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January 2006

days go by

January 31, 2006   

Saturday was another trip to Vik’s Chaat. We went w/ Alan and Becky, and damn but the mango lassis we had were great! Yum. I can taste it now.

Sunday, we met with a wonderful woman who will be our officiant for our wedding. We spoke to her for something like 1.5 hrs and had a great impression of her and her style. Mainly, she seemed interested in getting to know “our story” so that she can convey correctly what we want to. Fingers crossed for great final results! 😀 Seppo had a pork burger and I had some fries at a Hawaiian burger place while we talked. It was delicious.

Sunday, Monday, and today are the three days of New Year’s! Lunar new year, that is. I think Monday is the “actual” day, but maybe it was Sunday. I don’t know. As tradition dictates, I made a rice cake soup (full ingredient list: sliced rice cake, sliced brisket, a can of low sodium beef broth, one egg, three scallions, some water, some salt and pepper) for “breakfast” (ok, lunch) on Sunday.

We’ll be finished with the invitations this week. For real. And we’ll send them out at the end of the week or early next week. There, now I’ve said it and we’ll have to stand by it now. 😀

Coretta Scott King died early this morning. It’s a sad day indeed. She will live in history as a passionate activist who worked tirelessly and serves as such an example to those who carry on. Rest in peace, Mrs. King.

Another food-tastic day

January 27, 2006   

We got back not too long ago from a tasting at the hotel where we are having the reception. Man, the chef is awesome! Just about everything we had was fantastic: perfectly seasoned and cooked, interesting combinations of flavors, and great visual presentation. The vegetarian option, in particular, was really freaking great, partly because a lot of places sort of don’t put their best into a vegetarian meal, so this was extra impressive.

Seppo’s mom had a chance to look around the venue and get ideas for decoration options. She came up with a great idea for the table decorations, which I really liked, and is tossing around lots of ideas for what to do with the rest.

By sheer coincidence, the cake matches our invitations, which sort of (not reeeeeallly) match the bridesmaids’ dress colors. We didn’t plan it that way, but I guess we are naturally drawn to certain colors.

Tonight, we are hitting Angelfish again for Seppo’s mom’s monthly “thanks for dogsitting” dinner. 🙂

The Agony of Being an Honest Person

January 26, 2006   

So. This is weird.

I logged on to my bank account as I do every day or so. My eyes nearly popped out. My savings account was higher by a big amount, more than doubling my account total. (Because we’ve been saving for the wedding for about a year now, there is a significant chunk of cash in there right now.) I looked at the transactions, and it said that there was a deposit yesterday. Looking at the detail screen did not reveal anything. No details, no info about whether it was an ATM deposit or a bank teller deposit or whatever.

Now, this looks like a landfall windfall (woops!). However, if someone is making deposits to my account, someone might be making withdrawals, and I don’t like this. Also, if it’s someone I know, I want to thank them.

So I called my bank. For the first several minutes, they had no idea how to track this transaction. But it looked like it came from some sort of “internal transaction” which means that money was moved around from one account to another rather than cash being deposited. After some searching, they were able to give me the name and number of a person; this was the person who made the transaction, although it is not clear if this is a bank teller or an individual. I am thinking someone miswrote a digit or two of the receiving account, and I am the beneficiary. The bank customer service agent said to me, “Well, congratulations. It seems like you have some extra money.”

So, I struggled internally for about 2 nanoseconds before I called the number. I knew I would call, as much as I wish I could live with myself if I didn’t. To my mixed feelings, I got voicemail. I left a message about the transaction, not detailing the amount or any info that might let them scam me. I hope they call me back. But what happens if they don’t?


RIP: Chris Penn

January 25, 2006   

Chris Penn died. Apparently of natural causes. Man. :-/ It’s not really relevant, but I really liked him as an actor. Rest in peace, Mr. Penn.


January 25, 2006   

It appears that they are going to make a movie adaptation of Hairspray, the musical. Wtf? Until most of the way through the page, you’d think that the original John Waters movie did not exist.


I am not sure if I will enjoy the remake. I already love the original so much.

more of the same

January 25, 2006   

If you liked random thoughts, you’ll love more random thoughts!

