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Showing posts from March, 2021

In Celebration of the Half-Asian Heartthrob

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Growing up, I didn't think much about my mixed-race heritage. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City with a white mother from a large Irish-Catholic family and a Japanese father who emigrated to America in the late 70s. My childhood was, simply put, very American. I was obsessed with  Sesame Street 's Grover, Cookie Crisp cereal, and Waldo, that red-striped-sweater-wearing nerd of Where's Waldo fame. I had annual photo shoots at our local Sears Portrait Studio. I got creeped out when Cherie got locked inside that refrigerator on  Punky Brewster . And I, too, wondered what being "like a virgin" meant whenever Madonna's song came on the radio in between bites of my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. But as I got older, I became more cognizant of my "other half," the part of me that remembered Japanese nursery rhymes my father narrated for me at bedtime ( something about an elderly couple adopting a baby they find hidden inside a giant peach on their farm

Thanks For Having Me

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"Everyone's got a podcast nowadays," someone once told me. "First it was blogs, then it was Tumblr..." Truer words couldn't have been said, especially when it comes to my creative friends who are killing it lately with fun shows you can listen to right now . And yes, I may be using this as an opportunity to shamelessly plug the podcasts I've guest-appeared on, pretending to be the pop culture pundit I proclaim to be, but still, give 'em a listen, won't you? First, there's Very Special Television , where I join a panel of guys who bring on a special guest to cover "very special episodes" of sitcoms from the 80s and 90s. For my installment, we discussed "Crime and Punishment," the Season 5 episode of the Roseanne that tackles domestic abuse. (Poor Aunt Jackie!) Check it out here . Next up, on  My Vietnam Podcast , I chat with writer-director-producer Ringo Le, who is a champion for traditionally underrepresented voices. We

365 Days of Quarantine: Loneliness, Love, and Lessons Learned

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"For me, the tools that I relied upon to feel well often looked less like treatment and more like the ingredients that make up a full, joyful life: the friends I saw for long, intimate dinners; the work events that made me feel purposeful and accomplished; even the affirming gym I went to in the mornings..." - Sam Lansky, Time , June 2020 When journalist and author Sam Lansky ( Broken People ) candidly wrote about his emotional experiences living in lockdown, he was three months into the pandemic, a global event that has now affected every human being in existence. Back then, it was reported that 40% of Americans said their mental health had been negatively affected by COVID-19. Last March, the call volume to the national hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services jumped nearly 900% higher than the same month in 2019. Back then, people were already hitting walls, particularly those who lived alone and only had their personal demons to keep them company, tho

SHINE: The 2021 Spring Playlist

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It's the soundtrack you'll need to help you get to that light at the end of the tunnel. Kicking things off is Nick Jonas's "This is Heaven," something I hope we can all proclaim once those vaccine rollouts finally kick in. And when you're done jamming out to the song's sax solo, there are new tracks from past spring favorites like Daya, Roosevelt, and The Midnight. No social distancing required. @TheFirstEcho