Monday, January 30, 2006



am so tired. Will someone just shoot me? Don't they shoot horses to put them out of their misery? I feel a meek whinny ready to come out of my throat... Oh well. What kills me is: How could anyone who feels so over worked be so fat? With so much cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides? Shouldn't I be burning off this excess?

This Tuesday is game night at the language lab. The director decided that each language at school should sponsor a game in their respective culture to generate further interest. She contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play Mahjong on Tuesday "Game Night". In previous years, it would have been easy to say "no". Tuesday night was my film class and there's no getting around that. But this year, our fearless department chair asked to change days so that Korean students could take both Korean language and Korean film. I have, up until now, scheduled my life around my work schedule. Chip goes to night school on Tuesdays and Thursdays so we are both late on Tuesdays, and we have late suppers--after 10 PM--on these nights only. However, since I am the collegial type, I said okay and now we have late suppers three nights of the week. Not that this would matter to the chair, I suppose.

So, without any real excuse, I said "okay" to Mahjong night. It's only once this semester, and it would be fun to play again, although I believe I will be teaching more than playing. And as a teacher, I gotta do it right if I'm gonna do it at all. So what do I do? I spend the whole freakin' weekend creating handouts for this two-hour gathering. The rules of the game. How to deal the tiles--the play moves counter-clockwise while the tiles are dealt clockwise. The different hands to win with. I even made images of mahjong tiles so people will understand them better. There were some on line, but they were rather jagged looking so I spent a bit of time making them look better. (If you click it, you'll see it's original size.)

So I spent... oh, maybe 20 to 24 hours of the weekend on this. Why do I do this to myself? Cuz, I teach. If you're gonna do it, do it right.

But I think I'll scream if only two students show up.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's Official--I'm Fat


went to take my bi-decade physical earlier this month. After the chest-pain, gaseous-intestines fiasco, the doc suggested that I get myself checked out. So I did. I'm not a Doctor's office kinda guy. Sterile smell. Cold. Musak. Gives me the heebie jeebies. Of course, at least there isn't the sound of the dentist's drill. That is the one waiting room I really hate. Anyway, I went for the physical and the doc sorta gave me the once over and said I looked reasonably fit, but she would hold off on any final comments until after the results of my bloodwork. Well, the verdict is in...

I need to REALLY exercise. I mean, no more take-your-time bullshit exercise. No more, I'll-eat-Doritos-today-and-walk-it-off-tomorrow approaches. My total cholesterol is up (236). My bad cholesterol is WAY up (140), my good cholesterol is down (51). My triglycerides are way, way up (223). I figure I have a few more months to live...

Fortunately, the doctor didn't think I need medication yet. She wants to see if I have the wherewithal to bring the numbers down on my own. Once you're on medication, you stay on medication. I guess the idea that you can control your cholesterol with drugs hope may cause to you to take it for granted, to get lazier, and ultimately less healthier. Well, I guess I have a good reason to renew an old New Year's resolution.

I only hope I'll be alive to see it through...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

These Boots Were Made for Walking


s I should have known, spring semester is the busiest semester for me. So many classes, so much work, so little time. I'm already tired and the semester is only a week old. There are seven more weeks until spring break (yeah!), and 14 more weeks before the end of the semester. I'm already counting the days...

As I count these days, I am exercising. Running is the fastest way to lose weight and get fit, but I am perhaps getting too old for that, so M suggested I focus on walking. There is a lesser chance of me giving up and quitting. She said that I/everyone should take 10,000 steps a day. Yes, ten thousand. But not to fret. I figured it all out. I walk rather briskly and take 140 steps per minute, so a walk to the train station for me--I just counted it today--is 700 steps. That's 1400 round trip. That leave, oh, only 8600 steps for the rest of the day. That's about one hour's worth of walking.

The problem is that I do not walk for an hour even on a busy day. So I walked on the treadmill for an hour this morning. So I got my 10,000 steps in today. Unfortunately, as M said, this is for my health. If I want to lose weight, I have to try to DOUBLE that amount.


So I'm walking another hour on the treadmill in the basement as I watch the news before I go to sleep. I'm hoping I'll be so exhausted, I'll just crash. All this exercise will de-stress me, I'm hoping. So I'm off...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sushi Etiquette


ave you ever wondered how to eat sushi? I'm sure most of you reading these words have eaten sushi at one time or another, but have you eaten it at a sushi bar? Did you know that there is a special code of behavior to eating sushi at a sushi bar in Japan? Everything from how to walk through a noren--the short curtain hung in the doorway of shops--to how to indicate to the sushi chef that you have finished eating. The link below is a short primer just for you!

