Monday, December 19, 2005

Two Choices, Not Three

I'm in San Francisco again this week on business. I flew United on Saturday morning. For some inexplicable reason, my original flight at 6:45AM was cancelled, and I got bumped to the 8:55AM flight. No one seemed to have any idea why my original flight was cancelled. I was like "You shouldn't call yourselves United! You guys don't seem to be "United" in your information."

The flight was nice. I slept and watched some DVDs of Arrested Development and House, my new favorite shows. Towards the end of our flight we were offered a snack. The choices were "Chicken & Fruit" or "Fruit & Cheese." The flight attendant went down the aisle and got to me. I chose the Chicken & Fruit and was given my plate pretty quicly. Then I could hear the flight attendant ask the person behind me. "Would you like Chicken & Fruit or Fruit & Cheese?" The guy behind me replied, "Can I get Chicken & Cheese?" "Um, I'm sorry, sir. We can't mix the plates," the flight attendant told the disappointed passenger.

On her way back to the galley, I rolled my eyes with the flight attendant. I heard her tell another flight attendant "Some guy just asked for Chicken AND Cheese!"

Some people can be so difficult.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Eye Exam

I picked up my contacts today from my eye doctor. I had had an eye exam a few weeks ago with Dr. M.C. at Studio Optix. I kind of like getting eye exams. First, they're pretty non-invasive except for that weird puff-of-air test for glaucoma. Secondly, there's no sense of apprehension for me unlike going to the dentist or a regular doctor. I don't have any serious problems with my eyes, despite my habit of sticking things in my eye. Also, it's kind of fun for me to talk to doctors about health issues because it makes me feel smart and knowledgable throwing out eye doctor jargon like "base curve" and "astigmatic". Maybe it's also nostalgia for me too, since I grew up in a family of doctors.

My eye exam was pretty routine. This was my first time visiting this eye doctor since my old one doesn't take my new insurance. When I walked in, I saw like 100 pictures of celebrities posing with my doctor. Oh, he's one of THOSE doctors. Leave it to me to find THE eye doctor of Manhattan, apparently. Although most of his pictures must have been taken like 20 years ago. Think Julia Roberts from Mystic Pizza or Leonardo DiCaprio from Growing Pains. It's like, get some new pictures, DOCTOR!

My doctor asked me how my contacts feel and asked me whether I get dry eyes a lot. Not really, I replied and then explained how I've been buying these contacts for the last 6 years because at the time when I got contacts for the first time, only one company made contacts that fit my eye, specifically my base curve. I have a very high numerical base curve (9.5) meaning that my eye, or my eyeball rather, is pretty flat. I always told people that with some weird sense of pride because I liked the idea of special contacts just for me. Well, apparently another company now makes contacts in my prescription with my base curve. I tried them out and then went ahead and ordered a year's supply since these new ones felt good and I was running out anyway. Dr. M.C. actually gave me an extra two pairs for free because I had waited patiently for 45 minutes for my appointment since they were running behind schedule.

After the main part of exam was over, my doctor asked me if I wanted to take a peripheral vision test. Hmmm, I'd have to pay an extra $15 for this since my insurance doesn't cover it, and I was sure my peripheral vision was fine. But then I thought what the hell, I'll do it. I had already gotten the puff of air test, a vision test, and my pupils dialated. I might as well go all out while I'm here.

Clearly, I had forgotten what the peripheral vision test was. The doctor's assistant brought me over to a table, and I see this weird contraption that looked like a cross between a computer and an individual movie screen. Then my heart started palpitating. Oh my god. This was THAT test. Crap. This was that very same test that I had failed when I was 16, getting my first driver's license. I remember it vividly. I was at the DMV, which by the way, growing up in Virginia, I thought stood for Drivers & Motors of Virginia. Then when I left for college in Pennsylvania, I was like "Wow, you guys call it DMV too."

Anyway, that day I was all excited about getting my first license. I was so close to getting that little plastic card. I had passed the written and driving test and all I had to do was do this little peripheral vision test where I was supposed to see blinking lights to my right and to my left and press a button when I saw them. Well, this will be a piece of cake, I thought to myself. I peered into the little viewing goggles and waited...and waited...and waited. Um, where are the lights? The DMV woman asked "Do you see anything?" I answered, "No, what am I supposed to see?" My dad looked in the thing and so did the woman, and they both asked "You don't see the lights???" "What lights?," I replied.

Well, I never saw those damn lights, and to this day I think that machine was broken or something. I had to go to an eye doctor after my embarrassing test failure and me panicking that I had degenerative eyes, and get a special note saying that my peripheral vision was fine, which it really was. Maybe I did see the lights, but I didn't know they were actually the lights I was looking for, if that makes any sense. So when I got my second ever peripheral vision test with Dr. M.C., flashbacks of my traumatic experience as a 16 year old flashed back in my head. Luckily it turned out this test was a little different. This test turned out to be more like an arcade game, like Space Invaders or something. All these blinking dark bars flashed all over the screen--to my left, to my right, up, down, etc and I pressed this little joystick thing whenever I saw them.

This time I passed with flying colors. Whew. Another traumatic experience avoided.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm Still Here!

Don't worry. I haven't given up on this blog. I've just been busy (and tired) ever since Thanksgiving. I'll have some new entries soon. Actually, probably later today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


On Sunday, I visited the Museum of Natural History and had a nice time there. I got to see the dinosaurs which I don't see how anyone could not get excited about. But my favorite thing was the Hall of Minerals and Gems. I got to see all kinds of rocks and it reminded of what I used to do when I was kid.

When I grew up in my first house in Charlottesville, Virginia, we had a dirt hill in between our house and our neighbor's house. Everyday after school, I'd call up my neighbor and we'd go play after school on the hill. We'd take our toy Matchbox cars and roll them on the hill. We'd also bury them and then look for them the next day like buried treasure. The hill was pretty gnarled and had lots of rocks with a few trees and prickly bushes here and there. I was convinced that there was some sort of buried treasure there. One time I took a branch and dowsed for water. I'd walk around with a tree branch and close my eyes hoping to feel tug at my branch. I also "mined" for gold, but found nothing. Another time, I dug a great big hole because I was looking for oil. I had images that black ooze would come shooting up in the air like in the movies.

Obviously, I found nothing, but I did come across a lot of quartz and other rocks. As I got older and learned more in science class, I hunted for the rocks that I had learned about in class. I didn't really find much, but thinking about those times at the museum on Sunday brought a smile to my face. I guess, looking back the hill wasn't so long. I think actually now there's a house on top of the hill. It sure does seem like a long time ago now--back when I was a Virginia boy, and before I became the hard urbanite New Yorker that I am now.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Water, Water

This morning I woke up and went to my bathroom to shower, and get ready for work. I turned on the cold water knob in my sink and then the hot water knob. I accidently turned the hot water too much, and water was pouring out and splashed all over my t shirt. I reached for the hot water knob and turned it lower, but the water wasn't stopping. Oh great, I thought to myself. So idiot that I am, I turned the knob the other way and hot water came GUSHING out. I frantically tried to turn the knob off but it wasn't turning off! It was coming out so fast that the drain couldn't keep up. As the sink filled quickly, my eyes grew wider. Images of a flooded bathroom started to flash through my head as the water began to flow out of the sink and on to the counter. I ran to my kitchen and grabbed a mixing bowl and started to empty the water into my bathtub. But I didn't get a big enough bowl and my efforts weren't doing much good at stopping the flood.

I went to get a bigger bowl and grabbed my phone as I ran back to my bathroom. Now we were getting somewhere. My new bowl was working much better as a flood-emptying vessel. But I still had Niagara Falls coming out of my faucet and I couldn't just stand there doing that for the rest of my day. I called downstairs and told my doorman "Can you send someone up here? I have an emergency. My hot water won't turn off!"

The building maintenance guys came up pretty quickly. They looked under my sink but didn't see a valve to shut the water off. I was a little insulted. I know how to look for a valve underneath a sink! I'm not that helpless. One of the guys ran downstairs to see if he could shut it off from the basement. There was a flurry of activity and walkie-talkie discussions. Meanwhile, I just stood there to the background watching them and having my coffee.

Eventually one of the guys was able to turn the center of the hot water knob with his screwdriver and the waterfall reduced to a trickle making my apartment relatively quiet again. Then the guy who went downstairs came back and explained to me that somehow I had broken the valve down in the basement. How I did that, I have no idea. But now the hot water would have to be shut off for the ENTIRE building for the rest of the day. Oh my god. I was so embarrassed. I could picture a sign in the lobby: "Because of Terence, the building does not have hot water today."

I then left for work. Later on in the day, I got a call from the super saying that everything had been fixed, but I'd have to buy a new faucet or just never use hot water at my bathroom sink ever again. That obviously wasn't going to work. I hate washing my hands in cold water. It feels so unhygenic.

