good liquor for reasonable prices. Decent sushi there too. And Kingfish cafe where you get fancy twist on southern cooking. Not a place to go when dieting, especially if you're like me and cannot resist ordering mac and cheese, no matter what restaurant you're at. Man, I love eating. I realized the hobby that has replaced all the clubbing we did in our 20s is pub/bar crawling and eating. It's a particularly fine hobby in this neighborhood where food is served late at a lot of places and there's generally no cover so you can check out a different place for dinner, dessert, and drinks or coffee (and hot dog if there's room after all that). And the walking you have to do to get there, to do the pub/restaurant crawl, and then roll your fatty ass home helps to work off some of the calories. I think this beats partying.

5.27.2008

after

A coat of primer and two coats of paint later and I have "new" cabinets that don't look like complete shit. I can't wait to get the little brushed metal knobs on them. I should note that the true color is more like the one on the kitchen cabinets. The flash on my camera made the bathroom cabinets look lighter than they actually are. Also, it's not a totally fair comparison -- I think I took the before pics on my old S200 and the after pics on my SLR. So my next project is to paint the bathroom walls, but first I need to buy a new mirrored cabinet to replace the garbage that's been hanging on the wall there since the place was built. I went to take out the wonky little toilet paper holder yesterday and realized that the stupid asshole who installed it used GI-FUCKING-GANTIC metal drywall anchors that I cannot remove, so I had to push them into the wall leaving holes the diameter of my pinky finger. You don't have to be Bob fucking Villa to know that a roll of toilet paper does not weigh 10lbs which is the kinda weight metal anchors like that are meant to hold. Now I have these stupid holes in my wall that I have to fill with about a gallon of spackle or whatever before I paint over the disaster that is my bathroom wall. I just I don't want to have a bathroom that looks like it belongs in a crack house. So I'm looking forward to fixing this up. I should get a pic of the many holes in my wall. They're pretty funny.

painting

I spent the long weekend painting my 70s not-so-chic dark wood panel patterned laminate cabinets. In case you have the same problem and either have your landlord's permission or own your home, this is a quick and cheap way to make them look much better. Because laminate is glossy you'll either need to prime or sand them first. If you decide to prime, get the kind of primer that says it sticks to glossy surfaces without sanding. Otherwise it'll direct you to sand AND prime which is just too much work. So I cleaned, primed, and did coat one on Saturday and finished with a second coat Sunday. I chose a nice black-brown/espresso color that turned out really nice. Now I just have to put in my brushed metal knobs ($2 for 6) from IKEA (yay for their tax free sale this weekend). Hmm actually I think I do have a before picture. Here are the cabinets in all their 70s glory.I want to throw up a bit just looking at them. I'll post some after pics soon.

5.21.2008

stuffy

Man I can't believe how infrequently I've been posting. Things have just been kinda stressful with this drama going on with having my advisor taken off my committee. I've been meeting with all my other committee members to see what the hell I should do. I was also out of town again this weekend to attend a friend's wedding, and on my drive back home, I took a passenger who stayed a night to pick up his new car at the (hopelessly inefficient) Toyota dealership in Burien (where we spent 3 hours waiting for them to process 5 min of paperwork). I also had a couple who also attended the wedding stay over the same night as they head out on their road trip to California. That night was fun. We had dinner at Linda's where a plate of 3 sliders cost only $3 and pitchers of Heff or Guiness were only $7.50. Then we headed to B&O Espresso for dessert and coffee before heading home to chit chat, catchup, and get ready for bed.
So I'm just getting back into the swing of things again and I've been completely exhausted and having to take 1-2 hour naps in the afternoon. K's theory is that my out-of-control allergies (mostly nasal stuffiness) might be preventing me from getting enough hours of REM at night. I'm thinking I need to start taking Singulair again because Reactin and Claritin just aren't doing the job. After that, it'll probably be time to see the doctor for a remedy.

5.14.2008

path

"Taking the path less taken" was the name of a speech I gave at Toastmasters a few years ago about deciding to leave the tech industry and going to grad school. I realized that I still sort of do that but in a more literal way. Now that I've moved to an area that is very walkable, I find that I walk everywhere - to K's, to the grocery store, to the drugstore, Downtown, everywhere. And each time, if I'm not in a hurry, I try to take a different path to my destination. It's been a fun way of exploring my new area and also to discover things I would never have seen if I kept taking the same route. For example, I have found 4 more places to get Ethiopian food, at least two bubble tea places, a corner store in the middle of our residential area, a women-only kung fu studio, and a handful of bars and other restaurants. So once in a while take a different route and maybe you'll notice something new (it also prevents nut job stalker fuckers from learning your routines).

Ironman

So Saturday night, K and I went to Cinerama with some friends to watch Ironman. Cinerama is this cool theatre that shows only one film at a time. It has a huge screen so people can also sit up on the balcony level. It was a pretty neat experience so I hope to go there again when they're not playing a fucked up stupid piece of shit movie.

