Politics. This is the stuff that breaks up families and friends forever. In every country. In every language.
I had an online AND offline argument with a friend over Thai politics many years ago. We agreed to disagree, and we never talked politics again ever since.
Agree to disagree.
Some people would consider that phrase a cop out, a surrender, or sometime an invitation to keep laying on their point of view. I consider it the olive branch.
A spirited discussion over politics, fashion, music, movies, etc. is normal in any circle of friendship. Democrats vs. Republicans. Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones. Kirk vs. Picard. Did Han shoot first? Wait…that’s not a dispute. Bad example. Sorry. But you get the point.
A discussion like that can get out of hand and into an all-out verbal slugfest with personal attacks that will not end well for anyone. All it takes is for someone to realize earlier in the game where the discussion was heading to call a truce and throw down that olive branch.
Let’s agree to disagree…and change the subject.
If you have any common sense or even the slightest respect for the relationship you’re having with the person you’re getting into an argument with, this is a stop sign. It doesn’t matter who brings it up first, but now that a truce is offered, you take it. You agree to disagree.
Both of you would throw up your hands and hug it out. We now know whatever it is is a touchy subject for the both of you. Let’s put a mental force field over that and don’t ever visit there again.
Agree to disagree.
If that doesn’t stop a conversation, there’s no respect left in that relationship.
Yes, it is a conflict avoidance strategy. But do you really want to go through your life confronting everybody everyday? I sure don’t.
I don’t have to agree with everything you believe in, and you don’t have to agree with me either. As long as we respect that we believe in something completely different, and know where the boundaries are, we can continue on with our relationship.
Then again, I don’t have that need to win every argument or be right all the time.
I’ve learned a long time ago, you can’t make people think the same way you do. You can try. But at some point, you have to let it go.
Double Check With Your Friends About Halloween Party
When Halloween falls on a weekday, make sure to check with your friend who said he’s having a Halloween party exactly WHEN that is.
For example, the invitation to a party on Friday before Halloween was clearly stated that was indeed on Friday, and Friday we were there.
Saturday night, I came home from watching USC football with USC Alumni Club of Long Beach, which was also a costume party, to zero plan for the evening. I took the advantage of my hair already having gel in it to do a dress rehearsal for the Wolverine hair for a party we were going to on Halloween night. Or so we thought.
A take-out dinner and a few TV shows later, my phone started buzzing.
When the Friend said “Halloween Party” with no specific date included, we assumed it was on Halloween night. On the flip side, he assumed that we’d know the party would be on Saturday because, you know, it was when pretty much everyone else was having a party and not in the middle of the week.
And so we scrambled out to his party anyway since my hair was already done, just to get there 15 minutes after the DJ and just about everybody had left. Oh well. We had a good visit with the Friend anyway.
Never Work for a Company that Bans Halloween
A friend talked about not being able to dress up for Halloween at her work because the company deems dressing up and overall festivity unproductive. Another friend in another state said they banned Halloween in their office because it makes some people *cough*cough*fundamentalist Christians*cough*cough* uncomfortable.
I don’t think I can work for a company that does not celebrate Halloween. Yes, future employers. I am telling you now. And here’s why.
I am not interested in being just a worker bee who only comes to work and then goes home. I want to be a part of your company, a part of the family. I want to be passionate the work I do and the company I do it for. To be able to do that, we have to be the right for each other.
My skills come with this personality–it is not sold separately. I celebrate Halloween and embrace all the creative energy that comes with the holiday. If you don’t do Halloween, we are not going to work out.
So when I went to an interview on Halloween, I wore my cat ears.
The receptionist was a clown, so that was a good start.
The Magical Property of Wire Coat Hangers
This Halloween would not have been possible without the coat hangers from my dry cleaner. You see, I was saving them to take back to the cleaner to get recycled.
When I settled on being Fluttershy for the Friday party, I used one to support my wings.
