Personal

Quite Possibly, Our Last Post Ever

Hello WordPress.

It’s been a long time, and perhaps some of you are wondering what happened to us.

Don’t worry, we’re not dead or broken up.

Actually, quite the contrary, Emily and I are engaged now. I proposed to her in July, on Pfeiffer Beach at Big Sur, y’know, the place with that cool looking rock.

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Anyways, as the title suggests, we are most likely moving on from this blog. The nonexistent activity for the past 6 months probably gave that away.

Why? Well, a lot has changed in our lives, apart from getting engaged. We’ve both quit our jobs. I sold my house and most of our possessions a few months back. We’ve decided to see the world and spend a year traveling the globe.

That’s right, we’ve adopted the nomad life. We’re pulling an Alexander Supertramp, minus the isolation and general financial irresponsibility. We’ll be jumping around from place to place, and when we come back to the USA, we’ll be more evolved, refined, and better versions of ourselves (hopefully).

Oh, and we’ve started our own travel blogs! If you’d like to follow our travel blogs, please find us here:

Emily: http://happynfull.com

Chris: http://shotofglass.com

We really enjoyed A Couple Talks. It was pretty a therapeutic project for myself. I needed an outlet like this during a time of my life that was full of discontent and angst. I knew something wasn’t right with my situation back then, so I decided to make a dramatic change and experience life in a new way.

Thank you all for reading this blog, it was really nice to know that some of these thoughts and opinions written here resonated with people out there.

Live your life to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Peace and love,

A Couple Talks.

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An Abbot Kinney Anniversary

So how was everyone’s weekend, good? Actually, I don’t care.

Saturday was our two year anniversary. Yes, that’s right, someone out there exists that can actually stand being with me for two years. It turns out that I’m not so bad. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I am a h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s individual, and as long as you don’t mind the chronic flatulence, I can be a good time.

Anniversary day is code for doing whatever she wants (if you’re reading this, Emily, I am totally kidding). After a relaxing morning that involved Netflixing and eating breakfast burritos, we took a drive out to Santa Monica. A few days ago, Emily found out that a Philz Coffee existed in Santa Monica. The news gave her an orgasm – a coffee orgasm, that is.

Philz Coffee in Santa Monica, CA

Philz Coffee in Santa Monica, CA

I like coffee but I go out of my way to drink regular coffee on a regular basis. What do I mean? People get extremely snobby about coffee, scoffing at commercialized, “normal” brands from their high horses. I don’t want to be that guy who’s always drinking the premier brands that the hardcore bougie coffee aficionados drink.

I must say, though, Philz does make a legit brew.

Speaking of bougie, we made our way to Venice afterwards where we spent the afternoon on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. This street is basically a hipster’s wet dream. There’s nothing but boutique shops and restaurants there. I did come across a cool men’s fashion store called The Stronghold, and Emily was able to buy some treats for our dog at Modern Dog. By the way, bringing our dog with us – not a great idea. He’s more A.D.D. than a thirteen-year old Asian gamer.

The highlight of my time there was eating a mint chip ice cream cone and witnessing an older MILF-like woman throw up on the sidewalk from drinking one too many mimosas. I wish I had captured that on camera.

A shot of Abbot Kinney Boulevard

A shot of Abbot Kinney Boulevard


Emily and Kang Kang

Emily and Kang Kang


At The Stronghold

At The Stronghold

Of course, there was traffic ready to kick me in the balls as we departed Abbot Kinney to head home. I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but yet I can’t help but feel a bit astonished to see that much freeway congestion on a Saturday.

At night, I took Emily to a sushi restaurant in Yorba Linda called Sushi Noguchi. When we got seated, the only thing on my mind was beer. We had some nice unagi, uni, salmon, yellowtail, and tuna. We were really able to taste the quality of the fish as the cuts were thick and smooth. And did I mention beer?

Cold Japanese beer on tap is magic.

Cold Japanese beer on tap is magic.

