27 March 2009


Forgive me for being remiss in not mentioning this in a more timely manner.

Congratulations to Japan for winning the World Baseball Classic.

And Korea, congrats for taking second. We'll get 'em next time.

26 March 2009

B&B Weekend Getaway Giveaway

Not all of my friends followed me from LJ to here.

So here's a little something for those of you who read me here. Check out the Bed & Breakfast Weekend Getaway Giveaway over here. And while you're there, go check out the Lamb Cam!

23 March 2009

From Ria and Jean

I think this one fits me quite well... at least I HOPE it does.

Your Word is "Peace"

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone was safe, happy, and taken care of.

Social justice, human rights, and peace for all nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.

Another meme

Your result for The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test...


You scored 54% Organization, 80% abstract, and 54% extroverted!

This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are mostly organized, more abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

Most people either love or hate Elmo. I hope you love Elmo, because that's who you are.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Elmo has the same basic approach. His place is pretty tidy, but he doesn't spend all of his time cleaning it up.

You both are abstract thinkers. You definitely are not afraid to take chances in life. You only live once. You may notice others around you playing it safe, but you are more concerned with not compromising your desires, and getting everything you can out of life. This is a very romantic approach to life, but hopefully you are also grounded enough to get by. Elmo's whole life is based on fantasy and his imagination. In the beginning he was a regular character, but now he spends most of his time in this fantasy world.

You are both somewhat extroverts. Like Elmo, you probably like to have some time to yourself, but you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations. Elmo spends some of his time with real friends, but he also needs some time just to chat it up with his goldfish.

Take The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test
at HelloQuizzy

22 March 2009

Guess I need another internet handle...

My last couple of posts have been rather Serious, so I thought I'd throw in a meme.

Your result for The New Greek Goddess Archetype Test...

You are Artemis!

The Goddess of the Hunt, Animals, and the Young

Artemis is driven to succeed, thriving in adventurous or unique situations. She sets her goals, and her ambition, determination, and perseverance lets her achieve them. Her competition sometimes intimidates others, but she is also widely admired. She is healthy, independent, believes in feminism, and needs little help to go after what she wants. On the other hand, she can be rebellious and isolate herself from relationships and emotions.

Take The New Greek Goddess Archetype Test
at HelloQuizzy

Q&A: Part III

This question came from Naomi: [E]laborate on your feelings about international adoption.

Answer: This question was the toughest because my feelings on this topic are still evolving. It finally dawned on me that if I waited until my feelings were solidified, I'd never be able to draft an answer. And that's kind of the wonder of things, right? Being able to evolve, change, have an open mind, shift, etc.

For purposes of this discussion, I am going to the definition of "international adoption" to adoptions that are both international and transracial. That is, adoptions in which the adoptive parents and the adoptee are from different countries and are of different race/ethnicities.

If you had asked me this question two years ago, I'd have said that I am absolutely, steadfastly, resolutely against international, transracial adoption. However, as I suspected might happen, the pendulum is slowly but surely swinging a bit.

Let me first explain why I was so against international adoption. (Btw, sit back and get some popcorn, this will be a long one.) I have to admit that I hadn't ever put a lot of thought into it. Then I got connected to a woman named Kristi who was doing her Ph.D. dissertation on Korean-American adoption. I didn't think I'd have a lot to contribute to her work, but I thought I'd do an interview with her.

I found out that I had a lot more to say than I thought I did, probably due to her expertise in asking questions that got right to the heart of the matter. I really liked Kristi, and she and I ended up hanging out after that. My first realisation that I had Feelings about this was when I went with Kristi to a Holt meeting. Holt is one of the major Korean-American adoption agencies. I had to leave in the middle of their presentation to go to the bathroom to cry. At the time I didn't really understand what these feelings meant, so I started to explore them.

My biggest issues with international adoption are: (1) it commodifies children, and (2) adoption agencies don't force the adoptive parents to confront their racial/ethnic attitudes, stereotypes, etc.

There's really no way to get around it. International adoption is a huge market. The governments of both the sending and receiving country benefit financially, as does the adoption agency. One of the most memorable quotes from Kristi's dissertation is when one parent talked about the two children she'd adopted: We went to [the sending country] to get the first one, but we had the second one delivered.

