It’s been about a year since capturing a Bag of Crap. Got this one on Christmas morning (1AM Christmas Eve to be exact) and it arrived on New Year’s Eve. Again, I have mixed feelings on the fun of getting random stuff vs. the wasteful marketing scam that it is. This one has nothing of real value, and really nothing that’s even that exciting or interesting, so I’m just packing it all into a single picture:
What we have…
A cup holder pack of Spic & Span wipes. I guess that’s useful, if somewhat irrelevant.
Ruggies – pads to keep rugs in place. These would be useful if I had rugs, which I might have it the former owners of my house had not seen fit to put carpet in the kitchen, but that’s a different story.
A CD of Marlene Dietrich who was a German actress & singer. I may listen to this out of curiosity, but don’t hold your breath.
The standard flying, screaming woot monkey and not as standard woot.com tote bag.
There you go, $10 well squandered. Please do not take this post as an endorsement of wasting money on bags of unknown junk.
So, despite my lack of desire to see money traded for random, typically useless stuff shipped to me, I acquired one of these Woot Bags of Crap. I think these in particular are more about the nerd cred than the actual thing. Once again, no major scores like big screen TVs, etc.
Item one – green headphones. Maybe useful, after all, I don’t really care what color my headphones are. At least they’re the silicone tipped type which are preferable.
Daily outlet timer… Based on past experience (I have one of these) I will never trust this to keep accurate time. Not that it’s not useful for some things, like, if the picture is to be believed, turning on every light in your house.
Michael Jackson bobblehead… this is not useful at all.
All purpose cloth! At long last, I can get rid of my massive collections of single purpose cloths. At least it’s stupidly bright orange.
And, the standard issue flying, screaming, Woot! monkey – this time with a disposable Woot! cup. This will be taken to work to annoy people until it breaks, which is predicted to be after 2 hours.
I will hereby take a break from travel pictures to share a picture of something must less important… Dinner. Also, why you should never eat anything I prepare.
So, I was hungry… looking in the fridge: there’s a bag of spinach and an over ripe mango. I happen to recall that I have a several month old package of chicken in the freezer. So, with these three ingredients we have the basis for something that resembles food.
Internet says mango-chicken salads take arugula not spinach. Experience says that salads including fruit go with vinaigrette. Internet also says something about honey-mustard chicken. So, now we have inspiration.
For the chicken – as it turns out, I don’t have any honey. So, since I’m using mango, I substitute a bit of orange juice concentrate for the honey and add garlic.
My spinach isn’t magically changing into arugula, so that’s just not going to happen. Plus, spinach probably has more nutritional value.
For the dressing – I’m not sure what the actual ingredients of balsamic vinaigrette are, so I mix the vinegar, oil, the last few frozen blackberries from a bag in the freezer, a couple of the mango bits, some oregano, some thyme and some garlic. The seasons are the biggest issue here – I really don’t know what oregano or thyme taste like, how they’ll mix or what they’re supposed to go with.
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl and toss and the result is:
It was relatively edible. Maybe even good in some ways, but I don’t think I need to make it again.
Rather than get to sleep early like I should have, I learned two things tonight.
I realized that my stats page was not lacking, but rather the URL was simply absorbed by wordpress as non-existent page. Unblocking this revealed the reports as I recall them from days gone by.
From this report, I learned that over half my page views come from Google. I take this to mean one of two things.
Option A: Their bots are crawling through my site, indexing everything, and not liking what they see or indexing everything, liking it and holding a grudge. I suspect this because my site does not show up in the top 10 on a Google search for “norconk.” I’m hurt. That’s like a search for “apple” showing your results for a farmers market before the computer manufacturer.*
Option B: Google has an intern paid to stalk my page and fill them in on all the mundane details of my life. I’m flattered, and I expect to be flown out to California for an interview involving questions about how big the moon is soon.**
* Really, I’m not quite this self absorbed. Almost, there, but haven’t made it yet.
** P & J, when you RSS this, don’t start any rumors… I’m not leaving, there are too many laptops in need of wireless power, the battle rages on.
So, Saturday night, we all went out for a nice dinner. It was a very nice dinner. That being said, there are two cultural differences that came up.
First, I had forgotten about the Asian way of drinking at dinner though. It’s completely acceptable, and rather encouraged it would seem, to nominate someone to drink with you. Drinking with you means finishing your glass. The glasses are probably 6 to 8 oz, no not huge, but it catches up with you.
Second, it is the cultural norm to work very hard during the day and party at night. Now, this work hard, play hard attitude alone is not that different, but it’s the division between the two. You essentially don’t talk about one while doing the other. What this means is that you can drink even more than is advisable with the assurance that for all practicallity it will be completely forgotten the next day. The rest pretty much follows from this lack of inhibitors.
So, this is where I skip a good chunk of the details of the after dinner part, because given the above, posting it on the internet would be a cultural faux pas. Let’s skip to the part when we were leaving the karaoke club. I forgot my hoodie which was pretty much the only warm clothes I brought with me. I went back to get it and in the dim lighting thought I had it. Come to find out the next morning that I had someone else’s similar sweatshirt.
One of the guys here was kind enough to write down the name and cross streets of the place. And thus the fun begins. Keep in mind, this is all for a relatively non-descript, but warm hoodie.
Walk half a mile to the nearest subway station, getting only a bit lost on the way.
Take one the subway one stop and transfer to a different line.
Take the second line one stop.
Start walking down the street in the direction I understand the place to be, looking back occasionally for landmarks to backtrack by.
Find the corner, find the place, this is when the fun starts.
Try to ask the dude outside – doesn’t speak English.
Try to ask the information desk – none of the three speak English.
They call some woman on the phone who speaks some English.
She first thinks I want to reserve a room for later that night.
She asks what room number we were in… I don’t know.
I call a local guy and ask, he tells me it was 202.
The desk agents call the english speaking woman back.
I tell her the room number.
She comes downstairs… a little english, a lot of yelling in Chinese on the phone.
I call the local guy back, he talks to her.
More yelling in Chinese on the phone (at someone else).
Finally it’s decided that they don’t have my sweatshirt, but they’ll call if they find it.
Backtrack down the street to the metro station.
Take one subway on stop.
Discover that the second subway made its last run 3 minutes prior to my arrival.
Hike the mile or so back to the hotel.
That entire adventure took about two and half to three hours. In the end, for the next few days I was without my warm article of clothing waiting to see if they called having found it. No call yet, but I’m holding out hope. It really isn’t all the pleasant working in an unheated area of a factory without warm clothing.
I would hereby like to thank the social deviant who at some point retrieved a box of Pseudoephedrine HCl tabs from the pharmacy then changed his or her mind about the purchase, but rather than return the item to the pharmacist, just left it on the shelf. Because of you’re lack of caring, I was able to get this restricted item at 7:30 on a Friday night.
I would also like to bitch at the meth lab assholes who got Pseudoephedrine removed from the shelves and placed behind the guarded pharmacy counter in the first place.