Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sorry if you were misled and thought that I was going to discuss one of MTV's best show (besides Jersey Shore). If you don't know what I'm talking about, Bully Beatdown is hosted by Jason "Mayhem" Miller, an MMA fighter who people either love or hate. He's got charisma and if you're ever bored, check out his fight entrances on YouTube. On the show, they invite a bully to fight an MMA fighter for a chance to win some money but in the end, the bully never wins and gets destroyed in the process. It's quite hilarious.

I guess I discussed the show a little more than I wanted to. Back to the original subject, this bully beatdown involves my little one, Andrew. Last week we got an incident report from school that stated a kid slapped Andrew in the face. When I read it, I was beyond pissed. Why would anyone hit him?! The report doesn't name the kid involved, I'm assuming to protect from retaliation, which is a good idea because I wanted to meet the parents of this rotten kid and give them a piece of my mind. Ah, but I have their class picture and asked Andrew to point out the boy that hit him and surely enough, it was the bully of the class, RJ, or JR, or BJ, I don't remember his name as I don't really care to waste any brain space on that punk kid. Apparently this boy terrorizes everyone, not just Andrew. Well I asked Andrew what he did after the boy hit him and he sadly said "nothing..." Ugh! I told him, "If someone hits you first, hit him back. Then tell the teacher that he hit you first. But never hit anyone first." I repeated this over and over to him. I'm going against the grain here by telling him to retaliate but I can't have him sit back and do nothing. Just telling the teacher is useless. If I got an incident report that stated Andrew hit a kid, but in retaliation, I would be perfectly okay with it. Andrew is not one to provoke anyone or start a fight (though Jacob might disagree).

Yesterday we got another incident report. Andrew got hit again. What the fuck! Lynn had talked with the teacher that day and she said that when the boy hit him, Andrew hit him right back and made the boy cry. That's my boy! After reading the report and getting the summary from Lynn, I went over to Andrew and our conversation went like this:

What happened at school today?
Did someone hit you again at school?
What did you do?
(silence. his face turning as red as an apple.)
Did you hit him back?
Yeah... (head still down)
Good job! That's exactly what I wanted you to do!
Yeah! I boom him!
I went pffff! (reenacting his punch)

I'm so proud of him.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This past weekend we took a trip to San Antonio to take the kids to Sea World. The kids are at an age where out-of-town trips are worthwhile now, i.e. they will remember it, but who knows for how long. Surprisingly they still talk about the trip to Dallas, when we took them to the State Fair back in October. They both really like all types of animals (cheetahs, tigers, fish, sharks, frogs, snakes). They really enjoyed The Aquarium and the Houston Zoo so we figured it would be a good time to take them to Sea World, before it gets unbearably hot.

Friday afternoon we headed out for San Antonio. The kids were well behaved in the car, no need of any portable DVD/movie entertainment. All they needed were their two cars, two books, and plenty of snacks. When we got there, poor Andrew did not want to go to the hotel and constantly demanded, "I don't want to go to hotel. I want to go home." It was quite sad. So the only way to calm him down was to bribe him by going to his favorite store, Target.

Saturday we went to Sea World as soon as it opened. For young kids, Sea World doesn’t offer much but the things that they have were definitely unique. The main attraction of course was Shamu, a show of killer whales (or as Jacob likes to correct me, orca whales) jumping out of the water doing tricks. We also saw an artsy show that had synchronized swimming, Cirque du Soleil stuff, Olympic diving all mixed in with jumping dolphins and a beluga whale. We didn't care for the human element of the show, we came to see big sea animals. We saw penguins (which the kids haven't seen before), tropical fish, and sharks (which we went to see twice). Granted, they really liked it and this trip was for them but if you really wanted to get the most out of the price of admission, you have to ride the roller coasters and explore the water park (which we did not/could not do).

My parents and brother had joined us for this trip so on Sunday we made the obligatory trip to the Riverwalk. The weather was really nice, borderline cold for some. We walked nearly the entire thing since I found some free street parking in downtown and refused to pay another $15 for parking (damn you Sea World). I wanted to eat outside at those restaurants along the Riverwalk but the kids got really hungry and it's hard to appease everyone, especially my parents who don't eat anything that's not Vietnamese food. We settled for mall food. My dad is so Asian that he got won ton soup. My mom said packaged ramen was better than that crap he ate. Lynn got the orange chicken from one of the three Chinese places there but unfortunately chose the wrong one. Rarely do I say anything is disgusting, as most things will fall under mediocre or just okay, but that orange chicken sauce was just gross.

