Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lemons to Lemonade

Way back in 2006, Mrs. SoulSnax and I put ourselves on a "modified media diet." We did this to avoid pissing our money away to producers of diversity-negligent media/entertainment content. When we became parents earlier this year, our 2007 resolution was to take those savings, and donate them to diversity-oriented education.

A few weeks ago, a large envelope arrived in the mail from It contained photos and letters of thanks from students who benefited from the educational programs that we helped to fund through the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge.

Upon reading through the letters and viewing the snapshots, I realized that I was holding tangible proof that a modified media diet can actually change the world! Just think: money that would have gone to producers of diversity-negligent content were diverted, and instead, helped to fund the education of kids in a way that helps to empower them by virtue of their diversity. Our 2007 New Year's Resolution has truly paid off!

You too, can also make a difference. Right now, you have a little less than 72 hours to make your last tax-deductible contribution for 2007. We've added six new proposals to the challenge, since your generosity has already funded the previous twelve proposals:
Launched in June 2007, the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge aims to mitigate the marginalizing effects of diversity-negligent pop culture and media by funding innovative educational programs that do the following:
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for our children
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for other people and their children
  • Develop skills in our children that empower them to be leaders in the world in which we live
  • Promote pride in one's culture instead of shame
  • Promote self-respect and appreciation for others like ourselves
  • Develop our children's ability to use their imaginations in an empowering way
  • Encourage our children to be who they truly are

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jolie in Training

For lil' Sunshine's first Christmas, Mrs. SoulSnax ordered one of those rare Asian dolls, because she wanted Sunshine's first doll to be Asian.

"Too late," I told her, because lil' Sunshine already had a doll, and it's a pretty little black doll in a pink dress.

"Aww... well that's cool, at least she's got some variety in there," Mrs. SoulSnax replied. "All my dolls were blonde and had blue eyes. And I grew up in the Philippines."

"Yeah, well a few more of these, and we can call her Angelina."

UPDATE: We've received a cease and desist order from the Philippine Colonial Ministry. Apparently, in our efforts to bolster the self-esteem of young Filipino children, we have been "complicit in undermining the Philippine media's Cultural Subjugation Programme."

We have been instructed to indoctrinate our daughter in the value of aspiring toward lighter skin and big, round eyes. They recommend that we give our daughter the same blue-eyed blonde-haired dolls that her mother had as a child.

Furthermore, they recommend that she watch any of the telenovelas on The Filipino Channel (TFC), since they feature a lot of mestizo "actors."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The "S" Word Revisted

It's that time of year again, when the existence of that jolly red-shirted fella is called into question. Last year it was a toss-up for me. This year, its been so busy we haven't even had time to think about it. But the kids are getting older and wiser (and asking for cellphones!).

So, ricedaddies and ricemommies, what's your verdict this year: is there a Santa Claus? Or is he just a freak in a velour suit?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Next Generation

Arrrrrh! Me boy wants to be a pirate after his maiden voyage to the Magic Kingdom early last month. Here he is on YouTube singin' the pirate theme song.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Pick You

Piggybacking on ThisisLarry's post on ear wax, I love my ear pick. They have them at every Japanese sundry shop right by the cash register. I've even seen a Hello Kitty version.

When we were kids my mom would hold our heads and scoop out wads of ear wax with the bamboo pick. It was like getting your back scratched. When I got old enough, I figured out every nook and cranny of my ear hole and went to town. I still do it every day, much to the chagrin of Otolaryngologists, my wife who has to deal with the remnants on the bathroom sink, and friends unfamiliar with Asian ear canal hygiene who happen to catch me in my boxers, head askew, concentrating, sticking what looks like a torture device in my ear and scraping with impunity.

Now, being a father, I get a little freaked out just inserting a Q-Tip into my son's ear though I remember clearly how good it felt as a kid to have my ears cleaned. What if he moves his head? What if an earthquake hits and something knocks my arm? What if I have a muscle spasm and ram the thing into his eardrum?

How do you clean your kids ears? And do they like it?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

World Domination, One Ear At a Time

It seems the pace of human evolution has been accelerating recently -recently being, in evolutionary terms, the last 5000 years.

Of course, like in any good contest, there are winners and losers, as Reuters reports it:
"For example, Africans have new genes providing resistance to malaria. In Europeans, there is a gene that makes them better able to digest milk as adults. In Asians, there is a gene that makes ear wax more dry."
So you can see obviously who came out ahead. ahem. rice daddies rule.

WTF! Really, five thousand years of Confucianism, Haiku, Bi Bim Bop, and Thriller, and this is all we get? Drier ear wax? This is our genetic heritage to pass on to our kids?

Remember you saw it here first, when the seas rise and all around others you are complaining about Swimmer's Ear.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Flaming Lips Balm


The past few days I've been thinking about James Kim and one thing that really brought a smile to my face was reading a Yelp review that his wife Kati wrote about a club in the city. And although some might imagine that she should act the grieving widow 24 hours a day, forever and a day, I couldn't disagree more. Getting on with happiness, or as close as you can get to it, is what it's all about. Grief is love's weight. It doesn't get lighter. Our backs just get a bit shiftier. I smile at the thought of her dancing. So before I forget, let me leave a message to my family in case one day I'm gone way too soon....

1) Crap I'm sorry. I'm an awesome guy, I'm sure you miss me.
2) Laugh and dance as soon as you can. I'll be laughing too...actually I'm laughing at your dancing.

And above all else remember... all of life's answers can be found in the Flaming Lips.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Can Asian People Cook?

In the immortal words of Mookie (portrayed by Spike Lee in my all-time favorite movie, "Do the Right Thing"), "Yo Sal, how come there ain't no brothas up on the wall?" is repeated refrain and the genesis of an eventual race riot involving African Americans and a pizzeria owned by Italian Americans in Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The overwhelmingly black patrons are not represented on the pizzeria's "Hall of Fame" reserved for Italian Americans.

Beginning with my grad school roommate who would bootleg copies of all the Japanese Iron Chefs, Food Network has changed my life. It made me want to cook and showed me it could look easy even when it isn't for me. I think cooking makes people healthier and its become a creative outlet. There is more Food Network on my TIVO than anything else. That aside, it started to dawn on me that everyone on food network was European American. It hit me most strongly when I watched the Swedish (by way of Cameroon) Chef Marcus Samuelssohn, Canadian Caribbean Grill Master Rob Rainford, and then Australian Hong Kong Chef Kylie Kwong on the Discovery Home Channel within the span of one and a half hours. This was more people of color cooking than I'd ever seen on Food Network.

