Monthly Archives: January 2011

Internet Issues

I spent a week in China and am now in Hong Kong, and there have been various difficulties accessing the internet.  In Beijing, WordPress was blocked, so I couldn’t update, and here in HK, I don’t get free internet so my time is limited.  I am, however, putting pictures up on my flickr account, which I would encourage you to visit to see my pictures.

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Old friend, new town

While I don’t leave for Beijing until Monday at noon, I have already left Atlanta.  I am currently in Princeton, NJ, for an interview with a fellowship program at the University.  I don’t really want to talk about it until it’s more or less a done deal, but I will tell you what I’m doing when I’m not interviewing.

I hopped on over to see my friend J Money (too many J names on the blog!), who is about 30 miles away in Rutgers.  J Money and I were in the same entry freshman year, and we’ve always gotten along pretty well.  He saved my ass more than a few times in our orgo class, and I helped him out with a few history classes back in the day.  I couldn’t be in the same state as this kid and not see him.

We walked around New Brunswick and got some noodles at a little Chinese place.  We had a lot to catch up on, and this was a good start.  We also checked out the train station (don’t ask) and made big plans to personally reenact How I Met Your Mother.  Suit Up!  J Money sure does.

Super glad I got the chance to see this kid.  I know I’ll see him again sooner or later, since I plan to go up to New York in the spring, so I guess I’d better bring my sartorial A Game.

Tomorrow after my interview, my mom and I are going to take the commuter train into the city and head to one of David Chang’s eateries.  So excited.  I’ve been waiting for so long to try his pork buns….

Lastly, I plan on blogging here while on my travels, but I’ll also be posting pictures to my travel tumblr.  Hopefully they’ll be accessible in China, but if not, just bear with me.

Winter Adventure

Finally, the announcement of my big plans for the next four weeks…done in a video because I am too lazy to type.

I’ve got to work on not saying “um” so much.  Good gravy.

Snowpocalypse 2011

It snowed again in Atlanta, and this time there’s over an inch!  I couldn’t believe it myself, but when I went outside late last night, the whole neighborhood was covered in a thick [for Atlanta] white blanket and the flurries were still coming down.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to have a legitimate reason to wear my fur coat and my Russian snow boots.  I’ve noticed with while wearing both of these items that I really don’t need underlayers because they are so good at what they do.  So my parents and I went out to play in the snow.  Actually, it was more like hanging out in the snow, since all we could do was stand there and look around.

The dogs weren’t as enthusiastic about the snow as we were.  They only ventured a few feet off the porch, and Bro hated it so much that he ran back to the front door and waited there until someone let him back inside the house.  Chip was content to stand on the porch and stick his little nose out to smell the snow (as he does), but he didn’t like standing in it.  Maybe if I knit him little dog booties….

Chip smelling; Bro begging to go inside

Since we rarely ever get snow like this (indeed, the city has deemed it the Snowpocalypse), everything is definitely shut down for today and maybe even tomorrow.  There is nowhere to go, and even if there were, the whole city tends to decide that bad road conditions mean that the time is right to debut bold and daring driving manoeuvres, so I’d stay well off the roads anyway.

Luckily, wintertime means an upsurge in my personal desire to craft, so I am pretty content to sit at my desk today and work on a few craft projects before I start packing for an upcoming adventure.  I took the initiative to organize my desk yesterday, so that is making blogging, knitting, and listening to Dan Savage and Biggie at my desk even more of a pleasure.  Plus, I have a great view of the snow.

where the magic happens

You might notice the balls of yarn on the left side of my work area.  Yep, all that creative energy that I have knocking around in my brain?  It’s being channeled into making the best knit2purl2 scarf that ever existed so that I can get practice for my big goal, the knit bikini.  I’ve been wanting to knit a bikini for years, but I never got past my first [perpetually unfinished] garter stitch scarf:

it's not a yarn, not yet a sca-aaarf

You can see that my knit stitch has gotten pretty solid over the years, so I sort of decided to abandon that sunken ship and get excited about learning to purl.  After all, it is part of the master bikini plan.  Here is my new scarf so far:

This may be coming to a noncommittal neck near MC Casual BlogStyles very, very soon.  My goal, again, is to finish this by the end of the week.

In addition to knitting, I have some needlework going on.  I am embroidering Totoro onto my pillowcase.

Progress is slow because I don’t have a few colors that I need, but I plan to keep hammering at it once my scarf is done and my January/February adventure is over.  I promise that my next post will about about said adventure, but right now I need to keep going with my scarf action and enjoy some hot chocolate.