So I can tolerate some bad movies. I can. Really. There are those movies that are considered not quite award-worthy because the jokes aren't super funny (like Napolean Dynamite) or the plot is bizarre (like Old School) or it's cheeseball (like Dirty Dancing). But sometimes there are more important reasons to dislike a movie. In the case of Ironman, aside from the fact that the script was totally corny which is not that big of a deal, there is the issue of there being no strong female characters. In fact the only main female character doesn't even get a real name, she's an executive assistant called Pepper for Christ's sake. That's something you fucking name your dog. Also all the Middle Eastern people in the movie are evil and inversely almost all of the bad guys are Middle Eastern. The hero is a rich white guy with unbridled genius (can you say cliche?) And in the movie, it seems that his brilliance excuses his sexist, misogynistic tendencies and also causes him to be impulsive... but alas that's okay because his assistant, Pepper, whom he ogles constantly in a really perverted way, is always there to keep the asshole on track. You don't have to be a hardcore feminist or ethnic studies scholar to recognize the stale sexist and racist stereotypes that this movie recycles. Just. Lame. And not even that entertaining.

5.07.2008

guesthouse

I was surfing my yoga center's website links and found a link to this incredible little guest house in my neighbourhood. Check out Truly Central. I particularly enjoyed reading the location part because it describes my new area and things I didn't even know about it. For example, I had no idea there was a beer and pizza movie theater that I can walk to in minutes. Movies (probably second run but not like I care since I haven't seen most recent movies) are only $5 too. How cool is that?

So getting back to this guest house. It's a great deal at $550 per week for a one bedroom that a small group can fit in. I'll have to keep it in mind for overflow guests.

5.06.2008

obstacle

So I just got back from a wonderful weekend in the Bay Area where a good friend of mine got married. I spent way more than I could afford to but you can't put a price on time spent with friends (and one cousin). Some highlights: hanging out in Palo Alto with my friend and her 1 yo baby and watching her do all her sign language which was really cool, eating dinner at Dish Dash in Sunnyvale (yummy Mediterranean), a big lunch at Chef Wai's in San Mateo with most of my Bay Area friends at one big table, the wedding of course (damn the lamb appetizers were awesome), lunch at Joy in Foster City (awesome Taiwanese cuisine including stinky tofu and siew loong bao), this HK style dessert place in San Mateo where I got a fresh mango bubble tea, dinner at Alexander's steakhouse in Cupertino, hanging out with my cousin, and the almost sunny day in San Francisco yesterday where we had some raw oysters at Hog Island in the awesome ferry building, and burritos at Pancho Villa, and finally In and Out Burger which is way the hell better than Dick's in Seattle. I even managed to take my mind off my latest major life obstacle. My advisor was told she can only keep two of her advisees, leaving 3 of us with no advisor and no one in the department who does race or cultural studies to lead my committee. Oh and they didn't exactly scramble to find any of us someone suitable as a replacement. It was more like "hey you're out of luck! good riddance sucker." So yeah, academically I am totally without a doubt fucked. I have a co-chair in another department who graciously offered to be my sole advisor but my department wont allow that. I need someone in my own department to co-chair. The second I got into my office this morning all the distraction of the weekend trip went away and I faced the reality of being set up to fail in my program. I don't even know what to do next. I am supposed to be preparing for exams but guess what I need an advisor to lead the exams and my preparation for them. Seriously. I swear I get screwed at every turn. I don't even know why I bother. I'm just so fucking pissed right now.

4.28.2008

Chicago

So I'm back from the Asian American Studies conference which took place at the Hyatt in Chicago. I didn't bring my camera (too busy trying to schlep together my presentation) but I had a great time there. I stayed with some very gracious friends of a friend in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood. It was particularly cool that they came to watch some panels. Convention crashing they called it. Very doable at a conference like this where you get a lot of panels that deal with a topic that can have personal relevance, and others that are just fun (e.g. race and Battlestar Gallactica is always a popular topic). The HUGE neurology conference was happening next door so apparently we got free wifi from them. Anyways, I was really happy with our kick ass panel which had a bigger audience than several of the panels that were held in a larger room. We got some tough questions but we managed to evade those losers with small penises who don't really have a real question, those folks who just like to go on and on to demonstrate their own knowledge and hear themselves talk. Bastards. We also saw a particularly weak talk given by someone who spoke with incredible conviction and authority. It reminded me of Miss South Carolina. If you mute the sound she sure looks like she knows what she's talking about as did this guy. Often I feel like I'm the one that is presenting a weak or un-insightful argument but then I saw this guy's talk and I'll admit it gave my low academic self-esteem a much needed boost.

Anyways, the weather there was unexpectedly warm and sunny while over in Seattle, it rained, hailed and then also got sunny. Weird. Since I got back I've been trying to catch up on all the shit I put aside as I frantically prepared for that conference. It's been great to take some time to do things that people don't normally have to budget time for -- laundry, doing dishes, unpacking from my move, figuring out how to take the bus from my new place. But I guess being a grad student is just not a normal situation.

