Tuesday, May 31, 2005


enygma81: Is vagarity a word? Do you mean vagary? I think most girls would pt to hold it until they can find a clean bathroom. I know I would.


have a love for words. I have for most of my life, perhaps because I like to talk. I love jokes and stories and the way words can be manipulated to effect (not affect) a response. It is, I believe, the single most important aspect of being human because it is the way we communicate and that is what separates from most other animals.

Granted, many animals have their own communication system. But I think most are used to express basic and immediate ideas: Food over here by the picnic table. Danger, hyenas approaching. I wanna mate with you, you hairy monkey you. Or maybe even I love you. But humans are able to communicate abstract thoughts without the limitations of time. We can recall the past or talk about future dreams. I have yet to read any studies on whales discussing winter vacation plans in Baja California.

So I love words. And I really love new words. I sometimes come across new words that don't seem to mean anything, only to find later that they really are words. I also find words that seem to have meaning but actually aren't in my Webster's. Which of the following words are actual words? No fair looking in a dicionary.

  • simulacrum : image, representation.
  • vagarity : quality or condition of randomness; whimisicality.
  • musicality : sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music.
  • argumentive : given to arguments.
  • signage : signs or a system of such signs.
  • randomocity : nature or quality of randomness.
  • synchronicity : synchronism of events that appear to be connected but have no demonstrable causal relationship.
  • verbosity : being given to wordiness.

Anyway, yesterday, Memorial Day, the family and I went to our local shopping mall to get some clothes for Newman. He's going back to Japan and will be living with his elder brother, working part time somewhere as he tries to figure out what he wants to do with the future. Later, Newman, Chipmonk, Mrs. Riceball and I went to our local watering hole for dinner. We ate. We talked. I grabbed a few stuffed animals in the crane game. Then we went home.

It was an amazingly simple day, the kind that I look forward to these days when work, responsibilities, indeed life in general are so hectic.

Answers: The real words are simulacrum, musicality, signage, synchronicity, verbosity. Argumentive is not a word, but argumentative is. Randomocity and vagarity (or more commonly, vagarities) are non-existent but can be read or heard from time to time. It should be randomness and vagaries.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Truth or Dare


azzaC's plays a game on her site called Truth or Dare, although I wouldn't really call it a game. It's more of a challenge. When she announces the game, her readers can accept a challenge: Either a Truth or a Dare. I've read some of her previous games and saw what the Dare's were. I'm too afraid to try them; they can be challenging to one's pride and self-respect. Hahahhahaha. just kidding... sorta.

Well, being the yellow-bellied coward that I am, I decided to go with Truth, since that is what I try to do here anyway. Below is her question, followed by my Truthful response..

Onigiriman - What is the greatest piece of wisdom you have gained in life - and how did you come to discover/hold that? How has it changed life for you?

Oh, man. This is easier than I thought. Indeed, I wrote about thisa quite a while back, so this will seem like a rerun to some. But my greatest piece of wisdom--and I must stress that this is my piece of wisdom--is that there really is "true love". I believe in soulmates.

Keep in mind that I realize that we're all different and we all approach things differently. As a result, reality, as we know it, is based solely on how we interpret the things we see and hear and feel, and the interpretation is always influenced by our point a view, a view that is shpaed by our individual experiences. As such, the O-man's views are hued by my own personal experiences. So let me tell you about it.

I have had my share of girlfriends. Not a lot, but enough to be able to come to somekind of personal conclusion concerning the male-female relationship. All these previous girls were nice--an obvious statement, because I was attracted to them in the first place--and I began to pick and choose traits that I thought were appealing--or worse, appropriate--in the person that I thought would eventually become my wife. She had to be able to cook, sew, know Japanese, understand Japanese culture, be good with kids, be understanding of my selfish tendancies--such as indulging in drinking and sports--accept that fact that I would be the male in the household, be intelligent with an advanced degree (MA/PhD) in the humanities (no MBAs or engineers, please), and have a good sense of humor. Oh yeah, if she was good looking, that would be a plus...

Anyway, I thought I found her: K's mother (my first wife). She could cook and sew. She was great with kids. She was born in Japan and so obviously knew Japanese and Japanese culture. She already had an MA in sociology from Meiji University and was working for a PhD in Anthropology at UCLA. She had a sense of humor, as well. The only possible flaw that she might have had was that she was older than me by 8 years. But her age perhaps allowed her to accept my selfish tendencies. She was old-school. I don't mean to suggest that she walked three feet behind me when we stepped out, but she was more accepting of the old ways. She was also the product of contemporary and higher education in the US, so she made sure that there was some sort of balance in our household. Indeed, I learned many of the finer points of cooking from her, as well as cleaning and rearing children. So in case you think I was a chauvanistic pig, I wasn't... well not that much, anyway... To top it all off, she was a "half": Japanese and German. She was not unattractive. But even better, as a half, she had been subjected to discrimination while growing up in Japan, and so was sympathetic to my issues as a minority in the US. Sounds perfect, right?


My first wife seemed perfect to me in that she fulfilled those qualities that I thought would complement me. How stupid of me. There were two things that bothered me, and it progressively worsened as our marriage went along. One: she had little love for my mother. I don't want to go into too much detail, but just let me say that since she was old school, she expected my mother to come to help her out when our daughter was born. It is traditional in Japan--and many other customs--for a mother to help out a daughter or daughter-in-law in such a manner. But my mother, for reasons of work and health (she had a bad heart at the time), could not come, and my ex held it against her until my mother died a few years ago. She did not treat my mother well when they were together, and it was coming to a head.

The other thing is just as important. While she fulfilled my "objective", albeit silly, criteria, she--or perhaps I should say we--lacked one ingredient so crucial in any marriage: Passion. Our marriage was pretty cut and dry. I thought that we fulfilled each other's needs and I hoped the passion would develop over time--as many expect in similar marriages, especially arranged marriages. But I was wrong. We had a healthy respect for each other, but the passion never developed. When I decided to come back to the States to teach, she wanted to remain in Japan; she insisted that this was normal, that many Japanese couples live apart--in Japanese, it's called tanshin funin--and she fully expected us to remain married. Well, for me, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I could not live with that attitude toward our marriage. If either of us felt passion for the other, one of us probably would have relented, but neither of us did. We didn't have the "passion" to stay together. Economically, intellectually, adademically, being apart is fine. But two people who feel passion for each other could never live in separte countries, don't you think? Indeed, our individual decisions suggested that we had no intention or desire to encourage our relationship to "develop". If you were to talk to her, I'm sure she would have her story to tell--and I'm sure she has--but this is my Xanga, and this is my side of the story...

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was pretty down on love. I had tried and failed. I had thought I had found the right person, but it didn't work out. No Passion. And I'm sure that many of you have heard--as I had--that marriages run out of steam, that they get into a rut. I figured my first marriage pretty much fit the mold. Yes, "true love" did not exist... until the moment I instantly knew that M was the one for me, my soulmate. It was after I had worked out at the sports club where M was an aerobics instructor. A bunch of us, including M, went out drinking afterwards--beer tastes really good after a long work out. We had gone out as a group before, but this time, M made it a point to sit next to me at the table. I really wasn't sure if she deliberately sat next to me, but that's the impression I got and it made me feel special. After drinking, we were heading home and as we walked toward the train station, she slipped her hand into mine, and something in my heart went bang. I can't really explain it, but I knew at that very moment that I had to marry this woman. I probably sounds corny to cynics, and believe me, I used to be one of those cynics--my first marriage had convinced me that--even if all the components seemed to be in place--there is no such thing as true love. But this one simple act of holding my hand convinced me that I was wrong. The feeling was warm and exciting and reassuring. Yes, there is such a thing as true love, and I will never forget the sensation when I first felt it.

