Sometimes people fart in public. Not on purpose sometimes (though not necessarily by accident sometimes either), but it happens. What are they thinking just before or after the deed ...?

"Oh, here's a crowd; now I can't be pinpointed."
"Damned burritos."
"Okay, my butt muscles are tired now. There's no more holding this one in."
"Damned dairy."
"Oh, no ... this is gonna be a doozy."

Go on, I know you got some funny ones (from experience)!

I stumbled across some sobering stories from a very different world. (I'll put it in my links list.) Too bad that on Tuesday past, he decided he would stop the writing.

I miss Vancouver: the friends, the life, the pace.

This is really cool. The world as a blog shows some real-time blogging activity! But according to the info, it supposedly only works with and RSS and geotags. Still, fun fun fun!

Put this on a big screen, line your computers on a desk in front of it, and pretend your room is a control room like Capcom! Don't forget to dress up in uniform. (Not the skanky nurse one.)

A recent discussion over microwave popcorn prompted me to steal this excerpt (and reformat it for blog reading) from Alton Brown's first book "I'm Just Here For The Food".

Homemade Microwave Popcorn


1/3 cup popcorn
2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter
Popcorn salt to taste *
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, finely grated, or other "cheese sprinkle" (optional)


Small paper bag (standard lunch size is fine)
Stapler (use exactly 2 staples, no more no less)
Microwave oven with a carousel (important for even popping)
Large mixing bowl

Application: Microwave Cooking

Pour the popcorn into a paper bag and fold the top of the bag over twice to close (each fold should be 1/2 inch deep; remember, the kernels need room to pop).
Seal the bag with 2 staples only, making sure to place the staples at leas 2 to 30 inches apart. **
Put the bag in the microwave over and cook on high power for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pops are 5 seconds apart.
Remove the bag from the oven and open it carefully, avoiding the steam. Pour the popcorn into a bowl and drizzle it with the butter, then toss with salt and cheese, if desired.

Yield: 6 to 8 cups of popcorn

I've made this stuff six ways from Wednesday and unitl recently I always tossed the kerels in oil before placing them in the bag. But the more I learned about microwaves, the more I started to think this might be unnecessary. After all, the stuff that does the popping (water and plenty of starch) are on the inside of the kernels. The kernel itself doesn't need to brown, so why bother with the added mess? I ran a quick test batch and never looked back.

Although many home poppers advocate the use of other culinary oils in place of butter, I just can't break with this tasty tradition. However, I do like a sprinkle of cheese now and then. Oh, and if you're interested, toss a tablespoon of dark brown sugar in the bag sometime.

Why is Popcorn the Perfect Microwave Food?

Popcorn pops because its kernels contain a high amount of moisture. When heated, that moisture eventually turns to steam. Unable to contain the increased volume of the vapour, the starchy kernel blows out in all directions and freezes in a puffy configuration, which itself results from the rapid drop in ambient pressure. Since it only heats the water portion of the kernal, microwaves can pop corn without burning it. If yours does burn from time to time, blame the oil, which can get hotter than water.

* This is one time koshe salt just won't do. Popcorn salt is very fine, so it sticks readily to the poped kernels. If you can't find it in your local Mega-mart, go with (hate to say it) table salt.

** As long as you're using a microwave oven with a turntable and you don't place the bag where the staples can rub against one of the walls, nothing bad will happen. This is because staples have very little mass and they are shorter than the microwaves themselves, which means they're basically microwave "invisible". So don't be afraid to try the recipe.

Sometimes one flush isn't enough.

(I should put that up as a sign by the urinals and toilets at work.)

Ugh. Back at work. I can't figure out which I enjoy less: being sick and stuck at home, or being well and stuck at work.

Love / In Love

We all know that there's a fundamental difference between loving someone and being in love with that person? But what's that difference, exactly? People say that it's really hard to explain, but when you're in love, you'll know. So how do you know? What is it that tells you you're in love? A certain vision with that person?

Remember back in high school (or earlier or later), when you had a crush on someone or went out with him/her? You thought you knew what love was. Years later, you realized you didn't. So if you know now, how do you know you know? How do you know you won't find later that you still had no clue today?

So ... what's being in love, and how do you know?

Intel wants everyone to get unwired -- but not unconnected -- for a day. In fact, they already have a particular day in mind for you: September 25, 2003.

Louisiana crawfish kind of look something like disproportionate miniature lobsters, but honestly, they look more like bugs. I finally had one -- in an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, of all places -- and it wasn't all that. The whole time, I felt like I was eating a bug. Or a lobster with very very low yield in meat. Either way, it wasn't really worth the effort.

Being sick at home and taking a day off work is insanely boring. It's about all I can do to stop from going stir-crazy. And healing foods are invariably high in carbs and "good stuff" while being low in the stuff that athletic diets really require. This sucks. I hate being stuck in the house and not doing anything.