And then we decided last minute to join Olaina, Justin, and Ella for trick-or-treating. The family was going as Tigger, Eeyore, and Pooh, respectively. To go along with the 100 Acre Woods theme, I threw a pair of bunny ears on Brandon for Rabbit and clipped on my fox ears for Roo. I was just missing a tail.
It’s amazing how 2 hand towels, a few safety pins, and a coat hanger can make for a damn good kangaroo tail.
Secret Ingredients of Paul’s Bloody Mary
Our friend Paul makes the best Bloody Mary I ever had. Of course, he is willing to share his secret ingredients, but not the proportion.
Not so typical ingredients in this Bloody Mary: Bold & Spicy mix, Clamato, Angostura bitter, and a non-commercial smokey hot sauce. Then there’s horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and celery salt in there somewhere too.
So. Much. Yum.
Oh, and good luck trying to duplicate Paul’s recipe.
Slave Leia Is Not Recognizable Outside of Nerd Bubble
“Are you Princess Jasmine?”
“You can’t be a belly dancer. You don’t have a belly!”
Of course, being the one on the Eat ‘Em All diet, I’d never refuse myself of any culinary pleasure. Well, except for beets. I can live without beets. But since I’ve heard about Anais and her food a LOT these days, and I’ve known Tara, the Bacon Vixen of the Sticky Pig, for a while now. I thought I should support my friend and try it out. After all, if Anais is cooking and Tara is doing dessert, nothing could possibly go wrong.
And nothing did.
This is what was served.
Roasted beet with orange blossom honey, mashed sweet potatoes with orange and butter, “bangers” and mash with onions and apples, and my favorite, cabbage and bacon. Not pictured: Brussels sprout slaw in a kick-ass creamy cashew and lemon dressing, and Tara’s Paleo chocolate espresso layer cake.
If you know me, you know that is A LOT for my portion. But the food was so good and the conversation was so awesome that I determined to just sit there and eat everything. I employed the Asian At A Buffet tecnique–slow and steady–and 1.5 hour later, this happened.
I was REALLY full when I got home, but it was not the uncomfortable feeling I usually get. I have issue with dairy but never thought about gluten. Now that I have a dairy and gluten free meal, perhaps I should give it a little bit more thought.
The Paleo Feast is on on Wednesday nights. And if you do “Chef’s Table”, you’re right there in the kitchen with Anais and Tara, so you can watch the magic happens in front of your eyes. They also offer take-out for those just coming home from Crossfit.
Disclaimer: I did not get paid to promote this or receive any comp meals. Tara did give me a caramel bacon pecan tart earlier in the week but that’s because I begged. I had a really great meal and I want to tell everyone!
And speaking of all this healthy stuff…
My First Burpees
I finally looked it up to see what the hell it is. I seriously thought it had something to do with trying to pat yourself in the back or something. Nope.
So I tried to do a few since I already am doing push-ups anyway.
As I was hopping from plank into squat, my toes caught the floor and I almost ate it.
Do I have “graceful as a yak” as a tag yet? I should.
My First Manhattan
David would be so proud of me! If it wasn’t for him, I probably would never have develop my palette to handle bourbon.
I HATED whiskey in general. But since I was making David bacon-infused bourbon, I had to taste the stuff…and I gagged a little every time. But after a while, I’ve gotten used to it. I would still not drink bourbon straight up but I wanted to try something.
And gentle he was. That drink was perfect. I asked Jason who is a bourbon connoisseur to approve the drink. He said Wow. I desperately wanted another of these but I could only do one that night.
Now that I’m in love with Manhattan, I know exactly where I can get them done right locally. 320 Main, I’ll be seeing you!
Being A Little Bit Paranoid Is A Good Thing
A woman was stabbed while jogging at night not very far from my house in the neck of the woods I run in. (Stabber is caught by the way. Good job, OCSD!) God bless this lady for having fought the guy off and that she’s not lethally injured. It’s a horrible thing to have happened to anyone, let alone in this sleepy side of town. It’s also a lesson that nowhere is truly safe.
