Slush Mountain

Though Lake Tahoe seems to have the highest elevation in North America, its latitude doesn't allow visitors to enjoy long seasons of snow sports. What's more, we've been hit this year with a warm March -- this weather pattern apparently occurs every other year -- and snow conditions have been lacking.

KirkwoodAll the same, we meet J & E in Foster City at 530a to begin our long trek to Kirkwood. The journey to Kirkwood is different from that to North Lake Tahoe: we don't get to have McDonald's in Auburn along the I-80. Instead, we eat Burger King around Jackson somewhere on the CA-88. Up to that point, the drive is straight and rather boring, so I got sleepy, having only caught 2 hours the night before. So I snooze in the back while R negotiates the winding curves of the 88 up the mountain.

It's heating up at Kirkwood -- by the time we get our boots on, we're already warm! The lifts open, and we're on the way up. I'm sporting new gear -- Salomon AMP 159, Flow Pro-19, 32 Team-1, Camelbak Snodawg -- and looking forward to seeing how it all performs!

Snow is decent, since there was fresh snowfall just two days earlier. But the sun! Two runs later, J sheds his jacket in favour of a T-shirt. The rest of us are sweating even with our jackets open, thirstily guzzling water and Gatorade from our Camelbak reservoirs.

The WallAfter lunch, the four of us go to tackle the backside, despite warnings that the snow was melting too much. (E was feeling nauseous and stayed behind.) It was so bad that wherever the sun had touched, the snow had turned to slush -- we could feel the "stickiness" of that slush tugging and dragging us down, slowing us down considerably. Shadowed areas still were fine, and while passing through the tree-lined runs where it was dark-light-dark-light, the ride was simply too inconsistent to get any speed up.

So we decide instead to battle the double-blacks at the top of The Wall. Our first run down the Wall had us questioning what we had signed up for, but down to the fourth time on that face, we were feeling pretty good about it! As the sun began to lengthen our shadows, we found that the slopes were holding up better, and actually made for a few more enjoyable runs.

Winding the mountain roads back home gave me a chance to test out my comfort zone in the GTI, while my two passengers slept (struggling to keep their heads from waving back and forth). Traffic on the way back sucked around the CA-99, and in Tracy.

Unless the ski conditions change dramatically in the next month or so -- like if there is a huge snowstorm and the temperatures up top stay under or near freezing -- I think I'm ready to store the board away until the next season. It's not worth a 3-hour drive each way for Slurpee consistencies. I'll tell ya, a one-day Tahoe trip is taxing on the driver, but sure lets you sleep well at night.

Food, Folks, and Fun

This past weekend, Hougee had his first return trip to the Bay Area. Though it was a work trip for Uppercut Apparel, I had the opportunity to spend some time with him again.

The fabulous Saturday started off with a morning trip to the Great Mall looking for the re-issued Nike Air Jordan 2's. They were all sold out within an hour, which we expected. What we didn't expect was to find the mall teeming with tall, beautiful girls all dressed up for auditioning for the next season of UPN's America's Next Top Model! (By the way, minimal requirements for qualification are 5'7", female, under 27.)

After some harmless oggling, we left to hit up some urban clothing stores in Los Gatos. Weather picked up, and our spirits were high! Los Gatos is a great little town; I think I could see myself living there long-term, if I could afford it! On the way out, we passed by a Ferrari dealership and Hougee spotted the Enzo -- we had to spin around the block to stare at it again!

We zipped through Nordstrom Rack, and finding nothing, took to Haight street for some Best of Thai -- yummy food (though rather spicy). At Amoeba Records, we happened across clearance (used) Electronica CDs in the $2 range! What's more, they were buy-4-get-1-free! A lot of these are smaller-name or no-name artists who had a small release of their music, so we found ourselves buying on instincts and gut. $30 later (combined), we skimmed our 17 to find some real gems!

Nightfall saw us roaming Union Square so Hougee could by a belt for his new jeans (which were threatening to moon us all day). And finally, after a long drive home, some ghetto burritos.

It was an eventful day of casual hanging: friends, food, cars, girls, shopping, and a day about town. How else would you hope to spend a great day like this?

We said our goodbyes that night, and when he awoke the next morning, I was probably already on the slopes at Kirkwood.

Not Funny

we are not amusedDear readers, you've probably noticed that my recent blogs haven't had any comedic anecdotes or other humourous events from my daily life -- normally, my life is somehow strictly governed by a higher power for your amusement. And upon reading that first statement, you're probably readying yourself for my explanation on why this has been. That's really too bad, because you won't get a satisfactory answer. Truth is, nothing funny happens to me anymore; I don't know why. And the fact that I don't know why isn't really funny either.

