P/review Sites

There are tons of review sites telling you about the new products and tech toys coming to market. They all seem to cover the standard manufacturer specs, and sometimes look into the menu structure (OS) and other features. Even Amazon does it with their products.

I can't shake the feeling that there is something still fundamentally missing, something they aren't showing, that would be vital to my buying one via their sponsor links. But what is it?

In addition to the product reviews you read online, what would you need to know / see / read that would encourage you to buy one? Other than the spec data, what do you really want to know about a product that you can't seem to find in those sites?

Why Don't Chugo?

chugoSo I became a samurai and they told me I was chugo.

"Duty and Loyalty: You serve your purpose and do what you must do. People would consider you someone to rely on, and one who keeps his/her word when he/she gives it."

The name sounds ugly, but at least it sounds honourable.

I Had It Coming

CDMAP Settlement"February, 2004

Dear California Music Purchaser:

As Attorney General for the State of California, I am pleased to enclose payment for your claim in the settlement of the Compact Disc Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation. [snip the rest of the letter]

Bill Lockyer
Attorney General of California"

And at the bottom of the unexpected letter was a cheque for $13.86. I guess it pays to sign up with those class action lawsuits when it applies to you! Yay!

Need an Ark

rain rain rainHelp, help! On account of the inclement weather, they've issued flood warnings for the Bay Area because of the terrible storm we're having! Oh, please please please somebody save us! All this downpour from above, wind gusts that will carry you away like Mary Poppins!

Please, Californians, it's just rain. Just keep driving, morons.

(Not a great day to have my left headlight out anyway.)

What Tofu Is Fo'

With its thrust into North American popularity some years ago, tofu has found itself with a bad reputation amongst westerners, because it's bland or they don't like the taste or whatever. Why, though? And why was it that Asians have been cooking and eating the various forms of soybean products for thousands of years, then?

soymilkDeep fried tofu snack. Mapo tofu over rice. Soy milk (hot or cold, sweetened or non). Soy biscuits. Tofu stirfried with just about anything Asian. Tofu puddings and desserts.

That's what I associate with tofu and cooking. I was enjoying a mug of fresh, hot soy milk with a friend this past weekend when I realized why it was: they try to make it what it's not. I see these tofu companies trying to push it for western acceptance with some very strange food impostors.

Tofu burritos. Soy milk as a lactose-free alternative in your coffee. Soy cornbread and scones. Tofu veggie burgers. Pizza with tofu on it. Tofu pasta salads. Tofurkey, for crying out loud!

With these recipes, it's no wonder they don't like tofu. It's no wonder they think it's weird and possibly gross -- they're not using it right. Please, people, just enjoy it for what it is. It's just tofu.

Shampoo for More Body

Brain fart.

We should all shampoo our hair.
But should we shampoo all our hair?

(Read it again. You'll know what I mean.)

Curry in a Hurry

On North Road in Burnaby, BC, there is an unassuming Chinese restaurant by the name of Big Wok. I used to frequent this place a lot, back in the college days. It was where they served, in my opinion, the best Chinese-style curry beef brisket on rice for just four-and-change.

yumAs I remember it, it might almost have glowed, but not that crazy fluorescent colour that some places seem to use. This was more a tan-brown-yellow -- I will refrain from telling you what else is the same colour. Great chunks of tenderly-stewed brisket, soft lumps of potato, and the richest curry sauce in all the land.

And it was probably about as bad for you as it could ever get. But damn, it was tasty.

I didn't get a chance to eat there this trip back, but I will next time.


I wish I may, I wish I might ... I wish, I wish, I wish.

Stark Contrast

dum, dum, da-dum ...A long day of intense happiness concluded as the bride and groom closed up the final details on their wedding day. And as I sat in the car on the way home, I could not help but feel a distinct sadness -- a very sharp loneliness -- in knowing that I was probably still at least three years away from my own.

My romantic future is in complete question.

It is partially in my hands, but mostly in the hands of others. Until then, I will remain a leftover. Though those of us who remained single casually joked about it as if it contained some sort of bragging rights, I believe that none of us found it that funny. The thought was truly depressing.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

I don't always write about things as they happen. Sometimes my stories are from months or years back, that just come back into my mind for some reason or another.

