Friday, December 30, 2005

Almost Finished


es, I finally decided to get serious last night and graded furiously. Consequently, I am just about finished. Just in time for the Sun Bowl where UCLA plays Northwestern. I hope to greet the New Year with all accounts closed--i.e. all grades in--and with a Bruin victory. God knows we need it after the spanking we got from you-know-who.

A couple of weeks ago, mmh, posted a questionnaire, at the end of which she listed the Xangans whom she wanted to complete the same. So here it is.

  1. When you look at yourself in the mirror, what is the first thing you look at?
    A. This is an unusually revealing question. I look at my waistline... no, that's not right. I look at the area that used to be my waistline. All that is there now is a very undistinguished paunch. I must do something immediately to regain my girlish figure... maybe after all the Christmas candy is gone.
  2. How much cash do you have on you today?
    A. $3.47. Now that they accept credit cards vitually anywhere--even at Wendy's--I am disinclined to walk around with cash. Unfortunately, this often leads to large credit card bills. I'm not the sort to keep track of every penny I spend, which is why I should go back to a cash-and-carry system.
  3. What's a word that rhymes with "test"?
    A. Oktoberfest!
  4. Favorite plant?
    A. This question was probably included to induce respondents to write Cannabis, but not me. We have a hydrangea growing in our back yard that is beautiful.
  5. Who is the fourth person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
    A. I don't own a cell.
  6. What is the main ring tone on your cell phone?
    A. I don't own a cell.
  7. What shirt are you wearing?
    A. A black T-shirt.
  8. Do you label yourself?
    A. Yeah, a procrastinating old man... speaking of which, I should get back to grading.
  9. Brand of shoes you're currently wearing.
    A. I'm barefoot at the moment, but the brand I normally wear is Sketchers. They seem to fit my feet perfectly.
  10. Bright or dark room?
    A. I don't get the question. I prefer a bright room when I'm reading or eating, but a dark room when I go to sleep.
  11. What were you doing at midnight last night?
    A. Asleep in front of the TV watching the news.
  12. What was the last text message you received on your cell phone?
    A. For the third freakin' time, I don't own a cell phone!
  13. Do you ever click on "pop ups" or banners?
    A. Never intentionally. These things should be outlawed.
  14. What's a saying that you say a lot?
    A. I must admit that I probably need communication training, but I have the habit of saying, "no shit" and "oh man" a lot. But an expression officially recognized by proper English speakers that I do use a lot would be "From your mouth to God's ear," meaning "I wish it were so." But then, these are expressions that I realize that I use. There may be others that I am not fully aware of. I'd appreciate if my students would chime in about this. (future blues obviously has no qualms about expressing his opinions!)
  15. Who told you they love you last?
    A. M, of course.
  16. Last furry thing you touched?
    A. I plead the fifth.
  17. How many drugs have you done in the past three days?
    A. Zero, unless alcohol is a drug, in which case I'd have to fess up to, um... 2 pints equal 1 quart, 4 quarts to the gallon... About four gallons?
  18. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
    Zero. A. I don't take photos as often as I used to.
  19. Favorite age you have been so far?
    A. Seventeen! But this title is actually it's own blog...
  20. Your worst enemy?
    A. My procrastinating self... I really should get back to grading...
  21. What is your current desktop picture?
    A. A poorly farked photo of King Kong and M's favorite toy.
  22. What was the last thing you said to someone?
    A. To M, "Is there still some coffee?"
  23. If you have to choose between 1, 000, 000 bucks or to be able to change a major regret?
    A. I will always take one million smackers. I have my share of regrets, but it is a part of the fabric that is the Onigiriman. I like to think that regret makes me into a better person at times.
  24. Do you like someone?
    A. I love M. I like everyone else... well, almost.
  25. The last song you listened to?
    A. Christmas Eve.
  26. People I hope to see do this quiz?
    1. Enygma81
    2. Daddylike
    3. devjome
    4. PiscesTiff
    5. onigiri
    6. SunJun

Of course, this is non-binding.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Mostest 2005--Movies

Science Fiction + Action = high marks


he word "film" is a term I associate with academia. I show Japanese Films: Ikiru, Woman in the Dune, Seven Samurai, Twenty-four Eyes. I enjoy these films for what they are: Films that inform, stories that engage, ideas that make you think. These are all very good things to do, but it is not what I want when I want to relax.

When I want to relax and be entertained, I watch movies. Films are to movies as academic books are to best selling novels. The difference is like choosing to between Roland Barthes and John Grisham. Barthes discussions on text and the author are stimulating and fun, but I don't read him to relax on a lazy summer day. Similarly, Teshigahara's Woman in the Dune--the film version of a novel by Abe Kobo--is an exegesis on the decline of identity in our modern, urban society. Interesting, but not what I'd watch to escape the day to day stress of life. Tim Burton's Big Fish or Ridley Scott's Gladiator will do just fine, thank you.

In any event, the list below are most of the movies I've seen for the first time in 2005. Over half of the movies are from 2004, but I didn't see them, for the most part, until they came out on DVD this year. And as we all know, most of the best movies come out in the summer and fall, so they don't come out on DVD until the next year. I suspect I've seen/rented more, but I can't remember all of them. I figure if I can't remember, they must not have been very good to begin with. There are a number of Japanese films I've also seen, but I will make a separate list for them. I saw most of these movies on DVD. I rarely go out to the movie theater unless I am convinced that the movie needs to be seen on a big screen, like Lord of the Rings for its epic battle scenes, or Star Wars and its images of outer space, or Mr. and Mrs. Smith for... Angelina Jolie. So sue me.

Be that as it may, I just wanted to let you know which movies I liked this year--I certainly didn't like all of the ones listed. And as the subtitle above suggests, I like science fiction and I like action. Many roll their eyes when they here this, as they see me as a scholar and can't believe that I would watch "such drivel." Well, if you ask me, we all need to veg out to relieve the stress of everyday life and watching "drivel", especially imaginative action-packed drivel, well, I'm all for it.

Except for the the first movie on the list, the rest is in alphabetic order.

