July 30, 2013

  • The end is near?

    Or maybe not? Either way, many of the connections I made have crossed over into the real world or the surreal world (AKA facebook) so I won’t miss the community aspect as much. But I guess I will never know whatever happened to people I “knew” such as IUsedToLoveHim and Blankie Thief.

    IUsedToLoveHim, if you’re still out there, I hope this finds you happy and with a whole heart.

    BlankieThief, wherever you are, blessed wishes for a healthy and happy life.

    Everyone else, be good and eat your veggies! Take care,


May 31, 2013

  • The end of Xanga?

    I could wax philosophical about my years on Xanga, but in the end it all comes down to the people.  Many amazing friends I have met over the years (in real life, to boot!) and anonymous strangers with whom our lives both changed by meeting in this space between the real world and virtual reality…thanks for everything.  If Xanga truly does shut down and you want to remain in contact you can message me your facebook addy.  If I don’t add you please don’t be offended, since I would only add people that I feel I know enough to “cross over” into that world. Aloha and mahalo!

May 16, 2013

  • Letting Go

    One of the worst things you can experience as a parent is not being there for your child when he needs you.  While consumed by the OCD madness that is the Black Hawk helicopter parenting of an infant, it is quite easy to forget what it is like when you and your child are separated.  All those moments of shopping (for him, not us), prepping, feeding, changing, Disney-esque facial contortions, nonsensical jibberish-speak (by parents with graduate degrees, imagine that) filling the here and now made those few days watching him in the NICU after he was born a distant memory.  Why worry about what you cannot do for your child while you are actually doing everything for him?

    Currently my wife and son are in Korea, spending an extended time with her parents.  The best moment of every day–seeing the flash of recognition in my baby’s eyes before he smiles at me–is quickly followed by the worst, when I cannot return that affection by picking him up and smashing his cheek with a kiss.  My heart breaks when I see him reach out for his father, only to find a cold, artificial iPad in his grasp.  It is in these moments that I am wrenched back to the NICU, being able to watch him, to tell him that I love him, assure him that his daddy is here but rendered unable to do anything beyond that.

    The space between you and your child–whether physical or wrought through disagreement–will always be too large, too deep and too wide.

    As parents we always want to be there for our children, but sooner or later there will come the day when we cannot.  We have to let go, not of our love, but of our ability to be the same mothers and fathers we were when they were precious newborns.

    One day he will go off to college.  One day he will get married and have a family of his own. One day his physical and intellectual strength will surpass my own and he will no longer need me to care for him.  And, finally, one day I will die and the only care I provide for him that will continue will be that which has already been embedded in his heart.  My love will be the only lesson that remains.

    And it is that very last thing which gives me hope and comfort.  For while love endures, all else shall pass, all else shall fade into inconsequence and all else shall not cross over to the other side.  Letting go does not mean I am going anywhere but here.

    I miss you, my son. Daddy will always be here for you, even when my time on this earth has come to an end.


April 7, 2013

  • As life gets better, Xanga gets worse

    When I first started Xanga a common saying was that Xanga is cheaper than therapy.  It’s a great place to work through our psychopathology (it was actually fun for me to diagnose a lot of personality disorders years back through my subscriptions), but when life takes a turn for the better, Xanga activity tends to take a huge nosedive.  

    I guess that’s true, at least for me.  See below for my excuse.

    Hope you all are doing well! 

December 14, 2012

  • Love and immortality

    I worry about my son’s safety.  My wife and I often talk about our hopes for our son and above all, I wish that he will have a long life free of illness.  I would choose an average-in-the-eyes-of-the-world son with a long healthy life over having a brilliant prodigy who dies decades too soon every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  And as any parent, I worry about my child. 

