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February 2009

Of Rice and Men

Six and a half years ago, I made a few brief trips before moving across the country. One of my trips was to visit a good friend of mine from high school, let’s call him Al.

“Al” was (and is) one of the best graphic designers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – made more impressive by the fact that he’s color blind. I saw him almost every day for four years… and then we went to different colleges.

It was great to have the opportunity to see him; it was only a short visit, but was still nice to see him. Unfortunately, his lovely girlfriend was out of town, but that just meant we could have some quality time together.

This entry is not about Al.

Al had something I never had in college – cable. He left the TV on when sleeping, which I thought a bit odd, but now my wife does the same thing. However, I wasn’t quite ready to sleep when he was, so I was up watching late night television when he had already gone to bed – and I didn’t have the remote.

I have never forgotten one of the infomercials. “The Great Wok of China” – true, exact name. Now, I’m not the best customer for advertising. I don’t tend to remember commercials. I took a survey on Hulu last week that asked me about the commercials I had just watched. I told them there were no commercials for Chevron (which I buy whenever I’m paying full price for gas). Ten questions later, I remembered that EVERY commercial I had seen that day were for Chevron. My ReplayTV is one of the few models with commercial autodetection. It doesn’t hurt that my memory sucks.

I had no interest in buying the Great Wok of China. I still have no interest in buying the Great Wok of China. I wasn’t even interested in the Okay Wok of China. Matter of fact, at the time when our story takes place, I didn’t have a wok – or even a kitchen.

But for years I remembered one segment of the infomercial: how to make fried rice. It wasn’t as good as Chef Chang’s House Fried Rice, but… how on earth would I have learned otherwise?

I realized this afternoon that I no longer remember the recipe, aside from starting with refrigerated white rice.

However, I still remember The Great Wok of China.