Sunday, December 31, 2017

"For my mother, Norine Elizabeth Dedeaux,
who loved me before I took my first breath.
Every second of my life, she shows me so."

From the dedication page of Jesmyn Ward's book: Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Staying young at heart means adapting to change and technology (accept the fact that progress is unstoppable and that fighting it goes against what humans are as a species, things will never be the way they were so let that register in order for us to work together on building something everyone can prosper from).

But while I once used to be reluctant in accepting certain technologies, it was more about not letting go of the comforts of familiarity instead of a refusal of development. I've changed though. I can't believe I used to fantasize all the time about life as an adult before the Internet and smartphones. It was me completely romanticizing an era before what I thought got complicated with electronic devices. It's like, no. Just stop. Thinking that way does nothing in using technology to your advantage and future. Technological innovation is not going anywhere and will only continue to grow. It's like, stay young. Participate. At least give it a try. It's there to make things easier so be openminded.

One thing I spend a lot of my online time on now is YouTube. Up until this year, I used to mostly store videos on it or just watch music videos and specific content I would search for. But now I use it to watch so much other stuff. I love videos where I can just sit there and not think about anything serious. I want to be a mindless zombie when I'm home, and my discoveries started when I decided to check out the trending videos on YouTube that are constantly rotating. It was my first step into realizing there's so much other stuff to watch. It's like, why not try some of the bazillion other hours of content out there instead of watching the same shit all the time. It's similar to only going to the same websites all the time. I tend to have a habit of doing that, but I have to tell myself to switch it up every now and then.

YouTube's trending videos helped me stay current with what other people were watching, and then lead me to the magic of stuff like slime videos and eating shows. I especially love mukbangs. It's like I'm sitting there having a meal with them and listening to their conversation. I haven't come across any angry eating shows, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy them. Everyone is usually happy in mukbangs (they're stuffing their faces, it's impossible not to be). The people I watch have to be really upbeat and outgoing though. And I can't stand silence, I need to hear them talk about something. I like that energy of them eating and chatting. It's also nice to have on the background when I'm doing other stuff somewhere.

My new outlook on life isn't solely from binge-watching eating shows. All the new technological conveniences that make being in this world a lot easier than before have to be recognized as transforming. Things like my iPhone X and unearthing the true magic of video through YouTube have brought only happiness into my world. The amount of content on YouTube alone is endless. It's like a celebration of the human spirit and creativity. All of our stories are different, and now we can experience new versions of them. We get to learn so much more about one another in ways that were never possible. I mean thinking about the fact that television used to be dominated by a handful of networks seems like such an archaic way of doing things.

We as the people now decide what we want to watch, upload, and share. And it will never go back to the way it used to be.
And you?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"What if we're the bad guys?"

Said by Angie in the show Orange Is the New Black. Season 5, Episode 13.
"I climbed a mountain,
and I turned around."

From the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Sometimes our only choices are between shit and shittier but whatever we end up doing, we gotta own it. Somehow find grace in it."

Said by Gloria in the show Orange Is the New Black. Season 5, Episode 8.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

"Seu amor me pegou."

From the song K.O. by Pabllo Vittar.
It's Friday night, and I'm home alone on the couch with a bottle of wine and stretchy pants.

Life is good.
"Youthquake: A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people."

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2017.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"In Trump Time, the clock moves backward. The feeling that time itself is reversing might be the most unsettling aspect of a most unsettling year."

From the Up Front essay in the December 2017 issue of Vogue titled: A Wrinkle in Time. Written by Brit Bennett.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A hungry appetite and halal food brings people together.

It's all about that sauce, right? Well, that's one of my go-to reasons for patronizing the same halal cart twice. Crowded corners on the streets of New York offer a vast choice of vendors, but you never know how a truck's white sauce might taste. You could love it, think it's okay, or wonder how something that usually brings so much joy could taste so unrelatable.

At my former job near 6th Ave and the 20's in Manhattan, I used to go to this one certain halal food cart a lot. I'm an avid fan of getting the most bang for my buck during lunch breaks, and a $6 order of a densely packed chicken/lamb combo over rice always just seemed worth it. To know that I'd be filling up whatever I felt lacking in that day with tasty halal food was an instant mood elevator. I just loved the food from this guy's cart, especially his white sauce. I'd always order extra of course, and its taste was a perfect match that transported me to a happy place.

I recently started a new job at a temporary space on Wall Street. It's my first time working this south of Manhattan, and it's been interesting commuting to a different area. The walk from the subway station to my office goes though a lot of halal food carts. All this made me start thinking that I need to try some of these places out to find a new favorite spot. I knew it would be a trial and error thing because a lot of the vendors don't have signs differentiating their cooking styles. I singled out this one truck that was the closest to my office as my first attempt, and approached the cart to get me the hearty lunch I was aching for.

When I glanced up and ordered, the guy in the cart looked directly back at me and we both laughed.

The two of us instantly recognized each other from his cart near my old job and couldn't believe it... I was smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time he was explaining the situation in a foreign language to the elderly gentleman next to him he had hired to run the cart. The guy told me that this cart on Wall Street was the second one he owned after the one on 6th Ave. He usually went back and forth between working the two spots. When I asked him how long he'd been in the business, he told me nine years. I was happy for his success, and even more elated about getting to eat his food all the time again. It's like, wow. I had actually thought about this guy's food and white sauce and wondered how I'd ever be able to eat it at a regular basis again. But problem solved, especially since I can see it from my office window.
Phase to phase.

