Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lack of Updates



Sorry that there haven't been a lot of recent updates, but I have been somewhat busy. After my Vegas Christmas trip, which was just so so, I had a lot of bills to pay and errands to run. I also decided at the last minute to go to Gridlock. A New Years Eve Party on the Paramount Studios Back Lot hosted by Pamela Anderson and featuring a midnight performance by Adam Lambert. Whom I have to admit I am looking forward to seeing perform. I am not sure if I can take pictures or not, but I will definitely try my best. It is a New Year's Party after all, so I assume I will be allowed to. It is a little bit pricey, but there is an open bar so I guess I can drink my price of admission if need be?!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sherlock Holmes



There was a lot of hype surrounding the new Sherlock Holmes film and not all of it was actually deserved. For while the film is very well done and the visuals and the sets are amazing, it is not exactly the huge blockbuster some critics would have you believe. Quite a lot of scenes and the lines of dialogue previously heard in early trailers have also been edited out, mostly referring to Holmes and Watson behaving as if they were an old married couple. My understanding is that the current owners of the Sherlock Holmes estate disliked the homoerotic subtext and threatened to revoke all future film rights if they didn't remove any scenes alluding to anything other than a purely platonic relationship between Holmes and Watson. The film is still worth seeing though and I assume the deleted scenes will be available on the DVD once it comes out.

Merry Christmas









Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you and a very Happy Holidays from Travel Whore! Back online next week!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Smelly Homeless people and the Library



I think that all citizens of the world need to be sensitive to the genuine plight of the genuine homeless, but there is a limit. I personally never give homeless people money anymore after a personal experience I had about a decade ago. Where someone in line at a Lucky's grocery store started up a conversation with me, which was fine. But later on in the parking lot the same person hit me up for a dollar for the Dumbarton or perhaps it was the Bay Bridge toll fare, which was only a dollar back then. That I gave since it was only a dollar, but after I gave him the money I realized he was buying a big-ass bottle of Vodka in the store just after me. So this bum who was supposedly hard up for Bridge toll money, had enough money to get booze, but not enough to get across the bridge! Needless to say I felt like an idiot after having given this asshole money. Which is why I pretty much view all homeless people as just lowly scam artists, not that they all are, but a lot of them are.


Recently my former university, where I routinely use their library computer, has had an increase in homeless people. Mainly because it is cold and the libraries have been open 24 hours because of finals. Making it a haven for all the worthless homeless people in the neighborhood, which has turned the library into a dirty, smelly shambles of it's former self. As you have bums leaving crumbs of food and flakes of themselves all over the place, and they have even been sleeping under the desks where the computers are kept. And campus security or the library staff cannot do a single thing about it, unless the bums threaten people or are seen damaging school or personal property. Mainly because the library is considered public property and theoretically is open to ever US citizen, though technically they do have to be a tax paying citizen and bums are most definitely not.


Still the library has been over run and the vast majority of these people are nothing but disgusting worthless individuals. There was even a guy who i caught repeated hawking luggies on the floor of the library, and when I told him to stop he said it would evaporate! I was in shock, as I cannot believe the behavior of some people! When I reported him to the library staff he denied ever doing it, even though several witnesses said he did. The library staff also couldn't do anything and a cop would have to see what he did to actually take action. So the library is still full of mental cases, whack-jobs and bums! The place looks and smells like shit, and I am afraid to sit in a chair for ending up smelling like garbage!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tiger Woods & all his baby Mama drama. I think it has long been a given that most celebrities cheat on their respective others. It's practically a requirement of being famous nowadays. So I wasn't surprised when Tiger Woods was discovered to have over a bakers dozen of mistresses. I'm more shocked that he was able to juggle so many women without them or the general public at large finding out. Plus the fact that he apparently doesn't use protection is sc

Vegas here I come!



I am actually on a plane heading for Vegas as this post is posted, and unfortunately I will not be able to post anything new for awhile. Sure there are a few posts that are scheduled to be posted, but I will not have anything that is in the now or up to date while I am away. Unless I find some cheap Internet access. I do not have a laptop yet and my PSP is a pain in the ass to use the airport and hotels WiFi service. Which makes me think I might get a PSPgo as they are supposed to be easier to use, though typing the way they have set it up it still a bitch to use. Anyway I wish everyone a fun filled holiday week and subsequent weekend. I hope you all get exactly what it is you wish for this Holiday season and have a very merry Christmas or Hanukkah depending on your faith. Personally I am not religious, so Christmas is just a plain o Holiday to me, but some people get really offended if you say Merry Christmas all the time. And with that I am out of here, wish me luck as I plan to gamble a little bit, but mainly I am just here to see some shows, relax, work on some over due artwork and have a good time away!

Dead Body Anyone? Apparently several counties in Detroit have a space problem, a dead body space problem. It seems that in these tough economic times, people are unable to afford to clain nor pay for the burial of their recently passed on loved ones. So the state has been left holding the bill and a subsequent serious lack of storage space problem as well, with as much as 200 unclaimed/unburied dead bodies lying in the corraner's office at any given time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When did giving gifts go out of fashion??







I usually make gift baskets for friends and family, including small holiday themed hand crafted items like snowmen or reindeers. I think it adds a more personal touch, which I use to have more time to do. So when I recently made it a point to make gifts baskets and some hand crafted items for two of my Japanese classmates, it was kind of a big deal for me in terms of time and money spent. But if I had known how both of them were going to react to my gifts I would not have wasted my time or energies doing anything for them. They both acted like I had offered them crack or something, one of them even asked why did I give them anything?! Despite the fact that I said Merry Christmas before I handed them their basket and the basket itself was wrapped in holiday themed cellophane wrap. When did gift given go out of fashion? Especially during Christmas! I would have been thrilled if someone got me something, rather than look at it with disdain or suspicion like they did.





Above is an example of the hand crafted items I was referring to

I am not sure what they are selling?






I have passed this window add/display a few times before and always wondered what it was they were trying to sell or what it was they were trying to say? I mean it looks like some sort of window cleaner, but the bottle says HOMO on it and the guy is slightly effeminate looking. Or at least no one looks particularly manly wearing an ascot, even Fred couldn't quite pull off that look. Maybe it has more meaning in Spanish than it does in English? Any thoughts?

Cell phone etiquette



Why is it that some people think everyone wants to know their business. Case in point, while on my way to campus some disheveled man gets on the bur speaking loudly on the phone. Apparently his Church demanded he either admits he is an alcoholic, or leaves the Church. He then went on about family drama. He spoke in a very loud voice the entire time, so no one even had a choice of whether or not to listen. You could see the other bus patrons getting visibly upset, but no one actually said anything ( including me). I guess because this guy looked and sounded a little bit off, like he had dome some time in a mental health facility. Either way I have never understood why people do such a thing, or want the world to know their business, especially when it's negative or unflattering to say the least!

DEJA VU



I just finished the book City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, when I had a little bit of Deja Vu. Either that or a flashback to a prophetic dream I once had. The way the book ends, reminded me of reading the next book in the series while being in Vegas. Which is exactly where I will be come tomorrow by this time. I also do not even have the next book yet as I plan to get it later tonight from Borders. I also remember that in my original dream I end up winning some money while vacationing in Vegas, so that could be a rather nice bonus. Either way it is somewhat nice for a dream I had in the past to make more sense now, since I had never ever heard of the book series when I initially had the dream way back when. In fact there is a chance they were not even published yet, and I haven't been to Vegas in over a decade. So I quickly dismissed the dream as just being completely random. Let's see if it actually comes true and I win some cash! More on this later on of course!

Monday, December 21, 2009

How big is your penis?



