More bangs, less bucks

As January came to a close and February prepared to take center stage, I officially obtained [1], without a trace of doubt and sans moment of hesitation [2], a full and complete set of Molly-cow bangs. My forehead is none too pleased with suddenly having to accomodate this thick fringe, but unlike my feet which could kick off the socks they claimed were suffocating them from the mass quantities of fresh air they had formerly been able to enjoy 24/7, my forehead can’t do anything about removing the bangs. Suck it up, forehead. You’re building character!


See the whole ding-dong bing-bang lineup, here.

[1] The name of the very awesome man who takes such wonderful care of my hair when I see him is Larry and he works over at the Body Perfect Salon on Sunset and Pecos from Tuesday to Saturday. His shampoo technique is heavenly and he takes no less than 20 minutes at the end, just blow-drying your hair seemingly strand by strand. While this may seem like a nuisance, spending so much time drying hair, the end result is Hair To Die For. You’ll be fondling your own head for the rest of the day (well, okay, *I* did, at least). I absolutely adore him and would recommend him to anyone.

[2] This was an impulsive decision, natch. I called the salon as soon as they opened and asked when Larry would be free, then a half-hour later sat down in his chair and he got to work. C’est simple comme tout.


It’s like dating *me*!

From Ross Murray’s "The 4-Year-Old on a Blind Date": (via McSweeney’s)

7:47 p.m. Awkward silence. Ask passing waiter for crayons. Breadbasket arrives. Pile on plate, making house of Melba toast. Battle ensues between knife and fork. Quietly go "Ah-h-h-h-h!" as fork plummets to its death off edge of table in slow motion. Date excuses herself to freshen up.


8:47 p.m. On way home, impress date by accurately identifying the colors of passing cars

Yes, I can be bought (II)

And so can that special geek in your life! (all via thinkgeek, which I stumbled upon quite randomly)

Excuses, excuses

Top 7 Reasons Why I Stopped Working On That Short Story

  1. I got distracted looking through the 2006 Spring Line for Marc Jacobs sunglasses
  2. I bothered to read some of the already-submitted short stories of my classmates *
  3. I was trying to remember how that one song goes, the one about that hat, or was it a cow?
  4. Ebay searches are endlessly addictive
  5. I’ve got R-E-S-U-M-E on the brain
  6. Strange though it may sound, I’m actually interested in getting my sleep patterns normalized
  7. Little taro-filled pastries and azuki-flavored mochi ice cream from Ranch 99 are soooo yummy

And so, my first assignment is going to be late. It was going to be non-existent– I was going to drop the class and pick up something else, something useful and more evidently contributory to the furthering of my personal-enrichment knowledge– but after browsing the academic calendar, I learned that Friday was the last day to add classes. So, basically, I’m saddled with this class for another four months (i.e., fucked).

As for No. 7 on that list, my goodness, I’ve never been so grateful to have been born into an Asian family. I can’t imagine life without being aware of things like mochi and taro** and azuki beans, baby bok choy and kabocha and tempura and musabi and sweet chili sauce. Though I could’ve done without the introduction to kim chee (I *hate* kim chee). And as much as I scoff at Las Vegas’ Chinatown– it’s much like the Paris and New York, New York hotels: large, gaudy, sometimes really decent imitations, but unforgettably only an imitation in the end– I do love the smells of all the restaurants (Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Filipino) mingling together and tantalizing the senses. Plus, tonight, I got to see little kids dressed up in headdresses and costumes in celebration of the New Year. Cute!

* I know this is the first assignment and everything, but, dude. I only made it through five stories before I went off in search of a dull knife with which to gouge out my eyes. I’m no Great American Novelist, but these stories, man, these stories are shit. It’s stuff I was writing in, maybe, 7th grade, if even that late? The narration is poor. Two of the five I read have no endings, and as far as I can tell, no substance or even plot. One lacks mastery of commas and quotation marks. Another’s opening sentence took five re-reads before I understood that it simply wasn’t understandable. I admire them for getting their stuff submitted on time, but I’d rather submit nothing than submit that.

** I love taro, but have never been able to stand poi. I guess it’s like people who hate tomatoes but love ketchup, or the other way around.

Productivity, sort of

I could have been:

  • Sleeping
  • Writing that short story for that fiction class
  • Looking for my Microsoft Office XP CD
  • Sleeping
  • Cleaning
  • Sleeping
  • Running at the gym
  • Doing dishes
  • Working on my confounded resume

Instead, I messed about with Picasa and Photoshop and CSS and template tags and redesigned this site, which means nothing more than, I changed the banner for the main template and I changed the banner for the About Page template, as well as the About Page contents.

