Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Somewhat Memorable Deeds of 2017

January - I quit my job, planning to dedicate most of my time to pursuing a career teaching Pilates. I ended up, however, doing exactly what I used to do at my old job--munching on cookies, picking my nose (without needing to be discreet anymore), scrolling through Instagram every half an hour or so and "liking" photos I didn't actually like, gazing intently into nothing in particular, yawning, daydreaming, and avoiding reality at all costs.

February - I started my Pilates-teacher training in Costa Mesa and came to a stark realization that a majority of my classmates had thigh gaps (I mean, like, really noticeable ones), which is something I do not (and will probably never) have.

March - I got wasted on my birthday and kept denying (to myself) I just turned thirty-seven.

April - I binge-watched all five seasons of The Wire and became quite smitten with Omar Little. I mean Omar Little, the character, not Michael K. Williams, the actor who played Omar. Yeah, I tend to fall for gay armed robbers.

May - On Memorial Day, I went to a casino buffet, ate four lobsters, a plateful of mussels, and uncountable crab legs. I also took photos of them all, spent at least a good fifteen minutes to select the best filter for each picture, thinking to myself, who the fuck cares what I eat?, and then proceeded to post them on Facebook anyway.

June - I talked to my therapist about all of my troublesome quirks and bad habits--excessive daydreaming, self-sabotaging, stress eating, repetitive blinking when anxious, procrastination, obsession with ghosts, horrible taste in men--we agreed to blame everything on my mom.

July - My hairstylist and I had a riveting conversation about hairy poop. It started with me suggesting she should eat my hair to increase her protein and fiber intake. She wasn't at all repulsed by the idea but voiced her legitimate concern about how it might come out.

August - I participated in a Toastmasters public-speaking competition. I didn't make much of a speech, really.....just showed them photos of my husband staring keenly at his phone in various scenarios, and lamented how I was a victim of emotional neglect. They found my predicament to be hilarious, and I won. (Oh and I also anonymously voted for myself. No one knew.)

September - I exchanged an awkward goodbye hug with someone and spent the rest of the month wishing I'd done it differently. Instead of asking "Can I get a hug?", I wish I had yelled "Hug attack!" and just jumped on him. And why did he have to spin around and hurry away like that? I guess to sage himself and cleanse his aura of my residue.

October - I started working as an apprentice Pilates instructor and was quite surprised by my own diligence and strong work ethic which I NEVER demonstrated before at any of my previous jobs.

November - The root canal procedure went well.

December - Today is Thanksgiving so December hasn't happened yet, but I already know what I'll be doing next month--drink a lot of pumpkin spice latte, complain how cold weather gives me acne, wear my puffiest puffer jacket almost every day and walk around like an emperor penguin, buy new socks, accidentally put holes in most of them, then buy more socks. Yeah, that's pretty much it. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Birthday Wishlist

Dear God,

First of all, I'm sorry for submitting this wishlist to you several days after my actual birthday. If you really are omniscient as they say, I suppose you already knew that I got drunk early (around 8 a.m.) on my birthday and didn't regain my sobriety until the following morning. And then, you know, life happened so I haven't been able to make time to create this list until now.

Also, sorry for not having been convinced of your existence.....even at this very moment. But I'll ask for your assistance anyway just out of desperation.

Please grant me Pilates superpower. Make me a better teacher than Joseph Pilates himself. I'm sure you are aware that I'm severely incompetent at everything else in life. I mean, for me, going a day without spilling my food or putting  my clothes on inside out is quite a miracle. You know I once believed I was a pretty good writer. I even went to grad school and got a degree in Creative Writing. But look at this blog, God. Look at it. I'm lucky the university is kind enough not to revoke my degree. Pilates is the one and only thing I might have a real knack for. And I've been working my butt off on it. I've been training so hard I can hear my trapezius and gluteus maximus scream obscenities at me in my sleep. So make this career happen, please.

For my kitchen, I'd love these 3 things:
1. Cookware, utensils and dishes that clean themselves right after use
2. A refrigerator that audibly reminds me a few days before something in it is about to become stinky, moldy, or rotten
3. Masaharu Morimoto...well, maybe Bobby Flay and Marc Forgione, too....well, just give me all of the Iron Chefs except Geoffrey Zakarian.