This is totally random, but I was reminded of something because I just saw a condom commercial. Awhile back I was with a good friend of mine in Sweden. He was about to go somewhere for something and needed to buy condoms like the responsible boy he is. So we went to some little grocery store to get them. To my great shock the guy behind the counter asked my friend how big his penis was. Apparently in Sweden you buy condoms tailored to your size and have to tell whoever sells them how big your penis is. Either way I found the whole thing to be hilarious, as well as potentially embarrassing. I mean what if you have a really small penis, you have to admit it to a complete stranger. Though come to think of it, it make more sense to get a more tailored condom. And Americans have way too many hang ups when it comes to sex, while the Swedes definitely do not!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Test Screening: How they have fallen



I use to go to test Screening religiously when I was much younger and still in college, but now the whole free test screening process is so unpleasant I rarely go anymore. Mainly because I don't want to have to stand in a line for 2 or more hours, just to be told that I might not get in in the first place, usually because I don't have the right look, or the right ethnicity for the film being tested. Case in point, I recently went to a test screening of Valentine's Day. A huge ensemble romantic comedy cast about the trials and tribulation of Valentine's day, by those who are both romantics and cynics. The film is obviously going to be geared towards couples or more accurately white couples. Hence a group of black people were turned away from the screening, or detained might be a better choice of words. For what a lot of screening or test marketing companies do is select people from the line that they feel are their target demographics or audience and give them preferential treatment. Which in the case of test screenings is a better seat in the house. So they will often pull people out often line and move them to the front so they get in first and get better seating. Which annoys some people in the line, especially people who are not familiar with how the whole test screening thing works. As such the group of black people noticed that a lot of people were being moved in front of them, and took great offense. Especially since all the people being moved in front of them happened to be young white people. Which is understandable, as it looks blatantly racist, and to a certain degree it is. But the film is not being marketed towards black people, and hence they do not really want black people's opinions. Though their mistake is in thinking that Black people are only interested in seeing movies staring Black people or horror movies. Which in the world of studio and Hollywood test screenings, is exactly how black audiences are viewed or categorized. So if you are a person of color and you are ever approached by a movie recruiter, you can be assured the film is either a horror film or stars a major black actor.


On another less controversial note, the film Valentine's Day itself was just so so. I actually saw a trailer for the film yesterday and there are even some scenes that I did not see in the version I saw, which tells you they are still making (much needed) changes. Only a handful of the some 12 odd story lines were any good or even remotely interesting, while the rest were pure filler if you act me. Meant to bring in some younger audience members, and that's it. Like Taylor Lauter vacuous teen jock character and equally vapid girlfriend played by Taylor Swift ( Which now explains why they are dating in real life). In a nutshell I would recommend that you wait til this film is on cable or you can rent it for cheap, as it's definitely not worth the 10 plus dollars your average movie ticket costs nowadays.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nerdy Nerd Nerd 2: Botcon 2010



Each year I go to Botcon ( It's an annual Transformers toy convention), or at least I try to go to Botcon. This upcoming year, 2010, Botcon will take place while I am supposed to be in Europe for my annual 2 month long vacation. So if I want to go next summer, I will need to fly from Germany to Orlando, Florida and back again, which could be very, very expensive, especially after all the additional hotel and convention costs ( Roughly $500 for the convention after all the toy exclusives and another $500, at least, for the hotel for a week). Plus it's a little bit decadent to go to Europe twice within the same month, or to even bother flying back to the States just for a week. Still I really enjoy Botcon and would hate to miss it, especially since I usually win the art contests like I have posted before. And there are some friends and special guests that I know I would like to see again, plus I have not been to Disneyworld before! So this whole thing could be a nice little vacation, if only I can work everything out money-wise. We will just have to wait and see, in the meantime I will keep everyone posted and of course take a shit load of pictures if and when I go. They will actually announce the official time and location this week. Hopefully Monday morning the 21st of December, so I can start to prepare for my trip to and from Europe.


QUICK UPDATE: It seems that the convention is indeed in Orlando Florida at some surely expensive Disney Dolphin Hotel, but it is June 24th til the 27th! Right during the time I need to be in Europe if I want to make it to Roskilde on time for the first day of warm ups! Which totally sucks, as I was really hoping to go to the next Botcon, but it would be a logistical nightmare to pull off both vents. Still I might go for a few days of the convention.

AVATAR, Did you hear about the Morgans? & The Road






This Saturday I Saw AVATAR, Did you hear about the Morgans, & The Road back to back to back. Mainly because movies are so darn expensive now, you truly have to see more than one just to get your monies worth. The first film I saw was Avatar in 3D. Which was visually amazing to behold. A true joys to the eyes! I really enjoyed the vast, lush alien world, and especially it's flora and fauna. The CGI was breathtaking, the story was good, even the heavy handed message about the environment and how we destroy everything that is natural and good. My only problem with the film as a whole was that the 3D glasses made the film a little too dark, since they are essentially sun glasses. I also have a tendency not to blink during any 3D film, so my eyes started to really hurt half way through the film. And I had to constantly remind myself, or make myself blink every so often. As such I plan to see this amazing film again, albeit in non 3D format. Maybe when I am in Vegas for Christmas, as I am sure I will have lots of free time.


Next I saw most of Did you hear about the Morgans? The film was just so so, with a few good one liners. Mostly by Hugh Grant, who has got to get film roles like he use to have back in the day in the UK?Europe. As his career will end in flames if he is always playing the self deprecating Englishman. Though as far as fluff films go, and this was definitely a fluff film, it was not bad. I had no expectations about this film going into it, and really only say it to kill time between Avatar and The Road.


The last film I saw, The Road, was depressing as hell! Just as any decent end of the world film truly should be. Basically there is some sort of end of the world event, though we are never told. Maybe in the book, but I have not read it. But since Viggo Mortensen's character started coughing up blood at one point, I am going to assume it was nuclear in nature. Especially since all wild life and flora was apparently killed off in the event. Which left Viggo's character and his son alone in a world, vastly different and more hostile than anything you and I are accustomed to. Roaming from desolate town to desolate town, in search of resources, food and hopefully people that wont eat them. As it seems the end of the world brings out the very best in man and inspires rabid acts of cannibalism. Personally if the world ever reached such a state, I would definitely kill myself shortly after the world went to hell in a hand basket like the mother (Charlize Theron) did in the film. I know I would definitely have smacked around the main kid/Viggo's son in the film, as he was annoying as hell! And yes, I am aware that children are not supposed to be hardened emotionaless indivisuals, but thi swas the end of the world. You would have to grow up real fast in such an environment, and not run around crying and acting incredibly stupid in a world filled with gun totting cannibals. As the kid basically wanted to trust anyone he came upon, despite teh fact that almost everyone he met wanted to eat him. He also ran around unsupervised, made noise when he should be quiet and was too scared to hold a gun even when he needed to for protection! Viggo's character was way too soft on his son. If I was in his situation, I would have had to knock him out a few times and drag him away to prevent him from being stupid or giving away their location. But luckily it is not the end of the world, and I will not have to face such personal decisions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon Recipe






Ingredients


All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





6 oz bacon
2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil
4 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups sliced onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1 bottle of red wine (such as a zinfandel or Chianti)
2 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 medium herb bouquet (tie 8 parsley sprigs, 1 large bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme, 2 whole cloves or allspice berries, and 3 large cloves of smashed garlic together wrapped and tied in cheesecloth)
Beurre manié: 3 Tbsp flour blended to a paste with 2 Tbsp butter
24 pearl onions
Chicken stock
Butter
1 1/2 pounds of button or cremini mushrooms, quartered
Method
1 Blanch the bacon to remove its smoky taste. Drop bacon slices into 2 quarts of cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, and dry on paper towels.


2 In a large frying pan, sautee the blanched bacon to brown slightly in a little oil; set them aside and add later to simmer with the beef, using the rendered fat in browning. Brown the chunks of beef on all sides in the bacon fat and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and put them into a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or covered casserole pan. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and add to the pan.


3 Remove all but a little fat from the frying pan, add the sliced vegetables and brown them, and add to the meat. Deglaze the pan with wine, pouring it into the casserole along with enough stock to almost cover the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and add the herb bouquet. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer slowly on the lowest heat possible, either on the stove or in a preheated 325°F oven, until the meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours.


