Minutes of Your Life You'll Never Get Back

What's that? You have too much time on your hands? You need a break from your break? Then come play the the esp game. No thanks to KC for this one.

And if you can't think of something to type, type "moron" -- if enough of us do it, it will work.

(I suppose I should point out that you are likely part of a large organic research project that collects images and the first words that come to people's minds when they see that. I'm guessing it will lead to some better association between images and words, perhaps for more advanced image storage / search functions or something else. But the whole idea of the game to collect this data is just ingenious. So simple, so fun!)

What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

mageirocophobia (ma·'je·ro·ko·'fO·bE·a) noun. fear of cooking.

I can fry eggs, or poach them, or make omelettes. I can do beef -- steaks, stirfry, grilled, all that. I can do chicken breasts. I can steam fish, fry it in light batter, or make dim sum. And I can marinade all those things in a variety of flavours. I can (now) make crepes with toppings, sweet or savoury. I can whip up a wrap for a quick meal.

But I'm afraid to try cooking some things. Some just scare me.

nice rack ... of lambPork roast, for instance. All those horror stories of pork chops and pork roasts gone awry, dry and cardboard-like -- I don't want to mess mine up! Roasting chicken. Have to deal with cooking the whole thing at once and making sure it doesn't dry out is more than I think I can handle right now. Or heck, fried chicken -- I've never deepfried anything before, and never really panfried anything except potstickers! And definitely, rack of lamb -- I would love to learn this one, but I don't know how to deal with lamb meat at all. I love to eat it, but cooking is a whole other matter. (Never mind that after making all this food, I could never finish it and it would largely go to waste.)

do you know the muffin man?And I have a fear of baking. Muffins, cakes, bread, all that. Pretty much anything to do with the mixture of flour, eggs, milk, and yeast, I guess. It's the dealing with proteins and gluten and yeast that I'm not comfortable with, though I would like to. I guess I started out with crepes, and I'll graduate to buttermilk pancakes.

One day, I'll overcome these fears. One day, I'll master the kitchen. One day, I shall be free from mageirocophobia. And get really, really fat. Like the average American.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Eggs & Spam

I received an email in my now-junkmail Bigfoot email account -- almost all the mails sent there are directly forwarded to my junk pile, primed for reporting as spam and deleting. But this morning, I noticed one particular email where the sender's name had caught my attention.

a lot of spam. in my email account.It was from me.

I don't believe it. And it's from an email account that I regularly use. In Chinese, no less! This has to be the ultimate in spam. I mean, I know that spammers spoof addresses -- I would be naive to think that mine wasn't as well. And we all get spam. But for me to get spam mail from myself??

Those guys are good. And damned annoying.

How do I put an end to this?? SpamBayes seems to think too many things are spam, and Cloudmark thinks too few!

Homo Domesticus

I work in the high-tech industry, and I have a computer at home that I sometimes like to tinker with. But that's about as far as it goes.

I'm not a man's man, that's for sure. I don't really like the taste of most beers, and I barely play any sports. I don't even really watch sports on TV or follow the latest advances in the whatever leagues; it was my ex from whom I had learnt some football basics! I don't fawn over the latest exotic car to hit the market (particularly since I don't ever plan on owning one). And sure, I hit the gym regularly, but I'm not the beastly kind who grunts and snorts while lifting racks of weights loaded with concrete.

But I like reading and browsing through magazines about home design and interior design; I enjoy playing with concepts in my living space. I entertain ideas of artistic (minimalist) decor, focusing only on the playing of light upon structures and objects.

And I enjoy cooking; I think food is amazing. Just absolutely amazing. In fact, my TV is most often left on FoodTV. I like thinking up creations for meals, exploring methods of presentation, wondering how certain foods might compliment each other. I like producing delicious delectable dishes that presented beautifully to be enjoyed by guests, or whipping up comfort foods that warm me through to my soul.

I have no qualms of acknowledging that I'm rather domesticated. I would at any time opt to stay home with the (future) kids and be a stay-at-home Dad if need be. Cook, clean, I wouldn't mind all of that, while ensuring proper supervision and nurturing of a parent-child relationship.

Crap, is that right??

Same here!

Oh, really?
No way!
Yeah, me too!

Your Idea of a Good Friend

I got a chain letter today, but I actually enjoyed this one. But instead of forwarding this on and contributing to the spam we already get too much of, I'll just post an excerpt here (heavily edited to my liking). Oh, and you should read this to 8 of your friends within 1 hour or you'll be doomed with bad luck. Or not.


