Pigalloon

December 3, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Art, Work | No Comments

Since I got back into the office from Thanksgiving break, there has been this pink balloon in this guy’s cube across the way from mine. I’m not really sure how it got there or why it’s there, but today I finally asked him if I could have it. Apparently, he didn’t know why it was there either and when I went over to ask him, it was sitting haphazardly in one corner, so I figured that he didn’t care about it too much. He was like “yeah… it’s been here for a while, I don’t know why.” So he let me have it. But for what purpose, you ask? You see, ever since I spotted that pink balloon over there, I wanted to take it and draw a big pig face on it. Here’s what became of that little exercise:
Pigalloon (front) Pigalloon (back)

The Unclaimed Vitasoy

November 20, 2006 at 11:05 PM | Food, Nostalgia, Work | 3 Comments

Chocolate VitasoyI opened up the refrigerator in the break room on my floor one day, in search of my lunch. To my surprise, I saw a lone box of chocolate flavored Vitasoy sitting there. Hmmm, this is peculiar… who here drinks Vitasoy other than me? And the chocolate one, at that? And then it occurred to me to no one did. No one except for me. And maybe Albert. You see, he had recently purchased 2 packs (12 drinks total) of Vitasoy from me. They were of various flavors… honeydew (probably my favorite), malt, and of course, chocolate.

I called him up, asked him about it. He said that it wasn’t his. He assured me that it couldn’t be his. He didn’t even use the same break room.

Of course he didn’t. I knew this, but I needed answers. Could this package of Vitasoy be mine? I traced through my steps that Friday, so long ago, before my trip to Alaska. How could I have possibly brought that Vitasoy with the intent of drinking it during lunch, and then failing to do so? Because I know for a fact that I ate my lunch that day, and it was something from the same refrigerator. I really couldn’t think of how this could have happened, except for people rearranging things in the refrigerator, as they often do, causing me to somehow miss it that day. I looked at the expiration date on the top, as if I could even remember what it should have been. It did nothing for me except confirm that the product had not expired.

I put that Vitasoy back in the fridge and had it with my lunch the following day. I sure hope it was mine. Otherwise, I would have committed a “Chandrak,” but that’s a story for another time. Or maybe I’ve already written about that before, I don’t even know.

You see, I’ve been drinking this stuff my whole life, this wonderful soy milk packaged in a juice box-like container. Not the chocolate flavored or honeydew ones–those I believe are more recent, but the original and malt ones anyways. My family had it in Hong Kong and there are various places that you can get it in the US. I’ve even had it in bottle form in Hong Kong. My brother and I used to get a bottle (or 2) after swimming like every day of the week.

The Blood

June 17, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Site/Personal, Work | 2 Comments

I gave blood for the first time ever earlier this week.

They had this blood drive thing going on at work and I’ve been around my fair share of blood drives around school and work for a number of years now… but I’ve always just kept my blood to myself and looked the other way. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t know. Maybe. It’s my blood and I’ll give it if I want to. But for whatever reason, when I saw the announcement of a blood drive coming to our workplace gym about a week ago, I jumped at the opportunity and signed right up. I’m not really sure what prompted me to do so, but I figured… hey, I’ve kept my blood to myself for way too long. It’s time I share some of it with the world–people who may need it more than I do. Why not? I went into the thing with a “whatever” kind of attitude.

The sign up time slots were in 15 minute chunks, which I thought was a little short. I blocked off an hour on my calendar just in case. I was glad that I did, because I think it all took about an hour and a half when all was said and done. Not because it actually took an hour and a half to get a pint of blood from me, but because of all the paperwork and process involved.

I showed up at the gym and there was 8 people already giving blood and 4 or 5 other people waiting. They entered all of my information into their systems and had me fill out some forms and wait some more. And then they had me sit in this booth where they reviewed my forms and took a drop of blood from my finger to test its iron level and took my blood pressure. It was all within normal ranges so it was all good. What wasn’t all good was one of the questions on the history form that I had filled out. One of the questions on there was a yes or no question asking whether I had been outside of the U.S. or Canada in the past 3 years. I had to answer yes because I had indeed been outside of the U.S. during the winter of 2004.

