Friday, October 27, 2006

Something to do when you have two hours to kill or insomnia

My friend sent me this game. It's crazy addictive and fun. Getting to 16 was easy. Then I spent the next 1.5 trying to get from 16 to the end.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Congratulations Michelle and Edwin!

It was a glorious weekend in San Francisco...the perfect environment for a wedding! Congratulations to Michelle and Edwin! I can't believe they pulled it all together in such short notice (they got engaged in April) and without any external help (excluding friends).

In typical Michelle and Edwin fashion the wedding weekend was filled with lots of laughs, lots of good cheer, and lots of friends. I'll post some pics when I get a chance.

Being back in the bay area was also stunning. People are what make a place special and all the bay area friends definately make SF a magical place!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dawn in SF

I'm in SF with a view of the bay and Coit Tower from my Hotel Room. It's 7:20am and I've been up since 6am on a conference call with the east coast. The sun is just coming up and the new rays of light are casting burnished shades of rust and orange on Coit. Along the bay the horizon has just lost its purple hue. The sky is spectacularly empty and blue. I'm always amazed at how beautiful San Francisco is. My heart is in New York but SF is special too.

It's also my 31st birthday! Yip di Doo...and Scooby Too!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finnish Meatballs

This recipe from today's NY Times Dining & Wine section sounds amazing! I might have to have a dinner party just so I can try these. And to think, I was once a vegan.

October 18, 2006
Recipe: Finnish Meatballs
Time: 1 hour
¾ cup whole milk3 slices white bread, crusts removed
6 ounces Valley Shepherd Califon Tomme, Cato Corner Dutch Farmstead or other mildand buttery Gouda-style cheese
1½ cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
¾ cup finely minced onion
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
½ cup flour
¾ cup chicken or beef broth
¼ cup vegetable oil, or as needed
½ cup heavy cream

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk just until steaming. Remove from heat and press bread into the milk; set aside.

2. Grate cheese on large holes of a box grater and place in large bowl. Add parsley, onion, eggs, salt, white pepper, black pepper and allspice. Stir well to combine. Add ground beef, ground pork and milk-soaked bread. Knead by hand or mix with a large wooden spoon until well-blended.

3. Spread flour on a plate. Roll meat mixture into 1½-inch balls, and roll in flour to coat. Place a Dutch oven over very low heat, and add broth. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.

4. Working in batches, add enough meatballs to loosely fill pan. Sear for about 1 minute, then shake pan to turn meatballs. Continue until well browned on all sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Transfer meatballs to Dutch oven and allow them to gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring carefully from time to time. Add cream and heat just until warmed. If desired, serve with small potatoes or egg noodles that have been tossed with butter and parsley.

Yield: 8 servings.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Making of Beauty - The Evolution

Watch this video. It's stunning.


And the quote of the day is:

"Census Bureau employees planned to mark the moment Tuesday afternoon with cake and punch."

At 7:46 am EST today, the US population officially passed the 300,000,000 mark. The NY Times marked the occassion in this article.

I think it's interesting to note that the Bush Administration isn't really planning on doing much to celebrate. This is in contrast to the celebration Pres. Johnson pulled together after the 200,000,000 baby was born in 1967. I particularly enjoyed reading some of the reasons for why the current administration is so nonchalant about the whole thing, the primary one being that the US population probably exceeded 300 million several months ago (what with all the illegal immigrants living in the country) and it probably won't help the Republicans in the upcoming elections to make note of something that just highlights the US' inability to create any significant immigration policy to manage illegals. (I'm not going to go into my political stance on illegal immigrants today - although it's probably not too terribly difficult to figure it out with a little bit of thought.)

Here are a couple of other things to ponder:

- If the 300,000,000 person was indeed a new born baby, the baby would have probably been a boy (because slightly more boys are conceived and born than girls. Girls only start to outnumber boys around the teenage years) and most likely hispanic (because they are the fastest growing segment of the population.)

- The US population is growing at a rate of just less than 1%. Immigration accounts for about 40% of that growth. The remainder is from births outnumbering deaths. I wonder what will happen when the baby boomers start to pass away. This is in contrast to most European countries and Japan, all of which have negative population growth.

- While the current administration tucked away $20 million in the Iraq war budget for a victory celebration, they can't tuck away $50 for a 300 millionth population celebration?

