A few weeks ago a student at my school was moving her car when a man attacked her with a hammer. Yeah, a hammer. That's two random violent attacks since new years on women in neighourhoods I spend a lot of time in. The other attack was in Capitol Hill where a paranoid schizophrenic who should have been institutionalized stabbed a woman to death. Anyways, this UW student is going to survive, which is miraculous, but her attacker is still at large. What's crazier about this story than the fact that it happened at all is that she is a refugee from Rwanda who already lost her entire family and then came here, lived in foster care, and is now getting a 3.5 GPA in engineering. There are several groups raising money to help pay her medical bills but this story was one that really stood out for me.

You can help too. Contribute at any Wells Fargo Bank branch. Ask for the Pink Blanket Fund for the assaulted UW student.


And this is why Beijing should not be allowed to host the Olympics. In supporting the Beijing Olympics, the world is complicit in their human rights abuses because we're watching as they sweep their shit under the rug and not doing a damned thing. Tiananmen Square was really not that long ago. That tragedy should be etched in our collective memories. And still today nothing has changed. When people dissent, the government makes them "disappear" literally. It's so outrageously fucked up. Oh and don't forget they fucked Tibet too. And you know what, those dissidents in China won't be able to read this because that great firewall of China blocks all blogger content. What the fuck are my people doing?

Hu Jia, my thoughts are with you (even if you can't read this) ...

Some more reading for those interested (and you should be):




They finally dethroned that racist old man who served as PM of Australia. This official apology to the aborigines would not be happening otherwise. While it will never mend the damage done, I hope they follow up with programs and financial support to help their native people. They really fucked them over even more so, in my humble opinion, than Canada screwed our First Nations people not that these things should really be quantified but they were still denying it just 8 years ago for Christ's sake.



I've been stuffing envelopes (and playing Scrabulous) the last hour or so. The admin gig (along with my job as a research assistant) is a half time assignment I got in lieu of teaching this quarter. So here I am folding paper and running envelopes over this white ceramic thing that wets the gum on the envelope and I can't say that I'm in any way stressed out. In fact the repetition is almost calming. Every other job I have had, including teaching, has had me doing a million things at once, and every one of those things required thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and interacting with other people. To be honest, that kind of thing keeps me sharp but it also burns me out really fast. I've had this sort of dilemma before and I see two basic career paths that people generally follow:

1. Take a job that is challenging but fulfilling. Work will be hard and long but meaningful.

2. Take a job that is easy, pays the bills, and leaves you plenty of leisure time to do the things you really want to do.

I've never been able to choose #2 because I usually can't stand to spend even 7 hours a day on something that is meaningless to me. Actually when I worked in the tech industry I spent more like 10-12 hours a day on really hard work that was meaningless to me...but I made about $10K more 7 years ago than I will as an assistant prof for a public teaching university in 3 years.

But as I sit here and stuff envelopes I wonder if it isn't such a bad thing to do really mindless work that pays the bills (barely) but doesn't leave me exhausted, stressed out, and worried. And why the hell can't I ever settle for something in between? I'm actually working toward lower pay and greater workload...

But I have to say that every moment I spend reading and writing, no matter how hard it is at 1 in the morning or after working for many consecutive hours, is valuable to me because I'm learning something new or thinking about something in a different way. I guess I have to remind myself of that. Or win the lottery.


Less than an inch of snow overnight and the whole city freaks out. My bus came 20 minutes late and it wasn't the usually extra long accordion bus. Needless to say it was packed full of people. The scary part came when the bus driver asked everyone to stand above the bus' rear wheels to give us more traction to get up the hill. That was scary because not making it up the hill means dragging my ass on foot up a slippery hill and that would suck tremendously.

It needs to not snow this week anymore so I can get up to Whistler where snow belongs.



So last week when I went up to get bubble tea in the U District with K, it dawned on me that not everyone in the whole wide world knows how to play Big 2 (or choy die dee in Cantonese). Every 1st to 2nd generation Asian (or at least Chinese) kid in Canada who had other Asian friends (as I did but only after entering university) seems to know how to play but alas that is a rather narrow demographic. I guess that means that D's tattoo of the 2 of spades is a big mystery for a lot of people. So anyways I taught my Sacramento-raised hapa bf to play. It took about 10 minutes. I forget how easy that game is to learn. Now I'm on to Scrabulous which I hear is in trouble from the makers of Scrabble. Those dummies. They have no idea how I'm sure this online game has rekindled fond memories of playing Scrabble. And I will bet that many people have gotten hooked again and bought a Scrabble set for home. Ohhh now I'm itching for some Texas Hold 'Em. That is one game I refuse to play online or I'll never finish school.



D and I are gonna check out an open house for a one-year-old place near Seattle U this Saturday. It's pretty much perfect except it could use another parking spot, another 1/2 bath and a reduction in rent by about $200. So I've decided to pimp out D by having him flirt relentlessly with the agent/landlord whom we already know is an Asian woman about our age. We'll see how this goes. Turn on that boyish charm D, this girl needs to move out of our shitty ass neighbourhood.

