Monday, June 30, 2008

Chemistry and Lies

The other day ProSC made the comment in class "I like to see what I can get away with." He was referring to walking the fine line between the socially acceptable and the faux pas. I must admit, I too have been tempted, many a time, to see how far I could push the envelope. There's something exhilarating about sacrificing your social reputation for a good joke, or just a great expression of your individual boldness. The statement caused me to reflect, and chuckle inside, at great moments of "getting away with" in my past life.
I can't believe I even remembered this experience, it's one of those that you completely forgot until you remembered it just once for some unexplanatory reason, but it comes back from my High School AP Chemistry days. (Now, I'm thinking, "of course I forgot that; I can't remember a lick of Chemistry.) Anyway, my chem teacher, Mr. H, was on his soap box about some professor at the Y and how he was a fraud, more acclaimed than he deserved, and, basically, a mock to the university. It was quite evident that 1) Mr. H really didn't care for this professor, and that 2)he was dangerously comfortable taking advantage of our naive minds by molding in us a natural distaste for this professor we might one day meet. (Now, as a disclaimer, I would just like to mention how much I really did love Mr. H- to the point that I was willing to take AP Chemistry, and really did value him as a teacher.) However, some sort of "let's not speak bad about others especially when they aren't here to defend themselves" bell rang within me, and I thought it a good time to soften Mr. H's heart, or at least, his tongue.
I quickly called out, skipping the hand-raising, "What's the professor name?"
Mr. H responded with some common English name, allowing my next reply. "Oh," my voice hardened, "that's my Grandpa."
Mr. H froze in his pacing; his face dropped into, no, not embarrassment or guilt, but unadulterated fear. The class was absolutely silent. It was pure bliss.
Mr. H mumbled some disclaimers about his previous ridicule, something about being a great person but not a great professor, while I reveled in his pain. I let him stew in his pain for awhile before I released him with my sweet, "Mr. H, I'm just kidding." I think he threw an eraser at me after that, lovingly.
I really don't know what came over me. Maybe it was because my Grandpa really was a professor at the Y and I just couldn't help but think, "this man is somebody's grandpa." For the most part, I am exceptionally well-behaved (乖 is the Mandarin character/word I really thought of first but then translated to English). But, sometimes, I get a little out of control in the name of justice, morals, And, sometimes, I just like to see what I can get away with.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Bad habit number one that is consuming my life: starting too many books at the same time. Yesterday, I realized my bedroom was being seiged by stacks of books in various places, none of which I have finished reading. I do judge a book by it's cover, and then I'll judge it by it's first paragraph. I continue to judge the book through the whole reading process, even to the point when I only have a quarter of the book left. One would think this means I obviously am drawn to the book in some way and should finish it, but sometimes I won't. The fact is, in the course of my reading I have started several other books that are competiting for my attention; I'm judging the books against each other and will continue to devout the about 65% of my reading-time to one until another proves itself more worthwhile. (And, yes, that was a very mathematical formula I solved in order to bring you that percentage.)

So, as it goes, the book which wins me over, until another more attractive, and tempting paperback makes it's way in to my life, is blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I am fascinated, and motivated, which gives even greater credit to it's content and rhetoric. Perhaps there has already been a huge blink rage which I happened to miss out on while on a small, obscure island in Southeast Asia for over a year and half. But, it's new to me. I even attempted to share some of it's contents with The Head. Usually, I avoid intellectual or academic conversations with The Head because he makes me feel naive and defensive; but, I was feeling really good about blink so I decided to share with The Head while he was in the midst of monologue-ing about the latest and greatest in literature. He shot me down by sharing some bad reviews by some hoity-toity critics (whose names I can't remember because I was trying to think of something to rebuttle him with rather than listening to what he was actually saying). I finally asked The Head if he had even read blink and that caught him in his pontification. What joy was mine.

