Thursday, December 28, 2006

"First comes love, then comes marriage..."

Via Angry Asian Man comes news of a new "Asian American Wedding Blog Community started by the bride half of Hyphen Magazine's charity speed-dating's most successful match.

She writes, "Anyway, I'd love to somehow create a community for Asian American brides and grooms - both those who are planning their weddings and those who have already gone through their nuptuals - to share our experiences with each other." Interracial and same-sex couples are also welcome, she notes.

I assume that most of us fall into the "already gone through their nuptials" category [though hey, I could be wrong, and who am I to discriminate based on received stereotypes of traditional family structures? heh...], so why don't we go on over and share the wisdom of our experience? Heh. That means, of course, remind them (warn them?) of what comes after the wedding. You all know how the old rhyme ends....

Friday, December 22, 2006

New TV Series Puts Rice Daddy and His Kids Centerframe

For the first time since Margaret Cho's ill-fated All American Girl, there's an Asian American TV series in potential play: My Life Disoriented. Here's the breakdown:
    "Life gets turned upside down for Kimberlee and Aimee Fung when their father decides to leave his well-paying corporate executive job in San Francisco and move the family to Bakersfield, CA. Moving in with grandparents and helping out with the family business, a massage parlor called “Touch of the Orient,” add to the remodeling of their lives. If the social pressure of starting at a new high school in the middle of the school year weren’t enough, Kimberlee and Aimee are among only a handful of Asian American kids at North High. They soon realize that every choice they make—from where to sit at lunch to what clubs to join—will determine where and if they fit in."
Some of our fave talents are involved including director Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes) and actor Dennis Dun (where has he been the last, you know, 15 years?) and PBS is going to give the ep its first run in the next week or so (it will be on in L.A. and S.F. on 12/26).

We haven't seen anything from this but youtube clips are here and here. We're probably just a little older than the target demographic (from the sound of it, this show sounds like My So-Called Life meets, um, uh, uh, well - this is the point, there IS no comparison with in the Asian American media world. Maybe if they're lucky enough to get picked up, Yul Kwon can guest.

--Poppa Large

The "S" word

Psst. Hey, so um, are you guys doing the Santa thing?

Yeah I know, its kind of hokey, and kind of traditional, and yeah, I know Santa is a big bearded white guy. But, dude, being Asian-American means being able to cherry-pick the best from the Buffet of Multiculturalism, and a fat man handing out presents sounds pretty upside to me.

The thing is, Rabbit Dragon, my first grader, he kind of suspects. You know, that it's me and Mrs Thisislarry. It's like we have to lie to him, you know just a little bit, just to keep it up one more time, like a jewel thief doing his last heist so he can retire.

No worries, I've got it figured out though: when the gig is up, we'll say something sweet about how "we're ALL Santa's helpers" and the music will swell and the credits will roll. And We. Will. Be. Heroes.

But, shit, you're right, I forgot about Princess Pony, she's still in preschool. So, yeah, that means I've got to recruit Rabbit Dragon into the deception for a couple of years, until we can make the sequel, and HE (played by Yul, of course) can be the one that says to his sister, [zoom to close up] "But sis, we're ALL Santa's helpers."

So, I guess we're already in it, in too deep to get out now. Last year the big S wrote the kids a thank you note. It didn't really make an impression, not like the extra set of presents did. Its almost like...

Hey, wait, you think they KNOW? You think we're being played? Dude, I didn't even think of it that way, but wow, you know, I don't know, I don't know. You think they KNOW?

Oh man, too late now, I have to run. Have to get something to put in those socks up by the anachronistic fire pit sticking out the side of my house. Wish me luck, Princess Pony is home from school today and I don't think I can Oh shit she's coming in right now I have to

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Can We Talk About Anything Other Than Race?

Ancient Asian Secrets: The secret world of a secret race. A Primer for Some Places in America.

10. Are all Asians the same? The single most horrible story about absolute utter indefensible ignorance that I have ever heard takes place in an undergraduate sociology class at UC Berkeley for god sake. This is hearsay, since it was recounted to me by my wife. During a discussion section for a sociology course at UC Freaking Berkeley, a student asked the following question:

“How do Asian parents know what their kids are when they’re born?”

Ok try to think about that question. What could she possibly be asking? I’ll repeat the question.

“How do Asian parents know what their kids are when they’re born?”

Ok let’s probe. Ummm what the hell are you asking?

“I mean, how do the parents know if their kid comes out Japanese or Chinese?”

You have got to be pulling my leg. Are you serious? Are you actually wondering if a Chinese Mom and a Chinese Dad have a baby, what RACE ETHNICITY the child will be? Do you not understand Race? Ethnicity? Genetics? Do you think it’s random? Are we a magical people? How the hell did you get into Berkeley?!

Ok now wait a second. Somewhere, in America, somewhere, there is somebody reading this that is saying….”I can’t wait to hear the answer”

The answer is…You have to let the Doctor tell you.

9. Why are Asians so smart? Asians are not smart. Asians get good grades. Big difference. How do they get such good grades? That’s like asking someone how come their kids are so good at not robbing stores.

“Hey Jim, you know I really got to compliment you on your kids. Man I’ve known them since they were still in diapers. Tell me a secret. How did you raise them to not rob liquor stores? I really got to know your secret. Is it genetic?”

If you think it is as important for your child to get an A as it is to not rob a liquor store…believe me they’re gonna get A’s. In my house getting a B is like robbing a liquor store. No I’m not kidding. Getting a B is throwing your future away. Think about that. Will you let your kid throw their future away? Of course not. The simple formula works. Get good grades, go to college, get good grades, go to grad school, get good grades, get paid 6 figures, THEN do whatever the hell you want and thank me later. A man can give up everything and pursue his dream at the age of 30. There’s plenty of life to live at the age of 30. Get your MD, OD, DO, PharmD, JD, MBA, PHD or any combination of the above and then be a bad ass and throw it all away to join the circus…it’s a better story that way. Until then shut up and study. (I had really crappy grades by the way, like 3.9999999999999999999999999997 <--------- Ouch! Damn PE)

8. Hmmm I think I ran out of stereotypes. Someone throw me a stereotype. No not driving. Don’t bring up driving. The Japanese invented Drifting so don’t bring up driving. Car culture in Southern California is driven by minorities, Asians, Latinos, African Americans. These kids can drive. Why their parents can’t…hell I don’t know. But it’s NOT genetic. Nor cultural. In fact have you ever driven in Seoul? It’s like driving in Rome…those guys are freaking nuts. You need serious driving skill to keep up in these cities.

7. Karate. Yes it’s true all Asians know karate. Except for the ones that know Kung-Fu. Or Hapkido. Or Jeet Kun What. Or Aikido. Or Ryukyo Kempo. Or SF2Turbo Fighting Edition.

6. Take off your shoes. Would you lick the bottom of your shoe? Why not? What? Because what? Because it’s dirty? Damn right it’s dirty. Take your damn shoes off.

5. Asian Men aren’t sexy. How the hell would I know?

4. Asian women are HOT. YES!

3. Asian women are subservient. Um look at my shirt. You know why it looks like crap? Because I ironed it myself. Any other questions?

2. Asians get red when they drink. You know it’s really funny how people associate getting red with getting drunk. “Man DUDE you are SOOOOooooo RED! Are you OK????” Hell yeah I’m red. I get red instantly. Alcohol dehydrogenase and it’s mutant variant being unable to bind with cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and all that crap. But I am not drunk. I used to keep a running count in college about how many comments I would get in one night. The average was in the 20’s, the highs were in the 60’s. Even fellow Asians. Duuuuude you are so Red! And why does everyone call me dude? I mean seriously, I know I’m from California right, but I get called Dude more than the average Californian in California. Just look at the comments I get here in RiceDaddies. Dude this and Dude that. Whatsupwiththat? It is absolutely true that a lot of Asians get red. This is not a myth. It just doesn’t bother me. Like most Koreans, I got over it by the end of grade school.

1. Asian men make good dads. That’s right ladies. Asian men make great dads! Hahahahaha MY ASS! I work too hard. And I’m narcissistic. Here I am on a Dad forum just posting random crap as usual. Where the hell is the parenting content in this post? I’m so gonna be the first dad kicked off the island. Son I love you! I love you son! Study hard boy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yul Kwon Wins Survivor: What it Means for the Asian-American Male

When I first heard that the CBS show "Survivor" was playing the race card and dividing teams among ethnic lines, I have to admit that I was more than a little intrigued. I'd never watched "Survivor" before and although I viewed the first episode with a little trepidation, I was disappointed to see the producers abandon the race aspect of the show fairly quickly. So much for controversy.

But, by that time, it was too late. I was completely hooked.