I love reading about being a waiter. Today, I read about a food critic who went undercover as a waiter for a week. It sounds like he has a little more empathy for the servers now.

I hate hate hate cheap tippers. I hate dining with cheap tippers, the ones who try to take back a few dollars if we are over 15% or think that 10% is the norm or think that a tip is optional. It wasn’t optional for them to take my order and bring me my food, so why is the tip optional? Anyway, I don’t think I dine with anyone like this anymore. I am a good tipper (my baseline is fairly high and I tip on the post-tax total), but if we got freebies or if they made substitutions for us or some other sort of special service (anything that is not the default is special service), then I try to tip even more, to account for the extra time and/or hassle (like dealing with chef who gets mad at the server for a substitution request I made or the time taken to split a check or to slice and add an extra wedge of lime when there are other tables to serve). Usually, it’s just a matter of a buck or two or three to bring up the percentage to something they will appreciate. And the server usually had been fetching and carrying for me for a full 1.5 hours or so by then. And I make how much per hour versus what they make? It would be different if I were pinching and scraping by. But I’m not. And my best friend is a server at a fancy restaurant, so I know it can be rough on them.

And I hate it when people treat servers like servants — not that I would treat a servant badly either. Eating at a restaurant doesn’t mean you’ll be waited on hand and foot. It really doesn’t. When I go to work, I interact with people who often require some output or a service from me. If any of them talked to me like I was their servant, I would punch them and quit. Yet waitstaff is talked down to and sneered at day in and day out. And many diners believe this is normal.

The flip side of that, of course, is to not treat me as though I were some pariah or you wish I were dead.

Anyway, end of rant.

I have mentioned this before, but I love the post office near my work. I just applied for a replacement for a lost passport, and the entire process took only 3 minutes. They are so well-organized there. I hope they get some sort of recognition for a well-run post office.

I am gonna stay away from American Idol until the semi-finals this year. I even missed the premier, which is quite a departure from my normally obsessed self. The semi-finals when they finish with the crappy singers and get to something interesting. I vaguely thought about stopping watching it entirely, but the draw of hearing someone like Paris Bennett for the firsh time is too big. Her audition was so stunning, so beautiful, especially when she broke out into Billie Holiday’s “Take Five”, I felt like I wanted to cry. Her voice was so rich and full. Man. Naysayers, please listen to her audition before commenting. 😀 Anyway, instead of watching the show during the auditions, I think I will just watch the best auditions on The TiVo helps though. I watched a 2-hour episode in something like 30 minutes last night.

random thoughts

January 25, 2006   

I started to blog about the everyday advantage of not being ugly, but it sounded really weird and I couldn’t adequately convey my feelings of how unfair it is to be jugded so harshly (in the case of being homely) on something you have no control over. So I dumped it.

Man, I love prosciutto. And boy, I love having a pepper grinder at work.

Having a little space heater under my desk is wonderful (keeps me warm) but horrible (I hate the idea of having a heater in a building that overcools). Such waste! 🙁 I do throw on my jacket or sweatshirt to try to keep the heater off, but it is just too cold in my office.

Seppo and I are going to go for a tasting at the wedding/reception venue this Friday with Seppo’s mom. I hope the stuff is good.

On Monday, we bought Mobi a dog bed, as Seppo mentioned. It’s been wonderful. The last two nights of sleep have been so wonderful. I have woken up feeling refreshed and rested. I even felt the slightest bit chipper this morning, and, as I am not a morning person, this was a rare event indeed. Yay!

I made a breakthrough on a problem I’m working on at my job. Yay!

Yesterday was supposedly the most depressing day of the year. At least, if you live in Britain and you are not suffering from some other depression already. Or something vague like that. I like how they posted a formula, like that will validate it once and for all. Heh.

I have to start thinking about a birthday gift for Seppo. It seems like this year, with our wedding coming up, Valentine’s day is somewhat of a non-starter. It seems anti-climactic, frankly. Usually, it’s not a day we celebrate with any gusto, anyway. Our anniversary, which is in early March, usually takes higher precedence. 🙂

My high school friends from Philly are all ditching their husbands/S.O.s/babies to come visit for our wedding! Woo hoo! I hope I get to hang out with them. I’ve missed those girls.

ice skating madness.

