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?