Tuesday, February 28, 2006


This one deserved its own entry:

When one of your employees (and yes, this is someone that reports to you, so you have control over little things like her salary and bonus, not to mention said employee, oh, I don't know, keeping her job) doesn't show up for a scheduled meeting (and this is AFTER already emailing her when she was 5 minutes late to find out where she was, and her answering that she was on her way) and when you call her 25 minutes after the scheduled start time, she sort of apologizes, saying that she got caught up making TRAVEL reservations, and didn't want to stop it in the middle of selecting her seats. Clearly I've been WAY too nice.

Oh Mailbox, Wherefore Art Thou Mailbox

The city of Chicago has no mailboxes. Okay. So that may be a slight exaggeration (as I am sometimes prone). But there aren't any mailboxes in the Loop (for all you non-Chicagoans, that's what other cities know as downtown, central business district, etc., etc., etc.). I've been on a mission to find one-- just one, and nada, zip, zilch. Does Chicago have some underground IRA bombing situation that I don't know about? So what if there is a mailbox outside of my apartment... or actually in my building for that matter; sometimes I need to mail something at lunchtime, or after work, and there's nary a mailbox to be found. Mailbox angst. Another reason to curse the world.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Paradise Interrupted

It's finally gained national attention, landing a story (albeit buried on page 13) in the NYT Sunday edition: the discrimination case brought against Kamehameha, one of Hawaii's premiere private schools. Here's the twist: it's a white family that is suing the school for not granting their son admission, citing violation of the 1866 Reconstruction Act following the conclusion of the Civil War. At the core, does it violate the law, and is it flat out discrimination? Yes. But as with many legal arguments and rulings (not that I'm a lawyer), it fails to take into consideration the history surrounding those decisions, not to mention the last will and testament that dictated the formation of a private institution that receives no federal funding. Strict interpretation of the law. As a rational and intelligent human being, I get it-- I get the importance of law and the subsequent abiding of it. However, why is it that so many laws fail to take into consideration the effect that they will have on the future?

To understand where I'm going, and where I'm coming from, I'm going to offer up these simple facts about the state of Hawaii that the throngs of tourists would undoubtedly rather turn a blind eye to so as not to let it ruin their vacation in paradise: Hawaii is part of the United States thanks to a political and military coup, supported by the U.S. Military and backed by the U.S. Government, staged by sugar cane farmers at the turn of the 20th century. Hawaii's monachy was overthrown, stripped of power, and the U.S. stepped in and made it a territory. (This was of course after Hawaii was invaded the first time a little more than 100 years prior in the 18th century when Captain James Cook "discovered" the islands, opening the door for missionaries to "bring religion to the savages," and also, disease and a near total decimation of the Hawaiian culture, not to mention its people.) My grandfather tells stories of how children were punished in school for speaking Hawaiian-- their native language, rather than English, and as such, his generation grew up in a culture of fear (huh-- the true American culture, perhaps?). They-- the strongest link to the past, became a transition generation, and the history of an entire people was lost.

Okay, so maybe that's a little extreme, and there were still remnants passed down, but the language was lost-- and is still lost today, aside from a small nationalist movement to resurrect the culture of Hawaii through immersion schools that attempt to revitalize heritage through language, among other things. But, the reality is still this: [native] Hawaiians are amongst the poorest, most undereducated people in the state of Hawaii. They comprise the largest percentage of prison inmates and economically, earn the least amount of money of any other ethnic group in the islands. A shocking statistic when you consider that native Hawaiians-- and that's not even 100% Hawaiians, because they don't exist anymore, make up less than 0.04% of the population. It's not only a dying culture, it's a dying race that will all but disappear in three generations.

Believe me, I'm not a radical that believes that Hawaii could have remained (or should be) an autonomous nation; clearly its size and resources could not have supported it. Not to mention its plum location in the Pacific (which made it an attractive military outpost in the first place) could very well have made it little Tokyo (although with the mass of Japanese tourists that visit Hawaii each year, it may as well be). I'm proud to be a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, Hawaiian-American.

But, when Kamehameha opened it's doors in 1887 at the bequest of its benefactor, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's will,
it was well before Hawaii was even made a territory. The school's mission, to educate and improve the capability and well-being of Hawaii's children was, and is, taken very seriously-- by those who understand why it was so important when it was founded in the first place. My grandfather-- that very same little boy who was punished as a child for speaking Hawaiian, graduated from Kamehameha. As a boy of just 10 years old, he received a scholarship to attend the prestigious school, and left his family of 13 on the island of Maui. Because of Kamehameha, he received an education that his family could never have afforded, and as a result, went on to achieve great things, one of which was becoming the youngest civilian Chief Engineer in Naval history. He in turn instilled the importance of hard work and a good education not only in his children and his grandchildren, but also in everyone around him. So the legacy of Kamehameha isn't just in the students that it educates, but in every future generation that results thereof.

