ISO: The Keys to Happiness

Don’t laugh too hard or milk will come out of your nose too!

Now ya gotta ask yourself: whose the tea drinker in this house?
Ai-ya! Get a
towel quick!
hard to argue with free pizza!
‘W’ key negotiations

Now I don’t often
ask much of you via my updates, preferring to beg for favors more
personally than this, but today I have a special problem.

Last night, in
reaction to spilled tea, someone tried to dry Jingmei’s laptop keyboard by
putting a lamp near the keys. Now I’m not gonna elaborate on how tea came
to be sloshing across the keyboard, or whose
brilliant idea it was to put a heat source so close to soft plastic, for
WWIII in the close confines of Jingmei’s dorm room would not be pretty.
Lets just say it happened.

This morning I spent
a few hours on hold with several different IBM call centers trying to
track down replacements for the now-melted keys. With suggestions to buy a
whole new keyboard or laptop I gave up on that boatload of fools to look
elsewhere, which is where you come in.

I’m in need of the
2, 3, Q, W, E, A, S, and spacebar keys that fit a 390x IBM Thinkpad. If
you happen to have a junked laptop, or you need an excuse to torment your
coworkers/boss/ex-lover, and the back of the keys has ‘1C-NB’
stamped on them in tiny letters (the keys’ model number), would you grab a
few for me?

I’ll be happy to pay
for any shipping costs, though if you get slapped/fired/spanked in the
process I will deny any responsibility. Oh, and I don’t seem to be alone
in my search for keys

The Washington Post, January 23, 2001

Purloined Letter

By Lloyd Grove, Washington Post Staff Writer

Incoming staffers of
the Bush White House are apparently victims of a practical joke
perpetrated by their predecessors. Bush aides settling into the Old
Executive Office Building have discovered that many computer keyboards in
their work-spaces are missing the W key — as in President Bush’s middle

‘There are
dozens, if not hundreds, of keyboards with these missing keys,’ a
White House aide told us yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity to
confirm reports from two Republican sources. ‘In some cases the W is
marked out, but the most prevalent example is the key being removed. In
some cases the W keys have been taped on top of the doorways, which are 12
feet tall. In other cases the key is just damaged, with the spring broken
or removed.’

The Bush aide added
that the damaged keyboards are being found ‘in any number of
different offices and divisions at the Old EOB. It has the technical and
computer support people very busy. They already have quite a lot to do. I
don’t believe they expected to be coping with this as well. I think
they’re working to repair or replace the equipment, whatever they can

Our efforts to reach
former staffers of Al Gore and Bill Clinton were mostly unsuccessful
yesterday, but Gore campaign press secretary Chris Lehane, tongue in
cheek, fielded our request for an explanation: ‘My guess is that the
White House did not have many reasons to use the letter W over the last
couple of years. It’s possible they just fell off because of sheer
atrophy.’ Lehane added: ‘I think the missing W’s can be
explained by the vast left-wing conspiracy now at work.’

The Bride and Groom Bubble Dash

What’s a good wedding without bubbles?

the 'before' photo
You see any guests over there?
now its official!
Now sign on the dotted line..
time to make the mad dash
Watch out! Bubbles!
Through the cold to Paddyfield Restaurant
Sean: calling Ma & Pa
look closely at that date...
Of course there was cake!
this cake was cut, not thrown
No cake fight this time
you go Elena!
Now that’s happiness!
Ain't we cute together!
Mr. & Mrs. Vota
My wedding day really started the night before, where by midnight, I was
working my way through the list of tasks assigned to me by my cousin Sean
and friend Kevin, both investment bankers in Singapore and London,

Full of their usual surprises, I was only just able to veto the bondage
babes that Kevin was a little too keen to employ for our evening in
London. Unfortunately, there was no way I could get out of Sean’s ring
& strap bondage gear he brought all the way from Sydney’s ‘Tool
Shed’ just for the occasion.

I’m not gonna admit to anything here, but lets just say it was a damn
good night, that somehow became day way too fast. So fast that I only
stopped drinking when daylight came and I had to catch the train to
Oxford. Boy was that a long and cold ride too!

Apparently, the English don’t know about modern heating methods,
preferring sunlight and spring to heat homes, leaving their rail
passengers to freeze on cold Saturday mornings.

When I finally stumbled back to Jingmei’s, she was in full wedding-prep
mode working her makeup cache for just the right look. Jingmei wore a pale
purple top and a beautiful purplely-grey dress with matching shoes, while
I went with the traditional black suit and funky Picasso tie. I tired to
sleep a little sobriety into myself while we waited for Sean, Kevin, and
the taxi to arrive. Then we were off!

