Monday, April 28, 2008

Shoutout to my boy

So just in case you don't know, my buddy Joe writes for a newspaper in Northern California. Now there's a lot of ways to describe Joe. Two of his favorites are the greatest thing since sliced bread and The smartest man alive (there's a facebook group for it).

Anyhow, the smartest man alive and my boy Jon (who thinks Joe stole that title from him), co-authored Joe's blog the other day. (For the full link, check out In the blog, they argued that women comics aren't funny because they are typecast into roles. Or something of that nature.

However, I pointed out the flaw in that logic. Women aren't generally as funny as men because society doesn't value "funny" as a personality trait for women. You've never heard a guy call his buddies and say "Man, I got a date with that super funny chick Saturday night".

Women, on the other hand, happen to find funny men to be outstanding. Now I'm not saying you're going to be hitting hotel pools with Megan Fox just because a guy is funny, but it certainly is much more valuable for a man to be funny than for a woman.

Either way, Joe's blog is a great read and he makes a lot of interesting points, especially if you like pop culture.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My job-hunting blog

Check it out at

It's basically so I can organize my thoughts on what i'm doing in my career search. But have no fear, I'll keep it entertaining.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

90 what?

My friend Kevin is a really good guy. He's religious, has a good job as a dental assistant and decided to let his girlfriend pick the engagement ring she wanted.

Unfortunately for Kevin, his girlfriend is insane. And not "once-a-month" insane either. Apparently, taking her off the market will cost Kevin 90 large, and that's before the wedding.

Those of you who primarily shop at Wal-Mart are thinking, "He's getting a pretty good deal." An engagement ring for $90? Thank goodness for Wal-Mart and its low prices. But actually, this ring costs $90,000. No, that wasn't a typo. It costs $90,000.

First, Kevin's girlfriend definitely owns stock in De Beers. And yes, she is asking for a trinket that costs as much as a car, a vacation around the world for 80 days or her own personal flying saucer. But that's not the point.

The real problem is that men - who, it should be pointed out, do not get an engagement ring - are getting screwed.

Another friend of mine is always being told by his girlfriend's pals how he's "so lucky to be with her." I guess he is pretty lucky because she sent him a message on Facebook to start the relationship. You don't meet a girl like that on a Thursday night at Typhoon (because she's probably on Facebook).

Why is he lucky? Honestly? You mean he's lucky because of all the guys who had shirtless pictures on Facebook, she liked his abs the most? If that's what they meant, it'd be fine.

Ditto for him being lucky because she's not the kind of woman who demands a $90,000 engagement ring.

But that's not what they mean. They mean, "Wow, you must thank God every night that some woman loves you."
Who decided that all women in a relationship are goddesses, and every man who happens to find a woman is some poor schlub who lucked into her?

I'm all for empowered women. They tend to be way more fun. But you can't have it both ways. You can't be a princess and a CEO.

Don't get me started on the ways that women are lucky to have men. Those jars in the kitchen? They aren't opening themselves. And of course, there are the really lucky women who convince men to pay for things such as a car, rent and every dinner or movie they attend.

I happen to know plenty of relationships where the woman is lucky to have the man. And I certainly don't have the following conversation with these girls when I hang out with those couples.

"You know, he has a six-pack, and you don't. I'm just saying, you're pretty lucky."

And you know, a six-pack is definitely worth $90,000.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring Cleaning

So I cleaned out a lot of my old posts. Just so that everyone's not completely bored, here's something my friend Todd called "the article you've written that makes the most sense." It should be pointed out Todd probably didn't read the news feature I wrote that won third place at the ACP's, but that's why I love him.

Media Credit: Liquid Library
It's rare to see couples actually go on a traditional date today. Times are changing and there are many more opportunities for men and women to get to know each other prior to a date.

It's no secret. For most members of my generation, going on actual dates is as extinct as the Chinese river dolphin.

Oddly enough, the Chinese river dolphin outlived the social trend, with the last of the species disappearing in 2006. By the time that happened, dates were like pagers. We remember them, but they're not really useful.

If you're currently arguing with me, I challenge you to think of the last time you went on a real date with someone you weren't already hooking up with. We're talking about a classic guy-picks-up-girl-just-like-in-the-movies date - and it has probably been a while since you've been on one of these. Most people in our age bracket skip dinner (and a movie) and head straight for dessert.

Being that I'm a hopeless romantic, this makes me somewhat annoyed. Being that I'm hopelessly selfish, it makes me somewhat happy. But I'm still wondering exactly why this phenomenon developed.

Looking back, the disappearance of the classic date as a way to get to know a person makes sense. If we consider dating as a means of figuring out whether we could be with someone, this process really started at the beginning of the 19th century.

At that time, women and men were kept separate in almost all areas of life. About the only place you'd see members of the opposite sex who weren't in your immediate family was at church, which I'm sure was just as unsexy then as it is now.

But think about how the world works now. Within my direct line of sight as I write in my office are five women. If I go outside onto campus, I'll see 500 more. I meet potential dates in class, at work, through friends and while I'm out and about.
Scarcity leads to value, and with the vast expansion of our dating pool we are less likely to invest a ton of time and money into a date.

It was also hard to get to know someone when dates began to develop back in the day. Women's secrets were buried behind layers of clothing, chaperones and social barriers. Now, getting to know someone is as simple as logging onto Facebook and clicking "View More Photos."

It's so easy to meet someone now that choosing to exclusively date vegetarian blondes taller than 6 feet who smoke is a completely do-able (if unlikely) scenario.
With more options, women can be more choosy.

