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Showing posts from 2007

Happy New Year!

I wanted to make a video of Owen saying "happy new year" before he went to bed tonight. The problem was that he had already started watching DDD. So I paused it and told him to say "happy new year" and then, for emphasis, jump off the couch. However, with Sesame Street paused in the background, Owen struggled to concentrate and drifted a bit off script. Anyway, you get the gist of it. Enjoy!

Dinner with Owen

Owen's dining experience is centered around beverages, condiments and desert.

adventures in cooking: yardlong beans

i have been running into these really long beans at the farmer's markets and even at safeway and finally decided to give them a try. the beans technically aren't a yard long, but they are way longer than any bean i'd ever met! i found a recipe in an old sf chronicle cookbook, "sichuan dry fried long beans" and and went for it. people, they were delicious. then again, quick fry anything and add ground pork and chilies and you're bound for glory. we had some spring rolls and brown rice on the side. here's the recipe & beans before/after: Sichuan Dry Fried Long Beans: 2 lbs. Chinese long beans 2 c. plus 2 T. peanut oil (or as needed) 1/2 lb. ground pork 2 T. chopped fresh hot red chiles, seeds and all 1 T. chopped fresh ginger 1 T. dark soy sauce 1 t. sugar 1 t. salt 1 t. dry sherry or Shaoxing wine Rinse and cut the long beans into 3" lengths; dry thoroughly. Heat 2 c. oil in a wok or heavy skillet to nearly smoking. While oil is heating, chop t

More Owen News

Yesterday Erin posted about Owen's love of Cocko hoggogs. Today I'll just put together a quick list of what's up with Owen these days. This should be useful for family members planning to visit this holiday season. Because you gotta know the lingo around here. Owen doesn't play Daddy Run anymore. The new game is Daddy Run Really Fast. This involves me sprinting ahead of him through the house and hiding behind something like a couch. Owen then comes in a few seconds later and I jump out an scare him. Hilarity ensues. Good exercise for Daddy. What used to be "Cee-we-o Nweok" (Cereal and milk) has now matured into "Owen need Chex." He has now established brand loyalty and recognized the power of the word "need" as opposed to "want." Owen has needs. His needs are Chex-related. Owen also still needs DDD. "Owen, watch, DDD Ehmo?!" Some things never change. He is currently way into Elmo's Wild-Wild West. Even though Daddy

"Costco hot dog"

this afternoon owen and i went to the busiest costco in the world. seriously, it's the busiest... but the lines are never longer than two people, because all the checkstands are open! our treat for surviving is to have what owen likes to call "cocko hoggog". $1.50 for a 1/4 lb kosher beef hot dog and a drink. we load it up with ketchup, mustard (AKA "yellow ketchup"), and relish ("green-one-kine"). as we were enjoying our hoggogs, i looked at owen and said, "did you know when daddy was little he used to eat a hot dog everyday?" to which he replied matter-of-factly, "yeah" if you're down with the cocko hoggog, lemme hear ya! (check out the survey on the right side)

bye-bye baba: play-by-play

part 2- the farewell: following tuesday'snap, the whole family joined owen in celebrating as he threw his baba in the rubbish (that's what we hawaiians call trash). we waved to it and owen said "bye-bye blue baba, yellow truck (ours are yellow) come take baba away now". we rushed inside and opened a big-boy toy and sang songs about the accomplishment. part 3- first bedtime without: owen was beside himself, so upset at the prospect of going to sleep without his longtime comfort. after 45 minutes of crying, i brought him to the rocker and rocked him to sleep just as i did when he was only a few days old. 3:30 am rolled around and a huge thunderstorm began. thunder, lightning, and crazy winds had us all awake for the next two hours. fortunately, once owen fell back asleep - he slept until nearly 9 am! part 4 - naptime, wednesday: after a fun-filled morning with friends, owen was truly tired but struggled again to settle in. after reading and attempting to get him

bye-bye baba

we're going for it. we started a 3-day countdown yesterday to prepare us all for a final farewell to the beloved baba (pacifier) that owen uses at bedtime. he seems to get the concept of counting down days, and so far says he's agreeable to bidding his pacifier adieu, but tomorrow will be the true test. cross your fingers that it goes smoothly!

