Wednesday, October 27, 2004

i feel very red right now. literally, you see. dinner concluded with a pomegranate's sparkling ruby innards and four fresh cooked beets. crimson juices flowing without bound; hopefully i'm destined for some sort of royal greatness.

keep your [red-tinged, in my case] fingers crossed for the sox tonight.

Friday, October 22, 2004

tiptoeing around the
attritionists, keeping the
beast subdued;
just desserts

up my ante, without
suffering the loss
of cannibalistic

understated return
of swimming in
each other's

lips smack of
back-forth unknowns.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

sometimes there's just no escape.

sometimes it just fires your nerves, like unexpected cold fingertips, all too tender.

sometimes you climb through new windows, only to find yourself falling back to earthy familiarities, tempted by its dark comfort, its velvet embrace, its green scent.

sometimes sights and sounds send your head reeling, like a spliced film scattered in pieces on the editing floor. yet you find this collection of shards being slowly pieced back together. stealthily, with a dim light overhead, careful work in silence.

twinned with extra plates

sometimes you cannot bear the truth which knocks incessantly at your door. you somehow convince yourself that the seductive pleasure of putting your eye to the peephole is worth the blinding nights of melancholy and bitterness [blinking back blood-red].

sometimes you find yourself with egg on your face, yolk adrip.

sometimes the grey in the sky invites you to a dialogue. brooding clouds, heavy with meaning; tea for two, honey stirrer poking into the heavens above. i nod in response, pulling my coat closer.

sometimes home is elsewhere.

i will tearfully recall [to my rapt, wide-eyed grandchildren, no doubt] where i was on october 20, 2004 when the red sox made history. not only an incredible, record-breaking 0-3 comeback, but a crushing postseason blow of victory over the yankees to advance to the world series. sandwiched on the couch, between the tostitos at my toes and breathless fandom on all sides, watching the 9th inning finally unfurl to the inevitable glory of boston. celebrated afterwards [with the background babble of the television rehash, a chorus of car horns, and the electric murmur of bostonian energy], bubbling over with champagne and pride.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

tonight, went with j.b. to see tsai ming-liang as director-in-person at the harvard film archive. two screenings: goodbye dragon inn and the skywalk is gone. i watched the films as though i was peering down a never-ending hall of mirrors; reflection to dizzying heights.

the square is getting chillier.

to find something that was once familiar, now changed, different, disappeared. disorientation in reorientation. wind blowing through my skirt, descending into the urban abyss, trying to cross the street when there is no clear path. where do i find him? stop, watch, look high above the teeming murmuring heads of the perspirating masses.

like she, nothing's good on the menu, so i suppose i'll take the dan chao fan. i mean, i wish i could order the spicy beef noodles, but i'm at the mercy of the whims of the kitchen. for now, at least. once the toque finds its way upon my head, i will avenge, conjuring the most passionate delicacies on loyal wok, peppering the air with abandon, coddling the contents of the noses of my detractors into a runny, yellow mess.

Monday, October 18, 2004

the beet is the most intense of vegetables. the radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. beets are deadly serious.

-- tom robbins, jitterbug perfume

something to look into: for collaborative blogs and community sites

Thursday, October 14, 2004

i rest my case. this is hello kitty madness.

a blurring of time, shifts of violet and grey filter through conscious hours. sky heavy, rolling about on lazy susan, unable to decide whether to sleep on its back or its stomach. shiver unaware, seeking warmth underneath the surface.

this afternoon, while puttering about a.z.'s sociable media group, i witnessed the latest and greatest in sanrio merchandise: hello kitty pineapple cakes! well, actually, they were like the same bits of pineapply goodness that are found in traditional mini-poundcake-esque treats that you typically find at the chinese grocery in the crinkly plastic packaging [pictured at right], but housed in a more spongecake texture molded perfectly to hello kitty specification. for a feline whose mouthless countenance emblazons everything from electronics to housewares to her own etch-a-sketch, having her own edibles line isnt too farfetched. however, there was something sort of surreal about the whole mini-cake thing, from the SANRIO and year stamped into her sweet crumby back to the way there were three hello kitties in cloned formation within the thin plastic encasing. this eponymous symbol of japanese cute culture was being reduced to mere peepdom. anyway, i polished one off, and she was pretty tasty. however, the other two kitties that remained to be eaten looked on, adorably.

interesting slate article today about how it seems modern american literature is lacking in the olfactory dimension. people are not writing in high dimensions on the smelling sense, from memories tied to certain odors [shout-out to proust's madeleine!] to descriptors and imagery based on what the nose knows. i like that little bit they excerpted about the aerobics women. and how they lay slithering.

anyway, to abstractly segue, i suppose the last 24 hours could be metaphorically linked to a combination of sinfully buttery layers of skin, liquid stains of freedom and bite-sized FD&C yellow no.5 victory, wrapped steamed savories of childhood kitchenry, and the amalgamation of burnt red caramelized plastic and bleached apple antiquity.

