Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Jar Called To Me

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I was at Jefferson Mall yesterday, and as I walked by the food court, I decided to make a swing past Max Orient. The jar of fortune cookies on the counter was just a little too tempting, so I picked up a half dozen before going on my merry way.

As usual, I waited until I was home to open the cookies. It's less messier that way, and also less chance of losing any of the fortunes. And here are the fortunes that came with that batch of cookies:

"A four-wheeled adventure will soon bring you happiness."
"Now is a good time for a new collection or hobby."
"You shall soon make a long, overdue personal decision."
"You will be happily surprised by a long time friend."
"Your ability to love will help a child in need."
"Your sense of humor allows you to glide through these difficult times."

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Fortune

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I haven't done the big family Thanksgiving get-together thing for a few years. With my parents at one end of the state, and my brother in another part, getting together for both Thanksgiving and Christmas is a little bit of a problem. So, we save the big get-together for Christmas.

As a result, Thanksgiving is something of a challenge for me. I'm not particularly interested in cooking a big meal just for myself, so for the past two or three years, I have been going to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving dinner. Their buffet is always good, and I rather liked the idea of steak for Thanksgiving. A little offbeat, but that's why I liked it.

This year, though, I was in the mood for something just a little different. I learned that 8 China Buffet was open for Thanksgiving, and I decided that sushi for Thanksgiving might be an even more offbeat choice.

As always, the food at 8 China was delicious. The restaurant was a little emptier than I thought it would be. In all honesty, I thought there would have been more people who didn't want to cook the big meal, and opted to eat out. Of course, they might have all been at Golden Corral.

The big-screen TVs were all tuned to football (thankfully, with the sound off), which gave me another reason to be thankful. As I watched the Detroit Lions get pounded yet again, I was thankful that I was not a Lions fan.

And of course, with the end of the meal came the fortune cookie. Here is my Thanksgiving fortune:

"To find ourselves, we must first lose ourselves."

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Archeological Find

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This is yet another fortune I discovered while cleaning my condo. It's not that my condo is a total mess . . . well, it is something of a mess, but that's another topic for discussion elsewhere. I keep discovering all of these fortunes because, let's face it, the little slips of paper are rather small, and it is easy for them to get lost in various nooks and crannies.

In any event, here is the most recent fortune I rediscovered:

"You have an unusually magnetic personality."

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Mystery Cookies

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I found a bunch of unopened fortune cookies a little over a week ago. Another batch that I found while I was cleaning up my condo. The thing is, I'm not completely sure where I got them. They weren't from the bag of cookies I got from my friend Linda. Those are in a Ziploc bag, and it was definitely zipped shut. I'm guessing that these were some that I got from Max Orient, but I don't know for sure.

The cookies weren't stale, so I know that I must have acquired them not too long ago. Believe it or not, fortune cookies do eventually go stale. Of course, the fortunes never go stale. Once more, I present a random collection of fortunes for your amusement and enlightenment:

"A pleasant surprise is in store for you tonight."
"Keep in mind your most cherished dreams of the future."
"Now is a good time to try something new."
"With integrity and consistency, your credits are piling up."
"You are always welcome in any gathering."

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Fortune On The Run

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I was in St. Matthews yesterday, and I grabbed a quick lunch at China 1, a take-out place on Breckenridge Lane. I decided to go with my default selection for take-out at any Chinese restaurant -- shrimp lo mein. I use that as a comparison. If they don't have good shrimp lo mein, the rest of their food probably isn't that good, either. (By the way, the shrimp lo mein at China 1 is pretty good.)

Along with my lunch, they dropped a fortune cookie in the bag, and here is the fortune:

"You are soon going to change your present line of work."

Hmmm, that sounds promising. I hope it's right.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Shattered Cookie, But Not Shattered Fortune

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This time, we have more fortunes found while I was cleaning my condo. In one case, the fortune was still in the fortune cookie, and the cookie in turn was still in the wrapper. The cookie, unfortunately, had been crushed, almost pulverized into dust. Sadly, the cookie wasn't salvageable, but of course, the fortune was.

