Monthly Archive for January, 2007

I have no words.

My friend and co-worker C2 called me a few hours ago with shocking news.

Our friend and former colleague, John Ingram (known on this blog as J-X) passed away this week. We don’t have too many details yet; C2 said he got a call from another friend of John’s. Apparently, he was found in his Santa Monica apartment either yesterday or today.

C2 and I talked for a while tonight on the phone; we’re both in shock and quite upset. C2 says he spoke to John last this past Sunday. John said he wasn’t feeling well (he wouldn’t say what was wrong, just that it was “bad”) and that he had a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. C2 encouraged him to go to the doctor on Monday; not to wait until Tuesday. Very typically of John, he didn’t want us to worry about him and refused to say was was wrong and said in the sarcastic way he says most things, “Don’t worry C, I’ll call you if I’m about to die.” C2 had been calling John all week to see if he’d gone to the doctor, but never got a call back. Understandably, C2 is a mess. I’m not in much better shape; I’ve already broken down and cried and will probably cry again. Knowing John, I’m guessing he had some serious health problem that he didn’t want to tell anyone about because he didn’t want anyone to worry about him.

John has been on my mind lately, like when I got trapped in the elevator earlier this week. John and I met a couple of years ago when I started my job at my current company. He was my first friend at the company and we went out to lunch often. He was also my source for inside information regarding the building facilities… that’s how I could get reliable information about broken elevators and such. I knew we were destined to be friends when he accidentally found my blog (in a rather circuitous manner, via a strange Howard Stern connection) about a week into my new job. John never wanted to comment on my blog, so he would read it and call me on the phone with the comment. They almost always made me laugh. Or want to debate him. I tried to convince him to start a blog of his own, or to contribute to mine; he didn’t want to bother, but told me he didn’t mind if I re-published what he wrote on my blog (I just might do that).

John and I had a special friendship. We geeked out when we were together; we had a special fondness for all things Star Trek and George Takei (there used to be a special post about George Takei until my server ate it, must try to reconstruct the story — The day before George Takei came out in Frontiers Magazine, John asked me a strange question: “What celebrity do you wish would come out?” I asked, “Do you mean ‘Who do I wish that was gay?’ or ‘What closeted gay celeb should come out?'” He said, “The second one.” I said, “Are you saying my gaydar is so strong that I can tell if a celeb is gay or not even though they’re closeted?” He said, “Just answer the question.” I said, “George Takei. In the gaysian community, it is common knowledge that George is gay.” John said, “George Takei isn’t gay!” I said, “Ok, fine, I don’t KNOW FOR SURE that he is gay, but I’m pretty sure he is. Regardless, to answer your weird question, I wish George Takei would come out.” (I swear this is a real conversation that happened. In fact, C2 was there when we had it.) So when news of George’s coming out started hitting the internet the next day, John immediately called me and said, “Can you please wish for $40,000 this weekend for me? I could really use it. You have the power of the wish.” I asked John why $40K and not a million. He said that he didn’t want to be greedy and that $40K could pretty much cover any debts he had and that it would provide enough for him to live comfortably. I told him I’d wish for him, but that he had already made me waste my one wish on George Takei coming out. Needless to say, my wish power didn’t work for his $40K.) He loved the picture of dorky me in a Starfleet uniform with George Takei. John was the one who told me that George Takei had been in the office and that I’d missed him by minutes. And thanks again to Howard Stern, I got a stream of “George Takei on The Howard Stern Show” updates from John. I shared with John some of my secret ambitions (no, I won’t share them here) and he encouraged me to pursue them. He gave me guidance frequently and when we were still working together, he would check on me often. Sometimes he’d swing by my desk just to make sure I had eaten; he would feed me if I hadn’t. He introduced me to (the existence of) Treet; thank goodness he never fed it to me.

Whenever I saw his extension ringing to mine, it was always a joy to pick up because he liked to tell me things that he knew would amuse me. We argued about what the heck a “Hollaback Girl” was and whether or not I was one (I’m not!). We plotted and planned field trips to exotic places to eat like Sizzler and Baja Fresh. Sometimes we’d “splurge” and go to CPK. We made sarcastic comments about the company and some of the people who worked there. John knew that I worked really hard and could appreciate this cartoon.

