My Thoughts on the Occupy Movement

I’ll start with this great Calvin and Hobbes comic strip:

I recently watched this video on TED by Richard Wilkinson – “How economic inequality harms societies”. Please take a look when you get a moment.

Some highlights:

In terms of how much richer the top 20% of a country is compared to the bottom 20% – Japan is the lowest with 3.4 times difference. In the middle is Netherlands and Greece with 5.3 and 6.2 times difference respectively. Second highest difference is the US with 8.5 times difference – we’re topped only by Singapore who has a difference of 9.7 times.

Richard and his colleagues create a graph comparing income inequality with an index that covers health and social problems (life expectancy, child mortality, math & literacy, homicide rates, imprisonment, teenage births, etc) and the US had the worst index by far.

He jokingly states that, “if Americans want to live the American dream, they should move to Denmark.”

Today there’s a lot of strong feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Some are in favor of the movement while critics complain about the lack of focus and decry the assumed laziness of people.

Richard Wilkinson delineates hard data that shows the awful social and health problems that increase significantly in societies with the highest income inequality. This reminds me of the video of Alan Grayson where he blows up PJ O’Rourke and describes the Occupy Wall Street movement:

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New Orleans and Beyond

New OrleansIn four days I will be boarding a plane for my first ever trip to the wonderful city of New Orleans! I’ll be meeting two of my City Year friends (one from Columbia, SC and the other from New Orleans, LA) and better yet, it’ll be during the weekend of the Blues & BBQ Festival!

Traveling is one of those things that I really enjoy but haven’t had a chance to do very often. I’ve never been outside of the US except for Canada and South Korea. I was really close to Mexico once (San Diego) but never crossed the border.

Seoul - South KoreaI may actually travel to South Korea again this spring to see my dad and to (hopefully) visit my grandfather who has cancer. My mom just got back from a trip this past week and says he’s not doing well. I never really knew him very well but I feel sad for my mom since she’s the oldest daughter and the only child from his first marriage (his wife, my mom’s birth mother was killed during the Korean War).

During my potential trip to Korea I may try to also visit my friends in Indonesia and India. They’re both on my Forty x 40 list. In the past all my vacation funds were spend on going back home to NYC or to small jaunts to Los Angeles, San Fran, San Diego and Hawaii. I hope to save some serious coin this fall/winter to make my international spring trip a reality.

If you can travel someplace you’ve never been – where would that be? And why there?

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Giving Back This Fall

An Executive Director of a non-profit that I admire greatly recently asked me to meet for coffee/drinks. We met and shared good food, tasty drinks and enjoyable conversation. Towards the end I was asked if I’d consider joining their Board of Directors.

I haven’t accepted but do plan to visit their next board meeting to see the group in action and to see if I’d be able to contribute. I also wanted some time to think about how joining a second non-profit board (while working F/T at another non-profit and coaching/volunteering at Franklin HS and volunteering at Treehouse once a month) would affect my ability to really help out in an effective way.

It feels good to be asked but I want to make sure it’s a commitment I can keep.

Well if you’re looking for ways to give back or get involved this Fall – here are a few suggestions:

DiscNW’s Youth Development FunDinner Auction
10/8/11 – 5pm – Montlake Community Center

The Youth Development Fund supports and promotes youth participation in Ultimate Frisbee activities throughout the greater Seattle area. It encourages populations traditionally deterred from participation in not just Ultimate, but from sports in general, by barriers such as finanical need and gender inequality. Many local young athletes who participate in YDF suppported activities benefit from the unique attributes of Ultimate as a sport. In addition to physical fitness, participants gain important life skills, such as improved dispute resolution, since Ultimate is a self-officiated sport.  
* My housemate and I are cooking dinner for 4 people in our beautiful West Seattle home. Most likely a combination of Korean and Japanese cuisine. Drinks/cocktails/wine provided. My housemate Doug used to work at Canlis and now is at Seastar and has a great wine collection!

Seattle Works Hot Project with Lettuce Link at Marra Farms
10/8/11 – 10am to 2pm – Marra Farms

Lettuce Link (an innovative food and gardening program growing and giving since 1988) creates access to fresh, nutritious and organic produce, seeds, and gardening information for families with lower incomes in Seattle. They work on creating food justice and teach about sustainable food production. Lettuce Link is a program of Solid Ground. Solid Ground is committed to building a community free from poverty, prejudice, and neglect where all members stand confident with the skills needed to achieve their dreams. Volunteers will tend and maintain Lettuce Link’s Giving Garden. Work outdoors in the fresh air weeding, mixing compost, creating paths, fixing fences, hauling wood chips, doing minor repairs, or harvesting vegetables.
826 Seattle’s After School Tutoring
Mon-Thu from 3pm to 6pm – Greenwood
Thank you for your interest in helping 826 Seattle! Since most of our programs occur during weekday mornings and afternoons, we are looking for volunteers available during those times. We do have occasional openings for weekends and evenings, and we contact potential volunteers as those opportunities arise.

Treehouse Donation Drives
All Year Long

Foster parents receive up to $300 from the state each year to clothe a growing child. It’s just not enough. Thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses in our community, Treehouse distributes clothing, school supplies, and much more to local foster kids through our Wearhouse, a unique store where kids and caregivers shop for free – allowing foster parents to stretch the family budget just a little bit further. 
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Hip Hop You the Love of My Life

I remember listening to Run DMC as a middle school kid in suburban New Jersey. My brother and his friends would blast King of Rock and You Talk Too Much while quoting lyrics all the time. That’s when I started my love/obsession with hip hop.

