October 5, 2005

Subway Smell That Lasts

POST #    1887

Contrary to my dislike of bad smells on the subway, "good" smells on the subway can also be annoying. For example, the woman with the overwhelming perfume who is standing in your personal space, causing you to choke on the scented air you're breathing. Or the man who slathered on waay too much after shave in to cover up the late day odor he'll have.

Even worse is when you grab the bar on the subway, something I usually never do, only to come away with a hand that smells like aftershave. That's what happened to me a few days ago. Yet another reason for me not to grab the bar. You would think that a nice washing of the hand would get rid of the smell, but somehow, just somehow, the scent doesn't go away.

But then, what happens if you neurotically think, "If there is a subway accident, and I'm not holding onto anything, I could go flying!" But really, what's worse, life threatening injury or someone's smell plastered to your hand all day (I'm not even talking about germs)?

Then again, if the scent is actually Jovan for men, I might be in luck!

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Random at 8:05 AM



May 24, 2005

Clip, Clip

POST #    1722

In front of my building, there used to be three abandoned bicycles. No longer. With the handy tool pictured above, they are now ready to be disposed of. I put a post on Craig's List last night with the a few details. There was such a large response that I took it down. Crazy.

The funny thing is that while I was removing the bikes, nobody said anything. All I got was a couple of looks. Cutting the chains wasn't easy even though I had this huge cutter. No cops came out of the police station across the street either. I wonder if I could replicate the Neistat Brother's video.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:10 AM



May 1, 2005

Way Too Many Haircuts

POST #    1684

I guess it was about time for another haircut. The last time I got my haircut was all the way back in late August/early September. Judging by the amount of times hair entered my mouth while eating, it was about time for another haircut. Same place as last time, but it seems like they upped their prices to $10!! And can you believe when I was discussing the length, the woman cutting my hair actually said, "make up your mind, because I don't have time to keep cutting." So gruff and now so expensive. Maybe I need to pick a new place.

As if I needed another reason to get my hair cut, there are two weddings this month where I'm in the wedding party. Dan and Johnny, you should both consider this your wedding gift.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:09 AM



December 22, 2004

Time to Moisturize

POST #    1480

Lots of lotions for my skin at a time where everything is getting very dry and itchy. I still haven't solved the question of how to moisturize my back, but did find out that cooling menthol is bad in the winter. Sigh.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 6:41 AM



November 11, 2004

Smooth Mouth & Neapolitan Ice Cream

POST #    1403

Two totally unrelated topics, grouped together...awesome.

Yesterday, I took part in some overzealous eating of dumplings, which wasn't a great idea. I know, I eat overzealously a lot, but these dumplings were freshly cooked and the oil burnt the roof of my mouth. Now, I have two smooth sections of skin in my mouth, which is a pretty cool sensation. Sure, it was painful when it happened, but now it's not. The scarred tissue is just nice and smooth and fun to play with.

To try and soothe this last night, I tried some ice cream. Okay, maybe it wasn't entirely about soothing the "pain". With two ice cream choices - rum raisin and Neapolitan - I opted for the variety that Neapolitan provided, despite the potential soothing qualities of the rum. It used to be that I enjoyed strawberry the most, followed by chocolate, with vanilla in a distant third. Now, however, I've got a new fondness for vanilla. It has yet to overtake chocolate or strawberry, but I do like it a lot more now. Also, has anyone else noticed that the chocolate section of the Neapolitan ice cream is the flavor with the least amount of ice cream? Of course, this reminds me of The Simpsons episode where Homer yells, "Marge, we need some more vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream!'' Of course, the two several containers Homer went through only had the chocolate eaten.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:01 AM



September 23, 2004

Ah, Welcome Fall

POST #    1219

Today is the first full day of fall, and I welcome it. Gone are the days of sneezing and allergies for me, and in are the cooler days where air conditioning is no longer needed. The only negative of this is the days are getting shorter and shorter. And you get beautiful sunsets like the one above. Problem is, you won't be able to see them anymore since the sun will set sooner and sooner.

Back to allergies. I've noticed this strange phenomenon of people blessing themselves after they sneeze. Has anyone else noticed this? The sneeze followed by, "bless me." Is it me, or is that wrong and should only someone else be able to bless you? I mean, if you really believe in all that blessing mumbo jumbo, how can you bless yourself? What would the point of church be? Maybe you can just say "excuse me" and not "bless me". Makes more sense to me.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 7:41 AM



September 16, 2004

Trick for Opening a Pesky Jar

POST #    1284

The other night, I was trying to open up a new jar of salsa and was having major problems. I couldn't do it with my right hand, my left hand was too weak and any cloth I used had too little friction. So I resorted to something I learned from my parents - I heated the top. I fired up the range and held the top close to the flames, being careful not to actually put it in, rotating while maintaining a safe distance. After about five seconds, I tried to open the jar again. Success!