    When I look back at my life, I am oft to tell my wife that I am amazed that I have managed to get this far without any major injuries.  When I was elementary school age I used to climb up and jump off the roof of my house for fun with nary an injury. I used to chase after footballs/baseballs/basketballs into the street without looking both ways for oncoming traffic.  As a teenager with poor swimming skills I ventured into the Hawaiian ocean on numerous occasions and ironically my two near drowning episodes happened in the pool, once with a friend and another during swimming lessons.

    We can control–to some extent–our own actions born of stupidity or naivete, but we cannot control the world around us.  Or its evil. 

    What if the 9/11 terrorists delayed their attack by several months?  I was flying in and out of NYC and Boston for interviews that December.  I used to live in Portland and have been by that mall in Oregon where the shooting took place this week.  What if my parents didn’t move us Connecticut to Hawaii as children?  Could I have had a child attending that school today that will be forever stained with a murderer’s blood?

    As a physician I can control my own actions when it comes to my patients. I know that I can do the best job that I can, but the rest is ultimately up to chance and providence.  As a parent, I have come to accept that I can do my best to protect my son but I cannot control the world, neither will I be here forever to shield him come what may.  I have to leave the rest up to chance and providence.

    But I can control how I love him.  My protection cannot remain after I am gone, but my love can.  The barriers I place between him and world will crumble after I am gone but my love will still be there to keep him warm, a love that passed from my father’s father to him, from my father to me, and now from myself to my son.

    The only thing stronger than mankind’s propensity for evil is the redeeming hope that comes from love, even in our darkest days, for while evil can be remembered in perpetuity, it does not and cannot endure in immortality.

    Like love.

    Blessings to you, my son.


November 12, 2012

  • David Lo Pan Style

    Big Trouble in Little China is my fave movie of all time, so when this guy made a parody of Ganganm Style with BTILC I almost died.  Especially when the haole guy deadpanned Jack Burton perfectly. And to top it off…homeboy who created this is originally from Hawaii.  IMUA!

October 26, 2012

  • Dadaroo?

    Like I told @jigg, the emasculation of the married man is now complete since momaroo decided to post my stuff (twice).  Maybe I’ll write about the pros and cons of bottle feeding next.  Ha!  Just kidding…thanks for the aloha, momaroo!

October 15, 2012

  • The Hot Dad

    There are four possible apices in every man’s life:

    • Hot Bachelor
    • Hot Husband
    • Hot Dad
    • Hot Cuddly Grandpa (because being a hot grandpa sounds creepy in a lecherous Woody Allen sort of way)

    I knew from early on–intermediate school, when I was assigned to play the tuba instead of the drums–that I would never attain hot bachelor status.  While not necessarily repugnant, I resigned myself to the arena of unrequited love filled with other members of the aesthetic middle class, and had to rely on other schemes in order to get a wahine to marry me.  In the rare occasion that she will talk about it, my wife will say that one of the things that made me stand out amongst a crowd of otherwise richer and handsome-er-er suitors was my writing (emails, no blogging back then).  And there have been times when my wife would point to me in mid-warble at karaoke and say to her friends, “this is why I married him!”  (While not Josh Groban, I can sell it pretty well.)  So in the end, not being the hot bachelor worked out.

    Hot husband?  While many women secretly fatten up their husbands so that they would be anathema to any succubus passing by, others want their husbands to be trophy hot, either to boost their self esteem or show the hand to their frenemies.  (The rest?  They love their husbands as they are!)  While my wife was neither, she did make a lot of, ahem, “improvements” by changing my wardrobe and pushing me to get more fit.  I never attained hot husband status as I was too lazy to put in enough work at the gym, but it was never a goal of mine.

