Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One Year Anniversary

This past weekend was the one year anniversary for the SO and me. Pretty fast, if you ask me. The last week had been quite busy, what with the citizenship and some chit-chat with a new possibility.

Friday evening, I picked up the SO and went home because of a problem with some food. The SO ended up going to Ikea alone and her parent's home. I stayed at home and tried to cure my stomach and my left ear which has been clogged for about two weeks now. The Murine ear drops did not work. But, I have been flushing it in the shower. And that has helped a little bit.

On Saturday October 7, we began the day in the morning watching some cartoons. Then off to the Fallfest 2006 in San Francisco. We ended up taking BART since we figured that we might get too tired.

Some of the highlights:

Definitely the Gold Wineglass Award goes to Cosmic Chocolate (925) 260-1700. Delicious as well as visually pleasing chocolates.

The Silve Wineglass Award goes to Marshall's Farm Honey. Get some blue chesse and add some honey to it. YUMMY! For the diabetics out there, forget about this recipe!

Bronze Wineglass Award goes to Specialty Wine Cakes which served alcohol-infused cakes – sherry, brandy, amaretto, and rum.

Some honorable mentions:

Sciabica & Sons produces olive oil. The wife tasted their jalapeno and said "The Way Spicy Should Taste." The guy manning the booth said that he was looking for a slogan to put on the jalapeno bottle. The wife smoothly suggested that she could take a bottle of olive oil. No response. But, the olive oil was outstanding.

Iluna Basque was at the front section of the set-up. They had a person carving a whole ham. Pretty impressive in the way that the dried ham was being carved. Quite tasty too.

After the ride back from BART, we collapsed at home and slept for a few hours. We were not able to go to her cousin's show at Bindlestiff in SF, but I am certain that it was a good show.

Sunday morning, we went for breakfast at Lois the Pie Queen's Restaurant in Oakland. The SO liked the place. I was not too into it because of the crowd. I thought that the batter was a little bland. And unfortunately, we got stuck in a middle table where no one really served us.

After brunch, off to see the Terracotta Warriors, a martial-musical at the Paramount Theatre. Check out the Chinese Performing Arts Festival site. I liked the show's mixing of western and Chinese elements. It's a different way of storytelling and certainly very visually stimulating. The company of dancers were phenomenal. Specially like the openness of the sex scenes as interpreted by the dancers. I thought it was truthful to human nature and not objectionable. Certainly, the choreography for it was creative.

I could not help but think that America with its puritanical sidestreak would have a problem with the scene.

After the show, we went to the Marriott Courtyard in Emeryville where we stayed for the evening. Dinner was at Spenger's in Berkeley. We must have been very hungry. A small sampler of oysters, a plate of fried calamari, steak for me and salmon for her. Key lime pie for me and vanilla ice cream with fruit for her. After dinner, I got her some flowers: dahlia's and a blushing bride. She liked them!!!

The next day Monday, we took the day off so we could relax and recover. Breakfast was bread, cheese and olives. Then off we went to Fry's and bowling at Clayton Valley Bowl in Concord. Ended up buying some LED bulbs for the flashlights and some DVDs of Toshiro Mifune. Bowling got me a score of 150, 109 and 148. Woohoo! I liked the sound of the bowling ball as it rumbled down the lane. It's just like rip Van Wrinkle time.

Then, back to home we went.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How Seconds Turn Into an Eternity

I have only recently recovered from the fright I obtained from Veronica's friendly greeting outside of Zellerbach Hall right before the Bayanihan Dance Company's performance. Go read her account and then come back to my account.

So there I was chatting it up with friends right outside of the hall, when I hear children call out,

"Hi Rhett." The greeting was followed by giggling.

[Brain: Hmm, someone called out my name. But besides D and E, I should know no one here. Well, even if I know them, their voices should register as adult voices. Not children's.

Ahh, it's probably a kid whose name is Brett, or Jet, or Brad. That's it. Just some kids running around playing tag.]

"Hi Rhett." Another giggling sound.
[Brain: Err, nope, this time, that was definitely closer. More to my back.

Well, I did not feel any knives or sharp pointy objects entering my back. That's always a good sign that this was a friendly greeting. Usually former undergraduate students are screaming and shouting at me for their "C" or "B".

It doesn't help that I told them that their answers during the midterms were not really correct. How the heck do I help that? I just can't give credit when they don't write the right answer to a question.

Oh-oh. D is pointing to my back. Hmm, she looks like she's in shock. I better turn around.]

As my eyes focus on three youngsters aged five to nine, my brain processes the information.

[Brain: Well, they are calling me. They seem to know me. But I sure as h*ll don't know them. Who are they? Where did they come from? Ahh, so this is that feeling of dislocation due to entering the twilight zone.

Hmm, they are cute kids. They could be my kids, I suppose. But I swear, I would have remembered fathering three children. Hell, I don't know anyone who would not have contacted me with "Hey, guess what, you're a father now."

Analyze… Analyze… What was I doing five to ten years ago. ANALYZE!!!! You're a scientist. Go back to the time machine. Ten years ago was one year before graduation from grad school.

Who were you pining for in that time period? Well there was N. But as I remember, she was Asian. These children definitely look mestizas. Asian plus Filipino would make Asian looking children. It can't be from N.

