Could not get all of the photos of last six month in but did manage to put in most.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
On the way home tonight, I was just following the traffic, but all the sudden the car in front of me moved to the right, at that instant, I saw a wounded raccoon struggling on the road right in front of me. I tried to move the right but the next thing I hear was a bone crushing thump.
I am so sorry, I did not mean to do it. I pray you a safe journey crossing to the other side...
I think I am going to be sick....
When I was in high school, my best friend James had me over his house. He was telling me that his dad bought some new snack which is made out of liver. He went on to ask me if I like liver. I was fresh off the boat so I said YES.
James then brought me out a dish of some little chunks of liver....yes, you guess it.
I can tell you that it did not taste very good, nor like liver.
The next incident happened in college...
Steve, Chris and I were out on weekends at Safe House, one of our regular hangouts. As the night went along, I was exchanging looks with this gal at next table. Being " Rico Suave " that I was, I send some drinks over and a rose, and I sat back and lit a cigarette ( I don't really smoke but did had some at bars back then. ) try to look super kool.
Next thing I knew was a big explosion...
Well, so much for " Rico Suave " in a sea of laughter all around the bar..... :(
I know you are all very sad and angry for such injustice done to poor me, but I will survive....
P.S. For those who are too young to know who Rico Suave was...
On the way there, I saw the Edgewater Hotel, which Bill used to talk about it all the time. The Union is just down the road and here is the view.
I had some chili, which is a Bill's thing, but it does not taste as good as his chili. It is missing his secret ingredient which I do remember what it is.
P.S. Special thanks to Mary Lou and her little helper Sam.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Many of you know that Bill was a chef. I guess he tattooed in Texas and then he went up to Colorado to be a chef for years, then he came back to Wisconsin to tattoo again.
The part people did not know was that when Bill was in Colorado, I was also living in Colorado too. It is interesting how lives ran in parallel for a while and than cross path.
Bill and I talked about food often, we even had a plan to open a bar and grill after our tattooing career are done. I wish I take better notes because I do not remember most things he said to me about how to cook, that is one thing I truly regret.
One night Rachel and I went to Union house (www.the unionhouse.com ) for dinner, the meal was so great that I was bragging to Bill all day the next day. Bill always said Nancy won't go to Union House with him because she has nothing to wear. That day was a slow work day so we just got up and go.
I actually had the exact same meal two nights in a row. A salad with their famous vinaigrette, their wonderful bread, Pork Tenderloin with Pina Colada sauce and Couscous on the side. The dessert was a nice helping of Tiramisu. It was one of those chef's creation that I had not had since, nor they had on the menu.
Sometime that is all you can ask for: good food, good friends and good conversation.
A perfect meal, just another thing to remember Bill with.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Rachel and I met up at the Greyhound Gala today. I did briefly skip out of work for it. I saw some of my customers and fellow greyhound lovers, and I bought a few greyhound related items.
I did find out one of the two tattoo certificates go to support OSU's greyhound program. You know I am very happy about that. I am also very happy that Gale from Midwest Greyhound Rescue won my other certificate which I will put another portrait of her greys for her! You know how things just work out the way should be, this is it!
We also saw a female whippet which Georgie was very happy to see. She came right up to me and kiss me all over and climbed up on me the whole time. Her name was Diva but she was one of Sharon's whippet and Rachel could not remember her original name.
Tonight she finally figured out the whippet girl was Minnie! The above video is when her and her siblings were puppies. Minnie used to sit right next to me so nicely when we visited Sharon. She remembers me!!! :)
It does not take much to warm my heart and put a BIG smile on my face!
Christel from http://www.cottagehounsigns.com/ made this coat for Sadie early in 2004. It was a matching Chinese coat with a coat Rachel already had. They were suppose to wear them to the greyhound gala that year together.
Sadie crossed over on 8-20-2004 due to Osteosarcoma, and the coat never did make it to the gala...
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tomorrow is the big greyhound gala in Waukesha Expo. You will see a sea of greyhound and a few whippets there. The must see is the group roo in the beginning!
www.gpawisconsin.org is where you find more info. I hope to be there sometime during the day if work is slow. Shopping is good there, and really, just looking at all the greyhound smiles is worth the price of admission which is FREE!
