Interview with Pierre Kim / Metro Dad
Partially in the interest of not missing any sections of the blogging spectrum, but mostly because I think he’s really funny and insightful, I asked Pierre Kim of Metro Dad if he would be interested in an interview. I know, I’ve done some daddy-bloggers in the past, but not for a long time and it’s way over due. Pierre lives in New York with his wife and daughter. He’s part snake venom, which I find quite intriguing, and will give you his seat on the subway, if you are old or pregnant. Just keep that in mind. He’s also a stickler for good grammar but can take a joke quite well. You can also find Pierre at Rice Daddies and DadCentric.
July 8, 2004.
Why do you blog?
I like to joke that I blog because it’s cheaper than therapy but actually that’s probably fairly close to the truth. Blogging is very therapeutic for me. It not only gives me a creative outlet for my writing but it also gives me a microphone so my wife doesn’t have to listen to me rambling non-stop like a crazy man on the subway in his underwear.
What do you talk about?
Generally, my transition into fatherhood and the more humorous aspects of being an urban dad. Prior to the birth of my daughter, I led a very selfish and hedonistic life. Now, my entire life revolves around a little 20-month old girl who has me completely wrapped around her little finger.
What don’t you talk about? Why?
I don’t discuss politics, religion, or specific details regarding my family and friends. Why? Because I’ve got an antiquated sense of civility and etiquette that prevents me from discussing topics on my blog that I feel are traditionally better left for the parlor room.
Personally, I find this extremely ironic since I’m also the same person who apparently has no qualms talking about drinking his wife’s breast milk, getting high with my dog, and breaking up with old girlfriends via FedEx.
Worst/best experience regarding something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?
By far, the best experience for me has been making personal connections with people with whom I never would have met if not for the blog. It’s been incredibly gratifying to find people who share your sense of humor, your values and a similar perspective on life.
The worst? To tell you the truth, the only semi-bad experience was when a few trolls not only left anonymous comments on my blog but also felt compelled to send me hate mail. For a brief nanosecond, I considered ending the blog but then I realized that would be like letting the terrorists win. Who the hell has time to write hate mail?
Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?
I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker so the only bad thing I’ll ever say about my city is that I would kill for some more personal space and privacy. Our apartment is a closet-less shoebox with only a thin piece of balsa wood separating us from the Russ Meyer casting call of assorted freaks that live in our building. Sometimes when I’m reading late at night, I can hear the guy next door trying to flush his cat down the toilet.
Otherwise, I absolutely love living here and taking advantage of everything the city has to offer. Between all the museums, the off-Broadway plays, the concerts, and the restaurants, I feel like the entire world is right outside my doorstep. I thrive on the manic energy of the city and I absolutely love the sheer diversity of people.
Also…being inherently lazy, I love the fact that I can get anything from car batteries to sushi to hookers delivered directly to my front door at any time of the day.
What place do daddy-blogs have in the current mommy-blog regime?
Whereas mommy blogs are like the giant 800-lb gorilla of the parenting blogosphere, daddy blogs are like the tiny gnat on the gorilla’s ass. In all honesty, most people don’t even know we exist. However, that’s part of what I find so appealing about writing a daddy blog. It’s such a small close-knit community. Generally speaking, we’re all huge fans of one another and read each other’s blogs devotedly.
That being said, there are so many fantastic mommy bloggers out there that they deserve all the attention they get. I’m in awe of them as writers, as parents, and as people. Without women like Heather (Dooce), Melissa (Suburban Bliss), and Alice (Finslippy), I’m not sure that daddy bloggers would even exist. Although their modesty would prevent them from ever admitting this, I believe that these great writers (who just happened to be mothers) paved the way for people to blog about parenting. Not only were they unafraid of exposing the darker sides of parenting, they also demonstrated that there could be more to a parenting blog than cute stories, rainbows and lollipops. I love their sheer honesty and vulnerability. And, in all honesty, as much as I love my fellow daddy bloggers, there are only a few of them that can write as well as these women. In fact, the only two that come to mind are Laid-Off Dad and Dutch.
If you were president of the US:
What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
Sadly, there’s a real dearth of Asian-American actors who have the emotional depth and intellectual range to play such a complicated character as myself. Just kidding. Fortunately, nobody in his or her right mind would ever pay to see a movie about my tediously boring life so I think we can hold off on the casting call for now.
What do you do to stay sane and healthy?
