A while ago my sister and I decided to start taking #AsianSquatBombs because it cracks us up. Here are 24 photos, mostly of me. Some are of my sister and parents, and two are with my coworker MY.
It’s Thursday, June 8th, 2017, a little before 9am. I’m sitting in my mama’s freshly-watered backyard garden. There is a pair of small birds flirting with each other, carving the desert air as they dash from plant to plant, winding through the tree blossoms; white, pink, and red.
It’s my first Wednesday of summer break. As soon as I put my grade book to bed the other day I packed up my suitcases and drove across the desert to my folk’s place in the north of Las Vegas. So far, for the last few days, it’s been an alarming routine of eating, napping, and checking my phone. Occasionally I drive my mama to the grocery store or to the veterinarian; practice my asian squat and my standing forward fold. At one point I created a quest to buy a new aloha shirt.
Former FBI director James Comey is currently testifying before a Senate committee; I watched a little of it until I got bored. I hope it leads to the early demise of the DJT presidency, and the oligarchy that has taken over the Republic. People have taken off work to watch this testimony, eagerly gotten up early on the West Coast, and made this an event, complete with the hashtag #ComeyDay, like it’s a holiday. If Comey’s testimony does bring down the president, today will be a day to remember in American history.
This summer break, besides Las Vegas, I’ll spend time in Seattle and Kauai, and probably LA. I hope I start blogging more. I’ve been thinking about blogging about Racial Imposter Syndrome, Gringo Pronunciation Enforcement, and weapons-grade ratatouille. My hope is that this summer I’ll blog, stick to my nutrition program, write my book “Memoirs of Becoming Multilingual,” get a book deal, and become the wealthy and culturally influential language teacher I aspire to be.
Or or or, alternatively I could win the Powerball; that would be awesome too. It would certainly make today a day to remember.
Happy Mothers’ Day from Las Vegas. I used a personal day so I can be with my mama today. I popped popcorn last night and my parents and I watched SNL together. This morning I made strawberry/blueberry buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Mama used to tell stories of her father Tatang Maël making popcorn, making pancakes in the afternoon for snack, picking pineapple out of the yard for breakfast, and stealing chunks of Cougar Gold cheese that Tatang bought at the Commissary.
I’m grading papers and planning classes all this weekend, but I’m taking a little break to blog. My boy BM texted me this morning for dim sum recommendations in Seattle, which… I haven’t lived in Seattle for two years! But of course I have a list. I don’t know if these places are still there, but they are still fresh in my mind.
If I wanted to impress my Chinese friends, I’d go to Harbor City. Left to my own devices, I’d be at Ocean Star. My sister and I often end up at Joyale because of parking. 慢吃吧。
Here are some posts I haven’t written yet.
I’ve gotten out of the habit of regular posting, which is tough, but I’m working on it.
Right now I’m in Vegas with the family. Last week was finals week at work; we had our faculty Christmas dinner on a Thursday night and I was on the road to Vegas on Friday morning. I took my parents to Rogue One, swanky bingo, and lunch at KJ Kitchen (a pretty good Cantonese seafood place).
This is an addendum to the Crossfit post I wrote over here, since apparently there were a few people who thought I talked too little about Crossfit. I’ll do it in FAQ format in an effort to keep my answers focused.
How is Crossfit different than a traditional gym? I’ve said that Crossfit feels like the opposite of going to a gym to me, and I think they key word is “isolation.”
First of all “isolation” in the sense that at the traditional gym the exercises are meant to separate cardio from strength, biceps from quadriceps; there’s a machine that’s just for pecs. In language learning terms, it’s like flash cards: one skill, again and again.
Second, there’s “isolation” in the sense that in a traditional gym, I feel alone. That’s awesome when I want to hide my fat rolls and lack of strength, but less awesome when I’m bored and I don’t know what to do, so I quit and go home. It’s not just doing flash cards, it’s doing flash cards at the library.
To me, isolation is boring, unrealistic, and unsustainable.
Why does Crossfit feel like “the opposite of a traditional gym” to me? The key word is “integration.” I’m doing very few moves that isolate muscles and more moves that try to integrate everything; upper and lower, strength and heart rate. Burpees, thrusters, farmers carries, muscle ups; things that feel accomplishy. You know, accomplishy, rather than endless and monotonous.
Another sense of “integration” is that I’m there with people. I’m there with coaches, coaches who I’m comfortable working with, who know me personally, and who can offer me a huge variety of exercises at different strength levels so that I don’t have to keep that information in my head, I can just do it. I’m there with classmates who encourage me and who don’t seem to give a single crap about my fat rolls or my lack of strength; people with weight, strength, health, and injury histories of their own. It feels, frankly, they way I want my Spanish classes to feel, where community and cooperation are much more important that individual achievement and competition.
What was wrong with my traditional gym experience? For years I thought I wanted free access to a traditional gym where I could go any time I wanted, so I could go when it was empty, and no one would have to witness my fat rolls and lack of strength. I would go and do the eliptical trainer for a few minutes, watching a rerun of the Golden Girls on TV, and then do the freeweights or circuit machines that I remembered from 8th grade PE. I had this kind of access in New York because there was a gym in my building. When I moved back to Seattle, I joined a gym and paid $40 per month. When I moved to LA, I picked an another apartment building with a gym.
The problem with this traditional gym plan is that I never talked to anyone, always did the same workout, never learned anything new, got bored with what I was doing, and didn’t want to go; it was a horrible chore to make a habit of going.
For crossfit, it’s different: it’s a different workout every day, I’m learning new moves and new skills, and I don’t mind going. I have a habit of going. I sass the coaches and sometimes cuss them out, and they keep teaching me new things and being encouraging. I haven’t done a handstand pushup yet, or toes-to-bar, or climbed the rope, but nobody’s yelling at me or making me feel bad about it; I’ll just start at Level 1 and stay there until I’m strong enough for Level 2… Maybe it will take years to reach Level 3 or Rx, but who cares? That’s the attitude my crossfit coaches have; I keep improving over time and they keep getting paid. Everybody’s happy.
There are a couple of more selfies to share from my time in Vegas. Mama and I went to Downtown Vegas on my last night there; played some video poker at a bar, and then walked along Fremont Street. Then we drove down Fremont street, which used to be dangerous, but it was several blocks before we saw any police activity!
The next morning I started my drive back to LA. I stopped in Baker to clean my windshield, and in Barstow for a double-double animal style.
Driving in the Mojave desert is a trip. There are parts of the drive where your windshield is a huge view of a desert planet, and you’re just skimming across a narrow ribbon of engineering. Sometimes your on a flat, and the mountians ring the horizon, and the road looks like it goes to the edge of the earth. Other times you’re in the mountain passes and you can see for sixty miles; so far that the distance starts to fade into the vapor mirage.
The high desert ends with Victorville, and then it’s the San Bernadino Forest. After that it’s Planet Freeway.
I have to end this blog post because the picture above is making me hungry.