Why? Because early on, I thought that Yul Kwon was one of the best representations of the modern Asian-American male that I had seen in a long time. Even though he went to Stanford and Yale (I'm a Berkeley/Georgetown guy), how could anyone NOT be impressed by Yul? The guy is the ultimate Ubermensch---a rare combination of brain and brawns that would be hard to find in ANYWHERE! I can't begin to express how proud I am that he totally kicked ass!

Growing up, my Asian-American friends and I always lamented the fact that the mainstream portrayal of Asian males as either being martial artists or completely emasculated. C'mon. Think about it. Before Daniel Dae Kim was cast in the role of "Lost," when was the last time you EVER saw an Asian male being portrayed as a sex symbol in mainstream media?

As Ethan Lee, creator of a buzzed-about new Web comic called "Single Asian Female" said in my fellow Rice Daddy Jeff Yang's SF Gate article, "Asian men are still stereotyped as geeky, sexless losers, including by some Asian American women. I remember that even in my Asian American Studies classes, there were two or three Asian women who bragged how they only date white men. I distinctly remember one of them saying, 'I'm afraid an Asian man might beat me,' and another saying, 'Well, I've always been attracted to the Abercrombie and Fitch model type."

How fucking sad it that?

Look, it's always unfair to cast someone as the savior of any cause. As Yul himself said, "I want to set the record straight. I don't think I was necessarily the best person to represent the (Asian-American) community, but I had this golden opportunity in my lap. I just wanted to break stereotypes. When I was growing up, I didn't see many that looked like myself that could be a role model."

Now, don't get me wrong. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think that Yul winning "Survivor" is necessarily going to break the emasculating stereotypes of the typical Asian-American all at once. It's going to happen in waves and spurts. Whether it's guys like Ichiro, Jet Li, Yao Ming, Daniel Dae Kim, or Yul, I think we (as Asian-American men) have to bust through the stereotypes one door at a fucking time.

As an Asian-American father, it's important to me that my daughter see strong Asian-American role models. Why? Because her Asian background is an important part of who she is and it's something that I want her to be proud of over the course of her entire lifetime. In the long run, I don't care if she ends up marrying a white, yellow, brown, black or purple guy. However, in some way, I think I'll have failed her if she somehow perceives Asian-American men to be somehow less than masculine.

But how about you, my friends? Do you see any significance in Yul winning "Survivor?" How do you feel about it? Do you believe his victory is a step in breaking old-fashioned stereotypes of Asian-American men? Or is this just a random blip that will have no great effect on the perception of Asian men in mass media?

An inquiring mind wants to know!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Asian vs. Oriental

So, I work in this clinic in the middle of some small isolated mountain town, which is totally different from the O.C. where I grew up. Everyone is pretty much white, and definitely has a different attitude towards life. I am getting Vicodin requests left and right, but am trying to do my best to fight it off!!! I am used to the high paced ambitious lifestyle that L.A. breeds, and working in this mellow largely retirement environment has definitely been eye opening.

Anyways, I saw this patient today in his 60's who seemed somewhat intelligent, who made the comment about "You Orientals are such nice people". Coming from UCLA, I initially had a gut reaction of wanting to come down on him and tell him that its Asian, not Oriental. However, I immediately calmed down and held back from saying anything. Was that wrong? I knew he did not mean to be insulting, but he was just plain ignorant. He was actually trying to make a complement.

It later then made me think about my future child and I started to wonder how I should teach him to react if anyone makes a racist remark to or around him. Should I teach him some Hapkido that I have trained in and tell him to kick the guys butt(I have a few grappling moves under my sleeve), or should I teach him to be peaceful and just turn the other cheek? Does the context in which it happens make a difference? This elderly guy was not trying to be mean or insulting. How sensitive should we be about words, or should we try to hear the words in the context of who said them? Tough questions and I guess only time will tell, but I dread the first day when my future son comes home angry or crying because some kids made fun of him for being Asian at school. I can only hope we raise him in an area where there is much racial diversity and that won't happen, but does that place really exist? That's why we are heading back to Orange County where he can join a Korean gang!!! Haha, just kidding. That would be terrible, unless it was the Happy Honors Club gang. I rolled with that crew in high school. We terrorized the academic decathalon, baby!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Duel for the Names

So my one of my best friends played an evil trick on me this past weekend. This guy was my roommate throughout college, and like women who match their menses when they live together, our social lives often matched. We call ourselves "Bad Boys" since he is like the cool guy Will Smith, and I am like the goofy Martin Laurence character. We would have girlfriends at the same time, and would break up with our girlfriends around the same time. Anyways, like the past, he and his wife got pregnant about 2 weeks before we did and are also having a boy. One thing that we forgot to do was to claim names from the beginning. I never thought it was a big deal if we had decided to call our kids the same name, but my wife obviously thought different. I don't want to say the name for the sake of anonymity, but we will call it M. We have been calling our baby M for some time, but I never told my friend about it, because it just never crossed my mind(typical guy, right?). However, when the wives talked recently, they discussed their options for names and found out they were considering M for their baby too. We had been telling family about the name, and my wife had been telling her friends. Fortunately, at the time, my friend and his wife were also considering another name and were leaning towards that other name.

Then my friend calls me up this past weekend, and tells me they decided to call their baby M also, and their baby was going to be born first. I initially thought that was cool we would have kids with the same names, but when I told my wife, oohh yeah, not pretty!!! She was floored that my friend would take the name after we had essentially called it, and that our kids could not have the same name(avoid competition, etc). (Its not that names can be owned and my friend had a right to call his baby the same name if they wanted to). After she stopped stomping around the house with hair on fire(it was not that bad), we started to think of different names again. Of course we had to go to Borders and check out the name book again and go over name after name after name again. In the meantime, we stopped calling the baby M, and termed the baby Jelly Bean until we could find another name.

Anyways, my friend calls me back the following day and tells me he was just kidding, and that he wanted to get a reaction out of my wife and I. I sort of figured this actually since he has played jokes like this in the past, but my wife was giving him the fist!!! She is Christian so she won't give the finger!!! :) She had to smile though later about it. Anyways, we are back to calling the baby M and now this joke got us to start thinking of other names, but we will probably stick with M. My friend and I now have claimed the names for our future children so this would not happen again. Who would have thought claiming names could be such a big deal. I am psyched though that our kids will hopefully be best friends like their dads in the future.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Top Ten L.A. Korean-American Christmas Traditions/Mash-Ups/Memories When You’re Growing Up Henri

10. “Aren’t you too old for Christmas?”
Growing up, my mother had this constant sneaking suspicion that I was conning her into celebrating Christmas even though I was older than 10. Since most American cultural events had to be filtered by me to my parents, I was the cultural gatekeeper. My mother could not stop comparing Christmas with Halloween and insisted that it was a children’s holiday.

9. “Merry Christmas, here’s some cash”
In my family you get cash. Period. For everything. Happy birthday cash, Merry Christmas Cash, Look its raining Cash, Haha that was a funny joke you just told here’s some cash, You got a B+? NOEFFINGCASH. Oh and then there were the SATs which was more of an over/under thing. Over 1400 you get a car. Under 1400 you get to take the SAT again. Hahaha good times…good times. I took the SAT 10 times. I Drive a Ferrari Helicopter.

8. “Plastic Tree is same”
Oh I love that phrase. Makes me know it’s Christmas.

7. “More Golf Balls”
The only thing my father ever wanted for Christmas was more golf balls. And so we made him happy by buying him more Golf Balls. Every Christmas photo he is holding Golf Balls. This year I am buying him 300 boxes of Golf Balls. One day he’ll break. One day damnit.

6. “It’s called Egg Nog”
Dairy + Eggs + Sugar + Sugar + Sugar = Not-A-Happy-Korean-Parent

5. “Santa Who?”
I had to tell my parents about Santa. They called bullshit on that in like 3 seconds.

4. “No”
Can we go see real snow? Damn. Korea is cold. My parent love L.A. for many reasons. Number one reason: No F-ing Snow.

3. “So do you need a Birthday present too?”
Yeah, I was born right after Christmas. Same old argument year after year. The net value of two presents always exceeds the value of one present of equal total value. You have to factor in the pleasure of unwrapping the cash twice rather than once.

2. “Chivas! Chivas! Chivas!”
Oh those beautiful silver boxes stacked high to the ceiling! We would build forts out of them like igloos. Chivas Regal owes the Los Angeles Korean Community an annual parade.

1. “Turkey + Kochujang”
No description necessary.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To a fellow father

For me personally, in tough times, the last things I want to hear are the opinions of others. I don’t want the condolences of those who cannot grasp the situation that I am in; I don’t care for the support offered by those who have not shared a similar burden. I’ll appreciate the effort but in the end it’s just the family that really understands. I cannot help those who are suffering today, I cannot really help anyone. But I can sit here and cry, and add a bit of sorrow for a man I did not know out towards the universe. I can try to honor a father’s memory and praise his courage. I can find some relief in the thought that everything he was fighting for in the end he has achieved. His family is safe, his children are out of harms way. In moments of tragedy we often overcome by emotion, we hold our family tighter; we call out to the ones we love. We tell one another we love them. And we go another day. And as time passes, tragedy’s wake softens. Communities forget, people move on. I don’t want to move on. I want to remember the courage of this man. I want to carry it in my heart. I want people to think of his memory and speak his name when they talk about strength, courage, and the love of a father. I want to bear the memory of the strength it took for a man to save his family, and hopefully years from now, when the headline pass and people move on, I want to still be moved to tears by the strength and honor of this man. I hope we all can carry forward in our hearts the memory of James Kim.

