mmm, mongolian

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mmm, mongolian!
I love mongolian barbeque! so much so that I have to keep away from the local eatery for months at a time or face the consequences. I know it’s not healthy for me especially since it’s spicy and very high in salt. but my God, it tastes so good. Everytime the wife and I go, we end up overeating. not good. and I swear the local mongolian joint adds something “extra” to make it so addictive. After a bit of christmas shopping recently, the wife and I stopped by to grab some on our way home. Man, it has been a while since we had mongolian. It has been probably a year since we last been. but it was just like we remembered. oh so spicy and oh so good. Will I be able to stay away from the mongolian goodness for another year? we’ll see..

oh, Christmas tree!

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christmas tree lotIn keeping with our yearly tradition, we took the kids to our favorite local tree lot this weekend to pick out our Christmas tree. Personally, I’m not exactly in the “Christmas spirit” just yet even with all the Christmas gift shopping and all the merry Christmas music on the radio. But since I’m a lifelong procrastinator, I guess it’ll *kick in* at the last minute. but for now, all I have to say is “bah-humbug“. :P

a productive break

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you should all be proud of me. normally during thanksgiving break, I simply “do nothing” and just “veg out” in front of the TV or make a huge glutton of myself. But this time around, I was actually pretty productive! I actually did some stuff off of my “honey-do” list. impressive stuff, huh? I replaced three outside light fixtures that are on the front side of the house. The existing fixtures were old and worn out so we got some nicer looking fixtures with a “classier” antique finish. The wife and I also primed and painted our oldest son’s bedroom. We never did get around to painting the room when we first moved into this house so getting his room painted was long overdue. We chose a nice bright looking “Coastal Surf” color since his room doesn’t get a lot of sun. I hope he appreciates it! and like most weekends during the fall, I tackled the leaves out on the lawn. man, our new backpack blower really rocks. it’s SO much better than that old craftsman blower I had all these years. so, how was your thanksgiving break?

I’ve been to the danger zone!

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I’m back from the battlefields and I can safely say that I do not have an ounce of desire to ever go back. Where, you ask? Whole Foods on the day before thanksgiving, of course. The place was pack full of frowning grey haired grandmothers, pissed off middle aged moms and angry dads all vying for supplies for their respective thanksgiving feasts. Believe me, you do not want to come between a stressed out granny and her turkey stuffing! They ain’t playing around, especially on the day before thanksgiving. We were there to pick up some stuffing and dessert and now we know better not to go anywhere near there during this time ever again. It was pretty brutal. If they don’t ram your car for a parking spot, they’ll run you over with their shopping carts to get past you in those narrow aisles. yikes!

Happy Thanksgiving! :P

a good day for barbeque

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cameraphone - a good day for barbeque
On a raining friday afternoon, some colleagues and I made a special long trek to a favorite barbeque joint located near the outskirts of town. We normally eat at restaurants near work but the three of us felt the need for something a bit more special on this gloomy looking day so we thought some old fashioned hickory-smoked chopped pork would do the trick. And I have to say that it was well worth the extra time and effort because their genuine pit-cooked barbeque is just out of this world. They slow cook the meat over wood coals which is a labor-intensive method that not a lot of places do anymore. anyway, their chopped pork plate with hush puppies, fries and cole slaw definitely hit the spot. We’ll definitely be making another trip back sometime soon. maybe next week, even.

man versus leaves

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Well, it’s time for another round of battling with the leaves this year. The difference this time around is that I’m better equipped. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve got a ton of hardwoods on our lot so it’s a huge chore clearing off the yard of fallen leaves. So, I chucked my ol’ problematic craftsman blower and bought a new Echo PB-265L. It’s a backpack gas blower that received high marks from Consumer Reports. After years of using a handheld model, I knew I needed a backpack version especially for the amount of time spent rounding up leaves each fall. I tried out the blower for the first time this past weekend and it’s definitely a step up compared to my previous blower both in terms of power and comfort. But since it’s a seasonal power tool, the real test will be to see if it will continue to be easy to start up after long periods of non-use.

