Monday, May 30, 2005

Poker Night

I won.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Star Wars Puppetry for the Home

This is a fun project. My roommate, Martina, came up with the idea of the puppet, and Elias and I came up with role playing game.


Darth Vader 7-11 Slurpee Cup Top
Wine bottle
Black Felt (9'' X 6'')
Safety Pin
Flex Grip Ultra red pen (we used medium, but fine point will do)

Start with the Top:

Get your bottle ready.

Have your crafty roommate wrap a piece of black felt around the bottle/body for a cape and fasten the cape with a pin. (If you don't have a crafty roommate, you can try this on your own.)

Voila! Let's get busy!

Using the action packed red pen for a light saber ...

you'll do serious damage to Mace Wine Du and Obi-Wine Cabernobi.

May the Force be with you.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sheff's Special Family

My mom was visiting from the northwest for a few weeks and boy did she suck back some horchata. She loves that sweet rice drink served over ice and available widely at Mexican restaurants and taquerias.

I've made it before and just sort of guessed at what to do. I soaked a bunch of rice and put it in the blender with a bunch of sugar and cinnamon. I didn't measure anything, but just made it to taste. Recipes vary, but try 1 cup of rice (rinsed and white) soaked in to 2 quarts of water for a couple of hours. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar depending on your interest in sweetness, a cinnamon stick, and maybe a little vanilla. Do it up in a blender and strain. Serve chilled and/or over ice. Check this out for even more fun times.

Special Ed finished his coursework in his MPA program at Sonoma State University and says he "will never-ever-ever have to go to class again." For now he plans to "[drink] a lot of beer" and complete his thesis on the disastrous policy implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act/Law. Send him your regards and thoughts about his topic. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you.

Saint Ed. Photo by Yoshi M.

Chuy and Elias also completed Master's coursework recently. This weekend, Ed, Chucho, Elias and I will hang out here in the Southland! So far, plans include eating and heading out to the Inland Empire to see Brother John and the new Star Wars movie.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

English Usages

editor's note: Kathy is taking the day off.

It's me, Sheff's special friend, again. What up, dudes? Last time I guest-blogged, I got flack for being too academic, so today I'm gonna try a whole nother thing. But the thing is, is I just can't fight my nature.

According to Fowler's Modern English Usage, 3rd ed., the remarkable 'double is' ("the thing is, is that...,") was first noticed in American English in 1971. Various theories have been advanced to explain its origin, but one good one has to do with different uses of the word 'is' and the confusion resulting from certain ambiguous contexts, such as the 'garden path sentence.' These are sentences that lead you in one direction grammatically, then end up somewhere else. For example, the perfectly grammatical but confusing sentence: "The man who hunts ducks out on weekends." When I say something like, "you know what's funny is my hair looks like Phil Specter's," you might hear a comma after 'funny' instead of after 'know,' which makes the sentence ungrammatical and changes the function of the word 'is' (it becomes a focus particle instead of a copula).

I love the phrase 'a whole nother' because it is one of the rare examples in English of tmesis. Tmesis is the splitting up of the parts of a compound word; it is common in Greek poetry, where it is usually employed to meet metrical constraints. Other examples of tmesis in English are 'abso-fucking-lutely' and 'in-fucking-credible.'

Monday, May 23, 2005

In a Galaxy Far Far Away

I didn't see Episode II -- Attack of the Clones because the preview dissuaded me as it promised a thoroughly nauseating tale not unlike an episode of Dawson's Creek set in space. But, wanting to catch up with the story before seeing Ep3, I watched it on DVD last weekend.

It was worse than I imagined. The story was a total Dallas style sequence. You know -- bad acting, bad writing, unbelievable romantic and emotional connections. Anyway, Episode II is now my new standard and shorthand term for really sucky.

Friday, May 20, 2005


editor's note: this post was written by Sheff's special friend.

I apologize to the readers of the Sheff's Special that Kathy is taking the day off, and I have agreed to fill in. Given my near complete ignorance in matters both culinary and avian, I've decided to wander off into the abstract and esoteric with a musing on the nature of time.

