Costco Chicken – Single Man’s Dinner
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John
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This is how some single men cook. Below is my dinner from last night. The prep time was about 15 minutes.

Chicken was from my August 2020 Costco Shopping (9 months ago). I thawed it overnight in the refrigerator. I also thawed some tortillas (I vacuum packed them in single serving size). I used a Soup Mix from World Market I purchased about a year ago. It’s a dry food with long shelf-life.

I boiled the soup mix with chicken for 1 hour. I topped the soup with shredded tortillas. And seasoned it with oregano, peppers, and Tapatio (hot sauce).

It was an excellent dinner. The chicken was tender and tasty. I always keep these Costco chicken breasts in my freezer. Once I make a soup like this, I will eat this for three days.

As a single person, buying bulk from Costco works for me. I save money and time. Also, Kirkland Signature products are high quality.

Vacuum, freeze, and enjoy.

Vacuum packed and frozen tortillas – single serving size

I am not a cologne guy
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John
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I don’t always wear fragrances. I only wear fragrance when I’m home alone or when I go to bed. Sometimes I burn a scented candle. I rarely wear fragrances outside. I never wear fragrances with other people in mind. When it comes to attracting the opposite sex, I believe the smell is at the bottom of the list. For example, women will always go for unscented Brad Pitt over heavily scented Danny DeVito. In fact, Danny DeVito will get more women if he doesn’t reek Sauvage.

All my deodorant, after-shave, and body lotion are unscented. I cannot stand perfume on women, but I get a kick out of the natural scent of women’s skin. Smelling other men’s colognes is the worst. It makes me gag.

So, I refuse to be that guy with heavy cologne.

I believe the fragrance is like music. A few people around me may like to hear my music, but most people would rather not hear it, especially at work. I believe that’s how it works with fragrances. For one person who compliments my smell, there will be many other people who wish I would leave the place and take the smell with me. Leaving my smell behind when I leave the conference room would be one of the worst offenses to commit at work. My employer routinely sends out company-wide emails asking us to tone down on personal fragrances.

Fragrances, gloves, wallets, glasses, and socks

My closet: Fragrances, gloves, wallets, glasses, and socks.
  • I have enough fragrances to last my lifetime. I may buy a few more fragrances for fun. Besides that, I don’t care about fragrances. They look pretty in my closet, and they are there when I feel like wearing them.
  • I think the only time it’s OK to wear fragrances in public is when I go out to dance. Still, I would wear a little amount. FYI: I have not gone out to dance since the early 90s. My God, I used to attract gay men like I was on flame.
  • There are personality, God-given looks, toned body, special talent, wealth, fame &, etc…that might attract other people. The “smell” is at the bottom of the list that often works against you. Not many people would like to hang out with a guy with heavy cologne.
  • All of my collections are cheap, except for one bottle (MFK Oud Silk Mood).
  • Yes, my expensive bottle smells the best. Cheap ones smell cheap.
  • I can get rid of 15 bottles of colognes right now and not miss them. I keep them because they look nice on the shelf.
  • I have no shame in buying cheap colognes that smell like expensive name brand fragrances (clones). But, I will never buy counterfeit fragrances and join the circle of criminals.
  • In the US, my boss can tell me to stop wearing fragrances and can fire me for it.
  • In the US, wearing fragrances is banned at some workplaces.

I enjoy fragrances. But I refuse to be that guy with heavy cologne.

Smell you later.

Mr Al Jarreau
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John
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Meeting my favorite singer Al Jarreau

It was the late 90s, before smartphones and digital photography. A music promoter I knew had a favor to ask. He was meeting Mr. Al Jarreau, and he needed a photographer to document the meeting. So, in my tank top, I gathered my cameras and drove my beat-up convertible to Mr. Al Jarreau’s house. Al Jarreau was a 7 times Grammy-winning Jazz singer who sang a part of “We are the world (1985)”. He also sang the theme song from ‘Moonlighting’. I liked Al Jarreau. I had 2 of his CDs at that time.

At Al Jarreau’s house, I took pictures of them in various settings, including family-style snapshots. I took one picture with him as well. During break time, Mr. Jarreau signed the CD that I brought with me.

His personality was just like the above live video. He was mellow. And he had an “I am not in a hurry” demeanor.

He was a smoker, and people constantly smoked in the house. At one point Mr. Jarreau said (to me), “let me light the cigarette for you”. I was star-struck and absolutely thrilled. And Mr. Jarreau… he looked so satisfied as he lit my cigarette slowly with a big smile. I didn’t really smoke, but I went along with the flow.

A few months later, Billboard Magazine had a blurb about what Al Jarreau was up to lately. And, boom! There was a picture that I took – on Billboard Magazine!!!

Mr. Jarreau died 15 years later. God bless him. I have a special memory of him. Sometimes I look at the picture of Al Jarreau and me together – me with that stupid tank top.

Corned Beef Round – St. Patrick’s Day
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John
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Created March 17, 2017. Updated March 16, 2021.

Top of the morning to you.

I’ve been making a special St. Patrick’s Day dinner since 2013 (9 years as of 2021). I always buy Bill Bailey’s Irish Brand Corned Beef Brisket from Costco. In 2020, they switched from briskets to round cut. Personally, I didn’t notice the difference between brisket and round. I enjoy their brisket (Round) very much. Costco always stocks an extra amount of Corned Beef Rounds from late February to the beginning of March.

