That Didn't Hurt At All

I stood there with my dress shirt pulled up some inches, and my pants pulled down the same distance to expose the bare skin on my right hip. His inquisitive face was very close. Almost uncomfortably close. But hey, we're adults, and he's a professional.

why you should wear shoes when walking in dark slummy alleys"We can try an injection of cortizone to the spots where you need the scar to reduce, or we can use a topical cortizone," he suggested.
"What do you suggest? It's been a year since the appendectomy. What's the best way to do this?" I asked, relying on his years of experience.
"We may as well go with the injection; it's simple and results are faster."
"Is it terribly painful?"
"Oh, it won't hurt me a bit," he replied with a grin.

It must be one of those jokes that doctors all over the world have used before, and probably with almost every single patient they have. Dentists probably know that joke too, but for some reason, I don't think the people seeing the dentists would find it quite as funny. But as much as I knew it was an old well-repeated joke, I had to chuckle. (Hey, it was funny.)

I lay there on the padded bed thing, and he donned the latex gloves, ready to attack my appendectomy scar. I felt a gentle poking at four distinct points along the length of my scar, but I couldn't strain to see it, for fear of stressing my belly area during the injection. And magically, after those probes, he stepped away. It was amazing, so painless, so easy-breezy-beautiful. I had great new-found respect for my dermatologist!

"That wasn't it, was it?"

"No, that was me and my magic pen, marking off where to inject. And applying a little alcohol on the surface." He wheeled around to the side table, and got the needle, punctured the sealed canister, and loaded it up. Turning to my scar, he announced, "Okay, now we're ready to get started."

Let me tell you this: cortizone injections hurt like a mutha.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Whoa. Earthquake.

Just a little one, with kind of a side-to-side, circular motion. Neat. Lasted maybe 5 seconds. If I were walking in the office during that time, I would have missed it. Our controller said, "Oh, it was? I thought it was just me."

Epicenter was 136mi south of San Jose, and 4mi underground. Details are still updating at the moment, and haven't been reviewed by a seismologist yet. But you can see that there have been several minor tremors in the past week or so (Gilroy is an hour south of me).

Oh well, back to work.

Ask a Stupid Question ...

I don't really enjoy having interviews -- all that nervousness, trying to make a good impression, trying to come off as an intelligent human being -- it just doesn't do well for someone like me. But more than that, I hate conducting interviews.

My biggest issue is what questions to ask. I already have a resume (and sometimes cover letter) in front of me, so I know what their on-paper credentials are. In a face-to-face, I want to get into the heads of those people, to see what their personalities are, and how they might work with our existing teams.

I hate asking/answering those silly cookie-cutter questions; I want something different. If you ask one of those boring standard questions, you're going to get a boring standard answer that's possibly been rehearsed, but always always always comes out sounding spun.

"What would you say is your biggest weakness?"
"Oh, hmmm ... well ... my friends say I'm too dedicated to my job, and I sometimes work too hard."

"What would your previous coworkers say about you?"
"They would probably say that I'm very hardworking, meticulous and pay attention to detail, and that I'm really a team player."

Excellent! You hit all the keywords I was looking for, so you get a 5 out of 5! Good for you! Instead, we need to find a different approach to getting at the real person. Some creative questions that feel more like discussions and less like tests -- putting the interviewee at ease is the first step towards getting genuine readings on their character.

If you need some serious problem-solving abilities, I've heard of companies that put you in a room, give you a problem and tell you to solve it in X minutes. Great. How lovely. But how about spruciing it up a little, with a question like ...

"If a train leaves Boston at 45mph, and another train leaves Chicago going at 60mph, what colour shirt do you think would go best with these pants?"

We could even twist those "what if" scenario-type questions, to see how they'd react in adverse interpersonal situations.

"What would you do if your coworker was taking credit for work that you had done?"
"What would you do if an irate customer demanded something immediately, something that you can't deliver?"
"What would you do if I slapped you like this?"

I've learned that when I conduct interviews, they're casual and laid-back, but professional. I'd rather it be a conversation, because it's as much the person interviewing the company as it is vice versa. The fit has to work both ways, or else that working relationship won't work. And I'm getting better at it! I wish all my interviews were like the ones I conduct -- job seeking would be way cooler and more fun.

* Here's a funny coincidence: From my shortlist of roughly 12 to 15 applicants, our CEO picked out 3 names to interview. The inadvertent coincidence: all female.

Random Readers

I blog about crap. All sorts of crap. And a whole lot of it, at that. Hey, it's okay. It's no secret. I'm man enough to admit that most of my blog is just useless banter and garbage.

now ... where are those ants?What's interesting is that people visit, read the first paragraph, and I can almost see their expressions right away. Kind of a, "Seriously? You took the time to blog about this??" And yet, I'll bet most of those visitors will continue and finish reading the blog entry anyhow. Dunno why. (Maybe you just really like reading about doodies.)

