Showing posts from 2016


AKA: What H igh School Should Have Taught Me There is one theme for class: "WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME?!?" Our first lesson: Investing Without Money I took an abbreviated Economics class during winter-break, my senior year at Amphitheater High School. Even less than three weeks long, this was one of the few classes attempting to teach something beneficial to any student.  Understanding the basics of "supply and demand", "no such thing as a free lunch" - these are universally helpful to anyone about to become fully independent - but I could have learned more. If I spent a semester on it - or if my school offered more, I might have avoided wasting the two most precious resources we all have in limited quantities: time and money. Which is not to say I made "bad" choices, but I spent my time and money in ways that were less effective, and left me with less to show for it. I didn't even completely grasp "debt" until recently. What's

Catch Me if You Can

Wearing the shirt I gave him no less! Lots of grown-man love this guy.  As usual, I'm late. I just returned from Japan, but this is not about that. I wasn't able to visit Hiroshima, but in July, I took an all too brief trip back to New York, where this beautiful human being whom I first met in Hiroshima, Tim and partner Lia, gave me a their time, their ears, hearts, coach, and dog, for the duration of my time in Astoria. Sadly that fickle mistress, timing, did not permit me to attend the play Tim wrote and directed , but Tim did allow me to meet the cast and get a sneak peek at a rehearsal. While incomplete, I could clearly see his unique, collaborative spirit with which he directed, as well as the hard work and emotional energy he poured into this, his first of hopefully many plays he will put on! The centerpiece and original purpose for my trip however, was a JET alumni camping trip. The turnout was excellent! Although it had only been 6 months since moving to L.A., I

What Japan Wants to Put in Your Mouth

I had the privilege to attend Mutual Trading's trade show, showcasing the latest innovations in Japanese food, liquor, secret ingredients and restaurant hardware - if you ever asked yourself, "with all those robots, how do they not have a machine that makes sushi?" The short answer is: they do . The show fell on Oct. 1st, which they proudly proclaimed was "World  Saké  Day". Honestly, they could have said it was next week, and I would have believed that, but Mutual Trading boasts some credibility, now celebrating their 90th year of importing Japanese staples to Southern California. Miyazaki Beef While my focus was on their liquor pavilion, overall, the organization of the trade show was excellent. Two stages hosted speakers discussing how to sharpen Japanese blades, mainstreaming s aké  consumption in the U.S., and more, while every major food company from Japan offered product demonstrations (read: delicious samples). The sheer number of booths offering

A Tail of Two Kitties

I haven't had time to talk about cats, but I do now! Moving cross-country with a bitchy kitty could have been a nightmare, but looking back, it was pretty rad! For starters, I got a direct flight on Virgin Air.  Apparently they are the most lenient in terms of bringing a cat into the cabin. I simply checked-in at the counter before my flight, payed an extra fee of $100, and requested security screening in a private room - in case she tried to make a break for it - they even printed out a boarding pass for my Samus. No one ever asked to see that pass though, probably because everyone was blown away by her awesome carrying case! At first, I thought they were a joke. When I realized they were a legit pet-carrying cases, and the dimensions fit under the airplane seat, I immediately bought one for both my cat, and my girlfriend's, just in time to bring our cats to Cali! They are very well made, comfy inside and out, and sensibly priced! Sammy kept her head in the bubble, lo

Update: No Time for Updates

Put everything I've said on hold! You weren't waiting? Oh, fine. Carry on then. I could fill a book with what has happened to me in the last month - example: I read a book! A  Knight of the Seven Kingdoms  by George R. R. Martin himself. Loved it! No one would read  A Month of Greg Doing Stuff , though, so here are the bullet points: I turned 32. Spent the whole, damn, magical day with friends at Universal Studios Hollywood, went on all the rides, ate all the food, and spent most of the time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I went to Vegas for the first time as an adult. Celebrated the union of two beautiful friends, won a few hundred dollars (cumulatively). The biggest payout $100 on a random slot machine. Lost it all and then some, and spent too much on booze. Ironically, the best values I found were at a sushi joint, and a craft beer spot: Banger Brewery. I also amassed all the knowledge to "do it right" next time. Sure... I am past the one month poin

It was Lever-age In-o'-sense, It was Lever-age Incredulity

When we last left our hero, I was about to transfer my first batch of home-brew to a glass carboy for the first time! Did that go smoothly? Did tiny single-cell organisms perform the miracle of converting sugars into alcohol and carbonation? Does anyone get my PUN-ny blog titles?!? All that and more in this next installment of Long Time No Taco: I have been very busy in the kitchen, and a lot has happened! This is an Alot, by "The Oatmeal". Sadly, Alot has not happened. Transferring my peanut butter porter to the glass carboy for secondary fermentation went smoothly. I rarely get to use words like "smoothly" when describing home brewing; something unexpected always seems to crop up. such as 10 days later, when I went to bottle the beer, using my brand new bottle capper... Porter goes is... ...Porter comes out! After transferring the beer back to the ale pail with some maple syrup to help bottle condition (the yeast eats this new sugar source t

It was the Best of Rimes, it was the Wurst of Thymes.

