Monday, July 30, 2007

Apple envy

I saw this today and thought it was cool.

I still remember the first Apple II that my school had. The big craze was to spend lunch in the library play this frontier game, Oregon Trail. I really wanted to have this cool Apple computer, but I got a Commodore 64 instead. Really, not a bad computer for learning BASIC, but not as much fun as an Apple or TI for games. (Especially when you're parents won't buy you a joystick bcause the keyboard is just fine.)

In college, I got a stripped down PC clone. Many of my classmates had Macs. I was a bit jealous but couldn't afford one or convince my parents that it was necessary.

Only when I had been working a couple years did I splurge on buying a Mac. It was just at the start of the Internet, when AOL was big and Apple had their own online community. But I have to admit, I didn't use the computer that often, especially once I switched jobs and was assigned a Dell laptop. The computer ended up sitting in a storage box for years until I finally gave it away to a friend of a friend who collected old Apple computers.

Lately, I've been thinking again about getting a MacBook. But then I'm always asking myself if I'd really use it enough given its price tag. When (and if) I have kids, it would especially be useful in creating videos to send to the relatives and eventually to pass down for schoolwork. It'd be so cool, so easy to use. And, if I got the 2nd generation iPhone, we'll then I'd have to have both right?

Yeah, next year, we'll see. Maybe if I'm good and put away a little money each month, like layaway. ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Welcome Rene

I had this strange dream the other morning just before I awoke. I rarely think of my ex, Ryan, these days, so it's always a bit disturbing for me when I have such a detailed dream including him. The only thing I can think of is that the previous night, there was a mention of his neighborhood on the news and I remember hoping that he was frustrated by the event. (I'm so evil.)

I don't recall what the situation was in the dream, only that I was on the page where his wedding information was once posted. The site had been changed, thanking everyone for being part of their celebration (which was several years ago).

The next section of the page served to updated visitors to their baby. I have been wondering for sometime whether he'd have kids. To this day, I still have no idea. (Admittedly, once in awhile, I check online baby registries but find nothing.) In the dream, they were touting a link to a photo page showing their 38-week-old son, Rene.

In the dream, I remember thinking what a lame, pretentious name they picked and that it didn't surprise me based on some of the attitudes Ryan had about lifestyle (and where his wife likes to shop). I was very tempted to click through the link to see the pictures of the baby but held myself back.

Okay, so what in the world does this dream mean? Why so much detail? Am I psychic?

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's on it's way!!!


Greetings from

We thought you would like to know that we are preparing your items for

You can view the status of this order, and all your orders, online by
visiting Your Account at

There you can:
* View the status of unshipped items
* Cancel unshipped items
* Return items
* And do much more
The following items are being prepared for shipment by
Qty Item Price Shipping Subtotal
--------------------------------------------------------------------- items (Sold by, LLC) :
1 Harry Potter and the Death... $17.99 1 $17.99

Too bad I'm out of town for the weekend. The package will probably literally land on my door step a couple hours after I leave. I've got my fingers crossed no one is wise to its arrival and swipes it from my doorstep! I have my guesses as to what will happen, but I won't upset anyone. :)

Maybe I'll drive by a bookstore tonight at 11:30pm to see all the people partying... go Harry!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

That's nice, who are you?

The other day I was forwarded this message from an acquaintance:

"Dear Pandax -

Hi. I am very interested in the [position] at [your company] and believe I have the passion and the experience to make a significant impact from the beginning. I would really appreciate it if we could chat about [your company].


To give you a little more background, this was sent through a networking website. A connection of CV's sent it to my connection who forwarded it to me. Obviously, she saw this job posted somewhere in cyberland, searched for a connection at the company, found me, and is seeking my help to get her foot in the door.

I'm not an expert on proper business etiquette, but frankly I found her e-mail a bit too forward. I feel like she's trying to apply for the job through me. Since she doesn't know me, would it not have been appropriate to introduce herself a little and inquire as to whether or not this is something I could help her with? Maybe I'm reading into this too much but I just don't go for the way she immediately tried to "sell" herself. I don't even work with the group who's filling this position. I'm not sure I feel comfortable recommending someone I don't know to people with whom I barely say "hello" in the cafeteria.

