Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BPT: Black People Time




Because I am part black myself, I feel that there are certain things I can talk about that others might not feel comfortable talking about. Actually because I am so genetically or ethnically mixed, there are very few things I feel that can't actually talk freely about. Without feeling guilty or the fear of appearing racist as some individuals might who happen to be white or non black themselves. For today I wish to talk about B.P.T. or Black People Time as my Blogs topic of the moment. The phrase Black People Time was coined in relation to the somewhat stereotypical notion that black people as a whole operated in their own time, not necessarily in sync with the general world at large. Which to a certain degree I would have to agree with, though not personally in the sense that it applies to me or any of my family members for that matter. For aside from my older brother, all of us are quite punctual to say the least. I in fact, usually arrive at most places early in order to collect myself, gather my thoughts or to at least stop sweating ( I have a tendency to sweat profusely , especially if the weather is hot or balmy). But I have noticed throughout my entire young and adult life that there are many a black person who simply follow the beat of their own drummer, or in this case the tick-tock of of their own watch.


Case in point I remember riding the bus (or shame train if you will) home from school one evening awhile back and a black man who was sitting a few seats down from me pulled the cord to signal to the driver that he wanted to get off at the next stop. Normally once people pull the cord they prepare to exit the bus by gathering their belongings and in most cases moving to the exits or at least moving quickly towards the exit once the bus had stopped. In this instance I observed the bus came to a stop and only then did the man start to get up to move to the nearest exit, seemingly in no rush at all as he almost strutted to the exit door. The bus doors had opened and closed once the bus had stopped, and when no one exited the bus started up again and drove off. The man then called out that that was his stop and for the bus driver to stop the bus. The bus driver said he wasn't fast enough and that he wouldn't stop until the next stop. The bus driver and the not quick enough black man soon got into a verbal argument where they threatened each other with bodily harm, yadda, yadda yadda, and eventually the black man exited the bus at the next stop before an actual physical fight could ensue.


Now this is not the first time I have personally witnessed this, not the actual verbal confrontation part of it mind you, but the black person taking their sweet time to get up and exit the bus. As if everyone around them didn't have anything better to do than to wait on them taking their slow ass time. And it's not just while riding the bus, as I have seen the same behavior in the streets, at the mall and while shopping for groceries. Black people taking their time to cross the street, pay for their purchases or groceries and so on and so fourth. Which to me it's simply rude as hell but to some others they don't see anything wrong with such behavior or they might not even notice they are doing it to begin with. Either way it's partially why such a phrase was coined to begin with, and like I said to a certain degree I concede that there is some small truth to this this stereotype if you will.


But that is not to say that all black people are like this or that simply because they are black-they are like this, as that is just absurd! Being black or being white does not make you automatically act a certain way, behavioral traits for the most part have almost nothing to do with genetics. I mean sure you can have a genetic predisposition to anger, suspicion, lust, fear, and a myriad of other emotional conditions, but almost all behaviors or behavioral traits are learned. Which is to say the whole black people time thing is more likely a cultural issue than a racial issue. An example of this would be that if you took a bunch of white kids at a very young age and threw them into an area that was mainly or predominantly black, chances are their behavior would mimic what we believe today to be (stereo)typical black behavior. But like I pointed out this is just learned behavior, as no one on the black side of my family acts in such a manner. Though I have to admit I am somewhat puzzled as to why such a pattern of negative behavioral traits would be taught to begin with to anyone in any culture or any ethnicity. Punctuality is a necessity in life, and valued in all countries, especially in the world of business and commerce.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Speaking of Money...




Because of my Job being a freelance web designer and graphic/cartoon artist, I get paid at weird intervals. Usually every week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. As a result I tend to not pay too much attention to my finances as I am always just a few days away from my next paycheck, which is not really good in terms of finance but that is just me. So this past Tuesday I found myself without any money aside form some change, yet I wanted to get something to eat on the way to class. Hence I spent most of the early part of the day thinking about money and the next time I would get paid. Which must have been the reason why I found 2 one dollar bills on the sidewalk, actually make that 4 pieces of 2 one dollar bills to be exact. For someone had ripped up 2 one dollar bills for some reason and thrown them on the floor. But as long as you have at least 75% of any paper currency in the US it is still legal and tender. Plus with a few pieces of tape, they were as good as new and I got 2 Chicken Ranch Gorditas from Taco Bell.


And the funny twist is, this is not the first time that this has happened to me. For I have been finding money my entire life and not just small amounts as well. I usually find $20 bills every so often, and I once found $60 in the restroom of a restaurant while already on an all expense paid trip to Washington DC that I won in the first place, to several hundred Euros each time I am at various Music Festivals in Europe, like Frequency and Roskilde. So there has got to be something somewhat lucky about me when it comes to finding cash, though I just wish it would be the lottery for once. Although to win the lottery you actually have to play the lottery, and I very rarely play the lottery as I just can't be bothered. Plus you hear about how most lotto winners just go bankrupt a few years or even months after they win, and like I said i am already a little careless with my finances.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Travel Tip: Number 1


Check Baggage Fees: Make sure you know before you buy your ticket


Unfortunately in today's economy a lot of companies are downsizing or essentially charging more for less. In terms of air travel this means no food on certain flights, or being charged for your meals. It also means paying more for your baggage as well as being able to take far less with you to begin with. Which really affects those of us out there who travel abroad quite frequently, as most airlines reduced the weight limit on checked luggage by 20 pounds or more per person or started charging up to $50 for additional checked bags.


Recently I bought a round trip ticket to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I paid just a little more than $400 for a round trip flight. Which was only a little less than Southwest Airlines, but it was a direct flight unlike Southwest. Little did I know that the airline I had chosen to fly with would be charging me an additional $20 per bag per way, adding up to an additional $40 for the flight and that is if I only take 1 checked bag with me ( which I plan to do now because of the baggage fee). Making my initially cheaper flight the same price as Southwest. If I had known ahead of time I would flown with Southwest to begin with since they still do not charge for checked baggage and one stop flight is only slightly longer than the non stop flight I I could have just read a book or played PSP). Which is why it is important for you to check to see if the airline you are planning to use charges for bags or bags of a certain size or weight? Most airlines are actually charging for all checked baggage now, and only a very few of them charge only for the 2nd checked bag. This applies to both domestic and international flights, though it is slightly better for international flights since you are already paying more for your flight.

Creole Crab Burgers







All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





INGREDIENTS

Food lovers on America's coasts have long known that crab cakes make wonderful sandwiches. A thin layer of tangy tartar sauce and crisp lettuce is all the accompaniment these panfried cakes need.


1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 3/4 cups fine dry bread crumbs, divided
3/4 cup vegtable oil
4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted
Accompaniments:tartar sauce; iceberg lettuce
•Stir together crabmeat, mayonnaise, scallions, egg, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup bread crumbs in a bowl until just combined. Form into 4 (1-inch-thick) patties (3 1/2 inches in diameter; patties will be soft but will firm up when fried). Spread remaining cup bread crumbs on a plate, then dredge patties in crumbs, knocking off excess, and transfer to a platter.
•Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then fry patties, turning over once, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


•Assemble burgers with buns and accompaniments.
Cooks’ note: Patties can be formed, without bread-crumb coating, 12 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Dredge in bread crumbs just before frying.





Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shrimp Gumbo





All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





Ingredients:



1 cup butter (2 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper ( can also add Red & Yellow)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced fresh okra
3 cups shrimp stock
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes with juice
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked smoked sausage, sliced diagonally
2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 pound of white or dirty Rice for the Gumbo to go over


DIRECTIONS

Gumbo can made several different ways and there can be lots of additional ingredients or substitutions made. So feel free to add or subtract the things you like or don't like as the case maybe. There are a lot of things in my family's traditional Gumbo that I despise, so I have made adjustments accordingly. To begin in a very large heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt 1 cup of the butter. Add the flour, and cook on low heat until the roux is dark brown; about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring constantly (Brown does not mean burnt; if you burn the roux you have to throw it out and start over again, so don't do it!). Add the onions, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until translucent. You can actually add other onions, leeks and additional Yellow & red Bell Peppers if you like. This recipe allows you to add lots of things and each family recipe has their own twist to what you add to the Gumbo.


