Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Sold Out...

...I'm sorry! But it's not THAT big and obtrusive, is it? Forgive me? And besides, you guys, being a student blogger doesn't pay - you know how it is.

How can I make it up to you? Let me some recommend some good food. It's great value too, for those of you who are living in glamorous poverty, like me.

Just Thai (534 Church St, Toronto ON) is a little gem my girl Stacey and I came across inadvertently. We made plans to lunch in The Village (Church+Wellesley area) right after it was announced that World Pride will be held here in Toronto in 2014. I was going to show her around, despite the fact that it had been a while since I'd been there, and I was going to take her to Zelda's, this restaurant my friend Eddie once took me to, that I loved. Let me give you some background info:

It was at least three years ago, and it was very warm out. Eddie and I didn't have any plans besides just hanging out together, so we were walking along Church Street to pick a place to eat at. I can't remember how we decided on Zelda's, but somehow we found ourselves seated on the patio there. Zelda was the drag-a-licious hostess of the restaurant. She was statuesque, with platinum blond curls and she wore very sparkly makeup that was rapidly melting under the harsh sun. Her spaghetti-strap dress was covered in scarlet sequins and it was skin-tight. She was also workin' ankle-high, pointy-toed, white stiletto boots and she was on her feet all day long; she was such a pro. I remember Eddie and I shared some kind of a spinach dip that made both our eyes roll back in pleasure. Since then, I developed a soft spot for this restaurant, and I vowed I'd go back to see some of the superfun drag shows Zelda told us about.

Fast forward three years. When I brought Stacey to the area, I didn't really remember where Zelda's was, precisely, but seeing as The Village isn't very big, I was sure we'd find it by wandering. We did, but unfortunately, it was closed down. We actually watched a worker remove the name of the restaurant from the building - it made me so sad. (Edited at 11:25pm: Zelda's didn't close! They moved to a new location on Yonge - yay! I'm definitely going back this time; I'm not going to wait until it's too late. :D)

So we set about looking for another restaurant to eat at. We came across several, but our eyes lit up at the sight of a sidewalk board for a Thai restaurant. Red curry chicken with mango for $9.95 - yes, please! We walked in and were greeted by this adorable boy who was as nice as he was cute. He clearly loved his job and he had a very positive attitude.

The menu was great - all sorts of classic Thai favourites at very reasonable prices. Combos were generally just under $10 and included an entree with either a spring roll or a fresh roll. Stacey's spring roll was great, according to her - I thought it looked more Vietnamese than Thai but it was delicious nonetheless. My fresh roll was really two slices of a MASSIVE fresh roll, and the veggies inside really were very fresh. I didn't love the dipping sauce though, because it was a little syrupy.

But both of us were very happy with our entrees. Our server made a mistake and put down green curry instead of red for me, but it was sooo tasty. It was on the sweet side, just like I like it, and there were a ton of chicken and veggies in the sauce. The balance between the spices and the coconut milk was perfect. Stacey ordered the special of the day, the red curry chicken with mango, and it was very yummy as well. The portions were also quite generous. At first I thought the rice could have been cooked just a little longer (personal preference) but once the rice was mixed with the sauce, it was perfect. It absorbed the sauce completely and developed the perfect texture. We were stuffed and both our combos were $9.95 each - score!

So if you're downtown in the Church/Wellesley area, I'd definitely recommend Just Thai. The food is awesome, the price is right, the decor is chic and the service is good. I'm definitely going back soon.

And if you ever find yourself hungry on Yonge St between Bloor and Wellesley, go visit Zelda! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

C'est l'Halloween!

"It's a stupid American thing," my Austrian neighbor when I was living in Nice told me brusquely when I asked if Halloween was celebrated in Europe. I was crushed because it's my favourite holiday!

So now that I'm back home and I know that I can celebrate Halloween to my heart's content, I've been thinking about my costume for a while. I entertained very elaborate ideas to make up for last year (Poison Ivy and Jessica Rabbit, for example), but eventually I decided to be super frugal because I am poor, poor, poor after living in a European vacation city for a year.

I was going to dress up as a hula dancer because a) I've been asked a few times if I'm Hawaiian and b) all I'd need to get were dollar shop leis and a grass skirt. But I didn't like the selections offered at my local dollar shops and decided to think of something else.