I remember growing up listening to Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, NWA, Beastie Boys, BDP, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, De La Soul, Jungle BrothersWu Tang Clan, Gang Starr, Nas, Biggie Smalls, Digital Underground, Jay-Z and hosts of others.

My favorite female MC of all time is and will always Lauryn Hill. Her Miseducation album is one of my favorites. Tribe Called Quest also holds a very special place in my heart. Scenario is one of my favorite songs of all time.

When I hear old songs from my youth I reminded of random things like the arcades that used to be under Penn Station in NYC, the 7 train to Flushing and back, the N/R to the village, ultimate tournaments and getting pumped up, car rides throughout the tri-state area, the 77 bus from Livingston to NYC, and all my friends back home.

I’ve had other phases in terms of music. I had a huge New Wave phase in MS/HS and even had a big contemporary christian music phase. But hip hop has been part of my life and will continue to be part of my life.

Nowadays I also listen to The Roots, Kanye West, Jay-Z (Still killing it after all these years), Blue Scholars, Thee Satisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Macklemore, and yes, I’ll admit it, Rihanna.

What music moves you? Describes you? Lives in your soul? A particular artist? A particular song? Please share…

Posted in Arts, Childhood, NYC, Reflections, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fall or Autumn?

Fall/Autumn just started but you wouldn’t know it by the temperature here in Seattle. It’s supposed to hit 78 today! I’m not complaining.

When speaking of seasons we usually refer to them as




Fall? Autumn?

It’s odd that this is the only season that has two common names. What am I getting at? I have no idea. Sometimes you (the reader) will have to deal with whatever ridiculousness that enters my mind when I sit down to write.

I’m sorry about this.

Ok, I’m not sorry. Deal with it.

Some highlights this Fall/Autumn:


High school boys ultimate has moved to the Fall this year and Franklin HS is 1-1. We lost on universe point (game point/sudden death) to Nathan Hale HS 11-12 and it was largely because we couldn’t stop one of their players who was out-jumping our player with best vertical. We also threw away a number of opportunities but I was happy to have the team tested early (unlike last year).

In the second game we had a chance to avenge our loss in last year’s Washington State Championships semi-finals loss to University Prep. We played much better than we did against NH and came away with 13-9 win!

I’m excited for the rest of the season and am also looking forward to having a non-coaching spring for the first time in 8 years in 2012!

Furthermore, south-end seattle ultimate (includes Franklin HS, Cleveland HS, Aki Kurose MS, and Mercer MS) is going to have two stories about them in the news this Fall/Autumn. First off we’ll have a story on the Seattle P-I and also one on Seattle’s NPR affiliate – KUOW! They’re highlighting the programs and the kids who’ve grown up in the south end playing frisbee. Can’t wait!

Bumbershoot – I also attended my very first large music festival this late Summer. I went to Bumbershoot for the first time in my 15 years here and had a blast. City Year had a table there and I had it staffed by some of the corps members but also came out to check-in on them. During that time I got to see two shows that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first was Shabazz Palaces. They had a great set and I really loved it when Thee Satisfaction came out for a song with them!

I also got to see my friend Hari Kondabolu’s comedy set on the national stage. He was hilarious as usual but the last comic they had was god-awful.

New Orleans – In 3 weeks I’ll be taking my very first trip to New Orleans and I’m super stoked about it! I’m attending during the Blues & BBQ Festival and I’ll be seeing two of my friends from City Year New Orleans and formerly from City Year Columbia/South-Carolina. Anyone have any tips about what I should do/eat/see while there?

All in all, it’s going to be a fun Fall/Autumn. I think I’m going to call it Autumn. Yep. That’s settled.

Happy Autumn everyone!

Posted in Reflections, Seattle, Ultimate (frisbee), Warm & Fuzzy, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Empire State of Mind

This video has some of my favorite things: Beautiful women, great music (Jay Z & Alicia Keys), and shots of my favorite city in the world! Executive Producers Life + Times, Devin Chanda and Dustin Nakao-Haider for Scheme Engine and Directed by Justin Wu!

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Meeting Fellow Tweeps in Seattle’s Asian-Am/Pac-Islander Community

photo by @taiwanesebob

I held my very first ever tweetup this past week! It was themed around Asian-American and Pacific-Islander tweeps and was held at Marination Station! We had 9 adults, 3 kids, and 1 dog! It was great to meet new people and hear stories.

JP (@mymachero and @jpkang) and his wife had three beautiful kids (who all had great fashion sense) and I later found out that we had 8 mutual friends from Seattle and NJ!

Molly (@mollyhawks) works for evo and is super-rad. We may have met briefly a long time ago but we started playing Words with Friends before this tweetup. We talked about non-profits and volunteering/mentoring!

Martha (@martha_kang) and Veronica (@veronicas) worked together at KOMO News and are heavily involved in social media in Seattle!

Nancy (@taiwanesebob) and I used to volunteer at Chill. She works for the City of Redmond in youth development and is the Board Chair for the amazing non-profit Skate Like a Girl!

It was a ton of fun to meet such amazing people and to eat really really good food! Stay tuned for the next one! (Oh and for those of you who are NOT AAPI – everyone’s welcome!)

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