Yes, Ming Tsai used to have a show and a few African Americans used to or still host shows. But in 2007, how does a channel devoted to something as uniquely cultural as food look as lily white as "Birth of a Nation"? (I swear they started offering Simply Delicioso after I complained to them directly!)

Yes, Emeril sometimes drops some egg rolls and Tyler Florence might stir fry a bit but isn't there some sense of "authenticity" in having a cultural lineage. Isn't this why I'm seated next to the window in Chinese restaurants? I would argue the most publicized chefs that cook Latin food are Rick Bayless, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, and Bobby Flay. Where is the Latin in Latin food?

Where is the Asian food? China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia have nothing to offer to the culinary world? Tell that to the takeout industry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

All Your Hairs Standing

Pinay homegirl kills it on Star King, the Korean version of A.I. Now if only she can get a stylist.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bert, Ernie, what hast thou wrought?

Via Virginia Heffernan in the NYT magazine:
What did they do to us?” asked one Gen-X mother of two, finally. The show rolled, and the sweet trauma came flooding back. What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar’s depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn’t exist.

Nothing in the children’s entertainment of today, candy-colored animation hopped up on computer tricks, can prepare young or old for this frightening glimpse of simpler times....
Well, that explains a LOT. Good thing our toddlers have more understandable fare to watch these days.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chew On This

The scene: a one-year old's birthday party. Daddy is Korean, baby mama is white. I go up to the halmoni* to say hi. I've known her son about 15 years. Here's our conversation:

Me: "So how is Jisung** as a father?"
Halmoni: "Jisung is good father. Deidre**? She a good mother, not so good wife."

Oh SNAP. Keep in mind "Deidre" is within earshot.

Me: "What do you mean?"
Halmoni: "She no work. Never cook."
Me: "Well, she takes care of the baby all day."
Halmoni: (tut-tutting) "Jisung work all day, come home and he runs around make dinner. Always have to cook."

I tried to explain how normal it is these days for guys to do the bulk of the cooking and sharing of chores once considered "women's work" yet she was unconvinced. Funny how such a simple act as food preparation can be a measurement of one's viability as a mate. It was also a good reminder that some first/second generation parents see this evolution as a defect. Furthermore, Koreans don't play! Screw McCain, the real Straight Talk Express stretches along Wilshire Blvd.

As Thanksgiving approaches, do any female readers want to share some Mother-in-Law stories? What are your experiences with your mother-in-law and unsolicited advice or passive aggressive vibes? And how did your hubby/significant other back you up, or not?

*Korean for "Constant source of marinated meats, dduk, kimchi and kimpop." And yes, she prepared a huge spread that was banging.

**Names changed to protect friendship. :)

SD (who does the bulk of cooking around the house)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Asian Adoptees Get Their Own NY Times Page (sort of)

The NYT launched a new blog on adoption and though it's not meant to solely focus on transracial adoption of Asian children, there's certainly a great deal of content oriented around those relations right now. It is well worth reading though prepared to be seriously perturbed.

Relative Choices

I've said this for years but we're in the midst of seeing the first major waves of Asian adoptees (mostly Korean) come of age in America and as this happens, the conversations that are likely to arise will be fascinating to consider, especially in thinking about how the next wave (mostly Chinese) children grow up.

Asians In Need of Extreme Makeovers?

(yes, I was being sarcastic).

This is actually in reply to Larry's earlier post about the story on speed-dating preferences and what they say about both gendered and racialized dimensions to dating practices.

First of all, even though the Slate story is written by the same researcher who also conducted the story, it's well worth reading the original study even if you have no idea wtf a "regression analysis" means.

I already posted elements of this on my other blog but they bear repeating, esp. for readers of Rice Daddies.

1) The argument that the "Asian fetish" is false is itself, built on a false premise. Dr. Fisman presumes that the stereotype is "white men, in general, have a racial preference for East Asian women." Personally, I don't think this is what the stereotype has ever been about. Instead, it's about *certain white men* having a racial preference for East Asian women rather than white men, writ large. The study wasn't designed to test the latter hypothesis and thus, it really has no bearing, at all, on the question of whether there is an Asian fetish or not amongst certain men (white or otherwise).

2) Furthermore, what the study suggests about White/Asian pairings (of the WM/AF variety) is something that is largely reflected in other social research on interracial marriage - East Asians and Whites, especially American born and middle class, have greater social contact with one another compared to other ethnic groups. Spatial integration patterns and high college enrollment by East Asians helps explain this, especially in contrast with Blacks and Latinos.

Add in a non-bias against Whites by Asian women (a confusing way to state it but I follow the meaning) and what it suggests is that, if Asian women are equally open to pairing with White and Asian men, then simply having contact with Whites means that there's a greater chance they'd end up dating/marrying them. It doesn't require that they have a bias against Asians or a preference for Whites and this study, at least, suggests that there is no built-in bias against Asians.

Well, not exactly. Keep reading:

3) The far, far, far, far more interesting finding, according to the original study (and not discussed in the Slate piece) is that for ALL races, both men and women...East Asian men and women ranked the LEAST attractive. Yes, even Asians think other Asians (East Asians at least) are less attractive then Whites, Blacks and Latinos.

The study, when adjusting for attractiveness as a control group (i.e. if they remove this as a factor), find that all men (regardless of race) do not display a preference for the race of their female partner. In contrast, all women (regardless of race) display a higher preference for SAME RACE pairings, Asian women included.

But again - that's only if you take out attractiveness as a factor (which seems like an odd thing to do since, presumably, this matters in how people choose who they want to date).

Ok - chew on that and discuss!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Putting the Rice in Rice Daddy

Game on: FreeRice

Help needy folks while you perpetuate the stereotype that all us rice daddies are book-learned. For every word you correctly define, these guys, related to, will donate ten grains of rice.

The words get harder as you go. I got to vocabulary level 45. Are you up to the challenge?

Game on!

Friday, November 09, 2007

One Laptop Per Rice Daddy

Has Soulsnax got you in the giving mood, and are you craving to go all international-like with it? Here's something you can do, and at the same time get in on the cutting edge of consumer electronics.

OLPC, The One Laptop Per Child organization, was founded by Nicholas Negroponte, one of the founders of the MIT media lab. Its mission has been to make a low-cost laptop available to every child in the developing world:
"Our mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education. While children are by nature eager for knowledge, many countries have insufficient resources to devote to education—sometimes less than $20 a year per child. Imagine the potential that could be unlocked by giving every child in the world the tools they need to learn, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, no matter how little they may have."
The XO laptop developed by OLPC has won a bunch of design awards 'n stuff, and seems to be close to rolling off the production line.

