September 2021 – Personal
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John
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Gal Costa – Folhetim
I adore Brazilian songs like this. This song is from the late 70s, and I don’t know Portuguese. This is a perfect song to relax to – around the house, or when I drive a convertible on an open road.

Costco European Cookies

I am running out of these Costco European Cookies (AKA Belgian Cookies, Christmas Cookies). They are available at Costco during the holiday season. These cookies are the best, and I always buy 3-4 cans and make them last 12 months by freezing them. The goal is to taste a little Christmas every weekend. But, I ate them too fast this year because I stayed home all year. I am already on the last tray… (photo taken on September 12, 2021)

Costco European cookies, 2020 Edition

Costco European cookies – 2020 Edition

Nicolas Cage

I’ve been watching Nicolas Cage movies obsessively lately. I cannot get enough of his movies. This handsome Academy Award-winner’s movie credit goes back to 1982, and he’s in 100 movies so far. Nicolas Cage gives me that cozy, nostalgic, and drive-in theater feeling I am fond of. His movies are exciting, romantic, cheesy, cool, funny, stupid, and everything in between. And I like them all. I love it when he loses his temper and goes ape shit. Nicolas Cage seems amiable that I would like to have him at my house for food and chitchat. That’s saying a lot because I refuse to have Tom Cruise or Daniel Craig in my house. That would be freakin’ uncomfortable. The same goes for Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson. They are the most beautiful people and I love them. But, please, don’t come to my house… again, freakin’ uncomfortable.

What about Leonardo DiCaprio?… I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear that.

I believe America loves Nicolas Cage more than we realize. He is my favorite actor, without a doubt.

Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

God bless Louisiana

According to the online personality test, I belong in Louisiana. And I agree. I’ve visited New Orleans a few years ago, and I enjoyed it a lot. When I travel, I would like to experience how regular folks live their everyday life. For example, if you come to California to visit me, I will not take you to Disneyland, but I will give you my typical life experience, such as drinking coffee, going to garage sales, and driving to the beach in a convertible. Oh, In-N-Out Burger, of course.

New Orleans was hot, and it rained at random without warning while the Sun was still up. But it didn’t matter. The food was amazing. Louisiana is a state of food. I wish I can retire there and eat until I die.

God bless Louisiana.

Just saying…

The Spanish word “Quesadilla” does not translate to “What’s the deal?” Just saying…

What I Don’t Buy At Costco, or Should I?
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John
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As a single person living alone, there are items I don’t buy at Costco. One category is the seasonings (spices) for cooking.

I check out the spice section at Costco every time I’m there because it’s fun looking (I love Costco). Sometimes I find items such as Everything Bagel Seasoning. In most cases, Costco-size spices are way too big for typical single people like me. In fact, even if I had a family of four, I don’t think my family would finish the big container of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt before the expiration date. But, sometimes it makes sense to buy from Costco and throw them away as they expire. It’s OK if you don’t finish the entire container. As long as you are financially ahead of the game, that’s all it matters. For that, I have to strategize according to my unique cooking style. This takes brainpower and effort.

What I consider when I buy a spice:

  • How much of this spice will I use for the next few years?
  • How much does it cost at local grocery stores in a smaller packaging?
  • Is this spice readily available elsewhere? – Costco sometimes sells exotic seasonings that are hard to find elsewhere.
  • What’s the expiration date?
What I don't buy at Costco. Single Living.

My spice rack – September 2021

I have made many mistakes by purchasing large containers of spices at Costco. The learning process was long. But I am getting better at my spice game. In my case, it doesn’t make financial sense for me to purchase large containers of spices at Costco. There will be rare exceptions, of course.

Salt & pepper grinders at Costco

I bought the salt and pepper grinders in January 2020. 2 salt containers were $4.99. 2 black pepper containers were $6.49. They all had an expiration date of October 2022 (4+ years).

I will keep the salt long after its expiration date. I think the salt is OK as long as they are visibly clean. Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but they are Himalayan salt. The salt must be many million years old. So, I don’t worry about keeping them for extra10-20 years in the kitchen.

