Saturday, June 07, 2003

A Poem

I read this poem while riding the train the other day. The Metro Transit Authority has a Poetry-In-Motion project where notable poems, or portions of them, are displayed on the subway trains. I think this poem is especially appropriate for the upcoming Father's Day.

My Father
Yehuda Amichai

The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.

Friday, June 06, 2003

The Odyssey

Two days ago, I came back from work to find FOUR UPS slips on my door. Apparently, they had tried to deliver two packages 3 times each already and since I wasn't at home and my neighbors weren't there to receive them (maybe they are just pissed off at me for my loud stereo), I would have to go to the nearest UPS branch to retrieve them. The problem was that this UPS location opens from 9 to 5 and is pretty far from where I live, far being a little more than 5 miles, which is like 30 miles in California if the time it takes to cover that distance in NY is taken into consideration. The distance and early closing hours basically ruled out retrieval before or after work. I looked at the subway map and found a station 1.8 miles away from the UPS place. I figured I could just go there next day during lunch and pick up the packages since i will probably be able to find a cab after I get off the train or take a bus. What a big mistake.

After I got off the train, I only saw one cab. The guy told me he was going into Manhattan. I pleaded with him, "It's less than 2 miles from here! It's in Maspeth, which is really close to here." He said, "I know, I live there." So I bantered with him a little bit more and he left. The bus runs once every 30 minutes, which wouldn't have helped me either. I thought 1.8 miles is not that bad, I can just walk. Mistake #2.

I walked and walked and walked. During the second half of my journey, I felt like I wasn't even in New York anymore. There was hardly any pedestrians on the road. I was surrounded by random warehouses and 18-wheelers. At one point I walked past the city's Dept. of Sanitation, I think. There was a huge landfill next to the road. Good thing it was walled in. I felt pretty tired and sweaty and I was totally lost. That place was almost like a maze. I had a Yahoo map print out and I still couldn't figure out how to find the damn UPS branch. I think I could begin to appreciate how the Jews felt while they wandered in the desert for 40 years.

Then an adult video store popped up out of nowhere like an oasis. An oasis for directions that is. I don't have anything against porn shops, but I had to smile at the absurdity of finding one in an armpit place such as this. I walked in and was soon surrounded by racks and racks of porn videos. I cracked up a little bit before talking to the tall, middle-aged black man behind the counter. After he was nice enough to give me directions, I hurried out of the place.

Just after I stepped out of the store, I heard the melody coming from an ice cream truck. My situation had just turned from absurd to surreal. I thought I must be in another one of my weird dreams. There was no way I could be standing in such a desolate place in the middle of NYC, having just come out of a porn shop and then witnessing, of all things, an ice cream truck slowly making its way toward me on a deserted street. It defied logic. Unfortunately, it WAS real and I couldn't just wake up, so I soldiered on.

When I finally walked up to the UPS counter, I was told that I couldn't claim the Dell package because I did not have a NYC photo ID with an address that matched the one on the package. I pleaded with the guy, telling him that I only recently moved to here from CA and therefore did not have a NYC ID, and that I walked 2 miles to get here. He just said, "I'm sorry but that's our policy: The computer companies require people with proper ID." I told him that there's nothing valuable in the package other than a bunch of worthless CDR's. (I had ordered the CDR's as fillers in order to use a Dell coupon, which had a minimum purchase requirement, to buy my iPod. Dell shipped them out separately.) Luckily, Citizen didn't have such a strict requirement, so I was able to pick up my watch, which I had sent in a few weeks ago for repair. Then I find out that this branch actually doesn't close until 7 pm, which means I could have come here after work!! Oh well, at least they were nice enough to point me to a subway station that's marginally closer than the one from which I arrived.

On my way to this station, I was startled by a big, mean guard dog, who barked furiously at me and clawed mightily at the fence while I walked past him. Although I've never done so, now I can kind of understand why some Chinese people eat dogs. When I finally got on the train, I managed to doze off past my stop.

So, in conclusion, yesterday I walked almost 4 miles, picked up only one package and then found out that I could have just driven there after work. What a day.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Good Luck

With the impending arrival of finals week, I just wanted to say good luck to all my Stanford buds who will be going through all the trials and tribulations this weekend and next week. BK, Allen, Cindy, Joe, Srini, Ming and Raf, I hope you guys will kick as much ass as I'm getting right now. Yeah yeah, I know one part of that previous sentence is more plausible than the other. Rita, I don't know what kind of screwed up schedule you are on at Oxford, but you know you can always count on some G-Love. I know you are not counting, girl. Just wanted to send some good karma your way.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Work Survival Tips

Some of the advice in this MSNBC article are hilarious:

Pretend You Have an Assistant
Alter your outgoing voicemail message.
Ask a spouse or friend, preferably with an intriguing foreign accent, to record your outgoing message. It should be a version of the following: "You have reached the office of [your name here]. S/he is not available to take your call. Please leave a message and s/he will return your call as soon as possible."
Look Busier than You Are
Purchase a headset and attach it to your phone.
It doesn't matter whether it's actually connected or not-tape it to the bottom of the phone if it won't hook in. Wear it constantly, and talk loudly when-ever someone passes by.
Keep large piles of paper on your desk at all times.
Re-arrange the stacks occasionally.
Type furiously from time to time.