***** Great! Must buy the DVD
**** Worth the price of admission
*** Worth the rental fee
** Okay, if you can see it for free
* Don't waste your time
  1. War of the Worlds ****1/2 The best movie of the year. I'm not a Scientologist, but this was an incredible movie anyway. Tom Cruise as the selfish father who suddenly finds himself in a situation in which he has to play father protector to the hilt, because if he fails to, his children will die. He fails with one, but succeeds with the other. And this I'm-learning-to-be-a-father gig is set in a science fiction/action film. Is this perfect or what? The first 3o minutes will literally whiz by. I just bought the DVD and I just wanted to see the opening sequence and before I caught myself, an hour had already gone by. This movie is fast paced and exciting. If you didn't see it at a movie theater, find someone with a 42" screen and Dolby system, dim the lights and watch it. This is a fun movie. The reason why it missed 5 stars is because the ending--although in step with the original story by H.G. Wells--should have been presented better. The story should have prepared us a bit better for it--who the heck remembers the intro to the movie after all the heart pounding scenes?
  2. The 40-Year-Old Virgin **1/2 This was funny but rather sophomoric. They were aiming for the it's-okay-to-be-a-virgin message but it came off rather corny. But if you're into bathroom humor, this is just for you.
  3. Alien vs. Predator (2004) *** Action between predators and the aliens they bred for sport. I liked the concept. I wish they had fleshed it out a bit more, but they must have run out of flesh.
  4. Anchorman (2004) ** I know there are a lot of Will Ferrell fans out there. I guess I just don't get it.
  5. Are We There Yet? **1/2 Ice Cube couldn't be cuter trying to suck up to two kids in an attempt to suck up to their mother.
  6. Around the World in 80 Days (2004) ** Jackie Chan goes around the world. This was Chip's choice.
  7. The Aviator (2004) *** DiCaprio does a fine job portraying a subject that is borderline interesting: the life of Howard Hughes.
  8. Batman: Begins ****1/2 One of my favorites of the year. The story explains Batman's start as a superhero who isn't really super, just well conditioned. In an obvious choice, Ken Watanabe played Batman's first mentor, because (presumably) since he's Japanese, he'd be great playing a Tibetan monk who speaks Tibetan--or whatever it is they speak. Go figure.
  9. Bewitched *1/2 I'm still trying to figure out why I rented this DVD, a rehash of an old TV sitcom. I'm not necessarily a fan of either Nicole Kidman or Will Ferrell. Although the 40 year-old virgin, Steve Carell, was funny as Uncle Arthur. And I did like Steve Lawernces rendition of the title song, "Bewtiched."
  10. Birth (2004) ** I must have a masochistic streak in me. Nicole Kidman in another film I have trouble understanding--a woman who meets a boy who insists he is her recently dead husband reborn. I think its her characterization. Or maybe she chooses the wrong films. either way, she pushes all my wrong buttons, just like Julia Roberts
  11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ** I wasn't crazy about the original Willie Wonka, so I'm not surprised at my reaction to this movie--about a chocolatier inviting a group of lucky kids to visit his special factory. Ultimately, it's a moral story of how good kids should behave and what happens to those who don't. Hmmm... maybe it's because I wasn't such a good kid.
  12. Cellular (2004) ** Guy picks up a call on his cell phone; on the other end is a woman desparately trying to reach anyone for help--she's been kidnapped. the premise was a bit of a stretch, but it is a movie.
  13. Christmas with the Kranks ** A moral story of how you should always observe Christmas, and that no matter how bad you neighbors may seem or act, they will always have Christmas spirit. Yeah, right... but Jamie Lee Curtis has some cajones. To wear a bikini with her current body took a LOT of guts for a Hollywood actress, I gotta tell ya.
  14. Cinderella Man **** This was pretty good boxing movie that really wasn't a boxing movie. It was more about the love a man has for his wife and family, and the lengths he will go--and the chances he will take--to support them. By most accounts, Russell Crowe can be a jerk in real life, but the man can act.
  15. Crash **1/2 What happens when a bunch of strangers are tied together by random events? As everyone knows, they all show their ugly racist selves. This movie had good intentions, I think, about showing how racism is more than just white sheets and burning crosses. But I felt like I was being hit on the head. Of course, maybe this movie was supposed to be for those who need to be hit on the head.
  16. Fantastic Four **1/2 I am legally required to see every movie based on a Marvel comic book character, even though I didn't really read too many of the books starring a man who can stretch, an invisible girl, a hot headed fire boy and a guy who turned into a pile of rocks. But Jessica Alba was in it...
  17. Fever Pitch **1/2 If the Bosox had lost last year, this movie would have been rather poignant. But they won and the movie turned into a sappy love story between a man and his baseball team.
  18. Finding Neverland (2004) *** The best drama of the year for me. It's the background story of how Peter Pan was written.
  19. The Forgotten (2004) *** Jullianne Moore is better than Nicole, as she searches for the reason why she can remember her child while everyone and everything around her has no memory of the child. The story has an unexpected--an for me pleasant--plot twist at the end.
  20. The Grudge (2004) ** American remake of the Japanese flick, Juon. So-so.
  21. Guess Who *** I thought the Butterfly Effect as an aberration, but I'm starting to think that Ashton Kucher might actually have a smidgeon of acting ability. And Bernie Mac is much better in movies than on TV.
  22. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) **1/2 Two Asian Americans spew bathroom humor on their misdirected way to get White Castle hamburgers.
  23. Hide and Seek ** Weird movie about a girl who sees imaginary friends and a father who goes to extremes to protect her. Personally, I think De Niro should go into semi-retirement and show up only for the really good roles, like Brando did.
  24. Hitch **1/2 I think Will Smith should retire, too.
  25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy *1/2 I didn't even understand this movie.
  26. Hotel Rwanda (2004) ***1/2 This was a moving flick on the genocide that most Americans seem to ignore, mostly because its in Africa--You'll recall that ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia aroused the US to intervene, but not when it occurs in Africa. Why is that? This is, of course, a rhetorical question.
  27. House of the Flying Dagger (2004) *** Engaging kung fu flick.
  28. Howl's Moving Castle ** I went to see it at a movie theater to pay homage to Miyazaki, but I had to think to understand it--bad, bad, bad.
  29. I Heart Huckabee (2004) * I didn't understand this movie at all. Can someone explain it to me?
  30. The Incredibles (2004) ** Saturday-morning level Disney animation. These guys are on the verge of losing it to the Japanese.
  31. The Interpreter ** Nicole Kidman as spy/assassin playing an interpreter at the UN. I had heard good things about this movie, but it turned out like every other Kidman flick... Boring!
  32. King Arthur (2004) *** Keira Knightly, nuff said.
  33. Kingdom of Heaven *** I like action. I like fighting. I like swords. The Christian-Arab dichotomy I could do without these days, but it's about the Crusades so whaddya gonna do about it?
  34. Kung Fu Hustle (2004) ***1/2 A quirky, funny kung fu flick that incorporates cartoonish effects. It seems like a parody.
  35. Ladder 49 (2004) *** A close look at the bonds forged between men who risk their lives daily sounded corny, but it turned out to be better than I expected. Jaoquin Phoenix is an actor who consistently haunts me. What is it about him? I haven't figure him out yet, and this bugs me to no end...
  36. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) *1/2 I was really looking forward to seeing this movie about an evil uncle who tries to swindle money left by his brother to his kids. The last unfortunate event was me renting the video...
  37. The Life Aquatic (2004) ** Bill Murray cracks me up and I enjoy all the other actors (Wilson, Goldblum, Blanchett, DeFoe) in this parody of the life of Jaque Cousteau, but it just came of weird. Maybe I should see it again... when its on TV.
  38. The Machinist (2004) ***1/2 This was a surprisingly weird and intriguing movie on how the mind can subconsciously mete out justice when the conscious mind will not. Christian Bale was crazy to lose so much weight. He looked skinnier than my dad ever did.
  39. Madagascar ***1/2 Delightful animation on animals trying to escape home to Africa. I think David Schwimmer has found his niche as a voice actor. Please, Friends was enough...
  40. March of the Penguins *** Nice documentary about penguins. I like documentaries and I like penguins.
  41. Million Dollar Baby (2004) ***1/2 Nice boxing flick. Leave it Eastwood to address the controversial topic of assisted death/suicide--very poignant in the year of Terri Schiavo. Is he clairvoyant? Morgan Freeman is his usual great self.
  42. Mr. 3000 (2004) **1/2 Okay, there's something about Bernie Mac that just cracks me up. He's just funny in a very real, very sarcastic way. The baseball angle always helps too...
  43. Mr. & Mrs. Smith *** (4 stars for AJ) A married couple working as spies for two different organizations, but neither knew what the other was in real life? Preposterous. But the movie was all eye candy for the O-man
  44. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) * I didn't get the film at all. I cannot see the humor in a geek who learns to dance like a geek or go out on a date like a geek and who has friends who are geeks... and still ends up semi-cool. I don't get it. He's still a geek to me.
  45. National Treasure (2004) *** More action. The idea that there are millions if not billions in gold hidden away by our forefathers is a ridiculous premise, but fun to watch nonetheless.
  46. The Notebook (2004) *** A surprisingly touching movie. M noticed that it seemed rather popular for moths at Blockbuster, and wanted to rent it. so we watched a love story between a guy and girl who overcome the difference in their social status. Yes, the land of the free still had social classes pre-WWII.
  47. The Pacifier *** A special ops officer is ordered to protect the family of a murdered scientist, and ends up being the boot-camp nanny. Vin Diesel being bitten on the ear by a duck made the cost of rental worth it.
  48. Open Water (2004) ** I thought this would be more riveting but after about thirty minutes of them floating in the water with NOTHING around them except open water, well, it got boring. I'd rather watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.
  49. Polar Express (2004) ** Kid's tale that M wanted to watch, so I watched Tom Hanks' voice with her. *yawn*
  50. Ray (2004) ***1/2 Jamie Foxx is another cat who is obviously more than just a TV comedian. His portrayal of the handicapped and yet un-handicapped Ray Charles was superb.
  51. Sahara *** And action movie with a simle plot: French corporation dumping toxic waste in Africa and the rep for an American salvaging (probably a symbol for recycling) company somes to the rescue.
  52. Shark's Tale (2004) ** M wanted to see a fish that looked like Will Smith. I must admit that he might look better as a fish. And again, I reiterate: DeNiro should consider semi-retirement. Working just to work does not suit him. Still, I enjoyed this more than Open Water.
  53. Shall We Dance (2004) **1/2 This actually turned out better than I thought. I really enjoyed the original Japanese, but they gave it a few American twists and made it worth watching. Besides, Jennifer Lopez is enough eye-candy to keep me interested.
  54. Sideways (2004) ***1/2 A funny story of two men's different versions of what love means, set in the wine country in California. I should have had a bottle of Cabernet as I watched it.
  55. Sin City **1/2 I think I should see this again. I already saw it twice. I get the feeling I'll like it even more. the black and white imagery and the comic book characters actually made it interesting, albeit hard to follow at first...
  56. Star Wars: Episode III **1/2 I still say the original Star Wars were the better, even if they had less CG savvy back then.
  57. Steamboy *1/2 I find it boring when a Japanese animator tells a story based in England.
  58. Suspect Zero (2004) **1/2 Ben Kinglsey can be pretty versatile, and I think I've finally gotten rid of his Gandhi image. But here, he is not so convincing as a "former" government agent forced to use remote viewing to solve crimes.
  59. Troy (2004) *** I like epic movies and Troy fit the bill, even though I am not a particular fan of Brad Pitt. Eric Bana's Hector more than made up for anything Pitt could have take away from the movie. Orlando bloom was perfectly cast as Paris.
  60. The Village (2004) **1/2 I think they should take away M. Night Shyamalan title of director of the the unexpected. After "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable", "Signs" was marginally interesting. But "The Village", although the ending was different, it wasn't all that enthralling. Watch it on TV.
  61. xXx: State of the Union *** I like action. I like Ice Cube. I like Samuel Jackson. I think Vin Diesal lew it when he didn't sign up for this one. But then, Vin Diesal would have looked stupid hanging with his homies in southeast DC.
  62. Zatoichi (2003) *** This is Beat Takeshi's stab at the story of the Blind Swordsman. I think his interpretation was rather dark--Ichi seemed more willing to kill than the old Zato Ichi played by Katsu Shintaro, who is always trying to help the less fortunate, although ironically they are always more fortunate than he. This has both good and bad points, but you should watch it anyway, if only for the final dance number. Yes, "dance number"!