At the registrar’s office, I stood outside in the cold air, gaining
strength from the crisp morning while I kept an eye out for our guests.
Slowly our very varied witnesses made their way into the wedding room,
creating a mini-UN with our twelve guests representing Australia, America,
China, England, Japan, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa.

Jingmei and I really wanted our parents to be at the wedding too, but
visas and airfares are not simple matters when families are on either end
of the globe and weddings are not planned years in advance. Both our
parents made us promise there will be more weddings in the future, in
their respective countries as soon as we can afford to fly around the
world to do it.

The ceremony was pretty intense for all of us, with the intimate
gathering accentuating the very public declaration that Jingmei and I were
making. Yes, we both said, ‘I do,’ though that wasn’t where this
whole day really hit home.

It was when we put rings on each other and recited the full ‘I
take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife.’ That’s when I
realized just how amazing the wedding ceremony is, for the guests as well
as the participants.

Once we finished speaking, it was time for the signing. Jingmei and I
signed the wedding certificate, with my cousin signing as my witness and
Jingmei’s Japanese classmate signing as hers. Funny enough, both guys’
writing was so squiggly that each had to print their name also.

Next, we had to run the bubble gauntlet. Sean’s idea to use bubble
instead of rice was cool when he thought of it in warm Singapore, but a
whole different idea on a cold January morning! Jingmei and I ran for our
lives, barely escaping without icicles forming from all the soapy mix
exploding around us.

As we made our dash, a crowd formed to watch the
spectacle. They
turned out to be the next wedding party and all Chinese! Seeing them
looking at us in shock, I was glad I married the wild woman I

We then lead the mass sprint to the reception at a local Chinese
restaurant. We chose this restaurant in an odd way, by following the
recommendation of our waiter at the first Chinese restaurant we went to!
So, the next time you’re in Oxford, skip the Opium Den in favor of the
Pattyfield Restaurant.

The food did turn out to be delicious, with Jingmei’s choices pleasing
everyone. Everyone but me that is, since I was so hungover from the night
before I couldn’t eat much past a few nibbles of Peking Duck. As we
munched along, the highlight of the reception arrived: the cake.

Now I know it was a bit much to spend 100 GBP on a cake, but I felt I
had to for a very simple reason. Heart-shaped cakes played a fun role in
our courtship and I felt that we needed one to complete our wedding.

It turned out to be money well spent. The icing was so think and he
well arranged that Jingmei thought it was a box with the cake inside. Only
when we cut into the cake did she fully understand it was edible.

And eat it we did, though this time without the cake fights that
followed our other cake consumption experiences. It turned out to be a
delicious fruitcake with wonderful marzipan frosting topped by a cut
flower arrangement that matched Jingmei’s dress and bouquet.

Speaking of bouquets, it was time for Jingmei to toss hers, so all the
ladies in attendance (what, you think I would hang with married women?)
formed a competitive group while their respective boyfriends tried
desperately to hold them back.

Jingmei turned around, tossed, and watched with laughter as Elena dove
out and snagged the bouquet with both hands. To applause, she smiled and
bowed, but did not relax her iron-fisted grip on those flowers.

With all the traditional ceremonies finished, all the guests full, and
the bride and groom exhausted, it was time to head home.

Jingmei and I had a great night, well after a nap first, and now we’re
living in our marital bliss. Thanks to all our wonderful guests for making such
a great day in our lives, and thank you my loyal reader for enjoying this
day again as you read this.

the Artiste formerly known as Stud Cuz (tAfkaSC)
by Sean

This part of the web page should be read with an Aussie (No Seppo, say that like it has two Zed’s) accent, as I’m Wayan’s Australian cousin, Sean.

When I was nearly 3, he taught me how to pee my name in the snow, “look Ma, no hands!” He used to be the coolest guy I knew. Yesterday I gave him a pair of old mans slippers to keep him warm & comfortable as he prepares for the life of a happily married man. Stud Cuz is no longer, now he’s the Artiste formerly known as Stud Cuz (tAfkaSC).

As we were walking down the street to the reception, and I was on the phone to Wayan’s parents explaining to them they now had a married son, it struck me that it was certainly a very unusual day.

Over the past few years of watching Wayan’s exploits in Florida 1998 and Australia 2000 it seemed that the swingingest single man I knew was about to settle down. After taking lessons in extroversion and how to go that one step further, from the master himself, I realized where this sort of behaviour could lead you: straight into a life sentence of (blissful?!) wedlock. I will certainly be more careful now about whom I talk to in the bars of Singapore!

