Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sometimes, the year can start with so many different things all at once. The good, the bad, the tragic, or even life-changing.

Things are happening, and I'm ready to make moves.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I went to Philadelphia on Monday to interview a restaurateur for this private freelance writing gig. My trip was literally just for a few hours. I took a half-day at work to take the Amtrak there in the afternoon, and then took a returning train back at 9pm. The train ride to Philly was so painless and easy. And in the short while I was there, the city itself seemed really nice. It definitely makes me want to take a day trip sometime to go check out more sites and try some of the city's good food.

I guess the exciting thing about it all is that I got to get out of New York for a few hours because of writing. Baby steps...
I've always hoped my life would get bigger with age. More love. More people. More success. More money. But the only thing that feels like is getting bigger is my waistline.
Isn't dabbing just sneezing into your shoulder?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"And once you grow up, the things that you're ashamed of are going to be the truth that other people love you for."

Said by Kimchi in reality show Rupaul's Drag Race. Season 8, Episode 9.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

"You know she was a queen,
she lived in Queens."

From the song She Don't Really Care_1 Luv by Alicia Keys.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Dear friends,

Please check out my first story of 2017 for VICE's MUNCHIES: Inside the Final Hours of One of New York's Best Restaurants.

Thank you.

"When I'm walking by I want to roll my eyes,
in my pink sunglasses."

From the song Pink Sunglasses by Miranda Lambert.
It's a snowy Saturday afternoon here in New York.

I got to my friend Junho's place in the Upper West Side a few hours ago to dog-sit for the next couple of days. The view outside his window right now is a complete wash of snow and wind with a tinge of pink in the sky. It's nice to be indoors after being outside in the weather earlier though. I forgot how much of a thigh workout it is to try walking on snowy sidewalks during a storm without falling on your ass.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy 2017 everybody.

It's a new year! And what does that mean? Not much.

I think at this point in my life, I'm learning to not get so caught up on things like that. I don't want to focus on stuff I desperately want to change about myself. I prefer to concentrate on what I plan to get done instead. And for that, it takes steps. Baby steps. Big steps. Risky steps. Any steps, actually. But as long as I'm moving in the right direction, it's alright with me.

One thing though that I am feeling is excited. I don't know about what, but I'm good with that for now. Or maybe it's because I just spent the last hour scrolling through memes that had me laughing pretty hard? I wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with it.

Friday, December 30, 2016

I re-watched Singin' In The Rain earlier before falling into a deep hole of Debbie Reynolds videos on YouTube for another three hours.

And now, I've finally reached a point where I'm ready to let go. Goodbye Debbie. Rest in peace to you and your daughter.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"It was in New Orleans. I took one look at this thing on stage and said 'This is going to be one of the world's greatest alcoholic-tweakers ever.'"

Said by Lady Bunny at 2016 Toronto Pride. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Run on questions.
"She was the person who admitted that said she was a foodaholic. And that night she had taken some frozen hot dogs buns and poured some maple syrup over them and ate them."

Said by Debbie DeMaio in the podcast Making Oprah. Season 1, Episode 1.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

"You better work."

From the song Supermodel by RuPaul.
"Head to toe, soul player."

From the song 24k Magic by Bruno Mars.
"I think art is a lot more interesting than drugs are and takes you to much deeper levels of interpretation about life."

Said by Carol Dunham in the podcast, Women of the Hour with Lena Dunham. Season 2, Bonus Episode.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

There's an onion in every opinion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"'Cause tramps like us,
baby we were born to run."

From the song Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The problem is never the end of the story.
"There's a hole in my heart,
I've been hiding."

From the song Hallelujah by Alicia Keys.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"That's why the Lord continues to bless you. Because you have an attitude of gratitude."

Said by Vivica A. Fox on the podcast, RuPaul: What's the Tee?. Episode 54.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

"'Cause life is too short,
to fall in New York."

