Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'A few of my favorite things' in L.A.

I spent this past weekend in Los Angeles and had a pretty terrific time overall. Airfare well spent. On Saturday, I went to my friend Sunanda's family baby shower. Her family is Indian. In their culture, it's traditional to have a big, co-ed gathering with all the women clad in saris. I don't think Sunanda was too thrilled about that as it was pretty hot and the party was in the backyard. The baby mama-to-be has to eat certain foods. In this case, it was five fried foods and a bunch of Indian sweets. What was also interesting was that little kids and single women in the family each had a turn to spoon-feed her something.

Sunday, I went to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for the first time since either '05 or '04. It was also the first time in a while that I set foot on UCLA campus. The festival is always fun, albeit hot. While walking around in the morning, I stumbled upon a booth for Lela Lee, the creator of "Angry Little Asian Girl" and its spin-off, "Angry Little Girls." Anyone who has seen my "Get your own bag b****" canvas tote knows whom I speak of. She was really sweet and I asked her about putting one of my favorite sketches on something other than a tote since I already had one. Well, now I know to be on the lookout for a shirt this summer. Too bad I can't wear it in the office, even on casual Friday. I don't think my boss would want me sporting something that uses the word "dumbass."

I went to two panels. The first one was on writing about food culture. I got to listen three writers of food trends and issues like food and geopolitical issues. My favorite of course was Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, her middle "initial" really is the number 8; her parents really held onto that Chinese belief in luck in numbers). You know, there are actually more Chinese restaurants in the U.S. than McDonald's and Burger King combined. And so much of what we see in American-based Chinese eateries was invented in the U.S. For example, she actually tracked down General Tso's descendants and they have no idea what General Tso's Chicken is, LOL. Anyway, I got a copy of "Fortune Cookie Chronicles" signed by Jennifer 8. She scotch-taped a little fortune and stamped her Chinese signature in every book. When I gave my first name and told her I was a reporter with the same byline as a NY Times editor, she immediately said "Terry Tang?!" And I was like, "It's official. I'm not original." She said the other Terry Tang has four kids. Well, I may not be original, but I'm glad we are worlds apart in that department.

I guess in terms of notoriety, the person I didn't expect to talk to, even briefly, was Julie Andrews. An LA Times columnist interviewed her in an auditorium in conjunction with the release of Andrews' memoirs. She shared lots of early memories such as working with a "windy" Rex Harrison on "My Fair Lady." Apparently Rex Harrison didn't give a crap every time he let one rip, even during an important scene. Let me tell you, it's really weird to hear the words "machine-gun fart" come out of Julie Andrews' mouth. After the presentation, a bunch of people high-tailed it to the booth where Julie would be signing. They only gave out 100 numbers to people in line. I was like 105th in line. So us five decided to stick it out in line. Unfortunately, there was a rude, stupid person among us. This woman kept muttering about how Julie Andrews "owed" us. When a person with the Book Festival came over a third time to tell us we would be turned away, this woman goes "You're going to turn away five people who've been waiting...So, Julie Andrews is that much of a bitch?" None of us could believe what we were hearing and I slowly stepped away so as not to be associated with her. I hate people like that. They think it's okay to be asshole-ish and it will get you what you want. Anyway, I still had a good day. And the one minute that I talked to Julie Andrews was a lovely minute.

Oh, a moment of silence for I discovered my favorite cupcake place has closed . Dainties in L.A., which served awesome cupcakes with chocolate ganache and whip-cream-based frosting, shut its doors sometime in the last couple of months. I'm hoping one day to hear word that they will have relocated. Sucks. I had to settle for going to Yummy Cupcakes in Santa Monica which wasn't bad either. Still...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pat's Run accomplished

They finally posted the results from Pat's Run yesterday. I finished the 4.2 mile race in 43min, 52 seconds. Woo-hoo! That's probably really slow to a lot of people--comes out to like 10 min a mile--but I don't care. I'm glad I did it.

This weekend I'm looking forward to. There will be no races though. I will be relishing the LA weather and ambiance at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I already got tickets for a panel on "Food Culture and Writing" with NY Times Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, her middle initial really is the number 8) and a discussion/interview with Julie Andrews. The hills are alive with the sounds of culture and fun. Yipee!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Celebration time, come on!

Well, it will be celebration time when June rolls around. I finally got up the nerve today to ask my boss about the chances of getting my vacation request granted. He was pretty understanding when I explained I wanted a whole week off because Saturday, June 21, my cousin is getting married and the following Saturday is my birthday. So, I am set. PHEW! If one more person had signed up for that week, I would have been bumped because of the seniority factor. So, I won't have to fly back twice just so I don't have to spend my 30th birthday in boring ol' Phoenix. WOO-HOO! I can not only put in more time in organizing some kind of shindig, but spend the week just having fun around the Bay Area.

I signed up for Pat's Run this Saturday morning at 7 (ugh). The 4.2-mile run/walk is in honor of Pat Tillman. I don't know that much about him but I'm happy to run for someone who is connected to San Jose. In fact, San Jose is having their own Pat's Run in May. Anyway, I'm not going to worry too much about time. The fact that I can run/jog the whole four miles without stopping is accomplishment enough.

What else have I done this week? I tried to make "baby bird" cupcakes. Alas, they look more like squashed baby birds. I definitely need to practice my technique and stabilize my frosting. And really, what grown woman doesn't have that problem?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So, April has felt slow to me after ending March on a very festive note with a trip back to the San Francisco Bay for my friend Tony's wedding. What a beautiful, Nor Cal affair. The ceremony and reception were at Fort Mason, which I've never been to before. But what a great backdrop for a wedding.

Actually, last weekend was a little more eventful than I anticipated. I had almost forgotten that I was invited to a pool party for someone who just graduated from the Phoenix Police Academy. The cadet of the hour is the fiance of my friend, Marianne, who I met through the network of Asian American journalists out here. Marianne, ever the creative hostess, had some police-theme games including a donut-eating contest. It would be good if this would continue to be the only "scandalous" thing on the Internet involving myself. If you feel inclined, you can make me out among the group trying to grab a donut while handcuffed. Talk about a futile effort!

Donut eating video