A Jewel for the Northern Crown

On approximately May 18 each year, the constellation Corona Borealis , a.k.a. the Northern Crown, is directly overhead as viewed from Berkeley, California (slightly North of zenith as viewed from my parents' place in Pasadena). I have to admit that I never paid much attention to this fairly inconspicuous constellation until about a year ago. But around the Summer 2006 I noticed that one of the stars in the constellation, designated kappa by the German astronomer Johann Bayer in the early 1600's, did something really interesting. From about 2004 to 2005 the star was steadily accelerating away from the Earth. This is not unusual, stars commonly do this as they are tugged by the gravity of other stars. But in 2005 kappa Coronae Borealis turned around and started heading back toward us. If it performed another of these turns anytime within the next 10 years, it would indicate that the star has a planet orbiting it. I try not to get my hopes up too much when it comes to potenti

momomo date night

it's been awhile since we had a night out, so our pals watched owen and we headed out for some japanese food! we decided to go to momomo, another izakaya , which john reported would be a little more on the "schmancy" side. the interior was really minimalist and beautiful. black and red stylings and special rooms on the side where you sit on pillows. we started with the sake sampler & the chef's choice of sashimi. mo... then shrimp with mayonnaise sauce (the taste was far better than the name, kind of a miso mayo). by the time the deep fried calamari arrived, we were feeling happy. we then upgraded our sake to yaegaki "mu". the menu's description was as follows: From your first sip you'll be satisfied by brilliantly aromatic and complex flavor of yunamai daiginjo (the type of sake i think). our expert opinion was that it tasted just like flowers... in a good way, not in the way where you sniff too much of granny's perfume. OH,

a hawaiian thanksgiving

while some (karin) may be disappointed to hear that there was no pineapple on our thanksgiving table, perhaps the okinawan sweet potato casserole will prove that our thanksgiving was indeed, hawaiian. we stayed home this year for turkey day, and decided to host a potluck for some new friends and their families. 11 adults and 6 children under the age of 3 filled our home with food and fun! here was the lineup, in order of appearance: ahi poke artichoke dip red alert hummus stuffed mushrooms mixed green salad with glazed pecans butter lettuce with spicy sprouts, feta and maui onion dressing mashed potatoes, cauliflower & carrots green bean casserole brussel sprouts with bacon and apples okinawan sweet potato casserole with pecan topping white bread stuffing jalapeno cornbread stuffing pumpkin sausage cranberry stuffing corn on the cobb glazed ham roast turkey (i love to brine!) whole cranberry orange relish homemade rolls and pecan sticky buns after dinner we all headed out for a n

Oh Snap!

Thanks to Quinn for sending this pic!


I recently read that you're no one if you're not on Facebook . Apparently it's the new Friendster, which was the new Email or something. Seeing as I don't know what Friendster is, I'm officially way out of the loop because I just hit Send a mere 5 minutes ago. Who knows, maybe all of the kids have already left Facebook and are now setting up camp in DiaryKey or Faceblag, or where ever the kids webhang these days (also known as bhanging. Okay, I just made that up.). Bottom line: I'm getting old. I'm about 2 years away from walking with a cane and telling kids to get off my lawn. In an attempt to fight off Alzheimer's and old-person-smell, I just spent 30 minutes of my ever-shortening life to set up a Facebook account . Am I supposed to feel different? bcuz i dnt fl dfrnt :):):) o no, its hapnng...aaaaarrrrggggg!!111! :P (looking up lolcats in a UH computer lab)

Stuck in my head: Broken Social Scene

Back in The Day, which was around 1987 for me, one's music collection was a well-defined entity comprised of discrete, easily counted units. For example, one might have 20 cassettes from one's favorite artists. Everything was predictable and if you wanted new music you turned to the radio. But since it was radio, there were rarely musical surprises that came out of nowhere. Especially not at 1 AM while working on your computer, as was the case for me last night. But more on that just a bit later. These days music collections are vast, sprawling things kept on compact hard drives and portable music players. My MP3 collection takes up 30 Gigs, and this is pretty small compared to most people's iTunes music directories. So last night I had my iTunes set to shuffle-all and up popped a wonderful surprise. I recognized the band as Broken Social Scene , one of my favorite Canadian rock bands (described on Wikipedia as an "indie rock supergroup"). But the song was compl

