Friday, September 22, 2006

Noah Dethroned

Noah has been dethroned according to the upcoming issue of Time. Meet the newly crowned Best Dog in the World.

And now reflects the changing of the guard. Please go ahead and follow the link. As far as I know, the "dog" part in theBestDogInTheWorld refers to the pictured canine on the cover of the Time magazine, not to anyone else gracing that particular web site.

(Amber, I cannot believe you just let this happen).

That's alright. Noah and I will live. Please take time to send congratulatory notes to the owner of's new dog by following the link below:

Have yourselves a nice weekend. I will be spending my Saturday trying very hard not to fit in at the annual gathering of Southern California's most notorious social neaderthals.

I am really hoping for a Tyra look-alike to walk up to me and say, "Talk nerdy to me, big boy."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tyra and Racism

Feeling sleepless a couple of nights ago, I happened to catch a rerun of the Tyra Banks Show. No, her beauty tips do not tickle my fancies.

The topic for this episode was racism. Tyra sat with five women of different ethnicities in her quest to determine which group "has it worse."

Each woman had a story to tell.

The Muslim woman spoke of being called a terrorist by random strangers every day and recounted her nightmares with airport security.

The African American woman's teacher whom she looked up to discouraged her from seeking a career as a medical doctor and encouraged the her to opt for nursing instead despite her strong academic record.

The Hispanic woman demonstrated with a hidden camera the humiliation of being watched and followed around the store.

The white woman's black neighbors in her college student apartment complex made her life miserable purely on the account of her race.

These are heart wrenching stories which go to show the strong undercurrents of racism which we have yet to move beyond. I can't really relate to their particular woes, but I do admit to sharing some of the prejudices which contribute to them.

Now it was the Asian woman's turn to speak. My ears perked up. Perhaps she would share something which I could relate to, I thought. And besides, she was kinda cute.

When she used to waitress at a Mongolian restaurant, a white customer and her kid asked her to share with them something about the Mongolian culture. She felt insulted and humiliated because she is Korean, not Mongolian. there more? No, that was it.

As I said before, back when I was growing up, there were only two Asian nationalities known to Americans: Japanese and Chinese. "Are you Japanese or Chinese?" was how people phrased the typical inquiry into my national origin since most of them had not heard of Korea.

But I saw a silver lining in this. When I acted like a dork, the Chinese or Japanese reputation took a hit, but not my people's. So I considered it my patriotic duty to transgress with reckless abandon in front of white people.


Back to this brain donor featured in the Tyra Banks Show.

Girlfriend, after finding Canada on the map, you might want to look up Mongolia. It is only two countries away from Korea, and most of our ancestors were Mongolian nomads who migrated south in search of warmer climate.

Besides, you were working at a Mongolian restaurant, and as an employee of an establishment whose mission is to sell the culinary aspects of Mongolian culture, shouldn't you know a thing or two?

And you had to inform the national audience of your Korean ancestry. Was that necessary? And this anecdote of yours was in response to the question, "who has it worse"?

I am boycotting all things Tyra Banks including her show and Internet photos. For the next two days hours.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Midlife Crisis is Finally here

Updated Sep 13th, 10:40 PM. See post script below

Meet my new toy:  Trikke.

I had never bought anything in response to a TV imformercial, but this time, I caved.

As you can see, it looks like a scooter with 3 small wheels, but there is no built-in motor or pedaling mechanism.

Watch this guy work it.

I was so intrigued by the physics of its forward movement with seeming ease from the rider. It reminded me of the Segway without a built-in motor and the $5,000 price tag.

So the very next day I drove over to a local Sports Chalet store to pick one up. Couldn't wait four weeks for the shipment to arrive. Brought it home, and stood on it with my hands on the handle bars and feet on the foot pads.

Nothing happened. After watching the forementioned video clip, I attempted to mimic his dance moves only to roll backward. That was last Friday.

It took a great deal of humility to sit down and watch the instructional DVD, and today, I finally got into a rhythm and hit the "sweet spot". You should have seen me rock and roll up and down the parking lot and around the block several times for almost two hours.

