Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Morning Walk through Boston

Here are some of the sights that I take in as I make the 25-minute trek to work in the mornings. I usually go up Surface Road, along the wharf.

First, we have a group of buildings just past Fanueil Hall. I took this photo as I emerged from the narrow streets of the North End. The clock tower on the left was the Custom House Tower. Now it's Marriott's Custom House Hotel. Fun fact: it's cheaper than the Marriott!

Here is Tetanus Bridge, which I cross to avoid waiting for the traffic light on a major intersection just up the street. It adds a dash of danger at each crossing: will I snag my hand on a rusty nail and die? Will a flake of oxidized metal gently detach from the bridge and find its way into my open mouth? Will it rot away from its piers and plummet into the icy waters below? So thrilling!

Here is the Barking Crab, which serves its own beer, and also probably seafood, very likely crabs. I don't like having to defeat shelled creatures for my meals, so I usually just get a fish sandwich. This is the place to go for your french fries fix. Sadly, they are not open at 8:50 am when I walk by. I would totes have fries in the office at 9 am.

The final leg of my daily pilgrimage to the paycheck is the Four Point Harborwalk. To the left is the Children's Museum, so there are plenty of snacks children around come opening time.

Here is the Intercontinental Hotel--the glass-faced concave buildings right beside the red-and-glass building that's beside the building that looks like a giant skinny hair roller. Only $300 a night!

And finally, here is the delicious lobster and crab ravioli with shrimp that I had for dinner last night. I believe that shelled creatures are best eaten while stuffed in pasta and swimming in tomato sauce. It was part of my walk home last night so I thought I'd throw it in.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So this post has 6,000 words! You're welcome.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Movie Review: Contagion (2011)

Contagion is a good movie because it's honest. The unknown supervirus that stars in the film mercilessly kills off children, Academy Award winners, and anyone foolish enough to touch their faces thousands of times each day. Oh, wait, that's everyone. The acting is superb -- Jude Law gets thumbs up for portraying a smug, crazy character; Laurence Fishburne is great as the driven Center for Disease Control boss; Kate Winslet is excellent as the competent doctor sent to investigate the supervirus; and Jennifer Ehle steals the show with her noble nobleness. Er, yes. I still don't know the point of Marion Cotillard's character, unless it was to suggest that international health professionals need bodyguards when an epidemic hits. Because, spoiler alert: people will do bad things to get their grubby paws on a vaccine.

I highly recommend Contagion, even though now I flinch whenever someone coughs in my vicinity.

But what makes this movie truly spectacular is the description on the back of the pirated Chinese DVD cover:

Here it is in all its bizarre glory:

DON'T TALK TO ANYONE. DON'T TOUCH ANTONE. (<--seriously, it says "Antone")
A traveler abroad is prepared to credit card handed to the bartender's hand, a business meeting in a handshake and greetings in the beginning, a man in a bus on a cough. These things were not associated with an infectious disease linked together. Bess Ames Hof from Hongkong on a business trip to Minneapolis, physical discomfort, she thought it was flying too long time results.

Take a second to absorb that.

Engrish: it's what's for reading.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cat Uses for the Human Face (Oscar Version)

#1: If human dad -- target for affection

#2: If anyone else -- target for Death Stare

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anticuchos, etcétera

Last night, Little Brother and I went to a Peruvian restaurant -- Machu Picchu -- in Somerville's Union Square, home of Korean mom grocery stores. What fun!

Never have I ever encountered such a baffling menu, such a lack of reverence towards pork, which until now I thought was a staple of all Spanish and Spanish-colonized diets. (And let's not forget the Chinese and their pork buns!) For example, a typical Pinoy dish is lechon kawali, aka pan-roasted pork:

The perfect blend of flavor and heart attack!

By contrast, Machu Picchu offered beef, chicken, fish, and all the corn and rice you can stuff in your face.

We started off with a little bowl of round crunchy things that reminded me of giant mutant raw popcorn kernels. Don't let that description discourage you from this pre-appetizer! It was yummy. It came with two sauces: one super spicy, and the other creamy and green, color origin unknown. Little Brother, being the type who polishes off everything placed in front of him, slurped up all the sauce, which turned out to be our flavorings for the coming foods, if we'd wanted, whoops.

Out came the actual app, which was anticuchos, aka marinated beef strips with a fat potato slice and some corn. Enough beef for a meal as an appetizer? I had no idea the Peruvians were my food soul mates.

lomo saltado
My main course was the lomo saltado, aka more beef but this time sirloin strips with onions, tomatoes, and french fries in awesome marinade, with rice. It was delicious. See, the secret is the sauce. It was flavorful without being obnoxious. It was bold without being presumptuous. It was amazing without being annoying. It was like a Latin lover without the loud shirt, overpowering perfume, and flamboyant hand gestures. I could go on, but I know you know what I'm talking about.

As all this food appreciation was going on, I was sipping some truly fine beer: Cusqueña, aka the Gold of the Incas, that's not cheesy at all. But that's what their website says (the beer, not the Incas).

