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

Monday, June 30, 2003  

Wow, how fucked up is this? I know we live in a violent world, and random occurences of bloodshed is a fact of life, but to happen one town over from my hometown, and to have it happen in a place regarded as safe as Irvine is really messed up. When I first read this, my first and only thought was "I'm so glad mom doesn't shop at Albertson's." Silly, I know. As if one could protect onself from weapon-wielding wackos simply by choosing an appropriate place to shop...

Man kills 2 with knife in grocery
Sunday, June 29, 2003 Posted: 5:51 PM EDT (2151 GMT)

IRVINE, California (AP) -- A man wielding a large knife or sword killed two people and injured three others at an Albertson's supermarket Sunday morning before police fatally shot him, authorities said.

Shoppers fled the store as police went in to find the man shortly after 9:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT), Irvine Police Lt. Jeff Love said. The suspect confronted an officer before police shot him, Love said.

The two people killed were dead when police arrived. The three injured people and the suspect were transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, California, Love said.

One of the injured men suffered "moderate trauma injuries," while another man and woman had minor lacerations, said Capt. Stephen Miller of the Orange County Fire Authority. The suspect died at the hospital.

Stunned workers gathered at the store's parking lot.

"We're in Irvine, California," said Denese Ecker, who works at another Albertson's. "You just don't think things like this will happen. It makes you think about what's important."

Ecker said she went to the store after learning a former co-worker had been killed.

"This man got up this morning, went to work, kissed his wife goodbye, and from what I hear, he's gone. I'm just devastated," she said.

Love said it was "very bloody inside" and called the attacks an aberration in the city about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles, California. He said the city of 143,000 averages less than one murder a year.

"It's a very crime-free community. So this is quite a serious event for us," Love said.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:00 AM |

Wednesday, June 25, 2003  

Did a meteor over central Italy in AD 312 change the course of Roman and Christian history?

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:41 PM |

I got an 80. Having been raised on television, I actually expected to score much higher...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul |
10:01 AM |

Friday, June 20, 2003  


Male squirrels pay price for risky behavior

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It's not just men who die younger than women because they're driven by nature to look for dates and mates.

Add male squirrels to the list, according to new research by Dr. Roel Lopez, a wildlife expert at Texas A & M University, who's just finished a yearlong study of the critters that sometimes dart out in front of your car as if they have a suicide wish. He found that female fox squirrels are much more likely to avoid the pitfalls that males fall into.

"First-year survival was 80 percent for females and 74 percent for males," Lopez said. "And, interestingly, we found that highway mortality accounted for 100 percent of the male squirrel mortality."

Why? Male squirrels travel farther than females, as do human males, increasing their risk of winding up as road kill, Lopez explained. Most of the females that died were killed by predators.

In the study, the animals were trapped, radio-tagged and monitored. Lopez said the research is important because it's the first of its kind on how urban sprawl affects animals.

"This is true for a lot of species," he said. "Males seem to have a higher mortality rate. Breeding behavior puts them more at risk. Squirrels move greater distances, have larger home ranges. That's also true of deer. For every three deer killed by cars, two are males."

Males take chances that females often don't, Lopez said, and that goes for both humans and squirrels.

"Are males dumber? No, they are just not as careful. That's true for many species."

(Kudos to Dave for the link)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:30 PM |

Crotchety neighbors should be shot...

Cops shut down little girl's lemonade stand for not having permit
Patrick Taney
NAPLES, June 18, 2003 - A six-year-old girl was heartbroken when her small lemonade stand was put out of business because she didn’t have a temporary business permit. A neighbor called the police and her stand was shut down.

"Gotta get ready for the sale,” said Avigayil.

Even though she’s only 6 years old, Avigayil prepares for another day at work.

"We like making money at our lemonade stand. We want it to stay cold so they can have cold lemonade on hot days,” she said.

A young entrepreneur who does the cleaning, even the advertising - and it is paying off.

"We are making lots of tips in our tip jar,” said Avigayil.

But a few days ago, Avigayil and her friends were put out of business by a neighbor.

"We didn't have a permit so she called the cops,” said Avigayil.

The police arrived and shut her down.

"We had to take down our lemonade stand,” said Avigayil.

Abagail did not have a temporary business permit, which is technically a city violation.

"So we had to do something else to play,” said Avigayil.

"I was kind of shocked because I didn't know we needed a permit for 6 year old girls to sell lemonade,” said K.C. Shaw, Avigayil’s mom.

According to the city, they have to act on a formal complaint.

"Normally we don't get involved in it but once we do get a formal request we must take action,” said Al Hogrefe of the city of Naples.

So Avigayil’s mom went to the city code enforcement office with wallet in hand, prepared to buy a permit.

"$35 every single time for a single use,” said Shaw.

Not wanting to be sour, the city played Mr. Niceguy.

