Number 12  

Wednesday, October 31 : 1:34 AM : 0 comments :

[ Oct 13, 2007 ] - Left Ring Finger
So I got another tattoo recently. It's unhideable so I'm committing myself to a lifetime of non-corporate jobs. It's going to be a real shame when I'm on the verge of becoming a CEO at some Fortune 500 company and they reject me due to a finger tattoo. Guess I'll just choose the path of the poor and downtrodden right now to save future me some grief.

I was a bit concerned that my fingers were too thin to get the symbol I wanted but it worked out and it's beautiful. As usual, it's got some religious significance and other such mish mash.
"Other scripture and religious literature in which the lily symbolizes purity and chastity also helped establish the flower as an iconographic attribute of the Virgin. In medieval England, from the mid-12th century, a noblewoman's seal often showed the lady with a fleur-de-lis, drawing on the Marian connotations of 'female virtue and spirituality.' The three petals of the heraldic design reflect a widespread association with the Holy Trinity, a tradition going back to 14th century France, added onto the earlier belief that they also represented faith, wisdom and chivalry."
Another reason I'm attracted to the symbol is that on many maps, the fleur-de-lis is used to to indicate north on the compass rose. The Boy Scouts adopted the symbol because it "points in the right direction (and upwards) turning neither to the right nor left, since these lead backward again."

There's also a reference to the fleur-de-lis in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers as an old custom of branding criminals with the sign. Rebecca De Mornay's character sports it in my favorite version of the film.

For the most part, this tattoo, attached to a finger that holds extreme (if overblown) significance, is there to remind me what I should be looking for, what I am looking for, and what an asshole I am. All on one little finger.



Sunday, October 28 : 1:52 AM : 0 comments :

Yesterday at 1:03 pm: MySpacing. Yeah, seriously.

I think I'd make a pretty good vampire. I've been reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and I feel like I could be quite happy "living" as an immortal blood sucker. Vampires are so dapper aren't they? Definitely the best dressed of the undead. I guess they don't have much competititon though.

My biggest challenge would be convincing people I wasn't out to harm them. I'd have to emulate Casper as much as possible; grow a pot belly, become more cuddly. Being a vampire would give me a good reason to remain a night owl too. And I wouldn't have too many responsibilities other than curbing my appetite around humans. Plus I could ask friends "Are you with me or against me?" in total seriousness -- and with deadly implications. Somebody bite me already.

I've been hanging out more with people at work. A dinner here or there, a group gathering once in awhile, a movie or two. Plus, because we're around each other all the time, the opportunity for personal conversations is ever present. The main thing that I find surprising is how not different we are (we meaning the managers), even with an age gap of up to ten years. I went to have some drinks with my kids this weekend and realized some of them were literally in middle school when I was in college. Think about that for a second. And it's not as if hanging out with them makes me feel old. I mean, I feel like I'm just about their age. We can relate to most of the same things, the conversation revolves around the same topics as with my other friends, it's pretty much all the same.

The biggest difference I'd say is that their life stories are a lot more truncated. I mean, they've been on Earth eight years less so that makes logical sense. Some of our young employees have been working longer than I have though. I got my first real job maybe four years ago? Some of these guys have been working full time since they got out of high school.

There's still a significant gap there though. It's like beneath their veneer of near absolute maturity lies a wide expanse of immaturity. Not literal immaturity but just things that indicate they're still really young. Then again, I feel this gap with lots of people even my age, as I wonder how old they really are, lifestyle and mindset wise, as opposed to biologically. I feel like I'm really only about 24. Like I've got some experience under my belt but I'm still new to the adult world.

Sadly, I'm really five years older than that so maybe I'll perpetually be behind my real peers. Which is weird because isn't losing a parent supposed to age you faster and rush you toward full fledged adulthood? Or maybe I did age faster and I would be even more behind if nothing had ever happened. Scary thought hunh?

