NY, NY, it’s a helluva town! Pt. 1

•October 5, 2007 • Leave a Comment

J and I went to NY for about a week from Tuesday to Tuesday for our good friend Chia-Ling’s wedding! I’ve known CL since middle school and J met CL in college (which is also where J and I met). We were all on newspaper together in Riverside. Here’s the breakdown of our trip:

Tuesday:

  • Very low on the shenanigans scale. Spent most of the day either on planes or in airports. Flew out of Burbank, had a super long layover in Denver where we hung out with J’s mom. Super nice lady who got us through the airport at a record pace. Ate at the Village Inn. Typical Denny’s type fare. Delicious ham and cheese scramble. Had a heckova time dragging around luggage on NY/NJ public transportation. Can’t blv we’re actually in NY. Encountered the only mean person in NY (he was the shuttle driver.) Finally made it to New Brunswick, NJ, where we stayed with our friends Philip & Satsuki for the bulk of our trip to NY.

New Brunswick Station:
New Brunswick Train Station

Wednesday Shenanigans:

  • We celebrated our 12th anniversary by going to Manhattan, walking over two miles to Central Park in search of Strawberry Fields, getting verklempt in front of the Dakota Hotel (where Lennon was shot) and pigging out on a decadent Italian lunch at Maria Pia’s.

This is the John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields:
Strawberry Fields

  • It was super hot and humid that day and my feet were killing me so we pulled an old Cali classic — hiding out in a wonderfully air conditioned mall (Time Warner Center). Played with all of the foodie toys at Williams-Sonoma, went up an elevator we weren’t supposed to in J. Crew, and found some super comfy flip flops on sale at the NY Running Store. (I thought $15 was a lot to pay for flip flops but my sis tells me I got a deal since they were Reefs). That mall also contains the Whole Foods with the longest checkout lines EVER. EVAHHHHH!!!
  • We also got free Mentos in Times Square and had surprisingly decent macaroni and cheese at a diner called Andrew’s after going on a wild goose chase looking for Koreatown NYC. We did, however, stumble upon Midtown Comics where I got some Ultimate Spiderman graphic novels in honor of NY. And because I am hooked on them like a 12 year old boy. Seriously.

Times Square::
Times Square at night

Thursday Shenanigans:

  • Not very many pix, too busy running around and stuffing my face. Started off the day in Chinatown with some tasty (if cold) dim sum at Grand Harmony. Then we hit the awesome Museum of Chinese in the Americas. They are in the middle of moving to a new building, however, so we saw a very condensed version of their 2 current exhibits: Where is Home? Chinese in the Americas and Post-911 effect on Chinatown. I didn’t know this, but apparently Chinatown was the largest residential area affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. People who lived in the area could not leave their homes and lacked access to power, telephone and internet service for 1-2 weeks.
  • Next, we grabbed some Vietnamese iced coffee from Saigon Banh Mi and got a cheap mani/pedi for CL’s wedding. CL & I were actually supposed to meet for a dual mani/pedi but there was an unfortunate family emergency that day. I’m happy to report that it’s mostly been resolved but there were some harrowing moments in there. Later that day, J & I wandered through Little Italy (if only fresh mozzarella lasted and was easily transportable) and SoHo (I think). and found a terrific record store called Other Music.
  • On our way over to St. Mark’s Place, we found Pommes Frites, which had been highly recommended to us by our friends Philip and Satsuki! Pommes Frites features delicious, fresh, crispy french fries and over 30 dipping sauces! J got the small poutine and I got the small fries with the three sauce combo: Parmesan Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic Mayo, and Pesto Mayo. J’s poutine was terrific! It was basically fries covered with cheddar cheese curds and chicken gravy. Our favorite mayo sauce the Parmesan Peppercorn. This place is not to be missed! In fact, I was craving these fries on Monday. :X
  • When we finally got to St. Mark’s Place after pigging out on fries, we checked out St. Mark’s Comics and Kim’s Video, both very cool stores with some obscure toys, comics, records and DVDs. J found some good records but since we knew we’d be in the city until late at night, he didn’t want to carry them around all day.
  • After hitting St. Mark’s Place, we wandered over to Union Square so that we could catch a screening of “Across the Universe” at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14. “Across the Universe” was the perfect film to see in NY, especially after visiting Strawberry Fields. It was a really cheesy but really beautiful film, kind of like the Beatles’ early work. If you like the Beatles and have an open mind, you will probably enjoy this interesting interpretation/reworking of their songs.
  • After watching “Across the Universe” and making sure that my friend’s family emergency was somewhat resolved, we headed back to St. Mark’s Place to finally fulfill the craving that I had for kimchee. We hit a Korean bar/restaurant that I’d seen there earlier called Gama. At Gama, we ordered some rice roll things with spicy sauce, super delicious Chab Chae, and Kalbi.  We got a decent amount of sides to go with the massive amount of food we ordered.  We also became friends with a very nice Korean woman who sat at a table next to us. (We shared the Chab Chae with her.  She had ordered some really  yummy-looking Soon Tofu.  She wants to move to Koreatown L.A.!  Her son is a graphic designer for a t-shirt company.)
  • The final leg of this day consisted of us making our way to the East Village to hit Mehanata @ Bulgarian Bar! At first I was a bit doubtful because we kept passing by these really hip-looking people and bars.  (It resembled the Lan Kwai Fong area of Hong Kong).  But then, we got into a somewhat shadier area that was more mom and pop shops than hipster.  WE FOUND IT!  Aw, man, was this fun!  There was a band from Chicago playing some great Eastern European tunes with a guest stint by a phenomenal violinist, some people smoking a hookah and eating delicious looking food in a corner, and we tried Bulgarian beer for the first time.  Finally at around 11ish, Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello started DJing downstairs.  First, lemme say that altho he has fantastic taste in music, Mr. Hutz is not what you call a good dj in the traditional sense… He djs like me… Not smooth, sometimes there’s breaks between songs b/c we haven’t been paying attention/drinking or whatever. But god, it was a fun time.  Gypsy, bollywood, Eastern European disco, punk, it was all there. Unfortunately, we had to leave at around 12:30 to catch the last train back to NJ.  We reluctantly made our way back upstairs to pay our bill when we saw two large jars of cider-like drink at the bar.  The bartender explained that it was punch, and asked if we wanted to try some.  The bartender said one was apple and the other mint.  I tried the apple and J tried the mint.  Basically, the bartender filled a glass half with vodka then half with the cider.  Delicious but mind-numbing. Seriously.  Don’t think we got back to Philip & Satsuki’s place in NJ until 3 a.m. probably.  Nothing like stumbling around NY…

