29 November 2006

Now THIS is a puny pony

My car's name is Puny Pony because it's literally (no, not figuratively) small in all respects, but this puny pony beats all. I shit you not, this is real.

Thanks for sending it to me, RC!

Standing just 17 inches tall ... the tiny mare is so small she would struggle to leap over a bucket.

But such things are of little concern for feisty Thumbelina who has just been officially recognised as the world's smallest horse.

The five-year-old received the title from the Guinness Book of Records after her astonished owners realised she was never going to grow any bigger.
'When she was young she found the dog kennels and decided she wanted to bed-in with the dogs, rather than with bigger horses...
'She spends all her time playing with the spaniels, but we have to try and stop her grazing on grass, because she is not allowed to eat too much.'
Thumbelina survives on a cup of grain and handful of hay, served twice-a-day.

27 November 2006

Could it be?

Last Friday, HC and I found ourselves in Soho after a bout at my favorite neighborhood pub. I dragged her into the Barbara Bui boutique. Big mistake.

Suddenly, I was overcome by a strange feeling. Um, could it be love? Is this what love feels like? Perchance it's lust?

Whatever it is, everything at Barbara Bui was sumptiously delicious. Even the staff was friendly and helpful, a rare New York occurance.

Check out the Barbara Bui website. Take a look at the gorgeous clothes if you have the time.
(Incidentally, B has noted that whenever she shops alone, shop staff never approach her. However, when she shops with me, salespeople approach me like insects to a light. It probably has something to do with the fact that I sport a huge sign that says "Sucker. Will buy anything you say.")

24 November 2006

Rock Paper Scissor anyone?

Check out the World Rock Paper Scissor Society which hosts an annual Rock Paper Scissor World Championship.

23 November 2006

Since Katie G did it, I had to too

Yes yes yes. If everyone jumped off a cliff, I'd probably want to know which cliff...
Click here for Katie G's.
Your Birthdate: April 3

You are more than a big ball of energy - you are a big ball of hyper.
You are always on the go, but you don't have a type a personality.
Instead of channeling your energy into work, you instead go for fun and adventure.
Witty and verbal, you can have an interesting conversation with anyone.

Your strength: Your larger than life imagination

Your weakness: You tend to be pretty scattered

Your power color: Lime

Your power symbol: Lightening bolt

Your power month: March
A few thoughts on the above:
  • Lime is really no better than lilac.
  • I suppose I'll have to carry lightening bolts in lieu of my Wonder Woman cuffs. Sorry, but no, I will not wear my underwear outside my tights. Does anyone know where I can find lightening bolts?
  • March is the beginning of windsurfing season, albeit the very cold beginning.

What do you think?

Not sure if you even notice a difference, but if you do, let me know if you like the new blog layout or the old one better.

I always like to see as much information on the same page as possible, therefore as many words as possible, but I've heard that some people get overwhelmed by "too many words."

(I would like to point out that words are prerequisite to both reading and blogging.)

Welcome to the World

Check this out. Seriously.

21 November 2006

Have you seen it?

One of the things I like about New York is that you can be anonymous. And even when you're not, people just don't give a shit who you are. Maybe it's because New Yorkers are surrounded by a disproportionate number of high profile, high powered individuals and have been desensitized to fame, wealth or power, or maybe it's because New Yorkers are self absorbed and have a lot of things going on in their lives.

For example, a few weekends ago I ran into Paul Rudd while crossing the street in the meatpacking district. It was a busy weekend morning and the crosswalk was crowded. He was holding his kid. Everyone brushed past him. No one cared that he was moderately famous. No one stopped him to ask him for his autograph. There was not a camera in sight.

I was home sick today. As B can attest, my solution when I don't feel well is to either eat or exercise or both, although preferably not at the same time. B had a 103 fever once, and I told her that she'd feel better if she went outside and took a walk. It was the dead of winter and bitterly cold out. I'm glad she didn't take me up on my asinine suggestion or she might have become more ill.

