Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Current obsession: Easter Candy

Love this time of the year when you get candy you normally don't see, like these bumpy jelly beans from Nerds:

The bag ripped and some of the beans spilled into my mouth. Delicious.

The girl and I also thought these were tasty:

Can't wait till Easter...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brief obsession: Mash-ups

My daughter asked about mash-ups when they featured them on Glee (which starts up again on April 13--finally almost here!) And it reminded me of some really good mash-ups (which are commonly overlaying the vocals of one song over the instrumental of another song, as well as flowing between songs) out there--one of my first favorites being "A Stroke of Genie-ous" a mash-up between songs of The Strokes and Christina Aguilera.

Unfortunately the nature of different songs being mixed together by DJs has a fleeting, bootleg essence to them but there are a few DJs that have their mixes available online.

Some of my favorites are by Party Ben, which he has available on his website ( Boulevard of Broken Songs, We Will Jump You, Somebody Rock Me, Pump up the Doorbell, Live Your Life Punk.

Another DJ has some interesting mash-ups, like between Jay-Z and Dave Matthews Band--check out "99 Crashes". I also found his "A Promiscuous Journey" pretty darn catchy.

Some songs definitely mash up better than others, and after hearing various mash-ups, I'd say there is an art level and skill involved. But in the end, they're a nice change of pace, when you're in the mood for something different.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweet Sunday

Today was an awesome Sunday. The weather was perfect. I know that sounds ridiculous given it's Southern California, but it was the perfect balance of sunshine and breeze that I could walk in the rays and not break a sweat (like I usually do). So the girl and I took a stroll to Starbucks and got some tasty beverages and the last chocolate croissant (heated, yum-o!):

Me: Hey Velina, do you know what it looks like you're eating?

Her: Sigh. What, Mom?

Me: A chocolate bar sandwich.

Her: (patient chuckling)

HA! Bet you all and her thought I was going to say "poop sandwich", right? Guess I'm a little more mature than that...

We strolled back sipping our drinks:

where we discussed topics like, where does the excess weight go when we "lose" it? Like after proper dieting and exercise, where do the lost pounds go? We both get that excess fat is "stored energy", so what physically happens to it when we burn it? Are we just expelling it through our various waste egresses?

The other thing on our walk back was teaching her the "Diarrhea Cha-cha-cha" song. I can't believe that hasn't been passed down the generations like "Jingle Bells Batman Smells". Well don't worry, despite a surprisingly reluctant student (I obviously should have taught her this at a younger age), the legacy continues.

The day continued on a positive roll when Michigan State made the Final Four today! Holy cow--do I dare dream they could go on further? Well after another Top Seed (Kentucky) lost this weekend, I say, why not?!

Though I missed watching the game (I did see the highlights), I was lucky to be shooting this angel's baptism:

Does it get any sweeter?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From Sweet to Elite

The Spartans move on to the Elite Eight. Missed last night's game against UNI (who killed my overall pick, Kansas, last week) but planning on watching their game against Tennessee tomorrow morning. Though the superstitious part of me thinks, well, I haven't watched any of their games so far--will that jinx them if I watch tomorrow's game? I guess we'll see...

Friday, March 26, 2010


My sister and I are sentimental Michigan State fans. Our parents were students there, got married there, and I was born at Sparrow Hospital.

When Michigan State made it to the Final Four last year--it was HUGE. So this year I got my sister and me some Spartanwear. This year they weren't slated to go so far (yours truly had Kansas knocking them out--sheesh, we all know how that turned out), but at this point with TWO top seeds out, anything goes.

Go Spartans!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I wish

...I could keep this rental car:

It's so nice to drive a car without a broken door handle, windows that shut all the way, working CD player, and that you don't have worry about it starting. I'm still focusing all my monkey power mojo towards my mechanic's brain to solve my starting problem.

...I hadn't gained 5 pounds in one week.

...I could play hooky and watch "The Runaways". Or "Hot Tub Time Machine".

Monkey Power activate

It's been a rough week. And it isn't even over. Monday, I was just off. Off enough to miss a plane, off enough to miss a text that my sister's husband's brother's episode of Law & Order SVU was being re-aired that night, just off, off, off.

