Category Archives: miscellany

tumblr: As you can see, a lot of it had already melted away by the…

Photo of backyard of parents' home in upstate NY

As you can see, a lot of it had already melted away by the afternoon, but I did wake up to nice little layer of snow. Instead of a “White Christmas”, I was going to wish everyone a “Happy White Boxing Day”, but that sounds like some weird white supremacist, pugilistic holiday, so instead, let’s just go with “Happy White Day After Christmas”.

Posted via tumblr: http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/71252353263http://sindyjlee.tumblr.com/post/71252353263) published on December 26, 2013 at 04:39PM

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

Site Redesign

Needed to upgrade my WordPress theme so I could get Janrain Engage (formerly RPX) to work correctly (it is a very cool plugin, btw). Since I needed to do that, I decided to put together a whole new design for the site (always nice to change it up a bit), especially since I’ve done so much WordPress work lately for other people and I wanted to see where I could apply things I’ve picked up. Of course, I’ve been spending so much time working on other people’s sites that I haven’t had time to really work on my own web presence.

In any case, excuse the plain, unpolished state of the site until I can finish implementing the redesign. For WordPress geeks, I’m currently trying out the Constructor theme as perhaps a free alternative to the Thesis theme (which I have learned to customize more than I ever imagined I would).

Back

So, I haven’t had a substantive post here since last August, but I’m back now (hopefully). There’s lots of reasons I’ve been away– first off, I had a bout of pancreatitis last summer, which despite over a week in the hospital, was followed by repeat instances of pancreatitis (or some similar illness) for months after, resulting in a few more hospitalizations. After getting over my GI problems (sort of), I’ve been suffering from constant migraines, threw out my back (I have no idea how, but I could barely walk for days), and just had a car accident. It’s been a long nine to ten months and I’m trying to dig myself out of this hole. As my Facebook status reads, I am recovering from life. And with that comes a return to blogging, including my continuing coverage of IdeaFarm (the truck is back, alive and well parked on the corner of Castro and El Camino in Mountain View) and other random stuff, like my teenage infatuation with the Twilight series as well as my continuing love affair with Depeche Mode (I’m re-watching 101 as I write).

So, stay tuned.

Job Spam

I get a lot of job spam– unsolicited emails asking me to submit my resume and/or apply for jobs. Most of these emails are from recruiting or head hunting firms and almost always, they concern positions that I’m not interested in at all (and usually have little to do with my professional experience and career history). They usually say something like “We came across your resume and based on your background and experience, we have some job opportunities you may be interested in.” They then describe some of the available positions (usually at one or more corporate clients of the recruiting/hiring firm) and immediately follow that up with “Please submit your resume” or “Apply online at [insert some website].” I assume that these recruiting firms are sending these emails to thousands of people (basically, anybody who might be in any minuscule way a good fit). Although seemingly inefficient, they only need a small fraction of these people to respond so that they can sift through applications and provide their clients with a manageable pool of applicants to review. This is basically the same principal as regular spam as well as telemarketing and even political pooling– contact thousands, millions of people and even if you only get one or two percent return, that’s a sizable number of respondents and potential new customers.

Yet, the thing that actually annoys me about these emails is that they contacted me, but their emails come off as if it was the other way around, telling me how to pursue them. “Send us your resume.” “Apply here.” They are interested in me based on my background, experience and qualifications, but then I’m supposed to go to the trouble of applying or submitting my resume (which they already have since that’s how they found me in the first place). It’s like going up to someone and saying, “I really think you’re attractive and interesting. I think you’d be interested in going out with me. Here’s my number– please call me and I’ll consider a date.” I’m not saying that they should automatically make me a job offer or even guarantee me an interview, but they contacted me— a better approach would be, “We came across your resume and think you would be a good fit for some job opportunities at [insert company]. We would like to talk to you further if you are interested,” etc. From my experience, only a handful of recruiters do this and they’re usually internal recruiters from the company. In the end, I may not be interested, a good fit, or even qualified, but if they’re reaching out to random people on job websites and the web in general, they’re looking for more and/or better candidates than those contacting them and even the semblance of trying to “woo” the applicant wouldn’t hurt.

However, an interesting thing happened today, which is why I’m bothering to write about it at all. I received another one of these unsolicited recruiting emails today, but after receiving the message, it was quickly followed by another email from the same company (but different recruiter) and even with the same subject line that started with the following sentence:

While conducting an online search we came across your resume. It appears that you are over qualified for our positions.

