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When we were in Laguna Beach, I had to work during the day, so The Hubs was left to his own devices (he was allowed to join me for dinner. I worked 14 hour days yo!). This meant that he had to find lunch for himself.

He managed to find a Ralph’s with a nice deli and on one of those days he decided that he wanted a sandwich. So he ordered that and returned back to the hotel which is right on the beach. We had a nice balcony and big sliding glass doors, so he thought it would be nice to sit on the balcony, watch the surfers and perhaps see some whales or dolphins.

And so when he returned to the room, he opened the sliding glass doors and discovered that the sandwich had mayonnaise on it and he dislikes mayonnaise with a passion. So he placed half the sandwich on the writing desk and took the other half to the bathroom to scrape off the mayonnaise.

When he returned, he saw, to his astonishment, a ginormous sea gull in our hotel room. It had flown into the room, landed on the desk and was studiously pecking the sandwich, meticulously pulling out the deli meat out of the bread which was in a plastic ziplog bag! The bag was barely open!

The Hubs shooed it away, looking sadly at the other half of the sandwich. Of course he couldn’t eat it at this point. I mean, who knows what that sea gull’s been pecking at. He disposed of it in the trash.

He also closed the sliding glass door and ate his sandwich inside. All the while, the sea gull was watching him, waiting for his chance at the second half of his sandwich!

What is it with birds wanting to get us?


Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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I think the thing with living in Los Angeles is the close proximity to the movie studios. I think they get a lot of movie stuff that the rest of us don’t. For instance, when we went to the Arclight for a movie, Kung Fu Panda was there!

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Jenn & Me with Kung Fu Panda

The Arclight also had movie memorabilia for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. There was Barbosa’s costume, Jack’s costume, the peg leg and a few other items. The weapons were amusing to me because a few of them were totally fake! It’s amazing what artists can do with styrofoam and some paint!

The most we get in Orlando was a sneak preview showing of Julia & Julia. But then again, Disney has a lot of people come visit. Unfortunately, they’re always teeny boppers I have no interest in.

The great thing about the Arclight is that you can choose your seats! So no matter what time you get there, you will always have the seats that you want. Unlike here where you have to scramble for it. That’s why we always show up half an hour earlier to the theatre so that it doesn’t fill up.

When we went to see Xmen: First Class, I thought we’d gotten there way too early. But like five minutes later, all the seats were filled up, so maybe not so much. You wouldn’t have this problem with the Arclight!

And people are way more serious about movies in LA. We get people talking in ours all the time, but at the Arclight, total silence. Like you’d get beat up if you do talk.

And I enjoyed On Stranger Tides enough to buy Tim Powers’ book even though I know that there’s probably very little similarity between the two. I’ve only read the first chapter, but so far so good!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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After our walk around Santa Barbara, Jenn suggested we eat at a place called Umami Burger. She’d heard great things about it and since The Hubs and I love burgers, we were all for it. We couldn’t actually find it at first. The closer we got to it, the more office space we saw. I even busted out the iPhone GPS unit and we were like, it’s supposed to be RIGHT HERE. OMG, there are no signs. The only thing we saw were these lip looking things on the window

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There was nothing saying Umami Burger anywhere! But luckily, there were people already standing around waiting for it to open. But because there was no name, I thought, OMG, what kind of place is this that they ONLY have this icon. Like they think they’re so awesome that they don’t need to pub their name anywhere. But you know, in an attempt to not judge things before I try it, I refrained from poopoo-ing it.

(As a total aside that is not connected to anything about my trip, there is a video called “Everybody Poops” that I found insanely funny. It’s a Bad Lip Reading song based on Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow. Make sure you have earphones on if you’re not alone. It’s nothing bad, but they do say poop a lot.)

So Umami Burger in Santa Monica felt like it was uber trendy. You know I hate places like that because I always feel like the food is too expensive and not good at all. There was butcher paper on the tables with the log stamped on it and you know, I was just put off by the whole lips with no name thing.

I asked the waitress which burger she liked and she said she liked the truffle burger, so I ordered that. The Hubs ordered the SoCal Burger. Jenn ordered the veggie version, which she talks about on her blog. Chris East got (I think) the Port and Stilton burger. All their burgers are cooked to a medium rare, but they were a little bit more on the rare side. I asked for mine to be medium well and it turned out perfect. So make sure you do specify or it may come out a little bit more rare than you’d like.