Mix in the okra and the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. You can even add whole or halved cray fish if you wish, as that is how my family makes Gumbo. Once all the final ingredients have been added, simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 1 hour or more depending on the size of the pot/sauce pan. Feel free to taste frequently and season as desired. Before serving, remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve over white or dirty rice. This is really a must as it is the traditional condiment with all New Orleans/Cajun style Gumbo.



Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min
Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Shows and Puppets






Whenever I am flipping through TV channels for some reason there is just something about Cooking shows and Puppets that captivates me to such a degree that I have no choice but to sit there and watch like some mindless zombie. It has been that way for most of my life and I am not quite sure why exactly. Though I am pretty sure that the puppet thing started with the children's TV show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Evey episode Mr. Rogers would visit the puppet inhabitants of Make Believe Land and then every once in awhile he would take trips to the local Puppet Show Theatre in the real world. Which is where I guess my fascination with puppets all started. This fascination was later reinforced by all the very well produced Puppet Shows that took place in my neighborhood while I was in grade school. Where I saw such classics as Beauty and the Beast and Faust just to name a few ( It's actually a shame that such puppet shows no longer take place on a regular basis).


Now when it comes to my thing about cooking shows, so I am not quite sure where that comes from. I mean everyone likes to at least eat good food, if not actually cook it. But I really, really get a kick out of watching people prepare and cook food on TV, like Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart and any of the other cooking shows currently on the Food Network. Despite the fact that I find Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart to be somewhat patronizing or superficial in the case of the later person. Irregardless of the respective hosts I can literally sit for hours and just watch them prepare and cook food, like it's the most relaxing thing I can ever think of...Well at least that doesn't require me to take off my clothes-but that is another topic entirely. Every time I see a cooking show I am also inspired to make what they just demonstrated, despite the fact that a lot of times the dishes are not exactly easy to make or quick to prepare to say the very least. Like who has the time to make their own bread, pasta or even cheese for that matter. I know I certainly don't though I would love to make a lot of what I have personally seen, like my own special Breads or Flavoured Cheeses.

Glazed All-Beef Meat Loaf










All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





MEAT LOAF

3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crushed saltines
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground chuck


GLAZE

1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar




1. For the meat loaf: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the cheese on a plate and place in the freezer until ready to use. To prepare the baking sheet, set a metal cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Fold a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a 10 by 6-inch rectangle. Center the foil on the cooling rack and poke holes in the foil with a skewer (about half an inch apart). Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foaming; add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato juice. Cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

3. Whisk the broth and eggs in a large bowl until combined. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. Crumble the frozen cheese into a coarse powder and sprinkle over the mixture. Add the ground beef; mix gently with your hands until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Transfer the meat to the foil rectangle and shape into a 10 by 6-inch oval about 2 inches high. Smooth the top and edges of the meat loaf with a moistened spatula. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 135 to 140 degrees, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove the meat loaf from the oven and turn on the broiler.

4. For the glaze: While the meat loaf cooks, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Spread half of the glaze evenly over the cooked meat loaf with a rubber spatula; place under the broiler and cook until the glaze bubbles and begins to brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat loaf from the oven and spread evenly with the remaining glaze; place back under the broiler and cook until the glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Let the meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Disclaimer: Please Read



Once again purly for legal reasons, the views, opinions (movie reviews), personal rants and raves, and whatnot presented or expressed here simply represent the author's own personal opinions, views, thoughts, feelings, or whatnot. As such the author's views are protected under the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech Act. Anything said herein is in no way meant to personally offend, slander, malign or attack anyone, living or dead. Also all photos here that are not the author's actual personal photographs are the property of their respective owners and no claims of ownership implied or otherwise are intended. If the owners of any the photos presented here have any problems with them being displayed here, please contact the webmaster and they shall be removed promptly upon request. Thank you for your understanding.

Dream a Little Dream

I do not think I have ever truly experienced a nightmare or any sort of horrendous type of dream in my entire life. As I have never woken up in a cold sweat or screamed for help from my bed, as a child nor as an adult. Although everyone once in awhile I will have one of those truly bizarre dreams, where once you've woken up you are so relieved to find that it was just a dream. Usually because you did or said something so offensive, embarrassing or disturbing, you would have trouble getting through the day if not the rest of your life. Though like I said none of my dreams have been that bad, they are usually more on the embarrassing or socially awkward side of things as far as dreams go. Like the time I dreamed I took my Step Mother's check book and went around town buying all these things I couldn't afford, only to get caught and exposed to the whole family. At the time the dream seemed so real and the subsequent embarrassment I felt when I was ultimately caught was equally uncomfortable yet surprisingly realistic! Luckily it was only a dream and I was able to go about my normal daily life , but dreams like that still pop up from time to time. It has always made me wonder what purpose such dreams serve? Obviously in the example I have just given it is a cautionary tale of what such action could bring about, but I would never do such a thing in real life and do not need a vidid dream to illustrate this point. I also very rarely see my step mother, so I am not sure how I would gain access to her check book in the first lace, but that is what I dreamed.

Ethnocentric Behavior



Perhaps because I am so ethnically mixed myself I am a little more sensitive to certain things like ethnocentric behavior than most people probably are. As I really do detest it when people only hang out with certain types of people, listen to only certain types of music, eat only certain types of food and so on to the point of being homeostatic. It's like when I was in High School and I noticed how black people would only hang out with and be friends with other black people, or Asians with Asians, Mexicans with Mexicans and so on. For I can't tell you how pathetic I found such behavior to be and still do to this day. Hence any sort of ethnocentric behavior just leaves me cold, for I just don't feel that any one race is better than the other or that one should only do things specifically associated with their respective race or ethnicity. Case in point, I am Currently living in a house with 5 other people. 4 of whom happen to be Sri Lankan, which would be fine if they weren't so damn rigid and predictable in their ethnocentric behavior all the time. For all they do is eat Sri Lankan food, listen to Sri Lankan music, watch Sri Lankan TV/Movies, sing Sri Lankan songs, play Sri Lankan drums and so on. It's like having a mini Sri Lankan village in the house 24/7 and it's ridiculous. I also cannot say anything because I am out numbered in the house and all they have done when I have brought up stuff in the past is talk about me in their own language.


Now despite the fact that I also possess French Citizen ship because of my mother, I consider myself to (also) be an American through and through. But you will never don't catch me doing everything the supposed American way every single moment of the day. I like variety in my life and one of the great things about living in the US is the fact that there are so many cultures and ethnicities here, that you can pick and choose what you want to do, what music you want to listen to, what movies you want to see, what you want to eat and so on. The choices are endless! But when you limit yourself to only one way of life, you are doing yourself a huge disservice, plus it's annoying as hell! I shouldn't have to listen to Sri Lankan chanting, singing, drums or what not every night til like 2 in the morning. Nor should I have to deal with nothing but Sri Lankan people and influences in the house every single day. Plus my thoughts are that if you are so enthralled with your own culture or ethnicity and don't wish to live outside your ethnocentric bubble as it were, then why are you even in the US to begin with? If you prefer everything the Sri Lankan way, then move back to Sri Lanka? Why be miserable here if you can be happier there?


Which I am aware might sound somewhat racist, but I have a legitimate point to make. Especially since as some of you already know from earlier posts of mine, I lived in Europe for 3 years, mostly in Innsbruck, Austria. So I know how it feels to be a stranger in a strange land and experience a different culture or way of life first hand. But that is in no way an excuse to completely cut ones self off from the outside world and it's influences. For while I was there I did as the locals did, ate their food, listened to their music and so on. I didn't just hang out with Americans, speaking nothing but English and eating at McDonalds all the time. I tried to experience as much of the Austrian culture as I could while I was living within their culture, but I didn't stop there. For trading one set of cultural traits for another is still ethnocentric behavior, you have simply swapped one set of behavior for another one. I also tried all sorts of things form neighboring cultures and countries, as Europe is just as diverse, if not more, than the US.