We finished up with some budin (bread pudding), which was decent but refrigerated for a bit too long. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was filled with secret pride at Little Brother's fluency in Spanish. Ladies: he's single! gwehehehehe

I shall spare you the sordid details of what the weighing scale told me this morning. It wasn't pretty. When is science going to get me a get-thin-instantly pill that works without destroying my liver? Huh? Huh? Am I asking for too much? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Love It Like Cake

You know that voyeuristic thrill of hearing about other people's outrageous/hilarious/horrifying stories? I have discovered the mother lode: Dear Prudence on "Prudie" (real name Emily Yoffe) lends a sympathetic hand to genuinely distressing situations, like when someone asks for advice about difficult friends or relatives, and lambasts morons, like a man who complained that he married a hot but dumb woman, or the girl who wrote that she was mortified because her boyfriend heard her fart. Like, omg, I would totes skip town if that happened to me, omg.

Speaking of skipping town, here is The Real Story of Asian University for Women, Kamal Ahmad and Ashok Keshari, written by a former faculty member for the university in Bangladesh. I worked for the Support Foundation that she mentions in the post. I know I promised to write my side of the story, but kept getting sidetracked by pubescent humor and comics.

Happy Friday!


Update, 03/05/2012: Prof Amber's blog post no longer exists. But here's How I Turned My Life Upside Down  to Move to Bangladesh and Became Embroiled in an International Fiasco.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Let's have more calories, sweetheart"

Hamersley's Bistro
Foods of Luuurve

================== First Course ==================

Seared foie gras on toasted brioche with apricot

Avocado, grapefruit, and crab parfait 

================== Second Course ================== 

Roasted Jerusalem artichoke veloute with
watercress coulis and black truffle cream

Endive, fennel, and mushroom salad with
creamy gorgonzola dressing

================== Third Course ================== 

Pan-roasted lobster "thermidor" with mussels,
clams, and scallops ... sherry cream

Roasted quail stuffed with wild rice and parsnips,
caramelized apples, thyme, and sherry aigre-doux

==================== Dessert ====================

Cupid's Sweet Inspirations

In case it wasn't blindingly obvious: the way to my heart is through my stomach.

Sunday, February 12, 2012



OMG: oh my god
WTF: what the f***
ROFLMAO: rolling on the floor laughing my ass off
...: (silence)
IDK: i don't know
i can has cheezburger: click here!
stfu: shut the f*** up


btw this totes happened.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Somehow Made It Worse

True story. I got a litter mat to keep the bits of litter off the floor, and Sheba tracked litter all over the mat and the floor. It's her special talent.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Game Review: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Falling Skyward: Link's Diary

Background: Now 10+ glorious hours into Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Wii. Did I mention it is glorious? Zelda games have always been the perfect blend of puzzle-solving, action, and random characters.

Inspired by The Very Secret Diaries.

Magic elf love saves lives.
Day One – Surface / Sealed Temple
Zelda's sailcloth allowed me to land safely after plummeting several thousand feet from the sky. Her love is magical.

This place is weird. What’s with these holes in the ground gushing out hot air?

Day Two – Faron Woods
Figured out that those were air vents that shoot me up to higher ground via sailcloth.

Old lady with extremely pointy hat told me to go into Faron Woods. Robot fairy from the future keeps popping out of sword to talk to me like I’m retarded. Miss Midna.

Day Three – Skyloft
Have rescued all the kiwis or whatever they are in forest. Got a slingshot from dungeon! Now can ring bell on flying novelty shop back here in Skyloft.

Perhaps can squeeze in some time with therapist to deal with issues resulting from tall, thin, and pale villain licking my cheek. Don’t understand why keep getting mistaken for boyishly handsome woman.

It can't be the sideburns.

Day Four – Eldin Volcano
Wooden shield burst into flames while running around in volcano. Very sad. Bright side: now have enough Rupees to buy iron shield. Shopkeeper keeps saying iron shield can’t protect against electricity. Why would he say that?

Day Five – Lanayru Desert

Day Six – Temple of Time
Very sad but hopeful. Caught up with Zelda but rude anorexic woman shoved her through time gate after she gave me her goddess harp. Always fancied self with saxophone, but harp much more portable. Zelda thinks of everything.

Got slightly nervous as tall, thin, pale, and creepy burst in again, but he refrained from sexual harassment this time as claimed to be too busy. Says he is chasing Zelda but obviously wants me. Must ask therapist how to gently discourage stalker who can teleport.

Day Seven – Sealed Temple
Just defeated giant black pineapple with shark teeth and stubby legs. Old pointy-hatted woman says my sword needs to be stronger. But she says my body is perfectly fit. Slightly disturbed by her thorough pat-down, especially in my pants area, but assured that all heroes of destiny must be tested thus.

Day Eight – Skyloft (sidequests)
Have made friends with fabulously gay version of monster from Diablo. Wants me to collect “gratitude crystals” so he can turn human. First wanted five, now he wants 30. Hoor.

Getting very good at catching bugs. Sure my collection will come in handy someday, when I need to upgrade my underwear or something. Perhaps should get underwear first, as pants starting to chafe.