In any case, here is a short history of the web searches that eventually lead random people to read my spewing. It's all over the place.

Altavista: tenderizing ribs
Yahoo: swish fluoride
Yahoo: sit ubu sit, good dog
Yahoo: difference between chinos khakis
Yahoo: volleyball+wedgy
MSN Search: pictures of chicken tofu burgers
Yahoo: little bumps on triceps
Google: FEDEX SHANGHAI CN Left FedEx Origin Location
Google: confirm yes no
Yahoo: Mario Winan lyrics
Yahoo: eating mooncake
Yahoo: tenderize ribs
Altavista: kfee commercial
Yahoo: alias bluetooth headset
Google: azn blog
Yahoo: asianavenue html decoder

It's not in this list, but sometimes people actually search for my blog by name. I hope they're not stalkers. Unless they want to bestow me with expensive gifts (and then leave immediately). Then that would be kind of nice.

Dream A Little Dream

okay, okay, here are my late fees. i promise to return the book on time next time.Sometimes it's fun to dream about The Good LifeTM (above and beyond the good life you might already have).

If you were rich, what would you do with the money (in order of preference)? Buy what things and why? Go where and do what? If money is no object, what becomes the object then?

Dream on, people!

Spam Analysis

Apparently, this dude is fascinated with his junk mail enough to plot out his traffic of spam! And he had to keep all his spam messages since the dawn of dinosaurs to make these graphs! Kind of neat to see, really.

I mean, I hate spam, and I contribute regularly to my Cloudmark SpamNet as well as to my company's corporate spam algorithm. But I ain't keepin' them around just for fun later on! That's a lot of wasted space!

Anyway, sorry for not having a more amusing blog for you on this fine Monday morning.

Geeking Out

So here I am, just got into the Pleasanton Apple Store grand opening. For the 55-minute wait, I get a free T-shirt, and a close-up glimpse with the new iMac G5. I also get a joking reprimand from one of the Apple Store employees for taking so many photos of the glorious machine.

I'll hang around here for a little while longer, chat with the Genius Bar (aka Nerd Bar) about an issue I've had, and then go have a coffee. I deserve it. I think I've geeked out enough for the whole weekend, in this one hour!


can't you see? there's a sticker that says 'fragile'!Today, a short tribute to my sister. She's heading far west to get to the Far East. Returning to where her ancestry is, in hopes of securing a future. Back to the motherland, but away from her mother. It takes courage to move away from home and everything comfortable and familiar, let alone to another where the native language isn't yours. Best of luck.

Next Blog!

"Next blog!", it advertised. And upon succumbing to the temptation and clicking on the link, I stumbled across Pearls of Wisdom. It's contributed to by three girls -- I would imagine they're a couple of kids in college or something around that age. These short quips and one-liner quotes are always good for a laugh.

There was even another blog called "Unrequisited Love on the Blue Line", about a guy who writes about the attractive women he sees on some subway / train line every day in Chicago. Kind of neat, in a freaky creepy stalker killer-trying-to-come-out kind of way. It's no longer online. Maybe he got caught.

What If ...

Let's for the moment consider the following hypothetical situation. You're at Costco, and you eye a 1lb vacuum-packed bag of razor-thin sliced pastrami. It looks delicious. You get those little cooked food images in your eyes like they have in the cartoons when the guy is hungry and sees a live chicken. I mean, it looks so delicious, you think it's practically got "EAT ME" on it.

And hell, at $7.99 for some awesome pastrami, why not. Especially since you don't know what the going rate for pastrami is anyhow -- it could be normally $14.99, and you're getting a heckuva deal! Could be. So let's say you -- remember, hypothetically speaking now -- can't turn down such an awesome deal which you have admittedly conjured up in your head. So you pick this bag up and take it home.

What would you put in your potential pastrami sandwich to make it the best pastrami sandwich ever?

Please hurry with your suggestions, because the hypothetical pastrami has an imaginary sell-by date of November 2004.


Let's see. In the past month, ...

General downturned mood.
Lost roughly 7lb of muscle mass.
Loss of healthy appetite.
Not watching what I eat now.
Nosebleeds every other day.
Mild headaches occasionally.
Losing the will to workout.
Not really excited by anything.

I'm no medical expert, but that can't be good, right?

Writer's Block

why's everybody always picking on me?It's Friday, and I don't know what to blog about. What should be our topic of amusement for today? (Besides me, I mean. I'm somehow always the topic of other people's amusement.)

PS. If you do an image search for "clown" on Google, you'll see why so many kids are scared of clowns -- half of them are scary!


So I took this brain usage profiler test, and it told me ...

