Kids React to… Racists

While being too lazy to actually back up my claim here, I’m pretty sure at least 12% of what I post about here is sweet and funny kids making me cry. Or maybe that’s just the content of my internet browsing.

So either way, you’ve been warned! This is a video that will make you cry and laugh, and it’s NINE MINUTES. Now, listen to me: I can’t even watch piglets playing with kittens for a quarter of that (my kid’s really into both, so I’ve watched almost all of the baby animal videos on Youtube and am VERY AWARE of my patience levels with them). But I watched all of this and wanted to watch it again as soon as I finished.

So, curl up and get ready to want to kiss/hug/otherwise embarrass a bunch of sincere, smart, and as-of-yet-uncorrupted kids. And maybe keep the tissues close.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VifdBFp5pnw%5D

PS I’d like to say that as a kid, I was an Olivia, the eloquent, moved girl at the end (who seriously is like two years away from being a runway model, yes?), but of course, I was totally a Dylan, the goofy Asian kid who is already versed in the ways of sarcasm and mocking. “What is this country for? It’s something… starts with an E… oh! Equality, okay. So, why do you do that?” Preach, Dylan.

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Lightning Obsession: Awkward Black Girl


You guys, sometimes when we get excited about things, we tend to overexaggerate. I mean, I’ve heard.

Earlier this week, when my friend Carey posted a news item about an actress named Issa Rae being cast as Nina Simone in a movie, he said, “If you aren’t into Awkward Black Girl [the web series that Rae created and stars in], this link is my present to you today.”

I very much respect Carey’s opinion on what’s what (for example, he understands — much like I do — that Friday Night Lights is basically life, except even more so than actual everyday life is), so after hearing that this got his stamp of approval, I decided to watch the first episode, but wasn’t expecting that much.

Then I watched another. And another. And you see where this is going.

Two days later, after watching every episode in the two seasons, I emerged, feeling the way that you should feel after binge-watching a series: completely invigorated by another person’s creative vision, smug as hell that I get to live in a world where this exists, and super eager to shout about it to anyone who’ll listen.

So here’s my shouting: ABG is hilarious, profane, insightful, sweet, and very very honest. It might resonate with you more if you’re black (which I’m not) and definitely will if you’re awkward (which I often am), but I am in total love with it, and would highly recommend watching the first episode. There are 25 overall, and they vary from 3 to 20-some minutes, but almost every minute (my attention drifted a bit during the black sorority hazing bits) is worth it.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nIVa9lxkbus%5D

And of course, it didn’t hurt that I developed quite the crush on White Jay, even through the parts where he was being totally lame. So sue me, I guess I have a type:

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

(Top photo courtesy of Tumblr and bottom photo courtesy of Lyman Johnson)

Convos with my 2-year-old

Zoe will be 2 in July, and these days, depending on the moment, she’s either a complete delight or a total terror. Thankfully, at this age, both extremes are still kinda hilarious to us. One funny thing that she does now is this: whenever she can’t manage something on her own, like open a jar, turn a doorknob, or peel a sticker off the page, she grabs my hand, carefully puts it on the offending item, and then looks at me expectantly (sometimes, she exclaims, “OUT!”).

The bossiness will be strong in that one, that’s for sure.

So this adorable video is like a glimpse into my near, near future. Eek! Keep me in your thoughts, people.

PS for those interested in more toddler sass, make sure you follow the hilarious Honest Toddler account!

Pregnancy Dos and Don’ts: A Lit Review

This is a month or two old, but I didn’t see it the first time around, and it’s the perfect encapsulation of what it is to be pregnant in the era of internet “information”:

How to Have the Best Pregnancy Ever

My favorite part:

And your husband should have a suitable job, because what he does for a living at the time of your child’s conception could actually cause birth defects. So make sure your child’s father is not a mathematician, physicist, computer scientist; artist; photographer or photo processor; food service worker; landscaper or groundskeeper; hairdresser or makeup artist; office or administration support worker; sawmill operative; working with oil or gas; working in a chemical industry; printer; or operating cranes or diggers.

Two ways to look at it:

  1. You can’t win.
  2. You’re always winning!

Trying my hardest to always go with #2, especially because the chatter hardly dies down once the kid is out…

(Photo courtesy of Jezebel)

VERONICA MARS MOVIE.

I fully realize I’m internet-shouting. I AM REAL LIFE SHOUTING TOO.

The best news of the month: no doubt encouraged by the success of both Netflix’s resurrection of Arrested Development and Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter-funded album, Rob Thomas and the cast of Veronica Mars have announced a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a Veronica Mars movie.

I adore that this is the weird media landscape we live in now, where a great project that not enough people saw, but those who did grew veeeeeery passionate about, can get a new life due simply to enough willpower and gobsmacked media executives who are all looking for some way to monetize growing internet fanbases. And, oh shit yeah, it works.

I’m giving money towards this, and for those of you who saw and loved this TV show, I’m hoping you will too. If you never got to see it while it was on, please take this as my sincere recommendation to try an episode on Amazon or iTunes. And while you may not agree with everything I love (which is as it should be), please know I love Veronica Mars like I love Friday Night Lights, not like I love Top Model. Translation: this is not my idiosyncratic taste — this is a truly great piece of art, and the world can only be better with more of it.

So please give. You’ll get to see this face!

(Photo from Cinematic-Orchestra’s Tumblr)

Tom Haverford’s Food Slang

In honor of Galentine’s Day, here’s one of my favorite Parks and Recreation moments, courtesy of Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari).

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OhJJR8nBl4%5D

It’s so amazing that it’s inspired its own website, Tom Haverfoods! Refresh for constant laughter!

