||Welcome to Eric Cheng's online journal!
You are not logged in.
[ Log in ]
Archive for January, 2002
I played a gig today, and have (almost) never felt more like an ornament in my life. It was at an art gallery on Sutter St., which had some flattering, boomy acoustics, but it wasn’t enough to make up for everybody in the gallery ignoring us. I hate playing gigs where we serve only give the event some artificial “class” Oh well — I guess it was just as well that they were ignoring us, since we weren’t playing well.
Today one of my housecleaners was fired for eating a piece of cake that was left on the counter. (Yes, I have housecleaners; my “need” for them arose from a combination of being a neat freak and trading money for time). It was surreal to hear about (I got an email from the Leader of the Housecleaners). I mean, I didn’t really mind that someone ate a piece of cake, and it seemed … wrong that someone lost their job for a piece of devil’s food cake. Should I feel like it was an invasion of privacy or something? I’m sort of used to people being in my place when I’m not around.
Amabelle has been CLEANING UP at Sprint PCS. Even though the company sucks, some of their service people are really helpful, and it appears that you can get a good deal out of them. She kicks ass.
I’m interested in soliciting feedback from those of you out there who might be the same position as I am. This is going to be a really geeky discussion, so you sensitive types — go away! (e.g. Amabelle, who inexplicably has Simpsons flashes in her head whenever I start talking about anything with a processor in it. :)
Anyway, I used PCs for about eight years before going to Stanford, but was forced into the Mac camp when arriving at Stanford. I fell “in love” with Macs (heh) for four years. I loved my Mac, but eventually, the frustration of not being able to run the latest software drove me insane. After working at Apple ATG during the summer of 1997 (Apple’s all-time low), I merrily dumped my Powermac 8500 and bought a Dell — and I was happy again. I could use any peripheral I wanted to use, and the entire system wouldn’t freeze when I held the mouse button down. I could also play games. :)
So now, Mac OS X is out, and it’s pretty slick. I’ve also “grown up,” which for me, means that I only use my computer for text and graphics-based communication (email, web, IM) and media work (photo, video) — no games, or any stuff like that. 99% of my computer usage is covered by only a few applications (Outlook, Photoshop, ThumbsPlus, Picture Information Extractor, DeBabelizer Pro, IE, Yahoo! Messenger, ACDSee, and Dreamweaver). Clearly, the Mac excels at media work. However, I get frustrated because I still manage to crash IE on the Mac after using it for only five minutes at a time. I seem to have a golden touch — you know, surfing sites at will. :)
I also have a few peripherals that probably won’t ever work on Macs (like synching phone numbers to my cell phone on a PC, using Outlook). Throw in Windows-centric workplaces, and I’ll again be in my own little world, if I switch to a Mac. What’s the point of VPN, if I can’t access company file systems? (read more »)
Stefon Harris is really good with kids. He and his quartet gave a short concert/workshop for some middle school kids at a school a couple miles from Pac Bell Park. It was a tough audience, but he was able to make them pay attention, and his simple description of jazz made even an inhibited, classically-trained cellist feel like he could do it. :) Oh yeah — I am not currently attending that school. I was there to photograph the event for SF Performances. :)
The clouds yesterday were amazing. I actually saw a picture-perfect infrared cloud and “sky”. An impossibly bright, fluffy white cloud was floating with a brooding, textureless blackness as its backdrop (it was a huge storm cloud). Why is it so cold? I freeze my butt off everytime I go outside. I guess I could wear warmer clothing, but I never expect the temperature around here to drop to 40 degrees. Photos –> (read more »)
Argh. The Alexander String Quartet concert was pretty bad yesterday. (I went to the concert with Vienna). I had heard before that they were very good, and… well, they must have been better in the past to have the resume they have. Their performance of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet was like a lack-luster student performance, or maybe a semi-polished read-through. (I’m trying to write this as the NE Patriots score their third touchdown. Amabelle is going crazy. :) They sounded like they didn’t know the piece at all. I could see Geoff and Livia in the audience from where I was sitting, and it was easy to see their clear disapproval as well. They have even higher standards than I do (better ears and stuff), so it must have been really painful for them. Anyway, the second half was better, but it was still hard to enjoy it after what they had forced the audience to sit through during the first half. It’s a good thing the lecture was both entertaining and informative. :) I also thought Stevie played as well as he could have played, given the circumstances.
Performances like this are only so disappointing because of expectation. I expect a professional-caliber performance when I have paid money to hear a professional group play. Tickets for events like this are $20-$50 (and up), so it’s not like going to a movie or something. The quartet should have been considerably better, even on their worst day. When an amateur group plays (you know, like the groups I usually play in. :), it’s easier to enjoy the performance, even though it’s probably not going to be technically perfect.
