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The day I almost killed the neighborhood dork
By Wylie Wong

"The pitcher rocked back and fired a blazing fastball. High and inside. I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth and swung as hard as I could."

Scraps of Space: Thoughts that rattle in your brain
By Pete Hammer

"I dreamed in Portuguese last night. It was just like real life. I spoke in short, broken sentences, I understood only fragments of what other people said, and I constantly had to correct words that came out first in Spanish, which I also speak poorly."

"V" is for Vacuum-skulls
How I learned to stop worrying and love the 'chip

By Matt Johanson

"They could've made a R-chip to cut out Reruns and Rush Limbaugh, or the OJ-chip, to spare us from, well, you know."

How I became a substitute teacher and maintained my sanity
By Matt Johanson

"'Can I go to the bathroom, Mr. Substitute?'

I looked at the high school sophomore who'd just spent 30 minutes giggling with her neighbor, applying make-up and ignoring the Spanish worksheet on her desk."

Couple wants to exchange their vows, not score a new vacuum cleaner  
By Willy Morris

"Who turned weddings into orgies of materialism, where productive, hardworking adults expect to be showered with enough shiny new household items to make Martha Stewart feel at home?"

The joys of raising cactus  
By Wylie Wong

"'Maybe I should buy some plants for my apartment,' I wondered aloud as my friend Willy and I walked through Home Depot."

Coming of Age on the Vegas Buffet Line  
By Pueng Vongs

"Not too long ago I allowed myself a trip to Vegas. I've been known to get a little crazy at the blackjack table, so I've learned to keep my distance. It's actually been a few years since I've been to sin city, and this is my first time back after turning legal. I've been to Vegas more than half a dozen times, primarily before the age of 11. My father is one of those stereotypical gambling-crazed Asians and, before he discovered the stock market, brought our family to vacation in Vegas as often as he could."

Let Me Whisper Secrets in Your Ear  
By Gary Barker

"As any scraggly backwoods yokel or random militiaman or senator will be happy to tell you, the Internet is chock-full of all sorts of hush-hush stuff and probably ought to be shut down or blown up (the sooner the better).

Struggle for acceptance: Overcoming my stuttering  
By Dan Wong

"Today is the day of the oral report. Everyone in class has already made their presentation, so I no longer have an excuse for not sharing my material. I slowly raise my hand after the teacher asks if anyone else needs to do the oral. As I scoot the chair back to stand up, my ears begin to turn red hot. My uneasiness only gets worse when I sluggishly walk down the aisle towards the awaiting podium and start sweating on my hands and forehead. As I look up from the podium, I am startled by the forty pairs of unwavering eyes glaring at me, awaiting to be engrossed by my brilliance."

Music Reviews
Reviews of k.d. lang, Prodigy, Oasis and more
By Amy Pang

Film Review: The "Force" is strong in this one  
By Jason W. Lloren

"When I first saw the trailers for 'Air Force One,' I laughed. No one, I thought, could breach security on the presidential jetliner. And the president, Clinton or fictional, could not single-handedly take on a group of terrorist hijackers. No. Freakin'. Way."

Film Review: "187" gripping 'til it goes 360  
By Jason W. Lloren

"Many props to the cinematographer who lensed the visually arresting '187,' a new urban drama about a teacher who is threatened by his L.A. gangsta students. For the most part, '187' – California penal code for murder and gang lingo usually used as a threat of violence – is a gripping, menacing film. The look of the film is bathed in brown and oranges, like a desert or jungle the violence-laden environment the school is meant to represent."

Movie Review: Face/Off is a Must/See  
By Jason W. Lloren

"Face/Off," starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, takes the tried and true action theme of duality and plays it to full hilt. The bad guy becomes the good guy. The hero dons the villain's mask -- literally.

Movie Review: Baby Got "Black"  
By Jason W. Lloren

"A lot of the marketing for 'Men In Black' leads one to think the movie is 'The X-Files' meets 'Ghostbusters' - a sci-fun film with hipster cool written all over it. Sure, it shares superficial similarities in plot and tone with the above, but director Barry Sonnenfeld's new film is more akin to the old 'Dragnet' series, with Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) playing dicks who are chasing an alien assassin and forced to save the world. Kicking alien butt has never seemed more fun."

