Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, December 18, 2009

Self Security

If we would define one who is "insecure" as someone lacking self-esteem and self confidence, then I suppose I would we the opposite of "insecure": I'm Self Secure. While one who is insecure is sensitive to criticism and vulnerable to outside influence, I'm locked down like Fort freaking Knox surrounded by the U.S. Military and a Nuclear Mote with Jackie Chan manning surveillance.

Ok, so maybe I'm a smidgen *too* Self-secure.

Anyways, being Self-Secure, I'm not afraid to bring up personal interests or other things that might otherwise prove embarrassing to most people. I feel that bringing up embarrassing anecdotes about myself humanizes me beyond the Greek God-like looks and Charming personality that people usually perceive upon meeting me (see, I told you I was Self-Secure ;)

Today, I thought I would share a list of various tidbits that I'm not necessarily proud to associate myself with.

1. I have two Britney Spears Songs on my IPOD. I actually don't like Britney's music for the most part, but "Crazy" and "Lucky" are just so damn catchy I can't resist.

2. I also have "Mmmbop" by Hanson.

3. This is painful to admit, but I have a few New Kids on the Block tunes as well. "Please Don't Go Girl" always brings a tear to my eye. Their new album actually isn't half bad. On my computer, I've disguised their name to NKOTB. A girl I once dated however saw through my attempted disguise and called me out. I became flustered scrambling for some plausible excuse to have New Kids on the Block on my computer. Luckily, she thought it was "cute."

4. As long as I'm making music admissions, I also have "As Long as You Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys, and a couple of NSYNC songs. I also have an entire folder of music dedicated to the Muppets.

5. Speaking of the Muppets, I love the Muppets and Old School Sesame Street. I bought the DVD of "Sesame Street Goes to the Metropolitan Museum" when I was recently in New York because, aside from being very nostalgic, it's hilarious! Jim Henson is a GENIUS and the Muppets are awesome! In fact, I was recently showing a girl I was dating a youtube video of a hilarious Ernie and Bert episode when she dropped a bomb on me: "I don't really like the Muppets."


I knew it wouldn't last after that ;)

6. My first bicycle as a kid was my Sister's old had a Banana seat and was Pink. At least I ripped off the streamers.

7. I like to play the "list of celebrities your allowed to hook up with" game with my friends...girls LOVE playing this game. I've got some amazing women on my list but I'm secure enough in my Manhood that I have no problem telling girls that Adrien Brody belongs on no woman's list and Hugh Jackman should top all of theirs.

7. I went to a Boyz II Men Concert last month and LOVED it. I'm a fan of R&B music and I've always been a BIIM fan. I jokingly put a Facebook post up before the concert saying something to the effect of "Ladies, don't judge me if you see me up front at the Boyz II Men Concert, elbowing you out of the way to get a rose from Wanya during I'll Make Love to You."

Well, at the concert, Vanessa and I weren't quite up front at the stage, but we were about 8 feet back. As expected, during I'll Make Love to You they started handing out roses to all the ladies up front. Now, I was actually joking when I made that Facebook post...sort of.

Towards the end of the song, Nate decided to loft one of the roses over the heads of the people cramming at the stage. As soon as it was airborne, everything went into slow motion. I had to make a decision. I knew I could out jump the company around me. Do I sky high and snatch it out of the air, or let it fall into the arms of the lucky lady beside me?


I snatched it out of the air and landed softly, protecting the rose with my off-hand.

I made Vanessa carry the rose out for me (ok, so I guess I'm not TOTALLY secure) with the understanding that she was just holding it for me and I was NOT giving it to her!

So now that you think I'm a fruitcake, I should probably make sure you know I love SPORTS, CARS, BEER, and TUPAC!

Don't Judge me....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Thanksgiving Weekend of Awesomeness

I love the Holidays.

For me, the Holidays start as soon as Halloween is over. Leaves are turning colors (well, sort-of in San Diego), the weather is getting cold (or "less-warm" in San Diego), and I can start start wearing jeans instead of shorts with my sandals (only in San Diego).

But best of all, there's an abundance of Holiday Treats that go around! Cookies, Cakes, Turkeys...I love it all! As one who has no self-control when good food is in the immediate vicinity, I never bake or make any of these unhealthy treats because I would never be able to bring myself to share them. Instead, I'm just opportunistic when I happen to stumble upon a treasure chest of food goodness.

With the Holidays, there is, what I affectionately refer to as the "Prime Time Zone." What is the Prime Time Zone you ask??? Allow me to enlighten you:

The Prime Time Zone is the span of Days that goes from the Day Before thanksgiving, to New Years Day. It is in this span that the best Holiday foods and snacks are in abundance everywhere, and that we allow ourselves a little extra indulgence. Afterall, it is the Holidays.

But why does it start the Day before Thanksgiving? Everyone knows that we all go on vacation the day before a major Holiday. People may show up to work, but they don't work as hard. In my case, I may follow my normal healthy diet until Wednesday night at which point I tell Vanessa that I saw Pumpkin pies on sale for only 3 dollars and what a travesty it would be to not get one and eat the whole thing that same evening. (not that I did that or anything)

On Thanksgiving Day, I ran the "Run for the Hungry" again this year. I love volunteering and participating in charitable work, and this one allowed me the bonus of getting to burn off a few servings of Mashed Potatoes before the big meal! This year, for a little extra pie, I ran BOTH, the 5K and the 10K - extra difficult considering I've run exactly TWICE since the Marathon in May.

For dinner, I drove out to the country in Vista, and had dinner with Jeff's family (as I do nearly every year). I had firsts, seconds, AND thirds of the main meal and followed it with a walk around the mountain to make room for the couple of slices of pie I downed.

This was only the beginning of the weekend food mayhem.

Saturday was probably even worse.

My friend Jon has an annual "Turducken Day Feast" every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now, Jon loves to cook, and his Dad, who was also present, is the head Chef of a popular restaurant in Harrisburg, PA. Additionally, Jon has no shame when it comes to "cooking for taste." Allow me to explain by documenting my food intake chronologically.

2:00 Upon arrival, I help myself to a light beer...innocent enough right?

2:10 I spot "light eggnog." I love Eggnog, so I down the beer and move onto beverage number 2.

2:20 I spot the regular, non-light Eggnog. Hmmm, a little taste won't hurt. Good lord that's heaven in a milk carton! I'll go ahead and have a glass...afterall, it's the Holidays!

2:22 I am informed that Eggnog should be consumed with a splash of Brandi. Not being one to argue with tradition, I partake.

2:30 I spot a huge box of stuff. When I inquire, I am informed by Jon that it contains 15 pounds of Bacon. FIFTEEN POUNDS OF BACON!

2:35 I partake in the Bacon wrapped shrimps. Shrimp is healthy right?

2:40 I partake in the mini-blt's. Lettuce is healthy right?

2:45 Braeden is eating a Klondike Ice Cream Bar in front of me. I have no self control and attack the freezer. Ice cream is hea....ahh, who am I kidding.

3:00 Someone arrives with Loompias and more Eggnog. To be polite, I help myself to both.

3:30 Layla informs me that she made cookie bars that are to die for. How am I supposed to say no to that? I have two.

4:00 Eggnog is out. Back to beer.

4:30 I am in a heated game of "Blokus" (which is one of my new favorite board-games) and forget to eat for about an hour. Unforgivable.

5:30 Dinner is served! For those of you who don't know, Turducken is a de-boned Turkey stuffed with a Duck, which is in-turn stuffed with a Chicken. In between the birds are layers of stuffing and, as Jon's personal touch, BACON.

5:40 Jon informs us that he also secretly cooked a "Bacon Explosion" also known as "The Most Unhealthy Food in the World." The Bacon Explosion is a lattice of seasoned bacon covered with a thick layer of Italian Sausage which is then covered with fried bacon. This is then rolled into a log and cooked.

It is especially useful for those looking to have an instant heart attack. Naturally, I had two slices from the Bacon Explosion log.

7:00 Time for dessert. Kahlua balls, Apple Pie, and Pumpkin pie. I'll have one of each please.

7:20 Dessert seconds.

I believe that marked the end of my Turducken day debauchery. I did run eight miles earlier to offset some of the damage, but I probably would have had to run a marathon to due that. AND, just to put an exclamation point on my love for unhealthy eating before heading up to Alaska for the rest of the Holidays, I am a food and dessert judge for the Operations and Quality Engineering party at my office.

I love the Holidays!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why I am a Terrible Blogger

Ok, Ok...I know YOU don't think I'm a terrible blogger. I also know YOU know I don't think I'm a terrible blogger either. BUT, I have been downright neglectful in updating this damn thing. It's called "Arun is Bringing You Your Daily Remedy" not "Arun is Bringing You Your Bi-weekly Remedy Unless He Gets Busy in Which Case He Brings a Once a Month Remedy."

