Unfortunately I haven't been able to write much since I've been here in Alaska, but fear not! That is going to change soon (though not now)!
For now, let me leave you with this...wherever you are, I know you're all complaining about the cold. Hell last week in San Diego I was complaining about the cold. Well stop! Whenever you are feeling cold, just remember...I am in Alaska and let me tell you...its bloody cold! I seriously can't even take the trash out without bundling up! So no more complaining...instead whenever you feel cold, just think of me and maybe throw some sympathy my way.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Unfortunately I haven't been able to write much since I've been here in Alaska, but fear not! That is going to change soon (though not now)!
Friday, December 22, 2006
The other day, I was sitting around pondering (I like to ponder) all of the ways we act everyday out of courtesy. Actually, this pondering began after I had held the door open for someone behind me (I'll get into that in a moment). The more and more I thought about all of the courteous things we do everyday, the more I realized how much effort it is for both parties to observe these "common" courtesies. Let me give you three examples.
1.) The Door Hold. Whenever I enter or exit someplace, I always subconciously check to see if someone is following me. If they're close behind I always hold the door for them. The funny thing is though, that each of us is doing this lightning fast mathematical calculation in our heads as to the distance and approach velocity of the follower. "Is this person close enough where I need to hold the door? He's kind of close but he's walking sort of slow. If I let go and proceed, am I a jerk if the door slams in his face?" Sometimes, as I'm approaching the door, I'll purposely slow down so that the person behind me can catch up, and thus I avoid that awkward distance where you don't know whether to hold the door or not.
When I do happen to get in the situation where the follower is in that "in-between" distance of letting go or holding the door, I always err on the side of holding the door. Ironically, the person sees you holding the door and actually speeds up or runs so you are not troubled holding the door. This is ironic because in the effort to be courteous and hold the door, you are actually causing more trouble for the follower who feels the need to run so that you needn't hold the door for so long.
I'm definitely one of those people who speeds up too. Its funny because it would have been less effort for the follower to just leasurely stroll up to the door and open it himself.
2.) The Bless You. Isn't funny how when you sneeze, most of the times you will get a "bless you" (or some form of it) if people are around. I'm generally not a huge "bless you" giver but I do chime in on about 55% of the sneezes I'm around. I do sometimes get confused by "bless you" etiquette.
First of all, a lot of people have different sneeze patterns. Some sneeze just singles, some doubles, others triples, and I've even seen quadruples! My inclination is to "bless" after the first sneeze. But then what happens if they rail off another one or two? Does one "bless you" cover them all if it was administered before the sneeze series was finished? Does each individual sneeze need its own blessing, or does one "bless you" at the end of the sneeze series cover them all?
I experimented with a delayed "bless you" to allow for additional sneezes after the first or second, but that didn't work as I was generally beat to the bless administration by someone else, and thus couldn't be the courteous one. The delayed bless you also sounds a little awkward because if you don't get the blessing in right after, the moment has sort of passed the the "bless you" sounds too forced.
On the other hand, I definitely feel cheated if I get blessed after the first sneeze but it ends up being a two series (I never have more than a two series). I feel like an ending "bless you" is key. Personally, I think one at the end can cover them all.
I guess the real question is, why the hell do we say "bless you" anyways, especially when 99% don't believe that our soul is lost when we sneeze without a blessing? What if you sneeze in your sleep, or when nobody's around? Is it really a sneeze if no one hears it?
3.) The hug. In general, I always feel funny shaking a girls hand in a friendly environment. It just feels so formal. Obviously, when I first meet someone, a hand shake (or one of my cool variations) is fine. There are two situations however, where a handshake seems too formal, but a hug might be a little much.
When first meeting a girl and one of you is leaving. If I've actually spent any significant time talking to her, I always go for the full on hug. But what happens if we've introduced each other but beyond that haven't had much interaction or established any rapport? Maybe she's a friend of someone else I've been talking to. Is it then appropriate to hug only the girl I've been talking to but relegate the friend to a handshake?
