Around the Horn: “Reading is so Passé”


For the past 5 years I’ve been listening to audio books of all kinds. Once upon a time, I used to love going to the bookstores and browsing for hours to find the perfect book to spend my time reading on my comfortable chair, but now I listen to voice actors dramatizing my virtual book on my ride to work… AND I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!

I never found anything wrong with this convenient way of getting through all the books that I want to read, but recently I’ve shared this new passion with a close friend of mine and he told me, “THAT’S NOT READING! Don’t say that you’ve read that book when you clearly didn’t turn a single page”… funny how that struck a chord with me that now I felt that for the past five years I’ve really failed to really “read” a book. And yet, I’m fine with it.

Funny story. I was listening to “The Child” read by British actors. I told my wife that it was hard to listen to them with their heavy accents, so I commented by saying, “I feel like I needed subtitles for the actors.” My wife responded, “… Like a book?”

Do you think by listening to Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” or even E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” dampens the experience of reading the actual words in the book? I want to hear the writers opinions on this subject since the written art can now be consumed by listening while doing laundry.

AROUND THE HORN: Money Saving Strategies


Let's go!!!

Let’s go!!!

I have now moved three times in less than 2 years. Most of it for ‘unusual circumstances’: death, childbirth, a fresh start. This last move required me to somehow pack and clean my condo while post-partum: which meant dealing with sutures in my genitalia, a doctor’s orders not to lift anything above 10 lbs, dealing with milk-engorged breasts, an inability to control my pee AND poo, and oh yeah, a newborn baby. Although the baby daddy is involved, he doesn’t live with me and helping me pack doesn’t necessarily come in the co-parenting packet. So even with two people, it’s really only one person moving stuff since one person’s whole job is to ‘watch baby from having meltdown’.

I don’t think moving is fun for people after the age of 24. (At 24 it seems exciting to move to bigger digs!) I find as I get older, I am reluctant to ask for help moving. It seems gauche now. Or more appropriate, it tells too much about my income, that I don’t have the money for movers and need to rely on family and friends. So believe it or not, I did move a lot of the stuff myself while baby daddy cried learning how to feed a fussy baby while I drove the car back and forth. I really was too ashamed to ask for more help. But at the same time I know my parents would be proud that I saved a few dollars!! (I still hear my day’s voice, “Don’t spend all your money in one place!!”). Moving is not “splurge-worthy”. Taking a trip to visit friends backpacking in Hawaii is “splurge-worthy” and I will drop dollars on that. :)

What ways do you try to cut corners in order to live within your means? And if you don’t cut corners, what money advice still rings in your head or that you would like to pass on?

Around the Horn: Immigration Story

angel island

I’ve recently moved up to San Francisco for a multi generational project with the Angel Island Foundation teaching and mentoring high school kids in filmmaking. The goal of this project is to have the kids completely pull off a film production from lighting to sound to camera to interviewing elderly individuals about their immigration story. With this project, I took the group of kids to Angel Island to experience and learn about the immigration station in hopes to inspire not only interview questions but to hopefully have the kids ask their own families if they would share their story of how they came to America as well. You see, these kids are a little shy. Maybe not shy when they all hang out together. But shy in asking their parents about their past. When I was their age, I was the same. I don’t know if its a cultural thing but that’s probably a topic for another blog. But after our trip to Angel Island, a few kids have now asked their parents/grandparents to share their story and now we plan on documenting their families’ stories.

My question this week is if you know what your families’ immigration story is and if not, maybe it’s time to ask before that history gets lost.

Around the Horn: Remembering Leonard Nimoy


As a Trekker, I loved Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Mr. SPOCK, truly one of the greatest fictional characters of all time. By the time of this post, you will have read several reflections on STAR TREK, Spock and Nimoy on this blog, including my quick moment thanking him for his contribution to my pop culture upbringing, as well as Guest Offender Liz’s own thoughts on him.

What were your favorite memories of Mr Nimoy? Yes, everyone knows him as Mr Spock (and what a character to be typecasted) but his contributions to pop culture were influential….

Around The Horn: How Free Should Free Speech Be?

When is it okay to yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater?


According to the authority figures of my youth, “never.” This question was presented to us as a simplified, kid-friendly way to explain what the limits of free speech were.

Around the Horn: Love Songs Playlist


Valentine’s Day might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pull out that romantic playlist. Here’s mine, what’s yours?

“Lady” D’Angelo
“Say You Love Me” Fleetwood Mac
“Kiss of Life” Sade
“Tender Love” Force MD’s
“I Would Die 4 U” Prince
“Again” Janet Jackson
“Love Come Down” Evelyn Champagne King
“Saturday Love” Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal
“All I Do” Tammi Terrell
“Maps” Yeah Yeah Yeahs

AROUND THE HORN – Not so fresh, “Fresh Off The Boat” moment…

I had quite a few favorite moments watching ABC’s world premiere of “Fresh Off The Boat” last Wednesday.  One moment I just can’t seem to get out of my mind is when Eddie brought mom’s special Chinese lunch to school and opened it in front of the “popular” kids in the cafeteria.  All the non-Asian kids freaked out, disgusted by the mere sight of one of Asia’s great culinary staples.  And Eddie, trying hard to validate his nut, had to slink away, ashamed, back to the “colored” table.