Costco Salt and Pepper Grinder.

As for black pepper, today, I threw away the unfinished opened container and switched to the new container (pic). In October 2022, I will throw away this pepper container about 80% full. Kirkland Signature black peppers are cheap, have a long expiration date, and I trust their quality. For under $7, I will not waste my energy thinking about black pepper. I will pick it up at Costco and move on with my life. Here, after throwing away half of the black pepper, if I consider all the variables, I neither lose nor gain financially.

This concluded my example of salt and pepper. Now I apply similar logic to each spice I purchase. And I apply similar logic to everything else around the house, everything and more. This requires memorization and an analytical thinking process. I believe the level of the task I perform equals high-paying professions. This is what most stay-at-home moms do every day while turning babies into upstanding citizens.

Also, I salute single people doing it all alone. Represent.

Talk to you later.

June 2021. Soon after taking this picture, I throw away the basil & dill weed which was expired a long time ago.

Hulu Price Increase & Cost of Watching TV
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John
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My Hulu price is going up by $1.00. I think I am OK with that.

Currently, I pay $18.98 a month on TV, soon to be $19.98. I subscribe to Hulu with No Ads ($11.99) and Discovery Plus (Ad-Free $6.99). They provide more than enough TV entertainment for me. I get free local news from Pluto, which I rarely watch anyway. Basically, I gave up watching NASCAR, NBA, and some others.

I don’t live in a big city, so the antenna won’t pick up any channels.

My philosophy is simple. If I enjoy basketball very much, then I will have no problem paying extra to watch it. If I have a girlfriend who loves to watch the WE channel? then I will subscribe to it. It’s a simple rule.

For now, I save roughly $720 a year ($60/m) by not subscribing to a big TV package. Also, I hate TV service providers so much. I refuse to give them the pleasure. Screw them. Screw all of them. I will keep $720 and skip the Super Bowl.

After cutting cable, I quickly got used to having fewer channels. It’s OK if I don’t have every channel under the Sun.

I guess I am OK paying $20 a month for TV. $0.67 a day sounds somewhat reasonable. Still, that’s $240 a year. One thousand dollars every four years.

If I become very rich, after taking care of my retirement, I will buy a house with a three-car garage. Then I will buy a Porsche. After that, I will subscribe to a full package cable TV.

It’s fascinating that my financial priority is shifting. When I was poor, I had NO~~ problem paying $60.00+/month on cable TV. Now that I have more money, I feel sick to my stomach paying more than $30/m for TV. There must be a scientific (psychological?) explanation for this. I don’t think I’m cheap or stingy. I just bought a cashmere Berluti winter coat. Cheap people don’t wear Berluti coats.

Redken Hair Care Products at JC Penney
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John
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I think I still have this record somewhere

I am a man and I have a hard time finding decent hair spray at a decent price. Costco has some hair sprays, but they are expensive high-class stuff I don’t have cash for. Redken’s Fashion Work 12 is my everyday hair spray. But they are still too expensive. If I’m lucky, I can find them on eBay at $10-$15 a can on used conditions. Used, as in 80% full, dented can, cap missing, etc… I constantly look for a cheaper version of Redken, but everything I see at discount stores says “Maximum Hold” and “Extra Hold”. It’s as if people with long hair don’t exist – that we are all members of some punk bands. I cannot find any good and cheap medium hold hair sprays. As a grown man, I spend way too much time looking for hair care products.

I just want to do my hair and leave it soft to touch. The goal is to look natural. I am not asking much. Why is it so difficult to find such a product? Well, I found Fashion Work 12. It does exactly that…

Anyway, JC Penney currently has a good deal on Redken hair care products. I just ordered 6 cans of my favorite hair sprays at the best price I have ever seen. They even have a discount code that they didn’t have 2 days ago. They deliver to JCPenney stores for free. Now, I don’t have to think about hair spray for the next 2-3 years.