Sorry to do this...

...not to bum people out but this story breaks my heart:

"Lost dad found dead in wilderness."

This LA Times story, though not updated with news of Kim's death, provides more background on what happened.

The Kims own the boutique DOE, which I used to peek in on since it's in the Lower Haight, down the street from other stores I'd frequent. I never met James, I may have met his wife at one point but regardless, I cannot begin to imagine how incredibly terrible all of this was for the entire family.

--Poppa Large

Get Ur Write On

I've always been one of those "I want to be a writer but I don't feel like I can call myself one yet" kind of people. I'd read things like Ray Bradbury's admonition to write every single day and go, yeah, not gonna happen. But then, after The Pumpkin came, I discovered blogging, and I've been writing more, and more frequently, than ever before. I've always written about things that were integral parts of my identity—race, education, social justice—and when I became a father, that experience became my new, most important subject. Finding an online community of people writing about their own experiences with these topics has only deepened my writing experience.

For my rice dads and moms out there who, like me, want to take it to the next level, get some deeper feedback and instruction, fellow hapa parentblogger and professional writer and writing instructor Susan Ito of Reading Writing Living is set to teach "Parent Lit: An Online Writing Workshop" starting in January. The 10-person class is filling fast, but Susan (also the fiction co-editor at Literary Mama) is definitely interested in getting some more dads enrolled (besides me, that is). So check out the course info at the link embedded above [and while you're at it, if you're not already familiar with her blog, do take a look around—it's an awesome account of, as her blog subtitle puts it, one woman "trying to do it all: working writing reading momming spousing daughtering living"].

Monday, December 04, 2006

When Is Cheap Too Cheap?

Okay, I'm embarrassed to be posting this, because it brings up an aspect of Asianness that could be labeled stereotypical. Let's call appreciation of value. A love of thrift. An instinct for budgetry. Or, if we want to be honest, let's call it "cheapness" and be done with it.

Some of this can be ascribed to good old fashioned immigrant values. But some of it seems kind of culturally embedded, and I'm not sure why. We just dig bargains, even when they come at the expense of other members of our community.

I bring this up because tonight, my wife brought back dinner from Chinatown—authentic, stick-to-your ribs homestyle cuisine, not the brown-sauce saturated gobbets of meat-and-veg that passes for Chinese at your local takeout. This is not the issue: Chinatown's two stops away by train and it's on my wife's driving commute back home, so we eat Chinese, and eat it well, at least once a week.

What blew my mind (and almost the bite of food I was chewing) was when my wife told me the price of the meal. Each dish, comprising an entree, a vegetable item, rice, and a soup, cost. Three. Frickin'. Dollars.

I've had five dollar lunch specials before, and even managed to find $3.95 noodle soup meals before, but I have never eaten a full, filling meal anywhere that cost that little.

This was the culinary equivalent of the Fung Wah Bus. For those of you not on the Eastern Seaboard, these are buslines that run the Atlantic Coast route, taking you from Boston Chinatown to New York Chinatown or New York to DC Chinatown for $20 each way.

Fung Wah is the cheapest way to get up and down the East Coast if you don't mind sitting next to, and occasionally being sat on by, crazy people on drugs. Not to mention terrified college students and not-at-all-intimidated Chinese grannies.

Fung Wah owes its ridiculously low prices to drivers with limited knowledge of interstate traffic law and no respect for life and limb. The Chinese newspapers regularly print stories about these buses flipping, somersaulting, or catapulting into low-earth orbit, causing, as Sir Topham Hatt might say, "Confusion and delay." (And death. And dismemberment.)

I rode, or should I say, flew one of these buses a few years ago and am not willing to again now that I have a son. Here's my bottom line: I appreciate cheap. But Fung Wah is too cheap. It is dangerous, and it is exploitative—the Evel Knievel drivers are probably getting paid in tabs of meth, or something, but certainly not anything resembling a living wage, not to mention the combat pay they ought to be receiving.

And a three dollar dinner also seems to me to be too cheap. I mean, some corners have got to be cut to make that happen, right? Either that, or the owner of the restaurant is ripping himself and his family off, in a way that probably shouldn't be encouraged (though the argument could be made that he's only trying to make a living, and not supporting him isn't going to do his family any good either).

What do you guys think? Do you have any examples of products, services, or experiences that have creeped you out because they fell beneath the "too cheap" baseline? Or maybe you feel there ain't such a thing?

How do you celebrate the, um, holidays?

We put up our Christmas lights this weekend—well, we tried to put them up, but seeing as how four of five strings of icicle lights, which worked when I tested them individually, decided not to work when I had already gotten them up on the frakkin' house, I guess I've gotta run to Target on my lunch break tomorrow. Here in Bakersfield, of course, the first weekend of December is already late—Christmas-happy residents tend to follow the big-box retailers' decorating lead and get stuff up by Thanksgiving eve, if not before. Notice, however, that I'm saying "Christmas." Here in Bakersfield, California's own red-state-within-a-blue-state, we don't take nicely to all that p.c. secularizing "holiday" talk. And the fact that, you know, there are other holidays, like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid, Diwali, the winter solstice, Secular Capitalist Shopping Days, whatever? Well, that kind of talk just ain't kosher. Heh.

[You wanna check out the kind of stuff I gotta "monitor" on my company's community blogs? Check this one out as an example.}

Anyway, in my household, with our toddlergirl old enough to enjoy ripping paper off of presents this year and my Filipina Catholic better half covering the religious part of our daughter's education [though my dear wife keeps cracking up watching me read The Pumpkin's current fave bedtime story request, a Christian kiddie prayerbook that she calls "Dear God, Amen"], I do my part to mix it up, pun intended, by reppin' secular ethnic (half-)Jewishness with brisket and latkes sometime in December. Not sure how to incorporate sansei grandma's Buddhism yet—though, of course, the brisket recipe is hers.

So, dear readers, how do you and yours celebrate the...winter holidays in all their myriad and hybrid incarnations?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hot or Not?

Been a long time since I rolled with the Rice Daddy crew, something for which I apologize to my fellow R-Pops—but there's so much great stuff going on here that I'm sure my minor contribs were scarcely missed.

That said, my most recent column at SFGate was occasioned by the release of the annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue of People magazine, which included the usual suspects (e.g. George Clooney, who was dubbed the year's most delicious living dude for the second time, joining Brad Pitt and Richard Gere as the only such double dippers).

So here's the thing: In 21 years of crowning kings of schwing, there's been just one nonwhite honoree: Denzel Washington. Is this something that should bug us? Or is this even a question we need to be asking at this point in our collective cultural lives?

Daddy in a Strange Land shared his opinion to me that even raising the discussion essentially buys into the troubling notion that worth is related to attractiveness: "I'm not naive and I'm not living in a cave somewhere, I know that that's the real world, but as an anti-racist, feminist father of color married to a woman of color and raising a daughter of color, I have to ask, are we asking the right questions, challenging the right definitions?"

Which I certainly agree with. But as much as I want to reframe attractiveness according to a different set of criteria (like, it wouldn't suck if "slightly chubby 38-year-old men with glasses, goofy hair, and mediocre fashion sense" became the new gold standard for masculinity), we deal with this kind of thing every day.

There are real consequences—as Ingrid Olson of the University of Pennsylvania found in a gloom-inducing experiment earlier this year, attractive people get associated with positive traits that lead to better treatment. And this was born out in a study by a team from Harvard and Wesleyan: good-looking people are perceived to be more productive and better hires. (Why top-tier liberal arts colleges are spending so much time and money researching hotness is a whole 'nother question...)

Which explains in part why, consciously or not, we pride in having our boys, girls, and babies dubbed cute by others—there are real utilitarian consequences to cuteness. My son is billions of times cuter than I am (or was at his age), and I light up every time I hear someone compliment him on his cute-osity. People can come up to me and say, "Dude, you reek, but your son is gorgeous," and I'll flash a huge grin and thank them (and credit Hudson's mom with the hottie genes, of course).

Is it icky to think this way? Kind of. I mean, it's bad enough that I'm feeling all of those cliche, suffocating Asian parent academic agenda items starting to float into my forebrain—Is he hitting all of his developmental milestones? When should we start him on violin? SATs—study now, or wait until he's four?—but I also find myself wanting him to be the suave, athletic, toe-curlingly good-looking guy that I never was, or aspired to be.

