Archive for January, 2009



January 30, 2009

This week I watched some Dr. Phil. I have never spent any amount of time watching Dr. Phil before. My first impression of him has always been quite negative. He seems unlikable, annoying, and too in-your-face for my taste.

This week, Dr. Phil was talking about teens and current teen trends. The first part was on texting habits. He discussed something called “sexting”, which is when you send explicit text messages or sexy pictures through your phone. The troublesome part is that most of these texters are young (i.e. under 18), which means it ends up being considered child pornography. Regardless of that fact, on the show he talks to this one 12 y.o. girl whose parents don’t know how to handle her “sexting”. Dr. Phil comes to the conclusion that the girl is participating in this behavior for attention because she suffers from low self-esteem. This is a completely logical idea; I would fully agree. His solution, however, is that she needs psychological help, possibly even medication. There’s no suggestion the parents discuss the problem with the daughter beyond taking away her cellphone. And, there’s no suggestion that the girl might be sexually curious and her parents should also talk to her about that too. No, “sexting” is clearly a sign of instability and should be solved with fancy doctors and pills.

Side note – the second part of the show was about a guy who enjoyed getting punched in the face. Now that might actually warrant some psychological help. And, I did not continue to watch the show.


25 things.

January 29, 2009

Seems there’s this new Facebook meme called 25 Things making the rounds. You post 25 Things (random or not) about yourself and then tag 25 friends in a Facebook note. Those friends should then do the same, and around it goes. This kind of Internet meme are the new version of chain letters. Usually I like these memes; it’s interesting to see what people have to say. Sadly there’s no common thread in 25 Things other than the amount of information you share. And really, 25 statements is a lot to ask for without any guidance. In other words, there’s more of a chance that I’ll be reading through inane facts, rather than stimulating thoughts.

I heard about it from three separate sources this afternoon, surprisingly none of them were Facebook. It’s strange that this meme has quickly moved off its original medium and into blogs or tumblrs, but the memes started in those areas never move into Facebook. Perhaps Facebook doesn’t foster the same kind of interactive community that other social media sites do. Perhaps it’s just easier to reach a bunch of people with a broadcasting medium rather than a social networking site. Perhaps all the requests, invites, and tagging on Facebook makes people want to ignore all of it. Or perhaps, my friends know better than to tag me in an meme that I wouldn’t participate in.


year of the ox.

January 28, 2009

Chinese New Year was on Monday. In the spirit of celebrating, Yi and I decided to make dumplings. Neither of us had made dumplings without our parents before, so it was going to be a new experience. We were used to helping assemble the dumplings, but had never participated in making the filling or the dough.

We took a trip to the Asian grocery store to get ingredients, including pre-made dumpling wrappers, in case our dough turned out bad. I love going to the Asian store near where Yi lives, despite the fish smell that covers the whole place. It always amazes me how much there is to buy, especially the amount of pre-made food. And the pre-made foods are always pretty cheap. It makes it almost worth it to just buy dumplings rather than spend the time to make them.

The dumplings came out pretty well. The dough we made was much better than the pre-made wrappers, and it was super easy (flour+salt+water). It took a while to get the pot stickers just right, but Yi got the hang of it after a few tries. I’m going to have to try to make bunch for myself and keep a bunch frozen. I’ll need to find an Asian store in Madison first.


academy of sciences.

January 27, 2009

This month, I got a nice little break from the Wisconsin winter and spent two weeks working in Sacramento and a weekend in San Francisco. A California trip meant some warm, sunny weather and a few days with the boyfriend.

Although the work I was doing was on the boring end of the spectrum, the weekend in San Francisco was a lot of fun. I took a trip to the California Acadamey of Sciences. It’s a fancy new museum with an aquarium, an indoor rainforest, a living roof, and a planetarium. Yi and I arrived in the morning, just in time to get passes to the last planetarium show of the day; for some reason. The Academy was packed full of people; I can’t imagine what time you had to arrive for the earlier shows. We spent the rest of the day in the other parts of the museum.

