White guy in black face playing Obama in a student skit. Nice going North Dakota State University. You fucking idiots. Just another reason why I refuse to live in the midwest.


I saw a show about the MIT students who had won big counting cards at BlackJack. In that re-enactment, the people were mostly white so I thought they were in real life too. Turns out they were mostly Asian American. So that show, which was on TV and meant to represent the actual events (unlike the current Hollywood movie), was way off and now the movie 21 continues with the tradition of racist casting because, y'know, white audiences apparently can't identify with Asian lead characters. Asian Americans are actually talking about boycotting it. Read more at Angry Asian Man's blog.



A guy in Oakland who manufactures pot candy has pleaded guilty. What the fuck are Oakland police doing busting something like this to begin with? This is nothing short of infuriating. I can think of a long list of things that should be of higher priority in that city, like hmmmm lemme think... shootings, stabbings, and other violent crimes perhaps? So ass backwards. Luckily most of the people who left comments are of the same opinion. Some of my favourite comments:

I could go across the street and buy an entire pint of Royal Gate vodka for 3 bucks, and drink myself into the emergency room.. but God Help Me if I get high off pot candy and fall asleep in the living room!!!

Marijuana is illegal for one reason and one reason only. If legal it would be in direct competition with alcohol and tobacco sales.


It is snowing in Seattle in late March, i.e. Spring. I'm not pleased.


While I'm at it, let me also cover #6: The housing next door. There are about 15 units of brick housing next door to my place. The buildings aren't terribly offensive but I have never seen such a mess. On any given day you can count on seeing the following in the yards, next to the dumpster and in front of the building: toys, broken TVs, old cribs, cigarette butts, piles of old clothes and shoes (yes just laying there on the ground), cars with multiple flat tires, broken window screens, etc. Much of the time this trash ends up being thrown over the fence and into the bushes that separate that housing from my apartment. The blackberry bushes start to look like some sort of fucked up Christmas tree with crap lodged in them that no one ever cleans up.


I'm realizing I need to hurry my countdown along as I move out of Lake Shitty in a couple weeks and will block out all memory of the shithole soon after. So number 7 in my list of things I won't miss: The uncontrolled intersection a block from my place. I'm pretty sure the rule with an uncontrolled intersection is to treat it like a 4-way stop. That means stopping and letting the first person at the intersection go first. In my neck of the woods it's more like an opportunity to play chicken. Hardly anyone stops. They just speed on through in every direction and it's a miracle that I haven't yet witnessed a collision.



Next on my top 10 list of things I won't miss about Lake Shitty.
Read about number 10 (drunk people urinating on the bus stop) and 9 (sketchy businesses).

Okay so #8. Shopping carts. So I live in one of the newer nicer apartments in the area. It's pretty cheap rent but there are amenities with full time office staff downstairs and washer dryer in suite and stuff like that. So I expected a little more of my neighbors, but you know it's kind of lame when people take shopping carts from the QFC store across the street to bring their groceries home and then leave the carts in the fucking carpeted hallway of the apartment. For a while I think we had more shopping carts in our apartment's garage than QFC did. Yeah not a fire hazard or eyesore at all. So frustrating.


So I have to share some background information before I post this conversation I had with my friend whom I'll call jg.

Richmond = the Vancouver suburb known for its high Asian population
UBC = the University of British Columbia, also known for high number of Asian students, mostly Chinese
Victoria = the "big" city on Vancouver Island where the population is predominantly white and a little older
UVic = Victoria's university which has mostly a greater proportion of white students than does UBC

Jg is Chinese-Canadian and a native of Victoria but is trying really hard to get off the island and over to Vancouver for graduate studies at UBC. His wife is also Asian.

