Thursday, October 9, 2008

SWEEEEEEET!!!!

I must do this some day when I get a chance. I'll make it happen. I made a promise to myself.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oh My "God"

So my night plan had a slight change and I ended up staying home alone tonight. I'm not going out, and my roommate is not home. And, that's alright. I decided to take this opportunity to watch some educational and entertaining stuff that I sometimes dip myself into to indulge my geeky side. I like quantum physics, astronomy and the fact that human is so small.

So, at some point I bumped into this clip (see below). It's just about a clip introducing and explaining the nature of black holes. Some physics and astronomical, some explained but still largely theoretical, "thinking" of one of the many, many, and I mean MANY phenomenon in this infinite universe.

Before I go on, let me just quickly make this little thing clear... I think that the universe we are in is "infinite." In theory, it is currently agreed by many scientists in different domain that the universe is finite. But, to me, this "limit" they talk about is ridiculously and unimaginably astronomical, by the standard of this tiny being like me, human, can be considered infinite. I mean, there might be a limit in everything, but hey why would you even want to call it a limit when such a limit is virtually nonexistent to whoever is determining what is and what is not a limit.

So anyways, by watching this 10-minute clip, I have come to this conclusion of life. My body, my life, my family, friends, all of my past, present, and future, this society, this country, this world, this planet, everything we can possibly know about every thinkable thing, everything and everything, all of this, this world, is one tiny event that happened by mere coincidence of one of the many phenomenon that happens once a while by a series of highly unlikely coincidence. And, by highly unlikely, it may be considered quite often by astronomical standard.

I believe in science. But, this does not mean that I do not believe there is a higher being. That's not true. I do believe that there is something bigger than human. But I think that that higher being isn't Jesus Christ or Brahman or Allah. It is not some imaginary spiritual "thing" I personally made up. I think it could be possible that it is just natural providence of this vast universe. I'm sorry if you feel uncomfortable reading this, if you do believe in some religion. But on this one, I can't back down because this is what I believe.

I mean, think about it. At least what we all know is that the universe is pretty damn big. And, the knowledge we have about them is virtually nonexistent compare to what it actually is. In other words, we don't know jack shit. But then again, we also know that there are hundreds of incredible phenomenon happening somewhere out there, events that is beyond out imagination. Human is so small. Its life is so short. What it has created and passed on and will pass on since the beginning of its existence is atomically small. This entire series of coincidence that made the earth and all living things inside and all the causes that made this happened is just another thing that can happen in the world of universes (Just a quick note: I believe that there are multiple number of universes, so I used the "world of universes").

The planet human and all other living things have lived on has, according to widely accepted theory, 5 billion years of history. That number already throw me out. I mean you can understand the number 5 billion, but can you actually imagine and realize how long it is? If you can, let me know. I think you must be quite unique. But, well. I can't. According to the Big Ban theory (which had been the most agreeable theory but recently challenged by some other refutable theory), this universe we live on has a calculated age of 13 billion years. Uhm, yeah, ok, that sounds fricking long. How big? 10^30 light years long. What the hell does that mean? Again, we can explain it by words and think about it in theory, but do you actually know how fast the light can travel through space, objectively and relatively? And by relatively, by comparing other crazy phenomenon. By theory, there cannot be absolutely any thing that can travel faster than the light. Well, we may just not know about that because we only know so much about everything. We are, after all, thinking with human brain. How can a human be so arrogant to think that we know something about something completely? Do we even know if human can possibly know and understand about something completely? Hehe, that is actually a tricky question. I'm not saying that human is incapable of it. I'm just saying that human can understand only what a human is capable of imagining.

So, back to my belief about science. I mean, who are we to say, with confidence, hey Jesus and God teamed up and created human and environment and they are the ultimate being of everything? There are so many bizarre and spectacular, unimaginable, incredible, unbelievable phenomenons happening out there in the universe, like black holes, warm holes, super nova, "time travel," "space travel," creation and destruction of gazillions of things. Can what made us here today is merely a series of astronomical coincidence and not some gods in different beliefs and shapes but they pretty much teach all the followers the same damn things? Love and peace and some other catchy phrases for their money and war businesses? Can you be absolutely sure that it is not possible?

Hey, what I said here today has come out of my mind. A human mind. So I could be totally wrong because my thoughts do not go beyond my imagination. But, you can't really rule this out completely, can you?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Making of Cyborg

Sometimes, more often than not, I feel proud of where I came from. This is just one of the shit they came up with. They're looking and shooting for the future while we are nagging about prices of scarce sources.




Monday, June 23, 2008

Energy and Ways to Get It


"Mr. McCain, of Arizona, alienated some environmentalists last week during a speech in Houston when he dropped his opposition to allowing offshore drilling for oil; this week, in a swing through California, he spoke about trying to wean the nation from its dependence on oil. He called for improving the enforcement of fuel economy standards, building more cars that could run on alternative fuels, dropping the tariff on imports of sugar-based ethanol from Brazil and offering big tax credits for nonpolluting cars."
(Cooper, Michael. "McCain Proposes a $300 Million Prize for a Next-Generation Car Battery" The New York Times. June 24, 2008.)

First off, I have to say that I have not studied intensively about energy and related issues so I'm sure what I'm saying here have lots of holes you can pick on.

But, what this guy said above is a good start for a nation that is being left far behind among developed countries if this comes true. Now, if he takes one more step forward and focus on nationally- or locally-organized public transportation, I would consider vote for him. Ethanol fuel has been one of the hot topics of energy issues, that is great. But how about natural gas? Linear motor? Superconductive coil? There are many other possible sources of energy that can be applied to transportation. Natural gas is already put in practical use in public in more than few developed countries and has been proven that it is pretty efficient source of energy, and equally important, eco-friendly.

Battery-operated vehicles sound good. But, what if the cost of generating electricity increases for some reason? Since this type of energy source does not depend on natural scarce materials that can only be found in certain areas in the world, the risk maybe relatively low. But, as long as we rely on single source, the risk is still there. Also, what would be the effect on the environment if we need more and more electricity to keep up with our new life style? Electricity is generated by thermopower, nuclear power, thermonuclear power, waterpower, geothermal, solar power, wind power, cryogenic power and so on... (I don't remember it all damn it). And, they either create hazardous waste such as nuclear waste or rely on natural resources/phenomenon you do not know when they last or lack.

Think! I want to say to the government. Think of more creative ways to "collect" energy. Well, maybe they do but I don't hear it often enough to convince me that they are working hard towards this. Some developed countries like Japan are already testing something new to gather energy. For example, they embedded some kind of pendulum-based motion detection device that generate and store electricity underneath the floor of some of the busiest station ticket gates. They also put a similar device on pivoted doors in busy business buildings. Yes, humans can be a source of energy. This way the energy that need to "run" the nation can actually be generated by its own inhabitants, literally. Well, this is just one example of unconventional way to generate energy, but I heard about them more than 5 years ago. What I wanted to say was that the US should act more proactively on finding ways to refrain from relying on single or few methods of generating energy sources.

This requires people's awareness and understanding of underlying problems and solutions and their economic and environmental effects on the society both nationally and internationally. On the personal level, since I went to one of the most international institutions in the US, I got to speak to people from many different countries, from Asia to Africa to Europe. Unfortunately, among major developed and consumer nations, people from the US seem to be the least educated and knowledgeable about environmental issues. Their attitude was "I don't care if CO2 level goes up, what's that got to do with me anyways, I just want things to be cheaper," "if there's no oil, dig more," and of course the famous "the bigger the better." Of course these do not necessarily represent the voices of majority of people here, but I sense that there are more people agree with this than other developed countries.

Fortunately, I have realized that more people are becoming aware of the damages to ecology and economy that can be led by these approaches. It's not too late to think about this. Actually, this is a good time to think about this issue and act on it.