John would also invite me to screenings and events in the evenings, and generally try to drag me away from my desk to do interesting things. He referred to Yoshi as “The Mole” because he was never able to get me to drag Yoshi out to do anything with us geeks. He told me he always pictured Yoshi hiding in a hole, only occasionally popping out for some sun. Just before this past Christmas, he’d emailed me to remind me that we needed to schedule a weekend lunch and to bring Yoshi, that is if I could get The Mole to leave the hole.

John loved traveling and experiencing new things. Whenever he planned a trip, he would send me links of cool places he wanted to see… always things off the beaten path. And of course, I always looked forward to his vacation debriefs. I enjoyed his ruminations of his adventures in L.A., too. He didn’t believe in owning a vehicle and is one of the few people I know who actually enjoyed doing the 2 hour commute from Santa Monica to Hollywood via a bus everyday. I know it was partially because he loved the characters and crazy stories he could talk about later. Because he didn’t have a car, it gave us a chance to have a few adventures on our own… like when I drove him to Target at lunchtime so he could buy a new electric shaver. And how we got in the car to drive 2 blocks over to the Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru and came back to eat at my desk.

John was an avid fan of movies, literature (especially poetry), comic books, and music. He’d come over and tell me about his latest purchases at Amoeba. Once, I even got a personal musical talent show at my desk from him.

After he left the company, we saw each other much less often. But we still kept in touch via email and I know he still read my blog from time to time. When John read about my Dad’s passing, he called me and we talked for a long time about it. He listened. He let me cry. He told me that he could relate to the shock of watching your Dad leave you suddenly; he told me about how his own Dad had died in his arms of a heart attack right in their kitchen. I was so grateful for this call.

In the grand scheme of things, John and I didn’t really get to spend that much time together, but we always had fun when we did. I think it’s actually kind of funny because when I first started at the company, John was hitting on me when he invited me to lunch… not that I realized it at the time. In fact, he told me later that he thought of our first lunch as a pseudo-date… I thought he was just being friendly and charming. At the end of our pseudo-date I realized his intentions when he asked me out on a dinner date. I told him about Yoshi and he was disappointed, but gracious… always a gentleman. I meant it when I said I wanted us to be friends… I’m so glad and grateful that we did, because I was lucky enough to find out what a true gem he was. Later on, he reminded me often of his (serious) offer of a $2000 “finder’s fee” if I set him up with a girlfriend who lasted longer than a year. (I told him I’m not in the business of matchmaking!)

I’ve already combed my computer and can’t find any pictures of us together. I seem to remember him refusing to let me take one the last time we lunched together with C2. In fact, if it wasn’t for John, I’m not sure C2 and I would be as chummy as we are now.

I don’t know how to wrap this post up, but my heart aches to lose John from this world. I know better than to hope for answers to questions like, “Why so young?” (I think he was in his early 30s). Even though I don’t know her, I am sending love to John’s mother because I know that John was very close to her and loved her very much.

I met him just two short years ago, but he’ll always have a special place in my heart. I’ll miss the bigs hugs I’d get from the big guy. And I’ll always imagine that it’s John sending me a message whenever I get any George Takei news.

UPDATE 1/26 @ 9:30am: I just found out from two of my co-workers that John’s Mom just found out this morning. They had both called her this morning to check on her; the police were there telling her what happened. I have her number but am going to wait until the evening to call her.

The Popular Cat

Ahh, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I present this Japanese video of a very popular cat. (Sorry, I can’t get the “post video” to work right… you’ll have to follow the link yourself.)

In addition to my big love of dogs, I love cats, too.

Maybe I don’t love cats as much as I love dogs.

Maybe I don’t love cats as much as they like other cats.

Maybe I don’t love cats as much as these dogs loves THIS cat.

But I do love cats. Too bad I am highly allergic to them.

hat tip – ::Minger::

If it has Jeremy Hermann’s stamp of approval…

…it has mine, too! I was catching up on some blog reading and caught this plug on Jeremy Hermann’s site about Agloco (A GLObal COmmunity).

Help Build AGLOCO – Beta Testers Wanted!

Hey You!

This note is mainly to offer you a chance to help build AGLOCO – it is a Member-owned Internet Economic community.

