Monday, January 31, 2011

...Trying new things is great, succeeding would be better...

In what I'm sure will become a series that will quickly become known as "this is why we can't have nice things Eric" here's the first in an installment of why I can't have nice things...(Nice being a relative term of course).

So when I was a kid, I never used chapstick...ever. Not once did balm touch my lips voluntarily. (Many of you more intellectual readers will likely be baffled by the "voluntarily" part. Well simply put, the only time I ever got anything put on was when my parents forced me to sit down so they could wrestle some chapstick on my lips....oh and that one time Leah put lip gloss on me in Chorus...)

Well now that I've grown older, and with it, more jaded, bitter and spiteful, I've come to realize just how much I hate chapped lips. I'm sure you, like myself, used to hate the feeling of the skip on your lips cracking and peeling. Well I'm sure that UNLIKE myself, you actually went and did something about it (ie chapstick). Well I wasn't so smart. I hated the feeling of chapstick so much that I would bite my lips to try and get rid of that feeling. I'm sure you can all guess what happened next. Yep, more cracking and bleeding...and that got annoying all the time, but somehow in my stupid teenage mind...THAT was still better than putting on chapstick.

Well I've finally given in at the tender age of 23 (oh yeah it was my birthday on thursday the 27th, so lah dee dah to that...I'm an old fart now) and gone out and bought chapstick.

Perhaps it's my feelings of financial invincibility, or perhaps I'm just bad with money, but I decided over the weekend that I was going to buy chapstick, and not just any kind either. I resolved to get that Burt's Bees stuff, you know...because I've seen all the girls using it and if there's anyone I trust with this sort of thing, it's the people that have been caring about their health LONG before I even knew such a concept existed. So at the grocery store, I picked up two of them, figuring one of them would eventually go wrong or blow up in the tube or something. Feeling smug and satisfied, I put some on AS SOON AS I got into the car. (Ask any guy, as soon as they get something new to play with, they'll want to play with it immediately).

Fast forward to this morning. I'm getting ready for work. Knowing it's going to be a cold day, I pocket the open Burt's Bees tube and head out to my car. I pulled out my keys with particular gusto this time (OBVIOUSLY still proud of myself for buying and USING chapstick) and start my car. About 5 minutes down the road, I realize something isn't quite right. I know I'm not already used to the feeling of chapstick in my pocket, so where is that battery shaped lump of wax?

Guess what? It was ALREADY LOST. Within 24 HOUR of purchasing, somewhere between MY HOUSE AND MY CAR, it was gone forever. I searched for it upon my return home only to find NOTHING. Now I don't know if you believe in magic or miracles or anything of the sort, but surely you believe in skill, and I defy ANYONE to show me that they managed to lose something in even less time.

Thank god I bought two huh?

...And that's what I learned today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

...Banner Ads are terribly ineffective...

Banner ads have always been annoying, but definitely some more than others. Sure their content and product have changed over the years, but they have never ceased to be annoying. Especially those ones that were clearly drunkenly glued together by amateur flash designers who clearly just needed the money to support their coke habit. You remember the ones back in the day when people were just discovering the internet? (Probably around middle school for most of you). You'd be in the computer lab, trying to play a nice friendly game of Slime Volleyball, flash mini golf (and it was always mini golf for some reason!) or caring for your Neopets when something would catch your eye. It was bright and flashing all kinds of colors (thus why your attention was on IT and not on your GAME or let alone your COMPUTER CLASS). The flashing, the colors, your eyes are drawn to the periphery of the monitor, intrigued by what this message from the internet gods could be that demanded your attention so readily.


If you didn't have ADHD before viewing this ad, you sure as shit did after. Then they changed. They realized that, the flashing colors really didn't get enough traction with the populace. And moreover, the level of ADHD those fucking things induced in viewers meant they were too busy chasing a jar of mayonnaise before they could be bothered to click the damn link.

