Friday, December 19, 2014

"But the last stop on the Flushing Local line is just the beginning of the Korean strip. It stretches east for about five more miles, following the Long Island Rail Road tracks and Northern Boulevard all the way into Nassau County. There are hundreds of restaurants in Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside and Beyond, serving famous Korean dishes and obscure ones: beef barbecue and blood sausage; wheat noodles in deep steaming bowls and arrowroot noodles in chilled broth with ice crystals; tofu casseroles and live octopus; Korean-Chinese restaurants and Korean-French bakeries; beery pubs and studious expresso bars; chicken fried in a shattering crust of rice flour and chicken boiled with ginseng.

The Queens kimchi belt has got to be the least explored, discussed and celebrated of the city's great ethnic food-districts. For variety of dishes and excellence of cooking, the only areas that compete are the Japanese clusters in the East Village and the East 40s or the city's three Chinatowns. Koreatown in the West 30s, which was once strong, doesn't even get on the scoreboard.

'I believe that right now, Queens is the closest you can come to authentic Korean food,' said Hooni Kim, the chef of Danji and Hanjan in Manhattan and a frequent prowler of Northern Boulevard. Unlike the restaurants on 32nd Street in Manhattan, Mr. Kim said, 'the kitchens actually cook for Koreans.' And while there are excellent Korean places in and around Fort Lee, N.J., some of which have sibling branches in Queens, Mr. Kim said the flavors along the Northern Boulevard are closer to what he has tasted on his trips to South Korea.

From the December 16, 2014 New York Times article, In Queens, Kimchi Is Just the Start: Pete Wells Explores Korean Restaurants in Queens, written by Pete Wells.

Fact: Flushing, Queens has the best Korean food in New York City.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Many gay men that I work with see their bodies through the lens of future attainments. By this I mean that they tolerate their current body because they hold the belied that in a few months or years, it will be much improved. 'I need to lose this layer of body fat so my abs will show.' 'When summer comes, I will be in top shape for the beach.' They never actually accept their body as it is in the present moment."

From the book The Velvet Rage, written by Alan Downs PHD. Page 190.
In a work meeting a few weeks ago, the topic of personal blogs and blogging came up. The discussion on the matter was short and a bit random, but the one thing that was determined was that personal blogs have changed a lot in the past few years. And by "changed," meaning people don't update their personal blogs anymore, like ever.

That struck a note with me, because it's absolutely right.

I have been blogging here for quite some time now, and it is true that so many blogs I once enjoyed reading are just neglected now with the majority of them not having been updated for years. It bums me out, but life happens. I'm sure these former bloggers are in a new phase in their life where updating their site is something they no longer have time for, or something that doesn't even cross their mind anymore. Or maybe they've switched platforms and no longer care for Blogspot? Or perhaps their new fiancé or baby takes up much of their time now? Who knows, everyone has their own reasons.

And now I'm trying to think of what my own reasons are for not updating as much as usual. I know for a fact that among many other things, a part of it is laziness. But besides that, I don't really have many other excuses. I guess a part of it also has to do with the fact that I am getting older, and to some extent I feel like I should have my shit together at this age. But I don't feel like I have my shit together---and I'm not sure if that's something I want to always share here for all of my non-existent readers. Having your shit together can mean a lot of things to many people, but for me personally, I don't know if I'm anywhere close to feeling that. But then that also makes me think, will I ever feel like I have my shit together? Probably not. And I don't say that to be pessimistic, but only because I've recently come to a better understanding about my personality and the reasoning behind why I act and think the way I do sometimes. This learning process comes to me in small nuggets, but oh man when I truly do learn something about why my brain automatically thinks this or that, I treasure that information and use it as a tool to become better and happier in whatever way I can.

So about feeling like things are not where I'd like them to be in my life by this age, I know that's not just about accomplishing all of my life's goals. But it's also about realizing that in a lot of ways, I do have my shit together and I have gotten some stuff done.

And that is why I will continue on writing here.

Sometimes I'll read old entries here from years ago, and it feels so satisfying to see how much I've grown and bettered myself since then. But then again I know there's still a lot more work that needs to be done.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

"The Arab Spring, at first glance, didn't seem to have much to do with climate change. But, it does. One of the ways it caused the Arab Spring was through the spike in basic grain prices that happened between 2010 and 2011. When people can't get the basic necessities of life, they riot. There also were these basic economic demands of the rising cost of living, which were linked to the price of imported grain. It's not to reduce the Arab Spring to a matter of climate change, but you could see how that food-price spike was a trigger."