jg: i was at a bar with my wife and one of her friends on the weekend. this white chick started flirting with me...even though I was with the 2 of them. but the conversation was strange.
me: fucking feeling entitled. like she's top prize
jg: i asked her where she was from. she said richmond. she said she went to uvic. i said, why didn't u go to ubc??
me: good question
jg: she said, 'i'm from richmond, after growing up from there, u don't want to go to ubc, if u know what I'm saying...' [I'll translate, she is sick of being around Chinese people]
jg: i'm like....ok
me: uh...
jg: so I told her I'm from victoria, and after growing up here, I want to go to UBC!
me: did she not know she was talking to an asian?
jg: haha...I guess I'm white to her
jg: so she goes on. she goes, 'I got into a car accident in vancouver....ran a stop sign. now my car is fixed but painted different colors because I couldn't afford to get it done professionally'.
jg: i told her how ghetto she was.
me: omg you said that. thats so fucking funny
jg: dude, she was bashing my race... so I was hitting back (albeit not quite hard enough)
me: so she goes... 'u know how many white guys I've picked up in my car??? they all feel so sorry for me, because they think some Chinese person hit my car...'
me: WHAT? she said that? omg
jg: yeah, SHE ran a stop sign go in an accident and blames Chinese people in richmond
jg: anyways, all this time, she was trying to get me to play pool...
me: if i were there i would have slapped that bitch
jg: haha, i KNOW u would have :)
jg: it's just strange she would say all that to ME.
jg: my friend said to me that he thinks some white people in canada don't see race according to your appearance, as much as they judge by your accent. so maybe that's why.
me: good theory
jg: i kept telling her there were not enough Chinese people in victoria...blah blah blah. in the end, she left to play pool, and wished me good luck in trying to get into UBC...haha. she was also really wasted it seemed. opened up her 'inner racist'.



This is an interesting article about how sturdier cars mean better chances of surviving a crash, but a tougher time for emergency crew who have to pry you out and get you to a hospital. I guess I'd rather be alive and stuck in a car than dead in an instant. Reminds me of last night's episode of Law & Order which I watched with earplugs on while trying to write a paper.



I can't remember if I mentioned earlier that K and all those interactive media industry people, many of whom I met here in Seattle through him went to South By Southwest a few weeks back. I was insanely jealous. I have wanted to go to that conference for YEARS, though mostly for the film festival and infamous parties. Well the gods have exacted sweet revenge on all those who spent a week partying while I stayed home wearing the same clothes for 4 days and worked on this pile of papers I am still trying to finish. Yes, passing around kisses and free drinks for a week took its toll on them and now everyone is sick as evidenced by the new twitter profile http://twitter.com/SouthbyScurvy. So damn funny. OK OK I'm not that mean. I don't wish for anyone to come down with a flu or strep throat or whatever else they caught. But still it's kinda funny. So far 39 people and counting.



Further in my count down of things I won't miss about Lake Shitty is the assortment of sketchy businesses here. Walking a mile or less I can go to Rick's, a topless hostess club. I could also go to the pawn shop, the XXX shop, Discount Gun Sales or the other gun store near it. Yep, that would be #9.

After I move I will be within walking distance of Hothouse Spa and Sweatbox Bikram Yoga and the only grocery store I actually enjoy going to, Trader Joes. So Guns, porn, and strippers or spa, yoga, and organic food store. I choose the latter.


After K's bike crash and ER visit a couple weeks ago, and the hour or so I spent frantically searching the Internet for the best (read: cheapest) way to get him emergency care, I decided that I should know this stuff for myself ahead of time. It's truly pathetic that figuring out which hospital to go to in an emergency is a financial decision. Americans don't know any other system and so many think it's great the way it is but it is so deeply flawed in so many (not just financial) ways. You have to have not lived within the constraints of such a system to understand. The belief that Canadian universal health care means shitty doctors, long lines, and waiting lists is absolute rubbish. Your HMO system is far more inefficient and ineffective. These are myths about universal healthcare that the right wing conservatives in your country make up to maintain the status quo everyone-fend-for-yourself American system.



So I've talked in the past about how shitty high school and, more generally, my childhood was for me. Luckily things changed as soon as I started college (university if you speak Canadian). I have to say my early twenties were pretty fun. I hung out mostly with two guys, J and A, who are still my best friends to this day. I mostly hung out with them separately because I went to different types of parties with each of them, but now they live a few blocks apart and we all hang out a lot even though they're up in Vancouver. So today we were lamenting how bad it sucks to be grown up and all the responsibilities we have tying us down now. And I thought about how much our conversations have changed.

Back then a conversation with A on a Friday would have gone like this (on the phone of course because even ICQ wasn't out yet):

A: hey skip your last class and come down to UBC. Science department is having a beer garden. beer tickets are only a buck fifty
me: awesome
A: after they run out of beer we can get some free pizza at pi r squared from my friends, then we can hit the Pit Pub or Gallery
me: ok. I have a blanket to lay out on the field to sober up after. I'll page you [hehehe] when I get there
A: hurry up, I'm going to start drinking now

And a conversation with J.

