Tag Archives: movies
Monday, August 1, 2011
Morning: Went to Twitter with Yufei and had breakfast there, which consisted of a delicious bagel (it was Bagel Monday!) topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and tomatoes and cucumbers, and some fruit and yogurt. Then I went shopping downtown for a few hours, before coming back for lunch at Twitter (I’m such a moocher). Seriously, this places is awesome.
Afternoon: Lounged around and then met Yufei for dinner at Tandoori Mahal. We got chicken samosas, rice, naan, chicken tikka masala, and lamb korma, and it was all delicious!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Morning: Slept in, had leftovers for lunch.
Afternoon: Went to the Cartoon Art Museum, which had exhibits on Archie, The Green Lantern, and the art of Howl, as well as a permanent exhibit on the history and progression of cartoons and comics.
It was a nice little museum, plus it was pay-what-you-want day, so it was definitely worth the visit! They had a nice little gift shop too, with some pretty cool stuff local comic artists too.
And a starter of spicy mini chicken drumsticks. For our entrees, I got the individual sized paella and Yufei got the grilled sirloin:
I was a huge fan of my paella, while Yufei’s steak was just okay. We finished off by sharing a warm chocolate molten cake, which was so good! Overall a great meal, our server was very nice, and I really liked the place!
We came back after dinner and decided to watch a movie at home. We ended up seeing The Adjustment Bureau, which I had high expectations for since I found the premise fascinating and it got pretty good reviews. But we were both disappointed by the movie. For me, I just felt like I kept expecting it to get this point that would just blow my mind, and it just never got there and all of sudden it was over. Oh well, there goes an hour and a half of my life.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Morning: I walked over to the School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific to check it out. The walk was pretty much uphill the whole way, which caused me to take way longer than the predicted time on Google Maps. Anyways, the school was really nice, and I even talked with one of the admissions people. The only thing is that they want me to take more biology labs (ugh). Sigh… we’ll see. My walk back was decidedly more pleasant, offering me views like this:
And I got lunch at Gallery Cafe, half a block from Yufei’s place. Cute little neighbourhood cafe.
Afternoon: Tired from my morning walk, I just took it easy until dinner time. We met up at Passion Cafe, a nice French bistro in a pretty sketchy part of town. We got a grilled chicken salad, Yufei got a burger, and I had a calamari.
The salad was great, Yufei liked his burger, but my calamari was a little bit over-fried. Regrettably, we didn’t really order anything French, although our waiter did have a discernible French accent and that’s always a good sign. Perhaps next time!
After dinner, we went to a nearby theater to see Cowboys & Aliens, which I found to be okay, and Yufei loved it (of course, since it was his pick – my turn the next night!).
Thursday, August 4, 211
Morning: Umm… I don’t think I did anything.
Afternoon: Another day in SF, another dental school visit. This time, I decided to check out the Dental School at UCSF. UCSF consist only of graduate schools in the health sciences, and it is located in a cold, windy, misty part of town. The campus is considerably bigger than Pacific since the dental school is kind of lumped together with everything else, so I couldn’t really see much. But I did talk to admissions and got some info. Gosh, this dental school business is getting pretty serious!
For dinner, I met up with a friend from Columbia who lives and is interning in the city. We went to the Ferry Building:
After dinner I met up with Yufei to go see my movie of choice: Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while. The cast was amazing, and they all gave great performances – what a refreshing role for Steve Carell! Really pleasantly surprised by him. There seemed to be too many story lines in the movie at one point, but they were all brought together in an unexpected, hilarious yet heartbreaking twist (honest haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in a while). A realistic look at love that is at times funny, at times agonizing, but ultimately heartwarming and optimistic – highly recommended!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Morning: Not much until lunch, which I had at Out the Door at Westfield Center, one of 3 locations for the less formal eateries spawned from The Slanted Door. I started with a half portion of the spring rolls with a really yummy peanut sauce:
And for my main I got the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken:
It was good but somewhat unremarkable, which is probably no unexpected for such a simple dish. Anyways, pretty good meal!
