Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Does Having Trolls Mean You've Succeeded?

Hey everyone!

It's been a while since I've posted a blog post. I really need to get back to it since I've found some new restaurants and places that I should post about. However, this post is not about food. Nope. It's about the *gasp* Starbucks cup crap. So, being the smart ass that I am, I posted the following status update on FB to amuse my friends and myself:


At the time of writing this post, my status update had inexplicably been shared 343 times. Suffice to say that this is the most times any post of mine has ever been shared. I noticed at around 80 shares that I had about 5 friend requests on FB. Of the 5, I accepted 1 since he seemed like a decent fellow. I also received some private messages from people, and I checked some of the shares to see what idiocy people were posting about it. I will share these amusing exchanges or posts below.

The first private message I received was this:

After being called stupid by this complete stranger, I went to the bathroom at work and cried a little. Oh wait, no, I laughed. A lot. Later that night, I replied to this stranger (the profile pic was of a much older lady).

I haven't heard back from Alda, so I can only assume that my new cup design is so good it has rendered her speechless.
The next amusement I noticed was a comment on a share of my post.
The irony is strong with this one.


I don't know if Bertha was talking to the person that shared my post or me, but I'm obviously an above-average-intelligence t-rex.

The next message I received turned quite into the entertainment.

Name not blocked on purpose - feel free to troll the douche nugget.


This one decided that insulting me over nothing was best. He clearly doesn't know me but feels the need to make himself feel like a big, bad man by trying to insult a woman that has an opinion by calling me a "cunt" twice. I decided to not stoop to his level when responding to his messages and took the high road.
A FB friend found this gem, which is now my profile picture.

Not sure who to credit as the original artist of this.


The next thing I spotted was someone shared my post and apparently tried to directly address me:
I...uh...what?!
This made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I just had to message this person and try to figure out what the hell she was talking about.
Oh, yeah, that clears things up...

I tried to get more clarity from this woman...

Sure...sure...

This was just going downhill...I think she meant "weed" country...
So apparently we're friends now?

That's all for now! I'll update with a bit more tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy China, O'Fallon, MO

Happy China (http://happychinafood.com/) has become one of my favorite Chinese places to grab a bite to eat. It's located in Dardenne Square near Target. I think I feel the need to draw one of my lovely maps...
Ahhh, how I've missed my maps...

So, Happy China, yeah. Really good Chinese food (even if their Web site looks like it was designed by a 13-year-old kid in the mid-90s). And I'm pretty picky about my Chinese food. One of the best things about Happy China is they deliver, but you need a $15 minimum order. I still feel kind of bad for having the little Chinese lady deliver food to me in the middle of winter, but, hell, I didn't want to go out and I wanted some black pepper chicken. I tipped her well, though. Speaking of the black pepper chicken, it isn't listed on the menu, but you can order it. I don't know why it doesn't appear anymore, but it's pretty much the only dish I order unless I decide to get a lunch special. So, they're open every day also. Monday - Thursday: 10:30 am to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am to 11:00 pm; Sunday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Black pepper deliciousness


I love the black pepper chicken, and the regular portions of their food is enough for 2 meals. Even the lunch portions are pushing it and could be a light lunch and a light dinner, especially if you get some wontons, crab rangoons, or egg rolls. Oh, the wontons. Mmmmmm. I'm not really a fan of wontons, but I now have to order them every time I get food here. They are just really good. I don't like pork, but I freaking love these wontons with a bit of soy sauce on them.
Fuzzy wontons (will get a better picture next time I order them). The crack that must be in them gives that extra bit of flavor.

So, the prices are pretty reasonable at Happy China, too, considering you can get two meals out of the regular portions or share it with someone. Lunch specials will run about 6 bucks and come with either fried or sticky rice and either an egg roll or a crab rangoon. The regular meals will vary from about $6 - $9.50 depending on what the ingredients are.

Happy China's menu

So if you live in the O'Fallon area, definitely give Happy China a shot: You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tom & Chee - O'Fallon, MO

It's been a while! I really need to get back into my new-food-spot blogging. I'll start getting back into it with Tom & Chee. Tom & Chee a gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup place! Tom & Chee is located on Hwy K near I-70 in O'Fallon, MO.

