Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Androgyny: Andrej Pejic

Andrej Pejic is not a woman.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 in K-dramas

2010 for me was a year that I re-forged a personal connection with the K-drama. For me 2009 was all about the family drama ("Assorted Gems," "The Son's of Sol Pharmacy House," & "Suspicious Three Brothers") and it was spent accordingly with the family watching those dramas. "City Hall" was the only drama I watched beginning to end by myself, and that was largely due to Kim Sun Ah and Cha Seung Won being cast as the leads. Oh, and I'm forgetting about "The Man Who Can't Get Married."

Anyway, back to 2010.

In 2010 watching became less of an activity in and of itself and rather a companion activity to exercising on the treadmill/elliptical, which really facilitated both the endeavors of K-drama consumption and fitness through exercise. I had an incentive to get on the machine, and I could sustain movement of my my limbs for an hour or so while my mind was sufficiently distracted by drama. Exercise became less of a chore and more of a treat, although I confess that I wasn't exactly exercising rigorously, but half-assed exercise is certainly better than no exercise.

Also in 2010 I really started reading the content over at and it's given me great insight into the process of watching K-dramas. There is no doubt that I love K-dramas, and they are a staple of my media consumables. So for the closing of 2010 I thought I'd take a cue from dramabeans and do a review of the K-dramas that made up my year.

Pasta (MBC): 01/04 - 03/09

So the year started off with great anticipating for "Pasta." I confess, I am a huge sucker for food dramas. I love the contrived pseudo-conflict of food competitions. Generally, "contrived" and "pseudo-conflict" are not terms with great connotations when it comes to dramas, but I love it in the context of food. (I think it derives from being part of the generation that grew up with "Iron Chef.")

Anyway, love for potential food competition aside, another big draw to this drama came in the form of Lee Sun Kyun ("Coffee Prince," "My Sweet Seoul") whose deep voice to me is like soda to a bee. And paired with Mr. Voice was Gong Hyo Jin, who surprisingly I had never seen in anything. I'm not exactly sure how I missed her considering she's been around and has always gotten rave reviews for her acting skills.

Diving right into the drama review, I have heard everyone complain that nothing happens in the course of its 16 episode run. True. It's true. There just wasn't a lot of drama in this drama. The plot was weak. Nothing happens that significantly rocks the boat, and what did happen was predictable, but I don't think that takes away from its inherent charm as a romantic food story. (What is a food story? I'll have to do a more involved post about it some other time but it's basically when food is imbued with enough emotional significance that it becomes a character in its own right.)

Gong Hyo Jin and Lee Sun Kyun had great chemistry together. The whole relationship dynamic was oh-so-cute, and there was just so much aww to go around. While they were cute, I didn't find them cloying, and I guess that's mostly due to Lee Sun Kyun. His character wasn't exactly the cutesy type and the lovely timbre of his voice did nicely to neutralize the potentially sickly sweetness and/or cheesiness of some situations.

I also had a soft spot for Suh Yoo Kyung's (Gong Hyo Jin) personal style. I loved everything she wore in that drama. I had major wardrobe envy, and in particular for that fluffy scarf thing she wears to the sea and one certain long lavender knit piece with rosettes she wears in the elevator scene. Bohemian hobo winter wear is undeniably one of my favorite sartorial styles.

And a short note regarding a personal preference to a particular K-drama trope: I loved the trio of sidekicks a la "Coffee Prince" and the pony-tailed one in particular.

tl;dr - Pasta was romanticized, love was romanticized, and it was charming.

Coffee House (SBS): 05/17 - 07/27

As simple as it is the only thing that drew me to this drama was the word "coffee" in the title. It is surprising to note that since "Coffee Prince" the word "coffee" has been anointed with such a positive connotation that it would alone influence me to watch a drama. I'd like to add to the record at this time that "Coffee House" really is an bad title for this drama. It is as fitting a title inasmuch as "Hotel Lobby" would've been been for "My Name is Kim Sam Soon."

