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Monday, May 25, 2009

you just don't know when to quit do you

Paul and I just returned after a four-day trip up the coast of California. My wonderful, amazing hubby planned the whole thing with almost zero input from me (since I kinda suck at planning things), I mainly served as a budget-sounding-board (i.e. How much should we spend on hotels?).

Even though our accommodations on the way up were amazing (no sleeping in the car for us!) I still didn't sleep very well due to the fact that I am very much like one of those grumpy old people who don't like to be away from their bed and their things, etc...

Long story short, now that we are home and have to go back to work at the butt-crack-o-dawn tomorrow, I decided an Ambien is in order (especially since Paul will undoubtedly be up til past my bedtime watching the NBA playoffs.

Ok, so I remember there was some point I wanted to make when I started writing and then one thing led to another and here I am?

I think I was going to write about how I managed to watch a large part of the Jon and Kate Plus 8 marathon while we were away and damn it. I want kids. I don't want eight. But two or three would be really awesome. But you know what? I'm really not coherent enough right now to go down this path on this blog. This topic deserves to be written by someone who isn't in a state where she is easily distracted by shiny objects...like Lamar Odom's head on the tv screen.

Which brings me to the other thing this post might have been about...I hate the Lakers. I don't really know if the Nuggets can take them down, esp since they gave home-court back in the last game, but you know, they've proven they can win in LA so....gah....blaahhh...

Just so you know, the last time I wrote a post while drugged up on sleeping pills, I literally forgot I wrote it for months until one day I was like eh? What is this? And it even had a COMMENT on it (Hi John! I keep meaning to write you and tell you that your little note meant a lot to me but then it was sooo long after you actually wrote it I also felt a bit silly....). And then it came back to me like your memories after a long night of drinking and doing crap you'd much rather just forget all about. Except in this case, I was just sort of embarrassed that I couldn't remember having written all that....

GAH! *taping my own mouth shut now*

Let's talk in the morning.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

remind me again why we ever came back?

So now that I've thoroughly embarrassed myself by revealing way TMI (as predicted) I have the sudden urge to push certain posts as far down the page as they will go in the hopes that they will quietly skulk off into the archives of this blog and never be mentioned again.

Therefore...Hawaii pictures it is! As you will notice our week-long trip was occupied mostly by...food. Because we are fat like that.

Out*rigger Reef on the Beach is just awesome. Best price you will get for a four star hotel and look at the view from our balcony (taken while leaning precariously over the railing).

Breakfast at Shorebird's, the "casual dining" restaurant inside the hotel.

The food there was nothing to write home about, but the view? I'll let you judge for yourself.

This is the "Soup and Sandwich" at Alan Wong's (Chilled Vine Ripened Hamakua Springs Tomato Soup with Grilled Mozzarella Cheese, Foie Gras, Kalua Pig Sandwich). I call it The Most Wonderful Thing I Have Ever Put In My Mouth. Of all the great restaurants I've been lucky enough to sample over the last few years (Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, Athens, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Taipei, Hong Kong...) I think Alan Wong's may very well be at the top of the list. That is not a statement I make lightly.

The second course in the five-course tasting menu was also a winner. But then again, when has perfectly poached lobster ever been a failure? Exactly, never.

I'll just let that picture speak for itself...

Dessert! I was completely stuffed at this point, but could I pass up chocolate "crunch bars" and The Coconut (Haupia Sorbet in a Chocolate Shell, Tropical Fruits and Lilikoi Sauce)? The answer is a clear and resounding hell no!

This was taken after the Paradise Co*ve Luau. It is also what happens after one too many Lava Flows and about half a dozen lei-making stations.

I still haven't quite figured out how to take good night-time photos on my SLR. Sadly, this is best shot I was able to get.

After a particularly disappointing experience at San*sei Sushi we decided to check out the sushi-nazi experience at Sas*abune Sushi. They ONLY do traditional style sushi and provide strict instructions on how each dish should be eaten (e.g. If you even try to put soy sauce on this dish we will cut your hand off and banish you forever). This place was seriously amazing, the picture above has their squid appetizer on the left - seriously I did not know it was possible for squid to be that tender - and an incredible, melt-in-your-mouth tuna sashimi trio on the right.

Paul gobbling down the baked lobster.

I never had raw abalone before, I like crunchy things but I probably wouldn't get this again because it reminded me of eating cartilage which I don't particularly like. Pretty dish though.

This was supposed to be a picture of me holding up the plate of negi toro but Paul thought I wanted him to just take a picture of my face. Apparently he thinks I am vain like that.

