“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
It’s February 9, 2010, and today represents the beginning of a new chapter in my life as this is my first post on my first blog ever. I gave an exorbitant amount of thought and consideration as to what I would write about. What frontier of modern life do I want to delve into and explore deeper? Sports? Art? Music? Food? Politics? Pop culture? All of the above? This seem more daunting than I originally thought it would be. Time to find my happy place and contemplate.
One of my favorite things to do is eat. One of my mottos in life is I work to live, and I live to eat. I think all day about what I want to eat for my next meal, and I dream at night about what I want to eat the next day. I don’t see the world through colors, but through flavors. Red velvet, blue ginger, bacon chalupa. In many ways I think of myself as a male version of Julia Child, although as a 5’10” Korean male, I look nothing like her. Regardless of our physical attributes, I feel as though she is my kindred spirit, a sister from another mother, and not to get all Julie Powell on you, but when I cook, I get the sense she is in the room with me, an invisible hand guiding mine, and that I am not alone. By the way, how great was Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia? Foolproof mayonnaise! Confront the duck! PAUL! The only issue I have with writing about food is cooking for me is an escape, and I’m worried that writing about it would feel more like an obligation, which is the last thing I need right now. Maybe I’ll steal Powell’s idea and work my way through a cookbook and write an occasional post about a recipe that I recreated, and then eventually parlay it into a movie deal. I think I’ll start with Richard Bayless’ “Mexico – One Plate at a Time.” Baby steps.
As a former athlete and borderline sports fanatic, it seemed logical that I write on the subject, but a few things deterred me from going down this route. First of all, which sport(s) would I write about?
Baseball? Too boring, too antiquated, and way too corrupt. I’ll leave that to someone who cares enough, enough said.
Football? Too brutish, too popular, and as someone who never played the game at an organized level besides college intramural and beach flag versions, too foreign in a personal sense, although scoring a touchdown is one of the greatest feelings in all of sport. But shout out to the Saints, New Orleans, Sean Payton, and Brees & Co. for their first Super Bowl victory. And special props to Tracy Porter for his ridiculous haircut and equally impressive TAINT(Touchdown After INTerception). As they say down in Nawlins, Laissez les bons temps rouler, or let the good times roll! I imagine it must be a shit show down South right now, and if I were MTV, I would send the Jersey Shore kids down there stat! I’d put three cameras just on Snookie/Snickers/Snuggles to capture all the action(Snooks, look out for that grenade’s left hook!). On another note, how disappointed were you with the commercials? I dare you to name your top five favorite clips, if you can remember that many. All I can remember is a swarm of crappy Doritos commercials, E-Trade babies, and Go-Daddy floozies. But I do distinctively remember the nerdy yet discreetly hot chick from the U.S. Census ad. In case you missed it, check it out:
And don’t even get me started on the halftime show! How boring was The Who? The stage was impressive visually, but it seemed to have the effect of shifting the focus away from the act and the music, and judging by the band’s performance, I suspect was intentional by design. And thumbs down to Pete Townshend for not buttoning his shirt’s bottom button(s), his stomach was flopping all over the place as he was doing his windmill strumming. So not hot. I submit as evidence Exhibit 1.
My friends and I were all in unanimous agreement that next year’s act should be Jay-Z and Beyonce, or even Lady Gaga, as my friend’s fiance so aptly suggested. And if you’re not convinced about her universal appeal, I challenge you to watch these clips.
This, my readers, is Lady Gaga, and she is a force to be reckoned with and demands to be seen. But I digress…
Basketball? I love the game, it’s FANTASTIC! But my friend Danny already writes for RealGm.com and covers the Warriors, so that was a closed door, although if I did write on hoops I would cover the league as a whole and not focus primarily on what I believe is the worst team in the league in the Warriors(take that, overzealous Bay Area sports fans!).
Soccer(or futbol)? Again, I love the sport, I love my Didier Drogba and by default Chelsea, but my friend Charles already writes a blog on Arsenal and his beloved Gunners at goonsofanarchy, and he possesses a wealth of knowledge that puts mine to shame. But hey, at least my team(and by that I really mean Drogba) trounced the Gunners 2-0 yesterday at Stamford Bridge. And did you see Drogba’s second goal, which was absolutely world class, not to mention his near free kick hat trick attempt that hit the crossbar? We are all witnesses.
What about a less popular but equally entertaining(IMO) sport like tennis? As a former player, there is something about the sport that is poetic yet athletic, graceful yet visceral, but the truth is I now only watch the major tournaments, and my passion for the sport has waned to an extent, so the notion of writing about it feels somewhat disingenuous and unfulfilling. The sport has entered a new era, the Power era so to speak, and American tennis seems to be in somewhat of a lull, at least on the men’s side. The Williams’ sisters are a tour de force, and so is Federer, who is the Greatest of All Time, an assertion to which my friend Michael, a Sampras disciple, would vehemently disagree. But who will take the mantle once their time has passed? It’s an interesting time in tennis, Russian and Eastern European women have taken over the sport, and on the men’s side it’s pretty wide open, although Andy Murray seems intent on becoming the first English wanker since Fred Perry to win a major tournament in 74 years. 74 years! You blokes invented the sport, yet you suck at it!