Said by author/journalist, Christian Parenti, on Journey to Planet Earth: Extreme Realities. PBS.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

"'I have to lose weight first,' she said.
'You're just afraid,'"

From the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Page 522.
"What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
What the fuck is rong with you?
You're just so fucking rong."

From the song Rong by Royksopp.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

"The pleasure of biting down on this pizza is both physical and auditory. The noise detonates along the jaw and plows right into the inner ear. Every bite sounds and feels like that."

From the December 2, 2014 New York Times Restaurant Review: Danny Meyer's Marta in Nomad, written by Pete Wells.

Monday, December 01, 2014

"There are many reason why Korean fried chicken is such a superbly satisfying eating experience. Fingers aren't spoiled, because the sauce is lightly brushed on, and only after the chicken is cooked. The meat remains juicy, because the bird is cooked at a lower temperature than its American brethren. The chicken is dipped in a very finely ground flour, and, as a result, the shell is paper-thin, almost translucent; it is pierced, not shattered, on first bite. Because the skin and flesh is cooked evenly, the disconcerting layer of fat in between is exorcised. Although Turntable offers a soy-and-garlic sauce, the hot and spicy is the main event, with a slow and subtle burn. A plate of wings with a side of pickled daikon rash is the ideal mix of salty and sour, crunchy and chewy. Human tastebuds are powerless again such a deeply addictive sequence. All there is to do is add soju, and repeat."

From Tables for Two and written by Amelia Lester in the December 8 2014 issue of The New Yorker.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Baby steps...

Things in life take time.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am about to head to Port Authority to take the bus to my relative's place in New Jersey.

I hope everyone has a great holiday with cherished loved ones and lots of great food.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

""I think it's extremely important to forgive. Otherwise it just builds up like toxic waste. There's nothing worse than holding a grudge. Listen, people can do unforgivable things, but you have to let it go and say, 'Look, we're all human beings. We make mistakes.' To hold any kind of resentment is like taking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.'"

Said by Jennifer Aniston in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's not even 5pm and it's already dark as night outside.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It sucks that with every year of age, it seems to require that number of days for a pimple to go away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"The polar bear's world is disappearing beneath its feet."

From the PBS show Nature. Season 33 Episode 3.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happiness in the morning is taking a shower and then snuggling back into bed for 15 minutes before getting ready for work.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"I,
I,
I,
I,
Ache, ache,
For you, you, you, you."

From the song Ache by FKA Twigs.
Sundays are for...

...sleeping-in past noon ...and staying under the covers ...with the lights off and shades drawn ...to forget about everything.
Sometimes, 5am can feel just the same as 11pm to me. I'm not sure what sort of weird internal clock I was born with, but I've come to somewhat fully accept my lifelong sleep issues as a part of who I truly I am. There's no sleeping pill, breathing exercise, diet or routine that has ever been a dependable solution to my insomnia, and so here I am typing.

When I was living abroad in Thailand for years, I often went long periods without the Internet. The connection at my apartment was so outrageously slow and undependable, that I couldn't bear myself to pay for it any longer. I would spend more time trying to get a connection rather than being connected, and so I learned to live without it.

Instead, I would go somewhere in the daytime that had wifi, and download as much stuff on my iPad as possible to use for that night. I never had a television during my 2 years in Bangkok either, so my studio apartment was nice and mellow. I normally just listened to music and read, or sat on my balcony smoking a joint and daydreamed. Then when I discovered the magic of downloadable podcasts, the voice of Terry Gross and so many others often soothed me late into the night. When I first learned about downloadable podcasts, it really did help me so much. I was living in a foreign country alone, had no Internet or TV, no one to talk to, no smartphone, and basically no form of leisurely distraction to help pass the time. Listening to podcasts changed all that, both at home or while I was out. I used to ride the bus everywhere all over the city to get to where I needed, and podcasts got me through countless hours of insane Bangkok traffic. Even to this day, when I listen to Snap Judgement, it totally brings me back to staring out the windows of air conditioner-less buses with so much hustle and bustle happening around me.