Einstein defined it as 'that which is measured by a clock.' Some other physicist said it was 'that which keeps everything from happening at once.' Kant decided that time and space must not actually be characteristics of the real world (in itself) but must rather be ingrained features of the perceptive faculties of humans. The ancient Greeks had some good explanations as well. Somewhere in the Hippocratic corpus, time is defined as 'that in which there are opportune moments; and an opportune moment is that in which there's not much time.' But my favorite comes from the texts of the Orphic mystery religion, which was an early cult that was particularly concerned with how to navigate the afterlife and attributed its teachings to the mythical musician Orpheus. In my opinion, they're the only ones who got it right: 'time is a winged, multi-headed, bisexual snake.'

As I understand it, the flying and the slithering indicate the different options available to time as to its speed and manner of progression. It has many heads because it has to consider all possible outcomes of everything. And I suppose it needs to be bisexual so that it can single-handedly give birth to everything. Also, the snake, with its seasonal skin-sloughing, is a standard symbol of regeneration (plus its sibilance sounds similar to a stream, or to the sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Food Lesson

My secretary is getting married in Hawaii this week, and our office threw a luau themed potluck shower for her. In email discussions, we got to learn a little about authentic culture and whatnot.

An Armenian immigrant woman was surprised (in a smart tone, mind you) at suggestions that people bring Chinese, Japanese, or Korean dishes. A Japanese-American woman, whose mother is from Hawaii, pointed out the fact that Hawaii is made up of all kinds of Asians. She invited us to try out some local Hawaiian stores to see for ourselves. A Chinese-American chimed in too. She pointed out the influence of Portugal and some other European colonizing country. It got kind of intense for my office. Usually, people keep to themselves about hurt feelings stemming from offensive comments. Or, like me, they never confront offensive people but instead talk about them behind their backs.

I stayed out of the talks and focused on making something really special for the party. I was checking out Not Martha and got inspired.

It's a really easy treat, and if you're my friend or colleague, you can look forward to more in the upcoming bbq season.


start with marshmallow rice treat (basic recipe) and gummy worm. Roll up the gummy worm so it's covered up like a pig in a blanket.

After rolling it up, wrap it with a sheet of fruity sweet roll up stuff.
Slice it up.

Slice it up.

Try Swedish fish on a small strip of rice treat for the Nigiri style. It's super easy and cute.

Also, keep up the love and respect.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Big Night in LA

The last time around (2001 L.A. race for mayor), I cared a lot.

This time I don't. I volunteered last weekend to do some precinct walking in a totally Orthodox part of town on a Saturday. It kind of sucked since only non-voting nannies in that west-side neighborhood answered doors, and it was 90 degrees. Anyway, I only did it because I was trying to help my friend with turn-out.

Helping friends with turn-out quotas is the only reason I do anything "political" or community minded these days.

Nevertheless, yeah! Looks like Antonio Villaraigosa will be the new mayor.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Another Mother's Day

My mom's been visiting Johyna since the baby came, and for the third time in two weeks, I drove out to the godforsaken inland empire to see everybody.

Mom and I went out to a stocked lake in the desert [not dessert!]. I was glad for the chance to put my binoculars to use.

We heard the noisiest long tailed birds hiding out in a tree.

Here's a girl grackle. The male, not shown in this photo, is darker and I think he had a longer beak.

I suspected, given all the rustling that was going on, that they were mating, but my mom says they're always noisy.

We also saw these coots. Mom says she's never seen baby ones before.

I couldn't get a shot of them, but we also saw some crazy blue billed ducks.

Otherwise, the sights were pretty typical -- mallards of all variations, geese, families fishing, tons of littered trash, a few injured birds, etc.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Read This

Xui is blogging for real!!!

Also, can people please tell me what is up with having to retype blurred text? I really don't know, but I'm guessing it's about making sure I'm not drunk blogging or something. What the F--- ?!?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Local News

If you read my blog or know me personally, you know I cannot stand Larry Mantle on KPCC. If you live in the LA area, it's likely you can't stand him either.