Tuesday didn't fare much better--landed at the airport around 10:30am and went straight to work in my glasses and clothes that I had already run around an airport and was squished between two strangers for the last 12 hours in. Miraculously, put in a full day without passing out or stinking up the place and came home to a fevered daughter murmuring in my bed. Fortunately, it broke at 11pm that same night, but I'd have to keep her home today because of a 24 hour fever-free rule at school.

So today I told her I'd come home around 1 to make her lunch, but my car wouldn't start. I'd been having intermittent problems with my car just not turning over. I didn't have time to call AAA because I had to leave at 2 for a workshop out of the office. So after talking to my mechanic, I was ready to call AAA to get my car towed then figure out renting a car. When I got back to the office, I called AAA. He decided to give it a jump and it started--something about agreeing with the mechanic that the distributor probably needs replacing and it was compounded from a weak battery. He said if I drove it around for a half hour I could probably get it going in the morning and save renting a car for the night. At this point, it's past 7pm. I call the girl and tell her if she wants to go for a drive. We burn some time by driving to Nana's and returning some DVDs for her at the Blockbuster, then I decide to push my luck and head to Sticki Picki.

Sticki Picki is the Japanese version of the photo booth (complete with instructions announced in Japanese and rough English translations on the screen). The booths are bigger, there are props available, and you can decorate the pictures with various computer graphics afterwards. The cost was $9-10 (depending on booth) and we had a lot of fun. Together we came up with Super Hero Monkey Twins:

After the Monkey mayhem, we were pretty hungry so we walk over to Ajisen Ramen:

And enjoy some of the tastiest ramen ever:

To cap off the night we get some dessert from 85 degrees:

And finished the night with some delicious cream cheesecake:

Here's hoping some Monkey Twin magic and full bellies will bring some good mojo for the rest of the week. And get my car to start in the morning.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My brackets are garbage but at least the Women are getting Mad

My saving grace is that a bunch of others are trash too. A bunch of upsets that weren't the standard 10-7 upset but 15-2?! And a number 1 getting tossed by a #9 in the second round? And said number 1 (Kansas) was also my pick to win it all. I'll say it again, my brackets are garbage. At this point, I'm just going to root for Michigan State to win it all. I mean, why not?

Despite these upsets on the Men's side, I'd have to say the real story is on the Women's side. It's not anything new to say that the Women's side, historically so far, has been fairly predictable with an upset or two (and we're talking 9-8 upset), with say, Tennessee or UConn winning it all. But yesterday there were some big double-digit upsets--San Diego State (#11) beating #6 Texas (at home!), #11 University of Arkansas Little Rock beating #6 Georgia Tech, and Green Bay (#12!) beating #5 Virginia. Maybe we're hitting a turning point where the Women's side will start getting some March Madness respect of its own. And perhaps get airplay of an entire game of its own. And maybe the NCAA Women's Tournament brackets may be worth a pool of its own someday very soon?

If the Women's tournament continues like yesterday, I'll bet on it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Best beer names

Saw these in a grocery store:

Slim Chance. Best name for light beer ever.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Trail mix:

Especially Easter trail mix:

Delicious, though not quite WW point friendly. Especially when you eat the whole bowl.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A better 3 weeks

So it's been 3 weeks since my abysmal failure of accomplishing anything in my last 3 (which became 7 lame) weeks challenge. I did better this time.

Though I was better about sticking to the WW points, I still stumbled a few times (darn girl scout cookie season!) and went over my allotment. The encouraging part, nonetheless, is that I managed to lose some lbs and dropped to 153 from 157.5. Needless to say, this has really encouraged me to re-double my efforts to stick to my WW points to break 150.

And I'm pleased to say I reached 3 resolutions in those 3 weeks:

I was able to donate another bag to Goodwill (#1):

I did another photo shoot (#2)! Thanks to a couple of friends, I did a themed photo shoot—quotes. I painted a quote on their bodies and tried to capture a portrait that helped tell a story about that quote. Here are a couple of my favorites:

I love her awesome smile with this quote—tells an interesting story depending on how you interpret her smile, know what I mean?

I love this one—perhaps this would work better with a cigarette, but since none of us smoke, we improvised with a lollypop, which has its own element to this story, don't you think?

Okay, obviously I'm not as photogenic as the others, and despite it being out of focus, I like the energy for this quote. Hey, does this count as a self-portrait (#3!)? If you want to be technical about it and not count this pic, then the hair cut pix definitely count, right?

