Wednesday, February 25

Recession Gastronomy

While I was waiting for Russell Peters to come on TV, the programme before his was some sort of "101 Celebrity Slimdowns" list. America is obsessed with weight (as in staying slim) yet it is probably the most overweight country in the world. This is surely proof that no one in America is really starving -- I mean really -- even the homeless have soup kitchens to feed them.

So back to the programme that I caught a snippet of: the number one celebrity slimdown was Oprah Winfrey. Apparently when she was overweight she was about 200 lbs (which is about 91 kgs), and on her frame (she's probably no more than 5'4") that would be very hefty. So Oprah slimmed down. She cut out three food groups (rice, pasta, bread), hired a trainer to torture her and "closed her kitchen at 7:30pm".

This is my point about being on a diet -- only rich people can afford it. When I say rich, the term here is used loosely, covering the spectrum to all people of above average and comfortable financial means. Granted, poor people don't really have enough food to eat to a point where they can truly be overweight and/or obese. But rich people can decide that they have eaten enough rice, pasta, and bread and now just stick to soups and salads, and then suffer a tiring workout with drill sergeant fitness trainers.

In this recession, the best way to get a filling meal without burning a hole in your pocket is sticking to, guess what, rice, pasta, and bread. This holy trinity of carbs have long provided sustenance in good and bad times. I find it annoying that people are losing homes and employment but yet no one seems to be able to keep their weight under control. Why do carbohydrates get such a bad name? It is because people blame carbs for making them fat, which is very untrue. It's like Osama giving Islam a bad name because he decided to fly a few planes into some buildings.

So what does the recession have in store once the economy takes a turn for the better: more fat people who survived the crisis by eating all those carbs?

If only we had Oprah's kitchen. I would like to keep it open way past 7:30pm. And you know Oprah recently confessed to getting all tubby again; she said she's already back to 200lbs. So cutting carbs is not the cure after all.

Eat proper portions and get off your big butts America, move around. No one should starve or completely cut carbs to lose weight.

Saturday, February 21

Monetary Freefall

Grand' Place-Grote MarktThe unemployment rate at Michigan is 10.6% as of early 2009 and it continues to rise. Michigan is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country, and ranks lowest in job creation since the start of 2008. To tie it all in, we're a northern Midwest state, so when they line us up and we're showing statistics as if we're one of the Southern or Great Plains states, it proves something has gone terribly wrong with the economy in Michigan and in the country.

It's absolutely heartbreaking to know you won't be making money anymore. Most people would be concerned with the financial obligations already lined up to be paid, like mortgages, car payments, student loans, bla bla bla. The only thing I could think about was the inability to travel. Yes, I worry about immigration and paying the rent. But I like to look further, always look further. I worry about superficiality like spending my money on the hedonistic things in life. Some people amass wealth to buy a big house, an expensive car, diamonds, designer clothes. I'd like all of those things too; who doesn't.

Still those material things are all secondary to me. I'd rather go broke travelling. I cried when I realised that I had waited two years to see Europe again and now I can no longer go forward with those plans, at least not in the near future.

America is large, wide, and plenty. Still there is nothing like stepping on European (Union) soil. I will weep for many days, and maybe many years until I can spend my Euros. By choosing not to go broke travelling, for once, I have elected measured mental torture.

Tuesday, February 17

Sofa So Gloss

It is federal income tax provision season now in the office and we've been working long hours; they even feed us dinner. I can barely stay up past midnight these days and I almost did not wake up at a decent hour this morning because I was so tired, even thought I slept more than 8 hours! Mental drain. Admittedly, I have not been very productive at work so I believe my lethargy will worsen as the weeks progress

Typical of my short attention span, the only thing I can think of right now is buying lip gloss and redoing my apartment furnishings. (The fact that I am writing this post shows how much I am not paying attention to the work that urgently needs to be completed!)

