Monday, July 25, 2016

"Bravery can oftentimes be measured by the act of taking a first step."

From the Letter From the Editor in the August issue of American Vogue. Written by Anna Wintour.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The news has never had the responsibility to make people happy, but it's now reached a serious point of no turning back.

In these current times we live in, there's so much going. Its aftereffects of shock and disbelief come easily for everyone who have never experienced it, or even let alone knew occurences like that existed. Everyday events in America and around the world are now available to document and experience in video and real time, forcing us all to accept its truth and work on finding a solution.

This is probably true for being on the planet at any time in history, but's an honor being alive right now. I live with the hope of somehow contributing to the world---or even one person's world---to leave an impact while here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I will not take what I can get.
"Have you been to Ssäm bar yet?"

From the book Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. Page 45.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Patterns and patterns and patterns.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A doughnut a day keeps the sadness away.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"By Friday afternoon, the full scope of the city's losses was clear: At least two of the slain officers had served overseas in the military, only to die back home in Texas. A third had made his way to Dallas after working at a jail outside Detroit. A fourth was a large man---about 6-foot-5---who had the semblance of a grizzle bear, according to a friend. The fifth was a standout on Dallas's large, modern force: The local police association had named him the "Cops' Cop" for February 2009.

As condolences for the men poured in all day on Friday--from the governor to the secretary general of the United Nations---details of the officers' lives started to emerge. 'We're hurting, our profession is hurting,' said David O. Brown, the Dallas Police Chief."

From the July 9, 2016, New York Times article: 5 Slain Dallas Officers Served Overseas and at Home. Written by Alan Blinder and Alan Feuer.

Lorne Ahrens. Michael Krol. Michael J. Smith. Brent Thompson. Patrick Zamarripa. These are the five officers who were killed in the line of duty in Dallas. Their lives were taken by a man who only saw hatred and violence as a solution. It's just so wrong and infuriating. More death and violence is not what will build empathy and strength in all of us understanding one another.

Rest in peace to these five men. And much respect to all of the law enforcement out there whose daily hard work of serving and protecting all Americans---no matter race, religion, or class--go unrecognized.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

"An emotional President Obama declared on Thursday that 'all Americans should be troubled' by fatal police shootings this week of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, saying that they were 'symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.'"

From the July 7, 2016, New York Times article: Shootings of Blacks Symptomatic of Racial Disparities in U.S., Obama Says. Written by Matt Furber and Richard Pérez-Peña.

You can't help but get chills watching the footage of these videos. Everything else around gets silent, and the disbelief in the reality of what's unfolding leaves nothing but shock.

These men did not deserve to die... we need to fix this problem, America.

My heart breaks for their families. My blood boils at the racial injustice. Black Lives Matter.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

When life gives you tomatoes, go buy pizza.
The past few weeks or so.

"There's a lot of heavy eye contact going on at this restaurant."

From the July 5, 2016, New York Times Restaurant Review: At Nix, Vegetables Get a Dash of Sex. Written by Pete Wells. 
Queens Boulevard never stops. The street does grow slightly quieter at night, but there's still always a constant stream of cars and people (no matter how intermittent they are). Trucks rattling, emergency sirens blaring, or the occasional drunks howling are just some of the noises that carry over into my new 8th floor place whenever I'm home. And since staring out windows has always been a personal passion of mine, I very much appreciate my bird's eye view of everything. All of it is comforting in a way. I haven't lived near such a lively street since I was by Petchaburi in Bangkok.

I moved out of the Financial District at the end of May, and have been living in Woodside, Queens, since. It was a blast living downtown with my best friend Junho and we have a lifetime of memories to cherish from it. But after two years, we were both also ready for some change. He decided to go uptown to be closer to his hospital, and I chose to come back to my hometown borough of Queens.

I like being in Woodside. I haven't lived in Queens for a good eight years or so, but the adjustment is exactly what I was in need of. I'm happy to report the transition has been smooth with no problems so far. My commute to work is painless, I know my way around the area, and there are tons of good ethnic food spots all within walking distance underneath the 7 Train. Everything just feels natural and like I'm back home in a way. I mean, I'm pretty sure I won't ever live in Flushing again, so Woodside is the closest to home that will do.

