Friday, October 28, 2011

No Tip For You

Last night I left a $1.65 tip on a $35 check and I felt great doing it! And why not? The service was the worst I had ever experienced in all of my dining experiences, so why the heck would I even leave a tip of any sort? Isn't the idea behind tipping in a restaurant to regard servers for great service? Yes, I understand that often times 100% of a server's income comes from the tips they receive, but then shouldn't they, too, follow the etiquette behind tipping by providing great service in the way that I follow the same etiquette in leaving a 15-20% tip? I believe yes!

I feel that I have always been a generous tipper, mostly because I feel bad for anyone that has to serve me my food. And for the most part, like many of us, I probably tip more than I should despite the level of service. Call it habit, call it charity, call it laziness because I'd rather do the math on 15% than 20%, but I feel I usually give more than is necessary. As such, I feel that I have generously tipped at restaurants despite terrible service mostly because I feel bad or embarrassed for being a bad tipper, or I fear appearing a jerk for being stingy. But why? When I am rewarding someone for crap well done? So, last night, for the first time, I mustered up the gumption and "I stiffed the waiter" and I felt totally justified. And yes, the service was that bad.

So, to everyone who feels they have truly received terrible service and after assessing the situation appropriately, I see it fitting to send a message to your server in the form of an appropriate tip amount and maybe a note to explain why. Whether it be nothing or less than 15-20%, remember that tipping is not mandatory, but rather, customary and appropriate, in American culture and should reflect the true level of service received.

On the other hand, if you are a crappy tipper and tip poorly regularly, stop it. Don't be a tool.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mommy and Daddy Oh Mission Call: Brazil?! No, Korea.

Mommy and Daddy Oh stories truly never disappoint. If only they knew how funny they are and how much everyone loves them!

To end the week, I’ve saved the best for last. This isn’t a stop on the trip down mommy and daddy Oh memory lane, but it is new material and definitely a highlight story. I have sat on this video for quite a while thinking I would do something extraordinary with it, but I have found that just by posting it (albeit a different version) on YouTube just a couple of months ago and sharing it with just 2 or 3 friends, it has gotten a lot of traffic and a great response! It has proved that it speaks for itself.

So, I have edited it into something better viewable and I hope you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed my other posts about my parents.

Just for a quick background rundown on the video, by the time my mom and dad received their mission call in late July, they were about to burst with anticipation. The application process dragged on and on. What my mom thought would take a week to complete and submit, took about 5 months with all of the doctor’s approvals and other requirements that they needed. Then once they submitted their papers locally, it was another month or two before they had the green light to submit to Salt Lake. My mom said it was a true test of her testimony because she was losing patience! She thought she would be on a plane to Korea by April of this year. They just left today.

While waiting for their mission call to arrive, I would joke with my mom about them receiving a call to South Africa or Brazil. Boy did she not like that! In her words, “Don’t make mommy mad.”

So, when their call actually came, I happened to be the first to pull it from the mailbox. They were working in the temple that day so I had a whole day to sit on it. I called my sister-in-law, Denise, to tell her it finally came and she suggested playing a little joke on them. At first I thought it was a mean prank and also, I didn’t think I had the time to pull it together. But then I imagined things playing out and me catching it on video and I knew this wasn’t something I could be lazy about.

Here’s what happened:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best of Mommy and Daddy Oh: Mommy Oh and Cars

My mom has always had an interesting way of looking at things. And to be honest, it's hard to argue with her interpretations...

Click: Mommy Oh and Cars
Original posting date: September 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Best of Mommy and Daddy Oh: In space...I mean, Spain.

Today's "Best of" is from a conversation I had with my mom. A totally classic Mommy Oh misunderstanding, yet acceptable line of reasoning on her part.

Click: In space...I mean, Spain.
From February 26, 2008

Monday, August 29, 2011

Best of Mommy and Daddy Oh

My parents are in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) getting ready to start an 18-month mission for the Church at the Seoul Korea Temple. They leave the MTC this Friday and I most likely won't see or talk with them for the entire time they are gone.