Pardon the construction

I’m trying to set up a few new shiny pages for a minor blog expansion, so don’t be dismayed if there are some crazy things happening in the next few hours.

Officially an obsession

Atlanta is not exactly known for its authentic Chinese food, which is really kind of sad, since this city generally adheres to a pretty high standard of culinary excellence.  This is especially sad for me because I’ve gotten more and more into Chinese as I learn to block the horrors of my summer camp’s “stir fry” (which, to me, represented for years everything that China had to offer me culinarily) out of my active consciousness.

If summer camp was the dark before the light–and years of “Asian fusion” were the rising action, and a summer in Vancouver provided a momentary peak with a single plate of dumplings, and if I was temporarily set back to almost summer camp levels by Chopsticks, the “Chinese” restaurant in Williamstown–then the highlight up until about three weeks ago would be my trip to Toronto with Dan back in May.  I don’t think I was ever hungry in Toronto because I was trying to sample everything that was offered to me by his grandpa.

only a fraction of what we had to eat that morning

Anyway, I had all but given up hope that I would find good Chinese food in this city, Cantonese or otherwise–which is why I’m happy that a series of factors lined up in my favor; indeed, the Fates have smiled upon me and decided to give me good Chinese ITP.*  As it turns out, a peripatetic Sichuan legend has settled in Atlanta for the time being, and both of my parents read articles about him independently of one another.  When they realized that they had both heard of this Peter Chang guy, it was quickly concluded that we all had to go there.

Cheng or Chang? the debate rages on

So I’ve been there three times within two and a half weeks.  Does that qualify as an obsession yet?  I went twice with my family, and last night I introduced it to A.Sals and J1 and J2 (new to the blog).  I’ve gotten something different every time, which is basically unheard of in Casual NoshStyles land.  Yes, it’s that good.

Chang is known for his “hot and numbing” combinations, but it seems like he’s pretty good at everything he tries.  The soup dumplings are really delicate, and even the lowly scallion pancake is jazzed up with air and some curry sauce.  Last night, we decided to order 5 main dishes and share them around, and that was a great call: we got to try a lot more of his cooking styles that way, since we ordered one of every category on the menu (Sichuan, local, chef’s specialty, American-style).

Mama BlogStyles gingerly eats a soup dumpling

hot and numbing beef roll

Js 1 & 2

the only way to show how full our table was

I’m trying to eat here as much as possible before he decides to leave town (and before I do too).  I will never get enough hot and numbing beef.  You heard it here first.

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* ITP = Inside The Perimeter, a criterion which is very important to other people ITP, and not important to those OTP.

Spikes

I’ve decided recently to inject my everyday appearance with a bit more glamor; I want to dress up all the time, since I certainly have the wardrobe for it.  This begins not while prepping to go out on a Friday night, but actually while I’m taking a shower on a Tuesday night, it would seem.  Today, you see, I’m taking about hair again.  Normally I shower at night and tie my hair up in a braid so that when it comes out in the morning, it gives me a nice flip effect where someone else’s bangs might be:

It’s the very definition of bedhead.  But anyway, while I was standing under last night’s bit of water, I decided I’d go all Irish Dancer and break out my spike curlers.  I still have these from my competitive dancing days and have used them before on my ends for a nice retro end wave.  This time I decided to go all out.

If you’ve never seen spike curlers in someone’s hair, or if you’ve never seen me without makeup despite my worst efforts, feast your eyes:

I feel like there is a bald patch in my left eyebrow that will never grow back.  Ha.  Anyway, these babies do not make for a restful night of sleep, but they’re ultimately worth it.

Even after a full day of work, my hair is going strong…

I kind of like the excitement.  This hair, coupled with my taking the time to put on fancy seamed stockings, had me smiling all day even though it was a pretty rainy, run-of-the-mill day at work.

Of course, what kind of self-respecting hair-owner (???) would I be if I didn’t mention what I’m using in my hair?  Currently, I really love Big for shampoo–and it’s not because of my employment history or my affinity for Biggie.  It gets my hair really clean and shiny, and I dig the sea salt.  I follow that with a dollop of American Cream and finish it off with a little Moroccanoil when I get out of the shower.

It’s a pretty low-maintenance routine.  It’s going to get even more low-key in about two weeks.  Details on that to come in my general new year/fresh start post, probably tomorrow.  Maybe next time I’ll also get into makeup.  Just not tonight, as it’s getting late and I have my next trip to the hospital in the yearly gamut of doctor’s office runs coming up tomorrow morning.  Don’t worry, guys, I’m not dying.

I mean, I am dying in the sense that we are all dying and that fatalistic jazz.  Just not planning on it anytime soon.  Thought I’d clear that up.