Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Piggy cakes: Customers at Shinsegae Department Store in downtown Seoul, Sunday, look at cakes shaped like pigs to celebrate the Year of the Pig.
(photo and caption from The Korea Times)

새해 복 많이 받으세요* or Happy New Year!

I was a lazy expatriate and just chose to stay at home. After being part of the spirited World Cup crowd in Seoul City Hall Plaza this summer, I just wasn't in the mood to deal with jostling through crowds or making my way home after the festivities were over.

A demi- celebrity friend of mine was a part of the big New Years show at Seoul City Hall Plaza, but even with access to a nice cozy spot, I just didn't want to brave the cold and the crowds to get to the cozy spot.

Like I did when I was young with my parents, I stayed in the warmth of my home. I actually slept through the turn of midnight the way my dad always managed to do. However, my cell phone woke me up when it started rattling with Happy New Year text messages. I do love the connectivity in Korea even when it interferes with my sleep.

I wished my cat a Happy New Year. Filled her special food plate with, well, special food and went back to sleep. My cat seems to be happy. It's been a week of moist food and premium leftovers (premium salmon I bought at the department store down the road, leftover chicken (the parts I don't like), etc.) That's a great change because now that I'm actually at home, I'm eating and cooking at home. She always benefits from that.

Again, 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

Fireworks Celebrating 2007 at Seoul City Hall Plaza (found at olgabrasil's site)
*새해 복 많이 받으세요 = saehae bok mani ba deu saye yo


This is what I chose to avoid New Years Eve. Crazy, in a good way, no?


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The Home Office Lawyer

I posted this mostly for my friends and former classmates who want to hang their own shingle and get out of the lawyer rat race. I got out by default because I just decided it wasn't for me. Clearly, I've chosen to go academic.

Anyway, I figured posting it because any lawyer who is interested in working for themselves might benefit from reading this blog.

I found out about it because it's TypePad's Featured Blog for December 30th.

Here it is: Home Office Lawyer



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Friday, December 29, 2006

South Korea Report Calls North Korea A Threat

North Korean soldiers parade with the portrait of Kim Il Sung, the country's founding president, in Pyongyang to mark the 60th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in this October 2005 photo. (AP photo and caption from MSNBC).

After years of a starry-eyed and simplistic Sunshine Policy (햇볕 정책), the South Korean government again is officially taking notice of North Korea being a threat.

:::insert eye roll here:::


Washington Post: S. Korea Report Calls N. Korea a Threat
New York Times: Countries and Territories: North Korea


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Technology, Communication And Feeling Connected

Okay, it is a few days after Christmas, and now I've got computer game burnout. I got the new Civilization IV game and its expansion pack, Warlords, for Christmas. I am a huge fan of the previous version, Civilization III. Couple getting the new version of a computer game that I've spent way too much time playing with a whole lot of time on my hands, and, you guessed it, I've had a nightmare of very little sleep since I signed for my DHL box o' Christmas goodies.

However, I did have to leave the comfort of my apartment a few times over the past week. I got another Christmas present, a new job that I'll start in March, so that means signing a new contract and submitting paperwork so that the visa issuance process goes smoothly.

What's great is my new employer is a rarity in South Korea. The administration office is mega-organized and seems to have procedures laid out for everything from the application process to hiring. Since I hate disorganization, I was chomping at the bit when I realized that from top to bottom they appear to have their shit together. I'm hoping this is just an indicator that I made the right choice (I'll keep you posted.)

Anyway, I had to take the train to the college yesterday. It's about a 40 minute subway ride. Sleep deprived, but not wanting to risk falling asleep and missing my stop, I brought a magazine to read.

I recently subscribed to Good Magazine simply because when I heard about the concept behind it, I figured that, even if the magazine sucked, it would be worth subscribing. The concept is that they donate 100% of subscription money generated to the charity that each subscriber chooses from a list of twelve. Their goal is 50,000 subscribers at $20USD a year or $1 million. I figured $20 to the charity of my choice and potentially an interesting read would be worth it. And regarding what I've seen, so far, so good. It doesn't seem to suck at all.

In my Christmas box o' goodies there were two issues of Good. I started reading with the Jan/Feb 2007 issue. In it an article by Peter Alsop, Sleeping with Strangers, caught my eye. It's about a website,, that connects travelers with people who have no problem allowing a stranger to travel to their town or city and sleep on their couch. That was an interesting concept to me because I've done it. Not crash but I have let someone I met on the net, who wanted to travel, sleep on my couch. I was just happy to see that others are as unconventionally crazy or more prone to taking risks as I am, so it was the first article I read. I know there is a risk, but I really do believe that most people mean well and are good people. At least, so far, that's been the case in my life.

This passage from the article struck a chord with me.

In June of 2006, just as MySpace neared 80 million users and Facebook approached 8 million, an article, "Social Isolation in America," appeared in the American Sociological Review. The work of sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona, it examined two national surveys of the American public, one in 1985 and the other in 2004. Their research found that the average number of people with whom Americans discuss important issues has dropped by nearly a third, from about three to two. Even more startling is that one-quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom to discuss their most important matters—twice as many as in 1984. This would suggest that in the same 20 years that saw the rise and triumph of communication technologies—the proliferation of email, cell phones, BlackBerries, and MySpace—our circle of close friends and confidants has shrunk by a significant margin. We are somehow more connected than we once were, and more isolated than ever before.
I agree completely. I'm not suffering from a lack of friends, but I have noticed that I'm not making close ones at the same rate I did before I got access to the net. It seems that this is the case for other people too. I'm not implying a direct correlation, but I'm just noticing that with the increase in connectivity, ironically, I'm feeling less connected to other human beings. What that report indicates is I'm not the only one.

When I got my first laptop, an Apple Mac PowerBook 540, I immediately plugged into AOL. I had visions of networking, meeting interesting people and fostering fruitful friendships and social networks, as well as keeping up with those I'd left behind when I moved from L.A. to San Francisco. However, it was insane and I felt a lot like I'd wandered into a place that mimics what the world might be like if there were no law enforcement and people threw their social norms out of the window.

Years later the net has developed and more people are online, but, honestly, not that much has changed. I'm a member of MySpace, Facebook and a participant on a few online forums. After one breakup, I decided not to mope around, so I joined a dating site and started dating immediately which was a lot fun. Some online interactions have fostered friendships that have developed into friendships that I would consider real, but most are no different from making small talk with the stranger next to you on a bus or plane.

