Monday, August 31, 2015

"I can't feel my face when I'm with you,
but I love it."

From the song Can't Feel My Face by The Weeknd.
The sun sets earlier and earlier by the day.

So long, summer...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Sometimes... you make a mistake. You got've two choices: you live with it, or you fix it."

Said by the character Max in the Netflix series, Sense8. Season 1, Episode 10.
In college, I commuted from my house in Flushing, Queens. This was an era when most books were still read as actual paper books, making my schoolbag usually really heavy. I always carried around at minimum a few magazines, school books, and most likely a book I was reading on my own. Because my commute was an hour-and-a-half one way, I made sure to have a selection of different reading material available at all times. There's nothing worst than being stuck on the subway---or anywhere for that matter---without something good to read. On a lot of days I would be out and walking around with all this stuff from morning until I got back home to Queens at night. The books and magazines often tossed around in my bag and endured a lot of wear and tear throughout the day. No matter how hard I attempted to keep them in good condition, it wasn't a surprise if some of them got damaged as they traveled with me to school, work, internships, or a late night out with friends. The weight of lugging everything around all day was easy to get used to, and after a while it grew into something I appreciated. It became a reminder of different things, and if my bag ever felt too light, I always noticed.

Nowadays, I'll normally only carry around one book and maybe a magazine. My selection is kept lighter due to the fact that I commit myself to reading one book at a time, and also because of my smartphone. For the one book that I always have, I figured out a simple solution in keeping them from getting messed up. While it doesn't have to fight for space in my bag with pounds of other reading material, my one book can sometimes take me a bit of time to finish. And the longer I tote it around, its condition is more likely to worsen. That's why a year ago, I started to keep my books in a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag. Doing so has made a tremendous difference. Now my books never have their corners bent while in my bag, and I don't worry about anything spilling onto them. The covers also don't get damaged and the edge of the pages always remain intact.

Last week on Thursday, I was in a taxi with a friend heading to Brooklyn after a late night out in the East Village. We were going to their house so I could crash, and my friend had had a bit too much to drink. At some point as we both sat in the backseat of the SUV, they told me they were going to be sick and had to barf. Being in the back of a moving car, we were totally unprepared for this. But that's when I reached into my tote bag, and pulled out the book I was reading from its huge Ziploc bag. It was just at the right moment because that's when my friend began to vomit profusely into it, until the bag was a little less than half filled. When we finally got out of the cab, I can remember feeling the weight of the freezer bag in my hand as we stood on the sidewalk. It was heavy. In a twisted way, it made me think that when Ziploc bags ordinarily have a mass like that, it's usually a good thing. To have that much leftovers or food would be a meal, but this was something completely different. This is how bags of throw-up end up in trash cans on the streets of New York.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Tell her that the only way her heart will mend,
is when she learns to love again."

From the song Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

You can't always figure it out on your own. 

Sometimes, some guidance is necessary.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A day without stress in New York City usually means you're dead.
"Marcy Borders, who became known as the 'dust lady' from a defining picture of her covered in ash and grime on Sept. 11, 2001, died on Monday. She was 42.

Her sister, Dawn Borders, said she died from stomach cancer."

From the August 26, 2015, New York Times article: Marcy Borders, 'Dust Lady' Who Survived 9/11, Dies at 42. By Jonah Bromwich.

So sad. Rest in peace, Marcy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

P.
A.
S.
T.
A.
"Ian: Eddie, you need to apply yourself. If you keep looking for shortcuts, you'll never realize your potential.
Eddie: Where'd you learn that? Oprah?
Ian: Barney---on Oprah."

From the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. Season 1, Episode 10.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"'The two things that have changed Rockaway in recent years are Arvene by the Sea and the surfing culture,' said Glenn DiResto, a retired police lieutenant who owns a home in the Breakers section and is a member of its homeowners association. 'They're the two positive things that have happened, and now, I don't want to say we're battling, but we have to work together to make sure positive things happen.'"

From the August 24, 2015, New York Times article: In Fight for a Stretch of the Rockaways, Surfers and New Residents Collide. By Corey Kilgannon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's been two years since I returned to New York, and five years since I initially left it for a break.

It's not really a big deal but numbers like that can sometimes tell a story. Or maybe they don't.
"After years of stiff benches and backless chairs, the booth is back."

From the September 2015 issue of Bon Appétit magazine. 

This is the best issue of Bon Appétit that I have ever read. There's so much great content and interesting stories.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's funny when you realize that a favorite childhood 90's Korean pop song of yours was ripped off a Carpenters song.
"I look at you, looking at me.
I know you know how I feel."

From the song High By the Beach by Lana Del Rey.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dear friends,

Please check out my latest story for VICE's food channel MUNCHIES: The Enduring Appeal of Stealing Tiki Mugs.

Thanks.

