Friday, January 31, 2014

Tet Fail

This totally didn't happen, I just imagined a cultural faux pas.

Lucky money is very strange to us Westerners. It's like kids drooling over halloween candy, but it's not candy, it's just--well, money. So if you are planning on showing up at a family New Years party, you better steal an armored car first.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mom Time

Happy Birthday Mom, thank you for your unconditional love, support, wisdom, and your limitless patience.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lunch Roulette

To be fair, I'd get the wrong container even if it were the ONLY container in the fridge. I mean, I can't even see that early in the morning.

But please don't get the wrong impression--she doesn't cook for me. She's like the head chef who barks orders and I'm the seven-armed underling. We come home after work, cook dinner, eat dinner, go back  into the kitchen and cook lunch. Not a very good system, but I do get tired of deli sandwiches.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Matcha Time!

A cartoon that covers all the issues:
  • Extremely long names for coffee
  • The husband has to do the ordering
  • Anything that can be made at home shouldn't be bought (she does always make it better)
  • Anything can be turned into milk, even the grass growing between the cracks on the sidewalk
The cultural thing is the ordering part. You tell me...what is that? Is it a submissive thing? A shy thing? Or, my favorite, is it a lazy thing? But then, it takes the same amount of effort to tell me the order as it does to tell the order to the person who can actually serve you. Anyway, with my luck, she'll tell me what she wants, run off to the bathroom, and of course I'll mess up the order or forget to tell them less sugar or beg for the larger slice in the back and she'll be really mad.

Here's Jenny's recipe for a Starbuck's-style Green Tea Frappuccino, which will save you a few cents.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Subway Jam

This is an actual conversation, and it still cracks me up. Why, precisely, "$50,000?" Especially since Kora lessons would probably go for $30 a pop?

According to her, $50,000 is the average savings for middle-class Americans (yeah, right!), and once we achieved that, we can be free to our intellectual pursuits.

I could be unfaithful and get Kora lessons on my lunch hour, but she might catch on to the blisters on my fingers.

Shouldn't facebook be considered an intellectual pursuit?

And for the curious, here is my favorite subway performer with my favorite instrument, the Kora.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I mean, I'm not a traditional guy, and I don't even consider myself as a "white rice guy," I am not interested in being served and doted upon. But I don't bend back the other way, I prefer an equal share of the work to working twice as hard. Vietnam seems very extreme in this regard, and modern women do not (rightfully so) want to work hard like their mothers. But some end up like their fathers, which, nice enough guys as they are, kind of sit around and don't do an awful lot around the house. I don't really know what I'm talking about, I'm just saying that humans are not bred to be slaves or slugs. I'm just saying put the dishes away and don't complain, sheesh! That's all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


For my Vietnamese-speaking friends. It's hard to exist in Vietnam without knowing the word for "no." It is easy to overlook the often-broken rule of words ending in O hat N G sounding like "owm." And you may get raised eyebrows for saying "khong" to government officials, as one-word sentencese are often considered informal or rude (just keep saying "yeah" before every sentence, makes it nicer, as it does in English). It is also nice to note that saying "khong" multiple times never, never ever stops the street hawkers and children selling roses from attacking you like killer bees--it might be your last word.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Good Morning Again

I've even showed her ostriches at the zoo, and she still thinks I'm a dead ringer.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Say the Alphabet

Or just stick out your jaw like a gorilla.
Learning Vietnamese is about learning all the muscles and jaw movements you never knew you had. Also, learning that there are more vowels than can possibly be memorized. The U and the U eyelash are entirely different vowels yet they may seem exactly alike to Western ears. Then each one of these vowels are placed in one of five tones, which don't just make them sound pretty--they create entirely new vowels. And that was just one of our letters. So now you know--if you keep saying "thu" and no one ever understands you, ask to be punched in the stomach.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good Morning...

Every morning it's something new and inexplicable. I get others, but these deserve their own cartoons.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tippin the Scale

Actually, she's much more picky than me so it works out, I just thought it was funny. She'll pick out the good bits from my plate and return them with the ugly bits.

I also like the idea of the priest shouting at me, letting me know what I'm in for.

I usually start with the things I don't like: over-boiled bok choy or pork bits that had been marinating for three days. So while I'm trying to finish them off and get to the good stuff, plop--the pile will keep growing by increments and meanwhile the good stuff I've been waiting for is diminishing. This is a usual Vietnamese thing, other people getting their chopsticks into your plate, but it's usually a respect thing, placing the choice bits and not the other way around. Also Hepatitis and H. Pylori sometimes.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Period Trakker Day 5

The three-headed, alternating beast! One face is sweet but fleeting, the other spits and shouts totally unwarranted insults, and the other stuffs its--well, face. And if it doesn't stuff its face, we get more of the spitting and shouting kind. Which happens when the nice face takes over and starts doing some chores or something very generous and nice, like making me homemade pho, then forgets that she hasn't eaten in six hours and then...well, you know what then.

This Period Trakker could go on for another cartoon, and could technically go on for another two given last unmentionable December, we'll see how it goes--guys pretty much know this stuff anyway.