Friday, May 27, 2011

Spicy food

I had been craving Korean food and decided to try my hand at making Tteok Bok Ki. Tteok Bok Ki (떡볶이)is a popular Korean dish that you can find practically anywhere. It usually consists of sliced rice cakes, fish cakes, and gochujang, a hot paste made from chili peppers. You can then add meat, boiled eggs, mushrooms, and what have you. This dish was actually the first dish I ate when I arrived in Korea, and I ate it again in Lotte World. Deeelicious. :)

I found the recipe and it's a fairly simple recipe. However, I found the tubular rice cakes to be of a slightly different consistency than the sliced ones, and a little trickier to cook. I think for next time, I may just stick with the sliced ones for simplicity's sake.

The recipe was for two servings but since I was cooking for my family, I just double the ingredients. Simple enough, right? Turns out it was way too spicy for my brother. One bite was enough for him to shoot for the fridge for water. But I think it turned out quite well for a first attempt, and now I know how I can tweak the recipe more to my liking. 

If anyone's interested, this is the recipe I followed: Migi's Kitchen. If you don't want to go out and buy fish broth, you can substitute it with water and a bit of soy sauce. What you can also do is mix hon-dashi with water to make the broth. Hon-dashi is a Japanese fish soup stock, and I have a huge stash of it at home so I decided to make use of it. If you happen to have it in your kitchen, it should work great. 

However, speaking of spicy foods, I realized something that happens a lot when I eat really spicy food, particularly Korean or Thai food.

I can't stop. No matter how much pain I'm in, I can't stop eating it. It makes me wonder if I'm subconsciously a masochist. I just realized that I forgot to draw in the snot running down my nose. When I eat something really spicy, I get major runny nose. It's incredibly attractive.

Additional note: Ohmygod you guys, it took me ONE FRIKKIN' HOUR to get this pencil sketch from my brain to this blog. I had to download the scanner software for my parents' printer (because I couldn't be bothered to turn on another computer just to scan this one tiny thing) and since I'm having internet issues at the moment, it took an entire prehistoric age. And you know what? It didn't even finish downloading! My dad ended up scanning the sketch with his computer and giving it to me via an USB driver.

I seriously need to get a new tablet so I can just sketch these damn things straight into my computer. 

This would be a good time for things to start falling into my lap. Please? :D

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I am a book snob.

A few days ago, an 50% off coupon from Borders arrived in my inbox, which is extremely rare considering the biggest discount they give out via coupons is 40%. So I hopped into my car to my nearest Borders to take advantage of said super awesome coupon and buy myself a GMAT prep book. Yes, my life is very exciting. Try not to be too jealous.

It was around the time when I was trying to choose between Kaplan and the Princeton Review (there is no difference between them, I swear to you) when I suddenly realized something. I keep scourging for deals or really, just for ways for me to get the biggest bang for my buck, when all along, there's a way for me to get these books, that I will only use once, for absolutely free. I can go to the library. Yeah, I was face-palming myself too.

Since I was already at Borders and I didn't want to let the coupon go to waste, I started to browse around. I'll be honest though, I hate doing that. Whenever I walk into a bookstore with no specific book in mind to buy, it's always difficult and lengthy process. Why? Because I'm a book snob.

There are people who look to read books that they can relate to. Those books are usually the contemporary and slice-of-life types. And then there are those who read books as a form of escapism. I'm the later. For me, reading is a chance to lose myself completely in another world, and for a few hours a day, shut off from reality. Which is also why I'm a slow reader. Don't think I'm a book snob? Hold on. I'm just easing you in.

Good concepts and solid plot lines aren't enough for me. I'm technical reader as well, meaning I'm a stickler for grammar, dialogue, tone, and diction. Having a good story on your hands is great and everything, but you have to be able to tell it well too. If I'm going to spend the next couple of days reading your 400-page book, please do me a favor and exclude the purple prose, Mary Sues, and abusive use of the comma. (I understand the comma is a tricky thing to conquer, but if there's more than five commas in your sentence and you're not listing things, there's a problem.)