Let's all make up for Bush's oversight and be like the census bureau employees. Bring on the punch and cake!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cross-contamination indeed

So my girl over at Please Don't Pass the Nuts writes very frequently about the problem of food cross-contamination and the havoc a stray nut could cause. I'm lucky in that my only known food allergy is Mangos - something that is still foreign enough to the American dietary palette that a mango-infestation is highly unlikely. (Now my allergy to latex, certain red food dyes, and carpet glue is a TOTALLY different subject all together. Luckily my sense of smell is keen and I can usually smell latex - and get the hell out of dodge - before it ever touches my skin and causes a full on case of anaphlaxtic shock. I do however travel at all times with an Epi-Pen just in case. And you don't even want to know what happened to me when my office decided to put down new carpeting over the weekend and didn't tell anyone until we came in on Monday and I broke out in hives after 2 minutes.)

Anyhoo, back to the topic of food cross-contamination. So I was eating an all organic Chocolate Chip cookie today from Mad Moose Organics when I chomp down on something kinda squishy that was neither chocolate or chip or cookie in texture and flavor. It ended being nothing but a harmless stray dried cranberry. However, this kinda wigged me out. What if it was a dried mango or something. Or even worse, what if I had nut allergies and it was a stray nut. Blah! Get the epi-pen, STAT!

So I write this blog entry today in homage to my girl, Allergic Girl.


My parents are cute.

I had dinner with my parents last night and it was the first time I saw my dad after his return from Korea last Tuesday. It was his first trip back to Korea since he left 28 years ago in April 1978. My dad has two younger brothers in Korea, one of whom he hasn't seen in 28 years! My mom had to work so my dad decided to travel alone. I asked him what he thought about the country and how it had changed. This was his response.

Dad[in Korean]: "It was okay but your mom wasn't there. Nothing's really fun when your mom's not there. There's no one to share things with."

He was originally supposed to be in Korea for three weeks but decided to cut the trip short and came back after only two weeks. Now I know why.

SOOOOOOO CUTE. But I guess that's what happens when you've been happily married for 36 years.

And when asked about his desire to ever move back to Korea:

"No, I have no desire to live in Korea. I like America. Korea's too noisy and crowded and polluted. People are rude and everything is soooooooo expensive. I gave up coffee because it was $5 for one cup."

Clearly my dad has never been to a Starbucks. And this from a man who lives in New York City.

Escaping Japan

I found this article in the NY Times fascinating.

The article puts a spotlight on the young Japanese (largely female) who travel to New York City for anywhere between 3 months to a couple of years on a quest to "find themselves". You can experience these excessively coordinated little things for yourself by visiting the East Village, particularly around St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant St.

What I find most fascinating about these women are the activities they participate in to "find themselves". As one woman in the article declares, her favorite pastimes in NY are "shopping, clubbing with hipsters on the Lower East Side and partying." I'm sorry but that doesn't really constitute "finding oneself" in my book. That just sounds like someone who's escaping the realities of life by flirting with hedonism.

Don't get me wrong here, I fully endorse the occasional appointment with hedonism (the $80 black suede Kenneth Cole boots I purchased this weekend are a very good illustration of this) but a lifetime of excess rarely serves anyone well - except for maybe Hugh Hefner and the guy who started the "Girls Gone Wild" phenom.

The article also spends a lot of time noting that these women are often in the pursuit of an "American Boyfriend". That thought makes me a bit queesy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Business School Memories

So I was doing a random search for stuff on the NYU Stern website (actually, trying to figure out how to get an unofficial copy of my transcript - I've forgotten) when I somehow randomly stumbled onto this old article from the school newspaper "The Opportunity" about a Spring Break Grand Canyon trip I took with three of my classmates in 2002. I didn't even know that the 4th member of the trip had written something up. It was fun to think back to the trip and realize I had forgotten quite a number of details. Here's the article she wrote:

Spring Break Backpacking Down the Grand Canyon
by Amelia Sadowsky

Spring Break backpacking down the Grand Canyon with 10-50 lbs strapped to my back? I must be nuts.

Through the OAC (Outdoors Adventure Club), Sergio Fonseca sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon over Spring Break. He recruited Alon Landa, Bo Young Lee and myself. Little did I know that all three were expert hikers and completely physically fit. Sergio competes in rock climbing contests as well as being an avid backpacker in Brazil. Alon is also an avid backpacker having done Yosemite and the mountains in the Carolinas. Bo is a yoga instructor and was probably in the best physical condition of all of us. However, I was probably in the worst shape of my life having trained hard at Stern by sitting for hours in the computer lab and through class lectures as well as building my arm strength filling my cup at beer blasts.

But I was pysched for this trip and maybe a bit terrified. I felt that this was the best way to see the GC. I also figured if I could accomplish backpacking down the GC, I could do anything. So I outfitted myself at EMS (where the mountain salesmen who wouldn't be caught dead shopping in a mall proceeded to gleefully hop around picking out equipment and clothing for me as if they were Long Island JAPs out with daddy's credit card). My family purchased a few supplies for my trip including a whistle with a compass and thermometer built in (clearly they were afraid I wasn't coming back).

