Thursday, December 30, 2004

No title

I got instructions from people at Ft.Leavenworth that I am to fly out of Austin next Monday, thus began my 30 day TDY, I hope everything works out and I can turn in some quality work for them.

What had happened in South Asia has been, is, and will continue to be sad and devastating. Those of us who were not affected have truly been very, very lucky. Having been in a war zone and living through a lifetime of tragedies, be it having been affected by it, or know someone who had perished, just once again reminds me of how quickly life can be snuffed out. You would think that I am that much closer to living everyday like it was my last, but I'm not there yet. I still sleep away about a third of my life, have a very small circle of friends, thus a small circle of influence (all my good friends live far from me.), and I can't recall the last time that I had volunteered myself (except tossing tee-shirts at "Ride for the Roses".) to any meaningful causes

The girlfriend asked me if, in about 10 years or so, Iraq had become this shining democracy of the Middle East, and obtained a kick-ass economy, would I feel like that I had contributed to it? I think I would somewhat, and not very much. I would feel more so for some of the Iraqis who had translated for us and helped us out, they believed, sometimes more than we did, and paid their lives for that belief. I think that I am lucky to have been a witness, and also lucky that I got to see a different part of the world that I might otherwise not have gotten to see, under "normal" circumstances.

The dog is munching his dinner away, I'll have to become a bad parent once again. I don't like leaving the girlfriend and the pets behind, but I am hoping that one of these days, I won't need to just to earn a buck or two.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Post X'mas

Happy belated X'mas to everyone! I just came back from visiting the folks in Houston. Got the grandparents, my uncle and his family, my dad, stepmother, and my sister, freshly divorced and starting anew.

Over the 3 days that I was there, I did the typical Asian holiday thing, and that is eat,eat, and eat! Our love of eating is in the blood! We had Peking duck, eaten in 4 ways, Chinese fondue, Northern China cuisine, and Taiwanese food. In between all the eating sessions, we managed to open some gifts, I got mostly bath and skin care products, and I gave away practical gifts like gift certificates, wallets, and timepieces.

I was really glad to get to hang out with my sister for a little bit, this past year has been hard on her, and I hope this new year will start to look better for her and the rest of us.

Went back to the girlfriend and exchanged gifts with her, and I got more bath stuff, candles, some novelty gifts, I like them all! I hope that our financial situation will be more stable so that we can finally began to get what we truly wants,like a new bed, new bike, her car restored....

I am still very grateful that we are all here and healthy,even with all of our issues and baggages.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sad day in Mosul

I woke up today to the news that some 19 soldiers and 57+ other personnels were killed and injured at the mess hall at Foward Operation Base Marez. This has been the most direct and accurate hit on a mess hall in Mosul in a while. I remember the numerous times when I was in Mosul, how the insurgents tried to aim at our mess hall, as well as the gym, many times, I got really lucky and walked away minutes before the mortar hit.

I don't know whether or not we struck back at the bastards that tried to hit the chow hall, I do recall a lot of anger felt by those of us who wondered why, with the available technology (we have radars that can track rocket/mortar movements), we are not firing back at the insurgents, and how many people would have to be blown up before those in charge would decide to do something about it.

I'm sad for those whose lives and limbs have been cut short, as well as sad about those in charge who doesn't seem to have a clue as to what to do about Iraq. I'm not opposed to getting rid of Saddam and his regime, but I just wonder how much more we will have to pay in US lives before the Iraqis are finally going to get up and help themselves.

I don't see the US pulling out of this anytime soon, I think that as more information gets gathered, I only see us staying over there, not only fighting the insurgent sectors, but also possibly countries like Syria and Iran. I really hope that I'm wrong on that one!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Saturday night with Wanda

We went to the Paramount theater, this theater located in downtown Austin, and watched Wanda Syke's live comedy show. It was worth every penny! She covered a lot of subjects in her routine, everything from detachable pussies to politics. Most of the audience were made of gay men, lesbians, middle aged straight couples, and a few African-Americans.

I wonder what she thinks of her fans, and their demographics, I guess she probably doesn't think a lot about them, as long as there are people who support her. My mind, while waiting for her show to start, wondered what would happen if there were klans members, wife-beaters, pediphiles, etc., how would she change her routines?

I like her, she's a natural at what she does, and she seems to be enjoying herself pretty well too! How many people could say that about the jobs that they do?

If you get a chance, go and see her if she hops into your town, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Soldier's last request

Specialist David Mahlenbrock was killed by an IED on December 3rd in Kirkuk, Iraq. David had a special letter sent to his squad in the event of his death.

Dear 1st Squad,

If you’re reading this, then I’ve died for our country. I just hope it wasn’t for nothing.

After the IED went off yesterday, I wanted to write this in case something happens to me. There are a few more letters that I’d like you to give my wife and family.

I’d like to have a military funeral, but, if you can work please make sure that Toby Keith’s “American Soldier” is played at the ceremony in addition to the bagpipes. If they won’t let it happen, that’s ok, thanks for trying…...

