Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fights, Fires...and Vegas

So I've actually been meaning to write a post about this for a while, but one of my Vegas compadres, Danny, has been TERRIBLE about getting me pictures. I finally got fed up and am deciding that my visual story telling as well as a stolen pic will have to suffice for you.

In September, a bunch of friends and I went for yet another little visit to Sin City. This year, the occasion was for my, and my friend Vanessa's, birthday. As is generally the case with me, vacations, especially Vegas Vacations, have a particular penchant for adventure.

This year was no different.

So on night one, we all loaded up on dinner and headed out to "VooDoo," the club on top of the Rio. Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite clubs I've been to in Vegas. It wasn't that it was particularly huge or spectacular, but it had a few things that, for me in particular, I love.

1. The whole club isn't noise blastingly, yelling-at-your-friends-to-have-normal-conversation loud. There were sections where I could actually talk without screaming. Rejoice!

2. There was a huge outdoor area with the best view of the strip I've seen. I've been on top of Mandalay Bay at the end of the strip, but this view is better. Plus, I think rooftop bars are awesome and make for great photo ops, especially for couture models such as myself ;) (which I would post if a certain someone would send me pics!).

3. There was a dancefloor. Important since, as we know, I've been known to bust move or two.

4. The hot girls in the club seemed to love me. I guess devilish good-looks and charm works in other places than San Diego :) In fact, a few of us got in without having to pay the $30 cover charge because of some nice girls in front of us in line.

I knew my Schmoozing would pay off :)

I'll leave out some of the in-club escapades that night, but I'll just say they included: two girls fighting over me (ok, ok...maybe "fighting" is a bit of a stretch, and by "stretch" I mean long shot, but they both wanted me :) a, how shall I say, wildly provocative bachelorette, and a girl Craig and I nicknamed "Grabby McGrabberson."

The highlight though, was the elevator back down to the hotel after the club closed at like 4am.

In the elevator is me, Aaron, Vanessa, and another friend of Vanessa's whose name I don't remember. Along with us are two jolly Irish guys, and a big football player guy with his girlfriend.

I'm nestled in the back of the crowded elevator.

As we are descending, the Irish guys break into some sort of Jolly old Drinking song. Yea! Aaron and I join in on about the third verse. I turn and notice Big Football Player Guy (BFPG) was not particularly enjoying the Irish singing.

It was hard to tell, but from the way her fingers were plugging her ears, I don't think his girlfriend was either.

When we finally reached the bottom, BFPG and Girlfriend try to exit first. I think he must've said something rude while leaving, because one of the Irish blokes gave him a little shove in the back on the way out.

BFPG: "Don't F**kin push ME!" **shoves Irish guys back***

Next thing I know fists are flying the elevator...with me in the back!

Aaron and I, being the geniuses that we are try to break it up. Big mistake.

There's three people fighting, so at any one time, we can each only hold one guy back while the third guy is free to rain down blows! Next thing I know, I see Aaron on his back in the elevator.

Again, displaying my raw knack for genius solution, I jump in the middle of the three yelling, "IT'S OVER! COMMON GUYS IT'S OVER!" It became clear to me that they cared neither for my word, nor my safety when the fists continued to fly with me in the middle.

"Huh...well now I'm a pickle"

I look down again and see Aaron being dragged on his back out of the elevator. The next thing I know, I am airborn. Yes, AIRBORN. I don't know what happened, other than I somehow got LAUNCHED out of the elevator and landed some 7 or 8 feet from the elevator door.

Suffice to say, we got the hell out of there. Allow me to settle your nerves by assuring you that my face was neither harmed nor blemished! (my vanity shall live on!).

And that was only night one.

Night two involved another snafu. We went to Club Jet in the Mirage, and decided to splurge for VIP bottle service. The club was so loud that talking to new people was pretty much out of the question. I was forced to use raw sexual magnetism to dance with women ;)

Anyways, Danny was holding down the fort at our table while the rest of us were out dancing. Apparently, the waitress had a disagreement with him earlier because she thought he had stiffed her on a tip (not the case as there was some mix up). To add to the disagreement, someone on the dancefloor apparently touched her ass whom she mistook for Danny. Again, not the case. (I wasn't there but a few of my friends were).

Danny's got two strikes (albeit, unearned).

Part of the "show" at the club involves bubbles periodically coming down from the ceiling. Since all of our drinks were on the table, Danny decided to cover up our drinks with napkins.

Seemingly a good idea....except when there's an exposed candle at the table.

