I’ve been on Twitter for a very long time now, but it’s remarkable that I’ve tweeted so many times. My goodness. This is special. Ah. Seriously, thank you so much for the opportunity. Couldn’t have done it without you guys; I’ve got some people to thank:
If I forgot anyone, I’m very sorry! I had a very limited time to give this speech, and I just want to thank everybody one more time! You all are wonderful, and my life is better for having known you! Thank you for being there to support me during my career.
Obviously, Twitter is an amazing place, and I’m so proud and happy to have been there for 10,000 tweets. It’s truly a treat to relish.
Good night, everyone!
House of Vietnam acquired its business license in November 1996; I actually don’t know when the space was first leased or anything of that nature. However, I clearly remember laying tile down, and at that time, I couldn’t have been older than two and a half years old.
That distinctively cheap yellow and green bathroom hall tile… Oh, HOV. It was such a risky endeavor and crafted with such a tight budget. I remember my aunt helping out during this particular memory; I’m sure many extended family members lent a helping hand as well. There’s no way I actually helped with anything at that early age, but I was there! And I have this weird event to recall! I definitively recall my dad using a mallet to gently tap tiles down…
I think this is my first memory.*
*I have some day care memories, but those are definitely past the time of the aforementioned HOV one. Another early one is from when I first heard I’d have a brother; I have to think about that timeline. I’ve got another memory of eating McDonald’s at home, but I don’t know how old I was… There were chicken nuggets and BBQ sauce.
I have no idea what Vietnam Garden’s pho is like. It’s not what I’d get if I were to go there, but that’s not the point.
Bro. Bro… You wrote this review on 8/23/13. That’s scarcely three months ago. Pho Boston has been closed since May. Pho City? That’s been closed for at least a year and a half. Your review… It’s based on comparisons to nonexistent restaurants. The Pho City reference is especially worrisome. Just how often do you eat pho, my friend?
'Cuz this is kinda awkward.*
*I’d flag this on Yelp, but I doubt the moderators would do anything. I’ve tried. I just can’t trust reviewers who clearly don’t know their food and foodstuffs…
A comparison of Yelp rating distribution.
Pho 1 Grill:
That is seriously stunning. Twelve 5-star reviews to one. 12:1. And we’ve been open less than half the time. I don’t want to jinx anything, but holy hell.
Are we really that much better? Food-wise, I dunno. Our stir-fry is obviously miles ahead of theirs (because theirs is basically sugar and soy sauce), but pho and grill shouldn’t be wholly different. My cousin is a stubborn crazy person, but she can cook some foods very well. The deciding factor is most definitely customer experience, and that, I believe, helps explain these Yelp reviews. Treat a customer right, and they’re more likely to post a brilliant review; either that or treat them so horribly, they post a god awful review.
It’s a test of extremes. They fail. We pass.
Oh, and since Jack left, there have been a handful of positive reviews in a very short period of time. Of course, the timeline since his leaving coincides with a period of flurried business (a result of the Times Dispatch review), but I want to think Jack’s departure made Pho 1 Grill a sunnier place for both the staff and customers.
It’d be so fun (and hilarious) to see him work at Tay Ho.
Another year, another Black Friday.
This year, the 2013 edition, closely resembled last year’s. The participants? Do Youn Park. Wasek Chowdhury. Omar Khalid Ijaz. Logan Charles Harding. And myself, Victor Tran. A merry lot.*
*Jordan Taylor Nguyen was in London. Lucky bloke.
We started at Wess’ house, though we had quite a debate over whether to head to the mall for a space in line or eat at Wess’. In the end, everyone ended up at the house, and we ate some tasty cooking… While sales are great, food brings us together. Omar and I, ever determined, decided to leave to line up at Urban Outfitters. The other guys volunteered to leave too, but I insisted Do stay to eat. Because he’s Do. And Do eats. A lot.
So after a drive, I forced Omar to get out of the car and stake a place in line while I parked. He called me to say there were literally two other people; evidently, three hours early is quite the head start. There were tons of old white persons who questioned our sanity. And we waited. This is when our dueling Facebook profile photos were taken… And we waited some more. Turns out Do took forever to eat and then had to use the bathroom. Such a Do. Took nearly an hour before they met us.