In the past, they have supplied me with some of the best material for my blog, back when I blogged on a regular basis. Now that they are leaving, I will have little material to share and to entertain, so I thought it only appropriate to reminisce and bring back some of the classic blog posts in which they have starred. Please enjoy!

This first one came about while I was in my second year of grad school. Might I add that my dad has always seemed to want to think that he was Cliff Huxtable from "The Cosby Show" and that his kids only wanted money and to do their laundry when they visited. Such was never really the case, but my dad liked to play the part for whatever reason. It always made me laugh.

There is a follow-up so be sure to click on the link as well. It's a goody.

Click: "What?! Cereal?!"
From April 17, 2009

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crab Boil

I have been craving this meal for over 10 years!

Ten years ago, I was sitting in a cold, poorly lit room in a church in Chung-Ju, South Korea talking to a fellow missionary. We were reminiscing about home (only briefly, of course...) and we were talking about family traditions. One tradition he talked about that I fell in love with and have never forgotten, was something he did with his family every summer in Idaho. They would get all of the family together and boil shrimp, crab, potatoes, corn and whatever else, in a big pot, then toss it all on a newspaper-covered picnic table and go to town. I can still see him talking about it and licking his fingers. Ever since then, I have wanted to do this but never have thinking it was overly complicated or required some kind of special skill! Yet, little did I know it was so simple!

A couple of weekends ago when Matt and I were visiting Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands for his birthday, we had planned to do a clam boil with the clams that we were going to catch. Unfortunately, the tides were uncooperative (or we misread the tide table...) and we missed our window to dig for any clams. Although, I will say that I am now legally licensed to fish for a year and we now have a handy folding shovel to dig for the clams that we never would have owned had we not prepared to dig for clams! Oh the silver lining...As the sad saying goes, I was all dressed up with nowhere to go...

Nonetheless, we were still determined to do the boil, clams or not. Ironically, on an island where one would think seafood would be readily available, we could find none! We scoured the island looking for a roadside stand selling fresh crab or shellfish, Google'd for local vendors, even contemplated roaming the docks for lone fisherman willing to part with their catch, but to no avail. Sadly, we just ended up at the local supermarket buying a cellophane-wrapped fresh salmon filet. Disappointing? Truly.

We barbequed instead and left the desire to Boil, to continue to fester.

But finally, today, we boiled! Matt was back in Seattle for a visit and we made it a point to finish what we started. It was my first go, but after talking to a friend about a Louisiana Boil she hosted earlier this week, I felt pretty confident.

I looked to the internet for ideas, but having not planned all too well, I just followed the general guidelines of the recipe I found here. I pretty much did what this recipe recommend. Although next time, I will be sure to buy a seasoning packet meant for this sort of food preparation.

And it was so easy! All I really did was boil stuff! I got a big pot, filled it with water, then threw in some cayenne pepper, garlic, and salt to make up for my lack of seasonings, and brought it to a boil. Then I threw stuff in it based on needed boiling time and let it cook! It was the easiest, and one of the tastiest meals I have ever had. We had hoped to make a field trip of the meal to Pike Place Market for some fresh seafood, but with time as a constraint, we settled for a lovely trip to Costco instead to purchase our crab. At $5.99 a pound for a 1.5-lb crab, it wasn't a bad deal at all. We even bought our shrimp there.

I would think this would be great for a camp out or just a backyard gathering. It was simple and the clean-up was minimal! Plus, it's always fun to eat with your hands!

The meal was delicious and the only missing component was an outdoor picnic table covered in newspaper to toss our bounty on before we grubbed. We used no utensils and went through a good amount of napkins before we wiped our mouths clean. It was delicious, fun and totally satisfying!

Until the next boil!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bye Bye Marie

It was around my birthday, June 18, that I found myself needing Marie Callender's more than ever.

I have long been a fruit pie fan and while not much of a pie chef, Marie has always been there to satisfy my hunger.

