From the monthly archives:

November 2011

Hello, there. I thought I’d resurface with an installment of WTF Wednesday. I hope this serves as a nice counter balance to the holly jolly Christmas cheer, as manifested by the non-stop Christmas music ringing in your ears, that’s making you, even though you don’t want to admit it, a little bit dizzy. Or maybe even stabby.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by people who love you and whom you love. I hope that you have finished all the left-over in the fridge or at least the pies that you left outside in a Tupperware container because there was no space in your fridge. I hope you now finally have space in your fridge for the more important things in life. I mean, beer, white wine, Franzie, etc. of course. I hope that you have by now managed to feel less bloated so you can fully enjoy the said beverages without other stuff such as meat and stuffings in the way.

I received an email from our local food pantry today: “There has been a tremendous response to the call for food donation. As a result, the food pantry is inundated with donations and is in great need for help to sort all the food in order to stock the pantry.”

You ask: How hard is it to just stick the cans and boxes onto the shelves? And why is it such an emergency?

Basically, the shelves are empty because all of the food is on the floor of the sorting room waiting to be processed.

The food needs to be processed before they can be put on the shelves because people are crazy.

Yup. You heard me.

Some people must think that poor people will eat just about anything. You know, as the saying goes: Beggars can’t be choosers? So they bring in everything from their pantry that they do not want and yet cannot bring themselves to throw away.

Rusty jars. Torn packages. Dog food mixed with a box of people food.

The volunteers have to open up every single jar of peanut butter because somehow people love to donate half-eaten jars. My son found two today. And it’s his first time there. Bingo!

And you know what? Stop buying green beans. It seems that what most people do is buy green beans, leave them on the shelf at home, and then donate them whenever there is a food drive. Come on. If you don’t like green beans, don’t buy them, because chances are the poor people and their poor children do not like them either.

Most of the time is spent on inspecting the expiration dates. Here is my plea to the FDA or whatever government agency in charge of this: Please dictate a date format and a set of standard locations for putting the expiration dates on food packages. Really. Go into your own pantry and time how long it takes you to find the expiration date for everything in there and to decipher the alphanumeric string.

The oldest expiration date I saw today? 2006.

2.0.0.6.

That’s like, oh I don’t know, half a decade ago. A baby has grown up enough to enter Kindergarten during all those years when that can was sitting inside your house post-expiration.

(Blogger’s Note: I went back again today and won the top prize:  A can with the expiration date of 2002. Apparently though even that is not the oldest the regular volunteers have seen there.)

Being Chinese, I understand the inability to throw away food. I really do. Heck, the folk tale tradition tells us that one of the main responsibilities of the God of Thunder is to strike people who waste food. You throw away food, you get smitten to death.

However, let’s think about this: These people are already unable to afford basic meals. Hello? That’s why they come to the food pantry in the first place. What do you think will happen when they eat your shitty food and become ill? It’s much worse than if you have not tried to help.

So here is the shocker: the expired food does get identified and thrown away. Oh yes. Don’t think you can sneak one in: Oh, maybe they won’t notice… so you don’t feel bad about wasting food. Any time the volunteer spends on reading that expiration date is time not spent on stocking food on the pantry shelves for families in need of help.

 

I can totally see Fox News headline: SHOCKING REVELATION ABOUT POOR PEOPLE IN AMERICA!

Megyn Kelly: Poor people not really poor. They refuse to accept expired canned goods!

Bill O’Reilly: I remember in the good ol’ days when there were only good ol’ hard-working American people in this country, we ate expired food all the time and we grew up fine. It’s all those Liberal’s fault: putting such a Socialist idea into the poor’s heads that they should say NO to a perfectly good ol’ can of green beans with an expiration date of 2010.

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Overload…

November 23, 2011

in random


Google announced Google Music (its answer to Apple iTune + Amazon Cloud) last week. I immediately started uploading all our music files to the massive google cloud. (It by the way took almost six days to finish). This plus my existing music drive in the Amazon cloud means that when the Apocalypse comes? I am all set on the disaster recovery front for my music files. Way to go, me! Because it is very important to keep a record of Air Supply and Petshop Boys for the resistance army while they fight against the aliens zombies (fine!) for human survival.

Then we received the Amazon Kindle Fire, and all hell broke loose. I have been “forced” to listen to Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, Google Android player and iTune. This is Big Love – Digital Music Edition.

(Yeah yeah yeah. There are more music services such as the old standby Rhapsody, last.fm, and the very intriguing turntable.fm. But I would like to be able to sleep once in a while so thank you very much…)

Hilarity ensued.

I did learn something though: Right before you get on the highway with your kids in the backseat, do NOT start streaming your music and hit Shuffle All IF Cee Lo Green is in your music collection. Just sayin’

 

At one point I caught myself listening to music from Amazon cloud, checking my Google Music stash on my Android phone and tweeting and Facebooking from iPad.

I felt like Lord Voldemort with my soul being divided into seven parts. Yeah, I need a strong shot of Ritalin.