Even though I work from home, I always do my hair in the morning. I use 4-6 hair care products depends on the mood of the day. I start my morning with a fresh attitude. Obviously, I stopped dressing up for work because of the pandemic. As a result, I now have 4 pairs of brand new Italian shoes that I haven’t worn outside. I also have 3 Winter coats that I have never worn outside.

But, working from home is the best.

JC Penney

So, I shopped at JC Penney.

I was surprised that Penney still existed, let alone having excellent prices on Redken products. I think the last time I shopped at JC Penney was in the 80s. I believe I actually bought a Members Only jacket there. Remember the Members Only jacket? At that time, I didn’t know the significance of the jacket. I bought the jacket because it looked cool. Then 10-20 years later, people started to talk about the Members Only jacket as a part of the 80s reference. Anyway, I am glad my money is going to JC Penney. I look forward to visiting there to pick up my hair sprays.


Under the master bathroom sink, Sept 21
Used Redken hair sprays I found from eBay
First Sign of Christmas 2021
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John
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It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas

Here’s the first sign of Christmas (2021) in Costco.

My regular visitors know how much I enjoy Christmas. Forget Christmas in July. I listen to Christmas music year-round. I have 70+ Christmas CDs (physical CD collection from the 90’s). I decorate my cubicle at work with a full-size Christmas tree with a train running around it (picture below)

Naturally, I enjoy looking at Christmas items in Costco.

I see these ribbons at Costco, usually at the end of July or early August. They rotate the designs of the ribbons every year. Last year, the ribbons had a slight hint of Winter. But this year, the ribbons scream Christmas~!! I like these.

After these ribbons, there will be about a month of calm at Costco. After 3-4 weeks, by September, there will be Christmas isles at Costco. Some items will look familiar. But they will also have stuff you have never seen before. You never know what you will find.

FYI: Some cool Christmas items sell out quickly at Costco, way before Christmas. And you may never find them anywhere else.

2019, my cubicle at work
Still Working From Home
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John
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I’ve been working from home since last March (2020). After 15 months, my body is so used to being at home. I cannot imagine going back to work.

Finally, the words came down from the management. We are going back to the office on September 2021. We are currently collecting survey data to decide how many days in a week we should work from home… or not.

As much as I enjoy office work, working from home is the king. My dream is to retire and work part-time in an office environment, preferably as an entry-level accounting clerk. My current job is heavy-duty, which is OK because that means better pay.

I’ve been working from home for 61 weeks now. I now have 16 more weeks left for working from home. It’s been a scary time. God bless everyone. But working from home was sweet. I can listen to Johnny Guitar Watson as loud as I want.

For now, I am enjoying working from home.

Talk to you later. Time for a coffee break.

Deisy is a colleague at work. She’s 15 years younger than I am, and we are buddies. “Taca” is the term we use exclusively between us. We say “Taca” as a greeting, expression (happy, anger, fear, frustration..), and we call each other Taca. Office work is fun.

Salmon and Pasta Dinner for One
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John
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Total prep & cooking time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients used:

  • Salmon – Kirkland Signature
  • Pasta – From Costco.
  • Basil Pesto – Kirkland Signature.
  • Mixed Vegetable – Kirkland Signature
  • Seasoning (garlic pepper & seasoned pepper) – From Costco.
  • Lemon & Rosemary – From the front yard of my house.

This is one of my favorite quick dinner. It takes so little time, and the meal is fantastic.

I put the pasta in boiling water, microwave the vegetables, and fried the fish – all at the same time.

Fish and vegetables were ready when the pasta was done (about 9 minutes). So the entire cooking time was about 10 minutes. I put them on a pretty plate and enjoyed them. This was an excellent dinner.

This is yet another example of how buying food in bulk benefits single people living alone. Costco is not just for people with big families. Frozen foods and dried pasta last a long time. You buy in bulk and enjoy them for a long time. It’s like… you are almost glad nobody loves you.

The table looks empty. I should have used a placemat.