30 December 2008

Winter is All Around Me

Usually Christmas decorations are swept away as soon as the 26th hits, but Christmas still lingers in Seoul - trees, carols, Christmas themed merchandise -- they're all still around. Even though Christmas in the Motherland doesn't feel quite the same, I'm glad to see reminders of Christmas around town.

Even the buses are still celebrating Christmas. This weekend, Seong and I managed to catch one of those magical local route buses, charging throughout town, bedazzled with garland and lights (both inside and outside of the bus). As gaudy as they may be, these decorated buses make you feel special.

Though we've been working 6-7 days a week (We're done by 8:30, so it's not as bad as it sounds), we made the time to walk around Myeongdong, primarily to pick up winter accessories.
My memory's not so keen, but I swear, winter is MUCH colder this year. Or, maybe it's just the building...

The Hagwon is located in a newly built building, so the facilities are quite nice. It's just that the building was so poorly designed. First of all, the heater/air con is built into the ceiling. I don't remember much from my science classes, but I do know that heat rises. Heat doesn't fall down to short people like me. Secondly, the building is not well insulated. I can feel the cold air seeping in through the windows! We could complain to the building manager, but we're all a little afraid of him. He's like one of the bosses from a Korean gangster movie. We all decided to wear shawls instead.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite winter accessories, essential to surviving a Korean winter (or a poorly insulated building).

1. Earmuffs (10,000 won). I don't know what I was thinking, but I left my earmuffs back in California. I picked up a new pair in Myeondong. I know they look rather silly, but they are very warm. It's strange that my ears are so sensitive to the cold, despite all my hair.

2) Finger-less gloves (10,000 won). There was a cheaper pair for 8,000, but I sprung for the thicker knit. I either wear these gloves under a pair of mittens or wear them while I'm typing away at the computer. They make feel like a cartoon bum, but I don't care. They're very effective.

3) (기모) Gimo Tights. I'm not sure what gimo means, but these tights are much warmer than an ordinary pair of tights. The tights are lined with cotton, similar to the lining in a pair of sweat pants. I know what you're thinking. Why don't I just put on a pair of pants? Firstly, jeans (even with the naebok) aren't that much warmer. Secondly, I prefer to wear skirts and dresses. Don't worry. I'm usually wearing boots when I head outdoors.

As much as I complain about the cold, I enjoy having a legitimate reason to wear such accessories.

23 December 2008

It snowed last night!

Every morning I walk up to this hill to get to The Hagwon. Despite the fact that it's so darn cold that my ears are blushing, I always trudge into the building sweaty and slightly out of breath.

Though the hill makes my morning walk more rigorous, the incline is not the problem. It's the slanted sidewalks. I'm not sure if you can tell from this picture, but the sidewalk slopes to the left, so that when you're walking up the road, it's almost like fighting against two perpendicular hills. This means that while I'm trekking forward, I'm also trying to keep myself from leaning inwards. This is no easy task when the sidewalks are icy, or if you're wearing heels.

Anyone who's had their soles mangled by the streets of Seoul know that the terrain in the Motherland is not very flat. I imagine that it's quite difficult to lay concrete on a mountain, but some of the sidewalks in Seoul are just plain jagged.

Despite my whining, I don't mind walking to work. It's the only exercise I get. I just wish I didn't have to bring two pairs of shoes to work: boots for walking, and heels to look more authoritative...and taller.

19 December 2008

18 December 2008

Sangsangmadang in Hongdae

I met up with Heng this weekend in her new neighborhood, just around the corner from Hongdae. It's been a while since I've trekked over to the Hongdae area. I had almost forgotten how cool it is. I'm especially drawn to all the quirky little cafes, which is strange, because I'm not big on coffee.

After sharing a bowl of super-sized ramen, Heng and I went to check out the new (at least new to me) multi-story SangSangMadang building. I don't think I've got a handle on everything that SangSangMadang has to offer, but it seems to be an intersection point for art and commerce.

I may have my facts a little mixed up, but here's the breakdown of the facilities, from what Heng and I could determine:

Basement: Cinema (indie Korean & Foreign films, I think) + Live Performance Hall
First Floor: Stationery Shop and handmade crafts
Second Floor: Gallery (This part was still under construction when we went)
Third Floor and Up: Recording Studio, Film School, Record Shop, Photo Studio, and Cafe.

If you sign up for a membership with Sangsangmadang, Heng says that you can access the gallery for free. I'm sure there are other perks, but Korean membership cards still tend to baffle me.

Heng and I spent a couple of hours at the record store, Label Market 2 (I presume that there's another Label Market somewhere else in Seoul). This is all conjecture, but I think the store is named Label Market because the albums are arranged according to record label. (Just call me Sherlock Holmes!).

You're not going to find any Wonder Girls or Big Bang at this shop. By virtue of the fact that I've never seen most (if not all) of these bands on MNet, I'm assuming that the featured bands belong to the Korean indie music scene.

With colorful CD Walkman spread throughout the store, you're invited to sample any album at your leisure. You can essentially listen to every album in the store. It's pretty awesome. I only listened to a small handful of albums, but I already found a number of bands that sounded interesting. I was particularly interested in a band called Sugarbowl and another one called, Funny People. They both have a bit of an Maroon 5 kind of vibe.

Label Market also features music from artists around the world. [Cyndi they have all the albums for Mocca and Olivia. Want anything?] I, for example, got to skim through the entire She & Him album, and as a result, have decided to purchase it off itunes (because I have a bum CD player). I also picked up an album for my sister by a band called Sunshine State.

I have no problems admitting that I love me some k-Pop, but the genre can get a little tiresome, so if you're looking to explore the diversity of the Korean music scene, you should definitely take a trip to Label Market.

See the red stage behind me?

Label Market also boasts a calendar of in-store performances by many of its featured artists. On the day we were there, we were treated to a free(!) performance by an indie band called, Achtung (악퉁). I do not mean this as a slight at all, but the band kind of reminded me of Hanson. I quite enjoyed their performance (even though I found the lead vocalist's pama and glasses distracting).

This intimate, non-bar venue is a great way to experience live music in Korea. You just have to put up with all the amateur photogs. I swear, everyone and their mother in Hongdae has a DSLR camera. Nah, I'm just jealous...

I did momentarily take out my little snap-n-shoot to record a bit of Achtung Live at the Label Market. Take a look if you're curious.

Achtung - Live Performance in Hongdae from Annalog on Vimeo.

Edit: I forgot to mention that Sangsangmadang is right next to Su Luxury Noraebang, the one with the windows. I'm terrible with directions, so that's the best I can give you.

16 December 2008

Party Time. Excellent.

My cousin N. and her husband, Mr. T are always going to exciting events around Seoul. For instance, last week, she went to a charity dinner where she met Alex from Clazziquai, and told the singer that her cousin (that's me!) is a big fan. Whenever she has the opportunity, N & Mr. T invite me, along with the other teachers at The Hagwon, to join them. It's fun to take N up on one of her invites because you never know what's in store.

Two weekends ago, we found ourselves at the Seoul Club celebrating St. Lucia Day, a Swedish Holiday. We listened to Swedish carols, munched on saffron buns, drank glog, and ooh-ed and ah-ed over dozens of little blonde children with rosy cheeks and blue eyes. Swedish families must have a hard time walking around Seoul without encountering people who want to pinch the cheeks of their children or snap photos of them. Every kid we saw at the party looked like he or she walked out of a Gap Holiday ad.