4 While the stew is cooking, prepare the onions. Blanch the onions in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the end tips off of the onions, peel the onions and score the root end with 1/4 inch cuts. Sauté onions in a single layer in a tablespoon or two of butter until lightly browned. Add chicken stock or water half way up the sides of the onions. Add a teaspoon of sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes or until tender. The onions should absorb most of the water. If there is water remaining after cooking, drain the excess. Set aside.


5 Prepare the mushrooms a few minutes before serving the stew. Sauté quartered mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil until browned and cooked through.


6 When the stew meat has cooked sufficiently, remove all solids from the sauce (except the beef) by draining through a colander set over a saucepan. Return the beef to the casserole. Press juices out of the residue into the cooking liquid, then remove any visible fat and boil down the liquid to 3 cups. Off heat, whisk in the beurre maniee, then simmer for 2 minutes as the sauce thickens lightly. Correct seasoning and pour over the meat, folding in the onions and mushrooms. To serve, bring to a simmer, basting meat and vegetables with the sauce for several minutes until hot throughout.





Back in the day



Sometimes when I look at elderly people, I try to imagine what they looked like when they were young or looked like back in the day. Especially if I thought they might have been especially attractive or handsome at some point in their lives. Like the Captain of the football team, or head cheerleader level of attractiveness. As it must be somewhat depressing to go from being able to bed just about any man or woman you want, to not even registering at all in the eyes of anyone younger than you. A persons wants and desires do not change as readily as their body and looks change as they age and grow older, so it must be very frustrating for them. So much in fact that I often wonder what that must feel like personally, to have had something come so easily to you and now it's all gone. I know my step brother was considered very good looking growing up as well as a major player all throughout his high school and college years, as he was often picked up by random women when we would go out in public. But now he has been married for over a decade with two kids and does not look as good as he once did. He is still considered very good looking for his age, he is in his mid 40's, but he has more crows feet, some gray hair and a little bit of a pot belly which he never had before. I have never asked him how he feels about this and possibly not being as desirable as he once was nor not being able to chase and subsequently bed any woman he sets his eyes upon. Mainly because he is married and shouldn't be looking elsewhere for love to begin with, and that fact that we have never been close. Plus in my step brother's case, he did cheat on the vast majority of his girlfriends or conquests as it were, and I would not be surprised if he wasn't cheating on his current wife now or would do so in the future. So it's best not to put any ideas in his head or tempt fate as it. Still I can't help but wonder when I see older people, what it must be like for them now compared to back in the day.

Rachel getting Married



Recently on a DVD I rented from the library, I saw Rachel getting Married. And I can honestly say that I really don't like improvised films, whether it be via it's direction, dialogue or what not, I do not like it all! Unscripted movies just seem way too unrealistic to me, when the whole point of improvisation is so the film will see more real to begin with. Plus Anne Hathaways character is so unbearably narcissistic that she is completely unlikable as a character. If I had a family member like that, I would ban her from all family events and I definitely would not invite her to my wedding. Especially if they were drug addicts, recovering or not, who had killed my sibling while high off their ass and driving! A major reveal in the film that I have now spoiled for a lot of people, but truthfully the film was not that good.


Plus Rachel, who isn't even the fim's main character despite the fact that she is getting married, is marrying some random totally boring black guy. Not that there is anything wrong with that, seeing as I am part black myself, it is just that the film goes out of it's way to show a multitude of cultural diversity examples it is annoying as hell! I mean in the film we are subjected to traditional folksy music, black music, carribean music, jazz, modern, rock, ballads, hippie shit and the list goes on and on and on. The film is practically another film entirely in it's extreme diversity, that it becomes a parody of itself almost. I mean I personally come from a very mixed family, but there is a limit to how much cultural crap you can stand let alone pile into an evening, even a wedding, nor want to stand in the in the first place! If this was a wedding I had attended personally, I would have gone insane and left before it was over! I know the film was trying to send a message that we are all the same, and we all have things that make us special and unique and that we can all get along, but who really wants to!


Either way the film really does either way too much or way too little. Too much in all the cultural Mumbo-Jumbo and not enough in terms of have scripted, intelligent dialogue. The characters are also either totally under developed, boring or lack charisma, or they are over the top and totally annoying like Hathaway's recovering drug addict. That you don't give a shit about, because everything about her and every single scene she was in was all about her. Even her sister's wedding was all about her and the entire film just left me cold. Family or no family, people like her need to be avoided at all costs, just like this film needs to be.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travel Tip: Number 5



DON'T PAY A BAGGAGE FEE IF YOU CAN AVOID IT

Consider buying a smaller carry on case/bag if you know for a fact that you have to pay for any checked baggage. Recently I bought a round trip ticket with hotel to Vegas for Christmas, and the airline I am booked on has a $20 per bag per flight fee. Which adds up to $40. So instead of giving the airline my money, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a really cheap carry on bag for only $19.00. That way I am not wasting my money by just giving it to an airline that is charging more while delivering less, and I can always return the bag after my trip. Especially if I don't like it. Plus even if I kept it, it is still cheaper than what I would have paid to check in a slightly larger bag on the airline. Which is something else to consider, how much stuff you actually need to bring with you. Of course if you have a ton of stuff to bring, you will need a much larger bag, and you will need to pay the baggage fee. But if you can get away with a carry on bag, and find one that is less than the fees they charge, then by all means buy a carry on bag just for the trip. I would suggest going to Ross, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory or TJ Maxx, as you can find a lot of carry on bags for less than $40 and some of them are pretty nice. Otherwise Target, Wal-Mart and Kmart have much cheaper bags, but they quality will not be as nice and it will not be a name brand. But like I said I plan to return mine after my trip so it doesn't really matter.


QUICK UPDATE: I decided to keep my really cheap bag, just because it worked fine for what I needed it for at the time and I can always use it again. Especially since I am going to Mardi Gras next month and am debating on whether or not I want to check in a bag for the purposes of bringing my own alcohol to New Orleans ( I assume it will be cheaper to bring 2 bottles of Vodka to New Orleans rather than buying them there, but you never know).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vegas Bound: A slightly different Christmas




I decided to abandon my family for the holidays, mainly because of Secret Santa and how much I hate it (See early posts for my full wrath regarding the dreaded Secret Santa). So I am up and leaving for Vegas come this Christmas! I will be staying at the lovely, or cheap rather Circus Circus for 4 days and nights of drinking, gambling and various shows like The Lion King and Cirque Du Soleil's O.


I haven't been to Vegas in over a decade, so this will be a chance for me to actually see and take some decent pictures of Vegas and the Vegas strip. As well as see some shows I have been meaning to see for awhile, like The Lion King. Not exactly the most traditional Christmas Holiday, but it's nice to be somewhere different, doing different things. I am actually looking forward to seeing the bright lights and many going-ons Vegas has to offer, especially now that I am a little older and a little wiser. I am also looking forward to the all you can eat buffet at Circus Circus, though I understand the lines to get in are sometimes hours long. I am assuming that since it will be Christmas in Vegas, the lines will be even longer than usual.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dream a Little Dream: Part 4



I think I was in Europe for this dream. In some hotel like area, possibly in Germany, France or somewhere more cosmopolitan in look or style. I had to change rooms but I am not sure why exactly, maybe a water pipe broke or something. There were a lot of Scandinavians there, I am pretty sure I knew a few of them in real life. I couldn't lock my door at one point because I left the keys in my original room. I must have been famous because people wanted my autograph. Some creepy family came to my room insisting they had been there before. There was a weird hairy pig thing as well. It was a very weird dream, but I have had much worse or stranger in the past.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deluxe Movie Theatre







The above picture was taken at the Shattuck Theatre in Berkeley, which is part of the Landmark theatre chain. It is where I saw the very well done, but extremely depressing film Precious this past Thanksgiving weekend. I was there to kill time, as I was not set to meet my brother and cousins for several hours. I was actually a little shocked when I realized that all of the seats were mini leather couches, and there were even some bean bag chairs in the front of the screen. I have not seen anything like this in quite awhile, as most movie theatres are somewhat cheap if you ask me.