I could go on ad nauseum about the issue of the commodification of children, but I trust that my readers will understand. If not, feel free to comment and I can discuss this more in a future issue.

The second issue. I can't tell you how many times people assume that my adoptive parents must not be racist since they adopted a child of another race/ethnicity. Apparently, adoption agencies assume the same thing. Kristi's work does a MUCH better job at delving into this topic than I do, but I'll try since I don't plan on writing a dissertation on this (ha ha).

I should preface all of this by saying that I believe in a continuum of racism. I believe that all persons have some racist attitudes. Some people do a much better job than others at confronting those issues and trying to change them. Some people revel in their ignorance. And there are all kinds of levels in between.

My issue is that we have white parents adopting babies from other counties and of other race/ethnicities who aren't ready or equipped to deal with raising someone from another country/culture/race/ethnic heritage.

Adoptive parents need to do more to confront their motives for adopting from another country. Is it an attitude of "I can give her/him a much better life here"? If so, on what is this ethnocentric attitude based? Is it out of fear that a domestic adoption will result in the birth parent changing their mind about the adoption? If so, are the adoptive parents really in this to ensure the best for the adoptee? Is adopting a baby from a far-flung country really the way you want to "win" this battle?

It also irritates me to no end that it became the fashionable thing for awhile to adopt a Chinese girl. I commented to Kristi once that a Chinese girl was the new status symbol. Why buy a BMW or a Mercedes when you could just adopt a baby girl from China?

I also don't understand how parents (Angelina Jolie, I'm looking at you) can claim that they will respect the child's birth culture when one of the first things they do is change the child's name. The name the orphange gave me was Jung Sun-Hee (in Korea, the surname is first). The only reason my surname now is Jung is because I had it legally changed a few years back. I didn't take Sun-Hee back because I really don't want to be called Sunny. And Min had meaning for me personally, and it has the bonus of being a historic figure in Korea.

I don't think it's fair to say that NO ONE can adopt transracially when there are clearly people who are equipped to confront their own racism and navigate to the best of their ability a multi-cultural home/family. However, until international adoption agencies take it on themselves to do this with potential adoptive parents, I will continue to advocate against such adoptions.

Another note about adoptions in general. WE ARE NOT A CONSOLATION PRIZE. I have heard, WAY too many times to count, parents say things along the lines of "We tried IVF (or whatever) so many times, but we just couldn't afford it anymore, so we settled for adopting." "Adoption was definitely our second choice, but since we couldn't conceive naturally..."

I could go on about my feelings regarding adoption in general, but I'm trying to stick to Naomi's question. Maybe that will be a topic for a future issue.

I will say that a great resource for exploring some really... interesting perspectives and essays on transracial adoption, check out this site. Some of the essays and commentaries are way left of what I've said above. Keep in mind that this site is one for adoptees to express their feelings on their adoptees and their subsequent socio-political ideologies. Tobias Hubinette is someone with whom I've corresponded in the past on some of his work. While I don't always agree with it, I think it is important for everyone to have a voice, especially when one's perspective is so non-mainstream.

I know this has been one long-ass post, but I hope it's been enlightening and insightful.

21 March 2009

Ben filed an appeal

Let me say first that I try to be an open-minded person. I try to be the kind of person that is willing to listen to other perspectives. However, this is NOT one of those topics. If you don't agree with my thoughts/perspective/ideology on this particular issue, please just move along. This is one of VERY few issues about which I am really not willing to entertain varying perspectives.

A lot of you don't know the story of Ben. It's easily Google-able. Put in "Benjamin Appleby" and you'll find a wealth of information on Ben, most of it demanding his execution.

In a nutshell (because I could go on and one for pages about this, and to spare those who have followed the story through my other blog), Ben was accused of and convicted of murdering and attempting to rape a young woman in Kansas, who had just completed her frosh year of undergrad.

Let me say now (as I ALWAYS have) that I feel for the Kemp family. I can not imagine losing a daughter or a sister in such a horrific way. My thoughts and feelings about Ben in no way mitigate my sorrow for them and their experience.