Here is why I would like you to help. First – it is free. Second – it is quick and easy to join. Third – AGLOCO’s purpose is to get its members their share of the money generated on the Internet (i.e. you make money). And lastly – if you help build the AGLOCO network you can make much more.

Here is a link to sign up (it automatically records me as referring you with my ID BBBQ4782)*

AGLOCO works with a toolbar type software called a Viewbar. Privacy is very strict so no spyware, popups or spam.

As to how much money you can make, there is a study which says the average user should get $5 to $15 a month. (But less at the beginning.) Click here to read the report.

How much can you make helping to build the network? The Simmons Report predicts $30 per referral. I have 200, but a friend of mine RZ McCall has over 8,000. He has a great blog site.

AGLOCO is in their beta phase which is the best time to help them build out the network. So please join now and help build the network. Have questions? Their website has all the details so go there or please ask me.

If you’ve been with for a while, you know that I resisted putting ads and such on my blog, even in the “heyday” of my this site when it was getting crazy traffic. Well, I finally buckled this year and decided to put a few ads here and there.

I figured it couldn’t hurt to hit up my friends to join AGLOCO under me, too!

* is jozjozjoz’s referral link, not Jeremy’s

Giant (Carpenter) Ant update

Thanks to my Answer Manâ„¢, Will Campbell, the giant ant has been identified as a carpenter ant. Unfortunately for me, carpenter ants are voracious eaters, unlike their close relatives, the Carpenters ants. (Ooops. I just realized I accidentally made a REALLY tasteless jab at Karen’s anorexia. Not intended.)

Anyway, Minger was making me feel bad when he asked me if I’d released the ant yet. The truth is, no, after two days, I still haven’t let it go. Minger said I was being cruel to the ant to just capture it/exploit its image on my website and starve/suffocate it to death in my plastic contained. I had actually been planning to show it to the neighbors (ask them if they’d seen any in their place), but I was all grumpy last night after getting trapped in the elevator and tonight I stayed at the office until almost midnight (working on my 15 page paper).

But when I got home from the office tonight, I checked on it and it’s still alive.

Soooo, this is what I decided to do: Feed and water the ant. And give it fresh air. Granted, I fed it green onions and left a few drops of water and I know it’s still in captivity and that it still might die, but it’s really not my intent to kill the ant. I might let it go tomorrow if I get back at a decent hour so I am not running around outside in the dark with a plastic container.

But let’s be clear about something… just because I fed it, gave it water, and air, doesn’t mean that the giant ant is my pet.

Think of it as a temporary hostage.

Who knows? I just might have to moonlight as a really bad insect terrorist, since I can’t bring myself to just kill it and be a Terminator.

I’ll give an update tomorrow. Yes, I’m going to say it… I’ll be back!

This happened on Tuesday, 1/23/2007*

I got trapped in the elevator at work for 3 minutes while trying to leave the office.

I am fine and despite momentary trauma, which persisted a few hours after getting home, I have mostly forgotten about it. But now I shall give you a play-by-play so I can re-live the horror and terror.

As we know from previous posts on my blog, the elevators in my building can be a little temperamental.

Sometimes when the parking lot is crowded, you have to leave your keys with the attendant so they can stack park the vehicles. As I was leaving the office last night around 6:30, I went down to the main receptionist’s floor to retrieve my keys. Unfortunately for me, the keys had not been delivered yet and were probably still down in the parking lot.

I had my jacket in my arms, a bag of food in one hand, my purse in another, and was dragging my (ok, it’s actually yoshi’s) rolling laptop case with me (my hundreds of pages of reading was inside). I got back into the elevator and pushed the button for my parking level, hoping to get down there before the attendants got into the elevator to come UP with my keys. (I hate criss-crossing them and having to come back up for my keys.)

The elevator doors closed and I found myself staring at the Captivate screen’s news headlines. About 30 seconds later, I realized the elevator wasn’t moving. Talk about a captive audience.

I pushed the parking level button again and it didn’t light up; I was hoping that the elevators were on “night mode” and that it would automatically take to the 1st floor lobby. Except I still wasn’t moving. So I pushed the “L” button and nothing happened.

Then I started pushing the “Door Open” button. The doors did not open.

