Monday, December 15, 2008


Time really goes by quickly. First it's Thanksgiving and next thing you know it's the middle of December and you've purchased ZERO gifts for your loved ones. The end of last week the boyfriend and I stopped by our favorite neighborhood bike shop. Where one of our buddies asked if we were Christmas shopping - because, you know it's 2 weeks before Christmas. It took some time for that to sink in - which is why I'm still not completely finished with my shopping. But I'm proud to say that I have only two more things on my list to purchase and then I'm DONE!

This year I actually broke my rule of internet shopping only. I made quite a dent by going to UniqueLA over the weekend. It was a crafts fair featuring all handmade goods, many by local people. Unlike other more rustic crafts/street fairs I've been to, this one was very LA in location. The top floor of the California Marketplace which is a very tall building in downtown. There were over 200 vendors selling everything from funky T shirts to tiny insects portraits to hip melamine dinnerware. Lots of fun and unique items in a wide price range. I was especially excited to see a backpacking buddy doing so well in her new business of creating portraits, drawings, as well as felt animal hats and wristbands. Go Kat! Aside from Kat's creations, I was most excited by the Sweet Meats booth. Here, there was an entire butcher's shop of cuts of meat. Except all the meat is realistically rendered stuffed fabric. So instead of getting a stuffed teddy bear give me what I really want, a stuffed T Bone steak. Along the same lines is I Heart Guts. Basically all the major organs as well as glands (pineal gland anyone?) from the human body, rendered in a cute stuffed animal form. My favorite is the testicle, with the epididymus resembling a little Elvis hairdo. Unfortunately it isn't pictured on the site, but trust me, it's cute! The mammary glands, unfortunately, are not so charming in appearance.

Now, just two more items, ship the presents, and I'm done!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Repository Cooties

Most my friends know me to be a bibliophile. Lacking the funds and erudition to build a library of leather bound first editions, I'm a bibliophile in the way of a happy hog at a trough. I love consuming books, and more is good. Forget those ancient hand bound tomes with exquisitely illustrated plates - give me my mass produced, pulpy fiction for a quick escape, please. Unfortunately, with ever diminishing bookspace, a desire to be "green," as well as diminishing funds, I've recently decided to attempt to use the public library.

As a child, the public library was where I loved to spend my summers - peacefully quiet, cool AC, racks upon racks of undiscovered stories and people. I'd stumble home with a pile 8 or 10 books every few days. Over the years, I've slowly grown disused to utilizing the library for pleasure. I think college and grad school stained the library with stressful memories of long nights, lots of hard work, very little pleasure. (I probably needed a better, hotter, study partner). Additionally, the thought of reading a publically owned item in my bed (and I admit, worse places) gave me the creeps. How many other people have read this book in who knows where? What if the previous patrons had children in the house who sneezed or slobbered on the books?

I am proud to say, that after going to the library this Monday - I've come to peace with the cooties aspect. The cooties I get from just going to the library, and the cooties from actually bringing home and reading the books. And so far, it's made my habits of reading a book a day much much more affordable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now, Your Moment of Zen

It's interesting, for the last almost 2 years, I've felt like there have been lots of little events leading me towards a Buddhist way of life and philosophy. I've always been curious about it, but most unexpectedly found someone who gave me a wonderful introduction to it in all places, Lumberton, NC. For those who don't know, Lumberton is a small town in NC that seems to survive because of it's proximity to I95. There is also a population of Lumbee Indians living there. It was a bit of a culture shock for the residents and myself, a fast talking Asian American from the Northeast. Here, I had the good fortune to work with a physician there named Mack - a white man in his 70's, raised in Oklahoma, who had practiced for most of his career in West Virginia. Some could draw all kinds of stereotypical ideas about his character from that description, and I admit that initially, I did. Just goes to show you right? Mack's been a great teacher to me in the short time we worked together. He's gifted me with with his insight, experiences, as well as some great introductory books to Buddhism.

Since working with him, almost 2 years ago, I've found that just the attempt to approach my life and to view my life in this vein of philosophy has helped me immeasurably through some pretty tough times. Recently I've been through probably the toughest time of my life thus far. So though we haven't kep in touch, I just feel moved to say, Thanks Mack.

