Dim Sum Diaries
I thought I'd write a lighter entry this time around, since the last post was kind of heavy.

In attempting to write a manuscript, I feel like I'm trying to create Pygmalion---an idealized version of a guy that the heroine could fall in love with. For a long time Hero X was like a hairless manikin. He was generic looking and he had no name and no personality. It makes for difficult writing. So I had to "create" this guy from scratch. What does he look like? What makes him tick? I thought I could draw inspiration from handsome Hollywood types. For inspiration, I perused one of my favorite websites for some ideas (visit the link, you'll get what I'm talking about).

Here is a list of guys that I keep coming back to:

1. Hubby

2. Jeremy Northam

3. Ioan Gruffudd

4. Hugh Jackman

Imagine my surprise when I realized that they all had something in common!

1. They all have dark brown hair.

2. They all have short hair and are the clean shaven type (except for Hugh Jackman in his current project but we'll forgive him for that).

3. Their bods are quite yummy...

4. I've seen them naked.

Okay, except for Hubby, I've only seen the other three nekked in pictures.

So at least I have the physical prototype of the hero outlined. I just have to sketch in a few details about his personality.

More to come...

I just read this thought-provoking entry by Ernie at LYD, about Asian parents and all the dysfunctional crap associated with them. It made me think back to my childhood. Every physical need was provided for, but sometimes it seemed that our family lived in an emotional vacuum. My dad in particular always expressed himself by yelling.

Once when I was young, my family and I were at this party/gathering. Dad was talking with his friends, and I, being a precocious smart mouth at a young age, made some silly statements. My dad was smiling the entire time, but I guess he was pissed off. Later on the drive home he yelled at me for embarrassing him in front of his friends. Then he cuffed me on the side of the head.

The only time he may have shown me some physical sign of affection was on a plane trip to Hong Kong. Both my sister and I were pretending to sleep and he stroked my hair lovingly for a bit.

So then you grow up and go to college and move on with your life. You don't realize how much your parents affect you until you have your own kids. If I get pissed, my first impulse, like my father's, is to yell. I have to make a real effort to speak calmly and not go off on a rampage. More often then not I do yell. However, I don't want my daughter to treat her future children that way so I have to be careful. My dad has completely changed his personality since I got married and had kids. He is now content to play the role of the doting grandfather.

Now that I am older, I can objectively place myself in my dad's perspective that night. Maybe he was tired and didn't know how to effectively deal with a recalcitrant kid without yelling. Perhaps he was merely reacting as his parents had dealt with him.

If I had to deal with my daughter in a similar situation, I'd probably speak to her quietly and tell her to cease and desist, otherwise its time out. Its something I have remind myself, each time I am tempted to yell, to pause and take a deep breath and remember. I must remember that this "legacy" transmitted by my parents has to end with me, otherwise the dysfunctional cycle continues.

Yes...I Have Taken The First Tiny Step To World Domination...

I have joined the Romance Writers of America, which I am assured is a good first step in trying to become published. So yay! Now I just have to finish writing that darned novel...


Conversation I Wish I Didn't Have This Weekend...

I baked a pie tin of scones yesterday morning. My mom is staying with me this week and I joked with her multiple times about us both being snack-pigs because of the hot weather.

After a paticularly large dinner, I entered the kitchen to find the pie tin of scones completely empty, with only a few crumbs left. I was shocked and immediately headed to my mom's room.

"Mother! You ate all the scones!" I said in a horrified whisper. "I thought you were full from dinner! That was a whole tin..."

"I put them away in the fridge so they wouldn't spoil, " Mom said testily. She narrowed her gaze. "Are you calling me a fat ass?"

"Uh..." I sputtered for several seconds.

Then she started laughing because she psyched me out. I love my mom.
Work massively stressed me out today, so I ran out for a mini-facial during lunch. Masseuse worked my neck and shoulder muscles like it was Play-Doh. Then I took 1000 mg of whatever pain reliever my cube-mate had. I hope it kicks in soon...
Beyond reason with my old commenting system...now they apparently don't have a website anymore and its performance was always kind of spotty. So I switched to Haloscan. Hopefully it will work a lot better. So comment away!!!

