Friday, December 31, 2010

All Right, Now WHY?

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I was Kroger again earlier, and once again, I stopped by the bananas in the produce section. The bananas were somewhat depleted, but I noticed that among the bunches still on the display, there was more of a variety in the stickers than there were on my last visit.

There was one sticker in particular that caught my attention. It caught my attention primarily because it doesn't seem to make any sense:

"Place Sticker on Forehead. Smile."

(Please note that as usual, I am capitalizing it just as I saw it on the sticker.)

Now, could someone please tell me why anyone would want to put this sticker on their forehead? If I were to see someone sporting one of these stickers on their forehead, I would be wondering if they had been using the bananas to make a few too many banana daiquiris. Anyone have an explanation for this? Comments would be welcome.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stuck For An Entry

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I was doing a little grocery shopping earlier this evening. As I walked through the produce section, I took a look at the bananas. I was paying particular attention to the bananas.

The last time I wrote about banana stickers (or more precise, what was printed on them), I noticed an abundance of stickers that simply said "Wii," which I suspect is some kind of promotion with that video game system. (Possibly the Donkey Kong game specifically?) That seemed to be the case this time as well, although I also noticed a number of stickers bearing artwork that had been designed by consumers as part of a contest.

I did find one banana bearing a fortune-ish sticker. I didn't need any bananas today, so I simply took the sticker, so I would remember what it said:

"I ♥ Lunch Boxes."

Not a bad way of reminding people that bananas are a pretty decent choice for lunch if you're deciding to brown-bag it.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Working Definition . . . Maybe

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Ever since I started The Janus Files 2, I have been trying to think of a good (and reasonably brief) definition of the topic of this blog, which is, of course, "Fortune Cookie Philosophy." I mean, the phrase is probably one of those things that I hope makes the light bulb in your head turn on immediately. You'll see the phrase and think, Okay, I get it! On the other hand, if I were to press you for a definition, It might not be so easy to verbalize.

Have I confused everyone yet? I sincerely hope not.

In any event, I have been trying to put together a definition that makes sense (or something resembling it) to me. And I think I may have something that more or less fits my view of the term. So, here we go:

Fortune Cookie Philosophy is a collection of brief words of wisdom, quotes, or advice that can easily fit on the slip of paper tucked into a fortune cookie, or similar small space.

Hmmm . . . that is coming close to my ideal definition. I think it's the best I can do at the moment. Let's call it a work in progress.

I hope all of you are having a very Merry Christmas. Or as some of my Jewish friends would say, Happy Chinese Dinner And A Movie Day.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Linda Collection 6

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I noticed a few days ago that it had been some time since I posted an entry concerning that big bag of fortune cookies that my friend Linda gave me many months ago. I also realized that sooner or later, those cookies are probably going to go stale, so it might be a good idea to go ahead and finish the cookies before that happens.

This time, I pulled out five fortune cookies from the bag. No particular rhyme or reason to my selection, although I did select one cookie that was crushed. In any case, here's what the fortunes said:

"A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you."*
"Accept the next proposition you hear."
"Happiness always accompanies with you."
"If you have a job without aggravations, you don't have a job."**
"You are kind-hearted and hospitable, cheerful and well-liked."

*This time of year, that will probably be a Christmas card.
**There are aggravations, and then there are aggravations. When people seem hellbent on causing as many as possible, I can do without them, job or not.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fortune Crushing

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Recently, I stopped by Jefferson Mall. It had been some time since I had picked up some fortune cookies at Max Orient, so I decided to make a swing by the food court and get a half dozen cookies.

I put the bag of cookies in my backpack, and then quickly forgot about them. I was planning to crack them open and write about the fortunes either that day or the following day, but they were shoved . . . well, not quite to the bottom of the pack, but close enough.

I remembered that the cookies were still in my backpack today. Unearthing the bag didn't require quite the skills of Indiana Jones, but it came close.

After spending about two weeks in my backpack, I didn't have to crack open the cookies. They were more than cracked open at this point. In point of fact, they wee well on their way to being crushed. Fortunately, they hadn't been pulverized to dust just yet.

The crushed state of the cookies did make things easier when it came to extracting the fortune. All I had to do was open the wrapper -- very carefully, I might add -- and pull the fortune out from the crumbs. I then dumped the crumbs into my hand, and from there they went into my mouth.

Once I had disposed of the cookies, I had these fortunes:

"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he gives up."*
"All things come to him who goes after them."
"Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter."**
"Soothing your body are the name of the game today."
"The path is getting easier from here on out. Luck is helping."
"Time heals all wounds."***

*I keep seeing running into a variant of this whenever I run out of time on Jewel Quest 3.
**If that's the case, I'm practically anorexic.
***I know I've seen this quote before, but who said it?

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Delay Not?

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I had lunch at #1 Asian Buffet yesterday. I was at Mid-City Mall at the time, and I was just in the mood for something substantial.

Now, the last time I ate there, I mentioned that I felt uncomfortably overstuffed when I left. I didn't know why, because I didn't think I had eaten more than I usually do. This time was different. I was feeling a little stuffed when I was finished, but I didn't have the feeling that I had last time. The feeling that I described as having a large lump of spent uranium just lying there in my stomach.