It very well might be fun and interesting, but usually you go your way and they go theirs. Also, a lot of groups on online communities are just as clickish and immature, if not more so because anonymity can make even a weakling very brave, as they were in high school. Add to that the specter of creepy and downright dangerous people hiding behind the anonymity that the net provides and, it seems, you merely have a more technologically advanced way to keep in contact with friends and family. There is nothing wrong with that, and maybe the grand vision of deeply linked virtual communities worth a damn was unrealistic to begin with.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the net at all. As the Sleeping with Strangers article also notes,
Some sociologists argue that sites like MySpace might not promote strong ties between people, but they do greatly enable weak ones. And these connections lead to jobs, apartments, and partners (for some people, Craigslist alone has provided all three).
I owe credit to the Internet for many things like the great apartment my roommate and I found when I first moved to San Francisco. BTW, I met that roommate via an Internet roommate matching service. It was a great match. We are both insulin dependent diabetics and, since I'd just lost my parents, I really needed to live with someone I didn't have to explain the intricacies of diabetes management to. She also accepted that I'll always be in need of a housekeeper, and I kept my piggy tendencies under control because I liked her. She and I are still pretty close friends. Also, the Internet has provided job leads. I had a job last year that I did all from home. As I came here with the goal of travel, travel information as well as cheap tickets are plentiful. The Internet is simply an awesome place to find people like like needs and a place to find information.

Also, it's made my life easier. I can't imagine how difficult banking and other things would be as an expatriate living in South Korea prior to the Internet. Lastly, I'm really happy to discover the world of blogging. It's fun to surf around and read what others have to say as well as having my own blog which makes me think through issues and throw my two cents into the well. So, for what it's worth, I see the value of the technology.

It just seems that with all this connectivity people should be feeling more connected and not less. It just seems that instead of the number of people you can confide in decreasing, it should be increasing. That's what bittersweet about all of this technological progress.

Okay, time for me to disconnect and get back to conquering the world.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown, Rest in Peace

I was hoping to get through Christmas with posting only happy blogs. However, I just got the news that James Brown, the Godfather of Seoul, died today.

There isn't much to say, as I don't like long orations after someone has passed away. I still have trauma from my own parent's deaths and the whole lot of talk that I heard that didn't ease the pain at all. As a result, I will just keep it short.

Folks are posting comments on his MySpace page.

James Brown, Rest in Peace. You've left us all with some great music.



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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Reveal Your Blog Crush

I'm TOTALLY late in the game here. I think that's because during the due date of this I was committed to doing nothing, reading nothing and thinking about nothing.

I've recovered. I know my grades (two As, bitches - can you believe I want one to be adjusted up? I'm such a perfectionist). I'm ready to carry on with life. So while delaying my departure to a Christmas day potluck gathering, I found this:

Reveal Your Blog Crush: Dec. 15th

I've heard the rumble regarding this fabulous brainchild Sandra and I had last week. Ok, so you want to REVEAL YOUR BLOG CRUSH but you've got questions. Hey, we're here to make your reveal the least like a junior high flashback, ok? Let's proceed. . .

So, I've been asked what technically IS a Blog Crush? It'd likely include some, if not all, of the following:
A) You can't wait to read what they post next.
B) You want to be friends with them.
C) You think they are the cat's meow. Meow!
D) You might find them attractive- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatever floats your boat.
E) If you met them in person, blushing might occur.

If you have to really think hard about who your blog crush is, you probably don't have one.

1) You can have more than one crush (but please refrain from naming your entire blogroll in an effort to keep everyone happy).
2) You must reveal it on December 15, 2006 on your own blog.
3) Boys can crush on boys. Girls can crush on girls. Boys can crush on girls. Girls can crush on boys. This has little to do with our sexuality and more to do with being bloggeriffic.

We'd love to know if you are participating so leave Sandra or I a comment on our blogs.

I don't quite get the point of the deadline, but I'm so late in the game that by definition I've broken the deadline rule, so it doesn't matter anyway.

I've chosen a four of blogcrushes simply because I think these guys are so cute in their own special ways.
  1. John Mayer - Not the blog on his website but the one on It's funny, but shows his watch and electronic gadget dork side, and that's very cute. I've always had a weakness for technical and more cerebral than physical guys.
    • Plus, he always seems to have photos of black people on his blog! People like David Ryan Harris who is an amazing musician who toured with John on his fall tour. BTW, I met and talked with David briefly in Tokyo. He's a nice fellow.
      • John also has a blog about his trainer's holiday brunch. The picture is him, Harley (his trainer), Alicia Keys, and a few other of my people. He's also blogged about the weird, but very funny, Tracy Morgan. There are other pictures, but it would be beyond lame to account for every single one. It's just nice to see. That's all.
    • He's got a new puppy and the dog has made it to the blog a couple of times too. That's just cute.
    • Also, since is a website based in Japan, it's on GMT +9 time which is also Seoul's time zone. It's fun to see that he was blogging just as I was rolling out of bed or something equally uneventful and boring.
  2. The Anonymous Coworker - He's hilarious. When I first started reading his blog subtitle was "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?" That's from the Dave Chappelle Show, Season Two, in the episode where Wayne Brady takes over the show. (From the skit that spoofs Wanye Brady's clean cut image). This crush reveals another weakness: a guy that has me guffawing laughing and this blog does it very well.
  3. Citizen of the Month - Neil is a another hilarious blogger and he's blogging from home sweet home, Southern California. When I read his blog I can't help but burst out laughing. I also usually leave a comment or two (I've not done so lately because I've been busy and brain dead.) One of the funniest blogs I read was about mommy bloggers.
  4. Anderson Cooper's 360 blog - Honestly, he doesn't seem to contribute much to this blog, but who cares? I mean he's a busy, award-winning reporter! The rest of the CNN reporters and staff can write for him! I've had a crush on Anderson Cooper since his World News Now days. I was in law school, and staying up late was something that was pretty much required if you wanted to keep up with all the reading. World News Now was a funny late night news show on that mad me laugh, so I was a regular viewer. This is only a continuation of that TV crush.
Okay, those are four of my blog crushes. I actually have more but I have to stop because I've successfully procrastinated and now I'm really late!

Again, Merry Christmas!


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It's A Wonderful Life

For friends who got my Christmas greeting and didn't get the bell reference, here is the movie.

Often referred to as one of the best films ever made, this holiday classic is out of copyright and is available for everyone to enjoy again and again.

Plot: George Bailey spends his entire life giving up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls, as we see in flashback. But in the present, on Christmas Eve, he is broken and suicidal over the misplacing of a loan and the machinations of the evil millionaire, Mr. Potter. His guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth, literally, and shows him how his town, family, and friends would turn out if he had never been born. ~Tommy Peter(IMDB)

It's a Wonderful Life

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2006

Time's Person of the Year: You

In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.
So does this mean we all get a free copy of this issue of Time?

More Links:

Washington Post

A Search for Ourselves - User-Generated Content Dominates Google's 2006 Hot List
John Doe blogger named Person of the Year


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Natural African Hair Banned in the Baltimore Police Department

The Baltimore Police Dept and City Council has effectively banned the wearing of natural African hair. This new policy effective January 1st will require women with locs to cut their hair off and those with natural styles straighten their hair in order to "conform." To view more about this policy and voice your outrage, please go to this link:

As noted on the sidebar of this blog, I'm a member of The purpose of that website is to promote the natural texture of African hair. is your resource for the style and beauty of Natural Black Hair. We are dedicated to all the women in the diaspora who proudly wear their highly textured hair naturally.
For too long blacks have been raised to be ashamed of their hair. For those of us who have chosen to embrace the natural texture of our hair some have been regulated to being "fadish" and others have been told their hair is unprofessional or they "need to get their hair done." Because it's something that has been internalized into black culture, it's even more insidius.

