Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Weekend Catchup - wedding, Mary-Kate and The O.C. box set

So I haven't made an entry in a long while. For that, I apologize. Maybe not profusely, but at least superficially.

It was quite a busy weekend, as I went to the second wedding in North Carolina in as many months, this time to see my friend Kirby play the blushing bride.

Some background on Kirby and her family.
I've known Kirby for a really really long time, from back when Clinton was known for not inhaling rather than not having sexual relationship with that woman. Which is to say, the summer before my junior year in high school. We met at chemistry camp at NC State, which wasn't as nerdy as it sounds, but well, I guess it was a bit nerdy.

If you want to know how to get from Raleigh to Gastonia, here's how.
At the end of the camp, despite the distance that separated us - I lived in Raleigh and she lived in Gastonia, which is only about 3 hours by car, but that's a lot when you don't have your own car - few of us from the program kept in touch afterwards and had a semi-reunion of sorts after that. After high school, I went to UNC at Chapel Hill and she to Duke, about 20 minutes apart, and we we would be able to meet up more often.

Another thing that happened after my high school graduation was my parents going back to Japan. Which was fine, because I was all about being independent and free of the rein that my parents held on me. But a hitch was that during breaks, the university shut down the dorms completely and no one could stay. I happened to mention to Kirby that I needed to make plans for Thanksgiving break - I'd be homeless for 4 days, which is entirely too short for a trip to Japan - and she offered to let me stay with her folks for Thanksgiving.

I was a bit ambivalent about crashing another family's Thanksgiving, but I figured this would be a good time to catch up with her and enjoy some home comforts. As it turned out, Thanksgiving with the Drake family just might be the best holiday good times, ever. The Drakes treat friends of their kids just like family, and they treat their family, immediate and extended, really really well.

They didn't seem to mind me too much, as I've been invited back every year, plus a few Christmas breaks here and there. I'm forever grateful for their hospitality.

Fast forward to 2004, I'm doing whatever I'm doing in NYC and Kirby is an attorney in Dallas. I don't get see her very often and I keep in touch with her mostly through her younger sister Whitney, who's living way downtown in the Financial District. So enough background.

Day 1 - Friday, September 24

I stayed in Brooklyn with Maureen the night before, because I wouldn't see her for the next couple of days, and she had an appointment in Park Slope that morning. So despite no work and 3:20 pm takeoff from Laguardia, I had to wake up early. But that turned out to be for the better, as I had some portfolio printing to do, and I still had to pick up my suit and my shirt from the cleaner. By the time I was ready to go, it was 1:30 pm and probably too late to take the subway and bus to the airport.

I've always been able to catch a cab pretty quickly at the corner of Canal and Allen, just around the corner from my apartment, but today, there wasn't any yellow to be seen (ironic for Chinatown, no?) so I figured I would walk towards the Bowery and see if I can catch one there. Fortunately, I saw a minivan cab unloading passengers half a block away so I got in. As the cab made its way up Allen St towards Delancey St (Delancey St connects to Williamsburg Bridge), I looked around and found no fewer than 3 cabs, all with the for-hire lights lit up. It's like rain on your wedding day.

Construction on BQE made the traffic quite a bit messier than usual, but I did manage to get to the airport with enough time to check in, go through security and sit down for a bit before boarding.

Fast forward to 5:17 pm, Charlotte NC. Whitney's boyfriend Scott picked me up at the airport, dropped me off at the Courtyard by Marriot in Gastonia. Now, this area, it's almost like a service road next to Interstate 85, and in this one strip, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Best Western, Hampton Inn and Comfort Suites all stand next to, or across from each other. The only businesses breaking up the roadside hotel hegemony are Waffle House and Cracker Barrel. Scott and I vowed that we would drunkenly patronize the Waffle House, across the street from the Courtyard, before the weekend was over.

At 7, we made our way to Gastonia's science museum, where the rehearsal dinner was held. I'd arrived too late for the rehearsal, and the attendants were already there. The food was fantastic. I love Carolina style BBQ. Boy do I love shredded pig meat. And open bar.

The pigmeat-filled masses invade Charlotte
After the PowerPoint slide shows of embarrassing baby pictures and speeches by the parents, the dinner turned into what resembled an amateur night at the local comedy club. Oh no, I'm fine with the speeches and if people care enough about the bride and/or the groom to get up and say something, that's great. It's just that the passing of the mic started just as I was getting seconds from the buffet, and I would have had to cut in front of the speaker to get back to my table.

The international sign for "You've taken quite enough pictures already, don't you think?"
So Sufficiently filled with pig meat, we drove out to Charlotte for a night of non-open bar drinking. Regrettably, Waffle House did not happen for me, though Scott and his friend who drove in for that night did partake in the greasy goodness.

Day 2 - Saturday, September 25, The Wedding Day

So in retrospect, the night before was a bit brutal. I'm just not used to starting drinking at 7, staying buzzed but maintaining an upright position till closing time. The last thing I want to do is admit that I'm a lightweight, but there's no getting around reality - I am a lightweight.

