Mr Al Jarreau
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

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
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

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
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

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
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

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
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

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. 🙂

ssa.gov – US Social Security website
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

This blog post is for US residents only.

ssa.gov is a US government social security website. It shows how much you made in the past and shows how much social security benefit you will receive when you retire.

Depends on how long you live and how much you made in the past, you might receive well over $100k. It is very important that you have the access to your own social security data. Knowledge is power. This website provides me with a vital piece of information pertaining to my retirement.

I strongly recommend everyone to register at ssa.gov. I hope this will give you a fresh outlook on your retirement and financing.

In the past, it was absolutely impossible for me to register at ssa.gov. They would ask security questions that were impossible to answer. So, I gave up on registration.

Then, they recently updated their website with the new registration process. Finally, I could register on the website. Now I have a better feel for my retirement. I can check and make sure there are no errors in my records. Also, I will know if somebody uses my social security number to get a job – or even worse (I cannot think of any specific scenarios – but I am sure there are nightmare stories).

I think I will retire at 70 years old. But if I can, I would like to retire sooner and work part-time doing office work. I enjoy office work. Everything about office work is sexy and exciting. I enjoy dressing up for work. I enjoy waking up early when I feel sleepy and miserable. I feel alive doing all that, and it’s so much fun. Life is fun. I hope you feel that way, too.

I am still here, just busy
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

Hi, I am well and doing good. I’ve been busy last 10 days. One thing after another… with some boring stuff.

My computer was dying, so I had to rebuild one fast. I’ve been building computers since the 90s. I built my current computer 9 years ago. I usually run my computer 24 hours a day, and this machine didn’t let me down. It was with me every day from a government-subsidized apartment to a three-bedroom house. It broke down a few times, but I found quick fixes to keep it running. You can see a wire holding a fan (picture).

Computer I built in 2012

Officially killing my computer was bittersweet. There was a weird connection between me and my computer. As I opened the computer, I could feel the joy and happiness of the time I was building this machine. I was poor, but I was happier. Everything was more exciting and more fun 9 years ago. I had to watch every penny, but DANG, it was so much fun.

Building a computer is a straightforward process. High school kids build computers for fun. But there is a possibility of something going wrong. I was lucky this time. My new computer was up and running in 4 hours. I like this computer. It’s very good and fast. I look forward to getting older with this computer.

I kept the case, so the computer looks the same from the outside.

Now I need to catch up on some Costco blogs. I will regroup and get back to you soon. Please take care.

New computer ready to go inside the case – Feb 2021
Old HP Printer
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

A printer is a vital tool to conduct business or take care of personal matters. Even if you are just a casual computer user, there will be a time you need a printer. When that time comes, a working printer will save your day.

I have an HP laser printer (Laserjet P1005) sitting behind a computer monitor.

  • I bought the printer in 2008 and started to use it in 2010. It’s been reliable for over 10 years so far. I like this printer.
  • The printer was $50 (free shipping) brand new at Newegg. It was super cheap.
  • It only prints in black. To me, a color printer means extra hassle. Also, I spent an unjustifiable amount of money on color cartridges in the past. There was no “refill” back then. I will never own a color printer.
  • For this printer, I spend $30 on toner, and they last 2-3 years. I keep 2 backup toners, just in case.
  • Related blogs:
Happy New Year – 2021
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

Happy new year.

What I enjoyed the most in 2020 was driving my convertible to the beach.

I never meditate or do yoga. But I guess what I do is meditate. I sit on the beach for 20-30 minutes, and I drive back home, overwhelmed with positive energy.

I always find something to enjoy, with or without money. That’s how I found the joy of Costco shopping. 10-12 years ago, I used to go to Costco just to look around and get a hot dog. I enjoyed that time so much.

In 2021, I wish to continue enjoying my slow and boring life. Nothing else matters. Everything will fall into its place.

Please be safe. God bless those who are suffering. We all send positive energy to each other.

Below is my last Sunset on the beach in 2020, on December 26, 2020. I will keep in touch soon. Happy new year.

I quit Hulu Live TV
Thank you for visiting.
John
Latest posts by John (see all)

*I am too tired to think about Cable TV for now. But, I will do my research and update you in a month or two. My goal is to enjoy TV in moderation and save money.

I understand why some people must have cable TV. For example, if I had a son who enjoys NBA (basketball), even if he has little interest, I will get sports channels for him. I will enjoy watching my son following his favorite players. That alone will be worth paying big bucks.

If I had a father who likes to watch news channels, it will be money well spent.

For now, I live alone and I have my financial priorities.

Hulu is increasing No Ads + Live TV bundle price from $60.99 to $70.99 starting 12/18/2020.

So, I dropped my TV subscription within 5 minutes of receiving that notification email. I will take this as God’s way of making me more productive (play guitar, enjoy the hobby, work around the house, personal fitness…). Let’s see if I will ever miss live TV.

I will now pay $11.99/mo for basic Hulu. I may check out Philo ($20/m)

It’s disgusting… I don’t think it’s normal for us to pay $80 a month for TV. That’s $850 a year. If you add DVR and the ability to skip commercials, it quickly becomes Thousand Dollars a year. I can no longer justify that much money for TV.

The only thing I will miss on live TV is 4th of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. It’s the greatest TV moment in history. George Shea’s introduction needs to be watched live, not recorded.