Saturday, May 24, 2003

Think Different

While chatting with Sachin, 2 Live Crew's "Hoochie Mama" came up on my iPod in shuffle mode. Don't ask why I have it. I just do. I had an epiphany: Apple should make an ad with someone singing "Me So Horny"!! Sachin "encouraged" me to partake in this enterprise and put it online. I wonder if I can actually remember 30 seconds worth of this song and do a decent job of it. If they can have a white guy singing "Baby Got Back" why shouldn't I do "Me So Horny"? I'm sure all the Mac "connoisseurs" (just so Sachin won't flame me for calling them geeks) will love it. More publicity for my blog can't be bad either :-) Too bad I don't have a camcorder or any performing skills whatsoever.
Dream Job?

From Craig's List:

gogo boys wanted
Date: 2003-05-22, 12:17PM

Looking for in shape guys {sorry girls} all types.
Earn $ gogo dancing.No nudity {thong-briefs}.Must be 18+ and have a car.

Frankly, the thought of me in a thong scares the shit out of ME! It kind of reminds me of that time in Serra when a bunch of us guys were heading over to 680 for Exotic Erotic, the annual raunch fest at Stanford where every person attending is supposed to only wear one piece of clothing (not all that strictly enforced of course). I put on these tiny Nike shorts that barely covered my thighs. BK almost had a heart attack when he saw me. The other guys also pointed and laughed at me, which compelled me to change into something a bit more palatable on the eyes of everybody involved. I used to wear these shorts to my freshman swimming class and I don't remember anyone ever giving me a weird look, which is why I was a bit surprised by everyone's reaction. I havent' worn them since that little snafu.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Things of Beauty

Finally received my iPod today. Boy, was it worth the wait. As a long time PC user, while I may not have always being a groupie for Apple software, I have to admit that they can straight up engineer kick-ass, knock-out hardware. This whole iPod "experience" just rocks. Everything is simply marvelous: the meticulous packaging (complete with a "don't steal music" sticker on the unit, removable of course), the logical UI layout, the tiny size and light weight, the super handy back light, the splashy white/silver color scheme, etc. This machine is the embodiment of elegance in simplicity. Now if only Apple could ship something better than the bloated piece of shit Creative Mediacenter software for the PC users out there. Oh well, ePhod seems to work pretty well so far.

This morning as I tucked my neatly pressed dress shirt into my business-casual khakis and geled and combed my hair in front of the mirror (just some old-fashioned "stylin and profilin"), I couldn't help but marvel at how much I have changed since high school. At that time I wasn't nearly as concerned with girls and relationships, and as a result didn't care much for my own appearances at all. Every morning I would crawl out of bed and put on the clothes that Mom had picked out for me the night before. I probably cared more about what I was eating for breakfast than what I should have been wearing. I wore these huge, old-man glasses with thick lenses that almost covered half of my face. Some days, my hair looked like a bird nest that had just weathered a hurricane. On such occasions, I usually spent at most 30 seconds to try to make it look reasonable before giving up. The worst fashion faux pas has to be the endless array of white pants that I wore to class throughout high school. I don't even know how and where Mom was able to amass this massive collection of white pants, but at the time I didn't really care. I guess part of the reason I was so unconcerned about it all was that Mom was actually able to put together some rather preppy-looking ensembles for me. I think I looked pretty mature and professional in my old high school pictures, definitely much more so than in pictures taken during the first half of college.

All of this leads me to one conclusion: Despite the fact that Mom is the most ruthless fashion critic I have ever known, the Godmother of Style, the Vogue Despot, a Mrs. Blackwell, if you will, I don't think I trust anyone else's judgment more than hers. In fact, I have never ever disliked any piece of clothing she has ever bought for me, save for all those white pants which I only loathe because they did attract some unwarranted ridicule. Whatever shirt she picks out for me always looks great on me. In another parallel universe where she actually has artistic skills, she would be a fashion designer. She could launch her own brand: Qin Ken New York.