Oh and I don't remember if I mentioned that there is a Volvo still abandoned on our street after the big flood. That car must've had about a foot of water in it. There is now a notice from the city on the windshield. I took a look inside and it looks like a science experiment now. Mold growing all over the seats. Can't wait for them to tow that piece of shit.



"Same shit, different colour." I just figured out that Dania Furniture = Scandinavian Designs. Crate and Barrel is also pretty good at making expensive shit that looks good but really sort of sucks. Their furniture doesn't piece together properly as K and I found out when putting together his $550 bed. Hinges don't meet up with hinges they way they do in the instructions.

So for you snobs who think that any one of those stores sells furniture that is superior to IKEA's, you're wrong. Just because they have a fancy showroom and fancy/snooty sales staff and flashy catalog and higher prices does not mean you're getting a better product. You're still getting particle board pieces that you put together yourself, shit that falls apart, and couches that go flat. They probably even come from the same factories in China for all we know. So those of you who like to say things like "I don't shop at IKEA, I only buy my stuff from Dania/Scandinavian Designs/Crate and Barrel" can shove it. Funny how this week's English seminar dealt with commodity fetishism. Damn straight Walter Benjamin.

Oh and one of my favourite couches to sit/nap on is K's awesome super comfortable window sofa which came from Costco. So there.

Dania II

Dania Furniture just called in response to my letter and has ordered me a new futon. The same one. Perhaps mine is defective but honestly it looks to me like the design is just flawed. Oh well, a new defective futon is better than an old defective futon. Dania has narrowly escaped making it on my "bad company" list.


So despite what I see as rather limited use-value of www.twitter.com I've been using it because I can see what K is up to (design people seem to be addicted to it) and it also allows me to update my Facebook status from IM. However, it puts the "is Twittering:" prefix on my Facebook status. When my cousin saw this he IM'd me:

(12:10:16 PM) cousin: hey .. whats new? what does "twittering" mean??
(12:10:26 PM) me: www.twitter.com for updates that auto update facbeook too
(12:10:47 PM) cousin: oooh.
(12:10:54 PM) cousin: shoot i thought it was the urbandictionary defn of twitter
(12:11:08 PM) cousin: "the place between the twat and the shitter.."



Here we go again. Dania Furniture, unless they give me some sort of store credit, will soon join U-Haul, Haier, Lowe's, and Comcast on my list of shitty-ass companies with shitty-ass products and/or service.

Dania Furniture
6416 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

January 8, 2008

Dear Dania Furniture,

In October 2006, about 14 months ago, I purchased the Kiel Futon (SKU:M18 NEWKIEL/VE20; Price: $ 349.00) in hopes that it would offer better quality and durability than something from IKEA. The photo on your website shows the one I purchased:

The futon was great the first couple months but after that, we noticed the middle of it sagging.

Within 6 months it looked like this:

Now there is a permanent dent in the middle of the seat as you can see below:

My roommate and I weigh under 110 lbs each and have not done anything extraordinary with the futon that would cause excessive wear and tear. In fact, we are barely ever home to use it. We initially thought that the issue was an uneven flattening of the cushion from sitting in the same spot but we turned the futon over and discovered that the entire wire mesh is sagging because there is no crossbar in the center of the frame to support it, as you can see below. This is an outrageous design flaw that should have prevented the Kiel Futon from ever reaching customers.

It is not at all unrealistic or unreasonable to expect brand new furniture to last more than one year. I am extremely disappointed in the quality of the Kiel Futon I purchased from Dania, a store that I thought was at least a couple steps up in quality from IKEA.

I am writing to request an exchange and/or store credit for the Kiel Futon. There are obviously flaws in the design that prevent it from maintaining its structural integrity. At this point, the piece can hardly be considered usable. Unfortunately, it was never my intention to pay $349 plus tax for disposable furniture. Rather, my goal was to invest in something that would serve me for years, not months. I hope you take my request seriously as this experience has begun leave me with doubts about the quality of your merchandise and, in turn, the integrity of Dania Furniture.

Yours sincerely,



From CNN:

-- A series of newsletters in the name of GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul contain several racist remarks -- including one that says order was restored to Los Angeles after the 1992 riots when blacks went "to pick up their welfare checks."



Twitter quote of the day comes from K. "Seriously people, if your dog is trying to do its business don't drag them down the street."

This actually reminds me of a BBQ down at my friends' apartment courtyard one sunny Canada Day when my friend R wanted to play with another friend's yorkie, Dim Sum. R looked quite smart running Dim Sum around on the grass until the little dog stopped and began to squat and strain. R being the person he is did not want to have to pick up poop so he kept yanking on Dim Sum's leash forcing her to continue walking (or being dragged) back to her owner. I have to admit it was super funny.


So I'm appealing to Republicans who might consider themselves too progressive to even consider Romney (even though I'm sure none of them read my left-leaning rants here on this blog). I'd like to share just a bit more about the supposedly less conservative GOP alternative, Huckabee. This is from The Boston Globe December 13th Page A15.
Contrary to pundits, not everybody loves Huckabee
In Salon.com, reporter Max Brantley recounted his years covering then-Governor Huckabee for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Reporters considered him petty, thin-skinned, self-righteous, and ethically challenged. Brantley reports that Huckabee used campaign funds to pay himself as his own media consultant. (Personally, I consider this a hanging offense.) According to Brantley, "Huckabee raked in tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, including gifts from people he later appointed to prestigious state commissions. Inauguration funds were used to buy clothing for his wife."

