Saturday, December 27, 2008

This is Too Good

From the folks at Gawker:

"LeatherCreations, a Chicago-area furniture store, took out a quarter-page ad in Thursday's Chicago Tribune: "We sell more seats than the Governor!" Does this spell a lucrative post-politics career in endorsements for Illinois's allegedly crooked governor?"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tickle My Funny Bone

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playing for Change

...From the documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music." (Cover of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" sung by people around the world.)

Join the Movement to help build schools, connect students, and inspire communities in need through music. For more info:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Story.

This article and accompanying video from The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Simon is an example of how to write and tell a story. I will let the piece speak for itself. Please enjoy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Story of Thanksgiving

"This is a column to give thanks to you, the reader. You don’t know it, but some of you are keeping women like Sajida Bibi alive here in this remote Pakistani village. And that is a far grander reason to celebrate Thanksgiving than even the plumpest turkey."

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. As always, so thankful for my family and the ability to wake up everyday and go to work with the goal of making a difference through words. Warmest wishes to my friends and their families and loved ones. Peace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching Up with Rex

Watch CBS Videos Online
An inspiring story that will put a smile -- and a few tears -- on your face. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Too Soon

Don't call me a grinch, but the holiday season is depressing me. I think it hit me the week after Halloween. The elections were a great distraction, but it came and it's been coming ever since. What I speak of is the onslaught of holiday...uh...everything. I can't even choose a word for this. I think I'm feeling this because I feel Christmas is being "forced" on me -- us -- by department stores, advertisers, radio stations, televisions, ad nauseam. Let me warm up to the holiday season. Let me digest Halloween, acknowledge Thanksgiving before facing perhaps the most commercialized holiday out there. I don't know...perhaps I am being a grump. But with the way our economy is, I don't feel much like celebrating all that much. There are other factors for why I'm feeling this way, ones I'm trying to wrap my head around, ones I'm trying to deal with as hard as they may be. (Sigh) ... For me, the holiday season has always been a sad for me. When I was little, I told my dad that it was because I after Christmas, we wouldn't have any real holidays anymore for a while. (I know, something a 6 year old would say, or think.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Here, Here

Am dealing with a lot of rude people in my life right now. Everyone from mechanics, to store clerks, to friends I thought I had, to people who I thought cared about me. Perhaps this reverse etiquette will "save" me. And for the other people, I'll just let karma to its job.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cheney's Hometown Paper Endorses Obama

As a Wyoming ex-pat, I am darn proud of the Star-Trib for stepping outside of the redbox to publish this editorial; I know they were going against a whole lotta of grain:

By the Star-Tribune Editorial Board:

"It is a foregone conclusion that Wyoming's three electoral votes will go to Sen. John McCain. It would be easy for the Star-Tribune to simply agree with the majority of voters in this red state and endorse the Republican candidate for president. But this isn't an ordinary election, and Sen. Barack Obama has the potential to be an extraordinary leader at a time we desperately need one..."
Continue reading editorial.

CNN article.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What a Beautiful Song

I recently discovered Coldplay's acoustic version of "Lost." What a beautiful tune...
Lost! (Acoustic) [Bonus Track] - Coldplay

Gotta Love Falsies

No, not the kind that enhance your decolletage, the one that give you long, lush lashes. Was up very early for work today, so I decided to put my false eyelashes on, and wow...I think I've temporarily addicted. It adds just enough detail to your face that people notice. I love not having to apply too much eye makeup. Love it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Away Thursday

Had a rough day at work today, and come to think of it, yesterday as well. Didn't sleep well last night, awoke frantic from a terrible nightmare at 3 this morning, couldn't get back to sleep. Perhaps that is what started my bad day. Went for my morning run, and just wasn't feeling it. Thought I was famished after work, came home and ate a sandwich, made my stomach feel worse. Oh Thursday, please let me fall asleep and forget the irritants of my day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello Fall

I can definitely feel the season's changing. I've been freezing these past couple of days, and been having a hard time falling asleep. Guess I'll have to break out the cold-weather comforters. I'm wearing songs to bed now to bring down my shivers. Either a draft is coming in through my window or I'm coming down with the flu.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Young at Heart"

I've been wanting to watch this documentary for some time now, and finally got the chance to this weekend. It is an amazingly inspirational movie. It tells the story of a chorus made up of senior citizens; however, don't expect to hear standards and show tunes, these ageless chanteurs and chanteuses belt out R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock tunes. There are moments when you'll laugh and moments when you'll cry. There is a great scene in the documentary where the chorus director plays Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia," and there's a montage of cutaways showing the reactions of the seniors. Perhaps one of the most touching scenes in the film for me, is when two ailing veterans of the group practice Coldplay's "Fix You." Beautiful. Please watch "Young at Heart" if you get a chance.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ground Control to Major Zhai

China's young space program has reached a milestone...on Saturday morning, Chinese astronaut took the firs-ever spacewalk for the nation.