Monday, December 11, 2017

I was just about to leave my apartment for work this morning, literally grabbing my keys off the kitchen counter when I received a text from my mom. "There's been an explosion at the 42nd Street Subway Station," she wrote in Korean. My initial reaction was a muttering of fuck out loud to no one but myself. I did a quick check of the news to see what happened, and also made sure the subways were still running before I headed to the station. Luckily, there were no reported deaths from the incident and the 3 train was also still in service so I rushed out of my place like usual.

The subway ride to work felt pretty normal. The only change was that it skipped the 42nd Street Times Square stop. Other than that, most of the other commuters seemed unperturbed by it all. I got to work and had a usual day with no issues on my commute back home.

Since getting home before, I've been able to check out the news and learn more about what actually happened this morning. I've also been catching up on yet another chef in the food industry who has been accused of sexual misconduct. It's infuriating on so many levels, but extremely satisfying to see these people be called out for shit they've done. Anyone who abuses their power to take advantage of others, especially in a sexual manner, is just scum. I say yes, let's get all these assholes out of here to make room for people who can do their jobs without sexually harassing people!

It's only Monday, folks. I feel like it's going to be a long week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Grocery shopping is when Christmas and holiday music sounds the most festive.
"I see your true colors, 
and that's why I love you.
So don't be afraid,
to let them show."

From the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Do you care now?
Do you know how?"

From the song All Or Nothing by Cher.
"The music's no good without you, baby."

From the song The Music's No Good Without You by Cher. 
"If I could reach the stars,
I'd give them all to you."

From the song If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher.
"This is a song for the lonely, can you hear me tonight?"

From the song Song For the Lonely by Cher.
"If I wanted you to know, I would fucking tell you."

Said by Gabrielle Union in the podcast, Death, Sex & Money. Episode: Gabrielle Union is Fed Up.

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Oh yeah, hey-dog-hey what's up."

From the song Raingurl by Yaeji.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy eating! I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend so far.

I'm currently home alone right now in Harlem. There's still a bit of daylight coming through the windows so I have all my lights off. It feels really quiet too with almost nothing but silence from the streets. Everything feels nice and still, almost most like there's this cold tint of blue to it.

Moving to Central Harlem a few months ago and living with my friend Jess has really been great so far. We've been friends since junior high school in Queens and grew up not far from each other in Flushing. She would always come over to my house back then and we'd order greasy food and watch bad tv for hours. Even almost two decades later, I guess some things never change.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Michael: You're so beautiful.
Hanna: What are you talking about?"

From the movie The Reader.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why do some people live like IRL doesn't matter anymore?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

*stares into mirror*
"I am happy today. And I am happy everyday, because my happiness is not conditional on any uncontrollable factors in life."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seeing a slice of pizza = Wanting a slice of pizza.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"You should text me what you want to text him."

Said by the character Jake in the movie Sleeping with Other People.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I've been cooking a lot more since I moved to my new place. My apartment in general is on the smaller side, but thankfully the kitchen is renovated with new appliances. It even has a window, which makes such a big difference when actually using the space. The last time I lived in New York with a kitchen window was in 2010, so things like natural sunlight and fresh air for ventilation charm me into staying in the room. It's like cooking and being in a kitchen feels pleasant again. 

My cupboards right now are really stocked with lots of different types of sauces. With my schedule being a bit open nowadays, I've taken to shopping for sauces as a new hobby. It feels like the most inexpensive way to get me out of the house sometimes, where I can feel productive while on a budget. I especially like finding things that are on sale, and it gives me a reason to peruse the aisles of far away (but uncharted) grocery stores. In a way, I think of each new sauce discovery as an investment. And it challenges me to create something with it later on. But as of late, pasta has been what I've been eating the most. The Eataly in Flatiron had a big promotion on pasta last month with some brands on sale for only $1, so I stocked up big time. I've gone through a good amount of my supply already, but I still have a shelf bursting with capellini, tortiglioni and chiocciole. 

Besides pasta, I've been cooking a lot of things that are easy to make. Things like roasted vegetables or other simple dishes are usually my go-to. And while it's been great eating like this so far, I woke up today with a real big craving for Korean food. And not anything that'd be served in a restaurant, but the simpler type I would've eaten on the fly at home when younger.

All I wanted was a big bowl of steaming rice to mix with a whole bunch of other Korean ingredients. I guess you can call it a version of bibimbap, but with whatever you want instead. There's nothing saying you need this or that. I was really in the mood for some fried eggs over easy mixed with gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, perilla, butter, and kimchi. 

I hadn't been grocery shopping for Korean stuff since I moved to my place in Harlem, and since I had the time to spare, I decided to go to the H Mart in Woodside today for a few basics. The prices would be cheaper there compared to the one on 32nd Street, and it's usually less busier. That location of H Mart is small but runs 24 hours. When I lived in Woodside, I loved dropping by on the way home from the subway to pick up beers and already-made food. It's interestingly also the first H Mart from 1982 that would eventually turn into the global grocery chain it is now.

All this trying to cook more at home had me thinking about the food from when I was a kid. It's like, where did that strong hankering for Korean food come from this morning? And why did it taste so amazing when I finally did eat it? And that's when I realized that my diet as an adult right now is the total opposite from when I was growing up. As a kid, my parents' home cooking of traditional Korean food ranged in all types of proteins and fresh vegetables. Practically everything was bought from the grocery store and cooked at home. But all of the non-Korean food we ate was usually processed. If we didn't buy it from Costco, it was most likely fast food we were eating. And if it wasn't from the drive-thru, we were most likely at a restaurant or ordering some takeout. I mean, sure, we cooked spaghetti at the house every now and then, but that doesn't count. The point is, because it's not as if my family were eating hamburgers and french fries over at someone's else place, the American food we ate in my childhood was never home cooked. And somehow, that script has totally flipped in my life today. I only usually eat Korean food in restaurants now, and find the majority of my home cooked meals to be conventional American dishes.

