Saturday, May 10, 2003

Pub Crawl (Sort Of)

Friday night I had dinner with a friend and then went on a whirlwind pub crawl. First, I got some tasty Lychee ice cream, which contributed to my urgency to seek out a bathroom quickly. Luckily, we came upon Double Happiness, the first of several lukewarm spots (previously hot/trendy places that are just "passe" now) she showed me. Now, I found the name pretty amusing because as a wedding tradition, Chinese people like to connect two paper cutouts of the character "happiness" together as one word and post it everywhere. The lounge itself was pretty cozy and somewhat mysterious because of the low lighting. It was mostly empty when we were there because we were definitely early for a Friday night. After I used the "facilities," we continued our pub crawl quickly because I was in explorer mode and wanted to check out as many places as possible.

Next she led me to a strange dessert store called "Rice to Riches." The speciality there was rice pudding, which is a pretty weird concept to me, as I don't recall ever eating it before. There were many different flavors, each with a Ben and Jerry's-ish name like "Obscene Orange." I found the decor and lighting futuristic and sampled the International Flavor(??) with her. Unfortunately, She didn't find it quite as intriguing and tasty as I did.

After a little bit of ice cream, we went to 8 Mile Creek, a pub with an Australian flavor. It was a really cool place that looked very fun. Outside there was a suit of rusty armor. I took a picture besides it. I think I looked really short because the armor was almost 7 feet tall and I was kind of leaning forward in the picture.

Then we made our way to Pioneer, a really really cool lounge/bar that had a huge plasma screen, a quite spacious lounge, and interesting lighting that made it feel pretty intimate despite the the cavernous size of the place. Very very cool place that I definitely wouldn't mind going back to again.

Next we moved on Lickwed, where a portly but extremely friendly bouncer giving us a tour of the place. It had 3 floors, which composed of a dance floor, a lounge and a bar. At the entrance, there were several computers with free internet access. The funniest part of his little tour occurred when he was explaining the internet access part. He actually said, "You know the internet? It's like email, the web and all this other cool stuff." Then he talked about how Mary J. Blige had a party a couple of weeks ago and there were a bunch of NBA players that came too.

Ok, the last place on our little jaunt in lower Manhattan was Happy Ending, which had a very interesting history. Supposedly, it used to be one of those shady Chinese "massage" parlors, where prostitution mostly likely took place behind closed doors. The inside was really weird and the new owners actually kept the shower heads and sauna rooms. In fact, some of the tables were right below the shower heads!! There was a hint of danger and intrigue that lurked in this place, and I have to admit I felt somewhat drawn to it just because of the bizzaro factor.

Man, I love this city!

Friday, May 09, 2003

More Crummy Jobs

A while ago I posted a link to, a blog of crappy job listings posted to various job boards by unscrupulous employers trying to take advantage of the current crappy economy. Thanks to I just found THE IDLER WAGE SLAVE SUPPORT GROUP, a British site to which employees who worked at such crummy jobs posted their experiences. Some hilarious and horrifying stuff. Here's a sample listed under "Morgue Madness" (the author worked in a mental hospital):

The task I did most of that summer was launder bedding. A number of the patients were doubly incontinent, so every morning there were trolley-loads of rank sheets to be wheeled to the basement where huge front-loading washers and dryers ground endlessly on. At first I just piled the trolley loads in and slammed the door, but I learnt the hard way to inspect the foul piles first for anything that needed hosing off:
the sight of a totally solid turd knocking rhythmically through the soap suds against the round porthole of the washing machine is one I'll never forget. In a strange way it was symbolic of the whole experience.
Conspiracy Theory

Looks like some Republicans feel extremely threatened by Hillary Clinton's popularity in her own party. Threatened enough to begin soliciting 2004 election campaign funds with the stated mission of stopping her, even when she has said repeatedly that she will not run for president!!

From CNN:

"Are you ready for a new Clinton era in Washington?" the letter from the Republican Presidential Task Force begins. "...It could happen. But only if you let it."

