Tuesday, July 25, 2006

suffering, with accent aigu


I've been away, head like a kite, a bit distant and rather stand-offish and fickle to the wind, with pretty red bows on a string, and, to tell you the truth, I'm all domestic, washing a lot of dishes, and using lots of commas in my imaginary epistolary ramblings of frustration to my soulllllll. Dear Soul, please stop just lying about. Maybe, at least, take out the garbage or something...PS Your commas are way out of control.


I want to take a vacation and do nothing. How sad does that sound? It sounds like remnants of day-old oatmeal at the bottom of a bowl. Chip it away man, soak it in hot water.

Let's do the update thing:
I'm moving out of Williamsburg in a week. They kicked me out because I'm not hip enough. I was on probation for awhile and was really careful about my music listening habits and the asymmetry of style and practiced scoffing and scowling 3-5 times a day, but to no avail. I'm out. There's nothing I can do join in the fun party called the L train is not running this weekend again. I am also too pleasantly plump. That's right, pleasant.

Actually, I've liked my time here well enough and I think the neighborhood is fun and exciting (I mean, graffiti about paté? how much more exciting can you get?? if paté is ever banned in nyc, that stuff is like, rebellious, man!) and flux-ing and all that good and bad stuff. I'm usually staying in and watching tv anyways. Remember my big vacation plans? The real reason is, I'm chasing rainbows, I'm following me lucky charms, I'm going to be keeping most of my paycheck, and trying not to go insane in nj. Maybe I'll become closer to my mother and she'll be my best friend à la Gilmore Girls despite all our troubles and we'll speak in witty bantering rapid-fire korean to each other. Yes, that's it. Or we'll just try not to kill each other, in a bantering respectively halting languagey way.

Is that enough? I've eaten at a few good places lately, got a saucy haircut, and have been eating lots of peaches. They are the fruit of the gods. You know, because when I was in elementary school, learning about the greek gods and how they love their ambrosia, I would always imagine it to be the best and loveliest peaches. And later, I learn, that there's actually a fruit salad dish or something called ambrosia, which involves like oranges and coconut or something not as lovely. Well, that's life.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

what's it worth

"This has become a war much bigger than us," he said. " Haram : It's a shame. How do you keep looking at all this? The tears, the cries for help. I can't even breathe anymore. The stress. Everything inside me is just worn out."

The Post hosts an online discussion with David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and its readers about the latest developments in Lebanon and Israel.

The Motel extends its stay in NY

The Motel plays July 21-25 at the ImaginAsian Theater before it's off to like, LA, and Pasadena July 28.

Previous related entries:
I wanna be happy! too
The Motel

Saturday, July 15, 2006

bourdain in beirut

Many people, meaning like 5, have come here searching for news of Anthony Bourdain and his No Reservation crew stuck in Beirut, only to find old posts about a talk at a library and some indie-tastic balkan brass influenced band. Check over at Jason Perlow's blog:offthebroiler for updates. The latest news is a message from Bourdain saying that they're all safe and sound and that they "have nothing to complain about. Particularly compared to the locals who are having an atrocious time of it. This is a great city--filled with many lovely, proud and generous people and it's heartbreaking missing so much of it. Worse seeing all that pride and hope and tolerance turn overnight to grim resignation. Hope to return to shoot here someday and finish what we started."

What happened this week? The world is falling apart at its very loose seams.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

maximum city, maximum heart

Some moving accounts of and reactions to the Mumbai train bombings, the first of which made me sort of emotional reading on the subway this morning. Subways are not made for emotion.

On India's indomitable spirit: India's Indestructible Heart.

Dilip D'Souza's beautiful, heartbreaking words on the aftermath at Salon

The first-class compartment in the middle of the train looks like someone buckled down to work on it with a blunt can opener. It's just twisted metal now, but I flinch on merely looking at it. Suketu Mehta wrote once, famously, of hands unfurling like petals from a packed Bombay train compartment, reaching out to whisk just that one more commuter onboard. From this train stopped and dark in Mahim, the metal of the train itself unfurls like grotesque petals.

I see no hands.

and also at Salon, New Yorker Manish Vij writes about why he loves riding the Mumbai trains.