I buy a new stock of lip cosmetics at the start of every season, only because I pay unnecessary attention to print ads and all the nice little booklets Sephora (devil spawn of the LVMH conglomerate) sends to me. I am a sucker for good advertising (blame my father). No woman actually finishes using her lipstick and lip gloss before she buys new ones. She buys new ones because she can. I buy new ones because I have a shopping problem. I will only defend myself by saying I do not buy the same colours over and over again like most people do. Also, I do not buy and try every new hot brand out there. I'm quite brand loyal and I can tell you not all beauty companies manage to make good cosmetics even though they are willing to charge you exorbitant prices for them. Sometimes I find it shocking that I'm so obsessed with lipstick and lip gloss even thought I don't wear cosmetics on the rest of my face. Is there a medical term for this?

Did you know that, strictly for hygiene purposes, lipstick only has a lifespan of about two to three years and lip gloss a little less than two years. Also, no expiration dated is ever printed on cosmetics. Scam, scam, scam!

But the bigger project on my mind is the overhaul of the decor of my apartment. Honestly, it was never decorated in the first place. I still live in the same place I moved into in my senior year of college and as I made salaried wages, I spent it on everything but the apartment. The place is a mess, and stockpiles of my bags, shoes and premium jeans are everywhere. I made some progress in getting my footwear collection organised but it has since stalled when work took a turn for the busy. In short the place needs organising and decorating. While I remain enthusiastic and hopeful that I can this done, I believe I need a lot of help. I don't even know where to begin.

I can only say that I pan to go to one place and buy everything, and I don't plan to spend too much money on this home project because my attention span is short, and as with everything else that I buy, I need stuff to be changed and in constant rotation. I would like to plonk down money on one good solid couch, and a good wool or cashmere throw. Everything else needs to be updated once in a while.

I am thinking Target, and if I get desperate, I will go to IKEA. Throw me some suggestions. I like to buy online as much as possible (so that I can sneak all this in while at work). Help!

Monday, February 16

Neon in Ann Arbor, MI

There were four steel-blue-eyed girls on the bus yesterday chatting away in a Germanic tongue (probably Dutch or German) and two of them had interesting things on their feet.

Exhibit A had neon pink socks pulled up high over her skinny jeans. In fact I could not even so the hem where her skinny jeans ended so that means either her jeans were really tight or the socks were really thick, or both. She was rocking K-Swiss kicks with black laces. Nice.

Exhibit B had a pair of Nike kicks in Scotti tartan with a neon green swoosh. I am not an expert in Nike sneakers but I am quite familiar with the collections sold in stores here. I am confident the pair on the European girl has not been distributed here (yet). They always give the nice things to the Europeans first. Why?

Saturday, February 14

Valentine's is for Lovers

Dior daylight robbery Happy Valentine's Day to all out there. I spend all of today in the office and will be clocking another full day of work tomorrow. Yes, it is the weekend here. We tax accountants just love to line our numbers up.

I'm lucky to be employed and even luckier to have Mr. O around, as he's not the superficially romantic type and he abhors things like "this special day of love". Okay, okay. Obviously I'm rationalising things into his point of view. I would like some "surprise" dinner and gifts and flowers on days that are not my birthday or Christmas. Who doesn't? Come on men, even you like "pleasant surprises" as well. Yes, and "happy endings". Let's have more of the nice stuff the other 364 days of the year, other than February 14.

I told Mr. O women like Valentine's Day no matter what they've said about it before. Women also like flowers, regardless of how expensive or cheap they are. I did tell him I read or heard somewhere that flowers are to women what blow jobs are to men. I think that statement is so accurate that people who wish to remain in a happy relationship need only follow that mantra.

Now if only Valentine's Day will hurry up and be done with itself. Then all the chocolates at Godiva will go on sale.

Thursday, February 12

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I saw this yesterday at a pre-screening hosted for the company. I was surprised we were able to score two pre-screenings in a row. Someone in Marketing and/or Merchandising must be working very hard. We even managed to be in the movie; I wonder how much that "product placement" spot cost us, since we've been in a loss position for the last two years and it wasn't even declared a recession then. Ah, corporate America.