January 23, 2006   

How weird. The worlds have collided. Ice skating + reality competition = Skating with Celebrities.

If Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, and Dorothy Hamill were not involved in this production, there was a slim chance I could avoid its magnetic lure. But sadly for me, they are!!!one!!!111 And I love them so. Ice skating was the one event I watched obsessively in the Olympics.

The weird thing is that this one woman from some Fox show (NFL Sunday??) is really doing well for an amateur. She even did pirouettes! Very nice, woman.

Feel better, feed face

January 23, 2006   

Last week, I managed to get over one of the worst illnesses I’d ever experienced in my largely healthy, hale, and robust life.

Then I proceeded to eat my way through the week.

Wednesday night, Holly, Max, Lindsi, Seppo, and I met up at Henry’s Hunan, where we had pretty standard midweek Chinese fare accompanied by kick-ass company (along with a waiter who was clearly psychic). Seppo and I were still getting over the end of our bouts with the flu, but it was a good time.

Saturday, we started off the day with Vik’s Chaat Corner, followed by a dinner with a bunch of peeps at Rubicon (Seppo’s review). It was nice to be dressed up for a change. The food was fantastic, although the people who interacted with the server more on the other side of the table said that they were getting a weird vibe from her. Max brought us our printed invitations. They are really beautiful! Woo! Afterwards, we convened at Holly’s for a little hanging out, punctuated with rounds of Katamari Damacy, a truly bizarre game. “I can feel the cosmos!” Indeed.

Sunday started out late for me (Seppo, as usual, was up hours before me) but Alex and Tracy brought Mobi’s new favorite friend Maddie over for a couple of hours of hanging out. We let them play out in the backyard. It is sad how desperate both Alex & Tracy and Seppo & I are to have our dogs tire themselves out playing. Maddie is a very sweet black lab, and she easily dominates Mobi, but he’s more motivated to challenge her constantly. Mobi has a thing for dominant females. Hee hee.

We then got dressed up nicely again to pick up Seppo’s mother for a dinner at La Suite (Seppo’s review). We planned too aggressively and ended up in the city a full 40 minutes early, so we headed over to Max’s house to drop off one of my older unlocked GSM phones (and charger) for his trip to London.

We then stopped by a little store that sold various expensive, useless, but cute goodies, where Seppo’s mom purchased a couple of candlesticks.

We got back home early enough after dinner (this is what happens when your reservations are for 5:30pm) to start assembling some of the invitations, as well as try to print out the response cards and make the map & directions card. That part was harder than I thought. But I’m sure we’ll get this to work.

The end!

Movie Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

January 17, 2006   

I watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on Saturday, while huddled under a blanket.

I am a bit torn on the overall review, so perhaps I will list its pros and cons.


  • Dealt with real-world problems (illness, divorce, sex, anger) without presenting simplistic, watered-down solutions, which is very rare for a teen movie.
  • Dealt with the kind of friendships I remember from high school: deep, abiding, accepting — in contrast to many movies where girls are pitted as competition, which is far removed from my own sphere of experience.
  • Was not about boys or hating parents.
  • Did a really good job of “showing, not telling”.
  • Good acting by most of the cast. (One girl was from Real Women Have Curves, another starred in Joan of Arcadia, and another was in Sin City and starred in The Gilmore Girls. The fourth seems to be a newcomer, but held her own.)


  • After doing a good job of “showing”, the movie insisted on explicitly “telling” as well, sometimes to an excruciating degree. [See below for housemates’ input after I told them how I felt about this over-explanation.]
  • Like many movies before it, it seems to believe all “ethnic” people have more fun [read: dance a lot]. Sigh. Don’t ask me; ask Dirty Dancing.
  • The premise of the pants was… weird.

I think overall that it had a lot more pros than cons. I think a big problem for me is that whenever I watch a movie like this, I am secretly (or not so secretly) looking for the female Stand By Me — a movie that will last through the decades as a story of childhood bonds — but they never quite hit it. I did enjoy watching it a lot. I don’t know if it was the sickness, but I cried like three times throughout the movie. Some scenes were genuinely wrenching and the acting was entirely transparent.

I’ll give it a 3.75 out of 5.

It’s like the Bladerunner movie.
— Seppo

So it needs the Bladerunner treatment?
— Colin