If I were her, I would have written something less direct:

"Dear P,

I found your name through [network] and would like to chat with you about [your company]. Currently, a [position] is open that I am interested in. I believe I have the background and passion to make an impact with this product launch. I would like to learn more about [your company] and seek any advice you might have about this position.


Am I being too picky? I don't want anyone to kiss my ass, but a little friendliness would be appreciated. There's nothing here to engage me or tell me something specific about her ("passion to make an impact" just seems a bit trite). I guess I'm just not good at playing these business games. I'm sure I probably sound just as form letter as her (but I really try to personalize my e-mails). Maybe that's how I should write when I request informational interviews from network connections be direct and forget the niceties... but it's not me.

I wrote her back explaining that I'm not with that team, implied that it would be a very intense job, and said that I'd still be willing to talk with her about the company. That seems reasonable, I think... .

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hazards of the job

This e-mail was sent out by my company's security group:

"The National Animal Rights Convention 2007 will meet from this Thursday through Monday at the [hotel] LAX. As in previous years, Monday will include an organized protest at a target to be named that day.

In addition to the convention, those organizing protests against HLS are taking advantage of this convergence of activists to hold its "West Coast Shut Them Down Tour" beginning next Tuesday, July 24. A list of cities and dates has been posted with no additional information, although it is expected the protests will target research-based facilities and financial institutions. "

That was followed up by alerting us to which days the group might potentially be "visiting" our campus. We were reminded about general policies of not allowing random, non-badge wearing people into the buildings and to report any suspicious activity.

There have been several alerts like this over the years, but nothing serious has ever happened (yet). The only incident we ever had was a suspicious package that was delivered to one of the labs sometime before Xmas. The return label address did not look familiar so the recipient reported it. The city bomb squad actually ended up coming out and blowing up the package because they could not determine the package's contents. It turned out it was a gift box sent by a vendor - a box of animal-shaped chocolates.

At a previous company, I heard stories about various disease groups coming to protest for more access to experimental drugs. They'd have to bar the doors and escort people to work. I can't imagine how uncomfortable that would have been.

While I live in a politically active region of the country, I don't often hear about any major animal rights protests that turn violent. Certainly, it's inconvenient and I understand their interest in protecting animals. I definitely have never been one to be comfortable experimenting on animals. However, I also acknowledge there are medical advances that couldn't have happened without the sacrifice of animals. Like any ethical debate, the lines are fuzzy and there will never be a clear right or wrong.

It's easy to say that testing on live animals such as monkeys, dogs, and rodents is cruel. I knew someone who had to snap the necks of mice in a research lab. Creepy job. The line gets fuzzy (to me) when you start talking about things that don't run around and interact with other animals. Cells are alive, but no one says we abuse or torture them. (Stem cells are a whole different issue.) But what do you say about chicken embryos? If it weren't for the use of eggs, we wouldn't have enough stock of common vaccines such as the flu shot. (This is also why people with egg allergies can't take the shot.) There have been many attempts to find alternative manufacturing processes, but they just aren't as easy and scalable as eggs. Gosh, this starts sounding like an abortion debate - when is an embryo a being?

I'm not going to go there, that's not the point of today's thoughts. Moreover, I'm simply always amazed that I work in an industry that has to worry about this sort of thing. It's something you see on tv, not something you fear might appear at your front door in the morning. Clothing manufacturers have to worry about human right protesters, oil companies may have to deal with environmentalists, what do the high-techies have to worry about? Luddites? ;)

It's interesting to think about the potential job hazards you don't realize you are taking on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The little things

It's been a good week, I'm way behind at work and yet it doesn't bother me. There's always going to be something I can't finish. I'm just enjoying my summer.