Anger Management



People who have known me for awhile or have seen me and my brother interact with one another, are aware that I do not really like my brother. We have never been close, even when we were kids and truthfully never will be close. In fact I have never really liked my brother, at least not the way that most brothers are supposed to like each other. I also know for a fact that I do not love my brother as one would love a close family member, and really do not care what happens to him one way or another. I have always found him slightly disgusting because of his weird hygiene, runny nose/allergies and especially his chewing tobacco habit. Which I have to say is the most disgusting thing about him, and also one of the reasons I often see him as subhuman. For years now he fills cup after cup of nasty tobacco spit and just leaves them lying around his apartment, in his car or at the movies, which I have always found to be disgusting and vile. It's behavior only a worthless homeless person or some wild animal would engage in. Plus his teeth have been separating as a result of his chewing and in a few years they will start to fall out, making him even more disgusting to behold. Aside from that, he also has a lot of other negative character traits I just don't like in anybody regardless of their relation to me. So suffice it to say that if my brother were not actually related to me, and he merely worked with me or went to school with me, I would chose never to talk to him or associate with him unless it was absolutely necessary.


Which is kind of what our meetings at holidays and Family Gatherings have been, especially as of late. Nothing more than pure necessity, as I usually stay with my brother during the holidays as I am the only person in my family living in the LA area while everyone else is in the Bay Area. The alternative is that I drive from LA, rent a car, and/or get a hotel and I personally do not feel like spending that kind of money just to see my family. Especially since I am not really all that close to my family, and there are certain extended family members who I believe are disengenuine to say the least. Plus I do not see or talk to my mother, my father is long dead, and the family I have left does not really celebrate Christmas anymore in the traditional sense, so there really is no reason for me to waste my time and money on a trip to the Bay Area to simply be an observer. In fact this past Thanksgiving visit will be my last, as they are just not fun anymore or worth the effort, but the main reason I will not be making the journey again is because of my psycho brother!


For years now my brother has been getting angrier and angrier, despite the fact that he takes Martial Arts and Yoga as a way to vent his anger in a more traditional manner. I have no doubt in my mind that if my brother were ever to get married, which I highly doubt to begin with, he will end up beating his wife and kids. Not in the traditional abusive husband sort of way on a daily basis, but he would definitely raise a hand to them. For my brother is the type of person who flies into a blind rage, often for no valid reason and will lash out physically. Hence I can imagine him having a bad day at work, and his wife starts nagging him or his kid wont be quiet and him slapping them just to make them shut up. He will of course feel bad for his actions and apologize later, much like how he apologized to me after he struck me when I refused to talk to him while he was in one of his rages. Which is a control issue and yet another one of his many, many problems (I learned a long time ago there is no point in talking to someone who is both angry and irrational, as nothing will ever be accomplished so why waste the energy). Still apologizing doesn't make up for the fact that you strike someone, and my brother really needs to see someone about his anger issues before he gets arrested for being a wife beater or worse.


Now to be fair, my brother has often claimed that my behavior is what actually triggers his anger, but that is not exactly true as I have seen him fly into rages because someone cut him off on the freeway, or he was asked to sign something to receive a credit when his credit card was overcharged by accident at the movie theatre, and other similar situations. So he cannot completely blame me for his fits of anger, especially since no matter how angry a person may make you, you can't just hit the people around you as a result. That is not what mentally stable and rational people do, and I think my brother needs to realize this. I also think he needs to realize that he is never going to get what he so desperately needs and wants from me, which is a loving and considerate relationship. As it is so obvious that he wants and expects me to care for him as much as he cares for me, but that is not going to ever happen and the sooner he realizes this the better. For as I have already stated, I really do not like my brother, I never have and I never will. I have always been closer to my friends than I have my brother and that will never change. In fact I am closer to people I met the last time I vacationed in Europe than I am with my own flesh and blood. In fact all of my friends know more about me than my brother ever will, as I don't talk to him about anything.


The simple fact is, even if my brother were to go through Anger Management or Therapy, it would not change the fact that I simply do not like him as a person. I don't like to be around him, I feel that anything I say or do will send him into one of his rages, and it's kind of like being in an abusive relationship. Plus I find him disgusting as a person to begin with, and you can't ever have a relationship with someone you find disgusting, don't trust, don't love and don't even like to be around. And I'm tired of pretending just to get a place to stay for free during the holidays, or to see what's left of my family for a few hours a year and pretend that everything is like a Norman Rockwell painting. So this past Thanksgiving Holiday with the family and my brother is the very last one I will have attending, as I want to make sure that I never have to see, hear from or talk to my brother ever again.

Worthless Alcoholics






I have often complained about my house mates and how at least 2 of them are full blown alcoholics, and to emphasize my point I have included photographic documentation. Here you will see two heavy duty plastic garbage cans full of empty alcohol bottles that are the result of less than a months worth of drinking, consumed by only two people! Notice how most of the bottle are 2 liter bottles of whiskey! Which is definitely a hard drink of choice, and only hard core alcoholics drink such stuff to begin with. Their drinking explains how they eat other people's food and cannot recall doing it, as well as how late they stay up making noise on school night and even on Sunday evenings. I cannot wait to move out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Laundry






Personally I have never really minded doing laundry, especially when it wasn't that far away from my room in one of the apartments I lived in. But now that I live in a hose where there are no laundry facilities, I am somewhat put out by the simple act of doing my laundry. For now I have to plan around my school schedule to have at least 2 hours free and to get to the laundry place itself before it get's too crowded. Which is a chore in and amongst itself, and therefore a major hassle!
The only good things about my having to do laundry outside the house is I can also do my grocery shopping, eat dinner and catch up on my home work or reading. As there is a grocery store next door to my laundry mat as well as some fast food joints and restaurants and plenty of places to sit and read. So it is not all that bad, but it is time consuming as you need to wait for everything to be finsihed



















Saturday, November 28, 2009

THANKSGIVING in the Bay Area



For a few days now I have been in the SF Bay Area, celebrating the Holiday with my friends and family. In fact for awhile now I have been celebrating Thanksgiving more than just once during the Holiday Season. As for the past few years we have been having two separate family Thanksgivings on Thanksgiving and the next day, Friday. One with the white or step side of the family, and another one with members from my Father's, or the black side of the family. Initially I enjoyed the
1st more traditional Thanksgiving with my step Mother, brother, step brother, his two kids, his wife, her grandfather, mother, step father and sometimes his two daughters, more than the 2nd Thanksgiving. Which takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and involves my aunt, her two daughters/my cousins, her new husband, and various family friends. But more and more I have come to enjoy the second Thanksgiving with my cousins, since my step sister in law just seems to be a really fake and superficial person, or is becoming so more and more. So much more in fact, that it has reached the point where I do not really trust anything she has to say, nor what she has to say to me. Especially after her young son repeated some stuff to me that my step sister-in-law her and her husband have been saying about me behind my back ( apparently for years). But such is the normal dysfunctional nature of the modern blended family I guess.


Still it is enough to make me have second thoughts about even joining that side of the family for Thanksgiving, even more so after I found out that Thanksgiving this year would take place in a restaurant instead of at someones house. Which just bummed the hell out of me, as Thanksgiving really should involve family and a home cooked meal. Plus I just didn't like the idea of paying for a meal that was in essence not all you can eat, as all Thanksgivings essentially are. But I ended up going to Thanksgiving with my family after all, mainly because my brother was freaking out about me not going and actually getting upset. And to be quite honest the food was not actually all that bad, and the evening as a whole was not as bad as I thought or imagined it would be. Though it definitely was a very short evening, as he had 5:30pm reservations, and were out of the restaurant by 8pm, which is kind of a record for us.

BLACK FRIDAY



How early is too early?