From the song Pawn It All by Alicia Keys.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Reading the news this morning made me want to eat pasta until I black out. It's still taking time to sink in.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

I watched Moonlight yesterday afternoon, and really liked it.

The story and acting were so moving, and the entirety of the film was completely transporting. Its visual experience was also intense, which on top was heightened by an awesome soundtrack. What the main character goes through felt tough to watch at times because no one should ever endure what he did. And that feeling of helplessness and anger seemed so relatable. To watch him be punished for simply being, the injustice was too much. As a gay man, there were definitely emotions from the main character that felt familiar. Throughout the entire movie, it was just like wow, how do you even create something this amazing? I loved how it engrossed me and made me forgot about everything else in life, except for the rumbling of the nearby subway of course. I watched the movie at Angelika and hadn't been to the theaters in years. The last time I did was actually also at Angelika to watch The Lunchbox, so feeling the train was a funny throwback.

I was thinking again just now about the ending of the movie. It made me realize that my conclusion about it could've been wrong. And that the story of the characters could've lived on in a different way, which made me happy. The film has been in my head since watching. There were so many layers to the story that are still being peeled back.
Everyone's out there getting married and starting families, and I'm just here getting adult braces

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I long,
to belong.
To lend my voice to a song,
sung by a chorus so strong.
Lifted by a bond,
unbreakable to beyond.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting new magazines in the mail is the only thing I have to look forward to when coming home.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"'The hardware is here,' Rob Buchanan said, wheeling in the trophies on Thursday night for an unusual award ceremony.

He was pulling a little wagon bearing a toilet seat painted gold and a toilet plunger painted silver.

'Let's get this over with, so we can go back to drinking beer,' he said, officially kicking off the 2016 Golden Toilet Awards.

Mr. Buchanan coordinates a volunteer water-testing program for the New York City Water Trail Association, an advocacy group, and holds awards each fall to honor, or really dishonor, the most polluted waterys in and around New York City. He also hand-paints the two trophies himself."

From the October 14, 2016, New York Times story: For New York's Foulest Waterways, a Seat of Dubious Honor. By Corey Kilgannon.
Write it down.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"I won't worry my life away."

From the song The Remedy (I Won't Worry) by Jason Mraz.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who took the throne of the kingdom once known as Siam shortly after World War II and held it for more than 70 years, establishing himself as revered personification of Thai nationhood, died on Thursday in Bangkok. He was 88 and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history."

From the October 13, 2016, New York Times article: Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88, People's King of Thailand, Dies After 7-Decade Reign. By Barbara Crossette.

Rest in peace to the King of Thailand. Living there really gave me a glimpse of how much he's loved by the country. I'm so sorry for your loss, Thaialnd---and my heart goes out to you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

"At a counter, the relationship between chef and diner is a far more revealing exchange. Dining as theater? This is dining as backstage pass."

From the story, Tokyo Counter Culture, in the November 2016 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. By Peter Jon Lindberg.
"But I was, honestly, stunned when you yelled at us from down the block, 'Go back to China!'

I hesitated for a second and then sprinted to confront you. That must have startled you. You pulled out your iPhone in front of the Equinox and threatened to call the cops. It was comical, in retrospect. You might have been charged instead, especially after I walked away and you screamed, 'Go back to your fucking country.'

'I was born in this country!' I yelled back.

It felt silly. But how else to prove I belonged?'"

From the October 9, 2016, New York Times story: An Open Letter to the Woman Who Told My Family to Go Back to China. By Michael Luo.

Of course this sort of shit happened here in New York. As diverse as this city this, these types of ignorant people definitely exist. And growing up here, I've had my fair share of these encounters.

This even just recently happened to my sister and brother-in-law, who live right across the George Washington Bridge in Bergen County, New Jersey. They have a neighbor who harasses people of color in their area. She often screams "Go back to your country!" not only to my brother-in-law, but to neighborhood children who are minorities as well. It's absolutely deplorable.