For my home spa, I want an infrared sauna, equipped with four pairs of biomimetic hands that can massage my whole body at once. I also want a needle projector that can launch its projectiles at extremely precise acupuncture points.

For my bedroom, I'd like to get a snore absorber and a dream eliminator, both of which are for my husband. As you know, I'm an insomniac. And it hasn't been very advantageous to share a bed with a chronic snorer who, once in a while, would jump up in bed and turn on all the lights because he thinks the giant spider in his dream is real.

Please make some size adjustment for my left and right boobs. Right now they're kind of lopsided.

Please allow me unlimited access to George R.R. Martin's brain.

Please give me Herculean pelvic-floor muscles...well, I guess that's part of my Pilates superpower. I apologize for being redundant.

Please give me a mastery in the art of not giving a shit. Well, I think I still want to give some shit, though. Let me rephrase. Please help me give a shit judiciously. And please grant me the strength to give absolutely no shit to things and people that ultimately don't matter.

Now the last thing on my wishlist, dear God, is for you to go back and reread this from the beginning. I've made many detailed, specific requests. Please don't skip or overlook anything. Make sure you fulfill them all correctly. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

My Online Dating Profile


Hi potential boyfriend, I chose this profile picture NOT because I'm into slasher films. This is just the way my face looks most of the time.

I'm a few inches taller than Peter Dinklage, marginally more attractive than Danny DeVito, and have no discernible talents.

Do not expect me to say anything witty, intelligent or remotely sensible.

Do not expect me to wear clean socks.

Do not expect me to smell like clean socks....or anything clean.

Please bring proof of employment and residence to our first meeting. Mind you I'm not a gold-digger. I just want to make sure you don't live in a cardboard box under a freeway.

My first language is Thai, but I can communicate in English adequately. If you can't speak either Thai or English fluently, however, I suggest we both take a sign language course, or better yet, intensive telepathy.

Just because I like yoga, Pilates and meditation, doesn't mean you should take me to a hippie vegan restaurant on our first date. I honestly can't go a day without meat or seafood or at least eggs. But if you really want to take me to a meatless place, I guess I'll cooperate, pretend to enjoy my meal there, and maybe even compliment the food out of respect. Once we're done and ready to leave, I'll grab a sharpened pork-chop bone from my purse (yeah, I carry that around all the time) and stab you in the heart. In. The. Heart.

I have horrible taste in music. I can't sing. I can't play any instrument. So if you're a music snob, please don't bother to read the rest of my profile. Leave. Forget about me. And never come back. It's just not meant to be.

I adore beards. If you don't already have it, please grow one. Not the "swamp people" kind of beards, though. More like Deandre Levy's beard. If you'd never heard of him, just google him. Once you see him, you'd know the man puts a lot of effort into taking care of that majestic beard. His beard routine probably goes like this: wash with fragrance-free baby shampoo, gently massage with Moroccan oil in a circular motion for 30 minutes, 55 strokes of brushing, 2 capsules of beard vitamin before each meal, and play Beethoven no. 9 to the beard right before bedtime.

I have to confess I'm not that into sex. Four times a month is my limit. If we do it more than that in one month, the extra sessions will be deducted from the following months. For example, 6 times in March means only twice in April. And twelve times in October means no coitus for the rest of the year.

Another confession: I'm lazy and socially awkward and, let me say this once more, do not smell clean. So instead of going out and partying, I recommend this one simple activity we could do together--it's called reading. You have a book of your choice, and I have mine. They have to be real books, though. Not eBooks. (But if you're so gungho about saving trees and shit, fine! Bring your iPad or Kindle or whatever.) Then we sit on a couch or a bed or a trampoline or the edge of a cliff, and quietly read our books together, while holding hands. Wouldn't that be nice?

Things that make me happy: my mom sitting silently (which almost never happens), toe socks, lobster head fat, that sensation of putting my hand into a sack of rice and wiggling my fingers, the resurrection of Jon Snow.