Okay, if you've watched the video, you probably figured out that it's a spoof on the "culture" of eating sushi. I'm sure you could tell what was obviously bogus, but was there anything in the video that was legit? Or perhaps there was a portion of the video that got you wondering whether this was true or not. Anyway, let me know. Thanks to Chippy for the link...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Spring Semester


ck! Spring Semester starts today. I was so adamant about making sure that I would not do any work over the break after I finished grading. I wanted a real break. I didn't want to do anything work related. I had to go into the office on Monday and Friday last week; for whatever reason, some people think teachers don't deserve a break. "Oh, why aren't you in your office? You don't have classes." Or "It's winter break, so I know you'll have time to do this for me."


Still, I made sure I did NOTHING work related for about eleven days, so I actually feel pretty rested. But I didn't prepare anything for class today! *Gulp* This is not a good thing, as I don't like to go to class unprepared. Maybe I'll talk about what I did over break. Let's see. I saw all of "Yoshitsune", the year-long NHK Taiga Drama series. That's about fifty 45 minute episodes. I also saw "Last Christmas" which made me cry. Me! Cry! Except he ending was a bit corny. I thought Yuki was really going to die. If she did, I think I would have cried for a week. And if this was a movie instead of a J-drama, I think the writer would have killed her. But it's IS J-drama and so she was alive and they even... oops, don't want to give too much away to those still planning to see it.

I also watched "Umizaru" which translates into "Sea Monkeys". Haahahhaha. It's actually a drama on the Japanese Coast Guard. It was kinda of corny too, although Nakamura Toru actually did die... well, I mean his character dies, and that was rather unexpected. You can't have a good drama unless someone dies. Boone died in "Lost" as did his sister, Shannon. I'm waiting for someone to die on "Battlestar Galactica". Admiral Cain doesn't count. (She seemed so strangely familiar. It was killing me for awhile, until I finally realized she's Ensign Ro from StarTrek: TNG.) I started to watch "Shinsengumi" but the place where I rent J-drama from doesn't have tape number 2, and I refuse to skip two episodes. There should be a lot of foundational information so I don't want to miss it and get confused later. I also rented "Fukigen-na Jiin" but ended up returning most of the tapes unwatched as the drama proved to be quite insipid.

So between the football games, J-drama and a few movies, I actually had a relaxing break. It is now time to go back to work...

Sunday, January 15, 2006



t's 7 AM in the morning and I should go to asleep. School starts on Tuesday, however, and I want to milk every last minute of the break before I resign myself to the fact that I actually have to work. Procrastinator par excellence, M would say... if she spoke French, that is.

The other night, I was up late watching television, as usual. On TCM, they were showing Miyazaki Hayao films, and I decided to watch the last fifteen minutes of Laputa, Castle in the Sky. I had seen it before but found it curious since it was the first time I watched it dubbed in English. It was almost 1 AM when it ended and was thinking about going to bed when I realized that they were going to show Nausica of the Valley of the Winds followed by a repeat of Laputa, both in the original Japanese. I hadn't seen this in awhile and was again impressed. These are older films and so the animation is not as technically impressive as Mononoke Hime or Spirited Away, but the story and vision and imagination of Miyazaki is awesome--Man's greed destroys all, nature can heal itself if only man would stay out of the way. I truly enjoyed watching them again.

On Saturday, I went to see King Kong. It was a fast paced and enjoyable movie. My butt told me it was a bit too long--over three hours--although I must admit that it was a pretty quick three hours. *mild spoilers warning* There were a couple of scenes that were unnecessary, I think. The dinosaur stampede was exciting and the valley of insects was disgustingly fun, but both added little to the film except extra CG effects. Those two scenes alone would have shortened the film by 20 minutes. Perhaps most interesting to ponder was director, Peter Jackson's (Lord of the Rings) decision to retell the story by keeping it in its original setting, the 1930s. Often, remakes of older movies are modernized and relocated in an attempt to provide a more recognizable context for the viewer, War of the Worlds being the most recent example I can think of. I can't decide if Jackson was being "faithful" to the original or he was just being lazy. I mean, if he were to place King Kong in a contemporary setting, there would be too many things to account for. Kong would be easily captured with modern technology. Surely, titanium chains would have held a twenty-five foot gorilla better than the aluminum alloy used in the Alhambra theater. And in the finale, the skies over Manhattan would not have been filled with bi-planes shooting machine guns. Instead, if the goal was to kill the beast, a single Blackhawk attack helicopter with a couple of sparrow missiles would have done the trick. Indeed, they would have had to have made a completely different movie to place it in our contemporary times.