Of course, being a Chinese mom, she has some requisite quirks: sometimes she buys stuff for me that are the wrong size, like that time she sent me 2 or 3 dress shirts that were WAY too big. I had to give one of those shirts to my friend Justin, who looked quite fashionable wearing it even though he's almost a foot taller than me. The bastard. Another thing she does that drives me bonkers is that if she finds a shirt that she really likes, she HAS to buy that shirt and another shirt that is either identical or has the same style but only differs in color, which explains why my dad, brother-in-law and I have more than a few pieces of clothing that are identical. I'm just glad that I almost always like what she buys for me.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Bad Start

This morning I left my apartment in a hurry and forgot to bring my wallet, my company badge AND my keys. Since my landlord, who has the master key, is no longer living above me, there was no way I could get back into my apartment right away. Not wanting to be even more late for work, I had to rush to the subway station and beg the token booth attendant (thank God this booth hasn't been closed recently like many others in NYC) to let me through the turnstiles, since I didn't have any money on me. After I got to work, I had to deal with a snotty a-hole sitting behind the reception desk just so he would give me a worthless visitor's card that was taken away immediately by the security guard by the turnstiles before he clicked me through with the remote. I had to call my coworker to open the doors for me when I got out of the elevator on the third floor. Back in my internship days with Netscape and Sun, the smiling receptionists would just ask a few quick questions and give me a temporary badge that I got to keep the whole day and worked everywhere like my regular badge. They never asked how many times I've forgotten to bring my badge in that contemptuous tone of voice. Anyways, shortly aftwards I walked with my coworker to our software vendor's office in the windy and dreary weather. At least the training session was helpful if somewhat boring towards the end.

Since all of my recent apartment options have fallen through (programmer guy and Asian wiz girl both rented rooms to other people and Dawn the Brooklyn psychologist wasn't willing to lower the hefty $1250/month rent), I'm back to square one in the apartment hunt. Now, I have to sift through the usual pile of "location is everything even if you have to pay $1000 a month for an 8x8 room"/"38 y.o Gay Male seeking female roommate with no issues"/"we are a bunch of cool artsy hipsters seeking 420-friendly musician roommie in Williamsburg" type of ads. This is depressing.
The Gift

Last week, my sister told me that I should be expecting a little niece in a few months. Now that I know it's a little girl, I have begun thinking about what kind of gift I should get her. The most practical thing would probably be tons of diapers and I think her mom and dad would really appreciate that. However, I don't want my gift to be pissed and shat upon and then thrown away! Barbie doll? It seems so boring and I shouldn't be encouraging gender stereotypes in this day and age! A crib? That seems like a really personal item that the parents themselves should pick. Plain old money? It gives the parents the most flexibility, but seems so crass and impersonal though. Microsoft stocks? By the time she's ready for college, this little investment should have grown enough to put her through four years at Stanford :-)

Seriously, what should I get for my little niece?

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Everyone always talks about getting Chris Rock and Chris Tucker mixed up. I never had that problem, even before I got to know them through movies such as Dogma, Rush Hour 1/2, and Lethal Weapon 4. However, I cannot distinguish Taye Diggs from Tyrese to save my life. Am I the only one having difficulty telling these two black actor models apart?

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Creepy Stuff

Nuff said.

Today on the train to work, as usual I was subjected to this prosaic announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, for your own safety please do not walk between sections(?) while the train is in motion." I wonder if the guy who recorded that announcement talks like that at home, too. During dinner: "Ladies and Gentlemen, for your own safety please do not open your mouth while your teeth are in motion."
What Was The Point?

The excuse that the Administration had given for a preemptive strike on Iraq -- without further delaying by those pesky UN weapons inspectors and in the face of overwhelming global opposition -- was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a clear and immediate danger to us. Now that we have taken over the entire country, we can't seem to find any such WMD's. What's worse, the administration is not allowing those UN weapons inspectors to return to Iraq to look for WMD's and it is wholly unconcerned about the potential dangers of looting at Iraqi nuclear sites.

I am at a loss as to what we have accomplished by going to this war, other than inflicting immeasurable damage to our prestige and credibility in the international community, driving way the allies that provided crucial support for our "War on Terror", killing thousands of innocent civilians, and providing ideological ammo to radical fundamentalists for generations to come.

Sure, we freed a whole nation from a brutal ruthless tyrant (never mind that resentment towards us has been festering in the now "free" Iraq, where people are too scared to leave their homes because of armed thugs roaming the streets in plain view of American soldiers), but didn't we go to this war in the name of protecting US? All the pollsters want to know whether Americans are concerned about finding WMD's in Iraq now that the war is over. Why don't they ask the real fucking question? "Do you feel any safer as an American now that Saddam Hussein is gone?" I for one do not and I am positive that Americans here and abroad will agree with me.