But this one is about today.

dum, dum, da-dum ...Today, another friend enters the married life. He has a house that is being renovated inside, and his life is also changing from the inside out. Today, he takes that next step. (Of course, on Thursday's stag, he took a different step.) Today, he's a changed man.

And perhaps it's because I'm becoming desensitized to the idea, or that I've come to a point where I'm ready. But the married life doesn't sound so menacing (as the creature stealing away all my single buddies) nor scary (from the permanency of holy matrimony). Am I ready? And with whom?

Hold That Thought

Sometimes there are things I'm glad I didn't say.

We have two urinal stalls in the men's washroom at work -- one at normal height, one at shorter height. The IT guy (nice guy) walked in before me and took the regular one, and I was stuck standing at the kid-sized urinal. And for a short moment, while we were peeing side by side, I thought about making a comment about the shorter urinal.

But my brain stopped me (thankfully) before I said, "Man, I always get stuck with the shorter one."

Better Support with No Visible Lines!

You know, being supportive is a fine line away from just telling people what they want to hear. It's also just a smidgen off of letting them think that what they're going through (or thinking about doing) is more okay than it might really be. So how can you be supportive while still maintaining the honest truth?

I'm done with that. From a while back, it was all about blunt honesty. If you don't want the straight truth (sometimes sprinkled with a little sugar, or served over a cup of bubble tea), then don't ask me. If you ask, you know what you're going to get.

You're going to get the straight goods, exactly what I think. I'll tell you if I think you're being stupid, or if you have a moronic idea, or if I think you're being lazy about it, or if you're way off track with your approach. But I will give credit where credit is due.


We all know people who are really cheap (as in frugal / thrifty). But how many ways can you say someone is really cheap? For instance:

- He takes long strides to save on shoe soles.
- She straightens out used staples to reuse them.
- He puts a negative tip on his credit card receipt.

I dunno, can't think of many myself.


I like reading my brother's blogs. I find that his blog writing style is generally similar to mine, in mannerisms, in thought patterns. So it's like reading a blog that I could have written, without having written it -- like a surprise entry in my own blog or something!


I can't remember how I got this link, but Home Made Simple is a great little site about good housekeeping. It's run by Procter & Gamble, so no doubt many of the tips involve their branded products. Still, useful!

I'm a Human Bing

I just realized that I'm a lot like Chandler -- I use humour as a defense mechanism when I'm uncomfortable or hiding other emotions. I also have a sarcastic tone about me, but only when I'm not dishing one-liners. There are also times when I poke fun at people constantly -- this is known to some friends as "fvcker mode".

And of course, people find great amusement in my life and how I react to it. I often find it less funny than they do.


:-)     :-D


Sh!t. I slept in. (And here I am blogging about it instead of getting my a$$ to work.)

[edit: <shameless plug>I am sporting the Firebird and Bounty Hunter this fine morning. Pick yours up today!</shameless plug>]

Signals Everywhere

I am reminded of her when ...

... I see my handcream in the armrest of my car.
... I hear about volleyball or CityBeach.
... I think about 24hr Fitness locations.
... I have an In-n-Out burger.
... I drive down the 101 into San Jose.
... I strap on my inline skates.
... I see another of her car.
... someone mentions Half Moon Bay.
... I watch my downloaded episodes of Friends.
... I have a Krispy Kreme donut.
... I pull my runners on (I bought her the same pair).
... I see white stargazer lilies.
... it's her birthday, the day we met, or the day we parted.

See, I do have a good memory (and good memories).

Extra Parts

What are man nipples good for? I had this deep discussion with a friend over IM.

We only came up with one thing: they hold our shirts a little away from our bodies so our clothes don't stick to us when we're working out. Quite ingenious, I suppose. But then, sadly defeated by Nike's snugly fitting Dri-FIT shirts.

Actually, they are (men nipples, not Dri-FIT) also good for being "eyes" if you want to draw a face on your belly.

Okay, two things. But only two, we could come up with.