So, yes, this is a chick flick. You can be mean and call this Sex and the City lite. I'll defend this one and say SATC is about love. This one is about money and more appropriately, about debt, which most of us have in this recession. I felt very guilty after watching the show because I know I have an enormous Amex bill this month. I've always been diligent in paying the entire balance every month but I wonder if I should when the next payment deadline comes in about 10 days.

My bill is a good double of what I usually swipe. Where do I get this extra money from; my ass?

I feel like Rebecca Bloomwood in that sense. So where is my gorgeous Englishman Hugh Dancey. Gawd, he's so cute. Ladies, watch this movie for the Englishman. You will not be disappointed. Move aside, Orlando Bloom!

Wednesday, February 11

Robbery at Coach Outlet store

You know the economy is bad when thieves have to (in the speech style of the "pimp" comedian Katt Williams)
break into a Coach handbag store,
break into a Coach OUTLET handbag store,
break into a Coach Outlet handbag store in Howell,
in Howell where the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan currently resides,
and all the news reports is that
they got away with "wallets and accessories valued at more than $50 each",
fifty dollars each ONLY!

What a bad haul for the thieves!

The total tally of the theft is valued at $10,000, which means at regular retail it would have been about $13,000. We know they took small leather goods and accessories but assuming they had only taken leather handbags, then the thieves would have gotten away with about 32 handbags.

Time to search eBay for Coach bags listed today and onwards. I estimate they could haul in about $7,500 of clean profit if selling on eBay alone.

I don't find theft and/or robbery funny. What amuses me is that the recession had pushed the desperation of thieves to a point that they had to settle for Coach MADE IN CHINA handbags. Yes, I said it -- made in China. Since when was it okay to pay $400 for bags made in the same place that poisons your toothpaste, your dog food, and your children's toys?

What ever happened to robbing Chanel or Louis Vuitton? Don't thieves have ambitions anymore?

The Barry

Folks at Esquire now have a name for this style of greeting frequently practised by Barry O: handshake + half hug = SHUG.

Looks adequately American, yet also affectionate enough for the kissing Russians and Europeans.

Let's shug it out.

Tattersall in Ann Arbor, MI

plush Man wearing grey and black wide tattersall printed, white fleece jacket. Cozy!

Tuesday, February 10

Going, going, going

The bailout plan is in lockdown. Republicans want it another way, Democrats want what the Republicans don't. I guess you can forget about your stimulus check. The stock market has been tumbling all day.

No more buying nice things. I'm been looking at some of the junk I've set aside to sell on eBay, and recently I've taken an active role in making sure those items get into auctions and sales are closed. If Barack can't generate money for me, I guess I'll have to count on Meg Whitman's former place of work to help me out. Like the economy, sales are a little slow on eBay too. I start all auctions at 99 cents and I notice the things that sell the best are still the good ole luxury items that I'm willing to part with.

So back to the first line of the second paragraph: I won't stop buying nice things. I'm just going to buy them less often. Apparently I can still sell them for a great deal even after the economy has tanked. I guess all those French and Italian handbags are investments after all.

Fløde Havarti y Emmentaler

Commercial cheese heaven. These were on sale for just $3 per 8 ounce pack. Yum, yum, yum!

Monday, February 9

What not to wear to the Grammy Awards, other award shows, or at any point in your life

I watched the Grammy red carpet show for about 15 minutes and the one thing I noticed most about this year's event was the invasion of the Brits, and their much classier style. I heard Adele was styled by Anna Wintour herself. Of course, as Andre Leon Talley has put in kind words, "Miss Anna don't like fat girls," so Adele was dressed in a black knee-length dress, black tights, black shoes ... you get my point. And to top it all off, she wore a knee-length (also) viper green, structured shantung silk coat. If indeed Miss Anna styled the Grammy winner, then it was all in "textbook flaw-minimising" pieces.

