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Year of the Pig

faijin.jpgDim Sum is a Cantonese term loosely translated as "touch the heart," although it’s possibly derived from the phrase yat dim sum yi, meaning “little token”. With that in mind, here’s another little token. A bite size morsel of flash, served up over at Fictional Musings. It’s entitled Year of the Pig.

If you enjoy it, let me know. If not, send it back to the kitchen and we'll fix you a grilled cheese sandwich or something.


Amazon is watching you

sexyknits.jpgAll right. Who hijacked my account? Raise your hand. If you’d like to slip me a note after class I promise I won’t tell.

Because much to my surprise I found this under my "Your Store" section––Sexy Little Knits: Chic Designs to Knit and Crochet.

Along with Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (okay), In Cold Blood (a little Truman, okay), The Opposite of Fate, (Amy Tan, thanks, that works). But Sexy Little Knits?

I do love Amazon. Not as cozy as a real, honest-to-goodness analog bookstore with overstuffed chairs and WiFi––but in a pinch, it works.

What truly wrinkles my dust jacket though, are the cookie-fed books Amazon somehow manages to recommend to me. Usually they're at least on the grid of my, albeit somewhat strange, personal tastes. But in what concentric circle of Dante’s Database Hell did they pair me up with bikini crocheting?

Maybe Amazon is right. The cover photo does make me want to riffle through its pages like the naughty little paperback it is.
And what strange picks are lurking in your Amazon store?


The literary country club

2006 Sewanee Writers' Conference attendees are welcomed to the club.
Conference season is upon us. I see folks blogging about the Backspace Writers’ Conference, Sleuthfest, Bouchercon et al, and I was wondering—what about those other writers’ conferences? The ones where you apply to attend, submitting manuscripts and paying reading fees. Like rushing a frat or sorority, minus the togas and keg-stands.

The ones that come to mind are the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Squaw Valley Writers' Conference with Amy Tan. Heck, even Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp requires approval of work before you get beyond the velvet rope. (The first page of a short story).

The question is, have you applied to one of the aforementioned? Would you? If not, why? The cost is an obvious barrier I’m sure— ranging from $725-$1500. Not including travel expenses, meals, bottles of Courvoisier, ascot dry-cleaning, Botox injections, hookers, bail bonds, etc.

I’ve taken come-as-you-are screenwriting classes and it’s always been a mixed bag. Enthusiasm and wide-eyed wonder abound, but the peeps tend to be a stewpot of twitchy upstarts, bored dreamers, bitter hacks, and the venerated, talented few, of which I aspire to become. So is the bar truly that much higher at Squaw Valley? I hope so. Or is it like that Woody Allen quote? You know the one.


I used to be Chinese

ais.jpgI found my old college ID today. My first thought was "holy crap, I need to call the Hair Club for Men!" My second thought––was that I used to be Chinese. I’m not sure I am anymore.

My dad, George William Ford Jr.—was 100% Chinese. And despite the Western name (long story), he spoke fluent Cantonese. My mom on the other hand was Betty Crocker white. So I have a lot in common with Mr. Spock. We’re both half-breeds sporting bad haircuts. (There’s that hair thing again––calling Dr. Freud).

Growing up, there was no mistaking it. I was that one ethnic looking kid in all my class photos. I remember kids asking me things like "do you celebrate Christmas?" No, but Pearl Harbor Day is quite festive.

And when I graduated from the largest high school in Washington State, of the 400+ grads, there were only about ten of us that knew our way around a set of chopsticks. It was so bad that people on occasion mistook me for my good friend Rey. Keep in mind, I’m half-Chinese. Rey was Hawaiian/Filipino, six inches shorter, thirty pounds heavier and sported a mustache. Yup, aside from that it was like looking in a mirror.

I grew up in your typical Chinese-American home. We had decorative Buddhas all over the place, Chinese prints, Asian lamps and furniture. My dad ran a Chinese restaurant and taught martial arts on the side. If you ever go to an "authentic" Chinese restaurant, where the cashier is the only one who speaks broken "Chinglish", where little kids run around like they live there––that was me.

But now that I’m exploring adulthood I’ve realized how American I’ve become. My wife is blond (usually, shhhh, don’t tell). And except for my daughter Madi, who has Asian eyes so beautiful they could stop traffic, the rest of my family looks pretty much like their last name could be Von Yorgesbergerstein. Or simply, Ford.

With that in mind, I’m nourishing my roots through my work. You can catch a glimpse of it at Tribe’s Flashing in the Gutters.

There’s a little ditty entitled Dim Sum. Let me know what you think.