Sunday, July 15, 2007

Search history

I hope no one is trying to analyze my search history at Google headquarters. I just have to laugh because right now there is so much going on in my life and I'm constantly searching for a variety of things.

First, there is the research I'm doing for my final project. But I'm also trying to get a trophy in Mario Party 4. And I also need to look up lots of travel information to figure out how to get down to Washington D.C. efficiently over the next few weeks. Finally, I have lots random stuff all mixed in.

So my search history (without repeating everything since there's a LOT) randomly includes things like:

"ethical breaches in human radiation experiments"
"D.C. Metro"
"dungeon duos hint"
"Taco Bell 7 layer crunch wrap"
"adolescent autonomy"
"beach volley folley how to beat"
"Lansdale pool"
"The New England Journal of Medicine"
"Septa overnight parking"

I wonder if they oculd do a study on randomness in one's Google searches and overall mental well-being.

I wonder also if simply posting this entry will bring a very random sample of people accidentally tripping over my blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Seattle excitement

I know it's been months since I posted. However, I am now compelled to write something because last night I had my first in-person meeting with someone who I've only known on the internet, Sarah.

She is as cool as is rumored. In fact, I sat there babbling like I was drunk or something (I wasn't!), and she was very mellow and easy-going the whole time.

I also happened to notice how graceful she was. I don't exactly know how to explain what I mean here, but I'll just say it because it's what I noticed. I didn't see it immediately, but as the evening progressed, I began to understand why a random attractive guy might approach her in a park!

Anyway, for those who only know "internet Sarah", let me just say that it's well worth your time & effort to meet her IRL!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Something was lost in the translation...

Bill has a plastic figurine with hilarious "instructions" on it. I just had to share:

  • This product is for over the age of 15.

  • This product has some parts of sharp points due to expressing the reality.

  • Warning: Choking Hazard - This product contains small parts.
  • This the box itself.

  • Please use super glue when you repair the broken parts.

  • This product contains some very fragile parts. So please make sure that we can not replace if there is a damage as small as being fixed easily by yourself.

  • This products is made of special material which is easy to be bent by heat with hairdrier. If you find any places deformed, please use a hairdrier to fix it as the original form.

  • This product contains some fragile parts stored in the box separately with the main body. Please put them on the right places as shown on the sample photo.

  • Please make sure that the photo on the package is a trial model, so it must be a little different fromthe actual product in the box.

The funniest thing about the second-to-last instruction is that there aren't any separate parts. But my favorite line is "This the box itself". Not sure what it's supposed to mean - perhaps the box is communicating that it's self-aware?


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When guilt is a bad thing

Guilt can be a good thing, because at least to some extent, it keeps us in line. But I'm starting to wonder whether guilt can sometimes actually stand in the way of true morality.

Case in point: Apparently, Germans feel, on a cultural level, a lot of lingering guilt over the Halocaust. There's a great deal of sensitivity around things being "eugenic" (such as PGD technology, or abortion under various circumstances). It's hard to see at first why this wouldn't be a good thing. Well, my professor (who is Israeli) told about a conversation which occurred at a conference she attended in Germany. There was some dispute over the use of stem cells and at one point, one of the Israeli attendees half-jokingly said (paraphrase), "Well, how would you feel if there was a power outage at the lab where all the embryos are kept?" The German person reacted quite strongly and seriously, saying "Why, that would be like another Auchwitz!"

And I thought: OK, talk about NOT getting it. Not that I think the topic of stem cells is trivial. But wow - that it would be the same level of suffering, etc. as Auchwitz?? And then I realized: the commenter was concerned about the way Germany's past reflected on GERMANY, and not about how sad it was that any humans would do such things to one another. The insane overreaction was really a continuation of a self-centered mentality, just inverted.

It also occurred to me that this happens in the U.S. too with "white liberal guilt". So many white people are all about showing how culturally aware they are wrt other races. And even as I notice this, and can't stand to see people acting this way, I find myself sometimes falling into the same trap.

The question is - what motivates us to moral action, if not guilt? How can we escape the self-centered kind of guilt that at best is useless and at worst is destructive? What would I tell the German guy in the anecdote, had I been there? Whatever I say, if I want it to be effective, it would need to be anchored in... guilt, right?

So, I think it's really very tough. I'm inclined to think that the answer comes from thinking positively - i.e. let's find positive ways to move past our own human darkness. And to be aware of times when your own guilt is really just about YOU.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pikachu doesn't like me...

Back when Callista was 3 (or so) we bought her this video game called Hey You, Pikachu.
The idea was that you were supposed to talk to Pikachu into a microphone and ask it* to do stuff. At the time, she liked watching, but expressed little interest in actually playing, so Bill and I struggled with it instead.

