Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cookie Monster!

This Christmas, I have really outdone myself. Not only have I brought back the Finnish ginger pigs, I also made Nigella Lawson's gingerbread muffins, which smell as seductive as they taste, and Norwegian butter cookies, which tasted good even without the egg accidentally omitted. Mental note: do not let a drunk friend read out the recipe off the computer.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thank God I'm Single

So I thought it couldn't get any more hysterical than being dumped for a gorgon. Oh, it does. Apparently, Captain America got married in November very quickly to someone he was dating while we were exclusive. Fifty bucks says she's got a bun in the oven. Boys and girls, condoms!!!!

Given the choice between a) dating a boring newt, b) marrying a gun-toting psychopath because he doesn't understand birth control, or c) being a freebird, I'll take c, hands down.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cleaning out the Produce Drawer...

This morning I woke up feeling very congested, which gives me an excuse not to go to the gym. However, I don't like sitting idle. Instead of cleaning my visible apartment, I decided to attack the remnants of my last CSA delivery. Here's what I've accomplished:
- kale chips: found the inspiration for this on Chowhound. With the half bunch of kale I had, it fit neatly in my toaster oven, which is a bonus. Lately, I have been favoring the toaster oven for baking since it's easier and quicker. Last weekend, I baked the baking apples we received in it. Perfect results, same as the oven, with less muss and no fuss.
- broccoli and leek no-crust quiche: eggs, check. Veggies, check. Cheese, check (goat, Mexican shredded mix, and unidentified round brought back from Italy, to be precise). Mix in pie plate and bake in the oven. The smell is wafting over to my couch as we type.

If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll make pecan and roast sweet potato bread, even though they are not Thanksgiving leftovers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Guten Appetit!

My coworker and I tracked down the Schnitzel and Things truck on Twitter. I am definitely a fan. Veal schnitzel was on special today-scrumptious! The Yukon Gold fries and chickpea salad were all right. If you work in midtown, I recommend it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do Jews shout differently than Gentiles?

Philip Roth seems to think so. Have a listen for yourself.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Jet Set

Off to Europe, mostly not for fun. Willem Dafoe is in first class reading a script. The suits picking up the bill only do business, not complaining! I need some shuteye before rocking up to the office straight from Heathrow. AA's 777s have built-in TVs and almost lie-flat beds. It's about time they entered the late 90's!!

See you in a week or so....

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Ahh, to have enough time to read a book every day...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How do you say Forrest Gump in Chinese?

I want to date this guy, although the facial hair would not fly well.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Is this where Dante had in mind when he wrote L'Inferno?

[DISCLAIMER: this post may inflame Texans and especially Houstonians. If one of them happens to be my brother's ex-fiancee, here's hoping you spontaneously burst into flames anyway.]

Three days in a town is not enough to grasp the essence of a particular place, especially when most of the 72 hours is spent behind a desk. I did not have great expectations of Houston when I found out I'd have some business to take care of, in mid-summer no less. My impression has not changed much. Turbulence on landing and on take-off, sweltering heat, and lack of pedestrians anywhere would do it. We drove three blocks, which is heretical for New Yorkers.

I will give Houston this: everyone (minus the ex-fiancee devil spawn) is incredibly nice. I have a few friends who live there and some who are soon relocating. Plus, prices are really low. Still, not enough reason for me to pack my bags and buy a ginormous house.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to the Salt Mines...

I have a tremendous amount of work awaiting me on my return from Lisbon. You will not hear much of me for the next month, don't take it personally....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


It's a good thing and a bad thing that more Americans don't go to Portugal. It's cheap, friendly, not overtrodden (except the Algarve), easygoing, and has really great uncomplicated food and wine. The seafood is out of this world. Don't think about it too hard, just go.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Many of you have expressed concerns about my mental health lately. Just to clear the air, lots of people do triathlons every year. Several thousand just participated in this morning's NYC Tri. Moreover, the Hudson is safe for swimming. It's similar to bathing in a swamp, yes, but the EPA tests it regularly. (Not sure if that will inspire confidence; maybe the fact that I wore a wetsuit is better.)

