Tag: Pittsburgh (page 1 of 5)

State of my fellow Asians address

There are at least two new Asian families in the neighborhood.  It brings great cheer to my heart to see fellow Asians swimming in the local sea of whiteness.  The one family is championship material.  Their kindergarten son wears impossibly perfect layered clothing and appears to be loved and revered by his peers.  Grandpa walks him home.  Grandpa wears fine threads as well, and always wears a Pittsburgh Pirates hat.  Nothing says local like a “P” hat.

It’s the other family I worry about.  Every morning Mom and son wait for the school bus across the street from my house.  Mom has sonny wearing a mask, as is the custom in smoggy Asian cities:

Downright fashionable!

This may not be child abuse in the strictest sense, but it’s a heartbreaking sight nonetheless.  Poor kid!  It’s a magnitude of obliviousness that is difficult for the local observer to process.  It reminds me of a time in high school when I was in much the same situation.

During homecoming spirit week, one particular day was college spirit day.  Or something like that.  Basically we were supposed to wear a University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Depaul, etc. shirt.  Sure a few kids wore Northern Illinois, or God forbid an Iowa Hawkeyes shirt, but they probably had good reason for their actions.  What did I wear?  The one college t-shirt I owned: The University of Western Ontario.  It was a shirt that did more than just confuse my friends.  It was simply not possible for them to process such a shirt or the existence of such an institution, or why anyone would knowingly or unknowingly wear such a shirt.

So, my fellow Asian friend, I wish you the best of luck with that smog filter.  May you find a place in this world.  If you stick around the hood, may you learn the unwritten rules of American culture.  I pray that one day you will heal, as I have, from the wounds caused by those unappreciative of your blissful ignorance.

My how we’ve grown

At the end of the most miserable day of her life, Asia left this note on her brother’s bed.  A year later, though she has outgrown her misspellings and backwards letters, her relentless spirit of hope and joy remain.

 "Dear Zach, Today was bad.  Tomorrow is better."

"Dear Zach, Today was bad. Tomorrow is better."

Alas, we all grow.  Know what I’ve outgrown?  Of course you don’t!  It’s like we never talk.  We’re practically strangers now!  Anyways, as I was saying…I’ve outgrown watching my kids play sporting events.  You’ve seen those annoying parents screaming and shouting from the sidelines, right?  Well it turns out that that mutant gene is in my DNA.  So rather than subject other parents to my “coaching”, I’ve taken to wandering around the neighborhood of whatever venue the boy/girl happen to be playing.  The urban settings fill me with the glorious tension of uncertainty.  The suburbs offer a different bag surprises.  In Pittsburgh, you’re never far from wilderness.  This was one block from Zach’s soccer game in an unassuming suburb:

So there’s that.

Yes, I am still working on Asia’s new room in the attic.  Thanks for asking!  Just as Portland hipsters cannot resist painting a bird on things and calling it art, I cannot resist building unnecessary bookcases to cover every HVAC duct.  Drywall goes up next week…


I once watched a film documentary on super perv, Robert Crumb.  Several elements of the film have influenced my life.  Thanks to Crumb, electrical boxes, telephone wires, and all the clutter of (sub)urban landscape now drive me nuts.  (He illustrates this clutter here.)

In one scene, Crumb is listening to 78rpm records.  I think it’s this song. And thus a seed was planted.  Dormant for 16 years, germination occurred when Zach began taking nerdy chess lessons in the same neighborhood where some kook has opened a 78rpm record shop in which most of his 20,000 records fall in the $1-$3 range.  Every week I go on a one hour shopping spree, stuffing a bag full of forgotten records.  I also dropped some cash on this state-of-the-art rig:

Didn't your dad used to have this model?

Didn’t your dad used to have this model?

Snow time.


Inch after inch falls down.  Every year I resolve not to shovel for the duration of the season.  And why should I?  Our solitary stair user is the mailman with his stack of paper spam.  Long gone are the Bohemian days of Chicago, hosting daily/nightly social events.  In our new life, we average ONE visitor per quarter.  And they can trudge through the snow for all I care.  Harumph.