Monday, December 27, 2010

New Lease on Life

Tracy Morgan is getting a new kidney. As someone close to a person on two, soon to be three, transplant lists, I wish him well.

[PSA] More people need to understand the link between diabetes/high blood pressure/ other obesity-related maladies and their long-term add-on ailments, such as kidney impairment and failure. Makes you want to pass on that round of Buffalo wings, eh?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Higher Education?

In the words of my traveling partner MFF, "people have lost their minds."

Monday, December 20, 2010

How do you say "Meh" in Vietnamese?

Not impressed with Hue (besides our fantastic tour guide and another fun motorbike tour). The city itself, especially near where we are staying, does not have much charm. Plus our room has ants. We had to throw away most of our goodies.

The overnight train to Hanoi was much nicer than the last one, the conductor handed out free water and instant noodles. Our only visitor was a mouse or two. It still creeped us out, but it was head and shoulders better than bugs crawling up the walls.

Halong Bay is suitable as a day trip from Hanoi. M hated the seafood lunch, but despite that the rock formations were gorgeous. It was quite amusing to have fruit hawkers sail up to our tour vessel. The caves we visited were fascinating. I could have skipped the overnight stay in the mediocre overheated hotel, where we were told not to get massages, and the crappy indigestion-inducing food.

Almost home...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shop Til You Drop

I take back what I said about overnight trains. Squashing roaches for half the night is not conducive to a good night's sleep. We've got one more long haul to go, which I hope is cleaner and less sketchy.

Hoi An is fantastic. A small town, much less hectic than HCMC, this is the bespoke tailoring capital of Vietnam. M and I have gone nuts, purchasing a winter coat, a knockoff Vivienne Westwood coat redone as a trench, ankle boots, and an ao yai (traditional Vietnamese dress). On our bike tour around the area, we are 10 minutes from rice paddies and fishing boats, peaceful and serene. The only mark against it is getting a corneal abscess from having debris blown in my eye during the saunter around town. But fear not, there is a fantastic opthalmologist in town who speaks French and English, the visit costing the same as my existing co-pay and generic drugs altogether. It's glasses for here on out tho.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nha Trang

To get to Nha Trang, we took an overnight train from Ho Chi Minh City, my first ride ever. Overall, not bad! Would definitely consider it in the future. The rocking of the train seemed to help lull me to sleep, although the anti-malaria pills have been stirring up some wild dreams.

Nha Trang is, ok. Our hotel room looks like one of those shady true-crime reenactments. There are signs in Russian everywhere, ooray for the new ugly Americans on the tourist scene. For breakfast we had bo ne, sizzling steak and eggs with tomato, definitely breakfast of champions. The French bread they make here is second to none.

Our beach barbecue was awesome, one of the highlights of my trip. There's something soothing about the ocean crashing in the background, wiggling toes in the shore and feeling the wet sand stick to your soles. With food so fresh and simply yet tastily prepared. We were told the typical day at the beach is, drink copiously, throw your girlfriend in the water (preferably fully clothed), and pass out, grazing on food during the day. The other highlight so far was the motorbike tour the next day. Seeing Vietnam the way locals do, zipping through crowded streets and avoiding hazards, was the first time I have felt really and truly alive in a long time.

Monday, December 13, 2010


After a fun-filled weekend in Hong Kong gossiping about work and bringing the 10-year reunion to Y, it's onto Vietnam. We found a good tour after the recommendation of another sorority sister, which was affordable and unstructured enough to take care of transportation and accommodation and leave flexibility for everything else.

Truth be told, I had no idea what to expect from this country. The war with the US, not to mention the Chinese and the Cambodians, must have devastated the country. My dad's impression after five tours with the Merchant Marine was that of "the @$$h0le of the world" - dirty, smelly, depressing. My glimpse out the window from the plane and noticing a parking lot full of motorbikes should have been my first clue.

