Saturday, December 20, 2014

Baked Cod Fillet Served with Linguine With Pesto and Tomatoes

Cod and Linguini With Tomatoes and Pesto Sauce Trader Joe's

This is the first meal I made (re-heated) since I returned to civilization. My definition of civilization is any American suburb that has a Trader Joe's, a Whole Food, a Fresh & Easy and at least two regular mainstream American grocery stores, all within 5 to 15 minutes drive anywhere within the suburb.   I'm so happy to be back to the warm weather zone that I volunteer to not eat out tonight even though Friday is always our expensive dine-out date night.  Trader Joe's has this tasty Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes  for $2.99 per a 16 ounce bag that makes a great meal when paired with  Trader Joe's oven ready breaded cod fillets.  A box of 8 to 9 pieces of breaded cod fillets is only $9.99.  I normally don't buy frozen fish fillets because most of the fish fillets in American grocery stores are "Products of China" and any Chinese are aware of the fact that there isn't that many unpolluted shores or rivers in China to produce that many fish fillets for export.  Chinese consumers are big time importers of seafood from the USA, Canada,  Australia and New Zealand.    My family back in Hong Kong only buy shrimps from Australia, and New Zealand and lobsters and  salmons from North America. They will never buy seafood from China. Many Chinese don't.  We all know "Chinese Seafood" are really for the USA market... Chinese seafood is never popular among the Chinese consumers.  But the US consumers seem to prefer quantity and price over quality.  For seafood, most Chinese are willing to pay  a premium for the quality and safety. So when I saw that Trader Joe's oven ready breaded cod fillets are "Products of the USA", it naturally became one of my favorite grocery items from TJ.  I popped them into the oven as instructed and they came out pretty good.  

Trader Joe's Oven Ready Breaded Cod Fillet Review

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TSA At Newark Liberty Airport Is Run By Idiots!!!!!

I've heard about the extremely wasteful and costly body scanners a lot at airport security since their implementation. I was never made to do one until yesterday,  because I was always directed to go through the good old metal detector, and in most of my recent trips, I was given an expedited screening pass so they swapped something off my hands, scanned my hands somewhere and I walked through a metal detector very quickly. I always hated taking off my shoes and put them in a tray together with my purse and clothes.  It's disgusting to me.  The tray was always dirty with other people's dirty shoes on them before.   They were so concerned about Ebola, what if Ebola droplets are stuck on the shoes?  People walk in rest rooms, step on urine and vomit all the time....  and then they put those filthy shoes on the trays that you will be using to put your handbags and your coats and jackets so you can wipe the dirty trays with your clean clothes?  It's gross. So when they started the expedited screening in LAX, I was really relived about it. They didn't have Ebola back then but I was still disgusted by all the flu virus or God knows what virus on the vomit droplets and fecal particles that are often found on the sole of people's shoes.  This is why Asians don't like to take their shoes inside their house.

As much as I hate the Los Angeles International Airport because to me it's old, musty, dirty, ugly and depressing,  I hate Newark Liberty Airport even more. It's because I think it's a worse airport than LAX and I can careless about the light rail there. Restrooms are very important to me and the restrooms at the terminal I flew back were disgusting.  Even the chairs in the waiting area outside the gates were very dirty.  I couldn't find a clean chair that I could sit near the baggage claim area.  The TSA staff there were really rude and they had a very bad attitude.  

The TSA staff at LAX didn't look too approachable either but they were less hostile looking than the ones at Newark Liberty. Besides, LAX always offered me the expedited screening where I didn't have to do body scan.  But the TSA at Newark not only made me do a body scan but it was a guy and he made me stand inside the scanner for too long.  He kept telling me I wasn't posing right,  or I wasn't holding my arms up the right way that he didn't get a clear image.  What the hell was that?  So I was all nervous without my purse, and my backpack and money because they were a few feet away on some conveyor belt that I couldn't see.  I worried that some other travelers or even the TSA staff there would just take my purse while I was stuck in the stupid body scanner.  Then when I saw that the body scan was conducted under the discretion of the TSA and that not everybody was made to go in.  I was really furious!!!!!  The "pretend to work" mentality in America really disgusts me.  I had seen too many people who "pretend to work" and get a paycheck because what they do really don't matter to any productivity of anything.  This is why I don't believe the GDP growth reported by the government.  If only they deduct the salary of all these people who are "pretending to work" like this TSA guy at Newark Liberty, the GDP of this country is way lower; and Japan or China had already surpassed America many years ago to be the biggest economy in the world.   I was really upset by the body scan and by the fact that I stayed there longer than I needed to be because the "image wasn't shown right..." kind of excuse.  Excuse me????  Do I look like a terrorist?  Throughout the entire history of aviation or even the entire existence of the USA as a country, was there a bomber who was a young Asian woman???  Meanwhile, others who look and dress more like the profiles of those who had caused trouble were waved through without a scan. This is what upset me.  I really really think Newark Liberty Airport is run by total uneducated idiots. I will never want to fly in or out of that airport again.  Never!

