3.31.2005

gym deal $8.25/mo or $14.50/mo!

Finally found a deal worth taking for a gym membership. 24 hour fitness was my old gym but it was DIRTY, overpriced, crowded and some of the aerobics instructors were horrible. Went to Gold's on the weekend because the radio ad claimed that they were having a deal - $29/mo, no enrollment fee. Sounds good. Went in there, the REAL deal is $29 a month for 1st 3 months, $49/mo thereafter, PLUS $49 processing fee. Thanks but no thanks. It was also packed on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I couldn't imagine how many are in there on evenings. Got a direct mail from Foster City Athletic club, $98 per year. I'm thinking this must be bullshit. So I called. The catch is you can't come in Mon/Tues (the busiest days) and you have to buy 2 years in advance (not uncommon).

But c'mon, this works out to $8.25 a month. No extra hidden fees. That's less than a 1-day drop in at the Y or Jewish Community Center. So I went in today to check out the facilities and signed up Simon for the 5 day (no Mon Tues) $98/year deal and got myself the 7 day for $173/year which works out to be $14.50 per month and again no fees, that was the actual cost. So I'm happy. They have pilates, yoga, karate and even samurai classes. They have an aerobics studio, racquetball, basketball, spinning, jacuzzi, sauna and all the regular gym stuff and unlike 24, they have someone cleaning for 3 hours every night plus a fulltime person just for cleaning. They even have lotions and cotton balls and stuff in the locker room. Oh and the average number of people per class is 15. Hooray for not packing up the studio like sardines. Those of you in south bay, they have a sister club in Mountain View, but don't all of you sign up at once or it'll get all busy and I won't like it.

3.30.2005

more library drama

Simon moved his stop-and-start blog again. Now it's here http://simonma168.blogspot.com/

So I spent 3 hours in the library today somehow. The one at school this time. I decided it was time to watch a couple old but well known indie docs on Asian American women in the media - Slaying the Dragon by Deborah Gee and Picturing Oriental Girls by Valerie Soe. Did you know the song "I love being a girl" was sung by Nancy Kwan in Flower Drum Song (the first full length film with an all Asian American cast)? Yeah the same one that that god-awful Sarah Jessica Parker sings in the Gap commercial. Anyways, I was sitting there in the Media Access Center watching my films with my headset on when I heard some old lady in a nearby booth exclaim, "did you hear him? He called me a bitch for asking him to be quiet!". Unfortunately we're all sitting in little study carrels so I couldn't just stand up to see what all the racket was all about. I was just writhing with curiosity but poking my head up would totally get me busted for being nosy so I put my headset back on and kept watching my films. I heard the lady get up and leave. A few minutes later some asshole gets on his cell phone and has a loud conversation. Let's keep in mind we're in a fucking library. You know the place where people are quietly reading. I guess I know who the old lady was talking about. My film was almost finished and I wasn't in the mood to throw any shit at the fan today so I just packed up and left. Besides, yelling at someone to create drama is only fun when you have a supportive audience and you don't become equally as disruptive and rude as the person you hope to yell at.

3.29.2005

Red Rose

Red Rose Tea is a Canadian tea I used to buy at Albertson's here but it's not there anymore and I can't find it anywhere, not Safeway, not Ranch 99, not Longs Drugs. I started my day with this stuff for 15 years. The only reasonably priced alternative is Lipton but it just doesn't measure up. It's light and flavorless. Has anyone seen this stuff anywhere? I've gone about 3 months without it, started drinking coffee and those instant Chinese milk teas more but I can't stand to do this much longer.

3.25.2005

why I'm here etc.

This is in answer to Syndromes's question about why I'm here since Canada sounds really cool, which it is.

- came down here during the .com boom to get rich and advance my career (I did not get rich, but I did further my experience by leaps and bounds but in a career I ultimately abandoned last year)
- thought it would be enriching to get a higher education in a different country and since I study media and western media are largely produced here, it seemed logical to study closer to the source
- I hate extreme weather. I am a weather wimp. All it does is rain in Vancouver and I hate it more than words can describe. Shoveling snow out of driveways also sucks balls. SF peninsula weather cannot be beat and it makes me very happy
- I get bored easily and Vancouver just did not provide the stimulation I needed. Whether it be nightlife, arts, social activism, you name it, it's bigger and more exciting here. San Franciscans have a certain energy that I love. Vancouver is more laid back and smaller in population, perhaps too much so for my liking.
- you can get stuff shipped from online purchases easily here. You have no idea what a pleasure that is

Now I'm going to repost something from Syndromes's blog again

Click to my comments and

A. First, recommend to me:
1. A movie:
2. A book:
3. A musical artist, song, or album:

B. Ask me three questions, no more, no less.
You may ask me anything you want, but I can decline to answer anything which makes me uncomfortable.

