Archive for the ':: family ::' Category

The time I met Annette Hsiu-lien Lu, former Vice President of Taiwan…

Six years ago, on U.S. Independence Day, I went with my Mom to hear former Vice President of Taiwan Annette Hsiu-lien Lu give a speech. (Her term had ended the previous year.)

As a journalist, what particularly resonated with me about her talk was that she was working on putting together new “newspapers” and publications to better tell stories issues facing Taiwanese people and Taiwan as a nation. She recognized the power of media and wanted to harness it in the next chapter of her life.

After her speech was over, a huge line of people waited to have a moment of face time and personal contact with her. I waited with my Mom, who wanted to thank Ms Lu for being such a visible and prominent woman leader in Taiwan. My Mom then mentioned as a side note that Ms Lu reminded her of her own mother (my Grandma) who was an original leader in the fight for democracy in Taiwan. Ms Lu recalled my grandmother as “a feminist leader of Taiwan.” My Mom also briefly introduced me as her daughter, “…who has been into journalism since she was a teenager,” she said.

The event was wrapping up and we began to head out. My Mom realized that after the speech and the long wait to meet Ms Lu, it would be a good idea for her to use the restroom. I said I’d wait for her in the hotel lobby and sat down in a chair, checking my phone and looking at pictures I’d taken from the event.

Suddenly, I realized there was a change in the energy of the room– people were buzzing– I looked up to see the Vice President standing in front of me.

I was shocked to see that the guest of honor had left her meet and greet area and had come to talk to me.

In perfect English, Ms Lu asked me, “Do you remember your grandmother?” I nodded and said yes. She continued and said, “Your grandmother was a great woman. She was my role model and without her, I would not be in my position today. And Taiwan would not be a democracy today. If you know her stories, please write them down for future generations. Her legacy was suppressed by her enemies and the truth was censored from the press. She deserves to be remembered for what she did.”

I told her I was hoping to go to Taiwan later that year to gather stories and research. She wished me luck and said I should reach out if I needed help. And with that, she turned and walked back to the line of people waiting for her, just as my Mom returned from the restroom, appalled that I was so disrespectful to speak to the Vice President without having the courtesy to stand up! I was so surprised and shocked at this interaction, I totally lost my mind of all etiquette and protocol, that I had indeed stayed seated while the Vice President of Taiwan addressed me.

The next thing I knew, random Taiwanese people were rushing up, asking why the VP had come to talk to me. Many of my mother’s friends had no idea who her mother was, so instead of leaving, we were trapped for another half hour in the hotel lobby as my mother interacted with everyone.

I did indeed take a research trip to Taiwan later that year, but my path has not yet crossed again with that of Ms Lu. It is my hope that after all these years of the project being on the backburner, with the reduction of activities in my calendar and the translation help of my cousin Andrew, that I can in finally make some progress in recording and documenting my grandmother’s unique contributions to Taiwan’s history.

Originally posted on Facebook, as a response to a Facebook “On This Day” reminder about my original Twitter post from 2009. Photo from blog post from 7/4/2009.

:: More about Annette Hsiu-lien Lu ::
Wikipedia
“Unsinkable Annette Lu”, by Ron Gluckman
-“My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power“, By Hsiu-lien Lu, Ashley Esarey

Nine years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

Incidentally, I just looked back in my archives in 2013 and 2014 and I didn’t make a blog post like this for the last two years. (I may have tweeted something out, though… who knows?) I know the reason for this is because for those two years, I was in the throes of putting on V3con (V3con 2012 was in August).

V3con 2015 is coming up this weekend and it will be the fourth one… and the first that I am not in charge of. I am grateful for the team of new leaders who I worked with for the previous two years and who stepped up to organize it and allow me to (finally!) retire from conference planning. I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished for this year’s event and put together for what will surely be another memorable weekend! (Randall Park! Joe Zee! Dao Nguyen! And that’s just Friday night!) More importantly, their leadership allows me to have time to do things like sleep and write the occasional blog post.

Coincidentally, I happened to have pulled an all-nighter last night, but (mostly) not because of V3con, for once!

I just have a lot on my plate, a lot in my calendar (upcoming business travel ahead), and then a lot to deal with unexpectedly.

Last night (Tuesday), I went to a special screening of Awesome Asian Bad Guys (in celebration of their digital release) at East West Players in Little Tokyo. Around the corner at JANM, the V3con team was busy with their last planning meeting before the big day. I had planned to stop by after the screening to drop off some stuff/equipment for the event and then leave to join all the revelers at the AABG afterparty at Far Bar.

Anyway, when I got to JANM, Bel saw my new-ish Hello Kitty iPhone5 case and she took my phones (yes, I carry two) AND THEN PROCEEDED TO DROP IT HARD FACE DOWN ON THE TILE FLOOR. At first I wasn’t worried about it because the screen looked fine and I was able to power the phone on and off, but it wasn’t until later that I realized the home button was broken!

What I haven’t mentioned is that my iPhone5 had been out of my possession and at the “iPhone Hospital” (that’s what I call it, but it’s really the home of my friend Jenny, who does mobile device repair) for 3 days because we were waiting for parts to come in to repair my power button and back camera. I swear, my iPhone5 should be renamed “Frankenphone” because I don’t know what’s left that’s an original part!

Anyway, I had just gone on Monday night to get my newly repaired phone back from Jenny and I didn’t even have my phone back from 24 hours from the iPhone Hospital when Bel tried to kill Hello Kitty and killed my home button instead! The phone was stuck in text messaging mode, so I texted Jenny who happened to be home and up late so she said “Come over and I’ll fix it for free.” And she did. The cost to me was my time and one highly anticipated AABG afterparty. But thankfully for Jenny and her generosity, now my iPhone is now back in working order and staying far, far away from Bel.