And yeah, I hope we get to a point in our reality where attractiveness isn't just a set of washboard abs or a sculpted set of cheekbones. (Thus, my campaign to push Masi Oka to the top of People's "hottest Heroes castmember" poll—little victories still count for something.)

But the reality of what physical appeal means in our society is still out there. Which means there is meaning, however shallow it seems, in getting society to recognize our particular looks, features, and distinguishing characteristics as part of its benchmark for beauty.

For the record, however, the Rice Daddies I've been lucky enough to meet are as impressive a buffet of smokin' male hotness as I've ever seen. And the kids? Peep the pics for yourself. So cute, you could just die.

Radio Flyer Wagon: The Sinister Chariot of the Occult

Behold the Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon.

It's an award-winning cherry-red two-seater with molded-in cupholders (for juice boxes and sippy cups). Plus, it's plastic, which means I won't kill myself hauling it up hilly sidewalks.

Last night, while holiday shopping online, I considered purchasing the
wagon on But after carefully examining the text on the Target website, I had some second thoughts. Do I really want to buy a wagon that's listed by the store under "Subjects: Religion & Spirituality: Occult"? Does it make sense to strap my kid into a piece of plastic that Target lumps together with other "Similar Items" like "NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES"?

The answer is still probably "yes." I'm a sucker for cupholders.

(In case the good folks at Target edit their page, a screenshot can be found here.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

New Digital Camera

Alright, I just bought one of them new fancy schmancy digital SLR cameras a few weeks ago. If you guys don't want me to dominate the Rice Daddies Flickr Pool, I suggest everyone start posting more photos there pronto. Mind you, I have shown serious restraint only posting 4 photos today. With baby boy's first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and first birthday just around the corner, I'm planning to snap gazillions of photos. Not only that, I plan a major Christmas present assault on my family and friends with related photo paraphernalia from, and

I know I'm not the only one with a super cute Rice Baby. Now everybody get snapping!
Rice Daddies Flickr Pool
Rice Daddies. Get yours at

Monday, November 13, 2006

Work/Family Balancing Tips, Y'all?

So, I'm about to start my second week at my new job, after being a full-time SAHD for my babygirl's first two years of life. I didn't even work a whole week last week, and I'm already tired. Heh. [And it's not like sitting in front of a computer all day burns more calories than chasing a toddler, so I don't know what's up. Hey, Henri, if my eyes feel at 7:30 p.m. like they usually do at 11 p.m., am I just tired or is it staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day?]

But it's all good... Right? I'm basically reading and writing blogs for a living, for our local newspaper's website, which is cool. Leaving a crying daughter at the nice daycare lady's house? Not so much. It'll get better, right?

So, all you working moms and dads out there, especially those of you who transitioned from being at home full-time, any tips for me? I mean, we just got back from a long-weekend trip and there's nothing in the fridge to cook for this week and I don't know when I'm gonna be able to go to the store, which The Pumpkin and I used to visit like three times a week in the middle of the day... And then there's the laundry... Heh. Anyway, the wisdom of your experience is much appreciated.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

All Dressed Up

Ok, I think it's time all the Rice Daddies and Kimchee Mamas rep their kids' Halloween costumes. Post here.

--Poppa Large

Karma is a Bitch

As a Dad there are many things I fear now. Electricity, gravity, mechanical physics, chemistry (acids bases clorox drinking drano etc etc) but what really scares the crap out of me is Karma. I think back to when I was a kid and I imagine my one and only Son doing half the crap I did and I think holy holy holy crap I'm a dead man. I know you cannot protect your children from the world...and as frightening as it is, your kid will go out there and explore it...ride it. Bask in it. Smile at its beauty as well as it's wickedness. And they will inhale...deeply, everything it offers. And this is good and also really really crazy. And through all the drugs, violence, despair, hope, beauty and redemption that I called youth there is one shining moment of absolute depravity/wackiness that stands out in my mind and send shivers down my spine. Its somewhat unique to the Korean American experience...yes folks I'm taking about Summer at Yonsei.

Now everyone had a different Yonsei experience. Some recall a good enriching summer filled with Korean culture, history, and language development. But when I think back at my two tours of Korean summer programs...I can only describe it as Lost in Translation meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Now I know there are a grip of you reading this that are smiling right now because you remember being there. For those of you who have never heard of the Korean Summer Program let me give you a brief intro.

Step 1. Take a bunch of Korean Americans from many different cities around the world but especially Los Angeles and New Jersey.
Step 2. Put them in a Dorm at Yonsei University in the middle of Seoul.
Step 3. There is no step three.

Wackiness ensues. For a lot of these kids, this event occurs during the summer between High School and Harvard oops I mean college. This is the first summer many of these brainiac Asians have not had to worry about getting into college for the first time in their life. Add alcohol, drugs, clubs and an fun city straight out of Bladerunner into the mix and you get what I call good times. Most of it consisted of trying to pick up chicks with my broken Korean which makes Borat's English sound like MetroDad's posts.

Henri: Hey girl, I American. You know Hip Hop? I'm do Dancing like Running Man? Hip Hop Number 1.
Local Girl: I am a Korean Airlines.
Henri: Cool. Whisky drink fun times right?
Local Girl: Your friend like me? We go fast to tomorrow?
Henri: Rock on. I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

It really is unfair to unleash a group of kids onto a city with lax drinking age laws and a great public transportation system. Add the fact that most kids are loaded up with Korean "Pocket Money" from relatives that have never seen them before and you get a wicked combination. Basically its a primer on how to party like rock stars right before going off to college. But amongst the idiocy there are some redeeming aspects. Your kids learns how to make friends fast. Your kid comes back saying "Mad" a lot. Your kid picks up smoking. Your kid learns how to drink. Wait, crap these are all bad things...ok it is a unique introduction to freedom and decision making. Hmmm it was really fun and unique. I think that pretty much sums it up. But I'm pretty sure there is no way in hell I'm going to send any of my kids there. I want boring kids who aren't interested in partying. I want them to love studying. Sigh. Who am I kidding, I am doomed. I remember my favorite response when I got into trouble as a kid...I am but my father's son. If I was raised in a religious family it would have been...I am but God's finger. And now I am bracing for the same smarmy smart-ass response from a kid who just doesn't know how much I worry about his safety and future. But I know, deep deep in my bones, some things in life you have to learn the hard way. Life is shiny beautiful and very very've got to let your kid handle it eventually. But for any of you that have been to Yonsei, Love Boat or the other variations of this summertime rite, would you ever send your kids there?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


There are a few things that transcend...well just about everything. Many have tried to express the love a Father has for his son. If there can be a universal truth that ties all people and has the hope for healing all differences it is the shared understanding of the love between a parent and child. Up until today, I have cried seven times in my life. The first six times happened the day I was born, the seventh happened when UCLA won the NCAA Basketball championship in 1995. I was doing pretty good and feeling pretty macho until today. Today I have cried 327 times. This is the number of times I have watched this video about the amazing Dick and Rick Hoyt. Simply put, Rick is a son born with cerebral palsy. Dick is his father who, like many fathers, has an immeasurable love for his son. Unlike many fathers, Dick has demonstrated his love in a way that can truly inspire all of us.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Favorite Melting Pot Moment at Costco

There was the time a hispanic dad and I were reaching into adjacent freezers at Costco.

He got a bag of potstickers.

I got a box of taquitos.

photo: D. Vasquez at wikipedia

Soccer Dad: Cast Away

The cast came off today and I am STOKED. (For those just catching up, I broke/dislocated/seriously effed up my ankle six weeks ago in a pickup game). It's still swole and tight. I can put some weight on it but am a few weeks from casually jumping out of bed and attending to baby's needs in the middle of the night. I'm walking on it with the assistant device pictured above: the wonderful Frankenstein-ian walking boot. It's removable so I can sleep and also take a SHOWER. I got home from the doctor and took a long one. The smoke detector went off, it was so long and hot. It cracked the Top 3 Best Showers of All Time. I sloughed off a gang of dead foot skin and just enjoyed the warmth (I spent six weeks feebly showering myself sitting down with a handheld Shower Massage). Maybe I should make a trip to the Korean spa for some more intense scrubbing.

So it looks good that I'll fulfill my hope to take Maceo trick-or-treating 'round the neighborhood. He went to daycare dressed up as a Punk Rock Boy. Super kawai, I'll post a pic in a few. Let the healing begin!


Monday, October 30, 2006

Parenting the MacGyver Way

Yes, that's a paper towel around The Pumpkin's neck. And yes, she's not wearing a shirt underneath it, either. (And yes, she's eating with two spoons, don't ask.) I had just put all the bibs in the laundry that morning, forgetting that I was gonna give her soup, one of her favorite things, for lunch. So I pulled off her shirt and grabbed two paper towels, still attached to each other, and ripped a lengthwise tear in one for a head-hole, stopping before the perforation. So it ain't pretty--but it worked!