Guilty as Charged.

But I do feel like I have a valid excuse. As I mentioned previously, I'm on the Road Back to School and, as such, every piece of free time has been spent on filling out College Applications. I also happen to be applying to quite a few schools - somewhere between 12-14. AND each of these schools requires, on average, three essays apiece!

As an astute mathematician, my calculations reveal that's about 40 essays. Yes. FORTY DAD-GUM ESSAYS!

As you know, I like writing, but 40 essays is a weencey-bit excessive. To further complicate matters, all of the essay topics are about ME: strengths and weaknesses, short term and long term goals, what I bring to the table etc. I know what you're thinking: "Oh Common Arun! I've read this blog long enough to know you LOVE talking about yourself! Just copy and paste a couple of old blogs and Bodda Boom! You got yourself an essay!"

Well, that would all be fine and dandy if college admissions committees had an appreciation for gross self-indulgence, narcissism, and pictures of me flexing my Schwarzenegger-esque muscles. Unfortunately, they prefer the traditional approach of humility, honesty, and academic essays.

Good lord, I hope they don't Google me.

So, just because I haven't been writing as much, doesn't mean I haven't been going on any fewer adventures, or stopped living life awesome. A lot of my free time is spent filling out applications and writing essays, and when I'm actually not doing those things during my free time, I don't much feel like writing. But, once these college apps start finishing up, I should be Back on the Blogging Bandwagon (how's that for good alliteration?).

And speaking of college applications, I don't know how in the hell some people afford to even APPLY to graduate school!?! A lot of these application fees are over $200. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS just to apply! Not only do these schools make a killing off of tuition, but also off of the suckers like me who apply to twelve schools of which they can only go to one. I don't want to think about how many dollars down the drain that is.

Can you imagine what the applications committee thinks when someone sends in an application and they happen to be under qualified?

"Yea, there is NO-WAY this guy is not going here. Welp, thanks for the $200 Bucks Sucker! Pizza anyone?"

This got me thinking, maybe I should start a University. "Arun's University of Lifetime Awesomeness." I'll charge $199.99 to apply (have to beat the competition!) and then admit 5 percent of the applicants. People will see how selective I am and place A.U.L.A. in the same league as Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton.

Ivy League, Schmivy League!

Unlike those schools, who charge an arm and a leg on tuition, I'll charge about half the amount so everyone will want to apply to my school. Then, since I'm only admitting 5% of applicants, I'm making all my money on people I don't actually have to use money to educate.

Plans like this are why I am going to business school. I have vision, creativity, ambition, and devilish good looks (You knew I was gonna say it...this is why I can't send blogs in as essays), but I just need a little more business savvy :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Great Urban Race

I think it's fairly obvious that I like adventures.

You can imagine my excitement when my friend Jenny told me about the Great Urban Race in San Diego. Actually, they have Urban Races in pretty much every major city in the country, and the top finishers automatically qualify for the National Finals. Unfortunately, in my rookie attempt, we did not manage to qualify, but Darren and I, Team "Kick Your CompAss" (I came up with the name) finished 109 out of about 500! For first timers, it was a pretty damn good effort.

I know what you're thinking: "What the heck is this Urban Race, Arun!?? Is it another marathon? Is it a charity event like Relay for Life? Is it an Urban Modeling Walkoff?!?"

For those of you who are familiar with the television show "The Amazing Race" apparently its like that. Basically, The Great Urban Race is a citywide race/scavenger hunt. So all participants are part of a two person team. Each team must have coordinated costumes, usually either something outrageous or the official race shirts. Teams are also allowed to work together.

So Darren and I teamed up with six of my other friends in our "Alliance of Power and Good Looks." All participants met at Dick's Last Resort Restaurant in the middle of Downtown San Diego where we all received an envelope of clues. When the race starts, everyone opens the envelope and are presented with 12 clues we have to decipher.

The clues are things like trivia questions, logic puzzles, word scrambles, riddles, etc. Once you decipher the clue, the answer is usually a location in San Diego that you have to go to and perform a task, take a picture of yourself doing something, or collect specific evidence of completing the task. The kicker is that no private transportation is allowed! No bikes, cars, ore taxis. You are ONLY allowed to use your feet or use public transportation.

Some of the tasks we had to perform included:

  • Going to a boxing studio where we had to take a lesson (which as some of you may know I need a little work

  • Proposing to a total stranger

  • Finding an obscure crafts shop and braiding a bracelet

  • Finding an obscure Chinese restaurant and making origami

  • Locating a roaming St. Judes rep and taking a picture with her after making a $5 donation.

  • Riding Go-carts around a track

  • Eating Pancakes from a specific pancake house

  • Getting a temporary tattoo from a specific tattoo parlor

The list goes on, but we were basically all over central San Diego. In fact, it was hilarious seeing the expression of random residents who didn't know what was going on. Imagine, you see people running all over the place in no singular direction, everybody's got different costumes on, yet we all have race numbers. Suffice it to say, we were inundated with confused looks and inquiries. Because I like to stir the pot, I even did a couple of "Loop-de-loops" around unsuspecting citizens to further confuse them as to what the hell is going on.

When we finally finished our last task, we sprinted the last mile to the finish line where we were sure we were in the top 25! When we arrived to the approximately 200 people (100 teams) who finished before us, our hopes were a smidgen dashed.

Oh well. Next year!

Afterwards, we were all exhausted. Nearly four hours of running around the city under the hot sun (I love San Diego) will do that to you, so we dialed up a little Pizza and Beer to recover!

I highly recommend participating in this event. For those of you in the States, it's there's probably one in a city near you. Check it out, and if you do well, I'll see you in next years national championship!

Friday, October 9, 2009

First Date Blunders

Last week I was having dinner with a bunch of friends, and the conversation steered to "First Dates." It's always an awesome group conversation because everyone's got at least one funny story, and everyone has an opinion on what's right and wrong. The one thing that always perplexes me is how much pressure people put on the experience of the first date. Before writing this, I googled "First Date mistakes" to make sure I wasn't rehashing a bunch of articles. What I found was an overwhelming amount of "Do's and Don'ts" that would make any guy go nuts.

Even worse, a lot of them are filled with bad advice. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do OK ;) and I know what things are just completely BAD. So instead of overwhelming you with a huge checklist of things to think about, I'm just going to tell you who you shouldn't be.

Timmy Try Hard
Timmy has good intentions but he blows it right away by trying *too* hard. Timmy dresses in his Sunday Best, and shows up with flowers. I'm all for looking good and being nice, but unless you're going to the opera on Valentine's Day (and the only reason you should be going to the opera on a first date is if you're singing in it), leave suit and flowers at home. Also, there's no need to go to a dimly lit hugely expensive restaurant where you'll be surrounded by married couples celebrating their anniversary. I suppose if you're extremely ugly and prefer dim lighting, or worse, your date is extremely ugly, this could be a legitimate option, but otherwise, nix the the fancy schmancy first date spot.

Freddy Pheromone
Freddy is of the same breed as Timmy, but I feel like he deserves a blurb of his own. You definitely want to smell good when you're out, but you don't need to smell good from 20 feet away nor does the car need to turn into some kind of flowery-musk gas chamber of death.

1 spritz = "Ooh this guys smells hot!"
3+ spritz = "Good Lord, are covering up a missed shower?"

Tommy Trickster
Apparently there's a group of men who attempt to "trick" girls into going on a date with them. I was unaware of this until it was explained to me by multiple girls. Apparently Tommy calls and sets up a "hangout" under the pretense that there will either probably be other people, or that its strictly platonic (hence the term "hang out").

You see this is very tricky. I can call up my buddy Jeff and say "Hey, let's hang out!" But, I will never call him to "GO out." I GO out with girls I'm interested in. I hang out with friends. That's generally the accepted definition, but Tommy Trickster ropes them in with the ol' hang out, and tries to do the "Go out transfer of Magic."

Uh-uh. They are on to you.

Nicky Nicealot
Poor Guy. He's not sleazy, mean, or even try-hard...he's just clueless. Nicky is classic "boring date guy." First of all, he has no plan. I'll be the first to admit, I can be pretty indecisive about some things, but on a date, especially a first date, a guy has got to make a decision and have a plan!

Sometimes girls will get tricky and ask YOU (the guy) out. One might think the pressure of planning then falls on her shoulders.

Ding-dong, you're wrong.

All this means is that they may suggest an activity, but you are expected to be the decider for any subsequent activities on the date.

