Monday, March 30, 2009

The Enchanted Inkpot

Hey guys! I want to share with you the launch of a new collaborative blog that I have been working on that goes live April 1st! I want to share with you the press release and invite you all to come by and take a tour. The beautiful artwork on the header is by my wonderful illustrator buddy Virginia Allyn and we are featuring lots of amazing authors whose debut books will be coming soon. So spread the word and come on by for some fascinating discussion on kidlit fantasy!

The Enchanted Inkpot Blog to Focus on Kidlit Fantasy

March 30, 2009 — Twenty writers (and one illustrator) of middle-grade and young-adult fantasy have joined forces to launch The Enchanted Inkpot (EI), a collaborative blog focused on high, historical, traditional and cross-genre fantasy. EI is located at The Enchanted Inkpot.

"The idea was to create a blogging community for people who write, read, or otherwise adore fantasy stories written for middle grade and young adult readers," said blog founder Marissa Doyle, author of Bewitching Season (Henry Holt, 2008) and Betraying Season (September 2009), young adult fantasies set in Regency England. "Authors who write MG and YA fantasy are among the most vociferous supporters of this genre, so they're forming the nucleus of the group, but we hope that anyone who loves fantasy for kids and teens will participate."

EI will feature interviews with established fantasy writers as well as newcomers to the genre. April will feature an interview with Elizabeth C. Bunce, whose A Curse Dark as Gold (2008) won the American Library Association's first-ever Morris Award for a debut young adult novel. In May, Tamora Pierce, bestselling author of Melting Stones (Circle Reforged), Terrier, the classic Song of the Lioness novels and other award-winning YA fantasies, will talk about her newest YA book, Bloodhound.

EI will also celebrate its own members, kicking off with an interview with Ellen Jensen Abbot, whose debut YA novel, Watersmeet, will be released in April by Marshall Cavendish. Two other EI members' books also debut in April: Deva Fagan's fairy tale novel, Fortune's Folly (Henry Holt), and Cindy Pon's Asian-inspired Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of the Xia (Greenwillow). A detailed list of all members' published books is provided under the Member Bios section of the blog.

To foster community and reader participation, the blog will devote the first day or two of every week to a Topic of the Week. In April, the first week's topic will be "fantasy in Asia," followed the second week by a discussion of how you "write what you know" in a fantasy novel.

Finally, EI will offer a monthly book club and other features as well as contests, quizzes, and news of members and others in the industry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Warning - this little piggy is about to blow!

Here's the thing. I drive a big ass mini-van. Honda Odyssey to be precise. This is not a small car. It does not have a small turning radius. To make a right turn, I swing out a little wide in order to avoid hitting the curb. That means if I am turning into traffic, the lane next to the one I am turning into has to be clear too, or I risk hitting another car. Take a look at an 18 wheeler. Ever seen one of those suckers turn? They gotta swing out all the way to the left before making a right, and then take up all 3 lanes in order to make a right hand turn and sometimes they still get stuck.

I would think this is really simple for people to understand. Big wide car, big wide swing. But no. For some reason, people in small cars think big cars are just like them. No, dumbass, we are not. So quit honking at me Mr. ThinksHe'sSoHotGangsterRapPlayingNerdyBoy driving his little ass toyota corolla with the big ugly whale tail sticking out of its pathetic little trunk space like a guppie with an identity crisis. Rockville Pike is a very heavily trafficked road with cars driving way over 60mph. And on top of all this, you stupid little cretin. I am driving a mini-van, ergo, I probably have kids in said mini-van. I am not about to jeopardize my children's lives just because you are late heading home to surf the internet for hot dates and heavy double-clicking action with Ms. Lilly of the Valley who is actually some fat dude in Pasadena named Larry. So back off!

That is all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why doth spring despiseth me tho mush?

Blame the springtime allergies for sounding like Elmer Fudd. I love this time of the year when the sun shines bright and the air is crisp and clean and filled with pollen that attacks my sinuses and reddens my eyes and leaves me with a constant drippy nose. It appears that spring hates me as much as I love it. I can honestly blame spring for my eternal bewilderment at myself lately. My stupidity has escalated to troublesome levels. My right brain is constantly in a fight with my left brain and one of them is a stupidhead!