However, it must stop because it's just as bad as any other form of discrimination. You'd never tell Heidi to change the texture of the hair that grows out of her head, so don't tell me to change mine.

If you agree with my sentiments, please go to this petition and sign it. Also, if you're moved to do so, follow-up with a letter or email.

Here is a link to Baltimore PD's Policy document (an .rtf file that you can open in MS Word): Professional Appearance Standards

Furthermore, write your representatives because this is truly a serious issue. Here is the link to find your representative if you are a US citizen (if you're not international outrage sways policy too):

Also, here is the link to write the Congressional Black Caucus:

Letters can also be sent to:
Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm
Baltimore Police Department
242 West 29th Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21211-2908
Email to:

It's so important to fight racial stereotypes. One that is deeply ingrained in society is that African hair in its natural state is unattractive and unprofessional.

The beginning paragraph and online petition can also be found at

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill's blog on this issue
Update, January 2, 2007:

The policy has been rescinded. However, I've yet to get my hands on a press release or link verifying that. Once I get something, anything, I'll link it.

Thanks to all that signed the petition and/or took other action.


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Friday, December 15, 2006

Okay, Something Good About Korea

After running around this afternoon taking care of last minute things before my friend's wedding tomorrow (I'm a bridesmade), I went to my Friday night watering hole for one pint of British beer. I left with a nice buzz (I'm a lightweight these days) and got on the bus to go home.

Even though it was around 8:45pm on Friday night people were still getting out of work and commuting home, so the bus was crowded.

I had a bag with shoes I had made for tomorrow and new accessories (because give me a reason to accessorize and I will.) I also had my backpack because I have diabetes supplies I always carry with me.

In Asia it's common that if you're on the bus with tons of bags a person sitting down will offer to hold them for you. This isn't so common in Korea with younger people and because they're just a bit more rough around the edges, but in Japan it happens all the time when I'm there. Anyway, tonight an older gentlemen offered to hold my extra bags, and knowing it was a custom, I let him.

He started asking me questions and was happy to see that I could talk to him on a basic level. Turns out we live in the same area, so we walked and talked a bit after we got off the bus en route to our homes until we parted ways.

It was a nice moment to just talk to someone. While it was happening I was comparing how I would react back home versus here.

First, I'd never get on a bus with a buzz back home. I'd take a taxi. Second, I'd never let a stranger hold a bag full of new merchandise I'd just bought and my backpack. Third, I'd never divulge personal information to a stranger.

However, in Korea it's pretty common that all of these things happen fairly frequently with no negative consequences. Whereas, back home, I probably would have ended up chasing Mr. Yoo trying to get my bags back.

It's nice being able to have my defenses set to low here. Sadly, the only time my defenses get elevated is when I'm around other foreigners.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Okay, the Bad Side of Korea: "It's not racist; it's a joke!"

Are you kidding me? --------->

I've been in a hovel regarding current events. However, there is a controversy in Korea right now regarding a show that featured "foreign beauty" and lapsed into offensive tomfoolery and stereotyping.

Korean media tries to get away with this from time to time claiming that it was just "a joke." Well, it's nothing more than buffonery and distaste at the expense of the image of another race of people.

I'm sure Koreans would scream bloody murder if it was the other way around with somoene making fun of them. In fact, I know they have in the past. When Jay Leno made a joke about dog meat, Koreans freaked out. So when it happens to them, it's bad. But they're free to do it to others. It's nothing more than hypocrisy.

Here is a link to the video on YouTube: Minyeodeuli Suda - Korean TV clip showing racist parody

Here are some links explaining what happened:

또 깜둥이 대접! - A blog from the Metropolitician discussing what the show is about and what happened.

(Seriously Stupid Department) KBS ‘foreign beauty’ program slammed for racism - The Marmot's Hole weighs in on the issue.

Lastly, and most important, a petition on the Metropolitician's blog.

Other links:

Men's News Daily: Dog Meat
ResellerRatings Store Ratings, Shopping, Deals, and Bargains: So. Korean Firm Plans Lawsuit Against Jay Leno
BongoNet (spoof news): Jay Leno Under Fire Over Joke About Koreans and Dog Meat


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The Art of Elysium

This is a great cause and I just want to spread the word about what they're doing.

The name of the organization is called The Art of Elysium. What they do is bring artists to work with and inspire children who are hospitalized with serious illnesses.

Here is how they describe the work they do:’ a place or condition of ideal happiness

Mission: The Art of Elysium, a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1997, encourages working actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions. We provide artistic workshops in the following disciplines: acting, art, comedy, fashion, music, radio, songwriting and creative writing.
Here is a video link featuring a few artists, including Jordan Lawhead, doing their thing through the Art of Elysium. It's nice to see artists giving back in ways that involve more than writing a check or going to a party. More should try it.

I was blessed as a kid with pretty good health. As I got older, I've been hospitalized a couple of times. Even though I put on a brave face and cracked a lot of jokes, it's terrifying. I can't imagine what it's like to experience that as a child.

These folks are doing some great work! It seems to be L.A. based now, but it would be nice to see it expand.

I heard about this non-profit from a member at MySpace. Thanks Lori!


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Friday, December 8, 2006

I'm Done!

This is an uncharacteristically short post (and one I've found months after the fact, but decided to publish because it really captures how I felt.)


I'm exhausted! I turned in my last paper today and I also gave my last set of final tests today too.

This dual life was a challenge. I have to admit I'm so focused on doing well in the program that I'm in that there were times it was hard to motivate for work. However, I've been around long enough to know that even if I felt a certain way that I needed to push myself and do my best.

I know I would feel so hurt if my students had the impression that I didn't care because I do. I think it's just the nature of how it goes when you've got multiple demands pulling at you and you have find time to do them all.

But, somehow, I managed. Yeah!


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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Congratulations y'all!!!

Oh boy! I'm up late working on project and they announced the nominees for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards about an hour ago.

I'm so excited because some of my favorite artists got Grammy nods!

    1. Mary J. Blige got eight.
    2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers got six.
    3. John Mayer got five (three for his new solo album Continuum, one for "Try" with the John Mayer Trio and one for Route 66 from the "Cars" Soundtrack.)
    4. Corrine Bailey Rae got three
    5. John Legend got three (I's almost 3am here.)
      Congratulations, bitches!Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

      Mary J. Blige leads Grammy nominees
      LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B singer Mary J. Blige led the contenders for the Grammy Awards, picking up eight nominations, organizers said on Thursday.

