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.