Tuesday, April 30 
comedic genius
-bitchmagnet asian-

[ 5:49 PM ]
Sunday, April 28 
all of china is on break this coming week. the people go on vacation. things close down. factories close down. factories close down. thank heavens. that means i get a reprieve from working. (yes, it's sunday. and i'm working. yes, i worked yesterday. yes, i cannot handle more than five minutes of adversity.) it's a brilliant idea, this one week off for the whole country thing.

bright and early tomorrow morning, i'm off to shanghai. i'm going to try to not to blog while i'm away. yes, it's dangerous. yes, i'm mentally prepared. no, i probably won't die. sorry. in the meantime, i have prepared a special guest blogger. because my blog will be lonely without someone to pet it. so be ready...and try not to miss me. because i will be happy. away from soldering.

[ 1:02 AM ]
gaga talked a few weeks back about how she checks and re-checks her blogs over and over again. and i hate to admit it, but i do it too. alot. i'll re-read what i wrote and suddenly, glaring grammer errors and natural apostrophe disasters will leap out at me. and that type of guilt has staying power. so i end up changing tiny little details over and over again.

it's like video editing. even though something's only half a fraction of a wee bit off, i have to tinker with it. even though nobody outside of my own ego circle will notice. it's my small way of minimizing the casualties of carelessness and insufficient knowledge. i would like to pass all this off as perfectionism but i know it's not. it smacks of hidden insecurities. it borders on the pathetic. it's a dreary existence. my high school english teacher would be so proud.

as the first brave step towards ditching this time sucking habit, i'm gonna intentionally misspell a word and leave it here. for eternity. fcuk.

[ 12:56 AM ]
Saturday, April 27 
so with all this cartoon madness going on, i've been thinking about...cartoons. and it occured to me that the most unhappy smurf in all of smurfville must of been handy smurf. (aside from brainy who always got booted upside the head. and grumpy, who by nature was probably unhappy with everything). poor handy must of gotten all the crap work that the other smurfs didn't want to do. all the housework. the trash dumping. the dish cleaning. the re-patching of the mushroom roofs. i mean, everyone must of loved him because all they had to say was "hey, you're handy! come do this!" and he couldn't refuse. because that was his niche in smurf society. i bet all the other smurfs called him "bitch" behind his back.

(i just realized that grumpy was a dwarf. so of course he was unhappy in smurfville. what was the depressed smurf called again?)

[ 4:15 AM ]
watched this chinese detective show where they used flies to catch the killer. they had all the chefs (the main suspects) line up with their knives, and then released a bag of flies. whichever knife the flies flocked to, that was the killer. ingenious. not very scientific. fraught with legal complications. but ingenious.

[ 3:06 AM ]
Friday, April 26 
the true revolutionaries versus the ugly toppler of the disney empire. which one will it be?

(3) Pinky and the Brain
(14) Shrek

Place your vote via comment. Voting for this game ends 4/29, 9pm EST.

[ 2:53 AM ]
classic versus derivative classsic. will the copycat survive against the real felines?

(5) Thundercats
(12) Voltron (Vehicles)

Place your vote via comment. Voting for this game ends 4/29, 9pm EST.

[ 2:53 AM ]
oh this one is just killer. looks like it's boys against girls. two classics from opposing sides of the spectrum collide head-to-head in the first round. THIS is what the tourney is all about!

(7) Voltron (Lions)
(13) Winnie the Pooh

Place your vote via comment. Voting for this game ends 4/29, 9pm EST.

[ 2:51 AM ]
a lot of bloggers do this friday five thing. these are people with little to no semblance of real lives who like to answer five random questions each friday. so really, they are appealing to my market demographic. but i have so far refused to participate (unless you want to in which case i will because i will be a sheep but not without my fellow sheeps).

however, ever since i saw high fidelity, i'm in love with the idea of lists. so i'm going to do "lists of five." catchy name isn't it? i figured if letterman can do ten a night, i can at least do five sporadically. the book used cool lists like "best five songs to be played on rainy monday mornings" but i'm not that advanced yet so i'm going with "wesley snipes' top five movies." because i've been wondering for awhile now why he's so famous if i can only recall one good movie he's been in. maybe i'll be proved wrong.

wesley snipes' top five movies
white men can't jump (1992)
jungle fever (1991)
money train (1995)
major league (1989)
blade (1998)
special award for: to wong foo, thanks for everything, julie newmar.

[ 2:43 AM ]
Thursday, April 25 
having said all that. i've decided that after two weeks anywhere. it starts to feel like you've been here forever. and the days pass by much more quickly. i need to learn how to engage more in the moment. wherever that moment may be. or else i just end up regretting it later.

[ 8:17 AM ]
most of me has learned to deal with this alone-ness. the lack of physical proximity to people i'm comfortable with. the six weeks in england was to be my litmus test for a life far far away and i have to say, i was quite satisfied with how i came out at the end. however, i think it's because i knew i was leaving. and that, in a way, is the same way it is here. i know i'm leaving. so i can suck it up. and deal with not having friends around. but given a possibly infinite and unchartable time away from friends, i think i would revert back to my needy self. and as much as i'm starting to discover the innate joys of being by one's lonesome, admist one's own thoughts, the things keeping me sane are the computer. and basketball. but spending all day in front of the computer isn't quite conducive to the discovery of life purposes and other such grand things. and i'd rmuch rather be bludgeoned into boredom and forgetfullness. with lots of friends around.

i'm glad for email. i'm glad for AIM. i'm glad for blogger. but it makes anyone who isn't within driving distance the same farness away. whether it be one thousand miles or one million miles. electronic communication kind of makes you miss people less. and sometimes more. and i'm not sure which is better.