And now it’s 4:13 a.m., I still can’t sleep (effing insomnia), the sun’s going to be up in an hour or so, and I still haven’t written that short story. Or put (back) together my resume. Or found that stupid Office CD, on which I blame the first two.

But, hey, I can always chalk it up to: it’s the Chinese New Year! New year, new design, etc. Something like that.

Bay Trip, Part II

Friday, Jan. 20, 2006

Somewhat on a lark, plans are made for me to return to San Jose for the weekend. I leave the 10D at home this time, not wanting to haul around that behemoth camera kit, and catch the same flight as last time, leaving LAS around 6:30 p.m. While standing in the queue (love that word!) on the jetway, waiting to get on the plane, the man behind me speaks: "Do you have a bunny rabbit in there?"

I turn, not really sure if he’s speaking to *me,* and when we make eye contact, it’s clear he is. There’s a beat. His expression is friendly, I assume he’s trying to make a joke, but settle with a reply of, "I’m sorry, what did you say?"

He repeats himself: "Your white bag, do you have a bunny in there?"

I still don’t get it but pretend I do and laugh, "Oh, goodness no, no bunnies tonight." Had I been carrying a top hat, I might have seen a joke in formation, but a white travel bag? Huh?

He continues to make small talk, asking me where I’m sitting, being visibly dismayed at the nine rows of seats that will be separating us and verbally expressing this dismay to me, as well. Offering to persuade the stranger who will be sitting next to him to switch seats with me, or the stranger who will be sitting next to me to switch seats with him. Telling me I have gorgeous hair. He is at least 40 years old. I continue to smile and laugh uncomfortably albeit pleasantly, and end up having to stow my bunny-free white bag in the exit row’s overhead bin, though my seat is in the bulkhead. I haven’t slept since Wednesday night.

We land on time but getting off the plane is an exercise in patience, as I have to wait for enough people to get off so I can squeeze my way back to where my bag is. When I finally do and I step onto the jetway, the Bunny Inquisitor is there, waiting for me. He genially walks with me into the terminal, down into Baggage Claim, asking me if he can get me a limo, flowers, an agreement for a date later in the weekend? I just keep smiling silently and walking as quickly as I can, and thankfully, Sidney’s pulling up to the curb just as I get outside. I turn to the man (I’ve already accepted his business card, he lives and works in the city), tell him it was nice meeting him, give my bag to Sidney who puts it in the trunk, and we take off. I tell Sid about the man. He tells me I’m too nice to people. He’s probably right. He hands over the Nokia 6282, which I begin playing with immediately.

Stop off at Home Depot to get potting stuff for Ber. Head over to the University District (or whatever it’s officially called) of Palo Alto, walk around, stop at a place called Pluto’s where we get dinner. I create a yummy, yummy salad of greens and fruits and red bell peppers and cucumbers and balsamic vinegar. We finish eating and continue walking around, and I give him what he will later call a "play-by-play commentary," which goes something like this: "Oh, a bookstore! Oh look, pretty things! Oh, a tea set! Oh, more pretty things!"

At my insistence, we also go to Vons (er, Safeway) and I drag him through the store, chasing down string cheese and Fruit Roll-Ups (one package of the former, three boxes of the latter). And a box of cereal, but no milk, because milk is so complicated. We’re already in line when he reminds me about the oranges I’d wanted, so no oranges, either. Last stop: Blockbuster, where we rent "Wedding Crashers," which we watch that night (uncut version). Verdict? Funny movie, but oh, that dinner scene at the table. Wow. Still, Rachel McAdams is so darn cute. Cuter than Hilary Duff? You betcha.

I continue to not-sleep, tossing and turning on Fred’s cold (well, I mean, I had the big blanket, but still) leather surface until approximately 8 a.m.



Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006

We go to Berkeley, where he grew up, driving through Oakland on the way. Walk down Telegraph Ave., stopping in a huge music store which carries, among other things, Dane Cook’s "Retaliation" (2 audio, 1 DVD), which is priced for under $10, brand-new. I buy it, as well as Eddie Izzard’s "Unrepeatable," the blue Weezer album and the full 2-disc soundtrack for "Rent: The Movie."

