On Mortality

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I started a new blog with very specific subject matter.  Mortality. Rather, my dad’s mortality.  You can find it here: http://onmortality.com/. It might be depressing from time to time but hopefully there will also be moments of levity. I still plan to update this blog but I just wanted a different space for my thoughts regarding my dad.  Thanks for letting me share.

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Women Leaders

December 22, 2010 § 2 Comments

I want a guy that actually believes in what she (woman in the linked video) speaks about, not just says he does to appear pc. Does that kind of guy exist?

Watch here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html

Google Books Ngram Viewer

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is sad:

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=girl,+boy,+woman,+man&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

Reddit Tales

December 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

An account from Reddit.  Absolutely worth reading.

Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…

But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

tl;dr: long rambling story about how the kindness of strangers, particularly folks from south of the border, forced me to be more helpful on the road and in life in general. I am sure it won’t be as meaningful to anyone else but it was seriously the highlight of my 2010.

edit: To the OP, sorry to jack your thread, this has nothing to do with Hitch Hiking. I sort of thought I could just get this off my chest, enjoy the catharsis and watch the story languish at the bottom of the page. Glad people like hearing the tale and I hope it moves you to be more helpful in your day to day.

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/elal2/have_you_ever_picked_up_a_hitchhiker/c18z0z2

Korean Market

December 19, 2010 § 2 Comments

Today was a glorious day.  I got to go to the Korean market. Alone.

!!!

Although the reasons for why this was a momentous event should be clear, I will detail the reasons for those who do not know me.

There are no Korean markets around where I live.  Coming from Los Angeles, the utopia of all things kyopo (Korean-American), I was forlorn to discover that the closest Korean market to Berkeley was a tiny little store in Oakland.  The store is cramped and disorganized but it has the essentials so I faithfully frequented it for a good five years.  After I moved, the closest market even remotely Asian is a 99 Ranch, twenty minutes away.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like 99 Ranch.  But their kimchi offerings are really weak.  Most Korean markets have a whole aisle of kimchi bottles from well known Korean vendors.  99 Ranch had two measly little jars that would only feed a real Korean for two meals, max.  The kimchi also had no Korean characters on it and looked like it was produced by non-Koreans.  I bought a jar last week but it only lasted me a few days.  I was quite the pitiful picture the other day.  I had made a pot of ramen and was sitting down to eat it but I had no kimchi or pickles to eat it with.  Ultimately I had to eat it with pickled ginger that was supposed to go with sushi.  It was not tasty.

The Korean market I went to (in Santa Clara) was pretty nice.  Santa Clara has about three so I had my pick of the bunch.  I think it was called Super Kyo-Po.  It had all the Korean foods and brands that I recognized from my childhood so I felt like a kid in a candy store.

So to finish the explanation,  in addition to being in a proper Korean market I was also grocery shopping alone.  On all other grocery runs, I am usually hindered by the incessant interjections of a certain someone either asking if the food in question is spicy or commenting on how expensive it is.  Today I was FREE!  Unfettered from the shackles of a non-Korean’s taste buds!

It was amazing.  I went a little crazy and I had to go back a few times and put back some items.  I went through every aisle twice and carefully inspected every food item to make sure that I didn’t need it.  I got all my favorite foods and I made sure to stock up on things that won’t go bad.  Koreans are so ingenious with their food presentation and everything is packaged so adorably.

I know rationally it didn’t make sense to buy so much since the Korean market is only about an hour away but realistically, I knew that there was very little probability that I or that unnamed someone would drive for two hours (round trip) just to get groceries any time soon.

Now that I discovered Santa Clara’s wealth of Korean markets I am going to have to invent new excuses to justify the drive.  🙂  It’s amazing how happy I can get from something I never thought twice about when I was younger.  Although I have always loved supermarkets (my solace in times of stress), today was especially great.

 

Post-worthy

December 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

I haven’t been updating my blog lately because of my ever changing standards on what is considered “post-worthy.”  In today’s age of social media, one must ponder what constitutes a “status-worthy” or “post-worthy” piece of information.  For this blog, I have decided that anything that falls in line with the blog’s original intent will be posted.  Namely, language practice, language tutorials, travel news, and particularly exciting tidbits of information that I feel must be shared.

Facebook Messaging Fail!

November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

I was writing a small snippet of code to send to a friend through Facebook and this is what it turned my code into:

for (i=0; i♥; i+1) {
if (t<200) {
document.write (“yes”);
} else {
document.write (“no”);
}
}

See anything strange in there?  IT TURNED MY ❤ INTO A HEART!!  It also destroyed my nesting but that isn’t nearly as offensive as the heart!  I’m surprised no mathematicians or programmers have commented on this yet!

To be fair, my code was not really for a functional purpose but still – I would like the integrity of the intent to remain  constant and not be convoluted by random shapes.  If you were wondering, the message chain is as follows:

Friend:  Still planning on going to Mammoth?

Me:  Hey,  Allan and I are on the fence pending cost and likelihood of another snow trip.  I will be nerdy (and AWESOME) and put this in pseudo code.
/*t=total cost of mammoth trip in dollars (including transportation and rental/lift cost)*/
/* i=number of snowboarding trips this year (tahoe, mammoth, etc.)*/

for (i=0; i<3; i+1) {
if (t<200) {
document.write(“yes”);
} else {
document.write(“no”);
}
}

Someone should make a Facebook group protesting the auto convert into a heart.

P.S. To Anjul – I promise I don’t spend all my time thinking of how to integrate code into nerdy messages. 🙂

**Disclaimer:  I properly nested the code the second time around but WordPress took out the nesting/spaces.  That’s a shame.  It took a while to get right. =/

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