Thursday, December 29, 2011

Head West: A Spontaneous Road Trip

Hey dudes, hope your week has been going well.

First a little Christmas recap. This year, Christmas was simple, low-key and fun, at my house just the way I like it pretty much. I got lots o' moolah which is always useful and we had our hot pot dinner. I gorged myself on lamb and shrimp and promptly went into a food coma afterwards. Cousin A, my cousin on my dad's side of the family, got me an iPad which is extraordinarily generous albeit unecessary but nobody in their right mind would say no. Thing is, I'm worried I'm going to either lose it, break it or both at school so my mom is now the owner of the new toy. I want to get myself a Kindle Fire after Amazon updates the software in a few months anyways. I set it up for her and now all she's been doing is playing spider solitaire, Bejewled and watching Brothers and Sisters on Netflix in her spare time. I really need to get her more apps that will actually put the thing to good use though. That piece of tech has so much potential it would be shame not to use all of what it can give y'know? This year I ended up forgoing the jewlery or roses which I've done for the past few years and instead gave her and my aunt gift certificates for a mani/pedi at a local spa so they can go together some time. She seemed to enjoy it, so hopefully she'll find some time to use it.

A few days after Christmas, I had a quick reunion with my friend Mad and Christine who I've been hanging out with for a few days now. Maria is out of the country visiting family so I haven't seen her yet unfortunately. We got lunch at Noodles and Co and caught up on school, life, guys and such. I also got myself some peppermint bark from Mad as a belated gift which was pretty sick. I also finally got a long overdue haircut.

Overall, break has been pretty low-key and chill. Good stuff.

*          *          *          *          *

A little while ago I wrote a post called "Head West" which you can read here here where I wrote about how I wanted to drive into the unknown and escape from the familiar. I've always wanted to do something spontaneous; mysteries are always thrilling for me. Well, this morning, with no real plans for the day, I decided to act on impulse, so I decided to go for a nice long drive out west.

I left home around 1 this afternoon and started out west. I jumped on 66-West towards Front Royal, a sleeply little town by the Shennandoah Valley, which ultimately was my final destination. I hadn't gone to the Appalachians since I was in elementary school for whatever reason so I forgot just how different Virginia gets outside of the DC metro area. First, where I'm from, the landscape is as flat as board so it was fun to be reminded that the state actually has some different geographical features.

Look Ma, weather eroded Ordovician-period rock formations!
It took an hour or so to reach Front Royal but the scenery entertained me enough. Hills with derelict grain silos, the occasional tractor on a side-road and sleepy country shops dotted the highway. It wasn't anything truly special, considering you could see mostly the same scenery accross most of the semi-rural US but it was a nice change from the congested roads and high-rises of home. After an hour, I finally reached the town of Front Royal...and promptly missed the exit because I'm a dumbass I was too thrilled by the landscape. I got off at the next, even smaller town named Chester-something which didn't even have a stoplight and looped my way back around. Eventually I found myself in Front Royal and decided to take a break and stretch at a local shopping center. There, I saw two things that got me a little too excited because they are things I hate to love but do anyways because I'm a a southern boy on the inside - A Cracker Barrel and A Wal-Mart Supercenter.

I pissed myself out of chicken-n-dumplings happiness
I don't like admitting it but Cracker Barrel, despite how common it is in most of the American South, is a place that I love a little too much. It's heavy, dense, massive-portioned Southern goodness that I imagine what eating a hug from grandma would feel like. We have none of these within a reasonable distance from my home or school so finding one makes be a little too excited.
In the same place was a Wal-Mart Supercenter which I haven't seen since I last drove down to Florida a few years ago. I swore that you would only find these in the South and midwest but I guess I was wrong. It was really funny walking in because A. I was dressed better than almost everyone there and B. I was the only Asian person for probably a 20 mile radius so I got some funny looks. The people of the area are nothing like the crowd from where I grew up; lots more camo, hunting gear and redneck goodness than I'm used to to say the least. Also, there are a lot more pickup trucks.

Afterwards I ended up driving downtown which was pretty much how I pictured a mountain town would look like. Lot's of older, wooden buildings and also a really cool building with a bunch of old painted ads on the side; I saw one for Coca-Cola and another for something like "Benson's Seltzer - Take for Headaches" which I thoght was really cool. The building looked like it used to be part of a row of buildings since it also had some bricked-up windows on the sides but now only short more modern buildings flank it. What was really cool though was going down East Main Street which was still all decorated for the holidays and lined with these really old fashioned brick buildings which made it feel like I was going back a few decades in time. The traffic was too stop and go for me to get a good picture though.

By 4 or so, I started heading back which was fun for a few reasons. First was seeing this car in front of me...

It had a huge pair of silver balls

...and also the fact that rural roads let me go so much faster when driving. Usually I'm stuck topping around 70 or so because of police and traffic but out there, it was clear roads so straight I couldn't help but indulge my right foot a little.

And that was just cruising speed.