"No we did not charge her, no,” said Hogrefe.

They did finally get the permit.

"Basically a blank check to have as many lemonade stands as we can stand,” said Shaw.

So Abagail is back in business and learned laws can be tough, even for a six year old's lemonade stand.

Shaw said the police officers who shut down the stand felt terrible, but they had to do their job. One of the officers even bought a glass of lemonade from Avigayil.

(Thanks again to NBC2).

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:28 PM |

On this Day in History (from NBC2):

In 1756, in India, a group of British soldiers was imprisoned in a suffocating cell that gained notoriety as the "Black Hole of Calcutta"; most died.
In 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.
In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William the Fourth.
In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.
In 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Massachusetts, found Lizzie Borden innocent of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.
In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the US cruiser "Charleston" captured the Spanish-ruled island of Guam.
In 1943, race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.
In 1947, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, California, mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.
In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a "hot line" between the two superpowers.
In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali's conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).
In 1988, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a New York City law making it illegal for private clubs to generally exclude women and minorities.
Ten years ago: The Chicago Bulls won their third NBA title in a row as they defeated the Phoenix Suns in game six of their championship series, 99-to-98.
Five years ago: On the eve of Father's Day, President Clinton used his weekly radio address to announce the release of the first wave of almost $60 million in prostate cancer research grants.
One year ago: The US Supreme Court declared that executing mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel.

Today's Birthdays:
Actress Olympia Dukakis is 72.
Actor James Tolkan is 72.
Actor Danny Aiello is 70.
Actor John Mahoney is 63.
Movie director Stephen Frears is 62.
Singer-songwriter Brian Wilson is 61.
Actor John McCook is 58.
Singer Anne Murray is 58.
TV personality Bob Vila is 57.
Musician Andre Watts is 57.
Actress Candy Clark is 56.
Tina Sinatra is 55.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Lionel Richie is 54.
Actor John Goodman is 51.
Singer Cyndi Lauper is 50. (I don't know why, but the thought of a 50-year old Cyndi Lauper freaks me out)
Rock musician Michael Anthony (Van Halen) is 49.
Rock musician John Taylor is 43.
Rock musician Mark DeGliantoni (Soul Coughing) is 41.
Rock musician Murphy Karges (Sugar Ray) is 36.
Actress Nicole Kidman is 36.
Actor Peter Paige ("Queer As Folk") is 29.
Sex kitten Nera is 19 =)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:23 PM |

In an addendum to yesterday's e-mail, as soon as Nicha emerged from her nap on the couch, we found a puddle of saliva under her chin soaking the cushion. Between the snoring, slobbering, and farting, she was one majorly embarrassed drool monkey. We crashed soon after, with her farting throughout the night under the sheets; it was like her trying to inflate a hot air balloon =)!

She called me at work this morning, thinking I was upset that she kept me up all night. I was anything but, mentioning that she was the subject of my latest blog. "No no no nooooo....pleasepleasepleaseplease..." she started whining. She's very cute when she begs and gets pissed at the same time. I told her that not to many people visit my site anyways, so no reason to be embarassed, so please don't leave any comments!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:18 AM |

Thursday, June 19, 2003  

My wife is so funny. She can be very prim & proper, the quintessential lady. But occasionally, she'll just sit there on the couch and let one rip, silent but deadly. After a year of marriage, she still gets very embarassed to fart in front of me, so on those once-in-a-blue-moon occasions when she cuts the cheese, I just gotta laugh. She's behind me on the couch right now, snoring like a chainsaw (she's insistent that she doesn't snore either!) and farting up a storm.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:06 AM |

Monday, June 16, 2003  

Andrew is hilarious.

(Shout out to WomanChild and her Daily Specials for the link)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:22 PM |

In keeping with some of my recent rap-themed blogs, here's a link to Snoop Dogg's Shizzolator (link from Pete via Rob). Instead of actually punching the URL into the input box, I find it more effective to just insert "" before the actual URL. For example, the URL for my shizzolated site becomes "". The only real quirk is that it sometimes throws out a bunch of runtime errors, but no big whoop. I recommend the shizzolated text of the Neo-Architect conversation from Matrix Reloaded. It's the shiznit!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:52 PM |


A moment of silence, if you please...

Rib Restaurant Founder Tony Roma Dies
June 13, 2003, 10:56 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES -- Tony Roma, whose casual rib joint became an international restaurant empire after it caught the attention of a Texas financier in the 1970s, died Friday of lung cancer at a hospice. He was 78.

Roma opened his first barbecue restaurant in North Miami, Fla., in the early 1970s, according to his company's Web site. The restaurant originally specialized in steaks and burgers, but that changed when Roma and his chef decided to offer barbecued ribs as a weekend special.

The ribs proved so popular that they came to dominate the menu, and Roma's restaurants eventually opened across the United States, in Japan, England and Canada.