Seriously, who would buy that?

So I have the wonderful honour of MC'ing a banquet this coming November. I haven't been working on the speech, and the groom IM'd me recently about that evening. So I gave him an impromptu speech. Transcript below.

[14:05] him: Oh, good thing you've been doing all that blog rhyming lately... it'll come in handy when you MC.... Hee hee.
[14:06] me: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the glorious wedding banquet for [groom] and [bride]. Mike check, 1, 2, 1, 2. Y'all in the house?
[14:06] me: I said, ARE Y'ALL IN THE HOUSE?? I can't hear you!
[14:07] him: "Throw your m-f'in hands in the air! Wave 'em round like you just don't care!
[14:07] me: Check check, 's alright. We here to party all night. Sip Bacardi, red wine or white.
[14:08] me: Congratulate them with a toast!
[14:08] me: Lobster? Ate it, where's the pot roast?
[14:08] me: You can each come up and tell us funny jokes.
[14:09] me: Sun down to sun up, we be drunky blokes.
[14:09] me: Yeah yeah, even you old grumpy folks
[14:10] me: And ya little kids too, the ones cryin' boo hoo. Parents, glue they mouths shut with UHU. Or I come down there and smack them and you too.
[14:10] me: Yay!
[14:10] him: hahahahhahah.
[14:10] me: I can rhyme again!
[14:10] him: you da man, man!
[14:10] him: yes you can, can!
[14:10] me: I knew I could.
[14:11] me: Oh, I'm going to blog that rhyme.
[14:11] him: oh dear... here we go again!
[parts omitted]
[14:13] me: I'll just confirm it this week for you. Is that okay?
[14:13] me: Or you need sooner?
[14:13] me: set sail on your schooner?
[14:13] him: no.. no need... just curious george.
[14:13] me: eat sashimi salmon tuna?
[14:13] me: playing trombone and tuba?
[14:13] me: ever gone diving, scuba?
[14:14] him: dress in drag and do the hula?
[14:14] me: like al pacino, go "Ooohh-aaah"
[14:14] me: Hahaha ... good one!
[14:14] him: like tiimone and his sidekick pumba/
[14:14] me: Nice.
[14:15] me: Like rice. Or shaved ice.
[14:15] me: with milk and fruits on it.
[14:15] him: or half a pound of lice
[14:15] me: Or even syrup, goshdarnnit.
[14:15] me: round up the mice
[14:15] me: and stop 'em from stealing it.
[14:15] me: the wedding and married life -- are ya feeling it?
[14:16] him: (yeah, yeah!)
[14:16] me: in bed with your fairy wife
[14:16] me: must be very nice

(I lost focus in the middle somewhere. And okay, maybe it needs a little work.)

I finally caved in and bought the Weber Q with the rolling cart and vinyl cover, as a package. It's only a 10% discount off the regular Internet prices -- $215 shipped.

I know, I know. But it's an awesome grill and comes with 5-year warranty, and accolades from everywhere. And it's a heavy-duty grill that is semi-portable too, so I can throw it in the back of my car and go.

Now it's time to buy some BBQ tools and wait for it to be shipped! (Sure would have been handy while I was making those pork BBQ ribs tonight -- yum -- had KT bring hers over to grill with.)

I am now the proud owner of two cooking books, each personally signed by Alton Brown, guy in the "Good Eats" shows. He's a really nice guy, and rather witty; his on- and off-camera persona are identical, and the same style as his books are written in. It was worth the 1.5-hour wait in line, after 20 minutes of parking searching, after the 40 minute drive to get to San Francisco. (He's making a tour across America, so you might be interested in seeing him.)

The reason I love his books / show is because he doesn't just tell you what to do or how to do it, but he explains the why of cooking. That is, why a steak that tastes great when grilled tastes gross when boiled. Or why eggs are important in meatloaf. Or why the microwave is fantastic for making popcorn but not so good for other things. It's almost really a scientific way of teaching cooking, and perfect for minds like mine.

Shower Power

Let's get some more granularity on a previous topic. All of us have had some 20+ years' experience in showering ourselves. Humans are creatures of habit, and that is plenty of time to develop some. Do you find that when you shower, you've gotten into a specific shower routine? Do you always do things in a certain order?

My morning shower routine is this.

- shower water on (needs to "pre-heat")
- take Scope
- shampoo the hair
- gargle and spit Scope (you need 30 seconds)
- rinse shampoo, apply conditioner
- body wash
    - chest
    - arms (left, then right)
    - torso (front)
    - back
    - legs (right, left)
    - extra run over neck and throat (dunno why)
- facial cleanser
- brush teeth and tongue
- final rinse

Then I'm out of the shower, and it's time for drying ...