I am surprisingly refreshed, if a bit tired as I find myself awake at 7 am. After some aimless channel surfing, I find myself inexplicably drawn to an old Mary-Kate and Ashley flick. It's the one where Mary-Kate or Ashley is the tomboy orphan lovingly cared for by a single, overworked foster parent played by Kirstie Alley, and Ashley or Mary-Kate is the only child of a rich, but unfulfilled tycoon/widower (a quick IMDB search reveals that the movie is It Takes Two released in 1995).

Ah yes, that's the one
It's not that I'm a huge fan of Mary-Kate and Ashley - it's just that the day before, I happened to turn on the TV and found myself similarly drawn inexplicably to an episode of Full House, an episode where Mary-Kate or Ashley is dressed all heavy metal-like. Now, that's some freaky, X-Files shit, yo.

Just before 10 am, I finally get myself out of bed and shower and am about to go downstairs for breakfast. Okay, so when I booked the hotel, one of the amenities included continental breakfast. But when I was carefully reviewing the hotel services booklet as I always do immediately after checking in, I saw that breakfast was $6.95. $6.95! For continental breakfast! Traveshamockery! Continental breakfast should always be free! Argh!

Luckily for me, Scott called me on my mobile and invited me to join him and his friend at breakfast at his hotel. Thankfully, it appears to free. Well, I assume it is because I just walked right in, grabbed coffee, a shot of cranberry juice, some unnaturally yellow "scrambled" egg, couple of pieces of pan fried pig meat and an apple, because I care about my health.

Ran some members of the groom's family - the parents are pretty easy to identify, but since Bryce has 4 brothers and 4 sisters, I have no idea which one is whom. The best I can do is shake hands and smile.

Now, the wedding isn't until 5 pm and I don't have to be there until 3:30, so we're just killing time. Which is easier said than done in Gastonia - a nice town, but it lacks the excitement that you might find in, say, Hartford, CT - especially without transportation, as Scott and I are. We are in luck. Scott's friend drove in and he's here for the morning, so he can drive us. And Scott needs a shoelace, which means a trip to the mall is in order. Hooray.

Why this movie never got a sequel, I have not a clue.
As we are getting ready to leave, we find ourselves transfixed, not on the Olsen twins, but on the Ted Danson/Whoopi Goldberg comedy Made In America. Whoopi plays a single mother who finds out that, due to a mixup at the sperm bank, her teenage daughter's father is a car dealer played by Danson. I know, fascinating stuff. But you can't look away! After miraculously awaking from the trance put on by the former Cheers star, we made our way to the mall.

The mall, which is just across the interstate, is a strange little place. It has everything you would expect a mall to offer - an array of stores, a food court, department stores, etc, but we simply found it impossible to go upstairs. Sure, there are down escalators, but where is the up escalator?

Unable to solve the mystery, we settled on just getting Scott's shoelaces and exited the mall.

Nothing of note happens between 11:45 and 5:00. We shall skip over those 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Okay, forget what I just wrote. I lied. I'm sorry. Something did happen between 11:45 and 5:00. If you guessed "a trip to Bojangles", you would be correct. You see, Bojangles is a fast food fried chicken chain. No, it's not like KFC. No, the Colonel and his secret recipe can't come close to this motherfucker. Church's? Well, the bullet proof glass at the counter is a cute touch, but no. Popeye's? Puh-fucking-lease! Yes, it's heavy on the grease. Yes, it's heart attack on a tray, a bucket or both. But it's the seasoning. It's the dirty rice. It's the cajun fries. And yeah, the completely shameless amount of grease. The little-too-sweet sweet tea helps too. I even bought a half gallon jug which is now sitting in my NYC apartment. Holla!

The Wedding

The Wedding of the Centry, a.k.a. Kirby & Bryce's big day was quite beautiful. No, I did not get teary eyed, so I suppose the meds were working. Kudos, GlaxoSmithKline.

Usher has the voice that makes the booty go "Smack", apparently.
The Drakes were foolish enough to give hand me with responsibility, however minimal, of ushering the guests to their seats. Surprisingly enough though, I managed to to seat the guests without tripping, destroying valuable items or setting the church on fire.

And the wedding went off without a hitch. No runaway bride, no one speaking up with a reason why Kirby and Bryce should not be joined together instead of forever holding peace, no America's Funniest Home Video moments. Well, almost without a hitch. The minister forgot to tell Bryce to kiss the bride and Bryce apparently forgot as well. Or maybe it was a no kissing church. I don't know. I don't go to many churches so I'm not up on the current in-church kissing protocols. The ceremony was short and sweet - I've been to much longer weddings, and let me tell ya, there's no such thing as a "long and sweet" ceremony.

The photographer was great. It was rather large, bearded gray haired man in a black shirt with suspenders. He may have breathed fire, I don't remember. Well, by "great", I mean "hard to understand", which may not be a problem in many professions, but it is if you photograph weddings. When you finally realize that he's saying "come closer" and do go closer, he then mumbles "no, back up". For a moment, I thought he was playing "Simon Says" but he didn't seem like the game playing type. I think I pissed him off later at the reception, if he wasn't pissed already, because seemingly every time I took a picture, the flash went off in his face. Good times, good times.

The reception at the country club was fantastic. Good food, lot of dancing. Great to see Dr. & Mrs. Drake getting down. At one point, I suspected that I may have had drunk too many glasses of gin & tonic. The suspicion grew stronger when I noticed that the bartender had switched to a larger beer glass. That suspicion was proven correct later. I'll see if I can put up a picture.

