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toastykitten

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toastykitten: (Default)
I LOVE this time of year. Mark gets red envelopes, too, which always makes me happy. Anyway, I drove up to Oakland at eight in the morning for our vegetarian breakfast and we took the kids - nieces, nephew, and Kaitlin to the Oakland Museum, where they were having a celebration for the new year. There were taiko drums, lots of arts and crafts, and we all got free pens and water bottles. They all had a good time, and I really enjoyed hanging out with them. They are so freaking adorable, and they say the funniest stuff, too, like:

"Give me some sugar, Bubba!" (As far as I know, this kid has never watched Evil Dead or knows who Bruce Campbell is. I was informed by her sister that "she says it all the time at home.")

"My name is Butt-Butt."

I finished a few books last week. I'm so surprised, especially since it took me for-fucking-ever to finish Foucault's Pendulum, which I would describe to most people as the "most boring thriller ever with a really stupid ending". Anyway, the books I've been reading:

Go Ask Ogre, by Jolene Siana

Jolene Siana was a huge fan of Skinny Puppy growing up, and she decided to write to Ogre, one of the members in Skinny Puppy (an industrial band), over a period of a few years. She made art out of these envelopes and journals and used the art and writing as a way to work through her depression without even realizing it. At the end she says that she realizes that this act of writing probably saved her life. Ogre kept all her journals, letters and artwork, and gave it back to her after nine years. The work itself is really, really raw - it's almost painful getting through it because of how thoroughly honest and candid the work is. She writes about her dysfunctional family, trying to find a place in the world, and cutting herself. At the end, we see a change of voice as the older Jolene reflects on her experience of re-discovering her younger self, and it's fascinating to see how much she's changed, yet still the same person. I sort of recognize where she's coming from - it's really easy to see why she kept writing to Ogre, even though he only wrote back a few times, and why she kept writing things she didn't feel she could admit to her closest friends. It was a way of working out her confusion and depression - and it feels good to know that someone else knows what you're going through. I don't think I was ever depressed in the same way she was, but I used to write to Mark all the time and it was really cathartic, but I would freak him out sometimes with the intensity of what I wrote. And what's funny is that I wrote to forget - as soon as I committed those words to paper I had worked through whatever angst I was going through and I felt normal again, or sane enough, at least.

There's a new Skinny Puppy CD out if you're interested.

The Spiral Staircase, by Karen Armstrong

This is the memoir of an ex-nun and her experiences after leaving the nunnery and trying to find her place in life. It's really funny, poignant, and interesting. She writes about how she goes into the nunnery in order to "find God", leaves, gets misdiagnosed by a psychiatrist, fails out of college, tries to get away from religion only to keep bumping into it. She writes in an engaging and careful way about religion, and finds herself getting angry with "God" and religion, and then eventually finding a way to meditate on "God" that is meaningful to her. She frequently compares the rituals and acts of religion with finding solace in art, and makes the point that the main monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, are not actually about "right belief", but about "right practice" - doing good imbues the divine in you. The idea of believing in God Himself is irrelevant. It's pretty fascinating, and gave me a lot of food for thought. I'm not really religious myself (I would call myself Buddhist if pressed), but I know that eventually we're going to have to deal with the question ourselves (since Mark is Christian and slightly more religious than me) - of what we want for our future, of how we want to raise our kids, etc.

I started Snow Crash, too, but I got bored. Maybe I'll go back to it later.
toastykitten: (Default)
Dude, even Cartoon Network is running a Chinese New Year marathon! Happy new year to everyone, good fortune and good luck in the coming year! I have to leave in an hour for our vegetarian breakfast.
toastykitten: (Default)
Mark's parents are here this weekend. Last night I had dinner with them, and gave them some of the treats my mom makes for the Lunar New Year. His mom instantly recognized one of them (the rosettes, which are these crunchy sweet things for good fortune in the coming year), saying, "I know how to make this! I have the tool and everything." She said it was probably the same batter, too.

