Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Star Wars stamps!

Too cool!

Go to the USPS site and vote for your favorite stamp.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Book review: Emergency Sex

Fascinating memoir by three young UN peacekeeping volunteers who spend time during the early 90s in Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Haiti.

One is a doctor, one is a student in law school, the third is a aids worker whose husband is a successful manager of a modeling agency. The common thread is they are bored and ambitious, sets off to these exotic lands, finds plenty of adventure and sex, and eventually have all their idealism crushed by reality.

This book can be infuriating because the character are very self-centered and vain. But that is also the book's strength because you see their world views change bit by bit as waves of reality comes crashing down. Best parts of the book offers a first person perspective on things we only saw on CNN - the genocide in Rwanda, the battle and pullout in Somalia, the so-called elections in Cambodia. In the end you will be amazed by the dedication of the aids workers, the endurance of the people affected by war, and the incredible corruption and incompetence of UN and the US goverment.

Contrary to the description this is NOT a depressing book, but a riveting glimpse of a world most of us will never experience. Highly recommended.

Random thoughts on world events

Memo to General Pace: if you don't believe gay men can fight in wars, maybe you should read your history book on Alexander.
Alberto Gonzales. I'm not sure what the big fuss is. US attorneys are political appointees and their boss (the attorney general and the president) can fire them anytime without reason. I think the big issue is here people see this (minor) scandal as part of a larger pattern of the White House abuse of power so it really need to be considered in the larger context.

Are we really at war? I don't feel we are. If you don't read the news than you wouldn't know. There is no draft, no war tax, no calls to conserve or volunteer, no calls to pitch in to the war effort, no slogans, no marches. Heck, I see more patriotism at sports events. I hear more people talking about American Idol than than a war that has killed thousands and cost billions. Weird.

Have not made up my mind yet about the 08 election. McCain is scary. Rudy, yikes, anybody who lived in NY knows what a disaster and disgrace he is. Romney I don't know too much about. Hilary is probabl the smartest and most qualified but she may be too polarizing. Obama seem to have the most potential, but again, I need to learn more about him.

St Patricks Day

Gracie & Leah celebrates St Patricks Day with Black & Tans

annual Irish feast at Chez O'Liang

attended by Collins, Leah, Gracie, Leya, Ewan, Leo, Desiree, Don, Carol, Nathan, Jim & Jenni.

Corned Beef & cabbage w/t Sunday Bacon

Sheppard's Pie w/t chorizo & mild italian sausage & roast chicken

Green salad w/t fennel & mandarin orange

Kerrygold Irish cheddar

Homemade soda bread (Gracie)

Homemade Lemon pound cake (Adrian)

Black & Tan (Guinness & Bass)

***Collins' receipe for corned beef & cabbage

- Cook corned beef in water until soft, then cook some more (I used 7 lbs of beef, took about 3 1/2 hours)
- Put glaze on top (I used dijon mustard, clover honey & Smith & Wollensky steak sauce) then broil in oven for few minutes until slightly carmelized on top
- at the same cook the cabbage in the same water that cooked the corned beef
- Serve hot at once with some fresh bacon crumbles on the cabbage

Sunday, March 18, 2007


let's see anybody besides Toner Low, La Gringa & Crawling Eye know the reference....


in Tokyo during Valentine's Day.

If you've never been to Tokyo - here is a brief taste - video taken at the crosswalk in the Shibuya district. Lost in Translation was more right than you know.

Tried wale sushi. Right, Japanese people eat wales. Don't be so shocked, Norway does too and a few other nations (not to mention some native tribes in Alaska). Pretty tasty in a gamey kind of way. The same restaurant also served a vertical tasting of tuna - different pieces of sashimi from different parts of a same tuna - astonishing.

Went to a hip-hop club. Compared to the hip-hop club in Seoul I went to it's very different. Whereas in Seoul the DJ was a black American and all the young people dressed the same way; in the Tokyo the DJ was a hot shot young Japanese woman and the fashion, well, let's just say Tokyoites remain ages ahead of London and New York in terms of inventing new ways to look cool and interesting.