I'll attempt a synopsis: blink explores the world of quick and meditated decision-making. And when I say "quick" I mean within milliseconds. It's about trusting our first-impressions, facts versus feelings, narrowing in on a few poignant details rather than digesting a scope of events. Malcolm terms this "thin-slicing." It makes me a little hungry every time I read that phrase. Hum.

Anyway, the criticism that The Head shared with me, after I thought back to what he shared, I actually agree with but don't really care about. I've already accepted that weakness about blink. He menitioned that blink never came to any particular, or distinguishable, thesis. (Let's list synonyms, shall we: purpose, point, core, heart,...nirvana.? The weekend was fruitful with an intense game of Apples to Apples.) However, blink is still fascinating, and if you really like psychological studies, decision-making and/or would like to know a little more about your subconcious, than I recommend it...until something else comes along.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Making up for an actual post

Good quote I wanted to share...

"We need to accept our ignorance and say 'I don't know' more often."
-Malcolm Gladwell, blink

...which then lead to this...

"But what about my cheesestick?"
-Delly trying to distract me from putting her to bed

"I realized I was an adult when I could finish a whole fireball without taking it out of my mouth."

Me: I'm sorry, we are unable to offer you financial assistance to take that Italian course.
Dr. So-and-So: Fine. Can you connect me to the Italian Embassy, please? my job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Newly Found Spontaneity

Fuzzy Robot called me on Saturday after I was leaving an incredibly boring wedding reception. (Note to Self: have fun at your own wedding reception.) I was on my way to buy eggs. Not that I usually buy eggs on a Saturday night, but Pamchenko felt more comfortable with the idea of starting next week off with a fridge full of eggs seeing that the fam's coming over and all. She even encouraged me, if my means allowed it, to buy more than I usually do. That wasn't hard because any amount of eggs is more than zero.
Back to Robot. So, while buying my eggs, she let me in on her plans to appropriately celebrate the summer weekend: scones and fireworks. The time was already 8:00pm, which brings up my point. Before the mission, I would have never agreed to go with Robot.
On the mish, you have to be flexible and creative. You never know what's going to come flying your way. Investo emergencies, bike accidents, your comp gets lost, and the worst- UNPLANNED TIME! That's when and where I developed my spontaneity.
In a typical "Before Tian" universe (which I will now designate as BT), I just couldn't get myself to do something other than the Already Planned on a weekend. Was I that boring? So stiff that I surpressed friendship in order to not violate my mental planning? If what I had planned for my Saturday was a movie and pizza, then I couldn't possibly squeeze in an hour of stopping by an ill-prepared party. What's planned is what will be lived! No exceptions.
Robot and I decided this is hereditary because Heider is totally the same way. Robot is completely opposite. She can schedule three events for one evening plus add four more during the course of events. Can you imagine? She's at a pool party at 6:00 and an old friend calls and wants to catch up and so she squeezes them in during the after-swim BBQ and her blind date at 8:00. I would have needed 5:00 to 8:00 just to calm myself before the date.
GOOD NEWS all you impulsive ones. I have broken the curse. After Tian is much more exciting and on her toes. I totally attended a sage and yellow reception, bought excessive amounts of eggs, ate a monster of a scone, watched the fireworks, and helped Robot's little brother sell glowsticks (which is right next door to the mish by the way, "Who else do you know that would like to buy a glowstick?") all in the course of one night.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness." -Po (Kung Fu Panda)

Yesterday, we were driving home from seeing Kung Fu Panda, which was hilarious by the way and made me feel all Chinesey inside (good for my soul), when Delly told me, "When we get home, I'm going to have a drink and then do some dancing."
I love it when our deepest, secret desires are expressed through the mouths of babes. Who doesn't, at the end of a good movie, long day, or sleepless night, just want to "do some dancing." Why do we surpress the inner child?
I couldn't help but notice how much Pamchenko and the G-Vy were enjoying the movie. Oh, and let's not foget how "awesome" it is to go with Grandma to a movie. Treats were not denied!!!