Either Sick or Awake

Location: 21:00 yest, polishing off another wing in the UWS
Mood: fatty
Music: Children wake up, hold your mistake up

Sick girlfriend

The girlfriend and I’re sick. That’s her camouflaged as a sofa.

At least, think I’m sick. When you’re an insomniac, it’s hard to tell if you’re sick or just hella tired. The change in the weather’s not helping.

Just came back from dinner with WM; took him out to eat for picking up my bro in the middle of the night last week.

Use the word dinner, loosely. Cause it consisted of a pitcher of beer and four dozen Buffalo wings. Think my heart stopped twice.

Speaking of food, decided to make a variant of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread. Depending on how it goes, tell y’about it later.

Hold on…heart stopped again.

Pics of bread making materials

YASYCTAI: If you don’t bake, try one of the no-knead recipes. Just need materials and patience. (1080 mins/1 pt)



Location: 15:00 yest, taking these pics
Mood: hella beat
Music: wanna bathe you in the light of day

Seagull standing on Brighton Beach

Started the day talking myself outta one parking ticket but not the other. Stupid parking/driving rules.

Heard that before Brooklyn became parta NYC in 1898, it was like the 11th largest city in the nation or somethin like that.

Gotta believe it cause I got crazy lost out there today. Ended up on Brighton Beach where every street seems to be named Brighton.

This empty parking spot came up on my left so I figured it was a sign and pulled in.

Stepped out and stood on the beach looking at the blue sky. Thought to myself that my city’s really got it all. Snapped a coupla pics and slid back into my car for 90 minutes of traffic to go 19 miles. My day got better brightened after that.

Rushed home to spend my night with my girl for the first time in a while. Not exactly as I hoped.

Check that. NYC’s got it all cept for reasonable driving and parking. Sides that, we got it all.

Seagull swooping down in Brighton Beach

: This is different, I really like her.
Me: You always say that, and you always really like them.
Him: Come on, this’s different. Few people ever do what we did. (pause) OK, you did but besides you…
Me: Everybody thinks their thing’s special. Maybe it is, but give it time to find out.

There’re plentya times people think something’s something, but turns out to be a whole lotta nuthin.

Girl sitting by herself on a park bench in Brighton Beach

YASYCTAI: Go to another parta town y’always said you’d go to. (120 mins/1 pt)


Not out to hurt nobody

Location: 18:00 yest, finishing the appetizer in LI
Mood: sympathetic
Music: Hey Abigail, I know your day has been hell

My friend’s having a bad day so I rang her. Wanted to tell her that daylight comes after the dark. Didn’t get the chance. It’s not a platitude, just simple truth. Hopefully she still reads me.


Her:…left of the overpass. There’s usually parking there.
Me: Got it. Oh and it’s a trestle not an overpass cause it’s for a train not car. Just thought y’should know…
Brother: (muttering in passenger seat) It’s troubling that you know that.
My brother came to visit me over the weekend so gave him the keys to my apartment. I’ve three doors and never lock the third one. But for some inexplicable reason, locked it.

So the poor guy was outside in the cold at 5AM for two hours. He called WM who insisted on driving in from across the river, to drop him off at the ‘rents. Took about an hour.

Both said it wasn’t a big deal. They’re just too nice t’get mad at me. S’ok, I’m mad at myself.


Her: Long Island? Why are you taking a class in Long Island?
Me: They have a steak dinner afterward.
Her: You’re going all the way out to Long Island just for that?
Me: Did y’not hear what I said? They have a steak dinner afterward.
Her: But it’s all the way out…
Me: (slowly) Steak…dinner.

: Learn the difference between a dash, an em-dash, an en-dash, & a hyphen – note that y’may be a huge nerd. (60 mins/1 pt)


Location: inside all day
Mood: guilty
Music: You and me got so much to prove

The clock in front of Lincoln Center

KG Betty called me tonight from Korea to tell me the news.

Me: $50,000?! How big is something like that?
Her: Three carats.
Me: Jeez! Considering how short you are, y’should just wear it around your neck. Like Flavor Flav.

OK, I didn’t say the Flavor Flav line, but I totally wanted to.


Different conversation with a different woman.

: Did your parents support your decisions growing up?
Me: Well, not so much during the 80s, 90s and 2000s. (pause) But I’m hoping this year’ll be different.
Her: (pause then laughter)

They’ve actually always been mostly supportive of the truly questionable decisions my siblings and I’ve made in our past. Which is not to say they weren’t typical in some respects, like our education, but they gave us a good amount of latitude. For that, I’m grateful.

My pastor once said that everything in our lives can be traced back to being born to the parents we were born to. That’s so true – imagine your life if you were born to a Somalian farmer or a North Korean soldier.

My brother called me recently in the middle of the night. Apparently, my dad got lost. The thing is, he doesn’t get lost. He just doesn’t. Especially not in near home.