Mission commander Zhai Zhigang floated out of the orbiter module's hatch in the spacewalk, shown live on state broadcaster CCTV. Tethered to handles attached to the Shenzhou 7 ship's orbital module's exterior, Zhai remained outside for about 13 minutes before climbing back inside and closing the hatch behind him.

Fellow astronaut Liu Boming also emerged briefly from the capsule to hand Zhai a Chinese flag that he waved for an exterior camera filming the event.

China's next goal: to put a man on the moon in the next decade.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The New Yorker: Shouts & Murmurs

It's a great one this week. With the Feds promising a $700 billion bailout to rescue the nation's failing financial instituions, writer Andy Borowitz pleas his case for a personal government bailout in The New Yorker. If you're having a bad day, I promise this will put a big smile on your face and you'll laugh out loud.

(On a side: Caught the Emmys on Sunday, not overly impressed by the hosts or the show. But was glad several of the winners took time to push the election issue. And kudos to Laura Linney -- one of my favorites -- who gave a nod to "community organizers" who help run and shape our country. Take that Sarah Palin.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The End.

I took this photo last month at my last game at Yankee Stadium. Tonight the Bronx Bombers played their last game, and I'm sure fans will walk away with more than just a baseball game tonight.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Final Weekend

Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

The final series at historic Yankee Stadium gets underway tonight, when the Bronx Bombers hold the first of three consecutive games against the Orioles. After 85 years, New York City's Yankee Stadium will host its last game Sunday. Wish I were there...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I feel like I'm in college again. Sleepless nights for the past month -- not good. My body is in desperate need of a good night's (heck, even day's) sleep. I feel like I need to completely shut down my body, let it rest and reboot and turn it back on. Work has been busy, personal life has been busy...or perhaps stressful? Good news is, I'm beginning to run a lot better lately. My time and pace seem to be improving every week. Now if I can only work on sleeping better every week. I feel like I should be sleeping now, but I look at the clock at it's nearing 1a.m. and I can't fall asleep. What is holding me back? Oh right, the millions of neurons that are shooting off inside my head. I have too many thoughts circulating in my head.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Are You Ready for the Large Hadron Collider?

Could this spell doomsday? Don't know if you folks have been reading about the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, for short. Apparently this is all going down on Wednesday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

One Year

(Hell's Half Acre in Wyoming)

It's been a year since I left Wyoming after working/living there for 2-plus years. I remember driving back to California with my brother. The drive was long and, at times, stressful. (I was afraid my Honda was going to die on me along a barren stretch of I-80...but Honda's are trustworthy.)

I can't believe how fast this year has gone. Wow. It really does seem like it was just yesterday that I headed west and said good-bye to Wyoming. It was time I left and, though, I bid farewell to many friends and memories, I still hold Wyoming in a special place in my heart. Who would have thought that a big-city girl could acclimate into a beef-cooking, Chinese Cowgirl.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hello Again

Hi, hi...apologies for dilatory post. The conventions and hurricanes have kept me on a short leash. I have much to write about. In the meantime, recently saw two movies that I hope you'll find time to see. "Waitress" and "The Counterfeiter." Both are fantastic movies with amazing writing and acting. "Waitress" is a quirky look at how one small-town diner waitress escapes reality through pie baking; "The Counterfeiters" is based on the true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history, set up by the Nazis in 1936. The counterfeiting takes place in a concentration camp and made of Jewish men. It won this year's Oscar for best foreign film. An amazingly poignant movie. Please watch.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sen. Kennedy Speaks at DNC

Pretty amazing and inspiring how Sen. Kennedy addressed the Democratic National Convention less than 3 months after brain surgery. It was a very emotional entrance and speech. You have to give props to this man.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Walk This Way

Another warm day in the city yesterday. Temps not in the 90s or triple digits, but the humidity was there. I walked a lot too. Took the N/R into Manhattan. Went to the UWS to see some old friends and visit my old neighborhood, then went to the Fashion District to visit Mood...yes, it's as fabulous as Project Runway depicts it to be. You take an elevator to get there; an old elevator that has two doors and old, black buttons that stick out.

