Friday, August 09, 2002

So yeah, somehow, I've become one of the darlings of the department the past few months. I've been selected to be a member of the departmental steering committee (there are only 5 member, the two top dogs, the newest manager, a fast track senior analyst, and myself)...the youngest member...and I really really dislike it. I really just wanted to fly real low, below the radar, work for a year and a half here and then head off to law school. But now, I'm on the fast track.... if there is such a thing here...I manage a high profile project and now I'm on a high profile committee.... what did I ever do to deserve this?
I forget how this line goes....something like, "Grace is the better part of valor." and yes sometimes, grace is the better part of valor. The thing about grace is that well, very few of us have an ounce of it (me included). Ok, let me explain. Here's a true story that was told to me by my uncle once. So, my uncle is an engineering consultant. Think software consultant and his job is to help implement a product when clients fail to implement the product properly. So at one particular client, the client had hired on one guy who was fresh out of college to do this software implementation in two weeks. Suffice it to ended in disaster and the client had to hire my uncle as well as two other software consultants who were experienced in implementing this software suite to fix it. So after three 12-hour days, the three software consultants (my uncle included) managed to finish the software implementation and fix the bugs that had plagued it. Afterwords, the VP of Operations of the client took the three consultants, the kid they hired to implement the software suite, and some other client employees and higher-ups to lunch. At the lunch, the VP of Operations starts ripping into the poor kid with words like, "Poor performance", "substandard work", "incompetent"... you can imagine how the kid must have felt. The two other consultants tried to defend the kid saying that it wasn't his fault, that there was no way the kid could have predicted or solved some of the problems that were encountered. The VP didn't buy it. My uncle was just sitting there silently eating his lunch so the VP of Operations turns to my uncle and says, "What DO YOU think? You haven't said anything yet. Should we fire (the kid) for incompetence? What do you think?" The whole table is now staring and focusing on my uncle. He turns to the VP, and calmly says, "Know what I think? ...I think this mushroom burger's pretty good." And just like that the whole table cracks up. And just like that, the pressure was off. My uncle then went onto explain that it took 3 Experts, 3 twelve hour days to do the implementation and fix the bugs. That is 108 man hours which translates to 13.5 days of work for 3 experts. The kid was given 2 weeks (80 hours/ 10 days of work) to both implement and learn the software suite. It was obvious, my uncle explained, that the expectations placed on the kid were unreasonable and that the kid was not to blame. A part of Grace - sometimes saying the right thing at the right time to diffuse a high-pressure situation so that reason can prevail. Of course there are other situations where grace calls for a different type of response but one this is for certain, we can all stand to learn a little grace. The good thing is, I have the rest of my life to pick it up (hopefully sooner rather than later).

Thursday, August 08, 2002

What happened to the old traditional Chinese wedding banquets?

Not that it matters much but I'm going to two weddings over the next 6 weeks and I've noticed that both wedding banquests are in fairly fancy hotels, the Sheraton Palace here in downtown SF and Hotel Nikko on O'Farrell (near Union Square). Both are definitely up-scale but more importantly, neither are Chinese Restaurants. I remember, back in the day, we all used to go to those Chinese Restaurants for wedding banquets. Remember? Like the ones with the constant "ting"-ing of forks on glass (or plastic chopsticks on china if you're really old school) to urge the bride and groom into a kiss? You know, the one where the bride changes constantly into a new dress after every hour or so? Now, when I get the invites, I get to choose: Filet Mignon or Lobster Tail. What's up with that? Where's the shark's fin soup and peking duck? Are Chinese Restaurants not good enough for us anymore? Sadly, we've probably all turned into twinkies... no doubt, I'm one.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

So true.
And by the way, in case you're wondering, smoking is definitely the biggest turnoff for many people, me included. In the immortal words of a beloved sister of mine...."eeewwwhhh...gross!"
LSAT class again last night... the class in and of itself was really good. The Logical Reasoning questions make up 1/2 of the exam with Logic Games taking 1/4 of the exam and Reading Comprehension taking up the last 1/4 of the exam. Logical reasoning questions can be grouped into roughly 6 different types of questions. My weakness on the Logical Reasoning questions are the so-called "Type 1" type of questions which ask often to identify the inference, conclusion, the "what must be true", of the passage that is given. Amazingly, on the diagnostic, I scored about 90% correct on all other types of questions but for type one type questions, I scored around 60% correct. And since type one questions take up almost 1/3 to 1/2 of all Logical Reasoning questions, that's where I stand to gain the most ground. So anyways, last night, we went over Type One questions and I feel alot more confident now that I understand how to go about attacking them. Anyways, to stop boring you... let's move onto other things.