Everywhere I have ever lived, Marie has been there for me. I never thought I would be without her. But it was on my birthday this year, that my appetite found itself abandoned and truly alone...without Marie to comfort me.

This was the scene at my local Marie Callender's:

Horrible! Devastating! Where did it go? How could this be?

But I was not immediately dismayed. That is, until I looked up other locations only to find that there were no other locations to be found. In fact, Marie Callender's was no longer operating in Washington. I was truly disappointed.

To make it worse, the rest of the chain was promoting one of its whole pie month sales. Slap in the face.

I guess I'll just have to move.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quirky Miriam: Pen Requirements

I am a pen snob. Any sort of writing, from simply filling out a check to making an entry in my journal, the writing implement I use must meet certain criteria.

First, if it is a ballpoint pen (original pen design using liquid ink), it must allow for smooth writing capabilities. Yes, smooth, just like a baby's bottom. To be specific, it must literally glide across the paper with ease requiring very little effort on my part. If I run into any resistance between pen and paper, the pen becomes dead to me and will promptly be replaced.

Second, if the pen is a rollerball pen (ballpoint-based more common with water-based liquid or gelled ink), the pen must not leak, blot or clump. This type of pen, too, must be smooth. If I can hear the pen making it's way across a piece of paper, it too is dead to me.

Third, the pen must make continuous lines unless picked up from the paper to indicate a space or otherwise necessary blankness. When the ball of the point does not roll without ease or the ink fails to flow, such breaks in writing will occur and will then be deemed unacceptable pen performance.

Fourth, the pen must commence writing upon immediate contact to the paper. You would be surprised how many of both ballpoint and rollerball pens stall at the point of touch down and the disbursement of ink does not occur until well into the first letter. It is unbecoming of a pen and totally annoying.

Fifth, the pen must have a manageable grip. For me, I prefer a barrel with a small-to-medium diameter. I am impartial to rubber gripping, but do appreciate a soft hold.

Sixth, spinnability. I like to twirl my pen in my fingers. The pen must have just the right balance at the end and the tip to facilitate swift twirling in the fingers with minimal probability of dropping. Note: It's no longer just an Asian thing. Lots of people do it. I just happen to be Asian and I always spin my pen. It is otherwise very common.

Below are examples of my favorite pens both past and present:

Paper Mate - Stick Ballpoint Pen
Through grade school, this was my pen of choice. It met all of the above requirements and just seemed to hug my lined school paper that I fancied so much.

uni-ball® Roller Pens
Later in high school I discovered the uni-ball. Excellent for spinning though I found the pen's writing performance would deteriorate any time I dropped the pen on its tip. But overall, smooth and near-perfect for writing.

Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pens

Best twirling pen on the market and near-flawless writing capability. I feel free when I use this pen. In college it was my pen of choice along with the uni-ball.

Pilot® G-2 Retractable Gel-Ink Pens

For quite some time, I resisted this pen. I had seen it in the hands of so many that I didn't want to believe it could perform to my standards. It just seemed so cliche. But, one day, in a pinch, I reached for the pen and never really put it down. While it has very poor spinnability and will blot and bleed if the tip is ever damaged, it is comfortable in the hand and offers a smooth motion. Also, replacement ink is easily accommodated.

Honorable Mention

Yasutomo Niji Grip 500 Mechanical Pencil
Since we're talking about writing implements, I believe that there is a pencil worthy of mentioning. All should bow to this mechanical pencil. The Niji Grip 500 retractable pencil was a gem of its day. I remember yearning for one but feeling the disappointment at the $7 price tag, a high price to pay for a pencil. The one major downfall of this pencil is the poorly constructed rubber grip, which over time, stretches out and becomes loose on the barrel. But other than that, it is mechanical pencil engineering at its finest.

