Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sai Cafe

Alvin and I are currently in the middle of our quest to visit all of our favorite restaurants before leaving Chicago in a week. There's not enough time to go to all the ones we wanted to go to, but haven't, in addition to all of our favorites, so we're just doing our favorites. We went to Greek Islands before our first move, and tonight we went for sushi at Sai Cafe.

The first time we went to Sai Cafe together was December of 1L. Alvin had been there before, I think, with his frisbee teammates. It was that December night that I was formally introduced to the spicy white tuna crunch roll. And every time we've gone there after that, we've had a spicy white tuna crunch roll. Or more than one, actually.

Sai is probably the sushi place we've been to most often in Chicago. We've tried some other places: Tokyo Marina (not bad, but not a huge selection), Kamehachi (good and close to our apartment, but didn't try it until later), Katsu (amazing, but expensive, but I highly recommend it), Naniwa (good, more expensive). There's a lot of other good places too, but we've never tried any of them. I wanted to try Ginza, in walking distance near the old Tokyo Hotel, which despite the appearance of the upper floors of the building, is actually supposed to be pretty good. But we never got there.

I love sushi. I especially love really good rolls. Tonight we had 7 (the pieces are a little smaller in size than the place I go to on SI where we order less): 2 spicy white tuna crunch rolls, 2 negi hamachi, dragon roll, salmon & avocado, and spider roll. It was so yummy.

I tried to eat each piece as slowly as I could to savor the taste. This is probably the last time we'll go to Sai for awhile. The last time we were there was a few months ago, as we've mostly gone to Kamehachi since it's closer, but I'll definitely miss it. It was my first Chicago sushi and probably my last during my 3 year term here. And it's got that really, really good spicy white tuna crunch roll!

Week in Review

I had this feature a long time ago on the blog, but I never managed to do it on time during school. I think it's time to bring it back. Basically, I'd let you in on what was going on in my life for the previous Monday through Sunday. I was supposed to write it every Monday... but it sort of never happened. (But before I go any further, let me just say this now: even if I keep doing the Week in Review once I start work, you're really not going to hear anything about work. That doesn't really belong here.)

I was inspired to start doing this again because I'm currently reading through my entire blog so I can work on the FYI feature in the sidebar, and I saw the Week in Review back in the November posts. It's not a bad idea, and I wish I had kept to it more faithfully so I could see what my life was like in snapshots. Although I suspect July would have looked somewhat like this: "Monday: studied for bar; Tuesday: studied for bar; Wednesday: studied for bar..." You can see where this is going.

My excuse for this entry being late is that we only got back to Chicago last night, and I didn't sign on to Blogger between the time that we left and got back. So, here's the week in review for last week, the week of 8/22:

Monday, I don't remember much about. I think I spent the time recuperating from the trip, maybe going to the gym, putting together the list of books I wanted to sell back to the bookstore. Nothing very exciting that I can remember. This feels like it was ages ago, but it was only a little over a week. (Now you see why sometimes the WIR doesn't work so well? I can never remember what I did!)

On Tuesday, I made a trip to Hyde Park where I drowned in a nice bout of nostalgia, and thought about my memories of Chicago. I sold a couple of books back to the bookstore, picked up some post office supplies, basked in the beautiful Chicago weather. I also listed a book to sell online, which sold the next day. That felt pretty good. Tuesday night, we went out to Narcisse with an early morning run to Korean Restaurant. Since there are other entries about this stuff, I don't really need to go in-depth.

Due to our late night on Tuesday, I slept through half of Wednesday. Once I finally woke up, I tried to pack some stuff, but I don't think I was very successful. Mostly, I was exhausted. I think I took a trip to the Post Office to mail out the book I sold. I don't remember much else about Wednesday except watching So You Think You Can Dance and Jin's episode on Lost (and crying). Now I remember. I was trying to recover from the nicotine inhalation and felt like I had a lump of coal stuck in my lungs. I did go to the post office. And I had a sandwich from Jimmy John's. That was nice. :)

Thursday, I tried to pack a box to send by FedEx, had an allergy attack, felt myself getting sick, watched Tortilla Soup and slept to recuperate, packed the box which ended up being 27 pounds of stuffed animals and random stuff, made a Target trip where they again tried not to let me keep my empty giftcards (I just don't get it!), and then had a wonderful dinner at Greek Islands. I love Greek Islands. I'm definitely going to miss the place.

Friday was all about packing packing packing. Well, sort of. I did some packing during the day, met up with Alvin's co-workers at Dave & Buster's to celebrate the end of his work there, had a lot of appetizers, watched a lot of Bravo while packing. Packing packing packing. There are plenty of posts about the packing, and none of them are very interesting.

We didn't start out as early as we had hoped on Saturday. We woke up kind of late, had a couple of things to finish packing, loaded up the car, and by the time we finally got on our way, it was around 2 pm or after. (And in estimating our arrival time, I forgot about the change in time zones!) I drove us out of Chicago and about 3/4 of the way through Indiana. My lunch was lots of Burger King fried food while driving. How... healthy. But it's convenient. The sun was really bright, and since I hadn't had enough sleep to wear contacts, I was stuck in my glasses and the sun glare had given me a pounding headache by the time I stopped driving. Not so pleasant. Luckily the way was mostly smooth and we didn't really hit much traffic. Had a nice dinner at Panera, and got in to Pittsburgh around 10. Talked to Alvin's parents for a little bit and then relived some of his high school memories through his yearbooks. That was fun.

On Sunday, we completed our drive, going from Pittsburgh to NY in about 7.5 hours. We had a yummy lunch at his parents' house and then set out on our way. Alvin drove most of the way through PA (the worst part of the drive!), I think I took a small nap at some point, and I picked up driving after we stopped for dinner at the Wendy's near Dorney Park. Every time we've driven this way, we always get hungry around this one exit and go to the Burger King... and then get back on the interstate and see that the next food sign has a Wendy's. So this time, we made sure to go to Wendy's. Finally. :) Although this Wendy's in Allentown was possibly the slowest and most incompetent Wendy's I've ever been to. Crazy. Hit traffic in Jersey right before the bridge, but luckily, since I know the area, I was able to go around a lot of it, and save us at least half an hour, if not more. Had good chocolate ice cream once we got to SI and then did a picture slideshow of HK for my mom. Nice memories.

One drive down, one big one to go. We only have about a week left in Chicago (so short!) so we're trying to hit all our favorite restaurants and do the things we want to make sure we do before we leave, all while trying to pack up the entire apartment. One carload and the place is still full. Also a lot of laundry to do. Unlike usual, where I pick and choose what to wash based on what seems most urgent, now I actually have to wash everything. Many many loads of laundry to do. And like laundry, now's not the time to leave the food we have in the pantry and go buy more (except restaurants). Must go through and eat everything. Hence, the salmon for lunch. I love baked salmon, but I wouldn't usually make it for lunch. :)

I don't think this WIR was very interesting. Hopefully, sometime soon, they'll be a little more exciting. :) (I would have added pictures, but they're all on the Dell... in SI. That's one thing that can make these WIRs more interesting than the past. Pictures!) In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be making lots of lists of what I've packed. Those won't be all that interesting either.

But now, before I forget, I've got to go to the parking office to cancel out my account. After all, my car's not even in this city anymore. Wow. Lots of stuff gone, lots of stuff to do.

What charities come and pick up large pieces of furniture? I have a feeling there could be a significant amount donated...


One of my neighbors, either above me, to the east of me, or above & to the east of me, sounds like he's sawing through the wall.

Not only is it really loud and disruptive, but I'm kind of scared that the ceiling and walls are going to fall in on me. What the heck is he doing??

Edit (1:04 pm): Now whoever it is is drilling through the same wall that it just sounded like they were sawing through. I don't really like the sound of this! Because the difference with drilling is the sound and vibrations make it feel like they're drilling into my skull.

Edit (1:06 pm): I'm trying to bake my salmon, and I'm really wishing that I hadn't left my earplugs at home, because any minute, I'm about to run out of my apartment screaming with my hands over my ears. This is torture. And I think it's above a safe decibel level. It's almost like my TV isn't even on!

Edit (1:12 pm): The drilling hasn't stopped yet. It's slowly boring a hole through my head. I've tried everything, including putting my dusty winter earband on but nothing covers up the noise. So I end up editing this post over and over again instead of working on the one I want to be working on. And it was so loud that it even made me lose my concentration and I almost burned my hand on the oven. Sigh.