Ben is from a very troubled family. His parents divorced when he was young and often fought about which one of them would be stuck with him. He found drugs and alcohol by the time he was 12. I met him in our junior year of high school when we were in Creative Writing class together. He is a very intelligent guy, funny and witty. I adored him. He's really the ONLY time I've ever understood the appeal of the "bad boy."

Everyone at school knew his reputation, and the summer after we graduated, he was arrested for armed robbery. Not long after that, he was arrested in a string of public masturbation and public exposure charges. Here's the thing: in one of his court appearances, he said to the judge, "I have a problem that I can't control. I need help." (Yes, this is publicly and officially documented.)

The case of who murdered Ali Kemp went on for years. Her family took out billboards and full-page ads in USA Today. Finally, a break in the case. They arrested Ben. He went to trial and was found guilty. He was sentenced the day after Christmas 2007. He will be eligible for parole when he is 94 years old.

Let me be clear that I DO NOT, IN ANY WAY condone or otherwise excuse the murder and attempted rape of anyone. If Ben did these things (he has always maintained his innocence to me), then he should be punished.

However... I believe that society needs to take responsibility for this. Social workers, government agencies, teachers.... we all failed Ben time and time again. There was never a more clear case of a "troubled" or "at-risk" youth than the kid I met in high school. He flat-out asked for help, recognising that he needed help for an issue that he felt was out of control. It is, therefore, extremely hypocritical of us to throw him in prison for the rest of life after the natural progression and escalation of sex crimes.

His case angers me for several reasons. It angers me that a young girl lost her life. It angers me that our society doesn't believe in correction and rehabilitation. It angers me that we focus more on retribution and punishment. It angers me that we can stand in judgment of someone who we turned our back on SO many times during his childhood.

(Believe it or not, this really is the short version of this story.)

Earlier this year, Ben's attorney filed an appeal. They are citing two issues: (1) he was denied an attorney when he asked for one during interrogation; and (2) he is being punished twice for one crime (because of how the sentencing was structured).

Stay tuned.

New Laptop!!!!

Coming at you from my spanking new laptop!!!

Look at what I can do with it!   LLLL llll OOOO ooo sss SSS K OOOskl


Now that I have keys that, you know, WORK when I press them, I expect to be blogging MUCH more often now.

20 March 2009

Why do YOU blog?

People at work the other day were commenting that blogging and bloggers are dumb, pathetic, or nonsensical. "Don't you have any REAL friends? Why do you have a need to talk to people you don't know on the internet?"

Note that they weren't saying this to me, personally. They were using the common, collective "you."

So, I know why I blog. But why do you blog?

17 March 2009

The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research

For all of my friends working on PhDs, masters degrees, aspiring to, or advising those that are.

With thanks to Kim for sending this to me and making Those Days (and I know you know which ones I'm talking about) worth it.

Essay here.

16 March 2009

Darren Dean: My egg baby

My senior year of high, we had to have an egg baby. We had to have this child for a week. Any cracks in said child, and we were found guilty of child abuse. If the egg baby was neglected or kidnapped, we were found guilty of endangerment or neglect.

Our punishment was one I wanted to avoid AT ALL COSTS. We would have to wear a sign around our neck that said something witty like "ASK ME HOW I ABUSE MY CHILD" or "CHILD ABUSER" or "I NEGLECT MY CHILD."

I did have an incident with my Darren one day and he suffered a crack (these were hollowed eggs). However, my mother knew that such a punishment at school would be The End of Me. We couldn't create a new baby because each egg had been stamped by the teacher. So my mom and my grandma conspired to clothe Darren. By the end of the night, Darren had a cute, red, plaid diaper.

Darren got injured because I was stupid. I would also like to point out that had Darren been an ACTUAL child, said incident would never have occurred. See, I carried Darren around in a little wicker basket. I need to squeeze between the car and the deep freeze. I often raised my arms above my head to accomplish this feat. But this evening, I had a basket in my hand. Force of habit being what it is, I raised my arms above my head, the basket was upside down, and down Darren came.


