Blog of a Million Dreams

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Burka in the City

So the newest sequel to the t.v. series "Sex In The City" is coming out.

I found this interesting review on Yahoo about SITC Part II.

Critics seem to think this movie isn't all that.

Despite the panning of Sarah Jessica Parker's newest cinematic feature, I feel compelled to attend a showing.

Despite the description of laughable costumes in a Muslim environment, I feel compelled to view the latest NYC debacle.

But I'm not going on Thursday, when the movie comes out.

No, I'm going to wait until the crowds thin out.


If you remember one of the first "Apprentice" Shows, Omarossa was one of the first contenders in one of the first few shows.

And she seemed nuts. Loco. Seriously insane.

I would not have been surprised if her head started spinning, her eyes went blood red and she grew horns on her head, in that reality show. She acted that loony.

Another contestant would start talking with her and all of a sudden - out of the complete blue with no provocation at all -- she would go nutso...her face would harden, she'd start stammering out gibberish...just crazy stuff. And in the boardroom she was crazy mean, attacking others for no reason without provocation.

So today, I just saw Omarossa on Wendy Williams show. She appeared coherent. That was shocking.

Then, she said she was ministering people...and she was a professor at Harvard in the M.B.A. program.


A professor at Harvard feels the need to appear in a reality show? And allows the editors of that t.v. show to portray her as an all-out-loon? And she's ministering people?

But I guess I should expect such. After all, she appeared on Donald Trump's show. 'Nuff said.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Black Swan

I'm starting my next book.

It looks promising.

The title is "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and it looks interesting with a promise of an explanation of some explosive past events (Google, 9/11, to name a few). It's on the New York Times Bestseller List and I found it in the popular new books section of my local library. Which means I have a week in which to read it.

The premise is that when huge events happen, huge 'anamolies', if you will, humans aren't hardwired to expect it because we always look for specifics, not generalities or patterns. On the cover the author promises to explain the impact of the highly improbable.

I think that it is true that humans get thrown for a loop when things happen out of our context, culture and perspective. This book seems to be along much of the same lines as Daniel Pink's books, Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" and some others.

But I know I will find it interesting. I seem to be on this kick to read more textbook-ie books this year, for whatever reason...more of a journalists take on the world...

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Living Oprah

So I reviewed the 'Living Oprah' book by Robyn Okrant before I finished it and I feel bad.

I should've waited.

I should've actually read the whole book before reviewing.

Yes, it gets a little sappy in the middle. Yes, the author is a bit of a typical liberal with some loosey-goosey, 'I'll follow the team with no questions asked' mentality. And yes, I was tempted to put the book down and not pick it up after the Chapter in which she returns Oprah's gift. And, yes, I was a little put off by her adoration of all things Lauer and Vierra--who were clearly making fun of her and her obsession with all-things-Oprah.

But the author, Robyn Okrant, redeems herself in the last few chapters. Every chapter in her book is a month in the year of her life following Oprah. The last few chapters (after Chapter November) have a lot more self reflection and critical thinking. She admits to her chronic addiction to t.v. and really delves into Oprah's attraction and mindless fan base. She explains her fascination and attempts to balance Oprah's ability to touch middle America and identify with every woman. She details the disjointedness of Oprah's life to ours and compares it to the way we, Americans, consider Oprah our "Best Friend Forever".

So, I would like to have you disregard my below posting (the first review on Living Oprah) I completely understand why she returned the Kindle. It was actually a brilliant move.

Snub of all Snubs

Have you ever turned down a gift?

Or, even worse, actually boxed up the gift and returned it?

To me, that is the height of rudeness.

Someone gives you a gift, something small or something grand, and you refuse it.

That is just plain rude.

But that's exactly what Robyn Okrant does in her novel, "Living Oprah". Her book describes a year out of her life, in which Robyn follows Oprah's advice to the letter.

When Oprah sends Robyn an Amazon Kindle, out of the goodness of her heart and because Oprah is a class act, Robyn actually boxes it back up and sends it back!!

How rude!!!!!

Now maybe Ms. Robyn feels that she won't be able to evaluate Oprah's advice effectiveness but I have two problems with that attitude;

1) Robyn, in her book and as she describes herself, is pretty much a kiss-ass. She doesn't want to piss anyone else and she looooves Oprah (oh and Matt Lauer also-gross). She pretty much thinks Oprah is a Saint and even her few criticisms of anything Oprah related is light and breezy.