So now I have to buy a faucet. This is kind of exciting. I've never really bought any home improvement fixtures like faucets or sconces or appliances or anything like that. There are so many choices for faucets! I had a hard time making up my mind between a two knob or a single handle faucet. Like my friend said, I like the look of two knobs, but I like the functionality of one handle. I also didn't want a faucet with a really short spout. My pet peeve is having to wash hands where you have to touch the sink to get any water on your hands. Another friend of mine said he likes Hansgrohe, but I wasn't too crazy about them. I also looked at Kohler, but I ended up buying a faucet from American Standard. I did end up getting a faucet with one handle and it happens to be the one that my friend said he liked. I didn't want to spend a ton of money considering that I hope i'll be moving out of this apartment in 2 years or so, but it was kind of cool to play homeowner and do stuff like this. I feel so grown up.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Last week, the good folks at New York Magazine published an "Apocalypse Handbook." I suppose no one really thought that New York Magazine was trying to do a public service. They are trying to sell issues, after all. But it was in a guise as a helpful guide to what one would do in the event of a major disaster. Well this "helpful" guide got me in a panic. The article quoted experts who said NY officials are constantly "reactive" and don't anticipate and make the appropriate preparations for any sort of major calamity that could happen in the city. Then the guide went through a variety of scenarios--Smallpox, Hurricane, Nuclear Plant Explosion, Chemical Spill, name it. For some of the scenarios, the outcome was fairly optimistic, but for most of the scenarios, you could kiss your ass good bye.

The inspiration of this article was the growing fear of an avian-flu pandemic. The article was disturbingly very vivid in how an innocent traveler from Hong Kong could create an avian-flu pandemic. I hadn't really been following the avian flu story, but I sure did now. I was asking everyone I knew, "So, are you worried about the bird flu?"

That same evening last week when I was reading the article, I went to a good-bye party for someone leaving my old work. It was good to see everyone and I had fun. Towards the end of the party, a plate of fried chicken that someone had ordered came out. Well, I hadn't eaten dinner and I grabbed a piece. So there I was with my chicken leg and talking all about the bird flu. I was like "Yeah, I'm really worried about this bird flu," chomp, chomp. "It's really scary." Chomp, chomp.

Clearly, I forgot what I was eating when I was trying to do my act of public service.

Monday, November 07, 2005

For Some Laughs...

Check out this video of two Korean Girls singing and dancing. It's hilarious.

And I kind of wish I knew the name of that song. Even though I don't understand a word of it, it's kinda catchy.

Check out the Chinese boys too. Although, I don't think they're as good as the Korean girls, they're pretty funny too. They kind of got me on a Backstreet Boys kick now on my iPod.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Party Hard

Everyday, as I leave my apartment for work, I walk by a public playground. There are also a couple of basketball courts and an asphault area where kids play baseball and kickball (actually I've never seen kickball; do kids still play that?). I guess there's a school nearby because I often see kids playing there during the day having recess. On Monday though, I left my apartment around 8AM that morning and saw some kids having a Halloween party. They looked pretty cute and some had some pretty elaborate costumes. As I walked by the festivities, I thought to myself, "Man, kids party early these days." I remember when I was in school, I cringed--and still do--whenever I had to wake up before 10AM. I can't even fathom going to a Halloween party at 8AM, no matter what age I am.

So as you can imagine, I LOVE my extra hour. Daylight Savings Day is the best holiday of the year, and this year was doubly great because I completely forgot about it. It was a much welcomed surprise. I remember waking up on Sunday around 7:30AM and thinking "Wow. Check me out. I'm up early today." Then someone texted me and I'm thinking again "Wow. Everyone's up so early today." So I was feeling pretty good and then I saw one of my clocks that doesn't automatically change for Daylight Savings, and the light bulb clicked in my head. "AHHH. Daylight Savings." The rest of the day and actually this whole week, I felt so rested. I went to the gym and then went down to the Village and walked around a bit and stopped by Jefferson Market to buy a ham because ever since I saw this recipe for a Ham Baked in Coca-Cola, I've been dying to try it. I went to Jefferson because I was so utterly confused about my ham situation and I heard that Jefferson Market has a really good meat department. I had no idea what I was supposed to buy. Do I buy smoked, baked, cooked or roasted? Or am I supposed to buy a raw ham? But isn't ham, by definition, cooked? Luckily, the butcher at Jefferson was very nice and clearly knowledgable about the great ham debate and was sympathetic to my lack of knowledge. I made the ham later that night and it was like gastronomic heaven. It was soooo good. I think I wanna make it again.

Anyway, I digress. Thinking of Daylight Savings reminds me of the time when a few years ago, I told a friend of mine that it was Daylight Savings time. It happened on a day when something significant happened to me and so I was calling all my friends to talk about it. And then I'd end the conversation by saying, "Oh, by the way, it's daylight savings." Later that evening, I turn on the TV to watch the Simpsons, and I realized I missed it. Hmmm...what's going on? Then I look at my calendar. Oh crap. Daylight Savings is NEXT weekend. I told everyone that it was THIS weekend. Some of the people I talked to that day, I hadn't heard from in close to a year. So I proceeded to call everyone back, and say "Oh, SORRY. It's not Daylight Savings today." It turned out that virtually everyone I told had not only believed me, but also told all of their friends that it was Daylight Savings. One of my friends said to me that the Mayor was gonna have to go on NY1 and make an annoucement: "It is NOT Daylight Savings. That was just a false rumor spread by Terence C."

Well, here's the solution. We should just gain an hour twice a year, not once.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hair Trauma

So if there is anything about myself that I get really obsessed about, it's my hair. I'm Asian and I can do just about two things with my hair: 1) make it stick up; or 2) part it. I go for the latter (I part to the right). But styling is another issue. I am forever in search of the perfect hair product. I used to use gel, but I got tired of the wet, "Ross from Friends", crunchy look. So I finally upgraded to pastes, creams and pomades. I soon realized that I need to have at least two or three types of product because the pastes/pomades work better when my hair is close-cropped and short, whereas the creams work best when my hair is longer. In any event, I have yet to find a product that I can depend on all the time. I've had some good runs. For a long time I was using Aveda's Flax Control Paste. At first I thought this would be the only styling product that I would never need. It gave a nice hold, but still left my hair soft. But then my hair started to look limp and flat. Also, I got tired of the incredibly strong smell. It wasn't that unpleasant, and a guy I used to date actually really liked the smell, unlike some Aveda scents that you could choke on. But it was just so STRONG. One time when I was in the gym locker room, a guy told me he recognized the smell of my hair and "guessed" that I used Aveda. I thought maybe he had the nose of a bloodhound, but a couple of other people recognized it too in the strangest of places. Yeah, this stuff has got to go, I thought to myself.

So since then, I've tried everything--Stephen Knoll (also too smelly), Charles Worthington (too greasy), Bumble & Bumble (too shiny looking), Terax (doesn't hold well), Rene Furterer (too "crunchy"), Frederic Fekkai (too girly), Kiehl's (which I'm a big fan of), Davines (too sticky), MOP (was ok, maybe i'll try it again), Aesop (they don't make a pomade), Phyto (no pomade or paste either) and the list goes on and on. You name it, I've probably tried it.

I've also visited my fair share of barbershops and salons. When I first moved to New York, I frequented barber shops including Feature Trim & Chelsea Barber, but I got really tired of the barber just taking the clippers and running with them. The last time I was at a barbershop, I got so nervous about my barber's free will with the clippers that I said, "You know, I don't want my head shaved." Although, I have always wondered how I'd look with a buzz cut. Hmmm....

Then I went to Arrojo Studio of TLC's What Not To Wear fame, but I got so turned off by the wait and the prices there that I decided not to go back. Then I checked out Robert Kree in the West Village, which was decent and although not a bargain, was somewhat reasonably priced for New York at $65. But I just wasn't really wowed by any of the cuts I got there. Robert Kree, though, wasn't a total loss. I found one of my staple hair products that will hopefully continue to be in my medicine cabinet. The Moldit stuff is great. It gives me that matte, texturized look that I'm going for.

It was time for me to go on the hunt once more, and then I found Sam Wong. Sam has a small salon in NoHo on Elizabeth Street after being above the Mercer Hotel for ten years. He only works three days a week and has been cutting hair for a long time and has lots of celebrity clients. I went to him because he's from Hong Kong and I figured he'd know what works and what doesn't work for Asian hair. I was right. He always gives me the best haircuts. And his assistant who gives the scalp and neck massages has magic fingers. So why did I leave? Well, I got tired of paying $100 every 4 or 5 weeks for my haircut .

I then checked out the John Allan Club. John Allan's is an interesting place. They bill themselves as a Gentleman's Club where you can have a beer, play pool, get your shoes shined and get haircuts/manicures from blonde women in little black dresses. You can really feel the testosterone-y ambiance the minute you walk in. For the services, you can either pay a la carte or you can pay an annual membership and get all the haircuts/manicures you want. At $65 for a shampoo/haircut + manicure + hot towel + shoe shine, it's not a bad deal. The women who do the services are all very nice, but there's a definite and amusing hierarchy. When you sit down, you first start chatting with your shampoo girl, and then the manicurist meets you in your haircut chair (or whatever it's called) and chats some more. Finally the Queen arrives, your stylist. The manicurist shuts up while Queen Stylist chats me up.

At any rate, John Allan's was ok, but then the last haircut I got there was TERRIBLE. I actually got it cut again a week later when I was in San Francisco and got a great cut. There I went to a place called Elevation. But I remember looking at their website and seeing "Largest street level salon+cafe in San Francisco." what? Is that something really to brag about?

Come to think of it, my best haircuts have actually been at places outside of New York. I've gotten great cuts in Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, and Sydney. Oh in Sydney, I still remember "Mac", this cute Aussie surfer guy who actually lived in New York a few years ago and knew the guy who cut my hair at Arrojo (Nick Arrojo is Australian and hires lots of Aussies.)