Casting was another thing. Most of the supporting actors were right on, but the lead characters left me unsure. Why Jack Black as the conniving film maker? I like him a lot, actually, but I'm not convinced he was perfect for the role of Carl Denham. And Naomi Watts was sorta right but then sorta not. She fit the bill of the sad, out-of-luck but good-looking girl of the depression era--in fact, the more I think about it, the more she seems perfect. But she also had to possess a knock-'em-dead kind of beauty that would capture Kong, much as Kong had captured her--as Black dead-panned at the end, "'Twas beauty that killed the beast." I'm pretty sure Black actually said "twas". *end spoilers* But I'm not a casting director, so who knows. It's ultimately personal taste.

So have you seen King Kong yet? And did you like it?

Friday, January 13, 2006

My Favorite Show


onight is part two of Battlestar Galactica's "Resurrection". I can't wait! All break I had been waiting for this show. Actually, I've been waiting since September. when the first half of the second season ended. Don't ask.... All I could think was: January 6, 10 PM, SciFi channel. January 6, 10 PM, SciFi channel. January 6, 10 PM, SciFi channel... So what happens? I forget! When I realized I missed it on Saturday, I almost cried. But thank God for cable TV and reruns.

Virtually every show produced for cable is rerun on the same day, albeit late at night, and/or some other day during the week leading to the next episode. For Battlestar Galactica, the repeat is at 1 AM the same night, and on Monday at 11 PM. Whew! I set up the video machine to make sure I wouldn't miss it--although I must have set it up incorretly because it didn't record. Luckily, I noticed this right at 11 PM so I caught the show luckily.

I know, I know. This all sounds rather absurd. But I swear I am hooked on this show. I've been hooked on science fiction since i was a kid, and when StarWars came out, I was hooked for good. No, I am not a StarWars geek. I do not collect action figures, nor to I own a plastic light saber. Honest. But I am fascinated by the computer graphics (CG)incorporated in the movies, as well as the imagination it takes to create places and objects. I must admit, however, that I--as I believe most others--have become rather blase. Good CG has become common place and it now takes more than starships jumping into warp or dinosaurs to impress these days. But Battlestar Galactica delivers.

The CG is not spectacular--it is certainly no StarWars--but what it does deliver is a great story. It is not the wholesome story of the original BG from the late 70s. It is darker. It has a bite to it that is totally cool. *spoiler warning* I mean in the old show, no one could imagine Apollo committing mutiny or commander Adama in the last episode ordering an assasination! It seems that in every show, there is a "Woah!" moment. *end spoiler*

If you don't like science fiction but are a heterosexual male, there is aparently another reasons to watch it. I know some people who tell me that Boomer, played by Grace Park, is exceptionally cute. I am not one to argue. But I learned recently that she was in Maxim and revealed herself as more than just cute. The thumbnails above are not pornographic, but they are pretty slu... uh, I mean ,sexy. Click on them at your own risk.

Angelina Jolie at the Los Angeles premiere of 20th Century Fox's Mr. & Mrs. Smith

But I must admit in all honesty, that Grace Park plays second fiddle the other person depicted in this post. Yes, I know that she is involved in some sort of weird love triangle brouhaha that includes Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. And she's even pregnant with Brad's kid. Not that it matters to me, as the chances of me meeting Angelina Jolie are zero. But she is quite a looker. What a face, what a body. And those pouty lips of her kill me. I'm a lip man. I love full lips. Mmmmm...

And did you know her father was Jon Voight? I was rather floored when I heard this. I see no resemblance at all. Angelina is beautiful, but can't really act. Voight was handsome as a young man, I suppose, but he definitely can act. Maybe I'm being to hard on the daughther. If only we lived in a world in which looks was enough... hehehehhe. Just kidding.

Am I the only Battlestar Galactica fan here?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

You know you're getting older when...


ve been feeling much older these days. I often receive compliments that I look and act young, and I won't deny it, because I do think I look and act younger than every one I know who is around my age. People ask me what the trick is and I tell them that it is having a young heart. But that's a bunch of bull. I think it is closer to being immature that being young at heart. Immaturity allows to be irresponsible--unless I really have to be--and that leads to less stress. And that is the key... for me, anyway. And yet, regardless of how others view me, I actually feel old these day, thanks to very specific telltale signs that may not always be visible to others.