I imagine this is how I looked, except without the joint and the "ARNOLD IS NUMERO UNO" t-shirt.
After the country club did the old "You ain't gotta go home but you can't stay here", we made our way to the Drakes residence and chilled by the pool. I may have been singing a really bad rendition of Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds, which is probably not the most appropriate song for a wedding day. I should've gone with something more fitting, like Billy Idol's "White Wedding".

And yet again, no Waffle House.

Day 3 - Sunday, September 26 - a day to repent, escape from the hurricane

If he did dive, I would've posted a pic, wouldn't I.
Again, I found myself awake at 7 am. Finding no Mary-Kate & Ashley programming on the tube, and learning that my beloved Carolina Tar Heels had fallen 34-0 to Louisville, I thought I'd try to sweat out the toxins in the fitness room.

Bad idea. My body simply refused to wake up and be productive. I did a token mile on the treadmill, then did a few pullups, when mercifully, Casey (note: Kirby's youngest sister) called, sounding awfully like someone who had just been dragged out of bed by her sister and still half asleep, and that my ride would be outside the lobby at 10 am. That was my cue to go upstairs and shower.

Oh, I seem to have replaced the power adapter for my iPod. Darn it. I called Courtyard, but the housekeeping staff hasn't found it. This really sucks, as this means I can't recharge my iPod and I am lost without my music.

Nothing exciting otherwise, really. Well, other than Hurricane Jeanne wreaking havoc on Florida. Just too tired, though the airport margarita treated me well.

Okay, I think that's about it. Congrats on reading this far down. You should be commended.

9/29/04 - Links bitches, links - Japanese baseball, Ohio hates democracy (or at least Democrats), the Late Show

- Here's a shocker. No Child Left Behind is leaving children behind (WNYC)

- The New York Times asks NBC "What were you thinking?" when they tapped Conan to succeed Leno in 2009, then proceeds to answer its own question.

- Speaking of which, The Daily Show Blog ponders what effect Conan's Late Night deal will have on Jon Stewart.

- In response to Bill O'Reilly's repeated jabs that The Daily Show's viewers were "stoned slackers", Comedy Central did a little research and found that TDS viewers were more likely to have completed four years of college. (Yahoo News)
But doesn't that make them more likely to be "stoned slackers"?

Now, I can see that a response to this might be that the execs at Comedy Central, of all places, should have a better sense of humor and accept O'Reilly's comments for what they were, a joke. But to be fair to Comedy Central, we all know easy, if not completely accurate, labels like "stoned slackers" have a way of sticking and it could seriously affect their ad revenue. After all, the dude down the hall who has some of that great Hawaiian shit isn't buying 30 second spots on Comedy Central any time soon.

- Japanese baseball playes strike, but very politely. (Slate)
The good news is that Japanese baseball is not contracting, and actually adding a team. The bad news is that the new parent company, Rakuten, merely wants a team as a walking billboard and has no local ties. Still, that's one step forward, one step backward, and by Japanese baseball standards, it's progress.

- Ohio hates our freedoms.
Now, that newly registered Dems are outnumbering GOPers, that Ohio is one of the most hotly contested states in this year's elections, and that the Ohio Sec of State is a Reep are mere coincidences. Or so we hope at least.

- Finally, more 2004 RNC fun from the Village Voice: Convention Detention
Bloomy and NYPD keep the streets safe for Republicans by arresting bystanders and confiscating... sandwiches.

Monday, September 27, 2004

9/27/04 - A whole week's worth of links bitches, links - why I love Bush and hate Kerry, Conan, dating white chicks and more

- The last two times my friend Anne T was in town were September 2001 and July 2003. Yep, 9/11 and the Big Blackout. So I'm assuming she came into town without telling me: Penn Station Is Evacuated After Transformer Fire (New York Times)

- I'm not sure if this is the greatest news ever or the worst news ever. I'm thinking it's somewhere in between. In The Year 2009 - Conan Gets Tonight Show (Gothamist)

- Thanks to Pete for this one: Hip Hop Dentistry

- Gawker totally called this one: Cynthia Nixon comes out

- Despite my flaming liberalness, I do not wish death and eternal damnation upon Bill O'Reilly. I find him quite fascinating. But Slate has a nice little piece on How To Beat Bill O'Reilly

- Again from Slate, a great illustration of why John Kerry infuriates the hell out of me.

- But at the same time, with his spend-happy policies and tolerance for illegal immigrants, I don't know why true conservatives can really support Bush.

- It wasn't enough that the Republican National Convention was a big economic pooposity for NYC. Advertising throws itself a big self congratulatory bash for bringing money to NYC... and loses money: Advertising Good, Ad Week Bad (Ad-Rag)

- French Connection says "Fcuk off" to its acronym (Adrants)

- More on Gunatanamo on the Hudson from Gothamist: Still Protesting Protester Policing

- I love hip hop and turntablism, and I hate the current legal vagueness over what constitutes fair use in sampling: Remixing to Protest Sample Ruling (Wired)

- Speaking of remixing, Outfoxed Offered for Remix. (Wired)

- Freddy Adu, the 15 year-old soccer phenom has this in common with men twice his age: he digs college chicks (The Diamondback)


- Believe it or not, I did not write this book: How to Date a White Woman- A Practical Guide for Asian Men

Monday, September 20, 2004

9/20/04 - Links bitches, links - IKEA meatballs, Liverpool vs ManUre, Britney's trailer park matrimony, liberal propaganda

First off, *****! Currently in the first half, Liverpool down to ManU 1-0.

