Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can Christmas Be Postponed?

I've really let Christmas get away from me this year. Part of it is the shortened time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that I'm still not done with finals even though it's only a week until the 25th. But still, I can't remember being this ill-prepared for the season. I don't have the time or the money to shop for the perfect presents for my parents or friends. And I can't even get it together to give the presents that I've *already* made to people. EPIC FAIL. So, of course, I'm shopping for myself (like you do). Here's the modern edition of What I Want for a (Consumerist) Christmas:

1. Who doesn't need a beautiful teapot? Not I.

2. I love this watch.

3. And after four years of political theory at Berkeley, all I got is this necklace.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Zeitgeisty are you?

I'm ambivalent about "year in review" features, as they serve primarily to remind me 1) how little I've gotten done this year and 2) how much I've already forgotten. On the love side of the love-hate coin, however, is their attraction to me as annual pop culture pop quizzes (and I do love me some of those). So let's start with New York magazine (that hipster* bible) and their culture awards:

First, their movie wrap-up: I'm afraid that I score a bit fat zero here, as the number of movies I've seen in theaters this year can be counted on one hand. But I plan to go on an Oscar binge this Christmas when I'm at home. Bring on the Nazi movies!

Ah, television, a medium I'm (unfortunately) more familiar with: I'm up to date on my Mad Men, 30 Rock, Dr. Horrible, The Office (Jim + Pam 4EVER), and Ugly Betty (though its sophomore slump is extending into its junior year). I'm surprised that Pushing Daisies isn't on the list, but it's probably for the best; I'd just start crying about its cancellation all over again. As for the rest, I plead the Netflix defense. Plus, I totally devoured all of Skins via the interwebs.

As for architecture, I object to this list on the basis of its omission of Renzo Piano's work for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Penultimately, I've been living in a hole on Mars with regards to music this year, although Gossip Girl has actually been responsible for introducing me to Santogold and The Fratellis, so I'm not completely musically illiterate. I also have Vampire Weekend, but I'm not crazy about them. Elliott scores huge points in this category, as he actually saw both Radiohead at the All Points West festival (with Lady Liberty in the background) AND The Walkmen this year.

And finally, on the subject of books, purportedly the subject of this blog: I have read none of the ones on New York magazine's list or on the New York Times's 100 Notable Books list, but I definitely plan to. Especially the new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Unaccustomed Earth, and Fanon. Oh, and I should probably finish Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman before it disintegrates in my purse.

And how "2008" are you?

* I promise to retire this word in 2009. It's way past its sell-by date, no?

Friday, December 05, 2008

What I Want for Christmas*

1. Every single necklace on this page. I can picture this in yellow with a lovely sundress.

2. All the lovely yarn here.

3. A t-shirt proclaiming my crafty bent.

4. One of these.

* The ultra-materialistic version.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I need a new craft like I need a hole in my head

And yet I want to make a draft stopper for my bedroom door (like this). Now I can't stop browsing IKEA fabrics online. Wouldn't this, this, this, this, this and this make a lovely quilt? I particularly like this pattern , which reminds of looking at spores under a microscope.

Of course, I also have a sweater on the needles and several more Christmas gifts to knit, plus that whole law school finals thing, so I should probably stop here now.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Restaurant Nostalgia

So one of the contestants on Top Chef this season is the current executive chef from Absinthe in San Francisco, Jaime Lauren. Since I'd eaten there before, I wondered if she was the executive chef then (she wasn't; Ross Brown was), which sent me on a trip down nostalgia lane.

Elliott and I went there on our second date. I ordered the cassoulet (which doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore). I wore a black, silk BCBG dress with side cut-outs and a tiny pearl necklace from a boutique on College Avenue. It was the most expensive dress I'd ever bought at the time; I had to call my friend Emily from the dressing room to justify the purchase. I remember being flushed from all the wine and going to the bathroom to powder my nose, something that Elliott commented on when I got back to the table. We went to the symphony afterward, but I don't remember what we heard though I still have the program somewhere. What I do remember is getting the heel of one of my shoes stuck in a sidewalk grate and having to hop back to get it. I remember walking hand-in-hand with Elliott over the wet pavement of the U.N. Plaza. And I remember the salty richness of the cassoulet.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I don't think I'm built to handle round-the-clock sunshine. And it's not just the shock of successive 80-degree days after a month of rain talking, either. Long stretches of idyllic weather in Berkeley used to make me lethargic and melancholy, too. I think that inclement weather stimulates the senses more: the threatening horizon, the smell of rain, the crack of thunder. Or maybe I just resent feeling like I'm supposed to be more productive when it's nice out, and I can't just sit on the couch reading and knitting. Either way, I'm left staring up at blue skies and hoping for a raincloud or two.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rain, rain, go away

Except not really. With a combination of the rainclouds prematurely darkening the sky and me typing away in a cafe, I feel almost transported to my undergrad days in Berkeley. I remember staying out late with Anna in freshman year and walking home on rain slick streets with a stop at the Asian Ghetto. And of course, later, spending untold hours at the Free Speech Movement Cafe with Karthik. If only CafeNation in Brighton were open until 2:00 in the morning. That's when my genius really happens.

Okay, that's enough nostalgia for an August day. How about a reading update?

