Friday, June 30, 2006

Not In The News Friday

Fridays should be fun -- and generally nonsensical -- so we at IR Haven are proud to introduce to you "NOT IN THE NEWS FRIDAY!" (NITNF)

NITNF will usually be a bit of trivia that I found interesting and thought you would like. It may be IR-related and it might not -- but should always be fun! You won't find these tidbits in news stories, no sirree!

This week's NITNF: Did you know that Michael Dorn, best known as Lt. Commander Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, actually had a regular role as Officer Jebediah Turner on the 1970's show CHiPs?

Earth-shattering, isn't it? Have a great weekend!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, June 29, 2006

So Long, Asian Avenue Account

Don't worry, this isn't a post to diss Asian Avenue. Asian Avenue has undergone some major changes in the last year or two, though, and it's just not the same as it once was. That may work out great for some people; it just didn't work out for me.

In all fairness, though, Asian Avenue's features and website do look better than ever. But its main push seems to be towards dating and professional networking in the Asian American community.

So why did I join Asian Avenue? I got a free account with Asian Avenue when they started in 1999. I've always had an interest in Asian culture and community. So I joined to make friends and learn more about the community.

Initially, Asian Avenue was set up to help friends get to know one another and provided a free webpage and an email address. I found it interesting because it encouraged people to be creative in making webpages and friends.

Asian Avenue also had a good referral system that gave reward points that could be accumulated and used to get real items, like ball caps and t-shirts, etc. A couple of years ago, Asian Avenue added a blogging feature, too...but it was too little, too late. I liked their job find feature even though I didn't need it.

Ironically, for me, it became more and more difficult to get to know people using Asian Avenue. I checked in on it less and less and would even forget about it (not a good sign). It was probably the big dating push that drove me away the most, though.

So I closed my Asian Avenue account today. C'est la vie.

Anyone else use Asian Avenue? What are your thoughts on it? Leave me a comment on this post. Thanks!

Best Wishes,

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Romantic Memories, Episode One

The following is a true story from the Adventures of Allen and Angel.

Late May 1993. Angel and I were engaged at the time. She had passed basic training (U.S. Army) with flying colors and phoned me early in the morning to let me know she would be flying to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in Arizona that day. She told me she'd be transferring through the Atlanta airport on Delta airlines and then the Dallas airport before going to Arizona. She also gave me the approximate flight times.

After I got off the phone, I was a bit sad because it would be some time before I'd see her (I'd wanted to go to her Basic graduation but it hadn't been possible). We had sent each other snail mail and had a few phone calls since March.

Then the craziest idea in the world entered my brain: somehow, I would meet her at the airport in Dallas!

I didn't have much time to plan. I called Delta airlines to find out her flight number based on the airport locations (including gates) and times. Then I had to determine when the flight would arrive in Dallas. I got that info, wrote it down and got in my car and started driving to the Austin airport.

As I drove, I thought "God, if you don't want this to happen, stop me now."

I got to the airport and purchased the first one-way flight to Dallas I could get. I would arrive at the Dallas airport with not too much time to spare. I literally had to run from one end of the airport to the other to find the right gate in time. I arrived shortly before that flight arrived.

Keep in mind, I had no idea whether this was the right flight or not. Even though the info seemed to match, it could have been another plane with different passengers!

I waited, nervous with anticipation yet also fearing a letdown if I'd miscalculated. Let's face it, this was a lot of money to spend if I was totally wrong.

The minutes passed. The plane arrived and passengers started exiting the plane. It seemed like an eternity, even though it was probably only 5 to 10 minutes.

And I finally saw her. My Angel. In military uniform.

She was the most beautiful sight in the world to me at that time (still is!).

In retrospect, it must have been quite a sight to others to see us together, though. Not merely an interracial couple but, at the time, I was wearing casual summer clothes (jeans and t-shirt) and had my hair past shoulder length. She was in standard military attire. And yet, there we were, a happy couple in love, delighted to see each other.

Actually, Angel looked like she'd seen a ghost when she saw me! It made it worth every penny I'd spent on my credit card. I had totally, utterly surprised her -- just as I'd hoped.