Things that make me sad: cellulite on my thighs, soggy fried chicken, the possibility that ghosts may not actually exist, the fact that I used to watch The Apprentice, the castration of Theon Greyjoy.

I think you've heard enough about me now. If you're interested, please DO NOT contact me. I'm kind of in the process of negotiation for an open marriage with my husband. This unfortunately could take time. He might eventually agree to it when I'm in my sixties or something. If you want to stick around and wait, feel free to do so. It's only about 30 more years. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thailand Food Adventures



Peking Duck - Hua Seng Hong Restaurant, Bangkok

Fact (NOT hyperbole): this ducky dish possesses the mystical power to convert duck haters into duck fanatics. Unlike Peking duck served in the U.S., this one is made with duck skin only, and its non-greasy crispiness is unparalleled. Wrap a piece of this crispy goodness in a soft, silk-thin rice pancake along with fresh vegetables and a spoonful of hoisin-based sauce, put it in your mouth, and a tastebud euphoria shall ensue! 


Spicy Stir-Fried Razor Clams - Krua Bang Tabun, Petchaburi

At a glance, these clams may seem like solidified Martian sperm. Upon closer observation, well, they still resemble some sort of alien secretions. Beauty might not be one of this dish's attributes, but deliciousness certainly is. As weird-looking as they are, these razor clams are cooked to perfection--tender, boldly flavored, and delicately spiced with aromatic herbs, rendering this dish an absolute must-try. 


Spicy Crab-Roe Dip with Sea Beans - Krua Bang Tabun, Phetchaburi

Made with rich, unctuous crab roe and a bunch of who-knows-what ingredients, it is a dish that seems deceivingly simple but is surprisingly complex in flavor. It comes with fresh vegetables including cabbage, string beans, cucumber, galangal (ginger's close cousin), and the most succulent of all, blanched sea beans topped with thick coconut cream. Crab-roe dip and blanched sea beans, in my not so humble opinion, should make it to the Food-Duo Hall of Fame, alongside peanut butter and jelly, hummus and pita, biscuits and gravy, and other world-renowned pairs.  




Khao Perp (Sukhothai Noodle Soup) - Khao Perp Yai Kreung, Sukhothai 

Flavor-wise, there's nothing extraordinary about this dish--just a delicious bowl of noodle soup with a nice broth and good ingredients--but the unique preparation of it and the restaurant's surroundings are what make one's experience here a little dining adventure. First of all, the noodles are prepared fresh right there in the outdoor kitchen, on the rudimentary clay stove with huge firewood branches partially sticking out. What's more? This family-run open-air eatery is charmingly situated in the courtyard of their own house, in a pretty remote area of town encircled by lush greenery.  A few chicken coops and wandering house cats add to the homespun atmosphere. And thanks to the family's genuine hospitality, one can't help but feel more like a guest than a customer. 


Colorful Thai Pasta and Curries - Khanomchin Baan Na, Sukhothai

I don't usually use the word "cute" to describe food unless it's an artistically frosted cupcake, a resplendent jar of assorted candy or a cake model of Snoopy. This curry-centric restaurant, though, is an exception, offering an outstanding demonstration that savory dishes can be cute, too. Colorizing pasta isn't such a hard task, but arranging it into neat bite-size bundles deserves extra appreciation. Accompanied by a dazzling array of authentic Thai curries, served in dainty ceramic bowls, it is a meal to remember indeed. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oz


Going to a restaurant to cook your own food might sound counter-intuitive, but there's also something indulgent and exuberantly festive about Oz Korean BBQ. As nondescript as its interior looks, as pedestrian as most of the food items are, I do love this place. At $20 for all you can eat, it's like meat lovers' Disneyland. 

The scrumptious, multi-sensory experience begins as the tabletop grill is turned on and trays of raw marinated meat are served. Grab the tongs, throw some meat into the shallow pit, listen to the griddle sizzle, and watch your Galbi ribs turn from pink to brown, all while luxuriating in a billow of barbecue aroma (Yes, your hair and clothes will inevitably smell like Bulgogi for hours afterwards!). Once in a while, especially if you cook fat-laden pork jowl or belly, there will be flare-ups big enough to cause a little bit of excitement, but not so threatening that you have to be concerned about your eyebrows. Most diners eat and grill at the same time with no intervals. It does require multi-tasking skills and watchful eyes; those thin slices of meat cook and burn fast. Sometimes we even see ambidextrous eaters wielding chopsticks in one hand and tongs in the other. 