As for the folks below, I think you should be cautious of what you wear regardless of whether you are Hollywood (wannabe) material or otherwise. Please take note everyone:

I just wanted to start off gently with this shot of the next comeback queen, Whitney Houston. I adore her. I saw that illegal clip of her performance at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party and I am filled with hope of her return to glory. Beyonce always needed some competition anyway. But as for this dress, it's a little busy. (This was something I expected Miss Knowles to wear, not Miss Houston). The watercolour shadings are not flattering on anyone. Give this a miss. I had a dress like this. I wore it once and it's still sitting pretty in my closet. We all learn.

Sheryl Crow's dress is a lesson on proportion. The length is a little scant, hence it makes the side slit quite awkward. Otherwise, she looks great, but tone down on the fake bake.

If your name is not Angeline Jolie or Megan Fox, you must never attempt this look. Yes, that means you, Lisa Rinna. Ironically, this is the best Lisa Rinna has looked in decades. As always, watch for the embellishments, ladies. The one of Miss Rinna's gown looks home-crafty-tacky.

First of all, who the hell is Phoebe Price? What is she famous for? Someone please enlighten me. She constantly gets into the tabloid pages and gossip columns for her poor sense of style, and she's always throwing a fit. Is she someone's wife or daughter? I'd like to know why she's always so upset and dressed just as bad.

This dress gets the award for French cigarette butt pelting. Just all sorts of no, no, no.

I guess you could say if Paris is not naked, it's always an improvement. Ladies, again, watch the fake bake.

This one gets the Italian tomato pelting award, commonly known as "Aww, hell naww!" This is when you shouldn't wear last year's biggest colour trend: this year. And inner-wear-as-outer-wear was retired in the 80s, when Madonna was still that crazy Catholic girl from Detroit. By the way, the lady here is Nikki Cox, wife of Jay Mohr (the comedian). I know -- who?

This one gets the "Oh, no she didn't!" Award. Being at full term and expecting delivery on Grammy Award night, M.I.A. decided to ease herself into this ugly getup. Good Lord, you should have seen what she wore when she was performing with the "Rap Pack". I think pregnancy does all kinds of injustice to your figure and no woman should be insane enough to add on to the damage with this atrocious who-the-hell-designed-this ... I am lost for words already.

Does anyone remember how Jennifer Hudson was crucified for her little metallic shrug jacket made by Valentino that she wore with her brown Valentino gown, the year she won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Yeah, even this much metallic will not fly at the Grammys. Estelle is English, so I shall use a more appropriate word for her ensemble: campy.

And last but not least, never ever wear anything Bai Ling wears, ever. This woman claims to have good taste in fashion. Every Asian on this planet is embarrassed just to have any genetic connection to her. Gawd, save us!

Friday, February 6

Up, up, and away

*kaching*Barack yells at the Republicans and the stock has been going up all day. What a great Friday for trading. Happy weekend, folks! Keep watch for your stimulus checks.

Etta James vs Beyonce

Step one inch closer and I swear I will cut you, biatch!It's a jealous old diva versus a young bird-brained diva. I love this fight. Etta James is one of those ballsy old women (along with the one and only Aretha, also a Beyonce hater) who will absolutely not allow any other person to get in the way of her legend after having slaved so hard for it.

If you have been reading the news, I'm sure you're familiar with the case being discussed now. What would you do if you were either one of them?

In the case of Beyonce, she has taken this "promoting" her new movie Cadillac Records just one step too far by choosing to sing a song she obviously did not popularise, for the extremely historical and monumental event that is Barack Obama's Inauguration. Beyonce is a bestselling artiste in her own right. One would imagine that she would select a song out of her own growing catalogue to perform. Actions speak louder than words and this really goes to show that none of her own original recordings would have made the cut for such a special occasion. Eat it!

Others will argue that Etta James has no business bitching about this as neither did she write nor was she the first person to record/perform the song. Fair enough. But Etta James did popularise the song. In fact, most people have no knowledge of any other performers attaching their names to "At Last" prior to and after Etta James.

