Monday, September 13, 2010

Sanguineous Tale

This morning I got up and took the #30 bus down the Adobe headquarters in Fremont because I had an appointment with the Blood-mobile there. I have donated blood at the Blood-mobile before, and I have also tried to donate at the brick and mortar Puget Sound Blood Center. The problem with the non-mobile donation center is that the people working there seem to be newbies, while the folks at the Blood-mobile are veterans. And, the problem with newbies is that they lack the experience - I was poked twice in one arm and once in the other, but they never hit the vein. The trip was in vain. No blood donated.

So, this morning, I went to the Blood-mobile. I happened to have the same gentleman who helped me last time and we were chatting a bit. He mentioned that he liked that I donate regularly and I said that I kind of feel obligated being an O-neg universal donor. "What?" says he, while showing me my official PSBC donation print out. And there it is in black and white: A-pos.

A-positive?!! How can that be? I've always been O-neg!

I felt disoriented, like I had stepped into someone else's body...

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. "

I started hyper-ventilating a bit. How could my blood have changed. Through the loud pounding in my ears I faintly heard his voice, "We see this a lot if your blood was typed in the military...lots of mistakes."

But I've never been in the military. Wait a minute... I was born when my Dad was in the Air Force. I had an operation when I was 2 at the military hospital in Tachikawa. Is this where we were told my blood type? Hmmm...

The pounding in my ears is fainter now and I hear him say clearly, "That's OK. We always need A-pos. We are always running low on A-pos."

OK. Reset the self image. The blood is A-pos. They always need A-pos. Everything is going to be alright. No need to panic.

No need to panic, but definitely a need for blood donations. Go to the Puget Sound Blood Center and make an appointment at a blood drive near you.

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Dear FaceBook -

Please stop improving your website. I know constant improvements can justify your place in the universe and provide jobs in a bad economy, but I think your place in the universe is sufficiently intact and needs no justification - just be. If you want to continue providing jobs, then perhaps instead of tweaking and re-tweaking an already viable site, why not set your sights on developing the next big thing?

Because here's the deal - your improvements do not enhance my use of the website. And isn't that the only reason, the Excalibur if you will, of web development? Enhancing user experience? It is. We all know it is. And so, you are treading close to the big FAIL.

In particular, I would like to mention that every time my mouse slides over your page, a pop-up appears - a box with a persons profile picture and buttons to click to add as a friend or to send a message. COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. We all know how to click on a persons name or picture should we desire to send them a message or add them as a friend. We, your users, are not idiots. These pop-ups, like all pop-ups in the entire world, are annoying. Really, you should know better. Shame on you. In addition to annoying, these particular pop-ups linger, blocking the content I wish to see. Double shame on you.

So to re-cap, you have:
  1. Annoyed me

  2. Underestimated my intelligence

  3. Blocked content

  4. Failed to optimize my user experience (UX)

  5. And, Annoyed me (worth mentioning again, I think)

Thank you for your website which has and continues to re-connect me with people - both those I want and those I don't. But, please stop with the annoyance.



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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


In these waning days of summer I had a flat of Nectarines ripening up. But as it can happen, they were all ripe at once and there was no way to eat them all before they went bad. Nectarines + Ripe at same time = Cobbler.

The first thing to do is peel them. The easy way to do this is to boil some water first - when it's boiling you drop in the fruit for a few seconds. After they cool off, the skin separates from the fruit and peels right off.

Cut the nectarines up...

Add the sugar and spice - cinnamon and my fave, cardamom...

Add some flour or cornstarch or quick tapioca and mix. My preferred addition is the tapioca, but I wasn't making this at home and had no tapioca, so I used flour.

Preheat your oven to 350 and put the fruit in to start cooking.

While the fruit is cooking, get your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl...

Whisk it together to completely blend...

Add your cut up butter - remember it must be cold...

Use your hands or a pastry cutter to mix it into a coarse meal...

Add 1/2 cup of boiling water and...

Mix until it just comes together.

Remove the partially cooked fruit from the oven...

