My Take on "The Mentalist"

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Serial murderer Red John? It's Agent Kimball Cho. You read it here.

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MySpace's
defunct

who used to
ride the Information
Superhighway
and friend onetwothreefour strangersjustlikethat
Jesus
it was a shitty site
and what i want to know is
how do you like your $580 million graveyard
Mister Murdoch

"This ain't Batman!"

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I had Springer on in the background while I browsed the Interweb on my laptop. And just when I thought American pop culture had hit rock bottom, just when I thought I would never hear anything clever on television again, I hear this on Springer: "This ain't Batman! Don't be Two-Faced!"

Pure. Win.

Sideways Meets Alien3

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Jebus bless the Interwebs. I was browsing IMDB and don't ask me why, but I was looking up Sideways. I checked out the writing credits (mostly to see who I could blame for this travesty of cinema) and came across a hilarious fact: the author of the novel the movie is based on wrote a rejected script for Alien3. Bwahahaha!

I can just see it now:

_____

"If they want to nuke the planet, let's nuke the planet!"

"I'm not nuking any FUCKING PLANET!"

_____

"Okay, what's the plan?"

"The plan is: you go."

"Me?"

"Yeah. My chest is still all fucked up from where that little asshole burst out of it."

"What am I supposed to do? Walk into her birthing chamber and say, 'Excuse me, Your Majesty, but my friend is the one who was flame throwing your eggs. Really sorry. He seems to have left his wallet behind. I was wondering if I came in, just poked around...'"

"Yeah, just like that!"

_____

"Try to be your normal, humorous self. The guy you were before the Nostromo. Do you remember that guy? People loved that guy."

Righteous Post

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It's Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2008, and nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

I find days like this hard to blog about. Does anyone really care about the minutiae of my life?

However, days like this also reinforce my belief that there is something sublime and beautiful about all of us, that even in our dullest moments, there is something innately beautiful and...orchestral about us as human beings.

Surely, then, I can come up with something to write about. All right, how about this:

I was browsing the top searches on Yahoo! when I came across Righteous Kill. Sandwiched between "Tang Wei" and "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," (I love the interweb). I just had to see what this was all about.

Righteous Kill is an upcoming film starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as two police detectives on the trail of a serial killer. Ten years ago, I would have had an erection over the idea of this film, but that was then, this is now.

(I've lost interest in Hollywood films, overall, and the last three films I watched were This Is England, Pan's Labyrinth and Letters from Iwo Jima. Yeah, yeah--I know Letters is Hollywood. Anyway...)

De Niro and Pacino starred in The Godfather Part II, but as film aficionados constantly have to remind others, they never appeared on screen together. (De Niro starred in flashback as young Vito Corleone, the father of Pacino's character.)

They next starred together in Heat, one of my personal favorites that, when originally released, did modest box office and suffered damning-with-faint-praise critical review. Since its original release, most critics have warmed to it, and film fans recognize it as a classic in the heist/police procedural genre that I've long seen it as.

(It also inspired what I think as one of Dane Cook's most hilarious performances, to wit: "Women think all men want is sex. Nay. Men want two things more than sex. They want a pet monkey. And they want to be involved in a bank heist. You know that when you watch "Heat," and you watch them running down the street spraying machine gun fire, you say, "I want to do that!")

Unfortunately, in Heat, De Niro and Pacino have one--count 'em--scene together. And it's forced and out of place, at that.

So here's to Righteous Kill, a film that should have been made ten--or better yet, twenty--years ago.

Snow Day

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Six inches or so of snow. That's all it takes for Southerners in the United States to freak the fuck out. And I was right there with them in the supermarket, stocking up on Cokes, ground beef, cereal, eggs, bread and canned soup. Oh, and I bought six packs of cigarettes.

I'm feeling something between amused disbelief and scornful indifference. After all, I lived three years in Montreal where the last year I was there saw nine months of unrelenting snow. Something in me finally snapped, and I went home to California. I can't bring myself to get worked up about something that five or six years ago I would have called a "light dusting" of snow.

As my friend Wendy from Wisconsin once said of people's reactions to adverse weather: "Oh no! Water is falling from the sky! We've angered the gods! Everyone run!"

Speaking of end-times (notice the smooth segue?), I'm pumped for the History Channel's Life After People. Not only because the History Channel is focusing on something other than Hitler. (I refer to History Channel as "Hitler Channel," "All Hitler, All the Time," and wonder with my friends about what the History Channel is like in the alternate universe where World War II never took place.)

I'm an "apocalyptic visions" kind of guy. Book of Revelation? Diggin' it. (And notice I use the correct Book of Revelation [singular] as opposed to the incorrect but often seen Book of Revelations [plural]. This is how you can tell I'm serious about it and was serious about it before liking the Book of Revelation was cool.) Hieronymus Bosch and William Blake are two of my favorite artists. I've read The Stand more times than I can count. Well, you get the picture.