There was a time when I would observe my Dad's habits and swear that I would avoid them when I got to his age. Well, guess what? I am my Dad's age and I can't seem to avoid his habits. Is it genetic? Am I cursed to repeat his actions? As I watched my Dad, I knew that that there were some unavoidable things I would inherit from him at a certain age.

  • Graying hair--Actually, the hair on my head is still fairly black, but facial hair leaning toward more salt than pepper.
  • Hair growing out of certain orifices--This is something that happens to everyone as they age. I should prune regularly, but I am as diligent as I am with pruning the bushes around the house, much to M's chagrin.
  • Snoring--This can be controlled to a degree by watching my weight. Unfortunately, I'm a passive watcher, and I've been watching it climb steadily over the years...
  • Declining eyesight. This is a killer for me, but there is nothing I can do about it.
  • Creaky joints--The lubrication is decreasing, which then influences my desire--or lack of it--to exercise. Squats can really hurt when you knees snap, crackle and pop.
  • GI issues--This includes both acid build up and gas build up. Acid creates heartburn and I've been eating a lot of Tums these days. And my regular readers remember what happened a month ago with the chest pains...

While I am more or less resigned to the fact that I must live with these various physical declinations, there are other manifestations that seem to be under my control... and yet completely out of control. I blame this squarely on my Dad.

  • Incessant burping--This might be due to a declining elasticity of the GI tract, forcing me to do something with the gas. The problem is that many times the burp will come out without a thought.
  • Sleeping in front of the TV-- This one kills M. I will sleep in front of the tube, but when someone turns off the TV, I wake up instantly and insist that I'm watching it. I'd bet that many of you know a person like this, no?
  • Less focus--I occasionally wonder if this is something under my control, but ultimately I must insist that it is. This relates to all my other ills--procrastination, weight gain, less exercise, et cetera.
  • Crying when I watch stupid J-dramas--I swear, I used to laugh when my old man would reach for the box of tissues during the moving episodes of Japanese dramas. But I was watching Last Christmas over the break and I swear I as move to tears! And I hate it. M was making fun of me. And now that I've exposed myself here, I'm sure I'll hear it from my students as well.

Anyway, aging is no fun. Believe me, I speak from experience. And believe it or not, you too are aging--not that I'm trying to share the burden with y'all. I feel like I have lived here in the DC area for a couple of years when in reality it's been more like ten. The time went by in a flash, it seems. I'm sure you are experiencing the same.

Think back to your elementary school days. Didn't it take forever for Christmas to come after summer vacation? I'd bet that it now comes upon you much faster. And that feeling you have from September to December? Well, it feels that fast for me too... except it starts in January.

So what makes you feel like you are getting older/aging?

FYI: The song playing on the comments page is "Everything" by MISIA.

Not that you would need an inentive to leave a comment, hehehehe

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Embellising the Past


esterday, I wrote about my first dance. Of course, this is all based on memory and everything I remember about the dance is based on my subjetive view of the past. At this stage of my life (half a century), there are surely errors in my memory and I am prone to distortions. ellen234 made an interesting observation.

what makes some of us remember various details, perhaps building them into bigger-than-life memories and grow as we age. How many of us have an accurate picture of our own past, let alone someone else's?

I have never claimed to have an accurate memory, and as my own "Onigiriman philosophy" states--yes, I actually have a philosophy:

We are the sum total of our individual experiences. As a result, everything we think, interpret and say is tainted. While we may try to offer objective "facts", these facts are inevitably arranged and presented through the prism of our own experiences, and as such it is our own subjective perspective of the truth.

However, I may have been remiss in reminding everyone that as I recount my own subjective past, some of the distortions are intentional. I retain the rights to alter my memories, to re-situate them to my satisfaction. They are, after all, my memories and I retain all copyrights thereto. Of course, I also avoid using the names of the innocent, as these are my memories, not theirs. I attribute this "building" of stories--"exaggerations", if you must--to the "poetic license" I have earned in life. And I have become rather deft at embellishing, as I ply my trade as teacher and advisor.

