Monday, October 25, 2004

"There were 73 of us livin' in a cardboard box / All I got for Christmas was a lousy bag of rocks / every night for dinner, we had a big ole chunk o' dirt / if we were really good, we didn't get desert." -Weird Al Yankovick, "When I Was Your Age"

The conversation went like this.

Me: Now time to go home and do some homework.
Her: So, you're like, in grade...twelve?
Me: Uh...I'm in college right now. I'm 27.

This may have to do with the fact that I was wearing my baseball hat backwards, but at any rate, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be insulted or flattered. In addition, this throws my whole rule of thumb when determining the age of an Asian person completely out of whack (take the age that you think they are, then add about three or four).

Sure, being a lot younger looking has its benefits. For one, I won't look completely out of place in places where young people tend to congregate (as if I did any congregating when I was younger anyway), and if I was an actor, this would be a godsend (I can still play teenagers!). But on the other hand, people aren't taken as seriously if they look much younger, and if I forget my ID and I want to buy beer, I'm going home empty handed.

All of a sudden, I'm recalling a conversation with one of my classmates:

"You're 27? Wow! I thought you were one of us!"
"Excuse me?"
"Y'know, one of us young people."

They say age is only a state of mind, but that one made me feel really, really old.

For people who wanna know my secret, there is none, really. Apart from staying young by hitting the gym, eating properly, and not smoking, drinking, or excessively partying, there isn't much to it. But, like the joke goes...

Patient: I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't party, I don't fool around. So, I'm asking you, doctor. How long am I going to live?

Doctor: Live? What for?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hit the gym and make myself a protein shake when I'm done.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

To borrow from a blog from an acquaintance, it's only appropriate that this particular blog is entitled...

Food for Thought

Today, I celebrated a friend's birthday (happy 28th, Karen!). As it was intended as a potluck, I was requested to bring a food dish. Being that I was coming after school, I didn't exactly have time to prepare food, so I decided to take the easy way out and grab a dish of chow mein or something. Thinking I would just phone up the restaurant, get them to prepare the dish, and I would pick it up on the way.

So, with the wonderful tool that is the Internet, I punch up the local search engine. "Ho Do" and "Surrey" were the search terms. Among the listings for local area businesses and the place in the on-line phone book, it spat this out:


I scroll down and find an entry for "Ho Do."

Perishable foods not being stored under proper temperatures. Raw meats stored above ready to eat food products. Kitchen sanitation was poor, and requires thorough cleaning of all equipment, shelves, walls and floor. Dishwasher not reaching sanitizing temperatures.

Worse yet, there is another infraction from them, dated barely a month and a half later.

Failure to obtain food from an approved source (!), failure to protect food from contamination, failure to ensure proper condition of equipment, utensils and food contact surfaces, failure to maintain premises, equipment and utensils in a sanitary condition.

While not quite as bad as some of the other entries (mentions of "rodent infestations", "cockroaches"), it draws enough concern for me to contact an acquaintance to recommend another restaurant within the area. Mind you, I've pretty much eaten at all of the Chinese restaurants in the area, but it never hurts to have a second opinion (although the fact that my sister ate there and almost cut the inside of her mouth on a STAPLE that was buried in a plate of beef noodles should've been a more obvious indicator).

I am recommended to go to Lee Yuen, another local Chinese seafood restaurant. Firing up the handy-dandy search engine, it spits out the same page. Realizing that I've already seen the page, I scroll down a little further.

Failure to ensure proper construction, condition or use of equipment, utensils and food contact surfaces. Failure to maintain premise, equipment and utensils in sanitary conditions. Sale of contaminated food.

And to think, I used to like eating there. While most restaurants get shut down for a day at most, a closer look reveals that Lee Yuen was shut down for the better part of two weeks. Will I go eat at this restaurant? Or at ANY restaurant for that matter?

Sure, most restaurants are safe to eat at. However, my mom used to work as a payroll clerk in a Chinese restaurant. From what she tells me, if one were to go into the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, you'd never eat there again.

Eh, I needed to expand the number of dishes I can cook anyway. I'm sick of cooking nothing but stir-fried vegetables and meat.

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Sunday, October 17, 2004

I'm starting to wonder if I'm slightly masochistic, given my penchance towards biting off more than I can chew. But, one thing that proves to be an effective strategy in such a case is to spit out the said mouthful, cut it into smaller chunks, then try again. Not that I recommend doing this at the dinner table, mind you, because that's just frickin' gross and no one really wants to see that.