I know that all the belongings I have here will go to Melissa, but there are a few more things I’d like for you guys to make sure she gets. I have a dog tag w/ our picture on it along w/ some pictures and an American flag in my left breast pocket. There is also a can that says “Son” on it that Melissa’s parents gave me that I’d like for them to have, and that angel stone should go to her grandma and grandpa Snow.

Now if I died w/ blue eyes (one blew that way and one blew the other way) and there’s nothing really left of me, that’s ok, I know you meant well.

Alright, enough with the dead guy’s last request, there’s a lot of thank you’s I wanna say to you fellas……

The above entry was courtesy of the "Blackfive:The paratrooper of Love". I never knew Spc. Mahlenbrock, but I'm every bit as sad about his passing as can be. I'd like for us to do this in his honor....

Specialist David Mahlenbrock will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetary on Wednesday, December 15th at 10AM EST. David's family and friends are asking radio stations to play Toby Keith's "American Soldier" on the 15th at 1pm EST with a dedication to Specialist David Mahlenbrock.

Let's see what we can do. Email or call the radio stations in your area and ask them to play this dedication to David. Feel free to copy this post to send to them.

Also....You can send condolences to David's family at:

Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home

600 E. Main St.

Maple Shade, NJ 08052

Rest in peace, David.

Gov't works

I had filed a congressional inquiry a few weeks back because I had and still have pay problems with the army, instead of crediting me for leave not yet taken, they decided to deduct my pay, equalling to the amount of leaven not yet taken. Also, my travel voucher for reinbursable expenses incurred while in Iraq and Kuwait had not been reinbursed for over 3 months now.

After unsuccessful attempts to try to get some help from some in charge in my reserve unit, I finally came to the end of my ropes. After all, after I got back from Iraq, they dissolved the company to which I was depolyed with, so there was really no one in charge.

I then sent a e-mail inquiry with my local congressman, and even though we've never spoke or met in person, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with his helpers! Two people from his office made phone calls to me and on my behalf to people at the government agency level that I could not have done myself. Imagine how relieved I was when I got a phone call today, this guy named Mike called from the congressional office, asking me to fax a copy of my order to him, because, apparantly, defense accounting service had "lost" my order deploying me to Iraq. (It happens a lot.) He told me that once this is one, then I should see my travel pay in one week. If at the local level, there are competent people like that, then maybe we wouldn't even need politicians to sort this sort of mess out.

I don't know if anyone could identify with me for as far as pay issues with the service or other branches of gov't is concerned, I'd like to know about them, about how common it is and what you've done to resolve the issues, so please feel free to leave me comment or send me a e-mail! Don't be shy!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ramen's gay adventure

We were being nice yesterday and took Ramen out to the local dog park. The weather was great and it has been a while since Ramen was out and about, running freely with other dogs anyways.

Ramen got there and ran around with other dogs, took dips in the cool stream, and hiked the trail on the other side of the stream. I had to goto that trail and chase him down so he doesn't forget to come back to us.

At one point of our outing, Ramen was followed by this beautiful male dalmation, Ramen, of course, tried to play it cool, until, the dalmation showed what he was really after, to hump Ramen. Ramen, of course, had his particular taste in "special friends", and it just so happened that it wasn't that dalmation that day. So Ramen growled at the dalmation to get his front legs off of him!

We noticed that, in the park, there were a lot of canine gay love affairs going on! It made the girlfirend think that the dog park was basically a gay dog gathering place! funny and cute!

Visiting with Kate

On this past Friday, the girlfriend and I visited my friend Kate in San Antonio. I first met Kate when I got mobilized with the army and got sent to Ft.Lewis. She's a nice person, but a bit misunderstood, like I was, with the rest of the group that we were with. She ended up not going to Iraq with the group because she found out that she was pregnant.

Towards the end of our stay at Ft. Lewis, Kate and I became roommates. It was a tumultuous time in both of our lives, my grandmother was sick with cancer, and Kate was very pregnant, and unsure about what is coming up next. Her husband at that time was not the most supportive either.

Our correspondeces during my Iraq/Kuwait stay were few and in between. I thought that she just got busy with the baby and life and didn't think much of it.

When I came back stateside, Jim, a guy that was in our group, and lives near Kate, encouraged me to contact her again. I called her up early last week and found out that she had been dealing with a lot more than just a baby. Her husband got arrested for being in this internet child porn ring, then got busted to a private and now is in prison. Also, shortly after her husband's arrest, she found out that she has MS. That's a lot for anyone to handle, and I don't care how young/old you are.

One thing about Kate is that she's tough, and determined to be in charge of her life. She's going to get medically discharged from the army, then go get her teaching certificate and teach and I'm glad for her.

While in San Antonio, Kate, Jim, the girlfriend and I went to have some fine Italian food, watched a DVD, played with baby, and chatted about her life. It was a good evening had by all.

I haven't talked with a lot of other people from the unit that I was with, but I do know that some are still adjusting with life after war, a few got really high-paying jobs, thanks to their Iraq experience, but most part of me still wonder if any of us has become better person through this experience, I hope I have. I'm more cynical, but also more hopeful in some ways.

While I do hope for all the best with the people that I was with, I hope it more so for people like Kate.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Moo is back!

