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Friday, February 19, 2010


I love the Olympics, watch every minute of coverage, and while I LOVE it when Team USA wins, I really love it when ANYONE wins. Which I guess is silly as someone wins every event in the Olympics. What I meant is, I love seeing the reactions on the gold medalist's face when they realize the culmination of a life-long goal. It's awesome. Team USA is my favorite, obviously, but it was so cool to see the Canadian downhill skiier win Canada's first gold on home soil. While I was so pumped to see Evan Lysacek win the men's ice-skating because he clearly had the skate of his life, I was more pumped that trash-talking Yvegeny Plushenko had to take silver.

I definitely prefer winter Olympics to the summer, but the winter Olympics are more painful to watch. The crashes are spectacular, and in some of them, it's amazing these athletes pick themselves up and walk away. In some events, they crash and a few minutes later, they're back on the slopes/ice as if nothing happened to them. I insist on being completely pampered if I have so much as a hangnail, so I'm in awe of this ability to just shrug off these spectacular tumble. I guess that's the difference between Olympians and the rest of us.

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0 comments | 5:18 PM |

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Worst nightmare

Okay, so one of them, but here it is:

Taylor Swift, the Kings of Leon, and Colbie Caillet singing that Firefly song a capella on "The Sing Off" with Jenna Wolfe from the Sunday "Today" show as one of the judges. And oh yeah, Nicole Scherzinger stays and constantly says in her monotone, "That was so hot, you were really hot..."

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0 comments | 7:50 PM |

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I think it would be a very, very bad idea fo Hillary Clinton to interfere in anyway in the Amanda Knox verdict. It's one thing to intercede on the behalf of hikers in Iran who might have been apprehended unfairly or the journalists in North Korea or the father whose son was kidnapped to Brazil, but it's another thing entirely to interfere in another's country judicial system (thoughts about that aside). There is no strategic national security involved, there's no question of apprehension under vague circumstances, and the defendent was well represented in court.

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0 comments | 9:11 AM |

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Scary article from the NY Times - Driven to Distraction - At 60 M.P.H.. Honestly, I can barely flip radio stations and drive at the same time, let alone check email/voice mails etc. I suppose most people who are like me put the cell phones away while driving, while everyone else is talking on the phone or texting and thinking they're doing just fine.

It scares me I'm on the road with people who are this reckless and careless. As my earlier saga with the car illustrated this past summer, people are trying to save themselves 10 to 20 minutes but in the meantime are costing the rest of us time and as this article points out, sometimes something much worse.

The article also comes with a game to test how distracted you are while driving and texting. I failed miserably. I can't text when I'm parked and concentrating 100% on the text, let alone while driving.

However, as I said, I think people who realize the dangers have already put away their cell phones. Everyone else thinks they're invincible or better than everyone else and nothing you say will ever convince them otherwise.

Scary stuff.

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0 comments | 6:36 PM |

Monday, September 28, 2009

Things that make me go huh

Is it just me or does the Dodge Charger remind anyone else of a shark? Seriously, every time I see one -- and I've been seeing a lot of them lately on Sweat Sock City highways -- I hear the "JAWS" theme. Please tell me it's not just me.

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0 comments | 10:19 PM |

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mystery on the Bayou

Don't mind me, but I'm reading Agatha Christie again, and I've got this habit of turning everything and everyone around me into a story. On another time, I'll tell you about how I turned a simple outing to a Vietnamese sandwich shop into an undercover sting operation for a mafioso. But this mystery is closer to home, or rather two doors down. My neighbor has been evicted. Or rather, eviction papers were served a few days ago -- posted on her door, and I'm nosy so I looked -- but she moved out a couple weeks ago.

Until recently my neighbor and I had a cordial relationship. She moved in a few months before I did, so we've lived -- separated by one apartment -- on this hall for the last six years. We weren't close, but we knew each other's names and we occasionally had conversations in the hall. This was all before she went really and totally crazy.

It started with the simple shredding of menus that are annoyingly left on our doors. Then one day when I drove up in my car and parked next to hers (leaving a wide gap), she flipped out on me, using some choice four letter words. Her issue with my parking? I usually park on the first floor of our parking garage and then climb up to our floor, but due to chronic foot problems, I started parking on the same level as the apartment to avoid the impact of the stairs on my feet. The point was -- she took offense at my parking on our floor instead of my usual first floor parking, even though we don't have assigned parking in our garage (she did pay a monthly fee for an assigned spot though). She came out and apologized a few minutes later but I was spooked enough that I moved my car several parking spots away from her. We never spoke again.

