Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
As I reflect back on the year that was 2008, the first thing that pops to mind is the election of Obama (and the end of the Bush era). That was probably the single most defining moment of 2008. A new President...time for change.
Although 2008 is marred by a landscape of economic doom and gloom, this was the best time for us to reflect on what REALLY is most important in life - our family and friends. The American dream, paper chasing and what not gets old really quick but if we have love in our hearts and are passionate about our beliefs, we should not be so easily discouraged by the current economic crisis. As the old saying goes "Everything happens for a reason." Perhaps humanity has been so consumed with greed that we needed this economic crisis as a wake up call. Perhaps we have all been to selfish in pursuing our own dreams at the expense of others that we needed a reality check. Whatever that reason is, it will help us reassess our lives and hopefully we are all living lives that we are proud of. Lives filled with integrity and rich with love. As cheesy as that sounds, that's what we all need at the moment. At the core of it, we really don't need flashy cars or huge mansions or top-of-the-line this or that. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalistic society that fosters that sort of attitude. Hopefully, with this economic crisis in our midst, we take stock of what is meaningful and our lives an hopefully we realize that material goods will ALWAYS be replaced with more material goods and this is what drives us all into DEBT. Debt that is continually rising, debt that might never go away.
As we say good bye to a bleak 2008, let us keep our hopes up for a better 2009. If not a better economy, then definitely a more positive outlook on life and everything it brings our way.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Drinks: N/A - I had iced tea and a latte since I was working
Ambiance: Modern and minimalist but with a touch of elegance
Overall: 4/5 and would definitely come back for more!
Last Friday, JG took me out to lunch as her Christmas present (best idea EVER) and being a fan of Top Chef (and of course Tom Colicchio) herself she chose Craft. I was a little apprehensive (as I tend to be) because I knew that it's a little pricey. She didn't quite mind and I was happy to try out a new spot (new to me).
We met at my office and walked about half a block to get to Craft. We were walking behind two older gentlemen who thought it was funny to ask us if we were following them into Craft. We both just kinda stared at them and that might have scared them off, haha. In retrospect, I guess we did look out of place since almost everyone there (it was packed for a Friday lunch in this economically difficult time) was either older (35 and up) or in a suit.
JG and I were seated towards the back of the restaurant so we had a great view of the restaurant's layout. It has a pretty open floorplan which is conducive to people-watching. Anyway, on to the food. I always look at a restaurant's menu before I go so I know what to expect and anticipate what to order. When we got there, JG and I went back and forth on what to order. I had my heart set on trying the Japanese Hamachi w/ Grapefruit and she really wanted the scallops. We got both of those and since I eat red meat, JG ordered the Prix Fix Lunch with hangar steak for me. We decided to share so we get to try a little bit of everything.
The hamachi was absolutely heavenly. I thought it had the right amount of salt and acid although JG thought it was too acidic for her. Needless to say, I finished her portion. The scallops were absolutely divine although I only had one. Since JG doesn't eat red meat, I decided to just give her the scallops and I could have the steak. The steak was a little bit off for me. It was perfectly cooked but I didn't like it paired with the short rib broth. I still finished it though, haha. We also ordered souffle for dessert and the fixed menu came with a trio of ice creams. The souffle was a little to rich for me (I like my souffles fluffy and light) but JG loved it. The ice creams were ok.
Overall, I was satisfied and I definitely would love to come back and try a few more things on the menu (specifically the pork belly curry and the assorted mushroom side).
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
An exciting new opportunity will be coming your way - that's for sure. It was so exciting that I got a high from it all day long.
You've usually done a lot of planning before making any big moves, but there will be no time for that today! - JJ and I did A LOT of planning but we didn't do it today because there really wasn't much time. We did strategize the night before. HAHAHA...
What you need is flexibility, spontaneity, and a whole lot of bravado! - Yes, yes and yes. Although I think I substituted JJ for the bravado part...LMAO
You'll be required to put on a bit of a performance, although it will be a role you were born to play. You'll have a blast fooling someone in good fun. - I think I did a solid performance although I did slip a bit but I don't think they noticed...HAHAHA
I know this doesn't really make a lot of sense to a lot of people but I though it's pretty funny and slightly accurate. JJ will agree and will probably shed light on this topic sometime next week so stay tuned!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Watching the JBWKZ, Supercrew, Fanny Pak and others...
