Guess I'm just here for your amusement

Sorry, going to rant about songs and phrases for a moment.

We all have phrases, or songs, that we absolutely can’t stand.

The phrase that makes me want to wring people’s neck for saying it? “Heart of gold.” WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? I.e. “The girl can be pretty bossy, but she has a heart of gold.” So then you’re saying she’s a bitch? Just call her that and be done with it! I don’t care if her bossiness is coming from a “good place,” she’s still bossy and you’re complaining about her. Saying she has a “heart of gold,” doesn’t make it better! Or more often, “the guy isn’t all there, but he has a heart of gold!” NO. Just stop.

Yesterday, my boss and I were talking about how her ex-boyfriend cannot stand Irish music, which includes Irish punk which I think is absolutely awesome. I was saying that there were worse genres of music, and she agreed, but Eli absolutely cannot stand it, and if she were to have invited him down to the restaurant – he would have walked in, heard it, and immediately walked out.

There are, at this time, only two songs that will make me do this:

  • “Rock Lobster”
  • “Last Christmas”

My hatred of “Rock Lobster” started when I covered the assistant manager’s late night shift, and all the drunk kids wandering into the shop saw that we had a B-52s record and THREE TIMES IN A ROW, three different groups put on the album. And they didn’t play the whole record, NO, THEY ONLY PLAYED “Rock Lobster.”

I don’t have anything against The B-52s, in fact I quite enjoy their other songs, but I will never ever appreciate “Rock Lobster” again. I abhor that song, not that I particularly liked it before the event.

Which brings us to “Last Christmas,” you should know that Japan seems to especially love shitty music. They love the song “Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters, and “Country Road,” and ESPECIALLY “We Are the World.” But come Christmas time, which begins right as Halloween ends, EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS mutually decides it’s time to drive people, read: me, insane by playing the most inane song known to man – “Last Christmas.”

Just listen to the lyrics! He gave a girl his heart, she broke it, and this year he’s going to be smarter with who he gives his heart to. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE HEART, DUM DUM. IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE HEART, HOW CAN YOU GIVE A SECOND ONE AWAY? YOU CAN GIVE YOUR LOVE AWAY, BUT NOT YOUR HEART.

But I digress, that song…I hate that song. And having to listen to it for two months out of the year over the course of three years was way too much for me. It was solidified that that is the stupidest song ever written. Seriously. Stupidest.

I’m sad, but hopeful

It’s the day after Super Bowl XLIX and I’m so sad.

I’m not angry, the only way I can describe my emotion is sad. And disappointed. I’m sad because I know how upset my team is, how much they wanted to go all the way. My sadness is for them, but I hope that this only fuels their need. I’m sad because I know that all anyone is going to focus on during the off season isn’t going to be how we put up a fight till the bitter end (the lager end), but our final play. I hope this only fuels them in 2015. I’m sad because we put up a fight, and came up short. We took a risk, and it didn’t pay off. The Patriots came out the victor in the most important 60 minutes, and that final game winning play? Incredible. Credit where credit is due. But I’m still sad, and it’s going to be a long while before I get over this game.

All that sadness aside, how can you not be proud, as a 12, of what an incredible journey this season has been? We came back to get the number one seed after starting off the season 3-3. We got rid of Percy Harvin, who we exhausted considerable draft picks to get. We lost some amazing players in the off season. We went on a eight game winning streak after losing to the Chiefs. We beat the 49ers, ended a rivalry, and ate turkey on their home turf after our Thanksgiving blowout. We knocked the Cardinals off their NFC roost at number one in two games at the end of the season. We came from behind five minutes to the end of the game to go on to our second consecutive Super Bowl. We were NFC champs the second year in a row! How can you not appreciate this past season?

It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, yes, but you can’t win them all. And we were fighting till the very end. Kam, Earl and Sherm were all playing with severe injuries, that they downplayed because there was no way in hell they were going to miss out playing in the Super Bowl again. That takes guts, courage, and heart. And if there’s one thing this team doesn’t lack it’s heart. We play our hearts out every single game, and I cannot be any prouder of them.

What I’m not proud of was our conduct in the last 20 seconds of the game. I know it’s tough to lose, I’m sure something was said to spark Irvin to react the way he did, but even still you accept defeat with grace and integrity. You don’t go throwing punches and shoving your opponent no matter how upset you are. I will never ever be okay with that. It’s unsportsmanlike, and unacceptable. Just like last year in the NFC Championship game when Bowman was carted off the field and people threw garbage at him, that’s not okay.

Despite all that, my dear friend Briana said it best:

To my fellow 12s

We made it further than the other 15 team in our division. Remember that. It’s like going to the Olympics and not winning the gold…we still went to the Olympics. We love our boys, we won 8 straight games to get here,and we can do it again. We are 12 and we stand behind them.