The floor indicator display still indicated I hadn’t moved.

So I pushed the button for the floor that I was on.

Nothing still.

Then I started pushing all the buttons. None of them were lighting up and I still wasn’t moving. Clearly, the elevator had decided to take a break with me inside it.

I wondered how long I should keep pushing buttons until I called for help. With the knowledge that several co-workers had gotten stuck in the elevator in the past several weeks in the back of my head, I figured I should call for help.

I pushed the “Call” button and the red light lit up. (HOORAY!) Then I could hear the speakerphone turn on and do an automated dialing sequence. Then I could hear the call getting transferred. By this time, about 3 minutes had passed.

Then the phone connected to an operator who asked why I was calling.

“I’m stuck in the elevator!” I screamed at her.

At that moment, the doors magically opened. My inadvertent hero was my co-worker D who had awakened the elevator gods by pushing the down button from the floor I was on.

I know I was only in there for like 3 minutes, but it was 3 very unhappy minutes. And when the doors opened I clearly had a panicked look on my face because D was like “Are you ok?”

Meanwhile the elevator operator lady was also talking to me.

I was really confused for a split second because D and I work on a different floor and I thought that the elevator had gone up to our floor and I didn’t feel it. Then I realized that D must have also come looking for his keys at the main receptionist desk and that I really hadn’t moved.

I yelled a very unintelligible, “The doors opened, I’m getting out!” and I ran out of the elevator with all my stuff, with the elevator operator lady getting worried because she had no idea what I was saying. “Are you there? Are you ok?” she kept saying. To be fair, I’m pretty sure what I actually yelled was, “Doors! Open! Out!” I may or may not have also yelled, “Bye!”

D and I stood in the elevator area for a while and we realized the elevator wasn’t moving and the lady was still trying to talk to me. D went inside (while I held the door open) and said, “The doors opened, it’s ok.”

The elevator operator lady’s direction to us was “Ok, good. Don’t get back in the elevator.”

Thanks for that advice, lady. I’m way ahead of you on that one.

We tried to call for another elevator, but then the defective one stayed open and none of the other elevators would stop. So D decided to go back in and push buttons. Miraculously, the light for the first floor lit up for him and he jumped out of the elevator car. Then we called for a different elevator car and got on the next one that showed up.

On the way down, we were talking about what happened and people from some of the other companies that work in the building started chiming in with “I keep hearing about people getting stuck in these elevators.” (Funny, there’s no mention of broken elevators at the NBS Building on Studio 60…)

We had to go all the way down to the first floor and then change elevators to access the parking levels since the elevators were now on “night mode.” Luckily, our keys were still downstairs when we got there and we could leave right after that.

D said it best when he said, “They make it really hard for us to leave this building, don’t they?”

People have suggested that I take the stairs and I would totally do it except that the parking levels are inaccessible via the stairs (they are locked). I can either go down the stairs to the 7th floor and take the elevator down to the parking level (not a good idea because I tried this several times and the elevators were full by the time they got down to the 7th floor) or I can take the stairs to the street level and end up OUTSIDE THE building, re-enter the building and take the elevator up to the parking level (no thanks, I’d really like to minimize my time on the streets of Hollywood at night, thankyouverymuch). Either way, taking the stairs is extremely inconvenient. And if I have a lot of stuff or a heavy rolling bag, the stairs are probably not a good idea. And I happened to be wearing high heels, too.

The point is that so long as I’m working in this building, I’m pretty much stuck taking the elevators.

At least I wasn’t really trapped in the elevator; it wasn’t broken, and it didn’t fall while I was in there. If it that had actually happened, maybe I could’ve scored myself a $20 gift card at The Coffee Bean. For what it’s worth, I’ll take not being trapped. And I don’t drink coffee anyway.

Regardless, I’m thinking it might be a good idea for me to leave an offering or two to the elevator gods from time to time.

*But I wrote it on 1/24/07.

Excuse me, is there an entomologist in the house?


There was a giant black ant in our den! I’m not kidding when I say giant… this thing is about half an inch long! I caught it in a disposable plastic container and took pictures as proof. Sorry they are all ugly and stuff, but I just wanted to show the horror of horrors we found in our house this evening as we were sitting down to watch Heroes.