Unfortunately it means that the brilliant and witty comments that the seven readers of The Dim Sum Diaries have posted in the past are all lost. :(
Recently an unnamed Aunt challenged her nieces and nephews to "get with the program and brush up on our Chinese language skills." Said Aunt then betrayed her old age by telling us to translate old school song lyrics. Below is her message of exhortation:

Translate the following song lyrics into Chinese, Cantonese first, then Toy San. Remember, it must be done with feeling. Please be prepared to recite (with feeling) your translations at the party for Baby E.

1. Love me tender, love me true.

2. I'm too sexy for my shirt.

3. Heavenly shades of night are falling, it's twilight time. Out of the mist your voice is calling, it's twilight time.

4. I want to hold your hand, and when I touch you I feel happy.

5. It's not unusual to want to be loved by anyone.

6. My my my my my my my baby, twist and shout.

7. Now the time has come to leave you. One more time let me kiss you, then close your eyes, and I'll be on my way. I'm leaving on a jet plane.

8. If I had a bell, I'd ring it in the morning; I'd ring it in the evening, all over this land.

9. Will the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by.

10. It's now or never; come hold me tight. Kiss me my darling. Be mine tonight. Tomorrow will be too late. It's now or never. My love won't wait.

I decided to pick #2, "I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt", which was no problem since my command of the Cantonese dialect is MUY EXCELLENTE. However, I didn't know to translate "sexy". So I approached my good buddy T (a Chinese co-worker).

"T!" I said, "How do you say 'sexy' in Chinese?" We spoke Cantonese to each other on a regular basis, usually to ask how the other was doing or to snarl insults at one another. He paused for a moment.

"I'm not sure, there really isn't an exact translation for 'sexy'. Maybe I'll ask around," he replied.

"No problem," I said. A few days passed and T still hadn't gotten back to me. I bugged him about it again and he assured me he would have an answer by the end of the day. About an hour before I was about to leave work, I spotted T with the four other Chinese guys in the company. They were talking quietly amongst themselves.

"So," I asked them as I joined their group. "What is 'sexy'? Y'all have to tell me about the sexy, aiiiiiight?" There was a moment of stunned silence. A few in the bunch shifted uncomfortably. However, when they realized that I wasn't going to leave, they started debating the various possibilities of "sexy" in Chinese. When they came up with what they thought was a decent translation, I thanked them and went on my way.

I called my mom later that evening to chat and I mentioned my translation experience.

"Geez Mom, they were giving me these weird looks. What is up with that?" I complained.

"How old were they?" she asked.

"Probably in their late '30's and early '40's," I told her.

"Well if they are the old-fashioned type they tend to be pretty conservative. The idea of a younger woman asking about THOSE matters is not really done. Its like asking your dad about sex," she said.

"Oh," was all I could say.
It hit me today. At approximately 10:45 am this morning, my stomach rose up and wailed like Chewbacca on a rampage. I am HUNGRY, my stomach cried. Get yo fat ass out the door to Carls Jr. and get me a big fat burger! So I hop in my car and get my ass down to the local Carls. I don't usually eat red meat, mind you. But approximately once a month I crave heavy, greasy, solid comfort food. I could already smell the scent of grilling meat when I stepped out of the car. You know it is a hundred times more delicious when you are uber-hungry.

When I walk in, the dizzying array of choices assaults my senses. Do I go for the more sensible Famous Star combo, which is probably all greased up but not as bad as the other ones? Or do I opt for the Western Bacon Cheeseburger combo with Onion Rings. Where the meat is tucked in with crisp, sizzling bacon, two delicious onion rings and that tangy bbq sauce. Mmmmm. So guess which one I picked. Yes, I got the Western Bacon Heart Attack special. I was so hungry I couldn't even wait to get back to the office to sink my teeth into my prize and yes, it was delicious. For a moment, food was love!

When I was a wee lass (teenager) I could pack 3 or 4 of these puppies away a week. Now that I am an older fart at age 31, I'm lucky to eat one once every six months.

Another drawback to getting older: you get hairier faster, so I'm off to get my upper lip and brows waxed.

For some reason I'm very grumpy today. So instead of having an entry that is a bitch session of everything that pisses me off, I'm presenting this website. Perhaps I could learn a lesson or two from the Italians...

*drum roll*

What do the Italians have that everyone wants??? Why its POWERGENITALIA!!!

