Friday, November 16, 2018

When I was leaving the office today, the snow had already started to really come down.

It surprised me to see all of it for the first time through the building's entrance. This was still from the inside where it was warm, but I knew it was time to leave. I took one last look of the street, with its whipping flurries and passersby fighting against the elements of the moment. I'd be leaving the toasty hallway right then to start the rest of my day, and life.

After getting home a little before 3pm, I decided to go back out and get some air. Even though the weather was bad, I still left my place in Harlem and headed downtown. I ended up walking for a bit, and then caught the 9:35pm showing of a movie at Quad Cinema. I watched this Korean movie called Burning, and it had been my first time back to the Quad since they remodeled it. I have a lot of memories at that theatre. I always liked going there because of the smaller theatre sizes, and many years ago, I even took my friend Annie there to watch a gay movie hours after coming out to her.














Thursday, November 15, 2018

"I'm far from perfect. And I don't even want to project perfect. Because, wow, thats scary. There's only one down from perfect, is to fall really hard."

Said by Cindy Crawford in the the podcast Oprah's Master Class. Episode November 8, Cindy Crawford.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Cindy Crawford. Full stop.
Today felt the the first real cold day of the season. It was windy and rough enough out there to make a scarf feel necessary.

It's been an interesting day, the type that gives a hint at some change to come. Where another twist or turn presents itself, but feeling stronger and smarter than ever to give it my all to again. To step back and take a view of a bigger picture that includes a new chapter. It's still exciting.
Good one!
Good point.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Like pasta, motivation comes in so many forms.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Friday, November 09, 2018

I love getting my braces tightened, and playing around with changing the colors of the bands.

It'll be yellow and aqua for the next 4 weeks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The McRib is apparently back for a limited time, but how cruel is the fact that it's not going to be sold here in NYC.

That's like, seriously messed up.

Monday, November 05, 2018

My dad came by my apartment just before to drop off some Korean food that he and my mom had prepared for me. My parents and both of my sisters live in Bergen County, New Jersey, so I am the last of my immediate family remaining in New York.

The photo below doesn't include some steaks and fresh vegetables I had already put away, and I am beyond grateful for the home cooked food (plus ramen and bubble gum).

I love you 엄마 and 아빠!

Beefy.
Have fun with it!
"'Poor families use food to compensate for other realms of scarcity,' she [Priya Fielding-Singh] says. While they may not have the means to buy their kids bikes or fancy clothes, they can 'splurge' on inexpensive ice cream or soda when their kids ask for it. 'In a world where parents have to constantly say no to their kids' wishes, cheap junk food offers them a rare chance to say yes.' And all parents understand these foods aren't healthy. 'No one told me, 'Giving my kid a doughnut is a healthy option.' Everyone wanted their kids to eat more fruits and vegetables,' she says. But for low-income parents, these small treats reinforce feelings they can provide joy for their kids."

From the article The Poor Diet in the November issue of Eating Well magazine. Written by Simran Sethi.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Hello, 5pm darkness.
"I've loved and I've lost,
but that's not what I see.
So, look what I got.
look what you taught me"

From the song Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande.
My retail therapy is buying cookbooks on sale through the Apple Books store.

There's always an ever-changing selection of them in the $5 and under section, providing access to recipes and stories of some of the industry's best for just a few bucks. This is also definitely what I scroll though the most throughout my day, because I've noticed that sometimes a cookbook will pop-up and disappear from the sale section in what seems like a short time. There have been instances where I saw a cookbook on sale but didn't buy it at that moment. Then I would go back a little later and search for it directly and press Buy Book without thinking, just to realize it was listed back to its full price.

I'm not a huge shopper, so buying cookbooks this way gives me that instant gratification I'm looking for. It's healthier than buying food, and definitely better than blowing my money on other stuff I'll eventually regret and toss. Because I've moved so many times as an adult, I've come to prefer owning as little physical possessions as possible. So this digital cookbook addiction of mine satisfies without all the guilt. And each one is so cheap that I convince myself it's not a big deal. Plus, I tell myself that at least it feels like I'm building something. I've amassed this huge library of culinary knowledge I can refer to anytime I like. The depth of information in the form of gorgeous photos and quality writing available at the swipe of my fingertips feels priceless to me. I think it's pretty cool in a way because scrolling through food content is my favorite pastime after actually eating, so what better way is there to dick around and waste time on.

