Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It was my birthday, and I'll cry if I want to

So I turned 27 this week. I still look 18.

Here are some other celebrities who were born the same year as me:




Why do they look so old???!?! From L-R, starting at the top: Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon's daughter), Kaley Cuoco, Keira Knightley, and Odette Yustman.

I can't believe they are the same age as me!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hip Commercials


I was on Youtube, when I saw the below commercial; it took me a few seconds to recognize the song from the ad, which had me thinking.....here are some non-Apple commercials playing hip-happening music.


Michael Kors (2012)


Artist: LCD Soundsystem "Dance Yrself Clean"




Bacardi (2009)

Arist: Matt & Kim "Daylight"




Sony Bravia (2006)

Artist: Jose Gonazales "Hearbeats" ....cover of The Knife's version.




Zillow (2012)

Artist: Bright Eyes "First Day of My Life"




Diet Coke (2010)

Artist: Temper Trap "Sweet Disposition

Monday, November 26, 2012

Los Angeles Is Confusing

Let's say you're driving down Santa Monica Blvd, and you pass Century City - are you in Los Angeles? Why, yes you are.

Let's say you keep driving a few miles, and are now in West Hollywood - are you still in Los Angeles? No, you're now in the city of West Hollywood.

Ok, so you drive a few more miles and decide to take Sunset Blvd. to Hollywood - are you in the city of Hollywood? No, you're now in the district of Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Maybe it's just me, but I find it confusing figuring out which part of LA (to me, the whole area is LA, haha) is really part of LA.

Below is a handy map of LA and its neighboring cities. The area in white is "Los Angeles," while everything else are separate cities.

Here is a map of LA (click to view larger):
 


 Per the above map, the following neighborhoods/districts are still considered part of LA:
- Hollywood
- Brentwood
- Westwood
- Palms
- Venice
- Century City
- Koreatown
- Silver Lake



Here is LA and neighboring cities (click to view larger):



Per the above map, the following are separate cities within LA County:
- Beverly Hills
- Culver City
- Inglewood
- Santa Monica
- West Hollywood
- Compton
- Hawthorne


Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Have That Sweater!

Meredith and I have the same fashion taste:


Meredith (The Office; Season 9, Ep 7)
UO "Coincidence and Chance" Sweater


I was watching The Office last Thursday, and what do I see Meredith wearing? A sweater that I have purchased! TWINSIES!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rain boots

I 100% recommend owning rain boots.



 These are $30 ones from Tarjay - probably not the best out there, but they do a pretty good job. In retrospect, I should have gotten a solid color, but these were the only available ones in store.


I bust those bad boys out anytime it looks like it could rain here in LA; in fact I just wore them now to make a quick run to my neighborhood Starbucks (to get their BOGO holiday drink - which is only select holiday beverages, even though signage appears to say "any").

I remember getting a pair of rain boots in undergrad because I was tired of having sopping wet jeans and shoes any time it rained (which, by the way, I think is one of the grossest feelings - wet socks...blech). When I first got to school, I didn't even have an umbrella, because I stupidly thought it never rained in LA; to my surprise, I think there was a record level of rainfall my first year of college! I remember waiting til I first went home (which was probably two months after school started) because I was too cheap to buy an umbrella in the student store ($40 for a UCLA umbrella - hellz naw!).

It wasn't until my second year of school, when I was wandering about a Target, when I thought to get rain boots; I've been wearing them ever since!

I like wearing rain boots because it makes me feel invincible in the rain - I see a puddle, and it's totally ok if I walk through it! It's starting to rain - a-ok because I don't mind walking in it since I got rain boots on!

So there you have it; my endorsement for rain boots.

Friday, October 26, 2012

They're Not Related??



 On the left is Charlie Hunnam (circa his Undeclared TV show days), and on the right is Heath Ledger.

I started watching Undeclared on Netflix a few days ago, and I thought that "Lloyd" (Charlie's character) reminded me a lot of the late Heath Ledger.

Friday, October 19, 2012

This will make your skin crawl

So while I was searching for Extreme Cheapskates clips online, I came across this episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive:

WARNING: May cause uneasiness and the feeling of insects crawling all over your body.

