Smells Like Something Died in Here


If your car smells like an animal crawled in there and died, chances are one actually did. A month ago, my mom noticed a funky odor in her gray Subaru. According to her, it smelled like “rotten pork.” At first, she tried airing out the car, but that didn’t work. She searched the car for trash, food, anything that could be the culprit. Under the seats, in the glove compartment, the trunk, car door compartments. Nothing. The smell grew stronger every day.

Obama Spotted Eating Shit All Day Long


My suitemate during senior year of college once told me a concise yet insightful piece of political wisdom from his experience of volunteering on the John Kerry presidential campaign. He said political know-nothings often think political campaigns are based on principles, ideology, and clear-cut policies. In reality, political campaigns are run like military engagements.

Do You Eat Strange Fungi?


My mom made duck soup the other day. The recipe is simple: duck, water, wolfberry, and a parasitic fungus that hijacks the brains of insects turning them into zombies.

What’s Your Favorite Beverage?


“What’s your favorite beverage?” my friend asked me one day. We were sitting on a curb outside of a small concert space in hipster-territory Williamsburg, New York. “Water,” I replied. “That’s such a David Xia answer,” he chuckled.

Lost Over, Back to Good Shows


Having watched the series finale of ABC’s Lost, I finally have time to start watching shows that are still good and that I actually care about. These include The Wire and Treme, both written and created by David Simon.

How I Got Pulled Over and Had My Identity Stolen


Two days after I graduated from Columbia University, I was pulled over by the police for the first time and my identity was stolen. It was like life saying, “Welcome to the real world” while giving two quick jabs to my face. Luckily, these two incidents weren’t as serious as they sound.

NSA: Bastion of Beautiful, Repressed Math Girls?


The following is taken from an e-mail I received from a colleague who having heard of my job hunting, told me to check out the National Security Agency. As further proof of his proposition that the NSA was a good place for math majors, he pasted into the e-mail a conversation he had with someone who currently works there.

Benjamin: Can you sum up why NSA is a BA (badass) employment opportunity. I suggested it to a math friend int eh [sic] library and he wants to know more. I just need a paragraph, prestige, benefits, security, and badassery are all fine points. But I’m unfamiliar with the math section.

Who the F**K Is Ruth Carter?


Most people by now have received a facebook friend request from someone they have never met. After looking at their profile, they probably wish they’ll never meet them in the future. My solution is just to post a random picture on their wall. For example, for Ruth Carter, who by now has probably friended half of Columbia University, I sent her a photo of a hedgehog playing with a Playskool dumptruck.

Why HSBC Sucks


This is part two of a long-running saga. Read part two.

HSBC is not “the world’s local bank” as their motto states. You’ll find branches in 86 countries on every single continent, but each region’s HSBC is an entirely separate bank.

I opened an account in Hong Kong’s HSBC  last summer. When I left the country, I left behind a sizeable chunk of change in the HK HSBC account. Now I want it back so I can close the HK HSBC account and transfer the money to my US HSBC account. I could also use the extra cash. I found out today what this process will require: