Monday, October 30, 2000

I feel quietly happy today. Quietly because when people ask me "how are you?" I say "okay". My happiness today is a secret. My happiness is my tooth pain going away. My happiness is hoping to go see Paul Pena & Kongar-ol Ondar perform next week. It's getting to see my friend Lark tonight, just home from a year of globetrotting. It's getting interviewed tomorrow for the Examiner. My happiness is listening to Nelly Furtado, the first artist in a long time I've been excited about. My happiness today is selfish. My happiness is mine.
Soundtrack Monday 10-30-00

Nelly Furtado - Tryna Find a Way, On the Radio, Like a Bird
Sarah Polley - The Sweet Hereafter
David Byrne - Last Emperor Theme
Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life
Lou Reed - Perfect Day

Thursday, October 26, 2000

A cool link I got off of

It lays out the presidentail candidates' stands on the issues in an easy to understand format.
We can send folks to the moon but we still pull teeth out with plyers?

Yes, I'm cranky about my visit with the Wisdom Teeth Extraction Fairy.

Monday, October 23, 2000

Soundtrack Monday 10-23-00

Khaled - Aisha
Gal Costa - Que Pena
Lauryn Hill - All My Time
Cocteau Twins - The Thinner the Air (Massive Attack Remix)
Dan's Non-Recommendation of the week: Pay it Forward

After seeing this movie, I felt to urge to warn 3 people about this movie. Each of those 3 people need to warn 3 other people, and so on. Epitomizing the worse that Hollowood has to offer, Pay it Forward is boring, cheesy, faux-inspirational and old-fashioned lazy moviemaking. The plot is full of holes, the characters are 2D sketches never fully realized and the ending (SPOILER ALERT) is so hamfistedly pointless and manipulative (the kid dies for no other reason than the film needing a martyr), I was ready to walk out. Sadly, some other people in the audience bought it (the lady next to me was in tears). I've seen Kevin Spacey better (in pretty much ALL his other films), never really liked Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment just undid all the praise placed upon him for the 6th Sense. And Mimi Leder did Deep Impact better, maybe simply because we expected less of it.

Speaking of movies, I've decided recently that I need to see movies mostly based on the DIRECTOR, not any of the stars. I've seen too many flicks where an actor I like struggles against a bad script and lousy direction. A good director (and a good script) will more reliably create a better piece of film. Good of course is subjective and a matter of taste. I for one am not a big fan of Altman, Scorsese or Allen. Spike Lee, Luc Besson & Wayne Wang have been hit or miss, which means I'll generally still go see their flicks. Who do I like? Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee, Coen Brothers, David Fincher, John Woo.

One last thing regarding critic's comments on films: When you see a quote printed on a movie ad ("The Feel-Good Hit of the Summer!") be sure to see where it's quoted from. If all the quotes are from local radio & TV stations, newspapers or secondar-tier magazines, be wary. Trusted sources? Joel Siegel, Roger Ebert, Premiere magazine, Time magazine. And of course in the end, make up your own damn mind. Sometimes it's simply better to read NOTHING and go to the film with a clean mental slate.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

I'm having a weird bout of nausea, yes, as I write this. Why the hell am I still in front a computer? Masochism and inertia rolled up into one. Also to keep up the illusion of working. I ought go home early but the thought of riding MUNI would only make the condition worse. The leather couch in the corner's looking good. I think I need to get a job that doesn't involve a computer. Is there such a thing? Do I have to learn something about gardening? Maybe I can be a SIDEWALK INSPECTOR. I bet that has a good pension plan.
Soundtrack for Thursday

Tool - 46 and 2
Metallica - Orion
Jurassic 5 - Improvise
Lauryn Hill - All My time
Faith No More - A Small Victory
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Tery Bina
Talking Heads - Life During Wartime
Eric B. & Rakim - Follow the Leader
A Tribe Called Quest - Left My Wallet in El Segundo

This week has gone by pretty quickly. Tonight I meet up w/ Jim Bach who has some comic strips to show me, possibly for the next issue of OW.