I wanted to share a humorous anecdote because I also have some heavy news, not for me personally, but for a close friend I consider family: Todd. This past weekend was Father’s Day (see my post about my Grandpa, if you missed it), which has been tough for me ever since Dad died because Father’s Day 2006 was actually the last time we were all together as a family. I wasn’t really online all weekend so it wasn’t until Monday that I found out that Todd’s Dad passed away on Friday night. Todd and I met around the time that my Dad died and even though I’d just met him, he was a huge support to me at the time and has been since.

So on a day that I’m remembering what it was like to lose my Dad suddenly and unexpected, my heart aches for Todd, who is living it now. Sending him lots of love and support, whether or not he knows I’m writing this.

What I wrote every year on this day:
:: 2014 :: no post
:: 2013 :: no post
:: 2012 ::
:: 2011 ::
:: 2010 ::
:: 2009 ::
:: 2008 ::
:: 2007 ::

Real conversation with Mom today…

Mom: What did that email that you sent me mean?

Me: Which email are you talking about?

Mom: It was a Gmail. [Mom and I both use Gmail]

Me: Um. What email are you talking about? Let’s open up your Gmail and you can show me which one. [I go to open her Gmail.]

Mom: Oh you won’t be able to find it in my Gmail.

Me: Why not?

Mom: I deleted it because I didn’t know what it meant.

Me:

Originally posted on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jozwang/posts/10152729442805672

My Mother, My Heart

Mom & Dad

Someday, I may be able to look back on today and remember the intense roller coaster that this morning has already been. But for now, I will take a few quiet moments on the occasion of Mother’s Day to write a short but rare blog post (yes! an actual blog post!) in honor of my beautiful mother.

In the 13+ years that I have been blogging, I have made reference to my Mom and even posted funny stories about her, but I have never written a tribute to her, nor have I posted a photo where you could clearly see her face. Not only am I protective of her privacy, I also think it’s overwhelming to me to honor my Mom in writing because simply I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am of her sacrifices and how much I love her.

When my Dad passed away in 2006, so many people commented on how much like my father I am. But in all honesty, I have always been a perfect blend of the best of my two parents.

If I’m anything like my father, it’s because he and I shared the same kind of mind– full of curiosity and unending desire to read and learn.

If I’m anything like my mother, it’s because she and I share the same loving spirit and compassion for the world around us– we care and love deeply, and are concerned for those around us more than we are for ourselves. Many times, when I know that I have given too much, I think that this is my biggest flaw. Deep down, however, I know this is actually one of my biggest strengths.

My Dad didn’t always communicate his emotions in words, so there were times when I felt like I didn’t know what he was feeling. But I always felt like knew what my Mom was feeling because I didn’t need words to know– I just had to listen to my own heart, because our hearts are so alike.

If my father shaped my head, then my mother shaped my heart.

If you have ever known my warmth, my enthusiasm, indeed, my love… then you have known my mother… because all these essential parts of my spirit are just a fraction of what I received from her.