[ 8:06 AM ]
Wednesday, April 24 
so alvin's having "the best cartoon EVER invitational tourney." and he's made a dope web bracket to keep you updated. i know everyone likes cartoons. so vote vote vote! even if you've never ever commented ever before! now's the time! speak your piece. spread love so your favorite cartoon doesn't get edged out! spread the word to your family and friends! tell them to vote too! mothers and fathers and little siblings, all are welcome! vote for sparky the dog! this is not a ploy to generate extra hits! it's all about the shows we watched yesteryear and love to this day! i've never used this many exclamation marks in a blog EVER!!! so that means i'm really excited. and you should be too!

go hit up chrissy, chris and anna's pages because they are hosting games also. everyone say "thank you alvin!" for all the work he put into this.

[ 4:29 AM ]
simba, timone and the fat thing. versus all of snork nation. talking animals vs talking...snorks. it doesn't get hotter than this.

(7) Lion King
(10) Snorks

Place your vote via comment. Voting for this game ends 4/29, 9pm EST.

[ 4:04 AM ]
one flies on wings of silver. with nerves of steel. the other is more than meets the eye. which metallic heroes will win? only YOU can decide!

(1) Transformers
(16) Silverhawks

Place your vote via comment. Voting for this game ends 4/27, 9pm EST.

[ 3:59 AM ]
Tuesday, April 23 
onto dietary matters. i'm eating guai guai. a food from my FOB youth. other eighties FOB children will know what it is. for the rest of you non-FOBs, or non-chinese, it's kind of like giant corn pops. the packaging is still nearly the same from twelve years ago. i remember once a grandpa from taiwan brought us a whole suitcase of guai guai because we loved it so much. i can't quite decide if i like it now based on it's own merits or just for nostalgia's sake. either way, i'm in the process of consuming the milk and peanut flavor. it tastes kind of like rice cakes. strangely. i'll send you the wrappers when i'm done george.

[ 6:18 AM ]
i want to be in cahoots with someone. doesn't that sound fun? "we're in cahoots."

[ 5:57 AM ]
Sunday, April 21 
i say thank god for this abercrombie fiasco. we asian-americans needed a cause to rally around. we needed something to galvanize the "community." emasculated asian males everywhere needed a reason to strike back against the company that promoted the sexiness of defined pecs and washboard abs. on their tote away shopping bags no less. how dare they! at least tommy hilfiger used tyson, and he's part asian isn't he? i've never seen an asian in an abercrombie ad! pillory the bastards i say!

but seriously. i question what exactly we're offended about. it's not the t-shirts themselves is it? i mean, if i had printed up the t-shirts and sold them as "a counter-intuitive way to subvert racism," i probably would of won an award or something. (while not exactly in support of the t-shirts, the "two wongs make it white" is kind of witty. in a sick racist way.) aren't we just objecting to someone other than us yellow people wearing "wong laundry" apparel? apparently in 1998, urban outfitters had a "chinese man" halloween costume on its selves but that was pulled after activists complained. but how is a "chinese man" costume radically different from a "cowboy" one? i've known friends that pull on a bruce lee style outfit for halloween and that's been perfectly acceptable. but then again, if a non-asian wore such a costume, i might be a little offended. my asian-american activist sensibilities are a little hypocritical. but isn't that the way it always is?

but i guess this is why i would make a terrible activist. the reason i would boycott abercrombie would be for the over priced clothing and the non-baggy jeans. nevermind the racism. but i'm glad someone worked quickly to keep these offensive t-shirts off the chests of white frat boys everywhere.

on a side note. the t-shirts are now such a hot commodity that they are selling for as much as $120 on ebay. hurray for capitalism! there's nothing more american than making a buck off of somebody else's misfortune.

[ 9:42 PM ]
"evil menido strives to set the precedent for alternative thought with its ultimate intent to re-educate the people providing a hub for cultural discussion and debate."

evil monito is a webzine that babbs told me to look at over a year ago and now it's grown into a great read. babbs has an article in the inaugural issue, although i'm not sure if he's still on staff. either way. things to make you think. pretty layouts to look at. check it out.

[ 1:41 AM ]
Saturday, April 20 

dear basketball god(s): thank you for a great celtic season. i am humbled by your generosity. 49-33 is more than i had ever wished for so early into the twenty-first century. i was hoping for maybe a 2005 resurgence but your timing is, as always, impeccable. i am constantly reminded of your good works. especially now, when we are poised on the fortnight of our virgin voyage into the playoffs. (not to quibble over the details but it's been nearly a decade since we've played into may. a decade. as in ten. years. but who's counting really?)

thank you for antoine's 22.1 pts, 8.8 rebs, 5 asts, 1.51 stls, and 2.7 threes a game. thank you for paul's emergence as a superstar. the 26.1 pts, 6.9 rebs, 3.2 asts, 1.88 stls, 1.05 blks and 2.6 threes was a particularly nice show of generosity after his near fatal stabbing last year. thank you for the coolest nickname ever, paul "the truth" pierce. even if it was bestowed by our sworn worst enemy. your ways are mysterious. as an addendum, thank you for ben wallace. why you have bestowed his 13 rebs, 3.47 blks and 1.73 stls on the pistons is beyond me, but again, your ways are mysterious.

