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In exactly three weeks I'll be in Minnesota!

Pearl: clear your schedule for Weds (the 22nd) afternoon.
IT was a good weekend over here in the bay area. It was hot by Bay Area standards, but the rest of the US looks at us and goes "Oh REALLY? you want HOT!?!?" The sun was shining and the Marin Headlands were covered in yellow smog. I've gotten pretty good at judging the air quality by how far out to the bay I can see from my house. When even Angel Island is obstructed I know it's going to be a spare the air day.

Friday night after work I headed over to meet Jonathan at Anchor and Hope. We had our usual calamari and this time tried the salmon gravlax which was divine. I love stopping by Anchor on Friday nights, I really do. As much as I love Salty, Anchor is just a wonderful place to have a drink and some grub before we head out to see a movie. It's just relaxed and fun and for all you beer drinkers out there: starting July 8th they are going to have about A BILLION beers on tap and by the bottle.

After light meal we met Ben over at the Metreon to see Transformers. It was alright - nothing spectacular but big ass robots beating each other up and a plot line that was vague BUT WOULD NOT END. The annoying robot twins were annoying but Bumblebee was the best (same with the 1st movie).

Saturday I got Jonathan and early birthday gift of a GPS unit and we went down to Campbell to see David and Diana and Ben. We had a nice BBQ, enjoyed the weather, talked with good people, and got home at 1am.

At around 7:30 sunday morning I was debating on canceling out on Pride, but I knew Kevin would kill me and then piss on my dead body if I didn't go. We went, we had a great time, did NOT get sunburned, and Jonathan and I went to see THe Hangover after the parade. THe movie was okay, it was pretty funny and the photos at the end were pretty bad. I think if I had seen it right away I might have been more impressed, but I thought it was going to be a lot worse than what it actually was. So kind of a let down, maybe? I don't think it lived up to all its hype.

This week is going to be sloooooooow here in the city. Friday night, though, we're headed up to Davis for the 4th. Bike races, ice cream cranking, bbq, fireworks, hopefully folks from back home will stop by.
Over Two Hundred Totally Gay Pictures!
So I ended up flying over my handle bars and skidding on the asphalt today.

For the past few months I've been walking to and from Bart every day. Starting yesterday, I've been taking my bike. Even though it's the same path, when you bike it becomes different. You notice different things and what was a simple bend in the road becomes a hazard. Also - there's a very slight incline in the road. Going to Bart it's up hill, and enough to wind my poor, out of shape body. Coming home, it's down hill, and enough to turn me into a rampaging speed demon. These two things combined plus getting used to it all made for an interesting encounter today.

On my way home, not too far from the Bart station, I crossed the road going a bit too fast. There was a slight bend and the road was concealed by a bush. Behind that bush was a guy and we saw each other at the same time - too late, though, for me to slow down adequately. He jumped, I over corrected, slammed the handle bar into my right thigh, flew over the bike and skidded on the bike path. The guy was super nice and made sure I was okay and that my bike was fine, and a nice lady stopped to make sure I was okay too. I was just really apologetic because I know I was going too fast.

So I'm fine - got a bandaid on my palm and I can feel a nasty bruise growing on my thigh. I learned that I need to manage my speed better, especially when I can't see what's ahead of me. I'm VERY glad I didn't hit the pedestrian, and thankful he was so nice.

But - as my dad says - everybody falls. I'll be on the road tomorrow morning. This time, though, with my bike gloves on my hands!
Yesterday was one of those wonderful days filled with normalcy that probably would drive some of my friends absolutely nuts but made me stupidly happy. Perhaps this post is gratuitous in nature but after seeing Up last weekend and remembering what my mom told me, I'm trying to be better at writing things down. Mom told me that it's good to start now because years and years from now, Jonathan and I will be racking our brains, trying to remember when and where things happened. Even though yesterday wasn't important and nothing out of the ordinary happened, I think it's good to remember wonderful days.

We woke up late. And by late I mean 9:30. I decided to sleep in instead of going to Yoga, only because I haven't had a sleep in day for about two weeks. We took our time getting out of bed, mainly because we ended up having a huge tickle fight, complete with threats of being pushed off the bed and elbows in delicate areas (accidental! accidental!). We took our time getting dressed and checking our respective message boards and what not. By 11am we were ready to leave the house and go down to the farmers market.

