August 21, 2014

Ep 56 with Dan Lippert-

This week, I interview Clyde Phillipmen. Clyde is a surgeon at Astoria General Hospital, and recently won their most improved surgeon award. I spoke to Clyde about Asian Americans, our former Mayor, and working for the military.

Episode #56 - Clyde Phillipmen

August 19, 2014
Boyhood, The Sopranos, and Fathers and Sons

I saw Boyhood over the weekend, and it was fantastic. It had a scene in it that reminded me of possibly my favorite scene in all of theater and film - a very small moment in an episode of The Sopranos.

AJ is playing football at his school, and makes a big tackle. Tony is proud, very proud, maybe proud of his son for the first time in his life. Walking back to the car, Tony tells AJ he wants to take him out for hot dogs and ice cream. AJ doesn’t want to go, which hurts Tony’s feelings. AJ suggests they juts go home and play videogames instead, to which Tony responds, “when are you gonna grow up and throw those videogames out the freakin’ window?” AJ, hurt more than he would ever say, tells Tony they can go get hot dogs. Tony, completely oblivious, perks up - “yeah?” - but the moment is gone, and a father and son, who were so close to bonding, irrevocably split.

It’s one of the only times I’ve seen this in media - a parent really trying to connect with their kid, but missing the thing the kid wants to connect on.

When I was seven, I rented a turn-based military game based on Desert Storm for the Super Nintendo from Easy Video in Ramsey. I rented it because I knew my dad was interested in war, and I wanted to play it with him. I remember him coming home, bringing him downstairs, and showing him the game. He was still in his suit. He played for a couple minutes, fiddling with the controller to move a tank or two around, and then gave it to me. “It’s not for me,” he said.

Honestly, I think I’m only starting to get over that disappointment now.

There’s a coda to this non-story: in college, I took Microeconomics. My dad got real excited when I told him that, and it was worth taking just for his reaction. I got a B in the class without understanding anything. I did terribly on all the tests, until I came to an epiphany - economics isn’t a science, it’s a game. You’re not observing laws, you’re trying to screw the other guy out of his money and keep what you got for yourself. Any answer which would make the theoretical company the most money was always correct.

I tried, I really did. I guess when I play, I like the game to come on a cartridge.

August 13, 2014
Day 327


MBC: I realized how much frozen yogurt Allie and I consume.

It’s become a habit – every night, we walk to the nearby frozen yogurt store and buy ourselves a treat. I signed up for the store’s rewards card, and every time, we get new rewards – a free 2oz here, a free 4oz there, a ticket for a…

August 12, 2014
“Fake” sport, real exploitation: How pro wrestling mirrors American capitalism

August 8, 2014
Day 322-3


MBC: I’m going to a wedding without Allie this weekend. She was invited – it was just on the East Coast and she didn’t feel like spending money on making the trip. It’s strange to me to spend this time apart from her. I could be sitting around doing nothing thinking, “why didn’t she want to come?…

August 8, 2014

Ep 55 with Justin Michael-

This week, I interview Earl Cardinalli. Earl is the owner of Breadstones, a combination headstone and bread shoppe. I spoke with Earl about working long hours, side ventures, and all you can eat restaurants.

Episode #55 - Earl Cardinalli

August 5, 2014

I’ve been watching a lot of Trump.

Not Donald - but Jeffrey “Trump” Shih. He’s really good at the online collectible card game Hearthstone, and he streams his games online.

I love his personality. Some other streamers are showmen - they get mad at losses, they get excited at wins, they wave their arms and scream - but Trump hardly ever loses his cool. Trump explains why he makes the plays he makes calmly and deliberately. He looks for maximum value in the long term - the cards he plays need to get the most out of what he paid for them. If he’s playing a three drop, he’s looking to have it kill a card that was played for four, maybe even more. Value, always value.

Even individual games don’t matter that much. As Trump says after losses, you’re gonna lose eventually. The goal is to get max value, to increase your win percentage over a series of games. Human beings get caught up in the small things, the randomness and chaos of tiny moments, and miss the big picture. Are you getting value? Are you up more than you’re down? Why be pessimistic and sad when so much is so beautiful and sweet? I like watching Trump before I go to sleep, and I’ve never slept better.

Also, occasionally he plays as a character called “Prison Trump,” which would be racist if it wasn’t so awkward and unfunny.

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August 4, 2014
Day 318-20


MBC: Allie and I saw GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY this weekend. Before the movie, Allie kept telling me that I needed to keep my complaints to myself, that this was a fun summer blockbuster and I needed to let her just enjoy herself. While I admit I have very high standards and don’t like a lot of…

July 31, 2014
Day 316


MBC: Allie wants me to learn a new skill.

Not just learn, but really learn, get really good at. She says I’m almost thirty, and when I’m thirty, I’m going to be thankful I spent at least part of my twenties doing something other than writing, and trying to write. “You like computers,” she said….

July 28, 2014
Day 311-13


MBC: Allie and I decided to have a slow, lazy weekend together.

First, I insisted we lay out the rules of the lazy weekend. They are as followed:

1. No leaving the apartment. All food will be delivered. All entertainment will be streamed.
2. No showers before 6pm.
3. No computers. I can only…

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