I’ll have the most expensive thing on the menu

“The Kobe prime rib?” she said. “I’ll have that.”

I sucked in a breath as I realized a friend for her birthday (in a dinner with only 3 of us) ordered the most expensive item on the menu.

Plus a salad.

And a drink.

For the rest of the week, I was feeling oddly resentful. It wasn’t that she wasn’t a good friend. Or that she didn’t deserve it. But something just felt wrong when I decided that I’ll ignore my reluctance and drop a few hundreds.

Then I realized. It was this thing called the generosity budget.

Every person in your own social network. Friends and family included each individually have a generosity budget. Granted I think in 1s or 2s (and perhaps video games). That the budget expands and contracts based on events that occur.

Perhaps it was someone who helped you find a new job. Or when you went out for ice cream, he says, “I got it” and swats you away when you try to pay in vain. Or someone who drove you all the way back home even though it was more than 20 minutes away. And most of all, the someone who doesn’t judge or criticize in your moments of weakness.

Then there’s the other events. People who don’t returns emails, phone calls, or ims. The one who stares at you in blankness when you need help and you change subject to what they want to hear and they suddenly become animated. Or the one who appears at your parties simply to drink the alcohol, but to talk with you, it’s one word sentences.

It’s funny how we choose our friends. But it’s rather startling to realize this generosity budget.

I am trying not to be a pushover and try not to do the same to others.

Generosity is self-sacrifice. But to sacrifice for what end…for true altruism? I once remember paying for everything. Almost in spite. In the idea that “you’re not worthy to be paying”. Is that generosity? When the gift comes out of hatred but some may view it’s from the heart?

True generosity is to give what they need, not what they want.

Gizmodo at CES

Because I have a few products that I helped out with demoing at CES, I have been following news about it.

Always interesting news. The biggest TV. The next big download tv/movies center. And other shiny gadgets that most of us won’t see.

But then there was the prank by Gizmodo. Dubbed, the meanest thing that Gizmodo did at CES.

Sure, it’s funny that you got a remote to turn off TVs on the wall of display. And another to turn off the TVs during a gaming session while players look at their own screen. But it’s not funny to do it during an important presentation demoing a new product.

It’s really not funny to be suddenly experience problems during a presentation. And having been a presenter myself…when the slides go down, it’s not cool. Especially when it’s something that’s caused by an audience member.

The terrible secret of animal crossing

I hear the animalese in the background. Delicate sounds like a lullaby. Soft sounds of a netherland. A frantic scrawling of a pen?

A music box?

A computer application?

A phone?

No it’s the sounds of animal crossing.

What is the terrible secret of animal crossing?

I’ve documented the journey of Billy, a young, happy lad who believes he’s going off to have fantastic adventures at summer camp.

This is a literal and practically contextual account of what happens to poor bastards sent to Animal Crossing.

This is the true story of Billy.

Today, I called the customer service line

“I noticed that there was a late fee on my account. Is it possible to waive the fee?” I asked politely and braced myself for the worst.

“Let me take a look here,” she said in her friendly quiet voice. “Looks like you’re a great cardmember…sure I can do that for you.”

I mentioned a few other requests and they were nicely fulfilled. A surprise for the phone call I had been dreading to make all weeklong.

In the last few days, I had read up on the 10 confessions of a chase customer service rep and its followup. I have always found it amazing that such companies have so much power. That I almost find that CSRs often just can’t do anything. Or is it because I haven’t requested it?

To this day, the worst customer service I ever experienced was a phone call to a government agency. Where I was admonished for spelling each letter of my name and address (I thought he didn’t know especially since my last name is obscure as is the street). I was just trying to be helpful. And other sorts of unsavory feelings.

At the end of the call, he mechanically said, “Have a good day, m’aam.”

To which I automatically I replied, “You too!”

The first entry of each month

It’s the 6th anniversary of my blog (almost) and so a reflection of my blog of 2007. The first entry for the past year.


One last memory of 2006

“So…which boyfriend are you?” a friend asked the guy standing next to me.

Embarrassed, my face was as pink as the rosé champagne I brought to the holiday party earlier in the month, sitting on the counter nearby.


