EppsNet Archive: Orange County

The Bamboo Ceiling

 

Michael Wang had a 4.67 GPA and a perfect ACT score. He placed first in the state of California at the AMC 12 – a nationwide mathematics competition. He performed with the San Francisco opera company, and sang in a choir that performed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He volunteered his free time to tutor underprivileged children. He applied to seven Ivy League schools and was rejected by all seven. I saw recently that a local kid from Fullerton High School here in Orange County was accepted at all eight Ivy League Schools. His name is Fernando Rojas. Here’s another young man, Harold Ekeh, who was also accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: Last year, Kwasi Enin was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools: A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400).… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Ask More Questions

 

You need to ask more questions. I think there’s a general fear about asking questions. There’s a risk of looking foolish in front of the whole group when it turns out that everyone else already knows the answer. It’s actually very unusual for someone to ask a question to which everyone else knows the answer. If you find it happens to you a lot, you probably want to get that checked out, but normally it’s very unusual. Another scenario: Somebody, maybe a teacher, says something and you think “That doesn’t make sense. I wonder if it makes sense to everyone else. Rather than risk looking foolish in front of the whole group, I’ll wait and see if someone else asks a question.” So you wait for someone to ask a question and no one asks a question. Why? Because they’re all waiting for someone to ask a question. Many people,… Read more →

Carjacking Diversity

 

Carjacking is like STEM in that it’s a profession in which women are seriously underrepresented so I celebrate this woman as a champion of diversity and inclusiveness. Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: No School After Halloween

 

There was no school yesterday because the Newport-Mesa Unified School District at some time in the past noticed that a lot of kids didn’t show up the day after Halloween, so they decided not to have classes on the day after Halloween. Evidently this applies even if Halloween is on a Friday, followed by two weekend days plus an extra hour on the time change. Kids still need that extra day to get ready for academics again. Some time ago, I saw a news story about kids in Indonesia who had to cross a river via a rope suspension bridge to get to school. Then the bridge partially collapsed so it looked like the photo on the right. And of course the kids are determined to get an education so they’re all basically climbing their way across the river and back every day. If the bridge collapsed completely, they’d probably… Read more →

As Bad as the Real Obama

 

We had a big batch of trick-or-treaters show up at one time last night, about 9 kids age 12 and under. “Who are you?” I asked the first kid. “The Hulk.” I gave him some candy. “Who are you?” I asked the second kid. “Thor.” I gave him some candy. “Who are you?” I asked the third kid. “Obama.” He showed me a wadded-up Obama mask in his hand. I didn’t give him any candy. “Put the mask on,” I said. “I don’t want to. I can’t see.” Meanwhile, the other kids kept coming to the front and announcing their costumes . . . “Superman.” “Batgirl.” “Pink lady from Grease.” “I’m John Cena.” “Witch.” “Minnie.” They all got candy. Finally no one was left but me and Obama. “Who are you?” I asked. “Obama!” “Put the mask on.” “Come on!” “You’re not doing your job. Geez, you’re as bad as… Read more →

It’s Election Season in Irvine

 

It’s election season . . . campaign signs dot the Irvine landscape. As I drove to lunch with co-workers, one of them pointed out a sign for Ira Glasky, who’s running for school board or city council or something. “He’s probably trying to cash in on the name recognition of Ira Glass,” he said. “Who’s Ira Glass?” I asked, and he told me but I’ve since forgotten. A person on the radio, I think. If I were a campaign manager, I wouldn’t be advising my clients to coattail on the popularity of people no one’s heard of. “Maybe he’s trying to play into the popularity of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930s crime novel The Glass Key,” I suggested. Another Irvine candidate, Lynn Schott, is in a local women’s networking group that my wife belongs to. I offered her a free campaign slogan — “Lynn-sanity!” — but she’s not using it. Read more →

This New Coffee Place is Not Going to Make It

 

Trying out a new coffee place by our house . . . I order an iced coffee and pay $4.50 for the only size they have, about the size of a Starbucks grande, which at Starbucks is less than three bucks. I take the coffee over to the condiment station, taste it and decide to add some sugar. The proprietor surprises me by walking up and saying “Taste it first before you add sugar.” “I did taste it,” I assure him. “Does it need sugar?” “That probably depends on who’s drinking it. If I’m drinking it, it’s going to need a little sugar.” I think I’ll stick with Starbucks. The coffee is cheaper and the staff lets me do whatever I want with it, no questions asked. Read more →