The traditional cooking method is slow cooking for 10-12 hours. I set my slow cooker in the morning before I go to work. The dinner would be ready when I come home from work.

Since 2020, Costco also sells pre-cooked Corned Beef Brisket that you can microwave for about 20 minutes. So, if you don’t like to cook, you can microwave. Personally, I prefer slow cook. I enjoy the cooking experience. It looks like the microwave version is gaining popularity. My visitor reported she enjoyed precooked round very much.

Bill Bailey's Corned Beef Round, formerly brisket
March 13, 2021. Bill Bailey’s Corned Beef Round, formerly Brisket, with Cabbage and potatoes

The slow cooking method is simple. I put the meat and water to cover the meat and cook it low for 10-12 hours. I put cabbages in the pot later (last 2 hours or so). And I boil potatoes.

Some people soak the meat in cold water over-night to take the salt out. I think that’s an excellent idea to promote a healthy diet. But that will change the taste that Bill Bailey originally intended. So, I follow the direction on the package.

I like to eat my corned beef brisket (round) with juice. I don’t know how authentic this is, but I like it.

To me, it is frustrating to think that I may never get to eat an authentic home-cooked Irish meal, prepared by real Irish people in the real Irish household. The same goes with real home-cooked Chinese food, real home-cooked Cajun food, real Texas BBQ, authentic soul food, etc… I am very frustrated about this. I wish I can make friends everywhere so I can visit them and enjoy their cooking.

Costco Corned Beef Brisket, Bill Bailey
Brisket
Corned Beef Brisket Costco

CLA and weight loss – 135 days experiment
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John
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Quick update. Just the fact. No opinion. Your results may vary.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – is a dietary supplement that’s supposed to burn fat. Costco sells 2 kinds of CLA pills.

I am 5’7″. My normally weigh is 158 lb. I wear a size 40 suit jacket and 31-inch waist pants. I am a little wider on top. Although I haven’t been to the gym in 20 years, I can comfortably do 10 pull-ups in competition standard (no kicking, no swinging – no cheating).

I gained 6 pounds during the pandemic lockdown. When I weighed myself 165 lb on September 2020, I bought some CLA pills.

  • I took CLA pills for 45 days and lost a few pounds.
  • Next, I took different CLA pills for 45 days and lost another few pounds.
  • After that, I didn’t take any pills but watched my diet for 45 days, and lost additional few pounds.
  • During that 135 days, there were no changes in my physical activities.
  • During that 135 days, I thought about losing weight a lot. So, I watched my diet more than usual.
  • Then the holiday season came. My weight went up (160) and down (157) after the holiday season.
  • Currently, I don’t take any fat burners, and I keep my weight at 156 lb.
  • Overall, I lost 2 pounds after 12 months of pandemic lockdown. I lost more than I gained.
  • I plan to bring my body weight down a few more pounds with no supplements. I would like 155 lb or under.
  • For this experiment, I made sure I didn’t work out.

This experiment doesn’t prove much. Everyone has a unique body and a unique scenario. I just thought some people might find it interesting.

November 24, 2020. The end of the 135-day experiment & the beginning of the holiday season (massive eating). I hit 152.5 lb once, but I didn’t maintain that weight.

New Receipt Scanner
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John
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I like to scan and share my Costco receipt on my blog. I started doing that since I started my blog in 2008.

I wanted to create my Costco fan blog for a long time. It was a fresh and unique idea back then. Then, in March 2008, I saw a NEAT document scanner at Costco for $149.99. I’ve been scanning my Costco receipts ever since. Sadly, today, 13 years later, I trashed this scanner because NEAT stopped supporting my scanner. It’s disappointing that… (negative statement skipped).

At least I had it for 13 years. Many people only had these scanners for a few years (or shorter). Sucks for them. What’s even worse is that 3rd party vendors are still selling various models of NEAT scanners right now.

So, I needed a new scanner fast.

March 31, 2008
The first Costco receipt I ever scanned.

I searched for Refurbished document scanners, and I found an Epson-certified refurbished scanner for $64.34. Retailmenot.com plugin found me free 2-day shipping plus 1% cashback. It came with a one-year limited warranty.

So, that takes care of my scanner drama. I just want to get back to my routine and live forever.

I hope Epson will not betray customers like NEAT did.

January & February 2021
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John
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Caetano Veloso Menino Deus
I don’t know the language – I just like the song
My music seems mellow because I am here at night or when I relax. Also, I am old – 13 years older than when I started this blog in 2008.

Personal update

January and February are the fastest months of the year. I just put away my Christmas coffee mug, and I saw Jasmine blossoms in my front yard. So I reluctantly took down Christmas decorations and tossed them in the living room. They are still lying in the living room.

It’s been 11 months since the pandemic lockdown started. I live alone, so the lockdown doesn’t affect my situation logistically. I am more isolated that I rarely use my vocal cord. The pandemic hurt me financially because I was helping people. I still send money to my relative, but I send considerably less amount now. After being very careful, I was able to meet my financial goal for 2020. My goal is to maximize contribution to my 401K & HSA account ($30k total).

I quit cable TV last year. Now I pay $37.49 a month for 3 TV streaming providers. They are…

  • Hulu (no ads) – $11:99
  • Philo – $20
  • Locast – $5.50. I don’t get any local TV off HD antenna.

$37.49 still seems too expensive to me.

Christmas is coming to Costco in 6 months.

See you in March. 🙂