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


Monday, November 29, 2004  

"Xanga is invaded by undersexed high school Asian girls (who iNSiSt on TyPIng LiOKE DiZ) with short gangster boyfriends who drive ricers and listen to K-pop."

With apologies to my Asian female friends who have Xanga sites, this is the funniest quote I've lifted off a blog in a while. I've decided not to post the identity of the author to protect his/her/its identity =)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:17 PM |


Friday, November 26, 2004  

Damn. That freelance project I've been working on for the past 6 months is dead in the water. Ok, maybe not dead. In a coma, brain-dead. Or deep deep cryogenic freeze. At any rate, Ami and I won't be getting our next milestone payment anytime soon, much less our success fee. I was hoping that after all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into the deal, we would be able to pull it off. My portion of the fees would have finally gotten me out of student loan debt, with enough left over to put a down payment on a car too.

Damn.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 9:35 PM |
 

Float like a social butterfly, drink like a bee (or something like that)

For a guy who claims to completely disdain "It" crowd, high society events, I seem to be going to a lot of them lately. And for some reason, this past week I had apparently forgotten that I can no longer hold my liquor like the 20-year old frat boy I once was, but rather more like the 16-year old cheerleader on wine coolers that I now am.

It all started when I was invited by my long-time friend Anchalika to join her at the opening of Fogovivo, self-described as an "Authentic Brazilian Churrascaria Restaurant & Bar", which in Paul's English means BBQ joint. I jumped at the chance to go, not so much because I like bar launches or even Brazilian food so much, but because I haven't seen my friend in almost 6 years.

When I got there, I thought "Nice place, decent crowd, a little bit too much cigarette smoke, but it works for me." I called up Anchalika, who told me she was on the downstairs level. Hrmm...downstairs, the bar is pretty much the right size; a downstairs might make the place too big.

You have no friggin' idea.



Cavernous doesn't begin to describe the place. Try Bat Cave. The place was teeming with perhaps the most diverse group of people I've seen in Bangkok to date (Thais, Americans, Europeans, and of course, Brazilians). And smoke. Lots and lots of break-out-the-Visine-my-eyes-are-melting smoke. And not from the cigarettes, but from the BBQ beef that the restaurant was grilling all night long. My hair was gonna reek of cigarettes and charred beef before the night was through.

Hanging out with Anchalika was a pure joy, as was schmoozing with her friends, and even more surprisingly, my friends (not so surprising that I have friends, but that my friends and I get invited to the cool kid parties too). My enthusiasm managed to get the best of me, as my vodka tonic and glass of white wine were soon joined by a scotch and soda, a glass of champagne, and 4 more glasses of wine, all on an empty stomach. Amidst the rolling high seas that I suddlenly found myself on, I was suddenly struck by divine inspiration: "Next time eat first, dumbass."

The next day's hangover was pretty brutal, and I decided to sleep in a lot longer than usual. The thing that loomed in the back of my incessantly pounding head was the fact that 1) I had meetings that afternoon that I couldn't avoid, and 2) Anchalika's company was having a party/celebration commemorating the success of its latest resort development. To go, or not to go? If I go, will I be able to resist the temptation to drink?



I popped a few Tylenols and managed to drag my ass over to both my meetings and the Aleenta party. For those either not familiar with or interested in Thailand's 5-star spa resorts, Aleenta was one of the first down in the still relatively pristine beaches of Pranburi (along the coastline south of Bangkok and Hua Hin). A product of love (and her nest egg), Anchalika's resort proved wildly popular, and spawned several competitors. Aleenta received many rave reviews, and even hosted David Beckham and his Posh Tart during their visit to Thailand (Anchalika even managed to get him to film a commercial for her resort). I won't go into it too much; visit the webpage.



To commemorate the achievement of having sold out 70% of their villas, Aleenta threw a posh and amazingly elegant shindig, complete with buffet, open bar, and jazz band. It was much like attending a Thai-style wedding cocktail reception, except 1) it was a lot classier than most receptions I've attended, 2) the food was so much better than most receptions I've attended (hint: throw your wedding cocktail receptions at the Conrad Hotel; the chicken yakitori rocks), and 3) it was a lot less crowded than most wedding receptions. Unfortunately this last point was disappointing for Anchalika, as this event was as much a promotional/public relations event as it was a party. the turnout was decent, but not blockbuster.

