Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taiwan trip preparation

We are leaving for Taiwan tomorrow morning. It will involve many hours of flying plus an additional many hours of non-flying travel, some of which is time spent for the sake of leaving extra time around. The non-flight time includes:

  • 15 minute drive to LAX
  • 3 hours to check in, go through security, and wait at the airport
  • time spent sitting on planes but not flying
  • several hours in Narita, Japan to transfer to a flight to Taiwan
  • time waiting for a bus to Taipei
  • a 40 minute bus ride and foot/cab travel to our hotel

Theories and research on the psychological consequences of temporal construal suggest that temporal distance increases the weight of cognitive outcomes compared to affective ones. My thoughts regarding the chocolate cake I may or may not consume right prioritize its taste, texture, and the pleasure of enjoying it. The chocolate cake I think about eating next week, however, probably conjures more ideas about its caloric density, what it will do for my longevity, blood sugar, or waistline.

In addition, construal level theory posits that individuals' mental models of distant-future events are more abstract compared to near-future ones. When purchasing these tickets to Korea and Taiwan, I imagined the people we would see and the places we would go. Now that flight time is less than 24 hours away, I'm stuck on the fact that comfortable air travel could be much more so.

Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2003). Temporal Construal. Psychological Review, 110, 403-421.

Photo of LAX, Tom Bradley Terminal by Willie Lee.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the importance of listening to Christmas music right now

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.

Christmas music is playing in the apartment because I believe it is of utmost importance that we listen to as much Christmas music as possible while we still can. I feel that the opportunity for listening to Christmas music is diminished compared to most years because

(1) all of our Christmas shopping has been done online, and none of the online stores have been playing Christmas music for customers
(2) we will be on an airplane or in international airports during many of the key Christmas-music-listening hours
(3) related to that, we will be out of the country, where I expect we will be less likely to overhear Christmas music played by shopping establishments
(4) also related to that, we will experience even FURTHER loss of potential Christmas-music listening time due to the fact that we are flying into a time zone which is 15 hours ahead of our own (time loss!).

So time is of the essence. O Holy Night.

It has been a while since I have purchased music in a physical form. The only Christmas album that I have ever owned (versus my parents, who have some Christmas music sets that they probably purchased at Costco) is 98 Degreees' This Christmas. I purchased the CD because in colleged I determined that it was absolutely necessary to own all albums by 98 Degrees. But I don't actually have that CD around because I accidentally gifted it to Gena when I gave her my CD player, which unbeknownst to me, had the only Christmas music I have ever owned, inside.

Sleigh Ride. So it's Christmas tunes via streaming radio. Thank Verizon for high speed internet.

Happy Holidays.
A Holly Jolly Christmas.

christmas candles photo originally uploaded by don2g.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My First Blog

It seems that my daughter-in-law is dragging me into the online world, just as my brother and I dragged my mother into the world of email. She loved it, being able to communicate with family who were thousands of miles away. Now I can communicate with thousands who are only miles away.

I'm doing this instead of writing Christmas cards, a chore that I enjoy only once I've started it. I like re-reading the letters we got last year, imagining old friends looking young as they did when we last saw them 20 years ago. From the adventures some of them are up to, they may indeed still be that young.

As I write a Christmas letter, I imagine saying the words to the person it's addressed to. To whom is a blog addressed? Whose face should I conjure up? For the moment it is Eraine's.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wheeeeee! / I did it again

wheeeeee! - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Why I Can't Eat Onions

Why I Can\\\'t Eat Onions - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Somehow it's 5am and I'm still awake. It's been a while since I have been up this late -- that's more Alex's thing. But I got caught up in working on my submission for Threadless, "Why I can't eat onions."

Lately Alex and I have talked about the value of doing things.

I hesitated for a moment before hitting that OK button. In doing so I am allowing them full rights over my artwork if my shirt is chosen for print. But I figure I can always produce more drawings, and it would be awesome (and money) to win.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I may be overdressed, being mildly bundled up in a fleece while it is 75 degrees outside. I don't feel silly because there are lots USC undergraduates ambling about campus in sweatshirts and jackets. The weather was cool all day yesterday, and last night's observed low was a chilly 42 degrees. The temperatures for tomorrow, December 4, are forecast by to include a high of 79 degrees. We are all confused.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

bad reasons to buy a dog

Last night we were planning to go work out after CPY, but we got boba instead. Boba was a reasonable substitute for working out because the place we went to, Westsubs, is right next to the gym. As you may have guessed from the establishment's name, Westsubs is not specifically a boba joint in the way that Teastation or Lollicup are. But they have an elaborate menu of boba-full and boba-less drinks, from smoothies and slushes to your standard thai and milk teas. Alex had a thai tea with boba, and I had a hot milk tea with boba. The boba did not seem particularly sweetened, which was fine with me, because I tend to like my drinks slightly less sweet.

Westsubs has a collection of board games and magazines for your enjoyment while you sit and eat or drink. We played The Allowance Game, a simple die rolling, piece-moving game in which certain squares you may land on indicate gains or losses of money. You get $3 allowance each time you round the corner at Home, and can earn money on squares such as "Mow the Lawn" or "Recycle Cans." You spend money buying bubble gum or "Give to charity." We tried to make the game more exciting by adding extra rules, but finally we ended the game before either of us had managed to save up the winning $20.

After the game playing we decided to browse magazines -- Glamour for me, Men's Health for him. I was curious about Glamour's cover story on 25 ways to immediately boost your mood. If I were to write such a feature, it would include items like: 1. Have a caffeinated beverage, or 2. Visit cute overload or check out some lolcatz. Although some of the suggestions by Glamour were quite reasonable (I think take a bubble bath was one), I was appalled to see that "Buy a dog" was also included on their list. That is, Buy a dog. Do it! You know you want to.

WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING? How on earth does taking a bubble bath compare to purchasing a live, furry, animal with a lifespan of ten or fifteen years?? Sure, playing with an adorable new puppy will probably boost your mood, but a quick pick-me-up is the wrong reason to get a dog!

On a related note, people should not buy dogs as surprise gifts. Like deciding to have children, it's the sort of thing that people should talk about and plan in advance. I was administering a final exam in a large lecture hall last year, when an occasional whimpering sound could be heard. None of us knew where it was coming from. Later I left the lecture hall and saw a student playing with a puppy outside. She explained to me that since she had finished taking the exam, she was watching the puppy for the girl who had sat next to her during the text. The girl had just been given the puppy as a surprise birthday gift from her boyfriend. GEEZ.