a website by a Leong

Browsing Posts published in August, 2006

Earlier this afternoon I went with my Dad to my Grandma’s place to clean some old junk out of the basement. Most of it was just old boxes and cleaning supplies from the 1970’s; one of which, a bottle of ammonia-based dishwashing liquid, had an old Walgreens pricetag on it that said it was 39 cents, showing how old this stuff was. Among the rubble, however, was a box of old booze. Inside was two bottles of gross and likely rotten champagne from 1973 and 1974, which I first thought about trying to sell on eBay or Craigslist but decided it would be more fun to shoot at with a pellet gun in the backyard. They hadn’t been properly taken care of, and I think the box of booze was sitting next to the laundry machine and dryer or something. That was the boring half of the box’s contents. The other half at first looked like 2 different bottles of whiskey. Then I noticed that they were partially gone, and had grains and weird particles inside. Then there were the Chinese characters ?酒 written on it, which means like wine or medicinal booze/wine. But of course the most odd things about the bottles were the masking tape-made labels marking the two bottles as “Coon + Herb Wine.” What in the world?

Ancient Chinese secret of food poisoningI assumed that they were both whiskey, but upon closer inspection one is a bourbon bottle and the other is gin. I assumed the same liquid was in both, which may be true; who knows. Brown gin with particles in it is even scarier than old bourbon with particles in it. That doesn’t matter. I asked my Dad what in the world was up with these bottles and I got the full story. My Grandpa’s uncle, we call him Yi Gung (Great Uncle), is the one who made this stuff. Quick historical lesson: Yi Gung is the one who raised my then-8-year-old Grandpa when he came from China over to the States way back when. He apparently used to make his own medicinal booze, because according to Chinese culture (meaning, really old people), certain parts of animals have health benefits, and apparently one way to harness these mystical effects is to infuse it in alcohol. Oh, and don’t think Yi Gung brewed his own whiskey down in a lab or basement or brewery or something fancy like that. No, no. Apparently, his method was to just buy a bottle of whiskey and then throw some mystical ingredient into it. There was probably some kind of stirring or shaking involved as well, maybe a lemon wedge. Since these two bottles were labeled “Coon + Herb Wine,” my Dad says the special ingredient in these is probably raccoon gall bladder. This probably dissolved and is responsible for the grainy particles I see in the bottle now. Let’s hope it’s just that. Other ingredients Yi Gung had apparently used were snakes (habushu?), tiger parts, and bear gall bladder, which my Dad saw in person as a kid, and said it was just like a hunk of meat in a bottle.

Judging by the fact that both bottles were almost all the way full, and since my dad says that my Grandpa had them around when Dad was a kid, these bottles are likely at least 30 or 40 years old. I don’t know if they were ever really used much, or if the medicine inside ever did anything beneficial. When I was talking to my Dad about whether or not weird animal parts in booze actually helped, he said “well, Yi Gung died.” Uh…. I guess that’s a no. I don’t think he meant that he died from drinking this stuff, just that it didn’t have superhuman regeneration abilities.

This stuff just looks absolutely disgusting, especially with all the parts and stuff floating around in it. I can understand tequila worms and habushu snakes I suppose, but just making your own doesn’t seem to make sense to me. This stuff almost surely tastes like death, and NO I will not be trying it. If any of you would like to come over and give it a shot, please be my guest. They’re in the blue trashcan in front of my house. Don’t blame me if you drink it and go into a coma. In the words of my Dad,

“Drink it, if you’ve got balls.”

I now know why my Grandma was so adamant about telling us to throw it away, and telling me over and over again not to drink it. I thought it was just an anti-alcohol rant. Likely, it was an anti-death water rant. Thank goodness for grandparents.

Click on the image up and to the right to see a larger pic of both bottles.

Primetime in the Daytime


It’s interesting for me to look through my counter statistics for this webpage. I can see from where and when people are visiting, and other random details like that. Aside from the random visits I get from places like Malaysia and Indonesia, a lot of friends and I think people I know but haven’t talked to in a while, years even, are visiting my site. Did you know that if someone finds my site through a Google or other search engine query, I can see exactly what they were searching for? Very interesting indeed. With that, and the location/city the visitor is from, a lot of times I have a pretty good guess of who it is. So yeah, if you’re visiting my site, even randomly, you should leave a blog comment or drop me an e-mail to say Hey.