So, what are your favorite "parent-as-MacGyver" moments?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Keeping the Asian in Asian American

My wife and I had a pretty hot discussion yesterday about whether we wanted to go to an all Korean church vs. a multiethnic church in the future, especially in regards to our future child. My friends who are having a baby around the same time as us argue that they want to go to a Korean church since it may be the only real exposure their kid has to Koreans/Korean culture(although they do live in Irvine where there are a ton of Koreans). I was thinking, "Will going to a Korean church make my kid appreciate more their heritage and better understand the culture?" My wife was arguing that we don't need to go to a Korean church for our kid to be Korean American, and even went on to say that there may be no cultural differences 10-20 years from now with increasing assimilation into American society and mixing of ethnicities/cultures. Woah, this almost made my head explode being from UCLA as an anthropology major and hardcore KSA(Korean Student Association)member at the time. I think that every distinct culture is amazing and unique in their own way, and all efforts should be made to maintain the diversity and multiculturalism. Haha, fancy words, but not sure if I am even using them right. Am I just being ignorant now?

I guess my Korean pride came from UCLA, even though I am sure it was partially just wanting to hang out and party at Korean clubs at the time. However, I was arguing that I want our kids to maintain their Korean culture in some way. The challenge comes in 2-3 generations from now. Is there anything going to be Asian in Asian American other than our skin color, heritage, and foods? Any suggestions in how to maintain our unique cutlures before truly becoming a melting pot in the U.S., and is it so bad that in the future, our children lose their Asian culture. I guess at that point we are no longer Asian Americans, but all Americans. What do you think?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two wrongs don't make a right but...what would YOU do?

To make a long story short...this morning, I got into an argument with a woman in my apartment building. I won't go into all the details but let's just say that it started out being fairly inconsequential but then ended up getting pretty heated.

Now, I'm generally a pretty calm and level-headed guy but certain things push a button in me that can cause me to totally lose my temper. One of those things is being taunted racially.

As I said, the aforementioned woman and I were arguing vehemently. Yes, we were yelling at each other. But, in a way, it was just the sort of normal argumentative discourse that you head every day on the streets of New York.

However, at one point, she just looks at me, spits on the floor, and yells, "Fucking Chinese motherfucker!"...and I fucking lost it.

Instead of being the better man, I retailated right back at her on her own level. I'm not proud of myself but I called her a "f*cking Russian whore" and told her I was going to call INS and "ship her ugly ass back to Siberia."

I don't take racist shit from anybody and to hear it in my own building infuriated the hell out of me. Seriously, I was so angry that it ruined my entire day. I detest the stereotype of the mild-mannered Asian and, in my rage and fury, I fully unleashed on this woman.

Was I wrong to stoop to her level? Absolutely.

Having a child has taught me to be a better man and to set an example that my family can be proud of. But where are the limits of setting that example? I know I was wrong to retaliate with ethnic insults but is that worse than listening to this woman tauntingly insult my race and doing nothing? Hell, at one point, I was proud of myself for not putting her face through a wall.

And would I have acted differently if my daughter was present? Sure, most likely. The need to set a "better" example would have overridden my anger.

But again...when confronted with ignorance and racism, where is the fine line that we need to balance between "being the better person" and "defending one's race and sense of pride?" I don't want to teach my child to react violently when confronted with racism. But, at the same time, I don't want her to ever back down from it.

What would YOU have done in a similar situation? And where do YOU draw the line?

Friday, October 20, 2006

When only SPAM will save you!!!

Holy shit, this blog has gotten fucking boring lately! Seriously, what's going on? Isn't this supposed to be an APA parenting blog? A few of these posts could have been written by white people! I'm almost tempted to start posting photos of my cat and telling all of you what I had for breakfast (FYI...I fucking hate cats and breakfast was a Egg McMuffin. Boo yah!)

Just kidding, friends. In all seriousness, there seems to be a lot of ennui in the blogosphere lately. People don't seem to be blogging or commenting as much anywhere these days. Hell, I know I'm just as guilty as anyone. The truth is that life has been kicking my ass lately. I've been busy with work, traveling, and family. Stress levels are running high. Plus, my beloved Mets lost so I'm REALLY in a funk now.

But you want to know what cheered me up immensely today?

I discovered a restaurant called The Noodle Bar in New York. It's a tiny little place decorated like a Chinese grocery store. They tend to be one of those multi-Asian premises that serve up everything from Korean bibimbop to Vietnamese rice noodles to Singaporean curry. Normally, I hate these types of restaurants because, while I appreciate their broad selections, I find them to be completely lacking in authenticity. However, when it comes to the Noodle Bar, I'm willing to make a great exception. Why?

Because they offer a Spam and kimchi sandwich!

How awesome is that? As I've mentioned before, this was basically the sandwich of my youth. There were few things I liked better than frying up some spam, slicing up some kimchi, and slapping the whole thing together on two slices of Wonder Bread. It was a six year old kid's version of Asian fusion. Yet, it was also more than that. In a way, it represented being caught between two cultures and incorporation the best of both of them. That's partly why I have such a deep and nostalgic love for the Spam and Kimchi sandwich. I STILL eat them every once in awhile.

How about all of you? Ever invent any fusion foods? Are there any Western-Asian amalgamation foods that you or your parents make? Or alternatively, what single ethnic or Asian food dish reminds you of home?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

getting it in writing

Something for Dr. Lo to look forward to, many moons after the gas passes.

This week, our family finally moved into the digital age. Rabbit Dragon and Princess Pony (my 6yo and 4yo), have started sending me emails. Mrs thisislarry has been helping, but last night Rabbit Dragon typed his himself: "Larry,Yes I did get to be in the front of almost evryone!!!" (re: a school assembly) and the Princess has discovered a love of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'s (re: a 4yo's sense of whimsy).

I'm in London and Munich since last week on biz. Talking to the family has been hard to do because of the time zones, and email has emerged as a decent alternative. OK, not really, I miss hearing their voices, all three of them. But when I think of how hard it must be for, say, soldiers out in foreign lands, each email is a blessing I am thankful for. We've been talking about the souveniers I'm obliged to pick up, the cold I caught (4-6yo's are the target market for booger talk), and playing baseball when I get back.

So, a milestone to add in the margins of your outdated 20th century baby books: first time they type "I LOVE YOU" in an email.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Love thy spouse

Last night as I was laying in bed next to my wife, I started to think about how crazy it is to know that we will be sharing the responsibility of raising a child in just a few months. I feel like we just got married, and barely had time to enjoy each other's company, and to think that our lives will drastically change in that we will no longer be living for ourselves, but to live for this amazing child. It's a crazy thought, and I am completely excited about it, but sort of nervous.

As I talk to other new couples with children, they emphasize to me that it is so important to keep the marriage strong, and not to forget to love one another and take dates together. They say its so easy to get caught up with the baby and to forget to take time for each other. Its weird to think that, but I guess we will understand once we have the baby. I was looking at my wife and thinking how much I love her. I guess time will only tell. I am being all cheesy, but I was having a cheesy moment last night, or was that gas???

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Check out this essay on

Earlier this week, executive editor and hapa dad Gary Kamiya posted a poignant meditation on parenting and the passage of time ["September song," 10/10/06]. Click through Salon's daily site pass for access and check it out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Because racism is a parenting issue...

Rice Daddies has been host to some interesting discussion in recent days about the intersection of race, politics and parenthood. To an anonymous commenter wondering why a dad blog was spending so much time on race issues, another anonymous commenter responded that racism is a parenting issue.

On that note, I'm pleased to announce the launch of a new blog from New Demographic, the anti-racism training company behind the Addicted to Race podcast and the Racialicious blog (formerly Mixed Media Watch): Anti-Racist Parent.

We're launching today [didn't I mention that I'm a regular contributing writer?], so please welcome us to the blogosphere by visiting, spreading the word, and joining the discussion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Soccer Dad: Things I Miss

You never know how much you appreciate something until it gets taken away. Like...

Taking a long hot shower
Restful sleep
Driving and singing in the car
Picking up Maceo and putting him to bed
Keeping him out of danger
Trader Joe's and Costco runs
Walking the dog
Muscle tone
Playing soccer
Taking Maceo to the grocery store in his push car
Stealth trips to Popeye's
Changing diapers (really!)

Three weeks to go! Check out the 10 day old incision. The same day, I got fitted for a regulation walking cast. I can put some weight on it but I ain't trying to rush it. I go in next week for another round of x-rays and a new cast. If all goes well, I could well accompany Miggity Mace on Halloween candy foraging.

(This post is dedicated to wifey, who works full time, teaches two classes and has taken the brunt of childcare chores during my gimpy lifestyle choice)


Am I really going to be a dad?

