UPDATE 9/10/2014: Congrats to Douglas C, winner of the GODIVA Limited Edition 2014 Chocolate Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncakes.
In 2014, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 8. That means it’s mooncake time!
Now if you’re like me, and you basically hated mooncake time because you think red bean paste is disgusting (I know, I know… I should get my Asian card taken away for that), then this is the mooncake treat for you!
Back by popular demand, legendary Belgian chocolatier GODIVA has debuted a new collection of limited-edition chocolate mooncakes in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. First successfully introduced in Asia seven years ago, GODIVA chocolate mooncakes have previously only been available in select U.S. markets. This year, the limited-edition GODIVA chocolate mooncake collection is available throughout U.S. and Canada with new tea and fruit flavors that capture the spirit of the holiday.
“GODIVA knows our Asian customers are always seeking new and innovative products, and our chocolate mooncake collection delivers, bringing them a modern twist to a classic tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival,” said Michelle Chin, vice president of marketing and communications at GODIVA. “If you are looking for something truly unique to give to your family and friends to show your love and appreciation, there is no other gift that compares to GODIVA chocolate mooncakes.”
GODIVA still remains the only premium chocolatier in North America that offers customers a non-traditional, luxury mooncake. Since mooncakes are traditionally enjoyed with tea, GODIVA incorporated tea flavors into its exquisite chocolate to create this year’s delectable collection.
The centerpiece of the Mid-Autumn Festival collection is a large dark chocolate shell filled with a crunchy grapefruit mousse, enhanced with hints of lemongrass and vanilla, and topped with a black-tea infused chocolate ganache. The collection also includes three additional mooncake flavors:
“Our chefs at GODIVA are very dedicated to ensuring that the chocolates we create for the Mid-Autumn Festival contain flavors and ingredients that resonate with our Asian consumers,” said Thierry Muret, executive chef chocolatier at GODIVA. “When you taste our chocolate mooncake collection this year, you’ll really experience the various textures and flavors, with the crunchiness of the grapefruit mousse, cocoa nibs and hazelnuts balancing out the creaminess of the ginger-spiced mandarin orange mousse, macadamia cream and green tea chocolate ganache.”
The GODIVA chocolate mooncakes are presented in luxurious gift boxes that have become collectors’ items of their own. This year’s crimson-colored gift box features Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon, in front of a beautifully embossed gold moon. Additionally, two mooncakes – the Grapefruit Black Tea Crunch, and a Lychee Green Tea Crunch – are available individually in the chocolate case in GODIVA boutiques.
GODIVA chocolate mooncake gift boxes retail for $50. They are now available in GODIVA boutiques nationwide and online at www.GODIVA.com. The individual mooncakes retail for $6.50 each, and are available exclusively in GODIVA boutiques. The collection is available for a limited time until Sept. 8, 2014. Visit www.GODIVA.com for more information and for store locations.
Ok, ok… you want a chance to win the gift box? Read on!
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Don’t Know Yet (2013)
Starring: James Kyson, Lisa Goldstein Kirsch.
Written and directed by James Linehan.
A guy in a car pulls over where a hitchhiker is standing on the roadside.
“Where are you going?” asks the hitchhiker.
“Uh, where are YOU going?” ask the driver.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you?”
“Are there rules to hitchhiking?”
It turns out there are, but not very many, at least for this driver named Taylor (portrayed by James Kyson). Taylor doesn’t know it at this moment, but this hitchhiker is the first in a long series of people needing a lift somewhere, and he’s happy to take them as far as they need to go in a cross-country Forrest-Gump-like journey away from the house he once shared with his fiance.
When he runs low on money, Taylor gets a cheap lunch in a diner, where he meets a very friendly, very pretty manager who gives him a job and then takes him to her house. Taylor is exceedingly friendly to the strangers he picks up, and other strangers he meets along the way are exceedingly friendly to him in a world that seems absent any threat to safety or well-being.
The people Taylor gives rides to all have different stories, some of them on their way to something, others on their way away from something, and still others not really sure whether they’re coming or going. Taylor gives transportation and friendship to them all, and in return they seem to offer some kind of gradual healing of the ailment that keeps Taylor behind the wheel. In one excellently conceived montage, we see Taylor from in front of the vehicle, driving on long stretches of road, a different passenger riding shotgun in each clip, a different hand-lettered cardboard sign resting upon the dashboard and visible through the windshield. Beyond “Minneapolis or Bust!” sentiments, they seem to act almost as subtitles for the thoughts in Taylor’s head as he listens to each story, his foot always on the pedal.