I forget how much you walk in New York City. One block becomes two, three, four... My only complaint: I can't seem to dodge the water drops from the air conditioners. It always drops on my head and slowly trickles down my face.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Manhattan, Momofuku & Me

I'm recovering from getting about 8 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours...a little disconcerting to think that I haven't slept for 40 hours. Good news is, I made my flight to NYC last night. Was afraid I was going to miss my early morning flight from California.

Made it. Caught a cab, and had a very interesting chat with the driver. His name was Asogai and he was from Ghana. He came to the U.S. four years ago and has been a taxi driver for the past two years. That's what I love about the city, everyone has a story, a good story to tell.

The growling in my stomach had become progressively louder somewhere around 57th and Central Park West. A pitstop in Brooklyn, and it was off to Momofuku in the East Village.

Momfuku is an Asian-themed restaurant. The menu is simple, a cross between Chinese, Japanese and Korean food. It's owned by Chef David Chang, one of the rising young chefs in Manhattan. He is known for his hot-temper, an insane amount of swearing and his high expectations of chefs and cooks.

I open the door to a young crowd sipping ramen and nibbling on Momofuku's famous buns. (The buns, by the way, are basically the chinese steamed buns you eat with Peking Duck, very similar to the wrapping of pork buns or "char siu bau.") The food was good. I was very impressed with the appetizers, especially a cold smoked duck breast dish with marinated cherries and wax beans. I also ordered the shiitake and chicken steamed buns and two different bowls of ramen. Again, the flavors were good, the mushrooms could have been seasoned more, and the ramen broth tasted a bit off.

I do have a very critical palate, but I was born with it. Add to that, growing up in a Chinese restaurant and having parents who stressed fresh ingredients, simple ingredients and precise seasoning. Overall, I was pleased with my experience there. Toward the end of our dinner, David Chang emerged from the kitchen to the line, with a few expletives in tow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Go China!

(Courtesy: Phil Walter/Getty Images)
(Courtesy: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

I'm so proud of China. I hope everyone had a chance to catch the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The opening ceremonies rocked, simply phenomenal. A bit emotional for me, as my parents got teary-eyed hearing and watching the flag-raising ceremony while the Chinese national anthem played. I'm proud to be Chinese, a Chinese American.

Friday, August 8, 2008


It is pronounced "bay-JING" not "bay-zhing" (with a zhuh). I don't know how or when people started mispronouncing Beijing. But, I feel since today is the start of the the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, I should mention that's it's "bay-JING." Jing, not zhuhjing. Xie, Xie.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Incredible, Edible Egg Goes to Korea

Have to share this link with you. I found out about this from my friend Bill. Enjoy, listen to the lyrics, pay attention to the animation.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Some New Movie Recommendations

I've been telling friends and co-workers about three movies I recently watched. No...they don't involve sex-crazed Manhattanites who drink Cosmos and wear Manolos or a man in a suit. These weren't blockbusters at cineplexes, but they were hits with critics.

"Persepolis": An amazing animated film from Iran. The Academy Award-Nominated film tells the story of a Iranian girl who grew up after the Shah in Iran, and follows her through teenage years and adulthood. There were times during the movie I felt I wasn't watching an animated piece, because there was so much drama and, amazingly, great acting by the characters. (Of course this is because of a great script). It's in French with subtitles. A must see.

"The Savages": Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are sister and brother in this comeday-drama about siblings having to face the reality of adulthood while they take care of their ailing father. Both acting and screenplay are superb. There are moments of amazing wit and humor, and pain and pathos. Linney and Hoffman are consumate actors. I laughed, I cried...

"The Diving Bell and The Butterfly"/"Le Scaphandre et le papillon": Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel directs this memoir-inspired drama about Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby, the
France editor for Elle Magazine, suffered a najor stroke when he was 43 years old, which paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Bauby uses that eye to blink out his memoir. The movie is in French with subtitles. The first 10 minutes of the film are a bit dizzying, so don't watch it if you have a headache. What drew me to this movie was the fact that it was based on real-life events. The system Bauby and his nurse creates with communicating with his link eye is pretty amazing. You'll leave this movie reciting the French alphabet.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White Bordeaux: Oft-Forgotten Bliss

Yes, yes, yes...I've been telling people about white bordeaux and how delicious it is. I'm happy the Times wrote about it. Come have a glass with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"All the news that's fit to print"

It 's going to cost you more to pick up The New York Times.