We also ordered two different kinds of fries because we were fry monsters! We ordered the thin fries as well as the smushed fries. The smushed fries are these little round potatoes that they basically smash with the spatula and fry. They are very good. The skin is still on them. I would suggest this one if you want the fries. We also ordered umami ketchup and garlic aioli for the fries. They don’t have regular ketchup, but something they made on their own. It’s got a nice kick to it, so I suggest this one. The aoili didn’t have enough garlic for me.

As for the burgers, I’d skip the truffle burger as there wasn’t enough truffle flavor to be worth the extra $2. But the burger was good nonetheless. I enjoyed The Hubs’ burger though, so next time, if we get to go again, I would get his burger. It was nice and juicy without it dripping with grease and it was just yummy.

So this is a good lesson for me. Don’t exnay something just because it looks uber trendy because you might be surprised. The food might actually be good.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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On Sunday we drove down to Santa Monica where we walked down the boardwalk and just around town. It was daytime though, so we didn’t expect to find any vampires. The boardwalk reminded me a lot of the Santa Cruz boardwalk, which I haven’t been for over twenty years by now. There were rides and a couple of touristy stores. And the food was what you’d expect, fried everything and none of it looked appetizing. We didn’t order any of the boardwalk food, of course. We weren’t that touristy!

There was a crazy guy on a tricycle just shouting as he rode down the street and Jenn mentioned something about how there were a lot of unique characters around town. Somehow Santa Monica was the place where they gathered. I figured that there was a field of some sort that drew them there. Like a Hellmouth, but you know, for crazy people.

We went in to a store because there was some furniture Jenn was looking to buy, but as with any couch, you had sit on it to see if it was any good. We also went to the mall across from our hotel on Friday to sit on some couches as well. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy shopping for couches and recliners and such. It’s an excuse to sit on everything! On one of our excursions, we tried out some recliners. The Hubs sat on some, but we decided that they just wouldn’t be for us. We would never get one simply based on The Hubs’ height. When the leg rest part came up for reclining, it only hit The Hubs around the knees.

I wanted to take The Hubs to an REI so he can see it. I have no idea why. I used to go there all the time and I bought all sorts of stuff from there. But since I no longer camp and it never snows, there was really no need for me to buy clothes from there. It was like the most awesome place ever. But I think he would have been, I don’t understand all the fuss! But alas, we didn’t have time. We had to go get lunch because we had plans to see a movie.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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One of the things that we did in LA was visit a Whole Foods. We had some time to kill on Friday and it was a good place to stop for water and snacks.

In front of Whole Foods was this beautiful jungle mosaic

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By far, it was the best Whole Foods I’ve seen. But then again, the Winter Park Whole Foods is like dinky and doesn’t have all the lovely stuff this one has.

For instance, they have some very interesting chocolate!

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We should have totally bought this, but we were balking at the price. It was somewhere upwards of $8 and we just couldn’t justify that. But you know, now that I’m looking at the photo, I’m like why not? It would have been interesting! Now I won’t know what it’s like because we our Whole Foods doesn’t have it.

Our Whole Foods also didn’t have any chocolate desserts like this one. Jenn thoughtfully got us some and we sat down to eat it.

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And while we were having a relaxing time chatting, Jenn put together our itinerary for Saturday.

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I can’t remember if we kept to the schedule or not. It was never a hard and fast schedule, but a tentative one we could follow. I wanted to show you because I thought it was cute. It was written on a napkin!

Next week, there will be more LA things. It’s surprising how I can stretch a weekend worth of things into two weeks worth of posts, huh?

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Even though we were completely stuffed from having so much fantastic food, we went to Porto’s Bakery anyway. It’s a Cuban cafe that serves soups and sandwiches and desserts. We, of course, were there for desserts! Porto’s, at least the one that we went to and I can’t tell you which one because I don’t remember, has two sections. One section is for soups and sandwiches and a small selection of desserts and the other section is just for dessert. We were there around 6:30 and it was totally packed full of people and they were going to close in an hour! There were still tons of people there!

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I think this was a raspberry chcolate thingie,a flan thingie and a chocolate thingie.

I originally wanted to get just one thing. I wasn’t hungry, I mean, we just had a ton of food. But when we got to the front of the line, we saw all these goodies displayed that we ended up ordering like four things. And they were totally affordable, like $2-3 each! We ordered the strawberry cupcake pictured below.

