This blog is not dead…

I just wanted to let y’all know. As a messy desk is sometimes construed as the sign of a person at work… a delay can be the same for perhaps a very well-tuned product going through constant/numerous tweaks. I don’t post anything half-done… besides this. Stay tuned! Stay tuned.

Today I drove by a guy with a shaved head that saw it necessary to blurt out a racial slur, deciding to do so for the 1.2 seconds he actually could identify my ethnicity as I drove by, minding my own business… and that brought me back to the theme of my blog page.

We Asians… are treated like shit. There I said it. It is what it is. It’s not profanity. What is it when you censor a word when the situation can’t be described any other way?

That should be just as bad. Don’t act holier than thou, although you’re definitely better than me.

“Thou” is the other Asian. My name isn’t “Thou,” but you are better than me.

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1 left… I think they’re right.

(Stealing right out of my brother’s playbook on Instagram, I’ve decided to copy-and-paste an excerpt I posted on another site. A positive precedence seems to merit it.)
This was on a forum, and the question was a hypothetical:
2 pieces of pizza are left… and a dude takes the bigger slice. Do you secretly curse him?
A lot of replies were snarky since the question was kinda trolling in its lack of sincerity… including:
‘No, not secretly.’
‘Fist fight ensues.’
‘No, but I make him also eat the box.’
My reply was more long-winded, as always:

 

“You know, my mom would beat the crud out of me if I ate the last of anything… teaching me to leave it for someone else… even if there wasn’t anyone else.

I wouldn’t and couldn’t eat the last of anything, be it an Oreo or a slice.

She also taught me to never eat in front of people if I were the only one eating… not to bring food and not bring for everyone.

Ironically, as what goes around comes around… as a kid hungry I would watch this dude… a friend of my stepdad… barge in with a whole bag of Jack In The Box and eat in front of me and my brother…

As well on a missionary trip to rural South Dakota… we had a box of pizza and one slice was left… so of course the large dude in the group ate it without a twinge of conscience.

I just don’t get it.”

(*Responses:)
“My friend, I think it’s time you start snatching the last piece.”
(*Another responder:)
“You’ve earned it.”
I think they’re right.
I should take what’s left.

Need to count my blessings…

As an Asian that was born in America and treated like a 2nd-class citizen by every walk of life, including, but not limited to, my own race… it is really easy to get very bitter… like into-the-depths-of-darkness bitter.

When I got married, a random acquaintance of my mom (who is Korean as well), not even a close friend… came out of nowhere raising hell about it since my wife is a non-believer.

She threatened to go to the elders, so in a stop-gap move my mom volunteered it instead… and it was cleared by them.

My real question is, Why the hell did this person even give a flying rat’s?

We “all look alike,” but dayam! We sure don’t live the same lives… but I have to be appreciative of what I have.

I’m always reminded of the fact that I’m not the only Asian living in squalid, oppressed conditions when I look at a few different pictures online.

Nanking images.

Images of people who have collapsed in death in North Korea.

Images of those jailed and later executed by the Khmer Rouge.

Images of what the Vietnamese did to each other in the 60s and 70s.

Images of people on death row in China.

Images of what happens to people accused of being part of Falun Gong…

You may ‘never see a homeless Asian’ in America, but there sure are plenty in Asia itself.

I need to be grateful for what I have.

 

What the PUK was that?!?!

“Whose phone was that?!?! Turn it OFF,” our lawyer imperatively reiterated as we got up and exited the office, to be grilled separately by the stickler INS agent.

It couldn’t have been mine. Between my wife and I, I can survive not being connected and buried in my phone.

‘All phones must be turned off’ the signs clearly read.

On our way home everyone is barking at each other about who didn’t bring what documents and why and whose fault it is.

Combine being flustered and demoralized by an official of this “Land of Opportunity” (Yeah, my a…) and just how seldom we ever have to power off our phones… I was caught completely off guard when it asked for a pin.

Anyway, it just goes to show how often I’ve turned my cellphone off. Never.

It asks for your pin, and you get 3 tries. Easy, right?

It’s either the last four, my favorite four, or my parent’s favorite four…

Oh, or lately… my stepdad’s year of birth* to lock my cousin out of stuff he once knew the code to, to protect this house full of stuff my parents claim to not even want and are anxious to garage-sell…

Anyway therein lies the conundrum:

That’s four possibilities. You get three tries.