I went to this seminar for people who are unemployed and supposedly looking for jobs, it was very inspirational, made me want to pound my head against the brick wall endlessly!

The girlfriend and I then did some X'mas shopping, mostly for the kids, her nephew, and one of my friend's baby girl. I got her a polar fleece pullover, corduroy pants, and a nice shirt to go with it. For the nephew, he got turtlenecks, a pair of couduroy pants, and a short-sleeved dress shirt, kids will be styling this winter!

That black and white cat, to which I had named "Moo", has come back to us! She tried to come into the house but Ramen kept on pretending to be the guard dog and drove her away. It was also the funniest thing seeing our other cat Silly and her exchanging not so friendly meows!

If I had my way, I'd have a few more dogs and cats, I'm like that. I think pets make life so much better!

I've also got to start carbo-loading because the nephew will be here for four days starting next Sunday, and at 3 years of age, he's a handful!

Monday, December 06, 2004

We had a social life....for tonight anyways.

I'm listening to web radio and typing this, it's great! The girlfriend and I just came back from dinner at Lisa's house (the filmmaker), celebrating Murray's (our friendly Canadian filmmaker friend) 45th. birthday. One of the ladies from Habitat for Humanity who was working with them were there with her partner, and one of Lisa and her man's friend (not a filmmaker, I don't really know what she does) was there too. I think we were the youngest people there, and I think we'd better appreciate that while it lasts. I think the time that I has spent in Iraq was pretty much the only time that I remember to which I had spent with a group of people who are younger than me.

We had really good food there, Lisa's special roast, real mashed potatoes, beans, salad, and baby carrots. Most of the dinner time converstations were about who knows who, who sued who, who built whose houses (Lisa's man is a house builder), and Willy Nelson and how he's an icon now. Most of the time I was a bit quiet because I've never built, or owned houses, and never even had a celebrity sighting.

One by one the guests left Lisa's house, so Murray, Lisa, Lisa's man, and the girlfriend stood around and chatted about a bit of everything. It was a neat and lively evening, and a vision of what it would be like to have friends who are actually at that settled stage in life (whatever that means). We hope to see them really soon again!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Evening entertainment

I am having a semi-bad case of the cold today, and I can't say that I've achieved too much , I did, however, finally get my TDY paperwork faxed off to the right party.

Our dog Ramen is have a attack of the tummy bug, he has been vomiting twice since last night, I fed him a pepto-bismo tablet, and I am hoping that'll do the trick.

It's Friday evening and both of us are sick, so that kind of rules out going out for the evening, seeing a movie, or getting drunk at some seedy bar. I told the girlfriend that I just wanted to have a nice and quiet cold evening at home, with a fire in the fireplace, and that's not something too different from the usual.

Then Ramen wanted to go outside to the small backyard that we've got. I let him out, expecting him to want to come back in in 2 minutes, since he usually does that. About 10 minutes has passed when I started to wonder what had happened to the dog. The girlfriend went back to check, and guess what she had found in the backyard? A black and white cat! She's kind of chubby, but clean looking and very cute, and on top of all that, not afraid of Ramen! (It's usually the other way around, but Ramen is not the big defender dog type either.) We let her in and it has been quite funny to watch her not be afraid of Ramen! I will include a picture of her on this blog soon....and I think I will call her "Moo"! When you see the photo, you'll know why!

Thursday, December 02, 2004


A bit about her, she's in her late 80's and has seen much in her life. From WWII, Japanese occupation of China, to the communist takeover of China, to which she barely escaped with my dad, who was an infant at that time, and my granpa. Until recently, she made it through stomach cancer, and that wasn't even the first time that she had been troubled by major illness. I love her to death, she has basically been the only one who has steadily nurtured me since I was an infant, there were a few gaps in those years, but I basically consider her to be my mother.

Lately, she has been troubled by some symptoms of dementia, mostly brought on by old age. She's not at the point where she cannot recognize her family members, but her mood swings would be more often, and she'd have really bad short-term memories. She has also started to get into more fights with my grandpa, over her suspecion of him having an affair! (It's kind of funny if you think about it!) Basically, there are good and bad moments when it comes to her dementia, and the rest of the family is just trying to learn and adjust to it.

I just try to take it all in stride, and try to laugh at the funny moments. Like this morning, when my aunt in N.J. called her up to say hello, grandma went ahead and cried to her about how she thinks that grandpa has been neglecting her, calling her a schizophrenic, all while thinking that she was talking to my stepmother! I love the funny "oops!" moments!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

In Houston....

Last night, the girlfriend and I went to a bookreading and dinner/snack with Maxine and Elizabeth from Houston, they are also fellow bloggers and were neat to hang out and laugh with. They are also kind of sophisticated because they goto bookreadings, wheras, we tend to goto rodeos, hockey games, and the occasional baseball games. I tend to go through spurts in bookreading, reading a whole bunch at once and then stopping for a while.

I made it to my folks' in Houston in the afternoon, took my dog with me and the ride to Houston was good. The weather was nice, especially when the wind hit the tall grass on the sides of the road, the grass would sway from side to side, very hypnotic.