So they asked me about details. I told them that I was in Japan, Hong Kong, and the Phillippines for about a month total. They didn’t have a problem with Japan or Hong Kong but the Phillippines was a little questionable. They broke out this big binder filled with yellow pages listing all of the different places in the world which could potentially disqualify you from donating blood. I told them that I had arrived in Mania (which was OK) and then took a boat down to Mindoro (which had some Malaria issues) so they had to bust out a world atlas, call over other people, who in turn had to make phone calls to faceless individuals to determine whether I was still qualified. Now, I told them that I had taken the pills for malaria resistance while I was there, but apparently they didn’t care. So about an hour in, while they were still waiting on the final word, the girl on the phone pressed the phone on her chest and turned and asked me where I was born. I was like, “Wichita, Kansas.” And then she went back to talking on the phone, “oh nevermind, you don’t have to look that up… he’s a U.S. citizen.” I was like “what…” because they had just wasted all this time when they could have just asked me whether I was a U.S. citizen right off the bat.

So I went and got some apple juice and waited some more until one of the chairs opened up. While I was waiting, somebody who had just finished donating came over and was telling me about this other guy who was just lying down off in the other side of the gym, who I guess turned all pale when he was donating earlier and caused quite a scare. I couldn’t see his face from where I was sitting but he had a (presumably empty) styrofoam cup leaning up against him on the chair. I was like “yeah, there’s no guarantee that I won’t turn out like that.” And it was true… I’ve never done this before so how would I know whether I was one of those people who pass out during blood donation from loss of blood, just at the mere sight of blood, at the sight of the needle, or all of the above. No idea.

When one opened up, it went pretty quickly. They sat me down in this lawn chair/cot looking thing that had an arm rest on one side, cleaned my arm with this iodine soaked swabs, put my arm in one of those blood pressure arm pumps, and gave me this ball to squeeze. Sitting all around me were people with tubes coming out of their arms, blood a-flowing, which led to these pouches next to the chairs.

And then they placed some kind of a paper on my shoulder and took out the needle. I was like “oooh my goddd,” because it was a lot bigger than what I had imagined or expected.

The woman doing all this prep work was like “oh, first time?”

“Yeah.”

“You sure you don’t want to look away?”

“Nah, I want to see it all.” There is something sick about me that made me want to see everything that went down. Maybe it was just curiosity. Maybe it was out of fear. Maybe I get a kick out of seeing that kind of thing. I dunno. I just knew that I wanted the full experience. I fixed my gaze on the tip of the needle and followed it.

“Alright…” and then she proceeded to stick the needle into my inner elbow, where a vein was supposed to be, my eyes following the tip the entire time until it disappeared into my arm. I say “supposed to be” because I sure as hell couldn’t tell where this mythical vein that they sought was. But they’re professionals. Maybe they saw something that I didn’t. Upon entry of the needle, a moderate squirt of blood shot up and out onto my arm, slightly above the entry point.

Again, I was like “ooh my goddddd” because I didn’t expect a squirt. But I guess I should have seen it coming, considering the bib that I had on. But the tube that the needle was attached to remained clear. The woman called some other worker over for help, who proceeded to wriggle the needle around in my arm. I had a needle stuck in my arm so I really wasn’t in any position to make any sudden movements. I didn’t know what was going on or what to expect but i guess this wasn’t supposed to be one of the steps. And then all of a sudden the tube filled with warm blood. I saw them mentally high-five each other. It was all pretty traumatizing for me to see this go down.

They had me squeeze this ball for 5 seconds, release for 5 seconds, and repeat. I did this for about 10-15 minutes when my bag of blood filled up. They labeled the pouch of blood, took the needle out and put a bandage on me. Somebody walked me back over to the refreshments and I had some apple juice, Sprite, and a pack of Nutter Butter, put on a sticker that read “Hug me, I gave blood today”, hung out for a bit talking with some other donors, and then went back to work. It was all so easy.

On my way back, I realized that I had just been jipped. They didn’t even tell me what blood type I had. And that was one of the contributing factors of why I did it.

Oatmeal

April 5, 2006 at 11:16 PM | Food, Nostalgia, Work | 1 Comment

The topic of oatmeal came up the other day when I was in the break room making myself a drink and one of my teammates came in and started preparing a packet of instant oatmeal. I did not realize this at the time because he was doing all of this in a cup.

“Whatcha got there?”

“It’s oatmeal,” he said, as he stirred in some hot water with one of the plastic spoons from the break room.

I thought to myself, “How very MacGuyver.”

The past couple of days, I’ve been making myself a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast before work everyday. For a while, I was having a smoothie for breakfast, but I’ve grown quite weary of that. And then there was a phase where I was eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That was pretty damn good. But I got tired of cereal too. So, lately I’ve been breaking out the oatmeal, tapping in a little bit of brown sugar, sprinkle some cinnamon in there, filling the bowl with milk, and microwaving the whole thing for like 2 minutes. It’s fantastic. Fantastically easy.

