Category Archives: entertainment

tumblr: Irie man Sherwin, you never told me about your career as a party…

Japanese Party Wig at Daiso

Irie man Sherwin, you never told me about your career as a party wig model in Japan!

Seen at Daiso in Cupertino. I can’t tell if the guy is a light-skinned black guy, a dark-skinned Japanese guy (more likely a Korean or Pilipino model then), or something Blackface-like going on with the makeup. I also can’t tell if it’s racist or not. I just feel like it’s what conservative Japanese businessmen think of as a “crazy party wig” when most of us probably know at least one guy that just looks like that normally.

Or are one of the tons of guys that just looks like that normally.

Posted via tumblr: http://ift.tt/1oSTu9U published on March 24, 2014 at 12:55AM

tumblr: Old School Cassette Tape phone cover (as promised), also by…

Old School Cassette Tape phone cover (as promised), also by TrekCovers via TrekGear via Amazon.

The size is actually not that off, but the dimensions are— of course, anybody born after 1990— the oldest of whom should be already reaching 25 this year— won’t know the difference.

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/73219882216 published on January 13, 2014 at 10:00AM

tumblr: My friend Sean, whose younger sister went to the same dance…

My friend Sean, whose younger sister went to the same dance school/studio I went to (albeit many years after me— shout out to Wendy Cutting Dance Studio alum!), told me about this video of contemporary dance moves and I was dying laughing even then— now that I’ve seen it, I’m laughing even harder.

Anybody who has studied contemporary and/or even more “traditional” modern dance or maybe just watched more than one Lady Gaga music video will most certainly appreciate it. I was already finding myself giggling to myself at times from what Sean briefly told me about the video— I’m sure it will only get worse (better?) now. Enjoy!

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/72889363420 published on January 10, 2014 at 11:14AM

tumblr: Such a sweet find- THE AMAZING GRACE HOPPER on…

Such a sweet find- THE AMAZING GRACE HOPPER on Letterman!

It’s only 10 minutes and definitely worth watching! Some of my favorite bits:

On going to bed instead of celebrating when she officially left the Navy after 43 1/2 years of service on 31 August 24:00:

“There’s something you learn in your first boot camp or training camp— If they put you down somewhere with nothing to do, go to sleep.”

On joining the service:

L: “What interested you about going into the Navy at 37?”
H: “Well, World War II, to begin with…” (laughter)
“That’s been one of the hardest things to tell people in this country— there was a time when everybody in this country did one thing together.”

On working on the first big computer in the US:

L: “You worked on the original computer in this country, right?”
(bit of talk about her work on the Mark I at Harvard)
L: “How did you know so much about computers then?”
H: “I didn’t. It was the first one.” (much laughter & clapping)

While showing a physical representation of a nanosecond (billionth of a second):

H: “That is the maximum distance that light or electricity can travel in a billionth of a second.”
L: “No faster, no farther…”
H: “When an admiral asks you why it takes so damn long to send a message by satellite, you point out to him between here and the satellite, there are a very large number of nanoseconds…” (illustrating with the “nanosecond” in her hand)

Explaining picoseconds, a thousandth of a nanosecond, and holding up a little packet:

“The best way to get ‘em is go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s or somewhere and get a small packet of picoseconds— they have the label ‘pepper’ on them, but they’re really picoseconds.”

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/72791358104 published on January 09, 2014 at 12:17PM

tumblr: My family doesn’t really do gifts (other than the very…

My family doesn’t really do gifts (other than the very efficient, oh-so-very-stereotypical-for-valid-reason Asian and straight-to-the-point cold hard cash) and we’ve all been/still are on tight budgets anyway, but once in a while, I’ll treat myself to something small, like my sweet new retro Nintendo game controller-like phone cover by TrekCovers via TrekGear on Amazon. They have ones that actually look exactly like old school game controllers for various generations of game console controllers and handheld gaming devices like the original Gameboy, but I just liked the design and colors of this one.

