Friday, May 26, 2017

Dear friends,

Please check out my new homepage at www.taeyoonwriter.com!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What do you do when you see the name of a new popular book that's one word off from the title of a short story you've had in your head for years?

Kick yourself really hard. And move on.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whenever in need of retail therapy or some instant gratification, I look no further than the "Cookbooks Under $5" section on iBooks. It's updated throughout the week, and there are always cookbooks from major publishing companies and big time chefs/restaurateurs on sale!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Leave it to the kind employees of an Apple Store Genius Bar to give you an ear complex.

Since the days of the original iPod, earphones that usually come with Apple products have never really fit my ears. Their design has always been too awkward for my natural shape, and would fall out or simply never felt right. This lead me to trying lots of different earphones over the years, but about a month ago I decided to give one from Apple a go.

I purchased the Apple-In Ear Headphones that come with silicone tips, which usually always work well for me. I was happy with the new pair, and everything seemed fine. I even noticed how different it felt to go about my day using white earphones from Apple like most of the world---it was like I was finally a part of modern civilization. But then a few weeks later, I began to have issues with the left side. Anytime I attempted to pull the earphone out, the silicone tip would come unattached from the wire, leaving it it sitting in my ear canal. After days of dealing with extracting it out with my fingertips, I decided to go to the Apple store to return them for a new pair.

I've been dog-sitting Oscar for the past few days, so I decided to exchange them at the Apple Store in the Upper West Side. When the nice associate at the Genius Bar began assisting me, I explained how the left side was defective, and I just wanted a new pair. Since the sound quality was still fine, I inquired if my issue was something he saw often, which he responded to as no. I demonstrated how the silicone tip would remain sitting in my ear when I pulled at the wire. But when he tested the same thing on his own ears, the earphones did not have the same issue. After a bit more assessment, he recommended a full refund rather than an exchange. When I pressed him for more info, he said that because of my ear shape, this problem would most likely happen again. And when I explained my history of having ill-matched ears for Apple earphones, the whole thing just made sense. It was then when I realized: Apple products and my ears just aren't meant to be.

I know there are tons of other earphone options for me to try, but I can't say that I wasn't a teeny-tiny bit bummed leaving the store. To come to the conclusion that this relationship will never happen, well, okay Apple, I finally hear you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

"Just... two people that like warm rolls."

Said by Melvin in the movie As Good As It Gets.
"When he found out I was a writer he gradually began to reveal more personal details. He may have felt that, like therapists and religious leaders, writers had a legitimate right (or duty) to hear people's confessions."

From the short story, An Independent Organ, in the book Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. Page 91.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Friday, May 05, 2017

"I associate many things with many things."

Said by the character Watson in the movie Desk Set.
Ew.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

At the end of the month, I'll be moving out of my place here in Woodside, Queens. Yes, another year, and another different living situation. I've lost track of the number of times I've moved as an adult---it's too overwhelming to try and even think about.

I guess the good news is that I'm leaving my current living situation for a more positive reason this time. On June 1st, I'll be going to Seoul for two months. I''ll be heading over there to work on a writing project. The entire thing is beyond exciting, and I am so ready to get the fuck out of New York for a bit. I've never been into weekend vacations or traveling for short stints. I've always just preferred longer periods of immersing myself somewhere instead, so I do see my upcoming trip as a much needed blessing that's necessary for my sanity. It's funny because it was seven years ago around this time of year when I decided to drop everything here in New York and head to Korea in order to look for a new job, and basically life. And now years later, I'll be going again but under completely different circumstances. This time isn't totally about running away from everything (okay, maybe just little), but more about carrying my life in the forward direction I really need to go. I'm happy, excited, and know this will help me mentally reset in a way. In general, things in life are good. But I'm in desperate need of some variety---a change from the daily routine that sometimes feels too easy to become complacent with. I needed this, badly. And I am oh, so ready for it.
Your shit sucks.
How do you not get bogged down?

How do you express yourself without focusing on the possibility of it being misunderstood?

How do you react when the negativity catches you off guard?

How do you refrain from destroying MTA property after yet another train delay?

How do you stop at just one?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

"The list is an absolute good. The list... is life."

Said by Itzhak Stern in the movie Schindler's List.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I've learned that telling some people about your good news can be just the same as telling them about your problems.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Why does everything in New York seem so much more tolerable after a few drinks?

All the irritating things from earlier in the day, they disappear into the night sky... but I'm sure will materialize again in the morning.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I guess that uncomfortable feeling means you're doing something right.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Wake up. It's 2000. The new millennium won't be about sexual labels, it'll be about sexual expression."

