Friday, July 29, 2005

Meetin' Up


ave you ever wondered who leaves comments on your site? I'm sure that all of you have friends who leave comments, but there are also those whom you have never met, right? Now, don't you wonder from time to time who they are? What they're really like? And don't you sometimes get the hankerin' to meet them in the flesh?

Well, I have only met one so far, Ender. She was a person I met through other students who were studying in Japan. She ultimately matriculated to the school where I teach, and came to take a Japanese placement exam from me. When I saw her e-mail address, I thought, "Now where have I seen this name before?" Hahhahah. It was her. But she came to my site because she had met some of my students, so while it was fun to meet her, it was not that unusual.

The other day, I went to school and entered my office when I found the following note on the floor.

Again, I'm thinking, :"Where have I heard this name before?" Okay, I may sound stupid, but haven't you ever met someone out of context and not immediately recognize the name or face? Well, I have, many times. And this time was no exception. After staring at the message for 5 minutes it finally sunk in. It's SunJun. Hahhahahah. Damn! I wish I had been in when he came. I definitely would have liked to have met him. But unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Oh well. Maybe next time....

For now, I will be flying to LA this weekend for my elementary / jr. high class reunion. I will write about it when I get back. But perhaps more interesting is that I may get a chance to meet a couple of fellow Xangans, subscribers, as it were. I'm kinda excited to meet them--waku waku--IF I meet them. I write this now, but am afraid of a big let down. No, not them personally. I'm afraid they may not be able to make it to J-Town. How many times have I been left waiting at the altar? Not that I want to marry Vlade. Hahahhahahah!

So be cool everyone. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Inflamed Tendon

J0hns0nT: What's the short story about that forearm tendon?


he other day, I wrote a bit about working out. I used to do a lot more than i do now. But as I said, I was never big guy to begin with. so I have never been able to develop the biceps or chest or other part of the anatomy to the point that I would become the envy of other men or the focus of the ladies. But I tried. And once I tried too hard.

I have a few books and magazines on muscle development--I even have a book "written" by Gov. Arnold. Anyway, biceps is one part of the anatomy that I think every man tries to develop at one point in their life. It is such a visible representative of physical manhood--or am I full of $hit? Well, I do my barbell curls. I do my dumbell curls. I sit on an incline bench and do hammer curls (palms facing inwards). I sit at the edge of the bench, lean over with my elbow leaning against the inside of my knee and do concentration curls. One of my favorites was "21s". With a relatively light barbell (I used to do about 40 lbs.), you extend the arm and curl halfway up 7 times, then you curl all the way up to the chest then drop it only halfway and repeat this 7 times, then you do 7 full curls for a total of 21 reps. At the right weight, this is an awesome burn...

My biceps at this point--about seven years ago--was noticeably larger than before, but it didn't have the fullness I wanted. Upon further research, I learned that there was an exercise called a reverse curl. The effect was, like the hammer curl, to develop the outside portion of the bicep. But this was more effective because instead of palms facing inward toward the thighs, you hold a barbell with your palms down and curl. This forces the outside muscles to work harder. After a few of these, I felt like my biceps getting a bit fuller. But what i didn't realize was that I was putting more stress on my forearm that I realized. Gripping a barbell in this manner is awkward and requires great gripping power--forearm muscles that I had not yet fully develop.

Well about a two weeks after I started these recerse curls, I was pouring myself a glass of OJ when the 2 quart carton slipped out of my left hand. My forearms had been sore for a few days, but I had dimissed it as muscle fatigue. But on that day, I couldn't find the strength to grip a carton of juice. Frantic, I went to the doctor and she diagnosed it as an inflammation of the forearm tendon. I hurt mostly near the elbow. I had to take anti-inflammation drugs for about 3 weeks and i was urged to ice it down when I did anything that might stress the tendon. I asked what would that be, and she assured me that when it happened, I'd know.

And she was right.

Like an idiot, I continued to lift weights, avoiding exercises that required excessive gripping like high-pulleys. But regular arm curls? If the bar is resting in my the palm of my hands, I am not using any discernable gripping action. Stupid me. After working out, my arm would throb and when I touch the area it was noticeably warmer. So I learned to stop doing curls--a rock has to hit me in the head for me to understand anything--and iced it regularly. Sadly, it took about a year for it to feel relatively normal and almost two years for me to be 100%. Why so long? Because I use these tendons constantly, everytime I type. Touch your tendons on the outside of your forearms near the elbow and then wiggle your fingers as if typing. Virtually all that movement is cause by your tendons. I am not, of course, exerting it as I would when lifting weights, but it is also not getting complete "bed" rest.

Hahahaha, this "short story" turned out longer than I thought. Hope I didn't bore anyone. The lesson to be learned is to listen to you body. If it begins to hurt, there is a reason. Obvious advice, I know, but for a guy like me, it's the kind I needed 7 years ago...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A New Clothing Line


ow many of you know what a narcissist I am. I write about what I want, I write about me and amy past. I dramatize it a bit to give it a bit of spice--no, I'm not talking about the jalepeno incident; that REALLY happened. (Note to Sammy: that's as lewd as it gets.) But my life is pretty much without drama and it is truly a dull and lifeless existence I lead. Of course, this doesn't stop me from pretending that I lead an exciting life.. but that's a story for another day.

For today, I will address a comment left by Rie.

I've been gone for a week and wow you have your own t-shirt line!! Its amazing, I'll have to buy one lol. Wouldn't it be funny if I was wearing my Onigiriman shirt and I ran into someone that was also wearing one!

Okay, now I've done it. I've crossed the "so-narcissistic-I-can't-stand-him" line. Hahaahhahaha. Well, Rie must have noticed the link on the main page and commented on it. Just to let you know, girl: DON'T BUY IT! Not that you were going to, of course, but just in case.

Here's the deal.

I once made an Onigiriman coffee mug as a return present. You know, you give me a present and I will return the favor. Well, the O-man is not on a par with the San Rio line of Hello! Kitty goods, but as a gift for others to remember me, well, it was okay. Recently I heard of CafePress through golden_oceanid, decided to look into it and made a T-shirt just for the heck of it. What surprised me was that I learned that I could actually sell this $hit without any overhead or extra cost. Hahahahaha. Well, I decided to "set up shop" just for fun.

The operative word here is "fun."

The coffe mug I made previously, as well as the T-shirt here, uses the original Onigiriman image I created a few years back, so it is fuzzy and jagged. As the original, it is the real deal but still it is, to say the least, crude. Certainly not professional, and not something you'd want to put down a Jackson for--my mark-up is nominal at $2. But it's good enough as a novelty item for my friends.

So there. Whew, I'm glad I got that off my chest...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Advisor at large...

I got the following question form yes05.

yes05: I love your writing. Could you tell us in detail about your process of writing? I'm sure you've gone through this before. I've always wondered where and how people got their ideas, at what time of the day, etc etc etc.