After having swum 1500 meters in said river, biking 40k (25 miles) up and down the potholed and puddle-slicked West Side Highway with extremely aggressive competitors whizzing past, and running 10k (6.2 miles) after that, I am exhausted and cognitively fuzzy but HOOKED! Training for this event has been challenging, and my cycling is still very slow. It doesn't help that I'm riding the bike I've had since I was ten, with some modifications to make it race-ready. The upside is that I have been eating ravenously but have trimmed down a lot. The triathlon club I joined has been great for preparation, and there are some great people in it. As an added bonus, triathletes are HOT.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Thought

To neglect a girlfriend, cheat, lie, break up abruptly, try to weasel out of paying half from a shared vacation and leave mounds of crap behind in her apartment, spread lame BS to all mutual friends about the relationship, and then send disturbing anonymous text messages is one thing. It's really pathetic when a Facebook profile picture was is posted from said vacation with the now-ex-girlfriend (from two years ago, mind you), while now being engaged to someone else. Time to move on, everyone else did a long time ago.

"You don't know what love is, you just do as you're told" sums it up about right. (Thanks, Jack White.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Virginia Beach

Spending the 4th weekend with my coworker/friend and her family. We are both very much looking forward to doing not much of anything. Plus, our families are very similar so I feel right at home! Virginia Beach is great, although on the boardwalk I have to watch my p's and q's as there are great no-swearing signs.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farewell to Youth

When FOX started displaying a report from TMZ that Michael Jackson was dead, I didn't fully accept it. This may reflect on the questionable reliability of a gossip website, but I think it goes a little deeper. The sudden death of an iconic global figure (well, has-been icon) attempting a comeback is a classic, almost textbook, tragedy. That pill-popping may have been a factor should shock no one where MJ is concerned with everything else in his past. Regardless of his personal struggles and eccentricities, there is no denying his tremendous contribution to popular culture and music. Michael Jackson represents the 1980's and America at its best - exuberance, creativity, success, hope for a better world - and worst (overextravagance, hubris, commercialism, crotch grabbing, body dysmorphia).

For me, the timing couldn't have been more cosmic, as I turn thirty in four days. Additional coincidence is that I plan to go out for some 80's dancing on Saturday. Growing up, I spent hours singing along to Thriller on my Fisher Price record player, starting songs over if I didn't get all the lyrics right. My mom had a hard time tearing me away from "break dancing" to his hits on my babysitter's living room carpet. I still remember watching the video premiere of Bad on network television with my next-door neighbor. Michael's death carries a symbolic passing away of my childhood, a marker that I really am not a kid anymore. No longer can I blame actions on being young and stupid. Yes, people are cushioning the blow of aging by declaring that thirty is the new twenty. In my opinion, it's just rationalization for shirking personal responsibility and perpetuating emotional immaturity. Then again, I don't believe that you can't trust anyone over thirty.

So goodbye, childhood. Bring on thirty, as well as the inevitable VH1Classic lovefest of MJ tribute music videos on repeat.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Another Sign of the Apocalypse (and Motivation to Elope)

WE is having a Bridezillas marathon today. These women are snarky, obnoxious biatches. And most of them are morbidly obese. I have absolutely no desire to throw away that much money, piss off everyone around me, and lose sanity over one day. Yecch

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Keep Austin Awesome

Austin is the one of only cities in Texas (I have been to so far) that I could live in. This was confirmed over Memorial Day weekend. We popped up to Fort Worth to visit M's sister M, and I quite liked it there, although I'm still not ready for the 'burbs. At least it wasn't Dallas. Big fan of the kolaches in West, Texas, tubing, and the kitschy neon signs all over town.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Day Sunshine

It's my yearly trip to Palm Beach to visit the aunt and uncle. Yet another trip where I do pretty much nothing, which is just fine. However, I did go on two runs, one five-miler on the beach (look out for washed-up man-o-wars!) and one six mile run/walk. The amusement this trip was getting hit on by a 70-something divorcee from easter Europe. Guess I still look hot in a string bikini.

I need to get the hell out of New York for an extended period of time, preferably somewhere with better weather...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Set Adrift

I'd love to figure out which building this started in. You may become very meditative watching the plane land - this is normal.

Flying from Sam Fuller on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

З Великодніми святами!

Easter is here, although from this chilly weather you wouldn't know it. To unleash my creativity, I learned how to decorate eggs the Ukrainian way, known as pysanky. It's not that easy, it takes a steady hand and some knowledge of folk art and symbolism. Since DailyCandy's mailing didn't indicate reservations were required, we almost were not able to get a seat at the Spacecraft class, but it was worth the wait and tension. I don't know if M enjoyed it as much as I did, but I'd definitely trek down to E 7th St to get the supplies needed to make them again. The traditional designs are beautiful, but even more contemporary designs are fun as well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Take the Good and the Bad, Fort Greene Edition