“Say you know, as a child, I loved oatmeal, but of course, I was never the one to actually prepare it.” I was referring to the oatmeal that comes in the big round cardboard tube. The kind that wasn’t instant. The kind that had to be cooked on a stovetop. Quaker brand. My mom doesn’t fuck around with the store brands. I’ve always been impressed with how she was able to pull that one off. “Yes, I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast lately,” I explained, “… the kind that comes in the big round tube.” My tube of oatmeal was Great Value (Wal-Mart) brand.

“Oh yeah?”

“You bet… I’m loving it. I think I like it better than the instant kind because it just feels more real, you know what I mean? The oatmeal pieces seem a lot bigger.”

“Chewy?”

“Yeah, they’re kind of chewy. I like the texture of it.”

“Dude, I think you’ve been eating the kind that you have to cook on the stovetop.”

“Wha… worrd?”

“Yeah, there’s 2 kinds of oatmeal that comes in the tube… one that is kind of similar to instant oatmeal and the kind that you have to cook on the stove.”

Well, the oatmeal that I had been eating was indeed not like instant oatmeal. The stuff that I had been eating, you could see all the oats n shit. Big pieces of oats. “Dang, I think I got the kind that needs to be cooked on a stove… I’ll have to check it out when I get home.”

So I checked it the next morning and the primary instructions for preparation found on the side of the tube were for the stove. But, it was labeled as being “microwavable” and the secondary instructions described how to cook the oatmeal in a microwave. It was great news because I had possession of an oatmeal product that apparently transcended the conventional oatmeal genres. On the one hand, it had all the good qualities of a stovetop-style oatmeal, yet with the convenience of an instant, microwave-style oatmeal. As I read this information, I knew that I was holding onto a goldmine. Magically, this stuff comes out delicious and so much better than the instant kind that came in packets, pre-flavored. Slightly more work, yes, but I like being able to control how the stuff tastes… I usually find the instant ones way too sweet. Goldmine.

The Secret to Good Ca Phe Sua Da

March 26, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Food, Site/Personal, Work | 1 Comment

Percolator InstructionsI’m not sure exactly how big of a secret this really is, since all it would take for somebody to figure it out is to buy their own Vietnamese-style percolator. But, somehow, anybody in my immediate acquaintance who had purchased one of these percolators seemed to think it best not to read the little slip of paper that is included with the purchase of one of these percolators. This piece of paper documents 8 simple steps to making coffee using a percolator. This neglect led to years of frustratingly questioning just “how do they do it”, in referrance to establishments like Pho Hien II, and the suchlike, who obviously had the ca phe sua da bit down to a science.

Well, now that I too, have it down to a science, I intend to share the secret with you. The steps that I missed were D, E, and F… so please take special note of those. Who would’ve known that there was an initial drip-through step and an actual loosening of the screw? Not I. I still don’t believe it when I do it. Also, check out step H. Don’t forget to keep the taste fragrant!

So now, I’m making it like a pro and it’s so gratifying to see it taking a good 20 minutes to drip through. I also recently bought a clear plastic squeeze bottle from Target, because I thought that it would be an excellent container for storing and dispensing the cumbersome sweetened condensed milk in one of the community refrigerators on my floor at work. Why did I choose the clear one? Well, I bought the clear one instead of the red or yellow squeeze bottle because I didn’t want people mistaking my squeeze bottle for ketchup or mustard and potentially end up getting that stuff all over a hot dog. But then, after I finished pouring it into the bottle, it dawned on me that someone might think that it was mayonnaise. Of course, the viscosity of its contents should tip them off… Ah well, you know what, fuck ‘em. I say if people are trying to use somebody else’s squeeze bottle of whatever, they are taking that risk anyways. And what good reason would you have for just using somebody’s squeeze bottle of what may or may not be condiment anyways? I’d like to hear it if they had one. Anyways, the squeeze bottle turned out to be a horrible idea because the milk’s just so thick, it doesn’t want to squeeze out very easily. I actually have to take off the lid and kind of mash the squeeze bottle for about a minute trying to get the necessary amount out. I may just have to go back to using a small tupperware container and spooning it out.

Now I have everything that I need to make a ca phe sua da at work. I actually have two cans of Café Du Monde coffee and chicory at my desk (second can thanks to Eric), a squeeze bottle of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge, and an ice machine. Having like an infinite supply of styrofoam cups at my disposal also helps too.