The appeal being sent this week continues: "If Republicans don't take immediate steps to counter her, Senator Hillary Clinton will continue to rise unimpeded to the very pinnacle of power in Washington and we will see the dawning of a new, more liberal Clinton era."

If she were running for the presidency, I would vote for her in a heartbeat and persuade my parents to vote for her as well. Of course, they hardly need my encouragement to vote for someone other than Bush. I just need to bug them to register to vote and go vote on Election Day!! I wonder if the Republicans would still feel so cocky if she does run. I'm sure she will leave the 9 or 10 other Democratic presidential candidates in the dust.
More Apartment Stuff

This morning I received a message from a 37-year-old actress who is looking to share a two-bedroom apartment with someone. The location is pretty decent, on 58th St and 10th Ave and $900 month for a 12x15 room is a very good deal for the amount of space. However, I'm wondering if I should even consider living with someone of a different gender so much older than me. I wonder if people will think I'm living with a Sugar Mommy, except I would be paying full rent of course.

A quick Google query on her name revealed that she has starred in well-known productions such as "Macbeth," as well as the not-so-well-known "Erotic Adventures in Venice". She also performed in an improv show called "Castillo Improv". I don't know if she's in any of the pictures posted on the two linked web pages though.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Apartment Hunting

After 5 months of hour-long commutes to work (EACH WAY), shitty neighborhood Chinese take-out restaurants and an invincible weird soapy smell that managed to contaminate all my clothes and bags despite numerous air fresheners as well as carpet removal, I am ready to move into Manhattan. Based on the places that I have checked out today and the emails responding to my ad on Craig's List, I am not very optimistic about finding a great place.

The two apartments that I looked at are both inhabited by artsy-fartsy types who are probably too cool for me. The first apartment is located on 28th & 6th, two stories above a clothing store. The guy that showed me the place bear a striking resemblance to a friend. He's basically a brawnier version of Jason Ahmad, one of my summer roommates and a good friend. He is the same age as Jason and also grew up in Jersey. He even dresses like Jason, wearing a bright red T-shirt and a formerly clean-shaven head. Currently, he's working as a freelance photographer who does all kind of assignments, including taking pictures for City Search. He has a huge turntable on his desk and told me that he had spinned at clubs before, which is pretty cool. He's 23 and attended FIT, aka Fashion Institute of Technology (yes, there is such a thing), as does the other girl who's living in the apartment. Overall, he seems like a pretty cool guy, but I don't think he considers me cool/hip enough to live at that place, with my 9 to 6 job and my stuffy suit. He did compliment me on my ultra-cool DKNY slip-on loafers though and showed me his pair, which looked really funky and colorful. About the room: it's pretty small, definitely narrower than my current bedroom, probably around 10'x12'. Of course, it costs $1000 a month even though it's not in the coolest neighborhood.

The girl who showed me the next apartment, located just two blocks away from the first, is a 28-year-old unemployed writer who is looking for a job while writing a book. She has short blonde hair and is pretty in an intelligent and sophisticated way. However, I don't think she will be a terribly fun roommate because she seems like the moody, brooding, tortured Hemingway type. She looks like an empowered feminist, although she's definitely not a man-eater. Just like the first guy, she has also thoroughly decorated her apartment with random but interesting pictures/drawings. She also turned down a job working at the Atlantic Monthly because she wanted to move to New York from Boston, which I think is rather unfortunate since it's definitely a quality magazine. I don't think I can live at her place either, because to her I probably look like a souless corporate whore that gleefully tortures little animals and shoves blind, handicapped old ladies down stairways. More importantly, the room for rent is just too small to fit all my stuff. Even then, it's still $850 a month.

While walking on the way to the apartments, I saw a bunch of parking lots which charge monthly fees upwards of $340, and that's excluding an 18% parking tax!! The cheapest one was around $260 a month, so I guess I will have to leave my car in my current spot for a short while before I decide on what to do with it next, i.e. driving it back home to Minneapolis.