A friend told me that her sister married a guy fifteen years her senior. That large of an age gap would normally make me disbelievingly wonder what the two could possibly have in common; but then I look around the table on Friday night and I'm the oldest person by at least six years and I stop wondering quite as much.

I do wonder when I'll start to relate more to people a decade older than me as opposed to a decade younger. Maybe when I get married, have a family, buy a house, have a savings account, start taking responsibility for others.

So basically, never.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust  

Friday, October 26 : 1:18 AM : 0 comments :

Today at 1:32 pm: If A likes B but thinks C also likes B, does A and C then not get along?

Here's the aftermath of the fire. I say aftermath like it's over but it's still raging and could conceivably get worse I guess. I stopped paying attention to the updates after it dawned on me that we really can't do much anyway. After I confirmed with my mom that we had fire insurance, I mentally checked out. It got to be almost a game, seeing which houses were still standing, which probably weren't. It's much easier to make fun of disasters from afar isn't it?

At work, we're collecting canned goods for the people down in San Diego. One empathetic character quipped: "I'll collect the ash from my car and send it back to them." It was in jest, really.

I kept on thinking how rich Storm would be if she existed in the real world. She could charge bazillions to halt disasters like this. She'd vault instantaneously to the status of "most useful person on the planet." Al Gore would propose to her on the daily.

Anyway, everyone I directly know is okay. By "directly" I mean one degree away or people who are within our circle of friends. I'm sure most people are just relieved it's not their house up in smoke. There's quite a few second-degree people whose homes are possibly gone. Sorry guys.

Check out this lucky bastard. Hong, the luckiest man on Earth, lives on Valladares Drive, which had a whole bunch of homes burn down. We were checking his house address all day and his reverse lotto ticket never came up. James went for a photo drive-by and guess what? The Hotel Pan stands! In fact, it looks positively pristine compared to its neighbors. Three of the houses on his cul-de-sac burned straight to the ground. Like nothing left but charred remains. Hong's newly installed lawn is as green as St. Patty's Day and makes his house look like it's mocking his more unfortunate neighbors. Hong must have been Ghandi and Mother Theresa rolled into one in a previous life.

Happy Happy Purple Hippo  

Wednesday, October 24 : 2:23 AM : 0 comments :

Gaga got married this past weekend! After years of waiting, after years of living in Hong Kong and just recently moving back, she's married the man of her dreams and her boyfriend from freshman year of college. She's the last of us that was a lock to get married. Gene, Ryan, and Gaga were the only ones with potential marriages lined up and now that they're all hitched, the betting can begin anew. It'll be hard to choose who's next out of the rest of the San Diego losers though; nobody else is even close. Or are they?!

Shockingly, out of the many weddings I've been to, this was the first wedding with an open bar all night long. Top shelf liquor for hours on end. People were toast by seven o'clock, which made for a pretty fun time. This was also the first wedding I'd been to with little to no religious affiliation. The "pastor" was licensed by an Internet site and the speech he gave was both hilarious and brief. It was like a best man speech posing as a wedding ceremony. Fabulous stuff. The venue looked like it was an Oscar awards show and everything was classy and beautiful.

Nancy and Eddie rented a photo booth and that turned out to be a super hit. Photo booths should be de rigeur for all group functions. My wedding will have a sticker picture booth, a blogging station, boba on tap, a yogurt machine, free toy dispensers to distribute party favors, and oh so much more. Apparently my wedding will be held in Convoy. You're all invited. Bring your swimsuits too.

My favorite moment of the night? James stepping up and busting out "She's Your Queen To Be" (video). If you need to ask where that's from or why it's funny, we probably shouldn't be friends. Actually, I was possibly the only person in the crowd who could really appreciate the moment. It's been a dream of ours to have this sung at a wedding. Yeah, we dream big. Sadly, Victor and Ameer weren't in the room so James will have to perform at least once more. Maybe at my wedding after he finishes cooking the kalbi.