Thank you for everything, Mom! I love you!

~~~
I don’t know the context of the photo above, but this picture of my parents was taken about two years before I was born. If I were to guess where this was taken, it would be Syracuse, New York, around the time that my Dad would have finished grad school and started working for his professor’s architectural firm. Mom joined Dad in Syracuse after she finished studying public health at a medical school in Japan, but was so miserable because of the brutal winters there that they soon moved to sunny Southern California and never looked back.

PIC: Happy 70th birthday, Dad. I miss you everyday. (Taken 9/14/2003)

PIC: Happy 70th birthday, Dad. I miss you everyday. (Taken 9/14/2003)

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year 11

Since 2004, it has become an (almost) annual tradition for me to re-post this story, usually with some sort of update at the top.

This is Year 11 of the post and I’m honestly just tired. I’m physically exhausted from a week of business travels and meetings and I’m just tired in general from what has been yet another nonstop year for me.

I won’t go into great detail about the highlights or lowlights of 2014, but I can say this: while I am indeed doing a lot less for AAJA/AAJA-LA than I have in previous years, I still continue to do a lot. Denise Poon and I helped lead the third hugely successful V3con, but more importantly, we have retired from “being in charge” and have gratefully passed the torch to a very capable team. Trivia Bowl this year celebrated its 20th anniversary and under the leadership of Denise Poon, I think it was particularly amazing. As much as I love Trivia Bowl, I took on a greater share of responsibility this year than I had in the past, and it took a lot out of me. I’m still on the National Governing Board and co-chair the Marketing and Communications Committee with Niala Boodhoo and we had a great National Convention in August in one of my favorite cities, Washington DC. I’m looking forward to a great 2015 convention in San Francisco next year.

There continue to be many joys in my life… my family and friends, and especially my Yoshi. It’s my ongoing goal to spend even more time with Yoshi after all these years of neglect from extracurricular activities. I admit this is not much of an update, but that’s OK. You can follow the day-to-day on Twitter or Facebook.

So without further ado, here’s my annual Halloween story posted in honor my Mom, who is currently traveling Asia with friends and family. I hope you enjoy it (again or for the first time).

Happy Halloween.

Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.

Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with “dressing us up.” Although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.

One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.

And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.

“Mom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?”
Continue reading ‘“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year 11’

Ba-Ba Day (2014)

Originally written 8/8/07 and accidentally posted to 8Asians:

8/8 (Eight-Eight in Mandarin is pronounced “ba-ba.” Father in Mandarin is also pronounced “ba-ba”) is Father’s Day in Taiwan. Even though we refer to him as “Dad” in English, 95% of the time, we called him “Ba-Ba.” Usually, my Dad would be in Taiwan at this time of year, so I would have to remember to call him on 8/7 so I could wish him a happy Ba-Ba Day on the right day.

Happy Ba-Ba Day, Dad.

We miss you.

Dad & Joz - 10-04-2007

I originally couldn’t remember where this picture was taken. I knew that it was taken on October 7, 2004, and thanks to my blog, I was able to go back figure out the context of this photo. I think this was taken in Rowland Heights, just before my Dad was going to get on to a shuttle bus that would have taken him to LAX to board a flight back to Taiwan.

Pix from Mom: Pretty butterflies… doing it?!

I’ve officially decided (without her permission) to start a new series of
photos of the random photos my Mom takes/sends me… Here’s the first!

Sent to me 7/9/2014.

Happy twenty-seexth* birthday to me!

PBS-Birthday-pb090215cmyk_ts

Hey, what do you know? Another year has passed and I’m still twenty-seex… how’d that happen?*

Unlike previous years, when I celebrated my birthday for the entire month of November, this year, I started late and only began a few days ago.

My “birthday celebration preview” event was Indian food on Friday night, followed by a visit to the bakery to pick up a sweet treat… I chose a birthday cake cookie, but I haven’t had it yet. You see, I’m avoiding birthday cakes like the Croc above, so I don’t get a year older, despite the seven white hairs that were pulled from my head in the last 48 hours. (I blame that on stress, not on age!)

Over the weekend, my family took me out to have vegetarian food at Happy Family Restaurant in Monterey Park (see my Yelp review here), then dinner at Mccormick & Schmick’s (see my Yelp review here). On Sunday, after we both had to work during the day, EB took me to a Michael Buble concert in Anaheim, at The Pond/Honda Center (aka “The Honda Ponda”).

Today was my actual birthday and I got lots of birthday phone calls, emails, IMs, text messages, tweets and Facebook messages… did I get all the different ways people reached out? It made my day to hear from people I haven’t heard from in a while (that is, since my last birthday, when Facebook reminded them all I am still alive and still on their friends lists).

This morning started out super-early for an appointment and then a big surprise: Taiwanese breakfast! Yoshi can’t stand having Taiwanese breakfast, so since I pretty much get whatever I want on my birthday, I asked for Taiwanese breakfast and Yoshi didn’t refuse! I was so excited that I ordered too much and I had to have Taiwanese breakfast for lunch, too.

Oh right, today, President Obama came to Los Angeles for a fundraiser at Magic Johnson’s house. It was really nice of Obama to visit LA for my birthday, but alas, my birthday schedule was already booked so I couldn’t visit with our dear Commander in Chief. Next time, his people will have to request time with my people sooner.

However, as a result of the President visiting, traffic was really messed up, EB asked if he should order the helicopter. I said, “No, it’s my birthday. I want to go via flying unicorn.” EB and Yoshi’s combined response was all, “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FLYING UNICORN! jeez. it’s either a unicorn or a pegasus.” Duh, I know the difference between a unicorn and a pegasus and I WANT THEM BOTH! Rather than being wasteful by asking for both a unicorn and a pegasus, all I asked for is a flying unicorn to fly me around for my birthday. Instead, they took me out for AYCE KBBQ, which was almost as good as rides on a flying unicorn. Almost.

Since I started celebrating my birthday late, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday through Christmas this year, which is a month from today. EB says I’m doing it wrong because I’m only celebrating my birthday for a month, when I should really just be celebrating THE YEAR OF JOZ until this day next year. Maybe I’ll try that. And then when I get bored of that, I’ll start celebrating the THE DECADE OF JOZ after that. Not sure if that’s going overboard, but I should probably try it to find out. Regardless, of how long I’m celebrating, I’m pretty sure I will stay twenty-seex for a long, long time to come.

In other creepy news, Google knew it was my birthday today:

2013-11-25-GoogleBirthday

Actually, I don’t know why I’m the one over-celebrating my birthday, when it was my Mom that did all the work 26* years ago. Thanks, Mom!!!

*It’s called denial. But for the record, I am definitely not forty.

Thinking of Dad… 7 years after his passing…

I had intended to stop by and visit my Dad’s ashes this afternoon, but due to a series of wild goose chases, and the day generally getting away from me, that didn’t happen.

I can’t believe another year has gone by and with the success of V3con 2013 behind me, I’ve been hunkered down and laying low for the last few weeks. It was nice to venture out today, get some errands done and especially to have a tiny baby in my arms all afternoon.

This past year has been pretty mind-blowing from a family perspective… not for me personally, so much as for my brother, whose own family life went into fast-forward. If he’d made it to this year, my Dad would have become a proud new grandfather and seen the joy of our family expanding by one. In almost every way, the new baby really has been a bundle of joy, and it was the first time in years that I didn’t spend the bulk of late June being completely sad, because what’s there to be sad about when there’s a new baby to be happy about, right?

I think it’s only when it’s quiet and when I think about all the “unshared” precious moments that Dad isn’t here for (in person) that I get sad. But I’ve come to really believe that my Dad’s spirit has been watching over our family and that despite not being here physically, his spirit is always close. It’s both comforting and bittersweet.

Thanks to my sister-in-law for allowing me to spend the afternoon being Auntie Joz and not having to worry about much else today. Since I’d been sick/busy/tired/busy/etc for weeks on end, I really haven’t had time to spend with the baby, so today was really the first day that I could.

I waited for my brother to get home for work before leaving and he said he was surprised that I hadn’t updated my blog about my Dad, because he knows that I do this every year. Of course, I said I was planning to before the day is out. I couldn’t help but to see glimpses of my proud Dad in my brother as he held his first child– what I see in my own father’s face in snapshots of him holding me when I was a baby.

So even though I didn’t make it to visit my Dad’s ashes, I know my Dad would have preferred that I spend time with the people I love. If he was here, I know he would want to spend every opportunity with his grandchild and so I need to remember that babies grow so quickly and I need to appreciate every opportunity I have to be Auntie Joz, especially since Dad’s not able to feel the joy of holding the baby in his arms.

I still miss my Dad greatly, but I wasn’t that sad this year since I was able to him in see my brother and the baby today. (Thanks, guys.)

From last year (2012): http://www.jozjozjoz.com/2012/07/02/thinking-of-dad-6-years-after-his-passing/
From two years ago (2011):
http://www.jozjozjoz.com/2011/07/02/thinking-of-dad-5-years-after-his-passing/
From three years ago (2010):
www.jozjozjoz.com/2010/07/02/thinking-of-dad%E2%80%A6-4-y…
From four years ago (2009):
www.jozjozjoz.com/2009/07/02/thinking-of-dad-3-years-afte…

-Joz
~~~~~~~~~
Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?
www.jozjozjoz.com

