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, Earthquake...you 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.