8 Asians

Moss Growing Wooden Ring


There are so many ways to go green. For one thing, you can stop using plastic bags, take public transportation or create your own compost heap…or you can take the stylish route and support the environment by wearing this wooden ring filled with live moss. The Bubinga Moss Ring (6,800円) would be the perfect gift for the eclectic lady with a taste for nature.

[via Tokyo Mango]

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8Questions is a bi-monthly interview of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) community leaders. It is a spotlight on individuals who have dedicated their careers to issues surrounding the APIA community with the goal of bringing much deserved recognition to their work and cause(s).

Konrad Ng is a Professor of Creative Media at the University of Hawaii, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution and to top it off, brother-in-law to President Barack Obama. He recently completed a term as Acting Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. Before joining the University of Hawaii, Konrad was the Curator of Film and Video at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (a fine arts museum in Hawaii) and a film programmer for the Hawaii International Film Festival. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Asian American Media and the Global Film Initiative. Konrad’s dissertation examined constructions of Asian identity in narrative, experimental film and video. He is a happy husband and proud father of two girls.

What is the mission statement of your life?

Do no evil. Remember the importance of empathy. Lead by example. Be a good father, husband, family member, friend and citizen. Help others. Contribute to the communities around me.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

Stayed true to my mission statement while nurturing my interest in cinema/digital media and the politics of community representation and organization.

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Back in August, I had heard through a friend that there was a fashion show going on later that evening for designer, Wen Guo for her line, BODITECTURE. Besides the NAAAP fashion show, I can’t recall ever going to a real fashion show before, so I decided to check it out. Besides being held at the trendy Supper Club in San Francisco, what was interesting about the fashion show were the designs themselves:

Each individual piece can be transformed from one style to another by pulling the zipper. A formal office attire dress can be opened up and totally changed into an evening happy hour nightdress. A jacket can be transformed to be a cape in a few second… ready to change yet?

Her fashion line reminded me of a New York Times story about the “Great American Apparel Diet” on re-purposing your closet to wearing only six items for an entire month. I can see for men, especially in Silicon Valley, that this wouldn’t be a problem. I personally hate shopping for clothes. But for women, maybe BODITECTURE type fashions are the right way to go! Too bad there isn’t a collection for men.

I’m always really amazed with people like Wen with full-time jobs who spend their free time to develop their hobbies into a side career. Then again, if you have a passion for something, you usually have the time and energy! To no surprise, Wen Guo of Wen Studio has a design related background with her day job as an architect. I can’t even imagine all the time and effort that goes into designing and then manufacturing the clothing (I’m assuming it’s all done manually!).

8 Bit Wood’s Mario Wall Piece


You’d never think that wood crafting and video games would ever go hand in hand, but check out these custom made wall pieces from 8 Bit Wood, which originated from one gamer piecing together pixel art with scrap wood. Their online store isn’t up and running yet but if you’re dying to get your hands on one of these Mario pieces (or any other classic video game character like Mega Man or Bubble Bobble), you can send an email to info[at]8bitwood.com for quotes!

Ninja Coat Hook


Want to add a little edge to your apartment decor? Check out these realistic ninja coat hooks (£7.99)–and we mean realistic as in, you know, being attacked by an invisible ninja who decided to leave his weapons behind, stuck on your cinderblock walls.

And don’t worry: those edges only look razor sharp. They’re still family friendly, meaning they’ll allow your house guests to hang up their jackets and sweaters in one piece.

From SFGate.com comes a report about a woman arrested numerous times for vandalizing numerous BMWs and Mercedes all over the Bay Area, and is now being held on $1 million bail in Santa Clara County Jail. Nancy Ni apparently had already been facing numerous charges in Alameda County as well when she was arrested at a mall in San Jose.

At first, when I read the article, I thought it was some rather misdirected message on overconsumption and capitalism since the alleged vandal has been attacking only luxury vehicles. Then I read that she herself drives a BMW.  So now I just think she’s m-f’in crazy.

Congrats to Far*East Movement whose single Like A G6 hit #1 on the US iTunes singles charts and #10 on the Billboard charts, making Far*East Movement the first Asian American group to break into the iTunes and Billboard top 10 list. Like a G6 has been getting a ton of airplay.

Since they’re based in LA, I’ve seen FM perform many times over the years so it’s really great to hear them on the radio and see them find such huge success! Whenever I hear this song being played in a public place– like a store or a restaurant– I say loudly to whoever is near me “Did you know this song is by Far*East Movement? They’re Asian American!” Sometimes I get dirty looks for doing this, but most of the time, it sparks a conversation with strangers who say things like, “Wow! I’ve heard this song and didn’t know the group was Asian American.”