Huckleberrys heart swag. When "Huckleberry," as he's nicknamed, left the governor's office, the furniture he'd been given to spruce up the place left with him.

When he and his wife decided to renew their wedding vows, they set up a registry at department stores so citizens could bestow gifts upon the First Couple. The list included Lenox china, a KitchenAid mixer, and a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. You try losing 100 pounds without a LaLanne.

The heart of Huckabee. When a retarded 15-year-old was raped by her stepfather, she needed state Medicaid funding for an abortion. Governor Huckabee defied a federal judge's order and blocked the abortion.
It really freaks me out that people support him. Actually to be honest I have a hard time understanding how anyone can support the GOP platform or any of their candidates. Then again maybe that's a good thing, maybe some voters will come to their senses and vote democrat when the time comes.



I watched a handful of movies recently so I thought I'd recap.

16 Blocks. Mos Def is in this and he's a really great actor. I have to admit I was searching Craigslist for a new apartment while I was watching but I did see most of it. Bruce Willis plays a washed up cop and looks older than I've ever seen him. His character is a bit stock though, nothing we haven't seen in a million other action movies. I wasn't all that impressed by him. I'd say it was a fun-to-watch action-packed movie and worth seeing but not an award winner by any means.

Eastern Promises. This one blew me away. I didn't know much about this movie going in but remembered seeing the newspaper ads with all the impressive reviews. This was an excellent movie about the Russian mob. It has a complex plot with a lot of twists and turns and incredible acting. I'm not really into violent mobster films (unless you count triad and yakuza flics) but I really liked this one a whole lot.

The Orphanage. Saw this one at Queen Anne theater on Friday. I'd seen Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone so I was really excited to see another Guillermo Del Toro film. Again, fantastic actors, especially the children, and I really like how the story unfolded and the ending was extremely satisfying. I did see elements of The Devil's Backbone being recycled in this film though so I figure if you haven't seen that you might like The Orphanage a bit more than if you have. Kinda like seeing The Others after seeing Sixth Sense if you know what I mean.


Hmmm I thought because I only drive on weekends and take the bus weekdays and eat very little processed food that I'd be in the clear. Apparently not. Well at least I am doing better than most Americans. Actually now that I think about it the quiz is far too simplistic. It does not ask about other types of consumption, energy for example, which is something that I'm very careful about. I recycle religiously (and carefully and yes like in the PEMCO commercial I wash out recyclables and separate paper, plastic and glass), ask for paper versus plastic bags, and avoid using disposable stuff (cutlery, cups etc.) and individually packaged goods in favour of resusable or bulk items, so I think I should score some points for that.


FOOD 3.7






Those of you who lean right ought to be reminded that one of the Republican candidates is a guy who was convinced by This Hour has 22 Minutes that we needed to put a dome over Canada's National Igloo to protect it from global warming. The awesome Rick Mercer, who hosts the segment "Talking to Americans" even got him on camera saying:
"Hi, I'm Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas wanting to say: `Congratulations, Canada, on preserving your national igloo.'"
And there was even a recent story on it and here is the video itself. I don't think that guy should be running any jurisdiction outside of Arkansas.

Oh and be sure to check out the list of other pranks pulled on the segment "Talking to Americans." They're pretty funny. My favourites:

- asking students and professors at Columbia University to sign a petition asking Canadians to discontinue the practice of abandoning the elderly on ice floes.
- persuading Americans that Canada is getting a five-dollar coin. It would have had a maple leaf on it and it would have been called the "woodie".


I thought the bait car program was a brilliant and funny way of catching car thieves. Now they've got an innovative way to catch drunk drivers -- by staffing fast food drive throughs late at night.



I am back south of the border and my friends were right, crossing the border after dinner time is the best bet. K and I decided to stop off for a bite and coffee before heading home and happened upon Dineasty Restaurant. Holy cow so good. We just got some noodles and pork/veg dumplings but both were made fresh by hand (yup the noodles and the dumplings) and you got to watch them make it through a huge window into the kitchen. It was cheap too. $7 for 8 dumplings, and a little less for the noodles. Ok I need to get on with my day. Gotta unpack and get some work done, maybe buy some books for next quarter which starts in a week. Overall the Vancouver trip was pretty good. Saw lots of friends (but also missed meeting up with a lot of them too), snowboarded both Whistler and Blackcomb in one day, hung out a lot with my besties, saw my friend's baby nephew, hung out with the parents of some of my friends, spent a little bit of time with cousins but not enough, ate at Shabusen, Guu, Mondo Gelato, and Sun Sui Wah, watched I am Legend (meh, it was ok) and Juno (awesome), and took K out to English Bay, Robson, Gastown, Yaletown and Commercial drive. Next trip north will be first weekend of Feb (Whistler trip with K's company) or earlier if I have time.