Dog Days

It's days like this -- sun bearing down on a hot summer's day -- that I most miss having an outdoor pool just to swim around in.

But things like a pirates-vs-ninja presentation cheer me up considerably.

Brains about Braun

So I happened across a promotion for Father's Day (they celebrate it on August 8 here in Taiwan), and it was for Braun shavers. I picked up a pamphlet and waded through all their different series and models. And their website shows all sorts of neat things like a stand that cleans and disinfects your shaver every time you put it back in its cradle, like having some ultrasound vibrations and heated blades/screens, etc. Here's the question:

Do all those funky features that go into the expensive models really work to give you a closer shave?

And after all that, are they worth the money? Some of these beasts are selling for over $300 (US)! Feel free to answer whether you're a man who shaves or a woman who enjoys the man who shaves.

You can Talk the Walk, but can you Walk the Talk?

Gleaned from the Bride, this is a great little site that links into Google Maps and a bunch of other points to bring you a walkability score for whichever address you give it.

Neat to see that it gave my previous Mountain View home a decent score. But also distressing to see how lazy I was, as I never really considered many of those places nearby to be walkable. :-(

In Season

Was just sitting here, staring at the crazy summer heat outside, wishing I had some pineapple to savour, when I recalled a conversation from a few months ago.

The spring air was getting warmer and I was looking forward to mango ice in the summertime, but felt like we had somehow missed the pineapple season ... and yet, I couldn't be exactly sure, because I had no idea when they were supposed to be in season anyhow.

Turning to M, I asked,

"Say, when are pineapples in season?"

She was quiet for a second, presumably pondering the answer and formulating it in small and simple words so that I could understand it. And then, matter-of-factly, forth came her response:
"When they have lots of them for cheap at the supermarket."

I sometimes wonder why I bother.

Tonight's Menu

It's been a while since I've tried my hand in the kitchen, but here goes nothin'.

The menu for tonight* will be a chef's coupling of seared sea scallops with tropical salsa and with lime butter, paired with asparagus tips.

(I might consider a third or fourth style to make a scallop trio. Better yet, I think I need one that's a little stronger in flavour, like a red pepper sauce if I can find it pre-made somewhere.)

Dessert will be pan-roasted caramelized peaches or with blueberries too, depending on how adventurous I feel.

And I haven't decided what kind of appetizer to serve yet.

* It's been two years thus far. The ironic part is that, for the record, she insisted that we choose a specific date as an anniversary, and yet, she's completely forgotten ... and, when I mentioned it to her, even wondered if today was the date.

Who Knows Noses?

I have a question: does a healing wound smell? And I don't mean an infected wound.

Okay, now I'll explain. See, it started a while ago: when I picked up a can of Coke Light to drink, for a split second, I would smell something bad. Like, just for a whiff, one of those whiffs that you can't seem to smell again afterwards, no matter how you try. And if I picked it up again immediately after to drink again, I would smell nothing. I thought for a while that maybe my breath was an issue, but it isn't.

So I tried experimenting and all this, and here's what I found: if I breathe with my nose, I smell nothing out of the ordinary. I can sniff little or sniff with big intakes -- nothing. But if I stretch my face downwards (kind of like before people rub their noses, how they make their faces long), I smell it.

And it's not pleasant.
It smells, ... well, it stinks.
It smells like poo.

And yet, if I just keep my face normally, I get only normal smells. Weird, huh?? Perhaps normally, the air doesn't really rush by that area in my nostril, and only does when I stretch my face down. Oh, also happens if I press the tip of my nose down, like flatten it down. Can you imagine that?

And the only thing I can think of is that I once had a gash in my right nostril, but that was years ago (and no, I don't know how it happened). Maybe that wound reopened (though it doesn't hurt) and I'm smelling the healing process ... which begs the question I had before, whether healing wounds smell funny.

But a later shocking discovery: the smell comes through my left nostril, but not the right! And it must be just in the front inch or so, because a change in my nose shape changes the symptoms, and that's all that I can imagine being affected by my facial expression.

