Thursday, February 23, 2006

My New Idols

Give it up for The Notorious MSG! This is one of the funniest interviews I've read in a while.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's Not So Bad After All

Tonight when I was on my way to meeting up with my friend Raf, who's in town for the next couple of days for work, at his hotel on 54th & 6th, I walked past Flasher Dancers. As I walked past the club, I saw a stripper walk out of the parking garage next door with the most depressed look on her face, like she was walking in front of a firing squad. How could I tell she was a stripper? Because she could have easily rested her chin on her chest, duh!

I don't think I have ever looked THAT out of it when I drag my tired ass out of bed to get ready for the day. My discontent with life subsided for that one brief moment as I realized that sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours a day still beats giving lap dances to dirty old men in sweatpants. It's all relative, right?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Around The World In...?

Saturday night I went to Liz's going away party in Brooklyn. She bought a one-way ticket to China, leaving next Monday to study Chinese in Chongqing in Sichuan, the province most well known for spicy cuisine and pandas. At the party I bumped into Pam, who lived with Liz in a room across from mine in Toyon sophomore year and studied abroad in Moscow with her. A few months back when I had dinner with Liz, she speculated half-jokingly that Pam's probably in the CIA because she speaks 4 or 5 different languages and has traveled extensively in the Middle East in addition to Russia, China and many East European countries.

The more I talked to Pam, the more fascinated I became. After she got her BS in Physics from Stanford, she decided that languishing in a lab doing experiments would not be appealing, so through one coincidence after another she ended up living in Palestine for a couple of years. Palestine!! I was pretty tired so I can't quite remember what she said she did there, but it was somewhere along the line of tracing the connections between various militants, religious leaders, and other people of interest from both sides of the conflict. We talked about the history of the region, the complex relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the recent Palestinian elections and Hamas's ascent to power, as well as the fanatical settlers who have very little regard for Palestinian lives. I guess she was doing most of the talking because she actually knows something about the Middle East, but I held my own mostly reciting events and stories I heard on NPR podcasts (God bless my iPod).

After we talked extensively about the Middle East, I told her about my Chinese background, to which she responded in Chinese, "I want a beer, now" in that hilarious foreigner accent. It was so fucking hilarious and astounding at the same time. After that I found out she's living in DC now and recently applied for a job at the Institute for Defense Analysis (I think that's the name), a non-partisan think tank that produces reports sometimes used by the Pentagon. Her job, if she gets it, is to research strategies on reducing the number of IED attacks on American soldiers in Iraq. It sure sounds a lot more interesting than what I'm doing now.

Before I left the party, I got her contact info so next time she's in town I can be nosy and ask her annoying questions about her new job. Apparently, she has a website too: I didn't even know that an individual could get a .org domain. Maybe she used some of that Jujitsu skills of hers.

Where am I going with this and what the hell does it have to do with the title of this post? Well, I got a call from Caroline last night and we bitched about our jobs as usual. Then I told her about Pam and her crazy adventures. Then we both agreed that we hate working and just want to travel and get paid. Then Caroline brought up the idea of getting one of those around-the-world airplane tickets and taking an extended period of time off, say 6 months or a year, just to travel and live in a bunch of different places, not just doing touristy stuff but to work for non-profits and to live like the locals (however difficult that may be given the language obstacles).

I mean, why the hell not? I'm 25, I haven't a clue what I want to do with my life, and I don't like what I AM doing with my life, so if not now, when then? I couldn't agree with Caroline more when she said, "People always say you have to save for retirement, but what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow? There are so many things that I haven't done!" A-fucking-men! Besides, I'm not doing this for pure escapism. I will probably meet tons of interesting people and gain insights into life that could be applied to whatever the hell I will be doing in the future. I might work at an AIDS ward in South Africa or an orphanage in Calcutta. I may be frustrated, angered, disheartened, or saddened by all the miseries I will witness and encounter and fight, but at least I will be out in this big old world trying to tackle all its ugly problems instead of tackling my roommate when I have a bit much to drink. My life should be more meaningful and useful to this world than the 5 lines of code I write when I'm not surfing the web. In my 25 years of existence, I hardly ever regret things I have done, save for that one time many many years ago when I called my sister's hands, which were severely burnt in an accident when she was 2 or 3, chicken claws. But I have regretted NOT doing many things: not asking that one girl out in junior high, not doing that study abroad program at Oxford, blah, blah, blah. I want to make sure "did not travel around the world" is not one of my regrets when my whole life flashes before me.

Where to? That's the next big question. I will have to do some research I guess. That's all for now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

It's Official:

I live near the most dangerous intersection for pedestrians in Manhattan.