Edit (1:17 pm): My ears can breathe again. (I know that doesn't make much sense, but you know what I mean, right?) It's quiet.

Edit (1:26 pm): Back to sawing. Does that mean they're going to drill again soon? I really hope not. I want to enjoy my baked salmon.

Offbeat News

The news is always so depressing... which is why, if you talk to me about "current events" on a regular basis, you know that I don't usually go beyond the headlines nowadays.

For example, one time I was talking with a friend about what I usually read in the news, and I looked back to the last 5 NY Times articles I had sent myself. I think they had something to do with yoga & middle age weight gain, my law firm's new building, new styles of Korean restaurants in Manhattan, maybe Harry Potter, maybe some sort of travel news. You get the picture.

When I visit the NY Times site (daily or more often), I have a pretty set pattern. I scan the front page for interesting headlines or read my email newsletter for the top headlines. Then I read certain sections: NY Region, Business, Health, Tech, TV, Travel, Dining, Style, Real Estate. You get the picture.

But right now? Even the headlines are painfully depressing. The only way to keep from breaking down seems to be to read the human interest stories or the offbeat news. This one is pretty good. An ostrich got loose on the Golden Gate during rush hour, and suffered "road rash" from the fall and ran around on the bridge. Or there's this one, about a Brazilian puppy love motel, complete with dimmed lights and films.

Even as amusing as those articles are though, it doesn't make stuff like Hurricane Katrina go away. I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around devastation and saying anything about it (see: tsunami), so don't expect some sort of commentary or story or opinion about it. It won't be here. But for everyone down South and all their friends & family... I just really hope it gets better really soon. Sigh.

Edit (2:23 am): I was reading over last August's entries to see what I was doing last year at this time, and look what I found. Apparently this avoidance of the news media is not new for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I had a nice laugh when I saw the results of this quiz. (And as you can see, I never blogged in NY. The Dell couldn't pick up wireless until this morning, and I had no energy to blog at that point.)

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Status Report 8

Still here.

Alvin's going to take a shower, I'm going to pack some shoes, I almost forgot to bring my diploma frame, and we need to load the car with some more hanging clothes, but that's about it.

We've filled most of the car, but it's not a lot of stuff. The apartment is still pretty full. I anticipate a lot of trips to FedEx next week. Yay.

I'm really hungry. I thought about going to the sandwich place, but that would probably take about half an hour. But then I thought about how perfect the situation is! We were planning to take Stony Island down to Indiana (well, at least I was), and Stony Island on the South Side is better known as "Marissa's Drive-Thru Row During School." We can just go to the drive-thru! Like any drive-thru we want! The most convenient though is Burger King, so we'll probably end up there. Quick, convenient, and maybe I can try chicken fries.

Time to pack up the computer and a few pairs of shoes. Probably won't be online in Pittsburgh, so the next time I write will probably be in New York. (Unless I write something and post it later... that may happen.) We're still moving around though, and I'll be back to Chicago next week. I feel so... unrooted. And I have so much stuff!

Have an excellent end-of-August weekend! I know this weekend has birthdays of a few people I went to high school with but don't talk to anymore, so on the really remote chance, one of them happens across this, happy birthday! And happy birthday to anyone else celebrating this weekend.

Safe travels to all!

Status Report 7

Took my "nap."

Actually, it's more like, went to sleep around 5, woke up at 10. I don't think 5 hours really qualifies for a nap anymore.

And when I woke up, I looked at my cell phone, which is still on Eastern time, which resulted in a lot of, "crap, it's so late" and stuff along those lines. Then I got to my computer and realized it was only 10. Not when I wanted to get up... but not as pathetic.

But I did forget about my TV, so it's a good thing I read over my blog. :)

Off to eat a granola bar and dust off the TV. Wheeeeee.

Status Report 6

I was going to take a nap, but I think if I do (and I need to), I might inhale a pack of cigarettes.

It's definitely coming in through the vents somehow, and it's nauseating. The living room is the only place where it doesn't smell foul, but the floors and the futon are covered in stuff. Yuck. Must take a nap somewhere! After all, we're supposed to be on our way in 6 hours. We're in trouble.

Finished up another shoebox-sized box. Cleaned off my DVD player and I'm going to cushion it in the pants box. Don't let me forget my mini TV. Please!

The only thing that has made the cigarette-smelling apartment better (and despite several sprays of neutralizer, it keeps getting stronger... is he chain-smoking at 4 am? WTF?) is the fact that Bravo is playing Project Runway. It's been a Bravo night. Independence Day. Battle of the Network Reality Stars. Some poker shows. And now the Project Runway finale! At least there's been stuff on TV since Comcast ditched Sci-Fi.

I know there's some other stuff I wanted to pack, but I'm not sure what to do and how much room we have. I guess we can leave a little later if there's a lot of room and we want to bring some more stuff. But somehow, I doubt that's going to be a problem. It's so sad. We're going to take a full SUV-load of stuff, and yet the apartment is still looking completely full. This is insane. I knew I had a lot of stuff... but every time I move, I realize it even more. I know I need to get rid of a lot of stuff (seriously, I'm moving to Manhattan, there's no room!), but argh!

Alright, it's past 4:30 and as exciting as the Project Runway finale is... I really need to get some sleep.

Status Report 5

The hangers are all tied up. I spent a good amount of time carefully tying them with twine. I think it was relaxing for my mind.

Especially because I was annoyed with the cigarette smoke wafting through the apartment. I thought it was coming from outside (which, it was, a little) and so I did the usual air freshening of the hallway. But it smelled worse in the apartment than the hallway, and neither one of us is smoking... so it must be a neighbor!

I neutralized the hallway, but since it wasn't primarily coming in from the door, it didn't help much. You know which part of the apartment smells the absolute worst, like really foul cigarette smoke? The cross-section of the apartment. The little middle section where the entrances of the living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and front hallway all meet. It's disgusting.

It also happens to be the "packed" area.

Sigh. Companies could make a killing if they had effective smoke neutralizing products for the home. I know that I, for one, would buy a ton of it.

Status Report 4

To add to the "packed" list:
  • Big plastic bin full of pants
  • Stereo
  • Another bankers box full of entertainment (CDs, DVDs) and also my photo albums (I left most of them at home)
  • Overnight bag with stuff for the actual trip
Scanning over the packed stuff, I felt like I had done more than that! After all, it's been awhile. And I've been busy; I haven't even checked my computer. It couldn't have taken me that long just to pack those few things.

Then I remembered all the hangers strewn all over the bed, and remembered:

I spent a really long time preparing all my hanging clothes.

I was putting all of the hanging clothes into plastic bags and tying the ends in case something wanted to fall out. (There were 2 bags for which I couldn't tie the ends, but oh well.) It sounds like something that could be done quickly... but... umm, it's the entire wall of my closet. I have a lot of hanging clothes...

So all of that is done too. I'm going to bag up the hangers, do a little work on my backpack and then take a nap or something. (Oh wait, I have another small box I wanted to finish.) I think we're going to have to take a lot of breaks tomorrow while we're driving because right now? We're both awake. This isn't like when I drive with my parents and I stay up all night packing, and my dad starts out driving and I nap. Must nap soon!

Status Report 3

Now, I can also add the box of bath and beauty products I told you about before, and a bankers box full of DVDs.

The DVD box was really easy to pack and it went pretty quickly. I just emptied what was left of 2 shelves into a box. (There's still some left though, but not too many.) At the beginning, it looked like I was going to start a DVD store because all the DVDs in the box were the unwatched ones. Ha.

Unfortunately, even with all this stuff packed and sitting in the hallway, it still doesn't look like very much is done. This seems like trouble. The neverending amount of stuff...

Status Report 2

Add to the list from before:
  • Carry-on suitcase with 2 TV on DVD sets (Angel, The OC) and lots of clothes
  • Mini-garbage can sized bucket full of toiletries
  • Alvin packed a BIG duffel bag of his clothes
I've also watched Battle of the Network Reality Stars. I kept missing it when it was on, and I've finally gotten to see it. It is so much fun. It's like summer camp for reality stars and we get to watch. Although sometimes not just watch... I was playing along with Simon Says...

It was great to recognize all the reality stars. But is it sad that except for a few random people and all the Real World/Road Rules people, I've watched all the other people on their original reality shows? Hmm...