**Update: The headliners were the JBWKZ, Supercrew, Fanny Pak, BreakSk8 and ASIID. Special guests were Fish n Chicks and Kaba Modern. Some guy also performed, Colby something... Best time ever (except for all the screaming).
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This time, it was ok. The drinks were ok. I ordered the Elvis truffles that were a little bit better than ok. The vibe is definitely alive.
Cameo Bar definitely has a diverse range of people. You've got your "trying-to-be-cool-but still-not" crowd, the yuppies, the cougars, and the douchebags. It seems that Cameo Bar has four types of guys: the ones that will check you out from afar but will not talk to you, the ones that are immature and call out comments as you pass by, the ones you DON'T want to talk to under any circumstances and the quirky/funny/charming ones that will try to pawn you off to their "single" friends. I honestly can't decide which is worse! That said, I'll still probably be back because it's fun to watch people interact. JJ and I also have a grand time just making fun of people and trust me, there's plenty to make fun of.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Raw Amberjack, Photo courtesy of My Last Bite.
For the entrees, my parents decided to go with the "109 for 2" which is a 32 oz. bone-in rib-eye with mashed potatoes. My brothers each ordered the Flatiron Steak and I went with the quail fry. Let's start with my parent's dish. OMG, biggest steak I've seen. The bone was probably as long as my arm from elbow to fingertip. It was a serious piece of steak. I think my parents only had half. My brothers, on the other hand, demolished their steaks in half the time it took me to eat my quail. It did look quite appetizing with the onions and the corn. I'll have to order that next time. My quail was surprisingly good. I've had quail before that's a little chewy so I wasn't expecting anything with my dish. Boy, was I wrong! The quail was juicy and succulent and I couldn't stop eating. The dish had some bacon on the side to temper the heaviness of the quail - perfect pairing.
Flatiron Steak, Photo courtesy of My Last Bite.
Bone-in Rib-Eye, Photo courtesy of Yelp.
We had the tres leches cake for dessert. Not that much of a revelation but I also think that we were all pretty stuffed at that point. The dessert was just an obligatory gesture to celebrate my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday again James!!!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Some examples of her most recent ramblings during her interview with Katie Couric:
On the bailout:
" . . . where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh -- it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing, but 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."
On promoting a surge troop to Afghanistan:
"[A surge] will lead us to victory there, as it has proven to have done in Iraq." - Yeah, because we were so successful in Iraq. Uh huh.
On Alaska's proximity to Russia:
"We have trade missions back and forth. We, we do, it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to, to our state."
As of now, I can just shake my head and wait for election day. Hopefully people will think before they vote this time around.
Today, I learned that WaMu was taken over by J.P. Morgan. WaMu was already struggling for a while due to the mortgage crisis. News about Lehman's prompted WaMu's customers to pull out about $16 billion of deposits. Although this only represents about 9% of the bank's assets, it was enough to worsen their already struggling state. J.P. Morgan's bailout will make the transition pretty seamless to WaMu's customers but it only fuels the fear that we the worst is yet to come.
WaMu's demise is currently the largest bank bust in the history of the U.S. That in itself is a lot to ponder. Are we in such a state of corporate greed that banks are failing left and right?
Monday, September 22, 2008
Food: 1/5 - we only had the fries but they were too fat and the sauce had no flavor
Service: 4.5/5 - they need another waitress for the lounge area
Best decision made during the night was to head to Nic's Martini Lounge from The Tower Bar. Located in Beverly Hills, I braced myself for snootiness. Again, pleasantly surprised.
The bar area was packed when we arrived (around 10:30) and music filled the whole place. There was a jazz ensemble playing which explains the $5 cover charge. There were a few seats available but they all had reserved signs so JJ and I asked the host for a table in the lounge area because we can hardly squeeze in to get our drinks.