By the way, I have to mention that I'm one of the bad seeds. I am currently driving one of the most environmentally harmful vehicle Ameirca could produce. It eats up tons of gas and emits incredible amount of CO and CO2. So at least I know what I have to do when I choose my next vehicle, not only for economical reason (better mileage) but also for ecological reason. That's definitely on my to-do list.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

just a quick thought

The company I work at is I guess some kind of a big deal in particular area of entertainment industry or something. It's almost everywhere on the planet where there's a computer with the Internet connection.

Shame, we're not doing so hot in Japan. Japan is considered one of the world's biggest trend setters. If the company really is a big deal, why can't they penetrate the Japanese market? When U.S. pop culture is increasingly becoming obsolete in the world competition, they need to come up with a strategy that's focused on the future. But instead, they are putting their full force on what is selling now. Japan is a perfect market where the company can try out many different things and get feedbacks from the market in rather a short period of time at comparably minimal risk to investors.

For example, one of the primary reasons why they are not big in Japan is because... people in Japan don't use computer to browse the Internet, they got fancy cell phones that can let them call, listen to music, email, short mail, voice mail, take good pictures (last one I saw had 3.5 Megapix and they said that's 2 generations old...), and pretty much what you can do on the Internet with a browser. And, they often search for information that they need in 3 minutes, not in 3 days or 3 months from now. Let's say your meeting lasted longer than planned and you need to rush to the next meeting. One would look up when the next train is coming to a certain station, and when he needs to transfer to another train in how many minutes and stuff like that. They need the information right this minute, and services are right there for the cell phone users. And they are lots of cool and fun stuff you can do on the cell phone that are perfect for killing time.

So, you see, they don't really use or need computers as much as many other people in different countries. They use cell phones.

And, our company sucks at providing cell phone services! OUCH! They can't even test it on a market like Japan because the cell phone contents are horrible. It doesn't even catch my attention because it's close to none-existent. So they pretty much do not have a cutting edge at all.

I just wanted to vent out whatever on my mind right this minute with no conclusions whatsoever and I said it all, so good night.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

First to Arrive

Regardless of countless political and cultural issues they have between them, when civilians are in trouble, someone has got to offer help. Japanese rescue team is well-trained, well-experienced world-class expert. And, they are the first one to arrive China to help. I hope they save lots of lives.

China admits Japanese rescue team
(Source)

Tokyo, Japan — As the death toll from China’s earthquake climbs and Chinese soldiers weary after days of rescue efforts, Beijing has changed its policy of refusing foreign rescue workers. Japan, the first country whose offer of rescue help was accepted, has dispatched a team of 60 rescue and medical experts to Sichuan province, with the first batch arriving early Friday.

A second team of mobile police, firefighters, coast guards and aid specialists arrived later in the day in Chengdu, the area’s biggest city. Another medical team of about 20 is to follow.


Acceptance of the rescue aid was a major turnaround on China's part, which had said as recently as Wednesday that it would not accept Japanese aid workers. The Japanese government had already assembled a team from across Japan, but they were sent home in the face of China’s rejection. But 24 hours later the message changed and the mission was revived.


The aid workers will be engaged in finding any surviving victims under the rubble and providing emergency medical service to the wounded.


Japan, which describes itself as a “quaking archipelago,” has long been training experts in earthquake rescue skills, most seriously after the Hanshin earthquake that hit Hyogo prefecture near Kobe city west of Tokyo, in 1995. That jolt and ensuing fire killed 6,434 people.


The latest Chinese jolt was reportedly ten times more powerful than the Hanshin quake, which registered a magnitude of 7.3. With memories of that devastation and the Niigata quakes in 2004 and 2007 still lingering in Japanese minds, the people have been watching news coverage of the China disaster with great sympathy.

When the special task force was originally declined, China was seen in the same light as Myanmar, which is still refusing to allow foreign aid personnel into the country to help the tens of thousands of victims of Cyclone Nargis.


Apparently, however, the Chinese leadership considered it unwise to shun Japanese goodwill, especially following what Chinese media had called "a successful trip" to Japan by President Hu Jintao just days ago. "Recent bilateral relations had positive effects" on China's decision, Itsunori Onodera, Japan's vice foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Yomiuri Shimbun Friday.

Part of the affected region is populated mostly by Tibetan peoples, and was the scene of recent anti-government violence. Chinese leaders are not willing to let foreigners into these areas to communicate directly with the local people.


But among the industrialized nations, Japan was considered least likely to cause significant political friction with China over Tibet. No personnel from the Ministry of Defense or the Self Defense Forces were permitted to be included in the teams, however.


Later Friday, China announced that it would also admit three other specialist foreign rescue teams, from Russia, South Korea and Singapore.


However, people directly involved in the rescue operation fear it might be too late to make a difference, despite their advanced rescue techniques. Members of the Japan Agency for International Cooperation, which is managing the mission, were reportedly on edge all week as the critical hours and days immediately following the disaster slipped away.


Nonetheless, since China is trying to adopt an image as an open country as part of its Olympics campaign, its behavior in time of crisis is being watched sharply from abroad. Its immediate response to the disaster by sending in thousands of troops, and finally its decision to accept foreign assistance, reflect well on the country, which aspires to be a global power.


It is hoped that on its border, the nation of Myanmar may follow China's lead in opening its doors to foreign workers, who are ready to come to the aid of millions of suffering victims of Cyclone Nargis, still waiting for help.


Friday, May 16, 2008

China Sichuan Earthquake: They need help - You could help



The following is from this youtube clip:
----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nJGgVWbExM
Added: May 13, 2008
We need your help!
My best friend is still missing!
-----------------------------------
updates:

Thanks everyone! we found my best friend and all my family members. I really feel the power of prayer. Let's keep praying for all of other families there who still can not find their families and relatives or who have relatives died, they still need our helps.

I deeply understand that we are the only few families who were so lucky to have such a good ending.

Thank you for all of my families here again for your prayers. Without your support, we probably will not be so lucky.

Right now, many families lost their relatives and a lot of people still missing. survivers need medical care, food and water badly. please make donations to help them.

----------------------------------------

Mercy Corp online donation.
http://www.mercycorps.org/countries/china/2155
Canada Red Cross Online Donation.
http://www.paypaq.com/redcross/new/index.php
China Red Cross Online Donation.
http://www.redcross.org.cn/

If you reside in the US,especially if you are in greater Los Angeles area, you can call 1-626-974-0153 to get details on how you can help. Monetary and Material donations are both urgently in need.


Asian American associates on that phone line will help you complete and allocate your donations in the most efficient way.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Human Rights

Bloggers Unite


So my good friend Peter told me that May 15 is the day to write about human rights.

Except from Bloggers Unite:
"Bloggers Unite is an initiative designed to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place. By challenging bloggers to blog about a particular social cause on a single day, a single voice can be joined with thousands of others to help make a real positive difference; from raising awareness for cancer, to an effort to better education systems or support 3rd world countries.

While the words might change from country to country and are sometimes taken for granted, human rights represent one of the universally agreed upon ideas — that all people are born with basic rights and freedoms that include life, liberty, and justice. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations."

"Bloggers Unite For Human Rights challenges bloggers everywhere to help elevate human rights by drawing attention to the challenges and successes of human rights issues on May 15. What those topics may include — the wrongful imprisonment of journalists covering assemblies, governments that ignore the plight of citizens, and censorship of the Internet. What is important is that on one day, thousands of bloggers unite and share their unified support of human rights everywhere."

I guess there will be enough talks about "human rights" by bloggers everywhere today. They must be talking about "human rights" among human society. I'm sure there will be thousands of interesting debates, so I'm not going to talk about that.

I'm gonna talk about something different. I do want to point out about "human rights" we don't have on the planet earth. Humans don't have a right to keep contaminating the earth and threaten thousands of animal and plant species to extinction. We humans have multiplied vastly and kept consuming everything we can to the point we can't sustain ourselves with natural resources we have. Moreover, as if that is not good enough, we are emitting pollutants. On this tiny planet, we now have 6 billion people. We are on every land there is like a plague. We are endangering our very home, the earth.

