Thursday, March 29, 2007

St. Elmo Playground

Well, the playground is up and running.

We couldn't help with physical labor, due to disablities, but we were able to help by babysitting for the Righters, so that they can go work on the playground.So, here are the cuties that we got to hang out in order to help w/ the building of the playground, w/out having to get hot and sweaty.

Check out Andy's pictures of people actually working.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The You Tube Awards

"Winners of the 2006 YouTube Video Awards include, top row, from left, OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again,” for most creative, and “Smosh Short 2: Stranded,” for best comedy; second row, “Hotness Prevails,” for best commentary, and “Ask a Ninja,” for best series; third row, “Say It’s Possible,” for best music video, and “Free Hugs Campaign,” for most inspirational."

Read the article from NY Times.

Monday, March 26, 2007

First Outting

Here is V-daddy on his first outting
since the accident.

As Spring has approached, both Vincent and I couldn't
stand being indoors any longer.

So, here we are at Pickle Barrel's roof top, enjoying the nice weather, our friends and the bright yellow donut that allowed Vincent to sit for the very first time in three and a half weeks.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"Researchers Have Found...

...that there was at least a decade--maybe even two--during which the term postmodernism had as many meanings us users. The word was used to drive livestock across the prairies. It was whispered to swaddled babies, who fell fast asleep."

-Chris Bachelder, DOCTOROW'S BRAIN
and Other Special Problems in Literary Realism, The Believer, Feb. 07.

The Politics of Hair-Do

So, last night I saw Emily with her beautiful new hair-do. She informed me that, “bangs are out!” According to our hair dresser, bangs are old news. Who knew?

Then today, while avoiding work, I surfed over to The New York Times and found an article titled, “I Have Taken on My Daughter’s Hair and Won”. The author, Randal C. Archibold, asks, “Who knew hair could be this complicated?” Referring to his wife, he states:

…But Lyla’s locks have given me a closer glimpse into the angst, not to mention politics, that is black women’s hair. Sure, I have ridden the highs and lows of my wife’s hair-care odyssey. Go natural? Braids? Relaxer? A weave? Cut it all off? She has tried almost everything and been stressed about it all along the way. Does having a relaxer to straighten natural kinks bow to white society’s notion of good hair? Do free-form ’fros and braids with fake hair extensions look “professional” enough?

So, why is it that we obsess over our hair?

We sweat dilemmas such as bad hair days. We wrestle with professional expectations put on our does. For instance, I want a blue streak in my hair, but it’s inappropriate for the kind of work I do.

And then there are the Male preferences: Long-hair-lovers, short-hair-lovers, red-headed-lovers, curly-hair lovers. Even my husband has a very specific preference: Long hair AND in a bun. What does that mean: He likes librarians?

And then there are the stereotypes. Cropped = Spunky; Long and Wavy = Sexy; Bobbed= Professional; Mullet = Business in the Front, Party in the Back.

As silly as it sounds, the issue of hair is important in regards to maintaining a person’s self image, even a child’s.

I teach Foster parents on Trans-cultural Parenting. The objective of this is to help foster and adoptive parents ‘to recognize the influences of racial and cultural diversity, and its impact on their ability to parent children whose culture is different from their own.’

In this topic, I ask for each parent to be aware of the child’s cultural beliefs and treatments when it comes to hair does. A black child’s hair is cared for differently than a white child’s hair. For instance, if a white family is looking to foster or adopt a black child, it would make sense that they learn how to take care of the child’s hair (and vise versa.) Or if a little girl was raised to believe that long hair defines beauty, then I ask that her foster parents don’t cut it simply because they think it’s more difficult to manage.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to hair, so why do we stress over it? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m always in awe of girls who have perfected their hair--you know, those girls with blow dried hair and every strand is in the right place…at all times. That will never be me. I wear my impatient character in my do; a pony tail which is never quite centered on my head.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yoshimi Goes Broadway

"That's right: Broadway will soon get just a bit battier, as Wayne Coyne revealed in a recent interview with that the Flaming Lips' 2002 LP Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots will be transformed into a Broadway musical."

How cool is that! Check this P4k clip for the story.

A Birthday Toast

Aunt Kate~
Wishing you a Happy Birthday!
Love, Vincent and Kiko

Monday, March 19, 2007

update on the broken butt

It has been exactly three weeks since
Vincent's accident that
caused him to break his tail bone.

Since then we haven't been able to do much,
but we have amazing friends
that visit uson a regular basis:
we've had
dinner parties and game nights.
Our small group has been flexible,
and have been gracious enough
to meet at our house every
Wednesday since the fall.

Friends have also worked around Vincent's
disabilities at social functions.
As you can see in the pictures
on the left hand side,
we didn't have to miss
Brandt's birthday celebration.

All that to say, we are in good spirits.
Vincent is still laid up on the couch, and
sitting is still out of the question .
However, he's been able to walk with more ease,
and he's hoping that he's more
than half way to being better.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Green Day (No, not that Green Day)

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

Oh, by the way, you can't pinch me 'cuz, as of today, I got my green card on.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Bird Hoverer, and Actual Air

A handful of books have kept me company since my tenure on the living room couch began two-and-half weeks ago (with the fall that broke my tailbone). Of those books, two have had an especially medicinal effect on me.

The Bird Hoverer, by Aaron Belz, and Actual Air, by David Berman, are two collections of poetry that should reward even the most tentative reader, which, thanks to my miniscule pain threshold and the dizzying effects of hydrocodone, I've been lately.

