F’ing up

I’m starting this off with a story about myself. I am writing this for my friends and family who are currently dealing with a similar situation in their lives, and really just anyone who needs a boost.

I’ve fucked up a lot in my life. Maybe not more than most, but I definitely cannot count them on my fingers. When I was 16 years old, like many other Asian-American kids, I was expected to get good grades in school and eventually get into a good college. I was fairly good at tennis. I was and always supposed to be a good student, a role model for my younger cousins, and live up to my family’s expectations. This is how it was for many friends and cousins as well.

So when I 16 years old, when expectations were still sky high, I fucked up.

I fucked up by not getting the grades that were expected. I fucked up by not being as great at tennis as I thought I could be (I lack the natural talent required, in reality, I was barely decent). I fucked up by just being a stupid teenager, trying to make sense of my life while a slew of decisions that would dictate pretty much the rest of my life were approaching very quickly. I lived my life based on what I thought my family expected of me. I wanted to make them happy. What kid who loves his family wouldn’t?

Then my mom told me randomly at dinner one night that she didn’t care if I didn’t get into a great school. She didn’t care that my grades weren’t at the top of my class. “Just graduate.”, she said, adding on later, “As long as you try your best, I am proud of you.”

This was a ‘holy shit’ moment for me. This sounds really cliche, but it was the turning point in my life. I started putting in significant effort in school. I worked hard at tennis practice. I actively worked on my flaws. I had always wanted to make her proud, I just didn’t know how.

Fast forward to 29 years old. I am happy. My family is proud. Nothing worked out the way I thought it would. I would fuck up many more times after 16. I was able to succeed because I put in the effort. Sometimes my effort earned me absolutely nothing. Sometimes everything worked out just fine. That’s life.

Do not be afraid to try. And if you are going to try, put 100% effort into whatever you’re doing. Half-assed effort is the same as not trying at all. You should be very afraid of regret. Regret is a monster that will sow doubt in your mind. It will make you less confident, and will continue to hurt you until you can overcome it.

People may question you. You may be told that you shouldn’t do this or that. They may be right, they may be wrong. That’s fine. Respect their opinion. In return, they should respect yours. Tell them you don’t ever want to regret not trying. 

Give it your all. Do your best. Never regret. Don’t be afraid of fucking up.

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the pretenders

Everyone pretends. As a society and as people we have pretended since we were kids. We were told it was okay to pretend. We pretended to be cowboys, superheroes, power rangers (I admit to the last one on this list). We have pretended to be in with the cool kids in high school. We pretended to be social butterflies in college, drinking the night away with numerous acquaintances that we called our friends. Even now, as adults and full members of society, we pretend.

We pretend to know what we’re doing. We pretend that it’s worth slaving away 12, 13, 14, 15 hour days all for the sake of “success”. We pretend that we’re living the life, screaming “YOLO” over the smallest things.

We pretend that we’re happy, even if we really are not. We wear false smiles and grins on our faces, trying not to show that we’re struggling. We spend thousands of dollars trying to make ourselves “better”, through lose 50 pounds in 1 month diet pills, get rich quick schemes, and layers upon layers of cosmetics. We pretend so much, that we sometimes even trick ourselves to pretend that we’re in love with someone that we’re really not.

The problem with pretending, is that the only person who believes it, is yourself.

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there’s nothing better than…

Been feeling a little ‘meh’ lately, so this post will be dedicated to things that make me happy (and might also make you happy too!).

There’s nothing better than…

  • a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.
  • an ice cold beer on a hot day.
  • waiting at the airport for an old friend’s homecoming.
  • fishing and actually catching a fish.
  • hot pot.
  • a good friend dropping by just to say ‘hi’.
  • a good friend that can sense when you’re upset and will go the extra mile to be there for you.
  • that feeling when someone treats you with courtesy and respect.
  • staying up late talking to a pretty girl.
  • late night drives. music on blast.
  • late night rides on my motorcycle.
  • having a drink with some friends.
  • pot lucks.
  • reading instant message logs and laughing at how ridiculous your conversations were.
  • helping someone who wants to help themselves, but may not have the means.
  • that feeling when a girl smiles at me while passing each other on the street.
  • succeeding where I’ve failed before.
  • the anticipation of going somewhere I’ve never been before.
  • that feeling when a stranger helps you with no expectation of any compensation.
  • reminiscing on a night out with friends.
  • having a wonderful dream, waking up, then going back to sleep and forcing yourself to continue the dream
  • sleepovers – I don’t care how old you are.
  • singing off key at karaoke.
  • cooking for friends.
  • a goodnight kiss.
  • getting that promotion.
  • remembering to enjoy life.

What would you add?

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and suddenly I felt like blogging again.