I ended up with two fortune cookies this time. I didn't open them until this afternoon, which gives the first fortune just a little bit of irony:

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

Okay, that sounds like a not-so-subtle reminder to write the entry as soon after getting the fortune cookie as possible. And then, there was the other fortune:

"What's hidden in an empty box?"

Now, that sounds like something that The Riddler would send Batman in advance of his next crime.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Fitting Fortune From A Far-Off Friend

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I have mentioned once or twice that some of my friends know about my penchant for collecting fortunes. And occasionally, they will remember to save their fortunes for me.

Last week, though, I received a fortune from an entirely unexpected friendly source. Said fortune arrived with a regular mailing from John Hertz.

Like me, John Hertz is a science fiction fan. He is a wonderful gentleman, and the recipient of one of SF fandom's highest honors, the Big Heart Award. (And trust me, it is well deserved.) Since he lives in Los Angeles, we usually run into each other at the occasional convention. Most of our communication is conducted through the mail.

One of Mr. Hertz's (many) fannish activities is Vanamonde, his contribution to the amateur press association APA-L. Every so often, I will receive an envelope containing several past installments of Vanamonde; usually 10 or so. I always find them interesting, if sometimes a little tricky follow. I once told Mr. Hertz that reading Vanamonde was like listening to a phone conversation where you couldn't hear the other side. (I presume that the other half of those conversations are taking place in the pages of other contributors' apa-zines.)

As I said, last week I received the latest bundle of Vanamonde. "Latest" is relatively speaking; the issues are from several months previous, and I suspect are from what are left over after APA-L is collated. As I was reading issue #845, I noticed at the bottom what could only be the fortune from a fortune cookie. It was in a different typeface than what he normally uses, and there were a series of numbers that looked like "lucky numbers" under the line:

"Listen to friends with an ear to the future."

Mr. Hertz commented that he planned to seek out such friends at Anticipation, 2009's World Science Fiction Convention.

Definitely one of those occasions when someone got precisely the right fortune.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

That's Something New

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Late this morning, there was something that I absolutely had to get some Chinese takeout today. I think it was my stomach rumbling, and the fact that at the time, China 1 was the closest place to get something to stop the rumbling.

When I walked through the door, I was more than a little startled. There was a white guy sitting at the cash register. That isn't something you normally see at a Chinese restaurant. Judging from some of the difficulties he had, I got the impression that he hadn't been working there long.

I ordered the shrimp with garlic sauce lunch special -- completely forgetting that this was what I ordered the last time. (I do like to order different things, just to see if there is something I haven't tried yet.) I must have remembered ordering that in the past at least subconsciously, because I asked if it had bell pepper, and asked them to hold it when they said yes.

China 1 was a side trip on my way to the library. There were a couple of benches outside the building, and I settled there to eat my lunch. (The library has this thing about people bringing food and drink into the library.)

When I ordered, I thought I also told them to make it less spicy. Either the cook has a different idea of what constitutes "less spicy" than I do, or they didn't catch that part of my order. The garlic sauce was just a little spicier than I thought it would be. It wasn't too bad by the time I stirred the remaining sauce into the fried rice.

And of course, capping my lunch was the fortune cookie. Here's the fortune:

"If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it."

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

That's Potassium With A "K"

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I bought a bunch of bananas earlier today. And as I looked over the bunches, I was also taking a good look at the stickers.

I was thinking of getting some bananas a few days ago. But when I started looking at what was available, the only stickers besides those bearing the Chiquita logo simply said, "Wii." I am guessing that Chiquita is doing some sort of promotion in conjunction with the Wii game system, but I didn't see anything to confirm my guess.

Today, however, was a different story. Oh, I saw plenty of the "Wii" stickers, but I also saw a variety of the fortune-ish stickers that I saw about a month ago. I saw one bunch that had a couple of different stickers, so of course that was the bunch I selected. Here's what the stickers said:

"The Food that Fights for You!"
"Yum, Yum, Potassi-yum!"

These are capitalized exactly as they were on the stickers. I'm not sure why some words were capitalized the way they were. And I like the second sticker's way of emphasizing bananas as a good source of potassium.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's Go Bananas!

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If you like bananas, you are probably more than a little familiar with those blue oval stickers appearing on bunches of Chiquita bananas. Not on every banana in the bunch, but at least one banana in every bunch is adorned with the blue sticker bearing the Chiquita logo.

Well, not long ago, I was at the supermarket, and I decided to pick up some bananas. I was looking for a small bunch -- no more than three or four -- because if I buy any more than that at any one time, some of them are likely to go bad before I eat them.

As I made my selection, I glanced at the sticker, and something caught my eye. The sticker had the Chiquita brand name, but it didn't have the lady banana wearing the hat full of fruit. Instead, there was a brief message on the sticker.

I took a closer look at the rest of the display, and I noticed that the stickers were (if you'll pardon the pun) a mixed bunch. Some of them did carry the picture logo, while others contained brief messages. (Considering the size of the sticker, they had to be brief.) And most of the messages seemed to be something close to what you might find in a fortune cookie.

I've picked up a few different stickers, but most of them seem to have gone into hiding. At the moment, all I can find is this one:

"Peel Me -- I'm Fat Free!"