I had been buying cookbooks this way on the daily for a while, and never really thought about the total number I had in my collection. Then I looked at the number this week and saw that I had accumulated 300+, which really blew my mind. That means this little shopping hobby of mine, with a few dollars here and a few bucks there, has definitely built up to costing over a grand at this point. I mean, considering the retail value of them all and the hard work that was put into producing each book, it's well worth it. But I'll be damned, that's still a significant total amount of money for purchases that felt so little at the time.
"Some may come, and some may stay."

From the song South Side by Moby featuring Gwen Stefani.
You know that scene in Tampopo, when that group of ladies are taking the dining etiquette course in that fancy restaurant, and then they all start to loudly slurp their spaghetti while inhaling the pasta?

Yeah, I want that to be the soundtrack to my entire day, everyday.

Friday, November 02, 2018

"Snap out of it!"

Said by Cher in the show Will & Grace. Season 3, Episode 7.
I think Jonah Hill is very attractive. On top of being talented, I like his eyes and his style. And I especially love how he is a real person with lots of ups and downs with his weight. There's depth to all of that.
Recently, so many of my dreams involve these large gatherings with a hodgepodge of random people from my life.

Last night, I dreamt I was living on a farmhouse that was actually located in the Upper West Side somewhere. I even had a little land with lots of green grass where sheep were roaming. In my dream, I was having this huge party that was attended by lots of old coworkers and friends. The most vivid part of it had my old boss Phet and the staff from his restaurant playing soccer on the field next to my house. And as I was standing in some gazebo watching them play, I had one of those clear plastic iced coffee cups that I was filling with vodka and ice instead. In the dream, I was so happy after having discovered this ability to drink alcohol secretly while in the open.

But nowadays, I honestly don't go out or drink as much as I used to, so just thinking about sipping on that iced coffee cup filled with vodka makes me feel nauseous.
"We grow slowly sometimes and very quickly sometimes."

Said by my friend Grace during one of our heart-to-heart talks.

Our friendship runs deep, and I love this girl so much.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Filmstruck is stopping their services in a month... and I am devastated.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I feel like it's been too long since I've made a life choice that truly scares me. And that it's time I do something about it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The only thing getting me through the week is Robyn's new album coming out on Friday.
Have you ever truly looked at someone’s face? And I mean study it closely and focus on each part individually to see how it all comes together for a look? How a glance is so different than a stare into the eyes? Seeing the possibilities of how they looked when younger, and how they’ll change even more in the future? With their eyes as the foundation of who they are that has remained true and is recognizable to this day?
Gays’ gaze.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

You know how in that science fiction book, the lotto prize was $1.6B? And then half a century later that was the same amount an Effxinflnzr was paid per post because of the world's population?
Toucan.
Two can.
To can.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Whatever I do,
I'm thinking of you."

From the song Thinking of You by Hurts.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Homebody.
Home, buddy.

Who I am. And where you'll find me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Today is National Pasta Day.

I plan to observe this important holiday for the next 364 days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The arrival of fall weather here in New York is such a much needed relief.

I decided to celebrate today by switching out my summer duvet cover to my winter one, and then included it with the rest of my bedding for a thorough wash.

I am so excited to crawl into bed later...
Familiar.
Family.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

I'm sorry, I can't. Because I don't want to.

Friday, October 12, 2018

"Mrs. Brown: Win or lose, it's all the same. It's how you take it that counts. And knowing when to let go, knowing when it's over and time to go on to the next thing. 
Velvet: The next thing?
Mrs. Brown: Things come suitable to the time, Velvet. Enjoy each thing, then forget it and on on to the next. There's a time for everything. There's a time for having a horse in the Grand National. Being in love. Having children. Yes, even for dying. All in proper order at the proper time."

From the movie National Velvet.
"Large dreams come easier when it's dark and still."

Said by Mrs. Brown in the movie National Velvet.
"Miss Sims: What do you dream about, hour after hour?
Velvet: Things."

From the movie National Velvet.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I will eat it until it makes my stomach hurt.
Crisis.
Cry, sis.
"I wiped my hands and face with a thick handkerchief, then studied myself in the full-length mirror on the wall. What I saw there was an exhausted thirty-six-year-old man in a shabby, paint-spattered sweater. 

As I gazed at my reflection I wondered, Where am I headed? Before that, though, the question was Where have I come to? Where is this place? No, before that I even needed to ask, Who the hell am I?

As I stared at myself in the mirror, I thought about what it would be like to paint my own portrait."

From the book Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. Page 23.

