Thursday, April 30, 2015

People watching in New York can be funny. Passersby are captured in that moment, and then an entire story about who they are and where they're going immediately materializes.

However, the stories and reasoning behind who they are not really about them at all, but more about the person whose head it's in.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

"For Chibu, Chiamaka, and Chidebe---the best stories Sheri and I will ever tell."

From the dedication page of the book Foreign Gods, Inc, by Okey Ndibe.

Wow, what a beautiful book dedication!
Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Mental smile. Exhaustion.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Food always tastes so much better when your body is actually hungry.

Why do I so easily forget this all the time?
"Like a moth to a flame, 
burned by the fire.
My love is blind,
can't you see my desire?"

From the song That's the Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson.
Sun day. Sundae. Sunday.

Have a good one.
"A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,800 people, flattening sections of the city's historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks.

Officials in Nepal put the preliminary number of deaths at 1,805, nearly all of them in Katmandu and the surrounding valley, with 4,718 people injured. But the quake touched a vast expanse of the subcontinent. It set off avalanches around Mount Everest, where at least 17 climbers died. At least 34 deaths occurred in northern India."

From the April 25, 2015 New York Times article "Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,800," by Ellen Barry.

This is just beyond terrible. Our thoughts are with you, Nepal, and to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

With the temperature here in New York City starting to become warmer, it was nice to actually be out of my apartment today and walking around. 

It probably wasn't just due to the winter weather, but I feel like I've been in hibernation mode for the past 10 months or so. I've gone out every so often during this time period, but for the most part if I wasn't with my two best friends or at an obligation I had to attend, I spent a lot of the time plopped on my couch, eating in stretchy pants. Going out just got really tiresome, and vegetating at home far away from crowds and strangers felt so nice. I started working service jobs in the restaurant industry a long time ago, but a lengthy stretch of last year was especially exhausting because I was doing it 7 days a week, with a lot of that time being on my feet. Any opportunity to relax at home became such a luxury and I milked it for all that I could. The last thing I ever wanted to do was be at some crowded bar or restaurant, and so my apartment transformed into a safe space for me to decompress away from the world. 

I mean yes, essentially any true home should provide that, but moderation is key. After I eventually stopped working 7 days a week, constantly staying in slowly mutated into hiding away from the world. But it was only from walking around for hours today that helped me finally realize that. Not being in my twenties also has had a large part of my evolution of becoming a homebody, but that doesn't mean I should shut myself away from society at such an extreme. In my lifetime, I've spent way too many years at home just eating and watching tv, and then eating some more and watching tv again. It reminds me of the hopeless cycle that the character Precious once described, but instead of some malicious mother pushing me to do so, it was my own depression and anxiety.

I met my friend Judy today around noon at Fort Greene Park. It felt really nice to be there because I've become used to this stale routine of always being in the same neighborhoods at the same times of day. I'm usually either at my place in the Financial District, around the Flatiron District for work, or if I'm at all out with friends, it's most likely in the East Village or somewhere else nearby downtown. Being in Brooklyn during the daytime today with so many people out and about helped me recall what I've been missing out on during my months of always doing the same exact shit.

We spent a good chunk of time at the park, catching up on stuff while people watching. Afterwards we stopped by the Brooklyn Flea before getting some food close by on Fulton Street. By this point I was feeling good from all the fresh air and change in scenery, so when I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen for years in the restaurant we were eating at, it all just felt so right. The fact that this friend lives in Los Angeles and was only in town for a short while made it feel all the more auspicious. Judy and I parted ways after we ate and I decided to take advantage of the remainder of the day by walking to DUMBO, and then finally heading home by foot from there over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Right now in my life, one thing I have to keep reminding myself of is that going out should not always have to equate to eating at a restaurant or getting plastered at a bar. Working in so many busy service industry jobs that had me busting my ass during shifts sometimes makes it hard to remember that going out can consist of a million other things, especially in this city. Because for a while it seemed like being out meant being at work in a restaurant, and being out at a restaurant seemed like being at work.

In a way it feels great that I've outgrown going out to only eat or get drunk all the time, since that was basically my all of my twenties. But at 32 now, I've got to discover new ways of being outside the house while feeling somewhat productive in whatever way possible and not like I'm getting sucked into the same behavior. It's time to at least try to break out of my comfort zone in a smart and sensible way, because now that I'm in my thirties, it just seems like the natural route to go down.

Below are some pics from my gorgeous Saturday today.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"You know, being from Queens---that's as good as it gets right there."

Said by Nas in the documentary Time Is Illmatic.
"She's a big girl, she knows what she's doing, and when you look her in the eyes, there's plenty more than your own reflection staring back."

From the article Why We love Nimrat Kaur by Dave Besseling in the April 2015 cover story of GQ India.
Anything worth doing takes hard work.

Anyone who makes something look easy is a pro and just good at their job.
"Once in a while, the ever-orbiting cluster of actors turns out a star we didn't see coming, but once they separate from the rotation, it's a brightly lit affair.

In the case of Nimrat Kaur, even when you look at other actresses with similar backgrounds---maybe the army-bratdom, the packing up for Bombay in their early twenties, going from being a prop in a TV ad to endorsing things in them---this Punjab girl from the NCR still confounds the formulae."

