Friday, November 28, 2008


Angus came home with her usual pile of papers for me to review from school. As I was sorting through them all, I came up on the page below. She was supposed to describe 5 things all living things need. Check out number 4:

I especially like her drawings on the bottom. Little caterpillars breathing air, eating food and drinking water. One caterpillar sits nicely in its home while another flees for freedom, a little smile on its face. Her teacher is a good sport and gave her a smiley face in the middle but I may have to appeal her decision in marking freedom incorrect. I think it is an excellent answer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and another random funny!

Today we were at Nordstroms looking for shoes when the girls spotted a beautiful fancy coat with a fur collar and fur ringed sleeves and a fur muff. The girls oooohed and aaaaahed and then Youngest rubbed the muff against her cheek and shouted out:

"It's so soft! It's made from kittens!!!" she said in an excited shout.

I know that the PETA folks would be really angry about a comment like that, but boy did that crack me up!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates! Lucky for me my lazy butt is not cooking! I shall be eating alot instead!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fascinating to watch

Because my book is set in ancient Korea, it roams across the entire peninsula, from the very tip of South Korea and up and beyond modern day North Korea into what is now considered China, was once called Manchuria, and was in ancient times part of the Korean kingdom of Koguryo. The political dispute between China and the two Koreas over the ancient treasures and historic sites of Koguryo have resulted in vicious academic and journalistic backbiting over whether or not Koguryo is considered Chinese or Korean. Historically, Koguryo has always been recognized as one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. But I don't want to get into the middle of this contentious political disagreement.

But I bring this up because the kingdom of Koguryo, which I refer to as Guru, is a major part of my book. And that leads me to my interest in North Korea. While I abhore the North Korean government and the "military first" ideology that harms its citizens, I am interested in the culture and the people who must suffer under such a harsh one-party regime. So I found this fascinating video highlighting preparations for the 2003 Pyongyang Mass Games, the world's largest choreographed gymnastics performance. These are clips from A State of Mind, which is a 2004 documentary film by Daniel Gordon which follows two North Korean child gymnasts and their families for over eight months during training for the mass games. The UK-based Dance band Faithless used clips from the documentary for this video to their single "I Want More." I hope you find it as fascinating as I did.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 18

This is Youngest as a toddler. Notice the truculent expression on her face. This expression has not changed much over the years. And while normally she is the sweetest, laid back, most easy going and loving kid, the kid has got a wicked temper just like her dad, Da Man Troll.

Yesterday I asked Youngest to pick up her toys.

"I'm too tired," she said as she lounged upside down upon the couch, bobbing her head off over the edge while her legs were splayed straight up the back of the couch.

"They are not my toys they are your toys and you need to put them away," I snapped.

"I didn't take them out," she protested, still in her upside down position. I paused. On Thursdays, she comes home at 12:30 and stays home with me until the nanny comes and I go pick up the girls from school at 3 and then leave for campus. It was 2pm. There was no other child in the house at the time.

"They were not out when you left for school this morning and they are out now. No one else played with them."

"How do you know?" she sat up with an innocent look on her face.


"How do you know space aliens didn't come out and play with my toys?"

"Oh so you are saying invisible space aliens flew into our house and played with your Dora talking dollhouse?"

She nodded her head vigorously as she smiled in glee.

I stood before her and reminded her of what was coming.

"You know Santa Claus is watching you and if you tell a lie it is considered very naughty."

The above truculent expression crossed her face.

"He can see me all the time?"

I nodded. She leaned back against the couch, kicking one of her toy furniture pieces idly.

"Can he read my thoughts?" she asked.

"No, but God can and God tells Santa everything."

"Alright fine, I took the toys out," she admitted. With a heavy sigh she lay back down on the couch.

"I'm waiting for you to clean up!" I reminded her.

"But Mommy I told you I was too tired!"

"Baby, I just told you Santa is watching you!"

"Mommy, Santa is not going to be mad at me if I has an important reason. And I told you I am tired and I need my rest or I can get sick and then YOU will be in trouble with Santa, not me!!"

What a little lawyer. She is 4 going on 40.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brain Fart

Today the phone rang and I got up, walked into the kitchen, where the main phone is hanging on the wall, walked right by the phone and proceeded to open the refrigerator door. I stared blindly into the fridge wondering what the heck I was looking for when the answering machine clicked on, reminding me of what I was originally supposed to do.

