Thursday, December 29, 2005

finish your food

finish your food

i have many asian friends. i also live with two asian people, one boy, one girl. so i can say with confidence that i have eaten with asian people plenty of times.

one thing i’ve picked up on, is what i like to call “the ritual of the last piece”. this phenomenon occurs only when food is being shared aka family style. everyone has their own personal plate, but the food is dished from main serving plates located at a central location.

when the food portions start to dwindle, i’ve noticed that the plate with the most food is attacked first, and the plates that are just about finished are left alone.

if there’s one dumpling left on a huge plate, it will sit and sit while everyone eats at the fried rice plate that’s still heaping. soon we’re left with 4-5 plates with very little food left on each.

this is what kills me. then my asian friends will cut things in half, claiming that they can only eat half of the dumpling that’s left. then that half will be halved by someone else, leaving a quarter of a dumpling.

being the perceptive person that i am, i finally picked up that it’s deemed somewhat rude to finish the last piece/bite/morsel of some dish when everyone is sharing. if you ate 25 dumplings and there were only 30 to begin with, no problem. if you eat the last dumpling without halving it (even if it’s your first one) then disgrace on your house and may your crops fail next year!!

now there is a way that you can get around finishing a that last bit of food. someone has to instruct you. “frank, here, eat the last won ton”. frank is in the clear! may sunshine forever follow him on his worldly journeys, frank had permission to eat the last one!

this game was invisible to me for many years. i was the rude cleanup king. i’d just pick up the last dumpling and shove it in my mouth before it could sit and get cold, then halved, then quartered.

i feel that since i wasn’t raised asian, i can get away with breaking the rules. i claimed ignorance up until now. now i am aware, and declare myself exempt from “the ritual of the last piece”.

maybe back in china 2000bc food was scarce and everyone needed to eat just one dumpling or else they’d starve or die. in 2005 soon to be 2006, i can’t name a friend who hasn’t said to me that they feel they could stand to lose a pound or ten. so what is this tradition still doing around here?

it’s like people who call mobile phones, ‘cell phones’. the cell phone is dead, it died with zack morris’s brick-for-a-phone. all phones are digital now, hence my reference to them as mobile phones. but cell phone is still the preferred name by 99% of the population. but the name stuck and stays with us here today, as does “the ritual of the last piece”

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

what do you do?

what do you do?

a conversation with lilly yesterday unveiled a social interaction technique which i’ve been unaware of. after a bit of reflection, and analysis i now know what’s really going on..

at a party, or somewhere mingling with people i’ve never before met, i discovered a set of questions any and all ask.

in college it was
#1: “what’s your major?”,
#2: “where’s your hometown?”,
#3: “where do you live now?”

if nothing sparked from those three questions, chances were you were probably having the first and last conversation with that newly met person.

post-college a.k.a. the real world (or as i refer: “high school again”) there is only one question that people ask.

“what do you do?”

i told lilly that i dodge the question like neo in the matrix. there’s multiple reasons i do this. first reason: 9/10 chance that the next question from this newly met person is “oh, what is that, what do you actually do as a ____?” short story shorter, i end up talking about work. i talk about work at work, not at parties, bbq’s, clubs, bars, parking lots, kitchens, bedrooms, or street corners.

second reason: the categorization effect. as soon as you find out that someone is a harvard law graduate and works at the hottest law firm in the big bold city you live in, your mediocre ____ job just feels smaller. sometimes i’m the person feeling small, other times i’m the one making people feel small. regardless, i don’t like the situation either way. it kills the conversation, and upsets the comfort level.

third reason: david deangelo says not to. i wrote a blog about guys reading and watching videos in order to learn how to date/meet women. david deangelo was one of the guys selling the secrets to unlocking a woman’s wild side. i read a few of his posts and recall a few of his concepts. a key one was to avoid being boring. when a girl asks you what you do, don’t say you’re a computer engineer, she’ll yawn. tell her that you’re an underwear model!!!

deangelo’s technique was to be different. break the routine, be someone that she hasn’t met 14 times in the last six minutes.

point is, with “the question” on the table –you’re stuck talking about it. you’re making judgments/assumptions and so are they. basically you’re shooting down that fun, memorable, interesting interaction’s chance of happening between you and the newly met person.

i dodge. and dodge. and if they whip out the armor piercing bullets and ask “what job do you do for a living” i hit the trap door button and watch them fall down a shoot emptying into a pool full of hungry oversized crocodiles.

