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.

10 October 2008

Forever 21 in the Motherland

The thought of a Forever 21 launch party in Seoul is so strange to me on a couple of levels. First of all, as I mentioned previously, Seoul is basically one large Forever 21. You can find similar fashion items (if not the same exact thing with a different tag) for a fraction of the price in Edae, Kangnam, or Dongdaemun. Secondly, I still remember when Forever 21 was just a step above Rave or Jean's Warehouse, a place to buy your clubbing outfit for under $20. Now's it's become the mecca of the budget fashionista.

You have to admire the founders of Forever 21 for seeing the potential in Korean manufactured fashions and their ability to make it appeal to the American Mall demographic (i.e., Asian Americans).

Speaking of malls, Forever 21 had yet to open before I left, but I did see the Coming Soon signs at the newly built M Plaza (located right next to the Body Shop). I'm calling it. In about ten years, Myeongdong is going to become one big shopping mall. Yeah, I'm talking American style. Who knows? It may even have a Cinnabon and an Orange Julius.

Perhaps malls do not fit with the "here today, gone tomorrow" model of many small retailers in Seoul, but I think Korean consumers will quickly become accustomed to large, somewhat organized merchandise displays and air condintioning.

Mark my words.
(And if I'm wrong, I'm going to blame the economic woes of 2008)

I'll see you in December, Forever 21 Myeongdong.
If you're still there, that is...

09 October 2008

I Can Do Whatever I Like (T.I. Says It's O.K.)

I've sort of trapped myself into a terrible, terrible sleep pattern. I would like to blame it on jet lag, but I've been back in the States for nearly two weeks, so I'll need to find another excuse. I basically can't fall sleep until around 4 AM, which means that I end up sleeping until noon. This also means that I end up missing breakfast! I'm supposed to have three square meals a day. This is no good.

I've been trying to push myself into a non-vampire like sleep schedule, but I'm traveling to Hawaii in a couple of weeks, and then back to the Motherland in a month and a half. Perhaps all my efforts will be in vain?

It's now 2:45 am, and I've spent the last thirty minutes watching Weird Al music videos on youtube. (Thanks a lot, Wired Magazine.)

Anyway, my whole reason for posting was to inform you that Weird Al just released a parody of T.I.'s hit, "Whatever You Like." Oh, Weird Al, you are one funny dude.

Good Night, America. Good Morning, Motherland.

Let's Get Political, Political

If you've been keeping up with SNL or seen all those "Rock the Vote" T-shirts on celebrity folk, then you probably already know that the U.S. Presidential Election is just around the corner. I've already picked my candidate, but just for safe measure, I thought I'd consult with my trusty new advisor, Lego-Man.

Lego-Man may only be seven-years-old, but he's a pretty smart kid. I mean, he already knows how to do pre-Algebra and build a motorized Ferris Wheel out of Legos. After dinner, I asked Lego-Man who he'd select as President. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when he said John McCain. Say what? What could an intelligent seven-year-old possibly find appealing about a man like Senator John McCain?

So I had to ask Lego-Man, "John McCain? Why John McCain?"
"Because he was on the cover of TIME for Kids," he replied simply.

To be fair, Lego-Man, Barack Obama also made it on the cover of TIME for Kids.

Lego-Man may still be a wee young lad, but we couldn't allow such blithe decision making. Thus, his Auntie Joyce and I put him on the hot seat and forced him to explain himself -- on camera.

Obama or McCain? from Annalog on Vimeo

I can't blame Lego-Man's fickleness when it comes to selecting candidates. He is, after all, only seven. However, his emphasis on picking whichever candidate was the most "popular" is a reminder that popularity is probably the most important criteria during school elections. In grade school (and high school for that matter), more often than not, we picked the candidate that was our friend, the person we thought had the most friends, or the person that all our friends were voting for. This sort of voting works in grade school when the biggest decision the student council president makes is the theme of the next pep rally, but there is so much more to consider when you're voting for the foremost leader of the nation. I know that a lot of people (myself included) have a tendency to vote for their favorite "clique", but I do hope that people are a lot more thoughtful with this forthcoming election. I mean, look what happened when people voted for the rich, party-boy. If people really thought about who would make the best president, I think the choice is obvious. Forget the super-senior with the pretty girlfriend. Let's pick the smart underclassmen with the sparkling personality. Are you with me people?

08 October 2008

Taking Over the World One Red Mango at a Time

With all the Pink Berry shops scattered throughout L.A. and pictures of those Hollywood gals "eating" the trendy fro-yo , I think Korean yogurt's sort of become passé. The popularity of Red Mango definitely seems to be on the decline in the Motherland, replaced by over-priced waffle cafes and Roti Boys.

Nonetheless, we were all pretty excited to see a couple of new Red Mango shops pop up in the area. We took Piggy to the Red Mango next to Cupertino Library.