One hour later, I walked into the kitchen to get a soda. As I was walking, I noticed Angus' harmonica on the floor. I picked it up and took it with me to the kitchen. When the kids came home from school, they went to get drinks. All of a sudden I hear them laughing. Apparently I had put the harmonica in the fridge.

I am suffering from chronic brain farts. Da Man has taken to calling me a knucklehead. I think it is all related to my dental woes. Da Man assures me that I have always been a bit of a knucklehead. He's nice. I think I shall have a brain fart and accidentally put his work security pass into the freezer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 17

So the kids were piling in the car the other night and Angus had brought with her 2 string cheese sticks while Youngest brought in a bag of smart popcorn. As I am driving, I hear Oldest and Youngest asking for some cheese which Angus is reluctant to share. Grudgingly she finally shares half of one with Oldest and eats the other whole herself. Youngest has been steadily crunching her popcorn and asks again for some cheese.

"Ok," Angus says. "I'll make a deal with you. The rest of this cheese for the rest of your popcorn."

"Deal!" Youngest says, and hands over the bag as Angus gives her the half stick of cheese.

I can see Youngest in my back view mirror begin to quickly eat the cheese. Angus sticks her hand in the bag and shouts, "Hey! There's nothing left! You cheated me!!"

"Nuh uh!" Youngest mumbles as she shoves the rest of the cheese in her mouth.

"That's so wrong!" Angus fumes. "There's no popcorn left! We made a deal! Cheese for popcorn! You cheated me!"

"No I didn't, there was still some in the bag!"

"It's crumbs! Just crumbs!" Angus is furious.

Oldest and I are giggling.

Angust shouts, "That's not funny!"

"Well it is funny," I say. "But not nice."

"Yeah that's not nice! She cheated me!"

"No I didn't!" Youngest says earnestly. "She didn't ask me how much was left in the bag. She should have asked how much was left first. That's not my fault. That's her fault!"

Angus has just learned the important lesson of caveat emptor and Youngest has proven herself to be a devious little conniver. That's my girl.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Traditional Korean Drum Ensemble

Ok so I waited til the weekend so you can play this video at home instead of the office. See how considerate I am? This is a great example of Samgomu, a traditional Korean three drum dance. It is a drum dance of ancient Korea which is said to have been inspired by Buddhist monks dances and shamanistic rituals. This video is a bit grainy, but it is one of the best examples of Samgomu I could find. I plan on incorporating Samgomu and other Korean drumming into my Seven Kingdoms sequel, if I ever get the opportunity to work on the sequel, that is. But it is fun for me to watch this and think that my Mom, when she was younger, was an excellent drummer. I've always loved drums, and drums are such an integral part of Korean culture, that it clearly flows in our blood.

So I hope you enjoy a little bit of Korean culture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poor Unfortunate Pig

I thought three consecutive Wednesdays in a row to fix a second root canal was more pain than a person could bear. But imagine my horror at finding out I have to come one more time! In part it is my fault as I didn't schedule enough time for him to finish up and I had to pick up my daughters from school. But the thought of another needle in my mouth is more than I can bear. It is way too depressing.

So another lesson I learned from my dental experiences. Make sure to push numb parts of your mouth out of the bite zone. I got swollen after 2 hours of my mouth being held open for x-rays and drilling and filling. On my way home, I noticed that I kept biting down on something squishy but was too traumatized to worry about it ... until the novacaine wore off and I realized I had been biting down on my swollen inner cheek, which was now not only swollen but all bit up and basically one big abrasion. Because my tongue and jaw are all sore from the experience, I now have to stick my finger in my mouth and push the inside of my mouth away from my chompers. This also makes eating and talking a bit of a challenge. I shove small bits of food in my mouth, which I can only open about half an inch. Any wider and my jaw hurts. I talk through clenched teeth, like Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry movies. I have pain killers, but apparently after taking them for several weeks now, they really upset my stomach. My dentist has given me a different prescription, but I'm also not a drug fan so I'm trying to ride out the pain. Which makes me a fool as well as unfortunate.