The company went international after the late Texas financier and Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr. visited Miami for the 1976 Super Bowl and stopped at Roma's restaurant.

He enjoyed the food so much, according to the corporate Web site, that he purchased the majority U.S. franchise rights from Roma and established a jointly owned company.

The restaurants expanded rapidly through the 1980s and now number more than 250.

Roma lived in Palm Springs, but moved to the hospice in Hemet, 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles, about 10 days ago, said Faye Otto, the hospice owner and a friend of the restaurateur.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:37 PM |

Friday ended on a really great note. Aside from being Friday, which is always a good thing, I got a call from Brook, one of my closest friends. Brook and I started out as investment banking analysts in Bangkok oh-so-many years ago, and over the years since, we keep moving around, occasionally finding ourselves in the same country. Like me, he followed his woman halfway around the world to accomodate her career (women seem to find this sweet and romantic, guys find it emasculating. Oh, well...). After a 2-year stint in Boston, his fiance wrapped up her MBA at Harvard (you need to use the snotty New England accent, so it sounds like "Ha-Vahd"), so he quit his job and they moved back to Bangkok. I'm psyched to have my old playmate/drinking buddy/partner-in-crime in the same country again!

Also, I finally got my line of Federal Reserve comic books! Several months back, Nicha showed me some very cheesy-looking comic books cranked out by the Fed designed to teach school kids about the economy. As goofy as they are, I found them to be very educational, being able to break down macroeconomic concepts (macro was never my strong suit) into basic, easy-to-explain ideas. Not surprising, since they are published for schools. Anyways, the cool part is that the Fed will send up to 30 copies of each title anywhere in the world for free (ok, not free; I paid Baht 20, or $0.48, in special postage). So I ordered a bunch of copies for our office and to keep around the apartment as "toilet reading." So why not order a few titles for yourself?

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:10 PM |

Friday, June 13, 2003  

I am about to finish Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", a sort of Cliff-Notes-meets-For-Dummies review of the history of creation, the existence of life, and emergence of all the major scientific disciplines, from astronomy to particle physics, from microbiology to chemistry, from geology to paleontology. It is a fantastic and fascinating book. I've always been a big fan of history of science and technology, and like Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time", Bryson's book is as enlightening and thought-provoking as it is readable. I read Bryson's "Made in America" (a sort of linguistic history of the English language in America) back in 1995 and absolutely loved his writing style. Though his books sound very dry and esoteric when described on paper, they are actually amazingly interesting. His style is extremely humorous, and he draws out some incredible oddball tidbits of trivia in all his research. I've long harbored a secret dream to go back for a doctorate in history and teach at some small liberal arts college, and Bryson's books reflect the quirky take on history I would love to employ.

And speaking of the master physicist, how many of you knew that aside from being Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (a chair that was held in 1663 by Isaac Newton), the esteemed Mr. Hawking is also a highly regarded and critically acclaimed gansta rapper? (Check out his MP3s; not to be missed!)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:55 PM |

As far as online tests go, How Dodgy Are You? is a bit weak, especially with the god-forsaken limey-speak. At any rate, I am:

Alright geezer! Fancy yourself as a bit tasty? It may be against the law, but what they don't know won't hurt 'em eh? We know your heart's in the right place… but watch out or that place may be a 3 to 5 stretch in Pentonville with 'Mad' Frank, Harry the Horse and 'Wristy' Rich Richardson.

Based on your answers, we have calculated the maximum penalty for your crimes:

Years in prison: 41
Potential fine: £7000

Yeah, I agree, it is a stupid site.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:27 PM |

Thursday, June 12, 2003  

Under the category "How to Run Nigerian E-Mail Scams for Fun and Profit":

The 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference: "Write better emails. Make more moneys."

Reserve your seat today!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:08 PM |

Monday, June 09, 2003  

"This isn’t a movie; it’s a symptom." – Brian Webster (Apollo Guide)

At Ami’s insistance, I borrowed his copy of “Jackass: The Movie” and watched it. I never saw the MTV show, so I had little idea of what expect. It’s little wonder that this movie never made it out to Asia; it represents a complete degeneration of taste, morality, and dignity, all that is wrong with today’s youth, and the decline of Western civilization. That said, I nearly busted my balls laughing. Some of the scenes were too gross for even me to watch, much less Nicha, who cringed for most of the movie and spent the rest of the time asking me “What the hell is this?!?” It was great to leave the “responsible adult” persona behind, imagine myself a frat boy again doing all the stupid shit that would have landed me in a hospital or jail cell, and let out more than a few belly laughs. Even if it’s just for a few hours.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:51 PM |

Divine Interventions, Home of the Baby Jesus Butt-Plug and the Dildo of Death!

