pam's labyrinth  

2.28.2007 : 1:53 PM :
"pamela yung, for instance, didn't have to steel herself to face a hostile french kitchen, nor did she train in california. she didn't train anywhere. after majoring in computer science and design at the university of michigan, she was working in a detroit design firm when she saw a notice on egullet, the food-maven web site. mr. [will] goldfarb was about to open room 4 dessert and needed a stagiaire, or trainee, who would work long hours for low pay. 'on a whim, i e-mailed him,' said ms. yung, 24.

she started work the day the before the restaurant opened. 'i was completely overwhelmed,' she said. 'i just did whatever i was told.' but she wasn't intimidated by the machinery, and today she's a believer, perfectly comfortable turning out white beer sorbets, earl grey tea panna cottas and apricot flake salt."
-kitchen chemistry is chic, but is it a woman's place?-

west coast customs  

2.20.2007 : 9:53 PM :
so i'm trying to get my online presence all set up. is actually going live (minus a few minor technological quirks) and i'm trying to post to it as much as possible. i've quit my job and i'm trying to write for various online and offline endeavors. i read somewhere that it's a good idea to have "set pieces" to send to people when applying for freelance work, so i'm trying to get ten or more -- interviews, reviews, little and big pieces. so if you want to be interviewed about something, hit me up. i'm contemplating taking diorama down but that seems to be not worth the hassle. plus, i need somewhere to write in all lower caps right?

i could blog five times a day if i didn't feel like 90% of my thoughts are totally trivial. but i guess, some of those trivial bon mots will be on since i'm trying to make myself known world, and internet, wide. wish me luck. pimp my ride, as if. i'm pimping myself.

while i'm at it. here's our favorite do-everything person, amit, in the first of what will surely be many videos -- miss meghna's in this case . he's the choreographer and the guy teasingly out of frame (and tragically submerged in shadows) all the time. dig it.

plus, our good friend eric galvez has his website and book ready to blow up. galvez found a tumor the size of a golf ball in his head about a year ago and the book is about his experience taking that tumor by storm and eradicating it. "reversal" has a soundtrack, it has his story and insights, it has his perspective as a physical therapist turned patient. it has a wonderfully poetic blue cover.

i also need five minutes of your time for an itsy bitsy favor. so if you have five minutes, email me and i'll tell you all about it. thanks.

up for the challenge  

2.15.2007 : 1:12 PM :
you know how when you were seventeen or eighteen, they gave you a test to determine what professions would suit your personality? where can i get my hands on one of those? i'd like to take it and figure out what my true occupation should be. i highly doubt being a customer service rep slash entry level grunt would be in my top three matches. i'm not sure aspiring author/writer would be on that list either, but what the hey.

do they ask you questions like "do you like dealing with (dumb) people?" "do you like co-workers?" "are you good at not focusing on the big picture?" "are you capable of taking five minute bathroom breaks? and only five minutes?" i sure hope they ask these types of questions.

what if my ideal occupation turns out to be like, carpenter or plumber? would i then throw it all away -- "all" meaning my current collection of amateur level skills and job experiences -- to work with my hands? i did recently receive a gift of power drill and extensive tool set so perhaps that's a sign.

here's a fun test to take: the great video game music test.


: 1:02 PM :
one of the tough parts about this job (possibly any job?) is that after awhile, you just don't care. in my current customer care position, we're trained to build rapport with people. after a few weeks of building rapport though, you just want to get people off the phone and onto their next destination. still, once in awhile, i'll give it the old college try and attempt to build some rapport.

if they have an interesting occupation, have my birthdate, sound chinese, or are from michigan, we'll chat it up a bit. i do this maybe once a day and if it goes well i feel like i've accomplished something.

today, a guy called in by the name of "stephen rogers." i responded with "ah, captain america eh?" blank stare. no kurt wagners, tony starks, peter parkers, or scott summers have rolled my way ever so i was reduced to clinging onto "steve rogers" for a moment of levity. the guy totally didn't get it.

i quit my job two weeks ago, my last day is this friday. avengers assemble.

love is...  

