Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bus Fight

So yesterday, on my way to meet my friend on Capitol Hill, I took the bus. We were supposed to meet around 8:30 at night. Which is generally a bit later than I go out. Yes, yes, I know, I'm lame.

Anyway, the driver let this guy on with a dog. Which was made much of by everyone. Later the driver let on a man with a rabbit. The man with the rabbit let the rabbit out of the case. And I believe the man with the dog said something about letting his dog eat the rabbit. Whereupon the man with the rabbit took offense and said that he would kill anyone who tried to hurt his rabbit. The man with the dog took offense at THIS statement, and it then escalated, with lots of "motherfucker"s being uttered by the man with the dog. And the man with the rabbit continuing to not back down.

The bus driver attempted them to stop. And finally had to throw off the man with the dog. Who apparently followed and screamed at the bus as it left.

The moral of the story is: don't bring your pets on the bus. It will just cause more trouble than it's worth. Or, Don't be an asshole!

Rejoice!

a music video that is not by The Flowers. Instead it's Asobi Seksu- Thursday.

Time

Sometimes it really seems like the more time I have the less time I actually make use of. If I'm really busy, for some reason, I'm able to get a lot more work/studying/whatever productive done. When I have large chunks or days of time, I spend a lot of time 發呆 (I'm not sure what the best translation of this would be, staring in to space, doing nothing?) rather than doing anything productive.

I'm not sure why this is. But I don't like it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

試試看

Hahaha, behold my messing about on the Chinese version of Youtube. Even more Flowers videos I haven't seen. Look upon my works and despair!

Anyway, the more I watch, such as this early early video



the weirder it seems that these guys are apparently Olympic spokespeople. Their attitude really doesn't scream "sportsmanship"



I realize that this must get kind of tiresome. But honestly, if you're still reading this blog you must be used to my bizarre obsessions by now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A review of Pan's Labyrinth

About a year after it was relevant. And therefore with lots of spoilers. If you don't want to know the end, don't read it.

Oh how I wish I could go back in time and not watch this movie. I have often observed to friends and acquaintances, that there's nothing worse than a movie that wastes a good idea. Which is pretty much what Pan's Labyrinth was.

It wasn't a terrible movie, but it certainly didn't live up to the hype. First of all, the main character is set up early on as having pretty much spent all her time reading fairy tales. Yet when she is dropped into one, she does such unforgivably stupid things, I wanted to strangle her.

She has to go to some underground world to retrieve a key. She's warned not to eat anything. Yet despite multiple murals of this mysterious sleeping eyeless man mutilating and eating children, and a giant frickin heap of frickin childrens' shoes in the corner, she still eats two grapes, and gets two of her helper fairies killed in the process.

Then when the faun (understandably) gets angry, she says she didn't think "two grapes would make a difference." Anyone who has read any fairy tales has to know that two grapes make all the difference. Hell, just read a Greek myth or two.

The final straw was really when she goes back for her little brother. The faun gives her this magical chalk that will cause her to be able to draw a door to wherever she has to get to. So she enters her evil, facist, torturing stepfather's lair. Where he's keeping her baby brother. And as she's hiding from her stepdad, she somehow manages to leave the magic chalk ON THE TABLE. Which of course the evil stepdad sees, and hilarity ensues.

Really, she was doing such stupid things, I was actually glad when he shot her. I'm generally quite a grumpy person, but I generally do not root for facist soldiers over cute Spanish child actors. But this was really a relief because it meant she would shut up and stop doing stupid stuff.

So in short, Pan's Labyrinth=disappointment.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

View from the bridge

Incidentally

Among this pile of cash, were three $100 bills and 1 $50 bill. Our fees are either $7 or $20. $7 if you're on public assistance of any kind or over 55 and live in Seattle. $20 for everyone else. WHAT KIND OF SANE PERSON CARRIES AROUND 100 BILLS? And why do you use them to pay a $20 fee?! Jesus.

Random thoughts

On Thursday, I spent 5 hours stapling and unstapling money. We (i.e. I) did new student registration, and ended up with $800 or so in student fees. Have I ever mentioned that my math sucks? It sucks. I should never be placed in charge of money ever. The first time I counted it, I was 6 dollars over. The next time I counted it I was $80 short. After much panicking and flapping I discovered that roughly 80 had fallen out of the envelope and into the drawer. I recounted, resorted (all receipts have to be matched with the exact amount of cash) and now I'm $7 and I can't figure out where it came from. At least I'm not short.

Also, I had to go to the post office last week to mail some things, and one of the ladies in the post office had a black eye. She doesn't look like the type to get in bar fights in her free time, so it looks like someone just cracked her one. I hate people sometimes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I have attained

Life Sucks Nirvana. I no longer care about anything. I'm just going to smile and listen to music. Because I'm at my limit and I just don't care anymore.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Making up for lost time



This video is probably funniest if you've watched as much Mandarin pop as I have. Since it makes fun of some of the common tropes of the "love" music videos. However, it's equally amusing to watch Da Zhangwei, the lead singer, attempt to look soulful and fail miserably. (The narrowing of his eyes equals depth!) He's way more fun when he's bouncing around acting like a 15 year old. I'm actually not sure if this video is even meant to be taken seriously, (Star Wars masks?), but even if it is, Asian MTV would be way funnier if there were more videos like this.