Seriously, I knew nothing about it when I started watching it. I was pretty much unfamiliar with all the actors and actresses, although I did recognize Park Shi Yeon from her bitch role in "My Girl." I didn't even know that Ham Eun Jung was an idol star from T-ara. It's sad, I know.

When I started watching it I was initially entertained by the hijinks and the toilet humor in particular. (I'm simple like that.) But on a more substantial note I was interested in the character of Lee Jin Soo (Kang Ji Hwan), the two-faced writer. Firstly, I have a general interest in the creative process that is writing, so a writer is naturally interesting. Secondly, the two-faced nature of his character that charms in public and offends in private and his philosophizing regarding the rational behind it all was intriguing. I could relate to him as a person with a completely rational and neurotic mind.

I'd like to mention at this point that while I found Kang Ji Hwan as Lee Jin Soo generally appealing, I had a bit of a problem with his wardrobe. They dressed him up like a Euro-dandy in horn rims and argyle, which was fine except for the white pants. I really really don't like white pants, and there were many an episode where he was dressed in white pants.

Anyway, continuing, white pants aside...

The main character Kang Seung Yeon played by T-ara idol Ham Eun Jung was the kind of character I dislike the most: the effervescent, bumbling female lead with no clear skills or talent whose only redeeming quality is her persistence and undying optimism. I really could do without these characters in my drama landscape. What I found enjoyable was that Lee Jin Soo, the writer, clearly did not care much for this type of character either. He dislikes her for the very same reasons I do and he clearly thinks he can set her right and make her see the reality of things. How I do love this idea of breaking the eternal optimist, although it never ever does work out in the realist's favor in Dramaland.

Plotwise it wasn't exactly "on the edge of your seat" exciting, but it did have it's moments. Most of the drama in "Coffee House" arose from character-driven internal conflict with the self instead of arbitrary externally plot-driven conflict. In that way it felt true to life. Usually I find myself willing to overlook at lot of failures of plot if the characters are robust and compelling. Lee Jin Soo clearly was from the get go, and Suh Eun Young became one as the story went on. Everyone else was just a gimmick. (Now that I think about it, anything that involved Ham Eun Jung was really just a farce.)

Romance-wise I found myself really really rooting for Lee Jin Soo and Suh Eun Young to be together. Their relationship wasn't trivialized because the reasons that kept them apart seemed real and believable, and both parties had their own way of rationalizing their apartness. Their relationship was complicated and therefore interesting, and it really was the heart of the drama.

tl;dr - I enjoyed watching a neurotic writer bury some of the skeletons in his closet to become only slightly less neurotic.

Baker King Kim Tak Gu (KBS2): 06/09 - 09/16

In contrast to the seemingly character driven "Coffee House," "Baker King Kim Tak Gu" was clearly plot driven. Generally fast-paced, it was a makjang drama that clearly pushed the characters to ridiculous ends to accommodate the plot. In this drama there was hardly any room for nuanced interpretation. Everything was pretty clear and laid out. Good was good, and bad was bad. Easy-peasy. Nothing about the story was new, and it didn't even try to be innovative, but it had all the makings of a solid, easily watchable drama with a familiar story, likable lead, and warm, fuzzy message.

Like I mentioned before I have a real weakness for food dramas. I really hoped that "Kim Tak Gu" was going to be on par with "ShikGaek/Gourmet" in terms of mood and feel, but it didn't turn out to be that way. Both stories are about food and feature an easy open man-child with a heart of gold as the main character. Both really play with the idea of inborn genius versus honed skills. Both feature a kindly, wizened mentor and bubbly, tenacious female sidekick/love interest. There are a lot more similarities between the dramas than I initially realized, but the fact remains that "Tak Gu" was a makjang, and as a makjang it had the over-the-top drama that gave it its own flair.

I don't really like makjangs because they tend to overdo it on the intensity of the drama and make it heavy, but I think "Tak Gu" had a levity about it because it had the things that "Shikgaek" had. I'd say it wasn't really a hardcore makjang.