One day, a woman named Autumn (played by Lisa Goldstein Kirsch) slides into the passenger seat. She’s going to the East Coast, but she soon makes Taylor’s mission her own, the two of them stopping for hitchhikers, Autumn’s eventual destination apparently not pressing. They share a tent at night, stopping at campgrounds or wherever they find a good spot, and Taylor sees something inspiring in Autumn’s free spirit. They gaze at waterfalls together, watch in wonder as eagles circle high above them, make up songs as their campfires fling embers into the night.
I actually was trying to get my hands on the new Appleseed Alpha movie, which looks amazing, but I accidentally bought this. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, since I really enjoy the Appleseed franchise, so I started to watch XIII. Big mistake. It’s supposed to be a two-movie set that combines they storyline 13 episode of a TV series into one. It was so painful to watch, not just because the story just seemed to drag on and on but also because they had mutilated my favorite character, Deunan Knute. She’s supposed to be this amazing warrior, loyal, courageous, and death-defying at every turn. Instead, she seemed like a whiny self-centered pre-teen in XIII. Don’t buy, don’t watch, even if you are a Appleseed fan.
Despite a career styling the hair of celebrities like Jeff Gordon at high end salon Three Squares Studio, Mark Bustos takes time every Sunday to give free haircuts to the homeless.
He first started doing this in the Philippines as a tribute to his girlfriend’s late father. Soon he would the same in Los Angeles, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. Bustos says:
“The feeling was so rewarding, I decided to bring the positive energy back to NYC.”
You can follow Mark Bustos on Instagram.
(photo credit: Facebook)
Dear Hello Kitty Fans,
I know you’re upset that Sanrio has recently surprised the world by saying that Hello Kitty is not a cat. But really, as a long-time Sanrio fan, I’m not sure why many of you are quite so irate about the whole thing. So she’s not a cat. So this probably also means that Keroppi’s not a frog and Pekkle’s not a duck. But none of these revelations should truly change who Hello Kitty is to all of us. As she turns 40, her importance to fans — or at least her importance to me — remains the same.
This “scandal” emerged as a result of a new Hello Kitty exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum this fall. The curator, Christine R. Yano, wrote in the exhibit text that Hello Kitty was a cat. Sanrio corrected her to firmly state that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Instead, they insist she is a little girl and a friend. In cartoons and on notebooks and airplanes, she walks and stands and sits like the millions of people who love her around the world. My personal reaction? *Shrug*
Her power to be an icon has not diminished; we are merely being asked to look beyond her obvious appearance to consider that behind that iconic face there is meant to be a personality. And that what we can imagine her to be–is anything. In a stroke of marketing genius, Sanrio created childhood (and adulthood) playtime utopia – a Kitty for all our feelings, all our costumes. A character that allows us to project onto her.
In response to the internet’s outrage, Sanrio released a statement to acknowledge that she is, indeed, “a personification of a cat,” because of course it would be inaccurate to say that Kitty and many of her friends bear no resemblance to any animals whatsoever. Perhaps you are now less upset over this seemingly “life-altering” revelation.
At the end of the day, does it really matter? To this Asian American girl, the statement that she is not a cat could never taint her special place in my heart. Growing up, I could consider Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Badtzmaru and the whole gang as special in a ways that other stuffed animals were never able to rival. So it neither ruins my childhood nor changes my perspective on it.
Yano, who has studied Hello Kitty extensively, explains Kitty’s particular importance to Asian Americans:
“When Hello Kitty arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1970s, it was a commodity mainly in Asian enclaves: Chinatowns, Japantowns, etc…In talking to Japanese Americans who grew up in the 1970s, they say, ‘That figure means so much to us because she was ours.’ It’s something they saw as an identity marker. This is why the exhibition is being held at the Japanese American National Museum. It’s about reconnecting her to this community. It gives the whole thing a certain poignancy and power.”
My cousin was born in the 1970s and I imagine she would say something similar about the Hello Kitty doll my mother gave her as a child (which she still has). She and I are both Chinese American, but Yano’s statement nevertheless rings true. I grew up after Hello Kitty was more popular — in an era when I could visit the Sanrio Store in the Mall of America. We now living in a time where I can fly a plane with Hello Kitty emblazoned on the side or buy a Kitty cheering for my favorite baseball team.
