Tuesday, October 31, 2006


An Open Letter to Phyllis:

Dear Phyllis:

Thank you so much for your help on Sunday night. You were funny and friendly, even despite my having to ask for clarification about the sex questions. (Have I noticed a decrease in sexual performance lately? Well, that would require a baseline that consists of actual sexual activity. My hand seldom disappoints, if that matters any to you....)

As Cincy Diva guessed with astounding accuracy (Steve was quite close too), I went in for a sleep study at Georgetown on Sunday night. Gay sleep disorder, be damned!

Oh, but that this were me....

I wanted to thank you, Phyllis, for being so nice and friendly during my ordeal. Okay, so "ordeal" is probably an overly strong word, but you have to admit, undergoing a sleep study isn't as fun as it may sound. I didn't expect a night at the Ritz, but I must say sleeping with all those damned wires protruding from all over my face, head and neck was kind of difficult. (That made it particularly funny when you piped up on the intercom that I should feel free to roll over onto my side if I wanted to. This would not have been particularly easy.)

You even woke me up in the middle of the night. Usually this would piss me off, seeing as I have a hard enough time getting a decent night's sleep anyway, but you did so because some of those gazillion sensors detected that I was having some trouble lapsing into restorative sleep and/or I was snoring. You slapped a CPAP machine over my face (again, not the epitome of comfort), but I dealt with it.

I actually felt pretty good for the rest of the day after you awoke me at the ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. (By the way, uh, yanking those sensors you taped to my legs within minutes after I woke up, uh, well, that kinda hurt. I kinda like my moderately hairy legs. Now there's a bald patch on them.) I didn't fall asleep at work at all the next day (and I fully expected I would, because I usually do). Even though I was not machine-assisted last night and hit the snooze button excessively today too, I am still doing okay today.

But the big news is that I made an appointment with my doctor. I've timed it so that it should fall around the same time he gets your report, so he can go ahead and tell me what he thinks and whether he should write me a prescription for the CPAP. Personally, if I can't get a man into my bed now, I can't imagine I'll be all that much sexier sleeping with a X-wing missile guidance system strapped to my face ("Use the Force, Luke!" -- "Luke, you've disengaged your guidance system, is everything okay?"), but screw it if it means a good, long night's sleep!

If only this were my bedpartner who isn't repulsed by a gas mask on my face as I sleep....

Anyway, here's to better nights of sleep to come.

Thanks again, Phyllis. You made an unpleasant evening that much more endurable.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Different Bed in Every City... But Not Quite.

So, tonight I'm not spending the night in my own bed. But I am not in a different city (in fact, I will be less than 10 miles from my own bed), nor am I having any sex whatsoever tonight.

Any guesses?

I'll post about it later, I'm sure.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My First Halloween

As we approach Halloween, I thought I'd share this audio conversation with y'all. You won't understand a word of this audioblog post unless you speak Cantonese. Okay, well, you might pick up the following words: "Halloween," "ding dong" (doorbell chime), and "Supreme Court judge." The sound quality is poor, but if you just want to get a sense of my family and me having a good time during my first trip to Los Angeles last February, go ahead and listen to the gibberish:

this is an audio post - click to play

(In case you're wondering, my Uncle Randy decided to use his video camera to record this conversation. He gave me a copy on CD.)

The woman whose voice dominates this audiopost is my mother. My dad pipes up a little bit toward the beginning, but it's mostly my mother. The other woman who chimes in from time to time is apparently a family friend whom I don't know well, and the male voice in the middle and end of the recording is my Uncle Tim, whose house we were staying in. And the hyena laughing? That's me.

I'm tempted to just end this post here, but I suppose some more explanation will be in order. In the process, I will embarrass myself terribly, but what's the point of a semi-anonymous blog if you can't make an ass of yourself on it?

Here is the story my mom is recounting in the recording. It is the story of my first Halloween.

I was somewhere between two and three years old, and my family had just moved to the States from Asia. They downplay Halloween where I was born.

We had finished dinner and were just sitting around, when the doorbell chimed its familiar "ding dong." Me being young and excitable and energetic, I ran to the door to be the first to open it. (I apparently often did that. It was a time of youthful innocence. Two year olds could rush to open to the door without fear that some evil person dressed in a black trenchcoat would snatch you out of the open doorway and remove you to his waiting car. I also used to race to be the one to answer the phone.)