After lunch, I walked over to the Asian Art Museum, where they were having a special exhibit on Bali, which was completely worth the extra $5. It was a beautiful and fascinating display of Balinese art, rituals, and performance, as exemplified by this amazingly intricate and elaborate offering made from rice dough, called a Sarad:
I didn’t realize how big the museum was and spent too much time in the Bali exhibit, and had to rush through the rest of it before they closed. But it was really quite a nice museum! I wish I had planned to spend more time there.
To celebrate the end of the work week, Yufei and I went down to Pier 39 to embark on the Happy Hour on the Bay Cruise from Blue and Gold Fleet! They had some snacks and a bar where you get one free drink – and I think I finally look past 21 since I didn’t get carded, ha! It was unfortunately too foggy out to go to the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, so we headed the other way and went past the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park instead.
The cruise lasted an hour and a half and was pretty fun, but afterwards we were still hungry so we headed to In-N-Out for burgers! Being in NYC exposed us to a lot of debate over Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out, so we had to try for ourselves! Granted, I’ve never really had a freshly made burger from Shake Shake before, only a somewhat small and unimpressive one in a take-out bag that’s probably not the best for judging. But the burgers at In-N-Out were decently sized, freshly made, and the value is excellent! The fries were just average though.
I wish they had more topping choices (like bacon!), but at just over $2 for a burger, you can’t complain. But I think Five Guys still wins overall for quality and variety and huge servings of good fries (and free peanuts!). And for best value, M2M still has a special place in my heart. (Wow, I cannot believe I just wrote this much reviewing burgers! This is all Yufei’s fault).
So this wraps up the work week! A special weekend post coming up!
Oh dear. It’s been a while since I did anything with this blog. I’ll just blame it on midterms and internship stress…
Anyways, so I’m a terrible person and I should have done this ages ago, but the lovely Erin from Spreading the Sunshine had tagged me quite a while ago with a Stylish Blogger Award!
Yay! :) Go check out Erin’s blog for sure because it is awesome! I get to share 7 things about myself with the award, so here goes!
1. The nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten was when a girl in my art class said that I had “princess eyes” when I first got contacts. I have no idea what she meant, but it made me so happy :)
2. I love soundtracks. I really really do. My favorites include Amélie and Kill Bill, and my most recent obsession is the soundtrack to The Social Network. So so good. Got me through studying for several of my midterms so far! Here are a few of my favorite tracks!
Probably my absolute favorite:
I have to include the scene with this music! So intense, gives me goosebumps!
3. I’ve always wanted to be a redhead. I think they’re just the coolest. This is influenced by awesome redheads in fiction (Anne of Green Gables, the Weasleys, etc.), gorgeous celebrities redhead (like Amy Adams and Isla Fisher), and amazing redheads I know in real life. Sigh… envy.
4.. I absolutely cannot stand it when people crack their knuckles or bite their nails. I sat next to a girl in this class last semester who bit her nails THE ENTIRE CLASS every single class. She’d take notes with one hand and chew on the fingers of the other hand. Even when I sat somewhere else I can still see her and it still irks me so frickin’ much. Same with knuckle cracking. Do it somewhere else where I can’t see/hear you please!
5. I can’t fall asleep if there’s something that’s not done to a point where I’m satisfied with it. It’s really annoying as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to get out of bed and finish my homework to some point I feel like a natural stopping point, work on a drawing until I was happy with it, finish reading a chapter of a novel, or even reply to some thread on an internet forum because I feel like I have to make my point come across.
6. The most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me was when Yufei made me a birthday message out of fallen leaves on the lawn in front of my dorm building during freshman year. He stayed up all night working on it just so that I can see it on the morning of my birthday. Sigh… how can anything top that?