So last night I got a haircut at a new place with a funny name, Sergio Limpopo. Overall, I'm very pleased with my cut. I think I'll continue seeing them for a few more visits. I got their name from a friend of mine and was most attracted by the price--$40. The one thing that was annoying was the girl took FOREVER to cut my hair. I think I scared her when I told her that I was visiting her salon for the first time because I hated my last haircut so much at John Allan's. I think she actually tried to look at each individual hair on my head. I thought I was gonna fall asleep. Well, the cut was actually only about an hour, I guess, but still...I thought it was a long time.

As you can see, I've spent a lot of time researching the topic of my hair. The funniest thing is that I've asked for the same cut for the last 14 or 15 years and it really doesn't look that special. Just tapered in the back, short on the sides and top and textured and parted to the right. That shouldn't be that hard to do, right?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Subway Interior Decorating

So this morning I was late to work as usual. With my new job, I tend to work from home in the mornings from about 8-9AM. I really like to work from home. I get to sit at home with my laptop on top of a pillow on my couch. Or I get to lie on my bed with my laptop in front of me all in the comfort of a tshirt and boxers. I always have my iTunes going on and the TV on mute, so I'm paying attention to 3 things at once!

At any rate, today when I got on the "S" Shuttle at Times Square, I entered the slopes of a snowy mountain. Inside the car, snowy mountain wallpaper covered the walls and the seats had been replaced with long cream-colored benches that were supposed to look like a snowy rocky mountain slope. It definitely woke me up this morning. I was wondering what it was all for. Was this something new the MTA was going to do for the holidays? After I sat down, I looked up and realized that in addition to the snowy motif, Eddie Bauer ads were everywhere. OH! I get it now. The new interior decorating was for Eddie Bauer's new Rockefeller Center "Down" Store. I felt very much "in the know" since my comforter happens to be Eddie Bauer.

This got me thinking. The MTA should decorate the insides of the subway more often. How about a Prada one? Or a US Open themed one? That would be so cool, I think.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Another Great Find

So the other day I bought some plastic wrap. I didn't really think about it and just picked up a box at Duane Reade. That night, I opened the carton and pulled out some plastic wrap to cover a bowl of chopped bell peppers and scallions in preparation for an omelette that I was gonna make the next morning. I started to tug at the plastic wrap to cut off a piece when I realized there was no blade. Instead this plastic wrap had an EZ Slide Cutter. Whoa. How come I've never heard of this before? What rock have I been living under? I'm totally enraptured by this. I wish I could think of stuff like this. Now I have nice clean and smooth cuts for my pieces of plastic wrap.

(Sidebar: I have been having this Nigella omelette every day for the past week. It's an omelette with chili & bell peppers, scallions, turmeric, cumin and coriander. Then add some chopped cilantro and drip some Jamaican Pick-a-Pepper sauce, which is sort of like Worcestire sauce and I bought by accident at the store because that's what I thought it was. Finally, roll it up the omelette in a piece of whole wheat lavash bread and eat like a wrap. So good.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


A couple weekends ago, I went to the Great Read In The Park event at Bryant Park. More than 150 authors were doing panel discussions, signings and talks to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The New York Times Best Sellers List. The event also featured a temporary branch of Barnes & Noble, an appraisals table by Bauman Rare Books and a Used Book Sale. I've been looking for a particular book for the past year, and so I decided to stop by and check out the Used Book Sale here. The book is called Familes: A Memoir and is by Wyatt Cooper, Anderson Cooper's father. I read an interview with Anderson Cooper where he talked about his father's book. It's about his father's upbringing in rural Mississippi and then his subsequent marriage to Gloria Vanderbilt and raising of Anderson and his brother. In his interview with Oprah, Anderson said he really cherished this book because it's like a letter to him from his dad. It's a reminder to him of what his dad was like before he died when Anderson was 10 years old.

I was really touched by this and have been wanting to read this book. I wish I had something like that that would make me feel close to my parents because I'm not close with them at all. My parents were very typical asian parents and made competition an aspect of every part of my life. And although I appreciate what my parents did for me, I still resent to this day the single-minded competitive childhood that my parents instilled in me. There was actually an interesting article in the NY Times about two Korean women who wrote a book advocating this method of raising children that definitely raised my eyebrow, mostly because I don't agree with preaching this child-raising doctrine.

At any rate, I think it would be really great to have something like this to remind you of someone important in your life. Anything written like emails, letters, even text messages often serves that purpose. A simple three word text message can mean so much because it's permanent and pre-meditated and thus is always there to make you feel better if you want to smile.

So I went to the Bryant Park Book Fair hoping to find this book. I've looked everywhere--Strand, used bookstores around the city, online, etc. But I can only find first editions that cost $200+ dollars, and I don't want the book that much. Alas, I couldn't even look for it. The book sale was retarded--you had to buy a tote bag for $25 before being allowed to enter the book sale.

Oh well. I'll keep searching.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

James Bond

Today, I was watching Best Week Ever and the topic of discussion was doctors' reports that Hollywood promotes unprotected sex. In particular, the doctor's used James Bond as an example of irresponsible behavior.

In response to this, Sherrod Small said "How are you going to have a responsible James Bond? What? So Dr. No becomes 'Dr. No Means No'?"

I was dying with laughter.

Only The Best

Last night around 9PM, I decided to head out and get a couple of bagels at H&H and pick up some lox and cream cheese at Citarella. I don't know what possessed me to go out last night other than my craving for a yummy H&H bagel because it was MONSOONING last night. It was the type of night where you're like "Screw it. My feet are gonna be soaked, and so who gives a shit." My umbrella kept the top of my head dry, but that's about it. When I got home, I literally could wring the water out of the bottoms of my designer Helmut Lang jeans (my favorite jeans).

Boy do I miss my old umbrella. Right now, I have a cheapie umbrella that I bought at Rite-Aid. It's so cheesy. One of the umbrella panes has the "I Heart NY" logo. I used to have an umbrella that I loved. I bought it at Hammacher Schlemmer. It had lots of features that made it the best umbrella. I loved the shape of it: it had a nice dome shape versus the spread out shape that most umbrellas have. Also, the handle was this nice wooden hook shape, so I could hang it off my arm when I didn't need it, leaving my hands free to hold my magazine and blackberry or just free in general to wave around. But the best part was the little lever that opened and closed the umbrella as opposed to the traditional blade-like thing on most umbrellas.

Over the years, I would come to lose my precious umbrella, but would always promptly buy a replacement. But a year ago, I left the last one of these (my fifth) that I owned on the BART train when going back to SF after visiting my friend in San Mateo. As soon as I got back to my hotel, I realized what I had done. Well, not to worry. I'll just order another one. Or so I thought.

When I got back to my hotel room, I turned on my laptop and went to Hammacher Schlemmer's site (via MPOnline Mall because I'm a frequent-flyer miles junkie) and went to the umbrellas section. It was gone! I searched frantically for my umbrella, but Hammacher decided to stop selling it. Oh my god. I couldn't believe it. What was I going to do? I then started to search Google for my umbrella and found something similar, but it was something like $100. No way was I gonna pay that. I then wrote an email to Hammacher and BEGGED them to bring my umbrella back or tell me the supplier for that umbrella. Well, of course they didn't tell me the supplier, since most stores won't reveal that. But they did tell me of "another" umbrella they sell. I promptly replied, "If I wanted that umbrella, I would have asked about it."

I eventually came to terms with my loss and accepted that I would never find this umbrella again. It was a one-of-a-kind, I figured. Everytime I thought about losing this umbrella, I'd lament its loss. And last night, in that torrential rain (first rain here in NY in a while), I thought about it again. When I got home, I thought to myself "That's it. I've mourned long enough. I need to replace my old umbrella (too bad I never gave my umbrellas names)." After searching and searching, I found it! Well, it wasn't exactly the same, but very close. Neiman Marcus has a version that's very similar called the Gustbuster Classic. Yay! I'm so happy! I'll have to buy a whole case of Gustbusters.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Airplane Seats

Right before I left for San Francisco, I was talking with someone at work about my upcoming flight. I was so happy to be flying United where I'm a Premier Executive member. United is my favorite airline, especially the United P.S. service. The seats are great and you get your own individual personal Panasonic DVD player. Panasonic and the airlines were smart and configured the players to only play specially formatted DVDs so you won't have any real motivation to steal a DVD or the player.

So I was telling my friend all about my upcoming flight and mentioned that I hoped to get a window seat. My friend asked me how I could like window seats. "Because I like to sleep and rest my head against the cabin," I replied. My friend then asked "But don't you get cramped and feel restricted because you can't get out?". I said, "Absolutely not. If I need to get up, I'm getting up." Then I declared, "You know what I would say to that person in the aisle if he has a problem? Next time, get a window seat."


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tibetan Stool

Last night, I went to the movies with a friend and saw Just Like Heaven because my friend is head over heels in love with Mark Ruffalo. Unfortunately, Mark Ruffalo doesn't really do anything for me, but the movie was sweet and fun anyway. And I always like Reese Witherspoon.