i believe that you are an omniscient god. i believe that you are an omnipresent god. however, i have some nagging doubts about that omnipotence part. curse me. yes, i know. i am only a poor to average basketball player after all. perhaps as a demonstration of your omnipotence you could use your godly might to make the celtics win championship banner seventeen? i think i would believe then.

if by some miracle the celtics win the championship this year, i won't tell anyone that you made an exception for me. actually, if the celtics win a championship before i turn thirty (let me do the math for you to save some time. that's six years away. but again, who's counting?), that might be acceptable too. you blessed the patriots this past year, perhaps you might want to shine your holy light upon the whole greater boston area? just a thought. and remember, multiple championships are redeemable for exponential increases in faith. not that i would ever think of bartering with you bgod(s). if i may call you that.

humbled. as always. your slow moving, non-gravity defying, i've got a cartilage-free knee, poor judge of distancing, non-dribbling servant.

crikee. if this works, i'm praying to the tetris gods next...

[ 9:18 PM ]
the mcdonald's here have taro pies. like apple. but different. and they're fried. weird. i don't like mcdonald's THAT much. i just talk about it alot. it's a good cultural barometer.

[ 9:18 PM ]
Friday, April 19 

hey! it's me! sort of. and then me in china! make yourself here.

[ 8:39 PM ]
it's strange how small and coincidental the world is. for some things to happen, there are only miniscule seconds when a particular event can occur. like when you run into somebody. you have to take the same train, miss the same stop, get out at the same time, peer over the crowd at exactly the same moment... and yet stuff like this happens all the time.

i ran into palak one summer getting off the NR train in new york. what are the chances you run into anyone in new york? (well, pretty high, but i'm not speaking figuratively.) especially when you only know about five people in the city? and then when we ran into louis' friends (but sadly, not louis, because we missed him by five minutes) in switzerland last summer. trippy. this isn't on campus. this isn't in a city. this is a whole 'nother continent. we knew people were gonna be in europe at the same time as we were but to actually run into them? the odds were trillions to one. but then we run into mikey song and crew as we're walking around the coliseum one week later. that's two out of three groups of people we knew were gonna be in europe that summer. (ironically, the third group, angie's, we missed. even though i knew they were supposed to be in vienna on a particular date. we went to "suprise" them. guess who got the suprise when they left early? i'm not a bitter man though.) and then in barcelona, as we were wandering the streets in search of shelter, i ran into mike spear's friend from high school at a burger king. and he offered us shelter. (we politely declined because they already had a ton of people. we spent the night at the airport. slightly uncomfortable but a brilliant idea all around. point for hongshin.) how does this happen?

and how small is the asian community? it's freakishly hard not know someone connected to someone. from somewhere. related to someone. (actually, i kind of got shocked if my parents didn't know someone else's parents. i half-expected them to know every chinese family who ever immigrated to america.) i went to chinese school with grace chen. (although i don't recall it because we weren't in the same class.) and karen chen from wilmot #4, version two, knows josh from years ago in minnesota. and now an ex-roommate of hsing, whom i've met exactly once in physical form, turns out to be rollen's friend from loveboat. and i know who she is from her website. interesting things in life result from overcoming the mathematics of it all.

(i know, too many damn parentheses.)

[ 9:36 AM ]
being a factory worker is mad crazy work. not that i am one since i've only been here for two weeks but just watching the people around me, i don't understand how they don't go nuts all day long. they work eight to five. monday through saturday. no breaks. just lunch. and they have to crank out hand-crafted perfect work day after day. and for all this, they get paid the equivalent of about one thousand dollars a month. maybe. it's strange how salaries are based on demand and supply as opposed to difficulty of task. then again, i guess not. nevermind.

i struggle with what to talk to them about. my chinese isn't good enough to ask them real questions so i have to ask them about family, school, where they're from, how work is, yada yada.

the jei-jei who works to my right has been extremely helpful. everyone is paid by how much they do per hour so nobody is too delighted to help the newbies but since i have a sort of special status, people come by to check out how i'm doing. even though i found out my uncle told them not to do that. anyway, she takes the time out of her work day to patiently sit with me and teach me all the little tricks and the little time saving devices involved in soldering delicate flute bits. i think i frustrate her with my lack of ability. she speaks my frustrations for me to the person in charge when something is too hard or too out of my reach. and for each minute she spends with me, that is one minute she is not getting paid. i think the system will change soon. i hope. but for now, i'm extremely grateful to have her eye on me all day long. she's maybe twenty six or so and she's been here seven years. seven years of factory work. damn.

[ 5:32 AM ]
Thursday, April 18 
i reminisce for a spell, or shall i say think back...
...i reminisce so you never forget this
the days of way back, so many bear witness the fitness
take the first letter out of each word in this joint
listen close as i prove my point
t to the r-uh-o-y, how did you and i meet?
-pete rock and cl smooth, t.r.o.y.-

i had this friend i hung out with every day. we met up on the diag after our classes (or rather, her classes, since i generally didn't go to class). she smoked. i flicked her butts. but i didn't smoke because i wasn't a smoker. we drank coffee and talked about a million and one different things. i held her hand as moral support when she got her tongue pierced. and now. i can't recall anything we talked about. even remotely. and this wasn't so long ago. it's sad really.

this other friend, i painted glow in the dark shapes on her black, steel toed, doc marten boots. a half moon on one boot. three stars on the other. four years later, the moon and the stars were still there. we hugged whenever we saw each other on campus and passed along our phone numbers as a yearly ritual. but we never once got together to talk. and now, our friendship has waned and i don't know what she does. or where she is. or what we used to talk about. or anything. but she gave me ani.

last one among many faded friendships. i used to watch her smoke as we walked out after ccf meetings. (i wasn't a smoker. so i declined.) she gave me the key to her apartment so i could get away from my stinky ass roommate (freshman year. not the stinky ones from sophmore through senior year). she had a cat that i played with and a kitchen i used to cook in. i still have that key but i thought i lost her. and then i went to her wedding in december. and it was special. and i guess it helps to validate that impressions were made. on people past, present and future. on me and on them. is this how things will always be? i hope not. i guess there's a reason why things that come and go are called re-grets.