In kindergarten, your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.
In grade 1, the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
In grade 2, the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.
awwwww...In grade 3, he/she was the one who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.
In grade 4, he/she was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with Sweaty Pits or Clammy Palms.
In grade 5, he/she saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.
In grade 6, he/she went up to Nick or Susan (your new crush) and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.
In grade 7, he/she let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten.
In grade 8, he/she was the one who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball, but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.
In grade 9, he/she would go to a party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only underage person there.
In grade 10, he/she changed their schedule so you wouldn't be all alone in that elective class.

In grade 11, he/she
- gave you rides in their new car
- convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded
- consoled you when you broke up with Nick or Susan
- and found you a date to the formal.
In grade 12, he/she was the person who
- helped you pick out a college/university
- assured you that you would get in
- and helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time with the idea of letting you go.
At graduation, your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.

The summer after highschool, your idea of a good friend was the person who
- helped you clean up the bottles from that party
- helped you sneak out when you just couldn't deal with your parents
- assured you that now that you and Nick or you and Susan were back together, you could make it through anything
- helped you pack up for university and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind
- and went out of their way, on those last days of childhood, to reassure you that you would make it in college
- and, most importantly, sent you off to college knowing you were loved.

And now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who
- gives you the better of the two choices
- holds your hand when you're scared
- helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you
- thinks of you at times when you are not there
- reminds you of what you have forgotten
- helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer
- stays with you so that you have confidence
- goes out of their way to make time for you
- helps you clear up your mistakes
- helps you deal with pressure from others
- smiles for you when they are sad
- helps you become a better person
- and, most importantly, loves you!

[That's it. This is where the chain letter part came in.]


You know that when you greet someone (of the opposite gender) that you know (socially)? Where you know them better than a handshake, but perhaps not quite well enough to assume a hug? Isn't there that awkward moment you reach a hand to shake, and he/she opens both arms to hug, or vice versa? Then you both pause and reverse your positions, letting loose an awkward nervous chuckle.

Sort of like walking down a hallway and both you and an oncoming person almost collide while trying to avoid each other. And there you are, complete strangers ... doing the left-right-left stumble-shuffle dance. Finally, one of you stops moving, the dance is over, and you continue on with your lives.

Dangerous Dishware

While on my way back to California, I went through the airport security checkpoint.

Everything had to pass through the x-ray scanner: mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, GameBoys. Everything. Jackets, watches, belts, shoes. I almost felt like I should have worn my nicer underwear because I would surely be stripped down to them.

They were looking for anything metal, anything at all. I bet if you had iron fillings, these things would beep at you, and a dentist would be standing by to inspect them. If you were even thinking about tin foil, you'd probably have to go back and walk through it again with flowers on your mind!

be careful.  very sharp.But then I was thinking, what about ceramic knives? Detectors wouldn't pick it up, and you'd slip through security like a hot (ceramic) knife through butter. On the plane, my seat neighbour had just gone to a gun show in Arizona, where they have a Glock made of ceramic material! Yeah, sure, it's illegal in the USA and not sold here, but that doesn't mean you can't buy it elsewhere and smuggle it in. In fact, why smuggle?? You could probably just bring it in without a problem! Scary. Very scary.

Thankfully, millimeter wave technology is coming into play, which can supposedly can catch these items, metal or not. A few firms are developing holographic body image scanners that use this method, but I'm not sure when those will come into play!


Recurring thoughts. Nagging, recurring thoughts, trying to steer me back on path. Shall I follow that lead, or forge a new path?

Read me, Read ME!

As soon as I posted about lyrics from Mario Winan's song "I Don't Wanna Know", people were finding my site through search engines, and my visitor traffic seemed to double. You would think that some other site would be more popular as a source of such information.

And though I never talked about William Hung's new CD "Inspiration", I'll bet people would have flocked to my site about that too, if I had. (Incidentally, there are some rather cute-looking girls who want to marry him.) And I'm definitely no expert on that guy.

Isn't it strange that the only way to boost readership on a random-thought page like mine, would be to talk about pop culture that everyone seems to want to know?

I mean, I wonder how many people would be searching or wanting to read about the final episode of Frasier and Friends on NBC? (I should mention that I consider those two a great loss to this country. Yes, indeed.)