So this is my piece of wisdom--there is such a thing as true love and that there is a soulmate out there for you. Some may call this piece of wisdom a piece of you-know-what, but that's okay. I have lived it, I have experienced it, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.

Don't get me wrong. Everything is not perfect. We have our struggles, our issues, and we must work them out. But this insight into Love has changed me profoundly, for it has convinced me to give my all to work out any problem that arise. I am not about to throw up my hands and give up, because I know there is no other woman who will make me feel the way that M does... But if anyone wants to try... Oops, too much truth... Hahahah, Just kidding!

So CazzaC, hows that for Truth: A guy fessing up to believing in true love and soulmates.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Weekend Vagarity


agarity n. 1. the quality or condition of randomness, the tendency to change one's mind withoug apparent or adequate motive; whimisicality.

Not that no one would be able to figure out this word that does not exist in my dictionary...

When public toilets are filthy

Hey guys. Have you ever stepped into a filthy public toilet--particularly those porta-potties that seem to be overflowing with filth? We, as guys, have the luxury of taking care of business while standing, but have you ever paused to consider how hellacious it must be for women? I mean, seriously! These places have urine splattered all over the place and they often do not have toilet paper. Damn, just thinking about it grosses me out. So what the hell do women have to do to relieve themselves? I finally asked someone and she told me with a straight face: She stands and does it!

I had to ask: Oh... okay. You straddle the seat and hunch down just a little. That I can imagine. But what about those porta-potties. You can't straddle those toilets. What do you do in those cases?

Well, she still stands. Apparently this girl can and will take a leak standing like a guy, although I'm not too sure of the mechanics involved. And considering the equipment, I can't imagine they would have very good aim. I should have inquired more on this aspect but I was too shocked and too impressed.

2 truths and 1 lie

Two Truths and One Lie (guess which is the lie): Here are the answers to the question embedded in the survey I filled out last weekend.

  1. I have four (4) degrees from post-secondary schools--um, that means degrees after graduating high school...
    TRUE: Okay, no one fell for this one... I do have four degrees: AA, BA in Japanese, MA in East Asian Literatures and Cultures, and a PhD in Japanese.
  2. I was arrested for a DUI, was subjected to a cavity search and spent 48 hours in county lock-up next to a guy named Lefty.
    FALSE: Lefty was a fish truck driver who used to come by our house on Wednesdays. I have never been next to a guy named Lefty in county lock-up.
  3. I can tie a stem of a maraschino cherry with my tongue--for those of you who know what I'm talkin' about, know what I'm talking about
    TRUE: I can put the stem in my mouth and tie an overhand knot with my tongue. The myth says that anyone who can do this can also do well a number of other dexterous things with the tongue. I leave the rest to your imagination.


I am nerdier than 38% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

gyjcwang: oh god...even the O-man has gone over to the nerdy side...

Jason left this comment after I put up my own Asian StarWars name, and it's been on my mind ever since. Did I actually go over to the nerdy side? Is the force strong in me, just laying dormant? I had to know! Fortuantely, I found this quiz on Taku's site. Fortunately, I learned that I am not much of a nerd at all. Indeed, I think that the bulk of this score--38 out of 100--is probably due to the the fact that I actually took the quiz in the first place. You all know how nerdy that is. Speaking of which...


I saw StarWars yesterday. And I must say, I have now seen all 6 episodes in the order they were produced and all in theaters. Do you notice how I am not providing a qualitative assessment? Hmmm. I wonder why. But I will say that the ending should fit episode 4--nee episode 1--like a glove. They provided an explantion of the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker relationship and why Vader has to wear funeral black even in the summer.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

"Old Soldiers Never Die...


hey just fade away." This famous phrase--uttered by General Douglas Macarthur after being relieved of duty as head of East Asian military operations after WWII--might need to be rephrased for former WWII Japanese soldiers discovered in the Philipines: Old soldiers never die, they live out their lives in isolations, abandoned by the government they served.

According to Japanese news reports yesterday, former soldiers of the old Imperial Japanese Army were found on the island of Mindanao almost 60 years after the war ended. Japanese officials from the embassy have yet to meet them and confirm their story.

You can read it in English in the AP reports, but there are other details found in the Japanese language edition of a number of other newspapers, including Asahi. Apparently, they were members of the 30th Regiment of the 30th Division which was formed in Pyongyang, Korea and especially trained to fight the Russians, but they were sent to the Philippines to fight the Americans in 1944. A year later in April, when they were in a valley known as Malaybalay, they were ordered to "provide for themselves and fight for themselves" 自給自戦. When the war ended half a year later, they were in transit within the mountains and were not able to reunite with the rest of their Division and were left behind. They moved south to an area around Lake Buluan and lived there for the next few decades. It is yet unclear how they survived or if they interacted with the locals in an area controlled by the Moro Islam Liberation Front. Last year, a Japanese businessman involved in the lumber industry discovered these men--now in their 80s--and learned that they had wanted to repatriate to Japan but were afraid of being tried in military court for desertion. Another source has reported that there are more than 40 other former soldiers in the mountain. Complicating matters is the fact that Japanese officials have managed to set up meetings in General Santos City to interview them and confirm their identities, but the two did not appear at the appointed meeting.

Now, I realize that the Imperial Japanese Army caused a lot of pain and suffering throughout the Pacific, certainly in Korea, China, the Philippines and beyond. And for all I know, these guys played a major role in it. Still, if this story turns out to be true, I might feel for a bunch of soldiers who were ordered to "provide for themselves and fight for themselves"--No supplies. No food. No ammunition--then be abandoned by the very military and government that ordered them to fend for themselves. Being stranded for all these years must have made them feel betrayed.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Change in the Air


don't really want to jinx myself, but I must say I feel a change in my fortunes. Since last May--and I don't know why it would start in May--I have been subjected to one disaster after another. For those of you who have been reading for about a year, you'll remember that it all started with the news that my stepson was having difficulty living independently in Japan.

I won't go into detail, but M had to go to Japan and bring him here for some R&R to clear his mind. But when they returned to the US, she found out here green card had expired and was on the brink of sending her back to Japan. Fortunately, they didn't, but now she is no longer a "permanent resident" which nullified my other stepsons application for residency. While I struggled to figure out what to do, my father passed away in July. As if that wasn't bad enough, in August I went with M to court to clear up her green card issue, only to meet with a judge who is pretty much a hardcase and all but threatened to deport M, and told us we needed to find "adequate" legal representation for a court date scheduled in January. Then in September, I learned that my stepson's passport expired. Since he is--legally speaking--illegal, he can't even renew his Japanese passport. I'm going through all this while I teach four courses at school with students who are--how can I put this--strong-willed? Oh well. In November, the younger stepson returns to Japan to apply for a student visa, which I had helped him put together and fill out on weekends, only to find out that he was rejected out of hand by the US embassy in Tokyo. As December comes, I feel relief at the end of the semester when I pass out from a high fever on Christmas Eve thanks to acute bronchitis. Still, I figure that our luck has got to change in the New Year, and I look forward to clearing up M's residency issue at court, but on that day, it snows in the afternoon--the only day is snows in January--and we are rescheduled for August. Of course, her residency is left in limbo, leaving my stepson without a leg to stand on when he receives a letter from Immigration for an "interview". Fortunately, things turn out that he doesn't have to be deported, but we need to apply "ASAP" which, of course, means after August.

Yeah, it's been one of those years...