Almost exactly one week from now, I’ll be getting off a plane in Chicago, awaiting my fight to Tokyo to start AEON life. Well technically AEON life starts with a week-long training session up in Omiya, which from what I’ve heard and read, is about the worst part of the whole AEON experience. I’m going to do my best of living through it, although if it’s that bad, I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it later. I’m supposed to at least act like I’m paying attention, but since most of it will probably be stuff like “how to ride the trains” and ‘basic conversational Japanese,” I’ll likely spend the entire training session trying to sneak my DS into the training rooms and playing without being noticed. Blanchard will be there the same time as me, so I’ll at least have someone to hang out with. Hopefully we’ll be lucky and the other AEON trainees will be tolerable. There can’t be many; I’m guessing our entire training class will be less than 10. If anyone asks the trainers if the JR trains are “choo-choo trains” or if the “stations are equal distance apart from each other,” I will most likely jump on the table and start shooting bolts of lightning out of my hands. Nicknames will be given, I’m sure.

I need to finish up my baby bottle work/report by Monday, then I’m done with that completely. I have been pretty lazy, as predicted, since coming back from Bloomington. Spent longer than planned on Sunday playing Guitar Hero and hanging out with everyone in Wilkie’s basement. Stopped in Cloverdale on the way back and had dinner with Macie. Came back here to St. Louis and resumed my life, which is pretty much waking up every day before 9AM, watching a lot of TV (ER is such a great show, damn), and otherwise being pretty vegetable-like.



My younger brother Joe is so retarded. He’s trying to learn Photoshop, and apparently thinks this, one of his first attempts, is the greatest thing ever:

my brother is retarded

I’ll admit it’s funny, but he has a long way to go before he is of my level. He didn’t even put an apostrophe! Foooooo!

Note: I’m not gay, don’t think this is some kind of announcement.

New Bloomington

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I am in Bloomington for the weekend.

Came out to visit people here for the weekend. It’s been good to see people, especially since I’ll be leaving the country for a year or more within 2 weeks, and even after that who knows when I’ll get to see people again. I’ve already gotten to see pretty much everyone who is a “close friend” and still in Bloomington, and I’ve only been here a little over 36 hours. That is good. I’ll be hanging out with people tonight and tomorrow as well, then driving back home. Hopefully I’ll see some other people tonight out on Kirkwood or something, because it’s always good to see people you know, even if you’re not really good friends.

Bloomington sure is different though. It’s been just under a month since I moved out, and it felt to me like even less time than that. Sure I had a two-week excursion out to Japan, but still. I had to check a calendar to see how long it’s been since July 28, and I was pretty surprised myself. But anyways, mainly because the fall semester here at IU starts on Monday and thus all the students are back, good ol’ Bloomington is a lot different from the town I drove away from at the end of July. For one thing, it’s crowded as balls. Summer is always nice in Bloomington because the majority of the campus population clears out and goes home to work or enjoy their summer break. After living in an empty Bloomington all summer, it’s weird to come back and see cars lined up on the streets. It’s weird to see the parking lots full. It’s weird to see people walking around on sidewalks that were less than a month ago still under construction.

But most of all, it’s weird to see all these new students who, in my eyes, look like they are about 12 years old. I mean, really, what happened? A lot of the new freshmen I see walking around campus definitely do not look like they’re only 4 years my junior. I went to the Steak on Thursday night and the restaurant was full of kids who looked younger than my youngest brother, who is 16. I remember the new class of freshman last fall looking young, but not this young. All the better to make me realize I’m old, graduated, and it is rightfully time to move on. Japan here I come.

Not having my own apartment is also throwing me off. For the most part, I am living like some kind of homeless person out of my car. I’ve got a laundry basket full of stuff and clothes in my trunk, and I’ve slept at a different friends place each night thus far. I think I’m going to sleep at the office tonight, mainly just to say I did one last time. I think one of the reasons I wanted to come back to visit Bloomington, besides to see my friends, was that I subconsciously wanted to go back to my old apartment in Fountain Park. I don’t have my own place anymore. For the past month, I’ve been either at my parents house or a hotel. It’s been nice, but there is definitely something to be said about having your own place. I spent an entire year building my nest in that apartment and unfortunately it no longer exists. Can’t wait to move into my apartment in Ichihara next month. Time to build a new nest and mark my territory*.

