Friday, August 22, 2003

Joe Writes Back

Here's what Joe wrote back after I wrote an email thanking him last night:

"Thanks Gary...I really enjoyed your "advice" to that idiot, JC"

Speaking of Steve Malzberg, the guy NEEDS some new web monkeys. His website looks like it's stuck in 1994.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Joe Conason Is My Hero

I just watched Joe Conason -- liberal Salon columnist , author of Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (currently ranked #8 on Amazon) -- appear on MSNBC's conservative-leaning Scarborough Country. Before Conason came on the show, the guest host, Steve someguy, basically made it clear that he believed there was a huge liberal bias and that Conason was full of shit. The smug bastard looked like he was salivating at the opportunity to "take on" Conason and debunk all of his nutty theories.

Then we cut to a shot of Conason looking like he was in a really really bad mood. My God, those piercing eyes totally reminded me of Ms. Paine, my HS English teacher who used to set people's heads on fire just by glaring at them. If you looked up "raging bull" in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Conason. The man was ready to pounce.

And boy did he eviscerate that sneering, patronizing, cocky bastard, who could have benefitted from some tips on how to avoid making a fool out of himself.

First rule of debating: if you are going to attack someone's ideas viciously and take quotes out of his book totally out of context, at least read the fucking book so you don't look like a total moron when he goes on the counterattack. Second rule: while in the process of attempting to explain someone else's viewpoint (again, without reading his book), if you are planning to put words in his mouth, make sure the guy isn't sharp enough to notice you twisting his words, doesn't call you out for distorting his arguments, and is NOT able to present his real viewpoint in such a succinct and concise way as to completely torch your straw man. Third rule: if you are planning to shout down someone because his arguments are much more logical and persuasive than those of your own, pick someone who doesn't have the "I came here to do 2 things, chew gum and kick ass. Looks like I'm fresh out of gum" look in his eyes. Finally, get a clue. There is a very good reason shrieking conservative Ann Coulter ducked her scheduled debate (scroll to middle of the page) with Joe Conason on CNBC's "Kudlow & Cramer" at the last minute: Joe Conason.

Now if only Fox News and Bill O'Reilly have the balls to invite Conason on The O'Reilly Factor for a real debate. So far Fox News has not allowed Conason to go on any of its news programs. Sigh, one can only dream.

The Holy Grail of P2P?

UPDATE: Hmmm, there have been rumors of this program being spyware/trojan. I don't love p2p enough to make my pc a guinea pig yet so I think I will hold off.

These guys must have pretty big balls to come up with such a blatant piracy tool. It sounds technically impressive, but I doubt it actually supports all of those features. I wonder if it's a hoax. Having a company with such an inflammatory service headquartered in a Palestinian refuge camp is a stroke of genius.

I will need to check it out for myself.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

West Coast Invasion + Bday Pics

You know your birthday will be a fucking awesome day when you dream about Rita fondling your ass. So there I was, a 23-year-old grown man giggling and even blushing a little bit in bed after waking up to the best fucking dream he has had in a while, on the morning of 8/18. It was good to feel some tingling in the cheeks.

For the next few hours, I just cruised through work, waiting for the day to end so I could go have fun with friends afterwards. Before Yan, Dima and Ben came to visit the city, I really had no intention of doing anything special for my birthday because my family never really placed any special significance on birthdays. We used to just say "happy birthday" to each other. Now that my sister and I have moved out, we just send each other electronic greeting cards.

The weird thing about my birthday is that I actually have two of them. According to all my legal documents, I was born on 8/18 when in actuality I was born at 2 am on 8/19. Maybe the nurse who filled out my birth certificate was to sleepy to notice that it was 8/19 already (actually, I don't even know if I have a birth certificate because I have never seen it). Therefore, I have a legal birthday and a real birthday.

Another interesting thing about my birthday is that I am lucky to even have one. Because I was conceived after the one-child policy was implemented in China, I would have never been allowed to be born if my older sister weren't severely injured in an accident. Because of her then debilitating injuries, the government made a special exception for my parents. Mom used to love to talk about how I was her lucky star because I was totally unexpected and actually survived the one-child policy, until I told her I did not want to be described as an accident by her in front of her friends.

Speaking of my sister, I once ridiculed her burn-scarred hands as chicken feet when we were fighting. I really didn't know any better because I must have been only 6 or 7 years old at that time. Because Dad has a really mellow personality, I can remember him being truly angry only two or three times during my entire childhood. After hearing what I said, he unleashed his wrath and scolded me like I had never been scolded before. My guilt was only lifted after I went to visit my sister in July and we reminisced about our childhood together and apologized to each other: I for calling her names, she for telling me to go upstairs to get something and then running away with my cousin to see a movie without me. Of course, we weren't really being formal about it. We just said "I'm sorry" with an embarassed laugh to each other. It was one of the most beautiful sister-brother bonding moments in the history of sister-brother bonding, I have to say.

Ok, I've digressed too much. Anyways, the first part of the picture collection were taken in Central Park and in a lounge in Union Square (called The Ballroom i think). Then we went to the Comedy Cellar for a show featuring Dave Attell and a bunch of guys who were on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn (Jim Rogan, Keith ??, who's black was the host). My friends somehow mixed up Dave Attell with Dave Chappelle. I guess they didn't know their Comedy Central shows as well as I did. Stand-up comedy is definitely not Attell's forte, as we found out. For one thing, he looked like he was pretty trashed before he got on stage. It was still pretty cool to shake his hands and tell him I liked his show afterwards though.

The last few pictures were taken at my birthday dinner at Sushi Park, a pretty good Japanese restaurant in the East Village. I was pretty surprised that so many people could make it because quite a few sounded flaky when I emailed them. Of course, I didn't give them advanced notice because this dinner thing was hastily thrown together the night before. Before Annie arrived, I felt like the token Asian guy. It's kind of weird because my friends back in Stanford seemed much more diverse. With Tolu, Sachin, Srinivas, BK, Joe and Allen, I could totally make a United Color of Bennetton ad. Also, for a while my table looked like a sausage fest. It's too bad that Caroline and Julia weren't able to come.

After dinner Yan and Co. had to catch their flight, so I went to a total dive bar with Ahmad, Josh and Annie. We drank $6 pitchers of Bud and talked and laughed for hours. Ahmad and Josh traded crazy stories from their separate trips to Asia. We had a blast. I was surprised that Annie could moped back to her apartment in Brooklyn because she drank just as much as I did and I definitely wasn't walking straight. The next day she emailed me and said she bumped into a parked police van after coming off a big curb ("haha" was her reaction).

On my way back home I talked to Allen and Tolu on the phone. All in all, it was one of the best birthdays I've ever had.

Enough talking. Here are the pics.