(thanks to Ernie for the link)
Commenting system is down again!!!!!!!!!!!
I was driving home from ballet class on Wednesdy night, thinking about THE GREAT CHINESE-AMERICAN novel. The elusive elements of the novel that had been swirling around in my head suddenly clicked into place and I felt inspired to write. Now I have an idea of the setting and I've written what will probably be the first chapter. It is a very good feeling to feel like you've made some progress.

I've always admired people who could take something they enjoy doing and produce something that will not only generate income, but will be something that other people will enjoy as well. For example, Gurinder Chadha wrote and directed/produced "Bend It Like Beckham", which was pretty brilliant. Wil Wheaton (former Star Trek TNG star) just published his first book. He is a couple of years older then I am, and he wrote on his website what a great feeling it was to finally accomplish something that wasn't associated with Star Trek. I'd give you a direct quote but I'm too tired and lazy to put in the url.

Sometimes I feel like a totally ordinary person. I have an ordinary life, what could I possibly write that would be of interest to anyone...but then I get inspired and it spills from my brain to the keyboard. So writing has been something I've always enjoyed, but over the last year it has become a daily thing I have to do. A way to express myself, to put a piece of myself on paper. The power of words never fails to amaze me. It is able to conveys one's feelings, experiences and emotions. So can you tell its really late at night and I haven't even bothered to edit this entry at all? But tonight I'm happy. Very happy.
I sat my butt down last night and actually typed out a scene for THE GREAT CHINESE-AMERICAN NOVEL. Its not done and it is only a page long, but I feel like I've accomplished something.

Also, for the past few months I've been obsessed with reading war-related literature and blogs. Probably because of the situation in Iraq. It all started with Anthony Swofford's book "Jarhead" and I haven't looked back since. Its kind of like discovering a whole new culture, one previously unknown to me.

So I just found this war blog called Turning Tables that is pretty compelling reading. This guy Sean is in the Army and stationed in Iraq. He gives a day-to-day account of his life there, as well as his feelings and emotions. I'm hooked.

Some other war blogs that I read:

Lt. Smash

A Minute Longer

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I read at the moment.
Ever want to know what a certain evil webmaster from a certain website does in his spare time (besides wear a pink wig)? He posts awful, horrible pictures of me tipsy and hamming it up. If anyone wants to know what I actually look like, here you go...

Yeah, Steve, you are just jealous because I look better in pink then you do!

More on Anime Expo 2003 – Part 2

I thought I would relate some more observations from AX 2003 to prove once and for all that I am a geek of epic proportions.

After waiting forty minutes in the line to get in the registration line, we were allowed to sign in. I typed my information into a terminal and got in yet another line to pay. The cashier printed out my badge which was brightly colored and identified my persona and where I hailed from. I even got a free lanyard! I fingered my badge reverently. “Miriya Parino”, it said. This was my pass to all the exhibitions and inside info on upcoming anime. I felt as if I had been given the highest level of secret clearance to the White House…just like Monica Lewinsky had (though, obviously I would not be indulging in the same activities).

The cosplayers were a pretty interesting bunch. I guess the whole point of dressing up as an anime character was to have your picture taken by everyone. It seemed each had a preset pose they would strike when the flash went off. I wonder how much time they spent thinking about that pose. Some vendors also had their staff dress as characters and adopt the speech patterns of a particular anime character.

Female Character With Cat-Like Features: “Would you…myoo-myoo…like a sample…myoo myoo?”

However, the highlight of the Con for me was meeting everyone from the rt.com website. We all sat together during the panel and then went to dinner afterwards. It is amazing how quickly camaraderie can be established (with the aid of a few beers). Some of us decided to go karaoke afterwards. I may have lost my inhibitions and sang a few Britney Spears songs. Or maybe I didn’t. I haven’t seen any photographic evidence so I am deciding that it must never have happened. All in all, I had a lot of fun!
Apparently a long week of work and stress and family stuff has produced a brainless Mir this Friday. I absolutely cannot figure out what to write about today. But for the six readers that visit this blog daily (mostly random people who google the phrase “dim sum”…you know who you are!), I know you would be lost without another post from good ‘ole DSD.

So Plan B is BlogFodder! The subject of the day is to write about 11 objects in your immediate vicinity. Do you see the clever irony? 11 Objects on the 11th of July! So here it is (drumroll):

1. A bottle of Aquafina water. – Water good.

2. A little plastic reindeer that “poops” out brown jellybeans. - It was a white elephant gift from my cousin-in-law. Thanks a lot, Tod!

