Thursday, February 28, 2008

bad puppy

This is Beau, the newest, and now permanent, addition to L&G's family (which already consists of two dogs).

Why is Beau now a permanent addition? One day, G was walking his other two dogs and found this puppy, Beau, and took him home. G told L that she shouldn't get attached to the puppy because they were only going to keep the puppy until they could find it a home. That was four months ago.
When I last visited L&G last week, G said he found someone who really really wanted to adopt Beau. G told L, L was sad. I said they couldn't give Beau away either.
The people who wanted Beau called after a few days to ask if they could take him. G said it was up to L's decision. L told the people no, Beau wasn't available anymore. And G was happy too, because he said he wouldn't have been able to let Beau go. So that's how Beau became a permanent puppy in the home of L&G.
Next thing I hear, Beau is scheduled to be neutered. Poor dog.
Anyway, Beau is not allowed to be on top of the couches, sofas, chairs, dining tables, beds, etc.
He's also not allowed to jump on people or chew on their shoes or socks. Everytime he does something like this, we yell at him. He's just a puppy, and he's still learning.
Well, one morning, I noticed it was really quiet in the house, because Beau always wants to play with the other two dogs. So I went looking for Beau. I found him on L&G's bed, where he is not allowed to be.
I approached and asked him what he was doing on the bed. Beau just looked at me. I told him to get off the bed. Beau just looked at me.
I nudged him off the bed and said, "Beau, bad puppy, get off the bed now." But Beau just laid his head down and went back to sleep.

After taking pictures for evidence and laughing about the whole thing, I finally had to pull Beau by the collar to get him off the bed.
Then he proceeded to chew on my shoe.

too hungry for pictures

We tried out a new Mexican restaurant earlier this week. It was an impromptu dinner since we found out at the last minute that two of our classmates were leaving Kansas City the next day. We wanted to take them to a Chinese place, but they were sick of Chinese food, so we went in search of Mexican food.
Baja 600 is this great place on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. They have these lamps on the patio that are always ablaze with fire (tiki latterns, perhaps?), and I had always wondered what kind of restaurant it was. Obviously with the 10 degree weather the other day, no one was sitting on the patio. We all literally ran a block and a half from the parking lot to the restaurant.
I brought my camera along intentionally to take the pictures of the food and do a review. However, I only remembered to take a picture of the appetizers of nachos and salsa. Then I was so distracted with the conversation discussing whether one of our friends was gay or not that I completely forgot about my pictorial intentions when the food came.
Obviously, I remembered about taking a picture a little too late. So here's what the Chicken Flautas dinner plate looked like after I was done eating. And it was so delicious, I mostly cleaned the plate!

Others at the table had burritos and a Taco salad. The burritos, in each of their variety, were large for the portion and looked really tasty from where I was sitting. My chicken flautas, topped with the special extra hot sauce, were crunchy and full of flavorfull chicken (perhaps this is because this dinner was my first meal of the day, my tastebuds could have been biased).
All in all, I'd eat there again because the prices weren't astronomical for a restaurant on the plaza. And they had happy hours until 7pm. I took part in the Happy Hour Margaritas ($3 for pretty big glass) and could only drink half because it was FULL of tequila and I really had to do homework after dinner. Plus the $2 Happy Hour Chicken Quesadillas were a good bargain too.

and I thought my pictures were cool

Ice on bench in Kansas City, MO.
Ice on bench somewhere in Switzerland.
Ice on tree in Kansas City, MO.
Ice on tree somewhere in Switzerland.
And I thought the pictures I took of the ice storm in Kansas City was cool (no pun intended). Look at these pictures of the ice storm at a city somewhere in Switzerland.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

what a difference the weather makes

This is what Kansas City looked like after I got on a plane to head for some sunshine:

And this is what California looks like while it was snowing buckets onto KC. Ah, what a difference sunshine makes.

I am so glad I didn't have to sit through another snow storm. Unfortunately, I have to go back to the coldness. Yuck.

However, it is raining right now in CA, and people here say that I bought the midwest weather with me. So maybe I can bring back some California sunshine on my way back to KC this weekend.

One can hope.