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A chocolate pudding thing and a guava and cheese pastry.

Guava and cheese pastry you say? It doesn’t sound that appetizing, does it? But OMG, it was delicious. We ended up eating all of it. And then the next day, we regretted not ordering extra like Chris E. did. The Hubs still talks about it lo these many weeks later.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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After the Getty, Chris East took us on a scenic drive down Mullholland Drive, a street that allows for beautiful views of Los Angeles, is totally famous and is also totally windy. I became a little nauseous after the first fifteen turns or so and we had to take another road to Mann’s Chinese Theatre, which we had already agreed that we weren’t going to get out of the car to see. We were only doing a drive-by, you see. There were just too many people there and I was totally ok with that. But while waiting in traffic near Mann’s Chinese Theatre, we saw a glimpse of Danny Bonaduce who looked like he was doing some sort of reality show.

On a side note, while were on our way from Mullholland to Mann’s we also saw a dude dressed as Jesus, long hair, white robe and all. It had something to do with the Rapture, but since I am a heathen, I didn’t know what that meant.

After our scenic drive, we arrived at Daichan, a Japanese soul food restaurant. I, of course, forgot to take photos, so I Googled some links.

Daichan doesn’t serve what we normally associate with Japanese food. They serve what your Japanese Mom might make (if you were Japanese). Jenn ordered us a series of appetizers that I just gobbled down. One of them was a fried tofu dish and you know how I love my tofu.

One of the appetizers that I loved so much that I had to make it at home. It was a Japanese cold spinach and it was super easy to make.

All you need to do is wilt the spinach.

And make the sauce.

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The sauce is one tablespoon of everything above except for the sugar. You only need one teaspoon of that. Make sure you squeeze out the water from the spinach and put in the sauce and you’re done! Even I could do that! And it is delicious. I must have needed something in spinach in my diet. Because I made a lot and I ate it all!

The only thing was that my spinach was much more bitter. I’ve read that sometimes that happens due to the vitamins in the spinach. So some people boil it, but that also removes some of the vitamins.

But I digress. Daichan was delicious. I think if we return, I’m just eating appetizers!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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After breakfast, we headed over to the Getty Center.

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View from the Getty

It’s situated on the top of a hill and you can only get there by tram. The Hubs mentioned that it would be a great holdout if there was ever a zombie attack, but then we later discovered a service road did lead to the building. The Hubs then said all we would need to do was blow up that service road.

The Getty is free, but you do have to pay for parking ($15). I’d suggest going with a car full of people to be both eco-friendly and economical.

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It’s part art museum and part garden. I especially liked this hedge that looked like a maze.

We spent all day there looking at paintings. There was a whole section on religious imagery starting from the 1600′s (I think) to the present. There were various paintings of popes. I especially liked the painting of the Sleepy Pope. I would show you some paintings, except I was admonished for taking them. The security people told me that I couldn’t take any photos.

I also couldn’t drink any water. Not in any of the exhibits. Not in the museum stores. And definitely not in the hallways. We had to leave the building to get a drink of water.

You also couldn’t walk on the grass. But only some grass.

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As you can see, there are tons of people on the grass, but when we walked on the grass, we got yelled at. I couldn’t tell the difference between walk-able grass and off-limits grass.

So everywhere I turned, a security personnel was there to tell me I couldn’t do whatever I was doing. I half expected them to tell me that I couldn’t look too long. But I digress.

Amongst the paintings, there were also a lot of scary looking baby paintings. My theory is that babies back then popped out of the womb looking wide-eyed and psychotic.

Most of the paintings aren’t well known at all, but are indicative of the era. They did have some famous one’s, but we kind of breezed through those. I think it was because we’ve seen them before, and so we didn’t need to painstakingly read all about them.

While we were there, they had a special exhibit on Gods of Ankor and Paris: Life and Luxury where we learned all about what a wealthy person did during the day in Paris. Of course, no pictures. I was done getting yelled at. Right now, they have an exhibit that I wish was there when we went. It’s all about fashion in the middle ages! But alas, we were a few weeks early.

I quite enjoyed spending the day there. I’m not really big on paintings, but I did enjoy looking at them. There were little descriptions about the paintings next to each one, and I think I like the history aspect of them. There was one that Jenn was looking at that explained why there was a random lily in the foreground. Well it turned out at some point in time, they chopped that painting in half and sold it in parts!