Status Report

If I were to pack the car with all the completely done stuff right now, there would be:
  • 3 shoebox-sized boxes full of photos, stationery, cards, postcards, memories
  • Rectangular Priority Mail box full of sample-sized beauty products and cleansers
  • 2 framed pictures
  • Box of DVDs, office supplies, scrap paper, notepads, post-its
  • Bathmat
I've made a little more progress than that, because I have a bunch of "half" packed boxes. For example, I've loaded up all the Bath & Body Works products, shampoos, and all the other beauty products from my large metal cart into a big box. But it's not complete yet. And yes, I realize I have way too much stuff.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Tonight, Alvin and I had a little celebratory dinner at Greek Islands, one of our favorite restaurants in the city of Chicago. It's a pretty big restaurant, but it always feels warm and inviting because it's split up into many different little rooms. It's colorful and the food is really good, and the place just makes me happy. I used to go a lot more often (when I was less adverse to driving in the city), but I still do love the place.

What were we celebrating? I have no idea. Not being packed... because if I were to load the "done" area of the apartment into the car, it would be 3 shoebox-sized boxes, an aero bed, and 2 picture frames. Maybe sending a box... sent a big box by FedEx, mostly stuffed animals, which ended up being 27 pounds (a little shocking for stuffed animals!). But probably just a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant before making our first trip of the move east.

It was a nice dinner. We had the same appetizer we always get, saganaki, which was just as fiery and yummy as always. (In fact, it tasted even better than I remembered, but that might be because it's been awhile.) We also sampled a special appetizer, Mediterranean baby octopus. Alvin got a lamb dish, and I got a combo plate of spanakopita, chicken riganati and vegetarian moussaka (intending to take some of it home for another meal). Alvin got a dessert of yogurt with honey and walnuts. It was a delicious feast.

And it wasn't without entertainment. Alvin ran into someone from his classes in college. A couple across the room got engaged, and the girls at the table next to them cheered and made their own little celebration of it (it was awesome). And a guy at the big table next to us took out his guitar and started trying to teach other people at his table the rhythm of the rumba. What an experience.

I'm going to miss this place.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Ugh, I can't breathe.

I was vacuuming some stuffed animals to pack and ship, and it's so hard to breathe. I know I'm allergic to dust, but I don't have any dust masks, and now I can't really pack anything, because I need to get rid of all the dust first.

So, since I felt sick and couldn't do anything, I watched Tortilla Soup.

It was so cute. Read some of the Amazon reviews, and was a little annoyed with all the people complaining that it's a rip-off of Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman." They credit him in this movie too (for an earlier screenplay)! If it were so "horrible" that it's a "rip-off," then wouldn't he have a problem with it? If he doesn't, why does anyone else care?

Maybe I'll pack some DVDs or something. There should be minimal dust there... or maybe I'll go through some papers in the box and throw more stuff away. While I watch Angel and Charmed.


I'm starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with me.

I only got about 8 hours of sleep total, but while I was sleeping, Alvin called me 17 times (trying to wake me up) and I didn't hear any of the phone calls.

So either my phone ring is too low or I don't respond to it anymore, or somehow I end up in such a deep sleep that I am oblivious to the world.

It is not good.

On a side note, I've been sucked into Judging Amy. Which is no longer on CBS, but is on for 2 hours during lunchtime on TNT. Another show...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Tonight was fun. Went out to Narcisse, a bar/lounge where Tuesday nights are treated like Fridays (DJs, packed bar, partying until 2 as if it's the weekend), which appeared to be frequented by NBA players at one point during the night. (According to BlendChicago, it's their "weekly industry party.") Then, after the bar closed, we hit up the 24 hour Korean restaurant and had some bibimbop. I get to cross another thing off the list of things I wanted to do before leaving Chicago: visit the 24 hour Korean restaurant sometime between the hours of 2 and 6 am. Nice.

While it was fun, I still can't stand the smoke. That's one thing I definitely won't miss about Chicago: the lack of a smoking ban in restaurants and bars. It was amazing going out to bars last summer and being able to breathe. When I got home tonight, I felt like I was covered in a layer of smoke (and being allergic to it, my skin is presently raging against me!) and my entire body feels polluted. This is after it was feeling especially clear after a great Bikram-style yoga class a few hours before. Must get rid of toxic substances!

So tonight, I'm up late by choice. Probably just throw out some more paper until I'm ready to go to sleep. I wish there were an easy way to detox from the smoke! At the very least, so my skin will calm down enough so I can sleep. Good night!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Memory Lane

It was supposed to be an ordinary trip to the bookstore to see if they would buy back any of my old law books.

It turned into a trip down memory lane.

I haven't been down to the neighborhood where the law school is, Hyde Park, in quite some time. I went to a double Barbri session in mid-June, which made up for the missed class on graduation day the Friday before, but that was the last time I had set foot in the area. I remember that the last time I was there, I just wanted out. I didn't want to go back there. I was tired of driving down there all the time. I was so glad when that day of Barbri was over, because after I drove home, I knew I had no reason to drive down to Hyde Park and could be content for the rest of Barbri just walking to Northwestern every morning.

So I didn't expect to actually feel some sense of missing the place when I got there this time.

I don't really miss school or classes or the daily need to do homework. (Don't worry - I haven't gone that crazy.) But part of me kind of missed seeing the landscaped curves of Lake Shore Drive, and the waves of Lake Michigan crashing against the rocks on the shore, and I didn't expect it, but I actually felt some sort of loss.

I think the trip down memory lane was helped along by the radio. Someone out there wanted me to take this time, which was just supposed to be an errand, to think about everything that's come before and everything that lies ahead. To remember how it felt, the good parts of the past 3 years, and exactly how much I'm going to miss Chicago.

The weather also helped. It's a balmy 70 degrees and sunny outside. None of that Chicago summer heat and humidity. Just a blue sky with some small cotton balls of clouds floating along, sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees... a day that makes you never want to leave.

Anyway, back to the memories.

I was getting down to the Hyde Park area, doing my usual run through my preset radio stations, and heard the beginning of Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I like the song, and remember cranking it up on the radio a lot on my drives to and from school this past year. A lot. So, with the song enveloping me in my car, I exited Lake Shore Drive and drove into Hyde Park.

It looked a lot more beautiful than I remembered. Probably having a lot to do with the cooler temperatures and the sunlight, but everything seemed to have a glow to it. (Not really a glow, but I don't know how else to explain it.) As I headed for the bookstore, I felt something like nostalgia welling up inside of me. I knew I didn't miss school itself, but it still felt a little jarring to realize that I was moving on. It was finally setting in that I was leaving. It was real. (Maybe my procrastination with packing also has a lot to do with not yet acknowledging that I'm really leaving.)

Lots of parking spaces were blocked out by the bookstore and I had trouble finding a spot, but unlike usual when I go out of my mind with frustration at looking for street parking, I didn't care. I was in the moment, just driving around the neighborhood, soaking it in for what might be the last time in awhile. (I had only brought a few books back with me to Hyde Park; if there were more I could get money for, I would just bring them back tomorrow.) There was no frustration, and even though I was going in circles, I found that I really didn't mind. I passed the blocks where we had sat late one night coming home from a party during 1st year. I passed the chapel where the law school hooding ceremony was held. I passed the gym where we lined up in our poofy red gowns and tams to line up for the graduation ceremony. I passed the bar where we went after the musical one year. I passed the hospital where I used to go for monthly allergy shots, and as I rounded the corner, I found a spot, just down the block from the bookstore.

As expected, most of my books are not even being accepted by the bookstore. Also, since the quarter doesn't start for another month, most professors haven't even put in their book orders, so they can only go by the wholesale prices. Oh well. I'm not going to be around long enough to wait for them to put their orders through. I gave the bookstore any books for which they'd give me more than $20, because those wouldn't be worth packing and moving to NY. (The ones where they only want to give me $6, I'm willing to give those a try at selling some other way.) They got 2 books.

I left the bookstore, and decided not to drive straight home. I drove past the law school. It was empty. Took some pictures of it. Probably couldn't go in, and didn't want to go in. That phase is over. I think I never really felt the finality of all during graduation because we were still in the midst of bar studying, sort of an extension to law school in a sense. Even if I have to take the bar again, it will be different. It won't feel like an extension of the law school phase at all, especially because I'm not in Chicago, but also because bar review won't have started in the middle of finals!

Then, since it was about 2 pm, I decided to do what I used to do for lunch all the time in law school. I never really liked sticking around in the too-crowded lounge for lunch, so I often just drove to clear my mind and relax, and went to some fast food drive-thrus. Why not do it for old times' sake, since everything seemed to be about memories at this point? (I also just wanted onion rings.)