The airports in America literally were never updated since I first visited this country with my parents one summer when I was in elementary school. Back then I was very impressed with the airports in the USA, they seemed so big and modern to me and the restrooms were so clean.  What had happened after all these years??  Either I had changed or the airports had deteriorated over the decades, now the airports in America disgust me, with ugly and worn out carpet, broken ceiling where rain was dripping through, toilet bowls where poops were floating around, and soiled toilet papers on the floor.  I don't know how anyone can do their makeup and facials in the restrooms at the airports nowadays because the sinks are disgusting, they have rusty faucets and drain plates. The counter tops are filthy and old looking.

People have to go visit Beijing or Shanghai in China in order to know what I am talking about here.  I can't believe China has much nicer airports than the USA.  How did this happen?  I guess two decades of progress and two decades of deterioration can change everything.  I remember when I was a kid, I really admired the US airports because we had only an ugly and tiny one-runway airport in Hong Kong back then.  But now the airport in Hong Kong is spacious, modern and nice with lots of options in dining and other amenities that American airports just don't have, and may not have for the next 20 years to come....because cities simply don't have the money to update them, and even if they have the money, the work efficiency in America can't remodel the airports fast enough... So I don' t see there will be major improvements for a long time, they will just have to patch the roof here and there, or to put a bucket here and there like I saw them, to catch the dripping rain.

I'm glad to finally make it home though, and my travelling experience so far has made me enjoy being at home a lot more.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Who Is Andrew Dice Clay??

NBC's Reality Show: The Celebrity Apprentice 
I had never watched The Apprentice.  I had seen the show's promotional poster on buses but I had never watched the show because I never got around to buy a TV since I moved  to this country.  Now I'm watching season 8 on my grandma-in-law's neighbor's DVR.  I have to say I find the show quite entertaining.

Except for Joan and Melissa Rivers and Khloé Kardashian whom I often see on gossip magazine covers at the grocery stores' checkout lines,  I don't know the rest of the women celebrities in this season.  For the men, I only know Scott Hamilton because I used to watch Michelle Kwan skate in all the competitions when I was still watching TV in Hong Kong long time ago.  Michelle Kwan mentioned him a lot and he also showed up often  in the skating competitions as commentators.

 I have no idea who the rest of the men are.  I however think that Donald Trump made the right decision to fire Andrew Dice Clay. Whatever he is famous for, I don't know why he bothered to go on the show because he simply had no team spirit and he could care less about raising money for the charities. I'm not sure if he behaved according to a script that made him to be the first loser to depart.  But if there was no script, and it was a real game show, then he was a total bad sport.  Who cares what kind of big shot he is in his field, but when he signed on for a team competition, it should be all about working with the team.  He annoyed me so much  when he kept saying how he didn't like making cupcakes and he only wanted to do his own thing.  Excuse me, it was a fundraising game, he shouldn't have signed on if he didn't like playing it with a team of people.  I'm so glad he was gone in the first episode.

In the real corporate world, people like Andrew Dice are everywhere.  They refuse to be managed or to be supervised.  They think they are better than everybody else and they have poor work ethics.  When they fail to accomplish their tasks, they always blame other colleagues,  the supervisors and managers for not leading them well or for not making the best use of their abilities. In their mind, the company and the whole world should revolve around them.  Yet, people like this really have no value to the company. It doesn't matter what abilities they claim they have. Whatever potentials or abilities they have; will not benefit the company one bit because they refuse to cooperate and work with others and it's either their way or the highway.  No great leader can lead anyone who refuses to be led.  So people like him had to go because they are destructive to the morale of the team and they are just  toxic waste to the company.