I have been writing here on Xanga for about two and half years, but I have been a teacher for a much longer period. Since 1983, to be exact. Before you jump to any conclusions, don't think that I teach a bunch of bologna. No, no, no. I teach what I know to be factual, have students think about these facts and then come to some kind of conclusion as to what they should do with them. But when I advise students, I often give advice based on my own experience--I find this to be the most effective way to build a relationship. Giving advice because some book said this, or some Ph.D. wrote that, is fine as a starter, but it is impersonal and therefore not conducive to allowing your students to relate to you... I mean, me. I will often tell them a story based on my own experience to show them that, yes, I've been where you're at; yes, I understand your frustration; yes, you too can overcome this particular situation. This is not very hard for me, as I was a student for years. My first college transcript is dated 1976; my last 1997. That's, what? 21 years? Whew! There are leaves of absences sprinkled throughout, but in general, I have experienced a wide variety of situations as a student at the community college level and at grad school, from public institutions to private, at home and abroad.

Of course, I have never created a story out of whole cloth. Not that I think it would be immoral if I got my point across successfully. Rather, I don't think I could pull it off. Students are not stupid; they can see right through you if you are not careful. So when I have no story, I will instead prod them, to ask the appropriate questions themselves. I will answer their questions with better questions, until they reach a conclusion they can live with.

But if I do have a similar experience to share, I will often embellish the story to fit the situation. And all for the good, I think. But there is one problem. Each time I tell a story, it begins to take on a life of its own. I have told some stories a number of different ways and sometimes I dont' remember what the original memory was. Sometimes these embellished stories become the de facto memory. You tell a story enough times, it becomes the truth.

Be that as it may, unlike the stories I tell my students, the stories here have no redeeming value. All of my memories are based on actual events (duh!), but they are also embellished to varying degrees, mostly for "dramatic" effect. There is nothing of an advisory nature here. Indeed, many would be ill-advised to emulate some of the stupid things I have done. These stories are just stories, I think, and if I told my life story as is, it wouldn't be half as interesting. So if you are into "truth" then you have come to the wrong place. I have not truth but my own, and it is subjectively slanted.

Do you ever find youself embellishing an event in your life--or even what you did today--not to make yourself look better, but just to make it interesting for the listener?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


No, the title does not reflect my lunch--Burger King. It is the initials of a person from whom I recently received an email, an acquaintance from the past. It is somewhat fascinating and to a degree weird when someone you barely knew and had virtually forgotten about randomly contacts you. I guess the longer I'm online the greater the chance of this happening. This is what he wrote:

I recently stumbled on your blog while I was surfing the net. I must know you but I can't recognize your photo or the background info I have seen. I have only read a small portion of your blogs but it looks like you were born in 1955 and went to Maryknoll. I was born in 1955 and graduated from Maryknoll in 1969. So you should have graduated Maryknoll in 1968, 1969 or 1970. Looks like you also went to Loyola High (the only Jesuit high school in LA in the 70's). I went there from 1969 -1970. You write some funny stuff and bring back great memories for me. So who the hell are you?!!!!

It's good to know that my secret identity is still intact. Only those with an O-man secret decoder ring know the truth. In any event, I was surprised to learn that BK had found me. I had previously heard from another friend that he had become quite a successful attorney and now enjoys influential standing in LA. I, of course, emailed him and he revealed how he found me. I can't believe anyone would be doing a Google search on the Roger Young Auditorium and JA dances. I didn't think ANYONE remembered it, let alone do a write up for some newsletter. I am absolutely flabbergasted. At first, I thought it was the entry on eating grass, but I later figured out it was about my days as a Glob (good little Oriental boy).

Anyway, I remember BK as one of the westside guys in the class above me. Thoughts of him bring back memories of when he was in the 8th grade and I was in the 7th, when we had a joint Halloween event in the clubhouse at Maryknoll. It was, for us, a special event where the upper class (8th was the highest grade) introduced the younger class to the intricacies of "mixers." We were only between the ages of 12 and 14, and it was my first taste of male-female group socialization. Or more simply put, a dance party. It was held in the afternoon between 1 and 3 PM, so the windows were covered with black cloth to give it that evening look, turning it into an adventure for me. It was fun to dance to songs I had heard on the radio and pretended to be as cool as the teens on shows like "9th Street West" and "Soul Train"--no one watched American Bandstand for dance tips, believe me.