The other fortune was simply lying in a stack of . . . well, something. A stack of papers, more than likely. In any case, here are the fortunes from this round of cleaning up:

"Any rough times are now behind you."
"You will be awarded some great honor."

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Linda Collection 1

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My friend Linda brought a surprise to a club meeting yesterday. It was a big Ziploc bag of fortune cookies. If I had heard her right, the place where she had been getting Chinese takeout was now giving her four (or more) fortune cookies with each order, instead of just one. She didn't need that many fortune cookies, so she brought them to the meeting for the rest of us.

I immediately grabbed a few cookies. A couple of the others did as well, but when I told them about what I was doing here, they let me have their fortunes after reading them. (I think they would have been thrown away if I hadn't said anything.)

With Linda’s blessing, I also grabbed the bag at the meeting's end. I haven't gone through all of the fortune cookies yet -- that was a one-gallon Ziploc bag, and it was stuffed with cookies. What I am presenting here is the first of what I am going to call the Linda Collections:

"A family reunion in the coming months will be a tremendous success!"
"A good time to start something new."
"A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn't go by yourself."
"Nothing is impossible to a willing heart." (I think this was the fortune in the first cookie I opened.)
"The best prophet of the future is the past."
"The courage to be great lies deep within each of us."
"You are a bundle of energy, always on the go."
"You are ambitious."

There will be more to come, I promise. Hmmm, I need to ask Linda who is being so generous with the fortune cookies . . .

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Forgotten, But Not Gone

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I was doing a little housecleaning the other day, and I came across yet another fortune from a long-ago fortune cookie. I have no idea how many more I have stashed around my condo, but it's always interesting when I stumble upon one (or more) of these forgotten fortunes:

"You never show your vulnerability; you are always self assured and confident."

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fannish Fortunes

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I found another batch of fortunes on one of my bookshelves a few days ago. This particular batch of fortunes is particularly special, though. I've been trying to think of a good description of these fortunes, and I think the best thing to call them is "fannish fortunes."

There are fortune cookie producers that do custom orders. I've never ordered any myself, but I suspect you give the company the messages you want in the fortunes, and they print them and insert the fortunes in the cookies, then ship the finished cookies to your door.

I've encountered fortune cookies with a science fiction theme on a couple of occasions. My first was at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention, Magicon. The closing ceremonies were partly conducted by ConFrancisco, the 1993 Worldcon. During their part of the ceremonies, the people from ConFrancisco handed out custom-made fortune cookies. I remember that the fortune in my cookie said something about my amazing everyone with my hall costume at ConFrancisco. I'll have to dig out the issue of FOSFAX with my con report to get the precise wording of the fortune.

My next encounter with fannish fortune cookies was several years later. I'm trying to remember where I obtained these fortunes. I do know that it was at a science fiction convention, most likely at a Worldcon. It could have been at an event like the masquerade, Hugo Awards ceremony, or closing ceremonies. (I'm fairly certain that it wasn’t at an opening ceremonies.) It might also have been at a room party where I got them. In any case, besides the fortune in my own cookie, I managed to pick up a few others that people had discarded after reading them.

I do know that, wherever I found these fortunes, it was after the release of the movie Independence Day (for reasons that will soon become clear). There is also a strong probability that it was after the release of The Lion King. I can't give much more in the way of clues beyond that. Maybe someone reading this will remember who distributed these cookies, and will leave a comment.

These particular fortunes are geared toward members of SF fandom, and one or two of them may leave you scratching your head if you aren't a fan. If you don't understand, leave a comment, and I will try to elucidate.