My goodness, there are tons of motorbikes in this town - 9.5 million with a population of 8 million people. Crossing this street is riskier than using a meat slicer or working in a mine. Every time I cross the street I curse more than a Tourette's sufferer.

The Cu Chi tunnels were quite interesting. It's amazing how ingenious the Viet Minh and Viet Cong were, constructing miles of underground passageways, including booby traps with recycled or basic materials. The shooting range with Vietnamese and American heavy artillery, felt a bit inappropriate, but otherwise it was a neat site. I barely made it out of the sample tunnel, with my breasts and then hips grazing the opening.

I am a huge fan of pho. So far I have had a huge bowl, with all the various cow parts, as well as several glasses of cà phê sữa đá. There must be crack in the condensed milk.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Hongkers

My first trip to Asia! The flight, fifteen and a half hours in economy, turned out to be bearable. Since our headphones didn't work we ended up shifting around and taking turns stretching out in the row. We also got a US$50 credit for inflight duty free.

HKG is, in a word, awesome. There is so much energy, which you'd expect for having the same number of people as New York in a fourth of the landmass, but also great food, a very cosmopolitan feel, and a lot to do. It didn't feel that foreign, if anything I felt as if Chinatown got bigger. It was great to see two friends from work, one from college, and run around town for a bit. Having twice considered taking a role there, I'd definitely accept if offered the opportunity again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I know I have neglected you lately. My life has been work, training, and races. Not sure why, but I've been in a bit of a funk. Maybe this year just needs to end.

Monday, September 20, 2010

No Kidding

While still on the fence about the whole kid thing, I thought this article raised a lot of good points about the childfree lifestyle.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Did you know...

...that in 1971 holography won the Nobel Prize in physics? It's true! Unfortunately, because of predatory lending, the delightful little museum where I learned this curious fact from a half-senile curator may no longer be around to share the story.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Clutch Player

Great article about thinking clearly and using "old-fashioned" values of discipline and thrift. Everything old is new again....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Picnic Favorite

Despite my host's protests, I brought this lovely side dish with my CSA bounty over the weekend. It was polished off in fifteen minutes flat.

Even though it's not outdoors, I made these muffins for my colleagues, and they were also promptly polished off.

Zucchini, it's green but tastes great.

Monday, July 19, 2010

For All You Triathletes Out There

It was hard being sidelined this weekend, but I also was happy to give the other participants support - "Hey, you walking, you've got a quarter mile left, pour it on!"

This is a nice article comparing triathlon training to playing complex piano compositions. Who knew?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

How to Be Domestic Goddesses

O and I have been very domestic lately, making butter-poached breakfast radishes, root-topkopita, and rhubarb compote. What's next?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Need a New Drug?

I recently read a few articles about medication that affects women's sex drive, two about oral contraception in Marie Claire and The Daily Beast suggesting women go off the Pill. Marie Claire states that the hormones in the Pill can affect your choice of mate, while The Daily Beast indicates that oral contraceptives can kill sex drive. While I personally have never had this problem, I do have friends who have found this. In some ways, this seems like a step backwards for women in protecting their ability to plan when they have children. Men can be unreliable at wearing condoms, and if they break or otherwise fail it's nice to have a backup without worrying that it works partially by decreasing your libido.

Fear not, damsels in amorous distress! The German pharma company that until recently made quiet, unassuming medications for pulmonary disease and restless leg syndrome has developed a "female Viagra". Now you can take a little pink pill to counteract the loss of libido from another pill, all in the name of satisfying sex without pregnancy.

Marie Claire also mentioned that Jews and agnostics have more sex than Christians. Guess I should seek out Members of the Tribe, despite all previous mediocre experiences?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best (or Worst) Financial Headline From the European Crisis

Posen Says U.K. at ‘Low Risk’ of ‘Turning Japanese’. He really thinks so.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Isn't Celebrating Divorce an Oxymoron?