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your own path.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Having my mother visit in times of need can be a double edged sword. "Mommy" (as she likes to refer to herself) is wonderful at feeding, cleaning, and general errands. Invaluable. Especially when I needed her most this summer when my significant other was seriously ill. However, Mommy is also a crazy Asian lady. Whilst filling my freezer and myself full of delicious foods, she required the back door and kitchen pantry doors and drawers open at all times. Despite the 80-90 degree weather.

So the other side of the coin would be the seriously disgusting moth infestation that resulted from cavalierly flinging open all doors. An infestation that we finally (please GOD) rid ourselves of last night. Cleaning a bug infested pantry was something I had put off for a month - especially after cleaning out the similarly infested beloved chocolate drawer. I probably threw out $100 worth of chocolate. And worse, it was chocolate covered with webs, baby moth worms and the like. Finally, the boyfriend made me face the issue of the pantry. Thankfully, he took care of most of it. After the worst of it, I offered to take over and finish up the job. Unfortunately, after one too many squeals and screams, he banished me from the kitchen. The last scream resulted from my imagining the feeling of a worm crawling on my leg. I still have the creeps thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I admit it. I am drunk blogging. Coming back from an evening of libations with the Democratic Party of Pasadena and my girl City Elf, I am celebrating our new President!!! Over a year ago, I remember having a conversation with a dear friend where I made the case that in this day and age, Americans were STILL NOT ready for an African American prez. How elated and overwhelmingly happy to find myself proven false!! After spending a day poll checking for the Obama campaign, I was thrilled to see how many people motivated to vote, knowing that their voices were important. Latinos, African Americans, Asians - I saw so many minorities going out to the polls, making sure their voices are heard! This is truly a new era for our country - I know that Obama will inherit many difficult issues, but I have faith in his ability to lead our nation on a new, better path. For the first time in 8 years, I truly believe in the American Dream. WHOOOOHOOOOOOOO!

P.S. For all y'all who voted "yes" for Prop 8 - You suck big time!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Argh. Aaarrghh. AAAARRRGHHH.

My boss is a douchebag. In a way, his douchebaggery of the week only reaffirms the decision I made to quit. Unfortunately though, I have to give 120 days notice (!!!) and have to endure approximately 93 more days of potential moments of ARRRGHHH!!!

To add to insult, the new member of the group is a complete idiot. The guy has finished a residency at a supposed teaching institution as well as additional fellowship training. Here we are at one of the LEAST demanding, LOW volume, community based practices known to man, and he's barely treading water. He lacks the confidence to do basic procedures that a second year resident has mastery of. Furthermore, every other word out of his mouth is "what do you think of this?", "I don't feel comfortable with that," "what should I do with this?", blah blah blah blah. The only satisfaction I get is that my douchebag boss likes him even less than I do. And soon (well, soon-ish), they get to be left behind to deal with each other as I get the hell outta here.


So I know I recently posted about eating less meat, but I can't hold back on my recent, incredible, sausalicious experience.

Oyama Sausage Co.
in Granville Market. We walked through the entrance and saw this:

Charcuterie heaven!! (that's right, they make their own serrano ham!). This picture doesn't even include their vast array of refrigerated products...

They make (among many other things) prosciutto (many, many kinds - including duck and wild boar), pates, and sausages. We tried a Portuguese salami, finocchiona (fennel salami), and a prosciutto salami. Incredibly good. And very reasonably priced. My favorite, the finocchiona, was very thinly sliced, unctuous yet with a slight meaty chewiness, and with the fragrance of fennel. Can you tell that I want to eat some more right now? If food porn does it for you, you must check out the product list on their website.

Other samplings from Granville Market:

The bright yellow berries in the foreground are gooseberries - we had to pay $0.25 for a taste of these tangy berries with just a little touch of sweetness.

They called this barbecued salmon - which turned out to be the best hot smoked salmon I've ever had. Just the right amount of salty smokiness without overwhelming the salmon flavor. And very tender, perfectly cooked pieces that retained the fattyness of salmon without turning into a brick of protein.

