Vacations: a chance to set new memories together? Or a rise in opportunities to pick fights of different natures?

Strange Minds

Okay, I can understand the Taiwanese pride with Chien-Ming Wang playing in the MLB. I can therefore understand a lot of Taiwanese brand names wanting to do all sorts of co-marketing products with him, including McDonald's.

So it's no surprise when I see an ad by McDonald's this morning on TV. But it which advertising genius was it to make the thematic phrase, "Give me Wang"?? Seriously, guys: double-check your copy.

Perhaps that's only loosely associated with Valentine's Day. Happy V Day!

Baby Rash

Wow, it seems to be that everyone's having babies like it's going out of style. I can imagine group kids' birthday parties in the years and years to come. And it reminds me that if I can help it at all, I want to avoid making my daughter's birthday too close to Valentine's Day.

On another note, there was some disagreement between me, the gf, and my sis about actual body temperature. I always remembered it being something like 37.6C, but it's actually closer to 37.0C (which meant my temperature of 37.7C was definitely feverish) ... and even then, it seems that normal body temperature might be even lower than that.

Skimp and Splurge

We all have our differences, particularly in where we choose to spend our hard-earned money. I know a guy who ate instant noodles for a long time, and lived way out in the boonies, just to support his new habit: his BMW 540i. I know one who will spend copious amounts on home theatre equipment, but nothing on food. Heck, I even know people who spend everything they make on clothes, and depend on their family money to support things like rent/food.

So. What stuff do you skimp on (or prefer not to spend money on)? And that's so that you can splurge one what stuff?

Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

Geez. It just gets worse and worse.

A couple times through the past few nights, I've had such coughing fits that triggered serious asthma. And while all dazed in the darkness, my lungs unable to fill with air, I thought I might die. So it evolved to the point where I was actually afraid to go back to sleep, fearing that if I wasn't consciously breathing -- that is, actively expanding and contracting my lungs -- that it would stop while I slept. And that's an experience you probably want to skip, given the choice.

And as you probably know, I'm back on some major medication now. Western medicine, Chinese traditional medicine, beefed up bronchodialators. I'm like a junkie, taking whatever I can get my hands on.

I'm sick even worse now; at dinner last night, I felt like my fingers and legs were restless -- you know that feeling when no matter how you position them, it always feels uncomfortable and swollen and unrested? I thought it was just being tired from only sleeping 4 hours the night before, but it wasn't.

Now I have a fever. Dagnabbit, I have to kill this off before next weekend. Otherwise, how the hell am I going to survive in Vietnam?? I feel like my body is really deteriorating here, like it's just up and giving up on me. It's just kind of scary.


With a fever, am I supposed to sweat it out or cool it off?

I always feel better after sweating it out at the gym, but someone got mad at me once, saying I was expending all my energy in working out instead of letting my boydy use that energy for healing.

And you know what? I have no idea how to measure body heat by the wrist-on-the-forehead method; everyone feels warm to me this way!

Riding Alone

You step into the elevator to go up to whatever-floor. You're not in a mad rush or anything, but you also don't have a ton of time to spare at the moment. You go and press the button(s), and hopefully in the order I suggested last time. Then as the door is about to start closing, you hear someone jump into a quick trot for the closing doors.

What do you do?
Or perhaps better-worded,
do you do what I do?

Normally, given all of the above, I let the doors close as originally scheduled. Usually, this is because the elevator is empty, and I like riding in an empty elevator because it feels like the whole thing belongs to me: all mine!

"But that's not nice," you say. "They'll know you were just intentionally not letting them ride! And they'll have to wait for the next one. You've just wasted a lot of their time."

Ah, but I alleviate this by sometimes making for the button panel and pretending I can't press the right button in time, and as the doors close between me (the winner) and them (the not-winner), I mutter, "Oh, sorry!" Or, I give a look saying, "I tried, but I couldn't get the button in time." Usually, this turns out okay.

Yeah, I'm a bastard sometimes.

(Disclaimer: sometimes this really is the case -- sometimes I actually try to hold the elevator for them -- since not all "DOOR OPEN" buttons are placed in the same location.)

Another side trick: if you're just walking up to the open elevator, and someone is a ways behind you, you can quicken your step in order to avoid that awkward stuff above. Just keep an eye out when you're in the lobby or the parking lot, that's all I'm saying.

