Saturday, February 28, 2009

Santa Monica (February 16)

On President's Day, February 16, my sister took my uncle and mom to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and then to eat sausages for lunch somewhere- I forget the name of the restaurant.

I had to work that day, but managed to leave at 3:00 to meet them at my sister's apartment in West L.A. My dad bowed out for the day- he had to work, and then he just came home to rest.

The four of us had some time to kill before going to dinner, so we decided to go to Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Okay ... full disclosure: I wanted to go to Third Street because the Make-Up Art Cosmetics store there had the brush set I wanted.

Regardless of the reasons, went to Santa Monica. My uncle told us that he goes to Santa Monica every day. When we asked him what in the world he was talking about, he said that there's a restaurant near his university called Santa Monica. I assumed it would be American food, or at least Italian or Spanish food ... but no. It's a Korean food place! Why would they call it Santa Monica??

I love the dinosaur topiaries. They make no sense at all and I don't see how dinosaurs are any sort of theme for a shopping area, but there you go.

My uncle and my sister, in the right corner. They're ignoring the dueling brontosaurs behind them.

I love the gaudiness of the Georgian Hotel's exterior. Its art-deco feel plus palm trees ... so stereotypically L.A.!

The interior is gorgeous and lush, not at all turquoise with bright yellow accents.

When I worked on Third Street Promenade at a video-game company, I used to see this clock every single day.

The weather was really blustery and crisp, the clouds were beautiful, and it was just a spectacular day to sight-see. We lucked out, since it had been raining off and on for the past few days prior to our outing.

Goodbye, clock tower! Ominous dark clouds in the distance ... maybe it's time to leave...

Looking west towards the ocean, with my sister and uncle leading the way.

This building was just north of us. I've always loved the staircase design of it.

At the crosswalk of Ocean and Arizona. Santa Monica has the most inappropriate street names- Broadway, Colorado, Ohio- what?! Who decides these things??

Once we dash across Ocean, the real ocean is just a steep fall away. The waves were really strong that day, with the wind blowing so hard and the recent rain.

Looking down the side of the cliff onto the multi-million dollar houses that are all very distinct. Some of them are very distinctly ugly.

The staircase at the bottom of the photo leads to those houses. It's a lot of stairs!

More houses. I love the pink and purple house at the right-hand side.

Past the long line of houses is the Santa Monica Pier. If you ever want to ride a Ferris wheel while getting hit with the smell of saltwater, this place is it.

The clouds seemed to change every single minute that we were there, going from puffy and white to wispy and gray. Very mercurial, those clouds!

Mom, braving the wind! The sky alternated from white-hot brightness to overcast gloom. We walked along the path for a while, from Arizona to Broadway.

I love that desert plants occupy even the beaches near L.A. It's a reminder of what the natural environment would be, had we not taken it completely over.

Palm trees getting abused by the wind. I feel so sorry for them, their lollipop heads getting thrashed around.

These old-fashioned lamps don't actually give off much light, but the light they do emit is softer and more ambient than the harsh modern lamps all through the rest of the city. And they're so cute!

Mom and I were lagging behind, taking pictures, while my uncle and sister bee-lined towards the warmth of the car.

These are different monuments for the different branches of the armed forces.

The fast-walking duo in a sudden burst of sunshine.

Some dude sleeping while the wind is blowing so hard that the palm tree he's leaning against is swaying.

A tree that I thought was so lovely. It looked like a good place to sit ... except the wind was picking up and we were getting hungry! Versailles, here we come...


BJ's Brewhouse, Cerritos (February 8)

BJ's Brewhouse
11101 183rd Street
Cerritos, CA 90703

Telephone: 562.467.0850

Monday - Thursday:
11:00 am - 12:00 am
11:00 am - 1:00 am
10:00 am - 1:00 am
10:00 am - 12:00 am

I don't generally frequent BJ's Brewhouse, which has locations all over the United States. I'm not really a big fan- the food is okay but not great, the service always seems rushed and harried, and every BJ's I've ever been to has been way too loud.