The best part is that James went the whole nine yards and Sexual Chocolated that shit and dropped the mic at the end. The DJ wasn't a very happy guy and said that if the mic broke, he'd have to be reimbursed. Loser. There was no question in my mind (or James') that the mic would be dropped at the end of the performance. Didn't everyone see it coming?

Here's to inevitabilities.
She's your Queen-to-be. A Queen-to-be forever. A Queen who'll do whatever his highness desires. She's your Queen-to-be. A vision of perfection. An object of affection to quench your royal fire. Completely free from infection. To be used at your discretion. Waiting only for your direction. Your Queen-to-be.

Erica Jong  

Sunday, October 21 : 11:51 PM : 0 comments :

I used to be deathly afraid of the roller coaster drops that accompany certain flights. No more. There was a time when I was flying around so much and gripping arm rests so often that I decided that I just had to stop caring. Accepting possible death in order to truly live -- or something like that.

The key to flying without fear is just to ignore it all. Blast music and relax. There's worse ways to die than screaming your lungs off as you drop 20,000 feet to Earth. Not too many worse on my personal list, but a few. I once read that more people are killed annually riding donkeys than airplanes. The math on that makes no sense to me but whatever, it helps.

Despite the high winds buffeting our plane and the fires spreading over much of Southern California, I was more afraid of what it says about our society that our flight was jam packed with Raiders fans who day tripped up to Oakland for the game. I'd really like to distance myself from sports since it seems like the true opium of the people but I have three fantasy leagues to run and people depend on my recapping skills. I have a devoted and rabid fan base of at least five people. At least.

Nothing makes me feel more unproductive than sitting around on a Sunday trying to figure out who's going to change the world by catching (or dropping) yet another touchdown. Having said this, I've got more sports knowledge than the common bear and it disgusts me when I have to small talk to a self-professed fan who says shit like, "Yeah, so when Vince Young played for the Vikings..." Seriously? Why are we even talking right now? It makes me highly suspect about them as a person. Does this sort of craptastic fact retention seep into other areas of their life? It must right? Can I possibly trust anything else that comes out of their mouth?

Anyway, I thought for sure that if we died tonight it would be as inglorious a death as I could have imagined. Falling out of the sky with a bunch of crazed football fans while clutching onto Shopaholic Ties the Knot (I'm reading it for research, really). Death by donkey, burro, or ass was starting to look pretty respectable in comparison.

Sir Yes Sir  

Tuesday, October 16 : 6:50 PM : 0 comments :

Aren't my kids cute? They got me ballons, stickies, and other assorted things for National Boss Day. What? No, it's true, I'm a boss. Like I tell people to do things and they do them. Shocking yeah? In my normal life, I tell people to do things and they ignore me, or make a few disparaging comments. However, between the hours of whenever to whenever, I can pretty much tell these kids to do anything. And when I say "kids" I mean they're a whole generation removed from me.

Most of the managers here are upper twenties to low thirties. The employees we boss around are anywhere from eighteen to twenty three. There's nary an adult in sight except for the investors and CEOs. To say we have an unique work environment is a huge understatement. Most of the time, we feel like we're babysitting more than anything else.

The amount of drama we endure on a daily basis can't be encapsulated by words alone. You just need to be around for a day or two and you'll understand. It's unbelievable. And the gossip! The speed of gossip in this office is twenty minutes, give or take a few. Sometimes a rumor will get back to us and it makes no sense whatsoever. And since everyone's essentially an overgrown teen, most of the rumors are scandalous by nature. It's pretty hilarious.

The best thing about the job is that everyone who works here is wonderfully cool. While it's not a requirement per se, it's nice when you can get along with your co-workers. My team, for example, is the happy center of the office. Since they aren't subject to rapid fire changes and personnel shifts, they've been able to build up quite the camaraderie.

My first few weeks with this team, we had celebrations for birthdays, celebrations for my joining the team, celebrations for people leaving the team, celebrations for just about any occasion. Pretty fabulous right? Now they've gone into ultra-competitive mode in order to win the Halloween decorating contest. They're also trying to figure out a team theme for Halloween. I suggested invisibility but that might not fly with upper management. Maybe next year.

