Sunday, March 18, 2018

"The phrase keeps flying around in my head like a bat, fluttering and flapping and slapping at the corners of an attic."

From the book Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Page 169.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

There's nothing that humming can't get you through.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

"Wait for it."

From so many good memes.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Well then, what is it you'd like to do all day, Johnny?


Sunday, February 25, 2018

It took a bit of time before Jess and I got furniture in our living room. We moved in together last September, but didn't even get a couch until December. Instead, the majority of the first few months at our new place was usually spent standing in the kitchen. Our kitchen is compact with no room for a dining table or chairs, but it has plenty of counter space and is where you could always find us. That's where we'd eat, drink, and talk for hours upon hours with music in the background. We laughed so much during that time, with all that standing helping in feeling more enthralled. And whenever either of us got tired, we'd just lean onto our kitchen counters or hop up to sit on them for a break.

But now, most of our time is spent plopped on the couch in our living room while watching tv. And sometimes I miss just hanging in the kitchen, standing around doing stuff. In general, and especially at bars, I like standing and being on my feet. It makes me feel more engaged with stuff.

Jess is away on vacation right now, and I've been trying to be good about not wasting too much time on tv. With the apartment to myself, I'm choosing to luxuriate in the ability to stay in today. And since I am not going to step foot outside of my place, standing in the kitchen while typing this helps in feeling more productive.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A little note on turning 35 last week:

Still got that drive.
Time to revive.
Break the pattern of contrive.
you've already arrived.
Don't look back on that deep dive.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

There's nothing sexier than when a guy tucks in his shirt.

Monday, February 05, 2018

"Friend: I'm not going to finish this. Do you want it?
Me: No, thanks. I'm full.
Friend: Fine. But then I'm just going to throw it away...
Me: No! Fine, I'll eat it."

My friends always know how to get me.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Less food, more sex."

This was my doctor's parting advice for me today after going in for my annual check-up. 

I think he may be on to something...
"I was born in 1937, bred, toasted, buttered, jellied, jammed, and honeyed in Harlem."

From the article True Colors in the February 2018 issue of American Vogue. Written by Audrey Smaltz.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Why's it so hard to accept the party is over?"

From the song Drew Barrymore by SZA.
A poem inspired by a fellow commuter on the subway:

Mouth breathing, 
during the evening rush.
Blocking the subway door, 
playing Candy Crush.
Oblivious by choice,
neck angled down.
You stand there in the way,
looking like an unaware clown.
Staring into a phone,
might be your escape.
But what about for everyone around you,
who are just looking to board or get off the train?
We want to zone out, too,
and forget about our worries.
But we can't with you planted there,
because you're cramping our hurry!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I save my love for braised meat and pasta.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone!

When I lived in Alaska during the 5th grade, I attended Fairview elementary school in Anchorage. I can distinctly remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech, and the song Lift Every Voice and Sing, as being a part of my grade's curriculum. We were quizzed on memorizing the speech, and sung the song as a chorus in music class. Learning it in school made it feel no different than any other subject, helping me incorporate it into my life just like the A-B-C's or 1-2-3's. No one in school ever had the slightest thoughts even close to second-guessing what we were being taught, or harbored any reluctance on accepting everything as anything but fact, history, and as a truth we should all aspire to live by as young people. It was taught as a norm and that as a country, something America never intended on going backwards on. Instead, it was simply a foundation to grow and embrace as we all live together side-by-side.

And now as an adult, I don't see how the views of so many diverge from what was taught to generations like myself as a standard of kindness, humanity, and being American. Young people today should still be able to live in a world where I Have a Dream and Lift Every Voice and Sing continue to serve as the beacons of hope and progress they've always been, without all the crazy background noise of the current administration and emboldened racists out there.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"That's me. I'm a simple girl with simple taste. 2-inch thick steaks, french fries, and a big salad."

Said by the character Vicky in the movie There's No Business Like Show Business.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I hope everyone is having a great new year so far.

I just got back from a work trip from San Francisco this morning and have been sleeping all day. Gosh, there's really nothing like being in your own bed at home. I slept like a log and woke up just now feeling disoriented by the sunlight that had disappeared.

Visiting San Francisco for the first time ever was really fun. I only spent three days in town and didn't have too much time to explore, but was still able to walk around and check out a few things here and there. On my second night, there was even an earthquake. It was past 2am and I was lying in my bed at The Fairmont staring directly into my phone. I heard a sudden banging noise at first and thought another room next to mine was having loud sex. But then I felt the rumbling and shaking and thought oh okay this has to be an earthquake. I can't lie and say there wasn't a quick moment of sheer terror wondering, alright, what do I need to do next in this situation? But thankfully, my boss texted me the moment after with instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. I was totally fine after that.