7. I have very strange snacking habits. I like eating dry ramen with seasoning, peanut butter and my favorite hot sauce out of the jar, dry cereal, and other random things I find in my cupboard/fridge.
And there you go! I will be back once I make it through this week (last week before Spring Break!).
Happy New Year everyone! 2010 certainly went by fast, even though it was quite an exciting and eventful year. I always like to do a year-end summary type of thing and also write down some resolutions and other hopes for the new year, so I thought I’d combine the two and create a new type of list. So, here I present some of the things, both good and bad, I did and didn’t do in 2010, and some of the things I hope to achieve in the new year.
Things I did in 2010 that I want to keep doing in 2011:
- Travel! 2010 was a great year in terms of going to new places. I went to Washington, D.C. for spring break, visited Toronto and the Niagara Falls at the start of summer, spent 2 months living in Vienna, Austria, traveled to Germany and Switzerland, and went to Disneyland over fall break. I hope the new year will bring many more new adventures!
- See a ton of movies. I saw A LOT of movies this past year. In fact, I only missed 2 of the top 10 biggest box office movies of the year (Twilight: Eclipse and Clash of the Titans, both of which I have no interest in seeing). Hope to see more great movies in 2011!
- Craft! I did a fair amount of crafting in 2010, and I hope to keep it up in 2011! I already have a ton of ideas so it should be hard :)
- Set small goals/try new things. These two things often came hand in hand in 2010. I tried being vegetarian for 2 months, signed up for a graphic novel workshop, and even made my first ever graphic short story. Trying new things can never hurt, and setting small goals make things more attainable and enjoyable while still helping you achieve bigger things. Good things to keep up in the new year.
- Finding my own style. I’ve grown a lot in terms of my style in the past year; I got rid of a ton of clothes, and bought some more that I really like. I hope to keep going through that process and build a wardrobe I’m truly excited about. Will be selling more stuff online soon and taking some clothes to the tailors to get them altered!
Things I started/tried in 2010 that I will do better at:
- Eating well. I’ve been eating fairly well for the past year, especially since I ditched the meal plan and tried vegetarianism, but I can do better. Specifically, I will not stuff my face every time I eat out and try to bring back half my meal each time, because seriously, most of the time the portion size is enough for 2 meals, and it doesn’t feel good to be stuffed anyway. Another thing is trying to snack smarter, meaning less chocolate and chips and stocking up my fridge with fruit. And also: always eat breakfast!
- Being better tempered in my relationship. I tried really hard to not get upset at the small things and not stay upset for too long, and I think I’m getting better at it. The people around me don’t deserve it and I don’t deserve it myself; it’s really not healthy all around. I’m going to keep working on it in the new year and every time I get upset, I will take a deep breath and ask myself if it’s really worth it.
Things I did in 2010 that I hope not to repeat in 2011:
- Get a B in a class. I know, I know… a B isn’t all that terrible of a grade (though it is my worst yet). But seriously, I didn’t think a B can really drop you GPA that much. I was wrong. Time to re-focus on academics and do better next semester!
- Procrastinate. Especially this past semester, procrastination got me bad. It’s probably part of why I got a B in a class. It could have been avoided. So, I’m going to make 2011 a more productive year by procrastinating less. This means not thinking of Thursday night as the start of the weekend (I do this even though I have Friday class(es)) and reminding myself how good it feels to have more work accomplished early vs. panicking on Sunday night. Also, start using Google calendar again and time block my daily tasks.
- Fret about my future. I had many crises about my future in the past year, with the last one only a few days ago, but I’ve decided to stop doing this in 2011. I know this will be really hard for me to do, especially as I inch ever closer to graduation, but honestly, fretting doesn’t help. I need to focus on the smaller things in front of me (see above for setting small goals), such as making sure I understand the material and do well in a class, without trying to project it on how it will affect my future. I need to remind myself that I’m a capable, intelligent individual, and with a Columbia education, I WILL succeed in life even if I don’t know in what way yet. I just need to focus on doing the best I can at the present moment and really think about my pursuits, not blindly pursuing something I’m not even sure about. I need to feel okay with the fact that I might not know what I want to do right after graduation, and that it’s okay to try a few different options before I find something I’m really passionate about. Things WILL work out in the end.
