Gray Flannel Dwarf


Wok and Roll

From the East Bay Express:

“Don’t get me wrong,” she warns. “The wok will always be used in Chinese restaurants. But there has been a huge movement in the United States [toward] nonstick-coated cookware, which I find really appalling because the more you cook in a wok, the more it naturally becomes nonstick. Yet most people are intimidated by the wok because they don’t understand the principles of seasoning” — a process that is traditionally called “opening” the wok — “and then keeping a pan for years. I also find it really sad to see that that old-world wok cooking tradition is not being passed on.”

I’ve seen this firsthand, and in fact, it’s been a flash point between my wife and me, a couple of times. I bought a good, sturdy carbon-steel(?) wok about five years ago, and I did everything the right way… I seasoned it when I got it, I clean it, but I don’t scrub it hard (as to not remove the seasoning), I oil it, and I never let it sit wet. I mean, it’s not too different from how you handle a cast iron skillet.

Regardless, she complains about the wok all the time. “It’s too heavy”, “It’s so gross looking”, “Ohmigod, you have to really scrub that thing when you’re done with it”, etc. When I printed a copy of this article for her today, she talked about how food sticks to my wok. Well, it wouldn’t, and didn’t used to, if it weren’t for the fact that any “seasoning” I’d accumulated in the bottom of the wok has since been scrubbed away.

She’s convinced that we need to trash “that dirty, ugly thing” and get a lightweight, teflon coated thing. And the thought of that just makes me shudder.

Is my wok heavy? Sure it is. Does it look disgusting? Well, it’s pretty ugly, to tell the truth… but it my mind, those things are qualities, not, detractions. I have a few nice, stainless steel pans, and I am really enjoying the collection of Henckels knives, and certainly, these things get cleaned well, as they are meant to be. Likewise, I like to treat the wok appropriately, too.

Anyway, just an interesting article, I thought.

cswiii @ 3:01 pm


Royal Family (a.k.a. ‘Divorcees’) banned from the White House?

From the bizzaro files… one part of me says this can’t possibly be true, but it’s a sad state of affairs that another part of me wouldn’t be surprised at all. According to the Sunday Mirror, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will be considered personae non grata at the White House, due to their status — or at least hers — as divorcees:

The unprecedented snub has effectively sabotaged Charles’s plan to take his bride on a Royal tour of America later this year.

The trip would have been the pair’s first official tour as a married couple.

But the US President – a notoriously right-wing Christian and reformed alcoholic – told aides it was “inappropriate” for him to be playing host to the newly-weds, who are both divorcees.

The decision was made even though the late President Ronald Reagan was divorced.

A Government insider said: “It was relayed to us from Washington that Mrs Parker Bowles would not be welcome at the White House.

Maybe they should just try to pose as journalists, and get day passes, instead.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 12:58 pm


Get the Baal rolling.

From an AP article at

But, Perle added, “I will be surprised, yet again, if we do not see a square in Baghdad named after this president.”

Cocky sonofabitch.

I’ve been saying for months that, if Bush got re-elected, we’d have all sorts of people running around in the years afterwards throwing up memorials and renaming buildings after him, a la Reagan – even though GWB will have done far, far fewer constructive things than Reagan, and indeed, far more destructive things.

But a square in Baghdad? That’s narcissism to the nth degree.

Imagine that. A golden calf in the middle east… and one created to worship someone who claims, himself, to be a devout man, but who really only worships himself.

cswiii @ 10:03 am


Prezin’ on.

I never knew that a mere two digits in zipcodes could mean such a crazy distance. See for yourself, however: Apex to Benson is only two digits in the world of zipcodes, but it is, apparently, a heckuva lot further in mileage.

I ended up finding Benson when lookup up PCUSA churches. There is, of course, nothing in Apex, so following their recommendation, I entered the first three digits, and voila.

As an interesting side note, it appears that Benson has a Baptist church that resides on none other than “Drag Strip Road“.

Anyway, I am not so sure I have had any good luck yet, but I guess it won’t be certain until I visit some places. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (garish!) or make predetermined judgements (tiny!), but when I have already have some pretty high standards built-in to my search(es), it’s hard not to be critical (MS-Paint!).

And lest I give the wrong impression, I am not gonna try and judge a church based on the quality of their website (or lack thereof)… but I do kinda wish I could find on these churches’ websites — or any church, really — the real meat and potatoes of what they’re about… assuming they even serve up any of that in the first place, as opposed to sugar and fluff.

In addition to the two above, there looks to be one other PCUSA church in Cary, although I am a bit leery of attending a church there — but again, that’s just preconceived notions on my part, notions that shouldn’t cross my mind.

Does seem to me to be a lot of PCA churches this way, though, which isn’t quite my bag, either.