Over Rice

Us Asians have a lot of dishes that are "blank-over-rice". You know, those dishes that have something saucy -- for instance, mapo tofu or Japanese curry, or stirfried beef and broccoli -- that's poured on top of rice, and then served.

Question: how do you eat it?
Do you mix it all up so it's kind of like a risotto where it's all a homogeneous melange?
Or do you keep them separate and only combine your particular spoonful?

Just wondering.

Rethinking the Buttons

I know we've talked about elevators before, but I'm here to give you a time-saving tip. You can thank me later. Most people, upon stepping into the elevator, follow this general process:

1. step in (while others shift away to make room)
2. press your destination floor (if it isn't already lit)
3. press the "door close" (optional)
4. face the front (and stare up at the numbers)

Now that I basically ride an elevator in every building I enter -- ah, the thrills of living in crazy-dense Asian urbania -- I've noticed a few things that help the patience-deprived, always-in-a-rush people.

You see, the elevator door takes time to close, and with the common steps above, you have this time during which everyone one in the elevator is just waiting for it to close. What a waste! So instead, try this:
1. step in
2. press the "door close"
3. press your destination floor
4. stare at the numbers like a dummy

You've just shaved a second off every elevator ride you'll ever take again in your life. If you ride twice a day (say to your apartment), over the next 10 years, that's an extra hour you've just saved yourself. You're welcome.

Incidentally, I just realized that while living in California, I rarely needed elevators. I worked on the first floor (the whole company was on one floor), I lived on the first floor, and my gym was on the first floor. Interesting.

Medicine of the Traditional Sort

So what with my medium-serious sickness of late, I've been persuaded to seek out traditional chinese medicine as a form to alleviate my asthma symptoms.

Obviously, the ideas are different, as well as the process and concepts.

It's like "new acupuncture": gone are the days where you get long needles in your ear, where the treatment only lasts for as long as you're in the doctor's office. Now they paste on these sticker assemblies that have tiny little BB-pellet medicine balls. I originally thought they had needles, but I guess the doctor was pressing them into me so hard that I thought it was puncturing, but it's not. Instead, it creates "craters", and they're almost punctured into your skin to encourage bloodflow there, and then increase absorption of the medicine. And you leave the doctor's, but are told to massage each sticker 4 times a day, 30 seconds each time, for the week.

Anyway, along with it is a strict diet limitation. I call it "The List". Here's what I can't eat:

Exacerbating the hives: seafood, beef, lamb, duck, goose, duck eggs, alcohol, spicy foods, mushrooms, chives, cilantro, taro / lotus root, mango, something-i-can't-read, bamboo shoots / asparagus / anything from that family.

Agitates asthma: seafood, oranges, watermelon, banana, cool/cold things, spicy foods.

Negative interaction with the Chinese medicine: mung beans, carrots / daikon, a certain type of "hollow heart" vegetable.

Yeah. So the second week, I went back to get the medicine (slightly different prescription from the first week, given slightly different symptoms he noticed) and had a quick word with him. As I was leaving, here's the conversation we had:
"Just try to stay away from those certain foods. You have the list?" He grabs another card and is about to tick off the relevant items for me.
"Yeah, I carry that list in my wallet." I pat my pocket.
He starts reading it out, "Beef, lamb, duck, ..."
I had to go, so I politely cut him off, "Basically, I can eat chicken."
"Well, you can eat pork too."
I stood there, looking stupid for a second.

I don't know why, but we somehow had gotten it into our heads that I was only allowed chicken. And all this past week, I've been restricting myself from eating just about any meat imaginable -- and given the normal Taiwanese diet, cutting pork out just about means going vegetarian.

As a reward, I had pork that dinner. And it was the best pork I ever tasted. :-) Can't wait until I can have steak again!

Job for Life

Imagine a job that you would just love to live for, a job so absolutely fantastical that it wouldn't feel like work: it's like your hobby that you get paid for. Few of us are lucky enough to have that. So I ask of you,

How far would you go to get that job?

I mean, what would you do to get it and/or keep it? Would you travel halfway around the world? Would you take a 20-40% paycut? Would you work (play) longer hours? Would you risk your relationship/marriage? How far?

(Disclosing what your dream job actually is, is optional.)