Outside, various vendors are selling various things, and I’m keeping an eye out for a ring. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, only that I’ll know it when I see it. It’s not until Sidney heads over the Blondie’s for a pizza lunch that I see it: the perfect souvenier ring. It’s big. It’s ostentatious. It’s made by the vendor himself, making it an authentic Bay area item (to me). And it’s *adjustable* (in the sense that, the vendor can adjust it on-the-spot). It’s also only ten bucks. I buy it (correction: I tried to buy it but I didn’t have enough cash on me and the vendor charges a fee for credit cards and Sidney thought this was ridiculous and gave the vendor cash) and have it sized for my left hand. Why the left? Because, hello, it’s a Berkeley ring.

We eventually hit the UC campus. It’s not until I see the funky trees that I sigh and wish out loud we hadn’t forgotten his camera in the car. He confesses that, um, well, actually, he has the camera in his pocket. I glare at him indignantly and he hands it over. Had it not been for his deliberate silence, I would’ve had a lot more pictures to show for the day, but I suppose I made do. Sather Tower has stunning views of Berkeley and a really slow elevator.

The final stop on the abbreviated tour is the Berkeley Rose Garden, which would have been much more impressive if there had actually been roses. It still being winter, there weren’t. Still, it was a pretty place.

Dinner takes place at Zachary’s, a small pizza place that has won award after award, including a handful of "Best of…" Eating there is definitely an experience, as it takes 40 minutes from the time you place your order to the time the pizza arrives at your table, but it’s a rewarding experience: the pizza is a deep-dish, the "toppings" (ours had mushrooms and fresh spinach and cheese and maybe something else) are actually in the middle, with the tomato mixture ladled on top. It’s fantastic.

There’s a used bookstore next door, and we pop in, "just to look," and of course I end up taking forever and we leave only after I’ve accumulated a young tree’s worth of used children’s lit (four words: cheap award-winning books, emphasis on cheap). I blame him for letting me out of his sight– how in the world am I going to get these things home?

Close to 2 a.m., I’m talked into taking some Tylenol PM. I insist it won’t work, I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t work on me anymore, but swallow the damn things anyway. It’s another hour or two before I finally, finally drift into subconsciousness.






Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006

Sunday! I’d been looking forward to Sunday ever since plans for this impromptu trip had been settled, because I’d discovered that on Sunday, Santana Row is home to a Farmer’s Market.

Before heading over there, we stop at a Vietnamese restaurant in Milpitas for lunch. He orders pho, I order the rice vermicelli with tofu and veggies, and also a "green waffle." He refuses to try it before I can describe what it tastes like, but I’m at a loss for words. It’s like asking someone to describe what chicken tastes like; the green waffle can only be desrcibed as tasting like a green waffle. We now suspect that it perhaps tasted like taro, except– taro’s purple. So, yeah.

The weather is gorgeous and perfect for a Farmer’s Market. Unfortunately, we discover that the Farmer’s Market is more like a Farmer’s Single Row of Stands Totaling Less Than Fifteen. Still, there are fresh oranges to buy, and also specialty almonds. Sidney also introduces me to Maido, a cute little Japanese store, and I fall in love with a pig.

Before leaving Santana Row, I order a feuillete from the Cocola Bakery and we sit inside the cafe while I eat it. There’s a girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old, sitting placidly inside a stroller, which takes up considerable space inside the little bakery. Her parents seem oblivious to the fact that their child is a bit past her stroller prime, is large enough, in fact, that her feet can touch the floor from where she sits. Sidney rolls his eyes at this and I just look on, bemused.

Westfield Shopping Center next: a big mall. Before the big mall is the big book warehouse that has Everything On Sale Everything Must Go Go Go! All paperbacks are $1, all hardcovers are $2. Again, cheap books; you know how this vignette must end.

Inside the big mall are big stores, big fancy stores like… Club Monaco. That’s the only one I remember. It’s a big mall.

The rest of the day is spent relaxing and Doing Nothing, something I rather enjoy doing. I spend the last bits of daylight out on the balcony-patio-thing, writing away on his laptop with a book and string cheese nearby.




Monday, Jan. 23, 2006

I spend a lovely, lovely day of sunshine walking around outside and getting disoriented on the VTA bus system, heading out to Alviso when I meant to go to the Rivermark Plaza in Santa Clara. The bus driver chats away with me, giving me brief historical highlights of Alviso and telling me about the city’s good eats. I eventually make it to Rivermark, wander through the plaza, buy mini bagels, contemplate getting a pedicure, and finally go to Vons-Safeway and buy groceries for cooking and baking and marvel at the jump in prices between Vegas and here. A half-gallon of milk, on sale for $2? Insane!

Return to the apartment, only to discover there are virtually no kitchen supplies, as in: vegetable peelers, mixing bowls, rubber spatulas, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking sheets, cooling racks. This comes as a great surprise to me, as Sidney’s cooked twice for me by now.