Maybe I’m just predestined to be on an eternal hunt, of sorts.

cswiii @ 11:40 pm

25 million

And to tack on my 2c… these are the extensions that I tend to use:

  • Adblock, for more enjoyable web browsing.
  • NukeAnything, to clear up the few and far-between annoying flash ads that Adblock might happen to miss.
  • Prefbuttons, to set up fine-grained controls and preferences in seconds.
  • Sage, for my RSS aggregator.
  • Context Highlight, for making my searches a bit easier.
  • ForecastFox, for weather. I hadn’t even seen this one until a recent fluff article came out on PCWorld or something, regarding the “top ten Firefox extensions”; now I use it a ton… and it’s not as annoying as my wife’s “Weatherbug” install. In fact, she’s also using this extension now, too.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:21 am


Uh, no.

I got my first phonecall today from a recruiting moron who was wondering “if you would be interested in working for AOL, in Sterling, Virginia”. I responded to him with a, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” sorta attitude, to which he repeated, “I have a position available with my client, AOL in Sterling, Virginia”.

Now, to be certain, it was kinda ambiguous as to whether or not AOL was his client, or whether he was hiring for a consulting firm who was contracted out to AOL, but either way — what a moron.

Speaking of morons: do a google search for “I hate firefox” and read some of the links. It is some of the most ignorant — if not amusing — talk I have ever seen. All in all, they kinda remind me of deep-south Republicans who think that their President actually cares at all about their issues.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 4:24 pm



From the in-laws:

Happy birthday!
Person health!
You are young.
You and xiaoqing good all.

From the old (recent) roommate:

Happy Birthday to you! Unfortunately I couldn’t be there this time to celebrate your birthday, but I will drink for you:D

From Apropos-Man:

Just wanted to shoot you an e-mail and wish you a happy birthday. Take care, man!

From an ex-coworker:

Happy Birthday and Valentines day. I hope you have a nice day and all you wishes come true.
Say my regards to Sara too. Hope you guys enjoy your first Valentines day as a husband and wife.

From another ex-coworker:

We went out to lunch today and ate Mexican food in your honor.

Much thanks, all of you. As for me, it was a low-key evening consisting of zha jiang main, watching Ray (a wonderful birthday gift from the wife) and cheap champagne… and some tasty strawberries.

cswiii @ 11:49 pm

Google Adsense

Decided to try out Google Adsense, at least for a short time. Dunno how long I’ll keep it around. I did some minor modifications, but I don’t think I’ll run afoul of their terms of service because:
1) I distinctly didn’t modify their code, per the TOS. Their code is all there, same as always. I just contained it in a div
2) It defaults to “open” anyway.

cswiii @ 4:26 pm


A little mistake.

Last time I created the linux partitions on my computer, I made the /boot partition a little too small. It wasn’t that big a deal except that it meant I often times had to delete old kernels before putting new ones on.

And then this happened, while in /boot:

rm -rf vmlinuz-2.4 *

That’s right, there’s an extra space in there. Goodbye, boot.b and map. lilo sure didn’t like that little development. And yes, I know, I should be using grub.

Oh well, it was about time to install Fedora Core 3 anyway…

Tags: , — cswiii @ 5:33 pm


The River

Shortly after moving down here, Scott told me about “100.7 — The River“, a new station that doesn’t air very many commercials, and to my knowledge, except for the sports talk stuff at night, doesn’t seem to have any on-air DJs. The music selection is pretty diverse, and generally pretty good. It’s also pseudo-”edgy” with regards to its station IDs and promotions, i.e., “The conspiracy continues”. I say pseudo because it is nonetheless a Clear Channel station, and I share Scott’s moderate scepticism.

Recently, during one of their station commercials, they said something, again in their edgy way, to the effect of “you won’t hear a repeat until we think it’s time you should”… something like that anyway.

Well, to tell the truth, I heard my first repeats today, since I started hearing the station at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, despite all the good music they play, the three songs I’ve now heard twice on that station are “Walking in Memphis”, “She’s So High”, and “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone”. What luck.

On the other hand, I did hear “Sympathy for the Devil” (Rolling Stones) and “Buffalo Soldier” (Marley) on the way home, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 7:50 pm


35 Chinese

So to celebrate the Chinese new year (xin nian kuai le!) and to celebrate severing the last tangible vestiges we had with DC (sold my old house), we decided we were going to go to dinner tonight. The wife called a friend’s relative who just so happens to live in the area, and he recommended 35 Chinese if we wanted good, real Chinese food.

And what impressive fare we had! Yeah, yeah, they had the buffet like every Chinese place has these days, but I totally steered clear of that old hat.

