Thursday, January 10, 2008

Adventures with Ladies, Lard, and La Cienega

     Today was, by all measures, a resounding success. I actually managed to wake up—gasp!—and went through the usual motions: shower, scrub, contacts, blow dry, et cetera. The drive to Westwood was pretty great, not too much traffic. Music courtesy of a Hawaiian contact (known only by name, with no physical acquaintance having been made), leisurely hurtling down the 10 West. Our arrival was greeted by no fanfare, mostly because we didn't arrive so much as confusedly roll into the city. We attempted to locate Crystal, Sophia, and Brittany, but between Leslie and myself, we possess about as much navigational finesse as a rock rolling down a hill. It was certain we would reach our destination, although the questions of how and when weren't given nearly as much attention.

     After parking and meeting up with the three LAers, Brittany quickly left; a paper and a TA meeting prevented her from joining up with us. Well, sucks to her, because we had a fabulous—dare I say...glamarous?—time. Lunch at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen for those uninitiated in its honey dough ways or those who have never entered a gentrified urban neighborhood). I ordered a Diet Coke but was rebuffed in the most polite way possible.

     "Don't you hate it when they do that? You ask for Diet Coke and they go, 'Diet Pepsi?'"

     Sophia makes an interesting point. I was not in the wrong, per say. Operating under the assumption that Diet Coke was served—which isn't a crazy assumption, I'd like to add—I had simply ordered what I wanted. But the blue-bottled equivalent was adequate. Merely adequate.

     We tried shopping around Westwood, but it was a colossal failure. Well, only if you define success at shopping in terms of actually buying things. If you're willing to expand your definition to include ridiculing ludicrous product design and outrageous garments, then you could say we did pretty well. The gift shops around UCLA are laden with items that no one in their right mind would ask for, but are begging to be bought. Candy nipple tassles? 1,001 Weed Games? We tried our luck at American Apparel, but found things equally hilarious. Honestly, a mesh swimsuit? Doesn't the use of mesh negate the body-covering purposes of a swimsuit? Once again, AA manages to confound even the most flexible of minds.

     Sophia had the brilliant (or maybe devious) idea of heading down to West Hollywood and checking out the Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique. Of course I vehemently protested. For three seconds. Okay, two. Okay, I practically green-lit the whole damn thing. She was looking for the tote bag which they had run out of and I wanted the naked Selma Blair shirt in a small, but they were out of those, too. Luckily, Sophia and I reached a consumerist compromise. She picked up a deliriously cute silver necklace in the shape of a key, but the blade was replaced by a delicate little "MJ". Come on. Adorable. I rummaged through a bin of rings mindlessly and the clink-clink-clink was too Lagerfeld-esque to ignore.

     The two are meant to represent health and happiness, but I don't know which is which. Really, they're just fun little doodads and who doesn't love that? The face (symbol? glyph?) on the left one is pretty cool and the designs are fun, but subtle.

     I had held off buying any of the cashmere beanies when I visited the Fillmore boutique, and the solid grey one I had liked was sold out here. But the striped one started calling out my name. Well, it was more like I saw it and loved it, but that's pretty much one and the same. Congratulations are in order for my first beanie. Seriously. I've never found one I didn't look like a douchebag for wearing.

     And to top it off, my mom picked up siu yook (燒肉) for dinner. Anyone who knows me knows my inability to resist: (a) pork rinds, (b) fatty foods, and (c) crispy things. And this, this is the culmination of every Hong Kong boy's gastronomic fantasies. Roasted pork done in the real Cantonese style is, quite possible, the most perfect incarnation of rotisserie that any culture has produced. Oh, sure the French did plenty of cuisine, but the Cantonese just took it to its most logical and most delicious conclusion.

     My only regret is that there are no leftovers.

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