The House of Random Crap
A clearinghouse for my crazed, deviant, trivial, irreverant & occasionally reflective thoughts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002  

I was hoping to type up a blog before I left Hong Kong, a sort of “last day in Hong Kong” record of my thoughts. Unfortunately, things just got so hectic that I could barely find a spare moment to catch my breath much less gather and record my thoughts at leisure. After my farewell potluck, I had thought I was way ahead schedule in my packing, but found myself scrambling to get everything together before the movers came in. It was actually more of an artificial deadline; though my flight took off Friday evening, the movers packed up my stuff on Thursday morning and afternoon, allowing me to relax my last night in town and spend time with friends. But it did mean a nearly sleepless night on Wednesday as I struggled to get everything into order. I scheduled it this way on purpose, to allow my former secretary Peggy to later send in movers to pick up the numerous furniture pieces that she had poached from me, and for a former analyst to pick up the futon she had bought. This should have left me Thursday morning to goof off on the web, but I spent much of the morning packing my luggage and carry on bags, and waiting for the cable guy to pick up the cable box, the DSL guy to pick up the broadband modem, and the landlord’s agent to pick up they keys. Unfortunately, the DSL guy stopped by earlier than expected, so any remaining free time was spent watching episodes of Enterprise on my laptop before the agent stopped by. The colder climate, the late nights (and drinking), and physical exertion all conspired to give me a nasty, snot-laden cold, which would only get worse in Thailand’s warmer, humid climate.

Things didn’t slow down all that much after getting to Bangkok. Nicha, her folks, and I spent most of Saturday looking at the apartment we planned on moving into, as well as another apartment property on Silom that was available for sale. We were happy that her parents liked the apartment, and that they would be comfortable knowing that we would be living well. The other complex, however, was a real dump. Nicha’s father had asked a friend who worked in debt restructuring to recommend possible properties for sale on the cheap that Nicha and I might possibly buy. What we got was this huge office & apartment complex near the riverfront with a fabulous view, but was otherwise completely unlivable. Of the 2000 apartments, I would guess no more than a dozen were completed and inhabited. The rest were owned by property speculators like the fellow who was trying to pawn off his much-depreciated property at pre-Asian Crisis prices. Aside from the fact that the apartments would require another 6 months of work to make them livable, their configurations were awful. Each one was thin and rectangular, comprising no more than a decent sized studio apartment. If you’re going to build an expensive complex in a nice part of town, you don’t try and cram a bunch of little studios into it; you make each apartment a huge living complex, and charge a premium price. By the time we finished, we had a late lunch, and by the time we got home, I was feeling ill, so I crashed for about 3 hours. That evening, Nicha and I attended a wedding between 2 of her business school classmates, one of whom I befriended when he came to Kellogg in the same exchange class as Nicha. It was pleasant, if tiring, though I did get to catch up with Pathom, my Kellogg roommate and master of ceremonies at our Bangkok wedding reception.

Sunday was a bit tamer. We wanted to catch the new Harry Potter flick, but couldn’t find a theater with seats available outside the first 5 rows, so we’ll try and catch it later this week. In the evening, Nicha and I had dinner with the 3 principals at TS Capital. The main purpose of the dinner was twofold: to give me a chance to meet the 1 partner I had not yet met, and to give Nicha a chance to assess the company. We were both impressed. In fact, of the 3 partners, the fellow I just met is perhaps the one guy I may wind up clicking the most with should I wind up in the company. He’s an Indian-American fellow (who I’ll call AB) who got his medical degrees at Stanford and Harvard, and wound up consulting for McKinsey. He’s a really sharp guy, but very funny and down-to-earth. A mutual love of sailing and The West Wing was a big plus. Nicha chatted at length with the founder, and came away as dazzled as I was after my first meeting with him. I followed up the dinner with a set of interviews with AB and the last employee I had not yet met (a manager) yesterday afternoon. My meeting with AB was less an interview and more of a chat. He showed an affinity for business history much like my own, and confirmed that this was a guy I could become good friends with. Ironically, the only time I came close to having what amounted to an interview was with this last manager (who I will call M, perhaps inspired by the recent release of the new James Bond film, but not really =). Anyway, M asked me to work through a case study whether a commercial property company should do an initial public offering. The puzzling thing is that he has almost no finance background, and so I wasn’t sure if he was evaluating my answers against his limited knowledge, or if he wanted some input on a case he happened to be working on. At any rate, now I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs wondering when I’m actually going to sit down with the founder, thrash out terms, and start work.