As you might imagine, we were stuck in cliques, usually split between the cool and the uncool. I, of course, inclined toward the uncool. I mean, only the uncool would have thoughts of desperately trying to figure out how to avoid embarrassment? Who should I ask to dance? Would she say yes? What if she turns me down? These questions seemed so momentous back then. Of course, this line of inquiry took on special meaning when the topic of conversation turned to slow dancing. No one would dare say it, but I know that the only thought in my mind was: What would it feel like to have my body pressed up against another body distinctly different from mine? As you might imagine, I was pretty excited.

I was partial to Top 40 fare, such as "Midnight Confession" by the Grassroots and "People Gotta Free" by the Rascals, but the cool kids more or less controlled these affairs, and we were subjected to a heavy dose of soul music, which of course was not a bad thing. After listening to a few songs, I actually danced--I'm not sure if a simple side-step actually constitutes dancing these days--to "Tighten Up" by Achie Bell and the Drells from Houston, Texas, and found it quite exhilarating. So this is what dancing is all about! I thought. Moving your body to the rhythm of music with a girl as a partner, exhibiting yourself before a group of your peers. Today, I might describe it as a tribal ritual that prepares the participants for some level of physical bonding. But back then, I'd have just said it felt groovy. Suddenly, there was the crooning of Smokey Robinson.

I did you wrong,
My heart went out to play
And in the game I lost you
What a price to pay, I'm cryin'
Oooo Baby, Baby.

My friends and I stared at each other, silently gesturing with our chins, egging each other to go out and ask someone to dance. By the time one of us had gotten the nerve up, the song was over--I mean, tunes were only a little more than a few minutes back then. But one of the cool guys came by, bragging about his little adventure. Oh man, those titties were so soft. Kinda small, but... Hahahaha. Who should I dance with next? Hey, put on another... And he faded away as he flitted off like the butterfly he was.

It didn't help when we saw someone in the corner making out. It was BK. There he was, facing the corner with someone's hands all over his back. Woah, are they, like, kissing? Here? When the voices around them rose to a loud murmur, he turned around quickly to reveal he was all by himself. All he had done was wrap his arms around himself, rubbing his own back passionately, giving the impression that he was making out. We howled in approval, even as Sister Patricia rushed over wondering what all the commotion was about. Of course, there was nothing, really.

As Jr. Walker and the All Stars sang "What Does it Take?" I was desperately trying to screw up the courage to ask someone to dance the next slow song. When I heard the telltale strikes of the snare drum and the short strokes of violins of the introduction, I just had to ask someone to dance. I strode over to a group of girls sitting down in a row of chairs against the wall and asked one of them. She acquiesced. We got to the dance floor just as the Delfonics started to sing.

Many guys have come to you
with a line that wasn't true
and you passed them by.

Now your in the center ring
and their lines don't mean a thing
why don't you let me try...

I didn't really know what I was doing. I mean, practicing regular dance steps in front of the TV was doable. You didn't need a partner since dancing didn't really involve touching. But to cuddle? I was beginning to panic. But I glanced at the others to get an idea of what I was supposed to do, put my arm around her waist as she put her arms around my neck. We kinda rocked left and right as we took small steps that moved us--naturally it seemed--in small circles. As I imagine it now, I probably looked awkward, but that was the last thing on my mind. The butterfly was right. They ARE soft. That's all my little brain could muster.

Well, "La-La-Means I Love You" was another really short song--two minutes and eleven seconds?--so it was over all too soon, which was just as well for a guy with only primitive, tribal thoughts on his mind. Amazingly, and perhaps rudely, I can't for the life of me remember who I danced with. This was a signal moment in my life--the first time I actually held a girl in my arms--and I can't remember who it was. All that remains in my mind is the sensation of softness. I can almost recreate the situation in my mind right now, and this in itself allows me to imagine one particular girl. But this is just the idle imaginings of a old man.

I had the opportunity to dance one more slow dance, this time with an 8th grader--Patsy?--and this was a point of pride, as my friends later reminded me after school. Y'know, the older woman? Hahhahaha. Anyway, at home, a younger friend dropped by to ask me if I wanted to go trick-or-treating with him, but I declined. I suddenly felt too old, too worldly for such childish activities. I had touched a girl in a sexual way; not that we had sex, of course, but the sensations aroused could not be described in any other--albeit innocent--way.

