Tuesday, February 28, 2006

not 000!

At dinner yesterday with coworkers, I mentioned that I'd seen a trailer of "Beauty and the Geek" in the gym. It's a show where pairs of beauties and geeks learn from each other in a race for a cash prize. The women learn computers and cars, and the men learn how to treat women.

I described a scene where the geeky guys were sent to buy clothing for the women. One geek came back with a dress that was way too big. His partner said, "I'm not a size 8! I'm a size 0!" and he was very indignant, "How can you be a size 0? 0 means it doesn't exist!"

Alipe: There's a size 0?

Me: Yes.

Alipe: [to Darrell] Did you know this?

Darrell: [shakes his head no]

Alipe: The show is saying this guy is a geek because he doesn't know about women's clothing? So ... cool guys buy women's clothing?

me and Darrell: [laughing]

me: Well, there didn't used to be a size 0, but sizes have inflated over the years. Stores discovered that they sold more clothes if their sizes ran big. If a woman wears size 4 at Banana Republic and size 6 everywhere else, she'll like Banana Republic more. This caused an arms race. Today's size 0 is actually still bigger than a lot of people. So now there's also 00.

Alipe: I wonder if sizes will go negative.

Darrell: Well, if there's already 00, then it'll probably just go to 000, etc.

Me: Can you imagine how easy it would be to offend women at that point? "I'm not a size 000, I'm a size 00000!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Abort, retry, or fail?

From a Google News article:

"In South Dakota the state legislature voted to outlaw all abortions
except to save the life of the mother. The legislation, which did not
even include the usual exception for rape or incest, was clearly
intended as a frontal assault on the high court's 1973 decision,
Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing a woman's right to an abortion."

Growing up with the Chinese mentality, this stance against abortion is foreign to me.

The Chinese philosophy is pragmatic. In a country that enforces population control, abortion is a way of life. My mother had two abortions in between giving birth to me and my younger brother. The only regret I ever heard her express was, "做完第二个人流后,我屁股就大了。" which means "After the second abortion, my ass got a lot bigger." Other than the weight gain, she had no complaints.

My mother told me a story of her coworker in Beijing who got pregnant for a second time. This coworker wanted to keep the child, so she hid her pregnancy until the seventh month. Then the officials found out and forced her to go to the hospital for an abortion.

"She protested that it was too late in the pregnancy for an abortion," my mother described, "but they forced her into it. They took the fetus out, and she heard it let out a cry. Then the doctor took it away and killed it in a pan."

That's probably the kind of story that made South Dakota pass their law.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


During a recent discussion:

Alipe: Linux is a small percentage of the market.

Joby: But those are often the linux geeks, who know all about computers and will advise their friends on what the cool new apps are.

Alipe: Does anyone listen to the linux geeks?

Joby: Sure, just not to the religious ones.


Alipe: Is there another kind?

At lunch last month:

Sasha: You know what would be cool? If I wore a low-res camera headpiece all the time that piped video to my computer, so that I could search it later.

Billy: How is that going to capture things like whiteboard diagrams that you really want to remember?

Sasha: I'll put a soft button on the side of the camera. If I press it, it'll take a high-res photograph.

Billy: Okay. What if you go to the bathroom and want to shut off the camera while you're in there?

Sasha: I'll put another button to pause recording in the bathroom. Though ... If the two buttons are close to each other, I might accidentally press the button that takes a high-res photo.

Me: [laughing]

Billy: How is your product going to differ from the much-maligned DARPA project LifeLog?

Sasha: [without skipping a beat] Mine won't be maligned.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Superbowl indignity

The Superbowl was very unjust. It was the first Superbowl I watched, and outrage filled me as I sat there watching bad call after bad call. First touchdown by Seahawks, rejected. Non-touchdown by Steeler, admitted as touchdown. 18-yard run to the 2-yard line by Seahawks, reverted. Foul-laden interception by Steelers which led to touchdown, permitted.

It was horrid seeing this most important game, what will permanently change the lives of many athletes, coaches, managers, wrecked by a number of false calls. It is so unjust!

I know this happens everywhere. The student who doesn't get admitted to college who has to work hard to make up for it. Five minutes later on the admissions committee, the committee decides to let some other student through, because they're feeling more guilty or there were more positive words in the next student's essay or the sun came out from behind the clouds.

I am the implementor of this too, as I perform resume screenings.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Best movie yet of 2006

Tonight Peter, Mingjing, and I saw Transamerica, the best movie we've seen yet in 2006. Better than Munich, Brokeback Mountain, and even Boycott the MLK movie.

It touched me for the same reason as Garden State, because its people are so flawed and yet so wonderful. Toby, the son, shoplifts alcohol and drinks it despite being underage. Bree lets it go. He starts smoking in her car. She lets it go. He hangs outside the car window, and she asks him not to. He stops. 1 out of 3!

The movie has prostitutes and porn actors and family members hitting each other, and yet -- and yet -- it's beautiful.