Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Anti-Drug

I just saw one of those anti-drug commercials where a bunch of kids were saying how much they hated their parents for intruding on their privacy, questioning them on their whereabouts, etc. At the end they thank their parents, and the tagline "Parents: The Anti-Drug" came up. I thought, what if your parents are drug dealers? If you turn them in would you be the anti-drug?

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Crazy City

Last night I didn't get home until 10:15 because I was looking at apartments in Manhattan and had dinner there too. Despite all that time spent in the city, I only managed to see two apartments, neither being anywhere near ideal. The first one I went to was on the upper east side on 57th and 1st. The apartment complex had a beautiful lobby as well as a decked out doorman, which really raised my hopes up. It took me a while to get to the 31st floor and when I finally stepped out of the elevator I knew something wasn't right: the hallway outside of the elevator was tiny and there were only 4 or 5 doors. At this point, I knew I was wasting my time, but since I had gone through the hassle of getting to this place I didn't just turn around and leave. Sylvie, the 28-year-old woman that's living there now, opened the door and showed me around the apartment, which took all of 2 minutes given its diminuitive size. There were two average-sized couches facing each other in the living room, and about a two-foot gap in between. That was the living room! I don't remember what the kitchen looked like because I wasn't really paying attention. The room that was for rent had its door closed. We opened the door and entered the room. The stench was so intense I wanted to crash out of the window just to get some fresh air. Sylvie had warned me beforehand that the room smells terrible because her current roommate has two cats in there and that is the reason he is moving out, because she can't stand the smell. I held my breath and looked around. There really wasn't much too look at since the room was probably only 8'x8'. I told her that the room was too small and left promptly. I can't believe anyone would want to pay $1150 for such a small room in such a small apartment.

Since I had some time to kill before my next appointment. I walked around in a Diesel store. That store has some of the weirdest clothes I have ever seen. I had trouble distinguishing between the men's and women's sections because everything looked so gaudy and flashy.

It took me forever to get to my next apartment, which was quite far from the nearest subway stop. It had those ancient elevators that has an extra outside door that you need to open before you can get into the damn thing. I wish I had known that this is a one-bedroom apartment before I hauled ass over there. The first thing I saw when Aimee, the Columbia student/bartender, opened the door was her lofted bed in a corner in the living room. Then I met her soon-to-be former roommate Byron. They seemed like cool people. The living room was huge even with her bed in there. The bedroom that she's renting out is definitely the biggest bedroom I have seen so far here. It also has a great view of the river and it's only $950/month. I would have taken it on the spot if: a.) she has her own bedroom; b.) she's definitely staying at the place after school starts in Septemember; and c.) there won't be a potentially huge rent raise come September. Hell, the fact that she's sleeping in the living room was enough to discourage me from taking the place. She was pretty hot so I'm almost certain that she has a bf. I don't want to stumble in the room while they are screwing. Neither would I want to be sexiled. So that was a total waste of time.

Tonight I'm going to meet with Chil, some kid that just graduated from UPenn last year. He contacted me about looking for a 2BR place together after seeing my "seeking room" ad on Craig's List. He sounds like a pretty cool guy and I saw some pretty good deals on 2BR places. Hopefully this will work out.
The Writing On The Wall

Last night while using the bathroom in a Chinese restaurant, I saw three characters scribbled on the wall that made me laugh. While those three Chinese characters made no sense semantically, they are pronounced like, "Fa Ke U." I wish I had thought of that in fifth grade when I was the only Chinese kid in my elementary school and was constantly bombarded with requests from classmates to write their names in Chinese. I could have just mixed and matched different homonyms so that when put together they still sounded like "Fa Ke U." It would have been more challenging than just fooling them with "you are a stupid pig" in Chinese. I never understood why they wanted to see and hear their names in a different language. I myself never had the desire to see my name in Arabic or Greek or Latin or German.

I have also been stumped whenever I try to count the number of syllables in English words. Chinese characters are so much simpler. Each character is only one syllable. You can string characters together to form compound words, but the number of syllables is always equal to the number of characters. English on the other hand just doesn't make any sense to me in this respect. Take the word "small." I think it should be counted as two syllables, since it's pronounced "si-mal," and I can think of one Chinese character to replace each sound. But it only counts as one syllable. All this syllabic business really tripped me up in AP English when we had to write in iambic pentameters. I just didn't get it. I had to pull out a dictionary to make sure that I was putting in the right number of syllables.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Great Comic

From the Village Voice's Ward Sutton:

"Prop Gun"
"Operation Plant Some Weapons in Iraq!"

Man, this guy is a genius!
Subway Encounter

A few days ago, while walking in the subway paths, I saw a short, old mustached Italian man who really reminded me of Super Mario. He was playing a violin but I can totally imagine him smashing bricks with his head, jumping on flying turtles, eating huge mushrooms and tossing fireballs. All he needed was an overall to make the illusion complete.