Eugene gave a knock-out performance with her portrayal of Shin Yoo Kyung, who is an idealistic young woman that grew out of an abusive childhood and dreams of a better world in the arms of an endlessly optimistic man and is crushed by the twists of fate and driven to near madness for want of revenge. Those scenes in which she reeks havoc on her mother-in-law are pure guilty pleasures. But that character has to be one of the saddest ones I've encountered in a long time.

The one major complaint I have about "Tak Gu" was that there really wasn't as much bread baking as the title would suggest. There was bread, but not as much as I would've liked. The food story kept getting interrupted by the makjang plot.

On a sartorial side note, the baddy step-mother has a kick-ass decadent wardrobe.

tl;dr - All the guilty pleasure of a makjang with the levity of a good food story.

Mary Stayed Out All Night (KBS2): 11/08 - 12/28

The real thing that keeps me watching to the end is my want to have the entire story replayed with Jang Geun Suk and Kim Jae Wook recast as each other's role. Kim Jae Wook would have made a better indie rocker with soft silky hair, and I would've liked to have Jang Geun Suk portray someone other than a jaded musician. Plus, he could've retained that styling he had in "You'
re Beautiful" which I believe suits him much better.

There really isn't much else to say about this drama. The plot is a mess. The couple is cute. Wi Mae Ri's boho winter clothes and styling is enviable.

tl;dr - Kim Jae Wook IS an indie rocker!

Secret Garden (SBS): 11/13 - ?

This drama undoubtedly comes out on top as the winner of best drama of 2010 in my book. I think it had a bit of everything that liked about all the other dramas I watched this year, minus the food. Sadly, no food.

The whole body-switching thing that got me interested in the drama in the first place seems to have been a bit of a gimmick but that's yet to be seen since the drama isn't exactly quite yet over.

I'm going to put off my review of this drama until it actually ends and I actually have some time to get over the high of the series and consider it objectively. I want to do a bit of a more in-depth review of it than I can and am willing to do at this point.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Androgyny: Alexander Wang

I am currently perfectly enamored by Alexander Wang's androgynous nature. That is all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ogle-worthy Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Inception. The movie started, and I was instantaneously absorbed. Leonardo DiCaprio. A beach. Japanese. Grossly unconvincing movie makeup. A gun and a spinning top. Ken is that you? Leo in voiceover. Then BAM! "3rd Rock from the Sun"-guy! "What Mr. Cobb is trying it say is..."

I spent a good portion of the movie ogling Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Needless to say, little Tommy Solomon with the girlish hair from my youth had grown up into someone ogle-worthy. I mean, even when I had seen him last in the previews for (500) Days of Summer back in the summer of last year, he was still steeped in geekish charm a la Cameron James of 10 Things I Hate About You. That is to say I've always found Gordon-Levitt charming since the days of 3rd Rock from the Sun - I suppose it was my affection for the novelty of long hair on guys that had me hooked from the very beginning - but how did he turn into an appropriate target of ogling?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

I think it's been over a month since I actually finished reading this, and I realize that a month might be too long to wait before writing my impressions on the story. On the other hand, I guess waiting a month before writing a book review helps to illuminate what I really got out of the story.

The first thing I have to say about Robinson Crusoe is that I was utterly surprised to learn that the story places him on this freakin' island for nearly 30 years! I mean, I thought it was going to be a fast moving story about him being resourceful and inventive, and fighting cannibals, and befriending natives in the span of 3 years, maybe, before he gets rescued by his fellow countrymen. All of that did happen, but over 30 years!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diane Matcheck, The Sacrifice

It's been a while since I actually finished reading a book. I mean it's already late April of 2010, and the last book I read cover to cover was back in January? I'm sincerely amazed by how fast the time goes by. I actually finished reading this book Saturday night but I've only remembered to blog about it today at work.

