Saturday, January 5, 2013


I love food.  Like I really love it.  I'm constantly thinking of what will be my next meal, or shall I say, what I WANT to be my next meal.  The more ethnic the food, the better.  Ethiopian?  Yes.  Persian?  Yup.  Indian?  Hells to the yes.  If I haven't had a country's food, you know I want to try it, because bland food makes me cry and apparently everyone has more flavorful food than America.

I will eat any animal.  I will eat a vegetarian meal.  I'll eat tofu, raw fish, anything pickled or fried.  I do have my weird things I don't eat - hard boiled eggs, lettuce and other raw greens, fruit mixed with dairy, organs of an animal - but really my list of won't-eats is quite short.  My idea of heaven is an $8 super authentic Indian buffet that makes my nose run from spice.  This is making me hungry right now actually.

Food, while it used to be "nourishment," is now "trendy."  Sure, a few random items added to a hamburger to make it "gourmet" can be delicious, but it damn well better fill me up.  Fancy restaurants used to serve you a delicious steak and sides, but now they give you 100 plates of tiny bites of random shit.  How about a 1 inch scallop seared and drizzled with a teaspoon of some sort of "confit" and stacked a foot tall on greens and other vaguely inedible items so that it looks more like Picasso than food?  That'll be $45.

When I was a kid, and we got appetizers, there were enough for each member of the family to get a decent sized bite.  Now, you order an appetizer and it comes on some giant plate with fucking sparkers but the actual food you get is the proper portion for a baby possum.  Ohhhh I can taste the harmony of the flavors, it's like a fantasy rainbow wonderland in my mouth.  Shut the fuck up.  It's pretty damn good, but it'd be better if there were 6 of them on that plate.

Restaurants have now gone Lady Gaga on us, making things as weird as possible, if not weirder.  Meals used to be "maple glazed salmon with a side of sauteed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes," now they've jumped over the fence to "human thumb covered in fermented bat guano mixed with raspberry puree along with a funnel-cake battered fried lamb eyeball."  Even if that was your thing, they aren't going to give you enough eyeball, guano, or thumb to make you feel even CLOSE to full.  It will be stacked in a 3x3 square taller than your wine glass with a little fucking flag at the top.

"Would you like the rare ahi tuna for your entree?  It comes with two slices of tuna about the size of a bandaid."  NO.  I WANT A WHOLE GODDAMNED PIECE OF TUNA.  And it better come with some sides, not just A TINY POTATO AND A SPRIG OF ROSEMARY.  This is not an art gallery, I came here to EAT my food, not just LOOK at it.  And if I'm paying you $100 for one person, I sure as hell better leave this restaurant feeling like I have adequate nourishment to make it to the next meal.

No, I haven't been to the newest restaurant in town.  No, I haven't heard of it.  No, I won't be going there.  No, it's not just because I can't afford it.  If Thai food happened to be $50 an entree, I'd crave it and love it and get excited about it too, and I'd actually go there for a special occasion, because that's worth my money.

I went to a trendy, nice restaurant a few months back and ordered bouillabaisse.  I figured there was no way they could turn that into a miniscule portion.  I was right - kind of.  It appeared in a decently-sized bowl with a comfortable amount of broth and vegetables...and ONE SHRIMP and ONE MUSSEL.  But it's COOL because we left the head on your shrimp for you.  That cost an extra $12.  Wasn't it worth it?  Oh, the presentation!

I see things on the Food Network and in people's Instagram photos and think, what IS that?  Sometimes the combinations sound and look absolutely repulsive.  But if you eat bone marrow ice cream, you're cooler than everyone else because it's so gourmet.  No, it's just fucking disgusting.  And while you were spending $400 last night on dinner, I got groceries for a month and paid my car payment.  Whatever happened to spending outrageous amounts of money buying shoes, or cars, or professional sports teams?  At least you can use those more than once.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


So much can change in such a short time.  In middle school, I had a Garth Brooks CD that I listened to over and over, which may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me now and my extreme dislike for country music.  There was a song on there that always resonated with me - "Unanswered Prayers."  True, I don't believe in god or prayers, but the sentiment was the same as dreams or wishes that don't come true.  Perhaps then I didn't have real life experience with anything major like that, but that song is more relevant right now than ever before.

Five years ago this Friday (yes, I remember the exact date), I was dumped by the person I thought I was going to marry.  Yes, I'm lucky that this has been one of the very very few traumatic events in my life, and I'm grateful for that.  But at the time, it was the most earth-shattering thing that could possibly happen.  I had just passed the Texas bar exam, was almost 26 years old, and my friends were getting married left and right (it was Texas, that's what they do there). 