Monday, May 26, 2003

The Good Stuff And The Not So Good

Today I finally finished the pound of Belgian chocolates I bought last week. People at work were eating some Godiva, so I felt a sudden craving for some good chocolates. When I finally found the damn store that carried those chocolates, I tried to enter through one of the doors in the back, not knowing that the back part of the shop had already closed. I actually knocked on the door to get some people to open the door. After I got in, they asked, "What are you looking for?" When I replied, "I want to buy some chocolates," I saw them actually smirking. Luckily, they were nice about it and just told me to go through the front door the next time. I guess I'm just unstoppable when I need to have my chocolates.

This brings me back to the not so good stuff. A couple of days ago when I told a friend about how my craving drove me to buy the chocolates, she smiled and said, "It was that time of the month for you huh?" She is the second girl that has joked about the chocolate-PMS connection to me!! Am I the only guy that's out of the loop on this? Do girls need chocolates to get them through "that time of the month"? How does it help?
Misplaced Priorities?

While visiting today, I came across an article from Slate which discusses why Nike just gave Lebron James a $90-million shoe contract:

The "marquee" basketball category--hoops shoes that sell for more than $100 at retail--is home to perhaps the sexiest battle in all of footwear. It brings massive margins, approaching 50 percent, as these cheaply made shoes fetch prices up to $140. (Nike tried to get $200 for a recent Air Jordan model, but kids balked at forking out that much.)
Marquee shoes are aimed at black, inner-city kids who are willing to spend huge amounts of money every time the new, hot shoe hits shelves. An Adidas exec once told me that "the day after payday" is the biggest sales day in this category (the way he said it, you could tell that exploitation was not really an issue for him).

I still remember being ridiculed in junior high because of my cheap Payless sneakers. Most of those kids who tormented me were black and wore really expensive Nike shoes as well as those LA Gear sneakers with blinking LED's, which seem so passe now. However, they didn't seem at all embarassed to be poor enough to qualify for free school lunch. I, on the other hand, found the prospect of swiping my free lunch card every day much more stigmatizing than wearing shitty shoes.

I also remember reading studies that show black Americans as a group spend a higher percentage of their income on entertainment, clothing, and even hairstyling than every other ethnic group in this country, which is unfathomable to me since the majority of welfare recipients are black. It's a free country and how they spend their hard-earned money is none of my business, but I still can't help but think that this misallocation of resources is unwise and wrong. Why waste so much money just to keep up appearances?
Love Is In The Air

While flipping through Saturday's edition of Sing Tao Daily, the Chinese newspaper, not Tsingtao the beer, I came across an article with these pictures:

Apparently, Yao has finally admitted to dating the girl on the right. Her name is, something Li. I am ashamed to admit this, but I'm not sure how to pronounce the first character and I'm too lazy to look it up. I think it's pronounced "Lai." It is a pretty unusual surname. Anyways, She is 6'3" and currently plays on the Women's National Basketball Team. She looks pretty cute if I might add, with her pig tails. I bet their kids will all be 8 feet tall!

Maybe I will find a girlfriend who's 4'5" and plays on the National Women's Ping Pong Team.

Sunday, May 25, 2003


Yesterday before I was supposed to meet with a friend, I decided to buy the new "Hero" DVD that came out. It's a Chinese martial arts epic that just came out recently. This movie is absolutely the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. The cinematography is breath-taking because of the many striking, exotic locales and the fantastic colors. They are so vibrant and exquisite that they literally jump off the screen. I have never seen any movie that looks this gorgeous, let alone a Chinese movie. It's visual poetry in motion. A study in contrast. In my freshman philosophy/art history IHUM class, we spent many a tedious lecture on beauty. They could have just shown us this movie!! Well, maybe not, since this movie wasn't even made yet, but you get the point. It even puts "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" to shame. I wish I have a 60-inch widescreen TV so I can enjoy this movie even more. It's made for DVD. The special effects are used perfectly too, not just wasted on your retarded garden variety wire fu shit. I don't think I have ever imagined a carpet-bombing with arrows. Or a sword slicing through droplets of water. The soundtrack also matched the mood of the movie perfectly. It was composed by Tan Dun, who also worked on "Crouching Tiger," and performed by Itzhak Perlman.

Because Zhang Yimou directed this movie, I knew it's going to be much deeper and powerful than anything by those schizo Hong Kong action movie directors. I wasn't disappointed. I don't want to spoil the movie for the few of you that may actually seek out this movie and enjoy it so I'm not going to reveal to reveal anything. Basically, it's definitely a movie worth watching if and when it is released in the US. In the meantime, check out the image gallery. Too bad the movie trailer quality is so shitty.