Usher and Chris Brown often pay tribute to their favourite Michael Jackson songs by performing their own renditions of the very popular "Billy Jean" and "Wanna Be Starting Something" song and dance combos at their concerts and nationally broadcasted award shows. But if either of them ended up on stage at a "historical and monumental event" like the Obama Inuaguration (which I believe Usher was actually performing there as well), they wouldn't be performing anything less than their own originally popularised work and would leave the Michael Jackson stuff to the crazy man himself.

So the moral of the story is: it is always best to stick to your own work. Don't bother giving credit to the plagiarising -- just do your own thing. No one can take that away from you.

Thursday, February 5

Coraline in Real D 3D

I went to see the new Coraline movie yesterday. Based off Neil Gaiman's book, it is coming out in theatres this Friday February 6. I don't think I had seen any 3D movies as a kid, so this was my very first proper 3D movie and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The technology they use now has several names like "Real D" or "Tru 3D". It's like calling a cola drink Pepsi or Coke. The 3D effect is what you would expect, and the movie creators do go out of their way to create dimensions and textures that make solid use of 3D properties in film , so look out for sharp objects coming your way.
Tom Cruise would like these
The viewing equipment has come a long way from the red-and-green-lens paper-framed glasses you would expect for watching 3D images. The ones given out yesterday resembled Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and were one-size-fits-all plastic-framed glasses with grey plastic lenses. They did not distort my ordinary vision but seemed to magically bring out the 3D motion with spectacular liveliness when viewing the movie.The new, upcoming Disney Pixar film 'Up' to be shown in Tru 3D

The film studios have now taken the liberty to making new movie trailers in 3D as an enticing preview of more magic to come.

As for the film Coraline itself; technology aside; it was a great movie. Not really G-rated 100% kid friendly as there are some aspects of the plot that may not be suitable for children. Anyone above 12 should be safe. This is Tim Burton's work after all.


eat thisClick on the subject title above to learn how to bacon-ise any website. This is fun.

Wednesday, February 4

25 Random Things

I've tagged my friends in Facebook with the lame version of the "25 Random Things" list and they eventually dropped all the words before and after the open inverted commas, and just stuck with the main title, so here's a selection of my favourites from all the lists I've read so far (in no particular order, and unedited):

1. I once had a salami sandwich and ate the red ring around the salami. A few days later, I pooped the red ring out in one piece and it looked like a tapeworm.
2. I hate Portage (Michigan) Moms with the fire of a thousand suns.
3. "God Hates Shrimp" makes me giggle every time. Google it.
4. I fucking liked Aretha's hat at the inauguration.
5. I rather be kidnapped by Al-Qaeda than work in the hospitality industry ever again.
6. I'm a very bad liar. I once called my boss when I was 15 minutes late to work. I think it's because I was brought up by my Jewish Mom and Grandma...Thanks for that lifetime of guilt tripping!
7. I once got a professor fired...He told me that I was a horrible singer, and called me other names that cannot be repeated. In other words...Don't mess with me.
8. In fact, I'll eat/ have eaten just about anything: jellyfish, iguana, seahorse (in a soup), chicken feet. But not Manwiches. Those freak me out.
9. My family were superstitious Buddhists. My dad once had an exorcist come over to do a house blessing and when the exorcist reported that my mother had "a dark force" in her, my dad was oddly delighted: "I knew it!"
10. Least proud moment: I broke up with a boy because he was fat.
11. I can't drink due to some bullshit enzyme deficiency I have that turns Long Island Ice Teas into rat poison.
12. Teddy Roosevelt is my role model...yeah I have a role model.
13. I like to drink because I can say things and blame the booze the second day.
14. Lottery is for people hwo are bad at math.
15. English is a superior language. <-- entry by a Romanian
16. I'm still waiting for my 6-pack to reveal itself.
17. My 2nd favorite quote "You should be shot carefully and buried carelessly" - Marvin Yap
18. I am a balanced melancholic choleric, looking for someone who is a balanced phlegmatic sanguin, if that makes any sense.
19. I am a Christian , let's leave it at that.
20. Do you know it is almost impossible to find Riesling in Malaysia restaurants.
21. And NO I don't get 24 months bonus for working in an oil and gas company.
22. I want to do all extreme sports by 30.
23. I read somewhere that the American (office) employee is only truly productive for about 2-3 hours out of an 8-hour workday. I follow that statistic very closely. Please do not tell my boss.
24. I think women who keep their hair down to their waist and beyond, have no idea how stupid they look.
25. I honestly don't care about starving children.

