No Regrets

Me and my brother Nghia was driving down to Houston over the weekend and he asked me the following question:  “If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?”



Now that’s a really tough question to answer on the spot.

First of all, it’s based on the assumption that we made plenty of stupid decisions.  Decisions we wish we could take back.  Decisions that steered us away from what we wanted at that time.

For example, for my nephew’s birthday, I thought it would be a wise decision to cut watermelon while I was drunk and trying to carry a conversation with my cousin Audrey.  Half-way through our discussion, I missed the watermelon and instantly cut into something else that colored the knife red.  (Now I know why you shouldn’t operate heavy machinery while you’re intoxicated.)

Of course, I am guilty of mistakes during all parts of my life.  Who isn’t?

The second assumption is that once we change something significant about our past, something significant about our present should also change.

This kind of thinking puts you in passenger seat of your life, instead of being in the driver’s seat.  You are pretty much admitting that you have no power or influence in your life.  If your life is so horrible right now, why don’t you change something about it?

Another fallacy in this way of thinking is you may judge that one mistake to be monumental, but in the grand scheme of things it was really insignificant.  Therefore by changing something insignificant about your past, you end up with the same present that you’re discontent with.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario.  You regret losing one of your past loves.  You were jealous and accused them of cheating on you.  It destroyed your relationship.  And ever day since, you wondered what could have been, if you had done otherwise.  So you make that wish.  Wishing that jealously would no longer be an issue.  And once you open your eyes expecting to be next to your lover again, you aren’t.  For some reason, that wasn’t enough.  Perhaps jealousy was just the tip of the iceberg.  Perhaps the relationship was destined to end regardless of how you acted.

Another way a wish could go wrong is if we wished something away that was actually an important aspect of your life.

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Blogging About Blogging: Conception

A Dream Within A Dream

In the movie Inception, they play around with the idea of “a dream within a dream”.  The idea is simple.  You’re in a dream and for some reason, you see yourself wake up from the dream returning to your normal conscious life.

Except that you didn’t really wake up.  You only woke up in your dream.  You are still in the dream world.  This is where everything gets confusing because how can you ever know 100% that you woke up from you dream?

You don’t.  Well at least in the movie, it’s incredibly hard to distinguish dreams from real life.



Writing About My Writing

That’s exactly how I felt when I set out to write about my writing process.

–  How do I come up with these ideas?  (I don’t know, I just do.)
–  There has to be a process to it.  (It’s called the imagination.)
–  Next time you write a blog, observe yourself.  (That sounds like too much work.  Not only do I have to sit down and think about what to write.  Now I have to pay attention on how I do it.)

I don’t know how I convinced myself to do it, but I did.



Why Write?

I’ve always enjoyed writing.  Before this blog, I had two other blogs.  One in college and another one a couple of years back.

I usually get bored after awhile and stop blogging.  But I always come back.  Eventually.

For some reason, I have this creative bug inside of me that creates this itch.  The only way to quell the itch is to do something creative.

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Top 10 Reasons of Why I’m Still Single

1.  I’m gay.

  • My cousin TA told me this.  She said, “A lot of people have been asking me if you’re gay.”  I didn’t ask her who, but I assume it would have to be her friends.  It could also be people in our family too.  I’ve been single for about 10 years, so I can see why they are wondering.  No girlfriend for such a long time, maybe he doesn’t like girls?  It doesn’t help that I enjoy going to gay clubs.  Plus, in my parent’s living room, there’s a picture of me wearing a dress when I was young.  I have to admit, I looked very flattering in that dress.

2.  I hangout with TA too much.

  • This is my mom’s words.  I went on a road trip to New Orleans with my cousin TA in August and when my mom found out, this is what she had to say, “Going out with TA again?  Don’t you know this weekend is Marian Days in Missouri?  Over 60,000 Vietnamese Catholics!!!  I’m sure you can find one single Vietnamese Catholic female there!”  To be frank, my mom does have a point.  TA is the closest thing I have to a best friend.  She’s hilarious, entertaining, and tons of fun.   When you have a bestie like TA, sometimes you forget that you’re still single and supposedly miserable.

3.  My mom is a cock blocker.

  • My dad is referencing to what happened with my very first girlfriend.  She was my first girlfriend, so I fell very hard for her.  I fell so hard that my grades started slipping and I had to drop a course in college.  I was a zombie in love.  Even on days where I’m sick and bed-ridden, I would crawl out of my bed just to visit my girlfriend.  Obviously my mom thought this obsession was unhealthy, so she advised that I take a break from dating and focus more on school.  I broke up with her a couple weeks later and ever since my dad has attributed my  relationship woes to my mom.

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The Art of Hustling

Rome, Italy

Tourist attractions are usually filled with people looking to making an extra buck at the cost of the tourist.