      Los Angeles rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers landed six nominations, while English singer/songwriter James Blunt, country trio the Dixie Chicks, pop singer John Mayer, funk veteran Prince, producer Rick Rubin, Black Eyed Peas singer and classical composer John Williams earned five each.

      The 49th annual Grammy Awards, considered the music industry's most prestigious, will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 11.
      Okay, either it's bedtime or I need to get back to work.

      More links:

      NYTimes: Blige Leads Grammy Nominations With 8
      The Envelope by the LATimes: Grammy nominations unveiled
      BBC News: Mary J Blige leads Grammys list
      John Mayer's Blog: Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm Partying


      Oh, update. I got info from Eric at the MOG website.

      They have a contest to go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Sydney. The show will be sometime in mid-April 2007.

      Check it out. It seems really cool.


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      Wednesday, December 6, 2006

      In Memoriam: James Kim

      This is a sad ending to a story I've been following from back home: James Kim found deceased

      James Kim, an editor for CNET, was found dead after being missing for eleven days. His wife, Kati, and two daughters, Penelope and Sabine, had been found earlier this week on Monday.

      James had left his family to search for help, but never returned. I was praying he'd be found alive too. It's never easy loosing a loved one.

      My deep condolences to James' wife, daughters, family and friends.

      Rest in peace James.

      More on this sad story from the San Francisco Chronicle @ SFGate:


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      Cool Story: The World's Oldest Student?

      Eighty-six-year-old Kimani Nganga Maruge, seated in front, attending school in a tiny village just outside El Doret, in western Kenyain Kenya. Maruge surprised school officials when he showed up at the school asking to take advantage of a government program that promises free education for all citizens. (ActionAid International) Photo and caption from

      Even though I'm suffering through finals and have due dates for research papers looming close, I definitely recognize how lucky I am to have had access to high quality education my whole life. That access has enabled me to live abroad and travel. Now I'm getting more education, and whenever I think about that I do realize how lucky I am.

      That leads me to why I'm posting a link to this news story from ABCNews. After putting the finishing touches on a final project this morning, I decided to scan the news headlines and saw this story: The World's Oldest Student?

      It's about, Kimani Nganga Maruge, an 86 year old man in Kenya who is taking advantage of the new program that guarantees free primary school education for all.

      Enjoy! It's a great story.


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      Saturday, December 2, 2006

      Go Bruins! Ahahahahahahaha!

      In the annual UCLA v. USC game, my team finally took it! (It's been seven years.)

      UCLA - 13, Number 2 ranked USC (boo hiss) - 9!

      Go Bruins!

      More links:

      UCLA's Official Athletic Site: Bruins End Trojans National Championship Hopes with 13-9 Victory
      Washington Post: UCLA Pulls Off Shocker Against No. 2 USC
      New York Times: U.C.L.A. Brings Down U.S.C., and Opens Door to Title Game


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      Thursday, November 30, 2006

      Stressed: Music Selections

      I'm keeping it fun because I'm in a foul mood right now. It's finals stress. I have two big projects and the corresponding papers due next week. They're both group projects, so it means a ton of work and coordinating with everyone so that things come together as smoothly as possible. There is just way too much going on.

      What keeps me sane during these times is music, so let me share some artists helping to keep me sane. I'll just link to their MySpace pages because I don't even have time to link videos.

      Jonny Lang - I really like his "Thankful" song. It's on his MySpace profile, so take a listen. (Thanks to Martin W. for turning me on to this artist.)

      Keane - I'm listening to both Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea. In fact, I think I'll fire up Under the Iron Sea right now.

      Mary J. Blige - I'm listening to her AMA winning album, The Breakthrough. I'm playing "Be Without You" over and over on my PDA. That's on her MySpace profile.

      Jamie Cullum - He's amazing. All of his CDs are on my PDA and are in heavy rotation.

      Alicia Keys
      - Her Unplugged album is just great.

      John Legend - His new album, Once Again, is a good groove.


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      Tuesday, November 28, 2006

      Visited Countries - So Many Countries, So Little Time

      Okay, I'm shifting gears (I'm also procrastinating because I should be working on a final project for one of my classes.) I'm sick of the serious topics, so here is something a bit more fun.

      I discovered the World66 website through another blogger, but forgot who. (Whoever you are, sorry, but when I remember I'll update this post.) On that site you can create a map that shows the countries you've visited.

      It's really cute. All you do is go to the website and tick the countries you've visited. Now I realize that I still have tons of places to travel to. But, comparatively speaking, I'm going to say "not bad" regarding where I've gone so far.***

      The scary thing is I've only been to 14, or 6%, out of 193 countries that the US Department of State recognizes. Plus, there are continents that I've yet to touch.

      I still have a huge number of frequent flier miles to accumulate. I'm tempted to go on a mad backpacking spree. However, honestly, I hate to sound like a Princess, but roughing it really isn't my thing.

      create your own visited country map
      or check our Venice travel guide

      *** - I'm comparing myself to the average American whom most argue will never have passport.


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      Monday, November 27, 2006

      Michael Richards on Jesse Jackson's Radio Show

      Paul Dawson's Channel WHAS11 (Louisville, KY) Interview trying to explain how these n-terms differ.

      On Sunday, November 26th, Michael Richards appeared on Jesse Jackson's Keep Hope Alive radio show.

      The Keep Hope Alive radio show and Premiere Radio Networks has uploaded the MP3 files to the show's website in four segments. You can go directly to the site, or I've linked them for you below. If you want to save it, just right click and either "save target as" or "save link as."

      I heard what he had to say last night, and, okay, he's sorry. I, however, can't accept his apology for anyone else but myself as he's apologized to all black Americans. I still find his apology to be lacking. I want to see him out in my community making a genuine effort to bridge the racial divide he helped widen. That not only applies to Richards, but to a lot of people out there from black hip-hop stars to everyday people. More activism would benefit us, society and the world tremedously.

      I agree with Reverend Jackson and others that it opens up the door for honest dialogue on the race issue. I've read a couple of commentaries that reduce it to "why can black people say the n-word, but white people can't?" dichotomy. That analysis is incredibly simplistic and ignores so much of the issue that I rarely ever engage in trying to explain why there is a difference. However, let me try.

      Black Americans have a history of communicating in ways that whites simply find difficult interpret and understand. This was done for a very good reason: as a slave, you couldn't speak frankly in front of a slave master or overseer for risk of being beaten or worse. Clearly, that legacy still exists in black American English. We learned how to speak in code as slaves and that has carried on up to now. It's not another language as some have argued; however, I would argue that it is a distinct and constantly evolving dialect that is unique to my culture.

      Within that context, I think using the term is confusing to whites because they see it as solely an offensive term. However, the meaning of the term very much depends on who is saying it and the context in which it is being said. I remember a case a few months back where a white teacher, Paul Dawson, elected to use the term when speaking to a black student. He explained that he used it because he hears the kids using it and he's heard it in various hip-hop lyrics, so it was a way to get the student's attention. He also tried to differentiate one term from another. What he ignored is that the context shifts when it's a white person speaking to a black person because of America's brutal history with the slave trade and violent legacy of racism. For me, I find it odd that some whites can't understand that between two young black men saying it doesn't hold the same offensiveness as a white man saying it to a young black man.