Second, what should've been a simple trip to IKEA ended up being complicated than anyone expected. Normally, it's jsut a matter of taking the F-train to W 4th, then taking the A, C or E to 42nd, which is connected to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where a free bus takes you to the Swedish furniture shopping paradise in New Jersey.

Well, what remained of Hurricane Ivan again dumped a crapload of rain on NY and flooding the subway, forcing us to take the bus all the way up from Grand St to 42nd St, then at 1st and 42nd, we take another bus, which unfortunately got stuck in some bad traffic around 5th Ave, and we trotted the last avenue and a half.

We figured since the subways weren't running, the line at the gate would be short. Oh no. We thought we missed the 2:30 bus, but luckily, there was another bus coming for us.
I got myself a long overdue silverware set, a skillet, wine glasses and a small lamp to replace my old paper lantern which I kicked and destroyed last week.
Maureen got a plant.

Okay, time for links bitches, links.

- Oh crap, Gerrard appears to have pulled a hammy.

- I like crab cakes. I really do. But that might not be enough to get me to go to our fast fading starlet Britney's wedding (Gawker). Luckily, I wasn't invited so I was spared having to make the otugh decision. Don't they look just adorable though?

- This Boondocks strip didn't run in many of this morning's papers. The thing is, it's the funniest thing McGruder's put out in a while. I love Boondocks, but I really think he's neither clever nor funny with his current heavyhanded anti-Bush stuff.

- Beatles record label sues Apple - again (USA Today)
The good news is, it looks like they want to settle, so the Beatles catalog could be available on iTunes soon.
Now, if you're wondering how much money an artist makes from sales on iTunes, this is a good read: That's the way money goes (Playlistmag)

- So that David Chappelle Block Party that's also a Michel Gondry film that I didn't have tickets for this Saturday, also featured the reunited Fugees. Bastards!
Dave Chapelle's Block Party/Film/Fugees Reunion (Gothamist)

- Real Madrid signs a 7-year old English boy
Damn. How much was I worth when I was 7? Well, he doesn't look any younger than Michael Owen, does he?

- A couple of movies, I'm excited about, I Heart Huckabees and Shaun Of The Dead.

- Today's a good day to get a day pass. Check out a couple of good pieces, The liberal college conspiracy and The press: AWOL on Bush story.

- Have you wondered how Ali G keeps roping in all those famous people for his fake interviews? Slate did too: Respek!

- Thank you Mr. Oblivious. Bobby Knight thinks the USA Olympic basketball team didn't win the gold because the players were pampered. Seriously, get a clue.

- Yay, it's Advertising Week 2004! Not excited? Shame on you. Too bad the site goes on and off. I'll be following the Gothamist's coverage. Nothing says "Congratulations!" like a self-congratulatory congratulation.

- Brazilian humor:

Me likes.

- Crap, Liverpool now down 2-1.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Links bitches, links - Friday, Sep 17, 2004 - Olsen twins, porn stars and skanks, not all at once

- Irony: Olsen Twins Promote McDonald's Meals (AP) (Yahoo)

- Calif. Fines 2 Adult Film Cos. $30K Each (AP) (Yahoo)
Seriously, are people that turned off by the sight of latex? I don't know about you, but I like my porn stars disease free.

- Speaking of which, oh lawdy. The Three Ages of Skank (Gawker)
Courtney looks surprisingly subdued, doesn't she?

- A refreshingly non-hysteric view of Bush and the National Guards: Do As I Say - Bush lets down his Guard (Slate)
In short, Bush has pulled Guard troops away from their homeland security duties to fight and die in a war unrelated to the service for which they enlisted. A guardsman who did less than he signed up for is coercing other guardsmen to do more than they signed up for.

- is now my best friend. Finding Truth on the Internet (Wired)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Links bitches, links - Thursday Sep 16, 2004

- Music For America
If you like music and America, Music For America might be for you. Personally, I'm quite intrigued by the RJD2 show in Williamsburg on Oct 2.

- I guess this is old news by now, but Bumper Sticker Insubordination - A Kerry fan gets fired, and then hired, for her politics. (Slate)
This is so my kind of PR stunt.

- "Slutwear" is so last year (Yahoo UK)
That's a shame. Then again, I always preferred sundresses to tight fitting dresses and knee length to micro minis, though that may just be my Playboy, naughty schoolteacher fantasy acting up again.

- Another show I didn't get tickets for: Sarah Silverman in NYC

- But I do have tickets to see Nicole Strauss and Salman Rushdie speak at the New Yorker Festival

- The Villege Voice looks back on the good ol' days of the 2004 Republican National Convention.

- Finally, gotta love the Stanford marching band.
Stanford AD apologizes to BYU for "blushing brides" (ESPN)
Athletic director Ted Leland apologized Monday to Brigham Young University and its fans for a halftime show by the Cardinal band that poked fun at polygamy with five dancers wearing wedding veils.