Around 5pm today, after I had eaten the fridge empty, I dragged my congested head out of bed and went to the gym. I tried to run. About a mile in, I looked to my left and noticed a very familiar person: Kiefer Sutherland. He was also running. He is just as cute in person as he is on TV, although short.

So here I am, one pizza, gnocchi with tomato and basil sauce, mixed green salad, calamari, french fries, fish sticks, three chocolate cookies and a handful of maple oatmeal cookies covered in sugar later, at the gym, running a few treadmills away from Kiefer Sutherland (have I mentioned he's cute?), and do you want to know what I was thinking about? It wasn't about how I was only a few feet away from an extremely talented actor who also happens to star on one of my favorite TV shows. I wasn't thinking that he was cute, although that did cross my mind. Nor was it about why he might be at my gym since I've never seen him there before. I was thinking about my mojo.

HAS ANYONE SEEN MY RUNNING MOJO? Because I seem to have left it somewhere, along with my watch and my sapphire earrings. (I know where I left my watch, but when I returned, it was gone. However, I still have not found my sapphire and white gold earrings. It makes me sad.)

I have been suffering from runner's block lately. I've lost my running mojo and have been looking all over the place for it. To date, it's still missing. I'm stuck at an 8:30 mile and seem to hit a wall after four miles.

So, my thoughts were:
  • What do I need to switch up to figure out what's crowding my mojo? Do I need to stop wearing heels, because my knees have been killing me lately? Should I focus on staying lean, because I've let myself go to fat a bit? Do I need to lose weight so I can get lighter to get faster?
  • Should I start running with the New York Road Runners, which I joined a while back but haven't run with?
  • Should I get a running coach who'll help me amp things up?
  • Is this what going to the gym would feel like if I got out of work at a decent hour? Is this what the gym looks like when people who work normal hours go to the gym as opposed to going to the gym at 10pm at night when it's empty?
  • My God, I wish I got out of work at a decent hour.

The only two thoughts I had in passing about the man running a few feet away from me: 1. he's cute, and 2. he's short.

So why is it easier for celebs to be anonymous in New York compared to cities like LA? Could it be because people in New York City are self absorbed and have too much of their own shit going on to worry about other people's issues? It's very likely. Could it be because they might have LOST THEIR RUNNING MOJO? Absofuckinglutely.

19 November 2006

What I've been up to lately

Thanks for the emails and for letting me know I've been MIA on this blog for most of November. It's good to know that there are people out there that are occasionally interested in what I have to say. It's also been good for me to have a place to just write -- even if it is about my vapidly insipid life and interests -- (ir)regardless of whether anyone is listening. In case you were wondering, if a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, it makes no noise whatsoever.

Here's what I've been up to lately. I've tried to lump your questions together in a way that made sense. It was interesting to see how similar some of your questions were even though most of you don't know each other. If they were similar, I tried to write the question only once.

Did you join a cult?
Jeebus, is that you? Jeebus, are you speaking to me?

So, did you buy your farm yet?
No. I've decided to wait a while longer, but will continue keeping an eye out. Who knows when the right opportunity will present itself, but when it does, I''d like to be ready. If I don't spend my life savings on handbags first.

Have you forgotten about me?
No. I don't forget people who are important to me. Don't be a jackass face.

Because I've been bloody tired lately and have needed more alone time than usual. I spent the first two weeks of November in training, where I learned about leadership, management, and the firm. It was a little exhausting because I had to make up some of my time out of the office by working after training, but it was worth it. The rest of November was spent catching up from two weeks out of the office and celebrating Thanksgiving (I'll post that separately).

Training was great because I got to meet and work with my counterparts from other parts of the firm that I would have never otherwise met. At one point, we broke up into teams and "ran" companies that competed against each other, and my team won. (yay!) I learned a lot about my communication and leadership preferences and have some things to think about in terms of how I can be more a more effective leader and communicator.

For one of my leadership and communication workshops, I completed a HDBI assessment and learned that while I have the ability to move into other quadrants at anytime without regard to preference, I prefer to use the upper and lower right quadrants of my brain to think, learn, comunicate and make decisions. In other words, I use my intuition and like having options, being creative and flexible when making decisions. I'm not as good at following process, gathering details or abiding by rules. I almost don't prefer to make decisions based on facts, data or logic.

