Friday, May 12, 2006


I forgot to mention in my previous post that my sister's friend Yuyan, who's working as a dealer in a Vegas casino now, has the surname "Qian," which is the homonym for the Chinese character for "Money." Funny coincidence, no?


Just came back from drinks and dinner with my former coworkers. Man, I miss these fools.

An email chain from earlier in the day from the old crew:

From: Anthony [my old manager]
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 8:35 PM
Subject: Barely Legal No More

Young Will [the fresh college grad who replaced me after I left] is not so young any more. At least as of this coming Friday. To celebrate, we’re going to start at either Campbell or Library Bar depending on the weather on Thursday evening around 5:30 to 6. Then we’re heading downtown to B Bar at 8 and wherever else after that. I will give Will one free ride on the P train on Friday if he happens to be a little late or doesn’t make it at all.

I am making a reservation at B Bar for 8 people at 8pm. Pass this on to anyone I missed and let me know so that I can add more to the reservation if need be.

From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 2:01 PM
Subject: RE: Barely Legal No More

I'll meet you guys at B Bar, even if I still have my cast on.


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 2:39 PM
Subject: RE: Barely Legal No More

Hey, wait a sec. How come there was no "P Train" when * I * was working for your alcoholic ass, Anthony?

Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:10 PM
Subject: RE: Barely Legal No More

Because if I let you ride the P train every time you had too much to drink (i.e. 2 lite beers and a glass of water) you’d never show up to work

Man, I got served.

Later in the day, I'm talking to my current team leader:

Me: Just to give you a heads up, I'm planning to take 3 weeks off in August

TL: Really? Don't you only have 3 weeks for the whole year?

Me: 17 days total, and I've used two already, so I'm hoping that since I worked a few weekends already, I can get some comp days to use for my vacation so I still have a few vacation days left afer I come back from my trip.

TL: Yeah, of course no problem. You will get those comp days. You will probably be working more weekends later this year.

Me: Man, you guys are a bunch of slave drivers.

TL: Haha.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I feel strangely inspired now at 3 AM after waking up from a 4-hour nap after putting in another 14-hour day at work, where at one point I asked my team leader to hit me in the back of the head with a pole to put me out of my misery.

First, while I was scrolling through my photo library yesterday collecting my Vegas pictures, I rediscovered this awesome picture of my dad that I took at the Mall of America 4 years ago. I believe it was just after he and Mom received their American citizenship. What a fine patriot! I don't know why, but we really went a little crazy with the hats that day :)

A few weeks ago while I was in Vegas, I hanged out with my sister's friend Yuyan, who has been in Vegas for 6 months now after having lived in New Orleans for most of her life. She works as a dealer in Rio. I learned some pretty interesting things while hanging out with her and her friends, who are also Chinese and work in casinos. They work Monday through Thursday from 9 PM to 5 (?) AM, make pretty decent money (she makes $80K/year), and get a 20-minute break for every 40 minutes they work, which looks quite attractive now considering I've getting 2-minute bathroom breaks every, oh, gazillion hours for the past few days at work. Asians have also taken over the casinos in Vegas. It seems like a third to a half of the dealers are Asians. Yuyan took me to lunch at this Korean restaurant that's next to 7 or 8 other Asian restaurants/shops. Although she does not gamble at all, her friends are big gamblers. One of the guys lost $80 in 5 minutes playing three-card poker, borrowed a Benjamin from her, and then won $300 playing blackjack at the same table I was playing at. I of course only played with $60 and ended up losing $10 in about 20 minutes of playing, which is not bad at all considering the fact that I got a free drink in addition to some gambling action. In fact, I was actually up $10 and about to leave the table when the drink came. While I was sipping my Jack'n'Coke, I lost $20. Shifty casino operators!

A week after I came back from Vegas, I went to the K-Mart at Astor place to get some supplies. Because it was such a beautiful day and there were some people playing jazz right outside of the uptown 6 station, I decided to sit in front of the cube and enjoy life a little. I ended up talking to this girl from New Orleans who's going to the New School now because she came to visit New York when Hurricane Katrina hit and couldn't go back to her home. As I was chatting with her, I was blown away by how incredibly nice she was. Apparently, the three and a half years I've been living in New York have made me forget how nice and courteous and kind people can be. Even in Vegas, I had a bad experience: I was gimping along the strip back towards MGM (which is where I was staying with Sachin and his Apple crew) after suffering the crushing disappointment of not being able to ride the rollercoaster at the top of the Stratosphere because it was taken down last year. While I was waiting to cross the street at a traffic light, a bus stopped next to me for the light. I knocked on the door to ask the driver to let me on the bus. He shook his head. I pointed to my big, black cast and he gave me this look like I was retarded and then drove off. To be honest, I wasn't really expecting to get on the bus because I knew I would get the same cold shoulder in New York. It would have been nice though.

As I was telling this story to Joe and his roommate, both of whom moved here recently from California, while having dinner with them in Soho last weekend and listening to Joe rant about the fact that people here don't hold the doors open for others, the couple seated at the table next to us were smiling. They were clearly enjoying our conversation. Later we started chatting with them. They were also really really nice and of course they were from out of town, Buffalo to be exact. It turns out that the husband was in town to be confirmed as the Secretary of State of New York. On our way out, I joked with Chris, "tell Pataki to send us more money." He smiled and replied, "Give me your address so I can send you the money." I'm a cynic when it comes to politicians, but this guy seemed like a really genuine, personable guy. If first impressions were everything, I would totally vote for him if he ever runs for governor in the future, assuming I will stay in New York for a while.

Anyhoo, time to go to bed now so I can wake up for physical therapy at 8:30.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Vegas pictures

Finally had some time to put up some pictures I took in Vegas. Here they are.