Saturday, September 25, 2004

My Sister, the Hurricane

My sister is four years younger than me. She is the baby, my father's favorite child. Every parent will loudly proclaim that no, there are no favorites, but they are lying, lying, lying, just like they lie about having sex--they aren't having any--we all know anal doesn't count.

Anal sex is not sex, as many a Catholic girl knows, which is why it puzzles me that so many Catholics are so against gay men. Even the Pope has a vendetta against us. In my mind, it's the lesbians he should be going after--they are the ones who are having sex.

My sister is having real sex, having fulfilled her reproductive destiny three times over, while her three older brothers have three cats and a Furby among them. You would think this takes the heat off of us, the sons, but my both my dad and mom, true to the Asian stereotype, want grandchildren who will carry on our illustrious last name. The world cannot go on without somebody with a surname of Fukudome*.

My parents wanted to name my sister Mary Jane, but my father thought better of it because he thought the Spanish version, Maria Juana, sounded too much like marijuana. So they decided to compromise and call her Jeanne, pronounced 'zhan', you know, like in French, after a Filipino game show hostess. I don't know why they couldn't have just called her Douche Bag. That's what we called her until she turned thirty.

But seriously, I love my sister. Without her, I don't know if I could have gotten away with shit growing up. My parents were perpetually worried about her getting knocked up that they didn't suspect that me and my 'friend' Nelson were blowing each other in my room.

When I heard that Hurricane Jeanne is approaching Florida, I felt a little trepidation. Is the hurricane going to be true to its namesake, my little sister? Would it be temperamental, placid one minute, furious the next? Would it make waves as it walks into a party? Would it dance up a storm or blow through a paycheck like her?

I don't know, but I hope people are smart enough to get the fuck out of her way.




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*Fuck you, do me. Yeah, like I would put my real last name here.

See if a hurricane was named after you
A hurricane named Shaniqua? Join the debate.

You got an Asian Fetish? Get a Chinese Name!
The Top Chinese Surnames and their origins
The Name Generator
Get your own Porn Star Name, Goth Name, Star Wars Name

Furby Autopsy
Cute like a Furby
God Discusses Homosexuality with the Pope

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Isn't It Ironic?

Old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery, died the next day
It’s a black fly in your chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon, two minutes too late

- Alanis Morrissette, Ironic

When did this song come out, like ten years ago? With this song, along with the vengeful "You Oughta Know," Alanis broke through and changed the pop music landscape forever--it made clear that women can not only sell records and concert tickets, they also buy millions of records.

It blew a hole into the 18 to 25 male power demographic, who are believed to be the holy grail of marketing. Who, when they (we) don't have their hands on engaged on their joysticks, literal or anatomical, spend their disposable income quite indiscriminately. Hence, the existence of blow-up sex dolls, Magic the Gathering, tractor lawnmowers.

It also created a discourse on the nature of "irony" because whatever Alanis was singing about, it was not irony. Bad luck maybe. Or, in the case of the guy who couldn’t take a good advice, stupidity, but certainly not irony.

In my case, every time we hear the song on the radio, Brian and I will argue again on the definition of irony. Every time I provide him my definition*, Brian says that it’s not the true definition of irony. He demurs to give his definition but he knows irony "when he sees it."

My dear friend Annie declared to me once that Ethan Hawke's exposition* in the movie Reality Bites on the definition of irony is the one that crystallized the meaning for her, that after she heard it, irony was no longer a mystery. I asked her what Ethan's definition was. She shrugged, "I don’t remember."

You may ask, why don't you just look it up in the dictionary? Aha! I did. Several times in fact, in the past. After the last time, I refused to look it up ever again. In my mind the definition is clear, for about ten minutes. Then as life goes on, the definition starts fading away, like my restraint at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I remembered the plot of Gay Prison Gang Bang 4 longer than that.

I think the confusion is not in the definition of the word, but rather, the use of it. I don’t think many people (including myself) know how to use irony correctly, often confusing it with metaphor, simile or sarcasm. In fact, most of the time, the only time I am aware of irony is when the writer specifically prefaces it by saying "Ironically, it..."