We were seated in about 15 minutes and handed their extensive drink menu. They probably have a martini list that equals Lola's which is quite impressive. Even more impressive are the drinks themselves. Way better than Lola's. Granted the drinks are not that strong, but the flavor combinations were just spot on. My recommendations for drinks are From Russia with Love and Maui Wowie.
I guess the best thing about Nic's is their extensive drink menu and plentiful eye candy. JJ and I both agree that of all the places we've been, Nic's has the best looking clientele.
This is the place to go for a great date. Unfortunately for JJ and I, neither of us had one. We came here for a great time and great drinks and we did, but it wasn't what we were expecting.
This place is probably the most adult-oriented place on the Sunset Strip. Everything was impeccable, from the service to the music. I'd definitely come back with a date.
**Note: JJ and I left early because we felt so out of place. There were couples everywhere. We should've realized it was a date spot and not a party spot. Who would've thought that there was a place on the Sunset Strip that wasn't somewhere you'd necessarily party?
Food: N/A - unless you count a bite and a half of the crab balls, then 2/5
JJ and I compiled a list of places to go about a week ago. After reading the reveiws on Yelp, we decided to start with Cameo Bar at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. As I usually don't hang out in the Santa Monica area, I had my reservations. I also knew some people that frequent the Viceroy and that really didn't help either.
Lucky for me, I was pleasantly surprised. JJ and I arrived a little early so we avoided any lines. We also found seats in the bar area, another pleasant surprise. The place had a pretty good vibe. It wasn't too crowded and it wasn't empty either. The pool area had lots of seating available, especially for a small hotel. They have 3 cabanas available but there was a private event that night. The people were not bad, either. Some were a little questionable but I'd say more than half looked better than average. It's a pretty cool place to hang out and people-watch. JJ and I will probably come back.
**Note: There was a review on Yelp about eye contact and Cameo Bar. Apparently, one doesn't even have to make eye contact to be engaged in a conversation here. JJ and I were happily talking trash about what some people were wearing (I really wish I had my camera), when these two guys sort of just snaked their way in to our conversation. Not that I'm complaining, they were extremely entertaining. I just wish they had a smoother way of doing it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Who would have ever guessed that I'm related to this little guy? Isn't he just the most precious thing? I met him for the first time when I visited bucolic San Luis Obispo this past weekend. His dad (my cousin) just came back after a 6-month stint in Afghanistan.
Here's my mom playing with him. My dog, Deuce, is in the background. He had the time of his life running around the open fields. I think he must've thought he died and went to doggie heaven. Lol.
Here I am enjoying one on one time with Cooper. What a cutie (me and him both, hahaha).
Thanks again to the Johnson family for accommodating us. We had a great time!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Congrats to my boys for winning a blowout game this weekend. No. 1 USC routed No. 5 Ohio State 35-3. USC is now the leading contender for a BCS title bid.
The new quarterback, Mark Sanchez, seems to show promise. This is his biggest game so far and he seems to play well under pressure. He definitely has the arm and the athleticism. Time will tell if he's a smart player too.
Photo courtesy of LATimes.com.
Monday, September 1, 2008
The premise of the book is quite simple (after all, it is intended for children), four children are recruited on a mission to stop a man from destroying the world by means of the television. These four children each have their own special abilities and each have something to contribute to the team. Although each of them have their own shortcomings, the success of the mission lies in their ability to come together as a team. Like I said, pretty straightforward premise.
The way the story is woven, however, is a different story. The reader is taken through puzzles, riddles and other twists and turns. Puzzles and riddles tests these kids abilities as well as the readers. The storytelling is also quite compelling. The emotions of the kids are quite raw, drawing the reader's sympathy. Overall, a great read...quite a departure from the recent books I've just read.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This obituary was published in the Vallejo Herald Times recently. Click to enlarge.
May she rest in peace.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The other problem I had with New Moon (and I guess with Twilight as well), is that there's really no action. It feels anti-climactic to read vampire fiction without the gore and the guts. I guess that's just purely personal preference.
Am I masochist enough to endure a third book? Probably so. Curiousity gets the best of me. In the meantime, I think I'll enjoy one of my other books before I have to succumb to another disappointment.
