The 9-digit dance, and Petit Billy

Because this is life, and in life, shit happens, I am typing with nine and not ten fingers.

You see, I cut myself on the index finger while making dinner Easter Sunday. Not trying to be graphic here, but I bled profusely. It took a full 20+ minute of hard pressing for the bleeding to subside to an on-and-off ooze, and were it not for my level-headed roommate, who not only bandaged my wound but also assured me that I would not die, I don’t know what I would have done. The unfortunate accident resulted in my paying a visit to the ER, and, unintentionally, getting Good Monday off after all. Continue reading

It takes not working to fully appreciate, say Easter and Chinese New Year

What’s in a holiday if it does not come with vacation days? Not much, in my opinion.

(image credit: thecapecodmom.com)

In that regard, Easter is very much like the Chinese New Year. In the sense that both holidays have ceased to be significant once the perks — chocolate eggs and money-filled red envelops, respectively, stopped. But this year, getting Good Friday off (for the first time ever!) has propelled me to acknowledge Easter as a legitimate, celebratory-worthy holiday.

Which, brings me back to Chinese New Year.  Continue reading

No joke! Seriously serious (but funny) career advice from comedian

There are plenty of books on how to start a great career (hint: network) as well as how to succeed in life, but I find comedian Carol Leifer’s “How to succeed in business without really crying,” among the top. Not only does she offer solid, applicable advice, she also does it plenty funny. You bet I laughed while riding the subway to work.

Briefly about this funny woman if you’ve never heard of her. She is one of the few women working in comedy at a time when there were few in the industry, and has written for and/or performed on a number of TV comedies including Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Life and Seinfeld.

Perhaps because she has chosen a career in the entertainment business, starting in stand-up comedy, she is no stranger to rejection. Chances are, no matter what profession you are in, the crowd booed once or twice.

Here are my favorites:

“You can do it!” (image credit: alifetimeofwisdom.com)

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Nature-word extinction: when “Blackberry” replaces “blackberry”

Blackberry made a splash when it reported its results in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 28. Financial newswires jumped to announce that the company’s quarterly sales was the lowest in eight years, and revenue, which slid to $660 million from $793 million, was well below estimation.

But enough about that Blackberry. Let’s talk blackberry. You know, the dark-skinned, juicy fruit. Like, the edible kind.

In fact, Blackberry has replaced blackberry when searching in Google. To find the fruit, you have to type in “blackberry, fruit.” (image credit: botane.net)

In a beautiful essay celebrating words, landscape words in particular, Robert Macfarlane (The Guardian) writes that a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed a substantial number of words concerning nature. The deletion included the following:

acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip,cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe,nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow

New words replacing them included “attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity,chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail.” Oxford University Press explained its decision stating that the deleted entries are no longer “relevant to a modern-day childhood.”

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Networking: it’s all about those nodes and links and randomness

We’ve all, more or less, heard of or experienced the so-called six degrees of separation. The theory, which is attributed to Harvard professor Stanley Milgram’s experiment, demonstrates that we live in a small world where, more often than not, we are only six steps away from connecting with anyone. Move interconnectivity to the web, you’ll find that “any document is on average only nineteen clicks away from any other,” writes Albert-László Barabási in his book, Linked.

But our idea of the Web, with search engines like Google connecting us to webpages, which then direct us to other hyperlinks — this interconnected world, how does it all begin?

The book, explores the problem with a famous mathematical problem, the Königsberg Bridge problem. In Königsberg, Russia, there are seven bridges connecting the city to the island of Kneiphof. The puzzle asks:

 Can one walk across the seven bridges and never cross the same one twice?

Well, I would have to see the location of the bridges.

Fair enough.

Konigsberg Bridge Puzzle (image credit: simonkneebone)

And then, and then… I would try walking through all my solutions?  Continue reading