Berkeley (2) Book (3) Cinderella (1) Disney (2) Dog (6) Dragon Tattoo (1) Food (7) Gardening (1) Graduation (1) Hunger Games (1) J.K. Rowling (1) Life (12) Lisa See (1) Little Mermaid (1) Milpitas (1) Movie (2) Novel (3) NPR (1) Plants (1) Restaurant (7) Review (12) San Jose (2) School (1) Thoughts (6) Tofu (6) Travel (1) Vacation (1) Vegas (1)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Long time no see :]

I guess I have been lazy not updating the blog and half a year went by... 

Well the time is always now and I'm back on!! 


As I was organizing my hard drive, I found some old pictures and I got so excited and started (literally) screaming. I would like to share these and hope you like them as much as I did. :] 

AHH baby tofu!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!! 





Monday, December 12, 2011

May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor

As many of you know, I am an avid reader and lover of books. Earlier this summer, I have vowed to read more books and I am happy to say that even though I am not reading as much as I would like to, I am reading more than I usually would in college. Though I have read some books in between my last book review, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I have decided to write a review on a very popular craze, The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games is written by Suzanne Collins and this book finally provides an interesting storyline away from magic and vampires. I will not give too much away, but I will make some references to about what I feel the book is like. The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which there is no states or cities, but everything is broken up into districts. There are thirteen districts and the Capitol. The Capitol is the centralized government that leads all the other districts. However, the districts rebelled because they were being oppressed and unfortunately they lost. Through the chaos, District Thirteen was wiped out and there lay only Districts One through Twelve. Furthermore, in order to remind the Districts who is in control
of their little lives, the Capitol created the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games gathers two "tributes" from each district, boy and girl, to enter the Capitol into a battle arena, in which an all out battle royale is taken place. These twenty-four tributes from the ages of 12 to 18, I believe, must fight to the death until only one is proven to be victor. Everything is recorded live as entertainment for the Capitol. And so, it is during this dreadful, inhumane society do we first meet our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.

Now on to my review of this trilogy. I have to say that it is once again a nice change from magic and vampire books. Personally, I do not think this trilogy is the next Harry Potter series, but I do believe that this book is a lot more interesting than the Twilight series. The invention of the Hunger Games is pure genius to me and I give props to Suzanne Collins for coming up with an elaborate and intricate new world with new rules and traditions.

However, there are some flaws I see with this book. First, is the writing of this book. The writing of this book is very simple and probably not beyond a middle school reading level. However, I feel as though Suzanne Collins noticed the criticism she was getting with her writing and started using a lot more complex vocabulary in her last book, Mockingjay, which is fine but with the way she writes it feels as though those words are forced into the sentences instead of flowing with the sentences. Second, the ending of this trilogy is way too rushed and I had to re-read parts of the last book several times to understand what the heck is going on. Then also, this ending felt a little too Candide by Voltaire for me. I don't want to give the ending away so if you read it, I think you'll understand what I am saying. Lastly, I feel as though Suzanne Collins was too focused on plot twists instead of the character development in the last two books. There are some holes in the plot that doesn't make sense to me, but for the sake of finishing the book or for the sake of the plot twist making sense it needs to be there.

Overall, I feel as though the Hunger Games is a great book and is very interesting. You can't help but fall in love with some of these characters and empathize with these characters. However, as a trilogy, I do not know if I would give it such great marks, but the way the book is written, you have no choice but to read on. Therefore, I recommend reading this book and please drop a comment if you agree or disagree with my views on this book.

Also, I can't wait for the movie to come up in the summer of 2012. Here is the trailer~

"Only I keep wishing I could think of a way the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games."

-Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Going Banana

Hello wonderful people of random blogging~

I know it has been a while since there has been any post, but what better way to start off the holidays with another food blast!

Once again, the restaurant I am highlighting today is located up in Northern California at Milpitas, CA. This restaurant has always caught my eye when I went up north and I finally had the privilege to try it.

The restaurant's name is called Banana Leaf... It looks pretty cozy and it is :]

This dish is called Roti Murtabak, which is a multi-layered bread with beef, egg, and onion dipped in curry sauce... yum~

This was the curry sauce and it was delicious!