Opening the door was my big mistake.

There in the door were a group of extremely tall (probably as tall as four feet!) scary people, including people with green skin, blood on their faces, unkempt hair, and scary bug eyes. (I don't remember, but I can only imagine.) My reaction, of course, is predictable: I had my living daylights scared out of me.

I let out a scream that only a two-year-old fag-in-traning can. Unable to decide whether it was safer to run forward or backward, I was was literally immobilized with fear for a split second (though, of course, it probably felt like a century). I was caught midway between trying to run and absolute mind-numbing terror. I can only imagine that I looked like Fred Flintstone gearing up for a sprint -- you know how he hovers an inch above the ground, legs working, but going nowhere, before he takes off?* Yeah, that was me.

Eventually, my legs took action and, still screaming, I turn tail and ran... straight into a doorframe. So terrified was I that I missed the door opening and ran into the doorframe instead.

On the recording, it's at around this time that everyone around the table is laughing hysterically. That word "kuung" you hear, is Chinese onomotopoeia for the sound of me crashing into a two-by-four. Oh, and "Supreme Court judge"? That's my uncle saying that this is the type of story that could really embarrass a guy after he's been nominated to the Supreme Court. (My entire family is extremely proud of the whole lawyer thing.)

A huge lump developed on my forehead, of course. Apparently, this was par for the course with me; I hit my head a lot as a kid, and the lumps on my forehead (immortalized in numerous photographs) proved it. (Actually, "you used to hit your head a lot" is what the adults tell me now about my childhood.** A not-terribly-nice variation on this theme is the notion that my head was so disproportionately large for my body when I was young that I had a hard time keeping my head up, and I had even been known to fall face first off the can for this reason.)

Okay, it's not as funny now that I've written it up, but hot damn, that was a funny story. But more importantly, it was was fantastic sharing that kind of a hearty laugh with my family. We don't do that often enough.

Happy Halloween!

* I just realized I've used this analogy before, and for this lack of originality, I apologize.

** I still harbor a sneaking suspicion that my parents actually dropped me on the head on multiple occasions. It would explain a lot.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turning Japanese, I Think I'm Turning Japanese, I Really Think So.

This is a nifty site, so I thought I'd share. This puzzle is a photo I took from the Japanese garden in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Have fun.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Love You, Mike Greiner

Mike Greiner is my new hero.

(Okay, longtime readers of this blog know I have issues with the word "hero", but I really think this time it's kind of deserved.)

Who is Mike Greiner? He's a teacher at Westfield High School in Chantilly, Virginia. And he, unlike many, many, many other English teachers in this country, actually takes at least a little bit of time to teach his students proper grammar.

I, for one, am appalled at some of the basic grammar rules which people today can't pin down to save their lives. There are people whose professional lives require a mastery of the English language -- or, at least, a basic grasp of it. And some of them still can't get simple grammar rules to save their lives.

I learned to diagram sentences in the seventh grade -- a little late, I know, but the public school system in Hawai'i just isn't all that. Although I never did get the whole thing down (check out the above link -- I would NEVER have been able to do that), I learned to appreciate the simple things like subject-verb agreement ("A network of arteries connects all the major organs of the body.").

Recently, through a horrible confluence of events, we had two large projects (each taking on lives of their own) due at the courthouse at once. I took on one project while my boss took on the other. I type my own work, and I'm the kind of anal guy who edits my work along the way. When I type the words "there is no precedent for this argument," I make sure the correct spelling of the word "there" is used.

My boss, on the other hand, being of a certain age and not as proficient on the keyboard, tends to dictate his work for someone else to type up. This typist, much to my dismay, doesn't type as carefully as I'd like. I end up insisting on reviewing my boss's work product before it goes out just for that purpose: I need to make sure embarrassing grammatical errors don't make it into the final draft of a document. As I edited this last round of paperwork for this major project, I could myself adding and removing apostrophes with alarming frequency. This happens often when we have a lawsuit with multiple defendants: our typist can't seem to make an effective and disciplined difference between the "defendants" and "defendants'". I find the following in drafts handed to me:

- Defendants argument ignores controlling Supreme Court precedent.
- Defendants' cannot escape liability for their actions.