Based on the assessment, I'm good at interpersonal stuff, non-verbal cues, engendering enthusiasm, persuading and conciliating, seeing 'the big picture', recognizing new possibilities and taking risks, integrating concepts, challenging established policies, synthesizing unlike elements into a new whole, inventing solutions to problems, and problem solving in intuitive ways. I'm less inclined to follow rules, structure, organization, attention to details, being methodical, analytical or quantitative. My responses under stress were consistent with my responses under normal circumstances, so I'm no different even when under stress.

People with my thought and decision making preferences are often teachers, facilitators, in the arts (writing, music, design) or in a 'helping' field (counselor, psychologist). Compared to the profiles of other individuals that have taken this assessment, my profile most closely matches those of social workers, people in sales or entrepreneurs. While I can see myself as a social worker, I doubt I'd be a successful salesperson or entreprenuer. I'm still trying to figure out my "special purpose," and when I do, I'll be sure to write home about it. Maybe I'll be a forest ranger when I grow up.

Is your blog the only way you'll communicate with friends?
You can't pick up the phone and call anyone anymore?
Unfortunately, yes. My email at work is strictly monitored (as in read by someone else) and recorded and should be used primarily for work purposes. I'm blocked from external messaging sites (e.g. hotmail, gmail, yahoo, IM) the 14+ hours I'm at work. This is my message in a bottle.

I'd be happy to give you a call whenever I get a chance as long as you don't mind if it's around midnight since that's when I know I'll definitely be home and have time to talk. Hope you'll be okay if I'm not particularly interesting or entertaining then, since I'll be all talked out, having spent a good 4-6 hours talking to clients or their lawyers. But, I'd love to listen to anything you have to say if you'd like to talk to me.

So, you got good news or what?
Well, now that I know how I communicate, I have a lot to think about in terms of being a better manager, a better leader and a better communicator. I'd say that was pretty good news, wouldn't you? Oh, and ADub told me I am going to have a "good year" whatever that means. Hopefully something good. Good enough for a farm or ranch or just a big ass pieces of land in the middle of nowhere someday... Or, a pony. I've always wanted a pony. Not that miniature miniature pony though. I might lose it. That would be almost as bad as Brian Fellow's comment that rabbits can't cut hair. Rabbits can too cut hair. Duh.

Are you seeing someone? I bet you are...you sneaky lady you.
So who's the new person you've been keeping a secret?
Are you dating?
Have you met someone?

Ok, I'm offended that more than one of you thought to ask this question. Seriously, do you think that if I started to see someone, I would stop keeping in touch (either via email, phone or this blog)? What kind of friend do you take me for???

You got time? Shall I detail my boy woes to you?

How's work? Are you swamped?
Let me guess! MONTH END!
Is it month end?
Month end!
I'm a little embarrassed that more than one of you wrote this to me. Is this really my rote answer when you call or email? Has it truly gotten so bad?

Wait, don't answer that. I know it's bad because Pookie has asked me if it's month-end even when he's called or emailed me mid-month. (Pookie, this is why you are annoying, and I HATE YOU. Other than that, I'll see you and Ann for Christmas. Love ya!)

Look, when your busiest periods at work are at the beginning and end of the month, suddenly, the one week in between those two bookends are consumed by other work-related things you let fall by the wayside during month-end. What can I say? I know I'm pretty focused at work; I want to get things done so I can leave at a decent hour. Seriously, people. I am so sorry. I am a jackass face.