Too bad the girlfriend has been sick, she's got this combination of allergy/climate change bug that has been attacking her lately. I told her that I'll bring some Chinese remedy to help her feel better, but it might not taste good.

I was im'ing the girlfriend when all of a sudden, 2 people that I knew from Iraq got on, one of them was a supply sgt. from the air force, he was and still is a nice guy, just he couldn't keep steady relationships because he's deployed all the time. The other guy that im'ed me was a guy from my group who also had not much of a luck in relationship lately, his wife hooked up with another guy while he was in Iraq. It was good to hear from them, to know that everyone is still alive and as well as can be, under the circumstances.

Hope everyone is doing alright on this cold night!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Post thanksgiving

We are back from the in-law's, all stuffed with lots of turkey, stuffing, pies,and God knows what. The girlfriend is currently glued to the t.v., and I just got the hint that I was not to talk to her during the encore presentation of "Huff".

The word is that I will get a chance to do TDY (like a military business trip, for me it's a chance to earn a month of pay, plus see the Midwest for the first time in my life.) at Ft. Leavenworth. I'm just waiting on the orders to be cut. I think I'll have to be back in uniforms again, doing some Chinese linguist work, for a change. If it works out, then it may point to a move, but I'm not thinking much past 30 days.

I am very thankful that I am back in the states now, with my girlfriend, families nearby, above all, to be alive and healthy! I am glad that all my families are here and even though we don't all agree on many things, we still care enough to have conflicts over them.

I had started to e-mail some of the folks who were with me in Iraq, I think it's good to have a degree of continuity. I don't picure myself being in any big or small reunions, after all, I wasn't in that kind of group to began with. I don't have many friends, never really did, but I am pretty content with it. I never believed in not being yourself (that ever changing thing called self) just so that you'll become some queen of popularity.

Well, that was on a tangent! However, I hope at least some of y'all know what I was trying to say.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


We are at the in-laws' house now, and the nephew is running around the living room like a headless chicken. He's really cute and adorable, plus strong-willed! The rain that has been pounding Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana has finally left and it was good to see blue sky again!

My new tattoo has been peeling and hopefully it would all heal soon, I was beginning to get a kind of worried that all the paint from the tattoo was going to go away!

To Sean from "Doc in the Box", thanks for the compliment and please be safe the second time around! To Scott C. ("The stalker" - his story will be coming up on a later entry) congratulations on becoming a grandpa, at the tender age of 38!

To the girlfriend, the baby will come soon! I realized that if I want to be a grandma so badly, I need to be a mama first!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Gir, Kenny, and Doreamon Posted by Hello

Like a virgin.....

I'm not talking about some 80's song here or about some freaky new sex act, but, after about 32 years of waiting and hesitation, we went out and got me a tattoo! It's located on my right shoulder, on the back just below the shoulder blade. I've got Kenny (from South Park), Doraemon (my favorite anime character), and Gir from Invader Zim.

I thought that the tatooing process would hurt like hell, suprisingly, I got used to it and at the end, it wasn't so bad. The tatoo artist did a great job!

So I was like this tattoo virgin, touched for the very first time!

If you want to take a look at it, look at my fotopage, I'll include the link, just look to the tabs on the left hand side of the page!

Monday, November 22, 2004


I changed the settings to allow anyone to comment - sorry, I didn't know it wasn't already set that way. So, comment away!!

Friday, November 19, 2004

My girlfriend smells so good!

I just have to give a big hoop and hollar to my dear girlfriend, who smells better than anyone or anything! She smells better than scented candles, freshly baked cupcakes, and better than a whole basket full of fresh fruit!!

I knew this from the first time that I heard her porn operator voice on the phone! Something just tells me that my nose will be in heaven forever!

That was one of the worst thing about being in Iraq, not having her neck to sniff!

I never want to be in that scenario again!

Did I tell you that she's also very smart and nice? I mean, she does volunteer work, and puts up with my evil ass (of course I'm not evil)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The food entry.

I went to the local community college yesterday, wanting to register for a class in anatomy and physiology, only to find out that I need to take this assessment test, and pass it before I can take that class. Now, I had not taken any serious science classes when I was an undergrad, so I am thinking that the assessment test will reveal that. So instead of anatomy and physiology, it'll probably be biology 101 for me. Oh well, it was my own damn fault!

On the way back, I called the girlfriend and asked her what she would like to eat, and she said Rudy's bbq (this local bbq chain, famous for its own sauce.), so I said okay and started to drive towards Rudy's. All of a sudden, while driving, I experienced this craving for CoCo's famous onion pie (it's not a pie, but a flatbread that has been mixed with green onions in its batter and then fried, and often eaten with soysauce.), so I followed my stomach and got half a order of that pie.

When I came home, the girlfriend was amazed that I got the best of Eastern and Western cuisine, all together in one evening. It turned out to be a good idea, combining Chinese and American food. It was also another workout opportunity for my stomach! The girlfriend was so amused and disgusted that she called me a pig, in the most affectionate way, of course!

Maybe next time, I'll combine Middle Eastern and Indian food and see what result that yields!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I've finally done it!