I'm sure the others will resurface sooner or later. And, I suppose I can always go back to Kroger to buy more bananas.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Running Out Of Kiss Puns

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I opened up the other box of Baci yesterday. I was waiting on a couple of different occasions for the bus to arrive, and decided that there was plenty of time to savor a Baci. (Actually, I think the correct term for the singular is "Bacio," but since I don't know Italian, I don't know for certain.)

As the title of this entry suggest, I am running out of cute phrases to use as titles, and substituting "baci" (or "bacio") for "kiss." Which means that the next time I have an entry about the messages I find in Baci, I'm going to have to really think of a good title.

Well, enough of the preamble. Here are the messages I found in this pair of Baci:

"Friendship is Love without his wings!" -- G. Byron (More from Lord Byron?)
"One little kiss can contain the grandest passion." -- Anonymous

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Lingering Baci

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Not too long ago, I picked a couple of boxes of Baci at World Market. I didn't eat them right away. As a matter of fact, it took a few days before I opened the first box, because I wanted the chance to savor the Baci as much as possible. These are not chocolates to scarf down like you would a bag of potato chips.

One day last week, I finally found just the right moment to open that first box. And yes, I did savor the chocolates as much as I possibly could. And I was intrigued by the love notes I found wrapped around this pair of Baci:

"There is no instince like that of the heart." -- G. Byron (I suspect this refers to George Gordon, Lord Byron.)
"How you give is more important thanwhat you give." -- P. Corneille

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Than One Reason

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Yesterday, I stopped by China 1 to pick up a slightly late lunch. As it turned out, that was a smart idea, because "crazy" does not begin to describe things at work last evening.

It was still early enough to order a lunch special, and I ordered shrimp with garlic sauce. I did ask them to tone down the spiciness in the sauce. I didn't realize that it contained bell pepper, or I would have asked them to hold that as well.

One of the reasons I stopped by China 1 is that they have extra packets of soy sauce, hot mustard, and duck sauce available for the customers, and I picked up several of the first two. (The reasons for that will be covered in a future entry.)

After getting my food, I caught the TARC, and rode it to Shelbyville Road Plaza. I was making a stop by Borders before I went to work, and before going there, I found a bench, and I sat down to eat.

As I mentioned, I discovered the hard way that China 1 puts bell pepper in their shrimp with garlic sauce. Fortunately, the chunks were large enough that I was able to quickly spot them, and toss them at the base of a tree near where I was setting. (Hey, it is biodegradable, right?) And they made the garlic sauce just a little milder than I thought they would. Well, I suppose that last bit is my fault; I did ask for the mild version, after all. I'll have to ask for the medium version next time I order it.

Even though the sauce was on the mild side, the food was delicious, with plenty of decent-sized shrimp (I suppose "medium" is the official name). It also came with plenty of mushrooms, water chestnuts, baby corn, and other vegetables. And the sauce blended together quite nicely with the fried rice. Oh, and China 1 put the food in a reusable microwave dish. Not completely certain if I would want to try to bring anything from home to work, though; at least not when I'm on bike.

Of course, the meal included a fortune cookie, and the fortune inside read as follows:

"Serious trouble will bypass you."

This is one of those fortunes that I sincerely hope will hold true.

As I said, it was a good thing I had a chance to eat before going to work. It was one of those nights when anything and everything crazy seemed to happen. It's not a good thing when it feels like rush hour for more than four hours.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Fortune At Work

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Every once in a while, I'll notice that a customer has an old fortune from a fortune cookie in his/her wallet -- usually right in front of their driver's license. If I have the chance, I'll ask what the fortune says, and the customer will either show me the fortune, or read it to me.

I had one of those moments a couple of nights ago. A customer was getting the money for her purchase out of her wallet, and I spotted the fortune. As always, I was curious, and I said, "Just out of curiosity, what does the fortune say?" She looked at the fortune for a moment, then told me:

"A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work."

I'm not quite certain why she found the fortune to be that much of a keeper. Then again, every fortune speaks to each person differently.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fortune The 13th

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Last night at work, I got takeout from Oriental House. It wasn't planned; it was just one of those days when I had a number of things to do before going to work, and it turned out to be the best option. I suppose the more superstitious would say that it was a case of Friday The 13th rearing its ugly head.

Fortunately, there was enough overlap between my arrival and Hale's departure that I was able to take a couple of minutes, walk over to Oriental House, and place my order. A little while later, they brought my food over.

I wasn't particularly adventurous last night, and I ordered the lemon chicken lunch special. It was interesting to note that the lemon sauce came in a separate container this time, instead of being part of the dish as I have previously received it.

The food was great -- even if I had to eat it a bite or two at a time. And here's what the fortune said:

"Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome."

For once, a fortune that appeals to my own sense of humor.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Better Than Half A Fortune

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As I have mentioned once or twice, I occasionally find the random fortune at work. I'm guessing that they probably come from Oriental House. At least, that's their most likely origin.

While I was cleaning last night, I found a fortune at the lottery station. It didn't surprise me too much. I merely assumed that whoever left it there filled out a Powerball or Mega Millions playslip using the "lucky numbers" on the reverse of the fortune. What did surprise me just a little was that, before discarding the fortune, the person had ripped it in half. I have no idea why he or she felt the need to tear it in half, other than possibly wanting to make more work for me.

