Crowdfund it: My Sister's Documentary to Circumnavigate Taiwan; End Big Money in Politics; Chicken Soup for the Social Entrepreneur

HuanDao: a modern exploration of identity

My younger sister SueAnn has launched a really exciting project to document the journey of riding through the entire island of Taiwan, where our parents emigrated from. Instead of backpacking through Europe or journeys of self-discovery (says the 30-year-old on sabbatical) like recent college grads do, she's put together a meaningful way to explore identity and the differences between the US and Taiwan. You don't have take my word for it, here's the fancy Kickstarter video:

If you want to find out more (or want to read it in Chinese!) SueAnn and her fellow producers have put together a great multilingual website about the documentary: HuanDao Documentary

Rooster Soup in Philadelphia

This is the best kind of social entrepeneurship that I can imagine — taking the waste (who knew there was such a thing as chicken backs?) from Federal Donuts as the base for another endeavor, Rooster Soup, creating jobs and profit to support the work of the non-profit Broad Street Ministries. Best of all, it's happening in the city-of-my-heart Philadelphia, which is an amazing laboratory for great ideas like this one.

I just chipped in $20, and I can't wait to pick up my 3 donuts the next time I'm in town.

MayDay PAC

I'm a little bit behind the curve on this one. MayDay PAC has been flying around the internet, its idea being to end the influence of big money in politics by using money to help candidates win who support getting money out. It's already hit the $5M goal, but I just threw a few more their way, since every dollar is being matched by some wealthy altruists -- putting their dollars against their own interests for the public good.

Here's a video, and if you prefer reading, a write-up on MSNBC.


A Visit to Grandma

Yesterday I went over the river and through the woods to Shilin to visit my grandmother (on my father's side) which is the same area where the famous night market is. My grandmother lives in an apartment with one of my uncles and his wife and a live-in caretaker. She's been in that apartment for a couple years; before that she lived with a different uncle. The house we used to visit her in when I was a kid was torn down to make way for what I think is now a public park. I haven't been back to visit that area, and actually I couldn't point it out on map. The details of what happened are beyond me, but it's possible that the whole neighborhood was built on public land, with a semi-legal status like a shantytown. Building- and neighborhood-wise, though, I couldn't tell you the difference between that area and the part of Taipei New City (formerly Taipei County) that my other grandmother lived in.

Michigan, McCain, Melatonin, & Marriage

I've been visiting my parents in Michigan since Wednesday night. They're unofficially celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, though they haven't told most of their friends who are coming to the party tonight. There are some old old friends visiting my parents too, they live in LA & Dallas respectively, and they go all the way back to when my mom was going to nursing school in Taiwan. Pretty amazing that they're still in touch and still good friends, though they sometimes didn't see each other for years (decades!). It's nice to be back home and see the family, but it often makes me wonder that I really ever lived here. The house seems so big compared to my apartment in Philly, the roads are so wide, the people are so white, the buildings so cookie-cutter, the strip malls so common (and boring).

Not to mention that there are pretty much McCain signs everywhere. I don't know anything about local and state politics which actually make up the vast majority of the signs on the roads & lawns, but of the presidential candidates' lawn signs, most have been for McCain, including one infuriating "Another Democrat for McCain" sign. Ah well, I suppose McCain/Palin have given up in Michigan, though I haven't looked at any recent polling data.

Last night Kim & I met up again for our tradition of sneaking-away-to-a-coffee-shop-while-Powen-is-in-town-for-a-few-days. This time it was at Caribou Coffee... I ended up getting some weirdly named latte with the raspberry flavoring. BIG mistake. It was a sugar-free flavoring and basically made the coffee taste like medicine. The barista, however, was really nice about it and asked if I'd like her to make me something else. Instead, I just got a couple pumps of the almond flavoring which made it palatable enough to drink. Kim & I always have tons of awesomeness to go on about, but the most important thing I got out of our conversation is that melatonin really does help sleep / get over jetlag, and that it won't kill me. So I went to Meijer to get some in preparation for the upcoming transatlantic flight. I took one pill last night just to see what it would do, and it seems innocuous enough, though I have kind of been napping all day (plus I had a crazy gay dream during an afternoon nap). It won't hurt I don't think to try using it to get some sleep on the evening flight tomorrow.

Speaking of gayness, this Youtube video is called "Adventists Against Prop 8" is surprising and worth the watch.

My favorite quote:
Jesus was concerned that all people be treated with dignity, and respect, and equality. And therefore, we should vote against Proposition 8 because it reinforces the prejudices that we've had for centuries.