The Swedish winter festivities concluded with a raffle, where Seong won a bottle of mushroom wine from North Korea. I'm not sure what they're doing up there in the North, but they're definitely not working on perfecting their wine-making techniques. Just the thought of the mushroom wine makes me shudder.

This past weekend, N & Mr. T invited the entire Hagwon gang to their Rotary Club holiday dinner. We were just expecting a buffet, but were met with an entertainment extravaganza! In addition to the buffet and a free-flow of wine, soju, and beer (oh my!), the evening began with a live performance by a woman pursuing a career in the music industry. She hasn't made it to Inki Gayo or anything, but she does have a song on some drama OST. I enjoyed her performance, even though she concluded her set with Frank Sinatra's "My Way", a song, as someone at the table noted, is better suited for a funeral.

The musical performance was followed by a dance lesson, where we were all forced to learn the jive. Thanks to Social Dance I back in college, I was able to keep up with the ajusshis. I think I may have even been leading at some point. It was embarrassing, yet fun.

Later that evening, one of the members of the Rotary Club, a folk singer from the 70s, who, according to N, was part of the Simon & Garfunkel of Korea (no, not SG Wannabe), brought out his tribute band. After, rocking out to numbers by Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton, "Paul Simon" joined the band and performed a few of his greatest hits, including a few songs that we were required to "twist" along to. Twisting is hard, y'all. Gidget and Elvis make it look so easy.

Since I'm normally inclined to just roll up into a ball and never leave the house during the winter, I'm grateful to have a family with a social life. :)

12 December 2008

Pasta Hut

When I first returned to Korea, my cousin mentioned that Pizza Hut was changing its name to Pasta Hut. I thought she was joking until I saw a Pasta Hut commercial on the terebi. Then, while passing through Hongdae, I spotted an actual Pasta Hut.

It turns out that Pizza Hut is "re-branding" three of its 330 stores in Korea as "Pasta Hut", in order to bring attention to the fact that Pizza Hut now offers a revamped, "mid-range" pasta menu in addition to pizzas loaded with cream and potatoes.


I'm not sure if I want to eat pasta at Pizza Hut, even if its now refers to itself as "Pasta Hut." The thought of eating pasta in a hut is just not very appetizing.

10 December 2008

Bacon + Kimchee + Bibimbap + Fried Egg = Awesome

Move over dalk dori tang. I've found a new favorite Korean dish:
Dolsot Bibim Bap

I've had Dolsot Bibim Bap (Mixed rice in a stone pot) before, but never with bacon AND kimchee.

I had it for the first time yesterday, and I will definitely be back for more. I wish I could tell you where the restaurant is, but it's in some basement in Hannam-dong.

08 December 2008

A New Cupcake Bakery in Seoul

My last cupcake in Seoul was quite disappointing, but from what I hear, a number of cupcake places have been popping up around Seoul. One of those new cupcake bakeries is Lynn's Cupcakes in Hannam-dong, which just happens to be walking distance from The Hagwon. Sweet!

Today, in honor of Seong's birthday (my hagwon BFF), we, including my lil' cousin, Emi, went to Lynn's for some celebratory cupcakes.

This was my first time trying Lynn's Cupcakes. Their cupcakes can't hold a candle to the moist deliciousness of Sibby's or Kara's Cupcakes back in the Homeland, but Lynn's cupcakes weren't half-bad. I enjoyed the flavors of the frosting and the cake, but did not find the soft texture of the cake to my liking (I prefer a more dense cake). Lynn's cupcakes also aren't the prettiest cupcakes I've ever had, but I would definitely return to Lynn's if I was craving a cupcake.

I'm told that Lynn's Cupcakes has several locations throughout Seoul, including a shop in Itaewon, but I can't give you their whereabouts.

Lynn's Cupcakes in Hannam-dong is located right across the street from UN Village. It's pink facade is hard to miss.
Business Hours:
10 - 8 pm
(010) 2893-6687
(02) 792-0804

The owner of Lynn's lived in America, so you can probably get further information in English if you give the bakery a call.

A funny thing happened on our way into the bakery...

A producer from KBS2's 문화지대 (Yeah, I hadn't heard of it either) was filming a segment on Lynn's cupcakes and was looking for some customer commentary. The owner of the shop, immediately pointed to Seong, who had been Lynn's first customer.

The producer, with his little DV camera, looked to the three of us and asked who wanted to speak on camera. I think Emi, Seong, and I, all short of took a step back, and tried to avoid making eye contact with the camera. Seong ended up explaining (in Korean) that neither Emi nor I spoke very much Korean. That's when he found out that we were all English-speaking gyopos, and decided to have us give our comments in English (even know he could not understand a word we were saying). Poor Seong had to translate everything!

So, the filming began easy enough. He filmed us as we picked out our cupcakes. Then, he asked us about cupcakes in America and Britain (where Seong went to school). I akwardly muttered something lame and giggled like an anime character with beat-red cheeks. I'm embarassed just thinking of it.

Just when we thought our agnozing 15 seconds of fame were over, he asked us to eat some of our cupcakes in the store. Though none of us really wanted to be on camera, we blindly followed him, like some starlet wannabe being asked to take some "artistic" nude shots. That's when the shop owner offered to give us some free cupcakes to eat on camera. She placed each cupcake on its own pedestal and brough out candles in honor of Seong's birthday.

For the following fifteen minutes, the three of us had to get all fake excited about the cupcakes, sing "Happy Birthday", stuff cupcakes into our mouth, and lavish Lynn's cupcakes with complimentary remarks.

I've seen a lot of Korean food programming, but I never realized how challenging it would be to act normal with a camera hovering just a few inches from their faces.

The segment on Lynn's Cupcakes airs on Thursday night. I'm not sure if any of our footage will make it on the program (I'm kind of hoping not), but at least we got some free cupcakes.

And, last, but certainly not least...

Happy Birthday, Seong!

07 December 2008

Sharing Some Coca Cola Sponsored Joy

I woke up this morning, greeted by a light flurry snow. As much as I will gripe about the cold this winter, I have to say that snow is very pretty. (It's just too bad that it's so wet.)

Now that I've seen a little snowfall, it truly feels like winter. In honor of winter, I'd like to share one of my favorite songs of the season.

Don't laugh, but it's from a commercial.

This commercial for Coke and Walmart, entitled "Extended Family", proceeded both the Quantum of Solace and Twilight films. I've been somewhat obsessed with the song, and am glad to see that it's finally posted on youtube.

Most people that I've talked to find the commercial quite annoying, but I like it.
It makes me want to "stock up on joy" and... shop at Walmart for some Coca Cola.

06 December 2008

Back in the Motherland

-12 degrees Celsius.
I walked to school with wet hair (I was running late!), and I arrived with a few frozen strands of hair.

02 December 2008

Craptastic: Vintage Annalog

If you've been stalking my blog, then you probably discerned from my lil' ol' profile that I started blogging in July of 2004. What you may not know is that before I got all self-centered and started blogging about my inane non-adventures in and between the Motherland, I just stuck to blogging about movies.

Back in the summer of 2004, I had just gotten a Blockbuster Movie Plan (I was trying to resist the Netflix trend) and was working an office job that required a lot of mindless, white-collar sweatshop-type work, like stuffing envelopes. And, thus, my movie blog was born (which at that time was called "Craptastic").