The other situation is when you've already met someone but aren't exactly friends with them, and are meeting them for a second time. You know that awkward moment when you see like a friend of a friend whom you don't know well. A hug seems a little too familiar sometimes but a handshake is way to formal.
What's the solution you ask? Well I always err on the side of doling out the hugs. A goodbye or introductory hug in itself establishes more rapport and makes people naturally feel warmer towards you. A full on hug though may not be appropriate. This is where the side hug comes in. You know what I'm talking about. The hug where you each approach each other from the side and put one arm over one anothers shoulders while giving a light squeeze. The side hug is just enough to say "hey I'm friendly!" but not too much for someone you don't know too well.
Yes I do waste some time each day thinking about these things. Despite how impractical a lot of these attempted courtesies are, I still do them everyday. But, next time you do one of these, just think about how funny it is that this behaviour is so ingrained in us.
My recommendation? Always err on being too courteous. I am never dissappointed in having to run to a held door, getting too many bless you's or an excessive hug (well depending on who you are).
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I am generally not a big fan of movie reviews. Usually they're way too revealing and after the first couple of sentences they tend to drag on. When I am interested in seeing a movie, I don't want a long drawn-out analysis of subplots and themes. I just want to know if the damn movie is worth seeing!
So, I'm not going to do that to you. I will say this. Blood Diamond is a movie I think everyone should see. I actually had no idea what the movie was about until seeing it. I hadn't seen any previews and took a risk going in "cold." Luckily, this turned out to be one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Personally, I love movies detailing the African struggle. Its crazy how much shit goes on in Africa (and other parts of the world for that matter) that we in America are blind to. For this reason, Hotel Rwanda is also one of my favorite movies. They're not necessarily movies I will watch more than once or twice, but the content of both are so powerful, real, and thought provoking, that I felt more than just entertained coming out of the theater.
Movies I feel everyone needs to see: Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Crash, A Time to Kill, Schindler's List, Life, Mississippi Burning.
Yes, I also like films dealing with race relations. I'm sure I've left some out of the list but thats what comes to mind right now. Feel free to throw some of your "must sees" my way. I'm not much of a movie person in general (I don't have the patience) but someday I'll watch it if you hype it enough.
If you get the opportunity check it out and let me know what you think!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Text messaging is a brilliant invention that, unfortunately too many people misuse. That's right...I said it!
The text message is great for a number of things. If you think someone might be occupied in an environment where it wouldn't be appropriate to answer a call (in class, on a date etc.) a short text to relay information is a great idea. "meet me at such-and-such place at whenever-o'clock."
"are you coming?"
"Kiss her already!"
You get the point. I'll even admit that I enjoy getting text messages. There's that little excitement that you feel when you see you have a text message. Its kind of like when you get a letter in the mail or even a little comment on myspace.
Now on to the rant...although text messaging is great for quickie communication, I think its absolutely ridiculous when so many people use text messaging as a replacement for ordinary telephonic conversation! Seriously a three minute conversation accomplishes the same thing as 3 hours of text messaging. Sadly, I know alot of offenders (you know who you are). Its OK though because I love you no less. You are like many in society who have fallin into the text messaging trap! Have no fear though because I, Arun The Magnificent (that's what they call me....ok well maybe that's what I call me :) am here to help you change your ways.
I have fallen into this trap too. I generally insist that the person just call me at some point.
So why do people do this? The only thing I can think of is because text messaging allows you to plan your response. You're not put "on the spot" like you would be actually talking to somebody on the phone. I personally prefer having to think on my feet and be snappy with my responses. If my hypothesis is wrong, feel free to share.
But that's not the only abuse of text messaging! No no. One thing I don't understand is when people send out the mass text message to everyone in their phone. They usually go something like this:
"Happy New Year!"