3. A stapler. – Stapling things and making loud stapling noises assures boss that I am diligently working on my projects.

4. A Mother’s Day Picture of Daughter – She made the frame at school by gluing macaroni and spraying it with gold spray paint. It has a picture of her in it. Very cute.

5. A Teapot Calender – From my mother-in-law who didn’t need it. It is feminine and adds a splash of color to my otherwise gray cell cubicle.

6. A plaque that reads “Happy Easter” sent to me by a grateful client because my mighty programming skills saved their company from ruin (okay that may be a slight overstatement).

7. A furry little koala plushie sent by my minion buddy Cyc from Aussie-land.

8. A hidden stash of cinnamon Altoids.

9. My Casio HS-8V Calculator – Handy for when I need to add 2+2.

10. Headphones For Listening to CDs with – For some reason I listen to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack over and over and over…

11. Headset for the Phone – It has a big black microphone, handy for pretending I am Britney Spears or Madonna, much to the chagrin of my co-workers.
Sometimes I wonder how successful I will be in transmitting elements of Chinese culture to my kids.

Here is a list of my efforts so far:

1) Chinese Food. Lots of It. I try to visit my parents as often as possible in order to let my children be exposed to various Chinese restaurants. So much so that my daughter told someone the other day, "I love chicken feet! Its so soft and squishy!" What a good girl she is.

2) Use of Chinese children's videos (actually DVDs) purchased by my parents during their last Hong Kong trip. Apparently there is this little pig called McDull, which is the Chinese version of Barney. Since my reading/writing skills in Chinese are probably kindergarten level, it is no surprise that I think that this video is the funniest shit I have seen in a long time. However, when I try to explain it to my daughter, it is a different story.

"Mommy, why are you laughing so hard? What is McDull saying?" my daughter inquires.

"Oh, its so funny! You see, McDull is ordering this chicken dish in the restaurant and the waiter says they don't have it, but he keeps ordering the same dish! And..." I stop when she stares at me like I'd grown a second head. "Never mind."

3) Teaching my kids all the vocabulary I know.

"Okay, let's go through all the colors now!" I declare.

"Mommy, what's purple in Chinese again?" my daughter asks.

"Oh crap, I forgot. I have to ask your grandma again."

On the plus side of being Americanized, I make an effort to give the kiddies lots of hugs and kisses and to praise them when they do well. Its the odd times that I find myself acting "more Chinese" and repeating the lectures and platitudes my parents raised me with. Ah, the joys of bi-racial parenting (made so much more joyful by an understanding and enlightened hubby :b).

(thanks to Ernie for the link)
What happens if Bush uses the Internet to find WMD?

Mir Goes To Anime Expo 2003 - Part 1

Well, I did it. I actually went to AX2003 and I survived. This is my first convention of any sort and the experience was…unique.

"Why are you going again?" my mother asked me. "Weren't you supposed to get over cartoons when you were a teenager?" She lowered her voice into a dramatic whisper. "Do you feel like you aren't being fulfilled in your marriage or something? Is that why you are going?"

"Mom!" I protest. "A lot of people much older then I attend. And they even cosplay!" (cosplay=dress up like a character). I wasn't going to bring up the fact that I dressed up like Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager for Halloween two years ago.

"Hmph," was all she said in return.

The day of infamy dawned. My ride (thanks ABA!) picked me up and we arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center in record time. At first we meandered around because we didn't know where to go, but ABA saw a line forming and we quickly headed to the end of that queue. I thought it quite strange that were no costumed people in this line. In fact, many people were dressed conservatively and carrying Bibles. The tip off that we were in the wrong line came when the people in line started to do "The Wave" (like at baseball games), shouting "Jesus Saves!" in unison.

Oh. My. God (literally). "What line is this?" I asked the woman next to me in a horrified whisper.

"This is the [Unnamed Televangelist] Ministries Bible Convention," she replied. Oh shit. Wrong line.

We finally got in the correct line, which turned out to be the line to get in line for the convention. After waiting another 1.5 hours for the convention to open, we entered the exhibit area to see the dealers hawk their wares. I'm not even going to get into the people there. Think of all the anime cartoons that are out there, and there was probably someone dressed up as a character from that series. People of all shapes and sizes were dressed up. It was a sight to behold. We attended a few anime showings and panels, all to kill time until the main reason we were there: the Robotech panel which was at 5 pm. This is when all of the members from the website got together and were able to meet.

