Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend Of Ups And Downs

I was all set to have an exciting holiday weekend and come back here weaving golden tales of adventure, championship moments and debauchery. But all I have to show for my weekend is some exhausted legs that I'm icing right now because they're that sore. I guess I had high expectations, since it was Memorial Day Weekend which on the scale of "Awesome Sexy Holidays"ranks above Secretary's Day, but below Christmas.

Boring isn't always bad though. For instance, that O.J. Simpson car chase sure was exciting. But then he got framed for murdering his wife and her lover, so that's not the good kind of exciting. Similar to that, my weekend wasn't the bad kind of boring. In fact, when I compare it with some other people's more exciting weekends, I'm pretty sure I'd choose mine. I say "pretty sure" since boredom can be awfully, well, boring.

My Weekend (Boring)

On Friday, I got out of work a bit early and went down to SoHo to lunch on burgers and fries. Well, my friend got fries, while I got fried pickles, which aren't as good as you might think. They taste just like hot pickles. Afterwards, I stopped in the Adidas store and bought myself a tshirt to add to my tennis clothes collection (i.e., fetish). I had a tournament coming up, and my first match was the next day.

I came home on Friday night and caught up on DVR and packed my tennis bag for the next day. I opened a bottle of wine too, and a bottle and a bowl of pasta later, at around 11:30, I was ready to hit the sack, after watching half an hour of North Country.

Saturday, I met a friend in the morning to play an hour of tennis to warm myself up for the forthcoming events. Then at around 2:30PM, I schlepped out to Flushing Meadows to play in a tennis tournament. I was excited and brimming with confidence. I've been playing a lot lately and winning a lot. So I was ready to do well. Well I got on to the court and built a lead. I was up 4-0 in the first set, and then just lost it. I was embarrassed. All of a sudden, it was like I didn't know how to hit the ball. The second set was more of the same. I was up 4-2, when I lost it again. In all, I lost the match 6-4 7-5. I was too depressed to stay in Flushing and have good Asian food (Malaysian, Chinese, Korean--take your pick). So I just came home, wondering what happened.

All was not lost on Saturday though. I finally got to make my first visit to the taco truck on 96th street! OMG, I already wanna go back. Those tacos were so good. Actually I thought the tamales and sopes were even better. I somehow ordered three tacos , three sopes and three tamales though, which is enough food for four people. I should learn to speak Spanish one of these days.

I had my consolation match on Sunday. On Sunday morning, I ate some breakfast and watched some Nigella. Then, I left my apartment, and again schlepped out to Flushing "Toilets Are Welcome" Meadows. I thought I had gotten over my performance from the day before. But I pretty much shanked my consolation match and just lost it. This time I didn't even build a lead. I just had one of those days where nothing went right.

Bummed, I crossed the border and returned to Manhattan. I had time to squeeze in another tennis game with a friend in the late afternoon on Sunday. I redeemed myself, and played like the wanna-be pro that I am. Then, later on Sunday, I met up with one of my neighbors to catch Indiana Jones. We were actually supposed to see it with two other friends of mine, who are fans of my neighbor, but through some theater sold-out showtimes drama, we actually couldn't all get together. Nonetheless, it was a nice way to end the normal part of the weekend. Oh and Indiana Jones is worth seeing. Harrison Ford & Karen Allen are a little creaky around the joints, but it's good enough. And Shia LeBoeuf is growing on me.

Monday, I played tennis yet again in the morning (all in all, I played about 10 hours this past weekend). Then on my way home, I spent an obscene amount of money at Balducci's. But I cooked a yummy dinner and paused wistfully to marvel at my good fortune.

A Coworker's Weekend (Moderately Exciting)

At work today, a coworker recounted his tale. On Friday night, he went out with a group of friends. Two of the people at the outing were an engaged couple among a group of single friends. At one point late in the night, it became painfully obvious that the female of the engaged couple was hitting on my coworker. These were not innocent moves that a guy might hop is flirting like accidently touching his hand or complimenting him on a joke. No. This was the undeniable come-on of grinding your ass into someone's crotch which is probably the equivalent of asking a guy if he has porn they could watch together.

This, of course, raised many questions from me about the ethics of the situation.

Me: "I think there's something wrong with the relationship and the girl doesn't want to get married."

Coworker: "I wouldn't want to get involved with her anyway. She's psycho."

Me: "But are you going to talk to her about it--when she's sober--and ask if anything's going on?"

Coworker: "I could be a hero, I guess, and save the day."

Me: "But what if her fiance hunts you down...."

Coworker: "Oh I could take him...."