The Red Mango yogurt here is a little different. I'd say it's a little more tart. It's got a stronger yogurty flavor. The Korean Red Mango is sweeter.

Toppings were complimentary in Korea, but here in the U.S.of A. (We're going through hard times out here, if you haven't heard), you have to pay for each topping. Outrageous, you say? Not really given that the fruit is FRESH! Yeah! Fresh blueberries! Captain Crunch! Mmm...
Despite the individually priced toppings, the end price comes out to about the same as the yogurt back in the Motherland.

Red Mango America is Piggy approved.

Soo ordered the green tea yogurt. It looks so naked without any toppings.

Felix told me that the former Survivor winner Yul Kwon owns one of the Red Mango(es?). Looks like he owns the one on University Ave. in Palo Alto. (And, he's engaged, Cyndi!)

Power to Red Mango and its gyopo founder, but it must be said that before Red Mango, before Pink Berry, before Fiore, there was Yami Yogurt at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

07 October 2008

Happy Birthdays!

This past weekend was the weekend of birthdays.

We drove up to the City on Saturday to celebrate the Not My Cousin Daniel's Birthday. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures!
Happy Birthday to Not My Cousin Daniel!

On Sunday, we celebrated Piglet Eugene's 2nd birthday. I made Martha Stewart's Monkey Cake, and Cyndi helped me to frost it up and make it look like a piggy. Piglet Eugene wasn't feeling well, so his mom requested a cake sans frosting. We disobeyed...but we did make him a plain cupcake decorated with a bit of decorating gel.

Happy Birthday, boys!

04 October 2008

You can take the girl out of the Motherland, but can you take the Motherland out of the girl?

In movies and books, the protagonist often comes back from a year abroad having experienced some great change or epiphany. I'm more of a gradual change type of person, so I can't say that I came back from the Motherland transformed in some fundamental way (other than some eyelash extensions and a cheap dress addiction). On the other hand, after a few days in the Homeland, I've noticed that I picked up a few new habits and preferences from my time in the Motherland.

Okay, people. Sit back and relax. It's time for another list.

10 Signs That You've Just Returned from a Year in the Motherland (aka South Korea)
(in no particular order because I don't like to rank things)

1. Immediately after finishing your meal, you walk up to the cash register and demand the check only to have a perplexed hostess say to you, "Please have a seat. Your server will bring you your check."

2. You forget to tip your waitress.
"Oh, right. 15%. What? 20%? That's outrageous! Service is my divine right!"

3. You openly examine yourself in reflective surfaces without any hint of sheepishness or irony.

4. You wear heels to do un-glamorous tasks like walking the dog or buying detergent at Target.

5. You eat samgyupsal without any rice.
You don't have the "meal" or shiksa until after you've had your fill of grilled gogi.

6. You go out in public even though your face is a shade lighter than your shoulders.
(In my defense, I'm not purposely trying to look "whiter." I'm just trying to cover up my blemishes with some b.b. cream!)

7. You crave a steaming hot tang or jigae on a blistering summer day.

8. You take pictures of yourself.
Eww. Not those kinds; ones of you acting cute or silly, usually with the camera angled above your head.

9. You automatically bow with every greeting or thank you, as if you were some Geisha robot.

10. Social gatherings never end with one round.
You need to at least hang out until sam-cha, "round three." Typically, 1-cha is dinner. 2-cha involves soju. 3-cha is the time to sober up at the noraebang. If your night carries onto the 4-cha or 5-cha, you'll need to make sure you have the number for a cab or daeri-oonjun.

I'm really glad that I didn't drive in Seoul. I can only imagine the gnarly driving habits I'd have learned. Running red lights and stop signs, u-turning wherever I pleased, swerving into lanes like a convict on the run -- I'd be an accident waiting to happen.

03 October 2008


I just spent most of the day grading papers and writing up progress reports (Yes, thanks to the magical powers of the Internet, I am bringing the exciting world of hagwon all the way to my little apartment in California), so I'm just taking a quick blog break.

I will blog more tomorrow, but can I just write a big, uncharacteristic OMG in response to the tragic, tragic news of actress Choi Jin Shil's suicide?

Choi Jin Shil used to be one of my favorite Korean actresses. She was the star of my high school favorite 별은내가슴에 (Star in My Heart). She was sort of the Julia Roberts of Korea. She was beautiful, but was also known for her likable persona. The news of her suicide is quite distressing. I can't imagine what her family and friends are going through.

I hate to generalize, but where as many American celebrities often turn to drugs or alcohols (and public displays of foolishness) to drown out their woes, Korean celebrities (at least within the last few years) seem to turn to death. Is this cultural, coincidental, or one of the new dangers of a life in the public eye? Whatever the case may be, I hope recent tragedies inspire awareness, discussion, and change.

R.I.P. Choi Jin Shil

(picture source: Dramawiki)