Drums, Guilt and Shame

Shame is hating what you are. Guilt is hating what you’ve done.

Astor Place, New York, NY

A guy named Arthur Koestler once said that, The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.

But during WWII, he was onea the people few that kept insisting that Nazis had killed 3 million of his fellows. Took another 2.9 million to die before someone someone stopped them.

I’m against war; only a madman is for it. But someone’s gotta do something about evil men.

Maybe Memorial Day isn’t so much about the kids that marched to the drums so much as it’s about their families who can’t help but hear them pounding.

American flag on Wall Street, NY

Bryson and his wife swung by the other day and brought me out to dinner. She’s pregnant and he’s trying to get his fourth world title in Brazil as a grappler. He’s black, which is important to understand the convo below:

Me: Hey – imagine if he came out Chinese.
Him: I’d kill you. (she laughs)
Me: Please…I’d be long gone and by then you’d be blessed with a handsome son that talked a lot with his hands.

Spent most of the holiday days with Heartgirl walking. To the grocery store, to the pier, to the park. And at night we talked. Like we always do. Told her a bit about myself.

Not to give you back-to-back vocabulary lessons, but do you know the difference between guilt and shame?

When I was a kid, was fat, ugly, and dorky. Then I wasn’t and I became shallow, mean and vain. Then in my 30s, I was humbled.

Shame’s hating what you are. Guilt’s hating what you’ve done.

Told Heartgirl that I spent my younger years dealing with the former and the recent years dealing with the latter. Don’t anymore. Not as much, anywho.

On my arm’s a vaccination scar. Remember getting it. Hurt like hell and I cried like a baby (in my defense, I was a baby).

Now, the purpose of a vaccination, natch, is to trade a small pain in your youth for a better lifetime. But when you’re a kid, you don’t know that.

Think that that’s where we’re all at. The pain’s what we gotta go through to become the person we’re meant to be. But we don’t see it until the pain’s long gone. It’s the forest for the trees.

Told her that sometimes, life has to break you to make you better.

She nodded, kissed me on my cheek, and told me I should go to sleep.

I’m moving. Not far.

Location: 14:00 yest, paying the toll and driving home
Mood: pensive
Music: hear the drums echoing tonight But she hears only whispers
YASYCTAI: Spend just a sec thinking about those drums. (sec/2 pts)


Irony:Sarcasm :: Witty:Douchey


View from Central Park
Her:…the usual: burgers, hot dogs. Oh and there’ll be softball…
Me: Nope.
Me: Nope.
Me: Nope. (pause) But if there’s a competition to compute pi to the 27th digit, I’m all in. You can be on my team.
Her: (later) Maybe you shouldn’t come.
Me: (nodding)

Heartgirl and I went for a stroll in the lovely weather through Sheep Meadow. Realized that she’s younger than a little girl that I used to tutor in English; taught that girl the word, kiosk and how to do analogies for the SATs.

Suddenly, I feel very old. And slightly pervy.

Speaking of the SATs, there’s a difference between ironic and sarcastic. Irony is sarcasm without the meanness.

Lemme ask you something; since when was sarcasm perceived to equal to intelligence?

Meet so many douches these days that are 24/7 sarcastic that’re actually quite stupid. But they’re so very proud of their stubbornness, so smug in their assurance that they’re right, that they can’t see that they might be wrong. And they often are.

Look, I’m all for some sarcasm, but it’s called the the lowest form of wit for a reason. Irony‘s clever. Sarcasm‘s just hoping that if you sound pissed off or certain enough, no one’s gonna call you out that you don’t, actually, know a damn thing.

Unfortunately, now people got Twitter, blogs, status updates, and texts to show off how little they actually know about anything in angry little sarcastic rants.

Endless waves of twitter, blogs and status updates mucked with vitriol and sarcasm doesn’t make a stupid person sound intelligent; I’m afraid. Cause a tech-savvy bore is still a bore.

Apologies. Had a long day…

Lelaina: Can you define irony?
Troy: Its when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.
Lelaina: My God, where were you when I needed you today?


