Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

Delicious and convenient snacks
From: Riona

Dear Wysz
Trader Joe’s gyoza: Chicken, pork, or shrimp?

I used to buy both pork and chicken, but recently I’ve been going chicken-only for no good reason. Both taste good to me in potstickers, but in general I prefer chicken over pork. I never buy shrimp. I do eat shrimp occasionally if it comes with something else at a restaurant, but I’ve never sought it out. I have enjoyed many potstickers containing shrimp however, as Nelson made a bunch, and they also serve them on Thursdays at work.

Here’s the part where I try to salvage the post and turn it into relationship advice, even though most people are using the form to ask random questions. This is my fault, because other than the debut post, I never really made it clear what the form is for, and it doesn’t say so anywhere on the form.

Everyone knows it’s romantic to cook dinner for someone. So yeah, you can do that. But here’s something that may be a little more fun: Cook something together. If you know something advanced and your date wants to know how to do it, you can teach. Or, try cooking something that’s new and challenge for both of you.

Do what you want

Someone recently asked me if it would be strange for her to join a class which may consist of students who are all younger than she is. I think she was worried about feeling embarrassed or out of place.

I said that one of the coolest things about being an adult is that you can do whatever you want, and that since she wanted to try the class, she should at least go once. XKCD illustrates this point well:

Illustration of apartment full of playpen balls. Caption: Hey, I was wondering if you had plans for-- Holy crap, what happened to your apartment? > I filled it wiht playpen balls! > I... What? Why? > Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means.

If you’re an adult and you have an idea for something you want to do, but think it may be too silly, follow these two steps:

  1. Answer the question: Is it reasonably safe?
  2. If the answer to #1 is “Yes,” then do it.

Getting things done

Every time I wash my socks, I hate pairing them. It takes forever, and I realize how many of my socks are in poor condition. I’ve been planning for years now on just throwing them all out and buying all-new socks that are all the same, eliminating the need for pairing. This solution to the pairing problem is a little better than my alternative idea of creating socks that are always tied together.

Well, tonight was laundry night, and I realized that most of my socks have been worn to the point where I wouldn’t feel bad throwing them out. I just placed an order for 18 pairs of socks (three six packs). At least I think it’s 18 pairs. The product description doesn’t explicitly state what I’m getting eighteen of, but considering they also offer a three-pack, I’m probably not only getting 18 individual socks. This may not change my life, but it will certainly make me happier. I should have done this years ago, but at least I did it.


The title sounds negative, but this is actually intended to be a positive post. Trust me.

A lot of people are afraid of rejection. A lot of people are really afraid of it. It’s understandable, because it can have some bad effects. It can cause embarrassment. It can hurt one’s self-confidence. But really, it’s not that bad, and it shouldn’t stop you from trying something.

One of my most effective methods in calming my nerves is the “What’s the worst that could happen?” exercise. I used it all the time in school before exams. If I was nervous, I would think about the worst possible outcome, and then consider how it really wasn’t that bad. With an exam, the worst thing that could happen would be that I would fail it. And that turns out to not be so bad, because it has very little effect in the long run. After some quick math, I could figure out if failing it would mean failing the course. The possibility of failing the course makes it a little worse, but still, it’s not so bad. It just means I’d have to take one more course the next semester if I needed the credits. So even when it comes to failure, think about it: Will you really care about that one failure next year? Will you even remember it in five years?

If you don’t try something because you’re afraid of being rejected, then you’ve already failed, because if you don’t try to do something, in most cases it’s never going to happen. You’ve done the rejection yourself. You won’t get what you could have tried for, which in the end is the same as trying for it and not getting it. But just by trying, you’ve increased your chances of success from zero or near-zero to at least a small chance. If I had not applied to Google because I thought I would be rejected, I would not be working there now. With the number of applications I had good reason to assume I wouldn’t get the position, but I also knew that by simply applying, I was increasing my ability to get hired. “You never know until you try” really applies in these situations, and in many cases, at least for me, not knowing is worse than being rejected. It’s worse, because you’ll always be able to wonder if you made a mistake by not trying. You could have had what you wanted, but you gave up on it. When you’re rejected, at least you know that the answer is “no,” and you can focus on trying for the next thing. The simple relief of knowing that it’s over may overpower any negative feelings caused by the rejection.