So, where does your rice-daddy philanthropy come in?

well, OLPC is offering the opportunity to get your own XO when you also buy one to give to a worthy kid somewhere out there. It will be cool to show this off here in the Valley, and feel good about supporting digital learning for the global community.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

No Such Thing as Yellow Fever

Oh, now this is rich. Like a bad joke, an economist goes into a bar, and discovers there is no such thing as yellow fever:
"The white man-Asian woman pairing was the most common form of interracial dating—but because of the women's neutrality, not the men's pronounced preference."
Oh, so now it's all the Asian woman's fault? --the STEREOTYPICALLY PASSIVE Asian woman's fault!?! Those poor men caught with their preferences down....

If there were only a documentary refuting this research ....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Challenge Update: WE'RE ON A ROLL! Four new proposals added.

Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. L., Instant Yang, ThisIsLarry, Grant D. and Manuel Z., the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge is on a roll. Of the eight proposals on the Challenge, six proposals have been fully funded through your generous donations.

To keep the momentum going, we've added four new proposals to the challenge:
Launched in June 2007, the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge aims to mitigate the marginalizing effects of diversity-negligent pop culture and media by funding innovative educational programs that do the following:
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for our children
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for other people and their children
  • Develop skills in our children that empower them to be leaders in the world in which we live
  • Promote pride in one's culture instead of shame
  • Promote self-respect and appreciation for others like ourselves
  • Develop our children's ability to use their imaginations in an empowering way
  • Encourage our children to be who they truly are

My Family Is From...
- Los Angeles, California - PreK-2 - 78% low income -

"This year I will put in place an ongoing curriculum that connects students to their culture with the goal of students identifying more with who they are."


Help Us Travel To China!!!
- Carson, California - PreK-2 - 93% low income -

"I am second grade teacher who loves to expose students to different cultures. I teach for a district that is primarily composed of African Americans and Hispanics. Unfortunately, some of my students are often not exposed to other cultures; therefore, I've brought culture and traditions to them!"


Bringing Asia to the Bronx
- Bronx, New York - Grades 6-8 - 72% low income -

"Many of my 7th grade students, who attend middle school in the Bronx, have never left New York. It is therefore important for me, as a teacher with many different experiences, to bring the world to them."


More Than Meets the Eye: Students as Media Producers
- Los Angeles, California - Grades 3-5 - 94% low income -

"I am a 5th grade teacher for an urban school located in South Central Los Angeles. One of the greatest challenges of teaching inner city youth is engaging them and creating lessons that are meaningful to their lives."

Monday, November 05, 2007

The MOCA Story Map

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has launched a new Google Maps mashup to map the Chinese-American experience "one story at a time." Makes me wanna find out if I have any Chinese ancestry, just so that I can post a story or two...

I know all you Chinese-American RiceDaddies have some compelling narrative to share. So, post your story here in the comments, then copy it over to

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Parent Clock

If you're an NPR head, you've probably heard of the show Radio Lab. Recently, I was listening to an MP3 of the episode on Time (which originally aired in February 2005). In the episode, host Jad Abumrad and guest Robert Krulwich wax philosophical about the secrets of time. How to speed it up, slow it down, what time is made of, etc. There was one segment that affected me so much, I had to pull the car over.

They played a piece entitled "Nancy Grows Up" in which longtime radio producer
Tony Schwartz made a recording of his baby niece becoming a young woman. In the span of two minutes and twelve seconds, an hysterically crying infant quickly begins to coo, form simple sentences, sing "happy birthday," and ultimately, discuss "boys."

Then the realization punched me in the stomach. My own baby girl is growing up. Kiki is now sixteen weeks old, and has recently started cooing and laughing herself. In fact, Nakko and I can't go to work in the morning until she flashes us her wide, toothless grin. Gone are the blank expressions and uncontrollable limbs. Now, she looks up at us with those wide, expressive eyes and reaches out to stroke our faces with her delicate fingers.

It really doesn't get better than this, does it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Challenge Update: Two New Educational Proposals Added

We've added two new educational proposals to the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, our ongoing philanthropic venture: Asian American Heritage One Book at a Time and Characters that Look Like Me.

These two proposals seek to stir the imaginations of our young children through the use of literature that promotes positive images of diversity. And we all know what happens when a child is inspired through literature: a lifelong love of learning, and a propensity toward exploring life's endless possibilities...

Launched in June 2007, the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge aims to mitigate the marginalizing effects of diversity-negligent pop culture and media by funding innovative educational programs that do the following:
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for our children
  • Promote positive images of ourselves for other people and their children
  • Develop skills in our children that empower them to be leaders in the world in which we live
  • Promote pride in one's culture instead of shame
  • Promote self-respect and appreciation for others like ourselves
  • Develop our children's ability to use their imaginations in an empowering way
  • Encourage our children to be who they truly are
Asian American Heritage One Book at a Time
- Chicago, Illinois - PreK-2 - 95% low income -

"I work in Chinatown in Chicago. My classroom is 100% Asian-American. As a Kindergarten teacher, I spend lots of time reading aloud to my students.

"I feel it is important that they are exposed to stories with Asian-American characters as well as stories that they are able to relate to. I have selected 18 books that I feel would benefit my students as we work towards their understanding of family heritage and the value of cooperating within the community.

"My students will benefit greatly from these books because they are written in a way that not only I can read them, but as the year progresses the students will take ownership of the stories as their literacy skills develop.

"Please help my students become better readers by making connections with these stories.

"My students need a collection of books that reflect their Asian American heritage. The cost of this proposal is $379, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment."


Characters That Look Like Me!
- Oakland, California - PreK-2 - 58% low income -

"I am a second year Kindergarten teacher in a low-income public school in Oakland, Ca. Over 90% of our student population qualifies for the federally funded breakfast/lunch program. I teach a variety of students from a multitude of different cultures, Filipino, African American, Chinese, and Hispanic.I have some books in my library and I have spent a lot of time and money acquiring the books. However, my classroom library lacks books featuring African American, Hispanic and Asian children. My students LOVE to read and be read to. They would greatly benefit from the exposure of characters from many different ethnic groups and it would help them to appreciate the diverse society that they live in.Please help me build a strong multicultural foundation with the multicultural books I have selected. These books will allow my students accessibility to real literature and it will hook them and excite them to learn about the world around them, as well as validate where they come from. By providing my students with books that show multicultural characters, like themselves, you will provide resources that build on the basic curriculum and on the equity we are trying to bring into our classroom community. These books will allow my students to know so much more about themselves, others and the world. Thank you so much.