Watching my mom grimace as she chomps down on an avocado filled taco makes me feel guilty with each bite...

Food wise, this trip was a disappointment. I wanted to try the big ass cinnamon roll at Lulu's and the food trucks on Bulverde but didn't want to subject my parents to anything non-Vietnamese. Watching my mom grimace as she chomps down on an avocado filled taco makes me feel guilty with each bite as witnessed on Saturday night at El Papalote.

On a random note, if you ever go to San Antonio or beyond, you must stop at the Buc-ee's in Luling, TX. It was the best store ever, well in terms of stopping during a road trip. The restroom was huge, there had to be about forty toilets and urinals. They had every type of candy, drink, snack and even had a bakery and hot food served there. A must see.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Well we didn't really cheat, but our team consisted of a couple of ringers. My boys occasionally play Mario Kart Wii, only when they're well behaved, and we limit it to four races. So normally they both play on the same team but always lose either because of Andrew's low score, they picked hard tracks, or the computer just dominated them. When they're done, you would hear "blue team lost again" and "we never win." It's quite sad. So this time around, Lynn and I joined in on the fun and I was thinking this will be an automatic win. The difficulty was set to easiest and we were playing all the easier tracks, i.e. The Mushroom Cup. In the end, the best that we could manage was a tie. How sad is that? At least we didn't lose. :(

What's amazing was that Jacob outscored me! I was no ringer, Jacob was. And Andrew, barely 3 years old, held his own. Our computer teammates were the weak links... stupid Waluigi, you're barely a character. My boys are wasting their talents and skills on Mario Kart. I need to get them doing something more beneficial... but what?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This past weekend my sister-in-law Julie baptized baby Reed and guess who's the godfather. That's right, yours truly. It was probably by default since Lynn is the godmother but I'll take it.

He already has my hair.

If you count my two godsons/nephews, my two bad boys and unborn child... that's five boys and zero girls. Boys will forever dominate this family. Thanks Y chromosome sperm, you've made a couple ladies in our family very unhappy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A couple weeks ago I broke my eye frames and had to make due by taping them. So during that time, I looked like the stereotypical nerd you might see on TV. Normally I wouldn't care what people think but I was a little self conscience. Maybe it's because I have to present myself a certain way at work. What would you think if you saw a professional in business attire wearing frames with tape on it? It didn't help that I used tan colored masking tape on black frames.

This week my new frames came in so looking like a nerd is over, well not really. I go from looking like a nerd from Saved by the Bell to looking like Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years. The difference here is that it's intentional. It's comfortable, fits on my big head, and doesn't slide off when I bend down like my previous frames. The best part was the price.

"I have a great sense of style."

It got my frames from Warby Parker. All frames on their site are $95. That includes the prescription lens and shipping, all tax-free! You can try up to five frames which are shipped to your house free of charge but you have to put down your credit card info, which is understandable. Top notch service.

10% off coupon code: NoSleepAtWP (expires 3/31/11)

Man, I sound like a commercial. I hope someone from Warby Parker reads this and sends me some free frames for the endorsement. I also love Ferrari, Omega, and Chick-fil-A.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's T-shirt time! I mean it's bracket time! It's that time of year to set your NCAA college basketball bracket for a chance to win some moo-lah. You don't have to be in a pool for a chance to win money as Yahoo is offering $1 million for a perfect bracket, but the chances of that happening is 1 in 18,446,744,073,709,551,616. Good luck with that.

Besides playing in the freebie one, I'm in a $20 pool with 334 people with a prize pool of over $6500. It's worth a shot. It's like playing the lottery except you get to root for your number, which makes watching the games that more interesting. The drawback of being invested in such a massive pool with a slim chance of winning, I can't get any work done. From checking scores to talking trash on Google chat, my productivity has come crashing to a halt.