I looked in my closet, caught sight of my corsets and thought - perfect! As long as I make good use of makeup, I'd only need to get fangs and maybe a cheap cape to be a vampire. So I set about creating a vampy makeup look. I was pretty happy with what I came up with:

Seeing this picture made me briefly contemplate being Gong Li's character in Memoirs of a Geisha, but the kimono I own is butter yellow with white bunnies on it, so it probably wouldn't be right for draping loosely around my bare shoulders in a sexy way. Back to Plan B.

I then Photoshopped some fangs in to get a better idea - I like it! Only challenge now is to find some decent fangs, which is harder in Toronto than I'd initially thought.

I was getting really psyched about my new costume plan!

When suddenly, the doorbell rang - it was my sweet auntie delivering flowers to me because I'm attending my convocation ceremony tomorrow! Yay for graduation! After four longish years, I finally get that all-important "HBA" beside my name on that piece of paper.

They smelled so pretty! I LOVE roses and brightly-coloured gerbera daisies. :)

I fall for flowers every time! I'm a HUGE sucker for flowers. I love everything about them - except for actually growing them myself. Thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone ever wants to get on my good side... :P

Anyway, so I put a picture of myself with my flowers on my Facebook, and people have been very generously telling me that I look nice, which means I'm going to have to re-think my makeup...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sometimes, when I’m in a really good mood and I’m feeling a little bit arrogant, I like to think that all these nice things in the world happen just for my benefit. For example, when I’m in one of those moods, I like to think that the sun is shining so brightly just for me. The sky is such a beautiful shade of blue just to make me happy. Similarly, I feel like we were at the same place at the same time just so I could meet you.

No one else comes close. No hay igual.

I miss you so much.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Car Egos

Someone once said that she doesn't like it when a man calls her "Shorty" because it's not respectful, implies inferiority, etc. etc. I'd concede that it’s not the cutest pet name ever, but I have to say I don't mind that long as the boy really is significantly taller than me. Because if a guy were only slightly taller than me, I'd feel like he was trying to soothe his ego by calling me short.

Don't get me wrong; I don't have a problem with short men. I don’t usually look down my nose on people based on their appearances, especially if it’s something they can’t help. And goodness knows I’m not exactly statuesque myself at 5’5” – not bad for a Chinese girl but slightly below average for a Canadian. But there's a variety of small men out there who are obsessed with proving…well, whatever it is they’re out to prove. They’re like chihuahuas – big dogs in small dogs’ bodies, or little dogs with loud voices and lots to say, depending how you look at things. And they always, always overcompensate for their smallness with big toys.

Like this guy I used to work with. He was this teeny, tiny man, with a teensy bald head and the biggest odour I’d ever had the displeasure to encounter. Every time something went wrong, he’d march his tiny, little legs up to the second floor to yell at me. He thought he could yell at me for anything that went wrong because I was new and female and young and therefore didn’t have enough brains or knowledge to fill an eggcup. Consequently, he embarrassed himself each and every time because I could always back my stuff up with a paper trail – they were inevitably his mistakes. But he yelled at me every time anyway, hoping to get me even once, because dogs are linear-thinkers and persistent like that.

He also liked to throw around unwelcome, suggestive comments that just bordered on sexual harassment. Just offensive enough to disgust me, but not quite bad enough to get him in trouble, and to other low-ranking people in my hearing instead of directly to me.

One day, I was pulling up to work, about to park when I passed by him getting out of his vehicle – and his car was enormous! Absolutely the hugest pearl white SUV I’d ever seen. As I glanced at him climbing out of that thing (using the step below the door, of course, because his legs were so short), I had to exercise a huge amount of restraint to stop myself from rolling down my window and asking if he was sure he can handle a monster like that.

So because of him, I learned that it’s totally true that (some) small men compensate for their smallness with big toys.

But I picked up an unpleasant piece of knowledge about myself recently, and that is that I, apparently, have a car ego, too.

Those of you who read me regularly might have noticed that I wrote a eulogy for my late car, Grasshopper, a couple posts ago. That’s because two weeks ago, I totalled it in my very first accident and the whole event made me very, very sad. Not having a car in Toronto is like not having legs, and Grasshopper was my first car.

My very sweet and supportive family sat me down on Saturday and told me that they were going to help me get a used car that was in really good condition. They would start making payments on it, and when I finish school and get a job, I’d take over paying for it. I was very moved and I’d been getting really excited about this new, little, red car. It’s four years old but it only has 35k kilometres on it, and most importantly, it’s fully loaded, with power locks, power windows and a sunroof! I was beginning to fantasize about impulsive mani-pedi getaways, romantic trips to the supermarket with the sunroof rolled open...

