Archive for January, 2010

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honey.

January 29, 2010

Sugar. Beautiful. Darling. Sexy. Sweetheart. Babe.

There’s something about pet names for significant others. I can’t quite put my finger on it. For some inexplicable reason, I love them. But I only love them one way – from guy to girl. It’s somehow endearing (though many girls out there would disagree with me). And for the record, only some guys can pull this off. It depends on the girl too, but trust me, you know if you can or not. However, girls using pet names for boyfriends is not; it’s childish or overly girly. I know – double standard.

When I said earlier that my reason for loving these terms is inexplicable – that was a lie. I love them because they make me smile. Not a “oh, thanks for the compliment” smile. But a true “if I didn’t think I would offend, I’d be laughing right now” smile. The ones that bring the best smiles are the slightly uncommon but still completely generic names. Great example: babydoll. I didn’t think people truly said things like that until I overheard a conversation the other day. Even typing it, I feel ridiculous. And at the same time, I think it’s awesome.

Now, I’m sure I seem like a girl who would normally be offended or put off, resulting in never being called pet names. As much as I love the terms in theory, in reality, I wouldn’t know what to do. I would probably laugh and give you a look. It would ruin the moment. You probably wouldn’t try again. That’s ok, I understand.

Side note: If it’s unclear to the boyfriend if this post is a not so subtle hint at something – it’s not. Don’t worry.

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manliness.

January 27, 2010

Well, back to one of the recurring topics on my blog – men and women and their interactions. The Art of Manliness (which I highly recommend) posted What Can Manly Men Expect of Women? It touched on the idea that the expectations of manliness are still extremely high and criticizing any shortcomings is still extremely common. However, with the change in position for women, certain expectations and any sort of criticism is often met with a large dose of contempt. The comic they post is spot on:

I love the idea that you can’t “define manliness unless it was juxtaposed beside femininity”. The same idea is communicated in the last two questions of this interview with a matchmaker. If women want men to be gentlemanly and chivalrous (I do!),¬† then shouldn’t it be ok for men to want women to be typically feminine and ladylike? Financial stability is what women look for to ensure security (in other words¬† we – and potential children – will be taken care of). Guys are probably looking for the same thing, except as the traditional money-making figure, the definition of “taken care of” wouldn’t be financial stability. Instead it takes the form of having a tidy living space or having someone make dinner.

I guess it’s important to point out, in case anyone reads this as terribly anti-feminist, that these expectations are not applicable to relationships in general. Boyfriend/girlfriend relations are all about compromise. As the roles of women and men in terms of work have become more similar, it’s unreasonable to expect just one person to also include the domestic duties. But anything platonic or work-related – well, we’re pretty much all on the same footing then. Chivalrous acts are not expected (though still fully appreciated). I’ve noticed this gets tricky. My male co-workers almost always hold the door for me and pull out my suitcase from the taxi trunk. Clearly, it’s because I’m a girl. It’s not an extreme burden for them, and it could just be seen as polite. The tricky part is that there’s not a lot I can do from the feminine side in this everyday polite context. So it ends up seeming a little unfair for the boys.

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fascination.

January 25, 2010

Things that fascinate me for no reason. These are things that for one reason or another, usually one that I can’t put my finger on, are things I love. And not just any kind of love, but it’s things that I can just sit and be happy without doing anything else.

1. Watching traffic from above – I have this thing for watching cars from above. It happens when I cross the bridge over the highway on the bike path to downtown. It happens when I’m in buildings that connect over streets, like Cedars-Sinai. It happens when I’m taking off and landing in planes. It’s not even a special occurrence anymore. I don’t even know what’s interesting about it.

2. Large Bodies of Water – Maybe it’s because I grew up by a lake, but I can’t give up my love for large bodies of water. This feeling was renewed when I went to the Gulf Shores in Alabama. I don’t really like swimming in natural bodies of water; algae kinda freaks me out. But I love being near it. I like to watch the waves. I like to feel the wind. I especially like it if there’s sand I can put my feet in.

