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September 2017

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Apr. 1st, 2017 10:38 pm

on labor

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I don't know about you guys, but I'm so tired of various blogs recommending the same NPR-inflected podcasts over and over again. So I've been kind of looking around for podcasts that are more interesting, and especially from women and people of color. Anyway, here are some new ones that I'm thinking of adding to my playlist:
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I finally went into The Last Bookstore downtown. It was as great and as hipster-ish as I imagined it. There's an art collective or something upstairs, and a really great children's section in the back. Because my kid is about to enter that age of chapter books, I thought I would, ahem, rebuild my childhood library for her. Except this time I get to keep all the books. So I got: Hatchet, Heidi, and Child of the Owl. I just finished re-reading it.

I vaguely remembered Lawrence Yep's name on a bunch of young adult books I read for school. But I remembered Child of the Owl because it is such a specific vision of San Francisco Chinatown in the early seventies - "this new band called The Beatles", and the way Yep describes it is such an apt description of the way it was when I was a kid that I could picture everything vividly - from Portsmouth Square to the way the protagonist's grandmother sews piecework for extra money.

And I loved the relationships in this story, and the way the history is woven in. Casey's the daughter of a shiftless gambling addict, who has to move in with her grandma in Chinatown after her dad gets robbed and beaten up. It's also a kind of coming-of-age story, and how Casey finds herself and her identity through her grandmother's stories.

Anyway, this book is part of a series and now I have to get the rest of the series. I think it's supposed to span seven generations of a Chinese family and their fates in America. So it's a lot.
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  • Godless parents are doing a better job. Man I hope so.
  • America's empty church problem. And even within the white working class, those who don’t regularly attend church are more likely to suffer from divorce, addiction, and financial distress. As Wilcox explains, “Many conservative, Protestant white men who are only nominally attached to a church struggle in today’s world. They have traditional aspirations but often have difficulty holding down a job, getting and staying married, and otherwise forging real and abiding ties in their community. The culture and economy have shifted in ways that have marooned them with traditional aspirations unrealized in their real-world lives.” (Thought I had while reading this: traditionally, women are the ones who do the work of keeping the family together and forging community ties like church and school. If men are unable to stay married, or have never learned how to get along with others in healthy ways, of course those ties are going to come loose. I also detect a huge flavor of entitlement - entitlement to the promise of the "American dream" whereas for immigrants and their children, that dream is mostly aspirational and not guaranteed.)
  • You're still fucked under the GOP health plan even if you have insurance through your work.
  • Thinx promised a feminist utopia to everyone but its employees. The company’s parental leave policies were also galling, say sources, in light of Thinx’s proudly feminist stance: two weeks leave at full pay plus one week at half pay for the birthing parent, and one week leave at full pay plus one week at half pay for the non-birthing parent. (Side note: loving all the female-oriented spaces doing such awesome journalism lately. Also, this is why people should unionize.)
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Don't Breathe

I don't normally watch scary movies, and I was only able to watch this one while also surfing the Internet. This movie is pretty sparse, and tight. It's about three young burglars in Detroit with not much of a future for them deciding to rob an Iraq war veteran who lives alone in an abandoned neighborhood and get more than they bargained for. I kind of question them casting three white kids in a movie set in in poverty-stricken Detroit, but whatever. Anyway, the main actress is pretty phenomenal. There's not much dialog, but what little she does say has a sort of weight to it. I wish horror/thriller movies would try to figure out a way to not make their characters do stupid things, like JUST FUCKING LEAVE AND DON'T LOOK BACK or MAKE SURE THE GUY IS DEAD before you leave, but otherwise it was pretty good.

Hidden Figures

I LOVE THIS MOVIE. EVERYBODY GO SEE THIS MOVIE. I totally bought the book after watching this with my husband. I love it for so many reasons: three smart black women, just doing what they do, "there's more than one way to fight", the camaraderie, the eloquent way they portrayed both macro and micro aggressions, their relationships with the men in their lives - not letting them get away with sexism and also, the men just do the chores WITH the women, and also, Octavia Spencer's character not letting Kirsten Dunst's character off the hook in the end. Seriously, this movie is good in so many ways. 

The only thing I wasn't too crazy about was Kevin Costner's character. 
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It was pretty fucking awesome. That is all.
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I keep meaning to write a public intro post, and then I forget or get distracted by one of my kids. Anyway, I jumped off Livejournal after being there for over a decade, and am only now deciding to post more publicly. I'm not a consistent poster these days, but I lurk a lot and occasionally I'll post about something, especially if it pisses me off. Stuff about my kids/family will be locked. 

Anyway, here's the basics: I'm an LA Chinese American mom of two still figuring out what I really want to do with my life. My hometown is Oakland, though, so I occasionally write about that and how weird it is to go back there these days. 

What I've been reading/watching lately: Narcos with my husband, Hidden Figures (loved the movie, currently reading the book), and Brooklyn 99, mainlining the Happier podcast (before that it was Savage Love but I can't deal with the political commentary right now).

Add me, don't add me; it's all good. 
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My standard disclaimers:

1. I like Roy Choi.
2. I've made some of his food from his cookbook.
3. I like but do not love his Kogi tacos. Would not stand in a line for an hour for them. Love some of the concepts of his other restaurants. Would try them all if practical.
4. I admire his goals.
5. I've never eaten at either Locol location.

