Mel, oh Mel…

Edited on 23 February 2014 — to mark more *new* realities…
Slightly edited on 27 October 2014 — for a bit more…
Yet further edited on 18 August & 5 September 2015 — for a tiny bit…
And more editing on 26 January 2016…

Yes, this is the “about” page for me, Mel Huang. I’m a single guy stuck (almost literally) in a Washington DC suburb (having decided to quit NYC for good) for now, frequently travelling the world, not really surviving a midlife crisis and a shattering relationship/break-up. I’m quickly losing faith in my fellow humans, and I can no longer trust anyone fully again. I may be in the 4th quarter of my life now, but the first 3 I’ve lived the life of dozens…

Over the years I lived in many different parts of the world and experienced much. I grew up in Hawai’i, worked as a lobbyist in DC, a restaurant owner in NYC, a journalist in Tallinn, an analyst in London, a student in Aberdeen, and so much more. A good part of my life has to be redacted…

But over the years I have published hundreds of items, from various academic publications to widely-read media. I am particularly proud of my work in the Baltics, especially when I did analysis for Radio Free Europe and served as Baltics Editor for the late-lamented Central Europe Review. I even did some groundbreaking work in Ukrainian while in Estonia in 1996 (which actually got me in trouble…). Even have a few book chapters to my name, and my old restaurant blog “Lone Diner in NYC” (because my ex just didn’t have enough time to eat out with me…).

And before you ask about my food credentials, I used to co-own the much-missed and beloved NYC restaurant Elettaria (I can’t believe our Facebook page is still up)

But today I am basically retired, preferring to enjoy life when I still can. I am rarely still a hired gun and jack of all trades. Once in a blue moon I still do consulting work with governments and companies with my Estonia/Baltic/Central/East European expertise. After 20+ years of active investing, I am no longer an active investor and trader and have pretty much divested from the rigged financial markets. I cook as well as those paid to do it full-time. I travel the world, because I want to experience everything before my body quits on me. My doctor tells me I have drawn quite a genetic short straw with a condition I suffer with, I’ve had a massive lymphoma scare and need to be constantly monitored (I loathe PET scans), and my joints and liver will pack up one day sooner than later. And of course, there’s still parts of my life that require ongoing redaction…

I love single malt and grappa, as well as Guinness and Lagrein — but my body cannot process beer anymore, and my wine intake has to drop drastically due to its acidic nature; meds are devastating on a body’s (esp gastro) pH levels… I hate foam and molecular gastronomy, but love natural ingredients. Why are so many women getting tattoos and implants? Why do the worst people go into politics? Why are bankers such arrogant pricks? I love money and history and my hobby is its combination — historic European currency; sadly I’m bidding it farewell soon, for others to enjoy what I’ve enjoyed. I also am facinated by death, so I research cemeteries as much as I do about a town’s food scene before I visit. Nothing explains people as to explore what they eat and how they like to be dead. And nothing is as wonderful as enjoying nature — its looks, its smells, and most importantly its taste. Nothing ruins it like some idiot holding a cigarette, not even smoking it…

I have friends who are heads of state and government, I have friends who are porn stars. I have friends who are multi-millionaries, I have friends who are unemployed. I have friends that are far-right, I have friends who are far-left. I even have friends that refuse to eat Indian food, and friends that refuse to get a passport. If we shut ourselves out to those who are as drastically different in views as oneself, we miss the tension that’s needed to live a full and vigorous life.

I used to be a pretty awesome bass player and vocalist; now my fingers are shot and I am hoarse. I used to be a damn good tennis player; now I just mire myself in the gym because my joints can’t handle the pavement — and even that’s becoming harder by the day with my failing body. I used to study languages for fun; now I am happy being able to talk to people in 5-11 languages (depending on my level of sobriety). I used to study chemistry and physics at an Ivy League school; now I do what I want — because life’s too bloody short, it’s 11.30pm and I hear the seconds ticking away…

So enjoy my rants as I face my daemons. My Twitter is @mel_huang (on hiatus), my Instagram is @melh1972, and my email is, well, you know. Terviseks. Slàinte mhath.

8 thoughts on “Mel, oh Mel…

  1. “If we shut ourselves out to those who are as drastically different in views as oneself, we miss the tension that’s needed to live a full and vigorous life.”
    What an interesting Bio. Genuinely speaking, you are someone to look up to.
    Much respect 🙂

    PS: I would have loved to dine at Elettaria. The food looks very refined and the decoration is just classy. Too bad the New Yorkers let you guys close.

    Cheers,
    Hiba

    • Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say! And thank you for the nice words about Elettaria. It’s been over 5 years and I still miss it daily…

  2. Now i know why you are good in blogging considering your experiences.
    Hey, don’t worry about midlife crisis i think mostly everybody will experience it … somehow!
    I hope you are fine now or getting better! Cheers!

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