Other worthwhile mentionables: Cal won the Big Game!! For the first time since 1994, Cal reclaimed the Axe after defeating Stanford 30-7. Symbolically, this comes 20 years and 3 days after The Play, which ESPN acclaims as one of the best finishes in the history of college ball. It’s funny how a Big Game victory can make of for a mediocre season. Go Bears!

I also managed to watch National Lampoon’s Van Wilder at Pete’s recommendation. Although it’s a typically derivative gross out movie along the lines of American Pie (except only far more disgusting), I found that I really really enjoyed this film. So much so that I figure I must have watched it 7 or 8 times in the 2 weeks before my move. What struck me as the most hilarious was Kal Penn’s performance as Van’s new assistant: hyper-horny Indian exchange student Taj Mahal Badalamabad. I rate it as this generation’s Long Duk Dong, and one of the best gut-busting comedic performances I’ve seen in a while. Amazingly enough, after watching the film I few times, I realized I know the actor Kal Penn. He is the childhood friend of one of Salomon’s former analysts, and joined a group of us over dim sum at a Shanghaiese restaurant in Hong Kong about 2 years ago. I remember meeting Kal, who mentioned that he studied drama at UCLA and was lamenting the dearth of decent role for Indian-American actors. It wasn’t until I read an interview with him that mentioned that his education at UCLA did I realize that the nagging familiarity over Taj Mahal Badlamabad actually meant something. So I went digging through my old photos, and sure enough, there he was, sitting next to me wearing his UCLA sweatshirt. I shot Kal an e-mail which I found on his website, and he confirmed that he was indeed the fellow I met in Hong Kong. What a small world.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 3:26 PM |

Tuesday, November 19, 2002  

What a pleasant surprise! Last night, I went to my fraternity's website to fill out the change of address form, and a few hours later, I received a personal reply from someone at the grand chapter (that's frat-speak for our headquarters) wishing me luck with the move, discussing his upcoming travel plans in Thailand, and mentioning in passing that there were several other Tekes (i.e. members of Tau Kappa Epsilon, or TKE) in Bangkok. I sent a reply back asking for contact info on the other brothers, and this morning received a spreadsheet with contact info on the five other brothers that are out there. It's a decent mix of guys, with what appears to be three native Thais and two expats, hailing from San Francisco State, U. of New Mexico, Albion College, Truman State U., and Beloit College (I honestly have no idea where those last three are located!). I'm sending out e-mails and snail mails to these guys, and hopefully we can get together for beers like a bunch of undergrads...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:18 AM |

What a busy few days it has been! But first, some good news: my best bud Rob had his angioplasty and is recovering nicely. He has to change his dietary habits a bit, and is the youngest such case in his hospital to have an angiogram, but he's doing well, and I think chatting on the phone for an hour did wonders for both our spirits. I an insanely relieved, as I always considered Robert to be my 3rd brother.

My weekend party went well. It wasn't as well attended as I had hoped, mainly because of work and other commitments that prevented a few people from coming. But it was great to spend time with the 15 or so who made it. As is always the case, the people who bring the booze are never the folks who drink it, and I have more beer now than I can drink before Friday. I was also pretty amazed at how clean I managed to get the apartment, considering what a pig sty the place was just 24 hours before the party.

The party was also attended by my former secretary Peggy, who is also one of the better friends I have made here in Hong Kong. She had never been able to make it out to one of my parties, but I am in the process of selling a bunch of stuff (furniture, appliances, DVDs, etc), and I gave her first crack at picking out the items she wanted. Since I had pretty much written off everything, I figure anything I could get for it would be extra money in my pocket. And to ensure that the stuff would move quickly, I quoted the most incredibly cheap prices, like $40 for my bed and mattress, $25 for my 20" television, and $2 per DVD. After Peggy had picked out what she wanted, I e-mailed her a list of the remaining items to circulate around the office, and slipped flyers into the mailboxes in my apartment complex. No sooner had I gone back up to the apartment to get more flyers did I start getting calls about my stuff, and managed to sell several items before midnight. I fielded calls all day Monday, and have managed to unload most of the large furniture pieces, all the applicances, all but 1 DVD, and hald the VCDs. Even better, because most of those buying the furniture still need to make arrangements for pick-up, I still get to use this stuff until Wednesday and Thursday (and don't have to eat my dinners sitting on the floor! =).