Life After People explores what life would be like on Planet Earth if humanity were to disappear tomorrow. (Answer? Monuments topple. Domestic animals skyrocket to the top of the food chain...assuming they can get out of the house before starving to death.) In summary, not a bad fucking idea, considering the rate we're going on this planet and what we're doing to it.

On Being Asian American, or, Where My Peeps At? (Part 1)

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I read an interesting post by Serizy on her blog, Slutty McWhore. (Let me stop for a moment and give Serizy a plug. Her blog is excellent. The posts are everything good blog posts should be: sharply written, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, thought-provoking, occasionally controversial and frequently heart wrenching. But I digress.)

In a Nov. 2007 entry, “Where are you all, you Scottish...?” Serizy fires a shot at Americans and the good ol' US of A. This, of course, resulted in a lively comments section, bringing out Americans, Canadians, Scots, and English. (Did I miss anyone?)

This started me thinking about my own identity.

Whoa. Just stop. You there, in the back, with your finger hovering your mouse click. Don't click on “Next Blog” or “Home” or “Back” just yet. I know, I know. Nothing more dull than another Asian-American--another “slant”--talking about finding his place in the US. But read on. My take may be a bit broader than most.

Recently, while browsing around the Web, I ran across Hyphen magazine for the first time. Hyphen positions itself as a magazine for Asian Americans about Asian America, with an emphasis on “America.” I was bemused by this line in their FAQ: “[W]e're bored with first-person essays about discovering our roots. Hello, can we stop talking about our roots, which we found a long time ago thank-you-very-much, and move on?”

Oh, Hyphen FAQ writer, if only it were so easy. And if only we all felt what you've expressed (so cynically) in your mission statement.

This is the story that I once promised on Sublimely Mundane (may my old blog rest). This is my story.

I was born in Singapore and grew up in California. The question I most frequently hear is, “Do you remember anything about Singapore?” My answer: “Well no, numbfuck, I was two. If I had that kind of memory, I should be able to spin you a few tales about the months I spent in the womb, too.”

For all intents and purposes, I consider myself a Californian, first and foremost, and Asian second. Meh, it could have been worse. California is an incredibly diverse and multicultural state, and the San Francisco Bay Area--where I grew up--is home to a massive Asian population.

In that type of environment, you might expect my cultural identity to strengthen. Au contraire! We were all so mixed up, many of us had no idea what our cultural identities “should” be. We were Californian. And in a way, we were all “mutts,” to some degree or other. (Don't believe me? Rewatch The Fast and the Furious. Some people watch it and think it's an amusing tale of street racing. I watch it and think it's my high school video yearbook.)

To make matters worse, my father had attended Irish Catholic schools until college, and my mother had attended French Catholic schools. Yes, that meant my father spoke the Queen's English from time to time. (I grew up calling a flashlight a “torch” and an eraser a “rubber.”)

In high school, to satisfy my foreign-language requirement, I took two years of French. I took it because once upon a time, French was the international language, and the language of learned people. Although that was no longer the case when I learned French, I had romantic notions about French. I never imagined the role French would play in my life. And I definitely never imagined I would use my (très mal) French. More later.

Despite the Bay Area's ethnic makeup, my high school was mostly comprised of white suburban kids. Not exactly the type of environment where I would learn what it meant to be Asian, specifically Chinese.

Everyone has embarrassing moments and embarrassing memories about high school, but how many Asians do you know who had a mullet? And listened to Guns N' Roses? And drove a hoopty-ass Mustang? Or went through a punk phase. And a hip-hop phase. And a (kinda) goth phase.

Math and science? Please. I fucking suck in math and science. I still do. I never told this to my university advisors, but I majored in Journalism not because I “admired Woodward and Bernstein” (the reason I most often gave), but because I wouldn't have to do math and science.

I once caught another student trying to copy answers from my Statistics exam in college. After checking to see where the professor was, I leaned over and said, “Do yourself a favor, friend, and stop copying me. Not because I'll rat you out, but because we'll both fail with the same answers.”

But back to high school first: My one experience trying to “be Asian” turned into a disaster. I joined the Asian American Students Association. Really, in hindsight, I should have known this would be a bad idea. During Tet (the Vietnamese new year), the high school had planned on putting on a school-wide exhibition, which would include folk dances, singing, etc. The school administrators approached the Asian Students Association and asked our advisor to assist us in creating a sketch about “being Asian Americans” or some such shit.

The advisor approached me.

When I finished laughing, I started planning the sketch idea and was told to present my idea at a meeting of all the students the next day.

In what I now consider one of my finest hours in high school, I stood up and told the students that I wanted to celebrate “the struggle they faced after the War and how they eventually came to America to find a new home.”

“We'll flood the auditorium. We'll need to collect some boxes, wooden planks, junk--that sort of thing. We'll have some of you wearing rags. I suggest you fast for a few days for that authentic, wild-eyed refugee look. Then you'll stand or sit atop the flotsam and 'paddle' yourselves into the auditorium. The sketch will end when you spot land at the other end of the auditorium. This will symbolize your landing in America.”

