Archive for 'college' Category


Samurai Umbrella

With great amusement I present to you the Samurai Umbrella (via It brings me back to days in college, lugging about my wooden bokken, whacking and being whacked by my friends. Since those days, whenever I’ve carried one of those long, non-folding umbrellas I noticed I tend to carry it like a sword, ready to be drawn. The Samurai Umbrella takes that one step beyond. All I need now is a hidden blade inside. Then I can fight my enemies and keep dry at the same time!

Comments Off on Samurai Umbrella | Catergorized: college  fashion  friends  geek  memories


Gran Torino

I don’t care what this movie is about… When it comes out I’m going to see it. Clint Eastwood is going to direct and star in a movie called Gran Torino.

We had a 1976 Ford Gran Torino when I was a kid. Four doors, silver, and built like a tank. When I could finally drive in high school that was the car my parents let me use. My friends dubbed it The Beast and the name stuck. We had all kinds of adventures in The Beast, from Jolt dropping to road trips to simply driving to and from school, which was never a direct route… There were always detours and visits along the way. I had The Beast in college, too, and put thousands upon thousands of miles on him. I wonder if my parents had any idea at the time just how far I’d gone.

The Beast was indestructible. We had it in Korea when we lived there the first time. A bus tried to cut into our lane and hit us instead. The bus was a wreck but The Beast had a little ding and paint scratches. The Beast would fix himself, too. Once he had a hole in his radiator and I’d have to fill it up after every trip. Then one day me and some friends were on a road trip to some obscure Ohio town and I was told to make a left turn LONG after it was safe to make a left turn. I slid in the gravel in the median and right into the pole holding up the “No U Turn” sign and flattened it. Afterwards the radiator never leaked again.

I loved The Beast but after college I was off to Prague. I left him in my parent’s care and, while I was on another continent and couldn’t do much about it, they donated The Beast to an auto repair school. Probably a fitting end though I think an escape like any of the chase scenes from Blues Brothers. My sister always complained that I destroyed him and he wouldn’t run (I think she wanted it once she was old enough) but I know he was running perfectly well -or at least well enough- when I left.

I miss that car. Every once in a while I see a Gran Torino on the road and get wistful and nostalgic. I’ve always liked the movie The Highlander and there is one scene, after the fight in the garage at Madison Square Garden and MacLeod is getting the guy’s power, where you can see the front of a Gran Torino in the background. Yes, the car affected me so much that I notice them in movies, even.

No word on what the movie is about, but it had best feature some shots of one of The Beast’s cousins or I’m gonna be pissed!

5 Comments | Catergorized: college  family  friends  korea  life  memories  movies


4×4 Ayes

So Jason tagged me with one of these things where you answer all kinds of questions and then tag others in the hope that they reveal as much information as you do so your answers aren’t quite so embarrassing when you look at them the day after you post them. Jason’s post is a series of four answers for various personal stats. My post title pays homage to the nature of fours, his post title, the fact that I didn’t post anything for Talk Like a Pirate Day, and an old anime called 3×3 Eyes. I’m kind of proud of how much reference is in that title. :)

Four jobs I have had (current job excluded):
I’ll make these approximately in order from the first jobs that I consider “real jobs” since I’ve had far too many jobs in my life…

  1. Burger Flipper. McDonalds. My parents made a deal with me in high school that I could drive the car but I had to pay for the gas and maintenance. Not knowing what else to do I took a job in fast food just like, it seems, much of America has at that age.
  2. Industrial Drill Press Operator. Haynes Engineering and Manufacturing. For two summers I worked for my Uncle in Detroit as a drill press operator. We made many of the pumps that Detroit automakers used on their assembly lines. It was hard, dirty work but I learned a lot about honest work under the watchful eyes of my Uncle and the guys in the shop.
  3. No title. The Front Room. I don’t know if all of you are old enough to remember, but coffee shops used to be almost non-existent. There were no vente, grande, or short coffees. Certainly no frappucino sweet drinks. Despite that we were on the bleeding edge and actually had imported coffee. Ironically I didn’t drink coffee at the time.
  4. Currency Exchanger. Cekobanka. My only qualifications for this job were I could count in a couple languages and speak English natively. The job rather sucked but the people I worked with were united in their bitterness in the job and scorn for the tourists.