Monday, February 11, 2008

pizza skins

So like I said in my previous post, we had dinner at Uno Chicago Grill yesterday. In addition to my alcoholic Wildberry Lemonade, we had an appetizer and the pizza. For the appetizer, we decided to try their new "Pizza Skins," which is their version of potato skins on pizza dough. I was under the impression that it was going to be a very thin layer of pizza dough, with potato skins on top and everything piled with bacon bits, cheese and sour cream.
What we got was something that looked like a mini-pizza with mashed potatoes on top and then cheese, bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream. It was a bit weird to eat mashed potatoes on pizza dough. The dough by itself was good because it was flaky, but the combination of the mashed potatoes and pizza dough was just weird. I sprinkled a ton of crushed red peppers on top so the burning sensation on my tongue helped masked the weirdness of mashed potatoes and pizza dough. I also downed by Wildberry Lemonade to wash away the taste.
The Chicago style deep dish Uno Special pizza, on the other hand, was DELICIOUS. Although I've always seen an Uno Chicago Grill, I've never actually been inside one, and thus have never had their pizza. The crust was so good -- a bit flaky but also crispy in addition to being just thick enough to hold the toppings. The seasoning on the pizza was savory enough that I didn't have to do what I normally do when eating pizza -- adding a ton of crushed red peppers to help with the taste.
Next time, I think I'll skip the pizza skins and go straight for the pizza. That and a couple glasses of the wildberry lemonade.

new twist to a favorite drink

Remember my love for So Cal Strawberry Lemonade? Well, yesterday, I was at Uno Chicago Grill and tried their Wildberry Lemonade and it was pretty good. It was my kind of drink because it was pretty sweet and I couldn't taste the alcohol.

So what's in a Wildberry Lemonade? According to the menu:
-Stoli Raspberry
-Stoli Wildberry
-Puree of wildberries
-Fresh Lemonade

If you try this concoction at home, use your own judgment in measurements.

Friday, February 08, 2008

yummy rice cakes

Every year, I usually try to schedule a vacation and go home to be with my family in Boston during the Lunar New Year. When I was working, it was easy to take a few personal days off and just fly home. But then I started this thing called law school and it interfered with taking personal days off. Last year, fortunately, the lunar new year fell on the weekend of Presidents Day, so we had a Monday off from school and I was able to skip Friday classes and spend four days with my family celebrating Tet (Vietnamese New Year).
By being home for the "holiday," I was able to parttake in the traditional festivities like watching the parade/shows, eating, silly dice game of bau cua ca cop, eating, collecting red envelopes, and more eating.
This year, however, I couldn't go home because I couldn't afford to skip 10 classes. And because I'm in the middle of no good asian food land, I wouldn't be able to eat all the good desserts, like rice cakes. So I called my mom and asked her if it was even possible to send me some. Fed-ex overnight is a good thing. She sent me a variety of rice cakes and I quickly gobbled down two of the small rolls.

Above, is a version of rice cakes called Banh Chung. If you want to see how it's made, click here for a musical video.

This was the pile of rice cakes that my mom sent to me (love you mommy!)

And here is the unwrapped rice cake. I'm preparing to eat it.

But first I like to heat it up by frying it for a few minutes.

And then I stuffed everything in my mouth. It was so good. I love the sticky rice, and this version was especially yummy because it was just green bean filling and didn't have the fatty meat in it (which is also good too).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

新年快乐 -- year of the rat

Birth years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
People born in the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are basically thrifty with money. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.
To learn more about the year of your animal, click here.
If you're in San Francisco this weekend, here's a list of festivities.
Chinese greetings: 新年快乐
Vietnamese greetings: CHÚC MỪNG NĂM MỚI
English greetings: Happy Lunar New Year!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

let's all go eat worms

nobody loves me
everybody hates me
let's all go eat worms
big ones little ones
fat ones skinny ones
let's all go eat worms


Falling snow as I was walking home around 12:30am last night. It was a really pretty sight, especially with the silence of the night.
An image without the flash. See how peaceful it looks?
I didn't think it was going to snow enough for school to be canceled. But, to my surprise, I woke up this morning to a 7:30am voicemail from school that said the campus was closed and classes were canceled. I got out of my warm bed and looked outside -- there wasn't that much snow out there.

I again come to the conclusion that the midwesterners out here are wimps when it comes to snow. That, or the state does a really bad job at cleaning the streets, thus forcing people to stay home instead of drive to work/school/etc.
Although I think it was a waste of a snow day, I'm not complaining that loudly. I enjoyed sleeping in till noon on a Wednesday.

super sized dumplings

I used to make my own dumplings (or wontons/potstickers/and the like) from scratch, but I always bought the ready made wrappers from the store. I would just make the filling (usually shrimp and pork) and then sit in front of the TV while "wrapping" the ready made wonton wrappers around the filling; it's similar to wrapping eggrolls, but in smaller form. And I thought it was already a long process to make home-made dumplings when using ready made store bought wrappers.

Then I met my roommate, and her friends. They make EVERYTHING from scratch, including the wrapper. The dough is made from flour and eggs, and kneaded until your arms fall off. Then each dumpling wrapper is rolled out piece by piece before adding the filling. Normally, the dumplings are about 1-2 inches in length. Last night, however, the dumplings were about twice the normal size because we were all hungry and didn't want to wait another hour just to finish making the dumplings.