Fort Greene as some awesome places to discover. I like the laidback vibe but minimal hipster invasion (so far). It's a perfect nabe to hang out with friends and throw a few back. Brooklyn Public House is a perfect example of this. Good beer selection, chill ambience, even though I can't comment on the food. We almost needed to, though, because we were undernourished and overcharged at Ici right across the road. Some entrees were barely appetizer portions, leaving most of the strapping lads in my party hankering for hamburgers. Plus they overcharged us and it took three passes at the bill to get it right. For all of its "fresh, seasonal, and local" hype, it's not worth the price tag.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Seeing Red

This video gets my goat a little, in that I am an alumna of a state school (although my masters is from an endowed college). Granted Keith Olbermann is a pompus douchebag, last time I checked, there was no distinction between the private and state-subsidized colleges in what constitutes the Ivy League. I could care less if Ann Coulter graduated cum laude; she is still a crazy b1tch. Pick on something more substantive to debate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eating Less Is More?

Humanity has been searching for the fountain of youth and longevity since the beginning of time. Naturally, eating less generally helps with maintaining a healthy weight. Some studies have shown that reducing caloric intake can improve health and possibly lengthen life span. Now an experiment in Germany indicates it can also increase memory in elderly.

Makes you wonder if religious-based fasts were intended to increase retention of doctrinal teachings, particularly for those followers who traditionally were not literate.

Happy (and memorable) Lent!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Hola. This week I am on vacation in Mexico. Even though O and I planned on hiking, exploring a cenote, and snorkelling, I think we are just going to do nothing but morning yoga on the beach, swimming, and sunning/reading.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This is a pretty interesting picture. See if you can find the guy flipping off the camera and those that know they're being photographed.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No Leftover Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini (Among Other Things)

M's 30th birthday was last night, so a bunch of us had brunch and then hit the Met. Given times are slim, we decided to cook instead of get dinner out. In addition to my mom's honey chicken recipe (family secret), I whipped up Yukon Gold and yam home fries and this zucchini recipe. Yes, it's Rachael Ray. From past experience, she either has good concept recipes that require very slight tweaks, or they just suck. This one probably needed slightly less liquid in the filling, but everyone devoured it. Happy Dirty 30!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Road Warrior

In the mothership's enduring wisdom, it's not enough to condense three work trips into one. The trip must be as short as humanly possible. However, what they neglect to consider in the great southern land is that North America has horrendous weather from December through April, and it fouls up travel coming and going (literally). Let's hope I make it out of this itinerary alive and on time:

tomorrow morning: Calgary
tomorrow night - Saturday evening: Vancouver
Saturday night - Monday night: LA
[red eye flight, hope I get upgraded]
Tuesday morning - Wednesday evening: Chicago

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Breakup Cycle

Lately it has seemed that many of my loved ones' relationships have fallen to pieces. In Chinese numerology, eight is an indicator of change, so maybe the preceding year had something to do with it. From my experience and observation of others, something like the Kübler-Ross grief cycle comes into play. As a public service to those of you out there struggling with the death of a love affair, marriage, or anything in between, here is what to expect:

  • Denial that the end has taken place, perhaps with some hope that things will mend (although this doesn't always surface). It is tempting to try to hang on for dear life, but chances are you are merely grasping for the accoutrements that come with being partnered - triple dates, regular phone calls and emails, mutual friendships. Just let it go. Those people you met who are genuine will stay friends with you, and you can always establish these patterns with new people. In other words, good icing is not worth spreading over bad cake.
  • Depression over the loss of "the good times" and rehashing what could and couldn't have been done better on your part to make the relationship work. This is inevitable yet unrealistic, as relationships either work or they don't. Granted everything worth anything in life requires effort and care to maintain, it is unfair to place the burden of a relationship's resuscitation solely on yourself. A steady diet of Haagen Dazs, booze, and a playlist with Cher, Gloria Gaynor, Alanis Morrissette, and Kelly Clarkson on repeat will help alleviate this affliction, with possible side effects of bitterness and tighter jeans.
  • Bargaining with friends and family who, as it turned out, tolerated the significant other's presence while secretly deeming them a cheapskate/cold fish/douchebag/albatross/louse/worm/annoyance/wet blanket, you get the picture...As much as we want the truth, in the words of Jack Nicholson, when we are in the thick of it we generally can't handle it.
  • Anger when it finally hits you that he/she was cheating/lying/neglectful/hypercritical/hypocritical/boring/backstabbing/impotent/lazy/parasitic/abusive/[another unfavorable adjective] and that time was wasted ignoring these characteristics. This is amplified if the bastard left you for a banshee or skank resembling a d-list reality has-been. Channel this negative emotion into hitting the gym hard, volunteering for a good cause, even cleaning out your living quarters. Never ever ever contact them. The best revenge is a lack of concern for their existence, tied for first with looking effing smashing.
  • Acceptance that you are better off without and that it is time yet again to plunge into the dating pool, even though the though may evoke the Polar Bear Club dashing into the frigid Atlantic waters on New Years Day. This is absolutely necessary to be able to move on sans major baggage, even if you start by dipping your toes in, then wade around for a little while and acclimate. It is more fun just to cannonball in. However, DO NOT expect a lack of spark to "grow on you". If there's nothing there within two to three dates, go with your gut (a la Malcolm Gladwell) and avoid overanalysis, cut your losses and move on. A roll in the hay or two for its own sake is healthy, but don't forget the latex and visual inspection!

