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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

...Try, Try Again.

My NYC trip two weekends ago was an application of the proverb:  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

New York City Depositions and Me
Several years ago, I was assigned to do an emergency deposition.  The assignment came to me on the morning before the day the deposition was actually scheduled.  Seeing as how the deposition was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. EST on a Friday, and I received my assignment at 9:00 a.m. PST (at the earliest) on Thursday, I had less than 24 hours to acquaint myself with the relevant issues, assemble exhibits, and fly across the country.

Because my ticket was bought on short notice, it was slim pickings as far as seats were concerned.  I was booked on the red-eye in the middle seat of the last row, which did not recline.  During my entire flight, I had my light on so that I could work.  My neighbors were just ecstatic to have me sitting next to them.  Well, I finally made it to NYC at around 6 a.m., and checked into my hotel by around 7:30 a.m.  I decided to take a quick shower to wash off the travel before heading to my deposition location.  When I got out of the shower, there was a voicemail waiting for me--"Come home.  The depo's cancelled."


So, when on my Friday flight to NYC two weekends ago, my middle seat malfunctioned and refused to recline, I took that as an omen.  I just knew that something would go wrong.  Sure enough, late that night on Friday, I was informed that the witness's flight back into town was cancelled due to storms and his deposition, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. the next day, could not start until 2 p.m.  At the time, I tried to contact the court reporter and videographer to see if they could stay late on Saturday but no dice.  Nobody called me back to confirm.  Luckily, they were able to stay late and I was able to complete my first NYC deposition!  When at first I didn't succeed, I tried, tried again.  Here are the people who made it happen: the videographer, the stenographer, and the receptionist.

(Note:  Some of you might recall that I once took a deposition in NYC successfully but you'd be wrong.  It was in Brooklyn.)

Kalbi and Me
When I was in NYC this last time, I stayed in Koreatown.  My first time!  When in Koreatown, must eat Korean food.  Freelance Midget recommended two places for me--Don's Bogam and Kunjip.  Kunjip was described as "more authentic."  My first night there, I tried my darndest to eat at Kunjip!  I really did.  When I got there, the line was out the door and past the door of the neighboring restaurant.  So I wandered around, saw the New York Public Library (*claps!!*), wondered why the streets of New York are lined with trash bags, and when I circled back to Kunjip, there was still a line out the door!  By this time, my nonmach could not take it anymore, so I went to Don's Bogam.  I feasted on the fried potstickers (love the sesame seeds in the sauce) and the kalbi bimbopereebop (short ribs and rice in a hot stone pot).  All of this came with side dishes of various pickled vegetables, including, of course, kimchi.  But, this was the first time I've ever seen kimchi presented in a neat stack.  Here is what the full meal looks like.

I was rather disappointed that I did not get the chance to sample the "more authentic" Kunjip, but this was before I knew about the Fortunate Incident of the Witness' Cancelled Flight.  That caused me to have to change my return flight from Saturday night to Sunday morning, meaning that I got one more night in NYC and a second chance to eat at Kunjip!

When at first I didn't succeed, I tried, tried again.  This time, there was just a short line outside the restaurant, but once I gained entry, I was placed in an internal line.  Very tricksy and false.  But that's okay because it gave me the chance to look at how people were eating the kalbi.  The night before, when I failed to have kalbi (I only had the stone pot kalbi and not the cooked-at-your-table kalbi), Midge texted me so many times to chastise me.  She even insisted that I get up at 3am to go eat at the 24-hours Kunjip.  Again, I was given a variety of sides, including the very important and tasty shredded green onions in sauce (left side of photo) and the bean paste.  Most interesting was the egg omelet(?), which appeared at my table boiling to the brim of its little stone pot.  This was not a boiled egg but a BOILING EGG.  While I waited for the helpers to cook the kalbi at my table, I ate from my extra order of seafood japchae (stir fried glassy noodles).  Once the kalbi was done, I wrapped it in a piece of lettuce, put in some of the bean paste, shredded green onions, and a bit of kimchee and, voila!, ready to eat!  The food was very yummy but I have to say that I cannot fully enjoy this type of interactive meal without friends.  It was a bit lonely.  At the end, I was given a small cup of iced tea.  I almost didn't drink it but when I tried it, wow.  I honestly think it was as good as the kalbi.  It was cinnamon-y, delicately sugared, and icey cold.  I asked the waiter if there was actually cinnamon in it.  He said there was and seemed to appreciate that I noticed how good the tea was and cared enough to ask about it.  I told him how much I enjoyed it and mourned the fact that it was not available in supermarkets.  He then gave me a wink and brought over a larger glass!  What a great way to complete my kalbi experience.

So, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Giant Shower

Herald Square Hotel.  Family owned since 1965.  Friendly folks.  Very clean room.  Take a look!  I know it looks a bit austere but, honestly, the only things missing were the frills that I don't use anyway.  The bed was fluffy and the pillows just the right softness.  I loved the hardwood floors.  Normally, I pack slippers.  But, no need for slippers in this room.  The bathroom was also simple, large, and CLEAN.  (I come from a family of clean freaks.)

Now, I looked at all of the Yelp! reviews and there's something about the hotel that none of the reviewers felt important enough to include:  This hotel caters to a very specific clientele--giants.  Don't believe me?  What other explanation could there be for this?  Yes, I admit that this could also be a very clever way of harnessing gravity to increase (perceived) water pressure, but I think it's more probable that the Herald Square Hotel is providing a service for a group that has been sorely overlooked and misunderstood.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Musical Chairs

As you all know, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Ca Loc lives in Southern California.  Last Friday, she came up to the SF Bay Area for a visit!  How exciting, right?  Yeah, exciting for Ca Loc.  Here she is enjoying drinks at the top of the Intercontinental, wandering leisurely through the city, and watching street shows.

On the same day, I had to fly over to NYC for work.  Lost opportunity... *tear*

But that's okay, because our very own Freelance Midget now lives in NYC, so I can just go see her.  Driving from the airport into the city, into the heart of Koreatown and toward the Empire State Building, I knew all the while that there would be no Midge at the end of my travels because...

That same weekend, Midge was in Wyoming for a wedding.  Here she is frolicking with her sister and terrorizing a local family.

At the end of the weekend, Ca Loc, Midge, and I returned to our respective homes.  Only a true family can be so coordinated in its movement.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday to Cl. Panic and Kashy Boy!

OMG, I'm such a horrible person.  It was Cl. Panic's and Kashy Boy's birthdays on July 13.  I will have to get calendars to everyone, including myself, next year.  This is too much!

Cl. Panic, I hope you will like this cake for your 5th birthday.  May your days be filled with your ladies and laughter.  High five!

To my dear little Kashy Boy, I'm a bad momma.  But, I love you so much!  You're a good little boy, so loving and kind.  Sometimes you get snippy but that is the province of a Siamese, isn't it?  For you, a moth cake.  Enjoy!  (But share with Skillet.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Running Out of Room on the Fridge

As you know, I have a mini-fridge in my office.  It has magnets from Friends' and my travels from all around the world on it.  I noticed today that I'm quickly running out of room.  This could mean that I need a bigger fridge.  We'll see.

But, looking at the magnets really brought back a lot of good memories!  Memories of me going places with all of you, and memories of me thinking of you guys going places and all the wonderful things that you would see and experience!  It's like I was there with you.

I think that the first magnet that started it all was the one from Green Thumbs McGillicutty.  It could be one of two magnets.  The first candidate is the puffy Seattle one.  This one was from a short round-trip from California to Seattle for the express purpose of "keeping" her "status" on some airline.  The second candidate is the educational one from Philadelphia (she's a mom).  This one was obtained on her quest to defend the honor of certain gentlemen (i.e., work).  I honestly cannot remember which one was the first now, though the Seattle one looks older than the Philadelphia one.