After the movie, I went over to my friend's place for a slice of carrot cake. Her mom had baked a carrot cake and my friend took some home with her. So we were eating cake and just hanging out and chatting when my friend took out a chair. I looked at it and gave a surprised look of recognition. Oh my god, it's my Tibetan Stool! I bought my Tibetan Stool three years ago at Pottery Barn, and I love it. Granted, I don't use it for really anything, least of all sitting on it, but I think it looks so cool. I wish I could find a picture of it, but apparently Pottery Barn doesn't sell this item anymore.

I had never known anyone else who also had the Tibetan Stool, but it was nice to see that someone else shared my taste. Not that no one else ever shops at Pottery Barn. Although, I have to say that I prefer Crate & Barrel, and my apartment looks like p. 17 of the catalog. One time, I was walking with another friend when I was out in California. We passed a Tibetan store, and I saw an exact "replica" of my stool! Wow, there it is! I told my friend, "Well, mine is much better and more authentic. It's the real thing. It's from Pottery Barn."

Monday, September 26, 2005


I went to Saks during my lunch break because I wanted to pick up something at the Kiehl's counter. I also wanted to check out the Fall Collections of some of my favorite designers.

Well, they've really spruced up Saks. My preferred store is Barneys. I always thought Saks was a distant also-ran and held no flame against either Barneys or Bergdorfs. But when I walked into Saks today, I was thoroughly impressed. The store seemed organized and the store management definitely upped the ante in the calibre of their brands. And overall the store seemed much more cohesive and logical in its presentation. They got rid of all the haphazard displays and put different brands together that made sense.

I saw a green zip-up cashmere pullover from Tse that I was itching to buy. It was so nice. It was a nice deep green color with a little bit of cable pattern. But I've really been trying to cut back on my spending.

I left the store with no purchases, not even anything from Kiehls. Wow, leaving Saks with no shopping bags in hand. How strong am I?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'll be back...

I've been feeling so blah for the past week or so, and I can't seem to shake it. I promise I'll be back soon with some more fun blog entries.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

No Broken Arm, No Opinion

Tomorrow, I have another X-ray scheduled for my arm. I hope I can finally stop wearing my splint and can start lifting weights again. My range of motion has improved a lot, but the bone is still broken.

Of the many comments of sympathy and amazement people said to me, the most irritating had to have been "I don't think you needed surgery. You should have gotten a second opinion." I'm thinking, "Hey. You weren't there!"

At least now I'm part of the broken bone club, and won't say stupid things like that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Too Bad I Can't Get Paid To Do This

I'm back at work now, having missed the last two days due to my throat infection. It's very disturbing to me how good I am at doing absolutely nothing. My two days off consisted of sleeping, chatting online with a few friends, getting the mail (but only on one day), and watching Food Network and the National Geographic Channel. I did step out to see my doctor on Monday, so I at least got a little bit of light. It takes great skill to do nothing with so much purpose.

This reminds me of the weekend I spent a couple of weeks ago before I headed up to San Francisco with a friend of mine from college out in San Mateo where he lives. Except that weekend, we had xBox. I'm honestly too scared to get one on my own because it'll make me even more of a social hermit than I am now. Although, for a while, I was trying to think of a way I could pass off an xBox as physical therapy so I could spend my FlexSpend dollars on it. At any rate, doses of xBox are just fine, but my friend and I played Xbox ALL weekend. Well, we did get a chance to visit the Stanford Mall, and while it's a very nice mall, their Neiman Marcus, at least the Mens section, is a sorry excuse for a Neiman Marcus. It reminded of the Neiman Marcus in Tampa, which I've been to many times on my tennis training trips down there. We also spent a very boring hour at Jiffy Lube and then the Infiniti dealership trying in vain to figure out why a light was flashing in his dashboard. Turned out my friend left his gas cap off, which by the way though led us to a discussion of whether someone had clandestinely siphoned his gas because my friend swore he would never leave the gas cap off.

But the rest of the time, we played xBox. It's so much fun to play against someone else. And me and my friend played TopSpin for hours. Well, I, at least, at one point, went out for a run, while my friend napped.

So I guess looking back, me and my friend actually did do a fair amount compared to my last two days home sick from work. Wow, I guess really doing nothing can actually be challenging. It's an art.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There's a What In Your Mouth?!?

To add to my health maladies this year, I am now suffering from both a sinus infection and a throat infection. My head feels so congested and I can barely talk or swallow because my throat hurts so much.

I went to an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor today, and she told me some interesting things: a) I have a deviated septum, which apparently is very common, but I got all freaked out about this; and b) I have a tongue that's slightly disproportionately large for the size of my mouth. With my broken arm and rheumatic fever this year, I'm just a mess, healthwise.

Just when I was thinking I was the poster child for health deformities, my friend revealed something even more bizarre. She told me about a time in college when she and her friends were playing a drinking game. The game involved rolling back their tongues towards their throats (she told me not to even "ask".) My friend piped up and asked, "Should your tongue be behind the hole?". Her friends were like "What HOLE?". Apparently, my friend has a weird hole in the roof of her mouth and thought it was normal all this time.

When I heard this, I thought, "Whoa. That definitely beats my big tongue."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rite of Spring

Last week, in San Francisco, I was hanging out at The Bar in the Castro. I got into a conversation with a guy whose name was Matt about classical music. Now, I am not a classical music buff. I mean, I know a lot of composers and a lot of styles, but that's just a relic of my Jeopardy/Academic Team days from high school. I don't really follow the scene or attend performances all that much. So I immediately felt at a little unease in this conversation compounded by the fact that I'm not a very good "small talker" in bar situations. I've always hated that about myself. I tend to clam up for some reason and can't think of anything to say.

I was racking my brain, trying to think of something interesting to say, when Matt asked me to name a piece of music that I really like. For some reason, the first piece I thought of was The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. Matt gave me a surprised look. He said that he was surprised that someone with my limited classical music listening experience would name a modern piece like that. He expected me to name Bach or Beethoven or one of the more popular artists. Not to say that Stravisnky, particularly The Rite of Spring, isn't famous. It's one of the most famous symphonies ever composed. But I think most will agree that it's just not as "listening-friendly" as other pieces because of the seemingly dissonant, jarring and irregular sounds in the piece.

Matt asked me to think about why I chose that piece because he believed it reflected a lot about my personality. Well, that's a given, I thought. Everyone’s personal tastes echo elements of their personalities. So I didn’t take this too seriously. But this was probably the first semi-intellectual conversation that I’ve had in a while at a bar, and as I went back to my hotel that night, I did think about it.

I suppose the most popular use of The Rite of Spring is in Disney’s Fantasia. Supposedly when the symphony debuted, it caused riots in the Paris theater because the crowd was so discontented with the primitive raw sounds they were not accustomed to hearing. At first listen, it sounds discordant. The sounds are visceral, strong and contrasting. Not really what you expect to hear from a piece titled “The Rite of Spring.” It sounds like a swirl of different sounds and noises and you almost get the impression that Stravinksy stops when he finds a sound that he likes, but then leaves, giving fleeting glimpses of monstrous activities, instead of extended sequences.

When I thought about why I like this piece so much, I thought about the inaccessibility of it. The Rite of Spring keeps its listeners at a distance for two reasons. First, as I’ve said, it’s harsh-sounding. Secondly, it’s cerebral. I’m sure understanding this piece when it premiered took a bit of work. And that subtle intellect is almost a limitation for the piece, as it is for me sometimes. Now I’m not saying that I’m supremely intellectual or even smart. I’m really an idiot when it comes to a lot of things. But I do feel that I keep people at a distance. I suppose a large part of that is shyness. But sometimes I feel like the reason I can be so anti-social (note: I won’t go so as far as to say “single”) is that I can sometimes lack emotion or enthusiasm. I suppose my tastes and habits border on the ordinary. I like quiet nights out. I like playing sports. I like staying at home to watch tv. I like going to the gym and the grocery store. Even in the sports I play, I rarely play any sports that are in a team environment because I almost have a fear of relating and being accessible to my teammates.

At the same time, my interests and actions also used belie my age (I’m 28 now), similar to the forward-thinking of The Rite of Spring. My interests in clothes, for example, go beyond following the latest fashions and who’s wearing what. I like to explore brands and thoroughly research the history and legacy of brands. My passion for food indicates a pretty sophisticated and well-researched palate. As I entered my 20s, it was hard for me to find other people who shared the same interests. I often felt alone and not able to relate. I know a large part of this had to do with the fact that I didn’t come out that I was gay until I turned 25. Putting that aside, though, I felt and still do feel that it takes a lot to get to know me, mostly because I just may not be the warmest person or “funnest” person around at first.

Finally, I can also be very serious. At work or even social situations, I often zero in on getting stuff done and don’t partake in the joking around or more emotional situations that arise. This happened in college when I was a member of the Model UN club. I rarely attended the social events, but still rose rapidly through the ranks of the club and became well-known and respected because of that ability to focus on the work. When I worked at my old job, I managed a large number of people. But this time I used this intensity to my advantage and was able to separate myself from the drama that often took place, and I know people appreciated that. The Rite of Spring, I feel, can sound like that--intense, serious, and even despondent.

I think all of this can be traced to a self-fear of obsolescence. I’m terrified that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life and not feel "relevant." I don’t really feel that I’m weird or socially withdrawn. I go out once in a while and I have my circle of friends. At the same time, when I am in a situation where I’m meeting new people and not feeling totally confident, my mind sometimes almost races to think of something trendy or funny to say, like I almost have to justify why I’m there. As a consequence, I can come off as arrogant, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think anyone who knows me would learn that I have a strong personality that’s both familiar and unique; down to earth and quirky. Most people do, and if you make the effort, it’s usually worth it to find that out.

