Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Back and Deleting Lots of Spam

I haven't written in awhile. I'm sorry. I have no acceptable excuse. But lots of things happened.
I will list them in order:

1. I got married.
2. I got braces. Yes, the metal ones. Yes, it was a poor decision on my part.
3. I got a therapist. This is the first time I am analyzing my past. Not pleasant but helping me grow.

Otherwise, things are just the same. Some more white hairs here and there - seriously, I am developing a serious Rogue-like (Did I tell you I was a huge X-Men fan?) streak on the right side of my head. I blame it on my job. Hence the therapist.

I came back to my blog because I started to get five million messages that my blog was idle. Then I realized that I had five million spam messages which I am now deleting. I got spam in several different languages - Chinese, Japanese, Russian - weirdly, they started to form a strange pattern. Maybe I'm reading too much into the spam or have spent too much time deleting crazy messages about how i should look at their new Viagra product.

I'm hoping to update this blog more. The most popular posts seem to be the uneven eyebrows, parmasen cheese and being petite. Definitely will write about these topics more and I have developments in the uneven eyebrow front. I have decided to get surgery after my braces are taken off. I can't be dealing with metal teeth and crazy eye stitches at the same time. I am a also a serious myopic so I will also be wearing super thick coke bottle glasses during my recovery period. I will keep you posted once I start costing out my options.

Of course, I am leaving my job at this time so this will all depend on whether I get a job or not. At this point in my life, I am tempted to join the unemployed masses. Yes, I am that burnt out. As much as I love working in non-profits, you really start to burn out in year 5 at the same organization. I should have left a long time ago but I was lazy and the people were nice. But the time has come and I must move on my way.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me even if I haven't posted in 4 years - WOW, has it really been that long? I'm REALLY sorry. Poor blog.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Remembering 9/11

I wish the media would just stop sucking as much photo time as they can out of this tragedy. Work declared September 11th a holiday this week and that was probably the worst thing that work could have done. I spent the day watching memorial services and getting upset. I would have much preferred to be at work to keep my mind off the anniversery.

I remember the 1995 bombings and being really freaked out. I was a junior in high school at the time and I sat by the window facing the World Trade Center during English Class. I think it was snowing at the time and I saw smoke drifting up from one of the towers and suddenly there were tons of fire engines, ambulances and helicopters. My English class crowded around the windows and we eventually turned on the television to watch the news. I was horrified that it had happened, a little scared since I worked as a secretary in the World Trade Center but strangely enough, I also felt safe. I was certain that a plot like this could never succeed. Chalk it up to youthful optimism and US based centrism but I truly believed that plots like this were meant to be thwarted.

I worked on the 102nd floor of 2 World Trade Center as a general secretary for 5 people in an insurance company after school. It was a lot of work for $10.00 an hour but it was really good pay for a high school junior with no experience at the time. I used to work late and I would love to stand on top of the window sill of those huge windows and look down at the little people. Mostly, I wouldn't see anything because we were so far up but on clear days, you could see for miles around. It is strange to think that the building is no longer there. My partner, D, worked in the World Trade Center and was walking to work when he saw his building fall down. Luckily, no one in his office was hurt. I think he is still upset about the collapse and would prefer not to hear about it. I understand that families want to share their memories of their loved ones that have passed away and treat this as a memorial day but I think the media has made this all rather tacky. Not to mention, George W. Bush seems to treat this day as his own personal political cash cow. I'm so disgusted.

I would think it better to take this day and really think and contribute to a discussion on how to make things better in the world and prevent events like this from happening again rather than showing video clips of those planes crashing into those buildings over and over again. Maybe the rest of America wants to see it as a guilty pleasure of being part of this big tragedy as an American, but please spare the rest of us who were actually here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Have No Butt

I have no butt. Well, I have somewhat of a curve and it isn't as bad as most white women (thank god!) but it is not as bootylicious as I would like it to be. I'm pointing this out because of two reasons: I spent a lot of time at the International AIDS Conference with African women who made fun of my butt and it is hard to find a decent pair of pants that I can fill out properly in the booty area.

It was lovely meeting all the African women at the AIDS Conference and it was refreshing to be shown a different standard of beauty. Skinny little things aka models are not considered attractive in most of Africa but Africans love their zaftig women. They especially love women with big curves. No point in being big if you don't have curves because what would you grab onto? Of course, at my measily 98 pound weight I'm not considered much of a catch. Now I have to clarify what I mean by attractive zaftig women as I had penned a previous post about obesity and really fat people - Big African women are beautiful because they are healthy and eat proper portions and exercise. They can actually move around and they carry their weight well. Obese people in America are different because the fat gained is not healthy and I am disgusted at the way they advocate for benefits and welfare for totally preventable diseases.