Four Films I have Watched Again and Again:
I’m going to divide this up into chunks of time since, really, I watch too many movies. This is probably the only part of this post where I could go on and on and on without let up, and even the answers I give will seem extremely limited. I won’t be happy with any of the answers alone…

  1. High School. Highlander. I couldn’t even tell you how many times we watched this. For quite a long time it was almost a weekly ritual. There can be only one!
  2. College. The Princess Bride and Heathers. Two of the most quotable movies in my life for a really long time. Eskimo! Another good one from this time was Dangerous Liasons.
  3. Early San Francisco. The Matrix and Starship Troopers. Although The Matrix has sort of dropped off the radar after its sequels came out and I got disillusioned with it, Starship Troopers will still come out when Mookee and I are drinking. Man, we drank a lot of Weinhards beer watching these…
  4. Late San Francisco. The Fifth Element and About a Boy. I have quite a large collection of DVDs at this point, and for some reason whenever I feel stuck on what I want to watch I keep coming to these two. There are tons of other movies I’ll watch again and again, but these two keep drawing me back.

Four Places I Have Lived:
I’ve grown up moving a lot. Comes from my Dad being in the military. Until I came to San Francisco, in fact, I hadn’t stayed anywhere more than a couple years. So here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Seoul, Korea. We lived here the first time in my preteen years. It was a brilliant time when our family pulled together. I consider my years extremely formative and can see so much of who I am today coming from those three years.
  2. Athens, Ohio. This is where I went to college. First relationships, life long friends, and loads of stories as we all started discovering our first tastes of independence.
  3. Prague, Czech Republic. Finally out of college I went to Prague. There’s so much that happened there I don’t even know what to say. So I won’t.
  4. San Francisco, California. I had a hard time picking between here and Washington, DC, but I have to choose SF. I’ve been here 10 years this month which is more than twice as long as anywhere I’ve ever lived before. For those who know me that speaks volumes.

Four Shows I Love to Watch:
This is the hardest one for me to answer because I don’t watch television. Seriously. So many of these will be “expired” shows. I think each of my shows depended hugely on their ensemble cast. There is no mistake that they are all science fiction, too. Honorable mention to Stargate.

  1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I loved this show. I think this is one of the very first American shows that had an angry black male in the lead role. It also had an angry Klingon, but that’s another story.
  2. Space: Above and Beyond. This, along with the next entry, are two shows that were given only (merely?) a single season yet I thought were amazing. S:AaB took war into space with all its ugliness, heroism, humanism, and reality. I wish they’d been given a chance to at least end the series properly.
  3. Firefly. What a show. While it started kind of awkwardly it sucked me in and didn’t let go. The idiots at Fox television made such a huge mistake in cancelling this and S:AaB above.
  4. Battlestar Galactica, old and new. I love these. I remember being allowed to stay up and watch the original series with my parents. I think it was the first show we ever watched as a family. And the new series… Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know what a huge fan I am.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
I haven’t had a lot of real vacations in my life. I’m not much of a vacation kind of guy. Aside from yearly trips up to Tahoe to snowboard, here are a few of my more memorable trips.

  1. Okinawa, Japan. My Dad, brother and I went to Okinawa when we were stationed in Korea the first time. My brother and I were so bloody excited to eat at a McDonalds again, much to Dad’s chagrin, but really, the whole trip was amazing. The place was so shockingly green in color…
  2. Chejudo, Korea. We went one summer break from college when I was back in Korea. The island is well and truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth and almost completely unknown outside of Korea and Japan.
  3. Oahu, Hawaii. Annemone and I visited my brother and his family when they were stationed at Pearl Harbor and went around the island. I loved visiting but I don’t think I could ever live there; too insular (which is quite an appropriate word if you know Latin).
  4. Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic. Though part of my trip earlier this summer was for work, I did take some time off and fell in love with Europe all over again.

Four of my Favorite Foods:
I’m not really a

  1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. For years as a kid this is what I had on my birthday every year. I will still eat a whole box of it every other week or so…
  2. Steak. Almost any kind of steak. Mmmm… meat.
  3. Chocolate covered cherries. These things are like crack to me. I’m eating some now.
  4. Lasagna. I don’t know what it is about lasagna. Amazing. Safeway makes an amazing vegetarian lasagna. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch but this stuff is addictive. I’ve even gotten friends hooked on it.

Four of my Favorite Drinks:

  1. Jolt Cola. I wish this stuff were more widely available out here. I’d drink it to the exclusion of almost anything else.
  2. Coffee. Love it. Live it.
  3. Fermented and unfermented red grape. I love red wine, almost any kind of varietal. Also in the last year I’ve been drinking gallon on gallon of grape juice. It’s actually helped me cut the amount of Coke I drink dramatically.
  4. Coca Cola. I do still drink Coke, though. I used to drink tons of it (since Jolt is hard to find) but in the past few years I just have some with lunch. Sadly (?) I don’t even always finish the bottle I start anymore.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

  1. Paris.
  2. Prague.
  3. New Zealand.
  4. Asleep.

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
Let’s see if I can break the bad luck I have getting others to take this up…

