October 3rd, 2012

Recap

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been busy enjoying life. There’s this strange irony where the times in your life where you’re racking up awesome stories are also the times when you feel laziest about writing them.

In a nutshell —

I’m pushing my move to Washington back a few months. There were some loose ends I still needed to tie up, and I figured I’d spend one more sunshine-filled Winter before heading up North.

I started dating again. Sort of. After spending about a half year not trusting anybody and being wary, I finally got around to creating a profile on OKC, after months of urging by my friend. I’ve met some nice people, and whatever notions I might’ve had about meeting someone online … it sure as hell isn’t as sketchy as meeting them in a club on a drunken night out (only to find out months later that they were lying to you and they’re actually married. Fun!)

I’ve wrote to a few people, and went out with them. A few people wrote to me ..actually come to think of it, the only people that have written to me were all Asian, and not really my type. There was this one korean girl who seemed nice, but she seemed really whiney every time I talked with her on the phone (I think it’s because she’s spent too much time with kids – she’s a preschool teacher).

There’s some other stuff in the works, but I’m not going to talk about it because I still believe in things being jinxed.

Mom just left for a month long cruise through Europe. I’m happy whenever I see her doing something for herself and enjoying life. Especially because she grew up poor and also really struggled to raise us.

Anyway, I’m doing okay (though I’m pretty sure no one’s missed me that I don’t already keep in contact with). I don’t know how often I’ll be posting in the near future, but I hope everyone’s doing great.

Oh I’m going to stick up some pictures from the Bellagio Fall display in a bit. Stay tuned.

Eric @ 7:28 pm Posted under Uncategorized
September 7th, 2012

Retail Stratagem and I-Don’t-Care-Girl

I came back from the pool this morning. An old man was there walking laps in the water. I said good morning to him when I got there and laid out on one of the chairs. I felt his eyes on me the entire time, and got out of there after about half an hour. At least… I guess I’ve still got it…?

I just dropped my brother off at the airport the other night. As usual, it was a great visit full of the usual hijinks that happen whenever the Fong boys are in the same place.

There’s sort of a blur of memories going on here … when we were out at the Venetian, we were surrounded by people dropping their glasses on the floor. It happened at least four separate times and the waitress had to come help sweep up broken glass. She also told us that earlier in the night, someone took a piss in a glass and put it on the table. I sort of remembered why I usually stay in during these three day weekends. The city just floods with idiots.

We actually spent a big chunk of time at the outlet malls. It’s one of those things where the idea of shopping is a little more appealing when you’re on vacation mode, and my brother went to pick up a bunch of stuff that he’s been needing for a while. I picked up a new pair of running shoes, too.

We were talking about how it’s so hard for us to spend 40 bucks on a new shirt, or shoes, or whatever, and then we go out at night and blow away 15 bucks per drink just like that. It’s kind of a sickening thought.

Anyway, over at one of the stores, we quickly nicknamed one of the girls there I-Don’t-Care-Girl. She was bubbly and looked like she had a good attitude, but seemed really absent minded. At the end, she said “are you guys ready to check out?” then she just wandered off before my brother could say yes. We stood there, looked at each other, and tried not to laugh (we weren’t upset at all because it just validated the nickname we gave her).

My brother also bought a pair of these really sick looking Pumas — there was a pair of black ones with this yellow stripe running down the side, but it going for full price while the all-black pair next to it was $30 bucks less (same style). He ended up getting the all-black pair, took it home, and found out that sizes for that shoe run way too tight.

We went back to the store the next day for the exchange. The guy there said “no problem” and grabbed the pair with the yellow stripe while talking with my brother.

“Oh I have relatives in Hawaii” he said after he saw Evan’s ID. He took the shoes out and said “Oh…wait these aren’t exactly the same; they have a little bit of yellow on them…. I kind of like these though, they have more attitude.”

My brother played dumb and said “Oh yeah, these look great! — are they the same price?”

“They should be, I think. Let me check.” The guy punched it in and saw they were about 30 bucks more. “Um…you know what, I’ll make them the same price”.

We walked out of the store nonchalantly. Once we were outside, we giggled like how we used to whenever we’d sneak chocolates out of the fridge past mom.

“Dude, that was retail strategem!” I said to him.