Well I’m anxious to get this thing revved up so I can text my bro about this horrific day…

My favorite four. Strike one.

Last four of my phone number. Strike two.

Parent’s favorite four… I get a menacing ‘THIS PHONE IS LOCKED. ENTER PUK CODE’ and that prisoner-in-my-own-home feeling.

Demoralized even further while the car grinds to a halt to be stuck in I-5 South traffic, I brainstorm how I can just go home and make this as non-intrusive as possible.

“I’ll just swap out the SIM card with my other AT&T phone and deal with it later.”

Good thing I didn’t! It just can’t be that easy.

“PUK Code.” Where do you get it? The instruction manual of course! Only problem? This is a hand-me-down phone and I don’t have it. So, it is inevitable that this day won’t be over any time soon. Have to ask my stepdad to track down the manual to find this code… which at this point I’m guessing is maybe some portion of the serial number or something.

Nope.

You obtain the code by calling customer service and explaining the situation… and convincing them that you are the rightful owner. Can’t even find it on your account online. Have to speak to a live person.

Great.

So my phone is locked out… and I’m supposed to call someone to unlock it?

This is morbidly hilarious. It reminds me of the times when my laptop wifi wasn’t working and there is a hilarious link to ‘Help,’ and when you click it, “Unable to Connect to the Internet” occurs.

Freakin’ dufuses.

This all is like having an emergency key to a safe… IN the safe.

Prudently I presumed that this thorough, thoughtless lock out would not have been solved by swapping out SIM cards, so I go straight to my parent’s house and my stepdad calls customer service from his phone… and after about 20 minutes… the phone is back in action.

Only problem? I’m not smart enough to ask him what pin he set up.

3 weeks later I’m house sitting…

I always say we are too anxious to leave the 20th Century behind, sort of like a roommate’s mom I knew who was obsessed with throwing stuff away, the anti-hoarder.

We often read (past-tense, “red”) about ‘The death of the landline’ long before people stopped paying for the service… the Internet being anxious to proclaim its demise… but eventually yeah even at work registering info some old folks say now, ‘That’s a cellphone number I just gave ya… we don’t have a landline…’

Up until even about 2013 there was a payphone outside of my workplace. One day I pull up, and all that remains is a metal wire sticking out where the phone once stood, looking a bit like rebar but not as wicked-sharp.

I arrive at work 30 minutes early every day and sit in my car… and witness some pretty bizarre things from that vantage sometimes…

One is an old couple speed walking some mornings… the guy with coffee cup in hand.

Every time he would pass that payphone he would slip his two fingers into the change slot… but without breaking stride.

I guess that 401K ain’t enough.

They didn’t walk every morning but when I saw them on approach I would make sure to see if this dude would remember to check that change slot… and sure enough he wouldn’t forget.

At a movie theater once I was waiting for my “friends” to come out of the bathroom, so not wanting to just stand out like a swaying sore thumb, I do the pretend-text… and three rocker-looking dudes walk by and without slowing down or stopping one randomly goes, “Hey can I use your phone?” by then being a few feet away.

I can’t remember what I said to decline without ticking him off. Might’ve been anything between “Sorry, the battery is almost dead” to “This is my friend’s phone,” but I didn’t let him walk out the door with it… which leads me to my next point in picking apart this ridiculous ‘PUK Code’ concept…

Just how willing are people these days to let someone one-time use their cellphone?

No payphones.

No landlines.

Can’t unofficially use the phones at work, especially on a day off, especially when it will tie up a line for 15 minutes waiting for a rep to answer…

I’m a shy guy, so I don’t know any of my neighbors so the idea of them letting me waltz in and use their phone… and tie IT up for 15 minutes is not only awkward just contemplating but yeah… probably not happening.

So, what are we supposed to do when we need this PUK code?

They thought of everything… (*Borat voice*) Naaaaaaaat.

3 weeks later I’m house sitting… no landline…

I see this Korean concoction in the fridge… with gross whole minnows, but also fishcakes… one of my favorites. Maybe I can “fish” out what I want and leave the exotic rest.

I text my mom, “Is this ok to eat?”

‘I don’t remember. Can you send a picture?’

Even though I’ve advised that my prepaid GoPhone neither sends pics and can’t even show emoticons right a million times, two silly things happen: She still asks me to send a pic, and two… I try to anyway…

It ends up giving an ‘Unable to complete message’ response, but that ‘Sending…’ circle keeps spinning and spinning.