The argument lies in the wording of the will: "Hawaii's children." Sure, today, that interpretation has an entirely different meaning. But in the time of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Hawaii's children were Hawaiian. How could she have even conceived that over 100 years later, her people would be nearly gone? If we were simply to interpret language and legal documents to mean what they were intended when written rather than translate that application to today, all [white] men would still be the only ones created equal; and women and minorities would still not have the right to vote, not to mention have any of the other civil liberties that were then only intended for white men.

Despite all this, I still see both sides of the argument. On the surface?
Discrimination is bad. I think we can all agree with that. But what's the counter-argument for discrimination that is based on discrimination? Do the discriminated have an inherent right to fight for their culture and to educate their people, especially when they were oppressed, and really robbed, of their history in the first place?

Social, emotional and historical issues aside, I guess the court battle will ultimately come down to answering these basic questions: how can the law impede on the inherent legal right of an individual's will? And if a court of law can overturn that right, then what legal rights do any of us have?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Land of Lost Ideas

You know you're losing it when:

1. All your "great ideas" come to you when you're in the shower.

2. You call your boss at 10 p.m. to leave your "great idea" on her voicemail.

3. After thinking about it for 5 minutes, you realize that it's probably not such a great idea.

4. You spend another 5 minutes trying to figure out if you can break into her voicemail to erase said idea.

5. You're resigned to posting to your blog in realization that you're a huge nerd (case and point: if you EVER have an idea that involves the word "Zork" in relation to your work-- and by work I mean a corporate, working for the man, boring kind of job, not a fun, creating video games or designing interactive media kind of job, run away... far away).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jon Stewart Goodness

"So, tell us about this animated movie that you're doing; did you do it for your kids?" asked the interviewer.

"Huh? No, i just needed to renew my SAG health benefits." answered Jon.

I love Jon Stewart. No, I mean LOVE him.

Check out some particularly funny video from the Today Show this morning (under "More Today Show Video").

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wishin' and Hopin'

Sitting in my apartment, waiting with bated breath for that moment when my questions will be answered... will the mystery be uncovered? will my desires be satisfied? will I finally find that one great love?

And then, there's the knock on the door; i rise slowly from my computer, holding my breath... turn the doorknob... and there he is...

The Peapod delivery man.

He leaves my packages, and smiles as I give him a tip. And as the door closes behind him, I look down to the floor and wonder...

"How the hell did I just spend $92 on four bags of groceries?"

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Date a Hot Scot

Ah, the venerable NYT Sunday edition, and of course the coveted (well, by me, anyway) Travel section. The Bahamas (eh), Paris (interested) and Yosemite (been) play a starring role, along with Spain (dying to go), Venice (mixed) and San Diego (the land of perfect weather), as featured players.

But the most interesting supporting role happens to be a walk-on part by the Scottish Tourism Board. Ostensibly to increase tourism in the land of kilts and castles (and the birthplace of golf, of course), the STB announced this week the launch of "dateahotscot.com," where women around the world can enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to Edinburgh to meet some Scottish hunks (no joke, people. It's in the NYT! And I've fact checked-- err, for the sake of journalistic integrity, of course). Said press release touts "...with more than 450,000 single men between the ages of 20 and 40, where better to find the love of your life-- or at least drink whiskey with some cute guys." Amen to that! And I know from personal experience that Scottish men can-- ummmm... drink...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Thwarted Again

Damn. Work trip to Florida next week cancelled. On the bright side, it's going to be -4 degrees tonight... and in the single digits this weekend... without windchill. Yeehaw.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

You Know You're a New Yorker When...

... you are reading the "How We Rate" (compared to five other major U.S. cities) feature in "Chicago" magazine and you're cheering (as in pumping your fist in the air, mouthing "Awww Yeeeah!") to the fact that NYC rates #1 in all of the "Crime" categories.

It's that competitive nature that marks a *true* New Yorker.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just Another Moronic Monday

And today, that moron would be me. Not only did I have to return home twice this morning after walking out my door-- (the first, from my lobby to return to retrieve my computer... yes, this would be good to bring to the office so that I might actually, oh, I don't know, work; and the second from two blocks away to retrieve my office building pass... seemingly an unimportant item unless you consider it also holds my ladies room key, which if you pee as many times a day as yours truly, is an essential item).