This year there will be a couple of special auctions to benefit OSU's greyhound program, which I knew for quite a while through Circle Of Grey. Dr Couto is so great for the greyhound community and his research will also benefit children with bone cancers. Rachel and I actually went to Detroit to listen to his speech a few years ago.
Few of you know that Angel Sadie had bone cancer in 2004. This is a cause close to our heart.
I hope all of you can attend and maybe you can bid on a tattoo gift certificate or two? (hint...) Please...? :)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
We stayed in Comfort Inn, which is now Econo Lodge I believe. Right next to it was Bandito's Mexican fast food. Which is now an oil change place. Next to it was Country Kitchen, now is Ching Hwa. We needed a bank, and there was a bank right across street. My father did not like the bank across the street, he wanted Waukesha State Bank because IT IS A STATE BANK! I told that to Madge years later for a laugh but she was the first person to help us and she is still my banker today.
Downtown Waukesha then was very different than now. Pix theater was the struggling movie theater with great popcorn. Hotel Waukesha was quite scary but it housed China City. Ma Ma would stood there and watch you eat and tell you to eat more. There were an arcade also, it was on the right of the current tattoo shop.
There were also a pretty fancy restaurant at where Gen 5 is right now. I really can't tell you the name of it but I have to say their food was tasty. There were a lot of flower shop in Downtown Waukesha for some reason, but I counted at least three. There were some dive bars by where Walgreen is now and also a George Webb's.
There were a KFC at the current parking lot of Discount Liquor, and beyond that was Mainstream record, or Starship and a Subway.
At the Five Point was a hot dog/ice cream place. It was called Charlene Kay's for a while. It was named after the owner's baby daughter. Sad to say that I tattooed the real Charlene Kay last year.... boy, I am old.... :(
NO, NOT ANDRE THE GIANT, BUT IT MIGHT AS WELL BE HIM POUNDING MY HEAD...
It was this Andre...
Since we are talking about college, this is just about as memorable as the "Michael Jackson incident" (in previous blog) as Steve called it.
It was the last few days of our college years, and after the graduation rehearsal, Carroll College was kind enough to have champagne fountains out for everyone. Steve, Chris and I were just hanging out and had a few. The catch was that Carroll was pouring Andre, the cheapest champagne known to men at that time.
At certain point, Steve decided he want to go tanning because he bought a tanning package, so he left. Chris did not drink much so he drove us to the old Tokyo for some Japanese food. By this time I was fading in and out of consciousness, I think I ate, but surprisingly did not put my whole head in the Sukiyaki bowl.
After dinner, Chris dropped me off at Art Building and I found the couch and passed out. The problem was that I had Live Drawing class that night two rooms down. Brian the prof came out twice, asked if I was gone, and people gathered around and agreed with the assessment. I did get an A in that class BTW.
Much later in the night, I woke up and went back to my apartment, found the bed and passed out again. The next time I woke up, it was 3:30am. I suddenly remembered I had two take-home finals due that day. I was suppose to write two pages of essay each for Philosophy and Ethics classes. They ended up to be half page each, double spaced. I wrote that I AM A SENIOR, JUST PASS ME! Bless T. William the prof, he gave me C s for both classes, my only C s in college. The grades dropped me to Cum Laude instead of Magna Cum Laude, but I was already chosen as Delta Sigma Nu Honor Society for top 10% of the class. During graduation, when all the Delta Sigma Nu's stood up, everyone else was in the front and there was lonely me all the way in the back.
Another note to that was Steve and I skipped out of the religious ceremony the day before graduation, but we played tennis in our cap and gowns right next to the auditorium. Yes, when the rest of the graduating class filed into the place, they could see us down there. Perhaps Mr. Steve would have some photos archived somewhere to share in a later date.
Do you know what happened to Steve after the massive consumption of Andre? He passed out in the tanning bed. When he woke up he was freezing, and the tanning salon was closed. As he ran out of the booth, the owner was locking the door!
