Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Ritual and Tradition in Belfast

Halloween in Belfast is very different than in America. In Belfast, the kids are in costume and armed with a collection tin FOR MONEY (not candy). They come round knocking on your door all throughout the month of October and it goes something like this...

Ding dong

HopAlong opens door...

A Choir of Children Sing:

Halloween's coming on and the goose is getting fat.
Could you please put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny then god bless you and your old man too.

HopAlong proceeds to tell them that Halloween isn't for another two weeks and slams the door.

Urban Regeneration of Belfast

Photo from the Office of Social Development

I hear they are currently doing urban regeneration work in the city centre...Here are the plans from the office of social development.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Check Out My New Wheels...

«See more pics!


This is my brother in the hoodie of my alma mater (Go Bruins!) cringing at the car color!

I know it's not a ferrari but it rides like a sofa on a cloud. I got a great deal on it considering that I upgraded and got it for the same price as my old C class. I didn't have to shell out more money. This one is fully loaded too! The car search is over. So relieved!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I got my hair cut today and this is how much was cut off...

Now my hair looks something like this...

I love it! It's cute and chic. When I showed my hairdresser this hairstyle, she was like "are you sure?" My hair was really long down to my butt! I told her, cut it all off, no regrets here! So she had fun and other people at the salon were nervous for me. Nevertheless she did a great job! I am donating my hair to locks of love. :)

Then I went to Walgreens and Sephora to buy makeup which burned a big hole in my pocket(why does makeup have to be expensive?)...

But that's ok I deserve it because I got this today...

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is My Beautiful San Francisco in 1958

San Francisco 1958 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

I found this clip on a blog called SPOTS UNKNOWN, a blog about the forgotten places and people of San Francisco.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fatso Manifesto: Weight Problems

I am now in the size I was two years ago. Two years ago I felt I looked pretty good and was in good shape due to the fact I was flamenco-ing and bellydancing 4 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This time around I look at myself in the mirror and think I'm STILL fat. What the hell is going on here?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shoe Therapy

I had a grueling week of exams. I did a clusterfuck on my exam today, don't think I'm going to make the highest grade this time around! I'll probably get a B or something. I dunno, I just wasn't in the mood and I felt pretty shitty from cramming all week.

After surviving hell week, I felt like getting pampered so I went downtown to get my eyebrows groomed. I bought two pairs of boots (one brown and black). I miraculously felt better! AND they were on sale! They were a $139 marked down to $69! AND I got the last two boots in my size. They were selling out pretty fast.

Note to self: Leave credit card at home when depressed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This t-shirt is cute! I like the fact that if I wore it around here, nobody would understand what the hell it means! (Unless they were from Norn Iron)

Get Yours Yet?

I stood in a long line to get my regular seasonal flu shot. They only gave H1N1 to ages 2-24, as this is the age group susceptible to complications and they have a limited supply. They will have H1N1 available to all ages later in the season (in the US, that is). Get a flu shot, I promise it doesn't hurt.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hej, hur mår du ?

I am finding myself lusting after this car and their overseas delivery program! Ever since my obsession with Ingmar Bergman, I've always dreamed of visiting Sweden. (Photo courtesy of

You can get your car in Sweden and a discount on the sticker price! They knock 3-4k off the msrp, pay to fly you out there, give you a hotel room for one night, factory tour, full tank of gas, european auto insurance for your time there, then they arrange shipping to your dealership of choice etc. The taxes, title etc should all be the same as if you bought the car off of the lot because it will be shipped in the standard manner they usually ship the cars to the dealership.

Volvo's Overseas Delivery Program:

Purchase a Volvo, get a vacation...

* Two round-trip tickets with Scandinavian Airlines
* A free first class hotel night in Gothenburg, Sweden
* Savings off the U.S. MSRP on U.S.-model Volvos (varies by model)
* Free shipping to your U.S. Volvo dealer

Hmmm...sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another 3D IMAX Movie???

Disney is releasing another 3D imax movie, March 2010. I love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp! It should be amazing, hope it doesn't disappoint.

Movies I Want To See...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Earthquake Drill

The state of California participated in an earthquake drill today. We had to duck and cover today in class. I haven't done this sort of thing since grammar school. (Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good News & Bad News

The good news is, I heard from the insurance adjuster and the insurance company wants to make a settlement of $22,628 which is a tad bit over the blue book value of my car.

The bad news is, I'm not jumping for joy over this because I have to go through the whole car search and buying process which is a pain.