Heading to Burger King, the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams came on the radio. That song reminds me of elementary school. I used to take a bus to a school about 3 or 4 neighborhoods over, and after most of the kids got off at this one development, there were only about 6 of us on the bus. We used to like to sit in the back, and this one kid, a fifth grader (when we were in 1st or 2nd) used to like to pretend he was a rock singer. For some odd reason, I remember him singing this song. Elementary school memories! Goodness, what an afternoon.

After Burger King, I headed back home. It was a nice scenic drive on the lakefront. Everything was sparkling and pretty. The lake was that beautiful aquamarine color that shows up in all the brochures. The skyline was visible from the south side, not blocked by the summer haze. Bike riders were out and the landscaping was actually green and flourishing. There weren't that many bad drivers around me on the road. The hill that drops you toward downtown offered up a great view of the city. The fountain bubbled along happily. Some boats cruised the harbor. And Sublime's Santeria turned up on the radio after I exited for home.

That song was sort of an anthem during my pre-college program about 8 years ago. I don't remember why, but my floor of my dorm played it all the time. So I associate it with the program, which is one of my best memories from my teenage years. Sigh, so long ago.

So, on this drive, we have elementary school, pre-college and law school. There were also some college songs, but I get general college nostalgia on a regular basis and last night was in a chat room with a bunch of Yalies. And spent awhile on Friendster looking up high school people. And junior high school people. I guess within 24 hours, I've covered it all.

I really miss people and the way things were sometimes. And I've been pretty bad about keeping in touch. I think this week I should go write some emails.

Here's to the nights we felt alive... Here's to the tears you knew you'd cry... Here's to goodbye... Tomorrow's gonna come too soon...


My sleep schedule is all screwed up.

It is almost 3 and I am still awake. Lately, it seems like I feel tired... but when "sleep time" comes around, I'm awake and I've found something for myself to do. Or even if I try to sleep, it's hard.

After a night like this (eerily reminiscent of the nights of the bar exam, except those times I was stressed that I couldn't sleep and not doing anything but trying to sleep), I usually will take drowsy allergy medicine the next day. But I don't want to be dependent on the stuff so I try to go without it. But I also don't want to be up into the early morning every night!

Is this because I'm finally getting a good night's sleep every night? I wake up kind of late, but I've been getting in my 8 hours. Last night, for the first night in a long time, I even remembered my dream. My dad was the manager of some HK department store (that was like department stores here), and my cousin worked there. But there were tellers. And it was a weird situation all around.

So here I am, tonight, still awake.

Last night, I took a pill and was asleep by 1.

The night before, I was awake, couldn't figure out why I was so wired, and I don't remember what I was doing. Writing travel recaps, possibly? Who knows.

The night before that, I took a pill and was asleep early.

The night before that, I think I was wide awake and ended up reading Conde Nast Traveler to try to sleep. (And then woke up at 7 on my own!)

The night before that was when I came home from the trip.

This zig-zag sleep schedule isn't healthy!

Something must be done. Maybe if the bookstore buys back all of my books (which I know they won't, because some are expired editions) when I trek to the school tomorrow, my brain will feel less cluttered and will want to sleep early. We'll see.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Exhaustion of Crowds

Day 4 in Hong Kong

This day in HK was a relatively picture-light day. We didn't do any major sightseeing, but some really exhausting shopping. The plan was to meet up with some of my relatives for the afternoon and then figure out what to do for the evening on our own.

We met up with my relative (a cousin, maybe? I'm not quite sure of how the connection works out) at the hotel and he took us to some shops around Tsim Sha Tsui. We went to the mall and a bunch of other places. (I should say "a" mall, not "the" mall.) We weren't finding that much stuff and the stuff we were finding was actually pretty expensive (I thought clothes in HK were supposed to be cheap, but a lot of the brands we have here were similarly priced). So we figured we should do some more shopping in other areas, and perhaps have better luck.

Before heading up for some other shopping, we stopped for dim sum at this place called Sweet Dynasty. I didn't take any pictures of the food, but it was the most overloaded I'd felt with food the whole trip. We had radish cakes, some fried dough stick thing, a scallop and egg dim sum thing, and spring rolls that were some of the best I've ever tasted. Then my cousin (I'll just say cousin, it's easier than relative) also ordered a bowl of noodle soup for each person. SO much food!

Next we went to Mong Kok, which is about 3 stops from TST on the MTR, but we took a taxi. I was amused by the signs in the taxi which made not wearing seatbelts an offense and which charged $5 for each animal or bird. Taxi fares there are cheap. For the distance we went, it would be at least US$10. But there, I don't think it was more than 5. Nice.

Mong Kok was crowded from the minute we exited the taxi. People everywhere. You could barely walk through some of the streets. And it was a weekday afternoon! Do people work? (It's like walking around the streets at 11 pm with everyone out and shopping... do people sleep?) The way Mong Kok is set up, there seem to be whole sections devoted to specific types of shopping. For example, there's one street where it's all shoe stores. And half of them are selling the exact same thing! The whole environment was a little crazy, and I was starting to get my crowd pseudo-claustrophobia thing and it was so exhausting trying to make it through all those throngs of people.

Eventually, we met up with my cousin's (Francis) wife, Tina. We split up and she and I went shopping, while Francis and Alvin went shopping for a little while. None of us bought anything, but I saw store after store after store after store. It was so crazy there. I've been exhausted by shopping before, but this was just insane!

We went to Saint's Alp for a snack and I got a lychee nectar with nata de coco. Yay. :) I've been to one in NYC, but I don't think the menu choices were nearly as extensive as this one. It was a nice break from the crowds.

Went back to TST, and then we left them so they could go to a family dinner. (I think it was some holiday - Ghost Festival?) Went shopping in the mall for a little bit, but was just so exhausted from all the shopping we had just done that I think my brain had hit its limit. (Yes, such a thing is quite possible.) I didn't want to see another store! I was more interested in the pictures of the skyline.

Back at the hotel, we decided to help out our aches & pains in the whirlpool. The hotel's pools were on the rooftop and it was a gorgeous view of the city from there. We got there just in time to catch the entire light show, complete with fireworks because it was the weekend. That was fun.

What a tiring day!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Big Buddha

Day 3 in Hong Kong

Our third day in Hong Kong brought more adventures, in the form of a day trip to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island and a crazy and tiring visit to the Food Expo. We've been packing the days so solidly with activities, trying to see as much as possible, that we're utterly exhausted by the time night comes. This time, once dinnertime rolled around, we were tired, our feet hurt, and we just wanted to go to bed. But it didn't feel like we'd done that much!

Lantau Island is the home of the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha statue, the world's largest outdoor Buddha (I think). I'd never been to Lantau Island, and we were really looking forward to it. It also gave us the first opportunity to pick up our Octopus cards (these electronic touch cards that you use for public transportation, among other things) and ride the MTR.

I love HK public transportation. (I think I'm going to devote a separate entry to transportation.) It's clean, efficient, quick and air conditioned. We took 2 different train lines, passing by the Disneyland connector station in the process. In about 30-40 minutes, we arrived at Tung Chung, near the HK airport, from which we would catch our bus to see the Buddha.

Currently, there are 2 ways to get to the Buddha. You can take a ferry from HK Island to a port on Lantau, and take a bus. Or you can take the MTR to Tung Chung and take a different bus. Both average a similar amount of time, I think. But starting next year, they're putting in a cable car system that will take only 17 minutes (instead of a 40-50 minute bus ride) and goes directly from Tung Chung to the area. They're also planning some sort of themed village, signs say. I really hope it keeps to the character of the area though. The cable car will be shorter, and probably a great view, but I actually kind of liked the bus ride (and I hate buses).

We took our bus up to the monastery area. It went up and down through the mountains, and much of the road was only wide enough for one bus. It was a crazy ride, and frankly, I'm amazed at the driving ability and rule observance of drivers on that island. Even though there's only room for one, I think there would be so much more "me first" here that just wasn't there out of necessity. At some points, it was pouring rain.

We got to Ngong Ping and while I knew the Buddha was big... it was HUGE. Definitely a sight to see. We bought tickets for our monastery lunch, and trekked up the stairs to get to the Buddha. At the top, there is a gorgeous view of the island - the lush green mountains, monasteries tucked into the hills, inlets down below. It was so different from the frenetic pace of HK Island and Kowloon, and very peaceful. Despite the many tourists that were there, it was a calm and welcome change of pace. Although there was an odd little annoyance... when we would ask English-speaking (we heard them on the bus) visitors if they could take a picture for us, they blatantly ignored us and turned their heads the opposite way. It was done in a pretty rude way. What was up with that?!