Running alone at 9 p.m. isn’t something that would cross my mind. If 4 years of night classes at USC didn’t instill any survival instinct and personal security common sense into you, I don’t know what would. LOL
Sure, having come from the sheltered life in Bangkok and then Orange County, I was extra paranoid when I first got to the urban setting of USC. I would never walk around campus alone at night unless people were still going about. Foot traffic thinned out after 7 p.m. so I would call campus security to escort me. But the paranoia paid off. Not one single incident. Well…having all four wheels stolen off my car on campus isn’t the same thing…
Later on when I was taking Taekwondo, our dojang held women’s self defense class a couple of times a year. The first lesson is NOT how to fight off the attackers but how to NOT get yourself into that situation in the first place. Sure, we were taught the tactics we can employ so we can get away and how and where to strike a defensive blow when it comes to it. But most importantly, if we end up having to use any of the moves, we haven’t learned a damn thing from this class.
I’ve learned to evaluate my personal security mentality. My size makes me a super easy target. As much as I wish I’m Black Widow, I am not her (*snap* damn…) and therefore I will not be going toe to toe with anybody and win.
Considering myself a gimpy weakling in a herd might just be my best self defense strategy. All eyes on the predator and stay out of the way. Somebody would consider my thinking setting back feminism 50 years, but I don’t care what you think. Preserving my life is more important than your opinion.
Be mindful, NOT fearful. You’re never as safe as you think you are.
I never thought that running/jogging is a dangerous workout from the perspective of personal safety until I got a little lost in Rossmoor that one time. The neighborhood was empty because folks had gone to work. In broad daylight, I suddenly felt like I was in Downtown LA at 9 p.m. After that, I started paying attention to where I was running. I run on the sidewalk but I still go against traffic so I can see who’s coming toward me. If I somehow ended up on the same side of traffic, I pay special attention to any car that slows down by me or pulls up just ahead. If that feels weird, I trust my instinct and just cross the street. I’d also cross the street away from any parked vehicles–especially vans–that give me a weird vibe. (Disturbingly, I found there are more creepy vehicles parked on school days. Heebies. Jeebies.)
The Double Trouble from TEDx OrangeCoast, Resa (@resamichelle) and I, were back together for another round of event coverage and harmless twitter-heckling. Annette (@dananner) turned our duo into a trio which I renamed the Giggle Gaggle. But as the conference went on, the Gaggle’s online shenanigan grew to include many others. I’d Storify our antics but that will take a year to curate and will be a mile long of a story.
But even with all that joking around, I learned A LOT. Now that I have a few days to process all the information, here are the 5 things I learned from the conference.
Creating Killer Content
The content that moves people emotionally is the key to making an impact.
Peter Kim (@peterkim) said that people expect social media to make them laugh, make them cry, and make them famous. Joseph Heinl’s (@josephheinl1) pointed out that Boo the Dog on Facebook has 5.5 million Facebook fans, setting off the running inside joke for the rest of the event that puppies = best content.
Tim Washer (@timwasher) said that humor should be used in business communications because it evokes positive emotion, cuts through the noise, humanizes the brand, and shows authenticity. He also said this.
Then came the entertainment panel where one of the panelists mentioned that if you want more Facebook “likes”, you need to show a picture of Channing Tatum shirtless.
And finally, Jason Falls (@jasonfalls) talked about creating “Holy Shit!” content. Holy shit, that was funny! Holy shit, that was gnarly! Holy shit, what the fuck was that?! If it makes you go “Holy shit!”, it has made an impact.
Applying all that we learned through out the day, there could be only one content that rules them all.
Holy shit! It’s shirtless Channing Tatum, holding a puppy while riding a shark!
You’re welcome, internet.
They Ask. You Answer.
Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) should’ve been our post-lunch speaker. Dude is one can shy of a 6-pack of Monster, full of energy…and win. He shared his success story and a very simple guide to market by.
They ask. You answer.
People go to the internet to find solutions to their problems. If the people can’t find what they want on your website, they would not stick around. To make sure people find you and stay put, you need to answer ALL of their questions, not only just the one YOU think they should know but the questions THEY would ask when they do their research.
