Friday, March 29, 2002

Job Hunt Update - I was disappointed to hear from Williams-Sonoma this morning that they have extended the Database Marketing offer to someone else. Oh well. I've been 'dinged' many, many times in my life, and I'm not going to dwell on it. I could ask myself what I might have done differently during the interview process to get the offer, but I won't. I'm confident that I am the best database guy around, and if they couldn't figure that out, they don't deserve me. I'm sick of being typecast as a database guy, anyway.

The good news is that I have another interview next week in another part of Wells Fargo. The pay is really, really good and if I get this offer, I won't have to sacrifice my stock options--all of which are significantly in the money. I even have the inside track on this one. The hiring manager is Asian-American and he's also a Cornell engineering graduate as well. You bet I'm going to play up our common ties up to the hilt. I'm even going to go out and spend money on new clothes. Since my waistline began exploding last year, I'm down to 4 pairs of pants that fit me (and just barely).

Thursday, March 28, 2002

A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You (Woo woo woo) - Peggy Noonan from tells a story about Joe DiMaggio that reminds me why I named my blog after him.

''Later I found out that he too had done something interesting at the dinner. He had been assigned by the editor of Time to sit at the table of the president of the United States, Bill Clinton. When he saw where his place card had been put, in this place of honor, he ordered it moved, because he didn't want to sit at a table with a man like that.

And here's to you, Joe DiMaggio. He married a movie star half a century ago but the one thing he seems not to have liked about Marilyn Monroe was that she was a star. And that night he refused to sit with the biggest political star in the room. Joe DiMaggio trumped movie-stardom. But Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.''

Thanks for restoring my faith in mankind, Joe.

D is for Dumb - Like most liberals, Nicholas D. Kristof is determined to make the world a better place, and he would like to achieve this goal by using the tool of torts. The American legal system is littered with examples. Cigarettes are bad, therefore sue the Phillip Morris Company. Guns are bad, sue Colt Industries. Fatty foods are bad, so get ready to sue Burger King. You get the picture.

Liberals and real Americans do agree on one thing: Saddam Hussein is bad. However, we seem to disagree on the method of his removal. In the liberal tradition, Kristof proposes his solution to the Iraqi problem: Sue Saddam.

"Let's launch an effort to prosecute him for crimes against humanity. This would destabilize his regime at home, encourage more defections of Iraqi officials and military officers, and increase the prospect of a coup that -- best-case scenario -- would render an invasion unnecessary."

In the bizarro Kristof universe, American soldiers would go into battle armed with...a court summons. Which would make the US by far the most heavily-armed country in the world--even without guns.

Full Disclosure - I am the owner of 22 shares of Phillip Morris. I also had a Burger King Chicken Sandwich (without cheese, Jenny) for lunch.

Face Time - The last two nights, Jenny and I were able to spend some quality time together because Jenny made the decision to not sit in front of the TV after dinner and then zonk out. Instead, we spent the evenings just talking to each other and calling friends and relatives. We talked about everything from my job interviews at Williams-Sonoma (thumbs up) to our life insurance policies (need more). It's amazing what you can get done when you don't sit in front of that blasted TV. Incidentally, I just read that Milton Berle, Mister Television, just died.

One issue that Jenny and I spoke about at length was adoption. Jenny has been thinking more often about having only one child, no doubt due to the fact that her pregnancy has been a painful experience. Since I have always wanted at least two children, I've been suggesting that we adopt a Chinese girl from a Chinese orphanage. As Chinese-American adoptive parents, we would even have priority over the hoards of White Americans trying to adopt Chinese babies. It's like Affirmative Action in reverse--Asian-Americans actually benefit from this policy! But Jenny is uncomfortable with raising a child that is not related by blood. If we don't have another baby, then I hope to be able to convince her to adopt. We have time, and my powers of persuasion are legendary.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Weight Watchers - In ten days of dieting, I’ve already lost 6 pounds. I was so pleased with myself that I went out and had a hot dog for breakfast. And a hamburger for lunch. Eating nothing but soup, fruit and a few fig newtons every day at work can get pretty monotonous. I now weigh 188 pounds—that’s less than Monica Lewinsky. Speaking of Monica…

The Clinton Legacy - In the days since Clinton left the White House, Democratic spinmeisters have been working overtime to sell the public on the positive aspects of Bill Clinton’s Presidency. In Texas, the Clinton Legacy has rubbed off on group of elementary school students: they’re now giving each other blow jobs.