Usually, this is used with jars that contain something sticky, like honey. The heat melts the substance, allowing you to open it with ease. I suppose the heat can also cause the metal to expand, making the jar easier to open. I assume this was the reason my jar opened since there was no salsa between the jar and the lid to cause potential stickage.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it works.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 7:35 AM



September 4, 2004

The Long Awaited Haircut

POST #    1255

Sunday, I went over to my local barbershop and got a lot of hair trimmed off. I told the barber that she could take 4 or 5 inches off, but it seems like it was about 8 inches. I feel like a Polish/Chinese businessman from when Regan was president. It's a strange feeling.

My last haircut was all the way back in January. A list of pros and cons so far:

- I can see.
- No longer eat hair with my food and have the subsequent food flavored hair.
- No longer called "mam" by flight attendants.
- Was not arrested all week by the police despite being near protesters.
- Now using less shampoo and grooming for less time, so it's a money/time saver.
- It only cost me $8.

- Hair now short enough so it goes right into my eyes.
- The feeling of all the wind blown hair is diminished.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 7:40 AM



August 21, 2004

Limited Edition Mao Stamps

POST #    1232

Shannan recently sent me these "limited edition" Mao stamps. In fact, there are only 20 of each. Nice, right? They cost about 85¢ each for the 40 stamps, but as you can tell, they are well worth it. Now I can make people laugh and wonder "what the hell?" when they get their letters. You can make your own stamps, but they also have limitations:

Material that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable.

So unfortunate. Now all I have to do is find some stuff to mail out. That's going to be the hard part. Hopefully, the USPS won't be raising their rates anytime soon.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:44 AM



April 26, 2004

Shower: Morning vs. Night

POST #    976

I'm usually a morning shower person. I wake up, hit the shower, get dressed, go to work or do whatever. Yesterday, I skipped the morning shower (I was feeling lazy) and took a late night shower, and followed it up with a quick shower this morning. Now, the reason that I shower in the morning is that I feel it wakes me up and because it gets my hair wet and manageable. The evening shower also has its merits though, with the main one being that you go to bed clean. My biggest problem with that is that my hair invariably ends up a mess in the morning and going to sleep with wet hair is no fun (blowdrying is not an option).

I might have come up with a solution. Take a shower at night to get the daily filth off me and follow it up with a quick - no shampoo, no soap - shower in the morning to wet the hair down and wake up. I even shaved last night, thus avoiding the morning shave. Two problems with this approach: it means taking two showers a day (which I am generally opposed to) and using that much more water. Maybe I'll try it out again tonight and see how it goes.

I forgot to say something about underwear usage. If I do shower twice, how would I manage my underwear use? I would obviously change after the night-time shower, but would I use the same pair in the morning the next day? Last night, I changed into an older pair of boxers and put a fresh pair on this morning. If I continued to do this though, I would have to do much more laundry. Such a dilemma.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:41 AM



April 9, 2004

Shampoo and Panties

POST #    927

Do any products we use really differ? Sure, you can taste the difference between diet and regular, but can you really tell the difference between normal and full body shampoo? (Assuming the same packaging, of course.) Of course, this reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons, but what doesn't. In the episode, Homer visits the Duff Brewery and tries Duff, Duff Light, Duff Dry, but they all come from the same vat.

This came to mind because I was out of shampoo and had to get some more.* The two types of Pantene (more on that in a second) were different, but did I notice any difference at all? Nope. Just the color on the bottle changed. My hair was no more full than normal.

And Pantene, is it me, or is Pantene the 90's/00's version of Pert Plus, but without the "plus". It's like the generic shampoo that everyone can afford, yet is pseudo rich class at the same time. I'm not sure why, Pantene is so popular though. At least Pert Plus had the plus conditioner thing working for it. The only thing that Pantene has working for it, besides that pseudo fancy thing, is that the name closely resembles "panty". Panty. What a word. It's a word that every american guy likes because of Victoria's Secret plugging their various "panty" lines, yet seldom do you hear wmen calling them panties. To them, it's just underwear. But to guys, we think, "I wear underwear, women wear panties." So...Pantene ~ panties → Pantene sells well.

*By get, I mean, go downstairs to get some from my parents.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 7:33 AM



March 14, 2004

"Gassy? Is it gas? It's gas, isn't it?"

POST #    848

***Warning, this entry contains talk of certain bodily functions, namely gas. This may be stooping to a grade school mentality, but I've been thinking about this and this site does contain my "random thoughts" (see banner above). For some higher brow thoughts (not necessarily high, just higher), see my thoughts on dry skin.***

Recently, I've been a bit gassy, I'm not exactly sure why though. I think it might be from milk. While I'm not lactose intolerant yet, it may be coming. Hopefully, it had something to do with the amount of milk I drank last night - I had a lot with my cereal. I would be very, very upset if I became fully intolerant. Then I might not be able to eat pizza! No, that must not happen.

The NIH website says this about lactose intolerance, "symptoms include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea, which begin about 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing lactose." Sounds about right, but thankfully all I got was gas. Lactose intolerance affects between 30 and 50 million Americans, with as many as 75% of African Americans and Native Americans. 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant, which doesn't bode well for me. People of northern European descent are least affected by this (damn northern Europeans!!).

