Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GPS sucks. Or at least mine does.

Driving is one of those annoyingly essential skills that I can't seem to master despite how hard I focus or how much I practice. I hate to reinforce the stereotype for all my Asian sistahs out there but I admit that I am a female Asian who should probably not be allowed behind the wheel of a tricycle, much less a vehicle.

The thing is, my problem with driving is completely mental. I can perform the basic functions of operating a car just fine (except parallel parking, U-turns, and turning on my lights at night). But my lack of confidence translates into nervous, panicking decision-making.

You know when you walk into a test that you know you're not prepared for? Suddenly every innocuous little bubble in the scantron starts to look like a portal of death. Your eyes flash over questions and answer choices at lightning speed but you don't understand any of the words and your hand is shaking and you're about to vom and everyone else is just scribbling or bubbling away happily and you consider feigning unconsciousness to get out of the situation without totally humiliating yourself?

That's how I start feeling every time I turn on the ignition. "Dear society, here comes fail."

Last night I had a particularly scarring driving experience - this time involving GPS. I've never actually used a GPS because I rarely drive anywhere that I haven't been to at least four thousand times before. So I was pretty excited to have a friendly voice tell me where to turn and map out my route to a friend's house that's located in the heart of Potomac, a 20-minute drive. "I'll be driving like a pro in no time with this handy little roadmaster!" I thought gleefully as I backed out my driveway (narrowly missing my mom's minivan). I grossly miscalculated that prediction.

First, the GPS took like 10 minutes to wake up. And I was freaking out for that entire 10 minutes. "I'm supposed to turn left here, right? If I keep going I'm gonna crash into that house! Please say turn left please say turn left pleaaaaaase oh god" Mind you, this was all in my neighborhood. I kept just stopping in the middle of the street, panicking and shaking the GPS like a polaroid picture. "WORK FASTER, SLAVE!"

When it finally beeped to life, I was sitting in a driveway about 500 yards from my house, clutching the steering wheel and sobbing. Well not really but you know what I mean. I continued on my way, wary of my new possible foe or friend and listening as hard as I could for directions. The GPS worked okay. I mean, I already knew most of the way to my friend's house. But whenever the GPS didn't confirm the next turn I would start to freak out. At several points I was literally talking to it.

"I'm supposed to turn here, right?"
Silence.
"Here, RIGHT?????"
"Turn right at Piney Meetinghouse Road."
"Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!"

Finally, I turned onto the road where my friend lived. The GPS told me to keep going about half a mile in, which I did, and then it said "Arrived at desination." I looked around and there were NO HOUSES near me. Just some roadkill and a golf course. I wound up driving around that neighborhood for about 20 more minutes and stopping to make several frantic phone calls before I finally found his house, an hour after I left mine.

When I got into my car again later that night and saw the shiny GPS trying to beep to life again, I unplugged it and threw it into the passenger's seat foot area. I wasn't taking any of its crap anymore.

I was still a bad driver, but in the very likely case of an accident, I wanted to make sure at the end of the day that it was me, and not a stupid GPS device, that ultimately screwed myself over.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cat names

Over the weekend, my mom, sister and I visited the Montgomery County Humane Society after we fell in love with my friend's dog Charlie (well, my sister not so much) and were still on our animal high. We've been to the shelter many times before and have always walked away rather depressed, empty-handed, and smelling like dog poop. But this time my sister and I managed to convince our mom to fill out an application for a 4 month old tabby kitten named Pueblo. Here's a picture of him from the website:

I guess this was taken a while ago or something because it's a horrible picture/doesn't really look like him. Or maybe he's just not a photogenic kitty. In real life, he looks a lot more like his brother Sioux:

Adorable, right? Gah, I love tabbys (tabbies?).

The dinner conversation tonight was about what we would name the cat. Some hilarity ensued, especially when we went through all our favorite Harry Potter characters. Here are some of the suggestions:

Snarf (suggested by me) after the Thundercats character. Downvoted because my sister said it sounded too much like barf and my mom said it was too hard to pronounce.

Winston (suggested by me) because it's such a classy, baller name. My sister liked it but Mom thought it was too hard to pronounce (noticing a pattern here?).

A lot of Harry Potter names. Crookshanks, Remus, Dobby, Harry, and Dumblydore were all mentioned but the funniest ones were Hagrid and Snape.

