Friday, June 30, 2006

country roooooad... take me hoooooome

it's been a long, long, loooooong week. had a client in town wed-fri and the past few days have been a blur of early mornings, entire days locked in the same conference room, late dinners, a million presentations, blah, blah, blah. all's well that ends well, and it was good to spend so much time w/them (being the new chick and all) but i am utterly exhausted...

...and very much looking forward to a last-minute trip home to good old DC, where my parents will welcome me and my bro with loving arms and home-cooked korean food and i can see old buddies again. i will have to endure the campy cattle call that is southwest airlines but feel that the payoff will be worth it.

side note. in an effort to unwind after a long day of meetings, i watched my latest netflix rental last night -- last holiday with latifah and LL cool j. now, i hear you laughing, and yes, it was a cheesy romantic comedy. but really? sometimes? after days like where you feel like your brain cells were forced to work overtime and have therefore stopped working altogether? those cheesy romantic comedies are just what the doctor ordered. it was low on mental involvement but high on wholesome goodness, laughs, and beautiful shots of the european alps (according to a lot of the mountain scenes were shot in the innsbruck alps - meeeemories). a perfect ending to a long day. it's interesting to consider the power of the queen latifah brand - being an actress, i hope she never quite becomes as corporate-ized as oprah - but i feel like she's getting to the point of popularity where she can do no wrong.

until, of course, she becomes a scientologist, speaks out in public on issues that she knows nothing about, pays some poor unsuspecting young actor to be her pretend boyfriend and starts jumping on couches...

anyway. clearly my brain has become a muddle, and i will spare you my disjointed ramblings. happy long wknd, peeps.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

turns out three 6 mafia was right after all...

...when they said that it's hard out there for a pimp. it can mean so many things on so many levels, really.

(hmm, i still need to see that movie. maybe i'll move it up the netflix queue.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

a dismal victory at best

when i was in high school they had a blood drive for healthy seniors. you had to be in good health and weigh over 110 pounds, and they actually had a scale at the ready if you appeared to be of questionable weight (sadly, they didn't ask me to step on there - alas). erica and i decided to be brave and sign up together, choosing time slots right before some field trip to university of maryland (i think). the drive was set up on the auditorium stage with reclining chairs scattered around and teams of uniformed nurses tending to the brave teenagers that had decided to donate.

one of my most vivid memories was this poor nerdy girl named amelia giving blood in the reclining chair across from me. if i remember correctly (and i am 99% sure i am not making this up), she started having a SEIZURE that involved drooping heads and foamy mouths. seriously. it freaked me the shit out. they took good care of her, though, and all ended well...

...except for the fact that erica and i were STRUG(gling) and wandering around the school hallways feeling completely doped up. we had missed the bus that would take us to our field trip (is that right E?) and had to drive ourselves over there. she was too strug to drive, so i drove her minivan (affectionately known as "the chub") and we toughed it out together.

since then, i've only been able to give blood once or twice (maybe not even once? i don't remember) b/c they always reject me based on the random countries i've been to. i'm happy to help out and donate, but i always felt discriminated against because of my love of foreign travel to exotic locales. so i've been to costa rica! so sue me! i swear i don't have malaria or parasites or whatever (even though i remember being convinced upon my return that i had indeed contracted malaria, which ended up just being regular old dehydration).

anyway, our company had a blood drive today, and i am happy to tell you all that i was successfully able to pass all the screening questions and donate blood. they had me stare at maps and identify which portions of argentina i had visited, and what dates, and for how long, etc etc. when she said that i had passed and that yes, they would accept my well-traveled blood, i was filled with immediate euphoria.

