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Bejeweled

Last night, to relieve some stress, I sat down to play me some Bejeweled on the xbox.  I’m actually pretty good.  (I know, it’s sad.)  I got my highest score so far, over 800,000.  It shows you your ranking in the world, and I was something in the 2,000s.   I was pretty amazed.  That’s pretty good right?  In the world??  And I was playing for fun.

I thought: what if I actually practiced. What if I could get a world record??

Dan and I recently watched The King of Kong, a documentary on a challenger trying to beat the world record for Donkey Kong.  It sounds funny, but it’s actually a great drama.  There is a whole council set up to verify scores and establish official world records.  (available streaming on netflix)

Then I thought, I could try to get a documentary started on me attempting to get a bejeweled world record.  Harmless little Asian girl vying for top merits in an arcade game.

I asked Dan if he would support me and he said yes, absolutely.

This morning, Dan sends me an article of the current world record holder:

Are you effing kidding me?! over two BILLION points?? He actually BEAT the game- I didn’t know that was possible?  Bejeweled/Pop Cap founder explains that this player Mike, achieved the highest calculable score, causing his score to actually flip and go into the negatives.  He is featured on Bejeweled.com.

I felt like I did in elementary school when I was planning on being the first Asian female President of the United States and then I found out you had to be a native-born citizen.  My hopes and dreams were crushed.

For now, I think I’ll stick to recreational bejeweled and keep searching for another claim to fame.

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Does sex still sell and does swag/tsotchkes get you to buy from a company?  I’ve been to maybe,  6-8 different conferences with different companies over the past several years but saw for the first time, 2 girls in bikinis giving away business cards.

As you can see from the guy’s look in the background, he was quite memorized.  Is this the attention you want for your company and brand?  The answer might be maybe.  It depends on what you sell.  The conference host actually responded to this recently by re-posting a blog post with a poll he did on “booth babes”:

Most people are less likely to visit a booth if they have aesthetically hired help.  Having attractive people to help man your booth couldn’t hurt, but are they able to help you answer questions and help your business?  I guess they are receiving more traffic from people like me- creating a buzz, right?  But does it translate into revenue?

I received 2 pieces of swag at this conference that I’ve never seen before:

  1. A bag of instant “just add water” type camping food- chicken flavor.  They branded this food package with “just add [Company X] to see how delicious earning the highest commissions in one of the hottest new markets can be”
  2. Candy Cigarettes.  “Warning: Using [Company X] may result in increased revenues!”

I wonder how these companies justify their additional spend on this swag.  It is hard to directly tie to new customers.  I used to love getting this stuff in college but in the past few years have grown weary of all the pens, notepads, and knickknacks that were piling in my house.  I can’t recall any piece of swag that has been really useful.  I might have a t-shirt or 2 for the gym, and I do remember getting a t-shirt for Dan last year from ashleymadison.com (online dating site for married folks) that read “life’s short. have an affair.”  (No, you’re not allowed to wear that anymore.)

Work conferences aren’t very fun unless you’re going there for something you’re passionate about, and you really want to meet and network with people, and create/maintain those relationships.

One-a-day

After my recent knee pain from running, a friend suggested I try to take more calcium.  I watch Dan diligently take his vitamins every day, so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea, and had Dan buy me a gigantic bottle of Women One-a-day’s from Costco.

The first time I took it, I immediately got really nauseous.  It was like a wave that hit me maybe a few minutes after taking it in the morning.  I hadn’t taken it with any food, so I looked around to eat something right away because I felt like throwing up.  It subsided after an hour or so.

The next time I took it, I made sure to eat something first (I normally don’t eat breakfast, just coffee) and still about 10 min later, felt the same wave nauseousness that I had to lie down for half an hour to keep from throwing up.  Now I’m officially scared to try it again.

I did some research and it looks like many women are experiencing this after taking vitamins.  One review suggests that it’s specifically the iron that make people sick.  Apparently, only 18mg of Iron is recommended for women under 30 and this pill contains all 18mg.  So if you eat a lot of red meat, which I do, it might be too much.  I am OD-ing on vitamins!

