Cinco de Mayo in Jersey

Chili Contest? OK.

Her: (getting into bed)
Me: (leaping into bed)
Her: Oh, you’ve clearly misread the situation.

We’ve been together now for over four years and have a kind of seasonal rhythm . When the weather gets cold, we end up huddled at home for most of Fall and Winter and start to head out again in Spring. Nothing special, really. Suppose most people are like that. It’s just how it is.

But when spring does come, she’s generally more responsive to it than I am. I’m usually still shaking the cobwebs out. Unless there’s chili or rum involved.

To wit:

Her: I’m meeting up with some friends in New Jersey next month.
Me: I’m not sure if…
Her: There’s a chili cookoff…
Me: I’m in.

So this past weekend, hopped onto the PATH train and headed out to Grove Street in Jersey City.

An ex lived there so I took the train there dozens of times in the past but I’d not in ages. Walking upstairs, everything had changed but was still the same. It’s just how it is.

A buddy from my wrasslin class lived spitting distance away so we met up too, spoon in hand, and tried 25 different chilies. Once it was over, we went back for more. I may have gone back a third time. Or fifth. Don’t recall.

He and I both agreed that we liked our own respective recipes more; having a recipe is one of the 15 things I think every guy should know.

The wife and I took the train back and were home before five.

Her: I’m always glad when we head out early and come back early. (looking me sprawled out on couch) What’s wrong with you?
Me: (mumbling) Food coma. Tired.


Location: about to run to wrassle
Mood: hungry
Music: I am yours
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Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy

Something about a freezer full of chili makes me happy

The Professor was in town and came by last Friday for an early breakfast. He took a quick look at my leg while he was here.

Him: Well, now’s a good chance for you to get some definition into those flabby and amorphous legs of yours.
Me: Did you just come into my house, drink my coffee, eat my food and call my legs flabby and amorphous?!
Him: Yup.

In actuality, I’ve been working them out every day. And – here’s the big thing:

I can bend my bad leg 155 degrees as of the weekend.

It hurts like hell when I do it, but I can do it. 45 days after my surgery, I can essentially kick my own butt. Very happy about this. I read the forskolin review this weekend and I think I might try it, anything to cut down my cellulite.


Her: I hate going to work.
Me: You totally should have married someone rich.
Her: I know!

My workload, the injury, and the medical bills – which are piling up even with insurance – is not helping my sleep. Been up several nights this past week thinking of all sorts of things.

As a small positive, recently read an article by the Atlantic entitled The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like, which is as self-explanatory an article title as one can hope for.

Was feeling good enough to make a vat of chili so between the freezer full of frozen chili, the 155 degree bend, and the license to drink as much coffee as I can handle, it’s not been a bad weekend.

OK, Monday…let’s go…

Location: getting ready to take a walk
Mood: hard to say
Music: let’s go all have a beer ‘Cause everybody loves an accident
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Public Service Announcement 2009

How to learn a foreign language as an adult

Workmen fixing an escalator in a metro station in Washington DC

For those of you that speak geek: Spent the last 96 hours figuring out why I only got three clear QAM channels – turns out a weak signal and a kinked coax cable will waste four days of your life.

Picked up a signal amplifier, and some new cable and now I’m in business.

Knee-deep in cables, chili and rum. It’s the only way for a geek to spend Labor Day


Speaking of speaking in a foreign language, Federico Fellini once said that, “A different language is a different vision of life.”

As promised and as a supplement to last year.

One of the things about being Chinese-American is that a vast majority of my friends are at least bilingual. Heartgirl and KG Betty speak several.

Me? Was always crappy at languages. My French teacher gave me a good grade for the effort. Hate pity so decided to learn how to be a good language student in college. Didn’t work.

Funny thing’s that the guy that teaches me how to break people’s arms also told me how to learn a language way back when.

Part 1 – from R. Dreifuss (doctoral candidate at Columbia U. and general bad-ass)

See, he said, they always teach language the wrong way in school. Every language’s has the same things, the same patterns. Once you learn the patterns, you just need the words to go into that pattern.

Once you have the patterns down, you need only learn the vocabulary that goes into the patterns.

English: “(noun) is better than (noun).”
German: “(noun) ist besser als (noun).”
Mandarin: “(noun) bi (noun) hao.”English: “Rum is better than beer.”
German: “Rum ist besser als Bier.”
Mandarin: “Rum bi beer hao.”


Part Two – From Barry Farber

Believe, truly believe, that language isn’t the words you read/write. It’s the words you hear/say.

Take the word Knife.

We say, nigh-feh but it’s supposed to sound like, ka-ni-fee – cause that’s how it’s spelled. Put it another way, the letters k-n-i-f-e just makes a picture that prompts us to say nigh-feh.

More eloquently, the written word is merely the symbolic representation of the language – it is not the language itself.

So stop learning how to read/write and concentrate on learning how to communicate.

I’m illiterate in Chinese, German, and, if you read this blog, English. Doesn’t matter. You understand what I’m trying to say. Which brings me to…


Part Three – From me/NLP

Language isn’t what y’say. It’s what the listener hears.

If you want to learn a language, pick up the Pimsleur series and supplement it with the Living Language series six months after you’ve started the Pimsleur series.

Good luck.
Viel Glueck.
Jia yo.

Man, all of this talk about rum…

Location: my front room
Mood: rum-obsessed
Music: Pour rentrer dans les soirées célib à 30 ans


Halloween 2008


Friday night, Heartgirl and I went out with Bryson, his wife, Paul and buncha other people. Hit up three parties and rolled in at 3:30 Saturday morning. First party was the above sweatbox. Think I blew out my left eardrum. Which sucks, cause I still need it. Eh, got my right.

Bryson and his wife gave Heartgirl a thumbs-up. Their votes count because they’re first-stringer friends.

Second party, was at my old standby where some other friends dropped in and some dropped out. Third party was fulla Heartgirl’s friends; nice guys with the exception of one overly handy dude.

Saturday, just stayed in. Made a buncha chili. Sunday, Sheridan stops by. Over some chili he tells me that he just flew in from Miami where he bought this building. Had two Valentino shirts and an Italian leather coat that didn’t fit me so I gave them to him.

Quite a different life I lead these days. Still, it’s nice that my friends from my old life don’t really care if I’m styling Valentino or H&M.

It’s funny: My friends and family believe in me more than I do sometimes. Maybe cause they remember the guy I once was. Maybe they just keep me around cause I make some killer chili.

Or maybe they just think I’ll be ok.

November’s always been a good month for me. Cept for 2007 and 2006. Those were full on fail.

Then again, maybe I’ll be ok. Some things are looking up.

Location: 20:00 yest, leaving church early
Mood: full (of chili)
Music: painted faces fill the places I can’t reach