Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 24

Angus - When I grow up, I'm going to live in a big house with lots and lots of rooms and 6 kittens and 10 puppies, and 2 parrots and a big fish tank, and with my sisters.

Da Man - What about Mom and Dad?

Angus - Well Mom can live with us cause she is only a little bit allergic to cat, but you are really really allergic to cats so you can't!

Da Man - Oh, so you would rather live with cats than with your Dad?

Angus - (thinking)

Da Ma - I can't believe you would choose cats!

Angus - Don't worry Daddy, I'll build a little house on the side of my big one just for you.

Da Man - Thanks a lot...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

To lighten things up, I am playing some clips from the Best Movie Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire by the brilliant Danny Boyle. I loved Trainspotting, but with Slumdog I think Danny Boyle has certified his brilliance. This is one of my absolute favorite movies because it makes you cry and laugh, it breaks your heart and makes you shout with joy. If you haven't seen it, please catch it before it leaves the theaters. It is a marvelous experience. So here is the Oscar winning song that plays in the end credits with a Bollywood dance.

And here is my favorite scene:

It is written...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pulling the Slanted Eyes Face - Racist or Not?

So for those who don't know about it, here is the link. Notice the Asian guy not making a goofy face, which is how Cyrus has defended her actions. Just making goofy funny faces. Notice all the other non-Asian friends making slanty eyed or slitted eyed faces. Yes, they somehow all decided to make the same slit eyed goofy face for the camera.

Then read the comments. Some of them range from, agreeing it was racist to others saying she's just a kid who doesn't know any better. But here's the reality. If you aren't Asian don't(expletive deleted) tell me this isn't offensive. Don't (expletive deleted) tell me to lighten up and say the political police needs to back off and crap like that. Until you have taken a walk in my shoes and felt the ugliness of a group of kids slanting their eyes and calling you a "Chink" - spitting at you - throwing rocks and glass bottles at you - and telling you to go home to China where we all belong - don't you dare tell me this is harmless kid stuff. Kids can be vicious and brutal and have the capability to inflict incredible damage on others. We all know this to be true. So don't excuse her behavior. She's not 2, she's a teenager. She knows better. Now I wouldn't go so far as to sue her, even to me that seemed excessive. But anyone who would brush off her behavior by saying she's just a kid and we should just leave her alone, fails to see the problem of high profile public figures who by their actions may affect a whole new generation of children. One of the commenter's wanted to know why only Cyrus was forced to apologize why not the other kids. Well they should all apologize, but only Cyrus is the public figure. Only Cyrus is idolized by millions of young girls throughout the world. So only Cyrus really needs to come out with a real apology.

One commenter said what's the big deal, everyone has probably once in their life pulled the slanty eyed face so leave her alone. Why does this fact make it alright? Maybe this person is right. Maybe some non-Asians have pulled this face in private or public at least once in their lives and laughed about it. Maybe they really don't know that it is hurtful. Ok - so maybe it is time to educate them. As an Asian American, I can tell you that the slanty eyed thing is not only offensive it is extremely demoralizing and demeaning to us. It hurts.

A kid at school pulled this on Angus last year when she was 6. She didn't understand why he was doing this, but she knew it hurt her. She knew it was insulting to her. She came home depressed and a little bit shaken up. Her first experience with racial ugliness. I can't protect her from it. I can only teach her to speak up for herself. I have to teach her the right way to act. For me, I always reacted with my fists first. But for my kids, I am teaching them to verbalize and stand strong.

