Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best President Bush Moment of 2006: Massages by Bush

Sometimes I think we are so lucky to have a President who gives us comedy. Think about it. Other countries have distinguished leaders. We have Cowboy George.

At this year's G8 Summit in Scotland, President Bush copped a feel to give a shoulder rub to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was truly one of the most bizarre things that I've ever seen our President do. Makes me think though. I wonder if I could get Bush to stop by my apartment. My neck and shoulders are killing me.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Most Overrated Loss of 2006: Tower Records; Most Underrated Loss of 2006: Demotion of Pluto

Tower Records went out of business this year. Actually, I'm not really all that sad about it. If anything, I'm asking, "What the hell took so long?" Tower was always overpriced. Why would you pay $18.00 for a CD at Tower, when Amazon has it for $9.99? Other people would go further and ask, "When was the last time you bought a CD anyway?"

I will say though I was a little sad about what the loss of Tower represented for my neighborhood. I've written about this before. Tower Records is one of the few corporate merchants that feels like a local community shop. Cool people and insiders went to Tower. I rented my movies there because it was much cooler to say you went to Tower vs. Blockbuster for your movies. (Actually Blockbuster in my neighborhood left too, but I could care less about them.) Tower developed a sense of loyalty for a lot of folks, and people would even just hang out there for the whole evening. But really, Tower wasn't *that* cool. And the people who worked there, famous for their supposed knowledge of obscure music, didn't really know anything, at least the people at the Lincoln Center branch. Tower was supposed to be the champion of independent music, but every billboard in their window every time I walked by was for Beyonce, The Goo Goo Dolls and other established artists.

On the other hand, not many people, not even NASA, seemed to care that this was the year that Pluto was expelled from the ranks of planet. Pluto has always been the left-out "last child" and unglamorous of planets. It's small, far away, and has no real outstanding feature like rings or a funny name like "Uranus." Do these folks not realize that I memorized a rhyme in grade school for the nine planets, and now it's not gonna work?!? Poor thing. Pluto never knew it had it coming.

Later on, astronomers gave Pluto a reprieve and classified it as a "dwarf planet." Um, if I were Pluto, I don't think being called a "dwarf planet" would make me feel part of the family again. That's like expelling mayo from your diet, but then relenting to eat non-fat mayo. Let's join these guys and save Pluto.

Most Important Event of 2006 That I Still Don't Get: The HP Scandal

If you were to ever talk to me in person (or maybe you can tell from my blog), politics or current affairs aren't my forte, unless you consider the answer to "What the hell is in that hatch on Lost?!?" news. Most times, if I'm with friends and they're talking about the latest going-ons in the political landscape, I chime in and ask "Can't we talk about *real* stuff? Like Project Runway?"

This year, the media made a HUGE deal about the scandal over at Hewlett Packard. I understood the basics--that former CEO Patricia Dunn stupidly authorized the clandestine tapping of personal email and cell phone records of other board members. I don't doubt the seriousness of what happened (think to yourself what your reaction would be if you found out some stranger tapped into your phone records.) But the media really turned this into "HPGate" and images of Patricia Dunn flying off in a helicopter like Nixon flew in my head, courtesy of the media.

I guess I just saw this whole thing as paranoia getting the best of a corporate leader. I could understand Chairman Dunn's position. If I were head of a company, and I thought our company trade secrets were being leaked, I would definitely take some action to find out who. And while Patricia Dunn definitely played dirty (whether it was illegal is a subject of debate), I just didn't understand why this caused such national outrage. And what about the leak? What happened to the guy who leaked the secrets? Did he just get away with it, with Patricia Dunn as the HP scapegoat?

It was like the whole world investigated this--Congress, the State of California, federal prosecuters, the FBI, internal investigation....all focusing on this woman and ruining her life. And what got me is that I wouldn't put it past lots of these journalists who were villifying her to have done similar tactics in their careers. And we all know the government's position on tapping phone records.

Besides, based on my first paragraph, it's no surprise that I paid much more attention to "LycheeGate" on Top Chef more than "HPGate."

Most Newsworthy Third World Country of 2006: Thailand

Well, all the fame that Borat gave to Kazakhstan gave that country a strong push for this title, but I have to give the title of Most Newsworthy Third-World Country of 2006 to Thailand. Thailand had a big year. First, the world thought that we found JonBenet's killer when super-weirdo "I look like an alien from Close Encounters" John Mark Karr apparently confessed to killing the six-year old pageant queen. Then he got acquitted, leaving us all wondering why the hell he confessed to the murder if he didn't do it. But we did get to learn all about the great hospitality of Thai Airways' Business Class service.

