9.28.2006 : 5:21 PM :
"in baum's book, the wizard speaks wisely to the scarecrow, the tin woodman, and the cowardly lion about the traits they desire and bestows on each of them a symbol that resembles their requests. to the scarecrow he gives sharp pins and needles for brains, to the tin woodman he offers a silk heart for love, and to the cowardly lion he prepares a potion for courage. his acknowledgment and validation of their respective traits allows them to see clearly who they are.

in the movie the wizard's gifts are represented as accolades to acknowledge achievement: a diploma for intelligence, a testimonial for kindness, and a medal for courage. this small change points to a misunderstanding that often arises when striving for particular goals. recognition of success is frequently mistaken as a substitute for what is real. accruing the praise of another individual does not necessarily indicate the presence of particular qualitites. as baum intimates through the wizard's comments to dorothy and her friends, wisdom, compassion, and courage come when inner resources are activated to respond to life's challenges."
-the wisdom of oz-


9.25.2006 : 10:20 PM :
other people's money. so i've taken a job. the loan consultant one. i've already undergone one week of training, two more to go. no crazy hours yet, just shock at how wholly unprepared some of my potential employees are. out of an initial class of twelve temps, we're already down to seven. keep in mind, they've already done an online skills test and an interview. in fact, the interview experience i had with this company took a little over two hours. some of that was waiting in a small room by myself but most of it was spent talking to three different representatives of the company. the job itself is as entry level as it gets and here they are, spending lots of man power hiring temps.

when they offered basic arithmetic questions (subtracting, adding, multiplication) on the online assessment, i was curious why they needed it. i mean, the test was open book, who can't use a calculator correctly? well, now i know who can't. not to knock anyone's intelligence or general education level but when you can't do basic math and are easily confused by the simplest of addition problems, that's probably not a good sign. keep in mind, we're to advise people on mortgage loans -- usually teh biggest financial commitment in someone's life. on one test my neighbor asked me what i had for my answer. and then she asked "what is that you did there?" um, long division?

nice people though.


9.22.2006 : 12:15 AM :
let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. once, while we were trying to replace gaga (as the smurfette who hangs out with us guys, not to actually replace as a person), gene brought over these two girls to the hotel. a few minutes after introductional chit chat and sitting around, we listened incredibly as they detailed their lust, desire, and future plans to augment their chests. i kept on waiting for the "haha, just kidding!" but it never came. i was intrigued on one hand about females were so upfront about their want for bigger breasts, and on the other, appalled by what their "getting to know you" conversation consisted of. who the heck starts talking to random guys about this kind of stuff?

as a well regarded, sensitive, pro-natural-female guy, it's almost required that you frown upon breast augmentation. sure you can look at it, but if you desire it, it's a no-no. maybe that's not the case in your social world, but it is in mine. one of the classic girlfriend to boyfriend question is "would you want me to get implants?" the best reply here is always "i like you just the way you are," regardless of what you actually prefer. (see, i'm learning.)

it's amazing, and sad i suppose, that one feature can so shape and define a woman's attraction level. and women know this. so thus they throw out comments like "oh, those are nice, but they're fake." or "ugh, they look so fake." guys will willingly nod along, or if there are no females around, they'll nudge their neighbor and just point. (most) guys are simply attracted to breasts. it's not necessarily biological -- although one could argue that it is -- it's simply societal. we're taught the bigger the better. as we "mature," we learn that bigger is not always better and the many reasons behind that thinking. still, the allure of BIG is always there. it's infantile but it's true.

what i'd like to do is propose an experiment where one could choose to increase (or decrease) the breasts by working out. similar to a bicep, a thigh, or the shoulders, one could go to the gym and with enough effort and dedication, get the size you desire. so, knowing how uniformly attractive bigger breasts (usually) are, how many people would choose to put in the effort to augment theirs? this experiment could be done for males too, with their respective biological parts. or even the more interesting experiment of having the partner have to hit the gym to get the ideal size/shape for their girlfriend's chest. then what would people look like?

if we took biology out of the equation and subsituted effort, would we suddenly all be at the gym? or would our desires to change, and focus on, what is arguably our most defining physical trait suddenly wane?