But, let's play a game!  I have selected a few that are not so obvious where they're from.  Here are the trivia questions for each:

1.  Who bought these magnets for nonny nu?

2.  Which continent is this magnet from?
-Cl. Panic is conflicted out.

3.  Which state is this magnet from?
-Cl. Panic and A-Dog are conflicted out.

4.  Which male model accompanied nonny nu on this trip?

I await your guesses!  Good luck.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tourists in our Own Backyard

In honor of the return of Twinkies, I'm going to make a concerted effort to bring back The Nu Warren. I begin with a post about a rejuvenation...

Today, Green Thumbs McGillicutty, L. Woods, and I were tourists in our own backyard.  For L. Woods' and my birthdays, Ms. McGillicutty invited us to tea at Charles Chocolates in San Francisco.  Charles Chocolates is located in the Mission District.  This was the first time I'd been to that part of the city and I really liked it.  I felt like I was among the working folk, and not the fancy pants city folk.

When we got to Charles Chocolates, we were greeted with a menu that promised nothing less than scrumptiousness and wonder.  I chose the Yorkshire Gold Black Tea, L. Woods chose the Organic Maiden's Ecstasy Pu-Erh Tea, and Green Thumbs chose the Organic Blood Orange Pu-Erh Tea.  My Yorkshire tea and L. Woods' Maiden's Ecstasy tea were yummy.  I don't know whether the Blood Orange tea was good because Green Thumbs never offered me any.  Then, the food arrived, each item lined up to meet their fate in the Chamber of Horrors that is my stomach (my favorite victim was the Pulled BBQ Chicken Slider).  Most interesting item was the Fresh Bing Cherry Clafoutis, egg-y and light (for Cantonese speakers, the consistency is the same as lo bahk go).  We met Charles himself!  He's a great host!

After this delightful tea, the three of us strolled around the Mission District with endless possibilities before us.  We were open to anything!  Green Thumbs then suggested that we visit the mission and we did.

Just kidding.  That^ wasn't the mission.  That^ was the high school.

This is the Mission San Francisco.  It is also known as Mission Delores and is the oldest structure in San Francisco.  It was built before the Declaration of Independence (see right).

We met many saints there.  My favorite is San Juan Capistrano.  He was the only one with a sword (because he led a Crusade) (he's the one on the left).  Here is the altar where Pope John Paul II visited back in 1987.

Then, we visited the basilica that is part of the mission but the basilica was built in 1918.  I'm not Catholic so I'm not sure what is the difference between a basilica and a church, but the basilica was fancier than the church.  Here is its altar.

The mark of a basilica is the gold and red umbrella (shown at the right) and the crest of the church (it's on the left but blocked by a column in this view).  We saw many saints here, too.

Oh!  I take back my previous statement about San Juan Capistrano being my favorite saint.  He's only my second favorite because my first favorite is Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint for whom San Franciso and the Franciscan order are named.  Here's a picture of him (left).  Can you guess why he's my favorite saint?

At the basilica, we saw beautiful cupolas and stained glass windows.  The windows showed many saints, many after whom cities were named:
Santa Clara
San Juan Capistrano and San Luis Obispo (boo...long live Pomona!)
San Gabriel (*claps!!*) and San Antonio
San Carlos and San Diego
Santa Barbara and Junipero Serra

There was also an ancient cemetery ("goo mo"), which is something that So Ba Sing really loves to visit.  Because we are in the West, which is a younger part of the nation than the East, our goo mos aren't as goo.  The oldest one I found was from 1830, the grave of Don Luis Antonio Arguello, the governor of "Alta California," back when California was still a part of Mexico.  Interestingly, that  picture I took is almost exactly the shot that is on the Wikipedia entry for Senor Arguello (scroll down). There was a sundial in the cemetery that was off by only about 20 minutes, and that depicted Father Time (not the Grim Reaper) (so says L. Woods and Green Thumbs).

On the way back to our parking spot, we found a pair of shoes and its owner a few yards away.

All in all, we spent a relaxing day experiencing San Francisco and being tourists in our own backyard.  Here, again, are the ladies who lunched:

Welcome back, Friends!