le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Vibrant (K)nights

I received a call that my uncle and aunt from abroad as well as my family from the West Coast are visiting in a few weeks.  I'm pretty excited to see them again, but I won't stress too much about the planning.  I'm sure they'll want to go to the typical tourist attractions so it shouldn't be too hard :)


The Mindy Project is playing in the background (hooray for On Demand!) as I type this blog and get other work done.  I watched the Season 2 premiere in the On Demand menu and it was pretty good.  I look forward to seeing what crazy antics she'll get herself into for this season.


I'm going to start reading a memoir called The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer, and I wanted to share a few reviews that caught my attention.



"A fierce and funny coming of age story about ambition and yearning and necessary betrayals.  Moehringer's mom pushed him to make something of himself, to go to Yale and eventually get hired and fired by the New York Times, and he exquisitely describes every wince-making step of his class climb.  A superb literary brew."

Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air


"[The Tender Bar] is a success story of a man, raised by his hardworking mother, who grows up to appreciate the value of an education, the support of a network of adults and, most of all, the community that can be established with both elbows on the well-worn wooden beams of an old-fashioned bar, a public house, where all are welcome."

The Sunday Oregonian



I don't try to spoil myself by reading in depth reviews about books (or anything in general).  However when I glanced at a few of them, I really liked the honest perspective that he brought about his upbringing. Usually it's the adversities that people overcome that makes each individual's story rich.  No one has a perfect life and we all are bound to experience disappointment or failure at one point or another.


I wanted to start with the theme of his memoir to set the stage for this blog entry.  Life doesn't always go as planned and I learned to have to constantly adapt to changes that I may or may not have control over.  It requires so much patience, dedication, and most of all, perseverance so that I don't just throw in the towel when things become overwhelming.  I do honestly feel blessed to have such a caring network be there for me for support.


I remembered reading an article about famed baker and cake decorator, Sylvia Weinstock.  You can google her to see the types of cakes that she creates.  She discussed a main element of learning how to construct sugar flower decorations.  When she first started in the cake business, she took apart a rose and examined its anatomy to understand how it blooms.  As you can imagine, it requires a lot of patience to deconstruct and reconstruct a particular object.  Do you remember seeing someone take apart a bike or other form of machinery and they end up not being able to put it back together?  I remembered seeing it in a show before and I was amazed (well I was actually laughing at that time...come on, I was a kid!) at how we can do something so quickly, but not realize or fully comprehend the entire process at all.


It really kept things in perspective when I had things planned out during the summer.  I remembered late June/early July when I was discussing it with my loved ones here to relocate to the West Coast.  I really had to weigh the pros and cons while taking into account the career prospects, opportunities, and living arrangements that had to be arranged.  As I made my list, it was like deconstructing the rose and studying the different elements that will come into play.  The fact that it's not only going to affect me made the decision even harder.  I felt excited and nervous when I finished at NYU.  In a sense, it opened a new chapter.  I had to make sure that I understood the elements of the "rose" so that I wouldn't be in a situation like those characters who took apart the bike, but couldn't put it back together. 


When making the decision to stay in the New York area, I realized that I was happy here and I knew that I could flourish with the opportunities that it brings.  There are a lot of cultural events, myriad classes that I could take (be it academic or recreational), and I'm always meeting new people who decide to come study or work here.  I knew that I could reconstruct the rose and expand on my life in this area.  No doubt it'll be fun to visit the beaches and experience the West Coast lifestyle, but taking things back to reality, I'd most likely be driving to work, hoping that I don't get caught in two hour traffic.  There's that romanticism from vacations or short trips that leave such an impression, but when it disappears and reality sets in, it can be disappointing.


Back then, I did push myself to go to grad school a little further from home so that I would acclimate easily to changing environments for future reference.  It was like when I first learned how to drive.  I first was using my dad's van and my mom's SUV (yes they like big cars lol).  It was a huge jump since the cars were so big.  I thought that I would start off with a sedan, but what ended up happening was that it made it a lot easier to drive the sedan since I used the big cars first.  I learned to not fear this change, but I also learned to listen to my heart and weigh everything before making a big leap.  It may sound fun in theory, but I could end up broke and upset if I don't take other things into consideration (esp. others' feelings).