Was about 11 PM when I finally got in, and I am itching to go back out again. Two thumbs up!

After Two hours yesterday and another hour today of reveling in the novelty of this contraption, I am finding about the muscles that I didn't know I had before. If you happen to get one, just don't over do it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 10th, 2001

We talk about what they were doing and where they were on September 11th, 2001. But how about September 10th, 2001?

We often look upon September 10th as the last day of our innocence. So what were you doing five years ago today?

I had been in the market for a house as a first time home buyer. After about a month of searching and driving around, my realtor and I finally picked the very house I am writing this in and wrote up an offer.

I initiated the biggest financial transaction of my life, and went to bed thinking about my dream house.


Please take some time to read the sobering and powerful essay called My September 10th by L-Girl.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Chauffeur's story.

My first job at the major petroleum company was to oversee maintenance of service stations throughout Southern California and Nevada. No, I did not drive around a service truck in a uniform with my name tag embroiled although some of the women that I attempted to ask out thought that. Others thought I worked as a cashier at a gas station.

My job involved contracting out maintenance services to vendors who did the actual work on site. Don't yawn yet. I'm still talking.

One day, we got word that the CEO was taking a "field trip" to a service station as part of his executive objective to assess how our retail division was doing. This instantly kicked my department into overdrive. My manager ordered me to round up vendors to refurbish the station within the next 48 hours.

ABC must have gotten the idea for the popular reality show Extreme Home Makeover from us. Painters, pavers, roofers, electricians and others converged on this service station and worked around the clock, and the outcome was astonishing.

Given the dilapidated state of the surrounding area, the only analogy I could think of was a freshly picked rose in the toilet. Don't spend too much time trying to visualize that. The price tag for the rose was about $100,000.

The CEO's visit lasted about 15 minutes and a collective sigh of relief followed. I got to keep my job.


One of my grandfather's friends was a chauffeur for the first President of South Korea back in the 50's. The President would venture out from his mansion and make field trips to see how the people were living.

One such trip was to a department store in Seoul. After inspecting an assortment of merchandise, he marveled at how "affordable" everything was. The country was getting stronger and his policy was doing wonders, he effused in front of the throng of cameras.

Unbeknownst to him, his handlers converged on the store in force the night before and changed out the price tags, slashing prices by 99% or more. This was just one example of how insulated he was from the harsh reality of life in postwar Korea, and his presidency inevitably ended in disgrace after leaving a trail of corruption and incompetence.

One day, my grandfather's chauffeur friend informed his boss that he was getting married. The President congratulated him and whipped out a wad of cash, and said, "This ought to get you a house in the most elite neighborhood of Seoul. And while you are at it, buy yourself and your bride a car too."

What he gave him was not enough to buy a used bicycle, let alone a house in the Beverly Hills of Seoul and a car. Too bad he couldn't just magically cut the price of an expensive mansion as the President's handlers could do at the department store.


The South Korean president was a clueless dictator of a third world country 50 years ago. At least he had an excuse. He lacked the necessary logistics to just barge into a department store unannounced with security details in place.

The CEO? If he really wanted to know how his stores were doing (there were 300 of them within 20 miles of the corporate headquarters alone), why couldn't he have jumped into the car and driven over to one down the street? What a noble concept.

In this case, the CEO's chauffeur was the one who always gave us a heads up and made my life miserable. He had me constantly on my toes bracing myself for the next $100,000 rose in the toilet.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My former corporate life

See if you can detect a pattern from my work history. Should be pretty obvious if you pay close attention.

Major petroleum company - most of the 90's
* 30,000 Employees
* Acquired by British Petroleum around the end of my tenure
* BP is currently under criminal investigation.

Software company - height of the dotcom boom
* 500 Employees
* Acquired by Choicepoint around the end of my tenure
* Choicepoint is under investigation for compromising consumer data.

Hardware/software company - around the dotcom crash
* 150 Employees
* Acquired by some East Coast company.
* The parent company shut the place down shortly after the acquisition.