The second mistake Nicky makes, is he conducts the "Nervous First Date Interview". "So, where are you from? What movies do you like? What hobbies do you have?" Then he follows it up by doing the extra gentlemanly things. Again, I'm all for being a gentleman and opening doors and such for company, but some things are a little excessive.

Pulling the chair out for a girl before sitting? Running around, opening the car door, then running back to the driver's side? If I don't intend to do these things three weeks from now, why should I put on a show and do them now? It's a little excessive.

I'm probably gonna get blasted for some of this stuff, but it all sounds nice when it's not you.

Sammy McSexYouUp
Sammy might be the worst first date. I've seen him in action from afar. He bear-hugs his date as she keeps her arms pressed up against the front of her body in a desperate attempt to create some kind of buffer. He goes for the kiss and gets the ol' head turn from her. Sammy specializes in the 2am drunken girl pickups, but in the first date, where some semblance of intellect comes into play, he's out of his element. It's like chopping an onion with an axe: just a little too much to handle.

So that's the list. If you avoid turning into any of these amazing men, you might have a shot at a second date. As obvious as they seem, you'd be surprised at the lack of informed men roaming the streets of your city. BTW, feel free to share your bad date story. They're always good for a chuckle ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Arun Visits Sex and the City 2

Vacations are always nice, especially when there's a lot of fun and mischief involved. New York City just so happened to be one of those "nice" vacations. Sure we did the normal stuff: Statue of Liberty, Metropolitan Museum, Cruise around the Island, Empire State, Central Park, etc. But the real awesome stuff was the atypical experiences that NYC brings.

I love tennis, so naturally we went to the US Open. I've been to a number of tennis tournaments, but going to a Grand Slam is definitely a different experience. It also helps that I have a soft spot for my *friend*, finalist Caroline Wozniaki (pictured below).

A few days later, we happened to get tickets to the Letterman show. This was a bit tricky because after you request them, you get a phone call from someone who gives you a trivia question you have to answer about the show in order to get the tickets. Well I almost never watch the Late Show, so this presented a complication...luckily I'm clever, resourceful, and shamelessly fraudulent. The call went like this:

Letterman Lady: "So in order for you to get the tics, you have to answer this trivia question."
Me: "Uhhh, Okay"
Lady: "Dave likes to visit a place of business owned by a Rupert (something inaudible that rhymes with "wee"). What business does he own?"
Me: "Oh!!! I uhhhhhh knooooooooooow this ooooooooooone"

Basically I was stalling as I was secretly trying to google the question. Thank God google has autofinish because after typing just "Letterman Rup" it finished the search field for me as "Letterman Rupert Jee visits". I hit enter and stalled some more.

Me: "Ohhhhh...It's on the tip of my tongue! Lettermaaaaaaaaaan visits....uhhh....OH YEA!" (as if I just remembered as google spits out the answer) "It's the Helo Deli!"

Yea! I am awesome! (never mind, shameless)

It's crazy how much the Letterman staff tries to pump you up before the show. Seriously, I think we encountered at least five people enthusiastically yelling/asking how much fun we're going to have while jumping up and down. Then, they issue empty threats saying that if Dave doesn't think we're a fun enough audience, he won't use his best jokes (as if they're going to rewrite the content in five minutes).

The show itself was pretty fun. We saw former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and television actress Juliana Marguiles. The taping went by pretty quick and the studio is a lot smaller than it looks on TV.

BUT, the highlight of the trip was probably getting on the set of Sex and the City 2. Now I've actually never seen the show or the first movie, but that wasn't the point...I just wanted to be on a movie set.

Earlier in the day, I was walking through Time Square with Darren, when I began to feel and little rumbly in my tumbly. Across the street I noticed an indescript table with food. Yea Food! We moseyed on over and noticed a sign that read "cast and crew only."

Naturally, my mind began to scheme.

There was a peculiar door adjacent to the table that opened into a narrow stairwell. I immediately wanted to check it out. Darren was resistant. Luckily, I can be very convincing ;) So we went up four or five flights of stairs until we came upon an open door that with a sign: "Set -> Sex and the City 2."

Jackpot Baby! This was too good.

Inside there was a bunch of crew moving pieces of set around. There was a bar in the back and some of the actors were taking a break and having a drink. Near the windows overlooking Time Square however, was where all the action was taking place. Darren had this huge camera hanging over his shoulder, so I used it as an opportunity to act like we belonged there. As we shuffled around the set, I barked out orders to him as if I was his supervisor:

Me: "Now make sure you're ready to take the shot when they need it! I think this lighting is decent for what we need. I want to capture MAGIC today! Now be ready to shoot and stay out of the way otherwise!"

Ok, Ok...I may have been hamming it up a little excessively.

On set, they were setting up a shot with some sexy secretary with thick rimmed glasses at a desk with big windows overlooking Times Square behind her. The director was giving her instructions and Kim Cattrall was getting pampered with beverages as she sat in the chair labeled "Kim Cattrall." It was pretty interesting to see that each major crew/cast member actually had their own special chair with a label.

After being their for probably 20 or 25 minutes, the producer finally came up to us:

Producer: "And you guys are???"
Me: "Oh we're just NYU film students. Carry on!"
Producer: "And you're here because?"
Me: "Oh just checking stuff out. Thought it'd be a nice learning experience! Don't worry about us!"
Producer: "You guys can't be here and need to leave right now. And by the way, if you ARE film students, you shouldn't just walk on to movie sets."

We took off, but only after I grabbed one of the water bottles reserved for the "A-Cast." I embedded the crappy video (since obviously we weren't supposed to be taking video). Funny enough, when I looked up Sex and the City 2 after getting back to the hotel, the first article that popped up was one about how they've had to beef up security because fans were getting too close to Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall.

Obviously their security needs some work ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Challenge Yourself to Be More Social

If you're a regular reader (although "regular" would be a bit of a stretch considering how terrible I've been about posting recently) of the most awesome blog on the planet (this one, OBVIOUSLY) then you know that I'm a big advocate of trying to be a social as possible. I detail the benefits in my post The Power of Being Social, and go into extensive detail in my book The Social Charmer. One of the things I advocate in my book is taking initiative in putting yourself in situations that are only fun if your willing to break out of your social shell!

There's never an excuse to be standing off to the side on your own. People will open up to you if you give them the chance!

Most people shy away from situations in which they know hardly anyone. I personally LOVE these situations, and many times look at being in a room with a bunch of people I don't know, as a challenge of my social skills and charm. FOUR, such occassions happened recently which I'm obviously going to tell you about :)

It all started with an Art Show: A few weeks ago I got an invitation to an Art / Music show from a friend. Now she's not exactly a close friend so the option of going and clinging to her all night wasn't really in play (although the "clinger" option should realistically NEVER be in play!). Even though I knew no one else who was going, I decided to suit up and go!

Of course when I arrived, I didn't just blast in and start yapping away. I got some wine, checked out the art, got some more wine, checked out the music etc. But in the midst of my bouncing around, I decided that the "modern art" was either obsurdly simplistic or I am just an undiscovered art prodigy that finds the complexities of modern art entirely juvenile. Of course I began telling everyone that I will be submitting my finest modern work for the next display including "Dot on Canvas" and "Left-handed Signature on Notebook Paper."

Among the many people I met was a girl named Jenny. How did I meet her? Well, as the event photographer was taking pictures of people checking out the art, he happened to be taking shots of her looking at some picture, and trying to look "natural." Of COURSE I had to make fun of her.

In my best photographer voice:
"Yes! Yes! Give me natural! Give me passion! Where's the passion!?! Where's the bloody passion!!?! FIRED! FIRED! We can't work with you!"

We talked for awhile and she invited me and my friend to her birthday shin-dig that weekend. Yes! Another event where I know NO ONE!

Most people would have made up an excuse and not gone. I had just met this girl, and she had invited me to hang out with her and 30 friends, none of which I know.

You can imagine her pleasant surprise when I showed up! Again, the night was a lot of fun and I ended up going away with 30 new friends.

The next day, I was invited to an Engagement Party Pub Crawl of Awesomeness (what a way to get engaged!). Again, there were a ton of people I had never met, but I had a great time and met some great people (Including Syrus from the Real World).

Fast forward to a couple of days ago while I was in New York, and I decided to meet up with a friend from grade school whom I hadn't seen for like 9 years. So I had to take the subway to queens, transfer, and then the subway to Brooklyn. We go have dinner then she invites me to go to a "Going away get together" for one of her dear friends, at which all of her other best friends who I have of course never met, will be. New place, new people, and the one person I know I haven't seen in nearly a decade.

Here we go!

