Around the Horn: Summertime Memories

Tim Burton's BATMAN opening night at the former Waikiki #3 back in 1989.

Tim Burton’s BATMAN opening night at the former Waikiki #3 back in 1989.

Growing up in Hawaii, summer was a year round thing. But there are activities that I did as a kid (what us locals lovingly call the hanabata days) that remind me of summer. One of my best memories was riding my bike with my brother and some neighborhood kids down to Manoa stream behind the University of Hawaii and fishing for crayfish with our little nets and we would take home our catch in a tiny plastic bucket. Or another memory was going to the beach at night to go crab hunting with my dad and cousins. Maybe it reminds me of summer because we didn’t have school, so we could stay up late at night.

Got Religion?

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Last Tuesday night, after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA finals, I drove into downtown Oakland to see if anybody was celebrating. I didn’t expect much: the Warriors clinched in Cleveland, so I thought it would be relatively quiet out.

I was wrong.

Golden State Warriors Victory Parade And Rally

(like this, but dark out)

There were dozens of police cars, hundreds of cops, streets were blocked off, helicopters hovered overhead…downtown was packed and loud and frenzied…and everyone was….happy, the cops included. On the city’s main thoroughfare, Broadway, which I could only glimpse from half a block away, people were jammed shoulder to shoulder, chanting “Warriors,” honking plastic horns, and dancing. Just to be able to leave the area I had to drive three blocks, backward, the wrong way, on a one way street, past cops. And no one cared: the cops just smiled when I gave them a “sorry, what can I do?!” glance.

And then I thought: this is a form of religion – a huge group of strangers coming together to celebrate something bigger than themselves and feel united.

Around the Horn: Transracial Edition

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In light of the discovery of Rachel Dolezal being white and not actually black as she claims, a lot of questions of race come up. Well we now know she’s white but she seems to think and live her life otherwise. In terms of race, and looking at being Asian, do you actually have to be Asian to be an Asian? What does being Asian even mean? Can others represent us and/or understand us? Can they speak for us? And educate others about being Asian? Or is the Asian experience just being Asian? What does being Asian mean to you?

ATH – What’s Your Secret YouTube Video Fetish?

What is your surprising and/or secret, YouTube video fetish?

Mine are ear wax removal videos.  I have no idea how I stumbled across them. They’re fascinatingly gross.  I don’t watch them all the time nor often.  But when I do come across one, I watch them with an intense interest of wow and disgust.  I like them but I don’t like them.  I feel like I should turn away from the screen but can’t.

Haven’t seen one before?  Here’s an ear wax removal goodie titled “Impacted Wax and a Roach In Guys Ear.”

A close cousin to ear wax removal videos is one’s involving blackhead extractions.  YouTube recommended them to me since I was already a fan of ear wax extraction.  Again, a bit gross yet fascinating.  Here’s a blackhead removal goodie titled, “25 Year Old Blackhead.”

So what’s your surprising and/or secret YouTube video fetish?  What’s that thing that you watch every now and then that surprises you that you even watch them?

Around the Horn: Your First Scary Movie

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What’s the first scary movie you’ve seen or the first scary movie that scared you shitless? I have to say it’s THE MANITOU in 1978, the first horror film I saw in a theater as a kid. I was so scared that I ran out of the theater with my friend halfway through. The film starred Tony Curtis as a psychic whose girlfriend was being possessed by an evil Indian spirit that grew from a tumor on her neck to a full size demon. I finished the movie later on video on VHS as a teenager.

Around the Horn: TV Memories

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MAD MEN came to a close last night. With the exception of maybe BREAKING BAD, the show and its characters resonated with me on a personal level. It wasn’t always the easiest show to watch–not as purely entertaining as something like HOUSE OF CARDS or WALKING DEAD–but the world that creator Matt Weiner has given us is so detailed, real and emotional that it feels like more than the loss of just a TV show.

It may be a weird comparison but it’s similar to how I felt about GILLIGAN’S ISLAND when I was a kid. As sitcom-y and often stupid as that show got, as a child, there was something about the premise of these people being stuck on an island and not being able to get off as hard as they tried that really struck a chord (and to give credit to the actors, they did a great job of really breathing life into the characters who could’ve easily been complete caricatures). At some point, I realized I had watched all the episodes and there were no new ones and it felt like I was losing a connection to characters that had become a part of my life. It was the first time I realized how invested you could get in a work of fiction.

What’s the TV series that you’ve had the most personal investment in–good or bad? It’s not necessarily your “favorite” show but the one that really impacted your life on a level that made it more than just a TV show?

AROUND THE HORN: Sunk Costs and Prices We Pay.

