Friday, March 13, 2009

raw foodie wanna-be

My first experience with raw food was in 2007 in Kauai, Hawaii at a wonderful restaurant called Blossoming Lotus (which sadly was forced to close its doors this past December because of slows in tourism to the island).

I thought as we approached the restaurant. Really? Ok, I'll just order room service at the resort later.

Oh, what a foolish raw virgin was I! I had a raw lasagne followed by a raw fudge chocolate cake with "whipped cream". I couldn't even eat the entire piece of lasagna because it was so filling. And the flavors! Oh, the flavors! Everything was seriously so delicious, it was definitely the highlight of my entire Hawaii vacation. For those interested, there's still a Blossoming Lotus in Portland, Oregon and I highly recommend trying it out. I think about that meal a lot and how delicious it was, and for a long time I considered it the best meal of my life (sorry, Anthony Bourdain, but raw food can be amazing).

That is, until I had a raw Greek salad with a raw papaya smoothie, tofu "BLT" sandwich, and raw cheesecake with raspberries for dessert at Radiance Restaurant in Koh Samui, Thailand. I plan on coming back to Thailand in the near future and will definitely be staying at the resort where this restaurant is located.

Becoming a semi-vegetarian has been difficult in China, and becoming a raw-foodie will seriously be near impossible here, but it is something I am considering toying with when I get home in July. I don't know if I will make a full raw transition, but I am going to start incorporating more raw food into my life and start experimenting with raw food recipes, so get ready for that! I'll be leaving the baking up to Twin (who is starting her own cupcakery) and will be doing a lot of raw food "cooking" and "baking". Trust me, raw desserts are out of this world. AND HEALTHY!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am participating in a month-long yoga challenge. I have done pilates before, but never yoga and I had always assumed it was simply relaxing and a good way to wind down. Ha! I was so naive. Even in two short weeks of yoga practice I can feel my upper body strength increase and I can even do a few push-ups now. It's amazing.

I think yoga and raw food living complement each other really well. I'd love to start a raw restaurant/yoga studio like Blossoming Lotus when I grow up. When I grow up, gawd, I love saying that.

bite me

Please, Edward Cullen, bite me!

Twin is obsessed with Twilight, not in a weird way, but in a "I bought all the books and read them in 4 days only stopping to use the bathroom or take cat naps" kind of way. Since movies come out here in Shanghai on DVD when they are only available in theaters in the US (thank you, lax pirating regulations), Twin begged me to send her the DVD.

I haven't read the books and haven't decided if I'm ever going to, but since I bought the movie and had to test it out to make sure it was a decent copy, I figured I would make a night of it, pop some popcorn, buy some lemonade, and find out what all the rage is about.

I watched it and absolutely loved it. I really like the Twilight "version" of vampires, they're so much more real than the vampires of the past (fangs, coffins, can't be out in day light, etc). Very clever, in my opinion. I shipped the DVD off to Twin at the beginning of this week and I have to admit that I went straight to the DVD store and bought another copy, and have watched it a total of three times so far. You should watch it, too. And after you do, watch this AMAZING Twilight parody from TheHillywoodShow:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

godzilla VS bambi

I referenced the epic Bambi VS Godzilla battle in a post a few days ago. For those of you that haven't seen the glorious short film, here it is:

princess strawberry's throne a dorm room

Have I ever posted pictures of my living situation here in Shanghai? I don't remember. I live on campus right next to the cafeteria and the gymnasium. Teachers take up the first level of the dorm rooms and students live on the other 10 levels.

FYI I have never watched Breakast at Tiffany's.

There's one shared kitchen space for all of us and it is always super dirty and nasty because mainly the only people that use it are the ayis so they just treat it like it's their personal cooking space, never cleaning up after themselves, never washing their dishes, you all know the feel, you've had roommates.

Way back in October I figured it'd be best to invest in a rice cooker because the one communal rice cooker was always filled with rice. I don't even eat rice that much, but the fact that I couldn't because the ayis always beat me to it, made me want to buy one. As you can see above, our rooms are too small to have a "kitchen area" so the rice cooker was the only appliance I could fit in my room (other than a small juicer), so I've gotten pretty creative with it's usage.

Do you KNOW the possibilities a rice cooker holds? Because I had no idea they could do anything but cook rice until I started experimenting. So far in my rice cooker I have made:
rice (duh)
kidney beans with carrots and peas
macaroni and cheese
vegetable samosa
refried beans and cheese
grilled cheese sandwich

I love multi-task kitchenware.

burn me twice, shame on me

Andy had a great point on my post about my massage fiasco. Who cares if going back to Bamboo 7 (the massage studio in question) makes me lose face with all the employees since I had such a temper tantrum the last time I was there? Massages are better than dignity.

With that in mind, I fully intended to get a massage last night. A friend of mine from junior high was in town and asked to crash at my place and the first words I said to her after 12 years were, "So, wanna get a massage tonight?" After a nice dinner with Romy, we headed over to Bamboo 7 where we were told by the same feral cat that was screaming Miao Miao!! after me on Monday that it would be "only 20 minute wait."

"Really? Is it really going to be only 20 minutes? Because you said that last time and it was over a 30 minute wait and my masseuse never even showed up. If it's really 20 minutes, we'll get massages, but if it's longer, we're not interested."

I'm pretty confident she understood about 3 words from my rant and she repeated "Yes, yes!" with a big smile that I wanted to believe so bad. So me and my friend walked down to the DVD store to pass the time and came back.