In the end, we got to spend a whopping 36 minutes together before she had to catch her connecting flight. Still, it was a total recharge to me. I hadn't seen her in nearly three months.

It was hard to leave her but I had my satisfaction. I'd accomplished my goal for the day. A total spur-of-the-moment act of utter lunacy -- and it'd paid off!

I purchased another one-way ticket back to Austin and had to zoom across Austin to make it to my (then) part-time job. I worked in happy exhaustion for the next 6 hours.

It was totally worth it.

This is the same woman I ended up marrying 11 years ago. The same woman whom I've had 2 sons with.

So, believe it or not, World -- LOVE lives!

13 years ago and it's still fresh in my memory.

I just thought I'd share it with you all.

Best Wishes,
IR Haven's First Renter: Just Jill!

Go check out her blog. It's festive, clean and a good read.

Best Wishes,

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Sad State of Interracial Blogs

I was curious about the state of interracial blogs in the blogosphere, so of course, I tried to Google the term. Geez, was that a mistake! I couldn't even attempt to click on any of the links because they were all porn, all the time.

That was disappointing.

I know there are blogs from interracial couples and families and biracial/multiracial people but they are few and far between. I have recently spent some time cruising Blog Explosion and while there's a wealth of political and personal blogs, religious and anti-religious blogs, sports and financial blogs, there just aren't too many interracial blogs.

So we earn our name a little longer: Interrace Haven. We still discuss topics from the point of view of someone in an interracial marriage with biracial kids. Sometimes "slice-of-life," sometimes comedy, sometimes serious and sometimes spiritual, but one way or the other, it's IR Haven, all the time.

If you know of some good IR blogs out there, I'd love to check them out! Send me link suggestions HERE!

Best Wishes,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Note From The Makers Of Colourz Magazine:

"We here, at Colourz magazine, would love to hear your stories and comments on how being bi-racial has affected you. The mission of Colourz is to open a gateway of communication among all people. Colourz will confront and help combat, in an informative and educational way, the obstacles many people face due to their mixed heritage, ethnicity, prejudices of others and prejudices within themselves. Colourz is the magazine for anyone who is or has known a person who is mixed, mulatto, half & half, part this or part that. There are no limitations. Colourz is for you. Please respond to

"We are looking forward to hearing from you!"

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Tomorrow Is Father's Day

Few things make me as proud and satisfied as being a dad. I'm proud of my family. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to (someday) get married and have kids. It was a very strong feeling, a driving force -- and quite frankly, sometimes it didn't make sense.

I mean, it's a perfectly normal goal to have, don't get me wrong -- but I wonder how that notion gets planted in a 10-year old or a 14-year old or an 18-year old kid? You would think that all that would be on your mind would be playing with your friends or tv shows or sports as driving influences. And for the most part, those were my influences (except for sports -- me, other kids and sports didn't get along, but that's another blog entry).

I was a total introvertive comic book creator (as a hobby, never for profit), comic book fan, and my folks had bought me a video game system (anybody old enough to remember Colecovision?) by age 10. Still, somewhere near the surface of my heart was this need for a wife and a family of my own.

Even in my dark, angst-filled teen years, I still envisioned a future where I'd get married and have kids.

Elements of marriage and family were present in all my creative projects from that period in my life, whether the superhero comics or music (between the ages of 18 and 20, I recorded an album titled "Dreams & Wishes" where the title song's lyrics speak of my longing for real love. The basic last line is "You are my dreams and wishes").

Inevitably, when I dated, I would ask the young women what they thought about marriage and kids. Although I did have at least one girlfriend who wasn't interested in either, most considered it to one degree or another. It was always important to me, even though I did not get engaged to anyone until Angel proposed to me.

Angel says I "serenaded" her for children, and I did (not literally, but with my actions and through our conversations). Having found the woman of my "dreams and wishes," I had an unexplainable urgency to have a child with her...and we did. We were married on March 18, 1995 and our first child was born on October 8, 1995 (and no, we hadn't become Christians yet, although Angel give her life to Christ 2 weeks before our son, Adam, was born).

A couple of years later, Angel told me she wanted to have another child, a sibling for Adam. It really didn't take any effort to convince me. Josey was born on October 6, 1998.