Now that I've been back in New York living with a smartphone, I definitely still enjoy listening to podcasts. However, with access to high-speed wifi at home (along with so many other choice distractions), it's hard to get around to it sometimes when I can read the news or re-download an old video purchase from iTunes.

But nevertheless, there's nothing better than listening to a good podcast to fall asleep to---no matter where I am in the world.
EAT.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason---just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean how do you know it's even you?"

Said by the character Angela in the show My So Called Life. Pilot episode.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's nice to be home in comfortable stretchy pants doing absolutely nothing.

While I enjoy going out and having a good meal every now and then, or grabbing a drink at a low-key spot with friends, I'm equally happy sitting on my ass at home. Years of wandering, couch crashing and basically living like a drifter has helped me truly appreciate staying in. I've been watching too much television though, and need to curb that more. But it's so mindless and numbingly distracting and sometimes I just don't want to use my brain.

I recently started working at a new job that I'm really enjoying. After getting laid off 5 years ago from an epicurean magazine, almost every job since has been at a restaurant or bar, so it's really refreshing to transition back to an office gig. Waiting tables and working mostly service-related jobs taught me so much, and now I'm ready to apply all my experience and learned knowledge into this new position. I really feel so humbled to be working with such kind and professional people, and am forever grateful to my bosses for believing in me and taking a chance on me.

While I'm not working at an actual restaurant or bar at this new gig, it is still within the New York City restaurant and bar world. I feel proud to have worked my way through the industry to get where I am now, and I love everything about it. This industry is home to me, and running into old coworkers or acquaintances all the time makes it all that more feel like this is where I belong.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Earlier in the year, my friend Magali took my photos of street dogs in Thailand and made them into 3 separate zines! 

I really do miss just walking around the streets of Bangkok and snapping away at all the countless dogs that roam and live on the streets. Having all these pictures together in the zines is really nice and brings me back to my years of living alone in Thailand.

Thank you to Mags for the wonderful gift.








"누구에게
내 마음을 말할까?"

From the song 프로와 아마추어 by 루라.
I've always been the type of person to hold stuff in, letting things internalize in my head and then eventually rot inside me as my overthinking and analysis covered it with an impenetrable shell. The thing is, this process does not feel good at all. In fact, it can feel quite terrible. These cannonballs of emotion take a heavy toll both physically and emotionally, and because I'm not quite good at expressing myself verbally, putting things into words on paper---or the blinking cursor on a computer---has always been extremely cathartic. To me, writing is the opposite of talking because it's not just about expressing yourself in the moment of now, but having the ability to really think about what I want to say and how I want to say it in order to convey a methodical truth instead of a fleeting emotion. With all of that said, I should be writing a lot more honestly on this blog like I used to. Not an hour goes by in my day where some thoughts I need to express and let out here on my blog pops into my head, but I just let it float away. I should be grabbing these transient thoughts to turn them into something I can write about, but I haven't been doing that for a long time now. A part of it was because I had been looking for a new job, and I didn't want my honesty to be interpreted as a high-enough level of crazy to keep me from getting hired somewhere. But I feel like I did myself a disservice by doing that, because in reality this is who I am and no non-existent job (or anything for that matter) should ever hinder me. All of that behavior is related to my anxiety, and the crazy wheels that start spinning in my head when I feel like I need to predict what the most terrible situation of something could be in order to prepare myself to battle its consequences. If I am comfortable with someone, it's such a relief to just be myself and go with the flow. But I usually don't feel totally comfortable around a lot of people, and of course that's more my problem than theirs. It's like at my last job, my boss would joke that I'm too uptight but in reality all that stems from the fact that I want to accomplish whatever I'm doing in the most efficient and correct way possible because I don't want to deal with the aftermath of fucking up. Anyone who's never met me and is reading this must think I'm an anal nutjob, but I really don't think I am. I just tend to observe and soak things in more, that's all. We can't all be loudmouths who love to talk, right? This past Saturday night I went to a bar in the East Village with some friends and there were two people there who I didn't know very well. But we all just drank boilermakers and talked for hours in the comforts of a leather booth, and I couldn't remember the last time I had felt so free and absolutely at ease in front of people who weren't super close friends. It had been so long since I felt that that the next day, all I could think about was why can't I feel like that all the time? Why can't I just let go and chill out and join in on the conversation? There's a reason why I hate hanging out in large groups and big crowds. Spending time with someone one-on-one just always suited me better, and I like being able to immerse myself in the company that I'm in. Sometimes I just get so used to listening and observing that it's mistakenly perceived as so many other things. In all my travels while I was living alone in Thailand and went on many trips to nearby cities and countries, there was not a single time where I made small talk or had a conversation with a stranger. Not a single time, and I traveled a lot! Actually there was one time in Laos where I kept running into the same old man in the streets of Vientiane and asked to take a picture of him, but that is truly it. I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this is, since I'm not chatty by nature, I should at least be releasing my thoughts into the written word. Or if I'm not going to write as much as I should, I should be out meeting new people and shooting the shit. Just always being along with my thoughts and a joint isn't always going to cut it. Even at 31, I'm still learning how to break out of my shell. It's late in the night and I can't sleep and don't know where I am going with this entry, and that's okay. As long as I'm being unreservedly honest with myself, I think I'll be alright...
"Having walked away, victims of abuse are often left with no place to live and little means of support, and frequently end up homeless. In New York, this has helped drive the shelter population to a record high, with more than a quarter of all families in shelters citing abuse as the cause for their stay, city officials said. And, nationwide, many cities report a similar experience."

