Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Spice

There are very few things I brag about. Well, let's be honest, there are very few things I can brag about. One thing though is the sit-and-reach test. I usually get sixty-something centimeters. In other words, I can almost touch my toes with my elbows without bending my knees. Another "gift" is my tongue: I can touch my nose, my cheeks and well down my chin with my tongue. So yes, I may not have been born with fantastic brains or boobs, but I can touch my toes and lick my drool.

Yet another thing I can brag about and in fact do brag about is my ability to eat spicy food. Yeah yeah, they say every Asian has some gene that enables her/him to handle the spice; but I have yet to meet anyone who could surpass me. I intimated as much once to a co-worker.

"You are the queen of spice, you say?" he laughed, mockingly.

"Yep," I said brazenly, "I am."

He laughed at me more and I stood there, smiling demurely. When lunch time came around, I took from the office fridge a bottle of habanero sauce the Naysayer had purchased for me from Mexico. As I drenched my Au Bon Pain sandwich with the green sauce, that same co-worker asked me, "Hey Yellow Gal, can I have a dab of that?"

"Sure," I said, and handed the bottle to him. As he dripped a single droplet onto the edge of his plate, I mused over the tiny opening of the bottle. I surmised there was some reason the bottle only let out one drop at a time.

My co-worker took the edge of his turkey sandwich, tentatively dipped a sharp corner of the white bread into the eerily green sauce, and took a bite. And chewed.

I continued eating my sandwich without incident when I heard a gasp. I looked at my co-worker and his skin had changed from lily white to a brilliant shade of magenta. I watched him swallow painfully and take a gulp of his Diet Pepsi. "Oh my god," he gasped, "that sauce is SPICY."

"Oh really?" I said, chewing thoughtfully, "I guess it does have 'a kick.' "

"Come ON you have to admit it's more than just 'a kick' ..." he said between gulps of his soda.

"Yeah, I guess it does," I said amused.

That was the last time he ever mocked me.

So all my friends bow down to me in my spicy superiority and dominance over all who come before me. They grow accustomed to my expected request to the waiter to make my dishes "extra extra spicy, as spicy as you can possibly make it," my unscrewing the caps to bottles of red pepper flakes so that I could pour--not sprinkle--red pepper onto my dish, and my ability to eat habaneros and Thai peppers like they were carrots or peas.

So being the spice connoisseur, I have learned that there is a distinction between spicy foods and sauces, and foods and sauces that purport to be spicy.

My first gripe: I dislike it when a food/sauce proclaims itself to be spicy when in fact it happens to contain a little more black pepper than usual, a few specs of red pepper, and a lot of salt. The food/condiment industry seems to have mistaken saltiness for spiciness. This is simply wrong. Salt is salt. Black pepper is black pepper. Red pepper is red pepper. Simply adding Red No. 3, a fleck of red pepper, and a ton of salt does not transform a sauce into "hot sauce."

A corollary to this gripe involves the vinegar ingredient. I used to be a huge Tabasco sauce fan in high school and in college. After going through a bottle a month for several years, I frankly got sick of it. I later realized that while Tabasco sauce does contain a modicum of spiciness, its vinegar and salt overwhelms the red pepper ingredient, such that any food you happen to season with Tabasco sauce tastes like Tabasco sauce, not steak, not spaghetti, not soup. Just Tabasco sauce. I'd rather have beef that's spicy, not beef that tastes like solidified Tabasco sauce.

The better sauces have more habaneros or Thai chili peppers (as opposed to mere jalapenos or cayenne), less salt, and less vinegar. The lack of salt and vinegar allow the natural flavors of the underlying food to come through.

Okay so as you can tell, I love spicy food. I was reminded of this fact at 5 PM today. The day was waning, and I started getting the shakes. My palms began to sweat. What was going on?

Then I realized it: I hadn't consumed any spiciness all day. The absence was palpable, almost unbearable. I grabbed a cup of microwaveable soup from my stash, microwaved it, and once the microwave beeped, I seized the bowl and dribbled some of my green habanero sauce into it. The warmth on my tongue was most welcoming. It hurt so good.