I also played leapfrog with this SUV from Georgia who kept passing me and then me passing him when we had ot change lanes because of a slower driver in the lane. It was a little too fun probably but the roads were straight and I was paying attention. I ended up getting back a good bit quicker than when I was going over. In the end, I drove a total of about 150 miles and finished my trip with a clear head. I think it would be pretty cool to do something like that again some time and maybe go into Maryland or south instead of west.

I've been wanting to just go for a drive for the heck of it and I was glad I finally did. It cleared my head, gave me something to do and I got to explore somewhere I haven't been to before. I look forward to doing it again some time.

Enjoy your weekend!

All the best,


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone.

I hope you have a great day full of laughter with those you love.

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) Live on Letterman, 2011

All the best,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Being a first-generation child of an immigrant family, I got to experience many things my parents and even a few of my cousins never were able to for at least some substantial portion of their lives. One of these things is celebrating Christmas.

First and foremost, they way we celebrate Christmas in my house isn't for the same reasons as many other do. Since we aren't a religious family, Christmas always meant something different. For us, Christmas was about family, food, gift giving and listening to Mariah Carey belt to "All I Want for Christmas is You" on the radio. Of course, many other families celebrate Christmas for the same reasons we do, but often it is in conjunction with some religious background like the birth of Jesus and the like. What my parents tried to do was to provide as "authentic" of an America experience for me as possible, and that meant Christmas was high on the list.

Since I'm an only child, I will admit to having a spoiled Christmas experience when it comes to my life as a whole. For example, when I was 15, I had an obsession with guitar even though I had never played one in my entire life. I begged for an electric guitar and I got one, it was a gift from my aunts. Well, long story short, let's just say it never really left the box and today still sits in the basement. In the four years since that day, my love for guitar has waned and the only use I see for it is to maybe mount it on the wall as some decorative piece of art but that I feel would just be wrong and the music gods will strike me down for a. quitting the violin after six years and b. degrading what is a really nice instrument. As the years have passed however, I've gotten harder to shop for and the pair of shoes, sweater, video game or whatnot that would have been perfect four or five years ago now has simply become money in the red envelopes most Asians would be familiar with.

You might be thinking, "JP, are you honestly complaining about getting money!?", to which I respond, not, not really. Yes, it's practical, it's always gets the job done and it gives me the freedom to buy whatever I would like but there's something missing. One of my favorite Christmas day traditions from when I was little was being able to rip open boxes covered in wrapping paper and solving the mystery of what was hiding inside the colourful packages underneath the tree for the past week. It felt magical in the way I think only small children and those who still feel like a kid on the inside could understand.

While presents always did play a starring role on Christmas day, it was always the family dinner that I looked forward to. Apart from Thanksgiving, Christmas was and still is one of the few opportunities I have to see most of my family at one time. We either stay home with my mom and aunts all cooking something as we all sit at the big dining table or we go out to a restaurant together. Even though Christmas dinner isn't nearly as lengthy, boisterous or grand compared to Thanksgiving, I almost like it more since it was so casual and comfortable. This year we're staying in and having dinner at home. We're doing hot pot which looks something like this:


Basically, there's a pot of boiling stock in the middle and you take raw meat, veggies, seafood, whathaveyou and cook it in the boiling broth. Then you fish it out, dip it in a sauce and eat it. It's a very communal, winter specific style of dining which is really fun to try if you ever get the chance. We've been doing this for the past few years and is one of my favorite Christmas traditions that I look forward to once I'm on winter break.

Last year, I also wanted to try something new so I got a gingerbread house kit that I built with my mom. It turned out pretty nice so this year I got another one, this time a Christmas tree gingerbread kit that I finished tonight. It turned out better than I expected. It's takes some time to build and it's repetitive but it's surprisingly relaxing which is why I think I like it so much (this might also explain why I like vacuuming and cooking). I'm hoping to turn this gingerbread thing into a tradition too.


With Christmas only a few days away, I still have lots of shopping and baking to do. Being broke for the most part, I'm making bacon shortbread cookies with chocolate ganache for my friends instead of buying gifts. If you think bacon on a backed good sounds gross, I dare you to try something like it and say that afterwards. Bacon+anything is delicious...just sayin'.

What kind of traditions do you/your family have for Christmas?

All the best,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sexy Nerds

I've explained my love of nerdy, dorky guys before and well, I've found a video that pretty much exemplifies every single fantasy I've ever had...

Best line from this video?

I be sexy strippin'
while he be JavaScriptin'.
We can read science fiction
while we make science friction.

Jonny McGovern - Sexy Nerd

I know, those guys have bodies like no nerd, or for that matter many people I've ever seen, but that doesn't mean they're not out there ;)

Jonny McGovern, you're a genius.

**I've added a contact email on the sidebar in case you would like to contact me personally for whatever reason**

Monday, December 19, 2011

Video: Party Rockin in Pyongyang

Okay, so maybe this isn't completely appropriate right now but I get the feeling there are few Kim Jong-Il sympathizers out there.

I guess the beloved leader partied a little too hard Saturday


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Break

Woo Hoo! I'm finally done with finals. Overall they went okay but I'm still nervous about getting the results and seeing the final grades for all my classes. I know I got a B+ in my Intro to German class and an A- on my final so I'm really happy about that. I don't want to know my grades in my other classes though, they're pretty much all hanging on how I did on the finals.

