Grab Bag


Amazon Smile: Donate to Charity for Free

I started using AmazonSmile about a month ago and thought I would share it with you. It is a pretty easy and free way to support any charity of your choice when you shop with Amazon. I currently support the Muslim Center of Middlesex County (MCMC) but you’re able to pick any registered charitable organization and have Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchase price to them.
The only thing you have to do is make the purchase through smile.amazon.com instead. The website will look exactly the same, with the same products and prices but a portion of your order will now be donated to charity instead.
A screenshot of the age is here:
amazonsmile
amazon smile pic

An Immigrant’s Perspective

 

Say it’s 2245 you are the first from your family to immigrate from the US to China. The American economy is crumbling, you are underemployed, and you want your children to actually get a good education and have career opportunities, so you move to the economic and cultural center of the world – China.

It’s likely that I might have to spend most if not all of my money to do this. So you pack everything you own, you get there and you are broke. What next? The first thing I would do upon arrival is find other Americans who have come before me. I hope that they can show me how they got settled and help me do the same. Maybe this means letting me, my wife, and our children sleep in their basement for 3 months, or teaching us how to shop in a Chinese supermarket with only English or letting us copy off of their immigration / tax / work forms because we don’t know what they hell they say. And certainly show us how to get them into school.

Next, I ask them what they do for a job and if they can help me get one too. I am a lawyer in the states, but I don’t give a shit what I do in China as long as I can get my kids into a good school and make sure that they can do whatever they want. So, I ask Frank (he changed his name to ? because no one over here understands these crazy English names). Anyway, I ask ? where he works. He tells me that he has a pizza shop called Cowboy Baseball Mountains (for some reason a combination of 7 “American” words have to be in all pizza shops). Anyway, he says I can work there while I learn Chinese (which is really difficult because I only work with other Americas), save up money, and am able to move out of his basement.

So I get to work. And I work my ass off. I don’t give a damn, I’ll work 25 hours a day if I have to. I am not about to move my family half way around the world and then let them down. Eventually, I am able to save up enough money to move into a new place. Luckily another American family I knew just moved up to a bigger house and knew we were looking for a starter. It was great, because I’d be screwed if I had to a look for a place in chinese on the market.

A couple of years go by and my kids are doing great in school. They speak Chinese better than they speak English now. Which is great, seeing as I still don’t speak a lick of it because I’ve been making, selling, and delivering pizzas this whole time with ? and some asshole named ? who just moved here from Texas. Luckily my kids help me translate anytime that something unexpected comes up.

A few more years go by and I have finally scraped together enough money so I can stop working for ? and I can finally start my own thing. You know what I am really good at? Making pizzas. I’ve made 10,000 pizzas over the last 10 years and I’ll be damned if I don’t make the best crust and the tangiest sauce this side of the Yangtze. Also, ? showed me how to run the business and told me he would help walk me through the start-up. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to open Cadillac Swamps and start working for myself. However, I have to spend most of my capital in starting this place up. So I ask my son and daughter (who are in high school now and are really embarrassed of their round, blue eyes, which breaks my heart because god they look just like their grandmother’s eyes) to help me until I can start up the restaurant. My wife works there too. I say works there to be nice, it’s more like we live there. But hey, we are together and making it work. If we all stick together we can really make this place a success.

A year or so later, I get a call from my college roommate. He tells me his brother Jason just got fired from his job and is through with the US and is determined to come to China. I tell him to have Jason give me a call. I can help him out. Hell, if he and his family need to crash in my basement for a few months that is cool with me. And don’t worry about a job. I’ve got him covered.

I know I haven’t posted on here in forever but that was a nice post on what it’s like to be a U.S. immigrant in China in the year 2245 so Americans can better understand what immigrants in their country experience. It was a post on reddit which you can read here.


Hypocrisy On Sugar Ban? 4

I had a pretty healthy discussion with a friend from my high school earlier this week on New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks which is quite a noble idea but seems to be missing the point. It was also amusing that the following day was National Donuts Day that the mayor of New York had no problem promoting. Apparently he said he was promoting moderation

The big problem I have is I don’t think banning larger drinks solves anything when it still allows people to acquire to drinks of smaller sizes without any consequences. I think levying a significant tax on sugar drinks will drive home the purpose a lot clearer than setting an arbitrary limit which can be easily circumvented. It makes it more expensive to buy larger quantity of sugary drinks and will cause people to think twice about getting larger quantities.