As I was in an introspective mood recently, a brutally honest assessment of my life so far guided me through a handful of situations where the Sunk Cost Fallacy threw a wrench into the clockwork of my life.

I distinctly remember dating someone that, once we passed a certain amount of time together, I found very hard to tear myself away from. It wasn’t healthy; neither of us was happy; but we both stuck it out until it exploded into a magnificent set of flames.

At least we didn’t get married.

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What situations have you been in where the Fallacy has come into play? Are you in one right now?

PHILIP: I should start off by saying that I don’t necessarily subscribe to this idea that you invest so much into something that ends up being “negative.” I think even in the example of your relationship, as bad as that experience might have been, I’d like to think it led you to re-assess certain things about yourself and what you learn from that experience is just as valuable than if the relationship had turned out more positively.

Around the Horn: How to Stop “the Blob”

warmblobLast week Wednesday was Earth Day and I’m sure many of you saw the apocalyptic headings in the news about climate change:  an ominous “blob” of warm water off the West Coast causing all kinds of weather abnormalities, two degrees of climate change about to doom us all, 1 year of water left in California, food will become unaffordable, etc.

Anyone who lives in California knows we now have mandates to reduce water usage by 25% or more in some cities.

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Around the Horn: 3 Go to Films That You Watch Over and Over

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Eric Nakamura: These are the films that you’ll watch over and over each time they appear on cable. Some might be terrible, some will be cheesy, but you can’t help yourself. The catch is, even if it’s a “bad” film, it always appears when you’re channel surfing. Why do we do it? Is it a scene that you like? Let’s break it all down. Why? and What Specific Scenes capture you?

1) ALMOST FAMOUS

Why: It’s the idea of being a rock journalist kid, trying to get into a show, and then hanging out with bands. Ultimately it leads the protagonist to be a successful writer at 15. I once photographed bands, hung out with a bunch, and then turned a zine into a magazine. I guess there are some parallels there.

Around the Horn: Dream Home

I collect Japanese “mooks” (magazine-books) that feature home decor, design, architecture, lifestyle, etc.  They are probably my favorite possessions.  I pet them and salivate on them.

Here are a couple of pages I scanned from Casa Brutus magazine (please pardon the sub-excellent scan job):

COIL

Coil, by Akihisa Hirata

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Optical Glass House, Hiroshi Nakamura

Around the Horn: Nostalgia Food

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Even though I did not grow up in Hong Kong, I went there often as a child as my father’s side of the family is from there. One of my favorite places to eat was the Chinese diner or “Cha Chaan Teng” – essentially a “tea canteen” that served Cantonese street-food classics (bbq, noodles, etc) along with western food done Chinese style to Hong Kongers. My favorite meal that I would share with my grandmother would be soy sauce roasted quail (with a dark caramelized, crispy Peking duck-like skin and itty, bitty drumsticks that I’d gnaw on like Sylvester the cat), borscht soup (more sweet than sour), and chestnut paste layer cake – these were probably the most refined items on the menu which suited her Shanghainese tastes.

If I was craving comfort food, I’d dig into their baked rice or noodle dishes which essentially was a protein on top of starch drowned with a rich sauce and baked in the oven to perfection. So that means either ketchup fried rice or spaghetti noodles with baked pork chop in tomato sauce or, “portuguese chicken” which is basically a coconut curry chicken baked in rice. And to wash it all down, I’d slurp down either a HK milk tea (basically strong black tea with sweetened cream), ovaltine (the malty British iteration), or a red bean icee (tall glass with red beans, crushed ice and sweetened milk). I have a big sweet tooth so the intense combination of sweet and savory and more sweet put me in my happy place. Also the fusion of east and west, kid food (noodles plus ketchup, ovaltine) and grown up food (Cantonese classics and baked rice) all mixed up – is both a reflection of my identity and palate so there’s a certain gastronomic synchronicity that makes me feel just at home.

Around the Horn: Coffee, Tea or…?

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So since we’re Asians, we’re supposed to drink tea, right? But I’ve just never had any affection at all for the stuff. Maybe this dates back to PTSD from being a kid at LA Chinese restaurants with my parents, who wouldn’t buy me a soft drink (back in the ‘60’s, even ice water wasn’t necessarily assured), and I assumed they were being cheap. Don’t even get me started on their sketchy justification that one should drink hot beverages in warm water to cool off. Really?! Then how come no one ever suggests drinking icy beverages when it’s freezing outside to warm up? In any case, I ended growing up into a total coffee person: love the stuff, the more bitter and full-bodied the better, and I probably drink too much of it. As for tea, well, I accept in theory that it’s a subtler drink, which cultivates a more refined palate — but c’mon, it tastes to me like water with some vague scent added. How about you guys? Tea? Coffee? Or some other preferred hot beverage?