Monday, July 31, 2006

Vegas Recap

Well, you know what they say: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

I won't tell any of the juicy bits, but here's the news that's fit to print! :-)

We went to the Pinball Hall of Fame on Friday night! The owner was there and was gracious enough to stay open late so I could try a pin called Goin' Nuts that was recommended by one of the regulars. Apparently, there were only 13 prototypes made and it was never released. The unusual thing about it was that every play starts out as multiball! It was fun! I only had a chance to play it once because he was already staying open later than usual to let me finish that game. One of my favorite pins (and the most popular ever) is Addam's Family and they have an excellent unit there. It's in great shape and the ramps and board look and feel fabulous. I played that a lot because it is so hard to find one in good shape.

We also went to the Bodies Exhibit at the Tropicana. It wasn't quite as exciting as I hoped it would be. I didn't really have an expectation necessarily, but it just seemed really dry. The audio tour was painfully boring. I always get the audio tour because I feel like it helps deepen my understanding of whatever I'm looking at. Not the case with this exhibit. It was oodles of info, just not very interesting.

We also went for dinner at L'Atelier, a Joel Robuchon restaurant. L'Atelier is located in the MGM Grand, where we stayed. That is a whole post unto itself because there are pictures, oh yes! There are pictures...

Other than that, the only things I'll mention are that while walking through the MGM Grand, I ran into a friend from high school that I haven't seen since our reunion three summers ago! I don't know what the odds of that were, but it was really cool to see him, especially since he lives in Canada now. He works for an online poker company, so he was there for the expo they were having in conjunction with the World Series of Poker.

Oh, and my friend Gary (the one in the WSOP) and I ran into Greg Raymer, the 2004 World Series of Poker champ! He was kind enough to take a picture with both of us.

Me and Greg Raymer

Greg Raymer and Gary

That's all folks! I'm working on a post about our dinner at L'Atelier! It should be ready soon!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Playing hooky

Erin & I played hooky yesterday. We left mid-day to partake in a traditional American past time. Here, I'll give you a hint:

The view from our seats

Yes, we witnessed the Dodgers get slaughtered by the Padres. But the food and conversation was good! Plus, there's nothing like being somewhere fun when you really should be at work. Follow that up with swimming and dishing and you might have a perfect afternoon!

Also, I'll be heading out tonight right after work for Vegas and back on Monday. We'll see if I have anything post-able when I get back! 'Cause you know what they say...

Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Know your audience

I have a shopaholic friend who is very directionally challenged. Anytime she'd come to visit my old house, I'd have to give her directions every time, even after she'd been there several times. And for the first dozen or so times, I'd have to give her directions on how to get home. Not just to get to the freeway, but how to get home once she got on the freeways. She is CONSTANTLY getting lost.

She's going to pick up her mom from LAX this morning and she needed to know how to get to the 405 from our workplace. So, I just gave her directions using malls as reference points. She never gets lost going to the mall, so I said, "Get on the 134 like you're going to the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, pass that and the Sherman Oaks Galleria is right there at the 405. You know where that is right?"

And, of course, she did.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Vanguard account

In mid-2002, I started a Roth IRA account with Vanguard. I did some research at the time trying to decide who I should go with. I think the factors that compelled me to choose Vanguard were the low fees they have on their mutual funds, ease of opening an account and the fact that I had heard Suze Orman recommend their Total Stock Market Index fund. So, I opened it and have never looked back. It was a struggle at first to put the monthly contribution in, and then like it always seems to happen, you adjust to whatever amount of you have on hand. Now I don't even feel or notice the bi-weekly contributions that automatically come from my savings account.

Now, I'm thinking about opening a separate account for investing purposes. I've never had any investments outside of a retirement account, so this is all new territory for me. It's a little different. With the retirement account, I don't get too worried because I know I have a long time before I'll need the money, so I don't get freaked out if the market dips one day and is up the next. I usually don't even think about it. I just withhold as much as possible and I'm letting the retirement chips fall where they may!

As this is new territory, it's a little scary! I don't really want to invest in anything too risky because I'm not sure when I'll need this money back. I could use it as a down payment on a house, but that's not something I'm considering at the moment. But it's a possibility, so I don't necessarily want to invest in something and then pull it out as the market's going down in two years.