I swear, I edited apostophes so much it got to the point where I seriously thought that my typist was deliberately using it incorrectly just to rile me.

I know I've blogged about this before, but there really should be more English teachers out there like Mike Greiner. God bless you, Mike Greiner.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sharin' the Olivia Love, Perhaps.

(Seems like Olivia doesn't have all that many well-known songs that would be appropriate as a title for this post.)

I have tickets to see the love of my life, Olivia Newton-John, again in a few weeks. On November 4, 2006,I will be once again in Atlantic City watching my favorite performer of all time perform. I will, undoubtedly, be sobbing uncontrollably through most of it. I have yet to decide whether to head up on Friday night or Saturday morning, and I have yet to decide whether to spend a night in Atlantic City at all.

Now here's the thing: I have an extra ticket. The one reliable pal I would have gone with is passing on this excursion. So, here's a plan:

If you love Olivia anywhere near as much as I love Olivia, I'm happy to share the love with you. If you're in DC, we can share a ride up to the city. As I said, I'm flexible if you want to spend an extra night there as well. If you're not in DC, but can make your way up to Atlantic City, I'd also be happy to sell the extra ticket to you.

If you're interested, please either drop me a comment or an email.

I realize this is a long shot, but hey, I'd love company for the show, and this way I might get to meet another random blogger.

Previous Olivia posts here and here and here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Attention Costco Shoppers

Dear Costco Shoppers:

You. Yeah, you know I'm talking to you. Thing is, I don't think you care.

We're in a warehouse store. The shopping carts are pretty wide, but then so are most of the aisles -- you know, to make up for the fact that everything is huge there. Kind of makes sense that way.

I'm quite aware that they also hand out free samples of food. Free food is generally good. To be honest, a lot of the food they offer is remarkably good, for a wholesale club.

But for the love of Pete, can you please think for just a microsecond before the lure of free food -- or the sight of the 128-oz. bag of potato chips -- irresistably tempts you to stop in the middle of the freaking aisle?

In theory, at least three oversized shopping carts can fit into any given aisle: one cart on either side of the aisle, and one moving down the center of it. I'm pretty sure they planned it that way. What they didn't plan for was the notion that people like you would actually turn your cart to the most inconvenient position possible as you examine the jumbo size jars of Jif peanut butter, causing others to have to move way the hell around you. Somehow, you manage to either turn the cart perpendicular to the item you want (huh?), or you manage to line youself up with the other carts in the aisle, creating the perfect blockade point. Never mind that there's empty space before and after the point where you're standing, you have to stop exactly where you are, which happens to be exactly where other carts and people create a logjam.

It gets worse in the produce area in the back of the store. The aisles are narrower there. Can we please act accordingly? Let's all please learn to recognize that there are people behind us most of the time, and that any abrupt stopping will greatly disrupt the flow of people moving around the area. Stopping dead in your tracks to get a free sample of king crab corn chowder -- and actally standing there to eat it -- stops things up. Even worse is when you stop dead in your tracks waiting for the free samples to become available. That's a little pathetic, as well as the cause of flowus interruptus.

Of course, this isn't limited to Costco shoppers. It happens pretty much at any grocery store I've ever been to. Serious, folks, does it take that much work to actually think about how your actions affect the others around you?

Thanks for the consideration.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm High as a Kite, I Just Might, Stop to Check You Out

Never ever let me drink coffee again. At least not a whole lot of it.

Yesterday, if for no other reason than because I felt like it, I stopped into the deli across the street from my office for a cup of coffee at work. I'm not usually a coffee drinker; I prefer tea. But my boss drinks boatloads of coffee, and his hazelnut blend always smells so good.

So I got myself a 20-oz. cup. Sadly, part of the reason I picked that cup was because I knew that refills later would cost only 50 cents. Oh, what a mistake this turned out to be.

I finished the entire cup before noon. While I can't say my heart started racing, I could definitely feel something going on. I was floating, but in a good way. I was more productive at work than I've been in a while, because somehow I was able to find a singular purpose. My fingers flew across the keyboard, making arguments left and right, and where I wasn't making arguments, I was making notes about what arguments I would be making in that section. I was on fire.