Then my mom called a good friend of hers to come take a look at the car with us, and he told me that I could stop looking because he had an old car that I could have. He had a friend that returned to Hong Kong and left his car here. Since he wasn’t going to use it, he said I could. It was super generous of him, and I could hardly believe my good fortune, but very honestly, it totally took the wind out of my sails because I was prepared to get a really cute car!

I went to see this new car, and it’s in even worse condition than my previous one. It needs a thorough cleaning inside and out, and it literally is a pile of rust. Part of the bumper is falling off. It’s even older than my old car, although the engine and transmission are new(ish). I was just speechless when I saw it because it wasn’t what I was getting all psyched about, but who am I to complain when it’s free? It’s financially going to be way easier because I’d only have to get liability insurance on it, like with my old car, and it really is SUCH a generous gesture...but I hope you can appreciate why my weekend went from jaw-droppingly awesome to just nice.

Then my best friend said to me, “If money is on the line, your car ego will have to take a hike.” She's right.

Thus, I have discovered that I, too, have a car ego - just like wee men. :P

Thursday, October 1, 2009


When I’m supremely pissed off at someone, I fantasize about taking my stiletto to his or her face in a grand, sweeping motion. Facekebob! Facial skewers! It does wonders to take the edge off my anger.

I’ve also threatened to beat my best friend if she got a tattoo.

But despite all this, I still don’t think I’m a violent person.

My tendencies aside, let’s get back to my best friend.

She’s a huge Snow Patrol fan. HUGE! And I’d call her a groupie because she follows them around, except she’s my best friend and except she follows them around different cities but she doesn’t follow them to their hotel rooms.

Anyway, she’s told me on several different occasions that she wants to get a snowflake tattoo. I didn’t threaten to beat her right away; I’m a relatively reasonable person most of the time, you know. I tried to reason with her first. Then she threw the flimsiest excuses at me (“Winter is my favourite season! It’s a deeply personal symbol to me!”), so of course, I had to threaten to beat her.

It’s not that I don’t like snowflakes. And it’s not that I don’t like people who have tattoos. I love asking people about their tattoos because there are often very interesting stories involved that lead to great conversations. But I just don’t think tattoos are very classy, and I’m of the opinion that if someone doesn’t have one, they shouldn’t get one. Besides that, I know she wants kids one day, and who knows what directions different parts of her body will grow in one day? Better safe than sorry.

Speaking of pregnancy planning - an idea that unnerves me, by the way, because I think I'm way too young to be thinking of this - someone I know once worried about not being able to get an epidural if she got a "tramp stamp" (tattoo at the small of her back). Wouldn't it suck if she didn't find out until she was in the delivery room? So she called up Mount Sinai, I think, where she was born and plans to give birth at, and asked about this. An anesthesiologist assured her that as long as her tattoo isn't enormous, they can shift her skin over the space between the two appropriate vertebrae and puncture her where there is no tattoo. Completely satisfied, she went ahead with it and is very pleased.

But I especially don’t get foreign language tattoos, and by that I mean when people get tattoos in languages they can’t read. There’s this blog I really like called Hanzi Smatter, where people will send in their kanji (i.e. Chinese character) tattoos to ask if it means what they think it means. More often than not, they don’t make sense at all. Why would anyone get anything permanently inked on them BEFORE they find out if it’s right?

Then again, I once had someone ask me to verify a term for them, but despite the fact that I thought it didn't say exactly what she wanted it to say, she decided that it was close enough.

My friend Ahsan also makes an especially interesting point:
hahaha an interesting read. Anything concerning tattoo work gets my attention(despite my stance of never getting a tattoo)

This made me think, firstly about cultural tattoos.. I just dont get why some people get kanji characters.. Ive seen a lot.. usually on people who cant understand the transliterated meaning behind the symbol let alone bare ... Read moresome sort of deeper connection to the language they chose to brand on themselves. Its weird at times seeing people create meaning rather than find it.

I've been asked to draw arabic names and quotes for people willing to get it tattooed who have no idea what the language and culture are all about. Tattoos have been around for eons and these days they are treated not like fine art or cultural crests, but another fashion accessory.

What do you think?