the ongoing middle school saga

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Well, I just got back from the principal’s office at my oldest son’s middle school. Apparently my son’s classmate (let’s call him “J”) didn’t get the “message” the last go-round about taunting and physically abusing my son. “J” was at it again but this time he used a “plastic notebook divider” to scratch my son in the neck. WTF??? My son was simply minding his own business and this kid comes behind him to “cut him”. My son reacted by pushing him away which then made “J” shove back even harder. By that time, the math teacher noticed what was going on and sorted things out. The teacher told us that “J” was being dealt with but of course due to “policy” we can’t be told in what manner. Not satisfied with the lackluster response to my son’s situation, the wife and I went and spoke to the principal directly this morning about “J” and to be reassured that these things won’t happen again. I mean, who’s to say that the kid won’t have a razor in his hand the next time he comes at my son? Of course, the principal and assistant principal had tons of excuses and were skirting the issues but we had to stand our ground and make it clear that this sort of behavior should call for something more than a “slap on the wrist”. Obviously “J” feels he can still get away with harrassing my son even after previously being “talked to” by the school counselor and other staff members. Nothing’s getting through to this kid. We demanded that “J” be placed out of my son’s classes. The principal’s response was to offer to place OUR SON out of the classes shared with “J”. OK, again, WTF? Why should our son be forced to switch HIS schedule around when he DID NOTHING wrong??? Why do they not want to “inconvenience” this other boy instead? Is it because “J” is white and wealthy and our son is *asian*??? Do you think that if the tables were turned, our son would get the same amount of chances this white boy got? I made it clear to them that moving OUR SON would send the WRONG message to J and others like him. It would make it seem that the bully ultimately won and he ran the “weaker” one out of the class. That’s just “enabling” the bully even more. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this but then why would the principal want us to do this?? That’s just screwed up and I told them that. If a kid needs to be moved out of the class, it’s “J” that needs to suffer the consequences. How dare they ask us to roll over and take it up the ass??

Kimya Dawson - Alphabutt

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I recently found the most annoying children’s album. It’s Kimya Dawson’s Alphabutt. Yes, this is the same Kimya Dawson that was featured on the Juno soundtrack. If you’re familiar with any of her work then Dawson releasing a children’s album would come as no surprise. Her simple chord progressions and cute/funny lyrics are tailor-made for kids music. But after listening to her new album, I’ve decide to ban it from the family minivan. Yes, it’s a kids’ album but Dawson unwisely chose to include a slew of fart jokes, a reference to pubic hair and the word “sucks” on this album. Oh and the words “poop” and “pee-pee” come up a lot as well. As a parent, I’m trying to teach my kids to refrain from saying stuff like “poop” and “sucks” so to listen to those words in song is a big no-no in my book. Dawson is known for recording her songs at home in rough form and Alphabutt is no exception. The songs are very “demo-ish” with minimal instrumentation and almost seem off-the-cuff. To compound the annoyance factor, Dawson included some obnoxious sounding kids that sound like rejects from those god-awful Kidz Bop recordings. So with the combination of the lo-fi recording techniques, primative chord progressions and kids singing off-key, there isn’t a lot of replay value here. Well, unless you have a need to annoy the fellow passengers in your car. And now that I think about it, the album could be pretty effective as some sort of aural torture device.

Alphabutt Track List:
1 Little Monster Babies (Dawson) 1:27
2 Alphabutt (Carmer, Dawson) 0:55
3 Bobby-O (Carmer, Dawson) 1:50
4 Louie (Dawson) 2:25
5 Smoothie (Dawson) 2:13
6 I Like Bears (Dawson) 1:09
7 Seven Hungry Tigers (Dawson) 1:59
8 Happy Home (Keep on Writing) (Dawson) 3:34
9 Wiggle My Tooth (Shea) 1:37
10 I Love You Sweet Baby (Dawson) 2:02
11 Pee-Pee in the Potty (Dawson) 0:29
12 Uncle Hukee’s House (Dawson) 0:54
13 We’re All Animals (Dawson) 2:22
14 Little Panda Bear (Dawson) 1:00
15 Sunbeams and Some Beans (Dawson) 3:45

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How to get things done… Part II

ramblings 2 Comments »