...and then i realized i still had to actually give the blood. i forgot how much it sucks to sit there and pump your fist as you pray that you have filled your bag, and how dizzy and woozy you feel as you sit there and sip juice and munch on crackers, and how sore your arm gets for the rest of the day, and how much it sucks when they insert the needle at an awkward angle and you wince every time it moves the slightest bit.

or maybe i am just a wimp... at least i am a wimp that did a good deed? although the good deed is slightly questionable, because my bruised arm makes me look more like a heroin addict that a heroic donater of blood. hmm. i know! maybe i'll write a memoir with fabricated stories around my heroin addiction and make tons of money and be asked to guest on oprah.

oops, guess that idea's already been taken.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

do you bleed black?

i spent the last few days hanging out in dallas. the wknd was set up as a half-half situation where half of my time would be spent with my cousins in plano and the other half would be spent hanging out with the fantastic di & stephen (a.k.a. the von spronstons), who were in town to support their buddy peter's band.

it was a wknd of diametric opposites to say the least. family time in plano was spent on activities such as watching my 11-year-old cousin's softball game (she hit a double, stole third and scored a run -- that's just how we kims do), eating pizza, watching episodes of gilligan's island with the 8-year-old dude and the 6-year-old dude (apparently that show is all the rage with the kiddies these days), helping my cousin and his wife pack up their house so they could put it on the market, learning how to change my air filter and FINALLY fixing my broken headlight with the help of my cousin and his numerous tools, helping my cousin practice for her upcoming violin recital, etc.

and then i left to meet up with di and stephen. we went to one of the diviest bars i've ever been to (where i was appropriately clad in a lacy white sundress - a slight departure from the t-shirts and black leather of the other bar patrons) in a sketchy part of downtown dallas. their friend peter's band was the first opener, and they were actually pretty good. not really my preferred style of music, but entertaining nonetheless.

the evening went quickly downhill thereafter (although uphill on the ridiculousness factor). the second band strummed their acoustic guitars, swung their long hair and stroked their long beards as they wailed out their mellow tunes and strangely resembled jesus christ in tight jeans and long shirts. the third band was a bunch of 40-ish looking men with endless tattoos, scrawny chests and stringy long hair. they BLARED hard metal for six or seven songs straight while i tried really hard not to run out the door screaming. they ended their set with "I HOPE EVERYONE BLEEDS MORE BLACK WHEN THEY LEAVE HERE TONIGHT!!!" (hmm, maybe i should start ending my karaoke performances that way -- it has quite a ring to it, a certain je ne sais quoi if you will).

oh well. the main band was interesting, although again, not really my style. they brought several chicks up on the stage to make out with each other. a bunch of wasted white dudes tried to mosh with each other. much to my amusement, i got hit on repeatedly (must have been the white lace dress? or the "one of the few non-caucasians" factor?). we got a kick-ass cab driver on the way back to the hotel who took us through the mcdonald's drive-through and laughed with us at the neon sign for the "condoms to go" store (you know, for all those times that you're really in a rush).

and then i made the scorching 3.5 hour drive back to austin, giggling along the way at the extremes of my wknd. when you somehow combine gilligan's island, violin recitals, bleeding black, and drunk 3 a.m. visits to the mcdonald's drive-through (in a cab), i'd say that qualifies as an interesting wknd.

and now it's time to gear up for another work week. it's going to be a long one -- clients visiting, one boss in germany and the other boss out on maternity leave, and several deliverables due. bring it on!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

whole foods sighting

the other night as i was leaving work, i decided to stop by whole foods to pick up a few items with which to make dinner. in case i haven't mentioned it yet, my office is directly across the street from whole foods' corporate HQ and flagship store. the store is absolutely amazing, btw -- whenever i have time to stroll the well-stocked and perfectly organized aisles i practically get food-gasms from the neatly stacked piles of shiny eggplants and ethnic seasonings. it's like a foodie's dream come true -- food pornography available for the low, low price of your entire paycheck.

given its convenient location, it basically serves as a cafeteria for the 600+ hungry employees of GSD&M, and every time i go there to spend $13 on a small salad from their salad bar and cup of organically-made soup i become infuriated by the fact that they repeatedly deny us a corporate discount.

