Monday, October 29, 2012

weather woes

The pros of California weather: long summers, lots of sun, warm days that aren't humid, mild winters

The cons of California weather: no snow days, no days off for hurricanes (reading all the updates on Hurricane Sandy is making me oddly envious), and you become a complete wimp when it comes to dealing with bad weather whenever you travel

Saturday, October 13, 2012

california food

We're having a few people over tonight for a simple night in: drinks, food, and video games. Nothing complicated. Except that I'm counting calories, Boyfriend is avoiding carbs, one person doesn't eat mammals, two people are vegetarian, and one of the vegetarians is also avoiding all gluten and sweets. So instead of ordering pizza, we're making four kinds of burgers (beef, chicken, chicken-stuffed beef, and veggie) on three kinds of buns (normal, gluten-free, and English muffin). We've turned into a sitcom about California.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

death taxes and cable

Death will come eventually, and we all have to come to terms with that. I actually don't really mind paying taxes. I think of it as kind of like paying for someone else to deal with a lot of problems I wouldn't want to deal with or know how to deal with. Life has been kind, and it seems fair.

However, I will never stop feeling indignant, injured, and insulted by American cable providers: the mulish service, the random price hikes, and in this case, right as the fall season is kicking into high gear, the sudden disappearance of most of my channels, replaced by a screen saying that I now have the wrong box.

If I call them, I'll probably have to wait on hold, talk to someone who will try to sell me more channels (god, I hate those conversations), and then wait around until I can get my channels back somehow (and probably miss work to do so), and miss a bunch of shows. And they'll still charge me for the missing days and keep creeping the price up later.

I've seen more and more of my friends cutting the cord and finding other services like Hulu+, iTunes, Netflix, and Google Play to be sufficient. I suppose it might require a some more legwork and wires, without the loveliness of TiVo, but I'm starting to think it might be worth it, if only to get out of this frustrating cycle of cable providers sucking every last bit out of what customers they have left...

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Boyfriend and I had dinner up in the city with my sister and cousin last night. We had Korean barbecue, then went to a Chinese snack and dessert place afterwards. We were amused by the menu, and tried to figure out what some of the more outlandish items were, using a combination of the English names, a few recognizable Chinese characters here and there (although this was not so helpful, since we can read very little Chinese), and trying to figure out if the English was an attempt at a direct translation from the Chinese.
Having grown up eating my mom's Chinese cooking, I'm accustomed to pretty "normal" dishes having misleading names. Pockmarked woman tofu, little dragon buns, and lion's heads contain nothing more exotic than pork. Dishes with ingredients that are more of an acquired taste are often given very straightforward names, like stinky tofu or bitter melon.

When we saw "snow frog" on the dessert menu last night, mixed in among the ice cream, sweet tofu, and tapioca, we thought it was just a colorful description of some kind of pastry or other confection, because what else would you pair with coconut milk or shaved ice? Not anything to do with frogs, right?

We asked the waiter, and he got a bit flustered trying to explain it, and mumbled something that sounded like "oval," but it was hard to hear him. He added that snow frog is good for the skin and scuttled away.

Enter all of our smartphones for a quick Google-fest.

Oh my god. He must have said "ovaries." Wikipedia says that snow frog is "dried fatty tissue surrounding the fallopian tubes of true frogs." It is categorized as a Chinese pastry.

Wow. I grew up eating a lot of things that my non-Chinese friends didn't eat, but frog fallopian fat seems a bit extreme. Especially for dessert.