When I got back to Harlem with my bounty from H Mart earlier today, the first thing I did was wash the rice in the tin of my roommate's rice cooker. It had been so long since I washed rice with my hands like that, feeling the grains as they swam between my fingers. It all felt so cathartic and soothing in a way. After it was cooked and ready, I mixed it with my other ingredients before wolfing down the entire bowl of food. Everything tasted so satisfying with the kimchi and gochujang, and totally hit the spot. It's funny because the large bowl of rice mixed with stuff hit me in such a different way than a large bowl of pasta mixed with stuff ever would, and I had missed the feeling so much.

Monday, October 23, 2017

"I'm like, 'Sho. You. Right.'"

From the song Money by Leikeli47.
"My dreams give me wings."

From the song 2nd Fiddle by Leikeli47.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Been waiting for today,
but I don't know what to say."

From the song Waitin by Kelela.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Everything changed,
then changed again."

From the song To Find a Friend by Tom Petty.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Goodbye muffin top, and hello fall jackets!
Chillllllllll ouuuuuuuuuut.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

"'We're too old to think we'll meet again,' Less says."

From the book Less by Andrew Seen Greer. Page 157.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"When you feel like letting go,
that's when you hold on to me."

From the song Hold On To Me by Hurts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I look at the shiny surface of the Garlic Dipping Cup from Domino's, and know it's bad news. But I know I'm still going to eat it all.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Waking up to the news of what's happened in Las Vegas has been an absolute shock... it's complete madness and so hard to understand why this happened and all those lives were lost...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Leave love in the footprints."

Said by the character Ahmad in the movie Soul Food.

Monday, September 25, 2017

"He's a good guy. He's a really good guy."

Said by Grace in the sitcom Will & Grace. Season 4, Episode 15.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's always so hard to remember how to spell or'dervs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

In spite of it all,
still inspire.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"All that I've got,
pieces and pages.
Talking a lot,
sorry I'm faded."

From the song Broken Clocks by SZA.
"Go Gina,
Go Gina."

From the song Go Gina by SZA.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Somewhere, it all went wrong.
Just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But if it's not on the Internet, then it never existed.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"Why you bothering me when you know you don't want me?"

From the song Love Galore by SZA.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

"Nobody else will be there."

From the song Nobody Else Will Be There by The Nationals.
Happy Labor Day, America!

It's the unofficial end of summer this weekend. Goodbye hot weather and shorts. And hello to autumn and having to wear real pants again.

The summer went by so quickly. I can't believe I've already been back in town for over a month after spending two months away. Everything seems like a blur since returning. I was couch crashing and moving around the entire time. It was a lot of lugging my shit around, but it was also nice to see friends. Thankfully though, my wandering days are finally over because my friend Jess and I got a place uptown in Harlem. We've been slowly moving our stuff into the apartment and will be all settled in pretty soon. I'm excited to finally have a somewhere to call home again, it feels it's been too long.

I've been dog-sitting Oscar in the Upper West Side for the past few days. It's been great taking him for walks through Central Park and farther north. We took a long stroll through Morningside Park last weekend and that was really nice. There were tons of families and people there barbecuing and enjoying themselves. It smelled so good in the park.

It's Sunday afternoon right now, and I'm ready to head out soon. I've been sitting at Junho's place with the shades open and all of the lights off since waking up. It was raining earlier and is still a bit cloudy, but it's still a nice day. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

"New York isn't New York,
Without you, love."

From the song New York by St. Vincent.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Wow, what's going on in Texas right now is heartbreaking. Much love and good energy to everyone there.

Monday, August 21, 2017

More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.
More butter.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Timeline of Streaming a New TV Show
Episode 1 - Wait, what's going? Yeah, I don't know about this show.
Episode 5 - Oh my god! I'm obsessed, love it.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Letting go of what was thought to be the answer is like whoa.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

It's not about the taste. It's about the emotion. The memory that comes from it.

Monday, August 07, 2017

"It's never too late,
to be who you wanna be."

From the song Summer Bummer by Lana Del Rey.
"Blue is the color of the shirt of the man I love."

From the song Beautiful People Beautiful Problems by Lana Del Rey.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I'm back in New York after two months in Seoul...

I think I just need a really long nap.

Friday, July 28, 2017

"One thing I know for sure is that,
something just ain't right."

From the song One Thing by Luscious Jackson.
"Is it raining outside?"

The question I get asked daily right now during Korea's rainy season when I go to meet people. I'll usually answer with a polite no before explaining my shirt is drenched in sweat, not rain.
Summer sweat.
Steamy Seoul.
Scorching sun.
Strolling solo.
So sopping.
Smooth skin.
Same story.
Savoring stolen sub-zero shivers.
Sleepy since sunrise.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Oh, the truth is a beautiful thing."

From the song Truth Is A Beautiful Thing by London Grammar.
Kalguksu is the ultimate Korean comfort food. Available at most general restaurants, it’s enjoyed all over the country as a cherished dish cooked with a mother’s love and care.