Spoon the biscuit mix over the top - it doesn't have to be pretty. Cook for about another 1/2 hour.

Et viola! Cobbler!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010


One of the reasons I like warmer weather is because I can wear my favorite footwear: flip flops. Also known as thongs or, as we said when we were youngsters in Japan, zoris. By the way, zoris is not grammatically correct, it should be zori. It's the same singular or plural. Like deer and deer. But I digress into etymology - bad habit.

So flip flops. I switch to them as early in the season as I can, and I try to stretch the summer as long as I can. I am never eager to put away the flip flops. This summer in Seattle has been unusually warm with some bizarrely cold days thrown in intermittently. Tuesday was rainy and cold - I don't think it got above 54 or so. Everyone wondered if summer had gone. No. It's still here. But my flip flops are not.

I fell down today and one of my flip flops broke. The toe thing ripped out. No way to repair it. I got on the bus, one foot properly shod, the other bare. On the way home I stopped at a Walgreens to buy another pair of flip flops, but they were out. It may still be in summer in Seattle, but in Walgreens the seasonal stuff is for October and Halloween. I bought a pair of slippers. The size said large, but I have big Hungarian peasant feet, and I could barely get them on. Still, I didn't have to walk around the city bare foot.

There used to be a time when I could wear any old flip flop, but as I get older, it's harder. My feet, like everything else, need more support. Last year I discovered the Adidas flip flop with arch support. They are fabulous. I can wear them all day without any foot pain. Tomorrow I have to go on the hunt for another pair, but as I rode the bus home I was remembering other flip flops and flip flop failures.

Those of you who know me will not be surprised to find out that this isn’t the first time I've fallen and broken this particular type of footwear. A few years ago in Florida I was shopping at the Wal-Mart while waiting for my cousin to finish her appointment. We had one of those days with torrential rain for about an hour, then sunny skies. As I walked across the Wal-Mart parking lot to my cousin's car, I tripped and fell forward into a giant puddle. I was wet from head to toe, and I broke one of my flip flops. So, I got up and went back into the store and bought another pair.

This falling and breaking flip flops could be attributed to my general clumsiness, but I blame it on one leg being slightly shorter than the other. It's not really shorter, but ever since I had knee surgery 30 years ago, it doesn't bend all the way, nor does it straighten all the way - effectively making it shorter. I like this theory better than the idea that I lack a certain grace.

When I was traveling in India with my friend Kellie, I had my favorite flip flops with me. (Flip flops are really the only footwear needed in India.) They were easily about 20 years old, but they were the type that had the thicker rainbow sole, except instead of rainbow mine went from bright orange to yellow, natch. They also had the super comfy woven thong part in yellow. I loved them. So comfy, so dependable, like a old friend they were. One evening we were on the train going from Mumbai to Arangabad - first class sleeper, very nice - and I took off my flip flops and put them under my sleeping platform thingy. About a half hour before our stop, the steward came by and woke us up. I went to put on my flip flops but there was only one there. Turns out that all down the length of the train the partitions between sleeping cubicles do not go all the way to the floor. Sometime in the night one of my flip flops evidently went skittering around the train. I got down on my hands and knees and looked for it to no avail. I couldn't really go into the other cubicles and look because they were occupied. So I put the single shoe into my backpack and pulled out my sneakers. The next day I bought a pair of Indian flip flops.

Indian flip flops. Definitely made of an inferior grade of foam rubber. In the end I bought several pair throughout our travels because they wore out so quickly. But they only cost about 10 or 20 rupees which is less than 50 cents at most. A couple of weeks later, maybe when we were in Pushkar or Jailselmer, Kellie asked me why I was still carrying around the one flip flop. I don't know why. I didn't want to part with it. Then I realized that what I was hoping was that as we continued our travels, the other flip flop would catch up with us, or, reappear on another train. How absurd. I tossed it. Adios favorite flip flops. India is magical, but it's not that magical.

Keep your fingers crossed that I'll find some great zori tomorrow!

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