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We start, and sometimes end, our journeys with our feet facing home

Statue in front of NYC Museum of Natural History

 

You ever watch The Warriors? That old school film from the 70s where that freaky dude goes, Warriors, come out and plaaaaay…. It was actually loosely based on one of my favorite historical stories. Lemme tell it to you:

Long time ago, about 10,000 Greeks fought on the wrong side of a Persian Civil war. Mercenaries. The winning side said they’d spare their lives if their leaders got together, which they did (idiots) – course they were slaughtered.

So now, the men are leaderless and hopeless. So they just decided to die.

But one mercenary, Xenophon, stepped up and said, Remember who we are. We’re warriors. If we’re gonna die, we’re gonna die like Greek soldiers – on our feet. And our feet’ll be pointing home.

So they organized and started the 2,000 mile walk home – that’s like walking from Maine to Florida. In sandals. In enemy territory. Madness.

But along the way, they went from sloppy, stupid mercenaries to disciplined Greek soldiers again. Relentless and brutal, they killed anyone in their way. Cause they were gonna get home or die trying. It was all about the trying.

10,000 men started the trip, 6,000 saw home again. The 4,000 that didn’t make it died with their feet pointing home.

That’s why I love history so. Cause it shows us where we should be going.

You know, I’m not actually Chinese per se; I’m part of this ethnic group called the Guest People. “Guests” cause we had no home – like the Greeks, we always picked the losing side in a war, far from home. All our stories, all our poems, have something to do with finding home.

2006, 2007, mosta 2008…it’s like I was in foreign places, doing foreign things. Feel like I ran about madly, trying to find my way back. To what? I dunno.

Also dunno what 2009’s gonna be like. Or what’ll happen to me or any of that. It’s all just time and tide, yeah?

But partly cause I’m clear outta scratch, partly cause I feel my teeth again, partly cause a boy can only drink so much red, red rum, and partly mostly because of Heartgirl/SING, I feel like I’m back on my feet. Or at least they’re pointed home.

Spent way too much time the past three years on my knees. Is it: My fear is my only courage; my feet are my only carriage? Doesn’t matter, it works both ways.

Hello, 2009 – been waiting for you.

 

Location: 10024
Mood: ready
Music: I’ve been up and down the highway In all kinds of foreign lands
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Christmas Loot

Location: 14:00 yest, walking outta a bad brunch in the UWS
Mood: conflicted
Music: been traveling all around the world Waiting for you to come

Christmas tree at Lincoln Center

Me
: I like how we are. Let’s see which one of us screws it up first. (thinking) I hope it’s you.

Heartgirl: (laughing) Really? Why?

Holidays’re hard for the newly lonely. This is the first Xmas my mother’s ever had where she didn’t speak to her ma.

Mom: I keep thinking that she’s at home, waiting for me to call her. And I call her. (sighs) But she’ll never pick up…(trails off)

On a happier topic, got some nice loot this Xmas. My family got me a DROBO – my sister also got me utensils. HEI sent me an Xmas card and I got a Gluehwein mug from the Frieseur Frau all of way from Germany (I’ll take a pic of it soon). And Heartgirl’s mom made me somea my favourite foods, plus got me some clothes. Think I grinned from ear-to-ear.

As for Heartgirl, she got me stuff too. And she wrote me a letter. Loved all of the gifts but, if I had to pick one, had to say that her letter was my favourite one. For a lotta reasons but mainly cause she thinks I’m a good guy – that I got integrity.

Someone once told me that you got integrity when you’re the same person by yourself as you are in public. Since I’m 24/7 nerd, that sounds about right.

I don’t ever wanna make her regret sending me that letter, y’know?

Me: Yeah. Cause if you screw it up, I’d think, Whaddyagonnado? And go back to my life. Cause whaddyagonnado? (pause) But if I screw this up, I’d hate myself. For a very long time.

———-

2008’s almost over. Got one more post in me for the year. Come back tomorrow cause I’ve not fully figured out how to say it just yet. But I’m getting there.

Plus, if you wanna get me something, get me more readers. Started this blog cause I had an idea, you see…

YASYCTAI: Tell me how to get more readers. (10 mins/0.5 pts)

Bonus post

Location: for eight hours on Xmas, my office
Mood: stuffed!
Music: goodness and light The child

Xmas pic of the Jekyll & Hyde Club in NYC

Well, I’m back. For some reason, Blogger just wouldn’t let me post for two days. Which, to me was an eternity.

Ate my weight in all sortsa food this holiday season – admittedly, what I do every holiday season. People are always surprised at the sheer volume of food I can pack away – even those that should be used to it by now.