Zhong guo ren (lol) ...I'm not sure why, I think we were just being silly at this point.

Tokyo (suggested by me) and London (suggested by Mom)

Charcoal (Mom)

Lots of food names: Sushi (me), Pepper (me), Tuna (me), Sesame (Maria), and Wasabi (Maria). We eventually ruled out Wasabi because both Maria and I hate the real thing so much.

Lady GaGa (me). This one still makes me chuckle.

Tommy and Tiger (both Mom)

Me: Tiger is so cliche...so many cats are named Tiger.
Mom: But what about Tiger Woods?
Me: Tiger Woods is a man, Mom.

We eventually all decided we liked the name Sesame a lot, so for now I think that's what we're going to name him. I dunno though, I still think Lady GaGa suits him pretty well.

The red wine's got him gaga

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick Entry

I'm home!

Three great things happened today:

1.) I ate food that I didn't cook myself, hurrah!

2.) I got to meet my BFF's adorable dog! Charlie the yellow lab fits right in with his loving Asian family. He is playful, friendly, and will make a great meal one day if the economy keeps going at its current rate.

3.) My dad surprised me with a Pre! Yesssssss. I never get presents from my parents. "When I was your age all I owned was a rag and a dead cat." So this is pretty neat. I just have to call Sprint and see if I can switch my phone number over to this handset. If I can't, expect a Facebook group invitation sometime in the near future...apologies in advance.

Home is awesome. My bed is huge and I don't have any responsibilities. Those are pretty much the two criteria I need in order to be happy these days.

OK, I'm going to watch Law and Order: SVU until my brains fall out. Bye for now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Food.

Is it just me, or has food become a really hot topic lately?

Maybe it's because of the hype from Julie & Julia. Or because this is the first time I've had cable TV and as much access to Iron Chef as I can possibly want. Or because the classiest dining establishment I've been to up until senior year was like, Chipotle.


I'll never leave you for a snotty goat milk rhubarb, my love.

Suddenly everyone and their mom is now a connoisseur of the most exotic spices, the tastiest wines, and the most exclusive, celebrity-ridden restaurants in town. And here I am, scrubbing the burnt scrambled egg off the bottom of my pan, cursing myself for forgetting to use more olive oil and wondering if there are any more frozen burgers left in our fridge.

In an effort to make myself like what everyone else likes, I started Googling some of the trendiest restaurants in Chicago and browsing their websites. And all I can say is
wow.

You know it feels when you walk into an Abercrombie for the first time, see the douchey half-dressed mannequins, smell the douche-y beach perfume, and realize that the lighting is actually supposed to be this douche-ly dark? And then you look around at all the pre-pubescent teens squealing over fur-lined hoodies and think to yourself, "Really guys? You really buy into all this gimmicky setup and take yourself seriously for shopping here?" That's kind of how I felt looking at some of these menus and prices. Except I wasn't nearly as disapproving, just kind of awed by the extent to which these restaurants took their craft.


I'll focus on presenting you with snippets of Alinea's website, because it was Chicago's fanciest/snottiest/priciest restaurant by far:

"Under Chef Achatz’ leadership, Alinea has received worldwide attention for its hypermodern, emotional approach to dining."

What is that even supposed to mean? The only emotions I've ever incurred from dining are tears from cutting up onions and intense, gluttonous satisfaction from scarfing down a McDouble way too quickly.

"A programmable LED lighting system allows the walls to be tinted to fit the season or a particular course."

Right, because I'm going to refuse to finish eating this $145 meal because it's not the right tint of purple.

"
Many of the staff are fit with the Z Zegna line of suits, cut in a slim fit, while the sommelier staff and Maitre d’ wear the more formal Sartorial suits and ties."

Yeah, that's right. The staff wear Ermenegildo Zegna suits that range in price between $2,000-$4,000.
...One of these suits can pay for an entire year of my rent. Moving on, here are some pictures of the restaurant:










Dear God, please let me one day have a house that looks like this.

And finally, what would this post be without some mind boggling pictures of Alinea's cuisinary art? Can you match the title of the dish with the picture?

Titles:

a.) Watermelon
b.) PB&J
c.) Transparency
d.) Peanut
e.) Coconut


1.)