Okay, did you actually read the entire list? Hahaha, J/K. I'll get back to grading...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's the Last Week of the Year


hristmas is over and everyone is getting ready for the New Year, and I can't freakin' believe that I'm still grading! Aaaargh. I suppose if I had just sat down and focused last week--forget last minute Christmas shopping, screw Christmas eve, chuck Chrsitmas day presents--I suppose I would be finished by now. But nooooooooooooooooo. Two students are frantically packing for Europe, another two are nervous about their upcoming journeys to Japan, another is likely lamenting how boring the back roads of Virginia can be. But I'm telling ya', I'd trade places with ya' in a heartbeat...


I'm finishing tonight, even if it kills me.

O-man, out.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Mostest 2005--Sports

Rounding third and heading home...


know a lot of you are going to hate this. I have had people tell me personally that when they get the first inlking that its a sports post, they stop reading. Bah! Humbug! Why are there so many who are indifferent to sports? Guess I can't help that, but I do like sports and I do like talking about it.

Anyway, my Bruins petered out at the end--their 9-2 record ain't too shabby, but the too losses were doozies, particularly the last one to our hated rivals. Basketball is ho-hum and the World Series? Houston vs. Chisox? No offense, but I think the TV ratings for this series was probably the worst in history. So as far as sports goes, there wasn't too much excitement for me in 2005. Except perhaps for the one small event.

I fell in love with baseball again.

Those of you who have been reading me for awhile know this, but I was once a die hard Dodger fan. I grew up watching Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, and Don Drysdale contend for the pennant yearly in the 60s. They didn't have much hitting, but man they had pitching and defense like you wouldn't believe. And I went to games an saw with my own eyes players such as Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Roberto Clemente, Ernie Banks, Ron Santos, Billy Williams, Frank Robinson, and Pete Rose. I even saw Murakami Masanori warm up in the bullpen once. For those of you who don't know, he was THE first Japanese national... hell, he was the first Asian to ever play Major League Baseball when he was a reliver for the Giants for a couple of years in the 60s.