Tomorrow night is Legend of the Drunken Master

Should get my even more hyped up for the December release of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

How the hell do you make links in this thing? ack.

Monday, October 16, 2000

I think what I really want to shoot for is MEDIA EMPIRE. I think I can start with wrangling some kinda gig w/ KQED maybe. I'd love to host/program an APA interest/issues show, sort of a radio version of OW. Then of course there's TV. I volunteered a few times w/ the public access channel in SF, but got a little bored with having to put in the time and also just didn't have the time to commit to it. Film is on my horizon but I'm being realistic about it -I simply can't start that chapter of my career while still doing the zine. I s'pose it's one of the biggest things I've learned about my relationship w/ the creative process. I can't spread myself thin like that.

I could use some garlic naan and a bowl of matzo ball soup.
Gonna go see Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors) read from a play tonight @ the Japanese Cultural Center in J-Town. The real question is do I wanna gorge on Korean BBQ or just get a bowl of udon to tide me over.

I feel like I have so much to do and I don't know where to start:

1. Get zine finances together so Chi-Hee can do an analysis and tell me where all my money is going.
2. Write up some basic zine info so Annie can throw up a one-pager for my website.
3. Start soliciting articles/submissions for the next issue of OW.
4. Get my credit card & personal debt in order.
5. Clean my office.
6. Clean the bedroom (our new sleigh bed is coming later this month).
7. Write some thoughts on feminism for Wei Ming's panel discussion/presentation this week.
8. Prepare some schpeal for my presentation w/ Boys & Girls Club next week.
9. Start soliciting for advertising for next issue.


Movie Recommendations of the day:

The Contender
Nurse Betty
Legend of the Drunken Master (Drunken Master II)
Ack. Finally back from my nonvacation. Where was I?

Well, how 'bout a synopsis... I hung out with Beth & George & Abigail for a few days in little-bitty Warren, PA, then made our way up to Toronto. Got to see one of the Chinatowns but that's about it. Saturday was AJ's wedding, pretty traditional, a little singing, a little Jesus, white dresses and black tuxes. A stark contrast to Jessica & Maarten's nontraditional matrimony but good for future reference.

Then off to Niagra Falls, a stupendous waste of time. Buy a postcard instead. Oh, and if you're like me and MUST gamble, save it for Vegas. Or even Reno. Oh hell, even Winnemucca.

It was a vacation with a little too much to and do and I am definitely glad to be back. Even looking forward to work tomorrow. We've moved to a new floor so I'll spend half the day unpack & mentally regrouping. No more vacations for me. Too much work.

p.s. Toronto seems like a nice place, the real estate certainly is cheaper. Me & Susannsh may visit it in the future, ya know, just in case.

thanks to G & B for time, energy & money spent. Thanks to Abi for being a good one.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Monday 10/9
Visited my old boss & pal Steve Baron @ his store CD Central. He's doing well, ran into a former classmate or two. It is true what they say, you can never go back. Sometimes it's because so much has changed. In the case of Lexington (and other smaller worlds like it), it's because you've grown and it's stayed the same. Hiked down to Ye Olde Firetrap AKA the Reynolds Building, the fine arts studio warehouse and visited with Arturo Sandoval, my old fiber instructor. He's warm and perverted as ever. I got a picture of him giving me a big fat kiss and me feigning repulsion. Love the guy. The gay uncle I never had. Or did have.

Later that night went over to my dad's for dinner. I hadn't even planned to see him this trip except I answered the phone at my mom's the night before and ended up talking to him. I'm not sure if you could call our relationship "estranged" or even "strained". It's more like nonexistent. This is of course made worse by the presence of his new wife, whose less-than-flattering depiction I'll spare you. We ended up going to a place called Mark's Feed Store, a barn-like BBQ joint that makes Applebee's seem like world class cuisine. I spoke to my dad entirely in Chinese, effectively shutting his (Caucasian) wife out of the conversation. Yes, it was deliberate and no, I didn't care. My dad attempted to translate bits of our conversation to her, which she said she didn't necessarily need to know. We went back to their house, a house I never lived in (I'd moved into my own apartment by the time my parents bought it) and talked for a bit longer. I felt as though my dad was trying to catch up with me in a way, not to make up for years of unintentional neglect but to simply get to know the person I am today. Mostly though, he talked about his disillusionment with the Chinese Democratic Movement and stories about his being interrogated in the Beijing Airport. This story I'd heard before but enjoyed hearing it again. I left the house that night feeling something close to nothing.