As a noodle soup made with a broth from beef bones, kalguksu has a wonderfully milky taste and rich quality. The noodles are handmade from wheat flour with the magic touch coming from pushing down on the inner wrist when kneading. It’s then cut into thick strands that are known for its dense body and chewy texture. Korean cuisine generally favors long strands of noodles, which are a sign of living a long life. So if your bowl has particularly longer noodles, it’s not only good for your stomach but an auspicious sign of what’s to come. What makes kalguksu especially standout from other soups made with a similar broth is the starch from the noodles that give it an extra heaviness, which is a divine combination. The first sip of the broth will immediately give that full-bodied flavor from the beef and carbs, hitting the palate like the most comforting hug from childhood.

There are many variations of kalguksu that are not made from a beef broth. The beef version is more commonly found in Seoul since cow products are more expensive to use as an ingredient. But another popular type would be dak kalguksu, which is made from chicken broth with hand-pulled shreds of meat. It’s often referred to as Korean chicken noodle soup, holding the same nostalgia as similar versions from other cultures. Haemul kalguksu is made with a plethora of seafood, and popular in the southern and coastal regions within the country. This kalguksu is often cooked in larger quantities in a single pot to be enjoyed family style. But the most common form of kalguksu has a broth made of out anchovies since it’s a more affordable base to use. Unless a restaurant specifies the type of kalguksu they’re serving, the anchovy is what’s most likely being sold.

What’s just as important about the kalguksu eating experience is the kimchi it’s served with. Unlike other Korean dishes, kalguksu is specifically eaten with fresh kimchi, also known at geotjuri. This is a type of kimchi that’s not fermented and meant to be consumed within a week of being made. Kalguksu aficionados will often rate their favorite restaurant of the dish by the quality of their geotjuri, since it’s often harder to mess up on a kalguksu recipe rather than one for fresh kimchi. Geotjuri tends to have more spices and seasoning than regular kimchi, giving it slightly more of a bite and clean spiciness.

Some Korean people also eat kalguksu on days they feel like having geotjuri, making the noodle soup the side dish to fresh kimchi. But the most popular time for kalguksu is definitely summertime. Korean people love to eat hot soups and stews in the scorching summer weather because they like how it warms their body up to sweat even more. There’s a Korean phrase often used to express their delight for moments such as this. It’s called “shi-won-ha-da,” which translates to feeling refreshed and invigorated. And it’s the expression often heard in kalguksu restaurants when the temperature outside is feeling tropical.
Big chain conventient stores in Seoul are best for when you’re drunk, broke, or in a rush. Or perhaps at any given moment, you’re living life to the fullest and achieving two out of three of these factors.

Found on just about any block here, convenient stores here are brightly lit, colorful, and attainable beacons of happiness that invite you in with their wide selection of products and services in strong air conditioning. Pantyhose, chocolate, T-Money cards, whiskey, or small items to make a last minute meal—you’ll find whatever you’re looking for. They’re open 24 hours and can be more comforting than any best friend ever could. Depressed and in need of some ice cream? A convenient store would say, “I got you, fam.” Depressed and in need of some soju? A convenient store would respond with, “Say no more.” Or depressed and in need of some delicious processed food? A convenient store would yell back, “Come on over!”

While the eating options there can be endless, there are two standout items that are mostly associated as Korean convenient store food: samgak kimbap and cup ramen.

Samgak kimbaps are triangular shaped kimbaps wrapped in plastic. Their specially designed wrapper is meant to keep the seaweed crisp until ready to be consumed. The plastic has special instructions and a tab you pull at that unwraps it in a way that’s super easy to eat. Under the seaweed is densely packed rice with a filling in the center that comes in a wide spectrum of flavors. They range in traditional fare such as spicy chicken or bulgogi, to more adventurous like spam with eggs or eel. With the average price for samgak kimbaps hovering around $1, they’re an all-time favorite for many and great for snacking on anywhere in thanks to leaving a minimal smell. In fact, they’re so popular and constantly being restocked that a specific time in the day is noted in their expiration date.

The second place champion of convenience store foods would be cup ramen. Cup ramen is the quicker and easier version of ramen, which is like using a microwave with no buttons. For cup ramen, instead of having to get a pot to cook your ramen in, you can simply pour boiling water into the makeshift bowl the cup ramen comes in. Whatever type of noodles you prefer or flavor you’re looking for, there’s a cup ramen out there for you. They’re also available in different sizes, providing options on the level of bloat you want to subsequently feel. Hot water and wooden chopsticks are a given at convenience stores, and a large majority will also have indoor and outdooring seating. That makes eating your cup ramen in peace while leaving no evidence behind as easy as slurping noodles.

With ramen practically being a national pastime in Korea, walking by a convenience store to get a quick glance of someone enjoying cup ramen here in Seoul is as common as seeing the shop’s lights on. The slight difference with samgak kimbap is that it’s more often eaten on the go. It’s no surprise though that these two products are the king and queen of convenience store grub because they’re the lightning versions of things that are already loved within Korean food. But whether you’re dining on the store premises or not, samgak kimbap and cup ramen at convenient stores are extremely satisfying bites that can be made into a full meal or hold you over until you eat again. And you can easily grab some banana milk, sausage, or countless other items to make it the full course banquet of your dreams.

Friday, July 21, 2017

iPhones sold in Korea always make a shutter sound whenever taking photos with them.

For locals here, there's no such thing as secretly sneaking a picture.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Adam's apple.
"And a lust for life,
keeps us alive."

From the song Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey.
"Most people live their entire lives, and never understand you can't always believe everything you think."

Said by Andy Andrews in Robin Roberts' Podcast: Everybody's Got Something. Season 2, Episode 5.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"For $9.99,
I'm perfectly disguised."

From the song Pink Sunglasses by Miranda Lambert.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It was Seoul Gay Pride this past weekend, and I was so happy to go check out the festivities.

