how to make friends on the internet...


Bribe them. Of course, they get to bribe you back. Mutual friendship ensues. So if your WOW friends don't send you enough real stuff (that +2 sword doesn't count) then maybe some crafty friends can be made via swap-bot. Who knows, maybe some new swap-bot friends can be convinced to start playing WOW.

in n out


Here's a couple of pictures of In N Out. MG and I went twice while in LA. Beats Dick's any day.



Ain't it great to have friends who are glad you're home? While MG and I were in LA, VG (nee H) made this scrumptious brunch for a lovely get-together :)

fly screen


A couple of friends are finishing up a year of anthropological interviews in southwest China. They've gotten lots of really cool pictures of their stay including this one of someone's front door. Paper-wrapped clips have been strung together to form a kind of screen. I don't think the flies in this area of China get so big that they wouldn't be able to get through the holes, but this idea might be repurposed for some other d.i.y. project.

doom doom doom... another one bites the dust


I got engaged this last weekend! MG proposed on Saturday evening at Gasworks Park while I was wearing flip flops, sweats and a zip-up hoodie. We went to Etta's and had cioppino and albacore tuna steaks. The next day, we went to the jeweler to look at settings for the Canadian diamond MG had so carefully chosen. He was very careful to make sure no African children were exploited or hurt in the making of the diamond. So the pug, MG and I are happy as can be at the moment. :)

science! in politics


Obama reveals his science advisors. Two Nobel prizers, former director of AAAS, and a former dean at Stanford (boooo!). While he gets some flak because of the heavy life science influence, I'm particularly happy with the fact that I might actually get funding sometime in my future! Hurrah!!!
On the other hand, McCain is not revealing his advisors. Eight years ago, I would have given him the benefit of the doubt but at this point in time, his advisors might includes Michael Behe.

nut shots (safe for work)

In college, whenever I told someone that I grew up in Walnut, California, that person usually cocked their head and said, "Creek?" Walnut Creek is a much bigger, much more well-known city in Northern California. Walnut (no creek) in Southern California is a little bedroom community that I grew up in. It's heavily Asian and Hispanic, has very few houses under 500k, and lots of church-going family-folk. My parents still live there and go to St. Lorenzo Ruiz every Sunday (and a couple other days of the week, too).
Can you tell from the picture that it's a Filipino-heavy congregation? Though I don't know if electric prayer candles are strictly Filipino.Last week, I took MG for a walk around my old high school. Towards the back of the high school, we found this sign. Did I mention that Walnut was considered a model city of diversity? ... and just in case the students don't speak English, Spanish, Chinese or Korean, there's a little picture to show you what not to do.



My parents have a lot of fruit trees in their backyard: two lemons, fig, asian pear, kumquat, peach, guava, and jujube. Of all of them, the last is probably one that most people have not had. But people should! Because jujubes are yummy! The taste is between persimmon and apple. They've got an apple-like texture when ripe, too. Refreshing and portable!



I've been on vacation. Many of my Los Angeles friends had never met MG before. Last Christmas, I promised a couple of them that they would meet him before this Christmas. So MG and I went to my friend's wedding in the outskirts of LA and met a bunch of my high school chums. And by meet, I mean, we ate with them. Because when on vacation at home and showing someone around, what you're really doing is eating with a bunch of different people. So the next couple of posts will probably center on food... the food that has made me rolly-polly overweight. Really. Fat. FAT.