When I started blogging about the Motherland, I decided to hide all of my movie-related posts. I can't really say why I did this. I guess I didn't want people to know the extent of my weirdness, but that's now moot since I already posted a video of myself lip-syncing to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" (No, I'm not going to post the link. You have to search for the humiliation on your own). Dignity went out the officetel window a long time ago...

Anywho, at the request of Jusunnie I've decided to re-post all of my old movie reviews, especially for those of you stuck behind a computer all-day, trying to stretch two hours worth of work across eight hours. I was going to import all of my movies into a new movie-centric blog, but I could not find the "Import Blog" button as detailed in the Blogger Help section. (Thanks a lot, Blogger. You are a big fat liar!)

So, if you're curious enough to read my old movie reviews, you can just click on the "movies" tag buried somewhere in the right sidebar (I know, I know. My tag list is out of control!). I should note that most of the movies I reviewed were movies that most people would not deign to spend a minute, let alone precious dollars on. I have a pretty high tolerance for crappy movies, but even I had to cringe a little when I saw the full listing of my movies posts, which includes such gems as:

Into the Blue
My Baby's Daddy
New York Minute
Dirty Dancing Havana Nights
From Justin to Kelly
Oh. Yes. I. Did.

I'd like to make a special shout out to the original readers of Annalog, who started reading my blog way before I ever started blogging about BB Cream or what to wear at a Korean wedding. There were literally only four readers: J.Mo, DJ OSV, Mark Y., and my sister, Doogal. Of course, they've probably all stopped reading my blog around the time I started blogging about BB Cream or what to wear at a Korean wedding, but I know they're all still part of the Annalog Fan Club-- because I said so.

29 November 2008

Here or to-go?

In keeping up with my glamorous, jet-setting lifestyle, I flew to Washington on Wednesday in order to stalk Edward Cullen.

Just kidding. He's probably in Alaska right now.

I actually flew up to Seattle to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my sister. I have trained my sister very well. While I slept in, she spent Thursday morning slaving over a hot stove, preparing me a turkey feast. Mmm... turkey...Zzz...

Seattle is a lovely town, but I'm finding it way too cold. I shouldn't be complaining though, since I will be experiencing true winter in a few days. Speaking of Korea...

I'm used to finding funny Engrish phrases in the Motherland, but I forgot that being a melting pot and all, you can also find Engrishy-fun right in the Homeland.

While cruising around the South Center mall in Lynnwood, I had to take a moment to giggle over a little food court gem called Sushittogo. Apparently, the establishment is called "Sushi Itto Go." I'm not sure if spaces cost extra when it comes to making signage, but I think the added cost would have been worth it. Don't you? Or, maybe this just an example of upfront marketing. You get what's advertised.

24 November 2008

Annalog Fit Club: First Update

As announced about a week ago, Team Alexander, Prune Wonton and Cyndi, agreed to collectively lose 45 pounds by March 11, 2009. If they are successful, Team Bananna, Monkey & I, will treat them to dinner at Alexander's Steakhouse. If they fail, they must buy Team Bananna a fancy steak dinner.

Team Alexander has decided to hold off on any pound-shedding efforts until after the Thanksgiving weekend, but I still make them checki in for their weekly weigh-in. In order to monitor their progress, we've decided to employ the Wii Fit, despite its snide little comments.
(Thanks to Dani Henney for sending us the Wii Fit board!).

The Wii Fit may not be the most accurate measure for one's BMI (Body Mass Index) or weight, but it certainly is fun. The Wii Fit also comes with a variety of exercises that kept us busy all night long (with the help of some wine). The game also allows you to input your own personal weight loss goals, which can be sort of handy.

Prune Wonton measured in at XXX pounds with a BMI that put him in the obese category. Cyndi weighed in at YYY pounds, with a very normal BMI of 22.91. Yay, Cyndi!

In additon to your weight and BMI, the Wii Fit also determines your Wii Fitness age, which is calculated based on your age, weight, BMI, and ability to balance and shift your weight around. According to the Wii Fit, Cyndi is 44, while Prune Wonton is 43. I should note, however, that Prune Wonton, tried to sabotage Cyndi's fitness test, so her Wii Fit age is likely much lower.

So, you must be curious about the results of this week's weigh in. Drum roll, please...

Prune Wonton +4 lbs
Cyndi - 1 lb

Don't worry, people. It's just the first week. They still have a fighting chance.

A number of people (and by a "number", I mean, 3) have had some concerns or questions abou Annalog's Fit Club, so I'd like to address there comments here:

- First of all, thanks to Annonymous M for catching my typo. Team Alexander must lose the weight by March 2009, not 2008, as originally printed. I do not expect them to travel back in time. We'll have to save that for the next blog challenge.
- As inMySeoul points out, 30 lbs in 3 months is a lot of weight for a guy to lose unless he's contracted some stomach virus. Based on the recommendation of the Wii Fit, Team Bananna has agreed to lower the collective weight goal to 40 lbs.
- Yes, the terms of the bet are kind of skewed, since Team Bananna just has to watch and thwart all efforts to get their healthy on, while Team Alexander has to start exercising and eat more healthily, but the truth is, we didn't come up with the bet. We're just following through on a challenge initiated by Prune Wonton himself. Booyah, Prune Wonton!
- Liposuction is not expressly forbidden, but definitely not recommended.

If you have healthy living tips or words of encouragement for Team Alexander, be sure to leave them in the comments.

22 November 2008

Winter Tunes

I know that its still Thanksgiving's time to shine, but I'm ready for Christmas. After hearing that it snowed in Seoul and with all the holiday stuff out at Target, I'm ready from some holiday music.

While browsing the latest holiday selections on iTunes (I know. So geeky) I came across The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs, a compilation of original and classic winter tunes (Ooh. Very PC!) sung by a gaggle of talented female singers, including Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, Lenka, Fiona Apple, Colbie Caillat, and Holly Conlan. It's like a Grey's Anatomy OST, only with songs about winter. Unfortunately, the album also features a version of "White Christmas", moaned by Katy Perry. Just go ahead and skip that track or delete it from your iPod. Otherwise, it's a very wintery album. Makes me want to drink a cup of hot cocoa.

Someone kindly posted the ablum on imeem, so you'll find a nice little sampler below.
The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs

Twilight the Movie

I went an saw the Twilight today. Oh, yes, I did. Whether you hate it, love it, or have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure you're wondering what's got teen fans trampling over each other at San Francisco's Stonetown Galleria.

You'd think that the theater would be pretty empty at 10:45 am on a Friday morning, but there was a surprising number of people out to watch Twilight this morning. I guess there are a lot of people dying to see the film, just at a matinee price. There were also more dudes than I expected, a few of them weren't even in tow of some swooning female.

Here's the SYNOPSIS for those of you how have been unexposed to Twilight Fever.

Bella, a pale, accident-prone teen, unaware of her hotness or enticingly fragrant blood, moves to Forks to live with her father, who she has not seen since she was four. Despite the fact that boys at her new school are throwing themselves at her feet, Bella is inexplicably drawn to a classmate (even paler and hotter than herself), a boy who has a tendency to glower at her or just outright threaten her life. Of course, their angst-ridden attraction is complicated by the fact that, said boy, Edward Cullen, is a vampire (Shh, don't tell.). Sure, the story sounds simple, but the possibility of a romance is further complicated by a gang of predatory mallrats, busybodies from the "Res", and a coven of menacing vampires, who are not that into baseball. Will Bella ever find out that Edward is a vampire? (Of course) Will Edward turn Bella into a vampire? (One can only hope) Will Bella and Edward go to the prom? (But, she doesn't have anything to wear!)