E-mail Thread of the Month: What's a Real Snowglobe?
By Gordon Ung, Wylie Wong and Willy Morris

"Snowglobe collectors Gordon Ung and Wylie Wong are currently duking it out over who has the most snowglobes. Wylie recently received two globes as gifts, one a snowglobe wristwatch and the other a McDonald's 101 Dalmatians globe. He wanted them counted as part of his collection. Gordon resisted. Their amused friends and colleagues watched on as the pair argued. Here now is an e-mail thread of the argument that ensued."

Top Ten Reasons to See a Film at the Great Star Theater in San Francisco

The Lowell High School Teachers FAQ

"You know, with even high schools on the net now, wouldn't it be cool if students compiled a secret mailing list/FAQ to recommend which teachers to take?"

The Theory of William Tell

"Here's a philosophical dilemma. Or perhaps a metaphysical one."

Snapshot: College or Weed?  
By Matt Johanson

Move over, Godzilla
Japan's latest craze has the U.S. scrambling for cyber-eggs
By Tom Diederich

"It started innocently enough. Last May, when my brother-in-law heard that my wife and I were going to visit my parents in Ohio, he asked us to pick up a couple of those Tamagotchi virtual reality pets. They've been sold out here in Japan since last year, and he explained that his girlfriend would be heartily impressed with one as a gift. The other one, he admitted, was for himself."

Toys of Innocence or Instruments of the New World Order?
By Amy Pang

"The Tamagotchi descended into North America on May 1st, using FAO Schwartz -- the toy store of THE MAN -- as their launch pad. After winning over the rich and powerful, their next step was to flood the stores of the masses -- Toys 'R' Us, Kay-Bee Toys and Wal-Mart. They've been in short supply since their invasion. Scores of children have been sucked into the vortex of responsibility, children who otherwise would never clean their rooms, do their chores and go to school on a regular basis. Yet these electronic animals have a strange hold over our young, and quite a few adults, for that matter. What mesmerizing quality do they have?"

Top Ten Tamagotchi ideas that failed  
By Gordon Mah Ung and Wylie Wong

The Big Egg Roll: Stereotypes still dog Asian Americans
By Harry Mok

"Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston was partially right when he said illegal campaign donations were 'only the tip of the egg roll' during Congressional hearings into questionable fundraising by a number of Asian Americans. Kingston's comment and Sen. Sam Brownback's 'no raise money, no get bonus' remark are attempts at humor that are indicative of the lack of sensitivity many have toward Asian Americans. We're still viewed as foreigners in this country and bad Hollywood stereotypes are pervasive, as the Congressional hearings so blatantly showed. That's the whole egg roll."

Dear ÜberAsian: I live with my parents, have a "bowl" haircut and haven't had a date in 10 years...
New advice column for the terminally unhip geek
By ÜberAsian

"It all became so clear to Mr. X one day in Chinatown. His pager didn't do alpha, his phone was still cellular, and he pined for the days when DV8 was still open. Sitting in his lowered Celica listening to New Order on the Blaupunkt, Mr. X suddenly realized he was no different than a mosquito trapped in amber 30 million years ago or that old man in the sickly beige Member's Only jacket. Young Asian bucks in Acuras who used to give him hard stares -- good for an Asian male -- now just smiled or laughed. He could see them mouth the words: 'Look at that chump, he must still think it's 1988.'"

Dear ÜberAsian: How do I achieve ultimate Asian Status?
Advice column for the terminally unhip geek
By ÜberAsian

"Dear ÜberAsian: What phone grants me ultimate Asian status? That new tiny Ericsson or the StarTac from Motorola? I've noticed the StarTac is very affordable now and have seen it as low as $200. I still have an old Motorola 550 flip phone, can I get by with that?"

The Million Asian Men March was a Success
By Gordon Ung

"One Million Asian Men marched into the nation's capital Tuesday morning."

On a whim, cybergrrl Daisy Nguyen parties in Venice -- and recaptures her faith in humanity
By Daisy Nguyen

"Venice was absolutely gorgeous and I am definitely returning one day. It's a unique city in itself flowing on water; I was so intoxicated by its beauty. The carnival of costumes and masks was so elaborate, there were people everywhere! Imagine a huge Halloween parade in the most mystical city on earth -- that was Venice during the weekend of Mardi Gras."

