Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Whiteout

Some people think that a "whiteout" is a snowstorm that keeps eager skiers from getting on the slopes during torrential winds. Others believe that it's liquid made for fixing errors made in permanent pen. Sports fans remember the Winnipeg White-Out during the 1987 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even more remotely, certain college fraternities believe that a white-out is when the drunkest white-kid at the party stands on the table and rocks out with his **** out.

All of those valiant, but rather obvious answers sound like a good time in one way or another but they are all wrong. The version of a "whiteout" that I'm writing about is basically the opposite of a "blackout" - the drinking sort. Every serious drinker out there has had a sobering moment when they exited their blackout state and woke up to a very "WTF" situation. Be it at a stranger's house, mom knocking on your window when you're passed out in the car, or driving 90 mph down Hwy 5, they are all some of the most confusing moments we'll ever have in our lives. In my time, I've had some been in some interesting circumstances and I think it's about time I shared some of them.

The first time I ever blacked-out I was in Vegas. These days I start out epic nights with 3-shots but that night I started it out with 3 Long Island Ice Tea's, 3 shots of Bacardi rum, and whatever else my buddy wanted to drink 3 of. I just remember dancing with a lot of girls, yaking God-knows where, and then waking up in front of our casino room door. After knocking for about 40 minutes I looked up, realized I was on the 7th floor instead of the 12th, walked up to the correct room, and then was let in safely around 7am.

The second time I ever blacked-out I was in Vegas. The night started out with shots, followed by a bottle filled with Hennessy a bunch of us passed around while in line for the club. I woke up after a nap, sitting up in a bathroom stall for some reason. But this story is not about me. Out of the other people that touched lips to that Hennessy bottle: one ended up in the children's hospital - tied up to the bed!; one was brought to our room in a wheel chair!; and the rest were completely trashed beyond function. I was in recovery mode for so long that it wasn't until Tuesday that I checked my phone and read, "come to room XXX" from the girl I met at the craps table.

A few years ago I woke up tied up on a couch in Tahoe. Those were probably my bitter years from relationship-hell so I was a tad out of control at the time. We were coming back from the South Lake casinos and my friend got pulled over by the cops. I have no idea why, but I immediately tried to sober up by drinking coffee out of the cup holder that was a week old and trying to get out of the car and help the situation...? Luckily, the door was broken! What a crazy night. The next morning I woke up and said, "at least I didn't throw up", which was followed by, "you threw up at least 3 times." So, I guess I deserved getting tied up by my college pals.

Probably a little over a year ago, I whitted-out to a definite WTF moment. The world suddenly came to and I was at Pizza-My-Heart. Initially, I thought I was there to enjoy a nice pizza pie but my arm was kind of asleep and apparently around some girl I did not know. Looking across my arm and over at her - I saw the real reason why I had suddenly come to. All down the right side of my favorite A|X jacket was chunky-white vomit that could only have came from one other source. She was pretty and a doctor, but I never did call her.

More recently, I had a marathon of a St Patrick's Day celebration in SF. We started drinking at around 9am and hopped on Cal Train towards the city. We drank before leaving, we drank on Cal Train, we drank at lunch, we drank at a couple of Irish pub block parties, and we drank at the Civic Center, where we saw this guy being wheel-chaired off:. Most of the group peaced-out at about 6pm, but one of my buddies and I stuck around. I whitted-out to these two girls following us around from bar-to-bar and wondering who the hell they were and how we met them. After wandering to at least 3 other bars with them in toe, we finally ditched them in favor of a taxi to catch the last Cal Train back home. Looking at my phone the next day I couldn't figure out who she was because I apparently had texted 3 people I met that night. Let's not go there though because drunk texting is an entirely new blog in itself...