From the November 10, 2014 New York Times article, Domestic Violence Drives Up New York Shelter Population as Housing Options Are Scarce, written by Mireya Navarro.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

My friends Judy, Sim and Junho threw a joint Day Of The Dead party this year for halloween. 

Thanks to all of them for a great night!

















Friday, October 31, 2014

Dear Blogger,

Why do all the pictures I upload come out slightly blurry? All the pictures I posted years ago are always sharp and clear, but nowadays all my pictures come out like there's some sort of soft focus on it.

Sincerely,
thwany
The past few months or so.









"Make sure that when you get out there and you show yourself to the world and you give them stuff, that it's quality work. And really pull yourself---your whole heart and self---into your work, because it's that important."

From the October 30, 2014 Cut article titled, Sharaya J is Alexander Wang's Rapper of Choice, by Véronique Hyland.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Over time, you've come to realize it's less of a race, and more of a journey."

From an AARP Medicaid Supplement Plans insurance commercial.
"I'm not writing anything right now."

Said by the character Jane in the television show Jane the Virgin. Episode 2.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"On Saturday nights, Veselka is often the last stop for college students and the party crowd; a place to gorge on pierogies and rehash the evening. The crowded dining room resembles a school cafeteria with waiters; the line to the bathroom, a slightly disheveled fashion show."

From the October 17, 2014 New York Times article: In New York City, Sunday Night Is for Regulars.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"As long as there have been subways in New York City, there have been subway shops."

From the October 7, 2014 New York Times article, In Depths of Columbus Circle, a Retail Hub Blooms, by Matt A.V. Chaban.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The other Sunday when I was returning from vacation, I lost my wallet.

My roommate and I had just gotten out of our cab from JFK when I decided to get some food alone before heading back in to our apartment. It was while I was walking and rummaging through my book bag when I realized my wallet wasn't there. The last time I even remembered seeing it was at the airport in Jamaica. I remember buying two bottles of water before boarding and then putting my wallet back in my bag, so I thought okay maybe I lost in somewhere on the airplane. When I realized that I really didn't have it, I filled out an online form from the airline that night. I didn't really let myself dwell on the fact that I lost it, because it was my fault and I need to just learn from it. I don't lose stuff that often, but when I do, I take it as a form of a wake-up call.

I'm happy to say that lo and behold, the airline found it and my wallet is now resting beside my bed. I had lost this wallet for a short time a few years ago as well (HERE), but it also somehow ended up returning to me even back then. Thank you to whatever force or universe that's making this happen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Oh, rejection. Rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection."

Said by Joan River in the PBS special Makers: Women in Comedy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

I have the best big sister in the world!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It feels like all I hear nowadays in life is NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

But giving up is not an option.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sensitive people don't like being told they're sensitive.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Last week, I was finally able to get out of New York for a bit and went on a real vacation!

I went to Jamaica for a few days with my friends Judy and Junho, and oh what a blast it was. This was the first time all three of us had traveled together. We arrived at a resort at Montego Bay and basically just chilled out for four days with lots of swimming and drinking of Red Stripe. 

And here are some pictures from the trip. I've clearly posted way too many of them.