Stanford beat BYU 37-10 on Saturday at Stanford Stadium.

Leland said he would meet with the band to discuss possible sanctions.

"The actions of the Stanford band in Saturday's game were inappropriate, and I wish to apologize to BYU, their team, fans and alumni," Leland said. "We are committed to being good hosts to our opponents who visit Stanford and anything that doesn't reflect this is regrettable."

Dave Chappelle & Michel Gondry - two genius collide, and throw one big party

So I first heard about Dave Chappele's big secret block party in an undisclosed NYC neighborhood.
Then last week, I read about the collaboration between Dave and the great Michel Gondry.

Turns out, the two are one and the same. The block party is the film. Whaddayaknow. I did sign up for tix, but no cigar. Ah well.

Also, Home Depot just opened a location in Chelsea, on 23rd St between 5th and 6th Avenues. Ain't it pretty?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Weekend links bitches, weekend links - Sep 13, 2004 - cell phone charging, Nike, Christina Aguilera and the best movie soundtrack of 2004

So it's been a couple of days since I last posted links. More than a couple of days, in fact. Pretty busy weekend, the highlight of which was taking Maureen to see the Blue Man Group for her birthday (happy birthday, 'Reen). I've heard great things about the show and it was as good as advertised. Just a great show and words won't do justice.

So let's get on with the links.

- The new hot business that will go the way of Latoya Jackson within 12 months: cell phone battery charging service in Union Square (newyorkish)

- From the wonderful folks at Nike, by the way of, a new viral campaign for their Sphere apparel line. I guess this is Nike's take on the brilliant End of the World shockwave. Perfectly executed. Great stuff.

- So my thoughts, when I am actually thinking, are with my sister who's in Jakarta. Hope that the tragedy isn't repeated and my sister, and everyone else, is safe.
Indonesia 'may face new attack' (BBC News)

- Long before this blog existed, yours truly once had a job offer from an ad agency called Temerlin McClain in Irving, TX, and the agency's largest account was American Airlines. I saw this pieace the other day - American Airlines Renews Image With New Ad Campaign (AdRants) - and I was trying to figure out which agency handled the campaign.
After a little Googling, I learned that the AA account is now handled by t:m, which looks suspiciously like the acronym for...

- Also from AdRants, oh lawdy.

- I'm glad at least one government isn't afraid of positive findings from marijuana research: Cannabis study encouraging for MS (BBC News)

- Garden State sountrack - it's awesome, get it. Then go to iTunes and find a Garden State iMix and you have the whole collection. Booyah.

- Finally, watch out because the assault weapon ban just expired.
Wake Up, Little Uzi - Is there an individual right to carry a gun? (Slate)

Recycled entry: my 9/11 thoughts from two years ago

I suppose I should've posted this on Saturday, but to be honest, I just didn't want to think about 9/11 that day. No, I'm not trying to forget the events (not that I ever could), but I want to remember that on my own terms.

It's hard to put my feelings about 9/11 into words right now, so I'm going to post a journal entry from the first anniversary, 2 years ago.
So the anniversary of that horrible, horrible day has passed. And it was one of the longer 24 hours in recent memory.

I went the entire day without watching any network TV. Watched a little MTV, some ESPN, some HBO, but I had to pop in a couple of movies because I just couldn’t escape it.

I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t need to see any of the ceremonies or news footage from that day, because the images that remain in my memory are strong enough.
I cringe, every time they show the planes crashing and the towers falling. I thought I was over the shock and I usually don’t get emotional about things but too much, too soon.

But what I remember the most are people. The screams that came from the office where everyone was watching TV. The scared look on everyone’s face, distraught co-workers trying to comfort each other and themselves. My internship director, Jaime, pregnant at the time, losing all control. The exodus of people walking as fast as they can, to some place where they can feel safe. The sea of people, filling the length and the width of Queensboro Bridge, all escaping Manhattan.
And on TV, people running for their lives. The fireman completely exhausted from hours of digging, taking a moment of rest before going back for more. A man calling every hospital, trying to locate his mother.

Those planes didn’t just fly into those towers - they rammed into our hearts and destroyed our sense of security. And for me, 9/11 will not be about buildings going down or about terrorism reaching American soil. It will be about that feeling of complete vulnerability, helplessness, fear that what we knew before no longer applies.
I don’t need television to remind me, because the emotional scars will always be with me, and I never, ever want to feel what I felt a year ago yesterday.

Another reason I couldn’t get myself to watch any of the one-year anniversary stuff was all the negativity that came out of it. All the things that I feared happened. Violence and general bigotry against Arabs and Muslims, the feeling of unity turning into hostility and jingoism, politicians using fear and vague connections to terrorism to force their agenda, advertisers exploiting the event.

And that probably explains why I’m so much more cynical than I used to be. Now, part of it is that I’ve been in New York for a full year now. But I generally try to go against the grain wherever I am, and I had been making a conscious effort to not let the city make me hard. The initial reaction to 9/11 represented all that was good about humanity - people helping people and celebrating life. But after the months wore on, I saw more and more of the ugly side of humanity.

