Monday, November 26, 2012

Ray Bradbury on how to become a writer

This is so priceless. Write until it hurts.

"I want your loves to be multiple. I don’t want you to be a snob about anything. Anything you love, you do it. It’s got to be with a great sense of fun. Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. Ignore the authors who say 'Oh, my God, what word? Oh, Jesus Christ…', you know. Now, to hell with that. It’s not work. If it’s work, stop and do something else."

this fascinates me

a favorite scene of mines

I've been watching a lot of films lately. Along with books, films are also a work of art. This one was exceptionally refreshing. It is written and directed by a man still in his early twenties, Xavier Dolan. From Canada. He also plays a major character in the film. The soundtrack is amazing as well.

The snippet above easily draws you in. This was one of the few slow moments of the movie, and I don't mean slow as in it was dragging, but I mean it like...time stood still, a quieting of noise and turning point.


02: Where you’d like to be in 10 years.

By a body of water. Major or minor.
A puppy named Killer.
A working expresso machine.
Furniture and artwork collected from travels around the world.
A lot of little ones running around.
Less stuff, more warm blankets and sweaters.
Fresh flowers.
Paintings everywhere.
A typewriter at arm's reach.
A fully stocked library in my house.
Loved ones near by.
Something published.
Perfect timing.

To be continued...

Friday, November 23, 2012

01: Your current relationship, if single discuss how single life is.

I am not an expert at this, but I think it is important to be good at being on your own. No one talks about that part. The love stories and love songs; they are obsess about finding the one and being in love. You grow up listening to fairy tales and reading novels about great loves and great sacrifices of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre proportions. You imagine in your head what it would be like on the day that you meet that person, that love of your life. What life would be like after; tender, loving, full of life and laughter and running holding hands. Something like that right? Idealistic and hopeful and full of sappy love songs. The 80's were the worse because their love ballads were even more sappy than the ones today. Aha's "Take on me" still give me chills at times. Do not get me started on John Hughes films.

They do not tell you that you have to be a full person first before you can truly be happy with another being, before you can love someone else besides yourself. The journey to find yourself, to love yourself could easily take an entire life time. And maybe it is not all about finding some one else to love, that that part may be the appetizers to the larger meal that is your entire life. You taste the truth in every moment that you dive deeper into, you let yourself forget and relearn the same lessons over and over again, hoping for perfection, knowing that it will never come, yet always searching. The love of your life is you. The lovers you take along the way are a testament to your beauty, the one that radiates from within long after youth has faded away.

To be single isn't being alone. You can be in love or have lovers and be single. But to love, truly love is to redefine what it means; it means putting yourself first, being in love with yourself and your flaws and being accountable for yourself. You can call it narcissism. Labeling things will only limit us in our growth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

List 2: 11.14.12

Precious day off
-Instant noodles, chili, egg whites, scallions, breakfast
-Brie on wheat baguette, lunch
-Sweet potato slices, snack
- Les Amours Imaginaires, movie
-A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, book
-Unforeseen, dinner

Maybe this is why I keep losing weight.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Adult moments

Caused some raised eyebrows this past Saturday by showing up with the lover and it was delicious. The thing about Asians and their tight knit groups... I've never belonged to a clique so it bothers me a little when groupthink occurs or when males dominate (oh hi, sexist double standards), but I do see the appeal of having that one consistent group of the same people that you can always hang out with every weekend, and just about every day, like an extended family of drunken people who never leave...actually I take that back. That sounds really unappealing. Group dynamics are always fun (sarcasm), especially when dealing with large egos from insecurity and really exclusive types who insist on labeling everyone that they let into their close circle a BFF ("OMG ALL MY BEST FRIENDS!"). High school was a long time ago. These are not your best friends but your party friends and you need not create a separate label on your little group to reconfirm your inclusion/special place and reaffirm everyone else's exclusion. That is really sad in the sense that I want to kind of hug you.

The best part? None of my friends batted a lash. It just was and it did not change a thing. We all bonded over the fact that we're all pretty crazy, so there has always been a no judgement policy. Now that is something you can't synthesize, no matter how hard you try.

It's been a few years since society has deemed me fit to be counted as an adult, but I've only felt like a real life one this past weekend. I think being an 'adult about something' means being civil to people even while you imagine yourself serving them a knuckle sandwich. It will happen to you one day. You will come across an asinine creature undeserving of civility and a strange calm will come over you. Somehow you just rather not care and you find yourself smiling like you would to an officer pulling you over, and you say the designated lines "Hi, how are you? Good!" So yay for being an adult for a minute over the weekend and then taking ten steps back for blogging about wanting to give them a knuckle sandwich with a side of cray realtalk. Oh passive aggressive.

