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 Salon.com...

Earlier this week, Salon.com 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 DadBloggers.com, 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 http://ricedaddies.blogspot.com/ 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?