Mr Al Jarreau

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.

Costco Shopping – March 24, 2021

7th Costco Shopping in 2021 – $240.07 today / $1,418.24this year
Coupon saved $10.50

Today I…

  • Went to the Costco Tire Center and bought a car battery – $100.12
  • Shopped at the warehouse – $138.33
  • Ate a hot dog – $1.62

Interstate Car Batteries at Costco

Costco doesn’t install batteries for you. You must install it on your own.

According to my personal research, this Interstate car battery at Costco was absolutely the best price by a big margin. Your research may vary depends on your car models. If you are not a savvy shopper, don’t think too much, just buy at Costco.

I called my Costco Tire Center a few hours ahead to make sure they had my battery. The guy on the phone said, “You don’t need to reserve, we have plenty”. The shopping process was painless. I paid an extra $15. I am supposed to bring back my old battery so they will refund $15.00.

Pasta and Pesto

Most of us have heard of Macaroni, Rigatoni, Fusilli, and Spaghetti. But there are about 350 varieties of pasta.

At Costco, 6-pack of Garofalo Pasta contains 3 different varieties (shapes) of pasta. And they rotate the varieties. This time, the 6 pack contains: (click to view images)

Kirkland Signature Italian Basil pesto was on sale for $2 off each. I bought 4 jars and put them in the freezer. They will last over a year. I always buy multiple jars of Basil Pesto when they are on sale. They are very good; I enjoy them a lot.

What I didn’t like

I didn’t like the chorizo. Maybe some people will like it. But I couldn’t eat it. I threw mine away. I will continue to buy my chorizo from the local Mexican meat market as I have been for over 15 years. I don’t want to talk about this topic, but I think Costco is making a big mistake. I think the Costco executives never tried authentic chorizo from the meat market. More coming on this topic…

See’s Candy Gift Certificate

2 x $25 ($50 total) See’s Candy gift certificates were $38.99. I have a friend who buys me See’s Candy occasionally. So, I gave her these gift certificates and told her to use them. I understand it was a little odd that I paid for my own surprise gifts. But anyway…. Now she can buy me chocolate whenever she feels like without worrying about money.

Baby back ribs is in the freezer.

After shopping, I ate a hot dog in the car.

Now I have nothing on my Costco shopping list. I may not go to Costco for a few months.

Big Shoulders Smokehouse Baby Back Pork Ribs

I enjoyed these baby back pork ribs by Big Shoulders Smokehouse. This 48 oz (3 lb) package was $12.99. That’s cheaper than 2 double cheeseburgers without drinks. 2 average-sized adults can pig out on this. In my case, 2 of us could only eat 2/3 of it. This is an excellent value. I shall buy some more.

Update: I went back to Costco 2 weeks later for some more. Now they were $13.99 each. The price went up by $1.00.

I bought this on my Costco Shopping – March 10, 2021. They are fully cooked, so I just needed to reheat in the oven. I put it in the 375-degree oven for 27 minutes.

Maybe these were as good as Tony Roma’s. Maybe these were better than Tony Roma’s. I am not sure. They are that good. The meat was tender and falling off the bone. The sauce was just right. Next time, I shall scrape off BBQ sauce and warm it up separately. Then I shall re-apply the sauce after the ribs are cooked.

As a side dish, I microwaved Kirkland Signature’s Normandy-Style Vegetable mix. I always keep a bag of Kirkland Signature’s frozen mixed vegetables. The bread was from a local store.

It took me about 40 minutes to prepare everything. It was an excellent dinner. Baby back ribs are crazy good times. If you have young dogs (with good teeth) they will love the bones. They will enjoy the bones more than we enjoy the meat.

1/3 of a rack = 1 lb
Corned Beef Round – St. Patrick’s Day

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
Corned Beef Brisket Costco

CLA and weight loss – 135 days experiment

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

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. 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.

Costco Shopping – March 10, 2021

6th Costco Shopping in 2021 – $130.86 today / $1178.17 this year
Coupon saved $25.30 today

Last week I ordered 4 tires for my Miata. Today I went to Costco for installation. Everything went smoothly, except the guy who greeted me didn’t like me. Maybe he was having a bad day. I felt something off the very moment I walked into the Costco Tire Center. So, I quickly put on my acting face and pretended I was clueless. I was extra polite to him. I thought I would just get this over with and I never have to see him again. People like that rarely last long, so… smell you later, friend.

I asked him if they have a battery for my car. He said “no” and told me I should order it online and they will ship it there. He said it without checking the inventory. He said it while there were hundreds of batteries behind him. But Costco doesn’t have such a thing as an online car battery shopping. I am supposed to check with the person at the warehouse. I wanted to grab the battery myself and say “I’ll take this one”, but that’s not my style. Instead, I quickly said “OK, thank you” and walked out. I’ll get my battery later. I am just not dealing with this guy tonight.

With my tires getting installed, I walked over to Costco warehouse for some shopping.

The first thing I noticed was the size of the shopping carts. I think the shopping carts are bigger than before.

Strawberries are fresh and crispy, but it’s lacking flavor. Next time I will try to smell before I buy strawberries. But I wear a mask at Costco, and it’s a little awkward.

T-Fal frying pan set (3 pack) was $19.99 after $5 saving. These pans were selling out fast. I was lucky that I got mine. I don’t need a pan now, but this is such a great price. I will keep it in the garage until I need it… I don’t know when.

After shopping, I went back to the tire center, but my car was not ready. So I stood outside and ate some almonds and Jelly Belly. Finally, after getting my car back, I bought a hot dog and ate it in my convertible with the top down. Costco is still selling hot dogs in pandemic style. The clerk handed me the catchup, mustard, and soda. The hot dog was enjoyable. Costco hot dog is such a treat. It makes people happy.

Costco Receipt March 10, 2021