"My project needs multicultural books that depict characters like the students in my class: African American, Asian, and Hispanic. I have selected a number of Multicultural sets about Holidays, Children of the World, and such titles as On Mother's Lap, Fiesta, Round is a Moon Cake and Whoever You Are. The cost of this proposal is $520, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rice Daddy Represents on "The Amazing Race"

First there were the Cho brothers and the Patels on season 10. Now, for those of us who like to play the "oooh, there's an Asian American on a reality competition show (that's not Survivor: Race War Edition), look!" game [and hell no, I ain't watching that Tila Tequila thing on MTV], season 12 of CBS' Emmy winner (and the only reality show my wife and I watch) brings us an Asian American dad/daughter team.

The newest TV rice daddy is Ronald Hsu, 58, of Tacoma, WA, the vice-president of a paper packing company and father of teammate Christina Hsu, 26, a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. According to their show site profile:

Ronald & Christina are a father/daughter Team who are competing in the Race to make up for lost time. Since Ronald was constantly traveling for work throughout much of his daughter's formative years, Christina hopes the Race will allow her father--a self-proclaimed workaholic--to stop and smell the roses and provide them with some meaningful time together.

Ronald, a first-generation immigrant and eldest of five, works as a Vice President of sales for a paper packaging company. His proudest achievements are his thirty-one years of marriage and raising two independent daughters. Christina is Ronald's youngest daughter and holds degrees from both Duke and Princeton. She once served in the State Department and often wishes her Teammate could be as diplomatic as she.

Neither are strangers to the unpredictability of international travel as they have both lived and worked abroad. Ronald describes himself as inquisitive and open-minded, while Christina describes herself as loyal and adventurous. This father/daughter duo is excited to grow closer, make friends across continents and create Race history by being the first father/daughter Team to claim the $1 million prize.

You go, Ronnie! Represent, brother—and we'll be watching on November 4.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nostalgic For Nothing

This morning I heard that Lance Hahn of J Church passed away due to complications related to kidney failure. I had met Lance back in the early ‘90s when he lived in San Francisco. The Ear of the Dragon compilation came out and a lot of attention was being focused on Asian American rock, a fraternity that Lance helped bring attention to. J Church were deceptively smart punk poppers, drawing upon Lance’s roots as an anarcho punk and his deep love of cinema, art and music. He could also break it down at the emotional level, connecting to issues of the heart. The sticker on his guitar said it all: “Overthrow cockrock and worship your girlfriend.”

Being a music writer and JA in the ‘90s, this was a good time to discuss issues of race, music, stereotypes and upbringing as well as bond with interesting people over good food. So I think the majority of memories I have of Lance involve food and music. We sat down for a proper interview in 1995. I remember thinking how open and frank he was. We talked about major labels, touring with Beck (he beat out a stable to tour as Beck’s guitarist during Mellow Gold), Hawaii, Faye Wong. He was obsessed with Faye Wong, so much he wrote a sweet song about her.

Since then, we remained on friendly terms. They’d play an occasional show in the South Bay and I’d roll out to see them. Another time was when Giant Robot magazine held a concert with Seam, Korea Girl and J Church in their warehouse. We drove down for that. I remember Lance thinking how clever he was for playing the Smiths cover “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “Faye Wong” right next to each other. I have the set list packed away somewhere. Lance could hold a conversation about any possible topic, and be fully informed and hilarious at the same time.

My last memory of Lance is seeing him blow through a hardcore set at SXSW in 2005. He was so deeply entrenched in the music, which had turned ultra-political (naturally, given his temperament and the general state of the U.S.) and loud as heck. I was happy seeing J Church operating on full blast and left stoked he was still rocking hard.

So when I heard of him passing this morning, after long illnesses and no health insurance, I was sad but also glad that his painful ordeal had ended. I was also comforted that every time I saw him, he was living life to its fullest. He had done so many great things, toured the world, made great music, touched many people’s lives. This morning, a work colleague who knew Lance passed me a zip file of J Church songs. I couldn’t listen. It was too soon to process Lance’s distant voice in my work headphones. Plus his death also had me thinking about my own mortality. Like, a musician of my generation died? Holy crap!

Tonight, though, I put on Nostalgic for Nothing after dinner. Maceo was playing with his cars and when he heard the drums kick in during “My Favorite Place” he got all excited and started dancing. This went on for “Ivy League College” and “Tide of Fate.” Soon I was lifting him up and down and he was having a heckuva time wilding out to songs about silver-spoonfed kids wearing t-shirts that say “Lick Bush.” It was all quite surreal, as if Lance was reaching out to remind me: look for the humor in life because it’s all around you.

Thanks, Lance. Godspeed.


This is where we live.

(crossposted from Anti-Racist Parent)

This is where we live.

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I took our almost-three-year-old daughter to her first county fair. She got to eat French fries and funnel cake, look at cows, and dance like crazy to Los Lobos, performing live in a concert sponsored by an English-language magazine for second-generation American Latinos that the media company I work for publishes.

On our way out, we passed a t-shirt vendor selling souvenirs. I did a double take when I noticed the wide variety of t-shirts featuring the Confederate “Stars and Bars” flag on offer. “Take a picture, take a picture,” I nudged my wife, who reluctantly snapped a shot of the display of t-shirts with slogans like “Heritage Not Hate” and “If you don’t like my flag you can kiss my rebel ass.” The woman selling the shirts saw us—we tried to act nonchalant. But then I saw the kids’ shirts. I urged my wife to get a shot of the child’s shirt proclaiming “Daddy’s Lil Rebel” on top of the Confederate flag, but the shirt-seller saw her and shook her head no. Guess we couldn’t quite pass for members of her target demographic who just wanted to show her shirt designs to friends. Or maybe I just wasn’t too good at masking the look of shock on my face. [When googling for images of that kiddie shirt, I stumbled on this plethora of rebel merchandise for sale in that bastion of antebellum Southern heritage, New Jersey.]

This fair, by the way, made national news two years ago when it removed from its musical schedule a performance by local folk duo Prussian Blue, the Olsen twins of the white supremacist set. They were uninvited only after a classmate complained and told the fair folks what their act was really about. Apparently, they hadn’t known until then—despite the pair having performed at the fair the year before.

This is where we live.

In recent weeks, this has been the stuff of our local news:

•One of our city councilmen introduced measures to declare our city, steeped in its history of agribusiness and labor conflicts, an anti-sanctuary city vis-à-vis illegal immigrants and to declare English our official language.

•The city’s public high school district’s South High School celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Its team name: the Rebels. Yes, those Rebels, and that South (and their colors are blue and grey, natch). Our paper featured some alumni remembrances accompanied by a photo of band buglers from back in the day with the stars-and-bars hanging from their horns. Wrote one member of the class of 1986: “Being an African-American student at a high school whose mascots are representations of the Southern Confederacy was peculiar, to say the least. Slavery ring a bell? Anyone?”