Too late for Thanksgiving but

this clearly and succinctly sums up my feelings about the Pilgrims.

Emo Bird


I'm honestly not sure why, but this bird looks hella emo.

There's a part

in A Wild Sheep Chase where the narrator's girlfriend asks him to talk for five minutes. Apparently she gets every new person she meets to do this and then judges them completely opposite to how they portray themselves. I always found this do be a rather interesting idea. And most recently I've even put an amended rule of my own into practice, I now mostly judge people completely opposite to how they talk about themselves.

I mean just think about it: The roommate who always says they "go the extra mile for their roommates." The boss who says they are an open and straightforward person. The other boss who says they are always available before leaving for Hong Kong for a month. The coworker who says that they're a bitch. The high school classmate who insists that they are really just very normal and want normal things out of life.

What do you all think?

Friday, December 07, 2007

I am sorely tempted

to go back in time and assassinate the person who first thought that techno remixes were a good idea. On occasion, they don't make a song worse, but in general, they very rarely make the song better.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blue Scholars- Joe Metro

courtesy of 生氣亞洲男 (angry asian man). It's about taking the bus in Seattle, and features Beacon Hill. What's not to like.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cinnamon mochi

is seriously the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. I also bought a giant loaf of Japanese square bread at the store. I was living my 9 year old dream yesterday. I think until I was about nine, I never had white bread, and my father brought some Japanese white bread home from the store. My mother almost strangled him I think.

Anyway, why am I posting disconnected thoughts about food and childhood on the internet you ask? Because I have INSOMNIA.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Note to self

If/when I become a C-pop megastar, I will not do the following things:
1) Make a music video featuring myself as some kind of Asian Cowboy featuring random white children, Riverdancing, dutch hats, fifties dancing and line dancing, in some bizarre patische of "period" America. NOT COOL



2) Make a puke worthy vanity music video. At least this time the song is ok.


3) I will not make a movie called Kung Fu fucking Dunk. Initial D i.e. the Jay Chou racing movie was tolerable, but in spite of Jay rather than because of Jay.

Over and out.

Friday, November 23, 2007

And for the Chinese speakers in the house

Me: 你以爲你的名字擁有女生的味道嗎?
Friend: Where did that question come from?
Me: Well recently I've been having a lot of conversations about Chinese names, and your name came up. My friend was like "Wow, that name is kind of girly,"which surprised me.I didn't think it was that girly particularly. But then I'm not Chinese.
Friend: Yeah, i think i complained about this before.It is kind of girly.
Me: I thought it was just because it's close to Hien and other Vietnamese names.
Friend: I think those masculine Chinese names are all based on achievement and ass kicking and stuff like that."
Me: Oh, like 成功 or something like that?
Friend: Hahaha yeah something with 强 或者打, 杀
me: 打?你肯定是開玩笑的啦
Friend: 很有男气, 哈哈哈
me: 好的, 好的, 你生了兒子,你就這樣命名他啦
Friend: 哈哈
Me: 讓世界看到厲害
Friend: 刘打杀, 刘干掉

Conversations on the internet

Thank you so much, gmail, for archiving everything ever.

Friend: There's this non profit called business for diplomatic action that's about curbing anti-americanism abroad.
they came to us for a plan to help america become less douche-y
So everyone stops hating us (without changing public policy)and the first freedom center came to us for ideas on getting people to talk about religion so it's not such a taboo.
Me: Hmmm.
Do you enjoy doing work like that?
Friend: I think it's more fullfilling than selling crap.


Me: Go to bed!
Friend: I was. Then I had this revelation about how to sell appliances to Gen X women.

Friend on my theory that hipsters just do not get hip hop on a fundamental level.If it doesn't involve a coked out retard in skinny jeans screaming about how much he sucks, they don't get it.


Conversations from the house

Me: It seems like any other dialect is better to swear in than Mandarin.
Roommate: Well of course! Any standard language isn't as good to swear in, like British English. What kinds of swear words to they have, bugger, bollocks.
Me: That doesn't seem that bad.
Roommate: No! Bugger's not that bad. In America we would say "assfucker" or something like that. Bugger is really not that bad.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

There is

nothing sadder than the last train to anywhere
pulling out of the station.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

from Electra, by Marilyn Hacker

by Marilyn Hacker

Someone I used to be friends with walked off with a copy of Babel-17. The fact that this poem was in it was one of my greatest regrets, that, and it was a pretty good book too.

Growing older I descend November.
The asymptotic cycle of the year
plummets to now. In crystal reveries
I pass beneath a fixed line of white trees
where dry leaves lie for footsteps to dismember.
They crackle with a muted sound like fear.
that and the wind are all that I can hear.
I ask cold air, "What is the word that frees?"
The wind says, "Change," and the white sun, "Remember."

Ladytron- Seventeen



Just to prove that I actually listen to stuff that's Chinese pop. ..... Not that there would be anything wrong with me if I did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just between you, me and the world

If I had my way, I would spend all day listening to music and watching Hell Girl all day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Links and things

A link, via Angry Asian Man, about Adrian Tomine and Derek Kirk Kim's graphic novels. If I ever get some money, I'm going to check them out.

And also this movie review. Perhaps I'm just totally immature, but I giggled out loud reading this.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tekkon Kinkreet

As most people who read this site are probably well aware, I am a big nerd, I am a sucker for anime, and I am also a big big sucker for things that look pretty. A couple days ago, I got a chance to watch Tekkon Kinkreet, a new Japanese anime movie that's been getting a lot of buzz. You can watch the opening credits, below if you like. Although the quality of the video's not that great, it at least demonstrates that it looks damn good.



As you can no doubt learn from google-ing the title, it's about two street urchin brothers, Kuro (Black) and Shiro (White) who live in a Blade Runner-esque metropolis called Treasure Town. (Which bears a really uncanny resemblance to Sonny Liew's Sanya ). If you've seen any anime in the last 10 years, you probably know that this concept is not unusual. But the setup is less important than the execution of the movie. And whether we identify with and care about the characters.

Which I did. The main characters are fairly well developed. How much you enjoy this movie is probably going to depend upon whether you like Kuro and Shiro. I liked them. Although Kuro is sort of set up as the darker, "evil" one, he has a pretty distinct moral code, and the film does have moments where you suspect that he is less than satisfied with his life. Shiro is occasionally frustrating, but a believable character. He tends to say prophetic things, but the filmmakers generally manage to steer clear of making him either too prophetic, or too irritating. What I felt that the film did best though, was not making either of the kids cute. They were likable and interesting, but the film also makes no bones about the fact that these two kids are very dangerous, and major players in the politics in the city. Also their relationship to each other, they have a deep almost symbiotic bond, is also believable.

Given the Black White pairing of the movie, it already clues you in that this is going to be a movie about duality. So we get several pairs or opposites in the film, besides the central characters of Black and White. A parallel set of street urchins, Dawn and Dusk, a yakuza Kimura, and his boss the Rat, two cops: a rookie and a veteran. Some of these pairs are more developed than others, but the theme of duality is certainly reinforced.

As the film opens, we are introduced to several potentially destabilizing factors to the city's status quo. A rival pair of street urchins, Dawn and Dusk, arrive to claim Kuro and Shiro's turf for their own after being pushed out of their own town. As well as the reappearance of the Rat, a notorious gangster, which threatens to upset the precarious status quo.

As the film progresses, a multiple sided power struggle ensues, which will determine the fate of the city. Or so it would seem. What is intriguingly subversive about the whole thing is that beneath this narrative of urban decay, nostalgia, and gentrification, is the insistence by certain members of the cast, that the city will develop and change regardless of the outcome. It's just a heartless creature like that. Many characters will refer to Treasure Town as "his town," a point of view that is consistently undermined. I suspect Tekkon Kinkreet supports the view that the city belongs to no one but itself.

These events pull Kuro and Shiro farther apart, and once separated from his only reason for living, Kuro begins to fall apart and succumb to his inner demons. Tekkon Kinkreet has interesting things to say about strength, physical and mental, as well as power. Who the truly dominant member of the pairing of Kuro and Shiro is less obvious than one would initially suppose.

At its heart, Tekkon Kinkreet is really about human relationships. The bonds between the characters are very believable, supported by the visuals and also by the voice actors. The voice acting was really superb, understated, but really very believable. I was pretty favorably impressed by Kazunari Ninomiya (that guy from the band Arashi) as Kuro. Everyone's been saying nice things about him since he was in that Clint Eastwood movie about Iwo Jima, but I'm generally prejudiced against boy band actors. I take it back now. Yusuke Iseya was also pretty damn good as the yakuza Kimura.

This movie probably isn't for everyone. It has one of those "what the hell" type of endings that's quite common in Japanese animated films. However, I felt for the most part, the film kept it in line with the logic of the film. Admittedly this logic is not the logic of every day life. Children jump from the tops of trains, leap hundreds of feet in the air, float down to the ground like leaves. However, while this is not strict realism, I did feel that the logic of the film in this regard was consistent. The buoyant way that Black and White are able to bend the laws of physics probably have a lot to do with their state of mind as children, as well as being exceptional individuals. It's Wonderland logic, but even Wonderland has its own rules, even if they're at odds with ours.

There are some loose ends that aren't tied up though. Or perhaps were parts of an initially larger plot that didn't get tied away properly. However, generally they didn't get in the way of my enjoyment or understanding of the movie.

All in all, I liked it. So go watch it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More pictures from ze neighborhood.



ETS can go suck on a manatee.

If my hair falls out this month it will be because of my GRE scores. I need to access my test scores. Will they let me? No! I have all the information! I can't have misentered my own birthday 4 fucking times!

If my hair falls out, I will mail it to ETS.

AFTER I ATTACH IT TO THE HEAD OF A DECOMPOSED RACCOON.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey it's been a while

Clearly I've been crazy busy because I haven't really noticed.
So here you go. I told you happiness was a new Flowers album.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pictures from Seattle


Apparently blogger is having issues with uploading pictures, so only one for tonight.
Cheers.