When I was in Korea, a grilled cheese and tomato soup was the ultimate comfort food for me. And tomato soup was REALLY hard to find, so it had to only be when I was really missing home. Now I can get a gourmet grilled cheese whenever I want for just a short drive. I know I could make my own, but these are REALLY good.

If you watch Shark Tank, you may have seen the owners on the show. I do not watch the show, so that's about all I can tell you about that. What I can tell you, though, is the grilled cheese sandwiches are very good. The prices aren't too bad either. You can get a half sandwich for about $2.50, a regular for about $5, or a double for about $8. Of course this will vary depending on the ingredients. The soup will range from $1 for a dipping cup to about $4.50 for a bowl. They also offer salads and a kids menu.


Grilled mac & cheese with a dipping cup of creamy tomato basil


This is the only picture I have at the moment. I'll eat here again soon, and get more pictures. The sandwich was very good. Grilled just perfectly and not messy at all.

Something that sets Tom & Chee apart from other grilled cheese places are the fancy grilled cheese donut sandwiches. I have yet to try one of these, but I think The King is calling my name. These are glazed donuts cut in half and filled with a variety of ingredients then grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich. They were even featured on Man vs. Food for this little delight. These will run you about $6.

Something else that I really like about Tom & Chee is that I can place my order online and go pick it up. This is really handy for lunch during work. You can also customize or build your own grilled cheese sandwich.

So, if you're in the O'Fallon area and want some comfort food, I highly recommend stopping in and checking it out. let me know how the grilled cheese donuts are. ;)

Updated June 28th, 2015
I have some new photos for Tom & Chee :)

The swiss & shroom grilled cheese sandwich on hardy white with a bowl of chunky tomato basil soup

>

The bananarama grilled cheese donut!


I was a little unsure of the grilled cheese donut since I'm not a big fan of glazed donuts to begin with. I was worried the glaze would be too sweet. The donut is cut in half and the cut side is grilled with the toppings being place on the glazed side. The Bananarama consists of caramelized bananas, Gouda cheese, and the donut. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! It wasn't too sweet, and the Gouda cheese ...I can't describe how it was mixed with the banana, but it was really good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bessie: Goodbye Sweet Kitty

So, as probably all of you know, I have an awesome cat named Bessie.


She likes to sleep a lot.


She's an amazing cat with a lot of personality. She's been my constant companion for the better part of 14 years. When I didn't feel well, she was there to curl up next to me until I felt better. When my mom passed away, she let me cuddle with her and cry on her little fuzzy head. Bessie has never been much of a cuddler unless she knew I needed her.

Sometimes she would be creepy...


And sometimes she would be sweet...


But she's always been the best kitten I could ever ask for.

And now, unfortunately, the time has come for me to say goodbye to my little fuzzybutt.

I noticed in late July that Bessie was having trouble chewing on the left side of her mouth. I figured she had hurt a tooth, and I made a vet appointment. She had lost a couple of pounds: down to 8.6 from her usual 10 - 11 pounds. A week later, Bessie was having a cracked tooth extracted and that went very well. Unfortunately, the vet noticed a growth in the back of her mouth that I gave them permission to biopsy and send off for testing. The vet called me on August 18th and told me that it was squamous cell carcinoma, and very aggressive. It's also the most common oral tumor in cats. It can't be removed surgically and chemo or radiation treatment is a crap shoot. The cancer itself isn't what ends up killing the critters but the inability to eat and/or breath after the tumor reaches a certain size.

Bessie had been eating and drinking ok up until the weekend of the 15th of August. I took her back to the vet and they gave her a shot of an anti-inflammatory, some pain meds, and re-hydrated her. I was giving her liquid food and she was eating/drinking it. After that, she was eating more and more energetic. She was even so desperate for some treats that she tried her best to get the door open to the cabinet where I keep them.