I hadn't thought about my first dance in a long time, but the email from BK opened a floodgate of 38-year-old memories. BK wrote that he doesn't really remember the incident I described above, and I wouldn't be surprised if I have gotten the particulars wrong. But someone did act like he was making out, and in my addled 50-year-old mind, it is inexplicably linked to BK. Either way, it's just an innocuous memory that was amusing to recall. Dude, thanks for jogging it for me.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Being Noticed


t is a New Year and time to count my lucky stars. I've been lucky enough to be noticed on the pages of RBJ, again...Thanks to Grace for giving me a heads up.. Carlos at the Rice Bowl Journal dos a great job of keeping people interested in his and one of the ways he does this is by visiting places and putting up quotes that he feels could be of interest to other RBJers. He began this with a section call Consider Yourself Quoted, for which I've been quoted *ahem* three times.

Recently, he seems to want to get more people involved so he started another section called You've Been Noticed. The quotes are shorter in length and stay up for shorter periods of times, but he is able to give more people attention this way. I'm lucky enough to be "noticed" for the first time, recently.

I attribute this, of course, to the successful end of the Bruin football season. Now I can put away my angst for another year--actually, it's more like seven months until fall practice begins--and focus on what I do best: Make fun of myself.

I'm not sure, but there is something beneficial to being self-deprecating. It usually comes off better than being boastful, as so many people are when they think they are being anonymous. But being self-deprecating also projects a good image, one of a blogger who can laugh at himself and make fun of himself, which conversely indicates a sense of self-confidence. I mean, who would ridicule himself if he didn't have any confidence, didn't feel comfortable in his own skin? Of course, being anonymous makes this easier, too.

Be that as it may, I have recently had a spate of new subscribers, and I welcome them with open arms to the O-man's world.

But enter at your own risk.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Resolution 2006


very year, I resolve to accomplish something that ultimately I cannot fulfill to my own satisfaction, such as: lose weight, exercise more, save money, et cetera, et cetera. Maybe I have too maybe I have to many resolutions. Take last year for example. I had four resolutions--exercise more, make M happy, publish, make an honest effort to write my own story. Unfortuately, I only fulfilled one with any success and another with only a modicum of success. Two, I failed at miserably. So what whoudl I do?

Well, last Sunday on Meet the Press, William Saffire--the conservative columnist for he times--said that his resolution was to be optimistic. And it kind of struck a chord with me. Simple, uncomplicated. I've been so negative this past year--indeed, the past few years--that I sometimes cannot even stand myself. Of course, the various events in my life--such as the death of both parents, M's immigation situation, heavy teaching load, little pay--likely play a significant role in this.

But maybe, just maybe, the situation starts with me. I can let the various circumstances take over my life, or I can wrest control of my life back. And the first step is to manifest a sense of optimism. I just have to deal with the various situations in life with a sense of optimism. That is when I do my best work, so I gotta get control back and view life with a much brighter outlook.

Yup, that's the ticket.

This year's resolution is to be optimistic. Do not let anything drag me down. Always look for that siver lining, and things should... SHOULD take care of themselves.

Here's to a great 2006, guys!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Resolution Score Card


ast year, I made some resolutions and thought that it might be good to grade myself, as this does happen to be my field of expertise (grading, not psycho-analyzing). By evaluating myself, I run the risk of self-flagellation, but it may also compel me to work harder to realize these resolutions--all made with the best of intentions, mind you. If nothing else, it might lead me to conjure up realistic, more viable resolutions, thereby giving me a fighting chance to actually fulfill them. Anyway, the following is the list of four resolutions an their corresponding grades.

  1. Make M happy: B I did well, if not perfect, I think. I tried not to take work home--except during finals when I have a ton to grade--and for the most part, I succeeded. When I was at home, I spent more much time with family than with work. I also cut back time on Xanga. I'm not sure how obvious this was, but if you look back through the archives, you will notice that I averaged fewer entries per month than previously. I doubt anyone would actually check me on this, so just take my word.
  2. Publish: A- I finally got a paper out and it will appear as a chapter in a book later this year. If you're interested, it is a book on the poet Basho, and I suggested a new approach to analyzing renga--linked verse--as the traditional method is anachronistic, in my view. I gave myself a "minus" because it was only one article and not a book... But it's a start.
  3. Write my story: C I wrote about myself and various portions of my life on Xanga, but this something I normally do anyway. The issue is that I have not organized it or produced anything that might even resemble anything close to an extended, coherent story.
  4. Exercise more: D This is where I really messed up. There was a time when I prided myself in my love to exercise, but with work and other responsibilities, time is really at a premium. The "D" may sound like a harsh grade, but the net result of my lack of exercise manifested itself last November when I found myself worried that I might be having a heart attack. I avoided an "F" because in the summer, I did manage to lose about 10 pounds exercising, although I have regained about half of it back, thanks to the rich foods over the holidays.

