How to stare at people without them noticing

Tip #2 Use mirrors or reflections in windows

People can catch direct stares. But if you’re looking out the window, you often can see people in the window’s reflection. This way, nobody can tell that you’re looking in their direction. Plus, you can also check up to see if your hair is sticking up and whether you have something in your teeth at the same time.

The worst time waster

The worst way to waste time is waiting.

Besides waiting for people, waiting for the bus/subway/ferry/etc. is a significant part of my time. According to a study (and a billboard I saw somewhere), the average wait for public transportation is 12.5 minutes. In 12.5 minutes, I can run a mile (yes, I would be slow). I could spend $500+ in Best Buy. I can crank out 10 wireframes. I can do a quick usability test.

But another time-waster? Being put on hold. Sure loudspeakers and microphone have helped us become unattached from a phone one-handedness, but it’s not enough. Well that and talking to tech support when all I want is them to return my product or give me free service. Yesterday night, I spent 2+ hours talking to three technicians (2 of which were obviously outsourced from India) convincing them that yes, I know how to use my computer and it doesn’t connect! But patience is a virtue in these parts.

Second best

Every so often, we have a goal we want to reach. We do everything to reach it. Lust after it. Working hard. We are waiting for it. Calling it from the distance. We talk about it. We whine about it. We hope. Our dreams are there, waiting. The gold. The long road toward it. The satisfaction we know we’ll feel when we get there. So we wait.

But then when it comes…

Is it as great as we thought it would be? And we start doubting ourselves. Is it really the best? Is it really we had wanted all this time? Would we really be happy? And then we stop. Pause. And impulsively settle for the second best.

Things this week I didn’t think I would do

Importantly, I am spending a lot of money this week mostly as an act of defiance since I would rather be paying $1500 in rent each month. I mean, what can I do with an extra $1500?

First off. I spent $300+ on 3 pieces of clothing. I had spent 3 hours in the store trying on clothes while a friend kept bringing new pieces. I had been intending to redress myself so I could look more designer-like. However, I faltered and went back to my conservative style. I hate shopping. I woke up the following morning, wanting to return everything.

Secondly. I spent $$$ on shoes. Almost $190 on wedges, but that made me see the flats as cheaper. $90.

Thirdly, I participated in a dragonboat race. Somewhat against my will, but hey I am always up for trying new things. I was a spectator at the dragonboat races at Treasure Island Sunday. But my friend convinced me to participate in the volunteer apprecication race (but I wasn’t a volunteer). More than 10 years ago, I had a bad experience river rafting, but I decided what could go wrong. Nothing did. I loved being close to the water, but barely could paddle. I end up making some weak strokes as we did the 500 yards. My friend is sore. I am not.

Fourth. I took my parents out to brunch. I didn’t see that one coming, but I was feeling angsty this week about the whole notmovingtosanfrancisco deal. But was trying to reconcile myself with the situation.

Fifth. I saw Massive Attack and DJ Shadow live. Expensive ticket. I didn’t think I would do that.

No regrets? Oh definitely not. I bought tickets to Seattle finally. And a ticket to the cal football game against UCLA in November.

Good and ill

During my tv binge (that is dying, mind you), I saw this commercial about how good spreads good. And ultimately, how everything comes around. In the first scene, a toddler drops something on the ground while the mother is looking elsewhere. A man walking up picks it up and hands it to the mother. The mother walks into the coffeeshop and sees a mug that is above to fall. She shifts it over for the owner. And someone overlooking the moment does something good…etc. etc. A pay it forward kind of thing.

I was impressed with how it was nicely done. Although I have no idea what it was advertising or branding now. Sounds like an insurance commericial.

It’s true that when someone helps us, we do feel more helpful as a result. When we feel good, we will attempt to make others feel good unintentionally and intentionally.

One thing I noticed is that people are never that aware and observant. Today, after I had gotten something at Trader Joe’s, I drove out of the parking lot. A man walking to the store something on the ground in front of me. I stopped to let him pick up. And a woman walking to my left threw up her hands in exasperation-a why are you slowing me down gesture and didn’t notice why I stopped. So did I cause her to have a frustrating moment? Will she pass her frustration to others? And for the man or observers, will they pass the good will? We can’t make everyone happy.

Another commercial I have liked recently is that mastercard commercial. The scissors dancing on the ground cutting up credit cards. It’s just a visual pleasure (and incredibly superflouous). The best scene was when there was toddler (encouraged by the mom) to drop a credit card to the dancing scissors. Doesn’t the mother know that dancing scissors are dangerous? Well, what if you could start over? But I wouldn’t.

I don’t mean to discriminate against tall people

Tonight during the Massive Attack and Dj Shadow concert, I somehow ended behind a nearly 7 foot fan. He swayed to the music, clasping two beer bottles in hand. Sang along (with the songs that you can). And yelled when needed.

I am usually good at moving around at a concert (especially on the floor), but somehow I couldn’t tonight. And for a good portion, he was blocking my view of the stage. With his elbows almost jabbing into my face.

But bottom line. It is sad for these people who are not wanted in stage shows. The kind who are not wanted in front row. Are they discriminated against to be told to sit down because by standing, they’re blocking people? They must have trouble finding beds to fit them. And more difficulty finding airplane seats, bus rows, and cars that fit their long legs. I used to call anybody significantly short as vertically challenged. Are tall people also vertically challenged?

Despite that. It was a great show. Although I could have caught them at the Love Parade. But hey, laziness and I wanted to experience the glory of the Greek Theatre once more.

Changing for others

“I don’t want him to change for me,” my friend lamented about her current boyfriend over the sangria at a restaurant with dark red walls in the Mission tonight. “Because it’s unfair for me.”

“And for you too,” another friend added. She nodded.

But isn’t that what relations are about? We are supposed to adapt to the changing environment, but how much do we change ourselves to take the next step? How often do you break the naivete of the world to discover there has been something great around the corner but you never thought to turn pass the last foot.

But for my friend. It was about the inability to adapt. Both ways. In the end, it’s what we feel comfortable with. We want to try new things but only if it’s within our comfort zone. How many times do we put ourselves out there outside our comfort zone?

Moving out

There’s this crucial step every adult child must take. Moving out. I want to take it. I loved the 2 years I was away in grad school. The 3000 miles away taught me many things I didn’t learn in undergrad when I was only 12 miles away.

But then now. Free rent and free food*. And then come the guilt trips of we have such a big house, why don’t you just live here? And then the you’re wasting money. when i was your age, i lived with my parents for years And of course the girls don’t move out until they’re married. Ok, so my parents didn’t say the last one (they’re not that old-fashioned hopefully).

But still. Right now, I am on a roommate search rampage in San Francisco. The search isn’t doing that great. But I am still looking.

After all, I took a bus. Ended up on a bottom of a hill and started climbing in the dark of a San Francisco night.