Before talking about human rights among human society consisting billions of people, I think we should make the ground smaller and more manageable. We should break this saturated condition. We are too much for too little. I think we should somehow reduce the population down to around 1 billion so that we have more space from a person next to you so that we can value and respect the boundaries of individuals.

There are simply too many people screaming for their rights. We can knock down one problem at a time, but more problems will rise because the solution may make others unhappy. And, it is virtually impossible in this chaotic planet to have a fair solution with which everyone can compromise with a decent satisfaction level.

While I don't support such an extreme method as one-child policy in China, I think we shouldn't pertinaciously cling on the idea of prosperity in many ways... Sometimes we should stop whatever we are doing, pay attention to each other and clean up the mess. When we don't have the ground to do so, it's like spitting in the wind.

At this point, I lost train of thought and I don't know where I'm going with this, so ...urr fuck it. This is completely not what I wanted to say.

Uhm... the weather is nice! I'm going to the beach tomorrow woo hoo!
<_<
>_>
0_0

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Dreams - In the Sky

Recently I've been playing in the water and I do love the beach.

But there's something that nothing else can top... the sky. Since I was little, I've been dreaming about flying. Not in the airplane, not with a hang glider, just all by myself nothing attached.

Pretty much like these guys... They are my heroes... One day, one day!
It's really too bad humans don't have wings.


I almost cried when I first saw this... imagining how wonderful it would feel to be flying so fast in these beautiful mountains


What a rush, what a rush!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Junk Snack of Doom X_x

What kind of snack will make you squirt bloody red shit? What kind of snack will give you diarrhea even when you don't have food allergy whatsoever?


THIS KIND DOES!!!


Flamin' Hot Cheetos used to be my lunch when I was in high school. That was pretty much the only thing I ate for lunch for at least a year. I loved the vivid fake chili-red color and the flavor of spice you can't quite figure out what it was from.

The other day when I got to the office, I got really hungry. So I went to the vending machine and threw 85 cents. I was going to buy something else but I heard Flamin' Hot Cheetos calling me. Hmm... it brings back good ol' lunch memory. To answer its voice, I pressed the button and saw it drop at the bottom of the machine with joy scream.

If you haven't eaten Flamin' Hot Cheetos, let me tell you, its artificial red color is notorious. The moment you lay our fingers on it, you can't tell if they are your fingers or a bloody tampon. You'll have to wipe your mouth with a paper napkin like 10 million times after you're done or your lips will stay like a vampire mouth. How hot is it? It's pretty damn hot for junk snack. Some people who don't have spice tongue cannot eat one. What's making it hot? I don't want to know, so I never looked at the back. But it is hot enough to make you suck the air to let the cold air in sometime.

So I ate it around 11am. Time past by and I had a late lunch at pho place around 3:30pm. As soon as I started walking back after eating around 4pm, my stomach started to hurt. As soon as I got back to the office, I rushed to the washroom. HOLY SHIT MY ASS HURTS!!! Ok people, it may sound gross but I looked at what kind of bomb I dropped. Well, it wasn't a solid bomb... I saw a bloody red lake down there.

Let's look at a paragraph above that described what would happen to your fingers and mouth. Now, imagine that is happening to your ass. Well, that exactly was what happened to my ass. Yes, it forced me to wipe my ()*() 10 million times.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos is the Junk Snack of Doom.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Food Junkie #5: The Lido Grill [BYOB + Tapas Bar]

Bring your own wine, enjoy great tapas and indulge yourself with live flamenco show. Introducing The Lido Grill, a Spanish tapas restaurant located in Marina Del Rey, a couple blocks from Venice Beach where social eating/drinking is brought to another level.

The Lido Grill is a Spanish tapas restaurant that can hold probably maximum of 50 people. I was there Thursday night and all tables were occupied. I went there with a group of 8, we wouldn't have had a seat without reservation. It's a BYOB restaurant. When I got there, I saw 5 bottles of wine sitting on the table already. That made me happy already (I didn't know it's a BYOB place so I got there empty handed... ding it). Oh ya, before I forget, they ask you $5 for a cover charge. Valet parking is only $3, though (street parking is easy to find around the block as well).

I didn't check the menu thoroughly and didn't have a chance to enjoy all the tapas dishes brought to the table (long story but I was on the phone the half of the time), but their food is pretty good. I tried their Garlic Olive (hmmmmmmmmmmm!!!), Mussel, Skewer Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Steak on bread, etc etc. You drink your wine munching on these little dishes and chit-chat for a while.

Then here comes the flamenco live show. There is a hard-wooden floor stage where everyone in the restaurant can see. I enjoyed the show fully.

It's hard to see but you get the idea...

Because it's a BYOB, you don't have to worry about $$$. We were there drinking and chatting for about 3 hours and the total cost, including tips and tax, was only $15 each person. Sweet!

The Lido Grill is a great place to hang out on week nights getting together with your friends to socialize. The food is good, live show is great, the atmosphere is very nice, and it's very economical. The only thing is that I did not see small tables (there were 1-2 small tables but rather in an awkward spot), so it may not be suitable for dating situation.

The Lido Grill
417 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 577-3030
Reservation recommended. Flamenco shows are available during certain periods. You should check with them before you go.

By the way, though I don't agree with the reviews, they are getting rather poor ratings on review sites. There are other tapas bars if you want to check other options in Greater LA area. I would still go to The Lido though because it's so close to my place :P

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Food Junkie #4: Tara's Himalayan Cuisine

One of my good colleagues sent me a Yelp restaurant review link for Tara's Himalayan Kitchen (formally known as Katmandu Kitchen). This Nepalese/Himalayan/Tibetan restaurant is located on Venice Blvd. in West LA, a few blocks from 405 Venice exit. My colleague who sent me lives in Hollywood and it would take him some effort to come to this place without knowing how good it is, so he wanted me to try this first. Well, he knows that when it comes to food, I wouldn't say no.

And, he was right. I decided to try out this restaurant the same night. Luckily enough I was able to grab a good friend of mine whose passion for food is as much as I do, if not more, so I was able to try more than one main dish. Anyways, below is the review I wrote to my colleague.

----------------------

So I went to Tara's Himalayan Cuisine last night. Supposedly they close at 10pm, and I got there around 9:20pm. I asked them when the last order was and they said "hmm around 10pm, it's ok, we can make it." I ended up staying till around 10:45pm and they did not complain a thing. All waiters/waitresses are very nice and polite. The atmosphere is semi-casual, ok for dating as well. There are 1hr- and 2-hr street parking around the restaurant. There are also a couple parking spots available just around the restaurant, but it's not easy to recognize that they are parking spots. If you can't find a spot, go into the restaurant and ask them where you can park. Someone there walked out and showed me where I can park last night.

DRINK (I didn't have alcohol)
Anyways, the food was pretty good. For drink, I had Strawberry Lassi. It's a flavored yogurt drink and it tastes pretty much like slightly sour frozen yogurt in liquid form. I liked it a lot. It's very refreshing. Some other Lassi has spice in it, too. My friend had some kind of hot tea and she said it goes well with the food.

APPETIZER
For appetizer, I had Vegetable Momos. It's basically dumplings with some beans and some other vegetables with curry-based dip. Pretty good. I only had vegetable momos since my friend is a vegetarian, but there are meat momos, too.


Vegetable Momos


MAIN DISH
For main dish, I had Chicken Sekuwa. Ovened sizzling chicken on the hot plate, marinated with herbs, garlic, ginger, etc. This was pretty good. I would recommend you include this in your order option. Rice comes with all dishes with the green sauce (I forgot the name). The green sauce can be applied to your dishes to boost up the flavor. Oh, when the dishes come, DON'T FORGET TO SQUEEZE THE LIME. I didn't do that till the end but dishes taste much better with lime juice.


Chicken Sekuwa

Besides white rice, I had Onion Naan. It's baked with minced onion and it was rather flavorful. Good to eat with your meal for sure.