When my uncle was here, he kept wanting to eat "American food," so we decided to just go to BJ's one evening. After all, my dad and uncle are hearty beer drinkers and BJ's brews many different types in-house. For the sake of "research," we set out.

The women, just outnumbering the men, managed to "agree" upon getting the 7-beer sampler. There's also a 14-beer sampler, which seemed like an obscene amount of glasses with which to litter the table. The beers are arrayed in darkest ---> lightest order.

3 minutes after ordering the beer. Tentative sips ... no swigging (yet). None of the girls drink beer, so the two men were taking their sweet time with the taste testing.

1 minute passes. Clearly, the dark beers are being shunned in favor of the lighter ones.

2 more minutes, and an obvious winner stands out. The Jeremiah Red, a red ale that's apparently quite delicious. In second place is the Piranha Pale Ale, which my uncle seems to be leaning towards.

18 minutes later, and three of the beers are dead and gone. The P.M. Porter was pretty much consumed entirely by Dad. He's the only one drinking the dark beers, as well. I stopped taking pictures of the beer after a while, but they did eventually drink all of them, as well as order full pints of their favorites (Jeremiah Red for my dad, the Piranha Pale Ale for my uncle).

See how happy a little beer makes them? They're both terrible at smiling for the cameras, unless there's a mixture of seven different beers running through their systems!

We got French fries as an appetizer because my uncle discovered a love of Idaho russets while he was here. He claims that the potatoes in Korea are not the same. American potatoes, I believe, are extremely mealy, while Koreans prefer the waxier varieties. Mealy potatoes do make the best French fries.

I learned that my grandmother (my mom and uncle's mother) loved French fries. We ordered the fries (half steak fries, half shoestring) in honor of her ... and proceeded to gobble them up like the piggies we all are.

I love the UFO-like pizza stands at BJ's. They're fun and functional!

The actual pizza. It was the BJ's Favorite, which contains:

Oven-baked meatballs, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, white onions and seasoned tomatoes.

Pretty good, though the dough was very doughy. I doubt that 'doughy' is a synonym for 'deep dish,' but who am I to judge? I have no idea how to make pizza dough.

The baked potato that my dad claimed was as big as his head (no it wasn't, but it was a close call). It really was an enormous potato. All five of us ate slices of it and it was still not fully consumed.

My dad's hand is for visual reference. The ribs look almost small compared to that monster potato!

I ordered the blackened chicken pasta, which is smothered in a cream sauce. The cheesy toasts that this pasta comes with are deletable. The actual chicken was good, but the pasta itself was a little overcooked, as was the broccoli. I do not like limp pasta. Especially when it's limp and overly doused in sauce.

Pizookie! Pizza + cookie = pizookie.

We ordered the oatmeal raisin cookie with the vanilla ice cream. The cookie was way too sweet, the ice cream was just average, but I've always enjoyed the idea of a pizookie. And I like saying the name. Pizookie.


The sister and the uncle after dinner. We all waddled out and came home to sit. I remember that we were exhausted from all the sheer eating we had done.

All in all, the company made the evening fun. My uncle only left a week ago, but I miss him already!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Rush Street, Culver City

Rush Street, Culver City
9546 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232

Telephone: 310.837.9546

Monday - Wednesday:
11:30 am - 12:00 am
Thursday & Friday:
11:30 am - 1:00 am
11:00 am - 1:00 am
11:00 am - 11:30 pm

Still sticking close to work lately. Rush Street is very close to M Cafe de Chaya and Tender Greens, Rush Street being the closest to work. Walking from the front door of work to the front door of Rush takes about two minutes, with time allotted for the extremely lazy crosswalk signal (see the clouds in the photo above? Walk towards them and that's where work is).

I appreciate Rush because it's a bar (neither Tender Greens nor M Cafe have liquor, depressingly) as well as a restaurant. Lovely, lovely rows of bottles:

Perhaps I am appreciating the alcohol a bit too much? I'm Korean, it's in my blood.

My current favorite drink at Rush is the Pom Royale. Served in a martini glass, it's a combination of vodka, pomegranate molasses (I need to find a tub of this stuff), lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, and champagne. The vodka settles at the bottle, since the champagne is effervescent, so the drink tastes quite different from beginning to end. Yummmmmmm.