To my 12 haters

Call bandwagon if you want. We hurt. Our team lost in the most controversial play call in Super Bowl history. Just because we are upset doesn’t mean we forsake our team. In addition, we don’t suck. We made it to the biggest game of the year. We beat out the other 15 teams in our division. We fought tooth and nail.

To my Pats fans

Congratulations :) it was an AWESOME game! Everyone played with heart and it was close. Well done, thanks for bringing your best.

I’m so proud of what we accomplished this year. And I know that we can make the same thing happen next year! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Seahawks for another fantastic season. I’m so proud of you guys, and I will forever and always be a fan. You played your hearts out, that’s why you hurt so badly, and I cannot fault you for it – that’s all I ever want from a Seattle team. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Summer of Festivals I

Today my summer begins.

Coincidentally it is also the start of autumn. After working non-stop from April til now, I’m glad that I survived the madness that is festival season, and while I can’t wait for next year, I’m very thankful that I get time to rest up.

The last festival of the season is Fremont Oktoberfest, and thank god it’s last because it’s crazy nuts. The shift on Saturday was ridiculous. The most ridiculous day I’ve ever worked in all my time with The Tzar. Alternatively, Sunday was one of the slowest shifts I’d ever worked. But it was Dogtoberfest, so all the pooches made the day go by relatively fast – not to mention we had over 50 tokens to use up on cider and beer. After watching all weekend long men having beer holding competitions in the beer garden next door to us, we decided to have our own mini Tzar competition. The best time was 3 minutes 35 seconds, but apparently in the competition the day before someone held it out for 6 minutes.

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I don’t think any of us are good enough to enter the actual contest. Yet.

Hands down, Oktoberfest and Tattoo Expo were the best festivals I worked – with Summer Meltdown being the best purely music festival that I worked. The people who were at all of those festivals were lovely, the atmosphere was fun, and the entertainment was great. Tattoo I got to ask people awkward questions about body parts and get away with it. Summer Meltdown was just a chill festival right in the forest with a river close by. And Oktoberfest is a fun beer and cider event with people celebrating the end of summer.

The worst festivals this year was Seattle Chivefest and Folklife. Chivefest should have been renamed Douche Fest, and while the music was good – the crowds there were not the kind of people to buy dumplings. It had awesome people watching, and we managed to find cool people to enjoy our dumplings. We also got tipped $24.

Folklife is always a headache since we have Sasquatch going on at the same time, and catering gigs. The people who go there are frustrating and pushy. Lots of people ask for freebies, and while it happens at a lot of festivals, it happens in an abundance at Folklife and typically all day long rather than just at the end of the day. But overall, as much as I complain about Chive and Folklife, every festival we work is awesome.

We started the season off by serving bacon onion relish covered dumplings at Beer and Bacon in Safeco Field (and won People’s Choice).

We served up deep fried dessert dumplings (cherry or nutella) at Folklife.

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We served breakfast dumplings (regular dumplings with scrambled eggs and bacon on top) at Sasquatch, Paradiso, Timber!, and Summer Meltdown.

We displayed our art car at Fremont Fair and Tattoo Expo, and won Friendliest Execution during the fair.

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And we rocked out dumplings at Food Truck Rodeo, Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot, ending with Oktoberfest.

It’s been a great season, but I’m glad that it’s over! I can’t wait till next year – our mobile food truck will be up and running and you can bet it’ll be at some (but not all) of the festivals, which is super exciting.

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Folks who have lost stuff

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I saw Guardians of the Galaxy a couple of days ago. I saw it again this morning. And once again I was struck by a particular quote in the movie – and of course I quote the one quote that isn’t comedic in the movie. Let me just state, I loved the movie. Loved it. I thought it was hilarious, and I was super inspired by the characters and their devotion to each other. Especially Rocket and Groot. I cried a couple of times, not going to lie. My friends were making fun of me for that, but honestly? The movie was fantastic, and the quote in question is never more applicable now than ever.

“I need your help. I look around at us…you know what I see? Losers. I mean, like, folks who have lost stuff. And we have. Man, we have — all of us. Our homes. Our families. Normal lives. And usually life takes more than it gives, but not today. Today it’s given us something. It has given us a chance…To give a shit. For once. And not run away. I for one am not going to stand by and watch as Ronan wipes out billions of innocent lives.”

Think about what’s going on in the world right now. Ferguson, Iraq, Ukraine. It’s all going to shit, and unless we do something, we’re going to murder each other. I loved the movie, I loved the message, and “We are Groot.” Everyone should see this movie. Not only is it hilarious, but the soundtrack rocks, and the characters are more than just characters.