The truly disappointing thing was that Aleenta made a sizable donation to the WWF (the World Wide Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation) for the preservation of sea turtles, and no one gave a rat's ass. They handed these really cute plush turtles as souvenirs, and the President of the WWF (a European-looking fellow who spoke amazingly flawless, jaw-droppingly fluent Thai) gave a fascinating presentation on the various sea turtles inhabiting the waters off of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. And what did the hoi palloi of Bangkok do through out the presentation? Chat, gossip, eat, drink, anything but listen to the poor guy who obviously spent a lot of time preparing for the presentation. Welcome to Thailand, Land of Disinterested Smiles.

Where I drank far too much the first night, I was in danger of eating way to much the next. But the food was sooooooo damn good (and free to boot, so who could blame me?). Eventually, I did cave in and had one drink: a white chocolate martini that is served at Anchalika's resort. It was pretty tasty, but strong. I could feel the vodka threatening to stir up the queasiness I had been fighting all day. I finished my drink, said my goodbyes, and headed home to kiss the wife, drink some juice, and soothe the tummy

Back to the hermit's life, and lovin' it.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:56 PM |


Wednesday, November 24, 2004  



METROBLOG BANGKOK is live! Take a peek!

What is a Metroblog, you ask? According to Metroblogging.com, "Metblogs are a hyper-local look at what's going on in the city. Our regional bloggers give each site a new perspective on daily life; less calendar listing, more friendly advice." In a nutshell, it's the ultimate in collaborative blogging. Here's what the San Francisco Chronicle has to say about Metroblogging. And USA Today.

Before I forget: if you happen to live in Bangkok yourself and are interested in becoming a contributing writer, let me know.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 1:23 AM |


Sunday, November 21, 2004  

My lord, how things can change in a half of football. It looked like the Cal Bears were practically asleep the entire first half going into half-time with a 10-3 lead. Now, with 3 minutes left in the game, they are sitting on a ridiculously lopsided 41-6 score. Amazingly enough, I'm deathly calm about the whole affair. I'm content. And I shouldn't be. It's the freakin' Big Game. It's the 3rd consecutive year that we've won the Axe against our hated Stanford rivals, a feat not achived by Cal in over 40 years. I should be bouncing off the walls, whooping it up like a drunken raving lunatic. Instead, I sit here calm as Buddha, typing out this blog. Damn if we ain't going to the Rose Bowl =).

[Update: Game Over. 41-6. Awesome.]

GO BEARS!!!!!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 7:04 AM |
 

3:30 in the morning. Still a bit groggy. Heart palpitations galore. Wanna go back to sleep. But this is the day I've been waiting for the entire season. Today is the 107th Big Game. And with Cal's bid for the Rose Bowl (and top 5 national ranking) on the line, this is perhaps the single most important Big Game for us in literally 50 years. Once the game kicks off, cobwebs will dissipate, and I will be on a pin-&-needles roller coaster ride for 3 hours.

Having recently been made an uncle again for the 3rd time, I often spend a great deal of time not only visiting my new niece Sydney's website, but also that of her big sister Jessie. I love kids, especially those of my brothers. I can't get enough of the kids' heart-melting picture and stories (really brings out my maternal side!). One of the things that has pre-occupied me a lot lately is trying to imagine my dad playing with Jessie as she prepares him "food" from her little kitchen set. I picture him sitting cross-legged on the floor, all smiles as his grand-daughter grills him a "steak", and making "mmmm mmmmm" sounds as he eats with Jessie looking on beaming. It would not only be a cute scene, but also a very unique one. In all my life, I've always known my dad to be a serious, stoic person. Even in the best of moods, he rarely smiles, and never have I ever seen him goofy or playful. Perhaps one of the fondest of memories that Pete and I have of Dad is of his obsession with Pac Man, one of the best games we had for our Atari 800 computer (10 years pre-web browser, with magnetic tape drive and 5 & quarter inch floppy disk drive. Yeah, baby! High tech at it kitschiest). Once we got him into Pac Man, he couldn't let it go. He spent many a lost weekend at the console, desperate to break my long standing high score. You could hear him get frustrated, and slamming the restart button if his first Pac Man died to soon. Even when he was at play, he was nothing but serious and intense. It was comical.