Here's to hoping you had more adult moments than I did, perhaps something involving a the word 'flex spending' or sobriety on Sunday morning.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Heed these words

"life is made of little moments like these" a guide to making the most of your san francisco visit

Every time I travel I find myself saying 'thank you' a hundred times over, every single day. It is the distance in which some would travel just to see your face, to spend an hour with you, to see you smile after taking your first bite of a delicious meal that you feel a bit unworthy and grateful to be recipient of such kindness.


Anyways, my recent trip to San Francisco, like most trip to the city, was a blast. Here's how you can too. Places listed are must visits and I try my best to avoid the usual tourist traps:

Thursday: Land at 8PM, forgetting that it's really 11PM in the east coast. Take a taxi and expect to pay $50 (icing on the cake). Arrive at your start-up pal's immaculate place by Dolores Park (2 blocks from Bi-Rite ice cream) and proceed to rally your host and Cali-transplant girl friend to take you out. "The Mission," (sorry, I have to use bunny ears because I am a SF noob) is full of fun dive-y bars waiting for your exploits. Think of it as the step-sister of the Lower East Side. We hit up Blondies, which inadvertently kills two birds with one stone as I was requesting for a place with live music earlier. The singer has a pompadour (or was that my imagination?) and sings songs reminiscent of Johnny Cash. The place is half dead but we liven it up with as much booze as we can. Make new friends at the bar, they are most likely harmless and work in tech (IT consulting to be exact). Indoctrinate new friends with shots. Shots. Shots. I remember chugging PBR at $5 a can. Not a bad deal.

We head over to Casanova's across the street for more because we are masochists. I believe the boys were sipping whiskey at this point and I refused the pungent thing, so they gave me a shot to wash down my buzz. I think its endearing when guys in their twenties try to drink whiskey.

There was a moment in which everything came in flashes. Sometimes you have to embrace them, sometimes you avoid them and pretend you're a mature adult. Tonight, we are young. In my flashes I saw myself, against my better judgement, hopping onto my new friends back and then us both toppling over, him on top of me, and twisting my ankle in the process. The second flash was a short clip of myself picking out the pepperoni off of the pizza the magically appeared before us. The last was saying goodbye and goodnight to the person who carried me all the way home. Thank you thank you.

Friday: Wake up to a pounding headache that doesn't drown the determination to carpe diem. Grab laptop, head to a coffee shop and attempt to be productive. Feel the rush of nausea come as soon as I try to focus on the screen and give up on the entire task. End up buying a handful of raspberries, grapes, coconut water and Advil. The day is spent recovering. Limping slightly, but that's a minor detail. Happy texts from friends the night before soothed the pain.

That night, meet with girlfriends at Flour + Water. Supposedly the best restaurant in the city right now. It lives up to its name. We get the pasta tasting menu and stuff ourselves silly. The girls are happy as they chat over bottomless cups of wine. I stick with hard cider.

The lull in between conversations during an intimate dinner makes you reflect back on your life a bit. The last few years. The ladies at the table were all recent transplants, moving west from east. It was great to catch up with them and see that California was treating them well. And like the major demographic of San Francisco, our table had representation from Facebook and Google. I always say, you throw a stone in New York and you hit 6 bankers, a model, and a handful of consultants. Here you get all techies in start-up. Thank you for making it out, for driving the hour to dinner. 

Saturday: almost went to waste as the time difference was finally catching up to me. Not to mention the dismal outing after the dinner on Friday. I was lethargic and sleepy. I met up with a friend of the lover for his birthday, all Wharton MBA's. I have a hard time delivering small talk. It's draining and sometimes makes me sad. They are great people, just not people I would volunteer to spend time with, which I somewhat ironically did. Anyways, a few motivational texts sent me out the door and to the Ferry Building for their famous food markets held only on Thursdays and Saturdays. The one thing everyone needs in their life is the Roli Roti porchetta sandwich, which is spiced pork wrapped in pork belly, and lots of crunchy pork skin. As a fellow lover of pork, I think Anthony Bourdain would be proud. I arrive and my friend has one in hand ready for me. I eat it as I get in line for another one. The chef is amused and we strike up conversation. He hands me more pork skin to munch on as we wait, I ask for extra skin on my sandwich. Dies. Thank you thank you.

The thing to do is rent a bicycle and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. With my twisted ankle, bicycle was out of the question. Luckily, being nice helped introduce me to a new friend with a Ducati. So I strapped myself in on the back of his motorcycle and we rode to Twin Peaks (highest point in SF? pretty exquisite view) and across the bridge. I smiled so much my cheeks were sore. San Francisco is a break-taking city with the perfect combination of nature and concrete jungle. Did I mention the weather was a perfect 75 degrees? Back east, my contemporaries were freezing their little J Crew chinos off. Thank you for the thrilling tour.