When I got home, Jen and Art were rehearsing at my place. I had met Art briefly before at a Japantown peace gathering, but I don’t remember it very well, so it was nice to get to meet him again (in good lighting. :).
What am I going to do with music? I can feel myself getting more and more rusty. Part of the problem is that there is nothing consistent to work towards anymore. The occasional recital isn’t quite enough to keep me in good shape.
Sarah Pont and I went out tonight to the ODC Theater to see “The Lights,” a play by Howard Korder (with music by Marcus Shelby). It was about city life, and it was entertaining and enjoyable (my metric is that I was really tired, but I never felt sleepy :). There was a woman next to me rocking out to the live jazz orchestra supporting the play. She was kind of weird, so it was like getting two shows for the price of one. :) Afterwards, Sarah and I went up to the stage because Marcus had expressed interest in a SF Performances concert when he worked with SFP before (Sarah works with SFP), and Sarah wanted to leave him comp tickets. He had already gone backstage, so Sarah ended up talking to Matt Clark (the pianist). After a minute or so, we quickly realized that Matt was a jackass. I can understand having “off” days, but there’s no need to be rude to your audience. Oh well. No tickets for Marcus. Blame Matt. :)
Tomorrow morning I’m going to see the Alexander String Quartet and Robert Greenberg play/discuss Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, Op. 57, and String Quartet No. 7. I guess Stevie will be playing piano in the quintet, but his name isn’t mentioned anywhere on SFP’s web site (as far as I can see), which sort of sucks. I only found out because I happened to mention to Livia today that I was going to see the concert, and she said (after a pause), “oh! I think Stevie’s playing in that.” It will make the performance that much more enjoyable, though. :)
I really would like to go to sleep now. I hope I can fall asleep. I’ve been slowly reverting to my default vampiric schedule, and it isn’t making me feel very healthy (partially because of the racket on my street in the mornings).
Weird. The time zone on echeng.com (the server) changed between the last post and this post. It’s just past midnight right now (Greymatter thinks it is just past 10pm). Gotta go change GM’s configuration now. After using GM for a couple of months, I’m starting to see some of the obscure stuff that can happen from bugs/corruption/etc. For example, the last (first, chronologically) archive entry won’t build properly anymore. I switched to weekly archiving, which works better (because only the first week of archives can’t be reached through the archive pages), but at some point I’ll have to figure out wtf is going on.
Tommy Toy’s is a strange restaurant. Angel Puerta and Justin Min took me out for a belated birthday dinner tonight. It’s basically very expensive Chinese food (we had two appetizers, three entrees, and a dessert), except that the waiters tell you that everything is something a bit more “mainstream” to get a hip, fusion effect. They told us that the Peking duck servings were “like duck sandwiches,” and that the lettuce wrap appetizers were “like tacos.” All of the waiters and staff were older, distinguished-looking Hong Kong dudes. They weren’t old in the way my dad is old, though. They were old in the way old guys in Hong Kong action flicks are old. I sort of imagined that the place was a front for something more sexy, except that all of the clientele (except for me and Justin) was white, and… well, it sort of didn’t fit into the vision. :)
Of course, before heading out to dinner, I had to find a pair of pants and shoes that fit Justin, so he would be allowed into the restaurant. You really can’t take him anywhere. (read more »)
The sunrise right now would be beautiful IF THERE WEREN’T JACKHAMMERS RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. I can’t believe they’re doing this at 7am. I just want to sleep!
Napa Valley is sooo beautiful. I took Amabelle up there today for her birthday; we indulged ourselves at the Lavendar Hill Spa and had some fantastic food at the Culinary Institute of America. Just south of the CIA is an amazing road with an archway of trees. I had seen it twice before, and both times, I was forced to pull over to gawk at it. Even though the trees had shed their leaves for the winter, their branches still reached out to clasp each other just over the road. It made me happy to see it again. :)
When we returned to San Francisco, I did my best to convince Amabelle that we were heading out to dinner alone, but she pretty much already knew that we were planning something, so it wasn’t very effective. :) (read more »)
I’m still awake, so I might as well post some photographs from today. Insomnia sucks. The SF Zoo was rather uneventful (crappy, really). It’s actually really bad right now because there’s a lot of construction, and… well, it’s just not a very good zoo. We did, however, get to see Snow Leopards feeding on something with white fur, two very large Siberian Tigers, and some active lions up close in the big cat feeding house. That was cool enough to make the trip worth it. The lions were larger than the ones I saw on safari last year.