Her behavior slowly escalated from shredding menus in the hallway to leaving strange post-it notes on her door with messages like "DO NOT ENTER; MY APARTMENT IS ALARMED." She then started leaving notes in the garage, some of them pretty offensive. One day she was walking around the garage in what seemed to be her underwear, but was really just a tanktop over her bikini. I found this odd because the pool is over there and not over here and most women cover-up when not around the immediate pool area. About two weeks before she moved out, she left post-it notes and flowers on my Prius; all of the notes were essentially incoherent saying things like "I've given all my stuff to the Salvation Army." I wish I had kept them now because I don't really remember anymore than that one note out of the six posted on my car. In retrospect, I wonder if there was a message there for me, some sign I should have paid more attention too.

It was alarming and I was contemplating saying something to the apartment office. I spoke to Florida Girl, who is a mental health professional in the ER, and asked what was up. She said that my neighbor's behavior sounded suspiciously like someone who was off her meds -- i.e. going from normal to crazy in no time flat. She asked if my neighbor had lost her job recently and I said I didn't know; we hadn't spoken since her four-letter word barrage. Florida Girl said she was seeing a lot of cases in the ER that were similar to what I was describing -- people had lost their jobs, couldn't afford their medications and/or were spacing the dosage out to make the medication last longer, and the results could be dangerous.

Anyway, my neighbor is gone. She has moved out and I'm not going to know what happened here. I'm assuming that she lost her job, went off medication (if she had been on medication), and then fled when she could no longer pay rent. Clearly the apartment complex didn't know she was gone if they left eviction notes on her door. I'm definitely sad because I don't like how our acquaintance ended, but at the same time, her behavior was so odd and alarming that I couldn't help but keep my distance. While I knew something was wrong, I also didn't feel like we were close enough or that I knew her well enough to ask what was up or offer any assistance. Mea culpa.

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0 comments | 9:08 PM |

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I can't remember if I've said this before, but even so, it bears repeating: if one eats fish (seafood), one is not a vegetarian. If one eats any thing that once had a face -- whether it's a chicken or a worm or a seahorse -- one is not a vegetarian. I really, really wish this trend would stop. I can't even count how many people have said, "Oh I'm vegetarian, but I love tuna salad and eat it every day," or something to that effect. People who shun all meat except for seafood (or any other one variety) are not vegetarians. It makes so hard for REAL vegetarians because people think we eat fish, and are shocked (SHOCKED!) when they find out that's not the case. Real vegetarians don't eat anything that once had a face. Vegans don't eat anything that once had a face and also skip eggs and dairy.

Hope that clears things up.


0 comments | 10:02 PM |

Saturday, August 08, 2009


What I like about Facebook is that in certain applications, it bears no resemblance to real life. Everyone talks about the status updates and the whole reconnecting with people from high school and middle school, but WHAT ABOUT THE GAMES? Only on Facebook can I have a dog (I strongly dislike dogs), a farm (I like the concept of gardening, but dirt on my hands makes me a little crazy), a restaurant (just awesome), and I can also spend time as a fashionista (which I'm not in RL).

On Facebook, I also can own a house with a windmill in the front yard and I have a job in Yoville, but I'm not quite sure what it is I do there (I seem to dance and laugh and joke with various friends -- if only I could turn that into a paying gig in RL!). At various points, I get to travel abroad in something called Kidnapped! and there's also a Mafia War going on. For a while, I was deeply embroiled in a Parking War. I also have a kingdom of my own and apparently my vassals are restless for my return; I don't know what is they expect me to do.

Right now the restaurant game is my favorite. It runs slowly and it's rather high maintenance (actually, all of the virtual life games are high maintenance); not quite feasible for someone who check the site every few days or so. It's like I go and plant crops on my farm, but by the time I return to harvest them, they're all dead. So the only solution is to keep coming back and that, my friends, is the ingenuity of Facebook. After all, you'd feel guilty too if your virtual dog was pawing at you for attention because you happened to have an attack of RL along the way. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think have a war or three to fight.