Now I'm not so snobbish that I'm incapable of reading fluff books (why else would I still browse the YA section?) and it's not fair to condemn a book because of a misplaced hyphen. So usually I try to find books where there's a decent balance. While I enjoy a story that is well-written, what I enjoy even more is being able to dissect and analyze it. So it's easy for me to overlook technical flaws if I'm being wowed by awesome character depth and strong stories. However, finding the right balance is still really difficult for me and I usually find something to nitpick about.

I want to clear about something though. I'm not on some aggressive quest for the perfect book or anything. I'm not trying to do that, and it's not even about that. What I'm trying to do is avoid the books that will make me want to pull out my eyeballs and swirl around the slush my brain reduced to with chopsticks. Like I said before, I'm a slow reader, so nothing irks me more than a book that wastes my time. I will actually look up a book on Amazon first to try to get a feel for it before I decide if I want to read it or not. If you still don't get why I'm making such a big deal out of books, let me sum it up like this: I love books like I love food. If you make me crappy food, I will vomit on you. If you make me read a crappy book, I will vomit on you. And throw the book at you.

So now I had a 50% off coupon in my hand and no idea what book to buy. Then I remembered that I wanted to read Tina Fey's Bossypants book. I had read an excerpt that I thought was hilarious and had heard generally great things about it. The universe must've remembered this before I did because when I found her book, I saw it was currently 30% off and you can't combine discounts. Grr. Fine, I'll just wait for it to come out on paperback. (...Or go to the library.)

Then I thought, 'Oh, I'll look at the best sellers section! If these books have sold a gazillion copies, they gotta have something to show for.' I reached the section and began looking through the titles. Huh. Yeah, when a book is on the best seller's list, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good book. It can just mean that a lot people have crappy questionable tastes in books.

In the end, after an hour and a half and circling the perimeter of Borders four times, I left the store empty handed. And $3 dollars poorer (gas).

Monday, May 23, 2011

You love horseback riding? I ride horses ALL the time!

I came to the realization today that job searching is a lot like dating.

Usually at first, we prefer a job that within our major, similar to how we prefer guys (or girls) that are close to our "type." But sometimes, life is unpredictable and we end up somewhere we least expect; it's like sometimes how we think we like a certain type and suddenly find ourselves attracted to someone we least expect.

Given I'm in the midst of job searching right now, I'm starting to see the parallels between that and dating. We go out and see what jobs are available, and then narrow down to the ones that suit our liking. If we find a job that we like, we put ourselves out there and try to make the best first impression possible, dishing out our education and career background and brag about the things we've accomplished. It can be especially intimidating when the job is from some top-tier company or agency and we feel like we're going out of our league. However, we give them our contact information and just hope for the best. The entire ordeal is even more nerve-wracking when it's a job we really want. We're constantly checking our emails, or our phones for messages, waiting for any kind of sign that they're as interested in us as we are in them.

Follow-up emails are tricky as well because you want to strike a balance. You want to be forward in showing your interest (because passiveness can cost you big time) but you don't want to be so forward that you come across as desperate (even if you are).

And then, oh snap. Inbox (1). It's from your potential future employer. Butterflies in stomach. You got a phone interview. Cue whooping while pulling out embarrassing dance moves that haven't seen the light of day since eighth grade (at least in public). But even if it's not face-to-face, the phone interview can be just as nerve-wracking. You want to come across as charming, not underwhelming. You try to be funny and make them laugh; you want to maintain enough of their interest to be granted an in-person meet. You probably Google them to see what their story is and so you can have a better grip of what to talk about (not that you'd admit to it).

If you manage to get the in-person interview, major score! But now it's back to panicking. You make sure you're looking your best, classy with natural make-up. You come to the interview early and minutes before, you're still nervous as ever. You want to maintain your charm and wit because this first meeting is crucial - it's a meeting that will determine whether this will be a start of a relationship that can possibly last a few years, even a lifetime. You might even make a small fib here or there to make yourself look more appealing. "You love horseback riding? I love horseback riding too!" Although actually, the last time you rode a horse was when you were nine. And it might have been a donkey.