Also another question (hope you don't mind..) any inspiration for a new college grad with a degree in humanities, one doesn't know and doesn't really care about what to do with his future? Or is this all about finding the *passion of life*!? And what does it take to become a teacher?

Hope to hear from you O-sensei. Thank you very much.

First of all--not to sound rude or anything--but who are you? Do I know you? You have a Xanga account, but you don't post, and you've even disabled your guestbook so I couldn't ask you this question on your site. "Who are you?" Not that I know every one of my subscribers--of whom you are not one--BUT they do offer entries that give me a glimpse into their thoughts, their lives and their feelings. As such, I am much more comfortable sharing with them than I am with a total stranger.

So I ask again, "Who are you?" Do I know you? Are you someone who had a previous Xanga and have switched? Are you incognito?

Anyway, to answer your question, I write what I feel like writing. While I do keep my readership in mind and consequently refrain from anything overtly disgusting or lewd, I will write about whatever is on my mind, whether it be about food, sports, politics, being JA/AA, my past, or questions from my subscribers. Since I am a talker, I can usually find something to say, although not everyone will find everything I write about interesting. Indeed, I have had subscribers come and go--about a hundred by now--but I will continue to write what I want. I have been told by some that since I talk from the "heart"--that is, I write about things that I have a passion for or, at any given moment, have a great interest in--I am interesting enough to keep their attention. I don't know. Just write what you want, be articulate, and don't worry about what others think.

As for advice to a newly graduated humanities major, I can give none, as I have no idea who you are. I would need more info to provide advice that I'd feel comfortable with. Note that I did not say good advice, because there is no such thing. Advice is only the opinion of one man or woman, one that is limited to that person's experience. But I am comfortable giving advice to those who I think will likely benefit from my experience. Since I do not know anything about you, I cannot make that call. Sorry.

Sunday, July 24, 2005



m am such an unabashed carnivore. I love meat. Red meat, white meat, I'm not particular. Well, maybe I would not eat round steak or pigs feet, but virtually anything else that goes "moo" or "oink" is fair game. These last few days, I've been bushed. I've been working and running so much, I'm am pretty tired. So last might I broke down and decided to feed the hunger. I got some ribs from Famous Dave's.

I've mentioned this before: They have the best ribs I have ever eaten. I realize that there are many places that boast great ribs, and I have never been to Texas or Kansas City or Memphis where they make some of those legendary ribs, but I have come to realize that they do not have "ribs" on the west coast. I have eaten them but they are nothing compared to the ribs over here, and in Virginia/DC, Famous Dave's is at the top. Dave himself is from Chicago and apparently he has a number of restaurants in the midwest from Wisconsin through Illinois (including Champaign) and Iowa down to Texas. There's also one in Tacoma, Tuscon and Philly. Speaking of which, the Texas beef brisket is out of this world. I wish I could offer you a taste: You'd go crazy. Of course, this may have to do with working out and being just this side of famished....

So do you like ribs?
And where did you eat the best ribs you've ever eaten?

Anyway, back to work. I also have to create a midterm. Geez. I the second session is already half over! Now to make an exam that is challenging, yet easy to grade.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Saturday Vagaries


uring a busy--perhaps I should say, supposedly busy--weekend, I will jot down a few random thoughts before I go back to work... alleged work.

To friends, fellow Xangans and everyone else in London: Stay strong. I am with you in spirit. I pray that we will someday shake some sense into these idiots.

RBJ Tomodachi: You'll notice that I've taken down the links from the top of the page, but I still maintain my gallery as a show of appreciation to all you guys who have bookmarked me. Thanks to you, I am ranked in the top 5 over at RBJ. I am more than just a bit embarrassed, really... Okay, okay, I don't mean to self-promote, but I am surprised at how many people want to actually read the drivel I post.

Random answer about weights

J0hns0nT How heavy are your weights?

Um, this is a question posed in a previous post when I said I was trying to work out again. How heavy are my weights? Let's see. I use free weights and have a small set of dumbells and plates for my barbells. The plates go from 2.5 lbs. to 45 lbs. Two 45s on the barbell--itself being 45 lbs.--will make it 135 total lbs., at which I can do 10 reps (3 sets). But like I said, I'm out of shape. I hit my peak about two years ago, when I maxed out at 195 lbs. I weighed about 155 lbs back then, so 195 doesn't sound like much--I want to lift 1.5 times my body weight--but I'm an old man, so give me a break.

The rack I use is a Parabody and it's pretty sturdy, which is good since I sometimes train without spotter. That way, if I lose control, I can just drop the barbell onto the side rails without injuring myself. (Fortuntely, I've never had to use them.) I do military presses for my shoulders on this rack, as well. I've always had weak shoulders, so I'm just doing 65 lbs. now (barbell + 10 x 2). I figure if I can get to 95 lbs, I'd be able to wear sleeveless T-shirts again . I also attached a pulley to the rack so I can do back exercises. But I'm very lazy. M is always bugging me about focusing on my back. She treases me by telling me I only work out the body parts that I can actually see--arms, chest, shoulder, GUILTY! This might be an indication of my butt, too, but we won't go there.

Next to the rack are a set of small dumbells from 2 lbs. to 15 lbs. M and her friends use these. I use another set.

This set runs from 20lbs. to 40 lbs. I used to do French Presses (for triceps) with 35 lbs. per arm, but can only do 25 now. M does French presses and she does not have sagging underarms--or natural kimono sleeves 天然振り袖. She has talked her friends into doing them also and they have noticed a difference as well. And if you're wondering, they have another expression for guys. We don't have love handles, we have natural inner tubes 天然浮き輪. Yes, I too am the proud owner of my very own inner tube. Ugh! Anyway, you can do French presses too. Use a half liter bottle of water or a 16 oz. can of soup.

The 40s I use for shrugs, squats and lunges--yes, I use a strap. I also have an easy curl bar for arm curls. I know that a straight bar builds bigger biceps, but I injured my forearm tendons once--very similar to tennis elbow--so I stick to the sissy bar now. I currently curl 50 lbs. (15 + 15 + 20 lb. bar). I hope to get back to 70 before school starts.

Anyway, hope that answers your question.

Do any of you guys workout with weights, too? Don't get the wrong idea now. I'm not trying to get buff (although that would be a nice side effect). We live in a society where we do very little heavy lifting, so working out with weights is pretty essential for overall health. Of course, I'm probably the last person who should be preaching.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Summer Goals


s usual, things are getting hectic and beginning to catch up to me. I can't believe that it is already the latter half of July and that August is coming on strong. There were so many things that I wanted to do this summer, but am afraid I will be unable to accomplish my main goals: lose weight and finish my paper. So I have refocused myself the last two weeks.

Firstly, I have been watching what I eat. No chips. No cookies. No *gulp* chocolate. No snacking--okay, okay, I had 12 itty bitty M & M's last night, on the weekend I drink my beer!--has resulted in a smaller appetite during meals. I'm no doctor or nutitionist, so i do not know the cause and effect values of this. I still eat whatever I want for meals, and will eat as much as I want, but the amount of food needed to satisfy my virtually insatiable appetite has subsided appreciably in a little over a week. I have some cookies and corn chips sitting on the dining room table screaming voicelessly, like a seductive siren--O-man, eat me, I am here for you. I AM only because I know you will eat me. Please come and satisfy me and yourself... I swear, it is a daily struggle...

