Saturday, May 03, 2003

Neighborhood Weirdness

As I took a stroll through the neighborhood earlier today, I observed a couple of interesting things. First, the firefighters stationed down the block from my apartment held a rally protesting proposed budget cuts that would close their station. There were 40 or 50 people crowded in front of the station listening to others speak at the microphone. I couldn't really hear what the speaker was trying to say and I doubt the people arround me could hear her, but everyone clapped anyways when she finished speaking. Some in the crowd held signs like "Save Our Station!" I wonder what kind of reactions I would have gotten if I made nonsensical signs like "These people are evil, they kill innocent little fires!!" Or, "No Blood For Oil!!"

As I walked past the church, I saw many people sitting inside. This was the first time I've ever seen that church open to the public, probably because I usually get up really late on the weekends. I also noticed that the school next to the church had its doors open. I was about to enter the school just to check it out, when some old white lady walked up to me and said, "Can I help you?" I replied, "Is there some kind of public event going on? I was just curious." She responded, "Oh, it's their first Communion today and there is a flea market in the back." The look on her face basically told me to butt out. I walked away to check out some other places and then walked past the church again 15 minutes later. There was a line of little boys and girls who were all dressed up. The boys wore tuxedos (I think) while the girls wore what looked like wedding gowns. I thought to myself, Catholicism is such a fucking weird institution. You have all these little kids dressed up like they are going to marry each other. Then, they participate in ritualistic cannibalism and bacchanal drinking and then confess to evil deeds that are nothing more than immature childish behavior in front of men who voluntarily cling on to celibacy, which seems to counter biological/natural intuition to me.
Go See X-Men 2!!

Just saw that movie tonight. It rocked!! Highly recommended. Here are a few things I was thinking about while watching the movie (relax Tolu, there are no spoilers):

1.) This movie has an incredible group of hot women: Kelly Hu, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry and Rebecca Stamos. I almost wanted to wag my tongue and start drooling every time I watched Kelly Hu appear on screen. That woman is FUCKING HOT!!! Famke is of course her usual lovely self. I have been a big fan of her ever since her role as the man-eater Russian femme fatale in Golden Eye. God I want a girlfriend that can crush men with her thighs. Famke's red hair just made her even hotter since I've always had a thing for redheads. She's so smart too (bet you didn't know she majored in writing and literature at Columbia, did you??). Every woman in the film is attractive in a different way. You have the exotic Asian beauty, the drop-dead gorgeous blonde, the brainy redhead and the sassy black firebrand. Kudos to the casting agent(s).

2.) Mystique is the perfect girlfriend if you are willing to take the risk of her killing you in your sleep. However, her superior intelligence, saucy sassiness, and ability to change into anyone at will makes that risk worth taking. Think about it, she can change into ANY woman! It's like, hey honey, that girl that just walked past us is really hot. Why don't you change into her? I think even her blue scaley true self began to grow on me by the end of the movie.

3.) On a more serious note, Wolverine is of course still affixiated on Jean Grey even while he's fending off a few other hotties. It makes me wonder whether this kind of obession with one person is all that common in real life, or if it's just something concocted in movies and books. I don't think I can ever obsess over someone that much once I know she is not interested. I'll just cut my losses and move on. There are plenty of other fish in the sea, why should I so doggedly pursue the one that doesn't want me? Can people's attractions to each other really be that resilient in the face of rejection?

Friday, May 02, 2003

What A Bitch

I hope she doesn't go to Stanford.

Even though I've never violated the ban, I had always thought the dangers of cell phone usage on an airplane were totally exaggerated, until I read this article, which claims that cell phones do have significant adverse effects on a plane's navigation equipment. Interesting reading. I wonder if the Department of Homeland Security will start branding people who try to use cell phones on planes "terrorists."
Mickey D's

I just came back from a sweets run with two coworkers to the McDonald's across the street from our office. I got an oreo McFlurry while they both bought strawberry sundaes. This was the first time I've ever had a McFlurry and it was pretty good. I was impressed. The funny thing is that I was kind of confused by the spoon, which had a big square opening in the end. I almost sucked on it because I thought it was a straw. Thankfully, I pulled on it a bit and discovered the spoon end. Why is the opening there? My coworker said that they actually pour the ice cream through that opening. Hmm, weird.
No More IM'ing

Ok, I won't be on AIM at work anymore. Email me if you need to reach me, although I don't think anyone would NEED to reach me.
Yeah Right

On my way to the subway station this morning, I walked past a newsstand that had today's issues of the NY Post and NY Daily news, both of which had front-page pictures of Bush in a flight suit on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, along with big, bold captions of "Top Gun" splashed across the top. Give me a break. Calling Bush a top gun is like calling Ron Jeremy a thespian. The man scored 25 percent on a pilot aptitude test for crying out loud! This is just one of the many reasons I avoid reading these shitty tabloid rags. I love the NY Times, but they don't have enough local news coverage. It seems like there is no middle ground between a credible source of info like the Times and blatantly biased "papers" like the Post.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Satire Or Racism?