So... what are your whiteout stories?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why You Are a Moron if You Use Beezid

Like everyone else, I saw the Beezid.com commercials on TV and thought that $95.49 is an unbelievably low price to pay for a 55” LCD TV and $591.23 is definitely way too cheap for a car. So, here’s the “scam” (I say “scam” in quotes because they’re very forward about how their website works):

As the commercial says, each bid increases the amount the winner pays by only $0.01. But, how they make money is that each bid costs at a minimum $0.60 to purchase (200 bids for $120). So, even though they will sell you an X-box for $30.00, they’re making at least (3000 x $0.60 =) $1,800 in money that people have spent on bids. Not only that – when the timer gets down to 20 seconds or less, it starts blinking red. If someone else bids (which, they will), the timer resets to 20 seconds again. Since it’s an all or nothing contest, people will keep bidding to keep from losing what they already invested.

We learned about this in one of our Carnegie Mellon negotiations classes. The teacher offered up $20 and had students bid on it in minimum $1 increments. So, it’s easy to see that once two students are bidding and the price reaches $11, the teacher will make money ($11 from one student, and $10 from the other). But, each student has an incentive to keep bidding because (s)he can make money on an individual basis all the way up to $19. Once the price reaches $20, “oh shit” mode kicks in and they both must realize they’re just fighting to minimize their losses, while at the same time increasing their losses.

Please don't let anyone you know stoop to using this site for morons. Just stick with E-bay and Craigslist y'all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just Another San Jose Stabbing

I might as well have been sitting there with a bag of popcorn, an icee, and a box of sour patch kids because I had a front row seat to a crazy show Saturday night. Two of my buddies and I were sitting in my car about to conclude a night in downtown San Jose, but one of them forgot his phone in that bathroom of the Pita Pit. As he was going back to get his phone, all of the sudden 3 guys start beating on 1 other guy right in front of my car. The 1 guy eventually got help from 1 of his friends and a 2 v 3 went on for awhile before all hell broke loose and there were like 10 people fighting right in front of us. One guy fell to the ground, writhing in pain, while a bunch of his other friends went across the street and start stomping on the rear windshield and other windows of some sedan. My buddy and I didn’t see any blood so we just thought that the guy writhing in pain dislocated his shoulder and it was probably not a big deal; other than the fact that he was rolling around right in front of our exit. Then, about 5 cop cars came and an ambulance arrived. The paramedics ripped open the injured guy’s shirt and we saw blood all over his clothes, as if he was stabbed. We called our buddy who went back to the Pita Pit to come back to the car, but he elected to (smartly) take a taxi home. So, the ambulance took the inured guy off, there were around 5 people in custody being questioned, and the cops started taping off the area. This whole time my buddy and I were wondering if anybody even realized that we were in the car and saw all of this go down. Nobody fighting ever looked over at us and the cops never pointed in our direction, so we were thinking we could possibly just disappear and pretend this never happened. As we followed the cops’ path taping off the area, we realized that they were taping us exactly inside of the closed off area. This was at around 1:30 AM. It turns out that the injured guy was, in fact, stabbed and he was in critical condition. So, we were, of course, questioned and detained until it was determined whether or not the victim would live or die. To make a long story short, we basically recounted our take on the fight and sat around talking to the officers until 4:30AM, when it was determined that the victim would live. I still feel a little bad because my initial instinct had told me to go break up the fight, but the officers told me that I could have been stabbed instead. I just think, thank God (or whoever that represents) that he lived because I’m not sure how I would take it if someone had died as a result of my inaction.

What comes to mind is how I bitched about how boring my weekends were on Facebook earlier that day because of school. What also comes to mind is how we would have never been in that spot if my buddy didn’t forget his phone at the Pita Pit and how he evaded the 3 hour detainment by taking a taxi home instead. Another thing is that the cops told us that there were 4 stabbings that night, 3 in another incident downtown San Jose. Okay, well, the success rate in SJ is pretty high for me, but I really mean it when I say: never again!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Late 20's: The Selfish Years

This is a very honest blog, so if you’re not used to hearing the hard truths, read something else. You’ve been warned.