I've set up a paypal account, so that I could perhaps get some help in support of my snacking habit. One of my dreams is to get paid to eat, and in return, I will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of culinery world!

If any of you want to try out a new dish but just could not out of fear of the exotic, let me know and I will try it out for you, nothing is too extreme. If I can find it here and you are willing to chip in a few dollars, I promise you that I will try it out for you and let you know exactly what you would or would not have missed!

This is also a chance for some of you to buy me a drink from time to time, I've not had too many offers for people buying me drinks, a drink for a returning vet. Partly because I don't flaunt that when I'd go out. In fact, may I make a suggestion that each of you who read this entry, go out and buy a veteran a drink!

I saw the footage of a marine who shot a wounded insurgent in Fallujah, the footage was captured by one of my favorite journalist, Kevin Sites. It's a sad state of affairs, for all that was there in a house. It's easy for those of us who were not there to say that the marine was the one being amoral and beastlike, but you also have to know where he is coming from. That very marine was just shot himself the day before and release back to duty in a day, can you imagine how fired up his nerves were? I don't know whether or not he thought the insurgent booby-trapped himself or he saw something that resembled aggression, I do know that much therapy will be needed for all the troops who were there. I just hope that some of you will think about all this before you reach a conclusion.

I'm damned lucky to be back in the States!

Monday, November 15, 2004

In training for the holidays!

Now, one of the most pressing concerns that the girlfriend has about me is how I'd eat like I have a bottomless pit! I used to weigh 185-190 lbs. before I went to Iraq, and over there, due to the heat, shitty food served and working out to combat boredom, I got my weight down to around 165 lbs. When I came back, I got nothing but compliments from the girlfriend and the family on the newfound figure, so you'd think that I was going to keep up the "good work", right?

Are they crazy? To deny myself of one of the most exquisite pleasures of life by restricting caloric intake? Have they forgotten that I've missed Thanksgiving, X'mas, and birthdays by being in the Allah-forsaken desert??

So to prepare for Thanksgiving, I've started to eat and drink about 8 times a day, mostly of good and wholesome food like fried chicken, salads, ramen, banana bread, soups, cookies, chocolates, there was nothing that I didn't eat!

Had I gained my weight back yet? Not yet, but it'll probably only be a matter of time. Heck, I love eating and drinking so much that I am even thinking about starting a pay-pal account so that generous folks could help me out with some grocery fees!

So how could I do this when there are so many people in the world starving? Well, let's just say that as a citizen of this planet, I am feeling their pain and doing something about it, the pain, that is!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Playing advocate's devil

This friend of ours has a blog on the net for about a year now, and she has been pretty nice to us, letting us stay at her place when we were in her town, and the occasional correspondence.

So a few days ago, I went to read her blog, and noticed this entry that basically said that she was really depressed that Pres. Bush has won 4 more years in the White House. While I can understand the part about Bush trying to get a constitutional amendment going against gay marriage, and how she's opposed to it, I didn't think she's seeing the bigger picture, and how flimsy Kerry and his plans to better the world appeared to be.

So I posted a comment asking her when was the last time that some government man came and snatched her away for not liking the president, or the last time she was denied access to some establishment because she was gay, not to mention that the state of her own economy was looking better than ever. Of course, being evil, I posted my comment under the "anonymous" title. She doesn't know me to be political, of course, I don't think I am political either, I am not a staunch liberal or conservative. I am just anti-bullshit.

I wonder how long it'll take for her to realize that it was I who had left the comment!

This documentary....

Last night, I watched this documentary that the girlfriend had recorded for me, and it was called "Soldiers Pay". I don't know who produced it, but it was a short documentary (about 30 minutes long), and looked like a student production. The producers interviewed this general, some soldiers, and "experts" on the matters and the functions of the government, psychology, and military.

One part of the documentary talked about the group who found the huge stash of cash that was near Baghdad, and how this one Sgt. was made to be the fall guy for the group who tried to steal the cash. Not having read any of the supporting documents about that case, I can only say that you just cannot trust an institution as flawed as the army. One of the reasons why I can never be a life in the military, aside from the gay issue, is that even if you can get to meet some of the best people on this planet in the military, there are also some people who can make your life a literal living hell. If that sgt. was truly wronged, I hope that one day he'll be able to clear his name.

I remember joking about what to do if our group had found huge stashes of cash, and I am kind of glad that we didn't find anything of that sort. Greed makes people do horrible things to each other.

I think it's a good thing that there are some people who are raising issues about veteran care, logistic problems facing the units already out there (Ours was so bad, our saving grace was that we didn't do the actual patrolling/fighting.), and whether or not it was right for us to goto Iraq. (Even if it will piss some people off.) I don't believe in asking questions for the sake of controversy, rather, to improve a situation.

I choose not to utilize any of the veteran's administrations medical services because I want the people who really need it to use it. I came back home relatively healthy and sound. (Aside from having some doubts about if the various doctors and nurses are real and degreed!)