Anyways, I was at Rush on Wednesday night to meet some girlfriends for a quasi-reunion. We had all met and befriended one another at Rhythm + Hues. I hadn't seen this group of friends for a long time, and it was great to catch up (minus two that couldn't make it because they had to work *shake fist at work*).

We decided on Rush (okay, I decided on Rush) because it's close (to me) and they have pretty good food and drinks. Plus, one of the girls is a gelato fiend, and there's an Italian restaurant across the street that sells gelato by the quart (Cafe Ugo- I had the pistachio gelato for dessert (in a cup, not a whole quart!), and it was good, albeit way too sweet. All their gelatos run a little too sweet and a little too light).

I quite like Rush. The actual place is beautiful. I love the architecture, with exposed ceiling beams and skylights, lovely weathered brick walls, and minimalist decor.

I think that the very things that make the place beautiful, though, are also what makes it so. annoyingly. loud.

I do not appreciate trying to have a conversation over dinner in a place that sounds like a club. If I wanted a club scene, I would have GONE TO A CLUB. Imagine that.

There's a loft where the dj is (the dj that needs to KEEP IT DOWN while people are trying to converse) and an outdoor area both upstairs, past the loft, and downstairs, outside the front door. I think this is a stripper pole:

What the heck else would you call it?? It's in the loft area ... for ... bachelor parties ...? No idea.

Rush is also supposedly "Chicago style," which I don't understand at all. What is Chicago style? I get it (even if I don't like it) when people call places "California style" and proceed to use wicker (ew!) and palm tree prints (ew!) all over the place. Yeah, we have palm trees here and we're right next to the ocean. Sure.

But the Chicago thing isn't evident at all at Rush, unless you count the fact that they have Chicago dogs on Wednesdays. What do they do to hot dogs in Chicago that make them better than regular hot dogs? And have you ever had a Dodger dog? Is a Chicago dog better? I'm entirely unconvinced by the Chicago thing. Gimmicky, that's all it is. Even their pizza is thin crust! (Maybe stripper poles were invented in Chicago?)

The food is passably good. I've only ever tried the two types of burgers they have, the turkey burger far surpassing the aged beef burger. I had never had pickled onions before, but they come on the turkey burger and are surprisingly good. (I don't like raw onions, only cooked ones.) I'm not brave enough to try their other artsier fare ... I'm not a brave eater by any stretch of the imagination.

Oh- their fries are fantastic! I'm not a fan of sweet potato fries, so I get the regular ones, and they're great.

Verdict? I would go back just for the Pom Royales. And fries.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gouda the Bunny

My sister recently adopted a rabbit from Rabbit Match, where she volunteers. Rabbit Match takes in abandoned bunnies in the Los Angeles area and takes care of them while they're up for adoption.

They spay and neuter all the rabbits (so they can't breed like rabbits!) before the little critters go off to their permanent homes. I looked at the packet they gave my sister, and it's full of practical information about rabbits, their behaviors, their likes and dislikes. The organization seems to definitely care about their charges, which I admire.

Gouda's name used to be Carradine when he lived at Rabbit Match, but he's now Gouda. See him hiding behind the mixer? I think he wants to get into the trash can. Not that he's tall enough to even remotely reach it. Big dreams!

Chomping lettuce. Rabbits are quite useful for eating up vegetables, especially for someone who lives alone (like my sister). He's quite a cute little thing.

Wee bitty little baby. He's not completely full-grown yet, but won't grow too much bigger than he is now.

My dad claims that he will stew the rabbit and eat him if my sister ever makes the unwise decision of bringing the bunny home. Unwise because my dad threatens and also because we have a dog bred to hunt burrowing animals and a cat that is probably about three times bigger than the rabbit!

The newest extension of my family will have to stay safely ensconced in my sister's apartment, safe and sound.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What I'm Eating for Breakfast

An image sent to me from my friend Kim. I assume she's making fun of me for my recent re-commitment to Twitter, which we have mocked in the past!