Somebody Gonna Get A-Hurt Real Bad

December 4, 2005 at 11:54 PM | Food, Good Times, KCMO, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

The MajesticFriday night, I went to a poker party with Albert. This lady on his team was having a get-together at her house and she was making lasagna. I’d been eating pasta for every single meal of the week and I even passed up pho just to finish up the last bit of my pasta… but who could pass up free lasagna and poker? Eh… let me clarify… the poker wasn’t free, it was $20 to play. But yeah, can you believe that shit? I passed up pho!! Believe me, it was not easy.

Now, I enjoy a good game of poker, but $20 is pretty rich. A little too rich for me. I mean we used to play $5 buy-in games back at the house in Manhattan… so one time somebody invited me to go play poker and I was absolutely floored to hear that it was $10. I was like “Oh my godddd, how you gonna play it like that?? Nah, let me know if you do $5 sometime.” And then later that week, I heard that game had somehow turned into a $20 game. I was like “daaammmmn sonn.”

So yeah, I don’t really know why I decided to play this particular time… even though I knew well in advance that it was going to be $20. And especially since I have never ever won any money playing poker in a house game. Ever! I’ve never even made my money back! So that gets old pretty quick and towards the end I stopped playing. I just couldn’t hang with those guys, I guess.

Anyways, Albert and I rolled up in there and somehow I ended up taking third (out of 15), which got me $35. Not too bad. And I got to take home a plate of that lasagna, a loaf of garlic bread, and this box of holiday themed sugar cookies. It was a flat-out raging success if I’d ever seen one.

Saturday started off with a friendly couple of hours of ping pong as they usually do. Chandrak and I hit up an IHOP afterwards. Originally, we decided to go to IHOP because he had these coupons that were supposedly for buy one get one free. But these blasted coupons had so much fine print on them, you wouldn’t even believe. First of all, you can’t use them on the weekends, so that right there shot the whole plan down. Next, you couldn’t use them on the current specials. And it wasn’t buy one get one, it was actually buy one get the other for $1. And you had to buy two drinks. So… yeah. Well, we were already there, so we were like whatever and ate some breakfast. I feel like I’ve been eating IHOP a lot lately. And I dunno if that’s necessarily a good thing.

And then that night, we all went out to Granfalloon’s for Rob’s birthday, as organized by Summer. It was actually his birthday like a whole three weeks ago or so, but due to everybody going out of town and Thanksgiving weekend n shit, this was actually the first weekend that most everyone was in KC and able to go out. It was a grand ol time.

Tonight, a group of us went out to The Majestic to see Russell Peters at the Improv comedy club. I first heard of Russell Peters from this video clip of one of his comedy shows that circulates around work. If you haven’t heard of him, you should check out some of his stuff sometime, it’s hot shit. He’s an Indian from Canada and his material is “racially charged,” I think is what I read in one review. And it’s true. We were sitting right up in the front and Albert ended being the subject of some of his jokes. I’ve never been up in The Majestic before… it seems like a pretty “hip” place to be. I might have to check out some other shows there sometime.

Parking Permits!

November 10, 2005 at 10:35 PM | KSU, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

In a daring move that nobody saw coming, security issued out about 100 on-campus parking permits to new hires and I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky 100. I’ve seen “the list.” I was actually slated to get mine sometime ridiculous like April of 2006. Every time I saw that blasted list, I would freak out and protest loudly about the parking situation: “I don’t even know what the deeeeeal is… the parking lot’s half empty for god’s sake.” But then I’d look at the end of the list and see that there are people on the list expecting their permit sometime in 2007. 2007!! I didn’t feel so bad for myself after all and continued on about my business.

Call me crazy, but you know you’re moving on up when they let you park at the place that you work at… legally. I’ve been doing that shit guerrilla style for months now… parking as inconspicuously as possible in the back section where I thought it was safe…

I actually got a ticket two weeks ago and was going to vent on here about it but I discovered that my post ended up drawing a lot of comparisons between security and the parking nazis at K-State, which are by far much worse. It really didn’t help my case, so I trashed it. I actually don’t mind the security crew… they’ve helped me and some of my friends out of jams before. Quite helpful indeed. But I guess the tickets are part of the job too and you gotta play the bad cop sometime. K-State Parking Services on the other hand, I have nothing good to say about.