But getting back to my butt, it is a sad little thing. I would post pictures but it would be too obscene. I guess there are lovers of all body types out there so I'm hoping there are many lovers of small butts.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bad Blogger Vacation Recap

Yes, it has been ages. I should have written earlier but I was in that happy dream state after going on vacation for 2 weeks and then I went away to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding AND THEN I had to go away for nearly two weeks for the International AIDS Conference in Toronto. So I had an excuse. It's been nearly two months and a lot has happened.

D and I vacationed in lovely Amsterdam, Brussels, Brughes and Ghent for 2 weeks in the beginning of July. I love Amsterdam and would gladly move there in a heartbeat. I am slowly trying to convince D that we can easily retire there even though we would be forced to ride our bicycles when we are old and have arthritis and a number of other elderly diseases. Poor D had his first experience with a certain green substance in Amsterdam and I'm afraid he will never smoke again. I was excited to get D a little stoned and so we went over to the Grey Area to get some bud. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount to give poor D. He is twice my weight and he kept complaining that he didn't feel anything so I kept on giving him more stuff. Finally, he stood up and went outside and nearly collapsed. As I was not too sober myself, it took me a really long time to get him some Coke as none of the bartenders would let me purchase a glass of Coke. They rightly thought I was very high and would not let me buy anything. I finally got some Coke at a cafe while D was babbling by my side. We managed to walk back to our hotel and ate a lot of donuts.

I think the best part of Amsterdam was the fast food. The croquette sandwiches and the turkish pizzas were truly glorious. I have yet to find anything similar in New York. The turkish pizzas in New York taste like crap - they make the crust too thick and they put far too much lamb in the thing and oil leaks out of the pizza continuously. The turkish pizzas in Amsterdam however had this thin crispy crust with a slight smattering of tomato and meat and a slathering of shredded lettuce/cabbage, mayo and hot sauce with the whole thing wrapped into a convenient burrito form. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The highlight of our trip to Belgium was definitely the restaurants. We made a point of visiting as many Michelin starred resturants in Belgium as we could possibly afford. My favorite was Aneth located just out side of Brughes and rated a one star. In terms of quality of food, I felt that there were very tiny differences between each star rating. I think that a meal at the one star place was as enjoyable if not better than the meals at the two star and three star places.

We ate at one star Aneth (Brughes), two star Bruneau (Brussels), two star Sea Grill Radisson SAS (Brussels) and three star Comme Chez Soi (Brussels. My favorite course was the whipped potatoes with chives and caviar at the Sea Grill in the Radisson. It was similar to the oyster and pearl concoction at Per Se but with the added yumminess of mashed potatoes! The biggest surprise was the seared and glazed foie gras at Comme Chez Soi. I hate foie gras! Yuck! But they actually made it taste pretty good. *sigh* Yes, I gained like twenty pounds on this vacation but it was well worth it.

The biggest disappointment in the vacation? Definitely our hotel in Brussels. If you go to Brussels, please do not stay at Royal Windsor Hotel. The hotel bills itself as a luxury five star hotel and charges accordingly but their standards are no more than a three star nice hotel. I assume they only got the five star rating based on the amenities they "claim" to provide. While we were there several problems popped up: our door would not open and our concierge had to show us a "special trick" to open the door - this is acceptable in a quirky three star hotel but certainly not in a luxurious modern hotel; our bathroom had a defective toilet seat and flusher so it never really flushed; the shower either had blazing hot or really cold water; the lights had gone out in one of the pictures so it looked rather shoddy; furnishings were rather worn; the telephone did not work and we had to request a repairman; certain amenities like the gym and the nightclub were not available and will not be available for a few months with no mention made of this on their website. It was a frustrating experience. Even more so because D and I look young for our age so staff never really treat us very nicely. We understand this and tailor our expectations accordingly but even with lowered expectations, this hotel was atrocious.