It's so strange as I sit here at work picking the dry boogers from my nose and not believing that I am actually going to be a dad. I guess it has not hit me since my wife is not showing yet, and the only evidence we have of the pregnancy are the dry heaves that she has occasionally which throw me out my chair. Seeing the baby on the ultrasound was so surreal, since it actually had two arms and two legs with a trunk and a head. The face looked like something from Alien, but I am hoping he or she has the good looks of my wife!!! :)

I have occasional panic attacks at night when I think that I am going to be a parent. Insane, but yet exciting in a quirky way. My buddies with kids tell me that it did not hit them until they were in the car driving home from the hospital for the first time with their babies, and then they started peeing their pants. I have a feeling I may be wearing a diaper after my wife has the baby just in case.

Anyways, just some thoughts from a dad to be.

Charlotte Observer Article on Blogging Dads

There's an article on blogging dads that made the front page of the Charlotte Observer. Here's a link to the online version:

It's a nice little article about, which is based in NC and about blogging dads in general. They mention RiceDaddies and include a link to MetroDad's blog as well. (Blatant self-promotion alert) I also contribute to DadBloggers and an excerpt from my last entry "The Adrenaline Rush of Fatherhood" was included in the article. It's great to see more and more resources for dads popping up. I know my wife participates in several mom's groups and has access to lots of support. Most are mom-centric, but are becoming more oriented towards both parents. One of our favorites is the Berkeley Parents Network.

What are some other local and online resources you rely on?

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's in a name?

What's in a name? People write books, watch astrology shows, etc. to talk about a name and what the name means. My wife and I were looking at names for our future child, and I was blown away by all the names out there. She was on call delivering other people's babies in Los Angeles the other night, and we were on the phone going through lots of names. I probably started to phase out after the first 3 names, but my wife was going through name after name after each alphabet letter. Christina, Christian, Grace(too many other Koreans with this name), George, etc. We can't use this name because it means "dull", this name sounds too arrogant, the baby will get teased if its Sara Lee(baking goods), and on and on.

The funny thing is that we don't even know the gender yet. I was thinking Brutus or Hercules if its a guy, and Booboo or Monchichi if its a girl. My wife did not find that too funny... The tough part about having Lee as a last name is that the name can become an adverb. Mary: Merrily, Ugh: Ugly, Happy:Happily, you get the picture.

Anyways, the hunt for names is still on, and once we know the gender of the baby, we can start limiting it down. I guess women take this stuff more seriously since the child has to live with the name for the rest of their life. Oh man, I don't want to traumatize our baby, and definitely not going to name it after fruit or some Korean dish like Bibimbap or Soondooboo. Anyways, the name search goes on...

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Well, it's been a lively week here at Rice Daddies, and we thought now would be as good a time as any to snatch up our domain name before any cyber-posers tried anything funny. Heh.

So, while will still get you here, from now on, all you have to remember to get your daily dose of fatherhood antics with a side of race consciousness is this:


Friday, October 06, 2006


A friend of mine passed this along: "Chinese Hotel Laundry Bag. The description is aces:
    "No one knows laundry better than the Chinese. They’ve even perfected the bag. We’ve found it useful for carrying everything from dirty clothes to snorkeling gear, plastic toy sets, vegetables from the Farmer’s Market. The real thing, these sturdy 100% cotton twill Chinese laundry bags have a mystic, irresistible appeal. No fortune cookie included, though."
If only this were some Blacklava, irony-laden put-on.

Alas. No.

--Poppa Large

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Memoirs of the Racially Insensitive

Today, over at BloggingBaby, there was a post about dressing up as a geisha for Halloween. The author of the post, Heather Craven, writes "if I get a wild bug and decide to dress up this year, I think I will definitely be a geisha. This costume offers glamor and comfort in one easy stop."

Also, she continues to say, "Incidentally, I am not alone in my admiration of the geisha costume. It is quite popular this year, Perhaps it is due to the movie, 'Memoirs of a Geisha'."

Now, a quick look at Ms. Craven's bio tells me that she is white and lives in the Colorado mountains. I assume there aren't too many minorities living up there in the mountains, Ms. Craven?

As I said in her comments...

"Would you get dressed up in blackface as well? Or go to a Halloween party as Aunt Jemima? Put on a minstrel outfit? No? Then, why would you ever dress up as a geisha? Is it really possible that you don't see how that could be offensive? I'm extremely disappointed in you, Blogging Baby. I hope you have the decency to publish my comment. I hope that you have the decency to apologize. But most importantly, I hope you see how you're playing into and reenforcing racial stereotypes that most minorities don't find amusing."

Now, I'm not saying that Ms. Craven is a racist. I'm sure she's a very lovely woman in real life.

And this isn't about political correctness. Fuck political correctness.

The thing that amazes me about the entire post is that it's painfully clear that, at no point, does Ms. Craven even have an inkling of an idea that some people might possibly be offended by seeing a white woman dressed as a geisha. As you can tell from reading her post, the thought clearly never even entered her mind!!!

To make matters worse? Check out the unbelievable link that Ms. Craven includes in her post! Are you fucking kidding me? Could those costumes be any more stereotypical or offensive?

Again, I don't think Ms. Craven is a complete bigot or a card-carrying member of the K.K.K. However, I think her ignorance and insensitivity say something very interesting about race in America.

What do you think? Offended or not?

Televisions vs. Rice Cookers

A recent report said that the average U.S. household has 2.55 people and 2.73 TV's. What this means is that in the U.S. there are more TV's than people in the average household. My parents have 3 TV's, one in the family room, one in their bedroom and another in a guest room. My in-laws have 3, one in the living room, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. In this regard my own family is way below average since we only have one television. It's one of those bulbous tube type behemoths from the 90's that takes up half of our living room.

But when it comes to other essential household appliances, I know there is one area where I've definitely got the average U.S. household beat: Rice Cookers. A lot of people are fine cooking rice in a regular pot or God forbid in a microwave. Not me. I'm a rice snob, gourmet, and gourmand wrapped into one. I regularly buy and stock 10-20lb bags of long grain jasmine, short grain calrose and short grain brown rice. I also have several other varieties like risotto, long grain brown and wild rice blends in much smaller quantities.

I'm like a ravenous hobbit with a bad carb addiction. I can eat rice for first breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and at late-night snacktime. I also don't consider rice a starch as my chef friends do. I'll eat rice with pasta, potatoes, bread, noodles, and even other varieties of rice and rice dishes. I'm a riceaholic and damn proud!

So how many rice cookers do we own? We currently have 5. One main one for everyday use, a larger one for when we have guests, and 3 that are in storage as keepsakes. That's even more than the number of iPods that my wife and I own combined.

Here's a list of our rice cookers:
5 cup 18 setting fuzzy logic rice cooker with 24 hour timer/alarm (wedding present-on counter)
10 cup rice cooker for when we have guests (wedding present-stored under the counter)
3 cup rice cooker from my college days (in storage)
6 cup rice cooker from my bachelor days (in storage)
Microwave rice cooker (well meaning present-in "deep" storage)

Do you consider yourself a rice snob/addict?
How many rice cookers do you have in your household?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Who saw what?

I don't know if this is scary, entertaining or both.

Seriously, how thin is the line between child welfare and self-righteous bulls--- in these posts? That said, it should be a cautionary tale for people to keep their yaps shut when they don't know who they're talking to.

--Poppa Large

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Hey guys,
Wow, this is the first time I have ever blogged, so I am sort of nervous and shaky. Sweating in my palms as we speak. Daddy in a Strange Land was nice enough to invite me since I am a soon to be dad. As for the hazing, it was a drink soy sauce until my urine turned dark but I am now recovering after dialysis. I am a Korean American from the "hood": Anaheim, CA. Haha, just reminds me of that scene from Swingers. My wife is Korean American but not from the "hood". We actually found out several weeks ago about the pregnancy, but did not tell anyone until last week when she made it through the first trimester. It still feels unreal, and it probably won't hit me till she starts getting a little pooch in her belly and feels the baby moving. In the meantime, I have been talking to her belly and calling him or her "baby".

Just an introduction about myself, I am Dr. Lo Siento which means "I'm Sorry" in spanish, since I am a family practice doctor who works with mostly spanish speaking patients. I pretty much Lo Siento everyone when I started working straight out of residency since I did not know what I was doing alot of the time. I have been out 3 years, and still often feel clueless. Doing breast exams and pap smears on men, asking people who have high blood pressure if they have nipple discharge, accidentally burning women's behinds with the pap light after putting in an IUD, anyways, you get the point. I was always saying Lo Siento for some reason to practically every patient I saw. Sometimes I feel like the show Scrubs was reality for me, and I could practically write for them with my real life experienes. I would totally ask patients in the hospital if I could eat their food. Sometimes that chocolate pudding looked really tasty, and of couse I did not want it to go to waste. The hospital cafeteria chicken, melts in your mouth like butter. The diarrhea following was worth it. Residency, oh residency, crazy days.