Marcus cited an example of how he put together a list of the best businesses in the area without even mentioning his own company. People do search for Company A vs. Company B, after all. And when they do, they land on his post. At some point, his post gets even higher ranking than his competitors! Oh yes, counterprogramming works here too.
Larry Rosin of Edison Research (@edisonresearch) pointed out that there is an emerging trend that people who seek a company’s help on social media want to be answered almost immediately. (See full study PDF here.) Not only do you have to answer the question, now you have to answer it very quickly. Businesses should commit to the expectation of immediacy or cease operations, he said.
They ask. You answer….and do it NOW. It’s going to be an interesting journey for everyone going forward.
Find Your Cheerleaders
Courtney Seiter (@RavenCourtney), Tamsen Webster (@Tamadear), and Rob Fuggetta (@robfugetta) all touched on cultivating your brand’s champions.
You need to LISTEN. Stop “talking” for a second and find your real fans. Engage them. Listen to their conversation about your brand–not just mentions. Reach out in a personal manner. Reward the behaviors you’d like them to repeat and amplify their interaction with you to others. Make it easy for people to say nice things about your product and share with your friends.
From my experience as a Fresh & Easy uber fan and Starry Kitchen loyal, I can tell you that when they make me feel like a friend, not just another customer, that’s when they get all of my attention.
During the fireside chat, Kred’s Andrew Grill (@andrewgrill) pointed out that people don’t listen to ads when it comes to making their purchase decision. They listen to their friends–online and off. Andrew and Jason introduced the concept of “dark social”, the influence on social media activity by someone who is not on social media. For example, how Andrew’s wife informed him of a social media promotion she saw on the television. You have to think about everyone, not just who’s plugged in.
“Dark social” also illicit a quiet maniacal laugh from me, Frau Blucher style, that sent Resa into a fit of giggles. I just can’t help myself…
Social Media is a Layer
Larry Rosin also said that social media is not a channel but a layer–it sits on top of all other media.
You can see the proof of that in everything nowadays. I’m looking at my soda cup from a fast food chain, and there’s a QR code on it. Magazine ads have links to twitter and Facebook. Television shows have a hashtag in the corner. You can find extra content can be found on YouTube and share with your friends.
And of course, there’s also the “dark social”.
(Sorry. But it must be done.)
Social Media Pros Are Not All Nerds
I don’t know why I would assume that social media professionals would also be sci-fi/tech/pop culture nerd like me. They were clearly not and it was made abundantly clear through out the conference as Annette, Resa, and I would laugh, hoot and holler, and squee at things that nobody else seemed to understand.
Like when Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) mentioned the Kobayashi Maru.
Like when Tim Washer showed this Cisco Valentine’s video which is funny over all. But it is particularly funny to some of us who are married to tech guys because this could actually happen. Annette concurred.
And like when Jason was citing contest by this tool shed company as a case study. The Gaggle were just whispering among ourselves that it would be so awesome if the TARDIS shows up. Not a moment later…
Naturally and delightfully, we squealed. Pièce de résistance, Jason thought we were cheering on for “this cool police box”.
But you know, it takes ALL KINDS in this social media field. That is what make being in it so exciting.
EXPLORE is going to Portland next. I highly recommend it. These guys know what they’re talking about.
ETA: I will continue to add recaps from a more trustworthy source than myself below.
Five for Friday is a weekly series about the five new things I learned each week. It could be anything from a new recipe, new skills, or a new life lesson.
I heard her on XM. Now I can’t get enough. This song, especially, does NOT get old for me.
Vanity Sizing Reality Check
I haven’t really paid much attention to “vanity sizing“. Sure, I know that a size M dress at Forever 21 is a tad loose but a pair of size zero petite pants at Ann Taylor Loft will fit like a dream. But I don’t really shop a lot these days so it doesn’t really affect until I went along on a luxury shopping spree man with my grade-school friend Natalie who is vacationing from Thailand earlier this week.