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0 comments | 10:06 PM |

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Job hunting

Everyone has advice on how to find a job in this economy. I've got advice too, but more along the lines of "this has worked for me in the past." Your mileage may vary. I should note that the current job hunt has attracted many job offers in the form of "work from home" and "start your own business working part-time." It's mildly discouraging, but necessary evil. I try to keep my spirits up by reminding myself that the last time the economy was bad -- 2003 -- it took me about 3 months from the day I graduated to the day I started my new job. And I'm lucky, comparatively, as I live in a part of the country that isn't hurting as badly. But still, it's not easy.

That being said, here's how I'm doing it:

1. I use job boards. I know people frown on them, but my last three jobs were found through journalismjobs.com, hotjobs.com, and careerbuilder.com, respectively. Prior to that, I applied for my job at Very Big Insurance Company through a newspaper ad. I also use monster.com (have gotten interviews in the past through monster.com, but no job) and jobfox.com as well. There's also a search engine, indeed.com, that can help round up the jobs available on a variety of other niche boards. LinkedIn.com also has job boards, but I've no experience on whether that site is any better than any other.

2. I write cover letters. Each cover letter is specific to the job I'm applying for. I tell the person where I found the job and why I think I'm a good fit, citing experiences that fit with the job description. It used to take a longer time to write these, but now I have a lot of general cover letters written and I just tweak each one accordingly.

3. Spell check!

4. I only use one resume. I know they say you're supposed to have different resumes for different jobs, but at this point, my experience and skills are aimed at such a niche area of the job market that I only use one. I may reconsider this one in about a month if I don't get anywhere.

5. I keep a spreadsheet of every job I apply to. I started this spreadsheet back in the summer of 2003 and it has basically every job I've ever applied to since then. It's kind of sad, really. But it keeps me sane, in a way, and makes me feel like I'm doing something since I really haven't gotten any responses except 3 (1 headhunter who forwarded my resume, and two outright rejections). The spreadsheet acts as a measure of activity. I keep track of when I applied for the job, the company, the location, where I found the job online, and what the results were. It also keeps me straight on whether I've applied somewhere or not before.

6. The old me used to apply for any job whether I was qualified for it or not. I figure quantity over quality. The end result was I'd have to apply for 50 jobs before I got one interview. Now, I only apply for jobs that I'm actually qualified for. If it asks for an engineering degree or Ruby on Rails, I don't apply, even if I can do everything else listed on the description. Applications take forever to fill out and I don't want to waste my time or the hiring company's time when it's obvious I don't meet key criteria.

7. I still follow my loose adage that it takes 50 applications to get one interview. That's another sanity check, because it's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you're going to get an interview right away and keep checking email on hourly basis thinking someone is going to respond. I haven't reached the 50 application market yet, so I'm not discouraged yet.

It is hard slogging. But as my 2-year old niece once said, "But then it will be better."

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2 comments | 3:23 PM |

Monday, July 06, 2009


All you people on your cell phones who think you are driving really, really well? No, no, you're not. And yes, we can tell that you're talking on your phone while you're driving -- it's that obvious. So cut it out already. You're not cool, you're dangerous.

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0 comments | 5:45 PM |

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Geographically challenged

One thing that's bugging me about the Sonia Sotomayor story is people keeping saying her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is part of the US, so I'm not sure "immigrated" is the right word. It makes it sound like she's not American, that her parents weren't American, and that's not true. "Immigrated" in the same way that I moved from Small Mountainous State to Very Red State... well, maybe not quite. But the point is, Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

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1 comments | 11:07 PM |

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Road warrior

I seriously have the world's largest collection of shampoos, lotions, soaps, conditioners, and other "stuff" from hotels. Hyatt Place has a nice white ginger shampoo/conditioner in easy to squeeze bottles and they aren't stingy about the amount of shampoo either. The Doubletree provides Neutrogena shampoos and conditioners, and they even provide face lotion with SPF in it. One Marriott has orange ginger lotion, which smells very nice, while another Marriott went with Lemongrass. The Ramada provided citrus ginger body lotion, but I have no idea which hotel is responsible for the mint thyme shampoo, but the bottle is really nice. Spa Select is another bottle of lotion from a hotel I can't remember but it contains comfrey, orange peel, althea, yarrow, fennel and licorice root. I only know what one of those things are.

