Lazy Summer Anecdotes

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… For any of you out there looking to write the next Dickensian classic, well folks, summer 2020 is your golden opportunity.

Like many people I’ve been working from home, biting my nails while the rest of my future plans, which had been mostly dependent on international travel, crawl slowly on burdened with unresolvable uncertainties. You’d think this would leave me with plenty of time to explore other hobbies and write riveting blog posts, but it turns out that being locked in the house (or during May, in my room for *ding ding* health reasons) does not make one particularly creative or provide stimulating experiences. If the following anecdotes are rather sad well, ain’t we all, honey, ain’t we all. Nonetheless, I did finish two comics, the second of which is Coming Soon to a blog near you.

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The Case of the Savage Cabbage, and other Grimm Tales

Misfortune Level: 10

The first sign I believe, that I’ve been placed under some sort of curse, came when I was cutting cabbage for dinner about five weeks ago. Being a little tipsy and a lot stupid, I wasn’t being particularly careful and put the cerated knife right through the tip of my finger, splitting it open.

There was a lot of blood.

The EMTs, luckily, arrived in two minutes, stopped the bleeding (mostly), and also helpfully cleaned up the living room, which was good because the Lawyer reported the bathroom looking like we had murdered someone in the sink, and I had only spent about 20 seconds in there before realizing my finger needed professional assistance. I refused an ambulance ride, and got my housemate to drive me to urgent care.

“You need to take this to the ER,” the urgent care doc said.

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The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

Friends, I am aggrieved. There be beady-eyed whisker monsters in this house.

It all went down on Tuesday, as I was mindlessly browsing the Internet, watching Jun’s Kitchen on Youtube while browsing pictures of hakama on Amazon, when frantic movement caught the corner of my eye. Lurching from the bed and to my feet, I yelled at the Lawyer in the room next door to fetch me a butterfly net while trying to locate the invader with my phone light. It was 10pm but I was ready to Shizuo the heck out of any rodent stupid enough to make its presence known in my territory.

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It took some convincing, but I got the Lawyer to come in my room and stand on my bed while holding the phone light. I proceeded to turn over bags, box poised, hoping to unearth and capture a pest smaller than a ping-pong ball but faster than a freshmen in a room with free pizza. Unfortunately, he made a run for it first. With a scamper of claws and house-sandals, I chased him into the Lawyer’s bedroom and pinned him against the dresser. Black eyes in a head bigger than his body eyed me warily. I made a valiant but clumsy attempt to catch him with the box, but he skittered back into the hall and then into a small hole between the lowest stair step and the baseboard. Continue reading

The Beginning of the End

Full disclosure: this post has an inordinate text-to-meme ratio. Apologies in advance; my sense of proportionate humor is deceased.

I am now two weeks into my final year of grad school. This’ll be my sixth year of higher ed, so in some ways it’s hard to believe that the education part of my career is coming to a torturous close, at least until I lose my mind and go for a PhD.

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Predictably, the semester has started like a house on fire. I had to move my stuff, my car broke down, I pulled a tendon in my foot, and I’m currently on antibiotics for mouth ulcers (my dentist asked what was causing my body so much stress, but I was in my head calculating the number of hours I needed to work to pay for medication and a night guard). The good news is, I got a job (PAID!) working for one of these D.C. NGOs. The bad news is, I’m also doing a full semester of classes plus a capstone research project. Continue reading

“只是修剪!” Just a Trim!

Instead of regaling you with tales from grad school, my adventures in Asia, or even mediocre humorous anecdotes, I have emerged from the woodwork to indulge my vanity, and talk about my hair. In particular, the process of getting it cut.

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Google’s first return for “Chinese boyband haircut” – apparently all actually women

In my experience, barbershops in China are mostly hole-in-the-wall places staffed by a trimmer-wielding crew of sweaty young men with fabulous hair. If they were in America, they would all be gay, but since they are in China they just care about their image, and that image is some hybrid of American 80’s rock and K-pop bands. Now, in China there isn’t really a difference between barbershops and a hair salon. Men, women, and children all visit the same place, the humble 理发店. You can still find barbers who work only with scissors and razors and do the same three variations of a crew cut, but these guys generally have been working since before the Cultural Revolution, and China’s younger clientele tends to veer in a trendier direction. Continue reading

Grad School 2.1: First Lessons I Didn’t Get in Class

Semester two has begun. The following are four things I learned this week.

1. Snow is a thing

Last Saturday, the heavens clouded over and a strange substance began falling eerily from the sky. Now, as a Texan whose secondary domus has been various points in East Asia, I’m pretty familiar with ice and wind. Not Canadian levels, of course, but enough to know that shiny roads = Not Safe For Bicycling. Consistent amounts of frozen precipitation, however, are a new experience, at least in terms of having them thwart my regular activities. By 4:00pm I was astonished to look out my window and see this:

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Full disclosure: This photo was actually taken post-shovelling. The snow did not magically disappear from the driveway, most of the credit for that going to persons other than myself.

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Hello 2019! 圣诞快乐 & メリクリ

The Gym

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It’s Good to Have a Lawyer When Dealing With Bodybags

It all began last Saturday, when me and my housemates were lounging around the living room, them recovering from a week at work and me preparing for a week of final examinations. There was a somnolent atmosphere, the kind helped on by booze and low-scale trauma. I was staring at the stretch of floor between the couch and the wall separating the living room from the dining room, which was empty save for some charging cables, feeling appropriately uninspired with holiday cheer.

“I want a tree,” I said.

There was a mutual grunt.

“I want a real Christmas tree,” I continued, pointing a finger, “and I want it to go in that corner.”

The Cat Lady perked up. “Maybe we can get one off craigslist,” she said, “and some stockings for the fireplace with our names on them.”

This line of conversation dwindled. My brain, however, tired of plotting the relationship between exchange rates and the money supply, set about new machinations. Craigslist proved disappointing. I am, by admission, too cheap to pay $25 bucks for a tree without a base and only half-working lights. Do you know how much ramen I can buy with that money? Or 14.5% of my semester textbooks. Or two hours of parking in D.C.! No, paying for a tree would never do. Instead, I put out my feelers on freecycle.org, craigslist’s picture-free cousin for all your garage sale needs, and waited for a bite.

I was not to be disappointed. Continue reading