Panda's First Smile

Panda's First Smile
PandaPig's First Smile!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Slideshow | Day 2: J.R. Celski in the 1500m | NBC Olympics

Mom was in the middle of cleaning pig poo, washing water bottles, repacing soiled bedding, and trying to cajole me into a new type of piggie sleep-sack that I'm not really crazy about when Edwin called.


Vancouver will not sleep tonight after their short-track victories, but we knew that.

Edwin's favorite new opening to mom is: "Guess where I am?' or "Guess who I'm with?" and now there is nothing she wouldn't believe.

"I'm kinda in the middle of pig poo..."


Well, back in the day when J.R. was young, a speedy little fella, we skated with his team down in Federal Way, where Apolo also got his start on ice from inline skating. Since you don't see too many Filipinos on the ice, Edwin spent lots of time talking with J.R.'s dad and family about the Philippines and speedskating and how much potential J.R. had; it was obvious even then he was special.

Apparently, they remembered Edwin and invited him onto their "Celski bus" where they all went as one big family downtown together. Vancouver EXPLODED in celebration after all the short-track gold medals Team Canada won. The Celskis wanted to invite Edwin to America House but you had to be on "the list" (read: an athlete, family, or movie star) so Edwin couldn't stay with them but it turns out J.R.'s aunt lives right down the street from Edwin in Seattle! So they talked awhile, too. J.R. has a tight-knit family, as does Edwin; Filipinos take great pride in their families, so he fit right in, just didn't have the cred to celebrate at the American Olympic House with all the A-list celebs.

Soon, the Canadians got drunk enough to start yelling nasty things about the Americans, so Edwin turned off the main drag where he ran into Lori Matsukawa ,TV News anchor for KING5 in Seattle, covering the Olympics locally for NBC! She wasn't too keen about all the anti-American sentiment brewing downtown, either.

Back when mom was a newspaper photographer covering Asian & international ethnic celebrations throughout Seattle, she photographed Lori Matsukawa at a Bon Odori Festival, and later had her photographs published in a book called, what was that book called, mom?

"I dunno. Gotta clean water bottles. Who is peeing so much? I'm running out of litter."

Mom not awake.

So Edwin walked away from the maddening crowd with Lori, and since the city will not sleep tonight, we hope he finds a safe little hidey-hole in which to sleep before catching an early bus back here. He could stay longer but he saw and experienced what he went there for, so we expect he'll be dragging his tired little carcass through the door while mom keeps her earplugs in and tells him not to wake her up.

Which means he'll wake us up to lots of yummies and play with us! Wheeeek! We like!

We don't know who else Edwin will run into or where he will spend the rest of his Olympic adventure, but it sure has been exciting having him around us piggies!

Mom asked if I could shut down (what she calls "the clamshell") laptop so she can finish getting the three of us ready for bed.

It's fun to be a guinea pig and hear stories about people adventures because in our heads we have our own Olympics but they consist more in seeing who can eat the most, the fastest! And it's usually Bear, the Beaver Pig. But silver medal is a toss-up between me and YumYum. And it's never too late to go for Gold! Especially when that next crop of home-grown wheatgrass comes in.

Sweet dreams, you beautiful world. Please love one another.

Panda Out!


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Dear Readers,

Once more, Edwin enjoys his Olympic kismet and, backpack in tow, ticketless as always, he has magically secured a ticket for the hottest show in town tonight, the Men's 500 meter finals and the Short-Track Relay!

He is pictured here hobnobbing with members of the Russian Olympic contingency who warmly invited him to Sochi to attend their Olympics four years from now. They gave him lots of Sochi stuff and he has friends in Russia  from when he taught Aikido and Kung Fu there way before he met Mom. Edwin is the one in the middle holding his bag of Olympic souvenirs for mom.

Tonight, in a small coffeeshop, he and the Iranian proprietor recognized one another as classmates from college in the Philippines... isn't it a small world! They both reminesced in fluent Tagalog, hugged, and cried  before Edwin again off to the Coliseum. Somewhere he obtained an "unobtainable" ticket, then ran into a member (or maybe the captain) of our team in Everett, WA, for whom Edwin had customed designed special gloves for use on those dangerous turns on the ice. (Edwin makes artificial limbs and his custom skating gloves were so popular he was encouraged to go into business selling him but he preferred skating.)

He then ran into the infamous Stephen Bradbury, Aussie short-track speedskater who won gold in the race (or, shall we say, CRASH!) that put Apolo Anton Ohno and short-track speedskating on the map back in Salt Lake City 8 years ago. Apolo and a Korean were battling it out for gold when, as the Korean approached the finish line, he made a BigAssB00-BOO, CREATING ONE OF THE MOST dramatic, bloodcurdling crashes in speedskating history! Mr. Bradbury was twiddling his thumbs way behind Ohno and the other Koreans because he could see that something he wanted no part of was about to happen!

He was right.

It did.

Thus, Mr.Bradbury, being the last (and maybe only) skater standing, glided smoothly across the finish line for gold, casually remarking in his lovely Aussie accent: "Sometimes the sun shines on a dog's ass." It must be an Aussie saying because we guinea pigs do not understand it.

What happened next kindled Korean death threats against Apolo because our hero, splattered in blood, summoned every ounce of his courage and strength to drag his torn-to-bits Lycra clad body across the finish line for Silver. A stunning photo of the crash appeared in a two-page spread in Sports Illustrated, the Korean was disqualified or something bad happened to him for "impeding" so instead of winning gold, our polite Korean displayed  good sportsmanship by taking his Korean flag and, instead of wrapping it around him in his presumptive victory lap, he threw the flag upon the ice and, enraged, began stomping on it with his skates like a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.  Mom told us that was not good manners and not for any of us to ever behave like that.

In protest, the entire country of Korea issued so many death threat against Apolo that the Olympic computers actually crashed! And poor Apolo then had to remain sequestered in Olympic Village for the rest of the Games with bodyguards. He went on to win more races and, as a joke, a TV broadcaster from Apolo's native Seattle fabricated Ohno's signature "soul patch" out of black felt then wore it on his next TV broadcast.  Overnight, the soul-patch was a sensation and EVERYBODY started making and wearing soul patches; some guys even used mascara to make it look like they had grown one overnight. That's a real man, for ya. Nothing says "I've got Gold-medal courage" on a guy like mascara facial hair.  Humans baffle us.

Apolo's historic "courage-under-fire" effort and silver medal in the wake of that now infamous crash, Korea's rabid hatred of him, death threats that crashed Olympic computers, combined with Ohno's signature soul patch and headband put short-track speedskating ON THE MAP, people!  That is how the world learned about mom's favorite sport of thrills and spills on the ice and why not a ticket was to be found for tonight's finale (except by Edwin, somehow): BECAUSE tonight's races herald Apolo Anton Ohno's his last Olympic appearance!

And Edwin is reporting exclusively for our blog, LIVE FROM THE COLISEUM! TONIGHT!

But we're hungry and wants our carrots now.  Mom? MOM? HUNGRY.


(Editor's Note: Translate above as "FEED US NOW, please.")

We wish Apolo and his team-mates Godspeed.  And we hope Edwin finds a nice place to spend the night.

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