And for the longest time I pronounced it "i-yor-nee" as in to "iron a shirt" or "iron ore" rather than "i-ron-y." I'm still unclear on how to pronounce it. No, I don't want to look it up. I'm sick of irony.

I want things to be what they seem.

I want my Butches to be butch, my Riches to be rich and my Nellys to be nelly.*

But let's have a little fun here. Without looking it up first, put your idea or example of irony in the comments before you look at the others (scroll down quickly). Be as elaborate as you want, some people don't think irony can be easily summed up in a few words. But please don't mock or try to correct others' definition. This is just an experiment, after all.

If you still don't understand irony, you go look it up.


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* see my definitions here



Get Alanis' CDs here:


Watch the "Ironic" video
50 Things You Oughta Know about Alanis Morrissette

Once and for all, here's what Irony means!

Too cheap to buy a blow-up sex doll? Make one (and other hand-made sex toys)
Satirical Magic the Gathering Cards 1 2 3
Lawnmower Tattoo

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Mistaken Identity

If somebody stole my identity, it would suck ass, especially since I spent nearly all my life trying to be someone else.

Since I lost my ATM card, I had been pre-occupied with thoughts of identity theft. My card has been replaced since, but there were a few hours where I thought about somebody running around passing themselves off as me. I mean, it took a really, really long time to gain and then maintain the reputation of being a slut. It's distressing to think that someone would be taking advantage of this.

I have to admit though, that being an identical twin helped in gaining a slutty reputation. Since Peter and I frequent the same gay bars, it is quite natural to have a case of mistaken identity. People would see me playing tonsil-hockey with some dude and then see him dirty dancing with somebody else and think we were the same person whoring around town.

I've even had people with whom Peter is going out with get huffy with me for not saying "hi" as I passed them by. People get mad you know, when they think you've just "ignored" them, especially the ones that broke up with their boyfriends for you but haven't heard from you since. Yeah, they get pretty darn angry. That you owed them five hundred dollars was just incidental.

It does get confusing sometimes. I don't know if I don't recognize a cute stranger who comes up to me because it is Peter he knows or because I couldn't see his face while I was being gang-banged at the sex club. It's not like people introduce themselves first: "Hi, my name is Kerry, I'll be fucking your ass after this guy." It would be nice though. Actually, it would be quite charming, I could fall in love with someone like that.

Unlike other twins, Peter and I have never played the twin-switcheroo that is the plot of many a comedy film. I don't understand why anyone would do it anyway. One twin will always get screwed. Think of it: the only time you would want to be somebody else is if your life sucks. Can you imagine anybody wanting to be someone else while they are shooting their wad all over somebody's face?

I do worry about somebody buying the nomilkplease.com domain because I'm too cheap to do so. Also, I've heard that there are unscrupulous people who will steal your URL if you neglect to renew your domain registration and try to sell it back to you at a premium.

The only time I thought about changing places with my twin brother is when he got laid off a few years ago from his last company. I had gotten my U.S. citizenship then, but my brother was still a non-immigrant working under an H1-B visa.

Having an H1-B visa status meant that he could not work for any other company other than the one which sponsored him. If he did not get a new sponsor within sixty days he would have had to leave the country, leaving behind everything that he worked for. Trying to get a job in the U.S. while you were in another country is near impossible—he had to find a new sponsor.

Those two months were harrowing. He must have sent out hundreds of resumes hoping for a nibble. We had been preparing for the worst, what we would need to do if he had to leave the country; where he would store his stuff, if I had enough money to pay his mortgage or if we had to rent his place out.

I had fantasized about how we could take advantage of our being identical twins. I had thought about various scenarios of him re-entering the U.S. using my passport in order to look for a new job. I juggled thoughts of what permutation of him leaving or my entering the country would create enough confusion on his actual whereabouts.

