The Power of Rice

While I was getting ready to wash the rice, I accidentally dropped the bowl of rice on the floor.  I was shocked.  I’ve never done this before even as a boy helping my mom cook rice.  There was rice everywhere – by the fridge, the stove – all within a 5 ft radius.  It took awhile to scoop up everything.  And in the process I picked up a bunch of dirt with the rice.  I had to wash the rice many times before I was satisfied all the dirt was gone.

While I was washing the rice and picking out all the pieces of dirt,  I remembered bits and pieces of stories about rice as I was growing up.  We were told to finish our rice because we were lucky to have lots of rice to eat.  I heard about starving kids that didn’t have any rice.  I was told my future wife would be beautiful if I ate all my rice.  There were also stories about how hard planting rice was.  The farmers worked so hard and we shouldn’t waste rice.  It was back breaking work.  At school, we even learned a song about planting rice.

Planting rice is never fun
Bent from morn till the set of sun,
Cannot stand and cannot sit,
Cannot rest for a little bit.

Planting rice is no fun
Bent from morn till set of sun,
Cannot stand, cannot sit,
Cannot rest a little bit.

Oh, come friends and let us homeward take our way,
Now we rest until the dawn is gray,
Sleep, welcome sleep, we need to keep us strong
Morn brings another workday long.

Oh, my back is like to break,
Oh, my bones with the damp still ache,
And my legs are numb and set
For their long soaking on the wet.

It is hard to be so poor
And such sorrow and pain endure,
You must move your arms about,
Or you’ll find you must go without.

Cambodian_farmers_planting_rice

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice#/media/File:Cambodian_farmers_planting_rice.jpg

photo credit:  Brad Collins

I didn’t know this until a few months ago but apparently the sun’s reflection from the water makes it even more difficult for the farmers.  It was so strange that one little incident triggered so many memories.

 

Joel Kim Booster

This is the first time I’ve seen his work and I really enjoyed it.  Take a break for about 6 minutes and enjoy.  I think I need to spend more time on the internet to keep up with things.

Joel Kim Booster – Conan Set from Omnipop Talent Group on Vimeo.

This is from his blog.

“First off, thank you (again) to everyone who has posted the set or reached out to say all those nice things about my set, my arms and/or my skin (the latter of which is now completely destroyed, btw). It was a completely amazing, surreal experience and one I have not quite convinced myself I deserved. Since I found out I’d be doing it, I’ve cried several places (bunk beds, hotel rooms, airports) not out of happiness, but out of complete and utter fear. Fear that I wasn’t ready, fear that everyone would be mad at me and most of all fear that I did not deserve this immense five minute honor. What a fucking idiot.

I hate to use that sticky internet phrase “imposter syndrome,” because it’s the kind of reference I would normally invoke ironically in that sort of post-comedy, new-Millennial way that is so pervasive on my social media accounts. But this whole week, I did truly feel like an imposter.

And of course I work my ass off. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am, I’m a funny boy whose charisma on stage makes up for those few holes in my set that are more about personality than joke writing and I know all that, I don’t need any back patting here to assure me that all those thoughts are insane. But my lizard brain keeps whispering, “you are not white, you are not straight, you were not forged in the fires of Chicago open mics for ten years before the industry took notice of you, in fact they only want you because you’re a minority, not because you’re funny or original or groundbreaking or alt or cool.”

(as though any of those things are mutually exclusive, but whatever).

It’s not as though those dark thoughts sprung up out of nowhere either, versions of that little subconscious speech have been spoken aloud by plenty of people to or around me, sometimes even by people I respect! But you know, like everyone else who’s heard a different version of the “you only got that because you’re [gay]” speech, you either quit or say “fuck you I’m here, I’m [queer], not a single person is owed anything by this industry, no one ‘deserves’ shit, we all just work and work and fucking work and if it works out it does and if not you decide if you want to keep working, it’s all random and meaningless and the only thing that matters is the work, get used to it.”

That’s the funny thing too. I’ve spent my entire career trying to prove that I’m funny despite being gay. Running full speed away from the “gay comic” label because I was afraid if people said that about me it somehow ghettoized me away from the regular comics and the kinds of opportunities they got. That it would always hang over accomplishments like this.

But, at the risk of sounding -very- self congratulatory here, I am a gay comic and being on late night television, doing my gay fucking bits was a big fucking deal to a lot of people who don’t get to see faggots like me talk about faggoty shit on tv since Looking went off the air (oops there were no asian fags on that show, but I don’t have time). People like Matteo and Guy and Solomon and Gabe and John and James (all of us VERY different I might add) and everyone else who’s ever gotten on TV and had the chance to have an audience of thousands, that’s fucking cool and important to kids like me who grew up in Plainfield IL and didn’t see gay people on TV. So yeah, I’m going to own that and I’m going to take pride in that. And if you think I got there BECAUSE of that, well ok that’s fine, I still got paid, I’m still on TV and I’m sure whatever you’re doing is pretty cool too, but you sound like a miserable fuck.