Doesn't anyone want to know about my thoughts on pencil sharpener designs instead? (I don't have any particular thoughts on that, but you know what I mean.)

If Supermodels Could Talk

You know, sometimes they just don't caption the supermodel photos properly. Sometimes the models want to do it themselves. So here's a site of good, wholesome supermodel personals fun!

A Brisk Pace

There is an ideal speed for walking in the cold night weather, particularly if you're wearing gym shorts.

brrr, it's coldToo slow, and you expose yourself to the chilly elements longer. Nobody wants that; we're trying to get out of the cold faster. But too fast, and your power-walking creates a "wind" against your body that makes you even colder!

There's really a delicate balance. What. Like you've never thought about it before.

The Fitness of Shirts

Fitted shirts. I need to buy fitted shirts.

I'm not talking about the kind of "fitted" shirts that guys wear to clubs, the ones that sometimes look like second skin. I'm not even talkinga bout the kind that "show your build" off which I'd never want to do, because I know what I'd be showing and I can't bear to put people through that. I'm talking about dress shirts.

And by fitted, I mean when they take in the sides a little bit to accommodate for people whose shoulders actually are wider than their waists (a dying breed, we are).

They cost more in general, but regular shirts fit funny. Because after several occasions, after trying on numerous brands and types of shirts, I've found a few general rules about me and shirts. If the shoulders fit nicely, then the sleeve and shirt lengths are too long. If the sleeves fit, then the shoulders are narrow. And if the shoulders and the sleeves fit nicely, then the torso part is too baggy. And then I look like I'm wearing a dress, or when I tuck the shirt into my pants, I look like I've suddenly puffed up with air.

Dammit, I just can't win.

nice shirtWhat gets me more is that maybe a year ago, fitted shirts seemed to be aplenty. Somehow, they've gone extinct and it's hard to find any anymore. Banana Republic used to fit -- in fact, their Classic line used to fit very nicely -- but maybe they figured their customers must have gained a few pounds in the past two years, because I don't see that fit anymore!

So far, I think there are a few brands that might work well for me: Kenneth Cole, Zara. I may be limited to purchasing shirts from them until such time as my own shape changes. And Mexx, though the Mexx neck width always seems not-quite-right.

Why are the fashion gods so against me?

Reloaded Redone

In honour of the third Matrix DVD released last week, here's a great tribute: Super Mario Reloaded! Someone spent a lot of time on this one -- apparently, it's scene-for-scene!

For those of you who'd rather not imitate, but rather create, now you can make your own Powerpuff! I always enjoyed the Powerpuff Girls cartoon -- those cute little girls with superhero crime-fighting abilities. Hilarious, good, wholesome fun.

It's Over

What with all the warm weather we've been having, most of the Lake Tahoe resorts are closing up soon. (Not all of them are noted here.)

closed - Diamond Peak Ski Resort
closed - Spooner Lake XC Ski Area
closed - Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area
closed - Royal Gorge XC Ski Resort
closed - Tahoe Donner Ski Area
04/18 - Donner Ski Ranch
04/18 - Mt Rose Ski Tahoe
04/18 - Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort
04/18 - Soda Springs Winter Resort
04/18 - Bear Valley (tentative)
04/18 - Boreal Mountain Resort (tentative)
04/18 - Homewood (tentative)
04/19 - Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort
04/25 - Sugar Bowl Ski Resort (tentative)
05/02 - Heavenly Lake Tahoe (tentative)
05/16 - Alpine Meadows Ski Resort (tentative)
05/31 - Squaw Valley USA
late-May - Kirkwood (tentative)
no date set - Mammoth

My board is ready to be stored for another 8 months, and my golf clubs are getting some fresh air now!

Oh My God

one heavy crossSo I finally watched the contraversial The Passion of the Christ this weekend (rather fitting for the occasion, I guess). First, being a non-Christian and having extremely limited knowledge of Christianity as a whole, I'm sure I lost at least 75% of the meaning. With the rest of that 25%, though ...

Oh, God -- the gruesome violence, disturbingly graphic images, the torturous physical pain. I actually had to shut my eyes for a few spots, but I noticed that 4 people left the theatre without coming back. Of course, the graphic depiction of said historical tale was necessary because it was those wounds and that suffering that gives this story its importance and meaning. But amidst that physical terror came great mental and spiritual strength from our beloved protagonist.

