Play stupid games, win stupid prizes

Everybody loses: YouTube prankster fucks with the wrong guy, gets shot; prankster in ICU, shooter in police custody

What caught my attention about this story is that it happened up in Northern Virginia, and at a mall that I’ve been to a few times before.  Dulles Town Center, at least when I was still living up there, wasn’t the bougiest mall or wasn’t a Tysons, but was still well shopped as it was way the fuck far away from the blight-spreading that had overtaken Springfield and Landmark malls and was on its way towards Tysons with the expansion of Metro.

But it was still an unfortunate story where a shithead who tries to cultivate internet popularity by performing pranks on usually unwilling participants, tries to pull a prank on the wrong guy, and ends up getting shot in the gut.  The wrong guy, who was just trying to mind his own business and pick up food for a DoorDash delivery, gets pushed into whipping out his piece, is now under arrest, and as said above, everybody loses.

I floated this story to a group chat of close friends, and the general consensus is that the shooter crossed the line by reacting with deadly force, but at the same time, I absolutely don’t think that the prankster is absolved of any fault at all.  Sure, I agree that deadly force should rarely be the answer to anything short of one’s life being threatened in the first place, but I can’t say I entirely agree that the prankster wasn’t asking for it either.

Because I don’t want to give anyone acknowledgment to the shithead prankster and his dumbass YouTube channel I won’t use names or give any links and anyone really curious about this story can probably find it easily on their own, but the guy doing the pranks is a pretty big dude, and I feel like he takes for granted that his stature and the fact that he seems to target less-threatening individuals, probably prevents a lot of people retaliating on him for trying to get a rise out of them.  So when he pressed his luck on a guy who reportedly gave him fair warning as well as tried to swat his phone away from him, I can’t say I feel any modicum of sympathy for him when he got a gun pulled on him. 

Of course the shooter didn’t have to shoot, but we live in a world where there are more unhinged people than ever out there, and the prankster got unlucky to have found one of them with an itchy trigger finger that did the deed.

What’s obnoxious about this story other than the obvious shithead prankster, is that the guy’s dad and grandfather are coming out and trying to defend him for “just trying to have some fun” and other diluted rhetoric that coddles and justifies their shithead son’s bad behavior.  Like if I were the guy’s dad, I’d probably go on record that I don’t condone my son’s behavior, but I wish he’d just got decked instead of shot.

I actually feel sympathy for the shooter, because I’d wager he didn’t wake up in the morning thinking there was any possibility that he was going to end up in jail at some point.  Much less for an altercation that he didn’t initiate.  He was just trying to mind his own business, logged into DoorDash and wanted to make some money, and some shithead bro starts fucking with him, and won’t let up.  Obviously pulling a gun and shooting the guy was extreme, but at some point, people can only get pushed before they are forced to react.

Either way, it’s an unfortunate story where everyone comes out a loser, and I post about it because these are the types of stories that draw my attention when I don’t feel like writing so much and I need to inspire myself to in order to keep up with the habit and practice continuing doing it.

Of course David Chang thinks he’s too good for Costco’s rotisserie chicken

Not surprising, considering he’s an arrogant star-fucker: David Chang declares Costco’s signature $4.99 rotisserie chicken as “inedible”

The last time I brought up David Chang, I stated that I have a love-hate opinion of the guy, concluding that I was like 40-60 in favor of not cool.  But after hearing him shit on Costco’s rotisserie chickens, I think the needle pegs to 0-100.  The second season of Ugly Delicious wasn’t nearly as good as the first, and it’s pretty apparent that he’s so drunk on his own bullshit  and swept up in his own celebrity that he’s incapable of remembering where he probably came from.

Because I would wager money that in his lifetime, he’s consumed a number of Costco rotisserie chickens.  He grew up in the same area where I grew up in Northern Virginia, and regardless of geography, ALL Koreans love going to Costco, because of the savings available there, no matter how rich or poor they are.  And when it comes to getting bargains, pretty much few things on the planet are on the same level as Costco’s rotisserie chickens.