Oh well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Loyalist Pop Songs

As an ethnomusicologist, I am amazed at the masterful renditions of American pop songs arranged in very creative ways to convey West Belfast culture and pride. The most popular is, of course, the masterpiece UVF anthem, a version of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best." But there are other delightful songs such as this remake of a John Denver classic, "Take Me Home Country Roads", elevated to its highest artform. Have a listen.

"F" This! I'm Not Going to School in a Typhoon!

Approaching storm threatens California with flooding

* Storm is expected to dump as much as 8 inches of rain
* Rain, winds also could affect parts of central California and Nevada
* Storm could hit parts of southern California that the Station wildfire burned

Californians braced for heavy rains Tuesday that threatened to unleash dangerous floods and mudslides in areas already ravaged by wildfires.

A storm brewed in the Pacific Ocean early Tuesday that could hit parts of southern California that the Station wildfire burned in August and September, the National Weather Service said. That fire destroyed about 80 homes and torched more than 160,000 acres in Los Angeles County, state fire officials said.

"The heavy rain will create favorable conditions for mud and rock slides over burn scars," the weather service said.

The storm is expected to dump as much as 8 inches of rain and bring gusts of up to 60 mph in some areas.

The storm also could affect parts of central California and Nevada. The weather service issued a flash flood warning for those areas until Wednesday.

It's 7:30AM and it's pounding outside! It's only going to get worse later. The typhoon that was in the Philippines has paid us a visit here in the Bay Area. At least 6-8 inches of rain. 60 mph winds. Power outages. Emergency distribution of Sandbags. Heh. Sounds like another typical day in Northern Ireland.

For real, don't want to be commuting in this weather. Thick oil slick buildups from a long dry spell has made the roads very slippery and dangerous. Not to mention, Californians have forgotten to drive in wet weather.

It's just rain you say? Tell that to the poor people in Southern California, not only did they have the pleasure of losing their homes in the recent wild fires but now because of the loose soil created by the fires, they may lose their homes completely because of landslides. Or to people in Northern California, living in the lowland valleys because of flooding. Hence, the emergency distribution of sandbags.

(Any excuse to skip class is good in my book! Hehe.)

Food Rules: Dietary Do's and Don'ts

The Food Issue - Michael Pollan's Favorite Food Rules - Interactive Feature -


Michael Pollan shares 20 of his favorite food rules sent in by Times readers.

Farm To Table

I said I was going to the farm so I DID! I discovered that there was a local farm just 20 minutes from where I lived. I checked it out today and discovered something better than the farmers market. Wow, this farm had every produce available in season from grapes to pomegranates to acorn squash to cranberry beans! You name it! A wide variety more so than the farmer's market! It's also way cheaper too, I didn't think anything would be cheaper than the farmers market. Since buying straight from the farmer at his farm, you're not making up the difference for transport costs. Good deal!

They have their own farm store out front or you can pick your own fruits and veggies in the farm out back. And you get your own wheelbarrow to haul your goods! How cool is that?

«Want to see the farm and the beautiful colors of Fall?

Kids having fun on the haystacks

I love the vivid colors of Fall!

Pumpkin on steroids!

They had every squash known to man

These are called "Swan Squash"

This reminds me of Thanksgiving!

Our wheelbarrow!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Still Grieving :(

It's JUST a car! So WHAT!!!!(If you watch this clip, you'll see why I was in love with my car)

Friday, October 9, 2009

R.I.P. Car

Just Found Out My Car Got Totaled

My dad drove my car to drop something off at my uncle's house. My uncle pursuaded my dad to come inside to check out the new house. As my dad got out of the car, BAM! A BMW slammed against the left rear of the car and dragged my car a several feet down the street. He hit a neighbor's car too.

Everyone went outside to check out what's going on. My dad tells the driver who looked like he was high on drugs to stay put. He makes a run for it and luckily, there were two cops off duty and chased him down.

My dad showed me the pictures and it's not a pretty sight. The car is unrepairable, it looked like a wrecking ball went at it.

I just thank the high heavens that my dad wasn't hurt. He could have been in that car! He told me the driver's side was completely caved in!

A car can be replaced. It's just metal and plastic and rubber and glass. Not skin and bones and body and soul.

Ass Kissers, The Secret Post Office, and A New Food Find

Word has gotten out that I got the highest grade on the exam. Now people are approaching me asking if I want to be in their study group. There's this one girl who was really weird. She went up to me in the restroom as I was washing my hands and said, "You're in my class aren't you?". "Yes", I said. She then said, "You're my role model! Please help me study for the next exam so I can get a good grade!". Role model? She asked me where I was headed and asked if she could tag along. In my mind I was like, "oh HELL no!". I said I had an important appointment and booked it out of there. WEIRDO!