Don't get me wrong, divorce is a sad, sometimes necessary part of life. But loading up your best buds and going to a strip joint in Las Vegas to celebrate your newly-found freedom? Maybe you shouldn't have gotten married in the first place, Douchey McDoucheBag.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

I've taken the plunge and started waxing more than my eyebrows. Two weeks ago my legs were hairy enough for hot wax to rip the little buggers out from the root. It was mildly uncomfortable but not completely unbearable. Now, it bothers me that my legs are fuzzy, but at least they are not visibly stubbly.

Today I decide to go a bit further to the bikini line. Not Brazilian, that is being reserved for someone special. It is my conclusion that wax for depilatory purposes in the pelvic area is a medieval instrument of torture. I got through it by laughing nervously. Not sure if I'll take the next step or just stick to my razor. That guy I meet better be something else, or at least know how to call and not text.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Not Having What You Want, It's Wanting What You've Got

Another casualty of the economy - romance. An old friend of mine confided over a beer a little while ago that he's having issues with his significant other. It's best categorized as existential confusion - "do we have to like the exact same things? are we meant to be with each other forever? is something missing?" I was disappointed that they are struggling but not surprised. Given that money is the most frequent subject of arguments, and men's professional self-esteem issues spill over into their dating lives, it's no surprise that many long-term relationships are showing cracks or have ended. To some degree, my last long-standing thing collapsed under the weight of job anxiety, as did those of several friends in the past two years.

It's easy to project frustration onto an SO, in particular if their work situation is better. In tough times it's also natural to navel gaze and consider options in life. In New York City this seems amplified, where the selection is large and everyone seems perpetually on the lookout for a better choice. (digression: could this be symptomatic of our large finance d-bag population where seeking a better trade and bigger deal translates off-hours to acquiring a trophy partner with bigger tits, larger bank account, and better bedroom skills? Discuss.) These two concurrent forces can make for a lethal combination. It may make us feel better in the short term to take out frustrations on someone close to us, it's an easy target, but we need loved ones more than ever to lean on as we limp through a rough patch. Many men especially seem to lose sight of this, as the stress response tends to be curling up into a ball or lashing out on others, including those who may provide relief. Short of severe effed-up-ness (drugs, cheating, abuse), the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. As New York magazine found in their review of the Sex Diaries, the abundance of choice can end up paralyzing and anxiety-inducing. As exciting as it can be to pick partners like chocolates in Dylan's Candy Bar, one may agonize overs the choice and thus end empty-handed (or not, for that matter ;) ).

Believe you me, I have been very much taking advantage of my single status in the past six months ;), so this is not meant to judge anyone who wants to prowl around. It's fun, temporarily exciting, and relieves stress. The attention from multiple people makes a person feel desired, special, appreciated. It counteracts the lack of love felt from layoffs and no raises at the office any day. That rush can be quite tempting for those in a relationship going through hard times. Truth be told, though, I'd much prefer to open my apartment door and find the same person on the other side day in and day out, to enhance experiences from sharing them, and yea, from the regular sexy-time as well. If it ain't broke, don't break it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


In the past two weeks I've ventured twice to the latest and possibly largest beer garden in town, Studio Square. Being located three blocks from the 36th St stop of the R train is a bonus, although cabs are few and far between in the wee hours, even on Northern Blvd. What's great is that there is so much space, about three times the outdoor and ten times the indoor seating of Bohemian. There was enough room for my drunk idiot friend T t throw me over his shoulder to teach me a lesson that I can't recall, with me squirming and kicking and only hitting him. It is a bit more of a dress-to-impress scene, and the staff wear geek-chic t-shirts of an S squared. Part of me years for the distant surliness and stick-to-your-ribs eastern European fare like pierogi, although having bratwurst, awesome fries, sushi, and mini cupcakes available in the same place isn't too shabby.