Throughout all this, I keep telling myself that at least everyone is healthy--my Dad's death and my two bouts with bronchitis notwithstanding. I refuse to be beat down by all this and continue to move forward. Two weeks ago, I found a leak in the basment and thought it was from the outside--A leak in the foundation? I panicked. But fortunately, it was only a leak in the wax seal in the plumbing. And the paper I was to turn in at the end of May? I got a phone call from the editor yesterday, and she told me the deadline was pushed back to the end of June. Whew! And with a small class of enthusiastic and well-behaved students this summer, things are definitely looking up. Of course, the icing on top is the fact that I now have some time to spend on Xanga with you guys.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Will it never end?


f it's not one thing it's another. I finally finished grading and did what you might expect: I plunged back into Xanga. Actually, that was what my previous tirade was based on. Hungry to visit as many sites as possible--new ones, as well as my regulars--popup ads kept me from moving freely from one site to the next. Anyway, hope I didn't put anyone off because of it. It was just so frustrating. Of course, this would be easily fixed if I had a new computer, like GlobalGuy. Grrr...

Anyway, summer school has begun and it is an enjoyable endeavor. This particular group seems very motivated and well-trained. We've only had three classes, but they have been the easiest three classes I have had this academic year. Thank God for small favors... Well, maybe this isn't so small. I hope the class continues on its upbeat course.

Well, amidst the euphoria of having finished grading finals, surviving the academic year, and welcoming a group of summer students who are not smart-mouthed and disrupt class at every opportunity, I remembered something I had to do...

Finish writing a paper

This is a paper on linked verse that will, I hope, make it as a chapter in a book on the poet, Basho. I have most of the paper written, but the editor wanted me to include more information on--duh!--Basho. I was so fixed on writing on linked verse--a favorite topic of mine--that I wrote little on Basho. So I need to incorporate more about him and his haikai (light linked verse) by...

The end of the month

Remembering this a few moments ago, I leaned back to look at the calendar on the wall and realized that the end of the month is...

Next week!

No, more precisely, it's five days away. Why do I do this to myself?


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Graduation Story


ay is a bittersweet time of the year for me. Like many of my students, I celebrate the end of the academic year, relieved that I have once again survived it--in spite of the fact that summer school starts up immediately following graduation. *sigh*

But, as elated as I am, I am also saddened by the thought that I will no longer see J majors who graduated. They all say that they'll keep in touch. They all say they'll drop by when they're in town. But rarely do they ever show up in my office again, and often when they do, it is usually for a letter of recommendation or some other similar request. But that's okay. Better that than nothing at all... I guess.

It is with this feeling that I go to the local burger and beer joint near school and drink a beer, toasting both the end of the year and the departure of the seniors. Some of my students know that I go there after the ceremony and so they drop by. This year hoymahal grom and fuafuahamu came by. One brought her parents and we had a nice chat. She asked me to tell her parents a graduation story and so I told them a true story--which I will tell here at Prudy's request--that occured a few years back.

Financial Freedom

After a hot graduation ceremony on the Ellipse of Washington's National Mall, I was sitting at the bar of the local burger joint sipping Foggy Bottom brew with M. Immediately to my right were three other patrons who had obviously just come from the ceremony as well--a Dad, a Mom, and a newly graduated young lady.

Well, M and I are chatting when I notice Dad ask the bartender for a pair of scissors. Now I've heard people ask for napkins, menus, a pen, but never a pair of scissors. Curious, I allow my attention to drift toward this guy sitting two seats over.

With a nod of appreciation, Dad takes the pair of scrissors and cuts the edges around a napkin. The daughter begins to pester Dad--What are you doing? Cut it out, Dad. Mom is oblivious. Dad then lifts his beer, takes the cardboard coaster that was beneath it, and now begins to cut the corners of the Newcastle Brown advertisement. The daughter seems to have given up, simply rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

Dad, seemingly satsified with the scissors edge, props up his elbow on the counter and sticks his hand out toward his daughter, palm up.

"What?" She asks quizzically.

"Hand it over," he sighs.

"What are you talking about, Dad. Hand over what?"

"You know what," he says, stiffly poking the air with his outstretched hand.

Horror wells up the daughter's eyes. It betrays a true and palpable fear. I can tell because her face is juxtaposed to Mom's face which is now manifesting mock horror--you know the look: eyes opened wide, mouth agape, hands held up in surprise.

"Today?" The daughter asks helplessly. But Dad says nothing. He shakes his open palm resolutely in front of her again. Shoulders slumped, the daughter opens her purse, takes out her wallet and produces a credit card.

"Really, Daddy? Today?"

Daddy--I can't help but chuckle--nods appreciatively as his daughter places the Visa card regretfully onto his open palm. He slowly grips it, wrapping it up with his fingers. He squeezes it lightly as if carressing it, confirming the name and account number with his thumb, then transfers it from his right hand to his left.

"Ah, freedom," he sighs, as he picks up the scissors.

The bartender, M and I roar with surprise, as the daughter sits there stunned at this public spectacle of Dad sending her off toward financial independence by cutting up her credit card--HIS credit card--into little bitty pieces.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Grading is Finished!

But summer school has already started...


I HATE XANGA SITES that have Popup Ads (bold on Barberic's advice)! It slows down my computer and I waste valuable minutes that I could have spent reading someone's worthier Xanga. And don't tell me I should have popup blocker. Why the hell would I need a popup blocker to go a Xanga site?!? I cannot visit all you people with those chatter box shits with pop-ups.

Update II

Barberic: I don't have popup blocker on my computer at home because it's old and has VERY little memory. I pot it on once, but it made my computer slower over all. Yeah, I still have 64kb RAM (I hear you guys snickering), but it serves me most of the time...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Graduation Weekend


he past weekend was graduation weekend and it a busy time. A reception for students on Saturday, which means I had to prepare a dish for the party on Friday. After the reception was the three hour college graduation. On Sunday, there is University Graduation on the Ellipse on the Washington Mall, right between the White House and the Washington Monument. It is, to say the least, and impressive graduation. The keynote speaker this years was Andy Rooney, the cranky old man of the CBS news magazine program, "60 Minutes". After the ceremony, I went to the local burger-and-beer joint, as I do every year to celebrate with M the end of another academic year. Students know that I'll be there and they come to visit.

This is all to say, however, that I had little time to grade this weekend, so I'm here panicking at this very moment. "WTF are you doing on Xanga?!?" you might be thinking. Well, thanks for the concern, but I am reaching the home stretch--only the film class left--and I should be done soon. I'm sure they are dying to know their grade.

NOTE: I guess yesterday's quiz was too hard for some. Only three or four of you even attempted to answer it. Hahahahaha.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Weekend Fluff

First things first:

Congratulations Graduates!

It's been a long hard road but you've finally done it! Kudos to you all!


nyway, as I contemplate the many good comments from yesterday's post, I thought I'd complete this survey that I snagged from iluvpajun via Taku. I didn't answer all of the questions as some things should remain private. I am not as open as Taku, but not as private as a new subscriber onebear, she of the nice collarbone.

Anyway, I do this survey since I have a few new subscribers. And I would like to thank those who have bookmarked me on RBJ: In-Young Park and onebear. Of course, I recognize them at my own risk. The last time I thanked RBJ people, 6 readers unsubscribed in a matter of days. Hahahah. I'm not sure if there is a correlation, but it happened the time before, as well. Not as many people, but enough to notice that some unsubscribed. Oh well. To each his own.