We all felt the effect of Andre for the rest of the week, some kind of alcohol poisoning we figured. Like I said, it might as well be Andre the Giant pounding us down.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
No, it is not bee sting this time. I actually did it to myself.
I jammed a very sharp flat spring into my left thumb just next to the fingernail, and since I have not gotten a tetanus shot since Junior year of college due to a hair burning experience, I took myself in and get poked. I HATE NEEDLES! (and can't stand the sight of blood!) Yes, it is true, I can't even watch medical drama on TV.
It takes me a little longer to set tattoo machines up, but I can stretch fine with the left hand. At least I did not hurt my right hand, that would suck.
By now you must wonder what happened in college. Long story short, Steve, Chris, and I were hanging out in the art building, a gal needed some help doing painting with lights photography, so we macho dudes decided to help. We had no flashlights so I took some road flares from my car. ( Use long exposure with moving light source and pitch black surrounding.)
All was well until Chris decided he want to hold the flare and use me as a model. What he did not tell me was that he wanted to give me a halo. Next thing I knew I smell sulfur burning and a sharp pain on my head. I reached up and I got a hand full of hair.
Let's just say that the ER nurses had a good laugh that night and I went out and bought a hat.
CNN had an interesting report about how to fix America, one thing said was to have more of a TEAM focus rather than me, me, me.
I remember reading something about the American spirit. It said the people who would leave their home to come to the new world, seem to be more adventurous and more independent. Perhaps that spirit was reinforced through education that people lose sight of the surrounding that one depends on.
There were a study on the education of the East and the West. In Asia, when one excels in a group, he or she would be held back until the rest of the group catch on and many activities would be designed for teamwork. In the West, when one excels, he/she will be singled out and shown to be the example and praised, while the ones not on the same speed seem as failing.
( Upon reading that, I think my upbringings was very individualistic for Asian because I was always singled out. I had a responsibility for the group but I was always in front of it. I guess it is not surprising I ended up in U.S. ;) )
However, I do think there are other culture in play here, it might be sub culture but I do think people are gaining some more awareness of the community, the Eco system, and how one fit into the giant puzzle of the world. The left and the right just need to stop arguing and waste money and energy, because no one really trust politicians anyway. Socialism or capitalism, like Deng said, as long as the cat catches mice, who cares it is black or white.
My American dream had gone though a few revisions but it is renewed after last eight dark years. From Skinner's theory, we just need to start positively reinforcing good stuff, and really make the world better by doing little positive things with each other; why? because the alternative is the dark downward spiral that is unacceptable. We are all in this together, stay away from the ME ME ME people and energy vampires, we can make the world better, YES WE CAN.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Update: The real mama doe was deeper in the woods. This young one got up and ate a bunch leaves than went for the mother lode. A true foodie after all.
When I was a kid, there are mainly four kinds of fireworks we play with: sparkler, bottle rocket that goes boom, bottle rockets that buzz, and "Water Loons". Of course there were others like the snake, the popper, and the big stuff, but we mainly play with the four.
My favorite was the Water Loons, they are just a little longer than a crayon, and you rub the end of it on the strip of a match box. When the white smoke turns yellow, that is when it will explode. It is called Water Loons because you can throw them in the sewers and it will not sink or go out.
I only had the Water Loons blew up in my hand once and I was lucky to only suffer a minor burn. There were stories of kids losing fingers and hands. My other accidents were all involved sparklers.
I must looked like some kid with connections, I was often pulled aside on the street to be told where to buy all the illegal fireworks. Of course you know I bought lots of them.
My sister and I once took two large bundles of bottle rockets of both kinds and shot them all off from the 10th floor apartment. We even had a platform made from the top of a ladder. However, the worst crime I did was to take a whole large box of Water Loons, and threw them at unsuspected pedestrians below from the second floor. I was such a mean kid that day. It got to a point a poor woman stopped and begged me to let her pass. You know I am still carrying that guilt!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
A year or two into the preschool, they decided to move the whole preschool to where the grade school was. I started to take the same school bus with my sister whom is OLDER.
I was the youngest kid on the bus and that was before I was a foodie. I was just a little sickly kid with glasses. There were this group of older kids led by this bully, they always were picking on me.