My strategy was to pick uncommon winners, i.e. don't pick KU to win it all even though they have a good chance of doing so, but not to get too crazy like picking Oakland for the Final Four. So my dark horse is Florida. They're a #2 seed so it's not that entirely impossible and not many people will pick them. Let's do this!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I got this while at one of my nursing homes and the first thing that popped in my mind was not that today is St. Patrick's Day but that it's grandma's birthday. She would have been 92 today. As bad as my memory is, grandma's birthday is one of a few that I remember. It's probably because it lies on a "holiday" but who knows if I would have remembered if that wasn't the case. I'd like to think that I would have.

St. Patrick's Day, in my opinion, falls under the category of being a non-holiday, along with Presidents' Day and Columbus Day. Valentine's Day is... debatable. (I'd like to sleep in my own bed tonight.) But I will go with the flow and wear green so no old ladies pinch me. Happy St. Patrick's Day and happy birthday grandma, whatever you may be.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For dinner tonight, I ordered a pizza from the pizza parlor. What's the name of the place? Pizza Parlor. How great is that? Their name is so generic that I like it. And the pizza box matched their super creative name... an unassuming, plain white box. Who needs a fancy designed, colorful box... just as long as the pizza is good.

It was a New York style/mall-type pizza. It's a fairly thin crust, chewy, foldable. It wasn't as greasy as Pizza Hut but it still left an oil stain on the box. Overall, it was a pretty good pizza. Don't expect anything spectacular, especially at the price of $8.99 for a large 1 topping pizza, but I will probably order them over Pizza Hut or Domino's. I like to support the local, family-owned businesses before going to a major chain.

Pizza Parlor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Monday, March 14, 2011


It was time to take a break from Asian food and go back to the unhealthy, greasy American food. It was time for fried chicken. Target (my favorite store) sells a whole chicken, which is cut up into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings), for 50% off at $3.75. It seems like it's always on sale. Maybe it's only at our local Target, maybe it's a coincidence that it's on sale when I buy it, or maybe it was about to expire in two days. Whatever the reason, check out your local Target if you want to buy some cheap, organic chicken.

6 pieces of chicken (thighs, legs, wings)
1 can cream of chicken
1 egg
seasoning salt
[mix all together and set aside]

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
[mix together in large zip lock bag]
[add chicken one by one, shake, dust excess off, set aside]
[wait several minutes until the mixture on the chicken becomes doughy]

frying oil (peanut oil is best, if available), enough to cover chicken
[heat oil to 350F and fry 7-10 mins, or until golden brown]

It turned out fairly good. The skin was really crispy and flavorful. The chicken meat was kind of bland if eaten without the skin. But like with most fried chicken, the skin is the best part. There are so many recipes out there that I will probably try another. My next attempt will probably be a one that requires the chicken to soak in buttermilk, along with other spices, overnight. But who knows when that will be as I can't be eating this that often... I'd like to live past 40.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I really like brunch and breakfast food. I like the combo of anything eggs, potatoes, and syrup (whether it's on pancakes, french toast or waffles). When else can you eat something sweet and call it a meal? Eating at 10:30-11am to fulfill both breakfast and lunch is a great concept. I'm also a fan of linner (between lunch and dinner) as we practice that on a daily basis. What? Linner is not a word? Well it should be.

Saturday morning we went to Baba Yega in Montrose for their breakfast buffet. It's $10.95 per person. They didn't have a lot but it's about quality not quantity. The buffet had eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, quiche, new and sweet potatoes, bacon, sausage, Belgian waffles, lots of fresh fruits and a variety of breads and muffins. The restaurant had outdoor seating on their patio and we enjoyed the awesome weather while eating some good food. The parking lot was small so I can imagine it getting filled up by lunch and dinner time, so you would have to find street parking in that case.

Baba Yega
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

This was the first plate. I was only getting started.

Afterward we went to see the Blue Man Group at Jones Hall. We were sitting in the front row... of the balcony. Man those were a lot of stairs to walk. This was my second time to see them so they did some of the same acts but also added new routines. They were funny and very entertaining. Well worth the $24 + fees.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It officially began a couple days ago on Ash Wednesday and will go on for 40 days. During that time, you usually make a sacrifice. One year during college I gave up donuts and that was pretty rough. I'm not sure if you have to give something up, it's good if you can, but for sure you're suppose to abstain from eating meat on Fridays.