Last night on South Park, the Native Americans who opened a casino nearby bought the town so they could bulldoze it and build a highway through it to Denver. However, the South Park residents refused to move away and camped out on the streets, so the devious Native Americans gave them SARS-infested blankets to weaken their resistance. In one of the funniest scenes I've ever watched on TV, the Native Americans dragged out a bunch of naked Chinese men, held them up like chickens and smeared them all over the blankets. I don't remember laughing so hard in recent memory. This segment was even funnier than the one in which a Chinese restaurant owner, at the townspeople's request, built a great wall around the city to protect the children from potential abductors from outside of South Park, only to suffer bitter defeat at the hands of Mongol invaders.

After I finished watching, I wondered why I didn't feel offended at all by the usual Chinese stereotypes used. You know, the slitty eyes and the weird noises they make when they talk. But I have felt insulted as a Chinese American by other acts of racial caricaturing recently, such as when Abercrombie & Fitch sold T-shirts with slogans like "Wong Brothers Laundry Service: Two Wongs Can Make It White." Or that time when I read in the newspaper about DJ's at a Canadian radio station calling a Chinese restaurant to make fun of the people there.

Now, I am a very very liberal person who is usually very sensitive to cultural issues, but I am definitely not prone to the type of knee-jerking reactions exhibited by those ultra PC-types who can't seem to laugh at themselves. I think part of the reason I found the South Park episodes inoffensive as compared to the other incidents mentioned above is that Matt and Trey poke fun at everyone, be they black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or Arab, whereas A & F seems to be one of the most Anglo stores out there. I don't shop there because I hate it for other reasons, but on the occasions that I did walk past A & F stores I never ONCE saw a non-white model. It's as if only white people live in the A & F universe. And one of the things that really bugged me about the whole incident is that the company claimed they weren't worried about offending people because one Asian person in their office did not find the designs offensive. What kind of lame excuse is that? I wonder if they would ever try to sell hilarious slavery tees or Texas border patrol shirts and defend their actions by saying hey, if that black/Hispanic dude working in the cafeteria found it funny, why shouldn't all black/Hispanic people find it inoffensive? In the Canadian radio station case, I doubt the DJ's would have made fun of a Hispanic or black establishment the same way they did that Chinese place because they would have generated a media firestorm and enough bad publicity for the station to get them fired.

I think another reason I give South Park much more leeway is that I really enjoy the show because of its consistent brilliant satire. Out of that familliarity I feel that the creators are not being malicious or trying to single out us the way A & F and the radio station did.

On the other hand, I don't know how valid these reasons are. Should South Park be given free rein just because it's an equal-opportunity offender and a great show? I feel a little uneasy laughing at those scenes since they did employ the same kind of demeaning stereotypes to which I am very sensitive as an immigrant myself.

Maybe I should just enjoy South Park for the great show that it is and stop fussing over it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The Tiebreaker

While riding the 6 train to Chinatown at around noon today, I saw a Hispanic couple standing with a baby girl in a stroller. I was debating whether to give one of them my seat when the train stopped and a Chinese woman got on with her baby girl in a stroller. All of a sudden, I was facing a moral dilemma. Initially I thougtht I should give my seat to the Hispanic wife since she was on the train first. But I have to take care of my own people! Then I realized that the Chinese woman was pregnant. Problem solved. I gave up my seat to her.
iTunes for Windows

Maybe there will be a version for Windows by the end of the year. You can stop gloating now, Sachin :-)

Hmm, looks like Donald Rumsfield might have contributed to the current nuclear crisis with North Korea. Apparently, he served on the board of the company that built the nuclear reactors in North Korea, according to this Fortune article. I wonder if he will crack jokes about this little boo boo.
Yet More Consumer-Shafting

Maybe this is one of the reasons that HP has so much money to donate to Stanford.

Way to go, brother! Word. Much thanks to Srini for sending me this link.

On the train to work, I sat next to a really really fat woman. She was so fat, she reminded me of those yo mama jokes that I used to put outside of Roble (sigh, what I used to do to get attention). You know, "yo mama so fat, she bungee jumped straight to hell!" I think she actually has some kind of gravitional pull because I kept on sliding toward her. Of course, it had nothing to do with the train braking.