Their specialty is supposed to be tandori dishes. My friend ordered Fish Tandori (salmon). To my disappointment, it did not have unique flavor that's different from other places. It was not bad, but you can get it somewhere else. I would not recommend this.



Fish Tandoori


DESSERT
For dessert, we had Gulab Jamman. It's a fried flour with very sweet syrup. For sweets lovers I guess it's good but it was way too sweet for me. The taste was good, though.


Gulab Jamman

Next time I go there, I want to try some lamb dishes. But I was pretty satisfied with Chicken Sekuwa this time.

Tara's Himalayan Cuisine is not a fancty gorgeous 5-star restaurant, but I would definitely go there again.

- Break down for 2 people -
Drink
1. Strawberry Lassi
2. Hot tea
Appetizer
3. Vegetable Momos
Main and Side Dish
4. Chicken Sekuwa
5. Onion Naan
6. Regular Naan
7. Fish Tandori
Dessert
8. Gulab Jamman
-------------------------------
Total Only $33

Good deal eh?



Tara's Himalayan Cuisine
10855 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-9696

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Smile for No Reason

Woke up early in the morning when the sky was still dark.

Took a quick hot shower got my eyes filled with spark.

Hopped in the car and drove to the beach.

Dolphins already there playing in my reach.

Slipped into the suit and rushed to the water with a long board.

Sun came out.

Had fun surfing for an hour.

Got off and took a cold shower.

Hopped back in the car and drove slowly to work listening to music completely chillaxing.


[fuck rhyming I got lazy]


Smile popped in my face for no reason.

Let the smile take over my face.

Kept smiling all the way to work.

Just felt great as if earth spirits casted a spell on me.



What a great feeling.

The whole day was fun for no reason.



The next morning I went back to the beach this time without a board just to say hi.

Sat on the sand watching people play with the waves.

Walked around the beach to feel the breeze.

Smile popped out again just because.



What a great feeling.

Smiling for no reason.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Random Idea #1: Going Paperless for Grocery Store

I go to CVS on a regular basis. Each time I make a purchase, they give me a long-ass receipt with coupon information even if I buy just a pack of cigarette. Same goes to grocery stores like Ralph's and Mitsuwa. Every time they hand it to me, I feel that I'm wasting paper. Of course, I can tell cashiers that I don't need the receipt and they would put it in the recycle bin. That's a bit more eco-friendly. But it costs money and energy to recycle.

On the way back from CVS a couple nights ago, I thought up this idea: Grocery stores should go paperless.

My idea is very simple yet practical, though it may require some levels of remodeling grocery industry infrastructure. To go paperless, grocery stores can give out electronic receipts to customers. This would be more useful for both companies and consumers (for those people who have Internet connection at home).

Instead of giving out paper receipts, the company can store all purchase information into database for each customer's online account. The portal site can provide coupon and other useful information so they can cut down on expenses related to design/printing/shipping and save paper and ink materials. With coupon information linked to an account, customers do not have to worry about carrying physical coupon (This will also help cashiers' and customers' stress level too... you sometimes see some people flipping through a big fat book of unsorted coupons at the cashier and they do not back down until they find the right one and cashiers give them discount). If checking what's on sale on home computer is not too convenient when walking down aisles, maybe customers can download information onto their cell phone or PDA and use coupon right at the spot. Or, if the coupon information can be pulled out along with your account, they can give you discount automatically. How useful is that?

Current online services offered by grocery companies are limited. They offer coupon information, online shopping, delivery options, etc. This is old school system that has not changed for decades. There are many other ways to utilize what they have.

For a consumer, they can check their online account and see what they have purchases at a glance. If the database is linked to detailed product information, they can even see how much calories they consume, nutrition facts of individual product of gross amount nutrients taken from what you purchase. If they go further and link up with health information, maybe the site can kindly notify consumers that they should buy more vegetables with vitamin B2 or less red meat. You can look at your expenses for arbitrary period of time and help yourself plan a budget for grocery. There are many more possible usage for this. Also, having been provided all these useful features on their account, I believe the customer is likely to stick to one company, so it's good for business as well.

How does this help a business? First, they can save expenses on paper. But, there are new expenses such as server all other related fees including manpower to run this infrastructure, and that could be more expensive (Well, major companies already do have database on their sites anyways). So how could they make a ROI? Well there are several ways I can think on top of my head:

Online ads - Food channels would be thrilled to put their commercials. Any other TV commercials would want to buy commercial spots since the target audience is very clear... whoever go to grocery shopping. There is a difference between online ads on Google and, say, Ralph's sites. Google filters audience and stream ads of arbitrary products that are likely suitable for a user. Ralph's, on the other hand, put ads of what they actually have on their store... it can be more like a coupon. Of course, Ralph's can implement CRM and pull out "you may also like this" products like Amazon as well. Targeting would be much more accurate than Google which bases their CRM based on cookies store on user's computer.

Affiliate programs - There are many forms of online affiliate programs and this one can be quite simple. They probably do not want to limit their portal site as merely a grocery information bulletin board. Since there are thousands of products from hundreds of different companies in different industries on the shelves, opportunities to make useful affiliation is virtually limitless.

Nominal membership fees - Who wants to pay membership fees for this kind of program? I doubt anyone does. But would you mind giving out maybe 10 cent as a donation from each purchase you make? Probably not. Let's say an average family goes grocery shopping 2-3 times a week unless they're big time Costco lovers. $0.10 x 3 times a week x 4 weeks = $1.20. If you multiply that by 12 months, it's $14.4. According to US Census Bureau, the resident population of the United States is about 300 million. Let's say conservatively 1/10 of the population buy something at grocery store on a regular basis. That's still 30 million people. The annual fee of $14.4 x 30 million = $432 million for the whole grocery industry. Can they cover the cost with $432 million? They'd better.

Information stored on their database can be used for research purposes as well. Upon users' consent, demographic and purchase information can be used for health-related research to find out who eats more meat than fish or vegetables in which cities, for example.

I think that grocery stores going paperless can save energy and natural environment, make things easier for shoppers and give more business opportunities.

Food Junkie #3: Sundubu Jigae (Soon Tofu)

Soon Tofu & BBQ Pork combo from ILMI Tofu House



If you like something hot and spicy Asian food, you have probably eaten Sundubu Jigae or spicy stew from South Korea (wiki). If you go to a Korean restaurant, 99.9% of the time they have it on the menu. Sundubu is one of my favorite spicy dishes of all time.

This spicy stew comes in a clay pot while it's still boiling. When they bring you a spicy one (many restaurants have spice levels), it is apparent to anyone's eyes that is is damn spicy. It's red, bright red. My tongue can take very spicy stuff and my stomach can bear with it as well. But, my intestine is not immune to the craziness so I would usually order spice level 7-8 if the hottest one is 10. If I go higher, I would enjoy the soup but then the next day I would feel like I have a large-size sparkling firecracker stuck in my ass. Unless you know your entire body can take it for sure, I would suggest you order the same level.

Anyways, aside from the goodness of the spiciness of chili powder and paste, what makes this soup enjoyable is tofu that is extremely soft and delicate. This is not "silk" tofu we see in an ordinary grocery store. The softness of tofu in Sunbubu is comparable to a flan. The texture is so smooth that sometimes it feels like the tofu melts in your mouth (but don't try to roll it on your tongue or it could give it a burn. It's very hot).

I tried to make Sundubu at home a few times but I never succeeded. Something is different. I've asked a few Korean friends but they said the same thing. Even their moms and grandmas can't make it quite as same as ones you get in restaurants. I guess I'd have to keep going back to restaurants to eat good ones...

Anyways, there are a few Korean restaurants I go often to eat Sundubu in LA area, but I don't know any place that's specialized in Sundubu... Ones I go are decent but not particularly great... I go there because it's fairly close to where I live or work. Let me know if you know good Sundubu specialty place.

Hodori
1001 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Vermont and Olympic in K-town.
Open 24/7. Avoid 1am - 3am since the place will be packed with people coming from clubbing. Parking space limited.