Change for the Better

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Well, today’s the day! If you haven’t already, stand up and be counted. Don’t sit back and let others decide for you. Get up, be proactive and let your voice be heard. I had an easier time getting to work this morning so I’m guessing a lot of folks are standing in line at the polls right now. I’m definitely glad I had the opportunity to vote early because with the rain coming down today, it won’t be all that pleasant waiting in line. but don’t let the long lines or bad weather stop you! Take along your iPod and let this song inspire you -

Down the lowest I can go with no one left to turn
On the edge, I lose control before I crash and burn
Can I turn around, slow it down, oh

Hold on, we’ve still got living to do
So far gone, see life for someone like you
In your eyes you showed me reasons to live
Take time, the time it takes to forgive

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I was dying, a drowning man and I wish you well
Pull me from the darkness and save me from myself

Wake up, shake it off, let go
What I’m pretending to be
I know, I’m still the man I could be, yeah

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I’m waking up to find a different state of mind
There was a new place, I’m okay
I’ve changed for the better

I’ve opened up my eyes, I’m glad to be alive
It’s never too late to cheat fate
Changed for the better

And now then there is no hope
Until we are faced without
We can never fall in love
Until we learn to live without
In our love we can’t find peace
Without conflict in our lives
And the healing will begin, oh, ’til we open up our eyes

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, It all comes together

Made my mind up, there’s still time enough
I’m all right, made a change for the better!

- Change for the Better by Journey
[note: download available for a limited time. enjoy!]

I exercised my right to vote… early!

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I voted!Even though it took longer than I expected, it was still exciting to know that there are a lot of people passionate about the elections this year. The line for early voting at the local mall wrapped around the outdoor courtyard friday morning when I voted. I’m guessing that people are very eager for “change”. With the way things are right now, who can blame them?

the ongoing middle school saga

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Well, I just got back from the principal’s office at my oldest son’s middle school. Apparently my son’s classmate (let’s call him “J”) didn’t get the “message” the last go-round about taunting and physically abusing my son. “J” was at it again but this time he used a “plastic notebook divider” to scratch my son in the neck. WTF??? My son was simply minding his own business and this kid comes behind him to “cut him”. My son reacted by pushing him away which then made “J” shove back even harder. By that time, the math teacher noticed what was going on and sorted things out. The teacher told us that “J” was being dealt with but of course due to “policy” we can’t be told in what manner. Not satisfied with the lackluster response to my son’s situation, the wife and I went and spoke to the principal directly this morning about “J” and to be reassured that these things won’t happen again. I mean, who’s to say that the kid won’t have a razor in his hand the next time he comes at my son? Of course, the principal and assistant principal had tons of excuses and were skirting the issues but we had to stand our ground and make it clear that this sort of behavior should call for something more than a “slap on the wrist”. Obviously “J” feels he can still get away with harrassing my son even after previously being “talked to” by the school counselor and other staff members. Nothing’s getting through to this kid. We demanded that “J” be placed out of my son’s classes. The principal’s response was to offer to place OUR SON out of the classes shared with “J”. OK, again, WTF? Why should our son be forced to switch HIS schedule around when he DID NOTHING wrong??? Why do they not want to “inconvenience” this other boy instead? Is it because “J” is white and wealthy and our son is *asian*??? Do you think that if the tables were turned, our son would get the same amount of chances this white boy got? I made it clear to them that moving OUR SON would send the WRONG message to J and others like him. It would make it seem that the bully ultimately won and he ran the “weaker” one out of the class. That’s just “enabling” the bully even more. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this but then why would the principal want us to do this?? That’s just screwed up and I told them that. If a kid needs to be moved out of the class, it’s “J” that needs to suffer the consequences. How dare they ask us to roll over and take it up the ass??