Now, I've heard that this film is based on the Bible, but I also heard that certain parts were borrowed from other religious literary works -- and certainly some part embellished for the sake of filmplay. I can't tell what was what -- reenactment versus added Hollywood character development. In any case, the movie expects a fair amount of prior knowledge to understand who's who.

I don't have any expertise with which to discuss this movie, and it's been talked about like crazy already, so I'll leave this here.


The following question was posed of me one afternoon: if you typed "onlinepoker" fast and mistyped it, what do you think it would look like?

typity typity typeonlinepoekr.

Those were my actual attempts to mistype the word by not using my head. And then, I started intentionally figuring out typos.

I can explain. You see, the "er" is unlikely to ever be reversed into "re", because they're triggered by the same hand, so the finger sequence will probably be preserved in any misspelling. But that "k" is typed with the other (right) hand, so it could be early or late; that is, before or after the "er".


The "po" is triggered off the right, and it's the beginning of the word, so no problems there. I guess the clinch is when the "k" is supposed to come out: if your left and right hands are slightly out of sync, you get those letter combinations. You know, like if your left hand is eager to type and can't wait for the right hand to be done. It happens.

The "online" part has fewer possible unsync's because it's mostly right-hand-side work. And because it's a separate word from the poker part, I don't think one would have many errors of having the "e" creep late into "poker", but that could happen too.


Something like that. But then, I noticed something else.

The "po" is above the home row, so the "k" can appear late in the game; after your right hand bats out "po", your middle finger needs to drop back down to home row to get at the "k", and that takes a little longer. So if your left hand isn't waiting long enough, it will type its "er" before the "k" gets in.

Sh!t, this is pretty cool. Huh. I was pretty impressed with myself for having a logical approach to that. [beam] (I was less impressed with having nothing better to do than to analyze this silly problem.)

Pending Doom

I think this Blogger article is bluntly laying out a few things for me. Yes, I should probably shut up in my blog, because it will eventually come back and bite me in the ass. Yes, I know you've all warned me about it before. Yes, allowing my blog to be found by search engine robots again was probably a rather dumb move.

What, I never said I was a smart cookie. And clearly, I'm not.

I know that in my next relationship, I will share these things with her. She will probably know about my blog and will hopefully want to read it cover-to-cover (if I can use that phrase for this medium), to get to know more about me. And issues that arise between us would be brought up with her at least before I've blogged it to all of you. I vow those improvements, the next time around.

What, at least I'm learning as I go.

Colour Changers

Sometimes black is not black, and grey is not grey. I'm not sure why, but it's like that.

I walk into a store and buy a pair of pants in black. I'm at home trying them out again and matching them with my other clothes, and everything is great. But the first time I wear them outdoors (in the sun), they magically appear to have a red / green / blue tinge to them. And suddenly black isn't black -- it's super-dark-green.

Now try matching them to another "black", which seems super-dark-red now in comparison. Even from the same brand of clothing. Why do they do this to us???

Crepes For 15

While serving up crepes for a Sunday brunch at my place, I learned a few things that weren't necessarily in the recipe books. I'll share them with you here.

Batter Up!

- I made two different batches. Alton's Good Eats crepe recipe takes 5 minutes to combine, and 10 seconds to blend. The Crepes de Froment, stolen out of this French crepe recipe book, takes at least 30 minutes of hard work, the old-fashioned way.
- You cannot avoid the egg yolks; they're important to the chemistry of the batter. Try EggBeaters instead, if you are a yolk-paranoid health freak.
- The more you work the flour / batter mixture, the tougher and more chewy your crepes will be. (That's bad.) That's why Good Eats' method was actually more tender (though we could attribute this to my growing experience as well).
- Batter consistency is really hard to get perfectly, but should be kind of like buttermilk. To thin out the batter, they might tell you to add water, but use 50-50 water-milk so you don't lose the richness.
- Each person is likely going to eat 3 to 5 crepes, so plan accordingly (since the batter has to rest). And it might not look like much batter, but these are crepes, not pancakes: crepes use barely any batter at all!
- You definitely need to rest the batter for at least two hours, says Alton. Even overnight is fine. (Says me.)

alton brown, my culinary idol

Now We're Cooking!