I had a moment very similar to FOB’s Eddie.  But instead of a bowl of fried noodles, my mom sent me to school with a rice ball.  Now understand, I LOVED my mom’s rice balls.  It was one of my favorite foods that I would eat all the time at home, on our station wagon road trips to national parks, and at countless family gatherings.  We had just moved from Illinois to Southern California.  It was 1978 and I would be starting my first day of 2nd grade at my local elementary school.  Mom bought me a new backpack, new clothes, and a new lunch pail for my first day.  I was ready.  Boy was I in for a surprise, for my mom, in her most thoughtful way, packed me my favorite food for my first lunch.  Who knew that in about 4 hours, my favorite food of all time would become one of my biggest embarrassments.

Around the Horn: Single Parenting


I want to take the opportunity to say a big congrats to fellow Offender Beverly who’s going to be a single parent. I’m also planning to be a single dad through surrogacy next year… I meant I have already started the process and am planning to have the child next year. I’ve always wanted to have a child since I was a teenager, and it seems like these couple years feel the right time to do it. It’s now or never. What are your thoughts on single parenting? Were you raised by a single mom or dad? What advice, thoughts or blessings would you give us?

Around the Horn: Who’s Watching ‘Fresh Off the Boat’?


So you might have heard that ABC will be premiering a new series in a couple of weeks entitled FRESH OFF THE BOAT–the first network prime-time series featuring an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s ALL-AMERICAN GIRL two decades ago. Already the show’s garnered its share of “controversy”–everything from folks offended by the show’s name (should remind everyone that our own DHH wrote a play called FOB over three decades ago) to criticisms about the actors’ accents to journalists asking the cast and producers if chopsticks would be prominently featured. I’ve already blogged about the show and have seen the pilot which I thought was good and does try to do justice to the Asian American characters.

So what does everyone think about the show? Are you going to watch it and why or why not (or if you’ve already seen it, what’d you think)? What sort of impact do you think it’ll have on the community–good or bad? And since it’s being compared to ALL-AMERICAN GIRL, for those of you old enough to remember that sitcom, what do you make of the comparisons?

AROUND THE HORN: Juicy Fruit at the End of the World

I wanted to keep it light this week, so my question is: when the world ends, what’s the one tangible thing you hope will still be around?

Of course, it would be great if stuff like compassion for your fellow man and a working sense of humor still existed, but we all know those aren’t the important things. What we all want to know is where will we find the stockpiles of Shin Black microwaveable ramen; blue Monster; or – my personal favorite – Juicy Fruit?


Since I’ve already plugged Juicy Fruit three times now, I’ll share my only other obsession: Pringles. Yes, Sour Cream & Onions is a great flavor, but I’m thinking those containers could probably be fashioned as some sort of improvised weapon.

Around the Horn: Show Me Your Weapons!

Both the recent terror attacks on Sony and Charlie Hebdo have made me contemplate and treasure all the more the idea of freedom of speech.  Most of us here are creative people and I remember how Justin told me that the original idea of YOMYOMF was that anything could be said about any topic, no matter how irreverent.  We would, after all, be called “Offenders”.   I, for one, would not want to live in a world where we could not have the freedom of expression we have today.

In my opinion, there is no real religion, Islamic or otherwise that would condone its followers to target unarmed, defenseless people.  These and other terrorists are simply thugs hiding not only under their black masks, but under the masks of religion to commit violent acts.  By shouting “Allahu Akbar” as their excuse, their desecration of Islam is far worse than any cartoonist’s.

So in lieu of our normal Around the Horn question, I would like to express solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and Parisians, and say “screw you” to terrorists around the world.  Offenders, please take a photo of your weapon of choice.


Around the Horn: Go-to Recipe

What is your go-to cooking recipe? It doesn’t have to be perfect since if it’s go-to, it’s all probably unmeasured.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 3.53.01 PM

DHH: My go-to (which I just made last night) is a personal variation on a Shanghainese dish, “Lion’s Head,” which are basically large braised meatballs (the “head”) with vegetables (the “mane”). I try to make it lighter than the traditional version:

Ingredients: 1 pound ground pork, ½ pound ground turkey, 1 box firm or extra firm tofu, 1 large onion, 1 egg, 1 head napa cabbage (can substitute spinach or bok choy), green onions, soy sauce, mirin or cooking wine, cooking or olive oil, garlic, ginger, chicken or vegetable broth, sesame oil, salt, pepper.