Be like Sol

Below is a link to an announcement of the latest extrasolar planet discovered by the research team that I'm a part of. We recently found a fifth planet orbiting the nearby, Sun-like star 55 Cancri (can-cree). This is the first star other than the Sun known to harbor 5 planets, and the architecture of the planetary system is remarkably similar to the Solar System, with a large outer planet and four smaller planets closer to the star. The new planet is 45 times the mass of Earth (about 3 times the mass of Neptune or half of a Saturn) and resides in an Earth-like orbit with a period of about a year. Click on the link below and watch the streaming video interview of Geoff Marcy from the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Science!

fun with the sprinkler

there aren't many things better in life than spending an afternoon with your buddies, running through a sprinkler. i know, it's november and we're still playing in the water. i'm not trying to rub it in, i promise. owen's going for it finn & owen owen cracks up proud of himself for getting wet

When pirates need funding

I was traveling Keck Observatory with my collaborator and friend, Josh Winn , this past April. We were standing at the rental counter and he was trying to downsize his car to a cheaper model. We had the following exchange when the agent stepped aside: Me: "Why worry about a couple bucks a day? You're charging it to your grant, right?" Josh: "Because there's only a finite amount of money in my grant and it has to last 5 years. This is something you'll learn when you move out from under your advisor's wing." As is usually the case, Josh was spot on. I was used to working for a famous astronomer with deep, deep pockets. Chevy Cavalier? Why not get the midsize? Hell, go for the convertible. I thought I had been fairly careful with my advisor's money while I was a grad student. But now, a mere 7 months later, I'm on my own and I can recognize that I could have been more thrifty in the past. I now rush to get rental cars back by the appointed chec

who is halloween really for, anyway?

like many two-year-olds, owen is TOTALLY not into costumes. after an unfortunate incident with his firefighter costume, i set to work constructing a costume that would look cute, yet still feel just like regular clothes. i was partially successful. he wore his black-widow spider costume for about 2 hours, but i can't really say he liked it. here are a couple photos from our adventure to kahala mall (where everyone else on the island happened to be last night due to the torrential Autumn rain)! even spiders have to make phone calls candy is CRAZY! That's his buddy Scarlett on the right. owen kept saying "making two owens" as he'd see his reflection recovering from the mall-trip with a banana flavored lollipop


I'd like to start an association called Scientists Against Green On a White Background. We'd have semiannual SAGOWB (pronounced Sag-o-wab) meetings at AAS each year. We'd apply for NASA and NSF funding to go around to various departments and teach people not to plot their data as green on a white background. We'd talk about how when you use green on a white background in the figures in your paper, the data become invisible when printed on a black-and-white printer. It would be a heck of a movement. No more would the colloquium speaker have to say, "And as you can see from this figu--uh, oh. Well, it doesn't really show up, but if you could see it, my data clearly show that..." To demonstrate the problem, look at the following figure and squint your eyes slightly to simulate a typical computer projector. As another test, click on it and print it out on a B&W printer. Hilarity will ensue!

Walkin' where?

Erin: "Have you talked to your parents lately?" Me: "Yep, talked to my dad yesterday." Erin: "Oh yeah, what's he up to?" Me: "He's in Memphis." Erin: "What's he doing there?" Me: "Walking." Now, I thought this was an absolutely HI-larious answer. My dad was Walking in Memphis. Too funny, right? But Erin didn't get it. So I tried to explain by singing the chorus, "You know, the famous song! It goes: I was walkin' in Memphis, mmmm mmm mmm my feet ten feet off street... " Erin: "Oh yeah? Exactly what category of music is that?" Me: "What category?! I don't know, Bruce Springstein!" So it was off to Google for us. I found the lyrics and tried to sing them again to her, but the light still wasn't coming on. InTARnet, help us! A quick search of YouTube turned up this video of the famous Marc Cohn song . Now, I don't know if this video/slideshow i

more please

here are a few more favorites from the botanical garden: Owen beneath a giant ficus tree big old leaf where's owen? at least once a week, we head to the honolulu zoo, often with our neighbor and owen's partner in crime, noe: no trip is complete without climbing on the baby elephant statue or a stop at the keiki zoo to chase the goats i love this photo!


