Sunday, September 28, 2008

The BEST headphones/earbuds period.

I've found them again. They are marketted as the Sony MDR-E828LP. And sells for $10. Yes, you read that right. I bought the same ones about 10 years ago at the UCSD bookstore for about $20 (everything is overpriced there). There is something magical about the Twin Turbo circuit for enhanced bass response. Earbuds in general usually do lack bass, and these don't boost the bass. It just seems like it accurately reproduces them. And for some reason, these are the only earbuds that Sony seems to make that has the Twin Turbo circuit inside. And I do remember my brother listening something with my earbuds and him saying how good they were.

One day, when my dad was driving me home from college, I must have closed the door while half the headphone was still outside the car. And it wasn't salvagable after about 100 miles of driving. I've gone back to the UCSD bookstore more than a few occasions to see if they still carried the same ones years later. But all they sold were the cheaper versions without the Twin Turbo circuitry. And I must have bought those a few times and were disappointed every time. Since then I have gone through about 8 different pairs of headphones and earbuds, spending hundreds of dollars of trying to find something I once lost. Why? The earbuds are that good. You experience music at a much higher level. You can literally close your eyes, sit in a dark room, maybe close your ears to ensure no other sounds escape, and you can get lost in your songs. Its a moving experience.

So just yesterday, I was walking through Walmart because I had just gone through my last pair of descent earbuds, and lo and behold, the only Sony ones they had were the ones I had failed to find in the last 10 years. Maybe I had found them on amazon before, but I had gone with their higher priced earbuds that do not have the twin turbo stuff, and after paying more and more thinking I was going to get something better each time I bought something, I gave up. I have the perfect headphones once again, and I had forgotten how much I used to love being totally immersed in music.

Next time I'm at Walmart, I'm just going to buy 3 or 4 more of these because for some reason Sony is not putting their best technology in their newer earbuds. And even in amazon, they are almost impossible to find if you don't know exactly what you're looking for. They may disappear one day, and earbuds having a life of only a few years, it will be a worthwhile investment.

The only negative thing about these earbuds is that every imperfection in the mp3 is exposed. All the mp3's I got while I had these headphones years back are perfect because I used to download 10 of the same songs, and choose the perfect one. But recently, I hadn't had anything of this caliber to judge the minute differences so all my mp3s are not perfect, and I can hear all the imperfections now. You can hear the differences between the Fraunhofer, Xing, LAME encoders. You can tell differences between 128 vs 160 vs 192 vs 256kbps bitrates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TV Season is back!

Shows I watch as soon as it becomes available:
The (Celebrity) Apprentice
The Ultimate Fighter
World Series of Poker
Top Chef
South Park
CSI (Las Vegas)

Shows I like having on (I like falling asleep to, or watch in the background while I work).
No Reservations (Travel Channel)
Man Vs. Wild

Shows I plan to watch on an extended vacation (whenever that may be)
Apprentice UK

Shows I'll watch when I retire
CSI Miami

Shows I thought I would never not stop watching, but do not watch currently:
The Simpsons
Family Guy
American Idol

All FOX...Interesting

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I recently turned 30 a weekend and a half ago. Big three oh.

What is it like? To tell you the truth, I cannot tell. When I'm not brandishing my crows feet (only happens when I really have an authentic smile on my face), I feel like I look about the same as I did in my late teens. Unfortunately, people who can tell that you are older than say a 21 year old is practically everyone else. I can't remember the last time I got genuinely carded out of me looking too young, not because of obligation from the law or management.

I don't know what age your age becomes a factor in your cognitive abilities, but I feel as though I'm sharper than I've ever been. What I've learned (unfortunately after college) is that to learn something, you need to first learn how your brain learn something new. My ability to learn something or solve a problem is always being improved and fine tuned. Its all about maximizing the gain of a new skill and minimizing the time you put into it.