All in all, it was a good day. I won’t get into the gifts or what we hand-wrote in the cards that we gave each other. I’m also not going to mention the fight Emily and I got into that day (fellas: a girl will freak out on you from time to time; just weather that storm and roll on). Why spoil things, y’know? I just want everyone to know that it was a nice way to celebrate two years of relationship bliss. I didn’t have to break the bank (though that sushi wasn’t cheap); all we had to do was change it up a little bit. It was quite nice, minus the traffic.

That pretty much sums up Los Angeles – nice, minus the traffic.

Happy 2 years to us.

Happy 2 years to us.

Chris.

Creeping At The Gym

Is it ever appropriate to holler at a chick at the gym?

If there is a right time to do so, then I don’t know of such things. It’s one of those places where we are the least presentable. The sweat, the groans, the lack of breath – these are not ideal conditions at all.

I remember many years ago spotting a very cute girl working out by herself. It was a Saturday afternoon, the gym was less busy, and she was on the treadmill. I was on a treadmill myself, a few to her left.

I tried my best to be discrete, giving her a few casual glances here and there. Look, let’s face it, girls get checked out all-of-the-fucking-time, so why would the gym be any different? I believe I did a good job of concealing my glances – I’m Asian after all, which means my chinky eyes are harder to spot (a win for the yellow man for once).

I was single at the time, so of course the thought came across my mind. Should I go say something to her? I figured it would obviously be in poor taste to come up to her while she’s jogging on the treadmill. Hey, I know you’re out of breath and sweating right now, but I just think you’re the darndest cutest lil thang ever. No, not happening.

Okay, I admit it, I creeped on a little more. I saw her again at the weights – I have to lift weights too, y’know. She was either doing squats or dead lifts and I was probably doing some arm exercise of some sort. Still, it didn’t seem right to approach her while she was lifting.

I went to the restroom to relieve myself and when I came back, she was gone. I never saw her again.

I’ve read a few blog posts about girls getting hit on by guys at the gym and how uncomfortable of a scene that is, so perhaps in retrospect I should feel relieved that I never did anything that day.

But take solace, all you yoga pants wearing female gym goers, you aren’t the only ones that men look at.

I find myself constantly looking at other men when I’m at the gym. That may sound super gay, but it’s true. How did this dude get so damn ripped? Those triceps are insane. Holy shit, he’s benching four plates.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that I’m not the only man checking out other men. We’re all about the visuals anyway, and so whether we’ll admit it or not, we are constantly scoping each other out, examining each other’s muscle mass and vascularity. It’s a total creepfest at the gym, probably more so than the bars and clubs, because there men are checking everyone out.

Don’t worry ladies, we’re not forgetting about you at all. Despite the constant observation of other men, we’re still checking each and every one of you out too.


 

Okay, I’m joking for the most part. I actually hate talking to people at the gym and I get horrified whenever someone recognizes me during my workout. My ideal gym experience is going in, doing my thing by myself, never saying a word to anyone, and leaving.

But I am man enough to admit to a casual glance here and there. I actually think I glance at men more than women at the gym. Does that make me gay? I hope so, because then I could start making gay jokes.

– Chris.

Checkout Charities – To Donate or Not To Donate?

TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: OK. So total today comes to $86.43.
Me: OK. I’ll put it on my credit card.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: Would you like to donate to Save the Children Foundation today?
Me: No thanks.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: Are you sure?
Me: *awkwardly* …Yes.
TJ Maxx Home Goods Cashier: [in a condescending voice] Okay. (Shoves me my bags of pillows and other decorative items clearly necessary for daily survival.)