  1. Carlos Costa at Population Statistic. Let’s see how adorkable his lists are. :)
  2. Kevin at Humble Tidbits of Vacuity. I can’t wait to hear more about his vacations.
  3. Mr. Brown at Brown That Banana. Really I just want to see what pictures he uses.
  4. Banana Boy over at Banana Land. Nothing to do with Mr. Brown’s blog. I keep hoping he’ll do one of these.
7 Comments | Catergorized: college  dc  family  food-drink  friends  korea  life  movies  paris  prague  san francisco  tahoe  tv  work


It Is Far Less Clear…

The Bracelet
Back in college I used to work at the Front Room Campus Coffee Shop (now gone and replaced) with gTodd to earn money and force myself to wake up in mornings so I wouldn’t miss classes. It was that “psychology” thing where I wouldn’t get up for class but I would get up to pour Ethiopian Yrgacheffe for grumpy professors and hung over students.

I have many fond memories of the Front Room. I used to play open mic nights there, play ERS, studied, wrote, collected AE flyers, and met all sorts of interesting people.

Of course there was a lost and found, and one of the more curious items we found left behind was the bracelet pictured above. It says, “It is far less clear what lovers do,” and is obviously hand engraved. We held onto it for some time and finally I claimed it as my own. I wore it around the back of my hand rather than around my wrist which was far more comfortable than you’d think. It stayed on my left hand for many years.

I never learned who made it, or where the quote was from, but I still have it and pull it out occasionally. It holds a lot of nostalgia now as I wore it at a point where I was rather gothy and punkish. As Mookee once wrote:

But now those days have past
Should have known they’d not last
But I still think about those fine days

And somehow it seems
They were only in my dreams
But the memories are as real as today

5 Comments | Catergorized: college  memories


Living Hell

In the process of looking for some old letters I found this note in amongst the pile.


This was, fortunately, written in a woman’s hand.

Yes, life can be beautiful.

4 Comments | Catergorized: college  memories


Thank You: J. Franklin Henderson

Professor J. Franklin Henderson
Professor J. Franklin Henderson
Ohio University, my Alma Mater, has a program where students vote for who was the best professor that year. These professors are then given leave to create a class they really want to teach, as opposed to a classes the have to teach. It’s called the University Professor Program. As a student, getting into these classes was quite competitive.

In the 1990-91 school year I was fortunate enough to get into one of these classes. The title was Heroes and Devils and it was taught by J. Franklin Henderson of the Political Science Department. Professor Henderson had led an interesting life, starting with being one of the first black graduates from Little Rock’s Central High School, the location of one of many serious civil right’s efforts.

The name of the class, as I said, was Heroes and Devils. Why he decided to teach the class I don’t recall, but I think he was disappointed that so many modern Americans were making social, political and economic issues grey. No longer were people able to see the world in terms of black and white, right and wrong, but only as shades of vile grey which mired opinions and prevented passion for the things a person might really care about to bloom. This was, along with wretched Political Correctness, one of the big problems with university education when I was in school.

I’m sure he was not so blinded as to not be aware of the great pitfalls of viewing the world in such absolute and delineated forms, but I’m just as certain he knew the benefit of individuals knowing how to judge an issue or another person in clear terms.

In class he would present us with historical personalities and we would talk about them, thier works and their legacies. The class ended with each student declaring -clearly and definitively- whether the person was a Hero or a Devil. For our final papers he assigned each of us a person -mine was Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes- and we had to had to declare him or her a Hero or a Devil.

The class was an great experience for me. I’d never been called upon to sit in judgement of another person, even if the people are now merely a part of history. Counter intuitively, I learned that it is easy to villify a person for his evil aspects when perhaps they did more good than anyone knows, and to glamorize others when they are corrupt, irresponsible, and dangerous. Forcing myself to make absolute judgements taught me more about myself and my opinions than any other experience in college, and it’s the single class I still talk about.

Professor Henderson, along with my other political science professor Ron Hunt, gave me an interest in politics that I might never have had otherwise. Professor Henderson’s interest in civil rights and his brilliant Heroes and Devils class helped form many of the opinions I have today. I can still hear his voice egging us on, coaxing our opinions out of the grey.

I was very saddened to learn the Professor Henderson died recently. Thank you, Frank, for one of the greatest experiences in my lifelong education. I declare, in no uncertain tems, that you are a Hero.

I found this by Leigh Householder, which give another perspective on Frank’s life and influence on some individuals.

2 Comments | Catergorized: college  life  memories


egyptian rat screw: ERS

or as we most often call it, rat fuck. below the jump are the rules as we played (and has link to official rules). i learned this game in college and had a great time playing it with todd and nate, and whoever else was along at the time (often fraggle and/or paul). Read the rest of this entry…

3 Comments | Catergorized: college  games
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