Anyways, we are really excited about the baby, but nervous at the same time. It's crazy since we still feel like kids ourselves sometimes, but I know God will definitely get us through. We just pray that the pregnancy will go well. Thank you guys for letting me be part of this blog site.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Soccer Dad: Chopped & Screwed

What the hell happened? I intercepted a pass. The ball went high in the air and I ran after it. My plan was to run along side it, bring it back and settle it, waiting for midfielder support. As I went to gather the ball, my foot slid over it, stuck in the turf and my body kept going. I thought I was dreaming because I NEVER get hurt. I hit the ground and looked down at my ankle, which is turned in an unnatural direction and realized: I’m f*cked. Guys around me are yelling to call 911. I lay back, grab my head, and try to deal. I breathe like I never have breathed before.

Yet for all the commotion and pain, I tried my best to be zen about the whole thing. I thought about Maceo a lot and about Iraqi children losing limbs in bombing runs. I thought about Wifey going through labor without an epidurl. The fellas tried to keep things positive, reassured me the ambulance was coming to which I mentally started singing “911 is a Joke.” When your foot is turned a different direction, time goes by s-l-o-w.

The fire department finally shows up. I get smacked out on morphine, which doesn’t really take the pain away, but helps dial down your anxiety. By the time I hit the hospital, I’ll have ingested 15 mgs of morphine. By the time I get to x-ray, which included two soul sucking bone resets, I’d take 12 more. The prognosis: deformed ankle, 90% dislocation, bone fracture. I get a steel plate and six screws and a placard that says I can park in the handicapped spot.

I also got a night at the hospital, sharing a tiny room with two grumpy old men, one without a hearing aid, the other in for what sounded like a colostomy procedure. Didn’t get to sleep much as periodic rounds kept me up. I really missed being home in my bed and couldn’t wait to tear out the IV’s and get discharged.

I get sent home with a Limbaugh-sized script for painkillers, and a temporary brace, which I exchange in ten days for a hard cast. When I got discharged, home was the best anesthesia. Being able to feed Maceo, read and play with him did amazing things for my psyche. I started getting hungry again. My new boss is bringing my computer over today to set me up so I can do some things and get paid. I’m pretty much back to normal, except for the walking thing. (And constipation. To paraphrase ATCQ: My shits are hard like two-three day old shit!)

As for chasing Maceo around, it’s super frustrating. I can’t put any weight on the leg, which immediately excises things like picking him up out of the crib or changing diapers. Wifey is going to have double duty for a while until I get those powers back. Back to rehabbing…


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Interview with Ninja

Henri: So you are a Ninja?
NinjaDad: I am NinjaDad.
Henri: Umm I see.
NinjaDad: I have a blog.
Henri: Really, what's a Blog? Is that something new? It sounds very novel.
NinjaDad: I have read yours. Now read mine.
Henri: Well actually I was here to interview you about being a Ninja.
NinjaDad: ...or you can die.
Henri: Hmm ok I promise to read your blog later.
NinjaDad: NinjaDad dot com.
Henri: Of course it is. Anyways I wanted to ask you a few question about Ninja and I guess also about being a Dad.
NinjaDad: I am NinjaDad.
Henri: Yes we have established that. So is there a NinjaMom?
NinjaDad: Unfortunately no, she passed away a year ago.
Henri: Oh I'm very sorry to hear that.
NinjaDAd: Want to hear a joke?
Henri: Actually let's talk about fatherhood.
NinjaDad: Knock Knock.
Henri: Um Whos...
NinjaDad: This is where I would kill you but since you are interviewing me right now I will only pretend to kill you.
[flurry of movement]
Henri: Um you just cut my arm off.
NinjaDad: Yes but you are not dead. In the real joke I would kill you before you finished saying who's there. And then as you lay dying I then say...NinjaDad.
Henri: Umm can I get a medic here. Can someone dial 911.
NinjaDad: It's in my blog this Knock Knock joke. It's very funny.
Henri: Can someone call Soccerdad and have him reserve the bed next to him so we can hang out while they sew my arm back on.
NinjaDad: Stop talking to other people, you are here to interview me.
Henri: I'm afraid you ended the interview when you cut my arm off.
NinjaDad: Oh sorry if I had known that I would have told a different joke.
Henri: Um can I get like a paper towel here. Is there a la Doctora in the house?
NinjaDad: Stop being such a baby.
Henri: Are you making the all-done sign at me?
NinjaDad: [waving hands] Yes. All-Done. You are big baby.
Henri: Join me next week everybody when I interview...[thud]
NinjaDad: I am NinjaDad.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Broken Off

Remember what I said about "breaking off these tech fools something proper?" Well I got my wish. More to come, as free time will be my middle name for a while.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Soccer Dad: Hauling A

I left my editing job two weeks ago. Took a contracting job at a local digital music distribution company whose name rhymes with "Thigh Spoons." That's the easy reason why I've been M.I.A. (how many logins and passwords do reasonable people need?); the more honest reason is that I've been following Mase in his dust. He's mastering the walk and motoring all through the house. Damn, why didn't someone remind me how much this ratchets up stakes. It's fun to watch except when you're concentrating on something like cooking or personal hygiene. The dog is especially patient with sudden sneak attacks. Go, Maceo, Go!

The paper allowed me a lot of freedom and was real close; now I'm facing a square 9-5 with a 10 mile commute along a major traffic artery. It'll take some getting used to, but my boss is awesome and there are 20,000 rea$on$ why this is a better look for me, Mom and Maceo. And I hear they have lunchtime pickup soccer games FOUR DAYS a week! I'm going to break these tech fools off something proper, once the workload slows down. If it slows down.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary with an insane splurge meal at Manresa. Pictured is breem sashimi, one of over 12 courses we ate with corresponding wine flights. As Mac Dre says, Treat Yourself Don't Cheat Yourself.


Sam Wan Superquiz: Answers (Damn you Sam Wan Part Un)

Ok damn. I just took the Sam Wan Super Quiz, and crafty-ass Asian that I am I made a cheat sheet for all of you. You're Welcome. Oh and here's a disclaimer: In all seriousness, reading or using my answers will disqualify you from taking the real test, so do Sam a favor. Participate in the real survey first.

Ok for the rest of you here are the correct answers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yo Daddies, Get Psyched

Sam Wan needs men who self-identify as Asian American (however they define it) to help out with his dissertation research on Asian American men and their experiences with racism. I'm reprinting his call for participants in full—so check it out, and help a brother out if you gots the time. [Plus, you could win an gift certificate!]

Hello all,
My name is Sam Wan, a Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology, and I am a second-generation Chinese American researching Asian American men’s experiences, under the direction of James Mahalik, Ph.D. I am writing the listserv to ask for Asian American men to participate in my online dissertation research survey, and to offer you an opportunity to be entered into a random drawing for 1 of 3 $100 gift certificates for your participation (see below). Did you know that Asian American men experience various reactions to racism-related messages in our society, including stress reactions? Some scholars have hypothesized that this stress may even be related to our identity as Asian American men. My research is an attempt to further the understanding of these issues facing Asian American men.

I am requesting all Asian American men on this listserv to consider participating in this study. You are eligible to participate if you are at least 18 years of age and identify yourself as Asian American or a member of any Asian American subgroup.

Your survey responses are entirely anonymous. Any name and email address information you choose to provide will not be tied in any way to your responses, will only be used for the drawing, and will be destroyed forever once the drawing is completed. This information will never be used in any other way except that which has already been stated. In the survey you will be asked some questions about race, racism, cultural values, and masculinity.

The approximately 20-minute survey can be completed online at:

Alternatively, you may go to and in the box that states "Go to Survey #" and type “119272”.

For your participation, I would like to offer you the chance to win 1 of 3 $100 gift certificates to, drawn at random from the participants who complete the survey (up to 130 participants). Please consider participating and no matter if you win a prize or not, in the end, my hope is that your participation in the study will help efforts at improving the quality of Asian American men’s lives in the future.
If you have questions about the study, I can be contacted by phone at (857) 364-5764 or e-mail at to answer any questions. You may also contact Dr. Mahalik by phone at (617) 552-4077 or e-mail at If at any time you have questions or concerns about your rights as a participant in a research study, please contact the Boston College Office for Human Research Participant Protection at (617) 552-4778.

Thank you!

Sam Wan, M.A.
Campion Hall 309
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Phone: (857) 364-5764

James Mahalik, Ph.D.
Boston College
Phone: (617) 552-4077

Monday, September 18, 2006

Get a Sitter and Go See This Movie

Awarding-winning indie film "Red Doors" by writer/director Georgia Lee is currently packing theaters in New York and opens on Sept. 22 in San Francisco and Los Angeles (see the film's website for theater information). The film centers around a dysfunctional Chinese American family and the complicated relationships between three sisters and their father. The filmmaker and the movie's supporters are making a concerted effort to fill seats in order to demonstrate that there is an audience for Asian American cinema, so if you're lucky enough to live in one of those three cities [sniff], get yourself a babysitter [yeah, I know, most of you are saying, movie, what's a movie?] and go represent.