2.13.2007 : 9:52 AM :
i'm re-reading the fountainhead; i like to do this every few years to "get back to my roots." it's hard to maintain optimal selfishness and general all-around assholeness without consulting my bible once in awhile. this time through i find myself fixating on the love triangle contained in the book. more specifically, the way dominique francon, howard roark, and gail wynand approach the concept and reality of love.

dominique is seriously flawed. she'll whore herself out to her true love's greatest enemies in order to defile herself and to see how much roark can take. it seems cruel but she does this to keep roark for herself. what? basically dominique is afraid that roark's principles will break so she sets out to destroy him before she can be with him. it's very melrose place. in-between all of this, of course, they engage in violent love making that is the equivalent of "the greatest love of all time."

for her, love is about making exceptions since she'd never give of herself this way or bow her head for anyone except roark. of course, roark rejects her exactly for this reason, due to his own thoughts on love.

gail wynand, the powerful entrepreneur, has essentially sold his soul to the devil (in this case, the "mindless masses") in order to achieve fame and fortune. now his idea of fun is to break idealistic young men/women by any means possible. since he sold his selfish desires and beliefs, he feels like he must make others do it too -- he's the devil's right hand man. his idea of love is to own someone. once he decides he wants something, he doesn't want anyone else to have it.

he has an art gallery full of priceless works that he purchases and then keeps private. he does the same with dominique. after he marries her, he just wants to keep her locked up and in his possession. behind those castle walls he can be soft, sweet, cuddly, and real. this is how gail wynand loves. notice how similar it is to how dominique expresses her love; love as exception -- but gail adds in ownership on top of that.

howard roark, our hero and rand's ideal man, thinks of love in a totally different way. i'll let roark tell it. the following speech occurs right after dominique has offered herself to roark as his wife, as his love slave, as his personal valet, as his everything -- at the same time having just told him that she's to be married to one of his mortal enemies unless he tells her not to. roark says he'll pass on her offer and responds with this:
"i love you, dominique. as selfishly as the fact that i exist. as selfishly as my lungs breath air. i breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. i've given you not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need.

this is the only way you can wish to be loved. this is the only way i can want you to love me. if you married me now, i would become your whole existence. but i would not want you then. you would not want yourself -- and so you would not love me long. to say 'i love you' one must first know how to say the 'i'."
to summarize, roark's idea of love is not about exception making, it's not about owning, it's about... shit, i'm not sure what it's about. but i know it's not about what most people think it's about. love is a many splendored thing but i don't think people give enough thought to it, even if it seems like all we do is talk about it.
"the novel extols the virtues of science and logic and argues personal relationships can exist within these virtues. as long as relationships help people maximize their potential, then the novel sees love as a version of logic, and therefore approves of it."
-fountainhead, spark notes-

if you don't know, now you know  

2.08.2007 : 1:00 PM :
a girl who had recently begun dating one of my friends, and who had never met any of his friends before, met us a few weeks ago. she sure had a lot of questions. i guess this is what happens when you date anonymously. you're never sure exactly where a person is coming from and you have to remain guarded. however, how much honesty can you expect out of a group of people who are hypothetically, clearly, not your side. i mean, if my friend was an ass and a cheater, would i really disclose that in a bout of drunken revelry? probably not.

google and internet stalking can only reveal so much. the thing to do here is to start a relationshipster -- one that will allow people to not only see who has dated whom, but also how they did. "five stars! he was a great guy but we just drifted apart." "this one may seem cool but she's crazy, stay away!" "romantic, caring, and sweet but just a bit too much; not for me but perfect for you?"

then again, some people prefer to know next to nothing about the person they're dating. why go in with pre(mis)conceptions when you're trying to get to know them? make up your opinion -- find your own fate. but then you're left to only receive information from one source, them. wouldn't it be better to get a well-rounded opinion? if knowing is half the battle wouldn't a relationshipster line my pockets with gold?

while we're at it. what's your stance on relationship character assasination? say you're closer with one friend but also friends with the person he/she's pursuing, do you tell one of them about the red flags of the other? it'd be hard to morally give it a thumbs up when you have some heavy reservations right? or do you just leave it alone and hope for the best?

i've had a troubled relationship history and i've done my part to disclose my issues up-front; and in many instances, so have my friends. so the question is, does all this advance disclosing create a self-fulfilling prophecy? is it better to remain silent or to clear your conscience? are we old enough to handle our own destinies or should the peanut gallery be allowed to chime in once in awhile?

remember, the number one rule in relationships is, as always: safety first. and i'm not talking about that kind of safety.