Next came the dancing people ads. You know the ones, they advertised something incredibly stupid like lower mortgage rates in YOUR state, just click the pulsating button with your state's abbreviation on it! And at the top of it, was a silhouette, dancing and dancing. It never stopped. And the was so bored you just as much as it intrigued you. Was this individual really dancing so energetically about lower mortgage rates? As a fresh faced high schooler, should you even fucking care? All we knew then, was that the word mortgage was the kind of word we heard our parents use, and we didn't care about that. For all we knew, a "mortgage" was an exciting new brand of cottage cheese that they had since discovered, and needed to inform everybody about, including the bald fat man at the bank, because adults find cottage cheese that fascinating.

The most recent incarnation of these proverbial internet herpes sores are the:

Lose a billion pounds from your fat fucking stomach by following this one weird rule! Do it! TRUST THE FUCKING INTERNET YOU BITCH!

And these new ones feature terrible drawings of a cartoon woman MAGICALLY losing what looks to be about 20 pounds. I'm sorry internet, I don't even believe the infomercials on know...the ones that use REAL FUCKING PEOPLE...and you expect me to believe that you helped a two inch tall poorly drawn cartoon to lose weight? Fuck you internet. Fuck you so hard. I don't believe that you possess a weird rule that helps me lose weight while still consuming my weight in Kraft Mac and Cheese on a daily basis. I don't believe that your stupid dancing silhouette SOMEHOW knows more about the housing market than my personal financial adviser. And I DEFINITELY don't believe that I was the magical millionth viewer on that page, and that because I was SO LUCKY, that a magical banner genie was going to grant me some WONDROUS prize that ISN'T the equivalent of internet SUPER-AIDS. (Besides, every kid in my middle school was on that fucking Nabisco Mini Golf wanna talk about smart advertising? THAT'S fucking smart advertising.)

The saddest part about all this though, is that these annoying fucking ads STILL EXIST. One would think that if people had stopped clicking them DECADES AGO that people would have stopped GIVING A SHIT and investing REAL MONEY into these things. But no. Apparently there are people out there who still fucking click those things. And to each and every one of you, I hope you're happy with yourselves. You are the reason viruses exist. You are the reason tech support professionals hate their jobs. You are the people who give investors a reason to keep creating these ads. I hope you're all VERY HAPPY WITH YOURSELVES.


...And that's what I learned today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

...Being sick as an adult is both awesome and terrible...

Yes that's right I'm sick today, so apologies right now for the terribly quality of the post....unless my nyquil induced fever dream somehow elevates my writing to epic new heights, in which case...hook me up to an IV of that shit and I'll write a fucking novel.

So as I lay here in bed, wondering about whether or not I'll have to face more frostbite inducing temperatures tomorrow, I look back on the day and realize that being sick as an adult is not the worst thing in the world, and then it is the worst thing in the world.

You remember that post I wrote about working from home? Well this is kind of like that. I woke up this morning ready to cough blood, Exorcist style, on the nearest human being within vomiting range, so I decided I wouldn't subject my coworkers to that kind of biological warfare. So I called in sick. And it was at this moment that I realized, my days of needing doctor's notes and parents notes and possibly a note from the president to get a day off school were over. Instead, they were more than willing to accept the fact that I could not utter two words without sounding like an 80 year old emphysemic who had been smoking since the tender age of birth. (the last time I went into work feeling mildly under the weather, I got yelled shaping at work people). And so at the right time of day, I logged into my work computer and sat myself down, ready to face the challenges of the day.

And then I realized that I still felt awful. Yep that's right. Working from home sick is different from working from home in that YOU'RE SICK. (If you didn't see that one coming, tell your caretaker to stop reading this out loud to'll do bad things to your brain). And moreover, unlike when just about everyone takes the day to work from home (and nobody is really doing anything serious) in this case, EVERYONE is doing work and EVERYONE is being more productive than me. If this were a communist society, I'd already be halfway to the work camps they set up in Idaho (because really, who the fuck gives a shit about Idaho...) And, being the diligent, hard working Asian that I am, this left me with a sense of dread at the amount of work I would have piled on my desk tomorrow.

So as I sit here right now, speaking out to my beloved readers, (well writing, but you can feel free to imagine this in my voice if you have been so lucky as to be graced by my presence....LOL) head pounding and throat feeling like I had consumed three pounds of sand purely out of spite of my ability to speak, I am actually contemplating going into work tomorrow, why? Because I love my job and all my coworkers and I need to make sure I don't get too far behind. (See? Asian...SO if only I were good at math...)

