Sunday, February 25, 2007

South Shore

Ah South Shore, FL... It's been almost two years since I've been here last to visit the In-Laws. Oodles of Gulf Coast sunshine, golf, old-fashioned gluttony and plain ol' chilling with the folks.

Pass-a-Grille / St. Petersburg Beach

Old man's beard (aka Spanish moss) surrounding us on the Summerfield Crossings Golf Course.

Beware of Alligators. Yes, they do exist. I saw one at the Signature Hole (aka hole 15) my first time playing here 7 years ago.

How's my swing?

Time for a pit stop. You can replenish your thirst for Miller Lite right on the course.

Meat and potatoes on the grill.

The Father-In-Law playing drums at the Contemporary Service (that means it's rather casual and certainly joyful) at Church this morning.

The Rademaker Boys Band Reunion 2007

Nancy's Perfect Fried Chicken paired with the traditional Mid-Western mash potatoes topped with noodles and gravy.

Brent and Kathleen chowing down...

Visited the Manatee Viewing Center at the Tampa Electric Company in Apollo Beach. Also know as the "sea cow," the manatee is one of the most endangered marine mammals in coastal waters of the USA today. During the winter months, manatees head for warm waters, such as springs and power plant discharges such as this one.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Year of the Golden Pig

This is a special year. It's just not the year of the pig but it's THE Year of the Golden Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac. Depending on who you talk to, this only happens every 600 or 60 years (why isn't this definitive?) Babies born this year will experience a prosperous and wealthy life, a golden life. Korea and China are anticipating an increase in birth rate this year. Lucky for my cousin and my two girlfriends who are expecting this Spring!

On the first day of Tet (Lunar New Year), we met the family at the Vietnam Quan Am Temple, the spiritual center of Little Saigon.

Husband honoring my ancestors.

Good Luck, Good Health, Good Prosperity
The "li xi" blessing from the head monk of the temple.

This probably looks rather flippant as the oranges were a blessed gift from the monk but we were just innocently posing for the camera!

The Fortune Sticks game found at most Buddhist temples. Husband was watching the girl next to him so that he could see what to do next. You have numbered sticks in the container, you shake it as you concentrate on a prayer. Then one stick will hopefully jump out onto the ground. You read your number and then go pick up your fortune with the corresponding number. Unfortunately, for Husband, his number was unlucky 13 and his fortune was quite unfortunate!

Not believing that he did it right the first time, Husband went back for a second try. At first, his sticks flew all over the place but he did managed to get them back in. The result? He got number 13 again! Not satisfied with the outcome, once again, he went back for a third try and ended up with number 32 which was as unlucky as 13! What to do? Was this a sign? He said he shouldn't have gone behind Christianity and played with voodoo!

After Temple, we headed to the Tet Festival.
Dried squid is a common Vietnamese carnival snack. I pretty much like everything Vietnamese and am totally open to trying anything and everything but shit, this squid was too intense for my palette. It stank.

A giant Checkers game

A traditional Vietnamese wedding took place at the festival! Such exhibitionists! But it was entertaining to see...

Was glad to see Vietnamese emo/goth/punk kids keeping it real and not totally succumbing to the Forever 21 & Hollister look that was prevalent at the festival.

Yes... I am a winner, every single time...

The two best things in the world... Caramel apple & Viet beauties.

This is the best cake in the world. It's not really a cake in the traditional sense but I don't know what else to call it. This is it, there's nothing else like it anywhere; three different layers of jello topped with a creamy layer of flan. Not too sweet but there's caramel sauce if you need it like me. I LOVE flan and jello and I can't believe someone ingeniously thought of combining these two together... and do they go together oh... so... perfectly... This is a relatively new creation and you can only get it at one special place in Little Saigon...

After dinner at my Uncle's, the "kids" did the customary "Tet" thing and played "bau cua ca cop," a gambling game using three dice. It's similar to the English Crown and Anchor dice game. We all really got into it. I'm not into gambling but once I started, I almost couldn't stop... but i did...

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jamie & Jeremy

Happy Birthday Jamie! I can't believe that it's been almost 11 years since we first met at that Brit Pop club in London, the day after my birthday. Yours was love at first sight with my best friend... There's so much inspiration and love to be had in that precious union of yours. Wouldn't even think of missing your nuptials for the world. I'm already planning my speech where I drunkenly claim how it's because of me that you two met...

Jamie (heart) Jeremy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Bloody Valentine

On the eve of this Valentine's Day, I think it's befitting to share my love for 60s French pop chanteuse, Claudine Longet. Musically, she is best known for her cover of "Love is Blue" and infamously as that woman who shot and killed her handsome boyfriend, champion skier Vladimir "Spider" Sabich, in a fit of deadly jealousy. Love gone awry...

The best interpretation of this questionable "accidental" murder is from the Mick Jagger penned "Claudine" that was ultimately cut from the 1980 Stones' album, "Emotional Rescue."