Oh yeah, some people asked previously what RBJ is and what benefits there are to being on it. Well, the Rice Bowl Journal is a site where Asians from around the world can register their blogsite. There, bloggers are categorized by heritage, but you can easily find people by location of current residence or blog community (xanga, blogspot, lj). Once you are registered you can participate freely in the RBJ Forum and my current favorite place, the Tagboard. It's made for short messages and we banter a bit on random topics. They also have a Top 100 based on the number of bookmarks: RBJers can bookmark a favorite blog, bookmarks are tallied and sites are then listed in order--I'm currently number 5/6. As for the benefits, there none that are immediately tangible. But through RBJ, I have met many bloggers I probably would not have met on Xanga alone, and for that I am grateful. I think SleepingCutie once said that she began going to RBJ at my recommendation and ended up hooking up with "the boy"... I'm a matchmaker of sorts! Well, unless they break up...So if you're of Asian heritage and interested, go there and tell 'em Onigiriman sent ya'.

Anyway, here's the survey...

Three names you go by:

  1. Sensei--for obvious reasons
  2. Onigiriman--duh
  3. O-man--and this isn't for orgasm

Three screen names you have had:

  1. Onigiriman
  2. Jakuren
  3. JAJournal

Three physical things you like about yourself:

  1. Few gray hairs (for my age)
  2. Few wrinkles (for my age)
  3. Smile--people tell me it's contagious

Three physical things you hate about yourself:

  1. Love-
  2. Handles--I used two lines because that's how big they are.
  3. Short legs--I'm of Japanese heritage

Three parts of your heritage:

  1. Japanese
  2. American
  3. Hiroshima--Second generation atom bomb victim

Three things that scare you:

  1. An administration that caters to its own self-interest, and the interest of big business instead of the people's interest--I won't name, names but his StarWars name is Sugeo.
  2. My own procrastination
  3. M when she's jealous

Three of your everyday essentials:

  1. Coffee
  2. M
  3. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzxanga

Three things you are wearing right now:

  1. T-shirt
  2. Pajama bottom
  3. Reading glasses

Three musical artists or bands (I'm old school; Now, who can name at least one song from all three bands?):

  1. Chicago (pre1975)
  2. Cold Blood
  3. Tower of Power

Three things I want in a relationship:

  1. Love
  2. Trust
  3. Se.... I mean, Honesty

Two Truths and One Lie (guess which is the lie):

  1. I have four (4) degrees from post-secondary schools--um, that means degrees after graduating high school...
  2. I was arrested for a DUI, was subjected to a cavity search and spent 48 hours in county lock-up next to a guy named Lefty.
  3. I can tie a stem of a maraschino cherry with my tongue--for those of you who know what I'm talkin' about, know what I'm talking about

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you:

  1. Lips for kissin'--re: Angelina Jolie
  2. Eyes to drown in--re: Jolene Blalock (her lips, too)
  3. Derriere to hold onto to keep me from drowning--re: J.Lo

Three favorite hobbies:

  1. Xanga/writing--these are basically the same
  2. Watching TV/DVDs--I watch films at home because I always start commenting and I get "shushed at" at theaters
  3. Lifting weights--I just need to find the time.

Three things you want to do badly right now:

  1. Lose weight--oh God do I want to lose weight...
  2. Find a job that will pay me what I'm worth
  3. Fix a hole in the bathroom ceiling; the dry wall got messed up because of a leak in the pipes

Three careers you are considering:

  1. Continue as a Japanese professor--it's my true calling
  2. Professional Blogger/Writer
  3. Chef--I love to cook

Three places you want to go on vacation:

  1. Tahiti--I'm interested in the coconut bra industry.
  2. Italy--I love art and coffee and sexy women
  3. Egypt--I want to confirm whether or not aliens actually built the pyramids

Three kids names you really like:

  1. Rebecca
  2. Ray
  3. Sarah

Three things you want to do before you die:

  1. Take M to Europe--except Italy, maybe
  2. Secure a future for my handicapped stepson
  3. Publish a novel--would you read it?

Three people you want to send this survey:

  1. Sammy
  2. Jerri
  3. Onebear

Any questions? And don't forget to guess which one is the lie. It's pretty easy I think...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Asian Heritage Month


have always questioned the necessity of focusing on racial differences. For many years, my opinion leaned a little right of center: We should focus on the melting pot that is the US of A and embrace our similarities. This was--and still is, I believe--the ideal. But the longer I live, the more I realize that we are still far from attaining our ideal and we should explore every avenue in order to achieve it.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Progress Update


s if any of you guys cared, I'm still grading. I finished Classical Japanese and have posted grades for both the Lit class and Classical. Today is the killer exam: Japanese Culture through Film. 50 students, 100 essays. Ugh! I think I'm gonna die.

Who wants a Gmail account?

You guys who have Gmail: Did your notice that the capacity has more than doubled? My account now says I have 2200 MB. I don't know too much about computers but this sounds like a lot to me. I think I'll leave hotmail for my junk mail and start to use Gmail exclusively. And, if anyone of my subscribers still doesn't have a Gmail account, let me know. I still got 50 invites to give out. Don't be shy. Just email me so I know where to send the invite.


eechim: only a FILM? come again?


heesh! Alright, already. So it's not JUST a film. It's an event, commercialized, sold and resold. I've had StarWars M&Ms, StarWars Skittles, StarWars Burger King. With all this saturation, it must not be a good film. JUST KIDDING! I won't place judgment until I see it, and I will try really hard to NOT let E1 and E2 influence me negatively. Cross my hear, hope to... never see another Lucas film. Hahahahha. Kidding, kidding.

Anyway, so today is May 19th and the day of StarWars E3. I can't go anywhere without reading about it. Given how E1 and E2 were, I'll wait for the video... Hahahaha. But probably not. M will want to take her son, so I guess we'll go soon enough. But I refuse to go the first week or so. I will not stand in line or sit in the very front...

I saw a "What's Your StarWars Name" list on SimplyMarie's and I thought is was funny and decided to post it, but I noticed that its all over Xanga and so posting it here would be redundant... UNLESS I put a twist to it. So below is the:

What's Your Asian Star Wars name:

First Name:

Your first name is your individual identity so it should represent those things you like, so the first four letters of your favorite anime or manga character should not only represent you, it should be fairly recognizable. The second syllable of your favorite dish will add variety to the anime name.

  1. From your favorite anime or manga character, take the first 4 letters. If there are only three letters, just use the three. (Goku, Kenshiro, Doraemon)
  2. Add the second syllable of your favorite Asian dish; original name preferable but not necessary. (i.e. sushi, bibimbap, almond duck, dim sum)

    Pikachu + tempura = Pikapu. Nausicaa + pad thai = Nausthai. Speed Racer + bibimbap = Speebim. Crayon Shinchan + tofu = Crayfu

Last Name:

Your last name is your "traditional" identity, so it should be created from your real name. But be sure to use the name you usually go by, not the one on your birth certificate. Remember that both portions should, if possible, end in a vowel. This will give it a pseudo-Asian ring to it.

  1. Since this is Asian, we go last name first, but spell your family name backwards and then take the first 2 consecutive letters that end in a vowel. (i.e. Smith=htims, Omalley=yellamo, Park=krap)
  2. Add to this the first 3 consective letters of your 1st name that end in a vowel. (i.e. Paul, Kate, David). If you have a short name in which there are no 3 letter that end in a vowel, then spell it backwards (Kurt = truk) or use it backwards as is (i.e. Ron=Nor). You should use the name you usually go by.

    EXAMPLE: Jennifer Lopez = Zenni; Kim Jong-Il = Mingi; George Bush = Sugeo; Dan (nad) Rather = Renad; Shaquille Oneal = Lasha; Colin Powell = Leoli; Kristi Yamaguchi = Cukri; Bill (llib) Murray = Yalli;

Your Title:

Titles should be limited--as in count or Baron or whatever. Since Japanese monsters or other fictional characters are relatively small in number we should get a number with similar titles, is as it should be. Same with the location of origin. A limited number of places should determine where we--psychologicall--come from: where we currently live and where we want to be.

