10 Aug

drive into the ground

Who taught: Andrew and Pete

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (source:sportscardigest.com)

Every year, we have an annual event, called Vintage Grand Prix, in Pittsburgh. There are so many cool vintage cars you can get to see and also they really race. About a month ago, I had lunch with Andrew, Pete and Tanmay. Tanmay and I were excited about seeing those cars and the race. We asked Andrew, “Hey, Do you like cars?” He said, “No, I am not into cars.” He has an old Jetta and it has small issues here and there. So, I asked, “Andrew, Aren’t you gonna buy a new car?” “No, I do not think so. I may drive it into the ground,” said Andrew. At that time, I did not quite understand the expression. “What? into the ground? How?” asked I.

“Oh! It means I am gonna drive the car until it is totally broken and does not run anymore,” said Andrew.

And, Pete said, “The expression could also be used for some cases where something or someone is used too much.”

So, for example, if you work really hard and stay in the office so long every day, then I could say, “Hey, Friend! Do not drive yourself into the ground. You need to work tomorrow and even longer.” The other example would be….. If you put a lot of stuff into your laundry machine and try to run it, then I could say, “Hey! Dude! I think you are running that machine into the ground if you put all of them into the machine at one time and try to run it.”

Researching about the expression, I found a very interesting article you might be interested in. The article says we can save $100,000 if we all drive cars into the ground. But, new cars are so tempting, aren’t they? So, it is up to you whether you want to change your cars every 3-4 years or drive them into the ground. What is my choice? I am not sure because I love cars.

07 Jun

stage fright

Who taught : Andrew and Pete

Do you know what are the top 10 fears people have in the world? It looks like there are some differences based on different surveys but here are the ones I found.

1. Acrophobia (The fear of heights)
2. Aerophobia or Aviophobia (The fear of flying)
3. Glossophobia (The fear of public speaking)
4. Lygophobia (The fear of the dark)
5. Arachnophobia (The fear of spiders)
6. Ophidiophobia (The fear of snakes)
7. Rejection (The fear of rejection)
8. Claustrophobia (The fear of confined places)
9. Kakorrhaphiophobia (The fear of failure)
10. Agoraphobia (The fear of open spaces)

Let me see…. I think I definitely have 4, 5 and 6 and a little bit of 7 and 9. How many do you have? Speaking of phobia, a few weeks ago, I was having lunch with Andrew, Pete and Brian. For some reason, we started to talk about stage fright. What would you think first when you hear this expression? Well, here is the definition I found from the wikipedia.

The anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience.

Stage Fright in men's restroom

I guess you should get it right. But we did not talk about that fright. It was the fright or fear males feel when they stand next to each other at a urinal. I actually do not have this fear but it seems like there are people have this fear and suffer from it. Or maybe even worse thing would be the time that you need to line up and many of other people behind you watching you peeing. To be honest, I do not like it. One day, I was in DC during the cherry blossom festival and there were one restroom in the Lincoln Memorial. So many people lined up to pee and there was my turn. I mean I could feel that people behind me watching me. That was really not a good experience. I think I do have a little bit of stage fright in that sense. Guys, do you also have it? How about women? Do they also feel some sort of stage fright when people are waiting for you lined up? I guess not because they can close the door. Well, there is another different thing I noticed in the U.S. from South Korea. The door in restroom! How come there is a big space at the bottom. I do not like that. In Korea, the door reaches all the way to the bottom which makes me feel more secure and private to do my business. That door should be renovated in the U.S.