C. Copy and paste this in your blog.

3.24.2005

spend $$ or get fat

The more I think about it, the more I've come to realize that you can only get the good stuff in this country if you can afford it. State universities are run down, the programs are constantly being cut and the profs all complain about their pathetic wages, while private universities have gorgeous campuses, tonnes of $$ for research, and shopping areas built around them. For your basic HMO medical coverage you get idiot doctors who don't even care to know your name but if you have thousands of dollars burning a hole in your wallet you can get the country's best specialists.

My beef right now is with something much less important, or maybe not. Public recreation facilities. America has an obvious problem with obesity but you can't go anywhere to work out without paying upwards of $40 a month for a gym membership. I cancelled mine because I just don't have that money to spare even for crappy old 24 Hour Fitness. I figured maybe I'd check out the Y or go to a community center gym. Well turns out that the Y costs more than 24 Hour Fitness and there is no such thing as community center gym around here (except for the pricey and private Jewish Community Center). The public community rec centers have some meeting rooms and tennis courts but that's all. My campus gym sucks and is only available for general use certain hours on certain days.There are just no public facilities to work out in. You can really only get a free work out if you live in an apartment with a gym or work someplace with an office gym. Again, all private. You have to be privileged somehow to get access.

Back home nearly every public community rec center had a pool and a decent weight room and charged only about $2-$4 drop in fee. There were probably 5 or 6 such centers within a 10 minute drive of my home in suburbia. Here you can't even get fit unless you can front the money (or go hardcore and run outside a lot). Something is very very wrong with that.

I've checked the parks and rec sites for all the cities up and down the peninsula and found nothin. Anyone got any suggestions?

3.23.2005

Cabo - Day 4 (scroll for 1-3)

There wasn't really a day 4. Just breakfast and bus out to the airport. One of my last photos was this one of the monitor displaying departing flight times. Unfortunately, it was continuously rebooting and we had to rely on a woman speaking really broken English to announce the flights.

Cabo - Day 3 (scroll for 1-2)

Monday was beach day. We decided to walk to Medano beach along the main strip so we could hit Mi Casa Restaurant for lunch en route. The place was closed so we ate at a tiny local place called Cabo Taco instead. The walk seemed to take forever especially when the sidewalks became dusty dirt roads. But we got there in one piece. There were loads of beach chairs and umbrellas and even 3 beach police toting machine guns. That was odd. There were also vendors, some as young as about 5 years old trying to sell you everything from flutes, to silver jewellry to Chiclets.

beach police with machine guns

determined to take a dip in the water (never made it past my knees until after I was soaked from jet skiing)

We rented a jet ski for a half hour which was fun because it was my first time. We took turns driving but being a passenger scared the hell out of me. I was trying to squeeze the seat with my legs so I wouldn't go flying off and now I'm so sore I can barely walk.

After dinner at Squid Roe we headed to Gigglin Marlin to meet up for drinks with a group of Asian girls from CSU Northridge we met on the snorkeling tour. We found out they were also playing count the Asians but they were up to something like 54.

Gigglin Marlin had some audience participation show that was pretty hilarious. They had guys in a contest being the best Chippendale's dancer. This old guy did a great job. He was pretty eager to take off his clothes.

Cabo - Day 2 (scroll down for day 1)

Sunday morning we got up early to head out for our snorkeling cruise which was supposed to be lunch, all you can drink liquor, snorkeling 2 reefs and a mambo lesson. We got the lunch and drinks and snorkeled at one reef (brrrr) where there wasn't much to see in the murky water and no mambo lesson. I'm not sure if it's because the wind slowed us down too much or if most of the people on the cruise were too wasted to do a second reef and dance lesson anyways. Or perhaps it was just another classic rip-off ala Mexico.

getting ready for snorkeling (in what we'd find out were really cold waters)

After we got back we hung out at the hotel pool until the spring break pool party just got too loud and out of hand. It was like trying to take a nap and do some reading in the middle of a freakin' frat party. So we grabbed a shower and headed out for an early lobster dinner at Lorenzillo's where you get to pick your live lobster from a tank.

