I'm back from Vietnam, folks. It was a long trip and it's great to be back home with BossLady and the Peanut. I missed them both terribly. And not surprisingly, I missed all of you guys too. I'm still a little jet lagged from the flight back home so I'll post more about the trip later this week.
Meanwhile, thanks for all your questions. I enjoyed reading them and it helped me kill a solid two hours on my 24-hour journey back home. Here are my replies...
[David] I want to know where to get the best Pho soup in Saigon.
Although you can get pho anywhere in Vietnam, purists insist that the best pho can only be found in Hanoi. So before I left NYC, I did some online research about where I should go. The best advice I found was from a British blogger named Pieman, a fellow foodie who is diligently eating his way through Vietnam's market stalls. Of pho, Pieman says, "Vietnam's national dish, a belchworthy beef broth, belongs in scuzzy shacks, floors littered with broken chopsticks and cheap napkins, and not the poncey tables of nouvelle cuisine, restaurants with chamber music or the 'ethnic' section of the Hilton breakfast buffet." In other words, the best pho is the one you find on your own.
[Leora] Do you speak fluent Korean? What language was spoken at home with your parents?
Sadly, I do not speak fluent Korean. Although my comprehension is fairly good, I speak just enough to get by in a restaurant or a bar. Growing up, my parents usually spoke to me in Korean and I would reply in English. It's actually one of my great regrets that my Korean is not better. I plan on avoiding this with the Peanut. At my request, all grandparents only communicate with her in Korean.
[AlleMalle] If you could choose what to come back as in your next life - anything! anything at all! - what would you choose and why?
Ahh, the infamous Proust Questionnaire! I think I'd like to come back as a fisherman from a remote coastal village. Maybe somewhere in the Mediterranean. Or in the South China Sea. There's something very appealing to me about a simple life free of all the conveniences and stresses of modern life.
[Brent] Who would play you and Bosslady in the TV version of your life? Who's your favorite sitcom character of all time? And if you were on "Lost," who would you be friends with?
If we're casting based on the whole Asian thing, I guess I'd go with Chow Yun Fat and Zhang Ziyi. However, that would probably be one of the Top 10 unfunniest sitcoms of all-time (although it would still be MUCH better than "Good Morning, Miami" or "Joey.") Aside from appearances? I think I'd go with Luke Wilson and Parker Posey. Favorite sitcom character? Reverend Jim from "Taxi." And if I were on "Lost," I'd most likely be friends with Sayid, Sun and Hurley. I'd WANT to hang out with Mr. Eko but I don't think he'd get my sense of humor and I'd probably just annoy the crap out of him.
[LandisMom] If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?
Bond. James Bond. (Alternatively...Phillip Marlowe, Atticus Finch, or Dean Moriarty)
[DP] Two questions for you: 1) If you could have a super power, what would it be? and 2) If you were given ONE DAY to do something that may be humanly impossible for you to do in this lifetime, what would it be??
Tough call. On the one hand, I think 99.99% of all men would want to have X-Ray vision. On the other hand, flying does seem pretty cool. I'll go with flying. As for doing the humanly impossible in one day? I'd love to spend a day with my maternal grandfather, a fascinating man who passed away while I was very young.
[Euphrosynely ] How come you have a French first name? Were your parents Francophones?
Depending on whom you ask, you'll hear a different reply. If you ask my dad, he'll say that since my last name is Kim (by far, the most common Korean name,) he wanted something different that would stand out. If you ask my mom, she'll say that French was always her favorite language (she's fluent in 6-7 languages.) If you ask me? I suspect that I was named after one of my mother's former boyfriends. Before she met my dad, she was an international stewardess and I think she was seeing a guy in Paris. I have a vague recollection of seeing photos of her with a dashing young Frenchman in a beret.
[Heather] If you and BossLady went on Trading Spouses or Wife Swap, what kind of family would the show pair you with?
Funny, Heather. BossLady and I were joking around about this a few months ago when we actually were contacted by the producers of "Trading Spouses." We laughed about how I might finally get a wife who not only cleaned but also was familar enough with a kitchen to know where the pots and pans are located. On the other hand, BossLady would probably end up on a farm somewhere in Appalachia, laying manure, working the fields, and cooking rabbit stew for a family of 10. It would be fucking hilarious.
[Margalit] What do you actually DO for a living?
You mean when I'm not fighting crime with my superhero powers? I actually design and produce activewear and sportswear for department stores, sporting goods retailers and various athletic brands. Half my job involves being creative. The other half requires a hard-nosed business acumen. I enjoy my job but I'm not sure I'll be doing it for the rest of my life.
[WeirdGirl] What liquid do sweaty Korean balls really drip? I have it on good authority that it is not actually sweat. Can you enlighten us?