Then, later in 2006, poor Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra became a Man Without A Country, when while he was visiting the UN in New York, he got ousted as Thailand's prime minister in a military coup. The press kept calling it "bloodless", which it literally was, to make it sound like this was a good thing, but somehow I doubt Thaksin felt better about the situation. I mean, everytime I hear the word "coup," I do not start getting nice touchy-feely thoughts. I was even worried about coups at my old jobs, but managed to butter up my staff with my witty old self. I know how to make people miss me.

Biggest Attention Hog of 2006: Star Jones

Things I cared more about in 2006 than Star Jones:

- what time it was
- whether I would make Premier status on United this year or not (I didn't)
- what kind of protein supplement to take--soy or whey
- my quest to find the best coffee maker
- if Betty on Top Chef really is schizophrenic and will end up stabbing everyone on the show with her knives
- my disturbing realization that instead of losing hair, I think I'm actually growing more hair

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006: A Year In Review

I love year-end review articles. I love reading other people spouting off what they thought were the best fashion trends of 2006 or who was the biggest dork of 2006. I even still have some year-end issues of Entertainment Weekly (my former Bible) and Time Magazine "Man of the Year" issues tucked away in my closet. I can't bear to part with them for some reason. Maybe I'll take them out and reminisce and laugh at how stupid we were five years ago because that's half the fun.

So I'm gonna try my hand at my own year end review. I'm starting a little late, considering that today is December 28, and despite all my best efforts, I still haven't attained "professional-post-everyday-blogger-status." But I'll try my best to share with everyone my best and worst moments of 2006. I'm sure not everyone will agree with my thoughts. Just be nice, everyone.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back From My Travels (Confessional #2)

I'm back from all my travels out west. I was in San Francisco and then Lake Tahoe for some skiing at Squaw Valley. Both were good trips, except on my flight to SF I lost my iPod shuffle on the plane and no one turned it in. So I'm sure one of the flight attendants on Flight 91 is enjoying some nice tunes. But I wasn't too upset, since I had my full iPod with me. I belong to the race of iPod Zombies and go through life happily going about my business without regard to the rest of the world, all the while absolutely convinced that I am going prematurely deaf. Maybe that's why I don't like sticking Q-tips in my ear. And unfortunately, I know a little too much about the anatomy of the ear (one of the few things I remember from high school biology) and know that there are these things called cilia in your ear that flap around, and that too strong of a sound wave can break these things, causing you to go deaf.

So despite my full knowledge of my fragile cilia susceptible to being broken left and right by menacing sounds, I decided to buy some special IN-EAR noise-cancelling headphones to replace the only set of headphones that I brought with me on my trip that happened to be attached to my lost shuffle. It was a hard decision to make, since the symbolic white Apple headphones are a significant moniker for the iPod Zombie race. But I was ready to make the break. I also had to go to the Apple store to get my full iPod fixed because somehow, the right button on the scroll wheel had become permanently depressed, so my only three choices in listening to my music were fast forward, rewind or stop. And as appealing as some music might sound like that, I wanted to get mine fixed.

My friend and I went to the Apple store in Burlingame. By the way, if I ever live in Silicon Valley, I wanna live in Burlingame. It's such a nice little town, with enough retail and restaurants to make me feel like I'm not living totally disconnected from the civilized world. Burlingame gets an A+ from me. Furthermore, Burlingame had the first Apple store where I didn't have to wait like half a day just to get some service. I just went up to the Genius Bar and saw one of their geniuses and got my iPod replaced, all in about 10 minutes. So easy.

Afterwards, I went to go browse the headphones selection. I had a fair amount of options, from sporty Nike ones to huge-ass Bose headphones. But ever since my friend told me that Bose is "aspirational", I won't buy Bose anymore. I hemmed and hawed, and finally selected some headphones made by Shure. I had never heard of Shure before, but my friend assured me that they were "top of the line."

So I bought these ridiculously expensive noise blockers. Before, I go on, let me just say that the packaging for these headphones made me want to bang my head against the wall and jump off a balcony. These things were so hard to open! You would think they were wrapping a weapon of mass destruction. Anyway, back to my headphones. I suppose that in essence, the idea of in-ear headphones is to actually prevent you from going deaf, since you don't have to turn up your music as loud. My new headphones came with all sorts of sleeves to fit perfectly in your ear and form a tight seal so as to keep out external noise. And boy do these things work. I can barely hear anything from the outside world, and it actually forces people, like my coworkers, to tap me on my shoulder to get my attention. But I've noticed that instead of turning up my music at say a quarter of the volume, I'm actually turning it up louder so I can hear all the little details going on in my favorite songs. much for my deafness prevention.