This is already insanely long and like, how obnoxious of me to think anyone wants to hear me dump all the emotions I’ve been feeling over the last few days onto the internet, but at this point I feel like you know what you’re getting by being here.

Anyway, I’m mostly posting this version of the clip because it has the intro and outro and all these fucking Youtube commenters (don’t tell me not to read them like you wouldn’t) are saying shit like “notice Conan didn’t give him a handshake at the end… hmmmmm” like they’ve cracked some fucking code and realized jet fuel doesn’t melt steel beams and not that they possibly had to edit it for time.

Ok bye!!”

 

A New Start

I’m officially unemployed today. I turned in my badge, corporate credit card and company laptop a day before my last day.  My manager and I shook hands, he said some nice things. I contacted a few colleagues prior to leaving to let them know where to find me on LinkedIn and to exchange contact info.  A couple offered to be references.  One endorsed me on LinkedIn.  I had a few nice conversations.   Almost everyone said this was a good thing for me and wished they could join me.  I chuckled and remembered I said the same things to others when they left.

Mostly they ask if I’m happy with the move.  I guess I am.  The stress was getting to me and affecting my health.  It wasn’t fun anymore although I liked dealing with the people.  I got into this industry by accident and found my niche.

For the past few months, I’ve been stocking up my pantry with stuff on sale (toilet paper, pasta, peanut butter, oatmeal…).  I think this is more of an emotional reaction.  It just brings back childhood worries when dad lost his job.  I keep reviewing my finances to make sure I’m ok for the next few months.

So what’s next for me?  I’ve been grappling with this for the past few months and I have no idea.  I tell people I just want to focus on improving my health.  I see this as a rare opportunity that I can’t waste.

 

Your snoring was loud…

That was one of the feedback from the sleep doctor.  I had gone to a sleep clinic a few days ago on a hot summer night.  It took about 30 minutes for the technician to wire me up.  I sent  J a selfie and he proclaimed “OMG you look scary”.  My hair was covered with a sticky gel.  There were 2 straps on my chest, wires from my legs, my head and something to measure my breathing strapped close to my nose.  By the time I was wired up, I had some time to read (no TV).  I took a sleeping pill (they were fine with that) about an hour before I slept.  Once the technician turned off the lights, I was out.  I woke up just before 5 to check the time and rolled back to a light sleep.  They woke me up before 6.  I washed my face but my hair looked like it had chewing gum all over it.

Lucky for me, I had my baseball cap with me and wore it as I walked home.  I even stopped by a McDonald’s for a couple of Egg McMuffins and coffee.  Once I got home, I showered to get that sticky gel off me.

The results were in a couple of days later.  The doctor went through my sleep stages, oxygen levels, body position (I didn’t move as much as I thought), the amount of deep sleep etc…  I was staring at his monitor as he described the data for me.  My eyes stopped at a line called “spontaneous arousal”.  He didn’t bring it up and I didn’t ask.  Bottom line, I only have mild sleep apnea and I don’t need a CPAP machine.  Whew.

I wasn’t surprised by the loud snoring.  It wakes me up sometimes.  I used an app called SnoreLab and it confirmed I snored a lot and loud.   He gave me some recommendations so I’ll check those out.

 

Too cold and too hot

This may sound odd but I don’t really like air conditioning.  If I can feel that cold air blowing on me, then I get really uncomfortable.  At my last vacation in Taiwan, it seems all the rooms had the AC blowing on to the sleeping area.  I slept with the blanket over my shoulders and a tshirt covering my head.  When I’m in a car or a plane, I turn the air vents away from me.

When I’m driving alone, I rarely turn the AC on.  I just roll down the windows and let the air rush in.  At home, my condo does get hot during the daytime.  I’ll turn the AC on for awhile and then turn it back off once I get comfortable.  I rarely leave it on all night.

Here’s where it gets a bit weird.  I do like walking outside during the winter.  The cold wind will be blowing hard but as long as I’m bundled up, I’m fine.  But a cool draft from an air conditioner will have me shivering very quickly.  And during the winter, I do open the window to let in some fresh air.  Most of the time at night, I turn the heat off.

Maybe my metabolism is just odd.

Hello… is someone there?

I sometimes get a feeling I’m not alone even though I’m physically alone in my condo.  If I’m working late at night, I just have my desk lamp on.  My desk is at the corner of the room and it faces the wall.  Every so often I just have this sense that someone is behind me.  I turn on all the lights and walk around.  Of course, there’s no one and the front door is still locked.

But most of the time I have this vague feeling of being reassured.  It’s as if someone is around just keeping guard.  But I don’t know who.  A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about cats.  I’ve always had cats around me when I was a kid.  Was it one of my pet cats from long ago?  But then again, I follow a bunch of cat accounts on Instagram.

*pauses writing to release a spider out the window*

I would like to know who or what is keeping me company.  Do they see me at my best?  Or when I’m lazy and procrastinating?  Maybe it’s just Santa clause keeping tabs on who is naughty or nice.  In other unrelated news… my sibling made an appointment for me to see a medium that he and his wife both saw.