Who says geeky guys are not hawt?

I actually asked Mr. O if I could nominate him for Daily Candy's hottest geeks in the land line-up but he never replied and I forgot all about it. I should have nominated him anyway because he would have easily made it to the final list, just on looks alone. I think the prize was a trip to good ole New York. I miss The City.

Click on the subject title above to vote for your favourite geek. 01101100.01101111.01110110.01100101.

Cross-stitch in Ann Arbor, MI

Cross-stitch detailing on the back pockets of some dude's zero distress, single stonewash black jeans.

My sister used to be an avid cross-stitcher. I know some of my cousins tried it out for a while too. I should check with them on their cross-stitching skills because look where it has come to now -- it's in fashion!

Tuesday, February 3

Go back to your box

Over two months ago, I visited my good ole Banana Republic store and bought up a whole bunch of stuff with a very generous card member coupon. On the way out at the checkout line, I spotted a few nifty looking shoes and yelled out my size. The SAs brought me the goods and I was gone. So this was my first mistake: I assumed BR sizing was on with the rest of the world. I really should have known better because at BR, my clothing size would make anyone think I were a runway model when I know even after 30 pounds is removed from my frame, I'd still be "not sample size".

Being a long-time devotee of Gap, Inc.'s only shining star, I was immensely disappointed with the shoes when I tried them on at home. The size was too big, the material horrendous. It was heartbreaking. There were leather uppers and inners and the colours were perfect. But the stiff material left much to be desired and worse of all, the pair that was designed into a wingtip Mary-Jane style stiletto was asymmetrical. I repeat: the left shoe and the right shoe did not look alike. That pair was a decent $180. People who buy Italian will tell me, "You got what you paid for, dah-ling," but I disagree. I don't care how cheap or expensive your shoes are. If they are asymmetrical, that means the world has gone to hell. I wish I had taken a picture of the shoes before I sent it back.

BR Nicole $130Eventually, I kept one pair from BR. It had passed the house testing phase and I took it to work today.

Sidebar: Yes, I do not use my purchases immediately. I usually wait 2-6 months to get stuff out into the public. It's an old habit but I have cut down the wait time significantly over the last few years.

Back to the story: I put this lovely pair of BR Nicole ombre patent leather pumps on. I walked around the office. It was all cool. Then I went down to the cafeteria for lunch. Before I could get there, I walked right back up to my desk and changed my shoes. I was pissed. These shoes were symmetrical but they hated me. The rigidity ensured that I could not take more than 10 steps and continue to feel comfortable; the leather sock lining pinch on the skin of my toes like piranhas. I don't even have wide feet and I easily wear French and Italian shoes, which are cut slim. These pumps were a disaster, a beautiful disaster.

So tell me, where else can I find ombre pumps that will love my feet without having to resort to faux leather?

Smooth and silky: this is not about the best razor in the world

French daylight robberyWhen I first landed in the Midwest on a mildly chilled December afternoon, I was so thrilled to not have to sweat the moment I stepped out of the front door of the residence I was staying at. This was new to me. After two decades of sweltering in the tropical heat, I was ready to indulge in my newfound curiosity of wools and cashmeres and fleece, all the wonderful things that people do not enjoy enough in winter apparel.