Norwegian explorer dares to do what others dream Borge Ousland is the first man to trek across Antarctica alone
By Tom Diederich

"Just weeks after becoming the first person to cross Antarctica on foot, alone and unaided, Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland is on another exhausting journey -- an international public relations tour."

Foiled by a lack of fluency in French, Daisy gets kicked out of her apartment.
By Daisy Nguyen

"I moved between two of the biggest capitals of Europe -- Paris and London -- via the chunnel recently. In a matter of three hours, one can be transported by the ultra-slick Eurostar from Paris' Gare du Nord to London's Waterloo station. 180 mph, or if you like, 300 kilometers an hour baby! This yellow submarine doesn't just swim, it slides fast. Anyone who's seen "Mission: Impossible" could imagine the rapidity of the train and its flying rubber effects on poor Tom Cruise's face."

An American expat ponders about his life in Tokyo.
By Tom Diederich

"My baby sister Jill came to Japan for a two-week visit last May. My wife Noriko and I took her to historic Nikko and various other points of interest in and around Tokyo. My sister, however, was mainly concerned -- as crazy as it may sound -- with shopping for clothes. It seems that her petite frame is difficult, if not downright impossible, to find clothing that fits just right in the United States."

Top 55 Ways You Know Japan Has Influenced You.

How do you spell "adventure" and "money?"
Teach English in Japan, an American says

By Dmitri Ragano

"Two years ago, after receiving rejection slips from every newspaper from New York to Tacoma in my bid to jump-start a newspaper career, I was feeling pretty discouraged about future prospects in my chosen field of journalism."

Expatriates are celebrities
By Dmitri Ragano

"Americans thrive on celebrity culture. Everyone craves their moment in the spotlight. Whether we win the lottery, write a rap song about big butts or blow up a government building with a truck of fertilizer, we are all waiting for our fifteen minutes of glory.

Cherry blossoms - and so does Japan's tax rate
By Tom Diederich

"Spring in Japan begins with 'o-hanami' (cherry blossom viewing). This event, in Tokyo at least, is not exactly pleasant. Cherry blossoms are delicate and the optimum 'viewing time' lasts only a few days. This means that there are far too many people crowding into parks during the first two weekends of April, all battling for tiny areas of grass on which to sit with friends, family or co-workers."

Tom (tries to) celebrate a slew of Japanese Spring holidays
By Tom Diederich

The Japanese celebrate "Golden Week," a cluster of unrelated holidays from April 29 to May 5. Mysteriously, EVERYONE in the country believes this is a great time to travel. The highways and roads are gridlocked; the train stations and airports overcrowded.

The Stupid Tourist's Guide to Surviving Two Weeks in Japan  
By Paul Louie

"'Welcome to Japan,' I said to myself as I exited the airplane on a late Sunday afternoon at Narita airport. Anticipation and anxiety swelled within me. Is everything going to be OK? What should I do if I get lost? What am I going to eat for dinner? These questions went through my mind as I waited to pick up my luggage with a few other travelers at the beginning of the conveyor belt. The questions ran in and out, up and down in my mind as I waited and waited and waited some more. A new question sprang up and it replaced all of the others. 'Uh, where's my luggage?'"

Bay Area missionary adjusts to life in Philippines  
By Dan Johanson

"I'm living in a large boarding house with about 50 other people -- mostly families with small children. I share a room with another Christian man who works in the area. The surrounding area is heavily populated with 'squatters.' These families are the poorest of the poor -- a difficult sight to see everyday."

Fleeing Vietnam
One family's topsy-turvy journey to America
By Michelle Hong Quach

"As I slept, my oldest brother kissed me lightly on the cheek and vanished into the night with my three other brothers. It was 1978 and my four brothers were fleeing Vietnam in search of a better future in America. I remember mother telling me that my they had gone to the city seeking work. I had no idea my brothers were secretly stowed away on a tiny fishing boat. I was three years old and too young to understand the risk and danger involved in the journey to the United States. Their main motivation: freedom."

Top Ten Complaints about Yosemite Valley.

Traveling Through Time and Space
By Pete Hammer

"All spring I entertained various fantasies about summer travel. Japan. Thailand. Uganda. That's one of the main advantages of being a teacher, after all. Ten weeks of summer vacation. Dream job."