So here's the plan: I called Vanguard today and spoke with a rep. She emailed me a link to a questionnaire that I will fill out with all my particulars - when I want to retire, how much I make, how much I save, what's it invested in, when do I need my money back, etc. Once they get that, they'll contact me to set-up a phone interview and then we can decide what would be the best way for me to invest my money. I'm willing to go through the process and see what they suggest. This should be interesting!

I could just put the money in an online savings account and earn just over 5%, but I'm hoping I'll be able to do better than that. Ideally, that is my goal.

Orange County Fair 2006

Ahhhhh, summertime! It is one of my favorite times of the year! Why? Because it means that it's time for my yearly trek to the Orange County Fair! Today was the hottest day of the year, so of course (!), that's the day I decided to go with Erin in tow!

We headed down a little later than we expected, but still managed to do a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A for a couple of their delicious chicken biscuits! When we arrived, we decided to save $5 by taking advantage of the free parking. So, we parked in the AAA lot and shuttled over to the fair.

The first stop inside was the livestock and farming section. We saw cute, cute, cute piglets! There were three pens of piglets. One pen had 6 day old piglets and another had 8 day old piglets! (I'll have to add pictures when I get home.)

Then we headed over for the flower competition. The flower was the theme of this year's fair and they had a small building that had arrangements and bouquets of flower entries. Some were really cool. At the back of the building, there was a vendor, Kate Chu, who makes art of from pressed flowers. Some of her pieces were amazing!! I bought a small piece to put on my nightstand. I love it.

We started to get hungry after perusing the marketplace area for a while, and Erin declared that we must have a turkey leg. Well, on our way, we passed the face painting booth. I had warned Erin that I would be getting my face painted, as I do every year. Every year, they get the same face painter and she is amazing. Here is what she painted on my face in less than 2 minutes.
We made our way to the smoked turkey leg booth and bought one to share ($8.75). I have never bought one at a fair, so this was a first for me! Exciting! See how excited I look!?

We then went over to the Plaza Stage and watched the Peking Acrobats. Their show was good. We also watched the Aga-Boom clown show. That was a lot of fun and somewhat air conditioned which was a big plus.

For our dessert, we settled on a deep fried Twinkie with raspberry sauce and a deep fried Oreo. Both were good, but I think the deep fried Twinkie was a little better. Deep fried Twinkie
Deep fried Oreos

Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich
I picked out what I'm trying next year though! It's a chicken sandwich with honey of a Krispy Kreme donut. That sounds disgustingly decadent! I think I have to try one just to see how it tastes!!

We did some more shopping and then headed out! It was a long day! Over 10 hours of fair fun!! The great thing was that while it was 90 degrees in Burbank at night, I was actually getting chilly at the fair because it's so close to the ocean. I think I might have to try the LA County Fair, although I'm already feeling like I won't get my money's worth at $15 per ticket!! The OC Fair is a bargain at $8! However, the LA County fair is promoting its fair food already in this press release! I think I'll have to try the pork chop on a stick!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Traffic blows!

Last night, a friend and I headed up to an L.A. suburb to play some games. According to Yahoo! Maps, it should take 31 minutes without any traffic. So I figured that with the traffic multiplier (x2) it should take us 62 minutes or so.

Well, factor in Friday night traffic (x2), going through the only freeway access to head up to northern Cali for the weekend (+50%), plus a brush fire along the side of the road (40 min according to freeway sign), and you get slightly over 2 hours! Let's see... 31 x 2 = 62 plus 50% (31) = 93 + 40 = 133 minutes. Sounds about right! And that was with having an alternative route of a sort for the last 10-15 minutes. If we didn't have that and had to stay of the jammed up 5, it could've EASILY been another 30-45 minutes! Yikes! Only in L.A., right?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Are Mensans any smarter than regular people?

The party that I went to last Saturday was thrown by a Mensan and her non-Mensan roommate. Going off of total stereotypes, you'd think the Mensans would be more intellectual than regular people. However, the bunch I met did decidedly NOT fall into the "more intellectual" category. Most of them had been barhopping since 1 PM (and it was about 11 PM when they showed up), half of them got high and the main topic of conversation was sex, in all its various forms!

While I was there, I was asked a couple times if I was in Mensa and when I said, "No..." they'd say, "You should join!" I think it may have crossed my mind at some point briefly in the past, but I think I always thought, why would I do that? Just to let people know how "smart" I am? "Hey, look at me! I'm in Mensa!" ?