But then free agency arrived. First, Curt Flood challenged the owners' rights to ball players, and although he lost in court, he opened the door for players like Andy Messerschmidt won his case a few years later and left the Dodgers after his contract expired. After that, players moved around freely, offering heir services to the highest bidder. I suppose this is the capitalistic, American way, but in my eyes, baseball died. I was not only loyal to the Dodgers, but to its players--after the 60s, there was Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey, an infield that played together on openning day for a record eight consecutive years. I knew every player, and was saddened when one was traded or left for free agency, but they stayed intact for the most part.

But eventually, they broke up and I couldn't recognize the team anymore. A carousel of players came and went, and when Kevin Brown came to the Dodgers and signed a contract for $7 million a year, I felt that these players lived in a world of there own, where money talks, and loyalty to fans was relative to the number of zeroes on a paycheck. I still watched baseball for the love of the game, but I did not have a team to root for... until this year.

The former Montreal Expos came to Washington DC and became the Nationals. Their manager, Frank Robinson, was old school, and I watched these guys play baseball the way I used to love watching it. They played small ball--pitching and defense. they would eek out one-run wins and played a very exciting brand of ball. I felt myself get sucked in again, and was hooked when I actually went to a game. I WENT TO A GAME! The first professional baseball game in sixteen years. And I am again hooked.

So what happens? The monkeys who run DC govt. can't agree to a site where to build their stadium. Because of all their foot-dragging and dilly dallying over revenues and taxes--things they had already agreed to--the original site has now become too expenseive to build on! And Bud Selig--the least qualified commissioner in any sport, professional or amateur--had said that it must be the original site or no site. Does this mean he will pull up stakes and shop the former Expos/Nationals to other cities? I wouldn't put it past him, because all he thinks about is what's good to the owners and their wallets--according to him, what is good for the owners is good for baseball. He puts zero emphasis on the fans, and on the game itself. Of course, this is my take, but if he takes baseball away from DC, he will have simply confirmed what I already believe. During his tenure as commisioner: baseball went on an extended strike, World Series was cancelld for the first time, the All-Star game ended in a tie, steroid use went out of control, there were threats to contract the league by dismantling teams in Minneapolis and Montreal, and the final insult, we may not have a team next year.

And still I fell in love with the game again. All it took was a hard working, scrappy team playing in my own backyard.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas!

and just to be on the safe side

Happy Holidays!

Love and Peace to all of ya,


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Welcome RBJers!

RBJ seems to have reached its bandwidth limit and cannot be accessed. If you've come here to kill some time as you wait for Carlos to fix things, please peruse the many stupid rants and ravings of the O-man at your leisure.

If you're Asian and have yet to sign up with the Rice Bowl Journal, shame on you... you could be bookmarking me and pushing me up the top 100 list over there. :-) Link is on the right. Of course, you can't access it now...

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Mostest 2005--TV

Island. Space. Island. Space. I can't make up my mind!


is usually a source of information for me. Most of my time in front of the small screen is spent watching sports--anywhere from three to six hours a week--multiply that by 3 or 4 during football season. I also spend hours watching news shows, from Meet the Press to Hardball to Countdown to the Daily Show--if you can count that as a news show. (No, I don't watch the O'Reilly Factor or any other Fox news show.) Yes, my name is Onigiriman and I'm a boob-tube-aholic. As a kid, it was my conduit to the outside world, perhaps in the way the Internet is for many of you. It is how I learned how the rest of the world lived, what the typical American family looked like, and how different I was from Mainstream, USA.

But it didn't matter that I didn't look like Chip in "My Three Sons" or that I didn't have a nickname like "the Beav"--although I wouldn't wish that nickname on anyone now--or that my mother was a nose twitching witch. I was fascinated with what I didn't have. I mean, what could be more boring? I admit to an admiration of the perfection reflected in the imperfect families of the Douglases of "My Three Sons", of Uncle Bill's "Family Affair" and of Brandon Cruz's "Courtship of Eddie's Father." I had the hots for Donna Stone (Donna Reed) and Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore). I enjoyed watching the slapstick, anti-war shows of "Hogan's Heroes" and "McHale's Navy". I loved watching TV so much that I knew the air time of virtually every prime time show by heart. My mother used to tell her friends that we didn't need the TV Guide; she had her own personal TV Guy.

But for pure entertainment value, I was caught up in the "exotic" shows, the shows that took its audience to places that were totally out of reach. I watched "Lost in Space" and "StarTrek" religiously. And, of course, I cannot leave out Gilligan, the skipper, his first mate, a millionaire (and his wife), a movie star, the professor and Mary Anne on their deserted island. These shows depicting a world that I will never know still tickle me, which is probably why I am currently addicted to "Lost." Survivors of a plane crash wash up on a deserted island that emits some sort of electro magnetic field that might--might--explain the strange occurrences on the island--appearance of polar bears, a horse from someone's memory, visions of dead people, and an apparent monster that has yet to fully reveal itself--these guys are geniuses. I'm also enamored with "Battlestar Gallactica." This is a superb science fiction drama--good production values, great writing, solid acting--that goes way beyond the campy version that followed on the heels of StarWars in the late 70s. The version is truly awesome, something that dwarfs other SciFi fare such as Stargate or Andromeda or FarScape or the 4900. Both Lost and Battlestar Gallactica began in 2004, but they didn't really blossom until this year--although I have been watching both since day one.

So I have to call this a tie. Yes, I no have the cajones to choose one over the other, I love them both--to make things worse, I watch CSI--the original, not the Miami or NY spin offs--just as religiously.

So what was you favorite TV show of 2005?

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Physical and Emotional


he heater in our house is broken. Seriously. We have not been getting any heat for the last three days and it can be scary cold. The repair man finally came today. He reset the controls in the heat pump and there is some heat coming out of our furnace, but it might not be too reliable--the control board seems faulty and it might go on the fritz again. We actually need to replace the control board. I hope that's all. He said he'd call it in to the office to see if he could get one so we could have a warm Christmas.

I thought it was very considerate of James from Ace Air Conditioning and Heating. But I had not heard from the office and so decided to call in to see what was up and he hadn't contacted them yet. To make matters worse, the lady on the phone said that the company they would order from--Carrier--will be closed Friday and Monday, which means that if the control board goes on the fritz over the weekend, it will be a cold Christmas at the O-man's house, indeed.

Speaking of frigidity, I've come to the realization that I have to turn down the educator's thermostat. Up until now, I have pretty much left myself open to the whims and fancies of students. But I think I'm getting too old for this. While there are those who are good-hearted and generous, there are those who only know how to take advantage of situations, and I no longer have the energy to put up with it. Certainly, school has become expensive, and many of these students betray a sense of entitlement, perhaps rightly so. They, however, try to get their money's worth from faculty, when in reality the faculty sees very little of the money they pay in tuition. Some students have wondered how much I make and guess anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000. I can only laugh.