sneak preview of primer tonight at LSC. gotta run to snag free tickets. [the trailer tantalizes.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

hurrah for the three-day weekend. exceedingly enjoyable, patently pampering. too many tails to twist for tonight, but nothing a couple photos couldn't bear to explain. sweet dreams for now.

p.s. all weekend i wanted to tell you, j.c.r., how much i miss your blueberry pancakes and fancy italian espresso. the smell of sun on the porch and the pell-mell screenings of kill bill. hoping you're doing splendidly at umich, with all your pretty sounds and pictures. [don't forget the viola + bass duo you promised.]


Thursday, October 07, 2004

preliminary update on the battle of the food trucks. have been partaking of this guilty pleasure of cheap, mobile gratification in edible form. a quick exchange of dollars for a styrofoam full of hot morsels. seemingly, you can't expect much quality to emerge from the overwhelming quantity, but at times one cannot resist the temptation of wheeled meal. plus, lining up in a huge queue outside a truck tends to be a popular thing around here. might as well conform to the masses.

the lineup

delicious lunch box [operated by yangs inc, owned by falafel king, owned by chicken king], parked outside 77 mass ave to the left of the steps. chinese food, mostly sauced specials piled on bland rice or noodles, with an eggroll or scallion pancake tossed in the mix.

couscous king, parked on other side of 77 mass ave. middle eastern specialties, such as hummus and falafel.

goosebeary's, stata center lot. a mix of asian tastes, from mango chicken salad to wonton soup. always has the longest, most intimidating line.

jerusalem cafe, stata center lot. middle eastern stuff like shwarma sandwiches and spanakopita.

jose's mexican, stata center lot. burritos, enchiladas, chips + salsa. the tech once published an interesting feature article on one of the truck guys.

some unnamed italian, stata center lot. pizzas, subs, calzones.

the ratings

delicious lunch box seems to be hit or miss, but they earn my trust. first time around, got the taiwanese ground pork on rice. not terrible, but a bit sweet and a tad greasy. would have forgiven them but the meat was edging on caramel overtones. i ate it anyway; appetite overcomes the worst of obstacles. a second go-around, ordered the hongkong beef on noodles. lots tastier, and the portion was enough to feed a small asian family, so right on track.

went to the couscous kitchen earlier this week for the first time and splurged on a lamb falafel sandwich combo for $4.25. had been feeling a bit under the weather, so although i was willing to eat [when am i not?], my stomach had its limitations. i managed to finish half of the hulking tube of middle eastern descent, and wrapped it carefully to keep the tahini from leaking in my bag. [it ended up a little soggy later, but flavorful soggy nonetheless!] a good sandwich, although not the boldest taste i've had. i wish the lamb had been seasoned a bit more.

i just tried goosebeary's just now. [i went to a graduate women's lunch at noon today, and they had takeout chinese, but the room was so hot and crowded that i rushed through the chicken + broccoli.] never tried this truck before because it's usually so unattainable [imagine the bread line], and a friend mentioned that they've gotten the most healthcode violations that he's heard of. well. cheap food comes at a price, i say! anyway, got the viet curry tofu for $3.00, a definite steal. now the huge lines make sense. surprisingly tasty, with a melange of veggies and pillows of fried tofu in a yellow saucy pile with rice and vietnamese salad [cilantro! bean sprouts!]. so good, almost makes contracting hepA that much more delicious.

the two times i tried jerusalem cafe i've been a tad disappointed. first go: the lamb shwarma. large foil-wrapped tube of syrian bread and saucy [ooh la] interior. just okay, but more bulk than brilliance, i'd say. next try was the goat curry. thought i'd take a gamble with such an exotic entree. most people i know actually rave about the goat, but i thought it was terribly executed. had to shower with salt and pepper to get any flavor. the goat as a whole was decent but the curry had something coming to it. doubtful if i'll ever order from there again.

jose mexican, i've learned, does its main things right, but its accoutrements wrong. once i got beef tacos + rice + beans + salad, and although the tacos were satisfactory, the sheer mediocrity of the beans made me want to cry. their salsa [red and green] has a resoundingly spicy finish but their wateriness falls short of being worthy of a crisp greasy chip. went back recently for a beef burrito, and was quite happy with it. never more, you misleading combo option, you.