So you can imagine my surprise when Brent finds me and tells me Danny has been kicked out. "What for!?!"

Brent: "Well, apparently there was a fire at our table."

Me: "A FIRE at our table!?!"

Strike three.

Incoming text message from Danny: "I'm out. They're accusing me of being a sexual predator and a pyro!"

We managed to convince the bouncers that it wasn't his fault and to let him back in, but I still had to slip one some money.

Definitely an entertaining, fun, and I guess a bit dangerous trip this year ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Investing in a Worthwhile Cause

So I've written a couple of posts HERE and HERE about my participation in the San Diego Downtown Relay for Life.

Basically, Relay for Life is the largest fundraising event in the world and is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I won't bother explaining the whole thing again because it's in the other two posts which I'm sure all of you have read multiple times!

So the first year, I kind of just participated for fun, hanging out with friends during the day, and donating a few bucks to the fight against cancer. I stayed most of the day, but didn't spend the night. This last year, I participated again as a team member, but made it through the whole thing (and the crazy after party!).

Somehow though, I missed the logical progression of participation in the event. Next probably would've been captaining a team this year, then joining a subcommittee for the event, then maybe a direct committee position.

Instead, I'm now the Team Recruitment Chair for the 2009 San Diego event! Basically, I've been thrust into the second most involved/important committee position after the Event Chair.

What have I gotten myself into...

Actually, if you were to ask me years ago what sort of charity I would be involved in, I never would have guessed it would be one that fights cancer. I've always had a particular affinity for kids and babies so I always assumed I would join something along the lines of helping them.

Yep, I'm the guy always waving to babies in the grocery store or playing games with kids at parties. I know it's hard to believe, but beyond my incredible maturity, age-old wisdom, and experienced sophistication, I can manage to dig deep and relate well to kids :)

Go Figure.

This last weekend, I had to go up to L.A. for the State Relay for Life Summit. Basically, it was a bunch of presentations and workshops over two days, designed to help you organize, fundraise, recruit teams, and put on an awesome event. Free food and board at the Marriott was also a nice little incentive to go :)

So last year, the second year of the Downtown San Diego Relay for Life, we raised 18,000 bucks...not too shabby, eh? Well it's actually shabb-tastic when you compare our numbers to the 20 year old Relay for Life - Bakersfield who raise 1.7 million dollars. ONE POINT FREAKING SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS!!!

Hmmm...maybe I should do an additional event in Bakersfield called "Relay for Arun." You guys could all come and talk about how awesome I am while the (apparently generous) people of Bakersfield throw money at me so I can live an awesome life and write about it!

Sometimes I shock even myself with such brilliant ideas :)

As "Team Recruitment Wizard," it's my job to increase the number of Downtown San Diego teams from 18 (last year) to something more, although 356 teams(Bakersfield) seems just a smidgen too ambitious.

The one thing though that struck me as a little ironic about the people at the conference, is that probably 80% of the people over 35 were REALLY out of shape! Fighting against cancer is a noble cause and all, but obesity is a major contributor to cancer!

It's akin to a chubby dietitian preaching about the healthiness of a diet high in veggies and protein. Sure the information he says is true, but how the hell can anyone take him seriously when he eats jelly doughnuts for breakfast?

Furthermore, the bottom line reason that people fight cancer is because it kills people right? If it wasn't fatal, it would concern us about as much as chicken pox do. But what else is one of the leading causes of death in this country? That's right, OBESITY!

It's like pleading for gun control because you're scared for your safety, while sticking a knife in your chest.

I guess they've at least picked a noble cause to fight for and shouldn't be criticized for their contribution, but I just think it's funny.

I actually haven't been directly affected by cancer. Nobody really close to me has ever gotten it. So why am I so involved? Because I KNOW that someone I care for, including myself, WILL be affected by it at some point. The statistics are 1 in every 5 people.

It's kind of like car insurance. There's no immediate need for it, and in the mean time you're paying a monthly premium. In this case, instead of money, it's my time. BUT, there's a darn good chance that somewhere down the road, that insurance will save me a lot of heartache.

In this case, my efforts, however small they are in the big picture, could save my life, someones I care about, or yours.

BTW, if you live in San Diego, email me and I'll let you know how you can join Relay for Life this year! Our website isn't up yet, but it's coming soon. It's super fun AND it's for a great cause.

And if you're not in San Diego, chances are, there's a Relay for Life close to you (there's some 5,000 nationwide + others internationally). Hop on board the "Feel-Good" train and do something worthwhile (other than being a dedicated reader of this blog of course :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Live the Stress Free Lifestyle

Stress is absolutely terrible for you.

