Monday, March 26, 2007

Another scoop?

So, my mom told me last week that a piece of mail came for me back home in Sunnyvale from...drum roll please...Dreyer's Ice Cream! They sent the same letter as last year more or less inviting me or any of my friends and family to enter to win one of 1,500 prizes for a neighbhorhood ice cream party. Should I try to be three for three? Should I crush the Slow Churned Rocky Road dreams of some 7-year-old?

Honestly, I'm starting to think there is no real competitive element. It's probably like a "Simpsons" episode and there are people in suits in some back room of Dreyer's corporate office talking in nasally voices, going "Hey Harry, who else can we send this genetic ice cream--possibly seasoned with radioactive substances--and get some feedback for marketing while we're at it." And really, do I need 12 gallons of ice cream? On the other certainly wouldn't hurt to be able to offer it to my neighbors--back home in Sunnyvale--again. Oh, the agony of deciding!

Hmmm...if I were to win and hold a party again, how could I top the fire department showing up--with two engines! Maybe I should just make my cousin's 8-year-old daughter enter and I'll just "proofread" what she writes. Oh well, I got time to decide.

Speaking of ice cream, I believe April 17 is the day Ben & Jerry's gives out free ice cream. Don't know if Baskin Robbins still does it. OK, I know way too much. Maybe if the journalism thing doesn't work out, I should go to Dreyer's and plead for a job.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chinese parents and boys' names

I am really trying hard not to come across as stereotyping. So, I'll just say I have noticed a trend, if you will, of Chinese parents picking really offbeat names for sons. Am I the only who wonders about this? It's like they are worried about the ramifications of saddling their baby boys with ethnic, hard-to-pronounce names. So, they go and choose what they think are "American" names but they're names I've never heard of before that instance. Some examples:

-When I was 5, I had to go to Chinese dance class every Saturday. There were three boys in the teen class: Tedman, Wyman (they were brothers) and Waymond. Nothing against these guys. In fact, Waymond went on to become a doctor and was a big help a few years ago when I had an eyebrow waxing gone terribly, terribly wrong.

-When I was 10, I went to a Fourth of July bbq at my aunt's house. I met these 16-year-old twin boys. One was named Evers. I'd never heard of that name. Still you can't really go wrong or right there. I don't think anything goes that well with the last name Ding.

-Michelle Kwan's personal physician: Leisure Yu

-UC Berkeley law professor I once saw being interviewed on the news: Goodwin Liu

-A well-renowned ASU professor in real estate: Crocker Liu

-Johnson. Need I say more?

-When I moved out here to Phoenix, I met a bunch of distant third cousins including my cousin, Manton.

-The most recent example: Last week, I got someone else's mail in my mail box. Yesterday, when I got home, I saw the postal woman, who happened to be Asian. I saw an opportunity to get rid of this misplaced letter. This is how our conversation went after I handed it to her:

"Excuse me, this isn't mine."
"This isn't yours?"
"My box is 219. This says #321."
"But you are the only one here with the last name Tang."
"Well, that isn't mine."
"Are you sure it's not yours?"
"My name is not Roosevelt!"

I should have pointed out that my name is the name that's on the five other pieces of mail she stuck in my box the last few days.

Well, I suppose what's important is names don't matter to the guys themselves. Would a Crocker or a Leisure by any other name get pestered less to clean his rice bowl and find a good wife?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A what festival?!

What do pigs and Rick Springfield have in common? ... They were both at the Chandler Ostrich Festival which is where I spent my Saturday evening. (If this were a news article, that would be one lousy lead-in) And it turned into a day of firsts--the first time I heard "Jesse's Girl" live and the first time I ate an ostrich burger. Not bad. Juicy.

The suburb of Chandler, which is just 20 minutes away from central Phoenix, drew a pretty big crowd for this festival. A new friend/acquaintance of mine, Lauren, suggested we check it out. We made it for the 5pm ostrich races. I didn't realize there were people out there who practiced being "jockeys" on these 400-pound birds. Just like horse racing, you have to weigh under a certain weight to ride these creatures.

Needless to say, the whole event was very offbeat. First off, everyone affiliated with the company that travels with the ostriches, emus and pigs sounded like they just stepped out of an episode of "Beverly Hillbillies." The races were pretty funny to watch--as you can tell from the picture below. All the ostriches had cheesy names like "Love Bird" and "Dixie Chick" (whose jockey made a very bad joke about how everyone wants to ride a Dixie Chick). Between races, they had kid volunteers come out and chase emus and chickens around the track. The last race was a camel race. Don't know if you can tell from the picture below, but they had the camel jockeys dress like Arab sheiks and gave the jockeys stupid, un-PC names. One of the jockeys was actually called Mohammed. Oh no they didn't!

Lauren was a good sport and consented to hanging out for Rick Springfield to play at the main stage at 8:30 p.m. I think I was 4 at the height of his 1980s teen idolatry. Still, he's a part of pop culture. And I can't resist pop culture. The man is still pretty good looking 20 years later. And he knows how to work a crowd. But seriously, how did the city of Chandler get him to come? How do you craft a written plea to someone asking them to play an ostrich festival? "Dear Mr. Springfield, We think you would be a great name to put on our talent marquee at the Chandler Ostrich Festival. " I'm sure he thought it would be quite the feather in his cap. Apologies for the bad joke.

Overall, I had a very quirky weekend, which is way better than a boring one. I had forgotten what it's like to hang out one-on-one with someone--who is a girl. I can socialize with people pretty easily, but changing them from acquaintances to friends, that's a hard step. Here's hoping there are more in the future--but perhaps not involving exotic animals.