Thinking of Dad… 6 years after his passing…

Last year, my cousin Superha surprised us by emailing a scan of an old snapshot of my Dad, her Dad and my Mom from the 1980s taken at their old home in El Monte. I cropped the photo so it would just be of my Dad, but in the original photo, all 3 of them are looking off-camera at… something… Since I couldn’t tell what they were looking at, I asked Superha if she had any idea when the photo was taken, and she said, "We used to have parties there all the time. This was that open porch area that my father created between the main house and the garage that he turned into their home office/master bedroom. We had backyard barbecues with my mom’s famous marinated chicken drumsticks. Good times. I know my parents really enjoyed the company of both your parents." Thanks to her for sending this picture and reminding me of the family parties and barbecues our families used to have together.

Speaking of those parties, I saw Superha’s parents over the weekend at my other Auntie & Uncle’s “4th of July on June 30th Party,” and they invited us over to their home on the 4th to celebrate.

Although my Mom, my brother & I are all here in the L.A. area, we are a bit off our normal schedule since my Mom had a spill the other night and is nursing a (hopefully not major) knee injury. Mom is not a good patient and she is extremely stubborn; refusing to use a wheelchair or a cane, despite the fact that her entire leg was swollen. Knowing that Mom is going to refuse to stay seated, I’m thinking that we’re going to take it easy and celebrate quietly.

One of the hardest parts of losing Dad is not having him around for the celebrations, big and small. I miss him daily.

From last year (2011):
http://www.jozjozjoz.com/2011/07/02/thinking-of-dad-5-years-after-his-passing/
From two years (2010):
www.jozjozjoz.com/2010/07/02/thinking-of-dad%E2%80%A6-4-y…
From three years ago (2009):
www.jozjozjoz.com/2009/07/02/thinking-of-dad-3-years-afte…

