EppsNet Archive: Parents

I Am Identified as the Worst Father of All Time

7 Nov 2015 /

I noticed a significant uptick in traffic to EppsNet in the past week . . . a check of the referrer logs indicates that it’s coming from Reddit, specifically from a series of posts on the hapas subreddit (here’s an example) identifying me as the worst father of all time and an overall despicable human being.

The worst

(If you’re as much in the dark as I was about what a “hapa” is, it’s a person of partial Asian or Pacific Islander descent. My son, for example, would be a “hapa,” which is how the hapas subreddit took an interest in EppsNet.)

Ironically, the posts cited on Reddit as evidence of my awfulness are — to me, anyway — either pretty obviously not intended to be taken at face value (some are attributed to an imaginary author named Hostile Witness, to make it even more obvious), or completely on point, or both.

Examples include:

And of course Why Asian Girls Like White Guys and Why Asian Girls Like White Guys II, which are among the most popular posts on the site, right behind The Blog of Anne Frank.

I’ll say this about my results as a parent: Unlike the population of the hapas subreddit, my son is not a whiny twit with no sense of irony, humor or perspective. He doesn’t invent labels for himself and seek out discrimination where there is none.

That being said, thanks for visiting, hapas, and additional thanks to the 40 or so of you who also picked up a copy of my book while you were here.

What Parents Know

3 Nov 2015 /

Children grow up. Love is day by day. Letting go is not easy.

Mutual Admiration

5 Oct 2015 /

Our boy is very handsome, his mom says. She says she can’t understand how that happened.

“You don’t think I’m handsome?” I ask.

“We’re average-looking people, let’s be honest about it. You don’t agree?”

“I think you’re very beautiful.”

“You’re very handsome,” she says, after a pause almost too short to notice.

Another Thing I Like About Donald Trump

18 Sep 2015 /

I like to make sweeping judgments about people based on my assessment of how their kids turned out. A lot of kids from famous families are train wrecks. Trump’s kids, while a little odd-looking in my opinion (Ivanka excepted), are not. Kudos to Mr. Trump and his wives.

Donald Trump's kids

Walking in San Francisco

6 Sep 2015 /

Our boy is working and living in San Francisco now, We went to visit him last weekend . . .

It’s hard to drive and park in SF so a lot of people walk to where they need to go. Our hotel was a few blocks from the boy’s apartment but for the most part, we left the car in the parking garage and walked everywhere.

On a couple of occasions, we met one of his co-workers walking past us in the other direction. (His office is nearby, 7-8 blocks from his apartment, but it’s a startup, not a huge company like Transamerica with lots of employees.) On another occasion, we met a couple of his college classmates from Cal sitting near us at a local eatery. This is not to mention the friends, classmates and co-workers that we planned to meet up with because they also live in the vicinity.

I’ve lived in Irvine and worked in town or nearby for 15 years and I never see anyone I know walking around the city, probably because I don’t walk around the city and neither does anyone else. Well, I take that back . . . on weekend mornings I usually walk about a mile to Starbucks for coffee. The average number of people I meet on those walks is approximately 0.0.

But even when we go to restaurants. movies, stores, public events, etc., I very rarely see anyone I know. Very rarely.

It’s funny that a big, international city like San Francisco feels more like a neighborhood than does a typical suburban community . . .

San Francisco from Nob Hill

Photo Credit: louisraphael


25 Aug 2015 /

Photo by Siderola

Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

— Rebecca Foust, “Abeyance”

Berkeley Commencement 2015 (Photos)

22 May 2015 /

Goodbye Berkeley

20 May 2015 /

Oh to be young and strong and accomplish a longtime goal! Goodbye Berkeley, it’s been a great four years …

graduation: casey and andrew

Thoughts in the Shower

19 May 2015 /

If I just stay in here and never come out, maybe the graduation won’t happen and he’ll still be my little boy . . .

Now What?

15 May 2015 /
Sather Tower (the Campanile) looking out over ...

We’re in Berkeley for Casey’s graduation tomorrow . . . we got a text from him earlier this week saying “I just took my last two college exams.” Thus ends a journey that began 17 years ago on the first day of kindergarten, which I feel like I remember too vividly for it to have been 17 years ago, but it was.

Now what? I don’t mean for him . . . he’s got a job lined up in San Francisco. I mean for me. I’ve had the milestone birthdays — the ones where your age ends in zero — that seem to depress a lot of people . . . they didn’t bother me at all. But my boy becoming an independent person in the world is really disorienting me . . .

Do We Still Have to Lean In?

5 May 2015 /

Sheryl [Sandberg] has made her husband, Dave, the role model for the perfect husband. She has said many times that the most important factor in her success was the husband she chose. And as late a week ago, she was saying that men need to do more, they are not doing enough, they need to take more responsibility. And, again, she held up her husband as an example. . . .

So then, I would like to know why was he on vacation in Mexico without Sheryl and without the kids? What was it a vacation from? Who was he with?

Why was Sheryl in DC instead of going to get the body? Why was Sheryl in DC instead of home with her kids? Why does Dave take a vacation when Sheryl is scheduled to be gone?