Giant Killer Ant

Giant Killer Ant (underside)


Please! Someone identify this thing and let me know if they are *shudders* invasive or poisonous or dangerous! And WTF was it doing in our den? Scouting for a new place to watch TV? Needed a new place to nap? Wanted to enjoy the view of our indoor garden*?

I think if there isn’t an entomologist available, I will take the best shot from my Answer Manâ„¢.

I don’t want to kill it, but I am definitely not going to let this thing roam around our house.


*By “indoor garden,” I actually mean two potted plants and a lucky bamboo plant.

Weekend of homework…

Read, read, read.

Write, write, write.

Now I need sleep, sleep, sleep.

I’ve still got a couple of articles to read before class tomorrow night.

On the bright side, Heroes is returning tomorrow night! If I’m not too tired, I’m going to watch it after class tomorrow night!

Any storytellers out there?

If I wasn’t already up to my neck in a billion and one commitments in the next few months, I would totally do this. I’d love to know if any bloggers take part in this and move their stories from their blogs to a “storytelling experience.” Since it focuses on downtown L.A., I think this is a natural for the good folks at martini republic, blogdowntown, mayorsam, boi from troy, and of course, LA City Nerd.

During a two-day workshop, participants describe memories and exchange stories of downtown L.A. – stirring images, remarkable people, and distinctive sites, sounds, tastes. Working with and guided by Cornerstone’s professional writers, actors, facilitators, and directors, participants weave this remarkable collection of stories together and at the end of the process, share with friends, family, and invited guests.

Space is limited. Sign up by February 5, 2007.
No prior storytelling experience necessary, must be at least 18 years old to participate. Participants are responsible for own parking costs.

For more info:
L.A. STORYTELLERS: A Collection of Downtown Memories
A collaboration between Active Arts at the Music Center and Cornerstone Theater Company

Another call from Mom this morning.

I got the update from Mom about stuff happening in Taiwan. Lunar New Year is coming up soon. Time flies, doesn’t it?

I was talking to Mom about my Dad this morning and I was struck by a stinging sadness. All of a sudden I realized that I finally understood something about my Dad I never truly did before today. I always knew that he had sacrificed a lot for us, but suddenly I had a true epiphany about the depth of his sacrifice and love for us. That’s all I want to say about that.

I don’t like to talk about it, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Dad. Is it sinking in? Dad’s not in Taiwan; Dad’s not coming home.

There’s all this stuff that still needs handling. It’s up to the three of us to figure it out, I guess.

What else?

Finally finished the book I started before we left for Vegas, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I’d have finished it sooner had I not been running around Vegas. Or if I hadn’t left it at work yesterday. I look forward to seeing the movie. Mostly because Kalpen Modi (Kal Penn) is the lead.

Called my Auntie for her birthday. Had a long talk with her about random stuff.

Big changes at work today; no one was fired or anything, but it involved some big announcements and lots of work ahead for me. More info to come, I’m sure. I left the office stressed out and irritated.

School: Behind in my reading. Behind in my 15 page paper. Behind in my assignments due on Monday. And I just realized I deleted a bunch of important files off my desktop and I have to re-download them. Yikes.

Blog: Frustration. It’s not writer’s block. The truth of the matter is, I’m a pretty private person. At one time in my life, I’d have put it all out there. I’m not the same person I was a year ago, much less when I first started my blog. Before the days when everyone and their mothers had blogs, I was doing something unusual. Now everyone has a blog. I feel so ordinary. I’d have quit a long time ago, except that I do like knowing that if I write it in my blog, I can probably go back and find it again. That, and I would miss hearing from my friends via blog, since I’m so terrible at replying to emails.

Ok, sorry about the melacholiness of this post. I’ll try to end it on an upbeat note. Do you see the little icon that shows up before the URL on my site???

Back from Vegas.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. My money also stays in Vegas, too, evidently.

However, I brought back with me a suitcase filled with smoky-smelly clothes and 3 lbs of extra fat on my tummy.

Diet 2007, Take 2!

On the road again…

We’re hitting the road momentarily…

Vegas, baybee!

Brrrrrrrrrrr! It’s freezing!

Really! says so, too!

It's freezing in LA!

Didn’t mean to make you worry…

…I’m ok. Thanks for all the calls, emails and IMs asking if I was ok.