And with that, I leave you to enter the realm of fucked up fever/nyquil dreams. This should be fun.

...And that's what I learned today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

...The worst feeling in the world is...

Broken bones? A papercut? Getting dumped? Being stressed out before a big test? Well yes while all those things do suck, quite frankly I think the worst feeling in the world is....

...Waiting for a package to arrive.

In this day and age, with wonderful things like Ebay and Amazon, I'm sure you've all ordered something off of that wonderful maze of tubes we call the internet (and if not....are you here by accident?) Everything is cheaper on the intarwebs and beyond that, you don't have to pay tax, and oftentimes you don't have to pay shipping. So all in all, this is a wonderful system...or at least that's what you think.

Say you've bought something from Amazon and you've saved maybe 10 bucks on whatever it is you wanted to buy, and the shipping is free and you didn't have to pay taxes for it so it ends up being far cheaper than you expected (even though you had to buy some various useless macguffins to reach the $25 limit to qualify for free shipping). What you don't realize though, is that Amazon, the tricky bitches that they are, are making up the difference with YOUR SANITY! (DUM DUM DUUUUUUUMMMM!!!!)

First they send you an email thanking you for your purchase. At this point, you're still feeling pretty smug and happy, as if you've somehow beaten the Man and found your product for less AND you didn't have to put pants on to do it! Then Amazon sends you another email telling you your package has been shipped. The excitement mounts, you know your desired item is on the way (along with it's typical macguffin padding) and that soon you will be able to bask in the glory of your new purchase. Inevitably in that email, they've included a long string of exactly five thousand, eight hundred and thirty seven characters that all need to be typed into a website exactly (caps and symbols included) so that you can track your package. By now, the thoughts going through your head are of how wonderful this is and how super convenient it is for you to be able to see where your package is at all times!

And that's it, you've lost, Amazon has you in it's grasps. You may think you have won, but the only thing that awaits is the dizzying spiral descent into the black pit of madness.

It all starts when you log on to the UPS website, and navigate it's menus to try and get to the package tracking page. Giddy with excitement at the prospect of owning your new garlic press, seven speed toilet plunger, do-it-yourself enema kit or whatever you've bought, you copy and paste all 5837 characters and numbers into the box. Your finger, trembling with anticipation, clicks the TRACK button. This next page loads slower than any page you have ever visited on the internet. You consider leaving, going and doing something else while the page loads, surely there are chores that need taking care of. The browser flickers, your attention immediately snaps back to your monitor. Still nothing. Finally the page loads. The package is still in Tonkawa, Oklahoma...."That's ok!" you think to yourself, "at least it's on it's way!" Still smug with your ability to outsmart the local mall, you leave to go do something else.

When you get back a few minutes later, the monitor stares at you, it's call pulls you in. You just have to see where your package is right now. It must have moved! You went away and did something else for an ENTIRE several minutes. UPS is fast, they've gotta have more information. You refresh the page, it's still in Tonkawa. "Ok no problem" you try and chuckle, "It'll take a while anyway right?" This cycle repeats as you check back on the package every few hours, forcing yourself to allow the UPS people more time to work. Finally, the first update. Angels sing and a warm aura surrounds your desk. The package has left Tonkawa and is "In Transit" The website gives you a vague and non--committal "estimated delivery date" as if only to give you the hope that your package MIGHT get there earlier than they expect. I mean what do they know? They're delivery people, YOU have beaten the entirety of the retail establishment!

Over the next day or two, you fall back into a pattern of refreshing that tracking page every few hours to see if there has been any progress made. But alas, no word. You begin to forsake basic needs like food, water and personal hygiene to try and track this son of a bitch. After all, you never know when a new update to this thing's location will come!