The Hubs, of course, totally enjoyed it. Work sent me to Chicago once and I took The Hubs with me. While I worked, he went down to the art museum and spent the day looking at all the paintings.

In summary, the Getty is totally worth a visit if you’ve got a lazy weekend afternoon.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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This week is going to be all about my visit to Southern California where The Hubs and I spent the weekend with Jenn Reese and Chris East. They were kind enough to show us around their wonderful city and taking us to all the wonderful eating establishments. I hadn’t gone there with anything to do in mind.

I just wanted to hang out, really, and have a relaxing time. Previous to the visit, I had been working at my work’s annual expo. They were long days, breakfast with clients at 8, teaching classes during the day, dinner with clients afterwards. The days were as long as 14 hours. And I knew that our friends were also busy prior to the visit, so I didn’t want anything too strenuous to tire anyone out.

On Saturday, Jenn and Chris picked us up at our hotel and off we went to the first of many eating establishments, More than Waffles. (Jenn and Chris were kind enough to drive us everywhere, including picking us up at Laguna (which is kinda far from where she lives) and dropping us off at the airport! Yaaay Jenn!) There was a little bit of a wait when we got there, but I figured there would be. There is always a wait for weekend breakfast/brunch. There was a lovely bustling courtyard where there was a man playing a piano and singing. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot (last year when we visited, it was sweltering, and the year before that was freezing!). I think we only waited about fifteen minutes before we were seated. We had chosen to sit indoors.

More than Waffles reminds me of an old comfortable home. The walls had that flowery wallpaper we always associate with grandmothers and the furniture was a well used country farmhouse style. I don’t know about you, but I always think dining tables and writing tables should have some dings to them. Furniture should be used, not put up for display. And when something is well used, they have this patina to them that makes them unique.

They have a ton of stuff on their menu from pancakes to waffles to crepes! I got the Ika’s crepe. I love crepes, and I haven’t had one in a while. There isn’t a good crepe place near here. Toojays has a cheese blintz, but I really do shy away from eating so much cheese these days. And we haven’t gone to Toojays in quite some time. Ika’s crepe had spinach and turkey sausage, which was totally what I was having a hankering for. I was also under the impression that I should eat a little bit healthy having eaten meat, meat and more meat during the work expo.

The Hubs had the decadent bacon and cheese waffle! You could be even more decadent by getting ice cream with your waffle, but I didn’t feel that was right. I mean, we’re told all the time we can’t have ice cream for breakfast, but that didn’t stop some of the people at the restaurant. And the ice cream scoop looked huge!

Ika’s crepe is about the size of a Chipotle burrito, which is to say that it was a huge portion. And needless to say, I over-ate. I have no self control. The Hubs loved his waffle, I mean, who wouldn’t? Cheese and bacon INSIDE the waffle? He still talks about it. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything nearly that good around here. We do have breakfast places, but we don’t have anything nearly resembling that. Hopefully we can go back again.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Way back in April, I had to go to Laguna Beach for work. (Don’t ask me about March, apparently I did nothing interesting.)

We got there a few days early so we could see the town. We stayed at the Surf and Sand Resort. It was a lovely place right on the beach. My room had huge sliding doors that opened out to the ocean.

The view from my room

I had splurged on room service for breakfast. They brought in tablecloth and fresh flowers to put on our table. You could choose to have it on the balcony, but we were lazy. I was still in my jammies. So we had it set up inside and opened the big sliding doors.

While I was there, we saw dolphins and whales right from the hotel pool.

The surf was so loud that the hotel supplied earplugs. I tried to sleep without them, but gave up and put them in.

The only problem is that there is absolutely nothing to do in that town. You can either shop at really expensive boutiques or go to the beach. But it was freezing when we were there, so there was no hanging out on the beach.

Laguna is supposed to be an artist community, but we didn’t see art galleries or studios. I think we were just staying on the far side of town though. It looks like downtown was interesting, but it all closed down before when we went down there for dinner.

I’m not sure that I’d go back to that particular town on my own. I didn’t find it interesting enough to want to spend that kind of money. I think I’d rather go elsewhere in Southern California.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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The best man's speech was quite good. Burgess has been around since the dawn of time, but it seems that they've known each other even longer than that. I've been to a lot of weddings where the speeches were respectable, but none as heartwarming and uplifting as this one. It brought me to tears man. I blame him for the ruining the rest of my make-up and the destruction of my fake eyelashes.

