Category Archives: Uncategorized

The license to be assholes

I watched this kids’ movie the other day, called “ParaNorman”. It was about this little kid who speaks to dead people and he ends up saving his town from the wrath of the ghost of a persecuted witch girl who lived a few hundred years before him. He does so by telling her that it was horrible that people treated her poorly because she was different and they were afraid, but it does not mean that she should retaliate by causing such destruction on everyone around her. 

Sometimes kids’ entertainment is so profound in their simple, straight forward morals which can often be more relevant than the typical “subtext” of adult films. How relevant is that as a moral compass? Just because other people are assholes, it doesn’t mean that you should be, too. I think that’s my main issue with Edward Snowden and Chen Guangcheng. In Snowden’s case, sure, the NSA probably crosses lines with its operation, but that doesn’t mean that you risk destruction of security to teach them a lesson. You’re not God, so please get off of your extraordinary man bs. Same goes for Chen, stop playing your victim card as a cloak for what are very dickish moves. 

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Weekend cooking

3L year of law school is basically like the last 3 miles of a long run. You’re in a groove and have gotten over the hurdle; the act of it is no longer a big issue, but mentally, you are just ready to be done with it. Originally, I had thought to take it easy this semester, but somehow, I have picked up a bajillion new things to do.

In short, I have work piling up higher than a Pinterest eligible stack of pancakes, which I meant to catch up on this weekend. I began by rewarding myself with a bottle of Pinot Noir on Friday, which turned out to be as disappointing as the hangover the next day. So I hunted around for a red wine chicken recipe today and did a little remix (I always remix recipes, not because I am a culinary master, but because I’m too lazy/cheap/broke to always get the exact ingredients).

Original recipe makes 12 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Pretty straight forward, easy to tweak. I had three chicken legs deboned – a tip for the unknowing in New York, Chinatown butchers have chicken that are both cheaper, fresher, and they’ll debone it for you in a jiffy. I always cook with the skin on chicken, but skip the oil, because the chicken fat will give you whatever fat you need in cooking and it’s definitely not as horrendous as you would think. So I salt and peppered the chicken, added some dried thyme and oregano (whatever herbs you have and like, you can add); threw it all skin side down. After about 5 minutes, there will be enough oil in the pan to sautee some garlic, so I threw in like a bulb of garlic (roughly minced). I looked around the kitchen for other stuff to add in, and saw the 5 lb bag of onions my mom insisted on buying because it’s such a deal (she’s the kind to buy Costco shit for the savings in theory and then end up eating it all like it’s a competition so it doesn’t go to waste). So I diced one and threw it in there too. You let the garlic and onions make happy for about 3 minutes. In goes enough wine to sort of cover the chicken, I don’t know exact measurements – probably half a bottle (way more than original recipe).I didn’t have paprika or brown sugar, so I added Sriracha, white sugar and honey. After all that, the color was a little pale for my liking, so I added maybe 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (to be sure, that did not help; the color was still too ashy). I let it hang on medium for 10-15 minutes or just until the sauce thickens.


    It is ugly and delicious.

    So my recipe ends up being (scientific measurements and all)

    3 chicken legs, half a bottle of red wine, a bulb of garlic, an onion, 3 squeezes of sriracha (probably a tablespoon), 3 tablespoons of white sugar, 2 squeezes of honey (probably 1 tablespoon), and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, a teaspoon of oregano, a teaspoon of thyme.

    A note though, this post is more about the process than it is about the “recipe”. Be creative, yo.

    I’d like to note that as I was cooking it, it occurred to me that this is kind of like a modified coq au vin (typical Chinese girl behavior to be bootlegging, right); except it’s so much better! My only issue with coq au vin is that stewing takes all the essence out of meat. There is no joy in stewed chicken meat. This recipe takes all the flavors of the coq au vin but maintains integrity of the meat.

    In retrospect, I would have given it one less squeeze of Sriracha.

    So there you have it; please go on and make your own counterfeit!

From ashy to classy

I have been back in New York for almost a week now, but my mind has been going over the last two months I have spent in China. It is inevitable; between the Olympics, Mitt Romney’s ridiculous campaign platform and the article on China that I have been working on, I have been forced to reflect on my perspective and seek some sort of reconciliation which is at this point elusive.

I have great faith in China’s potential and I am not afraid to say that I am so profoundly proud of the distance it has traveled. Of course, my background is a de facto bias on that front, but at the same time this faith in China’s future in no way detracts from my love for the great US of A.

I complain a lot about Americans, their wanton arrogance, their shameless stupidity and the endless slew of other defects, but ultimately, it is both a privilege and luxury to be American sometimes. There’s a reason why so many before us has come to this country and there are still reasons for the millions who risk much to touch American soil today.

I have written before about the jarring contrast of poverty in other cities around the world. Nowhere is that more evident than Shanghai, where panhandlers languish as untreated and unidentified illnesses leave their limps rotten, swollen or deformed, laid out in front of immaculate office buildings on the mile long stretch of sidewalk that janitors are to mop each morning. They are left ignored as luxury cars pull in and out of the driveways each morning providing dramatic contrast. This is the world in which I contemplated a future.