Then, another day later, a glimmer of hope. It might be the hunger induced delirium or the lack of sleep making you hallucinate, but you could swear that your computer is saying that the package is in YOUR STATE! At this point, the only thing keeping you from dancing around the house in a fashion that would embarrass your entire linage is the complete lack of strength in your muscles from the past several days of utter neglect. But nothing can stop you now. You become a page refreshing maniac. You hit that little refresh button as often as you refresh your facebook hoping one of your friends have said something nice about you (often to just as little result). You begin to feel desperation, as if UPS is purposely lying to you about your package. It's in your state already, and it's not like your state is THAT big and it's not like we don't have AIRPLANES and HELICOPTERS. Why can't your package be here NOW?! You become angry as you furiously pound the keyboard trying to follow every single FOOT that your package moves. It's taking too long! What if they got you address wrong! What if they're sending you the wrong items! Worries consume your brain as you refresh more and more. It has to be here soon damnit. It has to be! The world fades to black...

You awake on the floor and sit up unsteadily, your hands and face soaked in dried blood and there's no sign of your lovable pet Mr. Snuggles anywhere. You shakily reach for your keyboard, but being unable to stand, you resort to simply dragging your keyboard down to the floor with you. You hit F5 and stare up at your monitor. The page loads two glorious words that you never thought you would live to see. "Delivery Confirmed" Mustering up all the excitement you can given your state of health, you drag your paralyzed lower body towards the door and fight it open. There it is, that small brown box of glory. You rip the box open with your teeth, trying to get at the contents inside the way a hyena tears apart a zebra carcass. Finally, reaching the item inside, you are filled with a feeling of contentment as your hands shakily holds your DIY Enema kit over your head.

And then you DIE.

That's what ordering things on Amazon is like...

...And that's what I learned today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

...Music is genetic...

This is probably going to be another one of those deeper posts, so if you don't like that you can quit here.

Still with me? Good. I wanna show you something really cool. Check this out. For extra credit, follow along, you might be surprised with the results :)

Did you watch it? Was your mind blown?

Hilarious musical results aside, what is incredible is that this works EVERYWHERE across ALL kinds of cultures. And while it points to the human brain's ability to notice trends and patterns in notes of music, I think it points to something far deeper and more spiritual (never thought you'd see that word on THIS blog did you?). In my opinion, it shows that music, and the pleasure we derive from it is not only universal, it is genetic. We are almost hard-wired to enjoy music. And while music can take an infinite number of forms, why then has popular music essentially painted itself into a corner?

I have been listening to the radio more and more nowadays (thanks to my iPod cable fraying) and I can't help but notice that almost all popular music is incredibly same-y. I'm not saying I don't enjoy it, but one simply cannot sit and listen to it seriously. There was a time when lyrics meant something deep. Where the artist was able to convey emotion through their words. And before that came a time when the artist did not even NEED words to convey their feelings. When did music become so shallow, so pointless?

Now I'm not saying all music is bad nowadays. There are some songs out there that are quite meaningful still, but pop music as a whole lacks all the depth of it's rock, jazz and even classical predecessors. That's right classical. It boggles my mind that there are so many people out there who either do not care for, or actually dislike classical music. Most people say "Oh it's not really my thing" or "It's too boring" or "Wah that person is singing in another language wahhhhhh". Well looking at it this way, if Rock was the birth of Pop, and Blues was the birth of Rock, and Jazz was the birth of Blues etc etc etc, we all end up converging on some dude in a powdered wig. And while it is pretentious to say that all music is derived from Classical music (because if you really want to argue semantics, all music is derived from the first cave man who banged a stick on a rock in such a way that he could bob his/her head to), but classical certainly laid the framework for the vast majority of music to come.

Classical songs spanned the entire gamut of possible key signatures while pop music generally stays within the very narrow realm of C Major. Classical music could make a person laugh or cry without the use of words, Pop music uses the same words over and over again. Classical music, especially opera, told incredible stories from a french prisoner in the Bastille to a magical flute that transported a girl to the kingdom of the ice queen, pop music primarily covers the broad subject matters of drinking, partying, getting shitfaced (or slizzard if you will), dancing, spending money and occasionally whipping one's hair back and forth. How is it possible that a musical form that is hundreds of years old STILL does it better than those of today?