So, what did I think of the film? I'm glad you asked...

First of all, I should note that it is rather difficult to adapt the Twilight novel into a film, for several reasons: 1) Because, it's pretty long. 2) The vampires are described as "inhumanly beautiful." Good luck casting an inhumanly beautiful human. 3) A large part of the novel relies on the narrator's introspection. I have to give props to the screenwriter (Melissa Rosenberg) and director (Catherine Hardwicke) for taking on such a daunting task, especially knowing that die hard fans will tar and feather you if you mess up their beloved book.

The film is not mind-blowing, but it didn't make me want to blow out my brains either. It wasn't bad, actually. Despite her penchant for out-of-place close-ups and these awkward, sepia-toned, iMovie quality flashback sequences, the director was able to depict a seemingly genuine portrayal of teen life in a smalltown in Washington. Bascially, to my relief, the film never felt liked "Vampire High School Musical." Maybe it was due to the lack of sunlight, but there was an unexpected sense of gritty realisim. (By "gritty" I mean Law & Order SVU gritty). Despite its fan base, the film, for the most part, didn't feel like it was catering to a teen audience. The filmmakers also did a good job of capturing all that the Twilight novel has to offer - romance, suspense, action, and a bit of fantasy and folklore. There's even a bit of intentional humor (thanks to the screenwriter, I think). It's a smorgasbord of genres!

I hesistate to say that a person who is not familiar with the novel will enjoy the film. I think one area where the film falls short is the intensity of Bella and Edward's attraction. In the movie, Bella comes off as rash and a tad obsessive, while Edward just seems like a big ol's stalker with major mood swings. To a certain extent, this is also true in terms of the novel, but the book also allows you to follow Bella's perspective such that your curiousity about Edward grows along with the narrator until you too become obsessed with Edward Cullen. Bella's feelings for Edward does not translate very well to the big screen. Had I not read the book, I probably would have sat there thinking, that girl is to cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Another notable weakness of the film were the casting choices. To my surprise, I really liked Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen. I had seen all those photos of him looking scruffy and unwashed, but he was quite swoonworthy in film. He did a fine job of portraying Edward's conflicting emotions, and looking naturally pale, I might add. In contrast, I had thought that Kristin Stewart would do a decent job as Bella Swan, so I was quite disappointed. She may look the part, but she has a really peculiar way of acting. Whenever the character got a little agitated, she'd break into this stilted manner of speech, a cross between a stammer and asthma attack. It was very distracting. As for the rest of the Cullens, the actors were adequate, but forgettable. Even the villains were lackluster, but I attribute that to their bad hairdos.

This leads me to my biggest beef with the film: the bad hair. I'm not even lying. The hair in the film really bugged me. I would have enjoyed the film significantly more if I hadn't been so distracted by the bad hair on the supporting cast. If it was so important to keep the supporting characters blonde, as described in the book, then the director should have hired more convincing blondes. The bleach jobs were atrocious. You'd think that after centuries of life, vampires would find a shade of hair that complimented their powder white skin. Also, Alice (one of the cooler characters in the novel, but kind of lame in the film) had a terrible soccer mom hair cut that also kind of drove me bonkers.

This film can be enjoyed by a wider audience, but I think it would be better appreciated if you read the book first. I know that a lot of people like to criticize the book and pass it off as inane teen fare, but I think it's a cool little book. I'm not heralding it as the next literary masterpiece, but I've taught in the classroom a number of times, and all of my students have loved it. In addition to all the romance and suspense, I think young readers can also connect to Bella's and Edward's self-consciousness, lonelinesss, sense of being different, and attraction to the forbidden. Plus, there's something interesting about loving someone who brings out the best and the worst in you.

I know there are a lot of Twilight haters out there, but I just have to say, don't front. You know that you went out and read New Moon (and Eclipse and Breaking Dawn), all the while, telling people that you just wanted to know how the "train wreck ended" or that you "wanted a good laugh."

You don't have to lie. We know that you got bitten.

18 November 2008

Who wouldn't want a condo, all the way up in Toronto?

cant believe it (cover) - jojo

This song has been out for a couple of months, but I just discovered it, and to my surprise, am really liking. Though the original single, "Can't Believe It" by T-Pain seemed to be playing everywhere, I was not impressed. I especially like the remake because Jojo is turning the tables on T-Pain's (and Lil' Wayne's) talk about putting "shortiez" in mansions or Penthouses.

This is they same reason why I disliked "Whatever You Like", T.I.'s musical promotion of prostitution. Now, I find myself humming the tune thanks to Ron Clark Academy's parody "You Can Vote However You Like."

"Shortiez" of the world, go and get your own penthouses.

15 November 2008

Hawaiian Grindz

This links for all my peeps back at home-home.
Some folks in Hawaii put together a site called Wow Grinds, where they compare the "best of" local favorites in a blind taste test, ultimately determining the best of the best.

According to Wow Grinds, the best shoyu poke on Oahu may be found at JJ Seafood in Kaneohe. Yeah. There's no way anyone in my family's willing to drive to Kaneohe for some poke, so it looks like we'll have to settle for No. 2, Costco!

14 November 2008

Annalog's Fit Club: The Bet

The other night our friend, Prune Wonton declared that he wanted to get his healthy on and lose some weight. Not only that, he also stated that he would lose 30 pounds by the time I returned from Korea. Oh, ho, ho...sounds like a bet.

Prune Wonton and Cyndi have joined forces as Team Alexander. They resolve to lose forty-five pounds by March 11, 2009 (four months). If they are successful, my partner, Monkey and I (aka Team Bananna) will treat them to a dinner (appetizer, entree, and dessert) at Alexander's Steak House (some restrictions may apply. We ain't paying for no Wagyu!). If Team Alexander fails to lose 45 pounds by the deadline, then they will have to treat Team Bananna to dinner (appetizer and entree) at the aforementioned Alexander's Steak House.

1) Team Bananna is permitted to actively thwart the efforts of Team Alexander (though we will make a genuine effort to be supportive).
2) Any mention of bailing on the deal means an automatic win for the opposing team.
3) All participants are prohibited from engaging in or employing any measures that may result in hospitlization or death.
3) Neither Annalog nor any other participating parties are responsible for any injury, harm, or hurt feelings that may result from this competition.

I will refrain from revealing the participants' faces (except for Cyndi. Y'all are already up in Cyndi's business) or starting weight. If all goes well, then perhaps Cyndi and Prune Wonton may permit me to reveal more information. For now, all you need to know is that they want to lose 45 pounds cumulatively.

Please note that the 45 pounds reflect the personal goals of both Cyndi and Prune Wonton. Team Bananna, by no means, set this number. But, with that said, we are holding them to their resolution. Muhahahaha.

The Fitness Challenge began on November 11, 2008, which happened to coincide with our World Beer Night: Part I.

Oh, dear. Hwaiting, Team Alexander!

By the way, I do not recommend chili beer.

13 November 2008

The "Best" of Craiglist

I've only used Craiglist to find apartments and sell my old furniture. I never realized that it offered so much random hilarity. You must check out The Best of Craigslist.