Walking slowly down the hall became something of a challenge. I felt with every muscle in my body that I wanted to be doing something else, like running, or pull ups, or something that engaged more muscle activity than sitting on my big fat ass on this fancy office chair. So I got up to take a walk.

My walk took me back to the deli, where I suddenly realized my empty coffee cup was, in fact, in my hand. What fortuity! I refilled my 20-oz. coffee cup (with French vanilla this time) and paid 55 cents. Strolling out the door, I took another sip of this newfound manna. Mmmm, heaven.

I went to play poker (as is my Tuesday night routine) that night and had a great time, if for no other reason than I was more outgoing than I usually am. This, you see, was because I was buggin'. Thankfully, I was bantering with people who were cool about it, even though I found myself employing such epithets as "bitch" (specifically "punk-ass bitch") (directed exclusively to men), "bastard," and "son of a bitch." (For the record: yes, some of these guys were actually quite cute). I also whined excessively about my exceedingly short stack which required me to go all-in on a J-3 suited (which hit two jacks on the board, quadrupling my money and keeping me in the game for another 45 minutes or so).

Then I went home, watched some tv, ate some cold pizza, and crawled into bed. The clock on the wall read 11:45 when I crawled into bed.

I didn't get to actually sleep until 2:30.

I was up again at 8:30 after repeatedly employing the snooze button.

Do not ever let me drink that much coffee again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Don't Care How, I Want It Now.

So the protests at Gallaudet continue. Yesterday, the Gallaudet faculty joined the fray, passing several non-binding resolutions expressing their lack of confidence in incoming President Jane Fernandes. What struck me most was the following quote from a Gallaudet alumna included in the WaPo article:

However people feel about her, "whether the issues are valid or invalid, that doesn't matter now," he said. "This school will not move on unless she resigns."

What this person is saying, therefore, is that whether or not the students' protests were justified, they have created such a shitstorm that there is no alternative short of Fernandes's resignation. It doesn't matter if their concerns were utterly without basis in fact; students can achieve their goal of ousting the presence merely by throwing a monkey wrench into the works.

Cliff's Notes version of lesson learned: No matter what you believe, an effective way to achieve your goals is to force everyone around you to their knees, and eventually, you will win. Gallaudet students have apparently effectively employed a method of persuasion seldom seen beyond the six-year-old "Buy me candy" set: Sit on the floor and scream until you turn purple, and eventually the authority figure will sigh, roll their eyes, and give you exactly what you want.

While I'm at it:

To the protester whose t-shirt states that he was "dropped" by the D.C. Police while being arrested: Boo freakin' hoo. When you're being arrested, kid gloves are off. What do you want, a cookie? Maybe a nice fluffy down comforter in the back seat of the squad car? Gimme a break.

To the student with the t-shirt proclaiming that you were "arrested for peacefully protecting Gallaudet": I call bullshit. You were blocking people from entering the campus. Hell, man, even abortion protesters are required to let people into the Planned Parenthood, but in your zeal to "protect" Gallaudent you've prevented anyone whose views don't align with yours from even walking onto the campus.

To the Gallaudet administration: Grow some balls, already. You tried to have the gate opened and all it took was students forming a chain and saying "no" for you to walk away with your tail tucked between your legs? Get real. Civil disobedience is pretty much premised on the expectation of getting arrested, so since that's what these students claim they're engaged in, you should go ahead and have them arrested. As I suggested yesterday, you may also consider expelling them from school, thus granting you permission to label them trespassers and -- you guessed it -- arrest them.

Or, as long as you're so completely balls-free anyway, just give up and have Fernandes resign already. Just buy the damn candy for the baby already.

Sometimes, One Just Has To Vent

In a shockingly circular bit, this post is a way for me to do some venting... about venting. I'm bitching about the ability to bitch.

Triggering event: I'm extremely frustrated with a client of mine. This afternoon I was talking to her, and she drove me totally bonkers. I'm trying to settle her case and she's self-destructing her own settlement talks and then even says that she doesn't really care if the entire settlement blows up. I'm asking her all the questions a good lawyer does to make sure that my discussions with opposing counsel are as focused as possible and she absolutely REFUSES to answer them with any thought, and instead insists on not speaking in hypotheticals (even though those hypotheticals will come to pass the moment I speak to opposing counsel, and she'll have to face them anyway). She even goes so far as to actually tell me how frustrated she is, even though she is the one causing the frustration.