Me: "What if he has a gun?"

Coworker: "Well, then, yes. He would have the upper hand."

See what I mean? Would I trade being embarrassed on the tennis court for the possibility of being shot? No way!

A Brother Of A Friend Of A Friend's Weekend (Very Exciting)

Another friend of mine told me the story today of a friend of his. Now I'm not sure if this actually happened this past weekend (I don't think it did, but I forgot to ask), but for the purposes of this blog post, let's just say it did. Go with me here. You'll see my point eventually.

My friend's friend's brother is a Senior in college and lives off-campus with a roommate. He's also been dating a girl for almost a year and they're pretty serious.

His roommate wants to go on a road trip, but my friend's friend's brother has too much work to do. His girlfriend wants to go, and my friend's friend's brother says fine. Now, unless the roommate is gay, I don't know why any guy would allow their girlfriend to go on a road trip with some other guy. But maybe I'm too uptight.

A couple weeks later, my friend's friend's brother comes back to his apartment to find that his roommate has moved out and subsequently MOVED IN WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND! So far all my friend's friend's brother has gotten out of either of them is messages of how sorry his now ex-girlfriend is and how she hopes they can stay friends, but nothing from the former roommate. On top of it all, it seems that his roommate has never even had a girlfriend before. So the first one he gets, he steals!
Now maybe this situation isn't "exciting," per se. But it sure isn't boring. I would be having Machiavellian fits of outrage if I were in this situation. This is so daytime talk show material! Very exciting! But not good exciting.

So when it comes down to it, who had the best weekend? Me, losing a little respect on the tennis court but ultimately having some tasty tacos and learning about crystal skulls? My coworker who might get shot? Or my friend's friend's brother who, I can only imagine, would read this and think "Boy, you get to play tennis, hang out with your friends, catch a flick and have some good food -- yeah, you've got A LOT to complain about."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Birthday Post #05: In Case You Forgot That It Was My Birthday Last Week

I meant to write this on Tuesday, May 13, but I was so tired when I got home that I passed out on my bed. But my birthday is like a wedding: you have a year to recognize my day. And you never need an excuse to give me a present! (Also see last year's list, of which I have yet to receive. A-hem.) Contact me here for details on where presents can be sent.


An American Girl Doll

Is there a more creepy toy than this? Basically, these are "people dolls." Not only does every doll have a past, but you can even get have a custom doll made to look and dress like you. They up the creep factor in the stores where you see the dolls in elaborate displays where dolls are pulled by sleighs, atop horses, in carriages, jazzercizing in purple leotards, snowboarding down white cotton mountains, always STARING at you with those creepy eyes. They further make the store an experience by having a doll hospital, doll clothes that are as expensive as people clothes and a doll beauty salon where you can actually pay someone $15 to brush and style the hair of something that is not, and will never be alive.

One major category of their dolls is their historical dolls. These dolls come from a time in history--from a good time gal in the swingin' '60's, all the way back to a Native American chick in the 17th century. Each one has a full biography and books written detailing their "story".

One of the crazier backgrounds is that of Addy, who is African American in the year 1862 and yes, a slave. And they don't shy away from the details in her rough life. Here is a piece of her story:
"Addy Walker’s story begins as she and her mother are escaping slavery to find Addy’s father and brother, who’ve been sold away. But their escape means leaving Addy’s baby sister behind—her cries could cost them their lives."

Whoa, this doll (yes, remember, this is a doll) has ice in her veins! Listen kids, let Addy's story be a lesson to you: if you're gonna keep up with that crying you might be left behind in bondage.

This Book

Read the title. 'Nuff said.

A New Blackberry (Or iPhone Or Any Other Handheld Device That Is Supposed To Make Me More Reachable)

I'm rough on my personal electronics. I've lost my cell phone too many times for me to remember, dropped my blackberry in a puddle and then stepped on it as I was trying to pick it up, broke the antenna off my phone and then couldn't find it because it rolled down the floor of a dark movie theater, left my ipod on a pile of clothes in the Gap. But somehow I've been able to keep my current Blackberry Pearl, not only in pristine condition, but also safely by my side. Boy, do I hate that thing though.
A Trip To Vegas

I know this is a crazy thing to say. Who would pass up a trip to Vegas? But I've never been gambling, and I'm scared what I might be like if I really got going in a casino.


Playmobil Airport Security Toys

I guess the tagline for this play set is: “Targeting terrorists is fun.”

This thing is so crazy and borderline sadistic. Why does the set come with an extra gun? So you can plant the gun in the suitcase, run it through the x-ray machine, then have the British police officer with the mop hair-do beat the suspect into submission with his tennis racquet? Wish I had this when I was a kid.