We were so thrilled about him saving $30 bucks while in the meantime we were feeding about 80 bucks each day into the slots, and drinking about the same amount whenever we went out. But it’s different. Somehow. But I sort of get a little more about why some people find shopping so much more fulfilling.

Eric @ 12:00 pm Posted under Uncategorized
September 1st, 2012

Drunk and Cleaning House -or- Baby Bro’s Flying in Tonight!

I stayed in for the last 9 nights. My mourning period for Toby ends tonight — for myself as well as my brother. He’s flying in to town tonight for the long weekend (and then some).

I’ve spent Saturday morning cleaning house and drinking beer. The combination of an empty stomach and me not drinking for the past week’s put me in a good mood after just two drinks. I vacuumed the living room and cooked up a flour roux for tonight’s dinner (I’m making a kickass roast pork like the one that my dad used to take my brother and I to eat as kids).

I’m a little scared. That might just mean I need another drank.

Eric @ 12:07 pm Posted under Uncategorized
August 30th, 2012

Random Walk Down the Strip

It was nice and cloudy today and the weather was a lot more mild. I got out of the house and took a walk down the Strip. I try to bring my camera whenever I’m there because you never know what you’ll see.

In front of the Bellagio, there was a car missing it’s front bumper.

There were people all around taking pictures while the driver was just standing there. A cop car was pulled up behind them. I’m not really sure what happened, but I like to think he hit a pole or something. And while I’m creating this story in my mind, I’ll also imagine that the car’s driver was on a hotstreak over on the Blackjack tables but was very ungrateful for his good fortune.

During his streak of good luck, it didn’t take long for him to become a complete douchebag to everyone else at the table. At about $300 dollars, he started yelling “BOOYA!” really loud, and around $600, he started referring to the waitress as ‘toots’. When he’d racked up $1200, he started spanking her after ordering 7-7′s (“but make this one a double, toots!” *smack!*)

By the time he reached $1500, he was being extremely roudy and the pit boss had no choice but to ask him to leave. He then played “one last hand”. $300 on the table. It hit a blackjack. An old man at the table shook his head as the douchebag won $500. After he cashed out his $2000 in chips, he screamed “SUCK IT LAS VEGAS!” loudly while holding up both middle fingers.

In the elevator on the way to the parking garage, his friend-slash-frat brother slapped him on the back and congratulated him. They began talking about all the “bitches” they were going to “bang” that night as an elderly woman stood there uncomfortably. They stumbled out of the elevator and walked to their car. Their screams echoed through the parking structure.

They peeled out of the Bellagio and then that’s when they hit the pole and lost their front bumper. They sobered up immediately, but only mentally. When Metro showed up and put him on the breathalizer, he was nearly three times the legal limit. He’ll have to post the $2000 he won as bail so that he doesn’t have to spend tonight in county.

…Anyway, that’s probably what happened.

And here are more pics. And again, it was a nice, cloudy day. I like these. Sometimes, anyway:



On my way home, I decided I was too lazy to cook and was craving a bowl of pho anyway. I stopped at some restaurant that I’d seen before, but had never tried. It’s always at least a little exciting when you try somewhere different, because you might be discovering your next new favorite place.

This wasn’t one of those times, though. The pho sucked! At the end, when the owner asked how it was, I lied and told him that it was good. Does that count as good, or bad karma?

Eric @ 9:18 pm Posted under Vegas, fail!
August 28th, 2012

My Brother’s Visiting -or- I’ve Been Making Gravy Wrong All My Life

Mom never grew up eating gravy, so she never made it at home, and so I never really learned how to make it properly. I’ve been using corn starch all along, and always wondered why it looked so gross, even though it tasted ok. It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I actually looked it up and found out you’re supposed to use flour.

Don’t laugh. Again, I never learned how to do it as a kid, the internet’s only been around for the last ten years or so, and I don’t make gravy from scratch often enough that I’ve needed to know how to make it (I usually just use those packets, and turkeys nowadays come with that pouch inside of them to make gravy).

I’m excited because this weekend I’m going to cook up a humongous batch of roast pork because my brother’s coming to visit.

Back when we were kids, dad would always take us to the Kewalo Lunchwagon. It was run by these two old ladies and they had the best roast pork that I ever ate. They lined the bottom of the plate with chap chae noodles, laid the pork on top of that, and then put gravy all over the rice. It was one of the best things I ever ate, and I never got the recipe before the two old ladies retired.