Besides the Buddha, a lot of people head to Ngong Ping to see the Po Lin Monastery, which also has a vegetarian restaurant. You could either pick the main dining hall (communal, about $8 each) or the deluxe lunch (in a VIP room, separate tables for each party, about $13 each). Since there wasn't a big difference, we went deluxe, figuring that the money was going to the monastery anyway, so that was good.

The lunch was huge and there was no way we could even try to finish it all. (I'll post pictures of all the dishes on the photoblog, because they won't fit here.) It started with a soup, and then there were 4 more courses: a spring roll, some other fried thing that was great but I don't know what it was, an asparagus and other vegetable dish, and mushrooms with green vegetables. It was a pretty good lunch. I was satisfied.

After soaking in some more of Ngong Ping, we took the bus ride back to Tung Chung. (We decided to take whichever bus left first - the ferry or TC.) This time though, we sat in the first row because Alvin is too tall to fit comfortably in the other seats. We got an even better view this time!

In Tung Chung, we spent some time at the mall and found the Park n Shop, a mega grocery store. I was so excited, because I love grocery stores. We had to go in... and Alvin found the fruit he had been looking for the whole time, red rose apples! I got myself some Sugus and Alvin also got himself some Yakult. But it was so much fun just looking at everything they had there. They also had a lot of brands we can get here, like Celeste Pizza (and with that, more varieties than the Jewel by the apartment)! Why can't we have a grocery store like this?

We made a pit stop at the hotel and then took the Star Ferry over to Wanchai to go to the Convention Centre for the Food Expo. I don't know exactly what I expected it to be, but I didn't expect it to be as crowded as it was (why not, I don't know, considering everything is crowded). Maybe it was the pouring rain, which started as soon as the ferry docked. I found out later it was squall lines passing over the area.

The Food Expo was insane. It only cost about US$2.50 to get in, but it was just a sea of people. Constant pushing and shoving. Around all of the samples, just a mob of grabbing hands. Lines everywhere. Lots of shouting. I think the first few things I tried were all forms of vitamin drops, then there were some mooncakes. There was a really good dried scallop sample. And then... where there was much less pushing and shoving... and a much more pleasant atmosphere... the alcohol section.

The lines were manageable, you could actually get samples, and everyone was nice to each other. And there were more samples available here than anywhere else! I tried a couple of things, but my favorite were these Jade drinks. They mixed green tea with scotch/whiskey or vodka. They were actually really really good!

Extricated ourselves from the madness, took the MTR back to Tsim Sha Tsui, went for dinner at the same place we did the first night (and this time, got some different noodles), and then had a nice and relaxing sleep. Sightseeing can be exhausting!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sampans and Peaks

Day 2 in Hong Kong (written 8/12)

Today was the big tour day, which actually lasted from 9 to 2:30 with all the transportation. We went to lots of sites on HK Island and had a great tour guide, who had tons of helpful hints and suggestions.

Victoria Peak. I forgot how little time tours often give you to see sites. We got here and had about 15 minutes time to enjoy it. I remember having more time last time, but maybe we were running late. It wasn't a big deal though, because it was so hazy outside that we couldn't even see Kowloon. Shame. There was just enough time to take pictures at the peak (which is under a lot of construction at the moment) before getting on the bus. We took the tram going up, but the coach going down. Scenic.

Stanley. We did a quick drive by Repulse Bay, but I was on the wrong side of the bus so I didn't see much besides some cool looking buildings. I wish the south side of the island was more accessible to tourists! Stanley Market was good, but we only had about half an hour here. Bought a lot of postcards. :)

Aberdeen. In Aberdeen, we took a sampan ride to see a bunch of fishing boats, some of which were houseboats. It's really eye-opening to see how other people live. Looking at the houseboats on the water, it just made me think about what their life is like, living on their boats, compared to mine. Definitely an experience. And we passed by Jumbo, the floating restaurant I ate at the first time I went to HK. Memories. The guy in charge of our sampan was funny. He kept trying to make people take pictures and wear hats.

Aberdeen Jewelry. We went to the Aberdeen Jewelry Factory next to see the showroom. It was pretty, but I hadn't done any research into jewelry so I wasn't planning to buy anything. Although there was a lot of pink sapphire stuff that I thought was gorgeous.

Once the tour was over, we had some lunch at this place called Horoscope Healthy Cafe. You'd think a healthy cafe would mean non-smoking, but it doesn't. ;-) (I never really thought that, but it occurred to me while I was sitting there that healthy doesn't mean smoky!) Had some more noodle soup, because the guy and I weren't communicating very well in his lack of English and my severe lack of Cantonese. Oh well. The fish was pretty good, but I liked last night's meal better.

Came back to the hotel so exhausted that I fell asleep for a few hours. I was intending to power nap, not really sleep. Oh well. I'll blame jet lag, maybe?

When we finally got back out into the night, it had already rained quite a bit, so a little of the humidity had lifted. Watched the light show over the harbor, which was nice, watching the lights flicker in time to the music. Do any other cities in the world do this? Allow all the lights on their city skyline to flicker in time to music every night? Imagine the traffic on the Chicago lakefront if they allowed that to happen.

Walked around Tsim Sha Tsui a little bit and then had dinner at this place called Hing Fat. It was really good - we had chow fun and Singapore noodles, and that made me so so happy, because I've been looking for a good noodle shop since we've been here (and because I was ready for something other than soupy noodles!). We went to that place because it had noodles, it was affordable, it was crowded, it didn't appear overly trendy, it wasn't overloaded with tourists, and the pictures looked good. :) It was very good. The part that amused me most was that the tableside napkins came on attached toilet paper dispensers at the end of each table. Funny.

Did some shopping (but didn't buy anything) and then came back to the hotel. The forecast for every day (unfortunately, because it's late summer) is thunderstorms, but we're going to try to go to Lantau Island tomorrow. After all, if the forecast for every day is thunderstorms and we're at Typhoon Level 1, we might as well go while we can and see as much as we can. I'm excited though, because we've been looking forward to Lantau Island. Yay for another day in HK!

(Like the first entry, there will be more photos on the photoblog.)

Great Listings

Great. Now what am I supposed to do?

I was planning to watch Stargate on Sci-Fi in about half an hour, but when I flipped to where Sci-Fi usually is, it's the Golf Channel.

I remembered that it seemed like cable had switched around a lot of the stations before we left for vacation. I had seen the Hallmark Channel where the Weather Channel was supposed to be. But checking TV Guide online, it had said that was still TWC. Now it says Hallmark Channel. And where Sci-Fi should be, it says Golf Channel.

So where is Sci-Fi?

I have no idea! I read through all the channels on the listing grid up to 100 (because we don't have digital), but there's nothing there. I did a search for Stargate and it told me it would be on channel 73. But that's a LIE because 73 is now the Golf Channel.

Why would you replace the Sci-Fi channel with the Golf Channel? I know its ratings don't beat Sci-Fi, especially on Friday nights. Argh! I want to watch my show!

Edit: I just googled "Sci-fi channel" and "chicago" and found out the sad news that the channel has been moved to digital. Comcast sucks!


Today I woke up at 7.

This would be great news for my sleep schedule... if I hadn't gone to sleep around 3.

I was pretty tired last night at 11, and just wanted to finish up some stuff on the computer and then it somehow got to be around 1 and I was wired. Bad bad bad. This reminds me of when I was taking the bar exam... I was exhausted and tired, and falling asleep, and then as soon as I was ready to go to bed, there I was, wide awake but wanting to sleep. Should have taken an Actifed last night.

Especially since I think I got sick (maybe a cold) from all the recent traveling. I was coming down with a sore throat toward the end of our stay in HK, but only in the mornings, so I thought it had something to do with having been on a smoking floor in the hotel (even though in the room, you didn't actually smell any smoke, which is pretty good) or people smoking over breakfast. But by the time I got off the plane in Chicago, I didn't feel so great. But I thought that was just exhaustion... after all, I had only slept for about 3 hours total through all the flying, which couldn't have helped.