The kind of fear that strikes through the minds of mortal men, quickening their heartbeats from the mere thought. The kind of fear that crescendos with dischords as unknowns peer from behind hidden corners. The kind of fear from realizing the consequences of certain actions set in motion some time ago and cannot be reversed. The kind of fear that looms threateningly overhead like a thundercloud darkening an already cloudy sky. The kind of fear (itself) that one may sit and fear with white-knuckled anticipation that the worst of the ranting is not yet over. The kind of fear that fear itself fears. Indeed, that is a fear we won't wish upon our worst enemies: the kind of fear that we fear they would wish upon us.

Just A Little

I finished my workout and had a craving for a ghetto burrito.

yum"Hello, one chicken burrito to go, please. Oh, and can I have just a little rice in it?" (Trying to follow my low-carb guidelines.)
"On the side? Or inside?" (Hmm, that was a strange question.)
"Uh, inside. Just a little bit."
"Okay, five minutes, it's ready."

So I drive there, pick it up, and cradle my edible treasure home. Unwrapping the tinfoil revealed a burrito slightly larger than par for this place, but who was I ever to argue with getting more for less?? One bite. Mmmm, yummy burrito. Two bites. Hmm, there's quite a lot of rice. Three bites. Hey, what's this?

Along with the full normal helping of rice, they had made my burrito to order: with "just a little fries" in it.

Something A-Stir

It feels funny when I wash in my belly button, or if I gently poke a finger in there. It feels ... tingly ... down you-know-where. Wonder why that is.

When the Virus Takes Hold

So Friendster became this viral hit, growing exponentially as people signed up their friends and browsed all the hot boys and girls on the Internet that their friends (or friends of friends of friends) knew. They are credited with starting this explosion of "friends networks" like MySpace, MeetUp, Tribe Networks, etc. Some are more dating oriented, some work-related, some interest-related, but they're all based on the concept that people prefer to meet others through friends.

Google wanted a piece. In fact, they wanted the particular piece called Friendster and offered to buy them out. Friendster refused, so Google made their own. Enter orkut, named after the engineer who designed it. I signed up early, but it turns out that Orkut has a privacy policy that could be feeding into their search engine side and doesn't hold so well for me. I'm not telling you NOT to sign up, but be aware of what you're signing up to.

Travel Cuts

The flurry ended, and the dust settled.

Meeting in Hangzhou is postponed two weeks, which means I get a little more breathing space to make arrangements. I spent 3 hours last night (after workout) on the phone with my brother while he talked me through some scanned maps of the cities and where the good stuff is.

I will continue to print out guides for the areas, and contact my friends who have so graciously and quickly offered me a place to stay while in Shanghai!

Parental Guidance

My parents loved her. Loved her. I thought the minor difference in race might be a problem -- my parents, like most Chinese parents, prefer their children to marry Chinese. But when I brought her home that autumn, she was so wonderful and respectful to them that she had instantly won her heart.

I figure I was the same with her parents. I was careful (with her guidance) on how to behave with her parents, though I found that I just needed to extend the same courtesy as I would have any Asian parents. They seemed to accept me just fine, and often invited me to dinner. (At some point, they almost expected me to eat at their place!) I didn't understand a lot of the dinner talk, but I could learn.

To me, that was key. We both have strong family values, and good relationships with our upper generations, and it was important to each of us that the other got along. How else would you be able to continue a close union of two people with that kind of permanency?

Fine China

"We need you in a very important meeting. In China. This weekend."

That was the gist of an email quietly sitting in my Inbox this morning. It meant I would have to leave by this Thursday. It meant I would miss my Tahoe daytrip. It meant I would miss V Day in SF. It meant a short work week next week because I would be in Vancouver next Thursday.

So ensued a crazy flurry of finding visa information, making travel arrangements. In doing so, and after speaking to my brother (who just today got home from there), I thought of this opportunity: my first visit to China. A chance to scope out the "scene" over there: personal, business, lifestyle.

My current plan is to take all of next week off (Monday is a holiday here anyway), and do this trip.

SFO (12) -> PVG (13)
PVG (19) -> YVR (19)
YVR (22) -> SFO (22)

I'm going to propose it to my boss (and have him pay for the flight, which is $400 more for the Vancouver drop-off) in a few minutes. Let's see what he says tomorrow. Otherwise, I'll have to fly back and then fly up to Vancouver (which I've already booked anyway for myself).