the last italian place i've eyed but never really got the guts to try. i mean, pizza pretty much sums up the graduate student experience, so the cravings for italian end up self-squelching. yesterday, in the middle of tangible class, my tummy was rumbling so i'd thought i'd give it a shot. quite a fan of the calzone, i exchanged my precious $2.50 for a chicken calzone. i should have seen the first clue of despair, when the guy said, oh, lucky you, you got the last one. not knowing whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, i took my chances. i received a foil-wrapped bready thing roughly the size of a kaiser roll. after a bite, realized what i gotten myself into. i read chicken calzone, i think chunks of chicken in herby tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, something like that. this was literally bread dough rolled around a half-dozen chicken nuggets. how cruel, how unjust! i fished out each nugget one by one and murmured a short prayer before consuming each lifeless piece. the breading had become soggy in the red [no tomato assumptions here] sauce, and the cheese had coagulated into an inpenetratable helmet along the top of the interior. the unraveling of this meal disaster was probably the saddest moment of the day.

the verdict

delicious lunch box and goosebeary's deserve repeat visits. jose's mexican a close runner-up. never fear, more food truck tales to come. if there are more to explore, let me know. i live for the thrill.

the alarmingly tall stack of newspapers and glossies [dailies and weeklies] slowly taking over our dining area would give a hint that i'm hopelessly addicted to periodicals. perhaps my habit is becoming excessive, a blackhole that steals away precious time that would otherwise be devoted to more worthwhile forays into russian literature or british poetry, but i think it's always been this way. it's in the genes, or at least in the formative childhood. back when we used to get the washington post daily, my mom would spend hours in the living room, tea, clock, and pen by her side, consuming each section one by one. i guess she realized this was a serious time drainage, so we settled for the [affectionately named] frederick fishwrap everyday and the washpost on sundays. now she just forwards me pertinent links from nytimes online with regularity. the influx of info surges, writhes.

so, let's see. there's the phoenix, the weekly dig, the improper bostonian, boston magazine, stuff@night, MIT's the tech, techtalk, the MIT arts bulletin, and then add on my roommate's back issues of newsweek and USnews. goodness knows i would never leave my reading room if i still had my subscriptions to ID and wired. also toss in the boston globe, the ny times, and the sunday magazines. big fan of slate, too.

[the medium is the message.]

a friend of mine asked if i read any blogs. embarrassed, i said no, but i think that it's more a fear that if i did get into it, my habit would be neverendingly fed. you open the floodgates, there would be no turning back. maybe i should start slowly, get my fix, and exert some discipline. but with all that there is to say, i would like to have a listen in.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

ears piqued by a cover of norah jones' don't know why by guitarist pat metheny on the jazz oasis on wers. the album slides neatly onto the ever-growing wishlist.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


last night i had the extreme privilege of indulging myself in fruit that d.m. brought back from his jaunts in arizona this weekend [instead of the chilly sunshine of cambridge]. smooth, firm, gelatinous skin, reddish green and perfectly shaped for the hand, the appearance of the outside belied the surprises that would await within.

[what's inside? guess, guess. color? the flesh, seeds?]

a knife through the middle revealed a white interior swimming with tiny black seeds. in ecstatic shock, my mind was whisked away momentarily to my summer trip to shanghai when i first encountered the dragonfruit. [pictured to the left] on that trip, i had my first taste of the most heavenly fruit. [no, no, not the mangosteen, but i will be patient for that glorious moment.] i think i had it first in a fruit salad at the j.c.mandarin hotel's breakfast buffet. as you know, i'm quite fond of the kiwi, so this struck me as an albino version, a novelty so gorgeous and delightful that it made a huge impression. a big, juicy, white impression.

okay, so back to the kitchen. i gratefully took my freshly opened half and took a spoonful of flesh. could this be the same thing i had in china? i thought. everything was identical, except for the skin. the dragonfruit i remembered had these spiky things on the outside. here in my hand was smooth. it took me some googling and crafty research skills to discover its identity: the peruvian apple cactus. as quoted, the apple cactus is medium sized, dark-red fruit with white flesh. similar in appearance to the dragon fruit, but without the prominent spines. flesh has a mild sweet flavor. aha! the culprit was successfully identified.

perhaps next time, the yellow pitaya will meet its fate on my tongue. or the elusive mangosteen. stay tuned.

i've just realized, with sad heart, that i havent been taking nearly as many photographs as i had in the past. destiny of inspiration roams. perhaps the delight of the digital image has become mere patina as i now reassure myself of the world through memory and visual perception alone. however, i fear i'm being dismissive or even arrogant to things i see and soon forget, consuming all the pleasure in one quick, careless moment rather than capturing it for the time-laden perusal and reflection it deserves.

new vow [of many, trust me]: to take a weekly quota of 50 images a week. the minimum figure is only if i'm feeling uninspired. this roughly breaks down to seven photographs a day, but i'll give or take on daily averages depending on the circumstances which befall. as an accountability device, i'll post the favorites, the hated, and the undetermined. i predict many will fall into the last category.

i remember the ruthless discipline we had to overcome in photography class last year; four 36exp rolls a week, week after week. no thinking, just shoot. no dawdling, just explore. no procrastinating, just go. you'd end up finding the most curious square of shine in your roommate's headboard to a sad, blurried piece of paper wet from the sea's tide. i'm reminded by the orange loveliness of a bathroom i visited at mit. hours of enthrallment.

let me know [me at cmliu dot com] if you have any photograph requests. who knows, maybe it'll be exactly what i need to be inspired. find it here, there, nowhere.

and all I can taste is this moment
and all I can breathe is your life
cause sooner or later it's over
i just don't want to miss you tonight

Sunday, October 03, 2004

totally exhausted. havent been sleeping terribly much in the last few days. i think i'm coming down with a sore throat or something. maybe i should sleep with a big bowl of warm water by my side, soothing with each long midnight breath.

