Blurbs for the Brain

RIP Robert Fogel, Nobel Prize winner and revered professor at my grad school alma mater University of Chicago. In his most recent book published last year, Explaining Long-Term Trends in Health and Longevity, Fogel writes that the “abstention from caloric gluttony” increased the Japanese life expectancy by 13 years, whereas the “more gluttonous Americans” increased their life expectancy by only 7 years.

Study finds that consolidating your bank accounts leads to move savings.

There is building evidence that extreme sports (i.e., endurance running) are bad for you. An article in the WSJ states, “…recent studies suggest the significant mortality benefits of running may diminish or disappear at mileage exceeding 30 miles a week…yet sports-medicine specialists are sharply divided over whether any warning sign is warranted. For every American who exercises to extreme after all, there are thousands who don’t exercise at all.”

Interesting fact: Patty Hearst was a student at UC Berkeley when she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

According to a Kiplinger survey, SF is one of the most expensive U.S. cities. Ummm, no duh. Memphis is one of the least expensive. Never been. Should we all retire in Memphis?

10 Things of Thankful

I’ve been reading other bloggers post their 10 Things of Thankful which made me so happy to read. I am thankful for all the typical things you are thankful for: health, my husband, my family and friends, my job, and freedom. Here are different things that I’m grateful for.


I remember being sick right after college when I had a full-time job. The job paid little so when I went to the drug store to buy medicine, I distinctly remember having to buy the generic cold medication because I could not afford the premium brands. I felt very defeated at that moment, having worked my ass off and knowing that I deserved better. And I vowed never to be in that position again. It took me some time to get here, but I want for nothing because I fought and continue to fight to be compensated for my true worth. Takeaway: Don’t ever settle!

Potato Head

I’m thankful I never owned a TV nor am I a couch potato because watching TV is mindless, when you could be educating yourself or being productive. I grew up in libraries. Books were my best friend when I felt alone. Books were my ice-cream when I felt depressed. Books inform and educate, and will make you better. Takeaway: Ditch the TVs!

No or Low Technology

I am glad I grew up in an age where we didn’t have cell phones. I reminisce on the days when we were beholden to our word and meeting up at a certain time meant meeting up at that time! No texting that we were running 15 minutes late. It makes me sad that we can no longer enjoy each others’ company, that iPhones and iPads are so prevalent, that it’s now more important to capture the moment than to experience it fully. Takeaway: Live for the moment, not for the picture!

UC Berkeley

I used to think I had a great college experience, but that was because I didn’t have anything to compare it to. In retrospect, going to Cal was brutal. Organic Chemistry, Physics, Physiology. And don’t think it was just the hard sciences. My English courses (#1 English Department in the country) were just as challenging. Oh how I cried! My college experience taught me a lot about competition and persistence. After I graduated I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. And I wear the scars with pride. Takeaway: Subject yourself to challenge and competition. It makes you stronger.

700 square feet

I feel very liberated living in a cheap (comparatively for San Francisco) 1-bedroom apartment with my husband. We don’t have a lot of stuff, nor are we emotionally tied to any of it. I’m actually very grateful that we currently don’t have mortgage payments. It’s very freeing to know that you can just pick up and go, and not have to worry about material things or finances. Takeaway: Stop buying more shit. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Blurbs for the Brain

The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, is the first female billionaire to join the Giving Pledge, whose signers commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. I am a firm believer that inheritances suck the drive out of people and thus love the concept around the Giving Pledge. According to Forbes, Blakely is the youngest female self-made billionaire. Check out her inspiring commitment letter.

Read about the person who received the highest honor to be bestowed on a graduating senior at UC Berkeley. Ritankar Das is a double-major in bioengineering and chemical biology with a minor in creative writing. He completed his degree in 3 years and, get this, is only 18 years old. I think that’s how I was when I was a freshman at Cal! His bio goes on and on and on, including founding a non-profit and organizing poetry slams. Ummm, Ritankar got an overallocation of the genius genes!

Thoughts on Affirmative Action

I wanted to provide my thoughts on the Supreme Court weighing in on the Fisher versus University of Texas affirmative action case, whereby Abigail Fisher is challenging the university on using race as a criteria in evaluating a candidate’s entry. She was denied.

I know my lawyer friends are going to be all over this. If I mis-state the facts please feel free to comment.

Diversity is extremely important in school and in the work place as we are all citizens of a multiethnic, multicultural community. Ideally where you go to school or where you work would naturally reflect the same exact diversity that you are a part of locally.

Taking a step back, it was not easy seeing some unqualified Latinos from my high school class get into Berkeley. When you think Berkeley, you think prestigious. You think, cut-throat. But with two Latino classmates in particular, they were unremarkable. So unremarkable that those who didn’t get in, would scream, ‘That’s so unfair!’ I get that. I have been there. I can sincerely imagine the unfairness Miss Fisher must feel, having been a talented, accomplished student, and not gotten into her top choice college. Or worse, watching less qualified classmates of color get in.

From a different perspective, there were a few times during my college career when white people have bluntly told me that I must have gotten in as a result of affirmative action. Ouch, that hurt. My retort was always, “Asians aren’t on the affirmative action list, you retard.” But you know what, their jabs made me study harder because I wanted to prove that I deserved to be there. And I used to tell myself, “I am so going to make more money than that asshole/bitch.  Just watch.”

Here’s the deal. It didn’t matter how you got in, whether it was through affirmative action or your own merit. You know what mattered? Whether or not you graduated. Those who got in through affirmative action and couldn’t stand the pressure, yeah, they failed. Bye-bye. There were also valedictorians who, once they got to Cal, had meltdowns when they realized they weren’t so smart anymore. They also dropped out. So my message to Miss Fisher is to move forward. I see why she’s bringing up this case, that she feels wronged, but girlfriend, you are so going to be more successful than all those UT chaps. The world is your oyster and you’re going to come out ahead.

There’s no doubt that affirmative action needs to be reformed, but I believe using race as a factor is an important tool that should not be taken away. Cmon, do you really want to go to a school that’s practically all Asian? That’s what Berkeley is. It’s 43% Asian. That percentage has drastically increased from the time I went to Cal. I don’t want to go to school with that kind of makeup. Why? So I can participate in a class where everyone wears glasses, plays ping pong, and your parents do your laundry? SHOOT ME. I swear that a diverse school is beneficial for everyone involved.

When is enough enough? It’s not hard. Look at the composition of the local community. When those percentages are reflected in the composition of a school or work place, then we will no longer need affirmative action.

This Has To Be the Best Weekend in San Francisco

Here’s what’s going on this weekend. Am I missing anything? I put them in order of importance

  1. A’s playoffs
  2. Giants playoffs
  3. Litquake
  4. Burning Man Decompression
  5. Fleet week
  6. Cal Homecoming, Cal vs UCLA
  7. Raiders
  8. Niners
  9. America’s Cup
  10. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
  11. Castro Street Fair
  12. Columbus Day Parade