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alice in wonderland charas



alice in wonderland


by John J. Coughlin

Autumn winds are dying
As winter rears its head.
Soon the land will sleep again
In the silence of the dead.

The gray sky seems a blanket.
The golden trees now bare;
Their branches reach out to the sky
To grasp the misty air.

Dark browns replace the orange
And grays replace the blue
Soon snow will change this landscape
As the spiral dance holds true

The silence will be welcomed
By a solitary crow.
An eerie song of mystery
That few will ever know.

For winter keeps its secrets,
The ones not hard to hide.
The answer’s all around us,
But the question sleeps inside.

Winter is a very sad season. Perhaps not so much for those who live in warm climates like California or Singapore, but for us here on the Northeastern seaboard, it’s pretty depressing. During winter, the world sits down and puts its head in its hands, like an aging woman who has nothing to do but stare into a mirror and watch herself grow old.

The college students return home from the excitement of their hallowed halls of learning, many of them unhappy to be back to a place they wanted to leave behind. The grown-ups shrug their shoulders and sigh as they turn up the heat, glancing unhappily at the mounting electricity and heating bills. Winter is definitely a depressing month.

I used to like winter. The holiday season was exciting, with presents and parties. But this year, suddenly, I feel old. As I glance outside of my bedroom window at the teenaged oak tree dangling its leaves in the wind, the white dust slowly chilling the life out of the grass, and the perpetually white winter sky, I remember all the years that have already passed (17 in total). All those memories from arriving at Central Elementary School for the first day of 2nd grade to fooling around with my classmates in Beijing compete with each other for precedence in my mind. Or maybe I’m just growing old.

People do have a tendency, I suppose, to act like this, to reminisce when they are transitioning from one phase of their life to another. Maybe that is the “secret” of winter – memories – winter is a slow drowsy month during which the world falls asleep and memories float to the surface. After all, when winter passes, a new year comes and a new spring and the world has changed again. So we reminisce during these cold winter months.

As Humphrey Bogart says in Casablanca, Here’s to looking at you winter. And here’s to remembering.


They say summer strawberries are the best – the sweetest, the ripest, the most divine – it’s as if they soaked in all that cheery sunshine which shimmers into shiny heat waves and causes that nice cold cone of vanilla icecream to look positively delectable.

But there are many other summer things that are also the best. Summer friendships are some of the purest, formed out of sheer, uninhibited fun when we aren’t hackled down by the double millstones of school and work. And summer love stories, although they rarely develop into serious romances, are light-hearted and whimsical.

So here’s to summer – beautiful, capricious summer who marks the end of school …. & the beginning of life.

Updates on the SzeChuan earthquake greeting card sales will be forthcoming shortly.

But, all the same, life goes on.

AP exams are officially over (YEESSSSS!!!!) so my life is looking pretty rosy as of the moment. Great American Debates in History and Satire in English. What more need I say?

For the debates, I am/was representing Millard Fillmore, our forgotten 13th President. In my opinion, I did a pretty good showing against Truman, but Fillmore definitely didn’t do much to help his own reputation (though I must admit, he didn’t do much to hurt it either, Fillmore was as clean as Nixon was dirty). But, it must be remembered that we have Fillmore to thank for sushi, manga, Toyotas, and pineapples – he sent Perry to scare the living daylights out of the Japanese and warned the French to keep their croissant-eating hands off Hawaii.

On the topic of Presidents, I am officially endorsing McCain. After being a Democrat for 17 years, I have immigrated to the Republican camp. All I can say is(, unseriously), I am very disgusted with Democratic presidents and their marital/sexual relations with(out) Monica Lewinsky & co.

President Grover Cleveland: not only had relations with a woman who slept with both him and his mentor, fathering a child, but also married a girl he was acting as a surrogate father to

President Woodrow Wilson: even though the US was on the brink of entering World War I, he still contemplated suicide after his first wife died. He then went on to use state secrets to seduce his second wife who was, I regret to say, a bookstore clerk or something like that. She was even taught the secret codes used by the Allies and allowed to translate the coded messages.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: he not only was once about to divorce Eleanor Roosevelt (who was his cousin, by the way) for a mistress named Lucy, he also resumed relations with Lucy when he was President and, instead of Eleanor, Lucy was the one by his side when he died

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: ask Marilyn Monroe

President William Jefferson Clinton: need I say more??

“The Presidents” by the History Channel is a wonderful venue for the lowdown on all our nation’s leaders =]

May 12, 2008.

Most of the world was stunned. Many cried or scrambled to contact loved ones. Some laughed and said China had it coming (and I hope those people are able to do the same when its their turn. Otherwise, just shut up, nobody wants to hear what you have to say.) But all the same, over ten thousand people – parents, children, husbands&wives, friends, enemies, debtors, employers – lay dead. A whole province was flattened. If you’re still able to claim divine judgement now, there’s something seriously wrong with your moral compass.

Out of the many touching stories, I have selected this one.