9.14.2006 : 12:01 AM :
2 of 15 minutes. tomorrow morning, thursday, i'll be on nbc 11's "bay area news" program at 10am. they do a series every monday highlighting recommendations from independent book sellers in the area, quills. i'll be on the regular news show (around 10:35am) to discuss the book. wish me luck.
update: it's over. i almost arrived at the studio too late and missed my time slot. traffic, always the bane of timeliness. sidenote: i spent an hour last night learning how to tie a newly bought tie. i don't have any of my old roommates around, and i've never tied my own tie before. yes, i'm 28. thank you very much. the nbc studio was a sea of cubicles with various tv stations set up. i wasn't given any preparation questions so i tried to memorize some key words and phrases to insert into the conversation.

i was amazed with how well newscasters read off teleprompters. watching them in action, and off-camera, inaction, is amazing. they are the smoothest humans on the planet. i could barely think, much less put out coherent thoughts with a camera trained on me. i hope i answered the questions okay -- i didn't use any of my previously memorized catch words or phrases. i think i mumbled a bit, got lost a bit, and looked generally a bit lost. however, i tried to remain composed and present an air of confidence and comfortability. yeah right. i just tried not to sound retarded.

the entire affair was over in the span of an eye blink. it was live and it all sped by incredibly fast. the guy asked a few questions, i tried to answer them in short bursts, attempted to smile once in awhile, and that was it. overall a good, if nerve wracking, experience. bring it on, i'm ready for another interview -- well, after some practice speaking in front of an audience and not sounding like an idiot. i should pretend to be foreign so i can have a translator.

i'm working on getting a full audio version for your amusement. for now: picture and a (thankfully) silent movie.

oh, and i got this gig simply because my book's publicist in new york lined it up. nobody came to seek me out specifically or anything...yet.


9.13.2006 : 1:32 AM :
"it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." it wasn't until very recently that social status played such a small role in screening out who we could ideally fall in love with. our economic statuses are so fluid now, and can change so abruptly, that money hardly matters (to most people) as a dating consideration. most women have willingly exchanged a fat wallet for "drive" and "ambition." men don't have to bring home the bacon so much as show that they at least tried -- and will keep trying. score one for us.

in the past, the argument for love over money was a losing one indeed. many of our greatest (love) stories spawn from this aladdin-esque princess and street rat dynamic. poor man must make his way in the world in order to win the approval of the rich woman's family and friends -- and thus her hand. classic tales like "the princess bride" echo this theme and if we were to compile a list of romances that fell into this category, we would never get a wink of sleep.

i suppose the modern day "pride & prejudice" (which i just saw) would be "pretty woman" wouldn't it? rich man finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his station. he does glamorous things -- ie. spend money -- in order to win her love. same thing happens in pride & prejudice. darcy proves himself to have a heart and spends money in order to help out the bennets. elizabeth is flabbergasted by such fine gestures and can't help falling in love with the reticent, but now kindly, darcy. hello, he's still a selfish prick. him spending money on you means nothing.

the whole affair calls into mind the question of romantic philanthropy. is it meaningful that they gave anything at all, or is it less meaningful because they spared what they have in abundance? if i had two million dollars and gave you ten thousand, should that be accounted as more generous than the man who gives a dime when he only has a dollar?

i guess some women are wooed by the objective reality of ten thousand dollars, while others are more charmed by the subjective gift of a dime. which woman would i rather be? it's simple isn't it? i'd take the money and run. if darcy had shown elizabeth his home (the amazing pemberley estate) sooner in the movie, i'm sure she would have been won over quite a bit easier. nothing spells "l-o-v-e" like a fantastic home and a generous "living."

what is comes down to is that no woman wants a poor man, even if he is charming, bodacious, and the spitting image of perfection. in totally unrelated news, i think i'm taking a job, starting next tuesday. off into the world i go to make my fortune.


9.11.2006 : 2:42 PM :
when it rains it pours. in the span of three days my life went from zero to sixty. i was unemployed and hopeless last friday, then monday through wednesday, things started happening. three job interviews, a possible tv appearance, and um, a birthday i guess. i can't say i've looked "hard" for jobs but i've put forth some effort. luckily, friends in the bay area have been very helpful trying to hook me up with jobs so i keep on applying for things that they recommend to me. i also apply to any job description on craigslist that requires a "blogger." strangely, those are the ones i don't get a response for. i put "i wrote the book on blogging, literally," and still no response. they must think i'm kidding. or an idiot. either way, i really wanted this one craiglist blogging job that requires me to write 250-300 word entries about basketball or football. i pretty much do that for free. sounds like a dream job right? oh well.

in real career hopes, i've hooked up with an employment agency for the first time in my life and they've been more than helpful. after figuring out that i suck at ms word and excel, i've been set up with a few interviews and potential full time jobs.
(1) a loan consultant job. pretty much exactly like what i was doing all summer. the downside is that the hours are kind of retarded. 5am - 7pm or 12pm - 9pm shifts. yeah, like i said, retarded. plus they require weekends for the first few months. the upside is that i'll learn all about loans and mortagages and finances and really be a boon to society.

(2) administartive assistant to a publishing company. sounds nice in theory. it's the only job that has zero commute, it pays the highest, it's got the most regular hours and required tasks. it involves organizing and talking to authors, making sure where their projects are, etc. tragically the publisher does mostly academic books. otherwise i'd jump on this job in a second.