ANYWAY. as i was saying, the other night i decided to stop by after a long day's work to pick up a few things. i purposely went with a very clear idea of what i needed so as not to be distracted by the oh-so-enticing displays of fresh produce and exotic food items (note eggplant/spices references above). i went through the aisles as quickly as possible, tending to my business and collecting the few items i was missing for my wholesome dinner for one.

as i was doing my best to focus on the task at hand, i noticed that several people seemed to be discreetly staring into the same direction. everyone that walked by seemed to be casting a quick glance into a particular corner. what could be going on? was matthew mcconaughey playing the bongos with some organic squash? was there a hot make-out session in the quinoa aisle? i subtly followed the gazes of my fellow whole-paycheck-spenders and noticed a tan, lithe girl with a rat's nest of blond hair and huge white-framed sunglasses going abut her shopping. she seemed rather hurried, and was throwing items into her little basket. a tall girl with a classic texas tan, the sunglasses-while-shopping look gave her a certain hollywood appeal -- a strange combination of "please don't stare at me but please notice me."

so what made her so stare-worthy? she was doing her last-minute sunglass-clad shopping wearing nothing but a... bikini. and flip flops. and rat's nest hair, and the aforementioned white sunglasses. and a SKIMPY ASS blue and white floral bikini too. i ran into her again as i went through the self-checkout line, looking up codes for cilantro and making sure everything was accounted for. people were still trying to stare at her as she nonchalantly went about her business in her teensy weensy blue bikini.

it felt very LA, very "mary kate and/or ashley olsen need a wheatgrass smoothie before hitting the beach." but in austin? home of "keep austin weird" bumper stickers and way too many white people with dreads and wasted blond college girls and yuppies that work for dell and wear collared polo shirts and khakis to bars? she looked really out of place.

the best part was when i was telling my co-worker the story the next day and was dramatically building up to the description of the bikini -- and he broke into my story with "you mean the girl with the blue-and-white floral bikini?" i was momentarily dumbfounded and wondered if the girl was somehow famous in austin for her habit of shopping in nothing but a few triangles of fabric held together with string. he quickly explained tha he had noticed a girl coming out of whole foods on a vespa while walking back from the gym and that the image had stuck in his mind because the blue-and-white floral patern of her bikini matched a blue-and-white decal on her matching vespa.

so THAT'S why it's taking a while to meet people here -- my skimpy bikini doesn't match the exact shade of red of my rice rocket. silly me. guess i need to get on that.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

dispelling the model minority myth

i have a mental bank of favorite stories that i like to tell, encompassing a variety of topics including, but not limited to, true things that people have said to me, crazy situations that i have been in, stupid things i have done, etc.

one of my all-time faves involves a certain pair of hair-and-nails ladies from my friend summer's wedding. i was a bridesmaid in the wedding (along with some of the sexiest ladies i have ever met - bow chicka wow wow), and we were all getting dressed/ready for the big day. now, some context here -- summer married a fantastic guy named ben, who we all love and adore. ben is from a wee little town called wiiiiiiise, va (okay, so it's spelled "wise," but that doesn't quite do justice to how the actual inhabitants pronounce it). ben's mother had brought up her two favorite hair-and-nails ladies from wiiiiise to be on-hand as we ladies got ready, whose names were... damn. i can't remember their names. di, summer, EO, jo, if any of you read this blog and remember their names, leave them in the comments b/c it's funnier with the actual names.

anyway, moving on... despite appearances to the contrary (think tanned skin with the consistency of old leather, super-teased beauty pageant hair, thick make-up with day-glo colors and small-town southern accents so thick you could cut them with a knife), overall the hair-and-nails ladies ended up doing a wonderful job with everyone's hair and nails. they had also brought along a bunch of cosmetics in case anyone needed help applying their makeup. most of us had adhered to the BYOB policy when it came to makeup, and didn't really end up using their stash.

as i was getting ready, though, i kept looking in the mirror, feeling that for some reason my makeup didn't look quite right - not enough, or not the right shades, or something. i didn't want to look like a schmoe on summer's big day (also - see bow-chicka-wow-wow-ladies reference above), so i wondered aloud what else i should do.

cue hair and nails lady #1 (in thick southern accent and teased hair, remember): "why huuun why don't you let me help you with your makeup... i used to watch connie chung on TV, so i know exactly how to do your makeup!"