Yo! Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re either a friend of mine or your just really, really bored. Either way, thanks for stopping by and humoring me for a bit.

I’ll admit that I have a short attention span. I get bored of anything that takes too long. This includes even recreational things like video games. Many a game has been left unfinished because I suddenly just didn’t care anymore. The same goes with this blog. Sometimes I feel like writing and sometimes I just don’t give a… wait, what was I saying? But from time to time, I – amazingly – do feeling like writing! And dare I say that sometimes my posts are even insightful!

So as is pretty much expected, after another hiatus, I felt the need to use a new theme, and change the title of the blog. It’s going to be a collection of memories; memories of good times, bad times, ‘meh’ times, and of course, food. I want this blog to trigger the thought “remember that time when ____?”.

The reason why I felt the need to focus on ‘memories’ is simple. As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, what we are left with are our memories of the good and bad times. It’s not always the good memories that stand out either. For many people, the worst times in our lives happen to be our most memorable memories later in our lives. We think about those bad times, and remember how we coped, and eventually persevered. We remember fondly all of our successes, but learn important lessons from our failures. Personally, the most memorable moment of my high school years was almost flunking out of school. Yeah, it sucked at the time, but now that I look back, that was a defining moment in my life. Eventually I turned it around and got into college, but that was the point where I knew I had to get my ass in gear and now I feel like if I didn’t have that experience, I would be worse off.

So there you have it. New blog focus and more food! I’m going to try to update regularly (once a week is regular… right?),or whenever I don’t feel like my eyeballs are going to fall out from staring at a screen all day.

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We all have super powers.

No I am not delusional. Well… maybe a little bit.

I’ll say it again. We all have super powers. No, we may not be able to jump over buildings, shoot lasers from our eyes, or run faster than the speed of sound. But everyone has something special about them that can be considered a “power”. Yes, I know I sound like a little kid, but I did graduate from high school (and even college!). I know, wowzers.

I consider these powers to be anything that may set us apart from others. For example, you may have a friend that has an infectious smile. Every time he or she flashes the pearly whites, everyone else can’t help but feel happy and crack a smile as well. Personally, I have a friend who has a sense of humor that could give Richard Pryor a run for his money. When he gets going, he is hilarious. You can’t help but laugh. He has the ability to make light of any situation and can make even a stone cold person laugh. Now that is a super power.

Some people may look at themselves and think “there’s nothing special about me.” I would disagree. There is something special about everyone, unless you actually make an effort to be completely lame, then no one can help you. But even if you have no special talents, but I’d venture to say that there is something you do, see, or feel that no one else can. I’ve known someone who most people would agree is generally unremarkable. However, this person actually has an amazing memory and organization skills, and was always known to be exceptionally thoughtful. I wouldn’t call that “unremarkable”.

For one, I think the best place it look is myself. I don’t feel that there is anything particularly special about me. Personally, I’m lazy and like to eat a tad too much. I’m not good at any one thing, just ‘okay’ at multiple things. I think everything is a pain in the ass.

However, all my life I’ve been told that I have the ability to make friends easily and am the glue that keeps some friends together. I used to think those were just empty praises, but more recently I’ve started to believe that it’s true. My personal talent may not lie in something physical, but in how I create and develop my relationships with people. It may not be anything spectacular, but that is my ‘special’ power. At my best, I am confident, witty, and am a natural leader. At my worst, I’m apprehensive, indecisive, and dull. It’s always been there, but I don’t consider it to be anything special because I consider it part of who I am.

We all have super powers. We’ve just always taken them for granted because we don’t realize we have them. What’s your super power?

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a t-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and welch’s grape

After another month long hiatus, I’m back! Apologies for disappearing after my last post from Taiwan, but with my work load and the nerd-dooming release of Starcraft 2 over the past month, I have had little time for writing.

If you listen to any hip-hop during the 90’s, you will probably recognize this line. “plans to leave, throw the keys to lil cease, pull the truck up front and roll up the next blunt, so we can steam on the way to the telly come feel my belly, a t-bone steak, cheese, eggs, and welch’s grape“. Name that song!

And that last line, ladies and gentlemen, is the inspiration for this post and my lunch this sunny afternoon in Southern California.

You may be telling yourself, “well this is really random”. It may seem random, but if you have known me for a few years now, you’ll know, this is something I’ve strangely never had the chance to make. But today, since I was down in LA for my buddy’s birthday, we were thinking of what to eat for lunch and it suddenly came to us. Why not take this perfect opportunity, and use the excuse of my buddy’s birthday, to eat something completely unhealthy, but oh-so-tasty and a “classic” American meal?