I was going to be productive today since I did absolutely nothing yesterday but cancel phone service, but now I want to recuperate. I had all this momentum when I got up at 7. I continued reading an old issue of Conde Nast Traveler that I started last night when I couldn't sleep (and read at least 60 pages), and was all excited about going to the post office and the parking office to take care of some stuff. Now I'm sitting here and getting kind of sleepy... I wanted to do at least some errands before I fell back asleep, so I suppose I should get to it.

Shower, parking office, post office, laundry, nap. That sounds like a good morning. :)

Welcome Back

So I suppose I should start recapping our adventures in Hong Kong. I was really good the first two days and wrote nice recaps of the day. But by the third day (Lantau Day), I was just so exhausted and fell asleep really early without recapping. And then never really did a daily recap again. Oh well. At least I have entries from the first 2 days to share before I have to recap now. :)

Day 1 in Hong Kong (written 8/11)

I'm in Hong Kong!

I haven't been here since 1996, and it's been too long. I could barely remember anything except for the harbor from my last visit, but being here in Tsim Sha Tsui has brought back some of it. Tomorrow we're going on a half-day tour because Alvin has never been to HK before, I haven't been in so long, and it will be a good, quick and convenient way to hit some major tourist attractions. I think the tour will probably be going to Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay, Stanley Market and Aberdeen. Much easier having a tour group do it than to do it ourselves. I'm excited. Last time I did not have a digital camera. This time, I do! :)

The day, overall, has been good, but there have been some not-so-good moments (as with everything, right?). We got our seats changed and ended up in a great 2-seater in coach with all this storage room on the side by the window. But the plane's air conditioning was broken, so that set us back about 2.5 hours and when we got on the plane and sat there for about an hour, it was like a furnace. Of course, this being like the bar conditions but only a tad bit worse, I fell asleep. Should be no surprise.

Once we were airborne, things went pretty well. The food wasn't horrible (but the chicken was far better than the lasagna), there were lots of snacks, the flight attendants were really nice, it was easy to get to the bathroom and the galley because it was a 2 seater, it got much cooler. I took quite a few naps, although until 11 pm CST, they were only power naps. At that point, I took a 3 hour nap. :)

[Edit, 8/18: I forgot to mention that the flight went right by the North Pole! It was so cool!]

I watched Monster-in-Law and loved it. The DVD was on Amazon wish list already, but I hadn't seen it until now. I thought it was a lot of fun. Only problem was that, from the back of the economy section, I needed to sit on the hard armrest to watch the movie, so my butt hurt. And then these kids (well, teenagers) insisted on congregating in the aisles, making it almost impossible to see the screen because they were directly in my line of sight. Especially this kid in an orange t-shirt. He stood in the aisle for at least half the flight. Really inconvenient. Last time I flew to HK they showed 4 movies, and I thought it was great. Today they showed 6!! I was really pleasantly surprised. They showed Sahara (I got bored and listened to Chinese pop and napped), Miss Congeniality 2 (woke up halfway through, and then napped on and off), Monster-in-Law (woke up just in time from another nap - during the credits to MC2 - and watched this one), Madagascar (tried watching it, but body really ached from watching the previous movie and I was just so tired and I passed out), Cheaper by the Dozen (saw bits and pieces, but have seen it already), and then In Good Company (they surprised us with this one - they told us about the other 5 - and since I wasn't prepared and napped/read, I missed the beginning so I didn't watch the rest, and was disappointed because I really wanted to see this one!)

Got into HK, finally got a stamp in my passport with the unattractive picture, and got on the Airport Express train to Kowloon. The train is really comfortable and convenient, it gets you quickly to where you need to go and is really clean. I was so excited to be in HK that every little thing, I loved. I loved the little train tracker where you could see how far it was until your stop. So cute.

The Sheraton is a wonderful hotel. Wonderfully designed, nice staff, convenient location, pretty bathroom. Not much else to say about that, except "good." And it was the first place where I got to use my Cantonese, and the person understood me! Although I only really said the word for bank. Still! Progress!

Had dinner at this place across the road in the New World Centre. I had gone there looking for this noodle shop that was there 9 years ago that we went to for breakfast everyday, but it's not there anymore. It was either renamed or is gone. Instead we went to this other place that was pretty good. Alvin had pork noodles and I had fish ball noodle soup. All total, with tip, it was under $9 for the 2 of us. Yay! And the food was really good!

I love the waterfront promenade in Kowloon with the view of Hong Kong Island and all the pretty lights. We missed the light show tonight, because at that time, we had just gotten onto the Airport Express train, but it's still so calming sitting along the harbor, just basking in the glow of the lights and the feel of the harbor air. It's something I love - looking at cityscapes while on the shore. It made me really happy.

And thus concludes day 1 (really just an evening) in Hong Kong. I am so happy to be here!

Note (8/18): I had to take out a lot of the pictures I originally had because the photos just weren't cooperating with the layout, so I'll have to put them on my photoblog instead.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


From Tuesday night (when I started packing) to last night (returning from the trip), I have watched quite a few movies:
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Breakfast Club
  • Bring It On
  • Mean Girls
  • Monster-in-Law
  • Guess Who
  • Fever Pitch
On the flight to HK (about 15 hours), they showed 6 movies: Sahara (started watching but got bored), Miss Congeniality 2 (would have watched but slept through the first 2/3), Monster-in-Law (loved it), Madagascar (fell asleep), Cheaper by the Dozen (saw already, but slept through the first 1/2), and In Good Company (they surprised us with this one, and had only told us they were showing the 1st 5 - or I would have made sure I woke up for this one!).

On the flight from HK to SF, they showed 3: Guess Who, Fever Pitch (which I watched despite the Red Sox part of the story and really liked), and Hitchhiker's (which I saw in the theaters, and wanted to watch again, but it was too uncomfortable to sit still through the whole movie).

They showed Monster-in-Law on the flight from SF to Chicago, and I was going to watch it in Spanish, but fell asleep.

Considering I barely watched any movies during bar time, this is quite a nice accomplishment. :)

And as for the trailers on Apple right now, here are all the movies that interest me (the big ones for me are bolded and dates saying "around" means that Apple gave a date but the trailer didn't), including movies out now that I want to see (italicized):
  • Batman Begins
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • March of the Penguins (this one has been on my list since months before it came out... now it seems like everyone's seen it but me!)
  • Must Love Dogs
  • Saving Face
  • Wedding Crashers
  • 2046
  • Asylum (coming soon)
  • Chicken Little (coming soon)
  • Ice Age 2 (coming soon)
  • Pride and Prejudice (coming soon)
  • Proof (coming soon)
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (coming soon)
  • V for Vendetta (coming soon)
  • The Legend of Zorro (fall '05)
  • Shopgirl - mostly because I liked the book, not the trailer so much (fall '05)
  • The Constant Gardener - maybe (8/26)
  • Undiscovered (8/26)
  • Corpse Bride (Sept '05)
  • The Thing about My Folks - maybe (Sept '05)
  • Everything is Illuminated (9/16)
  • Roll Bounce (9/23)
  • Oliver Twist (9/30)
  • Serenity (9/30)
  • Little Manhattan (9/30)
  • In Her Shoes (around 10/7)
  • Elizabethtown (10/14)
  • Prime (around 10/28)
  • Rent (I think it's November sometime)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (November)
  • Two for the Money (around 11/7)
  • Yours, Mine & Ours - might amuse me ("holiday season")
  • Aeon Flux (12/2 or "fall")
  • Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (12/9)
  • Fun with Dick and Jane - maybe (Christmas)
  • Rumor Has It (12/25)
  • The DaVinci Code (5/19/06)
  • Cars (June '06)
Yeah, I know the list is long. I like movies. :)

This post took hours to write, with watching the trailers... and accidentally taking a nap. Darn jet lag!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

TV Show Help

I need assistance. Alvin and I were watching this TV show one morning in Hong Kong and we really want to know what it is. So if anyone knows, please comment!

It's like the Price is Right's Plinko + Wheel of Fortune + Mahjong. It's awesome. And addictive to watch.

So, please let me know if you know what it is!

"Lucky ball...........Go!"


I'm eating some of the strawberry sorbet that Alvin made when I was back home for the bar and it's really delicious.

But it's making me think of this:

1: first night desserts: mango juice with glutinous rice balls and extra mango, mango pudding with mixed fruits, strawberry sago
2: glutinous rice balls in watermelon juice and mango juice (I love the rice balls, and it was supposed to be strawberry but they got the order wrong, but that's ok)
3: mango and pomelo sago

Those are some of the desserts we had at this place called Hui Lau Shan in Hong Kong. We went twice in two days, and had we had a chance to try it earlier, we probably would have ended up going every night so we could try even more things on the menu. I'm really going to miss these desserts! Mmmmm....