I think the biggest reason why it's taking so long to square away all the packing is because I am distracted by shopping. On Friday, I bought myself a new Palm Pilot! Actually, the 2nd generation Palm was the last one to be called a Pilot, but I can't shake the habit. I got myself the m515, and it rocks! I kept questioning the value of having a color screen and large storage space, since I really only used my Palm V for the calendar and the address book. But being able to load pictures and videos onto the Palm (including one of my adorable niece) and read e-books is a major upgrade in value and functionality. I managed to find the first 10 (of 11) books in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Warlord of Mars series to load onto my Palm. I read The Princess of Mars, the first book in the series, when I was in 7th grade, and it kicked off an intense love of novel reading and the science fiction/fantasy genre that continues to this day. Burroughs, one of literatures' most prolific writers and creator of Tarzan, created in John Carter, Warlord of Mars one of the genre's most popular and enduring pulp fiction heroes, and the early inspiration for many cinematic swashbuckling space sagas that would follow over a half century later. It is without a doubt my favorite series of novels I have yet read. What amazes me is that his ahead-of-its-time novel was published back in 1912, and 90 years later I get to read it on a tiny handheld electronic device.

I am also psyched that Matchbox Twenty's new album, More Than You Think You Are, is being released later today. I was first introduced to this band when a friend gave me their 2nd album Mad Season as a farewell gift before I moved to Hong Kong 2 and a half years ago. It took me a while to warm up to it, but when I did, I realized I had stumbled upon one of the best bands I have listened to in recent years. Rob Thomas' songwriting is pure poetry, right up there with Rush's Neal Peart. Their first 2 albums are some of the best in my collection, and Thomas' earlier work with Tabitha's Secret is proving to be just as melodic as his newer stuff. I would rank MB20 to be among my top 5 favorite bands (up there with power groups Pink Floyd and Rush). I can't wait! I may even buy the album instead of pirating the songs online! =)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:51 AM |

Thursday, November 14, 2002  

Political Correctness has claimed yet another victim: historical accuracy. An article in today's San Pedro Daily Breeze reports that a 61st anniversary screening of the Pearl Harbor epic "Tora! Tora! Tora!" intended to raise funds for the Fort MacArthur Military Museum has been quashed over concerns that the event "would have been insensitive to the Japanese-American community."

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is quoted as saying, “Dec. 7 is a tough day, especially for the second and third generations of Japanese-Americans. Why do we want to do something that makes it more difficult?” As if December 7th is any less difficult for families of those killed in the attack. Nevermind that the landmark film is considered to be the most accurate depiction of the events leading to the attack, so much so that it is shown in high school history classes. Nevermind that the Oscar-winning film (for special effects in 1970) is the first ever American-Japanese coproduction, with the American team filming the American sequences and the Japanese team filming the Japanese sequences, thus ensuring that both sides of the story are portrayed fairly and without bias (and certainly without the cloyingly melodramatic patriotism characteristic of Michael Bay's Ben Affleck vehicle). Nevermind that after the films 1970 release, it was criticized for being too sympathetic to the Japanese and overly critical of American ineptitude. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is an outstanding dramatic movie that is as informative as the best documentaries, and if this isn't a film that can be screened in rememberance of Pearl Harbor and used as a tool to teach others, I don't which one is.

The real crime here is the blatant censorship of events that deserve to be remembered, lest we ever forget history's crimes and lessons. While Councilwoman Hahn feels that screening this movie might be offensive to Japanese Americans, I find not screening it to be the greater offense, and no better than the Japanese efforts to gloss over their violent occupations in Asia in WWII or their abuse of Korean and Filipina comfort women. Sure, it's an "offensive" embarrassment to the Japanese establishment and nationalists, but how are the Koreans and Filipinos supposed to feel? Should we ask Germans and Jews to forget the crimes of Hitler and the Third Reich simply because to be reminded of them may be insensitive to German Americans? Historic events shouldn't be used merely as a means of assigning blame, but rather as a reminder of the past and a guide towards future conduct.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:31 PM |

Have you ever had a really bad day, but didn't realize it until much later? It's like a really dull, creeping headache; you know that there is a lingering something that is putting off your focus, and it isn't until you look back on the day do you see how painful and debilitating it was. That was the sort of day I had yesterday.