One more Wednesday of pain and then hopefully I will be free of this endless misery. And I can't curl up into a ball and rock back and forth nursing my aching jaw because it is getting close to end of semester. So I must turn my attention to grading tons of papers again. Here comes my big red dripping pen. I shall not be the only one feeling sorry for myself. he he.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cindy's Silver Phoenix Cover

No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the
dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed, free, and
not some stranger’s subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she
cannot comprehend. And as the pieces of the puzzle start to fit
together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace
of Fragrant Dreams in search of her beloved father—missing these many
months—is so much more than that. Bravery, intelligence, the will to
fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as
she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She
will also need help.

It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at
the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying
to drag her under. On a quest of his own Chen Yong offers that
help…and perhaps more.

This is one of the most stunning covers I have ever seen. And to be honest, I couldn't be more proud of this book then if it was my own! Not only because Cindy is a friend and agency sister, but because here is a book about Asia with an Asian protagonist. Cause let's face it, there's not many YA books in the North American market with Asian protagonists. So I cheer loudly when I see books like this. (One other series is the wonderful Dragonkeeper series by Carole Wilkinson.)

Both Cindy and I know how hard it is to get Asian themed fiction in the marketplace. We both have heard from professionals who have told us that our kind of books would not sell in the current marketplace. I am so proud that Cindy has proven them wrong. So when Silver Phoenix comes to a bookstore near you next year, I hope you will all run out and purchase it. Cause it's gonna look might nice on your bookshelves!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Buying Books instead of Toys

I sprung the news on my girls today. I gathered them around me, put on my serious face and I said:

"You know how you girls write letters to Santa Claus telling him what you hope he might bring you for Christmas if you are good?"

The girls nodded.

"We haven't written to him yet," Oldest said.

"He's not sick is he?" Angus asked.

"Is Christmas cancelled?" Youngest asked in a panic.

"No, nothing like that," I assured them. They all let out relieved sighs and sat back.

"Well, this year, I wrote a letter to Santa Claus. I asked Santa Claus to do me a big favor. This year, instead of bringing toys, I asked him to bring you books."

Angus and Oldest looked devastated. Only Youngest jumped up and started cheering.

"Hurray! More books! I love books!" she said.

Angus glared at Youngest. "She's only saying that to kiss up to you, Mom."

Youngest then kissed me, proving Angus right.

Oldest stood up, ready for her lawyer speech. "But Mom, you said that the rule was no more toys for birthdays anymore, only for Christmas. And you have already told everybody in the world not to buy us toys, only books and clothes. But now Santa can't bring us any toys? That's just not fair."

"Yeah! And I was really looking forward to the Mermaid Barbie swimming pool set for Christmas and now I can't get it!" Angus geared up for the big whine-fest.

I raised my hands and glared. The continued pain I have been enduring from root canal number 2, must have given my glare extra fierceness for they all shut up real fast.

"First of all, there are way too many toys in this house and I'm getting ready for another donation pile round up next week." Muffled groans quickly quieted. They know the rules. Twice a year, I make donation piles for the local homeless shelters, more if toys begin to accumulate outside the delegated toy areas. Protests only make the piles larger, and might cause the loss of a favorite toy also.

"Second, most toys do not have any usefulness outside of the 5 day play period." (This is my theory that most new toys only gets played with for 5 days before it is completely forgotten about.) "They are a waste of money, time and space. If you want a toy it better be the most awesome toy in the universe which you can prove to me will be played with all the time." (I believe there are only a handful of toys the kids really play with and cherish, the rest just take up space.)

"Third, if a toy passes the awesome test, and if you have done well in school, household chores, and manners, and if you have saved up enough of your allowance money, you will be allowed to purchase said toy at my discretion."

"What's discretion mean?" Angus asked.

"It means when she feels like it!" Oldest rolled her eyes. (Smart girl.)

"That means never!" Angus whined.

"NO it doesn't!" I exclaimed. "Follow my rules and there is no reason I won't take you to Target when the time is right and you have enough allowance money."

The older girls still don't look convinced. Youngest is perfectly happy, but only because I have a sneaking suspicion she doesn't really understand the ramifications of my rules. As they go back to whatever they were doing, I can hear Angus and Oldest whispering to each other. With my bionic Mom ears, I heard them say:

"We should write to Santa Claus and tell him Mommy is in a bad mood because of her root canals and to please not listen to her," Angus said.