I kept the fortune, of course. I took it back to the register, and carefully taped it together. And here is what it said:

"Human Evolution: 'Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.'"

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

To Everything There Is A Fortune

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If I might paraphrase Forrest Gump just a little, fortune cookies are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

That line has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the entry. For some reason, though, my subconscious just told me that this would be a great opening line.

I grabbed takeout from Oriental House last night for dinner. It was one of those times when it was the best option, for various reasons.

I ordered the sesame chicken lunch special this time. I found it more than a little amusing when I cracked open the fortune cookie, because here's what the fortune said:

"For everything there is a season."

Sounds more than a little familiar, doesn't it? It's part of Ecclesiastes 3:1. You might recognize it more from the song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by The Byrds.

It's always interesting when you instantly recognize whence the fortune came.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Okay, That One's A Keeper

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Since I started this particular online journal, I seem to notice more often when other people hold on tothe fortunes from their fortune cookies. And of course, whenever I spot one of those slips of paper, the first thing out of my mouth is usually, "What does the fortune say?"

Something like that happened late last night at work. A customer was buying alcohol, and of course, I asked to see her ID. When she brought it out, there was a fortune just in front of her driver's license. It didn't cover anything important (like her date of birth), but I spent a little more time than usual looking at the ID. Well, I was looking at both the ID and the fortune. I even read the fortune out loud, to make sure I got it right.

I think I told the customer that I was always a little curious when I see someone hanging on to a fortune; that I'm wondering what that fortune might be. Here's what this particular fortune said:

"Your love life will be happy and harmonious."

Okay, I can see why she decided to keep that one.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Outsourcing Fortune Sources?

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Last night at work, a customer took out his wallet to pay for his purchases. In addition to pulling out a few bills of various denominations, he also inadvertantly pulled out the fortune from a fortune cookie.

I joked with him that fortunes were, unfortunately, not acceptable as legal tender. As it turns out, he's a little like me -- he likes to save his fortunes. I told him about my writing about fortunes, but I didn't have the chance to give the URL for this site.

I did ask to see the fortune that came out of his wallet. He let me see it, and copy it. It had to be one of the strangest fortunes I have ever encountered:

"Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself."

That's not what you would usually find in your fortune cookie. That actually sounds like something taken from Tony Robbins.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not Doing THAT Again

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Last time, I mentioned that I had had a few more customers ask me to run Powerball numbers for them based on what was on the fortune from their fortune cookie. I did, but I made them fill out playslips -- unlike the jerk from a couple of weeks ago.

The first one came in last Friday night. He wanted me to punch them in manually. I pointed him in the direction of the lottery station. When he asked why I couldn't punch them in manually, I think I told him something along the lines of my not wanting a line forming if other customers started coming in. I think I must have convinced him, because he filled out a playslip for me.

To be fair, I did show him how to fill out the playslip. And I did take a look at the fortune and the playslip once he was finished, to be certain he had filled it out correctly. I also took a look at the fortune, and wrote it down. Here's what it said:

"Fortune truly helps those who are of good judgement."

I didn't make note of his numbers. Since he did fill out his own playslip, I didn't see the need to treat him like I did the jerk. I hope this was one case where I was making good judgement.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Just Needed A Little Instruction

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You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I had a total jerk come in to where I work, and demand that I manually input numbers from a fortune cookie because he was just too lazy to fill out a Powerball playslip. In the past few days, I've had two more customers bring fortunes to me and want to play the numbers. There was a difference on both of these occasions. These customers filled out playslips.

The most recent was last night. A lady came in, and put four fortunes on the counter. She told me that she wanted to play the numbers on the fortunes for Powerball and Mega Millions, but she didn't know how to go about it.

Fortunately, things were on the quiet side at the time. I pointed her toward the lottery stand, and I told her bring me playslips for both, and a pencil.

When she returned, I placed the playslips side by side, and I told her, "Powerball and Mega Millions are basically played the same." Pointing to the two sections of the playslips, I said, "You pick five numbers from the top section, and then one in the bottom section for each play."

The lady took the Powerball playslip, and the first fortune. She marked the numbers as I had showed her, and asked me if she was doing it right with the first one. (She was.) She took the numbers from the other fortunes and filled them out, then repeated the process with the Mega Millions playslip. Once she was finished, I ran the playslips through the terminal, and handed her back the playslips and the tickets.

Once she filled out the playslips, she was finished with the fortunes, so she let me have them. Here is what the fortunes said:

"Listen to the wisdom of the old."
"Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far."
"Your ambitious nature will help you make a name for yourself."
"Your virtues are priceless treasures."

I'm not going to play any of her numbers, nor will I mention them here. She was being far too courteous for me to do that to her.

I will say one thing, though. That second fortune definitely applies to me.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Baci, Baci, Bang, Bang

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About a week ago, I was in my local World Market, and I saw those little boxes of Baci back on the shelves. I hadn't seen them for a few months, and I had been wondering if World Market would be getting them back in stock. Naturally, I picked up a box.