Food. Bringing people together since forever.
Jan. 30th, 2007 11:04 pm

items

toastykitten: (Default)
  • I received my new bag from etsy today. It looks really nice. I bought it from CeciliaJane. The zipper is a little messed up, but you don't really notice it unless you're looking at it very closely.
  • Los Angeles was fun, but I was sick for most of it. I spent some time with Mark's family, and one of his uncles was all, "So, Kim, you learn how to cook Middle Eastern food yet?" We hung out with some friends, ate a lot and generally just chilled. You can't ask for more. Anyway, Mark's grandfather ended up in the hospital (he's fine now) which was a little scary. It's funny whenever I go down to see his family - I can see all the genetic predispositions coming out. I now know what to look forward to in forty years.
  • When we landed back in San Jose, we were waiting at the curb for a friend to pick us up. While waiting, an Asian gentleman with a small, crying child for some dumbass godforsaken reason decided to not stand on the perfectly good sidewalk, but decided to block traffic by standing out in the middle of the lane where all the cars are trying to maneuver around each other to pick people up, drop people off, etc. He was also blocking our vision. (Hey, I'm short.) Not only that, but he wasn't even looking in the direction of the cars! He was looking towards the baggage claim and talking on the cell phone at the same time while holding his crying child. I got increasingly irritated with this guy because not only was he blocking our view, he seemed also to be utterly unaware that cars were trying to park where his body was. Finally I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him (politely) to stand on the sidewalk because I couldn't see. He gave me a look and gave me one of those Asian mom irritated clucks (y'all know what I mean) but at least he got OFF the friggin lane.
  • So when I got sick, everyone at work told me to take Airborne tablets. It was kind of funny - apparently these are all the rage these days. We talked about it with one of our L.A. friends, and he told us that Emergen-C was much better, and that Airborne is bad for you if you're pregnant because it gives you 100% of Vitamin A and I guess that pregnant women are not supposed to get too much Vitamin A. Anyway, I took some while I had my cold, and I have to say, I recovered really quickly this time. I have no idea whether it's a placebo effect or not.
  • After that post about In N Out, we went and got some for lunch. Ah, In N Out, how I love you. Mmmm...next up is going to be a round-up post of best burgers in California.
toastykitten: (Default)
But I'm not. I'll probably do that after dinner.

Work is going to be excruciatingly quiet next week, as most of the people in my department have taken off for vacation. Mark is in LA - next year we'll have to figure out a better holiday schedule. Both our families make big deals of the holidays, although Chinese New Year is a bigger deal. And then it's about the only time I see my nieces and nephews and hopefully undo a bit of the years of damage they have coming to them.

My sister tells me that she just saw Kaitlin's report card, and she's doing quite well - she's actually caught up with other kids her age. It turns out that she's pretty good at math. My sister got her a workbook so that she can work on learning about negative numbers. You know what's funny? Her English is getting so good she's starting to translate for me with my mom. I hardly even realized she was doing it, until she said to my mom, "What she's trying to say is that..." and I thought Oh my god is my Chinese that awful? Apparently it is.

I just got a letter from my adopted brother's daughter. It's a long story about how he was "adopted", and how the circumstances of his adoption created a lot of drama in my family - I'm not going to go into it. I guess technically she's my niece. Anyway, the name she chose for herself is Crystal. I spent some time with her in the village - she's about 18 and about to take the entrance exam for university. She was a bit shy at first, but Crystal talks. And talks. And talks. In fact, in the three or four days I spent with her, I don't think I said more than ten sentences. Her letter is short, though, and I wonder if she didn't have enough paper or something. She keeps telling me how beautiful I am, which is really unnerving. I think she's probably translating from her Chinese literally to English, which makes her sentences sound very odd. I'll probably write her after dinner. I'm going to have to get my parents to write the address, though.

Some stuff I've been thinking about:

Did you know that some teenagers make money by teaching people how to play Halo? Are you fucking kidding me? They also get paid $25 an hour, which is way too close to my actual salary for comfort. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Not that I'd be any good at this - I suck at video games.

Harold McGee lives close enough to me that he can drive to the Ranch 99 at Milpitas.

I found out that Six Apart's offices are only a couple of blocks up from my work. That is so odd. Current_TV is also in the building next to mine. I walk by sometimes and am so tempted to walk in - you can see the workers, dressed like skater boys watching their stuff. And all I can think is, Are they working or goofing off?

My China photos are slowly coming up. I'm so glad Flickr increased their bandwith limit. I'm up to Hangzhou right now, and will post up pictures of my parents' villages next. If you actually want to see my family, you'll have to add me as a contact first. There are also no pictures of me, unless you want to look at the New Orleans pictures.