As I round the last corner before turning 30, I think it’s worth taking some time to reflect on just WTF I’ve been doing these past few years. As is clear from my blogging history, I had a lot of things that were changing back when I first started working, but not much since then. I think that I’ve acted a lot like people my age do – concentrating on my career, what I want to do in life, and what makes me happy (in the long run, most of the time ignoring the present). I’ve sacrificed a lot in the realm of relationships, family, time with friends, and the specific work at hand in order to build up the breadth of what I can do. The funny thing is though, that I still don’t know. I’ve beanstalked professionally and I feel empowered to do whatever it is I decide I want to drive towards, but I’m still floating in my own fog of semi-transparent wisdom.

In all honesty, I’ve spent these last few years getting rid of my insecurities. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’m a confident guy, but there were certain things that I needed to prove to myself. Women-wise, I’ve always been the relationship type. Back when I was 26, my previous relationships had been 2 years, 4 ½ years, and 2 ½ years, back-to-back-to-back. I can’t help it – I’m just destined to be a father and husband, I think. The problem that I was having with that was that my partners always had more experience than I did -and, I’m the man. It sounds immature, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could be that guy who could be single forever if he wanted to. Kind of, just-in-case I never get married. So, I paid a lot of attention to women and the men that were good at their craft. I put myself out there, did some bold shit, and basically became a student of getting from point A to B. I got really good at saying the right thing, making the right suggestions, and taking advantage of every opportunity. I more than doubled my count in one year, but at some point I thought that I had achieved what I set out to do. I got tired of the same routines, superficiality, feigning of interest (at times, not always), and, most of all, the bad karma from intentionally never letting anyone get close to me. I think that I'm back to being a good, relationship type of guy, but who knows because the test is what happens in practice.

The other insecurities that I’ve almost conquered revolve around being the best. In both relationships and in my job, I want to be, no, have to be the best. I don’t want to ever be in a relationship where I feel like some other guy would be a better match for my girlfriend. And, I don’t want to have a career where I think someone else could do my job better than me. My mentality in a relationship is that I have to be the best in order to feel secure every day. And, at the same time I have to be sure that I’ll never meet anybody better than her. I’m not the jealous type and I’d much rather leave than put up with any thoughts of not being good enough. Being secure to me comes down to making money (because I, for the most part, think my personality and looks are good enough). I fucking hate it when some rich guy outranks me socially because he makes a lot of money. I don’t have to be insanely rich, because at some point rich is rich enough, but I want to prove to the world that I don’t have to answer to anyone -and I made it on shit that I created, not mommy and daddy’s money. Basically, I’m becoming superficial to remove all of the superficiality of it. Once you conquer something, you no longer have to worry about it. I just want to sleep in my simple home and drive my Toyota Camry with a bank account in my back pocket as proof of my worth. My mentality in the workplace is that I’m not the best, but nobody is better than me. Yeah, somebody might be better than me at one thing, but I can get to their level and also have experience that they don’t. There are plenty of people smarter and more advanced in their careers, but I have to feel like I can get to wherever I decide to go. Am I there? No. But I’ve made progress. At 26, I had a solid background in engineering, with a BS and MS in mechanical engineering, but my soft skills and business education were huge voids. I sacrificed vertical movement for horizontal movement and a business education at Carnegie Mellon. A year-and-a-half ago I joined a leadership program in operations that would widen my network and work experience, while reimbursing my educational expenditures. I haven’t been really good at what I do, like I was with engineering, but I’ve learned from the networking and office-politicking parts of what I’ve done.

So, here I am, exactly one month from 30. This post has helped me feel a little better about spending the last 3 ½ years being single, in the same place professionally, and still doing school work on Saturday nights. I keep pushing my “actual” accomplishments towards the future, but I’m running out of excuses for being just slightly above average in so many areas. It’s almost time to exploit myself. I’m ready. The stage has been set. The lights have been dimmed. Patrons are sitting up in their chairs in dead silence of what will happen next. Behind the velvet red curtains, I’m sweating in my gaudy Italian suit. I run the routine through my mind and convince myself that I will perform flawlessly- exactly as I pictured it. But, I wonder: was all of that training enough? What if I let everyone down? What if all of these selfish years were for nothing?