Now my boys are school age (10 and 7, respectively) and have their own distinct personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. I love them both equally and I'm very happy to say they show their love for me and Angel every day. They are both loving and caring boys, each in their own special way. They are both amazingly intelligent and healthy and creative. They're also handsome and charming and witty.

I love them more and more each day, just as I love my wife more each day. It may sound like a Hallmark(tm) greeting card but it's the truth. I couldn't ask for a better family.

People often ask me and Angel whether or not we want to "try for a girl." The truth is, we are satisifed. If it's God's will that we have a daughter (or even another son), then we'll accept that and be thankful and adapt as necessary.

But for right now, we're a good family. We're the family I always wanted.

Dreams do come true sometimes.

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Summer Errand With My Boys

So, Monday I had a day off and the boys are home for summer and Angel's working. There were errands to run, so the boys and I went together. Following a little incident over the weekend with the van in which the ignition switch broke, a friend of ours was gracious enough to fix it (for free) but our keys were damaged and needed to be copied and replaced.

Our first stop was a key shop. And what a stop. The boys had never seen a huge safe before, much less half a dozen of them side by side.

And then there was The Grackle.

Yes, the employees of this key shop had a pet grackle. I kid you not. It was pretty small and was riding the shoulder of one of the employees. And that bird NEVER ... STOPPED ... TALKING. It was a total chatterbox! I don't think it would have been such a weird thing (and keep in mind, I live in Austin, the city that spawned the slogan "Keep Austin Weird") if it hadn't been in a place of business!

Another of the employees held out his finger and the grackle flew right over and perched on his finger then he put the bird on his shoulder (as the bird continued its conversation). He gave it some bird seed and the thing kept a muffled squawking as it ate. The boys and I were both amused and annoyed simultaneously...

We were only in the key shop maybe 10 minutes but there was no getting bored. We had the grackle...

...or did the grackle have us? (Dramatic music)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Your Stories: Help IR Haven Generate Content

I have been wanting to add more IR-centric content to the blog recently, so this afternoon, I had an idea.

I'd like you to send me your IR stories and I will post them as blog entries, one per day. They don't have to be long or works of art, although I think they will be beautiful in their own way.

I'd like couples' stories (how you met, what your ethnicities are, how long you've been together, how many kids, etc.) and individuals stories (life as a biracial or multiracial person, how it has shaped your insights, your world view, etc.).

A couple of suggestions: Just use first names. Keep the language family-friendly.

E-mail your stories to me HERE!

I'll start posting them as soon as I receive them. Thanks in advance!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hold The Phone...

We finally decided to stop using a pager and start using a cell phone.

I know, I know -- "Allen, my goodness! You decided to join the 21st century!"

Yeah, yeah...

A lot of things led to it, not least of which was our last couple of wedding anniversary travels, where a cell phone really would have come in handy (in the mountains of Pennsylvania en route to a wonderful resort that we could not find for the life of us -- or in the middle of the hill country with no phones, lovely as it was).

Also, it just seems that if you're stuck in traffic or have a flat tire or you just need to relay some information, there's no reason not to have a cell phone.

And, is it just me, or is it quicker and easier to get approved and pay for a cell phone than it is to order fast food? I was amazed. Granted, I picked a good time and provider -- on Memorial Day -- and the guy working there told me I was his only customer of the day thus far, so I got some good deals...

...but then there was the "DUH" moment.

We got our first error message on the phone about 3 hours after I got it home. It said "SIM card rejected" on it's little screen. So I removed the back panel, the lithium ion battery and gently took out the SIM card and reinserted it into its little slot.

And then the phone wouldn't turn back on.

That was a bummer.

The next day, I went right back up to the cell phone place and asked what the deal was. To this, the man who had sold me the phone and the monthly plan said those five condemning words (in a reassuring Indian accent) -- words that strike fear and dread into a techno geek such as myself:

"This is the 'ON' button."

(Hangs head in abject shame.)

I'd accidentally pressed the on/off button and turned the phone off while getting the back cover off of the phone to reposition the SIM card.

"Wile E. Coyote....genius." (*shakes off the memory*)

The cell phone has worked well since then.