I shun all other pens that do not meet the above criteria. I am always pleasantly surprised when I pick up a pen, free, borrowed or otherwise, that makes the act of pen to paper so enjoyable. Among good pens and bad pens, there is a difference and we have a choice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daddy Oh Sings

You know my mom sings and she is nothing short of amazing, even at the age of 70. Then, on the other hand, there is my dad.

Recently, I hooked up the Korean karaoke system my parents bought long ago. At one point it worked, then sat stagnant for quite a while. It is now up and running and my dad couldn't be happier.

The song he is singing is a well-known Korean folk song. One beat off. Then two, then three, then just waaay off. Bless his heart.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gotta Love Those Chinese

One of my favorite memories from my mission was going into moon-goo's (book/stationery stores) and digging through all of their cute little paper pads, pencil boxes, pens and markers, and stationery to find the best and greatest in poorly constructed English phrases printed on merchandise. Usually, there would be a few sappy lines from romance movies and most of the time it would just be hilarious and misguided attempts at well, English. I don't have any examples with me, I'd have to unearth my storage boxes from the mission days to locate anything, but go into any Asian store and you'll find all kinds of examples of exactly what I'm talking about. There's even a website for great collectibles and sightings: Classic.

So, of course the other day when my sister-in-law showed me an artifact of her mission days and an Engrish diamond in itself, I could hardly contain myself. For those of you who aren't members of the church, you may not recognize the point of humor in this seemingly normal ice cream wrapper, but for those of you who are members, you'll either think "Blasphemy!" or die laughing outloud:

Look closely. What do you see? It's not in the writing per se, but along the same lines as the Engrish missteps, it's in the imagery...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Faster Than Speeding Bullet

I went to a movie with my dad last night and we had some time to kill. While waiting, I thought it might be interesting to introduce my dad to air hockey. He's not much of a gamer, but I figured he could handle it.

With only minimal explanation he picked it up pretty quick. Aside from a constant reminder not to put his free hand on the table (ouchie if he got smacked with the puck!), he didn't do so bad.

It wasn't long before I was up 3-0 in which he commented, "Miliam, you are very speedy."

In the end, I schooled him 5-1. I did ease up on him to keep the game going, but, he did get one legitimate goal that wasn't a gimme. He was pretty proud and even used some fightin' words, "See? Don't underestimate me. Daddy is good."

Good game, dad. Good game.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lost in Translation, Unfortunately

I have always said my parents give me the best material for my blog. Living at home for the past six months has definitely proven that statement to be true. They say the darndest things!

Most recently, my mom told me a great story that could only be the result of, well, my parents.

Lately, my mom has been feeling a pain in her right side that for over a week has not gone away, nor gotten any better. She has visited her doctor twice and has had several x-rays and tests to try to determine the problem causing all of the pain. While the situation isn't very funny, a story that emerged from it let us proceed!

My conversation with my mom a couple of days ago:

Miriam: What did the doctor say?
Mom: It is okay. But daddy, you know, he very nice, but sometimes I do not need his help.
Miriam: What happened?
Mom: So couple days ago, after I went doctor, she called me to tell me about my x-rays. She said that maybe my stool is hard and I am constipated. So, she tell me medicine that I should take. But, I feel that daddy understand better her English, so I gave phone to daddy. So, he talking to her and he write down medication name and then he hang up. What did daddy write down? Enema.
Miriam: Oh mom. I'm so sorry.
Mom: I know. I hate it. So daddy buy enema and for one day I use it. And all flushed out. Very uncomfortable, but I think maybe I can feel better, but still, mommy hurt lots. It's not get better. So, I call doctor again and I ask her maybe I need another medicine and suddenly she very surprised when I talks about enema. She says, "What? Enema? Why are you using an enema?"
Miriam: (Hahahahahaha!)
Mom: Really, daddy very nice, but sometimes he helping me makes me very mad!
Miriam: So what did the doctor prescribe?
Mom: She tell me not enema, but MiraLAX. It is powder, put water and drink. Daddy, he write down name, but in his mind, he thinking enema. Oh, daddy, he not help me!
Miriam: Hahahahahaha!

My poor mom.