incite a riot
not really
Show Menu


August 2006


August 31, 2006   

On the book arena, thanks to Stephanie’s suggestion, I hopped on over to BookMooch, where I started to poke around. This led me to click on a link to LibraryThing, a catalogue and recommendation website, where I opened an account to try to put a dent into my list of owned books. As I entered my third author, Donna Gillespie, the search revealed that she had another book coming out!

Let me tell you a little about this author. She’s only ever written one book, The Light Bearer. She took twelve years to research and write that book. It was published in 1994. The sequel, Lady of the Light, is finally coming out this year in November. I am so excited. I mean, I can’t tell you how exciting this is.

The first book was a carefully researched historical fiction about the Roman Empire, during the time when it was conquering the Germanic tribes. The main character is the daughter of a chieftain, who takes the oath to become a shield maiden at the age of sixteen, going on to be forced to become a gladiatrix. I couldn’t help but imagine Sophitia during her fight scenes. πŸ™‚

I picked it up while I was in college. At the time, all I wanted was the longest book I could get for my money because, like most people, I was a broke college student. It was 1024 pages (the copy I linked is 800 pages, but it’s in a different format thant the out of print format I had originally purchased) for about $7.50, so I got it. The richness of historical detail is incredible. It covers the emporers from Nero to Domitian, who reigned about 100 years before Marcus Aurelius (I know you watched Gladiator). Each scene is so real that it feels as though you could reach through the paper and touch the characters, feel their pain of loss, their urgency in battle, their dedication to honor and dignity. Their need for independence and freedom is palpable — the author clearly illustrates why the characters value these things over even individual survival, even if you don’t, and how that can impact society.

I think I read this book around 1996 or 1997. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the sequel.

Since it’s been twelve years since the last book was published, I expect this second book to be just as well researched. I have to go into a cave and read the first book over again before reading the second one.

Thanks, Stephanie! πŸ™‚

P.S. Don’t be put off by the cheap-looking cover with a woman that looks supiciously like Neve Campbell.


August 30, 2006   

Inspired by the post on books, combined with the fact that audiobooks and spoken word content seem to improve my commute, I poked around at my public library website for a bit yesterday, between waiting for countless builds of my code that won’t link (why won’t you link, damn you?!) and found that they, through some sort of partnership with NetLibrary, have electronic content (both ebooks and audiobooks) that I can “check out” from the library, from the comfort of my own chair! I see that I can’t put the audiobooks on my iPod but they’ll still be great for when I’m working at my desk.

In addition, it looks like I have access to all sorts of online references (such as “premium” access on Oxford Reference Online). Libraries have really come a long way.

I won’t be able to answer your comments because I’ll be getting ready to take my dinosaur for a spin around the block.


August 28, 2006   

On Tuesday, January 27, 1998, I listed on my website’s “thoughts” section my favorite books to date. They were:

At some point in 2003, I wrote in my Friendster profile that my favorite books were:

It looks like Remembrance fell off the list and Einstein’s Dreams took its place. Of these books, I’ve only reread Love Story and Outlander. The rest were one-time reads, but they affected me in a way that I can’t forget.

It’s weird; I had definitely read Einstein’s Dreams before 1998 when I made my original list, but it only made its way onto the list later. I wonder if it just became more significant to me as I changed.

I feel quite sad that I haven’t been able to add anything new from the last eight years to my list. I always think of myself as a voracious reader who loves both fine literature and easy, light reading for the sake of entertainment, yet, I can’t think of anything that moved me so much in the last eight years that I would consider it a favorite. The worst is that the last eight years is when I’ve spent the most money on books, too. The other thing is that while I consider myself a reader of diverse interests, I’ve mostly had only the “dessert” of the metaphorical literary [two words that perhaps should not be used in conjunction] meal in the last few years, with a decided void where the proteins and veggies should be. Erg. My theory is that I only seem to get to read right before falling asleep so I am never in the mood for thoughtful reading. So I have been trying to read earlier in the day whenever I have time, so that I have the brain-bandwidth to read other books. πŸ™‚ Still working on Life of Pi! πŸ˜€

What books are your favorite? Which ones do you have on your bedside stand? Which ones do you always pick up with a knot in your heart? Are they the same?

