Childhood Hero's

Just about everyone growing up looks up to something or someone:

- Spiderman
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Michael Jordan
- Muggsey Bouges
- Bruce Lee
- Carmichael Simon
- Gary Carter


School Memories

PreK - Ms. Dubell
K - Mrs. Gentese
1st - Ms. Ciobin
3rd - Ms. Gober
4th - Ms. Rosser
5th - Ms. Kanas
6th - Mr. Zurka - English , Mr. Allen - Science, Mr. Petras - Math

Junior High
  • Mr. Shanahan, Mr. Arminio - English
  • Mr. Freeman - History
High School
  • Ms. Feingold - Senior English
  • Mr. Sopko - Fresh Science
  • Frau Glowacki - German
  • Mr. Carmello - Art
  • Mrs. Williams - Gym
  • Ms. Sharp - Algebra
  • Mr. Fisher - Physics
  • Ms. Broyer - Chemistry
  • Mr. Jaeger - AP Bio
  • Mr. Sorrano - Bio
  • Mr. Jeski - History/Driver's Ed
  • Mrs. Hart - Programming/PASCAL
  • Mr. Gallo - Electronics


"First" Day of School

Connor started his "first day" of school as a Kindergartner today. I was joking with Shannon that he's in "real school" and not that sissy "private school" (I say that VERY JOKINGLY). She really doesn't like public school, but that's all i knew. Anyway, this is what I remember about school:

  • I went to Washington Elementary School. My grandparents used to walk me everyday.
  • I didn't speak any english going into Pre-K
  • One of my favorites had to be my K teacher Mrs. Gentesse. We hatched eggs into chickens.
  • Connor...your Pre-K teacher's name is Mrs. Herrell and your K teacher is Mrs. Preston.
  • One of my favorite days was the school carnival to raise money for the PTA. I remember winning a goldfish...which at all the other fish in our tank at home.
  • Pizza was always served on wednesdays. I didn't really didn't like it.
  • At lunch/recess, we would always throw the "pinky ball" around the school yard. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them were still stuck up in the gutters on the roof.


Nuggets of wisdom

Life is not always what you expect. Look at what cards are on the table and make do with what you have. Even in good/bad, sickness/health, happy/sad times, always look to a brighter day and keep moving forward.


Childhood memories: School

For some reason, I will more often than not have a dream which puts me back in school...and usually it in the middle of some strange exam and I'll have no idea how to answer the questions. Anyway...it reminded me about putting some stuff down so I don't forget.

K: Mrs. Gentess, Mr. Nuggent (gym...and later my bowling coach)
1st: Ms. Ciobin
3rd: Mrs. Gober
4th: Mrs. Rosser
5th: Mrs. Kanas
6th: Mr. Zurka, Mr. Petras (Math), Mr. Allen (Science), Ms. Chaplin (English)
7-8th: blur...Mr. Arminio (English), Mr. Shanahan (English), Mr. Freedman (History)
UHS: Mr. Jeski (History/Driver's Ed/Bowling Coach), , Ms. Sharp(Math), Ms. Fiengold (English), Mr. Carmello (Art), Frau Glowacki (German), Mr. Gallo (Hobby Electronics), Mrs. Williams (Gym)

What I remember:
  • Playing 4 squares at Central Six was the best.
  • When I went to UHS...I was offered to do a project helping out my old Kindergarten teacher with evening science projects for younger students. Was great!
  • I was fully embarassed by my bowling coach (Mr. Nuggent) by presenting me a trophy in the middle of English Class.
  • I was asleep most of the time as a senior in High School.
  • I remember my friend Jon Zois telling me to stop starring at the cheerleaders during a pep-rally.
  • I kicked some one in the tenders when I was in 1st grade because he wouldn't give me a kickball during recess...I was really quite sorry.
  • I first learned to juggle in High School that in a club that my friend Chris Visco started. His nickname was "Sideshow Bob" because he had hair like the character from the simpsons.
  • I remember my 6th grade music teach took her Guns 'N Roses poster off the wall due to the cussing fiasco on an awards show. They are the reason why awards shows are on a delay today.
  • I won a talent show in high school as a blue belt. I used the music "Workaholic" from 2-Unlimited...so bad. I did double chux back then and attached glow sticks to the end of them. They were so long I knocked my glasses off my face mid performance. Then my friend Tuong Phan (RIP) and I broke boards on Fire. He decided that putting hair spray on his hand was a good idea...it was not.
  • I vividly remember two of my best reports. The first one was a report on cats...I got an A on it...(random memory)...the poem in the back of it was "The Cats of Killkeny". My second fav was a book report on "Farenheit 451". I cut out the shape of a flame on the report cover and then I got a bit more creative. The first idea (dumb) is I untwisted a bare metal paper clip, hung it on my tiny halogen light bulb to get it hot enough to burn the edges of the paper. Unfortunately I didn't realize how hot it would get and burned my fingers in the process...it left an impression on my fingers for like a month. I wised up and then put the paper over the stove and it had a browning effect on the paper (Parental Supervision of course). I came out really well.