Aside from my move, I haven't had much else going on. The summer has been pretty hot so far but I've been enjoying walking around and spending lazy Sundays at Prospect Park with friends. I've been trying to churn out a food story here and there whenever I can, so that's kept me somewhat occupied as well. I also had this idea to write about being chronically single my whole life, and how it feels to still be this way at 33. But then a coworker friend of mine mentioned that it's somewhat cliche to write about being single in New York City. And I realized how right she was.

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. Be sure to stay hydrated and do absolutely nothing if possible.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Abby: Tell me you know what you're doing.
Carol: I don't. I never did."

From the movie Carol.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I really need to get away for a bit.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Anne.

On a day like today, your love and words are needed the most.
"After calling 911 to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, a gunman here killed 49 people and wounded 53 in a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, the worst mass shooting slaughter in American history, law enforcement officials said."

From the June 12, 2016, New York Times story: Shooting at Orlando Nightclub Kills 49, Police Say. Written by Lizette Alvarez, Richard Perez-Pena, and Steve Kenny.

Waking up this Sunday morning was routine as ever, and I opened my eyes to check the news on my phone while still in bed. That's when I read about the shooting in Florida, and my pillow was wet with tears before I even lifted my head off of it.

I'm not sure what can be said about a tragedy like this, so many more things are felt instead. Sadness. Anger. Despair. Unity. My heart aches for all of those who perished and were injured, and all of their family and loved ones. 49 lives lost. 49 Americans gone. 49 fellow LGBT brothers, sisters, and friends no longer here. Countless lives forever changed. It's all so hard to take in. 

Thank you to all of the police, medical emergency workers and armed forces who helped bring the gunman down. It's because of you that our country remains as great as it is.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"I've always believed in the power of broke: the less you have, the more creative you get. And (usually) as a result of this, you end up creating way cooler things than if you had millions of dollars and amazing connections to create your masterpiece."

From the May 30, 2016, MUNCHIES story: How I Threw a Party and Made It Into a Career. By Jeremy Fall.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"That's why I always wind up coming back to my diary---I start there and end there because Kitty's always patient."

From the book The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. Page 157 iBooks version.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"'I need it,' he kept saying. 'I need it. It makes things right.'"

From the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Page 411.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

24/7 life.
24/7, appetite.

24/7 strife.
24/7, unsatisfied.
"He believes deeply in focus---clearing away whatever he doesn't need to worry about so he can concentrate on his art---and now has a retinue of helpers. He gets three meals delivered each day, so he doesn't have to think about food; he has a stylist and a nutritionist and a trainer..."

From the May 13, 2016, New York Times article: A ' Hamilton' Star's Story: How Leslie Odom Jr. Became Aaron Burr, Sir.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The older we get, the bigger our foreheads get.

Monday, May 09, 2016

There's something about getting older, where it's so easy to forget who you were and how you felt at 18.

Everything that's happened since then has shaped and formed these conditions where the things experienced from that time in our lives seems long gone.

But then once again, either when surrounded by extended relatives you love or gabbing late night with a familiar voice from high school, it completely transports you back. And serves as a reminder to always remember where you came from and what will always stay true.
"I left a note in the hallway. 
By the time you read it, I'll be far away."

From the song Sorry by Beyoncé.
"You interruptin' my grinding!"

From the song Sorry by Beyoncé.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

"Find your strength in love."

From the song Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

I love my mom so much. Thank you 엄마, 사랑해!
"This is especially fascinating in Midtown Manhattan, where Koreatown is packed tight with restaurants, bars, groceries, hair salons, book and cosmetic stores but where relatively few Koreans actually live. It's a commercial hub without a built-in local clientele, and yet even here, the restaurateurs haven't really gotten into the cooking-for-foreigners game, to reconfiguring their food or style to fit non-Korean customers' tastes. The neighborhood exists because Koreans will travel there to be surrounded by Korean things."

From the May 5, 2016, New York Times story: Kimchi Fried Rice, Korean Comfort Food. Written by Francis Lam.
"But he hated summer in New York. All fat people hated summer in New York: everything was always sticking to everything else, flesh to flesh, flesh to fabric."