It causes a myriad of health problems ranging from high blood pressure to decreased immune response and increased likelihood of the onset of a fatal disease like cancer to, worst of all, hair loss!

No one likes feeling stressed, so why do we do it to ourselves?

I know what you're thinking. "Go suck an egg Arun! I don't CHOOSE to be stressed! There's just so much going on around me that I have no choice!"

Allow me explain before condemning me to the dreaded punishment of egg sucking please.

I pretty much NEVER stress. Sure I have a lot of concerns, problems, and tasks I need to complete, but in any case, I generally never let this abundance of "stuff" stress me. If I do start to feel a little stressed, I immediately come up with multiple reasons for why I shouldn't be worrying. In fact, sometimes I'm probably TOO cavalier about certain things, but that's a much better fault to have than to be over stressed.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who almost ALWAYS feel stressed. A lot of them have the same profile: commonly not physically fit, they don't sleep well, often irritable, always in a rush, and always complaining about how much stuff they have to do.

The first thing I've noticed is that people who are very stressed are generally not good time managers. To them it seems like they are since their plate always seems full, but they're really not. I've found two keys to great time management.

Key 1: Have a routine. When you have a routine, everything that MUST get done everyday gets done automatically. Why don't we stress about the time it takes to brush our teeth and take a shower? Because it's something that, regardless of everything else, MUST GET ACCOMPLISHED everyday! Since it's built into our schedule, we don't even think about it.

Start building certain tasks into your routine, and do them at the same time everyday. Make them automatic and you'll be surprised how much you get done and how much less you worry about it.

Key 2: Eliminate dead time. This is the wasted time that always ends up being unproductive, between activities. If you have to go grocery shopping, don't come home after work! Do it all while you're out and you'll save the dead time you would have wasted puttering around.

When you block together all of your tasks for the day, all the "dead time" gets banked up and you have a lot more free time at the end of the day.

For example, I have to get gas and go shopping at Costco exactly once a week. So, every Monday after work, I go to Costco on the way home and accomplish both tasks in one go. Even if don't NEED to go that day (like if I have enough groceries for a few more days and a half tank of gas), I go anyways because I know I won't have to worry about gassing up or shopping for the rest of the week.

Instead of going out or just hanging out in the cafeteria when I take lunch during the day, I go do my cardio workout, then eat as I work afterwards. After work, I go straight to the gym to lift weights.

I block all of these tasks together and consequently have way more time at the end of the day for my own fun activities.

I would STRONGLY suggest including daily exercise in your "block" of activities. Exercise is not only great for you physically, but mentally it's a great stress reliever. Furthermore, there are great physiological benefits to exercise such as increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine which contribute to positive emotional state.

Another key to managing stress is to use lists. I make a list of things I want to accomplish EVERYDAY. I make a big, ambitious list in the morning, and split my tasks up into smaller items so I have more lines to cross off. Psychologically, it feels better getting to frequently cross off "to do" items.

I find it really relieves your mind of the burden of having to remember all the things you have to do when you write them down. Now, I just focus on the task at hand and don't worry about having to remember anything since it's all jotted down anyways.

"But Arun, what about the times when there really is just too much to do!"

In that case, you need to prioritize (maybe even make a list of your priorities!) and acknowledge the fact that not everything will get done and there's nothing you can do. If it's beyond your control, why worry about it? All you can do is put forth 100% of your effort, and anything that remains incomplete, is what it is.

You should also EMBRACE deadlines. The beauty of deadlines, is it provides a mental "finish line" where you know that after that point, everything will be over, regardless of the completeness.

Lastly, remember the good ol' cliche: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!"

If, during the course of the day, someone an asshole to you, brush it off. They're actions are obviously not worth valuing and should thus not affect your emotional state. If anything, THEY should be the ones who are more stressed as they are expending needless negative energy in being an asshole.

If someone forgets his tickets and glasses to a certain football game, and you have to go all the way home to get them for him since he's out mountain biking somewhere (can you tell this happened to me this weekend? :), oh well. It was an accident, and at the end of the day, the only difference is you might have a little less gas.

No Biggie.

Hop on board the stress free train, and ride Life the way it was meant to be experienced!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dr. McDreamy and Halloweeny

Ahh yes...Halloween. The one weekend every year that's a major hassle to prepare for, but is always fun to go out, partially because in San Diego, everywhere is a party, and yes, because this is the one weekend where girls can dress as skanky, slutty, and downright hoochie-mama as they want to and get away with it.