Part 1


Part 2

Part 3


I felt disgusted when watching this for a few reasons:
1. Their crazy roach infestation made my skin crawl. I HATE cockroaches and I think they are disgusting. I don't know how that family could live like that for 6 years, with all those bugs crawling everywhere. When the camera showed up-close shots of the roaches and black widow spiders, I was creeped out!

2. The mother's denial. She seemed to take no ownership of the situation she and her children were in. She instead blamed everyone (her children and her husband) and everything (her disabilities) for why the house was as bad as it was. She wasn't alone in creating the mess, but I think her kids probably didn't know how to address the problem (I know the obvious solution is to just throw stuff away, but when things are that bad, I can see them feeling overwhelmed and just accepting things as they are. Of course that doesn't make it right, by any means). When the psychologist tried to help the mother, instead of facing and accepting that she has to be held responsible, the mother just pushed her away and called her a b*tch!

The daughter did most of the talking in the clips, and she was at least aware of how bad things were, and seemed embarrassed. But the mom seemed indifferent. The father seemed pretty absent of the situation (he had moved out), but he recognized that the house was unlivable.

In one of the clips, the daughter is either walking barefoot (or with socks), and I was horrified!! Aside from all the trash and bugs, there were used needles all over the place from her mom's medicine injections!!

I felt really bad for the kids, and while watching, I wondered what their friends/peers thought of them, after having this broadcasted on national television.

I'm glad they were able to clean the mess; I would like to see how they are now.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Too Good to Be Real

So today on Facebook, someone posted an article about a CPA who was featured on TLC's Extreme Cheapskates. Being the curious gal that I am, I clicked to read the article and was in total shock after reading it.

This woman dumpster-dives for food (and also served a meal of such found foods to her friend and his girlfriend when they came to visit), washes her clothes when she showers, does not use toilet paper, and hasn't bought clothes in ten years.

While she has paid off her (New York) apartment and probably has no debt, I personally could not live that way, especially since I am a germaphobe.

While browsing the TLC site to find the actual episode, I came across this sweet little gem of a clip...there are so many good lines, I feel like it has to be fake:




 

Some of my fave lines:

"I really wanted to buy this lowrider, and I had to get $3500 somehow...I got really lucky. The clinical study that I found online was paying the same amount. I had to put, uh, ointment up my butt. But I got a car out of it, so it was well worth it."

"I got pretty lucky. One of the ladies from Zumba said "Hey, my grandpa just passed away, if you want to live in our condo for free." In return, I'm supposed to mow her lawn, but you know, you can't beat free rent!"

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sometimes I Think Project Runway Clothes Are Questionable....

So right now I am sitting on my bum, watching old episodes of Project Runway (I guess this is the current/2012 season), and this particular episode required the contestants to team up into two teams and design modern work-wear (or something like that).

Here are two pieces that the judges really liked (the blue dress being the winner of the episode's challenge):
 


The judges said that they could see women of all ages wearing the black and white dress, and the blue dress was something they could see women wearing in the office.

No offense to anyone that liked these outfits, but I thought the black and white dress looked kind of blah, and there appears to be strange bunching. The blue dress...what the eff is that...it looks like it has a weird, wide turtle-cowl neck going on, and it seemed too form-fitting for the model (i.e. showing lumps and bumps). I'm not sure which office woman would be wearing that.

I personally felt that the neck was the ugliest part of the dress, and I don't know who would be wearing that, aside from maybe some fashion editor who is being "strong" and "edgy." I don't personally see the dress as that way, but whenever I flip through couture mags - which are NOT my favorite - I see tons of stuff like this...clothes that look like stuff in the Jetsons cartoon (jagged edges, pointy shapes, extra fabric in odd places). I don't know who really wears that stuff or wants to wear that stuff. I'm going to admit I am not a high-fashion person. My taste is simple silhouettes, which explains why I don't care for things I see in Vogue or Bazaar.

Maybe I am too much of a simpleton to "appreciate" this.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mac Malware???

Tonight I got a notification from my (free) Sophos Antivirus saying that they detected a threat, "Mal/iframe-F."

Let me first explain that I am not a tech guru; I tried to search what is it, and this is all I could find:
Mal/Iframe-F is a small or hidden iframe within a web page that attempts to run malicious software. It is often used by attackers as the first stage of a larger web based malware attack.*
*Don't click on the link, it didn't take me anywhere useful.

That didn't really tell me anything helpful; I want to know:
a) what is going to happen to my computer because of this malware
b) what are the affects of the malware (is it a real threat for Macs??)
c) is it easy to remove?