  1. Take either the last two syllables of your favorite fictional martial arts, samurai or Japanese monster character. This can be an animation character as well and can be the same as above. (i.e. Kenshiro, Musashi, Mothra)
  2. Insert the word "of"
  3. Spell the current city in which you reside backwards and and stop at the first vowel you reach, excluding the first letter excluded. (Chicago=Oga, Pittsburgh=Hgru, Milan=Na, Zurich=Hci, Sidney=Ye, Nagoya=Ayo)
  4. To this, add the first syllable of your favorite Asian City or the one you want to go to (next). (Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul)

    Examples: King Gidra + Seattle + Beijing = Dra of Elttabei. Zatoichi + Vancouver + Manila = Ichi of Rema

So you wanna try and figure out what Your Asian StarWars Name is and let me know what it is? Onigiriman's name is Atommen Machi, Zilla of Annehong. Sounds pretty ominous, don't you think?

But, y'know, I should be grading instead of making up this stuff...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Progress Update

whonose: Ah so thats what examiners do when they are up in front pretending to keep an eye on the entrants.. they're blogging!


hat am I doing here? I have no progress to report... Well, maybe a little. I finished grading the J-Lit exams and will have the grades up shortly. I am halfway through the Classical Japanese exam and hope to finish soon, as I have a monster stack to grade with the film class finals. Ugh. Too much work!

Oh, about yesterday's entry: Yes, whonose, I was blogging as I was proctering. Guilty as charged. Since our school has gone wireless, I can sit in a number of places with a laptop and do whatever I want. It's freakin' amazing. So I was updating Xanga as I was watching my kids sweat it out. They are so adorable when they are concentrating so hard!

But actually, I don't usually proctor my exams. I am the sort that steps out of the room and lets my kids work in peace. This is a habit I picked up at Stanford. The school at the time had a tradition of leaving students during an exam. I'm not sure if this was school policy or some kind of academic integrity code, but I remember not having professors in the room when I took exams as well. Well, as a graduate student, I taught a few classes there as well, and I was warned by the program director that once a student sued a professor for being in the room during an exam. Apparently, his presence prevented him from concentrating properly and so he failed the exam. Yeah, it sounds pretty bogus, and the suit had absolutely no merit, but it was a hassle for the professor and the school nonetheless. So since then, I have practiced leaving the room. I pop back in every 30 minutes or so, in case there are questions, but I try to stay out of their way.

But this year, my class was located 15 minutes from my office and I didn't want to spend 30 minutes walking back and forth. I mean, by the time I got back to my office, I'd have to walk back again. Ridiculous. So I sorta stayed in the room this year. I changed the room for the final--I hate walking that far, even though it's about the only exercise I get--but I stayed in the room anyway, and ended up fielding more than a few questions. One student almost got me to provide an answer! Some of these guys are so sneaky...

Okay, enough blogging, back to grading. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Final in Classical Japanese


am currently sitting in the department conference room watching my students take their Classical Japanese final. They all have their game face on, but I have yet to see anyone sweating....

Classical Japanese is--in my view--not THAT hard. It can be confusing, however, without the right approach. Like modern Japanese, it is very regular. No, I take that back, it is more regular than modern J. There are a few irregular verbs, but 97%--my ad hoc figure--are regular. The problem, of course, is that there are about seven different regular forms, and they all conjugate differently. Students usually memorize them by memorizing the endings. For example:

IKU (to go): ika-- iki-- iku-- iku-- ike-- ike--

And to these forms are attached suffixes to provide tense, aspect, etc. Right Now, all four step verbs will conjugate exactly the same.

YOMU (to read): yoma-- yomi-- yomu-- yomu-- yome-- yome--
KASU (to lend): kasa-- kashi-- kasu-- kasu-- kase-- kase--

As a result, most students will just memorize the endings and apply them when they see the verb.

a-- i-- u-- u-- e-- e--

Well, before the exam, when everyone is locked into these conjugating forms, one student decides to screw everyone up by singing:

oo-ee-oo-ah-ah... ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang...

Hahahaha, the whole class started laughing and then suddenly got rather upset at being made to think of the stupid Witch Doctor song instead of the conjugations they were so focused on.

Oh well, maybe you have to be here--and know some classical Japanese--to appreciate the situation.

Anyway, they are sighing now, breathing deeply, frowning, grabbing their hair, rubbing their eys, or just staring at the empty space on the desk right above their exam... They are so cute...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Little Progress


till grading... Ugh. I'm getting a headache... I promise I will visit all of you religiously when I finish and summer begins! I'm just packed with work, as well as a paper I have to finish--a chapter on a book by Basho--by the end of the month. I'm at my wit's end--wherever that wit may be....

So anyway, did some of you get a stupid solicitation from a "girl" trying to pick up business? It's in my Guestbook. Pretty lame, but I learned that a lot of the places where this person left this message were actually sites of underage Xangans.

So pathetic.

Back to grading...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Different Kind of Progress


ince I was halfway through the first set of finals, I figured I was ahead of the game, so yesterday--Friday the 13th--I went to school to pick up the exams of two students who asked that they take the Lit Exam later--If a student has 3 exams in a 24 hour window, he has the right to ask for an alternate time and the professor is strongly urged to oblige. Being the understanding sort, they often turn to me as the professor of choice.

So I went to school to pick up their exams. I figured since I left for the city it would be a good opportunity to take the family out, so we met at a place called Rock Bottom Brewery in Ballston. It a nice little place that brews its own beer on the premise. To the uninitiated, the bar seems to have that sweet smell of stale beer, but it's actually yeast for the brewing. As you walk toward the dining section, the aroma of fried calimari or roasted tomato and basil pizza or blackened salmon or any number of delectable dishes wafts from the open kitchen.

Wow, has it really been a year since we've been here last? I thought as M, her two sons and I sat at a table in the bar and ordered a round of Pale Ale brewed that very day. We decided to graze and I ordered salmon fish and chips, ahi carpaccio, fried calimari, sirloin chili and beans, salad and such. We had a great time. Maybe too great.

It was an opportunity for me to bond with the younger son with whom I have had a number of issues over the past year, so it was good to talk about a lot of things on his mind and mine in a casual, non-threatening environment. Well, one ale led to another and by the time I decided to check my watch, I realized that we had been sitting there for six freakin' hours! Don't even ask me how many beers we had or how much it cost. My headache is the only thing I can focus on at the moment.

Still, it was worth it.

Bonding is a good thing, and I'm glad we went out. But today is today, and someone's gotta pay the credit card balance, so its time to get back to work. Unfortunately, the print on the rest of the exams I planned to grade today seem a bit blurry...

Friday, May 13, 2005



alfway through the first set of finals. Why are all my finals scheduled toward the end? And all bunched together. Ugh. I hate finals...

enygma81: Do you have a deadline for when grades are due?
O-man: Yes, 72 hours after the final is over. Of course, there are many who don't even come close to getting grades in on time. I am usually pretty good at getting grades in on time, but this semester, the sheer number of classes and finals I have to grade will make it difficult.

inyoungpark: Isn't grading kinda fun? Cramming, on the other hand, is NOT!
O-man: Granted, cramming is not fun. I did my share once upon a time. But is grading fun? I don't think so! Try reading 50 2-3 page papers on the same topic but from different points of views, different styles of writing and different levels of writing ability--from pretty good to horrendous. That's100-150 pages. Now double that since there are two essays on the exam. Um, 250-300 pages? I also have another class with 24 students with the same number of essays, so that's another 100 or so pages of varying quality. On top of that I have 6 senior theses to read, each about 25 pages, which now makes it another 150 pages, for a grand total of over 500 pages to read. And lets not forget my Classical Japanese class, and graduate students' directed readings. So that means I have a ton of translations to check as well. So, NO! Grading is not fun... Grrrr....