We really did appreciate Dad's playful side, as intensely driven and competitive as it was. It humanized him, and allowed us to see him as a pal for a few short hours each weekend before he became "The Dad" again. My two other great memories with Dad were of Pete and I teaching him how to play chess during a mid-80's Easter break in Puerto Vallarta (he picked the game up super-quick, and became insufferably undefeatable after a few games), and of an early 80's afternoon in Las Vegas, where Dad took a break from gambling to take Pete and I bowling. The last time I was able to kick back with Dad like that was in my college days, when he would take me and my brothers golfing. Of course, even then, fun was incidental: Dad was a stickler for the official PGA rules, which made him a bit of a wet sponge. Fun sure was a lot of hard work and serious enterprise =D. I do miss those days.

This weekend marks my 1st year anniversary as a member of the Rice Bowl Journals, one of the largest collections of Asian bloggers on the Internet today. While being a member hasn't drastically increased the amount of traffic to this site, it has introduced me to a wide network of fascinating people and articulate and eloquent writers. This past year, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time on the RBJ Forums, where I found not just a horde of online friends, but pretty much an extended family, a place to call home when I venture out into the ether.

I'm also pretty excited to have been invited to contribute to Metroblogging, a collection of 20 city-oriented blogs written by resident bloggers in each of those cities around the world. The 7 of us contributing to the Bangkok blog are currently hard at work putting it together, and hope to launch it before the month is out. Please pay us a visit!

During last Friday's dinner-&-karaoke outing with my colleagues, our head of marketing (an Oregonian) had mentioned a American rib place on Sukhumvit 36 called, modestly enough, the Great American Rib Company. Nicha indulged my craving for American food and took me out there for lunch. It did not disappoint. The BBQ was pretty good (not necessarily mind blowing, as Nicha and are are still big fans of Tony Roma's), but the highlight for me was the cornbread. Cornbread!! Warm, delicious, warm-tingly-feeling-coursing-through-my-quiverling-body jalapeno cornbread. Even if this isn't the only cornbread in the entire eastern hemisphere (which it probably is), it certainly is the best I have ever tasted. I would go back just for this bread. The other really big plus was the filet mignon chili, chock full of excellent cuts of beef steak, mildly spicy, and actually pretty filling. I'll definitely be visiting again.

It's been almost 2 hours since I started typing out this blog. Funny how the Big Game has a way of distracting me like that =P. An anemic Cal is up 10-3 against Stanford at half-time. A Northwestern overtime victory over Illinois makes my Wildcats eligible for bowl play (quite possibly the Motor City Bowl for the 2nd year in a row). The big shock is Michigan's 37-21 upset loss to Ohio State, putting their a huge question mark on their Rose Bowl chances (which is a shame, since I would love to see the Bears face off against the Wolverines on New Years).

Ok, I got me 15 minutes of nap time before the 2nd half kicks-off. GO BEARS!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:11 AM |


Saturday, November 13, 2004  

What an eventful 2 weeks it has been!

1. First, the really big news: on November 1st, 2004 (shortly after my last blog), my niece Sydney Jasmine Ark was born to my brother Pete and his wife Jane. Jessie is a big sister!! Nicha and I are not only overjoyed for Pete & Jane, but also greatly envious of their gorgeous family. And like when Jessie was born, I get all teary-eyed seeing the beautiful pictures of my new niece.

"I'm not sure what to make of this new development/interloper."


"Ok, I've decided that being a big sister is really cool!"


"Don't believe me? Let me prove it to you!"


The happy family


My folks and their grand-daughters


2. And speaking of Jessie, I just had to post these adorable Halloween pictures of her dressed as Pocahontas, and pals Kaitlyn the flower, Brenner as Buzz Lightyear, and Brenner's sister Sexy Lexy as a hilarious little pumpkin (she's almost like something out of an Anne Geddes photo).

