Thursday, November 30, 2006


I am a number.
To the market, I am a credit card number.
On the internet, I am an IP number.
To my friends, I am a telephone number.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot my name;
I respond to my social security number.

Monday, November 27, 2006

"Hard for me to say I'm sorry"

These days Michael Richards is the hot topic in the media here. He is a comedian and has insulted some african americans in a comedy club. The video of the incidence is in youtube. I just watched his apology statement. He looked embarrassed and nervous. I think that nervousness is necessary to make the apology more meant. And don't forget that he is an actor.

Apologies; sometimes they are necessary, like in Richards' case. But many times, especially here in US, they seem unnecessary to me, for instance when I ask a grocery store worker if they sell staplers, he or she apologizes to me that they don't carry one. That seems weird to me. It's not the worker's or even the store's fault. But this apparently is a culture much different that mine. And also this is a consumer-based economy, much different than what i was used to. Or maybe it's just the way to be polite.

Or look at this one: a few months back in our university, when some undergrads had a costume party in a fraternity or sorority house (can't remember which) and for some reason some Latino students were offended. That time, not only those kids apologized but also Mr. Herman, our university chancellor sent out a mass apology letter.

Now my own experience. Last semester I was one of the several TAs for a big undergraduate class, and once when posting a file to class discussion board, I accidentally posted some grades. It was there for a very short time, but one student noticed it. It was an honest mistake, but talk about undergrads and grades, he made a big deal out of it. The course instructor made me write an apology letter and send it not only to that student, but to post it on the board. O' it was PAINFUL. I found it quite unfair at the time, but now i think it's just how it works.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A dressed up post

It's a good change in the casual grad student life to dress up and go to a formal reception, every once in a while. Given while>=6 months ;-)

Another interesting thing was that I met the person whoes blog inspired me to start one of my own. Well said "it's a small world after all."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

America, mixed-flavored

Americans are fond of mixed flavors. Just step in a grocery store and you see what I mean. Cinnamon popcorn, Pumpkin marshmellow, Vanilla coke, 3-4-flavor icecreams. Even things that does not at all go with each other: like sweet pickles.
The other day, I picked up a box of dried cranberries from Meijer. I usually read the labels carefully, but I was in a rush that day. And see what I got: orange flavored cranberries! Cranberries by themselves are quite flavorful, I don't at all understand why they are needed to be orange-flavored.

Anyway, enjoy your thanksgiving dinner anyway you like it, and don't eat too much :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bill Withers: Ain't No Sunshine

I heard this song for the first time in an American Airline flight. It's a nice song by itself, but definitly a bad choice to be played in an airplane. Don't you think?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This time last year I was looking for a laptop carry-on to give out as a present. I looked into many stores but couldn't find one that I like, so I had to buy something else instead. Now that I don't need it anymore, it's all around. Even Sam's grocery store have a nice one.
It makes you wonder if somebody up there is pulling your leg sometimes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Man and Tree

Flying low in an airplane, what usually captures my eye is the peaceful harmony between the man and the tree in our cities. A harmony you can't easily find between man and other living creatures.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


When I'm up late in the night, and receive an email, I have a sense of emphaty with the sender, knowing that he or she is also up and running. A few minutes ago, our university chancellor sent out a massmail, and it's 2 a.m.!
It's late Mr. Chancellor, you gotta get some sleep:-)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All about grrrrrrrading

I'm TAing for a class of fifty grad students. Every other week they have to turn in a long homework (long as in 20 math question and a computer assignment long), plus they have a written quiz once in a while. I've spent hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of grading this semster.
I'm tired.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Laugh, at any cost?

I saw the movie Borat today. I'm not a big fan of sex humor, so I didn't enjoy the movie in general. But aside from that, I found it extremely unfair. Not all the people in the world are as privileged as say Americans. Many developing countries are still struggling with basic socio-economic problems and are far behind their path to catch up with the developed world standards. Yes, there are cultural differences. Somethings that we laugh at are quite normal in those countries, but so are we, and our customs in their view. I believe it is immoral to exploit these differences to laugh at a nation.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Kind people

I saw this shawl in a store a while ago. It was pretty and I wanted it. But it was kinda expensive for my poor grad student budget. So I was hoping for a day that it goes on sale. Yesterday I went to the mall, and there was none left. I went to the dressing room to try on some other garment and there it was, on hold for another costumer, and half prize. I asked the sales woman and she said that was the last one they had. Oh, I couldn't be more disappointed. I took the store's number to call tomorrow to see if that costomer had come to take her holds or not. I was about to leave the store when store manager came after me and said, if you want it this badly, you can have it. I did want it badly, and it was very kind of her to notice.

Friday, November 03, 2006


It's pomegranate season again. My favorite fruit. Its skin leaves black marks on my fingertips, which I carry till the end of the season. It might be a lame example but I can't help but wondering: why is it that for every pleasure, you have to go through some sort of pain?