Ei-Nyung is on a roll

August 24, 2006   

Ei-Nyung is on a roll

It’s me… On a roll.

Clique Poll

August 23, 2006   

Wow, I’m on a roll today. The entry I wrote about high school made me wonder what cliques or perceived social groups people I know were in during high school. Report them here! πŸ˜€

I’d also like to know what group your significant other was in, just to see how things have ended up in the real world.

Use the cliques found here and here.

Me: Advanced placement, church people/youth grouper, individualist, nerd, friend of orchestra geeks, Korean/Asian, tomboy, possibly student government (but not actually *in* student government), new wave.

Hmm, I need another list.

Being easy vs. Being helpful

August 23, 2006   

In an email thread about where to have lunch, a friend tossed out three suggestions and asked the rest of us which place we’d prefer. I picked one of them and gave an answer right away. One of the responders said:

I’m easy… anything is good with me

The original suggestor wrote back:

No! You are not being easy!! Easy = Opinion!!

I totally agree. And I think this is something that is overlooked in a lot of group (or one-on-one, even) situations. When you have a lot of people who genuinely don’t care or want to accomodate the group, it can be that no one proffers a real preference.

The individuals involved may think that they are being helpful because they are willing to go along with any suggestion, but this is actually unhelpful because it doesn’t help move the decision along (whether it’s for where to go eat or whatever) and puts the burden of investigation and decisionmaking back on the one person — or no one at all.

When it comes to group decisionmaking, I like to do it this way: everyone takes turns making two or three suggestions, and then we see if there is an overlap. Then we go! Forcing people to make suggestions makes this process wrap up quite quickly, usually in a matter of a couple of minutes.

The worst is when one person makes a bunch of suggestions, and another person says that they don’t really want to go to any of those places but will if everyone else does.

Reality check: Al Bundy

August 23, 2006   

Everytime I wax poetic about my high school, I think people must think I’m like Al Bundy and his stories of his glorious high school days.

Where is the “punch self” smiley?


August 23, 2006   

Sometimes, I get nostalgic. Ok, I’m always nostalgic. I’m just like that.

Some random email reminded me of high school today. Most of my friends know that I really, truly loved my high school, Central High School of Philadelphia. One of the things I vowed when I graduated was that I’d one day give back to the school in some way.

The first four lines of the school song goes as follows:

Let others sing of college days,
Their Alma Mater true,
But when we raise our voices,
‘Tis only High, for you.

Sure, it’s cheesy, but it’s true. All CHS alums remember the song, and most feel it is true.

What made Central High so great? There are a lot of things.

  • It’s a college prep magnet school, so everyone specifically applied to be accepted into the school and is motivated to achieve.
  • It’s big. Each graduating class is about 500-600 people. So it’s easy to find someone to be friends with.
  • It’s diverse. “Central students reside in every area of Philadelphia and represent the widest variety of racial, ethnic, geographic and economic groups. The student body is 33% African-American, 21% Asian, 5% Latino, and 41% Caucasian, making Central one of the most diverse schools in the nation. They afford each other multi-cultural opportunities in a rare atmosphere of cooperation and interaction.” — Wikipedia entry. That sounds about what I remember.
  • “Central High School holds the distinction of being the only high school in the United States that has the authority, granted by an Act of Assembly in 1849, to confer academic degrees upon its graduates. This practice is still in effect, and graduates who meet the requirements are granted the Bachelor of Arts degree.” — Wikipedia entry. Yup, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from high school.
  • It has a dedicated, motivated staff. “99% of Central’s 130+ teachers hold a MasterÒ€ℒs degree or higher.” — Wikipedia entry. About half of my teachers who taught my AP classes (and some not) had Doctorates in their fields. And it showed in their passion for their subjects.

When I hear about other people’s high schools, I see a huge difference in the culture of CHS. There was a desire to achieve, there was confidence that nothing was insurmountable, there was political freedom to cultivate and exercise our budding beliefs and skills. There were tons of clubs and teams to join, for everything from the math to the wrestling , from debate to francophilia, from Pro-Life to Pro-Choice (they set up moderated debates for the two clubs), from SALSA (Spanish and Latino Students Association) to KSA (Korean Students Association). We spent money renovating the gym, but we also spent money renovating the library — apparently, “[Barnwell Library] is now one of the most advanced public school libraries in the United States.”