So at the class last night, I met a sister, Y, who is from Korea. She goes to Calvary Presbyterian here in the City. It's funny because she came to the US supposedly, just to study for the LSAT and to study English. She studied Poli-Sci in Korea but only wants to go to UC Berkeley Law (which is also one of my top schools, just because it's a great school close to home). Of course, me being the realist, I asked her what was her second choice, and she told me she hadn't even considered the possibility of not getting into Cal Law. I forget to mention that her English is quite good. Not perfect, but pretty good. Anyways, she seems to be friendly. One thing that I find kind of weird but explanable is that she smokes. I know that alot of foreigners smoke but I've never known a brother or a sister in Christ who smokes so it's kind of weird...

Monday, August 05, 2002

Ok, just got out of a meeting with the Big Boss at work. Why am I so scared and intimidated when meeting with him? Probably because he has the power to hire and fire.... looks like I'm going to survive another day....did ok during the meeting...not spectacular, but also not bad... it really sucks to be the project manager of a high profile project
Ok, I'm back!! Yes sirree!! So yeah, you haven't been hearing from me because of a media fast that some bros and I had corporately as part of the Lumps Men's Ministry. I feel so blessed to be a part of this ministry because it's something that: 1) grows me closer to God, 2) builds my character as a brother in Christ, and 3) bonds me closer to my bros in Christ. Granted, it's a small group right now of bros but hopefully, it'll grow as a ministry. So, during my week of media fasting (no AIM Chatting, no blogging, no reading other people's blogs, no radio, no web-surfing, no movies, no TV, no reading the little TV screen that flashes news on my work elevator,.... you get the drift), I listened to a whole lotta praise music (I love my praise CD mix that I put together, if you want a copy, just ask)... I read a John MacArthur article on fasting as well as an article on prayer. I also read more scripture and my quiet times were more consistent and longer. And on top of that, I got more sleep. Additionally, my thought life was amazingly clean (believe me, it can get pretty dirty, thankfully the Lord is forgiving...but we must remember that the Lord's gracious forgiveness is not a license to sin but anyways, I digress) and that for some reason, I also was on time to more events. I'm usually running late but all of a sudden I was early last week. It's amazing that all of a sudden you have a lot more time when you don't waste it on the web or watching TV. Ok onto more specific items of interest.