(Thanks to Fade to Black for this and the Origami Underground links)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:50 PM |

I like origami. I like sex. Here's a website that combines my interest in both!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:44 PM |

Sunday, June 08, 2003  

My best friend Robert earned a law degree and went through a rigorous physical regimen in an unsuccessful attempt to gain admittance to the FBI. ANd to think that all he had to do was become a teenybopper...

Teaching the FBI how teens communicate 8th-graders helping corral pedophiles
Phuong Ly, Washington Post Thursday, June 5, 2003
As undercover assignments go, posing as a teenage girl online to catch pedophiles has its share of challenges for the typical FBI agent.

Should he ever capitalize words in instant messages?

Is it OK to say you buy your clothes at 5-7-9?

And Justin Timberlake -- is he still hot or is he so two years ago?

For those investigative details, the FBI calls on Karen, Mary and Kristin -- Maryland eighth-graders and best friends.

During the past year, the three have been teaching agents across the country how to communicate just like teenage girls, complete with written quizzes on celebrity gossip and clothing trends and assigned reading in Teen People and YM magazines. The first time the girls gave a quiz, all the agents failed.

"They, like, don't know anything," said Mary, 14, giggling.

"They're, like, do you like Michael Jackson?" said Karen, 14, rolling her eyes.

Probably the youngest instructors ever in an FBI classroom, the girls have become an invaluable help to Operation Innocent Images -- an initiative that tries to stop people from peddling child pornography or otherwise sexually exploiting children, FBI officials said. (The girls' last names are being withheld to protect them from harassment on the Internet and elsewhere.)

On Tuesday, at their middle school graduation ceremony, the girls each received a silver-framed letter of commendation signed by FBI Director Robert Mueller. In the letter, Mueller thanked them for developing the lessons that have directly helped catch pedophiles, despite their "busy 8th-grade schedule."

Operation Innocent Images was launched by the Baltimore FBI field office in 1995, and agents looked into 113 suspects in the first year. Over the years, Internet pedophiles have become more savvy and more suspicious about whether they are chatting with a law enforcement agent or a real teenager. Many of the suspects question the chatters on trends and pop culture, trying to catch the FBI agents off guard.

Karen, Mary and Kristin -- honor roll students, PacSun shoppers and aficionados of pink toenail polish -- have kept the FBI a step ahead, said Gary Bald, special agent in charge of the Baltimore office.

The girls were recruited after one of their fathers, an agent involved in the pedophile investigations, watched her instant messaging a friend and couldn't understand what she was typing. He realized that FBI training wasn't enough.

"We can teach agents how to be careful and make sure they're following the law and how to arrest people," Bald said. "But how to convince people they're a 13-year-old is something we need help on."

Agents estimate that at any given time, 20,000 pedophiles are online worldwide, trolling chat rooms after school hours for vulnerable teenagers. The program has led to the convictions of about 2,200 people across the country for swapping child pornography or arranging to meet minors for sex.

Around the FBI offices, Karen, Mary and Kristin have become like the agents' adopted daughters, getting hugs and high-fives from their students. But naturally, the adults often think they know best.

One agent kept insisting that he was right when he answered on a quiz that Timberlake was more popular than Destiny's Child. Another was miffed when the girls told the class that Led Zeppelin was just not cool. Some kept wondering why "l2m" in instant messaging couldn't be "love to meet," instead of "listen to music."

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:40 AM |

Saturday, June 07, 2003  

"I don't want to be immortal through my work. I want to be immortal through not dying." - Woody Allen

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:39 AM |

The NRA's Disneyland....

Chicken-shooting theme park
June 4, 2003

A NATURE park in northern China has drawn complaints by allowing visitors to use real guns to kill baby chickens.

"The animals killed are all domestic fowl," said an official at the Mianjiang Mountain Park in Dandong.

The state-run newspaper Beijing Evening News said residents questioned by a reporter complained that the shooting was upsetting children visiting the park, as well as protected species housed nearby.

"When the bullets dropped, the small animals were terrified," the report said.

Although shooting domestic animals and fowl is not illegal, Qin Hailong of the Wild Animal Protection Office of Dandong's Forestry Bureau, said his office was negotiating with the park on closing the feature.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:38 AM |

Friday, June 06, 2003  

I've always taken pride in the fact that I'm a reasonably articulate guy, but living in a foreign country is gradually eroding my English skills. While I have a strong affinity for the English language, I am utterly inept when it comes to foreign languages. In fact, I have formally studied Spanish, Japanese, Thai, and Latin, and have attempted to teach myself Mandarin, Cantonese, and German, none of which really took hold (my favorite joke on the matter is to proudly proclaim myself to be a multi-lingual illiterate). The upshot of all this is that while living in Bangkok is gradually improving my ability to speak Thai, my English is withering at an even faster pace. I find myself stuttering and stumbling over words. I mispronounce things, and often forget to switch out of my Thai accent for English words that have been anglicized for the Thai language. This linguistic degradation first started happening to me in 1994-1997 while I was in Thailand and Singapore, and resumed in 2000 when I moved out to Hong Kong. Essentially, I am becoming an American FOB. If left unchecked, I will eventually be no more conversant than a well trained chimpanzee or orangutan with a mastery over semi-complex hand signals.