"That might work. Especially if we are really really good," Oldest agreed. "You know, she's been acting kind of weird ever since the root canals." They walked into the kitchen and began raiding the pantry for snacks. I walked over to the wall between the kitchen and the living room to spy on them through the wooden blinds in the window.

"Yeah, who writes Santa to tell him not to bring toys?! Doesn't she know his workshop is for making toys!!" Angus was still mad. "Where's he going to get books? He'll have to go to the bookstore and buy them. That's just too much work to ask him to do when he's so busy. I think she is being unreasonable!"

"That's a great idea!" Oldest said. "We'll tell him the books are too much of a bother so just to give us the toys he has in his workshop instead to make his life easier. I bet he'd appreciate that! We'll get brownie points for being considerate too!"

They nodded eagerly and conspiratorially at each other. I tiptoed back to the sofa, laughing gleefully under my breath. I can't wait to see their faces when they open Santa's gifts this year!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hello Ello

Hi this blog is to hold this url as my name url was already taken by spammers and I can't get it back. I intend to redirect my current blog Random Acts of Unkindness to this one in the near future. But in the meantime, this will actually redirect to my other blog for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 16

I shall spare you all the torturous details of my latest root canal adventure as I have blocked most of it from my memory. I remember pain, convulsions and the smell of burning dog hair. I don't want to remember the rest. I can't believe I have to go back again next week for a crown. After all I have suffered, I think I'll ask for some diamond studs in the crown. It's a good thing I love my dentist otherwise I would have to hurt him.

But I will share with you one very important lesson I learned yesterday. Never eat anything really hot when half your mouth and tongue is numb from novacaine. This is a very important lesson. It is the same lesson as never eat piping hot pizza straight from the oven or you will burn the roof of your mouth and then you will have a long strand of burnt skin that hangs from the roof of your mouth which your tongue will box with all day long until you finally rip it out in crazed frustration leaving a patch of ripped off burnt skin that will ache with pain everytime you eat or accidentally rub your tongue on it - which is all the time.

In this particular case, the big problem with the numb tongue is that when you place the burning hot item in your mouth, at first you have no idea that you have given your mouth third degree burns. It is only when you try to chew and the volcanic substance hits the roof of your mouth that you realize the painful truth. You are an idiot.

So that was me when I tried to eat my frozen lunch that I nuked way too long and tried to take a bite of molten lava covered meatloaf. I quickly spat out the smoldering remains onto my plate, tears racing down my face as I realized that two things continued to be stuck to the nasty congealed steaming mass on my plate. First was a long simmering stringy strand of elastic drool. Second, a long thinly pink layer of skin which I realized was still attached to the roof of my mouth. I grabbed the drool and the skin and ripped them from my mouth, causing a sharp stabbing pain in my mouth as the skin ripped off from the the roof.

I made a small muffled sound of pain, which was still loud enough to bring Youngest running over from the living room. She peers into my face and pats me on my hand.

"You ok Mommy?"

"I'm alright, it's just my mouth hurts."

"It's the root canal?"

"Uh huh."

"The Dentist took out the nerves again?" (I had explained all about the dying nerves to the girls last week - also took advantage of the situation to really freak them out and make them brush their teeth better.)

"Uh huh."

"All of it?"

"Uh huh."

"Good! Because he didn't do such a good job last time cause you keep-ded on saying we was getting on your last nerves. But now he got it all out so you have no nerves anymore!"

She gives me a big smile and a kiss and with that the cheerful little sprite skips happily away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tribute to Moonrat

Copyright Randy Son of Robert availabe via Flickr Creative Common License

A haiku for Moonie

Moonie brings solace,
To writers without a clue.
Proud to call her friend.

Here's to our dearest Moonrat who has provided us with so many wonderful, profound and hilarious posts on writing, editing, books, karaoke, Dearest Aunda and so much more. November 5th, 2008, is the Second Anniversary of Moonrat's Editorial Ass blog. So we are going to celebrate her anniversary with a big old party!

Lovefest Location: Moonielove

We've got party central prepared for the big day. Festivities include a poetry slam contest, a recipe contest, and a sing-a-long. Cool prizes too!!! While I shall be indisposed from 10AM until the painkillers wear off due to Part 2 of my Root Canal, the rest of you have no excuse! Please go by the Moonielove blog all day for the celebrations.

Search This Blog