Thursday, December 30, 2010


Human beings can't make one another really happy for long.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ranch 99: a review ..sort of

i just came back from ranch 99. rumors are true. it's pretty great. although.. walking in, i immediately sensed something was missing. at first i couldn't figure it out so i went through my mental checklist of chinese grocery store must-haves:

lots of asian people, check.
shopping cart jam around the hanging roast ducks, check.
token white person, check.
crates of durian by checkout lines, check.
old guys sitting on wooden stools drinking tea, check.
token black person, check.
loud cantonese woman, check.
the pungent smell of live sea creatures, ch... wait, that's it!!

although i'm not about to discredit this new place as an authentic asian grocery store by its lack of fishiness.. it's certainly a surprise to not be face-whipped by the smell.

what makes people love ranch 99 so much?

for some people, comfort foods are chicken noodle soup, casseroles, fried chicken, etc. para mi, it's fried gluten, fermented bean curds and bitter melon. YOMM. ranch 99 takes me way back. when i went today, i rolled through every aisle pulling down things my mom used to buy and cook for us.

* hee neen de: almond tea. forget hot cocoa! this was always a hUge treat that my mom would pull out during the winter.

* mee tee: fried gluten. i don't know how else to describe this other than.. wrinkly, soggy, oily, and spongy deliciousness. i never understood why they only come in half-size cans. our family would fight over this stuff on saturday mornings and it's always the first to go.

* dao lee: fermented bean curd. this tastes best smeared over everything. the closest thing i can think of that it looks like is plaque. yeah.. sounds hecka nasty. hahhaaa

* guay ya: pickled cucumbers. again, forget pickles! these are exponentially better.

* bah so: dried pork. i remember asian ladies selling buckets of these from the trunk of their cars after church when we lived in new york. this is pretty much a staple in our pantry at home. i eat them like chips.

* spicy preserved bamboo shoots: this is my version of kimchee.

* butter coconut cookies: every time my family'd brave the 5 hour drive into new york city to visit my grandparents, we'd have at least one pack of these cookies in the back of the caravan.

* sesame sachima cookies: i don't know why they're called cookies.. they're more like sticky blocks of yummy. one summer in new york, our house had an ant infestation where they took over anything sweet in our pantry. i remember finding these covered black with ants. no worries though, i still eat them = ]

* ba zaaang: i haven't tried these yet but i hope there's lots and lots of peanuts and squishy pieces of fat and maybe an egg yolk!

* cha sa bao: this just reminded me of the attacking cha sa bao from white elephant last christmas...

* koh guay: bitter melon. does anyone else lOve this stuff?? i felt very proud finding myself picking out bitter melons with old asian grandmas at the store :D

well, that's a rundown of some of my favorite things. taiwanese lesson included.


Monday, December 6, 2010


This morning i was presented with a very big dilemma. It was my day off meaning i'd have the entire day to focus and finish all my assignments as I wrap up the first quarter of my last year of grad school. So after taking a shower, feeding bob and charpie and unsuccessfully trying to manage my mess of hair, I sat down at my desk to map out my day.

If you haven't noticed, I am very easily distracted. Thus, I try to get out of the house whenever duty calls me to study. The problem is, the prospect of leaving home for an extended period of time brings up a host of moral and logistical crises. I'll list a few for you:

Starbucks: free wifi and gift cards adequate to feed me the whole day. Its vice is that it's not within walking distance (ok this might not be entirely true) and timed parking.

Coffeeworks: support local business at the expense of paying for my own coffee. Also, I feel bad for bringing in my own food and staying long past the cost of a small coffee.

Panera bread: way crowded during lunchtime on top of a limited number of outlets. Ive found that staring people down in hopes of grabbing the next available table with plug access is very distracting.

Sacramento library: I once paid 9 dollars for parking in the parking garage. I had no idea. I also will not be returning there for this very reason. Oh yes.. and because I'm actively evading having to pay for my library card fine. From 3 years ago.

After I'd packed my backpack and went to the bathroom one last time, I decided, after much contemplation, that I'd change back unto my flannel pajama pants, make my own coffee and stay home.

Have you ever encountered a situation where you had several options presented to you.. and after much thought and hair-pulling, you decide to fall back on comfort and familiarity - even if it means sacrificing the possibility of moving onwards in life? It's a tough call.

And knowing that it's my natural tendency to stay clear of risks doesn't help much.
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Friday, December 3, 2010


Amidst finals, scheduling mess, deadlines and multiple laundry loads.. there's a growing smidgen of anticipation over something new.

Cue in the Christmas music cuz I feel like dancin' :D

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

after a long day

I wonder what a sugarplum fairy looks like..
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