Thursday, November 29, 2007

To Boba... or not to Boba

Hello everyone! Sorry about the silence on this end. How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was a blast; Talika's family is wonderfully warm and welcoming. It was great to meet all the various members of her family and figure out where she got her eyes and her cheeks and her smile! I love meeting people's parents, for that reason. I love trying to figure out which genes won out in the in vitro DNA battle.

We had a whirlwind week! Jed and Will were very gracious with their batty sister-in-law. We had boba tea practically every day; for those of you who have yet to be submitted to the McSequeira obsession, boba tea, also known as "bubble tea", is an iced milky tea with big black tapioca pearls at the bottom. The drinks come with an extra large straw so that you can suck them up and chew them. It's a party in your mouth!

You can pretty much separate the human race into two: those who enjoy the boba experience, and those who don't. And I get it -- the texture can be off-putting, if you don't enjoy slightly slimy, chewy balls (aka you're a weirdo). We LOVE it. And of course, in true McSequeira style, we are insanely picky about it. We ONLY get boba from one place: Volcano Tea on Sawtelle (off Olympic). Go ahead, roll your eyes. I know you're doing it!! We've been going to Volcano for at least 6 years!!! There's probably good boba in Monterey Park, which is a predominantly Asian neighborhood here... but it's too far away. And no other place does it like Volcano does. Even when I lived in New York, Mikael, Sally and I would go in search of good boba in Chinatown, only to be sorely disappointed.

Luckily, Will and Jed are similarly obsessed with boba, so whenever they're here, we go everyday. In fact, Jed usually gets two when we go. I confess that Bren and I haven't gotten boba in a while, because I worked out that each drink is worth *6* points!! AGH! That's like two small orders of french fries at McDonalds! So it was nice to indulge for once.

We also went to Michael's wedding, which was beautiful. I don't have any photos sadly, because Bren had the camera, which had run out of batteries by the time he got to the wedding. But we had a good time.

Well that's all for today. I'll try to think of something else interesting to post soon. In the meantime, I am so excited! The documentary airs ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spread the Word

The documentary I co-produced "Sand and Sorrow", about the Darfur crisis, airs Thursday Dec 6th at 8p on HBO-- that's two weeks from this Thanksgiving. Please spread the word! Tell everyone you know! I would at least like people to TALK about it even if they don't watch it.

Also, if you want, check out this site. This group is working in conjunction with HBO to create house parties where folks gather, watch the doc and then talk about it. There's also a chance to chat live with a couple of the main characters in the film, over the internet.

I have a PDF of the actual movie poster, but I cannot convert it to a JPEG for some reason (which I have to do in order to post it up here on the Internet). If any of you can help me out with that one, let me know. I'd love for y'all to see it.

It is a bittersweet week in the Mc-Sequeira household. Bren's sweet sweet brother Jed is here for his annual Thanksgiving jousting match. Bren's other sweet sweet brother Will is on his way, so that the three of them can have a fraternal reunion; in past years, that has happened over the Christmas holiday but since we are going to India this year... they're doing it now. Also, at the end of this week, Michael (Bren's dad) is getting married. It's a FULL WEEK!

Sadly (or happily kinda), Bren booked a commercial that is shooting in Prague (YIPPEE!). Unfortunately, and this is the bitter part, they need him to leave today and return on Saturday. So that means he'll miss 90% of his brothers' visit and part, if not all, of his dad's wedding. He and I were both unbelievably bummed about it but you can't say no to this kinda opportunity. Thankfully, Talika offered her family up as a surrogate to us, so we'll be stuffing ourselves with the Jamaican-Persian contigent this year. Whee!