With different races, ethnicities, religions, and Americans gaining more legal and societal rights in our current times, there will inevitably be those racists who think their own happiness is being negatively affected by it. But another person's growth does not equate to something being stolen from you and your life. There's nothing American about blaming others for your unhappiness.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

"The trio of butter, kimchi, and gochujang produces a ballad so beauitful, you'll want to play it over and over again."

From the column, BA Kitchen, in the November 2016 issue of Bon Appétit
"If someone tells you they've got a great pasta recipe, ignore them. Making a great bowl of pasta isn't about directions or measurements. It's about feel.

I should know. I've had to learn this lesson again and again over the past 25 years. I used to buy pasta cookbooks, turn to the recipes with the pretty photos, and try to cook them. The problem was, I never really learned how to make those dishes. I was just following instructions. And if you follow a recipe to a T, you stop trusting yourself---you only trust that recipe."

From the Editor's Letter in the November 2016 issue of Bon Appétit. By Adam Rapoport.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cool does not pay the bills.
Real friends let you know in advance that they're coming to town.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I appreciate how sports are in the now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Start Out Disappointed If at All Possible
If my career had turned out like the fantasy I had of what it was going to be, it would never have made me happy. But I couldn't have know that until it didn't happen. I found success that is so much bigger and deeper and better, and it's because it happened later. If any of what I'm having happen now---the successes---would have happened to me when I was younger, I would have been ruined. Because when you're young, and things come super easily to you, and you have success right out of the gate, you're liable to think that's how it actually works. You start to think you don't need to be fully prepared or committed to have these things meet you."

From the story, Do Not Be Quick to Succeed, in the October 2016 issue of GQ. By Sarah Paulson.
Let the garden grow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This monotony is killing me.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"One day this boy will be fine.
Better watch out now,
that day might be today."

From the song Winston Churchill's Boy by Benjamin Clementine.
As Sunday evening begins, it's nice to finish the weekend off by just hanging in bed.  

I've been on vacation for the past week, so I need decompress and mentally prepare for Monday morning. My time off was great though, and much needed. It began with the wedding of a good childhood friend, and then a trip out to California to visit other friends who recently had babies.

Natalia and I have been friends since high school, and she moved to San Francisco a few years ago to be with her boyfriend, Mark. The two of them eventually became engaged, and the happy couple got married in New York last Sunday. Natalia and Mark both looked beautiful together at their wedding. Throughout the ceremony, I couldn't take my eyes off the bride's face. I was just so happy for her. Sitting there and witnessing this huge milestone of hers, I couldn't help but reminisce about all of the other big moments in life we had gone through together. I'm so proud of her and wish nothing but the best for her and Mark. 

I saw a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in a while as well, so the wedding's intimate guest list made the reception feel like one the best reunions ever. Fifteen years ago, my friends and I were all just kids from Queens about to start our freshman years of college. And now a decade-and-a-half later, here we all we were, celebrating the wedding of one of our very own with the growing skyline of Manhattan's west side all around. A lot has happened for each of us since our college days when we spent much of our time together. But none of that mattered. Being there with everyone as we laughed, danced, and shared stories, it brought out these emotions that made me feel like we were all back at that age again. It's that feeling of exuberance one has before the reality of adulthood seems to beat it out of you. I had completely forgotten about how it invigorates every cell of the body, drowning out everything that does nothing to contribute to its merriment---where limitless hope in the promise of tomorrow seemed to be the foundation to our days. Later in the night when one of my friends remarked that I had the same giggle from high school, it left me a little stunned. All I could wonder was wow, you still remember my giggle from high school? There's actually someone out there who remembers that about me from so long ago? 

Natalia and Mark's wedding was humbling on so many levels. On top of seeing a good friend get married to their soulmate, it left me feeling a bit stronger about who I am and where I'm from. I needed that reminder. 