It includes such gems as:
Hideous, Mean, Saggy-titted Cur

INTELLIGENT, cultured, 22y/o wm seeking Asian women (pref. Nihonese)

An Open Letter From Your Local Adult Store Clerk

You were being shoved into a Dallas Police car. - m4w

These postings are all pretty funny, but they kind of make me want to stop using the internet...

Discovered via dooce

12 November 2008

What's in the bag?

Last night, Cyndi handed me a white paper bag and said, "Here. This is from [The president of my fan club]. It's for you and Piggy."

Note: Obviously, Cyndi did not call her/him "President of my fan club", but since s/he's one of Cyndi's most persistent Stans I will assume that s/he reads this blog regularly for Cyndi updates, and thus, will avoid revealing any personal details.

Anyway, I opened up the bag and found two containers of Pepero - one pack of original, one pack of Almond Pepero. I do love me some Pepero, but such bulk offerings of Pepero seemed kind of random. And, that's exactly what I said to Cyndi, "Hmm...Random." (I know. I can be an ungrateful wench).

Cyndi explained that the gift was in appreciation for the Halloween cupcakes that I brought to her office. Oh, shoot! I just revealed that he's a co-worker. Oh, darn! I just revealed that her fan is a dude. My bad...

Today, I looked at the date, 11/11 and realized that the Pepero bounty was in honor of Pepero Day, which reminds me, Happy Anniversary to Heng & Joon!

The president of Cyndi's fan club has been showering Cyndi with gifts for some time now, but this is one of the first time's that he's bestowed anything upon me or Piggy.

Ooh, Cyndi, you better watch out. He's switching up his game. Now's he trying to woo you by winning over your little cousin and your puppy.

I may be susceptible to the bribes (especially food), but I'm not sure if Piggy's so easily won over. I mean, just check out her expression when I gave her the Pepero loot.

In case you're reading this Mr. President, Piggy wants me to inform you that she only accepts cold hard cash... or Target gift cards.

09 November 2008

Up! Trailer!

The trailer for Up!, Pixar's next film is out.
An old curmudgeon and a chunky Asian boy scout flying the skies in a balloon-powered house? I'm so intrigued...

07 November 2008

Beware of the Meow

I'm out walking Piggy, when I hear a little voice say, "Escuse me? Escuse me?"
I look up and see a little moon-faced boy on a scooter. I guesstimate that he's about seven years old, but he could be an XL six-year-old.

'There's a Meow over there," he says, pointing to the bushes ahead of us. "I just wanted you to know because your dog's gonna get excited and run away."

Isn't that kid precious? I wasn't even wearing a Pokemon costume, and yet he still took the time to get off his scooter and warn me, a complete stranger, about the big Meow. This is why I love children. They may get a little crazy with too much high fructose syrup in their systems, but otherwise, they can't help but be decent human beings.

It's a good thing he warned me about the cat. It was pretty scary. Dogs can be ferocious when provoked, but cats? Cats are mean. They will cut you if you so much as look at them wrong.

Hey, there, Fattie! Did you finally lose some weight?

The other day, I saw a friend who I have not seen for awhile, and one of the first thoughts that popped into my head was, "You've lost weight!" Thankfully, I managed to catch myself before uttering this out loud.

First of all, my friend did not need to lose any weight, so for me to exclaim "You've lost weight" in a complimentary tone would be silly. Secondly, I haven't seen my dear friend in over a year, and the first thing that pops into my head is a comment about her weight!?!

That's so ajumma.

I don't recall ever being so weight-conscious. I hesitate to pinpoint my year in the Motherland as the source of my subconscious weight-hatin'. After all, we are so weight-conscious in America that even rich folks willingly go without food. On the other hand, unless you're a host on some American style-makeover show or just a plain ol' jerk, you rarely say something about a person's chunkiness -- to his or her FACE.

For the past couple of years my weight has fluctuated by a small margin. Nonetheless, whenever I go home to see my family, someone will comment on my weight. One person will say that I've lost weight, while the next person will exclaim that I've gained weight. I never know how to reply to such remarks. I certainly can't thank the person for keeping tabs on my weight. I usually just reply with an awkward shrug and say, "No, I weigh pretty much the same as when I last saw you."

I've decided to stick with this response for the rest of my life. Even after I've gained 40 pounds of post-baby weight, I'm just going to say, "Really? My weight's still about the same."

I'm not really bothered by comments on my weight, but rather, am disturbed by the hyper-awareness exhibited by my family members, as well as people in the Motherland, all in the name of appearance. At the same time, I honestly don't think they mean to be hurtful when they say something about a person's weight.

Let's rationalize.

I think Korean weight-hate can be attributed to projection. The person is so concerned about their weight that they assume you are too. Most of the weight-hatin' comes from Korean ajummas, after all, who were probably very petite and slim in their youth, and thus, have difficulty accepting plus-size status in their middle years.

I also think there's a significant difference between Korean small-talk and American small-talk. In America, you're more likely to ask something innocuous like "Ooh, did you cut your hair?" or "Did you see that new Mark Wahlberg movie?" No harm, no foul. In contrast, Koreans, perhaps due to a greater sense of oneness, do not hesitate to ask something more personal like, "Did you gain weight?" or "What happened to your skin? Why do you have so many pimples?"

I'm sure that some people take a little pleasure in pointing out seeming flaws, but I think that for the most part,when a Korean says something critical about your appearance, I think he or she actually thinks s/he's helping you...? It's as if they mean to say, "In case no one's told you, your butt has grown at least five meters since I last saw you." It's like telling someone that his fly is down or her skirt is tucked in her pantyhose...I guess.

I have to also add, though Koreans are quick to comment on your extra blubber or the pockmarks on your face, they're also just as quick to compliment you or revel in your uncanny resemblance to some celebrity that's in actuality way hotter than you.

It's sort of like how your mother still unfailingly believes that you could be the future president of the U.S.A, but at the same time, is the first person to point out (and herald) your laziness or any of your other many flaws. They hurt you only because they care (and can).

I guess the whole point of today's ramble is that I'm am slowly turning into an ajumma. The transformation is inevitable...

06 November 2008

I asked a Korean

I submitted the following question to the Korean at the Ask a Korean blog:

Dear Korean,

What is the Korean news media saying about our new president-elect Barack Obama? My mom reports that according to some Korean radio program, an Obama administration would not be beneficial for South Korea. 진짜? Is that the consensus in S. Korea?


I swear he's like a Magic 8 ball on all things Korean. (Only a little more verbose.) You should check out his insightful response to my question at his blog.

Thanks to the Korean for taking the time to answer my question!

Here's a virtual drink for you. One shot!

05 November 2008

A Reason to Dance

Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States of America.

A Reason to Dance from Annalog on Vimeo

Featuring the happy feet of Piglet E. (He's a self-taught dancer.)

For Your Edification

I'm sure you're wondering how I remain so well-informed about the k-pop scene despite my return to the Homeland. It's all thanks to my dear friend, the Internet.

The New York Times may be slacking on their coverage of Korean pop culture, but that doesn't mean you need to remain uninformed.

Here are a few links for you:

Seoulbeats also offers a weekly video show on youtube. They certainly have some zingers.

So, go ahead and edify yourself on the finer points of k-pop culture and find yourself something to talk about around the Korean water cooler. Just make sure that you don't go around thinking that all Koreans keep up with Korean entertainment news. Believe it or not, there are actually Koreans out there who have no idea who Daniel Henney is. I know. Blasphemous.