Still kind of under the weather, but hopefully, I'll get better in a few days. We've had some yummy Italian food at this eatery a few blocks away from our apt., watched a whole bunch of snowboarding films on WAM! channel, and baked some chocolate chip cookies! The girlfriend built a fire in the fireplace... very nice! I can't think of a better way to nurse a cold!!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday rambling

The weather has finally cooled down in Austin, in fact, it had cooled WAY down! My poor system is not taking this too well, don't get me wrong, I do like the weather cold, but when you have temps in the 80's one day, then 40's the next, my body has a harder time adjusting to it. So I got the throat drop, and Dimetapp going on. Spent the last few days, up until today, helping out with the documentary film project, had one of those awful relationship evenings with the girlfriend, and started the itch to do something else, anything else, go ride a bike, take a run, or a swim.

Trying to get a gig doing translation stuff at this army think tank in Kansas, but since it'll take some finagling between my home reserve unit and Kansas, I say it'll take a while, don't know how long. I need to start earning some dough again. Despite of how many times I've gotten laid off, or couldn't stand some of the people that I had worked with, or disagree with the so called company policy, what I feel will not help pay for the bills. Sure I filed for unemployment, but at this rate, I'l get a better return selling one of my kidneys, and it won't take weeks, or even months to get a check!

Amidst all this weird emotions and restlessness, I still would have to say that I am pretty lucky. I was reading the newspaper, and one of the articles talked about how the city of Mosul (in Iraq), is now almost in total state of disarray. I can only imagine how the bases that we've got over there are being rocketed or mortared at this point. I got out of there shortly before things got out of hand. It also sort of made me wonder what we (our combat group) did up there, aside from doing patrols and looking good for visiting dignitaries.

Oh, well, just kind of need something to look forward to, to keep on keeping on.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Film makers are pretty cool!

I tagged along with the girlfriend on a filmshoot for a documentary project for Habitat for Humanity. She volunteers there as an interviewer, scheduler, transcriptionist, and as of today, a film productions assistant. The filmmakers were Lisa and her good friend Murray (sorry if I spelled your name wrong!), who hailed all the way from Canada. They hauled their $100,000 worth of film equipment in her Toyota SUV.

I've never been around a lot of artists, much less filmmakers, which are like artistic technicians, so today has been quite eye-opening to me. We helped them unload/load equipment,I helped with the lighting, and Beth helped with the above tasks, as well as a notetaker on Lisa's trusty laptop while Lisa interviewed two households that benefitted from Habitat's projects in this very city.

Both families involved were single-parented families, and both matriarchs were people who had rough lives and were a kind of down and out, to a certain degree, yet with strong religious belief and some helping hands, were finally able to obtain their own houses and stabilize their lives. The documentary is trying to document how the Habitat organization has helped the community.

We chatted a lot about how Lisa and Murray became filmmakers, neither of them were graduates of famous film schools, rather, they had done many other things before getting involved full time in film production. I really do amdire the "jack of all trade" characteric about them. None of them confused us with long and incomprehensible filmmaker's jargons. I joked to them about making porn with the girlfriend and what advice did they have for us! (Not that we'll be IN the porn, just filming it!!)

If you look at it this way, filmmakers and research scientists usually have long lifespans, because, just by matter of observation, their work are usually very detail-orientated,in most cases, interesting, as well as very time-consuming. I think anyone who works in something that they're passionate about is a very lucky guy or gal!

Murray was so nice to take us out to eat dinner, we introduced him to Shiner Bock beer, and Texas country cooking! Man, if all film shoots come with free food and drinks, sign me up! Also, if anyone wanted a lighting person for their porn production, ring me up only if you have pie and punch waiting!

Can't sleep!

We finally made it back from Dallas and thankfully, the weather was once again cooperative!

The girlfriend has been sick for the past few days, kept awake at night by bouts of coughing fit. She has tried just about all the OTC cough/cold/allergy medication that the drugstore has and still she's not getting better. I urged her to go and see the doctor while we still can afford to, but she didn't think that doctors could do much for her.

Got notification from Texas Workforce Commission and they said that if they do pay me unemployment benefits, it would only be 1/4 of what I made this past year....what assholes!

Right now, neither of us could sleep, maybe we hadn't exercised enough, maybe too much is on our minds,(I've been thinking about the people in Iraq while lying awake), took a tylenol PM but for some reasons, it just hasn't kicked in.

Not being able to sleep and eat well has got to be two of the worst feelings in the world! For a while when I was in Iraq, I wasn't able to do either of both too well, and to this day, I still couldn't figure out why that was. The only good thing that came out of that experience was that I dropped some weight, but I'd rather drop weight the old fashion way, you know?

Going to try and knock on z monster's door again!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

No title

I had developed a slight sore throat overnight, it hurts whenever I'd swallow. I also felt hot and cold at various points of the night, the girlfriend was snoring, and I then had a dream where all these beauty pagent contestants where being pelted by large snow balls....hearing the screaming, hollering and trying to dodge the snowballs was fun! I don't usually have dreams with models or beatuy pagent people in there, my dreams are usually about people that I knew or distant relatives.

