Atta Ikede

December 30, 2008

Portland and Seattle…

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 12:01 am

.. was/are GLOOMY! The sun came out today, and when I saw it, I blinked and squinted like a rat that just came out of its hole. Frankly, it wasn’t even all that sunny (there were some clouds) and it definitely wasn’t warm (it was windy and wet!). Today was the first day I’ve seen the sun since I left Cali. I realize it was only a few days ago but it feels like longer!!

People here don’t use umbrellas even though it rains so much. Why? It’s because they don’t just get rain .. they get rain plus wind gusts, which makes umbrellas useless. Totally useless.

There are lots of coffee shops here though, and there was quite a pub scene in Portland. Did you know Portland has the largest number of microbreweries per capita? Yup! It’s all very mellow and civilized.

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December 26, 2008

West coast trip!

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 12:06 am

Leaving tomorrow (err.. later this morning) for my west coast trip w/ carmen – portland, seattle, vancouver! Emphasis on Vancouver.

Haven’t packed yet. I’m a strong believer in last minute packing.

December 24, 2008

Santa Barbara

Filed under: San Francisco, Uncategorized — attaikede @ 3:24 pm

Here are some photos from my trip down Highway 1 to Santa Barbara w/ my friend in early December. Most are not touched up.

The sparkly ocean ones are my favourites.

Happy shoveling! I hear there’s another storm coming to the great lakes. Hehe. Wish you were here! :)

The excruciating emo-honesty of manga

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 12:50 pm

I got into anime about 2 years ago. I was in London staying with a friend who was totally addicted to Naruto. We’d watch an episode in the morning before leaving for the day (she to work, me to wander happily). The episodes are only around 20-25 mins long so they’re very convenient to watch in the little gaps of time between getting dressed and leaving for work, or coming home and relaxing before making dinner, etc.

Anybody who has watched Naruto during a time of their life when they have doubts about themselves (meaning, any year of their life when they are between the ages of 12 and 30 .. haha) and can get over the lame jokes and foreign-ness of manga will know what I mean when I say that watching 5 episodes of Naruto with her had me gripped! (The episodes we watched were in the arc where Naruto and the gang are in the forest training and Orochimaru comes and leaves his mark on Sasuke. Major drama.)

When I got home, I started watching the whole series starting with episode 1. Those first few arcs were crazy good. I was addicted! After that I started exploring other shows and these days I watch more anime than normal TV!  (Note – I use the terms manga and anime interchangeably in this post.)

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Atta’s manga/anime favs

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 11:29 am

If you have no clue on manga/anime then this post will not be interesting for you.

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December 21, 2008

Blagojevich – Chief Wiggum

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 10:42 am

Close your eyes and listen to this clip of Blagojevich. I recommend you start around the 45 second mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-lLn29ExZE

Now listen to these clips of Chief Wiggum:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA8NYri1p9E

hehe. I love Chief Wiggum.

Detergent

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 10:34 am

I was using a box of Canadian “Sunlight” brand dishwasher detergent until recently. I guess the movers just threw it in along with the other stuff when they packed up my old apartment in Toronto.

I kept forgetting to pick up a new box when the Sunlight ran out. I’d come home from the supermarket and be like “doh!”. Amazingly, I even forgot to pick it up when it was on my grocery list! Funny how my eyeballs can miss entire items on my to-do lists.

When, about a month ago, I was in a hardware type dollar store and suddenly remembered to buy some. I bought a box they were selling for $1.50. It was a small box and it looked sketchy. Even the wineglass picture on the box with its garish sparkle didn’t look clean. Instead of a normal metal pour spout that can be opened and closed like my Sunlight box had, this box had just a perforated hole that can either be permanently open or permanently closed.

Turns out this detergent sucks. I haven’t changed the way I load the dishwasher, or what kind of dishes I put in there, but these days there’s usually dried food stuck to the dishes afterwards and sometimes there’s a film on pots and pans. Who knew there was a quality gradient with dishwasher detergent?