Hanging out with only one type of people, eating only one kind of food, or doing things only one sort of way will get you no where in today's world. People who cannot or will not welcome change into their lives are doomed to forever stand still. No kind of progress or growth whether it be emotional, intellectual or spiritual can come about if the mind is not open to change and different opinions or more importantly different perspectives. That is how wars are started or continue to rage to this day. There are so many people who are unwilling to make change or even allow for other influences, that it's really detrimental to the overall state of the world. We are all different and that is a good thing, it would be boring if we were all the same. We need to be able to use and make the most out of everything we can from every single source available out there! Hopefully making use of the best bits and pieces from each and every culture. But that's just my opinion, you on the other hand, might like having McDonalds everyday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jennifer's Body and other horror films


Jennifer's Body is truly a horrible, horrible film! It is almost so painful to watch, that I cannot believe how bad this film was. It may indeed be one of the world's worst films ever made! Though it is so bad that it is almost laughable in parts. In fact I would got so far as to recommend the film if you were incredibly inebriated and/or stoned.Though personally I cannot advocate drugs use...Alcohol use on the other hand I have no problem with! So drink 'em if you got 'em. This film was replete with Bad acting, even worse dialogue and Megan Fox can't do anything but look hot! Proving that the girl cannot even act her way out of a change of clothes. I have no idea what sort of a horror film this was supposed to be. A lot of the cast looked either way too young to be in high school, or way too old to be in high school. Like Megan Fox, who plays vapid much the way fly paper would. Her best friend Needy ( can you believe that name?!) played by Amanda Seyfried isn't much better, as she is way too nerdy to be any one's friend, much less have a boyfriend in High School. Girls like her are alone and virgins til way after college and they start they careers as librarians or secretaries when they feel their biological clock ticking and grab unto the first guy who comes unto them out of pure desperation! The supporting cast is even more dismal as they are worse than teen movie stereotypes, they aren't attractive at all, and they can't act either. It's like the casting director hiring all the siblings and kids of his closest friends or people he wanted to bang!

Which reminds me, both Amanda Seyfried and Kyle Gallner have been in several things together, like Veronica Mars, Big Love and now Jennifer's Body. Which makes me wonder what sort of things they are doing to keep getting hiring together?! Either way I hope they were paid well for this piece of crap because the film itself will do nothing for their respective careers. I mean it's not even a true horror film to begin with since it's rated PG-13, which I think is a recent Hollywood trend that needs to die a horrible and painful death. Horror films are not supposed to be PG-13, as it completely defeats the purpose of a (true) horror film. Horror films are specifically made or should be made for adult eyes only. Now I am not personally a fan of horror films, as I simply do not enjoy watching some psycho or demon run around killing stupid cheerleaders, but they do have their place within the wide spectrum of cinema.


The film itself doesn't even seem to know what sort of film it wishes to be. There is a demonic Rock Indie band fronted by Adam Brody, a little bit of girl on girl action out of nowhere ( that is not as stimulating as it should or could be!), underage sex, underage drinking, super powers Ala X-Men, a mental hospital break out, and a whole plethora of other bits of random teen angst.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cell Phone Updates: Number 2

TOPICS TO GO INTO GREATER DETAIL AT A LATER DATE: Heroes & House Season Premieres, Roskilde, Naked Race, China Town/SF, Bootleg toys, Terry Pratchett, House, Heroes Season Premiere, Chicken and rice, cooking shows, Sweden/Swedish friends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Quadrail Series

Octo Mom: One Crazy Bitch!



I cannot tell you how angry and disgusted people like Nadya Suleman make me. Seeing that someone who is so obviously unqualified and irresponsible to have any number of kids whatsoever, purposely getting impregnated with an additional 8! An additional 8 on top of the 6 she already has and cannot support as it, I might add! This is a prime example of why we might actually have to have licenses for people to become parents in the future. As there are so many people out there who have no concept of what raising a child should really be about or entail. The desire to have kids is simply not enough, there has to be some actual substance behind that desire. Plus even before you begin to even think about having kids, you need to be financially viable! Children are not cheap in any sense of the word, the average US child will cost upwards of 1 million dollars per kid from birth to graduation from college and that is if they don't go to an Ivy league school and/or have any significant health problems. So when miss insanity herself purposely has kids she cannot financial take care off, I am just enraged! So enraged in fact, that I seriously would like to see this woman imprisoned for her actions as I believe they do constitute a criminal act!


I also think the Doctor who performed the procedure should have his license revoked as well for such reckless behavior. Nadya Suleman was (and still is) on Government assistance at the time she had the very costly procedure done, which is thousands upon thousands of dollars. There is no way she could have afforded the procedure to begin with and any well-meaning responsible Doctor would never perform such a procedure on a woman who already had 6 kids; kids that she cannot feed, cloth or properly take care of in the first place. In other countries it is actually illegal to get artificially inseminated unless there is proof that you can take care and support the kids you are planning to have, and I think it should be the same here in the US. No sane woman who cannot take care of the kids she already has, would ever opt for even more. Having children is supposed to be a blessed event, and a truly caring Mother would see the harm she would unnecessarily cause by acting in such a manner and never do such a thing. No matter how much she may want kids, because it is not in the best interest to begin with.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse



Europe: Travel plans for 2010



Even though in my private every day life, I am not what you would call very organized. I am pretty on the ball when it comes to my annual summer trips to Europe and other places. Hence this is just a general list of events I plan to attend and/or places I plan to visit during the summer of 2010. Every summer I visit my friends in Sweden, as well as attend the Zurich Street Parade, and for the past 3 years I have been attending Roskilde (Which is something everyone who likes music and parties should really try to attend at least once in their lives). This list will be altered, updated and whatnot throughout the coming months, as plans change and events possibly get canceled ( Like the Love Parade, which they unfortunately have done more than a few times in the past due to the faltering economy). if you have any suggestions as to places I should go or events I should attend, please let me know.


FLY TO EUROPE: June 23rd, 2010
Roskilde Music Festival: Roskilde, Denmark June 27th-July 4th, 2010
The B Parade: Sometime in early July, 2010 if they do not cancel again
The 2010 Love Parade: Ouisburg, Germany in July/August 2010 unless they cancel again
Sweden Trip #4: Gothenburg, Sweden sometime in July/August, 2010 for 2 weeks
The Zurich Street Parade: August 7th, 2010
Frequency Music festival: August 18th -22nd, 2010
RETURN TO THE US: August 25th, 2010

99 Cents Store






I am not sure how many states in the US actually have a 99 cents store, as they don't seem to have a lot of them in Northern California. But here in the LA area there are quite a few of them. Initially I thought the 99 Cents store was just a step away from Goodwill or the welfare office, but they actually have some pretty cool stuff. Like the charger pack I bought for my very old Nokia Model Tracfone ( Pictured below). Usually I shop there for random items, spices, pasta, condiments ( where else can you get Del Monte ketchup for only a buck) and cleaning supplies. That way I can throw everything away after I am done cleaning or mopping up as the case maybe( Yes, I know it's not very green of me). Stuff that it doesn't really matter if it is a name brand or not, although the 99 cents does actually have it's fair share of name brands. It is also a great place to shop if you have a younger brother or sister, or in my case a younger niece and nephew. Who are too young to realize that you didn't exactly break the bank when it came to buying them their Christmas or Birthday presents. Although the 99 cents store regularly has actual toys sold at major toy store like Toys R us. I recently bought a bunch of Littlest pet Store and DC Universes toys which I will give to my niece and nephew this upconmg Christmas. I also buy all my wrapping paer and gift bags there, as they are still way cheaper than any regular store. Plus wrapping paper is only going tobe ripped apart and discarded anyway, why spend alot of such things.




Asian Spicy Chili Meat Surprise






All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!




INGREDIENTS



16 oz of any meat you wish. I used sausage but Chicken or Beef is just as good
about 1TPSP of Fresh minced Ginger
About 2 TBSP powdered Ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce ( remember this is super salty)
1/4 Cup Sweet Chili Sauce
Chow Mein Noodles or Udon or regular (but thick) Pasta (However much you want)
1 good sized branch of Bok Choy (shred or cut into smaller pieces)
1 head of Broccoli (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 large White or Yellow Onion ( Peal and cut/mince as desired)
1 can of Bamboo Shoots, Water Chestnuts and/or Shitaki Mushrooms ( Drain first)


Bring a large sized pot of water to a boil, adding the Vegetables, Spices, Oyster Sauce and Meat ( If you are cooking with Chicken, I would recommend making sure the pieces are cut up into smaller bite sized pieces and to start cooking them before you add all the other ingredients). Cook on Medium-High until Vegetables and Meat are just about finished. Add Chow Mein Noodles towards the end and cook for an additional 5 minutes, checking to make sure the noodles do not get mushy. Turn heat off, add a cup of cold water and let stand for roughly 2 or 3 minutes as Chow Mein Noodles will thicken as a result. Drain away most of the liquid, but keep about 10% of it to use a partial sauce. Top dish with Sweet or Hot Chili Sauce and serve with anything else you might wish to. Can feed at least 4 people and takes less than 15 minutes to make-ENJOY!
I was walking across the street just now, and the car that was waiting for me to finish crossing was struck from behind. There doesn't appear to be damage to

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Insane Killer Escapes Mental Hospital!