*Metaphorically, that is. I will not be peeing on the walls.

THE Question


So the other day I went to get 2 suits tailored before I head off to Japan. I checked Yahoo Yellow Pages, and called the three tailors closest to my house. One sounded like a Russian lady, one sounded Chinese, and the last was a somewhat creepy-sounding old man. Since I was afraid the old man would want to test my inseam a bit too personally, I decided to head to the second place I called. It was right off Gravois, in the back lower part of this building that looks like it used to be a house. I walk in, and to my surprise there was a waiting-room type area, complete with a TV and everything. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting a waiting room. But anyways, the back part of the shop looked more like a basement filled with sewing machines and clothes racks, as expected. There was one girl sitting working, and then an older-looking Asian lady, the owner I suppose, comes over and tells me to put the suits on so they can measure them. Right after I get out of the changing room, I was asked the standard question. I think this is some kind of universal question to Asians living in America, thought of and almost always asked when encountering another Asian that you don’t already know. Like a secret handshake.

“So where are you from?”

No, the answer to this question is never something like “I’m from St. Louis.” She is of course inquiring as to what part of Asia I’m from ancestrally. No, this isn’t rude or anything. We always want to know. We always wonder. Even if you’re not planning on speaking with the other person, let along starting a conversation in an Asian language, this question tends to be based on one of the first curiosities we Asians have when encountering another from that region of the world. Although sometimes you can tell just by looking, even when you’re walking past some other Asian at the store, you think to yourself “I think that guy’s Chinese” or “maybe he’s Korean?” Do any other types of people do this? I can’t imagine white people asking each other what part of the world they’re from. Maybe European tourists do this within Europe. Well?

Anyways, the lady was half Chinese and half Vietnamese. She was born over in Vietnam, while I’m third generation Chinese. She spoke Mandarn dialect Chinese and Vietnamese, while my Cantonese language ability can be best described as “retarded 5-year old with a forked tongue.” Luckily she didn’t speak Cantonese, otherwise I would have been forced to make myself look like an idiot. But anyways, I suppose this is a somewhat interesting phenomenon among Asians. Do non-Asians wonder this kind of thing when they see Asians?

A True Cinematic Masterpiece

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I don’t know if I could type a good enough introduction to this entry, so I instead will use this large image to convey my feelings:


Yeah. It really was. Super awesome, even. If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it now. This movie is actually worth going to the movie theatre and paying money to see. It is that awesome.

After months and months of hype, I was so ridiculously excited to see this movie. I think perhaps even more excited than I was to see the Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers movies back in the day. The filmmakers knew that this film was going to only have a chance of survival on said hype, and I think their decision to go back and edit the film into an R-rated one was well worth it. If anything, they got to also re-edit it and make it an awesome movie for the fans. There were no boring, long “let’s build up these characters” moment; it was instead “here are some people. They will all get attacked by snakes…now.” Well done sirs, well done indeed.

There will be some spoilers in this post, but it’s not like any of the movie is actually a surprise. In fact, the poster or trailer for Snakes on a Plane pretty much gives away the entire premise and plot: Samuel L. Jackson is stuck on a motherfucking plane with some motherfucking snakes and has to kick some ass. Pardon my language. I enjoyed how the movie starts off like every movie shot in the 80’s, with some peppy music and beach/bikini shots. Before the intro music is done, we have met this dirtbiker guy, who witnesses the murder of some lawyer at the hands of some gangsters. And to make this even better, the gangsters are Asian gangsters. I mean, who else would think to kill an incriminating witness by filling his plane with poisonous snakes. Anyway, that is the plot. Samuel L. is an FBI agent escorting dirtbiker guy to LA, and on the flight over they have to fight tons and tons of snakes. Throughout the course of the ride, all kinds of stereotypical characters get killed by snakes, including snooty British guy, hippies having sex, fat lady, and old stewardess. See? Even the filmmakers agree that there shouldn’t be old stewardesses.

There really isn’t much more to say, just please go see this movie immediately if you haven’t yet. It might not win any Oscars or set any box office records (although that would have been absolutely amazing), but this movie was just what the industry needed. I’m sick of all these stupid remakes, sequels, and books-turned-into-movies. All we need is snakes, a plane, and an angry black guy who curses a lot. Cinematic gold.

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