I have also been exercising like I used to exercise. Actually, more. I used to run about 4 times a week, but in the past ten days I have run on eight, often twice a day--once in the morning and once at night. I've also been lifting weights, and all this added activity cuts into my time--on average, about 2-3 hours a day in the basement where I have a treadmill and a wet of free weights. Of which, the net result has been, amazingly, that I have lost about 5 pounds (little more than 2 kilos)

Further, these past few days, I've been focusing on the paper that I need to write and so have had little time to devote to Xanga. I hope to visit your sites soon as I miss you all very much. But duty calls.

Speaking of eating healthy

As I was running on the treadmill, I watched a little Emeril Live on the Food Channel. Is it me or does he use a lot of salt. He was making pimento cheese. What this is--besides the pimento (roasted red bell peppers)--is shredded cheese mixed with pimento and other things you might like. Well, Emeril mixes in mayonaise and bits of rendered bacon into his cheese. Now the best I can remember is that these all have salt in it, no? but Emeril does his famous seasoning joke, grabs a healthy pinch of salt and "BAM", he tosses it into the mixture. I mean, isn't it salty enough? This dude is gonna die pretty soon if he is eating what he makes...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Senryu 川柳つばめ

Sorry it took so long. April: Revenge


s most of you probably know, this past semester has been rather hellish. The amount of work we do to run a successful program is exhausting. Hope you will forgive me for being a little late... Okay, a lot late. But after grading and grading and grading during the spring semester, I needed a break. I'm grading in the summer too, but that's okay. I have a really good group of kids, and to be honest, it doesn't really feel like work because they are eager, studious, and therefore easy to teach, circumstances under which I rarely complain about my salary or the amount of work it entails.

Anyway, on to senryu.

The pool of poems were fewer than any previous salon. I think that may be because of the topic. Revenge was perhaps a bit difficult. It seems that many thought of the actual moment of revenge--graphic, some violent, some funny--and many were very effective. But some did not provide a context without which the act of revenge becomes hard to understand or emphathize with. Some submitted verses that seem to stretch the definition of revenge. I always thought of revenge as an intentional, proactive act, not a feeling that one felt upon seeing someone "get his," even though the person "getting" the revenge did nothing to effect it. But if context was provided, I basically accepted them as this was a hard topic to begin with.

The rankings in Japanese are: 天 ten (heaven), and 三客 sankyaku (three guests--honorable mentions). There is no 地 chi (earth) and 人 jin (man) this time. Okay, so I'm a hard ass. Sorry...

So here are the poems with my comments...

I won't take revenge
Knowing she'll break your cold heart
Satisfies me now

by imahima

 First impression: Nice. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: Ohh...revenge as a theme will turn up some interesting senryu, I'm sure! Comments: Pretty good. Indeed, exacting revenge through someone else's actions is perhaps just as satisfying, especially if you feel that the pain of the revenge is likely similar to the one the speaker experienced. A guy dumps you for another girl, but you know that THAT girl will dump him in the same fashion. While Imahima did not exact the revenge, she clearly states that she didn't have to in this case. Also, her goro (rhythm) is solid; the verse, although 5-7-5, reads like natural a sentence. This is something to strive for and emulate. Good going.

ready, aim, fire!
it smacked her right on the head
snowball, i thank you!

by Eechim

三客 First impression: Snowball fight! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: i can imagine doing this to someone I hated. not now, maybe back in primary school. nowadays words would be my weapon of choice Comments: Ah, according to your comment, this is more of a "get-back-at-you" snowball, perhaps thrown at a nemesis you had been lying in wait for. Kinda wish it was a snowball fight between friends, a kind of friendly revenge. And I think I'll read it as such, since it is my privilege to read poems as I see fit.

Stupid tailgater.
Speed off! Red and blue lights flash.
License and reg. please~

by msbLiSs

三客 First impression: Finally. Technical foul: None. Comments: Nice set up. A tailgater is buggin' the heck out of you, then speeds off as if to suggest how slow you are driving. But suddenly, the lights of a patrol cars cherries go off and the guy gets pulled over by the cops. I think the last line should have been you, however. I would get a sense of "revenge" if you said something like "I wave as I pass". Still, pretty good.

just one table left
pushing by, he failed to see
he sat in bird crap.

by cgran

三客 First impression: Oh yuck! Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: ah, the mad dash outside abp. go karma go! Comments: The imagery is solid and the general context is funny. Different people looking for a place to sit, one rudely pushes by the other, and in his haste to sit down first doesn't realize that there was a reason no one was sitting there: bird droppings. There's something about the goro (rhythm) that is throwing me off: there's something about using "he" twice that doesn't sound right. Hmm...

Secretly rejoicing
seeing a fake front he put
up come crashing down

by gyjcwang

First impression: Making fun. Technical foul: Extra syllable in the first line; split verbal phrase. Poet's Remark: I don't know if there is any technical errors with this one but I am just attempting it. Comments: I can relate to this poem on many levels. You see someone who is obviously a phony, and when that fake front comes down and he is exposed, you secretly rejoice. Unfortunately, the technical fouls are a bit glaring.

memories don't fade
as easily as does blood
from a sharpened blade

by shi

First impression: *gulp* Technical foul: None. Comments: Wow, what a scary senryu, especially from one who is seems as cute and cuddly as you--well, cuddly until someone tries to rip you off, of course. In any case, revenge can be a strong emotion, and a bloody blade can be representative of this. For some reason, this reminds me of Kill Bill. Anyway, the reason for revenge would have been nice.

Nearly a decade
smiling and shaking his head---
now they are all dead.

by TheWaterJar

First impression: Oooh? Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: O_O Um...yeah. Keep it copasetic. Peace. Comments: OKay, I'm not really sure what's doing on here. Whose shaking his head? Since "they" are dead, the one shaking his head is not the one dead, which suggests that he is the one who sought revenge. I think the reason for revenge might have been helpful.

the bride, his revenge
bullet through her head, four years...
hers, kill bill. kills bill.

by aznquarter

First impression: A movie critic. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: muahahahaha...sorry so cliche, but just one of the best revenge films out there and it's been released internationally too. *rubs hand together* i hope you get it, if not, go-go's going after someone. winks. Comments: Interesting approach, but if someone had not seen the movie, it would be impossible to decipher. Too fragmented, dont you think? I mean, there isn't a verb until the last two utterances... Although the movie Kill Bill is pretty much a staple of modern pop culture.

in her misery
she struggles to find reason
while i laugh inside

by devjome

First impression: Ah, another one. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: hello there onigiriman! this is jome, thanks for reading my blog! you're like the 3rd non-hangout friends that read my blog. :) my first try for a senryu Comments: I'm not exactly sure of the circumstances, but let me take an educated guess. Your girlfriend has cheated on you... no, she broke up with you... wait, she was late for a date. Hmmm. Well, whatever the case may be, she is trying to provide you with an escuse of some sort, but you laugh inside because maybe you caught her red handed? But then why would you laugh. Maybe a bit more detail might have helped.