A perfectly good slice of pepperoni pizza

Followed by a delicious Blueberry Colada - a combination of blueberries, coconut, and raspberry juice. Take that Jamba Juice!

I'm going to devote an entire day to meandering through and snacking at Granville Market the next time I'm in Vancouver. Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

OMG! A truck just smashed into the building!

That was my first thought this morning as I heard the rumbling and felt some serious shaking whilst sitting at my desk at work. Then I came to the realization that this is Southern California, and that this is lasting a little too long to be a semi crashing into the hospital (why would a semi drive into a the hospital anyways? derr!). Belatedly I stumbled to the doorway (an old wives' tale?) and when the shaking stopped, I looked around the corner to see my boss on all fours crouching underneath the flimsy plywood counter. Bwahaha!

Anyways, it was a mere 5.4, I can't imagine how crazy it must have been for my brother who was in Chengdu when that big 7.8 hit in May. According to USGS, there's a 99% chance for a 6.7 or greater in the next 30 years. Yikes!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Carb Coma

Sooo delicioussssssss..... Pizza for dinner last night. Pancakes for breakfast. A Churro for a snack. And linguini for dinner. With some focaccia.

Holy crap this weekend has blown my dietary plans to smithereens. Smithereens! I was surprised by the results of the recent NEJM study which compared low fat, Mediterranean, and low carb diets head to head. Having previously done low carb, I found it very effective but was also suspicious about it's effect on cholesterol. But guess what? The study shows that low carb is actually the best of these diets for cholesterol.

Another thought that's been buzzing around in my head for a while is one planted by Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore's Dilemma." It makes some very good arguments about considering the carbon footprint of your food when making choices. I highly recommend this book for everyone - I think it's interesting even to the non-foodies out there.

So tentatively (after this weekend, haha!), I think I'm going to revise my diet thusly:
1. Low carb
2. More locally grown veggies
3. Cutting back to eating meat only once a day (writing this I realize I'm such a carnivore) with a long term goal of eating meat only 3x a week.
4. Less processed food - maybe one item every few days?
We'll see how it goes!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Want to Believe

ZOMG! I can't believe they're back for another movie! I just have to be able to hold out until Tuesday when M's parents leave to be able to watch it.... (Michael has no idea how lucky he is I didn't drag him on an X-Files tour while we were in BC - heh heh!) It looks MUCH better than the first movie - more along MOTW than part of the confusing mytharc (at this point, who can even remember the mytharc?) And more URST with Mulder and Scully! That looks like may become RST! (of course, that can't really happen, I'm just another sucker for those previews.) Haha! I'm such an X Files nerd!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nobody's Perfect

But do they really have to be incredibly annoying?

Dear Obama Campaign,

Let it be known that I still support your candidate and will vote for him. In fact I made my first donation to a political campaign to you - $500 early this year during the primaries. But recently, you have become a thorn in my side.

Firstly - $500 is a lot of money for me. After the third futile phone call pestering me for even more money, do you think you would give up calling me on an almost weekly basis? No. Even when I stated I did not have more to give, or that I had to wait until after I paid my taxes, or that when I feel financially able I'd contribute online, you continued calling. Uh, how many times do I have to say that I financially can't? It's frankly disrespectful. And with each no, you reply- "well how about $1500?.... No? Ok, what about $1000? Alright, how about $500 then?" Look - no means no. I'm not some fickle female who says I can't and then gets sucked into - "oh, ok $200. And charge it to my card!"

Secondly - if the contributor's address is on the West Coast, maybe your volunteers would have more luck squeezing cash from people by calling AFTER the target rolls out of bed and outta the shower. Those 6:30 AM calls are extremely irritating. Now I realize, my area code is firmly east coast. But come on. For a campaign supposedly in touch with the younger vote, you should realize lots of people move around but keep their cell number as their primary number. Besides, you have my address (it's where you sent the donation letter to).

Third - cease and desist with the fear tactics. Telling me to urgently contribute because McCain's ahead in fundraising is ridiculous when technically, he's not. The RNC is, but maybe the DNC should get itself organized and coherent and actually try to raise some money. I realize it's the same pot in the end, but don't spin it like it's some horror story. Just the facts please.