- Keep the pan on medium-low heat. Last night, they were coming out great -- heat setting was 4.8 (out of 10).
- You don't need a special crepe pan -- a flat bottom one that is either seasoned steel or non-stick (like mine) does fine. And you don't need a special crepe spatula either.
- You only really need to butter the pan for the first crepe, and then wipe it down with a paper towel -- when there isn't any visible butter left, that's the perfect amount! I found that all crepes afterward needed no buttering (if you're using a decent non-stick pan); healthier.
- The first crepe is always a throw-away; it's a last-minute check on the pan temperature and batter consistency.
- Drop the batter and try to swirl the pan; if the batter is running in streaks instead of coating the surface nicely, your pan's too hot. Feed that one to the dog, or use as a taste test.
- If your crepe is almost frying on the bottom, your heat's probably too high and you have way too much butter underneath.
- If you see bubbles puffing up your crepe, it's too thick. (I figure this is because the bubbles can't escape that kind of thickness, so a thin crepe allows bubbles to get away.)
- A crepe spreader helps a lot in making them thin as possible -- but it needs to be slightly wider than the radius of the crepe pan. My spreader was cheap, but far too wide for the pan, so I don't use it.
- If the crepe is thin enough, it should only need to cook for about a minute or two each side.
- Flipping the crepe is not hard, once you get the right wrist motion, but don't try it for your first time with spectators (unless they're ready to catch it).
not a crepe that i made- As soon as you flip the crepe, start with the toppings, particularly the cheese to be melted. The rest can come later, after you've served it on a plate.
- Serve the crepe on a plate and have the gourmands take it outside to top with their favourites (and get the heck out of your way).
- Crepes are supposed to be light and tender, so don't expect them to hold stuffing like your everyday wraps or burritos, unless you like it all over your pants.
- Once I get the timing down, I could probably handle three pans in parallel if someone else can put the toppings in them.
- People get antsy waiting for their crepes -- you can either have it fast, or done right, not both.
- And they all think they can do it better than you. Even if they never cooked before.

Ooh, I just found another site that describes a different recipe and has play-by-play pictures. I'm certainly no master at it, but it really isn't anywhere near as hard as people think. Anyway, I think I need to pay another visit to the Los Gatos Farmer's Market to watch that guy do it again.

Watch Them, All Them Awesome Blossoms!

blossoms all aroundThe trees and bushes outside my office have been blossoming lately. Sometimes, something outside the window catches the corner of my eye, and distracts me from my work, and I watch the petals flitter ever so lightly to the ground.

Each gust of wind carries with it a gentle, light pink snowfall. I don't know why, but watching it makes me feel better. At times, I forget that I'm stuck in an office with a growing pile of to-do's. And for a moment, I can imagine I were afloat a thousand soft petals and that my life were a dream on a cloud.

My Third Wish ...

"For my third wish, I wish for an infinite number of wishes. Thanks, Genie."

There's always some smartass who thinks s/he's really funny by asking for more wishes on that third one. So let's play along with that. What if you would dilute the effectiveness of that last wish by however many you asked for?

For instance, if you asked for one wish, it would for sure (100%) come true. If you asked for two more wishes, each of those would have a 50-50 chance at coming true; three would be 1/3, and so on. If that were the case, is there any reason you would still opt to have more than one wish?

Side by Side

We were just a few weeks into our courtship, and sHe had arrived at my place already. I was, of course, running a few minutes late, scrambling to finish cleaning my car. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be ready for hEr; me waiting for hEr, not the other way around.

"Do you need some help?" sHe asked. Interesting, sHe wasn't even fazed by it. And then sHe surprised me; sHe was right in there, helping me wipe my car down. I never cease to be amazed when I remember that event, that sHe would be there with me even without the glamour of the movie-esque courtship. I value that.


Why not?

A Different Kind of Car Show

I don't usually just post a picture (or a link) on my blog, but this one was too funny. It does well to explain why car shows are only for adults.

The Hunchback of Kirkwood

Some time during the scorching day at Kirkwood, I figured out while that the Camelbak was firmly strapped to me, it was causing the insulated jacket to heat up my back too much. The solution? Wear the pack underneath, tighten all the straps, and then wear the jacket loose and open overtop. Ingenious. Absolutely, incredibly, smart, I was!

me with my jacket over the backpackThe only problem was, I looked like Quasimodo the Snowboarder. (A picture will be in my gallery shortly.) Pointing and laughing, my friends were not particularly supportive of the solution, even with my justification:

"But I'm not hot anymore at least!"
"Yeah, now you're definitely not hot."

After enduring the constant tormenting of my "friends" -- laughter that still haunts me now -- I felt it better to be sweaty and hot.