It's my uncle's birthday tomorrow (the one staying with us for a month) so we decided to celebrate today!
We (the father, mother, uncle, and two daughters) decided to go to my dad's current favorite restaurant, Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. He loves barbecue, he loves Southern food, and he loves (crappy) American beer. My uncle didn't know any better, so he agreed and off we went.
We got something called a Backyard Family Feast, which the menu clearly stated would be served family-style for four or more. Which to me means that it would serve four-ish people. Maybe four fat people or five skinny-ish people. Right??
Out comes an entire rack of baby back ribs (my favorite), half a barbecued chicken (chicken is not my ideal protein (it's bland!) but it was delicious), an entire rack of giant beef ribs (I thought they were dinosaur ribs), a large bowl of macaroni and cheese, a large bowl of braised greens (excellent), four baked potatoes that were about the size of my foot, grilled corn on the cob (mercifully normal-sized), and absolutely delectable biscuits with honey butter.
The five of us, five full-grown adults, ate until we were about to pass out (while watching the Lakers LOSE like LOSERS- what the heck, Lakers?!) and still brought home three Styrofoam containers and four lidded cups of leftovers.
Wow, Lucille's. Which of your four customers can eat all that food in one sitting??
It was delicious, though. My Korean family is oddly very Southern. We all love kale and collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and buttermilk biscuits. My uncle was delighted and we managed to sneakily pay the check while he was off in the bathroom (Koreans fight- FIGHT- over who gets to pay the check. Unless it's my parents. They just look at us expectantly).
Because we're all pigs, we also came home and had ice cream cake with coffee.
Overall, a satisfying food day that's managed to put everyone in a food coma. I've only just held on because I wanted to watch "My Name is Kim Sam-Soon," which comes on at the ridiculous time of 10:10 p.m. I've watched, I've laughed, I've tsk'ed some stupid decisions, and now I'm off to bed. To resist the deep sleep of barbecue-induced exhaustion is futile!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
It's my uncle's birthday tomorrow (the one staying with us for a month) so we decided to celebrate today!
Friday, January 30, 2009
I've been tagged by William (whose blog I love) to list 25 random things about me.
Superficial? At times. Thoughtless? Perhaps. Self-centered? OF COURSE. It's a list of things about me, what else could it be?? Here goes!
1. Although I'm told that I'm outgoing and sociable, I was painfully shy until high school, when I vowed to become less shy. I decided this my junior year and didn't fully succeed in fooling people until my second year of college. I'm still a very shy person on the inside.
2. I think the city I grew up in is the best city in the world. (Cerritos, I love you. But mostly, I love your library.) The city's in the very southernmost part of Los Angeles county, which means it butts up against Orange County. I feel superior to Orange County because I just missed having to be an Asian girl from the O.C., such a stereotype.
3. Bad spelling and nonsensical grammar make me grit my teeth. Without some sort of outlet for the frustration, I'm liable to start hitting people with my laptop. Dictionary.com, anyone??
4. I don't eat clams (or most other types of seafood) unless it's in clam chowder. Why it's okay in clam chowder, I'm not sure, but it's the only dish I can stand it in. (And I really don't eat raw fish.)
5. I secretly think I've been smarter than every man I've dated. I also only date men that can't spell, for some reason, but I can tolerate it in them (perhaps because they give me things and tell me I'm pretty).
6. I wish I could play the piano well enough to be a concert pianist (my mother is a pianist).
7. I either love my job or hate my job at any given time. I'm never 'meh' about my job.
8. I've only ever been to four countries: Korea (I was born there), the U.S. (I live here), Mexico, and England. I would like to visit more countries! But not the third-world ones. I don't do dirt paths and/or cots.
9. I hate vacations where the sole purpose is to "see nature." If there's no bed and shower, I'm not going, stop asking. I always thought I was a "simple country girl" until I went camping after high school, and now I know. I'm a complicated city girl.
10. I want to win an Oscar. Okay, technically, I've won two Oscars ("Happy Feet" and "His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass") but I want to win one myself, where I go up and make the speech. It's not the speech so much (I don't care about it, I don't have one prepared), it's just the prestige and attention.
11. I will have been single for three years this May (I'm not counting dates, I'm counting real boyfriends). Oddly, I don't mind it- it can be boring, but I don't need a man to complete me. That's right, I said it.