American Idol Tickets

When I was in LA recently, my dream was to be in the studio audience for American Idol. I emailed the ticket people, and was informed that only "standing room" was available. I emailed right back and asked, "What does standing room mean?" They replied, "Standing room can include areas in the back or in the front." Front? Oh, the mosh pit?!? Hell, I'll go in the mosh pit!

But actually last week, I got an email saying that I could have two seats to the FINALE. I just about DIED with excitement. The sucky thing was that I got the notification last Thursday, which was not nearly enough time for me to arrange to take off work and make travel arrangements. But, oh my god, if I had been there, I would have been screaming my head off.

A Trip To Dublin

Lately, I've been rethinking my affection for the British, because I think it has turned Irish. Maybe it started with this little poll. Then I saw Colin Farrell in In Bruges and swooned over him (again). And finally, I still think about this guy who I went on a few dates with last year, who just happened to be, oh yeah, Irish. Yeah, I have a thing for the Irish now.

I better learn how to make lots of potato dishes.

A Prosthetic Hand

I just think I could have a lot of fun with this. Among the jokes that would never stop being funny:

Helping friend move.

Friend: “Can someone give me a hand with this?”

Me: (Offer them prosthetic hand.)

At a concert.

Announcer: “Give him a hand, ladies and gentlemen.”

Me: (Throw prosthetic hand on stage.)

When friend comes to me for advice.

Friend: “I just don’t know. I mean, I love my job now. But this could be such a great opportunity.”

Me: “Well you know what they say . . .” (Produce prosthetic hand with a bird in it.)

Ba-dum-bum. Psh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TCho The Running Man

Tonight I ran the American Heart Association Start! Wall Street Run. (What's with the multitudinous use of exclamations?) It was only 5K, but with the gloomy, cold, rainy weather today, I wasn't really in the mood to run.

This was my first ever race. The crowds daunted me at first, and when the gun went off, I BOLTED because I had to get away from those crowds (I can't STAND crowds.) As I ran the course, I got a tour of my old stomping grounds from the days when I used to work at good old 125 Broad Street. I also saw lots of tourists and some cute suit guys watching us run. Towards the finish line two groups of pre-teen kids held their hands up. I'm sort of oblivious to everything (even in normal daily life), and I totally did not notice the first group of kids, until one of the kid's hands brushed my elbow. But I gave some high-fives to the second group. I somehow also completely did not notice a water station in the middle of the race that someone told me about later.

My final time was 23:19 at a pace of 7:46 min/mile, and my overall place was 1,108 out of 4,301 runners, which isn't bad I guess (to see my age group and gender standings, enter my bib number from the picture above here.) I think for the next race I do, I'll do a little better preparation, like make sure my laces are securely tied, and look out for another runner to hitch a ride from and go at his/her pace. And yes, despite all my whining today to my very patient friend, I think I'd like to do another race. But no marathon, thank you.

Still, I was pleased because I finished the race faster than I thought with some help from a call from nature. Before the race, I could feel my bladder starting to wimper and by the end of the race, it was screaming. So if I needed to summarize my race saga, I think this drawing describes my voyage nicely:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Celebrity Sighting

Tonight, I went for a run. This season, I've been running up the West Side Highway along Riverside Drive, as opposed to down the West Side Highway. Going up, you feel much closer to nature since you're running through Riverside Park. As a result, you pass by more park-like activities like soccer, playground play, and even a kind of hip watering hole at the 79th Street Boat Basin.

I started late in the day, which usually I hate, because I don't like to run in the dark. But it wasn't too dark for me to see Joan Allen, walking her little dog! I wanted to shout out to her, "Thanks for saving Jason Bourne!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Birthday Post #04: Did You Know It Was My Birthday?

Yesterday, I woke up at the crack of dawn to go play tennis at 7AM. Normally, I am still in Neverland at that hour, but I'm borderline hard-core when it comes to tennis. As a result, last night, I passed out at about 10PM and slept till 10AM this morning (sssshhhh! Don't tell work!). Right now I feel confident, happy and not at all uncomfortable with my sexuality (the last one would probably be funnier if I were straight.) If this is what normal, relaxed people feel on a daily basis, I may have to give up blogging, and become a prescription drug addict. Short of that happening, the delusions of grandeur will be gone by tomorrow and I'll be back to my normal, albeit now-31-year old self.

Oh yeah, did I mention that today is my birthday? I wasn't sure if everyone knew that it was coming up because I forgot whether I told anyone here. Just wanted to make sure.

