Sunday, January 30, 2011

never ever

Yeah, here it is not even a week after I said I was calling it quits for this blog and now comes this entry. After this, that's it, or so I say.

I was debating about whether to leave all the old posts or delete them. Tonight I went back and read my first five entries, written in June 2008. They brought back too many memories for me to delete. As I get older, what I thought was burned into my brain tends to escape through the holes in my head so it is good to keep the memories in writing for posterity.

And in particular, something I wrote in my second entry hit me. I mentioned how I used to keep a journal but one impulsive day I picked up all five volumes and threw them away, much to my regret years hence. I offered this advice to my readers, and I guess I should heed it myself:

Never get rid of pictures, writings, etc., because one day you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life. You have to preserve your Casablancas.

Friday, January 28, 2011

dead shark

If you watched the movie Annie Hall, you may remember one of the things Woody Allen's character, Alvy Singer, tells Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) near the end of the movie:

A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.

Well, substitute the word "blog" for "relationship" in the above and I think that just about sums up what is happening with this particular blog. I think it's run its course.

I haven't decided whether to abandon the blog and leave the old posts like the remnants from a ghost town, or delete everything like it was never there, like the Watergate burglars attempted to do. For the time being I'm just going to leave everything up.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

slots

Not Vegas slots, but slot cars. There's this page one of my former high school classmates created on Facebook called Asian Retro - check it out if you grew up around my time (60's-70's) in the Asian American community as people posted a bunch of memories there.

I thought about how I used to be crazy about racing slot cars and going to Revell Raceway on La Tijera in Westchester back in my growing-up days.

Now that was FUN. That, and going to eat at McDonalds next door, too.

Here's a picture of the place that I ran across today:

It became the rage for a couple of years and then just as quickly as it grew, it died out. This was big business for a while - raceways opened up, hobby stores stocked the latest slot car kits and parts to "scratch build" them, and the manufacturers sponsored teams to go around the country to promote and race their products.

Us true fanatics used to carry our cars, spare parts and tools in a fishing tackle box and we'd never be caught dead racing "stock" equipment, haha. Especially ones that came already assembled. At least if you were going to race something stock, it was supposed to be built from a kit so you had a hand in making it.

Yup, those were the days..


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

straight and narrow

Today I was thinking back about how my mom used to walk me to and from school, but then came a time when she weaned me off of that to go on my own (no, this wasn't high school..).

Our house was separated from my elementary school by one major street, Western Avenue. There was no signal on 36th Street; the nearest one was a block down on 36th Place and she told me to make sure and cross at the signal.

When I got out of school, she was waiting at the southeast corner of Western and 36th when I arrived at the southwest corner. She would then walk down to 36th Place on one side of the street and I'd walk on the other side, then cross at the signal and we'd walk back to the house together.

After doing this several times, she left me on my own to walk home from school - but, she said, make sure to cross at the signal.

It was tempting just to cross at 36th Street instead of walking a whole long block down to 36th Place, then crossing the street and walking another whole long block up to 36th Street, especially when there were no cars around but I did what she said.

For a while.

Finally, the character on my other shoulder that kept saying it made no sense to walk all that extra amount when the street was clear prevailed, and I took a short cut and crossed at 36th Street. My rationale: I'll make an exception this time since the nearest car was too far away to make any difference. Tomorrow I'll do it the right way.

You can probably guess what happened after that. Pretty soon I stopped walking that extra distance altogether and just did the expedient thing.

I realize this was a relatively minor thing, although it wouldn't have been had I gotten run over - "no really, I was crossing at the signal and the car hit me and knocked me a whole block up the street!" The thing is, life is full of temptations to take short cuts and pretty soon if you aren't careful, that's all you wind up doing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

and boy are my arms tired..

My back went out on me on Christmas day. Why? I am not quite sure. The only reason I can think of is from standing for a long time the night before at our church's Christmas Eve Cantata. This has happened to me before, the first time when the kids were little and I guess I picked them up too much without giving consideration to standing properly so as not to strain my back.

While these occasional back problems are nothing new, this is the first time they've lasted so long - as I type this, my back is better but it is still tender.

Since the weather really warmed up, I went for a walk on Saturday. It's been a while since I've done any outdoor exercise - November 13, to be exact. A combination of weather plus not having enough time made me change my routine to working out indoors on the elliptical machine instead of going running.

I walked about 2.5 miles. On Sunday it was nice again so I did the same thing, same route, except I ran part of the time. I figured going for a walk would help my back, which it did. You might not think running would be helpful but in the past I've found that it did indeed help.

Let me tell you something, using an elliptical machine is no substitute for running! It was obvious to my lungs and legs that I hadn't run for a while. It would have been worse had I not exercised at all since November, but still, doing time on the elliptical doesn't translate into doing time on the street/sidewalk.

My back does feel better, though, and I am glad I did some outdoor exercise. No matter how bad the muscle aches may be from exercising (and it really isn't very bad at all.. just a bit of stiffness), it is always a pleasant kind of ache.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

cell phones

One of the things our new governor, Jerry Brown, is doing to reduce expenses is to take back about half of the cell phones that have been issued to state employees.