Basically, you're supposed to "make friends" with Pikachu and go on all these various adventures with it. First, you find it in the wild, and give it stuff. As Pikachu gets more friendly with you, it meets you outside your door in the morning, etc. One of the games involved finding various vegetables in the woods to make soup, and we simply could not get it to work. Pikachu kept picking up random crap and we kept ending up with "mystery soup". (Bulbasaur would have a "dizzy" face at the end, indicating the soup was bad.) Then, there was this game where you had to feed the Caterpies (pronounced catter-pee) and help them evolve. We somehow kept messing up, the Caterpies kept dying of starvation, and Pikachu was getting way pissed. Eventually, it stopped coming around to our door in the morning. The game was so hard, that we soon figured there was no point in encouraging Callista to try.

So why am I mentioning it now? Well, Callista (who is now 7) found it and wanted to try it out. Bill set it up for her, with more than a little concern that she would get really frustrated with it.

But no! As a matter of fact, she's doing extremely well with it! Not only was she able to successfully feed all the Caterpies, but she got a ruby for it. And Pikachu likes her so much that now he's sleeping in her bed at night.

I cannot figure out why she excels in this and we aren't. I have a few theories though. Like, maybe it understands a child's voice better than an adult. Or, maybe we were overthinking it somehow. Both of those are very possible. Just goes to show that you think you're smart and educated and accomplished, but that sure doesn't make you good at everything!

* that's how they refer to Pikachu in the game - as an "it"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween Mad Libs

This is just a random posting of some Mad Libs I wrote for Callista's halloween party. It's not intended as anything of interest, just as a way to share them with anyone who might be looking for something good geared to 2nd graders. I believe I have a good lock on second grade mentality, but that's open to discussion I suppose.

Of course, by the time google catches it for searching, it might be after Halloween. But there's always next year.


One day, I was going to the (place), and on the way, I had to pass a (adj.) graveyard. Normally, this wasn't so bad, but today was (holiday), so it seemed creepier than usual. Just as soon as I got there, the sky got dark and it began to (type of weather/precipitation). Suddenly, I heard a loud (sound) and it sounded like it was coming from inside the graveyard! I was scared, but also (feeling).
I looked closer, and I realized that one of the (plural noun) was empty! It scared me so much that I (verb ending in -ed) all the way back to my nice cozy house, where I snuggled up with my pet (animal).


It was Halloween night, and a little witch named (person at the party) decided to have a Halloween party. She decided to invite all the (adj.) creatures who lived nearby: a mummy, a vampire, and a (magical creature). She made (liquid) punch and cookies made with (noun). They all played games and (verb ending in -ed), until (time of day)! But then, sadly, it was time to leave. They went home to bed where they (verb ending in -ed) peacefully until morning.


What a weird day! First, my mom tried to give me (color) eggs and (color) toast for breakfast! Then, my I saw my dad wearing his (article of clothing) upside- down! I thought that was the end of it, but then my bus driver (verb ending in -ed) like a (noun) when she saw me. At school, my teacher told me to (verb) when all I really wanted to do was sharpen my (noun). The strangest thing was that all the kids had an extra (body part, plural), and kept asking me why I had one missing! Just when I thought the day couldn't get any weirder, I woke up and realized it was all just a dream, and really I was safe at home in my warm cozy (item in house).


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Food Network Challenge

OK - I really like this show. Not so much when they do grilling-type stuff, but when they do gingerbread, cakes, candy sculptures, etc. I just love it. Anyway, Bill and I came up with some "Food Network Challenge" titles we'd like to see:

Theme: Jungle; Ingredients: croutons and bread crumbs
Theme: Impressionist sculpture; Ingredient: soup
Theme: History of Aviation; Ingredients: toothpaste and funnel cake
Theme: World Hunger; Ingredients: caviar, lobster, filet mignon
Theme: Dogs in Heat; Ingredients: anything!

Perhaps I'll add more to the list another day. But I'll put a request out to the (possibly 3?) people reading this blog to see if you can add more! Sorry you have to be a registered blogger user, but I really hate spam. Hey, that makes me think of another...

Theme: Elvis; Ingredient: spam

I'd better be careful though. You never know if they'd actually do some of these!

Insipid emails

I got this email at work, and I just HAD to react to it!

Here's the original email:
From one pumpkin to another!

A woman was asked by a co-worker, "What is it like to be a Christian?"

The coworker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin." God picks you from the
pumpkin patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He
cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff inside.

He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new
smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the "World"
to see." This was passed on to me by another pumpkin. Now, be a good
pumpkin and pass it on to other pumpkin friends.

I liked this enough to send it to all the pumpkins in my patch. Hope you do
the same!

My "re-interpretation":
A woman was asked by a co-worker, "What is it like to sell your soul to the

The coworker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin." Satan picks you from
the pumpkin patch, stealing you from all your friends and comfortable home,
and removes any traces of the warm and natural earth. Then He cuts you open
and takes from you that which is most valuable - your "meat" (which can be
used to bake pies) and your seeds (which symbolize your future). Sure, he
also carves a smile, but if you look closely, it's really just a grotesque,
unnatural grin that masks the true reality: you are just an empty shell of
the person you once were!

Don't let Satan pick YOU! Warn all your friends as quickly as possible!