Weekend Update

•August 8, 2007 • Leave a Comment

For the Swiss Maid, as I’m pretty sure he’s the only one who really reads this.  Lessee… What trashy things have I been doing lately?

Nerdin’ Out

•July 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

This weekend is Comic Con in San Diego! In fact, it started today!

And I’m currently totally addicted to “Heroes.”  All of the episodes are available online on Nbc.com.

Rata-what?

•July 5, 2007 • 1 Comment

So… it’s been a while. And yet is it surprising that the only thing to bring me out of my self-instituted silence (based on a flurry of graduation requirements I had to fulfill, which thankfully I did) is a film about a rat that is a foodie?

Basically, the last 4 months have been a whirlwind of activity surrounding the event that I have been striving towards for the past two years — graduating from my Master’s program in Library and Information Science at UCLA. Which I did, on June 16th, 2007, thankfully. :) Even if the Chair of the department, who was on my Portfolio committee, mind you, called me “GLORIA.” Which, while a beautiful name (with all of its accompanying disco 70s derring-do), unfortunately, does not belong to me.

My name, which people tend to misspell, belong musically only to Bow Wow Wow and Iggy Pop/Kate Pierson, and even then, only in its shortened form.

But anyway, RATATOUILLE! J and I watched this this past weekend and we really enjoyed it. As long as we didn’t think too much about the rat aspect of it.

Our leading theory right now is that the fictional French chef Gusteau that is referenced in the film is actually an animated version of real-life Franco-American chef Michel Richard.

More on Msr. Richard here:

http://www.chefsstory.com/thechefs_michelrichard.html

http://www.citronelledc.com/michel/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/21/AR2007032101500.html

It’s really funny because about a week before we saw “Ratatouille,” we were flipping through TV channels late one night and we came across a random PBS cooking show. Turns out, the guest chef was Michel Richard! We had never heard of Msr. Richard until a few months ago, when J’s boss took him and a sales rep out to eat at a restaurant called Maison Richard. Maison Richard happens to be very close to my work, so J’s boss told him to call me and meet them there. I went, it was delicious, and J’s boss told us that Msr. Richard was a very well known chef who still ostensibly owned Maison Richard but had left the West Coast to open up other restaurants. We were like that’s cool, his food is good and the pastries look delicious, even though we were not familiar with his name.

So, last week we see the real Michel Richard on a PBS show late at night called “Chef’s Story.” And we immediately fall in love with him, food-wise. He is a true foodie, talking with excitement about different flavors and textures, and describing all of this with his hands as well as his words. On the show, he talked about his love for American food, even KFC. (He says he loves the crunch! He says it’s delicious! He says it’s what inspired him to try and put crunch in all of his dishes!) And he talked about the fries he makes with clarified butter at Central in DC, which made me a little sad because I had just been in DC last weekend but that was before I had watched the show!!!  So not only did I miss out on the BBQ festival that was happening in DC while I was there, I missed out on going to any of Michel Richard’s DC restaurants!