We give academic credit to be in the orchestra. You could replace your physical education class by writing research papers or by volunteering to tutor a peer — but you couldn’t write a paper to get out of health class (at least, I never did, but now that I think on it, maybe you could? Someone correct me). And they taught sex ed and allowed the distribution of condoms.

And there is a enforced commitment to community service. “It is one of the few public high schools that has a yearly community service requirement that needs to be fulfilled before graduation. 30 hours of community service need to be completed and verified by academic personnel before the end of each school year.” Yup, I remember doing community service, but I think it only kicked in in our junior or senior year. Again, my memory is a little spotty. There was a pretty big range of things that counted as community service, and I think I might have done tutoring and some tree-planting related thing for my requirement.

I think the biggest, lasting impact was diversity. I think about my college, and I think about my current work situation, and frankly, I work with a bunch of white people and Asians and that’s it. In high school, everyone had friends of every race. You didn’t have a lot of time to spend mulling over stereotypes, because in every class, you’d be surrounded by people of different races, and being in contact with so many individuals, you didn’t have time to be juggling stereotypes along with actually getting to know people.

There was an emphasis on discussions and asking questions. There was an emphasis on respect for teachers and learning. My history teacher used to joke that we were little trees in the “Grove of Academia”. He also joked that we were all brainwashed with “liberal orthodoxy” and that’s probably true too. πŸ™‚

There were a couple of randomly competitive kids, but it was never, ever cut-throat. Being a nerd was not a problem. I was a big nerd, but no one teased me. I never felt like I wasn’t “popular” or that popularity was an issue, period. Sure, some people may have, but there were enough people who didn’t care that it didn’t matter. There was no dominant hegemony of bullies or athletes. Almost everyone took the subway or the bus, because hardly anyone lived around there. Some kids probably had cars, but most kids didn’t. I never had to worry about someone beating me up for earrings, at least not within Central.

Damn, I loved my school. I miss the sense of community, of support, of limitless potential for growth (that’s just me feeling older though), of never forgetting that we were there through hardwork AND fortunate circumstance, which not everyone was lucky to have. I miss the sense of liberalism and equality that was pervasive in those halls that I have never experienced since.

Subconscious verbal habits

August 21, 2006   

I call blankets “blankies”. This isn’t because I, as a child, called them blankies. I had, in fact, never called them that until sometime in college. My sister and I, while living in the same apartment, one day were commenting on friends who use that term without thinking as a result of a lifetime of usage, and were meanly mocking them. We kept using the term and now I use it by default, without a second thought.

I must sound like an idiot when I say that. πŸ˜€ Oh well.

My entire family used to refer to me as “baby” in Korean (sounds like “eh-gi” — hard “g”) for years and years and none of us noticed it. They never addressed me as that, just referred to me in the third person as “baby”. We noticed one day when I was in high school because my pastor’s family called their youngest — my friend, who is my age — the same thing. We thought it was so funny until we caught ourselves doing it. I was so appalled! πŸ™‚

My coworker always says “moo-moo” when she talks about cows. In every way, she is an intelligent, articulate adult, who gets respect from every team, so it’s pretty funny to hear her say “moo-moo”. Hee.

What, if any, subconscious verbal habits do you or people you know have? Do you say “umm” a lot? “Like”? Does your mom still call you “woogie bunny” in public without realizing it?


August 21, 2006   

Wow, I am so exhausted. Saturday night, we cooked for about 2 hours, doing prep for Sunday dinner. Seppo cooked the créme anglaise and chocolate mousse for my dish (ΓƒΕ½le Flottante), while I worked on the meringue. Wait, is that all I did for two hours? Hmm. Oh wait, I also made the chive oil for Colin and Jess’s dish, and Seppo made the mint oil for my dish.

On Sunday, I made the chocolate wafers for the dessert, which was a relatively quick affair, and did some last minute shopping for missing ingredients. All I needed to do after that was make the cheese puffs (which is purposely a last-minute deal, as they should be served straight out of the oven) and assemble my dessert.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but I was exhauted then and I am exhausted now. The details of the party are at the foodblog. It was a great time with great friends. I love that we have more pictures this time around! πŸ™‚

I slept like a log last night.