I’m continually amazed by the blog-ness of the internet world. I can spend hours in semi-voyeuristic rapture reading random blog upon random blog. And just like actually “meeting” people in the real world, you run into the good, the bad, and the truly horrendous. Some make you scratch your head and wonder how they ever made it out of high school (or even GRAMMAR school), others, scintillating amazement by their artistic content and expression. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of ideas, experiences, and lives – and every once in awhile I feast, like it’s Blog Thanksgiving.

Recently, in an effort to do some research on my hopeful trip through SE Asia, I’ve been reading up on a number of expat blogs in said SE Asia. No offense to any current, potential, and or past expats, but generally speaking, it’s a population of some very eccentric (sometimes icky, for lack of a better word) people. With that said, I’ve come across some really amazing people who are just “doing there thing” in one country or another. When reason proves impetus enough, I’ve commented thankfully on those blogs who share some very impassioned ethics and insight in their current expat lives. It’s wonderful to know that the world is globalizing, but, more oft than not, there tends to be an annoyingly ingrained sense of cultural superiority – which sometimes infuriates, but more likely, bores the hell out of me. This, in itself, is topic enough for an in-depth digression into “how people can be absolute morons” in foreign countries (at times, I include myself in this category).


I watch my mother prepare for her trips – she goes to the library and checks out all the travel book staples; Fodor’s, Rick Steve’s, Lonely Planet, Frommers all laid out on the kitchen table. Notebook, highlighter, and copied pages in hand, she goes meticulously through, searching for her mystic adventure. As paths wind through rainforests, and biking trails turn to carabiners and ruck sacks, she guides the guides through a maze of natural wonders, and artistic monuments, splaying the cultural wealth of each nation she yearns to collect in her collage of countries visited. She’s the consummate middle aged adventurer, a traveler, a sojourner, a modern day explorer, with eyes and heart often bigger than physical ability, but she always finds a way, her way, and destinations are conquered step by inexorable step.

From the plateaus of Machu Pichu, to the currents of the Amazon, from hospital beds in Illocos Norte and Cebu to rocky faces along the Dolomite ridges of Northern Italy, she’s faired more seas than many, and has an imagination for many more. Father in toe, and a strong sense of fortitude, often less than accurate sense of directions, she’s never put off by the potential for something new. She has stories to tell, and she has advice to give, dozens of countries, hundreds of experiences – what a blog she could have to read!


I think I’ll try and keep a better log on my blog while I’m on my trip – it’s cool how the “narrative” traditions of old, have been developed into this cyber storyland, where anyone, and literally ANYONE and their pet dog can be authors of some sort.

Hooray to us bloggers!


i think i’m sick of adoption everything.

i’m a kad – currently – sick of kads.

and i feel more than a little bad about it.

it’s not that i feel better than anyone, and it’s not that i think it’s not something worthwhile to read, write, and talk about it.

but sometimes, it just makes me sick.


on another note – i’d like to quit my job and travel through southeast asia for a couple of months.

what am i running away from?


“the good earth” – pearl s. buck – fantastic read, i don’t know how i missed it all these years.

i thought my blog needed an update, but didn’t have the time to actually do anything original – so i apologize for posting some old writing.


weekend at home
when i think back upon it i wonder how i survived all those years, growing up here. this weekend, i was revisited by ghosts of my past, the three companions of so many years: seclusion, separation, segregation.

saturday night, i hit up all the old local standards, the globe, branagan’s, the dub (dublin house), and ended at red. i didn’t see a single asian the entire night. i didn’t see another minority, until i went to red (an upscale hip, hip-hop lounge). in general, i was intoxicated enough to not really notice or care, but later, contemplating it all, it hit me how out of place i must’ve “looked”, which transitioned to how i subconsciously “felt”.