So now, as you can tell, I’m slightly obsessed by him.

Writer’s Block

•February 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I have writer’s block, so I’m trying a method that I heard about once from someone who talked about their mother who was a teacher.  This person never had writer’s block because their mother made them write even if they thought they had nothing to write about.  I have a midterm due for Descriptive Cataloging tonight and my practice portfolio and presentation due on Wednesday.  I really have no time for dilly dallying and yet here I am, doing it.  I also keep checking my email, which has constantly frustrated me today.  I don’t know what my problem is.  I guess I should just go and do what I should be doing.  I feel gross. Lost.  I think I am just feeling uneasy because this is it. The end of my program.  If I fail, I fail and the past two years will have been for nothing.  It’s gone by terribly quickly.  I feel as if I’ve done a lot and yet nothing at all.  I guess that’s the way it is when you’re in the middle of it.  I also feel like I need a gimmick or something to get and keep people’s attention while presenting my portfolio. 

It seems fake and yet I think is what people remember about people’s portfolio.  I know a good number of people in the department feel that the portfolio presentation is a retarded and unnecessary part of the program.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I think it is difficult to me to think about because the whole time I’ve been part of the program, I have been constantly working.

The Devil Wears Costco Sweaters

•December 14, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I’m on my 7th day (yes, count them, there has been 7 days since my last final had to be turned in, hurrah) of holiday break, and I am ecstatic.  I’m also feeling incredibly stylish today as I finally had a chance to re-dye my hair (mundane, but totally happy-making) and I watched “The Devil Wears Prada” last night. We rented it.  It was funny, but as it is nominated for a Golden Globe this year, I must say it was not as funny as “Borat” or “Little Miss Sunshine.” 

I’m kinda sad, too, that “Stranger than Fiction” didn’t get nominated as I thought that movie was really good.  We also caught that over the weekend. Oh yes, and I finished Specials, the final book in the Scott Westerfeld Uglies trilogy, last week. Okay, so I realize that this post has already gotten out of hand and confusing. See, this is what happens when my life isn’t forced into structure by an insane schedule. :P

So last weekend, J and I went to Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, which is very near Palm Springs, for a little getaway as I had just finished finals and J had just finished a big, hellacious job wherein he only got 1 day off (Thanksgiving) in the past three weeks.  His totally awesome-ical boss hooked us up for the weekend and paid for EVERYTHING. YES, EVERYTHING.  Hotel, massages, mani/pedi, breakfast… As long as it was done at the hotel/spa, it was on his tab. Incredible.

Some things you should know:

  1. Never turn down a free massage. Ever. — good advice from an incredibly talented masseuse. I was so relaxed, I fell asleep. Or I was so exhausted from finals. Whatever.
  2. Never miss a chance to take pictures of freaky Irish dance pageant girls who are running around your hotel in bizarre doll wigs that could be stolen and included in a terrific Gothic Lolita costume. 
  3. Hotel concierges are a lot more helpful than AAA. (Especially when you get a flat tire on a Sunday as you’re leaving your hotel in a place you’re not familiar with.)
  4. Palm Springs is a good place to make you feel young.
  5. The Costco in Palm Springs has nice sweaters, and okay tires, and when you’re the only people in there that are1.  of color and 2. younger than 60, you apparently garner a lot of attention.
  6. I’m going to attempt to post reviews of all of the movies and books I mentioned above, so we’ll see how that goes. 
  7. Never turn down a free massage. Ever.

Update and shopping spree

•November 25, 2006 • Leave a Comment

So it’s been a completely crazy quarter.  Right after my internship at Glendale ended, I managed to score an internship at Teen’Scape, which is housed at LAPL’s Central Library downtown.  Beautiful building, nice staff, sketchy area.  I know it’s the big city and I shouldn’t be freaked out but a guy tried to kiss me on the first day on the Red Line train and maybe two weeks later a homeless guy yelled racist and rude remarks to me, so… it’s been an adventure.  Other than the sketchy people, the internship has been wonderful.  The teens are really nice and just trying to survive in the shitty neighborhood and go to school. 