Gas is an interesting, if not disgusting, thing. I think the passing gas is also interesting. Okay, maybe not interesting, but I've been thinking about it recently. For me, different times of year result in different actions after passing wind. In the summer, when wearing shorts, gas often dissipates into the surrounding area quickly. Because of this, you always have to be aware of where you are, lest everyone know it was you that cut the cheese. When wearing long pants, there is typically some time between passing gas and the escape of the gas. This is something that can be timed, so you can pass gas, wait for it's release, and walk away. No one will be the wiser. Best of all, unlike shorts, you won't have to experience your own gas.

Last night, during my gaseous phase, my friend Johnny and I thought about gas and women. How does this work? I mean, I'm sure women have gas. After all, it is a bodily function that is shared by all. I suppose that many women have more tact than me so they might be more discreet with their gas (I guess that's obvious since I'm the one writing about gas), but it's not like I'll just pass gas out in public in a group of people. So with women, who tend to wear thinner and tighter clothes, is there a different method for the gas and walk? And what happens when you are wearing a skirt? How does that affect the gas transference into the surrounding area? These are the things I want to know.

Also, what happens when you hold gas? I do this sometimes, and my body makes a grumbling sound, like that's just not supposed to happen. But who's going to break wind when in a packed room? Not me. Does this mean there will be an even greater, more powerful release of gas? Hmm.

Hopefully, this didn't gross too many people out. But at least I warned you this time, no?

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:37 AM



March 4, 2004

Winter Shower Paradox

POST #    808

I have two problems with the winter shower. In the winter, I like to take longer showers in warm/hot water because it's cold. This dries my skin out. In the winter, I like to hit the snooze button more because it's darker out. This leaves me with less time to get ready for work.

To solve the hot water and drying problem, I know I should moisturize. But in order to solve that, I need to get up earlier. Herein lies the problem. How can I moisturize if I have less time in the morning to do so? And even if I had the time to moisturize, how am I supposed to get my back? It's not like I can fold myself into a pretzel or anything. I can kind of get to my back, but it's really difficult. I did find that one shoulder is more supple than the other though.

This was what I was thinking about as I took a warm shower this morning in semi-springlike conditions. I'm also convinced that it will snow one more time this year and be cold for at least one more week.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:52 AM



February 26, 2004

Mmm. That Newspaper Smells Good

POST #    790

Okay, am I the only person that likes the smell of the newspaper? I think it might be something about the combination of newsprint and ink. If only I could have one of those scent things on my computer so whenever I went over to the NY Times site, I could get the smell of the newspaper as well.

Another smell I like is the smell of the air that comes up the grates on the street when the subways run by. Yes, disturbing, since that smell is in all likelihood urine. Surprising, since I'm such a subway germaphobe.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:48 AM



February 25, 2004

Subway Germs...Ewww!

POST #    786

In the past few years, I've developed this sort of germ-phobia while in the subway. I avoid holding the handlebars at almost all costs. When I lived in Murray Hill and took the train from 33rd to Union Square, I knew exactly where the bend in the track was and would only touch the bar if I was going step on someone. When I can, I lean against the doors. If I must touch the bar, I touch with minimal parts of my hand and then wipe vigorously after I let go. If I were really insane, I would bring some hand sanitizer with me everywhere, but I'm not quite there yet. The strange thing is, while I despise touching the handlebar, I'll lean my head against the wall of the car while I sit without giving it a thought.

I'm no better in public bathrooms. I turn the faucet off with the paper towel I use to dry my hands, then open the door with that paper towel, and finally throw the paper towel in the garbage can while holding the door open with my foot.

Posted by tien mao in NYC, Random at 7:15 AM



February 18, 2004

They Ought to Put Warnings on These

POST #    773

I was brushing my teeth with my Reach Toothbrush this morning in somewhat of a hurried fashion, as I was running late. Brush, brush, brush. I was moving the toothbrush rather vigorously and firmly. Much to my dismay, my toothbrush suddenly popped out of my mouth and made its way upward towards my eye. There was a nice smear of Mentadent from my mouth, to my nose, and right up past my eye. It's possible that some toothpaste got in my eye, since there was a slight tingling feeling. I've never even done this when drunk, but the combination of the morning haze and a rush might have been just as bad, if not worse. And they expect kids to brush their teeth? Crazy!

Maybe a warning label that says, "Hurried adults, please be advised of the dangers of brushing. Slow your roll...biatch." I think that would work for me.

Are there any other products that they should slap warnings on?

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:57 AM



February 17, 2004

"How have you been?" and "What have you been up to?"

POST #    771

Often times when you don't talk to someone for a long time, one of the first questions asked is either, "How have you been?" or "What have you been up to?" My standard response is, "not much," which always seems right when I say it, but I guess in reality, it's not true at all. It's just the canned response that I give. It's like when I'm on the phone and someone asks "How are you?" and my standard response is "Good, how are you?" I guess it makes my greetings seem kind of fake, but it's a response that is second nature and not intended to deflect the question.