sunday. the first sunday of lent. i attended mass where my father sings in the choir. in the hundreds of faithful, my awareness heightened from the night before, not a single minority. walking down the center aisle to receive communion contemplating the body and blood of Jesus, i couldn’t help but be nagged by the feeling that i was the “odd-one out”. were those stares, furtive glances, slight rises of eyebrows? and how could i blame them, squished as i was between my italian mother, and the beefy investment banker looking guy behind me. my flat face, slanted eyes, black hair, and darker toned skin couldn’t be missed, in this crowded white collar, old money congregation. i blushed. embarrassed. shy. and i piously bowed my head further.

i went to brunch with my dad. the broadway diner. you can’t miss the logos of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and Phantom of the Opera posters hanging just inside the window. we were discretely sat in the back corner. over the cup of joe, we talked about my dad’s recent trip to guatemala. the waitress came to take our order, and i saw the ever so slight questioning look. two eggs over easy, side of buckwheat pancakes, and a large glass of oj i say. was that registered surprise for how fluent my english sounded? not a single asian, let alone minority (do we count the hispanic bus boys/girls?) crossed my path. i was singularly alone. and for some reason, feeling like i was in the wrong place. i didn’t belong here. i had disturbing flashes of grammar school.

dare i admit that i went to see brokeback mountain that night? how could i say no to my own mother. i almost got out of it, but my dad was called to the hospital, what a convenient emergency. i couldn’t let her go alone to the movies, and she couldn’t wait to see the “scenery of backcountry wyoming on the big screen…” (yes, these are the types of reasons why my mother goes to the movies; story lines, plots, actors, directors are all beside the point). we drove to a discount indy theatre in bradley beach. driving through the mamouth turn of the century and early 19th century mansions of monmouth beach, deal, and asbury park, i realized, all of them were painted white. symbolically white. the theatre had about a hundred people already seated, we missed the best part, the previews. white. i slid deeper into my seat. i mean really, who goes to the movies with their mom on a sunday night, and to see gay cowboys? i wasn’t white.

the train into the big apple this morning was crowded with the usual suits and wannabe commuting actors. i slept. but how glorious it was to see so many colors walking to my office. so many faces. i am anonymous in this city. i’m just a patch on an infinitesimal quilt. not a single raised eyebrow, furtive glance, questioning look; or there was that one, but she was probably just checking out my new duds…

The Korean National Flower is the “Mugung hwa” – also known as, “The Rose of Sharon”.


My Korean teacher last night told me, “The spirit of the Korean people is like the national flower…”

“mugung” means “forever/eternity” and “hwa” is the chinese character for flower…

The Korean people have lasted, survived – the flowers survive for a long time, blossoming in early summer and staying in bloom through to almost November.

Am I like the mugung-hwa?


My Korean teacher also said, “The Japanese national flower is the ‘sakura’ – or the ‘cherry blossom’. Every cherry bud blooms in one week, and then all falls to the grown the next. This is the spirit of the Japanese people.”

So I’m in the market for a new digital camera. My main complaint with what’s been pointedly called, “shooters” aka point-and-shoot (your compact digital camera) is the delay. I’ve recently been educated in the science of “delay”, and with those cameras there seems to be a number of different types. Being as I’m not a very patient person, and the fact that I tend to like to have 3-4 takes of a single picture – I’m sick of all of them.

As a result, I’ve been directed towards the significantly more expensive SLR (single lens reflex) cameras – specifically DSLR’s (digital single lens reflex). Size is an important factor – I hate carrying anything around with me – and I hate the “Japanese tourist” look even more (pardon the racist stereotyping). Upon researching “smallest DSLR cameras” I came across the following list:

Samsung GX-1L
Samsung GX-1S
Nikon D40
Canon Rebel xTi
Pentax K110D

I had a long conversation with one of my Korean friends who is a design director and who flashes his $5k Leica M8 around like a family heirloom (who can blame him with that kind of hardware <– wow, that’s nerdy); the results seem to point to the Canon Rebel xTi. It’s smaller, powerful for the price, and reasonably priced with some of the fastest shutter and writ speeds in its class. The problem is – I’m not in love with it. I can’t really say why I’m not, it just doesn’t seem that cool. Weird, right? I know…


Not that anyone reads my blog – but if you do, and have any knowledge of DSLR’s I’d be intrigued to hear your thoughts.