Her morbid obesity really reminded me of this woman in my swimming class freshman year. I hate to sound so mean, but watching that woman trying to swim was like watching a hippo on Animal Planet. Maybe I'm just bitter because she could float and swim around much better than I could. I never learned how to swim because, according to the swimming instructor, my lower body was too heavy as a result of too much muscle in my legs, which was sort of flattering. It didn't help that I had to drop the class after two weeks because I hated going to IHUM (Intro to Humanities, for you non-Stanford peeps) section right after class smelling like a swimming pool and the weather was still really cold.

Fatty Train also reminded me of last weekend, when we all went to Sears portrait studio (once again, stay away from that place if you want good service and quality prints). There was also a really fat girl behind the counter. My sister's father-in-law, who just flew here from China, stared at the counter girl for a few seconds in disbelief. I laughed and asked him, "What's wrong? Haven't you ever seen a fat person in China?" He replied, "Yes, but we don't even have a concept for this kind of obesity in China. This girl's one leg is wider than my waist!"
Bounce Bounce, Bounce Bounce

This morning I woke up to "Ignition," that new R. Kelly song. It's a great song I must admit, even though I have never been a big R. Kelly fan. Just wish he would stop molesting little kids. Speaking of that, a month ago I overheard some girl bragging to her friend that she has the R. Kelly sex tapes. The scary thing is, she was totally serious. If, and it's a big if, it's true, I wonder how she got it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Maybe they should call it the Presidential Beaver Hunt instead.
Why I Love This City

Explained here.

On Sunday I went to Sam's with my sister to get some food and water for her apartment. She hasn't shopped much recently because her pregnancy makes it difficult for her to carry around the heavier items, such as cases of bottled water. As I looked at her, I couldn't help but wonder at the prospect of her becoming a mother. It seemed like only yesterday she was spanking my toddler ass for pissing in my pants and running away to the movie theatre with my cousin after telling me to go get something from upstairs. It's amazing how my big sister has transformed from a total rebel to a mature mother-to-be. Maybe not always mature, but still a big improvement :-)

I also felt really excited about her baby. As I loaded the groceries into the trunk, I was thinking of things to get for my little niece/nephew. Maybe a stroller or a crib. Or, as I joked with her before, a one-year diaper supply. Maybe in a few years I will get him or her a Playstation 4 so the little tyke can also develop bad eyesight and wear geeky glasses like me. Maybe not.

Along with the excitement, I felt almost overprotective. I nagged at her about going to bed on time (like I have any right to tell her that) and eating well and seeing the doctor regularly. Then I thought about Laci Peterson. God, I can't begin to imagine what kind of pain her family is suffering right now. The fact that something that heinous can even occur pretty much proves to me that there is no benevolent old man in the sky watching out for us. To me, there is not a more appropriate punishment for this horrible crime than the death penalty.
Wall Street Scheming

This is one of the reasons that I don't think I'll get into i-banking.
The Brotherhood

The train that I take after work is usually predominantly Hispanic and black, so periodically there would be some pretty bootylicious ladies walking through the train. After I take a little time to appreciate their beauty, I amuse myself by looking at the other guys. Yep, they are checking out the ladies, too.

Then I thought about having dim sum with the family last weekend. I was checking out the cute girls that were flowing into the restaurant even as I chewed on my sesame buns. Whenever some people entered the restaurant, my gaze inevitably drifted into their direction as if I had some kind of hottie receptors attached to my head. My attention was divided three ways: engaging in conversations with everyone at my table, eating, and keeping tabs on all the hotties sitting at other tables. I'm pretty sure the other guys my age were doing the same.

At times I find it rather amusing that the opposite sex gets so much of our attention. The Seinfield episode in which Jerry compared George's brain to a lettuce (or was it a califlower?) the bulk of which is obsessed with sex is fucking brilliant because it is so true. It is as if men were born with a built-in libido alarm clock. From the time that alarm first goes off at the onset of puberty to death, we are willing servants to our sexual desires. There is nothing we can do to suppress the siren that goes off in our head any time an attractive woman enters our vicinity. It's so hardcoded into our genes that it's almost absurd. Sometimes I wonder if women have the same urges.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Chest Pets

I found this interesting product in the Sky Mall catalog on the plane back to New York. Yes, I was THAT bored.