Since it's geared toward a pre-teen audience, I have to agree with JJ that the writing is a little elementary. Still, I gave it a chance and read the book all the way through. I'm not exactly sure if it's the writing that bothers me or the slow pace of the book. More than half of the book is dedicated to the budding romance between Edward and Bella. I guess it's fine if you're a gushing teenager but I think the book could've still worked if half of it was thrown out.
Another thing that bothered me about the book is the fact that Bella is such a damsel in distress that it's bordering on annoying. And she seems pretty slow too. If anything irks me more, it's a weak female character. So much for feminism in Meyer's books.
Lastly, and I'm sure this is the worst offense (at least in my opinion), the sub-par plot complication of the tracker vampire, James. I guess I've read too many vampire fiction that I was totally expecting a kick-ass fight scene. Nope. The fight scene probably lasted a half a page. Wait, the fight scene was an afterthought. It was merely mentioned and not even described. What took it's place? Poor Bella and her near-death experience. Give me a break.
To say the very least, I was underwhelmed and extremely disappointed. But because I'm such a sucker, I bought the second book as well. It's turning out to be a teeny bit better than Twilight but I'm only halfway through.
**Note: I'm extremely disappointed in the casting choices for the movie. The vampires described in the book are gorgeous and perfect. The actors cast for the parts...not so much. Especially Esme.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
This guy, AK, broke my heart (relatively speaking) about a year ago. Then about a month or two ago he gets into a fight with his parents and asks to move in with me because his new girlfriend lives too far. Um, excuse me...are you f*n serious?!!?
To top things off, he's throwing a big 3-0 birthday bash at his new girlfriend's apartment and he asks ME to shop for the party booze with him! He-llo?!?! What the f* is wrong with you?
Is it just me or is he being totally inconsiderate? Needless to say, I'm f*n pissed. Not because I still like him or anything (because trust me, I don't). I just don't understand how someone can be so inconsiderate. But in retrospect, he always was just a tad bit inconsiderate. I guess I didn't notice it then.
Ugh, why must I be surrounded by lame boys?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Food: 2/5 - First Visit; 3/5 - Second Visit
Overall Experience: 3/5 - probably a smidge lower during my first visit
This new offering from the owners of The Cheesecake Factory offers Southeast Asian fare. Being from Southeast Asia, I decided to try it out. The first time around, I was seriously underwhelmed. The menu was pretty decent as far as TCF goes. Apparently it's family-style dining but their dishes are WAY too tiny to be family-style. It's like family-style if it's only you and one other person. My first time, we ordered Imperial Rolls that were WAY too salty, Chicken Lettuce Wraps that were way too bland, Singapore Omelette that tasted like paper, and Short Ribs (the highlight for me). After the meal, I wasn't satisfied but I decided to give it another try. I figure since they just opened about a month ago that they're still trying to work out some kinks.
I went again yesterday to treat my mom to a birthday dinner. We ordered the Chicken Samosas, Caramel Chicken and Short Ribs. If I hadn't ever tasted the Samosas from India's Sweet & Spices (best samosas EVER!), I would say that Rock Sugar's was decent. You get 4 medium-sized to a plate for $10. Not a great deal but then again it's a pretty shi-shi restaurant. The Caramel Chicken was crappy. I had a half a bite of one of the chicken morsels. Too dry. The Short Ribs was still as tender as I remembered; again, it was the highlight of our meal. We ended dinner with a trio of Creme Brulees (which were just ok). Overall, I'd say it's just mediocre. I'd still go back if not just for the drinks and to try some other stuff. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. Hah.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Usage: Indian, Hindu Mythology
Other Scripts: देवी (Sanskrit)
Derived from Sanskrit देवी (devi) meaning "goddess". Devi is the Hindu mother goddess who manifests herself as all other goddesses.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Yesterday morning it occurred to me...I have a pretty low pain threshold and some of these milder pain killers would be great for occasional use. You know, like before a bikini wax appointment or before getting a tattoo or ... well, that's all I've come up with for now. I don't know which I prefer though - a painless bikini wax or a stomach ache from the painkillers. Decisions, decisions...
On a side note, morphine IS the best medicine.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This routine brought tears to my eyes. The flow of movement is so beautiful. Will is such a great dancer.