Remember when I wrote of Mr. Mantle:

In every broadcast, you will hear his whiteness, his claim to authentic Angelinoness, and about his marriage to a Latina. Say his name, and I will tell you everything offensive I have ever heard him say. I'll tell you about the day I had to park in the Cathedral parking lot, and as I was nearing the sacred place, he announced he was broadcasting from it. Not only was I having to hear him on the radio, I was taking a chance on having to see him in the courtyard! The topic: census data on Asians in Los Angeles County. He explained how surprised he was that more Koreans don't own their own homes. He asked his Asian expert guest if she imagined there was some cultural preference among Korean Americans for renting. He did. I swear to god!!!

Sheff's Special March Archives, March 10, 2005.

Today he is interviewing Jill Scott. Dear God! What will he ask? I'm tempted to tune in just to get more examples with which to prove my point. No radio station should allow him to talk to or about people of color. Ever. No talking to or about his wife, mayoral candidates, census tracked populations in LA County ... .

On another note, I got totally wrapped up in the feud between two LA columnist over the Arianna web site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

On-line Reading

After all the buzz and hype, the new Arianna Huffington blogplus site is up and running.

It's kind of overwhelming and looks like an online newspaper or magazine. The blog is only part of it. On the left side of the screen, you can link to the most recent blog entries by clicking on your choice of celebrity poster. Even thought it's a little unwieldy, it's cool to find such a mix; there are entries by Russell Simmons, Andy Stern, and people I don't think I've ever heard of, but maybe I would if I weren't so miseducated. On the right side of the page, you can click on links to news stories like this.

[ps -- happy late mother's day, and I read somewhere that blogger is going to shut down for an hour today.]

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Miracle of Life

I am amazed that my brothers, John and Ed, are still alive. As children, they thought they were invincible, but really they were lucky.

I just recently learned that they had an ongoing game of playing with an exposed electrical outlet. They would dare each other to withstand shocks and compete to see who could take the most.

Also, they liked to blow stuff up and had access to firecrackers every July. Other times in the year, they would try to make their own explosives. My mom wasn't too happy when they started pinching her tampons for fuses.

They made their own martial arts weapons like stars and nunchucks. I'm assuming they used them.

There were into Evil Knevil styled stunts like riding their bikes into the swimming pool.

There was also the soup game they'd play to cap off a good night of bathing. Ed would sit in the tub, and John would make Ed soup. Chef John would start with a broth of bath water and Ed. Then he'd add other ingredients like shampoo, conditioner, vegetables and spices from the kitchen, and whatever else he could find. Sometimes he'd add cleaners and supplies he wasn't supposed to touch or ingest. The time he added Drano, was the time I was called in. Ed was blistering, and I called it in to Dad.

They survived well and have all their limbs and digits in place. They are even reproducing and running 10 k runs. Me, I couldn't run half a k, and I got wrecked up in a jumpy tent a couple of years ago.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Auntie Kathy

I spent two hours with the family in the hospital so I'm pretty sure I'm the first person the baby head use the F-word -- the first person since leaving the womb that is ... .

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Baby Sheff

[Editor's Note: Originally, this space was slotted to host a discussion on film. I recently saw The Hitchhiker's Guide. Also, I went to a screening of Ukiah homegirl Yuri Makino's Tokyo Equinox in which she and her sister share an experience in Japan. But alas, some news stories take priority. Sorry Mos Def and Yuri.]

I have a special family ring on my phone, and this morning I heard it at about 5:30 a.m. My brother John called; they have a new baby. I can't tell you any of the details except that the baby is a boy and the labor was, by my estimate, about 2 hours. All I heard was, "blah blah eyes, blah blah blah nose." (John's a really bad mumbler, and I was half asleep.) My sister-in-law was unavailable for comment, as she was staring off at the wall.

Just last week, John was gah gah over his new lawn (for which I assisted in laying the sod). I bet I won't hear about the grass for months.

John and his wife Tonya (Johnya as I like to call them) make really cute and smart babies. Take my almost five year old niece. A couple of weeks ago, she restructured her kingdom, and she made me the queen. Ed is the king. She is the princess, and she appointed Elias to the position of prince (she kind of has a crush on Elias). Johnya, who used to be king and queen, were demoted to girl and boy guards. Even though I should have corrected her on the gendered nature of her make believe, I let it go because, hey, she made me the queen.

Now my favorite child in the whole world is a big sister.