Tofu House
3575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Open 24/7. Plenty of parking space. Sometimes they close temporarily while cleaning around midnight.

ILMI Tofu House (Formally known as ILMI Sushi & Sashimi Bar)
818 N Pacific Ave Ste L, Glendale
Right off 134 Pacific exit.
Open daily 10am - 11pm.
Very friendly staff. They give out free frozen yogurt... pretty damn yummy :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I really really REALLY wanna do this!





These make my first jump like a baby step... But damn I had a terrible haircut... lol

Thursday, March 6, 2008

DJ OGGY



Appears 4:44 - 5:08

His latest Mix CD can be downloaded at:
DJ OGGY 2008 1st MIX
http://www.zshare.net/audio/8563021f39c784/
It's a nice underground hiphop mix.

Track list:
1. Ahmad, Ras Kass, and Saafir/ Come Widdit
2. The Beatnuts/ Psycho Dwarf
3. Rapper Big Pooh/ Between The Lines v.s. J. Dilla
4. Pete Rock/ Grown Man Sport inst
5. Pete Rock/ Don't You Love It
6. Pete Rock/ Think Twice
7. Grand Puba/ I like It (I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE)
8. J-Live/ Got What It Takes
9. Bahamadia/ Rugged Ruff
10. Jeru The Damaja/ The Frustrated Nigga
11. mic Geronimo/ Wherever You At
12. Large Professor feat. Nas/ Stay Chisel
13. Large Professor/ Q-Tip in the Sun
14. The Flavor Unit MC's/ Roll Wit The Flava
15. Fu-Schnickens/ La Schmoove
16. The Pharcyde/ She Said
17. 9th Wonder & Buckshot / He's Back
18. A Tribe Called Quest/ Mr. Incognito
19. Guru/ For You
20. Gang Starr/ You Know Mr. Steez
21. Planet Asia/ Medicine
22. DJ SHADOW& Gift of Gab/ Count & Estimate
23. Organized Koufusion/ Fudge Pudge
24. K-Solo/ Spellbound
25. Digital Underground/ Humpty Dance
26. Sequesnce/ Funk You Up
27. William Onyeabor/ Body and Soul Scientist remix
28. Afroheat #4/ Gaytones vs Sugar Hill
29. Afroheat #4/ Fela Kuti vs Rayvon
30. DJ Jazzy Jeff & Flresh Prince/ Twinkle Twinkle
31. Das Efx/ Hip Hop
32. Souls Of Mischief/ Step Off
33. Jay Dee feat. Hodge Podge&Lacks/ It's Like That

That's all I have to say tonight. Peace.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Hobby!

I just started a new hobby. It is so much fun!!!! I can't believe I've been missing this all these years having opportunities and incentives around me all this time. I can't wait till tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the day after... wot wooot!!!

Don't you hate it

I'm a sucker for perfume and...

Don't you hate it when you're walking down the street and you smell really nice perfume that reminds you of someone from some "chick" walking by... then you turn around and realize that the "chick" was like a 50-year-old soccer mom? This happened to me twice today at Melrose and Promenade... I'm gonna start wearing a nose plug from now on.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Anicca - 諸行無常

Someone told me yesterday that I believe too much in transience of human life and that, good or bad, I don't realize that something important to my life is slipping through my fingers until it's gone. And, when I do realize it's gone, I would act like I don't care and move on. I try to pretend that I stick at nothing because I'm scared and overly protective. I try not to possess anything on my palm that I want to hang onto... for fearing that things you hang onto will eventually be gone anyways. I don't expect much from others to make me happy because I lack trust in others. Worse, I don't expect much from myself because I lack trust in myself. I try too hard to suppress my feelings and hide them from others. I will be a much stronger person if I have a faith and make an effort to keep important things in my hand. Whether this is true or not, I was told all these things by a person who has known me since I was little. Maybe I should listen. I could try a different approach to how I view the world.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
-Albert Einstein


Separate from that, when I want to sleep happily, I sometimes watch “Castle in the Sky: Laputa,” my favorite Gibli movie of all time. This movie is about, first and foremost, love, hope and dream. It is also about greed, power, money, war and a few other elements in human nature. I keep watching this movie again and again and again because I want to be this boy Pazu and I want to live his life. If you have watched this movie, you know what I’m talking about. There are so many things you can learn from this movie. Watch it if you haven’t.

I have seen this movie so many times that I can write a long-ass commentary but I’m not going to do that since uhm well it doesn’t matter.

Anyways, I want to be Pazu, one of the most adventurous, loving and caring, courageous, gentle but wild, inspiring, capable, optimistic, lucky (a girl falling into his lap doesn’t happen often), responsible, daring, proud heroes I have ever seen. This boy is my hero and he is everything I want to be.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wedding!

Well, it's not for me, it's for my friends. One of my Japanese best friends is getting married mid-next month. I'm not asked to be his best man but I was asked to put some things together for the reception ceremony.

It's going to be semi-Japanese and semi-western style ceremony. It's going to be a lot of fun... for the most part. I know that married friends and their relatives are going to ask me "So it'll have to be your turn. When are you going to get married?" and to each of them I'll have to say "I'll have to look for a bride-to-be first and I haven't even had single date for a long time" when I just want to tell them it's none of their damn business... aah damn these Japanese people lol Well, not that I care what they say. Some day some angel will fall into my lap and I'll be married in a second.

The groom asked me to wear a speedo swimsuit and do some silly gig that's popular in Japan to hype up the party but I declined... I will never find a bride if I did that. It's like this...


Anyways, I'm very excited about my friends' wedding. It's always good to see a happy couple ^_^

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!


Thank you everyone who sent me kind and warm messages today.

It's not the same as back in the days in school where everyone has got butterflies in their stomach (if you're from Japan you'd know exactly what I mean) but hey it's still valentine's day and I had a good day and the night has been great! The dinner was fantastic... hmmmmm...

Piece out!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Everything is just fine.

What a perfect weather. So warm, yet cool, not humid but not too dry. I can wear a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Even the simplest thing like walking down the street in my own neighborhood with somebody makes me feel so happy. A weekend like this makes me feel that everything is just fine.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cobra Heart

I just wanna kill a cobra and rip the heart out. And eat it while it's still beating.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sick



I haven't been sick for a while but I got knocked the fuck up by flu. I started to feel bad chill Friday morning and I had to leave work early. All thru the weekend, I slept and slept and slept... I didn't have any energy to eat. I slept some more. Still very bad chill. So much sweat. Slept some more. Worse chill. Ginger tea. Slept. Bad bad chill. Honey lemon. Flu medicine. C.C. Lemon. Slept. Shiver. Slept. Felt a little better. Ate a little. Then goddamn bad chill...

I had to take Monday off and slept all day. I now feel slightly better but I'm still feeling sick. I went to the office today but I don't even remember what I did there. But... I thought my flu was bad, but I heard a couple people in the department next door coughing painfully... SO painfully... I feel bad for them because I know how they feel, except that they sound even worse...

On the bright side, this did 75% of my job for toning that I was planning to accomplish in the next 2-3 months. I sweat like busy humping monkeys. My neck, chin, abs, ass and thighs all scaled down dramatically to good sizes in the last 4 days. I just have to work on gaining strength back when I feel better.

Ok... time to sleep now... I just hope that I feel better. I hope they'll feel better tomorrow, too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Want To Be an Astronaut When I Grow Up

Traveling across the universe is becoming more realistic than ever. Guess what, I get to go.

The Wings of Honneamise (1987). I remember when I saw this anime movie when I was 10. I came out of the movie theater and I told my dad "Dad, I'm going to travel outside the earth some day." The movie wasn't even about the space... it had a short scene of a spaceship flying around the earth's orbit. But somehow my curiosity got struck by it. It has been one of my wildest dreams to go out to outer space and take a glance at the earth. This was only possible in fantasy novels, cartoons or movies... until recently. An UK company Virginia Galactic (wiki), which has been developing the world's first commercial spaceship for the last few years, finally announced on January 23, 2008 that its latest model SpaceShipTwo will be ready to take civilians to space as early as 2009.