[ 5:50 AM ]
Wednesday, April 17 
how to write romantic poetry. the five minute primer.
step one: pick a physical feature. we'll go with hair. that seems popular. step two: pick a theme. we'll go with....water. step three: combine.
"your hair is like water."
stick in the word "love" somewhere.
"my love for your hair is like water."
take out the physical feature.
"my love for you is like water."
try to use bigger synonyms for your theme.
"my love for you is like that flowy clear stuff."
try to be romantic.
"my love for you is like a cascading waterfall."
stick in "infinite" and "everlasting"
"my infinite love for you is like an everlasting cascading waterfall."

simple! see? now you try! final helpful tips: try to be as vague as possible. use the biggest words possible. the thesaurus is your friend. and not an obscure dinosaur. don't bother using the right punctuation, it will all be interpreted as artistic freedom anyway. go forth and woo females. watch them swoon at your beautiful poetry. it's more effective than freaking them from the backside. trust me. unless you got real game. in which case, you probably don't need this.

[ 9:53 PM ]
when do girls stop giggling? i think it's a perceived sign of maturity. immature girls giggle. mature girls don't. case in point: can u see lynnchen giggling much as a high schooler? don't think so. and girls who are "immature" tend to whisper alot. or maybe it's just a girl thing. to go into corners and whisper. for middle school females, everything is a big secret. "shhh, come here! i think we're having hot dogs for lunch today! shhhhh!" someone explain the giggling and whispering thing to me. actually, i got the whispering thing. someone explain the giggling. do 20+ year old girls still giggle? or is that too immature? what takes the place of giggling?

[ 6:11 AM ]
Tuesday, April 16 
i got loved. by no-sword. no idea who or what it is but hey, i'm the pimp of all panderers. i'll take it.

inner life is not only well-written, it also has original thoughts. I admire someone who has the honesty to admit, for example: "the ameri-genization of the world is kind of comforting to me and i hate to admit it. i see a mcdonald's and i grin. i know they'll have filet-o-fishes and cheap food." You read it, yes?

[ 9:35 PM ]
gummi candies. the h2o of the candy world. who doesn't like gummies? my uncle had his god-daughters give him a huge bag of them last week and i've been stealing two or three every time i come in or out of the office. needless to say, the gummi supply is running low. whoever does the marketing for gummies is brilliant. it's really the same dozen or so flavors repackaged in different edible shapes but mentally they do something to you. like you really really need that strawberry shaped gummi even though you already have twenty red gummi bears in your bag. it's marketing psychology at it's best. for the record, peachy penguin gummies are the best. and they're only $20.30 for a five pound bag! show some love. send some gummies.

[ 9:27 PM ]
driving through lang fang, i get the impression that i am in the midst of a real life version of sim city. the infrastructure for a huge city is all laid out and the city planners are just waiting for the hordes of constituents to move in. meanwhile, miles of perfectly paved road, set ablaze by row after row of towering street lights, remain empty except for the occassional car motoring by. half of the four lane roads are unpaved and the pedestrians, bicycles and cars do-see-do in a deadly dance that leaves me wondering why i don't see more human roadkill. street sweepers work all the time here, endlessly sweeping the dust from one end of the street to the other end, and back again. people need jobs, they gotta do something i guess.

the buildings are all built on a huge scale here. they've taken the "bigger is better" theme to heart. the police station is one of the most impressive buildings in the area and it looks like a university campus. the six port petro china's are like small city blocks and are topped by a pair of gigantic yellow arches reminiscent at once of both mcdonalds and st louis. garishly huge front entrances adorn every important building. or every building trying to be garishly important. roman columns (corinthian seems the most popular) seem to be a status symbol and every front door is preceded by a titanic set of stairs. for the three people who go to that building on any particular day.

i saw a set of roman columns set about fifteen stories up on the front of a hotel. at least i think it was a hotel. it's hard to tell for sure, my chinese being poor and all. and we drove by really fast.

the worst of all these architectural transgressions is the mayor's house: an ungodly mix of swedish villa and english castle. i swear there must be a moat and a drawbridge in there somewhere. the house is probably serviced by a staff of chinese girls, all wearing pigtails and plaid. like heidi. the top half of the building has wooden thatchings like a cottage, only giant sized, like in super mario brothers three, level five. the bottom half of the house is white stone with balconies at every window. hideous. howard roark woulda puked.

but all of this signifies the growing prosperity that is china. all of this is in anticipation of an economic boom that is sure to come china's way. china will become a dominant world power and little cities like lang fang are a testament to how loudly chinese people can scream "we have lots of money! dammit!"

[ 3:11 AM ]
Monday, April 15 
how freakin' good is tiger woods? three masters and seven majors. and i think he's around my age. i wonder if with a modicum of talent, you could become one of the best in the world with enough dedication and training. the polgar sisters were raised to be chess phenoms and now judit is one of the best in the world. would you trade in a normal well-balanced life for a strict narrowly focused one that produces a world-class talent? it's a tough choice. i think as i get older, i start pondering what it would of had been like to be that amazing good at one thing. to have one thing that defines you. "jon yang. invincible chess player." "jon yang. mega superstar." "jon yang. slacker extraordinaire." ah. that's what it feels like.