03 Jun

spill the beans

Who taught : Jean and Pete

Today was Jake’s question day. He asked a few interesting questions to people and I was one of them. One question I found it useful was, “If you are in a room where air conditioner is on and you think it is too cold, would you ask Jessica to turn it down or turn it up?” I said, “Turn it down!” “But then, does it mean you want to set the target temperature down which makes the room even colder?” “No, it means just make it not too strong in terms of fan speed or something.” He asked the same question to other friends, American friends. They all said, “turn it down.” Well, what would you say?

let the cat out of the bag

They say there is no secret. Do you agree? Have you ever experienced a secret crush on someone? You know, like your school friend or teacher. I guess you have. If you have not, it is not too late. 🙂

Then, have you also told to a few of your best friends, “Hey, so… it is between you and me. You gotta promise that you are going to keep the secret……I think I love Jessica.” Well, when you said, did you really expect that your friends would keep it secret? Honestly, once you say any of your secrets to someone else, I bet you should consider that it is not a secret any more. Anyways, what if someone else found it out and ask you like, “So, Terry. Is it true that you have a crush on Jessica?” Then, at that moment, I can say, “What? how did you know that? Who spill the beans?” Or the other expression is “Who let the cat out of the bag?”

They all mean “to tell/expose secret information.” If you want to describe the situation that secret is exposed to everyone, then you can say, “Oh cr*b! Now, the cat is out of the bag! What should I do?”

While I am looking for the best etymology of “spill the beans”, I stumbled upon this interesting story.

Folk etymology holds that the phrase comes from secret societies in ancient Greece. Members would vote on applicants by placing white (for yes) or black (for no) beans into a vessel. If the vessel were to spill or get knocked over on purpose, the secret vote would be revealed. But it is not likely to be true since the saying is American and only dates back to the early twentieth century. (Source : Yahoo!)

How about “let the cat out of the bag”? Here is the best one I found.

At medieval markets, unscrupulous traders would display a pig for sale. However, the pig was always given to the customer in a bag, with strict instructions not to open the bag until they were some way away. The trader would hand the customer a bag containing something that wriggled, and it was only later that the buyer would find he’d been conned when he opened the bag to reveal that it contained a cat, not a pig. Therefore, “letting the cat out of the bag” revealed the secret of the con trick. (Source : Ag Etymology)

What do you think? It sounds very reasonable, isn’t it? Since I read this etymology, I think I would not forget the expression at all.

26 May

Mile high club

Who taught: Mark, Andrew, Jake, Pete and Shawn

Peanut butter jelly

First, let me start with a very simple story. I think one of the favorite lunch box menu in America is peanut butter jelly. Do you know what peanut butter jelly is? I am pretty sure there are some people do not know what it is. Here I am adding a picture for you. Yeah, it is a sandwich which has peanut better and jelly in it. I found one interesting statistics from the Wikipedia.

A 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of peanut butter jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school.

So, if you go to a Walmart or Giant Eagle (if you are in Pittsburgh), check the Jam aisle. You will find some different types of stuff. They are Jam, Preserves and Jelly. You know what the difference is between them? Here is the good comparison I found from TLC cooking.

It all depends on the form that the fruit takes.
1. In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.
2. In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result).
3. In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks.

So, which one is your favorite? Mine is preserves. I like to chew something. So, jelly is not my cup of tea. Well, then, what if you put preserves into your sandwich along with peanut butter. Is it “peanut butter jelly”? Technically, NO! Some may argue though. 🙂

Mile High Club?

Shall we move on to the main expression I learned today? Eating lunch, we were talking about some stories. And, suddenly, Mark used an expression, “Mile High Club.” At first, I thought it is a sort of special mileage membership club. But, it turns out it has nothing to do with mileage. Here is a great definition from the Wikipedia.

a slang term applied collectively to individuals who have sex while on board an aircraft in flight.

Well, one of the questions I asked my friends was “Is there really a club?” Well, it turns out there is. Check this (www.milehighclub.com) out! They also have an instruction page about how to become a member. Here is one of the steps they mentioned. “Before you start your aerial pleasures, make sure you are at least 5,280ft AGL (a mile high above the earth), just to make it official.” So, if you dare to become a member, please keep in mind this rule! I was not able to find any benefit information page though. They should have some benefits to make people be motivated. 🙂