“hi i’m ____”
“hi. ameer, nice to meet you _______”
“so ameer, what do you do?”
“i normally eat, stand around, sometimes i have been known to talk to people”
“you eat? no i mean where do you work?”
“oh, work. well i’m working on growing a beard… how’s my progress”
“your beard looks…. errr *strange look* it’s growing”

from here i can tell if this person needs that ‘where in society does this person fit it’ feeling, or if they are willing to let go and hold the conversation that i feel should be held at parties, sidewalks, grocery stores, clubs, bars, lebowski fests, etc…

another pet peeve is the fact that everything reverts back to that job if it’s revealed.

“well, i like watching movies”
“oh, well since you’re an interior designer, you must like watching drama movies”

“i like fishing”
“ah yes, most of my friends in construction like to fish too. do you have a boat like they do?”

“i wrote a postcard to my friend when i was in france”
“oh, since you’re a journalist, do you, like, write everyone postcards when you travel”
“no, i thought the topless sunbathing woman with hairy armpits on the postcard was hilarious”

sure it aids in putting a memorable tidbit with a name, but c’mon. there’s thousands of other tidbits that can distinguish your acquaintances.

bottom line: what i do is not restricted to my occupational title. i blog too, and that’s just the ice berg’s tip.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005



$40.00 for that drill bit. gotta milk it for all it's worth.

Thursday, December 8, 2005


brown energy

i don't drink coffee so much. when i do, i feel a difference. ambition, motivation, and creativity start to ooze from my fingertips. unless i'm not aware that coffee simply induces sweaty palms.

i wrote this small ode to coffee while high on the brown bean.

Friday, December 2, 2005

it’s not called frisco

i’m a self declared californian. california has 3 major parts to it. southern california (aka socal), central california (aka the armpit of california), and northern california (aka norcal). i’ve lived in san diego, orange county, los angeles, san jose, and san francisco. i have not lived in every city of the golden state, but i have lived in the largest three, plus some.

with credentials like these, the following opinions should be taken as fact, not simply the ideas of a califor. just as california is referred to as cali, cal, and the golden state, cities in california have more than one name.

these cities that i’ve resided in are also referred to by more than one name. some of these names are deemed ok by the people who live in the nicknamed cities, other names produce an immediate grimace.

starting with san diego (my initial city of residence): there’s names for san diego that us san diegans use, and other names that may get your face beat in if you say them with a serious face. why this phenomenon occurs is beyond me, maybe i’ll discover it someday and compose a book on why this happens. “sd” is an acceptable and used nickame for “america’s finest city”. if you have a bad taste in your mouth, saying “daygo” is a great way to have someone slap that taste right out. the fact that i just typed “daygo” on my blog almost upsets me.

next in my order of california residence is orange county. before the hit tv show, the o.c., orange county was referred to as o.c., “the” was added for emphasis. i’ve heard people talk about the orange curtain, describing the wall that keeps the orange county residents from pesky los angeles folks, or is it to keep those snooty orange county-ites in?

after living in orange county, i moved on up to los angeles. i didn’t live in the hip cool beach cruising part of la that rakes in brownie points for the city. i hung my hat in east la and south central. los angeles is known as la, and referred to by these two letters most often. the city of angels, to my knowledge, does not have a disliked nickname. angelic however i think not?

i then moved to san jose, also known as san jo (pronounced: san ho). i don’t know how people react to the one nickname of this dreadful place. i heard one person call it man jose, due to lack of females. i called it suck jose, cause i just hated this portion of the silicon valley. end of that.

and now i’m in san francisco. of all the cities i’ve lived in, san francisco holds the torch for most nicknames. san fran, frisco, sf, the city, and city by the bay are the ones that come to mind. i’ve even heard tales of a laundromat in san francisco that held the name “it’s not called frisco” which sounds about right to me since i’ve seen a place called brain wash – a bar/laundromat in south of market.

do people call dallas -dal? new york –n’ork? france -fran? all i know is what i’ve lived and seen. and personally acronyms are my favorite. sd, oc, la, sf, stupid san jose just doesn’t sound good as sj. i’m already over it.