November 29, 2005

thank you, raurie

Posted in memes at 7:32 pm by Marise Phillips

For tagging the whole world with a fun, fun, MeMe!

TEN random things you might not know about me
1: I have a knack for languages and have taken classes in French, Spanish, Italian, Ancient Greek and Japanese.
2: I sleep with a stuffed elephant named Heffalump.
3: I’ve saved every card, letter or email I’ve received since the age of 14.
4: I used to wear colored contacts (aqua) from age 16 to 21, then I wore glasses until got LASIK last Feb.
5: I moved six times between the ages of 5 and 18, and have been the most popular — and least popular — girl at school as a result.
7: I failed my first driver’s test and didn’t get my license until I really needed it — when I turned 21 😉
8: I freak out if anyone touches my neck!! I have a total neck phobia because, yes, I’m a freak.
9: I was raised (very marginally) Catholic. In my teens I devoured books about astrology, numerology and the tarot. In my early 20s, I tried converting to Christianity, but it didn’t stick. Now I’m just an agnostic.
10: I worked Beach Patrol on an exclusive stretch of land in Malibu during the summer of 92, which pretty much meant I got to swim all day.

NINE places I�ve visited (in reverse chronological order)
1: Japan
2: Korea
3: Amsterdam
4: Hawaii (Oahu and the Big Island)
5: The UK (twice)
6: Italy
7: France
8: Kennebunkport, ME
9: The Outer Banks, NC

EIGHT ways to win my heart
1: Be funny
2: Love animals
3: Love food (and especially my cooking)
4: Cry at the movies
5: Love to travel
6: Laugh as often as possible
7: Be a (very) good writer
8: Be nice to people, especially the ones who are easy to overlook

SEVEN things I want to do before I die
1: Motorcycle from Paris to Prague
2: Learn another language, fluently
3: Write something I’m truly proud of
4: Take a beloved child somewhere amazing (eg their first trip to a zoo)
5: Live in a foreign country for at least 6 months
6: Snorkel or scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
7: Become a great deal better at finishing what I start

SIX things I�m afraid of
1: Desititution (essentially, losing the ability to support myself)
2: My parents becoming completely dependent on me
3: Never forgiving myself for my divorce
4: Losing my sight
5: Never owning a house that I can actually live in
6: Dying alone

FIVE things I don’t like
1: Being flaked on when I’m really looking forward to something
2: Peas (including sugar snap)
3: Being told what to do (suggestions acceptable!)
4: Eating lunch at my desk
5: Being ignored

FOUR ways to turn me off
1: Write with bad spelling or grammar
2: Mistreat a person or an animal
3: Smother or pester me
4: Guilt-trip me

THREE Things I do everyday
1: Catch up on “news” (blogs & RSS feeds)
2: Take a hot bath
3: Snuggle my love

TWO things that make me happy
1: My cats
2: The internets

ONE thing on my mind right now
1: How much I have to pee

November 27, 2005

Breakfasts in Tokyo

Posted in travel at 4:03 pm by Marise Phillips

The night I arrived in Tokyo, I went out to the Okonomiyaki restaurant across the street with Ryan and Susan. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was fabulous: lots of hip young things drinking beer and sake and cooking their own meal, all around us. I felt like I was in the Japanese equivalent of the Lower Haight (the bleeding-edge ‘hood I live in, in San Francisco).

Susan, putting up with having her photo taken (But not for long…)

Ryan’s hand, making the stir fried vegies we got.
We found out much later that the ginger goes in last.
We put ours in way too soon and it ended up getting all burned and inedible…

But anyway, I digress. This post is about breakfast.

While we were at dinner, I asked “the kids” (J’s name for them, which I quickly adopted) how the breakfast at our ryokan tasted, as J & I were going to have it for the first time the following morning. (R&S were staying in the same ryokan we were, and had gotten there two days earlier, while J & I were visiting my brother in Seoul)

They told me they didn’t like the breakfast much at all, that it was overpriced and weird. Stuff like fish and soup and this bizarre jelly-like molded meat thing. So after the first morning, they’d begun to branch out and eat at other places in the area, like Denny’s, which they swore was much better than Denny’s at home. Hmmm.

Their reviews convinced me that I would actually probably like the ryokan’s breakfast (having gotten used to jelly-like meat molds at Vietnamese restaurants and really starting to dig them). So when Jason & I woke up the following morning, we got dressed up in our yukata (the robes provided in our room) with the green housecoat thing on top…

…and took the elevator downstairs. After a bit of manhandling of the automatic door leading into the ryokan’s restaurant (derrrr, Risey, press the “Open” button!!) we sat down and were served the various bits and pieces comprising a traditional (big) Japanese breakfast.

Of course, each thing was served in its own ceramic container. Little tiny plates and bowls for everything, perfectly designed. Some roasted nori in a rectangular, covered dish. Miso soup. Rice. Pickled vegetables. A small piece of cold roast fish. A side of soy sauce. Slices of sweet tamago (omelette).