Before all this happened, the world grieved with us for the catastrophic loses we suffered on September 11. I don't believe they will be so sympathetic the next time tragedy strikes and I don't blame them. We have only ourselves to blame.

Monday, May 19, 2003

BK: Skip This

Yep, I finally decided to buy an iPod after much drooling. Got in on a deal from Dell in which I was able to order the 15 GB iPod for around $320 shipped, almost 20% off the regular price, all thanks to Sachin's timely tip. Unfortunately, I won't be able to use it as much since my commute will be shorter with my impending move to a better location and I will probably get rid of my car once I move in to Manhattan. Oh well, it will still be useful at work. And I can use it to transfer files between different computers.
Too Much Fun At Work?

At work today, I noticed that I had a weird bulge in my pants. Since I had my cellphone in my pocket, I thought it was just the phone stuck in a weird position and tried to replace the phone so I didn't look so funny.

It wasn't the phone.

I never thought work was that exciting, but I guess it IS stimulating after all.

I hope Rita isn't reading my blog right now. She'll probably freak out.
The One?

After work today I went to check out the programmer guy's apartment. It was almost perfect. Situated near Wall St., It's really close to work, with only about a 20-minute commute from my office. It's a huge place, 1800 sq. ft to be exact!! I would have my own bedroom and bathroom, including an air conditioner, which is absent in all the other places I have looked at. There is a washer and a dryer in the apartment itself and the guy's assistant actually does his laundry, cleans the place and washes his dishes for him!! There is an elevator as well as a doorman. The place looks clean, spacious and almost brand new. The guy works in his office next door and only spends time in the apartment to sleep there between 4 am and 12 pm. He's 36 and pretty chill.

So for $1000, I get my own bedroom and bathroom, an assistant to clean up after me, free washer/dryer and a kick ass living room (including a pretty big TV with Xbox, and a load of other electronic equipments to play with)/kitchen. When I asked the guy about the rent, he said, "I just put $1,000 on the ad." My parents suggested that I ask him if it's possible to go a little lower on the rent, since he's obviously loaded (he rents the entire floor of that building, spending $6k/month and has at least 15 guitars and a shitload of sound equipment in his collection). So I did, and he asked, "How much are you thinking?" I said, "How about $850?" He seemed ok with it and told me that he still has to get back to some other people and will let me know tomorrow. Now I'm worried that he may just rent the place out to the highest bidder. I thought about calling him back and saying that $1000 would be ok too, but then what the fuck was the point of the bargaining in the first place. Fuck, I hope I didn't just screw myself out of a great deal. At least I was really nice about it and I presented some valid reasons for wanting a lowerer rent: just graduated and moved here, working in my first real job, etc. Oh well, I really hope I get the place.
Choices Choices

Some recent developments on the apartment search front have increased the number of potential future living places as well as my indecisiveness.

Choice 1: The Brooklyn loft with Dawn the psychologist. She just emailed me over the weekend and told me that I am her top choice right now and would like to get together to discuss the specifics of the living arrangment if I am still interested. Out of all the potential roommates I have met, she is definitely the coolest. Her place fucking rocks too. The only problems that I have now is the $1250 rent, which is actually pretty pricey compared to the other places I have looked at. Also, the apartment is about a 35-minute commute from work, which is farther than the other places I've looked at.

Choice 2: I just checked out an apartment in lower Manhattan yesterday. It's about 10 to 15 minutes of walking away from Chinatown. The apartment itself is a co-op that is owned by the girl who is renting out the place. Jane is a 20-year-old Asian American girl who graduated from Columbia in two years and is currently in her first year in Columbia Med. Yes, I would be living with an Asian Doogie Howser if I were to get this place. She's gone from 8 to 7 on the weekdays and 5 AM(!!!) to 7 pm on the weekends, which means she will never be around much. After about 30 minutes of looking at the place, she told me that she couldn't spend much more time with me since she has two Neural exams today!! She seem like a pretty chill girl, but I don't know how comfortable I would be to live with my landlord. The apartment itself is pretty awesome. It's about 1000 square feet, according to her. It had a dining room (yes, a real, separate dining room in Manhattan, fancy that!), a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms. All of the rooms are very big and in really good condition. And she will only charge me $875 a month, including utilities, which makes it a killer deal considering all the shitty, tiny places that I have looked at recently. The apartment complex also has a doorman 24/7, a large laundry room, and elevators! It would be the perfect place to live in with just one little catch: since it's a co-op and not a condo, it has some restrictions on what the owner can and cannot do. One of those restrictions is that she cannot rent out her place to anyone for the first two years. Since she has only had the place from last August, if the apartment people found out that I'm paying her to live at the place, I will get kicked out. She told me that this shouldn't be a problem at all since her current roommate has lived there for almost 10 months and never had a problem.