[ 6:23 AM ]
someone got to this page looking for a "lesbian with a muscular body." so sowwy. i love it. hahaha!

[ 3:49 AM ]
Sunday, April 14 
all of the old folks went into beijing today to the flea markets. i didn't go. the thought of being in the midst of a billion chinese people hawking trinkets for millions of tourists was unbearable. my one day off was to be spent in front of the computer. aimlessly typing away.

i found out the other day that my uncle knows what nakednews.com is. he brought it up during dinner and i couldn't keep from laughing. my mom sat across the table and my incriminating giggles kind of gave me away. my face turned red i think. why i know what it is is beyond me. i'll pass the buck. i think hong or ryan showed me. it's amusing to see what youth culture things old people know about. they surprise you sometimes, how plugged in they are.

on an extremely positive note, i got to sit around and pump MY music all day. the workers were gone and i could put in cd after cd. my uncle surprised me by knowing a lot of the sappy stuff (i thought i'd save him the grief of bass lines and angry rappers). once again, old people are much cooler than i'm normally inclined to believe.

[ 6:40 AM ]
to the people far far away. who go far far away willingly. i'm amazed. i'm a sedentary person. i wouldn't want to be anywhere but the states and everything is starting to look the same to me. the passion i have for seeing new things, visiting new cities, exploring new cultures....is gone. i want to go to australia and a couple of other places but in general, i think i'm okay with just sitting around in california for a long while.

to izzie (japan) and stacey (beijing) slumming it, teaching english in foreign countries. much props. to mary (scotland) and jennifer (greece) studying abroad. much props. to jimmy (belgium, bahamas, czech republic). get home man. and to karen, doing the two years of peace corps in togo. mucho crazy props. and i hope u remain safe.

the ameri-genization of the world is kind of comforting to me and i hate to admit it. i see a mcdonald's and i grin. i know they'll have filet-o-fishes and cheap food. i tote around my american prejudices alongside my luggage. i embarrass myself. i'm not even a real traveler. i'm a tourist. and i don't even like doing touristy things. but i can say i've done this and done that. so i guess that just makes me......ungrateful.

it is funny how anything mundane can suddenly become "a moment" if done in a foreign enough place.
"i had coffee in london last week."
"wow! what was that like?"
"well....it was, you know. coffee."

[ 6:09 AM ]
Friday, April 12 
once, when i was a young teenager, i was playing basketball by jimmy's house and his friend asked if i was a swimmer. thinking that my trim and supple physique tipped him off, i gladly replied, "no, but why?"
"oh, it looks like you shave your legs...."
how mortifying. the fun never stops when you're asian.

[ 9:32 PM ]
when i grow up, i want to be beau sia. he's an asian-american do everything creative guy. i know him as a poet. a very funny and insightful one. he's written a book (with more coming), he's been in movies (slamnation and slam), he's got CDs, and he's got a great blog. and he's hung out with mos def. if i could do half the stuff that beau has done at his current age (mid-twenties?), i would be an extremely happy man. beau knows people. beau knows.

on the other hand, i feel like ethan hawke. in reality bites. he's a directionless slacker. he is ten credits short of a philosophy major. he enjoys cigarettes, coffee and conversations. he says witty things like (when picking up the phone) "welcome to the winter of our discontent." well, i don't say witty things like that but i wish i could. and in the end, his father passes away. and he gets an arcane glimpse of the universe. and then he gets the girl. i didn't get an arcane glimpse of the universe or the girl but the similarities are eerie. i need them to make a reality bites 2 so i know what's coming next.

[ 9:19 PM ]
adam smith is a bitch. division of labor is why i sit on a bench doing the same thing over and over. i feel like a monkey. a dumb one. i can't wait for androids to be made. the day of creativity and individuality is over. now it's all about efficiency. brutal efficiency. i have to bat .950 just to keep up. the speed at which all the other workers solder is amazing. some of them have to do 200+ pieces an hour. every hour. i can do eighty. maybe.

i'm done bitching because it is not in my nature to bitch. much.

[ 3:48 AM ]
Thursday, April 11 
my brain is fried. i'm not physically depressed, but mentally. i can sit for hours doing nothing but my mind needs to be engaged. or i need access to a pencil at least. sitting there, at my bench, soldering (thank you FOB je-yi) is killing me. i don't know how you work people stand this. the panic is settling in. i can't believe i've only been here a week. i want to go home. now.

i tell myself that this is just the first wall i must crash through. but i start thinking that there must be an easier way. how good do i have to get at damn soldering anyway? i just need to understand it, not become a world-class worker. my pain is miniscule in comparison to the infinite billions of factory workers everywhere. but i'm in pain. i'm super antsy. and i'm only on lunch break. no torture is worse than boredom with no outlet. someone f*&$! shoot me. or break my other leg at least. or maybe an arm or a finger or something.