Recently an Insane killer named Philip Paul escaped a mental hospital during a field trip to a local county fair. Now my question for you or the powers that be is, "Why was an Insane Killer on a field trip at a local county fair with other people around to begin with?" I mean would you ever consider taking Dahmer to the local Children's petting zoo? Hell no! So I cannot understand why on earth anyone would approve for a convicted psychotic killer to be released for any reason from a mental facility upon the public.
Blockbuster vs Netflix: They both suck now. When Netflix first started I was really excited, as were most people. Especially since you 1 months service for free

Cell Phone Updates: Number 2

Topics for this weekend. Weight Loss, The US vs Europe, Chicken and ginger rice with vegetables, Juggler of Worlds, Discworld, Alastair Reynolds, Thursday Next

Pandorum: Looks like a remake of Eden Log


From the initial trailers and information released for Pandorum, I got the impression that it was the American remake of Eden Log. A film from France about the impending destruction of mankind because of a lack of natural resources and overpopulation, and the sinister methods the government implements in order to staunch the earth's ultimate destruction.

Resistence Fall of Man: Finally for the PSP

The Problem with Languages

Actually my post really should read The problem with taking so many languages at the same time. as currently I am taking French, German and Japanese. Now before you say I must be some kind of linguistic sadist or savant, let me assure you that I am neither. Far from it in fact as I pretty much suck at all languages, even English to a certain degree as some of my post can attribute. I mere am trying to get better as the languages I already speak or partially know from previous classes, teaching or my upbringing. Remember I am a French Citizen because of my mother and we spoke French at home for the most part. Which is why I cannot read or write in French to save my life. I speak German because I lived in Austria for so long, but once again I cannot really read or write. Japanese was my minor in college, but that was years ago so this is all just review for the most part as I have a lot of free time on my hands and do not want to just sit around getting fat or being a bum.

Cell Phone Updates: Number 1

Obama on Letterman: Racism and Universal Healthcare. More to come later on when I have time...I have a Japanese class in a little bit. I just wanted to send this from my Cell so I would know what I wanted to write about when I got the chance as sometimes I forget and this is a great way to start off the day's or week's post. See ya later!

Michael Jackson and other Celebrity Deaths



When a celebrity, or at least certain celebrities die prematurely. I am rarely surprised. I mean I am surprised when they die as you never expect when it will happen exactly, just that it will happen. I am also taken aback by the realization that I will no longer be able to enjoy their music, singing, acting, directing, writing or what have you. Like in the case of River Phoenix who is still one of my favorite actors, and it is such a waste that he died as talented as he was and as young as he was. But I digress as there are just certain people or types of celebrities that you know will die prematurely, tragically or in some cases horribly. As such I have always known that Michael Jackson would die at an early age or at least not from natural causes, because he can't do anything normally, not even die. Just as I also know that Lindsey Lohan, Brittney Spears, Amy Whinehouse and a slew of other celebrities will also die in some random or bizarre manner before their time. Though in Amy and Lindsey's case it will undoubtedly involve alcohol, drugs and/or a car accident. I am also secretly hoping that Paris Hilton will die in some tragic yet stupid manner, as befits her unique level of insipidness. Today's posts which will be added/updated later on. Michael Jackson and other celebrity deaths. Obama on Letterman and health care.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Time Delayed Posts


I am trying to figure out how to do time delayed posts. It seems that on certain days I can write like 10 mini Blogs or more and other days I have nothing of interest to say. So I am trying to figure out a way to save some of my posts to be automatically posted at a later date or at set times throughout the day/week. So far I have not been able to figure this using Blogspot's software. All my computer savvy is geared towards web design and various art programs and not actually the technical side of things. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions for me?

Smokers: The bane of Existence


I have never liked cigarette smoke in general, even as a little kid. My parents used to smoke as we drove to our cabin in Lake Tahoe and I would be slowly suffocating in the back seat because they kept the windows rolled up the whole way there. But I didn't actually have a problem with cigarette smokers themselves until I lived in Europe for a few years. For it amazed me how stupid and inconsiderate most smokers can be, especially during the time I worked in an Irish Pub in Innsbruck, Austria. For the 3 story (if you count the basement disco) Pub didn't have any ventilation at all. The only places where fresh air could possibly come in or out was from the front and back door, which incidentally were almost always closed, and that is it! There were no open windows in this place or event the smallest of vents, yet people continued to smoke in what essentially was a gas chamber. And one would think that Austrians would know a thing or two about a gas chamber and would try to avoid creating such things. Alas no, for they even had the balls to complain about the air quality and how stuffy it was, which they were completely responsible for! What kind of special brand of idiocy does stuff like that?! To me that is like running someone over with your car, and then complaining that they got blood on your front grill.

Needless to say, because I worked there for so long, I developed some lung and breathing problems when it came to being in any sort of smoke filled environment. Which has followed me to this ad, as i have had several coughing attacks from being around smokers and breathing in passive smoke, even here in California where it is greatly reduced because of all the laws prohibiting public smoking.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cemeteries: Simply a waste of Space?


I find that as I get older I start to think more and more about stuff that either never bothered me as a kid or that simply never occurred to me. Such as how much wasted space cemeteries truly are. I mean there are so many more useful or beneficial uses of the land that cemeteries occupy. Plus once an individual dies, they are gone. They are not coming back and to have such a cumbersome marker for their passing just doesn't make sense in today's very over crowded world. Though cemeteries and other final resting places are such a part of people's religious beliefs, that they would be hard pressed to part with them. Despite the fact that there is no real need to keep them, aside from personal, religious or emotional issues. And eventually the world will not be able to tolerate such personal concerns, as the space will become just too valuable. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the near future, or within my lifetime, the Government simply bans cemeteries altogether. It would be much better if as soon as people passed away, any usable organs are donated, and the remains are cremated. Actually it would be a little bit more green or Eco friendly if the remains could be made into fertilizer. Although I understand that humans make rather poor fertilizer.

The Exotic Erotic Ball


For those of you who do not know, every year in San Ffrancisco there is the Exotic Erotic Ball. The best way to describe it would be that it's an adult themed or oriented Naughty Halloween Costume Party where pretty much anything goes. You can even walk around buck naked if you wish to and a lot of people do...Though these are the types of people who really should not be walking around naked if you ask me, but to each their own. This year will be my 5th time at the ball. The 1st time I went I was just out of high school ( You have to be 18 or older) and I was a much more repressed individual. So open displays of sex and nudity kind of freaked me out back then, though not anymore. Living in and traveling to Europe so many times kind of took care of that. Anyway for this years Ball on October 24th, I am going as a Pilgrim. I had already purchased a costume but it was too small and I had to send it back. I am waiting for my new one to be sent to me, and hopefullythis time it will fit. It is an XXL costume, but I am sometimes more than XXL. I will post pictures as soon as I get the costume sometime next week.

Artwork



I've been drawing since I was a Little kid and doing professional artwork and animation since college. You could say it is my life long passion, as I can't imagine a single day of not wanting to draw something or not being able to draw something. Although that has happened more than once as life goes on and I get older, I am finding it harder and harder to make time to draw. And now that I actually make my living from my artwork, I am having trouble finding the energy or motivation to work on personal projects. One of the drawbacks of doing what you love for a living, it eventually seems like work! I use to make custom Birthday and Holiday cards for every occasions and for all my friends and family, especially for birthdays and Christmas, but I hardly ever do that and it's a shame.







The last major personal art I did was design over 30 custom artwork T-Shirts. The somewhat naughty image of a man doing something t a sheep is from some T-Shirts I did for the camping group I was apart of during Roskilde 2009 ( Roskilde in case you did not know, is a huge 10 day outdoor music festival in Roskilde, Denmark where more than 150 bands from around the world perform). This particular shirt design is was random people got if they happened to do something...I will leave it to your imagination, just what they did exactly to get a shirt like this for free ( Here's a hint, it's actually on the shirt itself).