As I write this, I have a rhetorical analysis draft due tomorrow (only of which half of the criteria of the assignment can be met, but thankfully, it is only a draft), a 600-700 word memoir due on Tuesday (I already have the first draft done), an electronic resume for Thursday (this will take all of five minutes), and the final draft of the rhetorical analysis on Friday. I also have to begin transcriptions for all of my interviews. This includes the ones conducted for Fangoria magazine, but also the one done for my writer profile/interview assignment. Oy.

Next week, I don't even wanna think about. But, I do know I have another three or four assignments due that same week. Everyone says that crunch time is in November, but I'm feeling something crumbling right now.

Crumbling...mmm...rasberry crumble...

But on the plus side, I managed do deal with a very accommodating film cast and crew yesterday and the day before, aced my grammar quiz on Wednesday, and was able to complete a backflip in Capoeira today without landing on my head or hurting my feet.

So, what is there to do now that I have a mouthful of crap in my mouth? I can either swallow it and choke, or I can spit it out and cut it up into itty-bitty chunks, and hope no one notices I just spat something back onto the plate.

I'm choosing the spit method. Who cares what other people think.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

School / work

I have about two or five major assignments due over the course of the next two weeks. Evidently, I didn't think I was busy enough because I decided to take another writing assignment for Fangoria magazine. This time, I'm covering Sam's Lake, a horror film that is being shot out of Nanaimo. I get to take a ferry for this one.

One of my homework assignments was to meet and interview a professional writer, and then to do a complete profile. I chose Andy Linardatos, an award winning copy writer and creative director for Rethink Communications, a local advertising company. I managed to get tons of great information and I know I'll get a pretty good mark on the assignment.

I was pretty surprised that I managed to get a prominent local writer, although I was also impressed that some of the other people in my class managed to get some very high-profile writers as well, including Vancouver Sun sports writer Ian McIntyre, RCMP media liason Tim Shields, and local political pundit Rachel Mardsen.

Yeah, I know. I was pretty floored too. I mean, Ian McIntyre. I love that guy's column!

Pop Culture Vulture

Last Saturday, I caught a preview screening of Team America: World Police. As it's brought to you by the same guys that created South Park, it's going to have lots of swearing and violence, and somewhere buried underneath is a strong political message. But it's still pretty funny to boot...they don't spare anybody in it. They make fun of everyone from Michael Moore to Alec Baldwin (who allegedly offered his voice talents to the filmmaker).

One thing I can say for has one particularly memorable scene that makes the vomit scene in Monty Python's Meaning of Life look like a hiccup.

Person that Writes Things

My on-set report for Fangoria on Alone in the Dark is still indefinitely on-hold pending release of the film, although my other set report of Thralls is due for publication early 2005 to coincide with the film's video debut.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Canadian Thanksgiving doesn't seem to be so much as a big deal for Canadians as it is for Americans. For one, it wasn't made a national holiday until 1957. But, it is also tied in much less with Canadian history than with American history. While most folks know that American Thanksgiving is celebrated to commemorate the settling of the pilgrims in Massachusetts and the shared meal between the native people (we have countless Thanksgiving TV specials to thank for that), most Canadians aren't aware of the history behind it.

There isn't one particular concrete historical event that is accepted to be the main reason for Canadian Thanksgiving, but here's a quick sampling:

-It was originally a European tradition to celebrate the fall harvest, which was brought over to Canada when European settlers arrived.
-In 1578, English traveller Martin Frobisher attempted to find a northern passage to the Orient, but instead settled in Canada. The "first" Thanksgiving was held to celebrate his good fortune.
-Was held in April 15th, 1872 after the then-future King Edward VII recovered from a serious illness.

Whatever the history, there are still reasons to be thankful. What am I thankful for?

-A supportive family that I know I can turn to when I need them. This family has gotten a little bit smaller this year, but it is still my family nonetheless.

-Good friends. As much as people constantly come in and out of my life, I'm grateful that I have people that I can talk to, hang out with, and just be myself without worrying about being judged.

-My health. Mind you, I'll always have to work at this one (proper diet and exercise), but I'm grateful that I'm not chronically ill like my late father or struggling with addiction issues like many other people. I'm also grateful that I didn't fall off that ladder last weekend, or else I'd be composing this from a hospital bed. But, like I later brought up in one of my classes that week, "The best thing about almost dying at work is that you get to go home early."

-Heroes. We always need more of them, not ones that are pre-fabricated by the media. I mean people like Christopher Reeve, an actor that fought for spinal cord research, who passed away yesterday, as opposed to heroes that pre-fabricated by the media.

-The stuff I have. Thankfully, I'm not particularly materialistic, which was important this year because I ended up bouncing around from job to job before going back to school. This is important as I'm not able to fill my life with as much crap as I used to (eg: clothes, eating out, stuff that I generally don't need).