It’s a small thing, yeah. But it bothers me greatly.

Me: Y’ok?
Him: Me? Don’t worry, I’m fine. I just got a little…confused.
Me: (pause) Hey, I’m gonna come home for dinner this weekend.
Him: Oh, that’s great! I’ll cook.
Me: (slowly) Yeah, sounds great…

YASYCTAI: Check in with people. (20 mins/1 pt)


The Pigtail Ordinance

Sweep the leg

A daylight shot of NYC buildings

Kreese: Sweep the leg. (pause) Do you have a problem with that?
Johnny: No.

In three years, never really discussed politics. Having said that, always considered myself a moderate conservative. Believe in small government, free markets, few social programs, meritocracies, etc.

This judge once wrote of the Chinese, “[t]heir dissimilarity in physical characteristics, in language, manners, and religions…prevent the possibility of their assimilation with our people.” He hoped that “some way may be devised to prevent their further immigration.”

Here’s the thing though, he wrote that while striking down this law called the Pigtail Ordinance.

Why? Not cause he liked the Chinese (he hated us) but cause the law itself was unconstitutional.

It was a law that was innocent on it’s face – if you went to jail you had to get your hair cut – but clearly it was an end runaround meant to harass the Chinese and their queues. Even the authors of the bill acknowledged this.

So the judge struck it down. Cause, as much as he hated the Chinese, he respected the law. And a law that singled out one group of people – and he grudgingly admitted we were people – was unconstitutional. And thus, he had to strike it down, making him seriously unpopular in Cali.

This health care issue troubles me. The whole tenor of it bugs me. Cause people don’t seem to want a fair fight.

The judge’s view was this, “Despite my personal feeling, my personal hatred, I’ll put that aside to do what’s right for the country. If we’re right – that Chinese’re second class people – then we don’t gotta break the law to prove it.”

Course, he was wrong on that point but that’s neither here nor there.

Look, if y’really have a strong point, use that. Don’t make up things like death panels and resort to things like heckling.

Don’t people, liberals/conservatives, just get tired of just making crap up to win? Like the idiots that genuinely think 9/11 was by the Bush administration or a Jewish cabal.

It’s sad when you have to point to a racist and say, “Even this $@#$@ guy…”

It’s a sad state of affairs, is what I’m trying to say.

Location: 18:20, yest, adjusting watch on Broadway
Mood: annoyed
Music: I’ll soon be back again That’s what I said in China

business personal


My year still begins in September

An alfresco restaurant in downtown NYC.

My phone’s been ringing again. Nuthin steady, nuthin huge, a trickle, really. But it’s something. And after months of nuthin, something’s good.

It’s a bit odd, to be busy again with things for pure monetary exchange. The humdrum of work again.

But it’s a good thing; the cadence of waking up, making coffee – for two oftentimes – PB&J; or oatmeal, Good Morning America, and then…work?

Well, it’s hardly work yet. But it’s something.

Always said that my year begins in September. The rhythm of regularity. Am looking forward to it now more than in years.

It’s weird, to be excited for the coming monotony.


September 11th again
. Has it been eight years already?

Someone told me that I dwell too much on it considering I wasn’t “affected.”

Didn’t know what to say, so I changed the subject. How can one explain what it’s like?

Location: same black chair; different room
Mood: busy
Music: Got me affected, spun me 1-80 degrees


Public Service Announcement 2009

How to learn a foreign language as an adult

Workmen fixing an escalator in a metro station in Washington DC

For those of you that speak geek: Spent the last 96 hours figuring out why I only got three clear QAM channels – turns out a weak signal and a kinked coax cable will waste four days of your life.

Picked up a signal amplifier, and some new cable and now I’m in business.

Knee-deep in cables, chili and rum. It’s the only way for a geek to spend Labor Day


Speaking of speaking in a foreign language, Federico Fellini once said that, “A different language is a different vision of life.”

As promised and as a supplement to last year.

One of the things about being Chinese-American is that a vast majority of my friends are at least bilingual. Heartgirl and KG Betty speak several.

Me? Was always crappy at languages. My French teacher gave me a good grade for the effort. Hate pity so decided to learn how to be a good language student in college. Didn’t work.

Funny thing’s that the guy that teaches me how to break people’s arms also told me how to learn a language way back when.

Part 1 – from R. Dreifuss (doctoral candidate at Columbia U. and general bad-ass)

See, he said, they always teach language the wrong way in school. Every language’s has the same things, the same patterns. Once you learn the patterns, you just need the words to go into that pattern.

Once you have the patterns down, you need only learn the vocabulary that goes into the patterns.

English: “(noun) is better than (noun).”
German: “(noun) ist besser als (noun).”
Mandarin: “(noun) bi (noun) hao.”English: “Rum is better than beer.”
German: “Rum ist besser als Bier.”
Mandarin: “Rum bi beer hao.”