Although, I think my friend who invited me to the party has a good point. He likes hanging out and talking with "smart" people. Even if it's about sex and stuff like that. And this is a good social group for him. They do lots of restaurant/bar events and take little trips together. In that respect, I think it might be fun! It would broaden my potential friend base.

I told him that being smart is NOT everything. I've met plenty of "smart" people who aren't GOOD people. Everyone has something different to offer. To go off the topic a bit... this is one of my pet peeves. Parents who want their kids to be "smart," but don't instill any character or discipline in them. Being smart is not everything, but sometimes it seems like parents are willing to excuse bad behavior because their kid is a straight A student. Like that matters?! OK, done with that.

If I were to join Mensa, it would just mean I would have more people to draw from to hang out with. It's pretty cheap to take the test, so maybe I'll just try it. I don't even know that I would pass. I think I would, but who knows?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Las Vegas - Here I come!

I have quite a few trips on deck this year and the first one is happening next weekend! I considered driving and even posted an ad on Craigslist to see if there was anyone who wanted to carpool with me to Vegas, but after not getting much of a response, I was ready to give up because the tickets on Southwest were $180! Well, I checked today and they had lowered their prices so I got a ticket for $108 including all the taxes and fees! Cool!!

I'm leaving Thursday right after work and coming in on Monday morning and walking to work. I work less than one mile from the airport, so I won't even have to pay for parking. More money for craps! :-P

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Ratio" Party

After games on Saturday, I went to a party. I wasn't sure I wanted to even GO to the party because the person who invited me called the hostess to see if it was OK to bring a girl. He had to check to make sure the # of guys vs. girls was OK. After hearing him ask about that, I started to have my doubts about whether or not I should even go! Who asks about the guy to girl ratio when asking to bring a guest to a party?? Someone suggested maybe it was a key party (which it wasn't! Thank goodness!). The invitor then asked me if I consider that when inviting people for my parties and I said, "No, I don't! I just invite whoever I want to come and then whoever shows up is it!" Later I started wondering if I should keep that in mind... I will have to consider that for the next party.

Chicken Biscuits

One of my highlights this past weekend was going to Chick-Fil-A with Erin on our way down to the Long Beach games day. If you've never been there, which I surprisingly had not been there, all they serve are chicken items. They have side dishes, but no burgers or anything.

I ended up ordering a chicken biscuit (only available during breakfast hours of 9 AM - 10:30 AM), chicken sandwich (bread, chicken, butter and a couple pickle slices) and chicken nuggets (actual chicken cut into bite-sized pieces), cole slaw, waffle fries and the best part! Sweet tea! Which is exactly what it's called, tea that's been sweetened. It's fabulously sweet. I bought a large sweet tea with my food and then bought a gallon of it to take home.

The highlight though (food-wise) was the chicken biscuit. It was delicious! We are definitely hitting the Chick-Fil-A on our way down to the OC Fair this Saturday.

Chicken Biscuit

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Games and more games

Yesterday, the SoCalGamers had their second all day open gaming session in Long Beach. It was a small turnout, but I met some good people. One was a completely new person, new to the OC/LA area, and he was pretty good with the gaming. I had fun, but I think having more people would be better. I think the So Cal Games Days usually bring in about 80-90 folks and this one had about 25-30 people. I am hoping that once Patrick gets the word out a bit more and it becomes more of a regular function, then more people will turn up!

I finally got to play RoboRally too, which was recommended to me last year by my Lingo competitor Andrew. I can see the appeal of it and I did enjoy playing it. We just played with one board and 3 flags. Next time, I'd like to try the more complicated version to see if I could work it out. It looks like it just spiral out of control quickly! And from the looks of some of the boards, it literally looks like you'd spiral into a slow and painful death!

I'm really looking forward to the next So Cal Games Day in August! Yea!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: A Review

This is my short and sweet review of Pirates 2 (seen on 7/14/06).

