Category Archives: Arizona

Stuffed Animals

Both me and my sister have collected stuffed animals since childhood.  I just wanted to share some pictures of our collection and to give you all a glimpse into what our childhood bedrooms at our parents’ house looks like.

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The Morpions

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(Above) LS, Nico and Bob

Last weekend, I got back together with some old friends, Nico and Bob to work on a musical project called The Morpions. Deconstructed, one-take, post-noise. So old, it’s new again. It was nice to play some crazy, experimental music again, just like old times.

Check it out at TheMorpions.com, new audio uploads (including the results from last weekend’s recording session) coming soon, so check back often  UPDATE!  New audio tracks have been uploaded to the Morpions website.  Unfortunately, due to some microphone problems, some of the tracks we recorded did not come out right, but there are a few gems that came out great.  Tracks 8-12 feature the LS.
Also, take a look at some photos from the recording session:

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Recipe: Balsamic Glazed Lamb Chops

I haven’t posted a recipe in a long time now, but since I have become the de facto, live-in personal chef for my family, I will probably be posting more recipes from now on.

I made this for dinner last night, and like pretty much everything I cook, I improvised with what was in the kitchen without a set recipe or exact measurements.

Balsamic Glazed Lamb Chops
Serves 4 (with side dishes)

Ingredients:
Rack of lamb (8 chops, separated into individual chops)
Fresh rosemary (1 bunch) – there is a large patch of it in my parents’ backyard
Fresh garlic (about 6 or 7 cloves)
Balsamic Vinegar (about 3-4 tablespoons)
Dijon Mustard (about 2 tablespoons)
Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
Salt, Pepper

Method:
Prepare the balsamic glaze: Chop up the fresh rosemary and garlic and smash it up into a paste with some sea salt or kosher salt. Transfer into a dish for marinating. Stir in the mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with a bit more salt if needed and some freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, massage the marinade into the lamb chops and let the chops marinate for half an hour to an hour. Grill the chops over a medium-high flame barbecue until they reach the desired doneness (well-done for my parents and medium-rare for me and my sister)

Serve with the side dishes below.

Boiled New Potatoes
Peel and boil a small bag of new potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and generously top with a large pat of butter, salt and some chopped chives or green onions.

Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Super simple: Steam broccoli and cauliflower florets in a steamer until cooked, but not mushy. Season with some salt.

Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots
Melt a generous pat of butter in a pan. Add in a bunch of carrots (sliced into quarter-inch diagonal pieces), the juice of one orange, grated fresh ginger (about 1 inch piece) and salt and pepper. Let simmer uncovered until carrots are soft but not mushy (about 10 minutes). You can also spoon some of the ginger orange sauce over the other vegetablesl

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Getting money for my used books and CDs

I sold off a bunch of old books and CDs that were gathering dust in my closet today.  I made just a little bit more than 500 US dollars, which will pay for my plane ticket to NYC and then some. 

I also had lunch with my mom at a Japanese bakery/cafe.  I had a spicy sukiyaki beef sandwich.  Yummy!

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Filed under Arizona, Cuisine, Food, Japanese, Personal, Uncategorized

Making Progress and Travel Plans

I have made some good progress in cleaning out my room and unpacking and organizing my stuff from Japan. I have pulled out a big box of books and 2 boxes of CDs to sell/donate. I can’t believe I own so much crap! I guess I am a bit of a hoarder. I think living in Japan for 3 years has taught me that I can live quite happily with a whole lot less stuff. The process of going through my stuff has been a bit tedious, but very Zen. Good for my own self-discipline I guess. Plus, getting rid of stuff just makes my life feel lighter, more mobile, and more streamlined; all of which is good.

Also, I made some travel plans today. I booked a roundtrip flight from Phoenix to NYC (Newark, NJ). Here is the itinerary below:

Phoenix to Newark 8/11/06 11:00 am – 6:51 pm Continental

Newark to Phoenix 8/31/06 4:50 pm – 7:07 pm Continental

I will be attending Sophia’s b-day/going-away-party on August 12. Besides that, my plans are pretty flexible, so I would love to go meet up with friends in Boston, Montreal, New Brunswick, and other points in the Northeast.

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Back in Arizona

I got back to Arizona yesterday afternoon. While I was waiting for my connecting flight in San Francisco, I noticed two things about the U.S. that hit me right away as being a big contrast from Japan. First of all, the airport was dirty. There was trash all over the floors of the airport. And second, people are FAT. There are so many more obese people here than in Japan. Plus, it seemed to smell like hamburgers everywhere in the terminal because so many people were eating fast food to-go.

I went with my parents to the grocery store on the way home to pick up some food for dinner. Despite the fact that they shop at Whole Foods, a rather bo-bo (bourgeois-boheme) up-market grocery store, there were no crazy 100 dollar melons in sight anywhere, unlike Japan. And there was a HUGE selection of cheap and attractive fruits and vegetable. Mind blowing. There is so much consumer choice in America.

Last night, I went with my sister to her church worship team music group rehearsal. They asked me to sing with them during the rehearsal, just for fun, and because I was on the worship team way back in the day. I didn’t really know most of the songs, but I muddled my way through them OK. I guess it’s my 3 years of advanced karaoke training in Japan that has prepared me for anything. Christian rock is easy compared to trying to imitate Freddy Mercury in a Queen cover.

Today, not much. I slept in. No jet lag. I went to the bank for some errands. And cooked a bunch of stuff at home for my mom. I also began the long process of cleaning out my room. My family has lived in this house since I was in junior high school, which was over 10 years ago. We are all big obsessive hoarders. I have so much stuff, dating back to childhood even. I threw out 4 big trash bags worth of stuff today and you can’t even tell that I have cleaned. And I haven’t even unpacked my suitcases yet.

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