Childhood memories: Comic Books

I will admit that I am a nerd, but I'm at least a nerd who could beat you up :)

  • My favorite hero...bar none it would have to be Spider-Man. Spider-man is also one of Connor's Favorite.
  • The first comic I ever purchased was Wolverine (from X-men). It was on a family vacation to visit family in Canada.
  • I still have many of the comics in a box in my house. I hope the rats haven't gotten to them or that they've deteriorated.
  • Marvel and DC were the major 2 players in the game. Then image comics came along and had some great new artists. If you ever want to see someone who can draw really well...just look for Dan McFarland.


Happy Birthday Sis

Happy Birthday Cinde. Since it will be my sister's 27th B-Day, let's make a list of silly to somewhat embarrassing memories of her :-D
  • She had a birthday party at McDonalds when she was younger. I am so jealous
  • She played on the Field Hockey and Swim teams at Union High. She's much more athletically gifted than I was.
  • She has really nice hair.
  • She has a portrait of a drawing someone did when she went on a trip to France.
  • When we were kids, I believe I accidentally hit her in the eye with a pair of nunchucks I made out of straws and paper clips.
  • Cinde had Barbie dolls growing up...and at some future point gave crew cuts to most of them.
  • She used to play the flute.
  • She shares the same Birthdate as Billy Mays.
  • She used to sleep in the same bed with my grandmother for years when she was a kid.
  • She and I were supposed to start gymnastics classes together, but I changed my mind because I wanted to go to my cousin Joey's house instead.
  • Did I say she has really nice hair?
That's all I can remember at 2AM......zzzzzzzzzz


Lessons For Life 2

Here we go with some more inspirational words...:
  • You only have one shot to make a first and everlasting impression.
  • Fish for a man, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life.
  • "It ain't about how hard you hit...it's about how hard you can get hit...how much you can take and keep moving forward...that's how winning is done" - Rocky Balboa
  • "The point at which you want to quit, and you don't, is when everything changes"
  • "The purpose of life...is to be happy"
  • Busy is a term we all use when we don't schedule our time properly.
  • People don't care until you show them how much you do care.
  • "Be like water. When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup...when you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow and creep and crash. Be like water my friend" - Bruce Lee
  • "Do or do NOT...there is no Try" - Yoda
  • Emotions are not negative or positive. It's what you do with these emotions which make them good or bad.
  • "Stay humble and hungry" - Avery Johnson (Pt. Guard for San Antonio Spurs)
  • "Freedom is not Free"
  • "Aim for perfection and you will often achieve excellence"
  • If you have no goal...you have no motivation.
  • To earn respect, you must learn to give respect.


Unconditional Love

I don't think anyone truly understands what love is until they have their first born child. Though God has challenged me with such an active and strong willed child at times, words cannot even express the joy I feel for Connor. The following shall be written directly to him.

  • It was very early in the morning (5am?) when mom's water broke. When she told me what happened, I levitated a few feet from the bed.
  • Your nana almost flew through a hurricane to get to you.
  • Your mom used no drugs. She felt very strongly about having nothing get into your system when coming out. Natural Child Birth All The Way
  • There was a baby near your bassinet in the nursury. I thought he was black, but then I read the sign on his bed that said "BRUISED FACE".
  • I changed your first diaper which is filled with some nasty stuff. It was like scrapping hot tar off the pavement.
  • For the first 4-5 months, people thought I was a walking Zombie due to lack of sleep.
  • Your first word was Ball.
  • When I couldn't find your pacifier...you used to suck on either my finger or nose.
  • Some nights the only thing that could pacify you to sleep was holding you and bouncing on a yoga ball.
  • The only movie you used to watch over and over and over was "Finding Nemo". You weren't able to say Nemo and it came out as "Meeyo".


Childhood memories: Gung Gung and Paw Paw

For as long as I can remember, my maternal grandparents were a big part of my life. My Gung Gung (Mom's Dad) is no longer on this planet, but was very kind to me. My Paw Paw is still around and always fussy but always concerned with my well being. GG will refer to my grandfather and PP will refer to my grandmother.