[ 9:38 PM ]
Wednesday, April 10 
imagine that you were stranded on a deserted island, devoid of tools, water, food and non-indigenous assets of any kind. and you arrive with very few clothing ensembles. which pair of friends would u want besides you? i¡¯ve had this conversation a few times (the first time at ecasu) and my answer remains the same. but first. the criteria:

these people i¡¯m taking with me must be capable, reliable people. they are there to ensure my survival and my comfort. they need to be able to make fire, they need to be able to hunt moving animals. they need to provide all the comforts of home on our little island. if they can make a television out of bamboo, so much the better. plus, they should be able to fend off rabid animals. they need to be the swiss army knives of survival. and if they¡¯re willing to pee on me in the event of a jellyfish attack, so much the better.

some people automatically get eliminated. those who would bitch too much (jimmy, adam, kyle, you¡¯re out). they cannot devour all the consumables (louis). if you can¡¯t swim, no need to apply (names withheld to avoid embarrassment). most girls, just by association, get eliminated. although there are a few exceptions, mainly of the michigander persuasion (except for those who have lived in ann arbor). for some reason, michigan girls are generally more capable of survival. maybe it¡¯s something in the water. maybe it¡¯s the frigid air. girls are just hardier out there.

my worst case scenario deserted island friends to take along would be: james and hong. i think they would both do the job quite well. i would live to see another day with their skills by my side. james might get the edge because he can make plantain pancakes. and he could make a neat little aquarium with the non-edible fish. there are a few candidates that i have no objections towards, but since i¡¯m limiting myself to two people, they are alternates (victor, brian), mainly due to the lack of cooking ability that i¡¯ve seen. actually, ameer is highly recommended but i¡¯ve never seen him make anything yet. so he can be a honorable mention.

and if i had to take two girls, i would go with karina (she¡¯s an architect, she must build nice shelters) and anna (what doesn¡¯t she do exactly?). the cheung¡¯s would be top contenders except i know for a fact that they are novice swimmers. so i¡¯ll take whichever one makes it out of the shipwreck as an alternate. after those four, all girls are pretty much eliminated. west coast girls and east coast girls just seem¡­.un-survivable. no offense.

the absolute worst person to be stuck on a deserted island with (assuming day-to-day survival is an issue): je-yi. i¡¯ve seen the bottles of hair products arrayed by height on your shelf je-yi, you would never make it on my rough and tumble island. but then again, neither would i. that¡¯s why i need two friends.

[ 9:49 PM ]
Britney gets dumped with urine? Blasphemous! Inconceivable! Who would do such a thing? Hong, why weren't you there to jump in the way?!?

[ 5:45 AM ]
i lost in my fantasy basketball semi-finals. i won all freakin' year. i was the regular season leader in the stronger division. i have tons of talent. i never win anything. i always choke. like the blazers. or the bills. i hate myself. i spend too much time online.

[ 5:21 AM ]
the trilly sounds of flutes ring day and night here. early in the morning, before i wake up (at 6:45 mind you), i can hear them practicing. during lunch hour. after work. right before bed. people are practicing the flute. they have group lessons once a week. they practice nightly with each other. they use normal student model flutes. me? i've played for three or four years. i have a really expensive silver flute. and i play like shit.

i will raise my child in a deprived environment so that they will learn to appreciate things. and they will be motivated to want to do things. like practice the flute. and learn how to dunk. not only does being here make me realize how lucky i am. but it makes me realize that i suck horribly as a flautist. but i have good flute lips. as my teacher told me. so i have good tone. yah.

[ 4:35 AM ]
Tuesday, April 9 
don't laugh at me. i have no life. no need to rub it in. here is my review for the peer-to-peer blog review. i was supposed to review greenswitch.org too but it won't work in china. so go there and see if it's good for me. from the hardest working pimp in blog business......

the schwartzreport.net is the daily news site for stephan a schwartz himself. knowing nothing about the man, aside from his intelligent looking picture and words, i had to go into his biography to find out that he is an experimentalist in parapsychology and was privileged enough to have been a part of several major social transformations. before i steal more of his words, here's a direct quote: "my life has been spent exploring extraordinary human functioning, and how individuals and small groups can, and have, effected social change."

sounds like an interesting guy. and his website reflects this. the design is simple but very effective. menus on the left, content on the right. everything is well thought out and the navigation and readability of everything was quite excellent. the daily news itself is of the serious yet interesting variety. "human cloning project claims progress." "short-sightedness may be tied to refined diet." "life on mars hopes raised." this is the kind of stuff that i personally find quite interesting but i cannot say that everyone will be into this sort of stuff because he does not give it a humorous or cynical twist. not that he should. mr schwartz has written books, research papers, magazine articles, and done numerous other things that establish his credibility without having to pander to the lowest common denominator. he might even be extraordinarily famous, despite my ignorance of his name and status.

a cool feature on his site is the left menu tabs, which all contain rather useful links to things like auction sites, internet e-zines, money, newspapers, etc. this would be a rather nice portal site for people if they were so inclined to use one. all in all, i found the site to be quite comprehensive and quite useful. the schwartz report is also available in e-mail format and that is where i'm assuming most of his readership goes, because i didn't see any comments, although the topics are certainly worthy of many dozens of comments.

[ 4:11 AM ]
Monday, April 8 
is there a proper name for those arcade thingies that have that claw to reach down and grab stuffed animals? the list of random thoughts that go through my head during four hour shifts of soddering would be quite extensive.

[ 9:21 PM ]
Sunday, April 7 
i sodder. with a flaming torch in my left hand and a little stick of silver in my right, i try to join two pieces of metal together. i'm like cupid for the flute industry. without me, there would be no flutes. i practice with itty bitty bits of metal that i sodder onto a tube. i have to try to keep the flame a nice even dark transparent blue color, as opposed to teal (because teal means i have too much air), while trying to make sure i dab the silver at a forty-five degree angle so it will run correctly. it's tough, this soddering business. and butt numbing. but i am one of the few. the proud. the sodder-ers. er.

sadly, i realize that i have unwittingly been training for this job my entire life. it requires hours spent in eye fuzzing concentration. intense physical discomfort arising from a lack of movement. little games you create to keep the task from becoming too boring. losing all sense of time. these skills and many other relevant ones, i have acquired through a lifetime of playing videogames, studying, and web surfing. now, at twenty three, i am ready to become a menial laborer. i'm not sure if i should be disappointed or go update my resume.