This is how it looked with all the goodness spread on it

This was one of the poultry dishes and it was great, but hard to eat alone so you need some sort of rice to help you through this course

This is where the Pineapple Fried Rice comes in and this plate is delicious as it is inviting. It is made up of pineapple bits (obviously), cashews, shrimps, chicken and peas

This dish is called the Malay Sizzling Beef, and yes it is sizzling hot~ this was also a great addition to the combination we had

Yea, it was a lot to get through, but it was sooo good!

There was of course room for dessert! This was deep-fried mango ice cream and deep-fried banana

Overall, this was a great experience and I hope that there will be more opportunities to try more exotic food. Never be afraid to try new foods and culture because you'll be surprised how much you are missing out if you are afraid to be open minded and hearted.

"I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food"

-Erma Bombeck

Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I went to dine in the dim sum restaurant that Bear went to while visiting Nor Cal. The place is called 'Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Harbor' and is in the city of Sunnyvale.

Anyways, it is usually packed with people and the wait can be as long as an hour. I suggest arriving a bit early for the lunch to decrease the wait time outside the door.

When you are first seated, you will order drinks. I personally always get jasmine tea. It warms you up before the big meal and the sweet fragrant of the tea is just refreshing.

As Bear have described in the previous blog, waitresses walk around with their carts full of dim sum and other dishes. I tried to take several pictures, but since I just grab whatever seems delicious, the actual name of each dishes are a mystery for me.

The last picture is the chewy sesame-seed-red-bean-paste ball, so I call it. Awesome desert after a perfect meal.

If you love Asian food, this is a lovely place to visit. If you have not tried, my suggestion is to go for seafood dim sum, because the spice used in other types can be a bit overwhelming for "beginners." :]

Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Harbor on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Life of San Jose

Hey everyone~

It's been a while since I've written a post and so I would like to apologize for my inconsistency. I'll try harder to be more intune with my posts so that you guys know what's up. However, I would like to give props to Bunny for keeping up with the posts with a lot of interesting movies and books. As you all may have seen, we have decided to change our pseudonym from Mellon to Bunny and from Rawr to Bear after long consideration and administrative discussions.

So today's post is going to be very interesting because I had the pleasure of visiting Nor Cal around the San Jose area.

This was one of the views I had as I was coming up north from Los Angeles. It was really amazing and just serene.

Soon after, I was able to enjoy the nice environment of a park called the Memorial Park in Cupertino. This park apparently hold a lot of festivals and a Diwali Festival of Lights was happening while I was there. It was actually pretty cool and this park was definitely the best parks I've ever been to. Then shortly I was able to eat Hawaiian BBQ nearby, but I couldn't get any pictures of it sadly. However, all I can say is that the macaroni salad was bomb! It is one of the places I really want to revisit again and eat some BBQ.

Afterwards, I was able to enjoy the Festival and got a dessert called Fallooda (I think that's how it is spelled), which was a rose flavored ice cream drink. The taste was really good but inside the drink there were some sort of noodle strings in the drink, which honestly I could've done without. Then after we were able to go to Honeyberry and try some buns. Let me tell you if heaven was made out of buns they would use these to make heaven.

This is what it's called and it's a very humble store. Apparently, there are two or maybe even more stores that are open for business. However, this store is part of the original Honeyberry chain and it was just so, so delicious.

This was roti bun and it was just so good. I love the insides because it's just so soft like clouds.

This one was the butter bun and even though it's a little bit more expensive, I feel as though it was worth the money. It's so good there is a buttery coating inside and it's just mouth-watering

After we came here, we were able to go get a toffee flavored coffee, which was very refreshing. Soon after, I checked in my hotel and relaxed. Then it was time for dinner and we went to a Vietnamese restaurant to try something than Pho. I forget the name of the dish but let me tell you that not only is this dish tasty but way filling. It's pretty much only vegetables but after a few bites in, you magically become full.

This was the restaurant we went to

This was the mountain of vegetables, filled with lettuce, basil, cilantro, and other good stuff

We separated the vegetables, and as you can see we also get fish sauce

This is what it looks like~ The outside is some sort of crispy, fried substance

Inside, there are a lot of meat and bean sprouts

This was the aftermath of the dinner... so, filling!