  • GG's American name was "Fred", but his chinese name was pronounced "Gee".
  • GG owned a Chinese Restaurant and also served in the military during WWII.
  • GG took me to Toys R' Us way to many times to spoil my sister and I.
  • Both used to walk me too and from school.
  • PP did everything for me...and I do mean everything. She used to peel my shrimp and grapes :-P
  • Until about 6th grade, my sister and I slept in the same room as PP.
  • PP is a devout Buddhist and devout Buddhists like incense.
  • PP saved me from getting mauled by a neighbor's dog down our street by using her umbrella. I think the dog was just trying to be friendly, but the only reason I remember the story is because she keeps saying it over and over.
  • One time my elementary school teacher asked me to bring PP up after school to tell her something. She asked me to translate and when PP came up...I just told her in English what my teacher told me (She didn't realize she understood english).
  • My GG brought me to 2 Mets games when I was little. I think for both I never made it past the 5th inning so he brought me home each time.
  • GG and I used to watch NBA Basketball and WWF wrestling together ALL THE TIME!


ABC Chinese

Believe it or not, I didn't speak a lick of English when I was a kid. When I started school, my Cantonese/Toisan was slowly phased out, but I do understand more than people realize.

Useful/Funny Cantonese
  • Dah Nay Guh Toe - Hit you in the HEAD!
  • Aye Yahhhhh - DOH!
  • Chee-saw hi been doe - Where's the Bathroom.
  • Um Goy - Thank you (for doing something)
  • Daw Tse - Thank you (for your gift)
  • Hung Bow - Red Envelope (for Chinese New year)
  • Gung Hay Fat Choy - I hope you make a lot of money
  • Fong Pay - Fart
  • Char Siu Bow - Roast Pork Bun
  • Bay See - Boogers
  • Yut, Yee, Sam, Say, Umm, Luk, Chut, Bach, Gaw, Sup - 1,2,3,...10
  • Heck La (Toisan) - Dinner Time
  • Fan See Fan Jeuw - Rice w/ Yams
  • Jook - Congee
Useful/Funny Mandarin
  • Nee Hao - How are you?
  • Hao-Boo-Hao - How are you?
  • eee, are, san, sul, woo, lieu, chee, bah, jyow, shur - 1,2,3,...10
  • Jah-Yow - Keep going! - (Direct translation = Pour/rub more oil)


Childhood Memories: Video Games

Video games was/is a huge addiction and stress reliever for me:
  • The first thing I remember playing was a friend's old Coleco-vision and my cousin's Vetrex system.
  • My next door neighbor had an Apple IIe.
  • My first real system was an Atari 2600. I had Star Wars, Combat (classic game), Breakout (another classic), spiderman, pac-man. One time I thought it would have been amusing to wrap the AC adapter with bare copper wire and plug it into the outlet. I'm surprised that the stupidity of my action didn't kill me, the Atari, or the house.
  • I had a Commodore 64 and 128. My favorites were Ghostbusters, Burnin Rubber, Spin Dizzy, Super Boulderdash, Leaderboard, and Bruce Lee. The only crappy thing about it was the systems kept breaking down frequently.
  • I had the original NES. I must have played every single game on that sucker as possible. I had a list I wrote down on construction paper of every single game I beat (yes...I am a dork). I used to keep every single box of each game I owned.
  • Still remember the Konami Code - Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Start :) Shows you what muscle memory can do for you :)
  • For the NES, I still remember my favs: 1)SMB 1-3 2)Castlevania 1-3 3)Contra, Super C 4) Mega Man 1 to ... 5)TMNT 6)Bad Dudes 7)Double Dragon 1-3 8)Super Dodge Ball 9)River City Ransom 10)Tecmo Bowl 11)720 12)LifeForce 13)Blaster Master 14)Dragon Ball Z 15)Track and Field II 16)Bases Loaded 17)Batman 18)Battletoads 19) A Boy and His Blob 20)Duck Tails 21)Flying Warriors 22)G.I Joe 23)Double Dribble 24)Wizards and Warriors 25)Legend of Zelda 1-2 26)Little Nemo 27)Metal Storm 28)Mike Tyson's Punch Out 29)Ninja Gaiden 1-3 30)R.C. Pro Am 31)Rush n' Attack
  • I even had that really dumb Power Glove for the NES. It looked like the coolest thing, but so hard to use.
  • The only reason I went to the mall was for Roy Rogers and of course the arcades. My favorite was of course Street Fighter II. I remember going between Woodbridge Mall and Livingston Mall.