For example, I went to Europe during college.  While visiting Italy, we went to the town square with tons of artists painting, booths selling souvenirs, and corner cafe selling drinks.  I was wandering on my own and this fellow came up to me.

He seemed friendly and asked me to hold up my wrist.  In a matter of seconds, he quickly created a wristband.

I didn’t think anything of it, assuming that perhaps this is a local custom to welcome tourists.

After finishing the knot, he said, “10 Euros please”.

I thought he was playing with me, so I said, “What do you mean 10 Euros?  I don’t want to buy this.”

He kept calm, pointed at the bracelet, and said “Bracelet, 10 Euros.”

I wasn’t going to pay for a cheap bracelet that I didn’t even ask for.

Feeling upset, I tried to take off the bracelet and give it back to him, but he just shook his head and said, “No.  That’s yours.  10 Euros for that.”

I didn’t like where this was headed, so I looked around for my tour group but as soon as I tried to walk away, two other guys came and blocked my route.

The newcomers started talking with the bracelet dude.  I could tell they all knew each other.  And I could tell there was no easy way out for me.

I looked around.  No one I knew.  All alone in a strange country.  I had no idea who I was dealing with.

I reluctantly shelled out the 10 Euros.

I left the town square vowing never to put myself in that situation again.



Las Vegas, Nevada

During the summer of 2014, my friends decided to visit Las Vegas for a friend’s bachelor party.  We went through the motions as far as what Las Vegas had to offer.

Gambled our money away.  Got Drunk.  Splurged on fancy restaurants.  Lost More money at other casinos.  Made promises to each other not to lose again.  Then lose even more the next time.

Since it WAS a bachelor’s party, we had to squeeze in a customary visit to the strip club.

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A History Of Flatulence

Definition of Flatulence – flatus expelled through the anus, breaking wind, farting (wikipedia)



Blue Pill or Red Pill?

In the movie Matrix, Morpheus presents Neo with the following proposition:

“You take the blue pill, the story ends.  You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

I too was presented with a similar choice.

The only difference was my pill was neither blue nor red.



Two-Some

In California, I have a pretty bad reputation because of my gas-passing ability.

In a room full of strangers, my cousin can detect my gas from another’s.  He knows it like the back of his hand.

Another one of my cousin from California, recently told me this, “I miss your farts.”

Really?  Of everything that I am and can do, this is what you remember me by?

Our deep conversations over boba?  Nope.  My infectious laughter?  Nah.  Tearing up the floor with my dance moves?  Never.

In certain people’s mind, I’m just a big, stanky, burst of hot air.

Speaking of the cousin that missed my farts, here’s one of our cherished moments.

My cousin was in his room watching TV.

I walked in sat down and let one out.  (This may sound like a douche bag thing to do, but I seriously didn’t have the urge until I sat down.  Sometimes you don’t feel it, until you’re in a particular position and suddenly the stars are aligned.)

After a couple of seconds, he looked up, pulled his shirt over his nose and said, “Did you fart?”

I was in a very playful mood, so I kept my face straight and said, “No!!!  Did you?”

Now this threw him off.  He’s not sure if he did fart or not.  I mean as far as he could remember he didn’t fart, but he wasn’t 100% confident of that, so that stalled him for awhile.

In the mean time, I thought about the whole situation.  Two people in a room.  One farts, the other one smells it.  It shouldn’t take this long to figure out who did it right?

I couldn’t control myself anymore and started giggling at him.

My cousin caught on and proceeded to bombard me with anything he could get his hands on.



Three-Some

I was in a meeting with three of my co-workers.
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“Real Estate Confessions” #HairRaisingBarks #ReModeledBathrooms #OneWitness

I hate it when I’m all alone shooting a house that feels creepy.

You’re downstairs and you hear creaks upstairs.  It’s windy outside, so it could easily be the weather acting on the infrastructure of the house.

You leave the room and door closes behind you.  Hmm.  Perhaps the hinge was installed wrong so it’s leaning towards the door.

There’s always an explanation for anything that’s creepy in this world.

But when you’re all alone in a house, sometimes you lose the ability to logically dissect a situation.

Fear is overwhelmingly strong in these cases.

I have a theory, where fear is extremely potent wave of energy that is emitted from your body.  It tends to attract that which you fear the most.

You’re scared that someone might break-up with you, they break-up with you.

You’re scared of losing a basketball game, you lose the basketball game.

You’re afraid of making a mistake during a piano recital, your performance ends up being dry.

So when I hear things in a house, I’m not sure if fear is making me extra sensitive to normal creaks within the house …

Or that the negative energy (my fear) emitting from my body is causing the noise.

I remember watching a horror movie, where the family keeps on moving from one house to another assuming that the houses are all haunted.

In the end, they realize they’re son is the one that was possessed.  They assume the problem was the house, but the problem resided inside their own family.