It's a fun, summer movie that's about 30 minutes too long. It's not as good as the first one (it's rare that sequels ever are), but I would say that it's worth seeing, especially on the big screen. The special effects for the bad guys is awesome and I just love their look! If you're somewhat interested in seeing it, go do it in the theater! They did take some elements of the ride and incorporate them (once again) into the movie. AND! They play liar's dice! That part was great!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dream Dinners Alternative

Well, I did try the Dream Dinners demo and it was cool, but I thought it was probably a bit too pricey for me. Especially since I do know how to cook and I don't mind doing it. I do like the idea of the freezing ahead, so I was thrilled to receive an email from Leanne at Saving Dinner saying that they have developed a menu that is an alternative to Dream Dinners.

Basically, it's the same idea as Dream Dinners, you assemble and freeze your meals ahead of time. The difference is that you do the prepping and clean-up and use Leanne's recipes. It's only $8.95 and for that, you get the menus and recipes for 22 meals that I would then freeze. According to the info. on this, it should use common, fresh ingredients. I don't need 22 frozen dinners, so I might be tempted to try it if I could split it with 1-2 other people!

I have used Saving Dinner in the past. The regular "Menu-Mailer" program that she promotes on her website is great. The concept is that every week, she emails you a list of 6 meals including the recipes and the corresponding grocery list to go with it. All her meals are nutritious (she's a dietician/nutritionist) and easy to prepare (most in about 30 minutes). It's fairly inexpensive and for like $0.07 a day you don't even have to think about what you're eating for dinner or what you need to buy. You just go to the store once a week and buy the ingredients.

The great thing about the menu-mailers is that she has custom menus, like frugal, low-carb, vegetarian, crock-pot, southern hemisphere and maybe even a kosher menu.

Anyway, I might give it a try! It sounds worth looking into!

Update: We're finally tried it on Sunday, October 15, 2006!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The problem with having double meanings

Here's the problem with words having completely different meanings (especially when I'm not reading carefully).

I saw a headline on Yahoo! this morning that said:

"Man eyes free-fall from 25 miles above Earth"

I'm thinking to myself: Wow! I've got to read that! How could his eyes fall from 25 miles above Earth? How is that possible?

Easy! His eyes didn't fall to Earth. The title on the article page says "Space Diver Prepares for Big Jump". I just glanced at it, so I didn't compute that there was no possessive on the "man" part of the headline! Duh!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Netflix at work

I recently signed back up for Netflix and since I'm never home, I decided to start watching my DVDs at work while I eat lunch! I started watching Mad Hot Ballroom today and it is SO cute! I can't wait to watch the rest of it! It's a documentary about NYC public school 5th graders who are taking a 10 week ballroom dancing class and it leads up to a competition. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I was having a weird problem. I am playing the DVD with Windows Media Player and the volume is very low! I checked the volume on my control panel and it was at max, my speakers were at max and so was the volume slider thing in the media player. What else could it be? Any techies out there have an idea? Is it the DVD? Should I use a different program to play it? Unfortunately, I don't have another DVD here to test to see if it's just the DVD. Is that even possible though?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Karaoke dreams do come true...

I finally got to fulfill a longtime karaoke wish! I got to sing a duet of "Endless Love" with someone who actually knows the song! He was fabulous and I was OK, but together it was pure karaoke magic!

Steph and Ron singing "Endless Love"

I found out too that there's a demand to play Karaoke Revolution at my place! Looks like I may have to schedule a karaoke night soon! Oh, my neighbors are going to love me even more! They'll wish I was just hammering on the walls at 11 PM!

We had a great time at:

Caffe Brass Monkey

3440 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 381-7047 - For reservations

Monday, July 10, 2006

Taco Taco Night

Ah, gringo tacos! Who doesn't lov'em? You know, the tacos with the ground beef, hard taco shells, cheese, lettuce and tomato?

The main course

Thanks to Lana who helped me organize everything and came over early to help me get set up! Also a big "thank you" to Erin who helped me hang some stuff on my walls at 11 PM! (Sorry to my downstairs neighbor!)

Me and my hammering accomplice, Erin

The tacos were yummy, the conversation was good, the pool was refreshing and the games were fun!

I heart my friends!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cheap Smog Test in North Hollywood

I posted yesterday that I had found a cheap place to take my car for its biennial smog test. I didn't post where I was taking it just in case I ran into problems. Well, Erin & I both took our cars there and as promised, our smog test cost only $33.00! That is including the $8.25 smog certificate. According to the owner, he gives this special price to cars, passenger trucks and SUVs that are 1996 or newer because the pass rate is about 95%.