- head/hair, face
- torso (front)
- fun parts
- back
- arms (left, right)
- legs (left, then right)
- Q-tips for the ears

What's yours? Not necessary to provide specifics that we might not want to know (ie. don't detail the "fun parts" unless you have something to point out).

The CEO is flirting with the GSM Engineer again. Ugh, and I have to listen to it, because I have an office next to his. I don't like her much and this isn't an opinion from only me, but she has a guardian angel keeping her around. (Guess who.)

Milk makes my fart stink. I suppose it's the lactose content, but I haven't made the same observations with cheese. Further (semi-controlled) experiments to follow in the near future.

Let Me Check My Schedule ...

Here's my regular weekday routine. (I've even typeface-coded it for you: food-related is italicized, travel/commute-related is underlined, and the rest is black.)

0830 - wake up all groggy
    0835 - protein #1
    0835 - check movie downloads
    0850 - prepare shower
    0855 - prepare smoothie ingredients
    0900 - pack gym clothes
    0905 - take shower
    0930 - pack food for the day
    0935 - get dressed
    0950 - make the smoothie
    0955 - shave, do my hair
1005 - leave home
1030 - arrive at work
    1035 - unpack food into fridge
    1040 - check everyone's blogs
    1050 - check personal email
    1100 - work work work
    1145 - lunch #1
    1400 - lunch #2
    1530 - snack (sometimes)
    1630 - protein #2
    1900 - dinner #1
1945 - leave work
2030 - arrive at the gym
    2035 - energy drink (rare)
    2145 - protein #3
2150 - leave the gym
2210 - arrive at home
    2230 - dinner #2
    2300 - watch a movie on my PC
    0045 - wash up
0100 - sleep

So ... your turn. What's yours?

I am now a seasoned expert in drawing MousyMan! Try by following the step-by-step instructions, and you too can boast this skill in your resume!

I have a new favourite word: automagically. I've seen it on some online forums like VWvortex.

It's basically how a feature does something on its own, and the inner workings of it are completely blackbox, dunno-how to the user. Like when you step into the newest luxury cars, and the seat somehow just knows it's you and adjusts itself properly to your liking. Or how the car unlocks when it knows you're coming. Or how your nightlight turns on when it gets dark.

Or like how every other Wednesday, I get a paycheque for exactly the right amount to pay off my bills with nothing left over: automagically!

Soda Pop, Bop-She-Bop-She-Bop

The battle continues. So is it pop or soda? Notice the lack of west coast representation in this survey? :-( There's already another survey of 120,000 people that shows this. (Wow, strong Coca-Cola brand presence in the southeast USA?)

I've had my amazing Braun Multiquick Professional MR5550HC-BC handblender -- which, contrary to its name, is a blender you hold in your hand and not a machine to blend your hand up -- for about three weeks now. With this wonderful power-tool-for-the-kitchen, I make smoothies at home in the morning.

It's amazingly simple: pieces of frozen fruit (whatever flavour of the day my taste buds call for that morning), a banana cut into pieces, some milk and a healthy helping of honey.

I grab the whole mixing beaker (which is like an oversized tumbler), poke a straw in it, and I'm out the door! This tasty, carb-loaded concoction costs me under a dollar in materials to make each morning, which totally beats out the $4.50 for a Jamba Juice. And it keeps my tummy full at least until 11:30am (which is my first lunchtime).

Lest we forget ... just another reminder on why Canada is cool.

Haha, now we're talkin'. Just a matter of time before holographic displays get cheaper and better! Heck, you can even get 3D LCDs on the new Sharp notebook! (There's a nicer version on the Sharp Japan website.)

Curses, Foiled Again

I thought I read somewhere that aluminum foil is supposed to be wrapped shiny side in because of the coating on that side of it (to avoid interaction / reactions with the food). Food service establishments always seem to wrap their foods with tin foil, leaving the shiny side out. Here I am, wondering how it is they wouldn't know that!

Well, I was wrong. (It's rare, but it happens.) The food packaging guide corrected me, as did Reynolds (the aluminum foil company). But even so, shouldn't the shiny side reflect heat better? Perhaps the shiny side might stick less to the food (because it's microscopically smoother)?

One thing I know about tinfoil -- the rolls aren't wide enough to make nice foil hats with, before you go venturing into a crop circle.

The Asian Moon Festival is upon us -- September 11, 2003! I went to buy myself a mooncake, so I can sit and watch the big ol' moon while I'm eating it. I never realized how expensive the mooncakes are! There's a tiny little bite-size ones that are $1.35/ea, the 4-inch diameter ones that are around $6/ea, and then the even bigger ones that are like twice as much! (Variances depend on filling type and egg yolk count.)

