Alive, Not Dead!

You probably thought I had abandoned this blog like so many other bloggers do without warning, much to the dismay of their loyal readers (because y’know, I’m super famous in the blogosphere.)  Nope, I was just incredibly busy (me?  busy?) and taking a little vacation away from this blog.

Even though I write here out of my own free will and desire to put out some thoughts into a public diary, I felt like it was a good time to just step back, take a breather, and do some other things.  One of the main reasons why I started this blog 2 years ago was because I was stuck in an abandoned college town over the summer and having a lot of free time with not many people to see and not many ways/funds to get out, I decided to put some of my energy back into writing.

Since we last met I had just started my new job, and that’s really why I’ve been away for a while.  Not to say that my previous job didn’t keep me equally busy, but at my new job, my commute is so much shorter and I get out much earlier (the downside is I have to get in way early) so I actually have time to do things. Like see people, go out, y’know, things that normal people do.  It’s quite astonishing how social I’ve been lately, given that my favorite thing to do after work is to either take a nap or read at home.

In the two months’ gap from this blog, I’ve traveled to San Diego twice, San Francisco once; made new friends, seen lots of old friends (some whom I haven’t seen in years); semi trained my cat to fetch items and bring them back to me; went to lots of great events like the legendary Magic Castle club in Hollywood and a spectacular Great Gatsby party at the legendary Park Plaza Hotel in Downtown LA.  I’m kind of in love with this venue.  If I had a lot of money, I would throw parties here all the time.  Classy parties, of course.  No jeans and sneakers allowed in here.

Entrance of the Park Plaza Hotel

I promise I’ll get back into the swing of posting again.  Now that I’ve truly settled into my new job/schedule, I can once again go back to regaling you with accounts of my life.  True story- remember that rash I mentioned in my last post?  After 4ish years, it seems to have appeared on my neck.  Great.  I look like I sandpapered myself.  Karma for not posting in so long?

East West

I used to post much more frequently than I currently do (read: when I was working up in my college town for a summer and spent too much time wandering around an empty house talking to microwaves and couches.)  You’d think that now, living back in LA and actually being somewhat social, I would do interesting things and y’know, actually write about them.  Apparently I’ve been a boring hermit for the last few months.

But behold!  A post that comes less than a week after my previous one!  (Everyone can applaud if they wish.  I know I certainly gave myself a pat on the back.)

Monday night was the annual fundraising gala for the East West Players, an LA-based Asian American theater group.  I got to see several Asian American celebs wandering around including John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame and who got his start with the EWP), Steven Yeun (from The Walking Dead- his skin looks even better up close) and Harry Shum Jr. (I finally got a picture with the latter- swoon).

Envious folks commented on my luck on Facebook, and though it might seem like I live some sort of glamorous life, hangin’ out with all these celebs, it’s important to remember two things.  1) Being in LA drastically increases your odds of seeing a celebrity.  If you’re in the Hollywood area, chances are even higher.  It is actually quite easy to do some star spotting if you know where to look.  2) There are not many Asian Americans in the American entertainment industry (relative to people of other ethnic backgrounds), so when you have Asian American talent being honored at an event, there is a relatively small pool to pick from.  So regardless of how famous they are to public as a whole, they are at least well known to the Asian American audience that is eagerly keeping track of any Asian person in the industry.  Also, the Asian American entertainment community is still small enough so that if you know someone in it, you’re probably only 1-2 degrees separated from a celeb.

I love what EWP does and I love the opportunities and chances they give to Asian American talent, who otherwise might find it very hard to find work.  Having lived the entirety of my life in California, I sometimes forget that Asian Americans are not a majority/significant minority in most of the country, since I’m almost always around Asians.  So while a Southern California high school might be 40% Asian, that might not be the case for a school in the Mid West (so obviously a TV show that takes place in South Dakota probably won’t have a lot of Asian characters.)  But a movie taking place in LA?  Asians don’t just live in Chinatown and Little Tokyo, y’all.  But I do have to remind myself Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Slowly but surely there will be more visible Asian Americans in the industry (just like those three handsome gentlemen I mentioned earlier.)

ALSO- I finally got to wear a dress that’s been sitting in my closet forever- a glorious scarlet silk dress that belonged to my mother in the 80s.  Once I took out those shoulder pads, I was good to go with my slightly puffy Snow White sleeves.  People, never throw away anything because eventually fashions come back and/or you get to a point in your life where you don’t care if it’s “hip”- you just wear it because you like it.  As long as you have the confidence to rock something, do it.  Life is too short to care if someone thinks your dress is outdated or not.  Macklemore’s got nothing on me- I’ve been stealing things from my grandmother and my mom since I was like 8.


End of an Era

I recently found out today on Yelp that our family’s go-to Chinese restaurant, which my family has been frequented since before I was born some 2+ decades ago, has closed its doors.  A Yelper said that the property owner sold the building, which means that either the owners will shut their restaurant down for good or move to another location.  Though I have no idea where the family who founded the restaurant went, I suspect that the restaurant will be shut for good.

It’s a little sad, seeing the end of something that has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember.  The staff has seen my brother and I grow up from infancy into adulthood, and my close and extended family has celebrated many a birthday and special event at their tables.  I’ve practically memorized the Chinese background music they have on repeat.

One special mark of this restaurant was their sweet and sour soup.  I’m not sure how our tradition started, but every time we came in, without needing to place an order we were served it as soon as we sat down.  My brother and I were always, without fail, given extra large bowls (about 3x larger than a normal bowl) because they knew how much we liked it and mine always came without green onions because when I was little I would always pick them out.

My real entry into adulthood was the day they stopped giving me that extra large bowl of soup.  I was seriously sad about it for a while.  I didn’t ask for the larger bowl, I wanted to be given it.  Asking was akin to admitting that I still wanted to be treated like a child, so I held my tongue and just jealously looked on as my brother continued to be served that large bowl.  It was almost as traumatizing as the day I discovered I had grown too tall to play in the ball room at IKEA (the idea of shopping for furniture and kitchen utensils with my parents was deathly boring to the 8 year old me.  Still is, to a certain extent.  I have to be in a domestic mood to enjoy looking at displays of rooms that I have no intention of building and decorating.)  Growing up sometimes is no fun.

They had a case of candy displayed by the hostess stand and I remember gazing longingly at all the treats my parents refused to buy me and vowed I would buy whatever I wanted when I was an adult (had yet to happen).  Next to the case was a vertical aquarium where the world’s funniest looking fish with bulging foreheads lived.  When we were younger and bored with adult conversation, my cousins and I would inevitably end up there, trying to make the goldfish follow our fingers.  They served ice cream instead of oranges or red bean soup as dessert- what other Chinese restaurant does that, I ask you?  If you know of one, please let me know.

As more and more of the landmarks and traditions from my youth vanish, it makes me realize regretfully that yes, I am an adult (though I still will deny this from time to time.)  As much as I’d like to reminisce and wish that I was a carefree kid without responsibilities anymore, time stops for no one, and the most we can do is cherish our memories and move on.