I love to play the spoiler. One time in high school my friend had a huge plate of cafeteria spaghetti, topped with their meat sauce, and I reminded her right before she took her first bite that we couldn't eat meat today. Denied. I was doing her a favor anyway as no one should be eating cafeteria spaghetti in the first place.

It's hypocritical but I ask that you don't play the spoiler on me. If you see me with a burger or some fried chicken, don't remind me that I can't eat it. Let me finish my meal first and then you can come tell me, at least I won't knowingly consume meat. Because once you tell me, I can't knowingly do it. Ignorance is bliss.

My sacrifice is giving up eating quality food, as seen here with my Filet-O-Fish. Lent is the only reason anyone would order this... unless your name happens to be Lynn. :) Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to eat a fish sandwich with cheese? So gross.

Fun fact: Name three times during the year you would expect to find the most people going to church.

Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday

I didn't know the last answer. I recently learn this tidbit this week at baptismal class. Yes, it's time to be a godparent once again. Maybe I should start going to church more often than those three days. Just kidding if you happen to be translating this for my mom or aunt, who I'm pretty sure don't know how to access a computer yet and assume the internet is 90% porn.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I was inspired once again. My friend Viet had posted a picture of his braised short ribs and I had to try it. It's very simple and essentially a thit kho recipe. But yeah, I don't normally eat Vietnamese food that often so it's an anomaly that I've been craving Asian food for this long.

1 lb pork short ribs (cut at each bone)
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
cracked pepper
[marinate 30-60 mins]

2 Tbsp sugar
[in pot on high heat, until sugar caramelizes]
[add marinated meat]

chicken broth, as needed
[add enough to cover meat]
[bring to a boil, cover, turn down heat and cook for 1-2 hours]
[uncover, bring back to boil, reduce sauce]

In this recipe, I used chicken broth since I didn't have any Coco Rico and added a little more sugar to get the sweetness I'm missing. You could probably use water instead of chicken broth. My intention was to leave it on the stove for 4 hours to get the meat really tender but I was getting too hungry. A little over an hour, the meat was already tender and fell off the bone. I reduced my sauce to intensify the flavor, so a little goes a long way. I learned my lesson with my first bowl, as my rice was drenched with the sauce... it was super salty.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Monday, March 7, 2011

Last night, while I was giving Jacob a haircut, Andrew hijacked my phone and started taking pictures with it. These are all of his shots. It almost has an artsy look to it. Who knows, maybe that was his intent.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On Monday I made a big pot of pho for dinner. (I think I finalized my recipe, debating on whether I should post it up or not.) The plan was to eat it again the next day and freeze the rest so we don't get sick of it. Wednesday comes and there's nothing to eat so it's pho again. And again on Thursday. Repeat on Friday. I'm pho-ed out.

Saturday for lunch we ate at Mooyah. Here you order your burger with any toppings you want and pay extra for cheese and bacon... it's like a Five Guys. My usual order is the junior burger (I don't need the extra patty of meat) with grilled onions, jalapenos and Mooyah sauce. It not a huge burger like those 1/2 lb burgers, which is a reason why I like it, but it will fill you up. Overall, I like it for what it is even though there are many bad reviews for this place. It's not going to compare with Red Robin and Five Guys is not that much better, if at all.

Mooyah Burgers and Fries
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Order for Boris? Yeah, that's me.

Later that day we went to a friend's 1st birthday party. One thing about parties, I can't stop eating... and just when I'm starting to be "good" about my diet. Not that I'm on a strict diet (as seen with the burger for lunch) but I'm not overly stuffing myself, eat only when hungry kind of thing. But if food is in front of me, I can't help myself. And at this party, food was everywhere. It's like that corny joke, I'm on a SEE-food diet. I see it, I eat it. Har Har. All that exercise I did that morning down the drain.

This morning I wanted to grab brunch at Andre's in Rice Village, going specifically for the brioche french toast and a side of pommes frites (who needs meat). We got there and there was a sign on the door stating they no longer serve brunch at that location. Devastation. We ended up at Ruggles. I had the bleu cheese burger. It was good as always but just a little weird eating a burger that early in the day when our intent was to get breakfast food. I'm burger-ed out now.