Also, I forgot to buy chicken broth.

When he returns from work, I lament over this and we head out to Wal-Mart, just in case they’re still open, to where I’d planned on bussing myself the next day to get said missing kitchen supplies, something which he will not hear of (he acts like it’s such a tragedy that I’m taking public transportation, as though buses and trams and trains and trolleys aren’t wonderful, wonderful commodities in which I delight in partaking). They’re still open; I buy supplies. Correction: I seek out, find, and compile supplies which I intend to buy, and he refuses to let me pay for them.

Dinner: Chinatown. Most places are closed by now (it’s about 11 p.m.), but there’s a Chinese restaurant with its lights still on. The "pig ears and cow intestines" he claims to have ordered turns out to be a chicken dish and a plate of greens which I thought were snow pea leaves but he insisted weren’t (whatever they were, they were good). We walk through (closed) Chinatown, order some crispy egg-batter waffle-like thing from the boba shop at the end, walk back to the car, call it a night.

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2006

More sunshine. More walking around. There’s a pick-up game of soccer, a large group of men running around the community park, I suppose all on their lunch break. Mothers are out with their little kids, sitting on benches and enjoying the nice weather.

I take the light rail to Milpitas, explore the Great Mall (big, strangely unimpressive, mostly outlet stores) and for no reasonable reason, get a 7th hole pierced in my ears, in the cartilege on the right side. Also, there’s a cute little accessory store called INVU. I buy $0.99 earrings from the store simply because I adore the name.

When I get back to the apartment, I start soaking raisins in preparation for cookie-making. Except, hey, still no mixing bowls! I’m resigned to using a cooking pot. The cookie dough is soundly insulted by this, but the cookies turn out well all the same. Sidney eats, like, half the batch before we leave for the airport.

I fly home. The flight is empty (20 people total on the plane, including myself the the entire flight crew) so I don’t have to avoid anyone this time around. It’s 46 degrees outside when we land at LAS, and three of the passengers on the plane are wearing T-shirts and shorts and judging from their banter on the plane, they’re either drunk or first-time travelers, or both.

The end. I already miss the good food. Who is this girl, publicly admitting to missing good food? My my.

Bay Trip, Part I

Friday, Jan. 13, 2006

I leave LAS around 6:30, arrive at SFO a little after 8 p.m. Our timing is perfect and Sidney pulls up to Baggage Claim merely seconds before I step onto the sidewalk. I immediately assume my duties as a demanding, stubborn and bossy young thing, he cheerfully puts up with it all, and he takes me to Santana Row where we have a light dinner at Sino and then aimlessly meander. I take pictures, pictures, and more pictures, mostly of absolutely nothing.

[end present tense narration]



Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006

San Francisco! It rained on and off all day– the authentic SF experience– and we walked through the Cannery, Ghirardelli Square and the Hyde St. Pier. More pictures, and then some. Met up with Farnaz (Farnaz!), who’s going to dentistry school out there, for a bit at one of the many area Starbucks. Walked through the Palace of Fine Arts (sort of) en route to the Exploratorium (which had closed for the day by the time we got there) and I (surprise!) took more pictures, lots of them of what Sidney scoffed as "mud puddles." Had dinner at The Stinking Rose, a restaurant that specializes in garlic, but the chef was apparently in a rotten mood because, um, the food sucked. A lot. Went back to the marina area to see the BATS improv show, which had a slow start but picked up enough speed by the end to be remembered as enjoyable.





Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006

Monterey. Is. Gorgeous (And Cold). We went to the aquarium. I took more pictures. Walked through Cannery Row and I thrilled over everything John Steinbeck-related, or basically the entire city. Went on the 17-Mile Drive and caught the sunset from one of the beaches.









Monday, Jan. 16, 2006

Went to Trader Joe’s to buy Sidney a new orchid plant. Bought palmiers (yum!) as well, then hit up a donut shop somewhere in downtown-ish Sunnyvale. I got a tour of the Yahoo! campus, which is *gorgeous* and impressive and inspiring and absolutely lovely. Saw a fragment of the University District of Palo Alto and returned lip gloss at Walgreens. Went to the airport. Flew back, rather against my will, to Las Vegas.




Direct links:

Mother knows best

–On transfer of ownership of Shayna: "I like him, but not enough to just give him an $800 cat."

–On my silent, bemused response to her question of, "So what’d you do in San Jose?": [sigh] "I bet you gave him a hard time."

Me? Give someone a hard time? Wherever would she get that idea? I’m an angel, you bet.

(She hasn’t been my mother for 22 years for nothing.)