    To this, I will add one more:
  • Partial or complete amnesia that said assignation or partnership ever occurred. This is expected after meeting someone new who completely and utterly knocks your socks off and whose abundance of redeeming qualities makes you forget the past hurt and pain.

Happy coupling! ;)

Monday, January 05, 2009

No-Leftover Recipe: Creamy Pesto

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed cooking. It's difficult preparing meals for one, particularly eating the same meal several times, so often I will invite friends to join me. Over the year, my goal is to find at least 1-2 recipes a month that are eaten in one shot, without sending any home with the guests.

Since I had basil in my fridge, I felt inspired to pulverize it into a pesto, even though it's a bit out of season. The nutty garlicky flavor is somewhat comforting, but I wanted to take the edge off a bit. Enter cream. A bunch of supermarket basil is enough for at least two batches of this sauce, so I made it this twice, once as a Happy New Year/Congratulations dinner for my friend T and is new fiancee, and the second time as a post-spinning repast with my gym buddy M. On both occasions, there were no (Barilla Plus for health) rotelle left in my massive pasta bowl. Therefore, I think this qualifies nicely as a No-Leftover Recipe.

Half-and-half is a fine substitute (and eliminates some fat and calories), and for a lighter sauce, leave out the parmesan while whisking the pesto into the boiled cream. Buon appetito!

(Even eating a half pound of pasta, I still have prominent collarbones now. Guess the triathlon training has been effective.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

Hey Knight Rider fans! Now you can get a KITT GPS to tell you when to make that next right turn. What's next? A tablet PC a la Penny's computer book (from Inspector Gadget)??

Thursday, January 01, 2009

If You're Gonna Dance, Dance!

Can you believe I've been jotting down my adventures and random thoughts for over five years now! It's hard for me to fathom that much time has passed since I was in Oman swekking and experiencing a completely different way of life. In some ways, not much has changed about me; life has meandered and taken some interesting turns here and there. On the flipside, I think my mindset is very different than when I first started typing away, even in this year. I can't say that I am unhappy or unsatisfied, as I have achieved many of my goals and then some. Are there still some things I want to accomplish? Of course! This year I really want to finish the NYC Triathlon and unlock some of my pent-up creativity, not to mention undertaking some more adventures. Naturally, I'd like to find someone to come along with me for the ride. However, I regret nothing and don't feel like I could have done more in my time on earth thus far. Too many people fall into a trap of measuring themselves against a skewed ruler or coveting someone else's "success" without remembering that others may have faced their own challenges to arrive at a good point.

2008 definitely was challenging on many levels, and I'm glad it's over. Not so much to put the rough times behind us, but to also appreciate the lessons learned from the struggles. Earlier this year, I aimed to have a hot date on New Years Eve. Schlepping all the way to Sydney for what was then an indeterminate amount of time threw a wrench in that mix, but in the end, I had more fun this year sans date than I have in the past three previous years. For the first NYE in a while, I danced. A lot. Everywhere we went. With many people. There's something about dancing that is so liberating and enjoyable, it doesn't matter if you misstep or lose the rhythm. It doesn't matter if others don't really know what they're doing either. It's infectious and gets others going, even if they just laughed or smiled. After a while, it seeps in and radiates throughout all your limbs, and you just go with it. In a word, it was fun! And even though I didn't have a hot date going into the evening, I still got my midnight smooch...

There's an old Italian saying my bisnonna used to impart on her grandchildren - "if you're going to dance, dance!" Meaning, do things whole-heartedly, give it all you got. I'm proud to say, Meme, I'm giving life everything I have, and the payback has been great.

Here's to giving 2009 our best shot. Happy New Year!