Today I grabbed a fresh towel, turned on the shower and walked in to the hot spray... with towel in hand... and my socks still on. (Look my socks were clearly dirty.) I stubbed my little toe three times in a row on a pile of books that I keep telling myself to move every time I stub my toe on it, and yet it is still there. I finally moved it to the corner of the coffee table where I promptly walked into with my knee, knocking them all off and onto the same stubbed toe.

Last night, realizing that I was completely out of zyrtec, I call Da Man, who was working late, and ask him to pick up some milk, bread and zyrtec on the way home. He calls me and remembered the milk and bread but couldn't remember the last item. Having no idea what I had previously asked for in my stupidhead stage, I enthusiastically replied "donuts" instead. So instead of allergy free relief, I had a glazed donut and... ok you know the pun I was going to make...

For the second time in a week, I have clicked into my google reader and instead of clicking to start reading all the new blog posts, I click mark all read and watch them disappear from my screen. All 581 posts. I have no idea who has posted new stuff now. I feel lost and betrayed by my own brain and rotten finger. At least I know 300 of them were from laughing wolf so I know I can always count on him for new stuff. Ok I exaggerate, Tony only had 286 new posts that I missed. ;o) I feel so lost without my google reader telling me what to read. I twiddle my thumbs and absently click on it a few times, but it still tells me I have no new posts to read.

As I was writing this post,I absently clicked on my homepage where my google reader is stationed in its own tab box, and realized I had clicked away from my blog post without saving it. Luckily for me blogger is liking me today, and it saved half of my post and you lucky people don't have to read more of my random stupidity involving q-tips, powdered donuts, vaseline, ripped pants hem, stairs, hair dye and a verizon technician, but not necessarily altogether.

I'm going to stop now before I break my computer and go blip music instead, cause while music can't cure stupidity, it forgives it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Those of you who don't know what (like me 48 hours ago) are probably thinking what the heck is it? Well it is another website meant to suck up more of your already overtaxed time schedule... but if you love music, this place is awesome! Forget twitter and facebook, I could easily spend all my time at blip because I can search and play all my favorite songs and also see what my friends are playing and see if our musical tastes compliment or collide. I have discovered some awesome new music this way and am enjoying myself way too much. Like all things, I'm sure it is the relative novelty of it that I'm enjoying right now, but me thinks the musical component of it is what will keep me coming back. (Oh and you can link it to twitter and FB if you want!)

So if you love music, want to see some of my favorite songs and share some of your favorite songs with me, then find me at and become a listener. If you are already on blip, then let me know so I can favorite you.

Try it out, you just might like it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Only a true friend will tell you when you look like an ass

I was sitting at Starbucks grading papers and sitting next to a table of two little old ladies chatting loudly. I had been snorting softly into my chai tea as one of the ladies named Helen, a silver-haired pudgy lady with wrinkles like a basset hound and a voice like Lauren Bacall, was just cracking me up commenting in a loud slightly deaf manner about the shortcomings of various old ladies who apparently didn't know their ass from their elbows. Suddenly the other granny perks up at the sight of another friend entering the shop.

"Oh look Helen, there's Margie, and what on earth is she wearing?" asks the nicer granny.

I'm facing Helen, so I get a perfect view of her open mouthed expression as her triple chins drops to her chest. I turn around and see a stylish old lady in a lovely white coat and a matching white turban with a large jewel in the middle.

"Hi ladies," she beams as she takes off her coat and sits down. "Sorry I'm late but I couldn't do a thing with my hair." She pats at her turban and tries to tuck in a stray curl that slips out from the top of her forehead.

Helen finally closes her mouth and announces "You look like an ass!"

"Helen!" the nice granny chides.

"What? Look at it! Just look at it!"

"You're the ass!" Margie huffs furiously turning to the other woman. "I swear, can you believe her? I don't know how we put up with her sometimes!"