For years and years I use to work in retail, so I know firsthand all about Black Friday. The absolute biggest day or "Mother" of all retail consumerism that takes place directly after Thanksgiving, and in some cases only by a few hours after. As more and more stores are actually opening their doors to the public earlier and earlier, sometimes as early as 4am in some cases. All so customer can frantically bum rush the store and get their hands on one of maybe two Plasma TVs offered for a fraction of their normal price. Which if you ask me is just pure insanity! For Thanksgiving is one of the very few non commercial holidays the US celebrate or even has to begin with, and it really needs to stay that way! Forcing employees to cut their holiday celebrations with family short, just to go into work is totally unacceptable in my book. Just as it's unacceptable for some families to forgo Thanksgiving altogether just to wait in line all night for select Black Friday deals they might not even get in the first place because of limited quantities.


Because I live in LA and my family is from the Bay Area, I would fly just to spend Thanksgiving with the family. And because I worked in retail at the time I had to take the earliest flight back come Friday morning so I could finish an afternoon or evening shift, and that is not fair at all! All employees, no matter what position they hold within a company, deserve to be able to spend time with their respective families. They should not be forced to cut their Thanksgivings short just to return to start work, or better yet they should receive double time pay if they are made to come in before normal working hours. That way at least their sacrifice will not go unnoticed and they will be adequately compensated for their efforts. Also employees who are paid more will less likely be chosen to work such shifts, which is only fair. As people with seniority have already put in their time and should not be forced to have to work on such a day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shrimp & Mango Roll Shooters






All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!



INGREDIENTS:


Makes 16 pieces

1 pound Shrimp (peeled, deveined, chopped)
2 1/2 tsp Corn Starch
1 1/3 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Scallions
1 1/3 oz Ginger (Minced Finely)
1 1/3 oz Bamboo Shoots (caned drained, chopped finely)
2 ea ripe mango (small dice)
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Kosher Salt
4 leaves Mint (cut into very thin slices)
16 spring roll skins (available in most supermarkets)
Canola Oil

Orange Teriyaki Sauce
8 oz Teriyaki sauce (store bought)
4 oz frozen orange concentrate (defrosted)
1 1/2 Tbsp orange zest
3 Tbsp corn starch + 3 Tbsp cold water (combine)

In a stainless sauce pot combine teriyaki sauce and orange concentrate and bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixture and add orange zest. Cool and set aside.

In an electric mixer, combine shrimp, 1 1/2 tsp corn starch, sesame oil, scallions, ginger, bamboo shoots and mix until gluten is visible (approximately 6-7 minutes on medium high speed). Remove from machine and fold in mint.

Combine 1 teaspoon corn starch with just enough water to make a thick paste. Set aside.

Lay out spring roll skin with a corner facing you and fill with 1/2 ounce of shrimp mixture. Place 3 cubes of mango on top of shrimp mixture, fold the left and right corners over the mixture then pick up the corner facing you and roll away from you (make sure to roll it as tight as you can get it). Seal with corn starch paste. Repeat step until mixture is finished. Make sure you cover the spring rolls to prevent from drying.

In a sauce pot fill halfway with canola oil and heat to 350 degrees. Place rolls and fry for approximately 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper towels.

Serve in shot glass with orange teriyaki sauce at the bottom.





HAPPY THANKSGIVING!







HAPPY THANKSGIVING

to one & all from Travel Whore!





Make sure to eat lots of Turkey and enjoy your time off with friends & family like I am doing right now. More Blogs to come when I return from my 2 Thanksgiving dinners in the Bay Area & once again Happy Thanksgiving! Save me some stuffing!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Precious...How depressing was that?




I was planning to see the movie Precious, just not as soon as I actually did. It seems I had several hours to kill upon my arrival in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving, yet no one could actually pick me up until close to 8pm. So I decided to hang out in a local Berkeley Movie Theatre and see a movie or two, especially since I had free passes to 3 different movie theatre chains on me. I decided to see the longest film I could find at the time, which was Precious. I knew I was going to be in for a disturbing ride even before I saw the film, but it really was disturbing. Everyone on some level knows that there are horrible acts of abuse going on all around us on a daily basis, but we don't actually get confronted with just how monstrous some of these acts are. As we are not forced to see them face to face, as the film definitely does in very graphics detail. Which made a great deal of the film very hard to watch, especially when the film's main character is being repeatedly abused by her Mother and her Father.


For those of you who are not familiar with the film or the book PUSH, on which it is based. Precious is the story of Clarice Precious Jones, who is routinely verbally, emotionally and physically abused by her Mother. Sometimes the physical abuse is so intense that Precious is rendered unconscious. The fact that the abuse is perpetrated by her Mother, makes it all the more monstrous to behold. As a result of her abusive upbringing, Precious can barely read and write and has the self esteem of a cardboard box. She is also pregnant with her second child from her own biological Father! Her first child whose actual name was Mongoloid, was born with down syndrome as a direct result from being the product of incest.


I am not sure if the film and respective book were actually based on a true story or living person, but by the end of the film you really hope and pray that there is not. As I do not know anytime who could go through what Precious did and not be completely fucked up as a result! Though without spoiling the film or book for others who have not read it, Precious doesn't really escape anything in the end if you think about it ( I will leave it at that as not to spoil things).



New Moon...Maybe if I were a 12 year old girl I would have liked it more



Like a lot of people, both male and female I have actually read all of the Twilight Vampire Books. I didn't think they were amazing or anything like that, but I also didn't think they were pieces of shit either. In fact I rather liked the last book in the series, Breaking Dawn, and am looking forward to seeing that one on the big screen. While the latest silver screen version, New Moon, was less than stellar in my opinion. Although I am sure it will make millions of dollars, as I can see the film being highly entertaining to certain individuals. Especially 12 year old white girls, as that seems to the be the books core audience or demographic.




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crazy is as Crazy Does



While on the Streets of Berkeley I witnessed some crazy man litterally choke himself. As if he were two people inside his body and one of them was trying to kill the other. Then the man started to drool, and now he is passed out on a bench. I am going to try and get a picture of his craziness. Hopefully he won't try to kill me! He really looked psychotic choking himself and actually screaming out "NO," as if he was fighting an actual person for his life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Times are Tough






There was a line at the local pawn shop which aside from being rather depressing in and of itself just shows you how tough these economic times really are. I assume that since I didn't see a lot of people with actual items in their hands, they were there to trade gold or something into cash. As you see ads for such things on TV and in the newspaper on a daily basis.





Dinner in WestWood







I am not in Westwood all that often and when I am, it's usually fun to eat in the one local dining establishments. Although I do not often choose BJ's to eat because I think the food is somewhat over priced for what it is, but I have to admit that I really do like their wedge salads. Which is essentially just a slice of Iceberg Lettuce, Blue Cheese Dressing & Crumble, chopped Onions, Tomatoes and Bacon Bits. Something so simple a child could make it, though their Blue Cheese Dressing is really, really good and one of my favorites. Aside from the salad I had a BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich and thinly cut fries, which like I said was over priced. I would have preferred to have gone somewhere else, but the friends I was with kind of insisted we go there and I felt I owed them so I conceded. My stomach ended up paying for it later on, but that is just one of the down falls of getting on in years it seems. One can no longer eat as much as they once did.



I find this very disturbing




Lately I have noticed a lot of people on campus, in the streets, and especially on the bus carrying bibles around with them and even fervently reading from them (Thank God, they usually do this silently!). Which I find rather disturbing, for it makes me wonder. How disturbed or how unsure of a person do you have to be to need such daily or constant reassurance? I mean if you have a bad day or week, you just deal with it and move on, but if your so distraught that you have to constantly have the bible with you at all times, and need to read passages from it for comfort or just to get yourself through the day. Then there is something seriously wrong with you. If your personal or emotional life is so fraught with peril, stress or emotional trauma(s), then you are doing something wrong or something is wrong with you. Something that the bible is not going to magically fix! Still I see people every day clinging to their bibles as if it were a life vest and they were on the Titanic as it starts to sink into the ocean. It just makes you wonder what sort of demons are running through their head?!