And it's been a plenty good week in terms of little accomplishments:

- secured a last-minute reservation for Yosemite (I'm training for a big hiking adventure in the fall; someone cancelled and I scooped up the camp site)

- redeemed some mileage for tickets to Hawaii for a long Labor Day weekend (got vacation, will use)

- rode my bike to work after promising myself that I'd do this for the past three months (it's not that far and yet it's so easy to just drive like so many other people)

- arrange to have an information chat with someone (career research)

- watched a minor league baseball game with friends

- received a free tin of Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate drink for commenting that I was disappoint with how a local cafe prepared it (here's to hoping I can make it at home as well as they do at their Chuao shops)

This weekend, I'm going to go browse all the clearance sales and hang out with friends. I love summer. Somehow it always fills up with fun things.

Now if I could just find time to actually clean my place... ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Questions looking for trouble

I got this question recently from a prospective suitor. Frankly, I think this kind of question can't possibly offer an answer that's going to satisfy anyone.

Describe your ideal mate.

I paused when I saw this. What kind of answer does a guy expect to this? I'm not the funniest person in the world, I don't know a funny way to get out of answering this. It seems like a no-win question - either you give an answer that makes it sound like you have impossible expectations or you make the other person feel like they'll never be good enough.

That I said, I did the best I could. I caveatted that no one's perfect and that I recognize that I don't expect to find a man like this. I reminded him there's undefinable chemistry that must exist between two people. And then, I had a little fun and sent him a laundry list.

I'd like some who's intelligent, has a great smile, is responsible, is relatively clean, will sing karaoke, dresses decently, can be romantic, is outgoing, speaks a foreign language enough to get directions, likes board games, eats healthy (most of the time), dances, is funny, is patient, doesn't do drugs, has regular sleep hours, is good with kids, has friends, enjoys spicy food, plays a musical instrument, is not afraid wear pink, etc.

Of course, now that I'm looking at it again, I realize I left out things like honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, assertiveness, a hint of charm, a bit of geek, and the courage to try new things every once in awhile. It was a fun way to answer the question. Hopefully, it reveals some of the priorities for me but also shows that I want to have fun and hints at some of the things I like to do and would want to be able to share with another person. In and of itself, this exercise teaches me the importance of embellishing a simple response with a phrase (I don't know my grammatical terms) that hints at a reason or preference. It definitely makes for a more interesting read. Now the question is what did the guy think of my response?

Sadly, I don't think this guy appreciates sharing much detail (or at least putting some effort into his Internet communications). I know some people prefer to chat by phone or in-person, but come on, if you choose to try and date through the Internet, you need to make an effort. What am I supposed to do with this?

Describe an interest you hope to share with you partner.

His answer: Stargate SG1 or Atlantis

Does he really think this is sufficient? How am I supposed to get to know someone when the answers are so brief? That's nice, I understand he like sci-fi. Can you give me a little more explanation why this appeals to you? My temptation is to write back and say "Your answer seems to have been truncated by the system. Could you please tell me again about your interest in Stargate?"

Online dating these days is more for entertainment than much else these days. Is that a poor attitude? There's still a month left on my subscription so you gotta get your money's worth somehow. I admit I'm not trying too hard these days. I'm really just enjoying my summer and hanging out with friends. There's nothing like beautiful weather and happy people.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Woohoo! Donuts with sprinkles...

I grabbed Tim and we went to our nearest Kwik-E-Mart. They were literally unloading a truck full of Krusty O's and Buzz Cola when we arrived - hence the line. You could go in a buy a donut and a Squishee, but you had to get in line for the other goodies. At first glace we were wondering if the guy at the head of the line was Sideshow Bob with bleached blond hair!

Neither of us are HUGE Simpsons fans, but the idea of the store is certainly entertaining. We debated whether to just take a couple pictures and go or to wait in line to by a souvenir. Tim was game for waiting as it didn't look like it would take long. We both wanted to buy a box of KrustyO's. We were really hoping to find some gag cereal objects inside like gummy worms or something. The signs were great. Tim's favorite was, "Buy 3 for the price of 3." I also picked up a couple magnet straws for a friend, Pisces. She *loves* the Simpsons. Hopefully, she'll get to the see one near her once the lines die down.