The owner was really nice and courteous too! Even though he is a "test only" center, you can take your car there for a regular smog check.

If you need to get your car smogged, I would highly recommend:

Joe's Smog Test Only Center
10909 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 760-0703

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pictures of the Pulled Pork

I recently posted about the awesome 4th of July BBQ I attended at Lincoln & Nikki's this year! Here are the promised pictures of the food!

OK, they made pulled pork a la Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. He's like Bill Nye the Science Guy if you added food and cooking to the mix.

So here's what they did. They bought a pork shoulder (picnic cut though which wasn't the right one, but it's all they could find) and brined it for 8 hours. Then they set up a large terracotta pot with a hot plate on the bottom.

Terracotta pot with hot plate

Then, you're supposed to put a pie tin on top of the hot plate with chunks of wood to smoke the meat. They didn't have a pie tin, so they used an old ashtray they had on hand.

Terracotta pot with hardwood

Then you put the grill on.

Terracotta pot with grill

Put some foil on the grill and put your spice rubbed pork shoulder/butts in and smoke for 12 hours! That's right, 12 hours! I think you're trying to keep the temp at 210.

Terracotta pot with lid on! The oven is complete.

Our dedicated host and hostess started this cooking at 2 AM for our eating pleasure. It was awesome. Here's what it looked like when they unwrapped them.

The finished product

Then they pulled the meat off the bone, shredded it and we put it on buns with this sweet pickle juice-mustard mixture that Alton recommends. I liked it even though I don't care for sweet pickles. (Does anyone else remember that Sweet Pickles reading bus?)

Overall, delicious! Probably will be even better with the correct cut of meat. I think the other cut might be a bit more fatty, so maybe it would hold in more moisture. This was very good. I had to stop myself after eating two sandwiches. Luckily, Lincoln is ambitious and wants to try it again soon! I can't wait!

I love to save money!!

I have to get a smog this year on my car. The last time I had to get a smog, there's an Arco station where the guys were totally nice and cool and I was just going to take it back there because they were such good people. I called over there and they no longer do smogs! So, luckily, I didn't waste any gas trotting out there.

So, I started calling around to find the "lowest" price. I called a couple places and they were both in the $48-50 range. I was complaining to my co-worker about it and she said that $50 is the going rate for a Honda Civic. So, after I ate lunch, I thought, well, let me just call a few more places. I'm so glad I did!

One of the places I called said that my Honda Civic would qualify for his online discount, so it would be $33 out the door! Yippee! I just saved $15 by making a phone call. Gotta love it!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I talked to a stranger today

I have worked at my job for over 11 years. I was hired on as an administrative assistant which is basically a long title for receptionist. I sat at the front desk, answered the phones with a clear view of the sidewalk and street right in front of our building. Every day, I'd see this guy walk by in the afternoon who had this plodding, methodical walk. He always had a beard/mustache, usually had a backwards baseball cap of some sort on his head, would be listening to his Walkman, carried a black backpack and often was wearing a long, black trench coat even when it was hot outside. He looked like (warning: stereotype ahead) a guy who played D&D all the time and lived in his mom's basement.

I eventually moved to an office in the hall, so I didn't have a view of the sidewalk and street right in front of our building. Still, I'd see this guy walking on the sidewalk as I drove home or if I went up to the front desk to talk to the receptionist. Once I mentioned him to my assistant and she looked up and said that she had never noticed him before. I couldn't believe it because he walks by every single day. I don't know how she could've not noticed. Maybe she was doing more work than I was when I was up at that desk!

I've always wondered what his story is. Well, today, I happened to be at the red light near our work and he happened to be standing on the corner. I don't think I've ever seen him stand still. So, I did what every curious person would do! I rolled down my window and said, "Excuse me, could I ask you a question? Where do you work?" He looked at me like I was odd and I gave a quick explanation about how I've seen him all these years and always wondered what the deal was. He does work on my street and lived in Burbank (I pointed in the correct direction) and now he moved to Valley Village and takes the bus home. And I found out that his name is David and we shook hands. After all this, I really didn't know what to say, so I just said, "OK, see you around!"

The funny thing is that he totally looks like he wouldn't be that friendly and when I said that I had seen him all these years and wondered what his story was, he cracked a joke about being a man of mystery and it was funny and he sounded really easy-going. I'm glad that I talked to a stranger today. Now I don't have to wonder. Now I can just beep and say "Hi!"