In fact, I bet his own parents in NOVA still go to Costco on the regular, pulling up in their probably Lexus, and there’s even a good chance that they themselves are still buying rotisserie chickens.  Maybe not necessarily to eat straight out of the package, but to shred up and use in a variety of other Korean dishes, that Chang alleges that still learns things from his mom.

But as for Chang himself, it’s clear that he thinks he’s too good for Costco chicken, and that the perma-$4.99 birds are way beneath him.  After spending the last few years gallivanting around the world and eating foreign foods on Netflix’s dime, and kissing the asses of Hollywood celebrities who all always think they’re some global foodies, he’s completely lost touch with the rest of the world that isn’t wealthy, and has jobs that isn’t opening overrated shit restaurants with weeby names despite being Korean, and might actually see Costco chickens as more than just an economic convenience.

Not everyone has the choice to pick Costco over Sprouts Alhambra, because Costco’s chicken is just too economically friendly that they can’t not buy them, even if the company has disclosed they lose money on every bird they sell because they don’t want to lose the customer faith.  To some, Costco chicken is convenient to process into other recipes, and to those who are workout buffs, the chickens are the absolute biggest bang for the buck as far as protein consumption is concerned.

But all this shit is lost on a celebrity fuck-boi like David Chang has become.  Yeah I’m sure he’s manufacturing hot takes like this in order to draw attention to his likely shitty podcast that he’ll probably abandon within six months because nobody is capable of playing the long game, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic to see that he’s gotten a little too big to be able to understand just why Costco rotisserie chickens are so popular.

Perhaps he should stick to trying to rip off Chick Fil-A sandwiches and falling short, or making bougie gourmet mac and cheese that still falls short to Kraft from his own wife.

Now this is actually just like old times

A little while ago, after I wrote about the amazing finish to the regular season, where the Braves caught the Mets on the final weekend of the season and literally stole the NL East crown right from underneath them, I had this sneaking suspicion that I was tempting fate by doing such, and that once the playoffs began, the Braves would be ripe for a good old fashioned, first round NLDS* collapse, like they had done countless times in the past.  Baby luck was no longer in play, and by acknowledging in text that the Braves were anything other than a garbage organization not worth two pennies rubbed together, I was clearly pressing the boundaries of the universe that my feelings of high on the Braves were doomed to come crashing down once the playoffs actually began.

*can’t call it first round anymore thanks to the new wild card round

The fact that the Braves did in fact, get bounced from the NLDS doesn’t bother me; after all it’s something I’ve seen happen so many times that it’s more of an aberration when it doesn’t happen.  What actually does suck is that it came at the hands of the Phillies, which is a team that I’ve never liked at any point in history, so that part does give me some sour grapes.  If it had happened against the Cardinals, I would’ve been salty but unsurprised because it seemed like the Pujols and Yadi farewell tour would’ve been very appropriate to have had run over the Braves along the way, but when they failed to close out the Phillies in the first game of the wild card series, it was pretty much all downhill from there.

More than any other sport, baseball playoffs has and will always be a game for the team that gets hot at the right time.  Because games are played so closely together, momentum can really hang and maintain in baseball, and throughout the history of the playoffs since the inception of the wild card, so often times is the World Series winner the team that just catches fire and stays on fire for a month.  Aided by the magic baby luck brought on by #2’s birth, the Braves were that team that got hot, and stayed hot, and won it all last year, no matter how unworthy of the playoffs the 88-win team really was.

The Phillies appear to be that team that’s caught fire at the right time, and amazingly they did it in the midst of a game, where they looked all but defeated against the Cardinals, but the switch flipped, they came back on the Cardinals, put them out to pasture, rolled into Atlanta, and put the Braves out of their misery too.

As much as I dislike seeing the Phillies succeed, especially at the expense of the Braves, there’s a sadistic part of me that really wants to see the Padres advance on the Dodgers, so that we have an NLCS between the #5 and #6 seeds, with hopefully the Padres going to the World Series to play against the Seattle Mariners,** in a barn burner of a World Series nobody in the world wants to see.