12. There are two things I eat until I want to burst and then I keep eating: strawberries and spaghetti. The strawberries must be raw. The pasta must be spaghetti in a tomato-based sauce- I'm not a glutton about any other type of pasta or pasta sauce.
13. I haven't watched two of the movies I've worked on: "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and "Superman Returns." No team spirit for those films, I guess?
14. I'm prejudiced against cherry-flavored things. I don't know why, because I actually really love cherries.
15. Sometimes I wonder how I would do in a different career, and if I should consider switching to a completely different field. I imagine being a lawyer or a historian or an accountant or running some sort of business. I think I would like it.
16. I abhor men wearing flip-flops. Only people (women or men, I'm not (that) sexist) with pedicured feet should be allowed to show them off. Men, please consider pedicures- they feel good and they look better.
17. Summer is my least-favorite season because I don't like summer clothes and I really don't like to sweat unless I'm in sweat-specific clothes (i.e. for working out).
18. I miss drawing and painting, but not enough to do something about it. L-a-z-y.
19. From about elementary school through junior high school, I wanted to be a writer. I used to write all the time, all these little stories and poems. I stopped when I realized I'm not all that great.
20. I have the neatest handwriting of anyone I know. It's OCD neat. I don't write on the lines of paper, either, because I don't want to touch the lines, that would be wrong. I write exactly in the middle of the lines.
21. Whenever I watch Animal Planet and a big cat is chasing its prey, I root for the cat. Because I like cats, not because I want the gazelle to be dead.
22. I don't understand the popularity of people that don't do anything. Paris Hilton, I'm looking at you.
23. I got my ears pierced when I was 24. I have a scar on my left ear (long story) and I didn't want people to look at it, so I never felt like I needed earrings. It's only because people started making some seriously cute earrings that I reconsidered and pierced away (at a tattoo parlor- it was my only experience in one of those, and it was pretty cool).
24. I think I would be a good tattoo artist, but I don't think my mother would approve, so I don't pursue it.
25. In my very liberal and un-religious field, I'm secretly afraid of telling people I go to church and I'm a Christian. One of my co-workers at a different job said to me, "But you seem so ... reasonable!" when he found out I attend church. A co-worker I worked with every day, talked to every single hour.
I was inevitably influenced by William, which I say is inevitable because I read his list first, is it any wonder my thoughts ran along the same lines?? I tried not to cheat and copy, because that would be cheating.
It's interesting when faced with the task of writing totally random things about oneself. I could have gone on, because I didn't hit on a huge list of topics that I'm just now thinking of- books, music, family, aspirations, childhood, blah blah blah.
I'm not changing my answers. It's like word association, I think. The first answer is THE answer.
Thanks for the tag, Guillaume! (I took French in high school and I'm partial to French names- that's the 26th random fact about me).
Standing in the check-out line at Albertsons (to buy Pom Pomegranate Lychee Green Tea, which I love) behind a woman and a little boy, about three or four years old.
Little boy spies the last-minute-impulse-buy box of Cadbury caramel-filled chocolate eggs that are at his eye level, just under the credit card machine.
Woman: You like candy?
Boy: Yeah. I like popcorn.
Woman: Popcorn's good.
Boy touches a Cadbury egg.
Boy: Are these ... egg rolls?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
For me, the name Edgar Allan Poe will always bring to mind just two of his many works: "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Raven."
I don't know if it's because those are the first two of his writings that I read (at the impressionable age of 13, helping make me the weirdo I am) or if it's because they are so staggeringly depressing.
I have an odd love for both those works, but it's all about "The Raven" today because it was published on January 29, 1845. It's amazing that one hundred and sixty four years ago, a man wrote something still relevant in a completely different culture.
Edgar Allan Poe is fascinating to me, not just because of his work but also his personal life. He seems to have this air of melancholy surrounding him, and he looks like a downtrodden puppy in most of his photos. Exhibit A:
The man has a positively gloomy look on his face. His face is so perfectly odd ... possibly the least symmetrical face one can have while still looking "normal." His life seems, on the surface, like a novel (or a Korean drama):
- Orphaned early.
- Separated from siblings.
- Taken by sometimes brutish foster parents to England.
- Boarding school in Scotland.
- Move back to the U.S.
- Become engaged to pretty Sarah.
- Attend college for a year.
- Accumulate lots of gambling debts.
- Drop out of college.
- Pretty Sarah has married another!