I know what you're thinking. "But Arun, these are nice friendly messages! What the hell is your problem!" What bugs me about these messages is the total lack of personal sincerity. If I went home today and there was a candy cane taped to my door, I would feel nice that somebody was thinking about me, knowing my affinity for sweets. But if I look around and see a candy cane stuck on every door in building, I know it wouldn't have mattered who lived in my apartment. Similarly, if I get personalized message like "Happy New Year Arun!" I love it!
Even Christmas cards have a higher level of sincerity because they have to be physically addressed to each individual. Now if someone were to go to the post office and give the teller an address book and a bunch of blank cards to stamp an address on and send out, that would be the same as a mass text message.
I'm not sure why people send out mass text messages. Its on the same level as buying everyone you know, your friends, relatives, acquintances, and business partners, the same christmas present. Gee thanks...I glad you thought of me when you bought it.
Now don't think I'm ungreatful or even feel any hostility towards text message offenders. I'm actually pretty neutral about it. I just like bringing up things that I don't necessarily understand or practice and letting you all know why they are so silly. So for you offenders, don't hate me, but feel free to send me a personal text message (or phone call for that matter) to let me know how much my practical and genious commentaries have changed your life!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Rule number 2493 in Arun's book of life: Don't buy random girls drinks!
Before I start ranting, let me share a short anecdote from this last weekend.
So I am out in PB on Friday with some female friends of mine when we all decide we're feeling a little parched. Darren and I go buy ourselves a beer, and I watch as my friend Trish, newly 21, tests the power of a woman at a bar. She spots her target and stands up next to him at the bar, and actually he offers to buy her and and our other friend a drink. What does he get in return? Eight minutes of fluff conversation with one of the girls. Later we see the same thing happen with him and some other girl. Trish, having finished her drink, decides to go back for seconds and the conversation goes something like this:
Trish (to the dude and other girl he is attempting to mack): Hey! Lets all get Jager shots!
Other Girl: That sounds great!
Dude: Uhh, Ok!
Trish: I need another drink too for after. Do you want one (to the other girl)?
Trish and the other girl, who don't even know each other, exchange a knowing look. Somehow women can communicate to each other telpathically even if they don't know one another. A prime example of this happening is when some guy is talking to a girl and she wants to get the hell out, also known as, "be saved". All she has to do is make eye contact with a woman, any woman, in the bar and she will come "save her," but I digress.
Other Girl: Yea!
Trish (to the bartender): We're gonna need 3 shots of Jager and two cocktails! Thanks!
And who do you think pays? Yes, our little dude friend sitting at the bar. So what happens afterwards? Eight minutes later he's sitting all alone waiting for the next girl he can buy for.
Part of me wants to feel sorry for him, but the reality is that he is a complete tool and brought this all on himself. If you let yourself be taken advantage of, it is going to happen! The truth is, 70% of guys at bars are either idiots or tools, or some combination of the two.
Let me break it down. When a guy offers to buy a girl a drink, what he's really saying is, "I'm not interesting enough or confident enough to talk to you on my own, but I figure if I buy you a gift, you'll think I'm nice and want to stay and talk to me, and eventually we'll live happily ever after."
When a woman is offered a drink by a random guy she's thinking, "Score! This Toolbag is gonna buy me a drink! All I have to do is stay and make small talk with him for eight minutes and I'm outa here! Maybe if he's not too creepy, I'll hit him up for another drink later!"
For this reason, I have NEVER bought a random girl a drink, and I don't expect a girl I've just met to buy me one either. The only exception is if, after some time, you've established a legitimate rapport with the other person. Why is this OK? Because you (or her) are not trying to buy the other persons time, but rather you are acting out of courtesy to a friend. Key phrase here is LEGITIMATE RAPPORT, and this doesn't often happen during a brief encounter.
On another note, many of these ridiculous guys are the same one who excessively oggle. Women, you know who I'm talking about. Just a few weeks ago, I was walking behind two good looking women on the way to the bathroom (and NO I wasn't checking out their asses....ok well maybe just a little :). On the way, we passed three separate idiot guys who each did the following as they walked by:
Idiot 1: "Oh baby oh baby oh!!!"