We had even discussed a "marriage of convenience" for him with a U.S. citizen. Did we have any female friends who we could approach with such a serious request? Will any of these women be willing to have him wear their sassy clothes and high-heeled shoes?

I remember thinking that there was nothing funny in this situation that we found ourselves in. There was no laugh track or jaunty background music. There were no crazy pratfalls, no inept and bumbling INS agent skulking about or hiding in smelly, dusty closets to inject any kind of levity. There was only a quiet desperation.

Luckily, a few weeks before Peter had to leave the country, he got a new job as a financial analyst with company who was willing to sponsor him for a new H1-B visa.

I was immensely relieved. I can't even imagine what he had to go through.

I think that if we absolutely had to, I would have been willing to risk having him assume my identity just to buy him some time. Thank God we didn't have to go through such lengths.

I guess we were pretty lucky.

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What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft
Tips to prevent Identity Theft
Watch the funny Citibank Identity Theft Commercials here

Immigration Issues that affect the GLBT Community
El Emigrante - funny Immigration game

Slut Barbie and other Barbies
So What is a Slut (and what's wrong with that)?
Slutty Sorority Girls?

Remembering 9/11 and the Twin Towers
Top 15 Secret Service Code Names for the Bush Twins
Top Ten Pieces Of Fatherly Advice From George W. Bush (to the twins)
Those Wild Bush Twins (cartoons)
Olsen Twins Turn 18
Switcheroo Zoo: Create your own animals

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Comfort Food

$1.50 for a bowl of rice is insane.

Brian and I went to a local pan-asian restaurant called pingpong in our neighborhood in Chicago which has some great food. They have this amazing super spicy calamari appetizer, which is lightly breaded calamari and fried with tons of garlic, tossed with jalapeno pepper slices. I ordered the dish as my entrée, but it didn’t come with rice.

There was an intense psychological battle between my cheapness and my rice addiction on whether to pay a buck-fifty for that small bowl of rice or not. It’s like having a drag queen choose between a sequined gown or a rhinestone tiara: a real moral challenge. I mean, in a regular restaurant they give you all the bread you want to eat! It's racism I tell you!

A 25 pound sack of rice costs about $15 at an Asian store and I can probably make more than 500 cups of cooked rice with it. They also have a 50 pound sack, twice the size, for only $5 more. I would have bought it but Brian refused to help me carry it to the car. I’ll have to remember this about him in case I have to bury a dead body.

I don’t know why I have to have rice when I have a meal. I’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch, dessert.

When I was younger, if I was ill or feeling poorly, my mother would often make lugaw (which the Chinese call congee), a sort of rice soup, much like other mothers make chicken broth for their sick kids. When you’re sick, lugaw is bland enough not to overwhelm you. My mother would top it with some pork fu, a condiment made from dried, shredded pork to add a bit of flavor.

Actually, I always thought pork fu looked like dried hairy boogers, which to a kid, made it more fun to eat. I imagined that some old Chinese man picked his nose all day to fill up the bag it came in. However, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this photo is that it looks like a cow’s pubic hair. Yum.

Some Sunday mornings, I would head towards Chinatown with some friends for dim sum at a restaurant called Phoenix. Here, Asian women in white cotton cheongsam-style blouses and black pants push around dim sum carts, calling out the names of the little dishes they carry in Cantonese or Mandarin amidst the din of patrons chattering in various foreign languages. Dim sum is like Chinese tapas: little dishes in bamboo steamers like beef tripe, pork spareribs or braised chicken feet—Fear Factor for the uninitiated maybe, but a real treat for me.

The carts meander around the restaurant like leaves flowing down a stream, stopping by each table to let diners pick out their favorite dish. You could probably order what you want to eat from a menu but it is more fun this way. I mean, you can have sex with your boyfriend--but isn't it more fun to take his Visa card out shopping first? The orgasms are much more intense that way.

I got excited when the lady with the congee cart came by. Here, the congee came with diced chicken and bits of century egg. She didn’t speak any English but she saw what I wanted. She smiled as she ladled the steaming congee into a bowl in front of me and topped it with fresh green onions.