"Hi, I'm Miriya Parino. From Robotech. You know, the gorgeously intelligent Quadrano Ace who almost defeats, falls in love and marries Max Sterling? That's me..." I tell everyone in my game show host voice.

I’ll post more on the Con later, as my brain has not recovered from the experience yet.

Make Sure You Think About It Before You Do It...

Anabelle was on the older side, no longer enjoying the fresh bloom of youth. Streaks of grey would have peppered her hair, had she not meticulously kept her monthly appointments with her colorist Henri. She didn't have that many regrets in her life, and the few that she did would only surface just before she fell asleep, when she had a few minutes for her mind to wander. Because she was driven and determined to succeed, she had a fabulous career, but she also lived alone in her house, with only her cat for company.

One evening when she got home from work, her cat didn't come to greet her as usual at the door.

"Fitz! Where are you, puss?" she called out. She searched through the house, but to no avail. She finally decided to try the attic, noting Fitz's penchant for sleeping there at times. As she climbed the rickety staircase, the movement of light and shadow from the room caught her attention. Cautious now, she peered into the attic when she reached the top of the stairs. Fitz was sprawled out on top of an old desk, next to a glowing lamp. A sliver of smoke emanated from the lamp as a magic genie suddenly appeared!

"My lady," the Genie intoned, bowing to Anabelle. "I am able to grant you three wishes, what is your command?"

Anabelle wasted no time in demanding her heart's desire. "I wish to be young and beautiful, to be rich, and that my cat Fitz here turns into my handsome, sexy Prince Charming."

Poof! Her wishes were granted. Anabelle looked at herself in the nearby mirror. She was indeed young and beautiful. Piles of jewels and money littered the floor. And a handsome, dark-haired young man with eyes like the sea after a storm and a hardened, muscular body stood at her side. Anabelle couldn't believe her cat had been transformed into this Adonis. The handsome young man took Anabelle into his arms, his darkly intense eyes staring into hers. Anabelle shivered in anticipation. He leaned his lips close to her ear and whispered, "Aren't you sorry you had me neutered now?"
Ballet class was pretty fun last night. Three new people showed up. One apparently had tried to take the Adult 2 class but was sneered out of class by the teacher. The teacher, of all people! So I made an extra effort to be friendly to everyone. It was nice not to be the newbie anymore.

This weekend I am heading to the Anime Expo in Anaheim. I really adore this anime series called Robotech and all my life my fam has sniggered over the fact that I obssess over this series.

Dad: Are you watching Robotech again???
Mom: Do you want these old Robotech toys from your misguided youth or do you want me to throw them out?
Sister: OMG, I can't believe you bought the whole RT series on DVD!
Hubby: What? Your chatting with those Robotech people again??? Why do you keep talking about a series that is over 20 years old???

Do you see what I have to put up with here? Well this weekend, no more! This weekend I stand shoulder to shoulder with the hordes of people who will show up to the Con and are proud to call themselves anime nerds! So like, if anyone is going, I'll see you at the Robotech panel on Saturday.
I've actually got a semi-rough draft of a prologue of THE GREAT CHINESE-AMERICAN NOVEL written out, and I think its somewhat decent. The trouble is that I want to re-edit it over and over. Then I drag Hubby over to take a look at it.

"What do you think?" I ask Hubby.

"I like the other version better," he replies.

"Which part?" I inquire.

"The whole thing, I don't know." He gestures vaguely to the top of the page. I sigh.

Then I have a 'panic/what the hell am I doing' attack. Oh my god. I have to produce 80,000 words for a viable manuscript. 80,000 words that must combine into a dramatic, thoughtful, poignant, "Wow, this is good, dammit!" story. Its not like in the fifth grade when my sado-masochistic teacher made the entire class write a 500 word essay on the benenfits of bathing daily. I totally made up some mumbo jumbo and she loved it ("Daily bathing is good because body odor is bad"). I can't shoot 80,000 words out of my ass and hope it passes muster.

So I take a deep, cleansing breath and try to relax. A wise woman (Nora Roberts) once said that you can fix a bad page, but not a blank one. So I reopen the file and start to type once again...