The price for the Monday to Saturday newsstand will increase 25 cents, brinking the cost to $1.50. The new price will take effect on August 18. This comes a week after the Wall Street Journal said it will raise its newsstand price by 50 cents to $2 starting July 28.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A State That Never Was in Wyoming

Another story about Wyoming in the New York Times. The article talks about how in 1939, a group of rebellious Wyoming residents wanted to form a new state called Absaroka, pronounced "ab-SOR-ka," with chunks of South Dakota and Montana. It's a great read. So to all my friends who poo-poo'ed me for working and living in Wyoming, I told you so. Wyoming is the one place where you can find the best stories that papers like the New York Times want to cover. Go Wyo!

(***This is the fourth MOST e-mailed story on the New York Times Web site.***)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Healing Touch

Please take a moment to read and watch my friend's New York Times video piece about a chiropractic service for New York City's homeless. It's a great story.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Daddy of 'em All

I went to the "California Rodeo Salinas" last night since I'm a rodeo expert now...hardly. But after having experienced two Cheyenne Frontier Days, I wanted to see how other rodeos were. First, the rodeo in "California Rodeo Salinas" is pronounced the Spanish way, in Rodeo Drive. So I went to the roh-DAY-oh to catch rodeo events. They had all the events, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, and you have Professional Bull Riders. (Wow, I do sound like a rodeo expert.) But it's nothing compared to CFD, and now I know why it's the "Daddy of 'em all." I did enjoy my time last night, in fact I had a great time with friends, and it did bring back fond memories of Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. I'm so lucky that I got the chance to experience that rodeo and the concerts and those humongous turkey legs. Cowboy up!

Nelson Mandela Turns 90

An and amazing and inspiring story.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

Not too long ago, I slightly hinted that I liked Ikea. Their stuff's cheap and cute. But let's be honest, the quality is not the best. My coffee table is wobbly and one of my bookshelves is about to collapse. But for those on a tight budget, it's not a bad option. So these aforementioned attributes made Ikea somewhat attractive to me...that is until I experienced their Returns/Exchanges line.

First, you just don't wait in line, you need to get a number like how you need one at a bakery or a butcher shop. (By the way, do they still do that?) My first attempt at returning a bookshelf was futile. I pulled number 90, and they were serving number 70. I guess, the line could have moved fast, BUT, the employees were extremely slow. After each customer return, they would slowly print out these barcode stickers, place them on the items, and then disappear behind these plastic curtains like the ones in walk-in meat freezers. After about 20 minutes of waiting, I left. I returned to Ikea today, and the wait was much slower, but again, but still draining.

Ikea is like a combination of Costco, Wal-Mart and Target. You push around truck carts, walk down big aisles, get items at wholesale prices but then there's a bit of panache and "artistic flair," if you will. Ikea just opened their 35th store in New York City. My gosh, I can just see mad New Yorkers flock to the Ikea in Brooklyn's Red Hook section just south of the BQE. I guess, as you wait for your number to be called to return a tablecloth, you can enjoy the views of Lady Liberty and Manhattan. Again, Ikea's cheap...but the parking lot, the feeling that you're lost, not finding items listed in their catalog, and the dreaded Returns/Exchanges line. Yep, you get what you pay for.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lennon's Lyrics Sold

A bit late on this post...but earlier this week John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" lyrics were sold at auction in London for nearly $800,000. The prior owner was in the hotel where Lennon penned the lyrics. Pretty Cool.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A fun article from the AP about the Beijing summer olympics. Enjoy.

More Fires

California just can't seem to get a break. More fires, hot weather and gusty winds are fanning wildfires. Gotta give it up for the firefighters. More later. Be Safe.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ugh, Defeat...

If you were like me and watched the Wimbledon match today between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, you probably yelled, squealed and jumped up and down. I was rooting for Federer, who reminds me of one of my other favorite tennis players, Pete Sampras. I watched in pain as Nadal went up two sets...but rejoiced when Federer -- the consumate athlete that he is -- came back in the third and fourth sets to force a 5-set match. It was an exciting match. My emotions went up and down. I don't care much for Nadal. Sigh, Federer did say that there is always next year. My eyes are on the U.S. Open now, and Federer's appearance. I am definitely going to try and attend a Federer match when I'm in New York to catch a Yankees game. Side: Okay, okay, I know many of you don't care for the Yankees, but c'mon, it's the Yankees, Yankees more after this season.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Independence Day snuck up on me! California is on please, if you plan to do buy fireworks, be safe and smart. On second thought, if you live in California, forego fireworks this year and just watch the fireworks display put on by the city.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wyoming on "Meet the Press"

Turned on "Meet the Press" this morning, and realized that Tom Brokaw was in Wyoming! He intertiewed Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY)...I've met and interviewed him before and he's terrific...and Gov. Bill Ritter, (D-CO). "Meet the Press" was on location at Jackson Hole, the site of the Western Governors Association Annual Meeting. Brokow asked both governors about hotbbutton issues in the West, especially ones surrounding the race for the White House. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) was also interviewed.