I finally figured it out, after several months of trial and error. But I’ve been using cornstarch to thicken the gravy (which is sort of gross, when I think about it now). Anyway this is going to be good. I asked my brother one day how much he’d spend if they were open again for one day. He said up to $10 bucks. And he’d buy a second one and put it in the freezer.

I’ve never cooked it or him before, but I think it’ll bring back memories. At any rate, it’ll be great to see him again.

After the weird last weekend we had with our dog dying and all, I think he could use a small vacation. I haven’t really been going out much lately either, but it’s kind of nice — I’ll save up my energy for when he flies in.

During his last trip out here, we weren’t in Vegas long and the time we did spend here was pretty tame. I think we’re going to go nuts this time around though. Which is a little scary, because the last time he was here and we went crazy, we stole cowboy hats off girls’ heads, I passed out in my car and woke up with my brother behind the wheel and we were completely lost and being snowed on, and a bunch of other fun stuff. I can’t wait.

Eric @ 9:03 pm Posted under food, life
August 25th, 2012

Chilling Out and Imagining.

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night but ended up drifting off around 4am. My brother and mom seem to be doing ok back home. The only times it gets hard for my brother are when he thinks about the moment that he passed. But he’s ok for the most part. So am I.

I’ve had a great outpouring of support from friends back home. A lot of them knew Toby ..he was the dog that would quietly come up to them, stand there and wag his tail.

We had him for a good number of years, and I thought about his life as a measure of time, and the things I’ve done and the people I’ve known during that time. I thought about my dad several times … I still remember how excited he was when we brought Toby home. We used to bring Toby over to visit him at the cemetary.

I got out of the house this morning and laid out by the pool. A hummingbird was there, hanging out. It’d hover over the pool, leave, and come back for a while. I imagined it was Toby, coming to visit me. The thought gave me some comfort.

Hummingbirds are actually my favorite bird. And if Toby was a bird, he’d probably be one of those. I’m not sure what my other dogs would be… I think Bucky would be a fat dove, Dusty would probably be a Vulture … I’m not sure about Daisy, though — what birds like eating crap off the ground? Haha.

Eric @ 11:32 am Posted under life
August 25th, 2012

RIP, Toby

My brother texted me about ten minutes ago. Our dog Toby just passed away. He was about 16 years old.

Poor guy had stopped eating a few days ago and was mostly sleeping. My brother said that earlier this afternoon when he took him out to see the other dogs, the other dogs could smell that he was about to die — they sniffed him and walked away. Dusty, who’s normally really pushy for affection, just stood there with my brother, watching the both of them while keeping his distance.

Toby was on my brother’s lap when he passed, which is really fitting. My brother loved that dog the most, and Toby would always fall asleep on his lap. My brother said that he heard Toby’s last breath, and felt everything relax.

We gave that dog a good, long life, and we’re all going to miss him. I still remember when my dad first saw him too, and how excited he was. Life goes on.

Here’s a picture from about six years ago:



Mickey (the brindle dog who’s kissing Toby) died about a year after the picture was taken. They’ll get to play again together now, after a half decade.

Haha here’s Toby riding my old bike.

I don’t know how I feel right now, but I’m glad that I decided to stay home tonight, even though I wished I were in Hawaii right now.

I think I’m going to take it easy the rest of this weekend, replay good memories in my head, and work through whatever emotions come up the next few days. I hope my mom and brother are doing okay back home.

Eric @ 12:42 am Posted under life
August 24th, 2012

Out on a Night I Should’ve Stayed In

I got through last night without puking. That’s good enough for me. Mission accomplished.

My buddy had his first day off after working four weeks straight. (He’s a chef over on the strip and a bunch of large groups came to stay back to back.) A bunch of us met up for happy hour after work at a bar called RePete’s (owned by a guy named Pete, of course — a really sweet old man).

We drank a whole bunch, got really amped up, and made plans to go out that night. You know how it goes.

I went home, took a nap, and didn’t bother changing clothes. I met up with my buddy over at the Mirage. He was wearing the same stuff, too. Haha that’s the way to do it. I was tired as hell, though. And I actually felt like puking before we even got there. But this was my friend’s first day off in a month. I had to suck it up and take one for the team.