Tuesday 10/10
Flew into Buffalo, NY and was picked up by my old pals Beth & George. I got to play with their daughter Abigail, an adorable and very even-tempered kid with Michellin Man arms and cheeks that probably get squeezed way too often by random old ladies in restaurants. We drove quite a ways through Eastern NY State into PA. Not much out here except Amish and a Walmart or two. It's great being with B & G, two friends I introduced to each other. There was a time I distanced myself from them, I'm not even sure why now. I believe they will be part of that small group of friends that you keep for life. Their little house is nice and the town of Warren, PA may seem quaint to the average visitor. They desperately wanna get the hell outta dodge but want to wait til their second bun pops out of the oven (due after Thanksgiving). They're not urbanites like me & Susannah but I think Warren (pop. 10K) is a little too small and incestuous even for them.

It's funny how dependant I've become on the internet. My mom's stupid AOL connection keeps dropping out and I got a little antsy not being able to check my mail EVERY DAY. I actually wanted to stay offline for the duration opf my trip but wanted to update my travelogue while the feelings were still fresh. Or so I tell myself. I'm here on the other side of the country trying to connect to old friends while not being able to be disconnected from... from what? Maybe from whoever's reading this. So, this weblog is for me, but it's for you, too. My past and presents sometimes don't mix well or at all. Maybe this is my way of connecting them. Maybe this is my continuity.

1AM. I feel like having a couple of pancakes.

Sunday, October 08, 2000

My Non-Vacation Update:

Synopsis/Overview: I'm going to my girlfriend (Susannah)'s sister (Jessica)'s wedding in Richmond, KY, hang out w/ my mom for a few days in Lexington, KY, fly up to Warren, PA and visit w/ my old friends George & Beth & their little bundle of drool, Abigail, go up to Hamilton, On, Canada for my buddy AJ's wedding. Come home. Sleep. Get over the cold I'm sure to have.

Friday 10/6
Spent a sleepless neck-breaking 3 hours and 45 minutes on a plane next to a cranky toddler. Rented a crappy American car and drove bleary-eyed from Cincinnati to Lexington. Breakfast w/ mom and a long nap. Drove down to Richmond for the Rehearsal Dinner/Reception. It was in the fancy old-world Victorian of a family friend. Overdecorated but impressive. Got to meet all the Dutchies. Maarten (Jessica's Groom-to-be) seems like a swell guy.

For some reason my mom's Cable is better than ours at home. I don't get the Sci-Fi channel at home anymore. Hrmph.

Saturday 10/7
The wedding ceremony was in the Meditation Chapel of the Eastern KY U. A nice cozy (if chilly) circular building with pews on all sides and a pedestal in the center. The ceremony was refreshingly nontraditional, with Jessica and Maarten doing most of the talking, exchanging vows they wrote themselves. Maarten's sister and Susannah both got to go up and speak also. The whole thing was pretty much non-religious, ending with the Jewish custom of breaking a glass to commemorate the destruction of Jeruselum. It was all very moving because of the the simplicity and innate spirituality of the event. Unfettered by ritual and extraneous nonsense. Almost makes me wanna get married. I said ALMOST.