BarbEric_Bojo: comon you know you love it.
O-man: Ditto! Grrrr....

onigiri: I admire teachers because they have the stamina to actually grade through all of those horrid papers without combusting their brain or going into a comma. I mean, how do you read all of those? Do teachers suddenly go into a zone and are able to cram in hundreds of papers? And to think that they do it year after year. As a reward, teachers should get paid more. XD
Oman: Man, from your mouth to God's ear. I wish we got paid more. But do we? Bah! but I'm glad you are so understanding. It warms the cockles of my heart...

Anyway, back to grading for me... *yawn*

Oh yeah, Happy Friday the 13th! For all you superstitious ones out there: Be careful...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005



ell, finals are here and its time for me to work... as if I don't work normally. Students will be bringing in their take-home J-Lit exams today and the grading begins. Next week will be the dreaded Culture Through Film class, dreaded because there are 50 students and that is a lot of grading for a teacher who doesn't have a TA. I also have Bungo on the same day next week as well as six senior theses to read before graduation, which is next weekend.

Should I mention that summer school will start right after that? Oh well. I may be kinda scarce for the next few days. But not to worry. I'll just be grading...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

RBJ Bookmarkers


realize that the following may not interesting to all readers, but I cannot post here without expressing my appreciation to Xangans and non-Xangans alike who have bookmarked me and visit this site through the Rice Bowl Journal.

For you non-RBJers: Check out this clock I found through--don't think poorly of me--Wil Wheaton's blog. Yeah, the guy who played Wesley Crusher on Startrek: TNG. The clock is linear and tells the time from the second to the year. If I could figure out a way to put it on my wall, I would. Actually, I can install it to my computer as it seems to be a screen saver of sorts. Indeed, there are other clock screen savers, including a strange one that is literally written by hand. It kind of freaked me out when I realized these clocks were perfectly synchronized with my computer: they changed minutes/hours at the same moment. We must all be on virtual time here.

Anyway, back to my RBJ subscribers. I'd like to thank the most recent readers who have bookmarked me on RBJ: booyahman, grace, guccibear, pari and swerve. Thanks to these people, I have bookmarks that place me in the top ten on RBJ's Top 100. I feel like a popular song on Billboard magazine.

The only drawback to RBJ is that some who have bookmarked me are not Xangans and so do not/cannot leave me comments when they drop by. Please note that if you have bookmarked me and want to leave me a comment, you can if you go to my mirror site, the JAJournal at Blogspot. I use it for archiving and transfer my posts from Xanga regularly. More importantly is that you can leve a comment without being a Blogspot member, something you can't do on Xanga. RBJers such as Pari and KnOizKi have already left comments and it would be great to hear from other RBJers who have bookmarked me but are non-Xangans, like Shiz, Swerve, Grace, and Mr. RBJ himself, Carlos.

But then, this is the narcissistic side of me speaking again. I mean, I know I said that bloggers--by virtue of keeping a public journal--are necessarily narcissistic. If you weren't, how could you publicly expose yourself, even if you use a nom de plume--that would be the old-school way of saying screen name. But this is a topic for another day. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Maintaining Weight


kay, I confess. I haven't been keeping to my New Year's resolution: losing weight. Why am I so pathetically weak? I mean, I know that I'm just a riceball, and rice balls are supposed to be soft and smushy, but this is getting ridiculous. All I need to do is run a bit and I'd be fine. But noooooooooooooooooooo... Too busy for that. I have to grade exams, correct assignements, prepare for classes, watch Startrek Enterprise... And I think, the weight thing exaxerbates my other issues: a receding hair line, a loss of stamina, bad skin tone.

Oh... my... God, I exhibit all the signs of... of... of aging!

Oh, what I'd give for the resilience of youth. A little exercise, skip a meal or two, and voila, five pounds gone... Fat chance these days--no pun intended. Maybe I should just hold back on the potato chips and those dark chocolate M & Ms and Sprees and Skittles and... and... Aarfh, I give up. Don't give me any grief. I'll just stay a riceball...

Cultural Note: Umeboshi is a salted and pickled plum that is oh so yummy, although many who are not accustomed to the flavor finding, well, disgusting. Personally, I love them, although that was not always the case. It's an acquired taste. It's good with chazuke (flavored tea over rice) or as a filling for riceballs...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day


appy Mom's Day to all the Moms who read this site. Okay, they are not legion, I'm sure, but there are a few of you... And yes, I spent the whole weekend working on the handrail... but I spent it with M. No grading, no working on the computer, no Xanga (well, until now)... We spent the whole weekend together, albeit trying to get rust off the wrought iron. But it was good, because we had fun doing it. So it was my way saying Happy Mother's Day to her. I hope her sons do something nice for her. I can always hope, right?

No Fluff Weekend


he home-owner's association is a pain in the ass. A few weekes ago we got a list ot things wrong with our house so we've been cleaning and whatnot. Not too bad: cutting bushes, cleaning the backyard. But this week, we have to redo the short bannister on our steps. It's made of wrought iron and prone to rusting. Indeed, its been getting pretty rusty so since Friday I 've been stripping the old paint and trying like the devil to get off the rust.

It's killing me.

First, I brush it down with a wire brush, then get some naval jelly, leave it one for 15 to 20 minutes, then tried wiping it off. No luck. Next, I apply some more naval jelly, let it soak a bit then scrub it with steel wool. I then add a bit more jelly and let it sit some more. Still no luck. I repeat the process and there are still bits of rust that just won't come off. Some of it I've been able to file off. Lots of elbow grease. But the iron looks to have pock marks and the rust is deeply embedded and will take a ton of filing.

This is taking WAY to long. I swear, I've been doing this ALL weekend. No rest, not grading, no Xanga, no nothing. Just dealing with the rust... Does ANYONE know how to get out stubborn rust? Does anyone have a dad who knows how? I'd appreciate ANY advice at this point.

Anyway, back to the handrail for me...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Tower of Babel


dvancements in techonology are amazing. Everytime I turn around there is something that simply freaks me out. My school laptop has voice recognition and will learn as I speak to it, catching my pronunciations and inflections to turn my spoken words into electronic text. I sometimes feel like I'm in a science fiction film. But this is mere transliteration. When it comes to understanding and interpreting a language, no amount of programing and computation can take the place of the human brain.

Translation Machines

These little beauties translate words and phrases adequately. But full texts are another matter. Language is far too complicated, too intricate, to rely on a translation machine for competent rendering. The following translation of a quote that was on RBJ is a case in point. The English--my English, which will never be mistaken for Faulkner, Hemingway or even Stephen King--is not particularly complex. But both Babel Fish and Google butchered it quite badly. The left is the Japanese rendered by the translation programs and the right is my re-translation back into English.

We bloggers are, to varying degrees, narcissists and exhibitionists. We love to expose ourselves, talk about ourselves. And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose: a little thigh, some cleavage--well, I don't really have any cleavage...

Babel Fish

私達は、様々なレベルへ、bloggers narcissists 及びexhibitionists である。私達は私達自身をの私達自身についての話露出することを愛する。今までのところでは、最終的に、私達は私達がたいと思う何を露出し露出するただ: 小さい腿、開裂-- よく、私は実際に開裂を持っていない。

Babel translated

We, to various levels, bloggers are narcissists as well as exhibitionists. We love to expose the stories concerning ourselves, of ourselves. Up until now, ultimately, we expose what? that we think we desiderative and expose. It's just that: small thighs, split openings--often, I don't really have split openings...


