Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cry Baby

My last post in here was in 2011 and up until today I all but, forgot about the existence of the cool kids. But here goes nothing... 

Try for a second to recall the last time you, as a man, Cried. Be it ugly cry (like the video above) or a moment when even a single tear rolled down your cheek. The first things that may come to mind is some form of loss, physical pain, heartbreak and maybe even joy.  But for most men, it would seem the idea of crying is taboo.  Now take a moment and recall the last time you forced yourself not to cry. Maybe watching a heartfelt scene in a movie or replaying the best will smith crying scene ever.  Often times we hold back tears to appear stronger to others or to simply set an example for our sons, little brothers, nephews, etc. of what is expected of men.

I've seen maybe one of our own cool kids cry, but I won't mention any names, lets just say his name rhymes with badonis. Truth is it isn't anything to be ashamed of. I myself can't say that many of my boys have seen me cry, maybe at most a handful.  And on the other hand, I can count the amount of close homies I've seen shed tears themselves.  Believe it or not, as manly a man as I am today, I was once a cry baby. I know CRAZY right.

"You're not a girl! You're a boy! And boy's aren't supposed to cry" is what my family would say when they locked me in the bathroom, in the dark till I would shut up.  No wonder I have abandonment issues and an overall fear of being alone.  Thanks Mom & Dad!  In the world we live in we associate crying to weakness.  Bitch shit, as some would say.  We are pressured in so many ways to be stern and show no emotion. As I previously mentioned, we even will go as far as to hold back tears and stop them in their tracks.  And internally we force those emotions and feelings into a powder keg, that forces us to possibly have uncalled for outbursts.  Lashing out at the people closests to us, our partners, family and friends.  Quite possibly the same people who over the years pushed those tears and feeling further into our souls.

(G Baby not knowing he gon' die and shit. GOD WHY??? TAKE REEVES! TAKE HIM INSTEAD!)

I don't mean to place a veil of sadness on this blog, but my intention is to share something I've learned in the past year.  And thats that sometimes, it's ok to weep and ugly cry Anne Hathaway style a la Les Miserables while singing "On my own." Let that snot build up in your nose it's all good. Just take a  moment every so once and awhile and think of something sad and just let it go.  Cry for the ones you've lost and for all the times you held it back. Watch the movie Hard Ball starring Keanu Reeves and watch G Baby get shot and ball your eyes out.  There shouldn't have to be only a few key moments in a man's life where it is socially acceptable to cry. In a lot of ways when you put in perspective how much you've been told in your life that crying is for pussys, the act in itself is an act of defiance.  Fuck raising fists, burning flags and claiming to be down with your feminine side.  Shed tears player, it's empowering.  

- Just Ra

Filipino Food on Top Chef

Back in this blog's heyday, I wrote briefly about a Filipino Top Chef contestant. On tonight's episode, Sheldon Simeon's modern Filipino restaurant concept and sample dish won him a spot as executive chef in next week's Restaurant Wars episode where he will get to execute his concept.

For as often as I complain about how Filipino food isn't more popular, one of the blog recaps of tonight's episode referred to how Filipino food is on the come up. I guess I've been eating too many McRibs to notice.

In my last post about Filipino food and to this day when I talk about my culture's food, I'm insecure about how people feel about it. Chef and TV personality, Eddie Huang, had some of the same concerns during a visit to one of the Bay Area's well known Filipino joints. I have always asked myself: how do I get other people to like Filipino food?

Despite my recent infatuation with Korean culture, I still love Filipino food. I love ladling diarrhea-looking dinuguan on rice. As Huang suggested to a worker at the restaurant he visited, we have to be better at describing what our food is and what's in it. Wait, dinuguan is pork blood? With pork stomach and other weird parts? Nevermind.

I randomly encountered the awesomely named SeƱor Sisig food truck while in San Francisco recently. They prepare sisig/adobo style meat served on rice plates, tacos, burritos and nachos. It's delicious. And it made me think we will just have to hide this shit on tacos to get people to eat it.

So on Top Chef tonight, when Sheldon Simeon said he was going to make his restaurant concept revolve around Filipino food, I was excited but also a little bit nervous. There have been other talented Filipino chefs on Top Chef, but only in a few instances did they ever prepare a Filipino dish. Here was Sheldon talking about how he wanted to do a whole restaurant with Filipino food.

Sisig tacos probably lack the refinement of a winning Top Chef dish. I wondered what the hell he would make for the elimination challenge. Sheldon ended up winning the episode and the chance to execute his modern Filipino cuisine concept with sinigang of all things.

I chuckled every time a white person called it "sour tamarind soup" tonight. One of the judges took a sip and was like "wow, this soup is sour in a great way that makes me want to STAND UP." And I'm on my couch like, "Yeah, bitch, that shit is SOUR!"