So without much more ado, here is his speech (he stole the blue parts from the internet):

First off, I'd like to thank the Verner and Liu families for throwing this beautiful wedding. Let's give them a round of applause…

A wise man once told me the best man's speech should last as long as the groom makes love… thank you ladies and gentlemen… (sit down)

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Burgess - I have known Jimmy for about 17 years now and I have the great honor of being the best man tonight. I was pretty much appointed this job since the 6th grade. I remember when I first met Jimmy in middle school, he was freakishly tall, kinda nerdy, goofy looking, ridiculously pale… I guess not much has changed since then…

One of my earliest memories of Jimmy was when we were in middle school playing flag football., and one of the larger kids decided to knocked me over instead of taking my flags, and just as soon as you could blink, Jimmy was right behind him, knocking his ugly butt out of the way.

I learned 3 things that day. (#1) Do NOT mess with Jimmy. (#2) Do NOT mess with me, when Jimmy is behind me. (#3) that Jimmy is a loyal and good hearted person. And it's because of these attributes that I've remained close friends with him since. This is ALSO why I believe he will be a great husband to Jennifer.

If you've ever hung out with Jimmy and Jennifer, you'll know within the first five minutes that they are perfect compliments for each other. For example, Jennifer loves to cook and… Jimmy loves to eat! Jennifer loves to make blankets, and Jimmy gets cold often… like a little girl.

It's no secret that Jimmy and Jennifer were high school sweethearts. Ever since the day they met, anyone who knew them, knew that they were destined to be together. So we waited…. aaaand waited…. And waited and waited and waited…. …. And waited. And in just 12 years of dating… Today our waiting has come to an end.

In closing, I've come up with a little poem that I think sums up marriage quite nicely.

The perfect groom is gentle, never harsh, cruel, or mean.

He has a beautiful smile and keeps his face so clean.

The perfect groom likes children, and will raise them by your side.

He'll be a good father and husband to his bride.

The perfect groom loves cooking, cleaning, and laundry too.

He'll do anything in his power to show his love for you.

The perfect groom is sweet, writing poetry from your name.

He's a best friend to your mother and kisses away your pain.

He'll never make you cry or hurt you in any way.

And if this poem stands to be true,then Jimmy, you really are gay.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's all raise our glasses, and wish them all the love and happiness a couple can ever have. To Jimmy and Jennifer!

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As some of you know, I went to back to California for my brother's wedding. He's been dating the same girl for 12 years and finally made it official on October 13th, which is also the same day that they started dating way back in high school. Though it was rainy the first few days prior to the wedding, on the actual day it was a pleasant autumn day.

The bride was lovely, the groom was handsome, and everybody had an awesome time. Some of his friends were having great times with alcohol, and how they managed to dance and keep the champagne in the glass was a little beyond me. One person had too good a time and dropped hers. But you know the open bar was worth it when that happens.

My brother, however, does not drink. He drank apple cider like me for the toast. My brother does, however, eat.

A lot.

After he finished his first round of food, he had to make the rounds and say hello to everyone. I, of course, went back for more food (hey, it's a buffet and he paid by the person and like 7 people didn't show up. Somebody's got to eat the food!). So when I went back to get more food, he pointed at me, at the plate and several of the dishes on the buffet table. He's a big eater. I don't know how he stays so skinny.

Everyone 20 minutes or so, he would return to that table and eat some more. He liked the roast beef! Luckily, he also eats vegetables. As noted in this photo above where he shows you the spinach salad he was eating. That's my Kimora impersonation. Like it?

And of course, I forgot to bring the big external flash. Boo me. So a lot of the outside photos are a bit dark. The on board flash is weak and harsh at the same time. But luckily, I was not the only person with a big fat DSLR. The professional photographers had several and a few of the guests as well. I am eagerly awaiting the professional one's. They took a million photos.

(Don't ask me about the gang signs, I don't get it.)

It was good to see my brother and all his friends. They love him dearly and I had a sense of envy over how close they seem. But my brother has always been more outgoing than me, so it's no surprise that he has so many good friends.

All of my photos for the wedding can be found here at smugmug. The best man's brother had a Canon Rebel XTI with external flash and his photos came out a lot better than mine. *Is insanely jealous* But you can find his photos over here.

And because it's my blog and it's all about me, here's a photo of me and Chris, pre-wedding ceremony and all the crying. Which totally messed up my makeup.


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Samantha Ling

August 2013

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