And on the other hand...

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Year's Eve, Yin Style

I was in Chinatown yesterday, primarily because I wanted to buy some Chinese ink, but it was all festive so I wound up with door couplets, some snacks, a couple of movies that my Chinese video vendor had put aside for me (knowing I will buy anything she puts aside for me), and some Year of Snake T-shirts.
Local T-shirt design, says "Zing to the Dragon Zang." Not sure what that means, but the design is nice.
I've been trying to paint snakes, but haven't found the energy to really concentrate.  The snake character, 蛇,  lends itself, in running script, to some nice snake motifs.  But I am not yet prepared to show my meager efforts.  But in some fit of prescience, I did take this photo in Washington last August, at an exhibit of Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei Wei's bronze zodiac animal heads.  They were awesome.
Ai Wei Wei's bronze zodiac animals at the Smithsonian; "Move over dragon, I''m snake and 2013 is my year."
I spent this day, the eve of Spring Festival, watching Chinese movies and making...chop suey.  I've been reading Andrew Coe's very intriguing "Chop Suey--A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States" which traces the American taste (or lack of it, or even revulsion to it) for Chinese cuisine from 1784 (when the first American voyage to China set sail)  to P.F. Chang's.  Chop suey, something I've never really encountered in China, is a melange of stir-fried stuff with rice or noodles...mine was pretty tasty, since I have routine and ready access to fresh ginger and Chinese parsley, good local soy sauce and salted black beans.  I was clearing out vegetables in the fridge to mix up with some leftover char siu and roast pork.  It was an inelegant but toothsome mess, and I apologize to the kitchen god for even suggesting that it was Chinese.  But it still tasted better than the old La Choy canned chop suey I grew up with, thinking that was authentic Chinese cuisine.
Looks bad, tastes good.
The movies...with a nod to the new snake year, I re-watched Jet Li's recent retelling of the white snake legend, "The Sorcerer and White Snake."  I liked it better than the first time around, although I still prefer "Green Snake," with Vincent Zhao, even if Vincent's portrayal of the monk is a bit more evil and goofy.  (It's not the first time Vincent and Jet have played the same roles.)  And then a little Hong Kong indie oddity,  "A Side, B Side, Seaside" set in one of my favorite Hong Kong locales, Cheung Chau, where I would actually like to be to celebrate this Chinese New Year, not that Honolulu isn't perfectly lovely.  

Some mandarin oranges (Cuties, clementines) for dessert and yet another HK movie, something contemporary with the other Tony Leung (Ka Fei) who I wouldn't have recognized had my video vendor not pointed it out to me.  Andy Lau appears in it too, as he appears pretty much everywhere, but was not obviously credited in my DVD package.
Not as cute as Vincent Zhao, but tasty anyway.
Xin nian kuai le, ever'body!  Gong xi fa cai!

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