So armed with a decent showing for these last 3 weeks, I'm kind of geared up to see what I can do in the next 3 weeks...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day comes full circle

When I was a kid, McDonald's was an insane treat. I know kids today, my own daughter included, cannot grasp the concept that going to McDonald's was like the child-version of going to a royal wedding or the Great Wall of China. Yes, it was pretty darn special--you even begged to have your birthday party there (and this was way before McDonald's had those Playlands). Back in those days, McDonald's was called a restaurant, for Pete's sake. Today, I'm fully aware that it is now the equivalent of getting an entree from the freezer section at the grocery store, both in convenience and price point, but warmed up and available without dragging my lazy a$$ out of the car.

Anyhoo, one of the annual events that made McDonald's even more insanely attractive was the Shamrock Shake. Again this was way before all the smoothie places out there, so the minty Shamrock Shake was completely novel and special. Those glorious days when I got those Shamrock shakes were juvenile March Madness. I had kind of forgotten about them, especially since I hardly go to McDonald's but the memory of that dreamy shake came to mind today and I wanted to surprise my girl with one when I picked her up from TKD.

I have a disclaimer: as mentioned a couple of days ago, Daylight Savings Time is really kicking my butt. I have not been getting the best sleep and I'm pretty sure that eating a pound of my own flesh would be easier than getting up at what was once my usual rising time. Plus on this particular day, I spent a ton of time staring at spreadsheets on the computer. My eyeballs were on fire. I wanted to pull them out of my head. I was afraid if I blinked too often, my eyes would burst into flame. Bottom line, my fuse was as short as my energy.

Anyhoo, I pulled up to the drive thru. I glanced briefly at the menu--man, McDonald's added some really new stuff to their repertoire!--and then heard the drive thru lady's voice burst through the speaker, inquiring if I wanted to start off with some special sandwich.

Me: Do you still have Shamrock shakes?
Her: Yes, how many pieces do you want?
Me: Wait, I asked for a Shamrock shake.
Her: Shake? What flavor?
Me: I want the Shamrock shake.
Her: We don't have that flavor.
Me: What! This is ridiculous! Are you telling me that you are out of Shamrock shakes already?!
Her: We don't have that flavor. We have Jamocha, chocolate...
Me: WAIT. You have JAMOCHA, but not Shamrock shakes?! It's ridiculous that you are out of Shamrock shakes on St. Patrick's Day!
Her: ...
Me: Come ON! St. Patrick's Day isn't even over yet! Gaaaaaahhhhhh!
Her: ...
Me: Look, is there a number I can call?! This is RIDICULOUS!
Her: But ma'am, our company doesn't have that flavor.

And that's when it hit me. The crazy new menu. The Jamocha flavored shake. The big poster on the side of the building that said Welcome to Arby's! I had pulled through the wrong drive-thru.

Me: Oh my gosh--I'm so sorry. I thought I was at McDonald's!
Her: ...
Me: Okay, I guess I'll just drive thru. Really, sorry about that.
Her: ...
Her: Have a nice day.
Me: Thank you! You have a great day too! Thanks so much for your help--I really appreciate it!
Her: ...

I tried to hightail it out of there, but of course, there was a car in front of me waiting for its food and the drive-thru lane was walled in. So I sat there focused on the McDonald's a hundred feet away while I'm sure the drive-thru lady was studying my countenance for a Franny voodoo doll that she would stick in the deep fryer.

Anyhoo bottom line, I made it to McDonald's and brought the girl a quart of minty Shamrock paradise:

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Double trouble

I got to meet up with Linda for lunch today and conveniently, there was a YogurtLand around the corner. Of course, we had to get some, especially since we heard they had a new flavor:

They were also featuring another new flavor:

I tried both:

The yuzu flavor tasted just like yuzu seasoning, including a weird fakey aftertaste (at least to me). The red velvet cupcake batter tasted just like red velvet cupcake batter--almost to a fault. After a while, I felt like I was eating raw batter and it started to feel kind of wrong. I'm sure it's psychological, but I started to feel ill as if I drank a mixing bowl of raw cake batter.

But that didn't deter me from going back to YogurtLand again tonight, with the girl:

She wanted to try the new Red Velvet Cupcake Batter, which she paired with Chocolate Twilight. And gummy worms. I went back to my tried-and-true, plain tart with berries and mochi balls:

If only more days could be this delicious.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daylight Savings Time is kicking my a$$

Yeah, I get it, hooray, more daylight after work! But man, the adjustment in the morning is killing me. I'm usually up before 6 and now I can't peel my eyes open until closer to 7. The girl feels it too. I hear her faint voice inquiring, is it really 6:30? when I rush to wake her up after leaping up in a panic when I finally open my eyes and see the clock.