Not only was this historically inaccurate (not to mention geographically impossible), but it became my Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner moment. You literally could hear a pin drop. I think there were a few gasps from the other students, but I really don't remember, because I was struggling not to “break character” during my spiel. Inwardly, though, I was howling with laughter. I think one kid got up and shouted, “My grandmother died at the end of the war! How dare you mock my family!” But, really, I don't remember. Looking back, that just makes me laugh all the harder.

Next: Part 2, the college years, study abroad, post-college...and dating

I'm Back!

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"It's been a long time. I shouldn't-a left you without a dope beat to step to." - Aaliyah (with Timbaland), Try Again

I enjoy serendipity and coincidence. That's why I like leading off this long-overdue post with the song lyric above. Not only is it fitting, but it originates from a song called Try Again.

And that's what I'm doing. I'm “try[ing] again.” I'm trying again to kick start my blog 2.0. I want to thank loads of other bloggers for keeping in touch with me, but especially Kari for checking in on me and encouraging me to post.

My name is Andrew.

You may know me from my defunct blogs “Sublimely Mundane” and (group blog) “Test for Echo.” You may not.

I let Test for Echo wither on the vine, and for that, I feel some measure of guilt. But I purposely deleted Sublimely Mundane--100+ posts and all--for a good reason. Maybe one day, I'll go into those reasons.

For now, I'm going to re-acclimate myself to blogging with something nice and simple, an appetizer post, if you will.

Jadzia tagged me with “8 Randoms.” The rules:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about himself or herself.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

(Cracks knuckles.) All right. Eight things.

1. I was born in Singapore, spent my formative years in California, attended college in Southern California, did my study abroad in England, lived in Montreal after college and now live in Alabama.

2. My favorite alcoholic beverage is vodka.

3. I am one of three people I know who has never tried drugs. This includes marijuana.

4. ...but I am open-minded and non-judgmental.

5. My best friends are women. Despite what the disaster called When Harry Met Sally said about male/female friendships and how it damaged male/female relationships in the United States for the next 20 years, I am not secretly in love with them, and am not their friend because I hope to one day sleep with them.

6. In 2005, I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. I won. The “novel” (I use the term very loosely) I created was called Crossing the Rubicon and is excerpted here. In 2006, I wrote 1000 words. This year, I wrote 500. I think I am finished with National Novel Writing Month.

7. I fit the profile of the typical “geek.” I like movies, read graphic novels, play video games, have technology fetish, and (sigh) work in the information-technology field. However, I “don't fit in” with other geeks and feel mostly uncomfortable around them.

8. I don't like children. Of course, this means that every time I go to the movies or travel on an airplane, my seatmate will be under four feet tall and not quite out of elementary school.

Once I blog, I can't stop! Like Jadzia, I am going eight more:

9. I love to cook but wish I were a better cook. My signature dishes are a contrast. I love to make won ton soup (from scratch!) from an old family recipe...and a German country dish taught to me by college friends.

10. I have been told my nicest feature is my voice. That actually sounds terrible, as if the only thing ex-girlfriends and girlfriends could pick out was my voice, but it's actually not. I've had women volunteer that I have a nice voice. This happened as recently as Tuesday. (Calm down, ladies. She was a 50-year-old nurse having a smoke break with me at work. “Always nice to put a face to such a nice voice.”) Women make my day when they tell me my voice makes their legs weak.

11. I smoke a pack of Camels a day. It is by far my worst vice, but one of my few.

12. I can't think of my other vices right now.

13. I am a registered Democrat. I am socially (ultra) liberal, but politically Libertarian and fiscally conservative.

14. My last name never fails to make people snicker. If I get to know you better, I may tell you what it is.

15. My father died when I was 21. I think this has affected my relationships with other people, but I'm not sure how. Maybe I just don't want to think about it too much, or like to.

16. I majored in Journalism in college, but my favorite class was Art History. I visited some of the greatest museums in Europe when I lived in England (the National Gallery, the Louvre, et.al.) and viewed some of the masterpieces I enjoyed learning about in class. I was not moved. This was a great letdown.

I tag: Kari, Vanessa, Mary, Stolie, Tamie, Jenn, Jo and Jadzia

My Blog Is Dead. Long Live My Blog.

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New URL, new design, new blog.

Some of you may be asking, "Why?" I ran into some hassles with the old site, enough of a hassle that I decided it was time for a fresh start.

Thanks to k.larson for suggesting I make a fresh start.

And man, this is tough. I reached 100+ posts with my last blog. People knew where my last blog was. I loved my last blog.

But you know what? If you're afraid of destroying what you love, then you'll never take any risks in this life. Trust me on this. Secure what you love in a glass display case labeled with "Look - Don't Touch" and walk away. And guess what? It's also the easiest way to lose it.

New blog, new look, new everything. It feels like I'm trying to find my voice again. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, either.

Thanks to everyone who supported my last blog. Maybe you'll go with me on one more ride.