-The Internet. Where would I be without it?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all my readers.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

"And remember, bring back something illegal!"

This is something I have been known to say whenever I know someone is travelling to a foreign country. As local customs vary from place to place, so does the idea of contraband. This is partly due to traditions held by each culture and ignorance held by others.

My mom is going to Hong Kong next month to visit relatives for about a week. Like the last time she went, I'm asking her to bring over a pair of authentic nunchaku. I'm not talking about those foam padded Nerf ® ones that you coudln't so much as kill a fly with. I'm talkin' those ones that are hard-wood, joined with a swivel chain, and could really be used to put a dent in a person's skull. And they require significant skill and practice to use effectively.

For some odd reason, Canadian customs has seen fit to confiscate melee weaponry such as this. As a martial artist that lacks carpetry skills, I don't know how to make my own from raw materials so I have been trying to find a way to get a pair of my own. But, given the hard line stance on exotic weaponry, it's not going to be easy.

This has always confused me, because martial arts weaponry requires an amount skill to use, as improper use will inevitably result in injury of the user (how many clips from America's Funniest Home Videos show a guy smacking himself in the groin with a pair of nunchuks?). It would be far easier to use any number of every day objects to seriously lay the smackdown on someone if you're so inclined. All you need is a little imagination.

-Fire extinguisher. You can pull one of these off the wall and put a dent in someone's head if you convert it into a makeshift bat.

-Ballpoint pen. Jammed into someone's nose, it can cause excruciating pain. Forced up even further, it can penetrate the sinus cavity and enter the victim's brain. It could also be used as a stabbing weapon, especially through sensitve areas such as a person's eyeball.

-Soda can. When torn in half, the aluminum is very sharp and could easily break skin.

As it is, nunchaku were supposedly intended for use by the people of feudal Japan to crush rice (the most prevalent theory) and to reign in horses (based on how the word is derived from the Okinawan words for horse, nun and briddle, chiyaku). Given the fact that all the bladed weapons were banned by the feudal lords, the martial artists turned to farming implements.

While there were regulations against the importing of such weapons prior to the 9/11 attacks, they are even more stringent now. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has a list detailing items that are restricted for carry-on luggage. While their list does not include martial arts weapons, it makes some particularly odd allowances and restrictions. Some of them make sense, such as a fire extinguisher. This is not due to its potential use as a weapon, but because of the pressurized gas contained inside. But others?

Sporting implements like hockey sticks are restricted. In a very tight environment, this would make for a highly impractical weapon, as would golf clubs and lacrosse sticks (which are also restricted). Yet they allow umbrellas (which are potential stabbing weapons) and wooden canes (which are potential bludgeoning weapons).

Oddly enough, they allow whips. I'm wondering if that's an error.

It never fails to amuse me, how any number of everyday objects could be used to much more deadly effect than martial arts weapons in the wrong hands, yet even an otherwise legitimate, law-abiding martial artist would be considered breaking the law by posessing them.

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Friday, October 01, 2004


Today ranks as the shortest working day on record. My job involved power washing somebody's house for painting purposes. As I climbed up the ladder, I realized that the ladder was improperly set. As a result, it was beginning to slip as I was standing at the second floor.

I was forced to grab the ladder and the roof at the same time, dropping the sprayer. It hit the pavement below. As I went back down to move the ladder and pick up the sprayer. An important piece was broken off, rendering it useless (however, it is repairable).

Total elapsed time: One hour, forty-five minutes. I'll have to go back tomorrow pending the repair and availability of equipment.


The temptation to slack and veg is very strong. My X-Box beckons from the corner while still shrinkwrapped DVDs scream out to be opened, liberated, and viewed. Not surprisingly, they scream to me louder than my school books. I try to justify it, saying that the DVD I'm about to watch ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", FYI) needs to be viewed so I can write a "Script-to-Film Comparison" article for, but when it all boils down, it's two hours that should be spent studying and doing homework (even more when you consider how long it takes the write the article).

"Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy but socially dead."

However, I do have the first draft of one assignment due. I'm supposed to write a 400-word essay on the process of choosing a dictionary. As we're writing for a specific intended audience (aspiring writers), I decided to write it in a very sarcastic manner, outlining the alternative uses of a dictionary. As many writers live in squallor, are broke, and can't afford proper furniture, one could use a dictionary for kindling, killing rats and cockroaches, and propping up the short leg of a couch.

Love Life:



Person that Writes Things / Pop Culture Vulture:

My film review of Shark Tale is now on-line at Screenwriter's Voice. If you don't really feel like reading the whole thing, let's just say that the story and characters jump the shark really early in the film (pun intended).

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