I would have written this blog 24 hours ago, but there was so much swirling in my head to mull over that I couldn't bring everything together in some coherent focus. It started out like any other day this past week. I woke up late, but had stayed up late packing and getting things in order, and even watched a few television shows I downloaded earlier. By earlier afternoon, I was feeling a bit feverish and out of it, so I took a nap for most of the afternoon, and woke up groggy and sporting a headache as I usually do after a mid-day nap. When I checked my e-mail, I found that I received an e-mail from my best friend Rob. We go back together to the 6th grade, and though we don't get a chance to talk all that often, when we hang out again, it's as if we had spent the last few months as neighbors or as work colleagues; he's as comfortable to me as an old shoe. It was a long e-mail, starting with a brief update, but then he dropped a bomb on me. He's checking into the hospital due to a heart blockage, and will undergo an angiogram followed by an angioplasty procedure with a stint or a bypass operation. I may be the son of a doctor, but I have very little conception of how truly serious this may or may not be. This could be routine for all I know, but I just saw the words "heart blockage" and "bypass", and my world went spinning.

I've been fortunate that I have yet to attend a funeral, or need to. But a heart condition? I never like to dwell on the downsides when the percentages are negligible, but in this case, the worst case scenario is too much to bear, and this hits too close to home. It's my best friend. What truly gets my mind spinning is the fact that this guy is only 15 days older than me, and probably in far better shape than I am. How many times have I exercised in the past 2 months? Almost none. It's probably time to reconsider some of my daily and dietary habits.

I am thankful that Rob's wife Nikki worried enough about him to push him to see the doctor, and that his condition was detected early on. He should be released from the hospital sometime today, so I am anxious to call him and find out how things went. Perhaps I am worrying too much, but then again, it was perhaps a good thing that Nikki is the same way.

What also depressed me about getting the e-mail is that it reminded me that Rob and Nikki just celebrated their 1st year anniversary a few days earlier. Great anniversary gift, eh? Interestingly enough, yesterday happened to be the 1-year anniversary of the date I was laid off. I have tried to not let this bother me, and for the most part, it wasn't foremost in my mind. But deep down, I think it nags at me. As much fun I have had this past year with my sailing and travelling, there's something about being unemployed for an entire year that smacks of a sense of wasted time. Sure, when I get older, I will relish and cherish personal, reflective, and recreational time. But for now, these are my most productive years, and rather than developing my skills and progressing in my career and building a home and family, I am idling in the pitstop, waiting to get back into the race. I'm not brooding about it, but I can't help dwelling on it every now and then.

Coincidentally, I had a job interview yesterday too, with the Australian investment bank that it's taken me forever to get in front of. All things considered, I was fairly focused; I had already received Rob's e-mail, but I was too numb for it to completely throw me off (plus, I think I blocked it out until after the interview). Up to that point, I hadn't thought about my 1-year anniversary, and wouldn't until I emerged from the interview. It was a 6:30 pm interview, and the traffic was so bad I called ahead to let the director with whom I was interviewing know I would be a few minutes late. He said fine, and I was only about 3 minutes late. It was at that point that his associate (a Kellogg friend and classmate who would also be interviewing me) let me know that they had no idea that my headhunter has set up the meeting! It turned out to be a side-tracked e-mail, and I was fortunate that the director and my friend had a spare hour to meet with me. All in all, it went reasonably well, but given the timing of it, and my final negotiations with TS Capital, I have no idea if I will have the opportunity to progress much further with this bank. Time will tell...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 8:36 PM |

Tuesday, November 12, 2002  

Still pretty peeved that I won't be seeing my wife this weekend, but the blood pressure is coming down a slight bit. Listening to Hall & Oates, which always helps, and I'm taking my vengeful wrath out on hapless innocents, which satiates the bloodlust...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:49 PM |

I must have set some kind of personal record today; I've never posted so many blogs in one day, and won't be surprised if I wind up posting a few more before the day is out. Anyways, here's another pop-psych quiz. It's definitely far more cerebral than any I've taken before, but does manage to pander to my love of history...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:55 PM |