My name is Taku
You kill my family, so
Vengance shall be mine!

by takunishi79

First impression: *shudder* Technical foul: Awkward conjunction. Poet's Remark: ... okay, that was a rip-off... I'll be back......... so said the Terminator......... this is rip-off, too... because the Terminator is a vengeful machine... ? iono... okay, I'll think of something better. Comments: Dude, this is scary. Has someone killed your family? You often mention your "parental units" so I presume this is fiction, right? Then why use your name? Unless you are doing a "nanori" (declaring your name before battle). As with some of the previous ones, a bit more context would be helpful, I think.

They all laughed at me -
I slip on the latex gloves...
Quiet!! No more words!!

by iiSoNySoUnDii

First impression: OH MY GOD! Technical foul: None. Comments: Hahahahaha! The image is funny, and the cavity probe, I think, is pretty obvious. But there are only two people I can think of who would put on latex gloves: a doctor or a policeman. Why would anyone laugh at these two. I wouldn't laugh at a doctor, and if I knew a policeman was gonna arrest me I definitely wouldn't be laughing. Unless I'm missing something....

I deserve payback
He moans inside the closet
I'm holding the key

by whonose

First impression: Uh, oh... Technical foul: None. Comments: This sounds kinda scary too. Now who the heck would you put into a closet, particularly one with a lock on it. And why is he moaning? And what is the pay back for? Need a bit more context, I think.

her cold eyes meet his
as her gun aims at his heart;
he who killed her love.

by JustBeingV

First impression: Girls are scary. Technical foul: None. Comments: Would this be another reference to Kill Bill? At least we have context here: a woman confronts a guy who has killed her lover... with a gun. Her cold eyes suggesting the a thought out, calculated murder of revenge.

the ghosts of my past
haunt the youth of a new age
guilty for my crimes

by ikerton

First impression: Haunting. Technical foul: None. Poet's Remark: I had to review how to make one of these senryu, it's been awhile... Comments: The verse seems rather moody, quite atmospheric. But I'm not sure what the ghosts are or what youre crimes are, so it's difficult to grasp how you'd haunt the youth of a new age. And I'm not sure how this ties in with the topic, revenge. Of course, it could be me. I'm not as bright as I used to be...

Consumed by vengeance,
each blow burns hot with fury,
his fists stained dark red.

by SunJun

First impression: Kung fu. Technical foul: None. Comments: The imagery is stark and vivid, certainly a necessity in senryu, but I'm not sure about the context of this one as well. The violence of the imagery is overwhelming, which is not necessarily a bad thing if there is a reason behind it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Are you afraid?

Show your support.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Summer Reading


sometimes feel really old. Today is one of those times. As I cruise my subscribers/subscriptions, it seems that every other blog mentions the new Harry Potter book. I have seen the three movies, but I have never read a single volume. Are they that good?

As I think about my own childhood/youth, I don't remember reading very many books that was targeted for young readers. I never read a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys story. I never read anything by Roald Dahl (Willy Wonka, James and the Giant Peach) either. When I finished reading Dr. Seuss's Yertle the Turtle in second grade, I had read my last children's book. I read some stories for youths, but that was because it was required reading in elementary school, around 5th and 6th grade. Johnny Appleseed, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They were okay.

My reading in elementary school focused on one type of literature by the time I was 12, one that the likes of Abe Kobo might label "unpure" literature. The material could be in any medium, but mostly they were comics and supermarket fiction. When I read comics, I never read Archie or Casper the Friendly Ghost. I read Spiderman and Iron Man and Thor. All Marvel characters--I just could not get into DC's Batman and Superman. As for books, I read a number of non-fiction biographies, but all were baseball players. For me, the life of a ball player enthralled me. The trials and tribulations of a man struggling to be the best in his sport and ultimately leading to success was indeed exciting--Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Dizzy Dean--and at times sad--Lou Gehrig. Man, I think I read every single baseball biography available at East LA Public Library back in the late 60s. My appetite was insatiable.

But by the time I got to high school, I was reading mostly fiction. And virtually all of it was pulp. I was never into high-brow books, like The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) or Babbit (Sinclair) or A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway). So sue me. I enjoyed mysteries, such as Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle--I have read every single one, from A Study in Scarlet to His Last Bow, twice... some (like the Hound of the Baskervilles) three times. (Amazingly, they are all online.) I also spent many nights reading the adventures of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. Another one of my favorites was the Conan the Barbarian series by Robert E. Howard. I read most of the books which ultimately led me to the comic book version--by Marvel, natch. I freaked out reading Blatty's The Exorcist and Fred Steward's The Mephisto Waltz. I also read Peter Benchly's Jaws and The Deep, Irwin Shaw's Rich Man, Poor Man, Robin Cook's Coma, John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire, and a number of Sidney Sheldon books, including The Other Side of Midnight, A Stranger in the Mirror, and Bloodline. And who could not have read James Michener's Shogun. Okay, okay, I DID like some of the assigned stuff in high school: like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, and Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun.

Since then, my taste has changed little. I don't read sports biographies anymore--except for Sandy Koufax--but I still read pulp fiction: Clancy (The Search for Red October and Cardinal of the Kremlin are classics!), Grisham (A Time to Kill and The Firm are great stories), Cornwell (The Body Farm). And of course, Stephen King. (I'm sure enygma is shaking her head in disgust by now. Clancy? Did he say Clancy?) I must admit, however, that neither Clancy nor Grisham is interesting anymore. And King's The Green Mile was the last full length novel I read---except for the novels I have my students read in Japanese Literature in Translation.

Anyway, what really make me feel old is the fact that I no longer read. Decades ago, summer was a time to bury myself in novel after novel. Is it a sign of the times? I often wonder. Back then, I wasn't rich enough to go to movies often. We only had about 8 or 9 television channels to choose from--this was before cable and satellite TV, of course. There were certainly no home computers and definitely no Internet (read: Xanga). Besides my choice of diversions today, I am otherwise preoccupied by personal and familial responsibilities: career, fixing a leaky faucet, taking the family to a movie.


I feel like I should read more. I feel mentally sluggish and verbally challenged at times--What was that word again? I ask myself constantly. Maybe I should give up TV. Or maybe sign off of Xanga. And maybe I should consider J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. I'm not sure if witches and warlocks would interest me. Anything about the supernatural should be scary, a la King's The Shining. But that would be better than a steady stream of drivel such as Lost, Monk, The 4400, Battlestar Gallactica... Wait, I can't live without BG!