Oh hey! New Asian-Am show, called My Life Disoriented. Did they make one of the Asians goth? Or is that just a white guy in heavy makeup? Time to add to the TiVo list.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, etc!
toastykitten: (Default)
I think I might be sick. If I am, I am going to be soo mad!

Anyway, it's been rather chilly here lately, and tonight was one of those "drink tea and watch tv in your jammies" nights. I finished watching the Discovery Atlas China show, narrated by James Spader. I would listen to James Spader read a phone book, but that's just me. It was a two-hour-long show in which the narrator goes into generalities about China today, and illustrates them with various slices of life stories, such as the window-washer who goes home only once a year and looks forward to seeing his three-year-old daughter, the twelve year old gymnast who's been training all her life for the 2008 Olympics, the bow-maker who risked everything to keep the craft alive, etc. Needless to say, I liked the focus on the personal stories more than the general topics, which I thought were too broad - for example, they talk about the Great Wall and how it was one of the greatest achievements of mankind, but never once mentioned how many lives were sacrificed for it.

A few things for me to chew on when I do go to China next month:

How much pride in their nation everyone seemed to have. Everyone seemed to have their own ambitions, of course, but they would also tie it up with how much they wanted to do something for their country, and to show that they were doing something productive for the country. It's a concept that's absolutely foreign to me - I can't imagine that I would in my life decisions, consider what's best for the country, as opposed to what's best for me.

How much ambition the women have. They interview a female cop in the western region of China and she talks about how she's just as good as any of the men. Meanwhile, she also takes care of her parents, and they worry about her being single. (Like most of the others, she's an only child.) She doesn't have a boyfriend, and the ones she dated never understood her passion for her career. The wife of the window-washer prepares a twenty-course meal for Chinese New Year by herself, and while she's cooking reveals that she wants to be a "superwoman" with her own business.

How much focus is on material things - it is one of my least favorite developments about the Westernization of China. I see the results in my relatives, too, who spend a lot of their money on designer clothing, using who bought what and who didn't buy this as weapons in family dramas. It's not pretty.

The wide, wide gap between rich and poor - the window-washer works in Beijing, and cleans the windows of high-rises. Next to that story they talk about the new shopping complex built right next to the buildings where he works, where it's so overpriced he can't afford a bottle of beer.

Anyway, the cinematography is gorgeous, and it made me wish that Mark had the HDTivo already.

Um, I was going to go on about Boston Legal, but I'm too tired. Just wanted to mention that I get that David E. Kelley is a liberal, but he needs to realize you can't solve problems by throwing money at them. This is the second time I've seen already where he has one of the characters give a fat check to a homeless person, as if that'll solve all the problems in their lives.

Good night.
toastykitten: (Default)
Mark: Does your mom ever scream at you guys?
Me: No. (Thinking about it.) Yeah, she does have her moods sometimes.
Mark: Yeah, I mean, she speaks Cantonese.
Me: Cantonese isn't an angry language.
Mark: I'll believe it when I hear it.
Me: Well, my family is just unusually angry.
toastykitten: (Default)
I'm trying to deal with Mark's new laptop. All the critical keys are in a slightly different location than his Toshiba, so I'm often pressing stuff, and nothing happens. *sigh*

Going to the Exploratorium was fun, even if it was a nightmare to actually get there. I swear, San Francisco is out to get us, with its deliberately non-existent signs and streets that end without warning. I mean, I've lived in the area forever and I love everything in San Francisco. If only I could actually get to them.

Kaitlin had fun, too at the Exploratorium, but she didn't really pay attention to the stuff she was actually doing. She just ran around playing with all the different displays. That girl has a freakishly short attention span, and she doesn't listen. It's so frustrating - oh, and she's not doing well in social studies, vocabulary or grammar. I wish I could convince her parents to hire a tutor for her, because I'm not in Oakland enough to kick her in the butt to study. She's doing fine in spelling, though - so I think the biggest problem she has is reading comprehension. I probably can't get them to hire an out-sourced tutor because they don't have an Internet connection.

And apparently she can talk for hours about cartoons.