Pete Wells apparently wrote a pretty inflammatory no-star NYTimes review of the Locol location in Oakland. Jonathan Gold called him, maybe not wrong, but "ungenerous". Roy Choi wrote something, honestly, that is kind of incomprehensible to me.

That being said, this location is on Broadway, downtown? Ain't nothing going to survive in Oakland if it don't deliver on flavor. This location is not in a food desert - on Google Maps it looks like Pandora's headquarters are right around the corner. And it doesn't matter how good your intentions are, if you can't compete with the taquerias or the Vietnamese delis with $2.00 sandwiches (it might be $3 now; it's been a while) a few miles away, what are you even doing?

Funny, I remember going home over my break in November, and taking a walk around my neighborhood, being alternately nostalgic and horrified/fascinated by the changes that gentrification brought to it. We walked into a store whose aesthetic screamed Silver Lake hipster, and I point-blank asked my sister who in our neighborhood could actually afford anything there. She shrugged. We passed by an artisanal popcorn shop, a "new American" themed restaurant with a pricey looking menu and communal benches, and another breakfast place. She claimed that people drove over an hour just to come to that restaurant. I wondered if they do, do they just come in, eat, and go, or do they stick around to explore?

Ironically, that day was Sunday and apparently all the restaurants were closed. We ended up eating at the KFC I'd grown up eating at, that our friends had gotten their first legal jobs at. Saw the bulletproof glass and I was like, yup, here we are.

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I didn't think much of it when I first saw their take on the Chinese/Taiwan/US relations call, other than, "dream on", in expecting US citizens to actively care about Taiwanese interests. But then the next video was about how the Snopes co-founder was accused of consorting with prostitutes and embezzling money, which is a story I only found plastered on right-wing sites. Yesterday's video was about how the Russians have developed some sort of nuclear-powered ice-breaking machine that would make a path in the Arctic.

A few weeks ago, a Taiwanese principal had to resign for allowing their students to hold a literal Nazi rally.

Haven't looked into it fully, but these things altogether just make me go hmmm...
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I'm really excited about the release of Mark Twain's autobiography. Apparently the entire thing's never been released before. And here's a link to audio versions of "Chapters from my Autobiography", which are parts that Twain published before his death. Includes mp3 and ogg formats.

Other book-ish news:

There will be a new "Autobiography of Malcolm X", that will include the "lost chapters" that deepen our understanding of Malcolm X. According to the article, they were not originally published because "they showed a broader view of humanity and freedom that was out of sync with the separatist tone of the rest of the work". Via 50books_poc.

storySouth is on online literary magazine dedicated to showing off the best writing from the "new South", especially new writers. They're opened votes to the public for the MillionWriters award for the top 10 stories of 2009, all of which can be read online. Via Alas, a Blog.

I'm loving the T-shirts at Out-of-Print Clothing. They're T-shirts of classic book covers. Though I'm not sure why there are fewer women's shirts. It doesn't seem like it's that hard to make a transfer to a women's shirt, does it? And what? Is no guy going to wear a shirt for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings? Via Ethical Style. If that's the case, I want more Jane Austen and Jane Eyre shirts.

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I finally decided to cancel Pennysavers, and found the number here. However, the information posted is outdated. The phone tree system will direct you to go online or mail in your last Pennysaver circular to them to provide proof that you live there.

These are your options for canceling Pennysavers ads:

Go here and fill out the information to have your address removed from their database. You must affirm that you are the head of the household and at least 18 years of age. It takes at least 4-6 weeks to cancel and the suppression from their mailing list is only valid for 1 year due to high household mobility rate of people changing residences in California and Florida. So you'll probably have to do it again next year.

Does anyone even want Pennysavers, or use it? It just goes straight in the trash for us.
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Try the Foreign Service Institute's Language Courses

They have CANTONESE mp3s! Bookmarking for sure.

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I long ago gave up any pretense to privacy on the Internet. Even the "friendslock" feature on Livejournal - that I kind of consider a placebo like Airborne. It makes me feel better, but I know that given the right tools, anyone could hack it and get access to my entries.

Besides all the first issues that broke out - making all your email contacts "your friends" (obviously they didn't get anyone outside Google to test this), the ability to integrate with Twitter but not Facebook, it's almost impossible to turn off, unless you know what you're doing.

So if you're at all concerned about your own privacy for whatever reason, I wouldn't use it.

The user experience itself is kind of weird. Stuff from Google Reader is shared on Buzz, and then if people comment on any post you make, you're notified via email. Except Buzz is already in your email so all you'd have to do is click on the Buzz link to see your new updates. And then you're also notified in Google Reader of things that are shared from other people's Google Readers, which amounts to a total duplication of entries across a couple of spaces. Needless to say, it's pretty irritating. I'm sure you can turn it off, but how to turn it off is not obvious. Added to that is the fact that the people in your Buzz feed and your Reader feed are not necessarily all the same, nor are they your same Twitter followers. It's mind-numbing.

Also, I would not use Google Latitude unless you have a really good reason. If you do use it, make sure you turn it off when you're done. And make sure that it's only available to people you trust 100%. The only reason I use it is so Mark can see if I'm stuck in traffic or not.
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