Pops, doesn’t it?

Soga Wireless on Amazon is another favorite cell phone case source of mine and even though standard shipping (3-5 days) is $2.94 PER ITEM— $8.94 for “Expedited” (1-3 days) shipping!— when almost all the covers (at least for my phone) are literally $1-3, some being high as $4.99 (but those often come with a mini touch screen stylus that conveniently has a little lanyard-like thing that plugs into your phone’s stereo jack to make it easier to carry around), that still makes each cover only $4-6 each, well over 50% less than the average cell phone case/cover if you were to walk into a store to buy one.

Whether it’s $5 with Soga Wireless or $9.99 with TrekGear (free shipping!), just $5-10 can bring a surprising amount of “shopping satisfaction” AND it makes me feel like I have a new phone every time I change the cover, staving off the unnecessary and potentially very expensive itch to get a new smartphone that hits most technophiles at least every 12 months (and Apple’s bonkers iPhone release schedule and ads don’t exactly help the situation).

I’ll break out the old school cassette tape-like cover soon…

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/72639121151 published on January 07, 2014 at 10:13PM

This is why people hate us

This stupid hoax reminded me of a real incident/interaction with a Google employee:

Back in September, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Oddball Comedy Festival when it came to the area, specifically at Shoreline Amphitheatre, literally a stone’s throw away from the main Google campus (or headquarters, for grown-ups and/or people outside of tech) in Mountain View. I got to sit back and just focus on laughing for several hours after what has been and continues to be an incredibly difficult year. It was great, point blank, period. (Especially Chris D’elia, whose Comedy Central special recently premiered.)

Afterwards, my friend and I calmly strolled out of the outdoor venue, along with the other 22,000+ people that were there. As we were leaving, I commented to my friend that I was impressed with how orderly and efficiently such a large number of people were emptying out into the parking lot, streets, and other surrounding areas and it reminded me of how New Yorkers made me proud on 9/11 by just starting to calmly walk north as Armageddon was practically unfolding around them. A nearby woman who apparently overheard me turned to me and said, “Well, a lot of us are from Google, so we’re really smart.”

I just ignored it and started walking away from her, pushing through the crowd a bit to hasten the process. About 10 minutes later– during which my friend and I had fallen silent– I turned to my friend to comment on how obnoxious that woman and her comment was and how I couldn’t get it out of my mind now– he concurred. Now, my friend and I are both Stanford alumni, just like the Google founders and an overwhelming percentage of their employees, with him also having been a star NCAA athlete and me having been plenty recruited by Google, but both of us were just disgusted by the whole exchange. We still can’t get it out of brains.

So FYI, to anybody who has ever been lucky enough to be part of any type of “elite” group– this is why people hate us. Stop being assholes about it.

2014-01-07 UPDATE: I realize that potential future employers, including Google, may find this post and other tweets and such where I lament the “tech dude/brogrammer asshole” culture that has become somewhat of an epidemic in Silicon Valley. Whether you’re a recruiter, engineering team manager, or CTO of the hot new startup, if you’re turned off by this post and think I’m being overly negative, then we probably wouldn’t work well together anyway. When you are lucky enough to become part of any “elite” group, there will always be people with a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason and therefore find some excuse to hate on you. However, perpetuating whatever negative perception people already have by intentionally boasting about your elite status and/or even just encouraging a mindset that would result in thinking the above comment is a natural and appropriate thing to say, especially to strangers, is definitely NOT something of which I want to be a part. If you work hard and get the word out while still exercising humility, your work should be able to stand on it’s own– you shouldn’t have to get on a soapbox to tell everyone how great you are. Believe it or not, you can be confident and proud of your accomplishments without being an asshole.