selecting our lobsters from the tank

my lobster from Lorenzillo Restaurant

We spent the rest of the evening, drinking heavily at various bars. Squid Roe is a hugely popular one. We didn't stay long at any one place because everywhere we went people were getting out of control drunk. We spent the end of the night at Blue Jungle which is a bar outside with some chairs and a couch. $3 for 2 beers or $4 for 2 daquieries or margaritas. Dos Equis was my drink of choice. At that bar something clicked in and I went from sober to smashed in an instant. I was rushing into some karoake bar to use the bathroom when I tripped on a step and damn near fell on my face. I managed to stay on my feet but have a gross cracked toe nail now. I hate drinking injuries.

inside the roofless Squid Roe restaurant/club

3.22.2005

recap of Cabo San Lucas

Day 1 Saturday
We arrived at the airport at San Jose Del Cabo sometime in the early afternoon. United Vacations included a free transfer to the hotel via tour bus but that involved a long ride to a number of different hotels to drop everyone off between San Jose Del Cabo (the "historic" smaller town in Los Cabos) and Cabo San Lucas (the party town where we went). Checked into the Costa Real Los Cabos.


our room at Costa Real

view from our room (that construction back there got really loud in the mornings)

Not nearly as glamourous as the Riu we stayed at in Puerto Vallarta a couple years ago but it was a solid 2 and 1/2 star I guess. The hotel is right in the marina, walking distance to all restaurants and clubs and a short water taxi ride away from the main swimming beach, Medano beach. After setting down our bags and getting into some shorts for the 28 degree C weather we ran (literally like Frogger) across the street to the Shrimp Factory. Got a big shrimp ceviche and avocado stuffed with crab.


avocado stuffed with crab at Shrimp Factory


writing my name on the wall at Shrimp Factory

Then I wrote my name on the wall like all the other customers do. After we finished our lovely seafood snack, Simon and I went for a walk down the main street. The streets were crowded with Spring breakers, ie drunk 18-22 year old white American college kids who all look like they stole their clothes right off an Abercrombie manequin. They were a frighteningly homogenous group. All the girls in cut off denim skirts or short Paris Hilton type skirt and a tank top that showed cleavage, mid-driff or both. Guys in some sort of logo T, shorts and flip flops. And my, was there ever a lot of drunken hootin' and hollerin'. Anyways, we bought tix for a snorkeling tour for $35, marked down from $45 (never take the asking price for anything in Mexico). That was for the next day. Then we headed to a sports book or something to place a bet on a boxing match - Morelos vs. Pacqiao. We decided it'd be cool to go somewhere to watch the match. Simon forgot that the main fight wouldn't come until after we watched the 3 fights before it. Long story short we ended up watching 3 hours of boxing in a run down bar with the locals. Simon's guy, Morelos from Mexico, won by a narrow margin after much blood spewing and we went and collected his $15 winnings. By then it was 10:30pm and we hadn't had dinner. Many kitchens were closed so we ended up eating on a patio at the Roxx. The food wasn't bad and we had a view of all the drunk college kids on the street and the girls enjoying free drinks in the club part of Roxx. After dinner, we decided to make up a game called count the Asians. Apparently Cabo is a hotspot for sorority girls and frat boys from San Diego, Cal Poly and a few from the east coast but it's not a big hit with the Asian kids. That night we counted 5. I was beginning to have flashbacks of my high school days. After a few drinks at various bars, we turned in early to get some rest for the next day's snorkeling tour.

3.18.2005

my new favourite restaurant

MOCHICA a Peruvian restaurant on Harrison between 5th and 6th where that awful 24 hour restaurant Farralon used to be. Went there for Simon's bday last week. It was a bit of a gamble because I had never been there and there were only 2 reviews on citysearch (I've since added my own). I clicked on the link to go to their website which had some nice Flash thing and some music but the menu was not listed in English (although the icons signifying the type of animal you were ordering was cute), nor did they list their address or phone number.