Conversations from the house

Me: Hey, because I was talking to you this whole time, I burned my eggplant.
Roommate: That's ok. Because eggplant is disgusting.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happiness

is a new Flowers album.



Also a friend and I were having a conversation inspired by this comic, and I think we started out with names for drinks, and then tried to figure out which kind of drink an author would be. I think by the end we had decided that Sherman Alexie would be something involving whiskey in some way.

So what kind of drink would your favorite author be?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Now come the days

of caffeine sleeplessness, pacing the groceries stores looking for the cheapest brand, wearing one's clothes inside out, and prolonged periods of self doubt.

I hate applying for graduate school. I also hate not having money. However I kind of got into this mess of my own free will, so I can't really complain. Moving forward is the most important thing now, although sometimes moving forward feels an awful lot like falling.

Being high on caffeine is great, time seems to open up for you, and doing things becomes so easy. Everything goes by so fast.

And I just live for the afternoon light, which is far more beautiful than anything I can say.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Finally some pictures up in here


Mom's house.

Pictures from the car are always a crapshoot.


The old Suburban Wasteland of my Home Town.

P.S., relax, there's some pictures in color, well, maybe a few.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Conversations from citizenship class

Me: What is a habitual drunkard?
Student: Someone who drinks too much coffee.
General laughter
Me: 登先生,如果是咖啡,那,我是habitual drunkard. (Mr.Deng, if it's coffee, than I'm a habitual drunkard.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Finally an interesting story or two

so now I'm semi recovered from being sick. For serious, only just now am I recovering from being sick. I think it's been like three weeks or something. I took the stupidest route possible when confronted with a fever which is to pile on the covers and go to bed. Fever nightmares are the worst. However, when I woke up, my fever had broken. Although I was left with a positively Dickensian cough, which I felt I needed some cold attic to really do it properly.

Anyway, teaching old people has been an educational experience. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that teaching of any kind is an educational experience. When I taught kids, I realized that kids are actually people, more or less fully formed, just with less inhibitions and experience. Now that I teach old people, I realize that old people are sometimes just like 16 year olds, only with less hormones. I.e., old people are actually human beings, with faults, lots of faults. With petty feuds, and teachers pets and the whole deal.

Sometimes it can be cool though. I was listening to one of my students talk to me about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution, which is pretty interesting. I mean I've read about it in books. But listening to someone tell me about it was quite different. I'm not sure how many of my students really believe in America and love it, but it's hard to doubt the truth of what she says. I think she really loves America. Although she also knows that American people are not completely equal, but more equal than they are in China. She also seems to really dislike Communism, in part because of the Cultural Revolution (I'm going to be a Chinese studies jerk, and not explain what it is because I'm lazy this morning) and in part because of June 4th (again with the Chinese Studies jerk).

Which makes it doubly interesting for me, since I don't particularly love America. I've learned to take very little of what any of these people say at face value, as my predecessor told me, "We are givers of good things." which is why most of them are nice to us. Some of them are nice because they are grateful for our help. Very few are actually nice because they like us. I think my student who loves America falls into the second category, she's nice because she's grateful for the help. However, she's among the most emotionally mature of our students, so I'll take what I can get.

I have some thoughts about the N400, or immigration form. But they'll have to wait until later.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

While I have a spare minute

I have a question for everyone. Do you generally think that the Police Department is a benevolent organization dedicated to serving people? Because my AmeriCorps swearing in thing was presided over by not only one but two police chiefs. One of them being the Seattle Police Chief. I haven't been in the country for a long time, but from what I remember the SPD was not particularly well thought of.

And I don't really think my family has ever been that big on the cops anyway. But still. Cops, like nonprofits? Yea or nay? This is possibly the stupidest question I've ever asked. If nay, you must give reasons why!

Edit: I should also mention that during our interminable swearing in ceremony, they talked all about how cops love helping people and making a difference in their lives. If it's not already apparent, I had great difficulty restraining my derision.

Conversations from the house

Housemate: Ick, stinky cheese.
Me: What kind of cheese was it?
Housemate: Goat cheese. I thought it was ok, but then I smelled it and it smelled like (Other housemate's) sponge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Conversations from the house

Housemate: You look great. (gesturing at buttondown shirt and sweater vest) More like a student than a teacher, because you're so young. That's a good thing right?
Me: Um...

Rhapsody on a windy night

T.S. Eliot

Twelve o'clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of the memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions.
Every street-lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

Half-past one,
The street-lamp sputtered,
The street-lamp muttered,
The street-lamp said, "Regard that woman
Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door
Which opens on her like a grin.
You see the border of her dress
Is torn and stained with sand,
And you see the corner of her eye
Twists like a crooked pin."

The memory throws up high and dry
A crowd of twisted things;
A twisted branch upon the beach
Eaten smooth, and polished
As if the world gave up
The secret of its skeleton
Stiff and white.
A broken spring in a factory yard,
Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left
Hard and curled and ready to snap.

