Sugarland, eggs and motivation


wasted another night of my life. Well, I didn’t really waste it and it wasn’t even night. More like 2AM in the morning. I watched Steven Spielbergs first feature film “Sugarland Express”. I didn’t necessarily have low expectations for this movie, like “Zoolander” but I didn’t expect to be amazed either.

Starring Goldie Hawn and Ben Johnson, “Sugarland Express” is a story of two ex-convicts–a married couple–who kidnap at rookie lawman and have him take them to Sugarland, TX where they intend the retake the son whom social welfare had taken away and placed in a foster home. During the course of their trip to Sugarland–which is 92% of the movie, they make stops to get gas, eat pried chicken in the car, and receive warm encouragement from well-wishers along the road as word of their journey hits the air-waves. It was reminiscent of OJ, but 20 years earlier. During the movie, I was thinking how hokie this was. I was going to turn it off and go to bed on at least three different occasions. I mean, a movie by the man who brought us “E.T.” and “Close Encounters” (which actually preceded “Sugarland Express”) and starring the bubbly Laugh-In girl, Goldie Hawn, had to have a happy ending, right? Two convicts pick up their two-year old son and escape into Mexico, leaving the cops eating their dust. Well, I don’t wanna spoil it, even though it is an old movie, but I was glad I watched until the end. My faith has been restored…

A few more random calls

kizyr: Say, here’s a question for you if you’ll ever get to it: what made you enjoy cooking so much? I rarely meet another guy like myself who enjoys it to that extent–and, unlike myself, is really good at it.

O-man: Hmmm… My stock answer is that I enjoy cooking because I like to eat. But that’s not the real reason. Have you ever laughed or giggled when you eat something really good? When I first went to Kinkead’s–a seafood restaurant in DC, I couldn’t stop giggling. There is something about delicious food that tickles the palate and makes me smile. And I want others to smile as well. Whether it’s from acting silly or saying something funny in class, I want to make people laugh. And cooking is an extention of that desire. Not that I’m a great cook. I’m not. But I try. Occasionally, I’ll pull off a a good dish–usually one of my stir fried number. I mentioned the tofu pomadoro recently. I have a beef, tomato and egg salad that comes out well, on occasion. 4 eggs lightly beaten, two tomatoes chopped, 3-4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces, half a pound of thinly sliced beef (marinated in 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 teaspoon of sake, 1 tsp potato starch), half a head of lettuce (I like romaine) chopped into narrow shreds and place on a large serving dish leaving it thennest in the center. Mix eggs tomatoes and green onions in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Saute the beef in garlic. When it begins to brown, add half a cup of chicken stock. When the stock is almost almost evaporated, pout the eggs, tomatos and green onions. Stir as gently as possible as you want the eggs to be as light as possible. After the eggs are cooked to your level of doneness (I like them fluffy,barely cooked), pour into the center of the lettuce on plate. Unagi-kun scrafs this down instantly. The question is: What makes you think that my cooking is good? You’ve never really tasted it, have you? But you’ll get your chance this Fall, I suppose. Okonomiyaki!

Fongster8: so can we try out your cooking??

O-man: My cooking? Well, you can try my recipe, but to try my cooking, you’d have to be one of my students–students are the best because they’ll appreciate virtually anything. I also cook/cooked for my wife/girl friends. Any takers? Didn’t think so…

Fongster8: I have another question: What is your favourite Japanese city?

O-man: My favourite city, period, is Tokyo. I think it is the best city in the world. It can keep up with the best fashion trends of Bond Street. It has as many great restaurants as Paris. And it is a buzzing city that never goes to sleep, always alive and vibrant like New York. And the best thing is that it has a crime level that would put London, Paris and New York. Of course, Tokyo has its bad elements, but there is nothing that even remotely resembles the criminal element of the other major cities of the world. You could walk around Tokyo and never worry about life or limb. You could lose time, because it is huge and at times confusing. You could lose money, becasue it can be so expensive. But you will never lose your life. Not in Tokyo. Gawd I love that city. I want to go back soooooooo bad. At least once more before I die. But for a variety of complicated reasons–least of which is money–I can’t get there…

detachable: Tell me, was Mr. Perez and his words your only motivation and drive? Or were there other factors to make you go all out like that? How do you get so focused??

O-man: Hey Detachable, where you been? You aren’t posting much lately… Anyway, Mr. Perez was perhaps not the only person, but he was definitely the catalyst. Being comfortable with J literature probably has a lot to do with my Dad, who is a senryu poet–come to think of it, I have some poems to judge, don’t I. Another factor might be simply a love for my heritage–well, it’s probably more of a love-hate relationship. While I have come to terms with my American-ness, I cannot easily forget my younger days when I–we–thought that we were really Japanese. Silly us. But these are basically the positive things that got me where I wanted to go. There is one negative force, and an important one at that. At UCLA, I had a prof, BB, who had NO confidence in me. He would look at my work and my playful attitude toward my work and call me insipid. I would tell others behind my back that I would never amount to anything, that I would never get a Ph.D. Fortunately, I had enough people who supported me, who believed in me, to offset his negativity. But his attitude compelled me to prove him wrong. There was not way I was going to let him get any satisfaction, to allow him to get the last laugh. It is, in a way, a kind of revenge: getting back at him for his words. And as we all know revenge is a powerful motivator. Fortunately, to affect this revenge, I had to do well in school and in my career, so it turned into a postive.