Diane Matcheck's The Sacrifice is a young adult fiction piece, and this is actually the second time reading this book. I read it the first time when I was around 13, and the only thing I remembered about the book almost ten years later was that it had made me cry.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Feminine

This post is so very belated, but I figured it was better late than never.

So I finally, finally got myself a white caridigan. It's the Loft ruffle front caridgan. This picture really does not do it justice. I saw it in the store and just knew I had to have it. It wasn't even on sale. (I hardly ever buy anything for the retail price.) I am very content with this purchase.

I've been thinking of buying a watch, but it really was never high up on my list because I had a functioning watch, as beat up as it was. Again it was another in-store love affair. I saw this Skagen beauty on sale at Nordstrom for less than $60 and couldn't pass up a good deal. I'm scared of wearing it too much for fear of junking it up. The texture of the leather straps is absolutely amazing!

On another note, I ordered new straps for my other beat up Skagen watch. I really appreciate Skagen's asthetic. It's minimal with surprising details - just my kind of style.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Leather

I've been meaning to get a new work bag and a pair of leather flats for the longest time and I finally got them. Just in time for spring!

Although I love black leather I think it's too harsh for spring. I got the Sak Iris in Twilight, and it looks much better in person. Online vendors stuff the bags too much in their pictures. I don't think I would have gotten it if I hadn't seen it in-store. It's got the the convertible handle thing which i think is great. I've always wanted that feature. Frankly, I am so digging navy. It's my black for warmer weather.

These shoes from J.Crew are really just too cute. I would have thought there would have been a greater selection of nudie pink flats, but surprisingly that's not the case. Suffice to say I liked these the best. I think there's a bit of synthetic happiness being worked in my head. I like them despite the gratuitous toe cleavage and slight toe jamming.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Work Wardrobe Additions for Spring 2010

So I've had spring shopping on my mind, and this set is just an example of the types and styles of things that I've been wanting.

1. Embellished Whitish Cardigan - I keep thinking "investment pieces" and I figure a white cardigan should be a staple of every woman's wardrobe. Surprisingly, I don't have one yet although I've been meaning to get one. I think this is the perfect opportunity to get one for myself. Of course, just any old cardigan would be too boring. I'm looking for feminine details like rhinestones, beads, sequins, frills and bows!

2. Voluminous Bottoms - I'm thinking of both skirts and shorts. I would very much like to wear shorts to work. The longer length, I think, makes shorts office friendly. As for a skirt... lace is a nice detail for spring! Or perhaps a flower print~

3. Reptile Pumps - I've been meaning to get some black work pumps. It's another one of those staples that every woman should have. And of course I just can't live with the boring basics so I'm thinking texture. I really love reptile. I'm just a fan of animal prints in general. I guess this would fit into that category.

4. Nudie Pink Ballet Flats - I've had "leather flats" on my shopping list for the longest time, but I haven't really found any that have been catching my eye. That's probably because I've been looking for black flats. I guess I'm just not a fan of black flats. On the other hand, I love nude tone flats - light pink to beige. I'm not sure exactly what about it, but perhaps it's the illusion of no shoes...

I will be on the prowl for these items in the coming weeks. I hope it'll be warmer so I can actually get the feel for spring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kenneth Cole Tote of the Town French Purse (Black Reptile)

I forgot to mentioned that I got my wallet, finally, in the mail on Monday.

It is quite lovely. The detailing is fabulous. You should really see the patterning on this leather. It's very lux, and I always think patent leather can easily look trashy. It is not so with this wallet.

It's very much bulkier than my previous wallet, but I'll get used to it. I guess the bulk is because the gajillion card slots. I guess I'd rather have more than not enough, but it's still pretty ridiculous. And the coin pocket is smack dab right in the middle. It makes it very difficult to get the change out, and I do have 85 cents (two quarters, three dimes, and a nickle), a flattened penny from the zoo, and a tiny decorative penny in there. I might need to access those at some point... maybe.

