Friday, February 29, 2008

You know it's true...

It's the end of winter, meteorologically speaking

Today is the last day of our meteorological winter! Temperatures supposedly start rising from here on out. Minnesota Public Radio's meteorologist Mark Seely proclaimed, today, that the upcoming month of March will include our first day over 50 degrees. 50 DEGREES?!?! Break out the tank tops and huraches! Being a native Minnesotan, I love the hearty folks of this frozen state. Having been away in Southern California for years, I am becoming reacquainted with Minnesota-isms, especially those coping with cold temperatures. Let's say it's 25 degrees below zero. Your car won't start, and you can't feel your fingers or toes. Here is how Minnesotans rationalize the situation:

- "Well, at least it's not snowing."

- "Well, at least it's not icy."

- "Well, at least it's not windy."

- "Well, at least the sun is shining."

- "Well, at least I can afford a house here and the people aren't dumb as dirt." (Oh wait, I think I'm the only one that says this.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Getting old basically blows

My mom recently fell outside and broke her leg. This is the second major fall she's had in the past 6 years. The other time she tripped on the sidewalk and broke her knee. Luckily that time she had her cell phone and was able to call my dad to pick her up and bring her to the ER. This time my mom's bone broke through her skin and she was left to yell for help in the subzero temperatures until I arrived on my lunch break (no pun intended). Today I visited my parents' house and witnessed my dad, who is 67 but appears to be 90, wearily wheel my mom into the kitchen in her wheelchair. It was a pretty sad scene. He and I loaded some laundry and put fresh sheets on their bed while my mom shouted instructions from the next room. When it was time to leave I caught a glimpse of my mom in her wheelchair sitting quietly in the empty kitchen. Getting older certainly sucks.

Ajumma's hubby used to be the strongest, fastest runner in his Army squadron. Lately he's been plagued by a ripped muscle in his leg and today it snapped. I can smell the Flexall from where I'm sitting. It totally reminds me of my Grandpa Mike who always had sore muscles.

Everyone around me is having babies. Some friends and family are on to number 2. Should we have kids now before we get too old and decrepit? I personally enjoy not cooking when feel like it, being able to eat a meal in a restaurant without holding on to a flailing child, and walking unemcumbered onto airline flights. But perhaps I'll live to regret not having kids like I regret not pursuing an art major in college. Afterall, who will come over to change my bedsheets when I get old?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Skate culture gone modern

DC Shoes opened a flagship store at 825 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles three months ago. In addition to DC apparel and shoes, this new store houses a private showroom for media and sales purposes. This means it's not your ordinary skate shop. After seeing the inside, I can say I'm impressed with its clean lines and classic mid-century modern look. Either DC employs someone with extremely good taste or the company visited Design Within Reach one afternoon and picked out all their furniture! Here's what I see in the photo, above:

- Two Eames recliners $2899 each
- One Noguchi table $1299
- One Goetz sofa in leather $5299

Friday, February 22, 2008

Korean American Artist Gunned Down in O.C.

Originally published by The Los Angeles Times, by H.G. Reza, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer February 11, 2008

On New Year's Eve, La Habra police shot and killed Michael Cho in a strip mall parking lot when he allegedly threatened officers with a tire iron. The killing of the UCLA graduate and artist has set off criticism of police not heard in Southern California's Korean American community since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when shop owners complained that officers never showed up to stop looters, and they picked up guns to defend their stores. This time, community leaders say La Habra police were too quick on the trigger when responding to a vandalism call.

Charles Kim, a La Habra resident and past national president of the Korean American Coalition, said that "the community's mind is pretty much set that the police overreacted." The Justice for Michael Cho committee has organized vigils at the shooting site and in front of the La Habra police station and will take a delegation to the next City Council meeting Feb. 19. Sensing the concern, police Chief Dennis Kies asked the Orange County Human Relations Commission to arrange a meeting with community leaders in Garden Grove on Jan. 4. Executive Director Rusty Kennedy said the meeting, attended by about 30 people, was "contentious but orderly." "There was some anger. People posed challenging questions and wanted to know why police didn't use nonlethal force," Kennedy said. "They wanted to know why the young man was shot so many times, and how would Kies feel if it had been his son." The Orange County district attorney's office is investigating the shooting, but few community leaders expect the two officers involved to be punished for the 25-year-old artist's death. Authorities refused to identify the officers. Cho's family has hired attorney Mark Geragos' firm to represent them in a possible lawsuit against police.