"Dragons, unicorns, and penguins are out. Cows are in. Meerkats are next."
"Earn big bucks writing fortunes at home in your spare time!"
"Stephen King will write your biography."
"The next set of MAGIC cards will be based on your college years."
"William Shatner will ask for your recommendation when buying his new hairpiece."
"You will astonish the world by explaining coherently how 'Independence Day' abbreviates to 'ID4'."
"You will be offered a chance to chair the Minneapolis in 73 Worldcon bid."
"You will restore tradition to fandom: Your mimeo will break down and get ink on your hands."
"Your next short story will be selected for The Last Dangerous Visions."

As I said, if you don’t understand something, feel free to ask.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Think Outside The Fortune Cookie

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No fortunes this time. Well, nothing that came out of a fortune cookie, in any case. But this is one of those things that occasionally comes close to the orbit of what I've dubbed fortune cookie philosophy.

Last night, I went to Taco Bell, and got a couple of burritos for dinner. While I was waiting for my order, I happened to glance at the packets of Border Sauce. As I took a closer look, I noticed that there was a space on the packets that had different messages printed.

I looked through the packets, and I found five different messages. I was expecting the messages to be phrases related to Taco Bell's advertising campaigns, or generic humor, or possibly even fortune-cookie style messages. They really weren't any of the above. They were more . . . non sequitur-ish than anything else. A bit on the curious side, but I'll let you be the judge of what they are:

"Ahhh . . . we meet again."
"Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I can hear laughing."
"This space for rent. Inquire within."
"Will you marry me?"
"Will you scratch my back?"

I'll be keeping my eye out the next time I make a run for the border. I am quite certain that there must be more than just those five messages.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Found On A Bookshelf

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As I think I've mentioned in at least one entry, I have more than a few fortunes scattered all over my condo. I found three more earlier this morning.

I was taking a book from one of my bookshelves. As I was moving some stuff out of the way, I noticed three little slips of paper. They were fortunes that I had forgotten about. And now, I present those fortunes for your enjoyment:

"The joyfulness of a man prolongeth his ways."
"Versatility is one of your outstanding traits."
"You have an active mind and a keen imagination."

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Buffet, Another Fortune

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Saturday, I went to another restaurant for lunch -- the aptly if unoriginally named Asian Buffet. They have a decent buffet. They usually have a fairly decent sushi selection, but it seemed to be somewhat limited the day I went there. I have seen them with a better sushi selection on previous visits. Maybe they were saving the sushi for the dinner crowd that night.

The other selections on the buffet were pretty good. They had a few items Saturday that I don't regularly see at any of the other Chinese restaurants.

And of course, the meal ended with a fortune cookie (even though I waited until I got home to eat it). The fortune from this cookie read as follows:

"Something nice is coming to you in the mail."

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

No Wrong Way To Eat A Fortune Cookie?

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Do you have any particular pattern when it comes to eating a fortune cookie? Is there any particular ritual that you use for eating the cookie, and reading the fortune?

With me, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the meal. If I'm eating alone, I will usually stuff the fortune cookie (still wrapped) in my backpack or in my pocket. I tend to wait until I get home before I unwrap the cookie, break it open, eat the cookie, and read the fortune. I find this especially true since I started this particular online journal.

If I have bought a batch of cookies at the mall's food court, I get them in a bag. The bag definitely goes in the backpack, and I wait until I'm home. Then, it's a case of waiting until I have more than a few free moments, and I crack them open all at once. (It usually helps if I'm in the mood for a little snack.)

In both cases, it's a matter of keeping track of the fortunes. I don't want to lose them, or have them scattered to some distant corner of my condo, so I open the cookies where I can keep them at hand while I write an entry.

If I'm eating with friends . . . well, that's a different matter. If we're eating Chinese (or Korean, or at any other Asian restaurant that gives you a fortune cookie at the end of the meal), we share the fortunes with each other.

There is even a particular ritual one group of friends uses for sharing our fortunes. One person starts by picking one person in the group at random, and asks that person a question. The person being questioned replies by reading his or her fortune. He or she then asks another person a question. This continues until the first questioner is asked the last question, and replies with the fortune from his or her cookie.