Collectively Obsessed



I believe I have a little bit of a compulsive behavior problem, although not in the way that most people associate the words compulsive behavior. My thing is I tend to collect certain things rather obsessively or compulsively, and not necessarily for a tangible reason. I mean everyone has hobbies and collects something, but I collect a lot of things. An example of this would be the picture to the left. These multi colored/styled things are called BellHedz and they are from Taco Bell. A fast food Mexican chain I rarely go to, except since I found out about these Kids meal toys. For some reason their overall design and color scheme just said something to me and now I have been somewhat obsessively collecting them. Traveling to multiple locations in order to get them, as most locations are out of them. I even figured out the codes that are printed on the inside lid of each sealed box so I ensure I will not get a duplicate toy. There are 32 in all and so far I have 10. I have been buying them separately as it is cheaper than buying a Kids meal each time. And this is not the only time this has happened, as I have been sucked in by numerous Happy Meal or Kids Meal toys from different fast food chains and I have to keep my spoils in storage as I have that many.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians



I have always personally enjoyed Mythology, from pretty much any culture and country. Which is why I recently picked up the book Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Book One, after seeing the trailer for the upcoming Disney film by the same name. The books themselves are about the children of ancient Greek Gods, such as Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Hermes and many more. The hero of the stores happens to be the son of Poseidon. Something that is frowned upon as the big three Gods (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon) made a vow to stop having kids with mortals. The series itself follows Percy's exploits as he tries to balance being half mortal and half God and the many individuals who are out to kill him as a result of his unique heritage. The book series is geared towards young adults, so at time it's a little tedious or just plain silly at times. No swearing, no real violence and a lot of the situations are just ridiculous, but it is still an enjoyable light bit of fluff reading. As such a book only takes the average (adult) reader a day or two to complete. I have already finished the first book and have moved on to the second book in the series. So far there are 5 books out and at the rate I am going I should have them all read by next week. Hopefully the film will be equally enjoyable, but it is Disney after all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Craigslist Killer

It's a Wonder that people aren't more safe or at least more cautious when it comes to Internet transactions and Internet safety in general. Specifically when dealing with complete strangers. I am currently watching a news report on the Craigslist Killers, and they are discussing how easy it was for him to meet and eventually kills his victims via the Internet and Craigslist. People really need to be more cautious. I mean when I meet a new client for various art or web design projects I'm commissioned to do, I initially meet them in public places. Purely for safety reasons and it's not like I am really in danger of being attacked. After all I am the shortest in my family at 6 foot 5 inches. Unfortunately you can never be too safe in this day and age. So everyone out there, especially you Craigslist freaks, looking to get nasty with someone! Please be safe!

Speak English Please!

Everyone living in the US full time needs to speak English. Sometimes it amazes me that individuals who have been living in the US for years, cannot speak English. An example would be just now while riding the bus. The back door didn't open and the guy waiting couldn't even say, "Open the back door please." I only lived in Austria for 2 years and I can ask for & say a lot more than that in German. I can even do it in French, Spanish and Japanese. Regardless whatever country you have chosen to live em>in, you need to be able to speak the (official) language of that country or at least be able to communicate basic needs and wants. Oh and please, please do not use your children as translators! I am so offended when I see parents use their children, usually under 10, as translators. If you have been in the country long enough to give birth to a child who can speak English, you have had more than enough time to learn English yourself. I think the US is one of the only countries that actually spends tax payers dollars on providing city, statel and local Government material in more than one language. Such as DMV, Tax, and other city forms. Whereas other countries realize that if you are making use of such services, than you should do so in the respective native language. Which reminds, I would love to see how much money the tax payers of America spend on translating such material or providing biligual services? I bet it is quite a lot of money that could be better spent on health care and education.

Surrogates: A Movie Review

I really should have said something about this film a long time as I saw it roughly 4 months ago, and it comes out September 25th, 2009. Especially since it is (or was) one of the summer films I was looking forward to seeing, and was lucky enough to see for free months earlier at a test or publicty screening. Which for those of you who do not live in Los Angeles area is a fairly common thing here, being able to see test screenings of movies for free sometimes months or even years before they are officially released. They offer at least 3 or 4 films to be screened each and every week here in the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley.


Surrogates the movie is based on a comic book series by the same name, which is mainly for mature readers. While the Disney Film version is slightly tame by comparison, eliminating a lot of the blood, sex and violence of the comic. Especially the amount of Surrogate on normal Human crime that takes place throughout the series. In the Disney version the world as we know it is a lot sleeker and sexier as almost everyone operates in the real world via Surrogates. Aesthetically pleasing androids people or operators use to interact with one another and the general public from the safety of their homes, as pretty much everyone is a Surrogate using shut-in. That is up until a supposed terrorist group figures out a way to kill the Human operators while they are hooked up to their supposedly safe surrogates ( Connections from any Surrogates to their users are supposed to be automatically severed as soon as they experience any significant damage or trauma to prevent injury to their human operators).


When news of human operators being killed via their surrogates spreads, the powers that be, mainly the designers and sellers of the surrogates, are quick to act and suppress the news as best they can ( or manipulate teh truth, as big companies are want to do). Which is what Bruce Willis' detective character is sent to investigate and get to the truth of the matter, all the while dealing with some personal and emotional issues surrounding his estranged wife. Who every day relies more and more on her surrogate compared to Bruce's character (She was involved in an accident and has some facial and emotional scaring and is completely dependant on her surrogate to face the outside world as a result).

Cell Phone Updates: Testing One, Two, Three...



TESTING: This is a test Blog to see if I can send it from my cell or not like I am supposed to. I am just editing some old posts at the moment. I will use this new feature to basically start topics that have just popped into my head. So if you read something that seems like a partial topic and/or it's just a title, please be aware that it is a work in progress and will be posted eventually. Thanks for your understanding. More updates to follow.


Yours Truly,

Travel Whore.

The Shame Train

While living in in Innsbruck, Austria and other parts of Europe for so long I got used to taking public transportation. Especially since I lived somewhat in the mountains of Innsbruck and it was either a 15 minute bus ride home or a 45 minute walk home up hill. Plus everyone in Europe rides the bus anyway, even people with cars as it was that convenient. They even had multiple bus lines that ran 24 hours, especially those going to the main train station (Haubtbanhof) and airport. Which is not the case here in the states at all, aside from perhaps New York and Chicago who have well established public transportation for it's citizens. Alas here in LA, it is a nightmare! First off the main reason why anyone here would ride the bus is simple; it's because they have to! Either because they are not legally able to drive ( criminal record, too poor, homeless, insane, you name it) or they are not physically able to drive. That is pretty much it. Which makes riding the bus when you do not fit into one of the above categories pure torture! For even if you are environmentally conscience and wish to help out mother earth by taking public transportation, it is so unpleasant to do so that you would rather drive than sit on a bus filled with mostly insane and/or smelly homeless people. Which kind of defeats the purpose of taking the bus. It is supposed to be convenient and hassle free, but if you are assaulted by putrid smells the entire way or have to listen to the crazy Mexican lady spout bible verses in Spanish at the top of her longs the entire time, it's simply not! I happen to live within walking distance to one of the Metro Rail lines that goes directly to both of the Junior Colleges where I am taking German, French and Japanese this semester. And riding the bus to and from school is actually cheaper than paying for parking at both school for the semester, but like I said it is not pleasant to do so. Hence even people who really would like to do their part to improve the environment and overall air quality of LA, are completely discouraged from do so because of the many unpleasantries associated with Public Transportation in the Los Angeles area. Although this is a matter that affects just about every states from what I understand and have read. In fact Honolulu, Hawaii just passed a law that people who smell cannot ride public transportation. Which I think is a little extreme, but I also understand the rational behind it. Because some homeless people smell so bad, their stench lingers long after they have left, and there might even be some additional clean up costs associated with that. I know I would personally like to see all public transportation patrons who are already wasted before noon forcibly removed from the bus altogether, but buses are in fact meant for every citizen. Although it's technically tax paying citizens, so if someone were homeless and subsequently not paying taxes, then they really shouldn't be able to ride pubic transport to begin with.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Super cheap and easy Wont Ton Soup



Super Cheap and easy Won Ton Soup



All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!




This recipe can makes either one rather large meal for someone like me or at least two separate smaller meals for people with smaller appetites ( like you). All the ingredients can be found at your local 99 Cents store or your local cheap supermarket. For me that is VONS or ValuePlusWherehouse which is slightly geared towards Mexican/Hispanics customers, but their vegetables and fruits are cheaper than most other places.