How to get things done… Part II

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Here’s an update on our middle school issues for those that are keeping track. The 6th grade counselor spoke to the “head offender” as well as his parents. Due to confidentiality, we weren’t told exactly what was said, only the fact that she had spoke to them. The counselor will be speaking to the other boys as well. She also had a meeting with our son the other day (with my wife sitting in) to help him understand the issues and how to better identify those types of situations and avoid them if possible. The principal also made a schoolwide announcement reminding students the school policy on bullying and racial intolerance. So far, so good. Our son’s overall demeanor has improved dramatically in the last week so it’s obvious now that this was deeply affecting him emotionally for the last couple weeks. I’m so glad we were able to help our son’s situation. Hopefully there won’t be any more incidents like this to deal with but I suppose that’s just wishful thinking…

how to get things done…

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my wife stormed into the principal’s office this morning demanding that she be heard. She has been fuming all weekend over my son having to deal with ignorant kids every day at school. Tired of getting no where over the phone and through email, she stomped over to the school and had long discussions with the principal, the vice principal and the 6th grade counselor. Take it from me, you DON’T want to ever mess with my wife. She definitely doesn’t take shit from anybody. man, I’m so proud of her. :)

White Man

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As a follow up to my previous post, I’d like to add that we did indeed contact the school about our son’s situation. The wife and I weren’t really impressed with the response we got from his teacher. We got the feeling that he thought that we’re overreacting or something. But what do you expect from a white man? Obviously the white staff members will “protect” their own and not reprimand the boys. But we’re not going to let this go. We will continue to monitor our boy’s situation very closely from now on. They better watch it because the haters will get what’s coming to them, mark my words.

God is not a man, God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud
God cannot be bought, God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone

God is not a man, God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag, not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President
Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love

Yeah, I say God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
Stop the hating, please just stop the hating now cause God is love

White Man written by Michael Gungor and Lisa Gungor
from the album Ancient Skies by the Michael Gungor Band

how dare they target my son just for being asian? As you can see from this song, “racists” aren’t included in the list of the ones God loves. God ain’t got love for racists who hate on asians. :P
Hear me now, I’m going against the asian stereotype and no longer will be SILENT!
As Billy Joel always says at his shows - I ain’t taking shit from nobody.

oh to be like Ken and Barbie

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I was a bit disheartened to learn that my son is having issues with some other kids at his middle school. my son is doing pretty well in his classes which I’m very pleased about but he has been telling me lately that he’s being targeted by other classmates because of his race. As a parent, I want to somehow shield and protect my child from ignorant racists that want to intimidate and belittle kids that don’t look and have the same skin color as they do. WTF??? This is 2008 for pete’s sake! Have we not progressed any as a society? I remember being picked on when I was little because of being asian but that was SO long ago. and now MY kids are going through the same issues after all this time. Yes, I know how the world works but these young kids don’t deserve to be exposed to this type of discrimination. I want my kids to feel good about themselves and be proud of who they are but how can they when they are treated like an outsider all the time? an outcast. Should we ALL feel inferior because we don’t have blue eyes and blond hair??? How can I, as a parent, teach my kids to have self confidence and self respect when they’re reminded on a daily basis that they can’t be a part of the rest of group because of how they look. it’s sad, sad, sad. I don’t want my kids to feel ashamed of being asian. They should feel proud of their heritage. But around here, it’s like being “E.T.” in a world full of Ken and Barbie dolls. you know what’s even worse? It doesn’t end at school. It’s everywhere. I’m reminded constantly that I’m ASIAN and not WHITE where ever I go. It’s like I’m wearing the scarlet letter or something. at work, at the shopping mall, my neighborhood, my so-called friends and even at church (well, OK my former church) - they all won’t let me forget that I’m NOT white.

driving music

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Like a lot of drivers nowadays, I have one of those five-disc CD changers in my car. Since my motorized antenna is malfunctioning, I refrain from listening to the radio on my drive to and from work or risk having a dead battery the next time I try to start my car. Apparently the motorized antenna drains the battery as it grinds away non-stop when the radio is on. But if I listen to JUST my CD player instead of the car radio, the antenna doesn’t get activated so I avoid any problems stemming from it. So anyway, I left my the five-disc cartridge insert at home so I wasn’t able to listen to any tunes today during my drive time. and that’s a big no-no in my book. I use music to drown out all those nagging thoughts that I try hard to avoid dealing with. you know, thoughts about the family finances, bills, deadlines at work, the honey-do list, my oldest son’s upcoming project that’s due this week, the downward spiral that is our economy, the wall street bailout, the dismal job market, my career, the looming layoffs and on and on and on. So, as you can see, it’s better all around to just blissfully listen to music and not think about all of this. Therefore, never again will I forget to bring along the multi-disc cartridge insert when I heading for work!

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