Are there any other interesting fortune cookie rituals out there?

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Fortune For Lunch

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I went to 8China Buffet for lunch last week. No particular reason; I was just in the mood. As usual, the food was excellent. And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end of the meal.

I actually misplaced the cookie for a day or two, which is why it took so long to write this entry. The fortune in my cookie said this:

"Don't be hasty, prosperity will knock on your door soon."

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's In The Name?

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As you can clearly see from the top of the page, the subtitle of this site is “Fortune Cookie Philosophy.” Catchy title, don’t you think? I thought it was, in any case. But what exactly do I mean by “Fortune Cookie Philosophy”?

I’ll tell you what; I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out myself.

A few decades ago, someone said that while he couldn’t define pornography, he knew what it was when he saw it. I hope that won’t be the case here.

I suppose one of the key things I noticed a long time ago about the fortunes in fortune cookies is that they try to impart some words of wisdom in just one brief sentence. Maybe that is also the key to defining fortune cookie philosophy.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

More From The Mall

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I was at Jefferson Mall last Friday, and I realized that it had been a while since I had indulged myself in some fortune cookies at Max Orient. (There are a couple of other Asian restaurants in the food court, but I haven't seen fortune cookies at either of those places.) So, I picked up a half dozen when I went by the food court.

As usual, I waited until I was home before opening the cookies. It's the best way to make sure that the fortunes aren’t scattered all over the place -- or worse, that I lose some of them. In any case, here are the words of wisdom imparted by this latest collection of fortunes:

"A great honor will be bestowed upon you with the coming year."
"Boats and water are in your future. Have fun!"
"Listen these next few days to your friends to get answers you seek."
"Now is the time to set your sights high and go for it."
"You deserve special treatment this month. Enjoy dessert."
"You will be happily surprised by a long time friend."

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Not So Hidden Treasures

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Not too long ago, I was I was enjoying a couple of Nestle Treasures. If you're not familiar with them, these are individually wrapped chocolates molded in the shape of treasure chests. And as I was unwrapping one, I happened to notice that the wrapper had a brief message printed on it. I wouldn't call it a fortune; more of a reminder to, as Mac Davis once sang, stop and smell the roses.

As I looked through the bag, I saw a number of different messages on the wrappers, all with the same general theme. Like I said, they aren't exactly fortunes, but I thought they were close enough to merit listing them here. I hope you find them as amusing as I did:

Clear your mind
Close your eyes & relax
Enjoy the moment
Indulge yourself
Let it go
Renew yourself
Take a sweet break
This time is yours
Treat yourself

If I see any additional messages like these in other bags of Treasures, I'll present them here as well.

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Evening With Friends And Fortunes

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A few weeks ago, I had dinner with some friends at 8 China Buffet. This was the first time I had gone to dinner with a group since I started The Janus Files 2. When the end of the meal came, everyone read the fortunes in their fortune cookies.

I tried to collect all of the fortunes afterward. Unfortunately, some of my friends decided to hang on to their fortunes. Those in the group who know about this site were more than happy to let me have their fortunes. So, I think I got about half of the fortunes, which I now present for your entertainment and enjoyment:

"A family reunion in the coming months will be a tremendous success!"
"A great man never ignores the simplicity of a child."
"A smooth long journey! Great Expectations."
"Be Careful! Bees with honey in their mouths, have stings in their tails."
"Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness."
"You are cautious in showing your true self to others."
"You are offered the dream of a lifetime. Say yes!"
"You're transforming yourself into someone who is certain to succeed."

The funny thing is, I'm trying to remember which of these fortunes was mine. At the moment, I can't.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hidden Under A Coaster

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This is another one of what I am certain is a multitude of fortunes lying around my condo, inhabiting various nooks and crannies. I suppose one good thing about having started this journal is that slowly but surely, these fortunes are migrating to one location.

"Working together works."