04 November 2008

Western Spaghetti by PES

So darn clever.

Discovered via Frederator Blog

Who you rolling with this term?

You probably already know this, but tomorrow, November 4th, is kind of a big deal.
Yup, it's KING TUT DAY!!!!!!

You think I'm kidding, but apparently someone in the interworld is celebrating the discovery of King Tutankhamen's Tomb. [If you go to the link be sure to read about the "Origin of King Tut Day." I think a simple "I don't know" would have sufficed. Don't you think?]

While you read up on Egyptology, don't forget that tomorrow is also Election Day. If you are registered to vote, but have only been turning to SNL or Jon Stewart for your info on the candidates, then, you might also be interested in ABC New's Match-o-Matic 2. It's a simplified, easily clickable quiz that allows you to see whose views you are most aligned with. It's better than voting for the candidate that you think is better looking or has a cooler name.

Crab Murder

Kent invited us over for some shabu shabu (hot pot) and treated us to some fresh lobster and crab. As I squeamishly watched Chef GP prepare a live crab for the hot pot, I thought back to my resolution to (make an effort to) only eat things that I could kill myself. That's when I decided to woman-up and ask Chef GP to let me prepare (slaughter) the second crab.

I asked Cyndi to record the whole ordeal, so that you, too, can learn how to murder a crab. Before you watch the video tutorial, I'd like to note that though the crab appears half-dead in the video, it was Pinchy McGrabby Crab prior to execution. Okay, maybe the crab wasn't as fiesty as I'd like to imagine, but I swear, its claws were pretty ginormous. My initial wussiness was completely warranted. Don't judge me.

Crab Murder from Annalog on Vimeo

I learned a few things from the whole process:
- Chopsticks can be deadly.
- Crab blood looks like ketchup.
- I am in a major need of a hair cut.
- I should not be allowed to wield any blade bigger than a steak knife.
- The mighty tasty yellow mustard-like substance in the crab is called the hepatopancreas, a main part of the crab's digestive system. In case your curious, crab "mustard" is soft, but not slimy. It also tastes like the ocean. Who knew that crab crap could be so delicious?

31 October 2008

The Halmuni

Last year's Halloween was filled with all sorts of silly little shenanigans, including my first ever iMovie. Boy, have my moviemaking skills come a long way!

Okay, not really. My skills with iMovie may have plateaued, but that still didn't stop me from making another Halloween movie. Oh, yes I did.

I'm not going to lie. It only took us about ten minutes to film the entire thing, but I still think it's pretty darn scary. Maybe even haunting.

This film is rated PG-10.

The Halmuhni from Annalog on Vimeo

29 October 2008

Oops. My bad.

I thought I had been all tech savvy when I had my annalog email (see right side bar) forwarded to my primary email address. Turns out I completely failed at this simple task.

Today, I logged into email.annalog for the first time since I initiated the account, and to my surprise it was filled with email.

Reader mail? Exciting. Non-creepy email? Even better!

Just wanted to say that if you sent me an email, I'm terribly sorry if you wrote to me months ago, anxiously (I'm sure) awaiting my sparkling response. I did not intend to be a jerk. I mean, I'm generally pretty bad about writing or calling friends or family, but I would, of course, always make time for my adoring fans. Yes, all twelve of you!

Ever since I added the sitemeter stalking device on the blog, I've always been curious about who reads my blog. So, it's always great to get comments or questions from random readers, especially when people say that they ABSOLUTELY ADORE my blog and wish that it was a pair of baby shoes so that they could bronze it and put it on the mantle.

Okay, you got me. No one's actually said that, but I'm sure people have thought as such while reading my scintillating account about picking out a movie for my mother.

In short, thanks for reading.
Now, get back to pretending like your working.

26 October 2008

Movies for Ajumma

My mom and emo wanted to watch a movie, so they asked me too find out what's playing inthe theaters. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of ajumma friendly stuff out there. Amidst all the horror flicks and action/suspense films, I managed to pick out a couple of contenders:


The Secret Life of Bees

I show the beginning of the trailer to my emo, and her immediate comment is, "It's PG-13? That's for kids." My emo walks away, so I show my mom the trailer. She comments, "It's PG-13. That's for kids." Apparently, my mom and emo like their movies a little less kid friendly.

My mom then goes on for a bit about a film that she and emo saw months ago, (they were taken in by the film poster). At that time, my mom just called it the movie where the guy sits on a bus. I had no idea what she was talking about, but today, I realized that she was talking about Into the Wild.

As I search for the next film option, my mom declares that Into the Wild was about a genius and tells me that she and emo want to watch something similar, i.e., a film based on a true story.

So, let's recap. They want a dirty movie, somewhat based on a true story. Beverly Hill Chihuahuas? Max Payne? Eagle Eye? (Heck no). The Duchess? Bingo!

The Duchess

I show my mom the trailer for The Duchess. She seems really engrossed, so I think we have a winner. At the end of the trailer, I ask her, "What do you think?" She looks at me blankly. Then, I ask, "Did you understand their British accents?"

"Not really."

Back to the drawing board...

There's actually only one film out right now that mom and emo would enjoy. I knew this from the beginning, but since I didn't see it in the theater listings, I didn't mention it. I decide to show my mom the trailer for The Changeling. "Ooh, I like that movie," she exclaims even though she has yet to see the film.

Sadly, The Changeling is in limited release and hasn't made it to our local theaters.

Why is there so much crapola in the theaters? Hollywood, you need to pay attention. You seriously need to tap into the ajumma market. Here's what you need to do: Make a based-on-a-true story about a poor person who moves up in the world, but then encounters some tragic end. Please exclude nudity, foul language, and British accents.

Until then, my mom and emo are going to stick to their Korean DVDs.

21 October 2008

Ambiguously Asian

It's been awhile since I've had to sit in the middle seat on an airplane. I forgot how much it sucks.
As I lean down to store my bag under the seat in front of me, I see a set of hot pink toenails protruding into my personal air space -- just a few inches from my nose.

I sit back into my seat and look over at the owner of the hot pink toenails. She in turn looks at me with a curiously hopeful expression. "Vietnam," she chirps.

At this point, some people would probably be asking, "Vietnam? What does this middle aged woman with the heavy eyeliner mean? Is this plane going to Vietnam? Have you ever been to Vietnam? Do you speak Vietnamese?"

Don't worry. I got this. I know what she means to say : "Are you Vietnamese?"

I shake my head and reply, "Korean."
She instantly becomes disinterested in me, and resumes crunching on her apple.

I get that sort of question a lot from other Asians. I'm not sure what it is about my features, but many Asians always seem surprised when I tell them I'm Korean. I know that my last name often throws people off because "Log" isn't a common Korean surname, but I also encounter complete strangers who start speaking to me in Japanese, Mandarin, or Vietnamese.

Sometimes it seems that my Korean ethnicity is even less apparent in the Motherland. I remember one instance when I was walking down a street in Apgu when a man rolled down the taxi window and asked me for directions in Japanese.

On another occassion, while shopping in Seoul, Cyndi once overhead a woman say to her son with her hand pointed in my direction, "That's Japanese style." It's sort of funny that she considered my outfit "Japanese style" since everything I had been wearing was purchased in Korea.

I suppose my thin eyebrows and penchant for wearing flats or slippers are a dead give-away of my foreignness.

As long as I don't get any fake Chinese thrown at me (Ching chong chong ching) I am not offended by these misidentifications. I find it curious, is all.