So if the show isn't scripted, it's a really good reality show because it really shows the dynamics of the workplace in America. In the real corporate world, people do stab each other and blame others when their jobs or annual evaluation is at stake.  I haven't seen anyone who took accountability for things that went wrong because it's the natural instinct in the real world for everyone to save their positions in the company for as much as they can.  It's like being in a car accident, never admit fault out right.  Just maintain your innocence for as long as you can until the boss convicts you. At that moment,  you just play the "I'm sorry..." card and plead and start serving your sentence by doing  whatever you promise you will do to fix the damage....

Monday, December 1, 2014

What Should You Do If Your Grandma-In-Law or Whoever In-Law Is Pissed At You?

My discussion with my husband regarding the above video is what got me in trouble with my 80++ granny-in-law who is now sitting in her living room, pissing off at me.  May be that's how her former daughter-in-law (aka my  mom-in-law) got banned from her cottage in this 55+ retirement community??? The HOA here should consider calling this the 75+ community instead.  And may be my mother-in-law wasn't the only person who's under 70 who was banned by their in-laws here?  May be this is why I don't see people my mother-in-law's generation here?  Now will I be the first Chinese person ever to be banned from this community?

It's my husband's damn fault because he retold our discussion to Granny and like every time when a story was retold, some lines of the story always got changed!!  To all husbands in the world, or wives, please do not relate discussions between you and your spouse to your other relatives, please don't, even if you are tortured !!!!!

I'm always a big supporter for "Death With Dignity".  I am not advocating this for everybody.  I'm only supporting it for myself because I only want to have this option for myself.  Everybody should have the right on deciding how they handle their end stage of life.  I want my option for myself.  For me, I don't want to waste money on my healthcare to extend my life just so I can be hooked up to some stupid machines or be confined in a bed in some remote  facility so I can poop in my own bed...  Between paying for my care when I become bedridden when I am at my end stage of life and paying for health insurance for a kid, my option will be to please stop my machines and please use whatever money that will be spent on my machines,  to please pay for the health insurance for those poor kids, or poor parents of those poor kids so they can work for a future for the family.  I hope there is some sort of sign up form on my future medicare enrollment form and my current health insurance form  for me to choose, so when I become unable to make decision,  they can divert the money that will otherwise go to my end of life hopeless care to some segregated fund to help pay for some young people's more needy medical expenses.

Just because I don't want to treat my stage IV cancer when I am 80+ year old doesn't mean I think every 80+ year old should feel like me.  Anyone who wishes to live should be given the opportunity to.  But anyone who doesn't wish to live should also be given the option not to.   That's my position.  But my big mouth husband somehow told his granny that I felt "old people should be left to die blah blah" ?? Excuse me??? This is a really bad reinterpretation of what I said!!!!  Oh my God!!!

Now, my 80++ year old  grandma in-law who has this stage IV cancer somewhere and who has so far received over $100,000+ in  treatment is very angry at me.   Yes, I think it doesn't make economic sense for so much  medicare money to be spent on an 80++ year old lady, but heck, I don't think the gov't should deny my granny's treatment just because she is old.  I however don't want this for myself and I want an option for me to arrange my healthcare expense to benefit others.  I'm not saying everybody  should give up their medical benefits for others.  It's like charity. I want to donate my organs and money and it's my choice. But for someone who doesn't want to sign up for organ donation, then it's his choice too.  What came out of my husband's mouth sounds so bad to even my ears.  No wonder Grandma is pissed.   Gee... I can now be evicted any minute.  It's so cold outside and there is no decent looking hotel in the entire town.... The hotels here are seriously crappy and ancient looking.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pan Fried Chicken Breast Or Thigh??

quick and easy 10 minute meal recipe

I don't think I can ever move out of  Los Angeles because I can't live anywhere without the options of grocery stores that Los Angeles has to offer.  I know because I'm now testing to be away from Los Angeles, and today is only the 3rd day I'm in this 55+ community where my grandma-in-law is currently living.  My mother-in-law told me my grandma-in-law hadn't been her mother-in-law for decades and that she hadn't talked to her for many years. Before I came to the USA, I never imagined I would be having an American grandma-in-law whom my mom-in-law claims she is no longer related to!!!  How did I end up having such complicated family relationships?  My own grandparents back home are still my mom's parents-in-law and will still be that way until they die.  Anyway, the supermarket near this community sucks!!!! The restaurants also suck!!!  I don't like it one bit here in this cold "village" where people stare at me like a zoo animal. I don't see another Asian person here and I don't see anyone who is under 70 years old other than my husband. I miss LA already!!! This is cold here too even though it's only in the low 40s F.  I never felt comfortable in any temperature that's below 60F.  I'm now missing the delicious chicken dinner that I made just a couple weeks ago back in LA. 