3. Rooftops I can sit on – When coming up with this list, I got the impression I just like to be up high. I kept coming up with things like glass elevators and Ferris wheels, in addition to rooftops. I have always wanted to live somewhere I could go out on the roof. It’d be like having a really high backyard, with a much better view. If I had a roof I could go out on, I would be there all summer.

4. Happy Toddlers – even better if they’re Asian. Honestly, little kids are fascinating to watch (I wonder if this is a female thing). They have this amazing ability to amuse themselves by doing nothing at all. As long as they’re not crying and looking unhappy, I love them. It makes me want to have one as a pet.

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kiosk.

January 23, 2010

Over the holidays I went to the movies. It was the first time in over a year that I’d been to this theater, and it has changed quite a bit. There’s now a local pizza restaurant and bar connected to the theater, making the whole dinner and movie date about as simple as it can get. But the most interesting change was the addition of kiosks to buy the movie tickets. Seemed a bit unnecessary as 1) the movie theater has never been that crowded, 2) you can buy tickets online already, 3) you can buy tickets at the credit card machine too.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of kiosks and self-service stations. Maybe I just like the control. For some reason, it makes me feel like I’m being more productive and more efficient. I realize this is often an illusion. This is why airline self check-in services are the best – it really is easier for me to tell my information to the computer than to use a human intermediary. However, at the grocery store (where I often use self check-out), it’s totally inefficient if I have more than a few items. I am just not as fast at scanning items or looking up fruits and veggies. Plus there’s the hassle of bagging, checking ID for alcohol, and other general computer issues. The more I’ve realized this, the more often I choose to go through the normal checkout. Besides, it can be good practice for five-minute small talk with the cashier.

But, as with everything, I have my exceptions. In this case, I don’t like using automated machines to do any of my banking. Strange seeing as I manage almost all my money online in some form or another. But in terms of getting cash and making deposits, always in person. I might just be paranoid, but I like going to the bank. I like the fact that the people at the bank know me and I like having a person there who can answer questions if I have them and I like being able to get cash that’s not in $20 bills.

I worry that more businesses will move the way of the airlines. I love that airlines make it easy to buy tickets, check-in, print boarding passes, etc. But understandably, this is only great because it works almost 100% of the time for me. And because of that success rate, I have no issue with the fact that if I want to work through a person to purchase tickets, it will cost me more. But finding actual help or customer support becomes so damn hard when everything gets automated.

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facebook privacy.

January 21, 2010

I don’t use Facebook so often anymore. I’ll sign in once in a while to check birthdays, relationship status, and messages, but overall, most of Facebook’s functions I handle through other means. It might seem less convenient to check multiple sites, but I’ve found Facebook is now too cluttered with information I don’t care about that it’s faster than sifting through the rubbish.

My decreased interest in Facebook led me to gloss over the most recent changes to their privacy settings. In fact, I fully remember blowing by the announcement because it came up at a bad time. I was looking for some specific information, and not only did the privacy announcement pop up, but it forced me, right then and there to make the changes. It was like a terrible ad I couldn’t get out of. Sure, it was in my interest to actually fix the settings, but I didn’t even know what was changing – given that I wasn’t about to read a whole page on what Facebook thinks about privacy now (and how it’s good for me). For anyone else in the same boat as me, the changes that were made is to give different options about what/who you can share with and making the new default as public instead of friend only, in addition to making some common information open to the public (without any option to hide it).

Hmm…seems like a big deal – removing the option of privacy. Strangely, the Facebook community seems to have been strangely quiet, at least relatively compared to the uproar they made about earliest changes to privacy (and the news feed – which hardly counts as a privacy change). Have the users become complacent sheep? Do they just not care anymore? Have they determined that protesting is useless? I’d suggest that maybe people have moved away from the site like me, but I highly doubt it. Maybe Zuckerberg is right that people have become comfortable sharing more information with more people. But when they don’t get a choice anymore, well, I guess the only option is to get comfortable.