Partners in crime


Safety in numbers


Counting the loot


Resting after a successful heist


3. Four more wars!! er, I mean years. Bleaaaccccchhh! On November 2nd, I headed over to the ballroom at the JW Marriott Bangkok, where the U.S. Embassy has rented out space so that people can stop by and catch live election count coverage on several televisions and large screens, pick up educational materials on American presidential elections, browse through election websites, talk to embassy officials, mingle with others, and eat lots of free food. It was a diverse mix of people. Of course, there were a lot of Americans (expats executives, embassy people, and military personnel), as well as a bunch of Thais, including entire classes of students (Buddhist and Muslim, high school and college) with their teachers learning about American politics. All-in-all, there were about 700 people there over the course of about 7 hours, about 60-70% of them Kerry supporters based on a straw poll taken at the event. Every time Bush took a state, there was a smattering of scattered applause accompanied by widespread groans; when Kerry took a state, the room would erupt in cheers. However, as the day wore on and it became apparent that Bush had a narrow but insurmountable lead in Ohio, a palapable gloom descended on the crowd, and the room slowly began filtering out, heads hanging a bit lower than they were a few hours earlier. It was almost amusing listening to all the American embassy employees and international lawyers and bankers tell me how that had hoped to return to the U.S. after having spent so many years abroad, only to reconsider their decision for another 4 years if Bush re-takes the presidency. I was in the shittiest mood for the rest of the day, and had my brother not called that night with news of my new niece, the day would have been a total loss. I will say that the buzz and excitement of the Marriott event, and the dedication and passion of those attending has rekindled an interest in politics and civic affairs I haven't felt since my Berkeley days. In the meantime, the Sorry Everybody gallery eases the pain, and offers a few laughs.

4. The day after the election marked the first year anniversary of the passing of my beloved cousin Suwannee. This time last year, I was an emotional wreck, utterly devastated at the loss of my favorite cousin. This year, I didn't dwell too much on it, since I try to block out much of the crushing sorrow I felt last year. I spared a moment to think about her, and the husband and beautiful young son she left behind. I still feel the tug at my heart, and the urge to cry once in a while. When I blogged about her passing, I posted the lyrics to Live's cycle-of-life/reincarnation song "Lightning Crashes" as a sort of personal reminder that tragic death is always balanced with the miricle of life. That Sydney should be born almost a year to the day of Je Suong's passing couldn't be a more symbolic, touching reminder of that.

5. My cousin's passing was also accompanied by a nasty personal conflict I had with my parents. I won't go into the whys and whats about it, as it is a story too complicated and tiring to go into. Suffice to say, I was disowned, and my parents barely spoke to me (if at all) for the entire past year. On November 5th, I gave my mom a call for her birthday, and Nicha and I patched things up with my folks. It felt good, and I like to think that that in some small way contributed to my mom's bouncy mood when she paid her first visit to her new grand-daughter =)

6. What can I say? Cal Football is a juggernaut. All season, I've been expecting BCS-ranked #4 Bears to self-destruct, as the team has been wont to do in seasons past. And last weekend, they nearly did. After back-to-back shut-outs of the Arizona teams, Cal barely squeaked by Oregon in a 28-27 nail-biter reminiscent of the team's "Cardiac Kids" days (so called because Cal would eke out wins in games so close that they would give True Blue alums like me heart attacks). However, the Bears are now the odds-on favorites to go to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, every possible flight back to the States around New Years has a wiating list a mile long, and the cheapest Rose Bowl tickets are going for $300-500 and up per seat. Bummer. At least if Cal does make it, it will have happened in my lifetime, against all predictions I made years ago in college. And I'll have Pete record and burn the game for me onto a DVD. Yay. Cal plays Washington in about 13 hours, but I don't know if I'll have the energy to wake up for a 3:30 am game.