Things I've Learned/Noticed In NYC

The Nutcracker -- You try your best to spread yourself out on a subway chair so that there is as little gap between you and people sitting next to you as possible. However, you are never safe from the Nutcracker. Just as a shark is able to hone in on the scent of blood from miles away in the murky depth of the ocean, the Nutcracker, usually an enormously rotund middle-aged woman, can spot any vacuum in the time-space continuum. As she attempts to insert herself between you and the person that used to be seated next to you (but will soon seem like he/she's miles away), you feel as if an airbag has just been inflated next to you while her fat ass slowly expands to its grotesquely large original shape. You can feel your organs rub against each other. A numbness slowly begins to envelope your lower extremities. After you get off the train, you wonder if your "equipment" has suffered permanent damages and if you will ever be able to have children.

The Subway Mojo -- Some people, including yours truly, can stand anywhere along a subway stop so that when an incoming train stops, we are right in front of an entrance nine times out of ten. While this uncanny gift is a true blessing, it is capricious in that it can desert the blessed at any time and then later return unannounced, like that time I went to visit Jason in DC. The subway door did NOT stop in front of me 90% of the time! When I finally returned from that cursed place, I almost wept with joy to discover that my mojo had returned. Of course, the temporary disappearance of my subway mojo had nothing to do with the fact that the DC trains have longer cars and fewer entrances.

The Elevator Shuffle -- You stand waiting in front of 6 elevators. The farthest one opens up. You walk toward it with just enough speed to catch it before the door closes, but you are slow enough to catch any other elevator on the way should it become available so you don't have to walk that extra 2 feet.

The FMT (Fucking Midwestern Tourists) -- You get off the 6/J train at Canal St. happily on your way to meet your buddy for a chow down at that cheap but good Chinese restaurant when your path is suddenly blocked by a roving band of the whitest people you have ever seen since your last time back to MN to visit your parents. Each FMT clan is usually composed of screaming little brats, I'm-too-cool teenagers decked out in Abercrombie & Fitch, and nervous parents who cannot possibly look more touristy even WITHOUT their FDNY caps and shirts. These people are even worse than the busloads of FATs (Fucking Asian Tourists) that descend upon the Stanford campus every day because at Stanford I could at least bike around the FATs since there is so much space (God I miss all that open space) whereas I have no such option on the narrow and crowded streets of Chinatown.

The Uppity Doorman -- When I was browsing online NYC apartment ads back in California, I was mystified to see "doorman building" posts. I didn't know what a doorman was until I moved here. Basically, a doorman is a middle-aged gatekeeper/receptionist. The swankier the apartment, the more attitude the doorman has, despite of the fact that his most important responsibilities are 1.) standing behind a desk; 2.) opening the door for guests; and 3.) receiving packages for building residents.

I will put up more definitions/rants later.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003


Lately I have seen more and more people wearing "School of Hard Knocks" shirts, some even with numbers on them, which never ceases to amuse me. I wonder how one can gain admissions into such a prestigious school, aka the Harvard of the Ghettos. How are these guys doing in "school"? What are their GPAs? Do they avoid hard classes like Honors Pimping or AP Drive By in order to boost their GPAs? Do they have to pass some kind of graduation test? Are there tutors to help them if they are not dealing up to their potential?

Monday, June 02, 2003

More Cruelty

While I'm on the subject of cruelty, I came across this movie on a website a while back. Do NOT watch this at work!! And no I don't know who this fool is.
The Force Was NOT With Him For Sure

There's nothing funnier and more tragic than watching a fat kid swinging a broomstick pretending to be Darth Maul. The transfer speed may be a bit slow, but I promise it's worth it. Watch the remix after the original, it's even more hilarious. Sigh, people are cruel.
What A Riot

On my way to the big meeting, I walked past a woman that didn't catch my attention at first until I glanced at her ears. They were long and pointy!! Like an elf's ears!! I had to turned around and look at her ears again. Yep, they were almost of Vulcan quality. Then my coworker said, "I forgot to bring my butthole." Just before my jaw was about to drop in disbelief, I realized that she actually said, "I forgot to bring my bottle." Oh how I love accents.
iPod Love

Reason #26 I love my iPod: Coworker starts telling someone the plot for the Six Feet Under season finale. I frantically scramble to put on my newly purchased, ass-kicking, noise-blocking Shure e2c earbuds and turns on the iPod. "I'm Too Sexy" comes on. Aaah, now she can describe all of season three and I wouldn't care because I can't hear anything except Right Said Fred singing "I'm too sexy for my hat... I shook my little tushe on the catwalk, on the catwalk..."

Reasone #27 I love my iPod: After "I'm Too Sexy," the lovely shuffle feature brings on Bjork's haunting "Scatterheart" from the "Dancer in the Dark" soundtrack. It's a good thing that my 900+ mp3's only takes up a quarter of the 15-gig hard drive. Now, I can listen to songs by Limp Bizkit, Vanessa Mae, Blumchen, Sneaker Pimps and Aimee Mann one after the next.