Star Trek Experience in Hollywood







I haven't been to a Star Trek Convention or anything Star Trek for that matter since I was a little kid. But I recently decided to attend the Star Trek Experience in Hollywood this past weekend purely for the hell of it. Mainly because it was closing at the and of the month and I wanted to get pictures of myself in the Captains chair for my Facebook profile. So imagine my surprise when I realized that the supposed official bridge from the Next Generation's Enterprise was nothing but a cheap replica, as were most of the props and costume I surmise. Specifically constructed for such displays or tours, as I assume it goes from State to State, or Country to Country. Either way I was a little disappointed since I shelled out the money for me and a friend to go.


Still it got me out of the house and into the city on a Saturday, and I haven't been out for ages now. Partially because I am saving my money and partially because I have such a full load of classes that it's not possible for me to get out as much as I would like to. Plus I am just a little bit lazy when it comes to planning social events, at least sometimes as my moods changes in this regard...But I digress for if you are a true Star Trek fan, I think you will enjoy yourself. You probably wont learn anything new about Trek that you didn't already know, and the sets/props are nothing special, but it can be enjoyable. There are some pretty cool photo opportunities to partake of. Especially if you are willing to shell out over 30 bucks to get a couple of you on the bridge and being transported. But since I had my own camera on me, I took my own damn pictures myself and I can always fake the Transporter stuff in Photoshop later on.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Air & Style




When I was working at Limmerick Bill's Irish Pub while living in Innsbruck, Austria, I was never able to attend Air & Style. Which for those of you who do not know is an annual winter Snow Boarding Festival and competition where snowboarders from around the world compete and live music is performed. The reason I was never able to go before was because I worked with a bunch of Snow Board enthusiasts who ate, breathed and lived snow boarding 24/7. They literally moved to Austria just to snow board and get drunk all the time, nothing else! So they naturally requested to have time off during the festival and were given the days off Air & Style took place, forcing me to work and miss all three festivals that took place while I lived in Europe. Shortly after the festival moved to Munich, but it didn't do as well as in Innsbruck and eventually moved back.




Which is why this past winter I made it a point to travel all the way to Europe, just to attend Air & Style for the first time. Despite it having been years after having lived and worked in Europe. The bands playing the winter year I went were Mando Diao and Deichkind, which I have actually both seen before at Roskilde and Frequency respectively. I almost didn't make it because I didn't actually have a ticket, mainly because a (former) friend of mine waited too long to get one for me and they subsequently sold out. In fact our friendship ended partially because of Air & Style. To make a long story short I gave my friend money to get a ticket for me and he waited a week to try and get it and it sold out during the time he procrastinated. He then proceeded to lie to me about when he actually tried to get me a ticket, but I was able to verify the actual date he attempted to get me a ticket and it was a week later than he said. Which really, really pissed me off. Luckily I was able to buy one off of someone just before the event and attend the show, which was really, really cool, but also really really cold!




Although the Vodka I brought with me did help me stay warm to a certain degree, which was nice. As was being surrounded by crisp, clean whiteness as far as the eye could see. For Austria really is beautiful during the winter, and I really do miss the actual seasons and especially being able to have a white Christmas! The event lasted for several hours and usually ends close to midnight or earlier if the weather gets really bad, though this time it was a normal sort of winter I guess? Hey, how the hell should I know having been born and raised in the constant sunshine of California all my life?






I even bumped into some old friends and co workers that I have not seen in awhile which was really nice. Especially since not everyone knew that I was going to be there that winter, as it had been years since I was last in Austria during the winter. Sometime around 2003 to be exact as I spent most of the winter of 2004 in Les Deux Alpes France, which let me tell you was absolutely horrible, but that is a Blog for another time my friends. If you are a fan of snowboarding or winter sports, I would strongly suggest that you attend if you can.

A Worm in my Won Ton Soup!






I took a closer look at the two photos I took of my Won Ton Soup and I cannot see any worms in the photos, so it was most likely hidden underneath something. It's still rather nasty to think about!


Yesterday I took a friend out to lunch at his favorite Chinese restaurant in Burbank because it was his birthday awhile back, and I didn't have a gift for him at the time. So I gave him a card and said Lunch will be on me whenever he is free. He picked his favorite place to eat in Burbank and said the food was really good. Which didn't really matter to me as Chinese or most Asian food in general, is my favorite food on the planet! We ordered Won Ton Soup for two, Chicken Chow Fun and he had something I forget the name of, though it looked really, really good. Anyway after my first bowl of Won Ton Soup, which incidentally is my favorite soup on the world if done right, I noticed that there was a completely whole and intact worm floating in the broth. Actually I just about to eat it when I noticed it in my spoon.


I thought it was nasty, but bugs do not really freak me out. I just to collect Butterflies and insects as a kid. And I know for a fact that I have, without my knowledge, eaten much, much worse throughput the course of my life. Plus insects are pure protein and it would not have killed me. Still I think it grossed me out to a certain degree as I didn't really finish my meal with any sort of zeal like I normally would have. Of course I informed the staff that there was a worm in our soup and if they could please replace it, which they graciously did. I naturally assume that when the bill came they would have credited us for the soup or the comped the entire meal as most restaurants would have done. When the final bill did come, they didn't even credit us the soup! So I politely asked for them to remove it, and they actually started to argue about it saying they brought me a new one. But level heads prevailed I guess, as the meager $4.95 the soup costs was taken off our bill.


To add a little bit more insult to injury, when they had brought us our replacement soup, they initially were going to serve it in dirty bowls. Which the waiter had to take back and bring us new ones. As a whole I found the whole thing to be rather funny, since I really could have caused quite a stink or worse! Since I was actually taking pictures of the food for blogging purposes and could have gotten them into some real trouble. But it never crossed my mind to take any pictures of the soup with the worm in it to show the health department or even the people reading this. Though I am pretty sure I got some pictures of the soup before I actually tried any of it. So who knows, maybe I did manage to get a picture of the worm in the soup and just didn't know it at the time. Or worse the worm I saw, was not the only worm in my soup?

Guinness Soaked Beef Stew







All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!






INGREDIENTS:



1 T olive oil
1 lb (or more) Stew Beef
1/4 cup flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 oz) Guinness beer ( or more for you drink as you cook)
2 carrots, cut into 1 - 2 inches pieces
2 parsnips, cut into 1 - 2 inch pieces
1 large Leek, White & Light Green parts sliced
1 t dried Thyme
1/2 t dried Marjoram/Oregano
1 Bay Leaf ( You will remove later)
10 Crimini mushrooms, cut in half
Mashed Potatoes (can be white, yellow or red, it's up to you)


Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Put the Stew Beef in a plastic bag, add the flour & some salt & pepper then shake to coat the beef. Cook the beef in the hot pan until it's brown on all sides. Transfer the beef to a crock pot. Pour about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the Guinness into the hot pan & bring to a boil to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour over the beef in the crock pot.

Add the carrots, parsnips and leeks to the crock pot. Add the remaining Guinness, thyme, marjoram & bay leaf. Cover & turn the crock pot to low. Let cook 5 - 6 hours until the vegetables are tender & the meat is falling apart. Add the mushrooms & cook for 1 more hour. Taste pridically for seasoning & add salt & pepper to taste.