In interviews with police, the boys -- all ages 9 and 10 -- admitted the acts took place last fall and again in February, said Marble Falls police Capt. Robert Sooter. "Obviously, this is some kind of learned behavior, and it's our job to learn where it came from," Sooter said.


Monday, March 25, 2002

Job Hunt Update - I have an interview tomorrow with Williams-Sonoma that should last most of the day. Unfortunately, I have an offsite meeting with a vendor that I will have to miss. I don't feel sneaky at all about looking for another job, even though I'll have to call my boss tomorrow about a "family emergency" in order to weasel out of the meeting. He's not going to be happy when he hears about this. The Williams-Sonoma job represents just a lateral move for my career. That's the story of my life. In all my past jobs, I've only been promoted when I've put a gun to the head of the management (figuratively speaking, of course) and forced them to decide whether or not they want to keep me. Either promote me or I'll jump ship, I've said several times in my career. I've always been successful in this respect.

Sooner or later, I'm going to have to make a choice in my career direction towards either money or job satisfaction. So far, these two have nearly zero correlation. With the baby along the way, I am of course leaning towards the money (and job stability). In fifteen years of working, I have made zero progress towards a meaningful and an emotionally satisfying career. I already know that I would love to be working on a college campus in any one of a myriad of roles: admissions director, assistant athletic director, dean of students--you name it, I've applied for the job, but to no avail. To this day, I wonder how my career would have changed had I accepted that teaching job in Japan when I finished graduate school. Jenny thinks I am crazy, of course.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

And the Winner Is...Political Correctness - The Oscars are over, thank God, and we can finally put an end to the biggest display of 'white guilt' for the year next to the Democratic Party convention. How else can you explain having appearances by hate-monger Al Sharpton in the opening segment, Whoopi Goldberg as the Master of Ceremonies and Oscar wins by Halle Berry and Denzel Washington during the evening--and then continue to hear speech after speech drone on about Black-Americans not getting their fair shake in Hollywood?! Black actors and actresses have been in movies of substance for decades, and still we see Hollywood play the race card so they could feel better about themselves. Tonight's awards were probably a step backward for Hollywood and for Black actors & actresses. Making a big deal about such a dated social issue--the under-representation of Black-Americans in the movies--is ridiculous.

Why don't we ever hear about how Hollywood portrays and treats Asian-American actors and actresses? Can you imagine the crappy roles and stereotypes that Asian-American actors have had to endure through the years--even to this day? Sure, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won a few awards last year, but that movie featured non-American performers and was made and produced outside of this country. Asian-American actors and actresses almost never get lead roles in feature films, and if they do, it's usually time for them to either sign-up for karate lessons or apply the dragon lady make-up. And don't get me started about The Joy Luck Club.

One recent movie that allowed Asian-American performers to shine was Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Better Luck Tomorrow is one of those rare American films that allowed its Asian-American characters to go beyond the stereotypes, and for its performers to display their talents in meaty, non-demeaning roles. Jenny and I saw this movie at this year's San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, and I was blown away by the passionate performances by its Asian-American cast. Before Better Luck Tomorrow, these actors and actresses never had the opportunity to display their talents in today's Hollywood. One of the lead actors recalls submitting an audition tape of his movie performances to date, which consisted entirely of bit parts as a Chinese food delivery man. For all of you doubters, I suggest you read this interview with director Justin Lin and try to understand how Asian-Americans have been given the shaft by Hollywood.