Information released by police after the Dec. 31 shooting said officers responded about 1 p.m. to a call about an Asian man vandalizing cars in the 900 block of North Walnut Avenue. They were unable to find the vandal. An hour later, another call said he was at Walnut Street and Whittier Avenue, carrying a tire iron. The caller identified a man who turned out to be Cho, who was standing outside a liquor store. A store surveillance tape first obtained by the Korea Times and posted on the internet shows Cho walking toward two officers, who have guns drawn, a sequence that lasts about 25 seconds. Cho brings his right hand to his mouth and appears to hold something in his left hand, which hangs by his side. With both officers still pointing their guns at him, he makes a right turn and walks out of camera range.Police said in a news release that Cho was "agitated" and ignored orders to drop the tire iron. Instead, police say, Cho walked toward one of the officers and "raised the tire iron above his head" as if to strike. Both officers fired numerous shots, striking Cho 10 times.

Cho's mother said the surveillance tape shows that her son was "very calm and relaxed" and not a threat to police. She said he regularly walked to the strip mall to buy cigarettes or eat at a nearby fast-food restaurant. Three hours after the shooting, police went to Cho's parents' home, saying they had received a vandalism report and inquired about their son, said Sung Man Cho, a painting contractor. They did not tell him that Michael Cho was dead, he said. Police returned at 8 p.m. They said Cho was dead but did not say how he died, the father said.

Michael Cho expressed himself through music, sculpture, drawing and ceramics, which became his passion. In 2005, after graduating from UCLA, Cho went to South Korea to study traditional Korean ceramic art, his mother said. He was also active in his church, where he taught art to disabled children. Cho planned to apply to Yale University's master's program in art and become a college professor. His friends have started a group on the social networking website Facebook that has more than 2,600 members. The site, "stop police brutality -- remember Michael Cho," was launched "to celebrate his wonderful life" and protest his death. "A beautiful young man has lost his life and we can not allow him to become just another person that has been lost to gun violence," the site says.

This story makes me genuinely sad. Maybe it's because Michael was an artist and a fellow Korean American. Maybe it touches home because La Habra, CA is my old hood. Living in Cali, I witnessed a police standoff with guns drawn when a man took a woman hostage outside one of my favorite restaurants. I see how the situation could have quickly turned into something bloody. If Michael Cho were smashing cars and threatening officers with a tire iron, why didn't they take out his kneecaps or shoot him in stomach? Could it be that the officers thought they were witnessing another wacked out Virginia Tech killer? See the surveillance video of Michael Cho's fateful encounter with the La Habra police here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

DiCaprio to star in "Akira"

It's been 16 years since Ajumma sat on her friend's floor watching the Japanese anime Akira. The groundbreaking anime takes place in 2019 in post-WWIII Tokyo. The city is ruled by bike gangs, with the protagonist being Kaneda. Kaneda has a best friend named Testuo who starts having violent hallucinations and begins reaking havoc on the city after he encounters a strange child on the street.

This week Leonardo DiCaprio announced that he's producing and starring in a live action remake of Akira. DiCaprio will play Kaneda and Third Rock From the Sun laddy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will star as best friend, Tetsuo. DiCaprio's remake of Akira is due out in 2009.

Note to self: Never date Edison Chen

Actor Edison Chen has announced he's leaving the Hong Kong entertainment industry indefinitely and heading home for Vancouver. Recently the actor/singer/business entrepenuer became embroiled in a major sex scandal when 1,300 nude photos of various celebrity girlfriends were stolen from his laptop and circulated on the net. At today's press conference, Chen said, "I would like to apologize to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt they have been feeling. I'm sorry." The Grudge 2 star goes on to say that he has failed as a role model and will be doing charity work from the next few months. HK police have made 10 arrests in this latest sex scandal to rock Asia.