It's so painfully cold here in New York right now. Like, it hurts to be outside. I was happy staying in today to just cook and lounge around after I got back from the airport. Below are some pictures from the morning when my roommate was getting ready to brave the cold. I knocked out soon after she left.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

"For my mother, Norine Elizabeth Dedeaux,
who loved me before I took my first breath.
Every second of my life, she shows me so."

From the dedication page of Jesmyn Ward's book: Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Staying young at heart means adapting to change and technology (accept the fact that progress is unstoppable and that fighting it goes against what humans are as a species, things will never be the way they were so let that register in order for us to work together on building something everyone can prosper from).

But while I once used to be reluctant in accepting certain technologies, it was more about not letting go of the comforts of familiarity instead of a refusal of development. I've changed though. I can't believe I used to fantasize all the time about life as an adult before the Internet and smartphones. It was me completely romanticizing an era before what I thought got complicated with electronic devices. It's like, no. Just stop. Thinking that way does nothing in using technology to your advantage and future. Technological innovation is not going anywhere and will only continue to grow. It's like, stay young. Participate. At least give it a try. It's there to make things easier so be openminded.

One thing I spend a lot of my online time on now is YouTube. Up until this year, I used to mostly store videos on it or just watch music videos and specific content I would search for. But now I use it to watch so much other stuff. I love videos where I can just sit there and not think about anything serious. I want to be a mindless zombie when I'm home, and my discoveries started when I decided to check out the trending videos on YouTube that are constantly rotating. It was my first step into realizing there's so much other stuff to watch. It's like, why not try some of the bazillion other hours of content out there instead of watching the same shit all the time. It's similar to only going to the same websites all the time. I tend to have a habit of doing that, but I have to tell myself to switch it up every now and then.

YouTube's trending videos helped me stay current with what other people were watching, and then lead me to the magic of stuff like slime videos and eating shows. I especially love mukbangs. It's like I'm sitting there having a meal with them and listening to their conversation. I haven't come across any angry eating shows, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy them. Everyone is usually happy in mukbangs (they're stuffing their faces, it's impossible not to be). The people I watch have to be really upbeat and outgoing though. And I can't stand silence, I need to hear them talk about something. I like that energy of them eating and chatting. It's also nice to have on the background when I'm doing other stuff somewhere.

My new outlook on life isn't solely from binge-watching eating shows. All the new technological conveniences that make being in this world a lot easier than before have to be recognized as transforming. Things like my iPhone X and unearthing the true magic of video through YouTube have brought only happiness into my world. The amount of content on YouTube alone is endless. It's like a celebration of the human spirit and creativity. All of our stories are different, and now we can experience new versions of them. We get to learn so much more about one another in ways that were never possible. I mean thinking about the fact that television used to be dominated by a handful of networks seems like such an archaic way of doing things.

We as the people now decide what we want to watch, upload, and share. And it will never go back to the way it used to be.
And you?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"What if we're the bad guys?"

Said by Angie in the show Orange Is the New Black. Season 5, Episode 13.
"I climbed a mountain,
and I turned around."

From the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Sometimes our only choices are between shit and shittier but whatever we end up doing, we gotta own it. Somehow find grace in it."

Said by Gloria in the show Orange Is the New Black. Season 5, Episode 8.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

"Seu amor me pegou."

From the song K.O. by Pabllo Vittar.
It's Friday night, and I'm home alone on the couch with a bottle of wine and stretchy pants.

Life is good.
"Youthquake: A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people."

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2017.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"In Trump Time, the clock moves backward. The feeling that time itself is reversing might be the most unsettling aspect of a most unsettling year."

From the Up Front essay in the December 2017 issue of Vogue titled: A Wrinkle in Time. Written by Brit Bennett.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A hungry appetite and halal food brings people together.

It's all about that sauce, right? Well, that's one of my go-to reasons for patronizing the same halal cart twice. Crowded corners on the streets of New York offer a vast choice of vendors, but you never know how a truck's white sauce might taste. You could love it, think it's okay, or wonder how something that usually brings so much joy could taste so unrelatable.

At my former job near 6th Ave and the 20's in Manhattan, I used to go to this one certain halal food cart a lot. I'm an avid fan of getting the most bang for my buck during lunch breaks, and a $6 order of a densely packed chicken/lamb combo over rice always just seemed worth it. To know that I'd be filling up whatever I felt lacking in that day with tasty halal food was an instant mood elevator. I just loved the food from this guy's cart, especially his white sauce. I'd always order extra of course, and its taste was a perfect match that transported me to a happy place.