Said by Samantha in the show Sex In the City. Season 2, Episode 16.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Why not fly? Why not try?"

From the song Streets of New York (City Life) by Alicia Keyes.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I always make a million promises to myself when I'm full.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Dear friends,

Please check out my most recent write-up for VICE's food channel, MUNCHIES: What Two Decades as a Restaurateur Has Taught Me.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Pasta with a past.
"Sit down. Be humble."

From the song HUMBLE by Kendrick Lamar.
"The ideal poached egg is as beautiful and fleeting as a shooting star---a warm bundle of fluid yolk encased by a barely-set-yet-tenacious white. It feels kind of tragic to have to spear it and set all that yellow sauciness coursing out, but that's what it's all about: rich, yolk soaking into your slice of crusty toast, or coating a pile of roasted veggies, or working its way into a pile of steaming, seasoned sushi rice."

From the story Put An Egg On It in the April issue of Bon Appétit magazine. Written by Chris Morocco and Amiel Stanek.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

That oh-so-familiar smell of urine is the official fragrance of New York City, but the strength measured by the amount sprayed definitely ranges. Sometimes you walk by an area that has just a mist of it, and then others might seem like it was doused by the imitation version. It's easy for that urine smell to enter your body a few times a day though. It can hit when least expected. It'll slip right into your nose without any remorse, which just makes you walk even faster. New Yorkers are known to speed by because they're in a rush, but sometimes it's because they're running away from something, too.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

"Didn't you know by now that you could never truly know another person?"

From the book The Mothers by Brit Bennett. Page 371.

Friday, March 31, 2017

"Have a look in that drawer, and try to keep it that way."

Said by Patsy in the show Absolutely Fabulous. Christmas Special 2002: Gay, Episode 1 Cleanin'. 
Magazines without mastheads discovered on the subway.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"She's the queen. 
Shade machine."

From the song Call Me Mother by RuPaul.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Guess who's back in the house,
heels click-clackin' about."

From the song Call Me Mother by RuPaul.
On cold and rainy days like today in New York, it makes me miss my old soi in Bangkok.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"We are all a part... of those who came before."

From the official movie trailer for Disney Pixar's Coco.
"It's about a gay sous chef in San Francisco. He gets bit by a radioactive rat on his shift when he's taking out the trash, and is blessed with powers beyond his wildest dreams. Super, sonic, gay kind of powers."

Said by Dave Chappelle on The Age of Spin: Dave Chapelle Live At the Hollywood Palladium. Collection 2, Episode 1.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This one's always a hard one. Do I watch something with the captions on? Or do I not focus on only the words and try listening instead?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Okay, is there a connection between The Slums of Beverly Hills and Search Party?

I started watching the movie The Slums of Beverly Hills earlier tonight, and now have been watching Search Party afterwards. I'm only a few episodes in, but there's already been a yellow hairdryer and the same exact Anna Karenina quote by Leo Tolstoy. This can't just be a coincidence?

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's the eve of what's supposed to be a huge blizzard here in New York City and the Northeast.

The snow is expected to start coming down around midnight, which is just an hour away. I'm not sure how big this storm is actually going to be, but announcements of school closures and public transportation shutdowns were made earlier in the afternoon today. And if it's already known by then that things need to be closed, I guess it's serious.

I still don't have any curtains or blinds for my window, so I'm looking forward to watching the snow fall and blanket everything.

Stay safe, everyone.
"But nobody ever taught me how to stay."

From the song Runnin' Just In Case by Miranda Lambert.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

"You mean, all this time, we could've been friends?"

Said by Baby Jane Hudson in the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Monday, March 06, 2017

Bedtime memes.
"When I first saw you, I saw love."

From the song You're Still the One by Shania Twain.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Leakers.
It's funny how so many people have colds or get sick at once. It's like you suddenly see and hear them everywhere in the city. Coughs out in public. On the subway. At work. Or even on the other side of the wall.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

An acorn falls from a tree.

