The opening scene of “The One I Love” (2014) shows couple Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elizabeth Moss) in a joint therapy session. Their marriage is on the rocks because Ethan had cheated and the two are struggling. Their therapist recommends that they go on a weekend getaway.
“The perfect retreat. Just the two of you,” he says, adding that it will give them “a chance to reset the reset button.”
The couple drives out to a country estate. Initially, the getaway seems to do them good. They cook, get high, and appear to have a good time. They seem to have rediscovered the playfulness and excitement in their relationship. The twist: there is something weird and sci-fi going on at the seemingly idyllic estate.
Given that the trailer for “The One I Love” carefully conceals the film’s plot and gives very little away (brilliantly put together ), I will also refrain from saying too much, except to say that I highly recommend the film.
Being a Pet Mom comes with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of feelings. Think about the time when your pet goldfish died in grade school. I, frankly could handle neither, and that is why I resolved to be a Plant Mom. Little did I know, even as a Plant Mom, I could suffer from heartbreaks. I am talking about my grandpups, more precisely, air plant pups. Continue reading →
To travel, or not to travel, that is the question. In face of the pandemic, my answer to that question is unlikely. The inability to travel got me reminiscent of my most recent oversea trip: a two-week vacation to Taiwan back in December 2019. And as I oscillate between feeling happy (oh, it was so much fun!) and regret (if I had known COVID-19 was going to happen, I would have…), I want to take the opportunity to share one of my favorite spots in Taipei.
Dadaocheng and its Port City glory
Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with its share of skyscrapers, restaurants, and department stores. But there is a neighborhood that takes you back to another era in time. It is Dadaocheng (大稻埕). To Tai-bei-ren (Taipei people), the neighborhood is best known for its main avenue: Dihua Street (迪化街). It is the premier spot to buy dried delicacies that range from scallops to mushrooms to spices. If you were to come the weeks preceding Chinese New Year, you will find the street packed with people stocking up traditional Chinese foodstuffs for Lunar New Year’s feasts.
There is, however, more to Dadaocheng then Dihua Street. The origin of the name Dadocheng pays tribute to its agricultural origin—”Dao” (稻) means rice grains and “Dacheng” are machines used to dry rice. The village then became a small city at the end of the 18th century due to the opening of Danshui Port (淡水港) and soon became famous for exporting tea. Today, the place hints of its former port city day glory, presenting a unique blend of old and new, East and West. You will find a delightful collection of historic buildings, tea shops, clothing shops, Chinese herbal medicine shops and local food stalls all easily accessible by walking.
FYI #2, the best way to get to Dadaocheng is by taking the Taipei Metro and getting off at one of these three stops: (1) Shuanglian (雙連) Station/Red Tamsui-Xinyi Line, (2) Beimen (北門) Station/Green Songshan-Xindian Line, or (3) Daqiaotou (大橋頭) Station/Yellow Zhonghe-Xinlu Line.
Here are some of my favorite shops (pastries and tea only for this post), curated by Yours Truly! Continue reading →
I am in the process of moving my content to a new platform: Hsieh With You. The blog is curated by me and my sister and each week we take turns to “hsieh”-ing (“hsieh” is pronounced “shay”) things we love.
Below is a recent post I wrote on gardening. If you enjoy the post, please visit my new website and follow me there instead.
I grow things with the intention to eat them.
While I mask this under the facade that I love gardening (and have had several delightful conversations with fellow gardening aficionados), truth be told, I, simply, love eating organic, seasonal produce. There is nothing I relish more than plucking that ripe cherry tomato fresh off the vine the first thing in the morning, beating all the “cute” beastiesanimals thieves to it. While I have yet to find damning evidence that there are indeed cherry-tomato craving creatures competing with me, I have definitive proof that the SNAILS are beating me to the kale. Such an irony eh? Being beaten by the snail of all creatures?
All jokes aside, I do love growing things and appear to have a green thumb for growing fruit trees from scratch. Whenever I come across a particularly delicious organic fruit, I would carefully remove the seed, plant it, and see what comes of it. Thanks to that effort, I now have a growing family: an apple tree (1.5 years old), a pear tree (1 year old), and an avocado plant (4 months old). While I have come to terms that my plants have a long dormancy stage, or resting period, before they will bear fruit—averaging 6 to 10+ years when grown from seed—my inner result-driven gardener has recently suffered another heavy blow when I learned my fruit trees might never bear fruit. Ever! Continue reading →
Reading Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments takes me back to my high school AP Literature days when I first encountered her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. What was frightening then, a dystopian America where women are stripped of their rights and defined by their fertility (or lack of), continues to frame her 2019 sequel. While this time around Atwood appears to empower her Gileadean women—expanding her protagonists from one to three, giving the new protagonists names (Aunt Lydia, Agnes and Daisy/Nicole), and bestow on them the task of overturning Gilead—the new trio is no better than the Handmaid Offred (“Of [Commander] Fred”). The oft-forgotten male-narrated epilogue delivered by Professor Jame Darcy Pieixoto at the Gileadean Studies Symposium again hits home the fact that despite the effort of these women to break free from Gilead, they ultimately fail to escape the male-imposed narrative.
The lone voice of the piano unveiled Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 2, starting with a series of powerful, brooding chords. With each play, a heightened sense of foreboding, and the tension quickly escalated into a breaking point that erupted into scaled musical statement that reverberated throughout the concerto.
The passion, whether uttered through powerful arpeggios or sweet romantic melodies, came rolling like waves unrelentingly, leaving one breathless with the distilled essence of love—both the pleasure of love anticipated and the pain of love unfulfilled.
The performance, performed by pianist Boris Giltburg, Pacific Symphony and guest conductor Ben Gernon, was a pursuit of the Romantic conception of the sublime. The state of being, a Romantic ideal, believes that the most memorable experience is not made up of pleasure alone, but also suffering.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
May 31—June 2 2018
Sergei Prokofiev Russian Overture Op. 72
Sergei Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky Petrushka (1947 version)
Sure as pairing Japanese green with Castella sponge cake or ordering my coffee extra hot, I have once more listed “workout more” as one of my new year resolutions.
I am not alone. Fitness and health resolutions are a January fixture — the most common New Year resolutions have to do with improving one’s physical fitness, with “exercise more frequently” and “loose weight” being the most common, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive online survey of U.S. adults.
While the survey also pointed out most fitness- and health-related resolutions dissipate by mid-year, I have decided to reverse the trend, committing to a sunrise and morning workout on the beach.
Starting the new year with oceanside sunrise! (January 2017/Crystal Cove)
Commitment 3.8/5 stars (A January 2 start date is not as good as January 1, but decent)
Sunrise 3/5 (Rainy and cloudy, but the sky lit up around 8 a.m.)
Duration 4.2/5 (Hiked/Walked for approximately one hour 30 minutes)