It was a few days before I unwrapped the Baci. It was one of those things where I needed just a little bit of time to properly appreciate the chocolates. And of course, there were the love notes hidden the foil wrapper and the chocolate. Here's what the notes said this time around:

"Love directs your course." -- Kahlil Gibran
"Love is blind to faults, friendship loves them." -- Anonymous

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Too Damn Lazy

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Every once in a while, I'll have a customer walk in after having dinner at Oriental House, go the the lottery stand, and fill out a Powerball playslip using the numbers that were on the fortune in their fortune cookie. Usually, the most I do is point them in the direction of the lottery stand, and of course run the playslip once they have filled it out.

Last night was a different story. A guy comes in, shoves his fortune at me, and then demands that I input the numbers on the fortune manually from the lottery terminal. And this is also when I have a couple of other customers as well. And the two or three times I try to point him in the direction of the lottery stand, he says, "All you have to do is . . . " and proceed to tell me what I have to do.

Yes, I know how to manually input the numbers. But if you go to most places that sell lottery tickets, they will usually tell you that unless you're playing a quick pick, you have to fill out a playslip. It's too time-consuming for the people behind the counter to punch in the numbers for every jackass who is too damn lazy to fill out a playslip.

I probably shouldn't have done it, but I punched in the numbers -- although I would have much rather punched out this incredibly rude and inconsiderate piece of work. And when I handed him his ticket, I rather pointedly said, "That is what the playslips are for, you know."

His response? "Oh, I've never filled out a playslip."

And people wonder why I sometimes want to bring a chainsaw to work.

Yes, he did leave unscathed. No, he won't be getting away with that little stunt if he ever tries it again.

He did leave the fortune behind. I'm not sure why, other than maybe I didn't give it back to him. Here's what it said:

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice."

I've heard a number of variations on this one.

This jerk really pissed me off. As I said, I still have the fortune, and I think I may play those numbers myself for tomorrow's Powerball drawing. Here are those numbers:

28, 14, 35, 32, 49, PB 09.

If you play Powerball, you might want to play these numbers tomorrow night. I'm not guaranteeing that they will win, but it would satisfy my sense of justice to know that he would have to split the jackpot with who knows how many others because he was just too damn lazy to fill out his own playslip.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Waiting For A Title

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Last night was the first time I had in a while to get something from Oriental House. For the most part, I have been bringing in something to eat -- Subway and Taco Bell have been the usual suspects. But Hale and I had enough overlap last night that I was able to walk over, place my order, and have them deliver it.

Last night, my choice was the chicken with garlic sauce lunch special. I think I was in the mood for something spicy -- and despite my requesting the mild version, I definitely got it. Still enjoyable, though.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end of the meal. This time around, the fortune actually sounds like a word of ancient Chinese wisdom:

"The superior person is modest in his speech but exceeds in action."

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Could You Please Just Go Away?

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I know that Friday and Saturday nights at work are going to be a little on the insane side. It's part of the job; I accept it. But why do people seem to think that they constantly have to redefine the meaning of "insane"?

Last night at work was one of those nights. A night when the entirety of St. Matthews seemed to think that I would die of lonlieness if there wasn't a constant stream of people coming in to keep me company.

And for the record, no, that is not the case. I am not the Maytag repairman; I can handle being left alone. In fact, there are some parts of the job that I can do only when there is so one else around.

The good news is, getting dinner was not a problem. Hale and I had enough of an overlap that I was able to walk over to Oriental House before he clocked out, placed an order, and asked them to bring it over once it was ready. The bad news is, things apparently were just as crazy at Oriental House. It was almost an hour before they brought over my order. And it took me almost two hours to eat it, because no one wanted to leave me alone long enough to eat more than one or two bites at a time.

I ordered the Hong Kong Chicken lunch special last night; I think mainly because I hadn't had it in a while. It was satisfying -- whenever I was able to get more than a couple of bites in, that is.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie. Here's what the fortune said:

"Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance."

If an emergency at work is any crazier than the norm, I have to wonder: Big chance for what?

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Open Sesame (Chicken), Close Hunger

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Last night at work was . . . relatively peaceful. Especially after the previous three days. I usually make comparisons to Arkham Asylum, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights went even beyond that level of insanity.

I had eaten a late lunch, and when I was finally ready to get something for dinner, I went with Oriental House. (I had already planned that, to some extent.) Of course, the tricky part is always getting the three or four minutes necessary to lock up, walk over to Oriental House, and place the order. (Yes, I could place my order by phone, but getting away for just a couple of minutes clears the head a little.) I had a couple of false starts when, just as I was placing the "be right back" sign on the door, someone else would walk up.

When I finally made it to Oriental House, I ordered the sesame chicken lunch special. No particular reason; it just sounded the best to me last night. A few minutes later, they brought it over. And much to my surprise, I managed to eat most of it while it was still fairly hot.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end of the meal. This time, the fortune said this:

"Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings."

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Obviously, This Was Meant For Someone Else

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Okay, now that April Fools Day is out of the way, it's back to the fortunes. (Nuclear-powered DeLorean not required.)