CityMama has a cool interview with Georgia Lee up on Kimchi Mamas right now, so go check it out. [Also, for those of you who've heard scuttlebutt in the AsAm blogosphere about "controversy" over portrayals of Asian men or interracial relationships in the film, please check out Angry Asian Man's excellent coverage of the issue (and the film in general) to set yourself straight.]

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Strange New Dad Invades Rice Daddies: Kudzu Ensues

Hi, my name is Henri and I am an alcoho- (crap I hate when that happens)- I mean I'm an Asian Dad. Thanks to MetroDad for introducing me to the powers that be and thanks to the Rice Daddies crew for allowing me into the inner sanctum of Asian Dadness. The hazing was a little rough, yes my ass still hurts and that whole knife fighting thing while riding the Civics that was a little uncalled for, but in the end it was all worth it because here I am. Asian Dad. You know I never really thought of myself as an Asian anything, I guess that's what happens when you grow up Korean in LA motherfu--- sorry I say that every time I say LA. But growing up Korean in LA motherf-- (stop it) is like growing up white in [insert any American city here]. Oh I forgot New Jersey...if you're Korean in LA or New Jersey then you're just John Doe Citizen Dude because there's just a gang of Koreans and it's not even funny. But being here makes me feel especially Asian (Korean to you Mr. Probst....what? What did you just ask? Yes South Korean, I am South Korean stop showing off Jeff). Unfortunately for the Korean race many people will now see me as a representative of our noble and proud people and for this I say...sorry. I write like a drunk 10 year old ninja pirate (rarest of the 23 types of ninja) and am not very politically correct or minded for that matter. So I highly recommend you click my link and read my blog and realize how inappropriate my membership is to this fine group of good writers...ok crap I'm rambling. I really just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Korean, my wife is Japanese, our son is Irish and we live in Northern California. I like ninjas and whiskey. In a former life I was an artist and writer, now my work is eyeball related and my wife shares the same profession so I also get to send her off to do my job for me whenever I like, so technically I am also a part-time stay at home Dad. Thanks again to Daddy In a Strange Land and Metrodad for bringing me here. The business cards are really nice:

Henri (Corndogandrootbeer)
I'm a Rice Daddy, Bitch

I guess you have to see it to really appreciate it, umm...there's like these little cherry blossoms on the card and the typeset is like raised a bit and I think there's like a little crane in the corner. Is that a crane? Whatever, it's really nice guys. Oh and my Doctor says it's just lateral epicondylitis and not a broken elbow like I thought from F-Bomb throwing me off that Civic. Cheers.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We're "Site of the Week" at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer!

Seattle Post-Intelligencer family reporter Paul Nyhan, who wrote one of the several Father's Day stories about dadbloggers that namechecked us and our own MetroDad, also writes the newspaper's parenting blog, "Working Dad: An Unauthorized Guide to Parenting."

Since June, he's ended each week by naming a "Site of the Week." We're proud and happy to announce that today "Rice Daddies" was chosen as this week's "Site of the Week." Thanks, Paul! And have a great weekend, everybody....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Survivor: Race Wars" Premieres Tonight—With A Rice Daddy and Mama on the AsAm Team

So, tonight's the dreaded night, the premiere of "Survivor: Race Wars" (a.k.a. "Survivor: Cook Islands") on CBS at 8 p.m. Dreaded, that is, unless you're a blogger who needs stupid crap to write about/complain about/rag on, yeah? Heh. Must. Not. Look. But. Can't. Look. Away! The horror! The horror! In other words, it's reality t.v.

Hope y'all caught the Washington Post's t.v. column last week (link via Angry Asian Man) which exposed host Jeff Probst's moronic (mis-)understanding of race/culture/nationality/ethnicity/geography, vis-a-vis Asian Americans. Here's just a sample:

"When you start talking to a person from Asia, you realize -- Wow! They have all different backgrounds!"


The other day, he told the reporters, he went to his dentist, who is white, and the dentist brought in another dentist, who is Asian. "And I found myself saying to the Asian doctor, 'Where in Asia is your family from?' " The dentist said he was Korean. "The only reason I had the courage to even ask that question or the knowledge to ask that question was I'd just spent 39 days with people from Korea," Probst said.

Asians, he explained, include Chinese and Japanese and Koreans and "they don't necessarily get along," adding, "This is stuff maybe I should know."

I have no words. Well, I do, but the blogosphere's already said it all for me, I'm sure, so I'll refrain. [Definitely check out Mixed Media Watch's on-going coverage and compilation of links on this crap, it's hilarious, in a sad, head-shaking sorta way, of course.]

You know, with all the yelling/head-shaking/calls-for-boycotting on one side and defensive-posturing on the other, I might actually watch this thing (after having tuned out after season 1 or 2), just to see what happens. [And, of course, there's the blog fodder.]

But anyway, I was cruising around the official website to find out about the 5 members of the Asian team, and discovered that the elder two members, Anh-Tuan "Cao Boi" Bui, 42, of Virginia, and Jenny Guzon-Bae, 36, of Illinois, are parents. The Pinay realtor has a middle-schooler son, Casey [hey, Kimchi Mamas, the second half of that hyphenated surname sounds Korean to me!].

Our own reality t.v. Rice Daddy proxy [yeah, don't know if that's a good thing, either] came from Vietnam as a pre-teen refugee, has had a whole bunch of jobs (including the U.S. Army), but currently is a nail salon manager. [Interestingly enough, of all the contestant profiles, his seems to be the only one that doesn't display his profession under his name/age/hometown heading—instead, it says "prelate, loyal order of moose."] A Survivor fan-site profile page has the full text of an article from Cao Boi's (yeah, that's "cowboy" Vietnamesified) local paper interviewing his sons, Jesse, 12, and Nick, 9, who live with their mom:

"He never really did anything strong or cool before," Nick said. "He might embarrass us. He talks a lot and sleeps a lot. He snores."

But on second thought, maybe their dad isn’t such a wimp after all.

"He is pretty strong, and he can survive without food for a week," said Nick.


"I’m going to expect him to be acting crazy like usual. He will probably be swimming a lot, and he would be the first one to start a fire," said Nick. "He will probably act like the boss."


Even though they’re in awe of their dad’s newfound fame, the boys missed him a lot when he was on the Cook Islands from June through late August.

"It was kind of lonely. It was sad to not be able to see him," said Nick.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kimchi and Rice Is Nice

This past Sunday, we celebrated the end of summer away from the furnace that is Bakersfield [it's 100+ degrees as I write this at home right now!] with food and friends at my paternal grandparents' Orange County beach house. This has become something of an annual tradition, started back when we were young(-er) and pre-baby, but it's amazing to see how the march of time changes things—this year, there were like 10 kids at the party, ranging from 6 months to 4 years. We even had a changing station well-stocked with wipes and a napping station (well, a pack-n-play) that went unused, probably because of the other new addition to the party—the ever-popular kiddie pool in the backyard.

Food was plentiful: kalbi and bratwurst from the kettle grill [I always make our Chinese Texan friend grill, 'cause I can't pass up the humor inherent in the stereotype and plus, what do I know? I use propane at home], "island" fried chicken from the nearest branch of a local plate-lunch mini-chain we love, a trayful of "authentic" Trader Joe's gyoza, assorted salads and healthy-type things, and a whole mess of not-healthy-but-oh-so-good desserts (carrot cake and tres leches cake, flan, cookies, I'm sure I'm forgetting something).... I love that we have friends who love food as much as we do. Heh.

The crowd was our most diverse (read: more non-doctors!) yet, including la dra.'s residency buddies, some Bako folks, a few old friends of mine, and, most exciting, some new blogging friends. We were happy to meet off-line, for the first time, Kimchi Mama Weigook Saram, her husband A and their daughter K, and Kimchi Mama Nina, her Rice Daddy husband Charlie and their son Caius. Also with us were fellow Rice Daddy Mr. Maestro (a RL friend who I dragged into this when we started), his wife the Headmistress, and their son Penguin (who had the distinction of being the youngest baby there).

It's always nice to find that the virtual community you've plugged into, made connections with on-line really can translate into real life. La dra., The Pumpkin and I had a great time hanging out with the Kimchi Mamas' and Rice Daddies' families, and hopefully, we can continue to foster and strengthen these connections both on- and off-line [or just eat lots of food and let the kids run all over the place, that's good too].

[BTW, in the photo at the top left, that's Nina and Caius, Weigook Saram and K, and me and The Pumpkin—Charlie was hiding behind his own camera for that one; in the bottom right, that's Mr. Maestro dipping Penguin into a bucket of water, as the full-size kiddie pool kinda freaked him out.]