Things I didn’t do in 2010 that I want to start/re-start doing in 2011:
- Do more art. Only near the end of the year did I start to do some art and realize how much I miss it. So I hope to do a lot more art in the new year, and one of my resolutions for 2011 is to draw everyday. I think I’ll start going to Friday Night Sketch hosted by the Artist Society at Columbia too. It’s something I both enjoy and am relatively good at, so there is no reason for me not to spend more time on it. Time to dust off my drawing pencils and Sakura pens, go out to buy a new sketchbook, and put my new tablet to good use!
- Exercise more. Spring semester of 2010 was okay, the summer came around and I was super busy with my internship, then there was just no motivation left for fall. So pathetic. So, in the new year, I will exercise everyday. Even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’m trying to see if getting it to be a daily habit will work better than trying to get myself to go to the gym twice a week, which is what I tried before. And it’s great that my room is actually big enough to do a lot of work-outs in, including jump rope! Also, I will try to take the stairs more; it makes me sad when I’m out of breath after climbing only a few flights of stairs. No more excuses this year!
That’s all for now, I will probably think of more later on and will update as that happens. So welcome, 2011! I hope you bring plenty of adventure, discovery, happiness, and love.
What are your goals/hopes for the new year? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
November 21, 2010 “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”
I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 this past weekend, and the experience brought back waves of nostalgia.
I first heard of the Harry Potter books when I was 11 years old and still attending a French school in Quebec City. It was the spring of 2001, and the first four books in the series had already been released. But with my imperfect French and my peers’ imperfect pronunciation of the English name, I didn’t have a clue of what everyone was talking about. It wasn’t until we moved to Edmonton, Alberta a month later that I finally clued in. Since I was still not fluent in French and I could barely speak English at the time, my most proficient language remained Chinese. So I downloaded the first four books in Chinese and began reading on my home computer. It was a long summer with nothing much else to do in this new city, so my days were spent with my eyes glued to the computer screen, taking in the magic that was Harry Potter. If you ask my mother, she will still blame Harry Potter as the reason my vision got bad and needed glasses the following school year.
I was obsessed. “I’ve changed my name,” I wrote to a friend back in Quebec, “to Hermione” (I was quite serious). “Hermione?” She obviously had not read the books, “I’m not sure I know how to pronounce that” (neither did I, at the time, but that didn’t stop me). I waved around a dowel like a wand, and I was quite sure that I just didn’t know how to master my magic yet. I wore a tiny glass bottle around my neck filled with “magical” glass beads that would grant me wishes. I drew pictures of the characters, printed out quotes (in Chinese) from the books, and visited the official Chinese Harry Potter website religiously every day. I stared dreamily out my window, half expecting an owl to bring me my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. But to my disappointment, it never came.
At the start of fall, we moved again to Langley, British Columbia. My English had improved vastly over the summer, and as soon as I thought I was competent enough, I begged my parents to buy me the books in English. They reluctantly obliged, suspecting that the series was already doing enough damage to my mental state. I read the books every night before going to sleep, sometimes way past my bedtime, dimming my lamp so much that I could barely make out the letters (this probably did contribute to my worsening vision). Since I hadn’t made any friends yet at my new school, I dragged my dad to the theater to see the first movie with me.
I remained a dedicated fan for the years that followed, eagerly awaiting the release of each new book and film. Mugglenet became the website most visited by me, and I even did a short stint translating Harry Potter news into Chinese for the official website I used to frequent. I did more fan art (including a few I’m proud of even today – see below), wrote short fan fictions, and even fan poetry (yes, poetry).