I got takeout from Oriental House last night. It was one of those nights when it was really the best choice. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to wait for a quiet moment to lock up and walk over to Oriental House. I probably wouldn't have been able to get over there at all. But with the way that things were on the schedule last night, I didn't have to worry. There was a couple of hours of overlap between the time I clocked in and when Hale clocked out. So, about 30 minutes or so before it was time for Hale to leave, I had him take over the register for a few minutes, and I walked over to Oriental House. I was able to place my order, and have a little bit of a stretch before going back to the insanity.

I ordered the bourbon chicken lunch special this time. Satisfying, tasty, and perfect for a night when I wasn't feeling in an adventurous mood.

I had to chuckle more than a little when I opened the fortune cookie and read the fortune:

"You become known for your generosity."

Okay, this fortune is just so not me. Yes, I may have my moments of generosity, but this particular fortune is unlike me most of the time.

I guess the fortune cookie can't get it right all the time.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Fortunes Today

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Even if I had eaten Chinese every day for the past week or more, I wouldn't be writing about it today. (As it happens, I haven't, so that isn't a factor for consideration. But I digress.)

If you haven't noticed, today is April Fools Day. To my way of thinking, this is far from the best day to be writing about something like fortunes. I mean, I could write the most outlandish story imaginable about an experience at a Chinese restaurant. And even if it were the absolute, complete, and unvarnished truth, someone out there would be saying, "Yeah, right. I know what today is."

On a similar note, I my last visit to a Chinese restaurant could have yielded one of the most incredibly funny fortunes that I have ever found in a fortune cookie. And again, there would be someone questioning the veracity of my entry, just by invoking today's date. Take a look at the previous entry, for instance. Would you believe it really happened that way if I posted it on April Fools Day?

On the other hand, I could write about finding the most mundane and commonplace of fortunes in a fortune cookie, and the response would be, "You couldn't come up with something better for April Fools Day?"

There's just no pleasing some people.

So, rather than trying to do either, I will simply leave you with my own observation of the day. Ponder its lesson well, Grasshopper:

Even the most sincere and serious of trusted friends may reveal a wickedly humorous streak on April Fools Day.

I hope you haven't been tricked too bad today.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting Juxtaposition

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Yesterday was one of those days when I realized that, somewhere around 7:00 PM, I realized that I was going to need a little more in the fuel tank if I was going to make it through the rest of the night without rude complaints from my stomach. Fortunately, things weren't too crazy after rush hour was over, and I had a few minutes where I could lock up and walk next door to Oriental House to get takeout.

I went with the beef with broccoli lunch special this time. I wasn't particularly in the mood to be adventurous, and beef with broccoli seemed like just the thing. About 15 minutes later, they brought my food over.

The fortune in the fortune cookie brought a little bit of amusement. Not so much for the fortune itself, which was this:

"A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you."

The amusement came from the other side of the fortune. Like most fortune cookie fortunes, on the back side of the fortune was a word of Chinese. On this fortune, the word was zui, which means "drunk, tipsy."

Okay. does this mean that a lifetime of happiness lies ahead of me if I am drunk or tipsy?

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

So When Do I Get It?

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I think I have gone through just about all of the lunch specials at Oriental House. I'm probably not going to try the Pepper Steak, ever. That sounds like it is mostly bell pepper, and I am quite certain that I have made my views clear on bell pepper on numerous occasions.. Other than that, I think the one selection I hadn't tried was the General Tso's Chicken.

Last night, I had to be at work on the early side. And as I didn't really think about it beforehand, I fell back on Oriental House for lunch. This was easier said than done. Once I decided what I wanted, it took me over 30 minutes to lock up, walk next door to Oriental House, and place my order. Every time it looked like the lot was empty (in other words, when the coast was clear), and I was walking to the door with the "Be right back" sign in hand, someone else would walk up and scuttle my plans once again. One time, I had locked one of the doors, taped the sign to the door, and was outside and just about to lock the other door when someone decided that their day wouldn't be complete without making mine just a little bit more insane.

I mean, seriously, people! Do you have something against an overworked cashier getting something to stave off the pangs of hunger?

Once I did manage to get over to Oriental House, it took all of about three minutes to place my order, pay for it, and ask them to bring it over. And I have already suggested, I ordered the General Tso's Chicken with fried rice and an egg roll. Mild on the spicy side, please.

When the guy from Oriental House brought my food over a few minutes later, I think he was glad for the break. from what I could tell, they were even busier than I was. We talked for a minute or two. I was doing what I could to stretch out his relative peace as long as I could.

The food was delicious. Not too spicy, with large chunks of chicken, carrots, and zucchini. There were also a couple of chili peppers blended with everything else. I tried to bite into one, but it was dried, and not really conducive to eating. That attempt also released an additional bit of heat into the food. Not much, but enough to make me glad that I didn't order the full strength spiciness.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end. Here's what the fortune said:

"Joy comes from peace today, save the adventure till next week."

Given the sort of week I have had at work this past week, I want to know one thing. Just when am I going to get that whole "peace today" thing?

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's The Year Of The Tiger

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It's the Year Of The Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight . . .

Okay, I'll stop with the impromptu karaoke. I couldn't resist, and let's face it, I won't have the opportunity to go with this riff again until 2022.

As you may or may have not noticed, today is the Chinese New Year. And in the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the Tiger.