(salon links via sepiamutiny)

Monday, July 10, 2006

the mostly pies edition

Friend and I went to check up on the buzz on Pies n Thighs a little over a week ago. It's certainly not the prettiest place to get your hush puppies and pulled pork, but who ever said that Williamsburg is pretty? (My neighborhood however is festooned, yes festooned, in Italia flags, but I digress.)

We ordered some sweet tea, mac n cheese and baked beans, fried chicken and a pulled pork sandwich. The fried chicken was quite nice, crispy and moist, and the biscuit, oooooh the biscuit, was buttery, crumbly biscuity heaven.

I'm afraid I didn't have the palate for the pulled pork, meaning that I can't drink straight shots of vinegar and then crush you like a bug. I mean, I do like my pulled pork sort of vinegary, like a spirited spinster, but I really couldn't eat much of it. It hurted. My friend seemed unfazed though. The beans were tasty and the mac n cheese was slightly spicy, an idea which I like in theory, but I couldn't stop the slightly disturbing thought that I was eating the macaroni form of cheese nips somehow. That didn't stop me from eating more. And every time thinking, cheese nips! cheese nips!

We finished our meal with a slice of excellent rhubarb pie, the filling tart and the crust tender and flaky and everything all meldy in the mouth. The pies are worth the trip. The menu, like most, depends on your tastes.

Last week, another friend and I went to Empanada Mama before hitting up the singularly named play, Millicent Scowlworthy. Thankfully, the empanadas were very smileworthy. Harharhar. Perfect little pockets of $2 fried goodness. I had a pork one which was thankfully sans vinegar and instead tender and spicy. We split a spinach and cheese one, and my friend got the fun pizza! filled one. We had to split for the play so that's all we tried. Otherwise, I could have stayed all night, eating empanadas up to my ears and drinking yummy looking fruit smoothie drinks, and then you could roll me out like Violet, except I'd be all greasy and angular instead of blue and round.
And lastly, over the weekend, I made this cherry cobbler with the sour cherries I got at Union Square. Sour cherries are a new food for me; I didn't really know they existed before this year, or I didn't match up that the cherries in baked goods I've had taste nothing like the sweet cherries you eat in the summer. But they are lovely. This cobbler is suuuuuper easy to make - after pitting (I found that it's easy to do this with those wooden kabob skewers), you just syrupize the cherries a tiny bit and then make a really easy dough and plop that on top and then bake. The cherries mellow out and taste tart and sweet and the dough becomes biscuit-y, light and golden on top. Go eat some!

I wanna be happy! too

Okay, so there's only two days left for New Yorkers to see The Motel. Hopefully this does really well, and then before you know it, there will be another asian-am. villain with maybe one line on the big screen's next comic book hero flick next to Kal Penn. Presto, progress!

But really, I'm glad that The Motel was good, because I was shilling for it only after reading a bit about it and watching the trailer. So, as my friend told me this weekend after showing me her newly purchased boots, I have a good eye! This movie works, whether you go casual or dressy!

So hooray to my peeps (helloooo Koreans!) and all that good stuff. The story isn't this narrow little experience of an awkward Chinese-American kid going through puberty, splashed in red and gold with squiggly dragons and demure engrish-speaking geishas in a restaurant where it rains fortune cookies. Since the characters are drawn with care and depth, they could have been any race and with a few tweaks, the film would have worked just as well. Or, as director Michael Kang is Korean, he could have very easily chosen to usurp the loose basis of the novel Waylaid to turn the family Korean too. In fact, what was nice was that everybody wasn't all one ethnicity, which differs, obviously, from most other times you see asian actors on the screen, in movies from other countries, or as 'tokens', or in works focusing on a particular ethnic community. Here, the characters who are thrown together are not just eclectic in type, but in roots as well. And they just want to be happy.

Kang draws great acting out of the kids, even in rather uncomfortable puberty stuff, and Jade Wu is spectacular in her portrayal of Ernest's strict mother. There is this wonderfully poignant silent moment which concludes the movie between her and Ernest, and I thought this ending was great, even though a few people I know felt that it was really abrupt. But I felt that the story had finished its gentle arc, addressed a whole lot of stuff in less than 90 minutes without it seeming like a whole lot of stuff, and that a sort of understanding or realization grows out of a silent shared moment seems different and wonderful.

The Motel also goes to LA July 28th. Support this hilarious and honest independent movie, and my next post will not be about this movie. It will be about food.