Well, what’s worse is: what if I never tried?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

California Prop 8 and Religion Just Might Send You to Hell

Here in California, Proposition 8, which is the ban on gay marriage, has just passed 52.2% “Yes” to 47.8% “No”. I can’t help to attribute a great deal of the “yes” votes to ideals stemming from religious beliefs. In fact, according to this demographic, the highest groups that voted “yes” were McCain voters (84%), voters over 65 (62%), identify as conservative (87%), live in inland counties (57%), high school education (62%), and protestants (60%). Some articles say that Obama’s stance against gay marriage may have swung the votes in Prop 8’s favor due to the 70% “yes” black vote, but 73% of Obama voters voted “no”. Also, Obama said that even though he was against gay marriage, he was also against Prop 8.

To those who voted “yes” for religious purposes I say, did any of you stop to think that your blind following of a man-made religion might end up sending you to Hell, if such a place exists? Stop to think about it for a minute. Were the enslavement, rape, murder, and tortures during the Crusades, the Muslim Conquests, or the Reconquista justified because they were backed by religion? Maybe our “test” on this planet isn’t how faithful we are, but if we can tell the difference between right and wrong. Doesn’t that make more sense?

We don’t know if there’s a Heaven or Hell or if God exists, but one thing that we do know is that our fellow humans exist. How can we place worshiping a God that we’ve never met over the happiness and well being of our neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers with whom we have formed intimate relationships?

Religion has been wrong so many times in the past that it’s astonishing how people can still think that maybe “they” are right this time. Religious beliefs and practices only stand up as long as society will tolerate. Abortion is legal in all states. Premarital sex is everywhere. Nobody above the age of 13 feels guilty for masturbating. Everyone tells white lies. Tolerance, instead of forced conversion, of other religions brings us peace. And, soon, gay relationships and marriages will be as sinful as being born.

All we’re doing now is waiting for the old ideals to die out so that we can right the wrongs of our past.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Best Job in the World: Man vs Wild Photographer


Most people have seen Man vs Wild, where the host, Bear Grylls, is dropped off into some remote place on the planet and needs to survive until he finds civilization. The other day my housemate and I talking about how Survivorman is so much more authentic because there’s no camera crew in case he gets in really deep shit. But, then I started watching Survivorman and I was bored out of my mind. I mean, would you rather watch someone being practical and going around a sand trap or take a running start and jumping right in it? Would you rather have Les Stroud tell you about the dangers of a scorpion or watch Bear Grylls eat it? Would you rather have Les tell you about what kind of animal droppings are on the ground, or watch Bear drink water out of elephant shit?

I started to realize that this Brit was doing stuff for absolutely no reason. I saw him jump into a bog, just for the hell of it. He’s crawled into a camel carcass just to tell us about how it could be a nice shelter (I’m still giving Han Solo credit for that one). How does he think of all of this extremely entertaining stuff? He must have help.

In order to come up with things on the order magnitude of ridiculousness that Bear does in his shows, he must have some creative geniuses nearby. My guess is that his camera crew is made up of the baddest-ass motherfuckers at Double-Dare that anyone has ever seen. Imagine walking around with this guy and just saying, “Dude, I double dare you to kill that poisonous snake, piss into its skin, and then drink it later - along with the snake guts!” He actually did this, but I can’t find any videos of it. On the same episode, he stuck his face into a bee hive to get a couple of bites of honey. Allergic reaction below:


I would love to apply to be Bear Grylls’ photographer. Here are some of my ideas:

-Bear, I double-dare you to eat the first non-human moving thing that you see in the next 30 seconds.

-Bear, I double-dare you to trap yourself under a boulder and eat your own arm.

-Bear, I double-dare you to stuff your pockets with beef jerky and chicken guts and then sprint around the jungle for 45 minutes.

-Bear, I double-dare you to kill that sheep, pour its blood all over yourself, and then wrestle a lion, naked.