But again, pretty neat to see Gov. Dave on "Meet the Press." Tom Brokaw ended his interview by saying something to the effect of: "...and folks this isn't a set, this is real." Their backdrop was the Grand Teton.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if all those relationship columns are they write them specifcally for people who have never interacted with people before? Or perhaps, some do say or act like what columns say not to do.

This column caught my eye, because the headline link read, "I Spent Time in an Institution: Things you should never bring up on a first date." Haha...seriously?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hear Me Out...

I hate to post a gripe on Friday, has to do with bad drivers. Having lived in big cities all my life, I never really had to drive much. In San Francisco I took the train and Muni, in New York I rode the subway, and in China, I walked and biked. In Wyoming, you pretty much had to drive everywhere to get anywhere. But I hated driving in Wyoming sometimes, especially during the winters. I always griped about how people in Wyoming didn't know how to drive on the highways, streets...that semi's went 80 mph on I-25. All of that was true, but bad drivers are everywhere. So sorry to Wyoming drivers for singling you out. Haha. Seriously folks, don't you hate it when you're driving and cars merge onto your lane without signaling? Or worse...when they speed to get into you lane, but then drive very slow. I haaaaate that. (Okay, breathe May, breathe.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rings of Fire

California is on fire! On Saturday, the heat gave way to lightning and thunderstorms which sparked more than 400 fires. Northern California is covered in a shroud of smoke. Fire is everywhere.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's a Scorcher

Another hot one, hot night, hot weekend. Didn't sleep much last night...too hot, and some of my neighbors decided to cool off at 2 in the morning by drinking beers and setting off small firecrackers. Yeah, very smart. California is sizzling. Friday was the first day of summer and the mercury rose to the ocassion. Unfortunately, the heat is making for ripe conditions for wildfires, and it seems we've had an early and active fire season already. So for people like my neighbors who set off those little sparkle sticks -- stop.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gotta Love This Guy

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. It's been hot again here in California, which makes getting a good night's rest difficult at times. I woke up late, frantically got ready for work and sped my way to work. Is sped an actual word? Anyway, I caught an episode of The Daily Show, and I'm happy. I love Jon Stewart. This is a funny episode, he pokes fun at how reporters have been covering the Midwest floods, oh, and Steve Carell is the guest. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh Ikea...

I'd only gone in to buy a lamp. Who knew it would become a 2-day adventure. I'm talking about Ikea. It's been several years since I last visited the Swedish home-furnishings mega-store. I went with my brother to the Ikea in East Palo Alto yesterday and I'd forgotten how humongous it was. We got lost looking for kitchenware. I got my lamp, assembled it when I got home, only to realize that it only took Ikea bulbs. So I returned today right when the doors opened. I picked up some other odds and ends along the way, and couldn't find my way back to my cart. I made a mad dash through the multi-level store in my flip-flops. Another reason for my heightened sense of panic was my cell phone, keys and Ikea coupon (yeah!) was in my, I kept on turning the wrong corner. The ending to this story, I found my way back home.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert 1950-2008

By now, you would have heard that Tim Russert passed away unexpectedly Friday afternoon. I was at work when I first got news. None of my co-workers believed it. It hadn't crossed wires yet, nothing on the internet. But after 10 minutes, a ping sounded from my computer.

"NBC News has confirmed that Tim Russert, host of 'Meet the Press,' has died. He was 58."

I was -- and am -- still shocked. We sat there watching Tom Brokaw deliver the news of Russert on TV; his honesty and sadness came through as his voiced cracked at times during the announcement. I watched the special edition of Nightly News with Brian Williams, and I saw Charlie Rose's program last night: both were devoted to Russert. I cried while watching both the programs, especially Charlie Rose's. There will definitely be an absence felt on Sunday mornings.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Knew This Was Coming...

Harlem and gentrification. I saw it happen in San Francisco's Mission District and, to an extent, East Palo Alto. Interesting article in the Times today about Harlems "transformation. I especially like the quote from a neighbor: "...feta cheese instead of sharp Cheddar cheese. That’s a whole other world.”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Daredevils in The Big Apple

Another reason why I love New York.

Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon

(Photo courtesy of the BBC.)

It's that time of year again...two-thousand athletes competed in the "Escape from Alcatraz" triathlon in San Francisco. Participants swam 1.5 miles to the St. Francis Yacht Club, then biked 18 miles and finished off with an 8-mile run. This was the 28th annual race. This years winners were repeats from last year. Congratulations to and Leanda Cave from Mill Valley and Andy Potts of Colorado Springs.