Downtown was loud and thunderous today. The Blue Angels were tearing up the sky, flying in between the skyscrapers. I went to Macy's basement to look for the secret post office since I had something to mail. Born and raised in SF and never knew about the secret post office. It was pretty neat!

I also found out that Macy's basement has a small food court. And I saw that Rick Bayless has a fast food restaurant here, Frontera Fresco. The first time I fell in love with Rick Bayless was when I watched Top Chef Masters. He is an awesome chef and was responsible for giving regional Mexican cuisine street cred to the gourmet world. He won Top Chef Masters and beat French chefs like Hubert Keller (even though I love Hubert Keller too). His restaurant, Tampolobampo in Chicago, is in my top three culinary destinations. I debated trying Frontera Fresco for fear I may go crazy and blow my diet, but instantly gave in when I read the menu. I had the sweet corn and green chile tamale and a chicken chipotle taco. Man, it was good and the ingredients tasted fresh, not fast-foody at all! The chicken was hormone free and all-natural, even better! The prices are reasonable too! I am definitely coming back here and taking HopAlong with me!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Long Distance Relationships Suck Donkey Balls

HopAlong been working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week and will do so for the next 5 weeks. If he worked a desk job, it would be somewhat manageable. But he works in a freezing warehouse and is on his feet all day doing back breaking work. It is beginning to wear and tear on his body:

"I feel like someone has chopped my feet off with a rusty blade. The pain is crazy because of these boots. Because I can't walk properly I'm now starting to get pains in my legs."

He comes home so exhausted and can barely talk to me on the phone. He's doing extra shifts to make extra money for his visit in November. I tell him that he doesn't have to kill himself and he could book for a later date. He says he wants to do the overtime and he wants to see me and has arranged a surprise getaway but he won't tell me where.

I worry about him a lot these days. What's worse is that I can't be there to support him, comfort him, tell him I love him and appreciate his sacrifice, give him foot rubs, and help him make his life easier.

Days like these are when you think long distance relationships suck BIGTIME! In the end, I know it will all be worth it when we're living together on the same continent forever! No more flying 5,600 miles back and forth, heart wrenching goodbyes at airports and filling the dark lonely void when we are apart. We've worked so hard for this relationship thus far, spent so much money, and sacrificed a great deal more than any couple I know (except for my parents, my mom and dad were separated by the Pacific Ocean for 7 years! A story for another time!). Then we have the fiance visa process to look forward to. There are so many hurdles to jump. To think of how many is overwhelming. I can't begin to imagine how both of us would feel when we've jumped them all, when we can finally look at each other in amazement and say, "Wow, we did it!"

LDR's aren't for everyone and I highly wouldn't recommend it. If you're not 110% committed to putting the work in, forget it. Otherwise if you're insane like me, good luck to you, you're gonna need it!

In the City All Day

Had to take the car into the city for repairs. After class, I headed to Market Street and watched some old men play chess. I ate sushi at the Westfield Center. Then I went to the mechanics and sat around, watched tranformers on the t.v. I studied. And I waited and waited and waited, and waited.

When the car was finally done, I drove down to the Ferry Building to get some ground beef from Prather Ranch. I got 5 lbs for $25! I twinged a little but certified humane, organic, grass fed local cows are worth it. Then I headed home in bumper to bumper traffic from the Bay Bridge all the way to Berkeley. Oh joy!

I have an exciting life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Refrigerator is the Window to One's Stomach

This fridge would give Gillian McKeith a heart attack. Can you say type 2 diabetes?

I have been lurking on this site recently. is a fascinating project where people all over the world post pics of what's inside their fridge. It's sort of an offshoot of what this guy did except on a global scale. I don't know about you, but I enjoy observing(aka scrutinizing) what people eat. I guess that's the "dietitian" in me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Look At These Beauties!

New at the Farmers Market! First persimmons of the season and brussels sprouts on the stalk. Have you seen anything more beautiful?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fatso Manifesto Update

Woohoo! I am officially in my old jeans I wore 2 years ago! YAY! YAY! YAY!

Although, I haven't reached my ultimate goal...yet.

Shopping Spree

I went to old navy today and bought myself this sweater in two colors! They're so cute and on sale for $20! I can't wait for Indian summer to end so I can wear them.