Instead… boiled sichuan fish! Cold sichuan noodles! Shredded potatoes with peppers! Just freaking fantastic!! I have no doubt that my insides will be feeling the effects of all that sichuan pepper, long about 4 AM, but it was well worth it.

Too bad I have a self-imposed ban and/or distaste for reheated seafood lunches in the office (phew!), or else I’d bring some in tomorrow. Oh well, the noodles will be pretty good, right around noon…

And by the way — the author of the review linked above gave the place two stars… even though he correctly admits that “Meanwhile, the rest of Cary continues to belly up to the buffet. They’re missing the boat,” and also states at the end, “2: Number of stars awarded. Steer clear of the buffet tables and stick with the authentic menu, though, and your experience is likely to rate another star. *”

I’d agree. This is at least a three star joint…. and we got four large dishes for under $40.

cswiii @ 10:13 pm


Day 1 of $int

* Made it into work after a couple of incorrect exits — and one correct one that I thought was wrong, so I got off it — with not too big a hassle. Some traffic through Cary, for a short time, but overall, the drive is readily doable. Of course, I am used to DC traffic. Maybe in five years I will hate half-hour commutes.

* Not a lot of people in this office. At all. I am used to there being hundreds of people on the same floor. Counting the number of people in this office might be a good exercise for kids learning their digits. Made for a pretty uneventful lunch. I think I’ll spend future lunches tooling around downtown Raleigh to get a feel for the place.

* The first day on the job is never an exciting one, mostly bureaucratic stuff. Trying to get the training materials installed, and can’t seem to find them.

* I am nervous about ramping up.

* On the job one day and it’s already too beautiful outside for me to want to be in the office. 63 degrees in early February? You gotta be kidding me!

cswiii @ 2:17 pm


Yahoo brings us the following photo caption:

Musician Sir Paul McCartney throws a football to the press during a news availability at the Media Center in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday Feb. 3, 2005. McCartney will perform during the half-time show at Super Bowl XXXIX on Sunday, Feb. 6, between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

This subtitle is only amusing in light of the photo:

Looks pretty obvious that Sir Paul is more used to footy than American football.

In other, related news, I am sorely going to miss watching Redskin games. :(. I was gonna get DirecTV, and thus be able to get the NFL season ticket, but taking into account other variables, Dish Network was the better choice for us. I’m sure I’ll find a ‘Skins fan bar down here, anyway, and probably end up paying less overall for beer than I would for the NFL season ticket on DirecTV.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:22 am



Another night at the palace ’cause there is nothing else to do.
The same people, the same drinks and the same music, the same quicksand.
I think this harbour town is waist deep and sinking fast.

–Barenaked Ladies, “Hello City”

Nearly 28 years in the greater DC area end tomorrow morning.

I have packed two big boxes of just miscellaneous stuff that’s left around the house, and I’m basically done…. but it’s still hard to make the decision to finally tape the last one up; I always feel like there’s something else that I’m missing, something else that will fit in.

It’s kinda a metaphor for the whole scenario, really.

Regardless — decision has been made, it’s the right one, and nervousness aside, I’m looking forward to a new life in NC.

cswiii @ 11:10 pm

Big dizzle for da main nizzle.

She could be earnin’ her man and learnin’ her man… and at the same time turn in her man: Snoop Dogg sued for assault.

Personally, I think he was just set off after not being able to figure out when to add the fabric softener.

Tags: , — cswiii @ 3:38 pm


All Ma Bells are the Same

I was really hoping it wouldn’t happen, that I would be happy with Bell South after having to deal with Verizon for so long, but they’ve already gotten off on the wrong foot with me.

Yesterday, I filled out my order online to get phone and DSL (!!) service. I entered the address of the property, fully spelling out the suffix (“Court”, “Avenue”, “Street”, etc.). The system then returned to me a list of similar addresses, asking me to choose the closest one. I thought that was a bit strange, but the first one was the correct address — it just had “Court” abbreviated as CT — so I selected it and went on with the process. I got my confirmation number in the email later that day.

This morning, I wake up to an email that says:

Thank you for your recent request to establish new telephone service.
Unfortunately, we cannot process your order and your request has been
cancelled for the reason(s) listed below.

Reason we are unable to complete your request:
Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate the
address listed below in order to fulfill your request
for telephone service.

That’s right. I select the address that THEY had listed on THEIR website. They even confirm the address further down in the email. So I called up BellSouth — who is obviously outsourcing their customer service, based on the two people to whom I spoke today — and sure enough, the woman there was able to confirm the address, and wasn’t sure why it was cancelled.

I was given the option to re-submit the order with her… but I would lose the “order online and save!” incentives.

We will see, tomorrow morning, what happens with my order…

cswiii @ 12:03 pm