As the Artiste formerly known as Stud Cuz prepares to actually settle down, it is amazing to see a whole new side of him come out. The last time I saw him, he was a travel-weary bum in Australia, who thought that hitchhiking from Sydney to Perth via Melbourne was a good idea – clearly he was a mad dog.

Now he thinks that settling down and even getting a job (god forbid!) in Washington DC is a good idea, has anything changed? Well, it has, for he now has a beautiful wife that he adores, (I won’t go into the details, however a particular episode of Seinfeld goes close) he can cook great Chinese, he cleans dishes and clothes, and in general makes Jingmei a happy woman. Scary stuff, I know.

Join me in wishing Wayan & Jingmei all the happiness, success and love they deserve for their lives together and check out the rest of this website from the man himself – tAfkaSC – and his unique views on the world.

An Invitation…

An very special invitation to a very special day

Jingmei and I looking good in Beijing Wayan Vota and Jingmei Liu

request the honor of your presence

at a very special occasion:


On Saturday, the twentieth of January

in the year two thousand and one

at eleven o’clock in the morning

at the Oxford Registrar Office

1 Tidmarsh Lane, Oxford, United Kingdom

A reception will follow the ceremony

Hey, its Midnight!

Happy New Year America!

Just like Mr Ulyanov
Dad, pointing the way!
So its now the 21st Century, eh? If ask me, its not much
different from the 20th, really. Take last night for example.

I went out with my folks to the annual dance my Dad’s club throws each
New Year’s Eve. As usual, Pa danced his funky white boy grove while Ma
kept her slow grind going. The two of them, experienced dances both, were
on the floor from our arrival to our departure.

As it was a small town dance, the local DJ spun the best and worst of
the last 30 years. The kids tried to co-op the evening with the latest rap
hits until the parents stepped up and thew on such ‘classic’
dance tunes as ‘Love Shack,’ and ‘Electric Slide.’

Buddha bellies and big hair competed with tie-dye shirts and leather
mini-skirts as the crowd ebbed and flowed. Thankfully, there were no
stonewashed jeans, but I did see a few cowboy boots and a lone Stetson (it

the South after all).

Now this morning looks just like yesterday, with warm sunshine
streaming through the windows and calling me out to tan. I’m so glad my
folks love the sun as much as I do and are willing to head to the beach
for a morning swim. All three of us are fighting our respective Buddha
bellies to try and stay thin amid the onslaught of Holiday eating.

I hope your New Years is just as pleasant, and your DJ looked at his
watch before 12:05 am too.

Time to Tan

I even tried to tan while barreling down I-95 at 85 mph!

I always travel cheap
POP! Goes the Wayan
Great Aerodynamics, eh?
Guess what Dad got!
You know they've been married a while
And he gets a kiss too!
Here I am, screaming down I-95 at 85
miles per hour, and I’m getting passed! After a five year hiatus from
driving, long enough for my license to expire and my skills to dull, I’m
back on the roads again and America sure has changed. When I left, the
speed limit was 65 mph, and anything over 75 mph was a hefty fine. Now,
I’m getting passed at 85 mph!

traffic is not the only thing
passing me by; I’m back in Florida for the holidays trying to keep my cool
under an onslaught of shopping and sun tanning.

Its been three wonderful years of
shop-less Christmases for me, with only minimal gifts in Russia and a
moped ride in Laos, so you can imagine my shock when I’m handed shopping
flyers as I push my way out of customs in Chicago.

Down here in Vero, the
commercialism isn’t so bad, but I did have a Moscow Metro flashback as I
elbowed my way through the Mall. Shopping for Ma and Pa was hard. What do
you get for Americans who have everything?

I do know what to get for a
beautiful young lady across the pond in UK. One of those gold shiny things
that she wants to wear on her finger. Of course, that is the hardest
present of all, for whatever I choose will be closely scrutinized by that
young lady for years to come.

In the past week, I drove a few
hundred miles, traveling between Vero, Palm Beach, and Orlando to visit
old friends and look for the right gifts. With my usual skill, I’m not
spending all my time in the car. I’ve found ingenious ways to catch a few
rays in the process.

At first I just went to the beach
to work on my tan, as one would do in a town called Vero Beach, but as the
weather has gone unusually cold, I’m now forced to lay out at the pool.
Yeah, hard life I live.

PS: Mom, you know I was only
kidding about the 85-mph part. Call it creative writing, because I would
never exceed the posted speed limit in your car.