Posted some very old Blogs



Turns out I had started some blogs way back in 2006 over at my MySpace page when Is till actually used it on a regular basis. Long before Facebook took over, and never actually worked on or even continued. So I re posted them here and will actually update them in a few days. Which is why I suddenly have Blogs pre dating the actual sign in/up date for this Blog account in 2009. Either way enjoy them, though truthfully they really do not say anything of interest and are pretty much me just venting out my frustrations or getting excited about an upcoming trip.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dream a Little Dream: Part 3

Last night I dreamed that me and a friend where in a Hotel, that kind of looked like my old dorms. In this Hotel you could enter a code for the elevator, which would then indicate if you were going to Heaven or to Hell. By indicating up or down after you entered the code. If you did this too many times, Police of some sorts would come to take you away. Which is what happened in my dream. Though we were trying to argue or reason our way out of it. Bizarre?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Haven't Blogged for Awhile




I am sorry that I have not blogged for awhile, but I have had a lot on my plate. Currently I am in finals for German, French and Japanese, as well as have three custom Fairy Tale/Children's books to Illustrate before Christmas. Actually I have to have them ready for the printed by the beginning of December so they will be printed and shipped to their respective clients in time for Christmas. I also promised two friends I would do some illustration work for them and I have been severely behind. So for the next month or so I think my updates and blogs will be sporadic. I did pre write a lot of stuff and it will automatically be posted at a later date, but I haven't spent as much time on these as I should have, nor have I really gone over them for content or spelling. So be warned my friends! And with that I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and very Merry Christmas!

Crazy is as Crazy does



This is something that attracted my attention for awhile now, but I forgot to write about it. This is or was the house owned by some random crazy guy I use to pass on my way to class in my neighborhood. He had all the windows of his house boarded up or obstructed, and a ton of crap inside and outside his house. Like a ton of random relics and pieces of junk everywhere you could see. Poles, boards, sticks, random bits and pieces of stuff from plastic slides to various parts of cars, vacuum cleaners, boxes, furniture bits. And to top it all off he had a huge banner facing the sidewalk telling everyone to overthrow the Government and elect him supreme emperor of the world as well as some random legal quote about property and the Governments right to intrude into ones living space or something to that effect. All in all the house and the various notices scream crazy-person! I actually saw him once posting something up, and he even looked crazy. He had an untrimmed beard, glasses and just a wild or crazed look about him as he quickly posted his latest rant and then darted back into his dungeonous abode.


Awhile after the above photo was taken, I believe he was forcibly evicted as there were all these official looking notices on his door and official looking tape, like the place was condemned or something. Shortly after I noticed all this, his house was mysteriously set on fire! And since I believe he was crazy, I assume he was the person who set the fire for getting kicked out of his own house. There was even a notice posted on the fence surrounding the house, asking if anyone had seen who had set the blaze on such and such a date. Which I recalled that I had actually passed the house before it was set on fire, and did not see anyone in or around the house. Though like I said, I would assume crazy-man set it for getting kicked out. A lot of people who get forcibly evicted from their home pretty much destroy it before they move out, which kind of makes sense. I mean until you actually leave, you do own it so you can do whatever you want with the place. Still this house and the person who resided in it, was a neighborhood curiosity, and I still would like to know the whole story. But since the house is now owned and being worked on by someone else, I guess I will never know.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Chop-Chop Chicken Lettuce Wrap






All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





INGEDIENTS:



2 chicken breasts, skinless and chopped
2 Tbsp Shallot (minced fine)
1 Tbsp Garlic (minced fine)
1 Tbsp Ginger (minced fine)
1/2 cup Zucchini (small dice)
1/2 cup Daikon (small dice)
1/4 cup Red Peppers (small dice)
3/4 cup Celery (small dice)
1/2 cup Carrot (small dice)
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped basil
8 oz Hoisin Sauce
3 Tbsp Bean Paste (chopped)
1 head Iceberg or Bibb lettuce (separate leaves the size of a soft taco shell, place into serving bowl)
6 oz almonds (chopped)
1/8 c scallions (minced fine)
16 pcs Soft White Bread
Canola Oil
Salt/Black Pepper

Method
Stack two pieces of soft white bread on top of each other and roll together with a rolling pin till compressed. Cut into 2in by 4in pieces. In a large sauce, pot fill halfway with canola oil and heat to 350 degrees.

Fry bread in oil, till golden brown (should puff). Dig out middle of bread to create bread boats. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan under medium high heat place 3 oz canola oil and cook bean paste for 30 seconds. Add shallot, ginger and garlic and sweat for 2 minutes (no color); next, add chicken and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Then, add zucchini, daikon, red peppers (reserve 1T each for garnish), celery, basil, and carrot. Sauté at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Next, add just enough hoisin sauce to coat the vegetables and chicken and continue to sauté. The mixture should still be dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When guests want some, have them spoon mixture into bread boats and garnish with red pepper dice, scallions, almonds and wrap with lettuce. Place on serving platter.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Travel Tip: Number 4





















Drunk Roommates, stupid holidays where everything is close, Library full of Homeless people. Swine Flu, Thanksgiving, Custom Fairy Tales, The Box movie review

Monday, November 9, 2009

I won my case!



I just got a letter in the mail from the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement informing me that I won my case against Best Buy! I won every single one of the legal issues or California Labor Code violations/claims that I brought up, but I was not awarded the maximum amount in terms of monetary fines/penalties that I could have been awarded. For while I was able to prove that Best Buy did not pay me all of my wages at the time I was last employed, the judge thought I waited too long to file and therefor did not award me the 30 day maximum penalty. Which would have been over $2,500! I am actually a little bit upset about this as the statue of limitation for such a penalty fine is 3 years and I was within this time frame when I filed, so I should have gotten the full amount. I also did not get paid for all of the breaks I was denied or called off of, as there were at least 50 and I was only awarded 21. Though Best Buy will receive additional fines from the State for each 226.7 violation, which is really nice as I am pretty sure they are at least $100 to $1,000 a pop for each violation!


Still it is really nice to be vindicated after all this time in a court of law and I cannot wait to see the face of my old manager the next time I go into Best Buy. I also plan to mention that despite the fact that he lied in open court and committed perjury, he did not win! Although I am seriously considering filing an appeal as I think I should receive the additional late payment of final wages penalty fine, since I was within the 3 year statue of limitations. I also think I should get the penalties for all breaks and lunches not received and not just the 21 times I was awarded by the judge. For according to the criteria he used, I should have been awarded over for over 100 missed breaks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mardi Gras: Here I come!



In just a few short months I will be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, for the very first time in my entire life! This is something I have been meaning to do for years now and I have just never managed to get around to it. Like booking a hotel before they were all sold out or even bothering to find out when the exact date for Mardi Gras was. Since it falls on different days and months each year. One of the few US Holidays that actually has a floating date, like Easter and Thanksgiving. Though they always land on their corresponding days of the week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween






This year I decided that I am actually going to do something for Halloween, as I usually do not do anything. Dress up, hand out candy and/or go to Trick or Treating. But since I have a nice Pilgrim outfit and all, I decided that I would actually go out. The Annual Halloween Parade in West Hollywood is supposed to be a pretty lavish affair and I have never been despite that the fact I have lived in Los Angeles for over 10 years now.

Drink, Drank, Drunk





All recipes posted here are a composite of random recipes found online, in various cookbooks, taken from family, friends, neighbors and dishes/creations I have tried and/or made myself. Any similarity to people's personal or unique family recipes is purely coincidental, and no one actually owns the rights to any food combinations if you think about it. No matter how unique. Food for thought?!





Yen Yen


1.5 oz Vodka
.5 oz Canton Ginger liqueur
.5 oz cucumber puree
Splash of club soda

Mix the ingredients, and ice, in a cocktail shaker and serve in chilled martini glasses.

Bee's Mash



6 thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
1/2 plum, cut
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz wildflower honey
1 1/2 oz Jack Daniels
Rocks glass

Muddle basil leaves, honey and lime juices. Add ice, Jack, and cut plums. Shake and pour over new ice in rocks glass


Friday, October 30, 2009

Laundry Time






Unfortunately where I live now, there is no laundry room...Actually there is, I am just not allowed to use it. You see I live in a house with 5 othetr people, though before I returned from Europe there were only 4 other people living there. Apparently while I was away they converted part of the dinning room into a makeshift room, which is totally illegal since they did not get authorization or the proper building permits, but I digress. Essentially if everyone in the house were to use the washer and dryer, the water bill would soar through the roof, so we are not allowed to use it. Though I suspect that some members of the house are allowed to use it, as the house where I live in very ethnocentric to say the least. Either way when I need to do laundry I have to put all the stuff I wish to wash in a duffel bag and traipse to the local laundry mat and listen to people speak in Spanish for roughly two hours as well as be forced to watch Telemundo on the various TV screens strewn throughout the facility.