•A member of the high school board of trustees introduced a measure to require every classroom in the district to display the national motto, “In God We Trust.” The motto will be on flag-emblazoned posters donated by a non-profit run by a city councilwoman dedicated to putting up that same national motto in city halls across the country. The trustee, a former youth pastor and now founder of his own church, recently led the charge to change “winter break” to “Christmas break” and “spring break” to “Easter break,” and he originally ran for office because the board wasn’t strict enough in its partial ban of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”

This is where we live.

A real-life friend and fellow dadblogger, Dr. Lo Siento, wrote of his concerns about raising his Asian American son in this kind of environment, shortly before moving with his wife and child back to Orange County. Recently, Mamazilla wrote about how some encounters with clueless racism has made her wish she could connect with an offline, non-virtual Anti-Racist Parent group of like-minded local moms and dads to share stories and strategies with, to vent to, to lean on. Though this stuff is never far from my mind, all this recent crap has made me think even more about the challenges my wife and I face in raising our daughter where we currently live.

I could throw up my arms and say, screw it, we’re moving, now. I could go crazy with anger and frustration, or get paranoid and see enemies everywhere. But for now, we live here.

And this is also where we live:

Did I mention that, at the County Fair, that Confederate t-shirt stand was just around the corner from a section of the fairgrounds devoted to Latino food and culture, and down the midway from food stands run by Basque, Italian and Mexican community organizations? (And we were coming from a Los Lobos concert.) It was a crowded Sunday night, and it seemed like families from all parts and communities of Bakersfield were there, having fun.

Those anti-immigrant resolutions in front of the City Council were voted down, after UFW legend and local resident Dolores Huerta led a diverse group of protesters to speak out against them and fill the council chambers.

Public opinion seems to be against our crusading school board trustee, who is seen and denounced by many as a divisive political opportunist who needs to be voted out of office.

This is where we live.

Every week, as part of my job, I make sure that a small cadre of local high school students take photos of fans at their schools’ football games and upload them to our website. And every week, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I see, photo after photo of interracial groups of friends, of families of all backgrounds enjoying the game with each other. Take a look at the photos from South High, where the majority of the students, like at many California high schools, are “minority” students, and you will not see the school it was 50 years ago, when someone thought it was a good idea to name a school after the losing side in the Civil War.

My wife and I consciously surround ourselves with a diverse group of friends, We support each other, we love each other’s kids, and, though we may not all share the same politics on everything, we all desire to create a better environment for our children. We complain when something pisses us off about this place not because we’re bitter and we’ve given up, but because, for the sake of our children, we can’t afford not to complain, we can’t afford not to get pissed off.

Because, at least for now, this is where we live.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Recalling Yo-Yo Ma's 1986 session with Elmo

While we're on the subject of music on children's television...

This week on WNYC's Studio 360, a reference was made to Yo-Yo Ma's classic 1986 "session" with Elmo:

Rockin' that sexy 1980s Asian hairdo!

And if you're up for some multiple eargasms with your morning coffee, klicken Sie hier:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pick It Up

As a ska fan, this is quite possibly the coolest thing I've seen on Yo Gabba Gabba. An upbeat, knees-up tune by GoGo13 and Alex Desert from Hepcat. References to Prince Buster, rude boys, Rhoda Dakar, Go Feet records, 2-Tone, Vespas and Judge Roughneck mixed in among a primary message of cleaning up your room. It's from the "Move" episode. It's freaking brilliant. Hurry before it gets taken down by the Man.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

No English, Please!

A few months ago, we got an off-the-boat babysitter from the Philippines. I was excited because we'd have someone to teach our baby Filipino. Well, she kept forgetting to speak Filipino, and I gave up on reminding her to NOT speak English.

Then, when I found out that my mother-in-law was coming to stay with us for a couple of months, I thought we'd have another opportunity to immunize her against monolingualism.

That was not to be... It's been a month now, and though my mother-in-law will speak her native dialect when talking to my wife and to my parents, she can't help but speak English when she plays with the baby.

I should have known. You see, even though my wife grew up in the Philippines, her first language was English too. She even grew up watching the same television shows I did: Sesame Street, Scooby Doo, Flintstones, etc. And none of it was dubbed into anything other than English. Not even Voltron, He-Man, or the Transformers.

I came to realize that for a lot of folks in Philippines, English is the language you use when you talk to children. They can't help it. They speak their native tongue when speaking to adults, but when they talk to babies and young children, they can't help but to break into English!!

Oy vay, at this rate, it looks like the only other language she'll be picking up is the Yiddish I picked up from the neighbors when I was growing up!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fatherhood 1997.0

Woh I woke up and read this article. Um did I just dream the last decade? Am I really stuck in 1997? Plus there is a strangely familiar dude on the page.

I can't wait until their next article on this new MP3 thing I've been hearing about or maybe something about teh internetz.

Friday, October 05, 2007

public service announcement...

...okay, so it's more a self-serving announcement, but I don't know what else to do. I'm reposting this from my solo blog,, because I figure most of the folks I need to see this will see it here. Long story short, if you have my old (non-alias) address bookmarked or, more important, you subscribe to the RSS feed for my eponymous solo blog, please update your bookmarks and go to the site and resubscribe to the feed, b/c the address has changed. Why? Here's the full story:

For the handful of you faithful readers out there who’ve been wondering where I’ve been, well, I’ve been here, and I haven’t.

I’ve been having some “technical difficulties” (more on that in a sec), which, in my usual get-frustrated-and-try-not-to-break-things manner, made me just give up for a bit. But I’m back. And hopefully you’re seeing this.

Okay, so two months ago Apple released iLife 08, a major upgrade to its package of multimedia “even somebody who can only point-click-drag (like you) can make something cool” software, including iWeb, the software this blog is built with. So I downloaded, upgraded, even wrote two posts in August after the upgrade, and none of you know it.

Here’s what happened. The new version of the program, in an effort to simplify things, changed the urls for iWeb sites and pages, creating new domains. Somebody frakked up in all of this, because all the comments on everybody’s iWeb blogs built with the old software disappeared. My alias redirect was still going to the old address, which one, was still there, though it wasn’t supposed to be, and two, still had all my old comments. And then I realized that the address for the RSS feed had changed too. So at that point, knowing that if noone could tell I’d written anything new they wouldn’t find it, I froze.

Yes, for two months.

After confirming with a dude at the Apple store that yes, they screwed up and that no, there was nothing that could be done, I finally changed the alias redirect to go to the current, commentless site. now goes to [Yes, that’s the simplified version, and yes, that’s a lot of crap, why do you think I did the alias redirect in the first place?] The old address,, still exists (though it’s not supposed to, apparently), and you can go there to see any comments written on posts before mid-August.