So I guess that leaves me with a GPA of 2.425. Pretty pathetic by the standards I like to think I hold, but maybe just above average in the greater scheme of things.

In case you're wondering, I'm still pondering resolutions for this year. Sometime this week, I'm sure...

To my Sis

And today is my sister's B-day. She is younger than me, but not by much. She is just about wrapping up her first half century, just as I did last year. She doesn't really read my site--she did once for about a week, but stopped because it stressed her out too much--How can you expose yourself in public?!? This suggests that she is a very private person, but it should also let you know that I really do reveal a great portion of myself honestly and openly on these pages... although, this may not necessarily be a good thing.

Anyway, if you're reading this, Happy Birthday Sis!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Starting 2006


t's already the 3rd and I haven't blogged once yet. So I guess this is my first official entry for the new year. I hope everyone started the new year on the right foot. Mine has been rather subdued, after a rather tipsy New Year's Eve. Oh yeah, before I forget, I FINISHED GRADING. Thanks to those of you who asked. It's nice to know people actually care.

So anyway, I finished grading on New Years Eve, late in the afternoon, then M and I went out to do some shopping for New Year's Day. After shopping at Lotte, the local Corean store, we went to Blockbuster to get some videos--I just love watching movies, y'know? But as we headed home, we veered towards a place called Artie's, an American grill that serves pretty decent food out here in Fairfax, VA. Of course, we weren't there for the food.

Two pints, please.

The bar was decked out in streamers and balloons. Kinda corny but very New Year's Eve-ish. We suck on three glasses, a group of four stroll in and ask if we might not move down a couple of bar stools. We oblige and the guy offers to buy us a beer. I decline, of course--I can't be accepting drinks for being normal, i.e. considerate and neighborly--but he tells us to pull of couple of draughts for us anyway, and we raise our glasses to a great 2006. We are on our fifth drink when we decide that it might be prudent to leave while I'm still relatively sober--it's still only 8:30 PM. But as we drive, as carefully as I can, and then decide to go to the local dive, Glory Days.

Now, we haven't been there for quite awhile. Almost four months, actually. The last time we were there, M and I had a brief spat. When I think about it now, we were an annoyance to those around us, especially since we are arguing in Japanese. We know the bartenders so they didn't want to kick us out, I guess, but I felt like we got the bum's rush, which irked me the following day. I would have much rather that they just tell us to cool it, but they decided that it would be better if we were not there. So I decided to oblige them and I haven't been there since. No harm, actually, I've been saving some money by drinking at home instead. This is not a bad thing. But on New Year's Eve, we decided to drop by to wish whoever was bartending a Happy New Year, because I figure I won't be seeing them anytime soon. The main guy, Blair, was quitting to go home to Arizona, I learned, so I was glad that I went to say goodbye to him. And since I was there, I picked up about 9 stuffed animals from the crane game, just for good measure.

Good bye, Glory Days.

Well, we got home about 10 PM and were planning to celebrate the New Year, but we ended up crashing, M in bed with all her clothes on; me on the sofa. I woke up around 4 AM with a huge hangover. Ugh. Throbbing head, dry mouth, just awful. I took two aspirins and went back to sleep. I bolted upright at 11 AM.

HH was coming...

That's right, we had guests coming on January 1st and we had not prepared the night before as we had planned to. So for two very furious hours, we cooked like mad. Actually, this was good for the hangover. As M always says, moving the body (exercise) will cure a hangover. By the time HH, a colleague from work, dropped by, we were ready to go. HH is from Japan via UT in Austin. He is here in DC to teach part time, and I thought it would be a nice gesture to invite him and his family over for New Year's. We had a nice visit. We are not especially rich, but we had plenty of mochi (rice cakes) and sashimi to eat. Their baby is pretty young, so they left early, which actually proved to be beneficial for our recovered yet still exhausted bodies...

Since then we have seen three DVDs and are still in the midst of a Monopoly game--I currently own everything from Oriental to New York, except for the Electric Company, and the green lot, Pacific, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. It is only a matter of time before I win. Of course, M and Chip have the competitive spirit of gnats, so winning is perhaps not so satisfying. *sigh*

As you can see, my New Year has been rather uneventful. How has yours been?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

A great and productive year for everyone,
from the