I also feel like when people ask me questions like that, I don't really have anything new to report; that my life, in general, is pretty mundane. It may not be, but it just seems like it is to me. There are developments in my life, but if it's a slow progression over time, it doesn't feel like a big thing to report. It's kind of like when I have friends visit me in New York. They always want to "experience the city" and do "typical, exciting" New York things. While there are plenty of things in New York that are exciting and that you can only experience here, they just seem ordinary to me. Sure, that means I'm probably taking things for granted, but to me living here is normal, so unless something is blow-me-out-of-the-water exciting, it's typical New York to me.

Just like my life, while I think I do some fun things, most of the stuff is just normal to me. Hanging out with friends, going out to eat, and chillin'.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:45 AM



February 2, 2004

Give Boobs and Lift

POST #    738

There are certain things that I don't want to put images of on this site. I am willing to embarrass myself or my friends, but I'm not putting up a picture of any ugly women. That would just be a waste of server space.

There is a woman who is soliciting money for a boob job and a lift on eBay. Her name is Danielle, and it seems like she needs more than just boobs and a lift. It's not pretty. If there was a way to make sure donations would go towards something besides the boobs, I might actually donate. Oh, and she says she is "living in the middle of no where [sic]." And, in case you think it's a scam, she says, "this is not a scam or a joke im am flat out serouse [sic]." Ugh.

- Original auction "help me get breast implants and lift"
- Latest auction "help me get a breast lift and posbl implants"

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:25 AM



January 30, 2004

Magic Cone - For Sanitary Urination and Penis Envy

POST #    734

Gotta love flash product demos.

Jeannette passed along a hilarious animation for a product called the Magic Cone. It's a disposable urination funnel for women. The manufacturer says it's good for the sanitary use of public toilets, when there are no bathrooms around, and for pregnant women. I'm convinced I've seen similar stuff before in a camping catalog before, but never with such fun animations.

- Magic Cone product demo

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:10 AM



January 29, 2004

Thar (S)he Blows!

POST #    732

A whale of an explosion in Tainan, Taiwan. Image from Taiwan Apple Daily.

A couple of days ago, I read eTaiwan News' account of a sperm whale that exploded in Taiwan. I remember thinking to myself, "Man, I wish I could see a picture of that!" Well, thanks to MSNBC and Reuters, I can now see that image! Their lovely article today includes full description and a pre-explosion picture.

The sperm whale, 17 meters long and 50 tons, was being transported for research before it exploded. It was beached over the weekend and close to death when someone found it. Apparently, the explosion was caused by natural gas inside the whale as it decomposed. Nothing like clean, natural gas.

Fitting to its name, the whale also had a huge penis, measuring about 5 feet long. This has caused more than 100 residents to check out the whale corpse and view its largesse.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 3:57 PM



January 17, 2004

Haircut It Is

POST #    705


Bowing to pressure from almost everyone I know, I finally got a haircut. It's pretty much the exact same hairstyle as before, but a tad shorter. And no, I didn't get it cut for Chinese New Year, which is this Thursday, January 22nd. It's Chinese tradition to get your hair cut before the new year, so you can begin the new year with a fresh start.

See previous length of hair in the post about that great scarf.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 3:09 PM



January 16, 2004

Greatest Scarf Ever!

POST #    704


Forget wool, forget cashmere, I have seen the greatest scarf ever! It's furry and it has paws. Paws that you can put your hands in. Forget that it might be a bit impractical to wear outside and that you might ridiculed by strangers and friends alike, but for indoor use, it's perfect.

Someone at work had it and I couldn't resist taking a picture with it. She said she got it in China, but it has to be for sale in Chinatown somewhere, no?

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:55 AM



January 14, 2004

Post-New Year's Resolution: Get More Sleep!

POST #    698

I am loathe to make resolutions because I tend to forget about them and ignore them, which is one reason you didn't see a list of new year's resolutions, but there is one thing that I want to improve - the amount of sleep I get. Currently, I usually get less than 6 hours of sleep on weeknights, going to bed after 1 and rising at 7. On the weekends, I don't fare much better. I stay up later, until at least 2, but I usually get up around 9. It's not like I want to get up that early, but my body is used to getting up at 7, so it just naturally wants to wake up early. Stupid system.

Of course, since I get so little sleep, I end up taking naps. Anyone who has spent time with me knows my penchant for naps. I can be watching football, at a baseball game, or riding along in a car, all good times for a nap. Naps, of course, mess up my system even more, so I end up going to bed later. It's an endless cycle that makes me extremely tired during certain times of the day.

My resolution is to go to sleep by midnight on weeknights (after watching The Simpsons), to cut back on the weeknight napping, and to sleep later on the weekends. My system may not want to sleep late, but since it's cold out, I might as well stay in bed until I have to get up.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:54 AM



December 24, 2003

Could I Be More Bored?