Returning to a place I once loved and hated

When I first arrived to Pittsburgh more than 2 years ago, I was naïve, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I was leaving a place that offered little to me and embarking a journey to really seek what I wanted to do. And Pittsburgh was a city that was different to me—my first chance at real independence, connecting with people, and interestingly a self-discovery.


It grows bigger!

I’ll probably never finish this burger. Like I never did for this.


Candied Walnuts

I never have candied something today until today. Earlier in the week at a friend’s dinner party, I was intrigued by the candied walnuts his sister made.


Caltrain < BART

When we have to sit closer and make conversation, it’s not for me.


Free Panty Coupon

“I don’t know you now,” I said in embarrassment but with a slight tilt of amusement.


In iPhone glory

Today. I touched 3 iphones and entered my phone number in.


A personalized tea concoction

A few months ago, Chris and I stopped by Teavana (due to my demand) in Valley Fair.


Lesson from TV

Felicity taught me to believe that time is never the test of friendship. It’s often the bond and loyalty that matters than the length.


In Chicago…

I learned:
• Koreans really believed that blood type determines personality


It’s faux reality!

It’s the return of the guilty indulgence. After all, it’s the day after Halloween.


Parking in San Francisco Part II

In any urban city whenever you park outside (which is typical in San Francisco), there’s always a part of you that’s worrying whether your car is ok.

I never believe that I will get good customer service

It was late. My first day to work after the holidays and I meandered bleary-eyed to the BART station.

The chunk-chink of the faregates greeted me. I took out a BART farecard with $1.60 because I hadn’t left my apartment early enough to buy the January fast pass.

As I walked toward the stairs, I heard the whish of a train just leaving. Did I miss one? I’ll catch the next one. But when I walked down the stairs, I was greeted by a huge mass of people. All with impatient faces. I heard a gasp and then a grunt of someone behind me.

OH MY GOD, someone said aloud.

I circled around the platform.

20 minute delay. We are experiencing… the loudspeaker said. Almost an attempt to calm the discontent of the crowd.

I instantly thought of my $1.60 BART ticket and cursed myself for not buying the fast pass earlier. I walked upstairs and went to see the station agent to see if I could get the money back. Unlike the people who needed to get to the east bay, I only needed to go 4 stops to get to work. But I didn’t want to forfeit my $1.50.

The station agent waved the crowd away gathering near her door. She was on the phone, attempting to deal with the emergency.

I don’t have time to deal with this now, she said bluntly and then turned away from us. I walked through the exit gate.

And took the 14 to work. All 20 minutes of its misery. Listening to people talk on their cellphones. And sitting on plastic seats.

After work, I went to the station agent at the BART station and explained my situation. He looked at me quizically and took my ticket.

“There’s nothing on it,” he said and handed me a dime. “That’s all that’s left.”

I pushed the dime back and said that I was unable to take the BART this morning. Because of an incident. I repeated myself. INCIDENT. THE TRAIN WAS NOT MOVING SO I HAD TO TAKE THE BUS.

I wasn’t expecting him to acquiesce for the measly $1.50, but I knew that I would start feeling negative if I didn’t resolve it. Right now.

After a minute of raising my voice to a near argument and squawking, he handed me my ticket back. Fixed.

Reducing the bacon

There’s spam. And then there’s the bacon.

Back in the early day of the Internet, I used to subscribe to a weekly mailing newsletter. It contained jokes and other funny material. And when I first got my cellphone, I used to receive a word of the day by txt message.

Now I could never endure that kind of information overload. I would ignore the messages. I receive monthly credit card bill reminders, but I nearly disregard them because I also get weekly yelp newsletters, ticketmaster updates, facebook notifications, friendster notifications, all my airlines updates, other credit card updates, my websites notifications, Cal Athletics newsletters, CMU alumni reminders, Amazon advertisements, Meetup.com reminders, my photo sites advertisements…

All in addition to personal email.

One new year’s resolution is to reduce the amount of bacon I receive.

At least I don’t use a RSS reader where it’s filled with many random feeds that I may or may not read.