- Begin writing under a pseudonym.
- Enlist in army, lying about his age.
- Leave the army before his enlistment is up.
- Move in with aunt, cousin Virginia, and brother Henry for a while.
- Attend West Point.
- Disowned by foster family.
- Purposely get court-martialed to leave West Point.
- Move to New York.
- Return to Baltimore.
- Brother Henry, an alcoholic, dies.
- Marry cousin Virginia- she is 13, Poe is 27.
- Move to New York with cousin/wife Virginia.
- Cousin/wife Virginia dies of consumption at 24.
- Poe begins drinking heavily.
- Returns to and becomes engaged to former childhood fiance Sarah.
- Dies before he can marry Sarah.
And none of that includes his writings, the many projects he undertook. The man led an extraordinary life, but not an easy one. He was deeply troubled and lost most of the people he loved.
Great artistic genius may be helped along by great emotional upheavals, but Poe couldn't have wanted to lead the life he did merely so his writings would be incredibly good.
"The Raven" made me want to get a raven and teach it to talk. And also teach it to perch on my scepter, like the witch's raven in "Sleeping Beauty." I've always been drawn to Disney villains rather than hero(ines), and I blame Edgar Allan Poe for that (plus the fab black clothes they wear).
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
Only this and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
This it is and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you" — here I opened wide the door; ——
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" —
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never — nevermore'."
But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting —
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted — nevermore!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
It's 9:01 and I'm still at work.
No wonder I have no time to blog.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The view from my parking spot. It overlooks the Culver Studios, which has a facade similar to plantation sets in "Gone with the Wind."
Useless picture? Yes.
I'm testing mobile blogging. I think it works!
I have been down with a strain of flu that I haven't fallen prey to since at least elementary school. I'm still coughing, sneezing, and generally stuffy, but at least I can walk around again and seem somewhat human.
So that's my explanation as to my neglected blog and my belated New Year's wishes. (Lunar New Year was yesterday, 1/26.)
Happy New Year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!
May it be a truly happy and prosperous year.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Hacking cough, fever, aches, the works.
I hate this flu.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
If you see this logo, don't buy the product it's plastered on:
The SanLu Group, based in Shijiazhuang, China, is the company behind the melamine-tainted milk that killed at least six babies.
Two of the men involved in this atrocity were sentenced to death today (1/22 in China), two people received life sentences, and six people were given 5 - 15 years in jail. (Read the BBC article here.)
I cannot fathom how terrified mothers must have been, worrying for the health and safety of their babies. It has to be stressful enough to have a small crying child without the added threat of possible death.
For a company, for executives, for cow farmers, for distributors to all turn a blind eye against this type of thing just to make some money ... it's absolutely incredible.
I hope that the parents that have lost their child(ren) are feeling at least a little bit avenged today, and are sleeping just a little better.
He might not be the best looking man ever, but he has the best (THE BEST) voice. It's perfection. Even if you can't understand Korean, you must watch the first few seconds of the YouTube clip below.
He was in "
So when this music video suddenly came on, of course I was intrigued! It's a song originally by Yoon Sang (윤상, pronounced "sahng"), who generally creates very pretty ballads. This particular version of the song was recorded by Yoon Gun (윤건).
It's called 가려진 시간 사이로. When translated literally, the words mean Between Hidden Time:
가려진 = hidden, covered, protected
시간 = time
사이로 = between
The music video really illustrates, I think, what happens between those times when we guard ourselves:
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I think my kimchi post was a little disorganized and kind of all over the place. So I'm attempting to be more organized this time with this food post, about one of my favorite canned goods: SPAM!
Spam is, in a word, delicious.
People that don't get Spam make me sad, because it's the best of what meat has to offer- look at the picture of the can of Spam! It even says "Crazy Tasty" right on the packaging. That's some honest labeling, I tell ya.
Following are the directions for my version of a Japanese-American staple, Spam Musubi. I'm not exactly sure how the authentic recipes go, because I pretty take what I have and make do somehow.