Katamari Damacy cake

Many thanks to Erin who turned me on to the Picturing Food group on LJ. Here's an entry that posted to it! It's a Katamari Damacy
cake! If you have never seen the game, it probably won't be that interesting to you. On the other hand, for all of you that have seen it, you'll probably really appreciate it!!

Here's one picture:
Katamari Damacy cake

Katamari Damacy Hats

Oh Pappy, you're the best! Check out these Katamari Damacy hats! I have my name on the waiting list. Maybe I could figure out how to make one!

Katamari Damacy Hat Samples

Check out her website!!

4th of July

I had a fabulous weekend. I didn't get some stuff done that I wanted to, but I spent lots of time with friends and lots of time by the pool! Yea!

I went to Lincoln & Nikki's for the 4th. We didn't do much in way of the traditional patriotic stuff, like I didn't set off any firecrackers or go see any professional ones. In fact, we really didn't do much USA stuff. We watched the first part of Elizabeth (a 4 hour movie on HBO) and then after eating, watched Spirited Away. Good food. BUT there was food. And lots of it.

I have some pictures I will post later today, but first off, the main course was pulled pork made a la Alton Brown. They brined the meat for 8 hours and then cooked it in a large terracotta pot (a homemade oven) for 12 hours. It was delicious!!! We had some other food, but the other awesome dish was berry ice cream made that afternoon by Lincoln's mom!! I've never seen someone make ice cream in person, so it was interesting to see how it's done. Now I want to buy some kind of ice cream maker and make my own too. It looked fairly easy!

Nothing makes a holiday awesome like good food and good friends. I think last Thanksgiving was my best Thanksgiving ever and part of it was every dish was awesome. Nothing was mediocre. Also, everyone at my Thanksgiving Day dinner was someone special to me and there were no obligatory family members present. All family present was happily invited.

Over 1,000 hits!

Since I've been tracking the traffic to my blog in March (?), I reached 1,000 hits over the weekend!

It seems that the most popular searches to arrive at my blog lately have been:

1 vs. 100 game show
baked potatos or baked potatos on the grill

I need to write down some of the more interesting ones when I run across them. Sometimes it's just downright funny (or is it weird) what people will type in and my blog will be listed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New games update

June was a VERY busy month of games for me! I attended the SoCal Games Day on June 10th. That combined with my regular gaming bumped up my new game count by 20 games!! So my new game count for the year is up to 61! So I'm ahead of schedule. Of the games I've played in the last month, my favorites were: Igloo Pop, Caylus and Ricochet Robot!

Cuddle Party

I was browsing Craigslist and came across a post from the organizers of Cuddle Parties in Los Angeles. It's a social experiment/workshop where you get to know people and then cuddle with them, asking for and providing cuddling. What an interesting concept! Sometimes I miss having someone to sleep with! You know, having a warm body next to me to keep me warm and snuggle up to. I could see the appeal of this type of thing. It seems like this would only work in a big giant city like L.A. where sometimes everyone seems so disconnected. Why is it so hard to connect with people?

Orange County Fair

The Orange County Fair starts this Friday, July 7th! I am excited! I love going to the fair. I hardly ever ride the rides. I like to munch and look at all the stuff they have: the plants, animals, crafts, exhibits, presentations, dancers, comedians, etc. Now that my sister has moved, I don't have people to go with! Anyone interested in going? Let me know! I want to go on a Saturday. So far, I have one OC Fair groupie!!

EDIT: We made it! Here's how the day went and all the food we ate!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pasadena Restaurant Recommendations

I had a friend ask for some restaurant reservations in the Pasadena area and that got me thinkin'. That would be a good topic to blog about! I'm always looking for restaurant recommendations. So, I'll give restaurant recommendations for areas of town that I am familiar with. First stop, Pasadena, CA! Home of the Tournament of Roses!

Pasadena Restaurant Recommendations
The Raymond - It's a little on the pricey side, but it's a small house that was converted to a restaurant. The food is very good and it has a really cozy, romantic feel to it. I've been there 2 or 3 times for special occasions. You can expect to spend $50+ on dinner easily (not including alcohol). I'd recommend making reservations. The service here has always been excellent.

Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles - I'll preface this one by saying, I love fried chicken. I don't really care for waffles usually, but I love the waffles at Roscoe's. They have the small squares (as opposed to the Belgian variety) and they add some spices (cinnamin and something else) into their batter that make them irresistable!! Roscoe's makes the best fried chicken in L.A. in my opinion. It's excellent. It's nothing to look at on the inside, just basic tables, but it's tasty in a sweet and savory way. And I always laugh when I drive up because it's right next to a KFC! You'll probably spend about $20-25 for the two of you.

Robin's Woodfire BBQ - Good BBQ! It's has that peanut shells on the floor type decor with old license plates tacked to the wall, but it's tasty! The BBQ is good and they have two types of cole slaw - creamy and blue cheese-walnut. I love the blue cheese one. You could get the garbage can combo for $28 and split it easily. It's really enough food for three people. Their drinks are strong too! Always a plus! :-)

La Fornaretta - I've only been here once, but the time I went, the food was really good. It's Italian and I can't remember how much everything was. I'm guessing you'll spend $30 or so for two people.

As I explore more places in Pasadena, I will revise this list as necessary. For now, these are the recommendations!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Long weekend

Having a four day weekend is awesome! Lots of pool time today and the BBQ was used (mmmmm.... brats!), so that's a good thing. Met a few Welsh travelers and hung out with friends. Surprisingly, no games. But still, lots of fun!

Tomorrow: More BBQing, swimming, cleaning, digging out of posters and Superman Returns in 3D!! I hope it's awesome. I can't wait.

Korean Chicken & Potatos Recipe

For now, here's my very loose and adaptable recipe for
Korean Chicken and Potatos

Chicken pieces (use whatever pieces you like, I usually use a total of 6 pieces of legs and thighs - basically what will fit on the bottom of the 6 qt. pot I use)
Garlic, minced
Cooking oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot
Potatos, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
Onions, cut into chunks
Green Onions, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Soy sauce
Salt & pepper
Red pepper (finely ground)
Roasted sesame seeds
Sesame oil

1. Prepare all the ingredients. Precision isn't vital.

2. Pour enough vegetable oil on the bottom of the pot so there's a thin layer. Heat oil over high heat, but not so hot it burns the garlic. Add garlic and chicken (skin side down). Cook chicken for a couple minutes, flip over and cook a couple more minutes.

3. Add cubed potatos, cut-up carrots and onions to the chicken. Add salt, pepper and red pepper as desired (I like it spicier, but some might not). Pour some soy sauce in (maybe 1/8 - 1/4 cup) and stir everything together. You want the potatos to have a light brown color. They will get darker as they cook, so you just want a light tan color from the soy sauce initially.

4. Cover and cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover and stir everything around. Continue to cook covered for ten minutes at a time until the potatos are the consistency you like. I prefer them slightly softer, but some might like them more firm.

5. Once they reach the consistency you like, add the green onions, sprinkle with sesame seeds (however many you'd like, I usually put about 1-2 tablespoons) and drizzle with sesame oil (about 1 tbsp). Stir, cover and cook for 5 additional minutes. Serve with steamed white rice!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Halfway through 2006

Here we are. Halfway through 2006. Humph.

The first quarter of this year was full of turmoil and stress. Looking back at the very beginning of the year, I guess things are a lot better than I had imagined they would be at this point. I was worried I'd be moping around at home with nothing to do and no one to hang out with and it's been quite the opposite. I've been much busier than I even thought was possible! Thankfully, my friends and MyPC have been keeping me busy!

Here are my goals for July:
I still haven't tied up all my personal loose ends and that is one of my major goals for the next month. To get all that stuff taken care of and over with. Also, I want to get my apartment "decorated". I still have nothing on the walls and I want to remedy that. I have some posters to put on the walls, but I want to frame them first. Which means I have to get them out of the closet, measure them and buy a frame and just do it!! I hate lagging on stuff like this and yet I do it anyway.

Also, because June was so busy that stuff fell through the cracks, the new policy for July is that I stay home two weeknights every week. Let's see if I can stick to that. That way, the laundry should always be somewhat kept up, the apartment should be fairly clean and the bills/mail won't get piled up. Oh! And I can start developing my crossword skills!! Plus, I just signed up for Netflix, so I can watch some DVDs!