So ... I'm kind of ... well, concerned.

I mean, nothing is bleeding and nothing is swelling up, and it doesn't seem to be a life-threatening situation. But it's annoying and concerning.

The only time I don't get it is immediately after a shower, and when I've just woken up in the morning. I wonder if it's some kind of combination of pollution outside or the hotter weather giving my nostril sweat?

Wait, do our nostrils even sweat?

Dammit, this is really perplexing! I might have to see the doctor about his. Help!

Not a Repeat Customer

Yesterday, I managed to hit all the green lights on the way to work, and found myself with some 10 minutes before I had to punch in -- and yes, I have to punch in at my current work. So I decided to treat myself (as a serendipitous reward for riding recklessly fast) to some soy milk at one of the few local joints I could find that served it.

I order a hot soy milk, and a girl behind the counter gets right on it.
I order a baked biscuit/pancake with egg, and a big burly man cracks the egg onto the frying surface and re-toasts the biscuit. I see that he has big forearms (matching an even bigger stomach), and decide I'll have a rice ball to round off such a hearty breakfast of (grease) champions.

Pause for a second while I explain the cognitive process.

These rice balls (飯團) are actually semi-sticky rice which are wrapped around Chinese fried donuts (油條) and pickled veggies and fried&dried pork (肉鬆) and other things I can't identify (and, knowing Chinese food, possibly wouldn't want to). They spread the rice over a damp cloth, lay the fillings on top, and then wrap the cloth up and compact everything into a tight and cohesive rice meal. Because of the compacting action, you need a guy who has big forearms for that rice-crushing power.

It's tasty. (You don't get to keep the cloth.)

So ... I order a rice ball. The burly man starts to move, and then calls someone to make a rice ball for me. Enter stage right, an old lady of about 70 years, who probably weighs about as much as my left leg, preparing a damp cloth in her hand.

Please understand that as a general preference,
I don't want my rice balls handled by elderly Asian women.

The resulting thing was a bag of practically loose rice with an old fried donut (the kind they couldn't serve alone without disguising it somehow) and some mysterious fishy meat product from a jar (into which I absolutely swear I saw her put bits of stuff from the table as she was wiping it earlier).

And the soy milk wasn't any better.
I'm definitely not going back there again.

Ground to a Halt

So on Friday, my external hard drive went down. No, that's not some kind of metaphor for a sad sex life: my LaCie mini hard drive really failed. Just up (down) and died. And because of it, everything else is grinding to a halt.

I can't caption and upload more photos because I have no more room on my Powerbook drive. I can't free up more space on the pb drive because I need to move stuff onto my LaCie mini drive. I can't move anything over there until I've restored it and reformatted it. I can't do that until I have another drive to copy the restored files onto. Everything's stopped for now.

I'm no stranger to harddrive failures, so this time I'm going to buy a brand new drive just for backups. I mean, this was a big scare, because I nearly lost -- well, maybe I shouldn't speak yet, since I haven't gotten my files back off the drive yet -- all my iTunes music. And this drive was my backup!

I'm Santa

I didn't realize this, but ... well, I'm Santa. Consider the following clauses (see what I did there?) in the popular song, "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" and how I fit in:

I'm making a [guest]list,
and checking it [at least] twice.

I'm gonna find out who's naughty or nice [from all your blogs].

I see when you are sleeping [on IM],
I see when you're awake [on IM].

I know when you've been bad or good [on Facebook].

Maybe this is just a roundabout way of telling you to be nice to me.

It's Come to This

It's come to this: I no longer have any need for belts.
All my loose pants now stay on without needing belts.
My gym membership card now has a thin layer of dust on it.
Similarly, my waist now has a thick layer of fat around it.
This just won't do. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
I blame Taiwan, but we all know the blame lies squarely on me.


Apparently, this past weekend for Apple meant roughly $275 million USD in sales of their 500,000 iPhones sold! I wonder if anyone I know is actually one of those half a million iPhone purchases ...?