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Well, that was fun.

22 hours to get door to door from the Sheraton Hong Kong to the apartment. One shuttle bus, 1 express train to the airport, 1 international plane ride, short connection time on the West Coast, 1 domestic plane trip, 1 train from the airport, 1 bus from the train station. How symmetrical.

Although I guess the subject line should more appropriately be, "Planes, Trains and Buses." Oh well.

After all that traveling (and out of all those hours, only about 3 hours sleep on the planes and maybe 20 minutes on the train), I feel sort of ... stale, for lack of a better word. I've run through "Wednesday" daytime twice now, and both times were spent traveling in airports. Whee.

And now, I want to go on another vacation. Something with no real sightseeing and just beach time. Completely the opposite of the frenetic pace of the place I just left. And the opposite of moving. I think I just don't want to go through the work of packing and moving. And vacations are always a nice solution. Oh well.

More to say later when I'm not such a zombie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Hello from Hong Kong!

This is the first time I've gone online, because the internet in the hotel is $17/day! (US $, not HKD) But we were on our way to the bird garden and the Prince Edward MTR station has free internet! So I just wanted to say hello. :)

Things are fun, if a little bit rainy, and I should have plenty of pictures when I return.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hong Kong

It's time to leave for Hong Kong!

I hope to get online at some point during the trip, but if I don't, see you next week!

(By the way, I watched Mean Girls.)

Have a great week!


Second strike of lightning I've seen this early morning.

Unfortunately, that one was followed up by some audible thunder.


When I was flying out on Monday, there were thunderstorms all over the tri-state area, which held up a lot of flights and ended up in delays. (Luckily, my delay wasn't that bad - only an hour or so.) I don't want to have to go through this again later, when I'll already be sitting at the airport for awhile before the flight.

Time to go check the weather for Philly (where the flight originates) and Chicago. Hoping hoping hoping it will be okay...

Edit: No wonder there's thunder and lightning outside. (And now, lots of it.) I went to the Weather Channel and the weather was "rain." Looked out the window, and sure enough, it's pretty wet outside. Great.


We leave early in the morning for O'Hare, and as usual, when I have to be up early for a flight, I'm staying up all night.

I took a 10 minute nap around midnight, and here I am, 4:30 am and leisurely packing.

While watching movies.

To help pass the time while waiting for morning (and because otherwise the internet would distract me from packing), I've watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and now, Bring It On.

I guess next up would have to be Bend it Like Beckham, Clueless or Mean Girls, because I can't break the high school themed movies now!

But first, since I've never watched them on the DVD, the Bring It On special features. :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Today's project was running errands before leaving for my trip tomorrow. I had 4 set errands for the afternoon: post office, bank #1, bank #2, buy outlet adapter. (There was a trip to Target this morning, but nothing out of the ordinary to report there. The only remarkable thing about it was that I was thinking about how much I would miss Chicago and the view of the Sears Tower while running errands.)

I finally got out to do afternoon errands at 3:30 (late!). Within 20 minutes, I'd been to the post office, bank #1 and bank #2. Things were going so well! So fast! All that was left was a trip to Radio Shack to pick up the adapter. I had seen it on the website and it said the store had it in stock, so I thought this would take at most 5 minutes, since the store was only about 3 blocks away from bank #2.

Here's what happened for the 1.5 hours after I left bank #2:

- Walked to the nearby Radio Shack. Website had said product was in stock. Salesperson had no idea what I was talking about. Looked it up on the system. Told me they were not in stock, but in transit. But the store in the Loop (at Jackson & State - a decent walk) had 51 in stock. (Great. I just looked it up and the stores are about a mile apart.)

- Diagonally across the street to Office Max. It was just an express store, so nothing. She suggested Staples.

- Staples: according to Google maps, that's about 0.4 miles. Not terrible, I suppose. Went there and the salesperson asked me whether or not the adapter even exists. The copy center salesperson who was there with him was like, "of course they exist! Some old houses don't have 3 prong outlets." Good to know that the person who was supposed to be helping me (the copy center guy took me to the red shirt guys) had no idea what I was talking about, and thought they didn't even exist. They said to try the hardware store.

Of course, if I had just gone to the hardware store to begin with, I would be home. It was about as far from bank #2 as the first Radio Shack. (Argh, just heard a Radio Shack ad on TV. Annoyed with them. Why have the website say "in stock" if it's not?) But when I had looked at the hardware store's website, they didn't have anything. (And my cell phone wasn't working from my apartment.)

- Sears: saw Sears on the way to the 2nd Radio Shack and figured I'd stop there first. I mean, Sears is hardware, right? (Although at the time, all I could think was "automotive.") I went to the electrics first, forgetting it's in the tool area, and the guy down there told me to go up to hardware and they should definitely have it. After not finding it myself in hardware, I asked someone and she sent me to extension cords and surge protectors. Not exactly what I need.

- Finally went to the 2nd Radio Shack. They had it. Finally.

And then began the 1.5 mile walk home in the 90-something degree heat. Ugh. Hazy hot and humid. I guess it's good practice for Hong Kong.

Although this big run around for an outlet adapter was such a waste of time. I'm glad I wrote my packing list last night, or else I'd be really behind.

Off to go hand wash some more clothes and then it's time for yoga! (I totally need the stretching after all the walking around in this heat!)


Do pigeon-turkey crosses exist?

I was walking by the Sheraton near my apartment today and I saw something that really looked like a cross between a turkey and a pigeon.

It had the head and neck of a turkey (definitely, the neck) and was making turkey-like warbling noises. But it had the body and walking mannerisms of a pigeon.

I was so confused.

I would have taken a picture but it was so hot and sticky and I didn't want to take out my camera again and just wanted to get home. But has anyone ever seen one of these?

Pearl Cream

Maybe I'm just giggly today and that's why I was laughing about the whole gas station thing.

Over the weekend, I was enlightened as to the effects of pearl cream. Apparently my aunt brought it back from China for my grandmother and there have been amazing results. I initially googled the product name, "pearl repair and reporn cream," but there were no results. (I guess no one else wants "reporn cream" either.) But after googling "pearl cream," I found out all sorts of things.

It seems like it is supposed to be really good for clearing up skin conditions and making your skin smooth. That is what I need, considering the bar aggravation of my skin has not fully gone away yet. Maybe I'll pick some up in Hong Kong and see how it works.

But I also found some really funny things. (I'm not really making fun, because goodness knows, my Chinese is far worse than their English. But I just find the word choices amusing.)

According to this site, pearl cream prevents the skin from becoming "chapped and senile." That site also offers a product called "women's maintenance formula for appearance."

Then I found another site which has pearl cream but also offers placenta cream. This, 2 days later, is still making me laugh. The first ingredient is "placenta tissue fluid." But after googling placenta cream today, it seems like this is a pretty big thing in NZ and it's all about sheep placenta. Hmm. I think I'm more comfortable with pearl powder than sheep placenta.

I also found another product called "Reproducer Cap." At first, I didn't know what it was for, but then realized cap is short for capsules. I guess it makes more sense then? Before, I wasn't sure if it was some sort of thing where they were claiming it increases reproduction ability. Sort of like all the spam here.

Ooh, they make ginseng placenta cream too. Haha. This placenta thing is too much for me!

Alright, enough googling of pearl cream. I'm intrigued by it, and I definitely want to try it. Going to go work more on my packing list and then try to sleep.


I don't usually post links to news articles, but this one made me laugh. And then made me feel bad for laughing because it's actually not funny if you were in the wife's position! I know I'd be flipping out about it if I were her, so I feel bad for laughing, but when CNN puts the headline as, "Man forgets wife at gas station," it's hard not to find it amusing.

Basically a man stopped at a gas station in Italy, didn't notice his wife got out to go to the bathroom, drove off without her (but with the daughter in the backseat) and didn't realize she wasn't there for 6 hours. (Okay, summarizing it like this, it sounds even less funny.)

His reason? She sits in the backseat with their kid. So, what? If the kid wasn't there, you wouldn't notice either?

And 6 hours? Did the kid not need to go to the bathroom over those 6 hours? Wouldn't you have realized your wife wasn't there? I mean, wouldn't you have realized in like 15 minutes anyway? Unless you wanted to drive off without her...


