Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stinson Beach Trailhead Hike

So for President's Day weekend we did a hike over at Stinson beach. It was a 7.3 mile hike that looped around from Stinson Beach to Pantoll on the Matt Davis and Steep Ravine trail in Mount Tamalpais State Park up in Marin. It was an amazing day that wasn't too hot and clear as crystal. I was thinking I'd take my parents up here for a hike but quickly realized it was a bit more strenuous than what my parents would be comfortable with. I'd recommend taking a half-frozen bottle of water/sports drink and a cliff bar in case you get hungry. It took us about 2 hours to finish and we had a nice meal in Stinson Beach sitting outside.

There were a couple signs warning of mountain lions and rattlesnakes but we didn't encounter any.

We did see a lot of banana slugs though. They're heraphroditic (both male and female) and their penises can be almost as long as their body length. One gross trivia is that they sometimes chew off the penis of their partner after mating. That's called apophallation, today's word of the day. Yeah, disgusting. You can see the pneumostome in its side which is the opening for its lung. It looks pretty big on this one because it gets bigger as its exerting itself.This one wasn't as yellow as some of the other ones but it was moving so gave a good stretched out view. There were about three on the trail and we took the time to move 'em so they didn't get squished. Slimy. egh.
Here was a creepy tree that looked really cool with its contorted branches. There were a few trees that had fallen over the trail and the rangers or someone had sawed them through. But I'd hate to have to hike the trail to chop up a tree 'cause it was hard enough without equipment--I'd hate to imagine lugging a chainsaw up with me.

I did this picture bigger since you can see the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge between the hilltop peaks. You can see the San Francisco skyline as well.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year! I was supposed to take pictures of the dim sum dinner at Big Lantern (yes, dinner! some places do dim sum at night! In the Mission of all places, right next to Pakwan and Double Dutch!) but apparently I was too hungry to remember. We started off with sizzling rice soup which didn't have too much sizzle but was still tasty. We also had siu mai (steamed pork dumplings), bbq pork dumplings (they're sweet sticky buns with bbq pork inside!), ha gau (steamed shrimp dumplings), lo mai gai (this is glutinous rice with pork wrapped in a banana leaf but they called it a chinese tamale?!) and some fried crab potstickers. We were full by then but we ordered some sesame balls so I could at least take a picture of that. But then I speared one and put it back (you can't see the hole 'cause it's on the bottom. Then we went to Elixer for some Hefenweizen and over to a karaoke bar.

2007 Pacific Orchid Exposition

So yesterday, Friday, I went to the Orchid Fantasia, the San Francisco Orchid Society's 55th annual Pacific Orchid Exposition at Fort Mason.
You can see from the picture that it was an absolutely awesome day. I wanted to go Friday since Saturday and Sunday are usually super crowded. Anyway, it was still crowded although not as insane, but definitely a different crowd. Yesterday's crowd was made up of retired individuals that seemed to have come into town for the show.

Definitely not of the city mentality as they had the annoying habit of stopping right in front of you to look at the pretty flowers. c'est la vie, I need to learn how to relax and take my time. The ribbon winners' orchids were amazing. They had such height and size and color. I don't know how they time the blooms for the show but obviously they have to use lamps and whatnot to get them to peak for the three day event.

The prize-winning Oncidium

The prize-winning Paphiopedilum

I ended up buying a Paphiopedilum like the one above but not nearly as cool. They're related to the Cypripediums which are the North American temperate-zone lady-slipper orchids.

It would've been cheaper to just go buy an orchid from a store since there was a $12 admission and the orchid prices were retail, but I got to see some award-winning specimens that I wouldn't see at the local nursery and it was nice to be out on such a nice day.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Okay, maybe comments disappeared

when I was fudging with the html. I obviously don't know what I'm doing. And the links for Google aren't updating. I don't know if that's normal but I don't think it is. Sometimes when I click on the post it updates the Adsense but now I'm thinking I deleted something so now the comments aren't appearing. I went into setup and made sure everything was turned on.

Google Adsense

Alright, so I had a whole big Marie Antoinette DVD review and other stuff but the Google Adsense seems to just display the last post about Asian Pears. So I'm posting this to see if something else happens.

Wait, why don't I see an option for comments?!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Marie Antoinette and Sophia Coppola

so i just saw Sophia Coppola's new movie Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst. beautiful movie especially since it was at Versailles which created a lot of buzz since Versailles is a museum and it's so difficult to get permissions to do anything there like photo shoots let alone a movie!

but somehow Sophia pulled it off. i'm glad i waited for the dvd since the movie wasn't my style. there's amazing cinematography but there are a lot of long pauses which is very french or asian that i can fast forward through if i'm not in the mood (which i wasn't). i admired how marie antoinette was done. it was filmed with modern dialogue (not in a stuffy brit accent, subtitles, etc.). she was also portrayed differently from her historical typecast of the hedonistic queen infamously misquoted as saying "let them eat cake".
that reminds me that i had the champagne, or rather, the sparkling wine of sophia's namesake. it's produced by the francis ford coppola winery which i think became niebaum-coppola winery but it was renamed last year to rubicon estate winery. maybe they renamed it after the san francisco restaurant rubicon that Francis Ford Coppola owns with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro because of the confusion with Coppola's other business ventures. or maybe because they bought more land on the windery? if you haven't been to the winery, it's one of the best. you have to pay for the tasting, but $25 gets you a flight of 5 estate wines, a tour (including some film memorabilia from Apocalypse Now and The Godfather). anyway, the sparkling wine, sophia blanc de blancs was pretty good.