Even I don’t understand why a steak, eggs w/ cheese, and Welch’s grape juice taste so good complimenting each other. But it just does. T-bone steak is richer in flavor than de-boned cuts of meats. The bone gives the steak more flavor, and makes it so delicious. I’m drooling just from the thought of it. Anyways, eggs and a good, medium cheddar cheese provides a nice tasty side and grape juice washes it all down. How can you not like this combo?

I don’t claim or pretend to be a great cook, but I feel that I am pretty good at it regardless, especially when it comes to grilling meat. So here’s my recipe for this meal:

  • 1 twelve ounce t-bone steak
  • 2 eggs
  • half (1/2) cup of grated medium-cheddar cheese, preferably tilamook
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt per side
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper per side
  • a glass of Welch’s brand grape juice
  1. Season the t-bone steak with Lawry’s seasoned salt (regular salt if you don’t have the Lawry’s one) and ground black pepper. Make sure you season each side sparingly, as to not overpower the flavor of the meat. You’ll need about 1/2 a teaspoon of each for each side. Let the steak marinate for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While waiting for the steak to marinate, crack open 2 eggs (I like the extra large AA white eggs) into a open and beat well until the eggs have lots of air mixed in. You can tell by the bubbles that appear in the egg mixture. season with a pinch of salt. Set the eggs aside. Also, grate about a half (1/2) cup of medium-cheddar cheese. I like to use Tillamook because of the flavor, but you can use any kind. If you don’t want to grate the cheese yourself, buy shredded cheese. I prefer anything other than Kraft or generic brand cheese. Kraft cheese is full of preservatives and all kinds of stuff I can’t pronounce.
  3. Fire up your grill, and make sure your grill is very, very hot. We’re talking, fires of hell hot here. Remember, if the grill is not hot, your food will end up… not good. Enough said. Put your steak on the grill and DO NOT MOVE IT. Let each side cook for about 5 minutes for medium. take off 1 minute for medium rare. Use your best judgment when trying to figure out if your steak is cooked to your liking.
  4. After grilling your steak, put it onto a plate and let it rest. During this time, cook your eggs. I like to make scrambled eggs because it’s easier to eat with the steak. Heat a skillet on high heat with about a table spoon of vegetable oil until the skillet is hot. Then add your egg mixture and stir the eggs until they solidify but are still soft and slightly wet. Then add half of your half cup of cheese and fold the cheese into the eggs. After the eggs become more dry to your liking, put it onto a separate clean plate. Then add additional cheese as you like on top of your eggs.
  5. Your steak should have rested enough so that some of the juices have seeped out. Move your steak onto the plate with the eggs and pour the steak juices on top of your steak.
  6. Pour yourself an ice cold glass of Welch’s grape juice and enjoy!

Here’s a picture of the final product for you to be jealous of until you decide to get off your ass and make it yourself! mmm… steak…

Until next time… what should be my next experimental meal? You decide?

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looking for love in all the wrong places

If you happen to be in your 20’s, or you were in your 20’s, you know the kind of pressure your family may put on you to find a wife/husband. I would compare being single while in your mid to late 20’s like an episode of 24; the clock just keeps ticking down to 30. Once you hit 30, well, as an Asian-American, you’re not expected to be single when you hit the big three oh.

But have we ever asked ourselves, why is that? Why do our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. distant cousins care so much that we happen to be single? Has anyone ever considered the idea that we may be pretty happy single? For sure, the human race will live on for years to come, so there’s no real need to carry on the species. So why? Why do we settle for someone that we are not compatible with and end up having a nasty, bitter divorce with 2 years later because we realize that person is a raging b*tch or a giant d-bag?

The answer is pretty simple in my opinion. We are desperate. Desperate to not grow old and gray by ourselves. Loneliness definitely is the number one scariest thing for most people. I don’t believe it only applies to women, either. I think men have the same alarm that sounds off in our minds. We think, “oh god, I’m in my late 20’s and I still don’t have a girlfriend, how am I ever going to get a wife, have kids, and grow old?” As a result, we go to the club, bar, Vegas, foreign countries, anywhere we can get out to meet that special someone, only to forget, we’re more than likely not to meet our future spouse at ‘XS’ or ‘Cabana Club’.

That leaves the question: where do we go looking for love? If we’re out of college, working full-time, and have had the same group of friends for more than a few years, meeting someone that you are actually going to be interested in and that is interested in you is slim. Friends aren’t likely to introduce you to a mutual friend because of the potential baggage that could come with it in case of a break up. An office romance is always unpleasant if it goes south. And joining a dating site is basically like announcing to the world, “I have nothing else, help me out!”

My thought is that our purpose in life is not just to reproduce and carry on our genes to the next generation. Our purpose is to live our lives meaningfully, develop insight and wisdom through experience, and eventually pass that wisdom onto the next generation, even if they are not our own kin.

I believe the saying is, “blood is thicker than water”, but I would say it’s more like “love is stronger than blood”.

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