The summer of 2007 was devastating. The book release of the Deathly Hallows and the film release of the Order of the Phoenix came within 10 days of each other, and I had to miss both. I was away at a summer program, and the coordinators were strict about keeping us on campus and focused on the program at all times. A few of us spoke about sneaking out at night to see the movie, but were too scared to be caught to carry out the plan. So as soon as I got home, I went to buy the book (I got the second last copy at the store!) and see the movie. It was the last book, and I told myself to read slowly to savor it, but I couldn’t help but finish it within 2 days (my reading speed when it came to Harry Potter never failed to astonish my mother).
A strange feeling of emptiness washed over me as I turned the last page. I’ve always felt this way when I finish a series of books – Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables – but this time, it was particularly strong. It had been six years since I started the books, and I literally grew up with the characters in them: I was 11 when I began the books and 17 when I finished. Harry Potter was a veritable part of my life, an essential part of my childhood. I knew I could always count on it for an escape when reality got too harsh or mundane. It was a good friend that was there for me at all times, when things got lonely at each new school I attended. Despite my childish attempt to change my name earlier, Hermione remained a role model for me, especially when things got difficult when I was perpetually “the new girl”. She helped me focus on my studies during my adolescence and to learn to pride myself on my intelligence, not my looks. These characters that I grew up with, they were like friends to me, friends that I lost touch with after the books ended, friends whose lives I long to learn about now.
Now there is only one more film left before it’s all over. By the time the Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows is released next summer, it will have been a full ten years since I was first introduced to the world of Harry Potter. Ten years. It’s incredible how a mere story can stay with you for half your life. At the same time that I’m anticipating the release of the last movie, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness to see it all come to an end. But I know that it won’t be over: all seven books are still sitting in a neat row on my bookshelf back home, waiting for me to open them, turn their pages, dive into the timeless adventures. Harry Potter is timeless. And that’s the magic of it all.
After three midterms and a test over the last 4 days, I really needed a day off (even though I have an entire book to read AND a paper on it due Thursday). So Saturday began with a delicious homemade brunch with Yufei which consisted of bacon, potatoes, sunny side up eggs, and orange juice.
Then later in the afternoon, we decided to go to the Empire State Building. I’ve come to realize that when you know you’re going to be in a place for the next 4 years, you tend to put off visiting a lot of places, thinking that you’ve still got plenty of time. So here I was, 2 years into my stay in NYC, and I still hadn’t visited the iconic landmark. So it really was about time. There was a lot of lines to get through, but most of them moved pretty quickly, so we were at the observation deck not long after we arrived. The day was fairly clear, and the view of the city was beautiful.
Brownie points for whoever can find Columbia in this picture!
They had the cutest King Kong stuffed animal in the gift store!
After our visit to the Empire State Building, it was already nearing dinner time. We had brought with us a LivingSocial coupon for an Indian restaurant named Cinnamon not too far away, so we set off for the place. When we arrived, we were the only customers in the small restaurant. It made us a little skeptical, but it was still rather early for dinner. The decor was chic and modern, and everything looked super clean and immaculate. We were warmly greeted and seated, and were immediately served water and crispy papadum with 4 different sauces. For drinks, Yufei ordered a mango lassi and I got a mango juice, both of which were full of flavor.
We ordered samosas to start, I decided on chicken tikka masala for my main course, and Yufei ordered the lamb roganjosh. Both of the main dishes were delicious, the sauces especially, and I really liked that the lamb was nice and tender.
Halfway through our main dishes, we realized that our samosas still hadn’t come. We asked about it, and they immediately went to the kitchen to check on it. The hostess came over and apologized that she had forgotten. But a few minutes later, we were presented with 2 large, fresh samosas. They were so fresh, in fact, that they were too hot to handle, and we had a wait a few more minutes to have them.
After we had finished everything, we were so stuffed that when they asked us if we wanted to see the dessert menu, we said that we really have no room. However, after they cleared everything away, a waiter came over and gave us a free dessert on the house.