"No, no, you look lovely!" the other friend soothes.

Helen peers closely at the turban as Margie tries to shoo her away with an irritated wave.

"Well, so YOU don't look like an ass, but that thing on your head does. It looks like a wrinkly white ass that hasn't been waxed," she says. "You just look like a moron!" Helen sits back and nods with dignity.

Tears are escaping my stinging eyes as I desperately try not to snort in hysterical laughter. Helen catches my eye and says, "Go ahead and laugh before you wet yourself dearie!"

Too late!

I think I want to adopt her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Wonder Girls

The world is getting smaller because of the internet. And we have the ability to see and hear things from other countries and cultures that would have been virtually impossible twenty years ago. With MTV bringing us global videos and Youtube's reach, we can get a slice of the world anywhere.

So today I'll show you K-pop, which is short for Korean pop music. It is only fitting and just that I give you an example of some great K-pop after the hair curling Korean karoake video from last week.

And while it is bubble gum pop, I can't help but like it. One because the video cracks me up. You'll know why as soon as you see it. Hey! It must be in our blood or something. Koreans just love toilet humor!!! But this group is a little different. It's bubble gum pop with an R&B 60s twist. They are not the Dreamgirls, but the Wonder girls are pretty darn cool. Oh and while there are no subtitles, I think the video is pretty self-explanatory. And if you don't get it, the message is, always check for toilet paper!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Modern Toilet Restaurant

This is not my fault. If you are looking to blame anyone for this post, blame the incredibly talented artist Scott Mattlin. It is all his fault. He sent me this link and I have been incredibly grossed out and hysterical about it.

And so I must pass the pain on.

The Modern Toilet is apparently a popular restaurant chain in China where you get to pretend you are in the bathroom while you are eating. You sit on gold toilets and eat out of black potties.
And the soft serve ice cream in a small urinal looks like this.

I stole this from their website. "The arrival of the “Modern Toilet Restaurant” launches the next generation of toilet-themed restaurants! More variety, better service! With new ideas and new products, our goal is to become “The No. 1 Brand in Themed Chain Restaurants” (In an age where creative marketing is king, even feces can be turned into gold!)"

I have serious potty humor. I know it. You all know it. And this is perfect potty humor. But you see, that's where I've gotta draw the line. It's probably because I have serious OCD, I can laugh my ass over this concept but actually going there to eat would probably freak me out way too much!

To quote Angus, "What if someone decides to go to the bathroom as they are eating? That would be disgusting!"

Oh yes! That would be so disgusting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Funny Flight of Concords video

So I love this show. If you never have seen it, you should catch it on HBO because it is hysterical. But the reason I'm including this clip right now is because it is spot on classic Korean Karaoke at its best! The cheesy video, the swinging Lawrence Welk music, the messed up lyrics. If you go to Koreatown NYC (32nd street) there's about 20 of these Korean Karoake places where you can rent a room with a big screen tv and sing a huge range of songs from American and Korean to even Japanese and Chinese. The nice thing is that you are in your own room so you can make a fool of yourself in a private room filled with your drunk friends.

Seriously, this kills me because at my wedding my parents, who hosted a 350 person wedding solely to invite every Korean in New York that owed them some money, had hired a painful Korean band. And a bunch of drunk Korean ajushi's (Korean for older man who may or may not be drunk but is always loud) got up and started singing... badly... like this... I have it on video... it sucks...this is way better!

Did I ever mention that Da Man was drunk during the entire wedding ceremony? He swayed like a drunken sailor all during the vows. The wedding officant was so nervous he forgot to say the vows in English so neither of us recall ever saying we do and all the non Koreans assumed that Da Man had been traded for 2 oxen and a flock of sheep. I would have preferred a 2 carat diamond which I am still waiting for...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 26

We are in the car driving to take the older two to Korean school which Angus loathes. Stuck in traffic, Youngest lets out a huge burp. Recently this little critter has been letting out linebacker sized burps which is hysterical coming from this tiny 5 year old frame.