On a less personal note, and before this sounds like a Personal Ads profile, if you ever have the opportunity to see The Rite of Spring performed by a full orchestra, take it. The shivers that ripple out of the orchestra will blow you away.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It's Soul Train

Today I was watching some cartoons. I haven't done that in so long. Saturday morning cartoons were the best, especially because I didn't have cable growing up. But then Soul Train would come on and it'd be all over.

Wouldn't you know, Soul Train came on today at 1:00PM. Once again, I cried "ARGH." Some things don't change.

High School Horror

I went to a kind of snooty high school, and like most prep schools, our school has an alumni magazine. Back in May, I attended my 10th year high school reunion. It was actually a pretty pitiful showing. Only six of us out of a class of 65 kids showed up and we were one of the honored classes. All in all, I had a good time. I hadn't been back to Virginia in a while, and it was nice to see everyone, even though I was bored out of my mind after a day. I feel like I've changed a lot since high school, and I was eager to see how everyone else had.

So I left Virginia with all sorts of feelings of nostalgia. When I got back to New York though, Virginia and my high school years were quickly forgotten as I adjusted myself back to the pressure cooker of a city that I live in. Then one day I got my high alumni magazine in the mail. I flipped through it wondering if any of the pictures taken of me at the reunion were in this issue. Towards, the end, I finally come across a picture of me with the other members of my class. My eyes are CLOSED! I was horrified. I could not believe they used that picture!

I think my high school needs to recall every single issue of that magazine with that picture. I simply cannot have that picture floating around. It's too embarrassing.

On second though, nah, it can stay. I guess it gets people talking about me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I'm back!

I'm back from San Francisco! I had a good trip this time and experienced lots of "firsts." Drove over the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. Visited many cool restaurants including Bouchon, Chez Panisse and Domaine Chandon and got to visit Napa Valley for the first time.

All in all, I had a very nice week in SF, despite being shipped off there for work. I'll have some posts later this week about my trip!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jury Reunion

Last week, in front of Fairway, I saw someone who looked vaguely familiar. Then I realized, it was Helen from my jury group! Not that Helen and I ended up being great friends or even exchanged any sort of contact info after our jury stint, but it was nice to reminisce. It was a little reunion on the street with one of my old jury buddies.

I had jury duty in December 2004, and I had the best time. After my experience, I urge everyone to do their civic duty and get on a jury! I told some people at work that jury duty was the best vacation I ever had. I only had to go in for about 4 hours a day, was out by 2PM, and then got to have the rest of the day to myself. Being near Chinatown, I also got to have dim sum every day. And the best part was that I was still getting paid my salary (I realize that not everyone on jury duty is this lucky.) I must have garnered a few strange looks as I cheerfully whistled while walking into the jury room. The sun was shining. I was on jury duty!

During my jury stint, I was interviewed for two trials. The first trial was a robbery with a judge who was the funniest guy ever. I actually later found out that he wrote the book, Carlito's Way. This guy was like that eccentric judge played by Paul Dooley on The Practice. Does anyone remember him? He was that crazy judge who was disillusioned by the judicial system and who would turn his court into a kangaroo court sometimes.

Anyway, Judge Torres was so funny. He'd interrupt everyone and always had some quippy remark to our answers to his background questions (i.e., our jobs, age, hobbies--I have no idea why he asked that.) He'd wave his hands in the air and chastise the lawyers for asking us "ridiculous" questions. He was hilarious.

The next judge I encountered was this quiet older woman and she was presiding over a drug-trafficking case. But the lawyers provided some more caricatures. The prosecutor was this mousy brown-haired white guy who just had no charisma whatsoever. I felt so bad for him.

The defense attorney, on the other hand, was like Johnnie Cochran. He'd wave his arms everywhere, screaming and yelling what he had to say. At one point, he rolled his pen off of the jury box ledge and onto the floor to demonstrate how without reasonable doubt, the prosecution's argument just "falls to the floor." Upon saying "floor" he stamped his foot to the ground like some televangelist.

During the jury interviews, we encountered some strange characters. One was this hippie woman who was a sculptor. Well she immediately got dismissed when she said she believed that all drugs should be legalized. But no way was I gonna say something like that. Jury duty was my ticket for a paid vacation from work and lawyers and documents that I had to deal with at the law firm. Probably the most provocative thing I said during the entire experience I said was that I did not believe a police officer to be any more of a credible witness than anyone else just because he was a member of the force. If anything, I really dislike the police because I think a lot abuse their power. The latest anecdote was how I heard a cop was caught looting TVs from a store devestated by Katrina. Um...where's he gonna plug it in? And dude, TVs don't float well.

We also had a trapeze artist in our jury pool. The judge asked him where he lived. "A tent," he said. "I travel with the circus." The judge had this quizzical look of disbelief on her face. "What?," she asked. The guy answered "Oh that address is just an office. I travel in a trailer with the Big Top Circus [which happened to be performing at Lincoln Center at the time]." The entire room, including the bailiff and lawyers were laughing. The judge was just dumbfounded. This had to be the most bizarre thing she had ever heard.

Well, in the end, I got picked. It was like my own Sally Field "You Like me, You really like me" moment. Hooray. Since I worked for a law firm, my managers just had to grin and bear it since obviously it'd be pretty embarrassing if they weren't supportive of me fulfilling my civic duty.

The trial was BOOORRING. The arresting officer gave the longest testimony and his examination went on for two days. The rest of the witnesses were short and quick and then it was time for the fun part: deliberation. The judge read us the charges again and gave us standard rules for jury conduct and then we were sequestered and left to our own devices.

I won't go into the complex legal nature of overcoming any burden of proof and finding someone guilty except to say that it is very difficult to say with any certainty that someone is guilty. Doubts gnaw at you and you try to be objective and not bring in any of your own personal views or experiences into the mix. But that's what makes jury duty so interesting. Juries, by nature and necessity, are random. Our two lawyers had done a very good job of selecting a diverse group of people, people who I probably would have never met otherwise. Our group included an inner-city high school teacher, a publisher, a corporate headhunter, a nurse, a doctor at St. Vincents, a couple of IT professionals, a PR guru for Crobar nightclub, and a legal case manager (me).

Our group deliberated for about a day and a half. Throughout it all, we got along very well. There were no jury power struggles and everyone listened to one another. We all had this bond and could make fun of everything in the courtroom and laugh conspiratorially. We took our job seriously and it was a bit unnerving to realize that you could send this person to jail. Although, I didn't let this my jury duty take over my life. On our second day of deliberation, one girl announced to us that she had been "haunted" by this whole experience and then started sobbing, almost uncontrollably. I was like "Whoa. I didn't take it THAT seriously."

In the end, we found the defendant "Not Guilty." Having rendered our verdict, we were done. The judge thanked us and dismissed out and I left the courtroom wondering whether I would see any of my jury buddies again.

Well, it happened last week, and I felt like I was seeing someone I went to high school with. Ah, jury buddies. Everybody should get one.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Free Chapstick!

Woo-hoo! I went to a company benefits presentation today and one of our insurance carriers gave us free chapstick. Yay! I'm a total lip balm/chapstick person. I have around 10 tubes of them at any one time to go in my coat pockets, backpack, work bag and on my desks at home and work.

I sometimes tell people how I think I'm a very boring person. Case in point here. Free chapstick tubes are the type of things that excite me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sometimes I'm Too Nice

Today, I went to the UPS store around the corner from my office here in San Francisco. I don't know if it was her or she's just indicative of people in San Francisco, in general, but I dealt with THE MOST incompetent person ever to work in a UPS store. Here are some examples of what "Tory" did to turn my UPS visit into a 40 minute ordeal, all just to send a package:

-Asked me for the recipient's driver's license number. the hell would I know that? I'm returning something to a store, not a person. And who in the world knows your driver's license number by heart? I don't know any of my friends' numbers, not even my own...

-Asked me for mine. Why the hell does she need to know this to send my package? Does she need to see my traffic violations?

-Asked me if I had a girlfriend because she found out that I'm a fairly good cook (I was sending something back to She said she would never let go of a "cute guy" like me.

-Kept clicking some button on the computer that erased all the info that she entered. She did this twice and she typed SLOW.

-Kept picking up the phone that someone else at the store had placed on hold because the phone kept beeping. I was like, "hello, the phone is beeping because the person is on hold, but NOT FOR YOU."

The manager finally came over and finished my package in about two minutes. I was too nice to really lay it on her, but I was fuming. Well, at least I'm over it now.

Oh my god. I hate incompetence.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sorry for the lack of blog posts...

To all my loyal readers: I'm in San Francisco now on business, so I apologize for the scant entries. But I'll try to post at least one or two this week!

Hope everyone has a great labor day weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Celebrity" Sighting of the Week

While walking west on 14th street, I saw D-list celebrity Robert Verdi yapping away on his cell-phone with his trademark sunglasses perched on his bald head. I'm not gonna start hating on Robert Verdi in this blog entry. Yes, he can be quite obnoxious and elitist for no real reason, but he looks like he's having fun and making a decent living, and so all the props to him for succeeding at what he likes doing.