[ 9:25 PM ]
Saturday, April 6 
it's an extremely lazy sunday here at the factory. most of the kids are gone and i have hours and hours to kill. meetings are going on all around me but i'm not yet involved in them. i got a chance to play some basketball with some of the workers. they were impressed with my chinese. but only because they thought i knew nothing. small victory i guess. i'm worried that i'll be in this weird social sphere here. it's like i'm the new kid at school. this is first grade all over again. i don't speak their language and they don't speak mine. and they all know who i am. it's strange. i'm not even really sure how to begin communicating with them, except on the basketball court. i'm afraid of going to the fourth floor where they all hang out. i imagine walking up there and having everyone stop what they're doing and just stare. i need you george. haha.

i can't get AIM to work. i don't know if there's a firewall or something. this sucks. i have all this time i could be using to chat and yet i'm stuck here, behind something or other, preventing me from reaching the outside world. talk about frustration. can you believe a week ago i was in michigan?

[ 11:54 PM ]
i experienced china. on the streets. with the people. in the muck and the rain and the squalid conditions. last night, i went to beijing and met up with stacey (who is working here for a year, teaching english) at her place in the northeast of the city. she¡¯s been out here since early february and she and her co-workers have explored the night life a little bit. stacey didn¡¯t know any chinese at all when se got here and i must say that i was quite impressed with the vocabulary she¡¯d been able to pick up in two short months. her apartment was also much much nicer than expected and it was decorated with ikea rugs and furniture. (yes, there is an ikea in china.) at first, seeing her in the middle of beijing was quite trippy but then eventually, as the night wore on, it was just the surroundings that seemed weird and out of place. seeing someone i associated with home made everything seem that much more exotic.

aniwaise, we went out to bar street with a few of her co-workers and hit up a spot called tony¡¯s (the owner there speaks good english and his name is tony so i¡¯m not sure what the bar is actually called). everyone at the bar was foreign and it was more diverse than most of the bars i¡¯ve been to in the states. her co-workers and friends were from seattle, canada, australia, germany and various other far away places. hoards of young foreign kids came in and out, presumably stuck in china due to their parent¡¯s occupations. the beer was cheap, the music was hip hop (tony gets donated CDs from customers), and the conversations were conducted entirely in english. i felt like i was in pb.

standing on the shitty little sidewalks people watching was a complete trip and a reality check. little street urchins assaulted the foreigners, begging for money. one little kid was delightfully cute and ran to each new taxi pulling up, holding out his hands and pleading with his big eyes and strategically placed dirt paint. his mother sat on the sidewalk breast-feeding another son. most of the foreigners paid the children no mind and sometimes the kids got bold enough to grab onto pant legs and hang on in hopes of payoffs. all the while, these tiny little kids were running back and forth across the street, performing death defying feats of frogger action in search of the next victim. one guy smacked the crap out of the little kid and he lay there on the street crying while his mom screamed at him to stand up. three minutes later, the kid was back up on his feet, chasing new pairs of legs down the street. a combination of pain, fear, compassion, and anger for the human condition struck me as i stood there watching all these foreigners walking by, getting drunk on the cheap, with little urchins running between their legs. as we left, one little kid stole stacey¡¯s friend¡¯s bottle of beer, which was momentarily unguarded. the grin on his face was akin to that of a child who had just scored the biggest christmas present of all.

the foreigners are gods here. they are catered to and excused for every action. some of the people i talked to said they loved it here because they could do anything and everything. they could be as loud and as rowdy as they wanted to be. as rude and as polite as they wished. i was quite taken aback at the utter lack of disregard for other people¡¯s countries that these foreigners exhibited. maybe it was because they were drunk, maybe it was because they took off their social shackles. whatever the reason, i didn¡¯t like it. it was amusing at first but then as the night wore on, i couldn¡¯t help thinking that china was just a big playground for foreigners to come into and do their worst. it was difficult to realize that in most ways, i was just as foreign as the foreigners were. but i felt like these chinese people were my people and that this rotting, pungent, backwards country was my country. and ¡°they¡± were pissing and spitting all over it. but then again, everyone does that here. i couldn¡¯t quite figure out if i was proud to be american, or ashamed to be chinese. or the other way around. or both.

[ 1:18 AM ]
Friday, April 5 
mr shiao took us to this dinner at this place that served a specialty food, ¡°tomato fish.¡± they bring out a big pot of tomato based soup and it¡¯s basically hot pot style. the twist is the live fish they throw into it. you pick out a type of fish (catfish in our case) and they bring it out squishy and squirmy for your approval. then they bring it back to the ¡°chef,¡± cut a few big gashes into it and then drop it into your pot. the fish is still nominally alive and it slowly twitches as the boiling water slowly saps away it¡¯s energy. that and the big bloody cuts in it¡¯s back. when the fish¡¯s bones are brittle enough to break, the fish is done and you can dig in. i was fascinated by it¡¯s death throes and slightly disgusted but i just kept on reassuring myself that this is no worse than eating sushi and sashimi.