It’s highly debatable whether I am either sane OR healthy. Thanks for asking though! It’s very sweet of you, Leah!
As I was reading in W Magazine the other day, black is the new black.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
My mother always held up Bill Bradley as an aspiring role model. After all, he was a Princeton grad, a Rhodes scholar, a NY Knick and a U.S. Senator. I had to admit that was a pretty impressive resume. So, not surprisingly, when I was 10, I was convinced that I was going to be the starting shortstop for the NY Mets. After a glorious Hall-of-Fame career and winning the World Series for my hometown, I would then move seamlessly into the world of politics and become the Mayor of New York.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t hit a curveball so my political career ended before it began.
What do you hate?
Rude people. It truly boggles my mind that an able-bodied man would knowingly NOT give up their seat on the subway to a pregnant woman, a handicapped person or the elderly. It literally drives me insane when I see this happen.
I also hate beets, bad grammar, the designated hitter rule, Paris Hilton, and bigotry of any kind.
Why do you hate North Dakota?
I don’t hate North Dakota! Despite the fact that I’ve driven across the country about 7 times and traveled extensively, I’ve somehow never managed to find myself in North Dakota. It’s literally the only state that I’ve never set foot in. Does it count if I say that “Fargo” is one of my favorite films?
What do you love?
I’m a fairly simple man. I’m a sucker for a good scotch, a good book and a good old-fashioned romantic comedy. I love the smell of my wife’s hair, tiny kisses from my daughter, warm summer days at Shea, walking along the Hudson River, and the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle.
Give me all of those things on a daily basis and I’ll die a happy man.
I would like to hear about the snake venom in China, please.
I was traveling to a village outside of Shaoxing for work and one of the local leaders decided to throw a huge banquet dinner for us. Halfway through this magnanimous feast, a woman walked into the room with an enormous snake around her neck. It must have been about 10-12 feet long and scared the living crap out of me. The handlers grabbed the snake and forced it to release venom by sticking its fangs into a cloth-covered glass. The venom just shot out in a violent burst. The local leader then mixed the venom with some local rice wine (which tastes like Turpentine) and handed the glass to me.
Now, I’m usually pretty game for anything. When I travel, I like to throw myself into the local culture and ignore any preconceived notions that may have been formed by my upbringing. However, there was no way that I was going to drink that venom. Unfortunately, one of my guides informed me that this was a huge honor being bestowed upon me and that if I turned it down, it would not only be a personal affront to the host but it would also be quite embarrassing for him. How could I say no to that?
Next thing I know, I’m drinking half a glass of venom and thinking about the fact that I’m going to die alone here in China and nobody will ever know what happened to me. Fortunately, I lived to tell the tale. And aside from the occasional desire to eat rats and slither naked in the grass, I don’t think it affected me in any way!
What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?
Don’t quit your day job.
In a way, I feel that each blog allows me to express a different facet of my personality. On Rice Daddies, I usually discuss race-related issues that either concern me or influence how I raise my daughter. Being of Asian descent is an important part of who I am but it certainly doesn’t wholly define me as an individual. So I generally use Rice Daddies as a forum for race-related topics that I’m interested in discussing with either other people of Asian descent or those raising Asian-American children.
DadCentric is just a collaboration of some really cool, down-to-earth fathers who share a similar sense of humor. My DadCentric posts tend to be very light-hearted and fairly short. Sometimes I’ll post cocktail recipes or rant about sports. Other times, I’ll ask readers for advice about what I should do when both Tiffany AND Debbie Gibson are in concert on the same night at different venues in NY. However, most of what I write there would appeal only to other men.
Astounding facts about you:
1. I eat food so quickly that you’d swear I’ve been in prison for the past 37 years.
2. My head is enormous. My wife weighed it once and swore that it was over 11 lbs.
3. I can drink an entire liter of scotch while beating you in a game of Scrabble.
4. I can’t carry a tune to save my life but unfortunately I have no inhibitions or shame.
5. If every song by Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Pearl Jam, Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy were to somehow completely disappear from the planet, I’d probably be able to write down the lyrics for the rest of humanity. I’d remember about half the lyrics to songs by U2, Oasis, The Replacements and Prince. Sadly, Celine Dion and the entire country music oeuvre would be lost forever.
Are you Windows or Mac? Why?