So if you’ve wanted to know if you can do something, my advice (follow at your own risk), is to go for it. No matter what the outcome, you’ll probably sleep better than you would if you just lie there and wonder.


Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

From: Leah
Is your favorite drink still a Gin and Tonic? You used to love them, as I recall.

I don’t really enjoy mixed drinks that much, but a gin and tonic is can be nice. If I’m drinking alcohol, I prefer red wine. Otherwise, I’m happy with Pepsi, water, or orange juice.

You didn’t ask for advice, so I’ll just give some anyway. If you’re at an event and you don’t want to drink alcohol, there’s an easy way to prevent the constant offers from people who want to get you something. Just go to the bar, ask for a Coke (or other soda), and have the bartender put a lime in it. Nobody will question you as long as you don’t drink it too quickly or from a straw.


Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

Hey Wysz,
What things would you recommend to pack for an extended trip away from home?

The first thing I’d say is don’t worry about it too much. Packing is a pain and always seems to take longer than it should. Recently I’ve been telling myself, “If I forget something and really need it, I can just buy it when I’m there.” So don’t sweat it. Just throw in a bunch of clothes, get your toiletries, pack your computer and camera (and camera, computer, and phone chargers), and you should be all set. I don’t think there’s really that much different that you need to do for an extended trip; as you’re less likely to live out of your suitcase in that situation anyway. The only things I would consider adding are one or two sentimental items from home. Maybe a picture, maybe a favorite item from your desk. With the Internet, you’ll still be connected to everyone, so everything will be fine.

Money woes

Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

Money woes

The economy doesn’t seem to be doing so hot, gas prices are rising, and banks are doing poorly.  What are some ways to save money? How can I take a girl out on a date that’s practically free, without looking cheap?

When it comes to general money-saving advice, I keep like to keep it simple: don’t go into debt. How do you avoid debt? Don’t buy stuff that you cannot afford. Here’s an instructional video:

And that “savings” thing they talk about in Chapter 3? Here’s how I handle it. I keep the money that I need in a checking account. This is where I get the money to pay my rent, credit card balance, and other bills. My paycheck gets deposited into this account. When I have more money than I need in my checking account, I move the stuff that I don’t need into the savings account. I never take money out of the savings account, because I’m saving it.

Now, onto relationship advice. First of all, if you’re dating a girl you should try to splurge once in a while. It’ll be fun for both of you, and what better things could you spend your money on? But of course that’s not something you can do all the time, so looking for more affordable activities is certainly reasonable. The specific venue for your date is a matter of personal preference, so I’ll just list a few ideas to show you that not every date has to involve buying a meal or a ticket. In fact, I prefer a movie night on the couch over eating in a restaurant with potentially terrifying food and confusing tipping practices.

Here are some possibilities to get you started, but I encourage you to be creative and build off of these for even better experiences:

  • Rent a movie or pick out an old favorite from your DVD collection and just hang out at your place or hers with some microwave popcorn. It’s simple and nothing new, but who doesn’t like it? Bonus points if you cook her dinner before the movie, if you don’t suck at cooking.
  • Find a nice isolated place with limited or no light pollution and watch the stars. Reid has noted that the Perseid meteor shower peaks in August!
  • Picnic
  • Sneak over to where she’s babysitting and hang out with her after the kids have gone to bed. Just make sure you sneak back out before the parents get back early because they forgot the tickets for the show after dinner. <- DO NOT DO THIS! Haven’t you ever seen a sitcom?

Have more ideas for a cheap date? (Oh, yeah, make sure you avoid the phrase “cheap date.”) Leave a comment below.


Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

Wysz’s Body

Wysz, how do you keep your body so slim and trim? Do you have “trouble areas” and if so, how do you deal with them?

I don’t like a lot of foods, and I almost always sleep through breakfast. I stick to a strict diet of spaghetti, potstickers, In-n-Out, pizza, and Oreos. My figure also probably has something to do with genetics or math or some other science that I’m not good at. I don’t have any “trouble areas” that I’m aware of.