The Name Game - Like many parents-to-be, Jenny and I have already been bouncing around names for our soon-to-be-born son. Since Jenny is the one carrying the baby and suffering the consequences, she has made it clear to me that she will be naming the baby. I've bent to her will thus far, so I'm not sure that I even have veto rights over her choice of names. Jenny is currently leaning towards the names Russell and Jett. Russell is a popular name of late, due primarily to the fame of actor Russell Crowe. Her second choice is less conventional, but also shows the influence of Hollywood (from martial arts actor 'Jet' Li).

My first choice of names, for either a boy or girl, has always been Reagan. Presidental names have always been popular--note the latest surge of Tyler and Taylor--although Clinton didn't seem to get much of a boost from our esteemed 42nd President (#669 in 1999, between Winston and Donovan). 'Reagan' is in the top 1000 for both boys and girls, ranking #830 for boys and #348 and #443 (Regan) for girls. I'm still holding out hope for 'Reagan Chen', especially if Jenny is delirious after giving birth. I think Jenny's sisters would be horrified by 'Reagan', and that's a plus in my book.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

Those Wacky Iraqis - I never believed those news reports that fingered a disgruntled American lab scientist as the most likely source of the anthrax attacks back in the fall of 2001. First of all, the letters were all postmarked from New Jersey, where several of the hijacker/terrorists lived. And then when I heard that the terrorist(s) had sent anthrax-tainted letters to the National Enquirer and the New York Post, I knew that the culprit couldn't be a highly educated scientist-type person. Would an American lab scientist--one capable of producing anthrax and probably the owner of a PhD degree--even consider reading these two papers? Only someone from outside the United States would believe that these publications are influential and (I hate to say this) mainstream.

Throw in the crop duster incident and the report of Mohammed Atta meeting Iraqi agents in Prague, and you have a lot of strongly-correlated circumstantial evidence that points firmly in the direction of Muslim biological terrorism with a possible Iraqi connection. We might just have our smoking gun for invading Iraq. I believe the bio-terrorists still live in northern New Jersey, near the town of Parsippany. Call it an informed hunch from the man who correectly predicted the educational background of the Unabomber (Harvard undergraduate, Berkeley professor).

A Passage to India - Jenny and I went to Berkeley today with Samir and his wife Preeti to find a sari shop that could sew Jenny's punjabi, which is a suit-like outfit that she plans to wear at her baby shower. For lunch, we went to Vik's Chaat Corner, an Indian fast food restaurant that's located in a garage. Vik's looks cheesy, but the food is cheap and very filling. I stuffed my face with three samosas and a bunch of other Indian dishes whose names I couldn't pronounce. We accomplished our mission, and then I took Samir and Preeti on a tour of Berkeley. They were surprised to see armies of bums and drunks lining the streets, but I wasn't. I explained to them that Berkeley's Marxist, liberal government encourages people to live on the streets and beg. It's part of Berkeley's utopian vision for society. Samir and Preeti remarked that Berkeley was filthier than Bombay, Samir's hometown in India, and that Bombay has fewer beggars. Take that, Berkeley!

Friday, March 22, 2002

His Mother Was a Hamster, His Father Smelled of Elderberries - Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times is the classic schlock foreign correspondent -- one who goes abroad so that he can write about America with a certain sneer that is strangely reminiscent of the French during the Dreyfus Affair. As a Harvard man, he knows the solutions to all of this country's problems: ban guns, make peace with our enemies (like North Korea) and fight terrorism by fighting poverty. His Opinion column in the New York Times is everything that one expects to hear from a brie-eating, illegal maid-hiring, Clinton-loving Harvard graduate. A typical limosine liberal who supports the public schools by sending his kids to elite private schools, and helps the poor by hiring them to polish his Mercedes.

Thank God It's Friday - I'm looking forward to this weekend. I enjoy coming home to a clean house--courtesy of yours truly--and relaxing after a tough week at work. During the week, Jenny usually cooks dinner and I do the dishes and clean the kitchen. We try to eat out only once a week so that we can save money. This past Wednesday night, Jenny didn't feel like cooking, so we ended up eating out at a Hong Kong-style dive in Oakland called D&A Cafe . Nothing to write home about. I don't understand why that restaurant is always so crowded.