I have a Mac - aren't I supposed to be safe from this??? (Ok, I know that as Macs have become more prevalent, more viruses/malware are being created to attack the Mac OS (look at me, trying to sound like I know what I'm talking about!)).

Anywho, I didn't really know what was going on, and my antivirus wasn't able to remove it, telling me that I had to manually remove it myself. Unfortunately, I feel that SOPHOS wasn't making it clear cut for Mac users on how to remove it (maybe if you work in IT it might be easy as pie, but as a simpleton everyday man, I need straight/to-the-point responses). 

So I clicked on a link (I think from the SOPHOS quarantine window), and it led me to this:


Since I wasn't running Windows, I eventually figured out to click the second link under "Your options," which led me to this:


(above was stuff about Windows that I couldn't capture)

After clicking on the Mac link, I was finally led to here (this is ok to click); basically there is a ton of info on that page, and it can be a bit overwhelming at first where to look.

I scrolled down to find what I needed, and luckily I was able to; infected file path name was 
/Users/b--------Library/Caches/Firefox/Profiles/nizqf4uk.default/Cache/0/4C/F27ABd01

I saw "Library/Cache" when scanning that webpage, and used the instructions below to remove the file:
  • Java Web Cache.
    If the file path contains “/Library/Caches/Java”,
    1. From the Sophos Preferences window, temporarily disable on-access scanning.
    2. Go to the Finder, hold down the Option key, and from the Go menu select Library.
    3. If the Library option does not exist, select Home and then click on the Library folder.
    4. Open the Caches folder and put the containing Java folder in the trash.
    5. Empty the trash.
    6. From the Sophos Preferences window, re-enable on-access scanning.
I deleted that entire folder (which was like 20k items - I don't even know what they are....hope nothing in there was anything I needed!). In addition, I am currently running another scan:


No threats detected...boo yow.

Side note, I don't think any of my three earlier questions were really answered at all tonight...I am just really hoping that there is no shady biz lurking on my computer.

 *****************************************************
If you are wondering how I got this malware...I got it from a Fox News local website after searching for this:

What is that, you may ask? Is that a huge, lumpy rock? A bear, maybe? NO! It's a 1,000 lb HOG (that was like 9 feet in length...WTF?!) that some 11 year old shot with a gun back in 2007! I wouldn't have even known that was a hog if the article hadn't said so. I didn't even know hogs could get that big!

The article had a link to the kid's website, which I guess was infected with malware.

So why was I searching for a 1,000 lb hog in the first place? It was mentioned in some comments in an MSN article I read today (about how a 70 year old farmer was eaten by his 700 lb hogs - hogs can eat humans?!?!).

Am I slightly creepy and morbid? Of course. Do I (or anyone else) deserve to get malware on their computer? No way!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'd Like to Make Shoes

Just a thought (at 2 AM), but I've always wanted to design shoes (and clothes too).

I don't believe that shoes should need to be "broken  in." Why can't many shoes (especially women's shoes) be made to be comfortable?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Awkward Encounters of the First Kind

(get it? Like the movie, but changed to fit mah story).

Here's a funny lil' story for you all:
Yesterday night at dinner, I was eating out with the manfriend. As we are eating at our usual spot, another couple enters in, and sits right next to us. I recognize the girl, as we were in an organization together back in my fourth year of college (I think she was the same year  as me too).

Normally I would have been like, "Hey so-and-so! Oh my gosh, it's been forever, how are you???!?!?!" BUT, I didn't really know this girl that well in the student org we were a part of (I think we may have said 5 words to each other), and we weren't even Facebook friends (you know you aren't even worthy of being an acquaintance if someone doesn't Facebook-friend you!). So I had a feeling she probably didn't recognize/remember me (which was fine on my part; why have awkward conversations with people you never really talked to?).

So to avoid any possible chance of a "Hey, maybe I know you" convo, I tried not to look in their direction, but they happened to be buddies with our sushi chef too, so there was a bit of conversation mixing.

Near the end of our dinner, the girl's bf started chatting with us (he happened to overhear us chatting about movie-watching choices), when the girl leans over and says "Hey, I think I know you...." which totally put me on the spot. Do I fess up and say, "Yes, I knew all along but didn't want to say anything in case you didn't remember me, but now that you do, I feel kind of like a jerk for not saying anything earlier"????  Instead I think I said something like, "Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh."