Again, I had an awesome night and met some incredible people. It's not that I've been somehow lucky enough to fall into situations where people are particularly endearing towards the new guy. Each and every time I've definitely had to work my way into "part of the gang," especially in NYC where the group I was hanging out with was very tight knit.

So what's the big secret? Well, it's not just one thing, but the biggest thing I've noticed that makes people warm up to you right away, is when you ASSUME familiarity. What I mean is, treat everyone like they're an old friend. I love teasing people I've just met, expecially because most people only do this with old friends.

Common protocol when two people don't know each other is to ask a lot of surface questions, don't risk offense, keep the tone relatively unemotional.

I do the exact opposite. I make up silly nick names for people, I give them a hard time, I certainly ask questions, but I dig deeper than the surface, because THAT's where people reveal their passion.

When you ACT like you've known someone for a long time, somehow, the feeling of familiarity between the two of you seems to accelerate far beyond normal pleasantries.

I also enjoy telling funny, embarassing stories about me. Again, most people wouldn't reveal something embarassing about themselves in front of people they've just met. But who are usually the only people to know embarassing stories about you? Your close friends. All of a sudden, everyone is laughing and know they know ME from not only the content of my story, but from the way I tell the story which reveals a lot about my personality.

Don't be afraid to jump into a group of new people. Once you do behave as you would amongst your good friends. You'll be surprised at how much fun you have, and you just might walk away with a new friend or fifty!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The 2009 Relay for Life of Awesomeness

It's amazing the fulfillment one can get by helping those in need.

The last three years, I've been involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is basically a huge fundraiser that takes place at different times in the year at various locations all around the world, and is a 24 hour event to raise money for the fight against cancer.

At first, I hesitated to jump head first into the cause. I've never known anyone close to me personally to be directly affected by cancer, so the cause didn't resound to me. Then, after watching the luminaria ceremony honoring those lost, and finding out that 1 in 3 people are directly affected by cancer at some point in their life, the cause became much more important.

Odds are, you or me, or someone we're extremely close to will get cancer. It's high time we get our charitable booty in gear!

So this year, I became the Team Recruitment Committee Chair and Events Coordinator for the San Diego Downtown Relay for life. I've previously posted about my first relay, last years relay and the beginning of my involvement this year which have all been great experiences.

This year, we made HUGE progress! We went from 18 teams to 46, from 200+ participants to 600, and from $18,000 raised to $80,000!

As team recruitment chair, I actually made the "Big Catch" of the event by getting the Fish Market restaurant to have a team! How did I do this? By way of a little Social Charm :)

One Saturday morning, while walking around Sea Port Village to secure any possible donations, I walked into the Fish Market and requested the manager. After explaining exactly who I am and that I'm not selling anything, I proceeded to butter up the manager with some smooth talking and a bat of the eyes.

Putty in my hands.

Before I knew it, they had not only donated a dinner for two to auction of for charity, but lead all Relay teams in team members, fundraising, and even agreed to provide food for part of the event.

Sometimes I even impress MYSELF with my charm! (ok, ok...the fish market restaurant manager will contend that I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and neither my charm nor devilish good looks had anything to do with their participation, but rather the cause of the event. I still maintain otherwise!!!)

Being such an integral part of the event this year, I couldn't let our Relay for Life be just ordinary ;) It had to wreak of awesomeness and debauchery!

You see, most Relay for Lifes take place on high school tracks (BORING!). We already had a head start because we were at the North Embarcadero in San Diego, right on the water with incredible views of Downtown! Additionally, most Relays don't have a ton of events or entertainment.

We are the complete opposite.

But, to boost the awesomeness to Arun levels, I of course had to incorporate a little "Arun flair."

As you know, I like competitions, so I made sure the event was littered with them. We had the good ol' fashioned 3-legged race, the balloon toss, wheelbarrow race, and my personal favorite, and the event I've been hyping to team captains for the last 4 months, the Hot Dog Eating Contest! (see the videos)

So after 24 straight hours of games, various musical entertainment (I opened with a little performance), a LOT of walking and eating (we had amazing food donated all day from various downtown restaurants), and socializing, it was time to rest....which is exactly what we DIDN'T do! (common, you should know this by now)

Instead, we went to "Dick's Last Resort" who opened early for us to have our after party. Since we can't consume alcohol at the event, we proceeded to drink our sleepy delirium 10 in the morning.

Suffice it to say, come 8 o'clock, I was feeling all types of loopy and exactly radiate good looks. I proceeded to crash for 12 hours.

Thank God this event is only once a year...I don't think I'd be able to take much more in my old quarter-century age :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Life Initiative

Ok...first of all, yes, I know I've been awful about posting recently. I've been pretty busy with a few things, and more relevantly, I've actually had a tough time thinking of anything worth posting.

Part of the problem is, I don't like posting half-ass single paragraph blurbs. I'm more of a "full-ass" kind of guy and I like more complete works of writing! I'll try and re-up my posting frequency...but no promises. Dilution of the best blog ever (according to me...and my Mom) is not an option!!!

Rule number 18 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: Thou shalt take initiative in life and ignore trivial consequences." I'm not sure why I decided to write rule 18 in Old English, but it sounds more important that way.

I take a lot of pleasure in the act of moving forward. Despite being "happy" I don't know if I'm ever fully "content" with anything. That is, while I may be thoroughly satisfied with the present state of something, I will not stop working towards making it better.

This applies to EVERYTHING.

I like sports and am pretty good at most of them, but I actually spend time practicing because I enjoy improving (and winning). I never dreamed of running a marathon, but the satisfaction of improving my fitness to a point where I could not only finish one, but do so in a respectable time was amazing! And the consequences were trivial...waking up early on weekends, some minor injuries, and the general physical discomfort of busting my ass.

A common trend is for people to plan on running a marathon, but they never take initiative and SIGN UP because the consequences scare them too much.

I have a very good job, but I am certainly not ready to settle into an "OK" career. I want something I am passionate about, so soon enough, I'll be heading back to school and going in a more self satisfying direction. Again, many people would quell this desire and plan for big things in the future without ever doing them because the short term consequences (reentering school, applying, not making money, etc) are too intimidating.

I just completed the GMAT and am studying for the GRE in preparation for Graduate School application season. I'm taking initiative.

This behavior happens socially as well. For many people, once they have a couple of close friends, they don't feel the need to reach out and bring other people into their lives. Even though I have a close circle of relationships, I make it a point to extend myself socially to meet other people, because, quite frankly, there are a lot of diamonds in the rough.

It all starts with one. Think of something you really want, accept the consequences and take a tangible step towards it TODAY. Show some life initiative and soon enough, the consequences will seem trivial.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding Crashers

My Birthday is in the Fall, Winter brings Christmas, Spring has, well, Spring Break, and Summer delights with Wedding Season!

I thought I had finished my Summer's worth of weddings last month when I attended two awesome weddings. The first was one of my best friends from College who had probably the most fun wedding I've been to. Aside from some of my really good friends who hardly get to see anymore being there, there was AMAZING food (always adds mucho points to any festivity in my book) as well as an open bar (ditto).

Postulate 58 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: Weddings shall be planned such that the ceremony is kept to minimal length (15 minutes max) such that extra time may be added to the reception (the real reason everyone goes to weddings anyways). Reception shall include Ample food and booze, as well as a regulation dance floor, and at least one beautiful, single, woman.

Becca's wedding satisfied all of my criteria of awesomeness.

The second was Jeff's sister's wedding.

Apparently, Jeff's Mom was quite happy I attended. According to Jeff, I was the M.E.G. ("Most Entertaining Guest) of the night.

So this last Saturday brought me to yet another wedding, and of COURSE I wanted to keep up my reputation as the M.E.G., only this time, I didn't know the Bride OR the Groom.

Allow me to expound.

I was supposed to go to this bowling alley/bar downtown on Saturday evening for a friends birthday shindig. In the afternoon though, I was invited to someone's pool party, so I thought, "Hey! What better way to warm up for a birthday party, than by going to a pool party before hand!" Seemed logical enough.

So my friend AK and I head over and meet our friends Jenny and Rashelle over there. The one thing you need to know about Jenny and Rashelle is that they LOVE to play Flip Cup (a popular competitive drinking game).

One hour later, half the party is involved in a giant flip cup game. Fast forward another couple of hours and it's about 6:30. AK and I were supposed to be at the birthday thing at 4:30.


As we get ready to take off, Rashelle enlightens us with this little tidbit. "There's a Padres game at 7:00, so not only will you be fighting traffic all the way downtown, but parking is gonna be a bitch! Why don't you guys come to Kate Sessions Park with us and continue the flip cup magic, then go downtown when the traffic has settled?!?"

As we established earlier, I'm not one to argue with good logic, so to the park we went!