championship vinyl  

2.06.2007 : 10:56 AM :
in some ways you have to envy peyton manning. okay, fine, you can envy his football acumen, his arm strength, his money, his genetic pedigree (minus the "good" looks), and the many hot women he hangs around (or not), but after this sunday, i'm most envious of peyton's peace of mind.

peyton has, at 31 years of age, successfully climbed the mountain and accomplished everything he's ever wanted. he's a super bowl winner. sure there are more seasons, more super bowls, more records, more accolades, and a hall of fame career to consider, but peyton is done, finished. he's going to go down as legend and he'll ride off into the sunset as a champion.

i'm sure it's not easy being a professional athlete but at least with being an athlete, you get measurable goals set before you. get to the big leagues, become an all-star, get paid, become a champion. every year you're on the same uphill racetrack but at least you know what you're headed towards. success is easily defined and evaluated.

how many of us have that? most people i know have a vague idea of what they're chasing but pull up short every hundred yards or so to re-evaluate. in dog racing terms this would be the equivalent of the greyhound pulling a poop squat halfway into the race and wondering "wait, is catching this stuffed bunny really worth it? maybe i would prefer to do something else?"

the typical accruments of success for most of us are as follows: (1) fulfilling career (2) find a life partner (3) start and maintain a family (4) grow as a person (5) be happy. outside of making money, none of those things have really interested me that much. i mean, i want to have a career, i'd like to have a life partner, i'm constantly happy, i think i grow at a serviceable pace, and i know that i don't want children. so where does that leave me?

i think i need to re-evaluate the holy triumverate of happiness. if, at 60 years old, i've got a hefty 401K, a loving wife, and some beautiful kids, will i even be happy? i think that's what everyone is doing now. re-writing their goal list from their early twenties to something more manageable and detailed for their early thirties. peyton crossed everything off his (first) list this sunday, when will we get to do the same to ours? and if we do reach that point, will we even know it?

"for [albert] camus, the absurd hero is sisyphus, a man from greek mythology who is condemned by the gods for eternity to roll up a stone up a hill only to have it fall back again as it reaches the top. for camus, sisyphus typified all human beings: we must find a meaning in a world that is unresponsive or even hostile to us. sisyphus, camus believed, affirms life, choosing to go back down the hill and push the rock again each time. camus wrote: 'the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. one must imagine sisyphus happy.'"
-(tenth of) eleven most important philosophical quotations-

the blind men and the elephant  

2.02.2007 : 4:24 AM :
agree or disagree with this statement: "everyone has an opinion worth listening to."

i strongly disagree. i take the viewpoint that unlike democracy, every voice does not count. i hate listening to people who have no idea what they're talking about. uninformed opinions are useless opinions. it's interesting to see what people think about something, sure, but to hear certain people spout on and on about something they clearly have no knowledge or experience with is socially distressing; and very agitating.

i'd love to know what fuels something like this. the need to talk authoritatively even though there is nothing anchoring that opinion. i'm a self-conceived "expert" in very few fields but in those subjects that i know a lot about, it's ridiculously easy to pick up on exactly who knows and who doesn't.

there's a big difference between fact and fiction; opinion should be based on fact, or at least some facts, not fiction.

on the other hand, there's something to be said for getting opinions from people of all levels of experience, even if that's total inexperience. a fresh set of eyes can reveal the truth about many a situation. but there's nothing more frustrating than hearing someone butt into a conversation when they are obviously not up to par in the knowledge department.

it may be dangerous to ordain that only experts can speak or be given the authority to opine and declare, but man, it's ridiculous how often people pipe up about things that they know nothing about.

having a wrong opinion isn't bad but having an uninformed one? egregious. if you don't know. shut the hell up.

people who think every opinion matters are deluded or overly idealistic. i'm the first to admit when i have no idea what i'm talking about. ok, maybe the second. but when i'm put in my proper place, i'll shut up. no problems.

almost as bad is when a person takes a firm stance based on a brief experience or passing knowledge of the material. they arm themselves with a few facts and figures and decide that they know everything. i may be guilty of this actually. whoops.
"i strenuously object?" is that how it works? hm?
"oh, no, no, no. no, i strenuously object."
"oh. well, if you strenuously object then i should take some time to reconsider."
-a few good men-

me : hyperwest : labels : jdotyang : flickr : movies : books : delicious : rss
May 2006 : June 2006 : July 2006 : August 2006 : September 2006 : October 2006 : November 2006 : December 2006 : January 2007 : February 2007 : March 2007 : April 2007 :