POST #    666

Working on Christmas Eve is kind of boring. There is work to do, but if you depend on anyone outside of your office, you can't get anything done because they are closed. The phones are quiet and there are few emails. Granted, it's nice to just sit here and veg, but there is only so much I can do before I actually look for work to do. I've read my New York Times, I've looked at ESPN.com, I already read this week's TMQ, and read all the blogs that I typically read (not that they are updated). I'm not about to go crazy and read all the blogs out there, because that would be too much. Lucky for me, I have a meeting at 3. Woo, fun. I think the meeting will last for at least an hour too. Even money says that I'll be here until at least 5 today.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 1:52 PM



December 21, 2003

Footlocker, Champs, Eastbay...All One Company

POST #    660




So I saw a pair of shoes in Footlocker yesterday that I wanted, but the sales girl wasn't very nice to me, so I didn't buy them. I thought, "I'll just go home and buy them on Eastbay, but not Champs, because Champs and Footlocker are the same company." So, this morning, I'm sitting here and go to look at the Eastbay site to find the shoes and since I want to do some comparison shopping, I look at Footlocker and Champs too. To my surprise, they all have the same look to them, and after digging through the respective sites, I found that they are all under Foot Locker, Inc. Not that I won't shop with any of them because of this, I just thought I would let people know. And I get the whole consolidation of resources, but at least change up the websites some more.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 12:35 PM



December 17, 2003

Wife Wanted? In The NY Times?

POST #    645

Wife Wanted ad from the New York Times, Dec. 13, 2003

I was perusing The New York Times print edition on Saturday and was surprised to see an advertisement that read "WIFE WANTED." Not really an ad tagline that I expected in a fine newspaper like the Times. It turns out that the ad was for a sewing machine.

It's almost the same as Gothamist's experience with a racy pop-up ad, but that turned out to be spyware.

Incidentally, I'm not really looking for a wife. Not right now anyway. I think I'm too young to get married.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:10 AM



December 16, 2003

Should I Have Been Insulted?

POST #    641

This morning, I got a phone call that eventually led to me giving my name to the woman on the other end of the phone. The conversation went as follows:

Woman: What kind of name is that?
Me: Chinese.
Woman: Really? You don't sound Chinese.
Me: Oh?
Woman: Your voice doesn't sound Chinese at all. Even your laugh.
Me: Well, I'm an ABC.
Woman: I would never have known. Were you born here?
Me: Yes, I was.
Woman: Wow. I could have sworn you were something else.
Me: Uh, thanks.

I guess in hindsight I should have been insulted, but I just couldn't believe that the conversation transpired as it did. That, and we were on the phone for like 10 minutes as she looked up stuff. This was a work related phone call too. I guess it wasn't very professional of her.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:07 AM



December 14, 2003

Britney, Madonna, Paris...Jewish?

POST #    637

It appears that Britney Spears, Madonna, and Paris Hilton are now Jewish. Well, not really, they are just "believers" in Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. I'm not religious myself, but if I were, I would probably think long and hard before choosing one. Kabbalah was created from the 13th through 16th centuries by Jewish mystics, with the intention of revealing the inner meaning of the Torah. The "poppifying" of Kabbalah obviously has many people upset, with traditionalists calling it "McMysticism." The Kabbalah Centre, the leading marketers of pop-Kabbalah, looks to bring Kabbalah to everyone.

Is it not odd to bring a religion to people that don't actually learn about the traditions of the religion? I think it's kind of odd. I also think it's kind of foolish for people like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Paris Hilton to start "believing" in Kabbalah just because they it's the flavor of the month religion. Obviously, I don't know how involved they are in the religion, but I would bet dollars to peanuts that they have not made a commitment to the Torah and halacha. The Kabbalah Centre also sells various merchandise, including water for $3.50 and red strings for $26-$36. Sounds like a great money making operation to me. The water is supposedly full of holy energy and the string is suppose to bring children to the infertile and protection from the evil eye.

How long until they start selling the red strings at Urban Outfitters? I give it a year.

- A Surge in Popularity in Jewish Mysticism
- The Kabbalah Centre (the pop-Kabbalah people - how can a religious website with a sales offer on the main page be legit?)

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:39 PM



December 9, 2003

Oh, Those Smarties at Reynolds

POST #    625

Pull, slide, seal. See the video here.

Last night, while downstairs discussing mortgages with my parents (more on that later), I started to heat up some soup. Of course, to do this, there needed to be some sort of cover for the bowl. What better than some plastic wrap, which I usually call Saran Wrap, but that's like calling tissues a Kleenex, calling a photocopy a Xerox, or calling a cotton swab a Q-Tip (I think I've conveyed my point on that). Since I'm discussing Reynolds Wrap, it's even more important to differentiate the two brands.

Normally, when using plastic wrap (or tin foil), a person uses the metal edge that is on the box to cut a piece. With plastic wrap, this always results in the plastic re-coiling and sticking to itself, leaving you with a plastic mess that you have to pick apart before using. Reynolds Plastic Wrap added a "new" feature to their boxes, they call it the EZ Slide Cutter (I don't actually know how new this is since I don't spend too much time in the kitchen). All you have to do is pull out the amount you need and slide the cutting tool across the box. This has to be one of the best things I've seen in a while. No issues with the plastic sticking to itself. How smart is that?