Half-past two,
The street-lamp said,
"Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter,
Slips out its tongue
And devours a morsel of rancid butter."
So the hand of the child, automatic,
Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.
I could see nothing behind that child's eye.
I have seen eyes in the street
Trying to peer through lighted shutters,
And a crab one afternoon in a pool,
An old crab with barnacles on his back,
Gripped the end of a stick which I held him.

Half-past three,
The lamp sputtered,
The lamp muttered in the dark.
The lamp hummed:
"Regard the moon,
La lune ne gard aucune rancune,
She winks a feeble eye,
She smiles into corners.
She smooths the hair of the grass.
The moon has lost her memory.
A washed-out smallpox cracks her face,
Her hand twists a paper rose,
That smells of dust and old Cologne,
She is alone
With all the old nocturnal smells
That cross and cross across her brain.
The reminiscence comes
Of sunless dry geraniums
And dust in crevises,
Smells of chestnuts in the streets,
And female smells in shuttered rooms,
And cigarettes in corridors
And cocktail smells in bars."

The lamp said,
"Four o'clock,
Here is the number on the door.
Memory!
You have the key,
The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair.
mount.
The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall,
Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life."

The last twist of the knife.

Conversations from AmeriCorps

when coming up with our "group norms"
Person 1: I think we should have up there "care-fronting"
Boss: What is care-fronting?
Person 1: It's when you confront someone because you care about them. So it's not confrontation, because you care. It's care-fronting.
Boss: I don't think I'm comfortable with any kind of confrontation.
Person 2: How about we just say "no fronting"?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Old people make for less funny stories

"A person who makes you afraid." my student's (tongue-in-cheek) definition of the word terrorist.

You know

life was a lot simpler when I didn't talk to anyone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dubious thoughts about life in general

It's been (relatively) silent up in here for a while. Perhaps in part to moving and then a low level continuous sick, as well as some preturbing insomnia. However, longtime readers know that insomnia and bitching about insomnia is practically the status quo around here.

The housemates are good, suspiciously good, next week they'll probably turn out to all be some sort of cult or give money to Pat Robertson (like my grandpa!) or something.

The job is challenging. I should really learn how to let things go and not be too stressed out or not get depressed about it. There are some parts of it that are really good. There are parts of it that are not so good.

It's cold and rainy that doesn't help.

Somehow, acting cheerful all the time seems to help, but at the same time, I feel a little disconnected from what is actually going on both outside and inside. I think Haruki Murakami writes lots of books about people with detatchable selves, where things can happen to people, sometimes really horrific things, and it's not like it's happening to them. Not that anything horrific has happened to me, quite the opposite really, but still I feel sometimes like my life is happening to some me that's not quite me, if that makes sense.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conversations from the house

Roommate: So how many Asians were at in your year at school?
Me: Five.
Roommate: (not listening) No no, **** is a competitive school. I'm not talking about Asian Americans, how many Asian nationals were there at your school?
Me: Five. (to demonstrate) There was me, Miri ***, Hyun ****, Michelle ***, and Meng **. Five.
(silence)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Conversations with my friends

Friend: I think I'm prejudiced against people with eyes that are too close together or too wide apart. Like Brandi.
Me: What are you talking about? She's a pretty girl.
Friend: Oh she's a pretty girl. I just bet it would be pretty hard to sneak up on her.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A thought

After the bus stop thing yesterday, I was talking to a friend about it, and she mentioned her own strategy of putting on an old hoodie and cap when she rode the bus, to avoid unwelcome attention. At a certain point, how different is this from putting on a veil?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Taiwanese pop interlude

I'll be honest. The tune's kind of catchy, but the video really embodies anything and everything wrong with Chinese pop today. Hapless people in animal costumes, pouty men with mullets, the notion that all of this is "cool." As my friend says, Chinese pop is the only thing that simultaneously makes you cringe and tap your foot at the same time.

Conversations from living with my mom

My mom: inaudible
Me: What?
My mom: Oh sorry, you had your earplugs in.
Me: Earphones.

Picture posts mean the lovelesscynic is a lazy jerk.





a couple months ago I took a trip to Portland, as you can tell, my trip consisted of visiting friends and taking pictures of the sky.

I swear to fucking god

if I am accosted by one more man at the bus stop who tells me he "would give anything to hold an Asian woman in his arms" I won't be responsible for any broken bones. One is far more than enough. I would have punched him anyway, but that would have involved actually interacting with him. Getting off work is enough of a drag without this kind of crap.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

all moved in

I have had very little time or energy to report anything recently. My new boss is going on maternity leave, I have lots of procedures and acronyms to learn. Also I just moved into the city, like as of today. If I ever get some sleep (my odds are increased with my increased distance from a certain asthmatic parakeet) perhaps I can write something. As it is, well, we'll see.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My mother on driving with me

Mom: Hee hee, today was like Miss LC's Wild Ride. Like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Lovelesscynic: Oh, hush.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Against my better judgement

I have a cell phone now.