I wouldn’t ask so many questions except that Sheryl keeps telling me to lean in, but she doesn’t tell me how she does it. I ended up spending my 401K on household help, scaling back my career, and taking my kids on business trips that were magical at first and a bore thereafter. . . .

She tells me she and her husband try to make sure one of them is home with the kids, but it’s not what we have seen in the last five days. She doesn’t tell us if she has nannies. She doesn’t tell us how often she is away from her kids. All she tells us is that leaning in depends on her husband.

So can she lean in now? Can you lean in if you don’t have the perfect husband? What if it’s too late to get the perfect husband? She doesn’t address that, but maybe she will now. I have a feeling that the spokesperson for high-flying careers is going to get a lot more informative and helpful now that she’s a single mom. All the money in the world can’t buy a substitute for a parent showing up to kiss a skinned knee.

Teaching Computer Science: Combating Procrastination

6 Apr 2015 /

Students had a project due last week and I got a lot of messages and emails asking for help. Of course, when we handed out the assignment two months ago, we advised students not to wait till the last minute to work on it. Teachers and parents saying “Don’t wait till the last minute” is just an understood part of the process. It’s something that gets said but it’s background noise.

A couple of alternatives occur to me:

  1. Reverse psychology. Say “My advice is to start as late as possible. Try to do two months of work in the last week, or better yet, the last night.” This seems too easy to see through and therefore unlikely to work.
  2. Hand out the 20-page spec and tell the students that it’s due tomorrow. WHAT!? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! NOBODY COULD DO THIS IN ONE DAY! “You’re right. It’s actually due in two months. But now that we’ve agreed that it can’t be done in one day, I don’t want to see anyone working on it at the last minute.”

Three is Enough

25 Mar 2015 /

Dalmatian dog looking at dalmatian fish

One of the neighbor ladies is over talking to my wife while Lightning and I entertain two of her three daughters, ages 3 and 7.

“I want a dog like Lightning,” the 7-year-old says. “We just have boring fish.”

“What does your mom say about that?” I ask.

“She says having a dog is a lot of work.”

“It is a lot of work.”

“She says the three of us are enough work already.”

Big Fishes in Small Ponds

14 Mar 2015 /

Big fish, small pond

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things:

Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as a child gets more and more insecure, they give more and more of it. And, by the way, a lot of employers and coaches have said, “My employees cannot get through the day without accolades and validation.” Even professional coaches have said they cannot give feedback without these people feeling that they’ve crushed them. We’ve created several generations now of very fragile individuals because they’ve been praised and hyped. And feel that anything but praise is devastating.

My colleague mentions Malcolm Gladwell‘s book David and Goliath, in which Gladwell claims that while the worst STEM students at, say, Harvard may be as smart as the top third at a lower ranked college, the Harvard kids feel stupid and unsuccessful because they compare themselves to their Harvard peers. Gladwell then goes on to recommend attending non-elite institutions — to be a big fish in a small pond — in order not to have your dreams and confidence crushed.

“Why don’t kids just forget about four-year institutions completely and attend their local community college?” I reply. “They can test their mettle against classmates with no academic qualifications whatsoever. That should provide a much-needed confidence boost.”

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

12 Feb 2015 /

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. . . .

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. . . .

Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it.

EppsNet at the Movies: Treeless Mountain

3 Feb 2015 /

Treeless Mountain

I’m in love with this movie. What is about? Read the IMDB plot summary below. It’s also about hanging on to the past, letting go of the past, and the resilience of the human heart.

You’re not into that kind of thing? Fine, go watch Hot Tub Time Machine. Come on, you’re better than that.

Rating: 5 stars

Treeless Mountain

In Seoul, Korea, two sisters must look after each other when their mother leaves them to search for their estranged father.

Director: So Yong Kim (as So-yong Kim)
Cast: Chae Gil Byung Pedestrian in City, Jung Gil Ja Minoo’s Mom, Shin Hyun Je Bus Driver, Kim Mi Jung Hyun’s Mom

IMDb rating: 7.2 (1,388 votes)

Park Slope Kids’ Names

25 Jan 2015 /

FYI — Park Slope is a neighborhood in northwest Brooklyn, considered one of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods.

A Short One-Act Play About Time

3 Dec 2014 /

MY KID HOME FROM COLLEGE: That clock says 8:42, that clock says 8:45, your phone says 8:47 and my phone says 8:48. So what time is it?

ME (singing):

Does anybody really know what time it is?
Can anybody really care? (About time)
If so I can’t imagine why (Oh no-oo)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

Did that answer your question?

KID: Not really.

Tags: , ,

Halle Slams Gabriel!

26 Nov 2014 /

Halle Berry

Halle Berry is at least 50 percent white, the girl’s father is white . . . do the math on how white the girl is supposed to look.

I’m in Semi-Solidarity with the Protestors

26 Nov 2014 /


I support the UC Berkeley students protesting tuition hikes but maybe with a little less conviction than I used to because my kid is a senior and no matter how high tuition goes I won’t be paying it anymore so I hope the boy was in class yesterday and not out causing a disturbance . . .

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