Any suggestions on what to do in Shanghai / Hangzhou?

Having Never Met

oops, that's not rightIt's commonly accepted that cats eat fish, and cats love fish. (Somehow, tuna is seen as a favourite, but that's a minor point.) So exactly where did we get that idea from?

Science tells us that fish live in water. Real-life experience tells us that cats hate water. (Anyone who has tried to give their cat a bath can surely attest to this.) Sounds kind of mutually exclusive to me.

So how would cats ever have a chance at eating fish?


Life is complicated; it just is.

But do you ever wonder why it is, and why people resolve to accepting that "it just is"? The body requires only food, clothing, shelter, and exercise to stay alive. The mind requires stimulation and exercise also. That should be easy, right?

Clearly, our world is filled with various ways to achieve those ends, and many can be very simple. So do we make our own lives complicated by seeking stimuli and exercise that are difficult to achieve? What are a few simple things you could do to make your life less complicated?


I watched her from an electronic distance. She was constantly coming into view, only to disappear shortly after. Hidden in the shadows, I was sure she didn't see me, but still hoped she would somehow receive my telepathic messages. My longing brainwaves are not reaching far enough. There she sits, typing away. I know she is not there for me. But I fear most that she waits to meet another man.


Alright, look.

I don't necessarily want toiletries made especially for men. Maybe I want the cucumber ones. And saffron lemon scents and strawberry kiwi. Tangerine mango! But heck, I'll settle for green tea and winter melon aromas. I want to come out of the washroom smelling like roses. Or lilies. Or sweetpea (which are, interestingly, flowers and not peas).

I want my skin nice and soft, chemically exfoliated, fully ph-balanced, gently moisturized, freshly fraganced. I like when my t-zone is neutralized, and my eyes are lovingly coated with eyecream!

I want my cuticles pushed back, my nails buffed and shining, hands given the intensive-care healing creams. My hair ends need to be sealed with hot oils, straightened with relaxing balms and de-frizzers, then textured with pomades and hair creams. My feet should be rubbed free of callouses, massaged deeply with just the tips of the thumbs, and smothered in soothing talcum lotion.

But pluck my eyebrows or leg hairs, and you will suffer the wrath of this pansy boy.

Rememories 2

And I cannot forget ...

... how "2" is the number she uses when she's making stuff up. ("2 minutes!")
... that she is afraid of grates and manhole covers on the streets and sidewalks.
... the funny faces she would make in my photos.
... how happy she was with the same foods I loved.
... that she's afraid of pigeons.
... how happy I was when she was.
... when she called me her "Iron Chef" for cooking her dinner.
... how she was always so warm to my friends and family.
... how her crying made me fall apart.

With all that I remember, I forget why I ever let her go.

To Whom It May Concern ...

Dear spammer,

Thank you for your pleasant inquiry. I was a little surprised to read your email, because from the subject, I thought it was an email from a friend or colleague. At the moment, I have no need for your services because ...

- I don't have a printer, and therefore need no toner/ink.
- My penis doesn't need enlarging nor help getting it up.
- My mortgage rates are already currently nil.
- I don't care if she's alone and daddy's not home.
- I have enough cash to last at least until payday.
- I don't want to make money from the comfort of my own home.
- I'm an engineer; I can fix my own PC.
- Call me suspicious, but I just don't believe that $65 Rolex is real.
- I just saved $500/year on my insurance.
- I'm not in debt so there's nothing to consolidate.
- I already have a webcam, and it's just fine without your X10 technology.
- I'm not looking to lose weight fast.
- And why would I pay you, when I can download those pictures for free elsewhere?

I understand that I could be forgoing an unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime deal that expires soon (or while quantities last). I will keep your email on file for a period of up to 48 hours, and if I find in the future that I require any of your services, I will be sure to contact you.

Again, thank you for your email. I bid you good day.

Senior Spammee


I remember many things. I remember ...

... how much she loves "her" Friends.
... that she used to exclaim how cute her car is.
... that she would just let me do my Starbucks cup ritual.
... that she loves to take digital pictures as much as I do.
... how she would buy so many different colours, once she found a nice top.
... that she doesn't drink hot liquids made by infusing water (ie. tea and such).
... how she would always find the harmony in songs, while I could never but sing with the melody.