So given my penchant for adventure/scary novels, does anyone have a recommendation for me?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"Can't We All Just Get Along"

Warning: This post is not meant to inflame, but contains content that may be considered inflammatory. Read at your own risk.


odney King was no Othello, but those simple words ring loud and clear. If you remember, King was beaten by LAPD after being stopped for a traffic violation and not following police instructions. The now infamous incident was caught on tape and broadcast all over TV, clearly displaying police brutality. The policemen accused of beating King were later exonerated of any crime, instigating a major riot in the City of Angels. It was around this time that King uttered these simple but honest words, words that I wish Korea and Japan would take to heart.

Now, the history behind the Korea-Japan relationship is long, and for most of its history, rather positive. Koreans, who had learned and mastered Buddhism, brought much learning to Japan in the 5th through 9th centuries. Kanji, architecture, clothing. Much of this came from Korea via Buddhism, and the Japanese willingly ate it up. From the Heian period on, Japan--thinking it had learned enough, I suppose--slowly isolated itself from the continent and remolded much of what they learned into something that is uniqhely Japanese, just as the Koreans had uniquely molded what they learned from China into something uniquely Korean. Of course, there are differences and each culture have developed things that have no basis in Chinese culture--hangul writing system in Korea, manga comics in Japan (don't laugh, this is serious stuff). And intentionally or not, both cultures have shared their developments with each other over the centuries. (I should mention that I am not a Japanese or Korean historian/anthropologist and so I am only talking off the top of my head.)

This, of course, is not meant to overlook the events of the early 20th century when Japan colonized Korea and, particularly during WWII, victimized many Koreans for their own benefit--forced labor, comfort women, etc. This is a black stain in Japanese history that cannot be and should not be forgotten. But if we are to move forward, I believe that we should make an earnest attempt to understand each other and accept each other. As stupid as this sounds, I thought that Japan's broadcast of Korean home dramas was a small step. If Japanese are willing to watch Korean shows, enjoy them--even if it's a silly drama--it suggests a willingness to accept those from the other side of the Korea/Japan Sea, to view them as a people who share similar tastes and values.

Then someone sent me a link of photos of drawings by Korean elementary school students that depicted Japan as the hated other.

user posted image
Pissing on the Japanese flag

user posted image
Stomping on the Japanese flag

These are by young kids and sometimes young minds can get carried away. A student of mine--a Korean--told me not to take them seriously. When she was a child, she was often instructed to draw awful things depicting North Korea as demons, and that she and her friends did not necessarily share these feelings but drew them to please their teacher. And this may be the case here as well. But that does not explain that fact that these are basically sanctioned by adults. They are drawings created in school, supported by teachers, and posted in a public train station presumably sanctioned by the rail administrator--government or private, I do not know.

The background of these photos concern the dispute over a small group of islands--called Tokdo by the Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese--which are basically uninhabitable. Of course, claim to these islands go a long way in demarcating territorial waters and this will affect the fishing industry of two countries that love to eat fish. I am not in a position to say who is right, but I believe that a solution lies in political discussions between officials of the two countries. Not by teachers and others who try to evoke hatred and promote an agenda that is hopefully not a reflection of the Korean government or its general population.

I hope I haven't offended anyone. My stepsons are half-Korean half-Japanese and so I too am invested in bi-cultural understanding--if only, perhaps, to a small degree. I was hesitant to post these photos, but if you don't already know this, you should since it is already in the public domain. Click below to see other photos.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Too Much


udes and dudettes. I am going to die. It must be, like, 100% humidity and it's definitely over 90 degrees. Okay, okay, so it's farenheit and not celsius, but give me a break, man, it's like muggy and totally disgusting in D.C.

Anyway, I've got a ton of grading to do--yesterday was Chip's birthday so I was busy with other stuff besides grading, y'know? And, I've been much more seriously working out, running and walking. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my BMI indicates that I'm like overweight--unlike Shi who claims to be overweight even though her BMI is within acceptable margins, y'know? Grrrr.... Thanks girl, make me feel even FATTER... Dude!

So the All-Star game is over--the National League lost again. Bummer. Especially since I am turning into a real Nationals fan, y'know what I mean? Damn! I haven't been this excited about baseball since like, um... ten... um, plus ten... oh yeah, like twenty-five years ago when the Dodger fielded players like Garvey, Lopes, Cey and Russell, with Dusty Baker in left field. Dude, can't wait for the second half of the season to begin.


I am, like, sooooo flattered. Why would anyone want to spend their precious time drawing my picture, y'know? *sigh* It's so nice to be <3... Below is the newest rendition of the O-man, this one provided by iluvpajun. She is a piano play... oops, I mean, pianist who recently went to Italy to perform in a contest, and she is going elsewhere for another gig soon... where was it? I forget. That's what happens when you approach 50, especially after years on... um... what was I talkin' about? Oh yeah. Fifty, the big five-O, and I ain't talking Hawaii, Danno...

Apparently, this is a punked out version of the O-man. Dig the green hair, dudes. I'm, like, ready to go out and punk all you guys... whatever the crap that means Anyway, tell me what you think of the image. And also visit The Pajun lover who drew the pic. Thanks again, girl!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

War of the Worlds


n Sunday, we went to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. I know many will not agree with me, but I thought it was awesome. I read the original so long ago--over 30 years ago--so I'm not well versed in the details, but the descriptions of the alien vehicles and, of course, how they eventually die was pretty much the same.

But that's not why you should see the movie. If you have a bad heart or do not like to get overwhelmed by a movie, then don't go. By the end of the movie, I was exhausted, literally. But that was basically the cool down period anyway. The first 30 minutes or so were incredible. Once the aliens appeared, the onslaught was relentless, one thing after another. It was like being on a roller coaster. I wanna see it again. Personally, I think--and again many will not agree with me--Tom Cruise is underrated as an actor. In this movie, he is superlative as a deadbeat dad who is only sorta discovers his true love for his kids when confronted with the reality that he really has to protect them--not just for a weekend, not just lip service. This time, he has to walk the walk. And Cruise does it quote well. I think his pretty boy status does him in. He is actually pretty good. Dakota Fanning is sorta cute, but she plays a smart mouthed kid, who becomes almost uncontrollably hysterical. But then, aliens are after them, so I guess that would make sense...

Naked Aliens

After the movie, I started my usual ruminating. And I thought, why is that aliens are either very benevolent or incredibly malevolent. And when malevolent, they are incredibly unforgiving. In War of the Worlds, they want to exterminate humans. In Independence Day, they want to, again, exterminate us. In Aliens I through III, again all they want to do is eat us. Why do they want to get rid of us? Why do they need to invade our planet? Why does anyone need to invade? Well, usually they need resources because the powers that be don't have enough to satisfy a growing population. So why are alien populations so large? To the point they have to invade our little planet? Then it struck me.

Why are aliens proliferating? Because they're all naked!

Get any population of humans together and have them all naked and I'd bet that sex would be pretty much on everyone's mind. What makes aliens so different? The aliens in Independence Day wore no discernable clothing--except for their biological body suits when flying aircraft. The aliens attracted to Sigourney Weaver wore no clothes. ET was buck naked, fer cryin' out loud.