The International Hotel in Calgary deviated from the ginger theme and went with almond, but god only knows who is responsible for the very sleek Physique brand. There's a hotel that provides Pantene, which doesn't claim any vegetable, flower or root for an ingredient. I also have several bottles of lavender-scented linen spray, courtesy of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The sorriest looking bar of soap came from the Best Western. The Sheraton shuns all manner of exotic organic ingredients and went with Vaseline brand lotion. I also have a bottle of shampoo called Golden Door; this one contains cedarwood and Spanish borage oil; no, I don't know what those ingredients are either.

This is just one shoebox; I've got a second one in the bathroom closet, also filled with toiletries from various hotels. I'm kind of scared to open it since it was closed some time ago as the bottles, soaps and tubes kept spilling over the top of the box and "escaping" in the closet. I never use them, so yes, it's kind of weird that I keep collecting these various bottles of "stuff" to bring home, but there is just something irresistible about the witch brew of exotic flavors that make it impossible for me to leave them behind; who knows when I'll run into borage oil shampoo again? Or what if there's a shortage of ginger or lavender or mint? Then what, grasshopper?

Tomorrow, I'll talk about the hotel rooms themselves as those are almost as important as the toiletries.

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1 comments | 10:05 PM |

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Definition of a fan

This article about the Chris Brown/Rihanna thing from last week made my jaw drop, especially the quote at the end of this paragraph:

A source close to the investigation told E! News that Rihanna told police Brown threatened to kill her and then choked her until she lost consciousness. His camp never responded to repeated requests for comment on the allegations.

But Clinton Brown predicts that Chris' true fans will stick by him through what could understandably be thought of as the beginning of the end of his rampant popularity.

"If you are on his side, you are on his side," he said. "Just because someone trips, if you are truly a fan, you are not going to demonize him instantaneously."

But he added, "This music industry is very unforgiving when it comes to having indiscretions. He will continue to be a good person. He loves people. And like most of us, most humans, things will occur. And hopefully a person won't be judged simply on that alone."

Just to be clear, we're talking about an alleged threat of murder and the infliction of severe injuries that landed Rihanna in the hospital for 5 days. We're not talking about a minor misjudgment here, not the same likes as Hugh Grant or any number of other idiotic things celebrities do. Sheesh. I can't imagine still wanting to be a fan of someone who threatened to kill someone else. Well, OJ does have fans, so I guess it's possible. Clearly, Clinton Brown and I have very different ideas on what the impact of this 'indiscretion' will have and really what it shows about a particular individual. Thanks, but no thanks.

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0 comments | 6:19 PM |

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm...

Does the title of the new James Bond movie make any sense? No one says things like "I need a Quantum of Solace." I guess it's a sexier title than "A Little Bit of Comfort."

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0 comments | 10:12 PM |

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bank bust

It's only a loss if you pull your money out of the stock market and/or mutual funds. You lock in the loss that you're seeing on paper. At some point in the future, the stock market will eventually go up. Short-term money, okay, you may want to consider locking in the loss and putting it into a CD or FDIC-insured money-market, but if you're in it for the long haul like yours truly, make no sudden moves.* What goes down will eventually go up and vice-versa. It's the way of things.

Follow advice at your own risk; I'm not a financial planner

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0 comments | 6:56 PM |

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Today I learned fish is filleted alive. I can't tell if they were messing with me or not, but it was deeply disturbing and I'm not even an animal lover. Ugh. Now I'm so glad I've never had fish.

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0 comments | 6:29 PM |

Sunday, July 06, 2008


If you eat fish, you're not a vegetarian.

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0 comments | 10:39 PM |

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Whoever thought clam shell packages were the bee's knees, or whatever, wasn't thinking of me, the consumer buying the product instead of the clam shell package. I hate these things. I mean, no two are the same, there's no easy, intuitive way to pull these things apart, and I'm reduced to stabbing the thing with my blunt scissors and knives (I'm so not using Calphalon knives on these things, no thank you). Not to mention, it was incredibly frustrating on Thursday afternoon when I purchased your run of the mill CAT 5 cable at Walgreens and then spent a good 20 minutes trying to extricate said cable out of the packaging.