One more note about my air-neigbhor from Vietnam-- as evidenced by her one word question, she barely knew any English. Hence, I was unexpextedly designated as her personal emissary. When she jiggled her cup of ice in front of my face, I knew that meant I was supposed to ask the flight attendant for more water. When she pointed vigorously at the lamp over my head, it meant that she wanted me to turn on the overhead light for her. When the flight attendant asked her, "Pasta or sandwich" she immediately turned to me. Unfortunatley, I didn't know how to explain "pasta" through gestures, but she figured it out by looking over at the gentleman across the aisle from her. On top of all that, the lady even got me to take down her baggage from the overhead compartment.

That lady sure is resourceful. Or, maybe I'm just a chump... We "Vietnam" got to stick together.

20 October 2008

"All the mavericks in the house put your hands up"

I have to give it up for SNL. In addition to their inexplicably hilarious Mark Wahlberg bits, their election 2008 sketches have been quite funny. The Palin skits, thanks to Seth Meyer's writing and Tina Fey's uncanny impression, are simultaneously sidesplitting and a little cringeworthy.

The Palin rap during last night's Weekend Update segment momentarily made me happy that Governor Palin is McCain's VP pick. I said MOMENTARILY.

"The Palin" rap, written by Seth Meyers and performed by Amy Poehler makes me laugh everytime. Thankfully, you can catch the video at the NBC site.

For those of you who are outside of the U.S. and like me, couldn't figure out how to enable those proxy thingamagigies, you can catch the clip on youtube. Unfortunately, you just have to sit through a bit of inane chatter between the Fox News folk.

18 October 2008

Do you want Boa to "Eat You Up"?

If you follow k-pop, then you probably have heard that Boa, one of Japan's favorite female pop stars, intends to dance her way across the American charts. I think the Motherland is full of talented performers, but I've always been skeptical about the ability of Korean pop singers (i.e., Rain or Se7en) to translate their appeal for mainstream American audiences. Asian artists in general just have so many hurdles to jump over. First of all, mainstream America still isn't used to seeing an Asian faces in entertainment, unless they're dropping some martial arts moves, draped across a sports car, working the 24 hour deli on Law and Order, or Lucy Liu. Secondly, mainstream America does not find Asian accents sexy. Perhaps feelings will change years from now, but as it stands, despite the fact that there are two Korean characters on Lost, it's not going to be easy for a Korean performer to go gain the attention of Walmart America without being able to enunciate the word "really." Also, it's difficult for an Asian singer to perform pop, R&B, or hip hop without coming off like a poser. Asians are associated with cellos and pianos. God forbid they should try to pop-n-lock, freestyle, or sing a run.

Though I am skeptical (and desperately hope that I am proven wrong), I think that if any Korean artist or group has the potential to become more than a blip on the American pop scene, it will be a female singer. After all, provocative dance moves and bare midriffs seen to translate well across many cultures.

Okay, just my two cents. Back to Boa.

Boa's team just released the MV for her first English language single "Eat You Up." I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised. I don't consider myself a Boa fan, but I am familiar with a few of her singles. From the looks of her MV, she seems to have adjusted to a more American style of pop dancing. The girl can definitely dance. I also liked the fact that she didn't have to doll herself up as pop tart. She kept it simple in some fitted cargo pants and hoodie. (Though, me thinks that she kept the hood up for the first half of the video so that she could remain ethnically ambiguous.)

As for the song, "Eat You Up" it's not bad, but it's not all that memorable either. It seems to be in line with what Britney Spears has been releasing as of late, but Britney can get away with a lot. At this point, the public is just happy to see that Britney can perform without melting into a puddle of a Red Bull and Cheetoes.

I would have liked to seen some other Korean pop acts (e.g., Big Bang or Clazziquai) make it to the American pop scene first, but I'm happy that Boa is making a solid attempt to break the barrier. Go get 'em, Boa.

(By the way, I'm so used to hearing the name Boa. Does the name sound weird if you're not familiar with the k-pop scene?)

Old Yearbook Photos

It's always fun to look through your old yearbook photos, and see how you've changed. Come on people, let's take a trip down memory lane!

This was from my A Tree Grows in Brooklyn phase. The pin curls and the hand-drawn stocking seams were kind of a pain, but I enjoyed being retro.

Then, my hair grew out, revealing its natural texture and color. After many strands of burnt hair and limbs, I think I can finally say that I've become a crimping artiste.

This is when I decided to grow out my long, naturally wavy locks. I know, right? Totally rad. (This was before I knew that aerosol spray cans were so grodie.)

This is from my Martha Stewart phase, when I liked to bake pies and boss people around. This hairdo was definitely a statement. It said, "Don't mess with my pies, or I will cut you."

Though she was quite reluctant, I managed to convince Cyndi to share her yearbook photos. I have to say, she was always trendy and fly, even back in high school.

Thanks to Cyndi (and Peter) for helping me find my lost yearbook photos at http://yearbookyourself.com/.

17 October 2008

This is Halloween, this is Halloween (almost)

Halloween is almost upon us, and I'm pretty excited. This year, Target has a very adorable Domokun Halloween theme. Cyndi's dying to jack some of the cardboard cutouts of Domokun. Let's hope that Target will relinquish some of their Domokun decorations post-Halloween so that Cyndi doesn't have to hide a cardboard Domokun in her purse.

Not sure what I'm going to be this Halloween, but definitely not the Family Guy.

Dogs are not allowed in Target. Not sure who allowed Confuscius to bring his Yorkie.

Halloween soda. Sounds nasty, but it comes in those adorable mini-cans.

It's kind of funny that I'm such a big Halloween fan now because I don't remember being into Halloween as a kid. I definitely wasn't into dressing up. I distinctly remember one year when I reluctantly went trick or treating with my sister. People would look at my sister and say, "Oh, what a cute little witch!" Then, they'd look over to me in my striped one-piece with the boxy shoulder pads and say in a kind voice, "What are you, dear?"

"A businesswoman," I'd reply, unsmiling.

I can't recall my other childhood costumes, but I do remember wearing the hanbok for a couple of Halloweens. For most American kids the default costume is probably a ghost or witch outfit, but in a Korean household, its a hanbok.

It wasn't until college that I really started getting into Halloween. Thanks to my child-sized stature, I've found some pretty amazing costumes at the thrift stores. One year, I found a french fry costume. Let me tell you, if you want a lot of attention, you should definitely dress up as a box of McDonald's French Fries. You'll get all sorts of drunk people trying to nibble on your french fries. Hmm, I think that came out wrong. Be careful, though. You're also liable to get a few lewd comments. I remember when one drunkard shouted, "You want a chocolate shake to go with those fries?"

My most memorable Halloween was probably during junior year in college. I was helping my friend Cod hand out candy to her neighborhood kids. That year, Cod was dressed as a gnome, and I was dressed as Merrill, a blue Pokemon. Yeah, we went all out. We had been giving out candy for about an hour or so, when a group of junior high/ninth graders came to the door. They had some pretty pathetic costumes, but we gave them candy anyway. About 10 minutes later, the doorbell rang again, and we both went to the door. It was one of the boys from the teen posse. With his eyes directed at our feet, he mumbled, "Um...Can my friend get your guyz's numba?"

Then, reinforcing his notion that we were indeed still in high school, we hastily shot him down, and closed the door, just before breaking out into a fit of laughter.