Me: (holding bag of chips) Can I open this?
Her: (looking up from computer) There’s an open bag in the living room.
Me: Ate that one.
Her: Oh. Well, there’s an open bag on top of the microwave.
Me: Are that one too.
Her: I just opened that an hour ago! You ate all of it?
Me: Yes.
Her: Where do you put it all? (shaking head, sighing) Yes. You can open that.
Me: Thanks mom! (pause) BTW, we’re out of milk now.
Her: (grumbling and turning back to computer) …

Happy Xmas, everyone!

YASYCTAI: Do yesterday’s again. (10 mins/1 pt)

Christmas 2008 – Good Things

Location: on a beige couch
Mood: still sick
Music: a cold winter’s night that was so deep

Tell myself that I write in a mix of hardboiled and the Economist but with a lotta slice-a-life descriptions a la A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Yes, it’s a girl’s book but it’s also a book about NYC and the people in it. Some of the clearest pictures of my city are between those lines. One Xmas scene stays in my mind – in it, a tree butcher has a contest to give away the trees he can’t sell: if you can catch a tree without falling, it’s yours. When he prepares to throw his nicest tree, a small, poor girl and her little brother ask for the chance to catch it.

It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world, he thinks when he sees them. I submit that this is true. But I also submit that the good things, when we have them, mean that much more.

Wish I were a better writer to say what I wanna say sometimes. It’s like the difference between seeing the Grand Canyon and seeing a postcard of the Grand Canyon. But lemme try anyway:

The good things pull you through the dark times. Heartgirl and a Friseur Frau sent me Xmas cards and my brother sent me another postcard of the California sun. They’re all on my refrigerator door.

Guess sometimes, a postcard of the Grand Canyon’s enough to get you through. It’s the little things that pull y’through, yeah?

So, regardless of your religion, faith, or background, lemme give you a little wish in my really simple, ineloquent, Queens, NY manner; it’s a post card of what I’d say if I were a better writer and not the Oprah-ish writer a friend thinks I am:

I wish you good things.

PS – for those of you that asked, here’s a pic of me with a beard, courtesy of Nadya R. Happy Christmas.

———-

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” his soul agonized, “why don’t I just give ’em the tree, say Merry Christmas and let ’em go? What’s the tree to me? I can’t sell it no more this year and it won’t keep till next year.” The kids watched him solemnly as he stood there in his moment of thought. “But then,” he rationalized, “if I did that, all the others would expect to get ’em handed to ’em. And next year, nobody a-tall would buy a tree off of me. They’d all wait to get ’em handed to ’em on a silver plate. I ain’t a big enough man to give this tree away for nothin’. No, I ain’t big enough. I ain’t big enough to do a thing like that. I gotta think of myself and my own kids.” He finally came to his conclusion. “Oh, what the hell! Them two kids is gotta live in this world. They got to get used to it. They got to learn to give and to take punishment. And by Jesus, it ain’t give but take, take, take all the time in this God-damned world.” As he threw the tree with all his strength, his heart wailed out, “It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world!”

When some of the older boys pulled the tree away, they found Francie and her brother standing upright, hand in hand. Blood was coming from scratches on Neeley’s face. He looked more like a baby than ever with his bewildered blue eyes and the fairness of his skin made more noticeable because of the clear red blood. But they were smiling. Had they not won the biggest tree in the neighborhood? Some of the boys hollered “Hooray!” A few adults clapped. The tree man eulogized them by screaming,

“And now get the hell out of here with your tree, you lousy bastards.”

Francie had heard swearing since she had heard words. Obscenity and profanity had no meaning as such among those people. They were emotional expressions of inarticulate people with small vocabularies; they made a kind of dialect. The phrases could mean many things according to the expression and tone used in saying them. So now, when Francie heard themselves called lousy bastards, she smiled tremulously at the kind man. She knew that he was really saying, “Goodbye–God bless you.”

YASYCTAI: Do something nice today for someone just cause… (10 mins/1 pt)

Bigger holes

Date night at the Museum of Natural History in NYC

American Museum of Natural History NYC

 

Was walking to church tonight when I accidentally kicked a piece of ice and and it skidded along when a guy kicked it back, by accident. So I kicked it back to him and he kicked it into the street. As we passed each other:

Him: (laughing) Happy holidays.
Me: (laughing) You too, man.

Quiet weekend. Saw my friend Nadi for dinner where I chatted up these two pretty girlies. They asked what I was doing in their town and I told them was seeing my girlfriend. After that, they ignored me for the rest of the night, which I found amusing. Convinced Nadi to come into the city with me and she met Heartgirl and Paul.

Saturday, Heartgirl and I went to the Museum of Natural History and saw the Cosmic Collisions – very cool. They had a blinking keychain with my name on it. She grabbed one too that just happened to be the name of her ex. It’s hard to compete with an imaginary person. Plus, her creepy friend just sounds like a really needy tool. He makes me wanna roll my eyes more than wanna take a shower these days.