-Joz
~~~~~~~~~
Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?
www.jozjozjoz.com

Six years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

I still miss my Dad everyday.

Today Yoshi and I had to run some errands and get my car brakes taken care of. We went to visit with our friend Todd and grab dinner with him. Todd and I met online around six years ago and although we didn’t know each other well, his compassion during that time of my life helped our friendship grow. I’m grateful for all the good people I have in my life.

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Eight (is Great!)

Long time readers of this blog will remember the original version of “Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” post made in 2004. This story received an update in 2008, but it remains the unedited (save for some formatting corrections) for Year Eight (2011).

This has been such a crazy busy year, that I can’t remember what I did for a costume in 2010 (did I even get dressed up last year?!). This year, I recycled that ugly red dress I originally wore to the first Blogger Prom and added a few more red pieces to be Jozzy Red Riding Hood. (Or in Ernie’s words “Jozzy Joz Riding Joz.”) I wore this redtastic getup to work even though I had a in-person/video conference presentation at 9am.

At lunchtime, a group of us took a trip to the Disney Studio Lot to check out costumes and watch a bit of the Halloween Costume Contest (judged by Bob Iger, Anne Sweeney and other big time Disney execs.) Before getting to the fun and games, however, my passengers and I had a small adventure in the parking structure where we had to squeeze into a teeny tiny parking spot because other people don’t know how to park. The short version is that with the help of @unpoete, I was able to get my car into a parking spot where the car was literally TOUCHING a concrete post (but not scraping). Even more amazing, we were able to dislodge the car without any damage… it was magic via teamwork! (Unfortunately, this entire situation apparently caused a bit of stress during lunch for @microhan who, along with @unpoete and S, seemed way more concerned about my car than I was.)

What else? Since another Blogger Prom hasn’t happened yet, I’m still the reigning Blogger Prom Queen. On the homefront, we have decidedly less annoying neighbors– so less #neighborhooddrama or #neighborhooddorama to report. On the downside, we continue to live out of boxes and I still have no idea where the vast majority of my stuff is.

2011 has been NON-STOP for me… off the top of my head, major extracurricular activities I helped organize/produce included: Banana2 Conference, IWMF International Conference of Women Media Leaders in DC, Passport DC’s Around the World Embassy Tour, AAJA LA’s 30th Anniversary Trivia Bowl, IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards show in Beverly Hills… all this in addition to my responsibilities as Co-Editor of 8Asians, Secretary of the Boards of East West Players and the Asian American Journalists Association (Los Angeles Chapter)… and oh yeah, a day job that actually pays the bills.

Ack, I’m tired just thinking about it. Anyway, here’s my annual Halloween story posted in honor my Mom, who is in Taiwan (again) this fall. I hope you enjoy it (again or for the first time).

Happy Halloween.

Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.

Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with “dressing us up.” Although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.

One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.

And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.

“Mom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?”
Continue reading ‘“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Eight (is Great!)’

Five years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

Because I was running errands a few weeks ago near the resting place of my father’s ashes, I stopped by and visited. I thanked my Dad for everything that he sacrificed so that I could have the life that I do.

I still miss him everyday.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #4

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/29/10 6:18 PM
Alright. Hello. Bye, hey hello, hello hey Yeah, Yeah, hello hello.

Note: I don’t know what my Mom was doing when she called me, but at first it sounded like she was talking to someone else. But then she did say “Hello, Jocelyn. Hello?” Google Voice has not gotten my name right yet.
What GV got right: Hello; hello (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #3

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/18/10 6:57 PM
Hi thinking want to Advanta the Naperville that. Yeah on my dancing at staple, and I won’t be bugging out the out if you have a holler at you with that and Give me a call, okay bye bye and we will meet you know what way that with you. Bye bye, okay bye bye.

Note: Message left mostly in Chinese, some English words.
What GV got right: okay bye bye (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #2

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/19/10 12:04 PM
Destiny. I mean the me. I will go to. I’m back. If you, the it. And we’d been saying for you okay bye bye.

Note: My Mom actually left this entire message for me in English
What GV got right: If you; for you okay bye bye (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #1

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/30/10 8:44 AM
I was in my name is Anthony Now, what things can and coming out if you could please call. They had a so it’s a hump. This week or so if you Not Gonna on sell spent in so. It’s all about the Nokia nadski says if you could. All. So, listen to your home okay just now, ohh.

Note: Message mostly in Chinese
What GV got right: ohh (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Seven–even though I somehow missed Year Six

Another Halloween and in going back to copy and paste my annual Halloween post, I just realized that I somehow missed posting this last year. So it has been two years since I last posted this slightly updated version of the original “Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” post made in 2004.

I think I might have forgotten to post this last year, because I actually planned to go to my friend Dave’s Halloween Bash and was worried about putting a costume together: Miss Scarlet from Clue. But in reality, the costume wasn’t that difficult to put together because, I was just trying to find another reason to wear that ugly red dress I wore to the first Blogger Prom and all I had to do was to convince Yoshi to let me buy (and carry around) a red pipe wrench all night.

This year finds me crowned as the reigning Blogger Prom Queen (Hey! Can I just wear my tiara and call that a costume?!) and living next door to annoying neighbors– #neighborhooddrama or #neighborhooddorama! I’m a little scared to be at home for Halloween because I really don’t know what this neighborhood has in store for us tonight. I may wake up and find the front of my house egged or TP’d. If only being Blogger Prom Queen meant that I could live in the Official Blogger Prom Castle, but alas, the Blogger Prom Kingdom was rocked with subprime mortgages last year before I took the throne. Last I heard, the Castle is in the midst of being foreclosed upon. Bummer.

Actually, I was supposed to meet up with EB in Vegas for Halloween, but I canceled the trip, seeing as I’ve been traveling almost every weekend since Labor Day. I also got sick last night, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t fly to Vegas on Friday night as planned. But since I had not planned on going to any parties in L.A., it means I’ll probably be sitting inside the house, hiding in the dark from the trick-or-treaters since I didn’t even bother to buy candy this year…

Nonetheless, I am taking a couple of moments to post my annual Halloween story in honor my Mom, who is in Taiwan (again) this fall.

Happy Halloween.

Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.

Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with “dressing us up.” Although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.

One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.

And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.

“Mom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?”
Continue reading ‘“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Seven–even though I somehow missed Year Six’

Belated but not forgotten Ba-Ba Day (2010)

Originally written 8/8/07 and accidentally posted to 8Asians:

8/8 (Eight-Eight in Mandarin is pronounced “ba-ba.” Father in Mandarin is also pronounced “ba-ba”) is Father’s Day in Taiwan. Even though we refer to him as “Dad” in English, 95% of the time, we called him “Ba-Ba.” Usually, my Dad would be in Taiwan at this time of year, so I would have to remember to call him on 8/7 so I could wish him a happy Ba-Ba Day on the right day.

Happy Ba-Ba Day, Dad.

We miss you.

Dad & Joz - 10-04-2007

I originally couldn’t remember where this picture was taken. I knew that it was taken on October 7, 2004, and thanks to my blog, I was able to go back figure out the context of this photo. I think this was taken in Rowland Heights, just before my Dad was going to get on to a shuttle bus that would have taken him to LAX to board a flight back to Taiwan.

Thinking of Dad… 4 years after his passing…

Sometimes I get really sad when I look at old pictures of my Dad because I
love him and still miss him so much. I scanned this photo years ago and
have no idea when it was taken or what the occasion was. Store-bought cake
probably meant that it was someone’s birthday and my Dad is cutting an
Italian Rum cake with Baby Joz on his lap.

I love how young and happy my Dad looks in this picture. At this time in
his life, he would have been done with graduate school a few years prior,
moved from New York to Los Angeles after school, started working for a large
architectural firm, gotten married to my Mom, and had become a new Dad to
boot. The world and was still opening up to him– and I believe my
Grandparents (his parents) had also immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan,
bringing the people he most loved together in the United States– a land of
freedom, independence, and opportunity. I imagine that all areas of his
life were coming together at this time and I hope he got to enjoy it a bit,
seeing as he was the type of person who never took the time to "enjoy
himself."

I’m realizing that he was probably about my age (or maybe even younger than
I am now) when this picture was taken. We still have that table somewhere
in storage, I think. Some of that stemware is still around, too.

Oh and see how fascinated with the cake I am in the photo? I guess some
things never change.

From last year (2009): Thinking of Dad… 3 years after his passing…

~~~~~~~~~
Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?
www.jozjozjoz.com

Four years passes quickly…

I miss my Daddy an extra lot today.

See: How do you start a post like this?

Happy birthday, Daddy. (Today you would have been 65…)

Dear Dad,

Today would have been your 65th birthday, which you I know you had been looking forward to because it was when you were planning on retiring– or at least thinking about it, anyway. I think if you were here today, I would have called you to wish you a happy birthday and then planned on celebrating you and Bro’s birthdays over the weekend. You would have asked why I’m not married yet and hinted for grandchildren. I would have avoided your line of questioning, gotten annoyed at you for being so nosy about my life, and changed the subject. And then we would have had a large family meal together over the weekend and had one of our wonderfully animated “family debates” about Taiwan, politics, and things going on in the news before having cake and taking pictures. Maybe you would tell us silly jokes and funny stories. Maybe we’d even go into the garage and go through old photo albums while you told us stories about our family history and I would get mad at you for telling me the stories instead of writing them down. I miss you very much and sometimes I dream about you still being with us to do all these things together.