2) Robyn doesn't have a lot of depth. Initially I thought she was great, being a yoga teacher, knitter and tea drinker, but I'm on Chapter "November" with no great insights from Robyn. She's following the advice but doesn't really understand it and seems a little superficial.

But would I recommend the book? Maybe. It's a light read. Not too heavy and a quick read. Maybe something to take to the beach and read with one eye on the kids. I had higher hopes for the book, but it's kind of funny how the author takes something kitschy and American (Oprah and the Oprah Show) and tries to make it into a dissertation and then a novel.

But I have only read up to Chapter November. I have to admit I was absolutely horrified and appalled when Robyn sent her gift back. She's either a serious researcher and author or she's not...and reading this book, I'd say she isn't, so has nothing to gain by returning a gift (that was given to her without any hidden intentions from what I could tell).

But would you ever return a gift? Isn't that the ultimate insult? What do you think?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Sun-Day

Or not.

It's supposed to rain today.

I managed to get a stainless steel frying pan yesterday and I'm thrilled because I hate using those non stick pans. You heat the non stick pans up high enough and the coating breaks down in your food, causing medical problems.

Now, since it is supposed to rain, I suppose I have motivation to bake up some biscotti.

That, and return library books.

Friday, May 21, 2010

'Nother Rejection

Okay, I've passed the point where rejection even hurts. With decades, hell it feels like centuries (!), of rejections from attempts to get work, I now just laugh.

The other day a letter came out from a small district in Central California. Desperate for someone to fill in on an alternative principal position, they sent the word out..."Please, just relieve us for a couple of weeks...we need help."

I stepped up. With more than enough qualifications and willing to start immediately.

Today, I went to the mailbox and received their response.

"May 19, 2010

Cece Santos
1/2 Crazy Road
Crazy Place, California

Dear Cece:

POS Unified School District sincerely thanks you for your interest. The time and effort that you have expended in the application process is sincerely appreciated. Although I regret to inform you that you were not selected for the POS Principal position with our district at this time, please be assured that you were an excellent candidate, which made the selection difficult.

The POS Unified School District is fortunate to have many highly qualified applicants, such as you, apply for our vacancies. We hope that you will continue your interest in our District.

Thank you again for your time and interest. Please accept my best wishes for continued success in your professional endeavors.


Cecil N. Deseast
Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources"

Of course, this letter would carry more weight if it weren't (verbatim) the same as about 100 other rejection letters from this last year.

$24 Lunch

There are days I've experienced that are pretty awful.

Days that you actually celebrate when they end.

"Hey," you think, "I'm glad today's over. Won't have to experience that again."

Sometimes you have actual years or even decades that feel like that.

Sometimes you want to just reward yourself for surviving some hellish experience.

When I feel like that (and those experiences I thank God I can count on one hand), I go Old Port Lobster Shack.

For a $24 lunch.

Yes, a $24 lunch. That's how much a small, delicious lobster sandwich costs.

So I was shocked when I got an email from one of my meetup groups--the "Old Dive Bars and Cheat Eats" Meetup group suggesting that we all meetup at said place "Old Port Lobster Shack" in Redwood City.

It's not a place I visit all that often.

Friday Fun Day

Last night I attended an event hosted by Great Expectations, Table for Six and Society of Single Professionals.

It was fun, with more men than women and I really enjoyed the mixer.

We gave cards, cut in half, with one half for a gentleman and the matching half for a lady. Instructions were to match the cards.

The restaurant/bar was very nice. I'd never been there and I plan on going again, on another night. There was a lovely piano and a beautiful patio.

One of the guys at the event told me that he's going to be moving to Colorado. He can't find a job here. He's got a job through August (lucky guy) but his contract isn't being renewed and he wasn't finding anything here. So, when he was offered a position in Colorado, he went for it.

The thing is, he's bummed because his house is upside down. That means, he owes the bank more than what the house is worth. He told me that he's owned this place for five years, one year less than I've owned my place.

So he's going to short sell. He's stopped paying his mortgage and he's putting his house on the market. He wants out.

I asked him how much he was upside down. Get this, he said he was only down $25,000. Now, in any other part of the country that's probably a big deal. Here? Not so much. He probably only needs to hang on through the end of the year (if that) and he'll recover. But he's decided to short sell. I asked him why he didn't just rent it out and he said he'd be short $1300 and didn't want to bleed money.

I think he's being foolish for a couple of reasons.

1) $25,000 for a house in California is 'nuthin. He's really talking chump change around here. You can't buy a house for under a million and he's upset about $25,000? Get real.