After such a dinner, I slept and the next morning I was in for a surprise because I was taken to a great dim sum place near Milpitas. Honestly, if you never had dim sum... you are leading a very sad life... GO GET SOME! For people who do not know how dim sum works, you sit down on a table and instead of ordering from a menu, you have waiters/waitresses walking around with carts and you pick the ones you want to eat from the cart. They then tabulate what you get onto a card, which you turn in at the end of you meal to determine your check.

This was probably the shrimp dim sum

This one was definitely one of my favorites. It was so good that I ordered extras to take home!

This was probably the scallop dim sum

This one is like a sesame bum with beans inside and also some sticky rice to the side~

This one was my favorite of all the dishes I had and it's just so good and tasty. Don't worry the sauce around the dim sum isn't soy sauce and yes you do eat it like that. The texture is so soft and it just melts in your mouth! Sooo GOOD!!

Other dim sum items

In the end, my trip up north was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. I couldn't have asked for more and it was just blessing experience to try so many new things with all of them turning out great. I hope to visit again soon because I just had a great time here~ Go visit if you have the time!

Tofu also came with me to keep me company, and as you can see he also had a great time relaxing :]

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."

- George Bernard Shaw

Monday, October 3, 2011

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I have finally finished this book which I started a while ago.

I enjoyed The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses, both by Amy Tan, so when an article said that Lisa See is the next Amy Tan, I had to read her work.

I realized that there will be a movie based on this novel. Since I never like watching the movie first before reading the original book, it was my intention to finish the book before the movie was released. It seems like the movie did not do quite well in the box office. Regardless, I plan on watching the movie sooner or later.

The book's main theme is the friendship between two Chinese women in 19th century. Mainly due to the setting of the novel, it contains vast amount of cultural tradition, customs and idealism in 19th century China. Growing up in relatively traditional Asian family, I was able to comprehend many of the idealism and traditions. However, many non-Asian-culture-friendly readers may not understand certain aspects or tilt their head about eccentric customs. What all readers should understand, in my opinion, is that most Asian tradition is based on spiritual symbolism and patriarchal lineage.

The book mostly deals with women tradition and stories. One of those that Lisa See chose to elaborate was the foot binding. The book describes that based on the size and the shape of the bound foot, women can achieve happy life or can be thrown into a pit of misery. The process of foot binding requires breaking bones in each foot to shape them into small, beautiful and perfect "golden lilies." The smaller your bound feet are, the better family you will marry into for better status and life. Based on the book, main characters, Lily and Snow Flower's feet were perfect in shape and size to ensure their happiness.

In case you wonder, like I did, what bound feet looks like or how small they become, I add a picture.

When I visited Hong Kong when I was very young, I remember seeing a small pair of shoes of display in a museum. Please, correct me if I am wrong, but those shoes were to be put on young girls to prevent their feet from growing any bigger. The reason as written on the description panel was that it was to prevent any young women from running away either from their future husband or family. Lisa See repeatedly states throughout the book that women are worthless and is considered nothing more than bearers of children.

Another women tradition mentioned and utilized is nu shu, women's secret writing. In the author's note, Lisa See explains her study and journey to discover and understand the words and songs women used to express themselves. Women in "ancient" China did not have much right to meddle with the "outside realm of men" and were expected to sit in upstairs chambers quietly. Since they were not allowed to be educated or learn "men's writing," women invented women's secret writing, nu shu, to be kept hidden from men's knowledge. It is this nu shu that Snow Flower and Lily write on their secret fan, symbol of their everlasting friendship.

Besides unusual traditions and customs, the journey of two laotong, or old sames, continues, for better or worse, as their lives goes on, changes and comes to an end.

To be honest, I could not hold my tears toward the end of the novel and I believe it is because I saw myself in Lily and Snow Flower. We need and aspire someone to love and someone who will love us unconditionally. Maybe you will find a piece of yourself in Lily or Snow Flower.