But I really do hate to think in these terms--maybe the grading is getting to me; finals can be such a stressful time. Teaching is my life and if I start to think like this, then I may as well quit and do something else. I know that money isn't everything--which is why I teach--but when students start taking advantage of situations while showing little to no appreciation, well, then it's time to draw the line. I have to learn to say, "No."

P.S. If you're reading this and you're my student, rest assured that I'm probably not talking about you. Those students who read this site--some even have it bookmarked, ugh!--know the score and are not the ones I am referring to, although they may end up being left in the cold, as I have a tendancy to make sure that I treat all students the same.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Just being confused


lived in Japan for about seven years in the 90s. When I returned to the States, I realized that there was a conscious distinction between saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And recently, you hear many of the talking heads discussing the death of Christmas, how George Bush's seasonal greeting card says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Are we in a criis now?

I was reminded of this disconnect when I found myself in an awkward situation wishing someone a Merry Christmas who obviously was not Christian. Yes, I'm slow and stupid at times... The other day, I went to the post office to send some stuff to Japan and when I lieft the window of the very helpful postal employee--yes, I know, "helpful postal employee" sounds like a contradiction in terms--I wished her a Merry Christmas and she gave me a funny smile. I thought immediately, "Crap, maybe she doesn't celebrate Christmas."

I suppose we should be concerned about wishing someone a seasonal greeting that is culturally inoffensive--even though all the Japanese Budhists I know have no problem with "Merry Christmas"--so I always try to make a conscious effort to wish every one a Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas. But the Merry Christmas greeting slips out--damn, I've been saying it for only the past FIFTY yeasrs!

Anyway, I was wondering... Is it just me? Or does anyone else here on Xanga share my concerns?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Mostest 2005--Prices

Gas, gas, gas


t seems that gas has played a central role in my life this year. The faux heart attack was actually a build up of gas in my intestines. Fortunately, this was only a temporary--albeit embarrassing--setback. It's the other gas that has hit me where it hurts most: my wallet.

Once upon a time, my Dad would fill up the tank of our Rambler and he'd give the attendant a $5 bill--there was a time when the only option was full service--and he'd get change. I distinctly remember riding in the back seat of the car as he drove by his place of work in uptown Los Angeles--the Wilshire District--and being shocked at how much more expensive Gas was compared to East L.A. It was an astronomical 40 cents a gallon. My dad put in Shell regular that cost 23 cents, and we even got Blue Chip Stamps to boot! For those of you too young to know, there was once a company that made a deal with retailers to distribute trading stamps that could be redeemed for merchandise. If I recall correctly, the consumer would receive from the retailer one stamp for every penny he spent. These stamps were pasted into books, 50 stamps per page, 24 pages per book. Retailers would buy these stamps from Blue Chip (or S & H Green Stamps), and handing them out as bonuses, a way to lure customers into their stores. Promotions would sometimes include double stamps or triple stamps, meaning that you could double or triple the number of stamps you can collect to ultimately trade in for merchandise. Well, my Dad was a pro.

He would scope out stores or gas stations with the best deals and would come home with stamps, stamps and more stamps. I gleefully lick them and pasted them into the books, knowing that we would soon go to the Blue Chip Redemption Center and trade in the books for stuff. I would pour over the catalog, imagining that my Dad would get me a bicycle or a baseball glove, but they were too expensive. In general, the stamps were worth one tenth of the value they were distributed for. A full book would have 1200 stamps licked into it, meaning it would take $12.00 to fill it up. But it's redemption values was about $1.20. so you would have to have ten books to get the original $12 worth. Of course, you had just spent $120 to get back that $12. In any case, as you can imagine, a bicycle back them would have cost at least 30 full books, and my parents would rather spend those stamps on less worthy items, like a toaster or TV trays or towels. Go figure. And after I had sacrificed my tongue and saliva in this family endeavor. There was no justice.

In any event, my Dad would never go to the gas stations that sold gas at such exorbitant prices, even if they promised to give us triple stamps. No way, he'd say. Getting $2 change from a $5 dollar bill is better than no change and a thousand stamps--which would have been worth a dollar at the redemption center. I was oblivious to the logic back then, but now... NOW!

People from Japan marvel at how cheap gas is over here, but they fail to realize that the cost of living is high, given our average income. Gas may cost upward to 400 yen in Japan, but the kid who works at McDonald's starts at 900 yen an hour, which works out to something like $7.75 an hour. In the US, minimum wage can vary between $5 and $6 dollars an hour, but in either case, gasoline is now easily more than half of an hour's wage. This is ridiculous. When gas around our house reached $3.50 a gallon, we began to drive more judiciously.

Fortunately, we don't drive too much. I take pubic transportation to work every day--the Metro, from Vienna to DC, a comfortable 25 minute commute, short and sweet by Japanese standards. Chip takes the bus when he goes to do his volunteer work everyday. We only use the car locally to do shopping and whatnot. Our Maxima doesn't boast the best mileage of all the Japanese imports, but a full tank will last us a month, so when I pump 36 smackers into the tank, I can rest assured that it will last me while. Still, no more visits to Blockbusters on a whim. If we forget to buy eggs, well, I'm sure we could do without the cholesterol for a week. And beer runs? Well, we didn't want to draw the line too strictly.

So what prices have hit you the hardest this year?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Mostest 2005--Health

No Flu shot


t the end of every year, we get Top Ten Lists and the Best of Lists and the Worst of Lists. I like reading these lists a lot, as it allows me to recall many of the the things that occurred in the past year. But many of these events or moments had little to no impact on my personal life. For example, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series--their first in decades--and that was an amazing event, although it lost some of it's impact and/or luster because the Red Sox--who had been in a longer drought--won last year. So, instead of these general events, I thought I'd consider things that impacted me personally, for these types of events will actually affect me, alter me, and transform me.

But I don't want to make a list. Instead, I will consider a topic and recall the single most personally influential event of the year. There is a very good chance that the event is totally unimportant to many of you. And this is to be expected for, as I said, I will focus on those things that have impacted me. Me, me, me...

There are a lot of topics to choose from: sports, inflation, weather, academics, the economy, politics, etc. But my first topic will be Health. I have to choose the mostest and I have more than one that has honestly impacted my life this year. Certainly, the chest pain scare from last month would rank pretty high on my personal chart of health issues--it got me thinking about my diet and exercise choices, so it certainly impacted the way I will approach my lifestyle. But perhaps the single most important event was the lack of a flu shot.

Now, I get flu shots every year. Perhaps I have a weak constitution. Since I was a kid, I would get as sick as a dog--no offense toward dogs, of course (sorry, Sammy and Pete). But I would get fevers in excess of 100 degrees every year. I would get pathetically sick all the time, taking off school weeks at a time. My dietary pyramid included food groups such as meats, grain, fruits and antibiotics, which would include tetracycline, doxycycline, and ampicillin. Yuck.