By this time I had made an appointment with the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care Center in Wentzville to take her in for an evaluation. By time the appointment came on the following Friday, she wasn't eating again, and was barely drinking. At the evaluation, the oncologist did a CT scan to get an idea of the size and location of the tumor so we can could determine if there were any treatment options. The tumor was very large and close to her larynx and tongue, and was almost closing off her airway. They couldn't even get the tube down her throat to intubate her for the scan and had to use only a mask. The oncologist said he couldn't in good faith recommend radiation with the tumor being so close to her larynx and tongue since they would be damaged in the process. The only really chance we had of it working was if we could shrink the tumor with steroids and anti-inflammatory meds. So, over Labor Day weekend, I fought with a surprisingly energetic cat to get meds in her mouth and had Julia help me give her the steroid shots. They didn't seem to be working as she still wasn't eating. She definitely wanted to eat and tried valiantly to have an itty bitty piece of grilled burger and chicken, but just couldn't.

I called the oncologist on Tuesday morning to give an update on Bessie. She wasn't doing well. I decided that I didn't want her to suffer anymore. I couldn't be selfish and put her through chemo treatments that had a very, very slim chance of working, especially since she was already weakened from not being able to eat much. Later that day, I called At Peace In-Home Pet Euthanasia and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 4:15 to have Bessie put to sleep.

I have a few more days with Her Royal Fuzziness until I have to say goodbye. Until then she's going to be the most hugged and cuddled kitty in the world. To some, she may just be a cat, but to me, she's been the best friend and companion I could've ever asked for.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013: A Year of Change

Wow. 2013 was a pretty big year for me.

While talking to a friend last week, I said something that pretty much sums up the entire year:
"Sometimes what you're not expecting is what you need."

This last year involved a lot of change and lot of new things for me.

  • Moved back to the U.S. to a new area
  • Started a job as a contract employee
  • Became a full-time employee of company I was contracted to
  • Started taking over the supervisor position of my team
  • Started a new relationship
The first and biggest change was deciding to leave South Korea and accept a contract position in O'Fallon, MO. I jumped on this opportunity for several reasons:
  1. It was in Missouri, so I'd be closer to family and friends.
  2. It was in a completely different industry, so it'd be a chance to learn new things and get out of my comfort zone.
  3. The people I'd be working with seemed nice.
I knew I had to just put on my my big-girl panties and make the decision to leave Korea after 5 years and come home. I do sometimes miss South Korea and Samsung along with all of the people I grew to care about there, but life moves on and I will see them again.

Finding a place to live and getting settled in a new area was a challenge, but I did it and I like where I've ended up. It's a nice area and it's very close to work. I'm close to several major highways and can be in downtown St. Louis in about 30 minutes.

The next biggest change was the job. The new company was in a completely different industry, and that required a lot of learning for me to catch up and learn about the products I'd be writing about. The good thing is that I was working with a lot of really nice people that were more than willing to help and provide information. I'm always up for learning new things and trying to increase my skill set, so I was up for the challenge.

Around the middle of September, I was actually offered a full-time position in Jefferson City doing what I was more comfortable with as far as documentation, but I didn't know if I wanted to move to Jeff. City and I really didn't want to leave the company that I was already working for. Luckily, the company I was already contracting for made me a counter-offer that I accepted, so I was able to stay put and become a full-time employee. Shortly after that, my manager left for a new position, so I, on a whim, applied for his position and was offered it on a trial-run basis since I had been managing the team already in his absence.

The next big change, and probably most unexpected, was starting to date someone. This was an unexpected and pleasant change. The most unexpected part is that she's someone that I had never anticipated seeing myself with. We have a few things in common but are pretty opposite on just about everything. We somehow just seem to "click" though and I can be more myself with her than with any relationship in the past. It's a surprising yet happy realization.

So, 2014. Here we go. A new year and lots of newish journeys to embark on. Lots of people make New Year's Resolutions every year that fall by the wayside around the end of February after the novelty has worn off. We set these grand goals for the year and then give up because they take too much effort. I think starting off small is the way to go about this - add new goals every month so you're not trying to change so much all at once and too quickly. So what are my goals for 2014?
  • Be healthier
  • Foster a positive and healthy relationship with my partner
  • Grow in my new position at work and do the best I can
  • Start saving to buy a house eventually
  • Just be a good person
Most of those are pretty broad and general, but that's really all that I can think of to accomplish this year at the moment. I'm sure that as the year progresses I will find more things that I want to accomplish. But until then, these few items will do.