The frustration was on top of stress because there was a very specific, work-related, thus deadline-orientated, reason I needed the CAT 5 cable and so I was running up against the clock as well. Seriously, clam shell packaging is the worst invention ever -- you can see the product, but darn you if you think you're actually going to get to it -- and not at all consumer-friendly, and dangerous too, if you think about it. I eventually got the CAT-5 cable out after basically cutting the thing apart from this way and that way and I was able to have my meeting after all, but it's a CAT-5 cable; airports have less security than this thing!

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0 comments | 2:47 PM |

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No time machine

I was watching "The Daily Show" last night and also a few nights ago, when Bill Kristol was on. Jon Stewart was pounding both Kristol and last night's guest, Stephen F. Hayes, pretty hard on the Iraq War, but what I especially liked about yesterday's conversation is that Stewart actually brought up the issue of patriotism and if you're against the war, somehow you're a traitor and hurting morale. The full transcript of yesterday's show is over here or you can always watch it on Comedy Central if you'd like (I personally find their media player horrible).

Here's the thing. The supporters of the war have framed it so elegantly in black and white. Black and white is easy, it doesn't require nuance. It's either A or it's B. There's no in between and you don't have to hurt your head with shades of gray. Easy, easy. So if you're against the war, then you want the terrorists to win and if you want a plan of action, then you're supporting the terrorists. If you want the troops to come home becaus standing between two sides intent on killing each other isn't a long-term viable strategy then you're a defeatist. Add it all up together and somehow you're unAmerican and unpatriotic, which all adds up to the 't' word: Traitor.

See, the conservatives have gotten really good at the name calling. They've gotten good at framing the debate and setting up the sides. They've got a huge grassroots support system on radio and internet and all they do is pick at you little by little until suddenly it's tiresome to bang your head up against "YOU MAKE NO FREAKING SENSE AND YOU HAVEN'T IN YEARS" brickwall.

The thing is, it doesn't matter if the antiwar people are defeatist, unAmerican, unpatriotic, or Benedict Arnold. Those are just adjectives, they don't mean a dang thing. It's the conservatives who got us into the freaking mess and they don't seem like they have a plan to get us out. That's why they get so upset when we ask questions. That's why they don't believe in accountability. 'Stay the course' wasn't a winning strategy for the first George Bush, but apparently old habits die hard. Maybe it's time we reframe the debate from the antiwar side: "We made a mistake, we want to fix it in the best possible way for America, and how can we do that in a way that minimizes casualities -- civilian and military, Iraqi and American -- in the best possible way?"

Rhetoric is easy, but it's not a solution. So while I'm leaning very strongly towards Hillary Clinton, honestly, I'd vote for the first person who puts forward a strategy that makes sense, is actionable, but more importantly, doesn't involve playground-style name calling.

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0 comments | 9:04 PM |

Monday, March 12, 2007

My two cents

You know the argument that makes absolutely no sense and completely drives me batty? It's the one that runs along the lines of "Stop smoking and you'll live longer" and the immediate response is, "Well, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and so I should enjoy smoking while I can." I hate this argument because it makes no sense. I mean, a BUS? Why are we all getting hit by buses? And there are things that we all actively do to AVOID getting hit by a bus such as not crossing in front of a moving one, or taking the tunnels or bridges or sidewalks. None of those things mean people won't get hit by a bus, but it just means we decrease the probability of that event happening.

That's the same thing with smoking or any other vice that threatens to short your lifespan in a way a raw-vegetable-and-green-tea-and-excercising-every-day lifestyle won't. Yet for some reasons, we indulge in behaviors that are downright detrimental to our health, such as driving our car* one block instead of walking or eating eight pieces of bacon and 27 hotdogs for dinner every night. We wouldn't step in front of a bus, so why do we persist in behaviors that are completely unhealthy and wrong for us? Admittedly, I get more pleasure out of a piece of cake than I do out of a stalk of celery so maybe that's what it is: we prefer to indulge in our short term pleasure and enjoyment, even if it does shorten our lifespan, instead of living a more austere, deprived life that be a certain percentage longer.

Whatever the reasons are, my point is: the 'hit by a bus tomorrow' argument is really stupid.

*An antidote to high gas prices: Drive less and smaller and walk more.

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0 comments | 8:44 PM |

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