From the article Why We Love Nimrat Kaur by Dave Besseling in the April 2015 cover story of of GQ India.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The happy boy woke up with a smile on his face. He darted from under his warm sheets and stood at the foot of his bed with his back straight and arms overhead. The morning sunlight nourished his body awake as he stretched until his spine felt like it would get pulled into the sky. He vertically bended his body one last time before hopping in the shower as he sang very loudly. The decibel of his voice was on the borderline of screeching, and the happy boy liked the feeling of releasing all that verve. All night it had just kept building, and getting it out through song just made sense to him. The lyrics were always about something he had dreamed just hours before, because he'd never had a night of sleep in his life without vividly dreaming. Recalling textures and moods and small details was as easy as counting to ten, and he felt sad for others who couldn't do the same. In a way, he felt that it was almost tragic. For the mind to create art even while the body lay unconscious, just so it would be lost and forgotten in the morning---it was unsettling to him. It was a loss of something, and he wished deeply that it would never go to waste. All of this subconscious art that is forever being created, its beauty is in the evanescence he thought. After his morning shower, the happy boy always drank the tall glass of clear liquid that waited for him everyday. He drank it with ease and in one smooth, elongated gulp. There were no chairs and hardly any objects around him, and his voice echoed when he let out a deep and satisfied noise after finishing his drink---he was ready for the day he thought. From behind, his ensemble seemed as minimal and as soft as a cloud. The sleeves of his shirt went a little past his elbows, and his pants reached just below his ankles. As he opened the door to the outside, his footsteps were gentle and made no sound. Outside, there were colors swirling everywhere, just like it was every day. The colors were constantly in motion, creating a dizzying universe that put him at ease. He walked for a short while without thought, and sat down on the mass of what he could not see. And he remained there, absorbed by the trance of nothingness. He could not sense anything, but the happy boy swayed his head because it was a world in which he could feel.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The cause of living in the past is dying right in front of us."

Said by the character Rhett Butler in the movie Gone With the Wind.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"I believe that I have developed the opposite of FOMO, in fact: I have a case of FOGO, Fear of Going Out."

From the April 27, 2015, story "FOGO Is the New FOMO" by Alexis Swerdcloff.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I eat, because I feel.
"I got a bone to pick.
I don't want you monkey mouth motherfuckers sittin' in my throne again!"

From the song King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hard work needs patience.
"'It's important that at some point in your life you really focus on your career, almost to the point of insanity. You'll never get this time back. You have to want it so bad that you wake up in the morning and you think about it, live it, breathe it, eat it, and see it all day. After you've accomplished a couple of things, then take a moment. Work and work for those first years, and then come out of the matrix a little bit and take a freaking vacation.'"

From the article "The Dos & Don'ts of Bossing Up" by Nicki Minaj in the May 2015 issue of Glamour magazine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"But first: What is a sandwich? The United States Department of Agriculture declares: 'Product must contain at least 35 percent cooked meat and no more than 50 percent bread.' But a sandwich does not require meat! Merriam-Webster is slightly more helpful: 'two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.' For the purposes of this field guide, we have laid down parameters. A hamburger is a marvelous sandwich, bit it is one deserving of its own guide. The same holds for hot dogs, and for tacos and burritos, which in 2006, in the case known as Panera v. Qdoba, a Massachusetts judge declared were not sandwiches at all. Open-faced sandwiches are not sandwiches, Gyros and shawarma are not sandwiches. The bread that encases them is neither split nor hinged, but wrapped.

There are five main families of sandwich in The New York Times Field Guide.

There are sandwiches made on Kaiser or 'hard' rolls.

There are sandwiches made on soft buns.

There are sandwiches made on long hero sub rolls.

There are sandwiches made on sliced bread.

And there are what we call 'singulars,' which are those creations on bread that falls outside these groups but are still vital to the sandwich landscape, like the muffuletta."

From the April 14, 2015, New York Times article "A Field Guide to the American Sandwich," by Sam Sifton.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Ms. Hiller has had the same dealer for 35 years, watching as his regulars have gotten older and grayer."

From the April 13, 2015, New York Times article "Smoking Marijuana for 50 Years, and Turning Out Just Fine," by David Gonzalez.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy 88th birthday to my Grandma!

All of my relatives and family gathered today to celebrate this joyous event. My grandma is the matriarch of our family, and her word is law in my large extended clan. She's also one of the sweetest and most amazing people I've ever met, and I want to say how lucky my family is to have her in our lives.

It's days like today that I want to remember forever.

"One day I just stopped and asked myself: What in the world are you doing with your life? I had no goals anymore and I was just spinning my wheels, watching my self-confidence disappear."

From the book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. Page 315.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"But despite prophecies of doom for the publishing industry, today paper books are still going strong, and digital books are finding their own niche."

From the April 10, 2015, New York Magazine online post, Books Will Never Die---You'll Just Find Them in Virtual Bookstores and Read Them on Your Phone, by Claire Landsbaum.

Love live books!
When the question of "why?" is asked? There's not always an answer.