Ha! They go on to mention executive positions posted by their clients that may be more applicable. They still end up telling me to submit my resume (“for free”), but it’s a start!

Where you at?

You might have noticed that I have been MIA for a while now– my last, close-to-substantive post was on January 5. Fittingly, the topic of that post was the lumbar puncture I had had the day before and it was one of the many things with which I’ve been busy. As I may have posted in the the past few months, life has ben filled with visits to the doctor, medical tests, more frequent and increasingly severe headaches/migraines, and general malaise that worsens from time to time. Add to all this to the sudden increase in pain in my wrists and hands (from repetitive stress) and development of numbness and tingling in my hands, all the way through to all the fingers– both being so severe sometimes that they wake me up at night, keep me from falling back to sleep, and make it hard to do everyday tasks, like handwrite or get ready in the mornings, from gripping and turning faucet handles to blow drying my hair. I had some tendonitis from repetitive stress years ago when I first started working, but was able to treat it effectively through physical therapy, stretching and exercise, a more ergonomic work setup, frequent breaks, and the rest of the RSI rigamarole, managing to become relatively free of truly problematic symptoms.

However, the tendonitis suddenly became very severe a few months ago and is now accompanied by numbness and tingling that are certainly more annoying than the pain. The irony is that these “sudden” RSI symptoms started and worsened when I had actually reduced my work hours (only 40 hours per week!)– like most departments at Stanford do for significant cost savings, my office closes for a few weeks at the end of the year and aside from taking the long break (and even managing to avoid doing work despite being on-call), I even left for the break a week early. Since then, I’ve been out of the office more than usual due to illness (it’s largely a crapshoot everyday how I’ll be feeling) and a slightly ridiculous number of doctor and physical therapy appointments. I’m pretty sure I’m being punished for a life of playing piano and typing.

As of now, almost all of my test results are normal and one thing we’re pretty sure about is that it’s NOT lupus. So, for the most part, we’ve managed to rule out a number of things and otherwise, we’re back to the drawing board and I just need to suck it up while we figure things out. At the end of the day, I having basically decided that if I was a superhero, my powers would be tolerance of prescription drugs and the ability to stay relatively high-functioning despite constant pain.

In any case, I’m slowly starting to improve and get back to a somewhat normal life, including maintaining my offline social life and my online presence. Look forward to more frequent posting soon.

Lumbar Puncture

In the continuing efforts to figure out my chronic headaches, I had a lumbar puncture yesterday; in layman’s terms, you might call it a spinal tap.

When you have an LP (as you may also have heard it called, especially on something like House), there’s a 10-15% chance that you’ll get a severe headache with nausea, but that can usually be avoided by making sure you stay lying flat on your back for a few hours after the procedure and keeping your fluids up. A persistent headache can mean that a proper clot didn’t form at the puncture site and there’s a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak– a microscopic leak, not one that comes oozing out your back, so the headache is the only real tip off that you have one.

Amazingly, after staying strictly in the supine position after the procedure at the doctor’s office and then at home (except for the brief trip to the car in a wheelchair and all and then up the elevator home), I avoided getting a severe headache and hopefully, a CSF leak. Imagine my luck, considering I otherwise have a headache everyday, often all day.

Anyway, thanks to Marina and Charles for taking me to the doctor and taking care of me all day yesterday. For the less squeamish, check out this video of an actual LP.

Happy New Year; 2007 in Review

Happy New Year! With so much other stuff going on, holidays and other special occasions seem to come and go without much meaning lately, but things are quieter now, so I thought I’d review 2007:

  • Finished my Masters degree
  • Finished my first full year leading my own team at work
  • Dad went through four close calls (and God kept telling him it’s too early to go)
  • Went to Barcelona (and loved it)
  • Participated in and lost a beer a day contest
  • Missed my 10-year high school reunion
  • Read the last Harry Potter book and saw the end of an era
  • Suffered through increased and more frequent pain with my headaches/migraines, cycled through more medications than I’d like to think about, switched doctors, finally got an MRI, and am entering 2008 with plans for more tests and more digging

I think that’s about it for now. Maybe I’ll add more as I continue to reflect. Either way, it’s been a long year. A couple more days of rest as I ease into 2008 and brace myself for the coming year. Here’s to a happy, hopefully better and brighter, new year.