I hang up the phone with her (actually, for the first time in many, many moons, I SLAM the freaking thing down) and, because it simply had to be done, I let loose a very loud, completely unprofessional ARGH.

Now I admit that it was unprofessional. But there's literally three other people in the office right now. No clients. No one poring over a document with the focused intensity of a Franciscan monk. No, it's just me, my receptionist, and two others at the other end of the hall.

So I go to my receptionist (who knows I don't like this client much right now) just to say, "Man, I hate her. I hate her. I hate her. Words cannot express how badly I hate her."

Her response: "Man, what is your problem? Calm down."

Okay, I wasn't expecting a cookie, but since when is the proper response when someone is clearly venting frustration to be so freaking dismissive?


Sadly, this has been happening a lot in my personal relationships recently. I can't express a random feeling anymore without it being analyzed, re-examined, re-hashed, and placed under the intense scrutiny of logic. Suddenly, my friends have all turned into Spock/Data hybrids. If your feelings aren't logical, they aren't valid. Because feelings must fit within a particular mathematical rubric of logic.

Me: Man, that evening went on forever. I thought we were stopping in [to a friend's place] for a drink and now it's like 11:30. I thought we were going out tonight.
Friend: Well, you should have said something! If you were so ready to leave, you should have started making the moves to head out. It's not like you don't know how to extricate yourself from a social situation. I would have left whenever you wanted to. You never made a move to leave.

Was I bitching? Perhaps. Was I saying something was keeping me there artificially? Not really. Did I need to be blamed for being frustrated at the lateness of the hour? No, not really.


Me: So his mom was nice. Fun. Sometimes I wish my mom were more like that.
Friend: Why would you wish that? There's more to her than you see, you know. His home life is messed up. You don't know the half of it. You don't want to trade into that.

Did I ask to trade up for everything? No. I merely waxed wistful at the thought that my mother may one day sit down with my gay friends and my boyfriend and have a fun time with us. I think we'd agree that having one's mother enjoy the company of her son and his gay friends would be a cool development. Did I need an attack? Not really.


Me: Well... that was annoying.
Friend: You didn't have to stay, you know. I would have been happy to move along whenever. Don't act like I was keeping you where you didn't want to be.

Did I say any of that? Did I mean any of that? I think you're projecting what you think I thought. Get over it. I said it was annoying. That's all I said, and that's all I meant. Shut the fuck up about anything else even remotely related to that.


Me: That was ... odd.
Friend: Why do you say that? Was that any different from [blah blah blah]? Why is this situation odd when the other isn't?

Is consistency the only thing that matters in life? Am I allowed to find something odd if something similar isn't? Must I parse out the differences? Most importantly, must I think all this through before I open my big fat mouth? (Apparently, for some of my friends, the answer is yes.)

I can't take it anymore. I like for my friends to be there for me, to listen to me, and to at least somewhat ratify my feelings. I don't need them to be "yes-men," agreeing with me on everything, and I do expect to be called to the carpet when I'm being completely stupid, but when it happens all the friggin' time -- including times when I'm not being completely retarded -- I get sick of it.

And, frankly, I think it affirmatively hurts my friendships when I find that I have to stop and think about absolutely everything before it passes through my mouth. I don't like having to censor myself. I don't want to have to fact-process my thoughts before speaking on an impulse. In most unscripted conversations, thoughts just spew spontaneously. It seriously constipates the flow of conversations if I have to stop and think, and adjust my comments based upon what your perceived criticisms will be.

I feel a little bit better already, in part because I'm thinking the readers of this blog won't react the way I've described above. I've come to realize that venting on here is therapeutic in that way: no one expects to have to answer you, or contradict you. I feel like somoene's "listened" (even if no one at all has read this) and with that, I can be content.

Flames on this post, though, may send me over the edge.

Monday, October 16, 2006

They Don't Need No Education

So I've been following the Gallaudet protests over the course of the last week or so. After having shut down the entire school -- the university as well as the elementary and middle school, and facilities for adults needing hearing tests -- for three days, the administration finally authorized arrests for the students who had effectively walled off the school.