Get back to work!

Turn the radio up for that sweet sound  

Sunday, October 14 : 11:23 PM : 0 comments :

We slow crawl down the PCH, adhering strictly to the speed limit. Driving with no purpose is a pleasure I haven't had in awhile. Journeys have tended to have destinations recently. Not a lot of down time for aimless wandering. Having the opportunity to do so -- in a car, with coffee, music, conversation, and open windows (tragically no cigarettes) -- it brings back memories you know?

With new friends, you tend to talk about the past a lot. I mean, there's not much present to cover and the future is unknown so you talk about where you've been and what you've done. Make enough new friends and you're constantly rehashing your life story like it's a performance act. You know which parts of your story are the most applicable or interesting so you talk about those things exclusively. This verse coming six times rehearsed. Once in awhile you'll get a question that's never been asked of you before and that breaks you out of the monologue. And you realize therein lies the fun.

Dumbledore Mifflin  

Thursday, October 11 : 6:23 PM : 0 comments :

Today at 3:03 pm: Staring at a giant Tigger balloon while waiting for ice cream cake

At work I'm a one man peer-to-peer music distribution center. When Ameer left, he gave me the gift of his PC. It's the fastest computer in the office and most importantly, it's armed with a CD burner. I had a co-worker buy me a spool of fifty blanks and a month later I'm down to four. That means I should probably start looking over my shoulder for the RIAA, or charging. Music sharing is like a sickness for me. If someone listens to a particular genre and I know I have a great album they'd probably like, I have to give it to them. It's my way of generating good karma. Now let's hope that positive karma translates into winning McDonald's Monopoly game. I'm looking for everything but Continental. We can split the winnings 50-50.
Top five albums I've been burning for people
Lauryn Hill (J.Period & Best of)
Jason Mraz - Live
Blue Eyes vs Bed-Stuy (Biggie and Sinatra mash-up)
Colbie Caillat
I'm a bit ashamed to admit it but when another friend quit the company this past Monday, I immediately raided her office. Well, after being shocked and sad of course. My intention was to secure some mementos that I think she should have but I also took the opportunity to swipe a red Swingline stapler off her desk. I might have also dug through her drawers looking for other assorted goodies. Maybe.

Office raiding is an important survival skill in a corporate environment. I learned that at Rockstar. Whenever someone was fired or quit there, they had their mouses, keyboards, game controllers, speakers, headphones, chairs, everything jacked before they had even pulled out of the parking lot. It's also totally within the rules to anticipate a firing and start stealing things as they're being called to the big office. In the art of office raiding, it's best to be a Ranger and lead the way.

I've also been using my access to people's iPods to evaluate them. Since I only get to see people in the work environment, it's very important to judge people on their musical tastes. However, what I've learned is that I'm way behind the times. Half the music on their iPods I don't even recognize. I did manage to steal some fun new music but to be honest, I've never felt so out of touch with the younger generation. Who are these bands? What are these genres of music? Luckily my immaturity makes me seem younger than I am. Thank goodness for that.

I've decided that I need to start blogging more again. Putting off blogging in order to concentrate on the book is actually killing me. It's like now I avoid writing in any form because it's got the same connotation as working. So I need to make writing fun again -- emails, blogs, whatever. I need to trick my mind back into thinking of writing as something I like to do.

The other reason I've stopped blogging frequently is because life is pretty routine. I work, I go home, I write, I work again. I had wanted to avoid writing about work but to be honest, so many amusing things happen here that not to blog about it would be a sin against humanity. I feared public scrutiny and having work and life intermix but really, who cares? So yeah, there might be lots of work related stuff going up here. Sorry. One day I hope to write a tell all about this job but until that day comes, this will do. Sorry if I make fun of anyone and you're reading this. Don't take it personally, I'm just looking for inspiration.

One band, one sound.