The day after the wedding, I flew to Los Angeles to visit my friends Jenn and Daniel. I can't believe it's already been three years since I lived with them and moved back to New York. There's been a lot of change for them since then, mainly in the fact that they have two lovely children now. Their youngest, Isabella, is just over a month old, and their eldest, Bradley, will be three in February. Seeing Jenn and Daniel again and finally meeting their precious kids was such a joy. Staying with them for a week gave me a glimpse into the lives of their growing family, and all the hard work and love they put forth into their daily lives. They're such great parents and I'm so proud of them as well.

This past week was great with lots of glimpses of the past, and it's left me more than ready to forge on in my future.

Below are some gifs from the wedding. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"I would have Sunday dinner out, always confining my order to pasta and wine. It represented a calm, focused moment before the start of a hectic week. More than that, the meal was an opportunity to distill dining to its essence; something to stick to my ribs, and something to go to my head."

From Food & Wine's October 2016 issue: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Written by Frank Bruni.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"A powerful explosion caused by what the authorities believe was a homemade bomb injured at least 29 people on a crowded sidewalk in the bustling Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night, according to authorities, who later found what they described as a second explosive device four blocks away."

From the September 17, 2016, New York Times article: Powerful Blast Injures at Least 29 in Manhattan; Second Device Found. Written by Christopher Mele, Al Baker, and Michael Barbaro.

The reality of our times just feels too real.

Where the bomb went off isn't far from my office. I'm pretty familiar with 23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue, especially the north side of it. There's a subway station for the 1 Train near the corner, and used to be where I got off for work before I moved here to Queens. My barbershop, which I just got a haircut from last week, is also on the block.

It was reported that the explosion came out of a dumpster, which wouldn't have happened on too many other streets of Manhattan. Stationary dumpsters sitting in front of buildings aren't a common thing, except for when there's some sort of construction being done there. The dumpster where the blast happened has been there for as far as I can remember. The sidewalk right next to it is covered in scaffolding and men do work there during the daytime. What's worst is that the building is housing for the Associated Blind. I would always see blind residents and their handlers waiting in front of the building to get picked up or being dropped off at it. I hope everyone is okay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did---who jumped---appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contract, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else---something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears."

From the September 9, 2016, story on The Falling Man. Written by Tom Junod.

Fifteen years... and yet it still feels like yesterday.

Rest in peace to all of those who perished on that tragic day.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

"During a two-hour product showcase held on Wednesday in one of rock music's most storied venues, Apple executives signaled that the company was heading toward a wireless future, where devices would connect without cables.

A big step in that direction is the removal of a headphone jack from the latest version of the iPhone, called the iPhone 7."

From the September 7, 2016, New York Times article: Apple Moves Toward a Wireless Future, One Tweak at a Time. Written by Katie Benner.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

"But don't run, even if it gets tough."

Said by the character Dongtak in the KBS series, The Unusual Family. Episode 88. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

After a really hot summer, it's nice to not have the air conditioning on today.

The breeze spilling in from the windows feels good against the skin, and is so needed.

Friday, September 02, 2016

I love how even during Friday morning rush hour on the 1/2/3 subway platform in Times Square, it's possible to run into an old friend from junior high school.

What an auspicious start to the holiday weekend! Have a great Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

You won't be fat, broke, and single forever.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"The faster we learn to drop our emotional dead weight, the more room we create for something better. I'm talking about everything from stewing about the guy who cut you off in traffic this morning to still refusing to forgive an old friend for an event 20 years ago.

We only have so much bandwidth. We only have so much time. We only have so much energy."

From the August 22, 2016, New York Times article: The Cost of Holding On. By Carl Richards.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"But breaking into the New York literary world was tougher than he had expected. His short story collection was turned down by 38 literary agents. 'I was writing to impress people, and it turns out that when you do that, you write very unimpressive prose,' he said."

From the August 26, 2016, New York Times story: Nathan Hill Is Compared to John Irving. Irving Compares Him to Dickens. Written by Alexandra Alter.