    Now hot dad?  Double decka hecka yeah I want to be that.  (You can be sure when I see the Beckhams on TV I’m checking out Becks, not Posh.)  I remember a couple years back sitting on my fat okole in the Planet Hollywood mall eating an ice cream cone waiting for my wife when I saw this guy who looked like he was ripped off the cover of the Armani catalog with his ripped biceps, stylish clothes and 5 o’clock shadow…pushing a stroller.  I remember thinking, “duuuude, that guy is hot, I want to be him.”  And now that I really am a father?  Still want it.  Who wouldn’t?  As fathers, we all desire to be heroes to our sons.  (I’m not trying to be sexist and speak only of the father-son relationship, but I can’t write about daughters because I don’t have one…yet!)  We want them to look up at us, admire us, respect us, and–whether we like to admit it or not–become just like us one day (or better than us, if you’re a tiger parent).  This is why we help them with their homework, lecture them on the physics of shooting a basketball and everything else that being a father calls for.

    The problem that is engendered with this panacea of parenthood is that in the effort to be the Batman to our little Robin, we cultivate an aura of infallibility, an impenetrable barrier of patriarchal hubris.  You see, the issue with being on the cover of a fashion magazine is that there is no room for imperfection.  Your hair must be impeccable.  Your clothes immaculate. Your face sans wrinkles.  Everything short of perfection is airbrushed away.

    One of my pet peeves of the parent-child relationship is when parents are wrong but airbrush it away by saying, “it doesn’t matter whether I am wrong or not, I am your father, so whatever I say is right.”  I would never use that kind of reasoning with my wife or anyone at work who takes orders from myself.  So if we do not operate this way with other adults, why should we model this type of behavior to our children?  The first lesson we teach our children about love is that we love them dearly despite imperfection, because that is the only way to love someone.  And I think a good way to start that lesson is by acknowledging that we are imperfect ourselves.  That way we can grow together instead of apart.  That way he can confide in me because everywhere he is at, I have already been.

    I want to be a hot dad.  Who doesn’t?   But hot in a way that means my son can use me not only as a role model for health, fitness and academics, but also as a role model who is humble, gracious and capable of recognizing and asking for forgiveness when he is wrong.  I want him to know that it is okay to admit failure, because that is the only way you can come back and kick said failure in the okole the next time around.  I want to be a hero to my son.  But I want him to know that it’s okay for your heroes to bleed and that we will bleed together, as long as God grants me whatever blessed time we have together on this earth.

October 2, 2012

  • Live Forever

    The older I get, the more I yearn for the music of my youth.  So recently I’ve been playing a lot of the melancholious Brit invasion (nineties version) and eighties cheese on my iPod and youtubing real hip hop (Mobb Deep, old Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, KRS-One) instead of tuning into the manufactured, aural Jevity that masquerades as radio these days.  Now I know what the hippies felt like during the Reagan Administration when they were reminiscing about the seventies, although I would say that my recollection of my own respective era is still lucid and not clouded by too many brownies and bad trips.  (And for those of you born after MTV, no, I’m not talking about Duncan Hines or staying at a hotel that doesn’t have WiFi.)  And I never had to cut my hair just to get a job.


    So one of the common themes is this notion of living forever, usually as part of an undeliverable promise delivered in ode form by a paramour to his wouldbe courtesan.  Think “Live Forever” by Oasis and “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera.  Can we live forever?  Of course not (at least not in the forms that we currently inhabit).  So I always chalked it up to all the other empty promises that boys who love girls who don’t love them back make.  But now that I’m a father, I’m starting to think that maybe those shaggy haired dudes were right after all.

    Any old time readers (HOLLA at yo boy!) know that I started this blog years ago to help navigate my existential morass after my dad died and to this day I still miss him terribly.  But as time goes by I find myself acting more like him in mannerisms and catch myself mouthing off the same neologisms and truisms.  Recently I have taken to telling my wife, “we made a beautiful boy!” every time I watch him sleep or smile back at me.  I was telling her the other day that our son is the flesh-and-blood manifestation of our marriage, the only thing in this world that is truly half her and half me.  I tell him in words he cannot understand yet that everything I have worked for in this life is now in him.  And in the same way I realized that all my parents’ hopes, dreams, toils and victories are in me.  Though my father has passed on, part of him is still alive in me when I look in the mirror and in the way I live my life.