Wow! I can imagine 40 nude photos being on his laptop, but 1,300? Who has time to take that many photos of anything? It must be embarrassing for the "ladies" to have their private (and slutty) moments splashed across the net. Edison is a freak who deserves to get kicked in the balls by each of these girls for
A. keeping their photos on his laptop and B. collecting them like baseball cards. But in the end, they were just having sex. What's the big deal? Does Edison really have to flee HK for Vancouver? On second thought, I think we all would happier if Paris Hilton had run away to Canada after her sex scandal.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Someone is trying too hard

Jessica Alba takes a break from complaining about her curves and how no one understands her pain in this month's Latina magazine. Now she's chirping on about having a "brown" baby and only speaking Spanish to it for the first few years. The problem is that Jessica can't speak Spanish herself. She complains, "People are just haters for no reason." I suspect people would hate her less if she would keep her yapper shut for a change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Only for the sexy people

This has to be an idea someone came up with while drunk.

Pink and Carey are dunzo

Pink has announced that she and her husband of two years, Carey Hart, are now separated. Frankly, this break disappoints me. I always liked how Carey, a freestyle biker and owner of Vegas tattoo parlor "Hart & Huntington," was in theory supposed to be with a leggy blonde bimbo, but was smitten with outspoken tomboy Pink, instead. Plus they seemed like a nice couple who did animal rescue in their free time. Here are Carey and Pink at last week's Grammy's. They don't appear to be a couple headed for divorce.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You mean there's something positive about the Taliban?

Today a suicide bomber blew himself up at a dogfighting festival in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a former stronghold of the Taliban. Kandahar has been the scene of some of the country’s worst suicide attacks over the past two years as Taliban insurgents have tried to undermine the government of President Hamid Karzai. According to witnesses and officials, the bomber killed a local police chief, Abdul Hakim Jan, a number of his guards and scores of villagers attending the event in the Argandab district, just north of the city of Kandahar. The governor of Kandahar province said, “This is the action of the enemies of our country. They do not let Afghans enjoy their lives and have a peaceful life.”

Screw that!!! A peaceful life of watching animals intentionally kill each other for the pleasure of spectators? Idiots traveled miles to see the dogfights, a pastime that was banned by the Taliban when they were in power because it entails gambling. But the fights, involving huge Afghan mastiffs, have returned to much of the country, often sponsored by local commanders and landlords. In some parts of Afghanistan they take place every Sunday during the winter, attracting huge crowds and street vendors.

Bearbaiting in Iran and dogfighting in Afghanistan. It just never ends. And now the Afghan police chiefs are involved. It's all fun and games until somebody gets blown up by a suicide bomber, I guess. In my book that's called karma with a capital "K!"

Toni Morrison's Letter to Barack Obama

Originally published in The New York Observer, January 28, 2008

Dear Senator Obama,
This letter represents a first for me--a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it. May I describe to you my thoughts?

I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or "new-centrist" ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me "proud."

In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.

When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country's citizens as "we," not "they"? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?

Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb. There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.

Good luck to you and to us.
Toni Morrison

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paranoia of the Day: Double fold eyelids

Eeeeyyaaaa! Some things that make Asian women paranoid: being fat, having fluffy hair, and having single fold eyelids. (Some of us have hit the trifecta, but we'll save that for another post.) Today we're talking about double fold eyelids. Someone at some point in Asia decided that having eyelids with a crease is more attractive than having ones with a single fold. Half of all Asians are born with the glorious crease and the rest are screwed. Those who want double eyelids can shell out big bucks and go under the knife in a procedure called "blepharoplasty." Unfortunately there's no guarantee your eyelids will stay and this involves slicing open your face. Also, I've noticed that only rich celebrities who can afford good surgeons look natural after this type of surgery. The rest end up looking like the scary ajumma who work the perfume counters at Korean grocery stores in Orange County.

Cheap bastards like me can try eyelid tape or eyelid glue. I had a Japanese American coworker with double creased eyelids who swears she taped them for months to get them that way. Want to see a before and after? Click here to watch a video lesson on how to use eyelid glue.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Indiana Jones trailer

Black Panther art at MOCA

Black Panther: The Revoluntionary Art of Emory Douglas is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Pacific Design Center through February 24, 2008. Douglas's artwork helped define the visual style of the Black Panther's newspapers, posters, and pamphlets. His substantial body of work exists as a powerful record of the Black Panthers' legacy, reflecting their development and mission to improve the lives of African Americans by calling for resistance and change, as well providing social services to their communities.

"You can jail the revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution."