Idiot 2:...Takes girls hand as she walks by in a weak attempt to pull her over. She's forced to yank her hand away.
Idiot 3: Purposely gets in their way, then kind of rubs against them as they blow him off.
Honestly...who in their right mind thinks "oh baby oh baby oh!" is going to accomplish anything positive? "Hey maybe if I grab this girls hand, she'll look at me and think I'm so attractive that she'll fall into my arms!" Its people like these that give the male side of our species a bad rap.
So what am I saying to you? Guys, exercise your brain a little and don't pander to women you don't know when you are out. Women, don't ask a guy who you actually might like to buy you a drink...if he's smart he'll blow you off and you'll have lost someone both attractive and intelligent. If he's a tool, he'll buy you a drink and then you won't want him anyways.
Guys if you're really that eager to blow money on a bunch of good looking people who won't give you more than eight minutes of their time, send it to me. I'll at least send you two personalized "thank you" emails....eight minutes and 1 second apart :)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Ok, so Havier Balderama and the game are completely unrelated, but they both showed up this weekend so I felt compelled to merge them into one solid post instead of two mediocre ones.
Interestingly, I was just recently have a conversation with Aaron and Darren about how our weekends were in danger of becoming too routine. Well the last two weekends have been anything but routine. It all started Thursday with the Nolte Holiday party. I was invited as my friend Vanessa's date. Free dinner and entertainment is tough for me to turn down. The party was pretty fun, especially seeing a bunch of drunk managers attempt to shuffle to Hip Hop.
The highlight though was this game similar to musical chairs where all of the managers were told to run into the crowd and find the item called out but the host and run back to the chairs up front (a chair is pulled each time so the last person back gets eliminated). I definitely donated almost everything I was wearing to one of the managers throughout the game. His wife bought me a drink afterward.
The craziest part though was when they were asked to find a contraceptive. Interestingly, every wife was prepared and whipped out various forms of protection from their purses. YEESH!!! I didn't realize that older couples always come prepared to go at it at any time!
Then, Friday I went to a South American party with Vanessa and Aaron. These Columbians are freakin riots! First they're all really fun (and pretty darn cute too). But, none of them could pronounce my last name. Thus was born Havier Balderaaaaaama! Yes, he is my Columbian alias. Though I can't really describe it in writing, the genesis of my alter ego was gut busting hilarious. These crazy columbians made me, Aaron, and Vanessa cry from laughter.
But the weekend was just beginning! Sunday, we had tickets to the Broncos-Chargers game, my first NFL game. Me being true to my team, rocked my Chiefs Priest Holmes jersey to the game.
We got to the game early to explore the stadium, watch the team do funny warmups, and to make sure we wouldn't have to fight for our seats. See, about a month or so ago, Aaron's car got broken into and our tickets stolen! Luckily he was able to get them reprinted and the others cancelled but we wanted to come early just in case.
Low and behold, just before the game starts, somebody comes with tickets telling that we are in his seats. No way buddy. Aaron tells him that the tickets he's got were stolen and questions where he got them.
"Uuuuhhhh, my cousin just gave em to me..."
Yea right buddy, how about I give you a little gift of my own?
Meanwhile Darren and I and giving him the stare down. If anything had gone down, there's no doubt that this guy and his posse would've gone down! Well he got the hell out of there when he knew that he wasn't sitting down. Problem solved.
So back to the game, let me tell you, NFL players are freakin massive! I mean you really appreciate how big they are in person. I'm no little guy at 6'2, 200lbs, but the guys my height are like 250lbs. There's no doubt in my mind that if I was on that field for five minutes, I would return broken.
It just so happened our seats were next to the endzone were all of the scoring took place! LT's record tieing and record breaking touchdowns took place about 40 feet from me. Next week I'm going to my second football game ever when my CHIEFS come to SD to bring the Chargers back to earth! On another note, Qualcomm stadium is definitely loud...and a bitch to get out of.