**at the time I’m writing this, the Mariners have just blinked first in the 18th inning of their elimination game and are on the cusp of getting eliminated  🙁

But as for the Braves, it’s back to being the Barves all over again, getting bounced in the NLDS.  Yes, it’s something that does suck, but honestly?  The good thing about a fairly fresh World Series victory, or any championship for a favored team, is that it always creates a cushion of absorbing the disappointment of future defeats.  I can still say I got to see the Braves win a World Series in my lifetime as a Braves fan and as an Atlanta resident, and because it happened pretty recently, this year’s fuckup doesn’t really irk me at all.  Being a Braves fan, it’s mostly just kind of business as usual, losing in the NLDS.

All the same though, woof, what a shitty day to have been a sports fan.  This really was kind of like a bloody Saturday as far as my casual fandoms go.  The Braves get bounced from the playoffs by the Phillies, Virginia Tech takes the L against an equally unimpressive Miami squad.  Normally Alabama getting upset is always kind of amazing, but the fact that it happened against Tennessee is irksome enough, but then realizing that their quarterback is Hendon Hooker, who used to be Virginia Tech’s QB before he transferred out and has developed into this Alabama-beating Jesus motherfucker, leaves a little bit of bitter in my mouth.

Also, I learned that Dikembe Mutombo has a brain tumor and is undergoing treatment, which hopefully is successful.  Those who know me well enough, know of my fandom of Mutombo, so this isn’t just sad because he’s kind of a meme, it’s sad because I genuinely have always been a fan of the guy.

And the cherry on top?  #25 JMU, my very literal hometown school in Harrisonburg, nationally ranked in probably like the first time ever, immediately loses to Georgia Southern, and undoubtedly that ranking.  Heavy is the team that wears a ranking, and even the Dukes couldn’t salvage this turrible day to be a sports fan.

Also, the Mariners just lost and are bounced, so there goes the hopes for a Padres/Mariners World Series. 😭

I might be more Korean than I give myself credit for

Obviously, being American-born, there’s a ceiling of just “how Korean” I feel like I can declare myself.  I don’t know more than a few passing slices of actual Korean history, I don’t have tremendous knowledge of my personal bloodline’s lineage and journey of how things have come to be, and my capabilities with the language are pretty elementary in the aggregate; I feel fairly confident in my speaking abilities to have navigated throughout the country with relative ease, but ask me to write anything from a written note to text messages to my own parents, and it’s like a 4-year old trying to write High Valyrian.

But over the last few months, I’ve been reading some young adult stories to my daughters, because I’m of the belief that even if they don’t understand the words that are being read to them, hearing them helps with absorption and future comprehension of the English language.  And the thing is, the authors that I’ve been reading lately, have been of varying Korean descent, and their stories have been featuring Korean characters and telling relatively Korean-in-America types of stories.

One of the common tropes I’ve observed from the youth generation of Koreans in America characters, don’t speak Korean.  Sure, they know choice words that they hear from their parents, but in the grand spectrum of things, these characters are about as American as Wal-Mart and Panda Express.  I find that to be kind of tragic, and rather depressing to my soul, because these characters’ parents are all basically like my own, where they know very little English, but with them knowing NO Korean, they clearly have way more communicative obstacles than I have ever experienced in my life.

Additionally, when I went back up to Northern Virginia to have #2’s first birthday party, it was effectively a large famiry and famiry friends reunion on the side.  Among the famiry friends that were present were the parents of my childhood best friend, as well as several of my parents’ friends from my hometown.  Knowing the mixed audience, when I welcomed everyone to my daughter’s party, I did so in both English, and the best rendition of Korean as I could, because in my head, it would be disrespectful if I didn’t even try, because I did know some Korean.

When I went to do the rounds at each table, the family friends from my old hometown all marveled at the fact that I spoke Korean to the room; to me it was really no big deal, and honestly I appreciate having the opportunity to actually use the language, because I never want to forgive it.  But the kicker was that my old best friend’s parents told me that their three sons, two of whom went to the same Korean language school I did from ages 6-8, have basically forgotten all Korean, and don’t speak it at all.

Again, when I thought about the conversation, the whole thought made me feel really sad.  Sure, I would venture to say that they speak way better English than my parents do, but on the same token, they’re put in a situation where they can’t use their native tongue with their own children.  Yes, I have my own communication issues with my parents due to the language barrier, but at least they can say whatever they want to get off their chest, even if I don’t understand every word of it.

