Monday, August 18, 2008

Slanty Eyes

The furor caused by the Spanish basketball team is not nearly big enough, as far as I'm concerned. That a National team can pose for an advertisement and joke about their appearance in the Beijing Olympic by making slanty eyes is incredulous.

I first heard that they said it was a joke. One of their players said it was a playful "wink" at their hosts. Indeed, he thought it was "appropriate" and an "affectionate gesture." I have read that Li Ning, the Chinese sports wear company--the Nike of China--sponsors the Spanish national team, so the odds of the team intentionally insulting the Chinese is low. Whatever. If nothing else they were simply stupid. Maybe not racist, but definitely stupid. Their insensitivity may be blamed on ignorance--and did I mention stupidity?--but that excuse is not longer valid for their tennis team which decided to take a similar photo "in support" of their basketball team.

Are all Spanish people of the same opinion? That it is alright to mock a physical characteristic of another race? Do they not know the effect of their actions? I have had this done to me a number of times when I was a kid, mostly by those of Mexican descent amongst whom I grew up in East LA, when they called me "ching chong chinaman", or "jap". I'm pretty sure these actions and words were not expressed with affection and it did not feel appropriate to me. That the Spanish Olympic team is incapapble of comprehending their actions is mind boggling. And what are we to make ot the general silence by the Spanish people? Is this a reflection of their social values?

Personally, I am insulted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympics Begin Sadly

The Olympics in Beijing started on a very sad note. The father of a former US Olympian was killed at a tourist spot in Beijing on the first day of competition by some homeless guy. I heard someone say on TV that, according to interviews with foreign residents who have lived in China for a few years, the Chinese government had ramped up the nationalism rhetoric leading up to the Olympics, framing it in an "us versus them" context, which could conceivably affect certain individuals to react in certain ways. Of course, anecdotes are unreliable unless backed by hard evidence. A simple Chinese video or news clip would suffice, but there are none forthcoming.

So the news states that it was an act of random violence and there is no reason to disbelieve such reports. Even though the host Chinese government is said to have made extra efforts to provide a safe environment for the Games, no government can patrol every corner of every street in a city the size of Beijing. But much that has been reported prior to the Olympics has focused on the government's crack down on inconvenient political groups, policing the likes of Darfur supporters or the followers of that most dangerous of threats, the Dalai Lama.

It was indeed a sad way for the Olympics to start.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Walking walking walking

As I grow older, I can no longer do what I used to do. DUH!

There was a time when I would fast for a day and drop a few pounds. I would run a bit and work out a bit and lose another pound. But no more. Not after the big Five-Oh. I swear it is all downhill after that. You young whipper-snappers should make sure you stay fit now. Or if you're not, get fit while you can. I remember it getting hard after forty--and believe me, it takes extra work--but after fifty, fuhgedaboudit. It ain't happening.

For one thing, I can't run without having my ankles get sore, or my knees aching for a few days. Of course, being the stubborn mule that M accuses me of being--and she is always right--I've been running this summer anyway, with zero, zip, nada results. When M was in Japan in June, I was running about... um... 15 miles total a week--three or four miles over about four days. But I didn't lose a bit. In fact, I gained a few pounds. When M came back she told me I looked rounder, and I protested even though I knew I had gained some weight. but heck, I've been running, aches and all, and I was convincing myself that the weight was the muscles I had put on my legs.

Well, after checking what I had been eating while she was gone--what kind of sleuthing she did, I will never know--she told me what's what. I'd have to run the Indy 500 to lose weight after eating Cheetos and Fritos and seseme crackers--gawd I love these things--and other assorted foods. Six slices of a fully stacked large pizza will do nothing for my waistline either. But I was hungry from all the running, I protested. And pizza isn't as bad as that mercury laden tuna, right? She told me very frankly that one slice of pizza has the equivalent number of calories as a small meal, so I virtually ate a small family's worth of pizza.

With arms folded, fingers drumming on her bicep, she told me that's what I get for eating out all the time. But I cooked pretty often. Like what? Like, um, macaroni casserole with Italian sausage, cheese, and crumbled Fritos on top for some crunch. It was pretty good. Should I make it tonight? You can imagine her answer.

Her main point was that I was taking in too many simple carbohydrates--pizza crust, macaroni, corn chips--thereby allowing my body to change it into sugars that are then stored as fat. FAT!

So now, I am on a more manageable diet. Although I am personally dying. Atkins Diet is a war against carbs, but according to M, it isn't balance. So I'm eating a kind of Onigiriman modified Atkins. No simple carbs so I can't eat pizza or regular rice. Of course, I cannot have any sugar carbs, such as candy, choclate and Chewy Spree. But I allow myself to eat half a bowl of brown rice a day or a slice of whole wheat bread or cereal. Also, I will eat some fruits which is usually a BIG NO-NO for Atkins, but I need to satisfy myself someway otherwise fall into the trap of binging later and rebounding. Besides, I only eat fruit once or twice week.

As for exercise, I've been walking and walking and walking. Since there is less impact stress in walking, I have fewer aches, and am encouraged to walk more. I walk approximately 3.5 to 4 MPH at least an hour a day, and when possible three hours--and hour in the morning, afternoon and night, which would equal 10 to 12 miles. Walking before bed does wonders. You fell really skinny when you wake up. Not that I'm skinny of course. But when M came home from Japan, I had ballooned to 169 pounds, but am now down to 161 in about 5 weeks.

I hope I can keep it up even after school begins. Maybe if I lose enough, M will let me eat stuffing on Thanksgiving.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What goes bump in the night?

I don't really remember the dream except for that I was running away and I began to stumble. The next thing I knew, I was falling and bumped my knee on the floor next to my bed. It was early morning and M, who was already awake and brushing her teeth, was surprised by the sound and ran in from the bathroom.

"What happened? Are you okay?"

"Yeah," I said dazed still holding onto the stand of the floor lamp next to our bed. I had instinctively grabbed onto the pole as I tumbled out of bed. I suppose this was an instictive act, but fortunately prevented me from hitting my head anywhere.

M started giggling. "That was quite a thud. I thought the bed broke or something."

All I could do was shrug my shoulder, half in embarrassment, half in bewilderment. It's been a while since I had fallen out of bed. Over forty years, I think, when I was eight or nine years old. But for whatever reason, I can still remember that dream. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was chasing me through the streets of a metropolitan city and then I fell off a cliff, falling onto the floor between my bed and desk.

I had heard somwhere that if you actually hit the bottom in a falling dream, you'd really die. This is probably an urban legend, but I'm not the type to test death theories. I'm a firm believer of the adage, "Better safe than sorry." Although, admitedly, it's not as though I could force myself to wake up in a dream. But I am glad I sorta woke up before I hit the floor.

Query: Have you ever fallen out of your bed? When was the last time you fell out of bed?