The reception was festive, Jessica's usually cranky dad gave quite a funny and poignant toast, while Maarten's dad gave a lengthy and somewhat perplexing toast with much medical allegory. I didn't get it but shrugged it off (They're Dutch, what can you do...) The evening ended with the infatiguable Dutchies singing silly songs, and everybody eating delicious cake. Oh and lots of bad dancing to the disco hits of the 70's. And Dutch songs. And Springsteen's "Born in the USA" which I serious doubt was requested by any of the American contingent. A good time had by all. I shot 8 rolls of film of the festivities and can't wait to see them. I think I'm in 3 pictures total.

Sunday 10/8
I took Susannah to the airport earlier. She's gonna spend a week back in SF without me but at least she'll have our furry children to keep her company. My mom & I drove up to Georgetown to see my cousin Li Hong, his wife May and their precocious 5 year old Mercedes. She's cute as ever and sharp as a tack, loves the Powderpuff Girls and dancing in her little ballet shoes. I'm writing this from Li Hong's office/nook to the pitter-patter of little feet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

1. On the 10 minute BART ride into the Mission, I overhear snippets of a conversation between two older Filipina women. They had the air of nurses about them, their comfortable shoes, their matronly manner. They spoke in quiet but animated talk, mostly Tagalog. Actually mostly Taglish or Engalog, I s'pose. Sentences broken of dialect but perfect in rhythm and cadence. The bits I did catch dealt with faith. "...all the good things god has done"..."It's a miracle"...I don't know where I'd be without him". One woman spoke these words, smiling as the other nodded, saying mostly "hm." I try not to be so obvious.

2. I walk out of the BART station at 24th & Mission. There is something of a scene behind the bus shelter. 3 middle aged white folks are having a calm but tense conversation with a couple of Latino teenagers and a black kid. I am too far away to hear. I read their faces: white folks -upset, indignant, the brown kids -arrogant, defiant. I see another white guy, laden with sound equipment and holding a boom mic in his hand, run up to a passing police car. The Latino cop gets out, unholsters his baton and approaches the scene. With no questions asked, the Brown in Blue tells the teens to vacate the area, no argument. He uses his presence as a broom, sweeping them one by one away from the shelter. One kid gets off the wooden stool he was sitting on and one of the white guys takes it. They resume their business, filming something on the corner. The white haired man, pushes his hair back into place, the boom mic operator positions himself. A light turns on. The cop lingers by the cruiser. The kids disperse, two of them down the street to tag a light pole.

3. The 48 I get on is new, clean, just one scratched tag on its windows. A friendly female voice calls out stops like clockwork. The back of the bus smells like Fritos.
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on...
Riding the 48 to the Bart station this morning, I overheard 2 middle school aged girls discussing women in Star Wars. One girl was trying the tell the other that there were no women characters in the series besides Princess Leia and Queen Amidala. The other less-geeky girl wondered if Han Solo was a Jedi. The "expert" quickly pointed out that he was merely a pilot, untrained in the Jedi arts. They also speculated on the "true nature" of Obiwan's relation to Qui Gonn Jin. I resisted to the urge to walk up to them and provide some tru Star Wars geek insight but decided at my age (or more to the point, at our age difference) I'd seem like some sort of pedophile. Besides, these padwan were probably not ready for the next level of sci-fi trivia.
Saw Akira Kurosawa's RAN for the first time on the big screen. The Castro theater is a great place to see such films since, well, they're one of the few big screens that will show them. In an ideal world, the Castro would have stadio seating and cupholders like the 1000 Van Ness. The only thing about that movie that was over two hours long was the damn bricks they call seats. Oh leg room might have been nice as well.

Anyway, I nearly had forgotten how great a film RAN was. The absolutely brilliant colors, hordes of armored men streaming across a hill in a blur of red banners, swords and lances coupled with thunderous hooves tearing up the hillside or the rhythm and menace of Taiko drums. Then the drama. Varying degrees of loyalty, betrayal, deceipt and hopelessness.

Tatsuya Nakadai was amazing as the doomed Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (thanks in part to old-man/ghost make-up by Christian Dior!). I don't think RAN won anything besides maybe Best Costume Design or something minor at that year's Oscars. Shame.

My spirit is charged from seeing such brilliance. But my ass sure does hurt.