If you travel north on San Pablo Ave, you excite Albany and enter El Cerrito. There's a big plaza there with a Trader Joes, PetCo, Joanne's, Lucky's, and a plethora of other shops. On Saturday they have a small but well stocked Farmers Market. Jonathan and I made our first look, then walked again. We bough beets, carrots, spinach, zucchini, plums, peaches (yellow and white), some amazing Indian food (mint salsa, okra, stuffed flat bread), a packet of fresh garlic fettucini, and a half pound of fresh prawns. We went to TJ's and picked up some flower, some cream, some eggs. I went to Luckys while Jonathan stood in line to pay and bought yeast, sugar, bread crumbs, and found a chocolate beverage we drank in Malaysia called "Milo."

Back at home with the grocs put away, Jonathan started his bread experiment. I shouted encouragements while I played Plants vs Zombies (curse you, popcap games! CUUUUUUURSE YOOOOOOU!). Jonathan created a very dense but very tasty loaf of whole wheat bread. He then started to make a kind of focaccia with herbs and cheese. While that was in the oven, I started to make our shrimp fettucini alfredo from scratch. It turned out well, but I put in too much parmesan. NExt time, next time.

Late at night we went down to the California in Berkeley - an old movie house that was once a grand vaudville theater. If I remember right, in the 20s they cut off the balcony to make two screens and in the 70s cut that into two more. We saw The Brothers Bloom and loved it all. I think it's what a Wes Anderson movie should have been but never got to be because Wes Anderson became too full of himself.

We came home, we fiddled on the internet, we went to bed. It was just a regular day but somehow, for some reason, as I walked through the farmers market, as we brainstormed what we could make from the things we found, I found myself being stupidly in love with JOnathan. It hit me like a flaming bag of bricks and made me euphoric and giddy.

So there - now I can remember yesterday, where we were, what we saw, what we did. Hopefully I'll remember how it made me feel, even though it wasn't adventerous and we didn't go far and we didn't meet anybody. It was just a beautiful summer day in the east bay and nothing happened.
Two years ago today (My mom's birthday and cinco de mayo), Kevin and I moved into our first apartment in San Francisco. We lived in Park Merced, neighbors to SFSU, situated in one of the most boring parts of town. Erik and Sara helped drive the truck down from Davis where Cousin David and Friend David helped us lug everything through the basement and up the one working elevator to the 6th floor. Our picture window in the living room overlooked the parking garage and the intersection of 19th and Junipero Serra. We could, and did many times, watch the fog roll in through the trees and down into the meager courtyard.

Park Merced was a different place. The tower was 12 floors and a mix of families, Russian immigrants, and students. Someone on one of the floors above us would constantly through things out of their windows down to the yard below. We found eggs, melons, candles and other small ballistics scattered on the pavement. Next door to use was an amazingly convenient and horribly over priced grocery store with a deli and vegetables of iffy quality. They sold beer and wine and kinder eggs. Somewhere I think we still have our collection of toys from those damn eggs.

Down and across the street from us, somewhere on the M line, was Diala Pizza. Kevin and I basically put their kids through college. It was a rare week that passed when we didn't order pizza from them at least once. It got to the point where, when walking home one night, the pizza delivery guy was driving out of Park Merced, saw me and waved. Kevin said he's had the same experience. More than anything, I miss that pizza.

Park Merced was a pretty good place to spend our first year an a half, even though we didn't get the typical san francisco life. It was far away from everything, even with the M Line right next to us. There were ferrel kittens running over the place. The fire alarms went off all the time. Two poor girls got stuck in the elevator on our floor during a black out and we talked to them from the hallway to keep them calm until the firemen came to get them out (they never did send us the fruitbasket they said they would!). There were the pot dealers who lived next to us, the band who loved above us, and about the four other people who we always saw either going or coming.

Albany has been a good move, but there are times where I miss our kitchen, our living room with the hardwood floors that were never sealed, the laundry room with six washers and driers, of which four usually only worked.

Here's to us Kevin - two years and we haven't succeeded in killing each other!
My friend Carolyn (chaos_ensues) is currently spending a semester abroad in Wales. She asked me if there was anything I wanted and I asked her for Dr Who Cookie Kit that I saw online a while ago.

Sure enough, in the mail today, I GOT THEM!!!

Carolyn, you SO ROCK!!

And I totally know what I'm doing this weekend. Pictures will follow.
I got off work early on Friday and headed back to the east bay where Jonathan picked me up at the bart station. We went home where we proceeded to get into a tickle fight. It was as if we were ten years old - I still have rug burn on my elbow. Winded from wrestling and laughing too hard, we found movie listings and headed over to Shattuck Theaters for a 5:45 showing of Crank 2.

