Monday, October 23, 2006

Why does Tim Allen make movies?

I think I'm going to ask Mick LaSalle. Not because I think he'll know but he might have a funny answer. So I emailed:

"Why does Tim Allen make movies? Out of fairness, I haven't seen any of them. I've only seen about 2 episodes of Home Improvement. He was great as Buzz Lightyear and I hear Galaxy Quest is funny.
But I just don't get why anyone would see, say, Jungle 2 Jungle or The Santa Clause.
If I were to rent one of his movies, what should I start with?"

I can't believe there's a Santa Clause Part 3 movie coming out. I didn't even know there was a Part 2! I just don't get the appeal and the trailers for his movies are just lost on me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Celebrity sighting!

Well, a Filipino celebrity sighting. At the newly super-sized San Francisco Centre, housewares department in Bloomingdales.

Shortly after my sisters, my niece and her school friends finished eating lunch, we made our way from the Food Emporium to Bloomingdales. I already took some shots of my shopping party and some of the food we ate and I was now on the prowl for anything fun and interesting to shoot. I found a crumpled piece of paper stuffed in a coffee cup amongst the fine china table settings and snapped that up. It was close to the escalator and and soon we'd be on our way up to the next level.

Apparently, my sisters had already been whispering they had just spotted Eric Quizon. (Later on, I'd learn that my sister Jing didn't want to say anything to my other sister Marivie because she didn't want her craning her neck and gawking at him, but too late, she recognized him on her own.) I did a quick double take, camera in hand, and nodded in agreement and caught a bad blurry shot from over head. We got off the escalator and I said I'm going in for a closer shot and wanted everyone to come with me.

We made our way down the escalator and missed them again, Eric and his companion were being attended to by an employee. It seemed that Eric's companion was receptive to what I was up to but I didn't want to be separated from the rest of gang and look like a dodo all by myself on this mission. So up the escalator we went again. I tried to take another photo, and this time, he noticed and waved up to me. I took that as a sign that it couldn't hurt to just approach the guy and ask his permission to take his photo. And down the escalator I went a third time, with Marivie in tow. The other gals had gone off to find and use the facilities.

Marivie started feeling really self-conscious now, saying she looked so blah and wished she wasn't wearing what she was wearing. I said I didn't care. He wouldn't remember us and he's probably happily surprised that folks over here recognize him. We had approached the two at the cash wrap and I said hello, held out my hand to introduce myself and he did likewise. I introduced my 'Ate' (pronounced 'ah-teh', meaning older sister for non-Tagalog readers) and I asked if it would be ok if I took a photo of him with my sister, seeing as she recognized him. He ok'd it and I snapped it up. I showed it to him, thanked him and bade them both have a good day.

Off we went, still giggly and eager to show the others the photo. After a few hours of weaving in and out the mall, we ran into Eric and his companion again. He recognized us, we exchanged waves and good-byes and continued on. That was actually fun!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday night date nite

Someone at work either threw away or ate my half-eaten burrito from yesterday. I intended to eat the remaining half today but it was gone by lunch time. I purposely put it in the clean 'fridge, where people actually label their things and keep perishables at a minimum, thinking my food would be safe. I was wrong. I should have stuck with the icky gross 'fridge, the one people are afraid to open because it may never close again and may unleash some biological hazard out into the office.

I didn't have any money and I only have a half hour for lunch. I already spent 15 minutes of it screwing around on the net (thinking I'd nuke and eat for the remaining 15 minutes). But there was simply no time to get to the ATM, get new food, and eat. I was determined to find my leftovers but gave up when I only had 5 minutes left before I had to 'clock' back in. I usually pack a breakfast bar but I was rushing out this morning so I didn't have anything to eat in the morning either.

I was delirious by 3:30PM. The hunger headache set it. I was trying to hide my irritability, trying to stay productive and helpful but it was getting really tough. Every question was stupid (in my head) and I took on several 'unsolved mysteries' just to get people away from my desk.

Too proud to ask people around me for money, (I couldn't even buy a candy bar - I left my coin purse at home!) I toughed it out until dinner. An early dinner. Eric met up with me after work and we walked over to Beale Street, where a few of our Friday night dates have begun (happy hour!) but tonight, it was packed. We thought about eating at Schroeder's, Perry's, Tadich, Chevy's, Fuzio, anything nearby really because I could have eaten pigeon at that point. Bocce Cafe in North Beach was the choice... at least for 10 minutes. After tramping through the Transamerica Redwood Park to visit the froggy fountain and creepy bronze children, we saw the House of Nanking and decided to give it a try.

I don't know anyone who's actually eaten there, but we ate at Chef Jia's once (next door) many many moons ago and that was hilariously disgusting. Not that the food was gross, it was so-so, the orange chicken was bitter with orange pith-bitterness but everything else was a not out of the ordinary for Chinese food. We did, however, see rats scurry up exposed plumbing pipes and a seemingly chronic, hacking cough was getting louder and louder from the kitchen. There were only 3 other people in there with us, while a crowd, in the rain, continued to queue up for House of Nanking.

We were promptly seated, our drink orders taken immediately. We peruse the well-worn plastic-covered menus. Everything seemed straight forward. We're not the kind of diners to make ordering an ordeal so if we do have questions, we normally don't ask. We just surprise ourselves when the food comes out, hoping to remember the ingredients on the menu so we can identify what we're eating. On tonight's menu: beef with string beans, combo fried rice, Nanking sesame pork, an order of fried pot stickers as an appetizer, hot tea and a can of Sprite.