This morning, while unloading last week’s dishes so I could clear my desk of this week’s items, I was not surprised to find dried food stuck to some glasses. I could see the dirtiness as I put the glasses away, but the dirt was outside so I didn’t feel the urge to clean it thoroughly. I also found a pot that was still dirty, so I put that in the sink for handwashing attention.

Later, when I was pouring the crappy detergent in and closing the door on today’s load, I realized I’m running low on dishwasher detergent.

Amazingly, my first though was “I should try to buy this one again.”

lol.

December 20, 2008

I’ll miss you, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 9:10 pm

The first time I enjoyed an ice cream crepe was on a hot day in the harajuku neighbourhood of Tokyo. I’d spent the whole day out and about on my own because my friend was sick, and after checking out various places of interest I’d ended up in this funky neighbourhood and spent some time shopping. Other girls around me were eating ice cream crepes so I stood in a really long line up to buy one too. That ice cream crepe that day was insanely delicious. I was so tired, so hungry, and so hot … and that thing tasted soooo good! Eating that thing was one of the highlights of my Japan trip. lol.

I was really happy when I discovered there were an ice cream crepe place in Japantown here near my place. I’ve since eaten lots of crepes there. In fact, there was a time in the summer when I went so often that the Japanese guys there started recognizing me, gave me a frequent buyer card and started adding cute little faces to my crepe.

An ice cream crepe: one large scoop of ice cream, flowerettes of whipped cream, a scattering of fruit and cornflakes, all wrapped up in a fresh crepe. It’s good. I mean, how can crepe, ice cream and fruit not be good? Objectively though, I’ll admit it’s nothing special. It certainly doesn’t outshine dessert stalwarts like apple pie and carrot cake.

The reason I find ice cream crepes so irresistible is that every one I’ve had since that first one in Tokyo makes me feel like I’m eating that first one all over again. Every tear of the paper holding the crepe together uncovers more deliciousness until I’m at the bottom, struggling to stuff the remaining mushy crepe fruit icecream ball into my mouth. It’s incomparably satisfying.

This situation with the ice cream crepe sums up pretty well how I feel about 2008.

There was progress in 2008! Big progress! Finding a job here and deciding to move was the first real decision I’ve made on my own for myself. Every other step I took in my life was just something I did by default, because it was easy, or because it seemed like the responsible thing to do, or because I was bored. Terrible, isn’t it? When’s the last time I actually wanted something and worked hard for it, or even really worked at all? Moving here was a real decision! Ah. I’m proud of myself.

That one decision I made put a golden glow over 2008 and its mundane daily reality.  Most things didn’t change in 2008. I learned some new things but became more stupid in other ways. I became a more confident person but a less reliable one.  I’m a much better cook but a much more disgusting house keeper. (lol.  It’s true. I have 6 dirty mugs, 1 old pop can, 3 plates, 2 bowls and 2 spoons on my desk right now. I had 6 cookies for lunch. I can’t believe I still live like this. Geez. I’m going to be 30 in a few years. Freaks me out.). That said, it was a wonderful year. One of the best. Maybe even the best. I feel like this is the first time I can look back over a period of months and not see any “black” times. Sure, I’ve had a bad day here and there, but that’s normal! It’s normal for it to be a day. Honestly, the only bad part about 2008 is that it’ll be over in 11 days! Yes, I’m going to really miss 2008.

I had my last ice cream crepe of 2008 with a friend from university a couple weekends ago. Techncially, it was only half an ice cream crepe cuz we shared one.  I, of course, was delighted with it. Now that I think about it, I’m sure my friend was a little disappointed by it, because I’d told her it was the most delicious thing in San Francisco, which was obviously a tall claim, but oh well. She seemed to enjoy it and it capped off a great day.

I can’t believe I wrote half this post about ice cream crepes. I left my computer periodically while writing this post. I arranged breakfast plans for tomorrow, turned on my other computer to see if anybody was seeding season 2 of the wire (Nobody was. Bastards!), updated my playlist, got water, etc. Every time I came back to the post, I thought of what to replace all the ice cream crepe stuff with. I mean, what am I talking about? What am I trying to say here? There must be a better way to get to the point.

Well, obviously, I couldn’t think of anything better. I guess this really is what I wanted to say.