Pumpkin patch 10/21/07: Owen at the petting zoo "That one REEally heavy" "Owen making brown shoes" (note his shoes were blue before) Botanical Gardens 9/23/07 Walking with sticks Acting silly "Hmmm. That's a big leaf"

eating away at me

everything eventually morphs into the way the world is -gene kahn, founder of cascadian farm a couple weeks ago i found myself struggling to stay asleep. on multiple nights i awoke at 2:30, and fought to get back to sleep. the problem? i was worried about making the right food decisions for our family. i've always tried to make conscious food choices, preparing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and having a few meals a week that don't involve meat. after reading barbara kingsolver's latest book, animal vegetable miracle , i started thinking a lot more about what is in what we eat. then i dove right into michael pollan's book, an omnivore's dilemma . i also started doing some research on green living, especially in regards to common household products that are harmful to us and mother earth. can you see where i'm going with all this? after the fourth night of wacky sleep, or non-sleep, john saw the need for an intervention: "you know, you've real

Sunday at the air show

Sunday, we packed up the diaper bag, saddled up Sandyanna Lakshmi , and set out for the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay to see the big airshow. Owen has been pretty stoked about the concept of "airplane really fast" ever since the Thunderbirds were in town last month, and this weekend's two-day air extravaganza promised to be even bigger. We parked and rode the "shuttle" (a commandeered school bus) down to the flight line and arrived just before the Blue Angels were set to take off. We found our friends Adam, Marsha and Scarlett near the climbing wall and sat in the shade of a sparkling new Mazda SUV that was for some reason on display amid the recruiting tables and beer stands. Sign up for your guided tour of Iraq and check out the new line of Mazdas while you're here! We stood around chatting, catching up on the latest parenting news until "Highway to the Danger Zone" began blaring from the speakers and the jets started warming up (becaus

Stuck in my head: The Thermals

On a chilly June evening in San Francisco, way back in ought 1 (or was is ought 2?), I stood in line at the Bottom of the Hill with a group of friends waiting to see one of my favorite bands, Rainer Maria . As was our custom, we showed up an hour and a half after the doors opened so we wouldn't have to endure the first opening act. Some anonymous band was finishing up their set and we grabbed some cheap beers and chatted. Then something amazing happened on stage. The second band marched up, announced tersely "We're the Thermals " and proceeded to explode in a brilliant, white-hot flash of awesomeness. And that was my introduction to the pseudo-punk trio from Portland, Oregon, and I've been in rock-love ever since. I'm sure Rainer Maria was great, but I can't say I remember much from the headliners that fateful evening. I've seen The Thermals live three times and their energy is infectious enough to get even the emo-est of emo kids to throw off their

daddy run

one of our favorite games lateley is "daddy run". here's how you play: owen says "daddy run" owen does the count off, counting from one to twenty owen and daddy run from one room to another once in the new location, sit down repeat steps 2-4 until daddy is dripping with sweat & gasping for breath at one time step 2 only involved a count-off of 1, 2, 3. owen would count this as "five, four, five, four.. GO!" we had to alter the length of count-offs because owen learned to count to 20 thanks to ernie and sesame street's "123 count with me". nah, really we had to up it to 20 so we had a chance to catch our breath! here's some footage, but you've gotta be patient, we had to get creative and hide the camera to catch the action :)


i was feeling somewhat self-conscious today that our family and friends were starting to think i've been lax in cleaning since we moved. this occurred to me as i was thinking that we never shared what our native hawaiian friend told us before we settled here: "everyone has roaches. it doesn't mean you're dirty or your neighbor is dirty. they are everywhere and so you just do your best to keep the kitchen clean and food put away. but they'll still find their way into your house." any doubts i had about the validity of her statement were clearly dismissed when i came accross this as i read "the hawaiian alphabet" to owen toinght: they even glare at you from the picture, don't they!