Tonight, we had an special treat: dinner at Vi's Restaurant in Oakland. We met Alina and Allen and little Faith for our first dinner at Vi's in two months. During dinner, I committed the faux pas of lifting up Jenny's maternity shirt for a brief glimpse of her pregnant belly. Jenny and Alina gasped, and I wondered what the big deal was. I think Jenny was mad at me the whole night, but held her feelings in check as we feasted on the usual beef noodle soup, five spice chicken and an assortment of spring rolls. She must have remained mad at me, since she proceeded to bop me on the head repeatedly and yell at me when we got back to the car. Either that or she has her own unique way of showing her love to me. Yeah, that's it.

However, Jenny does approve of my blogging. She sent a blast e-mail today to all her friends telling them to read my blog. As a result, my readership has hit an all-time high. Thanks, Jenny!

Thursday, March 21, 2002

News from the Job Front - Today at work, I actually got a call from the Williams-Sonoma HR department in response to the resume I submitted on Tuesday. They want me to come in for an interview next week. Will wonders never cease? As you may already know, I've been hating work lately. I despise it so much that I don't even talk to Jenny much about my job. She just encourages me to leave. I would be leaving a lot of money on the table in Wells Fargo options if I were to leave. That's the only thing holding me back at this point from leaving.

I applied to Williams-Sonoma after hearing about our good friend Sharone accepting an offer with the company. We drove into SF together on Tuesday, and discussed the merits of her new job and the company. Later that morning, I applied for a job on their website. I just have this feeling that I'm due for a change. More details to come.

Green Sleeves - At meeting last night, the Marxist city council of the People's Republic of Berkeley discussed banning the reuse of paper coffee cup sleeves. The Berkeley liberals feel that reusing the sleeves at coffee shops may be a health hazard since they've already come into contact with another human hand. What these morons seem to have forgotten is that they are already exchanging pieces of paper and metal that have come into contact with many more pairs of slimy, bacteria-ridden hands. It's called money.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Campaign Finance Bill Passes - I'm not a lawyer, but it's obvious that the Campaign Finance Bill that just passed a Senate vote is unconstitutional. I believe the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is clear on this matter:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

If President Bush signs the bill and it is not struck down by the Supreme Court, political groups would be prohibited from broadcasting issues-based advertising for a 30-day “blackout” period prior to a primary election or a 60-day period prior to a general election. Strangely enough, the bill excludes print advertising from the ban. There are so many loopholes in this bill that the ink will hardly be dry before we hear even more cries for campaign finance reform.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Viewer Mail - A reader of my humble blog writes to ask me about Vanguard mutual funds--which ones do I recommend? You've come to the right place, my friend. I have just two words for you: index funds. For the moderately aggressive investor, I would suggest putting your money into the Balanced Index fund. Otherwise, try either the Total Market Index fund or Vanguard STAR fund. The latter is not index fund, but a mutual fund containing a basket of other Vanguard mutual funds that has the added advantage of lower ($1000) investment minimums. Happy investing and good night.

Marathon Man - My dentist appointment yesterday was a nightmare. Despite 4 shots of anesthetic, my root canal was not the painless procedure that the Endodontist had promised. I felt excurciating pain like I have never experienced before. "We're almost there", he shouted as he drilled into the pulp of my tooth for what seemed to be an eternity. I kept having flashbacks to the scene from Marathon Man, with that Nazi dentist torturing Dustin Hoffman. Oh well, at least it's over. I can't eat solid food for another two weeks, when I get a cap for the tooth. I hope to lose 10 pounds before then. Lately, I've been eating nothing but soup, oatmeal and rice porridge.