As you can see, Natalie–Lee, as we call her–and I are about the same height. She doesn’t have the Thailand’s J-Lo butt that I do though. LOL If you think I’m petite, Lee must looks like a golf pencil to you. Anyways. Here we were in H&M, she grabbed a size 4 dress off the rack.
“Lee, that is going to be too big for you,” I said.
“Have you BEEN to H&M, dude? I wouldn’t be able to fit into anything smaller than a 4 in here.”
As a former shopper of Forever 21, I should know that. I thought that things are a little different at H&M. Nope.
That size 4 dress was tight on her and I can’t even zip the damn thing up. My ass. J-Lo. I told you.
Many clothing stores later, we found ourselves in Diane von Furstenberg. The shop girl offered to grab us some “champagne” and just about all of the size zeros in the store for Lee to try on.
We are back to being petite little Asian flowers again as the price tag for a dress goes from $25 to nearly $400. Oh, and of course, Lee fit beautifully into everything. That bitch…
So, in this sense, fashion industry’s vanity sizing really is like junk food. The cheaper the stuff, the fatter you get.
My mind is blown. And I’m surprised with all the origami I’ve learned growing up, this wasn’t one of the things we played with.
White Screen of Death
I’m about to talk web development nerd stuff. If that’s not your cup of tea, please move on to the next item.
You know how computer people have “Blue Screen of Death”, when the screen goes blue and you know your computer is pretty screwed? There’s a version of that for WordPress developers too…as I found out for the first time a few days ago.
Apparently, I have been quite lucky and/or smart enough to have avoided the the White Screen of Death this whole time. I usually get some kind of error message but never a blank screen. My plug-ins and themes have never really given me problems and I don’t dare going around playing with PHP functions. But after I completed a project for a client and about to look at my baby one more time before I turn in for the night, it happened.
The website that was running a minute ago was now all white. Log-in page. Update page. Everything. White. Across Firefox, Chrome, and IE. Blank pages everywhere.
Long story short, I did all kinds of troubleshooting and it was quite clear that it couldn’t have been me as nothing was changed between when it was working and when it went blank. The site was working just fine when the web hosting’s tech support people checked on it, and it was fine to me in the morning. But later on in the afternoon, the site disappeared again. Not only that, a friend could see it on Safari, and Brandon could see it only on IE at work on one machine and on Chrome on the other. WHAT?!?
I hit up the web host support again now with the new found symptoms. They found the problem.
It wasn’t me. It wasn’t them. There were two DNS A records existing for the domain. The site was supposed to point to a different hosting service before we added this one. It seemed my client’s tech guy did not delete the previous service. That’s why sometimes we can see it and sometimes we can’t–totally random.
Just another day in developer’s paradise. You learn something new all the time.
Gangnam Style: Bossa Nova
I really dig this version of the song, Who knew, right? These kids are talented AND adorable!
I was still working at Ignited when Avenue Q’s creator Jeff Marx came to talk about creativity and passion. One of the many things he said was that to discover you true passion, you must write down 100 things you ever want to do in your life. The first 20 will be easy but the next 80 will be tough. But within this list, somehow you’ll find what you’re really passionate about.
That was March. I just now got to 70 items. I decided that I should share them anyway.
I never thought I’d write a Bucket List, but here I am, giving it a shot. And from these 70 items, I can gather this much.
It seems my true passion in life is to travel, eat, raise/donate money for charity, and learn to do something uncommon–and occasionally scienc-y or involved firearms.
5. Set up my mom’s scholarship fund to be more than just an account we put money into, but an actual foundation where we can fundraise and send more teachers through the program.
6. Attend ComicCon. (That’s right. I still have NOT been.) In costume, of course.
7. Take mime lesson. And conveniently, Santa Monica has one! One of the first things I’d do when I get a job, I swear.
8. Eat my way around Paris…
9. …and New York City…
10. …then see a big Broadway musical.
11. See London again…or for the first time since I really barely remember much of anything from when I was 15. And visit with my friends Elan and Chris in Cambridge before the grand tour of the rest of the UK and Ireland with Brandon.