Goddammit!! Nicha just told me that she won't be able to get up here this weekend because she has to attend a company reception welcoming new assistant VPs. I fucking hate this bank. It's bad enough that they completely dragged their feet on her transfer to Hong Kong, but all the while, whenever they pushed back her transfer date, they would never give her enough time to at least visit me for more than a weekend. And now that I'm finally capitulating and moving to Bangkok, and they get to keep their AVP, they won't even let her go to help me move. I really could have used the help packing and the extra luggage capacity too. Plus, I was hoping that all my friends here who have been dying to meet her would have gotten at least this one chance to do so. Fuck Bangkok Bank. Bunch of goddamn pricks. Fuck them all.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 8:35 PM |

I just got an e-mail from Lucky, one of my best friends from college. She's this petite little fireball of a Thai girl; a real cutie pie with a barrel-full of energy to match. She's currently a pediatrician in Chicago (I used to tell her she would be great with kids 'cuz they would identify with someone as small and immature as her =), and just started a new job where she'll be teaching 3rd year medical students and running her own clinic in the afternoon. "Doctor Lucky" has a nice ring to it, but "Professor Lucky" is even cooler. Anyways, she's very excited that her name and picture (on the right) is listed on her hospital's website under their medical directory (like Steve Martin whooping it up about the new phone books in The Jerk). Unfortunately, I don't get to see Lucky as often as I'd like (the last time I saw her was back in 2000 when we had dinner in Berkeley, and before that in 1998 when I was in Chicago for business school). But at least I have a new picture to remind me what she looks like =)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 8:08 PM |

"Forgive me if my hungry eyes feast on the banquet of your sumptious cleavage." - Christopher Walken in the recurring Saturday Night Live skit, The Continental

After filling out the "50 Questions" survey below, particularly the one asking who my favorite SNL character is, I've been thinking about Christopher Walken, and what a kick-ass actor he is (read about him in this article by the Washington Post, or visit this pretty decent website). He has not only played some of the more memorable villains I have ever seen, but he's an incredible comedic talent as well. Throughout his career, he has read lines that are in my mind forever classic. It's amazing how he can use the same straight-faced, dead pan demeanor and elicit either chills or out-&-out belly laughs.

On the villinous side, I've always been a fan of his work in True Romance, one of my favorite films of all time. Overly violent? Yes, but that's the appeal! Classic dialogue? Most definitely, as only Tarantino can do. Many film students and Tarantino fans will tell you that the scene between Dennis Hopper's security guard Clifford Worley and Walken's mafioso heavy Vincenzo Coccotti is one for the ages, and I agree. It's intelligentlly written and acted, full of wit and humor, and Walken plays the "cold as ice" mobster to a tee. The best quotes from that scene:

"You see that? [slams his fist into Hopper's face] That smarts, doesn't it? Getting slammed in the nose. Fucks you all up. You get that pain shootin' through your brain, your eyes fill up with water. That ain't any kind of fun, but what I have to offer you, that's as good as it's gonna get, and it won't ever get that good again."

"I'm the Anti-Christ. You get me in a vendetta kind of mood, you'll tell the angels in heaven that you had never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you."

[Multiple gunshots] "I haven't killed anybody...[gunshot]...since 1984." [More gunshots]

It's amazing how he can take that emotionless poker-face, and say the most hilarious line without breaking down laughing. His cameo as a returning Vietnam vet in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction was a small one, but his man-to-man talk with the son of his dead buddy about the heirloom watch he promised his buddy to keep for his son was one of the highlights in a film with so many great scenes:

"Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid with uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years."

As bad as the reviews were for "Blast From the Past," I really enjoyed this film. I generally like Brendan Fraser's comedic work, and Walken's role as Fraser's hyper-paranoid dad was an added bonus. This line largely went unnoticed, but when you read it in print, it just comes across as extremely humorous:

"Son! Stay, out of the adult bookstore! Poisonous gas. Invisible!”

And then, of course, his appearances on Saturday Night Live. As far as I can tell, he's hosted the show 5 times, one of the most frequent for someone who wasn't an SNL alum. I have always found his skits to be among the very best that show has had to offer, and for one good reason: he's friggin' funny. Whether I hear these lines in context or read them out of context, I can't help but crack up:

"If I were to watch Centaur porn...but with the bottom of the screen blocked out with a piece of cardboard...would I find the human halves of the female actresses appealing?"

"Guess what? I gotta fever, and the only prescription is: more cowbell!!"

Mr. Leonard [Walken]: I have dual-citizenship with the United States and Florida.
Census-Taker: Florida is a part of the United States.
Mr. Leonard: Don't push your politics on me, pal.