Here’s an update on our middle school issues for those that are keeping track. The 6th grade counselor spoke to the “head offender” as well as his parents. Due to confidentiality, we weren’t told exactly what was said, only the fact that she had spoke to them. The counselor will be speaking to the other boys as well. She also had a meeting with our son the other day (with my wife sitting in) to help him understand the issues and how to better identify those types of situations and avoid them if possible. The principal also made a schoolwide announcement reminding students the school policy on bullying and racial intolerance. So far, so good. Our son’s overall demeanor has improved dramatically in the last week so it’s obvious now that this was deeply affecting him emotionally for the last couple weeks. I’m so glad we were able to help our son’s situation. Hopefully there won’t be any more incidents like this to deal with but I suppose that’s just wishful thinking…

how to get things done…

ramblings 3 Comments »

my wife stormed into the principal’s office this morning demanding that she be heard. She has been fuming all weekend over my son having to deal with ignorant kids every day at school. Tired of getting no where over the phone and through email, she stomped over to the school and had long discussions with the principal, the vice principal and the 6th grade counselor. Take it from me, you DON’T want to ever mess with my wife. She definitely doesn’t take shit from anybody. man, I’m so proud of her. :)

White Man

music, ramblings 3 Comments »

As a follow up to my previous post, I’d like to add that we did indeed contact the school about our son’s situation. The wife and I weren’t really impressed with the response we got from his teacher. We got the feeling that he thought that we’re overreacting or something. But what do you expect from a white man? Obviously the white staff members will “protect” their own and not reprimand the boys. But we’re not going to let this go. We will continue to monitor our boy’s situation very closely from now on. They better watch it because the haters will get what’s coming to them, mark my words.

God is not a man, God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud
God cannot be bought, God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone

God is not a man, God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag, not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President
Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love

Yeah, I say God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
Stop the hating, please just stop the hating now cause God is love

White Man written by Michael Gungor and Lisa Gungor
from the album Ancient Skies by the Michael Gungor Band

how dare they target my son just for being asian? As you can see from this song, “racists” aren’t included in the list of the ones God loves. God ain’t got love for racists who hate on asians. :P
Hear me now, I’m going against the asian stereotype and no longer will be SILENT!
As Billy Joel always says at his shows - I ain’t taking shit from nobody.

oh to be like Ken and Barbie

ramblings 3 Comments »

I was a bit disheartened to learn that my son is having issues with some other kids at his middle school. my son is doing pretty well in his classes which I’m very pleased about but he has been telling me lately that he’s being targeted by other classmates because of his race. As a parent, I want to somehow shield and protect my child from ignorant racists that want to intimidate and belittle kids that don’t look and have the same skin color as they do. WTF??? This is 2008 for pete’s sake! Have we not progressed any as a society? I remember being picked on when I was little because of being asian but that was SO long ago. and now MY kids are going through the same issues after all this time. Yes, I know how the world works but these young kids don’t deserve to be exposed to this type of discrimination. I want my kids to feel good about themselves and be proud of who they are but how can they when they are treated like an outsider all the time? an outcast. Should we ALL feel inferior because we don’t have blue eyes and blond hair??? How can I, as a parent, teach my kids to have self confidence and self respect when they’re reminded on a daily basis that they can’t be a part of the rest of group because of how they look. it’s sad, sad, sad. I don’t want my kids to feel ashamed of being asian. They should feel proud of their heritage. But around here, it’s like being “E.T.” in a world full of Ken and Barbie dolls. you know what’s even worse? It doesn’t end at school. It’s everywhere. I’m reminded constantly that I’m ASIAN and not WHITE where ever I go. It’s like I’m wearing the scarlet letter or something. at work, at the shopping mall, my neighborhood, my so-called friends and even at church (well, OK my former church) - they all won’t let me forget that I’m NOT white.

order checks online

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Like most people nowadays, I’m constantly looking for ways to save money. Every expense is scrutinized and evaluated. You pretty much HAVE to with our economy the way it is. Nothing is for certain in this stage of the game - employment, the value of our home, fuel prices, our savings can all change in the blink of an eye. So basically, every penny counts. It may sound overly trivial but that’s what it has come down to. I’ve switched providers, canceled subscriptions, limited our eating out and even changed where we purchase our personal checks. I normally purchase the standard line of checks directly through our bank but I’ve realized that I can simply Order checks online for a whole lot cheaper. The leading online supplier of customized printed products, VistaPrint, offers 150 custom printed checks starting at $9.99. That’s almost half of what I normally pay at the bank. Not only that but with coupon code: checks25 I can save an additional 25% off of my purchase. VistaPrint is a trusted online printing service that has served over 15 million customers worldwide and utilizes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to keep all customer information safe and secure. It’s high time to get smart with your money. Save money by purchasing check through VistaPrint.