[ 10:16 AM ]
Thursday, April 4 
a copse of trees stands guard over a slippery marble platform upon which a giant disk sits. the disk is supposed to invoke a flute key and it does it¡¯s job admirably. an etched wreath decorates the edges of the disk and the entire thing is visually pulled together by a cross at the bottom. i object to the cross but i decide to just let it slide. i think i¡¯ll have to have a talk with my mom later because i¡¯m strongly against a cross at the tombstone back in san diego. i¡¯ve told her before but i guess my objections have been ignored. an outsized book lays across the platform and carved into it¡¯s red surface is a poem on one side and my dad¡¯s life story on the other. two benches and a smattering of bushes complete the memorial garden. it¡¯s quite nice and i¡¯m happy with what they¡¯ve done to honor my father.

the drizzling rain is making everything wet. i can¡¯t kneel to put in the ashes so my mom has to do it. the workers are all working inside and there¡¯s maybe only a dozen of us standing out here. my mom tells me that we can¡¯t really let the workers know that the ashes are actually entombed in the memorial because of various superstitions or whatnot.

there¡¯s something slightly macabre about taking pictures at a memorial ceremony. we had to arrange the flowers so that they were symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing. because you know, people will notice these things when they look at the pictures. everyone lines up and makes sure that the headstone is in view. then¡­.*snap*. but no smiles. one guy said ¡°cheese¡± which was highly inappropriate but already, the scene was beyond me so i did little outside of throwing a quick glare at the offender. life¡¯s really weird sometimes.

[ 8:39 PM ]
flying over beijing, you kind of realize how crappy everything is. here's the city that's going to host the 2008 olympics, and as far as i can tell, the city is a big pile of junk. maybe it gets better as you get closer but from my aerial view, everything just looked dilapidated and antiquated. then again, this is a third world country. i hear that shanghai is very modern and very nice but i don't think i'll get a chance to visit down there quite yet. it's hard to imagine that there will be an olympics here in a few years.

i was quite pleased that the airplane steward spoke to me in chinese the whole trip. i put my awesome verbal skills on display as i confidently picked chicken over beef and asked for apple juice and orange juice.

another bright spot: the dinner i had yesterday was incredibly cheap. ten dollars for four of us. and they had little bowls of goldfish on the table as decoration. there was a guy sitting behind us who i swear was like a chinese dick tracy character. he had a really big head and super dark skin. his voice was this crazy deep rumbling sound. guttural and flowy at the same time. i was a little afraid to look at him.

[ 3:53 PM ]
Wednesday, April 3 
she won't call me back. i've been calling her all night long and all i get is a busy signal or an answering machine. i think she's avoiding me. she knows i need to go to china tomorrow. i need my clothes. this is one of those signs that isn't just coincidental. i am going to china. with about three days worth of clothes for a six week trip. that's alot of laundry. good thing everything is made in china. she coulda called me back. yitch.

[ 8:03 AM ]
i hate the polluted stench of airports. the super sanitized surfaces mingling with the sweat of travelers bundled up in their grimiest, most comfortable attire. it’s like a pageant of mismatching outfits. i wonder how many of these people shower before they board. entering the airplane itself is claustrophobia inducing. the recycled air. the tiny seats with no leg room. the damn ladies who start talking to you before takeoff. thank god for earphones. the babies in the back rows. the old people (who apparently all fly to phoenix on tuesdays) who take an hour to check each row to make sure they are in the right seat. “oh, here’s a, b, c….where’s d?”

the stupid northwest terminal at detroit with it’s new innovative “straight line” floor plan that stretches on for miles and miles. long wistful looks as the old people in the courtesy carts whizz by. why not use a curve to cut down on the walking? geniuses. do they know i’m crippled? the express trains that run back and forth look cool for a second before you realize that going all the way up the stairs to wait and catch one is pointless. the baggage claims with the unhelpful ladies who describe my missing luggage as “unfortunate.” what’s unfortunate is that i’m going to another airport in oh.......eight hours. dammit.

[ 12:40 AM ]
Tuesday, April 2 
went to rendezvous last night with babbs and sharon for a few hours of sharing and writing or whatnot. it was a nice experimental process. i guess the only thing that would of made this trip better was to have more time with people on an individual or smaller group basis. rolling crazy deep is fun but it also makes real conversation difficult. i wish i had time to just bum with people and to talk. about everything. but i guess that can't be fit into a weekend. even a long thursday to tuesday weekend. i think i'm semi-ready to do china for six weeks. now that i know i've had one big blowout experience. being in michigan always feels like forever. in a very good way.

[ 11:22 PM ]
words spoken clear the lips and momentarily disappear
only to show again in re-attached rubiks pieces
gentleman flakes fall upon the innocent
dilutions of feelings and emotions
conveyance shoulders no responsibility
only safe passage and a safe journey

in their misguided flight, words twist and gnarl
transforming instantaneously into oaken statements
everlasting and incriminating to an end
nothing is more conclusive than
“but you said....”

[ 1:09 AM ]
Monday, April 1 
hahaha. sushi.com is not dot com. it's really sushi.come!!! what the hell does that mean? sushi.come?!? "come" as in "come to eat our sushi?" that is the funniest name ever. well, maybe not ever. but it's funny.

drunken hong kicked some major ass at mafia last night. hong's much funnier drunk. or pretend drunk. or whatever he was when he beat everyone. plus, drunken hong is much better at tetris. and he turns a fun shade of dark red. i'm motioning for pitching in money to keep hong drunk and buzzed forever. anyone else want to contribute?

[ 10:48 AM ]