Census-Taker: Alright, let me go over this again, then. You are a convicted criminal, living alone in an apartment with a bobcat. And you work 56 hours a week as a street performer.
Mr. Leonard: When you say it like that, my life sounds pretty damn good!

And finally, of course, his classic classic turns as the sleazy seduction artist in the recurring skit, The Continental. When he deviates from his trademark dead-pan, the results are no less hilarious. His faux-euro accent, his smarmy grin, and his lecherous, touchy-feely mannerisms bust me up, and make copies of his skits (which I have yet to be able to track down on the web or otherwise) one of my Holy Grails. Next time you slide into your "love machine" mode, try a few of these lines on for size:

"You know, champagna is not champagna unless it comes from the province of Champagne. I learned that in Bartending School."

"You know, your hands say everything about you.. So fine and delicate. You know, I received a doctorate in the study of Palmistry, from the University of Budapest."

"I spoke before of my three great passions. One.. the fine champagna. Another.. the art.. of massage. Yes! I am a fully-trained and licensed masseur. You see my diploma.. from the University of Beijing."

"Whoops! What happened! What have I done? I have spilled some wine. All over your boob. How wonderful! They look like two ripe melons...drenched in morning dew. Wait. Let me gently wipe them..."

I'm gonna try this last one on Nicha when she visits me this weekend. =P~

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:18 PM |

50 Questions:

1. Your name spelled backwards: Luap Kra (actually, me and my high school buds gave each other nicknames based on our backwards name, and to this day, Trebor is still my best friend)
2. Where were your parents born? Thailand
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? The first 6 episodes of season 9 of Friends
4. What's your favorite restaurant? Tough tough question. I have a different fav restaurant for each cuisine. Since I like many many cuisines, that's too many restaurants to list here!
5. Last time you swam in a pool? Sometime in 2001
6. Have you ever been in a school play? I was MC at a Cub Scout event
7. How many kids do you want? 3: girl, boy, girl. Nicha wants 3 sons
8. Type of music you dislike most? Gangsta rap
9. Are you registered to vote? No; I have a disdain for all things political (except political thrillers)
10. Do you have cable? Yup, i-Cable
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? Yup
12. Ever prank call anybody? Several times in college (and even sent a prank mail once)
13. Ever get a parking ticket? More than I care to count
14. Would you go bungee jumping or skydiving? I'm afraid of heights, but I would consider it
15. Furthest place you ever traveled? From where? 9 cities in 5 countries in 10 years; I'm a citizen of the world!
16. Do you have a garden? Nope
17. What's your favorite comic strip? Far Side!!!! Kudos to Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes too
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? No
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower, morning and night
20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? Haven't seen anything new in the past month, but Bend It Like Beckham is by far the best I've seen in the last 2-3 months
21. Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni
22. Chips or popcorn? Depends; if there is caramel or cheese on the popcorn (but not both!), then popcorn. Otherwise, chips
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? I invoke the 5th Amendment on this one...
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Uhhhh, what?!?
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Not even close
26. Orange Juice or apple? Both
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Coco Curry (Malaysian) at Lan Kwai Fong with some Salomon buddies (Jules, Mei-Ni, Little John, Gee & Tracy)
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Snickers with Almonds
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 1992
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Can't recall that I ever have
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Several high school track & field awards, and 1 bowling trophy
32. Are you a good cook? Other people seem to think so
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Of course, though this is actually a skill that's rare in Bangkok
34. Ever order something from an infomercial? Time-Life CDs "Rock & Roll's Best of the 50's", excellent purchase!
35. Sprite or 7-up? Either
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? Burger King
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Pain killer for back spasms back in late '99
38. Ever throw up in public? Nope
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love? Since I already found true love, I'd like to work on the millions now...
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? No, though lust at first sight definitely exists
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? In my day, they were 976 numbers...and, yes
42. Can exes be friends? Not mine, but I suppose so
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? One of my former vice-presidents after his wife gave birth to their son, about this time last year
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Yes
45. What message is on your answering machine? No answering machine
46. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Christopher Walken's sleazy seducer on The Continental segments
47. What was the name of your first pet? Tai, the family dog (Yorkshire terrier)
48. What is in your wallet? Cash, credit cards, buss/train card, pics of the little woman
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Ask the wife =)
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? Nicha Ark, my far better half

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:37 AM |

The cool thing is that I now have a guestbook (found the site through The shitty part is that I can't seem to post a friggin' entry...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:56 AM |

I hate moving. Packing sucks.