If we don't speak up, people won't know what hurts us. So a public outcry over Cyrus's actions is indeed a good thing, if only to tell the world that this type of behavior is absolutely wrong and will not be tolerated any longer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Great Call of China

There is a great new book that just got released called The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu. I've ordered my copy and am happy to share with you a little movie that the wonderful author, Cynthea, produced for the book.
What I love about this movie is that it is so very meaningful to me and my children, growing up Asian American in the U.S. Sometimes identity can be all mixed up and culture lost. Like Cynthea in this video, I too had my cultural identity moment when I was a teenager. It happens to most of us growing up with immigrant parents. Trying too hard to assimilate and one day realizing that there was a whole other culture we should have been embracing. And here is also the heart of her book The Great Call of China which is a fabulous title. It is about an adopted teen who journeys to China and finds herself. So please enjoy the movie and don't forget to pick up a copy of Cynthea's book for the teen in your life!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I So Don't Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy

Hi it is Oldest again! My Mom is going crazy trying to finish the latest revision of her book after getting lots of comments from her fabulous crit group. She's so focused on it that she hasn't been cooking a lot for us. Dad’s been complaining about how he is the Breakfast Chef not the Lunch and Dinner Chef, but he has at least been making us some good dinners. Otherwise Mom will just order pizza or Chinese food and a kid can get real tired of it real fast! Mom, has turned into a computer zombie. All she does is type, rub her eyes, moan and yell. (She says to put in that she doesn't yell a lot - but she does.) Angus wanted to know what happens to writers who don’t have anyone to cook for them. Dad said that’s partly why they are called starving artists. Lucky for Mom that she has us. We even bring her diet cokes to keep her going. Although when Angus or Youngest does it, they take sips and get yelled at. That’s why now she won’t take it from us unless the can is still unopened. But then Angus dropped one and didn’t tell her and got in trouble, again.

Anyway, Mom said I could do a book review and interview for her blog and since she was so lucky to get a copy of Barrie Summy’s I So Don’t Do Mysteries, that’s the book I decided to do. I really, really, really LOVED this book! It was AWSOME! I couldn't go to sleep without reading it! (It only took me 3 nights which is a record for me cause it’s like 300 pages and I get yelled at if I stay up too late!) It’s about a girl named Sherry who has to accomplish stuff that no other 6 grader would have to. She has to solve a mystery about rhinos with her cop mom, except her mom is a ghost! My favorite part was when Sherry slammed open the door and squished Josh's nose. It was so funny. I also liked when in the morning Sherry put on sassy girl shampoo to wash her hair and when she fell into the rhino area at the zoo the baby rhino ran towards her attracted to the shampoo. This book is really really funny! I was giggling so hard reading it.

So I was so psyched when my Mom said I could interview Ms. Summy. I had to come up with some good questions for our interview. Besides, she is way cool! She sent all of us tattoos and book marks! Me and Angus put on our book tattoos and wore them to school! They lasted for several days since I refused to wash them off. Mom wasn’t too happy about that, but at least I didn’t put it on my face!

Oldest: Hi Ms. Summy! Thank you for letting me interview you!

Ms. Summy: Thank you for your wonderful e-mail. It's really interesting to hear which parts of the books you enjoyed most. Thank you so much for sharing. What great questions you came up with!!

Oldest: So how did you come up with the characters?

Ms. Summy: Originally, I wrote this book as a Nancy Drew mystery. It was called The Mystery at the Wild Animal Park. Sadly, or maybe happily, it was rejected. I set it aside for a while, but couldn't get the mystery out of my head and decided to revamp the book. So....17 year old Nancy morphed into 13 year old Sherry. Nancy's best friends (who were also cousins), Bess and George, morphed into Junie and Amber. I don't think Nancy's boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, morphed into Josh because Ned was always, well, boring. :) In terms of the suspects, I brainstormed and brainstormed and tried to come up with all kinds of different reasons people would want to harm the rhinos at the Wild Animal Park.

Oldest: When did you start writing your book? Why did you make the mystery about rhinos?

Ms. Summy: I started writing the book after one of my kids did a third-grade project on rhinos. He read me all kinds of little rhinos facts from library books. I thought one fact in particular would make a great clue in a mystery.

Oldest: Which fact?

Ms. Summy: Rhinos have a keen sense of smell.

Oldest: How long did it take you to write your book?

Ms. Summy: About seven YEARS for I So Don't Do Mysteries. About seven MONTHS for I So Don't Do Spooky. Do I think I'll be able to write the current mystery in seven WEEKS? Uh, NO!!!

Oldest: Do you believe in ghosts?