December 17, 2008

The girl we met in Korea

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 7:25 am

One of my best friends from university and I went on a 5 week trip to asia after we graduated. It was a great trip. During this trip, we spent 1 entire week in South Korea – in Seoul.  Seoul was so fun! We went to “lotte world”, which is their local Canada’s wonderland style theme park, we made paper lanterns and other crafts at a massive buddhist festival, we stayed out all night at a karaoke bar with some people we met at the hostel,  we watched traditional korean dance at a small cultural village in the suburbs and took a trip to the DMZ where we saw the north korean propoganda villages (ok, that part was sad and freaky).  In fact, we had so much fun, we forgot about our departure and totally missed our flight! Luckily a call to Cathay Pacific preserved the all asia pass rates and they rebooked us on the next flight.

We met another girl in the hostel. She was also vegetarian, seemed to be travelling alone, and was really nice, so we chatted and I think met her for dinner once. That’s it! Apart from that dinner, I think the only other contact we had was just the typical chit chat one has with roommates in a dorm.

That university friend and I took a road trip down highway 1 to Santa Barbara a couple weekends ago. She was in town for work so we took the opportunity to enjoy what may very well be one of the last rain free weekends here. (it *hailed* last weekend! boo.)  While walking around Santa Barbara downtown, we first walked by, then into, a shoe store that was having a liquidation sale. Diesel shoes for $30! Irresistible, obviously. Anyway, while trying on shoes and discussing that a certain shoe looked like a ballet slipper, my friend brought up the girl we met in Korea as being the first person she saw wearing ballet style shoes.  I didn’t remember anything about the girl’s shoes, but my friend had a very vivid memory of that girl being one of the early adopters of the ballet-style-shoe trend, and certainly, if the girl was wearing those shoes in 2004 she was way ahead of the curve.

Interestingly, I also have a very vivid memory of that girl.  Mine relates to facial scrub. At the time, I was using body shop facial scrub. While at the sink one morning, the girl pointed out that I was using BODY scrub on my face, and that was a major no-no because the almond bits or whatever was much coarser in body scrub than in facial scrub, and that my face would get scratchy if I used the wrong product! I remember everything about this conversation! It happened over a single stainless steel sink in the hallway leading to our dorm room. The girl’s english wasn’t very good so she was using her hands to help illustrate the badness of using body scrub on my face.  I specifically remember her wagging her finger at me, saying no-no, don’t use this on your face. I even remember my reaction — a thought process that went along the lines “I’m stuck with this soap for now. Hmm, if I apply limit myself to applying very light pressure while washing my face, that’ll effectively make the larger particles act like smaller particles. Yes, I think this will work.”

Amazing, isn’t it? I can’t remember her name (did it start with a K?), or where she was from (one of the smaller european countries .. Hungary? Bulgaria??), but her advice still pops into my head sometimes and her fashion sense obviously made an impression on my university friend.

December 16, 2008

Paying the Dentist

Filed under: San Francisco, Uncategorized — attaikede @ 9:03 am

I went to the dentist down here for the first time a couple weeks ago.  I just got the bill from the insurance company — surprise .. I pay $0! This is just more evidence I was born lucky, because after discussion w/ American people here, I realized I went about choosing a dentist all wrong!

What I did:

– Went on google maps, searched for a dentist and then checked the local providers on yelp. then checked the websites for the local dentists who had good yelp ratings.  Of those with decent websites, I picked the female. I called the office, confirmed they were taking new patients and went in.

What I should have done:

– come up with a short list, asked for rate sheets and analyzed those before making a decision.
Apparently, different dentists charge different prices and it’s a socially acceptable thing to call ahead and ask for prices.

I think this happens in Canada as well, but I’m not sure. My plan here is a 90% coverage plan. I have no idea how I ended up with a zero dollar copay for my previous visit, but in the normal scenario, if I expect to pay 10%, it’s in my interest to pick a cheaper dentist.

My dental plan is changing next year, but I’m not convinced I need to go through this dental rate comparison exercise. Obviously my dentist must be competitive if I ended up paying nothing!! Hehe.

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