It’s not that I don’t care for children despite my article of potentially never wanting to have children of my own. The same interaction generally happens at Petsmart, except there is no human asking you if you would like to donate, it’s on the credit card screen as:

Would you like to donate to your local humane society?
No Thanks   $1   $2   $3   Other

That is smart. Automated computers never get tired or forget to ask the question. The man in front of me donated, and as the cashier handed him his receipt, he announced, “Thank you for your generous donation today.” Then it was my turn to be rung up. *Gulp*. Now that my wallet is out and it’s clear I have $60 to spend on Kang Kang’s grooming, I should donate at least a dollar to a poor homeless dog, shouldn’t I? I’m sure the woman behind me heard the other man’s donation. Will she judge me and think I am a selfish, awful human being with no heart if I click that ‘No Thanks’ button? Will the cashier smile at me the same way he smiled at the donating man?

That is the problem I have with Checkout Charities. It has capitalized on human psychology and was invented to make a consumer feel trapped, guilted, and selfish if they decline on donating. I once asked a cashier at Albertson’s, “Can you tell me more about this charity? What percentage of the donations go to the actual charity? How much of it goes towards their cause?” She didn’t know how to answer a single question, not even the mission. Well, that is just fantastic.

It really is astounding. According to Cause Marketing Forum’s report, retailers raised $358.4 million in 2012 through this method. Its great for retailers because it makes them look like they actually care about non-profits and great for non-profits because they can profit. All the meanwhile the donations come from the consumer who really has no idea where the money is flowing to.

An article came out in the NY Times recently, titled ‘4 Cancer Charities Are Accused of Fraud‘. Everyone can relate to knowing someone who has been affected by cancer, right? Its devastating and we all want to find a cure or at least make the cancer patients remaining life better. So we slap pink ribbons on everything and hundred of millions of donation dollars later, there goes the executives taking a trip to Disneyworld… without the cancer patients. Only 3% of proceeds actually went to cancer patients?  This is ludicrous.

Not to be confused with Ludacris, a rapper.

Going back to human psychology, I find it really interesting that many stores now ask, “Would you like to round up your change to the next dollar?” I almost always say yes on this one. I don’t know what it is about nice whole round numbers. And for some reason knowing you are donating less than a dollar almost makes it feel like 0. What? My total is $3.01? Sure, let’s round that to $4. Add 99 cents …pfft that’s not even enough to buy a junior cheeseburger post tax.

Anyways, my point is, don’t get scammed into donating. Donate to causes you care about and donate anonymously. Unless you’re in the PAC party, there’s no need to share with the public who you support unless your end goal is to get others to donate to your cause you’ve researched and feel passionate about. Look at every charity as if they are a homeless drunk man asking you for a dollar. Would you trust this person?

Let’s discuss! To donate or not to donate?

– Emily

Reality Bites (1994) – A Second Look

“Don’t look back. You can never look back” – Don Henley, The Boys of Summer.

Some sentiments last a lifetime. Memories from the past become immortalized into permanent nostalgia. It can be a first kiss of a high school crush, a college graduation, or seeing a favorite band perform live. Movies also act in this way: whenever The Shawshank Redemption or Pulp Fiction comes on the screen, I am compelled to keep watching. I get brought back to the 90’s all over again, as if I was watching these movies for the first time. I still love them just as much today; watching Andy reunite with Red (spoiler alert) and hearing Jules recite The Bible before shooting Brad are scenes that stand the test of time. Coincidentally, Reality Bites was released in 1994, the same year as both The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. But unlike the two classics, my feelings towards this movie are quite different today from the past.

I actually saw Reality Bites about seven years after it was released: I was only 12 when it first came out. It’s about four friends in Texas, freshly graduated from college, and faced with the reality of adulthood. Lelaina is a struggling filmmaker; Troy is a rebellious musician; Vickie is a promiscuous Gap employee; and Sammy is a closeted homosexual in the conservative State. Lelaina is making a documentary about their lives when she eventually meets Michael, a TV executive who wants to date her and air her documentary on his channel. She agrees to both, but the edits made to Lelaina’s documentary by Michael’s producers represent the commercialization and artistic compromising of Corporate America that she and her three friends despise. Predictably, Lelaina and Troy were in love with each other the whole time and they end up together.