Frankly, why these arrests were so long in coming is baffling to me. The students have taken over the school and held it hostage to a higher goal that they cannot even articulate. Having reviewed as much as I can about the school and about incoming president Jane K. Fernandez, I can figure out no coherent reason for these protests. She was standoffish as a provost? Boo fuckin' hoo. What do you want, a cookie? She has never been able to hear but only learned ASL at age 20? So what? She's not black? While this may be a concern, it certainly doesn't seem enough to shut down the school over.

And to put it mildly, who the fuck do these 20-something kids think they are? They pay tuition to get an education -- from what I can tell, a pretty damn good one -- not to make dictates and demands on who is in the administration. On any other college campus I know of the students don't have veto power over the selection of their president. These "demands" that an unpopular president resign are pretentious at best.

Compare what's happeneing at Gallaudet with recent events at Randolph-Macon (Women's) College. Historically an all-women's college, the school recently voted to admit men. Did the students shut down their own campus for days on end? Did they deny their fellow students the right to attend classes? No. They cried; they mourned. Some slept on the lawn in front of the Main Hall in protest. Some initiated paperwork to transfer. Some boycotted classes, but I see no indication that those people also forced other students to stay away from their classes. Protesting was a voluntary effort for those who passionately felt their school should have remained single-sex.

At Gallaudet, quite a different protest is taking place. Those who disagree with the appointment of Ms. Fernandez have appointed themselves masters of all that is right with the deaf community, though, again, they can't particularly articulate good reasons for their passionate dislike of her. And these kids have basically set up a situation where if you don't agree with them... well, you'll have to effectively be part of the protest anyway. They'll boycott your classes for you.

It's awful that these kids have taken over the campus; it also shows a distinct lack of backbone that the administration couldn't do anything to shut them down earlier than this. Is it really so easy to shut down Gallaudet's campus? Just walk into the main hall and "demand" that the grown-ups leave? And as for "letting" cars into campus: since when do the staff and administration of any school have to beg permission of the football team to go into their own offices?

From the day I started college through today, my college has had four presidents (I'm counting one interim president for about a year). One guy I recall being quite a controversial pick. One woman suffered from accusations of inferior qualifications -- indeed, I recall many felt that her selection was tokenism because there were more qualified men than her in the running. Her selection did not shut down the school. It caused some dissention, and while students voiced their concerns, in the end everyone went back to their classes and went on about the business of learning. What the hell is it about Gallaudet that education should come to a screeching halt because some students don't like the president?

A brief list of things Gallaudet students need to give themselves more credibility now:
(1) a coherent and solid reason Ms. Fernandez "must go." So far everything I've seen just doesn't cut it.
(2) much more reasonable "demands" with respect to the administration. "We will not stop unless she resigns" will only make both sides dig their heels in, especially since you really have no right to do anything you're doing anyway.
(3) a reason the school shouldn't just expel your asses since your "civil disobedience" is serving to screw up the very mission of the school: an education. If you want to pay tuition then not attend classes, that's your choice. But when others are paying tuition and would like to have professors lecture to them and you won't let them, you are a disruptive force and deserve to be kicked out.

On a lighter note: Wow, some of these Gally boys are hot. Check out the shirtless guys protesting earlier this week at this Express post. Okay, I specifically referring to the one guy without any writing on his chest.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Singledom (Again)

E.: So do you think J. will talk to you again now that she's married?
Me: No. I'll never see her again.

-- Recent conversation I had with a girlfriend of mine

We were kidding, of course -- kind of the reductio ad absurdum of our particular social circle. The girls we know all tend to drop off the face of the map when they start seeing someone seriously. All bets are off when they actually go getting married. I'm sure I'll see J. at random intervals from time to time -- mostly for special occasions like birthdays (even though two girls have birthdays that coincide with her wedding anniversary, meaning that she'll probably be missing that particular party), but seeing as she already just this close to fell off the planet for wedding planning, I can't imagine I'll see her all that much now.

The wedding was this past weekend. I could wax poetic about how gorgeous everything was, from the reception to the dinner and dancing to the bride in her pretty white dress, but that's all been done. Take my word for it: everything was, of course, the picture of wedding perfection.