Hahaha, I'm only kidding af course. But why is that every alien from outerspace seems to be naked. The only exception, I think, is StarWars, but humans were also aliens in that movie, so they were basically all the same. Aliens who come to Earth (with a capital E), however, seem to be visitors from nudist colonies... I mean nudist planets. Can somebody explain this to me?


Thanks to Cgran for being visitor number 60,000. I'd give you a cookie, but I'm plumb out.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Hypocrite


esterday, I went with M to K-Mart. I thought they had toilet paper on sale. They did--2 12 roll packages for $11--but it was not the kind I was expecting. It was the soft kind, 600 sheets per roll. I wanted single ply, 1000 sheets per roll.M mistakenly bought two ply last time. It's nice and soft, but I swear I can see the roll get smaller with just one spin of the roll.

We had no paper, and we hadn't eaten lunch yet (what a segue), so we went to a Ruby Tuesday that's located in a neighboring shopping center. It's sort of on the corner of Jermantown and Route 50 behind the Shell Station. I swear, they have the best burgers in Fairfax. Have you seen the RT commercials where they claim they are so confident with their burgers, that they'll replace it, if you're not satisfied? Well, that confidence is well grounded. They are a scrumptious 1/2 pound burger. I used to have my way of stacking a burger--the order of ingredients really makes a sandwich taste different. Well, I think I may have to change it. I used to put the mayo on the top next to tomato and the mustard on the bottom with the pickle, but at RT the mayo and mustard are together with the pickle. Another thing is that the lettuce is shreaded, not left as a whole leaf. I think I'll try this the next time we have a BBQ.

Well, as M and I were sipping beer after lunch at the bar--we usually eat lunch at the bar so we get quicker beer service--they were showing the John Deere Classic on TV and they were focusing on Michelle Wie, the Korean girl--all 15 years old--trying to make the cut in a men's tournament. For those of you who don't know, Wie is a kind of golf prodigy, approaching Tiger Woods in status. She hit a 64 at the age of 10! That's one-zero, guys. I think I hit 64 on the front nine once, which is why I don't play golf anymore.

A guy wearing a light blue dress shirt with a white collar was sitting a few seats away, focused on the TV. When the boadcast cut to a comercial, he struck up a conversation with me, saying that he didn't really have that much interest in golf. "The only reason why I'm watching it is to see if Michelle Wie makes the cut. I think she has to hit three under." (That would be three strokes under par over two days/36 holes.)

"Oh yeah?" I responded disinterested in his reasons for watching golf.

"I hear she's from Hawaii," he continued.

"Yeah, I think she's Korean, or of Korean heritage," I had to add. There has been so much chatter these days about Asians being viewed as not "really" American. Some stupid shock jocks in New Jersey made comments that reflected this attitude. Other Xangans have recently discussed their own ordeals of this kind of racism. Last year, I talked about another guy who openly rooted for Minnesota because they featured more white players. Certainly, the rise of racially charged comments seems more pronounced these past few years. Perhaps, those who act this way feel more comfortable in expressing their prejudice in our current conservative political climate. My comment about Wie's heritage was a way to establish parameters, to convey the suggestion that any comments of Asian-ness would not be tolerated.

But he simply said, "Well, she's probably as much Korean as I am Dutch."

I nodded, pleased at his comment, but inside I was totally embarassed. This guy, Anton, continued to talk, but I didn't hear anything he said. All I could think was: I've always wanted to be viewed as an American, not Japanese American, not Asian American. Just American. And now I did exactly what I hate others to do. I identified Michelle Wie not as an American, but as a Korean American. And it took this white guy to reveal my own hypocrisy.

I felt so embarassed, so small... so stupid. I need time to reflect on this incident, to reflect on myself and my values.

Anton, wherever you are, thanks. Intentionally or not, you gave me a swift kick in the ass, and it was just what I needed.


Are you number 60,000? Let me know in a comment.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekend Fluff: Movie List


kay, Steve tagged everyone who reads his site so I decided to follow through. I thought: Five short questions. A nice short list. But nooooooooooooo.... I MUST elaborate, elucidate, illuminate... gawd, even regurgitate my thoughts on everything. Here goes.

  1. Total number of films I own on DVD: 24. I bought virtually all of these at Blockbuster when they have their 3 for $20 sales. It would be hard to categorize my collection. Titles include Last Samurai, When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth (Discovery), 50 first Dates and Ice Age. The only one I bought new was Lost in Translation--I had to have that one.
  2. The last film I bought: Spiderman 2. I'm a Spiderman fan, even though the story takes liberties with original--I don't think Spidey should have confessed his feelings to Mary Jane. This internal struggle he has with himself and his identity is exactly what made Spiderman the darling of comic book readers for decades.
  3. The last film I watched in the theater: Madgascar. But I'm going to see War of the Worlds later today.
  4. The last film(s) I watched on DVD: The Pacifier and Hitch. I wrote two because I don't remember which one I saw last. I rented them a the same time. Hitch was okay. A little to corny for my tastes. I could have waited until it came out on TV. The Pacifier was more fun, if only to see Vin Deisel change a diaper and get bit by a duck. Also, I liked the hidden parody of The Sound of Music. It hit me in an early scene when the kids were called down the stairs to meet the babysitter. It was similar to the scene when the kids came down the stairs to meet Maria for the first time. When I mentioned this to M, she just rolled her eyes in that "leave-the-literary-analysis-at-work" kind of look. The initial refusal of the kids to accept the new babysitter/nanny and their gradual acceptance of him are virtually the same. Vin Diesal even sings and "dances"! (I give him brownie points for trying.) The name of the fictional family is Plummer, the same last name as Christopher Plummer, the character who played Captain von Trapp. Was this conicidence? Of course, the dead give away was The Sound of Music production that the eldest son, Seth, played in. But I didn't gloat...
  5. Five films I never get tired of watching--in no particular order. These five are movies that I will inevitably watch when they come on TV. I could miss the first 30-60 minutes and I'll still watch it, since I already know the set up.
    a. Field of Dreams--For me, the quintessential baseball movie. The only drawback I have now (and this is because I've seen it at least 20 times) is that I noticed the editting was not that good. The final scene when everything comes together--Moonlight Graham turns back into a doctor to save Karen, Annie's brother Mark can see the field finally, Terence Mann is asked to join the players in the corn field--this scene must have taken days to put together. The scene suggests a span of time that should have taken, say, one hour in real life. But if you pay attention to the shadows in the background and the way the sun reflects off the faces, you can tell that some of the shooting took place midday, other times in the late afternoon, a few shots looked like a slighlty overcast day. Crap, if not for that, this would be a pretty perfect film.
    b. American President--What a corny film but I enjoy it anyway. Michael Douglas as a single, widowed president newly infatuated with a lobbyist is a stretch. But more than him, the other characters really made the movie. Martin Sheen as Chief of staff--I guess he had to hold this office before becoming President Bartlett--was good, as was Michael J Fox as the mirror image of George Stephanopoulos. But it is Annette Benning who makes the movie. Oh yeah, the writing was pretty good. By a guy named Aaron Sorkin. I sometimes feel like this was a test run for "The West Wing"?
    c. Dave--Another president film, this one even cornier. A guy who find temp jobs for out of work people is a dead ringer for President Mitchell. He becomes his stand in when Mitchell has a stroke while he's cheating on his wife. Dave (Kevin Klein) a good but naive man decides to become "presidential" and do things that Mitchell would not have done. The premise is outrageous, but it's fun to watch anyway. This is my favorite Klein movie, and Ving Rhames is pretty cool too.
    d. Shawshank Redemption--This is the best movie based on a Stephen King story. Andy is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife spends decades in a prison fending of sexual attacks, boredom and most of all loss of hope. Tim Robbins is perfect in his role as a deadpan, soft-voiced but adamantly opinionated man. Red played by Morgan Freeman is wonderful, too. If you've never seen this, please do. One of the very few movies with a reviewer average over 9 on IMBd.
    e. The Whole Nine Yards--I've yet to understand why I like this movie. But it just simply cracks me up. Bruce Willis is just himself--cool, tough--and Michael Clark Duncan is massive. And Rosanna Arquette is at her impishly worst. And they are all a headache for the main character Nicholas Oseransky played by Matthew Perry. I was never a "Friends" fan but I must say watching Perry in this film makes me wonder what a few episodes of friends might be like... no, no, no... nevermind. I will stick with this movie; his role as a friendly guy caught up in a bad marriage and a worse situation--he constantly gets manhandled and his frustration is just bursting at the seams--is just hilarious.