But, and here’s the important part, please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds. will now go to the current site, but if you bookmarked the long, convoluted .mac address a long time ago, please change it to the new one. And for the even smaller handful of folks who subscribe to my feed, go to the main page of the “new” site and click subscribe again, because the address has changed, and if you don’t, you’ll never see that I’ve written new crap.

Okay, I’m unfrozen now. I hope somebody’s reading this. ;)

[Questions? Feel free to contact me directly.]

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Challenge Update: New Educational Proposal Added

We've added another educational proposal to the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, our ongoing philanthropic venture.

As you can see from the proposal description, these children are in dire need of our support. Ninety-three percent of this school's students come from low-income, high-poverty homes. The proposed program meets the objectives of our Challenge and will provide 60 instructional hours to over 300 of those students. So the sooner we donate, the sooner they can learn!

"International Studies Learning Center is one of 9 schools in the country sponsored by the Asia Society to offer an internationally focused curriculum to its students.

"Media is an excellent way to help students understand international perspectives, but I am having trouble making that asset available to these children on a daily basis due to limited resources for technology. There is one TV/DVD combination deck in the school, and it is often checked out to other teachers. With one more TV/DVD deck available, I and the other teachers of the 7th grade would be able to show movies during class time to augment the classroom experience."

"As part of our school's schedule, we have an advisory class, and in that class I would like to show movies or images. Next year, as an institution, we will be reading Farewell to Manzanar and several other books with video components or pictures taken from the Japanese American Museum in the Los Angeles area. In a perfect world, I would be able to take the students to the museum and all the other associated resources with the reading material for next year, but the budget is already too small for excursions, so I may have to bring the resources to them via video and images.

"The students have the expectation of being able to participate in a world economy and marketplace, as expressed in the ISLC Mission Statement. We are acquiring texts and helping the students get access to a truly international perspective, but we need the help to make these resources reachable by our students.

"A contribution of a DVD player and Television would help the students develop this perspective and help them get to their grade level in understanding by assisting their comprehension with video input into their texts and exercises in class.

"My project needs A Sony DVD player and 27" color television to enrich their internationally-oriented curriculum. The cost of this proposal is $401, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Designed in America, Installed in America...

but when it comes to product recalls all you see in the news is MADE IN CHINA.

That's right and it's pissing me off. It seems every single news article on a recall has to focus on the fact the products were Made in China whether it was relevant to the recall or not.

Take the latest about recalled baby cribs (which is very sad of course). The cribs in question were designed by an American company and aren't even defective. The problem is some buyers installed the gate upside down which caused the infant deaths.

So why does EVERY news article point out that it was Made in China?! Now how the hell is that relevant? I mean why not blame everything on China? Children who have ADHD - they are playing with toys Made in China, childhood obesity - the candy wrappers were Made in China, wait can't we blame the Iraq war mess on China, let's see I think the ink on the box that holds the bullets were MADE IN CHINA!

Haha. Seems like a pretty funny Saturday Night Live skit if it weren't played out again and again across the news.

The problem seems to be that Americans are falling for this scapegoating hook line and sinker. Some of the news articles allow reader comments and it sure seems that the average American reader believes this crap.
At least Mattel did the extraordinary thing of apologizing to China for their recalls of their defective designed toys, i.e. the tiny magnets that kids would swallow. Would be nice to see more people take responsibility.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nova Scotia in the house!

When my kids grow up, I hope they are as powerful as these two high school seniors:

bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates' T-shirt campaign

"Two Nova Scotia students are being praised across North America for the way they turned the tide against the bullies who picked on a fellow student for wearing pink....

"When the bullied student, who has never been identified, walked into school to see his fellow students decked out in pink, some of his classmates said it was a powerful moment. He may have even blushed a little."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yo! Gabba Gabba (Hey!)

"Television: The Drug of the Nation," the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy once said. If that equation holds true, then Yo Gabba Gabba is a goofball of methamphetamine and nitrous.

Anybody else up on Yo Gabba Gabba? It's basically a Nick Jr. show aimed at preschoolers and adults who fall into the Grups category. A futuristic host in orange spandex opens a boombox to reveal the five characters (designed by Kid Robot). They flop around and sing songs about eating your food, the benefits of sleep, sharing, etc. The songs themselves are amazingly treacle-free and dammit, catchy. Peep "Party in My Tummy (So Yummy)" which owes a lot to Miami bass anthems as it does to the principles of good nutrition:

As you can see, Yo Gabba Gabba is full of hipster modifiers. There's cutting edge animation by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer, wink-wink appearances by Mya, Tony Hawk, Elijah Wood, the Aggrolites, the Shins, Cornelius and Smoosh. Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh does a drawing segment. And for you hip-hop heads, Biz Markie introduces preschoolers to the "Biz Beat of the Day." Future guests include Rahzel, Salteens and Shiny Toy Guns. And some of the songs get actual remixes by DJs like Bassbin Twins.

So how does it translate? Wifey and I TIVO'd a couple episodes and found we liked the music and the guests, but found the format of quick short-attention span bits to be annoying and nonsensical, like watching a kiddie version of Sprockets. The four characters, one resembling a red vibrator, are on the ridiculous side. Then again, I grew up in the era of Banana Splits (Danger Island!), Land of the Lost and HR Pufnstuf, which were equally absurd. I get what YGG is doing, I just think they try too hard to snag adults and don't give kids enough credit for being attentive.

We gave Maceo a taste of the show and he quickly adapted to it (he doesn't get much TV, maybe an hour every other day, so that might play into it). Yo Gabba Gabba has yet to make his vocabulary like Elmo, but give him time.

(BTW, did you guys see the Chris Brown/Elmo collabo? Good stuff from the 2007 season)

Anybody else love/hate Yo Gabba Gabba?


Monday, September 10, 2007

Grandparents' Day

Yesterday was Grandparents' Day, which, I gather, is sort of seen as a made-up, Hallmark non-holiday even though it isn't. In honor of the day, I thought I'd post this link to a snippet of video of The Pumpkin's grandmother (my mom) talking about my grandfather (her dad, The Pumpkin's great-grandfather, whom she'll never meet).

On this past Father's Day, my parents accompanied us to the opening day of the Japanese American National Museum's exhibit on the influence of Japanese American gardeners on American landscaping.