That could relate to me too.  I’m the only common factor in all the haunted houses I’ve visited.

It could also relate to the next haunted house I shot.

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“Online Dating 101: Being Safe”

A couple of months back, I was trying the whole online dating thing when I found out about “How About We” app.

The way it works is you just make a post about what’s your ideal date.

The post can go something like this: “How about we …

  • Grab some coffee at starbucks.”
  • Hangout at the pub and play some pool.”
  • Go to a Texas Rangers game.”

You put something up there.  If someone’s interested they’ll click on a button and you’ll get a notification saying someone’s down for some coffee with you.

You on the other hand can also browse people’s “ideal date” posts and respond to those dates if you’re interested.

Posting and browsing is free, but if you want to communicate with anyone to setup a date, you’re going to have to sign up for their membership.

Being the cheap and frugal person that I am, I decide against paying for anything that doesn’t guarantee results.  For all I know, this website could be a scam.

As an alternative, I tried to beat the system.  Or rather I found a loophole.   I posted the typical date idea with one small addition.

“Let’s grab dinner and entertainment at Dave and Busters.  Email me at myemail@hotmail.com, if you’re interested.”

Since the app charges you to communicate, I decided to bypass that step by including my own form of communication in the post.

Obviously, I realized that I was probably violating some kind of “how about we” rules/policies.  If everyone decided to do what I did, “how about we” would never make any money from all their hard work.

Within a half day, I got a nice email from their technical support saying that they deleted that post because I’m not supposed to post any personal form of communications and asked me nicely to refrain from posting anything like that in the future.

They busted my chops, but my futile attempt to beat the system actually produce some results.  To be exact, it produced one result.

I got an email from one person who was interested in going on a date with me.

After going back and forth introducing ourselves to each other, she sent me the following email:

Hi,

Well I would prefer we meet up immediately (meaning in the next few days). I realized what better way to know if I want to get to know that person more? I do ask that you post a pic with todays date so I know it’s a recent pic (I would do the same for you), it just eliminates the chances of us meeting up with a completely different person.

Two things stood out to me in this email.  First of all, she wants to meet immediately, which makes sense to me.  No use in going back and forth emailing, if you don’t enjoy each other’s company.
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“Real Estate Confessions” #FakeSnakesAgain #PicsOrItDidntHappen #ThereWillBeBlood

I notice a trend happening here.  I go out to the country to shoot a new property.  The house is vacant.  The residents have recently passed away.  And then creepy things start happening.

I will note the similarities of this house compared to my last house.

I take a long drive out of the city into the country to shoot a house that is so damn close to the last creepy house I shot.

The property is huge.  No one lives there. There is wildlife like cows and horses.  There’s a pond, a barnyard, and a gated entrance.  Just like the other house.

Towards the end of the shoot, I noticed something weird and somewhat out of place … again.

It happened when I was at the front door.  I was ready to leave.  For some odd reason, I had a sudden urge to look up.

Bad idea.

This is what I saw:

2014-07-16 11.52.27

 

Another freaking fake snake.

What is it with empty houses and fake snakes?

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“Real Estate Confessions” #CountryHouses #FakeSnakes #WeirdNoises

A couple of months ago, I posted this on my facebook status: “Shot a house for a real estate agent today that was actually haunted, weird unexplained things happening in the house, had a priest come over and exorcise the house … :(“.

The story behind that facebook post is, I had a shoot that was far away from the dfw metroplex.  It was a very nice home, no sign of wear or tear, or anyone dying there recently.  The homeowner lived there by herself with her pet dog.  When I came there, the homeowner and the real estate agent were both there talking and mingling.

Halfway through the shoot, the real estate agent casually informs me that the homeowner is selling the house because it’s haunted.  That’s a bit of information that I could probably do without, but nevertheless what was heard can’t be unheard.

Normally, when houses creak or lights flicker, I don’t pay too much attention to it.  But for some reason, I was extra sensitive to anything that I thought I saw or heard.  Sometimes your mind plays tricks on you.

I also noticed the real estate agent tried to stay within my vicinity, which is rare because most agents usually prefer to do paperwork or return missed calls from potential clients.  Not today, she was always within eyesight from where I was going.  Perhaps she was a little spooked too.

For most shoots, I take my time with shooting pics, because I want to make sure they come out good.  Not this house though, as soon as the agent told me it was haunted, I went on overdrive and sped through that house as fast as I could.

Getting into my car I drove away with a wave of relief flowing through me.  I never wanted to step inside a haunted house again.  The good thing is, I never did have to return to that house again.  The bad thing is, I found another house that was haunted.



This house was also out in the country.  It had tons of land, a nice huge pond with a fishing deck, a guest house, and a huge barn with horses & donkeys roaming the land.

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