2) Paying $1300 in difference towards the mortgage for the rest of the year could be looked at as an investment. He will end up losing much more than that should he sell early.

3) Once you sell and move out of California, rarely (if ever) can you afford to move back. It's a very expensive state (at least anywhere near the coast line, if you move inland, perhaps it's a little less expensive).

4) Short selling is only if you have no other options. He does (see above).

5) He HAS A JOB. That means he has options, choices, chances. Why is it that people I know, who actually have work, are getting away with short selling, foreclosures, etc.? And the people I know without work are doing everything they can, from taking out loans to selling off personal items to putting their house on the market before it loses money, without getting bailouts.

So, I have a bad taste in my mouth about all of this.

But it's Friday Fun Day, so I must have fun. I'm going to fire up that Netflix video, get some writing done (I MUST I MUST) and apply to more temp agencies.

'Ain't life grand?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Don't Call Me Ma'am...

So I thought I'd explain why I put "Just don't call me Ma'am" in my profile.

It has nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi. No, really, it doesn't. I wrote that in my blog years before she blasted a military officer for calling her Ma'am and I think she was off base. The military officer was just trying to be respectful (although if he called the male senators "senator" and not "sir", then she was justified).

In any event, I wrote "Just Don't Call Me Ma'am" because it signified my slide into old age.

No, really.

I'll elaborate.

In my early thirties I was still getting carded. People were asking for my i.d. when I tried to buy beer, or go to a club. And at that point I was flattered. Seriously flattered. Because the idea that anyone thought I was under 21 was pretty damn awesome.

At that time, my younger brother came to town and we decided to go meet my other brothers and my sister at a hot, happening club in Downtown Palo Alto. Everyone--and I mean all the hip, happening, fun people--went there and there were people standing in lines that were blocks long.

In order to get in, you had to show your id. You had to be over the age of 21 to get into the club.

My younger brother and I waited for what seemed like ages in this long line. When we finally got to the front of the line, this cute bouncer dude looked us over and asked for id.

I was seriously flattered. The guy carding people at the door was good looking, in his early twenties, and clearly thought I was also in my twenties.

I puffed out my chest, looked over at my younger brother with a big grin on my face (oh, the bouncer hadn't asked for his id) and pulled out my id.

And the bouncer took my driver's license...looked it over for a full two minutes and then looked me straight in the eye and said....

"Oh, I'm so sorry Ma'am....."

Crazy Days and Quiet Nights

The last month has been a little frenzied.

I picked up a consulting gig that turned out to be one of the worst jobs I've ever had.

I could go on and on about it. Believe me, there's plenty to say.

But I'd rather just move on.

Who wants to mire in craziness?

The good news is that my friend is feeling much better (she had surgery last month) and actually wants me to use some tickets she won!

Many of my friends are either sick or struggling to keep a job, home or a kid in college. It's been a lot of craziness.

I keep telling myself it's cyclical and things will come around again. I know it will. I know that things will turn around.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Triggering Fat Fighting

So, I just read on the Time website (that links to CNN) that scientists may have discovered the trigger to fight fat.

Now, before I read the article, I wondered the following;

How much tax-subsidized money went into this study? And, of all the money that was spent to figure out how to fight fat, how much of that money could be used on...oh, let's see...maybe education, child care, food for the unemployed, etc.,

But no, it's more important for a friggin' study on how to fight fat....

I figured the scientists came to the conclusion that exercise fights fat. I mean, isn't that what you thought? What else fights fat? Eating healthy foods?

But no...the article states that scientists discovered that what works is making white fat act like brown fat!!!

Okay, who knew that fat was racist? But apparently it is. Brown fat doesn't make you as fat as white fat. Now before you get all excited and try to analyze how you are going to make your brown fat fight your white fat...know this...the only ones (according to this article) who have brown fat are newborn babies and rodents.

What a useless article. What am I supposed to do? Turn into a newborn baby or a mouse to lose weight?

Sunshine and Roses

Spring is in the air and I was actually able to get outside and get a few things done today. I attempted to stake a tree (it almost worked) and took the dogs out for a nice, long walk near a local dog park.

The birds were out, along with the sun, and it was nice to finally feel as though the weather might turn around.

It was great hanging out with some friends this weekend, as well.

Made me think of that title to either a movie or book (I haven't seen or read them, just like the title); Days of Wine and Roses. Isn't that a movie or something? If it isn't I think I want to use it as the title of my next book.