When I got off the subway at the City Hall stop, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was elated to see people within the station with pride flags painted on their faces and other visible signs of support for the cause. But I have to be honest in saying that I was also surprised by the number of protesters I saw as soon as I surfaced above ground.

There was a large counter demonstration across the street from where the festival was being held. They also had a huge screen set up to broadcast whoever was speaking on the stage, and that made it both pretty visible and audible from the side where I was standing. At that moment I arrived, there was such anger and vitriol in that specific speaker's voice. I was truly taken aback by it. He was an older gentleman, angrily screaming at the top of his lungs as it echoed everywhere. I could hear the graininess that seemed to come from losing his voice as a result of yelling so loudly. Then on the side of the street where the festival was being held, all I saw was a wall of police officers standing on the sidewalk to keep other protestors from getting too close to passersby as they made their way towards the entrance. I could feel my blood boiling as I had to walk by them and listen to their furious shrieks and protests. They waved their big signs in the air and howled with passion while preaching about how LGBTQ people are less than. They showed so much rage, but everyone who had to endure their hatred did not. Most people simply ignored them or walked by with smiles and excitement for what the day meant.

When I finally made my way into the festival, the vibe was completely different from what was going on outside. There was nothing but love, happiness, and celebration. There were so many people, with a large presence of foreigners as well. Being within the space instantly made me forgot about all the mess that was happening outside, and I happily walked around alone to soak it all in.

The actual parade took place outside of the festival area on a main street of Seoul. And I was fortunate to have perfect timing to witness the entire thing. I can't tell you how moved I was in seeing the thousands of people marching. Young. Old. Straight. LGBT. Korean. Non-Koreans. The diversity in everyone amazed me. All I thought was, where are all these people living and going out to? I didn't realize there was such diversity here, especially among the LGBTQ community. There were way more people actually marching in the parade than watching it as a spectator, which only made me think that people didn't just want to watch it, but they instead wanted to be a part of the movement. Seeing it all almost moved me to tears. It was very emotional and heart-warming. It was parade float after parade float that was filled with swarms of joyful people in between.

Towards the end of the day, the feelings I had from seeing all of the protestors were overcome by the warmth and love I felt from all of the supporters. I have to say that the Seoul Police Department did an excellent job in maintaining order and keeping angry protestors from getting too close to festival goers. I was extremely grateful for that. Overall, it was a memorable Pride. Korean society still has a ways to go in regards to accepting LGBTQ people, but they're definitely on their way there. And the amount of love, support, and LGBTQ allies from the weekend truly did show that.
"At first, it feels good, savoring each bite, the world falling away. I forget about my stresses, my sadness. All I care about are the flavors in my mouth, the extraordinary pleasure of the act of eating. I start to feel full but ignore that fulness and that sense of fullness goes away and all I feel is sick, but still, I eat. When there is nothing left, I no longer feel comfort. What I feel is guilt and uncontrollable loathing, and oftentimes, I find something else to eat, to soothe those feelings, and strangely, punish myself."

From the book Hunger by Roxanne Gay. Page 170, e-book edition.
"Food was not only comfort: food also became my friend because it was constant and I didn't need to be anything but myself when I ate."

From the book Hunger by Roxanne Gay. Page 58, e-book edition.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

In Korea, there's always some drunk motherfucker in the background.

Sometimes, it might even be someone you know. Or maybe it's even you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

RuPaul and Michelle Visage laughing together on their podcast is everything.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"We could run."

From the song We Could Run by Beth Ditto.
Food truly does create the most amazing connections on a global scale.

I was hanging out at a restaurant last week in Hannamdong called Parc. Sitting there alone for hours with my laptop, I soaked up the energy and took notes on my computer while observing the spot throughout the evening. At one point during dinner service, I saw a set of two customers walk in together. I've always had a knack for faces, and instantly recognized one of them from back home in New York. She had been a regular at a restaurant I used to work at in Williamsburg years ago, and I couldn't believe that she was coming in to eat at Parc on the same day I was there to survey the place. I didn't approach or bother her until she and her friend were at the counter to pay after they had finished eating. I was in no way expecting her to remember me, but asked if she used to live in New York. She told me she still did and that she was just in town for a short while. I then proceeded to tell her that she used to come to my old work place in Brooklyn often and that I remembered her as soon as I saw her walk in to the restaurant earlier in the night. She then confirmed, yes, it was indeed her. 

Wow. Small happenings like these only help me realize that with clear eyes, there is so much to see and learn in life.
Some photos from my time in Korea so far.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Note to self: Do not panic when things don't go according to the plans you created in your head, which were more safe ideas nice to think about.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

From my days of living in Thailand, I still enjoy checking out free tv episodes that are offered every week on iTunes. I recently watched the first episode of Season 2 for Huang's World from VICE. And all I got to say is, mad respect to Eddie for the entire episode. I really liked it. Go check it out if you haven't already.

Friday, July 07, 2017

"Don't be afraid to catch feels."

From the song Feels by Calvin Harris.
TGIF everyone!

It's Friday evening here in Seoul, and I'm cooling off with my laptop at a cafe after walking around for hours. I was literally dripping in sweat when I walked in, so this air conditioning is giving me life.