I didn’t always understand this when I was younger, but now that you’ve been gone for almost 4 years, I realize and appreciate that you sacrificed your entire adult life for the well-being of the people you loved. Through your example, we learned how important it was to respect and care for our parents as they got older. You weren’t just the picture of a perfect son to Grandpa & Grandma; you truly embodied the spirit of 孝 (filial piety) in every decision you made.

When I was younger and more arrogant, I thought I knew better than you did — I didn’t always understand your “old-fashioned” and “Taiwanese” points of views. I got angry at some of your decisions. I was stubborn and sometimes disrespectful. But through it all, I felt very much a sense of 孝 toward you and Mom and it only deepened when you left this world. I hope you realize that this was one of your enduring legacies.

No matter what, you always respected my thoughts and opinions, letting me express myself even if we actually disagreed, even if I had been rude, and even if I was arguing with you just to argue. I like to think that I grew out of this ugly stage of my life after I was done being a teenager, but that didn’t really happen until I was done with college. I guess it took a while for me to mellow out, to learn to be more compassionate, and to stop lashing out at you for things you couldn’t control. But I’m glad it did happen in time for us to have several years together where I didn’t constantly feel at odds with you.

I can’t say I regret my behavior because clashing with you made me a stronger person. You were so stubborn in your thoughts that you made me fight to try to even sway you a little bit. You made me realize that even if we disagreed with each other, we could both still stand strong and both be a little right or a little wrong. You rarely raised your voice at me and amazed me with the calmness in which you approached everything. Rarely shaken, it made me angry that when I screamed at you, you’d just look at me sternly and respond to me as if I hadn’t been behaving like a madwoman. I’m glad it didn’t happen that often, but thank you for letting me scream at you, even though it wasn’t very 孝順 of me.

I’m talking a lot about our disagreements because those are the vivid memories, but really, we didn’t disagree so much as we liked to talk about the world and debate about everything. I know that I became more opinionated because you challenged me to think and analyze things thoroughly. Sometimes I would take a position just to be on the opposite side as you– but I had to learn how to defend it! I couldn’t come to the dinner table and be unaware of the world’s events. I constantly had to enrich myself with books, magazines, newspapers, and later, the Internet so that I could be ready for you. I learned to love learning because of you. I still win at “homework” and research because it wasn’t good enough to know things on a surface level– I had to know things through and through or you’d pick my arguments apart in an instant.

If there is something that I learned from the way we lost you, it is that life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will. But the other thing that I learned after you passed away is what a truly honest and respectable man you were in the way you lived your everyday life. In taking over your responsibilities, Bro and I learned how much we took you for granted and how much you did for our futures. You never took any time to enjoy yourself because you gave everything you had to the rest of us– that is why it hurts so much to realize that you never made it to retirement age– the age that you were planning to start “enjoying life more.”

I always thought that Mom was the one who sacrificed herself and her dreams for other people, but I didn’t realize until you were gone that you had done so as well. I wonder how much more you might have achieved if you had stayed in Taiwan instead of coming here and starting up everything from scratch? I cannot imagine picking up my entire life to move to another country and having to learn a new language, new laws, and new culture as you did. I know now that you struggled to raise a family in America so that we could have freedom, democracy, and opportunities you never had. I know that I was always grateful, but it wasn’t until the past 4 years that I began to understand the depths of your sacrifices for us. I probably didn’t say it enough when you were around, but thank you, Daddy.

Today is your birthday, Dad. And I wish you were still here to enjoy your 65th birthday, as you deserved to.

I love you and miss you everyday.

Dad & Joz

The above photo was taken on April 2, 2006, on my Dad’s 61st birthday.

The obligatory blog post about the crazy woman I called the cops on.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a bunch of rapid tweets around noon on Friday about my run-in with a crazy old woman which resulted in me calling the cops.

The story really began around 11am, as I was walking my Mom out to her car, which was parked in a guest parking space behind the building. My Mom and I were discussing our weekend plans and decided to walk to the front of the building to take a look at one of our fruit trees which is starting to bloom. (Yay, Spring!) We were taking pictures of the flowering tree while chatting.

As we were standing in front of the building, we saw an old Asian woman pushing a shopping cart full of plastic bottles down the sidewalk. She was clearly looking for stuff to recycle. Fridays are garbage days in the neighborhood, so our trash and recycle bins were lined up on the street in the front of the building, just like everyone else’s. But she didn’t look in anyone’s garbage bins on our block and instead pushed her cart directly to our property and up our driveway.

My Mom saw this and looked at me with the “Who is this?” expression and I shrugged. Mom started following the old woman up our driveway calling out “Where are you going?” in Mandarin. (Note: Chinese will be in italics)

The woman either didn’t hear, didn’t understand, or chose to ignore my Mom because she kept pushing her cart up the driveway toward the area where we usually keep the trash bins.

My Mom chased after and got a little closer and a little louder. I followed her but kept my mouth shut. This time the woman definitely heard Mom and turned around, waving her arms, babbling unintelligibly and pointing toward some (empty) trash bins in back. I didn’t understand what she was saying– it sounded like Chinese but I figured her accent was hard for me to decipher. But from the body language and the context of the whole scenario, we both knew what was she was trying to tell us– she wanted to go through the trash.

My Mom said, “The trash is all outside in front; those bins are empty. There is nothing there.”

The woman seemed to understand for a moment, but then decided to keep going.

Mom repeated very nicely, “There is nothing there. You can go somewhere else now.” But then the woman started waving her arms at us like “Go away” or “Leave me alone” while babbling at us unintelligibly. Then my Mom said, “I don’t understand you!” and turned to me to say that the woman was from China and she wasn’t speaking any of the dialects my Mom knew.