Speaking of school, in addition to my internship, I’m taking four classes, one of which is an independent study since two of the classes are at the same time.  So one I’m taking mostly virtually. Which, quite frankly, stinks.  I don’t get to hear/experience the guest lecturers nor really participate in any of the online discussions.  It’s really weird, and kinda of half-assed.  (Btw, I’m really tired right now b/c it’s 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday and I’m at Jeremy’s work just kinda keeping him company since he has to be here, but we stayed up late last night as we went to see “For Your Consideration” so I’m kinda bleah… Thus the cussing I imagine.)  Anyway, I am somewhat disillusioned with my independent study but seeing as it’s 8th week or something, I suppose I should trudge along and just finish it.  It’s only pass/fail anyway, but I am also kind of irritated at that, as I think it may drag down my GPA.

*Sigh* I’m such a nerd.

Anyway, so yeah, my schedule has been crazy as I’m taking 4 classes plus internship plus working about 20-30 hrs a week still so I am BUTT TIRED. And I have been using VACATION to cover for my missing hours.  I am so tired I am considering not doing an internship the next coupla quarters to just give myself a break.  But I’m not sure if it’s just my current tiredness talking and something that I will regret come next quarter or when the time comes to do my job search, so I am putting off making a decision… Honestly, I have enough credits, so it’s kind of whatever, but I just hate letting people down when I’ve already agreed to something. 

So yes, internship, 4 classes, work, and oh, did I mention that Mel and I are the co-presidents of the UCLA student chapter of the American Library Association this year?  Yet another timesuck.  I couldn’t wait until this brief Thanksgiving break and I certainly can’t wait ’til this quarter is over in a coupla weeks.  Simply working is like vacation compared to this quarter.

Ok, so enough with the complaining! I now have coffee (free) and bread (also free) so I feel better.  I wonder if I am addicted to caffeine?  Ok, sorry, distracted again. 

So good stuff this quarter:

  • Reading a lot more in general, mostly YA novels and children’s books for my Contemporary Children’s Lit class
  • Not as freaked out about everything as I was last year
  • Think I’ve kinda decided to try and go into public librarianship, specifically YA and perhaps Children’s
  • I’m still alive
  • I’m mostly caught up with my work at my job
  • I was just elected the Secretary for the Cedars-Sinai Friends of the Medical Library (b/c I really enjoy not having any time to do anything)
  • Despite my insane schedule, I managed to finally see “Art School Confidential,” “Babel” and “For Your Consideration”
  • Found a cool new comic book store, where the owner dude seems really nice, even if I did manage to find a totally messed up version of Same Difference and Other Stories in his store
  • Incidentally, American Born Chinese was a finalist for an American Book Award this year! It is the first graphic novel to do so! Is that not awesome?!
  • My recent shopping spree at Tower Records

Tower Records is going out of business, which kind of sucks, as it was one of the best music stores out of all of the big chains.  Thank God we don’t live near the Lab in Costa Mesa or else I’d be bankrupt right now, as everything in the Tower Records near us was 40%, and if you bought 4 CDs, the 5th one was free.

So… on Thanksgiving Day, we watched “Babel” and I bought:

  • Slowdive – “Catch the Breeze”
  • Devics – “Push the Heart”
  • Wire – “On Returning”
  • Jesus & Mary Chain – “Psychocandy”
  • House of Love – “Fontana Years”
  • The Fall – “BBC Radio 1: Live in Concert”
  • Leonard Cohen – “Essential Leonard Cohen”
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Nocturama”
  • Tori Amos – “Beekeeper”
  • Cardigans – “Super Extra Gravity”
  • Morrissey – “Live at Earl’s Court”

Yes, yes, I know, why don’t I have those CDs already? I don’t know, there was a lapse in judgement, or I just didn’t have time, or… I heard things from those albums that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with.  I was just happy that I found them at a reasonable price.  A lot of people were walking around in a daze there I think because they couldn’t remember the names of bands they liked.  Fortunately, I had no such problem.  In fact, we went back there yesterday to watch “For Your Consideration” and I hit some other spots that I missed the day before… Like the World and Jazz sections…

  • Charlie Hunter – “Songs from the Analog Playground”
  • Various Artists – “Putomayo presents Radio Latino”
  • Thomas Mapfumo – “Spirits to Bite Our Ears”
  • Cheb i Sabbah – “La Ghriba: La Kahena Remixed”
  • M.I.A. – “Arular”
  • Various Artists – “Ethiopiques Vol. 4″
  • Pink Martini – “Sympathique”
  • Fela Kuti –  “The Best of the Black President”
  • Amadou & Miriam – “Dimanche a Bamako”
  • Against Me! – “As the Eternal Cowboy”

Yes I am an insane person.  Yes, I think of them as “study aides,” which is part of my excuse. Yes, J and I may start podcasting after this quarter, which is another part of my excuse. Yes, I need to stop making excuses and get back to school work. Ciao!

 
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