After I finished my last final Friday I had dinner with Liz and our friend Ann who is leaving at the end of the semester. I promised her lamb curry freshman year and I finally came through on that promise and we had our final dinner together. I wish we could have had a more fun last gathering but since finals were still in full swing we had to keep it low key.

Saturday I spent a day getting ready to go home. I did loads of laundry and cleaned up the room a bit. That night, I had a trip to the White House with the LGBT resource center which was actually pretty cool. There was a lottery about three weeks ago which I won so I was one of the 20 people to be lucky enough to go. At the event, I saw a few people I knew including one guy who I didn't know I was gay, we'll call him Joe. He's involved in theatre and is friends with some of my other friends so I knew him through association beforehand. He's really tall, has blond/brown hair and is on the slim/fit side. We chatted in the hotel lobby and then during the tour of the White House itself (there were so many Christmas at least two per room). The tour was self guided with some people explaining unique decorations and such...overall, pretty nice. On the way back me and Joe shared a cab and I suggested that we should hang out some time after break which he agreed to. He's kinda dorky, cute and not typically the kind of guy I'm attracted to but hey, let's see where this goes.

Now that I'm finally home, I'm so happy to have my car, a kitchen and familiar surroundings back around me. My mom and I put up the Christmas lights outside the house and did general errands like going to Costco and stuff, and despite how banal that sounds, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Tomorrow I plan to hit up some of my favorite restaurants and see some friends who I haven't seen since the Summer so nothing too exciting. Pretty much, I'm just happy to be home.

I have some opinion pieces/topical posts in the work so look for them to be posted soon.

All the best,


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Procrastination Chronicles #4

Serving Size: 12 Gummy Bears

Hah! Serving sizes are for losers. Go big or go home.

Yeah, I'm slowly going insane.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Procrastination Chronicles #3

I have my first final tomorrow and then at least one every day after that. I wish finals would at least take me out to dinner and a movie before it fucks me. How rude of it.

I'm at that point right now where I'm kinda terrified/feel totally unprepared and also really wanting to just go home and run away from it all.

Things I'm missing hardcore right now:

My Dog

Home Cooked Chinese Food

My Friends

...and my mom (no, not in any way representative of her in real life. I just found it hilarious)

Ugh, less than a week until this hell is least until May.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Procrastination Chronicles #2

Evening MBAs need to get those sticks out of their pretentious asses. You're fucking evening MBAs and we have just as much of a right to this building as you do.You have no right to tell us to be quiet when 1. we got to the room first, 2. you were being just as loud 5 minutes ago and 3. When you were obvioculy not exactly "doing work" five seconds ago.

Get your inflated egos and stinky food out of this room.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Procrastination Chronicles #1

What I like to think

The reality of it all
Make it stop >.<

Thursday, December 8, 2011

To All My Hokies Out There

My thoughts and prayers are with you all this evening. I have too many friends there to not feel affected by this tragedy. Stay Strong.
Much love to you all


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brace Yourselves...

...Finals are here.
Today was my last day of classes and that means that it's less than a week until finals begin. My first final is next Tuesday and then I have one every day until Thursday which I have a double Managerial Accounting and German final. I'm just trying to take things one day at a time right now. I have a study schedule set up for the rest of this week and the weekend and I'm ready with coffee and snacks in tow. I even bought a new mattress pad so I can sleep better; my bed feels like a cloud now. Hopefully I can stick to this schedule and it will pay off but in the mean time, I'm probably going to be MIA for the rest of the week so I apologize ahead of time.

It feels like this semester went by much more quickly than last semester. I think it's because I know my place, have my friends and all that stuff so the days didn't feel nearly as long as they did before. It's nice but also bittersweet because that means an entire semester of my college life is done. I love it here so much that I want it to last and right now I feel that before I know it, I'll be graduating and leaving into the real world which I really don't want to do. Is it bad to say I want to stay being a kid for the rest of my life?

In other news, I've been hired to be publicity director for one of the theatre group's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which has been pretty cool overall. It definitely feels different than the student-written one-acts festival I worked on earlier this year but I have high hopes for it. I went to a design run and saw the first half of it or so and it is hilarious so I can't wait for the final product. I also got hired to do publicity for the department's production of Macbeth come spring which I'm looking forward to.

I've also been promoted to Grill Tender in the grilling club I'm a part of this past week. This gets me one step closer to the Grill Master position I'm trying to reach by the end of the semester this coming spring. The new board just got sworn in at this past week's anniversary party. The club's been called such a bro fest but I actually kind of like it; the people are really cool and what guy doesn't like grilled meat?

Alright, so since I'll be out for probably at least another week, save for the occasion where I feel the need to blog as a means to procrastinate, I've done some internet searching to keep things kinda interesting here.

Here's some songs, videos and other interesting things.

Breathe Carolina - Blackout

Science Rocks

internet memes - Science: Chemistry Cat Doesn't Keep That In Stock
10 points for understanding this.

And finally, the photo I have on the sidebar is kinda out of season so I'm changing it. Yay!

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend.

All the best,