    My wife often asks what my hopes are for my son.  Initially I would give the usual Tiger Parent answers but have recently changed my tune.  If my son has Jeremy Lin basketball skills, drop dead gorgeous looks (certainly not from me), is at least 6′ tall (certainly from me) and changes the world, great.  But what I really hope is for him to be healthy and above all else to be a good man who loves his family, like the man my father was and the man that I am trying to be. 

    All fathers think that their son is the smartest, most handsome boy in the world.  We cannot all be right, but we are right for our sons.  You do not love your son so he will love you back.  You love him so he will love his own son in the future.  That is how we live forever.


    Little Man is 100 days old now!  (Pic is a couple weeks old.)


July 13, 2012

  • The Poopie Monster!

    I don’t know exactly when the OCD trait-afflicted side of me wrenched itself into existence, like the Eng to my scatological Chang (Chang and Eng were real American heroes…these two dudes were not handsome, were born as siamese twins in the era before Asian men were considered sexy by society at large–still waiting for that to happen, by the way–and they still managed to score two white girls!  *fist pump with a hai-yah karate chop in yoface, Rosie O’Donnell*) but Eng definitley rules the roost now.


    Like most pre-millenial children I grew up rolling around in the mud, digging for gold in my nostrils and on many a sunny afternoon playing in the yard quenching my thirst with the garden hose.  Heck, even in the lost year between college and medical school I worked as a colonoscopy tech, which for those of you not in the medical field means that I spent a year cleaning equipment that was shoved up the bungholios of people over the age of fifty.  (Which is why I never had much sympathy for Occupy Wall Street.  If I can humble myself after graduating to earn a living cleaning up other people’s poop, so can you.  Sing it with me…You down with OPP?  Yeah, you know me!)  


    But during medical school someone flipped the switch and I became deathly afraid of cooties.  So much so that so that to this day I wash my hands twice after making it rain and thrice after making it thunder.  If I had to hazard a guess the blame perhaps would lie in my surgery rotation, where the intern, resident, chief resident and attending would always remind me in succession to scrub very well with that betadine-ish stuff before going to the operating room or else I would be responsible for killing the patient.  Which seemed kind of overkill versus regular soap, because after scrubbing you would rinse off with water that was not sterile (perhaps one of my surgical friends can explain that to me).  Despite this I was gangbuster gunning for a GI fellowship until someone asked, “Frank, would you rather touch poop or urine?  Do you want to spend the rest of your life being an anal dentist?” 




    Since then I have been poop-phobic.  I do not mind urine.  But get someone else’s poop on me and it would take the likes of Masahiko Kimura to hold me back from using an S.O.S. pad on myself.  Life, as anyone old enough to remember Reagan’s comforting voice would know, is not without a sense of humor, cruel irony, or a female dog named karma.  My wife, you see, gave birth to The Poopie Monster.  It is all poop, all day, baby.  As any of you parental units or former babysitters would know, it is virtually impossible to maintain a sterile field when changing them.  Cross-contamination is unavoidable. The worst is when some part of your face itches mid-diaper change.  Scratch and you get poopie cooties on your face. 


    Which brings us back to Chang and Eng again.  (You thought I couldn’t bring it back around, huh, O ye of little faith?)  Obviously these dudes were not the respective versions of Tom Brady and Clint Eastwood in nascent America but they found partners who loved them for who they were.  Those of us who are fathers with sons fantasize that they will grow up to be Tom or Clint, expecting all the great highs without wanting to deal with the lows. Watching your son grow, eat, sleep on your shoulder and smile are wonderful parts of fatherhood, but you still have to clean up the poopie every few hours.  Likewise, as the years progress I will relish in his accomplishments but I am sure there will be an equal amount of poopie in the form of suboptimal behavior that I will have to clean up.  


    But you know what? That is okay.  Fatherhood, The Poopie Monster has taught me, is not about liking this or that.  It is about loving your son.  Poopie and all.