I first noticed this happening to me back in 1995 when I first moved to Southeast Asia, during which time I also arrived at one of the few epiphanies in my life. I had always noticed that Asian immigrants in the U.S. always had different styles of "broken" English, depending on which ethnic or liguistic group they hailed from. After spending more time in country trying to improve my Thai grammar, I found myself thinking in English what I wanted to say and then translating word-for-word into Thai, which resulted in many permutations of gramatically fucked-up sentences. It was then that I realized that most Thai's "broken" English is similarly just a word-for-word translation of what they are first composing in their minds in Thai. Because Thai is a more contextual language, there are no propositions, notations to indicate singular vs. plural, or gender specific pronouns, which results in fairly specific, frequent, and predictable goofs in most Thais' English.

That said, my new-found enlightenment has not prevented me from taking great pleasure in observing how Asians butcher my native tongue. If you are the same way, pay a visit to, a site I frequent whenever I need to laugh at my fellow Asians.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:16 PM |

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” -Voltaire

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:37 PM |

Soon after my niece Jessica was born, Nicha and I sent her a formidably-sized doll of Pucca (one of those cutesy, Hello Kitty-ish type characters that's one of the current rages out here in Asia). I wanted her to grow up with at least one doll of an Asian girl, to help develop her self-esteem, but also because I think seeing her with a doll that is bigger than her would make for a fantastic photo. Pete finally obliged and took the picture I've waited 8 months to see. Thanks, dude! Incidentally, when the package first arrived, Jessie's mom Jane opened it up and saw this huge head and did a bit of a jump back (not unlike Morgan Freeman seeing Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box, I imagine...).

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:09 PM |

If I were a Christian, I would likely be consigned to the lower depths of hell (Level 5, specifically) for telling these jokes. However, since I'm a Buddhist, I will only have to suffer to spend my next life as a sea slug or some such lower life form (not that I'm all that an advanced biological being as it is...)

A priest and a rabbi were walking down the street when an 11-year-old boy walks by. The priest whispers to the rabbi "Hey rabbi, why don't we screw that little boy?" The rabbi replies "Out of what?"

Rabbi Jacob walks into temple to find Rabbi Rabinowitz praying and crying. “What’s wrong, my friend?” asks Rabbi Jacob. “Oy, can you believe it,” replies Rabbi Rabinowitz, “I send my son to the Holy Land to learn to be a better Jew – and he comes back a Christian! Oy vey is mir….” “Funny you should mention,” says Rabbi Jacob, “two years ago I sent MY son to the Holy Land to learn to be a better Jew, and HE comes back a Christian! Broke his mother’s hear!” and he starts crying and praying too. Just then Rabbi Schneckel comes in and sees his friends wailing. He asks what the matter is, and they tell him. “Funny you should mention,” says Rabbi Schneckel, “about five years ago I sent MY son to the Holy Land to learn to be a better Jew, and HE came back a Christian! For this we must pray…” and he joins his friends in prayer and sorrow. The wails of three Rabbis praying make it to the ears of God, who parts the clouds and comes down to the Rabbis, asking them what the matter is, why all the crying? When they tell Him, God scratches his head, saying, “Funny you should mention…”

Q: How does a Catholic priest know when it is time to go to bed?
A: When the big hand touches the little hand...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:56 PM |

In preparation for our company offsite’s session on team dynamics two weeks ago, we each took an abbreviated version of the Jung-Myer-Briggs typology test (it takes about 10-15 minutes to run through the 70+ questions, if you are inclined to take it). As a cold-hearted, blood-sucking, evil, calculating investment banker type, I always looked at touchy-feely psychological tests with a skeptical eye (wacky online tests telling me how much of a geek or Jedi or telling me which Simpsons, Muppets, Monty Python character I am notwithstanding). However, the session was extremely informative and enlightening; I learned a great deal about the differences between how I prefer to behave versus how I actually behave, about how I am versus how I perceived, and how I try to persuade others versus how best to persuade me.

According to the test, I am an ENFJ (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging)

According to Keirsey (a psychologist, I suspect), NF personalities are categorized as Idealists, who are described as “being ABSTRACT in communicating and COOPERATIVE in implementing goals, can become highly skilled in DIPLOMATIC INTEGRATION. Thus their most practiced and developed intelligent operations are usually teaching and counseling (NFJ mentoring), or conferring and tutoring (NFP advocating). And they would if they could be sages in one of these forms of social development. The Idealist temperament have an instinct for interpersonal integration, learn ethics with ever increasing zeal, sometimes become diplomatic leaders, and often speak interpretively and metaphorically of the abstract world of their imagination.