Yes, life is definitely NOT routine, and I've got a feeling more adventures are on the horizon.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Generally I'm a pretty even tempered guy in most situations. It usually takes a lot to get me riled up. One exception however is when I 'm driving. I have to commute at least 25 minutes each way to work everyday which means I spend a lot of time on the road. Now I definitely don't have road rage, I rarely honk my horn, and flip the bird only when extremely desserving, but I do spend some time everyday being pissed off at terrible drivers. The following is a list of usurpations committed everyday on the road.
1. When I let somebody "in" in heavy traffic it would be nice to get "the wave." I generally feel good about letting somebody in when they give the appreciative wave, but when they don't, I'm pissed. I'm letting you in and you can't even say "thanks?" How hard is it to just raise your freaking hand? I always give the wave because its the courtious thing to do.
2. If you are going to drive at the speed limit or below on the freeway, don't be in the left lane! There are lots of other lanes to pick from so move! Seriously, look in your rear view mirror and see all those cars bumper to bumper? Now look in front of you and see all that open space? Step Aside!!!
3. On a related note, If I'm driving 15 miles over the speed limit in the left lane, don't freakin ride my ass. In order to let you by Mr. Speedy Gonazalez, I have to slow down to the speed of the next lane over, merge in, and then hope I can merge back over left. If someone does let me in, I'll make sure to give the wave.
4. Don't be affraid of downhills on the freeway. Seriously, it seems like everyone feels the need to break whenever there's a downhill. Just coast! One break light creates a domino effect and slows down traffic everywhere.
5. Is it really necessary to slow down to 40 miles per hour for an exit thats 2 miles up the road? The whole purpose of off ramps is to use them to slow down so you don't have to slow down on the freeway!
I could go on, but I'll leave it at five points. I bet I'll encounter at least three of these five atrocities today! If you find that you are frequently guilty of committing any of these acts, consider this a friendly request to learn proper driving technique and make the road better for all of us.
If you are frequently guilty of all of the these acts, please do us a favor and buy a bike, or a good pair of running shoes.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Since I moved down to San Diego, every weekend has been very unique. Last weekend was just another of those which had crazy unnexpected twists and turns.
So Friday night comes around which usually means I'm not gonna be eating at home. Jeffrey and I head down to Bronx pizza which, if you like New York style pizza, is a must try. Best pizza in town is still Theo's in PB, but I digress. My buddy Darren and I decide to save some energy for Saturday and have a relatively low key evening tonight, so we go downtown to the Onyx room for a few drinks.
Enter Allison Dynamite
I don't even know if that's her real last name, but I think it suits that crazy Texan. Yes she was visiting from Austin and she and her buddy Charlie invaded our "mellow night." Here we are, Darren and I, chillin at Onyx room, and its relatively early so there's practically no one here. Dynamite strolls in and I take notice because:
1. She's cute
2. She's Dressed very differently than most girls downtown
So who is she? Well an artist and, get this, a stand up comedian. Apparently she is friends with Darren's favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan. I don't know who the hell he is, but apparently he's funny. Anyways, we get to talking and next thing I know, I'm at another bar taking shots of wisky with beer chasers and highfivin everyone. We are crusin all around this bar ("The Bitter End" which by the way is pretty neat) and it turns out Dynamite actually has a broken foot. Apparently alchohol dulls the pain because she was in the ER the next day.
Charlie was a nice guy but I hardly saw him because it seemed like he was outside all night smokin cigarettes. Charlie, you're a cool guy, but seriously, the cigs are killing not only your lungs, but your social life as well.
Anyways, Dynamite and Charlie end up bailin out early so Darren and I stay to Dance the night away. Was the night over???
Not by a long shot.
Lets just say I might have accidentally broken a someones $500 Chanel wallet (who the hell carries a freakin $500 wallet anyways?). Luckily she loved me so much that she wasn't mad in the least :) Darren meanwhile encounters possibly the most mentally unstable, low self esteem, desperate person I've ever met (That's another long story which I don't have the patience to tell).