In short, I'd go again with friends, maybe not for my birthday. Next stop on the beer garden tour - either Fette Sau or Fatty 'Cue.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


My parents have been married for 39 years today. Their wedding song was Perry Como's "It's Impossible." I think that says it all.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Deep Thought for the Day

“People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck or something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather...That’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Something That Made Moi Smile

The Muppets' take on Queen

Monday, March 01, 2010

New Orleans - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Good: Hanging with JJD and WC, partying at Oz on Bourbon St, the burgers and lethal cocktails at Port of Call, running into a college buddy at karaoke who had just finished the marathon, gorgeous early spring weather, watching the gold medal men's hockey game on the large screen at Harrah's
Bad: Frank's waitress telling us they ran out of muffalatta bread after we walked in saying we wanted muffalatta, JJD's constipation from the lobster mac and cheese (or so he suspects), US losing to Canada in OT during the gold medal game
Ugly: Frank's appetizers look the same (bread crumbs with artichokes and bread crumbs with mushrooms), getting up at 4:15am to go home

Friday, February 19, 2010


M, O, and I all made plans to go to Jamaica. As it turned out, the morning of our flight, M and O both got monster stomach bugs. M toughed it out and made it to the airport, whereas O could barely stand up and sadly missed our trip. (p.s. M is a guy friend. Yes, I traveled with an unrelated male. No, we didn't have any hanky panky. I don't care what "When Harry Met Sally" said.)

This yet again turned into my yearly do-nothing vacation. Last year was Tulum with O. There's nothing wrong with spending a few days on a resort eating, drinking, lounging by water, reading, and otherwise being inactive. However, next year, I'd prefer less children around. Nothing against my friends with kids, I am currently child-free and would like peace and quiet for a few days out of the year. Nothing wrong with that right?

Inevitably, food and drink will be judged stringently. Red Stripe beer is not bad, neither is Real Rock. There were several rounds of fruity rum-based cocktails. I also got into the local fare served on the buffet, maybe more so than the other crap.

The only non-inert thing we did was go down the water slide and take a kayak in the ocean. Since M can't swim, the options were limited. I think the sea kayaking freaked him out a bit, especially after we would go over waves. Those poor children swimming near us heard quite a few expletives. It's hard to teach an adult how to swim. My mission was to get M to float on his back and failed. I feel like I've been swimming my whole life - how do you explain it?

Getting hit on by waiters was interesting. It seems social networking has become the latest pickup lead.
"You single?"
"You should move to Jamaica and marry a Jamaican. They'd love you."
"OK I'll consider it."
"You on MySpace or Facebook?"
[bald-faced lie] "No I don't use those."

Yea, I still got it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And this one time, at band camp...

Although this video isn't as slick as Here It Comes Again, it's still endearing. This takes me back to college marching band, ahh memories.....

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Doug Murray '03 of the San Jose Sharks will represent Sweden at the Vancouver Olympics. I remember him as quite the hard-nosed beast who wore faux-snakeskin pants out to Dunbar's. On a local front, my Harvard-Cornell tickets have already arrived in the mail.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


How walkable is your current (or future) neighborhood? According to this site, my nabe scores 86, with the top 10% of hoods in the 92 range.

Another cool site from VSL

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Root Cause

Given I had two rutabagas and celery root from my farm share on the verge of shrivelling into nothing, I decided to be domestic last night and make celery root puree from Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern and rutabaga fries. Of course, I didn't buy enough milk (1 quart = 4 cups, not 8!!!) and had no paprika on hand. No matter. It is exrtemely hard to burn milk and takes a loooooong time. Plus the rutabaga fries tasted yummy without it. The puree is quite hearty, very much like mashed potatoes.

Today's CSA delivery has more rutabaga and celery root. Contemplating what to do with them, although I will be concocting something with my sweet potatoes first....

UPDATE 1/10 - I made the sweet potato and pecan bread recipe I found earlier, huge hit!