(quickly snap dropped jaw shut and stifle giggling)

they were total sweethearts, but i think that still tops my list as one of the best illustrations of the "that's a bit of a stretch" phrase tha i've ever heard. note the clear logic trail inherent in her "if A then B" thinking (where A = i've seen an asian news anchor on TV and B = i am now an expert on applying makeup for all asian women).

what makes it even worse is her choice of model. ahem. (seriously, you must follow that link.) it is almost as delicious as the britney spears / matt lauer interview from last week, although since i have much less interest in connie chung (most likely to the chagrin of hair-and-nails lady, who probably thinks we share a strong bond as members of the asian sisterhood) it's not quite as captivating.

connie chung, doing her best to be a crazy-ass on-crack lady so as to shatter the hard-working good-little-asian stereotype being perpetrated by asians across the world...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

you know you love me

ok, so i've gotten a lot of "ew you're so gross" replies to this post, and all i have to say to you all is SUCK IT BITCHES.

...just kidding. ok, so maybe it was a wee bit gross, but gross in that hilarious way, no? you know, one of those "OMG this stuff is so nasty... here, taste it" type things. kinda like sharing is caring, you know?

anywho. i haven't posted on here that much this week b/c i haven't had that much to say. it has been a relatively uneventful week filled with hot and sunny days, a few yummy culinary adventures (i am Mistress of Delicious Guacamole, hear me roar), general feelings of malaise, and just enough work drama to make me look forward to the wknd.

in lieu of the usual brilliant writing and pontificating on sundry topics that you come here for, then, i present you with a Random Craig's List Story (because really, who doesn't love a good RCLS?)...

*ahem.* so i have been hunting for a good end table (one of those items that are anonymous and impersonal enough that purchasing them from a complete stranger is perfectly acceptable). i thought i had found one, and called the # listed on the posting to inquire about it. after several rings i quickly realized that mr. end table owner was not available and i waited to leave a message. this was the outgoing message on his cell phone:

"hi, you're reached xxxxx (name withheld to protect the innocent). i'm away from my phone right now, so please leave me a message."

perfectly normal so far, right? but wait:

"or you can send me an e-mail at sargeant softie at yahoo dot com, that's sargeant s-o-f-t-double-e at yahoo, dot com."

am i the only one who found that odd?

Monday, June 12, 2006

fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me

i really need to start learning from my mistakes.

after a relatively decent day at work, i came home to relax a bit and let the temperature drop a bit before going for a long bike ride. as usual, bike ride was fabulous. great views. riverside trails. tons of dogs and the occasional swan. lots of people of all shapes and sizes jogging/walking/biking down the paths.

i came home from the ride, cursing the fact that i live on a hill and looking forward to a cooling shower. when i stepped out of the shower, i quickled toweled off and reached for a tissue to blow my nose.

and when i blew my nose? there were DEFINITELY two bugs in the kleenex.

i think i have my thrown up in my mouth just a little bit. who knows, maybe there were bugs in there too?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the texas summer has officially begun

it is officially hella-hot over here in texas-land. there were a few lovely spring days thrown in there that made me think the whole texas-summer thing was a bit overrated - silly me. the fierce, fierce sun has now descended, made itself comfortable, and decided to stay around a while.


the days dawn bright and sunny hot and pretty much stay that way until about 9 pm at night. while i must say it is lovely to be greeted with such a sunny morning every day (austin is sunny for 300 days of the year), i'm starting to wonder how i'm going to last this entire summer... i heard it gets even worse as summer progresses.

nevertheless, i am proud to let you all know that i had a very productive wknd, incredible heat notwithstanding. friday night was one of those "let's meet for a drink after work" nights that quickly descend into a fun and boozy haze. got a little more flavor of the austin nightlife - several glasses of wine and way too many delicious tapas @ malaga to start, girly martinis and flirty bartenders @ apple bar to continue, and then the lamest, cheesiest club vicci to finish. think unattractive girls in CFM boots (come-fuck-me-boots, for the uninitiated among you) with bad dance moves gyrating in cages and oddly-clad people dancing awkwardly on a large dance floor. fortunately, we were tipsy enough at this point where this was more amusing than irritating, so a good time was had by all.