Well, now the wait for the movie to be released on DVD!! :]

"When a girl, obey your father; when a wife, obey your husband; when a widow, obey your son. But my mother-in-law taught me another axiom one day, when she was aggravated with her husband: "Obey, obey, obey, then do what you want.""

- From Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See -

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

After watching The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, I found a link to this movie. I heard about the first sequel being bad. I actually have it on my DVD rack, but never had the chance to watch it. When I saw the link, I thought, why not.

Although Cinderella is the most popular and famous Disney character of all, I personally am not so fond of it. Maybe it is because she is so helpless and portrays the image that a woman's life solely depends on the guy she meets. I know that the first Cinderella movie was made in 1950, but this sequel was made in 2007, way after Ariel and Belle came along. Maybe that is why I expected Cinderella to be more active and independent, seeking some personal development.

Well, the movie did the exact opposite.

Here goes my very sarcastic summary and review of the movie.

The movie starts with Fairy Godmother trying to throw a nice dinner party(?) for the newly wedded couple. In the middle of her usual 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," she somehow manages to toss the wand. Yea, because she is that old and have shaky hands. And guess what, one of the sisters, Anastasia picks up the wand and bring it home.

Lady Tremaine: "Oh yes, the wand!! I'm the ultimate villain now!!!!"
Sisters: "Yay~"

Lady Tremaine: "Anastasia, since you brought the wand, I will let you get married to the prince."
(Here, she is being reasonable and kind to let Anastasia be the one instead of Drizella, because she is the one who found the wand.)

Anastasia: "Thanks mom!! Will the prince really love me? I always wanted someone to love me."
(Here, we see that she is a helplessly romantic person.)

Cinderella: "You can't do that. Prince will know that I am the one he wants to marry as soon as he sees me. And my shoe size is 4 and 1/2."
(She is being very confident that her beauty captured the prince's heart entirely. She is implying that she shall marry no one but the prince.)

Cinderella: "Sister, let me handle this with this wand our mother stole from my fairy godmother. Obviously, you have no right to have happily ever after because I will get married to the prince and be a princess."

Cinderella: "Now I finally will have Prince Charming!! I knew it would end like this."
Prince: "You are so beautiful...unlike your ugly sister that I did not feel anything by touching hands. I will marry you though I didn't even know your name two minutes ago."
(Here, if you look carefully in the picture, Cinderella is smirking. As if to say, I've won the battle b***h. And also, you can tell Prince Charming obviously wants her as a trophy wife.)

Well, at the end, Prince Charming and Cinderella get married and live happily ever after again. One question about the picture below: I thought Cinderella was the main character in the movie? Why did she turn her head to the right to kiss? She should have turned left to show more of her face? I don't know. I'm weird.

I understand that the whole theme is supposed to be "true love is the greatest thing of all." But what I don't understand is, why does Cinderella have to act like a gold digger? And other thing, why did Disney have to draw her as a blonde with blue eyes? I guess the original movie was indeed made in 1950.

In my view, her sister Anastasia is more genuine and considerate. She believes in true love and have a heart to yield and wish Cinderella the happiness. From what I have read, the Cinderella II is about Anastasia finding her true love. I am kind of glad that I watched this sequel first, because it would be more chronologically correct.

I have read this line from somewhere (it is not exactly how it was worded):
Rich, smart and good-looking men do not want girls with pretty face, sexy body and an empty brain. They would rather get married to smart, ugly girls and spend a small part of their fortune to make them beautiful. You can hide and improve your looks, but an empty brain cannot be hidden in any way.

What I am saying is, if you dream about fairy tale and the prince coming to rescue you from all misery of life, you probably won't get it. It is not likely to happen in real life, anyways. Why do you think Disney and other TV shows make so much money out of "happily ever after"?

My final comment is, I am just glad that Ariel and Belle came along to change the image and role of heroines, and hope that the trend continues.

And here is one thing that Cinderella got right in the entire movie (there is a reason why 'fantasy' is called 'fantasy').

"I've always dreamed, that my life could be like a fairy tale, a perfect fantasy. 
But it was nothing more than a dream."

-Cinderella in Cinderella III: A Twist in Time -