Damned moon, costing me so much in mooncakes. How about if at some point during the night, I pulled them off and pointed my butt at people, as my own special tribute to the Moon Festival??

Remember that ingenious Honda ad? There's a sequel, but as many sequels go, it just doesn't match up to the original.


The sun shone its usual May routine. While the four occupants were giddy with anticipation of the lake and BBQ, his little car zipped along the twisting mountain roads. He and she met only minutes earlier, introduced by a mutual friend. Unlike most such events, no awkward smalltalk was needed to kindle a bond: conversation flowed smoothly, filled with laughs.

All the while, she was carefully -- though none too discretely -- playing with the various switches and buttons from her passenger seat, peering curiously into the storage compartments, the arm rest cabinet, and anywhere that would bear hints to his personality. A question tore through the conversation mid-way.

"Are you gay?" she asked of him, almost in mocking.

A moment passed as he realized the source. His eyes never left the road as his arm moved to shut the armrest, with a sheepish look of embarassment on his face.


She giggled with mischievous delight, reopened it, reached in, and re-emerged, brandishing a lovely tube of hand cream in some kind of fruity scent.

"Don't listen to her. She listens to weird music ... like musicals," her friend in the back mused with a wrinkled nose.

"RENT and Les Mis are my all-time favourites!"

"No way!" he exclaimed in incredulous disbelief. Without a word, he flipped open his music collection ... to those two soundtracks. RENT was the selection of choice for the rest of the trip there.

These were only the first of many clicks between him and her. And as it turned out, it would be only the first of many days shared between him and her.

Whoa, I just had the best statistical Wednesday (ie. unique visitors to my blog) since the rhyming days: the original, extra crispy, and my addiction.

Getting to work earlier just means lunch is that much farther away from the start of the workday. And more traffic on the way in.

You're In Control. Do you have it? Well, boys, do ya?

Okay, haha, enough fun. Try your ... uh ... hand at something similar here. I got 41000+ on my first (and only) try.

Most of us have heard of Chinese time, and recent discussion has brought up Filipino time as well as mentions to Korean time as well.

A past experience of East Indian time was also interesting: imagine a wedding banquet scheduled for 6:30pm, dinner to be served at 7:30pm. The East Indian caterers arrived at 7:00pm, some of the wedding party at 7:30pm, the guests somewhat afterwards. Dinner was served at 10:30pm.

What other "times" are there? Vietnamese time? African time? Hammer time? German time? I'd assume Swiss time is pretty punctual (as long as the people all have quartz movement). Miller time!

So, how good are you with chopsticks? Oh yeah, are ya?? Prove it. My personal best was 11 -- just need a little bit more to get into the top 100.

Well, I'm back to my GTI again. I made a 6-day swap with my friend for his Z3 about a week and a half ago. The goal: an extended test drive to see whether I'd really want a convertible, or whether it was just a novelty that would wear off and leave nothing but impracticality. Here are a few notes on what I've noticed ...

- It gets warm in there! The interior space is small, so it heats up quickly from the passengers' natural body heat.
- Plastic rear windows suck for visibility, and they tend to get scuffed and are difficult to clean (even with solvents in hand).
- The rear mesh thing that helps with curbing wind bluster when the top is down? That sucks for visibility too.
- A 5.25" subwoofer is not a subwoofer. It just isn't.
- A CD changer sucks without an in-dash CD slot, because if you are dying to hear a new CD, you have to pull over and get at the trunk.
- There's not much room around the gas pedal -- sometimes my shoe trips on the brake pedal when moving over to the gas. You know, I just need an extra inch there so my shoe won't get caught. It should be considered a safety issue!
- It's a little loud through the cloth roof -- almost like sitting in a hardtop with your windows cracked open.
- Every once in a while, a gust of wind comes at the car. And if you're taller than 5'6", your hair will feel it like a smack on the head. It doesn't hurt, but it can be rather startling.

Girls do not like convertibles on account of them ...

... being rather loud and rough on the ride.
... ruining their hair.
... tanning them unevenly dark.
... making them hot and sweaty (in a bad way).

That said, there are still a lot of fun things about a convertible.

- Driving with the top down in mediocre weather is still fun.
- People still look and admire it. (Obviously not people who own one and know the problems of having one.)
- Open air, open air, open air, baby! It's almost like driving time becomes outdoor time. Very nice.
- Sitting in the comfy seats, and being able to stare up at the stars or night sky.

So the longwinded answer to my decision is that ...

... I love the convertible.
... it's still a little expensive and a little impractical.
... I'd want a four-seater, not two.
... I'd want cooled seats (fans or AC).
... it has to be a second (toy) car, in which case I might loosen some of the practicality issues.

So, what do you see? Nothing but mammals, right? Uh, yeah. Me too. (Look at the image first, and then read the description info.)