I don’t know why, but I loved it all. Simple but delicious. Food that makes you savor each bite. Definitely worth the 1,300 yen per person.

Although I must admit, by the end of the week, we couldn’t get ourselves out of bed early enough to get to breakfast on time, and so we did end up trying Denny’s with the kids. It was actually surprisingly good. They served mostly Japanese food, along with very Japanese versions of traditional American breakfasts, and it was all really tasty. Funniest of all, the disposable chopsticks they gave you were the best we got in Japan. Instead of having to break them apart, they came pre-separated, and they were made of a much nicer, beautifully-grained wood. Strange.

evil cats. of doooooom.

Posted in movie review, pets, weekend at 10:13 am by Marise Phillips

this morning, the cats decided to ruin the last morning of my NOT-long-weekend (I had to work Friday, rkr frkr!!!!) by very loudly scampering and fighting and being otherwise annoying all over the bed. starting at about 7am and continuing on through to about 9:30.

i got up at about 8 to go walk Nellie-dog, but poor J had to endure the evil cats of doom while i was gone, so much so that he actually got up, showered and dressed, went out & got himself coffee, all by the time I returned from my dogsitting duties, bearing my own set of coffee and croissants. this kind of early rising thing is unheard of for j. especially during his sabbatical.

so now that we are both awake and rather cranky, i am trying to decide what to do with this day. we saw Harry Potter yesterday – FINALLY – and it was soooooooooooo excellent, rip-roaring and FUN!! Love me some HP!!! So that goal is complete.

LOVE Cedric!!

I have about 600 more photos to edit, but I’m not feeling that at the moment… hmm… The house is a complete mess, and the cleaners are coming tomorrow, so I’ll definitely have to do some tidying up.

So many potential errands, so little time!!

  • Buy rice cooker, go grocery shopping at Ranch 99 in Daly City
  • Return stuff at Old Navy & Ross
  • Bag up piles of unused clothes and things & take to Goodwill
  • Box up various toys and send to Haji in Afghanistan
  • Go to Good Vibes & look for Hitachi Magic Wand attachments
  • Investigate potential places to stay for Xmas – my bro will be in town!!
  • Type up my Asia trip diary

At least a nice portion of my Xmas shopping is already done. Thank you, internets!!! I have been good so far and have resisted the urge to buy myself all sorts of tempting things: a cashmere throw, various on-sale DVDs, etc… OH yes, the holidays once again are about temporary self-denial! I s’pose it’s good for me.

So far this weekend, I’ve been wasting a lot of time reading Megatokyo, all the way from the very beginning… So well done (art-wise at least!)

November 22, 2005

more monkey goodness!

Posted in travel at 11:57 pm by Marise Phillips

Per Foo, who had an even worse day than I did…

Nellie, the dog I'm sitting, escaped from my friend Dana's nearly-dogproofed backyard. Which led me on a three-hour hunt around her very hilly neighborhood around which idiots like to drive their sports cars far too fast. Fortunately, I found the escapee, but not before much hysterical sobbing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

…I am to upload more monkey photos. Pronto.

Here they are!!

November 21, 2005

so. tired.

Posted in travel at 10:14 pm by Marise Phillips

i saw soo much of japan in the last two weeks, all of it via public transportation and my own two feet. nary a taxi and despite my best intentions, i did not manage to pack very lightly.

and since i suffered very little jetlag on the trip out, i'm getting it all full force now.

but before i pass out again, i wanted to share a couple VERY QUICK highlights…

Museum Ghibli, Mitaka
Torii (Shinto Temple Gates) on Miyajima Island

A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

Feeding Baby Monkeys in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto

November 3, 2005

not a bad day at all

Posted in travel, work at 12:21 am by Marise Phillips

considering it was my last day of work before leaving on a long-ish vacation, it turned out pretty well.

i approached it with a fairly consistent sense of calm and willingness to play certain things by ear, most notably how much work i would do before i left for the day. and i got 95% of the way there!! plus i feel good about the prioritization i did as i went along, and which things i ultimately decided not to over-worry about.

true to form, pretty much my biggest priority was a lunch with my project team to celebrate my being "done" with a fairly big chunk of work. it's the first time i've worked alongside a formal, cross-functional UE team on a digital music project here. by "done," i mean: there are still some unresolved issues, but they're fairly picked over by now, and i feel confident that the team can figure it out in my absence.

the lunch ended up being just me, Peter and Aki, but it was really nice just hanging out with the two of them. i've gotten to know Aki quite well during this project, and absolutely adore him. always have, always will. you just know it with some people. Peter I didn't know much at all until recently, and I'm really glad he came too — and glad that the group was so small, it made it much easier to get to know him better.

plus, the food was great. can't go wrong with Chez Maman — and what an excellent bit of news to find out they opened a (much larger) 2nd location on Cortland!

anyway, all that was of course the best part of the day… i've really enjoyed my job on a social level, and this was just another instance of a nice time to be had with very good people that i'm glad to have met.