-Bear, I double-dare you to slap that baboon’s red ass and say, “Girrrrrrl, where did you get that badonkadonk?”

-Bear, I double-dare you to wait until the mother returns, eat an eagle egg out of the nest, and then escape on a hang-glider made of your t-shirt and a few tree branches.

Readers, what kind of dares would you have for Bear?

Bear has his own blog here.
Les has his own blog here.


Check out my blogs on Garage Sale Blog Network.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Habitat for Humanity



I finally had some time to volunteer and chose to do Habitat for Humanity for the greater San Francisco Area, representing Lockheed Martin. Rather than write an entire blog entry, I'll might as well link you to someone who did already. Robin Manning was the on-site lead for the project that I did, which was dry-wall. He's a recent Berkley grad with an architecture degree. Keep it up Robin, you're doing some great things out there!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Freedom


I think I must have gone from the optimism three years ago that I was going through a 1/4 life crisis at 25 years old to the reality that I am now going through a 1/3 life crisis at 28 years old. Right now I live a pretty fast-paced life - meeting new people all the time and transitioning lives at a rate of what seems like every three months. I’m going to work, getting my MBA, participating in a leadership development program at work, going out all the time, and visiting new cities pretty often. While everything that I’m experiencing is exciting and eye-opening, the one thing that I am severely lacking is: identity.


I’m at the point where I feel like I almost have too much freedom. Before college all you could really do was go to school, participate in extracurricular activities, and hang out with friends in your spare time. That was it. In college all you did was drink and do your best to graduate. Now, in the real world, I have way too many options. Sometimes I think I want to be an engineer, sometimes a business man, then maybe a lawyer, possibly a dentist, a music or independent movie producer, a professional poker player, a computer programmer; I could be a nurse, and maybe I’d be happy doing volunteer work in a third-world country. Four of my friends are getting married this year. Seeing them as happy as they are makes me want to settle down with a nice girl, treat her like a queen, and start a family. But then seeing ten hot women in a single night makes me want to keep up my life of having no idea what’s around the corner. Performing engineering and operations work makes me happy, but seeing clothes, cars, houses, and (frankly) women I can’t afford makes me feel insufficient.


All of this freedom is confusing me about who I am. Am I a nice guy or a player? Am I down to earth or materialistic? Do I want to socialize or do I need some time to myself? Do I care about school? Do I care about work? Which people do I care about and who don’t I have time for? –These are serious questions that need to be answered if I’m going to have any sort of consistency in my life. I woke up last night and I didn’t know where I was. I was in my own room. I had to turn the lights on and reach back in my memory bank to convince myself that this is where I’ve lived for the past two years.


So, what should I do with all of this freedom? I have the funds to travel wherever I want; the personality to meet whoever I want; the networks to work wherever I want; the mind to learn whatever I want; and the physicality to build/play/eat/drink/f*ck/punch/climb whatever I want. And, it’s not like this is rare – most people my age are exactly the same way. How do you have enough changes to keep from getting bored and still have things stay the same?


I’m not 100% sure what the answer is, but I think that 80% of it is in the people close to you. It’s amazing how much of who you are is stored in the people that you love and that love you. The people that know you the best will always be your “home”. As soon as I get back from vacations and have some time to relax, I always tell my new stories to those close to me. Same thing goes for them as they have unique life experiences. All of that corny shit about friends and family being #1 really has some meaning. Mom and dad, you’re right as usual – go ahead with the “I told you so”s and treating me like I’m still 14.


That’s reminding me of my 1/8 life crisis.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Triumphant Tribulations

A sad, but true revelation I had the other day is that the best way to get close to someone is to go through a tragedy with them. Think about the people that you are closest with. Family is always there to support you through your difficulties. Best friends are ones that are there for you other during hard times. And, soul mates are ones that can understand you and get you through anything.