And if it seems out of place for me to celebrate a (fictional) dude on Galentine’s Day, think again: as Tom’s apartment shows, he’s clearly a gal at heart.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Haverfoods)

Eat24

I’ve never been a cook. I almost said that I’ve never been much of a cook, but that’d just be a lie: I don’t cook. I can prepare food, as I proved to myself when I lived alone abroad a couple of times, both times too unwilling to spend my scant cash on eating out regularly. But actual cooking? I simply have no interest.

I have my own suspicions as to why this is SUCH a point of interest for people, and they primarily center around the fact that I’m a woman. In particular, I’m a woman who likes being a married home-owning mother, and also enjoys being creative and crafty. But the thing that always seems to trip people up, that has them saying to me over and over again, “do you maybe just not know how to?” and “I bet you really would enjoy it if you tried” is the fact that I love food. Effing LOOOOOOOOVE eating, including both restaurant meals and home-cooked goodness. I love food so much that I went to a 90-minute lecture once on the current state of Mexican food in Los Angeles even though no food was served at the lecture because even the topic of food is so exciting to me.

But, you guys, I love experiencing lots of things (the whole point of this blog), and that doesn’t mean I have more than a passing interest in creating them. I mean, sure, sometimes I think about how AMAZING it would be to be Mindy Kaling, who gets the opportunity to create in a pure, comprehensive way an environment that’s engaging, relatable, and totally from her vision (oh, and where cute guys are always saying sexy-ass things). But in general, I can separate my enjoyment of the product from any desire to create it.

So one of the points at which people told me that I would start wanting (or, I guess, needing) to cook was when we had Zoe. I can see why: we spend almost every evening after 7:30pm at home these days — if we want to go out to eat, either only one of us goes or we have to call our babysitter. And while we love our babysitter, our current once-a-week routine is quite enough for our bank account! Hence, we don’t eat out every night any more like we used to, just as folks had predicted. So who’s going to save me or Evan from cooking? (I didn’t mention it before, but Evan’s not an avid cook either — though, predictably, he rarely gets the incredulity that I do)

Enter Eat24! Eat24 is a delivery and takeout aggregate site that allows you to easily order online. But these days, there’s a ton of great places to get the same service. What sets Eat24 apart?

First off, they are hilarious. This shouldn’t matter, just like I shouldn’t love my realtor any more for her amazing English accent. Too bad though: both totally matter to me. Eat24 has a GENIUS marketing and communications department, and I’m saying that as a Master of Communication, which is a title that both the University of Washington and I have given to me, so I know of what I speak. Their voice is funny, conversational, helpful, enthusiastic, and sadly, completely unique in their industry.

I get lots of instances to “hear” that voice, because they email me every week… with a coupon! That’s right, the other amazing thing about Eat24 is how they always make you feel like you’re saving a little money, and in such a way that you feel smart and in-the-know, not like the cat-hair covered lady who brings a fistful of cut coupons to the local grocery (sorry, that woman!). Between those emailed coupons and the discount codes they’re constantly passing out to whoever asks on their Facebook or Twitter page, I haven’t ordered from them in the last six months or so without getting a sweet $2 or $3 off my total!

And the last thing that pushes it over the edge for me: they’re constantly adding new features. The most recent one that I use alllllllll the time now is the like/dislike and notes that people can leave on individual menu items. I’m not under any illusion that everything is good at my favorite restaurants (and ps, if the server tells you that, they’re pulling your leg), so I love easily seeing what people really like, especially if the notes they leave have helpful tips, like “get this with beef” or “their medium is REALLY hot.” You can also make your notes private, if you want to just remind yourself next time that the garlic rice may sound good, but remember, they put bamboo slivers in it, grossgrossgross.

So if you’re as cooking-averse and housebound as I am every evening, you need someone in your corner! Eat24 is it — hurry hurry, and don’t forget to let me know how it was!

(Photo courtesy of Someecards)

Letting Children Fail

When I think about parenting challenges in my future, I think a lot about failure and perseverance. I’ve always had a natural tendency to not want to do anything I’m not good at, which is something that I’ve tried to work on in my adult years. As such, even though Zoe’s still so young, it’s very important to me to instill in her a desire to work at things that don’t come naturally to her, and to learn how to deal with failure.

The fact that some failure is an inevitable part of living a normal, well-balanced life was a difficult lesson for me to learn. Once I embraced it though, I could start learning how to deal with both the initial failure and my own reaction to it. It’s humbling work, but so important as I try to become a better person every day. It’s hard though: even now, the starkness of the word “failure” still startles me, and I am fighting the compulsion to soften it in this post by changing each occurrence to the more moderate “mistakes” or “errors” — I’m standing strong on this though, which, sadly for you readers, leads to a lot of word repetition!

All that’s just a long-winded (I’ve given up any attempt to work on my failure to ever be brief!) prelude to this fascinating article in The Atlantic, written by a middle-school teacher about the lengths parents go to to keep their children from experiencing failure, and how it can have an incredibly adverse effect on their development. I couldn’t agree more that failure and success are both integral parts in a child’s education, and that school is meant to teach kids so much more than just what’s in the pages of a book.

One of my favorite passages from the article:

But children make mistakes, and when they do, it’s vital that parents remember that the educational benefits of consequences are a gift, not a dereliction of duty. Year after year, my “best” students — the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives — are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.

And a great point from the comments:

One of the best things that schools, teachers, and parents can do for their students is to give them a safe place to fail. It’s much easier – and, generally, far less costly – for an 8 year old to not put in the effort and not reap the reward than it is, say, for a 24 year old to do so.

So what happens when an educational system turns out huge numbers of adults-to-be who have figured out (via their parents’ help, or on their own) how to game the system so that they never have to experience failure? Of course it has an effect on their individual personality as an adult, but what about on society as a whole? Intriguing stuff.

(Photo courtesy of St. John’s University)