I'm glad I finally have a new wallet. I wonder how long I can live with this one :D

It's like I'm a ninja.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Durarara!! I am absolutely enamored by this series. It just resonates with me on so many levels.

At face value Durarara!! is about a 15-year-old boy Ryugamine Mikado who at the insistence of his long-time best friend Kida Masaomi moves from a small town to the big city in order to attend high school in Ikebukuro,Tokyo. The story naturally revolves around people that he meets and the things that happen in the big city.
But of course it’s so much more than that.

In essence it is a character-oriented series where the city itself is as much of a character as any. And, of course, I'm a sucker for character-driven dramas. From what I can tell so far the characters are diverse and fairly multi-faceted. They do hold rather polarized traits that make them stereotypes to a certain extent, but it's that extremeness that makes them interesting as characters in an anime where the boundaries of reality can be push, pulled, bent and stretched at will. At the same time each character is seeded at the core with his or her own struggles associated with the human condition that makes them believable.
Of all the characters I am particularly drawn to one Orihara Izaya, a sociopath. It is a fact that I am captivated by his psychopathic persona that works purely for his own gain. But I've always loved such fictional sociopaths characterized by superior intellect, easy charm, sharp wit, and physical prowess. I often imagine that operating outside the influence of emotions and social conventions such as morals would be so liberating.

The show touches on a lot of issues and prompts a lot of questions, and none of them have easy answers. It explores the nature of reality and questions perception and alludes to the subjectivity of experience. It presents this idea of opposites (light/dark, good/bad, life/death, etc) time and time again and exposes the dualistic nature of existence. It illustrates a person's struggle with identity and self-realization and purpose and meaning. It asks the role of technology in society and the deterioration of quality of human interaction. I could go on... but maybe I'm over thinking it. I'm making meaning out of nothing, but it resonates with me regardless of whether or not they meant it to. They probably did.

In any case...

The storytelling and the pacing of the series is engaging. It's not quite linear, there are a lot of parallel plots and action sequences. There is always more to the story than you first realize. Through each iterative retelling there is a new layer of detail and it makes the whole experience richer and complex.

At it's heart Durarara!! is a shonen series. The predominately male cast and conflict oriented plots are indicative of that fact. The fight sequences are well executed and the women tastefully sexualized. But what I've loved most about the shonen genre is the boy's club camaraderie aspect of it all. It's a highly romanticized concept of male-bonding that as a girl seems mysterious and alluring.

As a final note, the show is humorous. Case in point, check out the circle lenses on the girl in the middle. That is social commentary at its best.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Chairs

I find it amazing how the design of a place can evolve so naturally with the seasons. And while form is necessarily second to function, it is so easy to see the aesthetic of the form follow the utility of the function.

Breakfast on a free Saturday

Wow, it's a Saturday, I'm home AND it's not snowing! Can you believe it?

Being free on a Saturday is nice. I even got the opportunity to make myself a nice looking breakfast.

The funny thing about eating your food after taking pictures of it like this is that it's cold. It doesn't taste quite as good as it could although it looks nice.

I think being a food stylist would be fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alexander McQueen, may he have found perfection in peace.

The news of Alexander McQueen's death by suicide certainly shocked the fashion world. The man was known for his boundless creativity and his work that always seemed to shock and awe...

I can't say I was a great fan of McQueen. That isn't to say that I disliked his work. I absolutely acknowledge the genius of McQueen - the tight and yet voluminous, the sharp and yet organic, the bold and yet understated. It is difficult to describe because it was always that je ne sais quoi of a collection, of a piece, of an idea that positively screamed "McQueen!" His style was uniquely his own. I'd have to say everything was always so perfectly off and therefore strangely eerie. And perhaps it was that that sense of perfection in his work that putt me off, the reason I never really got to love McQueen. Because to me his clothes were like ice sculptures and I've always naturally gravitated towards snowmen.