This piece is so beautiful to watch. Mia Michaels is such a great choreographer.
As far as commitment to the piece, I think Mark and Chelsea win...hands down. Every single week their performance can be felt through the screen.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
To all those who read this blog, thanks for checking it once in a while even though I hardly ever update it. I'll try to update it as often as my time permits. =)
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Another thing that can easily be done is turning off/unplugging appliances when not in use. This is actually a little tough for me. Not the appliance part since that I take care of. It's the light. I have it on all night long since I can't sleep with the light off. Not good, I know but I can't help it. A nightlight simply will not do. Sorry Earth...
Reducing laundry. This one's easy since I'm too lazy to do it. Lol. I only do laundry about once a month. Same goes for dry-cleaning. Dry cleaning is apparently not good but some of the stuff I have NEEDS to be dry cleaned. I am not about to waste the good money I spent on my clothes only to have them ruined by washing them wrong. Again, sorry Earth. I guess the best way to remedy this situation is to buy clothes that don't need to be dry cleaned or go to "Green" dry cleaners (and shell out $$$). I can probably do something about this one...
Some things that I absolutely don't think I can give up:
1.) My SUV - if you've been in a car accident, it's better to shell out the extra cash for gas than the feeling of being in a small car although I wouldn't mind public transit if it was as reliable/fast/clean as the ones in Hong Kong (best subway system EVER!)
2.) Meat - I refuse to give up meat! Well, at least for the time-being. I can reduce my consumption of meat but I don't think I can completely forego it.
3.) Flights - I love traveling too much and I haven't seen all of the world yet. I don't travel often (once or twice a year) so I don't think it's a big deal.
A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
Tips to Reduce Your Primary Footprint
Don't go by air
Sign up to renewable energy
Try using solar water heating - this can reduce your gas bill by up to 70% over a year.
4. Travelling around
Use public transport as much as possible. Find out about your local bus services and then use it.
5. Car Share
Sign up to a car share scheme to reduce your travel footprint.
Tips to Reduce Your Secondary Footprint
When you buy goods - consider where they have been made and the materials and processes used to make them. Items that have high emissions in the manufacture or delivery should be avoided when ever possible. Things such as:-
1. Bottled water
Tap water is safe to drink in most European and North American countries, yet people still insist on buying bottled water. If the bottle is labelled as being from volcanic springs - you can bet that it has probably been imported from some distance. Imagine the carbon footprint of the flight / shipping of the water! And that's before adding in the emissions due to making the bottle and / or recycling it.
2. Food and drink from far distances
When you go to the supermarket, look at the label to identify which country the food is from. There is no need to buy New Zealand apples in the UK in the autumn - but people do!
Think twice about buying a bottle of wine from the other side of the world - you may be able to find much more local wine, which will have travelled far fewer miles.
Better still try growing your own fruit and vegetables in your own garden. Planting an apple tree will not only provide you with lots of fruit, with zero carbon footprint, but the tree itself with breathe in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - making these fruit effectively carbon negative!
3. Meat eating
Reduce your consumption of meat, especially red meat.
4. Clothes from far off lands
Check the clothes labels before you buy. If they come from more than 1000 miles away, keep looking!
5. High packaged items
Avoid goods and services that have unnecessary packaging! Need we say more?
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
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Monday, May 5, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
'Lollipop' is the longest word typed with your right hand.
‘Stewardesses’ is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
The sentence: 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' uses every letter of the alphabet.
Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite!
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
The cruise liner QE 2 moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
Monday, April 28, 2008
PS. I blame Tivo for not knowing whether commercials are new or old although I wouldn't want to trade my Tivo for anything. I can't even imagine life without my Tivo. okay, enough about that...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
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Monday, April 21, 2008
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This year's trip was sponsored by the City of LA's Accountants and Auditors Association. My aunt works as an auditor for the City of LA so she invited us along for this trip. The venue was Camp Seeley in Crestline, CA. It's about a half hour away from Big Bear and about an hour and a half away from Los Angeles. It's a new venue for us since we usually go to Lake Perris or Santa Barbara.
It was a fun and relaxing weekend away. If only it lasted a little longer. Here's to the next one!