Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sea World, 2016...

Good times... but I did learn a lesson. Don't show "Blackfish" to your spouse the night before you go to Sea World, it will ruin her day...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Watching Star Wars Episode 1 with my 5-year-old...

So, to get ready for the new Star Wars, I'm re-watching the first 6. My 5-year-old, Maia, decided to watch it with me. Half the fun has been her reaction to it all.

This is just the first fifteen minutes of Episode 1:

  • The first time the evil Sith Master is shown: "Is that Jesus?"
  • When the battle droids are landing on Naboo: "Why are they going there? Oh, I know, they are having a parade!"
  • When she first sees Jar-Jar Binks: "Who is that horse-thingy? Is that a girl?"
  • When the Jedi follow Jar-Jar to his underwater home: "I think this may be a bit too scary for kids like me."

This is going to be an interesting marathon...

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Family Superlatives....

Out of the blue the other day, Benji says to me, "Dad, I'm stupendous."

"Really? You are? How do you know?"

"I just am," he replies matter-of-factly.

"Ok," I pursue, "so if you are stupendous, what am I?"

"Hm," he thinks for a second. "You are just normal."

"Oh, so what about Maia? Is she stupendous, too."

"No," he declares with authority. "She is fantastic."

"I see. So you are stupendous, Maia is fantastic and I am 'just normal'."


"What about Mommy? What is she?"

For this one he takes a long time to consider his options. "She is... stinky balls!"

Honestly, I have no idea where he gets this stuff, but just for the sake of those who are keeping track, here's the breakdown:

Benji = stupendous
Maia = fantastic
Dad = just normal
Mom = stinky balls


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Racial Identity...

Racial identity is a funny thing. In 2014 there was a study that found millions of American change their racial identity on occasions, particularly many hispanic individuals began reporting themselves as white. And we can't forget NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal who was quite genealogically white, yet identified as black (and fooled others to believe she was black for quite some time as well).

In our family, race is understandably a bit, black and white. I guess you could say we put the "asian" in "caucasian." While I know that I am as white as sunscreen on cream cheese, I can't help but feel that we are a predominantly Asian family. My wife is Vietnamese, and our kids are 50/50, so we as a family unit are as caucasian as we are Asian. But in our family traditions, diet, and other ways we align with the Asian culture more than our neighbors. I still have difficulty keeping my shoes on when I visit the homes of friends.

What got me thinking about this subject today was something I observed in my three-year-old, Benji. Anna has been endeavoring to keep the apps on his hand-me-down iPad educational rather than solely for entertainment. So, when adding and inspecting an app for Benji, she chose an avatar for him. This app has a set number of choices. Anna chose the young asian boy avatar for Benji, since that is the closest approximation she could see.

Then later, I was watching Benji play with that app. He found the settings and when browsing the avatar choices, changed his likeness to a boy of the same age, but white. It was clear to me, that Benji currently sees himself more like that boy than the one Anna had selected for him. It's interesting to know how your children see themselves. I wonder if we had stayed in Guam with a more diverse culture if he would see himself more like the Asian avatar or still as the white one.

I have yet to ask Maia how she sees herself. I'm sure this is an issue that will come into play more as our children grow up.

Although I am spending time to blog about this, I don't really understand the big issue with racial identity. It used to frustrate me how much we hear about and debate on race issues in our media and culture, and now I'm just burned out on the subject.

I miss Guam in that way; we were all of a different (and often mixed) race. That consistent diversity kept us all feeling a bit more equal in a way. Sure we acknowledge cultural differences and would have some racial clicks, but our forced proximity and volume of diversity make the subject a non-issue. I remember someone visiting me at work one day and observing that I was the only white guy in my office. I hadn't even noticed it until that point. I was. And it didn't matter. And it was great.

Now back in the racially heated contiguous 48, I feel like there is no escape from the constant onslaught of these biases and issues.  I'm not pointing fingers or blaming anyone. It is the way it is. And I wish it could be different.

I wish we could all just see that we are all of some mixed-race of some kind and we all come from diverse backgrounds. At some point in our past we all share common ancestors. I would like to think we could keep that in mind when we interact with each other, but I'm not naive enough to think that will happen any time soon.

At any rate, my point is that this is all a matter of perspective. If we could be more empathetic and identify with some aspect of other ethnicities, we could be more understanding of each other. That's not to say I support the deception of Rachel Dolezal. We should also be true to who we really are. But if we could learn to identify with other races, in some way, we could let the little unintentional gafs go and start the healing.

I'm not an Asian, and no, I don't play one on TV. But after the experiences I've had over the past decade of my life, I can understand how one would start to feel as if their cultural, and even racial, identity can drift. Our little blended family can't even agree on our race. But we still do now and always will love each other for who we are. And that is enough.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Not Quite 5 Minutes Yet...

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (both of you) know that I've been doing some acting as of late. I wouldn't say I have really made a significant impact, but I've had a number of gigs from January to date. Here's a smattering of what I've done that's online. There's a couple movies and TV shows that are yet to air, but I'll post those as well.

If you add all of my screen time up together, you may actually get 5 minutes... someday...