Originally uploaded by generaltsao.

My mom has always told me I knew how to use chopsticks by the age of two, and I never believed her. But now that I've seen both Alex and Emily (my niece) use chopsticks successfully at much younger ages, I realize she wasn't exaggerating.


Si jeunesse savait, si viellesse pouvait

Several years ago, I would look at older pictures and say, "I looked so thin! Oh, to be that thin again!" My mom would hear me say this and tell me in ten years I would look back at pictures of myself then and say, "I looked so young!"

As usual, she was right.

(I just looked at some honeymoon pix and got profoundly wistful. I won't post them!)


Media Blackout

I've always heard it's healthy to separate yourself from media for an extended period of time--tuning out TV, radio, and Internet. And while my laptop is in the shop, the effects of the writers' strike are still upon us, and a big gaming conference is in town (meaning lower email volume at work), I've come to realize that this is as close as I'm ever going to get to such a state. I'm having to use my desktop PC to write this blog post, for pete's sake! It's downright barbaric. It might as well be 1996.

What's interesting to me is that even that slightly reduced amount of media in my life has created all...this...space...for...thinking... Notice how I've actually been blogging? And like I said before, it's not like I'm any less busy. I'm definitely more busy this week than ever, owing to said gaming conference.

Summary: Maybe TV really is rotting my brain!



So I've used the San Francisco Freecycle network a bunch, to get rid of specific items that I want to make sure go to someone who will actually want them (things like used electronics, our old Litter Robot, extra office supplies, and other stuff that might get lost in the Goodwill shuffle). But for other stuff, I have to admit I use the more lazy but amazingly effective "sidewalk freecycling." Today during our garage cleanout, I got rid of a hanging file folder cabinet, a lamp, and a small TV table. My husband, mom, and I started making bets on how long things would sit there before being claimed. We were surprised at how usually things didn't last minutes. (For freecyclers who may be reading this and getting incensed that I'm "dumping" stuff on the street, you can settle down: I fully intended to bring the items back in if they weren't collected by sundown... Luckily, I didn't need to!)


Professor Layton

OK, GameVideos needs to stop shooting me from this angle. It is bloody horrible! I want a rider in my contract!

New Year Notes From the Underground

Best Polling Place EVER!
Originally uploaded by generaltsao.

(Dostoevsky reference intended to indicate semi-mad nature of forthcoming rambling)

I can't believe how quickly this Chinese New Year has come upon us. We've had a low-key celebration this year--dinner with friends and brunch with my dad, whose birthday also happens to fall on the lunar new year eve. It's been nice that the weather has been so stupendous. We've gone on a couple long walks in the past few weeks, and today we're heading over the Golden Gate Bridge to see what we find over there. What's amazing is how it seems like just yesterday that we took Alex to Bolinas on my maternity leave, when he was just a couple weeks old and a darling blob. Now he can run around, talk, jump, play, dance, and do all sorts of other crazy things.

Time whizzes by when one is busy, but lately to me "busy" has started to seem like a cliche. Everyone's busy. I keep meaning to document a day in my life, start to finish, to give more depth and meaning to the "busy" label. It's not like I haven't been present in all these moments, and that's what I'm starting to realize is most important. Life is demanding and complicated. Few things come easily. Just when you start to finish your to-do list, new items magically appear on it, often more complex than the last. What's important is that you don't see being busy as a bad thing. Just go with it and enjoy everything you possibly can. You would hate to look back and realize you weren't enjoying yourself. Life is long, but it goes by quickly.

Of course, having kids is evidence of that. Everything changes so dramatically and at such a rapid pace. One day Alex can say 10 words. Within a week, he's learned several new phrases. When the doctor first told us to count his words, it seemed like a worrisome and difficult task. What if we don't get to 10? What if he's only saying 7? Each individual word matters so much. It didn't take long for me to realize that soon this incremental counting of his vocabulary will seem ridiculous. (He comes from a verbose family, in case you hadn't noticed.) I do think it would be really interesting to learn just how many words I know. I remember really clearly the moment when I learned certain words: epitome, stultifying, ephemeral...

Alex has currently started that incoherent rambling (wonder where he gets that from? ;) that babies do, where he is talking and talking, obviously asking questions, telling stories, narrating events, pointing to things and waiting for a reaction. I LOVE this part of his development. It's the cutest thing to hear. I really want to tape that before he starts to get more words. I vividly and fondly recall babysitting my niece Emily, who talked herself to sleep telling the most adorable, captivating and yet utterly undecipherable tales. It's a fascinating stage of language development.

And here's a catch-up blurb with some of the details that might give depth to my "busy" label: still knitting; playing 25 Words or Less, Scrabble, Professor Layton, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles; exercising in fits and starts; picking up trash in front of the house; writing to SF Supervisors; trying to be a good neighbor; looking at my 8th grade yearbook with old friends; getting our stupid Kenmore dryer fixed; trying to plan various vacations (Utah? Tahoe? Cote D'Azur? Belize? Hawaii?); taking parents to pick up prescriptions; listening to stories of old Shanghai and Hong Kong; flinging old clothes and items; devising new calendar systems and work flow procedures at work; attempts at potty training; cooking risotto, bread pudding, brussel sprouts; being disappointed by the Patriots and Tom Brady; voting for Barack Obama; drinking wine and root beer schnapps floats; daytripping to LA; examining a hermit crab; evolving to XHTML after 10 years behind the times; eating at Spork (pix to come)...

Life is basically good.


The state of our union

My mom has me watching Bill Moyers Journal now. They did a piece on Rep. Henry Waxman's committee to root out corruption in the government. I can't write much detail because, seriously, I can't even write blog posts at all lately, much less thoughtful, well researched ones. But what I'm learning watching this piece is that the state of our government under George W. Bush is even worse than I thought--and I already knew about how we're paying Blackwater billions to "accidentally" kill civilians in Iraq! So, I knew it was bad, but it's even worse! We're paying a company in Kuwait to build an American embassy there, and they're accused of kidnapping workers from the Phillippines and making them work without shoes. It's bad enough that these people are apparently being held without passports and were brought into the country under false pretenses, but to then not even give them shoes? And when the company, First Kuwaiti, is asked to explain these allegations in front of Waxman's committee, the company refuses to send a representative. And Condoleezza Rice pays lip service when asked why she's not looking into this, then it turns out her appointed Inspector General has a brother on the board of Blackwater, and when the Inspector General is called in front of Waxman's committee, he lies and says he didn't know his brother was on the board, but then when the committee basically exposes his lies and threatens to have him and his brother testify, he resigns from him post. And his name is Cookie, and is brother's name is Buzzy! You can't make this up! Nor would you want to! Because it would be too annoying!

I bet Condi has to take pills to help her sleep at night. I'd hope she does.

And I won't even get started on the missing e-mails. Oh, the missing e-mails. Waxman's holding a hearing about those on Feb. 15. Pay attention.