Around The Horn: The Best Advice You’ve Never Taken

I’m pretty good at giving advice.  Pretty lousy at taking it.  In my pocket I carry a worn excerpt from something I photocopied:

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“It is the height of folly to refuse the present hour of happiness, or wantonly to spoil it by vexation at by-gones or uneasiness about what is to come.  There is a time, of course, for forethought, nay, even for repentance; but when it is over let us think of what is past as of something to which we have said farewell, of necessity subduing our hearts – and of the future as of that which lies beyond our power, in the lap of the gods.”

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that some 200 years ago.  I know, I know, basically he’s just saying “Be present,” but in much more elegant words than I can string together.

I’ve shared that quote with friends and strangers over the years, not to let them know where I am, but to let them know where I aspire to be.  In moments – watching the last two minutes of a Warriors game, sharing sushi with the right person, DJ-ing to a packed house at the bars – past regrets and future anxieties melt away – but it’s fleeting and not easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard that you have been unable to follow?

Around the Horn: Baseball Edition

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Batter up. It’s baseball season. I’m a really big baseball fan. Really. I love to keep score, and have many filled books of games from years past. My team is the Boston Red Sox. It’s a team I inherited from my Dad, a real fan who never left them when he could have. When I was younger, we’d travel around the US going to baseball games. I’ve been lucky enough to go to 11 different major league ballparks; my parents have been to every single one (the old ones that are now gone, and even the new ones). I have great memories of Fenway Park, fried dough, the Citgo sign, the kid at the chowder stand, the Green Monster, Pedro, Papi, Manny… I was lucky enough to go to 16 games during the 2004 Championship Season with my friends Hua and Joey. And of course, we went to the parade. The thing is… I didn’t even live in Boston. At the time, I lived in New York. Winning the championship in 2004 was one of the best memories of my life.

Do you have any baseball stories, memories, favorite teams, favorite players? Do you even like baseball?

Around The Horn – Junk Funk

I am shocked how much junk food I eat nowadays.  When I was 21, I used to be a salad-eating, white-meat-only, brown-rice-lovin’, filtered-water-guzzlin’, healthy son of a gun.  So how I evolved into this processed-food-ingesting freak is beyond me.

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But instead of feeling guilty about my culinary and dietary destruction, I would like to find the good in the bad, the happy in the sad, the chicken salad in the chicken shit if you will.  Indulge in my fatty indulgence…

I ate a lot of junk food as a child.  And now, I’m eating a lot of junk food as an adult.  What I find most fascinating is that much of the junk I was eating 30+ years ago is the same exact junk that I’m eating today.  It’s like a personal, nostalgic history of unhealthy food love.  Almost.  So the following are a few of my top, life-long crap food passion…

Around the Horn: Bucket List Edition

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Don’t want to bring things down too much, but death’s been on my mind recently–last week, we lost two people who were connected to YOMYOMF in their own ways. One of the workers in the real estate office next to our YOMYOMF office passed away of an unexpected heart attack as did Cira Felina Bolla (from cancer) who was the DP on my fellow Offender Alfredo’s YOMYOMF Network series REALITY REBOOT. I didn’t know either particularly well, but both were young and seemed to be full of life so it was shocking to hear about those losses.

Of course, we all have suffered similar losses and know all too well that death can come unexpectedly but things like this really remind you of that. It makes you aware of your own mortality and that of those around you and, at least for me, makes me think of all the things I’ve always wanted to do, but seem to never get around to i.e. the bucket list.

I don’t really have grand ambitions on my bucket list–i.e. things like climbing Mount Everest–for me, what I want is pretty simple: to be able to comfortably do what I love to do, be around good friends and family and to support them, etc… But the one thing I have always been saying I want to do is take my parents on regular vacations. We used to do family vacations all the time when I was growing up, but I have to say it’s been a long time since we’ve all been together that way. And as my parents are getting on in years, doesn’t make sense to keep putting it off so I think this summer, will make that happen. Perhaps we finally do that Alaskan cruise or the tour of Machu Picchu we’ve been talking about.

What about everyone else? What’s on your bucket list?

Around the Horn: The Mystery of MH370

HYSTERIAThe missing Malaysian Airline MH370 has captured the imagination of the world. I was mesmerized by the idea that some of the passengers’ relatives still think their loved ones are alive after they tried calling their phones… I was brought back to a fascinating but not-so-successful sci-fi movie from the late 80s called Millenium. The movie has aliens or people from the future time travel back to rescue passengers right before a historical plane crash so they will populate the future. What is your theory or fantasy theory behind the missing airplane?

AROUND THE HORN: How dark is ‘dark’?

I recently binged on HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE after weeks of water cooler talk and still managing to avoid any spoilers. Looking back at reactions I’d read way before starting the show, I saw many people claiming that TD was much ‘darker’ than other shows/movies they were used to seeing.