Duality is one of my favorite concepts. I believe it to be a simplification of the multi-faceted nature of existence, but it allows for comparison, contrast, and ultimately, deeper understanding. If you look back at some of my other blog posts, they deal with two main topics: one abstract, and one concrete aspect in my life, how they relate to my past, and one another. Today's post is no different: Much has happened since I moved from NYC to L.A., and I have been terrible at keeping you up to date. The struggle started with the basics of work, shelter, and transportation. Finding an apartment in Koreatown near a public transportation hub with Michelle, we have been slowly decorating and introducing our cats to each other. Work has by far been the trickiest aspect. After a couple months of fruitless job hunting, I realize that the task requires its own special skill set - a clear image of an ideal job, and a dogged effort to pursue that from every available angle without distr

Million Dollar Bad Idea

One night, as I fell asleep, I had a great idea for a phone app. Then I spent the majority of my dream-time trying to convince Billy Eichner ( Billy on the Street, Difficult People ) why that same idea was actually terrible! The idea, a sort of "Phone a Friend" for celebrities, would let you scroll through a database (probably Twitter) choosing verified (i.e. Famous) people, that you would love to hear from. You then register your own personal areas of expertise. Then when one of these famous people wanted to know something, like "how to decanter wine properly", or "when the best time to go to Thailand" is, they scroll through a list of their fans who could give them advice, and choose one to call. In my dream Billy was at a home, recording two TV shows for some "A List" star, and texting them synopses of what they missed, while they were otherwise engaged. "It's the easiest thing in the world!" he declared in his classic, supe

Allow My Writing to Introduce... My Writing.

"Gimme a second I swear, I will say about my rap career", go the lyrics of a Jay Z song. This month I was published in Chopsticks NY Magazine. This time however, my small article on Japanese shamisen included a legitimate byline. While it did not amount to a fraction of enough to pay the bills, I still love being paid to write, and I hope to make it a habit. Best of all, my references to subway platform buskers, and a favorite George Harrison song survived my editor's backspace key. Despite the first-hand account of my own experience, those two things were what made the article itself much more personal. Incidentally, the same Jay Z song starts with the lyrics: They say "they never really miss you til you dead or you gone." So on that note, I'm leaving after this song. Fitting, since the my NYC work was published in absentia, now that I have moved to Los Angeles! The timing has prompted some very kind emails and phone calls from friends who onl

California Dreamin'

Hello from Koreatown, Los Angeles. I live here now. It wasn't easy, but my sister put Michelle and I up, along with our TWO cats(!), while we searched for a place. Many other beautiful friends helped us get settled here, too. We're almost two weeks in, still a couple days from getting internet in the apartment, but we have food. appliances. and a smattering of furniture! Last night I had a crazy dream, but unlike the crappy stories we've all heard that start with that phrase, I immediately woke up and wrote down every detail! It reads like a person describing a movie as he watches it, and I also watch a film in the dream... so don't get confused! Here goes: Greg goes to see a black&white film set in an apocalyptic future, starring Bill Murray and Whoopi Goldberg - who does the voice for a mythical bulldog with an alligator head. Deciding they need a better home, she takes him to the last stop of an underground train line, which is guarded by only one man. S

Sayonara Dairingo

Goodbye New York.  I knew before I arrived, this was not meant to be my permanent home. Still, four and a half years later, I am sad to leave. I lived here almost as long as my beloved Hiroshima. The people - dear friends - especially in Astoria, but also through work, the JET Alumni Assoc., and chance encounters at Crescent & Vine, make my parting truly morose.  From my travels, I leave with the confidence that physical distance will not dampen the meaningful bonds I have forged here.  Everyone asks, "Are you excited?"  I am.  But my excitement is not for the destination. I am excited to turn a page. Diving into the unknown, there are new adventures to be had. Old, beloved characters will certainly resurface to help guide me. Departures and reunions, challenges to triumph over, and achievements as yet unimagined; these excite me.  You were a part of that, or will be, or both. The loyal, the fair weather, and the downright, difficult bastards:  Know that I l