So my fast started on Saturday, July 27th and ended this past Saturday, August 3rd. We had our Saturday Men's meeting on the 27th and we studied the Discipline of the Mind. That's Chapter 7 of R. Hughes's book "Disciplines of a Godly Man". It's really about regulating what goes into our mind, meaning the programs we watch on TV and what we listen to on the radio (the internet didn't exist when the book was written). In particular, it was convicting because it showed some statistics about the fact that believers are no different from non-believers when it comes to choosing what they watch on television. In particular, they had a poll on a night when Chariots of Fire (I must confess I have never seen Chariots of Fire but I'm told it's the paramount Christian movie) was playing and some other program was playing. Basically, the poll showed that believers had the same percentage breakdown as non-believers in terms of which programs they chose to watch that night. Isn't there something wrong with that? Anyways, so yeah, as a result, we went on a one-week fast to: 1)Grow closer to God spiritually, 2) to grow our discipline, if we can't give up these worldly things now for just a week, how can we expect to give them up forever when God asks us to?, 3) to bond with my bros int hsi corporate fast, 4) make it a start to changing our viewing habits, and 5) to examine our lives... we each had our own individual reasons but I like to start with these 5.... so yeah, it was pretty awesome. Then after the ministry, we had lunch....curry style... ML, DC, DS, EC, LM were all there eating some good curry beef over rice...
On Sunday, I got to go running with SW again around Lake Merced. We chatted again about Lumps and about the things each of us likes to do. SW informed me that he'd be going to Tahoe the following weekend (this past weekend) and that he really enjoyed skiing, sci-fi/fantasy stuff, and all things techy. Of course, I like much the same things....or at least I used to be totally into them. Anyways, so we had lunch together and shared about our hobbies and interest. It's really great to get to know another brother. On Sunday night, I hung out with my non-believer friend AL and her friend E. AL is a fairly attractive young woman whom I took to the Senior Prom. Yup, she was my prom date...and yup, I still keep in touch with her. Amazing huh? She and I have never been in a relationship, so don't go there. But we remain close friends. We went to a bar that had a live band (ok, it was The Calling, you know, the guys who sing that song, "Wherever You Will Go") going. I guess it could be construed as media but I consider my time with AL and E to be just a good time ministering and being a friend. AL is going through some rough times. On Monday, had pre-study...we're studying the book of Habakkuk at Lumps.... on Tuesday night, I went to my first LSAT class...yes, the dreaded LSAT. I took a diagnostic test which was 3.5 hours long by the end of it, I was starving and my brain was fried. That's what they do at LSAT classes; starve you and torture you with long logic games, arguments, and reading passages followed by questions that don't make any sense. On Wednesday, I went to the UCSF Prayer/Bible Study which was led by my bro CL. CL's a Med3 going on Med4 who's doing rotations this summer. He's a really good guy who's really knowledgeable (especially on the book of Hebrews). We studied book of Matthew and in particular, we looked into the backgrounds of each of the twelve disciples. It was a really edifying experience.
Thursday-Lumps. Ok, my small group has shrunk. What started as like 10-15 is now down to 3. Since my group was so small, we decided to join into OT's small group. We had a passionate discussion with a near heated argument between a sister and a brother (which fortunately cooled down). Still the experience was edifying. I'm afraid I was too drained to be much of a bible study leader though I tried....
Friday-Stayed at home, rested, read alot.
Saturday-Prayer Meeting. So we had a good eight people show up to our August prayer meeting my sisters AO, AF, JM, and AK as well as my bros EC, TY, and DS were there for the meeting. My uncle A came out and led worship. My uncle A is sort of my spiritual mentor. He's always ministered to me and has always been the big brother watching out for me. I guess that's why I was so disenchanted with campus fellowships at UCLA because my time growing in faith came through my time with my Uncle A. He and I had one on one discipling in LA and when we both came back to SF, we continued our one on one bible study/discipling times. Although he has two sons now, he still makes time to spend with me and I'm grateful for it. We don't have too much one on one time now but I know he has more responsibility now taking care of my two cousins, ABC1 and ABC2 (I'm not kidding both their first names start with "A", their middle names start with "B", and their last name start with "C"). Both are really cute. but anyawys, I digress. At the prayer meeting, we prayed for the Lumps retreat and for specific prayer requests we received. It was a great time. Afterwords, I rushed off to my LSAT class as it starts at 10AM (my prayer meeting ended at 11:30). Suffice it to say, I was late and as a result, I had to sit on the floor. But it's all good. I still got lot out of the lesson and I got my diagnostic score back and I did great. no bragging but let's just say I exceeded my expectations by quite a bit. After the class (which went til 2PM), I went and studied at the UCSF Library. I love studying there. It's soooo quiet. It's the perfect place to get stuff done. So I'm taking an LSAT class called Testmasters which I believe is the best prep course out there for various reasons that I won't get into. Let's just say I've done my homework. They assign a ton of homework after each lesson. As the teacher said, for every one our of class, we have 2 hours of homework. They basically drill their method of taking this one test into your head. It's a good method of taking this test. On Saturday night, I had dinner with my bros EC, DS, and MJ. We met and shared about our fasting during the week. EC shared about not being able to watch TVs on elevators like me.... each of us took something different out of our week. Afterwords, we broke out of our fast by watching Austin Powers. Ok not a terribly edifying motion picture. It was funny though.
Sunday, more studying at UCSF and church where Pastor J went over the Book of Jude. Afterwords, dinner with my family.