Location: 40 mins ago, my old office, shredding
Mood: hungry
Music: along sheeps meadow Never know what we will see. Come take a walk with me


Heartgirl’s surprise elements

new york city, nyc, Astor place, St. Marks

Spent the last two months planning a surprise birthday for Heartgirl.

Everyone should have a nice surprise from time-to-time. Mine are always of the, “Think you should sit down,” ilk.

Started off with a buncha her friends at a tapas joint Saturday. Four pitchers of sangria and 24+ plates of food later, waddled off to M1-5, where we threw the opening party for 72nd to Canal. Heartgirl was totally surprised.

Her best friend brought a huge cake (and I forgot Clara, my newest camera). We barely made a dent in it. Interestingly, her best friend’s also Irish and her husband’s also Asian. He and I spent the tail end of the night picking at the cake. Mainly cause we just don’t let things go to waste like that.

Rain, Paul, Tess, WM, Gio and Hazel all made an appearance too, if only just to drink with me. We had a whole section to ourselves. It was 2AM when we left and 4AM when we called it a night.
Cabdriver: (pointing to her) She drunk?
Me: Yes, but she’s not going to boot in your car.
Her: I’m Irish. We don’t do that.

Sunday, Heartgirl and I took the whip out in a misguided attempt to go shopping in the burbs. The reason why it was misguided is best illustrated with Boolean logic:

Elements (in)

  • Gut-wrenching nausea (Gwn)
  • Hangover (H)
  • Heatgirl (Hg)
  • Logan (L)
  • Rum (R)
  • Wine (W)
  • Sundry alcoholic products (S)


  • + = “and”
  • ~ = “not” or “no”
  • = “but not”
  • = = “results in”


  • L+R=~H
  • Hg+W+S-R=H+Gwn

In short, my trip to the burbs was ill-conceived at best.

However, Heartgirl did note that she enjoyed her birthday greatly. She said she was glad she spent it with me, then fell asleep on my couch as I went off to church.


In other news, the buddy that swung by last time when that woman was screaming Chinatown came by again and brought me out for Malaysian food on his per diem. Man, I miss having a diem.

And I’m becoming a chunky monkey. Gotta start working out again. Stupid cold…

Location: 20:00 yest, ordering the Roti on 72nd
Mood: busy ~sick
Music: count to five Let’s craft the only thing we know into surprise
YASYCTAI: Try some new cuisine. Like Spanish tapas. (60 mins/1 pt)



Decided to play some hooky today

Kuma Inn, NYC

Me: Can we tell people that I’m good at math? They’d believe that cause I’m Asian.
Her: What are my people known for?
Me: Um, colonizing minorities, spheres of influence, plying my people with opium, the usual.
Her: Not my people. We were too busy dying of potato famine.

Killed a fly today by kicking it as it landed on the wall. Felt very proud. I’m sure it means little to you, but I’m 36. Being fast enough to kill a fly on the wall with your feet is a big thing to me.

Really gotta get out more.

Speaking of getting out, and to continue from the previous post, last night, took Heartgirl to Kuma Inn where we downed some excellent Filipino food – if you’re gonna go, you need reservations, then you got 90 minutes to eat. If you’re going on a date, bring your own bottle of wine (no rum allowed, I’m afraid) and ask for the corner table.

She and I played hooky today and we sat in the sun for some Mexican food. Later that night, saw Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.

The real Nick and Nora were based on a old book/movie called The Thin Man. If you like how I write, consider reading some hardboiled crime drama. It’s what I actually write when I’m not writing this blog.

Dunno if I ever told you that.

Been working on a novel for eight years. Really should tie that up. You’d buy a copy, yeah?

Kuma Inn, NYC

Location: 14:00 yest, 86th and Columbus
Mood: oddly hungry
Music: minutes, it’s been days, it’s been all I will remember


…then back to cleaning the cellar

Night street performers in St. Marks, NYC

Her: We have leftovers. Do you want some?
Me: Yeah. I sorta do.