My last (I pray it really IS my last) phone call a few weeks ago consisted of me asking the volunteer to take me off the list.

P.S. Tell your candidate I'm thoroughly disgusted by his vote for FISA.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Poochi Poochi!

A few months ago I had the good fortune of my friend Christina and my brother visiting, coincidentally at the same time. It was the perfect excuse for us to try out izakaya. Other than sushi, we were all pretty much brand spankin' new to Japanese food, and our sushi experiences are more along the lines of everything stuffed into a roll rather than uni or ankimo.

We went to Honda Ya Izakaya and got a table in the tatami room. Izakaya is like Japanese small dishes to have with sake. At least that's my impression. And that's what Christina and I did, while the boys chugged their Kirin. Both of us being a sucker for names, we chose the Poochi Poochi for that reason alone. It turned out to be a sparkling, unfiltered sake which was too easy to drink - very refreshing with a fruity nose. And with a cutesy illustration of a pooch cuddling a little bottle on the label. It's like drinking the Hello Kitty of sake.

The food was pretty good. Miso eggplant was my favorite, and the pork belly and lamb chop yakitori are worth getting.

So now that I've tried izakaya, I'm stuck with wanting to go again. Very soon. Anyone up for some poochi poochi?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How To Turn A Hot Chick Into A Geek

I ran across a link to this article reading Salon the other day. Pretty funny, but don't they realize that geek girls are already hot chicks, hence no need to work on the non-geekster hotties?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This has been a crazy time for me ... recently I've committed myself to finding a new job, contemplated moving to another city, had a major wreck on my brand spankin new mountain bike, and saw my dog nearly get mauled to death.

Unlike life, I'm gonna blog with one thing at a time.

So a dilemma that I know many Californians face is: should I stay or should I go? After living here for a year, I've unexpectedly found myself truly enjoying my life here. Yes, the traffic is bad. And materialism is a badge of pride. And downtown LA really sucks for such a huge city. And its the epicenter for the entertainment industry.(Yes, this is a bad thing.) But I've been seduced by the weather, the diversity of cultures, awesome Chinese food, proximity to the mountains and the outdoors, and all the cool places you can go within a days drive of LA. The biggest drawback that makes me seriously consider moving out of state? The ridiculous price of housing. Those who left in the last decade were the smart ones, the ones who didn't get sucked into the bubble. The ones who haven't had to declare personal bankruptcy and lose a lifetime of savings and possibly their only chance at homeownership.

I recently was offered a job that closely approximates what my dream job would be. The drawback? Denver. It's cold there in the winter, I don't relish playing in the snow, and I hate to say this, but it's awfully white. It's nice not being a minority in LA. But in Denver, I can own a great house well within my budget, still enjoy the outdoors, and be in the same city with some of my closest friends. And, my retirement and financial situation would have a much rosier outlook there.

Reading this post I can almost convince myself to move there. Almost. But not yet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Delicious Wine - how I love thee

Our new every day table wine - under $15 and tasty. Not the typical California Cab - no over the top tannins or fruit explosion, but a really smooth, full body cabernet that goes well with most everything we eat. So far that would be Moroccan beef stew, grilled sausages, and lamb.
Obviously, we're carnivores. But it's also a nice mellow wine to drink after a long day, while watching movies, or settling in for a nice long soak in the tub. I'm indebted to my co-worker for introducing me to this wine, as well as the San Dimas Wine Shop where I purchase said wine. The tasting area may be tiny, but the tasting flights are filled with lots of lesser known California wineries, and all of good quality. The proprietress is a very knowledgeable lady who has guided me to lots of enjoyable wines and given good tips for our upcoming trip to Healdsburg. Definitely better than any experience I've ever had at BevMo.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tis the season! (For backpacking!)

Last year, my major backpacking trip was a 4 day hike through the southern Sierras. Now, as the weather's warming up (70's and 80's this weekend!) - I'm ready to get outside! Watching the video for last year's trip is making me excited - maybe Olympic NP? Yosemite?