I am not too proud to say that one time they beat me up so bad that my sister had to come and fend off the bullies for me as I was there crying with my bleeding wound.
The last time I was bullied was when I fought back. I remember punching this kid back and block this other kid's punch. That was it, they will not mess with me again.
Years later my sister ran into the leader of the bullies and he introduced himself as the guy who beat me up. She said he was very nice.
She did not tore him a new one right there and then... WHAT A BETRAYAL! ha ha
My parents put my sister and I into a private school. They camp out all night when the school was accepting kids but with certain quota.
The school is still there, but originally, the preschool is separate from the regular grade school and the three year middle school.
We had to take these huge school bus to go to the school. The preschool was held in these semi circle steel barracks. I remember the little chair all around the edge of the barrack.
Often you get one kid that cry and scream to want to go home in front of everyone, I remember thinking how I do not want to be like that kid. I do think I was that kid only once.
The even more embarrassing thing was when you have an accident (wink), they gave you these really colorful pants with busy patterns. The act was not bad enough but now everyone in the whole preschool know you peed your pants.
I wish I can say I never wore those pants but I would be lying.... :(
Angel Sadie: GRACE
Angel Aussie: FORGIVENESS
Angel Whitie: LEADERSHIP
Angel Molly: BRAVERY
For Human angels:
Friday, September 18, 2009
A year ago today, Bill left his broken body behind. I had the honor to say a few words at his memorial, here is my notes:
Hi, everyone, thank you for being here to remember Bill. I was asked to say something but I have the habit of turning a toast into a roast. You know just about now Bill would turn and look at me with his side way look and say “ my buddy George!”
I met Bill in the early month of 1990, it was a snowy afternoon and Bill was the only person in the shop. He did the barbed wire, or BOB WIRE as we call it, around my first tattoo, and it did not hurt as bad as the first one I got in Colorado. That was the beginning of our friendship. He bought the shop from Steve and began the era of Black Dragon Tattoo.
I was being trained along with Nancy at the time, and times were tough for him at times to make things work. I am forever thankful that he trained me the old fashion way because it is important to be HUNGRY ENOUGH and I was lucky to hear that ARE YOU HUNGRY ENOUGH speech many many times.
Bill also taught me how to golf, and we had some interesting stories regarding GOLF THE RIDE as we slip and slide the golf cart on wet grass. AVON LADY HOLES while we slice balls to people's front yard. We golf in pouring rain, putting with an inch of water on the green, and laugh about it in the clubhouse after the 18 hole of aerobic work out. Thanks to me, he was also able to total one golf cart and took an unexpected swim in the muddy swamp. After all, I am his buddy George.
Even though the legend is true that people see my bike as often as BIG FOOT sighting, we had some fun rides and I will forever looking for him in front of me as the lead. You know he can ride his bike and hold on to a sleeping Nancy on his back in the same time. That was the night Nancy decided she is going to have 5 drinks, all because she wondered how can anyone drink that much; she did not get that far.
Bill was in Viet Nam and he is a true patriot. He is proud of his service and he made his journey to see the WALL in D.C. as one of his many things to do. I will never forget how he advice people on how a war can scar a young mind and one shall never trade certain part of humanity for anything. I know where his passion lies and I do share his philosophy.
Bill was a chef in Colorado. If you are lucky enough to be around him, you will have tails of his many gourmet meals he prepared. He loved life and the finer things in life. Except his wife does not have anything to wear nor any shoes so he was not able to go to one of his favorite restaurants all the time.
Bill was a hunter, but he never did have the heart to shoot that buck; we often give him grief that he went on many hunting trips but never a deer. He just enjoy being outdoor, and the friendship. It is the journey that counts, not the result.
Bill was also a big sports fan, but we, when I say we I mean I, gave him the rap of being a jinx. He has the power to turn on the radio and bad things will happen. I am happy to report that Rachel, my wife, asked him few nights ago for a BIG HIT at the bottom of the tenth, and Ryan Braun hit a walk off grand slam.