it was very girly, packaged in a rose-tinted bag tied with ribbon. the sparkling wine itself was very feminine and delicate, mainly pinot blanc but muscat and sauvignon blanc blended as well. it tasted of melons, citrus and honey, ooh i wonder how it would have tasted with the asian pear!

and what's weirder is that they offer the champagne in these little pink cans. a 4-pack goes for $15. yeah, they're a bit lower in alcohol but does it have to appeal to bubble gum smacking teenaged girls? is this supposed to be the new wine cooler? or the refined version of sparks, that disgustingly orange beer with caffeine, taurine and ginseng. huh? exactly.

the Coppolas are interesting. i didn't know Sophia was married to Spike Jonze of mtv's Jackass and fatboy slim's "Praise You" fame. he's actually in it, jumping about with a beard. he's best known for his music videos like weezer's "Buddy Holly" but also did some decent movies like Being John Malkovich. Sophia divorced Jonze in the 2003 and Giovanni Ribisi's character in Lost in Translation was allegedly based on Jonze. Jonze eventually moved on to Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. i guess he's into quirky brunettes.

and how Francis Ford Coppola is Nicholas Cage and Jason Schwartzman's (louis the 16th in Marie Antoinette, Rushmore, I Heart Huckabees) uncle. yeah, Jason's mom is Talia Shire, the wife of Rocky Balboa and also Connie Corleone, the sister of Don Corleone in the Godfather movies. can you believe Jason was also the drummer for Phantom Planet, the one-hit wonder band that did the theme song for the tv show the OC? here he is playing "california" on Letterman. pretty amazing family, huh? sure they have talent, but it goes to show how showbiz is all about connections as well.

anyhoo, back to the dvd. it's got some nice extras. 2 deleted scenes, english & french subtitles and language, making of, two M.A. trailers, and a pretty funny clip of Schwartzman doing a mtv Cribs of Versailles. it's also got 5 previews as a feature instead of playing them in the beginning like some annoying dvd's do. it's got the new Spider Man 3 which Kirsten is starring in again, Premonition with Sandra Bullock and that guy from Nip/Tuck.
The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, & Jack Black. Stranger than Fiction, which looks really good with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson but seemed to have gone out of the theaters fairly quickly. Dreamland, an indie film i've never heard of. and an ad for the soundtrack which was actually pretty good. so...quirky but that seems sophia's style. the 2-disc soundtrack includes bands i haven't heard since the early 90's with Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Strokes, New Order, Bow Wow Wow, Adam & the Ants, Air, Aphex Twin, Gang of Four and the Cure.
unfortunately the movie overall wasn't very good except for the cinematography and costumes. sophia reportedly was working on this before Lost in Translation which was just a small project set in japan to get her mind off of Marie Antoinette and resulted in a pretty successful movie.

Marie Antoinette, however, didn't dig enough for me and left out too much, especially the Affair of the Necklace which was a huge contribution to Marie's downfall and "bad PR". and it was never proven that she was having an affair with Count von Fersen (played by Keira Knightly's ex, Jamie Dornan--also linked to Kate Moss between her Pete Doherty relapses).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Asian pear

mmm. i just went to the asian food market and bought a box of asian pears. this variety is the large korean kind that can reach 2 lbs. they're expensive but soo delicious. they come packaged very carefully as they're very dear.

if you haven't had one of these, find your local asian market and try one! they're crispy, sweet, and bursting with juice. they're round like an apple but taste like a mix of melon, flowers, pear and apples. i paid about $2 for this one.

you can see from the picture that the sweet white flesh is grainy. it's gritty like some pears. this variety you have to cut the skin off but there are others you can simply bite into, skin and all. someone was telling me that this fruit is called a papple, but i think they're just trying to coin a new word as a cross between "pear" and "apple", sort of like "bennifer" or something and it's just as hokey. why not "appear" or "apear"? because it already has a name. i think it was called "shingo" but that just didn't appeal to english-speakers so they just call it an asian pear. hey! here it is. apparently this yummy fruit flushes carcinogens from your system after eating burnt/charcoaled meat (like the popular korean bbq) or smoking.

on another note, have you guys tried the grapple? another cheesy "bennifer" mash-up, i thought it was an apple crossed with grapes but nooo. it's actually a fuji apple soaked in grape juice. from concentrate! i kid you not!! yeah, it smelled good and they claim it was to get kids to eat more fruit but come on, $1.25 (4 for $4.99) for an apple soaked in grape juice?

Update: ok, so now i'm not sure if it's grape juice from concentrate 'cause the nutritional information says it also has artificial flavors?

RSS and Atom

so now i'm trying to figure out this RSS/Atom deal. it's a way for you to be updated on when a website is updated? so i guess if i update this blog the rss or atom what'sits will let you know. but is that already built into blogger or do i need to add something to this blog?
Update: looks like atom is already built into blogger. dunno about rss though.

Testing, testing

hello world. welcome to my blog. not sure what this blog is about but it's more like my lil' sandbox so i can figure out this world of blogging. i know, a little late in the game but you gotta start somewhere, eh?

so let's try some stuff. how 'bout some styles. like bold or italicized? this is so cool if it works 'cause i didn't even need to edit html or anything! how 'bout blue oh yeah. i can speak softly oh so softly or as loud as i CAN!! hmm, can i link to a website? oh, snap! and i just posted a picture! why did i think this was going to be hard? maybe this new blogger format is just easier? i wouldn't know since i haven't used the old or beta version. ok, let's see how this looks.