2.)


3.)



4.)



5.)



Answers: 1.) D 2.) E 3.) B 4.) C 5.) A

...I don't understand it either...but everything looks so pretty.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bleh.

This morning, I was walking to my apartment when it started raining. The rain began as a pleasant light drizzle but within thirty seconds grew into torrents of fat, angry raindrops that literally hurt when they landed on me. I felt like God was punishing me with this spiteful downpour. "Pew pew pew! Take that, suckaaa!" Needless to say, I was drenched in a matter of seconds and arrived at my apartment disgruntled, freezing, and smelling/looking like a wet dog. Did I mention this all happened at 7:40 in the morning?

I toweled off, changed clothes, made lunch, etc. Before I headed outside again, I made sure to put on my galoshes and grab an umbrella so I could take on the rain like a boss. But when I stepped out, I was greeted with the most serene and picturesque scenery you could ever imagine, the type you see at the end of Disney movies. The sun shone in its full force, birds filled the air with their sweet chirping, and baby bunny rabbits snuggled and tumbled in the bright green grass. There was even a fucking rainbow draped across the now cloudless blue sky. And here I was, umbrella in hand, giant galoshes on feet, my hair still dripping freezing rainwater onto my shoulders.

Pwned.

Some other lowlights of my weekend:

- Food poisoning from overpriced sushi
- Disgusting weather
- My bike being stolen

I'm still in disbelief about the last one. Every time I walk into my apartment and see its empty place I just convince myself that my bike is on vacation and will be returning shortly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Apartment living

I think I've grown up a lot in these past few months as a result of living in an apartment. It's funny because when my roommates and I first talked about living together we were always so ecstatic and optimistic about everything. "We're gonna paint our entire apartment rainbow colors and eat Rajun Cajun and have crazy parties and decorate our living room with Edward Cullen posters! Yeaaaah!!!" And while many of those those things have happened (Yes, RPatz is constantly making bedroom eyes from above our fireplace with a giant "LOL" pasted next to his mouth), there are so many other mundane and downright unpleasant things that have to be taken care of that I totally didn't see coming. So for any of my readers who are still living in dorms but are moving off-campus soon, heed these wise words and prepare yourself for the many traps and dangers of apartment living:

- Comcast is the devil. I had heard rumors of their treachery long ago and had already tried to brace myself for the worst, but I was still floored when I saw a $350 bill from them for our first month's service. They even had the nerve to charge us for a router that WE provided and installed! If you can, get AT&T and never look back.

- Groceries are expensive, ridiculously perishable, and annoying to buy when you don't have a car. On a similar note,

- Diffusion of responsibility can wreak havoc in a kitchen. When there are 7 people who drink equal amounts of milk, nobody wants to be that person who has to go to the store and lug two gallons back. But then everyone complains about the lack of milk until someone does it. It sucks because it's always the same people, too. The best remedy for this would be to assign concrete responsibilities. Too bad we ourselves haven't adopted that policy yet.

- When your doorknob falls off, use a knife to turn the lock.

- Not all free/cheap furniture is a good thing. It might seem like an awesome deal to get this or that for free, especially if it's something big like a couch or a bed, but if they don't work properly or if people refuse to use them then you are essentially spending money, time, and energy on absolute crap that you have to throw away and replace anyway. For things that you'll be using everyday it might be worth it just to shell out a few extra bucks for something you know you'll keep.

- Alternatively, the best kinds of furniture IMO are the ones that have a neat story behind them. For example, we previously had a huge orange pull-out couch that we named the Beast because we spent a backbreaking hour lugging it from the third floor of this lady's apartment (she offered us $50 to get it out of there). We spent that money on pizza afterward and bonded over the injuries that were inflicted on us by the Beast. Although the Beast had a short life span in our apartment (it met its demise through vom), we've replaced it with Louise, another giant orange couch that we got because our 109 yo neighbor who lived across the hall died.

- And maybe most importantly: there are assholes everywhere who will take full advantage of your every generous or kind offer. Protect yourself as best you can from them. Don't do anything "in good faith" for somebody you don't personally know and trust because it can be really painful and frustrating to clean up those situations.