As far as dream cameras are concerned – I’d like someone to buy me this Leica Digilux 3 DSLR – if you’d like to contribute, you can email me privately…

Leica Digilux 3

Well, it’s 2:36am and I’m awake writing this blog why?  It’s possibly due to being hyped up on the medrol (methylprednisolone) dose pack I’m currently taking.  Or perhaps my mind is going in circles about the last couple of scenes from Babel, which I innocuously, yet deliciously, illegally downloaded via one of my many p2p/ftp programs.  I’m not sure if I liked it – the brain hasn’t made a decision about that, but it certainly was tense enough.

Yes, I have rung in the New Year in new fashion, with a sudden diagnosis – Bell’s Palsy.  I woke up Tuesday morning with the inability to speak out of the right side of my mouth.  It’s progressively gotten worse – though, I hope the meds will begin to reverse some of the affects – droopy right hemispheric facial palsy wasn’t on the top 10 list of “To Do’s” for 2007.  Let’s hope it stays off the list.

In any case, I think I’ll try and follow the doctor’s orders and “get some rest, don’t drink, smoke, or due drugs (except for the many that we’ve prescribed for you)”.

I make a conscious effort to write stuff on this blog – and in fact many times, sign in, open up the new entry, and that’s sort of when all the good intentions sort of “poof” and disappear.  There’s alot of leadup and very little follow through – THAT is on the list of 2007 “To Do’s” – follow through.

This past weekend I went running near my parents’ house. It’s a small suburban, yuppie town with too much money, and too little intellect (my humble opinion). Probably, in an overly protective niche sense, a very good place to raise kids, safe, great school system, and a nurturing/fortifying atmosphere – if you’re wealthy, white, and relatively conservative.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, sunny, dry, and 75 degrees, perfect conditions for my usual 5 mile loop around the lazy side streets where newer mansions find residence side by side the old school ranches from the 60’s and 70’s. Taking off down my driveway, hanging a right and starting to get into that mind-numbing rhythm which always bodes for a “good” long run, I was suddenly jarred to a screeching halt. Making a turn onto my less-than-traveled street was a white BMW of four apparent teenagers. If they were 18 (required age for driving in NJ) or 22 was hard to tell – but what attracted me to pay attention was the waving hand out the window of the backseat. What, for a split second, I thought might be a friendly wave, focused itself as a waving middle finger. Following in sequence, as they sped by me, was the sneering, jeering “KONNNNIIICHIWA CHING CHONGGGG!”.

I felt punched in the face, ashame and shock all rolled into an instant of remembered alienation and stinging illegitimacy. And then the rage. The flushed cheek, inner ear roaring, heart palpitating, tunnel vision red. I had half turned to sprint after them, knowing that they would be stopping at one of the houses on my street. On MY street – but was it really mine? And again, that doubt – that thought, that perhaps I really didn’t belong there, here, in that place where you find wealth, privilege, and white.

I spent a good 3 or 4 miles raging internally, thinking about how I would be sitting on that guy’s chest pounding away on his glee filled, stupidly smiling face – thump, thump, thump – in rhythm with my feet on pavement.


It only took another couple of miles for me to spend myself – I reached the end of my driveway half expecting to see the white BMW coming roaring past me – half hoping that it would, and half thinking about getting into my own car and going to go look for them. They hadn’t only wronged me racially, they had wronged me by making me doubt my right of existence. And who argues that racism is dead in America? Complete ignorance.

My solace was found later that night in the warm enveloping understanding of Julia. My peace found in her condemnation, my rage drained by her gentle ablutions – and I thank her for it every day – she is always finding strength to calm my soul…thinking less of her own for mine.

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