Monthly Archives: January 2007

Connor, Warrior Fish

So I got a fish.

Thumbnail: Connor side-view

A Siamese fight­ing fish, or Betta, named Connor to be exact. I want­ed some­thing live­ly in my room, since I spend so much time in it. When I went to the store with Pat and Jen, they noticed that one fish was con­stant­ly flar­ing and swim­ming in cir­cles, almost like he was pac­ing. The fish in the cup next to him (to keep them sep­a­rate or they fight to the death) kept set­ting him off, so nat­u­ral­ly, he was the one. As a clown­tail vari­ant, his fins are extend­ed long like a comb.

I also got some live plants with which came a tiny snail, so small that he was trans­par­ent at first. After a few weeks, he grew con­sid­er­ably big­ger, and sur­vived a cou­ple hours out of water while I was clean­ing out the tank. Bronwen named him Humphrey, but he has since died, found dried up at the top of the tank one morn­ing.

Bettas are fun­ny crea­tures. Supposedly, they have per­son­al­i­ties (for fish), but I can nev­er tell with pets I can’t touch. Sure, he swims towards me every time I turns on the lights or enter the room, but for all I know he could think of me as food. I can only tell that he’s very aggres­sive, flar­ing out his body and swim­ming back and forth when­ev­er some­thing gets near enough. It’s like he’s a caged glad­i­a­tor, rest­less about his next bat­tle. Dolly likes to sit in my chair and watch him go.

Thumbnail: Connor flares
Thumbnail: Connor flares
Thumbnail: Connor macro
Thumbnail: Pale Connor

I named him Connor, after the immor­tal Connor MacLeod from Highlander, because THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE (Betta in a bowl at a time).

Kilted Groomsmen

You’re the per­fect woman.”

She real­izes this as she writes down my chest, waist, and hip size, then asks rhetor­i­cal­ly, “What are the typ­i­cal­ly ide­al mea­sure­ments?”.

Aaron and I could only look at each oth­er, as we had no idea.


Wow, so you’re a real­ly hot chick!”, says Aaron.

Hi-LAR-ious. Years of con­fi­dence I’ve gained, girl­friends con­vinc­ing me that I’m not too skin­ny, gone.

Reduced to a male fan­ta­sy, I’m my own dream girl.

And how much do you weigh?”


After he’s had a buf­fet”, Aaron adds. My friend the come­di­an. To con­sole me, he says, “It’s okay. Remember, you’ll be paired up with Jenn in the par­ty”.

My coun­ter­part. The tini­est girl I know.

Thumbnail: Aaron's wedding band

In the last few years I’ve been to wed­dings for oth­er friends, but Aaron’s the first out of my core group to get mar­ried (although Pat got engaged before him). To pay trib­ute to his cul­ture, he wants the wed­ding to be a bit Scottish — some­thing his Popa is espe­cial­ly pleased about.

As a grooms­man, I’ll be wear­ing a kilt. As a Chinese guy, I’ll be feel­ing a lit­tle out-of-place.

Thumbnail: Matching the sporran and kilt colours
Thumbnail: Comparing sporrans
Thumbnail: Ghillie Brogues
Thumbnail: Ghillie Brogues

He asked me to give him a hand in shop­ping for the regalia. What a cul­ture shock. Looking through cat­a­logues of claid­heamh, sporrans, Sgian Dubhs, Ghillies Brogues. I can’t even pro­nounce the names. My tongue was­n’t made for these kinds of inflec­tions.

It’ll take you guys longer to get dressed than the bride”.

Before we leave I remem­ber to ask, “Can we go tra­di­tion­al?”, with Aaron adding, “My Popa would be pret­ty upset if we did­n’t”.

Traditional. The euphemism for com­man­do. The euphemism for bear-ass naked.

Don’t wor­ry, every­thing is dry-cleaned”, say the woman reas­sur­ing­ly.

It’s only after we leave that I real­ize every­thing but the shirt is made of wool.

I’ll be scratch­ing my balls through the whole ser­vice.