Went home and caught Can’t Buy Me Love with her – which was the very first movie I ever went on a date with. Was 14 years old then – man, I’m old. Hadn’t seen in, quite literally, decades. Was good except for the clapping. Hate when they have clapping scenes in films and every 80’s high school film had one.

Her: (noting clothing in film) I’m so glad I didn’t grow up in the 80s.

Suppose I have reservations about Heartgirl cause the more you let someone in, the bigger the hole they leave if they…leave. So I’m always the guy that bolts for any reason whatsoever – better to bolt before you get too attached. Maybe it’s too late. I rather like the quiet nights of my boring life. Sorry guys. Oh wait – I grew a beard. That’s about as exciting as my life gets these days.

Her: Do you miss it? The nightlife, the…
Me: (interrupting) Not even a little bit.

American Museum of Natural History NYC Logan Keychain

 

Location: 20:00, directing traffic in church
Mood: sick
Music: crayola doesn’t make a color for your eyes

Potential

Location: On a corduroy couch
Mood: sick
Music: Maybe I’ll sleep when I am dead But now it’s like the night is taking sides


Her
: Algebra – pretty much any math.
Me: I’m a terrible Asian; math was never a fun class for me. Mine were English and history. Some science was cool too – like when we dissected owl pellets. (pause) Did you ever have a trapper keeper?
Her: Yes.
Me: (thinking) Man, they sucked. Didn’t trap or keep a damn thing.

Think I’m sick. Not sure. But quite possibly.

It’s been a really productive week. Trying to wrap up business issues before the end of the year.

For what seems to be the third year in a row, I’ve not been able to really enjoy my favorite time of year; from the day before Thanksgiving to the day after New Year’s.

Wish I were clearheaded. Always cloudy cause I’m sick, I’m beat, or I’m bending time. Sometimes all three at once. Then my mind wanders.

Me: What if I’m not smart at all? What if I just remember things – stupid things. Things that’re only good for games shows and cocktail conversations? Smart people don’t get their life savings stolen. My brother and sister’re smart – I joke a lot that I get by on my charm. (pause) But what if that’s true?

Her: (thinking) I think you’re smart.

At least 50% of the time I don’t sleep, lie awake wondering. Everyone thinks I’ve got all this potential. But it’s almost 2009. I’m another year closer to getting my ticket punched.

When I don’t sleep, lie awake wondering about things that I’m afraid to put out in the aether.

YASYCTAI: Read a novel. A good one. (eight days/2 pts)

Why not?

Her: I can’t believe that you’ve got a girlfriend. (slaps me lightly across the face three times)
Me: (rubbing face) I’m as surprised as you are.

My roomie had an attractive and cool friend stay over during the summer and we got along well. She showed up recently to stay for another week and she opened with the above conversation. We both laughed before she gave me hug hello.

Seriously, though, the ebb and flow of my life does still surprise me. It’s always nice when the surprise isn’t a nasty one.

Him: Canal Street, please?
Me: Sind Sie Deutsche?
Him: (surprised) Ja.

Friday, crashed a party in Chinatown. Maybe cause I got a face that says, I know where places are – though I don’t – or a face that says, Ask me, I probably speak English. Regardless, on the way there, three groups of people asked me directions. Last, was a group of German tourists. Per their reaction, answering them in German was akin to my sprouting wings and flying.

Get sucha kick outta that; I imagine them recounting the story when they return – And then in Chinatown, in America, we asked this Chinese guy how to get to Canal Street and he answered us in German! (it was crappy German but still!)

Party was interesting. Since I’m tired of The Standard, and there was a whiteboard, made a buncha girls tell me what they did for a living a la Pictionary. They had no rum so PB and I killed the scotch.

A buddy got a text from his pseudo-girlfriend and he beamed so much that the girl he was chatting to started to cry! Turns out, the girl just got outta a bad relationship and wished that her guy would be as jazzed to get a text from her as my buddy was from his girlie.

So I pointed at the exit and said, You never know what’s coming through those doors. You can never change how people think, only yourself. So why put yourself through that?

Dunno if she believed it but it’s true – it’s all heartache or paper cuts; either way, it’s nonea your business.

Sunday, had a quickie brunch with Heartgirl by the water. We both agree that 2008 sucked hard for each us.

However, we also agree that 2009 looks promising.

Her: Warum sprichts du Deutsch?
Me: Warum nichts? Weil bin ich Chinese, ein Amerikaner oder…?
Her: (denken) Beide!

Location: 20:00 yest, my favorite dive bar
Mood: full
Music:
there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last
YASYCTAI: Consider learning a foreign language, if only for the entertainment value. (120 mins/0.5 pts)

Hustling in Seville

Location: yest, all over midtown
Mood: restless
Music: see video below


Her
: (patting me on head) That’s my old man.