Shattuck Theaters has two of theaters sponsored by the lovesac. The normal seats were all replaced with giant love seat couches with beanbags up at the very front. I was able to cuddle right up to Jonathan as we watched the most ridiculous action movie ever. Neither of us had seen the first Crank, but it didn't really matter all that much. It was exactly what the trailers made it out to be, mindless action.

Afterwards we went to dinner at the thai place right behind our apartment. Food was good and spicy. We picked up a copy of the first Crank and watched it at home. I think I liked the 2nd one better, but that's just me.

On Saturday I hoofed it over to the bart station to make it to work by 10. About a month and a half ago I started walking to the Bart station instead of just taking the bus to work. It costs the same amount but I get a good 30 minute walk and I usually do it again in the evenings. Work was slow but I had my crosswords so that kept me busy. I walked home and waited with Jonathan and Kevin for people to show up for movie night. We watched Starship Troopers and The Warriors. A fantastic mix aided by the 40s that most people were drinking. Jonathan fell asleep with his shoes on and Kevin handed me a sharpie. Perhaps that wasn't the wisest thing to do but eh, Jonathan laughed the next morning.

Sunday was a lazy lazy day. Jeff spent the night on our couch so I awoke to him, Kevin, and Jonathan watching King Corn in our living room. I took my weekly pictures of our garden and you can see the full set over here.
Here's my favorite shot:

So yeah, good weekend was had. Nice date night on Friday, great time with friends on Saturday, chill day with the roommates on Sunday. Now it's back in the grind at work.
1) Enrolled in Berkeley City College
2) Bought a fan for our living room and a food processor for the kitchen
3) Sweltered
4) Made enough meals for about a week and a half, now all sitting in the fridge
5) Cleaned out my bento boxes
6) Sweltered some more
7) Laundry
Two Dozen More Bodies Found in Lake Wobegon
There's something awesome about trying a new recipe and having it be a big success instead of a horrible flop. Last night was awesome - I made my first ever frittata and it was OMG TASTY NOMS. Here's what I did:

1/2 Tbs smart balance spread
1 Tbs McCormick Roasted Garlic blend
1 cup chopped red/green peppers
1/2 cup diced onion
2oz diced canadian bacon
1/4 cup Kraft 2% shredded cheese, mexican blend
1 cup Egg Beaters

Set oven to 350°

In a small skillet sprayed with pam, melt the smart balance and sauté the veggies until nice and soft. Add the canadian bacon and let it just cook for a little bit. Spread them out even over the bottom of the pan.

In a bowl, mix the cheese with the egg beaters. Pour this over the veggies and put in the oven for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn on your broiler and leave for 5 more minutes or until the top is golden, crispy and fluffy. Take pan out of oven, let cool for a bit. THEN EAT THE TASTY NOMS!

I use egg beaters because it's more diet friendly (same with the 2% cheese), but real eggs and real cheese I'm sure would be just fine.

Total time: Maybe 20 minutes?
It's been a little over two weeks AND WE HAVEN'T KILLED A PLANT!!

The Aerogarden in our kitchen is doing quiet well. Basil was the first to sprout and it's looking quite impressive. The dill, which was the last to sprout (so late that we thought it wasn't going to) is shooting up quite nicely, followed by the chives. The thyme is also doing well, and our little mint and oregano are puttering along like the cute little green troopers that they are. Hopefully in a few more weeks we'll be able to start harvesting and using the fresh herbs in our cooking. Mmmmm....fresh herbs...

Out on our 5x5 balcony, things are also pretty green! The two out of the three strawberry trios are blooming but all of them are green and healthy. The pepper plant hasn't grown too much, but it's a beautiful green and some buds are starting to form. The tomatoes have grown quite a bit, but I fear that I might not be watering them enough - few of the leaves are turning brown and curling. However, it too is showing signs of blossoms!

The most exciting, though, are the beans (yes, I'm excited about beans)! We planted a box of pole beans from seeds, not from sprouts. They started to push through late last week, quelling my fears that we had somehow screwed up and were doomed to an empty box of dirt with a lattice on the side. However, they seem to be doing really well. Of course, not all the seeds did take root, but we have about six little seedlings popping up and leafing out. It's pretty darn cool if you ask me. This whole process is pretty darn cool.

Hopefully by summer we'll have fresh tomatoes, peppers, and pole beans to make some healthy and delicious summer dishes. We probably won't get too many strawberries, but I'm sure the ones we'll have will be delicious. We're lucky that we have such a great place to grow them, but I am itching to get my hands on a real back yard. Jonathan and I have been talking about aquaponics and it would be such a fun experiment to try to run. Imagine - growing enough food for a whole household in your backyard! Ah well, in time in time...