I soon learnt very quickly that I was not satisfied with merely buying winter apparel. As my wearing and washing went along, I learnt that fleece is cheap for a reason and anyone who bought acrylic and expected it to work like wool is wasting hard-earned money. Even as a student working for minimum wages, I understood the meaning of quality and economies of scale. You can say that my genetic fascination and appreciation of money has never failed me and as I have gotten older, (I apologise if I over exaggerate my talk of age as I am only in my 20s) I have pushed myself harder and harder to buy quality.

Some things are really worth the wait and the wages. I did not buy cashmere until I was 23 -- needless to say, I was mighty pleased with myself. The same year, I learnt to buy silk as well.

So fast forward to today, I have recently acquired a newfound interest in silk scarves. Not the type that is for utility, but the type that you wear just because you can. It's the superficial side of silk appreciation. I am only worried that my newfound fascination may slowly sucker me into paying $1,965 per pound of silk at Hermès. And I'm still wondering how I had not fallen in love with these silk scarves earlier.

I think it's a sign that I am getting old because when I was a kid, only "adults" wore silk, especially the kind with “stupid prints” all over it. Well, guess what! I like all that mumbo jumbo now. *sigh*

Monday, February 2

Stir, stir, stir

I come from a strong culture of slackers and I am not ashamed of it. I think my whole country has a slacker gene or bug in every resident (watch that I did not say citizen because you can easily "catch" this slacker-thingamajig once you're there). We're easy-going and even our Type As are not anal like Donald Trump.

As with the practice of slacking, we have a strong affinity for all the wonderful hedonistic aspects of life especially the culinary sort. The best thing about home is that good food and drinks do not cost an arm and a leg -- the best ones are usually found in open-air food courts and on the mobile carts of hawker stalls. Gastronomy is a national past time and Anthony Bourdain has visited our cities in pursuit of our wonderful food -- we sent him away a very happy man.

To pay tribute to the frequent visits to the mamak restaurants of my youth, my friends and I now overpay our way through cups of coffee at Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee, both owned by Howard Schultz and gang. Coffee places don't beat the mamak but since the labour laws here are so stringent and everything closes right about when you get out of the office, the only place open to hang out in is a Starbucks (wait, I feel a Lewis Black joke coming).

Anyway, the typical stirrer found at most coffee places are thin strips of bleached out, rounded tip wood sticks. I guess those are more recyclable since they are wood (composite?). However, I was at the Starbucks on Main Street in Ann Arbor yesterday afternoon and they had the prettiest stirring sticks given out at the store. It had a tapered stem with a balled tip and the Melusine figure stamped into the hilt. It was all plastic.

If Starbucks has been closing stores and cutting jobs so aggressively, why are they giving out plastic, non-recyclable stirring sticks?

The old Englishman’s voice in my head says, “Clearly so that you may blog about it, my dear.”

God's Team

Santonio is MVP, bitches!The Steelers won the Superbowl yesterday. I must admit I had no idea Big Ben was that good -- watch his lightning fast pump fakes; and the final touchdown by Santonio Holmes was heavenly.

Now, I had no intention of starting the first day of coming back to blogging with an entry about an "abomination" like American Football. I'm not really a fan of regular football (the one the rest of the world plays) either, so don't yell at me. However, I feel obliged to "assimilate" this blog into my present location.

Many of you whom have stuck with me, reading my ramblings while it was on GeoCities and hand-coded in HTML, may not find all this "American stuff" applicable. Just think of this blog as a buffet line: you can pick what you want and ignore the rest. Unlike the days of yore, I am including subject titles to ease your selection but yes, they will be as ambiguous as you should expect, since it's coming from me.

I'm having a lot of trouble using these WYSIWYG Blogger/Blogspot templates and applications. They don't even cooperate when I type in break tags. I should not complain because I am only using this website, like everyone else, in an attempt to simplify blog posting and maintenance; however I still get upset at myself for being lazy and not finding the time to upgrade my coding skills. So now that I have left all my techie education to rot, you can find me here on Blogger/Blogspot fairly often.

Congratulations to Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers. You really are God's Team. Suck it, Tony Romo!