We waited aroudn the casino floor for a bit. Our chef buddy was running late so we just walked into the club and had a few beers. Again, I really wasn’t feeling it by then. But it was like, ‘Take one for the team, Eric. Take one for the team’.

It ended up being three or four.

So you know how alcohol isn’t a pick-me-up. It’s an amplifier. If you’re feeling great, you’ll feel better. But it cuts both ways. As the night went on, I was really over it.

In my last entry, I touched on how tiring it is when you see girls try too hard to get attention. There was a pole in front of our table and I sat there while a bunch of them pretty much lined up to do b.s. dances on it. Until this one girl, who actually pole danced for a living (no shortage of them out here) actually got on the pole and did her thing.

One of my ex’es was a pole dance instructor and it brought back memories that stung a little, so I turned my attention to the crowd. A lot of people had stopped dancing and were watching her. Some people were taking video. Over the mic, the DJ quipped: “I know where SHE works!” I still felt nauseous. It didn’t really help when she flashed us several times (okay well maybe it helped a little, what am I, made of stone?) (…no pun intended).

It was a while before anyone went on the pole after that.

The rest of the night dragged on for me as my buddy got more and more drunk, and asked why I wasn’t drinking. Then he started telling me to drink. And I started getting more and more annoyed …it was one of those downward spirals. You know how it is.

My buddy started pointing out all the girls on the floor. And for the first time, I entertained the possibility that maybe he just wanted me to drink becuase over the past few years, he’s met a lot of girls in my drunken wakes. Really negative thinking, but at one point, I just said “Look I’m not feeling it, YOU go talk to them.” He sort of left me alone after that.

Toward the end of the night, a friend of a friend started giving lapdances to all the guys. I got more annoyed and went to the bathroom before she could harass me.

And then a gay dude hit on me. Cool guy, though … After I told him I was straight, we actually had a decent conversation afterwards, which was one of the only decent points of the night. He was in from LA for the Magic Convention, and remarked: “There’s no magic at the Magic Convention. What’s up with that?”

You know what I just realized? This was the first time in Vegas that a dude’s ever hit on me. But back in Hawaii, there was this one month where it happened four seperate times. I guess I’ve still got it…?

I was home at 3am. Relatively early, but the night felt a lot longer than usual. Lesson learned: Six hours is way too early to start pregaming.

You know what the funniest part of the night was? Our chef friend didn’t even show up — I’m pretty sure he just went home, went to bed, and slept through the night while we were out partying on his behalf. And that makes me really happy for him.

Eric @ 4:08 pm Posted under Vegas, life
August 22nd, 2012

Early Night Ramblings

For the second time in a row, I’ve fallen asleep early and found myself wide awake half past midnight, but still not energetic enough to get dressed and get out of the house. When this happened last night, I flipped channels and found myself watching some not-so-funny female comedian on Comedy Central, who resorted to sexual jokes to get laughs. Such a cop-out. I put her in the same boat with minority comedians who have their entire acts based on their ethnicity (I’ll never forgive you, Margaret Cho).

There’s That-Girl we all know who needs attention so she posts ambiguously provcative stuff on Facebook, and the same ten guys always comment back their obvious responses. (Actually, I’ve known a whole bunch of That-Girl’s) It’s easy because (1) It’s still relatively novel and (2) There’s a surplus of males who will trip over themselves to keep stoking the flames.

Look, everyone’s entitled to express themselves how they feel (moreso in this country, and day/age than others). I get and respect that. But at the same time, I’m not going to pay for tickets to your show, or otherwise stroke your ego.

I’m watching the end of “13 Assassins” right now. It’s taking me back to my younger days when I’d watch “Abarenbo Shogun” during dinner with the family. I just got past the scene where justice was served (don’t worry I won’t give anything away). From what I got out of it, it wasn’t necessarily a tale about class differences, but the evils that can come out of a poisonous mindset where a person thinks s/he is better than others, regardless of station.

I’ve come across people like that in different levels, and with different degrees of hiding in plain sight. It reminds me of something I heard someone say once about money — that when you have an excess of it, you become the person you always were deep inside. Some people become good, generous people, while others become complete scum. It’s not that they changed — it’s that they finally revealed who they were all along.