Maybe it's just me, maybe humans as a whole have realized that, after millennia of experimentation and trial and error, we have learned that there are certain very specific things that we like to hear. But no, I like to think that the music that defines this newest generation is a sad state of affairs. Music is becoming ever more accessible to new listeners with the advent of digital distribution and streaming files, and yet the most popular content we can feed into their ears is stuff like "Take it off" and "Bottoms up". (I mean the guy rhymes "up" with "up" THREE FUCKING TIMES. Do you think your FIRST GRADE TEACHER would have STOOD for that SHIT if he or she asked you to write a poem? FUCK NO.)

Let me get one thing clear though, I am not a hipster by any means and I'm CERTAINLY not telling you what to listen to or enjoy listening to. I enjoy pop music whenever I go to a party or a club, but I simply cannot imagine anyone sitting and listening to it thinking it is anything more than just simple dance beats and meaningless "lets have fun" lyrics. Anybody who tries to find any deeper meaning in these lyrics might as well spend their time trying to find the proverbial core of an onion.

...And that's what I learned today.

PS If you are wondering what brought this post on (other than that AWFUL Tre, here's the link to the TED talk. It's a long one, but trust me, it's worth it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

...This has been a slow week...

...for learnings at least. So today I present you with:

A list of things that unnecessarily terrify me

(ok well not terrify me...probably things I overreact to...would be a better way of classifying it....but fuck it I'm not deleting that...actually maybe it should be times when I feel like I'm about to die when really I'm not even close...yeah that's probably a bit closer...)

1) Opening a door only to find someone right on the other side of it.

Ok lets be fair, this is some classic slasher movie shit right here. So it's not JUST me being stupid like usual. But anyways, background. The bathroom door at my work is a pretty heavy son of a bitch that you need to use your badge to get access to. (presumably if you try and badge into the women's bathroom as a man, hidden SWAT team members drop down from inside the ceiling, they put a burlap sack over you head, beat you, and drag you away for questioning.) That means that it is one of those types of door knob...things...I don't know what the fuck they're called...but the hole in the door frame where the latch goes into...yeah that thing...anyways it's the kind of those things...that is held in magnetically and when someone badges in, the magnets release and the door swings open freely. (Fuck that took WAY too long to explain). Well the door swings inwards, and there have been several occasions where I'll be leaving and someone will push the door open at exactly the same time. Typically this results in a startled stop on both our parts, followed by the most awkward exchange mankind has ever recorded in the history of human interactions. But for some reason, as we awkwardly walk past one another, the only thought going through my head is "holy fucking shit I almost goddamn DIED back there! I'm SO LUCKY to be ALIVE. That door could have cut my fucking head off or something!" I don't know why I react that way...maybe I should stop drinking coffee...

2) Sneezing while driving on the highway

We all know that texting while driving is a big no-no (you hear that new drivers?! Oh right...they don't read this...or at least their parents probably shouldn't let them...). But there is no law against sneezing while driving. Maybe I'm just a particularly violent sneezer, but when it comes to this sort of thing (typically in the spring when all the trees in Massachusetts decide it's a great time to fuck and inadvertently rape my sinuses ALL AT THE SAME TIME), I do sneeze pretty hard. So lets picture this shall we. I'm driving down the highway, rocking out to Justin Bieber as I am wont to do, and I feel a sneeze coming on. My eyes begin to drift closed in order to keep my eyeballs in my skull (because I don't care what Mythbusters said, MY sneezes could not only pop my eyeballs out, but they'd propel through the glass of my windshield, into the car directly in front of me, through their rear windshield, the head rest and the back of the driver's skull before creepily replacing his eyeballs with my own). The sneeze reaches my nose and my entire body convulses as I let loose. Begin imagination sequence: My hands, still on the wheel at 10 and 2 (like the safe driver I am) jerk the wheel violently to one side, cutting off a family minivan. The aftershock from my sneeze causes me to jerk the wheel back across my lane into the left lane where a tanker truck full of liquid nitrogen has to swerve out of the way in order to avoid my car. It jack-knifes and skids to a halt, the tanker portion of the truck straddling all three lanes of the highway. A school bus full of honors kids is the first to make impact with said tanker truck, soaking the bus in liquid nitrogen and freezing the brakes. The bus skids uncontrollably and flips end over end Michael Bay style before coming crashing back down onto the pavement, shattering into a million pieces. I wipe my nose with a tissue.