Like I said, prepaid GoPhone.

That circle spinning menacingly makes me wonder, “Is this counting as data usage?”

I frantically try everything to cancel the message, cancel out, delete it… stop it…

Nothing.

So, I shut the whole phone down and restart it.

Dun dun dunnnn…

‘Enter pin.’

I take a deep breath, not eager to enter a complex given my prior experience with this… and rather than overthink it I first calmly try my usual pin.

Strike one.

Ok, the last four of my number.

Strike two.

Ok, no need to panic… I’ll try the one set of four numbers I didn’t elect to try last time… and I input them in without the approach of “Here goes nothing” and try and shift my attitude more towards the confident faith that the phone will simply unlock… totally in the game mentally…

‘Phone is locked. Enter PUK code.’

Great.

Not ready to give up, I see that it allows two options: Emergency Call and some other weird, ‘112’ button.

Well, I sure as heck don’t want to dial out 911 for this situation, although it almost feels like mentally I might need to… but I press the OTHER button… and the screen goes “Warning: Emergency only.”

Great. Now it’s not even ASKING for the PUK code. It’s stuck on ANOTHER screen with just these two options…

Desperate, I break out my old flip-phone and swap out the card, the idea I had last time.

Doesn’t work… but at least the PUK code option field is there.

I just need to have the code!

So, I have no landline, don’t work for a few days even if I WERE willing to risk using the work phone in the office to unlock this, don’t know the neighbors at all, and obviously can’t call anyone to call AT&T for me…

Can’t cross the street to use the payphone.

We got rid of those, remember?

Apart from the aforementioned, another thought I had was that not everyone has credit good enough to get a cellphone.

How do homeless people call that out-of-state friend or family member in slim hopes that they might wire them a little cash?

How do the meth couples whose lives and credit and bank accounts have been ravaged by penal fines ever call anybody?

I guess here is the redeeming part of our new age, 21st Century: Even though I don’t have it, since I have a GoPhone, most people have smartphone… DATA.

I vaguely recalled being on Facebook a couple years prior, and being offered some seemingly useless feature… to be able to message someone on my friend list… from my page to their PHONE…

‘Testing…’

‘Got it. It worked,’ my bro replied.

Being communicationally (if that is a word) stranded now… I hop onto Facebook and private-message my stepdad… thousands of miles away in Illinois… not to his page… but to his phone… and wait…

The wait itself isn’t the issue. “Is this going to work?” was what I kept wondering with any passing minute I didn’t get a response…

I get a reply.

So, I end up getting this ‘PUK code’ by messaging my stepdad, from Facebook, who is thousands of miles and 2 hours difference in time zone away…

He ends up being a relay, middleman in this dialogue…

I need the serial number.

I need to log onto my account online and get another number.

…after a few back and forths with the delay that being in a 3-way dialogue… using Facebook messaging inevitably brings… and having to restart…

…my flip-phone is in business…

Since there is a delay in our correspondence… I bank on the idea that my stepdad hasn’t ended the conversation with the help line yet… so I quickly swap out the SIM card back to my other phone…

Oops.

It’s back on that screen it was before…

No option to enter PUK.

I quickly shoot a message to my stepdad…

‘The phone we unlocked was the one you gave me the serial number for, right?’

Rather than explain this entire nightmare on Facebook messaging while HE is on the other line with AT&T thousands of miles away… I end up lying and saying the other phone ‘froze up’ or had an old battery that couldn’t hold a charge…

Lol I can’t even remember.

‘Restart the phone.’

I restart it… still same screen…

Demoralized, “I’ll just call AT&T tomorrow from work…” resolving to take the risk.

I’m already picturing one of the managers noticing me there in the office off the clock, obviously on the phone with some customer service… and their slow lead-in to what they’re probably going to tell me… ‘…we don’t make personal calls here…’

At wit’s end… I fling my phone to the floor and blurt out an expletive… and the battery flies out… mildly surprised it didn’t hit me in the eye at this point.

Burying my face in my hands then running my hands through my hair… I give myself a moment… and in a last-ditch, come-what-may reflex that you do when you don’t believe something will work but have nothing to lose trying anyway… I power up my phone…

“Enter PUK.”