I learned one thing last night. The Chinese New Year is not a particularly good time to order takeout from a Chinese restaurant.

I learned this the hard way. I had not made any plans for dinner before getting to work, and so I went to my fallback choice of Oriental House. Besides, I remembered somewhat vaguely that this weekend was Chinese New Year, and I thought it would be somewhat appropriate to get takeout for dinner.

Well, during the time we were changing shifts, Hale told me that Oriental House was getting slammed yesterday. In fact, they were so busy at times that their parking lot was completely full, and people were parking in our parking lot.

It was somewhere around 8:00 PM before things were slow enough for me to lock up for a few minutes, and walk next door to place my order. Things were still busy for Oriental House, even if customers weren't parking in our lot any more. If the restaurant wasn't filled to capacity, it was pretty damn close. I can't remember ever seeing it that full before.

Fortunately, there wasn't much of a line at the register when I got there, so I was able to place my order somewhat quickly. And even more amazingly, they brought my order over within about 20 minutes.

I ordered the bourbon chicken lunch special last night. I also discovered that the best way to keep the sauce from being overly sweet is by adding soy sauce and hot mustard.

And here is what the fortune in my fortune cookie said:

"A kiss can beautify souls, hearts, and thoughts."

Pure coincidence that I received this particular fortune when I did, but it does seem an appropriate one for Valentine's Day.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

THERE'S The Beef!

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Last night was a really sucky night at work. There's no other way to describe it. Murphy's Law seemed to be in full force.

Just trying to get something to eat was one of the things that made the night sucky. I had not eaten much yesterday, and it seemed that the universe was conspiring against me to prevent me from getting anything else. And I was rapidly reaching the point where the lack of food was making me distinctly cranky.

Don't make me cranky. You won't like it when I'm cranky.

I think it was close to 8:30 before I managed to walk over to Oriental House to place my order. I ordered the Hunan Beef lunch special again. And this time, I made sure I specified the beef. I also had to repeat the order twice, because my my brain was so fried that I wasn't sure I had mentioned the other stuff (mild spice, no bell peppers).

Things definitely started feeling a little better once my order arrived. This time, it was the beef, and not the chicken. The food was good, and went a considerable way toward putting me in a better frame of mind.

And here's what the fortune in my fortune cookie said:

"You'll never know what you can do until you try."

Okay, I now know that I can handle a near-total meltdown at work. I think I would rather not have to repeat the experience again anytime soon.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Distinctly Said Beef . . .

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Dinner last night was takeout from Oriental House. My shift started a 4:00 PM, and quite frankly, they were the best option.

There were a few moments when I wasn't even sure that I would be able to get anything. Rush hour started right around 5:00, and once or twice, I was beginning to think that it was going to last right up until I closed at midnight. It wasn't quite that bad, but I still had way too many people coming in after 11:00. (The fewer people that come in after that time, the better. Call it a combination of paranoia, and a desire to start getting ready to close as soon as possible.)

It was somewhere around 8:00 PM before I could finally get a couple of minutes to lock up, walk over to Oriental House, and place my order.

I decided to try one of the few lunch specials that I hadn't tried yet. This special is listed on the menu as "Hunan Chicken Or Beef," and I think one of the reasons I hadn't tried it was because it's also listed as hot and spicy.

I already had my order in mind before I walked over to Oriental House. I told them I wanted Hunan Beef, no green peppers, mild spice. I paid, and they said that they would bring it over in a few minutes.

When they brought my order, I discovered that they didn't quite get it right. Instead of beef, I had Hunan chicken. They did get everything else right. Not too spicy, and definitely no green peppers. Next time, I will have to be certain to say that I want the beef.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end. The fortune in this cookie read as follows:

"Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter."

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Keep Thinking That

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Monday night, I got takeout from Oriental House. This was one of those nights when the choice was planned, rather than being the fallback option. As is usually the case, there was an hour overlap in the schedule. I waited until 10 minutes or so before Hale left to walk over and place my order. I was a little surprised when they brought it over as quickly as they did.

I ordered the bourbon chicken lunch special Monday night. I like the dish, but sometimes I find that the sauce can be just a little too sweet. This was one of those times. When I mixed my fried rice with the remaining sauce, I needed some soy sauce to cut the sweetness just a little. A packet of the hot mustard that Chinese restaurants usually provide would have done the job even better, but they forgot to include one with this order.

Even with the possible over-sweetness, the food was still good. And at the end of the meal was the fortune cookie, with this fortune:

"You will lead a rich and successful life."

Yes, it would be nice if that particular fortune came true. I guess I just have to keep thinking positive thoughts while waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Nose Doubt

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I went to my fallback option for dinner Tuesday night. This time, it was more planned than fallback. I had eaten a late lunch, so Oriental House was my best option for dinner.

I ordered it a little earlier than I originally planned. I decided to take advantage of the overlap in the schedule between when I arrived and when Hale, my co-worker, left. On the one hand, I didn't have to try to get a few quiet minutes to lock up long enough to go place my order. On the other hand, Hale needed to leave a little early, so I couldn't place my order near the end of the overlap as I was hoping to do.