So there you go. I'm afraid of going deaf. This post actually was supposed to be about my trip, but in truth nothing really that exciting happened. I did go to our company's Christmas party, which was a dinner-theatre thing, where I saw this half Cirque du Soleil/half vaudeville show and people like the World's Hula Hoop Champion at this place. But I preferred to come back from my blog break with some fodder for you all to think about when you're thinking about your aural safety. So next time you Q-tip your ears, think of me. And if you've read this far, thanks for staying interested.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Where I Am

I'm in San Francisco right now, listening to everyone complain about how cold it is here. Please. It's like upper 40s here. San Franciscans can be such wimps. Anyhow, I hope everyone in blogland hasn't forgotten about me!

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Like I'm Drunk

Just got back from the optometrist. I decided to nix that test I took last year, because I didn't really have time today. But I did get my pupils dilated and I am struggling to see my computer screen as I type this. Getting home from my eye doctor was an adventure. A tourist today asked me, "Do you live here? Do you know where Times Square is?" I was at 50th and 6th Avenue, because my eye doctor is in Rockefeller Center, but for some reason I pointed these tourists towards 5th Avenue and 51st street. I was so disoriented that I gave her the absolute opposite directions. I ran back after her and was like, "oh sorry, it's actually that way" (picture me pointing randomly south and west.) She probably thought I was crazy, stoned or both, with my big black holes in my eye sockets staring at her. But really, I ran back after her because I didn't want her to think, god forbid, that I was a tourist.

Anyhow, more to come soon here on my blog, after my saucer-sized pupils shrink back to a normal size.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Things Like This Just Make You Want To Kick Yourself In The Head

It's like an episode of Antiques Roadshow, which I happen to love, especially when it turns out that the heirloom they brought in is actually worth about the price of a pack of gum. Anyway, some guy bought a Velvet Underground album for $0.75 at a flea market and then sold it on eBay for over $155,000!

I need to go treasure hunting at flea markets.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Site News

I've been getting awfully tired of looking at my blog template. I think my layout just screams "HTMLoser." So I want to try again at making my layout look like something special. But the last time I tried this out, I spent many hours learning how to add just a line break in HTML, and spent 45 minutes deleting the title, which I'm pretty sure you don't need to do.

Well, I'm thinking of trying again especially with this new beta blogger. I'm reasonably confident that my blog remodeling will produce a blog that will be aesthetically pleasing and have some pizazz to it. Then again, when I was little, I believed I would be on Star Search. Sometimes these things just don't work out.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today's Confessional: The Book

So the second series in my blog, after my "Five Things About San Francisco," which I'll be updating pretty soon with #3, will be "confessionals" about me. Just some little quirky things about me to show the world what a weird guy I really am.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I like to cook a lot and like to talk about food. I know a lot about esoteric ingredients and different funky kitchen gadgets from hours and hours of watching cooking shows and reading cook books and magazines. However, you won't see me working in a restaurant at any point in my life. Not only was I too traumatized by The Restaurant and Kitchen Confidential, but I'm also not much of an innovator in the kitchen. You won't see me doing any Top Chef Quickfire challenges anytime soon. I would just freeze and crumble and serve a plate of crapola to supermodel Padma and hottie Tom Colicchio, who normally isn't my type, but there's just something about him...

But I am very good at following directions. That's one of my unfailing qualities. I remember one time when I was younger and learning how to ski, my teacher said to me, "Boy, Terence, when I tell you to do something, you do it." It gives me a degree of comfort to stay within the confines of instructions. So in cooking, I'm extremely good at following recipes, which can cause some problems. For instance, some of the recipes I have in my collection call for massive quantities. Like I have a recipe for a really good and flavorful Turkey Meatloaf which calls for FIVE freaking pounds of ground turkey. That's like enough to feed 12 people! But my directional conscience strongly starts to protest when I start making calculations to cut recipes in half. It's like I start shaking when I start to mess with the integrity of a recipe. I get over it though and move on and put my faith in the cooking gods whose main goddess must be Nigella Lawson.

So where do I get my recipes? I get a vast portion from the Food Network's iffy-performing website and print out anything I like. When I started my collection, I didn't quite realize what a project this was going to be. It was like that day I decided to make homemade ravioli and ended up devoting my whole day making over 100 raviolis. That was a PROJECT. I had flour all over me, and my kitchen looked like a war zone.