Advantages: large living space, closer to work, close to Chinatown (cheap fresh groceries), cheaper rent, having the place to myself most of the time.
Disadvantages: live-in landlord who will make me feel guilty about not going to grad school, eviction risk, has nowhere near as much character as Dawn's Brooklyn loft and the other people living there are probably married couples.

Jane is still showing the place to other people and will let me know if I'm The One tonight.

Choice 3: Living with a 26-year-old white guy named Brian. He'll be going to law school this fall. Looks like a decent guy that I could get along with. The apartment is a 2-bedroom place on 51st St. and 8th Ave., which is within walking distance from my office. It has a pretty small living room/dining room and the two bedrooms are pretty small too. If I were to move in, I would need to take the slightly larger bedroom just to fit my bed and computer desk, which means my rent would probably be $1000 a month, excluding utilities. Right now, the only thing this place has going for it is its location. Other than that, it's not much.

Another guy just emailed me over the weekend about a place in downtown Manhattan. He has a large 1800 sq ft loft for rent. I would have my own bedroom and private bathroom, which is a huge plus. We would share common area and kitchen. Apparently, Shaun is also using this apartment as his office. He has a full-time assistant that cleans the place from time to time. I went to his company webiste to check out what he's working on. It seems that he's a programmer working on a multiplayer RPG. Interesting. The only problem is that he didn't mention the rent price or move-in date, so I will need to discuss that with him.

Choices, choices. At least they are looking much better than a week ago :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Wedding Encounter

Today I finally felt good enough to crawl out of bed and go out. When I was in Chinatown to get some food and groceries, I unwittingly stumbled upon a mini wedding parade. Basically, the lucky couple and a couple of bridesmaids came out of nowhere, cut in front of me and started walking to who knows where. Their photographer was snapping pictures like crazy. I didn't quite feel like being in that entourage or in any of their pictures for that matter, so I quickened up my pace and walked past them. I turned left at the next intersection and saw a decent looking restaurant. It was called Harmony Place I think. When I walked near the door, I noticed that all the tables were laid out nicely and there were red decorations and double happiness characters hanging everywhere. Before I had time to absorb this, the newly weds closed in behind me. I hurried along to the next restaurant in sight.

This little encounter kind of reminded me of my sister's wedding almost 3 years ago. Those two days leading up to and during the wedding were honestly the most stressful period of my life, more stressful than my first two days as a Branner RCC and trying to connect 180 clueless freshmen to the internet . So many things went wrong, it wasn't even funny. It started off with the discovery of large water spots on my sister's Maid of Honor's dress after we took it back from the dry cleaners. Then my sister almost started hyperventilating on the way to the idyllic country club where the wedding was to be held because she was so hot in her wedding dress. I learned that I was supposed to give a speech at the wedding banquet, ALSO ON THE WAY TO THE CLUB!! Being the terrible public speaker that I was (and still am even after taking a public speaking class at Stanford), I tried to make use of some lame ass AP English symbolism in my speech about how the burning candle represented my sister and brother-in-law's ever-lasting love. Of course, the candle flamed out RIGHT ON CUE!! Oh well, at least everyone there got a kick out of it. After my sister released the doves, I sighed with relief that they didn't fly back to shit on everyone. What a wedding. It was on my birthday too. All in all, it went relatively smoothly, considering the number of things that could have gone wrong. Even the water spots didn't show up much in the pictures. I guess it was all worth it since it made my sister and brother-in-law very happy.

I never cared much for ceremony, and that wedding just validated all my reasoning for having as little fanfare as possible at my own wedding. Honestly, if it were all up to me, which of course will never be the case, I would just go fetch the marriage certificate with the wife and jump on a plane to start a global adventure. Just the two of us, from New York to Madrid to London to Amsterdam to Paris to Rome to Berlin to Venice to Dubai to Shanghai to Tokyo to Bangkok to Melbourne to Rio De Janero to Ankira to Zanzibar to Tahiti. We will go visit as many places as we can. It will be like The Great Race + Around the World in 80 Days. Now that's what I call a honeymoon!