Spent the day trying to nail down meetings for scratch. Was almost a complete failure but I saw Heartgirl for some caffeine so that made the day go a little better.

When I was 23, managed to convince a company named Wall Street Equities to hire me over IBM and Anderson Consulting to set up 75 NASDAQ certified computers. Did it on time and under budget. They referred me to Tiffany’s, Ziff-Davis, Holland&Holland;, NatWest and a buncha other clients.

Last big tech client was Brassring.com for the Washington Post; hooked up a network with 50 nodes for them on Madison. I was…26, maybe?

Whenever some VP would walk in, they’d ask who was in charge and the old Italian consultants I subcontracted’d point at me and say, That Chinese kid. Made me laugh.

Somehow, became an old man. Still hustling though. Suppose things never change.

S’ok – (a) getting older is better than the alternative and (b) my brain still works the same way.

Her: We could catch an opera.
Me: That’s all in Italian, I don’t understand Italian.
Her: That’s not true, some are in German.
Me: (thinking) Can we see an opera that only plays songs from Looney Toons? Y’know…Barber of Seville, Flight of the Bumblebee, Ride of the Valkyries?
Her: (mute silence)

Me: I’ll take that as a No

YASYCTAI: Hustle. Cause if you want it, you gotta hustle. (time/2 pts)

First-tierers, second-stringers

Location: a yellow couch
Mood: wondering
Music: It`s up to you All I can do, i`ve done But mem`ries won`t go


Her
: I was worried you were one of those religious nuts.
Me: I am one of those religious nuts.

Been busy trying to get my life in order. More craziness that I’ll tell you, as I always do, in due time.

Saw Heartgirl and I had a long discussion about our beliefs. It’s bothersome that all people know of my religion’re the shrill caricatures.

She met somea my first-tier friends. We’ve all got our first-tierers and our second-stringers – sorta like our front-runners and back-burners, yeah? They gave her the thumbs up over some watermelon soju down by St. Marks. Caught the first snowfall of the season as we walked past Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick to Katsmw‘s for some red, red wine fore heading home. Katsmw, like Heartgirl, loves sports while her husband and I don’t watch any sports. The two shared more than that in common but those’re their stories and not mine.

Sunday she and I caught brunch around the way where she somehow lost her copy of Vogue. Losing a copy of Vogue’s like losing a ten-pound weight; they just don’t disappear. On the way back, I was holding a copy of the Sunday Times out when a bird pooped on it. We both couldn’t stop laughing and almost collapsed on the street.

Told her that a bird pooping on you’s good luck so I bought an instant win lottery card for a $1 and won…$1. Of course.

Sometimes, wonder about my role in her life. Suppose time will tell. I don’t try to hide who/what I am: a nerdy, religious nut that plays/watches no sports (that don’t involve one-on-one violence), talks a lot with his hands, and is overly concerned with rum, trivia, quotes, stories, gadgets, nice clothes, and minutia.

It’s 2009 soon. I’d like some win, please. Some real win, espankyuverymuch…

YASYCTAI: It’s cold. Did you donate those clothes? (60 mins/2 pts)

Batter up!

Location: six hours ago, my kitchen, cooking for my sis
Mood: blah
Music: something is bound to give there’s hope for the hopeless

Was at a random restaurant where I ran outta the restaurant to say hello to a co-worker from a former life as he walked by. He married a girl that also worked with me. We traded numbers and he left. Ten minutes later, I saw the wife and waved at her. She didn’t recognize me but smiled and waved back.

Heartgirl: That’s nice of her – to wave at someone that she doesn’t think she knows.

The Professor and Johnny aren’t around so, after Thanksgiving, stop by Danny the Good’s house.

Him: Can you fix my computer for me? I think it’s the harddrive.
Me: (reaching into coat pocket) Oh, happen to have a harddrive on me. (pulling out harddrive)
His wife: (laughing uncontrollably) Only you would harddrive in your jacket, Logan.

Just happened to be cleaning out my desk in my office and stuffed it into my my jacket pocket before I went to see them. They think I’m brilliant. Or insane. Not sure.

For the first time in a year and a half that I slept for three days in a row. That’s a lot for a guy like me. Also had a lot of interesting conversations.

Me: (on phone) How do you not know this? First is kissing, second is under clothing, third is neck up, home is…home.
Him: What’re you talking about? Second is over, third is under.
Me: Maybe where you’re from, here in NYC, over and under are both second.
Him: I AM from NYC. (pause) I think our only contention here is third.
Me: It’s quite a contention! (hearing clicking) Are you googling this?

Him: No. (long pause) Maybe…

Yes, we’re that geeky.

YASYCTAI: Wave at someone and see what they do. (1 min/1 pt)