Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bolognese and Breaking

Last night, I went to a fun lecture with Bax, Giggles, and Giggles' boyfriend. Before we went to the Central Library, we grabbed a quick dinner at Maria's Italian Kitchen.
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At this downtown location, you have the option of "express" or "nicer" dining.
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Even though we were in a hurry, we opted for "nicer."
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Our server assured us that she could get us out in 45 minutes if none of us chose a baked dish. She was so cheery and personable -- really good service.

Bax's fresh broccoli al pesto with cream ($13.99) was tasty enough.
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My meat ravioli ($12.99) was stuffed with beef and pork and served with marinara sauce. Decent.
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Giggles' southwest chicken salad and her boyfriend's barbecue chicken chopped salad ($8.99 each for half portions) looked adequate.
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Our server came through with her promise of getting us out in 45 minutes. Her note on our check was funny. We were glad that we had an ok meal so quickly.
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And we were off to the library!
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The program, "Breaking in Its 30s: The Maturing of Hip Hop's Dance Art," was presented by ALOUD, a free series of lectures, readings, performances, and discussions.
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I thought it was funny that an old white lady did the introduction. Actually, there were lots of old white people in the audience. That's usually the case at these free library events.
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Imani Kai Johnson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, gave a brief talk about breaking through the years. It is the subject of her dissertation. She explained her analysis of "cyphers," or hip hop dance circles.
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Johnson moderated a discussion about the evolution of hip hop with choreographer Raphael Xavier (a.k.a. "Viazeen") and pioneer b-boy Edmundo Loayza (a.k.a. "Poe One")
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We were delighted when Poe One pulled up some audience members to demonstrate a few basic moves.

Two-step + scoop + Batman

Picture + sweep + spin

Hip hop is a mixture of popping, locking, and breaking with a different swagger.

Hip hop is kind of like a free-for-all dance.

Poe One demonstrates some locking moves.

A pop is when you hit your body, kind of like an electric shock.

Poe One opines on crumping.

Viazeen explains that locking and popping existed long before breaking.

Viazeen talks about the choreography of breaking.

After the program, Giggles drove me home. Then I watched So You Think You Can Dance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Malaysian Meal, Moment Magnitude

Giggles and I met three new friends (well, new to me) for lunch at Little Malaysia (3944 N. Peck Road, El Monte) today.
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Little Malaysia resides in an unassuming strip mall and is filled with somewhat rickety chairs and odd green decor.

But the food is good and the prices decent.

If you've never had Malaysian food, it is sort of like a combination of Chinese, Indian, and Thai. The flavors are plentiful and powerful. Like your food bland? Go elsewhere!

I enjoyed my Malaysian iced tea with milk ($2.50). It tasted like the milk tea at boba places.
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Roti canai ($5.95) is an Indian-style pancake that is a crispy and savory and served with a side of tasty vegetarian curry and sugar. Loved this. Great way to start!
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I don't recall the name of this dish, but it was a tasty mix of shrimp, vegetables, and egg noodles.
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I really liked the penang hokkien mee soup ($6.75), which was comprised of egg noodles, shrimp, pork ribs, egg, and bean sprouts. The broth was delish.
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I don't remember which fried rice dish was, but it was beautiful and colorful.
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The spicy lemon grass chicken ($8.25), steeped with chili and herbs, was a crowd-pleaser. Sweet and ever-so-slightly spicy.
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This gorgeous array is nasi lemak ($8.25) -- coconut-pandan rice, vegetables, curried shrimp, fried anchovies and peanuts, and dried shrimp and chili sambal on top of a boiled egg. I thought it was kind of like a Malaysian version of a bento!
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An added bonus during our Malay foray was that I saw the car of my attainable dreams. I'd swooned over it at the auto show late last year, but it was quite something to see one in the wild. Oh, Mini Clubman! Maybe next year!
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During our lunch, one of our dining companions got a phone call asking if she was ok. Apparently, there'd been an earthquake during our short drive to lunch! We hadn't felt a thing! It was only a 5.4, but people were really freaked out. I checked my BlackBerry, and I saw that I had a whole bunch of e-mails. (Thank you, everybody who checked up on me today!)

We returned to the office, and everybody was outside. The CIA had evacuated. When we were finally allowed into the building, we witnessed a bit of damage -- a fallen ceiling panel.
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Ooh. Ahh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Please, You Smile Too Noisy"

Have you ever been shushed? As an adult? No, I'm being serious here. Have you ever actually been told to be quiet in a public place?

I have.

A couple times, in fact. Once at a bar. Once at a nail salon.

And it happened today again.

Bax, Giggles, and I went to our trusty My Dung with our summer clerks for lunch today. As usual, we had a great time with lots of laughs.