Last year on the day of my birthday, I actually had to work late that night of all nights. I complained to a co-worker of mine, and was like, "Oh man, I can't believe I have to work tonight on the night of my birthday." He replied, "Well, if it makes you feel any better, I proposed to my girlfriend today and was going to take the day off." Um, nooooooo. Why the hell would that make me feel any better?

When I woke up this morning, I actually got a slew of birthday wishes emails, some from people who I haven't heard from in years. Uh, where were these people last year for my 30th? Oh and these weird messages on some "wall" that I have on Facebook. (I succumbed to pressure and created a Facebook profile, but I still have no idea how that site works.) And this morning, I also got many birthday IMs. It got to a point where I left my apartment this morning, expecting everyone I passed on the street to not only know it was my birthday, but also to stop me, shake my hand and offer their original rendition of the Happy Birthday song. Needless to say, I was a little depressed when I got to the office and all I got was a ho-hum "Hey." Also the pics of the awful earthquake in China and the cyclone in Myanmar really bummed me out. Not to put a serious downer all of a sudden on this special occasion, but it's really horrific. This is also depressing to read.

If that's not enough of a birthday buzz kill, according to the Farmers Almanac, today, my birthday is a great day "to go to the Dentist" and "harvest above ground vegetables." Mmmmm....pain and manual labor are always fun to experience on your birthday. Unfortunately, it's not a good time to "castrate animals", "set chicken eggs" or "make sauerkraut, can or pickle." Not that I was planning to set some chicken eggs today, but obviously I wanted to do some castrating and canning today. Way to ruin a good party, Farmer. This is why the government is taking away your land.

And to finish off this birthday exercise before getting back to normal, I'll return to the History Channel and other sources for some other less important events (less important than my birthday of course):

In 1944, filmaker George Lucas was born in Modesto, CA. I know I
mentioned this event last year, but it is worth repeating in honor of the new
Indiana Jones. Sorry, George, I think Harrison is too old. You
should have done this movie 10 years ago.

In 1796, Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccine to 8-year-old James Phipps. Last year, I was on Roosevelt Island, which is one of the weirdest places in Manhattan by the way, and stopped in the island historical office. The woman there mentioned that they were trying to raise funds to restore an old smallpox hospital. I was thinking, "Uh...WHY? Tear that shit down and build a condo."

In 1864, Eleanor "Women can write opera too" Freer was born. I'm sure she wrote something famously important but everyone remembers Wagner and Verdi.

On May 14, 1881, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the high price of gas. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

In 1904, the first Olympic Games in the U.S. opened in St. Louis. Seriously, guys. St. Louis? Have you been there?

In 1853, Gail Borden patents his (yes, HIS) process for condensed milk. Thai Iced Tea drinkers can rejoice!

In 1969, Cate Blanchett was born. In addition to Padma, Nigella and Cameron D, I'd turn straight for her.

In 1845, the Utrecht-Arnhem Railway opens. Well, FINALLY! Finally I can travel across canals and tulip fields to get to Arnhem. I've been waiting for so long!

In addition to the last episode of Seinfeld, the last episode of Family Ties aired on this day in 1989. I kind of still wonder what happened to Scott Valentine.

And just last year, DiamlerChrysler said it was selling almost all of Chrysler to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 billion. Now the Germans can stop being embarrassed.

Back tomorrow with some ideas for gifts and where to send them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Birthday Post #03: Apparently I'm Not The Only One Celebrating Life

This past weekend, I had to work on a big project, and unfortunately I had to ask some data analysts from our San Francisco office to also work. I was very grateful, because our client was happy, which meant my boss was happy, which meant I was happy.

But I felt bad for asking for weekend work. These analyst had worked all week on other projects of mine and were just overworked and exhausted. So of course I told them how grateful I was and how sorry I was to ask them to work on a weekend:

Me: "Thanks so much for working this weekend. I hope I haven't ruined your weekend."

Analyst: "It's ok. You helped out a lot. Thank you for saving my life."

Ok, whoa. That's a bit dramatic. I wish everyone I knew was that easy to please.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Birthday Post #02: First Day Of Festivities

Last night, I went to get some Korean Fried Chicken with some of my fellow gay asian bloggers at everyone's favorite Korean German Beerhof (like there are so many to choose from), Baden Baden. I hadn't been there in a while, and the first thing I noticed was that gone were the vaguely Hitler-youth type uniforms and replaced with just regular dark shirts and pants.

We all enjoyed our chicken. Oh and we had traditional orders of sliced pig's feet and spicy octopus (and fries too), just like you can find at Popeye's.