Okay, did we go anywhere in 1996? Well, I did go to Maryland. But I swear, that was for a fellowship with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our idea of partying was staying up late and talking about the gossips in the laboratory in the east coast. Heck, I can' even remember a blonde from that party.

How about graduate school? Well, there was A, C and K. They were all white. But I don't even remember getting to second base with any of them. Hell, I didn't even date any of them. They all got their PhD and I know they would have at least given me the courtesy call that I was a father of a set of twins and one single.

Okay, anyone else? Well, there was A. But she's a psychiatrist in SF now. I had to leave her because she was disrupting my existence to such an extent that I could not function. And, she was Chinese. These kids are mestizas.

FOCUS! Analyze all the Caucasian women you liked. Could you have fathered these kids with any of them? Well, there weren't that many Caucasian women I liked. By the time I was a junior in college, I only liked Filipinas. Okay, there was this really tall blonde in Chemistry 1A, but I didn't even get her name.

Wait, I did go to a fraternity bash. Oh, that was an Asian fraternity though. All the women there were in my Biochemistry class and I couldn't date them because I was their teaching assistant. Scratch that one.

Tutoring! Maybe you met a Caucasian while tutoring. The only person I liked when I was tutoring was B and she was Japanese. I don't think that a Filipino + Japanese would give you mestizas.

Well, let's confirm that these kids are mestizas. Light brown hair… Good tan… A resemblance to pango noses…. wait they have that mischievous smile. That could have definitely come from you!

What mischievous smile?

Oh…[looking at the children smiling] that MISCHIEVOUS SMILE! Shit, they look like me when I was a kid smiling after I had peed on the cactus.

I give up. I hope these are not my children and that I'm not about to be featured in the Jerry Springer show. I have my alibi!!!!]

As I say hello, the children say "Our mommy Veronica says 'Hi'".

[Brain: Oh, ayan. Veronica daw. Sino yung Veronica? Sigura kaklase mo.

(Brain has shifted to the most basic language Tagalog in an effort to process faster.)

I have never dated anyone with that name. I have a niece Veronica, but she's only 1 years old.

Of course, these could be my grand-nieces. They could have traveled back in time. I guess in the future, they can come back to the past and be like tourists. I should ask these girls whether I'm still skinny in the future or not.]

As I say "Veronica who?" they point to the right.

[Oh, thank God!!!! It's Ver!!!!]

You scared me, children!!! Don't do that again!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I am American

I woke up all giddy and excited at six o'clock on the morning of October 3. American citizenship day had come at last. After 24 years, seven months and eleven days being an American, I can finally say that I am an American with the papers! Woohoo!

My mother had applied for my citizenship when I was in college. I believe the fee then was about $100. But when she got the notice for the interview, it turned out that I was going to be in Indiana for an internship. I tried to become a citizen during graduate school, but graduate school and dealing with the inanities in graduate school took precedence.

I thought about becoming a citizen under President Gore, but that did not work out. I should have just become one during President Clinton. At any rate, under Bush II, I have become one.

Before going to the Nob Hill Masonic Center, I had to prepare. First off, what kind of clothes? The old me would be going there with jeans and a t-shirt. But since I was the new me, I decided on a suit and a tie. The tie had the golden bears of Berkeley on it. Bought it on a store that catered to Cal alumni. But that store J. Good is now gone. A victim of lowered tastes and greater competition. The suit itself was bought in 2003 in anticipation of interviews. At the time, I bought the size 38 pants. It's a little loose now. Time to go to the store and have it shortened and tightened around the hips.

I placed the flag in the bag. Placed the documents in the plastic bag. Placed my resident visa card in my wallet for the last time. I had to give up the card that showed my youth, my promise and my naivete.

We took Bart and the cable car to the Masonic Center. Masonic Center is the place where I have watched two of my friend graduate from UCSF medical school. I never thought that I would enter it with a ceremony of my own. A small part of me still wonders why I couldn’t be a medical doctor. A larger part of me, the logical part, says if I had done that, I would be thrice divorced, working hard, unhappy, not very close to my family, an arrogant ass and an idiot. And, the SO probably would not be married to me.

There were a lot of people present at 0830 hours. The SO said I should go in so she could sit down. Apparently, she did not have a lot of sleep time. By the time I sat down, I was the seventh person in the section. Woohoo!!! Up close and personal!

It was an hour of explanations from the officer of the USIS. A lot of don't do this with your certificate. A lot of explanations on what you need to do as a citizen. VOTE!!! A lot of appreciation for what the people there are giving up.

Some of them give up their identity wholly. Some give up their culture. They believe that as Americans, they don't have to teach their children what it means to be the non-American. My skin is too brown to give up anything like that. American citizen born in the heat and humidity of the Philippines. Where sweat makes you thin.

There was a photographer from the Chronicle. She kept taking photos of the people. The Filipina woman in front of me kept fixing her hair. The photographer would not take our pictures. I wanted to tell her to stop preening and let the photographer take photos. I imagined myself as being noble. Like a king, which you are in America.

They asked for someone to read the pledge of allegiance. Apparently, I still had some "hiya" or Filipinoness in me. I did not fast enough. I should have. Next time. Hell, I am a Toastmaster after all. I can sell real estate if I have to!

At the end, I brought out the American flag. I waved it to the wife!!! And of course, we took photos outside of the Masonic place.