Upon re-commencement of our flip cup game, we noticed a wedding reception just beginning. The DJ was awesome so we set up our table nearby to enjoy the tunes. Soon, wedding goers started noticing our awesome game and migrated over to have a peek. Yes, they wanted to join in.

The more the merrier, so soon, a bunch of people from the wedding party were rabidly involved in a flip cup battle! As the battle waged on, we noticed, as part of the reception, they had one of those huge inflatable bouncy rooms.

Suffice to say, we ended the game and got our bounce on. I was bouncing so hard, I managed to bounce my way to a broken belt. Once thoroughly exhausted, we joined the dance party at the reception and enjoyed whatever delicious dessert it was they were serving. We were dancing up such a storm that the wedding photographer was taking a bunch of action shots of us...should be interesting when the bride and groom get the pics and wonder who the hell we are :) When it came "Garter Belt toss" time, AK and I joined in! (Though I wonder what would've happened if one of us caught it).

At this point the Birthday party was thoroughly forgotten and I was only focused on maintaining my reputation as the M.E.G.

Until next wedding season...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Spend Lots of Money in Vegas Without Gambling

Vegas is always a good time. BUT, a good time in Vegas frequently runs you a buck or two. Usually people return from Vegas lamenting about how far "up" they were before a streak of "bad luck" (also know as "normal luck") took them into the red.

Well I recently returned from Vegas in the red alright, but it sure wasn't because of gambling. In fact, I almost never gamble in Vegas. I HATE giving money to casinos and even losing twenty bucks makes me cringe.

But, for those of you interested in throwing lots of money around without gambling in Vegas, I've constructed an easy-to-follow, step by step guide for your spending pleasure!

Step 1: Go with a friend(s) who likes to spend money. When people around you start spending, you generally follow suit. My buddy 'CT' was the originator of the Vegas plan and he definitely likes to drop change...he's also a professional online poker player. And when I say professional, I mean he has no other job other than playing poker online and making a comfortable living off of everyone else's money!

This seemed pretty glamorous to me for awhile, but the amount of time I would have to spend to get as good as he is, is simply not worth it.

Step 2: Have said friend book the hotel for the trip. In my previous visits to Las Vegas, I have stayed at Mandalay Bay, The Venetian, and the Rio - all reasonably priced. This time however, CT booked us in the "Tower Suites" of the Wynn Hotel. According to Wikipedia, the Tower Suites are the only 5 star rated suites in Vegas.

The nice bonus here is that I really don't know exactly how much this cost. CT owed me a bunch of money for some consulting work I did for him, so rather than having to write him a check, I actually just RECEIVED a big deposit from him with the amount far as I was concerned, I was making money!

Step 3: Fly to Vegas. The previous three trips, I had driven. Driving there is all fine and dandy - the excitement makes it worth it. BUT, driving back is HELL. You're tired and battered, and you won't get back until late Sunday, just in time to prepare for Monday work.

Flying was awesome! San Diego to Vegas is less than an hour, and in all fairness, the rates weren't that bad, although I had to change my ticket date at the last minute which added a little expense. On the plane, I probably looked like your typical Vegas tourist as I sat there reading "Bringing Down the House: How a Group of MIT students took Vegas for Millions!" I suppose in order for me to do that, I'd have to start gambling.

Step 4: Lose Credit Card Roulette at dinner the first night. Me and some of my friends do this on occasion by having the waiter pick a random credit card to foot the bill. I've generally had good luck at "CCR" and in the spirit of Vegas, we decided to roll the dice.

Welp...the dice rolled right into my pocket and moseyed on out carrying $140 bucks.

Step 5: Order Bottle Service at Tryst in the Wynn. Tryst was awesome and it was great having a table and not having to wait in line, but I don't think I have to elaborate on the extravagant prices of bottle service at a top Vegas club.

Step 6: Go see the Cirque Du Soleil: 'O' at the Bellagio. Tickets are pricey, but honestly, really worth it. I've now seen three Cirque shows in Vegas: Mystere, Ka, and now 'O', and the later was the BEST one yet! If you don't mind shelling out, I'd definitely recommend it.

Step 7: DON'T have a friend you know in Vegas get you in places for free. OK, ok...I have to confess. The last night in Vegas, my friend who lives there came out and used his connections to get us into places without paying or waiting in line. So if you are just burning to burn some Benji's, then by all means order bottle service again.

Step 8: Buy pointless stuff and eat out a lot I got suckered into buying some silly magic trick at the magic store in New York New York. We also ate out for our meals. My "cheap" meal was a Panini Sandwich with no sides for a measly 12 bucks. TWELVE DOLLARS for some freakin toasted bread, chicken and cheese!?!

So there you have it. Happy spending! And if you still have some extra desire to burn some more dough, I am available as a personal consultant for you to spend money on in Vegas as well :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

One Man's Influence Over a Population, and a Person

You never really realize the significance of someone until they're gone. It seems like everyone, including myself, is realizing today what Michael Jackson meant to the world, and to themselves.

From a grand perspective, it's impossible to ignore Michael Jackson's contribution to pop culture. He's the biggest selling solo artist of all time, owns the number one selling album in history, embarked on the most profitable tour ever, and is responsible for the two best selling musical home videos to date.

Not too shabby.

Michael Jackson broke barriers down not only for people of color, but for a musical style that everyone embraced. MTV wouldn't play black artists before Michael Jackson and he ushered in a new era of music video mini-movies.

I think it's safe to say that MJ is a musical and performance icon.

But what's often overlooked is the NON-music side of MJ; the sensitive, caring, and incredibly giving person that he was. Most people aren't aware that Michael Jackson made EXTENSIVE charitable contributions to charities world-wide. He co-wrote "We Are The World" with Lionel Richie which raised tens of millions of dollars to combat the hunger problem in Africa. He funded an entire hospital operation for burn victims with the settlement he received from Pepsi after his own experience with burning. (Please check out the video below).

He profoundly affected millions of people around the world....including me.

Michael Jackson was my first idol. He is THE reason I learned how to dance. My best moves are all modeled after MJ. As a musician, he's shaped precisely who I am when I perform. Seeing that I spend most of my youth belting out Michael Jackson tunes, I guess this is no surprise ;)

I love Michael Jackson, and I've never made this a secret. MJ has been unfairly brutalized my the media more than any celebrity in history. Is he eccentric? Certainly. But isn't that his prerogative? Look at where he came from:

He worked harder than most people do in their entire lives, at the age of four. Rest wasn't an option, and mistakes were punished with the force of a switch, belt, electrical cord, or any other convenient device. Most of us have family to fall back on when we are teased. His father and brothers teased him mercilessly about his "huge" nose and his acne.

Most of us battle incredible insecurity when a pimple pops up prominently on our face, but when you can't count on the closest people you know to comfort you, where do you go? To add to that, he had a skin condition called Vitiligo which completely destroys the pigmentation of the skin and mostly affects black people.

I can't imagine the feeling of identity loss and the psychological toll that would accompany such an involuntary transformation.

Most people don't know these things, and/or refuse to believe them because he was frequently portrayed as a freak by the media in order to boost ratings. As a kid, I learned a great deal about independence and confidence when I stepped up to defend the guy I idolized.

It's not easy defending someone who everyone makes fun of when you're in middle / high school. But I never once relented. I was frequently alone against the masses, but when it came to Michael Jackson, I ALWAYS had his back.

I never believed any of the ludicrous allegations against him.

I used to watch every interview and every music video. I read his autobiography at least twice. To this day, if I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Michael Jackson.

His passing yesterday was certainly a shock. I was excited for a forthcoming album and was ready to jump on the comeback train. For all the years his music and example supported me, I owed him my support.

I don't know how different I would be today had MJ never existed, but I'm sure I'm a better person because of him. His example of hard work, perfectionism, and generosity is one that everyone should embrace.

Michael Jackson didn't know me, but I certainly knew him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why You Should Be Late to the Technology Party

I'm never the first one with the new toy...but I end up with it eventually.

I'm generally a pretty smart shopper, and in general, am always looking for the biggest bang for the least buck: but I'm also a sucker for sweet deals. When it comes to tech purchases, I almost never buy things as soon as they come out despite all the buzz.

First, they always cost entirely too much money. Take the I-phone for example. When it first came out, it was around 500 bucks. Now, you can get one for about $200, and guess what? It's still one of the most (if not the most) state of the art phones out there!