They are proud of themselves in the degree they are empathic in action, respect themselves in the degree they are benevolent, and feel confident of themselves in the degree they are authentic. Idealist types search for their unique identity, hunger for deep and meaningful relationships, wish for a little romance each day, trust their intuitive feelings implicitly, aspire for profundity. This is the "Identity Seeking Personality" -- credulous about the future, mystical about the past, and their preferred time and place are the future and the pathway. Educationally they go for the humanities, avocationally for ethics, and vocationally for personnel work.

Social relationships: In their family interactions they strive for mutuality, provide spiritual intimacy for the mates, opportunity for fantasy for their children, and for themselves continuous self-renewal. Idealists do not abound, being as few as 8% and nor more than 10% of the population

More specifically, Idealist ENFJ’s are subcategorized as Teachers, who are “abstract in their thought and speech, cooperative in their style of achieving goals, and directive and extraverted in their interpersonal relations. Learning in the young has to be beckoned forth, teased out from its hiding place, or, as suggested by the word "education," it has to be "educed." by an individual with educative capabilities. Such a one is the eNFj, thus rightly called the educative mentor or Teacher for short. The Teacher is especially capable of educing or calling forth those inner potentials each learner possesses. Even as children the Teachers may attract a gathering of other children ready to follow their lead in play or work. And they lead without seeming to do so.

Teachers expect the very best of those around them, and this expectation, usually expressed as enthusiastic encouragement, motivates action in others and the desire to live up to their expectations. Teachers have the charming characteristic of taking for granted that their expectations will be met, their implicit commands obeyed, never doubting that people will want to do what they suggest. And, more often than not, people do, because this type has extraordinary charisma.

The Teachers are found in no more than 2 or 3 percent of the population. They like to have things settled and arranged. They prefer to plan both work and social engagements ahead of time and tend to be absolutely reliable in honoring these commitments. At the same time, Teachers are very much at home in complex situations which require the juggling of much data with little pre-planning. An experienced Teacher group leader can dream up, effortlessly, and almost endlessly, activities for groups to engage in, and stimulating roles for members of the group to play. In some Teachers, inspired by the responsiveness of their students or followers, this can amount to genius which other types find hard to emulate. Teachers value harmonious human relations about all else, can handle people with charm and concern, and are usually popular wherever they are. But Teachers are not so much social as educational leaders, interested primarily in the personal growth and development of others, and less in attending to their social needs
.” goes on to describe ENFJs as “the benevolent 'pedagogues' of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it's usually not meant as manipulation -- ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. They are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people. ENFJs often take on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

Extraverted Feeling rules the ENFJ's psyche. In the sway of this rational function, these folks are predisposed to closure in matters pertaining to people, and especially on behalf of their beloved. As extraverts, their contacts are wide ranging. Face-to-face relationships are intense, personable and warm, though they may be so infrequently achieved that intimate friendships are rare.

ENFJs are blessed through introverted intuition with clarity of perception in the inner, unconscious world. Dominant Feeling prefers to find the silver lining in even the most beggarly perceptions of those in their expanding circle of friends and, of course, in themselves. In less balanced individuals, such mitigation of the unseemly eventually undermines the ENFJ's integrity and frequently their good name. In healthier individuals, deft use of this awareness of the inner needs and desires of others enables this astute type to win friends, influence people, and avoid compromising entanglements.

The dynamic nature of their intuition moves ENFJs from one project to another with the assurance that the next one will be perfect, or much more nearly so than the last. ENFJs are continually looking for newer and better solutions to benefit their extensive family, staff, or organization

Other famous ENFJs include David (King of Israel), Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Maslow (psychologist), Ross Perot, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Dole, Francois Mitterand, Bob Saget, Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, James Garner, Gene Hackman, and Randy Quaid

Food for thought…

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:38 PM |

Thursday, June 05, 2003  

In a category that I refer to as “Websites with Really Cool Crap that I Don’t Visit Nearly as Often as I Should” (or more conveniently, WWRCCTIDVNAOAIS) is greengrl’s blog site “What Kind of Sick Weirdo Are You?”, a sort of potpourri of bizzarro oddball tidbits that ranks up there with and Dave Barry’s blogs as the best productivity-killers on the Internet today (though Yahoo’s Oddly Enough news pages should get an honorable mention). In fact, much of the weirdo crap that I wind up posting on this site tends to come from this troika of webpages, with the majority of it coming from greengrl’s. I can think of no better lifestyle than one that would let me scan the webscape and look for weird stuff. Green, Drew, and Dave: I envy you.