We are at the in-law's house now, somewhere in the Dallas area. The drive was good, the temperature was in the low 70's and the sky was blue. I felt like we were driving in a microsoft windows screensaver! We've got a adorable, but sometimes bossy, 3 year old nephew that's staying way past his bed time, and the dog is running all over the place, hopeful that someone will pet him non-stop. Had total junk food for meals, which is okay every once in a while.

Not too much going on, got a e-mail from my friend Cindy, and she was really disappointed that Kerry lost. We don't always see things eye to eye, but I still don't respect and admire her any less. Beth threw a small scale fit because I wouldn't tell her what I've written in my journal, and I used to let her read my journal, but I believe that, both me and her should have a small space, on paper or otherwise, that we can record our thoughts and experiences on, without any worries that it'll get censored, judged by anyone, you know?

Hope everyone is doing well tonight.

Monday, November 01, 2004

An very important message

I got this e-mail from my friend Cindy today, we've been friends since college, about 10-11 years ago. I really admire her because she's one of those people who lives what she believes, even if it went against the conventional. The school that we attended was, at that time, famous for turning a generation of women into good little God-fearing housewives, which was great if you're into that!

This e-mail is about the importance of voting, even if our choices have boiled down to choosing between a turd sandwich and douche! (Thank you Trey and Matt!) I am guilty, as of this year, of being a hyprocrite, I didn't vote.

Here's her email:

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Albert Hubbard

dearest friends,

it's been a tiring weekend. with other volunteers (thank you marnie, letty, and tim!), I've been canvassing an 8-block by 2-block area in my neighborhood of ballard, here in seattle, urging people to get out on tuesday and to exercise a right that is too often taken for granted: the right to governmental self-determination. the right to have your opinion heard. the right to know that your individual voice, however small, is not insignificant.

until a few years ago, I was the world's most apolitical person. I could name the president and vice-president, but other than that, I knew almost nothing about our government and its policies, and honestly didn't much care to know. all that changed in the summer of 2002, when I returned from the peace corps. I came home to a country that no longer resembled the country I had left two years prior. and in the two years since, the united states I grew up in has become more and more bizarre and surreal. we have fewer rights, less privacy, dirtier air and water, worse and less accessible health care, a soaring national deficit, a pre-emptive war that has proven impossible from which to extricate ourselves, reluctant allies, and more enemies. this is not the country I was proud to represent, and swore to defend "against all enemies, domestic and foreign," when I took my oath as a peace corps volunteer.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for on tuesday. politics, like faith, is an intensely personal issue, and I know that I'm risking alienating friends by sending this e-mail in the first place. however, I could not let this week pass without making my stance known. it's much too important a week for you to say, oh, well, I was going to send in an absentee ballot, but I lost it in my pile of junk mail. or, gosh, well, I had a big project come up on tuesday morning and just couldn't get to the polls in time.

if this election has ME, a self-professed political apathetic, not only voting on tuesday, but attending meetings and rallies, calling on friends to help me canvass, making phone calls, and risking the possibility of pissing people off with my views, isn't that a testament to the importance of the issues at hand?

I heard a field organizer say last wednesday that she believes that this tuesday will be the most important day of her entire life. think about that! not the day she graduated from college or got married, but election day 2004! is she right? I think so. tuesday's election will determine, to a large extent, the direction in which this country is headed -- and not just for the next four years. america is waiting, but the world is watching. and, like it or not, we are part of the world.

on tuesday, I urge you: vote with your conscience, vote with your god-given mind, and vote with your gut. choose the person over the party, bravery over belligerence, integrity over intimidation, and compassion over cronyism. but please, just vote.

thanks for reading. salaam and shalom.


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Finally back in Austin!

After driving on the highway for about 3 hours, with one occasion of car breakdown in between, I finally got back to Austin with my trusty dog, Ramen! Made it to the Bob Schneider concert (He looked like Matthew Fox from "Party of Five".), the opening act was this bad called "Dragonfly Jones", and collectively speaking, their music was pretty good, but the audience was pretty obnoxious, bumping into each other with full beer bottles, body parts, and most of them acted like they were pretty good looking. I've got one piece of advice, and that is, form-fitting clothing is not meant for everyone, so please consider it carefully before you put it on!

I had a good time visiting my folks, all things considered. When I was in Iraq, I'd hear from my family about how badly my folks were faring, my grandmother had stomach cancer and all the treatment had left her not only physically, but also mentally worned out. During this visit, aside from the obvious signs of aging (she's in her mid-80's), she looked otherwise healthy. I hope they'll be healthy enough to play lots of mah-jong, have a lot more arugments with each other, and nick-pick on me and everyone else in the family!

Packed away the ramen the I got in Chinatown, I am ready to tackle the challenges of the following week, getting the car repaired (again), hassle my old reserve unit, harass texas workforce commission, seeing the in-laws (not so much a challenge), and God only knows what else!

Not thinking of anything too profound at this point, I just wish that the election could be over soon, and may the best candidate win!

Friday, October 29, 2004


My car stalled and broke down today on Interstate 10, about a day after I had it repaired and lubed....just my luck, I guess. I'm not all that upset about it, I was planning to take my gal out and eat at someplace nice and have some "after dinner activities", but I guess they'll just have to wait until later, hopefully tomorrow night!!