In an effort to be more entertaining for you, I promise to try to put myself in more situations where I'm uncomfortable or awkward. Or where my life gets bombarded with little scenes ending in hilarious punch lines. Or I might have to start making stuff up soon.

Makes Ya Want One, Donut?

yumI've been craving Krispy Kremes for some time now. (For about 4 weeks now, actually.) And the force is particularly strong today. I may have to pop over to Albertson's to pick one up (though it's definitely not the same as getting one fresh off the conveyor belt). Gawd, I miss them!

If you're feeling like Thursdays are really a warmup to Fridays, or if you're bored, there's an article that touches on the history of donuts. It also names a few local specialty donut joints, including Cops Donuts (scheduled to open in fall 2004).

I also read an article comparing the scientific differences between Tim Horton's and Krispy Kremes, but can't find it again. Speaking of which, by the end of the year, Krispy Kreme is expected to launch a donut that has 25% less sugar in it, so as to entice the more health-conscious donut lovers. I say that's all crap, because if you're going for a donut, you should enjoy it for what it should be -- not some honed version of it!

By hey, let's see what I'm saying after I've gained 40 ever-so-tasty, melt-in-your-mouth, stick-to-your-hips, guilty-pleasures-of-life pounds.

Oatmeal with Raisins and Milk

If it weren't for the raisins, my morning oatmeal would be rather bland and unenjoyable. And if it weren't for the milk I use to make it (instead of the salt-water they suggest) either, this morning oatmeal would be absolutely unbearable.

Pssst ... Guess What I Just Heard??

Are you good at keeping secrets? Are you, really? I think I'm pretty decent at it -- people don't seem to mind telling me confidential information, trusting me to keep my lips sealed, which I generally do.

And it's generally accepted that secrets don't remain secrets, and confidential information generally leaks somehow (as much as we try to stop it). After all, two sayings come to mind.

- Everyone has a best friend. And you always share with your best friend, don't you?
- 1 + 1 = 11. If you've told 2 people, it will get passed to 9 more.

So consider this: you are told a secret, and your source says, "Don't tell anyone, okay? Noone." That's a pretty clear message, right? So ... who do you tell anyway? Come on, be honest. Is your spouse/partner (as a rule) excepted from that stated restriction? For me, no: most of the time, I don't tell heR. But it wasn't like that with Her and hEr; dunno what's different. Does your source assume that "noone" actually means "noone except him/her"?

And sometimes I tell people, but very rarely, and usually masked under complete anonymity and to people who are far away from that person -- I figure this gives me the chance to seek different opinions on whatever the issues are, while keeping that person's secret safe (because you don't know who they are, and chances are, you don't even know the person).

But hey, don't tell anyone, okay?

Sing, Sang, Song

There are three recently popular songs on Wild 949 that I felt the need to comment on, all around a common theme (coincidentally one we've touched on before).

Mario Winan's I Don't Wanna Know strikes me as a strange escapist attitude. He'd rather not know that his girl is out there messin' around, than to face the truth, as if what he doesn't know can't hurt him. It's a good song, but the content is messed up (in my opinion).

Coming from the complete opposite end is Eamon's F--k It (I Don't Want You Back). Eamon's writing as a follow-up to a breakup when he realizes she wasn't faithful, and finally takes a step to moving on and not wanting her back. I feel like it's sung in a sad tone, having been hurt by her. Again, I like the song, and I feel for the guy.

Of course, there had to be a response to it. Frankee sang this to Eamon: F U R B. She's going on about how she was cheating on him and how he was just a loser and how pathetic he is. Totally no remorse in her actions, a very in-your-face-so-what attitude. Now, that is ghetto, and I'm frankly disgusted by these lyrics.

And what's more, it bothers me that shE finds this (last) song funny. WTF?


Though I was intoxicated, I still thought of yOu.

Morning Has Broken

There's just something about the crisp morning air that makes me happy to be awake. Perhaps it's all the kids on their way to school with their parents, runners doing their early fitness routines, seniors making their walks to the park. There's just something about that morning atmosphere that I enjoy. Maybe it's the early amber sunlight playing off the houses and buildings, giving them the subtle glows. Perhaps it's the technicolour skies in yellows, oranges, and blues, slowly brightening in anticipation of a wonderous Friday.