...I clearly have an overactive imagination...

(to be continued)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

...My Asian-ness has given me a stronger stomach...

So I knew I've eaten some strange things in the past. Things that are strange by anyone's standards really (except maybe for that Andrew Zimmern guy). But it wasn't until I was surfing a blog entitled "Worst Thing I Ever Ate" that I realized just how much weird stuff other people aren't used to.

So before we begin, here's a quick run down of the things I've eaten that I think MOST people would agree is weird (with a brief description)

-Pork Hocks (or Pig's feet)
These things are delicious. It's not like the actual hooves, but rather the lower leg right above them. My mom cooks these in some kind of mystery sauce (soy sauce, sugar and a bunch of other things) that leaves them super tender and really sweet. The skin (yes skin) is really soft and basically melts in your mouth. I love these.

-Chicken Feet (sensing a trend?)
These are also really good. Cooked well (that is by a CHINESE person...or probably any asian for that matter) these are really tasty. Sure there isn't any meat, but the skin comes right off the bone and the tendons are super tender and chewy. This is CLASSIC Chinese Dim Sum and it's amazing. Just beware of all the bones.

-Pork Intestine
Yep this is one of my all time favorites. Again, cooked properly, this is delicious. I've had it cooked a ton of different ways and personally I think it needs to be incorporated in to Western cuisine far more.

Dude, the Chinese invented this go figure only we know how to cook it. 'Nuff said. It's awesome

-Stinky Tofu
See above, but add a smell similar to old socks or a gym locker. Pretty rank smelling, not that different tasting to be honest.

-Bamboo Worms
Yeah these were awesome. They're worms about the size of a meal worm (google it). I had these in Taiwan, deep fried with salt and white pepper (one of my favorite styles of cooking ANYTHING). So needless to say, these were fucking awesome. Tasted kind of like cashews.

-Bees (young/larvae)
Same restaurant, same style of cooking. More cashew flavor, still pretty freaking awesome.

-Mambo Sunfish
One of these bastards. Had a consistency similar to really tender chicken...which really freaked me out. Still really delicious.

Tail specifically. Awesome and delicious. Deep fried chicken nugget style. mmmmmmm

-Various bird innards
You name it, heart, liver, gizzard, I've eaten most of it.

So that's about it really. There's plenty more out there that I want to try. But this blog wouldn't be complete without a little whining and bitching, so here goes.

Maybe my being Chinese has made me immune to such things, but, while the vast majority of the shit on this site are pretty awful, there were a few things on this site that kind of annoyed me. One woman complained about being served a piece of sushi where the shrimps head was used for a garnish. I'm sorry, but where I come from, the shrimp are served with the head still attached. And the first step to eating them is to twist that little fucker in half. I've been hand-decapitating shrimp by the dozens since I was a young boy. Don't you go talking to me about a shrimp whose head is NOT EVEN ON. QQ moar, you lose. Beyond that, I'm used to seeing heads on Lobsters, Fish, Ducks, Chickens AND Pigs. Just because you can't handle seeing where your food CAME FROM doesn't mean it's the worst thing you ever ate. Shut the fuck up, grow a pair, and look your food in the eyes. It gave it's life to feed you, the least you could do is show it a little respect. Food comes from somewhere other than the little foam trays at the supermarket.

The worst one by far is this one though...For those of you who don't know, those are stuffed grape leaves. This is classic Mediterranean food and I love this stuff. I can understand they're not for everyone. They have a pretty strong flavor and the texture is a little on the slimy side. But I'm FUCKING STUPID are you that you mistook this for FUCKING SUSHI? I mean shit everyone told me Americans were cultural retards, but that's spectacular. I mean I figured I didn't know people were THAT stupid. Thinking back on it, I like to think I have about an average level of cultural awareness, but thinking about it now, that means 50% of people are worse than me....

No wonder everyone in the world hates us...

...And that's what I learned today.