Best of luck to everyone in the new year and I hope that 2014 brings you happiness!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sushi Ai, O'Fallon, MO

Post number 100!! Woohoo!!

Alrighty, enough of that.

Next up is Sushi Ai. Sushi Ai has several locations in the area, but the only one I've been to is the one on Hwy K in O'Fallon, MO (so I can't attest to the quality of the others). More specifically, it's located next to Dierbergs at 2981 Hwy K, O'Fallon, MO 63368. Their website offers the menu, ordering online for pick-up or a quick dine-in, and the ability to make reservations.

In addition to a full menu of Japanese food, they offer an all-you-eat sushi special for lunch and dinner. The all-you-can-eat lunch special is just $12.99 while the dinner version is $17.99. Also, it's available 7 days a week. Now, you may be thinking that your selections are fairly limited and it's not very good, but that isn't the case here. You're given a pretty robust sheet to fill out with how many of an item you want. The options include some appetizer items, like miso soup and vegetable tempura, a selection of 7 or 8 sushi items, and a wide variety of rolls to choose from (I'm partial to the California roll and avocado roll).
The all-you-can-eat menu

Here are some shots of some of the food that either I or my dining mates have ordered.
Greg's selection. I don't remember what he ordered, but that's a Missouri roll on the end closest to the camera.

Matt's selection. I don't remember what he ordered, either.

My noms: a cucumber roll, California roll, avocado roll, and avocado sushi.

After we received our order, we put in another for our second round. It took forever and a day to get our second order, so if you're going during the week on lunch break from work, put in everything on your first order. Now, I'll warn you that on the menu they say that if you don't eat all of what you order, they will charge you extra for what you didn't eat. I'm not sure of the truthfulness of this, but we finished all of our orders so it wasn't an issue. Now, I don't eat a lot of rolls or sushi since I don't eat fish, but what I ordered was really good. So good in fact that I made my brother, Wes, and Doug go back with me on the following Saturday so I could gorge myself on sushi-goodness again. The guys ordered off of the menu and I ordered a buttload of sushi.
Why yes, that is seven rolls of deliciousness. And I ate them ALL, bwahaha!

Doug ordered the chicken yaki soba, I think.

Wes ordered the teriyaki chicken.

My brother watching the teriyaki chicken sizzle.

My brother had ordered the Missouri roll and gyoza (dumplings), but I didn't take a picture of them. I think I was too busy eyeing my plate of rolls. Anyway, everyone said their food was really good so I didn't feel as bad for railroading them into going here with me so I could fulfill my avocado roll fantasies. As for my grub, the avocado has always tasted really fresh and creamy, the seaweed doesn't taste fishy, and the rice is, well, sticky :)

The servers here are friendly enough, but I'd watch the floor. The floor is very slippery for some reason. It feels like they've polished it too much or maybe they have too much soap in their mop buckets and it dries with a soapy film. It may also be from humidity, I don't know, but just watch your step when you're walking.

So, if you're looking for some good Japanese food at a reasonable price, definitely check out Sushi Ai. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the selection, quality, and price.

Bonus pic from today's lunch (7/16/2013):
Avocado sushi, avocado rolls, California rolls, and a honey roll.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Apartment Hunting in O'Fallon, MO

So, upon coming back to the U.S. in January, I needed a place to live. I had the apartment in Springfield with a roommate still, but driving 3.5 hours to work from there everyday just wasn't feasible. I needed a place in or near O'Fallon, MO. In the interim, I was staying in a hotel. And oh what a joy that was.

Since my new job was in O'Fallon, I wanted to live reasonably close to the workplace (within a 20 - 30 min drive maximum). Unfortunately, a lot of the apartments in the area are crazy expensive and nickel and dime you to death for everything.

"You want to flush your toilet? That'll be 50 cents per flush."