Starting with the menu for the wedding banquet:
Oh yeah, some very basic Chinese banquet fun facts and some etiquette...
(in order of how they appeared in my head)

  • The banquet is usually nine courses of lots of family-style food.
  • That lazy susan in the middle shouldn't be spun quickly. And move your tea cup.
  • Which way should the lazy susan go? Age and gender. Old grannies always first.
  • 1st dish: cold appetizer sampler which might include jellyfish (that yellowish gelatinous stringy stuff)
  • Do you need to try everything? If you have to ask, chances are you are not at the head table and that lazy susan isn't going to hurl food at your plate. So, no.
  • Do I have to finish everything my neighbor put on my plate? Sometimes, Asians like to put food on each others' plates (see me putting jellyfish on MG's plate). Don't make a big deal of it, but don't put it in your mouth unless you want to. Plates are changed every few courses, so you won't have to stare all meal at that fish eye that the little grandma sitting beside you put on your plate.
  • Why would I need rice/noodles at the end of the meal? The penultimate/ultimate dish is invariably a starch-laden tub of rice/noodles. This is actually not supposed to be finished. Though you may eat it, leave some of it in your bowl. This is an expression of fullness and goes to show that your hosts are good hosts for feeding you until you're comatose.
  • At many restaurants, when you see the waiters taking away a half-full plate of lobster, don't despair. Usually, they just want to put it on a smaller plate so that they can fit the other eight courses onto the table.
  • Slurping is OK. When you're eating soup in southern China in July, slurping it the only thing that will cool that soup down. So slurp away. Tea ceremonies in southern China also usually include a lot of slurping; it aerates the tea and gives it a different flavor.
  • The secret to eating rice with chopsticks: put it in your soup bowl. Smaller bowls are OK to lift from the table. Chinese people usually lift the bowl up to their mouths and shovel rice into their mouths with the chopsticks. This trick is very useful when you've got your rice drenched in soy sauce.
  • When you put your chopsticks down, lay them down. Do not stick them into anything (like a bowl of rice). If you do, Buddha will come and smack you upside the head. Chopsticks sticking out of a rice bowl looks like incense sticks used to pray, many times for the dead.
  • When you're out of tea, unless you're at a REALLY formal affair (black tie gala, or red dress gala in Chinese), lift the lid of the tea pot and set it askew. This is a universal Chinese waiter signal that you need more hot water for your tea. They won't refill tea leaves (which means the next batch will have minimal caffeine in it) but they'll add more hot water to the existing loose tea leaves.
I need to get back to work.

project runway, philippines


Really! Project Runway Philippines! From the country that has the most deaths per automobile accident brings the wreck of VERY bitchy asian men and women (Mara) who can't sew. Half of the show is in Tagalog (Filipino language) and the other half is in heavily accented English. Also, half of the names are normal and the other half, in Filipino fashion, are stranger than anything Hollywood can come up with... "Lorymer, you're out. Apple didn't like your outfit." I guess I should just be happy that no one's named Luzvizminda (a relatively popular name comprising of the three main areas of the Philippines, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao). So if you like bitchfest with an accent, catch the youtube episodes. No one--- except for maybe Thailand--- can be catty homosexuals like Pinoy homosexuals.

On a slightly more serious note, I just gotta say that there isn't a culture more accepting of homosexuality than the Filipino culture. When my friend Jack went to meet his boyfriend Gerby's family in the Philippines, he was welcomed with open arms and treated like he was already part of the family. And (unless they're Chinese in the Philippines), for the most part, if some Filipino guy wants to dress like they're looking for a John, his legs better be spectacular and have his heels sharpened against comments about how his dress didn't accentuate his skin tone enough.



Well, hopefully Hemi's well enough to get on a plane tomorrow. Because we're going to LA for a friend's wedding. Did I mention that everyone and their mother (well, father... MG and I have friends who got engaged and within a week, the to-be-groom's father got engaged, too) is getting engaged? I have *doom doom doom, another one bites the dust* playing incessantly in my head. I realize *doom* isn't quite the right onomatopoeia, but it works so well...

Edit: nope. No dog. He's staying in Seattle. We have given him another cough suppressant and he's so chill right now. I don't even recognize him.

sick pug


Hemi keeps coughing... he coughed all. through. the. night. We have to take him to the vet tomorrow if it doesn't get better. MG and I can't tell if he's got a cold or he has something like aluminum foil (don't ask) stuck in his throat. Poor pug.

EDIT: it's kennel cough. He sounds like he's coughing up his spleen.

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