I understand that my upbringing is different and I come from a culture where overt display of nationalism/patriotism is not encouraged. I’ve been in this country for more than 12 years but I’m still unnerved by the prevalence of Stars & Stripes.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe patriotism is wonderful and we should all be proud of our countries. But knowing the consequences of blind patriotism, I know I’m not the only foreigner who is a little intimidated.

So I went into the first anniversary of 9/11 with very mixed feelings. I had an obligation to honor those who died, yet I still hadn’t got over it emotionally. I didn’t want to be cynical but I wouldn’t have felt right to buy into all of the rhetoric.

Reading what I’ve written, it’s obvious I’m still very conflicted over 9/11. Right now, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel, what I’m supposed to think. Maybe by next year, I will have reached some peace of mind. Or maybe I will never be able to deal with what happened on 9/11.

I’ve said this before, but to me, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are like an amputee’s toes. Amputees often say that they can "feel" sensations where their amputated extremities should be. And they feel their toes more than they ever did before losing them. To me, that’s the Twin Towers. I never really noticed them before they collapsed. But now that they’re gone, every time I look downtown, I feel the absence, and it’s painful.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

LINK: lgf: Bush Guard Documents: Forgeries?

lgf: Bush Guard Documents: Forgeries?

Hmmm. Some joke about Microsoft that I can't be arsed to come up with right now.

Boy, am I hungry - on Frances, Ivan, Chappelle, Gondry and the incomparable Cobi Jones

First, the damn rain. So this was some sort of record and wrecked havoc on the subways, and by extension, the buses.

Gothamist has a nice wrap up. Gothamist also asks the very simple question we never thought to ask until yesterday morning, "Do subways have drains?"

But I can't complain too much. Hurricane Ivan smashes Carribean isles. (BBC News)

Now to soccer. USA is fast improving and the Yanks are now ranked #10 in the very flawed, but mostly objective FIFA rankings. Meanwhile Panama's somewhere between 60 and 200. I don't know. You can look it up. So when USA visited Panama City for a World Cup qualifier match, it should've been a breeze (staying with the tropical storm theme, natch), right? Well, not quite.

US escapes Panama with a draw, thanks to a late equalizer by the ageless, but vertically challenged substitute, Cobi Jones. (ESPN Soccernet)

USA hoops on the other hand, just suffered the humiliation of a winning only the bronze medal in Athens. Naturally, everyone is scrambling for solutions and trying to come up with somewhat non-half baked ideas. The best one yet? Hold tryouts. Brilliant! (Andy Katz,

Chappelle teams with Gondry on pic ( via Yahoo! News):
Dave Chappelle is spreading his wings further into the feature film arena.

Comedian has teamed up with "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" helmer Michel Gondry to produce and star in an untitled feature to be directed by Gondry.

Pic, whose exact content is being kept under wraps is based on an idea by Chappelle and will combine music and comedy.

It was inspired by "Wattstax" a documentary of a nonstop seven-hour musical event in August 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum that starred soul, R&B and gospel artists and was hosted by comedian Richard Pryor.

Good lord, this could be the greatest film, ever ever ever.
Chappelle: Chappelle's Show - Season 1, Dave Chappelle - Killin' Them Softly, Half Baked
Gondry: Work of Director Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

And a couple of random links with a British accent:
Half "would help loved ones die" (BBC News)
Minipops - absolutely brilliant.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Mother nature, you bitch. Also, Augusten Burroughs, the drummer from The Roots, and Mary-Kate Olsen

I'm currently reading Dry by Augusten Burroughs. I loved his previous output, Running With Scissors and Sellevision a lot, so I was going to read this anyway, but I'm really, really enjoying this. Great storyteller, knows how to pace his narrative. Wicked sense of humor. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. Best book about an advertising copywriter trying to get sober you'll read all year.

Ah, another goodie from my favorite NYC celebrity stalking blog, Gawker.
A Very Special Mary-Kate Sighting

Q Magazine has a list of 1010 songs you must have on your iPod. A couple of good songs in there. I like ?uestlove's list, especially the Gil Scott-Heron track. Follow this link if you're too cheap to take the subway to Barnes & Noble.

Cityrag on more about the naughty, naughty NYPD during the RNC.
to punish and intimidate

I really need to watch this movie:
Control Room

Okay, let's get down to business. Finally. Today was a horrible, horrible day. Hurricane Frances wasn't satisfied wrecking havoc on Florida, and decided to screw with New Yorkers' morning commute.
So here's my story. Maureen and I went to our F-train stop, hopping merrily along because she was going to be about at least half an hour early for her class, and I'm like, whatever. As I walk through the turnstile, I hear the token booth lady something that sounds vaguely like "No train".
"No train?"
"No train."

So I decide we should take the 1st Avenue bus uptown, since that seems to come more often than the Ave A/14th St bus. It appears that I judged wrong. There's already a ton of people waiting at the stop, and the bus doesn't arrive for what seemed like 15 hours (more like 10 minutes, I think).

Naturally, the bus is supercrowded when it arrives at our stop. Now, I can get calustrophobic at times and I don't deal well with tightly packed spaces. Thankfully, the bus runs express from Houston St and we get to 14th St relatively quickly. By the time we get to 14th St, she has about 15 minutes to get to her class. Now, I can tell she's peeved, and neither of us communicate well when we're peeved.