If you've ever wondered why month-end is my busiest time of month, it's because there's a week before the beginning of the next month where clients that I haven't heard from all month (sometimes all year) will call or email and tell me that they need something done in time for the beginning of the next month. They usually think a week is enough time. It won't matter that I may have 62 other products that also need to be launched at the beginning of the month and up until that morning, I only knew about 40 of them. The thing is, if a client calls the day before the next month and tells me they need something done by tomorrow, I will do everything in my control to have it done even if it means being at work until 3am. Depending on how one looks at it, it could be good or bad that clients do this. Good because it means I'm doing my job and my clients think that I'm solely there to help them and no other client. Sucky because the end of the month is usually full of fire drills, and it's always a race to the finish line. Then again, it could also be because clients don't really care how much work I've got provided their stuff gets done. :-)

Frankly, the importance of the beginning of the next month has always baffled me. It shouldn't make a difference when a new product is launched provided it's a good product. However, everyone seems hung up on wanting to launch their products on the first of the month as opposed to any other day of the month. All those other days of the month are getting the shaft. They ought to get even. They ought to cancel New Year.

16 November 2006

Do you know what makes you happy?

Apparently, most of us don't.


Our culture implores us to buy bigger, newer, better things, but research shows "stuff" does not buy happiness. By and large, money buys happiness only for those who lack the basic needs. Once you pass an income of $50,000, more money doesn't buy much more happiness...

Our genes hardwire us to reproduce, but children have a small negative effect on happiness, research shows.

"When you follow people throughout their days, as they're going about their normal activities, people are about as happy interacting with their children, on average, as when they're doing housework. They're much less happy than when they're exercising, sleeping, grocery shopping, hanging out with friends... Now, that doesn't mean they don't occasionally create these transcendent moments of joy that we remember as filling our days with happiness."

Finally, our imaginations fail us...because when we envision different futures we see either perpetual gloom or happily ever-after scenarios. In fact, neither unhappiness nor joy last as long as we expect. As you've probably guessed, winning the lottery will not guarantee a life of bliss.

So what makes us happy? In general, the older you get the happier you get -- until you reach very old age.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, the happiest age group is men 65 and older; the least happy: men 18 to 29.

The survey also found:
  • Married people are happier than singles.
  • College grads are happier than those without a college degree.
  • People who were religious are happier than those who aren't.
  • Sunbelt residents are happier than other U.S. residents.
  • Republicans are happier than Democrats -- but both are happier than independents.

15 November 2006

Best steak I've ever had in this city

D turns 35 Saturday. To celebrate, G and I treated him and T (his girlfriend) to dinner at The Strip House. Dude. Best steak I've had in this city so far. Considering my industry and client base, that says a lot.

The restaurant had a nice feel. There was none of that cigar and wood-panelled decor and old boys club feel that annoys me about most quality steakhouses. Instead, the proprieters played up the restaurant's name with a burlesque theme -- framed pictures of burlesque performers against the blood-red wallpaper. Clever.

The service was a little slow. It was a Wednesday night, and we arrived 15 minutes early for our 9:30 reservation and weren't seated until 10pm when D and G started getting antsy. The thing about being 6' tall and over 200lbs of pure muscle (six pack and all) is that it comes with a raging metabolism. Add an 6'3" tall person with a similar physique, and it suddenly sucks twice as hard to have to wait to eat when you're hungry. That poor maitre'd -- it must be intimidating to have two tall beefy men standing over you demanding to know why they have to wait 45 minutes for a table when they arrived at 9:15. He apologized profusely and explained that a few tables had already paid but were lingering, and he couldn't make them leave. D asked, "Do you want to me to talk to them?" and made a move as if to walk to the table. It sounds harmless in print, but if you've ever seen D, you'd realize how scary that looks. The expression on the maitre'd's face was funny. Needless to say, we were comped drinks and dessert.

If you have the chance to go, get the strip steak. It's what the place is known for, and it's the best steak I've had in this city so far. It's done impressively well. For desert, try the chocolate cake. It's amazing. (Just order one. The thing is huge.)

Excluding our comped cocktails and the amazing chocolate cake, dinner for four (4 steaks, various sides and wine) came to approximately $500. The food was so good we all overate. Afterwards, I practically had to roll myself home.