The liquid is actually an admixture of kimchi juice, scotch and salt water. Surprisingly, it comes out smelling like coconut and tastes like sugar!
[Kara] How 'bout your most interesting brush with death or the law?
In 1990, while still in college, I was held hostage by a crazed lunatic. One of my close friends was shot standing a foot away from me. The incident was fairly traumatic. Thank God for therapy and Jack Daniels. As for the law? Aside from my propensity for speeding, my most serious brush with the law was when I had to spend the night in the Berkeley jail for getting caught standing on top of someone's car and drunkenly singing Frank Sinatra tunes at 4:00 am. This was shortly after the aforementioned hostage incident so the cops were fairly lenient. They were fairly nice about the whole ordeal. I even caught one of them laughing when I started singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
[MGJ] Do you think you're going to be overprotective of the Peanut when it comes time for her to start dating?
Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Does a bear shit in the woods? Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle? Hell, yes!
[RAJ] Any tips for a new guy? My wife is expecting our first child in 3 weeks!!!?
Don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff. Just kidding, Raj. In all seriousness, enjoy every single moment. Don't stress out over everything. Just relax. The incessant crying, the breastfeeding problems and the sleep deprivation will soon be distant memories. Your kid will be fine. Just relish every single moment. Best of luck to you and your wife!
[Meredith] As for a question,do you make your kim-bap with or without spam? What exactly do you roll up in it?
Ahh, Meredith. Clearly, you know about my people's fascination with Spam. Do you know that BossLady once wrote an amazing song about Spam? You've got to hear her sing it someday. It's absolutely fucking brilliant. We eat Spam with everything...ramen, sandwiches, salads, & omelets. We don't put it in the Peanut's kim-bap yet. But I imagine that we will soon enough. Right now, we just roll up a little egg in her kim-bap. She loves it.
[IAN] Since you've been so many places, I was wondering...what's the grossest thing you've ever eaten? And where?
Throughout my travels, I've pretty much tried everything: dogs, snakes, turtles, frogs, monkeys and every single part of a pig that you can possibly imagine. The only thing that really grossed me out? A few years ago in China when my host presented a tray of fried beetles. Some of them looked like giant spiders. I fucking HATE spiders. Man, I'm getting shivers just thinking about it again!
[RBrown] 1) Your favorite country and why of all 38 of those countries you've visited. 2) Your favorite book of all time. 3) And because you're a word man, you're favorite word to toss about?
(1) I know it sounds trite but I truly love France. I've probably been there over 30 times. I love getting lost in Paris. I love skiing in the mountains. I love the countryside. Take away all the people and the place would be heaven! (2) Favorite book of all-time? Ralph Ellison's "The Invisible Man." Because, at the time I read it, no other book affected me more. (3) My favorite words? Onomatopoeia, ineluctable, autological, and quotidian. I'm also a big fan of "swamp ass" and "bitch tits."
[L.] If you could be stranded on an island with either an ugly woman or a beautiful man, which would you pick?
Unless the woman were so ugly that she had a penis, I think I'd definitely go with the ugly woman.
[Lucinda] What would you say is your favorite Vanity Fair article ever written?
I've been a life-long fan of VF. Unfortunately, I'm thinking about cancelling my subscription. The Lindsay Lohan cover was almost a death knell for me. Remember when VF was a serious magazine that combined the best of politics, literature and culture? Now, it's like a highbrow version of "People" magazine. Anyway, my favorite VF article ever written was the expose on the tobacco industry that later became adapted to film ("The Insider.") More recently, the article revealing Mark Felt as Deep Throat was fantastic.
[Jerry] Since you're a big sports fan, what's your all-time favorite sports moment?
Easy. 1986. Game 6. World Series. Mets vs. Red Sox. The infamous Bill Buckner game. I was at the game with my friend's family. We were in the 5th row on the third base line. Most incredible thing I've ever seen. When the Mets came back to win, the crowd went nuts. Complete strangers started crying and hugging each other. Not only one of my all-time favorite sports moments but also one of my all-time favorite New York City moments.
[CIO] Who's going to be the next American Idol?
If there's any justice in the world, it will be Taylor or Elliot. I used to like Chris but everytime he sings now, it sounds like he's either taking a dump or performing an Evanescence cover. I don't entirely dislike Katherine but I think she's catching a bit of her own McPheever. False modesty doesn't play well on national TV, girlfriend! As for all the other contestants? They physically make me ill. Ace is a poseur with a poor voice. Kellie is possibly the dumbest person I've ever seen. And Paris is just too damn annoying.
That's all, folks. Hope you're all doing well! It's good to be back.