Saturday, November 29, 2003

An Uncle 3x over


My sister Jen is pregnant again, I will be having a new niece or nephew in addition to Andrei and Allyson. Although I have only met my nephew and niece twice, they are the cutest and smartest little tykes. Andrei is very gregarious and very smart. Allyson was only 8 months old when I last saw her two years ago. They are the light of my parents' eyes and they spend a lot of their time with gua-kong (grandpa) and gua-ma (grandma) and their other uncle Jon after school and on weekends. One day, I hope to have my own kids--probably by adopting them. Good thing Brian likes kids :-)

Mood | Excited

Scan Me!

I created a bar code for this site. Scan me now!

Gothika

Halle Berry is Dr. Miranda Gray, a criminal psychologists who finds herself behind bars, a suspect in a brutal murder. As she tries to unravel the mystery of what happened, she finds herself clinging to her sanity while the answer seems to lie in the supernatural. Robert Downey Jr. plays her colleague, now her doctor trying to help her regain that sanity even though it may mean that it proves her guilt. Her only hope lies with a girl who died four years ago.

The movie was very enjoyable with some genuinely suspenseful moments. Director Kassovitz builds a great mood and a creepy atmosphere. The movie moves along on a good pace, and doesn't falter. However, there seems to be a lot of holes in the movie that were never explained. However, as long as you're not the overanalyzing type, it's pretty good. This movie could have been much better if a little more work was done in the script to cover up the holes. Halle Berry does a credible job although the role will probably not win any awards. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sequel.

Brian did not think that there were any holes and says that I am overanalyzing the movie. He said that if you take the story as it is, then there is nothing more to think about. I feel that the movie never makes it clear whether supernatural forces were in effect. When I asked him about the psychological aspect of the movie, he said it was mostly generalistic mumbo-jumbo--nothing really deep, just your garden variety pop psychology. He enjoyed it as well.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Swing Out Sister Redux

While at Peter’s house, I was browsing his CD stack and found his copy of Swing Out Sister’s The Living Return. SOS was a staple in my teen years. Peter and I played their records constantly and bought the 12" import mixes whenever we found them. Visually, lead singer Corinne Drewery provided a stylish focal point and was up there with the other fashionistas of the 80s like Sade, Cathy Dennis and Jody Watley. I had brought home the CD along with 3 other of their records intending to make a "greatest hits mixtape" for Peter and me.

While The Living Return ('94) trods the same jazz-pop that is their trademark sound, it lacks a certain vivacity that the other records possessed. The album is mellow, quite nondescript, with no songs really standing out. The lead single "La La (Means I Love You)" is listenable but doesn’t cover any new ground. The best songs open the album: "Better Make it Better" and "Don’t Let Yourself Down." The last half of the album is a snooze—I have to remember to put this record on when I have one of my fits of insomnia. I don’t know if any of the songs in this CD will make it on to my mixtape. Brian’s comment on the album: "It’s not my bag."

The title track to Get In Touch with Yourself ('92) opens the album with a nice groove and then segues into the catchy "notgonnachange" and "Am I the Same Girl?" both of which tout self-esteem in a relationship. "Everyday Crime" is a jazzy, string-laden affair that has some dramatic flourishes. "Who Let the Love Out" is the most upbeat track in the album which follows closely the type of songs SOS is famous for. As in other SOS albums, there are a couple of instrumental songs—probably to show off Andy Connell’s arrangements. They are ok, but I usually skip through those.

Kaleidoscope World ('89) is a little uneven but has some real highlights like the classic "Waiting Game" which gives me chills whenever I listen to it. Another wonderful song is "Precious Words" which is quite heartbreaking. Other songs like "You On My Mind," "Where in the World" and "Masquerade" make this album worth buying. While the album shows its age a little with some 80s arrangements, I think this album will always hold a special place in my musical library.

It’s Better to Travel ('87), their debut album is such a pleasure to listen to. The album starts off with the exhilarating "Break Out," probably their best known hit. This album probably is more uptempo than their follow-up albums with euro hits like "Surrender," "Twilight World,” and "Fooled by a Smile." A couple of slower, moodier songs like "Communion" and "After Hours" fill out the rest of the album. This is a must have CD for any Swing Out Sister fan.

Checking their website, looks like they have released a few more albums including Shapes and Patterns ('97), Filth and Dreams ('99), Somewhere Deep in the Night ('02). Let me know what you think of these albums.

Disturbing

Hmmmnn...a disturbing image from Alternative Sides.

iPod's Dirty Little Secret

If you're thinking about buying an iPod, check out this short clip.

*** UPDATE 1: Apparently there are 3rd generation iPods with self-replaceable batteries, although I checked Apple's site and couldn't find it. Maybe they are not out yet.