      Another argument I've seen is a white person trying to argue that a black person using terms such as "cracker" or "honky" is just as offensive as a white person saying "nigger." The fact is the context of history and the existence of white privilege and power makes those two terms less offensive. A black person who has no power or financial resources to put their dislike of whites into action calling a white person a cracker or honky is a joke and a vain exercise of what little power that person has in the grand scheme of things. It's like a little girl who is mad at her father giving him a punch in the calf. Yeah, it might be annoying, but the sting is nominal.

      Whereas the sting from being called a "nigger" is a reminder that we, as a people, were brought to America against our will. We were stripped of our language and prevented from passing on knowledge of our culture. Therefore, most black Americans know nothing about their origins but that their bloodline most likely originates from somewhere on the west coast of the African continent. In addition to not having knowledge of our roots, our ancestors were treated as subhuman. They were raped, and they were murdered; and, we've never received a formal apology from the US government. "Nigger" is a loaded term. "Cracker" or "honky" is not.

      Should people not use the term? Well, that's what my mother believed. We'd discussed it a few times. I believe that in the context of black-on-black the meaning shifts. However, even if that's true, the popularity of using it in hip-hop and rap has caused a lot of confusion. In light of the explanation I may or may not have successfully explained above, I do think we need to censor ourselves and stop using the term.

      Also, here is some media coverage on the interview:


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      Sunday, November 26, 2006

      Reactions to Michael Richards' Outburst

      picture found at this link at Pretty on the Outside

      Update, Sunday, November 26th (Saturday, November 25th for you all in North America): Richards To Appear On Jesse Jackson Show - Richards will appear on Jesse Jackson's syndicated radio show. I'll be exploring so I can find a radio station that broadcasts over the net. I've gotta hear how Richards' explains this.


      I was going to add these to the Michael Richards Channels Mel Gibson post below. However, I know there will be more and there is a risk that the post will just be overwhelmed with tons of links and video clips. So, instead of adding new clips to the first post, I've created this one. I'll cross link posts for the sake of easy navigation.

      Reactions to Michael Richards' Outburst (thanks to my cousin Leisa for the first two):

      1. I knew I linked to Margaret Cho for a reason. Here is a perspective from a female, minority comic: Michael Richards

      2. Sinbad, a comedian, weighs in

      Comedian Sinbad weighs in (@ - just click on the link. It works best with Internet Explorer.)

      I'm particularly impressed with what Sinbad had to say because he echoed what I said about racism in my podcast on Korea. Essentially, it's this. We're used to racism, so it doesn't surprise us when it happens. We see it as more of what was there all along finally coming out.

      We’re a minority, man I ain’t shocked ...

      I can believe he said it. I can believe that people can go there.
      Sinbad is also dead-on with his observation quoting Martin Luther King when he said you get to know the true nature of people when you see them under pressure.

      3. Paul Mooney, a comedian, weighs in (a hilarious racial joke at the end just to show you CAN deliver a racial joke without offending the whole room)

      4. CNN - Daryl Pitts, an audience member, and comedian, Paul Rodriguez, weigh in

      5. CNN - Reverend Al Sharpton weighs in

      Spoof and Satire:

      1. From in Jerry Stick a Fork in Me...I'm Done they've linked this video:
      Well in the true spirit of parody, a YouTuber created a short pilot for what a racist ‘Kramer’ mini series would look like using a clip from an old Seinfeld show spliced with the now infamous KKKramer TMZ video and created this bastard child complete with the Seinfeld theme and a mortified Jerry.

      2. The KKKramer Rap!'s so disturbing that I had to share it! Thanks to for posting it.


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      Friday, November 24, 2006

      Being Thankful and Being Responsible

      Now I haven't linked to the big gun bloggers before because, well, they're big gun bloggers and already have tons of links pointing their way. But now that I think about it, me not linking probably has more to do with the fact that nothing they were saying really hit me hard.

      I surfed over to Michelle Malkin's blog and read her post What American Journalists Should Be Thankful For. Its moving because she discusses all the places where journalists are having a much harder time and are even being killed because they've chosen to be critical about what's going on around them and then she turns that discussion to our own media elite.

      Her observations have inspired me to get preachy, so you've been warned.

      Americans should never loose sight of the benefits we have just by having US citizenship. However, we must also be responsible. We need to recognize that there are other countries that also have progressive policies. I don't know how many times I've had to deal with someone assuming that South Korea is almost as repressive and backwards as North Korea. With that, I get offended on behalf of the country that I've lived in for the last six years and usually flatten their assumptions fairly quickly.

      So, yes, as Americans we have so much to be thankful for. As citizens of the most powerful nation on the globe, we also have the responsibility to take advantage of our access to this wealth of information and educate ourselves about that globe. Actually, a lot of us need to access information just to learn about our own history. When I watched the Thanksgiving episode of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno the Jaywalking segment wasn't very funny to me (if I can find a link to the video, I'll link it but NBC is pretty tough regarding NBC videos on YouTube or other sites.) Most people he spoke to couldn't answer BASIC questions about the origin of Thanksgiving. He also asked them to name the five branches of the US military and most couldn't. That's not funny. It's irresponsible and shameful. I realize it was edited for comedic purposes and that it's very well possible that the majority of the people he spoke with DID have a clue but it was edited to appear that people did not. All I can say is regarding that is I really HOPE that is true because it was pathetic.

      We should be very thankful to be sure, but we also have to mindful of what it means to live in a democracy. As a public that has the right to influence our government, we need to have the knowledge to evaluate our choices and the resolve to step up when things are going wrong.

      We haven't been doing that, and it's time we change.


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      Thursday, November 23, 2006

      Mercy Links, vol. 2

      This is a great idea I stole from another blogger, Mike Antonucci, when he put a link to my blog in a post he named "mercy links."

      This is second time I've done this, and it will be a semi-regular feature as blogging really is all about the virtual word of mouth.

      So, in no particular order, here are the links:

      • What Would Tyler Durden Do? - I'll just lift this blogger's description of his blog:
        "What Would Tyler Durden Do" is a blog focused on bringing you the latest gossip and news about rich and famous celebrities. And then making fun of them. Why? Because fuck them, that's why.
        Bah hahahahaha...I gotta say that I totally agree.

      •'s blog - It's an interesting blog. Library Thing provides the book widget on the lower right hand side of my blog. I love them.


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      Wednesday, November 22, 2006

      PMS Survival Tips

      It's happened to me where I've been in the foulest mood and then I realize "uh oh, I'm in the PMS zone." That's humbling to say the least (and it seems to be taking a stronger hold as I get older...why don't they warn you about this stuff?) Anyway, at least now I keep a calendar.