What makes it worse is I'm really wearing it on my face. It's been stubbornly remaining puffy into the late morning. I'm just waiting for one of my co-workers to ask me if I've been crying all night.

It can't be just me, right?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Haircut--pro and not

It was time for a haircut, since the last time was for Halloween (yes, to cap off an awesome Baseball Fury costume). For Halloween, I just went to Supercuts and asked them to chop it off at a certain length. Truth be told, I kind of benefit from a more professional cut--my hair is pretty coarse, thick, with a slight kink (think Yoko Ono during the Bed-In days)--but run into a similar dilemma each time: Despite my preamble that I'm pretty much a wash-and-wear kind of girl, the pro haircutter usually laughs it off as if I couldn't mean that literally. Unlike the lady at Supercuts, who will usually shrug her shoulders and proceed to literally take off 3 inches all around, the pro haircutter assumes that I at least use a blow dryer (I don't), "product" (whassat?), and hair brush (only have a drawer full of combs). And they talk me through about how easy it's to style it smoothly and retrain my cowlick, while squirting handfuls of styling gels and creams through my hair. And wha-la! A perfectly smooth hairstyle seemingly sculpted out of doll hair:

In my lesser, lazier hands:

As of this writing, I have invested in a hairbrush.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Belt

I love this Nine West belt. As you can tell from the picture it's reversible--black on one side, brown on the other, both in classic alligator texture. Simple, classic, and awesomely efficient--two belts in one!

When I got this belt years ago, I actually had to take it to a shoe repair shop and get two more holes added because it was too loose. Can you tell where this lament is going? That's right, I now wear this belt on the last hole on the other end because now this belt is too tight. Ech.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Did it!

With the help of my girl, I finally saw Avatar in 3D:

This capped off quite a movie marathon, but therefore, I have seen all best picture nominations (all TEN of them) before the Oscar ceremony! It has been an annual goal of mine to see all the best picture nominations every year before the Oscars and I have come up short every year until this year. Hooray for me-hopefully this bodes well for the rest of 2010 for me!

An Academy Affair to Remember

Tonight I did my best to get all dolled up (which for better or worse, always has varying results from newscaster to Asian transvestite):

I hope I hit a happy medium because I had a fancy event to go to!

I have a lovely friend on the board of Men Alive and tonight was a big Black Tie event, “An Academy Affair”—themed after the Oscars—and she invited me as her guest! The slight glitch was that the only dress I had that was close to formal was the dress I wore when I got married in Vegas, which was at least 20 pounds ago, but I managed to squeeze into it (the seams were literally straining--strong thread and prayers kept this dress from bursting):

I hobnobbed with some fellows from Men Alive, including one of their fantastic soloists and the Assistant Director:

And was it the champagne or does this waiter look like Robert Pattison? I totally pulled him aside and said you're a dead ringer for the Twilight guy! Pleeease let me take a picture! He was a very accommodating and a good sport--what a sweetheart. So what do you think?

And one of the key highlights that night—Leslie Jordan. He was utterly charming and hilarious!

Thankfully, he did not say I looked like a big Asian drag queen:

It was definitely a night to remember--thanks to Men Alive and my friend K!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I was doing pretty well on my WW points until the order I put in with my neighborhood girl scout arrived:


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ready for a Revolution

In the classic delivery of a 10-year-old, my daughter informed me this morning that she needed a revolutionary war costume by tomorrow. I quickly texted a friend who had white baseball pants (as suggested by the costume sheet) and hoped I'd reach her before she left for work. She, being a mom, came through.

I told Velina we'd put together the rest after work. She called me after school and said we should go to Costume Castle. Ugh--had no interest in spending a lot of money on a revolutionary war costume she'd wear once. But as it turned out I had to work a longer day and Costume Castle closed at 5:30, so it wasn't even an option.

I'm proud to say the girl went into solution mode and was down with making her own tricorner hat--including painting some paper black because we didn't have black construction paper. We pulled some of my shirts, cut up one of her dad's shirts for a vest, and lucked out having boots with buckles on hand, and wha-la:

Wouldn't you want this girl on your side of the Revolution?