Sunday, July 18, 2010

a few things about Chinese cooking, or, eating

  • If you use a non-non-stick wok, buy a non-non-stick spatula, a metal one.
  • By the way, a non-stick wok is pointless and sissified. (Since girls and boys are virtually indistinguishable these days, the word sissy shouldn't be considered sexist.)
  • The trinity of Chinese seasoning: scallion (green onion), ginger, and garlic.
  • The five-spice powder is no mystery; the five are clove, cinnamon, fennel, anise, and coriander (cilantro seeds).
  • The secret to a good stir-fry is turn the heat on HIGH, then stir fast and furious continuously.
  • Of all parts of chicken, breast is the cheapest in China. Wings, legs, feet, and necks are in much more demand than breasts, which are consider "dead meat," while other parts are "living," because the chicken used them to move, that is, when it was still living.
  • Chinese eat their/our soup at the end of the meal. Actually, we drink the soup, and slurping is acceptable. In Japan, slurping is encouraged for the expression of delight. At least that's what I heard.
  • I ate a frozen persimmon today. Here's how: in the fashion of taking off the cap of a jar, lop off the top with a knife, let the fruit thaw till a spoon can be inserted and scoop out the flesh like you would ice cream. When I was a child growing up in the northern-most region of China, frozen pears and persimmons were among the festive staples during the New Year holidays.
  • The sweetest Chinese dessert isn't nearly as sweet as a moderately sugared American fare in the same category.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

a few things

  • These two need prayers:  Christopher Hitchens and Mel Gibson. They have different demons.
  • Saint Francis de Sale, pray for me.
  • Everything I've done, I only did it without thinking. I mean it.
  • Chatted with my little sister over MSN this morning, who informed me that my dad fell into a coma a couple of days ago at the nursing home where he'd spent his past year. They gave him medication. He recovered. My older brother and two sisters are angels. My brother's wife and my sister's husband, are my angels-in-law.
  • I also have relatives who, while struggling to be on their own feet, assist in taking care my infirm parents with utter simplicity and fortitude. My feelings toward them are beyond gratitude, I look up to, even envy, them. And I must say, it's the Chinese way.
  • My dogs understand "Let's go for a walk!" They get comically agitated and expressive upon hearing these words.
  • Nabokov is a lovely heretic. Reading him is like reading a piece of imperial brocade.
  • I am sweating like the Deepwater Horizon oil well, as it was till a few days ago. I need a shower.
  • My brother's wife, one of my angels-in-law, just informed me, via MSN, that an oil pipe exploded about five miles from her home. All of my sibblings and my parents live in a seaport city where a major oil field is in operation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Never mind that slide show - it ain't working. The new cam takes terrific pix but I can't/don't have the patience/time to figure out how to make the files small. Besides, I had to return the old Mac to its rightful owner, the one with Adobe Photoshop on it - that's where I did all my photo editing. That's where I felt confident and comfortable doing photo editing. I don't have it now. I don't enjoy messing with photos so much any more.

If you want a peek at my life via photos, just click on that picture in the previous post, the one with the First Things magazine in it.

BTW, I think I like the new cover of FT.

I'm painting a white sheet. Yes, sheet, as in, full, flat. More and more, staring at the work in progress, I find myself asking a self-addressed question, "What's the point?" And my appreciation of these endeavors vacillate between "Ugh..." and "Wow!" in a single day. Does this sound like a crisis?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

$40 scrape-offs

I'm still here ;) What you are looking at in the picture on the left is what painters call a "$40 scrape-off," and I've gone through three of these in past two (?) weeks. Gist is, you paint a picture, you dislike it, you experience existential angst, you sulk...eventually you muster enough get-up-and-go, get off your butt, approach the old object of scorn with a palette knife, and you scrape the painting (not paint, it's the painting that you want see no more) off; if you're careful not to cut through the canvas, you may recycle it and paint something over it. That bit of paint was all I managed to scrape off the latest reject, an oval-shaped, 16"x20" painting. Most of the paint remains on the fabric and would be the surface for the new image if I decide to use it again.

That's the reader's digest version of my misery from recent studio output, all under the pressure of a looming show deadline.

Have you got no pity? Compassion? Do I have to cut off my ear to prove it? Where is that shoulder when one needs it? I'm asking you, and you know who you are.
Good news is I finally got one going, shall I say, sweetly? Don't have the photo image yet as it's very much still in progress.

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