Seriously, while perusing costumes with my friend Vanessa, EVERY premade woman's costume was a "Naughty" this, and "Sexy" that. She was appalled...I obviously had no issues with the costumes. In fact my friend Diana bought some sort of Venetian outfit, but did some personal tailoring so that she wouldn't stand out what with all the extra clothing. As she put it, "Arun! I'm a 'Venetian Whore.' That's not what the costume was called, but I just slutted up the name."


This year, as I do every other year, I waited until the last minute to find something. Everybody always says I look like Antonio Banderas (or rather he looks almost as marvelous as ME :) so I thought Zorro would be a fitting costume. The problem is, the effort level, combined with the cash expenditure was far above what I do for Halloween.

I entertained not dressing up and going around as a "Supermodel," but for some reason all of my friends laughed at the suggestion.

So I came up with something simple yet clever. As long as girls are dressing up, or rather NOT dressing up, sexily, I might as well take full advantage and do something minorly offensive on any normal day, but cunningly (or should I say "cunnilingly") funny on Halloween.

I dressed up as a Doctor. Obviously nothing wrong so far, but the magic was in the name tag I made.

"Dr. Seymour Box - OBGYN"

For you international readers, this may not make sense to you as the slang doesn't translate. Around here though, "Box" is a another term for a woman's "special place".

So I'm walking around everywhere with a plastic stethoscope and Doctor's reflector (what are those things for anyways?) all night with random girls volunteering to be patients.

Jeez, and I thought only the costumes were risque'!

Of course by the end of the night, my reflector was broken and the strap was missing, and all I had left of my plastic stethoscope was half of an earpiece. During last year's Halloween Extravaganza when I was Michael Jackson, I managed to lose my microphone prop on Friday, bought another for Saturday night, and promptly lost that one as well.

And speaking of Halloween last year, that post contains a VERY racy picture of my friends Ibis and Jane posing with their costumes as "flashers." Interestingly, they have now become internet you ask?

When you type the word "flashers" in google image search, the picture of them from my website is the FIRST result! When they found out, they were first. Then when the realization set in that this may not be the best way to become famous on the internet, especially since Ibis is now a grade school teacher, I felt a little wrath. Luckily, "Ibis" is only her nick name, and, for my own sake of well-being, I will not post her real name for fear that she will come after me. (and that's not even a joke. She would hurt me!)

So, on Halloween Saturday this year, I went to a few party's, but one stood out in particular. It was a Duplex converted into a house. But when I say "party" I really mean "mob of costumed people getting absolutely insane under a shelter that probably doesn't resemble any type of livable structure anymore."

There must have been like 250 people there when we arrived.

In one half of the duplex, people were getting down to the Hip-Hop DJ they hired. In the other, they had a "House/Techno Beat" DJ. In the garage in the middle, was a 36 person game of flip cup.

I don't know how anyone in there right mind could have a party like this unless you have absolutely NO regard for your personal belongings.

At one point, I was behind a guy at the beer keg who was filling up a BLENDER.

Guy: "Welp...I couldn't find a cup, and this was the best thing I could locate."

I don't know about you, but I would be pissed if Joe Random was chugging beer from my nice blender.

Then, as I was going through the kitchen, I smelled something funny.

Girl: "Oh my Gosh, it's on!!!"

I turn and see a glowing red stove with a jug of animal crackers getting toasted to smitherines.

I reminded me of one of those 90's sitcomes where the parents would go away, and kids would throw a giant party while they were gone only to see everything get completely destroyed and out of hand. It was like that, except for instead of the "kids" who lived there starting to freak out, they were getting tossed playing flip cup.

I only managed to handle about 20 minutes of chaos before leaving...although not before snagging two cookies, a handful of candy-corns, and a candy bracelet for the road :)

You know you're either too old (or too young) when amongst everything: the crazy parties, the near-naked women, the free pass to be a little offensive, and the copious available booze, you're favorite part of Halloween is the abundance of CANDY! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Season!

Ah yes....the first Tuesday of November, fresh off of Halloween fever and excessive levels of sugar slowly leaving my Greek-god-like-other-than-my-well-fed-abs body....

Election Season!

I, like many others, am pretty excited to see what's going to happen in tomorrow's election. I LOVE debating, and feel like if I'm moderately knowledgeable on a subject, I'll always win, but I generally avoid hardcore backing of any specific politician. I don't consider myself particularly knowledgeable in the specifics of candidate's policies nor could I recite any political nuances of presidents' passed, so I avoid participating in heated presidential debates.

