Sunday, February 26, 2006

They Might Be Giants

My good friends Ken and Paula held a Red Egg & Ginger Party for their newborn daughter Madison this Sunday. For me, this meant a couple of hours in San Francisco spent with dragon boat friends sans Brewster Boys. I did not bring Jenny or the Brewster Boys because Jenny was feeling unwell, and the Brewster Boys had just performed the ever-popular double meltdown.

The Mount Rushmore of Dragon Boating was there (see photo below), including the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson of our organization--Brett and Brian. As for me, I consider myself to be the Benjamin Franklin and Howard Cosell of Dragon Boating, as I never served as President of the California Dragon Boat Association, yet played an integral part in its founding and development. I am also sometimes referred to as the William Randolph Hearst of Dragon Boating.

I saw a lot of old friends there, and many of them had married and had kids. It was like old times at the Canton Restaurant, with the Who's Who of Dragon Boating there to celebrate the arrival of the latest dragon boater.

The Dynamic Duo - Brett and Brian at Ken & Paula's Red Egg/Ginger Party Posted by Picasa

The Mt. Rushmore of Dragon Boating: Wu, Byers, Danforth and Leung Posted by Picasa

Ken, Paula and Baby Madison at their Red Egg & Ginger Party in San Francisco Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pictures of the Day

Jenny's mom joined us for the weekend, and the Fabulous Brewster Boys were quite pleased. Even Punky was singing her praises (see picture below).

Russell inspects his dim sum carefully before eating while his Grandmother laughs Posted by Picasa

Punky tries to stab a fried sesame ball Posted by Picasa

Punky: "'O Sole Mio!" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cheaper Than Disneyland

On Sunday, we decided to be a bit more adventurous. We drove to San Francisco's Ferry Building in the morning and then took the ferry to Sausalito. It's only a 30 minute ride each way, but the boys loved it. It is first time that I recall going on a boat with the Brewster Boys, who stood on their chairs by the window and watched the water flow past them the entire trip. As we reached Sausalito, we could see large groups of colorful sailboats sailing around the bay. Occasionally, a seagull would fly along side our ferry boat, and that would get Russell very excited.

The ferry boat from San Francisco to Sausalito - it's not the Queen Elizabeth 2, but fun to ride nonetheless Posted by Picasa

Russell's first boat ride was only 30 minutes long Posted by Picasa

Once in Sausalito, we immediately headed uphill to the Alta Mira Hotel, where Jenny and I were married over 5 years ago. There have been quite a few changes at the Alta Mira since we last visited back in 2003. First of all, the hotel's original owner sold the property to a group of investors last year. The new owners converted the restaurant to a catering-only facility, with catering provided by the one-and-only Il Fornaio restaurant chain. The hotel portion was turned into a Bed-and-Breakfast facility. Still, the views from the property were magnificent, and we had Russell escort Jenny down the staircase like her father did back in November 2000. It felt like we were married only yesterday.

We visited the Alta Mira Hotel in Sausalito, where Jenny and I were married over 5 years ago Posted by Picasa

Russell and Jenny reenact her bridal walk down the staircase at the Alta Mira Posted by Picasa

Russell and Punky at the historic spot where their parents were married Posted by Picasa

Jenny wanders around the newly redecorated dining room at the Alta Mira, where our wedding reception was held Posted by Picasa

Punky gazes out the window of the ferry boat on the way back to San Francisco Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pictures of the Day

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the funkiest of them all? Posted by Picasa

The Fabulous Brewster Boys at Love Logic Children's Play Center Posted by Picasa

Leonardo Da Punky draws another crayon masterpiece Posted by Picasa

A hip Russell passes his brother Punky on the stairway Posted by Picasa

Punky reaches for a tall, cool one Posted by Picasa

President's Day Weekend in Alameda

I no longer have the same enthusiasm for three-day weekends as I used to. While I enjoy hanging out with the Brewster Boys, three days of continuous play and baby-sitting takes a lot out of me. Especially when I cannot even look forward to a nap on any of those days.

We started the weekend with a trip to Thomson's Garden Center, where we bought some flowers and let the Brewster Boys run around the trees and pots of flowers. Russell really enjoys viewing the colorful flowers while Punky seemed more interested in the fountains and bird baths. Both had a meltdown when we tried to leave. Later in the day, I ran out to redeem more cans and bottles ($19.12), go grocery shopping and then run to Walmart to pick up some diapers for Punky. Jenny would not let me leave the house without Punky, as she got to nap with Russell while we were out. I don't get this double-standard where Jenny can nap while I cannot.

The good news is that Russell is very much interested in jigsaw puzzles. I can now sit back and focus solely on Punky for about 30-45 minutes a night while Russell sits down and pieces together his 3 new puzzles. Many thanks to Russell's tutor Cassandra, who introduced him to this new activity.

Russell examines flowers for sale at Thomson's Garden Center Posted by Picasa

While checking out the water fountain, Punky doesn't seem to notice he's getting wet Posted by Picasa

I take Punky out shopping to Walmart on a diaper run Posted by Picasa

Russell places the finishing touches on his duckie puzzle Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Have Gun Will Travel

I just received the Ruger gun catalog in the mail this week, and I've been busy looking over the wide variety of calibers, grips, barrels and other features that Ruger offers. If there's one thing I have noticed, it is that guns are like works of art. They are awe-inspiring, especially the single action revolvers stylized like ones from the Old West, and the shotguns, too. Now, I really want to own a gun and start learning how to shoot.

