Monthly Archives: October 2005

Can’t Fight this Feeling

Can’t Fight this Feeling

Well John and I are back in California: San Mateo area. Flew in yesterday on Air China– our first experience with the “official airline of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.” Usually, leaving out of Pudong is quick and easy: we typically process through and arrive at the gate in 30 minutes. Yesterday, however, was different. We waited an eternity to check our bags. Our flight was full of American tourists and my god, I listened to 90 minutes of nonstop bitching while standing in line. “Maybe our guy is a newbie.” “They should just have a single queue.” “That line is moving so much faster.” Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we all know waiting sucks, but shut the hell up already! Plus shouldn’t these people be used to it by now, with the TSA and it’s bullshit “airport security”? I mean at Dulles you have to strip off your shoes, belts, watches, earrings… these Americans oughta know pre-flight processing takes 3 hours!

Anyway, San Mateo welcomed us with glorious weather: blue skies, a cool breeze, and plenty of sunshine. Unfortunately, John caught the flu. I think he got it our last few days in Shanghai when the weather abruptly turned chilly. So, he’s been hurtlocker the last 24 hours, and I haven’t been feeling so hot myself.

Part of the problem could be my diet. Here’s a rundown of the last 24 hours. At this rate, I will be 20 lbs heavier in three weeks, easy:
* Red Robin turkey burger (pretty gross)
* plateful of french fries
* 1.5 glasses of Minute Maid lemonade
* 5 chocolate frosting cupcakes (mediocre flavor at best, but I just can’t resist the moist cake texture!)
* a bag of Smartfood cheddar popcorn (somehow the brandname makes me think “healthy”; I know, I’m an idiot)
* strawberries (hey, some fruit!)
* sourdough bread
* homemade chicken soup (a JUNIOR whole chicken here weighs 6 lbs!! Can’t imagine the size of a senior!)
* water
* orange juice (the acid in this stuff counters all the grease and fat I’ve injested, right?)

Yes, I admit. I’ve been on a total bingefest. And no end is in sight: John bought that scoopable Toll House cookie dough, so chocolate chip cookies are slated for later this week. Ah well, sometimes you just have to pack it in. Can’t fight it. I just hope all this healthful eating helps me fight off John’s flu. And hopefully John will also break out of his sickness. Poor thing: he’s gotta go to work tomorrow (ugh, Monday already). Plus, I know he’s itching to hit the Apple store. Says he’s upgrading the iPod. Guess I’ll have something else to offload on Ebay.

All Caught Up

All Caught Up

For all you readers out there who have me in your RSS reader (yes, I’m assuming Goodbers has a substantial following), please accept my apologies. I finally got around to uploading old images. You see, the Goodbers blog originated way back in December 2003 as a plain, self-styled (and embarassingly so) HTML page. Two months later, Goodbers moved to Blurty. Then, following recommendations from the Shanghai web bloggers’ meetup group, Goodbers moved yet again in March 2005, setting up long-term residence with Blogger. Unfortunately, every image I uploaded from the original HTML page to Blogger registered as an update, so your RSS reader probably filled with a slew of random images of the 2003 Shanghai winter. Sorry about that, and thanks for sticking through the growing pains. Lucky for you, Bloggers is so much better than my previous two vehicles. But enough with logistics.

This last week was the National Holiday. Most people had the week off, starting October 1. John and I stayed home for the break. Decided to catch up on our zzz. I hit the LLS office a few times– got the nonprofit org set up with its two donated computers. Was a total bitch reformatting and reinstalling everything, but I finally got the protocol down. Three more units to go. Sure wish I had free ghosting software. You have no idea how long I researched partitioning programs and disk imaging applications: I probably wasted 10 hours online and didn’t learn much. In the end, just had to reformat and install from scratch. Sigh.

Volunteered at the Baoshan animal shelter last Friday. My buddies Tien and Danielle joined. The dogs and cats look great, but it’s so depressing. Why aren’t more people snatching up these cuties? Anyone interested? The animals are so sweet-natured. They just need a bit of training (housebreaking) and lots of TLC. Check out who’s available at the new Second Chance Animal Aid website.