The end.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tiny Living



I'd like to visit NYC one day, but I don't think I'd ever want to live there, mainly because I probably wouldn't be able to afford it, and I'd have to live in one of these...sorry, but I need my space. When I was apartment hunting, I saw a studio where the kitchen was right next to the bathroom, and I was a little skeeved by that; so I can't imagine being squished into a place where your toilet might be IN your kitchen (ok, that would probably not happen since I'm sure that violates some sort of health code)!

This woman lives in 90 square feet...WUT! I don't know how she does it. I remember reading this article (I think on MSN), because she mentioned how she had a panic attack the first night she slept in her studio...because her face is like 2 inches from the ceiling!



 



This couple makes do by storing clothes in kitchen cupboards and always eating out...dayaaamn!




Makes me think of Flight of the Conchords and Jemaine's "studio compartment"....haha!



Off tangent, I hate posting photos in blogger because it seems defined by the stupid placement settings (left, right, center), and I can only seem to squeeze in two photos max next to each other (if they're small enough) even though I'm pretty sure I have enough posting space.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

IT'S SO DANG HOT....



What is up with this weather? I honestly don't remember it being this hot in LA last summer. I remember in Sept/Oct 2010, there being a few days of uncomfortable warmth, but since August, the weather has been a bit ridiculous. Today it was 102!!

To fend off the heat, I went to The Grove (shopping mall) this morning before my haircut. It was already in the 90s by 10 AM. I didn't even get to enjoy my haircut, since all this sweating has made it all icky.

During the afternoon, I walked into a few stores, hoping to feel a welcoming blast of cool air; instead I was received by warm-ish temps...yuck. I am looking forward to fall...shouldn't it be here by now?!?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

OH EM GEE...freaky day at work!

So around 5:30 PM, outside my cubicle, I hear a somber conversation taking place...apparently a man jumped/fell from the indoor escalators at an undisclosed level. One of the Account Supervisors heard a noise and apparently saw the body on the ground.

I did not witness the actual event, nor see the aftermath, but apparently whoever fell did not survive.

I am still in shock....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heebie-Jeebies...

Super old photos (I'm talking circa 1800s/1900s) both fascinate and creep me out at the same time.

Whenever I see those photos (not that I see them that often!), I think of that film, The Others (that's where I learned about post-mortem photography):
On a side note, this movie definitely scared me!

They don't even have to be post-mortem photos...any type of old-timey photos kind of creep me out! 

I just thought about this now, because I was browsing Buzzfeed, and came across this photo of Emily Dickinson:

Emily D on the left...I'm feelin' the heebie-jeebies!

which then of course had me Googling "creepy 1800s photos."

One of the articles I read talked about "ghost mothers" or "hidden mothers," which the concept is not as creepy as it sounds (of course some of the photos are still freaky). "Ghost mothers" was a term used to describe the hiding/concealing of mothers in photos of children...I guess in the olden days, photo shoots took a long time, so taking photos of children was an especially difficult task; mothers would hide behind cloaks/sheets to either prop up little babies, or comfort kids during these photo shoots - this explains the weirdly shaped "chairs" some of the kids sit on.

Well, I hope you've been both fascinated and creeped out...find more "ghost mother" images here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

They're Not Related??


       
David Krumoltz
Jake Johnson




David Krumholtz is of 10 Things I Hate About You fame (and other projects post-1999), while you may recognize the guy on the right from New Girl.

Not only do I think they look very similar (both share the same wavy dark hair, facial scruff, and are even sporting the same kind of outfit!), they sound very similar. I was watching snippets of Paper Heart last year, and I thought I saw the guy from 10 Things in the film...turned out to be a Mr. Jake Johnson (who I had never heard of before).

They're not related...but should be!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who Is Patrolling the Cops??

I just read two different articles about police officers using 'excessive force" (aka unnecessary violence) on citizens.


Story 1 - read here

Synopsis: A 34 year old, 5'4" woman was pulled over in Tujunga, CA on 8/21/12 for allegedly using her cell phone while driving. The woman pulls into a Del Taco parking lot (where the video surveillance is from), and gets out of her car and mouths off at the two cops. They then slam her to the ground, cuff her, and then slam her to the ground again, and finish off by fist-bumping(?). The two officers have been removed from patrol duty during the investigation.