So it looks like I am a walking contradiction. I am both the master of, and yet a slave to, the Spice.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My spam box rocks

Case in point:
He dreamed of Annie Wilkes in the court of some fabulous Arabian caliph, conjuring imps and genies from bottles and then flying around the court on a magic carpet. Its only five in the afternoon, but that is no problem for these kitties; as far as South American lions are concerned, that dinner-at-eight shit is for goofballs.
Who makes this ish up?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Just a tip

Fellas, never, ever send a desperate, needy email to a girl you really like who doesn't like you back at all and include in the email things like the following:
I do and will always love and lust after you from this moment until the end of time, for ever and ever. If you ever change your mind about us, and, in my endeavor to deserve you, you decide to give me a chance, I will forever be grateful and will be here for you with open arms. Until then, I will always cherish the memories I have of us and will thank God that I at least had the chance to know someone as beautiful, wonderful and sexy as you.
If you do send such an email to a girl, she will forward it to her girlfriends, and her girlfriends will forward it to their girlfriends, and one of these latter girlfriends will post portions of your email in her blog. Chances are, fellas, that such an email will not persuade the girl to fall in love with you. So please, don't do it.

It goes.

She had a problem. A mindset problem. It's something she knew she could fix. She just needed to want to fix it. The solution to her problem was simple: Just let it go. Her problem was similarly simple: Little things irritated her.

The little things varied in scope. It could be the guy pushing the "close" button from inside the elevator incessantly even though he sees her running towards the elevator yelling "Hold the door!" or a co-worker rolling his eyes at her because she put a little too much skim in his grande americano. "Let it go," she would think to herself. "Just let it go."

"But hold on a sec," she would think, "What the F? It's not the little thing that's irritating me, it's the principle! And that person is just wrong."

Negativity appeared to be contagious. So a part of her wondered, Why did she let it get to her instead of letting it go? Did she enjoy being pissy and irritable? No. Then why the heck did she dwell on the elevator guy or grande americano dude?

Then she realized it. She was holding onto her irritation. Clung to it, actually, like a bratty baby. In a world where she had absolutely no control, where small acts of meanness just grinded against her mood like sandpaper, the only way she could exert some semblance of control was to be mad back. Being angry was a way to avoid being the victim and doormat to the world's bitchiness. Anger was proud, self-righteous and, most importantly, justified.

But that mindset was not healthy and probably not the path to happiness, much less world peace. Negativity was not only contagious, but virtually epidemic nowadays. So instead of allowing it to breed, she resolved to just let it stop where it began. Let the elevator door close. Let the eyes roll. Let it go.

Just let it go.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The test

I really want to be happy. Really I do. And that means I should adjust my attitude. Be less self-focused. Put myself in other people's shoes. And once I understand where other people are coming from, and try -- really try -- to be patient, I'll be less aggravated by the rampant stupidity of the general population and be happier.

So as I mentioned before, I don't like my friend's boyfriend. My challenge to myself is this: Try to like him. Get to know him. Who knows, maybe he'll win me over the way he won over my friend.

Now simply setting forth the goal of liking an unlikeable guy is one thing. Putting it into practice is another. I was tested when I had, a couple days ago, asked my friend to dinner for tapas. She said sure. Then later on, the Test materialized:

First, she called me up later asking if she could bring her boyfriend. I mentally grimaced, cringed and shuddered; but I said sure. Maybe, just maybe if I gave him another chance, he'd grow on me and undo the first ten negative impressions he made on me with undeniable charm and good-naturedness.

Then, she said that her boyfriend was actually looking to try Moroccan food.

Now, I love Moroccan food. But I've been craving tapas for the past few days. Hence, my invitation to dinner for tapas.

So this boyfriend who I am trying very hard to like has already (1) interloped in my gal pal time with my gal pal, while simulteaneously creating the very real possibility of third-wheel-dom, and (2) supplanted my suggestion of tapas with his suggestion of Moroccan food. Of course, my friend ends each suggestion with some generic useless statement of "only if you want to."

As I mentioned before, this is a test. An exercise. First, there is the question of how to tactfully say something to the effect of "I don't want to eat with your annoying-as-hell boyfriend and I want my tapas, damnit, not Moroccan food, not Cambodian food, not Somalian food, but frigging tapas damnit!" Second, there is the question of whether I'm purposely being difficult because I don't want to like the guy.

Okay I admit. I am being difficult. And really, there are worse things in the world than having a friend who wants you to get along with her irritating boyfriend and eat Moroccan food instead of tapas.

So this is my test. Have dinner with a guy I can't stand. Be a third un-squeaky wheel. And eat Moroccan food instead of tapas.

The pathway to happiness begins.

Monday, January 08, 2007

That's me

Once again, I exhibit utmost sophistication and grace when, after briefly talking with my boss, I discover I had a piece of muffin -- a piece that does not look entirely unlike snot -- clinging to the tip of my nose.

Sophistication and grace, my friends, sophistication and grace.
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