Hump day.  This morning, while trying to snag time for a break to lunch with good folks, Jesse said something to the effect of

Hump days are generally good for people…you’re caught up from the weekend… but still have the rest of the week ahead of you.”

Sage advice.  Made it to the middle of the week and I’m so very very looking forward to the long weekend.  Last weekend seems so long ago already, and as I think back to it, it definitely had a theme:  Family.

We started Saturday with a birthday BBQ for Mama Wang.  The scrumpdiddlyumptious meal was prepared by her brother, local chinese chef extraordinaire Uncle 2.  Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 came to the US years ago, but like many immigrant families they had to leave behind a son in China, and are eagerly awaiting for the man to open the country’s front door for him.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to so severely be separated from your family without the ability to easily see them in person.  Thankfully though, we live in the fewchar, where cars fly, pills substitute for food, and we can see whoever we want via fancy moving pictures.  Almost.

Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 have a webcam, but haven’t been able to get it to work.  I took a stab at trying to get it going, and after navigating many many menus displayed only in chinese, I blindly pointed and clicked my way to success!

The picture doesn’t fully capture the erupting excitement, but I think it can succinctly be summed up in the words of Pop Wang:

“All this… IS FREE!”

After the BBQ, we headed to Bremerton to visit Mama Jocson.  About 2 years ago, I lost my dad suddenly, and around the anniversary of his passing the fam gets together to pray.  And I have a big fam.  This year had a little splash of extra special thrown in for good measure…

About 22 years ago, the last of my dad’s siblings moved to the US, and moved in with us.  He brought with him his wife and 3 kids, and they moved in with us into a tiny nondescript Bremerton rambler.  Legit right?  Only one problem.  He has 4 kids.

Like Uncle 2 and Auntie 2 above, they had to leave behind a son.  And a daughter in law.   And what eventually was 4 grandkids.  This past weekend, thanks to the great folks up north, we were finally able to reconvene this side of the fam.

we celebrate reunions with fire

my niece is beast on the guitar. put my ukelele playing to damn shame.

It’s been one crazybusypacked weekend, but refreshingly, about half the crazybusy that packed this weekend was celebration-oriented.  Part of the reason for festivities, of course, is Mother’s Day here in the US.

This year though, I get to celebrate Mothers’ Day.  Yes, this year I have two mothers for this day.

name: mama wang; style: chángquán wushu kungfu; special move: closed fist overhead thunderburst thrifty skullsmack

This is Mama Wang.  The wifey and I only recently married last year, but Mama Wang never once failed to treat me like anything less than her own over the past few years since moment zero.  She doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Mandarin, but it doesn’t get in the way of her constant knowing smiles, the way she never lets a glass or plate go empty the way a mother wouldn’t, or the care with which she tries to anticipate wants (and address them before they become needs).

name: mama jocson; style: balisong-bolo-karambit arnis; special move: spinning thousand slice lightning discipline shank

Meet Mama Jocson.  I was born at a very very young age due to many many hours and this lady.  Officially her profession was registered nurse, but she’s a mom through and through.  She’s just the type that knows how to take care of others better than she does of herself.  Talk to most people about their childhood, and they’ll tell you about the countless hours they spent with their best friend, the adventures they have, and the fun they had playing for ever and ever.  Me? — The time I spent with my mom is rivaled only by the amount of hours I spent absorbing the TV’s warm radiation.  I couldn’t ask for a better mom (though I’ve been known to often and frequently ask for a better TV).

Curious for more fun facts about the moms?  Last year for our wedding reception, the wifey and I put together a video we shared with our guest to honor our parents.  Thanks to Al Gore and the power of the internets, I can now share things like that as easy as one could whip out photo albums years ago that relived their their special day.

Being sick, I’ve spent a lot of time at night recovering.  By recovering, I mean sitting on my ass working my thumbs out on my iPhone.  Which reminded me, I hit an all-too-amazing landmark the other day….

…pause for suspense….

You know those leaderboards in games.  The High Score screen in Pac Man for instance, that everybody at the arcade would stare at, hoping to one day land a top slot so that they could carve in a 3 letter naughty word of their choosing?

Well, they’ve come light years into the future since the Pac Man-ing days.  I’ve always wanted to land near the top on one, but now with online gaming, they pull scores from across the country, so it’s soooo impossible to score anywhere near ‘high.’  That is…it was, until…

yeah, 680.4 doesn't seem that high....

..until you see the next screen, which proclaims it the most EPIC amongst all scores!...


I actually scored the 839.3 time as well, and hit #1 first with that, but I couldn’t figure out how to change the name. =(.  So I played it again, still couldn’t figure out how to enter my name, and then gave up and just screenshot’d it.  =\  Shameful… but still a success!!  Not very exciting, but exciting for me 😉

….I’ve used way too many smileys in this post.  Never again.

Tomorrow begins the year of the rabbit, according to the lunisolar calendar used by many asian cultures.  It’s not used by Filipinos, so I’m not very familiar with it; however, my wife’s family is from China, and ever since we met I’ve gotten down with the lunar new year.  From what I gather, in lieu of fireworks, black tie affairs, and a large ornamental ball descending toward the earth at ultraslow-countdown-speed, Chinese New Year (in the US) means whiskey, excessive amounts of food, red, and an impressive imposing ascension of a representative animal to a metaphorical gilded throne (the size of which is rivaled only by that of the accompanying new year hangover).  The animal brings good fortune, stock picks, a free market analysis, prosperity, and the finest in sensible footwear.  And if it sees its shadow, we get 6 more months of rain.

I haven’t gotten it all sorted, but based on my observations and keen knack at deduction, I think it’s safe to say I’m about (conservative estimate) 97% of the way there.

Seeing as how it’s midweek this year, we kept it low key and hit up Chiang’s Gourmet in Lake Sizzle for easy eats.  Chiang’s is one of those neighborhood joints that snags a steady stream of locals and a deluge of anybody and everybody on special occasions.  One of those spots where it takes you 17.2x as long to receive your food as it does to annihilate it, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s just good.  They’re known for handmade noodles, a dual menu system — the ‘nothing-says-America-like-an-oversized-menu’ listing of standard Americanized ‘Chinese’ food, and a small unassuming, could be mistaken for a wine list, menu of authentic specialties.  If you’ve ever been one of those folks who’s always wanted to roll into a Chinese restaurant, order off the ‘other’ menu, and embark on a gastronomic adventure, but haven’t simply because you weren’t sure if there is an other menu… Chiang’s is your joint.  Not only do they not hide it from you, suitable English translations are listed right there, presented in plain sight.  Check your subconscious sense of xenos at the door my friend, you are welcome here, and the work has been done for you.

Me?  I’ll take the 炸醬麵 and, actually, I can get by just fine with a bowl of ‘Five Star Spicy Chicken.’  Which really arrives as a bowl of fried spicy Szechuan peppers.  Oh, with a side of the most addicting chicken in the world.

beneathe this fiery exterior lies a heart of gold...

behold! mined from the belly of the beast, nuggets of the 11th most addicting crack in the world, masquerading as chicken