saturday dawned bright and early (of course), and i met a friend at the austin farmer's market to sample delicious homemade pestos and purchase thick, juicy tomatoes. we headed to brunch once the heat started getting a little too hard-core (combined with the lack of food, sleep, and dehydration from drinking too i guess) and then window-shopped at these posh downtown furniture stores. they had beautiful designs, but the price tags were just ridiculous... at this one store, i was seriously checking out these gorgeous pale blue bed linens that were incredibly soft and luxurious-feeling. the saleswoman (who was really very nice) was singing their praises when i finally woke up from my high-thread-count-induced-stupor and asked for the price. she very helpfully informed me that i could bundle everything and get a duvet cover, flat sheet, fitted sheet, pillowcases, and pillow shams together instead of paying a-la-carte... and that for a queen bed, the price would be $975.


it was really hard to keep a straight face.

anywho. all of the activity and high prices made me sleepy, so sat afternoon was mostly spent napping and chatting on the phone with buddies... and then sat night was spent out at bars again, actually, although this time with a different co-worker and with fairly different results. it's not that it was horrible or anything - i'm willing to try anything once - but i definitely had more fun on fri, both with the company and the locales. oh well, you win some and lose some i guess.

today was "let's focus on the apartment" day, with vacuuming and cleaning and more unpacking of boxes and putting up of a few pictures and finally assembling some bookshelves and assessing my (ever-present) furniture needs. i went to target, of course, and even ordered a few things online and am waiting for the delivery of my new stuff with bated breath. 'twas a good, productive day, complete with a visit to the gym and an expensive trip to the grocery store (how is it possible that one person can spend so much money on groceries?)... and even a blog post! and time spent doing some work! that i am totally avoiding right now by blogging, actually, so i guess i should just hop to it already. bring on the week! funny to realize that i'm actually (gasp!) going to be in austin for an entire week...

Friday, June 09, 2006

not quite a gadget geek, but i'm trying

i've never really been an early adopter when it comes to technology. it's not that technology scares me or makes me uncomfortable or that i think it represents all things that are soul-less and evil. in fact, i find it fascinating that much of today's technology seems to represent the strange merging of a fundamental, inherent human need (the two-fold desire to feel connected to those around us and to have the ability to tune out and have me time) and a relatively post-modern societal trend (the need for instant gratification - faster, cheaper, and with less wires).

but i digress. my relative lack of all things gadget-esque merely represents the fact that i am too lazy to keep up with everything and also too cheap to spend my hard-earned money on gadgets (in case you were wondering, i'd rather spend it on travel, books, and good food). my cell phone? totally not bluetooth enabled and totally without a built-in camera. my digital camera? got stolen while i was living in DC and i still haven't replaced it. my internet access? stolen using my work laptop's wi-fi connection from my good friends "skeeter," "don'tworrybehappy," and "netgear."

now that i live alone in texas with slightly fewer friends and slightly more money than i had in DC, however, i'm finding that my take on all things technological may be shifting somewhat. i finally got digital cable and internet installed in my apt this morning, and this major accomplishment made me take a step back and reflect on all the electricity-loving products that now reside in my apt:
  1. a flat-screen TV
  2. a DVD player
  3. a netflix account
  4. a mini ipod
  5. a CD player in my car that has an auxiliary input for my ipod
  6. digital cable
  7. high-speed internet (not wireless though - lame, i know)
  8. a cell phone

not too shabby for a girl that just downloaded itunes a few weeks ago, eh? bad thing is that it's slowly becoming an addiction. i enjoy going to best buy. i am hell-bent on replacing my digital camera. i'm wondering if i should pony up and get wireless, and hell, that new-fangled tivo thing sounds pretty darn cool. i debate the merits of backing up all my files onto a USB pen thing. i wonder if i should spend some time making this blog look relatively attractive, with some sort of design scheme.

