Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Prep

tita lei and auntie baby spent the afternoon making... okay, i'm not sure what they were making, but i haven't ever had anything bad that's been cooked in banana leaves whether it's the grilled sticky rice thing in thailand or the peanut butter rice tamale thingy tita lei made several years ago. i expect this to be just as yummy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thai Town

nong nang and i took a trip out to thai town today. i'm not sure there is really enough thai places in thai town to actually constitute a town, maybe it should really be called "thai block".

our first stop was to grab something to eat at my favorite thai restaurant, sanamluang cafe. it's got authentic thai food and is open until 4am. i usually get the kao kaa moo because i can't find it at any other thai place. there must be other places that serve it, i just haven't been to one yet.

finding parking for this little area can sometimes be a bit difficult. there aren't that many parking spaces. you can look for street parking, just make sure you know how to parallel park and do it quick (i'm not that good).

after a quick bite, i stopped over at bangluck market to see if i could find some of the original red bull bottles. no luck. they used to have it, but i haven't found any in a while. i wonder if i can special order that from somewhere. i did manage to pick up a coconut scraper for tita lei. we have have one of those stool style ones, but i thought she could use the hand scrapper for when she was preparing smaller quantities of coconut.

next door to sanamluang cafe is a little shop selling some thai trinkets, magazines, books, and music CDs. i picked up a few magazines for randy.

we headed down the street to thailand plaza so that nong nang could pick up some groceries at silom supermarket. this place has got it all, it's a one stop shop for everything you need to prepare an authentic thai meal. it not only has the groceries, it also sells the cookware that you might need as well as all things thai to serve it in.

nong nang was super excited to find some salted crab so she could make some som tum.

i picked up some frozen custard apples (noi-naa) and some mangosteens (mangkoot) for tita lei. i thought about getting some durian for uncle henry, the only white man i know that likes durian, but they were all old. i would much rather buy the frozen fruit imported from thailand than buy the fresh stuff grown here in the united states. the texture of the fruit isn't that great because it has been frozen, however you can't beat the flavor. fruit grown in thailand is much sweeter than any grown locally because of the climate and the soil.

if you ever get the chance, try some different fruit. get away from the boring old apple and banana or even the papaya and mango and go out and get yourself something like mangosteens and custard apples. open up your culinary pallet.

right next to silom market is a thai book store called dokya. i like to think of it as the thai barns and noble.

here i picked up a book on how to make "puang malai" or a garland of flowers. i only have one needle left from thailand, but i suppose it would be easy enough to make more out of wire.

right next to thailand plaza is the new hollywood plaza filled with thai many shops selling thai food and thai desserts.

if i am in thai town i have to stop at bhan kanom thai for a variety of fresh thai sweets. this place has just about every thai sweets and snacks you can thing of. some of it is imported, however a lot of it is made fresh on location, sometimes, right in front of you while you wait.

my friend dawn poomee, who i went to high school with in thailand, was the one who introduced me to this place. i am forever grateful to her. by the way, she's cute too.

i got some of these taco things. i can never quite remember what they are called, so i just point to them. i also got a dessert called "kanom chun" which means layered dessert. one of the hardest things to find is the roti sai mai (sai mai translates to silk thread, but this one is made out of sugar). the sai mai part of this is very similar to cotton candy but with a crispier texture. you take the strands of sugar and wrap it in some sort of wrapper thingy and eat it, yum.

durian cake is also one of my favorites, although no one will come near me when i'm eating this, nor will they come near me for at least half an hour afterward, but it's worth it. don't let the word cake fool you though, it's nothing like a cake. it's ground up durian with sugar and has the consistency of play do. incidentally, my dad use to sculpt this stuff into little water buffalo shaped things when i was a little kid in order to get me to eat it.

one thing that i usually do get, but didn't this time is the "kanom krok," a coconut treat cooked in a special pan with round wells, usually over a coal fire.

our last stop for the day before heading home was to ganda restaurant, right next door to bhan kanom thai. the food here is also good, but i was looking for a special treat for randy (which they didn't have this day), so i ended up coming home with some "luk choop," which are treats made out of mung bean, coconut milk, and sugar and made to look like miniature fruit and coated in a glossy gelatin glaze. okay, so the luk choop at this place hardly looks like anything at all other than oddly shaped colorful masses. even though i've grown up eating this, i still don't think it tastes that great. they are just neat to look at.

another yummy snack is the salted mango. i think it's great beer food or just good to snack on while watching TV. trust me, it's better than it looks.

there are also two restaurant worthy of note in this area. one is thai patio. i've never eaten here, but the decor inside is just peachy. i've heard it has pretty good food and the price is great.