I don't know what she said, but I don't think anything would be bad enough to receive a beating. I'm guessing they were very aggressive towards her when pulling her over (i.e. being snide/rude when talking, sort of like the cop that pulled me over - I don't think I would have been as upset if she hadn't been so rude), otherwise why would she be talking back to them right away? Regardless, the officers should have used other means to "subdue" her.


Story 2 - read here

Synopsis: On 12/28/09, a 50-year old woman is riding the Metro Gold Line (one of LA's light rail lines) when a deputy from the LA County Sheriff's Dept. asks to see her ticket. She initially can't find it, and shows a receipt of the purchase, but the officer gestures her to get off the train and says "That’s not good enough; you can show it in court.”

The woman says she'll find the ticket, but immediately cops surround her. When she attempts to search for her ticket in her bag, she is ordered to raise her hands and to place them on a pillar. She then is searched aggressively by a female officer [they even search her underwear, wtf], and when she complains of the aggressiveness and moves, the female officer slams the woman's head against the pillar (I believe 3 times), fracturing her skull, nose, and teeth.

[The woman goes into further detail about her craptastic treatment after the event and at the hospital where she is treated...and she is at first going to be taken to jail, when one of the officers allows her to leave if she signs her citation of "resisting arrest."]

This story made me even angrier...why couldn't the deputy let her find her ticket...I know in my purse, I have a TON of paper, so it makes it really hard to find things in a rush. I didn't even know that searching for fare tickets was part of the Sheriff's dept.'s duties. The kicker is that when her ex-husband and son come to pick her up, she finds the ticket in her wallet.

When I read her story, I didn't find anything that would point to her being aggressive or violent or anything that would cause the police to react to her that way.

It just bothers me, and frightens me, when I hear of stories of people who abuse their power. Just because you wear a certain uniform, or have a particular badge, doesn't mean you can treat people like sh*t just for the hell of it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grrrr.

I use this blog for various reasons: to share interesting stories (that no one reads), to tell personal anecdotes (that no one reads), and to vent.

So I'm going to vent today.

This month is going to be an expensive month, for the following reasons:
- parking ticket (it is STILL not updated on the fuggin computer system)
- fix my car = $585
- doctor visits ($25 copay + any meds + $11 parking)

I'm also annoyed with this heat...it's really hot during the day and I live on the second floor, so that sucks major ballz.

Grrr.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Local News


View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.


My questions:
- who's garbage is that, and why do they keep tossing it there (i.e. the black garbage bags)?
- is that really a dead animal?
- why isn't street cleaning coming? We have that 2x a week in most LA neighborhoods
- LA City vs LA County...what's the difference???

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How Rude!

I think one of my pet peeves is when people are rude/inconsiderate. Like today, some neighbor tossed out their huge old cardboard boxes (of some sort of furniture or appliances or whatnot). Instead of breaking them down, s/he just left them next to the trash bins, with their styrofoam contents strewn all across the carport.

not made by me..thank you person whoever made this.
I just thought that was really inconsiderate for this person to not clean up after themselves. If you're not gonna break down the boxes, at least put them on the side and throw the loose contents away. I always break down any large boxes so that they don't take up a lot of space inside the recycling bin.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Funny But True


An example that comes to mind is 1901 by Phoenix (but I still like the song). I definitely heard it on KCRW in the winter time of...2010 (or 2009, can't remember), and then hearing it on the two rock stations in LA during the summer.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Ever Ticket

So I got my first traffic ticket ever in my life.

Let me clarify that I think that I'm usually a pretty safe driver, in terms that I never speed (no more than 5 over the speed limit, max), I always use my blinkers, I don't change lanes often, I try to be aware of my surroundings, etc.

I happened to make a left turn in front of cop, who immediately pulled me over and said I almost caused her to crash into me - she was on her way to an accident (and she didn't have any flashing lights on either). I honestly felt I had enough time to make this turn, but I guess not, based on her (female cop).  And if I had realized it was a cop, I would have NOT gone. Dumb me.

She was not very nice, either. I get you don't have to be like Mr. Rogers, but as someone who has never had a traffic violation ever, and also someone who was not rude, or resistant, I would have appreciated less of an attitude in her tone (she even told me, when BRIEFLY explaining the ticket) that if I want to appear in court, she would be there since she makes overtime.