This has to be my favorite Haruki Murakami book in a while. Everything about it feels comfortable and familiar, and makes me feel excited to turn to the next page. The plot has that element of a dreamlike underworld I've always loved in his books, and something about Killing Commendatore feels different and better than his other most recent ones. I specifically like the way this book transports me to that mysterious dark place filled with supernatural characters and plot twists again. I forgot how much I missed being here. Also, I've always had this thing of relating to the main characters in Murakami's books when they were close to or the exact age of when I was reading them. And it feels even more special when it’s a time I’m about to hit soon in life. Turning thirty-six is just around the corner for me, and it so helps in forming that bond with the protagonist this time around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"Many writers say this, and they're lying — but I'm not lying."

Said by Haruki Murakami in his October 10, 2018, New York Times interview: Haruki Murakami on the Writing Life, His Fantastical New Novel and the Joys of the Mundane. By Sarah Lyall.
Ritual.
Rich! You all.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

"Level up."

From the song Level Up by Ciara.

Monday, October 08, 2018

This morning felt like the first time in a while where I needed to turn on my bathroom lights to shower. I had been going off natural light coming through the window for months, and was saddened by its sudden departure today.

Friday, October 05, 2018

A cat with a blue coat of fur in Harlem.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

"She had on a thin, light purple sweater with a wide neckline. The soft strap of her white camisole was visible beside her collarbone. It looked like some special kind of pasta used in some specific recipe."

From the book Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. Page 18.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"I finished her life story."

Said by Jane Fonda about her mom in the HBO documentary: Jane Fonda in Five Acts.

Wow, what an incredible life Jane Fonda has lived so far.
"I'm wearing a new dress, 
new hat.
New ideas,
as a matter of fact!
I've changed for good."

From the song New Attitude by Patti LaBelle.

It's impossible to not feel pumped up with this song in my earbuds.
I've been waking up from such vivid dreams for the past few weeks.

Friends who I have not seen or talked to in a while will sometimes make an appearance, and I've used it as a funny reason to text them hi and start a conversation. But then there are other former friends who are now long lost acquaintances, where it would feel weird reaching out. One person in particular is still very fresh on my mind right now because I just woke up, and his presence in my dream was so unexpected and made me happy. I was elated to see him and told him so. But our relationship is no longer like that, and I'll just have to wish him well from afar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dear friends,

Please check out my latest food story that I wrote for Eater: A Chef’s Quest to Bring North Korean Cold Noodles to America

Thanks.

Monday, September 24, 2018

It just so happens that me and my roommate are both working from home today. So for lunch, I cooked us this Kimchi Udon with Scallions recipe from Bon Appétit magazine. Yes, exciting stuff going on here for a Monday, folks.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Choosing a favorite pasta is like choosing a favorite outfit: An obviously impossible task, and yet there are those you keep coming back to, riffing on endlessly until you’re sure you’ve exhausted all combinations, then still finding more to love."

From the September 17, 2018, New York Times article Quite Possibly Your New Favorite Pasta. Written by Alison Roman.

Friday, September 21, 2018

"And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank. They just get better at lying."

Said by the character April in the movie Revolutionary Road.
Bubbles are made to be burst.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Today feels like such a weird Monday.