But as for now, I'm pretty darn happy with my leafy greens coming out of the ground with little to no work. It basically took about a Sunday afternoon to buy and prep everything and now we're just in charge of watering and an occasional fertilizing.
Last night, while cleaning the bathroom, I started singing...
"oooEEEEooo....Killer Tofu....oooEEEoooo....Killer TOFUUUUUUUUU!"

And from the bedroom I hear Jonathan call out "Why are you singing The Beets?"

Yep folks - he's a keeper.

PS - a series collection of Doug is something I would totally own on DVD
Cut for those who fear even the slightest of spoilers.Collapse )
My brother feels pressured to see the Watchmen movie against his will, feels his Geek Card will be removed if he doesn't go see it.

I don't really care if my brother likes Watchmen or not. It doesn't really change anything about how I think about him. I would imagine that there are a few people who are geeks and would go "Eh" at Watchmen. I mean, I'm an English Major and I go "Eh" at Catcher in the Rye. I can appreciate it for what it is but I still don't think it's awesome. I wouldn't even go see a movie of it. It doesn't pique my interest much like I'm sure Watchmen doesn't pique my brother's.

So friendly readers I ask you: What's your secret sin? What do you feel pressured to like or have been pressured to read/watch when in truth you really just didn't care?

Follow up question: Geek Cred - something serious or something not real at all and shouldn't be taken seriously. Should we care about what other Geeks think about other Geeks? I'm a geek but I'm not into Neal Stephenson, would I get demerits if I didn't see Snowcrash if it were made into a movie? If someone wasn't into Graphic Novels but into Star Trek does that make them any less of a person?

I'm just curious
Go see Outlander.

Well, go see Outlander if you can find a theater that's showing it, that is.

What's Outlander? you ask me. I know how you feel - I didn't know anything about it either until my friend Jimmy told me that it was basically Beowulf if Beowulf was a spaceman who landed in a Viking village and Grendle was an alien monster.

This is what happens: A spaceman crash lands outside a viking village, but he brings with him an alien who's on a murderous rampage fueled by revenge. A nearby fishing village is destroyed and the vikings think the spaceman did it, when really it was the alien. There's a lot of fighting.
    Highlights of the movie include:
  • Ron Perlman as a Viking King

  • The spaceman is played by the guy who was Jesus in The Passion of the Christ

  • Arguably the best decapitation scene in a movie EVER

  • A female character who despite being captured and waking up on a pile of ratting corpses, DOES NOT PLAY a damsel in distress, yet also does not play a "she-woman-man-hater" either. She simply kicks ass and is a woman.

Outlander is bloody, violent, and absolutely ridiculous yet highly entertaining for because of that. It is amazingly fun in the same way that Rambo 4 was simply fantastic. It is what entertaining movies should be: fun, exciting, action, love, adventure, drama. It's not self aware, it's not trying for an award, it's not dumb and it doesn't perceive the audience as dumb either. It's just fun. Not bad, just fun.
On the plane to and from Malaysia, one of the movies we got was Eagle Eye. I never saw it in theaters so I figured a 13 hour flight was a good opportunity to watch it. But this post really isn't about Eagle Eye, well, it is. Kind of. In a way.

I'm sort of obsessed with IMDB. IT's actually my home page when I open my web browser and has been since college. Any time I watch a movie I end up going on there, just to see if there's stuff I'm missing.

In the trivia section for Eagle Eye it states that "during filming an F.B.I. Agent told him (Shia LaBeouf) and the cast that 1 in every 5 phone calls someone makes is recorded. To prove this, the agent had him (LaBeouf) listen to a phone call he made 2 years prior to filming."

If this is true (and who knows, it could be) I think every call I make on my cell phone I'm going to say sometime during it "I know you're listening and you can get the fuck off of my line" or try to make some crack about their mother or lack thereof. Nothing along the lines of terrorism or any shit (I just want to piss em off, not get arrested). But I mean, you never know. Or maybe I could pause and ask the guy how his day is going.

If you knew that your own line was basically being tapped (as apparently all cell phones are) what would you say?
But I am sooooo ready to come home.
My time in Malaysia has been a lot of fun so far, despite having a bout of severe indigestion yesterday. Barb said she felt horrible because they always tell foreigners to go easy on the local food until they have been here long enough. Instead, I ate too much and suffered the consequences yesterday. As a result, I did absolutely nothing but sleep and try to hold down water and crackers.