I wonder why my body is rejecting nutrients – should I keep trying it or forget about it?  I have a full bottle with 2109385203958 pills minus 2 so if anyone else would like to try some, let me know!

Runner’s Knee

I’ve had some free time on my hands lately so I’ve been running around a track & field near our condo every morning.  I don’t run fast and I don’t run for long (about 3 miles), but I’ve been doing it consistently.  Recently however, I started getting knee pain in my left leg.

I was really excited to have my first ever athletic injury, but determined that it is probably from doing something wrong.  Dan always says I walk “too loud” so I’m probably running awkwardly as well.  I am not an athletic person (I know, shocking right?).  I did 2 sports in high school only to be a well-rounded college applicant.  Those 2 sports were swimming (no cuts, and I was the slowest one) and golf (also no cuts and everyone who joined made the team).  I actually picked up golf for that purpose and I’m pretty awful.

I was reading this article on my knee pain to see if I could find a cause for it or if there was anything I could do:

  • It could be a biomechanical problem:  Huh?  How do I check for that??
  • Tight hamstring and calf muscles put pressure on the knee: That is probably true for me. I am not flexible at all and can’t touch my toes 😦  I think this has to do with my back problem though (discussed later)
  • It strikes mostly younger, recreational runners and twice as many women as men: That’s me!  It goes on to explain that Women tend to have wider hips, resulting in a greater angling of the thighbone to the knee, which puts the kneecap under more stress. Shit son, I have wide hips.  I think this article is calling me fat.

Anyway, I just bought this cool little knee strap on Amazon and hoping it will help.  If not, at least I will look super cool wearing it:

Remember in elementary school where they check you for scoliosis?  Back then I was sent to a doctor after detection.  They determined I had slight scoliosis, whatever that means.  Basically nothing I can do but they said it shouldn’t affect my life too much.

Sometime after college I did go to a physical therapist after getting sore from doing kickboxing and cardio classes.  Again not much they can do except try to strengthen muscles in my back and abs and do some stretching.  Like this “cat stretch” that I’m unable to do:

Though I can’t say for certain, here are some of the things I believe this slight scoliosis prevents me from:

  • Slouching.  I always sit up really tall and I can’t help it.  Airplane seats that are curved with the pillow area down are so uncomfortable!
  • A sit up. and vice versa.  My back won’t curve so if I’m trying to go from a sitting position to laying flat on my back, I will just fall- hard.
  • Plank position.  Yes, yes it’s also because I have weak abs but I feel like this is 10 times harder for me because I don’t get to curve my back a little.
  • Touching my toes.

I’m planning to take a few days off from running to see if it gets better.  In the meantime, I need to think of other things to do with my extra time besides drinking.

Netflix

I know we are behind the times, but Dan and I got Netflix recently, after we got married and started living together.  Now I can’t imagine my life without it.  It’s a great business model and really caters to the customer.  Having the instant streaming helps also, so you always have a collection of movies to choose from.

However, the movies we’ve watched so far have been pretty awful.   Let me give you a quick preview:

  • Obsessed: with Beyonce and Ali Larter. OMG. I mean we didn’t expect anything more, but wow.
  • The Goods:  I actually thought this might have a potential of a ‘Knocked up’ or ‘Superbad’, but it was amazingly horrible.  Ken Jeong, tsk tsk.
  • Brothers:  Spiderman (aka Toby Maguire) had one good 5 min scene where he goes bizerk but other than that, it was painfully slow, didn’t get in depth with the characters (which is too bad because they cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman), and ended pretty abruptly.