While I was away, I received a message from what must be the most illiterate professional writer in NYC, who contacted me with a place in Brooklyn even though I stated explicitly in my ad that I'm interested in Manhattan housing. Granted, this place is relatively close to Manhattan, but her intro was just so difficult to read that it's irritating:

"Hi, my name is [ ] and I live in an about to be finished with the wonderful renovations on my apartment of almost five years. The bedrooms are being put on opposite sides of the aoartment and myself and whomewever lives here, women only please, shall have her own private bathroom. The rent is $(50, half utilities aqnd telephone, One month security, $75. nonrefundable utiliutites deposit, no credit check."
Where Is My Cane?

You know you have grown old and culturally irrelevant when you look at posters for The Lizzie McGuire Movie and have no clue who this Lizzie Maguire person is and why you would want check out a movie starring Hillary Duff.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Sketchy Mofos

Idiots like this guy and this guy give us men a bad name. What a bunch of losers! Makes me want to kick down their doors and beat them with a hose. I hope these are prank postings and no guy is actually this desperate.

UPDATE: Tolu told me both messages have been removed, unfortunately. Too bad I didn't save them. Both were ads seeking roommates. One was looking for lingerie model and would "consider" reducing rent for additional "services." The other was full of innuendos like "can negotiate rent based on your TALENTS." Basically, they were just looking for live-in hookers.

To Each His Own

Hmm, I wish I had seen this guy performing when I was at Stanford. My favorite part of this Daily article:

Lee said that the Stanford Band approached him once about twirling with them at football games and one year he twirled on the sidelines at Big Game.

“They told me I was a little too serious and couldn’t I just act wacky,” Lee said. “But after so many years of serious twirling, I just don’t think it’s in me.”

I wonder if he twirls better after a little pot and a few shots of Jack in the Band Shack. Oh wait, the University tore it down my freshman year. I for one won't miss the urinals in which beer flowed freely.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

This Just In

I just overheard some woman who told the senior managing director sitting near me that Asian men have no butts. "They have hips like Asian women, " she observed, "but they don't have butts." I turned around and saw her back. She was a slender blonde who looked like she might be hot. I took a stroll to the water fountain in an unsuccessful attempt to see her face and if she's really hot. On my way there, I thought about mooning her and asking her to judge the size of my butt. Then I grabbed my ass. She's right!! I have no ass!! My cheeks are firm but pretty flat. Hmm, I wonder if I should start checking out other Asian guys to see if they are also not well-endowed "below the equator" (as Seinfeld so elegantly put it).

UPDATE: Correct that, my cheeks are NOT firm, but actually soft and supple, somewhat like those Lychee fruit jellos that had to be recalled because they caused a bunch of choking deaths for small children.
How Could I Have Missed It??

Reading this article really reminded me of my own epiphany about a high school teacher a while ago. Ms. K. was my 11th grade health teacher. She also taught gym class. She had short curly hair and always wore shorts or warm-up pants. Even though she was really nice to me, she was definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. I remember this one time in health class when we were discussing sex, she talked about "machoism." Many people were confused (of course the rest of the students couldn't care less if she was giving birth in class). Then someone said, "You mean 'masochism?'" I don't remember what her exact reaction was, but I don't think she was happy.

There was another time when she was talking about some guy flashing her in the parking lot outside school. And she actually said this in class: "I just laughed at him and said I have seen bigger." Now that I think about it, I can't imagine a heterosexual woman making that kind of comment in front of a bunch of random people. Also, once in AP Calc, Joel joked that "If Ms. K is a lesbian, she must be the butch one." At the time I thought it was pretty funny, but I didn't realize that maybe there was some truth in that joke.

