I just got back from a fantastic week in Los Angeles with my best friend, Sean – hence the lack of a blog update yesterday.
Friday night he took me to my first Korean BBQ experience at Hae Jang Chon, an apparently well-known spot as evidenced by the substantial wait. For those who don’t know, Korean BBQ means you get a bunch of little dishes (I think we got six complimentary appetizers) and a wok on your table. You order meat; they bring it out to you and you cook it yourself. You can order a lot of meat – we did rounds of beef brisket, bulgogi, and pork belly. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
We followed dinner with the film Loopers. I hadn’t heard much about it, except that it had some actors I liked and was getting good reviews and involved some kind of time travel, so I went in without many expectations. I was blown away. In a year where it seems like every movie is a re-make or a sequel, Loopers defies a lot of traditions with a strange (but compelling) structure, a dark, unexpected storyline, and a number of cool ideas. The acting’s great, the writing’s great, and there are some really sweet scenes that I don’t want to spoil. The time-travel aspect is not without issues, which comes to no surprise, but I found them easy enough to ignore and just enjoy the ride.
Saturday was spent at a gaming story, playing in the Return to Ravnica pre-release event – a Magic: The Gathering tournament. I’d been very much anticipating the set, and despite the insane heat and crowded playing conditions, still had fun. Having not had much of a chance to get food, we ended the day by gorging ourselves at a pub-style restaurant called the Village Idiot, which had about the best french-fries I’ve ever tasted and a pretty cool S’more style desert involving dark chocolate pudding.
Sunday involved donuts and a lot of hanging out before going to the airport and waiting on a delayed flight that took me to a delayed bus that sat in traffic for far too long. Fortunately, I had the newest Jack Reacher book (wow does Lee Child know how to pace!) to keep me company, and didn’t get too worked up over it.
Saturday in particular I ended up feeling about as happy as I’ve ever felt in my entire life, and it occurred to me that such moments should come more frequently than they do. Certainly it’s not something we have total control with, but I believe more and more we have a heck of a lot of say in how we feel. A lot of what I’ve been doing this year, not just with my writing but my life in general, has been to gain greater control over my emotions. They weren’t out of control before, but just like anything else, it seems like things like being happy more, avoiding stress, not letting negativity get to you, can all be improved. I think I’ve been pretty successful at that, and I hope to see more moments like this weekend in the not-too-distant future.
James Owen, who I’ve talked about before , has continued to inspire this type of thinking. He gave one of the most inspirational talks I’ve ever seen at Superstars in Vegas. That’d be awesome enough if it was a one-time thing, but I can now say after following him on Facebook in the months since, that’s just how he is. He posts wonderful, inspiring, powerful messages not just every week, but every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. And not just the same thing, either – sometimes it’s a little thought, sometimes it’s an anecdote, sometimes an analogy. He reminds me that you can always elevate yourself higher than you currently stand, and that doing so is a choice we can make every day.