And a break from trying to organize my digital life.

So I went and got a 10-plus-lbs honeybaked ham today.

 

Have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!

 

 

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I first published this post in 2009 and reposted it in November 2010. Every year, as early as towards the end of October, I found myself aghast coming face to face with Christmas merchandise and sometimes even MUSIC when the leaves are still sporting brilliant red and yellow.

Seriously? What the F people?

What about Thanksgiving? You know, the quintessential American holiday? The way I see it, FAUX NEWS should be carrying this “Bring Thanksgiving Back” flag if they talk about being the TRUE Americans all the fucking damn time.

The following is my now annual (so it seems *sigh*) tirade against the demise of the significance of Thanksgiving in the face of overwhelming commercialism…

Yeah tirade! Aren’t you glad that I am back in more ways than one?!

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I started campaigning for a forced postponement, a temporary deferral, of celebrating Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving Day four five six years ago.  I even registered for the domain name: BringBackThanksgiving.com (which is still available… I am sad to confirm… Any takers?)  I stopped paying for it after two years when I realized that with a full time job and three boys to take care of, I simply did not have the capacity to deal with Microsoft FrontPage. (Yikes. Do you remember the days, the days before Blogger, WordPress, etc. when one had to use a software such as FrontPage in order to have one’s own website? *shudder*)

“Curb your enthusiasm!” I beseech you.  “As you recover from the sugar high from all the Halloween candies.  As you dispose of the spider webs, the goblins, the mummy tombs, the rotten carved pumpkins.”

Please, oh, please don’t switch directly from Orange and Black to Red and Green.  However tempting it is when you move all the Halloween boxes down to your basement and see all the Christmas boxes beckoning at you. The smiling Santa with the chubby cheeks.  The snowman. The reindeer.  Resist the temptation: Didn’t Jesus die on the cross partly to teach us this lesson?  Be strong for the sake of your children.

The children need you to show them that, Yes, you believe in the meaning and significance of Thanksgiving Day. Yes, it is important that we take one day out to deliberately remember and show gratitude to all the people who add meanings to our lives, to all the material goods that we are blessed enough to own. To strangers who give you a smile in the street and thus brighten your day. To strangers who by merely doing their jobs are making the world a better, safer place.

My heart aches upon seeing houses adorned with Christmas lights right after, sometimes even before, Halloween.  Of course I am not intimating that the homeowners are therefore not thankful.  No siree.  I am simply dismayed that the significance of Thanksgiving, the arguably ONE holiday that we should all be able to agree on and celebrate, is undermined sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas.

(I admit: I may be putting my foot in my mouth by saying this. I have no clear idea how the native Americans take this holiday though I suspect there must be a lot of conflicting feelings. Do they sometimes wish that Squanto were not so kind as to assist the pilgrims? FWIW, by reading “Thanksgiving: A Native American View” and “Teaching About Thanksgiving“, I am convinced that Thanksgiving is indeed deeper and bigger than just the Pilgrims and the Indians… I hope I do not offend should anyone of Native American descent stops by this post…)

I blame the turkey.

You heard me right. It is the turkey’s fault. In terms of merchandising, turkeys are just not as attractive as say, bunnies, chicks, Santa Clause, snowman, reindeer, and so on.  I have not seen any child hugging a plush Turkey toy lovingly.

turkey

To be honest, that red thing hanging down the throat freaks me out.  Pardon me for being crass, but it always reminds me of testicles. I don’t know why. But it does.

Many, especially Hallmark (bless their heart!), have tried to turn the turkey into an adorable icon:  but seriously, how adorable can you make a turkey?

Turkey for eating

Even more sickening is that in these cutesy depictions of turkeys, they are all forced to celebrate the event in which they will be slaughtered, cooked and eaten! The abomination!

No cute icons, no easy way for merchandising. No easy way for merchandising, no rampant commidification of Thanksgiving. No rampant commidification of Thanksgiving, no shelf space at your local drugstores and grocery stores.

(I am grateful for no longer being in the academia which affords me the opportunity to posit theories full of holes and preaches them on the Internet with no qualms… I am like Glenn Beck on an anti-Turkey path…)

But with your help, we can stem the tide.  We can start it from inside of our homes.

Perhaps we can all start a tradition of having each one of the family members mention one thing that they are grateful for, every day, in the month of November.  No matter how small or how trivial.

Perhaps we can start a quiet movement to resist the Red and Green color scheme from popping up inside of our own houses. Until the day after Thanksgiving.

On the morning of November 26 this year (because November 25, Black Friday, is reserved for Competitive Shopping, or most likely, nursing a stomach ache and hangover headache), I am moving up the Christmas Tree from our basement first thing in the morning.  I am really looking forward to it. And to optimize my effort of transforming my house into a winter wonderland for Christmas, I shall keep the decorations up until after Valentine’s day. Thank goodness for the lllloooonnnngggg winter here. That is, of course, until one of you starts a campaign for bringing back Valentine’s Day…


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