As someone who is new to the process, I have no idea what to expect. The ticket says I have to appear in court, but people have been telling me that if I don't want to "fight the ticket" then I just have to pay the fine and possibly traffic school, if I'm eligible (so that I don't get point(s) on my record).

Nothing is updated online, and I have no idea how much the citation is for. I have no idea how long it takes to upload this info, as I just want to get this done with over as soon as possible.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bathroom Etiquette

 ***WARNING - May contain graphic descriptions.***

You would think that by the time you're at the age where you can work a full-time job, people would know how to use a restroom. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.

Even at my work, I am sometimes appalled at how digusting the women's restroom can be...I know/recognize most of the women at work, so it just weirds me out that some of these ladies don't know how to properly use the bathroom. (I don't know anything about the men's room situation).

I almost want to make a "bathroom etiquette" video and share it at the workplace. It would include the following:

1. WIPE AFTER YOURSELF, aka don't leave your pee all over the seat.
* I once saw droplets near the upper portion of the seat (aka closer to the tank), which made no sense...was someone standing or something???!?! Either way, it was disgusttttingggg.

2. FLUSH AFTER YOURSELF
* Even though it's an automatic flushing toilet, sometimes it doesn't work. That doesn't give you an excuse to leave yo' bidniz chilling in the toilet bowl. FLUSH IT YOURSELF. It also doesn't mean it will also flush your floaties. Check yo' self after you flush yo' self...that's common courtesy.

3. DON'T LEAVE YOUR TOILET SEAT COVER CHILLING ON THE TOILET SEAT.
* I'm all for being eco-friendly, but I DO NOT want to share toilet seat covers. CHAMONNNNN, people!

4. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND HOT/WARM WATER.
* I once saw a lady just rinse her hands, no soap. Srsly.

5. THROW YOUR PAPER TOWELS IN THE TRASH, NOT ON THE GROUND.
* Pick it up if you miss!

Speaking of bathroom ish, today the water was out at work for a few hours - all the bathrooms were not working. Regardless, people were still using the bathrooms...I feel so bad for the custodial staff that had to deal with that. I myself had to use the restroom, so I went on the hunt (as I was not going to add to the mess)...I ended walking a few blocks to the Pavilions. It looked like all the stalls were automatic flushers (I think Pavilions was also hit with the water outage, but luckily was working again). Two of the toilets were clogged up...with deuces - DISGUSTING. The third stall I went into had rule #1 alll over it. I made sure to layer up my seat covers. In a moment of craziness, I decided to be a good Samaritan and flush the other toilets. I did for the first one, but the second one looked broken (and I was not going to try to fix it). While flushing the other toilet, I just felt so icky, flushing someone else's business (insert shudder). I just didn't want it to be sitting there, stinking up the place.

If you managed to read this whole thing, I'm very sorry.

Show me the monaaayyyyy (on my gift cards)

Gift cards...almost like free monaaayyyy (except you can't spend it wherever you want, unless you get one of those prepaid cards).



image from inc.com


Just a friendly public service announcement to remind you to check the balances of any gift cards you may have laying around...you might find that you have $$$ on your card that you didn't know you had before.

I had a few gift card balances on my dresser that had been there forever; I decided to check them, and I found that I had $4 on a Trader Joe's gift card, and $2 on a Starbucks one....booo yow.

Now go check that ish!

Side note: why do some companies make it so difficult?? I'd prefer to check online, but it seemed like most of the cards required me to call some number..."Hello, and welcome to Company X. Our customer service hours are between 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, and 10 AM to  4 PM on Saturdays....blah blah blah..<5 later="later" minutes="minutes">... For store hours, press 1. For store locations, press 2. For help with making an order, press 3. blah blah blah...Press more buttons now..."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The sneaker wedge...

is real. No joke. And a pair costs $90.00!!!!

These super hot shoes are by Steve Madden...someone order me a pair, stat!

I'm kidding. I don't really want a pair. But they are real.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Am I Weighting For?


As I have mentioned in passing, I have gained some weight - at least 10-15 lbs.

*********

It started in February 2010, when I took a four-month class through my work that took up a lot of time. As the class was a prep for a competitive presentation, any free hours were devoted to group meetings and work sessions. During that period, I stopped going to the gym and ate more fast food. Then in August of that year, I started working on an account that required much longer hours than before. In the meantime, my gym membership had been cancelled (I guess there was an issue with my card), and because I was so busy, I didn't bother renewing it.