Even as an adult, I frequently got sick and had yearly bouts with the flu. So I finally decided I had to get these damn flu shots early and annually, and I've been able to be more productive since... until 2005. This is the first time I had not gotten a flu shot in about 10 years and what happens? I get a fever that reaches 103 degrees and the damn thing develops into acute bronchitis. And not only did I get sick, I got sick twice! During the New Year break and again in March. I HATE the flu!

I don't know who is to blame, but I do feel a degree of disdain toward 1) the pharmaceutical corporations that refuse to produce flu vaccines because the profit margin is small; 2) those politicians who nod in agreement, and allow our vaccines to be created by foreign companies approved by the US; and 3) administrators who prohibit the import of flu shots from companies and countries other than those approved under (2) even when the approved companies screwed up and cannot supply the vaccines.

Anyway, the flu has left me in a general malaise. All year long, I have felt sorta weak and have not exercised like I normally do. And I don't have the energy to focus on my work--i.e. grading--and as a result it has affected my work, pushed my timetable back by weeks if not months. And my attempts to keep up with everything has impacted every aspect of my life, including *horrors* my time on Xanga. Yikes!

Fortunately, I DID get my shot for this flu season--even though it will not protect me from the avian flu should it make its way over the Rocky Mountains--and I fully expect to be more productive in 2006. If nothing else, I hope to spend more time on Xanga.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Midlife in Crisis


ot that this has any legitimacy, but these Internet "games" are fun. I went to SleepingCutie's site and found this name decoder of sorts. First, however, I want to say that I'm glad that SleepingCutie's back. For reasons of privacy--I think--she had moved over to LiveJournal. I have an LJ account too, but I rarely use it and so I had stopped reading her entries. But I just recently realized that she is back on Xanga and posting regularly. I look forward to reading her stuff again.

Outstanding Nocturnal Individual Gladly Imparting Rapturous, Intense Massage and Arousing NeckingAnyway, she had this Sexy Name Decoder link and I put in my real name and it spit out something about my ability to bring about awesome orgasms in my mate. Wow... Who'd a thunk. For the purposes of this site, however, I used my other real name and came up with the decoded name on the right: Outstanding Nocturnal Individual Gladly Imparting Rapturous Intense Massage and Arousing Necking.

Buwahahahahah! I'm sure M would love this. I mean, the necking part is no big deal, but massages are huge in our house. A foot and leg massage? I'm the recognized master. Or is that slave? When we're watching TV, she'll put her foot on my lap and I'll just start massaging from each toe to the arch to the heel, then the ankle, calves and shins. She usually falls asleep, which means I don't get my feet massaged. I sometimes wonder if she's faking it?

Well, today's the big day and I don't feel any different. I mean, I've been feeling pretty old lately anyway--from fake heart attack to creaking knees to gradual blindness. I am the poster boy for How To Age Ungracefully. But I've been thinking that a lot of this might be psychosomatic. Not that I'm some sort of hypochondriac, convinced that I contract every illness in this world. But I do feel that my state of mind may play a significant role in my well being. Lately, I feel a lot of angst. Is it my career? My family? Immigration? It seems like so much has been going to pot and it bugs the shit out of me. Is this a midlife crisis of sorts? I am not a very pretty sight these days...


I think I need to focus and grade all the Finals that will begin today and continue until Tuesday. Once that is out of the way, I will try to relax during winter break and try to get myself into a better state of mind. More exercise, better eating habit, maybe even some meditation. Hah! I can only hope...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Monkey For Grades


ow that the semester is over, it has actually just started for me. While students go through the process of studying and taking finals, it is time for me to start grading them. And thanks to all the geniuses in the administration, my last final is December 20th. So while everyone is busy doing Christmas shopping and celebrating the season, I will be grading. Boo hoo...

But don't feel sorry for me--not that I would presume that any of you would actually care. This is the life of a college instructor. what I need to do is think of a way to make challenging exams that are easy to grade. Unfortunately, the only challenging exams I know entail a good deal of writing. Multiple choice and True/False exams are easy to grade but don't really test the students knowledge, I think. And I would know.

I think it was the summer of 1982. I needed one more class to fulfill my general requirements, and it was the dreaded science requirement. Yuck. Japanese was my major for a reason. It's not that I hated math or physics. But I swear these very subjects hated ME with a passion. I would try my best in every one of these classes, but come test time, questions would confound me, formulas would transmogrify before my very eyes, Xs and Ys transposing at will. Bio and chem were no better. I thought it was just memorizing. Heck, if I could memorize kanji--Chinese characters--then I could handle a few Latin or Greek words, right? Wrong! Fortunately, anthropology would count as a life science and I thought I could deal with a few monkeys and Levi-Straus.

So I took a summer anthro course and from the very first class I knew I had made the wrong choice. But it was either Anthro or Bio/Chem, and I had hear many horror stories of these labs. UCLA can be very cut throat and there are rumors that students will deliberately sabotage the experiments of others to ensure a good grade. Pathetic. Where are the morals UCLA is so famous for? Well, I wasn't about to try and learn the hard way. I opted to stick it out in anthro. Fortunately, I realized by the third class, that the assigned textbook was written by the professor. Yes, this is a particularly pathetic practice. I loathed professors that assigned their own books because this 1) ensured that they would receive royalties; and 2) they either had a low opinion of others in their own field, or they were too lazy to teach more than they knew themselves. The best professors lectured on what they knew--usually in their books--and had us buy and read the works of others (to be discussed in class, as well) so we would get a wider range of knowledge. On the second day of class, I realized he was teaching from his own book almost verbatim. On the third day, I stopped taking notes and just highlighted the book as he spoke. On the fourth day, I went to the beach. I only went to two more classes: the midterm and the final review. The exams were multiple choice and fill-in. I went to a total of five classes, skimmed the textbook and managed to get a B. College should not be this easy...

Anyway, I remember little about this anthropology class except that they mentioned Imo, a Japanese monkey, that washed its own sweet potatoes and scooped up rice strewn on the beach, dropped it into water, allowing the sand to fall and re-scooping up the rice to eat at her leisure. I remember thinking that maybe I was a little like Imo, too. I went to class, took my textbook to the beach, washed away what I didn't need with the sun and sand and ocean, and only to retain what I truly needed--a passing grade.

I'm actually more American than Japanese, but I have been called a monkey once or twice in my life...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Flu shot


fter the I-think-I'm-having-a-heart-attack incident, all I could do was think about how old I was getting. My mother died of cancer, but she had had a heart attack years before that, back in 1989 when I was still a grad student. She was 59 and that is fairly young for a woman to experience cardiac arrest, or so I was told.