Person 1: Oh look, an acorn!
Person 2: I totally just saw that fall.
Person 3: I want it!
Person 4: What is that?
Person 5: I don't like acorns.
Person 6:
Person 7: I'm going to kick it!
Person 8: I have to step on it.
Person 9: What are an acorn's functions any way?
Person 10: I hope that squirrel gets it.
Person 11: Wow there's too many, I'm going to step around.
Person 12: I didn't know this was an acorn tree.
Person 13: I want to feel that crunch.
Person 14: Stupid ass acorns!
Person 15: I wonder if a new tree will grow?
Person 16: I hate acorns!
Person 17: Uhhhhhhhhhh.
Person 18: Step over the dog shit!
Person 19: Oh, I'm going to take that for ______.
Person 20: Will the top just pop off?
Dated.
Jaded.
Obliterated.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's a clear sunny day here in New York City. I've been dog-sitting for the past couple of days in the Upper West Side, and will be heading out in a bit for a meeting in Union Square, and then dinner with my friend Judy.

Have a great Sunday!
Sometimes, you just have to turn all the lights on and keep them on.
How is it that something that brings so much joy and happiness, can also bring pain and the feeling of being out of control? Where both curiosity and expectations lead to regretful decisions, and getting pissed at yourself just becomes part of the routine.
You're only as good as your last ____________.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"'Cause all they'll do is give you bad advice, and that'll ruin your confidence. Confidence is key."

Said by Shante in the movie Two Can Play That Game.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"I've always said, you know, when your acrylics are on point, your life is on point."

Said by RuPaul in the podcast RuPaul What's The Tee? w/ Michelle Visage. Episode 86.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Titter.
Shania Twain saying "whatever" at the end of That Don't Impress Me Much is just perfection.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"So you got the looks,
but have you got the touch?"

From the song That Don't Impress Me Much by Shania Twain.
"The best thing about being a woman, 
is the prerogative to have a little fun."

From the song That Don't Impress Me Much by Shania Twain.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

People who litter bring civilization back hundreds of years.
"Creativity and ego cannot go together.

If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly.

Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.

You must not be owned by our own obstacle.

You must own the environment, the phenomenal world you live in.

You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind.

This is being free."

Said by Jeong Kwan in the Netflix series Chef's Table. Season 3, Episode 1.
Insist.

Friday, February 17, 2017

"We here, Chiron."

Said by Kevin in the movie Moonlight.
"But isn't this what has always made America great? That we are a country of immigrants, constantly inventing and reinventing? Take that photo up there of my dad, Dan Rapoport, and his father, David Rapoport. My grandfather emigrated from what is now Belarus in 1923, and he and my grandmother raised my dad and uncle in Flushing, Queens.

Today, the once-Jewish neighborhood of single-family homes is solidly Asian and a one-stop destination for a world of cuisines. A plaque with Korean characters is affixed to the doorway of my father's old house. And on a recent visit, thanks to some snooping around on my part (hey, no one was home!), what did I notice around on the back patio? Six beautiful ceramic kimchi pots, carefully set upon wooden pallets. That made me smile. And I would like to think that my food-savvy father, who passed away in 2012, is also smiling. Because if you're going to love kimchi, and all the other amazing food this country has to offer, you've got to love the people who make it, too."

From the March 2017 issue of Bon Appétit's Editor's Letter. Written by Adam Rapoport.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dear pasta,

Thank you for yet another year of being my Valentine's. You will always be my #1 everything.

Love,
Tae

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I turned 34 today.

Another year, another meal.
Please don't feel the need to show me anything on your phone.

Just send me a link and I'll look at it when I feel like it.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"You have to learn to accept who you are, and who you aren't."

Said by Delilah in the podcast Conversations with Delilah. Episode The Foundation Of Love.
"Key change, baby."

Sang by Maya Rudolph in Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Let's run away,
and don't ever look back."

From the song Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.
Oh, this? It's my bag full of receipts.
"This is the part of me, 
that you're never gonna ever take away from me."

From the song Part of Me by Katy Perry.
Excitement will keep me going through the hard times.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

It's a snow day here in New York. The sky is white and completely washed out. I'm grateful to be at home though, experiencing it from bed.

My room is super bright right now because it still doesn't have any blinds or curtains. I've pretty much been stuck here since waking up but now I'm getting hungry. And since I have no food, I'm trying to figure out how to change that.

I had a really good meal last night though. Actually, two of them. I went to Lalo for dinner with my friend Marisa, and then we eventually ended up eating at 69 Bayard as our last stop of the evening. I guess even though a night out is bookended with great food, you still always gotta eat again the next day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

I just want to look at pictures of pasta all day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It's easier to just add a word in a Microsoft Word document if it's something you plan to use for a very long time.

It's like, hello word. Welcome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In elementary school, I used to think that Elle magazine was named after the model Elle Macpherson.

I thought being a successful model meant magazines named themselves after you. Clearly, I was just a misguided young gay.

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

Vulnerability.
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.