SpaceShipTwo, the latest working model created after successful tests of SpaceShipOne, will be operated by 2 crew members and can hold up to 6 passengers. SpaceShipOne will be taken to the altitude of 15 km (49,000 ft) above the ground by its mother ship called WhiteknightTwo. At that point, rocked boosters of SpaceShipOne will ignite and go as high as 100 km (330,000 ft) above the ground to go beyond the boundary of space. In 2.5-hour flight, passengers will then experience 5 minutes of zero-gravity flight.

5 minutes sounds too short, you might say. Not to me. How many people on this earth throughout the history of mankind have been outer space and seen the entire plant earth? Only handful of people who trained their ass off to be astronauts (*salute to them*). But now the chance of getting a once-in-a-life-time experience is going to be available to an ordinary civilian like me. I may even get to see the moon without interruption of the atmosphere. I can only imagine it would be a breath-taking scene. Only 5 minutes of space travel? That's 5 minutes longer than anyone around you or 99.99% of the entire population of living things ever existed on this planet in the last 5 billion years. Only 5 minutes? Damn right, 5 minutes of impeccable, indisputable, unbelievable, irreplaceable awesome experience! Besides, it's not the weightlessness I want to experience anyways. I just want to see the earth (that, you can see much longer than 5 minutes).

About 60% of SpaceShipTwo's construction has been completed, and they are planning to test it at some point this year and make it ready to launch the first space tour as early as 2009. Over 200 people have already made a reservation. Current cost of the "ticket" is about $200,000 at the moment. Did I get turned off by this figure? Hell yeah. There's no way at this moment I can come up with this kind of money. However, Virgin Galactic is planning to reduce the price down to $100,000 in the next 5 years, then to only $20,000 down the road. Tour companies in 15 countries have already signed a contract with Viginia Galactic and making a flight reservation is not complicated. This sounds to be much more affordable and feasible. How can I not be excited about this!?

I am going to outer space someday. I must and I will.

Maybe in 20-30 years, this may not even be a big deal. Until then, I'll keep my dream as one of my goals.

Clips from Virgin Galactic



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Food Junkie #2: Killer Shrimp




Shrimp lovers, this is for you. Introducing "full-body" shrimp-flavored soup.

There are many restaurants that claim they specialize in shrimp or lobster dishes. A lot of times, though, I get disappointed. Their shrimps are fresh alright. But they just don't seem to know how to bring the goodness of shrimps on the plate. What's the goodness I'm talking about? The flavor.

Shrimps have distinct flavor from their shells, yeah, that red shells (when they're cooked). There are many seafood restaurants that over-cook shrimps adding too much seasonings, killing the very flavor of the shrimp. Or, they don't do anything to shrimps and let them dipped in hot butter. That tastes good, but anyone can do that even at home. Besides, you're not really tasting the shrimp, you're merely chewing on the meat. Not in this restaurant, Killer Shrimp.

Killer Shrimp have 2 locations as far as I know, one in Studio City and other in Marina Del Rey. I went to the latter. Inside the small restaurant there are about 10 tables (patio seats available). There are two sheets of paper sitting on the table. One for the shrimp soup, the other for wine. Shrimp soup menu is quite simple; they only 3 items. The main dish is one-and-only Cajun style spicy shrimp broth with 13-15 shrimps with shells. 3 options: bread, pasta or rice. My friend told me the bread would be the best option since you can dip a piece of bread in the soup and fully enjoy the flavor of the broth. Pasta is kinda flabby (apparently they suck at cooking the pasta right) and I didn't see anyone with rice. So I went with the bread. They have about 6 selections of wine for white and red each.

The soup is bright red, but not as spicy as it appears. When you put your head right above the bowl, you feel that you're submerged into a shrimp paradise. You do notice the shrimp flavor right away. The shrimp broth is accompanied with basil, oregano (not sure), chili pepper and lots of butter and garlic. These seasonings do not kill the shrimp flavor; they multiply it. You take a piece of French roll, dip it in the soup... and throw it in your mouth. Hmmmmmmmmmm shrimp... garlic... butter... herbal flavor... I want more, and more and more.

By the way, shrimps cooked thoroughly, you can actually eat shells. Shrimp shell is full of vitamin A, good for your eyes. But I guess it's not easy to chew and swallow unless it's deep-fried like some Chinese dishes. Anyways I just wanted to throw it in here.

As mentioned earlier, there are about 13-15 good size shrimps in the soup. I took out the shells and hold the tail, dip it in the soup and then put it in my mouth... hmmm... shrimp again... it's all about shrimp, shrimp, shrimp!

Cons:
Some people may think the place is kinda ghettoish because the interior setting is very casual, more like a fast food restaurant, though it's not. Besides the lighting being very dark, there's nothing romantic about it. They had a candle holder on each table but they didn't have a candle (I asked). You won't get a spoon for the soup if you choose the bread option since you are eating the soup only with bread. So your hands will get wet and your fingers will taste like a shrimp (I like it though). Some wines on the wine menu are out of stock (well, Sunday night, what do you expect...). For those of you who don't enjoy all these things above, this is not the place for you. But if you're all about shrimp and don't care, you'll have to try Killer Shrimp!

Killer Shrimp
Venice
523 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292-5420
Phone: (310) 578-2293
Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30-11pm

Studio City
4000 Colfax Ave
Studio City, CA 91604, USA
(818) 508-1570
Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30-11pm

I went there Sunday night around 8pm. Plenty of seats were available.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I just thought that

this was amazing. it reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Look how these dolphins play with the air hoops they created themselves, making it smaller and smaller but still making a perfect hoop then finally bites on it. They know how to play, yeah, they actually have brains. No matter how skeptical you feel today, you've got to admit that it's kinda cool.

That's right, even sea creatures have fun loving habits just like human. Can your dog do these frigging tricks? Some "fish" are smarter than dogs. That's true. Some other kinds of fish, I can eat. Can you eat your dog? Some fish taste good, especially when they're on the dinner table lying down completely naked. Does it taste good when your dog licks your lips? I think not. I can roll pieces of fish meat on my tongue and fuck them into small pieces and dump them into my greedy stomach. It satisfies one of the seven deadly sins, not gluttony, but lust... for food. Your dog poops on the ground and you'd have to pick it up and take care of it somehow, and that's if you're a decent person. That's really not appetizing, is it? Don't get me wrong, I love dogs. I just love fish a whole lot more... to eat.

Wait a minute, I almost lost my train of thought. I was just admiring these dolphins. Scratch what I just said above. Dolphins are not fish, they're aquatic mammals. I don't eat them. Maybe.




Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Food Junkie #1: Phở



I get addicted easily when it comes to food. The last summer, I was addicted to Mul Naeng Myun or Korean cold noodle. I ate at least once or twice a week for lunch. Before that it was soon-tofu or Korean spicy tofu soup. I've been addicted to Thai flat rice noodle, basil pizza, linguine with clam sauce, lobster ravioli, live shrimp, steak tar tar, Indian curry, etc etc... Once I get hooked, I can't help but keep eating repeatedly.

Right now, I'm completely addicted to Vietnamese noodle, Phở.

I love the sound of Phở (fʌ/), smell of it, feel of it and most importantly, the taste of it. For those of you who don't know what the Phở is, well, I'm not going to explain to you but here's the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pho

So it's a rice noodle with flavorful beef-based broth with tons of onions. The clear color of the soup tells me that it is not of high calorie or fat, maybe high in sodium. When you take a sip, the soup goes into you mouth, onto you tongue, and down to your throat very smoothly. Yet, you can taste the full complex flavor of the soup. One of the key toppings include Thai basil... I love Thai basil. They also include coriander aka cilantro, south Asian-native herb (not Mexico just because they put a bunch in salsa and guacamole...).