But Urban was exhilarating once it opened. Mad rush. Bird sweaters! #PidgeoDO. Operation Desert Storm pants. I lead-blocked for Wess through the mass of humanity, and that was fun; it’s fun to weave and bulldoze through people. I also went under a rack to get to the other side - also fun. Omar had about 20 things to try on, which was typical. Oh, and more fun: Logan thought everything was 50%, not just the sales racks. Silly white man.
After Urban though, no one wanted to line up for H&M… Come on, guys, it was only three short hours. We ended up going to Macy’s for probably an hour. They sat and ate a pizza bought off a random guy. It was so frustrating… Somewhere along the way, Omar and Logan were banished to the food court. Fortunately, however (despite a mall cop’s best efforts to spoil the mood), everything turned out perfectly peachy.
H&M was fantastic. Lots of really great deals.
Pro tip: When you get the scratcher for H&M, don’t stand there near the door and scratch… RUN FOR THE SALES. SPRINT. GO. That’s what Logan and I did, and we got the pick of the lot. ‘Twas a full 20 seconds before someone else joined us upstairs in the mens’ section. DRHS Track represent. #OneLapSquad
Omar and Logan were dying though, so we took them home after H&M… That made no sense since Omar always stays up late and woke up pretty late that Thursday. But brown kids be brownin’. Wess, Do, and I trekked on to Best Buy. I hit the 24-hour mark around this time. Honestly, my favorite moment all night was when we (Wess, myself, and a Geek Squad guy) convinced Do to buy a 16 GB flash drive. We forced him to get it, and the whole event was glorious. The Geek Squad employee was awesome and played along; he actually started it. Go you, Anthony (random name I’ve assigned to him for recollection purposes).
And we can’t forget #BaHump.
My full list of purchases:
Most of those are weird-looking because I divided their sale price proportionally by the savings the H&M scratcher afforded me ($25 off $40 purchase). I was happy about getting so much stuff for about $20…
But Black Friday really is not about the sales. It’s all about the experience! Jordan will back me up on that. Standing in the freezing cold for hours on end is decidedly miserable, but doing so with some fantastic friends is completely different; it makes it all worth it. Each year, there are tons of laughs to be shared and many memories to be made on that night; this time, my prevailing memories will be a loopy Do, Logan and Omar’s sleepiness (ahem, grumpiness), not-truly-crippled Wess in line at Urban, and…
How awesome and absurd is it that we went out to buy epoxy on Black Friday… Epoxy! A common household adhesive! Yeah! In a storm of people digging through the remains of Walmart’s 6 PM sales, Omar and I debated which type to get. General purpose or Extreme? Maybe Welding? Or perhaps the double-pronged one (this one was really interesting, actually)? It was a riot. Our timing was great too; an employee was popping balloons signaling lines for (long gone) prime sale items in that very aisle.
It’s nice that stuff is cheaper on that particular day (though I know better than to expect quality), but in the vein of Thanksgiving, it’s far more important to savor Black Friday for the bonding experience. As in, you know, be thankful for the people you hunt down sales with. Not the sales themselves.
Last night, the Korean server/tender lady at Honeypig left the tiniest piece of our braised rib on her plate. It never made it onto our grill. And honestly, in no way does that matter.
But being the person I am, I made it a point to remember that exact moment, right then and there. For whatever reason, it was important to have that event captured in my mind. And then I thought to myself, Oh my gosh… There are already so many tiny moments I’ve forgotten about in my life. That’s horrifying. What if you’re 50 years old and remember nearly none of the little instances that made you so happy in your youth? Memories won’t change, but your memory can fail.
And I panicked… I still don’t have an answer.
EDIT: Oh my god. That’s my fear. Not remembering. A failing memory. Oh my god. This is a revelation… A terrifying revelation.
It gets harder to leave home with every single break. I know I have things to get back to at college, but there are so many things in Richmond for me as well.
I’m really thankful for a loving family, fantastic friends, and the wonderful feeling of comfort those two provide. There are times when I realize that more than others, and this is definitively one of those moments.
There seems to be a lot happening in my life right now. Pho 1 Grill is doing better than ever. I’ve got internships and study abroad opportunities to look into. Finals are just two weeks away. I’m determined to stay in shape, so I have to dedicate time to that. There’s lots of economics to study and research… It’s not overwhelming, but it is a lot to take in at once.
Dinner last night was, in hindsight, a pretty special memory. Four very good friends sharing an impromptu excursion to Centreville for Korean BBQ… A series of significant memories happened that night in a very short period of time, and I’ll never forget them; at least, I’ll try not to.
Point is, this post is “late.” But I’m very thankful.