Adventures in The US of A

I got back from my Japan Adventure on April 12th. With only one day off, I went back to work on the 14th at The Dumpling Tzar. Thinking about it now, it sounds ridiculous, but I have aged more in these two-three months being back here, than I did during my two and half years abroad.

I don’t stay awake past midnight, sometimes earlier, anymore. I can’t drink more than about a pint of beer (but I can drink champagne,sangria, and white wine like nobody’s business). I barely see anyone minus my coworkers. I work most weekends, and I’m lucky if I even get more than a couple days off in a row.

I don’t mind this whatsoever, minus the not being able to stay awake till late – but the problem is I don’t have anyone to stay awake with me anymore either. I don’t have the bartender friends I had like in Japan, or before I left for Japan, and I don’t have the time or energy to fix that. Maybe after the summer.

I love that I’ve caught up with many of my friends, been able to attend a few kickass shows, worked at a few festivals, gotten to know my awesome coworkers, attended a baseball game, and what little summer I’ve experienced I’ve adored.

I was chatting with a friend of mine over coffee the other day and we were talking about how whenever we get back to this city we automatically feel at home, relaxed, fall back into whatever routine we had before, pick up where we left off. There’s none of that feeling like starting over, or feeling out of place. I didn’t even need to get “readjusted” back into life in the states. Being back in the PNW automatically put me at ease.

I pride myself for being flexible and laid back and can adapt easily, I think with these qualities I can survive pretty much anywhere, or make whatever work, but Seattle is definitely where I’m in my element. It’s just so easy. And maybe that’s why I get a traveling itch so often – I don’t enjoy easy whatsoever. And a lot of that is just subconsciously. I don’t even notice until after the fact.

It’s incredible to me that so much time has passed since I’ve left Japan – I left at the beginning of April and it’s already the beginning of July. On occasion, I’ll get completely homesick for Japan. I miss my students, and I miss my friends, but overall I don’t reminisce too much about those “Japan Days.”

That said, it’s only been three months.

So I’m back working customer service. In the US. What was I thinking? Mostly, that my bosses are the most excellent I’ve ever had; my coworkers are pretty fantastic; and the food we serve is delicious – especially when you’ve had a few and need something to soak up the alcohol.

And then there’s also the server moments – like the guy (who may or may not be homeless) who comes in and sits for hours talking to the manager or myself or whoever is willing to lend an ear and either doesn’t order anything or only orders a pickle. Everything he says is jumbled, and last time he stood in front of me and watched as I made egg salad and sliced cucumbers and talked to me about the direction his life was going in.

Or the phone call we got yesterday from a woman asking if we found a pair of shoes left in the restaurant the night previous (which just happened to be the 4th). From what I gathered, the woman walked in, ordered food, took off her shoes, and as she was waiting (with her friends maybe) a group of super drunk people wandered into the shop. One of them (a guy) walked up to the counter where the late-night guy was working, announced drunkenly, “I’m single!” And winked. The drunk single guy’s friend, who was a woman, demanded drunkenly, “Whatt’ve you got?” And when the late night guy told her beef or potato dumplings, she said, “I know you’ve got more!” And then proceeded to turn away and take the Lost Shoe Woman’s shoes. Meanwhile, I’m on the phone with this Lost Shoe Woman the next day trying to piece together everything, and having to tell this woman that her shoes are in fact lost to Whatt’ve You Got Woman. Let this be a lesson to all of you out there, when you go to a restaurant keep your shoes on. And remember not to leave without them.

 

An ode to my other team

I grew up watching sports. One of my first memories was running around imitating the referees with my hands in the air yelling, “TOUCHDOWN!” (When I get home in April, the first thing I’m gonna do is scan that picture and post it, it’s adorable.)

But contrary to that memory, my one sport was always baseball. When the Mariners went to the playoffs in 94, I cried when they lost thinking it was because I wasn’t at the game. In 95, I went to a playoff game and was so superstitious, thinking the littlest thing I did differently was going to make us lose.

Growing up in Seattle since I was five, I came to know a singular thing as truth: our teams may suck, but the fans are steadfast in our support.

If I were to make a list of the good and bad things the Seattle fanbase has had to go through in the past 10 years or so, there’d be more bad than good. But this blog isn’t about the bad. It’s about loyalty. About finally getting our due (though it should be stated that The Seattle Storm, and the Seattle Sounders, are dominant in their leagues, and have both brought us home a championship in the past few years). About getting retribution. About showing that the underdog can prevail.

Memories of football in my household are punctuated by one word: “Suckhawks.” For years, I endured games filled with my father yelling at the television set thanks to the Seahawks. Then, in recent years something changed.  First, I went off to college, and we made our first appearance in the Super Bowl against The Steelers.  That didn’t go like we hoped.