(3) student programs coordinator for an asian-american journalist association. it would serve the dual purpose of allowing me to do something i care about (asians) and give me a possible outlet/connections for that writing career i dream about. the huge downside is that the job is in the city and would require a lengthy commute. still, it would be the most interesting job and might actually lead to bigger and better things.
so far i've interviewed at all three and the only job that's been secured is the loan consultant one. it's crazy how you can have all these balls in the hopper and feel like you have all these life options but at the end of the day, they still have to want you. and since each job is totally different, i feel like i'm making major life decisions here. at the end of the day, i just need to get paid and make a living. which is why i passed on an $8/hour used bookstore job, which i would have been perfectly content with.

things are happening and with such speed that i think it's all fake and at the end of the day, i'll still be sitting here, blogging away.


9.06.2006 : 12:26 AM :
mr green, with the revolver, in the conservatory. i've maintained, for several years now, that out of all the classic board games we are familiar with, clue is the best one. monopoly may be more iconic, life more pop culture, candyland more cute, and connect four more accessible, but a game of clue -- when properly played -- has no rival. no game transforms itself from a simple card elimination game as a child to a high level rationalization exercize as an adult. clue played by children is entirely different than clue played by adults.

why is this? because as adults we're finally mentally capable of using our powers of deduction to figure out who did what and where. we know how to phrase our queries more effectively, we can use basic logic traps to trick our competitors. we can invent systems to record who has what card and who just asked for colonel mustard yet again. at first you wonder what everyone is possibly writing down when it's not their turn. after awhile, you're chicken scratching at every available opportunity.

clue is just outstanding. and if you've never seen the classic clue movie, get thee to movie rental establishment now. bring on the board games. i've recently discovered saboteur and lost cities too.


9.03.2006 : 2:29 PM :
an inconvenient truth. i've always had a passing interest in racism. meaning that i've had an academic interest in it when it was convenient and passing on the topic when it wasn't. so when is it not convenient to think about racism (when you're a minority)? well, if you've never been a target of racism most of your life, you don't really have to think about it that much do you? sure there are the little injustices, or some disapproving looks, or the occassional verbal jab, but for the most part, i've faced about as much individual racism as a chair or other piece of inanimate, inoffensive, furniture.

i bring this up because i watched malcolm x today and something like that can't help but get you thinking. what was malcolm x trying to say? what were his contemporaries saying? what were his contemporaries saying about malcolm x? i'd say my previous knowledge about malcolm x was minimal. my passing experience with his life and his beliefs occurred only when he happened to intersect the life of someone i was reading about. dr martin luther king is the respected preacher of non-violence, malcolm x has always been presented as more polarizing and not as easily digestible; and i didn't really know why. and i still don't.

one wonders where figures like dr king and malcolm x have gone. i'm sure people are still carrying on their spirit and their works, but i couldn't tell you who these people are, or what they ally themselves with. louis farrakhan? al sharpton? jessie jackson? almost as foreign to me as yasser arafat or benjamin netanyahu would be. and it's not just because i'm neither black or middle eastern. i could hardly name and identify the main political players and leaders of america, much less china or taiwan. i'm just uninformed.

in collapse, jared diamond tells us that the modern country of which the highest proportion of its citizens belong to environmental organizations is the netherlands. the dutch are thus, from one perspective, the most environmentally conscious people in the world. the reason for that? most of holland is below sea level. should the dikes burst that hold back the ocean, or should the ocean rise above the level of the dikes, holland would be lost. global warming might eventually over take california? it would take holland first. that's why they care.

so is the moral of the story that if you're not in danger, you are less likely to be active and aware? maybe. after all, if i were the victim of constant racism, or if my peers were more in tune with the world at large, i'm sure we'd have more conversations about these things and i'd know more by association. instead i find that we usually go to black people for black history, asian people for asian history, and our textbooks for american history. and anything that falls outside the realm of our personal experience is relegated to the back pages.

history was, by far, my best subject in school. but somehow living history has never captured my attention as much as learning about events of a hundred, fifty, or even twenty years ago. which is weird right? because the america we live in today, the america that we hope to live in tomorrow, should concern us more than anything that has already happened, right?

even with the turbulent middle east and the recent israel - lebanese war, i knew only as much as i could glean from casual readings of magazines and newspapers. in essence, my views were quickly shaped by one or two news sources and maybe one conversation with a concerned friend. it's easy to be lost in an ocean of misconceptions and simplistic bullet points when you know nothing about the shit that's going on all over the world.

so i have to ask, if we're all in deep shit, why aren't we doing anything about it? or rather, why aren't i doing anything about it? if only from an educational perspective? to gain an educated opinion about any of it?
"niggers are scared of revolution
but niggers shouldn't be scared of revolution
because revolution is nothing but change
and all niggers do is change
because niggers are me
and i should only love that which is me
i love to see niggers go through changes
love to see niggers act
love to see niggers make them plays and shoot the shit

but there is one thing about niggers i do not love
niggers are scared of revolution"
-the last poets, niggaz are scared of revolution-

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