I'd planned out my life in my head - I'd be a state prosecutor for a few years, then I'd move up to be a US Attorney, marrying this guy and having a wonderful life.  We'd discussed moving wherever the first one of us got a job.  It was my first "mature" relationship and the first one I actually thought, more than just hoped, would lead to marriage.  When we broke up, my world fell to pieces.  I hadn't thought of what could happen if we weren't together.  I hadn't planned on being single at 26 while all my friends were married or with the person they were going to marry. 

Within a week, I had to move to a job I didn't want in a place I didn't want to live - a job I'd applied for only because he said he'd move with me.  But a job is a job, and people weren't exactly throwing money at me at the time.  I can't say that I wasn't on the verge of a complete mental breakdown. 

In the back of my mind, I had always known I wanted to get back to California.  It was one of the most important plans of my life.  In fact, I had signed up for and paid to take the California bar exam when I met my ex, and because of him I paid the late fee to take the Texas bar and stay there.  California would have to wait.

My job turned out to be one of the most horrific experiences of my life, with legitimate harassment, bullying, and emotional distress on the part of the other attorneys who targeted me because I wasn't a republican and a Christian.  It got so bad that after a year, I had to quit.  Like "I have a legitimate case for hostile work environment and would win a lawsuit" had to quit.  I had nowhere to go, so I moved in with my parents in Missouri.

Hindsight is 20/20, and now I see exactly how lucky I was.  Had we continued to date, I couldn't just up and quit a job and run away like that.  I'd have had to stay in the same small legal community at least and deal with people I'd dealt with before.  I couldn't have moved to Missouri, taken that bar, and gotten a job in Kansas City.  And when I realized law wasn't right for me, I couldn't just up and leave for LA with a Honda Civic full of nothing but clothes and toiletries.

While I've had some hard (financial) times out here, the last 2.5 years have been the best of my entire life.  I live in a place where I can be myself, where people understand me, where people share my point of view, where open-mindedness is the norm.  I couldn't have made the career change I did and go back to school, taking out more loans, if I was attached or married.  I'm with my closest friends - people who always have my back - and I am back at USC.  I'm redeeming myself for having left after one semester.  I'm going to be an alum, finally, of a school I love and am proud of.  I look out the window of my living room and see the Hollywood sign.  I can go to the beach whenever I want.  I live in the most beautiful place in the continental US and have the best friends in the world.

If he hadn't broken up with me, chances are I'd be married, still an attorney, and still in Texas.  And I would be fucking miserable.  As much as I wanted to and thought it would happen, he'd never leave Texas.  I'd never have gotten here, to this point in my life that I'm so grateful to be in.  I started to become who I am when I was in law school, but I didn't finish until I made it out here.  I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago.  I'm...happy.

All I wanted for so long was to be with him.  But if it's not right, it's not right.  I haven't talked to him since March 2008.  While I know what he's doing, because of mutual friends, he's honestly just "somebody that I used to know."  Every morning when I wake up and I look out my window, I think about how lucky I am.  How I'm exactly where I want to be, and it's exactly as wonderful as I'd hoped.  And how none of this would have been possible without me having to experience that heartbreak.  As good of a person as he is and as much as I loved him at that time, I am eternally grateful to him for ending it.  I will always remember, from then on, to be grateful for "unanswered prayers."


I suppose I should call them "goals" because "resolution" implies more determination than I'm willing to give this.  But here we go...

1) Do not end up in Chinese prison.

2) Gain some muscle back that was lost in my mass exodus of weight beginning with poverty and ending with the realization I'm lactose intolerant.

3) Get all As or A-s in both semesters of school - that B in research really pissed me off, not that it wasn't expected.

4) Don't spend so much money on eating out (I'm looking at you, Lemonade, for being so convenient, delicious, and having vegetables so I believe it's worth the money).

5) Learn enough Mandarin so people in Shanghai are impressed with how well a dumb blonde American can communicate.

6) Find an age-appropriate male to fill the long-vacant position of "boyfriend."

7) Spend more time at the beach.  I slacked in 2012, but I think that had to do with being too poor to drive there most of the year, then too busy once school started.

8) Between my internships in LA and Shanghai, figure out what the hell I might want to do with myself when I graduate.

9) Raise my credit score from "are you fucking kidding me" to "eh, not that bad."

10) Take down the Christmas tree I'm staring at right now as I blog and don't take it down.

11) Go to bed before 1am every night.

12) Find Indian food close to me, because I'm starting to have withdrawals.

13) Remember to drink enough water so I don't randomly end up in the hospital again for dehydration.

That's good enough.  13 for 2013.  I have a feeling it's going to be an awesome year, provided I don't get caught using Facebook in China and end up in Chinese prison.