4.16.2008

theft

So my student got up in the beginning of class and said she had a weird question. (and in my head I thought, "try me"). She said to me, "I had my bike stolen a while ago, and I can see it, right now, outside our window with someone else's lock on it. Can I go and call the cops?" Of course I immediately dismissed her so she could take care of that business. I haven't seen her since but I can't wait to hear if she managed to get her bike back. This serves as a reminder to register your bike (and laptop) with your local police. If you're on my campus, here's how.

top 10

I am going to finish off my top ten list of things I wont miss in Lake Shitty. Let me recap

10. drunk people urinating in the bus shelter
9. sketchy businesses - XX stores, gun shops, strip club
8. shopping carts inside my building
7. people not stopping at the uncontrolled intersection
6. sloppy building next door

and now I'll come up with reasons 5 through 1.

5. no coffee shops are open late in the area (except Starbucks which has no free wifi and burnt tasting expensive coffee with no frequent customer cards and they wonder why they're doing shitty) . The closest coffee shop open later than 7:30pm is way up in Shoreline or down in the U-District.

4. pan handlers. It's almost impossible to go to QFC to buy groceries without being approached by a pan handler, or having to walk past a whole group of them hanging out behind the businesses which can be intimidating. Most of them don't appear to be homeless, they're just asking for money instead of working. As someone who makes $14K a year for my halftime TA appointment, which is less than anyone who works full-time at minimum wage... and I still manage to pay rent, that pisses me off. If you have a place to live and clean clothes to wear like many of those panhandlers, you can get at least a minimum wage job and make more than I do in a year and stop asking me for money.

3. abandoned cars. There were two cars abandoned on my street for months, then after the flood, another car was left abandoned and because it had been flooded it actually started to grow furry stuff on the seats. Apparently Lake Shitty is the place to leave unwanted cars

2. public library. The Lake Shitty branch is about the size of someone's living room. I've never seen a smaller library with so many noisy children running around unsupervised in my life. It SUCKS.

1. I don't feel safe walking around. I love to walk and I hate driving but even around dusk I don't like to be walking around in Lake Shitty. In fact, when I went jogging in broad daylight I often got unwanted attention (whistles, hollers, comments etc) from people hanging around or driving by. I saw one guy almost run through a 4 way stop because he was looking at the ass of a woman bent over pulling weeds from her garden. People are just generally trashy there and can't keep their comments or eyes to themselves.

Where I live now, which I've heard referred to as the homo-hipster area (Davie meets Kitsilano for you Vancouverites), I can walk everywhere and feel safe even at night. I'm in a more quiet residential neighbourhood while being no more than a 10 minute walk to cafes, bars, little boutique stores, and restaurants. There is some rif raf as in any major city, but people are more eclectic and friendly and less sketchy/trashy/up to no good. I still have noisy neighbours but it's heavy walking/video game noise, not children screaming or couples arguing which has been my experience in the past particularly in Lake Shitty.

4.10.2008

back

Let's review the latest series of disasters that seem to define my life:

1. laptop power supply broke before I could get a copy of a paper out of it
2. jerk who sold me one on eBay sat on it for many days before shipping it out
3. food poisoning had me puking my guts out and on my ass and not eating solid food for 4 days
4. drank Ensure to get some nutrients, felt sick, and realized it contains soy which I'm allergic to (this proves that god hates me)
5. moved to my new place (while still sick) and was too weak to unpack
6. got a 4" split down the ass crack of my new pants while squatting down to pick up a vacuum cleaner - brand fucking new pants too
7. missed a meeting as a result of not having my laptop with me constantly because obviously it serves as my brain and I cannot function without it

Now I'm almost all unpacked, the power supply came, and I'm almost recovered from the food poisoning (although I'm still tired and getting headaches and heartburn). Hopefully things start looking up from here. I have a flight booked on American to go to Chicago next week so they better hurry the fuck up and finish checking the wiring on those planes.

Going to go home and try to steal some wifi now.

4.04.2008

sick

So I didn't blog for a while because I was busy packing for my move and working on a conference paper, but since then my power adapter broke (ie no access to my laptop) and yesterday I must have gotten some sort of food poisoning so now I'm stuck on my couch and borrowing K's MacBook. Threw up violently 4 times, got chills which alternated with hot flashes and got super dizzy. Thing is that all I ate yesterday was leftovers (which didn't make me sick when I ate them the first time) plus some dry mushroom stuffed tortellini from Trader Joe's that I boiled. I can't see how that could make me sick but something sure did a number on me. I've never had food poisoning before so this is my first experience of this hell. I haven't puked like this since I was a little kid. I liken it to your worst hangover times a million. I am ready for this run of bad luck to stop now. I have to move tomorrow so I'm hoping I can stand for long periods of time by then. Right now I can't even get up to do a load of laundry.