Part Two – From Barry Farber

Believe, truly believe, that language isn’t the words you read/write. It’s the words you hear/say.

Take the word Knife.

We say, nigh-feh but it’s supposed to sound like, ka-ni-fee – cause that’s how it’s spelled. Put it another way, the letters k-n-i-f-e just makes a picture that prompts us to say nigh-feh.

More eloquently, the written word is merely the symbolic representation of the language – it is not the language itself.

So stop learning how to read/write and concentrate on learning how to communicate.

I’m illiterate in Chinese, German, and, if you read this blog, English. Doesn’t matter. You understand what I’m trying to say. Which brings me to…


Part Three – From me/NLP

Language isn’t what y’say. It’s what the listener hears.

If you want to learn a language, pick up the Pimsleur series and supplement it with the Living Language series six months after you’ve started the Pimsleur series.

Good luck.
Viel Glueck.
Jia yo.

Man, all of this talk about rum…

Location: my front room
Mood: rum-obsessed
Music: Pour rentrer dans les soirées célib à 30 ans


Twilight Heat

Location: my new Montreal Apartment, cleaning and unpacking. The Montreal movers I hired did a grat job, so my work is almost done.
Mood: contented
Music: “Come down now,” but we’ll stay I’ve tried my best to leave

: So what did the guy choose?

My mind plays movies and television shows for me all of time cause, probably like you, I was raised by the cathode ray as much as anything else.

William Shatner was in this episode of the Twilight Zone where he was on his honeymoon but was afraid to leave cause a mechanical doll kept telling them they couldn’t. And he got it in his head that it was right.

Thought about that this week and that scene in Heat where the lead can get it all – the girl, the money, the life, everything – if only he’d leave his old life behind. Just walk away from everything. But a need to equalize something kept pulling him to stay.

The woman that stole all of my coin was seen this past week in NYC.

And like that mechanical doll, the Devil rang me up and told me what I had to do.

Told him that I just wanted to walk away from it all and he said I couldn’t.

Do you know, exactly, what a billion is? A billion is a thousand million or 1,000,000,000. Lehman brothers lost 613,000,000,000 dollars. Kinda puts my six-figures to shame.

Then again, it was my six-figures. One does get tired of having just chili and rum for dinner all of time.

It’s just the cards I’ve been dealt. And sometimes, y’gotta take your cards and let fate deal with the resta it all.

Don’t let anyone fool you, everything comes at a price. And, I’ve learned, if you let a thought bounce around in your head long enough, it’ll drive you mad. Quite literally. Better to let it go.

Besides, who’re we kidding? I love having chili and rum for dinner.

Me: He went back and shot the guy.
Her: (waiting) And? Then what happened?
Me: He lost everything he wanted – everything he really wanted.
Her: I don’t think it’s worth it.
Me: (smiling) Yeah, me neither.

: Isn’t it hard to let things go. But y’gotta sometimes. For your own sanity. (apparently 36 years/3 pts)


More Cowboys

Me on a toy


Me: Hey, step outside with me for a sec.
Him: Sure. What’s up?
Me: Just wanted to say thanks. When I was going through my breakup, thoughta what you told me about your divorce. How you came back one day to find an empty house. Was nice knowing that you survived the blow.
Him: (grinning) Glad I could help.
Me: Y’know, actually hoped it was you she was seeing behind my back. (laughing) Least you’re a decent fella, a successful lawyer and not half-bad looking.
Him: (laughing) Com’on, I think our ladies’re waiting.

Now, where were we?

A while back, wrote about cowboys. Seems every seven years, you lose more than half of your friends. The person you think of as your best friend only has a 30% chance of staying in that role.

One guy that made the cut was my buddy Steel; he got hitched in Central Park this past weekend. Appetizers included whole lobsters. That was the appetizer. Need to get invited to more weddings like that.

Steel’s like all of my good friends. Never really see them; we don’t interact much. But he knows that I’m onea the few people in the world he can always count on and vice versa. We’re different races but the same people.

That’s one of the main things about the Jaycee Dugard case makes me ill. Cause in addition to all of the sick things she had to go through – and they were seriously sick – she didn’t have her people. She didn’t have a family or friends. Real ones, I mean. What a terribly lonely way to go through life. Couldn’t sleep causa it.

Yet another reason, think I’m blessed – our dumb luck.

Speaking of blessed, thanks for the concern but said I was coming back, didn’t I?

If you read me, gotta think that there’s a good chance you’re onea my people too, yeah? Let’s face it, this is hardly an interesting blog and I’m not a scantily clad chick. But I suppose you read cause something I say makes sense to you.

Ergo, we gotta stick together.

Clumsy, geeky, optimistic dreamers’re rarer than y’might think in this world.

Lobster in Central Park!
Steel getting married

Location: 16:00 yest, my kitchen floor, scrubbing
Mood: concerned
Music: Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song