To conclude, I must say that he was a great man. And as proof I cite the fact that although I'm a big fan of fashion I have only once blogged about a designer's work. That work was of course that of Mr. Alexander McQueen. He has left an indelible impression upon me and the rest of the world. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowed In

I haven't gone to work since last Thursday! I'm on leave right now because I don't really have work I can be doing at home to qualify for "work from home." VDOT has yet to plow our neighborhood, and my little Accord can't make it out of here, and with the snow that's supposedly coming tonight who knows when I'll be able to get back to work.

Well, at least I'm enjoying my time off. It's unplanned time off but still generally nice.

I'm running out of food! That's one bad thing about being snowed in. A good thing about that though is that it forces me to be creative. I made soup today with what I had on hand. It's something close to cream of broccoli.

Broccoli and spinach, water and beef bouillon, onions and garlic in butter, milk and yogurt and cheese. Flour to thicken, cracked pepper to taste and mint to garnish!

I was rummaging in the refrigerator for something to eat and found some broccoli from who knows when and the last dregs of spinach from the days when I had salad for lunch. Add in the last dollops of yogurt and the last of the milk and you've almost got yourself enough for something. Almost. There just wasn't enough cream stuff so I had to add cheese, which helped. I'm surprised it came out tasting as good as it did. The mint really helped. In the absence of celery it was a more than adequate aromatic.

Too bad I ate all the bread. No toast with this soup.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow Day

It's an official snow day! I'm "working" from home. I seriously have not done any work today. Instead I woke up and worked out for an hour. I haven't had the time or energy to work out this week, so I exercised extra hard and enthusiastically this morning. Then I took my monthly "detox bath." I like taking baths, but I can only seem to squeeze one in once a month. Then I had breakfast/lunch. Soup is so nice and cozy on snowy days like these.

Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom taken a notch up with shaved onions, cracked pepper, garlic powder, beef bouillon, garnished with mint and served with toast.

I've just been loafing around and listening to BIG 100.3 the classic hits/classic rock station. It just seems right for right now. Easy jammin' I suppose...

Today is also payday! I've been mulling over what to spend my $100 self allotted allowance on. I wanted to go to the shoe store this weekend and pick a pair of nice work pumps, but I don't think I'll be going anywhere due to the snow. So I hopped online and ordered a new wallet from Kenneth Cole. I've been wanted a new wallet for a while. I suppose this snowy day gave me an excuse to get one.

Happy snow day! :D

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grapefruit & Mint Shrimp

Shrimp with grapefruit & mint butter.

It tasted much better when it was warm. I should have de-veined them, but having to peel the darn things was work enough. I think the grapefruit and mint would've worked better as a shrimp marinade, but I was working with already steamed shrimp we had for dinner on Sunday.

Grapefruit and mint is a great combination, but I think it works better on stinkier proteins.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pacific Saury

Canned pacific saury on a bed of spinach topped with lightly pickled radish and onions in mayo.

Some relatively crazy things come out of the kitchen when you've got limited resources. This really just tasted like tuna salad. I mean, the fish and the mayo were really the taste makers. I like saury better than tuna just because it's fattier. Tuna is too dry in my opinion.

I like the fishiness of fish. MMM.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Sauce

Sauteed spinach and onions with cheese sauce (butter, cheese, milk, cracked pepper).

I swear, cheese makes everything better. The sauce was so reminiscent of "mac n cheeze" it caught me off guard. I suddenly expected to taste the carbs, but there weren't any.

Oh, and it never fails to surprise me how much vegetables shrink when heat is applied. It's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vintage GE Clock

The alarm clock I bought on eBay finally arrived today!

I plugged it in and it is seriously one of the neatest things I've seen in a while. It's kind of hard to describe. The numbers are created by a light that shines through slits, and the slits are covered and uncovered mechanically it seems. I can't stop staring at it.

Now I can know what time it is when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Green Pea Salad

Green peas, onions, scallions and mint tossed in olive oil and grapefruit juice plus a little ground pepper and topped with feta.