Of interest:
Sara's Sunday rant, in which she debunks all the myths about Canadian health insurance.
One of Mark's colleagues, Val, got fed up after one of her community sites Linux Chix got digged and outed herself as a MAN.
toastykitten: (Default)
Wow, I haven't written in here in a while.

Mark's okay and recovering nicely. We had a funny moment today because we are going over to my parents' house for dinner tonight, and Mark wanted to see if we could have crab. So I called my dad and asked him what was for dinner, and mentioned that Mark wanted to eat some crab. My dad said, "Crab?! He's still recovering from surgery! Maybe next time!" So no crab for Mark!

No, I have no idea why crab is bad for you after surgery. Something about the air, probably.

My parents have been really sweet about asking after Mark. They fretted about him almost as much as his own parents did. Somehow that comforts me.

Kaitlin even asked to talk to him, and it's fun hearing them talk to each other. It was her birthday a few weeks ago, and I gave her a set of 3 "girly" books - A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and Anne of Green Gables. It also came with a gold locket. I actually wanted to give her a set of Chronicles of Narnia, but I didn't want to get her the giant paperback because she might be overwhelmed by it, and I couldn't find a cheap enough set that I could justify buying. So I decided to go with the girly when I realized that most of the books I'd gotten her had boy protagonists, and I wanted to balance that out a little. Anyway, she's reading A Little Princess right now, and she says "I love it. All my friends want me to bring it to school to read."

I got my visa photos today from a place a couple blocks from my house. They actually didn't make me want to rip them into shreds. So yay - my parents have bought the tickets to China, and we are very close to going! I just realized, though, that I don't have any good clothes to go to China - I have no idea what the weather is going to be like, except milder than their hot, humid, rainy summers. I'm thinking just seeing if I should stock up on casual pants, t-shirts, etc. I can't wear anything like tank tops, because then my parents will think I'm showing too much skin. How much underwear should I bring? What sort of shoes should I pack?
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:48 pm

milestones

toastykitten: (Default)
My parents used the dishwasher for the first time tonight. (Before dinner.)

When I asked them why they didn't want to use the dishwasher for the dinner dishes, and telling us to wash them by hand anyway, they said, "The guy who remodeled the kitchen told us to run it every once in a while or it'll break."
toastykitten: (Default)
Yesterday I spent nearly two hours in traffic, my left foot stuck to the clutch, in order to get to Oakland to see my parents for dinner. My legs were practically numb when I got out of the car.

While I was there, I helped Kaitlin fill out her bazillion and one forms for school. I'm really annoyed that all of the forms were only in English, when the school is well aware that a large portion of their students are recent immigrants and have parents who cannot read in English, and may have no idea what they're actually signing. I explained as best I could to Kaitlin's mom what she was signing for, but I'm kind of aghast at some of what they're signing:

1. A free-lunch/reduced lunch form. This is actually fine - my sister and I filled these out, too when we were in elementary. I looked at her lunch menu for the month, and it's awesome - they get stuff like yogurt and whole-wheat grilled cheese sandwiches. Kaitlin, however, was adamant that they didn't get any of the food that was on the menu, but she couldn't tell me what they actually got for lunch. So who knows how successful this healthy lunch thing is?
2. A textbook form. This is ludicrous - this form states that parents will pay between $30 and $60 if a textbook is lost. The majority of the school's students are from low-income families! How the hell will they be able to afford that? Anyway, if Kaitlin loses her textbooks, I or any one of my sisters could cover it, but still. I warned Kaitlin not to lose her books.
3. An opt-out form for sharing parents' information in some public directory. Basically, Kaitlin's parents are automatically on some sort of list where they will receive junk mail unless they opt out. Arrgh - the only times my sister and I got handed an opt-out form, it was for sex education. That, I could see actually being fine, but this is not.
4. A form where we had to put down the parent/guardian's SSN. I don't remember what it was for, but I remember thinking it was stupid.
5. A form about absences/tardiness. The public schools must be getting really worried about losing their money. It's a lot stricter than when we were in school - if a child is more than 30 minutes late to class, it counts as an unexcused absence for the entire day. If a child is late more than three times in a week, or absent more than two times in a week, then they have to make it up with Saturday detention from 8:30-12:30 and helping out the school with gardening and stuff. Free labor??? Parents are not allowed to drop kids off at school before 8:20 because there is no adult supervision. Hello??? People have jobs to get to, where they'll be reprimanded, and possibly fired if they're late! It's an even bigger possibility for this student population, since most of them work low-wage jobs whose employers don't really give a shit about their employees. A child cannot legally be excused for anything other than "illness or death in the immediate family". If a child is out for more than three days, than a note from the doctor is required. Follow-up verification from the school by phone will be done. (Thank god they didn't implement this part when I was in school...) If a child has more than 3 unexcused absences, then the child will be classified as a "truant" and further steps with the school administration will be taken.
6. The emergency card. Standard.
7. The earthquake form. Wouldn't the emergency card contain all relevant information anyway? When I compared the two, there really wasn't any difference.
toastykitten: (Default)
I am 25 today! I got a dozen beautiful red roses from my department. My manager let me get off early today, and I took some time to walk all the way down to the Ferry Building, following the concrete ribbon structure along the way. It was a beautiful day outside, and as I walked I watched the ocean. I had a great view of Treasure Island, and the Bay Bridge. It's stinkiest right under the bridge. I briefly skimmed the little informational bronze plaques and square towers set into the floor, read a poem from an Angel Island inhabitant, and walked and walked and walked. It was fun, but I am tired!