Upon arriving at work (VERY late at this point), I realized that, when reaching into my purse for my wallet so I that could purchase a much-needed cup of tea, I'd left my wallet at home. The dawning realization of my wallet in the pocket of my ski jacket because I didn't want to carry a purse yesterday when meeting friends for brunch washed over me. Not only had I had a crappy morning, I wouldn't get my daily dose of caffeine, nor would I actually get to EAT. So now I sit here typing, listening to pasta boiling in my kitchen (even though I swore off pasta) because it's the easiest and fastest source of substenance, and I couldn't pick up dinner on my way home (as is my custom) because they'd probably want money in exchange for food. Not to mention that I'm trying to curb my whole "spending money like I think I have it" impulse. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, February 13, 2006


by kendall payne

it's a big girl world now
full of big girl things
and everyday i wish i was small

i've been counting on nothing
but he keeps giving me his word
and i'm tired of hearing myself speak
do you get weary? do you ever get weak?
how do you dream when you can't fall asleep?

i've been wondering what you're thinking
and if you like my dress tonight
would you still say you love me under this ordinary moonlight?
i'm so afraid of what you'd say

i'd like to know if you'd be open to starting over from scratch
i'd like to know if you'd be open to giving me a second chance

i used to think i was special
and only i have proved me wrong
i thought i could change the world with a song
but i have ended up in india
with no map to guide me home
strangest place i think i've ever been
and all this time i thought that we were friends
my stubborn will is learning to bend

i'd like to know if you'd be open to starting over from scratch
i'd like to know if you'd be open to giving me a second chance

it's a big girl world now
full of big girl things
and everyday i wish i was small

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Reinforcing my point that you need to apply to have kids

Picture this:

Britney Spears driving down PCH (that's Pacific Coast Highway for all you non-Californians) with her child-- her FOUR MONTH OLD CHILD, in her LAP.

I don't care what the excuse is, paparazzi, late for lunch-- oh crap! Did i miss that sale at Prada?!? You have to fill out an application to drive a car, get a grocery store savings card, go to school (oh, wait. She didn't go to school); why can ANY FLIPPIN' MORON have a child??

Can we say DCFS (Dept. of Child and Family Services), anyone? Just because you want one, doesn't mean you should just get one.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Barramundi in Vietnam

I love Sundays. Most people see it as the last day of freedom before going back to school, work, life... but for me, it's my lazy day-- I get to sleep in (til 7:45 today! yahoo!), stay in my pajamas all day and leisurely read the NYT Sunday edition over many cups of tea while fantasizing about my "if I could do anything in the entire world, what would it be" job: a travel/food writer (okay-- so, maybe there's one other job that I would love too... a back-up singer; but I figure that I could do both, because if I were a back-up singer, surely I'd be traveling to a plethora of fantastic cities around the world).

Ah, the NYT travel section... a myriad of places to dream about going, and all the exotic foods to eat. On the eve of the Olympics, of course there's ample coverage of Italy (a place I have been, and a place that I love... although I don't think I've seen a country that I don't like, or couldn't relish in the joy of simply being in a new place...). This week highlights Rome, and in particular, the key places to see (Forum Romana, Vatican, Spanish Steps),
places to connect (Easy Internet Cafe-- hey! I've been there!), and of course, places to eat (fresh produce, gelato and delectable pasta, oh my!). When I return to Italy, one of the three phrases I perfected there will do me well: Cono piccolo con panna, per favore (Small ice cream cone with whipped cream, please).

Then there's the $1,000 meal in Hanoi. $1,000?!? It must be AMAZING! I must try it... surely, on my next trip to Vietnam (err... first trip to Vietnam), I'll definitely have enough of a disposable income to warrant a $1,000 meal. Blackened barramundi filet... now doesn't that sound like an absolute must-try? Then there's fondue of every kind in Geneva; and a Milk Bar in Sarajevo. Even the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands caught my eye, if not for anything but the food. And I am not a Carribbean-vacationer-type-o'-gal (never been; absolutely no desire to go). But there's one thing that could get me there: promises of palate-pleasing wonders.

You'd think that with my ode to food going on here that I'm about 300 pounds. I'm not... I just have a great enthusiasm for food however, ample workouts and religious yoga-taking keeps me in check. But from the corner taco stand to the most upscale abode, I am a self-proclaimed foodie. From apple bretzels and wienerschnitzel in Salzberg, the most amazing red curry in Sydney, fior di latte (con panna, of course!) in Firenze to
Rigo's Tacos in L.A., egg salad with bacon sandwiches at Eisenberg's in NYC and lest we forget tuna with Ruffles potato chips at the 'Nob in Po-Town. There's rarely been a travel experience in which I can't recount, in scary detail, all of my food memories.

Travel-food writer. Seriously.

(Oh-- and in recent weeks, India has been the darling of the travel press, but there was nary a mention in today's paper. It was however, spotlighted in yesterday's WSJ-- and, by the way, when did the WSJ get all fluffy?? In any case, with two of my friends going on a month-long expat assignment to Bangalore in March, it further fuels my itch to go to India. Oh, and the food in the land that smells like spices... or is that Morocco? Ah... Moroccan food... But that's an awfully big trip to plan...)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Leaving New York

You might have laughed if I told you
You might have hidden a frown
You might have succeeded in changing me
I might have been turned around

It's easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out...

"Leaving New York"--REM