Chronicles of Friendship
By Joann Back

"There are times when losses of faith are unavoidable, when doubts finally catch you in your long-standing marathon of belief. Such times are the darkest in your life."

By Dan Wong

"It was a chilly Christmas day in San Francisco. I was dressed in a gray ski jacket and blue sweater. What I needed were Isotoners. I rang my grandma's doorbell and quickly jammed my hands into my jeans, shivering from the ice cold wind. Another Christmas, another visit to grandma's house."

Paper Cranes
By Joann Back

"'Just sign on the dotted line,' he said to me, sliding the thick sheaf of parchment across the mahogany table to me. I hesitated a moment, then put my hand on the stack and reached up to take the quill from him. I paused again, looked at him, at his charming smile, his neatly parted hair, his dark eyes. Black eyes. Smoldering eyes. Evil."

The 47th  
By Amy Pang

"We sat at a bar which was a couple of blocks from the party because we were early and didn't want to be in the first wave of people who showed up. He eyed a lone girl who propped up her neatly tousled head on a slender white arm. She wore a sleeveless silky dress with strappy platform sandals, and her nails were painted some dark shade. It was difficult to tell in the bleak light. She sighed a couple of times, glancing toward the door whenever it opened. She was one of those faceless pretty girls who populated the area, and for all her lack of uniqueness, he fixated on her."

By Willy Morris

"The man selected a window seat, stuffed his shoulder bag under the seat in front of him, pulled out a bestseller and began to read. A college student chose the aisle seat and quickly buried his face in a thick calculus text. The middle seat remained empty until the last stand-by passengers were herded aboard, and a skinny little girl with corn rows slid between the two men."

The Coin Jar
By Martha Ross

"I was thinking about Harold – wondering whether Harold and I were falling in love (and whether having sex with him tomorrow night would answer that question) when Ted's cry cut through my daydream."

Blackberry Oasis
By Joy Reid

"'I tell you, it's not far from here,' Gail insisted, face thrust forward. Close up, her freckles appeared lurid and unlikely. If she keeps holding her breath like that, Jess decided, those funny red spots will explode like chewy bursts timed to annoy a teacher."

"Wanting," by Shawna McCoy

"Knowing," by Shawna McCoy

"Untitled," by Shawna McCoy

"Untitled," by Rob Shea

"Fantasia," by Douglas Wong

"Take a Look," by Clarence Wong

"Sandlot," by Wylie Wong

"Bugspray," by Wylie Wong

Chapter 1: Kicking Mischief In the Tail
By Joann Back

"Castle Faln looked stolidly out over the grasslands, its grey granite walls looming over the fields and the teeming city within its ancient perimeter walls. Long ago, it served as the court of the king of the Falnish Territories, and held about it ghosts of grandeur. Now, it had been set aside by the king and his heir apparent, and was passed on to the second-born prince. Suffering from age and decades of neglect, it brought to mind a dying warhorse garbed in pennants of the royal blue and gold, trying to maintain a certain if fading nobility."

Sushi Reviews: Seeking Sushi Bliss in Berkeley, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco  
By Siri Sosothikul and Wylie Wong

"Don't judge a book by its cover and never evaluate a sushi place by its decor. Passersby often mistake Berkeley's Party Sushi for a pub with its neon lights and dark interior. The frog and deer-shaped plastic balloons dangling from the ceiling and the ceramic masks popping out of the walls don't make it any easier for you to recognize the funky place as a sushi restaurant."

Are you a good tipper or a cheapskate?
A Japanese restaurant waitress secretly categorizes her customers
By Michelle Hong Quach

"Working at a Japanese restaurant is rewarding because the tips are better than those of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. The plethora of competing Chinese restaurants force all of them to lower their food prices and make customers tip less. Vietnamese restaurant-goers tip even worse because most owners keep the tips. Why should customers tip more when the money goes to the owner and not the waiters and waitresses?"

Special Bonus!
Reviews of Pho Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area
By Rodney Wong and Wylie Wong

"Now you may ask, pho at a Casino? That was my question when my roommate suggested a new pho place to try. I was very skeptical of food at the casino, but my roommate assured me that the food was not bad. We got to the casino and I felt the urge to gamble rather than eat, but I limited my budget and was determined to stay focused on eating pho (I ended up losing $40 that night gambling)."

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