An elderly man lay buried underneath the rubble for about 22 hours. When rescued, he used the last of his energy to write some words in blood on his forearm. Pointing to his arm when his daughter rushed to her dying father, he told her, “This is my last will and testament,” and then passed away. On his arm, using the blood that wouldn’t stop flowing from his wounds, he had written, “I owe Mr. Wang $500.”

These are honourable, upright people who deserve our sympathy and help.

To add animal tragedy to human deaths, Sze Chuan province, the most shaken area, is the home of the Giant Panda, an endangered species that is native to only China. The homes of these gentle giants have been decimated as well as those of their human counterparts, leaving many pandas traumatized and in desperate need of therapy.

My friends and I are currently in the process of organizing a fundraiser for the benefit of those (animal and human alike) who are affected by the earthquake. Harmony & Sharon, both excellent artists, will be designing a greeting card. These cards, once the design is completed, will be available for sale online. Please, help these people who have lost their homes, their families, and maybe even their limbs. I will have further details posted in about a week.


The sky saggs low with convoluted cloud,
Heavy and imminent, rolled from rim to rim.
A bank of fog blots out sight the brim
Of the leaden sea, all spiritless and cowed.
The rain is falling sheer and strong and loud,
The strand is desolate, the distance grim
With threats of storm, the wet stones glimmer dim,
And to the wall the dank umbrellas crowd.
At home…the dank shrubs whisper dismal mooded,
Black chimney-shadows streak the shiny slates,
The eaves are strung with drops, and steeped the grasses,
A draggled fishwife screeches at the gates,
The baker hurries dripping on, and hooded
In her wet prints a pretty housemaid passes.

W. E. Henley (1888) A Book of Verses


Rain is my friend. Whenever it rains, I can’t help wanting to play “Kiss the Rain” by Yiruma with its soft, tinkling notes and cantabile feel.

Three scenes with rain:

1. The soft gray of the rain clouds paints across the sky and silver streaks of rain fall peacefully to the earth.

2. A drenching wall of water crashes down with a growl and breaks into a million glassy shards as the black clouds look on.

3. The sun shines, even though the pitter-patter of raindrops is heard. Standing outside in the oppressive heat, I watch as each droplet which reaches the ground immediately dissolves into mist, joining the dreamlike clouds which hover about my knees.

About the last scenario, they say that if you hold a mirror to your heart, close your eyes, and walk into a sunshower, you will hear the voice of the future. Interesting, n’est-ce pas?

What I want, now that the rainy season is here:


Finally some time to settle down and BLOG.

November is one of my most beloved months. It’s nostalgic without really having any actual memories, just, November comes around and all this hazy emo-ness washes over me. November makes me feel Blue (no pun intended).

There’s always these one or two songs that keep replaying themselves in an endless loop through my mind when I feel November winding his arms around me (Yes, November is a male, I just know it – intuition, duh). Even though I’ve been pretty over Jay Chou and all his depression, November is officially painted by his album “November’s Chopin”. For some reason, “Feng” “Nocturne” and “Black Sweater” define November for me (and yes, they are emo songs) with a background of “Nocturne 1” from “Trois Nocturnes” by Chopin.

Even while not possessing any vrai memories for me, November is the month of vivid memories. It is the month that creeps in right after Halloween, capitalizing on the sober feelings that always, unfailingly, come knocking after unchecked revelry. It makes us feel old.

There is always these two memories of November that I like to replay in my mind. One is of sitting in the empty fairgrounds while my younger sister flew a kite and just staring at the brilliant blue sky. The leaves of the trees were the most shimmering shades of red and gold – I have the landscape I rendered in oil pastels to prove it. The other is less exhuberant, but more in touch with the sombre beauty of November (almost like a lovely young widow in black crepe mourning). It is one of my regular solitary promenades and the sky was overcast, the softest shade of grieving gray. The air was chilly, not bitingly cold, but with an iciness that immediately touched one’s heart. I was depressed, I remember, about nothing in particular.

But then, there’s also the November of Rutgers Model UN and Christmas shopping and no school. And, suddenly, I’m in love with life again.

Emo-ness begone!

“You’re mad. I’m mad. You must be mad, or you wouldn’t have come here” quoth the Cheshire Cat

A welcome is in order, I suppose, to my madhouse of a life. In fact, I have about (checks watch) ten seconds to finish typing this and then jump into my dad’s new Prius (a hybrid bought when he finally buckled under my seventh grader sister’s environmentalist ultimatums) to get to my friend’s dinner at Chili’s with no time to spare. And I have just gotten back from a veritable CIRCUS of a morning literally speeding between SAT IIs, photocopying at Staple’s, and birthday present shopping. But I will be updating again, hopefully soon, with the latest updates on my hectic life and tidbits of insight regarding what’s hot and what’s not in CC’s little wonderland.

Through the Looking Glass


Read Me

An Asian American girl named after a once-upon-a-time Bavarian princess turned Austrian Queen who spends her days laughing and dreaming and obsessing (over K/J-dramas). Dark chocolate is sensuous and makes me melt. Frappucinos are my (legal) drug. Pikachu is mon cheri amour and Tomoko is my hero. AP French worksheets and SAT practice tests are great time-killers. And, above all, I love the sound of R.A.I.N

The Rabbit Hole