The ceremony itself was performed by a woman who was a close friend of the bride -- they were childhood friends and remained friends through the bride's graduation from law school while the other completed divinity school. The ceremony was fun that way -- part prayer and sermon, part reminiscing. Nothing personalizes a wedding ceremony than the officiant being able to refer to the bride's personal quirks and long search for the perfect mate.

One thing about the ceremony that bugged me. While I understand that I was there to witness and celebrate the union of two people, I didn't really have to made to feel like I was somehow defective for not having someone else in my own life. There is, I think, a fine line to be drawn between celebrating the commitment of two people to each other, and pointing and laughing at those people who aren't in a position to do that. This couple seem to have crossed that line a few times during the ceremony. Like 242 (I counted).

I remember a reading from the Bible. Thankfully, I don't remember where it come from (1 Corinthians? Paul? Something else?) but it was all about how much being single sucks. Stuff to the effect of "before I was nothing, now that I found you, I am complete." During this reading, I started checking out the groomsmen, who looked quite dashing in their tuxedos, though they were probably sweating balls.

It didn't end after that. The officiant wanted in on the action too. "We were made man and woman for each other," she started. Immediately I steeled up when I heard that heterosexist line, but I let it go for the sake of my friend. Then it continued. I don't even remember the exact words, but if I had to paraphrase, her sermon on love went something like this: "Two is better than one. We all strive to be part of a 'two' because we weren't meant to go through life just being a 'one.' Being part of a 'two' is being a whole; being a 'one' is less than whole. When we have someone else, we have that complement; that someone to be with; that someone to pick us up when we fall down; that someone to rely upon for the rest of our lives. That's just not possible if we're trying to go through our lives alone."

Obviously she was more eloquent than that, but I truly started getting sick of it. I've blogged about being single before and I stand by that post 100%. Being single is not a curse. Being without a partner is not a badge of inferiority or defectiveness. Many times, being single can be better than being coupled. The whole "grass is always greener" phenomenon.

I'm very, very happy for my newly-married friend. Really and truly I am, for she has found herself a man to be with and he makes her happier than I've seen her in a very long time.

But all I can say is, when I fall, I can and do pick my own damn self up, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Seriously, what is the deal with the American public?

Okay, perhaps I should clarify: What is up with Republicans?

Some people have GOT to get their priorities straight.

This Mark Foley scandal has conservatives up in arms. Many a pundit now is predicting that races that once were close will tilt Democratic. Democrats, thanks for Mark Foley's predeliction for soliciting young boys for wildly inappropriate activities and liaisons, may actually have a chance to regain both houses of Congress.

Seriously, folks, this is what grinds your gears?

The White House lied to all of us about weapons of mass destruction. This has led us to thousands of dead American servicepeople, still more dead Iraqi citizens, billions of dollars in unjustified war expenses, and the feuling of international hatred toward us (which could very well lead to still more dead Americans).

Rank-and-file Republicans rallied around the lies and called those of us who questioned them "unpatriotic." John and Jane Republican -- average non-political hack people next door -- voted for "Republican" George W. Bush, helping to propel him into a second term of lies and spin.

The party which used to espouse the death of big government has sit by and watched as the federal government has grown the largest it's ever been. Maybe that's just because most of it taken up with the Department of Homeland Security. Because big government is okay if its purpose is to erode the personal liberties upon which this country is based.

A Republican sending sexual emails to teenagers is what causes everyone to throw up their hands and proclaim their disgust?

Trust me, in no way shape or form am I saying that what Foley sent to thse kids is "good" or even "harmless" -- they're seriously the stuff of phone sex lines, except these were being sent to sixteen year old boys -- but why is sex the only thing that stirs these Republicans up enough to actually get angry at your own party?

Events like this have convinced me that, at base, the Republican Party is really consumed with sex. It's apparently the only thing that really sends their blood pumping. It was sex that sent Republicans into a rabid frenzy over President Clinton. Gay marriage reliably gets Republican votes (even if some of those votes cast on the floor of Congress are cast by (shhh!) closeted gay people).

Okay, one edit: it's not just sex, it's also violence. It's the party of testosterone run amock; it's the party of boorish chest-thumping and gaudy muscle-flexing. They can't be bothered to cobble together money for public institutions like schools, environmental protection, reduced dependence on oil, libraries or universal health care, but put death and destruction and war and armaments on the table and suddenly there's a sea of green flowing out of that pork barrel. In many ways, it's like a head of household who would rather spend the family's hard-earned income on a large-screen plasma HDTV to watch the fight on Saturday night than pay the tuition for the kid's college education.