It's no secret that the sexual choice almost always lies with the females of the species. But with the way society used to work, a woman was limited in her choices to the men who were willing to brave meeting her family and taking her on dates.

That's all changed. The number of men a woman can conceivably choose from ranges from guys in her classes to any friend of her friend's to some guy on Facebook.
And it's much easier for a man to make the first move to show he's interested now that he has text messaging and the Internet on his side.

And while you could expand this topic into an entire book, this is the simple reason behind the hook-up culture.

People have more choices and there are fewer consequences. If you buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, you're wasting valuable resources that could be used to buy cereal to accompany the milk.

So adapt with the times or you'll wind up like the Chinese river dolphin.

Malcolm Gladwell is a genius

I happened to finish work early for the day, so I went over to to kill some time before my last class of the day. And I'm sure glad I did.

I remember how many people I know felt like I was underachieving by going to San Diego State. The kid with 48 units of college credit is going to the state's party school? The guy who knocked out 11 AP classes with 4 or 5s on the exams? Glad you worked so hard to get your 4.6 in high school.

Well, maybe I intuitively already had read this Gladwell article:

Just cut and paste the above text into your browser

Okay, so that's not possible, because this article was just an electrical impulse in his laptop when I was graduating from college. But still, what he wrote on October 10, 2005 made me that much happier with my decision to go to SDSU.

The article basically discusses the vagaries of the Harvard Admission's process, and how it might seem unfair to some people, but in fact is necessary given Harvard's goals for its graduating classes. And that's all I'm going to say, because I know when to concede to my betters. So click on the link already.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to the Kwik-E-Mart of life

My mother recently came home from a trip to San Francisco with her Indian boyfriend. They went north to attend an Indian wedding, where apparently everyone was very rich.

Now I'd love to write a post about her boyfriend Chandra. Chandra's a great guy. I've always hoped my eventual step father would be able to hypnotize people on command and have several books on NLP. Actually, the only major complaint I have about him is that he is unable to charm snakes. But that's not the point of today.

The interesting thing was that my mother came home from San Francisco completely convinced that the American dream is possible. She's about this close to purchasing a 7-11 franchise, which she plans on using to earn her countless millions.

Now it should be pointed out that this is not a good plan for my mother, who couldn't sell turkey sandwiches to starving millionaires. But, it does provide an interesting insight into a social trend in the United States.

First, the "American Dream" is now being carried on by people who look nothing like the typical "American." The people dragging themselves up from the bottom by their bootstraps are cursing their bad luck not in English, but in Hindi, Farsi, Punjab and Korean.

Every time I hear someone talk about the number of foreigners in high-end positions in the business world, I'm reminded of a story my dad told me about a lecture given while he was at the Anderson School at UCLA.

A professor was explaining to the class about the impending competition between America and Japan. The gist of the story was, the Japanese will outwork any American business person. For the same pay, they'll work twice as hard.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in classes at school. The foreign exchange students from the asian "developing" countries such as China and India just outwork us. While Rick and Randy are planning which party they're drinking at Thursday, Rahim and Ravi are planning which exam they're studying for.

While people complain that the American education system is failing, they should look at the students rather than the system. No system can correct for failing inputs. If you put bad data into a computer, it will give you flawed results. The same is true for students who don't want to work hard. And why should they?

If a middle-class student barely skates through college, there's a good reason to believe that he or she will still achieve a middle class lifestyle. People rarely backslide economically. There's always mom and dad to live with for a while, and there's always the probability that some wealthy uncle will swoop in with a job offer.

But for the family that is just getting off the boat? There's motivation to work hard. They have to improve, because if they don't, there is a palpable consequence for poor performance.

Chandra's take on it all was as follows: "Americans look at a business opportunity and get out their calculator. Oh, I can make this much money and it's going to cost this much. Indians, we don't care. We say give me the business and we WILL make this much money."

If people are worried, they shouldn't be. It will always be like this. People at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder will always strive much harder to climb the ladder than someone who's at the middle.

It's a simple application of the law of diminishing returns. For someone whose family already pulls 6 figures a year, getting straight A's at a state school is unlikely to change that (and getting straight Bs will likely do nothing to harm that). For someone whose family lives 6 people in one bedroom, getting straight As at a state school is likely to push them into the middle class world they fantasize about.

This is why the class of people who make the world-class athletes for sports such as boxing continually changes. In the early part of the century, it was Irish, Italian and Jewish athletes. Now it's mostly non-european ethnic minorities, such as Blacks and Hispanics.

Put quite simply, you get out of something what you put into that something.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Career Counseling for idiots

So I was getting my hair cut today, and I heard the stupidest thing in the world.

The kid sitting behind me was a high school student, who was having the Fantastic Sams' stylists help him pick classes for his senior year.

Now far be it from me to judge someone's choices, but I don't think that having someone who works with HAIR at a SHITTY HAIR SALON help you with your class choices is a good move.

There are many things I trust hair professionals on. Should I go with a 2 or a 3 on the sides? Is forming cream right for me? Should I die my hair brown? But picking between stats and pre-calc is not something I'm going to turn to my stylist for.

The more I hear situations like this, the happier I am that my parents are both intelligent and that I can turn to my trusted friends for advice. The people you get advice from are the people you will one day emulate.

So thank god that I can turn to a CEO, a master's in speech pathology and two of the best writers in the country for advice. Oh yeah, and then there's the smartest man in the universe (just ask his facebook group.)

Meanwhile, I just hope that high school kid does well in algebra. It'll help him when he's working as a fry-making technician with a degree from Hamburger U next year...