I’m just a little blue. I got something in the mail this week that reminded me that it’s been more than six months now since Dad’s passing.

My days have been so incredibly full and busy, I have been avoiding reality by watching mind-numbing television after work at night; probably not the best use of my time or energy. Also, there’s been a flurry of stuff happening with family.

-Grandma has been recovering from her surgery. She’s been home for over a week; I haven’t been able to go and visit yet.

-Bro and his friend from out of town came to visit last Saturday night. I had class all day Saturday (8:30am – 4:30pm) and then worked most of the day Sunday, so Saturday night was the only time I had to see them. Went to dinner, then a movie (Curse of the Golden Flower, which is possibly the bloodiest movie I’ve seen in a while), then stayed up past 3am talking.

-Mom called me earlier this week before I started my Monday night class. Miss her; worry about her.

-Uncle Peter called me Wednesday about stuff happening in Taiwan. Had to get Mom and Uncle Peter in touch with each other.

-Talked to Mom again Wednesday two separate times about two different subjects. Found out my Uncle S (her older brother) had gone to the ER the night before.

-Spent a few hours trying to track down my aunt/cousins to see how Uncle S was doing and to pass a message on for my Mom. (As of Thursday, Uncle S was doing OK; getting better after having been admitted to the hospital. I didn’t get check if he was released to go home yet.). Got updates from my cousin S, and my aunt that night.

-Also talked to briefly to Nina, glad to have her number in my cell.

-Good news: Heading to Vegas this weekend to spend time with Yoshi’s parents. Not sure if I’m going to do any gambling, but I doubt it. Ask anyone; I’m a scary gambler.

For freaks sake…

So much to do…

So little time…

Back to life. Back to reality.

Now that the holidays are over it means that not only do I have to go back to the office, but I also have to start school again.

I have several hundred pages to read before my first class on Saturday.

That’s right, I have a Saturday class. I also have classes on Monday night, which means that I will undoubtedly be doing homework, etc. on Sunday.

This means that my weekends are effectively gone from now until mid-April.


My new topic on Consumating

Happy New Year! Hooray 2007 is here and we can say goodbye to rotten ol’ 2006.

So how did you ring in the New Year?

(My latest topic from Consumating.)

New Year Day Mayhem

We rang in the New Year quietly, at YoshiMom’s home with both YoshiParents. It was nice to stay in and have a peaceful evening, watching TV, napping, and helping with cooking (or rather, staying mostly out of the way).

We slept in, but once we were up, we had lots to do. Our first stop was near San Francisco for a late lunch/early dinner, Japanese Osechi. There was a fabulous spread of delicious food, including some of the crab we picked up at Half Moon Bay a day earlier, fresh sashimi (maguro and hamachi), butter mochi, and lot more. I forgot to take pictures this year, but believe me, it was a lot of food. All of it very yummy!

Around 6pm, we left this gathering and headed toward Sacramento to another New Years Day gathering; less osechi-style (though there were a few more “traditional” dishes), more potluck-style. By this time, I was too full to eat. Except for more butter mochi, of course. We had a great time catching up with everyone we hadn’t seen since last New Years Day. Later on in the evening, I did go back for another round of food, and also got to play the bowling game on the kids’ Nintendo Wii. I officially want a Wii!

Anyway, after this incredibly long day, YoshiMom drove us back to San Jose (but I kept her company and talked the whole way home).

Today we slept in (again), but we drove back to L.A.. I had to promise not to drive too fast and stayed under 80 (most of the time). I did get caught (by Yoshi) driving 85, but I was only doing that to pass someone and also had my foot off the pedal when I got caught. We were going to stop by the Gilroy Premium Outlets, but (wisely) skipped it. As if the entire trunk and backseat full of stuff wasn’t enough!!!

Anyway, I always love seeing everyone on New Year Day, but I’m also glad to be back in our messy home again.

Oh yeah, the diet begins officially on Wednesday, January 3.

Happy 2007!

Happy New Year to everyone who reads and contributes to!

2006 was a tough year for me and thanks to my all my friends and family who was there to support me when I needed it.

Joz says Happy New Year 2007

Here’s to a peaceful 2007 from jozjozjoz!

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