the whole day was spent waiting for christmas dinner. i didn't even really eat breakfast or lunch, just so i could leave more space for food tonight. i finally finished off some last minute shopping by ordering some magazine subscriptions online, as well as another aquarium book.

the weather was warm, in the high 40's, and i actually went out running - in shorts! it's christmas day and i've got my shorts on. so this must be what it feels like spending the holiday in warmer climates. i like running the charles river down by harvard square, my old route during my period of unemployment. it's not the most interesting route, but it's familiar, and familiarity breeds nostalgia. i was amazed to see how much car debris on the soldier's field road side of the river, evidence of past car crashes. pieces of headlights, fenders, a few hubcaps, and some other stuff i couldn't identify. once night came around, i wrapped my presents and got a ride back to belmont along with my trays of flan i made the night before. we saw the christmas conjunction between a crescent moon and the planet venus on the horizon.

we had hotpot, which i've got down to a science now as to how to eat everything. we had two pots running because of the number of people (10). one of the pots had a divider, one half for normal, the other half for "mala" which is this hotpot base we've been using the past few years, the name means "numbingly hot" in chinese, so hot that the soup becomes a shade of red if enough sauce is added. the favorite meat in our hotpot is thin slices of lamb that you're only supposed to dip into the boiling water just enough so that its no longer pink and then you can eat it. i eat my lamb in a mixture of soy sauce, sarsa roast sauce, coriander, and chinese chives. i also like the tripes because of the texture, and quail eggs, which you have to be careful because the yolk can be hot when you bit into the egg. because of the "mala" base, the new thing i like to eat are lettuce leaves that have been stewing in the sauce. the leafy portions, because of all its folds, really soak up the flavoring, and if you're not careful, you can easily choke on the strong hotness. tofu squares are also good at absorbing the flavor, but not as well as lettuce leaves. for dessert, we had fruit salad with my aunt lili made (with persimmon seeds) and then we had my flan. flan grade for tonight: a lot more holes in the pudding, and the caramel was way overcooked so that it tasted burnt, but nobody complained except for me.



lamb slices


beef slices

quail eggs

pork slices

tofu squares

chinese chive

pork fat jello

niou dou

spring rolls

yiou yeu gen




fruit salad


after presents were exchanged and opened (i got some lotions, a sweater, a cd rack, a cookbook, some chocolate, movie passes), i got a ride back home to cambridge. then came the dark side of hotpot eating. not sure what it is, maybe the fact that so many different ingredients go into a hotpot that foods get combined in strange ways, which sometimes can take a toll on my stomach. i really can't blame that hotpot though, my digestive system was malfunctioning earlier during the day, but the hotpot sure didn't help, and i spent a good part of the rest of the evening "reading" in the "library."

i watched a late night broadcast of breakfast at tiffany's (1961), a movie i've never really seen before, but it's one of those that you hear about all the time and i wanted to know what the hype was all about. audrey hepburn plays holly golightly, a manhattan socialite who's really a gold digger from a small town. a new neighbor moves, paul varjak played by george "hannibal" peppard, who's actually a kept man of a rich married woman but has dreams of being a writer. oh, and how could i forget mickey rooney as the offensively stereotyped mr.yunioshi, ms.golightly's grumpy photographer upstairs neighbor. the movie's weird, not sure how well it would do in today's market. it's basically the classic "mismatched girl and boy meet, they don't know it yet, but by movie's end they'll fall madly in love with each other and live happily ever after." a classic romantic comedy if you will. the story is actually quite modern, with gold digging, adultery, and mafia drug ring, and the characters are complex, but it seems like the movie still takes place during a much more simpler time, there's an innocence despite the creeping corrupting forces. the segment where paul and holly go out on the town in manhattan is pretty good, you fall in love with them, and you fall in love with new york city.