Since graduating from college 10 years ago (Egads! has it been that long?!?), I've moved 14 times and lived in 9 cities in 5 countries. The really worst part of this is that having expected to have stayed in Hong Kong longer than the 2 years that I have, I have accumulated a lot of crap, and moving it all is proving to be a royal pain in the rumpus. Once I get to Thailand, Nicha and I may move at least once or twice, but I'll be damned if I move to another country again; I am sick of holding on to my old bubble-wrap in anticipation of the next move!

Luckily, I've managed to stave off my procrastinating impulses (a force of nature unto itself) and have been gradually packing stuff a full three weeks before my move. I've done quite a bit of it today, and I'm pretty wiped out. Under normal circumstances (and given my track record, moving to new countries has become "normal circumstances"), I could afford to slow the pace a bit, but the wife is coming up here for an extended weekend, and I am throwing one of my trademark house parties in order to bid a fond "until we meet again" to all my HK homies (and perhaps sell them my furniture!). I don't mind living the slob's life, but Nicha loves cleanliness, and I will feel immensely guilty if she has to clean up after me. It is said that men ultimately tend to marry their moms (not literally, unless you're from the Deep South), but not me. I never once felt guilty about my mom cleaning after me...

I'm also still wiped out from the sailing I did on Sunday, my first yacht outing in almost 2 months. It was a great session, and reinforced much of what I learned in the Competent Crew course and my first outing on the Day Skipper course. I learned a bit more about pre-sailing engine inspection, and did more work on trimming the main sail than I did in my previous 6 sails. Towards the end of the day, our skipper/instructor Vic asked the 5 of us students to reef the main sail, which is basically reducing the sail surface to reduce power in extremely strong winds. Vic asked me to lead the procedure, and tell the others what I wanted done and what I wanted each of the others to do. Unfortunately, I hadn't reefed a sail in about 5 months, and completely forgot how. Not helping matters was the fact that 3 of the students were beginners (each having only sailed once before), and the other student, who was in the Skipper class, hadn't reefed a sail before. Each of my commands came in the form of a question ("Uh, I lower the halyard and then Dionne will hook the kringle? And, uh, Nick will tighten the reefing line?!?"), and as I looked Vic's way with a pleading look on my face, I was rewarded with a resolute and enthusiastic "Not even close." Oh, well. My bad.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:49 AM |

Monday, November 11, 2002  

I can never get enough of these little Internet quizzes:

How BLACK are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at

My results reminds me of a segment from the movie Amazon Women on the Moon where BB King raises funds for the charity Blacks Without Soul (with David Alan Grier playing the poster boy of this horrible affliction). This quiz may seem to be borderline racist, but frankly, if they had a similar test ripping on Asians, I would take it in a heartbeat. I do take offense at what I call "obvious" racism, but I tend to see most "humorous racism" for what it is: oftentimes biting social commentary wrapped in very clever satire. On some occasions, it's just too damn funny to be pissed off about. A friend just commented on her blog about the movie Sixteen Candles, and how she found Gedde Watanabe's portrayal of Long Duk Dong to be extremely offense. Granted, it is offensive to Asians on an objective level. But in all honesty, he was so damn funny that frankly, I could care less ("Whats a happenin, hot stuff?" is my favorite seduction line, but strangely enough, I elicit almost no reaction from the wife...). Long live The Donger!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:19 AM |

Wednesday, November 06, 2002  

I love the Internet.

More specifically, broadband access and Kazaa. I've spent a lot of time in recent months watching American television programming, specifically 24 and The West Wing. While the DVD releases of the first seasons of each are a godsend, having the ability to download episodes from subsequent seasons is the real blessing. I had watched the first 3 seasons of The West Wing before my recent trip to Bangkok, and I just watched the first 5 episodes of season 4 today. I'm in the process of downloading the season opener for 24, and hope to have a few on my hard drive for Nicha to watch once I make the move to Bangkok. I really gotta get broadband access once I get to Bangkok; I'd be lost without it nowadays.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:08 AM |

Monday, November 04, 2002  

Pete was good enough to post more pics of his little peanut on his website, which almost brought me to tears last night when I saw them. She is so adorable! That's Jess's grammy and grampy posing with their first grandchild. As you can tell, my dad is ecstatic, sporting his trademark grin =). I imagine she's in her really confused and cranky phase, and judging from Pete's blogs on the matter, she seems to be a bit of a night owl.