I recently started a new job at a temporary space on Wall Street. It's my first time working this south of Manhattan, and it's been interesting commuting to a different area. The walk from the subway station to my office goes though a lot of halal food carts. All this made me start thinking that I need to try some of these places out to find a new favorite spot. I knew it would be a trial and error thing because a lot of the vendors don't have signs differentiating their cooking styles. I singled out this one truck that was the closest to my office as my first attempt, and approached the cart to get me the hearty lunch I was aching for.

When I glanced up and ordered, the guy in the cart looked directly back at me and we both laughed.

The two of us instantly recognized each other from his cart near my old job and couldn't believe it... I was smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time he was explaining the situation in a foreign language to the elderly gentleman next to him he had hired to run the cart. The guy told me that this cart on Wall Street was the second one he owned after the one on 6th Ave. He usually went back and forth between working the two spots. When I asked him how long he'd been in the business, he told me nine years. I was happy for his success, and even more elated about getting to eat his food all the time again. It's like, wow. I had actually thought about this guy's food and white sauce and wondered how I'd ever be able to eat it at a regular basis again. But problem solved, especially since I can see it from my office window.
Phase to phase.

Monday, December 11, 2017

I was just about to leave my apartment for work this morning, literally grabbing my keys off the kitchen counter when I received a text from my mom. "There's been an explosion at the 42nd Street Subway Station," she wrote in Korean. My initial reaction was a muttering of fuck out loud to no one but myself. I did a quick check of the news to see what happened, and also made sure the subways were still running before I headed to the station. Luckily, there were no reported deaths from the incident and the 3 train was also still in service so I rushed out of my place like usual.

The subway ride to work felt pretty normal. The only change was that it skipped the 42nd Street Times Square stop. Other than that, most of the other commuters seemed unperturbed by it all. I got to work and had a usual day with no issues on my commute back home.

Since getting home before, I've been able to check out the news and learn more about what actually happened this morning. I've also been catching up on yet another chef in the food industry who has been accused of sexual misconduct. It's infuriating on so many levels, but extremely satisfying to see these people be called out for shit they've done. Anyone who abuses their power to take advantage of others, especially in a sexual manner, is just scum. I say yes, let's get all these assholes out of here to make room for people who can do their jobs without sexually harassing people!

It's only Monday, folks. I feel like it's going to be a long week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Grocery shopping is when Christmas and holiday music sounds the most festive.
"I see your true colors, 
and that's why I love you.
So don't be afraid,
to let them show."

From the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Do you care now?
Do you know how?"

From the song All Or Nothing by Cher.
"The music's no good without you, baby."

From the song The Music's No Good Without You by Cher. 
"If I could reach the stars,
I'd give them all to you."

From the song If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher.
"This is a song for the lonely, can you hear me tonight?"

From the song Song For the Lonely by Cher.
"If I wanted you to know, I would fucking tell you."

Said by Gabrielle Union in the podcast, Death, Sex & Money. Episode: Gabrielle Union is Fed Up.

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Oh yeah, hey-dog-hey what's up."

From the song Raingurl by Yaeji.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy eating! I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend so far.

I'm currently home alone right now in Harlem. There's still a bit of daylight coming through the windows so I have all my lights off. It feels really quiet too with almost nothing but silence from the streets. Everything feels nice and still, almost most like there's this cold tint of blue to it.

Moving to Central Harlem a few months ago and living with my friend Jess has really been great so far. We've been friends since junior high school in Queens and grew up not far from each other in Flushing. She would always come over to my house back then and we'd order greasy food and watch bad tv for hours. Even almost two decades later, I guess some things never change.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Michael: You're so beautiful.
Hanna: What are you talking about?"

From the movie The Reader.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why do some people live like IRL doesn't matter anymore?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

*stares into mirror*
"I am happy today. And I am happy everyday, because my happiness is not conditional on any uncontrollable factors in life."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Ssam Bar wasn't just changing its menu. It rewrote the rules by which critically acclaimed restaurants were supposed to operate, stripping away comforts (chairs with backs, sound systems with a 'low' setting) and amenities (reservations, unshared tables), and gambling that everybody would be too stunned by the food to complain."

From the October 31, 2017, New York Times restaurant review: Momofuku Ssam Bar Keeps Evolving Under Singaporean Chef. By Pete Wells.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seeing a slice of pizza = Wanting a slice of pizza.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"You should text me what you want to text him."

Said by the character Jake in the movie Sleeping with Other People.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"'It is all meaningless,' he says, and she does not know why it would mean anything, or why you would look for meaning in it, and she does not understand why you would want it to be anything other than what it is, or why you would want it to be about you."