The rice noodle is not fatty compared to Chinese egg noodle or Japanese ramen noodle (they base mainly on egg and flour). It's easy to chew and swallow. It doesn't have much flavor but that's the beauty of this type of noodle; it catches and releases the flavor of the soup precisely to your taste bud while enjoying the texture of the soft yet unfaltering texture of the noodle.

The whole noodle is about 200 - 400 kcal depending on what toppings you have. Much less than Japanese ramen (400 kcal - 1,000 kcal), comparable to soba or udon noodle. So as long as you don't consume too much soup which is high in sodium, you won't take too much calories out of it.

The flavor of the soup is very unique so some of you may not like it, but for those of you who love Asian food, especially herbal flavors (like Thai food), you would love it.

Over a month ago, a Phở restaurant just open within a block from my office. It's only $6.50 for regular bowl and $7.50 for large. It's cheap, tasty and non-fattening. I'm addicted to it. I have been to the restaurant at least twice a week for the last 4 weeks... hmm but I can't stop!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Barcopa Tuesday Nights



My roommate OGGY is a DJ and music producer, whatever that means. He's been spinning since he was 18, making appearances to numbers of major events. In LA, he's been spinning for Century Club, Level 3 and Highland in Hollywood Highland, Arena, Circus, Fine Night, annual Tokyo Night (one of the world's biggest student body events) for the last 4 consecutive years and so on... all 2,000+ events. Also, he was the mix show DJ for FM 100.3 The Beat. Performed at the same stage as The Pharcyde, Petay Pablo, Rhettmatic of World Famous Beatjunkies. Now he and his partner T-Spice together host a weekly 30-minute radio show.

Anyways, one of his current gigs is Tuesday night event at Barcopa on Main St. Santa Monica.
http://www.barcopa.net/
Pretty cool lounge style club with underground hiphop, soul, funk, breakbeats, 80s and 90s and so on. Nice and moody adult club scene. Perfect for week nights chillaxing. Check it out sometimes. It goes on every Tuesday.

Oh ya, and I'm El' Dawg.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alcohol pt.1


So I just went to an AA meeting today. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but for those of you who don’t know, AA stands for Alcohol Anonymous. It’s where people with alcohol/drug problems go and share stories and give support to each other to overcome their issues.

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I just have to go to these meetings since it is a part of my DUI deal. But, I realized something in the meeting. I am not alcoholic, but alcohol might be one of my problems. And, I’m glad that I realized it and working on it to fix.

I want to share a little bit of a story with you. One ordinary night after work mid last year, I went to a bar with few colleagues of mine near the office. I had beer after beer, shot after shot and quite a few JD coke. I had so much fun being drunk and getting loud and all. I believe I was drinking till the bar closed. I vaguely remember I said bye to my colleagues. The next thing I know, I woke up in my car completely smashed.

It was 4am. Apparently I drove for about 2 hours heading home. Somehow I past my exit and ended up on PCH in Santa Monica. I vaguely remember how I crashed. I was on 10 West trying to get onto PCH because, at that time, I had no idea where I was because I was so drunk I couldn’t even read signs. The ramp from 10 to PCH is pretty sharp and you would need to slow down. I guess I didn’t hit the brake hard enough… According to the police report, after making the curve onto PCH, I was going too fast and lost control of my car, hit the center divider and then smashed into the wall in the tunnel. Luckily, I didn’t get a single scratch. More importantly, I did not hurt anyone.

How the hell all this happened? I blacked out. I have no recollection of getting into my car. I don’t remember driving. I crashed.

So, this is nothing else but a problem. An alcohol-related problem.

I started drinking at the early age. I used to steal my dad’s sake bottle and started enjoying it when I was still in elementary school. Because of loose law enforcement, I’m not sure about now but back then, young people in Japan can drink in the bar without getting carded even if you apparently look young. The very first time I got trashed was when I threw a party in the bar when I was 13 with 20 other friends who were also at my age. Since then, drinking has become my social activity. Party = drinking… drinking till I get drunk. In college, I worked in a bar. Almost every weekend, Friday and Saturday, I drank with my friends till I puke… for 4 full years in college. I had many blackouts. I just don’t remember the half of the night before.

Drinking till I get drunk at a party become a habit. I would drink heavily and drive drunk. I love pumping up music and drive fast when I’m feeling good drunk. I would drive on freeways over 100mph and beat all cars on the road. That feeling and moment made me feel that I have a good life. Stupid. I’ve been in many troubles but I had never had to deal with the law… until last year. I guess it was just a matter of time.

So I finally realized… driving under influence especially when I drink too much drink and semi-unconscious is a serious problem. Thanks god I didn’t kill anyone. If you don’t drink much, you would say “pssh of course, duh.” But, for a person like me who has been drinking lots and driving for a long time, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Well, now I learned by experience that it is.

Having learned that, I stopped drinking heavily. I started to discipline myself to stop drinking once I feel the buzz even when I’m not driving. I have not been really drunk since I got arrested except for the New Year ’s Eve. And, I only got drunk that night since I knew I could stay over night at the host’s.

I also realized that I don’t need much alcohol to have fun. And, I can stop drinking at any moment at a party if I want to. I went out last night. I had two Heinekens and 2 shots of JD. I didn’t need anymore and I still had a lot of fun. I don't drink at home. I only drink for social purposes. I don't drink to deal with stress or problems. I only drink for fun. I might get aggressive but I don't get violent when I'm drunk. I tend to speak and laugh very loud but I don't dispraise anyone. I'm a happy drinker and I want to stay that way.

All in all, regardless of the degree, I have an alcohol-related problem and I am doing well to overcome it.

Aside from this problem, I have so many funny drunk stories but I guess I’ll talk about that some other time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

California Rolls Failed, It's Proven

So after writing a post about California roll two days ago, I just happened to go to this non-authentically Japanese sushi restaurant called Restaurant Hama down in Venice. We had 5 people, each ate at least one set of roll, a few bottle of sake, tuna tar tar etc... I ordered one of those rolls as well since I thought that ordering nigiri would add too much cost and we can't share. One of the rolls were actually pretty good. It was called Temptation Roll and had "dynamite (scallop, shrimp, squid grilled with garlic mayonnaise sauce)" in the roll. But the rest was... well, alright. Each roll cost between $13 - 17... that's a price for a frigging decent meal!

The total bill was $220 plus tip. Each of us paid around $60. Was I or any of us satisfied? No. We just left there thinking "wow, it was not cheap." If I went to Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo and order a bunch of nigiri and sake for two till I get full, satisfied and tipsy, it would cost me about $50 - 60. About the same as how much I paid tonight per person. But I would leave the place with full satisfaction. Oh ya, and I don't eat a single piece of roll sushi there.

Whether sushi is good or not cannot be told by rolls because most of them are fusion food where they put low quality seafood anyways.

Well, I just have to say that I had a great time dining with good friends but the food was not great, thanks to expensive but not-so-good rolls.... damn rolls!

That is all for tonight. Carry on.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Disapproving California Roll as Sushi


I'm from Japan, and I'm entitled to be anal about it. I don't approve California roll as sushi. California roll is, well, California roll.

Some people say "oh I love sushi" and only eat California roll, Caterpillar roll or the like. Let me say this to all you people, California roll is not "sushi," at least from Japanese point of view. It is a fusion cuisine that is based on traditional maki-zushi or rolls just happened to be served at second-rate sushi restaurants. They are invented by Japanese but in California, specifically in LA in the 70's so that these sushi chefs can make something that American people don't say "ew, raw fish."

When Japanese say a roll or maki-zushi, it's usually (99% of the time, I say) referred to rice in cylindrical form wrapped in nori or seaweed. There are different forms of makizushi and its ingredients. There are thick ones (futo-maki), thin ones (hoso-maki) and ura-maki (this one looks like a California roll) and handroll (temaki). Inside maki-zushi are tuna roll (tekka-maki), cucumber roll (kappa-maki) and so on. Actual "food" is used in maki-zushi.