*** UPDATE 2: Robert at Byrd's Brain has this to say.

*** UPDATE 3: News story

Stuffed

My brother and George made an excellent non-traditional thanksgiving dinner. In general, I am a terrible dinner guest because I have so many weird food peculiarities. I dread being asked to a dinner party. However, they really went all out to make stuff that I can eat.

Check out the menu. They came up with some very delicious non-dairy items. The soup was potato and caraway-based with cauliflower--I liked it a lot, although I didn't eat all of my cauliflower :-). The stuffing had andouille sausage which I enjoyed tremedously. I also really liked the chocolate mousse cake (I was assured that there was no dairy in it)--I had two slices. Wonderful presentation. Great wine and good company, all in all a good thanksgiving dinner!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Urlacher

Here are some pictures of Brian Urlacher shirtless. Brian is a linebacker for the Chicago Bears (#54). I LOVE HIM! :-)~






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More Shirtless Celebs

PecMen - Dedicated to the Muscular Male!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Let there be (undercabinet) light!

After George helped Peter put up some undercabinet lights in his kitchen, Brian got the home improvement itch and decided to install them in our kitchen as well. I must say that they look very nice there. Brian also had installed a fader switch for the ceiling lights. Now the whole kitchen is illuminated quite nicely and you can set a cool mood. Can't wait to show them off...

Recruiter

Just had a very frustrating phone call with a recruiter I had been working with to get a job in the suburb of Vernon Hills. This burb is about two hours away from my home. The position sounds very promising and the pay could be close to what I used to make. However, due to the distance of the company, I would want to hopefully negotiate flex-time to avoid the traffic. I mentioned this to the recruiter and he was like "whoa--you wouldn't want to discuss this with a potential employer" and "you wouldn't want to be asking for special consideration because it's a buyer's market." I understand he's trying to give me advice about getting a job in this economy and I think he's just being honest about how this may sound to a company. However, this is not exactly a normal situation. This job is like two hours away. Even if I did not negotiate anything with this company for flextime, it would be a mistake because what would end up happening is that I would eventually quit. If a company is inflexible enough not to be concerned about their employee's needs, it is not going to get the top talent--regardless of the "buyer's market."

Anyway, I guess this bothers me more because I am undecided about whether to proceed with the entrepreneur thing. I see getting a job as having income while I am setting this up. The recruiter thinks that since I am unemployed, I should take the job because it is good for my career. I think what is ultimately good for my career is if I am happy.

The recruiter told me that he's been in this business for 19 years and that he knows what's going on in this economy. He's implying that I should be willing to bend over backwards for employers. Well, my take on this is that as long as a company doesn't care about its employees, it will never hold on to the top talent and ultimately this means that it will be less competitive and productive. I believe that if I am the best person for the job, then we should work together to come to an agreement on what's best for both of us.

Anybody out there in HR care to illuminate this for me? Is it better to get the right candidate and work with their needs? Or will anyone with qualifications will do? What about the "buyer's market"?

"People are the primary source of competitive advantage. At the end of the day we bet on people, not strategies."
- Jack Welch , former CEO of GE

"If we don’t get the people thing right, we lose; it is the most important thing in all our businesses."
- Jack Welch

Monday, November 24, 2003

Personality Test

Found some Personality Tests at this blog and decided to give it a whirl...check out my results.

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||||||| 54%
Schizoid |||||||||||| 42%
Schizotypal |||||||||||||||| 62%
Antisocial |||||||||||||||| 66%
Borderline |||||||||| 34%
Histrionic |||||||||||||||| 70%
Narcissistic |||||||||||||||| 70%
Avoidant |||||||||||||||| 70%
Dependent |||||||||||| 46%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test


The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted|||||||||||||||| 64%
Introverted |||||||||| 36%
Friendly |||||||||||||||| 62%
Aggressive |||||||||| 38%
Orderly |||||||||||||||| 62%
Disorderly |||||||||| 38%
Relaxed |||||||||||| 46%
Emotional||||||||||||||54%
Openminded |||||||||||||||| 68%
Closeminded |||||||||| 32%
Take Free Big 5 Personality Test

Addicted

No, is not a review of Enrique Iglesias' new song "Addicted." Although that song sucks and it needs a dance remix.

This blog is about The Sims and how it ruined my life after two days. It started off innocently enough, with Peter letting me borrow some of his games for the PC. I figure, I'm unemployed, I should be doing something unproductive. I guess, after loading the game into my PC, I wasn't all that impressed. At first, I couldn't control how my family looked and the house my family lived in was so decorator-challenged. Then I figured out how to change my family's appearance and I built my own house. In this version of the game, there are very few options for customizing but I guess it was close enough.