Friday, April 10, 2015

"The American ice cream sandwich was born in the Bowery district of Manhattan in the early 1900s, when a pushcart vendor slapped together skinny wafers and vanilla ice cream and handed them for a penny each to shoeshiners and stockbrokers alike."

From the April 9, 2015, New York Times article, The Ice Cream Sandwich Comes of Age, by Ligaya Mishan.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

"The girls had suddenly disappeared, and Haida had taken their place. Just as Tsukuru came, Haida had quickly bent over, taken Tsukuru's penis in his mouth, and---careful not to get the sheets dirty---taken all of the gushing semen inside his mouth. Tsukuru came violently, the semen copious. Haida patiently accepted all of it, and when Tsukuru had finished, Haida licked his penis clean with his tongue. He seemed used to it. At least it felt that way. Haida quietly rose from the bed and went to the bathroom. Tsukuru heard water running from the faucet. Haida was probably rinsing his mouth.

Even after he came, Tsukuru's penis remained erect."

From the book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. Page 127.

Having read many Haruki Murakami books over the years, the main protagonist in most of his stories can be expected to be a certain type of guy. They are usually uncomplicated, appreciative of the subtle details in a woman's body, moral, a jazz or classical music enthusiast, intelligent deep thinkers, carnal, not fussy eaters, content, more of a cat person---and in a lot of ways, interesting in a sense because they are also very average and relatable.

In all of Haruki Murakami's books, the male protagonist is always quite sexual. There are usually passages with explicit details of sexual occurrences, but they are not done in an extraneous way to be salacious and tawdry. Actually, they create more of another dimension of the character, and are usually integral elements to the book's plot that symbolizes not just sex, but that our sexual needs are never just isolated incidents that provide thoughtless relief to the body. Instead, they are the events that often shape other parts of our lives and can result in unanticipated aftereffects. A lot of these sexual incidents in his books also take place in a dreamlike dimension of fantasy, in a world where nothing is what it seems. These subconscious states are far from the normal state that we all wake up to, but borderline between the real world and a hallucinatory daze.

I'm currently reading his latest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. The protagonist in this book is a guy name Tsukuru, and he falls in line with the main characters in most other Haruki Murakami books. Last night when I read the passage I quoted above, it was the first time I had ever seen his main character have any sexual engagement with another guy. My mouth dropped with each sentence I read, and it was all so unexpected. I liked that Murakami executed this in a way that is so in line with most all sexual encounters he writes about, and this too took place not in the regular world, but in a universe of the inner-self that is different for all people.

It's funny because before I started reading this book, I actually did wonder if Haruki Murakami would ever have one of his protagonists be gay or have a gay sexual encounter. I guess dreams do come true!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Speak your truth.
"'To keep his seven children warm,' Mr. Todd bought a generator, Mr. Edwards said. 'It went out, and the carbon monoxide consumed them.'"

From the April 6, 2015, New York Times article, Father and 7 Children Found Dead in Maryland, by Ashley Southall.

So terribly tragic and sad.
"Londoners won't abandon a restaurant after six months, or six years, just for novelty's sake, nor is brand-newness a sufficient condition for adoration."

From the a story in the April 2015 issue of Bon Appétit titled, A Modern Guide to Timeless London, by Lauren Collins.
It's the start of a new day.

And I will give my mind and soul the fresh slate we all deserve.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

"Only bad witches are ugly."

Said by the character Glinda the Good Witch in the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Bad + Witch = Bitch?
"And despite her religious reservations, she said she might cater a same-sex wedding if she felt comfortable with the couple."

From the April 4, 2015, New York Times article, Indiana Residents Rue Damage to State's Welcoming Reception, by Richard Fausset.

Comfortable with what exactly? Comfortable with their race? Or religion? Or class? Or what country they were born in? Or hair style? Or waist size? Or if their last name starts with a vowel or syllable? Or their go-to comfort food? Or their favorite sex position? Or if they've ever visited Antartica? Or if they sing in the shower? Or if they eat breakfast food for dinner? Or their pet's name? Or their favorite Céline Dion song? Or whether they thought the dress was white and gold or blue and black? Or their preferred brand of light bulbs?
"'I would cater a gay wedding,' he said, but only if he could drop the food off 'and leave, and not have to stay and observe.'"

From the April 4, 2015, New York Times article, Indiana Residents Rue Damage to State's Welcoming Reception, by Richard Fausset.
Solution, or fantasy?
Happy Easter to everyone!

I hope you have a great Sunday with your family and loved ones.
How do you define the teenager of 2015 in one word?


Like, just like their post if you like it.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Life is just one continuous panned out shot.

Friday, April 03, 2015

It's Friday night and the weekend has started!

And I will be home in stretchy pants vegging on the couch.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

We're all dreamers and natural storytellers.

The version of things that exist in our heads is always right until we find out otherwise. The circumstances of a picture we see. The face belonging to an email address. The details behind a true-to-life story someone tells us. Our distinct creative powers steer so much of this, and the possibilities are endless.

And that's why words especially will always allow us to dream, hope, conjure, and create forever.

It's all so beautiful.