INGREDIENTS:

FROM THE 99 CENTS STORE:

12 or 16 oz. package of Farmer John Pork Sausage or John's Sausage $1.00
1 bottle of Oyster Sauce $1.00
OPTIONAL
1 package of imitation Crab $1.00 (when they have it in stock)
Canned Bamboo Shoots usually 59 cents a can
Canned Mushrooms different varieties usually 59 cents a can
Canned Baby Corn usually 59 cent a can
You can use fresh or powered Ginger, so try to get it from whomever has it.
Powdered Ginger $1.00
Fresh Ginger $1.00 for several large pieces

TOTAL=$5.77 or less

FROM VONS OR SOMEWHERE ELSE:

Egg roll wrappers from Vons ($1.39)
OPTIONAL
Fresh Bok Choy usually $1.00 or less per pound from multiple sources
Fresh Ginger usually $1.29 a pound or like 25 cents for a decent sizes piece
Several medium sized Onions usually $1.00 for 3 pounds ( you only need one or two whole onions)
Green Onion usually less than $1.00 for a bunch

TOTAL=$1.39 or $4.00 including Optional ingredients

GRAND TOTAL= $6.77 or $10.77 including the Optional ingredients

When I make this dish, I usually already have Oyster Sauce, Powdered Ginger, Fresh Ginger and the Sausage. I just need to buy some Won Ton wrappers, fresh Bok Choy and any other vegetables, or Imitation Crab I wish to add. Which makes this dish very, very cheap and easy to make if you like it simple and cheap. The absolute minimum ingredients for this dish are really just the Sausage, Won Ton Wrappers, (fresh or powdered) Ginger, and the Oyster sauce. Everything else is just extra or if you want to add more ingredients for the overall look, style or taste.

So to start off you will need to fill a large pot with water or chicken broth (about half way full) and top it off with about 1/4 of a cup of Oyster Sauce (Oyster Sauce is very, very salty and you will need the water or chicken broth to dilute it). Bring the liquids to a boil and season broth as desired ( Do not add salt!). While the broth is cooking cut the Bok Choy into bite size or whatever size pieces you prefer. Drain the Mushrooms, Baby Corn, Watercress and Bamboo and set them aside for later. In a large bowl you can combine the diced onions, fresh Ginger with the Pork Sausage as well as some Oyster sauce and small pieces of Bamboo or Watercress if you wish. You can also sprinkle the mixture with powered Ginger. Once everything is combined in the bowl, spoon small amounts (small melon ball sized amounts is good) of the mixture onto each Won Ton wrapper. You should dab the Won Ton wrappers beforehand in water so you can close the ends together easily after you spoon in the filling. The Won Ton wrapper's opposite ends should be brought together as if you were folding sheets and then twisted together in a spiral configuration, or you can just fold them over like a birthday present to save time and effort (You are going to eat them after all). Once all the Won Ton's are completed, place all the Bok Choy, Baby Corn, Bamboo, Watercress, Mushrooms, and Fresh Ginger in the now boiling pot. Then add the Won Tons and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Just before the Won Tons are completely cooked you can add imitation crab or any other vegetables/sea food you may wish to. Once everything is cooked, ladle the Won Ton Soup into small or medium sized bowls and serve warm with any other Asian side dish that you want. Serves 2 to 6 people depending on their individual eating habits. Like I said, I can eat a whole pot myself!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Email ettiquite: My how things have changed

I use to write pretty long, and I would hope, pretty decent letters to all my friends and family on a semi regular basis. Alas ever since the Internet age, no one really writes letters anymore, instead they send tweets, texts & emails. Which while very quick and practical, is getting further and further away from proper etiquette when it comes to personal correspondence. An example of this would be the phenomena of not returning people's emails. For just about any email, unless you have some pretty severe physically or mental problems, takes less than a minute to write and send. That is if it is a reasonably short email mind you. So when anyone tells you they didn't have the time to respond to your email, they are lying their asses off! I mean even if they were truthfully busy, how hard is it to say, "Sorry I'm frightfully busy at the moment, but I will write you back just as soon as I can." That sentence online took me less than 5 seconds to write and if you do not have 5 seconds to spare for a supposed friend, than you need to rethink your career or life path. Claiming you never got the email in the first place as the reason you haven't replied is another rather grandiose faux pas. Especially since a lot of email programs or social networks can tell when a message what read and/or when you last signed on. MySpace is notorious for that. So before you compound a bad situation with a lie, you might want to think about what sort of program the email you supposedly didn't get and are ignoring was sent from initially, as well as the sender's computer savvy. It might save yous me embarrassment later as well as a friendship. I personally respond to most emails within 24 hours, even if it's just to say I am busy at the moment but will respond properly later on. I think everyone should strive for the same results...I think you know who you are!

Europe for the past 20 odd years: My how time flies!


I just realized that for over 20 years now I have been in Europe for 1 to 3 times each and every year. I was looking at some of my old passports and counting up the stamps, which is quite a lot, and they never used to stamp my passport til after 9/11. So I assume I have a lot more than shows in my passports. The first time I went to Europe I was or I think i was 7 years old. My Mother took me to France to meet most of my family for the 1st time. I had met my Grandmother a few times because she came to visit us around the holidays. I didn't speak very much French at the time and she didn't speak English, so we didn't exactly talk all that much. I do remember the wonderful candies she brought me form Europe though. We traveled around by train a lot and saw my Aunts and Uncles in Viazon ( I think that is how it is spelled), Orleans and Lyons if I remember correctly. I remember that a lot of them were Farmerish or didn't exactly live in the city which was new for me. I also remember having milk with grenadine for the first time, which I highly recommend if you have not tried it before. I also remember my family always playing with my big mop of curly hair and kissing me repeatedly on the cheeks, which at that age, I wasn't having! My mother was the youngest of like 7 kids ( I think, a few have died of old age and so I am not sure anymore), so none of my cousins were close in age to me except for Bertrand. And that was not exactly because of happy circumstances. Apparently his parents 1st child died in a car or motorcycle accident and adopted Bertrand later in life, and that is the only reason why he is close to me in age ( I think he is 5 or less years younger than me). I have tried to establish contact with him, but I don't actually know what his last name is or where he is living. Not talking to my Mother doesn't exactly help and my brother being the person he is refuses to ask on my behalf ( We both have issues with our Mother, while I opted to take myself out of the situation, my Brother just represses all his feelings as usual). Which is shame because my Brother shows no interest whatsoever in the fact that we are technically 1st generation French Americans and have only been out of the country twice in his life. Once our Mother passes away ( I would say within the next 10 years), we will have no direct ties to our French side of the family.

Grammar Grammar Grammar

I feel I should let people know that sometimes I will post like 20 mini Blogs in a single day, and other times I will post just a few a week. My style of writing tends to be Stream of Consciousness, which does not always lend itself well to the written word. So please keep this in mind as well as the fact that I will also will make numerous spelling and grammatical errors in my posts. Naturally I will endeavor to correct my post as I go along, both new & old, but you should be forewarned. Sending me nasty emails or leaving comments criticizing what I have written or what I have to say is fine, but just harping on my grammar, spelling & writing style is not. This Blog is mainly for fun, if you want something that is letter perfect or Yale graduate material you should go elsewhere! I was a computer graphics major in college, my main thing is Art for the most part. Plus artist or creative people in general are supposed to be horrid speller to begin with. This is just for fun and a way to express myself, nothing more and nothing less. If you find that the only thing you have to send or post to me or to most people is pure criticizm, than you might want to reflect on what that says about you as a person if you only have negative things to say. To quite Babmi, "If you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all."

Friends: Can't live with them. Can't kill them & bury them in the woods.

I just realized that my sub title for this post is very misleading. I will expand upon that misleading theme at another time. Sorry for any confusion this might cause.