A lot of things usually go wrong for the chefs during the Restaurant Wars episodes. No matter what happens next week, though, Sheldon put Filipino cuisine in the spotlight for a little while. He answered my question. How do I get other people to like Filipino food? Make it well and let people eat it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Total Knee Reconstruction"

Saddest three words I saw in the headlines tonight. With two torn knee ligaments and the term "total knee reconstruction," I fear the only doctor who can get Robert Griffin III back to 100% is whoever replaced Luke Skywalker's hand at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Between the San DiegLOLz Chargers, replacement refs, murder-suicide, and drunk driving manslaughter, I had a hard time watching football this season.

RG3 was a lone bright spot for me. As exciting as it was to watch Michael Vick fly across the field from the quarterback position a decade ago, Griffin seemed like the evolved version of that running quarterback: lethal speed with no compromise in arm strength or accuracy. I'm weary of how I sound gushing about him, but it was a treat for me to watch him play.

Knee ligament tears don't seem like the career death sentence it used to be. Adrian Peterson's historic rushing performance this season, fresh off an ACL and MCL tear, gives me reason to be optimistic but knowing that RG3's most recent ACL tear was of the patella graft used to repair the same torn ligament in 2009 has me fearing the worst.

Maybe he won't be running past defenses anymore but I hope RG3's surgery and rehab gives his lower body enough strength to still throw passes like this:

Friday, January 4, 2013

My McRib count is at 3 this season...

My favorite Instagram food picture is after one bite
There was a clever article at The Daily Meal that referred to the McRib as "redneck molecular gastronomy." People either love or loathe this sandwich and I'd argue that most of the love comes from its "for a limited time" nature. My oldest cousin has consumed 33 of McRibs this "season."

I actually think it's a pretty decent sandwich; I like the sauce, pickles and onions that accompany the pork patty. McDonald's is doing a gnarly promotion right now where a second McRib is only $1 if you order the combo. Usually when I order it, though, I can't help but get a Big Mac or McDouble too. Need that classic Mickey D's flavor fix.

My name is Lance and I will have a heart attack by age 30.

McRib Bibliography:
From Nebraska Lab To McDonald's Tray: The McRib's Strange Journey [NPR]
Pimp my McRib [The Daily Meal]

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The second verse of the "Backseat Freestyle" video might be the best thing you see today

I have fond memories of growing up with Ray in Mira Mesa. We would just cruise down Mira Mesa Blvd, checking out all the usual spots. We would always stop by ICO, maybe pick up some candy or a Hello Kitty pencil box for the girl I was jockin' at the time.

I remember he would always roll up to my house and be like, "I got a pack of blacks and a beat CD," and then the two of us would freestyle rap the entire car trip. Best summers ever.


I'm a little bit disappointed there's not one scene of him rapping in the backseat of a car in this video.

Coolest Old Motherfuckers in the Room

When I look back and read the best entries we wrote for "Cool Kids," I remember how we struggled to think of a name for this blog. I think it was Ray who settled on the "Coolest Kids in the Room" and a circlejerk ensued among the four of us, relieved that we didn't have to think about the name anymore.

Only four years after we enjoyed our best run here, the name of the blog is horribly outdated. No longer kids in college ready to wax poetic about important young adult issues like an Obamafied presidential election or who the hottest Disney princess is, the four of us find ourselves on the downhill of our 20's with our undergrad days behind us.

We are old as fuck. There are people older than us who will read that and think, "Fuck you guys, y'all are still in your mid-20's." And those people will be right, and I thank God every day that I'm not as old as those people.

Desperate pleas to revive this blog as a team effort fell on deaf ears. Some of us put our "real writer" hats and took our talents to Tumblr. At least one of us did this successfully. Me on the other hand? I got sick of my "writing" voice and my Tumblr dashboard exists today only as a central hub of some of the best porn/nude modeling blogs out there.

I sometimes ask myself what the difference was between 2010 and 2008 and why it became so hard for us to write here regularly. It would be too much of a cop out to say we are too busy to do what we did in 2008. Maybe I don't have the 12 unit no-job schedule I had in '08, but if I were to keep a journal of how I spent my time on weekdays in 2012, at least 8 hours a day probably went to dicking around on the internet.

For me, I think the real difference was the ability to feed off each other's vibe. There have been times the past four years where I was motivated to write again. I could have opened up my Tumblr at the end of 2012 and given Kendrick Lamar a verbose handjob for good kid, m.A.A.d. city, but there was a missing incentive: a possible response or follow-up entry from three other talented writers.

Whether we like it or not, no matter how many hours we spend on our PS3 and no matter how hard we try to fight it, the four of us are grownups now. Maybe some of the things I write about these days will reflect that. Maybe not. If someone wants to write about marriage or job satisfaction or routes to work, that's fine. And I will still laugh my ass off if someone wants to write a 500-word exploration of the emotional journey that comes with taking a shit with the bubbleguts.

So for all of the other times in the past four years that one of us tried to get this going again, I'm sorry I failed. It took Nazer's corny ass post (no compliment here comes without a backhand) about doing stuff in 2013 to stop being a pussy about how people will read my shit.