Spam Musubi, my way
- 1 can of Spam
- About 4 cups of rice
- 5 sheets of dried laver (seaweed)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons sake (or other cooking alcohol)
- One packet of furikake (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red chili powder (optional)
- Small pot
- Draining rack (optional)
- Musubi mold*
*I am told that instead of buying a musubi mold, one can take the Spam can and open up the unopened side with a can opener. (Wow, how many times can I fit the word 'open' in a sentence??) I have never tried this method, as I bought a musubi mold the second I realized what Spam musubis were, but in theory, it seems as though the Spam can would work just fine. I would be careful of sharp edges, though. Here's my musubi mold:
1. Slice the block o' Spam into thin slices, about 10. The picture below is to illustrate which way to slice the Spam- you must slice it horizontally. So if you were to slice the Spam correctly whilst it was still in the can, your slice would underline the word "Spam" on the can. I've actually heard a lot of confusion about this, so I'm spelling it out.
2. Dump the rice into a big bowl. I live in a household that is very Korean, so we always have fresh rice. The reason my rice is all purple and speckled is because it's short-grain rice (regular white rice) plus wild rice plus black rice. I like the texture of the mixture better than just plain rice, which is too sticky and starchy. The rice can't be piping hot, otherwise the seaweed will disintegrate.
3. The seaweed must be cut into the correct widths. I find that the seaweed I have is perfect when cut in half lengthwise. Just for illustration, following is a picture of the whole sheet of seaweed with the lid of my musubi mold on top. Some people also cut the seaweed in half widthwise, but I like a lot of seaweed on my musubi, so I only make one cut.
All cut up:
4. Now comes the entirely optional portion: the sauce.
Sometimes, when I'm either too lazy or I'm missing an ingredient, I won't make the sauce. I'll just fry the Spam in a dry non-stick pan and use it that way. It's tasty both ways, with and without the sauce. Fried Spam has a crispy yumminess that is entirely different than saucy Spam, and both are delectable in different ways.
Here's how to make the sauce, which is not as sweet as traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce.
The ingredients are quite simple: soy sauce, corn syrup, and sake. I use a Korean brand of corn syrup and a sake make especially for cooking, which is kept in the refrigerator. I list amounts in the "ingredients" section above, but this sauce is something best made by taste.
I usually start with the soy sauce and corn syrup, heating them together over gentle heat. Once they're warm, I hit it with some sake. I continue to taste the sauce as it cooks, because I find that the hotter the sauce, the sweeter the corn syrup.
The sauce, at a simmer:
5. Once the sauce is bubbling gently, add the Spam. I like to use a rather small pot for this sauce, so I have to cook the Spam in two batches. That's okay by me, though. (Just keep in mind that the water is evaporating and the second batch will cook much faster than the first).
The Spammies are enjoying their Jacuzzi experience:
... And ... they're done. They'll turn a couple shades darker and become flexible and limber:
I like to put them on a rack so the excess sauce can drip off. There is no point in having a lot of sauce in this particular application because it just makes the rice soggy, which in turn makes the seaweed soggy, which means the entire musubi will fall apart.
Let them cool, which also lets the sauce settle into the Spam:
6. Assembly! (I usually clean up the pot and the utensils used for the sauce while the Spam cools, which is a perfect amount of time).
A bowl of water big enough for the musubi mold is important (it's shown below with the bottom half of my musubi mold in it):
The rice is quite sticky and will adhere like a stubborn ex to the sides of the musubi mold if the mold isn't watered. It shouldn't be dripping wet- dunk the mold in water and then shake off the excess water.
7. Place the bottom half of the musubi mold (the one that looks like a cube missing two sides) on top of the seaweed, lining it up to the narrow sides of the mold and leaving just a little lip of seaweed poking out nearest you.
Scoop some rice into the mold, being careful not to let the mold slide around:
Take the top half of the mold and dunk it in water, shaking off the excess. See how the stuck bits of rice come off the mold in the water? And conveniently sink to the bottom?
8. Place the top half of the mold into the bottom half of the mold and press down to shape the rice. I have read that it should be a "gentle press," but I'm not a gentle presser. I like the rice in one solid block, not a loose bundle that threatens to fall to pieces.
Here's my firmly pressed block of rice:
I usually pile the rice into the mold in two batches, because I have OCD and also because I feel that it makes a sturdier block of rice. A giant pile of rice cannot condense as nicely as two smaller piles of rice, right?
Completely optional, of course, just for crazy people like me. When I first started making musubis, I used to press the rice in as many layers as I could, to make a really perfectly squared-off chunk of rice. This two-step process is my compromise with my inner perfectionist.