[wed] walked down mass ave with three flavors of potato chips slowly buffeted into finely seasoned crisps in my bag. saw fritz lang's metropolis at the harvard film archive with d.m. hankered for something hot and satisfying, so found myself slurping noodles at pho pasteur afterwards. inaugurated the food bible + journal + memoir. beautiful italian bindings to house even more beautiful contents. onto trivia nite at the forest cafe on mass ave. christened 'ye old turkly' team, joined by a.g. and s. from whrb. what were madonna's first six studio albums? what is the animal whose name is dutch for 'earth-pig'? what is the top-selling kind of apple sold? turkly proudly upheld a first-place holding until the last round. but of course fate took hold. [mike and ike, where was your blessing?] we'll be back to defend next week, salted around the rim.

[thurs] underneath umbrella and waterskimming skirt, met up with m.w. and caught a glimpse of the presidential debates. [btw, my absentee ballot for maryland just came in the mail; it's official!] intoxicated by the smell of brownies. fudgy chocolate, oozy vanilla, strawberry slices, spoon-fed. slouchcomp, ebay, and phish on the side; meanwhile, flava flav wore his clock. padded about the shiny wet sidewalks of central, rested our souls at the field while discussing the finer points of darts. meandered to the enormous room, where we absorbed hiphop night. a b-baller documentary danced on a wall projection while patrons lolled on soft couches and mixed within the brick-lined boudoir. was enjoying the company, when i saw her -- candess. she looked so familiar; i must have last seen her about ten years ago from tj middle school. no way, was that her? [let me take a closer look.] the one and only. it was like living out garden state in a very strange coincidental way, facing the people of the past. not only that, she's studying at harvard, and her uncle owns the enormous room + central kitchen complex. a twist of timing too strange and wonderful. our meetup made me insanely happy at the way the world just curls and kinks in the most peculiar ways. m.w. and i tried to stay as dry as we could for the remainder of the night; our attempts sufficed.

[fri] went with a.z. to grad night at club cafe in the south end. i willingly accompanied as resident fruit fly. lots of attractive unattainable guys, but the remixed and special edition music videos of madonna, j. lo, christina, and britney were actually quite entertaining [and educational, in some sense of the word]. bumped into some guys i recognized from my harvard days [insert nostalgia here], and watched a.z. enjoy himself while keeping his mint-condition white prada jacket flawlessly pristine. after a couple hours of mingling, walked back to copley while stopping at b.good on the way. spicy black beans + rice. took some fries for the road, ketchup packets in hand. by the time we got to the T stop, the white jacket was white no more, dressed with neat drippy ketchupy stains. i bet the salt and grease didnt help, either. :) managed to make it to ryles in inman square, where the ambassadors [media lab keyboardist!] were playing. slid by the cover charge with naivete and chatted a bit with the musicians while sipping a nicely crushed mojito. [i love green things.] went back to harvard square to a.z.'s apartment with promises of beans + cheese and juicy gossip. grooved to house and ingested a tasty crumpet + eggs concoction. heels are meant to be kicked off.

[sat, today] privileged to spend the evening with breath. we went to see the motorcycle diaries at the kendall theatre. the 8pm showing was sold out, so used the time to enjoy yummy pizza at emma's: canadian bacon with caramelized onions and mozzarella. the hooray meal! next time, must try the olive tapenade. the fact that gael garcia bernal is a hot tamale nonwithstanding, the film was amazing. reminded me a lot of my summer travels around the world, from working with habitat for humanity in csurgo, hungary to seeing millions of shanghainese survive their days in the city. the energy, the people, the lives i've witnessed, shared. you do experience this mixed feeling while traveling, a melacholy for the places you have to leave behind, but an excitement for the things ahead of you. now i want to read more about che guevara and the steps he took further to get from medical school to cuba. from the film's point of view, che seems like a very charismatic, thoughtful, compassionate man. controversial character, that i know; which makes it even more compelling that i read up on it.

want to embellish about the past week but gotta stop the entry. tired all over. although glad to write; blog envy struck today as i browsed through my friend tony's site. so beautiful, so elaborate, so... daily.

goodnight, dear readers. until the moon rises again.