Monday, November 25, 2013

Loud Quiet Loud

This cartoon courtesy of Kenka, 25 St. Marks Place, NYC, which is a pretty snazzy joint if you're ever in the mood for Japanese student food (and free self-spun cotton candy afterwards). It was one of those five Vietnamese girl meetups with the one loney Westerner guy. They come from all over and hardly ever get to meet up, yet they would simultaneously stop their yammering (like hitting the Stop button on a tape recorder) and pull out their phones every five minutes. Not even for the manditory food photos, but to check their facebook updates. Total silence and glazed faces. Hey girls, maybe take a look around at the people you're with? Do that later maybe? If at all? No? Ok, give me a second...
Sorry, I was just shaking my fists at Steve Jobs' ghost, as I often do.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Period Trakker Day 2

The yucky female adventure continues. I don't know the cultural references for this one. The Westerners will get feint and go for a quick lie down. Jenny doesn't get it. At all. I know, because she said "I don't get it." I said "what's the red?" She didn't know. I spelled the whole thing out for her. She said "Why so much blood? That's silly (SILLY has that hugely negative connotation in Vinenglish--too shamefully stupid)." I guess I exaggerated too much--though not with the floating toy boat. That is real.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Just Say No

So, drug stores in Vietnam. SO not like the ones in America. You can't get cheeze-whizz, batteries, appliances, gum, foot-massagers, reading glasses, connect four, toys and tea strainers in Vietnam without going to separate stores (or, usually, a guy on the street selling out of a metal booth). And the drugs advil thins the blood, relieves headaches, lowers fever, and tucks you into bed with a kiss. In Vietnam, there is a single pill to combat each tiny symptom, so for a flu, you have an awful lot of pills for every ache, sniffle and puke. I'm guessing that they also have a low dosage, so you have to take a baggie three times per day. Or they just like selling lots of pills.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Period Trakker Day 1

Vietnamese are less squeamish about this topic than Americans, so I helped myself.

Actually, there is a whole book of topics that embarrass Westerners that Vietnamese are very up-front about. When meeting people for the first time, Vietnamese come right out and ask about each others' ages, whether or not they like manga,  if they were bullied in high school, whether you were dumped by your first sweetheart or did the dumping...well, not most of that, but you get the idea.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sword and Shield

Our entire relationship portrayed in two panels. She always tells me to stop defending, and I tell her to stop attacking so I wouldn't have to defend. If a tiger leaps at you, you will flinch (at the very least). It's hard-wired. And since attacking is just her way of speaking, I do a lot of flinching.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Jenny swears she doesn't do this. Well, it doesn't happen often, but it's precious when it does. She invented whole phrases: it will lose out (it will fall off), you drag me out (you ratted me out)...until it catches on, I'm obligated as a good husband to stop her completely and say "what are you talking about?"

Friday, November 8, 2013

A matter of perception

Anyone notice how painfully honest Vietnamese are? Especially their loved ones? And in really obvious ways? If you're fat, they'll tell you you're fat. Not just everyday, but every time they notice that you're fat, and they are very observant. For me, it's "why you so": skinny, short (I'm average, thank you) big-nosed, white, belly-button lint containing...I think I have to stop, I'm making myself feel bad.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stop and see the birds

My wife is not one to notice the scenery--maybe this is typical. She'd be on her iphone on a drive over the mountains. I'd tell her to look at a huge full moon and she'd look at me like I'm crazy. So when she does notice the subtle things, it is a special moment that brings us closer.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's only ok when I do it...

As a form of protest, Jenny's phone will make many appearances in these cartoons. By now, it's become a separate character--the phone is her husband, and I'm a jealous lover. In general, whatever I do to occupy myself while she's on the phone will instantly cause her to seek attention.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What to do?

True photos, real situations. Real origami horse made from part of a toothpick wrapper (so small I used the toothpick to make the folds). Real tea-leaf cameo. Real dinner with me and a whole lot of Vietnamese being spoken. Real boredom, real inspiration, real dim sum...if you're reading this, you're now as bored as I was and am now trying out the tea-leaf thing.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Miss you always

Maybe we're TOO attached? I go down and get the mail and she runs to me like in some romantic movie or a Jerry Springer show with twins separated during a war and were reunited 50 years later or something, except they're now old and hobbling with canes or those little jungle-gyms with wheels that old people shuffle with nowadays. I got sidetracked--so yeah, we're a little TOO attached.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Compulsive Much?

I exaggerate: first the bamboo is soaked for three days, THEN boiled for five days. Hopefully after all that we'd still in the mood to cook and eat it.

The main gist: major household projects always begin when we are just about to go somewhere. Or when we are both starving, then in the middle of cooking she cleans some neglected corner of the apartment. And then we are both starving, angry and...well, one of us usually gets hurt. That one of us us ME.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cookie Police

Like the others, a true story. I'm too scared to buy my own cookies but I need cookies to live! Fortunately, Jenny does make fantastic cookies. Maybe I shouldn't call them "cookies," as she doesn't follow any recipe and creates something entirely different: cookie/cakes, cake/cookies, cookie/brownies. She'll make enough to fill a cookie jar, which for me lasts about a day. Then it's months without another fix.