We watch 3 14th St buses go, and we go down underground and catch the L-train, which is running, thankfully. Get off at Union Square, push people around, and Maureen gets to class on time. She did report that the class was practically empty though.

Anyway, I take a drink of coffee, I'm feeling like crap. I don't know, maybe I'm getting sick. I hate this. Completely unproductive.

Finally, good luck to Yuta Tabuse, who is trying out with the Suns. He didn't really have a chance last year with the Nuggets, since they already had Andre Miller and Earl Boykins, both multi-year free agent acquisitions. He will be competing against Howard Eisley and Leandrinho Barbosa. It'll be tough, but he has a chance.

Links bitches, links - Wednesday Sep 8, 2004

Okay, I think Mark Cuban is great, for a variety of reasons. He may have misplayed the free agent market a bit, but still, here's a guy who loves what he's doing and loves to interact with people.
Here, he takes on The Donald and The Apprentice.

What? The RNC didn't bring in money to NYC? NYPD stifled free speech? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you! (

Another shocker - Sony's portable music player not as good as the iPod. (

Yet another socker - Diebold voting machines not what they're cracked up to be. (

If you enjoyed Toby Young's hilarious "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People", you'll enjoy this. Tony reviews Graydon Carton's book. (

Mom, please send me $100,00 right NOW. Johnny Cash items on auction (

Okay, that's it. for links. Later.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

So how am I doing?

I'm doing fine, thank you. Last couple of days have been a waste, productivity-wise but it's been pretty good otherwise.

I was supposed to drop off Maureen at Port Authority because she's going home for the weekend to pick up some stuff so she can move into her new place in Brooklyn.

Well, we're eating dinner at Wai Cafe on 6th Ave when she gets a call and a couple of her school friends are getting drunk at the International House. So we go over there so we can have a drink, then go to my apartment so she can pick up some stuff.

Long story short, we got home around midnight and she ended up taking the 2 pm bus out of New York.

On Friday night, I was boasting about how I never got hungover. Sure enough, I had an annoying if not overly massive headache for most of Saturday. I even had a small piece of banana, dammit.

Saturday, I went to Thompkins Square Park so I could do a little work. Wasn't happening. Did get some book reading done though. And there was a nice little playing island music.

Today, I didn't get out of bed until the afternoon. That's one of the benefits, and the perils, of sleeping in a bedroom with no windows. I guess I needed the rest though.

So here I am, sitting in the coffeeshop sipping on tea and updating my journal. A guy passed by - he looked like a lovechild of Sean Connery and Marlon Brando. Well, he had the Marlon Brando face but he had a mustache and was built like Connery. I didn't know if I wanted him to say "Suck on it, Trebek" or just mumble incoherently, and he passed by the window before I could make a decision.

My latest downloads? Celia Cruz's "I Will Survive" and "Guantanamera", Crimson & Clover and the R. Kelly/Canibus remix of "Gone Till November". I'm just in a goofy mood.

I can always depend on my boy Guy to send me quality pics:

Links bitches, links - Sep 6, 2004

Unheard Clash songs aired by BBC
The world's first airing of legendary "lost" music and film footage of influential punk band The Clash has been shown by the BBC.

Former band members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon were interviewed on BBC Two's Newsnight about the reissue of their landmark 1979 LP London Calling.

It is being released this month to mark its 25th anniversary, along with discs of unreleased demos and studio footage.
Very seriously cool. Though I still love the Strummer tribute they did at the Grammy Awards a few years back, with Springsteen, Little Steven, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello and the guy who became famous for being trashed in every song written by Gwen Stefani.

Japanese baseball continues down the spiral staircase to complete sucktitude.
Japan Times: Livedoor whiz kid sets a new style
And this guy can help save baseball, but baseball won't let him.

If you like free alcohol, you'll like this bar depending on what your name is.

Gothamist tells me how not to do my blog.

New Get Your War On came out last week.

Whitlock - Admit it America, we're all racist
Okay, I hate his "If you don't support Team USA, you're unpatriotic, and if you deny that you're racist, you must be racist" tone. But I do agree with his bigger point - too many people in this country (and elsewhere) think that if you dare point out that something is wrong in America, you're demonizing all American people and you hate America. Please, we're not Republican, you know.

"Why I hate Real Madrid, Part II" or "Oh no, not this bullshit again"
Oh yeah, England 2 - 2 Austria. Calamity James strikes again.
And you can depend on the Scottish to kick the English while they're down.

Gazza: "Dark days are behind me"
I hope he's right. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any doubts, but I really hope he can get his life back together. He will never be the great player that he could have been, but he still has a whole lifetime ahead of him.

Shaun Of The Dead
Did anyone see the trailer for this? It just looks completely brilliant. Might make for some great drunk times.

Okay, I think that's it for links this weekend. Ta ta.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

!3JOH55A 3M WOJ8

Links, y'all.