Both today and historically, Sanrio characters are icons for Asian Americans. Hello Kitty and others like her not only feel and felt like “ours” in moments of happiness, but also in the moments when the feeling of belonging was lacking. For the moments of my childhood when there was only one American Girl “look-alike” doll that even vaguely resembled me (in the pre-Ivy days), there was Hello Kitty to represent me. A younger version of myself used the world of Sanrio to express an Asian American identity before I was even fully conscious that I needed to. At one point, I had a hellokitty.com email address, and at another point, an email that used the name of a different Sanrio character. And still today, for the moments when I feel like an outsider, Hello Kitty continues to endure and her international presence is encouraging.
And so, Hello Kitty can personify a cat or she can personify a mermaid. Or she can personify Batzmaru, who has always seemed like a grumpy old man more than anything else. Hello Kitty likes apple pie. I like apple pie. Cat or no cat, that’s all that matters to me.
A Fellow Fan
Image courtesy Japanese American National Museum
Season 3, Episode 8 (originally aired August 5): “Hank Goes Black”
Microsynopsis: Roy’s mom, who has a thirty-year history of fighting with Hank, is back in town, and as expected, the two shoot insults at each other non-stop in front of the bar patrons. But then Steve discovers them making out in the men’s room. Meanwhile, Owen and Ahmed compete for the attention of a patron who once sat next to Owen on a plane ride.
Good: Hank is surprisingly human and not just a stupid caricature, as when he admits to Steve that you can’t fight with someone for thirty years without some sparks flying. And when Roy finds his mom making out in the men’s room with Stan the plumber, Hank’s response is unusually believable. The clinking of beer mugs when Roy says Hank is his friend and he doesn’t want to see Hank get hurt is effective even though the moment isn’t truly earned. Also, the object of Owen’s and Ahmed’s interest is Christine Reitman, sister of Jason Reitman, one of my favorite directors, so that was neat.
Bad: The insults are horribly unclever, and the B-plot with Owen and Ahmed is just infantile. Also, no Susan.
Hapa moment: I’ve watched this one four times and haven’t found anything to call a hapa moment. Which is fine.
Overall: An unexpectedly successful episode centering on a character I usually think the show would be better without. Props to the writers, director, and actors for somehow making this work.
Final grade, this episode: B.
EDITORS NOTE: See Mitchell’s 8Asians review of ‘A Letter to Momo’
GKIDS presents A Letter to Momo, opening September 5, 2014 at Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinemas in San Francisco, and Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley. It will be presented in two language versions with different showtimes: in English language voice cast, and in Japanese with English subtitles.
The second film by Hiroyuki Okiura (director of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and animator on Ghost in the Shell and Akira) is a wonderfully expressive, beautifully hand-drawn tale that combines whimsy and kinetic humor with deeply felt emotion and drama. The last time teenager Momo saw her father before his sudden death they had a fight—and now all she has left to remember him by is an unfinished letter with only the words “Dear Momo.” Moving with her mother to a remote but beautiful island, Momo at first suspects their house is haunted. She soon discovers three goblin spirits living in the attic, mischievous creatures that only she can see who, constantly hungry, create mayhem as she tries desperately to keep them hidden. But these funny monsters have a serious side and may hold the key to helping Momo discover what her father had been trying to tell her. Seven years in the making, A Letter to Momo builds to a bravura finale—a frantic chase featuring thousands of squirming, morphing ghosts and spirits that is the best cinematic flight of supernatural fancy in many years.
If you’re in the Bay Area, why not catch it in the theatres?
Landmark Theatres Engagements begin Friday, September 5, 2014 at:
Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema, 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. (415) 267-4893
Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704. (510) 644-2992
Ok, ok, you just want to know how to win the tickets? Read on!
As I began looking through my notes and pictures on the trip to Alishan, I realized that I couldn’t cover everything in just one post, so I’m going to share it as a sub-series (hence the part 20A–it will go up to F). It was just too much, and that’s really a reflection of how much there is to do on Alishan mountain. This place has got tea farms, cultural centers, old towns, historic sites, a million scenic spots, and all sorts of nature climbs and hikes. It would be a dream come true if I could spend a few months hidden up here, checking out a new attraction every day while spending nights writing back in a mountain cabin under the canopy of night forest and starlight. No way I would get bored.