Well, that magic number is getting closer and closer... and I REALLY need to start taking care of myself, or I may go the way of mom. Not a pretty thought. Fortunately, I stopped smoking about five years ago--Taku, Paiky, you guys can quit TOO! And of course, I should conveniently declare my favorite, yet worn-out mantra: I need to exercise. I keep telling myself this, but I'm so freakin' tired all the time. I know, I just need to make time. TV or exercise, TV or exercise, TV or exercise... hmmm. Exercise, natch. Beer or exercise, beer or exercise, beer or exercise... *ahem* This is a tougher choice... There are those, I'm sure, who will suggest, "exercise and then reward yourself with a beer." Well, that sounds good, but if I have a beer after I exercise, then the workout will have been in vain. Seriously. What a waste of time to put back on what you just took off. Besides, part of the enjoyment of a beer is to drink it without justification. Heck, if I could justify everything, then I'd probably still be smoking...

Well, one thing I did last Friday was good for my health. If you recall, last year, at Christmas, I came down with acute bronchitis. Was this related to the fact that I was unable to get my flu shot last year? No flu shot, bronchitis; no flu shot, bronchitis... hmmm, not really related, although I suspect I contracted the flu and it deteriorated into bronchitis. This year I was determined to get immunized, but a month ago, I was told that delivery of the vaccine had been halted and only those in need--infants and over 65--could get a dose. Fortunately, they lifted the suspension a week ago, and grabbing M's and Chip's hands, we raced to the clinic. I wanted to get my shot before they changed their minds. So I have been immunized and feel better. I realize that this is no protection against the bird flu, should that pandemic our fearless leader harped on pans out. But I am relatively confident that I will weather the long, cold winter nights and survive my first year as a truly over-the-hill dude...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Last Day of Classes


nother semester done. I always thought that life would get easier as I got older, but it turns out to be the opposite for me. It seems that every year seems to get harder. Teaching is nothing like it used to be. I guess with all the budget cuts and limited funding and shrinking endowments, schools have to tighten their belts. As a result, we have to teach more courses and more students.

Four courses is pretty heavy, especially when you consider that I have to teach lecture courses without the benefit of a TA. I could, of course, assign only a midterm and final, or worse, a paper and a final. Grading would be limited, but I really feel that students don't learn as much because basically they are not getting any feedback with regard to their progress in the course.

Stupid me goes the other extreme. In my advanced Japanese course, they have a quiz virtually every class meeting, so they have had 23 quizzes this semester. A quiz usually consists of two excerpts to translate and a vocab section of about 10 words. On vocab quizzes, there are usually 20-24 words. There's also an optional midterm. Of course, I also have my Bungo--literary Japanese--course for which there is a weekly quiz and a one midterm. In the Lit in translation course, the workload is two short papers, a midterm, three creative assignments, one presentation and two poems for our Heian Japan-influenced poetry contest. I really feel like I'm always grading.

But the semester is over and "all" I have to do is grade finals. *sigh*

Oh yeah, I'm also doing a directed reading and a senior proseminar. There is not so much grading, but there is a bit of preparation...

Anyway, I can't wait for winter break, so I can return to Xanga again...

Monday, December 05, 2005



ve been ranting quite a bit for the past week and I swear yesterday was supposed to be the last one, but I had to respond--sorry DaddyLike and Paiky and Nefarious and everyone else. I have a few subscribers who are SC students. Now, a rant I posted a few days ago was pretty rancid and nothing but trash talk, but it was a direct response to an SC fan who posted all kinds of garbage on a Bruin football forum I frequent. It is amazing what some of these SC fans are capable of writing. Name calling, questioning sexual orientation, etc.

But a couple of SC subscribers left me comments here. I don't mean to offend them and if they decide to unsubscribe, then it will be my loss. But just so we're straight: I did not say SC students do not have integrity. My sister who went to Berkeley got her graduate degree at SC. A girl I was really crazy about, and actually played a large role in the development of who I am today was an undergraduate and grad student at SC. So I do not hate SC students. I do not believe that SC students are fools or lack integrity. But they do seem to manifest a higher threshold for the behavior of its football team, whether it be running up the score or violent behavior.

UCLA's team was not especially populated with a bunch of do-gooders as well. In 2001, our QB Cory Paus finally fessed up to a DUI he was arrested for during the previous winter break. He hid it for fear of being suspended from the team. When it finally came out, we fans and students and alumni insisted that he should be benched. We had no viable back up to play SC the following week, but Coach Bob Toledo should have sat him anyway. He didn't. Many of us were incredulous, because we believe that one of the jobs of a coach is to teach these young men--some of whom will go on to make millions of dollars--accountability and responsibility. He failed. There was also the handicapped parking fiasco. Sure this was perpetrated by the student-athletes, and Toledo had no idea it was happening, but it was a reflection of the kind of ship he was running.I believe we have a lower threshold for bad behavior, and a fter a year of harping by us fans and students and alumni--I myself wrote a few e-mails to the Athletic Director (I'm sure I was just one of many)--Toledo was fired after an 8-win season. Karl Dorrell was brought in to clean up the program and many students--most painfully two large Defensive linemen--transferred to other schools when they figured out that behavior unbecoming would not be tolerated: A student-athlete who got in a fight off the field was dimissed from the team, those who could not make the grade in the classroom were suspended from the team--Tab Perry, a solid receiver even went to community college to get his grades up and was later readmitted to UCLA. Other "undisclosed" team violations were treated severely, the perpetrators of which have left.

Will SC fans and students and alumni voice a critical opinion? If they do, and something gets done, then I will be the first to applaud you. I am not saying you lack integrity,just so we're clear, but unless you are willing to speak up for your ideals and values, those that are in contradistinction to the behavior manifested by those representing you and your school, then you manifest a threshold for tolerance higher than mine. You may not agree with the behavior of the football team, but are you willing to criticize it and ask for change?

Of course, this may be a reflection of your warm and understanding nature. Maybe, mine is unforgiving and fascist, and I am a sore loser in that category of "some fans"... Six straight losses to the Trojies will do this. Aaaargh!

And thanks Sammy for reminding me our performance was better than Colorado's against Texas. There's always a silver lining, albeit just a sliver... a really really tiny sliver...

Anyway, case closed... until next year.... no wait... basketball season just started....

Sunday, December 04, 2005



esterday was the day the boys in blue had to man up, but instead had there asses handed to them. It is unimaginable how they lost so ignominiously. Or maybe not. Matt Leinart was very mediocre in the first half, but Reggie Bush was a monster. It's like an adult playing against fifth graders, the gap was just impossibly vast. I still don't know the final score. Once ABC switched to the FSU-Va Tech game, I didn't bother to find out.

I didn't have to. The game up until the final minutes explicitly showed our deficiencies, warts and all: Our defense sucks--of course we knew that all season. Our hope was to somehow slow them down, try to keep up with them--I mean their defense has given up a lot of points as well. But to accomplish this was to rely on our offense, which for some inexplicable reason, did not show up for this game. How can you not show up for this game? It is in explicable.