Yesterday we went over to my parents to have dinner. I was feeling a little guilty about having left this weekend for Los Angeles, so I decided to make it up to them a little. We had a quiet dinner, interrupted only by Kaitlin's chattering. That girl sure can talk. She seems to have gained a lot of weight, which is great, considering all her clothes were hanging off of her the last time I saw her. She got a memo from her art program mentioning the teacher walkout on Thursday. Oakland teachers have been going two years without a contract now, so I don't blame them for getting antsy. I'm glad it's not a strike (yet) - if an actual strike happens, Kaitlin's education is going to be pushed back even further than it is now. So I'm crossing my fingers. She's improving so much that I'd hate to see any interruption in her routine.

I've been reading Bidoun, and it's really good. Some of the articles are a bit too academic for my tastes, but the interviews with the artists and filmmakers, and the photography is the most interesting part. It's taking me forever to get through it, though - the material is really dense, and I'm reading it like a book. I have Issue 6 - Envy - the one page that should not be missed is the Bidoun Phrase Book, where you can learn to say things like A friend of mine said that if Cairo's nouveau riche, then Beirut is bourgeois, or Of course I know you're Phoenecians. I'd never assume you're Arabs. It's so obvious. in Beiruti Arabic.
toastykitten: (Default)
1. Work has been insanely busy. That's good for me, because I am no longer bored.
2. I've been listening to NPR a lot. I don't listen to the stream, because I know it'll just piss me off. Instead, I picked the stuff that looked interesting and listened to those, such as Rebuilding Chinatown After the 1906 Quake, Gauging the Benefits of a Living Wage in L.A., and A Chat with Beverly Cleary
3. It's Beverly Cleary's 90th birthday! Her publisher is celebrating by declaring today Drop Everything And Read Day. I loved her stories, especially Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and the Mouse & the Motorcycle.
4. No Good For Me is one of my favorite fashion blogs. When did she start doing one for Jane?
5. Kaitlin is a card shark with more skills than Chinese men who've been playing for decades. While playing Chor Dai Jee (or Dai or Die or whatever the hell you call it), she beat me, my sister, Mark, and her mom several times. Too bad we cannot take her to Vegas with us.
6. Hey, remember when you were drooling over the revelation that the next Toyota Prius might get close to 100 mpg? Well, I took a random old issue of Dwell magazine with me to read on the train today, and came across this little nugget:

The VW 1-Liter Car

One mizzling day in April, Dr. Ferdinand Piech of Volkswagen broke an uncommon world record on the autobahn. His tortoise-like jet-black car consumed less than one liter of gas per 100 kilometers -- 239 miles per gallon. A concept car last spring, the 1-Liter is embarking on new developments. The two-seater is not a hybrid, but conserves through engine redesign, weight-saving measures, and aerodynamics.
Updates at VWVortex. (I don't see any mention of this car on the website but I haven't dug very far.)

Yah, so this little blurb is from Jan/Feb 2003.