7. The social life, I'm happy to say, is finally picking up steam. The posse of Bangkok Bloggers finally managed to meet up. Kudos to Him for taking the initiative and getting all of us (Baba, foreign Ben, Oui, Stuart, Piyawat, local Ben, and myself) off of our lazy asses. Conspicuously absent and dearly missed were Lynn (who we later discovered to be in the hospital and warding off the icy grip of death), Sofya, and Jeremy (who, in all fairness, had already moved to Hong Kong, but still should have made the effort to show up, the poxy bastard =). We met at the Robin Hood Pub across the street from the Emporium Shopping Center, and I gotta tell you, I love a good English pub. Yes, the music was horrendously loud (sitting right next to the stage, it was more like a shouting match than a conversation), but the food was excellent (best bangers & mash I've had in ages), and it was a blast chatting face-to-face with a tight-knit online circle of friends who know of each others' daily lives but had yet to meet in person. Amazingly enough, we all managed to find each other, despite not knowing what one another looked like! I'm looking forward to the next get-together, and if no one else steps up to the plate, I may try and organize it myself (hint hint, guys & gals!). Lynn, drink enough fluids; if you miss the next gathering, I'll kill you myself.

8. What can I say about the new job? Well, it's certainly keeping me busy (busy enough not to be able to blog about major family and world events for two weeks!). But I love it. Still learning tons everyday, still discovering how much stuff I don't know everyday, and positioning myself to take a more active role come the new year when many of my initiatives and proposals are put into action. In fact, I'm may be trying to squeeze in several weeks of traveling (Singapore, Indonesia, and Philippines) before the holiday season, and a helluva lot more early next year. Sadly enough, I'm still trying to remember people's names around the office. It's not that I'm completely anti-social (maybe just partially so), but I never really have the time during the day to get leisurely or chatting with others in my immediate vicinity. The last few days in fact have been a mad dash to prep for meetings and spit out pieces of analysis before the weekend, which frees me up to furiously prep for more meetings and spit out more pieces of analysis. Luckily, we managed to quickly hire a new analyst to join our team (I interviewed her 10 days ago, had my boss interview her 4 days ago, extended an offer and got an acceptance 3 days ago, and she starts this coming Monday), and I am hoping I can dump a lot of my research-oriented and number-crunching scut work on her so I can devote myself to more higher-level, srtategic tasks. Yesterday, I had a chance to interact with my colleagues socially, and Nicha and I joined my 2 teammates and another 6-7 friends and colleagues for a Japanese dinner followed by 4-5 hours of karaoke. Karaoke is guaranteed to put me in a good mood, and the huge bottle of Heineken I had with dinner (hey! After such a tiring week, I deserved it) really was the cherry on top. It was a great time. Unfortunately, here ends today's blog. Time to work.

Nah, forget it. Nap first, work later.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 2:33 PM |


Monday, November 01, 2004  

Utterly profane, yet absolutely hilarious.

In commemoration of yesterday's holiday festivities and tomorrow's political circus, here are 2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes (courtesy of Stick), with my personal favorite below.

Kerry/Edwards 2004!!!
___________________________

The Littlest Prisoner at Abu Ghraib
Your child will be the hit of the neighborhood costume parade in this recreation of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal's most indelible image. As an added bonus this easy-to-make costume will remind everyone on your child's trick-or-treat route of our national shame! Simply roll a cone from a sheet of 24"x38" black cardstock, making sure to cut out a hole for the face. Drape with two yards of black felt, and add leftover wires from your last lamp-rewiring project. Voila! So easy, so quick, and so terrifying!

Total cost: Under $20.
Total time: Under two hours.




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

SWEET BABY JESUS!!!!

The Associated Press has ranked the California Golden Bears the #4 team in the country!! It boggles the mind, yet dazzles the senses!! It is our highest national ranking since our last #4 ranking in October 1952 (ESPN has us ranked at #6, but no one knows who these Eee Ess Pee Enn guys are anyway, right?).

Also, if you're an American, don't forget to vote tomorrow! I don't care if you're Democrat, Republican, or otherwise. As much as I want to see Bush get the boot, if I do have to put up with that putz another 4 years, it better be because the vast majority of Americans want him in office, rather than he being unilaterally selected by some shadowy cabal of war hawks and business interests. So VOTE!!

Buddha Bless America...and Cal Football!!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:02 AM |
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