On our last night there we wandered way off the regular tourist route (this was actually something we did a lot over the course of the trip, go figure all the Ye*lp recommended places were not tourist traps!) and made a visit to Iman*as Tei. One of the Ye*lp reviews claims this place created the Dynamite and I can actually kind of believe that they did. It was packed with high quality, fresh seafood and so creamy and amazing. Hands down the best I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot). It was so good that by the time I realized I needed to have something to remember it by half of it had mysteriously vanished. Is there anything better in this world than baked mayonnaise? Probably not.

Look at how happy I am! Man, I wish I had some of that Dynamite right now....

The Chanko Nabe was great too! It's the Japanese version of hot pot and it's recommended for groups of 3-4 but it was our last night there so we just had to try it. We ate so much I thought we were going to burst!

As Paul was checking out of the hotel, I felt like I hadn't taken enough pictures of the beautiful view so I rushed over to the back of the hotel and snapped this shot. Aloha and til we meet again Hawaii! (Hopefully soon).

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

where time slows down


This year is going by way too quickly. It's February 11th already? Really?

We've been having our "comp talks" at work this week and though it's true it's been a horrible year for the industry (and not a great one for my firm either), I was actually pretty happy with what I walked away with. In fact, I think I made out like a bandit if I do say so myself - a bonus, a raise and a promotion complete with lofty sounding title and twenty, count 'em, twenty days of vacation! I'm already planning the next one in my head, maybe I'll even find out firsthand if Atlantis is as amazing as it looks on the commercials.

It will be hard to top this though...

I must say, as much as I've complained for the past six months, I am very grateful that I still have a job to complain about.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

to live amongst the sea turtles

Why hello there. I am back from paradise, back in...well...hell might be a little bit too strong...let's just say I'm back in the real world.

Oh how I miss the white sands and clear blue Caribbean ocean. The eighty degree weather was nice too.

Time in the middle of the ocean was exactly what I needed (minus the slight bout of sea-sickness) but unfortunately I wasn't much more zen upon my return to the office. Maybe a little bit though, and maybe that's all I can hope for in my stressful line of work and my idiot of a manager.

The whole time I was in Grand Cayman I was trying to devise a plan for my life that would allow me to stay forever. Perhaps we could become tour guides! Work for one of the five hundred banks? Start a hedge fund based on the island? Who cares! Of course, my perspective on the awesomeness of the Caribbean probably would have changed in the middle of a hot and humid summer. We were there in January after all.

But part of me is still convinced the 20,000 of the 60,000 non-native occupants of the island have the right idea.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

home again

So I'm back from yet another trip out of my beloved SF and as usual distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Although distance from my job did not make me love my job, it only prolonged my tolerance for it so that even though today sucked something awful, my head did not explode all over my Bl*oomberg keyboard.

The wedding was wonderful, since I was in it I have no pictures but I'm sure Lian will provide them soon enough. Lian was, as expected, an absolutely gorgeous bride and I really hope there is a shot of the moment after James put the ring on her finger, because wow, what a look of pure joy on that boy's face.

What I did not love? The totally effed up NY metro system. Having lived all my life in California, the first time I visited NYC I thought the subway system was the most amazing thing. Like ever. But after having lived in Paris and utilizing the metro system in Taipei and Hong Kong, wow, the NYC subway system is horrible, confusing and completely not tourist friendly. The subway lines seem to run on random schedules/routes when there's going to be a full moon or the tide is low or when it's the first weekend of the month or any other random reason you can possibly think of.

Also: I hate humidity. I really hate humidity. And I really especially hate humidity when I have to wait in non-ventilated subway holes for trains that never seem to want to come.

But anyway, I am home now and I'm exhausted and I'd like to not have to get on an airplane, well, ever, but I'll settle for a few months.

And on a kind of downer note, my cousin's Eric and Mindy had their little baby girl (their son was the ring bearer at my wedding) on Friday but she is in the NICU with heart trouble and possibly some other complications. It sounds like it touch and go at the moment, so please keep her and the whole family in your prayers...

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

american men are not this comfortable with their sexuality, which is not necessarily a bad thing in my book

Oh, hello. Feeling much better now, thank you after finally being able to sleep three nights in a row! Woot, woot. I've been having some dreams that can only be described as stressful (but not quite nightmares) involving numbers and driving (which I haven't done in nearly a year now) but I'm just grateful that I've been able to sleep in solid three hour chunks.