Undeniable Destiny

This urge has been getting stronger. I can feel its growing presence. This pressure of pending events is growing inside of me, and its eventual emergence is clear. Things that need to be done, will be done, as they should be done. I can no longer deny this dual push-pull of forces. Let the games begin.

Up and Down Markets

Farmer's markets have always been an interesting alternative to your everyday supermarkets and grocery stores. But they take on very different characters depending on where you are in the world, I've noticed.

chinatownIn Asia (and surely elsewhere), they're where one goes for the most direct produce and goods from local farmers and growers. The local agricultural workers set up stands and sell in volume straight from the farm / orchard. Freshly caught fish and seafood, livestock slaughtered that morning (and still warm), vine- and tree-ripened fruits and vegetables on display. They peddle their wares at the cheapest prices, often in damp, smelly concrete lots covered with a big tent. This is where people know to go for the best and cheapest foods.

fruits at the farmers marketIn North America, farmer markets are where one goes also for the most direct produce and goods from local farmers and growers. But, whoa, they're definitely more expensive than your supermarket variety, because you can get alternatives to the mainstream -- organics, vegan foods, specialty foods, crafts (and other crap). Around here, farmer markets are really more of a luxury. The Los Gatos Farmer's Market is one example where there's a crepe guy who makes 'em like there's no tomorrow. And there's the Farmer's Market in LA, where even celebrities frequent! But, of course, Granville Island is one of my all-time favourites.

Does anyone visit farmer's markets often? Any good ones around here (or there)?

Their Own Little World

cnnWhy does CNN bother having a US news tab on their site? The Home Page -- which one would assume is a smattering of most pressing news to anyone -- is already heavily America-centric. For that matter, why is there even a World tab? Most of the articles there seem only to be there because the contents have some direct impact on the USA. I mean, "Top Stories" should be somewhat better-rounded than that, no?

[ edit: I think I found it. You can set CNN to use the International Edition. It's in the top right somewhere, toggling between "International Edition" and "U.S. Edition". ]

In the Still of the Night

Another dream came to me. We met again, sitting next to each other on the sun-draped bench. Our hands naturally meshed, one fitting in the other, the way it was always meant to feel. An awkward moment followed as we realized what we were doing, and our hands retreated. Another, even more awkward silence followed. We hadn't seen each other for a year, so perhaps it was too fast and too hasty. We sat there uncomfortably struggling between running to each other as our hearts desired, and sitting there to protect ourselves from the hurt in the past.

Freshly Chopped Caesar

"Beware the ides of March."
"He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass."

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

There are lots of events where I never show up in the resulting photos; my face never shows up in any of the pictures. If the photos were a documented record of the event, it's like I was never there. Get enough of these albums together, and you realize that it's as if I don't even exist.

Why is that? I'm not really sure why, because I don't go avoiding pictures. I'm simply not in a lot of them. It's almost like I'm the kid who never gets picked for the kickball team, left leaning on the fence like I never played.

I mean, I like taking pictures and keeping those digital memories for myself. So I carry a camera with me a lot. You'd think this increases the odds of showing up in a photo, but it means I'm behind the camera more, and that doesn't help.

Talk Time

Remember when cellphones used to have a talk time of just 45 minutes, because the battery just wouldn't hold up? Even the high capacity ones would only last 90 minutes, and had standby times under a day. And now we're at 5+ hours of talktime, and phones go days without needing a charge. Wow, huh!

Alien Technology

What with the recent exploration on Mars, we seemed to have learned a lot. But this video shows that I guess we're not as smart as we thought we were.

Layers Upon Layers

It's apparently possible to peel twice, if you were sunburned bad enough. I'm learning this first hand. Sort of gives new meaning to the term second skin, eh?

I shall have freshly rejuvenated skin soon. The next time you see me, you'll probably wonder why I look 5 years younger.

Like An Onion

I'd like to share something with you: a day in the Tahoe sun without sunscreen will lead to serious raccoon-face sunburning. I've spent considerable time since Monday, rubbing and peeling dead skin off my face. Strangely, I enjoyed it. I feel like Goldmember (without the saving part).

Actually, it's kind of addictive. Scratch scratch. Brush brush. Rub rub. Switch directions. Scratch some more, brush some more. Repeat.

It all started from the tip of my nose. Then the lower forehead joined in, and convinced the upper forehead to tag along (the right side more so than left). This effort quickly expanded across the upper cheeks. And, so far so good: I figure I'm probably around 85% done the peeling process. Now the peeling fronts are in and around the eyebrows, along the hairline, and on the earlobes. Yeah, the earlobes.