Originally I am from Northern California, which I have to say is a lot different from Los Angeles. And in some ways, much better. In the Bay Area I knew all of my friends last names, I knew where they lived and I even knew their parents as well as brothers and sisters. Here in LA, you are lucky if you know Simeon's last name. Which is why it was very hard for me to meet people when I first came here way back in 1992 for school ( CSUN, a horrible school & I would not recommend it unless you are a business major). I assumed I would be able to act as I did in the Bay Area and just approach people at random who I wanted to be friends with like I did back home. Apparently doing such things in LA is the equivalent of offering them crack or to take a big steamy dump on their chest. Which really is a shame, as it took a lot longer for me to make new friends here & that kind of takes it's toll on a person. Plus the Northridge earthquake happened in 1994 & pretty much all of the friends I had made, simply moved away or transferred to other schools. Not leaving a forwarding address or anything & since I didn't know their parents there was no way for me to track them down. But in LA this is just considered normal behavior apparently, people & friends drift in and out of your lives, which I feel is a shame. It is one of the (many) reasons that as soon as I have kids, if I have kids, I will move away from here. I do not want my kids to grow up to be shallow individuals or think that having a bunch of acquaintances is the same than having a few true & lifelong friends.

Transformers: Why is Michael Bay raping my childhood?












Transformers: Revenge of the fallen has finally come out on DVD and Blu Ray. Hence I have to comment on the fact that I do not like the current direction Hasbro has taken with the Transformers property, at least as far as the movies go. I feel that Hasbro/Michael Bay, Paramount or whatever powers behind the movies, simply have taken the names and sometimes the likenesses and just cobbled a bunch of random stuff together for profit. Without caring about the original subject matter of the 80's cartoon series, comics and toy line that started it all way back when. Almost no one and nothing is actually recognizable in the movies, aside from Optimus Prime, as almost no one looks or acts like they did in the original cartoon/toy line or should act based on their already established characters ( All the original toys had bio cards that detailed their personalities and part of their respective character histories). Like the only twins in the original Transformer universe are Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, not the racist black-ghetto stereotypes of Skids and Mudlfap. In fact Skids in the original cartoon was an intellectual theoretician , not some gold toothed black stereotype idiot they have him be in the film. And what is even more insulting is that Sideswipe was in the film, but not his twin Sunstreaker. He was also voiced by a black actor in semi stereotypical slang/speech patterns as well, adding further insult to injury. As for the overall humor of the films, I think it's pretty low brow and pandering in general. Plus I do not think that robots should fart, cough, spit, cry or piss like they have in both films thus far.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Real World: Missed Opportunity

I was watching Big Brother last night. Something I almost never do, as I dislike the US version (Not enough swearing, sex or nudity for my tastes). And I couldn't help but think of the time I was a finalist for the Real World: Boston way back when. I got as far as the casting special that aired on Mtv, which was down to a pool of roughly 1,000 from close to 50,000 applicants I believe ( Correct me if I am wrong, as I have no idea of the true figures).

Relationships: Why I can't stand them!



I originally thought of a much better title for the topic of today's blog, but I forgot what it was and this one will have to do for the time being. If I happen to remember what it originally was I will update my original blog and make the appropriate changes. Basically I was reminded of some stuff that I have felt for a long time, after watching the Spanish language film Rudo y Cursi. In it Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal's football-on-a-current-losing-streak character Cursi falls in love with a opportunistic newscaster named Maya who essentially uses him for his money and status and then leaves him for another player that she sees as being a trade up ( At least career wise and financially) . Which is not to say that all women are shallow, money grubbing and/or opportunistic ( I want to make it clear that I do not hate women, I just hate certain behaviors that a lot of women seem to display with some regularity). What I am more upset at is when people, men or women basically screw themselves over (or their friends/family/colleagues) because of the relationships they have or because of the people they claim to love. I have lost many a friend or seen many a friend destroy themselves over a woman (or a man as the case maybe, but for the rest of the article I will be talking about women mostly).

For the sake of argument I will be playing the devil's advocate and I will speak about women in general, but all my examples can be the same for men as well. When it comes to love and bad relationships, no one sex has a monopoly. A good example of this would be my former friends Matthias and Martin, both of whom I met in college where they were exchange students from Austria. We stayed in touch for years after they went back to Austria and eventually I went to visit them for the 1st time in their native home in 2000. I planned the trip for months in advance and both of them knew when I was coming and for how long, as well as far I would be traveling ( Roughly 8,000 miles I believe). When I finally got there Matthias was initially nowhere to be seen or even heard from. When I did finally manage to get a hold of him he claimed to be too busy to meet, despite the fact that time was running out on my visit to Austria. Eventually he did pop into a bar that me, Martin and some other people were in, but only for an hour or so. It turned out his girlfriend was one of those kinds of women who doesn't want their boyfriend to do anything or go anywhere without them or without their permission. Matthias was only dropping by to see us because his girlfriend was busy with work and wouldn't know he had snuck off to meet us. Something which to me is reason enough to dump someones ass (If anyone ever tells you who you can or cannot see, that is controlling behavior pure and simple. You do not want to have anything to do with such people, especially if it is a man! You are no one's slave, property or their bitch, so never act like it. Especially in the name of love!)!

I learned a long time ago that if someone is in love or even thinks they are in love. There is no reasoning with them, and complaining about their supposed love or trying to warn them of future problems will only damage your friendship. It's best to just remain silent and wait for the relationship to end on it's on, as they pretty much always do at some point). So initially I kept my mouth shut, but I was deeply disgusted, especially after matters got even worse. A few days before I was to leave Austria, Matthias finally agreed to meet me and Martin at Martin's house. We were planning to catch up on each other's lives and drink it up into the wee hours of the night, or at least that was the plan. Matthias' girlfriend was informed that this was our plan, and she also knew I had not seen Martin or Matthias for 4 years and I would only be in Austria for a total of 2 weeks ( Actually I think it was less than that, but I would have to check my passport). Traveling all the way from Los Angeles just to see my friends that I hadn't seen in years. Yet she called Matthias on his cell phone every 20 minutes as soon as he arrived just to complain about him not being with her or to remind him that tonight was their special night. Apparently their "Special Night" was code for some sort of a sex thing. Anyway I finally had to take Matthias' cell phone away from him after I said very loudly," That she knows where you are and what you are doing! She shouldn't be calling every 20 minutes, it's annoying as hell!" For the rest of the evening it was obvious that Matthias wasn't drinking as much as he usually does in the thought that he might drive home later, but we ending up getting wasted anyway and staying at Martin's all night. A few days later I left Austria and eventually returned to the US. When I returned to the States I was informed by Martin that Matthias' girlfriend actually said she was glad that I was gone, for now she had Matthias all to herself. Which if you know me, is just the wrong thing to say as I was infuriated by this comment! If a girlfriend of mine ever said something like that about a good friend, I would dump them right then and there. I then confronted Matthias about what his girlfriend said and pointed out that none of his friends get to see him because of her and that she was an insecure mess and no one really thought they were good together or would even last. He said that wasn't true but I dared him to ask him what his friends really and truly thought of her to prove my point. As guys just shut up about stuff like that and so he would never know what they actually thought unless he asked them to be honest with them. He only asked a few of his friends and after each of them said they didn't like her and agreed with what I had said earlier, so he stopped asking. Saying that he loved her and that she was perfect for him, and all that other stupid crap people in love sprout. The funny thing is a little bit later he went to Australia for either 6 months or a year, I can't recall, and proceeded to cheat on his so called love numerous times. Which just supports my overall view of most relationships in general. People claim to love people all too easily and freely, without really knowing what true love is or even acting accordingly. If someone truly loves you, they would never prevent, guilt or manipulate you from seeing one of your friends or into doing what they want for their own selfish reasons. Nor would you cheat on someone, for any reason, that you claimed to love. Yet day after day people continue to profess their love to those who are not deserving of their love in the first place, or lying to and cheating on the same people they claim to hold so dear. It's a very sad daily occurrence that's unfortunately escalating all the time. More on this topic later on and how Martin did something fairly similar to what Matthias did, and why we are all no longer friends.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Customer Served: A semi ongoing comic strip

I decided to post some comics about what I think, feel or personally experienced while I was working in the wonderful world of Retail Customer Service. These are work in progress so please feel free to give me feedback on my art, writing style and all that associated with the comics. Which I will try to create/post at least once a month if not more. With my schedule as it is now, it will be harder and harder to do as my class schedule is so varies in terms of times and locations. Which reminds me, I have to get back to studying for my Japanese test today. Sayoonara!