Secondly, the initial release of new technology ALWAYS has design and/or software issues. So, not only are you paying an ice-cream-loving motherload for the new toy, but your new toy is breaking an awful lot. Your buck is not doing a whole lot of banging.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new computer. But before I did, I wanted to figure out the best way to get my buck to bang like Casanova on Spring Break. First: what do I need? Well, I really like having a laptop, but I've been disappointed by the difficulty in upgrading components as well as the generally short lifespan they have. Plus 75% of the time, I'm not really taking my laptop anywhere.

So, I resolved to buy a desktop as well as a new hard drive for my struggling laptop which should remedy it's current crappy performance. Now, I have a laptop to take with me to do anything I would need a computer to do, along with a kick-ass powerhouse computer at home for me to gawk at while I check email on my unnecessarily huge 23 inch screen.

Now, where do I buy it? I checked prices online for the configurations I liked. Then, I checked arguably the best store ever in the world and did some comparisons.

Costco never fails me.

The HP's loaded with the features I wanted were at least a couple hundred bucks less than anywhere else! To boot, Costco has an excellent return policy. To double boot, as an executive member, I get cash back on the purchase. To double boot, plus one sequined white glove, I get cash back on my American Express card too! To double boot, plus one sequined white glove plus a smooth looking fedora, by paying on my American express, they double the initial warranty on the product!

Of course, being an admitted sucker for deals, I went ahead and paid another $150 to get a bigger monitor and a whole slew of upgrades which I really don't need. But my bucks are the star of the party!

Now that I had the computer though, I felt like one other thing needed an upgrade. I had been talking about upgrading my old-school flip phone to a fancy schmancy Smart phone. As I mentioned above, the prices these days are pretty bangin.

So, I did my research, and as a Verizon Wireless Customer, narrowed my choices down to the Blackberry Storm, Samsung Omnia, and LG Envy touch. I was all set to purchase the Samsung until I went into the store to do one last personal inspection.

I had heard mixed reviews about the BB Storm, but apparently these issues have since been mitigated by the latest Blackberry software updates. The LG Envy Touch had a smallish touch screen plus a qwerty k-pad which to me is useless when you have a touch screen. The Omnia was sleek, but the ergonomics of the interface were difficult and you needed to use this rinky-dink stylus hung on the side of the phone to dial and text on the crammed keypad.

But I still wasn't ready to purchase. Today I watched a few video's online evaluating the Storm and comparing it to the I-phone (arguably the most popular phone on the market) and it's pretty much neck and neck. Apparently some of the luke-warm reviews I have been reading were posted before the recent software upgrades.

Blackberry it is!

So today I'm gonna roll in and get my new Blackberry state-of-the-art phone for only 100 buckaroos!

Sure, I might be late to the party, but aren't those the guys who get the most "bang" anyways? ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Social Charmer

Well it FINALLY happened. After months of delay and a lot of work, I've finally launched my first ebook! That's right: the anxiously awaited (by me), long anticipated (by me), ebook of the millenium (according to me) is finally here!

The Social Charmer

This idea started a long time ago after I wrote the post The Power of Being Social. Even now, over two years later, that is still one of the most popular posts on here. In fact, it's usually found by Googlers who search terms like, "being social," "how to be more social," etc.

Coincidentally, around the same time, I had begun to use ebooks as a source of reading and information including a couple of purchases. Soon a little bell in my head went off. Hey, if there's one thing I'm really good at and could actually teach a large amount of people about, it's being more sociable to open up life opportunities.

Generally, I'm pretty entrepreneurial minded, so I decided to write an ebook. I probably finished the first draft like eight months ago. Revision took a little while, but the most time consuming and unfulfilling part was building the web-page. I'm not super web savvy, so building the site took some time along with writing the ad-copy (which, coincidentally, I hate doing...I've never liked sales), and getting the right pictures for the product.

Soooo, after over a year of work on and off, the site, the BOOK is finally launched! Check it out! (oh, and feel free to order a copy too ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Marathon Man

Check another one off the bucket list.

It is now Wednesday and I am STILL hobbling around from Sunday's "San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon." To say I'm sore would be a gross understatement. To say my legs ache so much that I wish I could go back in time and sucker punch the inventor of the stair, would be slightly more accurate.

BUT, it was all worth it. My goal for my first marathon was to beat 4 hours (a very respectable time...especially for a first-time marathoner). In order to provide you with the full marathon experience, I will breakdown the the day of the marathon and the marathon itself mile by mile for your entertainment:

4:30am - Alarm goes off. I'm utterly confused as to why my alarm is going off, blaring "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers as it's pitch black and drizzling outside...oh yea...I have a marathon today.

4:31am: - Phone alarm goes off playing an annoying midi version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." I learned my two-alarm setting lesson from watching Seinfeld!

5:00am: Arrive downtown with a belly half full of Gatorade, a Cliff bar, and banana. I don't like exercising on a full stomach.

5:15am: Nerves are killing me and I have to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes.

5:45am: Walk 1 mile over to the starting line in Balboa Park. The line at each of the like 30 portapotties is ludicrous so we head over to the canyon with all of the other smart guys and hydrate the vegetation.

6:25am: National Anthem ~ meh...pretty good but I can do better after all of my shower practice.

6:30am: Starting Gun! I start in Corral 2 of like 30 thus avoiding having to bob and weave around people since I'm in the front.

Mile 1: Feeling good, looking good....and the Kenyans are nearly out of sight already.

Mile 2: Heading into Hillcrest...Is that pancakes I smell?

Mile 3: It was Definitely pancakes...mmmm pancakes. I like pancakes.

Mile 4: First encounter with friends on the course. They're cheering, I'm waving and yelling..yea! Feeling good! Marathon Shmarathon!

Mile 5: Heading back into downtown passed the trolley station. Is that urine I smell? Yep definitely urine.

Mile 6: Friend group #2. They don't see me in the crowd but I call out, jump up and down and wave to get their attention. Look how much energy I have!

Mile 7: Passing the Ballpark. I should go to a game this year...oooh, on two for one hotdog night!

Mile 8: Rocking out to a band playing "Old Time Rock N Roll" by Bob Segar...great song!

Mile 9: Heading onto HW 163. Awesome! Never thought I'd have to chance to actually run in the middle of the freeway!

Mile 10: Two attractive girls in front of me are running a pretty good pace. Might as well follow! :)

Mile 11: The novelty of running up the freeway has worn off and I'm now ready for bigger crowds. BUT, I'm still feeling great!

Mile 12: Heading through Mission Valley. Crowds going nuts and I'm feeling great! Still drafting behind two cute girls.

Mile 13: Hit the halfway point at 1 hour, 51 minutes and feeling great! I start having visions of shattering my four hour goal and finishing in the 3:30's.

Mile 14: Cute girls be damned...I'm passing them! I rule!

Mile 15: One of the many Elvis guys on the course is passing me and yet still has the time to stop, pose for pictures, then pass me again. AND he dressed in the full get up! How is he doing this?

Mile 16: Mission Bay is awesome. Beautiful views of the water! My legs are feeling a slight tingle of fatigue but nothing major.

Mile 17: Approaching Pacific Beach. My buddy Chris jumps in to run with me for the last nine miles. Fatigue beginning to set in.

Mile 18: Still feeling a little fatigue but not too bad. People always talk about hitting "the wall" around mile 18 to which I say aloud "Wall Shmall!"

Mile 19: Hi five some more friends who came out to watch. I got this! Only 7 miles to go!

Mile 20: Starting to slow down a bit to which Chris says to me, "Common Arun! Only 6 miles to go!" Then a girl in front of us turns around and says, "Hate to break it to you guys, but it's actually Eight point TWO miles left!" ass.

Mile 21: it was a bit too soon to yell "Wall Shmall." My legs are dying now and each mile seems a lot longer.

Mile 22: I see Lauren cheering me on, but there is no more jumping or yelling. I only have the energy for a little smile.

Mile 23: My left leg is cramping everytime I push off. I grab a salt packet and down it as this is supposed to help cramping. Brilliantly, there is no aid station with water for another 3/4 mile so I'm stuck with this disgusting taste in my mouth!

Mile 24: So close! I feel like I'm hardly moving. My dreams of 3:30 are gone but my goal of under 4 is easily reachable!

Mile 25: Still cramping but pushing through! I can taste the finish!

Mile 26: I enter the military base where the race finishes and start sprinting...the only problem is, the finish line is further than I thought so I have to dial it back again.

Finish: 3:51:22! I beat 4 hours! I'm COMPLETELY whiped out and have nothing left. I go to the medical tent and get ice on my quads while refueling with a banana and chocolate milk.

Later, I get hooked up to the electrical stimulus machine which sends weird pulses through your legs and makes em' jiggle like crazy. Supposedly this facilitates toxin release.

Physically, this is probably the hardest thing I've ever done. Mentally, you truly have to overcome the pain barrier and push yourself to new limits! Not only does this make you physically more fit, but mentally, you become stronger as well.