I hope this helps you somewhere and somehow down the road, and if not, was at least slightly amusing for you to read.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Return of the King

After an incredibly exhausting and insanity-filled weekend, my roommates and I decided that a perfect way to relax would be to grab some popcorn and put in Return of the King. I was pretty excited about this idea - I hadn't seen any of the LotRs in years and was looking forward to some mind-blowing cinematography, epic SFX battles, and pretty, pretty men.

I fell asleep an hour into it.

Okay, so it was kind of late when we started watching (9:30ish) and I was pretty tired to begin with (beach all day, not much sleep the previous night, food coma/pregnancy). But still...gah! How could I have fallen asleep? This was Lord of the Rings!! This was my life in high school. I am not exaggerating here, people.

I still remember watching it for the first time in theaters with my BFF at the Rio. We had been talking about the movie nonstop for months and were literally shaking with excitement as we waited in line with other crazy fans. When the movie started playing, I sat there with my mouth hung open the entire time. I was just in awe of everything. The scenes were so epic, the effects so convincing, and the dialogue so moving. I'm fairly sure I cried when it was over*. For three years these movies had been such a huge part of my life.

But this time around, everything just fell flat. The movie was just one epic scene after another to the point where the epic-ness became diluted and I got incredibly bored. Yay the Rohans have arrived! Boo the archers are killing their horses with arrows. Yay the horses prevail anyway and stomp all over Orcs! Boo oliphaunts are here and an ugly man is blowing an exotic horn. Yay Eomer throws a spear at him! Boo Shelob. Yay Sam! Boo Witch King. Yay Gandalf! Etc etc etc. People diss Michael Bay's blockbuster kamikaze mayhems all the time but Return of the King wasn't all that dissimilar from Transformers, now that I really think about it...

A lot of the dialogue sounded awful and cheesy too, like it was out of some 14 year old's fanfiction. It all sounded so silly and over the top. I also found myself asking questions to myself the entire time. Why the heck didn't they just make the eagles drop the Ring in the first place? They retrieved Frodo and Sam in like 2 seconds and even gave them a nice view of the collapsing Mordor skyline - they could've easily given them a lift there, right? Also why didn't anyone think of fixing Anduril until now? Its shards were on display in Rivendell for thousands of years and it would've been pretty damn useful for Aragorn in the first two movies. And how did Elrond deliver it to Aragorn in negative five seconds when Aragorn had been traveling for months? Most importantly, why is Legolas still wearing a skirt and saying dumb shit?? Does natural selection not exist in Middle-Earth? So many plotholes, so little sense.

I'm sad that I couldn't sit through this movie and enjoy it the way I used to. I couldn't even tolerate some scenes (mostly the vom-inducing dialogues between Pippin and Gandalf) because they were so long and drawn out. I'm also pretty sure that not enjoying Return of the King marks my transformation into a raging and worldly cynic. My future looks so bleak right now.

* Stop your snickering.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My life in lists

Things I am excited about:

5. Epilator epil-epilator you're an epilator oooh epilator oooh

4. Britney concert! Can you tell?


She's excited to see me too.

3. Upcoming weekend guests & festivities. T-House reunite!

2. New Moon ahmagaddddddd


He's depressed because Jacob has the better bod.

1. Going home. I absolutely cannot wait to see my family, hang out with friends, see MK @ VFest, eat home-cooked food (blue crab yesss), visit NYC to see the naughtiest of babies, drive, experience restaurant week, torture my sister, revisit all my favorite places, Metrosurf, and pet my BFF's doggie!

Get ready for Auntie Rose!


Things I am not excited about:

5. Lollapalooza '09 lineup. I know we're in a recession and everything but Depeche Mode, Tool, and The Killers make B-list headliners.


Carrot Top never looked so good in velvet before.

4. Level 39 of Red Remover. It's not fair! I'm using a touchpad!

3. Dirty laundry that sits in my room and stares accusingly at me every time I walk in

2. The Time Traveler's Wife movie. Whoever cast Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams to star in this movie a.) is retarded or b.) never read the book or c.) likes Nickelback or d.) all of the above.


Words cannot explain how bad you guys suck.

1.
Fall. No more awesome subletters in our apartment, no more casual reading time, no more flippie floppies. Only a slow and painful death awaits...in the form of Econometrics.


To be completely honest, I only made this entry so I could post this picture.