In my head I was thinking, these people must not have their shit together if they dont post contact info on a web site. But now I'm thinking maybe it was because what they know how to do well is run a restaurant, but I mean REALLY well. We had ceviche, paella and bouillabase. The ceviches were all $15 or under and they are HUGE. My paella which usually runs $25-30 at places like Thirsty Bear was only $17 and it was delicious (though not served in a hot pan). Simon's bouillabase was basically a big bowl of soup and chunks of seafood. Candice's ahi tuna plate was also huge and she said it was really good. We were all so stuffed and happy. When all was said and done we decided to just split the bill evenly. With Simon's portion split up among all of us, appetizers, entrees, many drinks, cake, taxes and 15% tip (table >6), it came to $34 per person. Oh yeah and the service was attentive and everything was just perfect. Can't wait to go back. Be sure to order the Ceviche Mixto to share.

3.12.2005

sirens

Man I haven't blogged in a while. Got slammed with a lot of homework and trying to rescue my Toastmasters club from an all time low membership. On top of that planning a stagette, a birthday and our trip to Cabo San Lucas ($443 pp on United.com covers 3 nights hotel, flight and all taxes, deal huh??). Not sure how I always end up with so much on my plate. I can't wait to go to Cabo.

So the weirdest thing happened this week. I was taking my 5 block walk to school from my car when I heard a voice coming from the sky. "This is a test of the public outdoor warning system". I had no idea there were speakers mounted all over the place. I actually couldn't see them but they must be on some lamp posts or something. I guess leftover from the cold war era when the threat of nuclear attack was what kids in school practiced for. After that muffled announcement, these sirens went off. I guess that's what air raid sirens sound like?? I imagined myself standing there in the 1950s hearing the sirens and fearing an attack from the evil communists. What exactly were people supposed to do back then? And if they're testing the system they must still be in use for some future incident. What for exactly? I started thinking about the nuclear meltdown on the show 24. I guess they'd use it to tell people to evacuate or something. But for what other purpose? For the record the system is not very good. I really had to strain to make out what the announcer said. The sirens came through loud and clear though. It was really all kinda eerie.

3.06.2005

end of the weekend

Sunday nights make me sad. No activities today but we did go for a loooong walk all over Foster City...ie to Albertsons, then to the plaza on Shell, the dog park and back.

Oh yeah, Simon has a blog now even though he used to make fun of me for blogging and reading the blogs of about a million people I don't know. Bandwagon jumper. :)

Let's see how long you keep this up.

no pain no (weight) gain


Simon's new baby (no it was not hot yet)

Turkey before frying

Just no fried food for hamsters

One badass turkey

=====================================
I confirmed my hypothesis. My body does not produce enough bile to digest a meal comprised entirely of fried food. We christened the turkey fryer I got Simon as an early bday gift today. We had deep fried turkey, oysters, fries, and cheesesticks (recipe below). After 2 cheesesticks, 4 oysters and a bit of turkey and fries I was about ready to curl up on the floor in a fetal position. My stomach was killing me. 3 Tums and 1 Prevacid later, I was able to stand up nearly straight and play a couple rounds of poker (3rd place out of 5 on round 1, winner on round 2). I don't know how people in the south eat so much fried food. Quantity-wise I really didn't eat that much but I think I just OD'd on batter and oil and my body said NO. I actually felt a slight bit nauseaus for a while but some hot brown rice green tea really helped that (or maybe it was the Prevacid kicking in). I can see how a diet like this causes people to get fat and die of heart disease. Experiencing pain from eating should be a sign that something isn't right. I definitely prefer my mostly Asian diet of rice, fish, veggies, homemade soup, and small quantities of chicken and beef. People wonder why Asians age well. I am pretty sure it's our diet that makes the difference. Lots of tofu, fish, dark green veggies, soup and tea.

Here's the cheesestick recipe that turned out really well:

Deep Fryer Fried Cheese
Prep: 15 min, Cook: 5 min.
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb. Gruy√®re or mozzarella cheese, cut into 21/2 x 1/2 sticks
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Heat oil in an electric deep fryer to 375°F. Dust cheese sticks with flour. Dip in beaten egg and then into breadcrumbs. Press crumbs around cheese and dip again in egg and crumbs. You may refrigerate at this time until time to cook. Place 3 or 4 cheese sticks in hot oil. Deep fry 2-3 minutes, turning once until golden brown. Transfer to absorbent paper to drain. Repeat process until all are fried.

3.04.2005

spring break

Thinking to get out of town this spring break. Cancun has some great deals but that would mean having share the town with a bunch of rowdy, drunk, sex-starved undergrads. In fact I fear all of Mexico's resorts will be overrun by college kids so I'm thinking maybe Hawaii or Costa Rica?