Reminded me of that part in Jurassic Park when Samuel L. Jackson’s character finally hacks Nedry’s computer… and it goes to a neutral screen reloading everything…

So, anyway… we prematurely got rid of payphones, landlines, and have online-only screens that have help topics that you can only access… ONLINE…

What the “PUK” is that?

 

 

*Fictitious hint mentioned so as not to compromise the ACTUAL number

†In case you were wondering, ‘PUK’ stands for something like ‘Personal Unique Key’

 

 

 

 

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I love them court shows. One that I followed religiously, renewing heavy TV viewing that I had forsaken since I was a kid… so over 20 years… I found is sometimes staged or reenacted.

Anyway, I just discovered a new one today, with a 3-judge panel, kinda like SCOTUS, where the majority ruling is how the verdict goes down.

The meaner the judge(s), the more dramatic, and that is definitely what I’m all about when watching from the comfort of a living room.

Anyway the meanest, no-nonsense of the 3, the guy in the trio, mentioned a saying that I’ve repeated so many times myself that I can’t even remember… and definitely live believing:

No good deed goes unpunished.

Now at least in some cases Good Samaritan Law applies… but I’m talking about in general and not rescuing someone from a car stuck on a train track.

I go on eBay and look at items a lot. I tend to shy away from one even if it is really low in price if it has a couple of bidders. I hate the bidding war, hate the complex a bidding war can create… but here’s a bit of a redeeming factor:

In the case where there is one bidder or even a Watcher, I hate being THAT guy that dashed the person’s dream of snagging a great deal… especially when there are several others of the same item for barely a little more in cost.

I mean what if it’s a kid using what change he/she has to buy that videogame for $5 bucks?

Being the nice guy I am, I try to find an alternative, ‘Buy Now’ option even if I take a monetary hit for it. Good Kar… I mean I feel better about it in general.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I find a videogame I nostalgically was reminded of recently, no bidders, low price… and add it to my Watch List, conscious of the expiry of the listing.

Well, I go to buy it finally…

…and there is a bid on it, with a range at least enough to vanquish the two bids I tried.

I’m so glad to have people return the favor on how I philosophically deal with things.

No good deed goes unpunished.

The moral of this precautionary tale is that I hope others aren’t a person with tire tracks on their face like I have.

Don’t let this hideous world do that to ya. It’s a thankless place.

Living With The Illuminati

“Ever have the feeling you was being (sic) watched?”

Some things are too awful to just be coincidence.

“Perfect storms” are just perfect cover ups.

Laptop wigged-out at a very financially inconvenient time.

Wish I had an ear to bend… but everyone is too busy… ignoring my texts.

No, no… this isn’t just about a laptop.

The laptop is just that junction in the movie where things hit rock-bottom… you know… that part in Fargo where he just gives up scraping the ice off the windshield and throws a tantrum?

Yeah, we’re there… Again.

Maybe I can pick this apart like the way brilliant NFL coaches pick apart opposing teams.

Loss of routine really destroys OCD people like me.

Methodically, first it’s the bed sheets. They were horrible to begin with.

Have too many blankets you’re not using? Dump TEN of ’em onto the bed of someone you’re collecting rent from.

Part II is changing them later when he is at work… for whatever reason.

I mean I guess an autistic weird guy like myself might’ve sweated a lot in one night, meriting they be changed…

Then there’s stuff being rearranged constantly, added or subtracted.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Have what I’m going to eat tonight… so put a sandwich in the fridge that has to be eaten today.

I’ll just have what I was GOING to have the day after tomorrow… after my fasting day.

One day in the freeze.

Finally an Eat Day.

Nope, more food put in. I mean, I guess I could freeze IT and just do what I had planned.

Why can’t weird people leave weird people alone?

Yes, you are weird, too.

As my 3rd-grade teacher always would say (Ironically, a teacher that hated my guts):

“You know who you are.”

 

 

“I HATE hearing that…”

After my brother left home abruptly at age 20… leaving me with my cousin who I didn’t jive with anyway, I knew I was in trouble. Life was already boring as it was. With Bro gone, I spent the bulk of the following winter heavy on Netflix.

Having no idea which movies would have a “heavy” impact, I looked up reputed ones… concentrating on rated ‘R’ since it seems that the more devoted, shaggy directors will seek that rating just to make their movie seem contemporary… even if all it is is because the ‘f’ word is said more than two times.