Someone asked what to do in the city when you’re visiting. Won’t give you advice. But I’ll just be more descriptive this week about my haunts, ok?

Spent the weekend trying to clean out my cellar and not be sick. Fail on both counts.

Lived in my same apartment for over a decade. Put it this way, 10+ of the women I dated last year were 11 years old when I moved in.

Found long forgotten things: postcards, letters, tapes, cds, class notes. Goes on. Another entry, I suppose.

Managed to cut out one night to meet up with my brother, WM and Paul at a bar downtown where I ran into Sckim. Stumbled over to Heartgirl’s later on that night. Then back to cleaning the cellar.

Next nights, saw them all again for dinner at John’s Pizza. Best pizza in the city that you can get a in former cathedral off Times Square. Best. Then back to cleaning the cellar.

Next night, duck out to stop by Paul’s. Although I had a full dinner, they had Thai leftovers that smelled great, so I inhaled those too. Afterward, went to Solas, my regular hangout. Then back to cleaning the cellar.

Didn’t have time to see my mom for mother’s day but did see my brother before he left. We walked past a street fair with Paul to St. Marks for some 2 Brothers Pizza, which is the best tasty pizza in the city for $1 a slice. Because it’s so cheap, the stuff is amazingly fresh. Five minutes after a pie is out, it’s sliced up and consumed.

We also went to Mamouns for a falafel. Then we went to BBQ Chicken for some chicken and fries. Then we went back to 2 Brother’s Pizza for more pizza. All within 30 minutes.

75% of the meals my bro eats when he visits is pizza cause the pizza in Cali’s not the same.

He’s probably landing in LA right about now. Me? Just spilled some rum all over my desk. Suppose I should clean that up.

Then back to cleaning the cellar.

Street fair on 8th Street and Broadway, NYC

Location: 17:00, meeting my attorney
Mood: still #$!$#! sick
Music: breathe some life into me


Lies and Ties

The original NYC police station

My brother’s in town and he’s helping fix somea the computers here.

Him: Apparently somebody’s been plagiarizing mom’s articles and reprinting them online.
Me: How can you tell?
Him: (laughing) She told me…and she’s a got a folder that’s named, Someone copy my article.

Someone copy my article

Heartgirl told me recently that she doesn’t know what to tell people when they ask what I do for a living. It’s funny, all of the women I dated’ve said the same thing. Most of my friends don’t know.

It’s…complicated, how I make my money.

I’ve a particularly odd skillset but the funny thing’s that I’m very good at a several, seemingly unrelated things. But if I had to sum it up to in one unifying idea, it’s that I collect and process data.

Writing, in fact, is an example of my processing data; I take various disparate concepts, weave them to one (hopefully) coherent argument and distill that to a printed page.

On that note, I’ve gotta pick one of these skillsets sooner than later.

Him: You said you’re in for the next gig.
Me: I’m thinking of being an officer of the court again.
Him: (laughing) They’re no different than us except they wear ties.

Location: 14:00 yest, being told to rinse and spit in Queens (again)
Mood: still sick
Music: The sun in your eyes made some of the lies worth believing


God help us – Ole!

Location: my pad, all day
Mood: sore-throat-y
is this the ceremony? I don’t know, well I don’t mind

I’m sick. Not pig flu. Don’t think. Just tired with a horrible sore throat. Send soup.

So I’ve been reading and watching stuff. The above vid’s prob the best thing I’ve seen in a while. I said once before, that being grateful is the key to not being broken. Sorta what she’s talking about.

One other interesting thing was from Heartgirl. She sent me this from the tiny government that manages to cling to political survival in Somalia – it’s their response to the swine flu.

SOMALIA: No capacity to deal with such pandemics due to the prolonged civil war and destruction of medical facilities. “We are not prepared for anything like the swine flu; we don’t have the means to deal with it,” Awad Abdi, adviser to the Somali Health Ministry said. God help us if it reaches here….

How sad and comical is that, all at once?

YASYCTAI: Watch the vid, you’ll thank me. (19.29 mins/1 pt)