On that note, I realized something today — baby carrots taste way more delicious than regular carrot sticks. What’s up with that? I mean, I know they’re just normal carrots that were cut and shaped into smaller pieces, but they taste. That. Much. Better. Life is weird.

Also: I cut my hair short again a few weeks ago.

Also: I’m gaining some of my weight back. I lost a little too much weight last year and though I started picking up the pieces mentally back around February, it looks like I’m finally starting to do it physically, too.

Also: Did anyone watch the new Spider Man movie yet? I want to see it — I’m just glad his web isn’t organic, like in the last set of garbage movies. What blasphemy. (I’ll never forgive you, Toby Maguire and Sam Raimi.)

Eric @ 12:25 am Posted under Uncategorized
August 19th, 2012

The View from the DJ Booth

It’s about noon on Sunday and I just woke up. I should still be sleeping, because I only got home around sunrise this morning.

My weekends out usually run this long and there’s nothing particularly that makes this one stand out. only reason I’m writing about it is an unceremonious “Because I feel like it”, combined with “because I stayed sober last night and can actually remember most of it.”

I need to go back two nights ago to Friday night..

I’m not really going to talk much on this night, but just mention that we went out to Planet Hollywood, got really wasted. We hung out at Yolos, right off the casino floor. Trens was DJ’ing there that night and we drank Pacifico’s and caught up on life, while surrounded mostly by married Mexican couples (it’s a Mexican bar/grill).

At one point in the night, we went upstairs to Gallery (the old Prive), got a beer, walked straight through, made some new friends (as my friend put it, “how did you not get slapped that night?”), and came right back down to Yolo’s.

We helped Trens pack his stuff up at the end of the night. Everything went on the dolly which we wheeled around the drunks through the Miracle Mile Shops on the way back to the parking structure.

We told Trens to come out with us to the Venetian on Saturday night to see Mega (they used to work together back at Rok).

I think we went out to eat afterwards, I’m not really too clear on it; I just remember spending all Saturday day sleeping, drinking Vita Coco (“hydrate naturally!”).

It’s a small miracle I was able to get out on Saturday night. I didn’t leave the house until half past 11 and got to the Venetian a little after midnight. The place was completely crowded.

V Bar is on the ground floor, near the casino and the Blue Man Theater. If you took this place and put it in Hawaii, it’d be a really packed spot every single night. But in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, it’s mostly the people who didn’t get into Tao and Lavo.

Still hung over from the night before, I walked in and hung out with my buddy and the two DJ’s. Mega hadn’t been out with us the night before. He asked me if I was ok when I ordered a diet coke.

I eventually switched to beer and hung out in the DJ booth. For a big part of the night, a group of huge midwesterners were in front of us dancing. One of the guys got too excited, fell down, and got right back up like nothing happened. I felt the thump through the ground.

I’d hung out with the guys there before, and started noticing how the same things tend to happen every weekend:

People pointing to the DJ when he happens to play a song they really like: It happened a few times last night. Really interesting dichotomy of how on the dance floor, a new song comes on, people are going nuts. Then I look to my left and see both Mega and Trens looking down at their phones and checking their texts. For them, it’s just another-day-another-dollar.

Drunk girls trying to talk to us: I wasn’t feeling it. Trens already has a girlfriend. Mega just broke up with his, and has been focusing more on his music ever since. The only one talking to them was Reid, but he mostly just told them to get lost. No complaints from me.

People trying to make requests: At one point, a girl threw a napkin onto the booth. “I’m Bringing Sexy Back, JT” was written on it. Mega took the napkin, put his drink on it, and ignored the request. Later in the night though, a dude tossed a 20 dollar bill over and asked him to play Hypnotize. Mega played his song. And told us that beers were on him after work that night.

After Mega packed up, we all stood outside. The two DJ’s talked when Trens’ girlfreind called him. He told us he had to go and we exchanged goodbyes. As he walked away, Mega looked at me and said “That’s one of the things I *don’t* miss about having a girlfriend.”

At 4 in the morning, we were all at an off-strip bar eating pizza and quesadillas. They were telling me how much they’ll miss having me around. It was a somber end to another night out. Then again, everything that happens at 4am feels sort of somber (including, but not limited to, stumbling to the bathroom to take a leak).

Eric @ 12:45 pm Posted under Uncategorized
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