U.S.S. Entrepreneur  

Tuesday, October 9 : 6:51 PM : 0 comments :

Growing up, most of my parents' friends were hustlers. They had ideas, they researched markets, and then they launched businesses. Some of them succeeded, many of them failed, but at the end of the day, somehow, everyone made it. Sure, some fathers (and mothers) were relatively much more successful than the others but everyone succeeded -- they got the American dream as it was originally conceived. They went from nothing to something. Something being defined as middle class, or upper middle class. It's quite an achievement and one most immigrant children are familiar with. It's no big shocker when generation 2.0 children are most proud of their parents. They work hard for their money.

As a kid, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. By my definition it was like being a business man except more varied and exciting. Tragically, there's no training to become an entreprenuer. I guess, at the minimum, you need smarts, dedication, and a willingness to engage in some risk. But what beyond that? A college degree, a partner, a plan, does any of that really matter? There's no formula for success here and it's not something anyone can just do. I wonder now, if given the chance, I would still want to be an entreprenuer. I'm not so sure.

Most of my peers are the same age -- if not older -- than my parents' friends were when they left their home countries to come here and make a life. They were saddled with a language barrier, a wife, kids, little (if any) savings, and a whole bunch of things I can hardly conceive of. Yet they made it. Restaurants, liquor marts, random retail stores, furniture outlets, everything under the sun. I doubt most of these young men chose their path to success, they just took whatever opportunities presented themselves. They didn't really have a choice right?

Any time that the Chinese dads got together, at a party or other social gathering, all they did was sit around and talk business. They exchanged ideas, helped introduce contacts to each other, and generally talked money, money, money. It seemed so boring then. Much more exciting was the social gossip that the moms engaged in. Now though, I wish I could rewind to that time to see if these dads knew what they were talking about and to maybe glean some knowledge. Perhaps even an informal manual of "This is how we did it." Or better yet, "This is how you do it."

Fish Out of Water  

Wednesday, October 3 : 2:31 AM : 0 comments :

Last week, I found myself at the Chinese supermarket waiting in the express line and literally preparing to revert to my "single diet." "Single" meaning living alone and not having the company or the energy to bother eating anywhere or anything except steamed white rice topped with a can of tuna and corn niblets. Pepper to taste. I had four items in my basket: a rice cooker, tuna, corn, and a personal sized bag of rice I almost managed to leave behind.
My heart really goes out to single guys when I see them at grocery store check outs. It's so obvious. And really pathetic. Like, "Wow, so this is what you eat every night? Seriously?" It's similar to watching teachers eat lunches. It's so disheartening that this is what lunches and dinners have been reduced to for adults. Microwave meals, soda, and sandwiches. With the occassional side of fruit or dessert. You would think that as you move up in life, lunches get better. Definitely not the case for most jobs.
The times I've reverted to my single diet aren't times when I've necessarily been single. In fact, most of the time, I've been in a relationship at the height of this particular diet, meaning I should probably call it something else entirely. Or re-examine my relationships. Or both.

This kid tested mother unapproved diet was invented when I first lived in New York (ok, fine, New Jersey) with Hong and Lynn. They went out to eat a lot together and Angie usually worked late, leaving me without dinner partners. So in the late afternoons when I woke up, I'd make two cups of rice, crack open a can of corn and a matching one of tuna, and then use that to roll through lunch and dinner. Simple, right?

The big advantage of the single diet is that I hit the basic food groups, it's easy to make, and the clean up afterwards is non-existent. When I'm on this diet, I feel like I'm either buckling down to do something important -- in this case cutting out extraneous time spent at sit-down meals -- or I'm lonely and unable to justify going to a restaurant by myself.

Either way, it doesn't seem like this loner diet is particularly good for me. But damn it's tasty.

What's funny is that tuna also plays a big part in Hong's single life. When Hong starts eating cans of tuna and doing sit-ups at random times during the day, you know he's about to launch into another one of his "I'm Hong and I'm single" periods in his life. Tuna must have magical powers for single men. Or for un-single ones in my case.

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