1. american express. recently had my laptop on the fritz. actually, it's been months in the making but i finally accepted the reality. after contemplating buying a new laptop (piece of crap was less than 1.5 years old--hp dv4040us), somehow it struck me to check the credit card benefits on which it was purchased. turns out, after much searching, it was purchased on my wife's amex card. for those who don't know, if you purchase something entirely on the card, they automatically extend the warranty for one year. most of my other cards don't do this at all, and for my visa you have to pay extra per year to have this benefit. free for amex, even the cheap delta skymiles options card. as my manufacturer's warranty was only a year, i was in luck. they sent me a box to send to their contracted workers, and not only did they completely replace my motherboard (and fix the original problem), but they completely replaced the lcd screen as it started to develop some bright spots. the spots were considered wear and tear damage and aren't covered by the warranty but because my wife was a "valued customer," they agreed to have it fixed. as an aside, my speaker didn't work when i got it back but i called the guys and mailed it off and had it back 2 days later. also, there's a slightly darker area on the screen but my wife is trying to convince me that i'm pushing my luck and it's minor and not worth sending back again.
2. costco. just got through broiling up some filets from costco. where we live it's not very convenient to grill so, borrowing from ruth's chris, i decided to try broiling some steaks in the oven. somewhere around 10 min a side for a good medium, topped with a discounted bottle of wine, and you're in business. easily $40 for a 16 oz. i just cooked up, only $12 at costco. yeah!
several funny anecdotes recently. i was babysitting my niece-in-law (? karen's niece) when an old episode of the pink panther came on. well, as you might remember, they pepper it with other cartoons in-between the main pink panther cartoons. one happened to be of this japanese beetle with this awful, fake japanese-trying-to-speak-broken-english accent and slanted lines for eyes (i'm talking no sclera visible at all!), saying how he's lost and is trying to find his way back to japan. kinda reminded me of mickey rooney's awful portrayal of an asian guy (that enough should make you shudder!) in breakfast at tiffany's.
also saw memoirs of a geisha recently. initially i pseudo-boycotted it because of the controversy of a chinese actress portraying the main character in a movie about geishas and japan. the implication was that not only do all asians look alike, but they all are alike, even when making a culturally-focused movie. well, we eventually came across a copy (i think my wife got it cheap at target after thanksgiving) and finally watched it. i expected japanese language with english subtitles but of course, since the main character (ziyi zhang, also in hero, house of flying daggers and crouching tiger, hidden dragon) was chinese and didn't speak any japanese (i'm assuming), they had to speak english. initially i wondered what bothered me so much about it because we watch movies all the time in english when they likely did not speak english where/when it was set (think of any of the jesus movies, gladiator, les miserables). but i think what bothered me were several things: 1. the movie was mostly in english and it wasn't very credible that all these people would labor so hard to speak this pink-panther-japanese-beetle-like broken english and only a little bit of their native japanese. you keep wondering throughout the movie why they are doing that (of course the reason is the main actor doesn't speak japanese!). furthermore, at least in movie format, all that broken english starts to strain the ears. 2. i doubt that all of these actors actually speak with these accents. if i knew they were mostly japanese-speaking and actually had these accents (which apparently is the case for ken watanabe after watching the oscars), that's one thing but i'm sure at least some of them speak better english which means they had to fake this japanese-speaker-trying-to-speak-english accent which is what makes it sad. now, if in fact they all actually speak english like that, then my apologies. which brings up the real question, why not just hire some japanese actress for the part and avoid all this to begin with? are you telling me there is not one female in japan up for the role? it's not like the movie required difficult, athletic, choreographed acrobatics and martial arts that only zhang was qualified for. regardless, even without the language issues, the movie still sucked.
anyway, bottom line is that asians still get no respect from the man in hollywood. hopefully my sis and bro-in-law can change that. shout out to kymber (http://imdb.com/name/nm0510563/) and ted (http://imdb.com/name/nm1136768/)! yeah, kp, korean pride. heh heh. i know, that sounds stupid. what is kp anyway, stereotyping and suppressing women, engaging in corrupt politics, and having a nationalism and pride that borders on racism? i guess.
i was at my friend hoon's wedding in cali and another funny story was shared there. can't remember if it was bort or my friend danny but one of them was rotating at the va (veterans' hospital) and as rounds typically are very early, you usually ended up waking up your patients early in the morning to check on them before rounds. and as some va patients might be a bit disoriented, you would usually go through your battery of questions to make sure you knew they knew where they were. well, bort (also korean) wakes up one guy and asks him, "sir, do you know where you are?" vet, in a dazed look and voice: "vietnam?" doesn't get any better than that!