It was a very nice way to start my 31st birthday week long festivities.

As I left the place though, I realized though that since I'm Korean, I probably should just call it "fried chicken."

P.S., This guy's hair cut puts Javier Bardem to shame. The funniest thing is that this Korean Dorothy Ha-male actually looks happy with it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Birthday Post #01: Start The Violins

Now that Mother's Day is over, we can all celebrate (wait for it, while I turn on my echo sound effect) Four Days Until My Birthday-day, day, day....

In the past year since my last birthday post, when I entered my THIRTIES, I've felt a bit older and a bit wiser. Indeed, the year 2007 will go down as the year TCho chilled out. These days, as an old man, I don't think I'm quite as high strung or chewed to the bit as I used to be. I mean, sure, I still make my trademark snap and willful judgements, but being in my wisdomous thirties, that just means they're true.

Anyhow, I probably can't top last year's birthday blogging series, (and actually I've been a terrible blogger, well, for the last 8 months), but hopefully I can convince some folks to stick around to the big day. Maybe I'll scare the crap out of everyone in my birthday suit.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fame By Cleaning Ladies

So you know how people announce their special bond with celebrities by saying something like, "Oh I shop where Sarah Jessica Parker shops"? Or "I see the same optomitrist as Julia Roberts" (which is true.) Or "Alec Baldwin goes to my dry cleaner" (which is also true.)

Well, I found out the other day that my cleaning lady cleans supermodel Ling's apartment! I'm not sure why this is so exciting to me, considering that I have yet to meet anyone who has any idea who I'm talking about (I need more gay asian fashionistas in my social circle.) Or the person who I tell this news to thinks I'm talking about Bai Ling ("you mean that crazy Thai prostitute from Lost who just got arrested for shoplifting?") But I just think to myself, "wow, my I'm eating off of dishes cleaned by the cleaning lady who washes Ling's dishes." How's that for circuituitous?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Loaf Cake Curse

A weird thing has been happening in my latest cooking exploits. I've really gotten into making loaf cakes. For some reason, making loaf cakes is so much more satisfying to me. I think it's the nature of the pan. I like putting all the ingredients for the batter together, especially now that I understand the chemistry behind the mixture of the wet and dry ingredients. And then when I get the magical batter ready, there's something about pouring it into a loaf pan that makes me feel like a true baker. The heftiness and girth of a loaf cake just give me a much more satisfying sense of accomplishment.

So far I've made a chocolate loaf cake, a lemon cake, a sour cream pound cake, banana bread and zucchini bread. All have been delicious. But the weirdest thing has been happening. I've made each of these cakes twice, and the first time I make one of them, they turn out great and taste and look like something you'd get at a bakery. The second time, however, the cake is TERRIBLE. Something always turns out wrong, like the cake hasn't risen enough or it has a weird texture or it just tastes like crap. I've always had to throw out at least half of the second version of all of my loaf cakes.

Something strange is going on. Maybe my loaf pan is to be picky and well, kind of high maintenance. Maybe even more high maintenance than me.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dinner At Lucques

One of my favorite past judges from Top Chef is Suzanne Goin. I loved her lesson on "tough love" when she was all "Are you saying that people cheated?"

So of course I had to visit her restaurant, and I also got to meet jozjozjoz! I had a great meal, starting with a white bean and stinging nettle brodo, followed by a nice portion of suckling swine with some black truffle butter. It's funny. I actually think this is the type of food that sounds kind of boring when you read the description, probably kind of like this post.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Someday I'll Have A Villa

One of my side trips while I was in LA was a drive up to the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA. For those of you who don't know, the Getty Villa is one of those places only some wealthier-than-thou, eccentric guy, who clearly has too much time on his hands, could think of. J. Paul Getty replicated an actual real villa from the ruins of Herculaneum, which is the next town over from Pompeii. the craziest thing is that Getty never actually visited his faux-Roman house before he died!

I had a nice day there. Not only are the buildings modeled after a real Roman villa, but so are the grounds. The Getty Center employs all sorts of botanists, gardeners, climatologists and other researchers who have researched the soil and weather patterns in Italy to figure out what plants could grow in the climate and soils of sunny Malibu.

The whole place is pretty amazing and I spent a lot more time there than I had intended. The weather was great, and I asked one of the nice gardener guys to take my picture:

I know I'm wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt in this picture, but I was actually freezing my ass off. The Pacific Ocean breeze was freaking cold that day. I almost got a "Getty Villa" sweatshirt, but I'm not a Japanese tourist.