I wondered from where the name Alcatraz came. According to the Federal Bureau of Prions Web site, "the name Alcatraz is derived from the Spanish "Alcatraces." In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala was the first to sail into what is now known as San Francisco Bay - his expedition mapped the bay and named one of the three islands Alcatraces. Over time, the name was Anglicized to Alcatraz. While the exact meaning is still debated, Alcatraz is usually defined as meaning "pelican" or "strange bird.""

More from the Web site: "By the late 1850s, the first military prisoners were being housed on the island. While the defensive necessity of Alcatraz diminished over time (the island never fired its guns in battle), its role as a prison would continue for more than 100 years. In 1909, the Army tore down the Citadel, leaving its basement level to serve as the foundation for a new military prison. From 1909 through 1911, the military prisoners on Alcatraz built the new prison, which was designated the Pacific Branch, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks for the U.S. Army. It was this prison building that later became famous as "The Rock.""

Perhaps you already knew this bit of history. A bit of a refresher course for me. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pride Month

June is Gay Pride Month. Let's celebrate this and embrace this. I'm fortunate to have grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area to experience some of the events that occur this whole month. This is also the month when same-sex couples can legally marry. Last month, the state Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, a ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, and on June 17, couples can get gender-neutral marriage licenses and wed. (Unfortunately, there is an intiative on the Nov. 4 ballot to ban same-sex marriage in California, and if the measure is passed, it will overturn the state court's ruling.)

***On a side note, I forgot to mention that May is National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Need to include that albeit a month late.***

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Two Movie Recommendations

"Mongol" and "The Visitor." A.O. Scott reviewed "Mongol" in today's New York Times. Here's the link:
For "The Visitor," I teared up when I first saw the trailer at the theater. The Times has preview clips on the site, so you can get a glimpse of the movie's mood.

Once Again...

...I lag on my blog posts. I do have a good excuse. Illness, catching up with errands...boys. I still have a slight cough, which my body happens to "turn on" during the most inopportune times. I feel bogged down with miscellaneous errands (mainly DMV license and registration and issues.) I need to do just cross off everything on my list and I'll be a happy camper, well sort of. I'm once again pining for NYC again; however, I am a bit hesistant with picking up everything and moving there. Ugggghhh! It's complicated...

Okay, I will write soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gold Star

Weezer's new "Pork and Beans" video gets a gold star from me. Funny and smart use of YouTube. Definitely worth a mention. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Smile on Your Face

This is a "chug." He's half chihuahua, half pug, and is 3 months old. I hope this picture puts a smile on your face.

Friday, May 16, 2008

In Search of Survivors, Hope

It's been five days since the massive quake hit Sichuan. I have to be honest, I still can't look at a video, photograph or a news article without getting teary-eyed. It's hard for me to grasp the magnitude of the quake, the immediate damage it caused and the ongoing ordeal that will ensue. The lastest reports on Friday show that the death toll now stands at 22,000, with that number expected to rise to at least 50,000 in the next several days. Possibly hundreds of thousands of people are still buried.

There have been some amazing stories of survival about children, but there have also been many tragedies. The infrastructure of schools have come under attack after several schools completely crumbled on Monday. I've read and watched numerous stories of parents sitting at former school sites, hoping that their children are safe. There was one story out of Hanwang where rescuers found a boy alive, and a man came rushing to the survivor half laughing, half crying, sure that that was his son. The boy needed to be rushed to the hospital and the man was prevented from going close to the boy, but the video shows the rescuer embracing the father as he wept. Another story shows a distraught mother who's found her daughter under rubble, but is unable to get to her. The mom is pulling gently on her daughter's legs. The mom recognzied her daughter's shoes.

I know this earthquake has affected millions of people. For me personally, I can't help but to think about my students in Chengdu, the ones who lived in the villages north of Chengdu hardest hit by the quake.

On a side note: The Wolong Panda Reserve is near the epicenter of the quake. It's home to 86 giant pandas and red pandas. Many, including my mom, wondered if the pandas were hurt in the quake. The head of Sichuan's tourism bureau said this week that the pandas were not hurt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dujiangyan, Sichuan

New York Times. Destruction in Dujiangyan, the epicenter of the earthquake.

The New York Times. The parents of a child killed in the school collapse in Dujiangyan. The child's body is covered with cloth.