My hot tea was pretty, it looked like potpourri floating on top with the tea leaves at the bottom. It was served in a clear glass stein-shaped mug. The string beans were snappy and a nice shade of green, the beef, tender. The basil was a pleasant and unexpected flavor. The fried rice was nice, with shrimp, beef and chicken as the main stars of the combo. The pot stickers with peanut sauce was nice too, mainly for the peanut sauce, which was just right - not goopy or sweet or salty.

The Nanking sesame pork was the interesting dish - thinly sliced fried & sauced sweet potatoes on one side of the platter, hunks of some unidentified green squash/melon in the middle and the pork on the other side, sprinkled with sesame seeds. From what I can tell, the pork was thrown around in cornstarch and quickly fried, forming a mound of intertwined ribbons of meat. Eric remarked at it's flavor, porky in that pork rind way, nice and crisp. It wasn't until we were half way through the dish, we realized it was bacon. BACON. I like bacon, and I've eaten all kinds of pork parts, but it was completely unexpected. It was tasty, but hell, it's BACON. It'd have to be boiled or burned to be gross. Deep fried-battered bacon - a first for us.

The table was too small for our food and the platters overflowed onto a neighboring (empty) table. I thought it was neat that there weren't any soy sauce bottles on the tables. The chef must be confident that everything is going out perfectly seasoned. Or the tables are simply too small to accommodate condiments. I certainly had no complaints. The other odd thing, we noticed a lot of the tourist folk eating straight from the platters, forgoing the individual plates. It's family style, right? And rice, some tables had no rice! But I think that's just me. I need rice. I miss rice and get sad if I go more than 3 days without it. Some people are potato people, others are bread or pasta. I'm a rice girl.

If there is a next time, the appetizer will be left off. It was quite a bit of food. Our server asked if we wanted to take home the leftovers but we declined, to make room for dessert (macarons) and tea at home. We walked over to Tower Records to bid farewell (and buy some CDs) before taking the bus home.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tower Records memories

This past Saturday, Eric & I went to may parents house after dining with my family for my mom's 73rd birthday. The Filipino Channel or GMA (another Filipino satellite channel) is usually on, so I end up watching (and 90% understanding!) really emotionally draining soap operas while Eric finds something to read or talks computers with my brother and brother-in-law.

After showing everyone this crazy photo from Sports Illustrated, he moved on to the Sunday paper. He read about Tower Records closing up shop. Not just the one at the mall, but all of them. It was just a matter of time I suppose, as Musicland and The Wherehouse have been gone for quite some time now.
I must admit, I haven't bought anything from Tower in a while, for all the reasons it probably went under - internet downloads, big-box store competition, Amazon. My last CD 'purchase' was actually at a Barnes & Noble because we had a gift certificate to burn through. Eric was going to Tower's Classical Annex, perusing Opera but he hasn't bought anything in a while either because they're so pricey. And it's just not convenient for me to go to Tower. The VirginMegastore or Amoeba are easier to access from where I live.

I remember going as a kid, perusing the aisles when records and cassettes made up most of the stock. I'd go with my brothers or sisters right before the school year started because they'd give away calendars and book covers. Not that I liked that kind of stuff (Nagel-esque), I still liked Care Bears and Smurfs, but hey, the stuff was free. I moved onto postcards when the calendars and book covers were no longer being offered.

Tower Records postcard details

As poor college kids (well, not really, we just usually blew the money on good food) Eric and his friends and I would go to the nearest Tower Records or nearby bookstore to walk off dinner amongst the aisles. Not a whole lot of buying, but there was a lot of looking and wishing to buy stuff. One midnight, I remember going with my brother to buy The Beatles Anthology 1 when it was first released. There was a small line and it didn't take long to get our copies. The year before that, we'd bought The Beatles Live at the BBC albums - he'd bought vinyl and the CDs and I just bought the CDs. He still hasn't opened them. But his collecting habits and our shared love for all things Beatles are a story for another day...

Anthologies & Live at the BBC

Tower Records will be gone, but not forgotten.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The perfect setting

I'm not the first to point this out but it still makes me laugh that in most furniture catalogs, especially the high end kind, there are no people. There are picture frames, they might have pictures of people, but they're usually of prints of plants or sailing ships, shadow boxes of corks, sea glass or seashells. Where are the people? There's something wrong with that.

The rooms are perfectly accessorized... or are they? Homes and their rooms are for people and a pet or 2. Where are they? Too busy making sure everything looks perfect they don't want to sit and rumple a cushion. I can see why they furniture folks do this, they want you to see yourself in their things, for you to imagine yourself lounging on that fabulous chocolate brown leather sofa with the luxuriously soft chenille throw near your foot just in case the cool breeze wafting through the open french doors is a little too chilly and you're too lazy to close the doors.

My co-workers were talking about furniture shopping yesterday and Deion* asked Denise* where she's been looking for her dining room set. She said Black Sea Gallery. Deion did a double take and replied laughingly "Black Z-Gallerie?!" We all had a laugh (they're both African-American) and he continued to ask, jokingly, where it was and what kind of stuff they had that was different from the regular Z-Gallerie. After the laughing, they continued to talk and compare prices between what they'd seen so far from Scandanavian Designs and Williams-Sonoma.

I want to see people in these rooms. But I bet the marketing folks don't want to have to pick through the 'types' of people that should be in these rooms for fear of offending or excluding anyone. So it's definitely easier to leave everyone out.

*Not their first names, just their middle names!