"Claudine's back in jail again
She only does it at weekends
Claudine Oh, Claudine
Now only Spider knows for sure
But he ain't talkin' about it any more
Is he, Claudine?
There's blood in the chalet
And blood in the snow
Washed her hands of the whole damn show
The best thing you could do, Claudine
Shot him once right through the head
Shot him twice right through the chest
The judge says it was an accident, Claudine
Accidents will happen (In the best homes)
What about the children, baby?
Poor, poor children
Now I threaten my wife with a gun
I always leave the safety on
I recommend it
Now she pistol whipped me once or twice
But she never tried to take my life (What do you think about that)
The prettiest girl I ever seen
I saw you on the movie screen
Hope you don't try to make a sacrifice of me
Claudine (Don't get trigger happy with me)
Don't wave a gun at me (Claudine)"

It wasn't until after her marriage ended to Andy Williams that she really came into her own musically, interpreting modern day pop songs in her own soft and sexy distinctive way. The seduction wasn't through heavy breathing ala Birkin or Bardot; it was the charm of her slight innocent French accent...

Here are two bewitching covers that will lure you into Claudine's world...

Claudine - Sleep Song.mp3
Claudine - Let's Spend the Night Together.mp3

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Met up with Jimmy at the Los Feliz 9-hole 3-par for a short round of golf. I needed to start up again as I'm going to visit the In-Laws soon and they live on a golf course and well, obviously, we'll be hitting the links a lot. Hot damn, I was pretty good for someone who hasn't played in almost two years! Sorry Jimmy, but I think I did beat you. Now I just need to work on my putting...

JT swing

Squirrels are fearless here. They got really close to us, hoping we would have some snacks for them.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Start of My Polar Year

I went to NY last week for a solo holiday. It was a much needed break; good to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. It was nasty cold which was quite contrary from what I'm used to; my semi-wet hair froze one day and my legs felt like they might break, literally... Though NY is a pretty big town, it's such a small community with my group of friends; I think I saw the same people multiple times each day. No affront here, it's just that I think it's confining yet neighborly at the same time. Really, it's awesome in NY. I guess I'm used to more of the disconnection and aloofness that happens in LA. It was also a girly trip. I haven't been around so many girlfriends in a concentrated time in a very long time, I felt young again...

The Proenza Schouler for Target party at Opening Ceremony. It was a shopping frenzy, scary but in a good immediate way.

Humberto with his sweet mom

Melissa & Wendy

BARR, Andrea and Kuo
Afterwards, we made our way down to Vegetarian Dim Sum. Never had dim sum that late, let alone vegetarian! The mock duck did not taste like duck, it was just tofu skin with soy sauce!.. but it was pretty tasty. It did me right :)

Later on, I met up with Phuong & Sanford and they took me to La Caverna on Rivington for the monthly Japanese Pop Nite. There was this go-go dancer who was pretty impressive.

On Friday night, I went to the highly anticipated David Byrne's "Welcome to Dreamland" at Carnegie Hall which featured musical performances from the "freak folk" scene (gosh, I really dislike that moniker).

I loved it... so gorgeous and gentle... Vashti's beautiful voice was even better live, Coco Rosie was amusing, Devendra was as charming as ever, Vetiver played my favorite song, "I Know No Pardon," and I finally got to see Adem. He performed "Spirals" which was the ultimate for me that night.

"You marked
The back of my hand
You drew a heart
And some tiny dots
And a spiral
Which together spell
‘I want you’
In electricity"

[Hey Andy, thanks for the hook up, I really appreciate it!]

On Saturday, I took the train to New Haven to visit Amy as she was having her MFA Thesis show at Yale that evening. This pic was taken from her kitchen. It was my first time in New Haven. Felt very collegiate...

Amy's spacious studio

Amy's art friends

Amy's work was obviously the best out of all her classmates. I know I'm biased but she freakin' killed it.

A cherry tomato accidently rolled underneath one of her works so that's D. Sherry scooping it out. Helpful guy.

Was going to spend the night in New Haven but decided to take a late train back to Manhattan. Went straight to Beatrice Inn to meet up with the girls. That's Christine, Carol and Jenny, my awesome roomies in NY.

Was pleasantly surprised to run into Matt there as well. Loving his look right now.

On Sunday, we all attended Patrik Ervell's show. Great lighting, cute boys, well-tailored clothes.

Cynthia & Wendy. Cynthia was the surprise highlight of my trip. We've known of each other for years (perhaps 9?) but never really hung out until now...

Hanging out before the United Bamboo show.

Ben Cho's genius show. A long long time ago when I had moved to NY, on my first night, Ben, who was trying to cheer me up, did my makeup and gave me raccoon eyes. When I saw myself in the mirror, I think I cried. I moved back to LA soon after that. J/K... Ben's just the best!

Then onwards to Sway where Ben was djing the Smiths Nite. That's Kuo giving me an oatmeal cookie shot, it was pretty disgusting. I don't understand why some guys really like super sweet drinks.

Marcella and P Bear

Doesn't matter if it was 3am at a noisy bar, Noah Georgeson was seriously concentrating on playing chess. Dedicated.

On my last night, Carol & Humberto's moms made us a delicious feast. So good.

Cho & Wiggles eating it up.