Day Nine – Skyloft
Supposed to fix some windmill. Have no idea what to do. Will go catch more bugs.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl Sadface

Today I didn't tune in to the Today Show, because I know those smug bastards would be happily recounting the Giants' ignominious defeat of the Patriots. Boo hoo hoo. Boyfriend and I hosted last night's Superbowl watching event (on the menu: chicken wings and drumsticks, mini-tacos, chips, veggie platter, and alcohol). We were sadfaced after everyone left. Well, I was sadfaced; he was wearing the face of a serial killer. It was really surprising, though, that the Pats missed three bloody perfect throws from Tom Brady, who by the way suddenly became handsome in my eyes after last night. I used to not think of him as particularly good-looking, despite everyone else around me drooling over him. But there's something about the dark shadow of defeat that made him extra attractive...

Speaking of attractive, I have a Lasik consultation this afternoon! We shall see if I am a candidate for the treatment. Wikipedia has a complete video of the surgery halfway down this page. Oooh, I can't wait!

Anyway, if you haven't already, check out The Real Housewives of South Boston on YouTube. Perhaps a chuckle will wash away the bitter taste of defeat...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Lie Monster

The Oatmeal challenged his readers to illustrate their lies using a free template. Click here to view his post, My Daily Lie. Basically, you draw a square that presents your lie, and below that is another square with The Lie Monster (I made that name up), which you then caption with the truth. Eager beaver that I am, I created six entries and submitted three. Let's start with the ones that didn't make it:

I went to school in Canada, Vermont, and Massachusetts -- places known for being 
damn cold and having damn mountains. I only ever went skiing once. I didn't like it.

Cat Lady
I've been picking up stray cats since I was a kid. My mom kept chucking them out. 
But now I am a Big Girl and I can keep my kitty!

I wake up in the morning and think about Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii!).
I have it on the back of my mind at work. I play it for hours at a time on the weekends.

And now for the submissions! The Oatmeal told us to upload the images on a site and then post a link in the comments section. Since I can't even find mine down there, this will probably be the only time they will ever see the light of screen:

The Phone Did It
My new gig has me doing conference calls almost every week. Since I wasn't used to them, I kept dismissing the Outlook reminders -- and ended up missing a lot of conference calls in the first month. Whoops!

Just Two
I try to be good, I really do. But beer here is just so delicious...

Cat Fart
This actually happened. Hur hur hur, kitty is good for something other than petting!

In other news:

Tomorrow is the Superbowl! People are coming over to watch the New England Patriots square off against the evil nemesis, the New York Giants! My favorite player is Vince Wilfork -- nothing like 323 pounds of pure manliness to crush the dreams of others! Mwahahaha!!!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Movie Review: Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Break out the 3D glasses -- Selene is back in all her latex glory! In this latest installment of Romeo and Juliet Are Undead, everyone's favorite frowny-faced, eye color-changing, double gun-toting vampire is captured omg!! And guess who frees her? And guess who helps her? And guess who wins in the end? Spoiler: she does omg!!

Pubescent squealing aside, Underworld: Awakening is a solid action movie. Kate Beckinsale's Selene now comes with Extra Emotions to round out her usual repertoire of homicidal, angrily confused, vengeful, and hot for the hybrid. Outfitted in her all-black Death Dealer costume that "smells like a flower," as she coyly reveals to comedian Chelsea Handler, Selene is a vamp on a three-track mission: one, escape! two, discover the truth!, and three, fight! for the right! to PAAAAAAAARTYYYYY!!! And by "party" I mean "have epic showdowns with huge scary monster after dispatching minor baddies." You know, the type of party that involves a lot, lot, lot of fighters and blood and gore and shooting and impaling and at the end only Selene walks out in slow motion, with her dramatic billowing trench coat.

Oh, in case you're curious, here's the plot: humans discover the Corvinus virus and ruthlessly purge the vampires and werewolves/lycans. Remember, the Corvinus virus granted immortality to two of his kids, and one became the first vampire, and the other became a werewolf (can't change back to human form). The last child had the potential to be a sexy blue-skinned hybrid (as opposed to a Smurf). So anyway, a pharmaceutical company gets its gloved, sanitized hands on dear Selene, who spends more than a decade as a popsicle, before being defrosted so that bone-breaking justice might be meted out to the unrighteous.

IMDb's summary is: When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrioress Selene leads the battle against humankind. My version is better, mostly because it does not contain the term "warrioress," which sounds like a brand of metal brassiere or perhaps a feminine hygiene product.

The only complaint I have about this movie is that it is SUPER LOUD. There was a couple behind us who talked incessantly through the trailers, but once Underworld: Awakening started their chatter stopped mattering because EXPLOSIONS! BREAKING GLASS! SCREAMING! EXPOSITION! Tone it down, AMC Loews, people in the next room are trying to watch Albert Nobbs!

In conclusion, Underworld: Awakening is awesome, and I can't wait for the next one, Underworld: Snorkeling. Because isn't it time for a latex bikini?