Anyway, I'm finally starting to feel coherent enough to write about the second part of my Asia trip, also known as The Part After Paul Arrived in Taipei.

Possibly the most entertaining part of the entire trip was when Paul and I decided to check out the club scene in Taipei (Why? I'm not entirely sure, since we've lived a block away from one of the more popular clubs in SF for a year and a half and have been there exactly once). On my friend Jesse's recommendation we checked out Luxy, apparently the "hottest" club in Taiwan right now (and, as luck would have it, was a quick 20-minute walk from my grandparents' apartment).

Paul still doesn't believe this happened because he just happened to be off buying himself a cigar at the time, but I swear to you it did.

Taiwan's club scene officially out-gayed the French club scene and this is how:

So I sat there, amused by the fact that the rest of the world seems to be somewhat rhythmically challenged, Paul was off searching for a cigar (I HATE that you can smoke inside clubs in other countries, hate) and a Redb*ll/vodka, when suddenly I saw something that made me rub my eyes and wonder exactly what sort of club we were in.

Two well-muscled guys had hopped on stage - well Guy #1 was on stage and Guy #2 was standing on the step right in front of him. Guy #2 was facing Guy #1. Then Guy #2 proceeds to slowly unbutton Guy #1's shirt, periodically turning around towards the crowd and lifting his arms up and down as if to get people to cheer. Eventually Guy #1's shirt is completely off (thanks to the efforts of Guy #2) and then Guy #2 jumps on stage rips off his own wife-beater and the two of them proceed to cheer and shout...

Now I wouldn't have been the least bit shocked by this (I mean, c'mon I live in San Francisco) except that it did not appear that the two guys were actually gay...I'm pretty sure they were promoters trying to pump the crowd up because I recognized at least one of the guys from the video that the club had looping behind the DJ's. It didn't appear like they were attracted to each other, more like they were doing this to excite the crowd? I don't know, I was extremely confused and could feel my mouth hanging open and my face contorted into a perplexed expression. I looked around and everyone else seemed to be reacting as though it was business as usual.

I thought it was weird in France when guys would push girls off the little stages so they could dance up there themselves (which by the way, I also saw this occur in Taiwan), but this was just way beyond anything I saw in the French club.

So there you have it, Taiwan has officially out-gayed France. Not an easy feat.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

home, sweet home (almost)

Paul and I are flying out of Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon. After almost two and half weeks in Asia, I must say, I'm very ready to be heading back to good ol' California.

Don't get me wrong, this has been a memorable and amazing trip in so many ways, even if it wasn't always fun (though it mostly was) - I just really miss the comforts of home at this point. Us Californians are some truly lucky folks.

I can't wait to be back in a place where I'm not desperate for a shower after ten minutes of walking around outdoors (even though we've barely seen one sunny day here, it's still so ridiculously hot and humid! Hello Mother Nature? It's October for goodness sake!). I'm also really excited about being able to once again walk down the sidewalk without fear of being plowed over by a scooter (although to be fair, that hasn't been a concern here in Hong Kong, only in Taipei) and cars actually slowing down for pedestrians who are crossing the street.

I'm just kind of homesick in general, longing for my own bed and not having to live out of my suitcase anymore. Even though I'm happy to be heading home this really has been a great trip and I'll write more about it when I get my pictures uploaded!

Just a few more hours and one long flight left to go!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

I survived my first typhoon and all you get is this stupid blog post

I've officially made it through my first typhoon. Lucky me, I made it to Taiwan just in time for the biggest one of the year so far.

I have literally spent the last three days trapped in an apartment with my grandparents (both of whom have Alzheimer's) and no internet to speak of. And then my laptop battery died and I realized none of the plugs in their apartment have the extra pluggy thing that laptop chargers have (Why they must have this extra piece I have no clue? So I would want to kill myself when I discovered I wouldn't even have music or old episodes of Scrubs to get me through the typhoon? Perhaps).

My grandfather literally can't remember who I am most of the time and keeps accusing me of being there to work as their helper - which he gets really pissed off about because they already have a helper and certainly don't need another one, blah blah blah. I try to patiently remind him that I am Ah-Fen's (my mom) daughter and I'm there to visit my grandmother (he's technically my step-grandfather but they've been married so long I don't even usually differentiate). Of course being accused of trying to be their maid (and not even making the cut!) ten times a day gets pretty trying and I'm starting to feel like if I have to have the conversation one more time I will lose my mind too. Like my mind will snap and I will go completely ape-shit crazy because NO I DON'T WANT TO BE YOUR F*CKING MAID, EVEN IF I WAS UNEMPLOYED - WHICH I MIGHT BE SOON - I WOULD NOT WANT TO BE YOUR GOD D*MN MAID. Especially not for $100 a month (which is what they pay the girl from Indonesia who takes care of them right now, really sweet girl, probably the only reason I haven't thrown myself out the window yet). I'm like dude, you couldn't even afford me if you wanted me old man. Shiet.