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fortunes To The Max

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I was at Jefferson Mall a week or two after the last time I mentioned getting fortune cookies at Max Orient. I decided to pick up some fortune cookies on this visit, and this time, I decided to splurge a little, and get a dollar's worth.

As I did the last time, once I got home, I promptly forgot about the cookies once I got home. It wasn't until a few days ago that I finally cracked open the cookies.

The cookies were still in the shopping bag that the lady at Max Orient handed me. When I looked inside, I was pleasantly surprised. She had dropped a couple of additional cookies in with my purchase, so I had eight instead of six. Here are the fortunes from this particular batch:

"An influential figure will make mention of you in a positive light."
"Do not let others take advantage of you."
"Don't let others stop you from doing what you know is right."
"Good things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
"You are compassionate and understanding."
"You will be selected for a promotion because of your accomplishments."
"You will spend your old age in comfort and material wealth."
"Your nurturing instincts will expand to include many people."

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

8 China For Dinner

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I went to 8 China Buffet a couple of nights ago to try their dinner buffet. It was all right, but for future visits, I think I will probably stick with going to lunch.

Not that the food isn’t good. Quite the opposite; it’s great. It’s just that I was expecting a more expanded selection for dinner. From what I can tell, though, the main difference between 8 China’s lunch and dinner selections is that they offer crab legs during dinner. (Well, that’s the difference I found most noticeable.) I like crab, but I really don’t want to have to go to all of the trouble of cracking open the shells to get to the meat.

In any event, the food was great, especially the sushi. And inside the fortune cookie at the end of the meal was this fortune:

"Your heart is a place to draw true happiness."

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Seen At Work

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As I arrived at work last night, I noticed that one of my co-workers had brought in Chinese for dinner. Well, I saw the fortune cookie, and the fortune from that cookie. I asked him if I could have the fortune, and he said, "Sure." Here is what that fortune said:

"You are born with a 'sixth sense' and superb insight."

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fortune With Lunch

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Last week, I went to 8 China Buffet for the first time. The restaurant opened several months ago, and I had been meaning to try their lunch buffet for some time, especially after someone told me that they thought it was one of the best Asian buffets in Louisville.

Yes, it was as good as recommended. It probably has the best sushi selection, especially for lunch. (I'm guessing that there is an even better selection for dinner, but I will have to wait for another visit to confirm that.

And as usual, at the end of the meal came the fortune cookie. Here is the fortune from this visit:

"Through greater effort and hard work a precious dream comes true."

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Missed Opportunity

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I missed an opportunity a couple of weeks ago. But to be honest, I didn't think they would sell out completely.

Okay, that probably doesn't make sense at the moment. Trust me, it will very shortly.

If you spent any time in the candy aisle during the past few weeks, you will have noticed that, among other things, Hershey had Valentine's Day versions of some of its candy products. What particularly interested me was the Valentine's Day version of the Special Dark Kisses. Hershey does something with those Kisses that it doesn’t do with any of the other Valentine’s Day Kisses.

It's what they do with the flags, the plumes. Those little paper streamers that stick out of the top of the foil wrapping. Most of the year, the flags for the Special Dark Kisses simply have "Dark" printed on them. But for Valentine's Day, Hershey uses flags that have Valentine's Day messages printed on them. Not quite the fortunes in a fortune cookie, but I suppose you could call them a close relative.

As I recall, there were six different messages. "Be My Valentine" and "I Love You" are two of the messages, but those are the only ones that come to mind at the moment.

I was waiting for February 15, when all of the Valentine's Day candy gets discounted 50%, and I was going to get a bag then. But when I went to acquire a bag, I discovered that the Special Dark Kisses had all disappeared from the shelves. Oh, there was plenty of Valentine's Day candy; just not the Special Dark Kisses. And I checked several different stores.

So, it looks like I will have to wait until 2009 to write an entry on those messages.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fun In The Food Court

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I guess this was about two weeks ago. I was in Jefferson Mall, and I made a swing past the food court. I really wasn't hungry for anything at any of the restaurants, but I did linger for a minute or two at Max Orient.