I rushed home and rushed to dinner with my cousins who drove up from San Jose that night. It was only about 4 blocks away but those 4 blocks contained a steep hill. I ended up half wearing and half dragging my jacket. We dined at Esperpento for tapas and the most amazing seafood paella. It was great to finally sit down and catch up with West Coast family. We hardly get the chance so I cherished every moment. After dinner, they dropped me off at my next destination with cupcakes. Merci beaucoup!

The stage was set for a perfect evening, if not already. My friends and I got complimentary entry to AN21's set at Ruby Skye that night, the notorious EDM club in the city. I have been plotting and planning to go to this every since I heard he was playing. The best part was that my friends wanted to go too. I ended the night dancing non-stop for nearly 4 hours (taking advantage of daylight savings time) and trying to catch confetti in my hands, which dropped about 4 times. His whole set blew me away. Sometimes life's perfect little moments are worth chasing and you have to chase it for yourself. There comes a point where you decide what you want out of it, and you realize its up to you to make or break your night. I am grateful. I could end my trip here.

hands at wonky due to iPhone lag

Sunday: Yoga To the People was my favorite yoga class in New York. It's a pay-as-you-go yoga that I used to frequent quite a bit in St. Marks. I tagged along with Alex as he went to class on Sunday and we sweated it out in bendy yoga poses for an hour and a half. I highly recommend you check to see if there is a location near you and try it out. You can donate a $1 of that is all you can afford. Their aim is to make yoga accessible to every one regardless of income. I think yoga should be enjoyed on all levels by every one.

Dolores Park is where you get the infamous rice crispies and truffles. The smell pervades the air and it is a funny mix of stoners, hippies, and children. When we arrived at the top of the hill and live band was playing. I don't think it was planned, this kind of thing just happens unannounced here. Then suddenly before our eyes, a magical bringer of joy arrived (waxing fancies here), but this guy must have one of the most selfless hobbies, he made giant bubbles to the delight of kids and adults of all ages. I was enthralled for a good two hours. 

Then came the dungeness crabs that were the size of my head. This is what you eat in the west coast. They make Maryland blue crabs look like ants. My adopted cousin (long story) picked me and my girl friend up and we dined on two crabs at Thanh Long, the sister restaurant to Crustacean of Michelin star caliber. Apparently wherever there is seafood, there is garlic noodles. One glance at the tables around us, and we realized that they all ordered the same thing; Dungeness and garlic noodles.

We end the night with Bi-Rite ice cream. This was my second trip there during my stay and it was not enough. The icing on the ice cream? My flavor (non-gmo caramel apple) was only 37 cents that night. Thank you so much.

Monday (Last day): No trip is complete without Tartine, an infamous bakery in the mission that boasts long lines at all hours. Luckily I was just around the corner (I seriously stayed in a foodie goldmine), and was able to deal with only 10 people in front of me at 8:30 in the morning. I splurged and got the bread pudding, monkey picked oolong tea, chocolate and plain croissants, and a slice of quiche. Breakfast was made for indulging, my dears. 

My breakfast, with a side of Game of Thrones and leftover dungeness crab from the night before.

I met up with my gf, BH, whom I like to refer to as my Vietnamese Popstar because she literally is one. Of the Vietnamese friends that I can count on one hand, this one is the most interesting in terms of how we met. She came up from San Jose to go shopping with me and we had a blast chatting and walking around Haight & Ashbury. Stopped by Wasteland and Goodwill where I picked up a mint copy of A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius for $1. Beat that, Amazon.
my spoils from shopping

The day was so full, but I had more friends to see. On the list were two old friends from college. One recently finished her masters and gave me a tour of her offices at Adobe. We caught up a bit in the brief time that we had and managed to have a heart to heart. I left smiling from her effervescence to dinner with another college pal and her boyfriend.

I had heard a great deal about him from my last visit and from seeing pictures of their exploits as they traveled through Africa, Asia and India (as if its not part of Asia). My intuition has always been spot on, and upon chatting with John and seeing their dynamic as a couple, I knew he and Teresa were a great match. Nothing feels more satisfying than seeing your friend find their counterpart. They balance each other out well and were too adorable together.

I returned home on Tuesday morning to below freezing weather and darkness at 5PM, appreciating the sunshine even more. Sometimes you have to make your own adventure and take it as it comes with open arms. I had the most amazing time this past weekend and am still glowing from the memories. When I think back on how this trip could have otherwise gone, I am so grateful for everything and every one who contributed to making my visit so memorable.