In addition, my eating habits became worse. While I was not the healthiest person, I rarely ate out and I rarely ate fast food (mainly because I was a cheapskate). After the job promotion and the move of my manfriend to SoCal, we (the manfriend and I) started eating out more (mainly due to work, but also a bit to my former roommate because it was totally awkward using the kitchen, so we stopped cooking). Because his job required him to work late as well, we were sometimes limited to eating fast foods late at night, as those were the only places usually opened (and since it would be 9:30 PM, we would want to eat something fast).

********* 

I have never been the type of person to watch what I eat; for as long as I could remember, I would always stay around 90-95 lbs. In college, I started out wearing size 12 kids jeans! Of course when I graduated, I was no longer wearing those jeans, but I was still at 95 lbs. And that was with me not exercising and drinking soda at lunch and dinner! In high school, I ate tv dinners as SNACKS, for crying out loud!

I think what saved me in high school and college, though, was being busy and having to walk everywhere (to campus multiple times a day, to Westwood, to anywhere, since I didn't have a car). And because I was always on the go, I wasn't sitting that much.

(L:Me, 2nd year of college; R: Me, Freshman year - those are the kid pants (don't mind the horrible outfit)
*In the above pictures, I'm not scrawny or anything, but I could wear more form-fitting outfits without feeling uncomfortable.

Now that I have a desk job, I am sedentary most of the day. Coupling that with not exercising and eating out more, it's no surprise of my weight gain. But the gain was gradual, so I didn't really notice my body changing as much as I thought I would. I remember in the fall of 2010, eating AYCE sushi 4 Saturdays in a row!

Granted that 15 lbs isn't thatttttttt much, but on a person of my stature, it is a lot (15% of my college weight!).

I can't wear some of my jeans now because they are too tight, and the ones I do wear, I have a muffin top. I avoid certain clothing (like anything remotely form-fitting), because it will show my out-of-shape belly.

People laugh when I tell them this (except my family who has seen it in person) because I hide it pretty well (I think). My trick is to wear loose tops, as it helps in hiding any pooch. Plus, any exposed body parts (wrists/arms, neck) still look the same.

But besides using clothing to hide my weight gain, I am also trying to eat better and exercise. I have been going to the gym now for a few months, but I don't really push myself (just 30 min on the elliptical, and some light weights), so I haven't really seen a change. I'm going more for being active, rather than to get "ripped." Maybe if I get more motivation, I will try do more at the gym. I even bought a Living Social special for Cardio Barre (a "low impact/high cardio" workout). I haven't used it yet, but I will within the next 6 months, hah.

I'm also becoming more conscious of what I eat. Trying to cut the soda, eating less candy.

My goal is to be at my college weight by the end of the year, so we'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Annoyed

As I was getting ready to drift to sleep (for some much needed rest as I am sick AGAIN) I was woken by some neighbors "passionate lovemaking" and now I can't go back to sleep!!! GRRRRRR.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Anatomy of Sunglasses



















I had no idea that the "arms" were called temples!

This image is from www.fierceshades.com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Interesting Read (Not Written by Me)


10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America


Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him.

This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.

I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socio-economic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.
I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:
You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.
The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (i.e., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either, because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.
And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” Background:
I’ve lived in different parts of the US, both the deep south and the northeast. I have visited most of the US’s 50 states. I’ve spent the past three years living almost entirely outside of the United States. I’ve lived in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and South America. I’ve visited over 40 countries in all and have spent far more time with non-Americans than with Americans during this period. I speak multiple languages. I’m not a tourist. I don’t stay in resorts and rarely stay in hostels. I rent apartments and try to integrate myself into each country I visit as much as possible. So there.

(Note: I realize these are generalizations and I realize there are always exceptions. I get it. You don’t have to post 55 comments telling me that you and your best friend are exceptions. If you really get that offended from some guy’s blog post, you may want to double-check your life priorities.)
OK, we’re ready now. 10 things Americans don’t know about America.
  
1. Few People Are Impressed By Us
Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely) then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-fucking-doo.
As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

2. Few People Hate Us
Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush, people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.

Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us.

Remember that immature girl in high school, who every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.