My grandfather, Koichi Tsunoda, a nisei born in Northern California to immigrant parents, was one of those gardeners. He passed away when I was in middle school, but unfortunately, I don't remember a lot about him. For most of my life, he suffered from Parkinson's Disease, and what I remember are after-school visits to the nursing homes he lived in, and holiday family dinners for which my dad picked him up from said nursing homes and at which I always made sure to set up a t.v. tray in the same spot in front of the sofa for him. I "remember" pictures, photographs of him and me on a family trip to Solvang, or to Disneyland, or out to Indio to visit his old date-farmer friends, but I only know they happened because of the pictures. By the time I was old enough and aware enough to want to ask him about his life, his pre-war childhood as the son of issei farmers, about internment and what made him break with the rest of his family to become a "no-no boy" and take his new bride with him, just the two of them, to the Tule Lake camp for "the disloyal," where my mother was born, or about being a gardener in LA at a time when all the gardeners were JA, it was too late.

At the opening of the JANM exhibit, some folks from the museum's online community history project, Discover Nikkei, were asking folks who were related to or knew JA gardeners to talk a bit in front of their camera. It being Father's Day, I basically pushed my reluctant mother into the booth. "Do it for Grandpa," I said.

I didn't know until the other day, when I was randomly looking at the website, that they had put her clip up. She hadn't told me. But you know, she has nothing to be embarassed about. She simply shared a memory of her father, my grandfather, and in doing so, made that memory permanent, for me, his grandson who never got to know that part of him, and for her granddaughter, who will know the love and legacy of that part of her family through her grandmother.

Happy Grandparents' Day, Grandpa, and to you, too, Mom.

View clip and read transcript here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

RD mini-meetup at the beach—wished you were there!

La dra. and I hosted our annual end-of-summer "hang out with friends we never get to see anymore cuz we live in frickin' Bakersfield" beach party this past Sunday at my grandmother's Orange County beach house. It was smaller this year, as for some reason lots of people had planned Labor Day weekend weddings this year, it seems (and la dra.'s residency class' sports medicine doc had to work a NASCAR race, heh—somehow car crash triage doesn't seem like athletic injuries to me, but whatever!). And oh yeah, a bunch of people couldn't come this year cuz they were being all inconsiderate and sitting around waiting to give birth or something—and none of them even had false labor that day! Lame excuses, man...

But anyway, there were a lot of kids, mostly the rapidly growing (in age and size) brood of my dear wife's residency classmates, and The Pumpkin had so much fun playing with them all. Last year, we were happy to meet a couple Kimchi Mamas—this year happily saw the resurgence of long-dormant Rice Daddy Papa Law and our good real-life-friend-forced-to-join-the-blog Dr. Lo Siento (who, sniff, moved from frickin' Bako back to the OC). To our other SoCal parentblogging friends who couldn't make it, we missed you!

Meeting friends from the blogosphere in real life has been a fun, unexpected byproduct of this whole blogging thing. Last month we got to host the Lotus Life fam (plus the Superhas, who are always over here anyway) for a nice playdate/lunch while they were on their way back north from Disneyland. And last week, we had frequent commenter Peachboy (and future RD contributor if I nudge him enough, and do it in public like this, right?) over for dinner while he was stuck in frickin' Bako on business. Dude's like six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon with the RD crew—he knew Soccer Dad from childhood, went to school with Poppa Large, lives near Henri whom he met b/c their wives were in a mommy class together, and now, this weekend, come to find out that Papa Law had him as a TA! (And according to him, Peachboy was that TA, you know, the cool/hip/sexy one all the undergrad ladies wanted as their section leader, heh.) But anyway, meeting bloggers (and their children!) offline is fun! (FYI NorCal folks, we're in SF at the end of April!)

Happy end-of summer, y'all! Hope this frickin' Bako heat goes away soon...

Monday, September 03, 2007

New exercise routine?

I just watched my daughter, Caitlyn (now just a couple months past 2 years), complete 20 minutes of non-stop running in a circle. The reason for this late night aerobic activity? "Shall We Dance" from "The King and I." Usually, she and I go to the park after dinner to play before coming home to bathe and go to bed. But with the recent heatwave (still feels like 100 degrees outside), indoor activity is all we've managed to muster all day. At least we found something to tire her out!

P.S. Thanks for Daddy In A Strange Land for hosting his home-away-from-home Labor Day beach party and giving me a swift kick in the posterior to get me writing again.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Check out my review of DVD for new dads...

I usually don't write here about the reviews I do for products on my own blog via the Parent Bloggers Network, but I just posted a review of something that I actually really liked and that may be of interest to dads and friends-of-dads here on RD. So go check out my review of Armin "Mr. Dad" Brott's "Toolbox for New Dads" DVD and see what you think. As an added bonus, if you order the DVD via the link from my review and note in your order that you're coming in via daddy in a strange land, I get 25% of the purchase price back, and I will put any monies generated through this toward our RD Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, our ongoing philanthropic effort via Donors Choose.

[On a side note, I'm also posting about my review here because since the upgrade to Apple's iLife 08 and its new version of iWeb, things have been all screwy, including my rss feed and the address being redirected to, so if I don't post a link here I'm afraid nobody's gonna know it's there. So if anybody out there's a Mac genius and knows all the fixes for these problems, holla]!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All Look Same Jr. ;)

Every time The Pumpkin sees photos on our computer of the daughters of some of our blogfriends, she asks, "Is that me?" So, I thought I'd put up a few shots and see if you can figure out who's who. :) Below are photos of Eliaday's Tae (Chinese/Korean), MetroDad's Peanut (Korean), The Pumpkin (Filipina/Japanese/White), and Peachboy's Elle (Japanese/Chinese/Filipina - did I get all that right, Peachboy?). Have fun!

Don't forget that you can upload pix of your rice babies to the Rice Daddies flickr group - we pick shots from the flickr group for our blog photo banner!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Early Muir Owl

Chicago designer George Aye took an important next step to ricedaddy-ness (OK, he may not see it that way), proposing to his sweetheart with an elaborate guise involving a gallery, a non-existent artist, laser-cut foamcore, and the power of pattern recognition.

As a married ricedaddy, it sure reminds me of being on that limn between being single and being married, and how beautiful it all looks from there. Still looks beautiful from here, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

In the Land of the Living Ancestors

When my wife's 93-year old great-grandmother (Sunshine's great-great-grandmother) was hospitalized a few weeks ago, we dropped everything and booked a couple of tickets to the Philippines. You see, it has been nine years since her family has had five generations alive concurrently. And now that we've given rise to the long-anticipated fifth generation with our 7-month old, my wife wasn't about to let anything get in the way of her prized five-generation family photo.

Fortunately, great-great-grandmother’s condition has stabilized since, and she’ll probably stick around for some time to come.

So now, we’re here in the Philippines, and today we finally had the chance to have the photo the family has been waiting nine years for.

standing in for my late father-in-law is his brother, my wife's uncle.

and here's another priceless photo of Sunshine with her great-great-grandma!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Challenge Update: Reallocate your Philanthropy Credits

This is just a note to those of you who generously donated to the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge. Apparently, one of the educational proposals we funded, Exploring Inner Beauty with "The Bluest Eye", will not need the funds contributed. Those of you who donated to this particular proposal have had your donations returned in the form of Philanthropy Credits.