"We had an office in East Oakland when César Chavez and the United Farm Workers were marching from the valley to the state capital. The toxins being used on produce, particularly on lettuce, were causing all kinds or health problems for the workers and their families. They happened to be marching by our office so we saw them and started talking. They were hungry. We called and made arrangements to take them down to the community school because it had a big cafeteria and party members worked the kitchen. We marched with them from the office to the school and ate lunch with them. After that, they continued on with their march. We did this paper in solidarity with their struggle. There were pictures inside that showed some of that march.” – Emory Douglas, August 18, 2007

MOCA's Pacific Design Center is located at 8687 Melrose Avenue Design Plaza G102, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Colin and Reggie

What is finer than a man and his Miniature Pincher?

Meanwhile in Tibet...

Tibetans are in the midst of celebrating lunar new year. Happy Losar, everyone! Photo courtesy of Ohlalamag.

Biggest brain in The White House

All hail Barney Bush, the precocious 8-year old Scottish Terrier who lives in The White House with First Family. Barney is often seen running the opposite direction whenever the President calls his name. This is probably due to an incident a few years back when George W. dropped Barney on the concrete during a public appearance.

Barney Bush is the second Scottie to grace The White House with its presence. The first was Falla, who lived with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Barney says:
"I hope the Obamas or Clintons are looking to adopt a Scottie!"

Note to self: Never call a cop "dude"

Something tells me this cop kicks his dog really hard when he comes home at the end of the day. To his credit, he's friendly up until the point when the kid calls him dude. Then he just flips his lid and all his issues come out, ie. uncontrollable anger management, an apparent inferiority complex, and that fact he likely has a strained relationship with his own son.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Calorie-free sushi dinner

If you've been subjected to Ajumma's Pad for a while, you know of my weird fondness for food-related toys and anything that looks like food, but isn't edible. Here's a sushi dinner made of felt. Will wonders never cease?

Korea's #1 national treasure burns

Fire has destroyed one of Seoul's most famous landmarks on Sunday night when flames engulfed Namdaemun or South Gate, the nation's No. #1 national treasure. The destruction of a six-century-old national treasure is being blamed on the misjudgment of firefighters and inept attempts to bring the fire under control at the initial stage. At 10:30 p.m., firefighters believed they had extinguished the flames, but it rekindled on the second floor and engulfed the gate.

A taxi driver said he saw a man entering Namdaemun with a bag in his hand while waiting for a fare. Several minutes later, a fire broke out on the second floor of the gate. Namdaemun had survived several wars including the Japanese invasion in 1592 and the Manchurian invasion of Korea in 1636. Now, due to a suspected attack by a lone arsonists, one of the oldest remaining wooden structures in Seoul is no more.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Breaking News

"Caramel" is a cinematic treat

"Caramel" is Lebanese director Nadine Labaki's first feature film. The 2007 Cannes Film Festival entry follows the lives of women who work at a beauty salon in Beirut.

Josh Brolin joins Bale in "Terminator 4"

It's confirmed! No Country for Old Men actor Josh Brolin will be starring in Terminator 4, alongside Christian Bale. Thus far Brolin's role is unspecified. T4 director McG says, "It's a decidedly masculine role and we live in a time, where a lot of actors are very effeminate and there's a masculine component to the role and there are guys out there like Russell Crowe and Eric Bana who bring a good physicality and do what they do, but I don't know if they're exactly right at the end of the day. Josh Brolin is a very exciting actor, so we'll see." Me thinks Josh Brolin may have snatched up the role for which Vin Diesel was vying.

Both Brolin and Bale have movies up for Oscars, this month, and lend some clout to the 4th installment of the Terminator series.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New trailer for "The Forbidden Kingdom"

The Forbidden Kingdom has released a new trailer on Yahoo Movies. I still am bothered by the dorky white kid, but the action sequences in this movie don't look half bad. Can you believe it's taken this long for Jackie and Jet to star together? Now if we could just get Christian Bale and Angelina Jolie in the same film. Watch the new trailer, here.

Yoshi vs. The Tax Man

Here's the funny ad featuring two chefs talking about their tax returns. Remember, don't mess with teppanyaki chefs because they work with knives.

Blogging by the goddess, Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho is a workaholic. When she's not doing stand-up, she writing scripts, filming movies, attending gay-right events, and practicing belly dancing. She's also blogging up a storm. Interesting that Ajumma and Margaret sometimes blog about the same thing. Love for animals? Check. Harold and Kumar 2? Check.