      This is a funny clip from YouTube which makes fun of PMS by parodying the 1950s propaganda videos.



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      Tuesday, November 21, 2006

      Being Black in Korea: My First Podcast on

      The audio is below in "Update 3".

      Well, I guess I'm officially in the blogosphere now.

      My friend, Michael, at Metropolician called me up and asked me if I wanted to 1) be a guest blogger on his site and 2) record a podcast about being black in Korea.
      I was hesitant regarding the first option, not because I don't have anything to say but because I just don't have that much time. However, once we got into the discussion and the ideas started flowing, I warmed up to it fairly quickly.

      Regarding option two, I thought recording a podcast would be a great idea because too often I've found that people who aren't black, read whites, opine a bit too strongly about how tough it is here for black people. It's fine to have an opinon, but I've had a couple of conversations where a white person seriously tried to convince me about how bad it is to be black in Korea. Now as I'm black AND in Korea I find those conversations to be ridiculous. Yes, it's tough here on some levels, but on others it's no worse, and sometimes is better, than things back home or elsewhere.

      Anyway, here is a link to the post, Podcast #25 _ Being Black in Korea (interesting comments), and a direct link to the podcast, Being Black in Korea. From the main page it's Podcast #25 – Being Black in Korea. I just heard it, and it's not bad. Just so you know the start has about a minute of a rap from Boogie Down Productions.

      Here is my first Metropolitician blog post...give me a topic, please!


      Update 1 : May 5, 2007 @ 9:00pm

      I just got home from studying at a Starbucks in Itaewon. While I was there I met three black women who are all teaching ESL here too. Honestly, that makes me feel good to see more of us here because, as I say in the podcast, it might not be ideal, but it's not as bad as some people paint it to be.

      It's nice to see more people who look like me after having it be so rare for so long.

      Update 2: March 19, 2008 @ 7:45am

      The Being Black in Korea topic is still going. In fact, it seems to be becoming a series. Mike has a few things going and a new one is where they create real conversations for students interested in learning English to listen to via iTunes or their iPods.

      They've brought in Felicia who is also black and teaches in Korea to continue the conversation. This one even has a transcript. They're dealing more with lighter topics, but I didn't read the whole transcript.

      Check it out for me and report back, okay?

      BombEnglish: 폭탄영어 #7 - Being Black in Korea (Deep Conversation Series)


      Update 3: December 12, 2011

      Wow, well, my prediction that one day the audio would go missing came true.  However, it went missing while I was on my NYC adventure.  That basically means that the hard drive I'd saved it on anticipating that the audio would go AWOL one day was, well, AWOL.

      However, now I'm back in California and guess what I found?

      Here is the audio on Dropbox: Being Black in Korea. Ping me if that's down as I also have it on Amazon S3 (but I'm not using it until Dropbox cuts me off; see the instructions on how to reach me in my bio on the right.)

      Update 3.1: October 7, 2012

      I'm working off of a fancy new computer, and just posted this link on Quora: South Korea: What's it like to be black in Korea?. So I decided to test the Dropbox link. It's working just fine. You don't need a Dropbox account. Just click the link and you'll have the option to download and save the file. On my computer that's in the upper right hand corner of the page. I just downloaded it and it plays just fine.

      BTW, I'm thrilled that people are still finding and listening to this. Mike and I definitely helped fill a need.


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      Michael Richards Channels Mel Gibson

      Wow! You know I'm glad that in the week after I decided it's time to wind down and possibly pack up and move back home to L.A. that two events happen there to make me wonder if maybe not moving back would be a better idea.

      The first is directly below. That's the UCLA student who got a taser taken to him a few times by the UCPD on campus at Powell Library.

      Now we have another over the top event. Michael Richards from Seinfeld lost his temper while on stage performing at the Laugh Factory. He was being heckled, and he called them "niggers" because they happened to be black hecklers. In addition to using that racial epithet, he said other things that were downright offensive.

      I thought hecklers were par for the course when you do stand-up, so shouldn't he be used to it by now?

      Anyway, here is the clip that incident that being sent all over the Internet:

      Needless to say, I was really shocked to see him go off like that. I think he was trying to make it seem like he was pushing the envelop in terms of humor, but it seems it is more rage than anything close to comedic wit.

      I decided to post it when I saw his apology during Seinfeld's appearance on The Late Show.

      Here is that clip:

      I do think Letterman's question to Richards about what he would have done had the hecklers been of another race was a good question to ask.

      His apology was the least he could do. Talking about race relations and Katrina fell flat for me. Those issues are the ones he should have thought of BEFORE he snapped.

      It was horrible and wrong of him to say what he said. I don't care if these guys had been mooning him from their seats.

      From my perspective, there isn't much he can say. The "I'm sorry" doesn't change that he showed his true colors that evening. What's interesting is in both the Richards incident and the Gibson one both claim that they will take “necessary steps to ensure my return to health” or that they need "personal work."

      That very well might be true. However, isn't it more probable that they're just racists or bigots?

      More links (videos have been moved to this post - Reactions to Michael Richards' Outburst): (gossip) - Richards' Rant - Not the First Time (now it's come out that he's ranted before, not about blacks but about Jews.)
      PerezHilton (gossip) - In His Own Words
      Washington Post - 'Seinfeld' Comic Richards Apologizes for Racial Rant


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      Saturday, November 18, 2006

      UCLA: the UCLA Police and Tasers

      Well, I was on and a flyer kept coming up talking about police brutality at UCLA. I then popped over to and saw that people were running searches for "UCLA", "UCLA taser", etc. Clearly, something was up at my alma mater, so I clicked on the link to a video titled "UCLA Police Taser Student at Powell."

      For those of you who aren't familiar with UCLA, Powell Library is one of two general libraries on campus. It's pretty much in the center of the campus across from Royce Hall. When I was there I used it for studying and for its computer lab. The computer lab is where this event took place. The video is shocking, so don't say I didn't warn you.

      Here is a link to Video Shows UCLA Police Using Stun Gun On Student from the L.A. NBC affiliate, KNBC. It also has the same video along with news commentary and an interview with a witness.

      Here is the accompnaying article:

      LOS ANGELES -- An administrative review was under way after a 23-year-old student was administered multiple stun gun shocks by UCLA Police Department officers in the Powell Library computer lab.

      Video shot from another student's camera phone shows the man screaming while on the floor of the computer lab as officers used the stun gun on him at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Daily Bruin.

      He had been working at a computer in the back of the lab and had failed to produce a student ID during a random check performed by community service officers, the newspaper reported.

      According to a UCLA police sergeant, the student was identified as Mostafa Tabatabainejad of Los Angeles.

      He was given a citation for obstruction/delay of a peace officer in the performance of duty and then released from custody, the sergeant said.

      The sergeant said he saw Tabatabainejad after it happened and that he did not appear to have suffered serious injury.

      "If he was able to walk out of here, I think he was OK," the sergeant said.