From the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Page 295.

Friday, May 06, 2016

"Why wasn't friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn't it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified. Friendship was witnessing another's slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person's most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return."

From the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Page 257.
They just couldn't see passed the bloat.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The first four sentences of one of my non-existent short stories:

The dewy air at the top of the mountain felt chilly, but with a touch of softness. The all-day hike had exhausted Harriet and she plopped herself down on a small circle of sparse grass even before she took a moment to appreciate the view. Then almost like a reflex, she shot back up to her feet and began to scream, "I'm here, Finn! I'm here!" as tears and anger poured out of her. She yelled into the luscious green valleys not expecting her message would reach him, but that didn't stop her from trying until she had exhausted everything from within herself.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Hamburger Navigation.
"I don't know how to talk to you. 
I just know I found myself getting lost with you."

From the song Too Good by Drake featuring Rihanna.
I refuse to be bogged down anymore.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Korean food just really hits the spot for me.

Sometimes, a simple meal of rice with banchan can be the most satisfying thing ever. And there are many days when I will gladly eat that over anything else.

While New York's Koreatown is filled with lots of great options to eat, my favorite go-to restaurant for authentic Korean food is The Kunjip. No matter what I order, their food is always well made and just tastes really good. I also appreciate that their menu is sensibly priced, especially considering the quality of food that you get. I've always thought their lunch specials are a superb deal too, with the majority of options hovering around $10. Since my office is not too far from 32nd Street, I love being able to pick up stuff from there to-go on a regular basis.

The Kunjip is open 24 hours and has always been popular for its food amongst both hungry families and drunken partiers during late-night hours. For me personally though, it wasn't until they moved this year to a new and larger space across the street onto the other side of 32nd when I became a true regular. This bigger location is two floors and is usually always busy like it was at the original one. But the experience is a lot less claustrophobic, which makes a huge difference to me. 

However, some things still haven't changed though. In general, The Kunjip has never been the type of restaurant where you go and have a leisurely dinner with friends for hours. If you are looking to catch up with long lost buddies over Korean food, this is not the place for you. Instead, it's a place where you're given menus while waiting to be seated so you already know what you're ordering before you sit down. It's a place where you might have some beer and soju to enhance the food but not where you're going to get shitfaced. It's a place where you get your food quickly, and can have your check dropped at your table before you've even asked.  It's a place where you gather your coats and belongings to leave after you've finished eating instead of lingering about. Basically, the main point of The Kunjip is their good food. 

With all that being said, the dining room's speedy pace does not at all equate to bad service. I actually think it's the complete opposite because whatever your need or request is, the staff will always provide it an efficient yet professional manner. And all the workers are friendly with good energy. I mean sure, they will try and get you out the door if you're done, but will never rush you while you're actually eating. That's just the way the restaurant runs.

One thing I've always thought The Kunjip would be particularly nice for is a date or dinner obligation you really want to be over as quickly as possible. So the next time you have to go eat with someone you'd prefer to spend minimum time with, look no further.

Below are a couple of pictures from my dinner there earlier tonight at the peak of dinner service on a Saturday.

"You take my love for granted.
I just don't understand it."

From the song Too Good by Drake featuring Rihanna.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Why is there always a police officer posted at the entrance of the Union Square Barnes & Noble? In all my life, I have never not seen the NYPD standing guard there. I guess book theft is an ongoing serious problem?
"And yet---as with so much else---he couldn't help himself."

From the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Page 100.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lose yourself.
Lose interest.
The first four sentences of one of my non-existent short stories:

Ben's weekly phone call to his mom eventually became a source of comfort during his first semester of college. Since he was yet to make any friends, he cured his homesickness by spending most of his time on his phone in the largest cafeteria on campus. "'Sheila From the Cafeteria' is the name I've given her, mom," he explained after week three. Ben didn't understand why he was so drawn to this unassuming woman who cleaned up after thankless students, but ached to know everything about her.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The first four sentences of one of my non-existent short stories:

He couldn't help but caress the bump on the back of his lover's head. A fresh haircut made it impossible to resist. Some cultures considered this physical feature as a sign of beauty and masculinity in men, like a Roman Nose. But for him, its strength came from its soft touch.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pier 46 is one of my favorite spots to lay out at. Even its fake grass/astroturf is a feeling I enjoy against my bare feet.