9. Furikake, a fancy word that basically means "dried stuff to put on rice." It's generally dried vegetables, seaweed, salt, sometimes some dried fish, etc. I add sesame seeds (toasted, white and black) and red chili powder to my furikake, because I love sesame and I think furikake tends to be a bit sweet. The red chili powder sort of negates the sweetness. Here's my mixture:
Sprinkle it over the block of rice. I keep the bottom half of the musubi mold around the rice because I don't want furikake all over the place. I can't conquer all my OCD issues- it's one step at a time!
Here's the rice with furikake:
In order to get the bottom half of the mold off, you need to use the top half of the mold. While pushing down on the top half, pull the bottom half off from around the rice.
I wiggle the mold around a little and usually take it off at an angle, which seems to help:
10. The best part. The Spam!
11. Folding, rolling, wrapping.
Take the little lip of seaweed that is closest to you and fold it up. It will stick to the rice (conveniently). Take the long end of the seaweed and fold it up over the Spam. I try to keep the seaweed as tight as possible around the bundle without squeezing so hard that the rice oozes out. Keep wrapping the seaweed around until you run out.
Set the musubi seam-side down, so it doesn't unroll itself. Because the rice is still lukewarm and the Spam is a bit sticky, the seaweed will glue itself down.
12. I like to let the musubis cool a while before slicing them. If they're still warm, the slicing gets messy. I don't enjoy the messy, so I generally make them the night before I'm going to eat them, which means I have ample time to let the suckers cool before slicing.
I slice with a thin-bladed, very sharp knife, and keep a tall mug of just-boiled water and a kitchen towel near me. Between each slice, I dip the knife in the hot water and wipe it on the kitchen towel. It seems excessive, but because the rice and the seaweed and the sauce are all sticky, the knife gets coated with something or other between every single slice.
Little bricks of Spamalot goodness!
I honestly don't understand the American aversion to Spam. It might not be a recognizable animal, but neither are foie gras or meatloaf!
With rice to temper the saltiness and seaweed to add some texture and heartiness, Spam can be part of a very satisfying meal. Spam musubis are great picnic food (although making more than a couple cans' worth of musubis is tiring) and an even better snack. I usually won't make musubis unless I'm leaving the house, because if I'm at home, fried Spam and rice plus some kimchi is perfection.
(Off topic from Spam, I tried color-correcting my photos because they are so unattractive. Point-and-shoot cameras suck. I think the color-correction turned out a bit too dark, but because it's 24 photos, I don't care to do it all over again. I need a digital SLR camera...)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Audrey Kathleen Ruston was known by her birth name, then her name was changed to Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston, then went by Edda van Heemstra before adopting the moniker that most people recognize:
Today is the anniversary of her death, which occurred in 1993 from abdominal cancer. She was 63 years old, survived by the love of her life and two sons, plus legions of admiring fans and thankful people from impoverished nations.
I have an admiration for Audrey Hepburn that I don't recall ever not having. I've always found her to be so beautiful, so graceful, so effortlessly wonderful. I think "Sabrina" was the first movie I ever watched that she was in.
I was hooked- she had simultaneously an elfish, gamine quality and a sophisticated, elegant air. It's a rare trait that I don't believe anyone has replicated since, though many have tried. (Jennifer Love Hewitt, you are not Audrey Hepburn. I know you want to be- every girl does. But you aren't.)
"Sabrina" also gave me some of my first fashion revelations:
- Short hair can be awesome.
- Flat shoes can be gorgeous.
- Hoop earrings will always be in style.
- Black clothing is simple and lovely.
- I must own a ball gown, preferably one by Givenchy (Edith Head, why you so mean??).
I wanted to learn to cook eggs in France with an angry little Parisian chef chastising me. I wanted to get a French poodle and walk around train stations in a smart little suit. I just wanted to look like this:
Some of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies:
"Roman Holiday" 1953
"Funny Face" 1957
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" 1961
"My Fair Lady" 1964
She played a princess, a chauffeur's daughter, a bookish clerk, a hooker, and a Cockney street urchin with aplomb and humor. I love every character, every moment of those movies, and I only wish she had left more films for me to watch.
If anyone has not read it, The Audrey Hepburn Treasures is very charming. The photos! There's also a book called How to Be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life, which is an easy little book filled with mostly quotes and photographs.
I hope she's at peace.
4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993
I have four uncles on my mother's side of the family: one in-law (my mother's only sister's husband) and three that are my mother's brothers (one older, two younger than Mom).