Now, Max Orient serves what I have heard referred to as "food court Chinese." In other words, more or less generic stir-fries served with your choice of rice or noodles. The authenticity can probably be called into question, but it usually makes a pretty good lunch. And at least here in Louisville, most restaurants of this sort have developed a dish with a little bit of local flavor -- bourbon chicken.

In any case, what caught my attention this time was the jar near the register. It was full of fortune cookies, and a label on the jar said that they were three for 50 cents. I might not have been interested in getting anything else to eat, but a few fortune cookies were a different matter. I could crack them open later, and of course I would have material for a new entry.

When I got home, though, I promptly forgot about the fortune cookies for over a week. That changed earlier this morning. Curiosity finally got the better of me, and I wondered what words of wisdom these fortune cookies might hold. The fortunes were as follows:

"Be yourself, and you will always be in fashion."
"That special someone loves to see the light in your eyes."
"You are inclined to come up with unconventional solutions."

I'll have to remember to do this again. For that matter, I will also have to check some of the other Chinese restaurants in Louisville, and see if they do something similar.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Found On An End Table

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I found a fortune cookie, still wrapped, on the table in my living room early this morning. As best as I can remember, I stuck the cookie in my jacket when I had Chinese a month or two ago. I took it out and put it on the table when I got home, and it was covered by some papers before I could crack it open.

The cookie was still good, so I ate it. And of course, I wanted to see what the fortune said:

"Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought."

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

With A Little Help

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Not long after I created this site, I got a phone call from a friend. He was rather amused by the whole concept I had for this particular online journal. A few days ago, I received an email from him. He and some other friends had eaten at a favorite Asian restaurant a few days earlier. He had saved the fortunes from everyone's fortune cookies, and sent them to me:

"Your principles mean more to you than any money or success."
"It tastes sweet."
"You would make a good lawyer."
"You are working hard."

In a second email, he sent a fortune that an acquaintance uses as an email signature, because it "sounds Zen to him."

"There are more to everything than its appearance."

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Friday, January 4, 2008

First Collection

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Remember that I said that I had an unknown number of fortunes from fortune cookies all over my condo? Well, I just stumbled across a few right after posting the last entry. This is the first of what will most likely be many such collections.

"Aspire to be great -- then help others."
"Smile if you like this fortune cookie."
"We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are."
"You will do well to expend your business."

I'm guessing that the last one was meant to say "expand your business." I am presenting them just as they came out of the fortune cookie, and I will add commentary as necessary.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

First Fortune

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I wanted to do something a little different to begin 2008, so on New Year's Day, I went to #1 Asian Buffet in Mid-City Mall for lunch. It was there that I picked up the first fortune for this collection.

"Behind an able man, there are always other able men."

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Open The Cookie

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Welcome to The Janus Files, Volume 2.

I started Volume 1 about four years ago on Xanga. Last year, in what can only be described as a shining example of the fine line between genius and insanity, I opened a mirror site on LiveJournal (call it Volume 1A, I guess), and over the course of some four months, copied all of the existing entries from Xanga to the new site on LiveJournal. Now, new entries are posted to both sites more or less simultaneously. You can find Volume 1 of The Janus Files here:

This is not another mirror site. This will not be another mirror site. I’m not that masochistic. There will have to be a very good reason for me to create another mirror site, and copy those entries again.

Instead, I’m going to use this site for something different. I’m going to indulge in, for lack of a better term, fortune cookie philosophy.

I like eating at Chinese restaurants. I particularly like getting the fortune cookie at the end of the meal. I have a tendency to hold on to the fortunes, and I have no idea how many I have scattered throughout my condo.

That’s where this site comes in. Whenever I eat at a Chinese restaurant, I’m going to post the fortune from my fortune cookie here. And when I run across some of the other fortunes I have at home, I’ll be posting them here as well.

Open the cookie -- read the fortune.

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