Juicy piles of Bulgogi populate most tables. Extraordinary? No. But it certainly meets the standards of one discriminating Bulgogi-inspector, aka me. The chili pork and sesame beef deserve a good round of applause for their bold flavor and velveteen tenderness. The Galbi ribs, both the Korean and Hawaiian versions, are well-seasoned and succulent. However, there's no clear distinction between the two, except for the chunks of canned pineapple (unmistakably canned pineapple!) strewn on the latter. Most seafood items, such as calamari and shrimp, suffer a bit from timid seasoning. But the jumbo spicy mussels are sure to not disappoint adventurous palates. 

Once the grill is off and the table is cleared, I'm usually ridden with guilt. I secretly rebuke myself for my earthly indulgence, bloated belly, overworking digestive tract, and repulsive Bulgogi burps. And yet, such self-shaming is quickly overcome by the sense of euphoria emanating from my gluttonous soul. "So when are we coming back here for another debauchery?" the inner glutton always asks. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Let Loose Your Inner Gecko


Give your inner gecko a gangster nickname and start using that name at Starbucks. Even if you've been going to that particular Starbucks for years and all the baristas have known you as Mo, just politely insist they must now call you "Demonicus Goo Goo." (Yeah, that's actually my inner gecko's name.)

Make a pilgrimage to a place like Thailand or Mexico, where deep-fried bugs are considered hearty snacks. Tip: crickets and grasshoppers are the most cherished among geckokind. 


When feeling threatened or irritated at work, either by a boss or a coworker, don't engage in an altercation. Instead, spit at your workplace offender, utter rapid guttural hisses and ominously crawl away. 

While dining out, you may choose to maintain proper restaurant etiquette but you must also stay true to your reptilian nature. For example, NEVER put a forkful of steak into your mouth. Rather, hold the fork about an inch away from your face, then snatch that piece of filet mignon with your powerful tongue.


Don’t bother creating a self-aggrandizing profile filled with filtered selfies on a dating site. Simply attach an audible file of your mating call. (The barkier, the more lascivious!) That alone speaks volumes. 



Disclaimer

I will take no responsibility if the following (but not limited to) issues occur: cricket-scented loose stools, phantom tail syndrome, acute tongue cramps, irrepressible aversion to human language, loss of relationships, involuntary commitment to a mental hospital, expulsion from society. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dining Misadventure - Beignets



The Porch's beignets and I go back a long way. The swine-shaped, deep-fried dough taught me the true meaning of "oral pleasure." Served with fresh fruits, a sinful amount of powdered sugar and a side of fig jam, they emboldened me to live life to the fullest, one beignet at a time. My affinity for them in the past couple years had remained strong and steady.......until last month. 

I was having brunch there with my ex-coworker, an older gentleman whom I'd always admired and looked up to as a father figure (and still do). Three beignets into our conversation, he announced he was going to vote for Trump. "Seriously?" said I, astounded. I listened to his reasoning calmly, respectfully, even though I was inconsolably crying inside. No amount of beignets could ever comfort me. I'd always known he was a republican, and that was fine. Our different ideologies had never hindered our friendship. But Trump? TRUMP? 

For a little while, we exchanged our conflicting opinions. But then, knowing that no matter what I said or how I said it could ever change his mind, I diverted the subject. We went on to discuss his upcoming road trip, his daughter's exorbitant mortgage, and the incredible flavor of my fig jam. We didn't fight. No beignets were hatefully thrown across the table. We parted peacefully and agreed to meet again after his road trip. 

But still, it felt like that eye-opening moment when a child realizes their superhero dad is just a mere human after all. Also, it's quite true that a traumatic event can leave a long-lasting imprint on our minds and affect how we experience certain realities. Because of this incident, next time I eat those cute piggy beignets, they'll probably taste kind of bitter.