And when the sun is brightly shining, whatever book I'm reading not only provides a good escape, but also the perfect way to shield my face from a sunburn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The much anticipated redesign of the $5, $10 and $20 paper notes is so exciting. It's about time we honored and recognized more Americans who have contributed to this country's history.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't dread. Feel excited.

All of the anxiety that comes in the unknown should instead be anticipated as wonder.
"Tally: And you've lived all this truth.
Hannah: It didn't feel like very much while it was happening.
Tally: But it is much. And you have so much to say."

From the show Girls. Season 5, Episode 9.
"And what have I done? You know? What have I done with with my life besides get not one but two strains of HPV and gain and lose a total of 33 pounds?"

Said by the character Hannah Horvath in the show Girls. Season 5, Episode 9.

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Add them up, all the pet dogs on the planet, and you get about 250 million.

But there are about a billion dogs on Earth, according to some estimates. The other 750 million don't have flea collars. And they certainly don't have humans who take them for walks and pick up their feces. They are called village dogs, street dogs and free-breeding dogs, among other things, and they haunt the garbage dumps and neighborhoods of most of the world."

From the April 18, 2016, New York Times story: The World Is Full of Dogs Without Collars. Written by James Gorman.

When I first moved to Thailand five years ago, all of the stray dogs that roamed the streets of Bangkok had an instant impact on me. There were just so many of them on almost every street I walked.

While it was heartbreaking to see, thankfully, because Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist culture, these street dogs of Bangkok were not only left alone, but for the most part treated with kindness and compassion.

If you'd like to see some of the street dogs of Bangkok I captured in my years of living there, please check out the following: STREET DOGS OF BANGKOK.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"Thank you for the privilege of your time."

Said by Jose Diaz in the April 16, 2016, NBC Nightly News.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Tomorrow's just an excuse away."

From the song Thirty-Three by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"The reason is obvious: We no longer go out. And why would we, when the allure of staying in has reached irresistible proportions?"

From the April 12, 2016, New York Times article: Is Staying In the New Going Out? Written by Molly Young.

Long live staying home in stretchy pants!
"In one of the lively arteries off the Charminar, Laad Bazaar is famed for its glittery glass bangles in every conceivable color and pattern; don't leave the city without at least an armful, either for yourself or as an inexpensive gift."

From the April 7, 2016, New York Times travel story: 36 Hours in Hyderabad, India. Written by Sarah Khan.
but boring.
not absorbing.
Everyday inanity,
is conforming.
To a life,
never agreed on.
For an existence,
mass-producing peons.
That requires,
nothing to cheer on.
Because it's simply known,
you don't have to be on.
Just go about your day,
listening to others.
The world says go,
which leads to popping uppers.
Then late at night,
you utter.
What happened to my dreams?
I thought I had a plan?
Does society see me,
for the man that I am?
Or does it define me now,
as the person I can't stand?
Who struggles with battles,
that take so much to tackle.
But I know I will overcome this sorrow.
Not today though,
perhaps maybe tomorrow.
Or the day after,
when I open my eyes to again start a new chapter.
Because everyday,
when the new page is turned.
The blank slate is waiting,
for the lessons to be learned.
All of the mistakes though,
why do they seem on repeat?
Where consequences disappear,
by pressing down on delete.
It can't be expected,
that a fresh start will always come with the sunrise.
When the commitment to say no,
flunked with the second order of fries.
Help me be strong,
to makes the better choices.
That will uplift my heart,
making the voices.
Not be so mean,
existing only to tear down.
The things that I think make me happy,
this false playground.
Always giving me the instinct,
to bolt and leave town.
And start brand new,
to finally find you.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Saturday, April 09, 2016

"I rock rough and stuff with my Afro Puffs."

From the song Afro Puffs by The Lady of Rage.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

If it's on sale at the supermarket at two for $5, I just can't resist.
Dear Focaccia Section of Eataly,

Why you so good to me?
The older I get, single life is starting to resemble the nineties Mad TV skit "Lowered Expectations" more and more.