But I'm poor and looking to get away 4-7 days for $500 or less. Yes I know that is pushing it. Does anyone have any links to good cheap travel agencies? I went with www.suntrips.com couple years ago and that was a good deal. Flood me with suggestions!!

library drama

How absurd is that huh? But I speak the truth. One night a couple months ago an older lady maybe in her early 60s was at one of the Internet terminals at the Foster City library. Minding her own business, surfing happily away when along came this tall cougar woman (late 40s, wearing tight athletic wear, carrying an animal print handbag that screams LOOK AT ME). Cougar woman marched around the library like it was a night club with fresh young meat, speaking very loudly and drawing much attention to herself. She leaned over the shoulder of each person at the Internet terminals and asked in her loud cougar voice "how long have you been on this? There's a half hour (or whatever the time limit was) limit, you know". When she got to the older lady, the older lady said, "I've only been here 10 minutes, do you mind" (read: stop looking over my shoulder you bitch). There was also something I missed in the conversation because later that evening Couger was at that terminal and older lady was sitting nearby waiting to get on that computer. So that was months ago.

Tonight, the older lady was there again, surfing the net when the cougar lady walked in. Again in her signature skin-tight-look-at-me-I-just-did-pilates athletic wear and animal print bag. This time she also accessorized with a black scarf. Cougar made her rounds again, asking in a very loud voice how long each person had been at his/her terminal. All of a sudden the stars aligned for Cougar and the gentleman next to the older lady got up and left. I could just smell trouble brewin' at this point. They immediately recognized each other. Cougar tossed the chair back to allow for a dramatic entry into her cubicle, but in doing so slammed the chair into the fingers of the older lady who was gripping the armrest of her own chair. Cougar let out what I thought was some sort of giggle and "oops." Older lady stood up and said, "you just slammed that chair into my fingers!". No audible response from Cougar. And then came the tirade from older lady, "you walk around here and do nothing but attract attention to yourself. You are rude and self-important and have a problem and THIS needs to stop now!" Response from Cougar, "no YOU have a problem" and weak response from older lady "No, YOU have a problem." It was an odd scene because you could have taken that script from an elementary school scuffle. The ending was very anti-climatic. Older lady pushed her chair back, grabbed her jacket in a huff and walked away. Everyone in the area stared. If I hadn't been tutoring I think I would've jumped in there to start a brawl just to say I got into my first fist fight at a public library.

I see that Cougar from time to time, walking around in her tight clothes with this disgusting wiggle that suggests to me she believes that there are people checking her (long sagging ass) out constantly. More often than not I hear her loud-piercing-wannabe-New-York-socialite voice long before I actually see her. I think next time I'll chuck an encyclopedia at her head.

3.03.2005

more on missile defence

It's past my bedtime and I just finished my homework due tomorrow. I need to catch some zzzs but first have to post this quote from another article about PM Martin's rejection of this missile defence program because it's just so damn funny.

...many Canadians believe the defense shield will never work and applaud their government for not being bullied into joining it.

"The U.S. administration is trying to peddle a system that doesn't work," said Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in U.S.-Canadian relations. "If Bush and Condoleezza Rice want to stamp their little hoofies, well that's tough."

Little hoofies hahahaha.

3.02.2005

neck breaker

Simon just decided to build this because our last configuration encouraged the hamsters to pee and poo in the tubes. This way there is almost no horizontal tubing on which to go to the bathroom. I don't think he realized he built it to read 18. In any case, you can see that one of the our hams Fatty is making her way down the straight tube and about to break her neck. Snowy is there in the middle of the figure 8. Somehow this doesn't look very safe. A little slip in footing and you plunge to the bottom. I wonder if they make little hamster wheel chairs.



I'm going to have a parapalegic hamster

3.01.2005

worrying

If there's one major thing I cannot stand about myself is that I cannot focus on today/the present without simultaneously worrying about tomorrow/the future. Even if I'm in a good situation where I should be relatively worry-free and able to focus on the present, I can't help but look into the future for the next thing to worry about and obsess over that. I think these things (combined with my Type A personality) will ultimately add up and cut my life short. Great, another thing to worry about is the consequence of my worrying. I can see now why some people just choose to chonically smoke pot. Maybe some of these potheads, when not baked off their asses, are constantly agitated, stressed out and on the brink of falling apart. Hmm that would make a funny sitcom.