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.


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.



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



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.



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!



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.