That was seriously a low moment. I know I look young, and yes, I made a pretty alluring Pokemon, but having a 15-year-old ask for your number is nowhere near flattering. It's pretty heinous actually.

This year, I had a frightening costume all planned out, but since I'm going trick or treating with two little piglets, Eugene & Hugh, I think I might have to come up with a more kid-friendly costume. Oh, don't worry. I'm not going to go with the beguiling Pokemon costume (I loaned it to a Samoan football player and it has since been retired). The last thing I need is some seven-year-old asking me for my number. I'm no Mary Kay Letourneau!

I still have two weeks to decide on a costume.
I wonder if the old hanbok still fits?

16 October 2008

MacGyver Moment: Re-charging the Keypad

I've been meaning to share this tip for awhile now... it's a pretty good one.

Now, that I'm back to using keys, I kind of miss the keypad locks back int the Motherland. Back at the officetel, I never had to worry about locking myself... that is, unless, the batteries died!

If you're in your apartment, it's easy to switch out the batteries, but what do you do when you come home, and the keypad doesn't work because the batteries have died? Yikes!

Fortunately, Cyndi's dad figured out the trick: All you need to do is run to the nearest mini-mart and purchase a 9V battery (the boxy one). Place the top of the battery (both circley parts) against the little circular metal "pad." You'll know that everything is working when the keypad lights up and makes some weird noises. You will have to hold the battery for awhile (around 5 minutes?). Caution: The battery will get quite hot (another sign that it's working), so I suggest that you wrap the battery in your T-shirt or scarf.

This is only a temporary fix, though. You'll want to change the AA batteries as soon as you get back into the apartment.

Perhaps this is common knowledge, but we (me, Cyndi, my mom, and sister) were a little astounded. We definitely felt very MacGyver when we charged up the keypad with the little ol' 9V battery. I'm sure there's some simple scientific explanation behind this quick fix, but I lost my ability to comprehend scientific principles after I got into college.

"Take on Me" MV: Literal Version

Saw this video on the Frederator Blog. It made me giggle, so I thought I'd share.

You're probably familiar with "Take on Me" by A-ha. (Come on now, what else are you going to sing at the noreabang?)Well, some clever folks posted their version on youtube. It's the original video, but the song has been redone to literally narrate what's happening on screen. It's pretty hilarious. The "sketchy arm" line had me laughing out loud.

13 October 2008

Eagle Eye

We went to see Eagle Eye this week. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the film. I have to admit, I hadn't known what the film was about. I just knew that it was Shia LaBeouf's big debut as a leading "man."

Aww. Look at little Shia, all grown up, with facial hair and everything.

Before I give you the low-down on Eagle Eye, can I just ask, since when have theaters allowed "outside food"? On the way to the AMC theater, I stopped at the Cinnabon because it had this big sign that said something to the effect of, "Buy your snacks here. Don't let yourself get ripped off by the movie theater. Let us rip you off with our stale mini-bons instead." This new open food policy is a pleasant surprise. It is a little tricky to sneak in Bubble Tea without a little spillage.

Anyway, about Eagle Eye, here's the gist:

Jerry Shaw (Shia LeBeouf) is a fast-talking clerk at the Copy Cabana. He is presumably a smart guy because he was a former Stanford student. Unfortunately, due to his failure to consult with an advisor from the Undergraduate Advising or the Freshman Dean's Office (in my opinion), he dropped out a couple of years in, and is consequently, so broke that he can't even afford a razor (also, my interpretation). His woes worsen when he loses his brother to a fatal car accident.

Jerry returns from his brother's funeral and miraculously finds $750,000 in his checking account. On top of that, he returns to his apartment and finds boxes and boxes of various terrorist paraphernalia (fertilizer, guns, false passports, etc.), all of which he did not order. Suspicious... After rifling through all of the boxes like an idiot, Jerry receives a phone call from a mysterious woman who instructs him to run or else be seized by a battalion of FBI agents and charged for terrorist shenanigans. And, here, lies the main premise of the film. The mysterious caller, through the various wonders of modern communication technology, instructs Jerry to complete a series of dangerous tasks at the risk of grave consequences. Though Jerry tries to ignore the calls, she always manages to get a hold of him. It's like she can see his every move. It's like she has an EAGLE EYE. Dun dun dun. Meanwhile, young Marcia Gay Harden, a single mother (Michelle Monaghan) finds herself in a similar predicament to Jerry, and sooner than later, meets up with the young lad. Together, the duo brave the mysterious caller's menacing demands, try to figure out what Jerry's dead brother has to do with anything, and desperately attempt to evade the EAGLE EYE. Dun dun dun.

Oh, yeah, meanwhile, the duo, presumed to be terrorists, are pursued by Agent Billy Bob Thornton (played by Billy Bob Thornton).

My thoughts:

Shia LaBeouf, the young whippersnapper, is definitely going to live up to his hype as the next big leading man (barring drug addiction, a same-sex love affair, or premature balding). I think he's got the potential to be the next Will Smith. Probably. Maybe. Possibly? He can cry real tears and deliver sharp quips, a mile a minute. The boy is quite talented. I have great faith in Shia LaBeouf's future, but I don't think he's quite ready to play a "man", especially opposite a woman who looks like she could be his mother. The boy may have a deep voice and probably a DUI under his belt, but he's only a few years out of Even Stevens. He's not old enough to star in an action film that requires him to wear a suit.

The rest of the cast is just as solid, but something bugged me about each of them:
Billy Bob Thornton -- His fake teeth.
Rosario Dawson - Every interaction with a male character always seemed like it was heading towards romance. I like Rosario Dawson as an actress, but her character was pretty pointless.
Michelle Monaghan - She looked too much like Marcia Gay Harden. (It took nearly the entire film for me to figure out who she looked like.)
The "Mysterious Caller" - She was like a talking Sunday Advertisement Pull-out. The "caller" would essentially say things like, "Go to the Macy's and buy a new outfit" or "Go to the Circuit City Home Entertainment Center and wait for my next message, now available in HD. Don't forget to ask your sales associate about our new zero -down, 0% APR offer." It was so annoying. Whatever happened to subliminal messaging?

As for the plot, I have to say that the premise was intriguing, but then I realized that the film was basically a mix of [SPOILERISH ALERT]...

Saw and I.Robot, only with cell phones.

The movie would have been fun if the filmmakers didn't try to get all lofty at the end and cram in themes about national security, human rights, retribution, personal freedoms, and communication technology. I don't want to give anything away, but it seemed like the film sort of unraveled at the end. It's rather disappointing because the filmmakers did a good job of building the suspense and action in the first half of the film, but then, as if they realized that the movie was getting too long (or maybe the hole was too deep and there was no turning back), they hastily brought it to an end.

How about a convoluted metaphor to help illustrate my point? It's like we were all hitting at a pinata. At first, we diligently cracked the pinata's paper mached exterior at a steady pace, but suddenly, we realize that it's time to go blow out the birthday candles, so your mother grabs the pinata and runs it over wither her car. Then, everyone's like, "Yeah, I guess that works..." Later, we all leave the party with drooped shoulders, clutching paper bags filled with crushed hard candies.

Maybe some kids came away from the party with M&Ms and bubble gum, but I only got crushed butterscotch and strawberry candy. I appreciated the ideas behind Eagle Eye, but the end result wasn't very impressive. Plus, all the gratuitous car chase scenes made me experience a little motion sickness. That's no fun.