Found this message inside my fortune cookie during lunch today: "There is a true and sincere friendship between you both." I was confused for a while as to who the other person is. Then it hit me. It only has meaning if I were eating with one other person. I guess the sage who composed the message did not forsee a loner eating lunch by himself because his coworkers had already finished lunch since he had spent 40 minutes waiting for the delivery guy to come.
New York, New York

Living in New York can be a pretty strange experience. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a movie because the activities that I participate in and the things that I see every day constantly crop up in movies. Take grocery shopping as an example. Since moving to here, I have come to depend on small neighborhood produce markets for all my food needs, as opposed to a supermarket like Safeway or Ranch 99. Instead of going on weekend shopping expeditions as I had done living in California, now I just grab whatever I happen to need while walking from the subway station to my apartment. Sometimes when I pick vegetables and fruits from the stands outside, I am reminded of that scene in The Godfather in which Marlon Brando is ambushed while he shops for groceries. On an unrelated note, I find it pretty amusing when the store owners, most of whom look Indian/Pakistani, always look at me up and down as if I'm going to steal their bananas, even when I'm in full professional attire.

A while ago, I saw the opening sequence of Armageddon while channel surfing. Boy did I feel weird watching all these landmarks in NYC getting wiped out by asteroids. There was Grand Central station, the huge train station that I walk through every day to and from work. Its train schedule boards were shattered by a hailstorm of meterorites. The Met Life building, which is one of myriad buildings connected to Grand Central and where I usually walk through to get to work, was leveled by huge chunks of rocks. When I saw that, I kind of gasped, "Holy shit, I go through that building every day!" The movie also showed other more well-known landmarks such as the Chrysler building getting obliterated, but I didn't react nearly as strongly because I don't have as strong of a connection with them since I don't walk through them every day. Two weeks ago on the hip-hop soap opera Platinum, Grady, one of the main characters in the show, had sex with his girlfriend in Grand Central. With that scene still in my mind the next day, I looked around and tried to figure out exactly where they filmed that scene. Of course then there is Law and Order, where the detectives go all over the place in the city solving crimes.

I don't know if people living in other photogenic cities (i.e. LA) feel the same way, but I definitely didn't have such strong reactions while living in the Bay Area. Maybe I have turned into a real New Yorker.

Monday, May 05, 2003

All For A Good Cause

Sigh, this article makes me miss the Bay Area. From where else could an event this wacky originate?

While we are on the subject, my high school friend Joel (of the turn-off-your-vibrator fame) once proposed that our school should start a fundraising campaign based on sperm donation. Half of the school beats off on their own accord every day, he reasoned, we might as well make some money off their hard work. Oh how I miss high school too.
How To Beat Up Telemarketers

I came across this article on suing annoying telemarketers through Slashdot. Sounds pretty easy to do. Can't beat $500 for doing a little legwork, although I feel pretty fortunate that I have yet to receive any telemarketing calls on my cell.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Movie Magic

I just finished watching The Scorpion King, which is pretty mediocre and even somewhat boring for an action movie. The one thing that's really funny is how Kelly Hu's hair looked perfect through out the movie, even after she's just been buried by a sandstorm. It was as black as the Iraqi petroleum that American soldiers are protecting from the Iraqis themselves, and it shined like a raven's feather. She looked like she just stepped out of a Pantene Pro-V Vitalizing Shampoo, although she definitely doesn't look as hot as she was in X2, an obviously superior movie.
Girl Toy

Earlier today while I was surfing, the upstairs neighbors' cell phone went off. I could actually hear the humming of the phone vibration device. It reminded me of that one time in 9th grade aviation class when some kind of electronic equipment in the machine shop next door went off suddenly. My friend Joel, who was sitting next to me, turned to me and said, "Gary, turn off your vibrator!!" He said it pretty loud so several people around us started laughing. I of course had no clue what he was talking about. I was like, "Huh? What's a vibrator?"
Flip Flop

While driving in Manhattan today I saw a green rice rocket making a U-turn in the middle of a crowded two-way street while everyone else honked at him. As I drove toward him I thought, what a fucking moron, good thing there aren't many ricers here, unlike on the west coast. When I drove past the fugly Acura, I was quite surprised to see a black man inside.

Later when I drove down Fifth Ave., I saw an Asian guy walking with his parents, which wouldn't even be worth mentioning if he weren't sporting an Allen Iverson head of dreads. My mom would have me drawn and quartered if I ever do something like that.