As a teenager on the Taiwan Love Boat program, they took us on a tour of Taiwan, and one stop was at Chitou bamboo forest (Xitou Youth Activity Center), which is also up in the central mountains of Taiwan, and I was so enchanted by the place that I wrote it into my novel as the gateway through which the main character enters another world. There is seriously something magical about Taiwan’s mountain forests.
Current Los Angeles Lakers NBA player Jeremy Lin was in San Francisco with his Mom on Thursday, August 21st, to see himself honored and immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds SF. From the press release I received from the museum:
“The creation of the figure was a very precise process that Jeremy was happily involved with. The Madame Tussauds studio artists take great pride in their works of art and strive to achieve complete accuracy with each figure. The studio team used photographs and captured over 200 exact measurements of Jeremy Lin’s body and face to replicate the NBA player. Details are abundant as every hair on the figure was carefully inserted by hand individually by a studio artist. In total, it took a team of more than 20 studio artists to complete the amazing figure in just over four months … “We are thrilled to have Jeremy Lin participate in the unveiling of his figure,” commented Adrea Gibbs, General Manager for Madame Tussauds San Francisco. Adrea further said, “Jeremy is an incredible athlete and encouraging role model for other young athletes, particularly in the bay area. We are so excited to share his figure with the public and no longer hold the best kept secret in San Francisco.”“
I’ve never been to a Madame Tussauds since it always seems like a very touristy thing to do, but I might have to make an exception the next time I’m in the area.
As if it weren’t awesome enough that we’re going to have a major showdown between Karate Hottie Michelle Waterson and Yasuko Tamada from Japan in Invicta 8, We were supposed to get another fight card featuring another run for the title between a major bout between two Asian American female MMA fighters, Jenny Liou Shriver and Katie Howard. Unfortunately, Howard was injured and had to pull out of the fight, but hopefully this fight is scheduled again for when the two of them are ready to rumble.
Shriver was a top hopeful for Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality TV show, season 20, and she made it as the first alternative despite competing against many other fighters who had much longer pro records. She fights out of Lewiston, Idaho with a pro record of 2 wins and 0 losses.
Howard fights out of Portland, Oregon with five pro fights under her belt, 3 wins, and 2 losses. I only just discovered Howard through this bout with Shriver, so I checked out the Youtube of one of Howard’s fights, and it looks like she may have a preference for ground game based on the outcome of that fight. Shriver, too, works from a BJJ foundation, but since she’s been winning with TKOs, it’s safe to assume she’s been working on her stand up game.
So will these two ladies be taking each other out with joint-ripping submissions on the ground or will the preference on both sides for ground game lead to a stand up battle? I’ll keeping tabs on whether or not the fight will be scheduled again later.
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was arrested after police say he broke into a woman’s home, took off all his clothes, and climbed into her bed while she was in it sleeping.
According to police reports, the incident happened [in July 2014] in Santa Ana, California.
The victim told investigators that she screamed when she awoke to find the man, identified as 29-year-old Jonathan Phan, in her bed. Phan fled through a window.
Officers were able to identify Phan because he left behind his pants, cell phone, and wallet, which contained a driver’s license.
29-year-old Phan faces burglary charges after the incident.
Season 3, Episode 7 (originally aired July 29): “Open Mic Night”
Microsynopsis: Steve is determined to get his bar mentioned in a local hipster magazine in order to gain more customers. He invites a writer from the publication to attend the bar’s open mic night, for which the bar’s regulars have signed up to perform uncomfortably bad acts.
Good: There’s plenty of Susan here. She wins an award at work, and armed with the confidence it brings, she mimics her mother’s accent and character in a way that leaves bar patrons in stitches.
Bad: The excitement generated in the bar for open mic night is simply ridiculous. The whole “let’s put on a show” vibe feels like a summer camp where nobody has any talent. You know that summer camp gag where one person wraps his arms around another from behind, while the person in front puts his arms in a pair of pants and the pair acts like one bizarre little puppet? They actually do that in this episode. And that’s only the second-creepiest, second-most infantile performance on open-mic night.
Hapa moment: Susan gives her mom a hint about what her open-mic act is going to be. In her best impression of Ok Cha, Susan says, “It’s a-not my fadda!”
Overall: This may be the worst episode in Sullivan & Son’s three-season run so far.
Final grade, this episode: D minus.