Sigh. As you can see, cabin fever is setting in. And it's hot and humid here too on top of the god forsaken rain, which OH MY GOD, when will it stop raining? Will the sun ever come out again?

I was so afraid that the internet cafe next door would be closed again today (it was closed yesterday either because of the typhoon or because it was Sunday, I'm not sure which) that I walked around the streets for an hour this morning with my laptop and umbrella...wandering into every 7-11 and McDonald's I could find asking if anyone, anyone? knew where I could find the internet. I felt like that guy in those commercials where he's in a swamp looking for the internet except he found it and I, on the other hand, failed miserably. At one point I actually had some hope because I saw a white guy walking by and I was all WHITE MAN HELP ME!!! Except he was a euro and didn't really know what he was talking about either. Fail.

So I went back to the apartment wanting to kill myself, because WAH, I WANT INTERNET...only to find that hah, the internet cafe next door was open after all, just not until noon. At that point, I really didn't care that I had just spent an hour walking in the rain and was soaked in sweat and rain and totally dehydrated. I just wanted to kiss their plugs and maybe their wifi. Of course it would have been really helpful if they had posted their hours on the door. Whatever...

I have been here in this cafe for like two hours now and I'm really kind of dreading leaving. Like I'm afraid if I leave it'll disappear and I'll be internet-less forever.

Paul will be getting in from Singapore tomorrow and the rain is supposed to stop sometime in the middle of the night tonight so things are looking up...Perhaps it is time to go back to being accused of being not good enough to be the maid. Sigh.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

why i am never going back to mammoth

Somehow, without my knowledge, it was decided that Paul and I would be spending President's Day with his buddies snowboarding in Mammoth.

Looking back, it was all a horrible idea from the start and I have no idea what we were thinking going on that trip, except, OH YEAH, I DIDN'T HAVE A SAY! How about that...

I was already fighting some kind of strange form of stomach-virus-fly-cold. Great timing for a ski trip! In the snow! Where it is generally cold!

Then, even though Paul and I both took the day off work, the guys who were driving us up didn't and so we weren't on the road until about 7:15pm. On a Friday night. On President's Day weekend. Sigh.

Needless to say, there was traffic. And lots of it. We ended up taking a dinner break about an hour in before getting back on the road. Where, unfortunately, there was still a decent bit of traffic for awhile.

It did eventually clear up and then just after 11pm we were en route passing...Kirkwood. As in ski resort. As in Tahoe. And then the guy with the map said that since 120 straight through Yosemite was closed, we'd actually have to cross into Nevada to come back into California down into Mammoth.

That's right folks, not only did we drive by perfectly lovely ski resorts in Tahoe (not to mention the casinos and buffets!!) we actually had to drive into Nevada in order to get somewhere in California. At this point we were all cursing the LA friends who had gotten us into this mess in the first place. Because it really, really sucks to pass Tahoe at a perfectly acceptable hour, 11pm, only to end up at a similar destination except at 2:30am.

For most people rolling in at 2:30am on a Friday night is no big deal, but for me, that's practically turning my day upside down. These days I'm rarely up past midnight even on the weekends and Fridays are usually the day I end up sleeping earliest since I'm wiped out from the week. So getting in at 2:30am? Sleeping at 3am? And being awakened at 7am to get up and get ready for a day of vigorous exercise? When I haven't exercised in years? (Sadly I'm not exaggerating, unless of course you count the hill between my apartment and the restaurants on Columbus exercise.) On an empty stomach? All not the brightest idea Paul's ever had.

But whatever, I forgive him. And at least he had fun during his one trip down the mountain so the whole thing(and the close to $1000 we spent on clothing, lodging, lift tickets we each only used once, etc.) wasn't a complete waste. Not everyone gets to ride a snow mobile down the mountain after being stranded at the top of a run with no easy way down! But that's another story, for another day.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

the moment we all realized, hey maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all

So Paul and I were in Mammoth over the weekend. And as awful as most of the experience was, I have to say the worst part of all was driving past the ski resorts in Lake Tahoe. At midnight. Halfway into our trip.

Going from California to California by way of Nevada is fun too.

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