Unfortunately, I have yet to convince Jenny to let me keep one around the house. So what I will probably do is go down to the shooting range in San Leandro with a friend, and rent some guns to get a better idea of my likes and dislikes. After buying a gun and taking a firearms safety and shooting course, I would then probably rent a gun locker at the range.

The Edge of Wetness

I'm happy to report that Russell has mastered the art of going to the bathroom. Technically speaking, he no longer needs diapers. So ends a process that began over 4 months ago. Since then, we have been taking Russell to the bathroom every hour or so, and rewarding him with food (what else?) whenever he successfully asks to go to the bathroom.

He's been pretty consistant for two weeks now, and he's only had a minor accident or two. He hasn't even peed in his nighttime diaper for over a week. The best thing about this is that we save over a dollar a day in diaper/pull-up costs for Russell. Plus, he feels a real sense of accomplishment every time we praise him for going to the bathroom like an adult.

For the record, Russell is 3 years and 8 months old. Please join me in congratulating Russell for this achievement. Thank you.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Picture of the Day

Russell and Punky enjoy relaxing in our bedroom Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

Yet Another Article at the American Thinker by Yours Truly

My latest rant, this one on the visit by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to Lowell High School, is up at the American Thinker. Please let me know what you think about it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Picture of the Day

The Fabulous Brewster Boys are pals forever Posted by Picasa

Up the Ying Yang

Maybe Google isn't so bad after all. My first reaction to hearing that Google had agreed to work with Chinese Communist authorities to censor their China-based search engine was one of disgust. Their "Don't Be Evil" corporate mantra seemed to be just empty rhetoric coming from a bunch of limousine liberals. After all, the supposedly environmentally-friendly founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, had just purchased their own 767 jet for personal travel. Just a couple hours of flight time on their airplane would consume more fuel than most Americans consume in a decade.

Now, Reporters Without Borders has revealed that a second Chinese dissident was just sentenced to prison based on evidence provided by a Yahoo subsidiary. Here's what AP said:

A Yahoo unit provided information that led to an eight-year prison sentence for a Chinese dissident, an advocacy group for journalists said Wednesday, which would be at least the second time the company has aided Chinese authorities in their crackdown on protesters. Yahoo Hong Kong provided electronic records that led to the conviction of dissident Li Zhi, according to Reporters Without Borders, which advocates on behalf of journalists.

Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako said Yahoo Hong Kong would not have had access to Li's Chinese account and that it never releases information to the Chinese government. Osako said the company was investigating whether Yahoo China — operated by a partner company — had released the data.

The group pointed to a plea entered by Li's lawyer, Zhang Sizhi, that was recently posted online. It shows that Yahoo Hong Kong turned over information related to Li in August 2003, the group said.

Last September, Reporters Without Borders revealed that Yahoo helped Chinese authorities convict and jail [for 10 years] Shi Tao, a journalist who had written an e-mail about press restrictions.
Ironically, Yang was born in Taiwan, a now-democratic country that is regularly threatened with invasion by the Communist Chinese dictatorship. As a Chinese-American, the worst aspect of this case is that a fellow Chinese-American--one of the richest men in the world--is willing to sell out a fellow human being trying to bring freedom to the land of his ancestors. Last year, the cold-blooded Yang brushed off suggestions of Yahoo's sellout by stating: "To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law."

I can now see that there's a huge difference in behavior between Google and Yahoo. In Google's case, they are merely censoring democratic ideas, whereas Yahoo is an active participant in the suppression of Chinese dissidents. I cannot, in good conscience, ever use Yahoo's services again.


UPDATE: I've just eliminated Yahoo from my browser favorites at home and work.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Picture of the Day

On Saturday, we visited Jenny's mother and sister's house in San Jose. The kids like hanging out somewhere different and seeing their Grandmother especially. For the New Year, we dressed the Fabulous Brewster Boys in the Chinese outfits that you see in the pictures below. They fit perfectly. Punky is wearing his brother's old suit from 2 years ago, while Russell just received his from Jenny's mom.

Jenny's sister just had her second child and she and her husband are quickly learning what a handful two boys can be. I managed to take a quick 10 minute nap on the sofa as the kids ran around the room and played with their cousin and his friend (see pictures below). In addition to getting $15 back from returning empty soda bottles and cans, the nap was the highlight of my weekend.

Later on Sunday, Jenny cancelled plans to attend our friend Sharone's birthday party in San Francisco. Just as she was about to leave the house, Russell pulled down the curtain in the dining room, and the curtain rod came down on his shoulder. As a result, he had a major meltdown and Jenny stayed home to comfort him.

In short, we did little this weekend except for the usual taking care of the kids. I am currently planning for our next attempt at a weekend vacation--a trip to Disneyland sometime in April. It's something for me to obsess about as I go through the routine, day after day after day...

Russell gets chummy, while Punky pulls off his sock Posted by Picasa