Monday was a holiday in Japan so all the local ''shot bars'' were closed and we were forced to go to an English Pub (shame, shame). However our prospect were enlivend when we found out a Maori band from NZ were playing and the lead singer looked like a hunkier version of that dude from Midnight Oil. A las our enthusasim turned back to shame when he sounded more like Natalie Merchant.

Met up with our bud from Australia who has lived in Tokyo for 6 years with his Japanese girlfriend. When asked why tokyo? He answered: ''because I can walk out of my front door and encounter 15 extraordinary things everyday''

I agree

One thing Tokyo does is it cures you of any phobias. Whenever you came from it's smaller and quieter.


a couple of days in Seoul with my colleague Scott from Nashville (the dude who looks like John Lennon) and Sal (the other guy, who came in from, um, I'm not sure where)

The top photo was taken at approximately 4am at a soju tent n Gang nam district. To fully appreciate that simple statement you need to understand Soju and understand Koreans.

Soju is Korea's national drink. Soju is the 2nd most consumed liquor in the world after vodka. Now, nobody drinks soju outside of Korea, a country of 50 million people. Vodka is enjoyed all over the world. This means people in Korea drink A LOT of soju.

They drink soju all the time. Many bars are open 24 hours.

They drink soju everywhere. My favorite is the ''soju tent''. Literally a tent erected in random street alleys with power generators and run by some toothless older woman called ''ajuma''. To chase the soju you can get fried fish, eels, squids, soup and other delicacies.

Have I mentioned these tents are open all night?

In the middle Scott buys a waffle stuffed with ice cream

Bottom: rolls of golden pigs celebrating Lunar New Year

Friday, March 09, 2007

300 Yo!

300 opens today in North America. Go get your tickets!

Then go get the ass-kicking graphic novel from Frank Miller

Before you go, you might want to check out this Village Voice review.
Here is a sample:

Delicacies of dismemberment aside, 300 is notable for its outrageous sexual confusion. Here stands the Spartan king Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 299 buddies in nothing but leather man-panties and oiled torsos, clutching a variety of phalluses they seek to thrust in the bodies of their foes by trapping them in a small, rectum-like mountain passage called the "gates of hell(o!)" Yonder rises the Persian menace, led by the slinky, mascara'd Xerxes. When he's not flaring his nostrils at Leonidas and demanding he kneel down before his, uh, majesty, this flamboyantly pierced crypto-transsexual lounges on chinchilla throw pillows amidst a rump-shaking orgy of disfigured lesbians.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chuc Mung Nam Moy

Anh & Chris Schluep were in town & invited us to Anh's mother's house for a traditional Vietnamese New Year's party.

It was great to the enjoy the mixture of modern (Vietnamese drama on TV) and the traditional (kids & adults were traditional garbs; Grandma handed out red envelopes)

Then there is the food.

Lots, lots, lots of food. In fact we ended up taking a ton of it home.

BTW - it means ''happy new year'' in Vietnamese

Various gigs

Catching on misc happenings the last few weeks

- Colleagues were in town for a trade show - Terry, Al, Janna & Michael Martens came to Casa Mia for dinner: Roast center-cut pork chops, russian banana potatoes, oyster mushroom, hearts of palm & spinach

- Cory came to town from Bay Area

- New Year's brunch at Gracie's. Yummy jambalaya.

- Dinner at Gracie's w/t her mom in town + meeting Leo (brand new offspring from Leya & Ewan). Yummy poached salmon w/t cous cous.

- Big A made huge batch of Lobster chili as a recipe testing for cookbook. We eat for days. Baby Crumpet approves.

Boardin' on Baker

Big A, Gracie and Baby Crumpet hit the slopes for some boarding, 'shine and snowcap.


That's not milk in the bottle, serious.