I ordered the sesame chicken lunch special. From what Hale has said, this is one of his favorites, and it is one of the first things that he orders from a Chinese restaurant. He also mentioned that he didn't particularly like Oriental House's sesame chicken. But when my food was brought over, he said that my sesame chicken smelled better than the one he had ordered. Hale suspected that there must have been two different cooks involved, and I apparently got the better one.

Maybe I'm not being as critical, but I don't think I have ever had a bad meal from Oriental House. There might have been some unwanted bell peppers once or twice, but I can always remove those.

In any event, the food was great, once I was able to get to it. And of course, there was the fortune cookie, with this fortune:

"A mile walked with a friend contains only a hundred steps."

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

That's Absurd!

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Saturday night, I went over to Oriental House to get takeout. I really hadn't thought about what I wanted to eat, so Oriental House became my fallback choice.

Of course, there was a point where I wasn't certain that I would even be able to rely on my fallback. It was one of those nights. A constant stream of people that left me wondering if I would even be able to lock up just for the five minutes or so it would take for me to walk next door, place my order, and walk back. I mean, is it really that hard to be left alone for just five minutes?

Fortunately, I was able to get those five minutes, and someone walked my order over about 15 or 20 minutes after that. I ordered the chicken with garlic sauce lunch special. And while it was spicy, it wasn't fire-breathing spicy. Maybe they remembered my preferences.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie at the end, with this fortune:

"Ideas you believe are absurd ultimately lead to success!"

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two Ways To The Same Idea

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I was at work a couple of nights ago. As one customer opened her wallet to get the payment for her purchase, I noticed a fortune from a fortune cookie in the ID slot, right in front of her driver's license.

Obviously, I was just a little curious as to what the fortune said. Part of it, of course, is because I'm always collecting fortunes. I was also wondering what it said because it seemed clear that she took this fortune to heart. I asked her if I could see the fortune, and she said, "Sure," turning her wallet so that I could get a better look at the fortune:

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another."

I can see why she kept that fortune. The message is a good one to keep in mind. My friend Bill Levy, through his alter ego of the philosopher Weng Shu, expressed the same idea, but in a slightly different wording:

"Chop wood, fetch water. Achieve enlightenment. Chop wood, fetch water."

Personally, I think Bill's version sound more like it came out of a fortune cookie.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quotable Fortune

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I had eaten a somewhat sizable lunch yesterday. I still thought I was going to need just a little something else to see me through the evening at work, though. And since I was cutting it a little closer than I had planned, I decided to get takeout from Oriental House.

I almost didn't get that. As soon as I walked in the door, Emma's first words were something along the lines of "Hurry up." Not a good sign, to say the least.

I managed to make it next door to Oriental House, and I ordered the subgum chicken chow mein lunch special. As I was paying for it, I asked the lady at the register if she could bring it over, "because Emma is about to chain me to the register." She was amused by my declaration.

When I got back, I discovered why Emma was in such a rush. When our manager had made the schedule, it had Emma leaving at 5:00 PM -- and me starting at 6:00 PM. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture? For a number of reasons, Emma needed to clock out as quickly as possible. As in RIGHT NOW.

The food came a few minutes after Emma left as though the hounds of Hell were on her heels. Other than the especially rushed turnover, the evening wasn't too bad. The food was good. And here is what the fortune inside my fortune cookie said:

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

The line seemed familiar, so I turned to Google. The quote is from Aesop -- the moral to his fable "The Lion And The Mouse."

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Monday, January 4, 2010

A Familiar Fortune

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I was weighing my lunch options while on my way to work late this morning. The decision came up Lemongrass Cafe, for at least a couple of reasons. For one thing, I hadn't had takeout from there in quite a while. For another, I decided that, even though I enjoy it, I really didn't want Burger King today.

As usual, I went with one of their lunch specials. This time, it was shrimp chow mein, because it was something I hadn't tried before. Even though I didn't make this a specific New Year's resolution, I am going to try a few new things this year. Eat at some new restaurants -- or even at a couple where I haven't eaten in some time.

The chow mein was delicious, as I expected it to be. Besides the shrimp, there were a variety of vegetables, including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and celery. The shrimp were succulent, and the remaining sauce blended well with my brown rice.

And of course, there was the fortune cookie. What surprised me was that I recognized the fortune:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

I knew I had seen the quote before. At first, I thought it was something that either Benjamin Franklin or Robert A. Heinlein had said. But I just Googled the quote, and it turns out that it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said it.

Good advice, whether in a fortune cookie or wherever Eleanor Roosevelt first said it.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Not A Hot Cookie, But Close

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More than a few months ago, I wrote about finding fortune cookie-ish messages on the packets of taco sauce that Taco Bell provides. When I first noticed them, I found five different messages. And as far as I can tell, those have been the only messages. I guess Taco Bell didn't see the potential in putting additional messages on the packets.

Yesterday, though, I was getting lunch at Taco Bell. As I was waiting for my order to arrive, I glanced at the taco sauce packets again, and I noticed two things. First, the hot sauce was now in a green packet, instead of the orange color previously used. And on the packet, there was a new message of sorts:


Yes, there is an actual website with that address. And it is Taco Bell related. If you want to know more, you'll have to go the website yourself. (Hey, what fun would it be if I gave you all the information?)

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