I had lunch alone today at the Noryangjin Fish Market. This is a huge wholesale market that pretty much sells any type of seafood you could ever want. Because South Korea is a peninsular nation, seafood is a big part of the country's cuisine. And a place like Noryangjin is a great spot to access the most freshest kinds from the region that's available in Seoul. Fish, crabs, lobster, stingrays, live octopus, or whatever---this place has it all. After choosing whatever you like, instead of taking it home to cook, you can go to one of the many restaurants within the market that will prepare the seafood for you. You can get your fish sliced and served raw sashimi-style. Or maybe you want it made into a nice stew. Or perhaps you're craving steamed Dungeness crab along with some abalone. Or maybe some fried jumbo shrimp. Regardless of what you get, eating it within the market is definitely a fun and delicious experience.

I was craving some sea urchin, so I picked out 3 for ₩10,000 from a very nice vendor. She then directed me towards a small restaurant around that area of the market through a nearby alley. They took the spiny creatures from me to open up the shells and serve along with some standard side dishes traditionally eaten with seafood in Korea. I also ordered a pajun and large beer to complete my meal. My bill at the restaurant was only ₩22,000. So that makes the total price of my lunch under $30 for both the cost picking out fresh uni and enjoying it in the comforts of a restaurant with some booze. It doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

I've pretty much lost count on the number of rubber bands for my braces that I've accidentally ingested while eating.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Loose leaf.
Happy 4th of July, America!

I spent the holiday alone getting some work done here and there. But I wanted to eat some good ole' American BBQ for lunch, so I headed to Linus' Bama Style BBQ in Itaewon. I had the pulled pork platter, which was pretty good and totally hit the spot. It felt nice being in the restaurant today because it was filled with other American customers who also seemed to have come with the same craving as me. It was a mixture of both young people and families among them who seemed like locals, in the military from the nearby American army base, or tourists. Being around fellow Americans was especially comforting on a major holiday like today, and reminded me of being back home in the U.S.

In general, I take the subway everyday here in Seoul. It's my major form of transportation. The trains are modern with full cellular and data capabilities, but the only bummer is that they stop running from midnight to 5:30am. One other major difference about the Seoul subway system in comparison to New York's is that each station here has floor-to-ceiling glass partitions at the edge of all platforms. The glass walls block any access to the tracks and only open where the subway doors open. That means angrily leaning over the edge of the platform like I do in New York to look down the tracks for the next train is impossible here. But stations in Seoul are equipped with tv screens that tell you how far away the next train is anyway, so that solves that. Another good thing about the glass partitions is that they also prevent people from falling into the tracks, or god forbid jumping in front of a train to kill themselves.

The other day, I was walking down the steps to a platform of a station when I saw a mass of people starting to walk up towards me. I knew the subway had just gotten there, and didn't want to have to wait for the next one so I darted towards the open doorway. I saw that the doors were sliding shut but didn't care and still went for it. The doors closed on me and I got stuck with half of my body inside the subway and other other half sticking out. Now, this happens all the time in the New York subways. And when it does, the conductor will quickly re-open the doors to allow whoever is stuck to get their whole body onto the train. Or if the conductor doesn't do that, other straphangers might help out by pulling the doors apart to force them open again (which usually always works). But when I was stuck between the doors the other day here in Seoul, it so did not go down like that.

From the shoulder down, it was the left side of my body that was sticking out of the doors. My tote was also in my left hand swinging in the air, so as I was trying to squeeze the rest of my body and bag into the train, I struggled to push through with the doors not budging. At. All. I looked around the subway cart in panic as I was fighting to get inside, and straight up made eye contact with all of the other straphangers who just sat there stoically watching me. It was a good ten seconds of my body in limbo as everyone just stared, but it felt like an eternity. Someone was even standing inside right at the door in front of me, but she did nothing but watch me scramble as well. And since the subway doors couldn't close with me jammed inside them, the doors of the glass partition weren't able to close either.

The conductor finally re-opened the doors and I managed to stumble inside feeling a bit frazzled. I looked around and felt this sense that people were looking at me like I had gotten myself into this mess, and I suddenly realized that they were right. In that moment, I became aware that commuters in Seoul don't stick their limbs or bodies between closing doors of the subway because that's just not how it works here. And I couldn't remember a single time when I had seen anyone else do that in the trains here. Well, phew. Duly noted, and lesson learned. Thankfully with my body still intact.
"We know the pain is real.
But you can't heal,
what you never reveal."

From the song Kill Jay-Z by Jay-Z.

Monday, July 03, 2017

"Here's to the ones who dream,
foolish as they may seem."

Sang by Mia in the movie La La Land.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Do you try on all your nights like this?"

From the song Slide by Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dongdaemun is a popular night market here in Seoul. I checked it out a few days ago with some friends who were visiting from New York.

We got to the market past midnight on a weekday, so it was pretty late and not that busy. One of my friends wanted to buy a whole bunch of socks, and we stopped at this vendor who had set up an outdoor shop at a main intersection. Since I was not interested in perusing their massive sock collection, I hovered around the other types of souvenirs and products that were on display near the area where customers pay. I immediately noticed the two women working the stand. They had to be in their 50's, and there was a heaviness to their demeanor. I couldn't tell if it was from them feeling exhausted after a long day of work, or perhaps from other stresses that were troubling them. But there was something about them that I couldn't help but curiously observe. One women was larger with short hair and round wire-framed glasses, we'll call her Lady 1. And the other was slightly more petite with wavy shoulder length hair, we'll call her Lady 2. I stood there practically right in front of them with only some products separating us, but they seemed preoccupied about something serious. And as I was pretending to look at the keychains and other knickknacks before me, Lady 2's cell phone rang. She turned around to face the large makeshift display made of metal-wire that was bountiful with inexpensive socks, and picked up the phone with her back to everyone else. When the phone rang, Lady 1's eyes widened. Lady 2 put the phone to her left ear facing slightly outward so Lady 1 could also listen in on the conversation. Lady 1 in turn put her arms around the shoulders of Lady 2 to get closer to the speaker, with the left side of her head resting on Lady 2's. They both stood there, practically hugging each other for comfort as the phone call started. 