Lessons for Life

As I think of good things I'd like to pass onto the younger generation (dang...I'm at a point where I can say thing), they will be labeled as Lessons for Life. I will give credit to whom I remember hearing or learning things from...so not necessarily who it originally came from.

  1. Procrastination is a thief of time - Jesse Wong
  2. Never use a credit card, unless you can pay it off in the same month - Jesse Wong
  3. Think - Jesse Wong
  4. ...I will teach this class, as if it was the last class I will ever teach - Dave Kovar?
  5. If you look for the good in someone, that's what you'll find. If you look for the bad, that's what you'll find too. - Master Dunn
  6. Eat as much as you can - Grand Father
  7. You don't have to immediately answer every single question or challenge. Just take your time.
  8. CANI - Constant And Never-ending Improvement - Master Dunn
  9. Getting married is the easy part, staying married is the challenge.
  10. Your parents will always love you no matter what. You are never too old to hug or kiss your parents either.

Childhood memories: Union, NJ

  • Union is most famous for having the World's Tallest Water Tower. I don't know if that's still true.
  • I got my first haircut by a barber at Angelo's Barber Shop on Chestnut Street. I had my haircut just like my cousin Kendy which was a flat top. I don't know if they are still around but it was said that Angelo's partner, Al, had to stop cutting hair becasue of Parkinson's. I also believe Al was a customer of my Grandfather's when he used to run a Chinese restaurant.
  • My Grandparent's and sister and I used to walk down to the Bakery (which was also on Chestnut St.) where would buy cookies and pastries. Hometown Mom/Pop bakeries aren't around much anymore, but they made the best stuff.
  • There used to be 2 movie Theaters in Union. One was called 5 Star Cinemas (again on Chestnut St.) and I can't remember the other but we used to park in the Public Library Parking lot to get there. 5 Star only had like 2 theaters and the one downtown was pretty small 2. They both went out of business once the mega movie theaters started being built.
  • I'm not sure what's around there now, but there was a Rickles instead of Home Depot, 4 Season's bowling alley, Photon (a lazer tag place), Variety Fair (just an odds and ends store near A&P) ... which we called the 5 and 10, Cost Cutters and Bradleys (similar 2 K-Mart), Skate 22, Carvels (Ice Cream), and a butcher's store near the bank. I remember a couple of friends from HS (Erik Hovmiller) used to work there because the shirt would smell like meat.
  • Ray Liotta and Robert Wuhl graduated from my High School.
  • One of my best friend's growing up was Bill Werkmeister and he lived on Wheaton Rd...maybe 5-6 blocks away from my house. We still talk to each other every now and then and ironically, his parents still live close to mine in Jamesburg now.

Random memories: Part Deux

  • I used to have magnetic letters to learn ABC's. I shoved them into the kettle on the stove and when my mom found out and asked me why I did that, I told her "I'm making alphabet soup!"
  • My favorite TV show when I was a little kid was Pinwheel on Nickelodian. I also remember that what we considered to be a remote control was actually a big clunky box with buttons, a toggle switch to get to the next row of channels, and still wired to the cable box.
  • Our old garage door had to be proped up with a 2 x 4 piece of wood. We didn't have an automated garage door opener.
  • Some of my most cherished moments as a kids was playing wiffle ball and all sorts of other stuff in the backyard.
  • My neighbors were the best in the world. The Glassner's were in a pine green house on one side (Mr. Glassner owned a car dealership - Sunny's). I remember I wanted to go over to play with Greg and his Apple IIe and that he had an Iroc-Z (go figure...we were in NJ). One the otherside were the Santeramo's Nick and Mildred. They were like the Archie Bunker family in certain ways but always kind to our family. I remember used to play with their grandkids in the summer a lot and that their furniture was covered in plastic.
  • There was a pretty decent sized white boulder at the top of the hill on our street. I used to call it the specticle rock as a reference from Legend of Zelda.
  • My first language was Cantonese and when I went to Pre-K, I didn't speak English. I remember my ESL (English as a Second Language) was Mrs. Rivers...who eventually was the multicultural club teacher in High School. I use the term was because my family stopped talking chinese to me so I would pick up my English faster.
  • I was asked out by a girl as a Freshman in High School in Mr. Carmello's art class. My parents convinced me that I wasn't allowed to date, so I told her I couldn't go out with her because I was Buddhist. I wish I wasn't so nieve back then :(
  • My favorite movie still to this day is "Enter the Dragon".
  • In my first pinewood derby, Dad cut the car to look exactly like what the picture was on the box. I then colored the car with crayons. To most people's disbelief, I won 2nd place!