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:17 AM



December 2, 2003

Newfangled Deodorant

POST #    602

About a month ago, I was reading GQ and they had this little blurb about Crystal Stick, a crystal deodorant that doesn't have a scent and doesn't leave stains on your clothes. Naturally, I was interested in what this was and if it works. This weekend, I finally stumbled upon it, and I've been using it for a few days. I maintain that I'm not a stinky guy, so my body odor isn't bad at all, so I can't tell if the product actually works or not - I guess anyone that knows me can let me know. The manufacturer says that it doesn't leave stains on your shirts like normal deodorant, which is a HUGE plus. It sucks having yellow stains on my white shirts caused by the deodorant. Is there anyone else that uses the Crystal Stick that can report any results?

And don't be wary of changing, it doesn't smell like those hippie crystal deodorants. Another bonus (or negative) is that both men and women can use the same stick.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 5:32 PM



November 28, 2003

Shop 'Til You Drop

POST #    597

Shoppers go crazy at Wal-Mart in N.C. (AP via NY Times) - That old woman seems crazed, but I love the reaction of the girl in red.

On this day after Thanksgiving there are shoppers everywhere, all with the insane goal to get the best deals right now. For those unfortunate enough to be at work, like me, we have the Internet to go shopping on. It's great, no lines and no hassle. Come to think of it, if I had the day off, I might want to shop online instead of heading to the stores.

Oh, and feel free to buy stuff for me on my Amazon wish list (a shameless plug, I know).

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:23 AM



November 25, 2003

Close, But No Cigar

POST #    592

Yesterday, Rachelle passed along this article from The New Yorker about a man who is about 1.5 years behind his NY Times reading. He tries to find two and a half hours each day to read the paper, and he seems to be reading the oldest papers first. The subject of the article keeps getting pushed back by his work schedule, where I just never make the time to read the papers on the weekends. Something always seems to come up. Anyone that saw my old apartment knows that I was working my way to his pile, but I had to throw out my papers when I moved. I did find a use for the papers though.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 4:36 PM



November 24, 2003

Random Candy Thought

POST #    588

I was enjoying a York Peppermint Pattie earlier, when I realized that they are the exact same thing as Junior Mints, except in a slightly different form. Both with dark chocolate and peppermint. York Peppermint Patties were invented in 1920 in York, PA (I've actually been there), while Junior Mints were launched in 1949. I wonder if James Welch, the creator of the Junior Mint, thought that the Peppermint Pattie was just too big or too much mint.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 4:18 PM



November 13, 2003

Mother Nature Exacts Revenge on Cal-eeee-for-knee-ah

POST #    566

No, she's not playing in crack cocaine, that's hail.

If the wildfires were not enough evidence, surely the freak hail storm last night should be. Parts of Southern California were dumped with with up to 5 inches of rain and hail. Teens in Compton were spotted in hail ball fights. No reports on weather (pun intended) this resulted in drive by shootings later.

I'm counting the days until California drifts off into the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 4:15 PM



November 12, 2003

It's the Little Things in Life

POST #    561

This morning, I was shaving (yes, I actually shave) and was reminded about an episode of The Simpsons that I saw just last night. In the episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish," Homer has some bad blowfish and thinks he is going to die in 22 hours. Because of his impending death, he makes a list of things to do, one of which is to, "Have man-to-man with Bart.'' After a short talk, Homer teaches Bart how to shave. Homer shaving is up there on my "favorite things to see while watching The Simpsons list" because his face is bare for about five seconds and then the hair comes right back (I also love when Homer is shown straight on).

Anyway, I was shaving this morning, and totally thought about that moment in the episode. I then proceeded to cut myself once, unlike Homer, who cut himself many times. I also tried to remember who taught me how to shave. I think I learned from my "godfather" when I was in junior high. I remember it left me with a tingly sensation afterwards. After that, I used an electric razor until sophomore year of college. Now I'm back to the regular razor and pretty much shaving every day. What a pain. I even own a straight razor, but I cut myself twice the only time I tried to use it.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:12 AM



November 5, 2003

China's Own Ned Flanders

POST #    549

A man in China opened a store that sells products for lefties. It carries items scissors to can-openers. No word on if the store has left-handed nunchucks (they must in China, right?) or a left-handed car like Ned Flanderseseses Leftorium.

- Brief article on the store.
- The Leftorium Simpsons episode.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:07 AM



November 2, 2003

Random - Beds and Puffs

POST #    539

Two random things:
Unfamiliar beds. After my move, I started sleeping on a new bed, one that was unfamiliar to me. While the bed itself is not uncomfortable, the corner of the frame is very uncomfortable. Especially you bash your knee into it. As if bashing your knee once during the week isn't good enough, when I went to the c-house this weekend, I bashed my knee into my bed there! I now have an indented scar where my skin used to be.

Cheez Doodles, of the puffed persuasion. I just love Cheez Doodles. Whether they are the crunchy kind or the puffed kind, they are just delicious. There is something about the cheese flavored corn snacks that just do the trick. I think the "real cheese" that they proclaim to use might be the reason they taste so good. Not sure that the orange of the cheese works well with my new keyboard or mouse.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:21 PM



October 24, 2003

Desk Anyone?

