The Dog Days of 2006

September 10, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

As we are soon approaching Chinese New Year, I thought it would be appropriate to do a little research so that I might be able to impart some words of wisdom on this festive occasion.

As you may know, every Chinese New Year celebrates a specific animal. There are twelve animals in the cycle, and at the end of the cycle you start all over again. Some of the animals in the cycle include the rat, the snake, and the goat (or Ram).

This year, it turns out, is the year of the dog. As luck would have it, we actually own a dog. Therefore, for the benefit of my readers, I have been observing the behavior of our dog “Bingo” for the last few days.

In addition, in order to bolster my findings, I looked up a few interesting factoids on various personality traits associated with the year of the dog.

Herewith, are my findings, in the form of a true/false test on how well these traits matched up with what I observed in my dog Bingo:

Trait Number One: Those who fall under the Year of the Dog have a deep sense of loyalty and inspire confidence in others because they keep secrets well.

This is TRUE. A few days ago while I was home alone with only Bingo as my companion, I decided to polish off the last of the leftover birthday cake from a party earlier in the week despite my wife’s threats of hiring a nutritionist to follow me around if I ate it. When my wife got home, my loyal dog not only kept his mouth shut, but he didn’t even bat an eye when I tried to blame him for eating the cake.

I bet that if I owned a rat or a goat for a pet that they would have spilled the beans the second my wife walked through the door.

Trait Number Two: They care little for wealth; yet somehow always seem to have money.

This is TRUE. While I am sure that Bingo has never held down a paying job, somehow a package gets mailed to us every couple of weeks containing doggie treats, milk bones, and the latest issue of “Dog Fancy” magazine.

Trait Number Three: They are eccentric, somewhat selfish, and terribly stubborn.

This is INCONCLUSIVE. While it is true that Bingo does exhibit some odd behavior (anyone who has seen where he likes to scratch himself knows what I’m talking about), it is false that he is selfish because he will generously drop any dead rodent he has caught at my feet as he comes in from the backyard.

Trait Number Four: They can be cold and emotionally distant at parties.

This is FALSE. Call it what you will, but after seeing what Bingo did on my neighbor’s leg the last time he visited, the last words you would use to describe his behavior is “cold and emotionally distant.”

Where is that dog anyways? I need him. There’s a pastrami sandwich in the refrigerator with my name on it.

A Meat and No Potatoes Kind of Guy

September 1, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

It was a moment two months ago that I will never forget.  I stood on the small digital scale in my office, staring at the readout, unable to comprehend the number that flashed in front of me. “That can’t possibly be right”, I thought to myself.

The next thought was – perhaps the scale needed to be recalibrated.  The good news was that I was right – it did need to be recalibrated.  The bad news was that with the correct calibration I now weighed two pounds more.

Getting desperate, I started looking around the scale wondering if any of my children or my dog Bingo was jumping on the scale behind me whenever I turned away.  No children. No dogs.  There was only an overwhelming feeling that I needed either to go on a diet or gain a few more pounds and look into sumo wrestling as a new profession.

Since that fateful day, I’ve lost about 20 pounds on the Atkins diet.  Atkins, of course, is the diet that limits carbohydrates.  I did some research on “The Zone Diet” and “The South Beach Diet”, which are two other popular diets designed to help you lose weight as painlessly as possible.   For those of you who are also interested in finding a diet that lets you “have your cake and lose it too”, let me just save you some time – there’s no such thing as the “Krispy Kreme Diet”.  Believe me, I’ve checked.

The Atkins diet claims that you can eat as much steak, eggs, and bacon as you want as long as you stay away from starchy foods (rice & bread, for example).  I decided to test this theory out to the extreme for the first few days.  I went to an all-you-can-eat establishment, holding a platter the size of a spare tire, layered from one edge to the other with steaks, chicken, hot dogs – anything protein related.

By the time I made my way back to the table, looking at my plate I thought, “That should be enough meat… if I were a bear getting ready to hibernate.

As an Asian, Atkins is hard to follow since I am addicted to noodles, rice and dumplings.  I recently went to a Vietnamese Pho restaurant (beef noodle soup) where I proceeded to order a bowl of noodle soup minus the noodles.  I’ve had lunch at a dumpling house where I shucked all the dumpling skins like they were peanut shells only to gorge myself on individual fillings.  Do you know what it’s like to try and tell a sushi chef that you’d like a California roll without the rice?

The real problem is my metabolism.  A bowl of chicken broth can sustain me for a week and a half.

Yet, this really should be a blessing.  It could be a product of evolution.  Could it be that my slow metabolism is a centuries old response to my ancestors having to struggle in China with a minimum of resources and very little to eat?  Perhaps I should be grateful that my ancestors have passed along the ability to survive in a sparse environment.

It’s something to ponder over as I sit down to eat spaghetti and meatballs sans the spaghetti.