Back then, I thought the four friends represented a cool counter-culture of artistic integrity, a purity of youth, and an anti-establishment spirit that wasn’t motivated by money. Today, these characters seem less sophisticated and more misguided and naïve. Troy used to be a man of principles, but now he comes off as a rebel without a cause. Lelaina was an underground documentarian with an original idea, but maybe she was just a novice filmmaker who lacked the skills to make a good product. Michael was a sellout who was kowtowing to The Man, but should we overlook his strong work ethic and ambition? Lelaina, Troy, and her friends are dreamers, and I appreciate that, but what’s a dream without direction and drive? If the movie showed Troy approaching record labels in an attempt to get his music picked up or Lelaina going to different directors to get the tips of her trade, I would have more respect for them. Instead, they spent less time doing and more time complaining and lamenting. There is no replacement for hard work: that is where passion lies.

I will say, however, that the music of Reality Bites continues to bring me back my younger days. Lisa Loeb’s Stay was a colossal hit back in the 90’s. Lelaina and Vickie singing Squeeze’s Tempted in the car is still a great scene, and perhaps the most memorable scene of all occurs when Lelaina, Vickie, and Sammy break into a spontaneous dance craze to My Sharona in a local gas station.

It’s a funny thing to revisit something from the past, and a funnier thing, still, to realize that the sentiment has changed.  Our past feelings are different because we are different. Whether it’s due to the callousness or maturity of adulthood, we will look back and change our minds about the past. I imagine the Baby Boomers have a similar experience with The Graduate as I do with Reality Bites: what was once a movie about young adults with youthful exuberance and hope is now a movie about kids who don’t really know a damn thing about life because they haven’t lived enough yet. Perhaps that is why Don Henley urges us not to look back-we may not like what we see.

– Chris.

A Personal Vignette II: The Orange Dress

The dance floor was a sea of bodies. People were dancing, yet no one had any space to move. My friends and I had been there many times, and on this particular night there were five of us.  We were two hours into our night and by then the drinks were flowing. We felt good, and the vibe was whimsical. Everyone was having fun.

The club was dark inside, with the main sources of light being the blue beams that highlighted the dance floors and the bars. There were three bars at this club: one near the main entrance and one in the back of each of the two dance floors. There was a constant stream of patrons peddling through the dark walkways that connected the two dance floors; the restroom, which was located in between the dance floors; and the outside patio, where people went out to catch some fresh air and smoke cigarettes.

Inside, it was loud; the combination of the music blasting and the raucous of the crowd was a familiar noise. Every now and then a glass would break, but no one really cared. One dance floor played house and the other played hip-hop. The hip-hop floor was the more popular one.

At this particular moment, I was alone. I had either gone to the restroom or the bar, I can’t remember which. People were all around but I didn’t know any of them. I felt the weight of solitude in a place where people existed in groups. I went looking for my friends.

I knew some of them had to be on the hip-hop floor. I quickly spotted Tony and Alan. Tony had a huge grin on his face; he was probably on drink number eight. Alan was bobbing his head to the music with a relaxed smile, because, well, that’s what Alan does. I didn’t see Dave or Jeff anywhere. They were probably having a smoke outside.

I was with Tony and Alan when I saw her. In a crowd full of moving body parts she seemed to stand still. She was a good ten feet away from me. We caught eyes, and for some reason neither of us looked away. She had curly hair, dyed brown, that went down to the shoulders, and she was wearing an orange dress. She might have been Chinese or Vietnamese; I was never good at telling. We locked eyes for a good ten seconds. She was pretty, and she was smiling. Then she called me over with her index finger.

I didn’t refuse the invitation. I might have thought her advances were strange and been put off by them had I not been as intoxicated as I was from the drinking. But I didn’t care; she seemed harmless, and a woman’s smile can disarm even the most guarded men. I came up to her and she placed her arms on top of my shoulders, wrapping them around my neck. She was about five inches shorter than me. We began to dance. She had the same look on her face throughout-that easy smile which looked painted on her face by a smooth brush. She kept her eyes on me as we moved closer together, and then we kissed.