Hope I didn't bore everyone. Have a good Sunday, all!


Just realized that I'm approaching 60,000 hits. At my normal rate of visits, someone will reach it sometime late tomorrow, Monday. If it's you, please leave a comment.

dudedontdissrice: wat's with all the kid's movies?Dude, I am a kid! Movies I can watch over and over again must be simple and mindless. A movie like Pulp Fiction is interesting and thought provoking and so can be taxing. I love the movie but I will watch it only occasionally. And is Shawshank Redemption a kid's movie?

bulletgrrl: no akira kurosawa films?Ugh. No! Could anyone see Ikiru over and over again? It's a great movied, but I'd probably commit suicide if I watched it more than once a year. I should have put Tampopo on the list, but I've already mentioned that one before.I wanted you guys to see the REAL, the non-adult, unadulterated O-man.

Saturday, July 09, 2005



he bombings in London were a shock... and they were not. It was a shock because of the senseless deaths of dozens of innocent people and the injuries of hundreds. However, by the same token, the attacks have become just another news story of tragedy at the hands of people we hear about every day on the news

So what the fuck is wrong with me?

The ubiquity of the name al Qaeda, the almost daily news of carnage--from bombings that murder the innocent in Baghdad to videoed executions of hostages to government officials being kidnapped to prevent nations from creating diplomatic ties with Iraq--has somehow made me into a kind of statue: cold, unfeeling. Yesterday, as I read the news online on the Washington Post and CNN, all I could do was shake my head at the idiocy of the act, said a small prayer in my heart, then went on to the sports page to see what time the Nationals game was on.

What the fuck is wrong with me.

When I went to work, I noticed a Fairfax police car in front of the Vienna station. I notice one Metro security personnel milling around the turnstiles and ticket machines and another pacing the platform. Hmmm, did something happen? After sitting down in the train and watching this guy in uniform glancing noticeably into every car, it finally hits me: London. The terrorist attacks in the subways have likely pushed up the threat level a notch or two on our subway system, too. But it took me more than a few moments to make this connection because... well, the story had not made an impact on me as it would have a few years ago.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Actually, I do know. It's a process of desensitization. It started in Tokyo in 1995. On a March morning, I was supposed to go to the Bank of America in Roppongi to deposit some of the money I had been earning in Japan. The B of A in Tokyo was mostly for corporations in Japan and so closed its door to retail transactions at 12 noon back then. Living in Kunitachi, I had to leave early to get there in time, but I overslept--as usual--and barely got out of the door at 10:00 or so. Even though I ran the risk of getting to the bank barely on time, I was rather relieved that the trains were not as crowded as they might have been had I left earlier. I arrived in Ebisu to change trains to the Hibiya line. But when I got there, the shutter was closed and I couldn't enter the station. I was rather perplexed as I took the bus to Roppongi, where I found the shutters there also closed. It wasn't until I got home that I learned on TV that there had been a sarin gas attack on the Hibiya line earlier that morning. I was shocked and disturbed and had to watch and read every morsel of new I could.

A terrorist attack close to home made me more in tune with the terror and panic felt by others that followed: Oklahoma City, the US Embassy bombing in Africa, the USS Cole in Yemen. Then, of course, 9/11. The shock of seeing soldiers brandishing M-16s next to their Bradley vehicles parked right in front of my office at school was unnerving. While the plane crashing into the Pentagon was across the river from where I work, the tension and fear of further attacks in Washington was very real. Then in 2002, we get the idiot who decided to shoot random people in the DC area. I swear, this is probably the most paranoid I had ever been. A woman was shot at a Home Depot parking lot in Farifax. Another was shot while pumping gas in Centerville. Seriously, for three weeks I skipped and ducked and looked over my should constantly as I walked to and from the Metro station. Could the sniper be here? It didn't keep me from going to work, but I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't very scared.

So when I heard about the attacks on London, I was greatly saddened--I truly feel for those who have to live through this kind of ordeal. I have been muttering requests to God--I suppose my version of prayer--since yesterday for the safety of those in London--certainly guys like detachable, whonose, Inyoungpark and the fongster, and every one else I know in London. I even have a student in Cambridge who is likely safe but perhaps shaken--she was here on 9/11, as well. And yet, I am no longer shocked. These incidents do not incite the anxiety, anger, and even morbid curiosity it once did.

Life goes on.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Image II

SleepyWalnut: Also, I think I deserve a picture in return. ^_^


kay, I guess one favor deserves another, so here is an image I whipped up last night that represents the student who drew the Onigiriman image in yesterday's post. As with my Onigiriman, I created the image using my paint program.It's amazing what you can do with it.

This student's screen name is Sleepy Walnut so I used a walnut as her head... not that she has a hard head or a wrinkly face. But it just seemed to work out nicely. As for the doughnuts... well, I guess you can guess what her eating habits are like....


Okay, I give up. whonose has been on my case about the senryu, and indeed I thought I had some that I had yet to evaluate, but for the life of me, I can't find them! The last one I found was for the topic "Forget", and I have a post with my comments. Was there one after this one? I seem to remember there was one more but for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. To whonose or anyone else: wanna give me link? I wonder if it disappeared when Xanga went all haywire a few weeks back?