I looked into her face. Her gray hair was pulled into a tight bun, little beads of sweat dotted her forehead from the steaming soup. The smile deepened the grooves on her wizened cheeks and the wrinkles around her eyes. In that smile, I saw a trace of my mother.

Then she was gone.

I ate my congee, my lugaw. The warmth in my belly comforted me.

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Recipe for Congee with Chicken and Century Egg
Why I Love Chicken Feet
More Dim Sum
I don't speak Engrish

Kid Fear Factor: so cute
Fear Factor? Crusty Booger Balls and other gross recipes
(includes the Kitty Litter Cake recipe Pua sent me)

#762 Yo Mama's nose so big, you can go bowling with her boogers (and other Yo Mama jokes)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Monday, September 06, 2004

I Lost My ATM Card

Have you ever lost your ATM card? Took your money, the receipt and forget the card altogether? That just happened to me.

I opened my wallet and couldn't find the card in its usual slot. In a panic, I go through my wallet, practically turning it inside out. Still not finding it, I wondered if I dropped it somewhere. Shit, shit, it could be anywhere. Helpless, I did what anybody else would do: I went through my wallet again to see if it would magically re-appear.

Weird isn't it? When nothing makes sense, we would consider the supernatural, so-called elixirs or pyramid schemes before accepting the harsh reality. I mean, I used Rogaine for months before accepting that I didn't need a full head of hair to get laid—slipping a roofie in their drink did just fine.

No magic happened, my card is still missing.

I don't understand why ATM machines cannot spit your card out first before the money so you won't forget it. It's backwards, like getting married before having sex with your wife's best friend.

Normally, I don't even use cash for anything anymore. It's much, much more convenient to shoplift. Yeah, I know. I really shouldn't steal because it is so damn hard to return stuff without a receipt these days. I hate store credit, don't you? Hey, if I wanted your crap, I wouldn't return it so just hand over your money already.

One thing I really worried about when I lost the card was that somebody would try to use it as a debit card. Anybody can use your card! Nobody checks the signature on the back anymore. I know, because the signature on mine says 'fuck you, whore' in nice cursive writing and nobody has ever called me on it.

When I have to, I prefer to use my credit card, so I can keep track of all my expenses. It's nice to see where all the money goes so that I can tell the bill collector where to go find it. I can even print out a little report for him to use.

If I didn't have the Internet, I don't know if I would have been able to get the 800 number to call to report my card missing. I suppose the number would have been in an old bank statement, but I tend to throw out any correspondence that have the words PAST DUE NOW, OVERDRAWN or WE WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T PAY US in big red letters. Boy, don't they know that red is such an unfriendly color? They should have used a happier shade like pink, don'cha think?

Of course the first question from the automated menu was please enter your card number now. Bitch, if I had my card number, I wouldn't be calling you, I'd be calling 1-900-HOT-GUYS to see if I can hook up with somebody who can help me figure out if plaid is back in.

Unlike some people, I like the automated phone menus. I really dislike talking to customer service reps. They are unhappy people and I can't say I blame them. Talking to morons, I mean 'customers,' all day can do a number on you. I mean, all that false cheeriness.

Speaking of numbers, have you ever had the urge to do "number two" in the middle of a customer service call? I had called to order DSL and the whole process took like, seriously, an hour. Thirty minutes into the call, I felt the pressing need to go poo but I didn't want to hang up and start the process all over again. You know, there is a certain satisfaction of finally being able to go potty after holding it and knowing you are going to have high-speed Internet. Anyway, I digress.

They are sending me a new card in seven to ten business days. In the meantime, I have to make the seventeen dollars I have in my wallet last that long. I wonder if I'll make it?

Once, I was able to last almost three days without any cash in my wallet. It took austerity, self-control and my jar of pennies, but I did it. It made me feel very zen-like and Asian using those pennies to pay the cab driver or for a burger at McDonald's.