What is clear, however, is SC's integrity. They obviously hate us as much as we hate them, but they are much more efficient and explicit in showing it. In the 3rd quarter, with the game well in hand, SC is 4th and 10 and they go for it? SC was still playing with its first string out there and obviously trying to run up the score. In comparison, Vince Young of Texas barely played in the second half yesterday. Pom Pom Pete obviously feels that he needs to beat UCLA to a pulp. He did this two years ago as well. But this thug-like, take-no-prisoners, lets beat-a-dog-when-its-down and embarrass-them-as-much-as-possible kind of attitude does not surprise me. It is, after all, the school from which O.J. Simpson graduated. He obviously had no respect for the lives of others, as well. One might insist that this is the past, that this is old news. Well, SC is also the school of Maualauga, a current freshman linebacker who decided to rearrange the face of another SC student at a Halloween party. He was arrested for a misdemeanor, and he was alledged to have said, "We own the police." But coach Pom Pom, still allowed him to play in the next game, likely because of the lack of depth in that position. But this does not teach young men accountability. His message to his players is that, if you perform on the field, it doesn't matter what you do off the field. This is how you develop thugs and people like... well, O.J. Apparently, Maualauga's father is sick with cancer, and so the detractors should give him some slack, Pom Pom says. And surely, someone with a loved one in pain is under stress. I would know. My mother had cancer too, and she died from it. But I didn't hit anyone, and I certainly didn't go to any party--Halloween or otherwise. Instead, I took off of work and spent time with her in the hospital.

But this is SC and I suppose each institute of "higher education" has its own threshold of tolerance. SC students and fans obviously have a higher tolerance for this kind of attitude than I. I will have to content myself with the fact that UCLA is better than SC in every way except on the football field. That we have a football team to cheer for is great and fun, but my pride in the football team is based on their integrity, not their Ws and Ls. The Bruins are now 9-2--admittedly, a very suspect 9-2--but hopefully it will be something to build on.

Oh well, it is time for me to return to real life--is Xanga real life? But then, there's alway basketball season...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Good Morning, Bruin Nation, II

I feel much better knowing that I don't have a heart problem--see below. Anyway, it is the day before the BIG game so...

Another post from the Bruin Forum. I spend waaaaaay too much time over there.


ise and shine fellow Bruins.
Another day closer to the Fall of Troy, the Whacking of Bush, the Whiter Shade of Pale, the Announcement of Leinart's engagement to Nick Lachey: One more day!

Yesterday, I wore my Bruin gear. Some of my students looked at me incredulously and just shook their heads. But that's cool. They see my passion for our Bruins. The school I teach at doesn't have a football team (horrors!), so some of my students have taken to following UCLA scores. One student even told me he's adopted the Bruins as his college football team of choice. Ah, the joys of molding young lads and lassies...

Anyway, we all know that virtually no one--NO ONE--gives our Bruins a chance. So I guess this inevitably goes to $C's head. Still, the arrogance is appalling. "You really can't game plan for (Bush)," Leinart said. "You can't really game plan for us."

Still, I get the impression that Pom Pom Pete has been talking to the troops and telling them to talk up the rivalry. The Trojies are now calling this a big game:

Frostee Rucker: "The rivalry means a lot."

Matt Leinart: "It's just a big rivalry game."

Reggie Bush: "It's one of the biggest rivalries in college football. This is one of the biggest games of the season."

Pom Pom Pete: "The energy's different. You can feel it. It's so obvious, you don't have to make a big deal about it. It's a big deal - it's a real big deal."

Go figure. And I think I finally figured out the point spread. UCLA were 23 point underdogs last year, but they barely lost 29-24. This year we are 9-1, but the point spread improved by only one point. Does that make sense? Especially after Fresno St. easily covered their 23 point spread a couple of weeks ago? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the odds makers set the odds based on what they feel is a point spread that will even out the betting, right? In other words, in order to get roughly the same number of people to bet on UCLA as on $C, there has to be a 22 point spread. Could this indicate that the odds makers view the $C fans as a bunch of Homers? I mean, they obviously think that a Trojie Homer will give UCLA 21 points and still put down money! I don't see that as the odds makers making a monkey out of UCLA, I think they are making a monkey outa $C fans. And they're eating it up. Well, my money's on our boys.

Trash Talk

If you're a Trojie--or are queazy about trash talking--you may want to skip the rest of the post

Anyway, on the Bruin Forum where I am spending too much time, there was an SC poster--how he got on, I do not know--but the following is an excerpt of what he posted.

CAN YOU BRUINS SAY REGGIE BUSH? Interstate "5" is coming right down through your Bear ____, all 8 lanes are full speed and the express lanes are wide open on Saturday starting at 1:30 p.m. You better hop on that freeway ramp, roll down your windows, put your shades on, take off that powder blue skirt, get a Westwood plastic beauty and enjoy the wind of BUSH.

If you are unaware, Bush is the phenomenal running back at SC. I will admit it, even though he is one arrogant son of a bitch. but I am not about to be outdone. I could not NOT respond to his idiotic statement.

It is cute and amusing to see a Trojan pretend to be articulate. It is like a little girl putting on her mommy's make up, trying to be all grown up. Of course, I'm sure you are not a little girl so that would make you either a transvestite or simply pathetic. To think that an SC graduate had actually learned something even remotely academic is a joke--your attempt to revise the UCLA acronym with "University of Colossal Losers Anonymous" mirrors the puerile attempt by "So Hi In Time Bruin". In case you don't get it, the acronym spells S.H.I.T. Oh yeah, so you don't have to reach for your dictionary, "puerile" means "lack of maturity."

You claim that we are the "pretender to the greatness that is THE University of California - the 'Southern Campus' "? No, we didn't give the world OJ, but we did, as you say, give "you" John Wooden/Sam Gilbert, Angela Davis, Geisha Houses, illegal use of handicapped parking placards and perfection at scalping Rose Bowl tickets. We have also given you an ecclectic list of people including Francis Ford Coppola, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and four Nobel Laureates. I hestitate to mention Jackie Robinson, since your comment on "ucla education being bi-lingual in Chinese" exposes you as a racist. I mean, I thought SUC graduates were uneducated, but I never pegged them as racists... until now. Thank you for clearing that up.

Finally, your attempt at feminizing the Bruin image is truly weak. The "powder blue skirt" that you insist we take off on the freeway is obviously your attempt at metaphor. I call it weak because it is a metaphor that you must have come up with rather easily. One look at your effeminate mascot instantly reveals that a Trojan is actually a man in a skirt; it is not a metaphor. It shouldn't be too difficult to reassign your inadequacies onto a rival you hate so much.

Be that as it may, on Saturday, perhaps YOU should lift up your collective skirts and show us your Bush. I mean, you will provide us with Trojans, right?

Anyway, one more day!

Goooooooooooooooooooo Bruins!