Ms. Summy: Off the top of my head, I would say no. But....I've been wrong about so many things in life, that I guess I just don't know.

Angus chiming in during the reading of this interview: Goats? Goats! How can she not believe in goats! Who doesn’t believe in goats! That’s just silly!

Oldest wisely ignoring Angus: Well I don’t believe in ghosts but I believe in spirits.

Mom interrupts to ask what’s the difference between ghosts and spirits.

Angus butts in again: You don’t know the difference between goats and spirits? Woman, you call yourself our mother? Goats are furry and stinky and spirits are scary but can be stinky too.

Oldest: Now that Angus is grounded for calling Mom a woman, I can continue this interview.

Oldest: If you were Sherry would you say yes right away to do the mystery?

Ms. Summy: No, probably not. I'm not very brave. In fact, I'm not brave at all.

Oldest: What's the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Ms. Summy: I don't know if this is the strangest thing that ever happened to me, but it is strange and it's sort of connected to I So Don't Do Mysteries. I spent the night at the Wild Animal Park with my second son for his eighth birthday. The Wild Animal Park is a little north of San Diego, in a town called Escondido. I grew up in Toronto, Canada. Toronto and Escondido are about 2,500 miles apart. Anyway, in the tent next to us was a guy (and his wife and two kids) I went to high school with back in Toronto! Even weirder, I went to the prom with this guy's best friend. The world can be a very small place.

Oldest: What are your favorite books that you would recommend to me to read?

Ms. Summy: Here are some books that I've recently read and loved:

Schooled by Gordon Korman

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem

Oldest: What are you writing next?

Ms. Summy: I So Don't Do Makeup. Things are getting busy here as Random House has moved up the deadline date for the third mystery.

Oldest: That is so cool that I get to read two more books about Sherry! I So Can’t Wait!!!

Ms. Summy: Oldest, thank you so much for reading I So Don't Do Mysteries and saying such nice things about it. And thank you for this interview with its very interesting questions!

Oldest: You’re very welcome! I am recommending it to all my friends and you are now on my list of authors I absolutely must read!

So to everyone who has read this interview, this is a great book so please run out and buy it! I So Do Recommend It!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Random Funny Things Other People's Children Say

I am at a large department store near their children's shoe section, which is also where the ladies room is located. As I pass by I notice a young child, no more than 3 years of age, pull down his pants, sit on the carpet and begin to scoot his bum all over the floor.

"JOHN!" his mother screams. "What are you doing?"

"My bum bum itches!" he shouts back.

"You're acting like a dog! Stop that immediately!!!" his mortified mother says as she picks him up off the floor and pulls up his pants.

"It's all your fault!" he insists as he resists pulling his pants back on. "You didn't wipe me so good!"

Poor kid - not only will he have a painful rash, but some nasty rug burn too. Must remind myself not to go shoe shopping there ever again. Or at least until they steam vac.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Red Bean Desserts

I should have really posted this up during Chinese New Year but I was a bit busy and so here it is a little late.

One of my favorite desserts is a must eat on the first day of the lunar new year. And for Koreans, it is pat chuk. A sweet, delicious red bean soup with soft white rice dumplings. My Mom made some when she was here and I swear I ate the whole pot myself, begrudgingly sharing it with my Dad, sister and Da Man. My kids all took one dutiful bite for luck and ran away. The thing about Asian desserts in general are that they are not overly sweet. So if you are used to eating donuts and cake, Asian desserts are quite understated. But I love them.

So my folks went home and I started missing pat chuk and wishing my Mom would come back and make it for me cause I'm too lazy to make it myself. However, I went to my favorite little Japanese cafe and noticed that they had something called creamy zenzai. The Japanese version of Korean Patchuk.