Bill touched a lot of people, no pun intended. Some of us have wonderful art works he left on us for years to come. I think that is the mark he left for this world, not on a big scale but to many many people individually. I remember one morning that he was really touched by a customer's story for a memorial tattoo, and his eyes were actually red and his feeling was genuine. That is our Bill.
Bill loves his girl Zena and many present and past members of the animal pack. I am sure he is reunited with them right now and hugging big boy Thor, Zoey, and Reggie and Guido is humping his leg.
Bill loved his family, he'd always told Nancy how much he love her and gave her kisses, and everything surround the shop was his extended family. He loved to talk to people, and he cared about people. I think it is evident that all of you are here today. Because of Bill, we have a chance to share this moment in time. I can think of the time we walk down the fairway early in the morning and the cranes flying by, or when after a long day of work, he would actually thank me, but those are the memories for me. You all do have some of those memories too and that is the part of Bill that you will all have for the rest of your lives to treasure.
Bill was a Taoist, so am I. For a Taoist the life and death is like the changing of the season and it is just the way it is. When we are sad, we cry, but when we are happy, we sing and rejoice. It does not mean we do not mourn him, we are just celebrating his life. He lived life his way, and he accomplished much and experienced much, that is all we can ask for sometime.
Here is to my mentor, my friend, my buddy Bill.
I just realize the last few blogs were all about food, so why make this one the exception?
To honor my mother, I had been observing the Buddhist vegetarian diet for the first and 15th of every month in moon calender (full moon, new moon). She had been know to observe the diet whole month at a time. The real difference than regular vegetarian diet is no onion and no garlic due to the "foul" smell ( but I LOVE THEM). You will be surprised how tough it is to find food without these two ingredients.
Of course being a foodie, these two days out of the month are pretty hard. All day I will be thinking about meat. It is really an intellectual exercise about how attached you are to certain things...
Wow, a burger sounds great right now.... Oh, today is the day.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It was mentioned in the news that there is consideration for sugar tax as how tobacco is taxed. I think Shugar from work is in trouble. She had been trying to quit sugar with no result for a long time.
After her burrito lunch, she went and get horchata for everyone plus some kind of dessert which she was going to town with it.
The last thing I saw was her and a waffle cone with nuts and two giant scoop of ice cream....
So much for will power.... ;) I guess she is young enough to get away with it... for now. :) (YOU ARE JUST JEALOUS!)
On a side note, GOOD FOR SKULLY FOR QUITTING SMOKING (& HOLDING STRONG!)
(Maybe this public shaming will help.... NOT!) ha ha
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
When I was living in Colorado with my uncle and aunt during high school, I had a fondness for McDonald's. One day they were going out but told me they would bring me dinner, I waited but was getting hungry, so I sneaked out the house, bought 3 Big Mac (when it was still BIG) and a 2 liter coke and a large fries, and finished all of them.
An hour later, my uncle and aunt returned with dinner... you guess it... THREE MORE BIG MAC! I could not explain how I sneaked out the house and I had to sit there and really ENJOY the three Big Mac in front of them.
I think I might have 1-3 Big Mac since then, and that was 1987.
I was send out for a lot of competitions. Usually you go through an in-school contest and then win the right to go compete with other schools. I came in second in speech once which I thought I did well but not good enough. I won the Chinese brush painting contest by drawing a military parade with tanks and that earned me the right to compete with rest of the kids in Taiwan. I did that twice, I think I came in second once and first once.
The biggest writing award was for some really boring article but I wrote it in a very structured way. It was totally written for the award and I won the all-city award. I went to the award by myself but it was shown on TV that night. It came with some cash award and I took the money and went to a new place to try a dish called "PIZZA". I sat there and wonder why it took so long and when this big round thing came out (It was a large pizza), I had no choice but ate the whole thing... it was cold. It was the first time pizza was introduced to Taiwan by the way. It is surprising I would have any more pizza after that experience.
I really wanted to be a poet, and when I was in junior high, I was regularly published in high school level magazines. The true prize was to be published in newspapers but I only have tons of rejection letters to show for. It is funny how my sister is the one who did what I could not achieve. She is regularly published as an art critic for years.