Baby Watch - As of tomorrow, Jenny will be 28 weeks pregnant. Babies in the womb are amazing. They react to touch, sound and gravity. At night, I put my hands on Jenny's tummy and I can feel the baby bouncing around like a rubber ball. I poke her stomach and he pokes back. We know that the baby is a boy now, by the way. I'm always wondering if he looks more like me or Jenny. I'm already planning his future. What school will he attend? What sports and musical instruments should he play? We're both very excited. I don't give a crap about work these days, even though I am miserable.

Poor Little Rich Girl - Among the cultural elite, there is an attitude out there that you are somehow entitled to a high-paying job if you went to certain universities. Wrong! In today's market, having an Ivy League degree doesn't guarantee you job on Wall Street or Madison Avenue. An undergraduate degree in the liberal arts from Harvard or Yale today is worth about the same as a high-school degree in 1964, probably less. Four years of drivel courses, easy grades, lousy faculties and lower admission standards have "dumbed down" Harvard and Yale degrees.

To Shawna: Go back to school and get a worthwhile degree in subjects like engineering or computer science. Don't go back to Yale as the very thought of it might scare some employers. Take one of those jobs you are belittling. You just might learn something of value.

School Daze - Imagine the outcry if we heard that black or Hispanic students had to meet higher standards for admission than white students into elite public schools. Now imagine that you are an Asian parent living in San Francisco. Guess what? Your children have higher standards for admission into the city's schools than students of any other race! The dirty little secret of public education in San Francisco is that the liberal-dominated school boards have been trying to suppress Asian enrollment at the city's best public schools for years.

Although racial and ethnic quotas were prohibited under a 1999 Federal court decision, the school boards have been trying to find other ways to break the Asian dominance of the elite public schools. Now the city is experimenting with a "diversity index"-based system that is race-neutral. "For the first time, school district officials are using a 'diversity index' that doesn't directly include race or ethnicity to decide who will attend the coveted schools, and who gets assigned to more troubled campuses". Again, imagine that you are now a parent whose child has been assigned to one of the "troubled campuses". I have news for you fellas--it's not going to work.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Liberalism is a Disease - A San Francisco writer explains in clear terms the failures of liberalism in the San Francisco Bay Area. As anyone who lives or works in the city can tell you, San Francisco remains a launching pad for an ever-growing army of homeless drunks, drug-addicts and psychopaths—all of this in spite of social spending that approaches $40,000 annually per homeless person. The city government’s attempt to help the poor through rent control has also backfired. Today, rent control in San Francisco only benefits those who need it least: the limousine liberal. Thank God I’m not the only one here who realizes that liberals are slowly destroying San Francisco.

Restaurant Reviews - This weekend centered around eating at restaurants. Yesterday, Jenny and I took her assistant at Levi’s—Michelle—to 168 Restaurant in El Cerrito. All they talked about was work, work, work. I knew many of the names they were mentioning, but their discussion was centered mostly on petty office politics, which didn’t interest me. When I’m home, the last thing I want to talk about is work. I refuse to work at home. I’d rather stay at work late and go to work on weekends then bring a laptop home to sign-on remotely.

We had hot and sour soup, rice cakes, string beans, clay pot fish, stir-fried beef, and I had my trademark watermelon juice. To my surprise, we finished everything we ordered. I’ll give this meal three stars. For dessert, we had flan/custard at Goldilocks, a Filipino restaurant (Michelle is Filipino). For a change, we talked about terrorists and our families. Then Jenny spotted miniature ceramic fruit at this Thai knickknack store, and had to spend $20 to decorate our kitchen.

When we were driving Michelle home, I asked them to talk about something other than work. Which finally brought us to the original reason why we went out to eat: we were trying to set Michelle up with another friend. That person was a no-show. Thirty seconds into our discussion about Michelle’s love life, we reached her apartment and said goodnight to her. To be continued…

Today we ate at Banana Island in Daly City for the third weekend in a row. Jenny’s friend James is part owner and manager of the restaurant. We first drove to San Francisco and I worked out at the Bay Club in Levi’s Plaza while Jenny waited for Mera, Soli and me. Then we drove down to Banana Island. For a Sunday night, the restaurant was pretty crowded. For a change, I did not stuff myself to the gills. We had the usual Malaysian/Thai/Singaporean food. Everything was yummy. I discovered that kids (Soli) can be fussy eaters. I hope our kids won’t be so fussy.

