Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

On Food

When people ask me what kind of food I like, I usually hem and haw before I say something innocuous. “I don’t have a preference. I’m not really a picky eater.” But perhaps that is only out of politeness, because if I just think a little, I really am picky if the choice is left entirely up to me.

I like bland things. If I have to cook my vegetables they should be boiled or steamed or baked. I like tofu without any seasoning. I like plain or vanilla yogurt. I like oatmeal (but not oatmeal cookies). I dislike most seasoning–hot sauce, fish sauce, gravy–because when other people cook, they drown the rest of the food in that stuff. I find fried and greasy food disgusting, but I will eat it if there’s nothing else offered. These preferences were developed very early. When I was much younger and my parents took me over to other people’s houses for dinner, I would be offered sauces and seasonings. I would refuse and in return I would get strange looks.

Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I don’t like–and I have a suspicion that it may be due in part to growing up westernized. I don’t like ginseng. The durian, even forgetting its off-putting smell, is much too sweet. I despise ramen noodles. Those tin cans of pickled vegetables found in oriental food stores are a little too weird for me. I would rather eat foo gwa (which literally means “bitter gourd” in Chinese, and believe me, it’s really bitter) by the bucket load.

The Popularity Problem, Again
(Playing Devil’s Advocate)

The lone genius weblogger, a thought experiment. Gulker proposes the problem: how can we beat the power curve so that the smarter people, the geniuses specifically, gain more exposure? His human-moderated idea is not entirely fool-proof as there is a chance that the blogger version of Britney Spears might escape detection. Besides, determining a genius blogger seems like an extremely difficult task. It’s not like distinguishing between your average Joe and a rocket scientist working for NASA or even something seemingly more subjective like Garth Brooks and Mozart. What we’re looking for here is a skillful and thoughtful manipulation of words that provoke a reaction (be it emotional or intellectual) in readers.

Personally, I would love for all the top bloggers to be geniuses, but I don’t think the point of the web is to turn the average blog-reading experience into looking into an ivory tower. The popularity or non-popularity of particular sites may not be deserved, but it only reflects how the real world works and how like admires like. The genius may be well-known and respected, but people will still be fascinated by the empty-headed pop star since it represents the possibility that an average person can make it.

Because wouldn’t it be depressing to think that the only way to get noticed is through genius?

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What’s clingy-er than saran wrap and kinkier than latex?

Parafilm!

I wish they sold it in supermarkets.