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Having now seen it all, I can confidently say I didn’t once get that feeling. Was it lines like “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution” evoking these reactions? Because that’s not that bad and the murder scenes in NBC’s HANNIBAL are much more graphic. On the darker side of things, sure – but was it really that far off on that end of the spectrum? Nah.

By your standards, what’s a ‘dark’ movie/show/book? And why?

Around the Horn: Religion Peddlers

mormonsI’m sure we’ve all had to deal with the religion peddler–whether it’s the door to door Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists, or the new age cults on college campuses. But what if the religious salesperson is your friend?

I’m not exactly religious, but I would say I have an eclectic mix of spirituality since my parents were Buddhist, I attended Catholic school and I now have Orthodox Jewish in-laws. I try to remain respectful of all religions until they try to convert me.

Around the Horn: Read Any Good Books Lately?

First, thanks to my fellow Offenders for being so understanding and covering for me while I’ve been opening my new show.

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Although I’m a writer, I’m not proud to admit that I don’t read as much as I’d like to. Sure, I read scripts, and books related to my work (i.e. those I’m adapting into scripts, or would like to). But nowadays, I don’t read for pleasure as much as I used to. My most recent book was Eddie Huang’s memoir, FRESH OFF THE BOAT. OK, Eddie sent it to me, and it’s being made into an ABC television pilot, but I don’t have anything to do with that project, so I think this still counts as pleasure reading. Eddie’s a chef, TV personality, and the owner of Manhattan’s Baohaus, where I’ve long enjoyed his cooking. I really enjoyed his memoir about growing up Chinese American in Florida, which reminded me of earlier Asian American works from my own youth, now through the voice of a younger generation, with a brash, hip, in-your-face style.

How about you guys? What was the last book you read for pleasure?

Around the Horn: Children

FOMATO_DONT_POOP_ANYMOREMy partner and I have been trying to conceive for a year.  We’re both relatively advanced in age, so it’s possible we may not have children.  We might, but we also might not.

I’m contemplating what it’d be like to miss the experience of raising a child.  Without kids, we’d get more sleep, be less stressed, retain more money to spend on art and adventures (and junk food), and have extra time to indulge in pleasures and art projects/work.  

Around the Horn: Guilty Pleasures

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In keeping with David’s theme of geeking out, what guilty pleasures do you partake in? I want to hear about your most low brow, trashy, ridiculous, cheesy, uncool, or unhip obsessions.

Reality-showise, I got obsessed with Hardcore Pawn when it first premiered on TruTv. It’s set at a family-run Detroit pawn shop. The negotiations are not your typical reality fare where everyone has already agreed on a number and do some limply choreographed wheeling and dealing only to shake hands at the end. These negotiations barely start before they end up in fist fights and bitch slapping. And this pawn shop is not seeing rare memorabilia or antiques, but everything from busted TVs to underwear and gold grills. The father who owns the shop often pits his daughter and son against each other as they compete viciously for business on the floor.

Like all reality shows, it’s probably staged but this is a pawn shop in Detroit so, no matter how you shoot, choreograph, or cut it – it’s still raw and not pretty. I confess, it’s a car accident and I can’t not watch it.

Around the Horn: The geek within

Last year I had the pleasure of seeing my geekness rub off on my wife. She’s not a hobbyist of any sort… she just likes to watch mainstream movies and tv like everyone else… until last summer!

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There was a string of summer films my wife endulged in, such as Iron Man 3, World War Z, Fast and Furious 6 :) AND THEN THERE WAS …STAR TREK – INTO DARKNESS! This was the start of the change… no the metamorphosis like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk! Why? One name… Benedict Cumberbatch!

Can one fictional character from a tv or movie change you into a geek… answer is YES! She needed to know all about this hunk of an actor. I did say “hunk”.

But it doesn’t stop there! Only a true geek will continue to search insatiably for more content like a drug addict on crack. She then found Sherlock and watched it pretty much continuously till there was no more. Which led her to Wiki sites and conspiracy theories of the show, which by now she knew more than I did.

Around the Horn: It smells like Buyer’s Remorse!

Would YOU buy it?!?

Would YOU buy it?!?

Okay, I’m in escrow. Yay? NOOOOO!

I have never been in escrow, nor have I ever written a check out for thousands of dollars and not sweated it. I am a first-time home buyer and I have not slept since I signed the offer papers! I don’t make a lot of money (I make so little, I actually qualify for low-income programs believe it or not) and buying in the SF Bay Area is ridiculously expensive (probably only second in unaffordability next to NYC’s crazy prices) and I’m now a single person buying it all alone so no one to help me out if the stove blows up or if the toilet flows into the neighbor’s bathtub… Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! But I was lucky to find a very small studio condo in an amazing vibrant neighborhood of Oakland (a safer part of Oakland!) with a great walk score in my miniscule price range! With parking! 10 minutes, yes 10 minutes, from my work! I could even bike to work! Of course I made an offer!