To reallocate your Philanthropy Credits, simply CLICK HERE to visit the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, and select another project that you find compelling. You will be prompted to use your available Philanthropy Credits toward your contribution.

The educational proposals currently featured in the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge are:

Developing Cultural Self Awareness with Literacy and Art
I hope to engage my student in conversation about culture and race. While they are engaged in an art activity I hope to teach my class to have similar conversations with peers....

Materials Needed that Promote Racial and Cultural Awareness
By adding Multicultural and abilities materials to the centers in my classroom my goal is to facilitate the children's awareness and to help them understand that they are part of a large group with similar characteristics (not "different" from everyone else)...

Big thanks go to Daddyinastrangeland for the heads-up!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Race (and me) on the (Internet) Radio - Tonight!

Listen Live
Continuing the recent discussion about race in the blogosphere and the (in)visibility of parentbloggers of color, I'm gonna be a guest tonight on Motherhood Uncensored's BlogTalkRadio show. Folks have been posting up a storm—check out the links in the comments of my cross-post on disl, and see what folks are saying on ARP and BlogRhet. Tonight, from 9 to 10 EDT (6 to 7 PDT), you can hear me, Glennia of Kimchi Mamas, and Kelly of Mocha Momma talk with Kristen Chase about all this stuff, and you can even call in live to add your 2 cents at (646) 915-8634. Click here to learn more about tonight's show.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Soccer Dad: Embryology

A common question wifey and I get asked is "Are you going to have another one?" For us, the answer is quite complicated. Maceo is an angel that we struggled for five years to conceive. After many intrusive treatments, we turned to IVF and lucked out on our first try. So when the question arises, and it does alot, we would be looking at another long round of injections, more disappointments, Clomiphene "rage" and some not-so flattering trips to the donation station (the fertility clinic we went to stocked the room with lots of Asian porn. Whatever). Add to this, Mace has been steadily kicking our asses, especially now that he's turned The Assertive/Terrible Twos. Short answer? Probably not.

Over the past two years, we kept two spare embryos in crystorage (at $500 a year storage fees), yknow, just in case. Last week, we made the decision to donate the embryos to UCSF stem cell research center. It was a very personal decision, not arrived at quickly. When we would discuss the embryos fate, wifey would speak of them as "Maceo's brother or sister." I, on the other hand, felt they were nothing but a cluster of cells. We definitely felt they were a part of us, though. In time, we knew the embryos would do better with scientists searching for cures than lamping in freezing temps. We did a little digging and, along with our President's itchy veto finger on research funding, we found a recent Newsweek article that mentions that 60 percent of fertility patients surveyed would donate their extra embryos to research. Sounded like us.

We signed some papers, got them notarized, did a few interviews with the clinic and they did the rest including handling transportation. Now the embryos are off hopefully helping assist in a cure for Alzheimer's or some other valiant cause. I remember when we implanted the embryos, one of which became the mighty M, the Dr. brought out the huge needle. Before the Dr. implanted, I told him to wait. I came in close, waved at the needle's contents and said, "Hey buddy, see you in nine months. We love you." Now I bid adieu to the other two embryos: Go forth and conquer disease.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fire up the grill, it's Kalbi time!

photo by su-lin via flickr.

Ever since I discovered Costco carries huge trays of beef short ribs, I've been grilling up Kalbi-style short ribs on my old skool briquette-powered grill.

The source of my recipe, I'm almost ashamed to admit, was a google search which lead me to a story on NPR by a Howard Yoon in Washington, D.C., who says about his family's Kalbi:

Kalbi is surprisingly easy to make once you understand the balance of sweet and savory flavors. Many Korean restaurants tend to serve their kalbi on the sweet side, perhaps to cater to an American sweet tooth. Other recipes I've seen recommend additional ingredients such as sherry or white vinegar, Asian pears or brown sugar along with white.

In my opinion, these are mere distractions to the main event — beef, soy, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and green onions. That's it. If you let these ingredients stand out, you'll have a foolproof dish that will satisfy any meat lover.

So, I've adopted the Yoon Family Kalbi recipe (see article) as my own. It works decently well on the much-thicker cut of short ribs that Costco sells, I've yet to try it on thin Kalbi-style cuts.

Really though, I'm just trolling if anyone out there is willing to serve up their secret Kalbi recipe here. Do you have a Kalbi recipe you're chest-thumpin' proud of (I'm looking at you, Monster Daddy)? Post it here!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Soccer Dad: On This Day in History

August 10

1905 - Russian and Japanese peace negotiations begin in Portsmouth.

1982 - Model actress Devon Aoki born.

1988 - Japanese American Internment: US President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans who were either interned or relocated by in the United States during World War II.

1990 - The Massacre of more than 127 Muslims in the North East Sri Lanka by the paramilitaries.

2005 - Lee Seung Seop dies from exhaustion in South Korea after playing the computer game StarCraft continuously for 49 hours.

2007 - Japanese-Korean American 2-year-old Maceo I. successfully takes a dump on the potty for the first time. He earns accolades and a Thomas the Train sticker.

Excuse me, I gotta go update Wikipedia


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The New Redshirting

As summer draws to a close, ricedaddies everywhere are preparing to send their kids back to school. Deciding whether your rice baby is ready to take the leap into Kindergarten isn't easy. And now, after the decision's made, you're left second-guessing whatever it was you decided.

A friend of mine told me about a recent article from the NYT magazine (via the Dallas news) which talks about the not uncommon practice of 'redshirting' your kids into kindergarten:
"the term, borrowed from sports, describes students held out for a year by their parents so they will be older, larger or more mature and thus better prepared to handle the increased pressures of kindergarten today."
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? But like so much, the decision to wait on Kindergarten is tied up with affluence and class, which means of course its tied up with race:
"Recently, redshirting has become a particular concern, because in certain affluent communities, the number of kindergartners coming to school a year later are three or four times the national average...
"Demographically speaking, any child with a father willing to call on a teacher to discuss if it's best for that child to spend a third year at a $10,000-a-year preschool is going to be fine.

"[But,] Ms. Andersen told me, "I've had parents tell me that the preschool did not recommend sending their children on to kindergarten yet, but they had no choice," as they couldn't afford not to. In 49 out of 50 states, the average annual cost of day care for a 4-year-old in an urban area is more than the average annual public college tuition."

In the kingdom of thisislarry, we're past the point of no return. As of this September, we'll have only schoolkids in our house. But something to ponder for the rest of us slowly (or quickly!) approaching this milestone.