CUSTOMER SERVED: First Strip Completed September , 2009

Waiting to hear from the courts

I had my case against Best Buy about a week ago and am waiting to hear from the DLSE ( Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement). It doesn't usually take them too long to decide about a case, although I did have a lot of evidence to present and apparently they have to read through it. I know I will hear from them before the end of the month, but I am anxious as to the verdict. I will win for sure on some of the points since even the judge noticed that my former manager lied on the stand, but I am not sure if I will win on all points. The least I will be awarded is $2,000 and the most I will be awarded is around $4,000. Although like I said I expect Best Buy to appeal just because they can or to be spiteful, so then I will have to do it all over again. Which might take place in Civil Court rather than the DLSE courts, which don't cost a dime. Either way, wish me luck!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Customer Service Hell: Reasons why I will never work in retail again!

Like most people out there I have had to work for a living, and also like most people I have had my fair share of retail jobs. Which I have to say have by far been the absolute worst of any jobs I have had. Especially those that involve direct interaction with the public. For let's face, the public as a whole can be evil as well as dumb as dirt! My last retail Customer Service Job was at Circuit City. You know the fine upstanding company that went bankrupt and lied to their employees up until the last minute about it.

Things to Buy: If I ever get around to it that is

Here is a list of things I have been meaning to buy for a long time. If and when I buy something from the list, I will update it. Most likely the top have of the list will be what I buy first ( Additional items will be added at a later date).

1. Playstation 3

2. Xbox 360

3. New Canon Camera with at least 10 MP & a better zoom lense

4.

5. Oxford's Ancestors DNA profile ( It's like $600 and traces your family)

6.

7.

8.

9. New 30" (or above) TV that has a Digital Tuner built in

10. Decent Used Car

Playstation PS3 Games arrived today



Some people who have worked in retail before already know about the RLS Playstation site. Basically it's a site for employees of stores that sell Playstation products where they can take quizzes and tests and get free or greatly reduced Playstation products in return as a thank you. I have been doing it for years now, even though I no longer work for a company that would allow me to be a part of the site. Today I got Little Big Planet and Drake's Fortune. Drake's Fortune is a gift for my Uncle and Little Big Planet is actually my 10th PS3 game I own. Which is actually pretty funny since I don't even have a Playstation 3 yet. In fact I also have about 10 or
20 Xbox 360 games and I don't own a 360 either. It's on my ever growing list of Things to Buy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

10 simple things to make the world a better place



A lot of people complain about the current state of the world and say it's pretty much going to hell in a hand basket, or it's going to end in the new future ( The Mayan Calendar says in the year 2012). Well I have 10 simple steps to make the world a better place, only if we ALL followed it! It is really that simple and doable.

1. Population: No one on Earth should have more than 2 biological children-That's it! If you want more kids, than you need to Adopt (There are tons of kids out there who need to be adopted). Do not have any at all if you are on drugs, crazy/schizophrenic, cannot afford them, and/or are incapable of taking care of them for financial, emotional, psychological or physically reasons. The world cannot support the number of people it has in it now, stop adding to it's burden.


2. Resources: Conserve all resources. Remember we have a limited number of natural resources and that's it! Once they are gone, they are gone forever! So turn off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth, never take a shower that is more than 5 minutes, turn off any unused lights, don't leave your computer on all night, use public transportation as much as possible, drive hybrid cars, recycle, use solar and wind power as much as possible. Refuse to use products that waste natural resources and/or are not GREEN as it were. The list in endless and we can all do our part. Also demand that all cars made and driven in the future are hybrids or electric cars, we are way too dependant on (foreign) oil.

3. Education: You must get an education! It doesn't matter what it is in or how long it takes, just make sure you get a proper education. Education is one of the most important things you can ever acquire in your lifetime and it is the only thing that can never be taken away by anyone for any reason. It is important that everyone has as high a level of education as possible. We should all be college graduates, earning a degree in something. So many problems in the world would simply vanish is everyone had a proper education.


4. Eat right, Diet and Exercise: I know this is something everyone knows, but who actually does it? This goes especially for children or the parents of children. You control what they eat, how much they watch TV and if they go outside to play or not. If we were all healthier, eating right and exercising a lot of the world's problems would (also) cease to be. Medical costs would go way down, adult and childhood diabetes would decrease, we would live longer and so on. Healthy people are also happy or at least happier people and everyone wants to be happy?!

5. Tolerance: I do not care what religion you are, what your skin color is, what your sexual preference is or how much money you have or do not have. You are not the end all be all of the world. Everyone needs to be more tolerant and understanding of those around them, especially religious people. For there is no single religion on Earth that can claim their religion to be the one and true religion. Religion is a personal choice or set of beliefs and the notion of God or any God is based on Faith, not fact! So until Faith actually becomes Fact, people should just keep that in mind and stop imposing their wills and judgement on others.


6. Economics:Spend Wisely. This goes without saying, but don't buy more than you need and don't spend more than you have. If you ant afford a Mercedes, than do not get a Mercedes. If you cannot afford 10 kids, do not have 10 kids! If you cannot afford a mansion, do not buy a mansion and so on and so on. This is a really simple one and will help everyone stay out of debt and especially stay away from credit card debt. The economy sucks at the moment and it is because people are spending more than they have or can actually afford. We do not have to be a greedy or capitalistic as we have been.

7. Sex, Drugs & Alcohol: This is a no brainer, it's about over indulgence and being responsible with your body, your health and other people's health and well being. Or in other words, don't go whoring around picking up STD's and then spreading them around to other people. People are always going to have sex, but make sure it is legal, consensual and safe. We have enough problems with over population to begin with without adding Herpes and AIDS to the mix. Don't become an alcohol or a drug addict. If you want to get drunk or smoke pot every once in awhile, I have no problem with that. Moderation is the key! Just don't become some worthless drunk or crack addict trading blow jobs in the Macy's parking lot for a bump. And don't operate heavy machinery while high! Especially if said heavy machinery is a car, boat, plane or an Amtrak train! And finally do not let additive behavior get the better of you. Whether it's sex, drugs, alcohol or gambling! If you have to pay your rent or your mortgage, you do not gamble your rent away! If your newborn baby needs diapers, you do not gamble way the diaper money! If you cannot stop yourself, you have a problem and you need to find a way to stop! Stuff like this is destroying America and it needs to stop!

8. Respect: This should be a give, but I do not think enough people respect the environment or more importantly themselves. This has more to do with allowing themselves to be treated in a certain way that is detrimental and covers a lot of ground. Like if you are in any sort of abusive relationship, you are not respecting yourself. If you allow another individual to lie to you, cheat on you, abuse you, use you or hurt you, than you are not respecting yourself. This also goes for Big Companies. If the neighboring factory is filling the local water reserve with pollutants, and you don't do anything about it, you are not respecting yourself. If you allow big companies to steal all your money, go bankrupt and then use Government bail out money to give everyone in the company multi million bonuses, than you are not respecting yourself. The list goes on and on and it basically is make sure that you respect yourself and that other respect you as well, but not allowing them to mistreat you in any (significant) way, shape or form.

9. Ethics: I am not the most moral person in the world, but I do have them when and where it counts. I think a lot of people in today's world don't and this needs to change. Too many decisions are made in this world based on money, greed, power, personal gain and just plain selfishness. Individuals, groups and especially companies needs to start making decisions based on what is the right thing to do. Not just for them, their stock holders and their wallets. Companies cannot continue to manufacture a product if they know it is killing people or ruining the planet in the process and so on. The world cannot survive so many selfish interest groups as they will bankrupt the world, and not just in terms of economics. Everyone needs to make sure that what they do in life is not making matters worse. And this is from the little man on the bottom of the totem pole all the way up to head honcho.

10. Common Sense: Everyone is supposed to have common sense, as well as use it on a regular basis. But how many people actually do exercise common sense?! Think of the old woman who won millions because her hot coffee spilled on her and now McDonald's coffee has labels that say Caution Coffee is Hot on them. Or the woman who called 911 because they were out of Chicken McNuggets? These are all examples of common sense going out the window and it has to stop. The same goes for Mother Earth. You would never load 30 people into an elevator that has a maximum allowance of 10 people. It would be suicide and we should all know this because common sense tells us so. Yet we now have a world population that exceeds what the Earth is able to naturally provide for. This is where common sense needs to come into play. Do we really want to have law after law enacted just so people are forced to use common sense or do the right things? Wouldn't you rather do the right thing because it's the Right thing to do or it's common sense? Do you want to be forced to do the right thing or use common sense? Think about it.