My brother Don and his wife Fiona are expecting a baby boy in February, so I'm pretty excited about that too. They still haven't decided on a name yet, though Don tells me that Brandon, Ethan, and Jayden are on their short list. I think Jayden is a bit unusual, but "Jay" as a short form isn't bad at all. Don tells me that Fiona won't abide by any shortening of their kid's name, though I don't see how that is avoidable if they go with Jayden. I'm hoping they steer clear of Ethan, since that is the name that Nicha and I have picked out for our second kid. Yes, it may seem a bit strange that we have already picked out our kids' names, but we have. Nicha is pretty certain that her fortune teller is dead-on in predicting that we will have 3 sons, so we picked out 3 boy's names already. It actually all started when I was mentioning that one of my best Thai friends Brook was so named because his parents met as grad students in Brookline, Massachusetts. Nicha found that amazing, since her best friend Gain was so named because her parents met in Gainsville, Florida (Gain's twin sister Tam was named after Tampa, though I am very disappointed that her brother wasn't named after Kissimmee or Chattahoochee). When we speculated what we would name our kid, it only took a split second to realize that Evan was perfect, as we met in Evanston, Illinois (Though I think Evanston as an official full name is pretty cool). We speculated if there were other location-related names worth using, but Chicago Ark or Chic Ark didn't quite have a nice ring to it, and though Clark's was a favorite diner of ours, no way am I ever gonna subject any kid of mine to a name like Clark Ark. We decided that the next 2 kids would also have "E"-themed names, so after my suggestions of Eeyore and Ebeneezer were shot down, we settled on Ethan and Eric (Nicha doesn't like Ed, Edward, or Edgar). Which is why we hope Don and Fiona don't name their kid Ethan first. Fiona can be very particular though, and if I can convince her that I would name my kid Ethan Ark even if they already named their kid likewise, she might reconsider. Especially if I made sure I "marketed" my kid so heavily that my kid is the first to come to mind over theirs when someone hears the name Ethan Ark. Yes, I am a prick...=)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:47 PM |

Friday, November 01, 2002  

"Sometimes I feel like a lesbian trapped in a man's body." - Random quote I read somewhere

For some reason, gender issues seems to be popping in and out of my daily life lately. I'm not saying that I am having twinges of doubt about my masculinity or experiencing those fleeting-yet-desperate longings for man-man love. But for some reason, gender confusion issues seems to be a not-so-subtle occurance in my regular routine.

I think a big part of it may be because a long time family friend Lisa is starting to question her sexuality, or perhaps toying with the idea of bisexuality, which I have known several female friends to have experimented with in their teens and twenties. I think it may also have something to do with the fact that she is having doubts about her long-term future with her long-time boyfriend, and having just been accepted to nursing school, is about to embark on a new and exciting stage in her life. Times of turbulence always brings out the doubts in all of us.

Additionally, I seem to be making real headway with my character on The Sims. Sara Bellum (yes, I am a big Powerpuff Girls fan, but I ain't no poof!) is a sexy blonde girl who I have groomed from a budding actress to a mega-star. She's got a hot bod, and is carrying on a torrid affair with an older, sophisticated, married man. Yes, I am a slut! I just moved Sara into a much larger house (mansion is perhaps the operative word here), and I expect it will take me quite a while before I can earn enough moolah to stock her pad with goodies such as the heart-shaped bath tub, a billiards table, and my very own robot. I may sling-shot back into the realm of manhood and play a huge, balding, beergut of a man.

Finally, Nicha and I were watching a Thai talk show last night featuring a transexual and her husband. The "lady" actually used to be a well-known and popular member of a Thai boy band a few years back, and I must admit objectively, a fairly handsome one at that. Since the snippity-snip, s/he has transformed into a lovely butterfly...not! S/he is hideous, like a not-so-great looking guy wearing really bad extensions. Her voice is as deep as mine! I admit that I would feel thoroughly squeamish at the prospect of dating (much less marrying) a transexual, but at least I've seen some really amazingly attractive ones. But this guy, er, girl is enough to make me cringe.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 3:55 PM |
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