There was no hello. I didn’t even know the sound of her voice, let alone her name, and yet here we were, sucking face on the hip-hop floor. I was buzzed but fully aware of how odd this was, and I just went with it. We continued for about five minutes. Afterwards, I lifted my head and felt the alcohol rushing through my brain. It was as if I had sucked some booze out of the girl’s mouth and into my system. I looked at her and she gave me one last smile, and then she walked away without saying a single word. I was a bit shocked.

Then the music stopped and the lights turned on. The once boisterous crowd composed themselves, turning off their wild, uninhibited alter egos that were present just a while before. I was still in a daze, the combination of the drinks and the girl in the orange dress leaving me a bit disheveled. Our group walked out of the club together. I didn’t tell any of them what happened.

We were walking back to our car when I saw her again. She was walking barefoot, heels in hand. Our exchange a half hour ago was so bizarre that I felt compelled to go over to her to try to make some sense of it all. I sneaked away from my friends and began walking towards her. I was heading her way when I stopped in my tracks: the girl in the orange dress rushed to a nearby trash can, bent over it, and started vomiting. A girlfriend held her hair back as she heaved with her entire upper body. I quickly turned back and caught up with my friends as if I never changed direction at all.

I learned something valuable that night: Making out with a random girl in a club is a risk-she might throw up in your face.

– Chris.

The Bait and Switch Follower

There we were Friday afternoon around 3pm, listening to our iPhones simultaneously chime as the WordPress notification’s cheerful tone went baaddiinngg!  Scrambling to our phones, unlocking our screens, there it was. The beautiful shiny badge:

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100 Followers! As we hugged each other, jumping up and down like we were at a Tiesto concert, we giddily gushed about our excitement that 100 readers subscribed to our infant blog. Pop the champagne! Order the 3-tier chocolate lava cake! Put on some Kool & The Gang. Release the streamers and balloons! It’s celebration good times, come on!

Eager to see who our 100th follower was, I looked back at our notifications. Wait a minute. Were we hallucinating?? It says we have ninety-nine! 99 followers and a bitch ain’t one. The follower bitch unfollowed us! The nerves. This bait & switch act is preposterous! It is like…

– Chasing the girl of your dreams until she finally gives into a first date and you say, “HA HA HA SIKE! YOU’RE SO EASY.”

– Clicking on a Buzzfeed article in hopes to learn something slightly intellectual based on the title, only to see it’s another post filled with cats and Justin Bieber’s hair.

Bait and switch followers. I can’t imagine what goes through that followers mind. “Hey Bruce, watch this… I will follow this person’s blog, let them feel a glimmer of excitement and pleasure, wait 10 minutes, just enough time to allow them to click on my profile and follow me back. Wait for it… wait for it.. *clicks unfollow*.” Their justification is they are higher up on the internet pyramid and therefore walk on mighty internet ground. They matter-o-factly state, “I will continue to rise with a higher follower:following ratio while they stupidly think their ratio continues to be 1:1. Bahaha. Call me the Phantom Follower.”

The real life version of following and unfollowing would be like befriending someone and letting them live the rest of their lives thinking they are a great friend who is just always busy. The call went straight to voice mail — she must be on a plane. The iMessage was read but 24 hours later still no reply back — it must be her two year old who opened it. The Instragram post shows she was tagged in a photo at the bar — it must be a #lategram. She said she couldn’t go out.

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Don’t be that friend or follower!

Be the loyal follower – follow us until we compromise our blogging integrity by posting lists like 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bieber or posts filled with quizzes like Why Don’t Your Friends Like You. If you’re on Bloglovin’ follow us if you really like what we have to write. For those that haven’t unfollowed yet — stay cool!

– Emily