I do however think I know more about politics than probably 60% of Americans, who generally seem to be disappointingly uninformed.

I'm definitely a more liberal minded individual, so it's probably no surprise that I'm enthusiastically voting for Obama/Biden. I've watched all of the debates, and watched various coverage of both candidates, and definitely think Barack has a specific plan of attack to make this country better.

But, whenever people find out I grew up in Alaska, they reflexively think I must love Sarah Palin.

Ding Dong! Your Wrong!

She annoys the living hell out of me. Not only can I not stand her colloquial mid-western vernacular, but her policies suck, she comes off as insincere and uninformed for someone in her position, and very phony.

McCain used to be ok, but when he won the Republican nomination, his policies became much more conservative. Not to mention, his selection of Palin as his running mate is a MAJOR knock on his judgement, he's too old which puts her dangerously close to the hot seat, and his brother is a complete idiot.

People: "Oh you're from Alaska? What do you think of Palin?"

I actually haven't lived in Alaska for eight years, which by my incredibly rough calculations was about the time Palin was probably in the running for the "Miss Wasilla, Alaska Pageant."

Though I guess since the majority of Alaskan population is conservative, it's a fair assumption that I could be so as well.

The one policy of Obama's that comes to mind though, that thoroughly annoys me, is his proposition to make the United States' official languages English AND Spanish.


Listen, I'm all for legal immigration and such, but if you immigrate to a country for a better life, I don't think it's too much to ask for you to ASSIMILATE and learn the dad-gum language rather than us having to spend money to make two Damn signs for every instruction.

Quick Segue. How annoying is it when you call customer service, go to a Chinese or Indian restaurant, or go to WALMART, and the customer service rep/waiter/whoever, speaks completely broken English at BEST! You can't hire people whose JOB it is to communicate with people, who can't speak the local language. Look, I studied French for four years, but you would be a complete IDIOT to hire me to handle returns (which, in themselves somehow always seem complicated, and a line of say, four people takes forty minutes to get through)at the Walmart equivalent in Paris.

Back to your scheduled programming:

The language issue, in the grand scheme of things is pretty small though, plus I have Congress and the Senate to hopefully shoot down such a silly proposition.

And speaking of Propositions, there's a few interesting California ones, but none so polarly divided as "Proposition 8." Without looking up the exact wording, the gist of Prop 8 is a proposition to make gay marriage in California ILLEGAL thereby overriding the recently passed measure legalizing it.

With this issue in particular, I can wipe the floor with anybody debating the validity of a "yes" vote. Allow me to shoot down some key points of "yes" proponents:

1. Marriage between people of the same sex is not "natural."

Not natural to whom? Your definition of natural stems from conservative religious beliefs. "The Bible says Marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN" Luckily, our constitution is bound by a "separation of church and state." Any mention of the big G.O.D. or religion is invalid. I this case, the word marriage is referencing the LEGAL aspect as opposed to the biblical. As is such, it should be redefined legally for our gay friends.

2. Gay marriage makes a mockery out of the sacred union of a man and woman.

Well if marriage was so damn sacred, then why are why 50% marriages ending in divorce? In Utopia, sure, marriage would be sacred and we'd all find our soul mates and live happily ever after, but who in there right mind can claim that a Vegas quicky between a man and woman in a chapel two blocks away from a whore-house with an Elvis preacher is any more sacred than the "mockery" of same-sex marriage?

3. Kids will learn about Gay Marriage in school!

Guess what. Kids learn about a lot of things in school. Murder, rape, what to do if you see a creeper playing the roll of "Touchy McToucherson." Kids SHOULD be informed about the different behaviors of society in general. Just because we learn that things like serial killers exist in the world, doesn't mean we'll become one.

That in itself is an unfair comparison, because there's nothing wrong with homosexuality anyways (as opposed to murder, rape, etc.) But, kids SHOULD learn about the world they live in: the good, bad, common, and rare.

4. What's next? Allowing marriage to animals?

My God what a terrible argument. I mean, look at what happened when we allowed Blacks and Women to vote! Animals are logically the next in line, right?

I think I've made my point. What burns me up though, is when I see kids holding up signs in support of Prop 8. They don't know any better, but their parents are hammering home their personal creed and perpetuating the same cycle of bigotry that plagued people of color not too long ago.

It is nice living in California, where a lot of people are open minded and share my views. Luckily a proposition like this will likely fail, and the civil rights movement will continue in the right direction.

Happy Voting!