D thinks I'm getting spoiled in my old age. *grin* He's probably right but I think that we try really hard to be nice and it never really pays off. The chocolates in Belgium more than made up for all of our woes. I think I survived on chocolate for about 3 days of our trip. The pomme frites in Belgium were way over hyped as the fries weren't that great. I tried the fries in all sorts of different combinations - plain, plain with ketchup, plain with ketchup and mayo, plain with ketchup and mayo and onions - it was all gross. We had the best waffles in Brughes - freshly griddled with caramel on top and powdered sugar! The oddest thing was that there was a Blue Note Jazz Festival in Ghent during our stay. It was rather strange to hear Belgiums singing along to old American jazz tunes and even country music. Bizarre! We managed to catch the tail end of the World Cup game. D and I know absolutely nothing about soccer but we were cheering for Italy. D got very drunk and was chanting Italia. Some old man actually thought he was an genuine Italian fan and started talking to him in Italian! We kept up the pretense for a few minutes before the man left us disgusted that we didn't actually know Italian. A belligerent drunk French fan nearly beat up D after hearing his chant. We managed to get back to our hotel safely with no brawls.

We were so happy to come home after our travels! It's amazing how good home feels after you have been living out of a suitcase for 14 days. I think that our vacations in Italy, Spain and Costa Rica far outshone our Holland/Belgium trip but it was nice to travel in English speaking countries for a change. The people are just so much nicer in Italy, Spain and Costa Rica. I'm thinking furiously about what our next vacation destination will be. Any suggestions? I am a little afraid of Latin America due to the kidnappings. I'm intrigued by Africa (especially Kenya and South Africa) but D is deathly afraid of going especially since he would no longer be allowed to donate blood. I have been thinking a little bit about Greece but I much prefer an adventure vacation somewhere.....

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bad Tippers Update

Remember my post on my trip to Junior's in Brooklyn? My post was partially about how badly black people tip and me wondering why. It seems that fellow blogger, Hungry Cabbie, also had the same experience in a soul food restaurant in the Bronx. It is almost like waitresses in establishments that serve primarily black customers don't even expect tips anymore. Plus, there is the general assumption among cabbies that black people are poor tippers.

I did some research on this phenomena and it isn't just us. Other people have noticed this too! This article from the Seattle Times lays it out pretty rationally. It may be a self-reinforcing cycle that waiters/waitresses do not give good service to black people because black people tip poorly and black people tip poorly because they get bad service and the cycle continues. The article also noted that it isn't purely a race thing as the "race of the server didn't affect the tip size". In fact, black waiters/waitresses hated waiting on black customers! I was really glad that this article explored this issue and suggested possible reasons why it happened and solutions to the problem. Apparently, black people tip their hotel maids and bartenders more than white people so perhaps this restaurant and cabbie tipping part is all a big misunderstanding or simply just not knowing the social rules of tipping.

The article suggests outreach to black churches and informative placards. I'm not sure that this would actually help as I have seen in person the way black customers treated their waiters/waitresses and it was not pretty. But perhaps it was an isolated instance. I would say that really wealthy (read ENTITLED BUTT-MUNCHERS) probably also tip the same way. This also confuses me because the really wealthy do have enough money to tip and know the social norms about tipping but it is probably their natural tendency to be entitled butt-munchers.

Peter S. Beagle

Remember the old animated movie of Lord of the Rings? Remember the movie, The Last Unicorn, that used to be aired on television every year? Both were written by a fantastic author, Peter S. Beagle. The reason why I mention him today is that I got a newsletter from his website today which broke the news that his mother had died. It sounded like she had led a long and happy life but I was most interested in her writing. The newsletter linked to vignettes that his mother, Rebecca, had written and they were pretty interesting! It was also good to hear that Peter and Rebecca are also native New Yorkers born in the Bronx!

If you are ever looking for something to read, do pick up the Fantasy Worlds of Peter S. Beagle. I'm not actually sure that they sell new editions anymore but I am sure you can pick it up used. His writing really cuts to the heart.

But as much as he is a great writer, he is a poor businessman. According to the backstory on his life, he basically wrote the screenplay for the animated Lord of the Rings for a mere $5,000 dollars. Apparently, the producer had promised him more money but reneged on his deal after the movie was made. I think the same thing happened with The Last Unicorn. Poor guy! It makes you wonder about those copyright laws. The laws were written to protect the interests of writers and artists and to help them get paid for their creativity and original work. In then end as with every other law, the copyright laws seem to benefit major companies who can hire lawyers to protect their interests - one of the worst offenders being SONY, of course. Who could forget about the rootkits and their MP3 fiasco?

I am waiting anxiously for his next book, The Line Between, and I sincerely hope he can afford to continue writing!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fear and Trembling of Bad Female Bosses

I watched "Fear and Trembling" last night. I had rented this DVD through Netflix and had kept the DVD on top of my shelf for ages because I had curiously forgotten I had rented this film. "Fear and Trembling" is a French film about a Belgian woman working in a corporate Japanese office. The movie had narration in French and the character dialogue in Japanese. It was a semi-autobiographical account of a Belgian woman's traumatic experience navigating (or blundering, in her case) through the intricacies of Japanese office etiquette. I cringed throughout the film at the punsihments her boss inflicted upon her. A Japanese company will not fire an employee but will subject an employee to ever degrading tasks as punishment for perceived errors or any indication of individualism or self-promotion. As masochistic as the film became, I was oddly intrigued.