But I have a confession to make. I have always wanted to be stopped by him for his "Where'd Ya Get That?" segment. I don't know if he still does this, but I used to see him on Full Frontal Fashion stopping random people on the street to ask about their outfits. I'm a bit of a clotheshorse, actually a lot of one. You might even call me a fashion-monger. Seriously, they call me the "best-dressed" at the office. Of course, having the superiority complex that I can sometimes have, I play off any compliments about the way I look with non-chalance. "Oh this? I've had this forever. I don't even remember where I got it from," I say or if I'm feeling particularly proud of my ensemble that day, I'll reply to "You look nice" with "I KNOW."

I've literally traveled the earth in pursuit of an exclusive designer item. I’m not trying to brag, but I do think I have impeccable taste. I keep all sorts of catalogs in my desk drawer that I whip out every time I’m considering making a new purchase from abroad. Among my many famous purchases, I’ve ordered shoes from Tanino Crisci in Italy, a wallet from Goldpfeil in Berlin and a travel wallet from Valextra.

Some people have a dream to get into college. Some have a goal to become president. My goal? To be on “Where’d Ya Get That?”.

So This Is What It's Like to Be a Mugger...

I have never mugged anybody, but I now know what pepper spray feels like. Last night, I was chopping a thai chili pepper and then made the mistake of trying to take out my contacts. Can you say...dumbass?

I had washed my hands before I attempted this, but I guess some chili residue was still on my fingers. As soon as I touched my eye, I felt excruciating pain. I backed away from my sink and tried to pry my eye open, but it was clamped shut. My eye and nose were soon stinging and felt like they were on fire that water would not dissipate. I bent over the sink and furiously splashed water in my eye to get rid of the horrifying agony. Finally, the pain and stinging subsided. My t-shirt was soaked and there was water all over my bathroom sink counter. My face was all red, and I was exhausted.

The only other time I have ever felt eye pain like this was when a couple years ago, I used expired contact lens solution, which actually I never knew expired, and as a result got an ulcer in my eye. I came into work, and people were like "Dude, what's with your eye?" because it looked like I had pink eye. I had to put in drops every 20 minutes and ointment every hour and couldn't face any light since the light hurt my eye so much. So I had a fun evening sitting at home that night in the dark, listening to the radio (couldn't turn on the TV because of the light) with my drops in hand.

Well, now this chili incident has educated me further. Before now, I hadn't fully given up the possibility of leading a life of crime, but this episode has sure set me straight. Klutzy moves like this are probably the reason why I don't get invited to fancy parties.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My High End Toothbrush

About a month ago, I forked over $100 for a Sonicare Intelliclean 8500 toothbrush. This thing has changed my life. This device is right up there with the iPod, peanut butter and Tivo (well, I don't have Tivo, but I imagine if I did, I'd have another epiphany) as best inventions ever. This brush is really the iPod of toothbrushes. I bought the top of the line model because I was so enraptured with it. I think it brushes something like 33,000 brush strokes per second and my mouth feels CLEAN. It has a cool charger and the brush just sits on it (no plugging in any cords) like a dental totem. It also has a timer that beeps every 30 seconds so you fully brush every quadrant of your mouth. Wow.

If you haven't joined the Sonicare club, join now. Regular brushing is for the Amish.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sale at Ann Taylor

Everyday, I walk by Ann Taylor at 68th & Broadway near my apartment. Whenever I walk by, I always think of the time when two people at my old work were wearing almost identical bright pink sweaters. And better yet, one of them was a guy (albeit, he's gay.) I said, "Why are you guys wearing the same sweater?" Then I asked, "What, was there a sale at Ann Taylor?"

I teased this guy for the next few months about his "Ann Taylor" sweater.

Watching Some Concerts on TV...

I have to fly JetBlue a lot, much to my chagrin, because that is my company's preferred airline for cost reasons. However, I've always had problems when I fly them. One time, the lovely folks at JetBlue had the nerve to tell me that I checked my bags too early! That's why my bags got on the earlier flight to Boston. Geez, the nerve of me. I've also had seat issues. It seems my seat always gets double-booked with someone else, and more often than not, I get stuck with the crappiest seat on the entire damn plane. And don't get me started on the clientele. Ew...budget travelers, little kids. Bleh.

Everyone who likes flying JetBlue always talks about the DirecTV service. I've always maintained that it's nice, but I wouldn't go out of my way to fly JetBlue just for that. I usually sleep on planes (which is probably why I've never been hit on by any cute fellow passengers). But while flipping the channels on DirecTV on one of the many flights I've taken to Oakland, I came across some music channel that shows live concerts. I kind of tuned in, but just in passing because I was really sleepy and wanted to get some sleep. Soon, though, I was glued to the TV set. I remember the first concert I saw was Tina Turner. Now I have never been a huge fan of hers. I don't have any of her albums or anything and I barely know what songs she sings. She's always seemed so "adult contemporary" to me, which I guess is the genre that she caters to now as opposed to her "What's Love Got to Do With it" and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome days.

Well, I got really into this concert. Before you know it, I'm singing and bopping along to all of Tina's songs, surprised at how many songs I knew. Ms. Turner really knows how to put on a show. I hope I'm in as good shape as her when I'm in my 60s.

I liked the concert so much that I even wrote a letter to JetBlue asking why this channel isn't on every flight I take with them. Well, they told me that DirecTV only shows this channel on weekends. I responded saying that as silly as it sounds, I choose JetBlue solely for that one channel. I wish I could get it at home. This email exchange between me and the JetBlue guy is actually funny for another reason. Me and this guy actually became email buddies and wrote back and forth for a while. Maybe we'll go out for a drink sometime and maybe he'll turn out to be gay and single and of course cute.

So, the other night, I watched some performances from Live 8. Now I won't go too much into the B.S. behind this concert because it's been talked about to death. But I mean, first, come on, raise awareness? What wonderful lukewarm sentiments. Having watched "Live 8," I can't really say I'm more "aware" of poverty. Secondly, the concert was supposed to be a message to the leaders of the G8 to shape up and forgive the debts of Africa. While noble, the developed world has been giving money to Africa since the beginning of time. People also need to focus on world commerce and the actual government infrastructure inside Africa. It's gonna take a lot more than a concert, obviously, to even take a stab at helping the situation.

I don't want to sound too churlish or cynical. Live 8 had great intentions and I don't doubt Bob Geldof's sincerity (although a Nobel Peace Prize sounds a bit like overkill). I'm a bit dubious, though, of some of the other stars' reasons for being there especially after it was reported that every star got lavish gifts which I'm sure gave the corporate sponsors a nice tax write-off (in Philly, the gifts were valued at $12,000 per artist). I just hope that not too many people came away from the concert with the belief that all it takes is throwing some money or forgiving debts to "Make Poverty History". That's an utterly naive notion.

Some people, though, can only be reached through popular culture, and if this concert got some people thinking, that's a good thing. In any event, as a concert, Live 8 was great, and while watching, I became enthralled again with another easy-listening diva. Annie Lennox (introduced by a very gay looking bleach blond Brad Pitt at London--actually Annie and Brad could have been twin sister and brother) was great. Although, I have to admit, she could take it easy with the "wooh, wooh" and "la la la" noises she makes with her chirpy voice. That aside, I was singing along to "Little Bird" & "Sweet Dreams" like her biggest fan.

Some of my other observations:

- Stereophonics (London) - These guys were the ultimate in cool, dressed in all black with black sunglasses. They sang "Maybe Tomorrow" with so much emotion.

- Will Smith (Philadelphia) - He had some great beats, and he was so clearly proud to be host in his hometown. It was great when that drum corps marching band came out when Will was singing "Switch."

- Green Day (Berlin) - I love Green Day's latest album and the band has made a great comeback. They were awesome in Berlin, and Billie Joe's jet-black cabaret hair-do is perfect for the Berlin scene. A-Ha (Berlin), right before Green Day, was also great "taking on" everybody.

- Shakira (Paris) - Her new song, "La Tortura", is so catchy and I'm singing along even though I don't speak or understand a word of Spanish. But, I swear, that girl has like acrobatic breasts or something. Reminds me of those bodybuilder guys who could flex and gyrate their huge man-boobs.

- Jann Arden (Toronto) - I remember liking her song, "Insensitive," from the early '90s. But she sounded like a dying cow here. Someone put her out of her misery. Ditto for Dido (London). She sounded like a muppet. Sarah McLachlan (Philadelphia) did the best job out of everyone at the "I'm a strong, independent, socially-conscious woman" persona and her angelic voice was perfect. Mariah Carey (London), on the flip side, was pathetic during her interviews while trying to talk about the cause, but in reality promoting her album and showing off her two sizes too small dress. And not to be outdone, Celine Dion (Toronto, but really Vegas) did a lame-ass satellite appearance from Caesar's Palace. Oh my god. Of course you're gonna get booed.

- Scissor Sisters (London) - Jake Shears looks like he'd be fun in bed.

- Duran Duran (Rome) - Someone needs to tell Simon LeBon to e-nun-ci-ate. You couldn't understand a word he was singing.

- Rob Thomas (Philadelphia) - He said the strangest thing. He compared poverty to "two 9/11s a day." Kind of a weird and heavy-handed comparison to make.