Whether it's dating or job-hunting, they both can be pretty stressful, especially when you feel like you're in a runt. I'm currently in the middle of searching for a job and honestly, waiting to hear back from them is starting to wear on me, especially when I think I might actually have a shot. It's extremely exciting, but stressful as well. I starting to feel like the longer I wait, the more I want it. Maybe deep inside, I know it's because it's really just moving further and further out of  my reach as more times passes by. But I guess, just like dating, if you don't hear back from them after a while, you just have to move on and look around for other job opportunities, and convince yourself it just wasn't meant to be.

And then pull out the cookies and totally not non-fat ice-cream. (It's becoming an emotional process. Totally not being melodramatic.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Retail Therapy

I'm immensely grateful for stress-relievers such as retail therapy. I find it extremely effective. Until I remember that I'm spending money that I don't have. Then I get stressed again.

It's a vicious cycle, really.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Atticus Finch

You guys remember To Kill A Mockingbird? You probably read it in high school and you probably watched the 1962 film adaptation of it as well. Anyways, remember Atticus Finch, portrayed by Gregory Finch?


Did you guys know when he was younger, he looked like THIS??


Holy good-looking man, batman. And he's not even in color!

Where are all the guys like him in Hollywood??

Monday, May 16, 2011

I want shoes. Pretty pretty shoes.

I wish I had the freedom to just go out and buy pretty shoes without worrying about the consequences. Sigh.

I really need to get a job.

Or a husband who is an oil tycoon prince.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Words With Friends

It fills me with glee and anticipation when I come up with a word and placement that will destroy the other player while I'm waiting for them to play their turn. >:D

I'm bored, not evil. I promise.

Bad omens?

I was driving to the Borders in Milpitas to take advantage of the massive sale they were having since they were closing down when on the highway, I saw roadkill. Not a big thing. Actually, I see roadkill almost every time I drive on the highway so it doesn't bother me that much. It's just this time there was two of them, one after the other, and I feel like they were relatively fresh with their gross bloody guts out and everything. Poor things. What if they were just an innocent couple that wanted to take a walk along a busy highway? I guess the universe couldn't even give them that.

It also made me think back to all the superstitious things my mom talks about all the time. Just FYI, this is a woman who went back into the temple to pray for me because I couldn't see the Buddha popping out from those trippy optical illusion pictures (and you have to stare at them for a while for the sorta 3D image to pop out at you) and thought a demon was possessing me. After seeing the consecutive roadkills, I started to wonder if the luck I've been having recently was now going to turn around.

Well. The GMAT test prep books that I came to the Milpitas Borders for were all sold out, so that was a bummer. And the only copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that I've been wanting to read that I could find was in Spanish. Don't think my hardships are trivial! I was totally frustrated at the time.

Conversation with my dad of the week:

My dad walks in on me playing Just Dance 2 for the Wii.

Dad: "You know, every time I see you dance, it makes me laugh."
Me: "I'm exercising! Are you saying you don't want me to exercise??"
Dad: "No. I want you to get round and round so you'll roll."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog revamped. I'm back. I guess

So my travel blog pretty much went defunct. Stating the obvious, I know. However, miraculously enough, I got a few requests to start up my blog again. You guys just can't get enough of me, huh? ;)

Haha, yeah, don't answer that.

I will admit though, in the past few months, I'd get that small nagging urge to blog. I'd end up revisiting this small poor neglected spot of cyperspace, feel ashamed of how pathetic it had become, and then lose all motivation. Then, when a few people asked me about my blog, I thought, 'Sure, why not? I'll tweak it around and start it up again when I have the time.' Well, I have the time now. Also, my stories are too long to put into a single Facebook status.

Also, no goal this time. If you were a former reader of this blog, you would know that me making goals is only a way to see them not be reached. Instead, I'll just be taking it easy and using this blog as a tool to share my stories with you. And probably pictures of food.

So, 'Sushi Trail' has now returned to fulfill your procrastination needs whether you are studying or bored at work. I think midterms are coming up soon for Pacific pharmacy students, so I'll try to gather a handful of stories when the time comes so you guys can study unconducively (it's not a word, I know).

Right. Here we go.