I'll post whatever photos Bren gets in Prague -- pray that he gets back safely and that he nails it! I also have a bunch of stellar ugly pics that Andy sent. I'll be posting those too so stay tuned. Until then, have a peaceful and loving Thanksgiving no matter what you are doing, and know that somewhere on the West Coast, there's someone with short curly black hair and a sometimes-doublechin who is very very thankful for you in her life.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


All you Los Angeles folks, tomorrow (Friday the 16th of November) is your last chance to witness Bren in his finest improv show yet. So far he's played the roaring head of a stallion, upon which a god of sorts is riding to victory... a fiance-cum-janitor Lothario that likes to flex his muscles before he knocks you out and takes blackmail-potential photos (see pic above)... and, well, truly I've forgotten the other characters, but trust me, I laughed a lot at him. He's funny. I mean, you KNOW he's funny.

The show is tomorrow as I mentioned, at the Hothouse (4934 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601) at 9pm. There's also a show at 8p if you want to get your money's worth -- a very affordable $10/ticket. Oh and if you like, it's BYOB.

Here's the google map for the spot.

Yes I know it's (eek!) in the Valley, but it really doesn't take that long to drive there. And the time flies by for all of you who still have a stereo in your car; ours was stolen a while ago, and so now I have to sing to myself. I think "This American Life" is on NPR at that hour, so you can even catch the best show on radio (aside from "Cartalk") while you're driving! Stop being such a lazybutt. You're so LA. Come have your humour tickled.


See you there!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OH yeah!

I found another doozy! I was going through my library and there it was -- it looked bad enough as a thumbnail but when I blew it up, I knew it was a keeper. May I present the "beauty" of shooting someone from below whilst that someone is doing their best turtle impression!

This is so empowering. Haahahahaaa!


Fat Pics Reponse...

My friend Sarah left such a great comment last night that I had to share it:

It's funny that you made this post because I have just recently begun to embrace those "ugly" pictures of myself.
My students have taken numerous pictures of me at various events, many of which I never see again, but some I hear about later. I particularly hear about how badly they came out.
I used to let these sorts of photos bother me, but have recently decided that bad pictures happen to everyone. No matter how you might look in everyday life, someone has immortalized you making the least flattering facial expression, sporting the outfit that makes you look enormous, or in lightning that makes your face reminiscient of something from Night of the Living Dead.
My bad ones generally include my nose looking really bizarre.
Maybe we should all collect those "bad photos" and rather than burning them, make a photo montage, or post them on a website and stare at them until we become unphased by them.
The fact of the matter is the more fluid you are, the more active and expressive, the less wonderbread and milk toast-boring you are, the more likely it is that you will be caught making a strange face in a photograph. It's only folks that practice their smile in front of the mirror and avoid their inner need for Lucille Ball and Lon Chaney moments that look the same in every pic, and who needs those people anyways.
You photograph beautifully, so I can't imagine you looking bad in any pic, extra weight or not...but then again you're not exactly whitebread, so BRING ON THE BAD PHOTOS!

I think this is a great idea; if you have some ugly photos of yourself, you can send them to me and I'll post them alongside any ugly ones I have of myself. Then we can laugh at each other knowing that how beautiful we really are, despite bad lighting, angles and outfits.

Here's the worst one I have right now. You can see my problem -- it's really not ugly enough dammit! Ashley laughed her butt off when I sent her this one. So please, help a sistah out and send a bad photo. At least in this one though, you can see my shirt straining and my chubby round face. I just want to pinch those cheeks!


p.s. stef: good luck to you too. And calories don't count when you're out having fun dontcha know?!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fat pics?

Hey y'all... any of you have a photo of me from the past few years, which is quite unflattering? I only got a camera in the past year, coincidentally (!) around the same time started losing weight so I don't have any photos of me when I was heavier. If you have one you think qualifies, please email it to me! I am trying to find a good "before" photo to give to my personal trainer friend Ashley, who really jumpstarted me this year... she wants to put it on her website. Now's the time! I won't be offended I promise! Send me that one photo that you looked at and thought, ooooh lordy, not going to share that one with her!! Bad angles, sad face, tummy rolls... the whole nine.



Monday, November 12, 2007

Hothouse on LAist

I wrote about the Hothouse on LAist! Take a look.