Copyright by perago 89 via Creative Commons License

It's a warm sweet red bean soup with mochi balls and some vanilla ice cream and I gotta admit, it was pretty good! It wasn't the same as my Mom's which I adore, but for a quick fix, it worked wonderfully. But today the weather was over 50 and the rest of the week is reportedly going to be in the 60s. Which makes me so happy! And with the warm weather, thoughts of my all time favorite Korean dessert patbingsoo crowd my head. Take a look:

Copyright mikeswe via Creative Commons License

Looks weird huh? You must be wondering what it is. It is the sweet red bean sauce over shaved ice, condensed milk, rice cakes and fruit. Sometimes there is some ice cream on top. I prefer it without. I love the way the red bean sauce and the ice and sweet condensed milk all mix together into this soupy goodness. And I can get it over at my favorite little Korean cafe nearby. I think I'm going to go have some tomorrow.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

If I begin to rant and rave like a madman, please excuse me for I happen to be very, very upset for having read this book right now. Let me explain. I bought The Hunger Games a while back and put it on my TBR pile (which is admittedly huge). Having finished second round revisions yesterday, I decided to treat myself and read a little before going to bed at 12:30. First mistake. I am a fast reader but it wasn't til 4AM that I finished the book. There were sections that were so intense I had to reread it right then and there. Second mistake, I drank a huge glass of water before starting. Even though I had to pee really badly, I could not put the freaking book down and go to the bathroom. I can't believe I risked a bladder infection for this book. But then again, I can't believe how awesome this book is.
The Hunger Games
And that goes to the crux of why I am so raving mad that I read this book right now. Cause when I got to the end of the book, it said "End of Book One" and I had no Book Two to immediately begin reading. And that is absolutely killing me. It is exquisite agony that keeps me thinking over and over about pertinent parts of the book. I am amazed at the skill and tortured by the wait. I desperately wish I had not read it until the whole series was written so I could read them back to back. But I also wish Ms. Collins would hurry up and write as fast as possible so as not to hold me hostage by her world much longer. My most desperate wish is one I think all writers have when they read a book they love. I wish I had written this book myself. I wish I had created this world so I can control the outcome of these characters.

For those of you who may not know about this book, I'll give you a short synopsis. Ms. Collins has created a dystopian Utopia where twenty-four teenage contestants representing their districts are forced to compete in the ultimate Survivor show. You must kill the other contestants to win. The rules? There seems to be only one rule - make it entertaining. It reminds me of that great scene in The Gladiator where Russell Crowe comes out and kills ten men in a matter of seconds and the crowd is stunned silent. He turns to them and shouts "Are you not entertained?!" Oh yeah! The producers of the show don't like it when contestants aren't killed daily so they do dangerous things to add to the suspense and keep their audience entertained. The hero of the book is Katniss, a poor girl with mad hunting skills, from the poorest district, whose little twelve year old sister's name is pulled from the lottery. Katniss knows her sister cannot survive and volunteers to go in her stead. And from that moment on, the book takes you on a roller coaster ride that you physically can't get off until it rolls to a satisfying end. Except it isn't satisfying to see that there are more books to read but they are not yet published.

In my overanxious, agonized, tortured state, I have found the following information on the sequel:
Catching Fire Release Date: September 8th, 2009
Look at this awesome cover!

In a PW article dated January 22, 2009, "David Levithan, Executive Editorial Director at Scholastic, mentions that the MS for Book 2 is available in-house on a "need to read" basis only." Mr. Levithan, does cruel and unusual punishment constitute "need to read," especially if I fear for my sanity? Do you need your car washed? Shoes polished? Floors mopped? Alright, I knew it was a long shot!!

But apparently Scholastic is giving ARCs away at BEA in New York City this May. Alright people, what do I have to do to get an ARC? All I want for my birthday is this ARC!!! Is any authors out there going to BEA this year? I will be your online slave for a week! I will come to your house and cook the four dishes I know how to cook well for a week! I will babysit your kids, I will cut your toenails, I will clean your car, I will write epic odes of your greatness daily! Oh what I wouldn't do!!!

Any Scholastic people out there? You wonderful book publishing geniuses you! Did I tell you all how beautiful you are? How smart and wonderful and talented... Please please please send me an ARC and put me out of my misery... at least for a short time at which point I shall recommence begging for books 3 and 4 which I understand are slated for 2010 publication. Yes, yes I'm begging, because I believe beggars can be winners too! So take pity on me!