05 November 2006

All Carbon Speed Racer

I met up with EB to race autocross in his BMW. For someone who likes camping, hiking, backpacking and just being outside in general, I'm notoriously bad at directions. Fortunately, I have no issues with asking complete strangers where I need to go. Chances are, if left in a paper bag, I'd have to ask for directions on at least four separate occasions before finding my way out. I lived in the same North Dupont Circle / South Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington DC for 3 years, shopped at the same "Soviet" Safeway on 17th Street (dubbed "Soviet" because the produce was usually half spoiled and the shelves were bare; everything was almost always out of stock) until Whole Foods opened up on 15th Street, and there were days when I walked out of the grocery store in the wrong direction for two blocks before realizing that I was heading away from home, not towards it.

So, it was no surprise to me that on the way to meet EB at the NJ race location, I missed my on ramp turnoff and had to stop a total of three times to ask for directions. Laugh all you want, but three is on the low end for me. I stopped at two gas stations and one police car.

The first gas station gave me directions that were probably clear, but confused me anyway. So, when I saw a police car stopped on a small side street, I pulled up next to it. The cop rolled down his window and glared, "You know you just drove the wrong way down a one way street?"

"Yeah, but I wanted to talk to you. I'm lost and was hoping you could tell me where to go."

"Where are you trying to go?" I tell him where I needed to be. "Oh, that's easy. Take a left at the next light. Go over two streets. Take another left, and you'll see signs for the on ramp."

Now, I know myself well enough to know that there was no way in hell it was going to be that easy. I was going to get lost another seven times before finding that damn on ramp. "Promise? I've been driving around for 20 minutes looking for that on ramp."

He rolled his eyes. "Okay, follow me." He then proceeded to escort me -- a left at the next light, over two streets and another left -- to the turnoff for the on ramp, where he stopped dead center on a busy five lane street. The flow of traffic split around him. He turned on his police lights and motioned for me to drive up alongside his car. He pointed to the on ramp and said, "You go there."

I thanked him and waved goodbye. He waved back as I made my merry way on to the proper road, on to autocross.

EB and me in our racing garb. When B saw the pictures of me with helmet and sunglasses, she squealed, "OH MY GOD, you look like a boy!" My worse fears have been confirmed. People DO confuse me for a small boy. Great.

This is EB and me in his fancy M3. While the seats in my Honda Civic only slide or tilt front and back, his car is so fancy that in addition to the standard front and back movements, the seats also go up and down, have heat, adjustable lumbar support, and nifty "wings" along the sides that wrap around you so you stay in the seat better. I spent a good five minutes playing with my seat. Dude, so many buttons...

I was amazed that EB was able to tell which car in the parking lot was mine. He told me that all he did was go towards the car that had hub caps, and if I looked around, I'd notice that all the other cars there had rims, not hub caps. Um, what are "h-u-b c-a-p- s"?

Autocross is a lot of fun, but since it's more technical than track racing -- 90 degree turns, 360s, etc. -- it's not as fast as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, as it's still fast. Also, it's safer than it sounds, as each car races the course on its own and rankings are based on time. However, there were definitely cars that spun scarily out of control. At one point, EB and I spun out 30 feet before regaining control while doing figure-eights. I thought it was fun, but I don't think it helped EB's time.

I'll post video as soon as I figure out how to do that.

01 November 2006

Significant Emotional Events

Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. -- Light in August, William Faulkner

Dad loves loves acronyms. Probably because he’s a product of business school since he also uses words like supply chain logistics and total quality management, but whatever it is, there’s an acro he likes to use whenever we have big-picture-meaning-of-life conversations. He calls it SEE, short for Significant Emotional Events.

The idea is that people are creatures of habit, capable only of changing for short periods of time before reverting back to old habits. This is especially true when change is imposed externally. The only exception -- the only time people undergo real and permanent change -- is when they are faced with a SEE that forces them to take a hard look at their lives, themselves and their priorities. And, despite the fact that it’s an acronym, Dad’s theory has some value.


Around the end of September, I become pensive. I think about who I am as a person, my development, events of the past year, my relationships and goals. While it could easily and rationally be attributed to a multitude of factors -- the end of summer, the change in weather, the beginning of the holiday season, daylight savings -- it’s something that's only happened the past two years and always around the same time of year.