driving music

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Like a lot of drivers nowadays, I have one of those five-disc CD changers in my car. Since my motorized antenna is malfunctioning, I refrain from listening to the radio on my drive to and from work or risk having a dead battery the next time I try to start my car. Apparently the motorized antenna drains the battery as it grinds away non-stop when the radio is on. But if I listen to JUST my CD player instead of the car radio, the antenna doesn’t get activated so I avoid any problems stemming from it. So anyway, I left my the five-disc cartridge insert at home so I wasn’t able to listen to any tunes today during my drive time. and that’s a big no-no in my book. I use music to drown out all those nagging thoughts that I try hard to avoid dealing with. you know, thoughts about the family finances, bills, deadlines at work, the honey-do list, my oldest son’s upcoming project that’s due this week, the downward spiral that is our economy, the wall street bailout, the dismal job market, my career, the looming layoffs and on and on and on. So, as you can see, it’s better all around to just blissfully listen to music and not think about all of this. Therefore, never again will I forget to bring along the multi-disc cartridge insert when I heading for work!

save on eyeglasses

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I recently had my yearly eye exam and once again, my prescription has changed. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be practically blind by the time I’m fifty. I like my optometrist and respect his expertise but the part of my visit that I loathe the most is going through their eye glasses department. I understand that they are running a business and need their patients to purchase their eyeglasses at their office but I hate their high pressure sales tactics. Their pushy sales staff is a huge blemish on an otherwise nice optometrist’s office. I had a difficult time getting out of there without updating my frames and lenses. What they don’t know is that I get my prescription glasses from Zenni Optical. They’re a well respected online optical retailer that offer stylish frames and prescription lenses at discount prices. Zenni manufactures their own brand of frames so the cost savings go directly to the customer since there’s no middleman to deal with. They’ve got a huge selection with a variety of different styles to choose from. Their eyeglasses are such a great deal even trusted consumer advocate Clark Howard uses them. So if you want to stop paying premium prices for your glasses, check out Zenni Optical today.

dinner for two

it's all about me!!, Family Talk 1 Comment »

After enduring a long and rough week, the wife and I had the rare opportunity to go out and enjoy dinner together without the kids. I can’t even remember the last time we did that. anyway, we kept it simple and just went to a fairly new sushi place in our neighborhood. The restaurant was relatively empty for a saturday night so my guess is that the place won’t be open for long. Another factor that may contribute to their demise is that their food wasn’t all that impressive. But who knows? I’ve been proven wrong numerous times before so maybe they’ll be sticking around for the long haul. And that’s all well and good since we do need the variety in the types of places to eat around here. But another thing that clued us in on the *quality* of the food there was the fact that we were the only asian customers having dinner there at the time. It’s definitely not a good indicator for a japanese-fusion restaurant. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the dinner out. As parents of little boys, we’re always thankful whenever we’re able to sit and share a meal together in peace and quiet.

finally jumped on the skype bandwagon

ramblings 1 Comment »

Here in the DLee household, we’ve been without a landline for almost two years now. yup, that’s right, we’re relying solely on cell service. It can get a bit inconvenient at times but for the most part we’ve been pretty happy with the decision. I’m not sure of the statistics but my guess is that more and more folks are doing the same. The only major snag we’ve hit so far is going over our allotted wireless minutes every now and again. and I want to do what I can to prevent that from happening especially after seeing the inflated rates the cell phone provider charges when going over. So this past weekend, I finally decided to install skype on our computer in order to reduce the amount of minutes we’re using on our cell plan. Like most folks, I’ve heard tons of things about skype over the years but never looked into the service since we really didn’t have a need for it. But after trying it out over the last couple days, I’m kicking myself for not signing up for it sooner. Initially I was worried about sound quality but after purchasing a new headset/mic combo, it seems to work great. I’m currently signed up for “skype-out” for 2.95 a month so that we can make unlimited calls to other landlines and mobile phones within the U.S. I haven’t sign up for a “skype phone number” yet, so it’s currently set up to display our cell phone number whenever I call out. For the next month or so, I’m going to watch and see if this helps our family keep within our monthly cell phone minutes. For those of you that use skype, feel free to let me know your thoughts on the service and any tips/tricks/pros/cons that you’ve personally encountered.