Character Actors & Life

Personally, I think this seemingly peripheral, slightly silly comment sparked what ended up with kind of a profound statement on life (transcript below)

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Transcript

Sindy Lee
2 hours ago via Twitter
Why I love character actors: Austin Pendleton both dungeon-wedding serial rapist & genius physicist based on Stephen Hawking on #LawAndOrder

Surajit Bose
I’m pretty sure Stephen Hawking isn’t a dungeon-wedding serial rapist.
about an hour ago

Sindy Lee
In an SVU ep on the former, Criminal Intent ep on the latter.
about an hour ago

Surajit Bose
Oh. 🙂
about an hour ago

Sindy Lee
I’ve watched so much of all flavors of Law and Order that this kind of thing happens all the time– same characters in different episodes across all flavors of the show as defendants, family members of defendants, defense attorneys, witnesses, random New Yorkers, victims, prosecutors, even cops and jury members.

It can be kind of a mind fuck, but also sort of a profoud statement on how, but for the grace of (insert deity, force of nature, or completely random good or bad luck of your choice here), any one of those people could be you/me.
42 minutes ago via mobile

Sindy Lee
After thinking about it a bit, I thought that was oddly deep. Unless you object, I think I’m going to publish this thread on my blog.
a few seconds ago via mobile

Dark Knight Rises, Colorado Shooting & Violence in Entertainment

I loved The Dark Knight Rises— I thought all 2 hours and 45 minutes of it was gripping and had great twists and turns, surprising even someone like me who has been keeping up with all the pre-release buzz, news and teasers. Overall, it was an excellent finish to an excellent trilogy. (And I hope all the talk about rebooting the series already is just that– talk. Can’t we just take a moment to enjoy the long-awaited arrival of this film?)

However, the recent shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at a suburban Colorado movie theater raises some interesting questions– and not just about gun control. It’s hardly worth a “spoiler alert” to say the movie contains a lot of violence– if you’ve been paying any attention to all the press for the movie, you’ll know the much-advertised, primary antagonist of the film is the diabolical, masked Bane, one of the most violent, cold-blooded and ruthless villains in the DC universe (and the wonderful Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the character is much truer to the comic book and therefore, much more frightening than the almost farcical version in 1997’s Batman & Robin). As comic book fans know, Bane’s intelligence and cunning only make him that much more terrifying and dangerous– after all, he’s the only man to have “broken the Bat”*. His role in the story and the sheer scale of his nefarious plans up the ante considerably when it comes to violence.

So, there was one particular scene in The Dark Knight Rises where guns are being wildly shot in a crowded place during which I couldn’t help being reminded of the shooting in Colorado (there’s more than one of these scenes in the movie so I can’t even remember which specific one it was– just my immediate reaction). I don’t really subscribe to the much-debated idea that violence in entertainment somehow promotes violence in real life, especially among young people (think video games like Doom and Marilyn Manson being blamed for the 1999 Columbine High School massacre), but those who do often blame and point out the popularity and commercial success of movies like those in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy or, little more than a decade ago, The Matrix films. They say that, in addition to the large amount of it, the way in which that violence in such entertainment is depicted glorifies it and thereby promotes it. For example, Batman may have a strict “no guns, no killing” rule, but certainly those around him don’t always follow that rule, so there’s always plenty of both– and often more. And though Batman isn’t an alien or superhuman– ridiculously athletic, highly trained, and combat clever as hell, but still just a “normal” human being– he’s still kicking a lot of ass and taking a lot of names. After all, despite their efforts at diplomacy (how many times have we seen the “Superman achieves global nuclear disarmament” storyline?) and the admittedly key ability to outwit their opponents, superheroes ultimately win through the use of physical force– not non-violent protests, marches, or civil disobedience. And in the end, watching superheroes like Batman– the very definition of the “good guys”– beat up a bunch of bad guys is incredibly violent, but also incredibly satisfying (hello, they’re the bad guys?!) so there is certainly some glorification in that.

