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.