Went to Bermuda for a week again on the NCL Breakaway, which was awesome.
For those of you that don’t cruise, we like it because it’s essentially a floating hotel with entertainment and food as part of the ticket price. The Breakaway is brand new with a New York City theme, how could I resist?
That plus, from my apartment, it only takes 20 minutes to get to the dockyards.
And this particular ship had two hot dog stands on board. This may have been a deciding factor as I have an affinity for such things.
Which is not to say that we didn’t go to some of the other restaurants on board such as the Shanghai’s Noodle Bar…
…for a bowl of noodles…
But really, it’s me we’re talking about.
A hot dog and a rum drink – maybe a Dark and Stormy or a Mojito – is all I really need for a vacation.
More pics tomorrow.
For now, I’m gonna dream about mixed drinks – with or without umbrellas – on sunnier shores right now before I fire up an excel spreadsheet.
Him: It’s funny, isn’t it? How something like a song can snap you back to a time in your life? Me: I don’t think I’ve heard that song in decades.
A scytale’s just a stick that’s of a certain thickness.
If you took, say, a belt, and wrapped it around a stick and then proceeded to write across it, it would make a rudimentary code. While wrapped around the stick, you could read it normally but unwrap it and it would just be a jumble of letters unless you had a stick of the same diameter.
Spartans and the Athenians use to write to each other in this code. Somehow got onto the topic of codes with my wife.
Me: I used to write these coded letters to myself. Her: Why yourself? Me: (laughing) No one’d ever play with me as a kid. No one ever wants to play with the really fat minority nerd. So I just wrote them to myself. Her: (patting me on the head) It’s hard being a kid.
This all came about because my brother called me to talk about that song above and our childhood in general. It was rough for both of us but for different reasons.
However, my one saving grace may have been my insomnia. Because it’s all very hazy. I just remember being lonely a lot but not really discrete things about it. I wonder if he had such a buffer.
In any case, I think my wife feels sorry for that version of me. And in a weird way, I do too. Because he’s me but he is not I.
But I remember that version of me sitting and listening to that song and wishing he could sing.
Sorry kid, 28 years later, we still can’t.
But we can do things I never dreamt I’d be able to do. And have the most amazing life.
Still, while I am very grateful for everything I have, I did wonder what it would be like if I could send a coded message to my younger self. After all, listening to that message was like him talking to me.
I’d send two, actually:
One would tell him that everything would be fine: Everything is the same but different. The acne would clear up, the fat would go away, and sheer terror of life would stop. Just stop.
Of course, the other would tell him to buy Apple stock when it was $7 a share like there was no tomorrow.
However, this isn’t a mere coincidence, in fact, it goes to the heart of why I was so irritated at Kirkus Indie when they said that they would assign me a “qualified reviewer” to review my work.
By qualified reviewer, it implies a reader of crime fiction. After all, a reader of children’s books is probably not going to like the amount of violence in a noir crime thriller.
But anyone that reads crime fiction would know that The Men Made of Stone was based on actual events. Moreover, these actual events were recounted in a somewhat famous New Yorker article by Fredric Dannen named – you guessed it – Revenge of the Green Dragons.
Therein lies the nexus.
I never read Dannen’s article but I knew all about the Green Dragons and similar gangs growing up because any Asian-American in Queens and Manhattan during the 80s and 90s knew something about them.
Now, there’s a joke I tell all the time: Do you know the nerds growing up that were never picked to be on a team? Well, I was the guy that those nerds beat up.
As an adult, though, I found there’s one small benefit to being a nerdy nobody growing up; it meant that could fade into the background and listen and observe. Since most of these stories were second, third, and fourth-hand knowledge, that meant that I was probably getting highly exaggerated versions of what was actually going on.
Perfect for any budding writer.
When it came time to write my book, it was a fictionalized account of fictionalized accounts of actual events – as well as a combining of the stories of the Green Dragons, the Born to Kill Gang and the London Kray Brothers.
Just based on what I’ve read, it seems that Lau and Scorsese’s story is their fictionalized based-on-actual-events account of the Green Dragons alone.
But because both stories are based on the same germ of truth, I’m wondering what overlap, if any, there will be. It’s a bit like a modern day, real-life Rashomon – another crime noir reference for those of you that follow the genre.
There is one overlap that I’m already aware of. The thing that infuriated me the most about Kirkus Reviews was that the reviewer said a scene in my book in a pool hall was “completely unrealistic.”
Except that pool hall scene actually happened.
In fact, here’s a video of that scene being shot for Lau and Scorsese’s version of that event four days ago.
In any case, knowing Scorsese and Lau’s prior work, I assume we’ll see the usual suspects of: Loyalty, honor, violence, and revenge – all the ingredients of a good story, IMHO – with the added bonus of it being about Asian-Americans.
Looks like a winner to me.
Oh, and here’s my completely fictionalized version of what happened:
Location: out in Queens, coincidentally
Music: Difference is I’m throwing four, he’s throwing fifty (J cole) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
While I didn’t meet my wife online, she represents exactly what I was looking for. And I’d been looking for her for a while. After all, we’re always looking for our people.
On a related point, because of a number of reasons, I have a good deal of twenty-something friends on FB. I’m always slightly amused and nauseated at how much the profess their undying love to each other, then have an online spat, and then sign on again to write egregiously bad poetry about soulmates.
Heard a joke once where someone said something like, Your soulmate is the guy that had the locker next to you in high school? What are the chances?!
Dating is tiring and depressing with occasionally bright spots of hope – mainly because it’s a constant stream of being disappointed and disappointing others. But just like anything of value, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be valuable.
The difficult and rare things are valuable.
I think a large part of divorces happen because either (a) someone wanted it easy, and/or (b) there wasn’t enough connection to begin with.
Don’t know if I mentioned why my bone is chipped in my right hand; it’s because one of my students whacked it with a sword a few weeks ago. The doc said rest was the best thing because of how it was hit.
So I spent the week continuing with spring cleaning. Finally felt good enough to go back to the gym over the weekend.
Coach: There’s always something wrong with you! Me: But I keep coming back. Him: This is true.
I woke up one day years ago and decided to be a fencer. And now I am one.
Just like I decided one day to be a lawyer after being a network analyst.
Not that long ago, I decided to be a wrestler.
There’s this famous quote from the fella that wrote The Great Gatsby that goes: There are no second acts in American lives.
It’s one of my core beliefs – and the truth – that America is nothing if not an endless series of new beginnings. My heroes inevitably tend to be examples of second acts, like the amazing Hedy Lamarr.
People decide to start on their second acts all the time. But the only difference among them is that some press on and others do not.
There’s this rather sentimental saying in the Brazilian Ju-Jitsu world that a black belt is merely a white belt that kept trying.
But unlike Fitzgerald’s saying, that one’s actually true.
And so, injured knee, injured neck, torn muscles, and fractured thumb, notwithstanding, I keep showing up. For no reason other than I choose to.
I’m finding that alone is makes all the difference.
Her: I asked my dad what he did about his arthritis. Me: What did he say? Her: He said he takes glucosamine and is more careful doing things. (pause) Oh, and he says he tries not to get whacked by swords.