So I made a list in my mind of requirements for the apartment:
  1. Pet friendly
  2. Two bedrooms
  3. First floor
  4. Under $800/mth preferably
  5. Clean, quiet neighborhood

I found that this list was workable, but the price point was going to be higher. Every complex that I looked at in the O'Fallon area between Hwy 64 and Hwy 70 was nice and in a good neighborhood, but finding a two bedroom under $800/mth was impossible with my salary. I did find several complexes that were based on income that had 2 bedrooms available for around $600 or $700, but my salary was too high for those. Most of the 2 bedroom/1 bath places I found ranged from $850 - $1000 as the base cost. You may be asking why I would want a 2 bedroom apt since I'm single and just live with my cat. That is reasonable. I wanted a place with 2 bedrooms so I could have some storage space and have an extra bedroom if anybody wanted to come visit. I looked online for places in St. Peters and St. Charles, but the prices were about the same if you figure in how much I'd spend in gas each day going to and from work, so I stuck to O'Fallon.

It also seems that the few companies that own the apartment complexes are about even on the prices for extra amenities and deposits. An odd thing that I found was that some complexes would quote you a price for rent, but that rent amount would only be locked in for a few days: they adjusted rent based on supply and demand. I don't know if other places do this, but it's the first time I had ever heard of apartment complexes doing that and was very surprised. Every complex that I looked at also had a crazy-high, non-refundable pet deposit ($250 - $400) in addition to the regular deposit. They also have application fees when you apply to live there and will run background checks at most of the places. Due to this (yet another) extra fee, I only applied to one place. If I was rejected, I would've applied to another, of course.

As far as the nickel-and-diming you to death that I mentioned earlier, tons of things cost extra. Want a car port to park under? That'll cost extra each month. Have a pet? That'll raise your rent a bit each month. Want a garage to park in? That'll be more. Want a storage place? Well, that's not free. Need a washer and dryer but don't want to buy a set? We have some available, but that'll cost ya. By time it's all said and done, you could potentially raise your rent by $200/month if you have a pet, want to rent a washer and dryer, and want a covered place of some sort to park your car. Not to mention that this doesn't include any utilities or cable/internet.

So, did I finally settle on a place, or did I decide that Bessie and I should just live out of a tent along the river? Well, I'm horrible at fishing and don't eat fish, so we finally found an apartment. It met most of my criteria: it's pet friendly, has 2 bedrooms, and is in a good neighborhood. Unfortunately, I'm on the third floor (ooohh, my poor bad knee) and not exactly close to any of the parking areas, and it's definitely not under $800/month. But, I suppose the good outweighs the bad: friendly staff, nice clubhouse (gym, pool table, business center, and a movie theater room), swimming pool, tennis court, sand volleyball court, a trash compactor instead of open dumpsters, gated community (granted, the gates aren't working), package holding at the office, large bathroom, spacious other rooms, easy access to the highways and to work, and it's in a nice subdivision (Winghaven).

The bad would be that ants are horrible (but I've heard they're bad everywhere this year for some reason), stairs kill my knees, a parking spot is difficult to find near my apartment, sidewalks by my apartment flood when it rains, I can hear everything going on outside as if I'm on the first floor with my windows open, and the trash compactor is on the back side of the complex, so I have to chauffeur my trash there. I suppose the "bad" things would be a problem at most places in general, so eh.

Overall, the apartment hunting experience in this area was eye-opening and very different from apartment hunting in Springfield, MO. The extra fees and much higher rent were probably my first major shocks. If you're looking in the area for an apartment (or anywhere), here are my recommendations:
  1. research online first to try to weed out some places.
    Check www.apartmentfinder.com, www.apartments.com, or Google apartments in X city to get a starting list of potential places.
  2. Have a list of must-haves to narrow down the search.
  3. Read reviews.
    The apartment websites and Google will both have review sections from people that have lived there. It's been my experience that the majority of the reviews are negative reviews, so check those out for any potential red flags. It just seems that most people that are happy with their apartment complex don't take the time to post a review.
  4. Scope out the neighborhood.
    Do a drive around the area to check it out, look at crime maps available online, and check the school ratings (if that's important for you.
  5. Finally, go look at the apartment and talk to the staff of the complex.