In the car, the girls are cracking up over the loud burp when Youngest rips out another, huger one. It's actually quite startling.

So I ask her, "Are you burping on purpose?"

"Yes," she answers with a big grin. "My body is a burp factory."

Angus is howling and shouts, "Do another!!!"

Youngest opens her mouth and nothing comes out.

"Sorry," she says. "The factory is now closed."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is sad, sad, sad...

For the first time in Ivy League history, an Asian American has been appointed President. Dr. Jim Young Kim, a Korean American, has been announced as the next Dartmouth College President. Instead of celebrating this wonderful occasion, his announcement was marred by the following email sent through the Dartmouth listserv:

Date: March 3, 2009 11:06:39 AM EST
Subject: Good Morning

This is the Generic Good Morning Message for March 3, 2009.

Yesterday came the announcement that President of the College James Wright will be replaced by Chinaman Kim Jim Yong. And a little bit of me died inside.

It was a complete supplies.

On July 1, yet another hard-working American's job will be taken by an immigrant willing to work in substandard conditions at near-subsistent wage, saving half his money and sending the rest home to his village in the form of traveler's checks. Unless "Jim Yong Kim" means "I love Freedom" in Chinese, I don't want anything to do with him. Dartmouth is America, not Panda Garden Rice Village Restaurant.

Y'all get ready for an Asianification under the guise of diversity under the actual Malaysian-invasion leadership instituted under the guise of diversity. It's a slippery slope we are on. I for one want Democracy and apple pie, not Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. I know I sure as shit won't ever be eating my Hop dubs bubs with chopsticks. I like to use my own two American hands.
The e-mail was sent to students and alumni and was supposedly a satirical compilation of the day's news written by a student intern. Apparently the author "of the original e-mail apologized for “inappropriate” and “insensitive” comments in an e-mail to the GGMM listserv on Tuesday, saying that the comments were intended to be satirical. The GGMM staff also offered a follow-up apology, saying they regretted their lack of oversight." ( Apparently the author has not been punished as it was decided that this matter "did not warrant college disciplinary action" because Dartmouth has no speech code. Nice Dartmouth! Link for article.

Wow. Trying to write this off by saying it is not racist because it was just a joke is nearly as offensive as the email itself. And no disciplinary action taken? Ok, fine, but can you at least post up the writer's name and home address please? Me and a billion other Chinamen would like to meet with him in person. And for the record, a billion other people who are not Asian but are just as offended by this horrible email will also line up behind us.

Seriously, this is so not funny - well, it's probably funny... if you are a racist. I bet the neo-Nazis and the KKK were howling over this one. And once again, the comments and responses remind us that being racist towards Asians is just par for the course. What's the big deal? It's just a bad joke! Get over it! Reminds me of the whole Miley Cyrus episode. Comments are nearly identical. What's the big deal? They are just kidding around! Stop overreacting! In fact, in my Miley post, even after I made a plea to people to understand that the chinky eyes was offensive and racist to us Asian Americans, someone still posted a comment telling me I was overreacting. Yes a non-Asian, who has no idea of what it feels like to be called a slanty eyed chink, telling me I was overreacting. Thanks. So yeah, there is this complacency in society that seems to accept racism towards Asians as not being racist and if someone like me objects to it, well just roll your eyes and sneer at us chinky eyed, bad driving, buck-toothed, math loving nerds.

Historically, Asians have had a difficult time in this country. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese internment camps. Let's not forget how Hawaii's rightful monarch was overthrown in order to be annexed by the US so that native Hawaiian's would be stripped of their property all for the benefit of the USA. But why is it that Asian's don't speak up? Many believe it is because our very culture teaches us to swallow bile and repress our anger. But no longer. We cannot be the silent minority any longer.

To all the Asians out there, stop swallowing the Chink jokes. Stop being quiet over the slanty-eyed comments, the bad driving and the Charlie Chan impersonations. There is enough outrage out there from all the communities to support our own. Racists are loud and ugly, but they are the minority now. And we need to teach them that this isn't funny. We need to teach them to stop passing on this demeaning hate to their children. We can't afford to be quiet anymore. Black, white, Asian, Latino, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Hindi, whatever you are, the world is changing. The time is right to speak up. Join me, for I am shouting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Thousand Words

Stole this from Angry Asian Man whom I adore. Reminds me a lot of my own angry asian man at home...