I was interested in the human interaction between two women: the Belgian woman subordinate and the Japanese woman boss. It reminded me of some of the female work interaction that happens here between a female boss and a female subordinate. I think women are very competitive with each other. In this age, we are raised to be strong women capable of having a career, raising families and managing a workforce. I think many women mistake this striving for independence and strength as an excuse to be uncompromising, unpleasant and selfish aka BITCHES. There are some women who are genuinely great bosses and completely care about their co-workers and subordinates but I think the majority are often not very helpful and are looking to take advantage of your work to get to the next level. I find that most of the lovely and kind boss women are often sidetracked by marriage and family obligations as I assume the that no one will marry the bitch women.

So I prefer to have a male boss. I have had up to 6 bosses during the course of my career and I find that male bosses tend to manage their employees better. Male bosses also offer the most support for career development and future jobs. And no, this has nothing to do with sexual pressure as many of my male bosses were gay! I really really wish this was not the case because I hope to have my fellow sisters in positions of authority and working as mentors and sounding boards to the next generation of women. Why are we competitors rather than allies? Why do we have a natural inclintion to backstab? I hope that if I am ever in a position of authority again, I would make sure to treat my female employees well and encourage them in their careers regardless whether they surpass me or not.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Take Back America

How amazing was Barak Obama's speech at the Take Back America conference???? A man like this who becomes involved in politics comes along only once in a lifetime. Working briefly in politics, I have come to really despise the professional politician. In my two years working in a district office, I have only met one politician I truly liked and admired. The rest of the politicians were in their position to pursue a salary, an ambitious position that would eventually lead to a lucrative job, and/or bask in some sort of fame to feed their giant egos.

So who was the one politician I truly admired? Liz Kruger - check out her website. And no, I did not work for or campaign on her behalf but I may in the future. She was the only politician that I have personally met who truly cared about people and their needs. She was just as kind to her constituents who had no money as she was to her donors. I haven't ever met Barak Obama but he kind of gives me that vibe.

Certainly George W. Bush never gave me that vibe. But on a another note, what kind of idiot votes for George W. Bush when they are not part of the wealthy one percent? I mean, I can totally see why you would vote for Bush if you were really wealthy. Bush gives out tax breaks for the wealthy and he supports the abolishment of estate tax (aka Paris Hilton tax aka the death tax) so that people who have a lots of money to pass down to their heirs will no longer have to pay taxes. Please note that if you are not wealthy, you do not have to pay this tax to pass money to your heirs. What kills me is the average blue collar middle class American voting for Bush. What the heck? He will screw over the middle class American to keep his wealthy one percent tax base secure. This was very clear from his past position as governor of Texas.

I only hope that we are able to elect a competent president next time around - Barak Obama???

Uneven Eyebrows II

So I have reconciled myself to my uneven eyebrows. It seems like facial exercises seem to work. I figure that if I keep on contorting my face, I will eventually become symmetrical. =D. Just kidding. I think makeup works quite well if one has the time to use eyebrow pencil to shade the sparse areas in just right.

I also have those eyebrow cutouts that simplify the process of creating perfect eyebrows. They are plastic paper squares with the shape of the eyebrow cut into them. You hold them up to your eyebrow and dust the cutout with brown powder, and poof! - you have eyebrows. The problem is that the eyebrows are too dark for my face. I am thinking of getting maybe a lighter shade.

Sometimes it is just really frustrating to look at my face and the see the uneven eyebrows! There has to be a better solution. Tweezing definitely does not work. I figure there are really a few options you have with uneven eyebrows:

1. Tweezing - only works if the unevenness has to do with the amount of eyebrow hair

2. Eyebrow gel - this works if your eyebrow hairs grow in the wrong direction and make your eyebrows looks weird and uneven

3. Eyebrow lift - this endoscopic surgery lifts the eyebrow muscles permanently so that you can fix the permanent uneven eyebrows. The problem is that the surgery can also permanently fuck up the eyebrows if the muscles aren't pulled to the correct height.

4. Eyebrow tattoo - You can shave off your eyebrows and get permanent makeup by having someone tattoo the eyebrow on. Can we say ew?

5. Praying to the eyebrow god - If all other solutions fail.