In my more ideal and romantic moments, I liken my own growth to that of China. From a naive child limited by circumstance, I have become a person who has managed to chart a course in life beyond boundaries that I could not even have previously conceived. I am proud of myself just as I am proud of China’s progress. Do you know how far China has come? Without going so far as the Revolution, let’s just talk about my childhood. The entire Pudong skyline was constructed within a span of a little less than 10 years; it has damn near emerged from the dark ages to the dynamic society it is today. Say what you want about the censorship and uniformity, there are at least organic perspectives in China rather than the recycled drivel that gets shoved down the throat as the cloak of democracy is falling apart at every seam. What’s worse, really? And maybe that’s why I can be so indignant and defiant of these assertions. It has not been an easy climb to endeavor yet so easily dismissed.

This summer, I found myself somewhere between where I started, amongst locals 老百姓 whose struggles are a distant memory, and where I may hope to reach, amongst the successful [mostly] expats I have met whose lifestyles I can’t help but seek. Both are humbling; both push me to go further.

And this is where I am on China: she has come a long way but there is still so much for her to achieve. I hope that she can overcome the setbacks and reach a height that has yet to be conceived. Thus, it is not surprising that there can be so many conflicting takes on China. China itself is grappling with its still present past and its future.

Homecoming

I sometimes wonder why all the quality posts here do not beget more visitors, until I realize that updates are about as regular as a carnivore’s bowels (good bye, the 2 lone visitors I had left).
As you may know, I am in Shanghai for the summer, exploring my career options, myself and the world at large. But actually, that is coming to an end. I’ve had so many moments over the course of the summer during which I’ve wanted to blog (whine) about my experiences here, but have been too busy for any such frivolities (though, I do have time for frivolities like drinking whiskey, so I guess I’m a liar). But it’s also been wonderful. As with all things in life, there are layers, which I hope to recount someday, for now, back to the presentation I’ve to give tomorrow.

I don’t even k…

I don’t even know how to title this post.

I’m sitting here, trying, in vain, to soothe my dry irritated eyes with some Visine when it occurred me to procure some of the Extremely Effective ointment I used to use when I was little. So I Googled the Chinese name to find its English translation: Aureomycin.

A second Google search under the English name told me that in Amerrikuh, it’s an ointment for animals.

 

WELL I’LL BE DAMNED.

Great American Losers, free sexual marketplace

“Lipsyte, Shteyngart, and Price are, of course, writing about some of the same social conditions that Houellebecq also identifies (and rails against): the decade or two of post-college bachelorhood that has become standard among the educated middle class during which men (and women) continually risk romantic rejection and size themselves up in relation to their peers. And with the possibility of easy divorce, bachelorhood can be revisited at any age”

 

Long, but great read

“Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit. “- Age of igorance

See also American Hubris, Savior Complex, e.g. NPR Scandal and KONY

It’s all about the benjamins

Hester Street Flea hosted a “Stylist Day” tent over the weekend. I took some time off from my vice filled rager of a social life to rock the booth with the homie Jessica as attempt to cleanse our lives and speak some guapanese (namsayin’). It was tres brutal, mes amis.

Now, while I appreciate every customer and the dimes my sweat and tears earned from them, there were a few exchanges that made me want to cry a little bit. Even if I don’t love the skirt anymore, I’m still not trying to see it go with some next chick, you know? But money is money, and if I can buy it, someone else can.

It is different when the item in question is a hand painted leather vest 100% handmade in a Chinese sweatshop in a Queens basement by the very hands that have to surrender it for money. Jessica is launching her own line this fall and had a few Bedford Street Laundry (peep the site, you won’t regret it. and if you do, meet me at the vortex, I’ll be sure to refund your time) pieces up for sale at the flea. And I don’t want to sound like too much of an art fag here, but the moment where the “artist” (in this case, the designer) hands over the control of the presentation of her work by way of selling it to a less than ideal client, the scale of art vs commerce in fashion tips all the way over.

Everything’s real in the field…I’m not a hero but I’m trying to be heard.

am so sorry if I am not like a proper ambassador for your brand. totes respect the integrity of your selective representation, but omg, the crazy tranny in me can’t stop thinking about these shoes.

My texture is the best fur chinchilla

I get really cold in the winter time, like, between Dec to March, my teef is always chattering from the brickness enveloping the city, piercing through my bones and breaking down my soul. So even though it’s August, I am already preparing for the misery to come. To that end, I plan on expanding my portfurlio [hehe] this winter with a fur vest. Last winter, I had a modest fur collar and a faux fur hat, which when worn together, makes for quite a character. Since as I am not 6feet tall and a hundred pounds, I’ve vee-toed a full-on fur coat, because I’m not really into looking like a balloon.

So, last night, I was sitting in bed visualizing myself in different situations [per usual], when I thought, what if a PETA dbag comes and throws “blood” on my fur? Friends, what would you do?

First of all, if PETA is so keen on making statements, why don’t they actually stay around and make the statement? Second of all, isn’t that illegal? Or, at least, you can argue that it is? I hate PETA.