She's going to take me to a Bob Scheneider concert, he's a local favorite, and used to date Sandra Bullock. Since I could pick the next concert for us to goto, I picked Wonda Sykes, but since then I found that her tickets are like at least $150 each!!!! Wonda, you're good, but not that good!

I found myself looking at the other day, partly to see if there were anyone that I know that's featured on the site, since I was with the same group when I was in Iraq, and partly for nostalgic reasons. I clicked on the "In Memoriam" icon and found that I actally knew more people that had died in the war than I first realized. It's the saddest thing, to see people taken away at the prime of their lives. I hope no matter who becomes the next president, that he will figure out a way to bring the troops back home. Deployments are just about the most unnatural thing in the world, they often tear apart relationships, and sometimes changes a person not neccessarily for the better. It's good $ but the risks that one takes are just too high.

Well, here's to another sleepless night!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Texas workforce commission sucks ass!

I had decided to take some time off after my lovely vacation in Iraq, so I filed for unemployment insurance. Took the neccessary steps to get registered with Texas Workforce Commission, and ever since then, I've been dealt by them with a completly unhelpful attitude.

They needed a copy of my certificate of discharge from active duty, so I made copies and gave it to them, while assured by some unnamed representative that they will be making the effort to contact the army also to get the paperwork starteed. Imagine my suprise when I heard that they wanted another version of my discharge paper that was not given to me. How many different forms are there for the same information? When asked whether or not they've been trying to contact the army, the oh so friendly representative said "Where did you hear that from? I've never heard of such a thing?" Translation "Oh, we are just hired to discourage you from getting what you already worked for, our condecending attitude pays us our salaries!"

So, when I go back to Austin tomorrow from my folks', I am going to march to my reserve unit and ask how do I get a copy of the discharge paper that I don't have, and then, I am going to the website of my state rep. and write them a nice little letter of complaint. If I had learn one thing from dealing with the fine leadership that I was given in Iraq, it's that life to too short to take unneccessary bullshit from others, and sometimes, it just takes going up the chain until you get an answer......because everyone has a boss above them, even the president!

Aside from that, life has been just peachy today. I got my car fixed today and hopefully it'll take me for another 100,000 miles, got some Chinese groceries to take back home with me, watched some World Series baseball, and got lectured by my grandma about the virtues of being married with kids. (I get that every single time I go home, by the way, I was raised by my grandparents, my parents, to this day, has a hard time accepting the fact that they actually had us. My younger sister and I would go through years without talking to either my mom or dad, and vise versa.)

I love kids, but I am very fearful of ending up like my parents. I am aware that, I am so much like my father that it's scary! In terms of personality, some aspect of our looks, even the way we talk sometimes! (I'd say that's pretty amazing, considering that I didn't grow up with him around much.) If I do have kids, I don't want them to feel ambivalent about me, and not talk with each other for years on end. I will not expect them to take care of us when we get old, but it'll be a nice suprise if they do decide to do so. My girlfriend thinks that I am very fertile and wants me to have a kid by sometimes next many ways, I already feel like I am walking on a high-wire!

More about my family later, I think all families are unique in terms of their own particular dysfunctions, you just can't have one without the other.

However, in closing, I am going to re-iterate "Texas Workforce Commission sucks ass!"


I'm a 32 year old Chinse female who has not quite followed the life track set for her by her family or her culture. I barely graduated college, served as a enlisted soldier in the army, and, instead of being married with 2.5 kids, I have a Caucasian girlfriend and we are as married to each other for the past 5 years as can be...just not legally. I've got a dog and two cats that I just adore, and we all live in a small duplex in Austin, Texas.

I planned this blog sort of on a whim, just kind of like thought to myself "well, tonight's the night!" My girlfriend has her own blog, and she has always encouraged me to guest write in hers. I didn't plan on writing this blog as any sort of self-promoting thing, rather, just a way to maybe share myself and if I'm lucky, get to know a few others in the process.

I came back from a tour in Iraq (not the touristy kind!) about a month ago, I served in the city of Mosul. It's quite a famous city, about two hours away from Turkey, Jonah (the one who was stuck in the whale's belly.) is said to be buried there, Mary, Jesus's mother, supposedly was from there, and as of lately, the hotbed of many insurgent-driven attacks. I was a supply clerk to a almost non-functioning company, most of the people in my group were Arabic linguists. It's interesting, because right now in the army, there are just about no more Arabic linguists ready for deployment, so we are semi-famous for being that "last group" of linguists who got deployed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the military type at all, in fact, I look forward to finally getting out in a few months! I am not very comfortable when I am in a large group of people, and I just about always question authority, more so when they don't make any sense whatsoever, and that's a no-no if you want to thrive in the military or any large company, for that matter. I am, however, grateful for all the neat things that I got to do while I was on duty, like learning to handle a weapon, do patrols, drive a 5 ton, operated a radio, and not to mention meeting some of the most interesting and creative people that I've ever known!

I'll come back later and introduce you to Beth, and the rest of my immediate circle. I will try not to bore you with a lot of military jargons and my own nostalgia, because this is not a military blog, but there will be hints of it from time to time.