Belz, a graduate of Covenant College and NYU's creative writing program, and Berman, who's best known as the frontman of Silver Jews, have some important things in common. Both poets write with an an attractive, easy-going tone that can alternate between commonplace situations and absurd flights of imagination without needing to make an apology. Their poems are consistently witty, humorous, and full of exciting surprises. Both poets, in their own ways, have the power to make me forget, if only for a minute or two, that my reality now consists of an extended sentence of solitary confinement, and a broken butt.

Here's a sample from each book (the first is from Actual Air, the second from the Bird Hoverer):

New York, New York

A second New York is being built
a little west of the old one.
Why another, no one asks,
just build it, and they do.

The city is closed off
to all but the work crews
who claim it's a perfect mirror image.

Truthfully, each man works on the replica
of the apartment building he lives in,
adding new touches,
like cologne dispensers, rock gardens,
and doorknobs marked for the grand hotels.

Improvements here and there, done secretly
and off the books. None of the supervisors
notice or mind. Everyone's in a wonderful mood,
joking, taking walks through the still streets
that the single reporter allowed inside has described as:

"unleavened with reminders of the old city's complicated past,
but giving off some blue perfume of the early years on earth."

The men grow to love the peaceful town.
It becomes more difficult to return home at night,

which sets the wives to worrying.
The yellow soups are cold, the sunsets quick.

The men take long breaks on the fire escapes,
waving across the quiet spaces to other workers
meditating on their perches.

Until one day...

The sky fills with charred clouds.
Toolbelts rattle in the rising wind.

Something is wrong.

A foreman stands in the avenue
pointing binoculars at a massive gray mark
moving towards us in the eastern sky.

Several voices, What, What is it?

Pigeons, he yells through the wind.

Among Birds

Having spent the better part of the morning
among birds, having heard
what they whisper
to each other as the sun comes up,

having noted how they name their offspring,
with names like Fuzz Packet and Mr. Charming,
Devily Doo and The Potato Famine Boy,

having observed, if momentarily,
as they begin to glide, their haughty eyes
and knife-like toes,
I hereby reject birds
and not only birds but
the places where they dwell, the patterns
of their lives, the very cosmic instinct
that brings them into being--in fact, the skies;

having been raised by birds and
having nursed at their impossible teats
and been subjected to their whimsical
sarcasm, also having been approached by
them on several occassions--

when my star had risen and theirs perhaps had not--

in the name of
neighborliness or good citizenship and having
politely asked them to step off,
can't you see
I'm busy, type of thing, and having quietly
informed them that I no longer belong
to their so-called tribe,
I hereby request
that they wipe the silly smirks off their faces
and find other people to circle, other places
to drop their glob-like feces, and that is all
I ask of them, not that we can't exist on the same
planet, free-thinking individuals,
in equal

if seperate and clearly demarcated communities.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The King, Unchained

"Elvis in Vegas. There is probably no phrase in our language that so clearly denotes showbiz emptiness, sloth, tackiness. But, of course, as with most things Elvis, the meaning gets much more complicated when you actually listen to the music."

-Alan Light, "Singing like a man with something to prove," Oxford American, Summer '05

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fantasizing about What We All Want

Ever dream of being a rock star? I don't. But I do have fantasies where I step out of my body for about 6 minutes and travel back in time to find myself on stage somewhere in Europe in the late seventies/early eighties, leading a tight band--Gang of Four, for instance--through an even tighter song--like, "What We All Want." In fact, the above video is pretty much the spitting image of that fantasy. This clip makes me believe that I might one day dance again (which, for a man with a broken tailbone, is gospel).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cards That Define My Life

1) My new driver's license with my new identity: Yukiko Howard.

2) My workers permit, so that I can work in the United States.

3) My green card!
Which I was approved for today!
It will be sent to me within the next 30 days!
(However I discovered today that
the actual card will not be green.)
This means that I'm going to be a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Thanks for all those who prayed for me over the years and those who prayed for our interview today with Homeland Security. The interview went by smoothly, no tricky questions, they just asked how we met, where we got married, and how Vincent broke his butt.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ben's take on Avatar

My younger brother Benjamin used Microsoft Movie Maker to create this video for the song Kryptonite, by Three Doors Down. The images were taken from a Nickelodean animated series called Avatar. According to Ben, his video is now situated at #28 on YouTube's list of best animated videos.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tyrone Biggums's Momma

Remember Tyrone Biggums, the pale-lipped, change-scrounging crackhead from the Dave Chapelle Show? Now meet his mother.

The video for "T. Biggums," a song from the latest album by Stonesthrow beatmaker
Oh No
, lifts its plot straight out of Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever." If you've seen the movie, you'll recall Samuel L. Jackson's Gator, a spastic basehead who shows up at his mother's house pleading, dancing, and even threatening for a cash advance. In the video, the m.c. Dudly Perkins conjures a rapping Biggums stuck in Gator's tragi-comic world.

Similarly, the raspy soul-singer Georgia Anne Muldrow draws obvious inspiration from Gator's mother for the part of Miss Biggums. Like Gator's mom, Miss Biggums still holds a special place in her heart for her washed-up son. But by the end of the video, she has done what Gator's momma must rely on her husband to do: show the son tough love, and throw him out. In that sense, T. Biggums doesn't have the only role in this video that's equally inspired by two different characters.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

LCD+UFC=James Murphy

On his new blog for The Guardian, James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) shares his nascent passion for Ultimate Fighting. He's not just watching; he's training.