From the book My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. Page 126.
I've been cooking a lot more since I moved to my new place. My apartment in general is on the smaller side, but thankfully the kitchen is renovated with new appliances. It even has a window, which makes such a big difference when actually using the space. The last time I lived in New York with a kitchen window was in 2010, so things like natural sunlight and fresh air for ventilation charm me into staying in the room. It's like cooking and being in a kitchen feels pleasant again. 

My cupboards right now are really stocked with lots of different types of sauces. With my schedule being a bit open nowadays, I've taken to shopping for sauces as a new hobby. It feels like the most inexpensive way to get me out of the house sometimes, where I can feel productive while on a budget. I especially like finding things that are on sale, and it gives me a reason to peruse the aisles of far away (but uncharted) grocery stores. In a way, I think of each new sauce discovery as an investment. And it challenges me to create something with it later on. But as of late, pasta has been what I've been eating the most. The Eataly in Flatiron had a big promotion on pasta last month with some brands on sale for only $1, so I stocked up big time. I've gone through a good amount of my supply already, but I still have a shelf bursting with capellini, tortiglioni and chiocciole. 

Besides pasta, I've been cooking a lot of things that are easy to make. Things like roasted vegetables or other simple dishes are usually my go-to. And while it's been great eating like this so far, I woke up today with a real big craving for Korean food. And not anything that'd be served in a restaurant, but the simpler type I would've eaten on the fly at home when younger.

All I wanted was a big bowl of steaming rice to mix with a whole bunch of other Korean ingredients. I guess you can call it a version of bibimbap, but with whatever you want instead. There's nothing saying you need this or that. I was really in the mood for some fried eggs over easy mixed with gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, perilla, butter, and kimchi. 

I hadn't been grocery shopping for Korean stuff since I moved to my place in Harlem, and since I had the time to spare, I decided to go to the H Mart in Woodside today for a few basics. The prices would be cheaper there compared to the one on 32nd Street, and it's usually less busier. That location of H Mart is small but runs 24 hours. When I lived in Woodside, I loved dropping by on the way home from the subway to pick up beers and already-made food. It's interestingly also the first H Mart from 1982 that would eventually turn into the global grocery chain it is now.

All this trying to cook more at home had me thinking about the food from when I was a kid. It's like, where did that strong hankering for Korean food come from this morning? And why did it taste so amazing when I finally did eat it? And that's when I realized that my diet as an adult right now is the total opposite from when I was growing up. As a kid, my parents' home cooking of traditional Korean food ranged in all types of proteins and fresh vegetables. Practically everything was bought from the grocery store and cooked at home. But all of the non-Korean food we ate was usually processed. If we didn't buy it from Costco, it was most likely fast food we were eating. And if it wasn't from the drive-thru, we were most likely at a restaurant or ordering some takeout. I mean, sure, we cooked spaghetti at the house every now and then, but that doesn't count. The point is, because it's not as if my family were eating hamburgers and french fries over at someone's else place, the American food we ate in my childhood was never home cooked. And somehow, that script has totally flipped in my life today. I only usually eat Korean food in restaurants now, and find the majority of my home cooked meals to be conventional American dishes.

When I got back to Harlem with my bounty from H Mart earlier today, the first thing I did was wash the rice in the tin of my roommate's rice cooker. It had been so long since I washed rice with my hands like that, feeling the grains as they swam between my fingers. It all felt so cathartic and soothing in a way. After it was cooked and ready, I mixed it with my other ingredients before wolfing down the entire bowl of food. Everything tasted so satisfying with the kimchi and gochujang, and totally hit the spot. It's funny because the large bowl of rice mixed with stuff hit me in such a different way than a large bowl of pasta mixed with stuff ever would, and I had missed the feeling so much.

Monday, October 23, 2017

"I'm like, 'Sho. You. Right.'"

From the song Money by Leikeli47.
"My dreams give me wings."

From the song 2nd Fiddle by Leikeli47.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Been waiting for today,
but I don't know what to say."

From the song Waitin by Kelela.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Everything changed,
then changed again."

From the song To Find a Friend by Tom Petty.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Goodbye muffin top, and hello fall jackets!
Chillllllllll ouuuuuuuuuut.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

"'We're too old to think we'll meet again,' Less says."

From the book Less by Andrew Seen Greer. Page 157.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"When you feel like letting go,
that's when you hold on to me."

From the song Hold On To Me by Hurts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I look at the shiny surface of the Garlic Dipping Cup from Domino's, and know it's bad news. But I know I'm still going to eat it all.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Waking up to the news of what's happened in Las Vegas has been an absolute shock... it's complete madness and so hard to understand why this happened and all those lives were lost...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Leave love in the footprints."

Said by the character Ahmad in the movie Soul Food.