I guess now that I know how to make the dough for the dumpling/wonton/potsticker wrapper, I should never go back to buying ready made wrappers. Homemade dough tastes much better than store bought. But then again, if I'm lazy, I'll just buy it from the store. =)

I have always wondered what the difference is between a dumpling, a wonton and a potsticker. I ask the natives of China, and they can't tell me. The only difference I know is that a potsticker is always fried. Whereas dumplings can be steamed or fried, and wontons are always in a soup. Is there any other difference?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

superbowl food, the chinese way

My roommate, an international student from China, wanted to invite some of her friends over for dinner tonight (friends are also international students from China) and she also invited me, because you know, I live with her. I said I'd join dinner but asked if they would mind if I could keep the TV on to watch the Superbowl. Surprisingly, she said we could just make it a Superbowl dinner party. So, that's what we did.

There were Chinese marinated ribs, honey glazed chicken wings (made the Asian way, of course)...

...some cucumber chicken potato salad, and spicy tofu. Oh yeah, all served with white rice, of course.


Luckily, two of her friends were males so they were excited to see their first American Superbowl game. And they kinda understood the game.


Now, imagine me, someone who isn't an expert in football in the first place, trying to explain to a group of foreign students about the rules of football, the history of the Patriots' undeated season thus far, and the importance of how we had to root for the Patriots during the entire game. There were a lot of questions and I tried to answer as best as I could all the while screaming "NOOOO, THROW THE DAMN BALL BRADY!!!" or "WHERE'S THE DEFENSE???"


Once everyone understood what was supposed to happen (i.e. the Patriots must win in order to have a perfect season), we all got into the game. I, for the first time in my life, was screaming at the TV whenever Brady got hit or the Eli connected on a pass. When the Patriots made their last touchdown, the roommate and her friends thought the game was over and Patriots won. They didn't understand the concept of 2:39 minutes was a lifetime in football and anything could happen within that period. And unfortunately for the Patriots, anything did happen.


Damn, that was a good game. But let me just say that the halftime show could have been a lot more exciting. I'm so bummed the Patriots lost. My poor Brady -- must be crying his eyes out.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

i want a puppy

how can you not love something this adorable?
it loves you right back!
If Sam's owner wasn't a good friend, I'd dognap him.

weightwatcher's dinner

Spinach and cherry tomatoes salad -- 5 points
Chicken and spinach lasagna -- 11 points
YUM YUM -- Such a delicious and HEALTHY dinner!!
Coldstone Creamery Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake -- points overloaded.
I'm not on WeightWatchers, but I think I ruined the point system by contributing the ice-cream cake for dinner. Eh, it was her birthday - she deserved to be spoiled.
It was yummy though.

since it's tax season...

Supposedly, there is this urban myth that irate taxpayers will mail in their tax payments written on the back of a shirt -- "the shirt off their back" so to say.

So we discussed this hypothetical in class: Suppose an IRS tax agent receives a package from a taxpayer in the mail. When he opens the box, he sees that he has received a somewhat worn white dress shirt, with teh following written in black ink across the back of the shirt: "Pay to the order of the Internal Revenue Service $150,000." The taxpayer signed his name at the bottom, wrote "Secondhand Bank" next to it and also wrote a series of numbers that seemed to appear to be his account at Secondhand Bank.

Puzzled, the IRS agent wanted to find out if he could actually collect payment from the "shirt check." So the IRS agent took the shirt to Secondhand Bank and attempted to cash it. Secondhand Bank confirmed that taxpayer was one of their customers and that the numbers were indeed his account number at the bank, and that his account did indeed have enough funds to cover the $150,000 amount. But, Secondhand Bank refused to honor the shirt check because it was their policy that customers had to use the bank's forms in writing checks.

Who's wrong? Secondhand Bank or IRS Agent?

Neither. I will spare you by not listing the 20+ UCC* provisions that we could use to argue that the shirt check is indeed a negotiable instrument in which IRS Agent is permitted by law to collect payment on. The shirt check identified a person to make payment to, an amount, an account and thus it "ordered" Secondhand Bank to make the $150,000 payment to IRS. However, if Secondhand Bank had specifically written in its "terms and conditions of account agreement" with its customer, the taxpayer, that it is the bank's policy to use its forms only, then Secondhand Bank would not have to honor the payment of the shirt check. BUT, this means that IRS Agent can now sue the taxpayer for "bouncing" the shirt check.

Okay, I'm done teaching lessons about commercial transactions now. I promise to stop boring you.

*If you're a law student, past or present, you know what the UCC is. For all others, it's the Uniform Commercial Code and is currently the bane of my existence.

where's spring, mr. groundhog?

The official Punxsutawny Phil saw his freaking shadow today and as a result of his vision, we're going to have six more weeks of winter.

Damn you, groundhog! Why couldn't you face the sun when you came out of your hole?

I hope the groundhog is wrong about the forecast because I'm done being miserable with this winter cold. I want some sunshine and warmth!!