Feeding You

There. Now I have feeds, Atom or RSS!

Them's for this site.
Links are to the right.
Use 'em as you like.
Thanks are to Mike.

Another Thing In My Ear

Sony Ericsson HBH-65So I came and re-tried the Sony Ericsson HBH-60 (HBH-65 is pictured, but they look nearly identical: the colours are reversed.)

- This was the first of the headsets I tried, and it's the lightest and least obtrusive of the three. It doesn't hold onto the ear very tightly, but as such, doesn't put excessive pressure on the ear.

- Because of how the ear bar pivots, it is extremely easy to put on and remove.

- For me (and my small ears), however, it doesn't position the speaker right at my ear -- it's a little away and behind the ear hole.

- This headset supports the Handsfree profile.

- One really annoying thing was that I had to pair the phone with headset each time after rebooting the phone or the headset -- they should be automatically paired already, but for some reason they're not. (I'm going to get one of the engineers to look into this -- it may be a setting.)

- In one instance, voice channel got garbled when out of range, and couldn't recover even after I came back to the phone. (I'm not certain that any headset can recover, but I know this one didn't.) Another time, voice got a terrible buzzing sound for no reason at all.

The search continues!

Our Song

Anyone who's seen us
Knows what's going on between us
It doesn't take a genius
To read between the lines
And it's not just wishful thinking
Or only me who's dreaming
I know what these are symptoms of
We could be in love

All my life
I have dreamed of this
But I could not see your face
Don't ask why
two such distant stars
Can fall right into place

- excerpt from Lea Salonga & Brad Kane, "We Could Be In Love"

(Song in my head the past few days.)


Sometimes, things require creative release. Here's mine.

you know, it's not what i wanted
and at nights i still feel haunted
by the blind fact that
i can't turn time back
to take away your sadness
that fueled our madness
and let us forget what we had when we had it

all over our minds and hearts, it was littered
and now i can understand that you are bitter
about how things turned out -- like allure, we're all cried out
all emotions burned out, all solutions tried out
and still no resolution
from this confusion
just another blog entry in ex-mindless musings.

perhaps you misunderstood the situation
and the predicament that we're facing
i know how you think it happened, but in the end
if i were still with you, her and i would just be friends

but i think we're forgetting all the happiness
we had it, but that was back in the past, i guess
there were a lot of really good times I miss
sometimes i spend a lot of time missing them
wishing you and i could resolve our differences

this is not a happy place for me to be
and i know that it's really unfair to she
for such emotions to still exist in me
but it's something i need to fix so very quickly
before it drives me up the wall and turns me psycho
first the fingers through the body, then the mind goes
and hearing the latest news, now you know that i know

i don't want to give up, because what won't die is my hope

The Exit

I was about to head to bed at 4am when the phone rang.

"Ben! J got a DUI. We're in the back of a police car right now. The cops are going to drop me off [somewhere] -- can you pick me up?"

I went out to get her at the gas station where the police left her. And she wanted to go home, get the keys, and pick up the car before the tow trucks got to it.

That's when this unlikely situation put me in an unlikely location: the Yerba Buena exit.

I hadn't been in that area since February of last year. Prior to that, I frequented the exit, always to visit the same house. We took the lonely winding road past the turn I used to always make. My spirits darkened, as if that street were haunted by the ghosts of my memories. Of pure happiness gone awry.

That night, our trip took me past that street four times.

As if the once weren't enough.
As if the agony of being so close (and yet so far) hadn't woken all those hidden emotions.
As if those emotions, once awakened, could return to their peaceful rest again to leave me be.
As if I knew what to do with this, how to deal with it all.
As if.

The Idea Of

When you reminisce about your past, what is it that you reminisce about? A friend asked me an interesting question one day (she's good at those): am I thinking of her, or merely of the idea of her?

At this point, I can only say that she was the embodiment of all those ideas into a person. And after all, isn't that what we seek? Aren't we looking for the person that holds all the traits we want, and with whom we can see ourselves growing old?

But alas, the dream dims, and memory fades. In time, perhaps the dreams won't even live on in memory.

Not Symmetrical

My left foot is bigger than my right. But this is not true of all my body parts. My right arm is larger.