7. Did taxes. That was painful.

Anyway, I gotta pack. Later.
toastykitten: (Default)
In my family, there are only two rules of politeness when it comes to food: 1. Eat. 2. Eat more! My mom burps at the table, my dad uses toothpicks, some of us chew with our mouths open, and no one cares if you have your elbows on the table or not, a rule of etiquette that I never understood.

Yesterday we were having lunch with my parents. Lunch with my parents is pretty much the same as dinner with them - bowls of rice with assorted dishes of vegetables and meat. When we first start eating, we pick grains of rice up with our chopsticks. As our rice dwindles, though, we lift the bowl to our mouth, and start shoveling food in with our chopsticks. It is the more efficient method of eating, even if it isn't very pleasant to look at. This process, in our dialect, is called "bort", as in, "tell him to bort the rice", which my parents told me to tell Mark to do, since he was nearing the end of his meal, and was still picking the rice up with his chopsticks. It gets really hard to do at that point, and my parents were just trying to be helpful, but Mark couldn't bring himself to do it.

Later I found out that it sort of grosses him out, and that he was afraid of shoveling food onto his shirt instead of his mouth, so I showed him how to do it. He didn't really get the hang of it, but it's ok if he continues with his present method of picking rice up with the chopsticks. It was very amusing to me because I'd never considered having to teach anyone how to "bort" rice, because I'd pretty much grown up doing that. When we were kids, we had to do that to get every single grain of rice in the bowl. If we left even one grain in the bowl, we were scolded for wasting food.

At least he holds his chopsticks better than I do.
toastykitten: (Default)
Gift for Mark? Yes, I am very easily amused.

Art School Confidential Quicktime Trailer, swiped from LinkMachineGo.

This weekend was full of kids, for me and Mark. My sister and her family drove up from sunny Irvine for a New Year's visit, and also to complete the sale on their house in the East Bay. Kaitlin spent the night with my niece; it's always fascinating to watch them play together. I let them play with a game of Guess Who? and it took a bit of time for them to get the concept. I don't know if Guess Who? has been updated since 1953 or whatever, but would it kill them to have put more than 5 women in the board game? As soon as you ask "Is it a boy?" the game's three quarters over if you have a female card.

I am always in awe whenever Kaitlin plays mahjong. She plays like someone who's been at it for fifteen years, not like someone who's only nine years old. And she's always beating people who are at least twenty years older than her. I think she plays better than my dad.

Kaitlin and her parents are moving into my parents' house next month. This should be interesting. Well, at least Kaitlin will have more room to play. Her living space right now is really cramped.

I played with the twins, too. They're getting so big. I'm always really sad about the way kids grow up so fast. I feel like I never get enough time to watch them actually grow up. The girl argued with me when I took her to go potty, too, saying she didn't have to wash her hands after she wiped her "butt-butt". Troublemaker. Well, she has to when I'm around.

Mark's 12 year old cousin came up to visit him and his sister, and they took her to the zoo. That girl's got a serious smart mouth on her, and apparently she got the Arab yelling gene as well, which is a lethal combination. Friends of mine know how loud Mark can be, but what they don't know is that he's considered the "quiet one" in the family. Yesterday we went to Golden Gate park and walked around the botanical gardens, which was pretty nice.

The cousin and Mark's sister had a conversation about people they knew who were gay or bisexual; apparently they knew someone who was only "fifteen and already knew she was bi!" "How does she *know*?" They kept asking. I bit my tongue, because I don't think I was supposed to be listening, but I really wanted to chime in with "Well, how do you know you're straight?"
toastykitten: (Default)
I'm still trying to figure out why my family bothered to go into a Chinese restaurant that served green tea ice cream for dessert. Oh well.

Ever since I had this job, I've been freaking out about doctors and the entire practice of medicine. Reading stuff like this article about "a Polish woman who was left partially blind after doctors refused to give her an abortion" and the German nurse accused of killing 29 patients does not help at all. If you want to really freak out, you can type in a common surname in the Medical Board of California's Enforcement Public Document Search. It can get pretty gruesomely detailed. Luckily, the doctors I've seen myself have not made it on there, but we all know that monitoring is imperfect.

Head hurts. Should probably get off computer.
Tags:
toastykitten: (Default)
Just a few years ago, Chinese spent the Lunar New Year — their most celebrated holiday — preparing feasts at home. But now, increasingly wealthy and busy, they are splurging on restaurant banquets.