Saturday, March 9th
4am car service to JFK airport Between the four of us, we totalled less than one night's sleep. I managed a whopping two hours and slept more than anyone else.

7am flightWhose bright idea was it to get such an early flight, Alon?We check our packs and each weighs in at anywhere from 30lbs to 45lbs (not including our carry on items, the 7lb camera Bo has brought or any water needed for the trail)

Arrival in Phoenix, AZ
Luck must be on our side. We caught our shuttle from Phoenix to Flagstaff and then our final shuttle from Flagstaff to the GC with almost no hitches. And we made it just in time to put our names on the waiting list for a permit to camp below the rim.

Night one at Mathers campground on the South RimCamping is good so far but a bit chilly. My thermometer reads 40°F but that can't be right. Boys are mumbling something about freezing their nuts off and Alon seems to have lost all feeling in his toes. We are able to have a nice warm campfire and a great hot meal.

Sunday (Day 1 on the Trail): "I think I'm going to die"
What luck! We are granted a permit for 5 nights (originally we thought we were only going to get 3 nights). We will be hiking a trail down Dripping Springs to Boucher Trail, across Tonto to Hermit Creek and further on to Granite Rapids and then back up Hermit Trail. We start out on the trail at 1pm. We are to complete Boucher Trail today to make our first campsite. Boucher is described as "…rugged and steep route challenges hiker with sections of exposure to height… if you can't walk on the edge of your roof, don't hike Boucher." I cannot count the number of times I think I'm going to die. We make it to the flat ground despite my slowing the group down, Alon and Sergio having to take out at least 20lbs to carry themselves and even carrying my entire pack and it being dark (we did not make our first campsite). My legs feel like they are going to fall off. I cannot bend them at all. Dig hole in ground to poop? Pebbles permanently stuck to ass. This must be a bad joke. How the hell am I getting out of here?

Monday (Day 2 on the Trail): "I know I'm going to die"
From Boucher Trail to Tonto landing at our second campsite, Hermit campgroundI am on a death march. Tears of pain are trickling down my face by afternoon. I cannot bend my legs at all. We make it to Hermit just before dark. There are these cute fat little mice swarming our food so we lock it up in food boxes provided at the campsite. Alon's hair has managed a nice bouffant? And we have nicknamed him "pretty".

Tuesday (Day 3 on the Trail): "Wow!"
Back on Tonto trail on to the Granite RapidsBy lunchtime, I will pay anything to get helicoptered out. I tell the group to injure me so I can have rangers come rescue me. I know I'm going to die here in the GC. We make it down to the campsite in the afternoon and it's on a beach right by the Colorado River. Wow, the river is powerful and beautiful. Once evening sets in, we lie outside staring at the stars and listening to the rush of the river. It is so beautiful and peaceful here. There is no other place on earth I want to be.
Sergio is racing along the trails as if he were born in these rocks. Plus he decided to make about 12 helpings of mash potatoes for dinner which he managed to eat almost all of. So we have nicknamed him "goat" because of his ability to navigate quickly on the rocks and because he must have four stomachs like a goat to eat all that food. Bo practices her yoga stretching every day so we have nicknamed her "pretzel" because she is a human pretzel. I have affectionately been nicknamed the big "O" because of all the grunting and heavy breathing I am making the trail. Perhaps they could have just nicknamed me turtle or something…

Wednesday (Day 4 on the Trail): "This was soooo worth it!"
Up the trail and we return to Hermit campgroundMy legs have loosened up and I am picking up speed on the trail. I am still carrying a pack less than half the weight of the others but that is on average 15lbs (with water; gosh, water weighs a lot). It's very windy today. I'm walking on a trail (if you can call it that) the width of my hips and the winds are now trying to blow me of the side of this canyon.Hang up food? The squirrels will just think we are hanging the food as a game. It will not stop them from eating our food.The views are incredible. Pictures just don't do it justice. I wouldn't trade this for the world!

Thursday (Day 5 on the Trail): "Can we stay here forever?"
Back on Tonto to Hermit trail (stopping overnight at Santa Maria Springs)Isn't this amazing? I can't believe we have hiked in and almost out of the Canyon. It just doesn't seem real. I don't even miss civilization and I'm ready to hike the whole trail again.

Friday (Day 6 on the Trail): "I can't believe it's already over."
Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs out to the South RimI can't believe how quickly this time has gone, although the arriving at the South Rim almost a week ago feels like a very distant memory. I'm really gonna miss the GC.Wow, we stink. Bo pulls out a sock that is so stiff that it looks like there is still a foot in it. We all crack up with laughter. We finally get a shower in Flagstaff and it has got to be the best shower I've ever had.