Noah Data Solutions - present
* 1 Employee
* The company named after a dog.

While everything you touch may turn into gold, in my case, well...

I hope to share some humorous as well as sobering stories from my former corporate life. Let me start off with a short and sweet one.

Here I was a young engineer straight out of school. Eager to impress my superiors as well as co-workers, I often worked through lunch and slaved away in the office burning the midnight oil. Well, you get the picture.

One of my colleagues was an older gentleman near retirement. The moment the clock hit 5, he flew out the door like a bat out of hell.

One day, we ran into each other in the men's room. He complimented my work ethic and asked me how I liked working for the company. Then he said the following which I will never forget:

Working hard here is like peeing in black pants. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pretend this is a video blog

Since I don't have a webcam, you will have to bear with me as I walk you through a series of still photos.

So who doesn't like Tabasco? If you are an aficionado of all things spicy, then Tabasco should be near the top of your must-haves.

Have you looked at the label on the other side of the Tabasco logo on the bottle? I bet you have not.

Drop everything you are doing and grab the bottle you have and come back here. This is important.

Okay, so let's zoom in here to have a closer look.

Okay, we can all read this:  "Distinctive Flavor," it reads, "Aged to Perfection." The label goes on to claim that, "It takes 3 years to make the unique favor of TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce."

Just some harmless marketing propaganda we have grown used to. Now let's move the camera down the label to read the rest of the label.

It says to "Try it on: Soups, salads, pizza, pasta, .... BBQ." Let's continue down the list.

ARE YOU SEEING WHAT I'M SEEING?!?!?!?!? It tells you to "try it on" Asian!?!?!?

Now you may say not to be silly and tell me that it really means Asian foods. Then why is Sushi listed separately?

You know, the last time I checked, Sushi isn't Norwegian.

Memo to self: Be aware of big bad men walking around with a Tabasco bottle.

On a more serious note, a lot of crazy little things are going on in my life, leaving me no mental capacity to blog. I suppose this is how writer's block comes about. Hope your Labor Day weekend went well.

Looky here

Found in my inbox. I'm gonna be rich!

Beloved In Christ,

Dearest one.

Calvary greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am MotherTheresa Smith.I am 65years old, am suffering from long time liver problem.From all indications, my condition is serious and according to mydoctor it is quite obvious that I may not survive the sickness,although as a christain,I beleive God, and I know that I will not die,I will leave to declare the glory of God. My late Husband and my only son was killed during the Ogoni Crisis and I am presently Leaving alone.Our Lord Jesus Christ is my comforter.My late Husband was very wealthy we have a lot of properties including shares and houses.After the death of my Husband,I made up my mind to travel abroad to leave the rest of my life and continue to do the work of God as a missionary.I called our lawyer and I instructed him to sell all my Husband properties and shares to enable me raise some money to conitue my mission.

The lawyer sold the Shares and some of the properties and I was able to raise the sum of ($10.3,000,000.00(Ten Million Three Hundred Thousand US Dollars)The fund is in cash,for the safety of the fund till am able to travel out,I packaged the fund in consignments deposited it with a Security Company.Presently,all the documents concerning the consignments are with my lawyer.

Now that my sickness has gone to this stage,I am scared and I want the fund to be used for the work of God all over the world. I have prayed and I told God to direct me to an honest person who will receive this fund and utilise it for things that will glorify the name of God After my prayers,I searched the internet,I found your email address and I decided to contact you.Please if you are interested in using this fund for the work ofGod,please send to me your private phone and fax number full names and address to enable me give it to my lawyer for immediate arrangement with the Security company on how the consignments that contained the fund will be delivered to you.I await your urgent reply.

Thanks and God bless you.

Mother Theresa Smith

This is actually a new one. Most of the "Nigeria scam" emails I have received involve a frozen bank account belonging to a government official in a foreign country which has undergone some kind of political turmoil. This is the first I have received with a Christian theme. I am quite impressed with the author's proficiency in our lingo.

Looks like the scammers are now harvesting email addresses from blogs.