The woman took this opportunity to begin emptying her cart of plastic bottles, bags and other miscellaneous items on to the driveway, so my Mom started to get upset. Even if the woman was going to try to take trash out of our bins, there was no reason for her to throw her stuff all over the place and make a mess in the middle of our driveway.

That’s when things began to escalate. Mom starts repeating herself “Move your stuff, I am trying to leave and I need to drive here,” while gesturing to her car and pointing down the driveway.

I understood enough of what was coming out of her mouth that she was saying “don’t bother me” or “don’t tell me what to do.” The old woman was still babbling loudly but now clearly, “I am not in the way! Drive around!” and stopped making a mess long enough to shake her head and gesture “Go around.”

My Mom kept saying “I can’t drive around. There is only one driveway, please pick up your things and move your cart.” My Mom was starting to raise her voice, but she was still being overly polite and trying to reason with a crazy woman.

But the woman started getting louder and meaner at my Mom, acting like she could tell us what to do on our own property. She was trying to shoo US away! She kept pointing at my Mom’s car and and gesturing like Mom should somehow be able to shrink the car to fit down the driveway even though a crazy woman, her shopping cart, and a bunch of garbage was all in the way.

My Mom was going to be late to her appointment to meet her sister, so I told her to get in the car and I tried my luck with the old woman. As my Mom was getting in the car, I just nicely (but firmly) repeated everything Mom had already said. If the woman wasn’t going to pay attention to my Mom, she certainly wasn’t going to listen to me.

She ignored what I was saying and headed toward our neighbor’s garbage area and picked up some glass beer bottles that were sitting in a small box. She set down the glass bottles in the driveway to get in my face and scream at me in Chinese. She seemed really mad that I was in her business. She had her recycling now, but I couldn’t figure out why she had to make a mess everywhere.

I was getting really pissed because my Mom had backed out of the parking spot and waiting for the driveway to clear and I was getting screamed at by a mean old Chinese woman who was trespassing on my property and making a fucking mess with her garbage all over my driveway.

The whole time this was going on the woman was yelling and screaming and not listening even though she could understand us, so I just started screaming back at her in Chinese. “GO AWAY! MOVE YOUR STUFF! LEAVE NOW! DON’T COME BACK!” I pointed down the driveway.

Well the woman understood enough to start screaming back at me very clearly, “YOU LEAVE! I AM NOT LEAVING!” and she started pointing at me and pointing down the driveway.

I screamed at her, “I LIVE HERE! YOU DO NOT! GO AWAY! I WILL CALL THE POLICE IF YOU DON’T LEAVE RIGHT NOW!”

She kept screaming “YOU LEAVE! YOU LEAVE! YOU LEAVE!” and she kept pointing at me to go down the driveway.

My Mom was in the car and started honking her horn. She rolled down the window and screamed, “GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

I stood my ground and put my hands on my hips. “I AM TELLING YOU ONCE MORE! LEAVE!” The woman took a step toward me and put her hands on HER hips, mocking me and giving me a defiant look. “I AM NOT LEAVING! YOU LEAVE!” she screamed at me. My Mom kept honking her horn and screaming from the car, “GET YOUR STUFF OUT OF THE WAY! GET OUT OF HERE!”

Behind her, I saw a (non-Asian) neighbor walking on his driveway two doors down. He was watching us as he was walking to his front door, shaking his head, but staring intently at the commotion.

My Mom kept honking her horn. And I screamed again, “LEAVE RIGHT NOW OR I WILL CALL THE POLICE!”

She looked at me and scoffed as if to say that she didn’t believe I would and she started heading back toward her shopping cart. She reached in and pulled out the broomstick she uses to poke around in the trash and she held it high above her head and screamed, “I WILL HIT YOU!”

I screamed back at her “GO AHEAD AND HIT ME!”

My Mom saw the woman wielding the broomstick and started honking some more. If don’t know how it’s possible, but I think she got that car horn to honk even louder.

“I WILL HIT YOU! AND I WILL NOT LEAVE!” screamed the woman as she started to swing the broomstick at me. I stood my ground.

Mom’s hands were down on the horn.

“GO AHEAD!” I yelled. “HIT ME SO THE COPS WILL THROW YOU IN JAIL FOR THAT WHEN THEY GET HERE. YOU BETTER LEAVE NOW BECAUSE I AM CALLING!”

I picked up my cell phone and started dialing. She realized that I was serious because she stopped swinging the broomstick and put it back into her cart.

I called GOOG-411 because I wanted her to hear exactly who I was getting connected to. I got through to the police department and asked the dispatcher to send a car to my property because a trespasser was on site, threatening to hit me with a broomstick, and refusing to leave.

The woman was screaming insults at me in Chinese but realized I wasn’t bluffing and was really calling the cops. Mom had stopped honking when the broomstick came down and she saw me dialing my phone. I stopped giving my report to the police long enough to scream at her, “I AM ON THE PHONE WITH THE POLICE. YOU WANT TO BE HERE WHEN THEY GET HERE? TAKE YOUR THINGS AND LEAVE!” The woman started grabbing her garbage and throwing it back in her cart, all the while screaming at me in Chinese. She kept screaming at me and waved a glass bottle in my direction. I gave her a look and she dropped it while trying to throw it and it shattered all over my driveway. Her aim with the glass bottles was worse than that with her broomstick.

“PICK IT UP! DON’T LEAVE YOUR TRASH HERE!” I yelled between the English answers I was giving to the dispatcher on the phone.

I hung up with the dispatcher after a quick report and saw that she was trying to pick up the pieces of broken glass from the driveway and had cut her right thumb deeply on the glass. She was bleeding everywhere and waving her thumb at me as if I was supposed to feel sympathy for her.

“I DON’T CARE! GET YOUR STUFF OUT OF THE WAY! GO NOW! THE COPS ARE COMING! LEAVE NOW! DON’T COME BACK!”

Most of the stuff was in the cart now and the last big pieces of glass had been picked up. My Mom inched down the driveway in her car, herding us out toward the street.