A short documentary on Better Luck Tomorrow and Finishing the Game

For those of you who don't know, I really like Better Luck Tomorrow. And Justin Lin's new movie is coming out in New York next week. The documentary has three parts. Watch the first one here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Conversations from home

Mom: What's "The History of Clapper"?
Me: Oh, that's a Chinese musical instrument.
Mom: Maybe I should insert a "the" to make it "The History of the Clapper."
Me: Yeah, otherwise it sounds like a history of gonorrhea.
Sister: So can someone tell me why gonorrhea is called "the clap"? I mean I know the syphilis is called "the pox" but that makes some kind of sense. (pause) Maybe it means it feels like someone is clapping something on you.
Me: Or maybe it means it feels like someone is clapping for you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

When the lovelesscynic has to attend bullshit orientation activities,

she gets angry. So this guy came in to teach us about different types of leadership styles. Which I'm already not into. But he comes in and uses Tibetan prayer bells to signal when he's going to end the activity. And talks about how he went to some college for graduate school founded by a Tibetan monk. (So you already know what I'm thinking.)

But then he introduces the leadership styles. And there are four, says him. Based on the directions of a compass. North=forceful, decisive. West=logical, analytical. East=mystical, visionary. South= emotional, feeling based.

Now, I had to spend 4 plus hours listening to this guy. But at a certain point, I figured something out. The Leadership Compass is totally racist! Why are the North and West points of the compass weighted towards rational thinking and decisive action. Whereas the Southern part is ruled by irrational emotions. And the mystical East, well, we all know what I think about the mystical East.

Racism and foul play is afoot. Not to mention some major cultural appropriation. There was also an Insufferable Gandhi Story. Which is almost as unbearable as an Insufferable Mother Teresa Story. I felt an overwhelming desire to read him Salman Rushdie's essay on Gandhi just to shut him up.

And this at an AmeriCorps orientation no less.


Over and out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Conversation from the bus stop

Man at the bus stop: I'm meeting my friend, we're going to sail on my yacht. Actually, it's not a yacht. It's a sailboat.
Lovelesscynic: Oh...
Man at the bus stop: My girlfriend's pregnant. She's a nurse. The head nurse, on the sixth floor.
Lovelesscynic: Uh oh. I mean, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Man at the bus stop: Well, I made it. So I'll take care of it. You have kids?
Lovelesscynic: No.
Man at the bus stop: You will. You seem like a nice kid.
Lovelesscynic (thinking): When is the bus going to come?!

Notes from job training

I dislike ice breakers. I dislike introducing myself in front of 30 strangers. People who smile all the time, and stare at me fixedly freak me the fuck out.

Jena 6

Pretty much anything I'm thinking has already been said. If you're around the same blogosphere that I'm in, you've probably heard the details. If you haven't heard about it, Vox has a nice summary and some nice editorial as well. She's also got links to petitions that you can sign. Here and letters you can send to the Louisiana governor here.

I'm glad things are finally moving in the right direction, and people are noticing and paying attention. However, I almost don't want to identify too strongly because there's still so much possibility for this all to go back down the toilet where it was headed before. Still, do your part.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some thoughts on movies

Do you ever wonder what movies are telling us? Recently there have been a series of movies about the Middle East. Now, I haven't seen most of them, because I've been watching my blood pressure lately, and I have a feeling that watching a movie about current events coming out of Hollywood isn't going to help.

I'm almost curious to see some of them. I mean, it's hard not to read movies, or more accurately, the topics of films such as Kingdom of Heaven or 300 in light, of, oh, national policy. I mean from what I hear, Kingdom of Heaven had to have a token sympathetic Arab antagonist. I'm fairly sure, even without seeing the movie, that he probably ended nobly and tragically.

The handling of movies like these, reveals a lot about how we as a nation view and interpret history. A friend of mine once said that she disagreed with our Illustrious Alma Mater's decision to valorize the Romans and the Greeks as the "Foundations of Western Civilization" since she believed that the middle ages had an even greater influence on the society that we are today. Arguments can undoubtedly be made for both sides. But what interests me more here, is the reason why people prefer the Romans and the Greeks to other time periods such as the Middle Ages. What sort of image do we see? And why do we want to emulate it?

I mean, as my friend pointed out at the time, 300 is kind of silly, since it casts the Spartans as the "Americans" and the Persians as the "decadent Oriental empire of your choice" when commonly Spartans were autocratic and totalitarian. However, the directors of the film to force a different sort of characterization on them in the film, and of course this raises the question of why they chose to frame this historical conflict in the way that they do. Why do there always have to be "Americans" or American-substitutes in every movie? Also, why do all people from ancient Europe irrespective of region speak in a British accent?

Ok, this post really ended up pretty far away from what I originally started with. Sue me, I'm tired. I'll attempt to pick up this train of thought later, and hopefully come up with something more than just "philosophical" questions. If you've got some theories, I'd like to hear them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Surprisingly

nothing interesting ever happens on my commute to work.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hawai'i 2



Did you ever know that there were this many Rotary Club chapters? Did you know that each one HAS THEIR VERY OWN BANNER? Did you know there was some Japanese lady on the Big Island that collects them all? Well neither did I.