I must say I take tests better than my sister. I can memorize things and forget it as soon as the test is over. However, the lesson is that street smart can only get you so far, there is no substitution for step by step of solid work. Perhaps I peaked way too soon in life, and now it had been all downhill from there...:(
Just the other day, Nancy was complaining of back pain in the shop, I ended up showing Shugar the special massaging hand grip I learned from a girl in first grade, and I remember it well (other than her name).
In Taiwan the class size is about 60 people, half boys half girls. For the first few weeks, I was just one of the kids, and this girl sitting next to me was very nice to me. You can say it is a case of puppy love but something soon to change that.
When the first report card was handed out, all the kids around me were comparing the rank. In Taiwan you were given a rank within your class. The girl I think was 30 something, and I opened my report card and it said 1. I could not believe it but that was the beginning of the end. From that moment on, I was given the job of class leader, and I was expected to maintain the Number One ranking. I was an authority to other kids at that point and so much for being one of the kids.
I remember when I "slip up" to Number 2 a few times, I was told it was okay I "failed" that I will get back to Number 1 the next time. I think the expectation was such a crushing pressure on me as a child. I remember the disappointment in my father's face when I fell into the teens in ranking by sixth grade. I guess I have not regained his approval since, but I do know I am making my own choices now.
As to the puppy love, I tried my best to regain the friendship but the division was so wide by that time. When she was assigned to a different group few years later, she was a very different kid than the straight arrow path I was on. I had responsibilities and reputation.... such as a love unfulfilled. :)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
When I was in last year of preschool, my father pulled a lot of strings to get my sister and I into this art class. The teacher was some well know artist and we were really too young for this advanced class.
The teacher was going on and on about his experience with some islanders in southern Taiwan. He wanted everyone to draw the detailed boats. I quickly drew a very happy picture of me fishing on a boat, all I remember was that the figures had really big heads. When the teacher saw my drawing, he was not pleased, he brought me another piece of paper with detail pencil drawing of boats on it. I thought he brought me another piece of paper so I erased the drawing and drew another happy, colorful drawing of me fishing. I guess the teacher brought me the drawing of his best student for me to copy.... poor kid, worked so hard on the drawing and I erased it!
My sister was kicked out of the class also as I was, not sure if she did anything wrong but I think I irked the teacher too much.
I guess I was doing away with the academia, making a break from the conventional even back then, I am just a little ahead of my time.
Becky had a connection with birds and we received many signs with birds. We just feel our angels are near. This is just another tribute we have in the memorial garden.
Here is an update of the landscape minus the driveway.
(update) Here it is!
What do we pay here? $2.57? It is the same reformulated gas, except they offer you regular gas also.
Not sure why Iowa has cheaper gas but I am guessing the tax is much much higher here.
This chain is all over Iowa and some in Nebraska. Decent coffee and very very good double thick paper cups for coffee as well.
However, no cream in my coffee please.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I can tell you that the new car smell is gone. Bits was equalizing the tummy pressure all the way home during the road trip and that inner aroma over powered two car fresheners. Talk about silent but deadly! The size of the small car did not help.
When we arrived at home, we knew Sammie the black cat will have some surprise for us as each of the last few trips. It was not coffee beans this time but two bags of chips from the cabinet he opened and some chocolate kisses which he did not finish. Tonie was just fine and no purging to be found anywhere.
All relief turned to frown when I went down to clean their boxes, someone which likely be Sammie had everything went through his system in a jiffy and the rate of exit was too fast for him to control. It was like taking several bowls of oatmeal and splatter all over everything...
This is too graphic for photo.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
We look forward to walk with Uncle John and Kuma in the morning. The Colorado dry air and beautiful sunrise were the perfect backdrop. Kuma was showing off a little when Bits and Georgie are around, he wanted to chase down school bus and trucks. Uncle John knew what he is doing, always apply his engineering experience to maintain proper leverage.
When he was closing the gate, I took the leash for a minute but Kuma decided to dash for his favorite tree. All 2xx+ pound of me flew throughh the air like a lone ballon with a string in the air. My kung fu is not strong, must plant the root to the ground....
Every morning is a blessing and an experience.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Why I did not take a video, I do not know. the camera was right in front of me...