Now, I have heard from Dan and many others that I have bad taste in movies.  I obviously disagree.   Here are some other movies I think are awful-  like in my top 10 probably.  Couldn’t pay me to watch these again:

  • Zoolander– not. funny.
  • Lost in translation– ?????
  • Here on Earth:  Leelee Sobieski and Chris Klein, need I say more?
  • My Boss’s Daughter:  Tara Reid and Ashton Kutcher make a perfect insanely stupid couple.
  • I know who killed me:  Oh LiLo… Can’t believe we actually watched the whole thing.
  • Anything with Adam Sandler.  Why does he ALWAYS talk like he’s mentally retarded?  ALWAYS.  for EVERY character.
  • and also a plug for Julia Stiles here.  Cannot act.

I’ll do a future post on what I believe are great actors and films.  But thoughts so far?  And no, I didn’t think Napoleon Dynamite was funny either :(.

American Citizen

In light of the recent holiday, I reflected on when I became a citizen.

If you aksed me in elementary school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell you that I was going to be the first Asian female President of the United States.  But then I learned in school that you had to be natural born citizen of the US and my hopes and dreams were crushed.

My father and younger sister (born here) were citizens, but my mother and I weren’t until I was in high school.  I obtained my citizenship right before applying to colleges.  If you’re a minor under 18, if your parent got citizenship, you got it automatically.  So my mom studied for the test and passed, and I officially became a citizen when I was 17.  No more green card and resident alien jokes.

I don’t remember much of the oath I had to take, but I remembered that it said you had to fight on the US side in case of war.  Here is the actual excerpt:

I hereby declare, on oath,
that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and
that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

I really hope I get called for Jury Duty someday.  I know it’s not glamorous, but I would be interested in seeing the process, and also take part in the system.

Yes it’s cliche, but I genuinely feel very lucky that my parents immigrated here because America really is a place where opportunities are endless and there is hope for a better life.   I also get chills whenever the national anthem is played anywhere.  Don’t get me wrong- there are a lot of things wrong with this country.  But it’s our country and there’s a lot of good in it too.

Do you remember that Simpson’s episode where as soon as Apu gets his citizenship, he asks “Which way to the welfare office?” Makes me laugh.

What’s in a name?

I recently went to court to change my last name, but in the process, decided to legalize my first name.

When my parents immigrated here when I was one, I used my given name, Hyon Bo Pak.  (In Korea, most names are 2 words.  “Bo” is not really a middle name- they are pronounced together.)  It wasn’t until 3rd grade when I moved school districts, where I took on the nickname Angela, and have used it ever since.

Kids are mean.  Because it is hard to pronounce, I used to get made fun of a lot.  (Pronounced like “hyun” and one syllable.)  Popular name teasing (I can’t believe I’m sharing this because it was painful) included “Rambo” and worst of all, “Dumbo”.  So my parents agreed I could use a nickname.

Where did Angela come from, you ask?

You see, my parents watched the hit TV sitcom “Who’s the Boss” (Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano also starred) and loved one of the main character’s name, Angela Bower, and asked me if I liked it too, and apparently, I agreed?

So since 3rd grade, I’ve used Angela for everything, but it wasn’t legal and not on any documents, my license, etc.

Now, to change your first name here, it is a different process than changing your last name.  Through marriage/divorce, you’re able to change your last name, no problem.  For the first name, you must pay $150 and go in front of judge, and take an oath that you are not changing your name for fraudulent reasons, and you are not a sex offender.

I went in front of the judge with about 8 other people, and I wondered if she would ask me why.  I came prepared to tell my Who’s the Boss story.  However, she was not amused and merely made us all take oaths individually and simply spelled out our old names and spelled out our new names and we swore with our right hand raised that it was for legit reasons.

The other people in the courtroom had some general spelling changes, hyphenation changes, etc.  But one rocker chick changed her name from Sarah to Status.  Interesting.

So, now I’m legally Angela Hyon Bo Donohue.  I wanted to keep my given name and told Dan our future child(ren) must have Korean middle names too.  I’m still getting used to seeing 2 new names on my license but it is fun watching people’s reactions when Angela Donohue is called and I show up.   (Yes, I married a white boy.)