Childhood memories: My Sister

  • I'm not sure why Cinde and I had a crappy relationship in our younger years. The only thing I remember is that there was a certain point when she was little that she tried to kiss me and it was really greasy and it was "yukky".
  • Cinde came home crying from school one day as there were some kids teasing her. It pissed me off enough that I came out of the house and scarred the crap out of those boys. Even though I didn't like my sister at the time...I was still big brother and if she was going to get picked on...it would only be by me :)
  • Cinde has really nice hair.
  • I was not too fond of my sister's choice in men. I don't remember her first boyfriend's name, but I was about ready to beat the crap out of him for making her upset so many times.
  • As much as I hate to admit it, Cinde's fiance is a pretty nice guy. I still don't think anyone is good enough for her...but he's OK.
  • When we took our first trip to China to visit family, both Cinde and I got some sort of stomach virus. We both were throwing up and sick for a couple days. I think it was from the trip to that Chinese Sea World.
  • For some reason, Cinde and I don't look like we're related besides the fact that we're both Chinese. Maybe our parents adopted us from China (I know...bad joke).
  • Cinde was not so great at taking medicine as a kid. I remember Dad trying to get her to take something and she bit his finger.
  • When Cinde first started driving, she used Mom's crappy Plymouth Acclaim. I remember the heat shield came loose of it while driving down Route 22 and it scared the crap out of her.

Childhood memories: My Mom

  • I always remember Mom knitting all sorts of stuff for us. She still does to this day.
  • I remember Mom complaining about how we (my sister and I) had it good with my Grandfather. He would make us real spaghetti and sauce, but when she was a kid....the sauce was ketchup.
  • Mom is a better cook than she thinks.
  • Mom's favorite shows on TV where Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: TNG, and Jeopardy. If I remember correctly, she tried out for the show when we were in Atlantic City one time.
  • Mom worked at the VA medical center in East Orange for the longest time in Hematology (the blood work department). I remember some gruesome stories sometimes since it was a hospital.
  • Mom attended one of those Blue & Gold Boy Scout Dinners with me one time. I remember there was this guy who was kissing all the ladies at our table to say hi. When he went to give my Mom a kiss, I covered her mouth. Everyone thought it was histerical.
  • Mom's first car I remember her driving was a Nova...at least I'm pretty sure.

Childhood memories: My Dad

  • It was tradition for Dad and I to goto the movies together...usually for something violent! I remember the old cinema in Union we went to initially see a James Bond movie...but he was kind enough to switch it over to see the remainder of Ghostbusters.
  • One of my most favorite days when I was a kid was Friday. Dad and Grandparents frequently traveled to my best friends house, Al and Dave Wu. We often played video games till the wee hours of the morning. I often not forget the nerf gun battles we had in the stair way at our houses.
  • As strict as Dad was when I was younger, he always let me know he loved me in his own way. He still does, to this day, has his desk covered by a glass panel with pictures from when I was a baby all the way up until present day. You could also think of it as black mail photos
  • Dad got me hooked on Bruce Lee movies. He was also my first martial arts instructor. I remember after he showed me some moves in the basement and then the next day in school I practiced them on the playground outside.
  • As far as I can remember, Dad used to drive a blue Datsun that was stick shift.
  • For as stoic as Dad can be sometimes, he's a really funny guy. When driving home through Chinatown, we were stopped in traffic. There was a rather large guy wearing a sign to advertise for a local shop ... picking his nose (not even being descrete). He rolls down the window and yells "HEY...STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE!!!".

Random memories

- I was born Nov 18, 1978 in Irvington, NJ.
- My father is from Shanghi and Hong Kong China and moved here when he was 21. Mom moved to NJ/NY when she was 4.
- I lived at 547 Andress Terr, Union NJ 07083 for about 21 years. My phone number was 687-5673...and back in the day, you didn't need to prefix the number with an area code. I miss that house :(
- My father used to mark how tall my sister and I were on the side of the kitchen pantry.
- I fit the Asian stereo type of being good at math and loving rice.
- I ran over my sister with a friend's bike because it did not have brakes...purely accidental.
- My grandparents disliked each other greatly, but did not believe in divorce. They event slept in separate bedrooms, but loved my sister and I very much.
- The first video game system I ever played was the colecovision

Hello World!

Not sure how many people are going to follow this blog. As most of you know, I am nicknamed the "absent minded professor". I have a lot on my plate and have a tendency to forget. Because of my Grandmother's senility and recent events, it's kept in check about how short life is. This blog is a way for me to remember and so my son and future children will be able to learn from my experiences growing up. Here we go :)