Lady 2 did all the talking. Her voice remained strong as she spoke with pride and a bit of defiance. I have no idea what the person on the other end of the phone was saying. But Lady 2's responses were as followed. "I told you I would get the money, I just need more time." "Don't you think I would have paid you back if I had it?!" "I told you I'm working on it." "I don't have it right now. What else do you want me to say?" The conversation went on and on like this. As Lady 1 listened in, she signaled to Lady 2 that she had said more than enough. She tried providing moral support as Lady 2 continued to explain the same thing over and over to the caller. And repeatedly, Lady 1 motioned to end the call, suggesting there was nothing else left to say.

When Lady 2 finally did hang up, the both of them just stood there... embracing one another. They seemed emotionally drained as they consoled each other. But in that moment, I felt their strength. And it said so much about who they are. 

This is also when my friend was ready to pay, and she approached them with her multiple bundles of socks to tally up the final cost. That's when Lady 2 turned around to face us and help my friend, and I saw tears streaming down her face. But even as the tears continued to come down, she helped my friend with a wide smile and happy demeanor. And it made it all the more such a moving moment.

After my friend paid, we thanked the women and they courteously said goodbye and wished us well. These two women have been in my thoughts since this night, and I can't seem to shake off this feeling of wondering how they are. When my friends went back to Dongdaemun and to the same area of the vendor a few nights later to buy more socks, they said the women were not there...  wherever they are right now, I wish nothing but the best for them.
It's gotten pretty hot in Seoul. The humidity is at a point where I'm sweating just from walking outdoors. But I've miraculously been living without an air conditioner or fan at the place where I'm staying. I guess that's where booze comes in handy, because buying a bottle of soju is cheaper than getting a cup of coffee here and easier than thinking about the heat. Oh yes, that magic green bottle that now comes in flavors like grape and peach. It tastes just like candy, I swear it does. It's like the adult version that quenches your thirst to blackout and forget everything that's happening on the playground.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Writers writing about writers.
"She smiled. Leapt without looking."

Said by the character Mia in the movie La La Land.
"It's new every time. It's brand new every night."

Said by the character Sebastian in the movie La La Land.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"I wanna go somewhere where nobody knows. 
I wanna know somewhere where nobody goes."

From the song Highway Vagabond by Miranda Lambert.

This song is from Miranda Lambert's album, The Weight of These Wings. I love this album. I listen to it constantly. It soothes me. It's go-to music for stress relief. It calms me when I'm feeling like shit. It's completely transporting to a land of serenity and beauty when I feel chaos. The opening song of Runnin' Just in Case feels like the start to a beautiful journey. And the entire album has just the perfect mix of some upbeat songs to get me going as well. Even to have it on in the background while I work out my thoughts makes a world of difference.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Monday afternoon here in Seoul.

My sleep schedule has been really wonky the past few days or so, but I finally got a good night of sleep yesterday and am feeling a bit more clearheaded today.

I ate kalguksu last week at a place in Yeonhui-dong, and it was so good. Kalguksu is a traditional Korean comfort food that's pretty much a noodle soup. The broth can be made with a variety of things such as chicken or seafood, but I ate a version made from beef bones. I really liked it because the hand cut noodles are made from wheat flour, and I could taste the starch from the noodles in the soup. The combination of the thick, milky broth with slight depth from the carby noodles was straight up delicious. I'm still thinking about it even days later. Kalguksu is also traditionally served with fresh kimchi, which is supposed to be eaten within 7 days of being made and isn't fermented. I've actually always loved this type of kimchi my whole life, and preferred it to the regular kind. The entire meal just totally hit the spot.

But what I'm seriously craving right now is a decent haircut. I really need a good fade to feel freshened up and clean.
"Let's go, girls!"

From the song Man! I Feel Like a Woman! by Shania Twain.
One word at a time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

If your cell phone is charged at 50%, doesn't that mean it's halfway charged or halfway empty?

I would say halfway empty because anything below an 80% battery gives me anxiety.
The one thing I'm not crazy about here in Korea are the typical bathrooms that are found in any common household.

They're modern in every sense of the word and even have electronic bidets that are fancy. But they usually don't have showers or a designated area for it. Instead, there'll be a handheld showerhead that's expected to be used in the middle of the bathroom or in a small corner of the space. Since there's no official shower area, the floor is made of tile that's meant to always get wet. That's the reason why a pair of rubber slippers will always be positioned at the door to help keep your feet dry. But I hate wearing those rubber slippers for some reason. It's a little annoying to put on every time I enter. Plus, I don't like thinking about who's worn them before and what they've done in them with their wet feet and all. At the place where I'm staying, I thankfully don't have to share the bathroom with anyone so I just walk around in it barefoot.
"And my darling, 
I'll be rooting for you."

From the song Rooting For You by London Grammar.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It's Sunday evening here in Seoul, which also marks a little bit over my first full week in town.

I've spent a lot of my time eating and snacking on different things so far, ranging from street food to serious fine-dining. My favorite though has been the traditional Korean street food you'll find at almost any major subway stop or area. They're basically these tents or the backs of pickup trucks you walk up to and eat at while standing. You simply place an order for 1 serving of ddukbokki, kimbap, blood sausage, battered and deep fried squid/shrimp/vegetables, or fish cakes, and it's served right away. Everything is pretty much already made and ready to eat, but they'll quickly refry anything deep fried so it's nice and hot for you. And a small paper cup of the soup from the fish cakes will also be given for free as your savory beverage to sip on, so don't expect any water. This liquid will either be offfered to you directly, or you'll know it's self-serve by the ladle sticking out from the fish cake broth. Eating like this is great because I can have a feast on the cheap. Plus, it's also convenient for when I'm alone.