Click on the image for a bigger view. Or, if you're supremely lazy:

'60's ad-agency man #1: "So you're saying people will "tweet" what they're eating for breakfast?"

'60's ad-agency man #2: "And "upload" pictures of their breakfasts to a "Facebook"?"

'60's ad-agency man #3: "And other people will look at the breakfasts and make comments?"

'60's ad-agency man #4 (seated): "No offense, future man, but is everyone in your time retarded?"

Astronaut, a.k.a. future man: "Sorry to burst your bubble, dudes, but you asked. Yes, that's the future."


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When He Was a Wee Lad...

...he had to walk ten miles through the snow, barefoot, to get to school!

My dad says stuff like that every so often to poke fun at other parents who shame their kids with stories like that.

I think that despite the generational gap, complete difference in cultural references, and slight language barrier, my dad and I are closer than most father-daughter sets. We have similar senses of humor, we are both able to drink more than our fair share of alcohol, I inherited his giant skull (thank goodness I didn't also get his enormous ears!), we have the same hands, and we like the same movies.

Although my personality is just like my mom's, my dad and I get along like a house on fire. (My mom and I get along like something quieter. Our relationship is just as strong (if not stronger) than my relationship with my dad, but in a different way.)

All this is just a preface for the real reason behind this post: I was going through one of my portable hard drives to see what was on it, and I ran across some old photos. I mean OLD, like in the 1970's. That's before I was born. That's how OLD my dad is. : )

Doesn't he look like someone you want to hang out with??

He can still make this face. He still does, every now and again. I have the sneaking suspicion that he hasn't changed much since this photo (he was probably 20 or so) and now (he's turning 57 in September).

See what I mean? This is him about two (maybe three) years ago, in Tombstone. He's posing for the sake of the O.K. Corral sign behind him. This is his "mentally challenged" face that he puts on whenever someone calls that he doesn't like, or there's a story on the news about someone acting like an imbecile. He doesn't have a single ounce of patience for anyone stupid or lazy.

I love this picture. My dad's on the right-hand side.

He was an avid mountaineer back in the day, going hiking and rock-climbing pretty often (he's got the freckles to prove his (un-sunblocked) time in nature). I feel like this is what he must have been doing during most of his free time, trekking through the woods. I personally do not appreciate bugs or dirt or sleeping out in the open, so I can't relate, but the picture makes the landscape look gorgeous.

I wish L.A. had autumn.

Dad and his dad.

Isn't my grandfather cute, with his little cane and his little hat and his little belly?? He was a great man, a great writer, a loving grandfather.

My dad, on the other hand, was a terrible son! Rebellious and hot-tempered (still is).

I love researching my family tree- there's always something new to discover! My grandfather was one of twelve children (he's #11), so there are tons of cousins, aunts, uncles, third-cousins, cousins twice-removed, and blah blah blah, that I haven't ever even met.

I'm still trying to get everyone in my grandparents' generation straight in my head, but someday, I hope to actually have my genealogy done, at least up to the point of my great-great-grandparents, so I can have it framed and hang it up in my house. It'll have to be some tiny little print down near the bottom of the tree, but I believe it can be done!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Tweeting, Twittering, Twitching

I've noticed Twitter feeds on a few other blogs, and they seem pretty inobtrusive. So I've decided to give it a shot.

If I get sick of it or if I hate it or if I have problems with it, that thing is getting the boot.

See it? Tweet-Tweets, on the left. Over there! <---------

We shall see.


2009 Oscars: The Clothes, Part 2

Found a picture of Nicole Kidman, which I couldn't yesterday.

I realize feathers aren't for everyone, but I still thought this was a great dress on her. Only a six-foot tall woman can carry off anything with feathers (Christina Aguilera, I'm looking at you).

Her hair and make-up also seemed so much more natural than last year (remember the ugly black dress and the stick-straight hair? Yuck), maybe a reflection on the fact that she seems to be happier and healthier lately. Good for you, Mrs. Urban!