I am continuing on my kitchen escapades. Unfortunately, our fluorescent bulb blew out a few days ago. Despite searching all over the city for a replacement, no luck. At the moment, John and I are “cooking by the campfire.” In other words, we hover around the stove with a flashlight (the sun goes down here around 5:30 pm). I swear our neighbors looking in must think we’re nuts.

Oh man, last night John and I went out to dinner for a friend’s b-day. Tairyo: all- you-can-eat Japanese teppenyaki and sushi. Dinner was good but I didn’t get full. The cook made too much meat and then no one had any room for shrimp and veggies. Ah well, I was somewhat distracted by John’s latest challenge: a drinking duel, sort of. I had many many cups of saki. But I’m proud to say, I stood my ground quite well. No hang over. Mind over body, I tell you. It’s a powerful thing.

After dinner, my friend made everyone head out to Bar Rouge. Yes, I succumbed to peer pressure and boy did I suffer consquences. Ugh. One of the most pretentious, disgusting places in town. What can I say: I just am not made for that scene. Young ladies in skimpy outfits gyrating against each other, against grandpas… I dunno. Very disturbing. I couldn’t take it: had to go outside for some air after 30 seconds inside. I know, politically, I’m very liberal. But I’m a total red-stater when it comes to shit like this. I mean, yes these people are having a good time so I should just relax and bug off. But sorry, some level of modesty would be nice. Anyway, I wished my friend a happy b-day and jetted outta there fairly quickly.

Went to bed and well ended up sleeping all day Sunday. Yes, the Bar Rouge experience was simply THAT traumatic. Just kidding. Actually, I think it was the bed. John and I went shopping at HOLA (equivalent to a Bed Bath & Beyond) on Saturday, and we splurged on a Temperpedic-type foam mattress topper. OMG, the best 900 kuai ever spent! Upgraded that piece-of-shit cardboard box of a mattress into an absolute island of luxury! That space foam stuff is like magic, man. Seriously, I’m getting tired again just thinking about it. I’ve only been up for 7 hours, but it’s time for bed again.

Vegetarianism: Thwarted Again

Vegetarianism: Thwarted Again

Of course, just as I started reclaiming my vegetarianism, John returned home. A few days following, my vegetarianism was off (again). Can I make exceptions for poultry? Never had a thing for birds… Ugh. So frustrating, this back and forth. I like everything black and white, damnit. Guess that means I can throw my prized title out the window now. For good.

So how was I foiled yet again, you ask? On this last trip to the States, John set up a TiVo/Myth TV thingy, and now we can record all our fav US shows. I know, total gluttons we are. Anyone see the new Nip/Tuck? Jesus, what a disappointment. I mean yes, that show is over the top, but must they juxtapose rape and “good”/consensual sex. What the fuck? The writers really have no shame. I’m done, man. Sure, gotta give props to my homeboy Dylan Walsh (Dr. Sean– gotta love the Type A characters) from Annandale, VA (CDM flashback) but puhleez. Don’t undermine the gravity of sexual violence and rape by turning this traumatic incident into some kind of fucked up fantasy. You gotta watch the episode to know what I’m talking about. Anyway, back to my eating habits…

Among our other tv shows was Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Love my Alton– so smart and quirky. His garlic episode was awesome. We tried his 40 clove chicken recipe the next day, and what a winner! And so easy (even I got it right)! You must try!

I’m on my latest recipe kick now. Tomorrow, I hope to break out of my homebody/lazy/dreary/quasi-sick state (the weather suddenly turned chilly) and venture out to get a bread tin. Gotta make pumpkin bread. Yummy!

