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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've been acosted by Korean people off the street, asking for directions in Korean. I've been frowned upon by Korean grocers upset that I wouldn't speake to them in Korean. All these I've taken in stride because I can understand their confusion; I look Korean. But this, this I don't understand. How does Google know I look Korean?

Your Favorite Jerk

Monday, January 19, 2009

Long time no see

In response to the latest comment ("what happed[sic] to your blog in the last year ... did grad school get to you?"), I submit the first entry of 2009, a picture of the traffic to this blog over the past three years:

Blogging isn't what it used to be. I think most of my friends and former readers of this blog are now on Facebook, and find it easier to keep up with things with quick status updates. The last time I resolved to pick up this blog again, I ended up posting two entries, but maybe this time it'll be different. Welcome back?

Your Favorite Jerk

Sunday, October 28, 2007


A few weeks ago I was walking north on Donlands Avenue when I was struck by a strong sense of childhood nostalgia. Lured by the prospect of having something to think about while plodding monotonously along a mundane city street, I ventured to discover the origins of this passing feeling. I began my search by disassembling my surroundings into small, discreet components (such as sounds, colours, temperature, and people) which I then cross-referenced with my bank of childhood memories. One by one, I went through the list of possibilities, but all of them, save for the unremarkable ones like the time of night, the sound of cars, and the colour of the leaves, would have been foreign to my 1980s child counterpart. Dejected, I was ready to abandon the entire exercise, when I looked down the street and realized that all the light coming through the windows of the apartments lining the avenue was bright, fluorescent, and white. At first it was almost jarring. I am accustomed to seeing cold harsh fluorescent lighting in soulless offices, warehouses, and perhaps the odd American Apparel store, but I was shocked that anyone would accept such terrible lighting in their homes. And yet, here on a street populated mostly be new immigrant families, fluorescent lighting was not only accepted, but embraced by every family. It then dawned on me that these long fluorescent tubes, though cold and unwelcoming, cost much less to operate than their warmer but more power-hungry counterparts, the incandescent bulb. For this reason, they are as favored by both budget conscious new immigrants in 2007 as they had been by cash-strapped Shanghainese families in 1987. I grew up under the constant buzzing of the fluorescent tube. I learned my multiplication tables, watched Chinese-dubbed Transformers, and played with my mom and dad under the glow of this white light. It was little wonder that of all the tiny details in a scene from 2007, it was the white light from a common fluorescent tube that managed to transport me back to my childhood.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


"I do like to teach people," he said. "And I've taught so many kinds of people, you don't even know. The proudest teaching I ever had was I taught a pimp in New York. His name was Comfort, as in 'comfortable.' I was going down the street to my friend's house. I had my board with me. He said, 'You know anything about that game?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'You have time to show me?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'Step into my office,' which was a pink, long Cadillac. I got in. It had a bar in the car and everything. I started thinking, 'Now how in the world am I gonna show this pimp how to play the game of chess?' So he asked me, 'What do the queen do?' I said, 'The queen do all the work.' He said, ' Ohhhh, now what do the king do?' I said, 'The king don't do nothing.' His eyes lit up when he heard that. He said, 'Man, I like this game already.'"

From The Days and Knights of Tom Murphy, a Washington Post story about a Chess Hustler

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baby steps

It has been a while since I've posted anything, so I suppose I should start with something small to ease myself back into things. Here are a couple of factoids about me that, until now, I've never disclosed to anyone. I've kept them a secret from the world because they're really very trivial; but then again, these are the little dots that connect together to delineate my individuality. That and I'm also very bored; and so, here you are:

1. When I board the west-bound TTC train by myself during rush hour at St. George station, I always let everyone rush onto the train before me so I can get on last. I do this because the way the stations are designed, once the south-side train doors close at St. George, they won't open again until Islington or somewhere thereabouts. This weird quirk in the TTC gives me a nice little alcove to settle into without being disturbed by the coming and going of other passengers. It's a small thing, but it's a secret that I've guarded with some satisfaction ever since I discovered it serendipitously some time last year.

2. Whenever I walk by the Metropolitan hotel and a Crew Transport bus arrives from the airport to unload a group of uniformed flight attendants, I hum the theme song from the movie Catch Me If You Can. Weird, I know.

Your Favorite back

Monday, April 02, 2007

Encounter with the Good Feathers

You know who has no respect for man and his dominion over all creatures large and small? Pidgeons! In fact, one of these vile winged rodents had the audacity to hit me on the side of the head today as I crossed the street at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton. At first I thought I had upset a homeless guy and was on the receiving end of a hobo urine bag. But just as I turned my head to see my assailant, I heard the unmistakable flapping that only a pair dirty of wings belonging to a city dwelling pidgeon can make. In hindsight, I'm not sure which would have been worse, the bird or the bag of urine. The latter would have been more emotionally traumatizing, but at least urine is sterile. I'm afraid I can't be so sure about the bird-beast. My only consolation is that at least it flew away with enough vigor to discount the possibility that it was infected with bird flu. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to wash my hair.

Your Favorite Jerk

Saturday, March 24, 2007


A picture is worth 1000 words, or so I've been told. In response, here's one I took of my dinner last Wednesday. I love the sizzle of juicy beef hitting hot cast iron skillet.

Your Favorite Jerk