One last bit about the Oscars- a YouTube video of the sequence that was shown during the credits of the Oscars about upcoming movies. The movie I'm currently working on, "G-Force," is at the very end (03:07) of the clip. Yay!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Oscars: The Clothes, Part 1

I'm tired after the epic marathon that was the 81st Academy Awards.

The winners were quite predictable, but the show felt fresh and new, totally different than last year. Hugh Jackman was good, but absent for too-long stretches of time. The man is quite dapper in a tux, and add to that his ability to sing and dance ... fun! silly! tongue-in-cheek humor!

Beyonce was superfluous. I would rather have just watched Hugh Jackman doing all the dancing and singing for both of them. Girl seems like she is just everywhere lately! Her hideous red-carpet dress and even more atrocious performance ... leotard ... made me cringe. I'm on Beyonce overkill, and ready for a break.

I did enjoy the new format of the show. It felt more structured, and it was a nice touch that they had Hugh Jackman walk the audience through a film's production, the awards given in the order in which that specific department contributed to the movie (except for the acting awards, which were bookends of the show, as usual).

I'm not ready to delve into the awards, so I'm focusing on the easy stuff: clothes!

Only posting what I liked. I don't have the wherewithal to deal with the (many, many) outfits that I did not like.

Taraji P. Henson, nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

I thought her Roberto Cavalli dress was divine. Ethereal without being too whimsically sweet, the raw, uneven edges giving her just enough modernity. I loved the Fred Leighton necklace, which was pretty while avoiding preciousness.

Her bob is perfect, not too severe (remember Victoria Beckham's insanely fake-looking bob?) and not too touseled.

Viola Davis, nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "Doubt."

Unusual Reem Akra dress, no? I love pleats, but they tend to make a girl look wide. I am not a fan of halters, because they tend to widen the shoulders. Somehow, Viola Davis got herself a pleated metallic halter dress and she looks gorgeous. The color works so well on her, and the dress hits her in all the right places.

Not a fan of that clutch, but the dress, jewelry, and hair look great.

Angelina Jolie, nominated for Best Actress in "Changeling."

Her Elie Saab dress was boring, pretty standard Angelina Jolie fare (would it kill her to wear some color?!). I was much more impressed with the jewelry. I love emeralds, especially those huge honkin' emeralds that Angelina had.

Lorraine Schwartz earrings and ring- the ring is 65 carats, the earrings are 115 carats.

To die for.

Marisa Tomei, nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "The Wrestler."

Her Atelier Versace dress was really beautiful in a very structured, clean way. Flat pleats, intricate sewing- but it didn't look fussy or over-wrought. It looked deceptively simple, and she looked great in the very subtle color.

Mickey Rourke, nominated for Best Actor in "The Wrestler."

The man is brave.

A white suit.

Jean-Paul Gaultier knows how to cut a suit, sure, but it takes some major confidence to wear it well. Mickey Rourke is quite the victim of plastic surgery mishaps, but he still has good taste. I really appreciated the splash of white in the sea of black-clad men (John Legend's brown suit was nice, too).

I also really liked Nicole Kidman's dress, which was a wispy off-white confection. Her hair and make-up were really soft, which is a look I think works for her. She needs to stop with the bright red lipstick and stick-straight hair, because I liked her so much more tonight. Can't find a photo, though. Just 'cause she wasn't nominated doesn't mean people won't want to see that dress!

Overall, it seemed like the women went retro. There were lots of patterns, bright colors, traditional silhouettes with a little twist, and way more metallics than I remember from previous years.

Make-up seemed pretty subtle- none of the harsh reds and pinks of last year and the year before. Going back to a more natural look, I think, and it's about time.

I thought the hair was outstanding this year. Loose curls, unstructured updo's, none of the stiffness and precarious styles of years past. Sarah Jessica Parker's dress may have been a wreck, but her hair was lovely. Same goes for Jessica Biel (she was wearing a modified toga ... post-frat party).

Dresses seemed less starched, more flowing. A nice change.

Good show this year, mostly thanks to Hugh Jackman and the producers!

No more typing for me- I'm knackered. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'll have that stupid "Slumdog Millionaire" song stuck in my head until Tuesday, at least.