It was called rasmalai, a yummy cheese dumpling soaked in this sweet creamy sauce, and it was very very good. It was definitely an awesome meal: the food was excellent, the service was friendly and gracious, and I loved the look and feel of the place. If it weren’t so far away from Columbia, I would definitely come back often.
After dinner, there was still a good hour and a half left before the movie we were seeing that night, so we went to a nearby Border’s to kill time. They had nice comfy couches in there, and I cozied up with a graphic novel I’ve been wanting to read for some time now (my Art/text workshop has really piqued my interest in them). It’s titled Blankets by Craig Thompson, a moving, beautifully rendered coming-of-age autobiography. I only made it halfway through, but I really want to finish it sometime soon (as a poor college student, I’ll probably find another bookstore to do that).
Then we went to see Red, which was a fun and entertaining film, not too thought provoking, but I think I preferred it that way as my thoughts were already provoked enough the previous week. And that ended our lovely day out, and now I feel sad that I have to get back to school work for another week. Fall break needs to get here faster.
I can’t remember when or where, but I once saw these adorable realistic cherry earrings in a store somewhere and I fell in love with them. I don’t know why I didn’t buy them then so I have been looking for them ever since. Lo and behold what I stumbled upon today!
Aren’t they great? I love them. And only now did I realize that they remind me of that 2 second long scene in the opening credits of the movie Amélie.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked these earrings so much. It all makes sense now :)
I absolutely loved this week’s 100th episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Yes, we only saw the Mother’s feet and Ted didn’t even get to meet her, but you know what, sometimes life’s like that. Sometimes the perfect person is just inches away from you, and perhaps your paths have already crossed many times before. Yet you know none of it at all. To you, they are just isolated events that hold no significance. But there’s something waiting to happen, something magical. You just don’t know it yet. But when it does happen, the dots will connect, the stars will align, and you will see that everything that has happened before has happened to bring you here. There is a grander plan outside of you.
To quote the wonderful blog Have You Met Ted dedicated to all things How I Met Your Mother:
There’s something magical about just missing someone you don’t know as they pass through a doorway. They’re right there, all of them, their whole life and memories and thoughts and hopes and dreams, but you know nothing of it, you can’t read it. It’s like when you meet someone and find out they lived on your block years ago. It makes you realize there’s a whole world going on around you that you can’t see and experience. It makes you wonder what things are happening just on the other side of the door, or the street, or the city, that someday you’ll know about and realize how close it was then, or maybe you’ll never know it. How many things are a bathroom’s door and a glimpse of a foot away that you’ll never get a chance to know better?
It’s a beautiful thought, isn’t it? It reminds me of the story 向左走 向右走 (A Chance of Sunshine) by the wonderfully talented artist and writer 几米 (Jimmy Liao). It’s one of my favourite books of all time. You can read it in Chinese here. It’s also available in English, but I heard that it really doesn’t capture the charm of the original. There is also a movie made based on the book – Turn Left, Turn Right – but again, it doesn’t do the book justice.
The essence of the story is nicely encapsulated by the poem Love at First Sight by the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, an excerpt of which appears in the prologue of the book. The complete poem is below:
Love at First Sight
They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways -
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?
I want to ask them
if they don’t remember -
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember.
They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.
Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.
There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?
There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream
grown hazy by morning.
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.
How amazingly beautiful is that? It’s one of those poems that haunts you with this feeling of wonder and possibility. And how amazingly does it embody How I Met Your Mother? I can’t believe I never made the connection between one of my favourite poems and one of my favourite shows. “… the book of events/ is always open halfway through.” I just feel fortunate to be able to listen as Ted reads his book – after it’s been written, from the beginning, all the while watching him struggling to find what he believes is the beginning, but what really is halfway. And I hope that one day when I look back, I will find my book as beautifully connected.