Even emotional eating feels so unfulfilling.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Happy Sunday, everyone. It's a hot September day here in New York (shout out to global warming!). Even though it's my one day of the week to sleep in, I got up early today and decided to try and be productive. I purged some old crap in my closet, Swiffered my tiny little room, and gulped a tall glass of cold water with a splash of apple cider vinegar in it before heading out. In general, I think I've been spending too much of my free time eating, vegetating, and scrolling at home. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it and hiding away from the world. But these words aren't going to write themselves. And the subways are always messed up on the weekends, so that makes me want to hibernate even more. But alas, I'm happy to be out and about today. Speaking of the subway, why does it feel like the MTA doesn't give a shit about New Yorkers? Everyday, there is so much such annoying bullshit to deal with. The trains are always late, packed, stalled, or just seem dysfunctional in general. And this happens on a daily basis. The subway station closest to my apartment closed for renovations this July and is set to re-open in November. That means I have to use the next closest train station on that subway line, which isn't too far from me so it's fine. But then that station has been closed on the weekends for the past few weeks, so it's just like, ugh, what the fuck. I basically live off podcasts from Oprah and RuPaul to help me get through my commutes. I came to my old college campus right now to just sit with my computer for a bit. I haven't been doing this as often as I should because the workweek leaves me mentally depleted with little bandwidth for anything else. But I can't think about it like that. I have to think of this as a mental regeneration instead. Forcing those reminders upon myself is the only way to get back in the habit of trying to get shit done. And I have to admit that forgetting about any big life lessons or epiphanies I share here on this blog happens often. I rewatched The Devil Wears Prada the other night, and when Emily Blunt's character repeats to herself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job," I laughed so hard. It's like yes, girl, that's the spirit. Fake it 'til you make it. Tell yourself whatever you need to make sure you're pushing along. Because I've learned that no one or particular thing is ever going to motivate me like the way I can for myself. It's up to me, and no one else. I've got to do it for myself, and because I want to. So back to the topic of being productive on the weekends. It helps that I have a reason to leave my house every Saturday morning, and that always gets me moving. For the past two years, I've been tutoring a young student in writing every Saturday. She lives in Flushing, so it takes me a good hour-and-a-half to get to her house from Harlem. The length of the commute there is totally fine because I can catch up on my reading, but it's more just the unexpected track work and delays of the MTA and subways on Saturday mornings that really irritate me. But I actually truly enjoy spending the two hours of tutoring time with her every week, and look forward to it. On top of also being Korean-American from the same hometown, she attends the same junior high school as I did in Flushing. But it's not just from having similar roots that helps our bond, it's our personalities, too. She works really hard and has this openness to learning, and I'm grateful to be able to present any sort of guidance and help in whatever she needs. It's truly humbling, and always leaves me with a surge of positivity and hope in everything. She's just a good kid who gives a shit, and I like her energy. It's completely refreshing in a world where most of my interactions are with adults who sometimes don't seem like a good person, or like they give a shit. I feel like she and I have gotten to know each other well in the past two years, so we're able to laugh and enjoy ourselves during our sessions. I purposely never used to share too much personal info with her, but I decided to casually come out to her in a subtle way earlier this year, and wondered how she'd react. But when I did, she barely thought anything of it. And I realized it was more me who had the issues and reservations about it. Even a few months ago, I forgot why the topic came up, but as we were talking, when it came to saying the word gay, I whispered it instead of saying it out loud like the rest of my sentence. It was just instinct and something I was used to doing in order to protect myself and not cause any attention. I was afraid if her mom heard it, she might get upset. But then my student laughed and reassured me, "You know, you don't have to whisper that word! It's totally fine." I chuckled along with her like I totally knew, but in reality I was more getting over the feeling of registering the internalized fear I had when it came to the word. It's moments like that that clearly show me the progress that's been made from my generation to hers. Tutoring her is also great because I like having a reason to go to Flushing for a bit every week. It's comfortable and just feels so familiar like home. I'm normally done teaching her by the mid-afternoon, and will wander around Main Street alone to grab some food afterwards. I'll usually just pop-in somewhere easy like New World Mall or other places for dumplings or something I can eat on my feet. Or other times I'll sit down to have kimbap or soondae or donkatsu at this small spot on Union Street that's been there forever. It’s where I go to satiate any cravings for casual Korean food I had in the past week. I've come to like this Saturday routine, which allows me the rest of the weekend to go get drunk or even go back home to do nothing.
"I don't care what they think. 
I don't care what they say. 
What do they know about this love anyway?"

From the song Come To My Window by Melissa Etheridge.
"사랑을 했다,
우리가 만나,
지우지 못할 추억이 됐다."

From the song Love Scenario by iKON.

I've heard this song on so many Korean memes, and always thought it was by some older folk singer. I had no idea it was by a boyband.

Friday, September 14, 2018

I just want to go to Tai Pan Bakery, buy $30 worth of goodies, and make eating it at home in stretchy pants my only priority in life this weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Have you ever been craving something really badly, and then you actually get to eat it?

Like, wow, how cool is that? I sometimes still marvel at this ability.
Starting to read a new book is like the beginning of a fresh relationship. You have to get to know the writer and their writing style, and hit a point of finding your rhythm together. Just like people, sometimes the chemistry is there from the start, or sometimes the comfort level is found a few chapters in. Or then there are definitely the times where it doesn't happen at all, and seeing the book through to its end just doesn't seem possible.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Today marks the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

With my current office just blocks away from the World Trade Center, I sit here at my desk reflecting about all of the victims who perished that day, and all of the first responders and survivors whose health was negatively impacted in one way or another from it. It's so sad and humbling to think about. Rest in peace to all those who died, and for all who continue to fight for the freedom of our country, thank you for your service.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Saturday, September 08, 2018

There's this amazing clarity that comes with getting just a small taste of what you think you've wanted your entire life. It's from realizing that you've been wrong about it for years, and the feeling is so liberating.
It's never what you think. Like, ever.
The only thing I know to be true is the goodness I want to see more in the world.