That option is key, whether it’s used or not. If I don’t want to be found by strangers, my only option now is to quit. Facebook points to being able to find friends more easily as the main reason behind making public information and changing their recommendation (aka the default) for the privacy settings. Understandable. Except if you’ve turned on the privacy settings so much that I can’t even find you with a Facebook search, I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in more people finding you. In fact, this article makes two very important points: 1) Facebook needs its users to share information (this is the why) and 2) public-ness can have major costs for some people (and this is the why they shouldn’t).

Personally, I keep a lot of information on Facebook public. I don’t see a whole lot of cost to me for sharing certain information, and I am fully aware that I’m giving Facebook valuable information for pretty much nothing (I’ve been so entrenched in sharing and openness that it hardly occurs to me that maybe I shouldn’t give something away for nothing). To me, the idea of a social networking site is to be able to search through strangers and connect with people you might not in real life. The idea of building community online loses its appeal when I already have to have that connection offline. So the change is logical in terms of what I’ve always seen as Facebook’s original purpose. But just as social norms have changed about sharing online, I think Facebook’s current purpose isn’t about connecting with strangers so much as it’s about staying in touch with people you already have in your personal network.

ps. I think I should have been able to come up with a better title for this post.

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blame.

January 19, 2010

I think I’ve posted enough about obesity. But this post touched on a slightly different aspect – the culpability of the individual when the issue is a combination of genetic predisposition and voluntary decisions. Basically, society seems to be willing to blame genetics sometimes but not others. Sometimes we expect willpower and self-motivation to solve bigger problems.

While I could compare obesity with drug addictions and mental disorders, I never thought to compare it to the more common “faults” that people choose to exacerbate or do nothing to fix. And I never fully realized that when we ask the overweight to exercise willpower to overcome their problem, that it’s almost the same as asking someone with a mental disorder or an addiction to do it on their own too. It’s like I can somehow accept that the issues we label as disorders are extremely difficult to overcome and then require maintenance for a lifetime. But seeing as I’ve never struggled with a weight problem, it seems like it should be a piece of cake. Clearly I should realize this is wrong seeing that I do know how hard it is to actually lose weight.

And yet on some other level, I don’t ever expect ignorant people to educate themselves. I just brush it off and avoid them. But in no way is being ignorant less of a societal burden. And learning about something can’t be harder than controlling an addiction. Maybe it would be worse though if I had to accept that everyone was educated and still making terrible decisions.

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habit.

January 17, 2010

Habits are changing. After growing up with technology at our fingertips, the Millenial generation has quickly embraced the various devices that hold our lives together. With phones, email, and social networks, people are in constant communication from the moment they wake up til they go to sleep. As the NY Times points out, it’s not uncommon to go straight for a computer or smartphone first thing in the morning. There seems to be a lack of balance.

The idea of using a phone as an in-house intercom or missing the bus because you were on Facebook is ridiculous. Texting while driving: dangerous. Answering your phone or texting at dinner: rude. It’s as though we have no willpower to detach ourselves from the technology anymore. I mean, before personal computers were so popular, were people itching to go back to work to check their email? Don’t you remember how annoying it was when you had to answer the landline during dinner? Oh, I forgot, maybe you’ve only had a cellphone and don’t ever remember having a landline.

And I know I’m not one to talk. I check email constantly; even when I know I haven’t gotten any. I’ve answered my phone while at dinner; though I’ve become much better at just ignoring calls. And I try very hard not to text while talking to you unless it pertains to both of us (e.g. texting a mutual friend we’re meeting). Most depressing to myself, I do get a bit antsy when I don’t have my cellphone or internet access for an entire day. Sad, I know.

Anyways, I wonder if our attachment to being “plugged in” stems from the fact that it’s still relatively new. We’ve learned to accept all the benefits of our new devices. But the connectivity they allow creates a false sense of urgency to answer, follow-up, or take action. Perhaps, once the excitement wears off, we’ll form new habits that won’t involve checking email every five minutes.