the next restraunt is jinda thai cuisine. i have eaten at this place before and the food is just super. it's been a while since i've eaten there, but when i used to, there use to be a thai elvis that performed. he had a thick thai accent when he spoke, but when he sang, you could close your eyes and swear you were listening to the real elvis. randy calls him thaivis. i've heard that thaivis has moved to another restaurant in the area, but maybe, you can still find him performing at jinda every now and then. for all you karaoke lovers, there are even private rooms for you and your friends to get drunk and sing your heart out.

well, if you've visited china town and little tokyo, here is yet another asian town with it's own color and spirit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tap Defense Update

good news! after only 72 hours of near non stop playing of tap defense, breaking only to sleep and eat (i think i brushed my teeth) randy and i have completed tap defense. well, randy won the whole thing. i stopped playing once i won the easy level.

now we can start doing productive things again. well, i can. randy is still going....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

MySpace, and Twitter, and Facebook! Oh my!

today is day 4 of my holiday break from work and i've yet to do anything truly productive. due to my work schedule and classes, i've nearly dropped off the face of the planet as far as my friends and family are concerned.

i don't answer my phone, my e-mails, or check the myriad of social networking websites i'm a member of. my goal tonight is to reply to all the e-mails i've been ignoring, and update my MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Twitter,, and accounts. sure there are more out there, but i can't remember them right now.

technology is a wonderful thing. there are people i would have lost contact with years ago or never find again if it were not for the internet. i have tried to make it very easy to find me. you can e-mail me at

are you noticing a pattern here?

do you remember a time when the contact information of a person consisted of only a home phone number and a home address? now i've got a home number, a work number, a cell number, a work fax number, thank goodness i no longer have a pager, 6 e-mail addresses (i didn't list my work e-mail), a home address, and a work address. you can call me, write me a letter, e-mail me, text me, instant message me, or send me a note on one of those social networking site. i just can't keep up. yikes!

despite all of this, i have been horrible at staying in touch with my dearest friends and family lately. for this, i am so very sorry. you will be hearing from me soon.

Congratulations to Kat and Yvette

i want to say congratulations to my friends kat and yvette!

kat has just announced that she is 13 weeks pregnant. i'm going to be an auntie! yeah! i swear i will try my best not to corrupt the kid. kat will hurt me if i do.

yvette has just given birth to a baby boy, Dexter Sonny Galvan, weighing in at 8lbs 4.2oz. to keep updated on the galvan family check out yvette's blog and click on her twitter link.

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Tap Defense

let me make one thing clear (despite what john may say) - I AM NOT A GAMER. that being said, i'd like tell you about my latest addiction: Tap Defense. i have already wasted most of yesterday and today playing this game.

Tap Defense is a strategy game. the game gives you only one location (at least for each mode: easy, medium, or hard). at one end is the the gate to heaven and the other is the gate to hell; between the two is a path. all types of creatures from hell try to walk from hell to heaven and your goal is to stop them by laying down defensive towers in their path. there are 7 different towers each with their own unique characteristics and price tags.

there doesn't seem to be one definitive way to complete the game, in fact, i've noticed the requirements to achieve certain things sometimes change each time i start a new game. sometimes it takes 2 halos to get an interest rate increase, sometimes 3 halos! this does keep the game interesting.

anyhow, i could go on and on about the game, but there are plenty of in depth articles out there on the net. a quick google search will reveal hundreds of guides, tips, and tricks. you can download this game for your iPhone free at the iTunes app store and start wasting time now.

if thinking is too much for you, my favorite mindless game (thanks to john) is bubble wrap. all you have to do is pop the little bubbles on the screen. you have 45 seconds to pop as many as you can (some bubbles reinflate). have fun. remember to stop and eat every now and then.

*** in case you're wondering how to do a screen capture on an iPhone just hold down the home button and then briefly press and release the power button (if you hold both down for several seconds, the phone will soft reset). you should see a flash of light and hear the sound of the camera. the image will be stored in your photos folder.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Twice

i get to celebrate christmas twice: once with randy's family and again with mine.

randy's family has a tradition of opening up gifts at midnight (hey, technically it is Christmas). There are lots of snacks and a lot of hot chocolate. My favorite part is no longer getting gifts, but tearing open the gift wrap and seeing all of it strewn around the floor. it makes the room seem filled with christmas cheer.

it's a little cheesy, i know, but i'm at the point in my life where i have everything i need, a lot of what i want, and very little room to put it all.

the next morning, i woke up early (and by that i mean before noon) to start cooking my part of christmas dinner - curry. i barely got to taste the end result of what i cooked before i left to see my family.

my sister cooks a mean meal. every time i go over, there is enough food to feed a small army (or a family of filipinos). chachi made a 16 pound prime rib roast and boy was it great.

the spread included the rib roast with au jus, thai BBQ chicken, home made salsa and chips, assorted veggies, dinner rolls, sliced oranges, and raw shrimp.