Which is actually not all that bad, for the place is near two fast food restaurants, a chinese place, a 7-11 and a grocery store. So I usually do some grocery shopping, grab a snack, read or work on my homework, which I find to be relaxing.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dream A Little Dream:Part 3

Last night I had one of the most bizarre dreams, most likely because I drank a bunch of Nightquil before I went to bed. Basically I came home to where I was living in the dream, only to find that most of my stuff was missing or had been moved. The room I had was sometimes in an actual house or apartment and sometimes it was outside which was strange. Either way when I came home to find out that most of my stuff was missing I freaked out. I started yelling and demanding that the person who took my stuff suffer and that all my property be returned.


Eventually I found out that my landlord, with a German-esque accent, moved my stuff so he could have a hugh party. Which pissed me out as I would have been Okay with a party, just not someone going through my stuff and then lying about it. I woke up completely angry and thought it was real for a little while.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The SF Exotic Erotic Ball






As you are reading this I will most likely be very, very drunk and surrounded by naked people...or mostly naked people. For I will be at the Annual Perry Mann Exotic Erotic Ball , partying it up with a bunch of people in costume or not as the case maybe. For this event is essentially an adult/naughty Halloween Costume Party, where pretty much anything goes. As a great number of people there are Butt-Naked and possibly engaging in public sex. At least they have been each year that I have gone, and it is not always a pretty site. Which reminds me, here is some advice for first timers or even veterans. Make sure that special girl you are talking to or letting touch your dick, is actually a woman! I remember last year I saw a couple of guys getting blown or jerked off and the girls who were servicing, were not girls if you ask me. In fact I felt as if I should warn the people involved, but then I figured that maybe they already knew and just didn't care, or it was their thing?! You never know at uch events, as some people just like to act out sexually in Public. Now me on the other hand, I am more of your even mix of exhibitionist and voyeur. It just depends on the company and/or how much alcohol I have drunk, as I am very dirty/horny drunk. Usually I just take a lot of pictures, which I will post at a later date since this post was actually written in advance and I have not technically taken any 2009 pictures yet. But rest assured that I will be taking many a picture come the ball! If you have any questions and/or would like to attend next year's ball, please feel free to email me at travelwhore09@gmail.com or check out the link above. In fact tickets for this year's ball are still available at the door as well, if you happen to live in the SF area and are close to the Cow Palace.


















Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tipping Baggage Handlers, Airport Security, Van Nuys Flyaway not taking cash, Gay bashers beaten up by UFC in drag, custom art work post, Castlevania...More

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Currently waiting to see Swedish band The Sounds at the Wiltern. Didn't knom 3 bands were performing and that it was all ages. I've taken many, many pictures

Scary Ass Big Black Tranny!






After I attended the KROQ Transformers: ROTF DVD release party, I took the first bus home. Which actually took a lot longer than it should have, and that is all because of a very large, and very scary-nasty looking black Tranny in a wheelchair. A motorized wheelchair I might add that was so overloaded with useless crap, and Nick knacks that the tranny couldn't even board the bus. So everyone on the bus had was forced to wait for at least 10 minutes while the tranny attempted again and again to get into the bus, by backing up, and turning again and again. By which point everyone on the bus, including me was absolutely furious! As there was no reason why all of us had to wait for some mentally unstable freak in a wheelchair, whom I don't even think really needed a wheelchair in the first place. As the tranny was so grossly overweight, to the point that I imagine it was difficult for him to walk only because of that. Plus the tranny was obviously enjoying being the center of attention, even negative attention, that it was doubly annoying.


Now normally I really try to be an open minded person, to not judge and to be tolerant of those who are very different from myself. But the tranny I encountered was the kind of person I cannot stand and I have very little patience for in the real world. I only wish I had a picture of the tranny's face so I could show you what an absolute mess he was, but I only got pictures of the tranny from behind. Still you can clearly see from the photos that the tranny in question was a very large black man, way too large to ever fool anyone that they are or could ever be anything other than a man. With a voice that was so incredibly deep that there was nothing feminine about him aside from the crap he tangled within his nasty bird's nest of a wig and the tacky trailer trash jewelery and clothing he was wearing. He literally looked like some patch work doll, mixing a little bit of what every Hollywood stereotype of tranny or hooker looks like. Which let me tell you, is a look not even a beautiful woman can pull off. Let alone some utterly disgusting large-ass black tranny.

Living in the Real World



Before I start my little Rant, I want to make it perfectly clear that this Blog has nothing to do with the Mtv show, The Real World at all. Living in the Real World refers only to the realities of living is this world, which we all live, breath, and work in, not some cable reality show. And with that out of the way, I wanted to talk about how disconnected some people can be from reality and the real world. Not in the sense that they are mentally ill or suffer from some form of dementia and cannot recognize their true surroundings. I am talking about people who for one reason or another, religious or personal beliefs, simply ignore the realities of the world that they live in and that is seemingly around them at all time.


A good example of this would be the dugars family. This is a family that because of their religious beliefs, have had 18 children so far and a 19th is on the way very soon. Now i am very hesitant to stop on some one's religious or personal views, but I am still going to use them as an example of people who are not living in the real world. The father of this family is not a wealthy individual, and the mother is a full time stay at home mom...I mean should would have to be with so many kids. So this is a family that really cannot afford to have so many kids. Hence they have chosen to ignore one of the realities of the world. Next there are only 24 hours in a day, that's it. The average person needs about 8 hours of sleep, give or take an hours if they are older or younger. That means realistically the family at most has 16 hours of daily interactions, but this number does not include the hours spent going to school, eating, getting ready, showering, running errands, cooking/preparing meals and so on. Which only leaves realistically 8 hours or less for daily interactions. Now if we divide 8 hours amongst 19 kids, that is only 25.26 minutes a kid per day, and this might even include both parents at the same time since they do have to work and you assume the younger children require more supervision than the older kids. Either way once again the realities of the world and even time are being ignored by this family, and this is not the only example.


Now this one might be really controversial for some people, as it has very strong religious ties for a great many people but it is a perfect example of refusing to acknowledge the realities of the real world yet again. In India the (insert name) River is a very sacred and holy place. People come from all over to bath in the holy waters of this river as well as drink them. This river is also where the people of India wash themselves, their clothes, their livestock, dump waste, and their dead. making it one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the entire world! Yet because it holds religious significance, people still flock to it and drink of it daily. These severely populated waters have been linked to the high rate of birth defects in India as well as several diseases, infections and even deaths. But that does not matter to the people of India who still regard this river as being sacred.
even though it is in fact poisonous.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bob's Big Boy






When I was growing up it was fairly common to eat at a Bob's Big Boy, and I remember it being a rather nice experience overall. Though the last time I had Bob's Big Boy I think I was still a teenager or younger, and there hasn't been a Bobs Big Boy in my neighborhood since the early 90's, and even then I didn't eat there. I do remember their Blue Cheese salad dressing being really good though, which I imagine is the reason why they sell it commercially at most super markets. Though personally I don't like to spend 5 bucks on a jar of salad dressing that I know will only last me a week at most, irregardless of how good it is. Still it is always nice to have a little piece of one's childhood or to be reminded on ones childhood, especially the older one becomes. So many places I really enjoyed eating at as a kid, have since gone away, never to return. And not only does it make one feel incredible old, it is also really disheartening. Like tiny pieces of yourself have drifted away, never to be see or heard from again.


I still haven't tried the new Bob's Big Boy, and do not plan to til November at the earliest. I have too many tests this month as well as my trip to the Bay Area and the EEB in San Francisco. For until next month I will not have the time, plus I have seen a rather long line outside of the just opened one near me, or more precisely near my former university. Once I have gone there again though, I will make sure to right some sort of review as well as take a few pictures of what they currently have to offer. I just hope it still tastes like my childhood memories.