Anyways Dynamite and Charlie were fun and I'd say our night turned out being much more eventful because of them. In fact Saturday, our planned crazy night, turned out being tame in comparison to "mellow" Friday.
Yes, it was just another quiet Friday night for the boys.
Monday, December 4, 2006
Football in America is definitely our most adrenaline inducing sport both on and off the field. I am a fan of a lot of different sports, but as a rule, I have never seen such fanatical, out of control, revved up fans as I have while watching football.
Most Sunday mornings, I go down to Rock Bottom Brewery to watch the best team ever play (Kansas City Chiefs). I consider myself a passionate fan. I definitely like to yell at the TV as if I have some sort of impact on the game and occasionally bang my head in frustation, but over all I'm pretty controlled. The great thing about Rock Bottom is that you get a myriad of fans of all teams so at any given time there are at least a few people yelling. Only in football will the same person be yelling "GO! GO! GO! YEA!" completely ecstatic and then five minutes later scream "WTF! Tackle someone you pieces of shit!" One of my favorite things is to watch the waitresses' reactions immediately after an erruption. Its generally a mix of suprise, fear, and sometimes disgust.
Yesterday a friend of a friend had some people over to watch the night game. The audience was definitely more exciting than the game. I don't think I have ever heard so many obscenities yelled at the TV in such a short period....by fans from the winning team! Throughout the game, every good Seahawks play was celebrated by mass yelling, jumping, highfives, chestbumps, running through streets, crawling, and yes punching. By the end of the night there were two broken wine glasses, at least one broken beer bottle, and a busted chair.
Yes it was great. In fact I myself started getting pumped from everyone around me! I was jumpin with the fans, celibrating big plays, and regretfully, highfiving. I don't think I've even had my had slapped so hard in my life. Throughout the evening, I learned that if I was going to celebrate, I needed to be like the third or fourth high five to avoid any serious pain. It was worth it though. I love to kind of instigate and stir the pot for excitement. The girls were definitely getting annoyed at a couple of the Hawk fans, and while I myself wasn't getting crazy, I was definitely contributing to making the other guys fanatical.
Yes my friends...football is a dangerous sport for both players and fans.
Friday, December 1, 2006
This morning at work was eventful as I yet again moved into a new office! Unfortunately this may be only for a few months as I may be moving into the new building currently under construction. Here I am content, though slightly disappointed that I don't have a window. I was pondering this yesterday and it got me thinking about my standards.
When I first started here, I had a ground floor office with a window which I was in for a couple of months. This immediately set a precedent where now, every office I get, I am comparing to the first one I had which had a nice window. This is slightly problematic because in reality, I should be thankful that I even have any office because most people at my age, 23, are in cubicles. Similarly, its interesting how often our standards change with everything.
For example. My first year in college, the bus, my feet, and bumming rides were my main transportation. Second year, it was my bicycle. Third and fourth year, it was my moped. Everytime I would go back to Alaska to visit my folks though, I was so happy to be able to drive around my little '88 Chevy Nova. These days though, I drive around a new Toyota so when I go back to Alaska, I almost dread having to drive the Nova around and worry about it possibly breaking down.
I could go on and on about how many other things this restandardization applies to (housing, clothing, girlfriends/boyfriends etc.) In fact, my roommate just got back from a hard earned Hawaiian vacation in which he took his girlfriend. My only warning to him was to be careful about the precedent you're setting by taking the new gf on such a nice trip on a whim because she might then expect something even better for an actual special ocassion because her standards of your treats are now raised.
Its no wonder some rich people come off as snobby. Their standards have slowly raised so high that anything less than designer doesn't suffice! If you sit in your house and watch a plasma everyday, a standard CRT television seems like garbage. The minute anything in your life is upgraded (or downgraded for that matter) a precedent is set and our standards change.
So what's the moral? Well for me, its to definitely appreciate the nice things I'm fortunate to have and resist the temptations to compare what I have now, to what I had before. In the end, material standards are pretty shallow. Window or no window, I love my office!