someone help me?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


so, where have i been lately? why haven't i been posting? HOW DARE I DEPRIVE YOU ALL OF THE DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS DETAILS ABOUT MY DAILY EXISTENCE?

fear not, my little friends. i am still on the road for work, but so great is my dedication to preventing your web-surfing boredom that i am checking in from the road to give you all an update.

so, where have i been? if you answered:
  1. hanging with the 'rents in rockville while practicing my golf swing at the driving range;
  2. testing the limits of my otherwise healthy blood pressure while serving as wedding coordinator for my buddy debbie's nuptials;
  3. re-connecting with old pals in the bars and restaurants of dupont circle (oh yummy, well-made martini, how i missed thee);
  4. locked in a research facility in manhattan with clients and account people, desperately chugging vanilla skim lattes to stay awake! and energetic! and enthusiastic! through endless focus groups; or
  5. once again testing the limits of my otherwise healthy blood pressure while staying in the tiniest and shittiest of manhattan hotel rooms which had the added bonuses of an all-night construction project that woke me on the hour every hour, horrible customer service, and dirty rooms (complete with long, straggly hairs on the pillows and in the sheets... perhaps i should just be glad that they weren't short and curly?)...

you would be correct! am hoping that now that i'm in chicago things will start to take a turn for better. so far so good - despite a rocky start this afternoon (internet not working, trying to deal with various work dramas in the "business center" in the lobby), i'm happy to say that i was able to have an extremely enjoyable evening. i took a cab to a posh and trendy japanese-fusion restaurant and had dinner with my best friends me, myself, and i (and EO via text msgs). the food was DELICIOUS - a fresh seafood ceviche in a light yuzu vinaigrette and glass of crisp white wine to start, and then peking-style roast duck with hoisin sauce and mango chutney and julienned cucumbers and scallions wrapped in paper-thin mushu pancakes. yum! i then took a long, leisurely walk home and took in the lovely sights of chicago. it really is a beautiful city, especially on these warm and breezy summer nights (i have yet to come here in the ass-cold days of winter).

oh, and you'll be pleased to know that the hotel situation is MUCH better here in chi-town. i actually felt kinda bad, b/c my client apparently got stuck in some sub-par airport hotel situation and i am chillin here in downtown chicago at the congress plaza hotel... a very old and rather outdated but somewhat charming-in-that-historic-way type of place that counts presidents among their past guests (reminds me a little bit of colonial williamsburg, aka c-dub). ironically enough given the DEBACLE that was my NYC hotel i somehow ended up with an entire suite -- one which is probably larger than my apt at home and includes a dining/meeting area, sitting area, huge bedroom with king-size bed, walk-in closet and tiled bathroom. it also has eight windows and a beautiful view of millennium park and the buckingham fountain and the lake.

tmw is going to be a long day (ten back-to-back focus groups, hurray), but am hoping to sneak away for a quick visit to the art institute of chicago...? i'd even settle for a good lunch of deep dish pizza. will i make it?

tune in next time for the answer...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

on the road again

the weekend is upon me. the weekend of my friend debbie's wedding and a return to my beloved DC and the chance to catch up with family and friends, which will segue directly into a three-day business trip to NYC and chi-town.

so then. it is currently 9 p.m. on thursday night, and i have to leave my apartment to drive to austin bergstrom international airport in approximately seven hours and 15 minutes.

yet have i...
  1. figured out what i'm wearing to the rehearsal/wedding?
  2. figured out where i'm going to meet my lovely friends in DC?
  3. figured out what i need for my three-day biz trip?
  4. figured out how to condense a wknd's worth of nice clothes and a three-day business trip's worth of professional clothes/laptops/notebooks/etc. into ONE CARRY ON BAG so that the airline demons that screwed me with a 30-minute connection time do not further screw me with lost luggage?
  5. managed my time wisely so that i can get a decent night's sleep in the comfort of my own bed instead of relying on fitful naps aboard a tiny and loud puddle jumper plane?

i think one guess should suffice.