up late doing homework..

ramblings, Family Talk 5 Comments »

We stayed up late last night helping our sixth grader finish up a project that’s due today. I warned my son earlier in the week not to wait until the last minute but apparently he has inherited my ability to procrastinate like the dickens. I guess I can’t blame the kid since I’m the king of all procrastinators but it would be nice if he could nip this habit in the bud before it’s too late. As with most parents, we want to see our children succeed in school so we couldn’t just allow him to do a half-assed job on the project. So last night, we sat around the kitchen table and helped him complete his project until a little past midnight. This is not a good way to start off his school year. I’m all for helping kids with their school work but I’m NOT going to spend the whole night DOING the work for them!!

time to get fit!

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

As I have already mentioned in my previous post, I recently had another birthday and what I’ve realized is that it’s no longer a festive, celebratory occasion but more of a bleak reminder that our youthful, carefree days are long gone. One thing that has become more and more apparent is that I need to be more mindful of what I do and what I put in my body. As we age, our bodies aren’t as resilient or forgiving as they once were back when we were younger. So essentially, I have to be more conscious of what I eat and also make the effort to put in the time to keep my body fit. Every time I eat pizza or cheeseburgers and fries with the kids, I always end up feeling bloated, sluggish and tired. My waistline seems to want to expand to coincide with my numeric age which is most definitely not something I’d like to see. Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of exercise programs to try to keep myself fit but I always seem to lose interest. I can’t seem to get beyond the monotony and the discipline required to keep up with an exercise regimen. But I recently came across a new workout program called XFLOWSION that may keep my interest this time around. It uniquely combines movements from power yoga, dance and martial arts to keep things fun and fresh. The nice thing about XFLOWSION™ is that you can follow the routines in the privacy of your own home. The DVDs feature celebrity trainer Eric Paskel who has crafted a workout that challenges you as well as keeps you entertained with its variety of constantly shifting moves that are designed for maximum fat burning and muscle toning potential. It’s probably the best looking and best sounding exercise DVD I’ve seen featuring great music performed by a live band and tasteful visual direction all filmed in high definition.
Yes, I recognize the fact that I’m middle-aged but that doesn’t mean that I have to look it. I’m not going down without a fight. I’m getting fit with XFLOWSION™!!

just another humdrum birthday

it's all about me!!, Family Talk 1 Comment »

In keeping with a long standing tradition, I took the day off on my birthday this past friday. I mean, who in their right mind would want to work on their own birthday, right? Well, instead of relaxing the day away, I unfortunately spent the bulk of it getting frustrated over setting up a new wireless-N router I received as a birthday present. I don’t know about you but whenever I’m in a situation where it’s not going quite my way, I get all worked up and become overly consumed in finding a way to make it right. For some reason, my old wireless-G adapter on my laptop wouldn’t connect securely with the new router. It’d work when the router is unrestricted but under WEP or WPA, it was a no-go. I was pulling my hair out, going through all the various settings trying to pin point where the problem was. If it wasn’t for my wife, I probably would have sat in front of the router and laptop for the WHOLE day until I got the darn thing working. Thankfully the wife pulled me away to get me to enjoy a nice meal at our favorite local korean restaurant. we then took our little one to the bookstore to stock up on some new books to read. As usual, the little one can’t help but stop at the train table to have a play with Thomas the Tank Engine.
the little one at the bookstore
And the day ended with me taking our middle child to soccer practice. while I was out with our future soccer star, our oldest went to his first school dance. No, he didn’t have a “date” or anything but went with some friends of his. Afterward, he told us that he had a blast. when asked what they did, he basically said that they ate candy, drank some soft drinks and just hung out. I guess, there wasn’t much dancing at the sixth grade dance. at least he had fun, right?
hanging out at the soccer field
As for the wireless router- I finally got everything working today (saturday). I never got my G adapter to work (in WPA mode) with the N router so I ended up purchasing a new wireless N adapter card for my laptop which pretty much solved everything.

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