Many people have never heard of the town Dujiangyan (pronounced "DOO-jang-yan") in Sichuan until yesterday when media reports cited it as the epicenter of Sichuan's 7.9 magnitude earthquake. It is believed 10,000 people died in this town alone. But the most horrifying story is how 900 students are believed to be trapped and buried under rubble after their school collasped. This morning, China's state news agency says hope is waning for rescue crews to find many survivors.

I remember Dujiangyan. I remember it fondly.

I had been living in Sichuan for a month, and my "grand-uncle" (a transliteration of what I call him in Chinese) and his family took me to Dujiangyan on a weekend trip. We met some of their family friends there, and I remembered the son of the other family prepared an English report for me on why Dujiangyan is special. He was very bright and his English was quite good for a 12 year old. He told me that he was very proud that he was from Dujiangyan because the city's irrigation system is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We spent about an hour and a half touring this irrigation system, but I wasn't quite sure why we were all taking photos of this structure.

The structure was built in 227 B.C. during the Warring States Period of China by the general Li Bing (who is very popular in Chengdu and has many statues and temples dedicated to him). The town was very prone to flooding due to its proximity to the Min River, so Li Bing commissioned an artificial levee to redirect a portion of the rivers's flow to discharge excess water to the plains.

Later in the day, we went up Mount Qingcheng, home to Taoist temples. It was beautiful up there: lush, tranquil and calming. We had dinner that evening in Dujiangyan City, and I remembered writing in my journal on the car ride home, "What an amazing and strong city."

That was the last memory I had of Dujiangyan. But as I see pictures of the earthquake's aftermath in Dujiangyan, I can't help but to think back what I wrote in my journal. Such a tragedy, and I can't even begin to think how much strength that town needs for the parents, the families.
This is a picture I took on Mount QingCheng, Dujiangyan.

Family Okay

A big relief this morning, I heard from my relatives in Chengdu this morning and everyone is okay there. My grandmother, aunt and uncle, cousins live in Guangdong, and they're okay. The earthquake was more damaging to the north of Chengdu and Sichuan. People in southeast China felt the aftershocks, but nothing as strong as Sichuan and Gansu.

Monday, May 12, 2008

7.9 Earthquake in Sichuan, China

(Map Courtesy of the New York Times)

I'm sure many of you have already heard about the earthquake in China that happened Monday afternoon. As of 11:00 AM Pacific time, China's state media reports that 8,533 people are dead, including as many as 5,000 people in a single county. (This number is expected to climb throughout the day). There's also reports that 900 students are trapped beneath a collapsed high school in Dujiangyan City in Wenchuan County.

News of this is especially hard for me because I lived in Sichuan when I was a teacher at a communist boarding school there. I know, and I've been, to the cities and provinces that are being mentioned in the news reports. I've been trying to get through to my relatives, my friends and my former students; however, communication to China is difficult now. Several cell phone towers are down, and many people are trying to phone their relatives.

The New York Times and CNN are doing a great job with updating the latest information about this earthquake.
UPDATE 7:15 PM (Pacific Time)/Monday May 12, 2008:
No luck. I still haven't been able to get through to my relatives in Chengdu. I've been calling on day. There have been times when I get a dial tone, other times, it's just silence and then an operator says my call didn't go through. One time, instead of a dial tone, I heard a very unusual and somewhat eerie musical tune. It was odd, because it sounded "pretty," but the melody was just unnerving. The tune played for 30 seconds and then it cut to the tone you get when you're on the phone and you get disconnected. I've been thinking about all the people I know in Sichuan, and I have this really uneasy feeling. I think about the school, my students, the shopowners I met, and the people who I didn't know but saw and encountered during my stay and travels there. The AP, CNN and The New York Times are reporting that at least 10,000 are feared dead; I know that that number will go up as we head into the evening and tomorrow.


It's heeeeeere. There've been rumored reports about the release of Blackberry's long-awaited new phone with an amazing interface, and today the company unveiled it. "The Bold, or 9000, has twice the screen resolution of the current Curve model, making for a very sharp display. It matches the resolution, but not the size, of the screen on Apple's iPhone." Here's an article from the Associated Press.

New top-of-the-line BlackBerry doubles screen resolution
By PETER SVENSSON – 1 hour ago

NEW YORK (AP) — Research In Motion Ltd. on Monday introduced its first major new BlackBerry model in more than a year: the Bold, a high-end model that further demonstrates the company's desire to make tools for both work and play.

The Bold, or 9000, has twice the screen resolution of the current Curve model, making for a very sharp display. It matches the resolution, but not the size, of the screen on Apple Inc.'s iPhone, which has emerged as a potent competitor in the "smart phone" category.

