Happy New Year – 2020
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John

Happy New Year. I have a big Costco shopping coming up tomorrow after work. I am excited about my first Costco shopping in 2020. Roaring 20s is here. I am more excited about the ’20s compared to Y2K we had 20 years ago. It’s good to be alive and healthy.

I may cancel my executive membership this year. I think I spend less money at Costco now. I am running out of things to buy. Shopping doesn’t excite me as much as it did 10 years ago.

I still feel awkward talking about my improved financial situation. That’s why I didn’t blog about my car shopping trip to San Francisco. It’s awkward to talk about things that used to make me feel jealous in envy (sometimes painful). Anyway… now I have two cars; a Prius for commute, and a convertible for weekend pleasure. Driving my convertible has been indescribably satisfying. I shall continue enjoying weekend driving this year.

For next Christmas (2020), I would like to learn how to play at least one classical Christmas tune with my guitar.

I would like to get a California real estate agent license this year. I don’t plan to work in real estate, but… we’ll see…

I would like to travel some more. I would like to visit different cities and experience normal everyday life. I like American cities, but I have no problem flying anywhere in the world.

I wish to lose 1 inch around my waist and hips. I have about 80 pairs of pants in 30 Inch waist. I would like to fit in them comfortably.

Oh, and I will try not to buy over 3 pairs of Italian shoes this year.

Happy new year. Take care.

Test Your Kitchen Thermometers
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John

My Thanksgiving Turkey was a disaster due to my faulty kitchen thermometers. I had three digital meat thermometers and all three of them were trash. I tested those thermometers on both ice water and boiling water. All three of them failed miserably.

It was my fault for not testing the thermometers. Now that I look back, I was naive to trust cheap kitchen thermometers without testing them on my own.

Thermometers that I threw out, two Mavericks and one Taylor
I’m not sure if I will ever buy another Taylor or Maverick.

I trashed all my thermometers and bought 3 new ones. I also bought 2 extra probes. They all passed my test. Moving forward, I will use two thermometers with probes at the same time to double-check my progress. When I’m done with cooking, I will use the third thermometer to confirm my work.

And I shall test my thermometers every year, at least 1 month before Thanksgiving Day, rather than 1 day before Thanksgiving, so I will have time to buy a new thermometer if I have to.

To test the kitchen thermometers, I shall…

  • Take the temperature of ice water – Temperature should read almost 32 F (0 C).
  • Take the temperature of boiling water. – It should read 212 F (100 C), or very close to it.

To redeem myself from the Thanksgiving turkey disaster, I baked a Christmas turkey with my new thermometers. Finally, my turkey came out super-fantastic.

New thermometers – all tested.
Turkey Disaster
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John

I cannot believe what happened to my turkey this year. Maybe Costco God was punishing me for not buying a turkey from Costco.

This year, I bought an 18-pound Butterball Turkey from a local supermarket. I gladly paid $43, instead of $18 I would have paid at Costco. I wanted this turkey to be super fantastic.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day. The turkey was in the oven, and everything was going OK. I was watching the temperature going up slowly on my digital thermometer. And then the temperature appeared to be stuck. My turkey was getting darker and darker, but the thermometer still read 153 degrees. So, I took out my backup thermometer and a backup probe. To my shock, I found out that my turkey was over-cooked by 40 degrees. (205 degrees instead of 165).

Turkey was all I was thinking about for the last 2 weeks. I was very disappointed. I wanted to cry. Dinner was still OK, but it was not super fantastic. I kept thinking ‘next year’, but I don’t know if I can wait that long. I may have to bake a turkey for Christmas. I don’t know. I try not to think about it too much, but this bothers me.

I need to troubleshoot my thermometers and probes and make sure this will not happen again. Also, from this point, I will always use 2 thermometers when I cook ANYTHING. And I shall keep a backup thermometer and backup probes. It will be like when I used to be a wedding photographer. I have photographed hundreds of weddings. I carried 2 cameras at all times and had a backup camera in the car. My camera broke down only once during the ceremony. But I had another identical camera already on my body, so everything went smoothly. That’s the mentality I shall adopt when I cook with an oven. I shall prepare and focus.

I hope you had a super-fantastic turkey dinner.

80’s reference
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John

I have a coworker who’s in my age range. I often test him with 80s trivia.

I went to his office a few days ago. This is how the conversation went.

John: Good morning. Hey… do you remember EPMD?
Coworker: Yes.
John: What was that one thing he hated?
Coworker: (looking right at me) Bitin’ MC.
John: Oh yeah~~~. Thank you. Have a nice day.

EPMD, You Gots to Chill – 1988.
Bitin’ MC at 1:50

What? Laundry Detergents Expire?
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John

It came to me as a great shock that laundry detergents lose effectiveness sooner than I thought.

This subject wouldn’t matter if you have a full-size family. But it’s a different story if you live alone. In my case, a large jug of fabric softer can easily last 3 years or longer. So, I did some more research and learned that many products will lose effectiveness sooner than I imagined. Below, I listed some of the products and how long they are good for.

  • Laundry detergent (6-12 months).
  • Dishwasher detergent (6-12 months).
  • Liquid dish soap (12-18 months).
  • Bleach (6-12 months)
  • liquid fabric softener (6-12 months)
  • Lysol (2 years)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (30 days – 6 months)
  • Disinfectant wipes (1-2 years depends on products)
  • Window Cleaner (2 years)
  • Furniture polish (about 2 years)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (12 – 18 months)
  • Body lotion (1 – 3 years)

FYI: Chemicals in dried powder form would last longer compared to its liquid counterparts.

I was clueless. How come nobody told me this? I felt so stupid… all these years… I thought these products lasted 5 – 10 years easily,

Maybe a lot of single men out-there didn’t have this information as well. So, here it is. If you live alone, buy your liquid chemicals in small units.

Hemming Pants
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John

Hemming pants is my latest hobby. I just started to sew a few weeks ago. For now, I am still getting used to my new sewing machine. I still have about 50 pairs of pants to hem. I shall hem jacket sleeves next.

I wish I can learn from a professional. There are local sewing classes, but they make pillows and decorations (stuff that I don’t need). I guess I will teach myself as I spend more time and make mistakes. But, it would be nice if somebody would give me a crash course – show me tricks.

It’s been fun so far. It adds spice to my wardrobes because I control the exact length of my pants. I’m glad I keep finding new hobbies to enjoy. It keeps me busy and engaged. It’s scary to imagine what if I run out of a hobby.

Below video is from today after work.

Update – July 4, 2019. I am here.
Thank you for visiting.
John

Oh My God.. I need to tell you about my latest obsession with my sewing machine and hemming pants. I have 60 pairs of pants in my regular rotation, and I plan to hem most of them. I hem my pants in 3-4 different lengths to accommodate different shoes/boots. Also, some pants look better at certain lengths.

I stopped sleeping in my master bedroom. Now I sleep in my guest bedroom (nap room). I have concluded that I get better sleep and have more vivid dreams in the guest bedroom. I know it sounds insane, but there is no mistaking. I get better sleep in my nap room, on the cheaper mattress.

I completely disagree with this person below. She’s supposed to be a professional. (???)

Girlfriend, I ALWAYS wake up and decide what color I will wear that day. Always. Some mornings I say that exact phrase – “I am having a purple day“. Picking the color of the day gets me going in the morning. You’ve seen my Instagram. It’s all about picking a color in the morning. If you decide clothes depend on who you see that day, you may be a prostitute or a clown.

Happy 4th of July. Talk to you soon. 🙂

My closet (in the making) – sewing machine on the table.