Anyway, this is a great short movie by the extremely talented young director, Ted Chung. I hope you enjoy it.

A Thousand Words from Ted Chung on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bundegi - A Yummy New Treat Sensation Or Not

In the brand new opening of my revised Seven Kingdoms manuscript, I open up with a scene about bundegi, a popular Korean treat. So I thought I would share with you a little bit about this tasty little snack.

This is Bundegi - boiled silkworm larvae
Copyright ksbuehler via Creative Commons license

Doesn't it just look appealing? How scrumptious! They look similar to the huge ass water bugs that crawl around the subway platforms in NYC and they smell like some kind of wonderful that you will never forget. Yes, this is all hearsay. I've never been to Seoul so I have no idea what this is like, but I have been told by many that they are an unforgettable smell. Like a mix between rotten garbage and pungent old dirty socks filled with really old gorgonzola cheese. But wait, you can't go by smell! After all, some of the creamiest and most delicious cheese in the world smells horrendously gag worthy.

So then what does it taste like? Well, apparently they are very juicy little critters that takes you by surprise when they squirt its creamy, salty, briny innard goodness in your mouth, leaving you with the unpleasant sensation of not knowing whether to spit or swallow. Hey, I think more men should try this snack! And apparently it tastes sort of like muddy kidney beans.

I'm sorry, but this is considered a popular treat in Korea? Perhaps this is one of those things that is an acquired taste. Unfortunately, I'm not sure why anyone would want to acquire this taste. But that might just be my American side talking here.

Apparently you can buy the stuff at all these little hot dog vendor like stands all over Seoul. Some old Korean lady with the short bad perm job that marks her status as an ajima (korean word for old married lady) boils them up in a big steaming vat and serves them in dixie cups with toothpicks. But for the toothpicks, it would be like popping brown popcorn, right?

So wrong! I was over at my friend's house when she pulled this out of her pantry.

Copyright Todd Mecklem via Creative Commons license

CANNED BUNDEGI!!!!! Said she found it in a local Korean supermarket and had to try it because it reminded her of Seoul. She opens the can and there are like hundreds of these little suckers in this grayish brown dishwater like sauce and she asks me if I want to try one.

Hmmmm, let me think, HELL NO!!!!

But you should try it, for research purposes, she says.

You know, I love research, but to eat something that looks and smells like a turd is just never gonna happen, no matter how badly I need the research. So I pass, ever so reluctantly, and she sneers at me as she pops a couple in her mouth. I turn about as gray as the liquid in the can as she laughs at me.

I ask her - Is it supposed to smell like Ass?

She is disgusted with me.

But bundegi sort of sounds like koondengi which is Korean for Ass. I say.

And you call yourself a Korean? she asks.

Nope, I'll call myself Elmer J. Fudd or anything you want, just so I won't have to eat that thing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 25

The girls were playing "Restaurant" with their cousin. They printed up menus and set up tables and were pretend cooking up a storm. All of a sudden I hear Angus shout, "You guys President Obama is here with his family!!!"

"Quick set the nice plates out!" "And the pretty napkins!" "Get the diet coke!"

"Someone cook up the hot dogs!" I'm pretty sure that was Youngest.

"Hot dogs? We can't serve them hot dogs!" Angus yells. "We need to serve steak and potatoes!"

"Sorry! No steak, but we have curry rice, sushi and lamb kebobs! Would the president and his family like any of that?" Oldest asks. (Oldest is like me and loves food.)

"I'll take care of it," Angus says. A second later she says, "It's ok, I took care of it, President Obama and his family have left now."

"What happened?" Youngest asks.

"I gave him $20 and told him to come back when we has steak for him!" Angus answers.

"Oh, good job!" the others respond.

Yes, bribing the President with $20. Good job indeed.

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