Your Musical Tastes Match: Jennifer Garner

See her whole playlist here (iTunes required)

Oh, that amuses me.

Why, you ask? Multiple reasons.

First, because I'd like to be (or at least look like) a kick-ass spy. (Not really serious about the being one, but pretty serious about the looking like one.)

Second, because I put Vaughn on our "hot list" at work last summer.

Third, because (for whatever reason) I liked Ben Affleck a lot in undergrad.

And lastly, because I actually know the person I got as my result in this quiz! (Doesn't happen that often, and I never post those.)

I looked at the playlist and it's not too bad. :)

Monday, August 08, 2005


Hard time waking up this morning because it was so cloudy. With the blinds shut, it felt like late evening. I guess maybe I could use that to get myself on HK time. Haha.

Leaving for Newark Airport soon. Wish I could say more about Peter Jennings, as this is really sad and I grew up on World News Tonight (seriously, every night over dinner when I was younger), but I'll leave you with this link instead.

See you in Chicago!

Pirate's Life

3 am and the song from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World is playing in my head.


I know why I'm awake. It's the same reason as always. I fly back to Chicago tomorrow and I'm packing. Finishing touches, though, this time. Not like I'm starting to pack at 3, which I think was what happened on my way here over 2 weeks ago. Then again, that time, I was simultaneously trying to study for the bar and transfer all the files from my old computer. Sunrise was pretty though. I like sunrises. I'd love to see the sun rise over the ocean, but I'm usually fast asleep in my cabin when that happens.

I don't know why that song is in my head. I haven't been to Disney World since March 2000. I think I went on the ride then, but I'm not even sure. But it's been a long time. Yet, I hear the song and am having visions of pirates. Excellent way to get through packing, I suppose.

Boarding pass printed, pages of labels for postcards from abroad procured, now to finish packing my backpack. After reading the wedding announcements in the local paper, which always fascinate me, because there's a lot of names I recognize from high school. This time though, it's an actual couple I knew in high school. Good stuff. It's one of the only parts of the local paper I still read - the wedding announcements, the engagement announcements, and the graduate submissions.

At least the sun's not up... :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Sorry for the blog silence. I'm not on my bar trip, I've just been preoccupied with other stuff.

Yesterday, I don't know what I did during the day, but at night, my parents had a graduation dinner with mostly family and some friends in Chinatown. And today, there were errands, shopping and now cleaning up/packing/getting rid of all the crap that has accumulated over the past 2 weeks. So, pretty busy.

And yes, it really is all the crap that has accumulated over the past 2 weeks. For example, I left my "bar plastic bag" (see, I can't link to anything because the bar recaps still aren't done - I am so slow) packed the way it was when I left the NJ exam. Nothing was thrown out, not even the Fig Newtons that were uneaten in their plastic bag. (It's not like it's that gross, they were inside 3 sealed plastic bags. I did a lot of the plastic bag inside a plastic bag inside a plastic bag thing.)

As I threw my Barbri plastic bag (which held all the food) into the garbage, I found myself wishing I had taken a picture of my bag when it was completely full and I was on my way to the bar. Then I remembered, I deliberately hadn't packed a camera because I hadn't wanted it to get lost in the chaos. Oh well. At least I saved my bar bracelet to take a photo after the fact. Once Tuesday's entry is finally done and posted, you can see a picture of that. I thought I had lost it or accidentally thrown it away, but I just found it tonight. Glad.

Okay, back to throwing out/cleaning up the rest of the stuff in the bar bag. Fun fun fun.

Sue Shi

Your Outrageous Name Is
Sue Shi

Well, I do love sushi...

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!


I had aimed to finish the bar recaps by yesterday.

That didn't happen, mostly because over 2 days, I spent about 6 hours shopping at 2 different Macy's.

I couldn't help it! They had an amazing sale! Most of the store, except the tiny sections of new fall clothes (lots in cranberry color - I love it), was 50-75% off. And you got another 10-15% off for using your Macy's card. I was getting shirts for $3, designer jeans for under $20... what's not to love about that?

I've spent a decent amount of money going shopping the past couple of days... but not having spent anything for a long time because of the bar exam, I think it's quite alright. :) Although I think I am going to return a pair of pants, which was the most expensive thing I bought all week, because it doesn't fit as well as I thought it did the first time I tried it on. (Especially compared with some other stuff I bought...)

I'm just happy because I'm not going apartment hunting anymore! In the worst case scenario, I'd still be apartment hunting today and going out of my mind with anxiety about where I'd be living. But luckily, that is not to be!

Back to shopping - I think my heavy pocketbook, combined with the heavy piles of clothes that I was carting around the store, has given me a slight shoulder injury. That's kind of embarrassing - getting injured from shopping - but I think it's true. Sigh. At least I'm running out of nearby Macy's to go to...

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Just wide awake and uncomfortable. Reminded me of the bar days when I couldn't fall asleep and tossed and turned. But this time, I instead picked up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and read about 7 pages before I fell asleep. Much better.

It feels so good to just relax and not have anything to do. Except that's not really true... I should finish those recaps...

Friday, August 05, 2005


I'm doing my crash course in Cantonese before my trip to Hong Kong, and I'm up to the colors.

I remember some of the colors from Chinese school or over the years. White, black, red - those I knew. Also, after hearing blue, I remembered that one because it was my favorite during Chinese school.

But I don't know if I ever knew the word for brown, and now I'm sure I won't forget it, because (like some of the obscure bar details) it made me wonder enough that I'm writing about it here.

Phonetically, brown is "ga fe sik." The word for coffee is "ga fe." So technically, brown seems to be "coffee color," since "sik" is the ending for all the colors.

Since I am completely ignorant about coffee (I don't drink it), I wondered... did coffee originate in China?

If not, what did they call brown before they were introduced to coffee?

Any coffee experts, please let me know. :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lucky Stars

I am a lucky, lucky girl.

I found an apartment!

With the bar exam over, the next task was to find an apartment. I didn't go apartment hunting on Friday or over the weekend because I was still so exhausted from the bar exam, and thought I was going to have a really hard time finding anything available when I finally did start looking. The NYT had significantly fewer ads than 3 weeks before, and the places that I had managed to call told me they had 1 or 2 apartments available in the type I needed. Then there's all the horror stories of apartments flying off the market within hours of being listed, and this is still the peak season for rentals... all signs pointed to a difficult search.

But like the bar exam, this is something where you really don't know what it's like until you're in the midst of it all. While the supply of available apartments was by no means plentiful, there were some great apartments that I saw, that were available. So many things happened this week while apartment hunting that were just so lucky. For example, the first place we went to, there was a gorgeous apartment I really liked with an amazing view of Manhattan, Times Square and the George Washington Bridge that didn't make it to the list of available apartments until we were ready to leave after having gone to the restroom. If we had left before that, we would have never known about it. (The apartment we picked doesn't have the same amazing Hudson River views, but outside of the views, I love everything else about it more, and it's significantly less money.)

I'm also glad that I found a place in the neighborhood I wanted. I wanted to live in the West 40s, mostly because my job is in the West 40s, and I love the area. There's a lot of relatively new highrises (only about 2 or 3 years old), lots of great restaurants. When I was planning, I had found buildings online in all other areas of Manhattan, thinking that I was going to need to broaden the search and be as flexible as possible. Who would have thought that things would work out so well, and that I wouldn't need all these back-up plans? I feel so lucky.

Saw places on Monday and Tuesday (saw this one on Monday), filled out the application on Tuesday...

And today... I signed my lease!

I'm really excited about the new apartment. Although signing the lease brought me right back to memories of the bar exam, because of all of the references to NY's "Real Property Law" and all of the stuff about assignments, subleases, abandonment, default... right back in the landlord-tenant section of my outline.

Before going up to sign the lease, went with my family and my grandmother and had some good dim sum:

And afterwards, treated ourselves to some Coldstone (apparently, cake batter is back, and I love it but it was too hot today for it) because it was over 95 degrees outside. Raspberry sorbet with raspberry mix-ins... yummmmmmmmmmm.

On a day with unbearable heat... that really hit the spot.

Tomorrow, I'm getting fingerprinted for NJ character stuff and then I think I'm going to do some shopping. The bar is done, an apartment has been found, it's all such a relief. Granted, we still have to figure out details about moving and arrange all of that and pack, but at least once we're packed up, we have someplace to live.

And on top of Coldstone, tonight I had more triple chocolate ice cream.

I'm really enjoying this post-bar time. And I really feel incredibly lucky.