Here's a book I forgot to include last time: Austenland. My roommate got it for me because she thinks that I'm some sort of Austen uberfreak (I disagree; I think I'm just a regular Austen freak). The story -- such as it is -- is about a single, New York woman (redundant?) who flies to England to attend an Austen camp for adults. She is simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the artifice of Edwardian era dress and beautiful men who are paid to flirt with her, blah blah blah. But (SPOILER ALERT) she finds true love in the end. But all in all, it was a delightful trifle and reminded me of the BBC reality show/contest that aired a couple of years ago wherein the participants/contestants live as Miss Austen would have lived. They had to follow the social rules of the time (e.g., no touching between men and women unless they were dancing) and were allowed no modern amenities. In fact, I distinctly recall one girl who had to bathe in old bathwater that had already been used by every other girl in the house. Does anyone remember the name of the show? Karthik?

And I finally read something that all high school students in America are probably required to read: The Great Gatsby. I'm glad that I read this for the first time as a mid-twentysomething. I don't know if I would have understand some of the themes of money and status as a 15-year-old. Beyond that, I don't have much to say about Fitzgerald that hasn't already been said a dozen times over except that the man sure knows how to turn a phrase.

I'm currently reading Kundera's The Joke. And despite the title, the book's not exactly laugh out loud funny. At best, it's cynically humorous, which suits me just fine. But I am getting a little tired of Kundera's misogynistic man-children (the Socialist precursors to Judd Apatow's?) who only want women for the services that they provide. I'll take the book with me down to the beach tomorrow, though. Maybe the sun will bleach away some of the darkness.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I need to go to Seoul.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Addendum to An Ode

Apparently, fruit flies feel the same way I do about Riesling.

Further adventures in procrastination

Yes, OCI bids are due soon. Why do you ask?

Let's catch up on all the reading that I've been able to indulge in this summer.

Reading Lolita in Tehran was surprisingly poignant toward the end. I'd gotten a little tired of Nafisi's comparative literature essay style of writing earlier in the book, but once she got more into her own struggles with the Revolution and her students' lives, I liked the book a lot more. Also, she revived my interest in classic American literature. At this moment, there's a copy of The Great Gatsby on my nightstand.

I picked up this copy of Amsterdam on a book buying spree, and I read it in a day. Despite the fact that you can see the ending coming from a mile away, it was an enjoyable read. Though I think I expected something with more gravitas; instead, it was a little bit... pulpy.

I also finished reading The United States of Arugula, which was really fun and informational. Though I've already been guilty of bringing it up at parties three times. I'm going to stop that now. Still, read it for everything you wanted to but didn't know about how gourmet cuisine began in America and who the hell James Beard is.

And finally, there is Phyllida and the Brotherhood of the Philander. It's a bisexual Regency romance, and really, do I need to say more than that? There were more explicit sex scenes than I expected, but when is that ever a bad thing?

I'm now almost done with Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans, which is beautiful so far. The protagonist shares a quality with other Ishiguro narrators in that he tends to re-write his own history, to overlook (or willfully disregard) what's right in front of him, and to fail in love. But I haven't gotten to the end yet, so maybe it won't be as heartbreaking as his other books. I'll let you know.

In addition to reading, I've also been catching up on Almodovar's back catalog. Between that and a recent trip to the El Greco to Velazquez exhibit at the MFA, I really really want to go to Spain this winter. Oh, those lovely lispy esses.

An Ode to Riesling

On this hot summer night
I press my lips to your cool glass of
Heady sweetness.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Culinary revelation of the day (to me at least): Roasted brussel sprouts + balsamic vinegar = gustatory heaven.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Picture Dump Part 2 (the Obama edit)

On Super Tuesday eve, Barack Obama held a rally at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. This is our journey to hear him speak.

The doors were supposed to open at 8:00, so I got there around 6:30. The line was four blocks long, and there were already over 3,000 in line. Thankfully, Khadijah and her posse and Jeremy and Sarah showed up soon thereafter, so I wouldn't have to keep the hope alive all by myself.

Me and Ms. B.

The whole gang. We look happy here because we didn't yet know how long it would actually take us to get inside.

We danced to keep ourselves warm. Jeremy, uh, walked funny.

When we finally got inside, nearly four hours later, we were near the back of the enormous conference hall.

Way back.

But it was great to be there, to be part of a new political process.

Picture Dump Part 1

Way back in January, when my moot court brief was but a spot on the horizon, I visited Elliott in New York to spend the last part of my winter break.

We visited the Imagine circle in Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Central Park maintenance's own version of Christo and Jean-Claude's The Gates.

Some simple stir-fry on the new CB2 plates we got. (We also visited my personal mecca, the MUJI store in Soho, but those pictures are on Elliott's camera.)

Elliott opened his belated birthday presents on a damp bench in the Columbus quad.

Elliott's happy about his new Alice Waters book. Yay!

And then Elliott came up to Boston, whereupon we made a lot of food.

First, we made chicken enchiladas. Recipe from Chow.

Then we made lots of gingerbread cookies.

And we finished with a winter vegetable kale soup. Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Iowa Caucus Eve!

If we're good boys and girls, mayhaps we'll get a nice Democratic presidential candidate tomorrow.

(Yep, still gafiating [getting away from it all]).