12. Finish our tour of New Zealand as we are missing the north island and the northern part of the south island. Hobbiton should be available again by the time we get back there. Hee. Oh, and to make sure I can meet up with my friend Sarah this time!
13. Learn to break down whole animals as a part of my survival skills. Hey, if we’re going to survive the zombie apocalypse, someone’s gotta learn to cook what we hunt!
14. Hike/camp Zion National Park.
15. Take up archery. This is probably the only item on the list I’m very close to achieving. Brandon is already doing archery. I’m getting a bow soon!
…From this point on, it’s just a list of no particular order.
But I’m going to try to group them in category for you.
This is probably impossible but if I can get an opportunity, I would LOVE to hang out with Ted Nugent. I admire Uncle Ted for eating what he hunts and living a sustainable life. If I can actually make this happens, I’m pretty sure I can take care of #13, and 43-48 as well. LOL
Adopt a Siamese-mixed kitten. So folks who want to see my half-and-half “baby” can shut the hell up.
Accompany my friend Petra to her home in Venice, Italy.
Revisit Costa Rica and tour the south with my friend Richard.
Actually, I might as well go around the world to visit my friends, starting with Dani in Germany…
…Gian in Switzerland…
…Per in Sweden…
…Clara in Argentina…
…Brent and Ben in Australia.
Eat at Tickets in Barcelona.
See the snorting iguanas of Galapagos.
Be in the audience for Top Gear UK or Graham Norton Show.
Go on a safari camp. It doesn’t have to be Africa. San Diego Safari Park Snore & Roar totally counts!
Road trip across the U.S. and visit all 48 contiguous states if I can. Well, 38 left on that list.
See all the Hawaii islands. I’ve only been to Oahu.
Since I hate the cold, a quick look of Alaska would be nice too so I can round out all 50 states.
Party in Las Vegas. I’ve been to visit but never once partied.gone to a club or bar hop or anything crazy like that.
Visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC…
…and the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum…
…and the Natural History Museum.
Party with the Trojans in South Bend when we go play Notre Dame.
Lay out and watch the sky in Montana.
Have a lobster feast in New England.
Tour JPL. I just need to get a group together and arrange a tour. Being me, this should NOT be difficult…actually.
Pay homage to Elvis and visit Graceland.
Pay homage to the Beatles and cross that corner on Abbey Road.
Shoot a Gaitling gun…
…a grenade launcher…
…a sniper rifle…
…and a flamethrower.
Hit something with a sledgehammer.
Learn to throw knives…
…and dance the samba.
See the inside of a WWII era bombers. One of my favorite movies from childhood was “The Mission” episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and subsequently Memphis Belle. I’ve seen the flying fortress from the outside but never been inside.
Sing with a rock band. I don’t have to tour with them or anything but I would like to rock out, just once.
Commission a steampunk/cosplay outfit.
Take a few classes in Krav Maga…
Bake a pie from scratch. Surprised? I haven’t tried baking a pie again since since the epic pie fail back when I first started cooking. (Oven was sort of broken so it wasn’t really my fault, but still…)
Make proper fried chicken. I still manage to screw this up after all these years.
See a real jousting match. Medieval Times and other theatrical jousting doesn’t count. Yes, I’m a total sucker for Full Metal Jousting. My friend Rhino also used to joust.
Set up a scholarship for Thai students who want to study arts, performing arts, communications, etc. (anything that’s not science or engineering) in the U.S. You can’t really find a scholarship to study abroad in the arts.
Donate money to help keep music, drama, arts, and science programs in school…
…start a school garden…
…feed kids better lunch…
…get kids interested in science not just during school but for life…
…send troops some love through USO or other means…
…and replenish local food banks.
See a Cirque du Soleil show. [ETA 12/24 - We just saw Zumanity recently!]
See U2 in concert…
…and Jason Mraz… (I know. I’ve given up his October Hollywood Bowl concert so I can see The Book of Mormon instead.)
Do you have a bucket list? Care to share a few items?