The woman was trying to hold her bleeding thumb and push the cart out at the same time. She continued screaming at me and only stopped when she put her thumb in her mouth to suck away the blood.

“GO AWAY AND DO NOT COME BACK HERE!” I screamed at her. She kept pushing her cart down the driveway with Mom following in the car behind us. I kept screaming, “DO NOT COME BACK HERE! I WILL CALL THE COPS IF I EVER SEE YOU ON MY PROPERTY AGAIN! DO NOT TOUCH MY TRASH AGAIN! DO NOT COME HERE!”

We got to the end of the driveway and she stopped the cart to show me her thumb, which was now bright purple from the blood oozing out from the cut.

What did she expect? For me to offer her a Band-Aid?! “YOU ARE STILL IN THE WAY!” No sympathy from me. “GET OUT OF HERE! DO NOT COME HERE AGAIN!”

She finally started pushing her cart away from our driveway. She was still screaming at me, but her voice was drifting further and further away as she walked away with her cart, broomstick, plastic bottles, and shattered glass bottles. Mom pulled up and blocked her from getting back in the driveway just in case she was dumb or crazy enough to turn around.

My Mom rolled down the passenger side window. “Are you okay? She scared me when I thought she was going to hit you.” I told her I was fine and I could see a patrolcar coming down the street.

A young lady had been walking down the block and was watching the tail-end of the scene in horror. She kept walking after the crazy woman left.

The cop pulled up and rolled down his window and wanted to know where the woman was. I saw the unattended shopping cart 3 buildings down. I couldn’t see her. I guess she tried to get a bandage for her thumb. The policeman asked if I was ok and I said I was fine but that the woman wouldn’t leave until I called the cops– I was sorry to bother them about a call like this. He said that he was going to ticket her based on what I told him.

From the other direction, a second patrolcar swung by. The old woman was now back at her cart, looking in my direction. She saw the two policecars in the street and me leaning into the window of one of them. She stood there and stared at us in disbelief and panic.

My guess is that this woman goes around and takes trash out people’s bins all the time and no one ever bothers her about it. Frankly, if she had been digging through the bins in the front of the building, I would have been annoyed, but I wouldn’t have stopped her from doing it. Even though I’m sure it never happens, people can still get ticketed for going through the trash. But it’s certainly not the sort of thing I would have called the cops about. Then again, digging through the trash bins on the street is not the same as trespassing or threatening to hit someone with a broomstick. Once she was on my property, making a mess and getting belligerent with my Mom, what was I supposed to do?

Both cops pulled over with flashing lights and tried to talk to the old woman. For as little Mandarin the woman knew, I’m guessing she knew even less English. She kept waving her arms around and screaming at them. I really felt bad for the cops at that moment. Cops have to deal with the craziest things and people. My Mom left when she saw that the police were there and that everything was calming down. The neighbor who saw everything happen was now pulling out of his driveway and saw the cops on the street next door to his place. He looked over at me and waved. I ran over to his car and apologized for the ruckus and all the screaming and he said, “My mother was watching from inside and she couldn’t believe that woman tried to hit you with that big stick!” I told him I was sorry to make a commotion back there and he said, “No, it’s ok. I saw what was going on and you had no choice.” He left and I walked back in front of my building and called Yoshi. No answer.

The young woman who had walked by earlier was now coming back. I think she lives on the other end of the block. She saw the police and flashing lights and ran up to me and asked, “WHAT HAPPEN?” I started explaining in Chinese and she said, “I Vietnamese. Not Chinese. Only a little bit English.”

So tried to slow down and said the woman was throwing trash and said she was going to hit me. Her eyes widened. “Did she hit???” I said, “No, but she tried.” The woman shook her head in disbelief. I apologized to her for scaring her.

After 20 minutes, one of the cops walked up to me and asked “What do you want us to do? We can take her to jail. Is that what you want?”

For a split second, I was very tempted to say “yes.” I was still angry and the adrenaline was still flowing. But I said, “No, I just don’t want her on my property.”

He asked, “Did you tell her that?”

I said, “Yes, and then I screamed it at her when she wouldn’t leave.”

He asked me why she was bleeding and I said, “She cut her hand on broken glass after she tried to throw a beer bottle at me.”

And he said, “Ok. Well, if she comes again, we will take her to jail.”

I thanked him for his help and said that I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. I went back inside after that.

The best part of the story actually happened near the end when the old woman was already starting to leave and my Mom was inching down the driveway behind us when Mom started screaming from her car “TAKE HER PICTURE! POST IT ONLINE!” I had forgotten that my camera had been hanging from my wrist the whole time. Now that Mom understands the power of a good photo + internet (thank you, Racist Camera— the picture that keeps on giving), she wanted to publicly shame the woman, too! My Mom rules.

As great of an idea as that was, I didn’t feel like getting the woman angrier at me by trying to stick a camera in her face. I imagine she probably would have tried whack my camera with that damn broomstick if she’d seen me taking her photo. Later on, I did end up taking a few pictures (from far away) when the cops were talking to the old woman, but rather than posting those photos, I think I’ll harness the power of the intarwebs for good– instead of for public shaming.

This time, anyway.

My WordPress blog got hacked, but it’s fixed now… thanks to my cousin B!

Also, thanks to Eric Nakagawa who was my shoulder to freak out on.

Basically what happened was that I noticed that a string was appended to the URLs of my individual posts on WordPress:

eval(base64_decode($_SERVER[HTTP_REFERER]))

BAH! It breaks the links!

Anyway, it was my own bad for not being totally up to date with the latest version of WordPress. Eric listened as I freaked out about manually backing up my blog and updating to version 2.84 (since the auto-update wasn’t working for me).

Then my cousin B went into my database and cleaned out the yuck code, per the instructions I found at 4rev.net.

And then, hocus pocus, my blog was all good again! Thanks for the help, guys!




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