One of the first was “Saving Private Ryan,” and those were tough times so I was appreciating every nuance of anything that said anything about everything that is trying to the human spirit… and that movie is one of the best at it… setting the tone for me to pursue a bunch of other military-themed movies and documentaries… about self-sacrifice and putting your fellow soldier and country above yourself… being in a situation so fearsome, ugly and far away from home that you frequently mention and contemplate all of the things most precious to you… but then ultimately making the decision to say goodbye to all of that… and even ON foreign soil… in order to “do your job.”

Anyway, in one documentary a soldier in an interview said he absolutely HATED hearing, “You did what you had to do,” and that did nothing to help him make sense of his experiences at war.

Well, today my football team lost… and the empty cliche’ cache of overused and vague go-to phrases poured out on cue.

One of the more common and notorious is, “We’ll get ’em next year.”

I HATE hearing that.

As Madden said, the sport evolves so fast…

Basically the next year you can’t bring the same template with a few minor adjustments…

No re-signing old guys past their prime who have an asking price past the salary cap.

“We’ll get ’em next year.”

I HATE hearing that.

Further Proof Of The Curse

I seem to be here to be a champion of ‘Asian rights.’

Nah. Make no mistake.

Make no mistake… I want to improve things for myself… but neither do I benefit from the fortunes of other Asians… but… I’m not here to add to them, either.

I DO, however, fall victim to their shortcomings.

We “all look alike” as long as we’re doing things people don’t like… or looking like something people don’t like.

We seem to only be individuals when someone does something good.

‘Well, that was THAT person. That’s not YOU.’

Yet, when someone is a terrible driver or lives obtusely, picking toejam with a pair of chopsticks, suddenly we “all look alike.”

Humanity at its usual finest.

There is an ongoing debate about the race of that son of Noah who poked fun of his father being passed-out-drunk… when he should have covered him up and preserved his dignity and cordoned off the tent to his siblings instead of immaturely endorsing it going, ‘Hey! Come here!’

Given how my life has gone I have almost become certain that he was the Asian child.

I may be competing with another race that has made claim or been the victim of the claim that that son of Noah was the first of their race.

I think this post lays that to rest.

“Cagehouses,” where some Asians reside.*

I’ll bring the point of the theme home a bit later.

 

On the exact, same fateful day in December, 1981…

Two men were born, one in Decatur, the other in Madigan.

One would be 6’5″.

The other would be 5’6″.

One would go on to make millions, but sometimes hustle if the pocket collapses.

The other would have to hustle his entire life, with his pockets always collapsing.

One would become a notable quarterback who, despite a struggling team, is himself putting up splendid numbers this year after signing a contract extension.

The other would have to hustle his entire life, but not on a turf or grass football field, but in life itself.

One is the father of 8.

The other is constantly rooted against, sometimes by people who try to hide it.

As soon as I learned that this guy was born on the exact, same day as me, I’ve been a moderate fan… except one day in 2014 when my team had to go against him… and lost.

I’ve always been a sports fan, but more intriguingly, always an athlete.

At 5’6″ and Asian, though, I would never get taken seriously.

We weren’t allowed to participate in sanctioned school sports, anyway, the very gateway to the pros… so I never stood a chance.

Thank you, mom, for everything.

Two very different outcomes for two people born on the exact, same day.

I was prompted to write this after a well-publicized “happy dance” he did after a pick 6 on the other side of the field, met by both ridicule and praise.

Team set to move to another city, not too far from where they stand now.

I just moved, and similarly, not too far from where I was.

One other parallel…

Good numbers this year, mediocre team.

Me? Bad numbers this year, no team.

Numbers? Just anything.

No team?

No team.

Me against the world.

I would say I tend to lose by more than a field goal, though.

The public and overflowing recycle bins are… Ok.

I drink a lot. That’s the only way I make it through life… had a bad childhood getting screamed at by my mom that ended… but was never really fixed/addressed.

Lemme say if you feel self-conscious about putting that recycle bin out to the curb it may be an abstract way of realizing too much is too much, but that’s a personal decision.

In my case I always hope someone will reach out to me if they notice it, and fix my life from the inside-out.

I’m depending on the public for some kind of assistance… you know… that “public” that is so much more mature and grown-up than I am?

So far they’ve been as afraid to “take on” my mom as I was.

You’re better than me… more mature… not a prude… not a walking turnoff of a person devoid of any and all things romantic… but have no input to offer to me in my “personal,” mountain-out-of-molehill dilemma?

Ok.