fresh pre-seasoned chicken at Mitsuwa supermarket

I have no idea whether this was the chicken breast or the chicken thigh I got from my favorite Japanese supermarket back in LA, the package didn't say, but it was perfectly pre-seasoned (with salt, pepper & garlic) and cost only $2.91 for enough portion for two people.  I miss this kind of portioned and perfectly pre-seasoned chicken which I can just dump it on a frying pan with a pair of  tongs and then I can get dinner 15 minutes later after frying according to the package instruction. I again paired the chicken with steamed jasmine rice and  sautéed zucchini ( I overcooked the zucchini this time while staring at the Chinese TV drama on my computer screen for too long.....)

This whole dinner for two cost under $5.00. The chicken tasted really fresh, juicy and well seasoned, and it didn't have that "frozen" taste or smell that the chicken in the supermarket near this 55+ community has.... I can't wait to go back to LA next week, I'm now crossing off dates on the wall calendar just like those who are in prison...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

American Made: Hee Hee Ha Ha Let's Sing Chinese

I actually like this Chinese song quite a lot. I think it's quite fun, and these American guys really did an excellent job.  I'm very impressed by their excellent Chinese. Their Chinese lyrics are brilliant. I am normally not a fan of American rap songs which are often violent,  vulgar and belittling to women, but these American guys really make their lyrics appealing and inspiring to the Chinese culture. They are both fun and brilliant.  I first knew about one of the guys in the MTV because of a ridiculously cheesy historical Chinese drama I was watching.  I watched it because the producer and screen writer of the TV drama was my favorite novelist when I was a teenager. I didn't tell my family or friends that I was watching the drama because I'm embarrassed to admit that this kind of  ridiculously cheesy and immature TV drama that I was so addicted to when I was in high school still  got me interested today.  I don't want my family to worry about my mental health, so I didn't tell them I'm watching it.  Anyway, this rap song is so much better than one of the cheesy songs he sang in the TV drama below.... Born and raised in the USA, Benjamin Schwartz quit his graduate studies of Accounting in  Brigham Young University,  and moved to China several years ago. He then got picked up to play the role of a royal painter in a Chinese historical drama after he competed in a singing contest. From being an accounting graduate student to becoming an actor in China, this is quite a detour in terms of career!  He played a British painter working for China's imperial family in the 1700s.  This is the first time I ever see a white guy in a Chinese historical drama who has so many lines and so many parts. This isn't typical in Chinese TV dramas. But nowadays, I think the Chinese producers are trying so hard to add new elements to the TV dramas that they are willing to throw the principles and rules of "historical drama" out in the window and be totally "creative".  The producers didn't care about the palace protocols in the 1700s, or the ancient Chinese traditions anymore, they just wanted to have this guy get really close to the royal family, and have him fall in love with one of the Chinese princesses.  But compared to all the idiotic and irrational cry babies Chinese princes in the TV drama, I would rather marry this fake British painter (he only speaks a few English words in the drama but in an American accent). It's because this is the only character in the entire story who acts rational, intelligent, unselfish and unspoiled.  In another word, his character is the only likable character among all the annoying lunatics in the story:)  He speaks such good Chinese throughout the drama that he even thinks in Chinese when it is his turn to speak in his mind in his bedroom,  (that's how this kind of TV writing got my grandparents' generation  pissed off because they think it's too crazy)...

The American accented British painter is the most likable character in the entire drama because he is always doing the smart and appropriate things. He is the only sane person, the only loyal friend and trusting adviser to the prince. He is the best of the best protector and life saver to the "mentally disturbed and retarded" princess, who in my opinion, should be beheaded by the King in Episode 1, so she can stop annoying me in the next 97 episodes. I wouldn't have continued to watch if not for the  lavish set, the beautiful costumes, the queen and the King's mother who are great actresses from my childhood.