As for strength, today, I bench pressed 145 lbs 8 reps without a spotter. That might sound like a little (or a lot depending on who you are), but I've never been able to bench close to 135 no matter how hard I tried in the past. It was discouraging. But things have changed. I've always read in Men's Health how it is easier to gain muscle starting at 30, than at 25. Something about testosterone. You produce more of it starting early 30's. Thinking back to the caveman days, it makes sense. When you are in your 30's, you gotta build a home for your family, hunt and kill wild animals for food, and protect your family (from predators, enemies, and natural elements). Before you're obligated to do that, all that testosterone probably just makes you an annoying person to be around.

As for my tastebuds, bitter things have more appeal as expected. I used to hate all bitterness, even till my late 20's. But now, I don't mind it at all. I may be even attacted to it. I find myself at the market sometimes exploring new tastes that are dark, rich, viscous, and often pungent. Things you generally hated as a child.

I would have to say that 30 is 10 times better than being 20.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I like to eat natto

Natto has an acquired taste. I eat it just about every other day. It may be the most foul smelling Asian foods you can eat, #1 being stinky tofu, #2 being natto, #3 fish sauce and durian being somewhere in the mix, I'd say natto probably isn't that bad. Natto smells pretty much identical to stinky feet. Stinky as put on your running shoes with your gym socks on, you accidentally stepped in a puddle, and you decided to just not do anything about the dampness for the entire day. And say you had pretty sweaty feet in general so it just keeps your foot moist all day long. After a long day, you take off your shoes, the smell hits. That is what natto smells like. Right there. I can't describe it any better than that. I can say that the smell of smelly feet can have a high variance, but the exact smell of natto is in that spectrum.

So why do I eat it? Aside from the smell, it is fun to eat. The level of salt is perfect when you're looking for something to snack on. There is a whole process involved in eating natto. The first step is to prepare it with the 2 packets it comes with. The hot mustard and the soy sauce. Separate the top so that you have a discard pad for your packets. Squeeze the hot mustard and soy sauce onto the natto. The second step is the to mix in the soy sauce and hot mustard. And the more you mix, the more frothy it gets. The trick is to mix it up, get it froty, and have a few soy beans. The mixture of froth and some soy beans is what you want to get in your mouth (3rd step). Why? I am not quite sure. But if you don't make the froth, its not the same. When it gets to your mouth, you've undoubtably ended up with some strings of natto (kinda like spider web) on the chop sticks. You really don't want this to hit your chin. The mouth has a ability to clense itself, your chin doesn't. A dry wipe will not do it. So the fourth part to eating natto is to not let the natto strings hit your chin. Use your chop sticks to guide the strings away from your chin. 5th part is keep up the frothyness. The froth will die down when its not constantly stirred. Keep mixing it so you can keep eating it.

-Fun to eat
I also found out today that its good for you. From wikipedia:
-Supposedly it helps your blood not clot.
-High in nutrients that helps bone growth.
-May lower cholesterol.
-May prevent some cancers like any soy products.
-Is filling (probably something about its consistancy, frothyness, and gas that makes you think you ate more than you did).
-I can personally verify an unverified claim noted in wikipedia that it does help with digestion.
-Good for your skin.
-Its probiotic.

-Gas. They are beans afterall. Also, they are fermented. You can do the math. But in all honesty, it probably smells worse going in.
-Soy has something in them that bonds to estrogen receptors in your body. I have not found conclusive one line statement saying soy will have identical effects to the body that estrogen does, BUT...doctors do recommend that a heavy diet of soy products for young boys is a very bad idea, and there are products like estroven which is like a natural estrogen supplement that is made with soy products. They must exist because they are not a total waste of money. They probably won't give you man boobs (moobs) because if it did, Asia would be the land of moobs, but that is not the case.

So its almost the perfect food. Except the estrogen like effects and the smell. May require more than trying once to acquire the taste, but you may start loving it like I do (and the millions of people in Japan).