I felt like I was able to resist the whole concept of money and capitalism. Or at least until the store detective caught me.


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Before Rogaine: Early experiments in hair regrowth

The Dewey Color System
Are you Color Blind?
Color Quizzes: 1 2 3 4 5 (so many!)

Cutesy ATM messages in Shinjuku, Japan
Be careful of rigged ATMs!
What to do if you lose your Credit/Debit card
ATM lures gambler to win lost money back rather than walk away

My rants about being gay and asian
All Asians look the same? Here's the straight dope.
Random Zen koans

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Medúlla

Bjork must be very, very brave or very, very crazy.

I tend to lean towards the former while others, including my boyfriend Brian, think she's just nuts*. We have a framed poster of the cover of Homogenic with Bjork in futuristic geisha garb hanging in our living room. Brian thinks of it as the Halloween decoration that never got taken down, occasionally making noises about how it would be great campfire fodder. Hah! The smoke from the laminated paper will make the marshmallows taste funny.

At a party, my friend Randy H. and I heatedly discussed Bjork's career. Bjork appealed to him in her pop/dance Debut but quickly lost him when she started taking an entire minute to sing one word. I thought that Bjork gained depth as an artist as she followed her own muse. Granted, as with other great artists, there is a tendency to overshoot the mark and risk alienating their audience. Some critics may say that these days, only aliens would listen to her music and I don't think they mean people from New York City.

I think that the 'crazy' Bjork image comes from two incidents: one, when she wore a dress that looked like a swan's carcass draped on her to the 2001 Academy Awards; the other, when she slugged a female TV reporter in a Thai airport for shoving a microphone in her son's face. At least Bjork didn't call her son 'blanket.'

Well, Randy is not going to like Medúlla, Bjork’s new CD. The title refers to the 'inner part of an animal or plant structure or the lower part of the human brain'. The album's concept is to use only human voices as accompaniment, fusing choral music, Icelandic hymns and a human beatbox together with the singer's own quirky vocal style. There is only the barest instrumentation, a few tinkles of the piano, a low rumble of a synth sprinkled in a couple of songs.

The epic "Oceania", which the singer debuted at the 2004 Olympic opening ceremonies, stands out with its sweeping vocals and dramatic themes. I have been playing this song over and over. I already do a great impression of this song which I spring on Brian randomly, like, just as he emerges from the shower:

Wahn breath ah-way...from Mother Oceeeaaaannniiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...!

The other song I really like is Bjork's interpretation of poet e. e. cumming's "it may not always be so;and i say" (Sonnets/Unrealities XI). e. e. cummings is known for his avant-garde approach to poetry, his literary acrobatics and the peculiar way he lays the words on the page. I think they are well suited together. This is not their first 'collaboration.' In Vespertine, she tackles another poem "i will wade out" in the song "Sun in My Mouth." I think if the poet were still alive, he might have worked with her. Or hit her on the head with a stick.

There are many words to describe the album: ethereal, primitive, atmospheric, all of which means that the record is going to sell like, ten copies. Outside of a Bjork CD release party, it will probably be heard only in an upscale gay couple's all-white minimalist home.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the album and appreciate the ambition and artistic statement that Bjork is making. She has made an album that appeals to the intellect. I loved the songs when they worked and can see what she was going for in the songs I didn't particularly care for.

On a purely superficial level though, I think that the CD is pretty much really just a bunch of bullshit.


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* Wouldn't it be wonderful if Bjork was in a remake of the Barbra Streisand film "Nuts"?

The Official Bjork Website: fantastic content!
Another picture of the infamous swan dress
Salon.com weighs in on Bjork.
A remix of Bjork's "Oceania" featuring Kelis can be DL'd at this message board
Watch the video directed by Lynn Fox

e.e. cummings poetry: here and here
Human Beatbox Community
Amusing human beatbox video (6 mins)

"My Name is Blanket" by Blanket Jackson
Play with Blanket: Baby Bounce game and Baby Drop game