Tuesday, January 29, 2008
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
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
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!
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!
523 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292-5420
Phone: (310) 578-2293
Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30-11pm
4000 Colfax Ave
Studio City, CA 91604, USA
I went there Sunday night around 8pm. Plenty of seats were available.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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*
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.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
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.
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
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!
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.