Roach part 2 - Erratum: The Price of Paradise

Erin and I were watching a perfectly legally copied DVD in the living room when Erin heard something in the kitchen. I hit pause and we listened carefully. I didn't hear it until after I saw it: Another giant flying cockroach. He was buzzing around the light above the kitchen sink in a moth-like fashion and then settled down in a crevice between the window and the wall. Erin and I shot each other a glance. No words were necessary, we both knew we had to put this roach to bed for the night. Erin grabbed the broom and I grabbed a Dansko (Erin once told me that Dansko women's sandals are the ultimate roach flatteners). Erin flushed the critter out onto the counter/sink area and it scurried behind the dish rack. With a couple jabs from the broom, the roach flew out and made a break for the unopened moving boxes. But I was waiting with the shoe and knocked him to the ground with the first hit, and then de-roached him with a second strike while he was flapping on the ground. So h

"sing mee-maw": owen's new favorite song

owen hasn't choreographed his own dance to it, but it's certainly at the top of the charts in this two-year-old's book. we recently got Common's latest cd, Finding Forever. needless to say, it's received a lot of airtime in the johnson house. it's thursday at 7:57 am and so far today owen has asked for his old favorite "ya-ya" only once. he's asked for "sing mee-maw", aka Drivin' Me Wild, four times. the " sing mee-maw " title comes from chorus "it's this thing yo , it's drivin me wild, i gotta see what's up before it gets me down". i ask you: how can a mother deny her son access to a solid hip-hop song with a great message? and here's footage from one of our recent dance sessions:

The price of paradise

Eighty-five degrees and sunny every day is all fun and games until you meet your first cockroach. The roaches here aren't the scatter-when-the-light-comes-on type. They'll stand their ground, and maybe even taunt you a bit. The other night Erin and I were watching an perfectly-legal, downloaded television show on the office computer when I went out to get a glass of water. When I returned, I saw a gigantic roach perched above the doorway to the office. He was all, and I quote, "Sup?" At first I was pretty startled, seeing as the thing looked about as big as a house cat, only more muscular. After I gathered my senses, it occurred to me that it was "only" about an inch and a half long. That's about an inch and a quarter longer than I'm looking for in a roach. I grabbed a sandal (slippah) and told Erin to turn on the hallway lights as soon as I took my swing. If he was going to dive at me, I wanted to be able to see it. So I crept up to the doorway and

picture of us

I just realized there are no pictures of Erin and me together anywhere on this site. This is primarily because Owen doesn't know how to operate the camera in anything but play-back mode . Erin was looking through the various pics on her camera phone and found a long-arm photo of us riding the BART . Paradise is nice and all, but I do sincerely miss the Bay Area. Berkeley/Oakland/SF peeps, remember us the next time you're riding the Richmand/Daly City line.

Owen Ya-ya!

It's been hard to get action videos of Owen lately because he's become obsessed with watching videos of himself doing things. So if I get the camera out while he's doing something entertaining--which is about every 10 minutes--he'll immediately stop and run around to see the playback, even if I didn't manage to film anything. He just doesn't get that he has to do something on film first in order to watch himself. Erin's dancing distracted him long enough for me to catch him in action in the video below. Notice at the end when he sees the reflection of the camera in the TV screen and tries to climb up my leg to watch the instant replay. This is the same Jewish Wedding song that Owen was dancing to on bubble wrap in a previous post . And no, neither Erin nor I have any Jewish ancestry. Owen apparently developed his own heritage (no jokes about a Jewish milkman! Harold Greenstein was a gentleman and a consummate professional.) Here's a video of Owen wa

weekend update

hands down, this has to have been our busiest weekend in hawaii. we didn't plan it that way, nor am i complaining. it's been a blast and certainly left us all exhausted. here's a quick recap: friday: DATE NIGHT! our pal, laura (she's rad, btw), came over to sit with owen so we could have a night out. we went to tokkuri-tei for dinner, which i'm pretty sure translates directly to "crazy japanese". it was unreal. it's known as an izakaya (basically a tavern, but the name comes from " i (to remain)" and " sakaya " (sake shop) where customers were allowed to stay and drink/eat). a few things we ordered - squid pancake, assorted sashimi, fried octopus, ikura with shredded daikon... oh and a large sake! we finished the evening with a trip to leonards for their famous malasadas . what a treat :) saturday : 7:30 AM - owen and i did a whirlwind tour of the farmer's market and stocked up on all this for the week (see photo). hi