Too many laughs apparently.

A waitress came over to our table, looked me in the eye, and said in broken English, "Please, you smile too noisy."

Really? Really?!

The restaurant was full of people, full of chatter, full of noise. There was a crying child behind me for Christ's sake. Wailing. Kicking.


Half of us thought the waitress was kidding. Half of us thought she wasn't. Giggles said she was going to get to the bottom of this. She got up, walked over to the waitress, and asked her.

The waitress wasn't kidding.

Giggles told the manager. He apologized. He said that people should be happy when they eat.

Too little, too late.

My noisy smile and I are not going back.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Role Reversal

In a turn of events, Diabolina gave me a gift at her birthday party last night. Who is this girl?! She is really something else!

First, if you read Diabolina's blog, you know that she had the good fortune of attending Tarina Tarantino's recent Pink Plastic Party. Second, if you read her blog, you also know that she got two lovely gift bags from the event, thanks to the willingness of Mr. D to secure a second bag. Third, if you read the comments on her blog, you know that I was so impressed by the bag. Fourth, if you've been reading my blog for some time now, you know that I love Tarina Tarantino.

Well, she did it. Diabolina gave that second bag to me. Me! Too much! Adore!
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Thank you, D, for the awesomeness that is the gift bag. Thank you, Mr. D, for helping to get it. Thank you both for being so thoughtful. Thank you both for the best time last night. Love you guys!

And I'm Not Sorry

Becoming Madonna the Dominatrix for Diabolina's birthday party was no easy task, nor was de-Madonna-izing, so I thought it merited a separate documentary post.

Again, for those of you who don't know the "Human Nature" video, feast your eyes on this:

We begin at Escape Salon (185 E. Glenarm Street, Pasadena), where the owner Sandra, a referral from Jared at my local Salon Eleven, took me under her wing.
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Let the transformation begin!
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Sandra was very accommodating about my capturing the metamorphosis. Lucky for me, my friend R, who happened to be in the area for her friend's barbecue, was so amused by the thought of my getting cornrows that she stopped by and helped me take pictures!

These pictures are all R's fine work. I wish Mr. Monkey were as good as she is.

Behold the oodles of synthetic hair that was braided into my own hair.
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The big fat cornrows take form. Did they hurt? Only the ones on the side. Sandra gave me props for being so still.
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After the braids were done, Sandra dipped them into scalding hot water to seal them. Since I was only going to wear them one night, there wasn't a need to burn them at the ends.
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R and I stand in my cornrowed triumph.
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Here's a look from the back.
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I went to Diabolina's party a few hours later. My Allen Iverson 'do was a hit. People marveled.

When I got home, I considered sleeping in my cornrows. They smelled a little funny and were sort of greasy. It was 2:30 a.m. But they had to come out. My head kind of hurt. A few hours of braids were more than enough for me.

I meticulously unraveled each braid, plait by plait. It wasn't that hard, but it took awhile because I had to be careful not to get all the synthetic hair tangled. Here I am halfway through. I don't know why I'm smiling at 3:00 a.m.
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All the braids are out!
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That's a lot of fake hair.
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And, after a shower, I am back to normal.
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With a little help from some aspirin, my head feels a whole lot better now.

Madonna and Michael Madness

Diabolina threw a fabulous party last night at Orchid. She turns 31 tomorrow! The theme of the party was "My Madonna and Michael Jackson Masquerade."

Since we sort of copped out at Mr. Diabolina's '90s party by just putting on some flannel shirts, we decided we needed to go all out in honor of everybody's favorite fashionista.

For those of you less familiar with Madonna's body of work, I present to you images from her "Human Nature" video.
Now that you've seen the inspiration, witness the insanity! Lots and lots and lots of pictures. You've been warned.
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Sable Crow was a most excellent smooth criminal.
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Short pants and white socks were all the rage.
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We love Diabolina's mommy! She is so adorable. She was laughing so hard at Mr. Monkey's singing. She particularly liked when he pursed his lips when "oohing" during songs! We had a good time scrutinizing his karaoke techniques!
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Everybody loves Diabolina's mommy!
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Diabolina gave a whole new meaning to "President Bush."
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We tried on the wig and hat that Diabolina's mom wore earlier in the evening.
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Then Mr. Monkey decided he wanted to wear a tiara.
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Braving the snickers and raised eyebrows of my condo's security guards, the other patrons of Orchid, and the valets -- all worth it. To my surprise, my crazy catsuit was not nearly as hot and uncomfortable as I'd anticipated. Phew.

Stay tuned for my next post: the documentation of becoming scary dominatrix Madonna and the aftermath!
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