Let's take a look at a California roll. California roll is usually made inside-out (ura-maki), containing cucumber (so far so good, uh huh), imitation crab stick (what? imitation?), and avocado (avo- what?). Ok, let me recap. The main "seafood" in this roll is machine-processed "crab" also known as finely pulverized white fish flesh. And, avocado? What is that fruit doing in sushi? It's like you're eating a burger with veggie burger patty with a slice of pineapple. Of course, there are types of sushi that don't contain seafood. But the last time I checked, they don't put anything fake...

Don't get me wrong, I love avocado and I do like California roll. But I think it's more appropriate to name it "inside-out rice wrap featuring avocado and fake crab meat formally known as California roll" or something. If you go to a first-rate sushi restaurant and order California roll, I'm fairly sure the sushi chef with 20-plus-years of experience will look at you with a dubious look on his face. They will make one for you because they can, but probably unwillingly. I've heard it happened from my friend who ate at this sushi restaurant in Little Tokyo. Why? I wonder.

Spicy tuna (sesame oil < not a Japanese seasoning), Spider roll, Rainbow roll, dragon roll, etc etc... They are all fusion sushi-like food. They taste good in some places, distasteful in some others. In some places they make it so bad that I feel offended that they call it Japanese food, let alone sushi. But I can let is slide. What matters most is that they are ripping you off with these cheap dishes in the name of "Japanese" cuisine.

Think about what's in a California roll. Typically the cost of cucumber is 3 for $1 to $1.50. They use probably half or less of one cucumber (about $0.15 - $0.25). One stick of fake crab costs about $1. They use about a half of a stick, so let's say it's $0.50. The price of an avocado range from $1 to $2 (I'm sure they get a wholesale price but let's drop that for sake of argument). Half or whole avocado is used, so $0.50 to $2 is in the roll. Sushi rice costs about $10 for 10kg or 22lbs. 1 cup weighs about 150g and about 2 cups or rice or 300g is used for a roll. That's about $0.30.

Here's the recap for the cost breakdown in one 6-piece California roll:
Cucumber: $0.15 - $0.25
Fake crab: $0.50
Avodado: $0.50 - $2
Rice: $0.30

It's most likely not accurate but these figures should remain in the safe range. So, ladies and gentlemen, how much does one roll of California roll cost at the lowest end?

*drums please dodododododododododo*

$1.45!

Considering the high end (around $3), typical cost of California roll (about $8.50 I'd say) doesn't sound too bad, IF only it's made by a trained skilled professional chef using good quality ingredients. But if you look at the low end, they are charging 500% of the cost. What a sweet deal... for them! In many non-Japanese sushi places I've been, the taste isn't even "good." They just taste like California roll.

Ok, I have to apologize to you. Carmen came to my place when I was writing this and I had a bottle of wine and I'm feeling good now. I shall stop now. I started writing this around 7pm but now it's past midnight.

What I wanted to say was that California roll may taste good and it's a good deal in some places but I just don't think it's sushi. It's California roll.

Peace.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Being happy

Being happy for someone else when you admit to yourself that you've been keen to be part of it again is not easy. It's especially true when a memory of the past is still vivid as if it happened just yesterday and feeling towards it has not changed a bit since the beginning. It's not out of jealousy but it's from a feeling of seeing something from a distance that's too far to reach. But I smile anyways because anything else wouldn't help. I say I'm happy for them because I am truly happy to see them smile. And, more than that, I love to make them smile. That itself is a reward. I'm glad that I have the strength to handle my feeling this way. But at the same time, it's my weakness. I wish I could be more of an asshole so that I can protect myself better.

I curse it and wish that I could kill such a feeling completely. But I don't. Hanging onto the edge of the cliff with a tip of fingers when you know that you'll eventually fall is pathetic, I know. Doing that especially when you foresee that, in the end, someone on top of the cliff will walk away without reaching out for you is a foolish act. I do not know why I do this when it hurts severely each time I think of the past especially when things came to an end largely with misunderstanding and miscommunication. Having knowing that, I still stumble upon it. So I don't bother trying to forget it anymore. I'm learning to live with it. Once things become part of my life, I cherish it any way I can. Good or bad, I think this is one of the reasons why I have never lost one single friend. Well, all my friends are good people and I don't have a reason to lose them anyways.

By the way, completely separate from this post, I haven't really paid attention to rock/alternative but I just happened to turn on KROQ and heard Incubus. I like their lyrics. This will be my karaoke song :P

Incubus - Dig

We all have a weakness
But some of ours are easy to identify. Look me in the eye,
and ask for forgiveness.
We'll make a pact to never speak that word again.
Yes, you are my friend.
We all have something that digs at us,
at least we dig each other.

So when weakness turns my ego up
I know you'll count on the me from yesterday.

If I turn into another
dig me up from under what is covering
the better part of me.
Sing this song
remind me that we'll always have each other
when everything else is gone.

We all have a sickness
that cleverly attaches and multiplies
No matter how we try.
We all have someone that digs at us,
at least we dig each other.

So when sickness turns my ego up
I know you'll act as a clever medicine.
If I turn into another,
dig me up from under what is covering
The better part of me.
Sing this song!
Remind me that we'll always have each other
when everything else is gone.
Oh, each other when everything else is gone.

ooooh....
(15x)

If I turn into another
dig me up from under what is covering
the better part of me.
Sing this song
remind me that we'll always have each other
when everything else is gone.

Oh, each other when everything else is gone. (x2).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Fresh Projects

Quite a few projects have already been laid in front of me by today, the 3rd day of the year 2008. They are separately very interesting and I feel like gambling and I'm picking them all up. I might be, and I hope I will be, really busy juggling these projects at once. I'm really excited. Oh ya, and each of them will get me some chunk of dough, I don't mind that at all.

I've always been "imagining" myself doing business in a vague big field globally. I used to run a business when I was younger. It was tough, very tough, but I had so much great times and learned a lot. If I have to pick what was the most valuable thing I gained from this is the strength to get up and look up at any circumstances. Anyways, I had to let it go eventually. Since then, I decided to step away from running a business until I decided to do it again. I've been looking for some factors to determine if I want to make a move or not.

But tonight, when I was chatting with my roommate, I realized that I've been looking for wrong factors. Or rather, I realized different styles of doing business that do not require factors I was looking for. The factor that popped up in my mind tonight was "I like that, sounds like fun." That was it, and I realized that's enough for me to get my lazy ass up. It was one of those "ah ha!" moments. Chatting with my roommate often make me think. I'm glad that I have my roommate, DJ OGGY. I'm sure I'll talk about him some other times.

So I'm not gonna bother telling you what my roommate and I discussed tonight right now just because I'm starting to feel lazy at this moment. I don't have much I can tell you now anyways. I can just say these projects are separately related to education, graphic design, music and entertainment.

In conclusion, the forecast of my new year looks brilliant and I'm excited!

Year 2008

Happy new year!

I have to say this to myself. This year will be a changing phase for my life in some different ways. I'll come back to that.

I just started this blog on this site today. Starting a blog is not really one of my resolutions for this year. I've been blogging in a different blog site weekly for the past two or so years, but it is targeted to certain audience. This one, on the other hand, is more for whatever. I'll just put whatever and whenever I felt like. I've been wanting to do that, so I'm just doing it. I don't know how long it'll last but heck, if I'm not blogging here I'd probably be doing something better.

Anyways, so this year will be something special. Back in 2006, I had a terrible, devastating second half. I pretty much took a whole year off in 2007 in a way to save up my energy little by little. I'm now feeling full of positive energy within me that I didn't feel in the beginning of 2007. Partly because I had such a good fun time at at a party with great friends on the new year. That was a good sign and a good start of the year. But, more than that, when I woke up in the morning of January 1st, 2008, I somehow felt that the cloud above me was starting to fade away. It was just a gut feeling, I guess. But, I know I felt it. It won't be easy to make it go away, but I now know I can.

Anyways, I can only put this in ambiguous words like these for now. And, that's good enough for now.