The Bias of Insecurity

I like to think that humans are, in gen­er­al, cere­bral beings, unaf­fect­ed by bias or emo­tion.

But every time I’m met with a big­ot, who has noth­ing to cling to but the strength of their opin­ions, I lose this hope.

The more they speak, the more they prove them­selves as inca­pable of accept­ing any­thing but their own beliefs. Added to this is a lack of self-aware­ness, caus­ing them believe that they’re not closed-mind­ed, they’re just right.

Often it betrays an inse­cu­ri­ty. You can tell that under­neath their words, they har­bour a sub­con­scious feel­ing that they’re wrong. To make up for this, they express them­selves strong­ly enough to con­vince them­selves that they’re right.

As log­i­cal­ly as you explain things, step-by-step, premise to con­clu­sion, they won’t under­stand. They’ll nev­er be able to accept the truth, and remain com­plete­ly igno­rant.

It’s impos­si­ble to have a dis­cus­sion with some­one like this.

The dis­cus­sion is super­fi­cial, and the issue lies with­in the per­son them­selves.


I gen­er­al­ly don’t like blog net­works. Too often they’re super­fi­cial, cheap­ly con­struct­ed com­mu­ni­ties used by the cre­ators to give them­selves a sense of belong­ing and pur­pose in the blo­gos­phere. Some of the most promi­nent exam­ples of this are on Livejournal, where any­one will cre­ate a clique if they’re an emo kid, a self-pro­claimed “hot mom”, or even hap­pen to hate Rachael Ray.

There was only one com­mu­ni­ty that caught my eye in the four years I’ve been blog­ging. Several pro­lif­ic sites I fre­quent, such as graphicPush, Snook, 456 Berea Street, and even Lorelle fea­ture a small leaf on their site. I had to learn more about this lit­tle uni­ver­sal logo that was on many of the sites that inspired me, and the net­work called 9rules.

9rules logo

I dis­cov­ered that they’re the only com­mu­ni­ty with a phi­los­o­phy and qual­i­ty with which I agreed. As on their web­site, “9rules is a com­mu­ni­ty of the best weblogs in the world on a vari­ety of top­ics. We start­ed 9rules to give pas­sion­ate writ­ers more expo­sure and to help read­ers find great blogs on their favorite sub­jects. It’s dif­fi­cult to find sites worth return­ing to, so 9rules brings togeth­er the very best of the inde­pen­dent web all under one roof.”

Their phi­los­o­phy is based on a set of nine rules to live by:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Never stop learn­ing.
  3. Form works with func­tion.
  4. Simple is beau­ti­ful.
  5. Work hard, play hard.
  6. You get what you pay for.
  7. When you talk, we lis­ten.
  8. Must con­stant­ly improve.
  9. Respect your inspi­ra­tion.

Although I can say that I agree and fol­low every sin­gle one of them, num­ber eight par­tic­u­lar­ly res­onat­ed with me. It’s one of my rea­sons for liv­ing, and par­tial­ly why I start­ed blog­ging in the first place.

For once, I felt com­pelled to join a com­mu­ni­ty.

Becoming a mem­ber, how­ev­er, isn’t a sim­ple task. Every few months, they open a 24 hour win­dow for peo­ple to sub­mit their blogs. 9rules does­n’t have a spe­cif­ic cri­te­ria for what to accept. Sites are judged on con­sis­ten­cy and qual­i­ty of mate­r­i­al, as well the pas­sion for the sub­jects being blogged.

The com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers go through every site togeth­er, often sev­er­al times, before decid­ing whether to let some­one join. They also main­tain an exclu­siv­i­ty clause; mem­bers aren’t allowed to be part of any oth­er com­mu­ni­ty. There was even a purge once, to clean the net­work of any sites whose qual­i­ty had dropped.

In the past, the accep­tance rates have been between 8–16%. The most recent round (the fifth) was last October, with 1190 blogs being sub­mit­ted. At the end of this round, the num­ber of accept­ed mem­bers stands at a ten­ta­tive 134.

Two weeks ago, I found out that I’m one of them.