Remember *The Book* from The Devil Wears Prada? Well, that was the project I decided to undertake with all my Food Network printouts. After collecting a pretty sizeable stack, I needed to organize. The easiest method would have been to just throw them in a binder. After my years of working at a law firm, I am a binder expert, having made hundreds of them. But in reality, I hate binders. I hate how flimsy they can be; how bulky they can be; and how they can inflict actual bodily harm with their dangerous sharp & protruding edges. In the office supply world, I much prefer spiral notebooks for their compactness and portability. So my solution to my dilemma was to cut with scissors my Food Network recipe printouts to size and glue stick them into the pages of a spiral notebook. With a huge stack of recipes, this can take up a lot of time. Often times, you'll find me sitting on my couch with a venerable arts & crafts project in front of me, just snipping and pasting away. It makes my hands get a little tired, but it's the sort of mindless, repetitive task that I find pretty soothing. But there is a bit of a challenge at fitting all my little printout cards into the pages of my book.

My book has grown to be kind of thick now, and I didn't fully think it through because there is no rhyme or reason to the order that the recipes fall in my book, besides just being in the order that I watched them. But now that I've started, I simply just can't go back.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Cider House Sucks

Tonight I wasted 2 1/2 hours of my life watching one of the dumbest and most booooorrrriiing movies I've ever seen in my whole life. Seriously, The Cider House Rules bored me out of my skull. Not only are the characters utterly inane, but I think anyone who would actually see this movie for pleasure is in serious need of psychotherapy.

Wow, I haven't hated a movie like this in such a long time. I didn't know I had it in me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Should Get A Punching Bag

For my traveling computing needs, I have a 12-inch size silver Mac Powerbook. But my poor laptop fell on hard times a couple years ago, and has been abused ever since. I suppose that's the hazard of being an item of travel, especially traveling with me, since I have a habit of throwing things around and going through life in my general happy-go-lucky, disposable, accident-prone way.

Anyway, my laptop, over the past couple of years, has been dying a slow death. It culminated a couple of months ago, when the hard drive in my computer just went kaput, and I lost everything. Luckily, I really didn't keep much stuff on it, except for a few photos, but I'll survive without them. The hard drive's death must have been like the brain finally not getting enough blood and oxygen because, my battery at that point was so damaged that it gave me about 15 minutes of juice without the A/C adapter.

The beginning of all this damage started when I stupidly dropped my laptop down the stairs. The scene is like this. I was in Whistler, Canada, and I was returning my skis a day early. But the guy couldn't give me a refund for the extra day without a copy of my receipt which I didn't have in hard copy. So I ran back to my hotel, and grabbed my laptop, yanking the cord out of the wall, and ran back to the ski shop. Now I don't know why I was so excited. Maybe because I was so annoyed that he needed this when the guy had all sorts of other documentation like the form that I signed at the time I first took the skis. Or maybe it was his Scottish accent (foreshadowing of me and my experience with accents). At any rate, as I was taking the steps two at a time, with laptop in tow, it slipped out of my grasp and in my efforts to catch it, I actually bat it through the air, and my laptop hurtles down the steps.

Somehow my laptop stayed powered on, and the screen was intact. But the poor casing had two massive dents, destroying the pristine silver skin for this item that was the centerpiece of my silver techie collection (camera, pda, phone).

So today, I got a call from the friendly folks at They're performing their magical surgery, and I'll get my computer back in a couple of days! But I feel bad, because I want a new computer actually, and so maybe when this is all fixed, I'll put this one up for adoption.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

All Historied Out

Tonight in my bouts of insomnia, I got hooked on The History Channel. Actually, I've been watching a lot of what used to be known as "The Hitler Channel" because it seemed like all they showed was stuff about Hitler or the Titanic. People were like, "Isn't there ANYTHING else in the history of the world that might be interesting enough to put on this channel?" But now, their latest theme seems to be DISASTER and civilizations ruined by natural disaster, but had it coming to them because of too much pride, greed and general evil mankindness, like they're trying to instill a mass panic in all of us. To play off on that, they were also running some specials on the Kennedys, so that you could learn about a family disaster. You learn that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually an excellent marksman and that three shots was definitely doable in 8.3 seconds and that Oliver Stone's magical traveling bullet didn't really twist the way that he said. What kind of world do we live in if we can't believe in the movies?

The History Channel has also taught me in the last few weeks that the hard hat was invented at the Hoover Dam by dipping two baseball caps in tar and letting them harden. I've also learned that during the 17th century the best time to kill buffalo to yield the most profit, was during the winter when the hide was thicker. And tonight, I learned about the four types of volcanoes (Continental Margin, Hot Spot, Ocean Ridge and Island Arc, in case you wanna know) and that the biblical mass Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea actually were probably based on real events that happened after the Thera volcano at Santorini erupted. Thera could also explain the myth of Atlantis, making it the catch-all explanation of volcanoes. I wonder if Thera could explain JFK.

But I think the most disturbing thing that I've learned from the History Channel is that while the Discovery Channel ends its programing at 2am, The History Channel ends at 3am only to return at 5am.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Today I'm sick and have no energy to blog. I'll be back soon.