We're heading home! Civilization here we come. I miss the GC already…
I want to thank Sergio, Alon and Bo. Without them helping me down, shoving me up and holding my hand, I doubt I would have made it. Their unwavering support and cheering me on was a blessing. I still cannot believe they did not smother me in my sleep and I thank all three of you for sharing one of the biggest challenges and best times of my life.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Furry Love

I want a puppy! But I can't have a puppy. I'm too busy. But I want one.

Having grown up with a constantly evolving array of pets - two dogs (Pollywog - a german shepard-bull dog mix, and Daisy - a jack russell terrier), two turtles (Rocky - named after Rock Hudson, and Lizzy - named after Elizabeth Taylor), countless parrots and fishes - I still desire the furry, fuzzy love of an animal companion. There is nothing...NOTHING...more heart warming than having a puppy waggle over, plop themselves right next to you on the couch, prop their head on your lap, release a long sigh, give you one of those "I love you mama" looks, and then proceed to fall asleep on your lap. Or to be woken up by a fuzzy dog tongue lapping at your face, trying to convince you that you really do want to get out of bed at 6 in the morning on a Sunday to go out and play with them. And when you don't they relent for about 10 minutes and then try again. Puppies! (and by puppies I mean dogs of any age)

A kitty would seem like such a perfect compromise. You still get all the furry love but without the whole walking, constantly being home thing.

Alas, I'm deathly allergic to kitties. Epi-pens and anaphylactic shock are not fun.

But it seems that a company out west may have found a solution...and it only costs $4000.

I first read about Allerca and their hypo-allergenic kittens about two years ago. At that time they were targeting a per cat cost of $10,000. Glad to see things have come down a bit.

The NY Times is running an interesting article about the soon to be launched kitties. I can definately sympathize with some of the people quoted in the article.

It's a good thing I don't love cats as much as I love dogs. I might be $4000 poorly if that were the case.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Surfing when I'm 80

I've always said that I'll take up surfing when I'm 80. Why 80? It just seems like as good a time as any to take up something new. Plus, if I plan to take up surfing at that age, I better keep myself in a condition where it will be possible.

I mention this because the NY Times has a really good article today about being old but not frail.

Old but Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head

In the article, doctors mention that frailty (an actual medical condition now) is likely due to

1) Undetected cardiovascular disease (not the kind that will only give you a heart attack but the more subtle kind that will block blood vessels to various parts of the body)

and more interestingly

2) Falling victim to negative stereotypes about aging and being old.

Here's a really interesting excerpt:

"A second finding is just as surprising to skeptical scientists because it seemed to many like a wrongheaded cliché — you’re only as old as you think you are. Rigorous studies are now showing that seeing, or hearing, gloomy nostrums about what it is like to be old can make people walk more slowly, hear and remember less well, and even affect their cardiovascular systems. Positive images of aging have the opposite effects. The constant message that old people are expected to be slow and weak and forgetful is not a reason for the full-blown frailty syndrome. But it may help push people along that path."

If you've ever been to one of my yoga classes, you've probably heard me say at one point "Don't let your preconceived notions of what you think your body and you are capable of prevent you from discovering what your body and you are really capable of."

Or as the girls in En Vogue once sang..."Free your mind and the rest will follow." (I realize I'm dating myself here)

I can attest to the fact that getting older for me has meant, from a physical standpoint, getting stronger, leaner, more nimble, agile, faster, more flexible, and generally more physical. Eighteen was not my glory be completely honest, I don't think I have yet to discover that year yet. Every year seems to bring more discovery in my body, more ability, more understanding of how to expand the boundaries of this shell of mine. I would have laughed at anyone who had told me, at the age of 18, that someday I will have run a marathon or finished a triathlon or finished a Century. But here I am, nearly 13 years later, having completed all three. And I've officially sent in my bid for a spot in the 2007 London Marathon (whether or not I get a place is an entirely different issue.) And I'm only 3 races shy of securing my place in next years NYC Marathon.

If the next 13 years are anything like the last, I expect that by the time I'm 44 I'll be levitating or possibly flying short distances (say from Wall St. to Dumbo).

Of course all of this has not come without injury (torn hamstrings, squished vertibral joints, an ankle that will need to be reconstructed at some point) but all in all a small price to pay for the joy I experience in my body.

So, yes, I plan on taking up surfing when I'm 80 or maybe sooner. Surf Diva's summer surf camps for adults look mighty enticing...

On a slight diversion...

If negative messages about getting old can speed the journey to frailty what can negative messages about being a young black man, or a nerdy asian teenager, or a girl who wants a career in science/math do to those individuals.

Things that make you go hmmmm... (Oh god, I'm dating myself with all these 80s/90s song quotes)