Will I run another marathon? Not sure, but I would say probably. The feeling with the HUGE crowds cheering you on is amazing!

The feeling now of having to use my shopping cart as a "walker" when I go out because my legs are too sore to walk normally, is not quite as amazing. But it is well worth the accomplishment.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, and Status Litter

"Susie is: Going to the beach with my Bubby to cuddle!"

"John: has the best Schmoopy ever...I win!"

"Sarah is: beach, swim, lunch with Scotty-too-hotty, spa, massage, drinks with the girls, pack for Jamaica!"

The world today has many problems: The economy, Swine flu, Terrorism...and online status litter. Although I am admittedly well-integrated into the world of online social networking, I rarely find an occasion to provide a stream-of-conciousness insight to my life that has become the Facebook (or twitter) status update.

Any rational person realizes how nausea-inducing some of these status updates are.

First we have the POLDA offenders (Public On-Line Display of Affection). As it is, I'm not a fan of seeing people sucking face while I'm walking through the park or waiting at the bar for a drink. Now they have invaded my HOME!

POLDAers seem to think they can skirt around normal PDA by simply using cuddly phrases like "I have the best Snookums ever!"

Ding Dong, Your Wrong!

I'm not sure if they're trying to publicly validate their relationship by showing people how much they love each other or what, but seriously, when you see someone nearly everyday, what other reason can there be for advertising to the world how "lovey wuvvy" your relationship is?

Yes I have friends that do this and they are solidly on my POLDA-LOVI-WUVI (Public On-Line Display of Affection - List Of Vomit Inducing - Willfully Unacceptable Viral Indecencies).

Although we can still be friends if you are on my POLDA-LOVI-WUVI, you should know that I thoroughly disapprove of your online shenanigans.

Aside from the POLDAers, we also have the people who feel the need to put their daily agenda up for the world to see.

"Jenny: ran 5 miles, was fed lunch by the Awesome Committee, beach, massage, and getting ready for the yacht party!"

Ok...I get it. Jenny, your life is awesome and I'm jealous. These people post daily highlights that make them sound like a retired rock star. Either that, or they post a laundry list of incredibly mundane activities which are even worse to read.

Others prefer to bombard the online community with hourly (or even minutely) updates as to what they're doing/thinking/wanting/hating/eating/watching etc.

How about the sympathy update? Things like "Michelle is having an awful day :(" These always get the desired response of attention with like people responding asking what's wrong and what they can do. If it's a hot chick, there'll be 10 responses with 7 of them male.

Occasionally people use the status update as it was meant to be used: to post interesting blurbs about something cool you're doing that will make others chuckle or take interest.

That's what I usually go for (although my status updates are few and far between). Yes, it's a strict code to live by - but all in the name of lifetime awesomeness!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The 4th Annual 2 on 2 Co-Ed Leroy Invitational

If there's a competition going on, you can generally count on two things with me:

1. I don't care what it is, I want in
2. I will have already begun trash-talking, regardless of my skill level in the chosen sport.

So, when my friend Silvia asked me if I'd be her partner in the 2009 Leroy Invitational basketball tournament, my answer was, "Yes! And we are going to DOMINATE everyone like the Harlem Globetrotters embarrass the Washington Capitals every week!"

In preparation for the Leroy, we needed a team theme as well as creative bios. Silvia left his in my hands since she knows I like to write. I had however forgotten to write them until about 15 minutes before the deadline, so in my haste, I whipped up these beauties:

80's Allstars

Silvia - "Slice n' Dice":
'Slice' leads the 80's All Stars into battle this year with experience, athleticism,
and style. Whether she's sippin on the finest red wine, or dominating people on the court, she's not afraid to rock the neon spandex. This year, Slice has prepared for Leroy ownage by cross training with such sports as kickball, bocci-ball, and sex. Though small in size, she's not afraid to throw a hard, hospital sending foul if you get past her. Don't let the pretty face fool you...Silvia "Slice n Dice" Noriega will eff you up!

Arun - "The Face":
Arun earned the nickname "The Face of San Diego" from his runway prowess, but the name extends to the court as well. He's not afraid to throw the ball in YOUR face. Arun specializes in Trash Talk Distraction (TTD). He gets in your head, does cartwheels, and doesn't get out! Although he is a Leroy rookie, his basketball experience is far from novice. Arun has extensive experience from Freshman year basketball tryouts (after which he was cut). Furthermore, he has an impeccable H-O-R-S-E record and even more impeccable P-I-G record. He plays a nice enough game, but if you touch his most prized possession, his Face, BEWARE - he just might challenge you to a walkoff!

Suffice it to say, the competition was intimidated when these bios came out in the pre-tournament program.

So Sunday arrived, and Silvia were decked out in our Sunday Best - for some people this means a suit and tie, but for me it is ultra short shorts, an old school Jersey, and a headband. The crowd went wild when Silvia and I arrived.

The tournament went well and we were on a winning streak! All was looking good until I we ran into Big Ben, or more appropriately, Crazily Tall Ben. Silvia matched up fine against his partner, Michelle, but something about 6-2 Arun matched up against 6-9 Ben seems a tiny bit lop-sided.

This may come as a surprise to you, but he blocked several of my shots. Equally surprising may be that I managed to block exactly zero of his.

I will conveniently spare you the details of my ass-whipping, but we did manage to wind up on one side of the winners podium!

I still went home a winner though! At the post tournament barbecue, I'm pretty sure I managed to win the title for "most tacos consumed." Sure nobody else knew there was a contest going on, but since going home a loser was not an option, I conveniently neglected to inform everyone as I stuffed my face :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Confidence Scale

On the confidence scale, there is definitely a pretty small area in which “Healthy Confidence” falls. It may come as a surprise to you that I push the upper bounds of healthy confidence to extremes never tested :)

On the high extreme are people who are supremely over-confident. There’s a whole myriad of problems that accompany this issue. Over-confidence leads to getting into situations that are way over your head. Over-confident people think they can handle anything and everything, and never admit that maybe they are not the expert. As you can imagine, a lot of different problems can happen when you think you know what you’re doing, but really have no clue. Overconfidence/arrogance are a recipe for disaster as well as people not liking you.

On the other end are people who have an extreme lack of confidence. This can manifest itself in two ways, both of which can be annoying.

The first, and less annoying way, are the people who don't think they can do anything. They're favorite response when asked to do something is "I'll Try" or "I'll try my best!" The lack of confidence then perpetuates because, how in the hell are you supposed to do anything well when you can't envision success?

You can't!

The accumulation of failure or minimal success just reinforces the low self esteem.

The other types of people who lack confidence are those who try and hide it or make up for it by showing an overly confident facade.

There's a guy I play basketball with, lets call him Mo, who suffers from this "I'm the best, and you're going hear about it" syndrome. Generally, he's a nice guy and we get along...mostly because I don't feel the need to call him out on a lot of the "Bovine fecal matter" that he comes up with.

For example, last week he's going on and on about how he goes up to Riverside and he has like a harem of women who are all over him. Not quite the exact story, but that's the gist. I know that this is all nonsense, but I like humoring him to see how much more stuff he'll make up.

Mo: "Damn Arun, I went up to Riverside last week cuz this girl's been callin me...when I came back, she wasn't a virgin!"

Me: "Gee Mo, you've got a lotta game man."

Mo: "I've got me a lotta girls up there dawg!"

Then later on the basketball court, he's not exactly having a stellar day. Conveniently, he jams his finger. While it's entirely possible that he jammed his finger, the whole rest of the day he's looking at his hand shaking it around....and not playing very well.

Mo: "Wait till next week guys when my finger's better! Imma ball y'all up!"

Again, a truly confident person doesn't want anyone to know he's hurt. When Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, or Tiger Woods played hurt, they never used that excuse.

A healthy confidence means you don't feel the need to brag about yourself on a constant basis. I don't need to tell the world that a very cute girl asked ME out last night because I earn respect not by the company I keep, but by the way I behave. (although I suppose I just told you all :)

I've talked ad nauseum about the The Power of Self Confidence before, but I think a lot of people fool themselves into thinking they're confident when they're really not.

One shouldn't have to tell people you're confident. It should naturally show. That's not to say I'm 100% healthily confident as I still get butterflies and thoroughly enjoy tooting my own horn (and a quite good-looking horn it is if I do say so :), but at least I realize it!

Moral of the rant: Be yourself, believe in yourself, and the result will be a more confident person. And, start a blog so you can tell people how awesome you think you are so you don't feel the need to in person. (although, come to think of it, I quite the ego-maniac in person too!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dim Sum's and Training Runs

So here is a little email transcript from last week that my friend Mark sends out to my little running group:


Hi all,
How about 7 am at the SDAC on Sunday for a relaxing 22?