Anyways, I thought I would bring this all up because I have wasted half of my morning perusing these sites and came across the second reference this week (first on Fark, second on Weirdo) to an Indiana Jones fan film (the story dovetails nicely with yesterday’s blog on Harrison Ford, no?) that is a shot-for-shot recreation of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” If that wasn’t cool enough, chew on this: it was project 6 years in the making, started in 1981 by a group of 10 to 12 year olds. I’m anxious to find a version of it on Kazaa, but greengrl was kind enough to include a link to a trailer. If you happen to be in Texas on June 8th or 9th, you might even be able to catch a showing ("SEE Indiana Jones grow six inches, drop into a baritone and grow facial hair! SEE Marion Ravenwood develop breasts! SEE the meanest pack of prepubescent nazis ever recorded on film!")

And whilst I am in my “kissing greengrl’s butt for helping me avoid real work” mode, I include a link from her site to yet another quack-psychology test (I love these things!): The Geek Test. Amazingly enough, I was only ranked a Total Geek (28.20513%). Now you would think that Total is pretty much, well, total, but apparently I am out-geeked by the Major Geeks, Super Geeks, Extreme Geeks, Geek Gods, and Dysfunctional Geeks.

On a completely random note, I came across a bit of news that I just had to post because: 1) I used to play accordion, 2) I almost became a lawyer, 3) I’ve been to France, work with a French guy, and generally think French people are silly, and 4) Yahoo misspelled “accordion” three times. If you're too lazy to follow the link, I posted the article below:

French lawyer cleared of indecorous accordeon-playing
Wed Jun 4, 4:01 PM ET
BORDEAUX (AFP) - A French lawyer and accordeon player who was suspended from the bar association for busking in the streets of southwestern France has successfully appealed against the decision.

Valerie Faure, from the town of Bergerac in the southwestern Dordogne region, was suspended in November after two colleagues spotted her playing accordeon to a street audience, with her case laid open on the floor for tips. But the appeal court in southwestern Bordeaux overturned the decision on Tuesday, on the grounds that Faure was not wearing lawyer's robes at the time and could not therefore have undermined the dignity of her profession.

"I am happy that outside the courtroom a lawyer is allowed to have an artistic life," Faure told AFP after the appeal hearing.

"I was simply following my passion," said the lawyer, who performs accompanied by her husband on the violin, adding: "It's not the money that counts but the pleasure of performing."

Faure, who had ignored a first warning about her musical pursuits in 1999, said the verdict was a step in the right direction. In 1826, a French lawyer was disbarred for performing in the theatre, while another was booted out in 1841 for taking part in a workers' meeting.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:51 PM |

Wednesday, June 04, 2003  

Cool! "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" is on HBO. It certainly wasn't that great when I first saw it (the whiney kids following Mel around calling him "Cap'n Walker! Cap'n Walker!!" was too damn annoying), but I haven't seen it in a while, so it should be a nice stroll down memory lane. What's really cool is that Mr. Gibson announced earlier this year that Mad Max 4 is in the works.

Also, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg have semi-confirmed that Indiana Jones 4 will go into production next year. In a related and funny story, Harrison Ford just got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He thought he already had one, but it turns out the star bearing his name actually honors a silent film star who was also named Harrison Ford.

Just some inane thoughts brought to you by the House of Random Crap...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:47 PM |


I just took a brief look at my archived blogs and noticed that today is the 1 year anniversary since I launched my blog site! I'm amazed at at how much has changed and happened to me in the past year.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:24 PM |

Haloscan finally re-opened registrations so I dumped my guestbook and added comments to my blog. Please comment on my blogs; my fragile and delicate ego craves the attention...

On a completely random note, I managed to download Linkin Park's video for their new release "Faint." It explodes with kinetic energy! I almost regressed into my 20-year old, frat-boy-in-the-mosh-pit alter ego, which surfaces now and then, and certainly a lot since I've shifted into my LP phase; I think my analysts find it amusing to see their boss mildly tossing his head back in forth in headbanger fashion...=)

On another random note, my Hollywood Stock Exchange portfolio has done fairly well lately. Just after I saw Matrix Reloaded, I decided to short the hell out of the stock and it's options, as well as go short on Bruce Almighty. I've made some pseudo-money since then, with my portfolio reaching $3.36 million and my ranking reaching 168,000, cracking the 61st percentile. Initially, I was totally ecstatic, but then I checked the leader boards and saw some people raking in gains in the hundreds of percent in a week, compared to my 68% lifetime gain. Oh, well.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 7:13 PM |