Ducati Racing Duck

November 7, 2005 at 12:33 AM | Art, Work | No Comments

Ducati Racing Duck
Markerboard doodle of Roberto’s Ducati Racing rubber duck. This was a short-lived drawing, but luckily I got a picture of it before it was erased. It was short-lived because first of all, it was on somebody else’s board (I have a tendency to do that). Also… the drawing was accused of looking too girly (the eyelashes?) even though I was just going off of the original.

New Phone, New Service

October 23, 2005 at 1:04 AM | Nerd, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

Samsung SPH-A840Very soon now, I shall be retiring my tired, old Nokia 8290. I am actually very surprised that it has lasted me this long, what with the wear and tear that it has experienced over the years… dozens of drops, shattering to pieces on the floor, LEDs fried, sweet & sour sauce dripped into the earpiece, and even lost and left behind in Tokyo… it’s been through a lot. The battery can barely hold a charge anymore, the only faceplate that still works with the keys is missing several pieces, and the paint’s peeling… so yeah, it’s time to move on. I also changed my cell phone provider along with getting a new phone.

And honestly, now’s a good a time as any to switch… I get no signal whatsoever in the building that I work in. They say that it has something to do with the construction of the building or the materials that they used or something. And it’s just that building too, because when I used to work in a different building on campus, I got good reception. I mean, I’m in this building for a good 8 or 9 hours of the day all week, so it really feels like a huge waste to be paying for something that I can’t even use for the better part of the day, when I should.

Anyways, they got Sprint and Verizon to put in repeaters in the building so both of those get good signal inside. I understand that there is some kind of movement to get T-Mobile to follow suit but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I haven’t heard much about people wanting Cingular. Why I’m so skeptical about the prospect of T-Mobile or Cingular making their way to our building is because our company has some sort of deal worked out with Sprint and Verizon. I don’t have all the details but oh yeah, there’s some kind of deal there.

I actually already have my new phone (Samsung SPH-A840), new service (Sprint), and new number set up. But I plan to get my old number ported over to my new phone so I figured there’s no use in getting that number out there. Besides, it’s a dirty Missouri number. I can’t be having that. My contract with T-Mobile ends at the end of the month so that’s when this’ll all be going down. I can’t wait.

The Saltine Challenge

October 2, 2005 at 11:20 PM | Food, Work | 5 Comments

eat this in 1 minuteThere is this thing going around saying that it is impossible to eat six saltine crackers in a minute without taking a drink of water. It’s not just on Wikipedia, I’ve actually found other people who have attempted this feat, but without success.

The thing about this challenge is that it sounds so incredibly easy. Just do the math. It’s a cracker every ten seconds… should be a piece of cake.

The whole thing actually started a couple weeks back when Amanda brought in a box of crackers to snack on. I don’t know a whole lot about all the different categories of crackers out there, but when I first saw her box of crackers, I thought that they were saltine crackers. I was informed, however, that they were actually “club” crackers. I got into this big debate with her about what kind of crackers she was eating… I kept insisting that what she was eating was Club brand saltine crackers. She kept saying that club crackers were a kind of cracker like animal crackers, oyster crackers, or graham crackers. And then I ate one. I’m still not certain who was right about whether “Club” is a brand or a type of cracker, but these were not your standard saltine crackers, I’ll give her that much. These crackers are not squares like saltines usually are and they had a buttery flavor to them. With all this talk about saltine crackers, somebody brought up how they’d heard that it was impossible to eat six of them in one minute without a drink of water. I looked into it a little bit and found similar claims floating around on the internet.

And then is when I suddenly got a craving for some unsalted saltine crackers. This wasn’t the first time that I’ve had this particular craving. Anyways, I picked up a box of unsalted saltines when I was at Wal-Mart the other day. They were unsurprisingly cheap.

I brought them into work the next day and after one of my co-workers tried the cracker challenge, all of a sudden, it started blowing up and everybody was trying it. People were trying all kinds of different things… we had people doing one at a time, three at a time… we even had a guy try to eat all 6 at a time. Nobody finished in under a minute. Albert and I tied with the lowest time of 1 minute and 14 seconds. What makes eating these crackers so difficult is the fact that they instantly suck up all of the moisture in your mouth and your ability to swallow is greatly hindered. And it only gets worse as you eat more crackers… so if you are trying this, you might as well give up if you haven’t finished up your third cracker in about 20-25 seconds.

We went through two (of the four) columns of crackers that day. It was totally worth it, though. I think we’re going to try again on Monday… we’re so close that I don’t believe that it can’t be done. I’ll be sure and let you know if we get it under a minute.

Current Record: 54.3 seconds (me)


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