Auditory : 60%
Visual : 40%
Left : 55%
Right : 44%

This is interesting, since I always thought of myself as more a visual person than auditory. I can't say much about the left / right distribution, because ... well, because I keep forgetting which side does what. (Evidently, neither side of my brain really does that much. Mostly, you can hear the sounds of crickets and wind going in my head.)

Confirm? Yes/No.

Theft is prevalent nowadays: stolen credit cards, identity theft, online scamming, you name it. You have to watch your back, and today's systems have built-in checks for you to confirm and have a chance to deny / dispute any transactions before they're cast in stone.

When you're at the supermarket and paying by credit card, they run up your groceries on the till. Beep-beep-beep as the produce flies by, carefully weighed on the scale with the bar code reader, and your eyes are glued to the scrolling screen to make sure they don't pull a fast one on you. And, of course, to check that you're getting that member's special discounted club price for those items, which is the whole reason you drag that thick club card with you which is no good for anything else other than getting you that second 4L tub of ice cream for $2 less.

swipe here, with your card oriented in the exact opposite way of how you do it the first timeYou get a total on the screen, and you swipe your credit card through the reader. (Note that your card never has to leave your own hands, eliminating the opportunity of crooked clerks making a second imprint to duplicate it.)

Processing, please wait ...

You carefully put your card back in your wallet/purse and the total comes up on the little LCD.

$15.23. Confirm? Yes / No.

This is (obviously) to make sure that the number they plan to charge on your card is the same as you saw flashing up on their colour monitor, so you don't have $15.23 in groceries and have them charge you $105.23 on the card instead with the clerk pocketing $90.

But before you've even had a chance to look at the number and process that it's right -- heck, even if you have agreed that the price is right, you're still looking for the YES button, because it's usually had the word worn off it and you have to guess at the button only because it's next to the NO. And it doesn't help that they don't make it green and red for YES and NO -- they're grey like everything else on the keypad. And the green button is ENTER, which doesn't register as a YES.

I mean, what's the point of letting me check it, if they're not going to let me check it easily?? Anyway, before you've had any opportunity to work through any of these things, the impatient 99 Ranch clerk reaches across the machine and presses YES for you.

... and that's when I got really mad. Everything that happened was a blur, Your Honour.


It's too damned hot. If I left a steak out in the sun today, it probably could have seared itself. I'm sweating from parts of my body that I didn't even know could sweat. A dip in the pool tomorrow is warranted.

My Digits

"My number area code six oh four, five five five, eighteen thirty-one."

It was another time I regretted saying it that way, as I watched him scribble out his mistake. I mean, I could have said it either of two ways: digit by digit, or in two sets of double-digits.


tommy tutone says to call jenny at 867-5309You'd think it wouldn't matter. And it doesn't, for the most part. But back then, I had one of a few special numbers that celebrated world-renowned numberologists refer to as "confusion phone digits". By celebrated world-renowned numberologists, I mean nobody: nobody calls it that. But that's what they are, because they're phone digits that cause confusion. (Try to keep up.)

And somehow, I found this combination of digits easier to say as "eighteen thirty-one" than "one eight three one". Could be the "three" part immediately on the tail of the "eight", I dunno. But invariably, I watch the person copy my number like this.

Or 1831.

And then they glare at me, as if I had said "five five five, eight ... teen thirty-one" and laughing at them while they had to correct their mistake.

Extra Caution, It's Red

I don't really know why, but bugs -- particularly the flying variety -- are just scarier looking when they're red. I mean, black ones (especially those buzzing hear your eyes / ears) are a little freaky, but red ones? No contest. I bet the red ones were the jocks / bullies in Fly High School.

That Face

Hahaha, I love seeing that mosquito face and the whole act around it. You know, the one people make when a mosquito suddenly appears right beside your face?

Far as I can remember, it's like this.

You're sitting or standing or whatever, minding your own business. You think you're aware of your surroundings, but something quickly proves you wrong: a mosquito (or bee or fly) comes into your peripheral vision. Heck, sometimes you don't even see it, and you just hear close-up buzzing next to one ear. Either way, you don't like it, and you don't want it, whatever it is.

First reaction? Recoil.

Survival instincts make you retreat from the unknown danger, and protect all your orifices. You only turn slightly to get a look at it, but not all the way to face it bravely. And you get these squinty eyes (protect the eyes), and your shoulder comes up (block the ear) while you rapidly wave the intruder away with your hands. Finally, though quite a ways away, your mouth shuts down and you go tight-lipped.

It's funny, but your eyes help out too: some people furiously bat their eyelids to help accelerate that air flow. I mean, I can't imagine a lot of help from that, when really it would do more good to blow at it instead.

Now with the West Nile scare, you'll probably want to hone your skills in this. Try practicing it now: do 3 sets of 12 reps. Yes, even if your boss is nearby; unless he has a better way to protect yourself without chemicals.