What about motorsport? Some people consider auto racing to be less of a sport and more of a spectacle, but usually they are speaking from a position of ignorance, and it’s about more than just crashes, burnouts, and loud noises. In the spirit of Animal Farm, all motorsports are created equal, but some are more equal than others. NASCAR? Perhaps the most equal in the sense that everyone drives the same car for the most part, but it also requires the least amount of skill in that they drive predominantly around in circles on oval tracks and therefore just draft behind each other. NASCAR drivers are the anti-Derek Zoolanders of auto racing, they can only turn left(MAGNUM!). Personally, I find NASCAR to be an absolute snoozer, but I can see why their fans, and by that I mean hicks and rednecks from the South, find it so appealing, having been to a few races myself. I mean, who doesn’t love RV’ing, 1&2’ing in port-a-potties, drinking Bud Light & Miller High Lifes and tailgating for an entire weekend? Answer: Me and anyone else who grew up in a city whose name that didn’t end in ville, town, or shack, although I do love beer and tailgating. Besides, there are other motorsports besides NASCAR that are just as popular and merit consideration(to NASCAR fans: I know that’s crazy talk, you mean there are auto racing circuits in the world? In the name of the father, son, and Dale Earnhardt, such blasphemy!) I am getting warmer though.
If you happen to be a fan of motorsport, then you’ve probably heard of Formula One, which is for all intents and purposes the pinnacle of auto racing. Chances are however, you’ve never watched a Formula One race, but that’s ok, it doesn’t make you a bad person, just a clueless one(JK!). I don’t blame you for not knowing about F1; it’s predominantly based in Europe, it’s rarely on network TV(Fox does broadcast 3-4 races a year, but it’s primarily on the Speed channel, which isn’t even standard on most cable or satellite carriers), and because of the time zone differences it’s usually on anywhere from 1-7 am on Sunday mornings. But it’s the ultimate jetsetter pastime: billionaires & millionaires and their posses drinking wine on their yachts in Monaco or luxury boxes in Abu Dhabi, soaking in the sun, sights, and sounds, watching cars go fast, and in general just being fabulous. And some of the most iconic names in all of motorsport created their legacy in F1; Names like Andretti, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, and Bernie. Manufacturers like Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Renault, and Red Bull. It’s a symphony of metal and rubber(although for decades now the cars are made predominantly of carbon fiber), flesh and bone, guts and glory, and it delights all the senses, and stings the nostrils. Plus, I’ve been following the sport for quite awhile now, so I have enough knowledge and intuition to provide a perspective that I feel would be insightful yet entertaining, educational but not condescending. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. And if you’re not convinced, check out a few of these clips:
Are you not entertained? Ah screw it, I love a good fenderbender as much at the next person, you want it, you got it!
Thinking about motorsport led me down another avenue. What sport is inherently individual in nature yet demands the instruction and guidance of teachers and teammates? What sport respects and preserves the traditions of the past, yet looks forward to a brave new world to define its foundation and history? What sport uses terms like warrior, champion, epic, and attrition? What sport gave us nicknames like the Prodigy, the Carpenter, and the Axe Murderer? Give up? Mixed Martial Arts. Whether you’re a fan or vehemently outspoken against it, MMA is the sport of the future, whether you like it or not. In some parts of the world the sport has literally and figuratively taken over entire neighborhoods and cities, and it has created not just new traditions, but a way of life. Many opponents against MMA say it promotes violence, hostility, and a general state of lawlessness. I believe the exact opposite. I believe that MMA has given to many a new path towards acceptance and understanding of one’s self and their environment, and it instills a newfound appreciation for life that wasn’t there before. MMA fosters discipline, respect, and honor, while empowering an individual to live his life as he sees fit. It is the sport of gladiators and historians, it turns cowards into heroes, and boys into men(and even girls into women now). Like any other sport, there will also be the bad seeds who will try to poison their opponents with their hatred, mercenaries who care about nothing else but themselves, and it is unfortunate that MMA has given them an outlet to unleash their animosity upon others. But the beauty of the sport is that like karma, the forces of time, nature, and their own hubris will catch up to them, and eventually they will fall from their false pedestals and disappear like ghosts, and the darkness from their shadows will only be a distant memory and nothing more. MMA is still in its infancy compared to almost every other sport out there, and that’s one of the reasons it’s so exciting to be a fan right now. We are entering uncharted territory, and it looks like it’s going to be one hell of a ride. Here’s just a preview of what you’re missing out on:
So it sounds like I’m starting to define my niche, and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at so far. I can’t guarantee that every post will be golden, but I can promise that I will be true to myself and my perspective. Motorsport, MMA, and pop culture all rolled into one, but with a twist. I can live with that, and hopefully you can too. As far as the name of the blog goes, I like it, but like everything else in life, it’s a work in progress. That’s all for now, but this is only the beginning, and it’s about the journey, not the destination.