The eldest of my mom's siblings, Kim Kwang-Soon (김광순), arrived in L.A. this morning. He's going to be here for about a month while he's on vacation (he's a professor at Jeonju University (전주대학교) in the music department- an article about his work (in Korean) with a picture of him).
My mom suggested that we both go to LAX in separate cars, so I can just go straight to work from the airport. I agreed ... a little hesitantly ... because his flight was scheduled to land at 7:30 a.m. I am not a morning person at all, and the prospect of waking up at 6:00 was dreadful. But I haven't seen my uncle in years (15 years!) so I agreed to leave the house at that ungodly hour and sit in traffic.
The traffic was seriously terrible. There's no traffic like L.A. traffic. It's maybe 25 miles from my house to the airport, which means, logically, that it should not take an entire hour to get there. Something that did make me laugh is the fact that my mom and I drive the exact same car (hers is 2004, mine is 2005) in the same exact color. We were a duo of white Saturn Vues chugging along on the freeway (105, I hate you).
While sitting in mind-melting traffic, I took this picture:
The clouds were so odd. Whenever I see things like that in nature, it occurs to me that if we (as an industry) created VFX images that looked exactly like this, people would think it was totally fake.
Nature creates pictures that look much faker than we do.
A picture right as I was taking the Sepulveda exit off the 105, with the giant L A X. I don't understand the point of the metal letters ... don't we all know we're at LAX?
(By the way, why do Blackberry phones take such dim photos? This is my second Blackberry, and they have not fixed the strange lighting issue. The photos taken at night with the flash are actually better than daytime photos. Odd.)
It was great to see my uncle. We had coffee (Americano for the siblings, cafe latte for me) and chatted. I have to admit, it's awkward to see family that you haven't seen in forever. I love my uncle, really, but I don't know him anymore. I imagine this is the feeling I'll have at my high school reunion, where I recognize people but I won't really know anything about them anymore (reunion is next year. Where does the time go??).
With a little trepidation and a lot of excitement, I anticipate the coming month, living with an uncle I haven't seen in 15 years.
Monday, January 19, 2009
To be completely honest, there is a lot of strong emotion, a lot of love and hate between Koreans and African-Americans. (Is this just an
The hate exists for reasons I am uncomfortable discussing. The main point being that Koreans believe African-Americans are dangerous and rude. I have met WAY more rude Korean-Americans than African-Americans, so I don't know what's up with that stereotype. I don't know how the vice-versa goes; are Korean-Americans considered rude or dangerous by African-Americans?
It's a completely baffling situation, because I feel like fellow immigrants need to support each other. Why are we taking different sides? Why are we fighting each other? Ben Franklin once said, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
It's true. Too much wasted energy has been spent on little quarrels, scuffles that only hurt our two demographics.
I guess I write about all this because I'm not entirely confident how Korean-Americans feel about Martin Luther King, Jr.
All I know is how I feel about him, about the movement, about everything he did.
There have been a lot of articles, books, poems, even songs written about Martin Luther King, Jr. I think most people have read/heard at least a few. I'm not going to tread over ground that's already been (amply) covered.
He was a great man that changed American history. I know I'm not black, but I would have a very different life had it not been for this one black man that helped steer a nation away from racial inequality. I am grateful for that, for everything he did. He might not have realized at the time how much of an impact he was going to make on other minorities, but he is a big reason that it was even possible for my family to immigrate here.
I am so sorry for his untimely death and the suffering that his family must have gone through. For a wife to know that her husband is constantly in harm's way for the good of others, for children that don't understand why their father is in jail when he didn't do anything wrong ... these are heartbreaking events that shouldn't be experienced by people that are on the right side of justice. Maybe not on the right side of the law, but definitely on the right side of justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968
One of the most moving letters ever written (in my opinion) is one that Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote while he was in jail in Alabama. He had read a public statement that was written by eight white Alabamian clergymen and his letter was a response to it. Here's that statement from those eight men:
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Not an easy read, by any means, but moving and true.
What really dumbfounds me is the fact that both sides of this- the white clergymen and the jailed black man- were Christians. They professed to be believers of the same God and they read the same Bible. How, then, could their world views have been so astonishingly different?
I hope that this day and its importance is really felt, not only in the U.S. but anywhere there is any form of inequality. That is to say, everywhere.