I actually had this on top of some spinach and it was pretty filling. Mint and peas are a great combination, but I wish I had some fresh mint. Well, I suppose fresh is always best. In addition, I've been substituting grapefruits for lemons since I don't have any lemons on hand and I do have grapefruit. The bitter quality of grapefruit is an interesting addition. I think it might have done better without it, but you have to make do with what you have.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I love the way that this man writes. Each word is weighted and placed so beautifully in the sentences that seem to have a rhythm both natural and metered like footsteps. Like feet that leave footprints in virgin snow, crunch, crunch, his words have imprinted a part of my mind, which had yet to be touched.

Aren't we all Guy Montag at times? Rudely awakened from our sense of reality and disturbed by our own faults and shortcomings? Somehow so keenly aware of how small and insignificant we are. All of a sudden knowing nothing and at the same time knowing only that singular fact. Lost and alienated. Isn't that just the human condition?

I hate the human condition.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Radish & Apple Salad

Radishes, apples and scallions tossed in plain yogurt and mayo seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and a little acid to keep the apples from browning.

I actually had this salad with some tuna, and I think the tuna overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the radishes. Plus, I think I added too much mayo. The original recipe calls for sour cream, but since I didn't have any on hand I had to make do with what I had.

Whatever the case, I enjoyed the salad just because radishes are so pretty. That fact alone makes everything okay.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Avocado & Grapefruit Salad

Avocado and grapefruit on a bed of spring greens served with honey mustard onion relish (onions, dijon mustard, honey, grapefruit juice, olive oil, cracked pepper).

I love interesting salads like this one. The textures and flavors were really incredible. With an earthy base of fresh spring greens, the smooth, creamy, rich avocado plays off of the juicy, sweet 'n bitter grapefruit, and the onion relish ties the dish together while adding it's own spicy kick.

Salads can be fun and exciting! Overall, I think this has got to be one of my most favorite work lunch salads I've ever made. It equals if not surpasses the go-to salad of my 2008 summer internship - the "Asian Salad" (baby spinach, red onions, mandarin oranges, cashews and a soy sauce & sesame oil vinaigrette).

In any case, it was fun to make and fun to eat! Plus, I just realized the honey mustard onion relish... Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Flavored Pretzel Pieces! My favorite flavor!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Garbanzo Bean Salad

Garbanzo beans, black olives and tomatoes tossed with olive oil, minced garlic and cracked pepper and topped with feta cheese.

I've been trying to get creative with my lunch creations since I'm getting tired of the same old same old. And I need to get creative because I'm not particularly fond of the lunch staple that is the sandwich.

So above is my garbanzo bean salad, and it is something simple and tasty and rather filling. It's simple because I can't cook, and complexity would certainly preclude it's creation. It's tasty because olives, tomatoes and feta cheese has never failed to taste good together. It's filling because beans just tend to be that way. (I like beans.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Michael Crichton, Timeline

It was quite a compulsive read. It actually had me reading it during the weekend. I just finished it actually.

I liked it. It was nostalgic in a sense. I mean it took me back to the days when I basically lived off of fantasy novels. Knights. Lords. Ladies. Broadswords. Intrigue. War. Romance. Mysticism. Blood. Honor. Castles. Horses. Etc. Of course it had a twist which was the modern quantum science deal, but I found that that was more of a distraction than something I looked forward to while reading the swashbuckling adventure sections. I guess the science sets up the whole story, but I wouldn't say it was the star of the show. Plus, it all just seemed like smoke and mirrors to me.

This was actually my first Crichton novel. I mean, I've seen Jurassic Park and The Congo, and I guess I can see the similarities, but I had never read one of his novels until now. I can say now that do enjoy his storytelling.