But most often people say, “What is a G6*?” Evidently, people are using the Internet (to try) to find out, and here is a sampling of what they would find online:

  • Over at ChaCha, some said “The phrase “Like a G6″ is most likely referring to a car, the Pontiac G6” to which other people responded “Wrong.”
  • Someone else said, “Yeah, I dont think anyone would be saying a Pontiac G6 is “fly”. While its an ok car for the average older woman, someone with a lot of money to spend probably wouldn’t buy it. Especially when the Pontiac G8 is so much faster and harder to get. If you’ve ever hung around people with real money, they don’t talk about cars as much as people without money do. They tend to talk about jets, yachts, and planes. ”
  • Some people think G6 refers to a musical chord
  • “G x 6” (i.e. “Gangsta x 6” or “Gay x 6”) is another popular belief
  • Some idiot honestly gave a Yahoo Answer of: “The G6 (Group of Six) in the European Union is an unofficial group of the interior ministers of the six European Union member states”
  • But the consensus online seems to be that G6 stands for Gulfstream G650, a really expensive jet

In other words, if you want to know the answer to a question, don’t ask the Internet. Instead, I say you should consult the nearest 3 year-old, as per Ford H’s comment on a Facebook thread: “My 3 year old hears and sings the chorus based on his own interest: “Like a cheese stick, like a cheese stick.”

Mmmm! I could use some string cheese about now! (But wait! Am I sure it’s string cheese? Maybe I need to ask “What is a cheese stick?“)

*According to one of the song’s co-writers, “G6” is open to interpretation.

My friend and writer, Shawna Yang Ryan, was recently interviewed by Author Magazine. She describes how she became an author, her pursuit of writing as a career, and about her novel Water Ghosts getting publish. Recently, the book was re-released with another printing, featuring a new cover. Originally published under the title Locke 1928 back in 2007, the novel tells the following story:

Three bedraggled Chinese women [who] suddenly appear out of the mist one afternoon in a small Chinese farming town on the Sacramento River, and their arrival throws the community into confusion. Two of the women are unknown to the townspeople, while the third is the long-lost wife of Richard Fong, the handsome manager of the local gambling parlor, who had left her behind in China many years earlier and had not yet returned for her… As the lives of the townspeople become inextricably intertwined with the newly arrived women … And when a flood threatens the livelihood of the entire town, the frightening power of these mysterious women who arrived in the mist will be revealed.

Shawna’s first published novel, Water Ghosts has received numerous glowing reviews and was selected as the finalist for the 2008 Northern California Book Award. Locke is an actual town in California that had one of the earliest Chinese settlements in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Most Chinese and other Asians moved to the United States after the immigration reform in the mid-1960s, so it is always interesting to read about what life was like for Chinese immigrants (as well as descendants of the Gold Rush) of that era.

Back in August, I was able to attend a talk that Shawna gave at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum in San Francisco where she discussed the historical context of Water Ghosts, the issues of immigration, prostitution, and others in their relevance to today’s culture. I am always fascinated by the Asian American experience prior to immigration reform in the 1960’s. I can’t even imagine the level of discrimination and challenges faced by immigrants prior to the age of telecommunications and jet travel.

Music and dance come together for this unique piece titled “Pushing the Limits” with musician Tony T Nguyen and Can Nguyen from POREOTICS. This original collaboration shows how different artistic backgrounds can come together to make something creative. At the end of this piece, Tony briefly shares his thoughts on how he put the music together.

To get to know more about Tony, I encourage you to read Edward’s previous post which gives you an extensive background behind his music.

Sushi Stud Earrings


We like sushi in our tummies, but how about our ears? These sushi stud earrings ($20) are made to order, featuring the yummy California roll and tuna tekka maki roll.

Mmm…is it lunch time yet? Be careful, because friends might try to nibble on your ear lobes when you wear them out!

Go Daddy Adds Ella Koon to Roster


As if web hosting company Go Daddy didn’t play the hot girl action enough, they’re now adding Ella Koon to their repertoire of “Go Daddy girls.” Ella Koon is a musician, model, and actress (which is pretty typical of all celebrities in Asia).

I’ve never heard her music, but apparently she’s pretty popular in television dramas such as Revolving Door of Vengeance and Survivor’s Law II. She’s definitely a little different from the usual gals who Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons usually promotes but perhaps a different culture deems different types of beauty. All I have to say is that I’m glad they didn’t pick someone with a bowl cut.