okay, so raw shrimp may not sound appetizing to most people, even to those who eat sashimi, but with the sauce that it's served with, it is delicious. i'd try to convince you that you need to try it, but then you might start liking it and there would be less for me.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

If I Could

when i was a kid i used to watch kids incorporated and kidsongs. i just found this clip on youtube from KI. i don't remember what the episode is about, but i used to love this song. i hope you like it too.

the song is performed by stacy ferguson, a.k.a. "fergie", from the black eyed peas and renee sandsrom who sings "here i am" in disney's camp rock and is the singing voice for princess fiona from shrek. the two, later on, were in a group together called wild orchid.

here are the lyrics:

I would give you a rainbow, if I could, if I could find a rainbow
I would promise you sunshine, and I would, if I could count on sunshine
If I could, if I could, I would
I would give you a week of only Sundays, if I could
Maybe under the ocean blue, a treasure waits with my name on it
When I find it, it's all for you, I'd wrap it with a bow upon it
If I could, if I could, I would
I would give you a basket full of springtime, if I could
How and what do you give someone, who every morning, shares the world with you?
If I knew how to do it, I would build you castles out of moonbeams
If I knew how to do it, I would let you have all of my best dreams
If I could, if I could, I would

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Lights

every year, there are things i do to get into the holiday spirit. i pick out a tree at the home depot tree lot and i get randy to take me to see christmas lights.

the place we normally go to is near mile square park in fountain valley (click on the image in order to view a slightly larger map).

many homes in this neighborhood go all out. i often wonder where the heck they plug in all those lights, like at the house pictured below.

this house (16316 Sycamore St.) seemed to be the most popular with one of the most elaborate lighting set ups. people sang along to "christmas don't be late" as well as other chipmunk versions of holiday favorites played over speakers. near the front door is a life sized santa people lined up to take pictures with.

of course, there were at least 3 dozen or more homes in this tiny block all decked out with intricate displays ranging from disney themed homes to one that went as far as setting up an animated, scaled down version of a ski lift from the yard all the way to the ridge of the roof, complete with an animatronic skiier stuck, head down, in a pile of fake snow and kicking his legs.

mine and randy's favorite house is located at 16301 Filber St. the set up isn't nearly as elaborate as others, but the crowning jewel of this place is a tree covered branch by branch with twinkling christmas lights. ornaments the size of small beach balls hang from the limbs. the effect of this is not done justice by the still picture below (one day i'll get video of this). you have to see it in person to see how magical this is.

hopefully, you guys all have your own holiday traditions. whatever they may be, i hope it puts a smile on your face and makes you feel like a little kid inside.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Club Sushi

randy's cousin invited us out to Club Sushi. the place was going to have a soft opening, a private affair, and we would be on "the list."

The temptation of free food and the desire to always support family made me jump on the chance to go.

Club Sushi is located in Hollywood near Sunset and Vine, just across from the Archlight.

i'm not entirely sure if it's supposed to be a club or a restaurant, most likely both. i had no idea what the place was going to be like before i got there. i thought it was going to be a little sushi joint, not the swanky place i ended up. i think i was the only girl in there not wearing 3+ inch heals. i was most definitely the only girl in there wearing jeans. of course i was under dressed (and felt very similar to a beverly hillbilly), but the free beer that wouldn't stop coming and the all i could eat food helped me not to care.

the place has a great atmosphere and equally great food. it's definitely a place to go as part of a night on the town.

upstairs has a large private area complete with a billiards table, a balcony overlooking it's own bar and, if need be, it's own entrance from the street.

thanks ate cyn for inviting us! we can't wait to go back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pinlux Eats

i spend a lot of time eating out because i don't know how to cook. i don't even know how to boil an egg. several people have attempted to tell me how this is done however the methods vary so much, i'm not sure which way is the best way.

anyhow, since i eat out so much, i thought i would start a blog just about the different food and the places i eat. check out pinluxeats for the latest places i've been. maybe one of them will be your new favorite place.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Puppy

it was time to shoot amber again. this time, i had a holiday theme in mind. you can easily imagine how hard it is to keep a pair of antlers (or for that matter any head ornament) on a dog, but we managed to do it just long enough to get these totally adorable pix.

this picture says it all... "why? why? why are you doing this to me? i've now lost all my dignity."

for pet pictures of your very own, please contact my friend and awesome pet photographer elizabeth gonzalez. i just do this for fun.

Where you want to be

don't take advice from someone who isn't where you want to be.

if you want to know what it takes to be a successful photographer, ask a successful photographer.

if you want to know what it takes to be a good doctor, ask a good doctor.

if you want to know what it takes to be a great writer, ask a great writer.

if you want to know what it takes to have a happy marriage, ask someone who has a happy marriage.

if you want to know what it takes to be rich, ask someone rich.

luckily, the rich write books on how they got to where they are.