In addition, this was the first novel I've read in a while. I suddenly remembered what the draw of reading is. That feeling of being sucked up into the story, becoming unaware of your surroundings. Seriously, I almost missed my bus stop on Friday... It's a good kind of losing your grip on reality. I think I've been surrounding myself with too much reality and I've needed a good escape. This was a good book to re-introduce me to the benefits of losing yourself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

West Elm Pin-Tuck Duvet Cover

I hopped on over to Tyson's today and bought the West Elm pin-tuck duvet cover in white. It looks much too lovely for it's own good.

I love bedding in white, off-white, creme, natural, ivory, etc...

I figure bedding is just one of those things you can splurge on considering you should be spending at least 8 hrs a day in your bed. Along those lines I'm thinking of buying some killer luxurious pajamas!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D., Life After Life

Another book I was supposed to read for a class in school. It was for a sociology class on life and death which I ended up dropping. It was an interesting topic, just not worth the effort.

So, this book was a really easy read. It took me less than a week to read the entire thing. I only read during my ride home on the metro.

I'm still ambivalent about it's message regarding life after death.

I've always liked the idea of death being the end. I like the idea of no more suffering, no more worries, no more anything is not an unpleasant thought for me. I've always worried that there would me more of this crap after death...

If anything this book seems to suggest that there is more than this consciousness, and it's an improvement on our human condition. It suggests that our souls or spirits or minds or whatever is trapped inside this physical body. I really like that idea and I'm willing to entertain the idea of an afterlife if it doesn't concern worldly matters. If it's just about love and truth and knowing, I'm all for that. I want clarity.

I want to exist as a higher being that knows or not exist at all. I'm tired of the in between grayness of this existence.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

I swear I started reading this book months prior, but I only just completed reading it.

It was a book assigned for one of my philosophy classes at UVA. (Of course, I didn't actually read it when it was assigned.) I think it was mainly used to illuminate Freud's Pleasure Principle that simply states that people seek pleasure and avoid pain and that is the only true motivation in life. I tend to agree with that idea that all actions a person takes in life are a result of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. Now, the definition of "pleasure" and "pain" is hardly concrete, but I'm not going to get into that.

In general, I like Freud's ideas on civilization as it relates to the individual. And I tend to agree with his point of view that civilization isn't really the best thing to happen to man, but what is one to do about it? Plus, the idea of a neurotic civilization is a real riot!

There are a lot of interesting ideas in this work of Freud. I think it's something that I'll be picking up again in the future. But I'll conclude with a quote that pretty much sums up my view on civilization...

"The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization, though then, it is true, it had for the most part no value, since the individual was scarcely in a position to defend it."

With this I'm likely to believe that there must not be a single novel thought in my head.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010!

Finally, I get to say "hello" to 2010. Usually I'm right on top of it. Especially from a journaling point of view the change in calendar year is pretty significant. It is a kind of mile marker. It's a time to see how far you've come and how far you intend on going. At least, that's the way I like to look at it.

2009 for me was the most trying year of my life to date. Yes, I did graduate and that in itself is important, but in retrospect it seems like such a small and relatively insignificant incident of 2009. I spent most of 2009 worrying about my future, and all that fretting was emotionally taxing. Looking at my early journal entries of 2009 I was very emo, dwelling too much on depressing topics. I'm beginning to think that maybe I was depressed for a generous portion of 2009. At the time I just thought I was feeling out of sorts...

In any case, 2010, I'm hoping, will be the best year of my life. I think it's a good optimistic view of life, which is a much improved outlook when compared to New Year's sentiments of 2009. Of course, I also look to make room for peace, love & prosperity in the new year.

In addition to these broad and general sentiments I want to give 2010 a theme. I want 2010 to be about self-improvement. Because I spent 2009 in a funk I want clarity in 2010. I think I need to put myself in context. I need more information with which I can further define myself. I want to expand my realm of experience. I would like to really become a citizen of the world, a person in society.

I hope those aren't too lofty goals. I have very high hopes for 2010. I feel good about it. I feel good, and that's good. I haven't felt like this since... well, I really can't say I've ever felt like this. I feel different already.

Hello 2010!