Rainforest birds

Rainforest birds

The aquarium was fantastic, which is pretty much what I think about all aquariums, but this one had a fancy coral reef display too. The rainforest was fun too and reminded me of the butterfly display at the Milwaukee Public Museum, but better. The living roof was cool, but it’s probably better on a sunny summer day rather than a cloudy January afternoon. There were also a lot of displays about evolution and climate change. Unfortunately, by the time we could go to the planetarium, Yi and I were both so tired we fell asleep during the show.

Angel Fish

Angel Fish

The only downside to the experience was the food. The eating area was crowded, the food was expensive, and the seating was inadequate. Perhaps they just weren’t used to the volume of people visiting that day. Otherwise, it’s a very disappointing part of the experience, especially combined with the usual grumpiness you have from being hungry in the first place.



January 21, 2009

Like others, I subscribe to a couple basic Google Alerts: my name and the company I work for (Epic). The other day, I was directed by the alert on my company to a blog. I like to take a look at the posts that come through my alert on Epic because I have first hand knowledge of how many people actually take a look at them (and who doesn’t like a little more blog traffic?). But this post completely turned me off (and I’m not linking because I don’t believe it deserves the traffic). I applaud their attempt of using Google Alerts to grab the attention of many people at the company. It’s a bit extreme – a kind of awful, attention-seeking self-marketing. Except that they lacked any relevant marketing. The post mentioned nothing about the author except that s/he turned in a second resume to Epic and was waiting for a response. Then proceeded to use Epic’s name multiple times unnecessarily just to make sure Google Alerts would pick it up. What’s the point in getting the attention of hundreds of employees, but post nothing that would possibly encourage us to help.

And when someone in the comments suggested the author list the reasons s/he would like to work at our company, only 1 of 5 was worthwhile. As Epic can still be selective in who it employs, why would they choose someone who top 5 reasons include the fact that Epic’s hiring and Epic offers relocation? In addition, the author somehow thinks the power gained by having the attention of Epic’s employees through a Google Alert is somehow on the same level as the information gathered from reading someone’s blog. It’s not. A blog gives way more information about you, than my checking the Google Alert does about me. I’m not HR, but if I was, this post would convince me not to hire. Positive points for the idea, but many more negative points for execution, wasting time, and overall bad marketing of yourself.



January 17, 2009

I came back from my trip to Springfield, Missouri to help St. John’s Hospital get started using their new medical record system. Although the days were long as usual and the weather was freezing, it was the best trip I’ve been on so far. I spent my two days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It was very busy, but luckily, it was the end of the week, so most of the nurses and doctors were working in the system quite well. They also had a fantastic coffee shop.

I’ve been in more hospitals in the last 5 months than I have in my whole life, so they continue to be very interesting places for me. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that they’re significantly more confusing to navigate than I expect. I feel that with the number of people coming in and out of hospitals, the layout should really be more user-friendly. However, my difficulty may be due to my aversion to accidentally walking into an area where I am not allowed. Being brought in as support for the hospital staff leads to trouble in determining whether “Employee only” signs pertain to me or not. Clearly, I can’t help anyone if I can’t physically get there, but there are definitely places that are off limits to anybody but true staff. I’ve just resigned to always carrying a map or asking lots of questions.



January 8, 2009

Coming back from the holidays is hard. Work is extremely slow, and the gym is packed. It pretty much kills almost all motivation to do anything. That means I got to watch several movies and further inundate myself in RSS feeds.

Planet B-Boy: Documentary that follows five teams (US, Japan, South Korea, France) to the international Battle of the Year competition. Break-dancing is pretty sweet in general, and what these kids can do is unbelievable. Fun enough to watch twice.

A Pixar Story: Documentary about Pixar and their success, making hit after hit. Interesting, although I wish they went into how they broke through obstacles in more detail. The movie made it seem like things always worked out for them, and I’m sure there was more to it.

The Namesake: Overall disappointing. I expected the movie to be more about the son, when it was really about the mother. For the first half of the movie, the son wasn’t even born! And the advances in the plot were extremely abrupt.

Also re-watched: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man.