I built a nice gay Irish-Roman Catholic family. Dads Sean and Kerry, son Paddy and daughter Siobhan. The game won't let the Dads do anything more intimate than joke with each other and dance occasionally. However, they do share the same bed. I played this game last night from like 10pm to 2am.

I can see how people get addicted to this game. There are so many little things to attend to in order to keep the family on a even keel like cooking, studying, cleaning up, showering, getting ready for work. It just piles up and you are constantly trying to keep up. Right now, the kids are cranky, they have not showered for days, the shower stall leaks and floods, there is garbage everywhere and unread newspapers. Daddy Sean lost his job because he slept through his carpool 2 days in a row. A couple of the members of the family had "an accident" because they couldn't use the toilet (it was clogged). The house that I built, with its pretty blue carpet and cute wallpaper is a pig-sty. I had to hire a maid for $10/hour just to keep up.

I am tempted to uninstall the game to cut this off at the source, but now I think I will just give myself a time-limit when playing. Like maybe 2 hours on the weekends. Maybe.

I have to look for a job.

Mood | Sleepy

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Tis the Season...

An early Christmas present has arrived in the form of the wacky Will Ferrell in the movie Elf. Thoroughly entertaining, Will Ferrell and the rest apply the right touch of zaninest to a story that could have been preachy or cloying. Despite the material, there are no saccharine Hallmark moments to weigh down this light fable. I think that Ferrell's star is definitely on the rise, possibly on its way to Jim Carrey levels. Bob Newheart steals the show as the elderly elf that adopts the human boy when the boy finds its way into Santa's sack. There is comedic chemistry between the two and the scenes between foster father and son are by far the best in the movie. Brian enjoyed the movie as well. Go see this movie quick...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Lucky

I came upon Bill's Story, a kid who committed suicide because he was bisexual. I read his mom's account of his life and I thought about easily this person could have been me.

I think I was lucky. For the most part, I was popular enough in school to withstand the occasional slur. I had a good support group in my friends that mostly didn't care (or didn't notice). I had not been physically assaulted, although I remember being threatened a few times by some bullies at school, who I just shrugged off and walked away.

Even so, I had struggled deeply about being gay. I don't even think that I knew what gay was until I was nearly 14 or 15. For myself, this struggle had been very much religious. I felt that all of the Bible's teachings told me that I was going to hell forever. I thought that by being "born again," Jesus would help me through this struggle, that he could change me.

He never did, no matter how hard I prayed.

I know my dad had been very concerned about my being gay. He was always telling me to walk like a man, talk like a man, and not to act gay. One day when I was about 17, he called me a fag to my face, he was shouting and yelling at me. I was scared, I had never seen my dad so angry in my life. We had fisticuffs.

I left home.

I walked around for miles, not knowing where I was going. At least I took my wallet with me. I was able to find a place to stay for a few days.

When I came home, my dad never talked about it again. The only person in my immediate family that I have not told I am gay is my dad. I don't know if my siblings or mom has told him, I don't think so. But my dad is not stupid. He knows that I am not dating women. I think--I hope that he has come to terms with it.

In order for me to find myself and be who I am, I had to leave my family, my friends and country. When I was 22, I moved to Chicago where I knew nobody so I don't have to ask for permission to be who I am. I couldn't do it under my father's roof. I couldn't do it back home, risking being found out.

Some people say that being gay is a choice. What choice I say? That I choose to be gay so that people would threaten me, call me names, be afraid of losing my family, friends, my job, my soul to eternal damnation? Had I a choice, I would choose not to suffer. Alas, there is no choice in this matter.

The only choice I could make was to decide to live my life in the open.


Here are some statistics I found in PFLAG's site:

- Studies on youth suicide consistently find that lesbian and gay youth are 2 - 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth and may account for 30% of all completed suicides among teens. Source: Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989.

- Service providers estimate that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth make up 20-40% of homeless youth in urban areas. Source: The National Network of Runaway and Youth Services. To Whom Do They Belong?: Runaway, Homeless and Other Youth in High-Risk Situations in the 1990's. Washington, D.C. The National Network, 1991.

- In a study of 4,159 Massachusetts high school students, 46% who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual had attempted suicide in the past year compared to 8.8% of their peers, and 23.5% required medical attention as a result of a suicide attempt compared to 3.3% of their peers. The same study found 18.4% of the gay, lesbian and bisexual students had been in a physical fight resulting in treatment by a doctor or nurse compared to 4% of their peers, and 22.2% skipped school in the past month because they felt unsafe en route to or at school, compared to 4.2% of their peers. Source: Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (MYRBS), Massachusetts Department of Education, 1997.

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UPDATE 01/26/2007: Bill's mother, Gabi Clayton's blog.