The thing is, this hasn’t been an uncommon story in my life.  Whenever I come across random Koreans in my everyday life, most of whom are usually workers in some sort of service industry, I still like to utilize my own Korean with them, because I figure it would help expedite service.  And so often times, I’m met with some degree of marveling at the fact that I’m an American-born Korean who actually speaks Korean, as rudimentary as might seem.  And I’m often told that their own kids don’t speak any Korean, and I kind of frown and explain that such is unfortunate.

I like to think that encounters with me, cause some parents to get mad at their own kids for not learning Korean.  Like they go home and give some not-so-passive-aggressive remark about how they met a second-gen Korean-American guy who spoke serviceable Korean, and give them the pregnant pause of death to let them know that they’re disappointed in them.

Without question, I want my daughters to pick up some Korean.  Mythical wife and I already discussed that it will be mandatory for our daughters to learn a second language, because the world is way too small to handicap ourselves to knowing just English.  Obviously, Korean is the first preference, so they can communicate with their grandparents, but honestly I’ll accept any other language, as long as they learn it.  Very few of the next generation of children in my family really speaks any Korean, save for maybe 1-2 of them, and again, that’s sad to me.

Last Thanksgiving, I had a cousin of mine ask me to speak to his eldest son, to try to sell learning Korean to him.  I’m the youngest cousin of the generation, and his son was one of the eldest of the next, so I think he was hoping I’d be able to get through to him, so I explained to him how much I hated Korean school and the sacrifice of every Saturday for years, but when I visited Korea and went off on my own, I realized just how confident and capable I felt, because of my ability with the language at all.  I was met with eye rolls and a rebuttal that my example was such and isolated scenario, that it didn’t seem like a hard enough sell for him.  I left it with that I thought a Korean that didn’t know Korean was kind of tragic, and let him go do his thing.

The bottom line is that no matter how inadequate I might feel as a Korean, there are constantly plenty of reasons that come to light how apparently I’m more Korean than so many other Korean-Americans out there.  I don’t want to let it get to my head, but whenever the realization sinks in, I am proud of it.

Not feeling that thankful this year

Oversleeping was my fault. A lot of the day’s issues don’t happen if we don’t oversleep, but it’s simply something that can happens when living a life as exhausting and draining as ours of raising two under two can be.  But it’s how the rest of the day transpired that has left me feeling few emotions aside from disappointment, regret, and the polar opposite of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about. 

The irony is that even if we don’t oversleep, there’s no guarantee that we would’ve made it to the airport on time.  Airlines appear to have tightened up two hours in advance rules to where they don’t even check people in for flights once within 105 minutes.  Long appears to be gone the days of when I could roll in with 75 minutes to go, no checked bag, TSA precheck and be ready to board group 1.  But with kids, all the kids’ stuff, and checked bags, that creates a tremendous amount more room for complications.

Ironically, regardless of if we left at our originally intended time, there’s little chance we would’ve made it on time anyway, because Atlanta airport’s parking is basically the worst lot in the galaxy, and it took us probably 30 minutes to find a place to park, and we would’ve missed the check in window anyway.

At this point, I’m kind of ready to punt; our original plan was to get us there as efficiently as possible, and pivoting with kids and checked bags never seems like a good idea to me, but mythical wife seemed more determined to see my family than I was, so after a 47 minute phone call with the airline, $465 basically paying for a full fare, we’re rebooked for a later flight to a different airport that gets us in four hours later, which slashes my already short trip and I’m wondering if it’s even worth it. 

Calling my mom to give an update is met with more disappointment and aggravation at the change of plans instead of any modicum of empathy or understanding. After my mom asks if we can uber to dinner after the money and effort to make sure the girls had car seats waiting for them, I’m already having regrets for not punting and heading into this trip with more dread than any sort of anticipation or excitement, that my family is finally getting to meet my kids for the very first time. 

Continue reading “Not feeling that thankful this year”

When did Annandale become a giant PF Changs?