AT&T Inc. on Monday said it would be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Bold.

It also has much more internal memory, a glossy metallic look, and adds corporate-strength Wi-Fi capabilities to third-generation cellular and Bluetooth radios.

Otherwise it stays close to the formula of the Curve, with a horizontal screen above a trackball and a keyboard with one letter per key.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM didn't announce a price for the Bold, nor agreements with specific carriers. It said the phone would be available from various carriers this summer.
AT&T is the only U.S. operator with a cellular broadband network compatible with the initial Bold model. Later versions could work on the Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless networks, according to RIM co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis.
Like the Curve and the Pearl, BlackBerry's consumer-oriented phones, the Bold has a full-size headset jack and a camera that can also capture video. At the same time, it has dual-band Wi-Fi, a feature previously only found on a model aimed at the corporate market.
The Bold will also have exchangable back plates in different colors, a first for a BlackBerry.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day...

...Mom and all my friends who are moms. Words can't express my thanks to my mom. I hope you have a fantastic day today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Myanmar or Burma?

Page One headlines from the New York Times and the Washington Post, May 8, 2008.

It's been nearly a week since the devastating cyclone hit Myanmar in South East Asia. At the start of the week, I heard many mispronunciations of Myanmar ("MY-an-mar" is wrong). It's pronounced"MEE-ehn-mar" or "mee-AHN-mar." There's also been some confusion about the name of the country with newspapers and television stations going back and forth between Myanmar and Burma. Slate has an article about this issue, and the writer goes into origins of the name, and how certain organizations label the nation.

Regardless of the name or the pronunciation, Myanmar's military regime needs to open the country's doors to receive relieft aid. As of this morning (5/10/08) , the junta allowed one U.S. cargo plane to enter the country with food and other relief supplies. Let's hope for the best.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tavern on the Green Comes to SF

The iconic New York City restaurant is making its way to the west coast, finding a home in San Francisco's Metreon. The 30,000-square-foot restaurant will overlook Yerba Buena Gardens, and will feature some of its Central Park signatures: Verdant topiaries, white lights, and of course, a plethora of tourists. TOTG opened in 1974 and remains one of the largest-grossing independently owned restaurants in the country. Even if you've never been to the Central Park establishment, TOTG has made cameos in movies and television shows, including "Ghostbusters," "Wall Street," and "Sex and the City." Many restaurant critics have given lukewarm reviews of the restaurant for its long wait and satisfactory food. We'll see what happens when TOTG comes to San Francisco. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a tourist trap, and that the new chef (Brian Young, former chef de cuisine of Michelin restaurant Le Bernardin and executive chef at Citarella the Restaurant) will create...good food.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Gas prices are high, and I've resigned to the fact that I'm going to have to pay up when I fill up. There's no going around it. Sometimes I'll shut my eyes to avoid looking at the digital numbers on the price window of the pump, sometimes I won't wait till my tank is empty to fill up so my final price won't be high. But none of that works. Gas is expensive, and I've embraced it. As I thought about this, I realized I need to learn to embrace certain other things in my life with my eyes open. Specifically, men.

I need to realize that certain behaviors in men (the ones I know) are a given or constant and no matter how hard I try to rationalize them in my head...nothing's going to change, it might in the future, but I should take things for what they are, accept it and be okay with it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

May, May, May

Not my name, but the month. I forgot to post on May Day (Thursday), but back when I was little, I dreaded the month of May because classmates would feel the need to make "extra" fun of me because of my name. I also got the "Is your name May because your birthday's in May?" The answer is no. I still get that nowadays; but I also get comments like "It's your month! You should milk it." I won't. Usually when May (the month) rolls around, I like to use the Chinese spelling of my name, Mei.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Go Wyo

It's not that often that the New York Times cover small towns in Wyoming. Living two years in Wyoming did not make me a "Wyomingite;" however, I do feel a bond to the Cowboy/Equality state. So now, every time I see an article or news item about Wyoming, I get excited.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Father of LSD Dies

Albert Hofmann, father of the drug LSD, dies in Switzerland

GENEVA (AP) - The father of LSD has died.
Albert Hofmann was 102 when he died of a heart attack at his home in Switzerland yesterday.
The chemist discovered the mind-altering drug in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains.

He became the first human guinea pig when a tiny amount of the hallucinogen seeped on to his finger during a 1943 experiment. He later took a larger dose and said he was filled with an
overwhelming fear that he would "go crazy."
For decades after it was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann defended his invention. He says he produced the drug "as a medicine" and it wasn't his fault if people abused it. But he also wrote a book titled "LSD - my problem child."