Last weekend, I wanted to write about a restaurant I visited during the last work week, but my Internet connection was acting up, so I'll mention it now. Last, Tuesday night my colleague Ami dragged me out to join him, his girlfriend, and two of his brother's friends who were vacationing in Thailand for dinner and drinks. We went to Tawandaeng Brew Pub, a Thai-German microbrewery not too far from my apartment. Nicha and I have been meaning to go, but we usually forget to make the necessary reservations on the Fridays we want to go. And judging how packed this place was in mid-week, I can't imagine how insanely crammed this place must be on weekends. The food and beer weren't too bad, but the live stage show, which runs all evening every evening was fantastic. There is a rotation of several groups, doing souped up classical Thai songs, western pop and jazz tunes with fully choreographed dance numbers, and a hard rock band. There was even audience participation, and we sat flabbergasted as Ami's meek and timid Thai girlfriend out-drank two other girls (full pints of beer) to snag the goodie bag of prizes (including a Baht 500 discount on our dinner). I ate up a storm (spicy!), drank a shitload of beer (tasty!), and rolled into work the next day with an oh-so-mild hangover. It really brought me back to my pre-MBA days when I was an analyst in Bangkok. It was flat out one of the best times I've had in a restaurant/pub in years. If I knew about this place earlier, I would have loved to have brought my best friend, my brothers, and the spouses here when they came out for my wedding. I will definitely be heading back.

I just finished up two books within the last 18 hours. I haven't had much opportunity to do a lot of pleasure reading lately, so it's been nice to fill my brain with stuff not pertaining to finance or whatever sectors my clients happen to be in. I started these two books over the weekend, and they were both so engaging that I managed to zip through both of them in just 3-4 days. The first, which I just finished last night, is Tracy Chevalier's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" titled after the Johannes Vermeer painting of the same name. Regarded as the Dutch "Mona Lisa", it is Vermeer's most famous painting, and by far my favorite painting of all time. The book is somewhat "girly" in the sense that it is about a young girl's tale of coming-of-age and (as the back cover describes it) "sensual awakening" but I found the story very engrossing. At a very basic level, it is similar in theme to Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha", which I also enjoyed very much. What I liked about "Earring" was the attempt to weave a fictional tale out of the little that is known about Vermeer (and the practically nothing that is known about the subject of the portrait). I had the good fortune to see all of Vermeer's major works when I lived in New York in 2001 and they were on display at the Met. I have always been a fan of post-Rennaissance European art (in my two years in Chicago, I visited the Art Institute about a half dozen times, always confining myself to the European collection, particularly the Impressionist works), but when I saw the Vermeer collection, I was blown away. When I saw "Girl with a Pearl Earring," I was instantly captivated. His use of light is powerful, and he manages to convey a wide range of emotion and story out of very simple scenes. I have collected a few books on his works, and when I saw the painting on the cover of Chevalier's book, I had to pick it up.

The second book, which I finished today while waiting to meet with a client, is Evan Schwartz's "The Last Lone Inventor : A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television" which traces the history of radio, the invention of television, and creation of the broadcasting industry. The history focuses on the conflict between two men: Philo Farnsworth, whose name is little known today but who is credited with being the first person to conceptualize and create the television as we know it today, and David Sarnoff, the head of RCA and founder of NBC who was the mogul/visionary who created the broadcasting industry. The book is a highly engaging and amazingly quick read. I recommend the book to anyone, but if you are a either a history buff in general or someone who takes in interest in the history and rise of Microsoft as a technology juggernaut (I am both), this book is a must read. Sarnoff was very much the Bill Gates of his time, and there are many parallels between the David-&-Goliath-like Farnsworth vs. Sarnoff tale and the modern day struggle between entrepreneurs and small tech companies against the all-powerful Microsoft.

Do you get headaches when you read in cars? I used to get extremely and instantaneously nauseous when I read while riding in a car. It sill makes me dizzy from time to time, but in the last 6 months, I've discovered that I can tolerate reading in moving vehicles. I started with newspapers in my morning cab rises to work, but now I can read magazines and novels. I think it might have something to do with the fact an increasing amount of my pleasure reading is for electronic books. After I got my new Palm (m515) 6 months ago, I bought an e-book (Roger Lowenstein's "When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management", an excellent chronicle of the high profile collapse of hedge fund LTCM) through Palm Media just to see if I would like the idea of e-books and to see what my palm could do. I was instantly hooked. The convenience of carrying 10 books in my pocket is huge, and having a backlit PDA means I can read at night (when I'm on my cab ride home from work or on the train platform). I get less dizzy when reading an e-book (and suspect that reading e-books has helped me adjust to reading regular books) while in a car. Plus, given that shipping Amazon orders internationally is cost prohibitive (some e-books are cheaper than their physical counterparts, and downloading my books means no shipping and instant gratification) and the selection of decent reading material in Thailand is limited (no Barnes & Noble or Borders out here, boo hoo!), e-books are a great way to expand the range of books available for purchase. If you are a techno-geek bookworm like me (and you have a color-screen, backlit PDA), I absolutely recommend the e-books format.

Oh yeah, today is my brother Don's birthday, so if he's reading this: Happy Birthday, Kid!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 6:14 PM |
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