      In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Nancy Greenstein of the University of California Police Department said: "All use of force incidents require an administrative review, which is currently under way."

      Officers were escorting Tabatabainejad out of the computer lab when the trouble started, according to the Daily Bruin. One of the officers placed a hand on one of his arms, to which the student objected.

      As a second officer approached, he repeatedly yelled "get off of me," the newspaper reported.

      It was then that one of the officers shot Tabatabainejad with a stun gun, dropping him to the floor as he cried out, according to the newspaper.

      "Any student who witnessed it was left with an image you don't want to remember," said a witness who asked not to be identified.

      When asked whether the student resisted when officer attempted to escort him from the building, the witness said, "In the beginning, no. But when they were holding onto him and they were on the ground, he was trying to just break free. He was saying, 'I'm leaving, I'm leaving.' It was so disturbing to watch that I cannot be concise on that. I can just say that he was willing to leave. He had his backpack on his shoulder and he was walking out when the cops approached him. It was unnecessary."

      Greenstein said a Community Service Officer employed by the library was performing a nightly check to ensure that all patrons using the library after 11 p.m. were authorized to be there.

      "This is a longstanding library policy to ensure the safety of students during the late-night hours," Greenstein said. "The CSO made an announcement that he would be checking for university identification. When a person, who was later identified as ... Tabatabainejad, refused to provide any identification, the CSO told him that if he refused to do so, he would have to leave the library.

      "Since, after repeated requests, he would neither leave nor show identification, the CSO notified UCPD officers, who responded and asked Tabatabainejad to leave the premises multiple times. He continued to refuse. As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building.

      Greenstein said Tabatabainejad encouraged others in the library to join his "resistance." She said a crowd gathered around the officers.

      "The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a 'drive stun' capacity," she said in the statement. "A Taser is used to incapacitate subjects who are resistant by discharging an electronic current into the subject in one of two methods: via two wired probes that are deployed from the Taser, or in a 'drive stun' capacity by touching the subject with the Taser. In this incident the student was not shot with a Taser; rather, officers used the 'drive stun' capability.

      "The entire incident is under investigation, and a case will be presented to the City Attorney," Greenstein's statement read.

      The video shows the student shouting, "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your (expletive) abuse of power," the newspaper reported.

      University police are investigating an incident late last night in which police took a student into custody at Powell Library. Investigators are reviewing the incident and the officers' actions, and I can assure you that these reviews will be thorough, vigorous and fair.

      The safety of our campus community is of paramount importance to me. Routinely checking student identification after 11 p.m. at the campus library, which is open 24 hours, is a policy posted in the library that was enacted for the protection of our students. Compliance is critical for the safety and well-being of everyone.

      UCLA's response (Nov. 17, 2006):

      UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams Announces Independent Investigation of the Incident at Powell Library


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      Thursday, November 16, 2006

      John Mayer on Oprah

      I'm posting this for those of you who don't live in the States and can't watch Oprah. Of course, it will also come in handy for those of you who missed it wherever you might be or for those of you who have an unstable obsession with John Mayer.

      He was on her show today and his industrious fans have already managed to get it uploaded to the net. I'm lucky as the show does air here, so I got to zip home from work and watch the broadcast. In fact, now that it's over I'm heading out for a pint or two of beer and dinner.

      Anyway, he was also blogging from Oprah's very beige greenroom. You can look at those here. It's in reverse chronological order. In case you're not familiar with blogging:

      1. Oprah Live
      2. Blogs Need Pictures
      3. The Throw
      4. Success
      I'm definitely a teacher. ;-)

      I'll keep this short and sweet my dears. Thanks to ZenChick on MySpace for getting these up.


      Part 1

      Part 2


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      Saturday, November 11, 2006

      In Spite of the Expense, Tokyo is One Fun City

      This is my second trip to Tokyo and my sixth or seventh one to Japan. I flew over yesterday to see John Mayer in concert at Yebisu Garden Hall. And, yes, in spite of the expense of Tokyo (not the show), it was worth it. I went to a good show, met some fun people and am on a much needed weekend vacation.

      My boy looked tired, but it was the last night of a tour that he's been on since August. He played and performed well. He also engaged the crowd, and that is always fun. The venue was small, so unlike home in the States where Mayer plays these huge venues, relatively speaking, everyone was up close. Honestly, I don't think I'd bother with going to a concert of his in the States. I'm just thinking it would be mayhem with all the rabid fans. It was bad enough last night when he tossed some guitar picks into the crowd. It was like he was tossing bread to the starving. At the concert I met one girl who was just intent on meeting him. As it makes for good story telling and funny photo ops, I chose to hang with her after the show. It was fun to trail someone else around and let them make all the decisions. Yes, I've got a funny 'Friday night in Tokyo' story. Eventually, she gave up and we met up with a guy we'd met at the show. She left early, but I ended up staying out drinking and talking until about 4am.

      Today's plan was to take advantage of free admission through someone else I met to Tokyo Disneyland, but I woke up to pouring rain. That was good as the plan was to get to Disneyland early, so I got some well-needed sleep. I spent the day exploring Shibuya and wandering around my favorite area of Tokyo, Harajuku. I fell in love with the district the first time I visited Tokyo because it's the fast track to a shopping orgasm. As I've not had time to follow fashion and what the designers are putting out there, I was happy to see that my accessories (Ugg boots and dangling fur ball earrings) were all the rage in some of the Harajuku stores I visited. That helped my fashion esteem because with my schedule my uniform has been a supply of athletic pants, Converse All Stars, and baggy t-shirts. It's a more of a haggard student look than fashion forward look. I upped my clothes a notch this weekend and dusted off the accessories I'd been not bothering with because, if anything, the Japanese love their fashion and I wanted to match.

      I've got one more day here, and I'll fly back to Seoul tomorrow. I'm telling you, if you ever get the chance to come to Tokyo, do it. It's huge, overwhelming, easy to get lost in (and I tend not to get lost), but it's worth every moment of madness because it's a great city with some interesting people.

      Over and's time to hit one of the 100 yen stores and then figure out what I'll have for dinner.


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      Sunday, November 5, 2006

      Kanye West is a Damn Crybaby Reloaded

      Okay, I usually ignore most entertainment stories, but this is damn pathetic.

      Kanye West's antics at the MTV Europe Music Awards was just ridiculous and took away almost all the good PR he earned with the Hurricane Katrina outburst (come on, you know that's what a lot of folks were thinking...he just said it.)

      But this "I spent a million dollars" and "Pamela Anderson" shit is embarassing. First, who says that money and cheap ass gimicks beat creativity? Second, why would you expect folks in Europe to have an appreciation for the lame hip-hop "money equals success" approach to entertainment and marketing?

      Anyway, here are two links from the What Would Tyler Durden Do? blog that sum it up for me:

      Kayne, this is one time where shutting up would have been a very good idea.