Ruggles Cafe Bakery
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Breakfast of champions.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That may sound harsh but that's how I feel sometimes. We send our kids to our church's ECC (early childhood center), which is like a preschool. They would go 9am-2pm, three days a week, learning various things. Anyhow, on top of the monthly tuition, registration fee, cleaning fee, activity fee and whatever miscellaneous fees I can't keep track of, we have a set fundraiser amount. This year it was $131 per child, or $262 for both. Basically you either raise that amount or you will be forced to "buy out", i.e. pay the remaining balance. Granted, they do give you two fund raising opportunities. In the beginning of the year, we had to sell food from a catalog. It ranged from pretzels and cookies to soups and pizza. It was drastically overpriced and the pictures in the catalog didn't even look appetizing. How are you suppose to push a product if you yourself wouldn't even consider consuming it? "Buy some cheese pizza for $12. Sure you can get a better, tastier pizza delivered to your door at the same price but why would you want to do a silly thing like that? Fresh is overrated. Frozen pizza is the way go." Needless to say, we didn't sell much. We got the sympathy buys from our parents and siblings but that was it. Our last fundraiser opportunity was selling poinsettias and cactus during Christmas time. Poinsettias make sense but cactus? Who would want a cactus? Why can't we sell something good like Girl Scout cookies and those candy chocolate bars with almonds that little league kids sell. In the end they deduct the amount raised from the amount owed and my remaining balance was $204. Shit.

Fresh is overrated.

Last Friday the kids had an art show and whatever spent there goes towards your fundraiser balance. The art show sells arts and crafts made by the kids and my intention was to buy over $200 worth of "art". I figured at least I'll get something out of it. New this year at the art show were gift baskets, each with their own theme, for silent auction. They had about eight various themed baskets displayed... a Crayola-themed basket (markers, paints and chalk), movie night basket (Blu-ray player with various movies along with a Gringo's gift card), photography basket (camera, photo paper, photography books) and other filled-to-the-rim baskets. They were all nice. At this point, I said forget buying art, I'm going for one of those baskets and with the amount that I owed, I'm a shoe-in to win. In the end, waiting until the last moment to bid, I went for the beach/swim package. It included an ice chest filled with various pool/beach toys (beach umbrella, water balls, water balloons, water guns, pool rings, etc.) and six 30 minute swim lessons. Oh, and a $25 gift card to Coldstone. It was a nice surprise as I already came to terms that I had to write a $204 check for the amount owed, so all of those goodies seemed free to me.

This is what I get for not selling the kids' fundraiser stuff.

I don't feel so bad about forking over the money since I actually got something in return, unlike the previous two years, but I still feel slightly cheated by our church. First, they make us pay tuition for the full month of August in which they only go for one day that month! Second, they have random teacher conference days and take holidays days earlier, e.g. Friday off for President's Day on Monday, thereby shortening the week. Can I get a prorated tuition? I think not. Third, they can set any kind of fee, tuition or fundraiser amount and you have no control over it. Who would accuse a church of abusing their power, taking advantage of their parishioners? I don't mind donating that amount of money but it's just the way they do it. In the end, all the money goes towards supporting the church so I shouldn't even feel this way. I'm such an asshole.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Most of my food cravings come from either seeing it somewhere or hearing someone talk about it. The other day I stumbled upon a YouTube video of two guys (Tran Can Cook) talking about banh mi. Coincidentally they are from Houston. After watching that video, I really wanted some but then it dawned on me... why don't I just make it myself, the way I want it. I don't like the pickled carrots or diakon, and can live without the cucumber and jalapeno slices. I don't need the BBQ pork or any other fancy meat. All I really need is some good pate and the Vietnamese mayo, the key ingredient of making good banh mi.

My banh mi:
french bread (mini)
liver pate
Vietnamese mayo
cha chien (fried pork roll)
dash of Maggi soy sauce (red top)

Vietnamese mayo recipe:
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rice vinegar
[pulse together in food processor]
1 cup canola oil
[slowly drizzle in while running food processor]

The mayo had a vinegar smell that threw me off but it tasted really good. Other recipes I found said to add an additional 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or to use white vinegar instead of rice vinegar. Next time I make it, I'll probably experiment with leaving them out and see if it effects the taste. My thought was it was only added to act as a preservative but I could be totally wrong. And next time, I'm adding a fried egg. Nom Nom.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
(4 out of 5 stars)