私達は, 様々な程度へ , bloggers narcissists とexhibitionists である。私達はの私 達自身についての話露出することを愛する。今までのところでは 私達がたい何を露出し, 最終的に, 私達はただ露出する: 小さい 腿すなわち開裂…よく, 私は実際にどの開裂をも... " 有しない

Google translated

We, to various extents, bloggers are narcissists and exhibitionists. We of love to expose stories concerning ourselves. Up until now, we desiderative expose what? ultimately we simply expose: small thighs, namely split openings... often, I actually don't possess any split openings

As you can see, my re-translation is horrible. But that's because the Japanese is horrible. Some of the grammar is whacko, because it tried to mirror some of the grammatical liberties I take when writing. Google, I think, did a tad bit better, although the Japanese still sounds awkward and two words in both were completely blown and one grammatical point is totally indecipherable. When I wrote, "A little thigh" I didn't mean the size of my thigh. And cleavage refered to the split between the breasts, not some split that is created by "cleaving," which is what the Japanese suggests. BTW: Cleavage in Japanese is 谷間 tanima, literally, valley space. Hahahhahaha.

The incomprehesible rendering was the word "want". In Japanese, like Korean, aspects of predicates--perfect tense, desire, negation--are conveyed not through separate words but by attaching suffixes to verbs or adjectives.

  • tabe-ru : I eat (tabe is the stem)
  • tabe-ta : I ate
  • tabe-nai : I don't eat.
  • tabe-tai : I want to eat.

Now, this is not a Japanese class, but I do want you to look at the last conjugation: tabe-tai. The suffix, -tai, is attached to the stem of the verb to make it mean "I want to eat." But the point is that -tai is a suffix, not an independent word. It cannot be used by itself. But inerestingly, both translation machines rendered "want" as simply -tai, as if it could stand alone. Further, the pronoun "what" introducing the relative clause was interpreted as an interrogative. So the sentence in Japanese is completely mumbo jumbo. In Japanese: チンプンカンプン

  • And yet, ultimately, we expose only what we want to expose.
  • 今までのところでは 私達がたいを露出し, 最終的に, 私達はただ露出する. Ima made no tokoro de wa, watashi-tachi ga tai nani wo roshutsu shi, saishuu-teki ni, watashi-tachi wa tada roshutsu suru.

The Japanese should read, stirctly speaking:

  • しかし、結局のところ、私達が露出したいことだけ露出する。Shikashi, kekkyoku no tokoro, watashi-tachi ga roshutsu shitai koto dake roshutsu suru.

Of course, my own Japanese would sound a bit different.

  • しかし、結局のところ、我々が見せたいところしか見せないのだ。Shikashi, kekkyoku no tokoro, wareware ga misetai tokoro shika misenai no da.

Not that my Japanese would be mistaken for Mishima, Kawabata, or even Murakami Haruki...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Beware of what you wish for


have a sweet tooth. Particularly, I love crunchy, chewy and tart candy. It can't be just chewy like Gummi Bears. It can't be just crunchy like a lollipop, and it can't be just tart like Sweet Tarts. It requires all three elements. As a kid I used to like Tootsie Pops because as i got closer to the chewy center, I could bite into it and crunch away. But I took too long to get to that point.

And so I began my search of the perfect candy.

Now Gummi Bears stick to your teeth so I'm not that crazy about them. Jelly beans weren't tart enough. I liked Lemonheads, but the outside just wasn't crunchy enough. Then Mentos came along. Mmmmm. Crunchy outside, chewy inside and the fruit flavor ons were sorta tart. I was very happy.

Then Skittles came along. Oh My God! I liked these so much I couldn't stop. And they have more flavors than Mentos. And now they have different flavors: They have a Wild Berry bag and a Tropical Fruit bag. I have to brush my teeth 5 times a day. But it didn't stop there. Spree come along and combined the size of Mentos and the variety and crunchiness of Skittles. And the flavor was more fruity. I had hit pay dirt. The perfect candy. SweetTarts have a similar product now, but they were TOO LATE. Beside they don't have convenient samll packages sold at counters and street verndors... yet. When they do, who knows...

Of course, my sweet tooth is not limited to chewy, crunchy and tart. I am an avowed choco-holic. I just love chocolate. But I am also lactose intolerant and so cannot eat milk chocolate indiscriminately--those of you who love chocolate will know how much "indiscriminate" is... So I eat dark chocolate. And it is just as well, since I think that dark chocolate tastes better. Milk chocolate is a bit too sweet for me. That almost imperceptible bitterness of dark chocolate is something I cannot resist. It gives chocolate that "adult" taste. Those of you who love bitter greens like chrysanthemum leaves or dandelions or arugula will know what I'm talking about...

But of course, chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. While it contains scads of endorphins--those make-you-feel-good peptides--it also contains scads of calories and is definitely not good for my figure, let alone my heart. *sigh* So I hold back as much as possible. I'm having enough trouble with Skittles and Spree. But I will buy a block of dark cooking chocolate--usually even less sweet--stick it in the freezer and periodically sneak small 2 to 3 ounce portions/bites late at night. Since its frozen, it is actually a hassle to break off into small manageable pieces. I often think, "Thank God there isn't a convenient way to snack on Dark Chocolate, or else I'd be too tempted to eat indiscriminate amounts of it." Yes, I know of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate chips. I could eat a whole bag without thinking, so I simply avoid them. I used to joke with M that if M&M came out in Dark Chocolate I would make the company rich beyond its wildest dreams...


I think my life--or at least this girlish figure of mine--is ruined...

M&M Dark Chocolates...

Screw the Queen. God save ME.

So what's your favorite candy?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Ol' Switcheroo


kay, when is a Wednesday not a Wednesday? When it's a Monday. Like today. The particular school I teach at runs on a very peculiar schedule. Post-WWII through the 80s, the institute focused on graduate studies--particularly those in government. There are a number of well known figures who have earned a degree here as they worked in Government, perhaps former Secretary of State Colin Powell (MBA) being the most prominent. So the school schedule of operation was geared toward these professional who worked and studied.

As a result, there are many evening classes--my film class is in the evening from 7:10 to 9:40. And there are even more classes that are held only once a week. This is to accomodate those working graduate students who cannot be on campus 24/7. As you all know, many holidays--MLK, Presidents day--are observed on Mondays, and classes that meet only once a week on Mondays get an excessive number of days off. Man, I know that if I was a student, I'd look for those Monday classes. BUT, to prevent these kinds of shenanigans, the final week of school boasts no Wednesday but two Mondays. This is to make up for the extra holidays.

Of course, this means nothing to me, because my J-Lit in Translation class meets on Monday and Wednesday. The thing is--and this is what really makes this school's schedule peculiar--my class meets at two different hours: Monday 2:20-3:35 and Wednesday 3:55-5:10. This is to accomodate the dearth of classrooms on campus, I'm told (but I'm not buying it). Now, I mentioned very clearly on Monday that this Wednesday was a Monday so class will meet at 2:20 and NOT 3:55.

Anyone wanna bet that at least one student will say, "Oh, sensei, I forgot. I went to class at 3:55 and NO ONE WAS THERE." Oh well, maybe I should be the one who forgets. "Oh I'm sorry, little ones. I forgot that today was Monday!" I'm sure my students will not complain too loudly...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005



hat is it like to date? I swear, I've forgotten what it feels like. It used to be about choosing the right clothes, making reservations at the right restaurant, selecting the right film, knowing when to hold hands and *gulp* when to lean over and attempt a kiss.