The story ends strangely though. Usually the hero, having only slightly bloodied himself while leaving his opponent in a bloody pulp, gets his pick of the hot babes waiting for him, at which point he takes her home and ravages her loins. But Heaven forfend anyone should accuse the Republican of ever having sex. Most of them seem to be quite the repressed bunch.

Just look at Mark Foley.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Iraq, 2002:

Condeleeza Rice: "But we don't what the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." -- CNN Interview by Wolf Blitzer

North Korea, 2006:

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack: "The Bush administration will continue to work with its allies in the six-party talks to discourage 'such a reckless action.'" -- WaPo

To sum up:

US Policy in Iraq: "Saddam might have nuclear weapons. We're not absolutely sure, but we can't take the risk that he does have them. We have to charge in there and stop him -- toppling an autonomous government and committing the lives of American citizens and billions of dollars in the process -- before a mushroom cloud erupts from these weapons which, again, we haven't confirmed the existence of. Why take chances?"

US Policy in North Korea: "Kim Jong Il has nuclear weapons. He's said he has them. Intelligence indicates he has them. He wants to test them. Let's keep trying to talk him down. Kim Jong Il is so susceptible to reason and level-headed dialogue that way."

Monday, October 02, 2006

An Open Letter to My Uncle

Dear Uncle in Whose House I Crashed in LA Last Week:

Thanks again for letting my parents and I crash with you the other week. I really appreciate it. It saved me significant hotel fare and it was very relaxing to be with my family in a comfortable setting.

That being said...

In addition to the fact that the tiled wall in the bathroom of the pool house is quite excessive, I thought I'd take just a little bit of time to advise you about some other stuff I picked up during my brief stay with you.

>> I'm glad your proud of your wine collection, but -- and I'm no wine expert here -- it's not all that great. Your pride about your bottles of "Two Buck Chuck" were odd and out of place. It was a decent wine, to be sure, but it was TWO DOLLARS. If you were single, that wouldn't be the way to impress a date. In a somewhat similar way, I wasn't terribly impressed when you said, "Hey, how about some wine with dinner. I have a great bottle in the kitchen. Two buck chuck!"

>> Similarly, your pride in your beer collection is seriously misplaced. Cans of Bud Light do not an extensive and cool beer collection make. The lone bottle of Heineken was a little less ghetto, but it was clear you didn't want to offer that bottle to me when you pushed the Bud Light on me instead. Of course, you then changed your mind and offered me -- again in a strangely excited way -- "Taiwan Beer." No, not a beer from Taiwan. An actual can of beer labelled "Taiwan Beer." No brand name other than that. Dude, even your thirteen-year-old son was able to recognize that as a "crappy, no-name beer." At first I told balked at him, asking what the hell he knew about "crappy, no-name beers" -- until I found out he was right.

>> Speaking of your thirteen-year-old son (my cousin): Woah man, the way you have that boy trained is really, really disgusting, dude. He's not an electrical appliance plugged you can "Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper." On way too many occasions, I was sitting next to him when we heard two sharp claps coming from another room, which caused him to jump to his feet and call out "Coming!" You probably already know this and don't care, but he rolled his eyes every time you did that. Even Maria Von Trapp, a lowly nun/governess, wouldn't subject herself or the children under her care to a means of being summoned which didn't involve calling out a name. Speaking of, your kid has a name, in both Chinese and English, so those times when you do refer to him, doing so as "Kid" in Chinese is also appallingly rude. No wonder the poor guy has issues.

>> Your lottery spending habits are craziness. I'm told you spend $45 A DAY on lottery tickets. Are you freaking nuts? If I assume 5 (rather than 7) days a week and four weeks a year, that's $900 a month you spend on lottery tickets. I'm sorry, but even the occasional win won't make up for the amount you lose on that. Sure you may hit the "big" jackpot of several million someday. But do you really think that $900 a month couldn't be better invested elsewhere for a higher long-term rate of return?

Okay, I know none of this was my place to say. See, that's why I posted it on this blog which I'm sure you don't read rather than telling you personally.