Today, however, we did get to go up to Batu Ferringhi. I suppose should clarify some things first, because I know I haven't been too clear about where we're staying and where we have been:

Penang is an island state off the west coast of Malaysia as well as a little slice of the peninsula. Jonathan's parents live in the city of George Town, which is the capital. George Town is located in the north east corner of the island. Batu Ferringhi is on the northern tip of the island. THere are many resorts located there, as well as a batik factory, which is why we drove up the winding highway today (and the road IS winding - think hwy 101 ON CRACK).

THe factory is a small area with open walls and a light roof. Inside, a nice woman showed us the different ways that they create the patterns. The first we saw was block printing, in which they dip a wooden stamp in the wax before printing it on the cloth. They also do hand printing as well. Next she showed us where the women were hand painting the cloth with the dye. After they were finished, they will boil the cloth to remove the wax. They had a show room with a gift store and some wonderful things to buy.

Oh - a note about the cultures here in Penang: earlier I said how wonderful it was to see how well the different religions and cultures get along, but aparently that's just on the surface. Here, they are very good about being polite in public, but according to Jonathan's dad, once you live here for a while you find out that the different groups are not as happy as they seem. I guess that's kind of like in America, only people are more polite outside.

We also went to the mall today so Barb could get her hair cut and so we could pick up some groceries. WHen we first came, the mall was covered in christmas decorations and the muzack piped in was very tinney christmas carols. Now they have taken all of those down and replaced them with chinese new year decorations. Everywhere you go stores are selling big baskets fulls of red envelopes and candies. Christmas here is just a commercial holiday, but you can tell that they are REALLY excited for CNY.
I know, I know - I'm not updating nearly enough. On the plus side, I have set up a flickr account, and you can see all my photos here. I'm doing my best to write some descriptions of what's going on. PLEASE FORGIVE MY BAD SPELLING! THe computer I'm borrowing doesn't have automatic spell check and you all know how much I need that to survive. I PROMISE I'll fix that when I'm back home at my own computer.

The trip in short:
Hong Kong was awesome. The airport express makes BART turn over and whimper in submission. Best part of the train? It does not smell like urine. We got there very early, like 8am on Saturday, so a lot of the shops weren't open. We did fint Cat Street and there were a few antique shops of antiquity unknown open. Jonathan got a few pocket watches and I got a chairman Mao watch with the serial number of 666. BEST. PURCHASE. EVAH! Air quality in Hong Kong is horrible, but it was such a wonderful way to break up our flight. Despite the water I drank, my lower legs swelled up like massive water balloons. NOT FUN.

Malaysia itself is pretty awesome. IT's the "winter" time here so that means it's pretty "cool." And by cool I mean "think the north shore of Minnesota in the middle of July." Barb and Gary have an awesome view of the ocean, and there's only a few high rise buildings near by.

Every early evening it rains here. Big, huge, storms roll in and drench Penang. THey normally only last until sunset, which is good because that's when the city really comes alive. From about 9:30 am until Dusk, nobody does much of anything because it's so hot and muggy. At night there are many food hawker stands and out door restaurants and people walk up and down the main drag by the water front.

Driving in Penang is not for the faint of heart or timid of nature. From what I understand, rules of the road are loosely followed. THe only thing that people seem to adhear to are stop signs and stop lights. Lanes, flow of traffic, pedestrians, all of that are kind of taken at will. THere are many scooters here that zip in and around and through traffic. The locals call the scooter drivers something along the lines of "the living dead" because they are just asking to get killed.

Malaysia is a Muslim Country, and all over Penang you can hear the calls to prayer five times a day. Despite the Muslim nature of the state, Penang is a pretty good mix of Indian, Chinese, Malay, and Muslims. The chinese walk around wearing as little as possible, while the Muslim women wear the full garb. IT appears that they tolerate each others' differences fairly well. Penang is also a "resort island" so they seem to tolerate white folk pretty well (the slang for us is common in Asian culture. Something that basically translates to "white devil"). Of course, they are polite and never say that to our face. I do take forgranted English, but that's about the only thing. I don't feel very "white" but maybe this is because of the high ethnic population of the Bay Area? Who knows.

So far we've been to the local wet market, the local mall, two buddhist temples (Burmese and Thai), the botanical gardens, down town Penang (there's a China Town and India town, with a cobble road seperating the two. The "old timers" WILL NOT CROSS that road). We've been having a lot of fun here. This weekend we'll go to the east coast so I will be out of internet until we return. Should be a lot of fun.

Love to all and please enjoy the photos!