- Robbie Williams (London) - I miss Robbie Williams. He is soooo cute. And he does a great show. He can totally hold his own against a crowd of 1 million. I only wish he had actually sung more. He kept doing that annoying thing of pointing his microphone to the crowd so we hear them sing.

- Bryan Adams (Toronto) - I used to be the BIGGEST Bryan Adams fan. "Summer of '69" is one of the best singles ever recorded, I think. After trying to stay relevant with current music trends as evidenced by his really lame 18 Till I Die album where he looked like this creepy, sleazy perv, he finally has a cool song out now, the anthemic "This Side of Paradise" and his raspy voice sounds great. I can't say the same thing though for his current tour partner, Def Leppard (Philadelphia). They sounded like wheezing aging rockers.

- Stevie Wonder (Philadelphia) - He gave an awesome performance. He can still wow a crowd, but what was with the all-white uniform for every african or african-whatever nationality performing at Live 8? From that Ethiopian girl who came out with Madonna (London) to that Senegalese guy who did a duet with Dido, they were all wearing white robes or caftans or whatever they're called.

- The Cure (Paris) & UB40 (London) - It's great to see them still around.

- Snoop Dogg (London) - I'm sure he's got lots of connections from his ex-con, drug-dealing days. We should send him and his thugs to find Al-Qaeda.

- Dave Matthews Band (Philadelphia) - Dave Matthews played in my home town before his band got big, so I grew up with them. Their set was ok, but I am so tired of their jamming. End a song, damn it. They just go on and on and on. Also, I can't look at them the same way ever since they dumped feces into the Chicago River.

Other good performances were given by Sting, Madonna, Jet, Keith Urban (best Aussie country rocker I've ever heard), Razorlight, U2, The Killers, Toby Keith (I might be becoming a country music fan), Coldplay (the duet with that guy from The Verve was very cool). The Pink Floyd reunion, on the other hand, was so underwhelming. They sounded like crap. Also I don't know what Travis was thinking doing a cover of "Stayin Alive". I think I would have liked to have seen Kylie Minogue perform at one of the Live 8 concerts. She could have replaced Faith Hill (Rome), which was just bizarre. Didn't realize there were a lot of country music fans in Italy.

Anyways, back to the original topic at hand, I like watching concerts and I love listening to music and have a very eclectic taste. Songs have a great way of attaching themselves to a special memory, which makes them so comforting.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

So Funnizle

In case you wanted to learn some jive, here's a good site to visit. It reminds me of the "I Speak Jive" lady from Airplane.

Yeah, I could use an edge to the way I talk. I thought about changing the way I walk, but this is so much better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Plates Should Stay In, Not Come Out

A few weeks ago, I decided to spend my evening after work cleaning my apartment. I got really into it that night. First, I made a trip to Rite-Aid and bought about $80 worth of cleaning supplies. I never knew there were all these new attachments for ths Swiffer now! I couldn't make up mind on which I needed, so I bought all of them. I do things like that. For instance, if I can't decide on which color shirt, I'll just buy all five colors. I came home with my goodies in hand, ready to start a night of cleaning.

Man, did I clean. I spent about five hours cleaning my apartment spic and span. I was delving into crevices and corners that I didn't even know my apartment had. I scrubbed and wiped and mopped up everywhere till my apartment had that lovely combined scent of Pledge, Murphy's Oil Soap and Windex. I can't remember the last time my apartment smelled and looked so clean.

This all probably took longer than normal because of my broken arm. At that time, I still didn't have much movement in my arm and so it was hard to use. The culmination of my cleaning efforts that night focused on my microwave. Since I've started cooking a lot, I decided I needed more counter space and tried to figure out where my microwave could go. I looked around and realized the only space I really had was the top of the refrigerator. So up my microwave went. I grabbed my step stool and lifted the microwave from underneath with both arms. I struggled with it because I really couldn't give much support with my lame arm. Finally, I got it up there and I was out of breath, but also pretty pleased with myself at my clean apartment and my new countertop space.

The following week, I saw my orthopedic surgeon. After he took my X-ray, we could both immediatly see that one of the plates in my arm was peeling off my bone. My doctor didn't seem to be so worried though. And I'm thinking "Why isn't he more alarmed??? A plate is COMING OUT of my arm." Then I thought back to the microwave I lifted and was thinking, "Crap, I knew I felt something when I lifted that thing." I had also lifted in the previous weeks a couple of water cooler bottles and some heavy grocery bags. All my friends asked me "Did you tell your doctor this?" But I was too embarrassed to say anything about my lifting to my doctor because I didn't wanna get yelled at.

So far I seem to be good. I've had another X-ray since then and the plates and screws haven't moved anymore out of my bone, so I won't have to have another surgery. I told a friend about my whole plate dilemma, and he proceeded to tell me that one time he had plates come THROUGH his jaw. Great, that's just what I need to hear to make me feel even better.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Water Rules

Today, after a really active day, I went for a run. I had already rowed a boat in Central Park with some friends (well, I didn't actually row with my broken arm, so the girls rowed), done some work, played tennis, brunched with some friends. Then around 5PM, I decided to go running. On Saturdays, I usually run 2-3 miles on the West Side Highway and then stop at W. 16th Street, so I can visit the Farmer's Market at Union Square.

I was PARCHED after my run. It was so humid and I'm surprised I made it the whole way. I probably would have car-jacked a Poland Spring truck if I had seen one. As it was, I approached a hot dog stand and bought a bottled water and drank it in about 10 seconds. Then I bought another bottle and did the same thing. All in all, I bought four bottles and drank them all in about 4 minutes.

I think that would have made a nice commercial. It was made for TV.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Food Phases

When I find a food that I like, I tend to go overboard and then I'm sick of it after a couple of weeks. My friends would tell me "Geez, when you like something, Terence, you kill it!" For example, there was that month when I had rotisserie chicken everyday and was making a tour of every rotisserie chicken place in the city. There was also that week that I had Chipotle for lunch and dinner everyday for a week (which my friends found disgusting). Oh and the time when I loved these bags of cinammon pita chips so much that I ordered a whole case. Then there was that time when I discovered roasted beets. At my old employer's cafeteria, roasted beets were served every day. I'm talking those deep magenta colored beets with sliced raw onions. I kept wondering who ate those? They served them every damn day! Finally, curiousity got the better of me, I got some of those beets. The first time I took a bite of a roasted beet, I thought to myself, "Hmmm....not bad." I actually had this idea in my head that beets were spicy but then I realized I was confusing beets with radishes. Eventually I started having them with every dinner I had in the cafeteria. But I still felt like I was the only person eating them. I'd ask people "Do you eat beets? Don't they look weird to you or even kinda gross?" My friends would respond "Well, then why are you eating them?" "Oh well, I kinda like them," I said.

Well, right now, I'm having another craving and I can feel another food phase coming on. Except I can't get this food item now! I am SO craving Clementine oranges right now. I'm talking about those really sweet, easily peeled, tiny oranges that are so good but only in season in the Winter. I really wish I could buy a whole crate right now.

*Sigh*, I guess I'll get a tangelo. I like those too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Grace Period Over

I used to work at a big Wall Street law firm as a Case Manager and managed a large staff for large litigations. It was long hours and a lot of work, and after six years, I was sick of it. I found myself a new job in the tech industry but still working with a lot of law firms. However, at least my hours are sane now and I can rebuild my life.

Like with all new jobs, I had a grace period, and with my broken arm, I got even more sympathy. But now my grace period is over, and I'm starting to be given, horrors of all horrors, real responsibilities. Since I know I don't have a real passion for this industry, I really miss my period when I was just the "newbie" who didn't know anything. I mean I work hard and all and do the best job I can. It was just nice to not have any real stress and just do what people ask and work for only about 5 hours a day while the rest of the time I'm surfing the Internet or chatting online on AIM.

Those days are gone now, and I'm feeling it. Today, I'm having the crappiest day at work. I screwed up one of our projects and the client was so mad that he emailed the whole world at our company including the CEO! Who does that? Well, actually, I knew some associates at my old job who would do that too but I was "established" at my old job and had allies elsewhere in the firm when push came to shove.

At the same time, the fact that I miss my days of being a cog worries me somewhat. When did I ever lack so much ambition? I keep telling myself that it's because I have no passion whatsoever for this industry and to a large extent, that's true. But a small part of me constantly worries that I'll become complacent in my current job and standard of living. I really need to get my act together and get that MBA that I've been "pursuing" for the last couple of years.

Oh god, I hope I'm not turning "aspirational."

Beware...The Witch Is Here

The other day, I got the most bizarre comment on my blog. I've deleted it since its appearance, but it definitely freaked me out. It was a long diatribe in response to my My New BFF post. I guess it was SPAM, but I have no idea to what purpose. According to the "Prophet",

Ulnar and radial bones are seat of the unholy monkey legions of scorpio - physical therapy = trick of the devil-christ to lure deceptor docs in white to blackness time shade midnight earth EVIL bastards fool-schooled.

WTF?!? I won't post the rest of the comment because it is LONG and to be perfectly honest, incomprehensible. It's like some strange stream of consciousness, schizophrenic statement trying to convert me to his (or her; the prophet says he is both male and female) beliefs, whatever they are.

Well, I immediately tried to investigate and didn't find much. The "prophet" has a blog with more crazy posts. And I found some other blogs to have been hit with a comment from this person. Whoever this person is, he or she definitely has a few loose screws.