Just give me some black eyeliner and call me Raevyn

There are days when life seems like it consists of walking uphill into a wind blowing in the opposite direction. While I recognize the utility of putting one foot in front of the other, I sometimes wonder if wherever I end up is going to be worth the bother.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My mother on Bright Future and ageism

Me: And the director said that it's a bright future for the young people and if you think it's a bright future for the old people you're mistaken.
My mother: Well I certainly didn't think that it was a bright future for the old people. The guy died! Age traitor! Self-hating old person!

Hawai'i




Pictures from the restaurant where we had my grandfather's party.

The view from my grandparents' screen door.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Suburban Wasteland


There are a few things that are picture worthy in my town. Although, I suspect that this mostly has to do with the light.


These two pictures were taken at an elementary school playground near my mother's apartment. Despite the fact that you can probably walk there in twenty minutes, I didn't attend this school. Go figure.

The view from my mother's deck

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Kurosawa movie double feature (and I don't mean Akira)

Recently I saw a couple movies by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Cure and Bright Future. Clearly they made me think or I wouldn't be writing about them. As a brief, spoiler free, outline. Cure (1999) is about a rash of murders in Tokyo, all committed by different people, and apparently for no reason, but all cut a deep X into the chest and neck of their victims in the exact same manner. The story centers on the detective responsible for investigating the case, and a mysterious, yet sinister young man named Mamiya, who comes into contact with each murderer shortly before they commit this murder. Bright Future (2003) is a little bit harder to define, it centers on two young workers in a factory with dead end jobs, and their poisonous jellyfish, and the estranged father of one of them. I can't really get into more detail than that.

Kurosawa really has an eye for color and light. It's not that he films extraordinarily beautiful things, but that he makes ordinary things seem beautiful. It's hard to explain, but there it is. Furthermore, although Cure is a genre film, thriller/horror movie, the structure of both films are so aimless, and yet absorbing, that pretty much anything could happen at any moment. There's very little build up to important events, even murders, which makes it perhaps truer to life, but in some ways much more disturbing.

Both films also center around the interplay between two characters, in the case of Cure the detective and Mamiya and Nimura and Arita in Bright Future. In both cases, one of the characters is somewhat otherworldly, functioning by a different logic than the rest of the world. And estranged from society to a great degree. The depiction of conventional society is usually rather unsympathetic, and one gets the idea that the director himself is none too sympathetic with ordinary society. However malignant or inexplicable this character, he usually projects a great amount of self knowledge and self confidence. The other character, the detective or Nimura, is, by contrast, fundamentally not at peace with the world and faced with a dilemma that will significantly impact their life.

Both films are pretty challenging to watch, and their endings are somewhat ambiguous. Particularly Cure, by the end of it, I had no idea what the hell was going on. However, the director is very good at building a persuasive world. Which stays with you, even if the ending isn't particularly tangible or understandable.

Of the two, Bright Future resonated the most with me. Perhaps this is because its central character is a directionless 24 year old who doesn't know what to do with his life or something like that. Interestingly, my mother thought Cure starring a middle-aged detective was more accessible, perhaps it's a matter of perspective. Both films are also about events which have the potential to change the world, whether it be a meme of murder, or the adaptation of a deadly jellyfish from saltwater to freshwater. Whether they change the world for good or for worse is almost immaterial. The change is what is important.

This sculpture


had a strange attraction for people. While I was sitting there, at least three kids jumped inside it, and one grown man.

And this concludes the Japan section of the pictures. Of course in the three months or so that it took me to post all of these, I've taken pictures of less exotic places. I'll put them up eventually.

Tokyo UFO

Friday, September 07, 2007

It can't possibly be true, I said.

Japanese fishermen couldn't possibly have sex with manta rays. It must be some kind of exaggeration. Well, I clicked on the damn link. I can't unclick it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's hard to imagine that this is the same country that came up with Hello Kitty.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Meme

Instructions:

Remove the link of the top blog and add your blog at the bottom:

Sunrays and Saturdays
VirusHead
Virtual Bourgeois
My Beautiful Wickedness
Feline Formal Shorts
Love Songs (Are for Losers)

Replace the last person’s answers to the questions with 5 of your own.
Pass this meme on to five fellow bloggers

What were you doing ten years ago? (Five things)
1. being offered my first job
2. getting ready for my second year of high school (I think, I generally forget anything 5 years out or more)
3. walking a lot with my mother
4. going to the public library every Saturday
5. trying to disappear

What were you doing one year ago? (Five things)

1. Cursing the heat
2. Teaching an insane amount of classes
3. Staying inside to avoid the heat and avoid officious old women
4. Hanging out with my friend from college who was visiting at the time
5. Eating a lot of crackers, drinkable yogurt, and fantuan from 7-11

Five snacks you enjoy.

1. The Korean style nori, that's super oily and salty, and kind of tastes like popcorn
2. Flax cereal without milk
3. Mochi
4. Cinnamon toast
5. Milk candy

Five Songs you know the lyrics to…

1. 髮如雪-周杰倫
2. 突然累了-林俊傑
3. Trouble- Voxtrot
4. 心中的日月-王力宏
5. 我的果汁分你一半-花兒樂隊

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire.