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      Sunday, October 29, 2006


      The Road Less Travelled by Linda Paul -

      You know when you're famous, you can say stuff that others say and think, but when you say it people will sit up and notice. It's an interesting result of fame.

      Case in point, the latest post on my boy's blog. Granted, the scene is quite dramatic, and, considering the current horrible news, it's bad timing. I've never needed such a violent jolt to get on this topic, but clearly some people do.
      Here's the question: what do you change? Whom do you call that you haven't spoken to in years? Whom do you realize has been toxic to your heart and drop with surprising ease? What trips do you cancel, and what trips do you book? What can't you be bothered with anymore? What's the new you like?

      Think about that, and then ask one more question. Why not just change it all right now?

      (Working on it...)
      I live my life like that, which is probably why my life is so massively different from a lot of folks I know. That's not to say it's better, just different. I've made different choices because I know I've been looking at the world from a different perspective.

      I remember my mother telling me stories about all of the things she wanted to do, but she never got around to them or never made them explicit goals. I remember her telling me to focus on my education and my goals before settling down, but also instilling in me an appreciation for family. I think I learned that lesson a bit too well as I still break into a cold sweat at the thought of marriage yet, ironically, I still desire it on some level too. Her not reaching for her dreams made a deep impression on me, so much so that I've probably spent a bit too much time focused on goals and not enough on family.

      I also remember her forthrightness, and her ability to be candid no matter what. Unlike most people, she knew that even if the truth sometimes hurts, it's even more hurtful to be deceitful. That makes me someone who bristles at deception even when it's done with the best of intentions. I'd rather get the sting from a thwack of honesty than to get it by figuring out out weeks or months down the line that someone lied to preserve my feelings or ego. That candor worked in a positive way too because it made her someone who reached out and hugged me and father for no good reason but that she loved us. Of course, that's the best reason of all.

      But with my boy posting that, maybe more will start to see that life is so precious and so short. Maybe some lives will change for the better and more people will make a difference in this world. Maybe the world will be a better place because of it. At a minimum, even if world peace doesn't occur and global warming isn't reversed, maybe some lives will be made better because of it.

      Thanks for the reinforcement my celebrity friend.


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      Sunday, October 22, 2006

      Wanna Freak Out the Wagukin (외국인)?

      Me a long, long time ago.

      I was at the store today and told the lady that I had a craving for the high-fat, processed, canned food product that I was buying. Anyway, she said "아기?" or "baby?"

      I thought that was code and she was asking me if I was pregnant.

      Now I'm a huge commitmentphobe. That's not because of divorce or something tramatic, actually because of a fear of a divorce-induced weltschmerz because my parents had the PERFECT marriage 'till death did they part. (Yes, I know I'm deluding myself here and it certainly wasn't perfect, but Ozzie and Harriet-esqe it was and a phobia is a phobia.)

      Anyway, I nearly had a heart attack, but explained that no, I wasn't pregnant. That was accompanied by flashes of matrimony, labor, stretch marks, post-partum depression, spit-up, and what will be a much needed breast lift.

      She explained that her grandson likes the product that I was buying, so that's what she was trying to tell me. The cold sweat and steep rise in my blood pressure was all for naught.

      It's just another silly moment while living abroad.


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      Tuesday, October 17, 2006

      Dave Chappelle: Two Funny Clips

      I'm up late finishing up a midterm paper. I decided to take a break, so I wandered over to YouTube to find Dave Chappelle's "Black Bush" skit because my paper deals with Bush and the Iraq War. Anytime I watch it, I just fall out laughing because it's so funny.
      dave chappelle

      The power's that be have deleted this video, but I'll keep it here as a marker. I might just find it somewhere else and repost it.
      I then doubled back for more Chappelle laughs for break number two. This one is a game show called "I Know Black People."
      Chappelle Show: I Know Black People



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      Saturday, October 14, 2006

      UN Security Council Sanctions North Korea

      Nothing much to say on this except that it feels like the same old tepid response from the UN which will not change the situation. As it takes all of the permanent members (P5) to approve a resolution, at least the fact that both China and Russia signed on to it shows some unity among the P5. China and Russia are the closest allies North Korea has right now, but even they can't (or won't) lay the requisite pressure on North Korea to change course on its increasingly dangerous provocations.

      The text is linked here. The title is "Non-proliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea" and it's document number "S/RES/1718 (2006)."

      Here is a link to the UN webcast archives, so you can see what the various diplomats had to say about the situation: 2006 Archived Webcasts of Security Council Meetings



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      Chad Vader - Episode 4

      Okay, the fourth Chad Vader episode is out.

      Okay, I'm totally underwhelmed because the first episode is the funniest.

      Okay, I'm posting it simply because I should be consistent and put the whole series up.

      Okay, it is.

      Here is a post with links to the first three episodes so you can see how the story has progressed so far.


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      Friday, October 13, 2006

      South Korean Ban Ki-moon is the Next UN Secretary General!

      Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General shakes hand with Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister of South Korea at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Wednesday, October 11, 2006. (photo and caption shamelessly lifted from the

      Nothing much needs to be said except for congratulations to Ban Ki-moon and South Korea on Mr. Ban's appointment as the next Secretary General of the United Nations!

      I remember discussing this in class last year. Then the general opinion was even though South Korea would put forth a strong candidate that because of international politics the candidate wouldn't have a chance.

      My how things change in a few months! All of his opponents eventually dropped out of the race and he was unopposed. It's just great!

      Here is a news article from the WashingtonPost talking about his appointment.

      South Korean Approved as U.N. Secretary General

      UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 13 -- The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon on Friday as the next U.N. secretary general.

      The Security Council's choice of Ban, 62, to succeed Kofi Annan was ratified by acclamation at the General Assembly, consisting of all 192 U.N. member governments.

      Hundreds of diplomats and U.N. staffers broke into loud applause when the General Assembly president, Sheikha Haya Rashed al-Khalifa of Bahrain, asked the assembly to adopt the resolution by acclamation. She then banged the gavel and said, "It is so decided."

      Ban will become the eighth secretary general in the United Nations' 60-year history on Jan. 1, when Annan's second five-year term expires. The last Asian to run the world body was U Thant of Burma, who held the post from 1961 to 1971.

      "It has been a long journey from my youth in war-torn and destitute Korea to this rostrum and these awesome responsibilities," Ban said in accepting the post, in both English and French.

      "I could make the journey because the U.N. was with my people in our darkest days," he said. "It gave us hope and sustenance, security and dignity. It showed us a better way. So I feel at home today."

      Ban will oversee an organization with 92,000 peacekeepers around the world and a $5 billion annual budget. The United Nations' reputation has been tarnished by corruption scandals, and its outdated practices need reform to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

      Annan hailed Ban as "exceptionally attuned to the sensitivities of countries and constituencies in every continent."

      The choice of Ban for the top job coincides with increased U.N. involvement in the effort to thwart North Korea's nuclear weapon development program. Ban has said that he would like to help mediate the dispute with the communist government in North Korea.


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