After All the Queens had put Darren back together again (get it?), Darren went to his first hockey game. There, I informed one of his namesakes that he had an egg named after him. Let me tell you, professional athletes get freaked out about the TINIEST things.

I think we actually had it easy. My mom (she taught Family Relations and Parenting as part of her home-ec curriculum) made her students carry five-pound flour sacks. Of course, she preferred that they clothe them, etc. And, like my class, they had to account for their baby-sitting time, etc., if they left the child anywhere.

Then she got these fake babies approved. Babies that actually cried at random intervals. You shut the baby up by putting a key in the baby's back, turning it, and holding it there for a set amount of time (so you couldn't just put the key in, turn the child on it's stomach, and leave it). AND this had a device in it that would tell Mom for how long the baby cried before it was "fed" or "comforted."

Her favourite story is when one of her students complained. "Mrs. Phillips, people on the bus look at me funny. I've got my baby, my diaper bag, my stroller, plus this fake baby, my backpack... "

It was a fun project. I wish the punishment hadn't been public humiliation, though. I FEARED wearing one of those signs, and not in a good way.

Kind of like when we had to do The Marriage Project and I couldn't find someone to fake marry me. I managed to tell the teacher without crying, but Jody didn't.

Of course, she's married now and I'm not, so there ya go.

15 March 2009

Preview of Upcoming Attractions

Things I will blog about soon:
  • Memories of my egg baby in high school (conjured by Ria and Angel);
  • Answering Naomi's question re: adoption; and
  • Ben filed an appeal.
For now, I am consumed by the properties of logarithms and solving logarithmic equations for a midterm next week.

14 March 2009

You Are Stable and Cheerful

When You Are Comfortable or At Your Best:

You are a hard worker. You need security and stability in your life, even if that means putting in long hours.

People see you as solid and dependable. You are always able to see the good in situations. Other find this comforting.

When You Are in a Social Setting:

You are ambitious, and hard-working. Adversity allows you to shine. You resourceful and able to make due.

People see you as honest to the point of bluntness. But they always know that you'll be fair. You have the good intentions.

13 March 2009

Q&A, Part II

Grmph. I just took a half hour to type out a LONG post to answer Ria's question, and Friday the Thirteenth ate it.

I'll try again, starting (again) with my apology for taking so long to answer. Malfunctioning laptop at home + no blogging time at work = random and sporadic updates to blog. That said, let's begin again.

How do you connect with your Korean roots?

This has been something that I've struggled with for a long time. One of the biggest things I've done is change my name. When I was adopted by some random white people, they change my name to something completely culturally assimilated (in keeping with the times and the push for international/transracial adoption in the mid-70s). But I've since changed my name to something somewhat Korean. The surname is the one I came with but the first name is something I chose because it had meaning to me.

I've been wanting to take Korean language (Hangul) classes, but I haven't yet, mostly for financial reasons. I was going to start them in the fall, but with the hospital changing our tuition remission benefits, I don't know how that will play out. I have books on how to speak/read the language, as well as the Rosetta Stone free trial software, but that only gets one so far.

I'm fortunate to have the Asian Arts Initiative here in downtown Philadelphia. I support them, as well as go to performances and exhibits that introduce me to different cultural aspects of ... um... Asian art.

I know that I'm not as culturally connected as I would like to be, but writing this kind of makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed, which is probably another reason this answer has taken so long, now that I think about it. But I want to continue to educate myself about Korean culture and history. It is extremely important to me because when I have kids, I fervently wish to pass along some pride in their Korean heritage.

And, of course, I ALWAYS root for Team ROK in the Olympics. :) (and I will still never forgive Apollo Anton Ohno)

05 March 2009

The song I can't stop singing

Okay, technically it's just an excerpt, but this is actually the part that I can't get out of my head. Interpret it any way you'd like to.

"Change" by Taylor Swift

So we’ve been outnumbered
Raided and now cornered
It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair
We’re getting stronger now
Find things they never found
They might be bigger
But we’re faster and never scared
You can walk away, say we don’t need this
But there’s something in your eyes
Says we can beat this