Tuesday, October 03, 2000

Today's Soundtrack:

Cole - I Can Do Too (from Girlfight)
Soul Coughing - Circles
David Byrne - Dance on Vaseline
Ozomatli - Cut Chemist Suite
The Coup - Fat Cats Bigga Fish
MUNI and BART are two different worlds. MUNI is an unreliable bumpy ride through the third world of San Francisco, full of noise and color. BART is a clockwork shuttle silver bullet, careening silently through tunnels, carrying silent passengers to work, somewhere across the Bay. There are classes differences between the two, and age, and decible level. MUNI is a powderkeg scored by HipHop (though always lousy HipHop). Speaking of which, why is it you never hear b-boys bumpin' The Coup, or The Roots, or Tribe Called Quest, or Jurassic 5? Always gangsta shit, and not even the good stuff. I've always wanted to ride the bus with a boombox, play dub or tabla riffs, or Thievery Corporation. Dressed the way I do, looking the way I look, I simply can't pull it off. And why not? This is how it is on the bus, in the city.
I'm going to play mindless puzzle games online for a while. To decompress.

In college, I used to walk down the street to campus and spend hours in the arcade after midnight. The smell of smoke, a half drunk can of mountain dew at my side. Colored jewels, or oddly shaped bricks filled a glowing screen, shining into my sleepless eyes. I would let the day run through my head like a dream, a waking dream, while my fingers and hands moved of their own accord, while my eyes darted around the screen, matching colors, shapes, breaking high scores. I used to go to the arcade when my mind was heavy, when my heart sat in my stomache. I used to go to the arcade when I was listless, out of sorts. It is at once a distraction and a calm meditative state. I misse that arcade at 2AM. I miss secondary smoke and nearby chatter of geekboys and sounds of fists, guns, revving engines. I miss walking out of the arcade at 3AM, out of quarters, walking the 5 blocks home. I miss the coolness of a summer night and a head heavy with sleep and glowing bricks of color.

Monday, October 02, 2000

Tonight: loaf, think about what to pack. Play a little Starcraft maybe. Killing time.

Tomorrow: Work. Go see RAN @ the Castro w/ buddies. Nothing better in the world.

Wednesday: Maybe see new Wong Kar Wai super-preview w/ Dave at lunch. Pack.

Thursday: Pack up office shit for the big move. Get my ass home for dinner, shuttle down to Airport. Make sure you bring a couple CDs to play. Aw fug it, I should sleep. Damn redeyes.

Friday: Wake up in Cincinnati, rent a car, drive to Lexington. Have breakfast with my mom. Haven't seen her for almost a year now. It's the start of my pseudovacation.
So today, I rode the F Market a mere 3 blocks so I could buy a belt and some socks. It was moderately crowded being 5:30 and all. I'm standing there noticing all these other Asian guys with long hair and wondering if I should cut mine off or just dye it again. My revelry was quickly broken by a middle aged white guy with a particularly pink complexion shambling his way to the middle of the bus, all the while yelling for people to move. Thru his half-mumbles I could tell that he was not a nutty bus creature, but your everyday asshole, maybe with a couple of beers in him. He started railing on one guy in particular, a guy who looked Filipino. I listened over Mr.Asshole's shoulder as he spewed, waiting. Yes, waiting. I knew what was coming, it was only a matter of time. Then it came out of his mouth, "You probably don't understand English." he said to Brown Man. Brown Man was trying hard to ignore Pink Man.

My stop came and I shoved Pink Man hard from behind, yelling, "Move! what's the matter, you don't speak English?". He must have been taken by surprised and tried to play it off. "I'm movin', I'm movin'." he said. I turned to face and backed out of the bus, "Then you know how to live in this country." I said, my hand holding open the door, "Then I don't have to tell you what country to go back to." As The doors closed, I heard him say, finally catching on, "You wanna fuck with me?!" I turned to make sure he wasn't following me out. I stormed through the intersection, and into Ross, wandering in a daze until I found the belt aisle.