I’m weirded out by the idea that my brain might have some internal alarm clock. Those who deal with me daily will attest that my memory has more holes in it than a sieve. I rely heavily on reminders like B, my address book and calendar to function on a daily level, and yet, my mind can recall an annual event without prompting. It remembers that three years ago, my life made an abrupt and unexpected ninety-degree turn and left me where I stand before you now.

It was then that I came to the difficult and unpleasant realization that I didn’t know who I was anymore. Coming to terms with that and re-finding myself was one of the scariest and most difficult things I’ve ever faced, but it's one of the best things to have ever happened to me. It forced me to pay attention to what my mind already knew but I refused to acknowledge.

I realized that what I want is sometimes different from what I think I want. I started paying more attention to my intuition, to how I really feel instead of how I think I ought to feel. I used to ignore my emotions or instincts in favor of empirical evidence and logic, but I’ve learned to temper logic and rationality with my intuition. My intuition usually notices things way before I do and it takes some time for my mind to catch up.

I’ve come to appreciate and embrace the fact that life is messy, irrational and uncertain. There’s no such thing as a “right answer.” One of the benefits (or curses) of being human is that I can change my mind or opinion when I want to or if I want to. My life and my circumstances are what I choose to make of them, and if my current plan of action doesn’t work out, there are other options to choose from. For a long time, fear of being unable to achieve perfection and indecision from not trusting my intuition paralyzed me. I was so afraid of making the “wrong” decision, I often couldn’t make decisions at all.

I set boundaries and learned to ask for help. One of the things about going through a tough time is how quickly I lost friends. My true family and friends loved me even when I had nothing to give. They stuck by me even when I didn’t agree with them. We told each other things we knew the other wouldn’t want to hear, and our relationship became stronger for it. I needed my family and friends to be there for me. I had nothing of myself left to give and couldn’t play my usual role as the person who was always there, who never said “no” (even when I wanted to). I was empty inside. Their support, concern and strength helped me tremendously.

I stopped lying to myself and being neurotic. I used to tell myself that things didn’t bother me when they did and that it was “ok” when it wasn’t. My inability to recognize and resolve the things that were on my mind caused me to act out in strange and unpredictable ways: I would get disproportionately upset at small things unrelated to the issues on my mind, and the more upset I got (or the more I felt obligated to give more of myself than I was wanted to), the more perfect everything had to be, the more I controlled my environment by cleaning and organizing. Since I started listening to myself more and articulating my feelings, I no longer exhibit the same patterns of behavior. It’s unfortunate, since my apartment is a mess, and I’m constantly losing things.

I learned to say I love you. I realized the importance of showing the people who are important to me how much I care about them, how highly I think of them, and how special they are. I cut ties with those that demanded much from me but gave very little in return, and I haven’t noticed the loss of any of them from my life. Instead, I’ve been unburdened of the weight of obligation or the need to be considerate to those who wouldn't do the same for me. There is no such thing as unconditional giving or love. Relationships are predicated on the idea that “we’ll continue to be friends provided we treat each other respectfully” and both parties need to give and get back what they need.

Three years ago, I received a long overdue wake-up call when several things happened within a short period of time and none of them were positive. It was a blow to my already tenuous emotional state; I had spent too long giving more than I could give to compensate for the shortcomings of others. By the time September rolled around, I had been emptied of all the things that made me me. I felt brittle and wondered if I might break if I received yet another piece of bad news. Having been through a dark period in my life, I now know that I can handle them, and they'll eventually pass. In hindsight, my mind had been trying to tell me that everything was not okay for quite some time, but I ignored it.

While it was arguably one of the most difficult periods of my life, it couldn't have happened at a better time. It forced me to look hard at where I was headed, at my priorities, my values and at me. I was forced to pick up the remaining pieces of myself and rebuild, and I had to decide if I wanted to continue down the road I was already on or make some life-altering changes. I'm thankful it happened when it did, because I haven't looked back since. Life has been great, and I don't plan on living it cautiously or with any regrets.