Monday, October 31, 2005 · posted at 11:48 PM
PBS is launching a 6 part mini-series on global health problems called Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge.

So if anyone wants to know what I learn about when I sit in class, this is it. With increasing globalization and the ability for diseases to travel so easily, everyone should be thinking about these things...

Or at least watch it because Brad Pitt narrates.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 · posted at 11:52 PM
I was flushing a public toilet when my foot slipped off the handle and I nearly fell into the toilet bowl. My umbrella looks like a mangled metallic spider and I spent 3 hours sitting in a seminar with wet jeans. Then there's the subways (the non-flooded ones that is). Think about all the "ick" factors associated with the underground... and imagine it worse. New York mud has a strange smell to it. This rain sucks.

And oddly, the steam coming from the manholes in the street smelled like tang yuan. I don't know how to interpret this...

Saturday, October 08, 2005 · posted at 8:08 PM
Well, actually I already decided to sleep with you when I got off the train.
                ~ Celine, Before Sunrise


Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Blink, discusses the idea that important, and non-important, decisions are made instantaneously all the time, within the blink of an eye. Now I've not read the book, but I can think of plenty of personal anecdotes that serve to validate this theory.

For example, the other day I was at a coffeeshop perusing the menu even though I know I'm just going to end up getting a small nonfat chai latte, when I was accosted by a stranger who wanted to compliment me on my shirt (a plain pink polo) and use that to "shoehorn" his way into a conversation.

These are the instantaneous slivers of information taken in:

(1) Poor come-on line.
(2) Lack of intelligence - what part of my frown says, "Sure, I'd love to talk to you!"
(3) Receding hair line plus bad plugs.
(4) The ability to look the guy eye-to-eye (same horizontal plane).
(5) Tucked-in shirt.
(6) Fanny pack around the waist. I kid you not! And not like a "I'm Jay Turtle so I can get away with making it look cool" way...

blink.

It was like a walking poster of auto-fails. By the time he asked what my nationality (yes, that's right... nationality) was, any semblance of the guessing game was long ago over.

This may sound extremely short-sighted - but then again, isn't that the keystone of split second judgments? In this example, I took in the details of the situation and used them to calculate the probability of a meaningful encounter versus a waste of breath. Clearly a case of the latter - even with the fresh optimism from recently watching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, two great movies by Richard Linklater about connecting (and then re-connecting) with a total stranger.

Those people who say, "I'm not judgmental"? Liars, the whole lot of them. Even that simple statement is making the judgment that to be judgmental is undesirable. Judgments are completely necessary in life. If the human brain had to interpret each new stimulus unbiased and without using prior categorizations, generalizations and judgments, you'd be standing at the street corner for hours trying to figure out when it's safe to cross.

So the question arises - how does one make sound judgments? That's for another day, because it won't always be as easy as spotting a purse slung around one's waist...

__________

If this entry seems even more incoherent than usual, it's because I started writing it a couple months ago and resurrected the idea amidst my blogging drought.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 · posted at 3:05 AM
The Ecological Model: A Case Study Many theories of behavior exist. One popular theory in particular, the ecological model, takes into account that "behavior does not occur within a vacuum" and suggests that "behaviors are influenced by intrapersonal, social, cultural, and physical environment variables."

I've been living in New York more than a month now, and already I can see the effects of the environment on my being. I'm not talking about what the air is doing to my face (oil paper is futile) or what the strange puddles and spills (it's better to not identify the actual liquid...) are doing to the soles of my shoes. Beyond those physical changes are the perceptible lifestyle ones.

Though "Best Week Ever," once the best show ever, has been back on the air for 3 weeks, I've not yet watched an episode. My television watching has decreased drastically to three regular shows a week. I haven't picked up an Us Weekly in ages - Britney had a baby? More disturbingly, my EW didn't come in the mail for the past month... and I didn't even noticed.

What the hell is going on?

Beyond the fast pace and schoolwork that has virtually eliminated extraneous time, I can't turn around without something going on. Pickle fairs, farmers' markets, benefits, lectures, trainings, The Great Read in the Park... all of which (gasp) I think I may prefer to endless pop entertainment of days yore.

About a year ago, I started itching to leave San Diego. I wanted to move, quit my job, get out of a rut, do something new. But beyond changing time zones, maybe what I really wanted to change, was my life.

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