Now that I've said that, I'll probably have a hex placed on me. This is actually the second time I've dealt with a witch. Well, I say that tongue-in-cheek, but we had our suspicions. At my old job, I used to have a temp who we thought was just plain creepy. She just had this weird LOOK and we were all sure she was a witch. I mean the real deal: casting spells, black cat, etc. She had a weird name too. I won't repeat it here in this blog, but it's kind of like what "Joey" from Friends said: "Chandler is the stupidest name I ever heard. It's kind of like chandelier, but it's NOT!"

I think the thing that convinced us was her message on a Congratulations card for a co-worker. She wrote "Your time has come." Whoa.

Well, I know rationally, this is silly, but legend just grew and grew and we accepted it. So when I got the comment from the "Prophet", I thought "Oh my god. Another witch." I was so freaked out by this comment that I wanted to take down my blog because I didn't want to be that accessible to freaks like this guy.

But then I thought of why I started my blog and why I've enjoyed this one month experiment in blogging. When I started this, I knew that I wanted it to reflect me and my opinions. I'm not much of a political or "issues" person, so I didn't want it to be too serious. I just wanted it to be fun, but thoughtful. I also didn't want my blog to be a list of grievances because that's no fun either and just sounds like whining. What I have liked most about writing in my blog is that it gives me an outlet to react in a more human way to situations I see or things I hear when the social dictums of discretion or professionalism prevent me from doing that. Also, as with lots of people, I think of my snappy commentary hours after the fact, so the blog is a nice way to catch up.

But most importantly, my blog has allowed me to share parts of my life and the things I have to say. I don't get to see my friends often (mostly because I have anti-social tendencies) and it's nice to know that at least some of them can see what's going on with me by coming here to my blog.

So I hope everyone's enjoyed it so far. I like what I've written so far and I think I've been able to find a niche for myself. So out of the millions of blogs out there, I hope people read mine. Write comments! Email me! Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 08, 2005


To continue my comic book theme in the movies, I saw Batman Begins at the Sony Loews Lincoln Center IMAX, despite my unofficial boycott of Loews theaters (I had an "incident" previously with Fandango). A few thoughts:

- This movie is scary! I jumped at the first scary scene and had to keep my guard up for the rest of the movie.

- Christian Bale has certainly done a nice job of growing up. I still remember him when he played that little kid in Empire of the Sun. He's such a hottie now and has a nice sexy voice.

- Was Katie Holmes at the end of the movie not wearing a bra? Either that or it was really cold in that scene.

- Seeing a movie in the IMAX version can be disconcerting. It's very loud and the screen is HUMONGOUS. Some of the heavy-duty fight scenes where the camera is flying all over the place can be a little disorienting. But the weirdest thing is the weird movie theater voice guy telling us to "Please use the upstairs exits", and "Please gather all your personal belongings." It was like this booming voice could just all of a sudden be heard from the sky. I was like, "Who is that? God?"

All in all, I really liked Batman. The story and acting were good and it really set up the upcoming sequels nicely. If only they had shown more shirtless scenes of Christian Bale and this movie would be a 10.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Too Much Information

On Friday, my next door neighbor invited me to a party for him and his girlfriend. During the evening, my neighbor tells me "You know, people in the building have been talking about you." I had no what idea he was talking about. I asked "Who?" "The doormen", he replied. "Well, actually just Kenny." "Yeah," my next door neighbor goes on, "Kenny asked me about you."

Well, apparently, Kenny asked whether I "belonged" to the building since I am only a lowly subletter inside a co-op. I'm a pretty quiet resident in the building and keep to myself. The doormen all like me and the ladies who run the dry cleaners think I'm cute (well, the new ones do, the old ones didn't like me, but more about that in another post). But one night I locked myself out of my apartment like I do once a month. I spent the night at a friend's place and came back the next morning and called a locksmith. The locksmith got my door open, but made a ton of drilling noise in the meantime. My door was open all right, and the lock looked like it had a bomb detonated on it.

Since I made such a scene in the building, some people complained. Some people also complained because I used to have a very bad habit of leaving my alarm on. One time I came home after a 2 week trip to find notes and voicemails from a furious neighbor.

All of these were accidents and none were my fault and I had forgotten about them. So when my next door neighbor informs me of the fact that Kenny is asking about me, I immediately panic. Why in the world do some people feel compelled to divulge information like this just to get someone worked up? Now I'm freaking out. Rationally, I know I won't get evicted because if my co-op board wanted to evict me, they would have done so long ago. Furthermore, "Kenny" has since retired. But I have no clue why my neighbor felt the need to share this with me.

Argh. I hope I'll eventually forget about this.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dove Ads

I was walking through the long hallway in Grand Central from the "S" Shuttle to the station exit when I noticed that those Dove Ads with "real women" had been taken down. I've been seeing those ads every day. In fact, the whole city was canvassed with these ads. You can't escape the city without seeing one of the "curvy" women smiling at you in her underwear.

I found this statement from Philippe Harousseau, Dove's Marketing Director, about the campaign:

"It is our belief that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes and ages. Our mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by broadening the definition of beauty."

The irony is palpable here: women are supposed to embrace their own “real beauty” and yet buy Dove’s cellulite firming cream because they hate their thighs. But only a real cynic would fault Dove for that. I mean they are a consumer goods company selling a product, so of course there will always be a little bit of conflict between their business and societal goals. Hell, if Dove thought that neo-Nazis would push thigh-firming cream, they’d probably feature them.

Yet, when I first saw these ads, I actually thought they were kind of creepy, especially the giant size posters in Grand Central. Walking through the hallway from the "S" shuttle was like walking through a Hall of Dove Women. Here were these women dancing around in their underwear screaming “Hey, check ME out.” If any of these women lacked self-esteem before they were picked, they certainly don’t have that problem now. The website is hilarious too. As you drag your cursor over, each model takes a seductive pose showing off her assets and then you can learn more about each one and you find out they are all indeed very real women—manicurists, students, waitress…

So when I first saw these ads, I wanted to laugh but not to ridicule them, but instead of the literal comic relief of seeing women dancing around in their bras and panties on my way to work. But as I started to see them every three blocks all over the city, I’d start to get this squirmy feeling. Something seemed out of place. I’m staring at this “big-boned” woman in the middle of Broadway and it was trying to project a serious message when all I could do was giggle.

Maybe I was just being immature or didn’t understand or maybe it was even the gay thing and I just don’t like staring at nearly naked women. In any event, the girls have grown on me and I even have a favorite one (Shanel, the manicurist).

I have to admit, the ads at least got people talking about Dove. When was the last time you ever read anything exclamatory about Dove soap? It seems so vanilla to me. But the ads even got me (obviously I am not Dove’s target audience) buying into the “hey, buy Dove products because you like them and they’re trying to be righteous” marketing plug. To buy Dove is to cast a vote for them.

So what did I do? I went out and bought some Dove dishwashing liquid.

All in all, I think these ads are refreshing and certainly provocative. Some have accused of Dove being no different than any other company exploiting female sex appeal for the sake of a sale. But I really don't think people should take these ads that seriously. These "real beauty" girls got to have a moment in the spotlight and I hope they enjoyed it and had fun. Looks like they did to me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My New BFF

So my new best friend is my therapist. Note, I mean physical therapist because I quickly realized that whenever I said "So, my therapist and I..." or "I'm coming back from therapy...", people thought I was seeing a psychiatrist.

I started physical therapy about three weeks after my surgery. After my first session, I was nearly in tears. I couldn't do any of the exercises and I thought my arm was never going to get better. It was still pretty painful and I had only just gotten the staples removed from my arm about 2 days before that.

I'm glad that I really like my therapist. She and I have been working together to get my arm back to normal. Since I broke both the ulnar and radial bones and had two metal plates and twelve screws surgically implanted in my arm from my battle with the tire, it'll be a long and slow recovery for me. But the good news is that my therapist informed me the other day that I could cut back my visits to two times per week instead of three. Yay for me.

Throughout therapy, supination has been the hardest exercise for me. I can get my arm to about 75 degrees, as opposed to 180, and that's about it. It's really frustrating because I'm a pretty active guy and I like to play a lot of sports and go to the gym a lot, but can't do too much right now with my arm like this. And I especially need the supination to play tennis. So it's pretty depressing and fortunately I have physical therapy this summer to stop me from going crazy.

I've got a long ways to go and a lot more therapy to do. During our sessions we chat all the time. The other day she recommended that I get the Chocolate Babka at Fairway because I live near there. I was thinking "Babka? You mean that dessert from Seinfeld? I never knew that was a real thing." And then yesterday she was telling me how her husband is a screamer. He could drop something and he'd start screaming. She told me that if anyone ever heard her scream like her husband, it meant someone was killing her.

Anyway, my therapist and I chat all the time while I try to get my arm back to normal. It's like I have my own "Paulette" from Legally Blond to get me through it all.

Mr. Cool--Lance Armstrong

I saw Lance Armstrong last night on David Letterman. He was talking about how he wanted his kids to be at his final Tour. He really wanted his kids to understand what their daddy does for a living. His kids apparently used to think that their Dad didn't really do anything. "Oh yeah, my dad just sits around the house and goes on a bike ride once in a while."

Well, I'm glad he set his kids straight and showed them why he's not a bum, but instead the coolest guy ever.