Looks like I had a face lift or something. Or like a map of the Ring of Fire around the Pacific.

A Peek Inside

Just because I don't blog about something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because I started blogging about something, doesn't mean it's only just started. Just because I stopped blogging about something, doesn't mean it's disappeared.

This blog is merely a glimpse into my mind and body. Remember that.

What Spring?

Two weeks ago, the evenings chilled us as we headed outdoors. Medium jackets were necessary and everyone was excited about what great weather must have touched the slopes of Tahoe before the next weekend trips. This morning, at 10am, I was braving the strong sunlight, sweating in my car on the way to work. If the dress code were programmer-lax, I would have opted for shorts.

Notice something? We have clearly missed a vital stage here. We skipped from winter straight into summer. What about the pastel blues and greens in seasonal fashion? What about the flowers blooming and light, warm showers to gently sprinkle upon them? What about warm breezes that prelude the distant coming of dog days? What about the kind of days that let you comfortably picnic in the park, and kindle that puppy love of our youth?

Pumpkin Eater

A while back, the topic of cheating seemed to be one that sparked discussion from you readers. I thought I'd continue that a little bit more here.

What compels one to cheat? I had listed a few reasons why I think there are no excuses. But what's the other side that is missing? Exactly why might one cheat? Clearly, there must be some reasons, because it still happens.

- You keep the security of a relationship that you love in every way except one. And that one is the thing you seek with your partner in crime/cheating. It might be something like spontaneity, so you may be bored, and this new guy / girl is exciting.

- You could actually be unhappy in the relationship, but unable to end it for fear of hurting the other person, looking like the "bad guy" in it, or for fear of being possibly alone (even though you wouldn't because you have the third party with you).

- Or you could just be prone to a non-committal freedom (in which case, you shouldn't be in a committed relationship to start with) and you're easily swayed with such flings. I know of some people (not friends) who somehow just can't stop cheating, like it's an addiction.

- Maybe you're trying to rack up the highest number in partners or something. Get yourself in the Guinness book of records? Make yourself known notoriously?

Anyway, whatever the reasons, I should note for the record that my stance is that it's not acceptable.


I just figured out how to add titles to my blog and feeds. Prior to this, I had simply bolded the topic words of interest in each blog, a style I quite liked about my blog. But this didn't play nicely with the RSS feed format (which would display the first X characters of my entry content).

Perhaps I can somehow have RSS pick it up, but not show it in my actual posting (ie. hidden). Why, that would be the best of both worlds!

[ edit: Figured out a workable solution! Done! ]

My Next Jacket

My jacket from Next is the one jacket I wear the most. (Next is like an English GAP -- there's one every few blocks in the Oxford Circle area.)

I bought it in London (UK), back in 1999, for about $100 CAD. It's black, made of moleskin (brushed cotton, not the skin of moles), and has stood up amazingly well over this time. Heck, they still sell it! And at the same price, too!

Now what I need is a khaki cotton equivalent for my lighter-coloured clothing -- one that I can keep and wear for the next 5 years!

Evolving through Ten Moons

So it's been about ten months since I started blogging actively. For those of you who met me before reading my blogs (which is most of you), how have my blog contents changed your impression of me? Or, heck, even if you knew me pre-blog, how have my blogs affected your thoughts of me? Be honest; I can take it.

Passion the Salad, Please?

not the actual salad that i ateThe other day, I was eating a spinach salad. The process was simple: I jab some spinach to sandwich the bits of egg, mushroom, and bacon, before dipping it lightly in the dressing.* The problem arises when the sticky-thick dressing hangs onto the last baby spinach leaf, holding it tightly in its clutches.

"We're meant to be together! I'm here for you! Stay! Stay with me!" it cries desperately, as the compassionate contents of my carefully selected salad-in-a-bite unravel into the dressing cup. The struggle is short and painless, but I am left holding a fork, stripped of its precious edible treasures. Imagine my state of discontentment: all that work, and nary a leaf left dangled in the silvery tynes. My taste buds robbed of the perfect melange of a well-balanced bite.

Should you ever be faced with the same predicament, remember this: the cherry tomato is an effective "stopper" on the end of your fork. Ah, you return to me, my saladian bliss!

*  I'm sure said dressing is 100% fat-full, but I usually ask that they provide it on the side so as to make me feel like I'm cutting down on calories somehow.

Churnin' Them Out

I am becoming a constant blog factory. It may displease you to learn that most of the blog topics I have come to me when in the shower and on the toilet. Sometimes I think of one when I'm driving, and that's when I get to use the voice memo feature on my phone.