POST #    474


I'm giving away my desk, hutch, and file cabinet for anyone that wants it. It's from Ikea, so it's not the best quality in the world, but it's in good condition for anyone that wants it. All you have to do is pick it up. I need to get rid of it by Monday. Contact me through this site if you're interested.

***update: the desk has been claimed.***

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:20 AM



October 23, 2003

Mop Spelled Moppe is Still Mop, No?

POST #    471

Moppe - $8.99 in the United States. 59% more in Austria.

Swedish statistician Gabriel Thulin found that Ikea products can vary substantially in cost from country to country. This may not come as a surprise, since companies often vary cost from area to area depending on many factors. He devised an index called the "Ikea Index," which compares 26 Ikea products in 15 countries. The report found that consumers in the U.S. pay the least and Finland pays the most. Sure, currency may account for some of the difference, right? Nope. There is a variation in countries that share the Euro as well. The Moppe cost s 39% more in Austria than in Germany, and they share a border too! Why not just drive to an Ikea across the border then? If you're buying a Billy bookcase in Belgium, you're paying 33% more, but if you go across the border and drive it back, your cost savings is wiped out. This is with an Ikea right across the border too! I don't think Ikea is going to change their practices, nor do I necessarily think they should (instructions are a whole other issue), but it's just interesting info.

The model is based on the Big Mac Index by The Economist.

The NY Times on the Ikea Index (including a chart).

Posted by tien mao in Random at 1:27 PM



October 21, 2003

Facelift for The Times and the "little read book"

POST #    464

Yeah, like I could tell the difference.

In the lower right hand corner of the New York Times today, there was a little blurb asking readers, "Notice anything? More than the news is new today on the front page and in the main news sections." The blurb pointed to this article in the business section which detailed the changes.

Starting today, The Times changed from multiple headline fonts on its cover pages to a single font - Cheltenham. While this may seem boring (it really isn't that interesting), there were some historical tidbits covered in the article. The Cheltenham font originated in 1896 and refined in the early 1900's. The Times says, "it is characterized by lines that are almost uniform in thickness and by serifs, or finishing strokes, that are small and blunt." Before today's change, there were at least six different typefaces that appeared on the front page, which may have been caused by the high cost of metal type in the early 1900's.

With the New York Times changing its typeface, The Editor (me) of the "little read book" has also decided to make a change. Starting with this entry, I will start using capital letters. This change, of course, will not affect the quality tripe that I spew daily. During the transition, there may be relapses in my lowercase self, but I will do my best to adhere to my changes. When I am drunk bloging, all bets are off. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, however, will remain a feature to my entries.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:36 AM



October 9, 2003

mmm, mmm...envelope

POST #    440

i'm in the process of licking a lot of envelopes and i'm hungry at the same time. i wonder if i will satiate my hunger by licking a lot of envelopes. is that even possible? will i get some sort of glue rush or anything? maybe i'll make a game out of it like principal skinner once told bart. and why hasn't anyone made flavored envelopes...or have they?

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:12 AM



October 8, 2003


POST #    438

i think everyone would agree that hands are pretty damn important, but there was this unbelievable story on good morning america today. as a three year old in korea, woosik chung, had his hands severed by the fan on a tractor engine. his dad, who was a surgeon in the south korean army, looked for a specialist, but couldn't find one, so he did the operation himself. he re-attached the hands, and woosik eventually regained full use of his hands. now, 28, woosik chung is now dr. woosik chung and a first-year orthopedic resident at columbia-presbyterian.

read the whole story here.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:15 AM



October 1, 2003

super addictive game

POST #    421

you know when you go to a dinner thing and you have to sit next to people you don't know? for socially inept people like myself, that's the worst. an addictive online game takes care of that. you have to arrange the players so that they are "sitting" next to people that have the same color as them. sounds confusing, but it makes sense when you are playing. if you are busy, do not play this game. if you do, you will be sucked into a black hole where work does not exist! well, at least for those of you who have no self control, like me.

play rsvp here.

this game is pure evil from a productivity standpoint.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 1:18 PM



September 30, 2003

skyhigh airlines

POST #    418

let's "get high as kite with skyhigh!"

"skyhigh" is not a typically term that i want associated with "airlines," but there is a spoof website promoting skyhigh airlines. at skyhigh, they are "lowering the fare. lowering the bar." they even let their employees have a voice on the website:
- Why did I become a SkyHigh Flight Attendant? It was a suggestion from my parole officer, actually.
- We were rated number two for the longest time for a certain kind of service. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, we shot straight to the top.
- Some people call it "lost luggage." But we like to say, "if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, well, that's pretty good."

who is behind this site, you ask? well, the new york times tells you. it's the advertising agency wong doody (sounds like a joke, but it isn't - they poke fun at themselves too.) in a campaign for alaska airlines.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 2:04 PM



September 29, 2003

my name, not that popular

POST #    414

after reading this on oscar's site, i realized that "tien" and "mao" are not popular at all. to say that i'm mildly disappointed would be an understatement. i had such high expectations. only 0.001% of last names in the u.s. are mao. and for male tiens, the name is just "unique." see how your name does here.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 4:59 PM



September 17, 2003

how do you sleep?