Ah, I used to feel so alive when I would pick up a girl and feel my heart pounding, worried if I would leave a good impression. Why is it I get the impression that young people don't feel the same way? I look at the youth around me and everything looks so casual. It's as if everyone is a friend before they even consider dating. Or are they just friends and not dating, but having sex anyway? Hmmm... I am so confused. Will someone help me understand today's youth? Not that it's any of my business, I suppose...

Anyway, here's a quiz I found at nefarious_hatter's site. To my surprise, my dating personality profile closely matched her match profile. Woo hoo! Don't tell M. Heck, don't tell Nefarious. She'd get just as pissed off for having an old geezer match her profile. Ahahahahah! .

So do any of you match my "match profile"? If you're a guy, don't even think of checking...

Your dating personality profile:

Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Adventurous - Just sitting around the house is not something that appeals to you. You love to be out trying new things and really experiencing life.
Big-Hearted - You are a kind and caring person. Your warmth is inviting, and your heart is a wellspring of love.

Your date match profile:

Practical - You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Outgoing - Shy and timid people are not who you are after. You need someone with a vibrant personality to breathe life into a relationship.
Adventurous - You are looking for someone who is willing to try new things and experience life to its fullest. You need a companion who encourages you to take risks and do exciting things.

Your Top Ten Traits

1. Liberal
2. Adventurous
3. Big-Hearted
4. Stylish
5. Sensual
6. Intellectual
7. Romantic
8. Shy
9. Wealthy/Ambitious
10. Athletic

Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Practical
2. Outgoing
3. Adventurous
4. Sensual
5. Athletic
6. Conservative
7. Intellectual
8. Wealthy/Ambitious
9. Funny
10. Big-Hearted

Take the Online Dating Profile Quiz at Dating Diversions

Monday, May 02, 2005

Weekend day Fluff


he weekend's posts were no fluff. I was all set to post the following on Sunday--I didn't want to get overly heavy-handed--but the topic just needed to be addressed while it was still on my mind. I wrote that there seems to be little solidarity among Asian Americans, and I received diverse comments, whch is all good as I believe it is a matter that we as Asians should discuss, or at least think about. If you are interested in Asian American issues and you have not read them yet, please do so and express your opinion. If not, then read the fluff: a personal survey that I jacked from one of my newer subscribers, booyahman.

1. If you were to come back reincarnated as something or someone, who/what would that be?
I'd come back as a cat owned by some rich person, then I could eat and sleep all day. My only worry would be looking for a warm pool of sunlight in which to curl up and sleep.

2. Would you be content working as a janitor/garbage collector making 6 figures?
Yes. At my age, I have nothing left to prove. It would be a 7-3 gig, with weekends off, good benefits and paid holiday. Besides, by taking care of the trash everyone dumps, I would be providing one of the most necessary of services for society. Indeed, they should be paid 6 figures.

3. If you were to have a blemish on your record, what would it MOST likely be?
That I would give up teaching to be a garbage collector...

4. Which is worse, having to leave someone you love or having someone you love leave you?
Definitely having to leave someone. Having someone I love leave me wouldn't be easy to take, but it would be easier in that I would know that I could not do anything about it.

5. If you were able to grow up with only ONE parent, would you choose your father or mother?
Mother. Does that make me a mama's boy?

6. If you don't believe in marriage and happened to get drunk one night and married your best friend, would you give it a chance or divorce him/her right away?
I guess that would depend on what state I lived in. My best friend is a dude, so if the state doesn't allow gay marriages, the question would be moot. But, man, I would have had to have been REALLY drunk to even consider it...

7. If you were going to be shipped to a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you?
Hmm... I think I answered this in a previous survey. Three things? My Swiss Army knife, notebooks and pencils...

8. Ladies, if you had to choose between being with Spiderman, Superman or Batman, whom would you choose? (for the men: Catwoman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman)
These are all DC characters. Why do the women get a Marvel choice (Spiderman). Anyway, I guess I'd have to choose Catwoman because I like cats and Catwoman was played by the person who played Storm in the X-Men, a Marvel-based comic: Halle Barry. Yes, I like, I like...

9. How much money would it take to get you to retire?
Five million. That amount invested safely would provide an adequate nterest return to live comfortably, I believe...

10. Could you see yourself as a celebrity, living a life with no privacy?
No. Despite my relative openness on Xanga, I am a very private person.

11. Will you tell your child that there's no Santa or lie to him/her?
The question is posed very negatively. I don't think telling a child that Santa exists is a lie to begin with. Santa is the embodiment of generosity--he gives without asking anything in return--which is a good thing to instill in your children. Indeed, my daughter "believed" in Santa for quite a while. Indeed, I can still remember her face when Santa left her a bike, but she was more impressed by the teeth marks left on a half eaten cookie. I had to tell her that lots of kids leave Santa a cookie and he could only take one bite from each to maintain his girlish figure...

12. What's a deal-breaker in a relationship to you besides infidelity?
Lack of trust. Every relationship is grounded in trust. Any lack of trust will easily devolve into uglier things such as suspicion and jealousy.

13. Could you raise someone else's child if you had to?
Well, I'm doing it now, so i guess that means I could. But speaking from experience, it is not an easy thing to do for me. Of course, I think it would have been easier if they were smaller. When they are already 20 and 22, there are other complications.

14. How much money would it require for you to do a nude scene in a movie? (full body)
Truth be told, this is the hardest question so far. I am not the proud owner of a chiseled body. I'm not even sure I'd pass the Play-doh test. But everyman has a price, and the 5 mil that would let me retire sounds like a nice, round figure... oops, no pun intended...

15. If you don't believe in God, do you believe a higher being exists?
I believe in God. I was baptized as a baby and raised a Catholilc, so I have no recourse but to believe in God. Most belief systems are something that you have to have ingrained in you, because there is nothing logical or rational about it. There is no scientific proof that God exists. There is only circumstantial evidence--my mind, Scripture, a sunset, the Mona Lisa. I should mention that my current beliefs do not even come close to the teachings of the Church. They continue to preach things that are not in touch with modern reality. but that is my personal opinion...

Sunday, May 01, 2005



Halfwaymag.como Asian Americans have a social or political agenda? Or perhaps the question is should we? The racist comments by the New Jersey radio personalities would suggest that if nothing else, Asian Americans should unite to fight this kind of attitude that ultimately prevents us from participating fully in American society. I touched upon this subject yesterday, but I received divergent comments.

Merrow minsrel is aware of Asian American issues and believes it is merely a matter of time.

Di_gah_jae, Taku and Kenshir0 believes it is idealistic and Asian American unity will never happen because everyone has their own agenda.

Spyken also writes that Asian Americans will never get together but for a different reason: Our cultural background of focusing on family and careers as well as the tradition of not wanting to "make waves" will simply not allow us to voice our opinions to strongly.

These opinions were well considered and interesting--although I don't necessarily agree with all of them. But that's the point. If we don't discuss this, divergence and difference will always separate us. I only wish there were a few more people involved. I know that most of my subscribers are Asian Americans. And yet, very few left a comment...

And I wonder: Do only a few people want to say anything? Are readers afraid of looking ignorant or uninformed?

Well, to be honest, I'm ignorant, too. I know little of the various Asian American groups that acutally try to push a social agenda that purports to represent us. The point is, however, that I try to bring up the topic. If I or you or we do not even discuss it, how would we ever develop an awareness of the issues? Where this is conderned, there is not such thing as a stupid question or comment. Not thinking about it, or not discussing it or just looking the other way is the wrong attitude, for it perpetuates ignorance.

Please don't be ignorant. Think about it, engage it. Like it like the people at a new online magazine, Halfway. Please go visit them.