Then we had a few more subpar seasons. And then Pete Carroll found his way to our rainy city in 2010. And he started amassing a team of so called misfits, rejects, people who were continually told they couldn’t, something Carroll himself is familiar with. I mean, just look at our quarterback Russell Wilson! He’s 5 foot 11 inches. Scouts were saying if only he were a bit taller, he’d be number one draft pick. At the start of the game yesterday, commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were doubtful if he’d be able to work through his nerves considering this was only his second season in the NFL and his first appearance in the Super Bowl. Wilson dominated! He kept a level head, and he made 18 completions on 25 attempts.

In addition to Wilson, you got Derrick Coleman – the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. You have Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, just look at his career stats – his years on the Buffalo Bills compared to his years with the Seahawks and you can see how he’s flourished. He’s a huge part of the Seahawks offense. You got Kam Chancellor. Chris Clemons. Malcolm Smith, this years’ Super Bowl’s MVP. Cliff Avril, our defensive end who kept successfully pressuring Peyton Manning yesterday. And of course Richard Sherman, who only in his third season in the NFL has shown that he’s dominant and good at his position.

I can relate to these guys. They’ve all overcome the odds and succeeded.  They’ve been told all their life they couldn’t, They’ve been laughed at, been called names, been kicked down – but risen above it, wanted to prove everyone wrong. They are Seattle. They are us. This is why we cheer day in and day out, winning or losing, because when we get a team like this, a team that resonates with us, IS US, it’s the best feeling in the world. And to see them go all the way? Incredible, to put it simply. If I were to try to write out exactly how I feel I don’t know if I could. A mix of elation, jealousy, envy, happiness, sadness, and wanting to dance in the streets all rolled into one? I guess the long, and short of it is, I needed this. After finally being able to divulge a little bit of how losing my best friend felt, how broken I feel, I needed this win. And I think Seattle, and the Hawks, needed it too. I think Peyton wanted it, I know he really wanted it.

And speaking of Peyton and his Broncos, I was excited for this match up. I think Peyton Manning is an incredible quarterback. And this was his year, everyone thought. It was going to be the perfect ending to a great season for him. I’m not going to say that the Hawks wanted it more, or that Peyton choked. But the Broncos struggled. And the Seahawks played how they play best. They kept saying that they were going to treat the biggest game of the year as just another game. And though people were skeptical, it worked. We have a Lombardi Trophy now!

I love my team. I love these boys who inspire every single day. Most of all, I love my city. I always hoped I’d be around for the day when one of our teams won the championship, and even though I was miles away from Seattle, I’m happier than ever. I’m so proud to be a Seattlite, I’m even prouder to be a Seahawks fan, and be able to claim I’m a part of the 12th man. This is our time.

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I wish you’d come back home, I want to hold your hand…

He and I first met when I was seven going on eight years old.  He was small, yet cuddly.  I don’t believe in love at first sight, I think it’s a construct created by the media and romance novels, but it was different with him.  I immediately felt a connection to him.  I think it was the same way with his sister, Kelly, and my brother.

He and I grew up together.  He saw me off to high school, college, and then Japan.  It broke my heart leaving him every time I moved.  But there was always the reassurance that he’d be waiting for me when I returned, or moved back home.  The last time I saw him in person was a little less than a year ago.  The last time I saw him was two, now about four, weeks ago.

Almost two weeks ago, early Wednesday morning for me, late Tuesday night for my family, I got the news that my beloved 19-year-old cat, Midnight, passed away.  When I got the news, I was beside myself, and I still had the whole day to get through.  I couldn’t fully vocalize the severity of what happened until now, and only told two people what happened right away because if I were to type it out, it’d become true.  About two weeks later, and it’s still hard for me to write this.

What’s the most heartbreaking is that I had less than three months until I could see him again.  And in the two weeks before he passed, I had no idea he got seriously sick.  I’m upset now, but I think I’ll be equally upset when I return to my childhood home in two and a half months and he’s not hanging around.  At 19-years-old, I knew that he wasn’t going to be around forever, but I also knew that I’d be a wreck when he passed.

I miss him a lot, but I’m thankful that I got a solid 19 years with the furry guy.  He had a long life, and I’ll always be grateful that I could have a great pal like him.  He was the most mellow cat I’d ever met.  And he loved getting vacuumed, cheese, yogurt, angel food cake, getting combed (especially in his arm pits and his chin), and cat treats.  I taught him tricks tirelessly in high school, and eventually he learned to stand on his hind legs, shake, nuzzle on command, and spin in a circle.  He hated getting his nails trimmed, but he was starting to get used to it, since I did it about every two weeks.  He would comfort me when I cried.  He was the best friend any seven, almost eight, year old kid could ask for.  I’m missing him so badly, even now.

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