POST #    379

in a recent study, a sleep expert in britain, with a last name that leaves something to be desired (idzikowski), identified six positions that people sleep in. each of these positions also reveals aspects of their personality. the most popular position is the "fetus" position, with 41% of the population and 51% of women sleeping in it. the other positions include yearner, starfish, log, soldier, and freefaller.

i tend to fall asleep in the frefaller position, which means i appear brash but cannot cope with criticism. but after falling asleep, i'm usually found in either the soldier position (quiet and reserved who loathes noisy social situations) or starfish position (a good listener who likes to help when ever needed).

how does everyone else sleep?

if you can't read this, you probably need more sleep. see enlarged version.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:12 AM



September 14, 2003

3 things: honking, tuna, and grocery shopping.

POST #    373

must people honk in traffic? i can understand if there is one person in front of you and they aren't moving, but if cars are bumper to bumper and you can't see what's causing the traffic jam, why do you honk? just sit there and curse yourself for driving, no need to pollute the air with your horn.

my love hate relationship with tuna has shifted back to the love part. for some reason, i got up this morning after a rough night, and had this craving for tuna. i'll probably have it a few times this week and a couple of more times this month, then shift my feelings on tuna again. maybe it's all the talk of bill parcells returning to new york (his nickname is "the tuna").

grocery shopping:
the one thing, yes only one thing, that is good about living in suburbia is the grocery stores. the aisles are wide enough to drive a hummer through, let alone shopping carts. the selection is plentiful, and the prices are cheap. in new york, the isles are super narrow, so much so that they even have special narrow carts, the selection is so-so, and it always seems to be more expensive.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 1:04 PM



September 7, 2003


POST #    356

where on the map is I-RACK? i can't seem to find it anywhere. but there is this dopey looking guy on the tv talking about it.

am i the only person that loves those fried noodle things that come with chinese food when you order soup?

one thing that i'll miss about summer is the availability of gino's italian ice. i love gino's. i had a large lemon ice today. i think about 30 minutes afterwards, i was having heart palpitations.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 8:50 PM



September 3, 2003

where's george?

POST #    342

last night, while i was about to pay for my bread at the grocery store, i whip out a $1 bill and there is some sort of stamp on it. the stamp reads "see where i've been track where i go next! www.wheresgeorge.com." of course, being the internet junkie that i am, i keep the bill so i can go track it. apparently my bill has only been entered twice, once where it was stamped and by me. the bill, however, has traveled from kerby, oregon, to me in around 11 days - that's 2535 miles. seems like a pretty cool idea. maybe i should get a stamp and start stamping my bills. it's not like those stamps are expensive.

george gets around.

see more about this at where's george.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 12:43 PM



August 28, 2003

everything is better with an accent

POST #    327

so i'm sitting here watching the wayne brady show on tv (getting in some sort of zone for the gmats) and nigella lawson something, but i just can't get past the accent. i think that almost any accent for english can be sexy. there is an exception - all asian accents (including the indian subcontinent). even a german speaking english can be somewhat appealing. but english with a chinese accent...not appealing at all.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 10:44 AM



August 20, 2003

type-ity type type

POST #    309

you know what sucks? when you're typing away and you mess up one letter and then the rest of your sequence of typing is then off because your fingers are just moving at a set pace. another thing that sucks when typing is when your hands are just in the completely wrong position, for example displaced to the right, thus causing everything to be off by one letter. like if you were trying to type "the cat in the hat," you would end up typing "yje vst om yje jst." normally, there is only one hand off, but you understand what i'm trying to say, i hope. it makes sense to me. another problem i sometimes have is typing the space bar at the wrong time. and for some reason this always happens when i type "it" with a word that ends in "t" before it. so i end up with "tit" in my emails, which isn't the best when it's a business email. man do i love that spell check.

it should be noted that this all seemed to make sense in my head...but now maybe not so much.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:46 AM



August 12, 2003

velcro? why isn't it used anymore?

POST #    292

sure it's not the coolest thing to have on shoes, but there are times when velcro makes sense. for example, i'm walking around and one shoe comes untied, i tie it, and not 20 steps later, it's untied again. would this problem not be solved with the use of velcro? i guess i could just wear shoes that don't have shoelaces, but where is the fun in that.

oh what i would do for a pair of 'roos from back in the day. they sell them again now, but it's just not the same.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 3:54 PM



August 8, 2003

an overlooked feature?

POST #    283

during college, i remember riding in my friend dan's car for the first time. it was a mazda 626 (pre zoom zoom zoom commercials) and it had this feature that i thought should be in every car, but i've only seen it in the 626. the vents in the center console for the a/c and heat rotated. this feature could be turned on and off and when off, the vents would function like vents in all other cars. i don't understand why, in this day of increased automation features in cars, this one has not made it into more cars. i sit here flummoxed.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:07 AM


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