People I Thought Were Dead

 

Johnny Mathis – singer I got an email this afternoon notifying me that priority tickets are now available for a Johnny Mathis concert Nov. 8 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. If you’d asked me this morning if Johnny Mathis is still alive, I would have said “I don’t think so.” Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

The worst thing you can do to people, aside from physical injury, is give them the idea to blame their failures on vague impersonal forces or the actions of anybody but themselves. It doesn’t promote success or happiness. I don’t know any happy people who think like that. For example, I read this in a New York Times article about an impoverished area of West Virginia: John got caught up in the dark undertow of drugs that defines life for so many here in McDowell County. That is just awful. I live in Southern California, not too far from the ocean . . . I’m familiar with undertows (although I’ve never heard of a “dark” undertow). First of all, sorry to be pedantic but undertows aren’t dangerous . . . they’re just after-effects of individual waves. What’s dangerous is a riptide . . . a concentrated flow of water that… Read more →

Rickie Lee Jones at the Coach House

 

We saw Rickie Lee Jones at the Coach House Sunday night. I’ve been an RLJ fan since . . . I think it was 1979, when this young woman I’d never heard of showed up on Saturday Night Live and sang “Chuck E’s in Love”: It might be possible to watch that now and say, “What’s the big deal? I’ve heard women sing like that.” Not in 1979, you didn’t. In case you’ve forgotten or blocked it out or you weren’t born yet, in 1979 we were listening to Olivia Newton-John, Debby Boone, and similar lame-ass bullshit. (Or Christopher Cross, Barry Manilow . . . the male singers were equally uninspiring.) I couldn’t have been more electrified if she’d capped off the performance by whacking the Captain and Tennille across the face with her beret. RLJ’s style influenced a lot of singers, including some who’ve been much more commercially successful,… Read more →

A Trip to the Vet

 

I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet. He takes 5mg/day of a steroid for his joints, half a tablet in the morning and half at night. The tablets are scored to make them easier to cut in half, but the vet staff uses a pill cutter, making cutting on the scoring actually a little more difficult because you have to line up each pill. It’s better to cut them on the scoring, because the pills are small and they can crumble if they’re cut across the scoring, but it’s more time-consuming. “Are the pills cut on the lines?” I ask the woman at the desk. “Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.” “He doesn’t like it?” she says. “He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail.” Some of the women at our vet’s office have a sense of humor and some don’t.… Read more →

Jim Fregosi, 1942-2014

 

I grew up in Orange County as an Angels fan. They were a team of losers at that time, but I went to a lot of games with my dad and had a good time watching them play. Jim Fregosi was my favorite player, usually the only good player on a typical Angels roster. RIP Jim Fregosi. Read more →

Japan, Day 7: Ginza

 

Ginza Ginza is one of the best-known shopping districts in the world, with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses. One of our favorite stores was the 12-floor UNIQLO. They’re coming to Orange County this fall! Read more →

The Aliens Have Landed in Irvine

 

It’s about one in the afternoon at the Irvine In-N-Out Burger. A guy who looks to be in his early 20s comes in wearing a backward baseball cap, dark sunglasses (which he never removes) and — despite a temperature in the high 80s — a pullover sweater. To simplify the storytelling, let’s call this guy Alf. Alf waits in line, places his order, then immediately walks over and stands in front of the pickup counter. The place is packed, and I can tell from looking at the number on my own ticket that there are about 10 more orders ahead of me, and since I ordered before him, there are about 15 more orders ahead of Alf, so there’s no reason for him to be standing at — in fact, leaning on — the pickup counter. After a few moments, the kid at the pickup counter asks Alf what his… Read more →

The Price is Right

 

Guess how much I paid for this stack of books . . . Hint #1: I bought them at the One Dollar Bookstore. Hint #2: There are 10 books in the stack. Read more →

Hot August Morning

 

It’s going to be another hot day! Not even 8 a.m. and I’m panting already! — Lightning Read more →

Profiling

 

The office park where my a friend of mine works was burglarized over the weekend. Surveillance cameras captured the whole operation. “They were Mexicans,” he said. “They look like professionals. They were wearing hats and jackets so you couldn’t see their build or anything.” “So how are you identifying them as Mexicans if you couldn’t see them?” I asked. “Because they were stealing stuff?” Read more →

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