Next week we’re going to skip Banana Island, but in two weeks we’ll take Jenny’s parents, and Jenny’s mom’s friend there for Jenny’s mom’s birthday. A week after that, I think we’ll go there again with some other friends. I forget who. I think we’ll be Banana Islanded out by the time Jenny gives birth. But the restaurant is good, especially that crepe-like pancake that they serve with currry sauce. Good going, James Lin--three and a half stars for your efforts.

Hi Winner - I finally found my wedding invitation list from New Jersey and got in touch with my good friend Diane Vedutis (Ford) from my AT&T days. She got married last year (I owe her a wedding gift) and is now expecting her first child in July. She’s also no longer at AT&T and moved out to the boonies of New Jersey. She’ll always be a ‘winner’ in my book.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Adventures in Investing: I'm in the process of selecting some mutual funds for my father. A couple of years ago, he loaded up on telecom stocks and then proceeded to get hammered by the market. He's way down on those puppies, so now he's a bit gunshy and he's left some cash just sitting there. I've already picked Oakmark Equity & Income and Fidelity Investment Grade Bond. Normally, I would recommend a couple of index funds for most people, but my father's account is at Fidelity and they don't offer index funds. One company that does is Vanguard. After reading John Bogle's book Common Sense on Mutual Funds, I am convinced that index fund investing is the right choice for almost everyone. Bogle--Vanguard's founder--lays out a near bullet-proof case for index fund investing and against actively managed funds. I'm a believer.

Scary News: The Associated Press reports that Tipper Gore, wife of ex-Vice President Al "Alpha Male" Gore, is thinking about running for her husband's old Senate seat in Tennessee. I don't know what it is about people like this. These DemocRATS seem to have a sense of entitlement, like some kind of feudal lord. Don't be surprised if she does run, or if their children run for office once they reach the minimum age. Political power must be as addicting as heroin. It's already a forgone conclusion that Al's running again in 2004.

Know Thy Audience: The New York Times sneers (requires registration) at Fox for knowing where the country's taste lies as 15.5 million tuned in to their pop culture brawl, Celebrity Boxing. Why is everyone so surprised ? This country elected Bill Clinton twice, does not care about his administration's criminal behavior and takes his wife seriously as a possible presidential candidate. What did they think they would rather watch - Masterpiece Theater?

Thursday, March 14, 2002

I have an explanation for my choice of "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?" as the title for my blog. It happens to be my senior quote from my high school yearbook blurb, that section of the yearbook where you list all of your friends, nicknames, future plans, etc. Naturally, I took the verse from the Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson", which lamented the lack of modern-day heros. At the time, I wasn't the Ronald Reagan fan that I am now.

Check out what the LA Times uncovered about Roger Clinton and Hugh Rodham. What a bunch of scum bags. I'll bet the major media won't cover this at all. Now do you understand why I hate the Clintons so much? Sad thing is, they're going to get away with it. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

I just got back from the dentist and I'm going to have to get a root canal on Monday. Oh joy. At least I'll be able to lose weight. I weighed in at 194 lbs. today, my heaviest ever. No wonder Jenny doesn't want to be seen with me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Hi there,

This is my first blog. I've been reading other people's blogs for about a month, and I am fascinated by the concept. The first blog that I found was Andrew Sullivan's webpage via the Drudgereport. Sullivan is a writer for several publications, including the New Republic and the Times of London. Lots of political and social commentary. I don't agree with all of his positions, but his arguments are well-written and logical. Another interesting webpage is Pegpower. She's a married woman with a child living in Southern California. Her webpage is a day-to-day log of her interactions with friends and family. My own webpage will attempt to be part Sullivan and part Pegpower. I'm at work right now, but I'll try to write these entries at home and out of reach of my boss.

I haven't figured out how to post photos, yet. But, I have figured out how to add links.