- The Smoking Gun: URPL8SUX: Licensed To Offend - Letters of complaint about crude, off-color New York State tags

- Nets hopeful that Mourning can regain old form
Look, I like Zo. And I think it's great that he's trying to come back from a kidney transplant. But forgive me for being a little pessimistic. Look at his recent history.
His last full season was in 01-02, and the last time he averaged 20 points a game was in 99-00. This would be his 3rd attempt at a comeback and at 34, he's not getting any younger. If he can even come close to his old self, great. But let's not get our hopes up, shall we?

- Bikes Against Bush - the revolution may not be televised, but arrests of protesters are. He has a pretty nifty contraption. Too bad he couldn't actually use it for the main event.

- Want to buy chewing gum spat out by Britney Spears on eBay? Me neither. But you could if you wanted to. I love this country.

- adidas Mali - quite good looking

- But I own this. I like this.

Friday, September 03, 2004


Rest in peace OJ, the greatest Leeds United/Columbus Crew supporting cat in the world.

The long, citywide nightmare is finally over

Finally, RNC is over an peace returns to NYC.

Good lord, the police was everywhere. We were walking up 6th Ave last night around 7 pm and no fewer than 5 police cars, 4 paddy wagons, 3 undercovers and a whole team of scooter cops rolled uptown. Like a Ruff Ryders video, but with more cops and fewer wheelies.

Someone else noticed too:
Gothamist: Facts About Police Presence During RNC

NYC IMC: Pictures from inside Guantanamo on the Hudson
What didn't make the national news was that the efficient and classy NYPD was arresting bystanders and detaining protesters (and otherwise) for 48 hours. God, I'm glad the RNC is over.

To more important matters, wearing miniskirt on the subway (also from the Gothamist).

Photoblogger Bluejake was at the panty flash protest. Perv. But he had some of the best photos of the anti-RNC protests, including the Unemployment Line and A31 which featured the below photo:

Thursday, September 02, 2004

New music alert

The first full length CD by Northern State is out now:

Samples/singles on iTunes:
All City and Dying In Stereo (EP) badgeitunes61x15dark

Woo hoo.

Ad links bitches, ad links - Sep 2, 2004

Taken yet again from
The Australian: Marketing to women a no-brainer [September 02, 2004]
It is a question that those in the ad industry are desperate to find an answer for. Studies from around the globe suggest women are responsible for 85 per cent of all purchasing decisions – yet by Stevens's reckoning, 80 per cent of all ads either offend women, ignore them or hark back to stereotypes developed 50 years ago. With advertisers spending $8 billion a year to reach consumers, the suggestion that 80 per cent of that could be missing the mark is of great concern to advertising practitioners.

Forget the rest of the article. 85 percent of all purchasing decisions?

Also, an oldie but a goodie from ad-rag, the curse of Dr. Pepper.

From the back cover of this week's issue of The Onion, an ad for American Apprel:

I don't know, AA's been running ads in the back of The Onion with scantily clad hipster models for sometime now, but they decided to get all topical on us. I kinda like this brand.

Finally, I love Billionaires For Bush. See why:
Billionaires For Bush at UFPJ March on Sunday
A31: Billionaires Dance in Grand Central

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

random ad poster photos - Sep 1, 2004

Sometimes, I just like to take random photos of posters in the city. Today was such a time.

Forget the RNC, forget Fashion Week and Fleet Week, Advertising Week is around the corner!

Recovering alcoholic's worst nightmare. 99 bottles of Jose Cuervos on the wall

And yes, that is Chloe Sevigny going down on Vincent Gallo again and again and again and again.

Finally, it appears I missed the mass panty flash/RNC protest in Battery Park. Shame on me. Shame, shame.

His name Kweli / You mean Talib, lyric sticks to your rib / I mean / That's my favorite CD that I play at my crib

Album hits stores Sept 28. Woo. Hoo.

Kweli, Blige Get Beautiful

The Beautiful Struggle track listing:

Dear Father (featuring RES)
Back Up Off of Me
Broken Glass
I Try (featuring Mary J. Blige)
A Game
Around My Way (featuring John Legend)
We Know (featuring Faith Evans)
We Got the Beat (featuring RES)
Work It Out
Ghetto Show (featuring Common and Anthony Hamilton)
Black Girl Pain (featuring Jean Grae)
Never Been In Love
Beautiful Struggle
Rock On

In the meantime, I'll be rocking The Beautiful Mix Tape hosted by Rick James on my iBook.

Everybody doesn't like someone but nobody doesn't like Bruce Lee

Yahoo! News - Bosnians to Build a Monument to Bruce Lee

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - In Bosnia, where one man's hero is often another man's villain, some citizens have decided to honor a man Serbs, Croats and Muslims can all look up to — kung fu great Bruce Lee.

Great stuff.

Flip Flopper In Chief

I'm just posting links today.

See, I wake up every morning to NPR, but it's been a rough few days because of the wall-to-wall (seemingly so, anyway) RNC coverage. It's not that I don't like Reeps or conservatives, per se. Well, I don't, but not because their beliefs are different from mine.

No, I hate their lies and hypocrisy. How can a small-government Republican possibly support Bush? He oversaw the largest increase in non-discretionary, non-military federal government spending since Lyndon Johnson. How can the Republicans criticize Kerry for flip-flopping, then praise Bush for holding to his beliefs. With a straight face, no less!

Couple of recent flip flops:

And more RNC links:

That's it for now. I'm hungry