My old housemate met some guy that she didn't seem initially that into, even though he had some great qualities. She wasn't ready to settle down, he lived far away, and they had a lot of differences at first. They were seeing each other for a few months until her dad sadly passed away from lingering brain cancer. It was undoubtedly the worst tragedy of her life, but he was the perfect guy about supporting her and helping her through the hard time. He talked to her every night. He bought her flowers. He visited her family. He made her tragedy his tragedy. And, this is how they fell in love.

Every cloud has its silver lining - this was it. She was able to see what a great guy he was and he showed that he had the rare ability to make her happy in the saddest of times. She's since moved out of my house to get a condo with him in Daly City. A few weeks ago they also got engaged. A lot of how your life ends up depends on how you take advantage of opportunity - no matter how morbid the situation. "Bad" things only exist because "good" things exist as well.

In all honesty, I don't think that I can be fully appreciated without tragedy. If a woman I'm with never gets sick, she'll never know how well I can take care of her. If she never has a bad day, she'll never know how I can turn them around. If she never cries, I'll never get the chance to support her. And, if she's never been mistreated or with the wrong guy, she may never realize what she's got in me.

I don't want to sound manipulative or want anyone to think that I hope my next girlfriend's grandma or dog dies, but I do have a strong desire to be appreciated. The best thing about being appreciated is that it lasts a lifetime. I know that whenever my ex'es are used by some player, they remember how honest I was. Sometimes when they laugh in public, it was because they remembered how funny I was. And, when they think about their future with the guy they're with, that guy is going to be measured up based on some of my qualities. On the downside, they'll probably also remember how conceited, stubborn, offensive, messy, and good in bed I was (oh wait, scratch that last one).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Travel "Buddy"

You haven't experienced the plane flight from hell until you've sat next to this guy:

Crying babies, coughing sickly men, over-talkative grandmas, and chair-kicking kids have nothing on this guy. I was on my way to Pittsburgh, PA for school and I found my self on a flight that got progressively worse.

My classmate and I boarded early and took the outer (window and aisle) seats in hopes of having the middle one free for our jackets and to spread our arms out. We had a good ploy going, her pretending to sleep and me reading a book and avoiding eye contact with other passengers. But, it turned out the plane was full and someone had to take that seat. All I remember is some guy saying to his son, "There's an empty seat right there." Reluctantly, I scooted into the middle seat. Damn that guy, he must've known what he was doing to me!

My first mistake was not pulling the arm rest down between this 20-something year old kid and me. I was distracted with some really strange small talk and made he way onto half of my seat (he was a big kid). I first noticed because he had pushed his leg right up against mine and he kept flinching. I decided to stand my ground, at the cost of rubbing legs with the adult version of Cartman without his A.D.D. medicine. Okay, that was bad, but it got worse.

I thought that things would get better once this oaf fell asleep and stopped twitching. I was tremendously wrong. As soon as Chunk's (from Goonies) twin brother went to sleep, that's when the craziness ensued. First, he snored louder than anything I've ever heard .... no joke. And, this was on a plane packed with people. Then, he flinched like he was leading Beethoven's 5th Symphony - arms up in the air and elbows flying left and right. Eventually, he hung his entire body off of the end of the seat so that his head and arm were completely in the aisleway. Those unfortunate enough to have to pass this guy to reach the restroom would pause, confused on how to squeeze by without waking him up, laugh a little bit, then look over at me with a pitied look as if I was a boy who just got his dog run over. I had the worst seat in the house and they all knew it.

The flight attendant made the mistake of waking the kid up to give him his drink. Predictably, Spanky's (from Little Rascals) slightly retarded uncle fell asleep, one hand in his cup, and then woke up with a spastic toss of ice and Dr Pepper into the unsuspecting crowd. I spent the entire 3 hour 15 minute flight awake in a zombie like state, too afraid of what would happen to me if I dozed off. I thought to myself that falling asleep and facing Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street...c'mon, you guys have got to start getting these movie references) would not be such a bad compromise, if I had that option.

All in all, it was a terrible flight. But, at least I got some sweet cameos. Check it!