Ebay Mania

Ebay Mania

I have a love-hate relationship with Ebay. In the early days, I was a total Ebay junkie. My obsession began in graduate school, circa 1998. Before that, I had offloaded all my shit at the nearest Goodwill. I’m not exactly sure what turned me on to Ebay, but certainly from an environmental engineer’s perspective, the opporuntity to make some dough while recycling (rather than discarding) goods carried significant appeal. Anyway, I think my first sale was an old camera Canon Suresnap camera. And my first purchase was a bike rack, which eventually resurfaced on Ebay, because the model didn’t fit my car. Ha, those were the days– learning the ropes. Figuring out BidPay and Paypal and cutting/pasting every text input in Word to avoid losing (and having to re-enter) the damned item description. I have to say, I was hooked fairly quickly. I really enjoyed the finality of getting rid of my stuff. There was such good closure, after a mere 7 days. Plus, I knew where my stuff was going. Life was good: people were buying, and I was getting positive feedback. So much easier than earning good grades in school.

Sadly though, the warm fuzzy feeling didn’t last long: my fallout with Ebay happened in 2002. Some be-otch from an island off Alaska took like 2 months to send me a money order (uh, hello? Ever heard of Paypal?). I then made the mistake of delaying shipment– not intentionally, I just got busy with other shit. And given that I was patient for weeks, I figured three days wasn’t a big deal. Boy was I wrong. Sweet lil’ “Budderfly” turned into a freakin’ preying mantis. And just like that, without any warning, a nasty feedback marred my perfect record forever. A heated email battle ensued, ultimately ending in two of my email addresses getting blocked by her spam program (who the hell buys those applications anyway?). I grew so enraged by this incident, I found myself losing sleep and scheming for a way to infect her computer with the worst virus ever created. I planned plenty more emails launched from my multi-accounts repertoire, but in the end, I let it go. For a confrontational, belligerent person like me, that was not easy. And well, given that I’m writing about “Budderbitch” three years later, clearly I’m not completely over the fiasco. Anyway, I laid off Ebay for a while after that rewarding encounter.

Of course, I have to admit: anytime John and/or I are back in the States, I dabble once again. Just can’t beat shopping for stuff without having to face the traffic or the crowds. John was back in the US in September, so I conveniently made him my mule. Picked up a cool purse and off loaded some old books. My rating is up to 50 now, not that I’m keeping track or anything.

Good thing I got a new purse. This new one has a cell phone pocket– which is perfect, considering that my previous purse did not and I lost my cell phone last week– the day before John returned to Shanghai. I don’t really know what happened, but I like to blame the old purse (no compartments), or I tell John I was too frazzled running around town finishing up errands and stocking the fridge, etc. Quite frankly, I had to pee, and though the other factors contributed, my biggest mistake was probably ignoring that urgency: not smart for someone who had UTI as a child… Clearly, my anxiety fucked up my judgement. I think I left my cell phone in the shopping basket.

Geez, the work to replace a phone! I tried hard to get the mobile back. The next morning, I headed back to the LianHua and asked the cashiers, the customer service desk… No one turned in a mobile. Yeah right. I know, would I turn in a lost phone? Nope. So by 10 am, I accepted reality: I had to purchase another. I proceeded to the computer malls. Really, I just wanted the same damn phone. I didn’t care that it was a discontinued model from two years ago. It contained all the features I needed, damnit. Well, no luck. All the vendors wanted me to drop 3000-4000 kuai on lame-o phones that didn’t even have fliptops! Come on! I’m desperate, but not THAT desperate.

Thank goodness for online auctions, man. Ebay China isn’t much to speak of, but there’s a Chinese site called Taobao which has been in operation for years. I think the only difference is that sellers don’t have to pay to post. Hehe, sure helps to be in the know.

Long story short, I found my phone. I admit, I did need the help of my polyglot friend Micah– the site was entirely and exclusively in Chinese. Yes, I basically forced Micah to register with Taobao. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he had to email the sellers on my behalf, asking them to take the transaction offline. What a good Samaritan, that Micah. So, the next day, I had my phone replaced. And for just 1000 kuai. Was awesome. Synced that baby up to my computer via bluetooth, and I had all my contacts and calendar events restored.