The proposed sugar bans are included below… so let me know what you think?

 


The Unlikely Trip To Mont Tremblant 2

Now here is a trip that if you had asked me about two months ago, I would have said would never happen let alone me going on it with people I knew from high school, university and some that I had never met before including the one passenger in my car. Excuse me for any glaring typing mistakes as I wrote this in literally fifteen minutes while I am waiting for my car being serviced.

The last week or two leading up to my trip had been so hectic that I didn’t even get a chance to view videos on the basic fundamentals on what to do. I had been tied up at work and then went south of the border for a few days. Ultimately, that probably had little to do with my failures on the first day but that might be normal to expect since it was the very first time I had ever gotten on a snowboard.

It hadn’t snowed much the night before our first run and that probably made the falls that much more painful on my entire body. We went straight for the green trail which was a much longer trail then I was expecting for a first run but better than the bunny hills because that was just way too short for me to do anything on. Naturally, it ended up taking us nearly two hours to complete the first run. It was tiring and painful but the mountain was scenic and enjoyable to be on. There were definitely moments I was afraid of what was going on and let that allow me to fall instead of fighting through it and get into it more. My issue wasn’t about gaining speed or learning how to turn, both of which I was surprisingly decent at, but I couldn’t get myself to slow down or stop without my legs giving out and taking a fall. I think if I didn’t have a friend who was just as new to this as I was, I wouldn’t have willed myself to go out again the second day — the first day was just that bad. It was crucial to have a buddy though because we would alternate going in front of each other and continue to call each other names as a means of motivating one another (we did occasionally say nice things to each other too but that’s just not our nature).

Just as importantly, it was so helpful to have someone who was better than we were every step of the way. It almost served as a light at the end of the tunnel when I was struggling on the first day to look up and see them stopped ahead waiting for us to catch up and then urging us to continue forward on what seemed on the first day to be a never-ending trail.

As bad as the first day was, I would say the second was that much better, if not more. We got a little delayed start in the morning but by the time we got out there, I was much more relaxed and ready to let it all go. Lighter traffic even for a Saturday might have played a role in me becoming more comfortable too and along with the conditions getting softer with the snow overnight and the fact that I was falling less, made for a much drier morning the second time around. We planned on cutting our time down the mountain by half from the first day which seemed very ambitious but not only did we reach that goal, we shattered it comfortably on the very first run of the morning (not that it is anything to brag about but I would call that significant progress).

I was practicing more on slowing down and stopping and not just speeding, falling and struggling to gain any momentum on the straight stretches, which turned out to be a much more effective way to get up and about. All the practice in the world probably doesn’t matter when you’re coming up with a little speed behind someone and they turn right into your path and lead to a wipe out. I’m glad it was someone I knew and that it was described by another watching as a “moment of embrace” as we hit the ground gracefully, making a potentially dangerous moment into something we can laugh about. As disappointed as I am of no video footage from my first time out, I am just glad this moment was never recorded.

Leading up to the last run on the final day, I was probably feeling the best I had and that was a good thing because I would need every ounce of that good feeling to get through the last run. The conditions had gotten much more terrible with the snow and wind picking up, fatigue was starting to settle in and for me, I couldn’t see anything through my fogged up goggles. As awful as it may sound, I must admit, I enjoyed that last run more than any because I was going through it without much complaining even though my body was ready to give out from being tired which is more than what I can for my other newbie friend.

Admittedly, I wasn’t in the greatest of physical shapes which led to my legs being extremely sore, my arms being dead from picking myself up all weekend but I wish I had done this up sooner and I would enjoyed it even more than I already did. There are some picture below, no videos unfortunately, which did have its pros and cons.

I had always joked with my roommates from university every time someone mentioned a trip up to Canada that I would believe it when I saw it. I would have never expected the trip would ever materialize let alone getting 11 people ranging from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Toronto and all meeting up in Mont Tremblant without losing anyone or anything.

Can’t wait to go again next year. Whistler, anyone?