3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World
For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese believe the Vietnam War was about China (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by Russia (not us), Native Americans were wiped out by a plague (not us), and the American Revolution was “won” because the British cared more about beating France (not us). Notice a running theme here?
(Hint: It’s not all about us.)

We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection
There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “cold” and “passionless” and for good reason. In our social lives we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.

In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to diffuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”

5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great
If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.

The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.

In my Guide to Wealth, I defined being wealthy as, “Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.” In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people are on average, work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.

6. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us
In 2010, I got into a taxi in Bangkok to take me to a new six-story cineplex. It was accessible by metro, but I chose a taxi instead. On the seat in front of me was a sign with a wifi password. Wait, what? I asked the driver if he had wifi in his taxi. He flashed a huge smile. The squat Thai man, with his pidgin English, explained that he had installed it himself. He then turned on his new sound system and disco lights. His taxi instantly became a cheesy nightclub on wheels… with free wifi.

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

As Americans, we have this na├»ve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

What’s so surprising about the world is how unsurprising most of it is. I spent a week with some local guys in Cambodia. You know what their biggest concerns were? Paying for school, getting to work on time, and what their friends were saying about them. In Brazil, people have debt problems, hate getting stuck in traffic and complain about their overbearing mothers. Every country thinks they have the worst drivers. Every country thinks their weather is unpredictable. The world becomes, err… predictable.

7. We’re Paranoid
Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.
In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.

I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so friendly it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a bar-b-que with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.

8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention
I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).

This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well. Who can slam the most beers first? Who can get reservations at the best restaurant? Who knows the promoter to the club? Who dated a girl on the cheerleading squad? Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.

9. We Are Very Unhealthy
Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us. 

A routine STD test that can run you over $200 in the US is free in many countries to anyone, citizen or not. My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.   

But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch). 

In terms of life expectancy, despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 38th. Right behind Cuba, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and slightly ahead of Slovenia, Kuwait and Uruguay. Enjoy your Big Mac.


10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness
The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Comfort sells easier than happiness. Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requires being proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.

Comfort equals sales. We’ve been sold comfort for generations and for generations we bought: bigger houses, separated further and further out into the suburbs; bigger TV’s, more movies, and take-out. The American public is becoming docile and complacent. We’re obese and entitled. When we travel, we look for giant hotels that will insulate us and pamper us rather than for legitimate cultural experiences that may challenge our perspectives or help us grow as individuals.

Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring within the US. Our inability to confront anything unpleasant around us has not only created a national sense of entitlement, but it’s disconnected us from what actually drives happiness: relationships, unique experiences, feeling self-validated, achieving personal goals. It’s easier to watch a NASCAR race on television and tweet about it than to actually get out and try something new with a friend.

Unfortunately, a a bi-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

****************************************************************************
Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.
There are things I love about my country. I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a few times a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.

So this is my lecture to my alcoholic brother — my own flavor of arrogance and self-absorption, even if slightly more informed — in hopes he’ll give up his wayward ways. I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funny cat pictures to look at.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm an ISFJ

...that's codespeak for "Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging" in the Myers-Brigg test. It's kind of scary how accurate some of these statements are (highlighted in yellow).

Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging
by Marina Margaret Heiss

Profile: ISFJ
Revision: 3.1
Date of Revision: 20 Aug 2007


ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of "service" is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.) 

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted--even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile Is, their actions don't call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses. 

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. Traditional careers for an ISFJ include: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers. 

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle--and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. When these include Es who want to socialize with the rest of the world, or self-contained ITs, the ISFJ must learn to adjust to these behaviors and not interpret them as rejection. Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behavior (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being "nice" as with strict propriety); if any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage of). Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics :-). Needless to say, ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones--although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want. 

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.) Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for "sulking," the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided "good manners." An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ's unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with." Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem. 

I'd say:
- I'm a hardworker
- I like to help others
- I do enjoy praise, but it makes me a little self-conscious, and I don't like giving myself praise
- I feel I have a pretty good memory/pay attention to detail
- I'm such a bad delegator, but I am getting a lot better (mainly because I feel like I'd rather do it the way I want to, and I don't want to burden other people)
- I HATE confrontation. I feel it's ironic, since I was a communications major - HAH
- I like having a wide circle of friends, but in reality I only have a few close friends
- I am very family-focused