I think it's cruel to have people work on the Lunar New Year.

I spent New Year's Eve dinner with my family. We arrived late because of all the San Francisco traffic. I wish they would just build the damn bridge already. It took us nearly two hours to get to Oakland, and my dad got pissed off at me, which isn't a good way to start off the new year. Anyway, it was quickly forgotten, and we sat down to a very yummy meal, full of symbols of long life and good fortune. We had nine plates exactly, the number nine being symbolic of a long life. Mark and I bought my parents some chocolates, and I picked up a pummelo on the way home. The cashier wished me a happy new year.

The next morning, I arrived at our house, too late to watch my dad set off firecrackers. The rest of my family gathered to have a vegetarian breakfast. (I think you're not supposed to have meat on the first day.) This time there were six plates. I forget what the number six means. When we were much younger, we would wake up extra early, five in the morning, before my sisters had to leave for school and work, to eat together.

New Year's is my favorite holiday. It's about the only time of the year when my family doesn't fight, when my parents encourage us to eat specially made Chinese junk food, and of course, all the money in the form of red envelopes definitely helps.
toastykitten: (Default)
She sent me this email today, after I asked her a few weeks ago why she didn't write back to me:

Dear Kimmy,
I have been busy and I told you that your head is big.


Kids; aren't they just precious?

Damn am I tired. I just finished writing my article, and yes, I worked "extreme kayaking" into it; for those of you who don't get it, it's from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

I keep forgetting that people actually read this site. It's really weird for people to come up to me in real life and go, "dude, I read what you wrote today." And then I blank out, because as with most everything I write, I forget it as soon as it's out. That's why I write stuff - so I don't have to remember.

On Monday I spent the entire day cooking. It was a lot of fun actually. I made double fudge chocolate brownies, a top sirloin roast with a classic garlic and herb breadcrumb crust, and twice baked potatoes with lots of cheese and bacon. Oh, and I cooked some of my mom's green beans, courtesy of her garden. You can't have all meat and potatoes, you know.

The brownies were a little burnt; the sirloin came out great, and the potatoes were very easy to make. All the recipes came from my Fine Cooking magazine. Yum.

I have to go to work early tomorrow, so I am sleeping. See ya.
toastykitten: (Default)
Christmas gave me a pretty good haul - Mark got me a Wacom tablet, my sisters gave me Scrabble (except no one ever wants to play with me anymore because I always beat them), the Wu-Tang Clan Manual, the Annotated Brothers Grimm, Scrubs, Season 2, which I should watch, and a Snoopy cup with hot chocolate. I am still owed presents by a few people, and will be exchanging gifts with some friends this week, so there's more to come.

I really do love this time of year.

I should mention a really funny exchange I had:

My niece got a Barbie makeup set, and was playing with it. She put some nail polish on the girl twin, and the boy twin pipes up with, "I want makeup, too!"

My sister says, "No! That's for girls! Boys don't wear makeup!"

Me (because I am evil): "Sure they do."

Her: "Not this one!"

Me: "You never know."

Other funny quotes from the weekend, from the mouths of the kids:

"I peed in my pants a little."

"X is a lazy farting elephant." There were a lot of fart and poop jokes coming from an eight-year-old girl.

"Ew, Mom and Dad are going out on a date!"
Nov. 29th, 2005 04:13 pm

mania

toastykitten: (Default)
The weekend, overall, went well. I loved spending time with my nieces and nephew, whom I hardly ever get to see, and seeing Hearst Castle was a lot of fun. It's pretty amazing what OCD can do to a man with lots of money. I loved how the tour guide mentioned that William Randolph Hearst "in three years, turned the San Francisco Examiner from the worst paper in the country, to the most-read" but didn't mention that these days, the Examiner is considered little better than a tabloid. The Castle itself is very, very pretty, with lots of intricate details and genuine artifacts bought from auctions around the world, including a few pieces from King Tut's tomb.

Driving up the 1 was an experience with a lot of twists and turns and panicking for me, because I kept worrying that maybe my sister would drive off the cliff. It was a totally unfounded fear because my sister is a great driver. Yep, I'm paranoid. Other than my paranoia, the trip up is beautiful, with awesome views of the ocean and driving through lots of forests and state parks. I think driving the 1 would be more fun in a good sports car.
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