Like a kid in a toystore

Last week Garry and I checked out Talbot's Toy Land in San Mateo.  Impressive offerings for a relatively obscure (i.e. non-Toys-R-Us) establishment.  I was pretty interested to see how different some of the toys were, like these Karito Kids line that features rather large dolls, each one hailing from a different country and wearing 'modern' outfits.  Yes, what you see in the pictures is a pair of UGG boots on the surfer-chick doll from Australia.  Yuck!

There was also this weird juxtaposition of super-traditional, anti-feminist Barbies to ultra-modern comic book hero action figures for girls.  And of course, Ugly Dolls and SET, my favorite card game!

I appreciated going back in time and seeing some of my favorite toys:
  • Original 1983 Edition My Little Ponies.  I still have Cotton Candy around somewhere.
  • Calico Critters... I had the bunny cotton-tail family I think.
  • Breyer horses.  I always wanted, not just one, but a whole bunch of these gorgeous horse models.  My friend Sara had a whole herd of horses plus the full farm and paddock set-up (I was so envious and thought she was so spoiled).
A nice trip down memory lane.  All we actually bought, though, was a kite for windy days!

PS. I realize this post is ironic in light of the previous post.

Weekend Pt. 4: 40th Int'l Taiko Festival

I came *thisclose* to not making it to this festival in Berkeley, but I already knew I love taiko (I'm considering taking lessons with SF Taiko Dojo), and the AA group at work was subsidizing tickets (which were $38).  I'm so glad I went!  It was like 3 hours of nonstop drumming action.  I never really thought about how inventive, spiritual, and generally kick-ass taiko could be.

They were really strict about not taking any photos/video, but I snuck a couple minutes so you can get a glimpse of what it was like--sorry for the terrible camerawork; it's hard staying centered when you're trying to hide a camera in your jacket =P

Followed by a YouTube video of the same group at another event--performing an intricate dance-like number.

Weekend Pt. 2: Chinatown

We (or at least I) just had to get outside because it was so nice.  Wandered around Chinatown--it was quite depressing to see so many storefronts closing up shop b/c of the economic downturn.  But the Wok Shop was alive and kicking (it opened 35 years ago!) as was this colorful Chinatown kite shop.

We found, quite by accident, this hole-in-the-wall claypot place on Grant St. that got rave reviews on Yelp.  The seafood claypot hit the spot, as did perfectly stir-fried mustard greens.

Ritziest 99 Ranch I've ever seen.

The new 99 Ranch Market in Mountain View.  It's like an Asian Whole Foods--so fannncy!  We got panko breadcrumbs, large pea shoots and lots of other Asian goodies.  Plus, I got Garry and early Christmas present: a fancy Zojirushi rice cooker.  A far cry from my $15 Yan Can Cook ghetto rice cooker--my brother swears by his Zojirushi.  We look forward to many batches of perfectly cooked rice.

I'd like to do this one of these Saturdays.

There's this middle-aged guy who operates somewhere out of Redwood City.  During the week he is a mild-mannered chiropracter.  On the weekends, he hosts these classes for motorcycle riding and driving/racing for drivers of all skill levels.  I really want to take some of his driving clinics, even though my humble Honda Civic won't hold a candle to some of the fancy driving machines that show up for his clinics and tear their ways through Woodside on the weekends. He claims that any type of car is welcome.  

Topics covered include: Oversteering, understeering, lines of travel, friction circle, driving in the rain, and braking safely.  

Best of all, the clinics are free!  Though if I had the money to invest in this as a hobby, I'd totally love to learn how to race (yes, cars!).  Said like a true nerd, I know.  But there's few things more exhilarating than the feeling of a perfectly executed turn.

Check 'im out: Doc Wong's Driving Skills & Skyline Fun Tours Clinic (too bad his website is stuck somewhere in the early '00s).

Friday Afternoon at the Dentist

After years and years of no cavities, my dentist found one lurking in my backmost upper molar that was the size of the Grand Canyon.  The novocaine ensured I didn't feel anything, but it was still really unnerving to hear the drill winding its way into my tooth, and then seeing the pictures after.  This is the first dentist I've ever been to who gives you these hugely magnified video tours of your own mouth. 

I found it fascinating, and I wonder why every dentist doesn't do this.

As bad as it looks ("Doctor, that's like 60% of my tooth gone!"), he reassured me it was a relatively minor filling.  I shudder to think what other peoples' fillings look like, and I know this will definitely get me to floss more regularly.