Isn't "a relaxing 22" an oxymoron? Somehow I don't think I'll be finding this all too relaxing, but count me in.



So the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon is on May 31st which means yesterday was supposed to be our longest run before tapering back to save the legs before the race. Well it turns out the sort of "leader" of the group, Mark, couldn't make it, so our friend Gary decided to step up and chart a nice route for us to run and get our mileage in.

The problem is, it's difficult to be precise when your running 22 miles. I glanced at the route he had planned for us, but at a glance, it's difficult to tell a few miles difference.

I should have looked harder because after 15 miles or so, EVERY MILE COUNTS.

So we take off from downtown San Diego and begin our run through the city. It's amazing how much ground you can cover while running for many hours at a time. We seriously ran ALL OVER the city! For those of you who know San Diego, our route was something like this:

Downtown -> Petco Park -> Hillcrest -> Balboa Park -> Friars Road in Mission Valley ->Marina Blvd -> Mission Bay Park -> Sea World -> Old Town -> Liberty Station in Point Loma -> Harbor Drive -> Downtown!

The problem was, Gary underestimated the mileage on our route. Rather than going for a "relaxing 22" we ended up going for a BRUTAL 25! That's right. TWENTY FIVE MILES!

What makes this especially painful is that, unlike how I will prepare for the marathon, my legs take a beating throughout the week. On Wednesdays, I do lower body weight training including squats and lunges. Tuesday and Thursday I do a spin class. Wednesday I play basketball, and Saturday I play outdoor basketball generally for at least two hours.

Now I'm no mathematician, but when you add in a 25 mile run that seems like a formula for PAIN.

Apparently my math was correct.

About 15 miles into the run, my legs started to hurt. Cardiovascularly, I can go for days, but these long runs are all about training the muscles for endurance (and in this case, your mind).

By about mile 18, I was just repeating in my mind, "four miles to go Arun. Four Miles! 32 more minutes of pain!"

Little did I know I still had more than an hour of running left.

The last few miles were absolutely brutal. I desperately wanted to walk, but I wouldn't let myself.

"Will and Determination. Will and Determination" I kept repeating those words to myself along with a few other colorful choice words that I don't think need repeating :)

When we finally arrived back at our starting point, I think the worst part was stopping. I soon as I stopped, my legs started aching like hell. It took almost an hour for the constant pain to subside.

I've definitely gained a new respect for endurance athletes. It's just as mental as it is physical, and resolving to push through the pain barrier is the only way to successfully compete. Sunday's run was physically one of the hardest things I've done.

Afterwards, I called my friends up to go get some authentic Chinese Dim Sum. My super awesome Garmin running watch registered me as having burned 4200 calories!

I suppose I earned a decent meal.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dim Sum, you basically sit at a table while servers bring these carts around with different types of chinese food. They're all small portions, so you can try a wide variety of foods as they bring by new stuff every few minutes.

Now the problem is, all of the servers were very, VERY, Chinese. What I mean is, they weren't exactly speaking the Queens English. This was a problem because none of us had any clue what was in the food they were bringing. Each time we asked, they politely answered, but I had no clue what they were saying.

I'm usually very good at understanding through accents, but this was too thick for even me.

Arun: "What's that one?"
Server: "Ahh, that swee pow baahng"
Arun: "Come again?"
Server: "Swee pow baahng, eet vei goo!"

I was so hungry after the run that I didn't care and we just started choosing things based on how they looked. Turns out "swee pow baahng" is "sweet pork bun" - actually very good.

In fact, everything was awesome.

Despite the pain of the long run, there's nothing like eating a great meal afterwards. And if there's one activity at which I'm a naturally gifted athlete, it's eating!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Habits: The Funny and The Annoying

I am a fan of observing daily life. When you look, really look around, its interesting to notice the funny habits we have that for some reason propagate among the general population. They're not confined to just one individual, but rather, it seems like most people have some of these peculiar behaviors. For those behaviors that came to mind today, I decided to classify them into two categories for you: yes you guessed it, "The Funny" and "The Annoying."

The Funny:

The Multiple Button Press - Why push a button once when you can push it fifty times for the same effect? Next time you're crossing a street on foot, take a gander at the person pressing the walk signal (or if you're footing solo, pay attention to yourself). Almost nobody EVER pushes the walk signal just once! Somehow, we feel that the more we push the button, the faster the traffic signal will decided to change for us to cross the street.

Even better is when you push the button, wait for a couple minutes, then go back and push it a few more times as if the traffic signal didn't hear us the first time.

The "Door Close" button in elevators is another popular target for "button wearout."

Topping Off - Do you stop filling when the automatic gas cut-off engages, or do you try to squeeze in as much gas as you can in the tank? Well, I'd guess AT LEAST 50% of us are routine "Topper Offers."

So lets look at those of us who top off. How many of us are actually driving until the tank is so bone-dry where that the extra 0.3 gallons of gas is going to save us from stalling out somewhere? In all the years I've driven, or been driving with someone, I have never once run out of gas. Conveniently, cars have a brilliant invention known as the "Gas Gauge" which actually senses how much gas is in the tank so you know when to fill up before running out!


But, for those of you whose gauge is off by exactly 0.3 gallons, I suppose it makes sense to top off.

Electronic Bangers - Somewhere along our natural progression of learning, we somehow deduced that banging things will make them operate better. "Maybe if I break it MORE it'll work again!" Ironically, this habit actually used to make sense despite how idiotic it seems.

I remember having an old TV growing up that would sometimes intermittently display everything in a shade of blue. But, if I gave it a couple of good Ninja Turtle Judo Chops to the side and maybe bent the left bunny ear a touch, the normal display colors would return!

So for those of us over, say, 20 years old, I suppose electronic banging is an ingrained habit that used to work but is hard to break. I have a feeling Judo Kicking the LCD TV in my living room won't result in anything more than my roommate yelling at me for harming his baby.

Moving Walkway Abusers - Ok, I can understand the purpose of escalators because for some people, climbing stairs is indeed a lot of effort. But moving walkways are totally abused!

Generally, you only find moving walkways in airports along long stretches of terminal. Functionally, they make sense for people who have short connections. Rather than having them run wildly through the airport toting a roley and lugging a backpack, the airport has kindly provided a means by which the hustlers can speed walk down towards their gate at super-human walking speeds!

It sounds good in theory, but the plethora of lazy airport commuters ruin the invention.

Why in the world do people feel the need to STAND on moving walkways!?! Are we so lazy that we can't even WALK? I understand if it's an elderly person or something, but it's absolutely ludicrous that people forgo the oh-so energy consuming task of walking.

Further adding to the annoyance is that the "standers" make it difficult for the walkway walkers to get anywhere fast because they have to bob and weave between the people standing on the walkway.

I make it a point NEVER to stand or even walk (unless I'm in a rush) on those things unless absolutely necessary.

Shopping Cart Ditchers: One day in the history of the world, God invented shopping cart bays so paying customers would not have to walk all the way back to the store to return their carts. But, underestimating our laziness, he neglected to make a bay in between EVERY SINGLE CAR.

How hard is it to walk a few steps and deposit your shopping cart into the common shopping cart deposit area? Instead, people put it in between spots or nestled up against the median, sticking out just far enough so that you have to navigate around it while pulling it, and gingerly open your door to avoid chipping the paint job on the nice new cart.

"Watch My Stuff" - This just happened to me yesterday. I was at the coffee shop studying, and this girl was kind of looking over. I think she liked me, but I was not attracted. Anyways, after a couple of minutes, she came over:

Her: "Hi, are you going to be here for a little while?"
Me: "Sure"
Her: "I'll be back, would you mind watching my stuff?"
Me: "Yea, no problem"

I really didn't understand why she wanted me to watch her stuff in the first place. All that was there was a couple of tattered MCAT study books, a water bottle, and a pencil. I would like to meet the thief that could actually find some use in stealing this stuff. Last I heard, there's not a huge demand for Medical School study books on the black market.

Anyways, I went about my studying, glancing over on occasion to make sure her table was undisturbed. An hour later, I'm about done, and this girl STILL isn't back! are you going to ask a stranger to watch your stuff for a "little while" and then take off for an hour!?! The "Watch my stuff" commitment expires after 10, maybe 15 minutes, but after that, the watcher's obligation is released. So now I was in a pickle. I am ready to go, but I have no idea when/IF she's coming back. Luckily, I was fairly confident that the "Med-School Menace" was not going to strike tonight, so I just took off.

Maybe she was stuck across the street because she only pushed the button once.