Margaret Cho is likely hitting your town on her "Beautiful" tour, this year. If you can't see her live, you can still experience the craziness on her blog.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Uglydolls have a toll-free number. And like all things associated with the mischief makers, it is HILARIOUS!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Love Bites

MewPaperArts created these original, nifty Valentine cards for the "cranky, broken-hearted or forsaken." Americans should be happy that at least we don't celebrate White Day. On White Day, in Korea and Japan, the men to whom you gave chocolates on Valentine's Day are supposed to return the favor with flowers and other treats. It really sucks when the day is over and you end up with nothing!

Man cleavage alert!

If I ever see this sweater on anyone, I am going to go at it with a pair of sharp scissors.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ajumma finally loses it.

I don't know if it's my conscience sneaking up on me, or what. I think what I'm trying to say is that shoes are not important. Neither are hand bags, watches, iPod cases, or designer skateboard decks. That would pretty much make this whole blog void and null, wouldn't it? Crossing through The Hundreds blog, I stumbled into a recent interview with a favorite 90's icon who once stated "you are not what you own." Though he lost me halfway through his interview with his rambling, he certainly got me thinking about things.

100 + pet reptiles and other small animals were found, today, abandoned, freezing and without food or water in a foreclosed property in Hesperia, California. Shit like this and worse goes down every single day in systemized food production and in private homes. People are being bombed in street markets in the Middle East! So who cares about people who have everything who throw it all away, like Heath and Britney? Shame on them for throwing away opportunities most could only dream of having.

Today a young coworker recounted a story about meeting David Beckham, the multi-million dollar product whore who also happens to be a footballer. David was in Chicago for a soccer tournament. My coworker was wearing his Beckham jersey in anticipation of the big game. While out one day, behold, he saw David Beckham across the street. The two made eye contact and according to my coworker, Beckham took off running down the street. Coworker followed him in hot pursuit. David ran into a store and proceeded to hide in a stall. Coworker walked up to the stall and knocked. David came out and said (in his high pitched English accent), "You don't give up easily, do you?" and signed my coworker's jersey -- his own stupid soccer jersey for which my young coworker shelled out hard-earned dollars. What nerve does David Beckham have trying to ditch a fan who spent money to support him with his own jersey?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Angry Little Asian Girl" by Lela Lee

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Saddle up for Korea's take on a 1930's spaghetti western. If Korea had a Brad Pitt, it'd be Lee Byoung-Hun. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is due out in 2008. Giddyup!

Ronaldo vs. Bugatti

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo turns twenty-three today. Lordy, he's just a baby. I don't get what people see in David Beckham, but I certainly understand the hype over Ronaldo. He was the best thing about World Cup 2006! Just listen to him tell the Bugatti to move behind the line in Portuguese. To Ronaldo I say, "O que vamos fazer amanhã?"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Abstract Expressionism by Nonja

Nonja, a 55 year-old Sumatran Orangutan, passed away at the Miami Zoo in December 2007. She left behind five offspring and some very colorful artwork. Her painting is almost indistinguishable from two well-known expressionist pieces.

by Nonja

by Willem DeKooning

by Helen Frankenthaler

Sunday, February 3, 2008

T-shirt of the day

Adoptee meets birth mom & twin sister

Emily Saunders, a 21 year-old Korean adoptee of St. Paul, first learned that she had a twin sister seven months ago. She had always known she had been adopted by Jackie and Eric Saunders, of Minnesota, when she was a baby. But then last summer Emily was contacted by her birth mom, who is suffering from cancer, and learned that she has a twin sister who was not given up for adoption. Last month, Emily and and her adoptive mom left the Twin Cities bound for South Korea. They spent eight days there getting to know Emily's birth family. Though she started out angry at her birth mother, Emily says now that she is no longer bitter, "She loves me. She probably regrets giving me up," Emily said. "I didn't think I'd have a connection with her. I had a little bit of one." Emily was surprised by the poverty in which her birth mom and sister, Eunjin, live. But she had a great time getting to know her twin and hopes that someday Eunjin can live near her in the United States.

Arbor Day just got a little sweeter

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is due to hit theaters on Arbor Day, Friday, April 25. Their official site now includes a synopsis, downloads, and a gallery.