Yes, I can be bought

Was in Barnes & Noble a week or two ago and after wandering through the children’s section, upon re-entering the grown-up section (read: the entire bookstore), on the seasonal display table I found this book: "If You’ll Be My Valentine," by Cynthia Rylant.

I read through it and almost cried as I put it back on the table.

Sidney has teased me endlessly over my fascination with children’s literature, over the staggering number of children’s books I own or longingly desire to own. The people at the cash register always assume I’m an elementary teacher when they ring up my stacks of Newbery books and I always feel a little awkward when I explain, no, I’m just a collector.

I have no solid explanation for this love affair of mine, other than, children’s literature is inimitably beautiful. There’s such an innocence and purity that floods their pages, and even those that deal with the uglier realities of life and this world– the obstacles are tackled with a viewpoint, a determination, a hope that belongs singularly to children, and immersing myself in that sort of world is far more favorable to me than burying my nose in Danielle Steel or Anne Rice or John Grisham. I have shelves stocked with adult literature, too, ranging from the Great Classics to contemporary best-sellers, but my children’s collection is to me what PB&J’s and chicken noodle soup are to others.

And as a bonus, if I ever have kids (or, ahem, nieces or nephews), I can share my treasured books with them. How many books have I bought solely because of the pleasant dream of one day reading it aloud to an enraptured audience? It’s certainly why "Where the Wild Things Are" sits in my bookcase.

I really don’t care that books are heavy and encumbersome and a veritable pain in the ass to move around; the digital age will never replace them, for me. Scrolling through lines of text on a handheld/computer screen just isn’t the same as listening to the rustle of a page being turned and feeling the paper, smooth under my fingers.

On a final-ish note: I’m enamored with "Bee Season" (100 pages or so into the book), but completely not able yet to handle it, and this dissonance in the brain is a nuisance beyond comparison. Why did it have to be a Jewish family? Dammit.

Splendidly Splenda

Pictures and summaries of the last two weekends will be up tomorrow.

January’s been a difficult month for me in terms of handling Las Vegas, which is part of the reason why I’ve spent so much time in the last two weeks seeking solace in Northern California. Though so far I’ve been doing a darn impressive job of upholding one of those New Year resolutions– keeping in touch with old friends– I’ve also been avoiding people as much as possible so as to avoid having to answer the inevitable question: "So what have you been up to?" or, worse: "How’s your day?"

There are always large, screaming holes in my description of my day. I tick off the things I’ve done, but anyone listening who pauses for a few seconds to contemplate what I’m saying will realize that my list shouldn’t have taken up more than, say, two hours of the day. What the hell else was I doing? In the silence that harbors the unspoken curiousity (if it even exists, I have a tendency to be overly paranoid about things), I hastily add that I’ve done a lot of writing. And reading. Which I do, all the time, but not nearly enough of either to take up 10 hours.

What the hell else was I doing? On average, my days this month have gone a little like this: mornings, following waking, are spent fighting violently with the depression, which has been circling me like a hungry beast, waiting for that unexpected moment when I let my guard down so it can rush in and swallow me whole, or maybe just consume me bit by bit so as to make the torment last longer. Afternoons are spent distracting myself from the depression by way of fighting violently with food issues. Evenings are spent fighting the bitter temptation to do another torturous dance with the food issues, and also are spent trying to convince myself that tomorrow will be different.

And that’s why I’ve been nothing less than all-encompassingly grateful to fly out to San Francisco and take refuge in San Jose for a few days at a time. I’m not foolish enough to think that my problems are Vegas, my problems are limited to here– but for the time being, when I’m *not* here, I’m back to okay. I’m even halfway okay with food, though this is more or less because I know that I can resume flipping out over everything when I get back home. That aside– I’m okay. I wake up and indulge in the gorgeous (albeit cold) weather; I walk around outside and take in the unfamiliar but beautiful sights; I interact with people cheerfully and everything is delightful, everything is lovely, everything is perfect.

I know the old adage: wherever you go, there you are. I know that relocation isn’t a solution to eliminating all or any of my monsters, though relocation as a secondary purpose (the first being, oh, I don’t know, finding employment elsewhere) I’m certainly not against.

Until then, it’s a routine of a few days up close and personal with the monsters, a few days Getting The Fuck Away (also? my swearing was practically non-existent while I was in SJ– amazing!) by fleeing to the Bay area, to Ventura County, to San Diego, to Honolulu, to Georgia, to wherever United or my car will take me. It’s not *solving* anything, but it is surviving, and by golly, that’s good enough for me. For now.