I’ve been a die-hard Mac addict for over 20 years. I’m in love with their simplicity, elegance and beauty. As I’ve said before, I think I’d rather see my mother in a whorehouse than on a Windows PC.
How would your wife describe you? How about your daughter?
My wife would say that no words could describe the true essence of who I am. However, I think she’s just saying that because she’s watching “Laguna Beach” right now.
Actually, my wife would say that I’m a very handsome man with smooth skin and smelly feet who makes her laugh so hard she snorts but, at the same time, drives her absolutely crazy by correcting her grammar even as she’s falling asleep. She’d also say I’m the smartest man that she knows but that I’m nowhere near as smart as her.
My daughter would say I’m really fun because I let her stick her tiny finger up my nose just to hear her laugh. Otherwise, she would describe me as “Mommy.”
Do you cook?
Not really. We tend to use the kitchen as an extra storage space. I’m not joking when I say that I actually keep my ski boots in the oven.
What are you working on right now?
Being a better husband, father and son. Quitting smoking.
Where do you like to travel to? (i put in some dangling participles just for you…..but as a joke since i still want to be friends and everything….) Why do you like to go their? (again, just for you. i kid!)
Even though I know you’re joking, Leah, I’m still getting an aneurysm!
I love traveling off the beaten path. Being immigrants to this country from Korea, my parents were always taking us on tours of Western civilization. Before I was even 18, I’d probably been to about ten different countries in Europe alone. It’s partly why I chose a career that would take me to some of the more remote regions of the world, places unstained by the greasy palms of tourists.
My favorite trip was to the Galapagos Islands. My wife and I spent almost two weeks on a boat going around the islands with a naturalist tour guide and it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I’ve never been anywhere else on the planet where you can have such an affinity for the natural world. It’s almost like going back in time. It’s a special place and I can’t wait to take my daughter there someday.
Your own favorite post? And your favorite post of someone else?
I actually have two favorite posts. The first is “Confessions of a Grammar Nerd”, where I discuss my life-long obsession with grammar. The second is “My Name is MetroDad”, where I share some of the more embarrassing indiscretions of my past. What I like about both of these posts is that, prior to writing them, I found myself at a point where I briefly felt like I was pandering to my audience and creating this on-line persona of who I was as a person. After a nanosecond of soul searching, I realized that I really didn’t care whether people liked me or not. I also came to the conclusion that I didn’t give a damn about traffic or comments or my stat counter. The freedom I gained from this was extremely liberating and it made writing the blog much more enjoyable.
My favorite post by someone else was written at Tales from My Tiny Kingdom, which is the blog of the fabulously funny Anne Glamore. Her post “It’s Natural, But It’s Rated R” is the story of her and her husband trying to teach one of their sons about the birds and the bees. To this day, I still can’t read it without laughing out loud hysterically.
What will you being doing next year?
Hopefully finalizing my plans for world domination. However, those plans might have to be put on hold since my wife wants to have another child next year. Therefore, instead of sitting on my golden throne and bossing around my many minions, I’ll most likely be massaging my wife’s feet or running out to get her cheese fries at 4:00 in the morning.
Tell me a secret?
When it’s late at night and everyone’s in bed, I pour myself a drink and watch re-runs of “Extreme Makeover” so I can cry myself to sleep. Does that count as a secret? Oh yeah, a few years ago, I got really high at Johnny Depp’s house in L.A. and I think I might have slept with Robert Evans.
Actually, I’m just kidding. Want to know my deepest secret? You can’t tell anybody but, despite my self-deprecating nature, I’m actually incredibly vain. My therapist says it’s probably due to the fact that my mother had two miscarriages after me and I was an only child for almost five years. Or maybe it’s because my mother’s philosophy of positive reinforcement backfired and went awry. However, the truth is that the source of my vanity is my hair. Only four people on the planet are allowed to touch my hair. Aside from my wife and daughter, my dermatologist and hair stylist are the only others who are allowed total access.
My other secret is that I come from a long family of freaks dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Despite this travesty, I’m frightfully well adjusted. I didn’t used to be. However, drugs and alcohol have done wonders.
What do you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?
Are you really as pompous as you seem to be? No. My therapist says that I’m overcompensating for my narcissistic need to be loved so I do my best to make people hate me by portraying myself as eminently vapid and arrogant. He says that, at heart, I’m actually a really nice guy with a good heart. I tell him that if he wants my $30 co-payment, he’d better shut up or I’ll cut him!
Thank you, Pierre!