Sunday, February 8, 2009

More 25 Random Things About Me

Since I'm taking the graveyard shift with our baby girls, I thought I would rattle off another 25 random things :)

1. My mother's name is Insoon, her Korean birth name. Later in life she wanted an "American" name, so she sought one with a Biblical meaning. She decided on "Jemima," who was a daughter of Job and means "Dove (purity)." My brother and I warned her that cultural context was important along with the meaning. She ignored us. My dad initially had a field day at grocery stores pointing to bottles of "Aunt Jemima" maple syrup saying, "Hey, look there's your sister!"

2. My mother wanted our daughters to have Biblical names while I told her we were going to consider more progressive names. It was almost a decade since the above situation, so I forgot about her American name because she doesn't use it. I was finally reminded, so the discussion abruptly ended.

3. I cried at my wedding. I was holding back so hard that I was silent for almost a minute during the vows and provided some drama at our ceremony, and then silently teared like a baby. Since I rarely get emotional, my mom was so shocked and amused she made fun of me afterwards, "Were you crying!? Hahaha... I don't believe you were crying..."

4. I've been a groomsmen 13 times and an usher almost twenty times.

5. My favorite baseball player in my youth was Don "The Hit Man" Mattingly even though I wasn't a Yankee fan. Class, skill and humility. I wish his back wasn't injured during the time he could have won the triple crown, and so that he could have played longer.

6. I worked at Arby's during the summer of my junior year in high school since my friend, Hamon, asked me to work with him somewhere. They had these uniforms and the longest pants were 29 inches in length. I was 32 inches, so they placed me in the back to make sandwiches.

7. My favorite course during college was my lit class on John Milton. Reading and analyzing "Paradise Lost" with Prof. Weiner was amazing.

8. My most difficult final exam during college was one covering 13 of Shakespeare's plays. I had to read, memorize and know almost every sentence in these plays.

9. I initiated the Bible study group at Yonsei University's Summer Program in 1990, which I believe stands to this day. I remember planning for it before leaving for Seoul that summer after my freshman year. Unfortunately, since I had so many family obligations and friends living in Seoul I attended about half of our meetings.

10. I rarely curse, but have a way with words especially the word "idiot." My friend, JB, said the way I use it pisses people off more than if he or others cursed at them. M*(#$@F&!k*& doesn't come close my usage of "idiot."

11. My pet peeve is people cutting lines. Can't stand it. One time at Jake's Dilemma (NYC), we were signed up and waiting for the pool table. This guy skips my name and a few others on the board. I saw this as I was talking with JB and our friend, Terrance. Shorten conversation: "Excuse me, you just wrote in your name and skipped four people."

"So??" (typical NYC tough guy) "Um, what don't you understand? Are you a friggin idiot??"

The guy comes at me; I grab on to his sleeves at the wrist; he's helpless and flailing; I calmly ask him if he really wanted to continue; the bouncers took him away.

12.I don't mind conflict. I actually enjoy it. Verbal, physical, whatever. I have extremely thick skin, so I don't mind going back and forth endlessly. Better if it's a constructive discussion that leads to better ideas or thinking, but mindless dribble is tolerable as long as it's fun.

13. My pivotal professional experience was doing my first tech startup, ViewPlus. From learning how to write a business plan, pitching angel investors and venture capitalists for money, and learning a new industry, it is my most cherished experience especially since it was with two dear friends. A close second was the Coro Fellowship since that provided me the confidence to enter and learn any new industry and environment.

14. When I was younger, many people thought like looked Chow Yun-Fat. Now my mother sums it up best, "Dear, you don't look like Chow Yun-Fat. You're just FAT. Please lose some weight!"

15. Verbal abuse does not motivate me. Whether from my mom or anyone else since I'm thick-skinned. "Dear, you're so fat now that your face is round. When you have a round face, you look dumb. You look like you have low intelligence. You should really lose some weight..."

16. I have a high pain threshold. People that dish out pain feed on this. In my youth, my dad burned acupuncture incense pads on my hands to improve my circulation. Probably more than needed. My Taekwondo instructor loved pushing my limits especially during stretching. He would sometimes break that threshold and I would scream. Not unexpected since this is a man who broke large beach stones with his bare hands (one of the most amazing things I have seen).

17. I enjoy a good cigar, cognac and great conversation.

18. I enjoy beer, Buffalo Joe's wings and very little conversation.

19. I got food poisoning three times in my life and all three times were in Asia. Once in Thailand and twice in Korea. All from raw or undercooked fish. Twice in Korea could have been prevented since my parents warned me to only eat raw fish at nice hotels during off season.

20. I had very stinky feet from high school through college. It was accentuated when didn't wear socks, and docksiders were big during my high school years. It got so bad my friend, Sang, refused to let me in his house unless I washed them first. I don't know what happened, but by my mid-twenties the stinky feet disappeared. It might have transferred to my stinky farts.

21. I rarely get stressed or panic. Even in life-threatening situations, I'm calm. This is ok with Christine, but not getting stressed sometimes is an issue with her. Note to self: when wife is stressed, be stressed too.

22. I loved graduate school, especially since at Columbia you can cross register with the other professional schools. I could have easily taken another year of courses.

23. I will probably live in Europe for a year or few. Both Christine and I want to since we both lived in the U.S. and Asia. Just have to wait for the when.

24. I come from a tall family of Koreans and Korean Americans. I'm 6'1" and somewhere above 220 lbs., and I'm not the tallest. My dad is 6', my younger brother is slightly under 6'3", a couple other cousins are about the same, several uncles and other cousins that are 6', and my big cousin John is 6'5".

25. I come from a family of carnivores. My favorite meal is a porterhouse steak. I once saw my brother eat a few rack of ribs without breathing. It was pretty gross. My dad once ordered his steak "raw" instead of "rare."

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