Oh yes, I'm addicted. Like a crazy fevered junkie I'm addicted. And until I can get my hot, grasping hands on an ARC of Catching Fire, I will have to reread The Hunger Games several more times. Cause it is that good.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How to be a Dumbass

It snowed this morning. Usually that means school is canceled because if just one big fat snowflake falls anywhere near a school, my jumpy county cancels everything. It makes life very difficult at times. But today, I was proud to see that school was still open, even though it was snowing.

So I dropped Youngest off at preschool and as I walked out, I noticed the woman before me was dressed very Sex in the City-ish. She had on a minky looking hat over her long blonde hair, a nice, very form fitting tweed winter coat over knee high length black leather 4 inch high stiletto boots. Oh and she was carrying a toddler in front of her in such a way that I'm sure she couldn't see where she was going. And it was snowing.

Carmen Thigh High...

I predicted it before it even happened. I think a 2 year old could have predicted what was going to happen. Even the toddler she was carrying like a sack of potatoes before her face probably knew it was going to happen. Cause, like I said before, it was snowing. You couldn't have planted a banana peel at a nerd convention to better use. It was classic sitcom material. The beautiful blonde mother talking baby talk to a cranky whiny toddler steps on a patch of ice and falls splat on her back.

After ascertaining that nothing was broken and that the child was not hurt, just angry and frightened. Several of us passerbyers tried to help her up. Except she had broken one of her 4 inch stiletto heels. These heels were designed to break on impact as they resembled chopsticks more than heels. Because the stiletto was so high, she physically could not stand unaided.

And the kid began screaming "Uppie! Mommy Uppie!!!!!!!"

And then she started screaming "My clothes! My boots! They are all ruined!"

And then she put one muddy wet glove to her hair and left a big muddy slick on her no longer perfectly flowing hair.

And then she started to limp, but it wasn't really a limp, more like a lurch, a big old hobbly Igoresque lurch, cause one leg was now 4 inches shorter than the other, and then she slipped again, and me and another man grabbed her flailing arms while a friend of hers came running out calling her name "Stella are you alright?" (Stella is not her name. I could not hear what her real name was because I was trying not to lose it.) The friend then picks up the whiny kid who then smacked her in the face and said "No! Want Mommy!"

And then I started making soft little piggy noises as I tried not to shriek in laughter. I even tried ventroliquism and tried to throw my snorting snuffling sounds at the other man helping her, but he was biting his lips so hard they had disappeared. FYI ventroliquism does not work. Apparently you can't actually throw your voice somewhere else. All you can do is pretend the sounds are not coming out of you. My eyes starting tearing from the effort of not laughing and I make this kind of weird sound in the back of my throat that sounded like a drowning hyena. We finally get Stella to her car and she is so upset she forgets to thank us or maybe she knows we were laughing at her. I don't know. I don't care. The man who helped her is staring after her with a big old grin on his face as the friend who sees her off says, "I guess she was rushing and slipped!"

Uh, no. Here's my analysis. I don't think it was the rushing as it was more being a dumbass. You see, wearing stilettos doesn't itself make you a dumbass. Carrying a toddler doesn't make you a dumbass. But wearing stilettos while carrying a toddler and not looking where you are going in the snow makes you a dumbass. And if she was rushing, then she was a rushing dumbass.

So thank you Stella Dumbass for my laugh of the day. Truly your fall and the loss of your stiletto heel was a thing of beauty that I will always treasure in my memory.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 23

We were at Nordstrom's buying shoes for all three girls when Angus jumps up and begins to run round and round the entire shoe section in large circles.

"What are you doing?" Oldest asks.

Angus comes back and sits next to her.

"I'm spreading my stinkiness all around," she says. "That way the stinky doesn't stay in only one spot and no one will know it was me! Ooops! Gotta run again!"

Oldest shakes her head. "She's crazy! You should stop her before she gets us kicked out," she says to me.

"No, don't stop her!" Youngest says. "Otherwise she'll be stinky next to us."

Youngest is always right.

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