I saw an ad for Top Chef Season 11 when I passed by the 49th Street subway stop.  I was a dedicated follower of the show a few years ago, but as the judges kept changing and the drama overshadowed the cooking, I lost interest.  I don't mind the drama (I grew up watching The Real World on MTV) so I understand the need to catch the viewer's attention with built in drama or crazy scenarios.  However, things became so over the top with the bullying and immaturity that I just couldn't focus on the food.  It would be easier for the judges because they only see the food, but as the viewer, you see what they do behind the scenes along with when they cook.  Whether they staged their antics or not, it did get unpleasant at times.  But I'll give it a glance for this season.  A little competitiveness is certainly fine though, and I won't let a previous season influence the new one.


As I was cleaning up around the house, I found my snack bag.  It has a lot of goodies that I usually munch on when I'm writing.  I have a bar of dark chocolate that I keep as my "emergency chocolate" when I really need it.  Dark chocolate is healthier so I'm happy I actually acquired a taste for it.  I know a lot of people prefer milk chocolate, but I do prefer the bitter dark chocolate.  I actually ate a bag of Brookside's Dark Chocolate Blueberries an hour ago which ended up tasting delicious.  The sweetness of the blueberries complemented the richer flavor of the chocolate.





My brother called me on the Thursday before Labor Day and told me that he had a surprise for me.  He told me to keep Sunday open.  On Sunday, he, along with his best friend, took me to Medieval Times in Lyndhurst to celebrate my birthday.  My birthday was actually in July, but since our schedules were pretty busy, we weren't able to meet then for it (although it was fun celebrating it with different people!).  It was so fun!  We were in the Red and Yellow Knight's section and he ended up becoming the runner up.  I think throughout my life I went there 8 times, and my knight only won once...and that was when I was in high school.  Hey at least my senior year was eventful!  That was just the icing on the cake though :)


(I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  I only had my phone and didn't plan on taking pictures.)


Outside the Castle


Birthday Surprise




Here's a video of our knight winning against the Yellow Knight:



The place was packed and the people in our row were very friendly.  A guy next to my brother was celebrating with his girlfriend.  He asked what types of beers they had since he saw my brother's best friend's mug and when he said, "Yuengling," the guy laughed and said, "That's all you had to say!"  Good times indeed.  The food was pretty good since the chicken was moist while the other items...the soup, apple dessert, and garlic bread were just as memorable.  I mean it's a place to be entertained, not a five star restaurant dining experience :)


After the show, we headed to the dungeon to take pictures.  The lights were red so it gave the pictures a slight hue.  Afterward, we went outside to relax for a bit and we saw a lot of smiling people getting ready for the next show.






As we were driving home my brother's best friend and I saw a statue of a dolphin that we wanted to take pictures of.  My brother stayed in the car, but he told us that people were looking at us while the two of us took pictures like tourists.  It was a pretty nice statue though!



Who would've thought that an artistic piece like this would be located in Lyndhurst, New Jersey?


It's also Fashion Week in New York and I'm going to meet with my designer friend.  We had a lot of fun discussing trends and styles when we first met, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing her again.  We discuss a lot of stories about inspiration and how we can get ideas from so many sources.  She gave me a lot of encouragement when I was thinking of venturing more into this work so I do plan to make her proud!  We joked that The Sartorialist would take pictures of us if we looked unique enough.


I'll leave all of you with a nice song that I heard from an episode of The Mindy Project.  It's called Who's On My Rocket by Miss Amani.  I don't think I'd have been able to find it had I not seen the episode.



In the beginning of the episode, Mindy discussed the vibrant nightlife of New York City.  It's fast paced and exciting.  People running to the food carts to get something to eat at 2 AM after a night of dancing (and drinking)...chasing a taxi to get to the next stop...laughing and enjoying the great times with friends and/or a significant other. As crazy as it can get with delayed trains or overcrowding, I still have a lot of fun here.  This is pretty much my home.  I love New York and New Jersey.


Hope this song gets you pumped up!  Until next time everyone, have a wonderful day.

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