Already some have made disparaging remarks about this move, saying it saves "only" about $20 million, little more than a small dent in our huge deficit of billions.

Well, every little bit helps and it has to start somewhere. Most likely 95% or more of state employees with cell phones furnished by the state do not need them and are wasting our tax dollars. It has nothing to do with the cost but everything to do with how this is just symptomatic of a bunch of other things that we are paying for that are unnecessary. It's the tip of the iceberg.

Actually, this is a pretty smart move by Brown. You know what is going to happen - all these worthless people who are having their cell phones repossessed are going to be spiteful because that means some other worthless employee now has more than they do.

So that means they will point that out: "Why did you take away my phone when so-and-so still has this-and-that, which they don't need???"

Which will then point out what should be the next thing to go - from the other person. Then the newly disenfranchised will look around to see who now has more than they do, and rat them out, and so on, and so forth until no one has anything. Haha, it is human nature.

And that is the way to make the $20 million reduction grow exponentially.


Friday, January 14, 2011

our new gov

I didn't vote for Jerry Brown, I voted for Meg Whitman. I was old enough to vote both times he ran for governor back in 1974 and 1978, but I don't remember if I voted for him or not, or if I even cast a ballot. All I can recall about him back in those days are two things: how he was for Prop 13 and he dated Linda Ronstadt.

Even though I didn't vote for him, I have to say I am sort of happy that he won. I have stopped thinking of him as a kook and actually have to respect him for what seems like a no-nonsense approach to solving the budget mess we have in this sorry state of California.

I really thought Arnold was going to be a great governor, but I thought wrong. I have absolutely no respect for him, especially after his sleazy parting shot of reducing the sentence of Fabian Nunez' son on his last day, which cannot be seen as anything but a slimy political favor. He has no scruples. I'm glad he is gone and I hope never to see him again. Goodbye and good riddance to this louse. I supported him both times when he ran for governor but what can I say? I was stupid. True, the opposition was laughably incompetent but two wrongs don't make a right.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

the stuff I think about

First off, Happy New Year to you all! May you have a truly blessed 2011.

Secondly, I haven't abandoned this blog, at least not completely. I just haven't felt like writing anything and even if I did, it's been so busy that I didn't have time.

Now that I do have some time, this will be a Seinfeldesque sort of post, a post about really nothing of substance but then that's probably what you expect anyway.

Someone once told me that he thought I was the type of person who squeezed the tube of toothpaste from the bottom and rolled it up as I went along. I could take that to be a compliment, as in seeming to be a methodical, organized person. Or maybe he just thought I was an anal, OCD type.

Whatever, the method I actually use is just to squeeze the tube wherever there is room to squeeze and hope there is enough left for that particular time and the next time. I'll roll it up or flatten it out towards the end, mainly because I am so lazy I don't want to walk over to the cabinet to get another tube.

I find myself thinking about this as I brush. When do I make that final squeeze and completely empty the tube? In the morning I will think, better to run out at night because I have more time to go get a new tube (which also involves opening the cardboard box, flattening it out and throwing it away), especially since I am getting ready for work. At night I will think I am too tired to get a new tube so better to let it run out and have to get a new tube in the morning when I have more energy.

In other words, some other time is always the best time as far as I am concerned. What I end up doing is expending more energy squeezing the tube to get every last bit of toothpaste, than it would take to just go get a new one from the cabinet.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

starting off the new year right

The way to begin the New Year properly is to do the proper prep work. And that I did. On Friday morning (New Year's Eve) I went to Costco.

They're closed on New Year's day, since they tend to treat their employees better than do most stores.

Costco opened at 9:00 on Friday morning, an hour earlier than usual. It wasn't very crowded, about the same as when I go when they first open on Saturday mornings - in other words, it was still pleasant.

Unlike most times when I go when they first open, there were plenty of food sampling stands already set up, and most of the items were ready so I got quite a few samples. The best one was a slice of El Pollo Loco quesadilla - that was yummy. I thought about getting a box until I looked at the nutritional content label.

One serving had 270 calories. All right, that's not that much, but these sneaky people labeled a "serving" as 1/2 of a quesadilla! And if I'm not mistaken, one quesadilla was only 7.5 ounces, so I don't see how people could be satisfied with a main course that was only 3.75 ounces. You'd have to eat the whole thing, which would mean 540 calories.

I thought about this after I left the store and maybe that really isn't so bad since it contains everything you need except veggies. It had the starch (a flour tortilla) plus plenty of chicken and cheese and whatever else they used. It's probably a lot less than the calorie content of whatever you eat if you go eat out, too.

So maybe I will buy a box next week because it did taste very good.

I ended up buying a bunch of convenience foods - like tequila lime wings, paella, and some soups. Vegetable barley, in an effort to be healthy, and hot and sour soup, to be experimental.

My friend Sandy said she tried the hot and sour soup and it was pretty good except the liquid wasn't clear like what you get at a Chinese restaurant; instead it looked more like miso. I figured this was hot and sour soup made by white folks (Harry and David), so what could you expect?

On the other hand, how much of the food you eat at an ethnic restaurant is really made by ethnic people? Well, it is probably made by ethnic people, just not with ethnicities that match the food they are cooking.