Over the weekend, mythical wife and I went up to Virginia to visit my family, as we had some pretty important news to tell them.  Since good Korean food outside of the litany of all-you-can-eat KBBQs are pretty few and far between without having to drive some distance, we decided to meet up with my family at a Korean restaurant in Annandale, which anyone with any knowledge of Northern Virginia is astutely aware is very much, the Korean part of town.

Or so I thought.

Clearly, things have changed a great deal throughout the years, most notably the fact that Korean food is very much en vogue and extremely popular these days.  The restaurant that my family and I went to was slam packed when we got there, and the vast majority of the diners in the restaurant were very much not Korean.

I had fond memories of this place from when I was younger and still living at home; for one, my parents were still together, but I remember how the place was much smaller, very much more rustic, with a décor that was definitely trying to lean old country, with rice papered walls.  Everyone in the restaurant was Korean, and the atmosphere and ambiance was much more relaxed and slow paced, and the soondooboo jjigae was scalding hot, and the absolute most perfect food on the planet to eat on a winter’s night.

When I suggested the restaurant, my mom questioned me if I was sure if this was the place I wanted to go, saying it was always slammed, and that there always a wait.  I didn’t realize we were talking about the same place, but clearly as she still lives in the area, has witnessed the PF Chang-ification of not just this particular restaurant, but presumably the rest of Annandale, as Korean food began to catch the imaginations of all sorts of white people who love to claim to be adventurous eaters, and relished at the thought of being the pioneers amongst their peers to delve into the worlds of all this oriental food.

Needless to say, when we pulled up to the restaurant, I was at first a little surprised at how the place was now substantially larger than it was the last time I was there, and the parking lot was three times larger, and just about every single spot was taken.  It’s actually amazing that the two cars we had were able to find spaces.  But upon going inside, it was another surprise to me to see just how slam packed the place was, and with the vast majority of diners, most definitely not Korean.  This was very much a shocking contrast to my last memories of this place.

Continue reading “When did Annandale become a giant PF Changs?”

Waynesboro, Virginia, the land where professional wrestling stood still

I recently went to an indy wrestling show out in the sticks of Virginia.  Waynesboro, to be exact.  This was actually the impetus for a trip I made in order to spend some time with my family, since I frankly don’t really spend nearly enough time with them.

The decision to go to this show was really quite an easy one, because when it first came onto my radar, Juventud Guerrera was listed to be on the card, among a pretty star-studded guest list, especially for an indy show as this one was; guys like Sting, Lex Luger, Vader, Ron Simmons, and the Rock ’n Roll Express were also slated to be at this show.

But as legendary as some of those guys are, I have this ironic love for the weird, and the jobbers, and the guys that don’t get nearly the credit they deserve, like Juventud Guerrera.  Plus, I really wanted a Juvi mask to essentially complete my collection of luchador masks on my shelf, since the Juice is somehow considered “too old” in Mexico itself, to have his masks for sale on the streets of la Playa del Carmen. Without question, Juvi was really the only reason that I wanted to go to this show at all.

So plans were made, flights were purchased, tickets were acquired, and I was on my way back to Virginia for a long weekend of family, friends and Juvi Juice.  I was looking forward to it greatly.

And then as the show neared, I went to the promotion’s website to refresh my memory of what else was in store; and noticed that Juventud’s profile was no longer a part of the promotional banner.  To make matters worse, all mention of Juvi was gone from the site.  My friend messaged them on Facebook, but because they’re a yokel backwater promotion, they never responded, but all signs were pointing to the idea that Juventud was no longer going to be a part of it.

“Card subject to change” is one of the bigger tropes of the business, and because professional wrestling is full of flakes and bums, it’s the thing said to easily Mentos out of just about any sort of card changing, like Juventud Guerrera not being a part of it.  Unfortunately for those of us outside of the business, the real world doesn’t work as conveniently as the scripted one inside of it.  I still had plane tickets and vacation time punched out at work.  Juvi or no Juvi, I was still going to be going to this show, disappointed as hell that I wouldn’t get to meet the Juice and pick up la maskara for the colleccíon.

Oh yeah and Vader died, so that was another blow to the card that was going to be hard to cover up.

Continue reading “Waynesboro, Virginia, the land where professional wrestling stood still”