I've been particularly eating a lot of blood sausage called soondae, which I often crave in New York and have a small go-to spot in Flushing. But I do also need non-Korean food on a regular basis, so I've eaten great pasta and even the occasional fast food burger here as well. The dining choices are endless in Seoul, which is awesome. Another thing about Korean food culture is that they're absolutely coffee obsessed, so you'll find multiple cafes and Starbucks on any block. I personally avoid caffeine because it makes me feel crazy, but have had the occasional cup since arriving due to social situations. Korean people will meet for coffee at 10pm not for the caffeine, but just because it's an alternative to meeting at a bar in a culture that's so booze dominated. I've told myself no more coffee, though. My body just doesn't react to it well and I always end up feeling extremely wired and manic. The place where I'm staying at doesn't have wifi, so I have to go to cafes often for times I need to get online through my laptop. That's when I'll usually just order a tea to loiter for as along as possible, such as this very moment right now.

I had lunch this past Thursday at Jungsik, which is as fine-dining as you can get in Seoul. All of the food was spectacular, and the sommelier paired everything with some really great wines. A friend also showed me an area called Boseok-gil over the weekend, which means "jewelry road" and is a new neighborhood with a lot of small restaurants and cafes. It hasn't been completely overrun yet, which was a nice change to so many other main hotspots that are always packed with people and major chains. If you're looking to check out an up-and-coming area of Seoul, I definitely recommend it. My friend took me to a small Korean restaurant off Boseok-gil that's popular with young people for its newish, yet traditional, spin on Korean cuisine. It's called Jang Ggoma, and was super good. "Jang" translates to traditional sauces (think gochujang, ssamjang, etc), and "ggoma" means little kid. They don't have a lot of seating though, maybe 4-5 seats at the kitchen on the ground floor and less than 15 seats at a communal table on the second floor. You get to the upper level through a narrow staircase, and the communal table is made up of what used to be the door of a traditional Korean dresser made of beautiful mother-of-pearl. Eating there was such a fun and delicious experience overall.

I've been good with not going out at night or staying out too late because my main priority is getting work done. A lot of my friends and the people I'm working with drink daily until the wee of hours of the early morning, but I haven't done that yet. On the one or two nights I've gone out for a little, I've always tried to make the subway home before it stops running at midnight. But on those occasions, I will admit to ordering some Korean fried chicken near my place for when I do get off the train home a little tipsy. I think of it as my reward for getting back at what locals here would consider a modest hour.

Friday, June 09, 2017

"Your game is tired.
You should retire.
You're about as cute,
as an old coupon, expired."

From the song Swish Swish by Katy Perry.
Alone time is an absolute necessity.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I had this dream last night, where I was trying to scream into my phone at a company because they had wronged me somehow. I was so livid, which was escalated even more because they had me on hold for over 4 hours. When it was finally my turn to speak to a representative, I choked and couldn't talk. I was trying to yell and shout my frustrations because I was so hurt and angry, but it was as if I had lost my voice. My rage had been boiling and become more intense over the time I waited and I obsessed about exactly what I wanted to say. But it came out as a whisper and at most, I was only able to say a few words. I kept having to try and clear my throat again, yet still, nothing. I actually woke up when I heard my own voice talking out loud.
People only want the good, the shiny, and the sparkling aspects of our lives.

But exactly how much of our day-to-day life actually consists of that? Life is not one, big Instagram filter. And that's what I'm determined to share here on my blog.
It's okay to have a good cry when it's needed... it's better than eating until you hate yourself.

Monday, June 05, 2017

I arrived in Seoul four days ago, and everything has been going great so far. I've already been able to see some family and friends, in addition to eating some good food here and there as well. It feels nice to be back. There's this level of comfort from being here that sort of puts me at ease.

My flight landed at Incheon Airport in the middle of the night, so I had to take a taxi to get into town. My driver was pleasant and we ended up chatting throughout the entire trip. He eventually asked if I was married, and I had to think for a split second about how I wanted to answer the question. I decided it was best to not divulge too much information and get into it, so I responded with a simple no. Then he proceeded to ask why, saying men my age should be married. Next he asked if I like Korean women or American women. I told him it didn't matter and that I was open to anyone. That was followed up with other questions that were just a natural progression of our conversation. What kind of girls had I dated before? What kind of girl do my parents want me to marry? Etc.

Afterwards, I was telling one of my friends about my conversation with the driver and explained that I wasn't looking forward to having this same discussion with elders or strangers over-and-over about marriage during my two months here. Then she offered a solution in how I should respond. She suggested I just say that I was divorced, and she guaranteed the topic of conversation would end right there. I thought it was pretty smart and funny for her to say that. I mean, in general, it's not like I am looking to straight-up lie to people and tell them I'm straight, but it's a different culture here. And I'm not looking to get into anything with people, especially if their questions are just a mindless way to be social and make conversation.

My schedule here has been different everyday, and it will most likely stay that way until I leave. It's amazing how once you leave a routine that you were used to daily for years, it's like your brain already forgot about it all and has moved on. It makes me all the more grateful to have the opportunity to be here.

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.

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

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?

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

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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

"We here, Chiron."

Said by Kevin in the movie Moonlight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dear pasta,

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


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.

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

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.