1. Invest in my parents' retirement
2. Buy a condo and use it to store all my books
3. Buy a house
4. Buy my mother several tons of birdseed and hummingbird nectar
5. Pay my sister's college tuition

Five Bad Habits.

1. Excessive and inappropriate use of parentheses
2. Telling people "Oh, I've heard a lot about you."
3. Weeping for the soul of humanity (I'm only half kidding here.)
4. Being surly, sulky, and/or uppity. (One day I will tell the story of how my 7th grade PE teacher locked me in a closet for being insubordinate. But not today.)
5. Tactless honesty

Five things you like to do.

1. Reading
2. Taking pictures
3. Looking in people's windows at night
4. Walking around the city at night (when it doesn't seem likely to get me killed)
5. Listening to the same song over and over again with the headphones on

Five things you will never wear again.

1. My parents once convinced me that I needed to have things with patterns and colors in order to be normal, I've never made that mistake again
2. Braces
3. An animal costume for the purposes of employment (No lie)
4. A hat
5. A Halloween costume

Five favorite toys.

1. The computer
2. mp3 player
3. the internet
4. rice cooker
5. Amity, the 11 year old parakeet

Five things you hate to do.

1. talk on the telephone
2. active listening
3. attend "Kawasaki" family reunions (like Hell, only with leftovers)
4. buy pants
5. argue

I tag, hm, Vox, Blackamazon, little light, factorial, and anyone else who actually reads this thing.

On yet another unrelated matter

My inner snark requests me to tell you that Larry Craig should make like Maria Callas and get off the stage of public opinion already. (And no, the Maria Callas reference was not supposed to be referencing the stereotype of gay men's love for the opera, shame on you for even thinking that.)

On a fourth unrelated matter, this was one of the worst days I've had in a while. It was really bad.

One of my pet Engrish peeves

Gay is an adjective, people. Not a noun. An adjective. Also, if you are going to make it a noun, it's a countable one.

Furthermore, on an unrelated matter, those angryasianman contests where you win stuff, I won something. I don't think I've ever won a contest before.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tokyo 3


I was quite happy with how this one turned out.

Tokyo 2


I'm not sure why I like this one, but I've decided to inflict, ahem, I mean share it with you anyway.

Conversations from the Dinner Table

I'm listening to music.
My mother: Who is this?
Me: Khalil Fong
My mother and my sister: Khalil?!
Me: I think maybe he wanted a unique name, since his real name is 方大同, which is kind of like John Smith or something in Chinese.
My sister: Or maybe he's a Uighur.
Me: HE IS NOT A UIGHUR. (a pause) Gee, I really sounded like Morbo (that newsmonster from Futurama).
My mother: You really need to stop watching that, I'm starting to sound like the Professor, and you sound like Morbo.
Me: Hey, if we have to sound like something, we may as well sound like something funny.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tokyo 1

On reading Literature (with a capital L)

I read this Atlantic Monthly article which was linked to in Smart Bitches Who Read Trashy Books. Which, although I didn't agree with it completely, romanticizing the past and past writers as giants of the literary world doesn't sit well. Essentializing anything doesn't sit well with me. However, the gist of the article, that the cycle of today's literary world is a self-referential cycle of producing high literature for the sake of being reviewed confirmed some of my own private suspicions. Even if I've been reading Chinese poetry and Chinese translations of manga for the last couple years, I still remember some things about the literary world.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Honen-in


As I recall, this temple was dark and it was raining. Also this old man was sitting in front of this old dark building. And spoke to me in a voice like a frog. I think he was some tour guide that hated his job. He scared the everloving Jesus out of me.

Sannenzaka 6 or some such number that I don't remember

Monday, August 27, 2007

So I ask you

what is it in public restrooms that causes Republican politicians to catch the gay?

Certainly it can't be the decor.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

There's been some questions



About the colors. See my camera has a couple settings one's for scenery, which I've found makes everything bluer. So the picture up top's on "normal" and the one below it is on the "scenery" setting. I'm not sure which one I prefer, and I'm curious which one you prefer.

Also, as an aside, what do you think about the manipulation, through filter or digital means, or otherwise, of images. Sometimes it strikes me as cheating, although I know many photographers and artists use it often.

Kyoto

Beauty

Wendao Jinxin wants some feedback on his thoughts about Beauty, particularly the beauty of women. I have my opinions, however I need some time to sort them out. You all are a lot smarter than me though, so go over and tell him what you think.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm just sayin'

when did this novel we're living in become one written by Lewis Carroll rather than George Orwell? I mean, 1984 made some sense, at least on a basic level.

Perhaps I should stop bitching. People in the US always blather on about how life is about being free. Clearly it's not, (nor is it the right to cable television) or most people on this earth aren't living. Life's about putting one foot in front of the other and doing what you need to do.

Hey, no one said this was a cheerful place. I mean, the name of this site is Love Songs are for Losers, for the love of Zombie Jesus. Alright, back to tormenting my family by playing The Flowers ALL DAY. Cause clearly that's really what life's all about.

Shoren-in 5


This is probably the picture I was happiest with out of all 150 something of em.

Shoren-in 4

Shoren=in 3