J: hey which rave you wanna go to tonight? do you want to go to the free outdoor one in Chilliwack or you wanna try and sneak into that one that might be in Surrey?
me: let's try jumping the fence at the one in Surrey and then hit the after party in the morning by the terminal street train station
J: good call, let's go down to Madison's for a bit first though

12 years later and our conversations sound more like this

me: hey how is your wife's second trimester going?
A: awesome, it's bringing out the best in her. We got the ultrasound back and it's a boy!
me: congrats!
me: did you guys find a good rocking chair for her yet?
A: no we're going to spend the weekend shopping for one

and with J:

me: so did you do your test for life and disability insurance yet?
J: not not yet. how's school?
me: fucking sucks right now. no time to do anything
J: yeah me too. I had so much work I wasn't getting enough sleep and then I got sick.

Man, 30s suck. I want to be 20 again. Those of you in your 20s, enjoy them, travel, do crazy shit, be irresponsible, be impulsive, go out all night. Don't act like a grown up and have board game nights and shit like that. You've got the rest of your life to be lame.

You don't get to be in your 20s ever again. Too old to get grounded, old enough to have a job and some money to spend, too young to be expected to be responsible.



This afternoon as I was waiting for the bus a block and a half from my place, a visibly drunk, like swaying drunk, man openly took a leak on the seat at the bus shelter. He was standing, he unzipped, he leaned at an angle and put his hand on the plexiglass for balance (didn't help much) and away he went. Hm. I think I will count off the top ten things I won't miss about Lake Shitty, Seattle. Let's make this #10. Stay tuned for more in this count down.


Scrabulous is doing maintenance which means my favorite break/distraction is gone for the night. So I found a new one. YouTube. Decided to watch gymnastics videos to determine what level of gymnastics competition I would have been in had lived in the U.S. since our levels in Canada did not correspond. Floor and beam, definitely level 7. Maybe a little higher than that on beam as we were starting to connect back handspring series and stuff. A smidge above level 7 vault (harder than handsprings, but no saltos). With bars it's almost impossible to tell because in the 80s and 90s we hadn't yet been infected with giant swing mania and instead we were doing high bar to low bar release moves. Bar routines are like clothing, things change and go out of style fast. I still wanna learn how to do giants (with chicken grips to tie me to the bars) and I'm going to make it happen sometime before arthritis and osteoperosis set in. 40 is the new 30 right? The reaction from my friend with a doctorate in physical therapy, "couldn't you just stick to snowboarding or something?" Good thing money and time are keeping me from breaking my neck doing these things right now.



Oh my god I can't stop watching this one. It's so insanely funny.



This is from CuteOverload but I have to repost because it's just so damn cute, both the hamster and the cat. I love how the hamster, which is a spitting image of many I've owned, spreads its limbs out for stability while riding on the cat's back.


Dammit, South By Southwest, a conference I've been wanting to attend for years mostly for the film fest and parties, is officially too popular. I didn't get to go this year because school is kicking my ass and I'm poor. I hate being too late to get in on things. Like I've always said, when you have money, you have no time; when you have time, you have no money. And as that time passes, events get all mainstream and lame and I get old and lame.

Ibiza is another one for which I think I've missed the proverbial boat. That one requires the unique combination of both time and money and I never seem to have both at the same time. Now I think I'm just too old to party that hard. At least I didn't miss the rave scene in the 90s. That was good fun, kept me pretty entertained for years, and I think was specific to that moment in time. I don't think even a revival would be the same.



I just saw a commercial for a movie called Don't Back Down. From the first few seconds of the trailer I thought it was going to be another cheesy teen urban dancing type movie. A few seconds later it became clear that it is a movie using the same formula but this time there is no dancing, the contest where the underdog trains his ass off to take over the big meanie is street fighting. I think that's what you call it. You know, like Ultimate Fighting Championships or Pride, where the big knuckleheads get thrown into a ring for what is basically a human cockfight. I'm not big on media effects theories because they assume a homogeneous passive audience and I think people are more complex than that, but I'd have to say making a teen movie that glorifies tearing someone's guts apart is seriously tempting fate.


I get really bad insomnia that comes and goes, but generally I'm a pretty good sleeper. In fact, I just realized that there is a name for my condition.
sleep slut: One who sleeps frequently and is able to accumulate excess hours of sleep above beyond the mean. Sleep sluts are able to fall asleep indiscriminately and value sleep above all else. Within minutes of boarding the commuter train Mark was fast asleep. Marks sleep slut powers were legendary in that he was always able to wake before his stop.
Sorry if you got all excited about the post title only to read about my ridiculous sleep, not sexual, habits.