But long before there were riveting “Army of One” commercials, even before someone hit someone else for the first time so they could steal the Coke bottle to mash up their vegetables, humans have been telling fantastic tales of battles, wars, and ultimately, warriors– both fictional and real. And while violence continues to exist as part of the human condition, we will need warriors– in fact, heroes– to meet those challenges to not just protect themselves, but those around them as well. They fight so we don’t have to and certainly, there is and should be glory in that and those stories should be told, including on the screen. Of course, not every movie is so cut and dry on X being good, Y being bad, and therefore, standing on moral high ground when it comes to X having to beat the crap out of Y, not to mention all the collateral damage. And of course, with media, a lot of it has to do with context and tone: do we see at least some of the ugly, bloody, grotesque side of violence or do people bounce back like cartoon characters? Is the music– or any music at all– appropriate for what’s happening on screen? A violent rape is graphically depicted in the 2002 French film Irréversible, but I don’t think anybody who has seen it– and it is so powerful that many cannot tolerate just watching it– would say the act is in any way glorified. Even in comedy, violence can be put into a context in which we know not to take it as seriously, that we don’t have to be realistic here because the entire situation is absurd.

I suppose the real question is whether highly increased, repeated exposure to such violence in media– all of it or just the stuff you think glorify it– desensitizes us, especially people like teenagers who are either too young or otherwise so impressionable that they become swept up in romanticized depictions of violence and suddenly, moral high ground isn’t so important anymore. How exciting was it to watch Neo and Trinity blow that building and those Agents to pieces to rescue the beloved Morpheus? Yes, even in the fictional sense, they didn’t really do that since they were in the Matrix and nobody really died because those Agents were just computer programs, but that kind of goes along with my point, right? Such key plot points allow us to justify and reconcile such violence by “good” people. So, if we consume more and more of such violent media, does that subconsciously encourage us to lose touch with the horrifying reality and consequences of such events, thereby, if not promoting, at least justifying and distancing ourselves from the reality of more and more violence?

Yet, as I watched The Dark Knight Rises, rather than distancing myself from it, I felt like the realism provided by the high quality of the production intensified the seriousness and impact of what we were seeing. Perhaps more than any news coverage short of actual footage of the shooting could, the added drama created through movie magic somehow makes up for the fact that you’ve temporarily suspended your disbelief. You know it’s just a movie, but what you’re seeing is such a well-made dramatization that the terror of such a moment is really driven home and has the added benefit of not requiring the exploitative and tasteless showing/viewing of the tragic and ugly deaths of real people. Essentially, just the news of the shooting still fresh in my mind changed my visceral reaction to seeing the fictional presentation of a similar event– while I might have been more apathetic or, for the most part, unaffected by such a scene before, the experience and perhaps my outlook on such violence were fundamentally changed, much like how most of us felt and perhaps still feel about anything related to airplane/air travel safety and terrorism in the wake of 9/11 (think how sensitive Americans were about just seeing or not seeing the Twin Towers in the New York City skyline in movies released shortly after the attacks).

In the end, it’s a bit of a “chicken or the egg” problem– does watching “glossy” depictions of violence in popular entertainment and media promote violence in real life? Or do such realistic and/or dramatic depictions discourage such violent acts by giving us a “harmless” way to experience the severity and horror of such events? Considering all those “bombs bursting in air” in the lyrics to our national anthem alone, from music (in addition to the obvious, think lyrics to the popular French-Canadian children’s song “Alouette”) to movies, from books to TV (they get away with showing some truly sick stuff in countless police procedural and “true crime” shows), from Internet videos to even commercials (think the heavy amount of cartoonish violence in Super Bowl commercials), one thing is certain: depictions of violence are an essential part of the human art of storytelling. While some may like to think of violence in entertainment and media as something new– an unfortunate sign of modern times– we’ve actually been riding this cycle of violence from the very beginnings of human history and culture.


* On the name “Bane”: the film’s timing provides a nice little accent to the amusing coincidence that the character’s name is a homophone of Bain Capital, the frequently mentioned center of the Romney news story that just won’t die– with a pre-emptive apology for the pun, some might say one of the “banes” of the Romney campaign.