Punctuality Challenged

While in Michigan this weekend, I witnessed firsthand my sister and mom's total inability to be on time for ANYTHING!! My sister was late picking me up from the airport: "We will be there in one minute" (they weren't even close, she told me afterwards), "Mom was wasting time so we left the apartment really late" (Mom didn't come with her to pick me up!!). Two years ago she was late to her own wedding rehearsal!!

Mom is even worse because she gets really annoyed when we try to speed her up. While living in China, I don't ever remember going to a movie on time with her. Even now I literally have to harass her every five minutes AN HOUR before the movie start time. Even then we still barely manage to get seats sometimes. This weekend we were 15 minutes late to the portrait studio because she and the sister were trying on different clothes (don't ever go to Sears, we got pretty bad customer service and the photo quality is pretty shitty).

My reactions to their utter disregard for punctuality range from indifference (I don't really mind waiting a few minutes at the airport), to amusement (sister and Jian missed Amtrak by one minute; they were late in meeting up with the grandparents in the airport both on their arrival in AND departure from the States), to resignation to outright rage (too many to recount). I swear to God, they are so oblivious to time they would be late to Judgment Day. It's as if they have forgotten what it's like to be somewhere on time, or God forbid, 10 minutes before an appointment. There are times when we are in such a hurry to get to some place because we know we are late that I feel like we are a bunch of villagers trying to escape from the roving Mongolian calvary of Genghis Khan.
Youthful Indiscretions

While looking through my sister's CD's and audio cassettes, I came across a bunch of HK/Taiwan albums that we both enjoyed as teens. The problem is quite a few of these bands were basically boy bands and had retarded names like "Oriental Express" and "Little Tiger Team." I can't believe we were both once teenie boppers ourselves!! And all this time I was giving Sachin shit about his Britney Spears collection.
Dating And Obfuscating

Yan, aka ex-Mullet, sent me article about Gen XY dating. I think it captures the current state of dating/hooking up pretty well. Interestingly, no girls were interviewed for this article.

Frankly, this whole dating thing just baffles me, and just about every guy I know. What do girls really want? There is always so much drama and psychological warfare involved in dating. Life is too short to play games. You think you are attracted to some girl and you believe she's into you too, you hang out together a few times and have a blast, then she never bothers calling or writing you back again. We are grown men, we can handle a rejection or two. It's not going to crush us. Just let us know so we can move on.
Warren Buffett Is My Bitch

Just got my 401K statement back. I made a whopping $1.09 in only 3 months!! That's a whopping 0.28% return!!
Mommy Dearest

What does Mom say to me after seeing me for the first time since Christmas? "Aiya!!! Why did you get such an ugly haircut!! You are going to ruin all of our pictures!!" She said this in front of everyone, including Jian (my brother-in-law) and his parents, who I had just met for the first time. It was even more unpleasant than the time freshman year when I came back with a $25 haircut from this fancy hair salon -- I was too embarrassed to leave after finding out the exorbitant price -- only to hear Sachin say, "What did you tell them to do? Make you ugly?"

Later Mom told me my tasteful, classy dress shirts look like they were made for "Xiang Li Ren," or country bumpkins. I know she loves me and isn't trying to be malicious, and I love her too, but sometimes I'm glad I don't live at home anymore. I stopped talking to her for a while because I was so pissed off, but then I came to my senses. No matter what she says, I know she has a kind and generous heart and would never intentionally embarass me. I just wish she can be a little more tactful and considerate in front of people that I have never met before, even if they are now part of our family. Not that I should cast the first stone. To be honest, I think some of her brutal honesty has rubbed off on me.
DARE On Steroids

Learn about the dangers of smoking and drinking from a traveling freakshow composed of "Siamese twins, a two-faced baby known as a 'Janus,' a 'mermaid' with a fleshy tail instead of legs, and a double-headed calf."

My favorite quote from the article: "Alcohol is sold 24 hours a day from kiosks around Lyubertsy -- as in most of Russia -- and a liter costs just over $1. Beer is regarded by many as a soft drink."

I wonder who would win in a drinking contest, the Irish or the Russians.
Almost Famous

Looks like I finally know someone who's headed to the NFL. One of the guys I know from high school just got drafted in this year's NFL lottery by the Oakland Raiders. My boy Ryan Hoag picked up the Mr. Irrelevant award for being the last pick, too. It's pretty weird to imagine Ryan playing in the NFL. He was pretty lanky in high school. A total goofball who joked around all the time with everyone in class, he was especially fond of poking fun at me in AP Calc because I was the teacher's aide. He's a sweet kid with a lot of heart so I hope he will thrive in the NFL. Hopefully I will be able to find an excuse to attend our 5-year reunion this summer and chat with him.