Sometimes I come across some fantastic, albeit unrelated, articles when doing literature review for my papers. Usually this happens when I'm reading edited books that include articles from different scholars on a broad variety of topics that are somehow related. This one cracked me up so bad I just have to share:
"...in 1993 Mattel introduced a hip version of the traditionally strait-laced Ken doll. Dubbed Earring Magic Ken, this 1990s-kind-of-guy sports an earring in his left earlobe and a plastic version of two-toned, bleached-blonde hair. Having left his three-piece suit behind in the closet as he came out, Earring Magic Ken is dressed in black hip-hugger jeans, a purple fishnet tank top, a simulated leather vest, and faux Italian loafers. Dangling from a cord around his neck is a large faux-metal band, which some consumers - much to Mattel's chagrin - quickly claimed as a 'cock ring', a sign of Ken's hitherto closeted queer identity...The alleged cock ring...made this latest manifestation of Ken very popular, particularly among gay men...Mattel cried foul. It was not amused - or so it said - by these queer appropriations of its latest plaything. Ken is as straight as ever, the company protested: it's naughty-minded adults who are warped" (Ducille, 2003, p. 338).
Awesome. I love it. Who says scholarship is boring?


Apparently my graduating class, which did not have a 10 year reunion, is going to do a 15-year reunion next year instead. After scrolling through the facebook group for my grad year (which had 1000 graduates) I realize I either didn't know them or, more often, knew them and despised them. Hmm lemme think about that. Go to some event (they're thinking family day at the park) that forces me to relive my tortured youth as one of the token English-speaking Asian (and thus undateable) girls and watch as everyone shows off their children and talks about how they still live in Coquitlam (aka buttfuck nowhere), BC? Or perhaps they got really adventurous and moved out to Port Coquitlam a few kilometers away. Maybe those white frat boy wannabes will suddenly notice me now that it's trendy to date an exotic Asian woman. Hmmm, yeah, no thanks. I'd rather spend the day scrubbing my toilet bowl, ripping off hang nails, or getting a root canal. You all can go on and relive your glory days without me.



Another post that looks like a list because that's the only way I can think lately. So in the last 6-8 weeks, I:
  • read 6 books cover to cover
  • watched 2 of my fellow grad students perform at a bar in Ballard
  • hung out with a friend visiting from Whitehorse, Yukon territory
  • submitted a long-ass proposal for a Social Science Research Council grant
  • took a day-long digital SLR photography class
  • bought my friend's daughter an Asian ragdoll for her 1st birthday
  • dealt with the unwanted fame and hate mail that erupted after getting voted to #1 on digg.com
  • organized a graduate student brown bag session on preparing for general exams
  • planned a going away get together for my roommate who moved to Maui
  • found a new apartment
  • "celebrated" my 32nd birthday with my Vancouver and Seattle friends
  • found out that my "need" to sleep up to 14 hours (including naps), lethargy, 5 lb weight gain, anti-social behavior, negative attitude, hating of my life, inability to move for long periods of time, and incessant desire to eat entire bags of chips/cheese popcorn is due to seasonal affective disorder as diagnosed by my psych
  • bought 5000 lux lamp to deal with said disorder before I annoy the hell out of K who tries very hard to help with bear hugs and stern orders to go outside to get some light
  • gave notice to move out of my apartment in Lake Shitty
  • booked a Budget-rent-a-truck
  • started planning for K's birthday party
  • hung out at Harborview Medical Center's ER for over 3 hours after K crashed at 30mph 200m from the finish line in his first road race of the season, a race in which he would've finished top 10 out of many competitors, damn (diagnosis: separated shoulder and not a broken collarbone as in his last crash though his teammate in the same pile up did break his collarbone and has bone fragment floating about)
  • moved back into my old room where there is less space but more natural light
  • drove 30 miles to Maple Valley to pick up a lovely used green 14" Kona Lavadome to use as a commuter bike once I move
  • submitted my application to teach across the street in Ethnic Studies to diversify my teaching experience
  • wrote one letter of rec for an undergrad applying to law school
  • finished taking all the classes I need to take for my Ph.D.
  • registered to do directed readings next quarter to prepare for exams
  • booked my flight to Chicago for April
  • RSVP'd to attend my friend's wedding
I'm actually not sure myself how all that happened in such a short span of time. So now I'm in end-of-quarter hell: 11 days to write 2 papers, and then another week or so to write my paper for the Association of Asian American studies conference. In other words, no real spring break for me as I'll be working on that third paper and packing up to move. Man I miss blogging. I think I'll still make time to write here and there in the next few weeks as a distraction if nothing else.