What's happened at the Erawan Shrine is just terrible. Looking at the pictures of it online is saddening on so many levels, because that was always such a place of peace and tranquility.

The Erawan Shrine is a temple in the very center of Bangkok, where Rama 1 and Ratchadamri intersect. This is literally in the middle of everything---a busy intersection as Central World, Gaysorn, the Royal Thai Police Headquarters, BTS stations, Skywalk and so many other major institutions remain accessible steps away. The temple was a major destination for different types of races, religions and people, from those who unexpectedly discover it while heading to a nearby destination, to groups of tourists or locals on their way home after work at a nearby mall. Stepping into the outdoor temple in the heart of Thailand's Capital city was like entering a space of serenity in all the madness. Back when I lived in Bangkok, I can't even count the number of times I stood on the Skywalk right next to the temple and felt joy while watching the people inside, as they appeared completely transported to a place of light and hope. There were oftentimes ceremonies held in it as well. It was teeming with life and spirit, and now it's also a place where people died while observing such a personal moment.

It's all so tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who died and were injured.

Stay strong, Bangkok.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tune it out.
"All I wanna do is get high by the beach.
Get high by the beach. 
Get high."

From the song High by the Beach by Lana Del Rey.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"The designer Stephen Sills gave the dining room the soft glimmer of an abalone shell; it's pretty, but it also looks like a movie director's idea of a restaurant for rich people."

From the August 11, 2015, New York Times Restaurant Review: Chevalier in Midtown. Written by Pete Wells.
"Such dishes are a reminder of how far Korean cuisine has come in Manhattan over the past decade, adapting to local palates and expanding past the DIY grilled meat, dumpling, and karaoke parlors of Midtown or St. Marks. David Chang's Momofuku empire, while largely a collection eclectic American restaurants, deserves credit in this regard, for introducing a certain class of food-crazed Westerners to the to the joys of eating lettuce-wrapped pork, and for proving that large-format Korean fried chicken can merit luxury status with a $135 price tag. Then there's Hooni Kim's Danji and Hanjan, two trendsetters whose non-GMO meats command sizable crowds and higher prices than the cheaper commodity fare one finds in certain K-town restaurants. And the fact that the two-Michelin-starred Jungsik is still open proves that at least some folks are willing to spend $180 on Korean tasting menus. So while New York has maintained a somewhat complicated relationship with high-end Chinese or Mexican fare in recent years, the city has generally accepted ambitious, creative Korean cuisine with slightly more open arms."

From the August 11, 2015, Eater article, Oiji Instantly Ranks Among New York's Best Modern Korean Restaurants. Written by Ryan Sutton.

Monday, August 10, 2015

"I've never felt better, and my self-esteem has grown a lot. I don't really care what other people think about me, because as long as I'm creating value and being positive about things, then what can anyone say?"

Said by Courtney Love in the August 2015 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Today was one of those cool August Sundays in New York that epitomizes summer.

The nice temperature and breeze made being outside feel like you were being embraced with spectacular weather. It's probably because I rarely wear shorts but the air on my legs felt great and relaxed me. With it being August, the city also felt a bit emptier on the streets since so many people are at the beach or away somewhere. I laid out in the shade at Union Square park with a magazine, and then headed to Washington Square Park for a bit. There were some jazz bands playing at different parts of the park so I sat and listened. Everyone around seemed to truly be enjoying themselves. Then I wandered around for a while before eventually walking home. Glorious New York summer day.
"Without reading the text,
know what cones next.
Seen it before, 
and it's painful."

From the song The Sun & The Rainfall by Depeche Mode.
"Russ: This is stupid. You're better than this.
AJ: We both know that that's not true."

From the FX show Married. Season 2, Episode 4.

This show is hilarious. This week's episode had me cracking up.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

"All the energy and beauty at Untitled are on the plates. They throb with color."

From the August 5, 2015, New York Times Restaurant Review: Untitled at the Whitney in the Meatpacking District. Written by Pete Wells.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Today I take a moment to remember you, Anne.
"Bodegas---there are around 12,000 in New York City---cannot be strictly defined. You know one when you see it."

From the August 3, 2015, New York Times article, Bodegas Declining in Manhattan as Rents Rise and Chains Grow. Written by Tatiana Schlossberg.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

"There's nothing more depressing than having everything---and still feeling sad. We must learn to water our spiritual garden."

From the interlude Sad on Janet Jackson's album, The Velvet Rope.
It's such a sunny afternoon here in my apartment. With the windows and curtains open, it feels like a treat to be able to have this alone time. My roommate is currently away on vacation, so I have the whole place to myself. Of course Oscar is here with me as well, so it's just the two of us hanging out. Today is my first day with no one here because my sister and brother-in-law were over yesterday with their dog. All I ever need is alone time in a quiet place with my computer, and I feel like myself again. No other place I need to be, no obligations, no television, no distractions. It's just some music on for background noise and my laptop.