Buried comments

As I was looking for the senryu, I came across a comment by onebear that she left in an old post. She wrote it in May but it was in a post that predated it by almost two months. I wonder if there is something psychologically significant happening here. A person wants to leave a comment for someone but buries it in an old post, perhaps never to be read by anyone. Why would anyone want to do that? She even wrote: "i hid this comment in your older posts, duh - so maybe you won't even find it."

Okay, I must have at least one reader who is or was a psychology major--there are so many of you out there, right? Please tell me what this might mean?

Note to onebear: I'm just having fun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005



e are all concerned with image, are we not? And I like to come off as a teacher who is friendly, understanding, open, fair. But sometimes I wonder if I go too far to promote this image. I enjoy my students and I try to create a class atmosphere that is devoid of stress... as much as possible, that is. I mean, the subject is hard enough and stressful enough, so an atmosphere that is relaxed would be a plus, I think. This way, students don't fret coming to class and indeed it becomes a "destination", a place they look forward to...

Okay, maybe they don't look forward to class. Hahahhaha. But less stress is conducive to studying, so I encourage a fun class, one in which students know they are not being judged by me... Graded? Yes. But judged? No. But as I said, sometimes I think that maybe I go too far. Previously, I wrote of a student who folded up his quiz into a paper airplane and "handed it in" by tossing it to me! *sigh* Today, as I was joking and teasing in class, a student threw a pencil. A PENCIL! I mean, if it was a pencil that worked, then maybe I could live with that, but a broken mechanical pencil has as much values as... as... as a what? It's so useless, I can't even come up with an equivalent...

Anyway, another student who is also studying this summer wrote on her blog that she'd draw a picture of those who left a comment on her blog. So I did. This is what she left.

You know, I'm supposed to draw one of your interests, but you don't have any listed. So I resorted to drawing you with some things you've mentioned in class. XD
Image hosted by

Hahahahaha. I guess it sorta looks like me, in that Edvard Munch kind of way. But the drawing is a bit obscure. I'd explain it but that would be too easy and no fun. So anyone wanna take a crack at deciphering it? I know, I too will "produce" a representation of the first subscriber who interprets the above drawing correctly--What am I saying? Why am I saying it? What are the elements next to me and below me? Like Ms. Naito, I will use my paint program to produce the image, so don't expect anything resembling a Rembrant. A Picasso, maybe--a BAD Picasso. Hahahahhaha. Hint: Naito-san is not Japanese, but she is a student of mine.

Monday, July 04, 2005

How 'bout dem Nats?

Happy 4th of July!


oday is our Independence Day, our nation's 129th birthday(plus 100, thanks RandomCarbon). Go out and celebrate. I wanted to go to the mall, but I'm still not finished with my paper. So I'm stuck at home. But I'll celebrate with sausage, a beer and a baseball game: Washington Nationals vs. the New York Mets. Speaking of which....


ast week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many in my class--including most of the female students--enjoyed baseball. This is cool because I love talking sports and they are willing to chime in. But I know that there are very few baseball fans among my subscribers. Indeed, when I start talking about sports, I have had my share of unsubscribers. I've never unsubscribed from someone unless the site is abandoned or the other person unsubscribes first. Oh well. Can't win 'em all...

Unless you're the Washington Nationals. Hahahahha. Just kidding.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Nationals game at RFK to see Ichiro and the Seattle Mariners. M and Chip, being Japanese I guess, wanted to root for the Mariners, but I had to root for the home team. And they won their 10th straight. Now, the Nationals are not a powerhouse--they are the former Montreal Expos, are owned collectively by the MLB owners, and are on a shoe string budget. I think their payroll is $48.6 million. This pales before the Yankees $208.3 million. Players like Livan Hernandez and Jose Guillen are known commodities and perform relatively well, but they are not the superstars of some other teams. But they do know how to win.

And it is amazing. Yesterday, they played the Cubs at Wrigley Fields and the Cubbies outhit the Nats 8 to 5. Indeed, that monster of a first baseman, Derek Lee, hit a home run and a triple. I mean, in any game, a Mr. Lee homer and triple usually spells W-I-N for the Cubs. But not against Washington. We won 4-2--sorry Sam. (You are reading, right?) And today, they win again. They led 2-0 for most of the game, the Cubs tied it in the ninth. The Nats take a 4-2 lead in the 11th and the cubs tie it again. But they finally won in the 12th on a homer by the catcher Schneider. These guys just don't quit.

What I really like about this club is that they play baseball the old fashion way. Solid--if not spectacular--pitching and good defense. for the most part, the starting pitching is adequate, usually reliable for 5-6 innings--except for Hernandez who will give you 7 to 8 strong innings. They have strong middle relief and Chad Cordero (29 saves) as our closer--although he gave up the 2 run homer that tied the game in the ninth. This is Frank Robinson's way of managing when the players he has at his disposal are not superstar caliber. The pitching and defense. I tell ya', I am amazed at how this team wins. In June they were outhit for the entire month (.273 to .261) and yet they went 20-6. Defense and pitching will take you a long way.

I could go on, but I'd just bore you guys. And besides, they are truly over achieving. If I say too much, it'd be that much more crow I'd have to eat. I give the Nationals their due, but I'm not sure they can keep it up. I hope for the best but expect... well, you know. I'll just enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dr. Phil's Test


here seems to be a glut of quizzes, surveys and interviews on Xanga these days. I used to find them amusing, but there are so many now, I'm afraid of of being sucked into them... not that anyone would tag me. Hahahhahah... Anyway, I found this test on onebear's site. On the test site, it state's:

Dr. Phil gave this test on Oprah and she got 38.

Read on, this is very interesting, but don't be overly sensitive!

The following is pretty accurate. And it only takes 2 minutes. Take this test for yourself and send it to your friends.

Answers are for who you are now......not who you were in the past.

This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 simple questions, so lets go ...

I am not much of a Dr. Phil fan. He strikes me as having a holier-than-thou attitude when he imparts his advice that is both obvious and condescending. And this rubs me the wrong way. But still, the thought that this was an actual "test" intrigued me enough to actually take it. So here are the results of my test:

Your ResultsYour total score is 46

Interpretation of Results
Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

Response: Actually, I don't know how to respond. I'd like to think this is the kind of person I am, but one's self-image is not necessarily the same as the image projected to others. I've been told that while I try to be "kind, considerate and understanding", I am sometimes too willing to speak my mind and ultimately come off as blunt and abrasive.

So how's this: Why don't you guys tell me if the Interpretation of Results is accurate. I realize that this test is supposed to reflect the "views" of people who I actually meet. But I'd like to know how I come off online. So if you have the time and the compunction, could you tell me how accurate you think the results are? I'd also like the feedback of my students as well, if they are willing, of course...

You can take the quiz as well. Click here.

Anyway, last night I came home after the Final and decided to go to Glory Days to "celebrate" the end of first session. After four beers, I was in no mood to do work. Instead, I was in bed and fast asleep by 1 AM, which for me amounts to some kind of record these days.

So the Master Procrastinator will spend the day grading!