Oh, the hothouse is where Bren performs and has taken classes and generally rocks the house everytime he takes the stage. :)


Friday, November 9, 2007

My Favorite Things: Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

This is actually Kuv's idea. When she came to visit, she was intrigued by the thing I'm going to write about, and was so taken by it that she said, "Aarth, you should write about all these cool things you find at the supermarket!".

So here we go. Thanks Kuv! I love this idea. Makes me seem so smart. :)

It might be a bit tricky to find, but I think it's worth it: balsamic vinegar glaze.

I too was crazy for balsamic vinegar when the entire country seemed to be dousing everything from caprese sandwiches to ice-cream in it. But eventually, I realised... I don't really like it. It took Patte voicing her distaste for it -- and suddenly, I thought, hey me too! Or at least, I'm (typically) snobby about it. Give me a little of that aged-for-25-years stuff, and I'm ecstatic. But that really watery, acetic kind? BLECH!

So here is a great compromise for me. It has the syrupy texture and sweetness of the aged kind, without the $30 (or more!) price tag. I found it at Whole Foods, although Trader Joes used to carry their version (since discontinued sadly). You can probably make your own reduction, by boiling down a bottle of the regular stuff, but I tried that once and almost fainted from the vinegary fumes.

It's incredibly versatile. I drizzle a bit over salads which I've dressed with some lemon juice. You don't even need the olive oil. I've put it over rotisserie chicken that I bought at the store, to jazz it up a bit. Or yes, over ice-cream. It's so yummy, especially with some fruit. Plus, it comes in a SQUEEZY BOTTLE so you can write messages or make snooty modern-art type of designs all over your food. What's better than that?


Sigh. Ho hum.

I have been a bit lacking in the inspiration department guys, sorry! I open this page up nearly every day and stare at it and then out of the window hoping for something interesting that I can write about. Sigh.

I will say that I am enjoying the cooler weather and the related bounty at the farmer's market! This week I hit up the one in our neighborhood (as opposed to the gargantuan one in Santa Monica that I took pics of previously). I found some unbelievable mushrooms -- so beautiful that I didn't even want to cut them up or eat them.

Well, I didn't want to for all of about 5 seconds before I imagined what they would taste like. Hmm, I didn't take photos of this recipe, but I am going to post it anyway because it is one of Bren's FAVORITES (I've never seen him eat anything resembling a vegetable so quickly before). You can use whatever mushrooms you like although I'm not sure the white button ones would work as well. If you see a good bunch at the farmer's market, grab 'em! I served this over little round of polenta -- the loaf kind, that I allowed to crust up a little in the pan.

Roasted mushroom yummy

1 or 2 pounds of wild mushrooms (oysters, chanterelles, shitakes, crimini etc)
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
About a teaspoon of dried thyme or the fresh stuff
Salt and pepper
2 shallots of 1 leek, cleaned and diced finely
1/4 cup brandy
1/3 cup half and half
Whatever fresh herbs you want

1) Preheat oven to about 375 degrees fahrenheit
2) Using a pastry brush, clean the mushrooms, and snap off tough stems. Then slice in 1/4" wide pieces.
3) Toss mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4) Spread them on a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet, and throw in to the oven for 15-20mins until slightly golden brown and juicy
5) Meanwhile, heat some oil or butter in a skillet. Once it's warm, add leeks/shallots and sweat until tender. If you're using leeks, let them cook until they take on a bit of color -- I think they taste better that way.
6) OFF HEAT, add the brandy and flambee until the alcohol has burnt out
7) Put it back on the heat, and add the half and half. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice for some tartness if you like.
8) Let it cook a few minutes so the flavors marry.
9) Season with salt and pepper.
10) Pour over the mushrooms, throw it all back in the oven and roast for another 5 minutes or so.
11) Spoon over polenta rounds or pieces of toast or just eat it by itself. It's goooooood!

I cannot take credit for this recipe -- I adapted it from one I learned at cooking school.

all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.