As we were walking away, this guy thanked us for coming. That seemed kind of strange, so I asked if he was a regional manager for 7-Eleven. After all, he was wearing a Kwik-E-Mart visor and had been helping unload the supply truck. It turns out he's from the (ad) agency hired by the company to pull off the promotion. I'd say they did a pretty good job... .

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Childhood notions

Maybe it was all those Disney movies about happy endings or maybe it was one too many romantic comedies, or perhaps it's just in my genes, but I think I had an overly romantic notion about love in the past.

In the early years, I can recall many boys with whom I played chase - Shawn, Robby, Carl, and Donald. It's funny to think about all that time running around the school playground or neighborhood parks trying to get away. If and when the boys caught the girls, what were they supposed to do next?

Donald was the smart, cute boy who lived down the street from me. We were in the same third-grade class. I'd always catch a glimpse of his house every time I went to Sister's house to play. She played chase with Donald's younger brother Brian. My obsessiveness about boys probably started then.

I remember listening to one of my favorite singers at the time, Olivia Newton-John. She had this old song that I absolutely loved, "I Honestly Love You," that felt totally appropriate for what I wanted to say to Donald. I'm not sure, but I think I once wrote down all the words from the song and dreamed of sharing them with him. Boy, that would have freaked him out!

For a couple years in high school, I had a crush on this sweet boy, Chip. We worked together as library volunteers. I was always excited when we overlapped shifts. He was a genuinely nice guy and we enjoyed chatting together as we shelved books. He'd play little jokes on me like pushing out a book in my aisle that I'd half to pick up and reshelve.

I wasn't exactly a mature teenager. I had no experience with boys and didn't have the greatest communication skills (and still don't). There was no way I would ever do any asking out or overt flirting. He wasn't exactly the outgoing type either. His religion, I assumed at the time, would not allow him to be interested in someone like me. (Oh, how many times I assumed being Asian prevented people from liking me.)

He stopped working at the library before senior year. Still, we'd say "hello" to each other in the hallways. I missed talking to him. Several months before prom, a new song on the radio instantly caught my attention, "Make It Real" by the Jets. It focused attention on how I felt about my situation with Chip. The song is a very cheesy 80s, one-hit-wonder, that just seemed appropriate, especially since they were the same religion as him.

I obsessed over this song for weeks. I thought about how much a like him and wanted him to know. Part of me hoped that maybe I could have the happy ending of going to prom with him.

The silly, foolish, and romantic part of me typed up the words to the song one day. I folded the paper in such a way that it made a ring. On a not-well-thought-out whim, I added left the song hanging around the antenna of his car and said that I'd meet him in the student parking lot the following day if he wanted to know who I was.

I took a bathroom break out of my class that next day and sat between two cars a few away from his, hidden from view. I really didn't know if he'd show. The cars were parked in such a way that he didn't notice me as he walked past. I was nervous to pop my head up but felt obligated since he had bothered to come.

I'm sure he was disappointed to find it was me. He was nice enough about it, not saying anything mean or improper. His friends had actually discovered the note first and made fun of him. The girl he had a crush on was someone in his English class. I knew her from another class and guessed as much as he that she probably was not interested in him (and barely knew him).

It's probably one of the more bizarre choices I made back in high school. At least, the person I had to face was polite and nice about it. I still can't believe I had such nerve.

My real question is why I get so wrapped in boys? Sure, it's fine to have those crushes and cases of puppy love. Where did I get these wild ideas from? How have these habits shaped who I am and how I approach relationships with men? Sometimes I worry about how I process my emotions and react to them. The intensity can be unhealthy and painful when there are things end badly.

These days, I will admit to imagining, fantasizing - silly, crazy things like this, but I never act out on anything. Am I a little crazy or do most girls go through a phase like this?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I'm so glad I can say that I finished Half Dome. The views are worth the trek. The elevations is around 8800 feet on top of Half Dome. You can see the Ahwahnee meadow is the green area down below. The rock point behind the valley is probably El Capitan.

When I look at this next picture, I can imagine the ancient glaciers that covered this area and carved out these deep valleys. This place must be beautiful when covered with a bit of snow.

Have a great fourth!