To the Right, To the Right!

mouse on the right again ... ahhhhhhI just moved my mouse back. Too many of the hotkeys and shortcuts were designed around the left hand, and I couldn't find enough workarounds. I even got to the point where I put my watch on my right hand (to stop it from scratching on the desk) and considered moving all sorts of things around ... all for my mouse.

In the end, it just didn't seem worth making so many sacrifices for a cause that I'm not even sure made any sense -- turns out, the left hand has 56% of the load, while the right only has 44% anyway. In fact, most of the inefficiencies seem to stem from the layout of the QWERTY keyboard (as opposed to DVORAK). Perhaps that's the next change to try?

Milk Blows

I don't know what it was I ate on Monday night, but boy, have I been gassy yesterday and today! And I'm talking some real doozies that I wouldn't blow on my worst enemies! I wish my office window could open. I'm sure my coworkers are wishing the same thing.

To the Left, To the Left

my mouse at workSo I engaged my left hand more today, and gave it new responsibilities: it is now my mouse hand (at work only, because my home mouse is very right-handed in design), effective 10:45am today.

Motive. Mainly, I'm doing it so that my right hand gets a break. But I expect that impact on my productivity will be minimal, since I'm a big hot-key (and shortcut key) fan, so a lot of my conjuring up apps and windows is done straight from the keyboard. I'm also hoping for more dexterity (precision) in my left hand after a while at this.

Advantages. In my office, my food / cups are on my right-hand table, so having my mouse on the left frees up my hand for drinking or eating activities. It also lets me shift my LCD and keyboard to the right, which means I have more deskspace for papers (read: mess). My left hand travels less to get to the mouse than my right would, since the right hand needs to pass over the numeric keypad and arrows. And I like having one hand on the mouse and still being able to use the arrow and ENTER keys.

Adapting. So far, it has been a little strange to use. Already, I have reached my right hand out to rest on nothing -- feels like sitting down to find no chair there. The first thing I've noticed is that my left-hand motion isn't as bad as I thought ... but clicking is much slower. I originally swapped the buttons (so that index finger remains primary clicker), but kept mis-clicking all the time that I swapped it back (so that left button is primary). Because of the relative difficulty in using my left hand for the mouse, I can feel myself trying to use keys more, because using the mouse seems like a mental chore; but I expect that to go away soon.

Ack. It's a little frustrating that my shortcuts to open a new browser window (CTRL-ALT-E) are also based on left-hand keystrokes. Oh, and I just noticed that this slows down my selection / undo / cut-paste motions (since CTRL-A/Z/X/C/V are all left-hand)! Dammit. That may hinder my speed; I may feel the need to remap those in the future, or find another workaround.

(Preliminary) Conclusion. Interestingly, I'm not really balancing the workload (the main motive), since I heard that QWERTY keyboards are predominantly left-handed already! I heard that these keyboards make the left hand type about 30% more than the right. All those shortcuts (ALT-TAB, CTRL-X/C/V, etc) just increase this spread. And now I've added the mouse work on top of all that! I'm not very certain this was a good move, but I'll give it a few more days -- this could just be a learning curve / adaptation issue.

The Ultimate Diet

Let me get this straight.

We can't eat beef because of mad cow disease.
We can't eat chicken (or birds) because of the avian flu.
We can't have fish: potentially toxic mercury levels.
We can't have eggs: salmonella.
Fat has long been seen as the enemy for obesity.
And now, carbs are under attack by Atkins.

So ... what's left to eat besides salads and legumes?

55 Flavours

There is a tiny little Shanghainese restaurant hidden in a corner of a local strip mall, which used to be the location of a cellphone store. I used to head there often with HG for lunch, and we knew it as "Cellphone Chinese" because we never bothered to learn its proper name.

mapo tofuI revisited the place again on Tuesday, to be pleasantly surprised that their $5 lunch menu had multiplied from about 15 selections to 55 now! That means more than your standard (bastardized) sweet-sour-pork, kung-pow-chicken, cashew shrimp, ginger beef variety dishes.

I learned that one fish dish plus one spicy mapo tofu translates easily into two full stomachs and leftovers for dinner. Soup, rice, and dessert included.


I want to ask hEr how hEr weekend was. I'd like to see how her new hair looks. I want to find out what's new in her life. I'd like to see her again and spend time, catch up. I wish we could rekindle what we once has that was so wonderful. I want to, but I can't.