Apparently there was some kind of confusion, and they thought we wanted foot massages instead of Chinese massages, and we would need to wait another 10 minutes. At this point, I should have known better and just left, but me and my friend were catching up after over a decade of separation, so the time sort of flew by. Before I knew it another 30 minutes had passed, nearly an hour of total wait time.

Feral Cat assured us it would only be "another two minutes", but I'm pretty over waiting ever at that stupid massage studio ever again. So we left. Sans massages and avec major annoyance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

happy birthday dad!

Today is my dad's birthday which of course you are all aware of since it is an internationally celebrated event. My dad is pretty awesome and I miss seeing him lovingly harass all the family pets.

Last year when that Soulja Boy song Superman That Ho came out it was a particularly slow news week for America because they did some big feature on it on MSNBC (my dad's favorite television channel) and showed the whole dance from the Youtube video. My dad saw a clip of it and was thus convinced that he knew how to do it perfectly. Because he was such an expert, he attempted to teach Tater Tot the dance:

My dad's version of "teaching" is a lot like mine: waving your arms around and pretending you know what you're saying.

Monday, March 9, 2009

like a feral cat

The events of the past few days are pretty surreal. Death, I think, is always surreal, suddenly someone is there and then poof, they're gone. Death is especially difficult to deal with when it's the passing of someone young, someone with "their whole lives ahead of them". Daniel was such a great guy and it's hard to cope with the fact that he's gone when so many not great people are still here. Is there any sort of justice in the world? I don't understand what higher purpose would let something like this happen.

Daniel meant a lot to a lot of people. He was the type of guy you instantly wanted to date if you were a girl, or be friends with if you were a guy. He was kind and genuine and smart and handsome and not a single bit arrogant. Pretty much everyone from my hometown had some sort of Facebook status update mentioning him today. I left a comment on his wall, a stupid :( emoticon, but for some reason it made me feel a little better about the whole situation. A little, but not much.

Today of all days the sun finally decided to shine in Shanghai after two weeks straight of rain. Maybe there's something to be said for that, I'm not sure, but I welcomed it anyway because I was in desperate need of some semi-fresh air (by Chinese standards) and a long walk. I walked for over an hour with no particular destination in mind, and it felt nice to just wander around the city.

I just got a massage on Saturday, but I really needed another one to take my mind off things, so I stopped by my usual place and made an appointment with my usual girl, #31, for later in the afternoon, under the name "Miao Miao". A few hours later as I was relaxing in my room I got a call from one of the receptionists asking me if it was ok if I came in one hour later than I had scheduled. Sure, I answered, I had nothing better to do.

I got to the massage parlor right on time and they took me up to a room where I proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait.

It was one of those situations where you tell yourself, "In five minutes I'm leaving..." Then five minutes passes and you tell yourself, "Okay, okay, seriously, in another five minutes I. am. going. Enough is enough." Finally, after half an hour of this logic, I had given up hope on #31 and was starting to get angry. Angry is never a state of mind you want to be in pre-massage, so I figured I should just leave right then and there, even if she decided to show up.

The staff seemed really confused about what was going on when I asked for my shoes (you have to take them off and put on slippers when you enter), but gave them to me anyway mostly because none of them can really speak English so arguing is pretty much impossible. I put my Uggs on slowly, glancing at the manager from the corner of my eye half-hoping she would try to stop me. But she didn't.

I left the parlor and started walking down the street when I heard someone yelling "Wait! Wait!"

Yes! I thought. They're going to offer me some sort of incentive to come back!


"You have to pay!" The lady shouted with a heavy accent.
"For what?"
"Uh, I didn't get a massag-ay." I was making fun of her because it felt good to make fun of her, even though I knew she had no idea I was doing it.
"You have appointment, yes? For 6:30, yes?"
"Yes, I did have an appointment for 6:30, you are correct." I was talking to her like a child, very slowly and with a lot of hand gestures. Not the most mature way of dealing with the situation, but I had to blow off steam somehow. "And what time is it now?" I asked, pointing to the place on my wrist where a watch would be if I were indeed wearing a watch.

At this point there was a small crowd forming and the woman was getting embarrassed. Losing face is a huge deal in China, and this girl was losing it all over the place with about twelve random people watching.

"It is 7:00. But we busy! Come, come, only five minutes."
"No, I'm not waiting! I've already waited thirty minutes! That's absolutely ridiculous!" I waited for the impact of my words to sink in, but she just sort of stared at me with a hopeful look on her face. Clearly she had no idea what I was saying. "I'm leaving!" I shouted, turning away from her and stomping my way in the opposite direction.

I'm so glad she couldn't see my face when she shouted desperarely: "Miao Miao! WAIT! MIAO MIAO! MIAO MIAO!!"

It's impossible to look angry and upset when someone is screaming like a cat.

Now the problem is that I really can't go back there, which is unfortunate since they're the cheapest massage parlor in walking distance. I mean, technically I can go back there, but I would feel kind of silly after being so melodramatic and storming off. Maybe I'll wait a week or two and hope that they forget about me. Alas, with a name like Miao Miao, you're kind of hard to forget.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

absolutely tragic

"This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tragedy." Harold Crick, Stranger Than Fiction

I just found out tonight that one of my friends that I've known since elementary school was killed in Afghanistan earlier today. I don't know any details except that it is so very, very tragic. This guy was seriously the All American Boy. Went to west point and served his country and was robbed of the rest of his life. It's so insanely sad.

I was already feeling down for whatever reason, and I went to visit Saemi in the hospital Friday which was somewhat good, but mostly just upsetting. After this, I need a few mental health days from blogging.