We also saw a zoo worker standing motionless, feeding a squirrel. He looked like he had been standing there for a long time, and the squirrel actually ran up his leg. He was in a service area, and probably thought no one could see him. I tried to take a picture, but there was a big tree between us. (read more »)
Random surfing (Rice Bowl Journals -> Top 100 -> First Entry – Yin Yang) led to me finding an extremely ignorant person (http://ylogics.net/). I can’t believe people like this exist out there. I don’t even know what to say. Where do people like this come from? There’s zero overlap in my life with people like this. I guess I should just consider myself lucky. :) I’m wondering, though: what do people like this do when they “grow up?” Here’s an excerpt from his/her site.
“Hey I speak Chinese, I look Chinese, hell I even eat Chinese food, but careful, careful…. I am not Chinese, I am a Taiwanese” I mean what the fuck?! I understand the whole extra sensetivity around this dumb ass “Independence” thing, or pride is what they call it, that Taiwanese carry around…IF YOUR A POLITICIAN! But for the kids here in the states, these punk ass stoopid bitches who make a point to correct you defensively if you accidently called them “Chinese” >> suck my dick! Shit pisses me off. Let me say this much about TAIWANESE. I HATE THEM! That’s right, I dont give a fuck if you think I am racist. Know why? Cause I dont give a fuck, bitch! These yellow skin’ed / brown eye motherfuckers float off to some island carrying every drop of CHINESE blood in them, and all of a motherfucking sudden >> I AM TAIWANESE. Fuck that shit, hard. Oh, and then, AND THEN, “POW” I am not just TAIWANESE, I am BETTER than you! Shit, I’ve had more personal issues and sterotype experiences with Taiwanese in the states than anyone should ever encounter. Let me tell you something about them, a VERY accurate culture description about these superior Chinese beings called: Taiwanese. Upon meeting these distinguished mandarine accent’ed bitches, (And let me tell you the accent aint pretty) they’ll first inspect what kind of Chinese you are with their special island instincts, and you better hide with all your might about the shameful fact that your from their motherland, and that your the inferior type of immigrant from mainland China, and if your from the countryside, fucking run!! Cause once they smelled out your Chinese b.o, oh it’s gon be ugleeee! Of course, they dont come off attackin’ you personally in army style, but watch out for the way they talk. They will reference everything from your hair-do to your fucking rice brand based on where your from, and they always seem to have some sorta indepth knowledge about EXACTLY the city or town your from, I think they fucking study it just to bash it on those glorious occassions of meeting a Chinese. I’ve almost always been giving shit when ever I meet a Taiwanese. They dont always say shit to my face, but it’s the subtle ways they let me know that I am some how inferrior, and they are some top notch Chinese speaking creatures. And if you think I am being a racist, oh just meet a Taiwanese and knock yourself out. These people that I speak of are mostly adults and old fashioned geezers. And the Taiwanese around my age? They are dumb fucks deprived of any culture education, but instinctively they will correct you to call them “Taiwanese”, every time! Guess it’s something in the special brand of rice they cook…
I’ll applaud the whole “I am Korean, I am a divine breed. bow!” thing when I get a minute… for now, fuck outs!
That entire rant needs a big-ass “[sic]” behind it. Hmmm. I correct people when they assume I’m Chinese. I always thought it was because my family considers itself Taiwanese, but I guess it’s really because of some sort of “instinct.”
UPDATE 1/21 — I received a reply from “Ying Yang” herself, but I’m having problems deciphering the point of her message. (read more »)
ARGH. This message was deleted the first time through. I hate web interfaces sometimes. I also hate rewriting messages of any kind. I had to eat a cookie to stay awake while driving home from the Nash residence this evening. Unfortunately, I had just stuffed myself with ribs, and a pear salad, so I was trading consciousness for progressive increments of feeling like crap by forcing more food down my hatch.
I noodled around on some music with Vienna this late morning. It’s amazing how unprepared I am for unstructured music. It was fun, though. It’s very different than the kind of music I’m accustomed to reading. My place has become a meeting place of sorts, so afterwards Wendy, Vienna, Charlotte and I ended up going out for brunch at Miss Millies.
Brunch was followed by Black Hawk Down at the AMC Mercado, with Adam/Carolyn Nash and Mike Schroepfer/Erin. What a depressing (but well done) movie. I’m sort of immune to movie gore, so it didn’t seem unnecessarily violent to me, but some of us in our group had problems with it. I’d also like to say that I HATE the AMC Mercado. There are too many punk-ass kids roaming around there (read more »)
Vienna Teng had her first (public) full-band performance tonight at The Canvas, at 9th and Lincoln, in San Francisco. Sophie, Wendy, Amabelle and I drove out there and randomly met up with Bill Rivard, Jeremy, and Stephen Kam. I also met (for the first time) an ex-E.piphany employee, after the show. Small world!
I’m excited to watch/hear Vienna’s new band develop. Her music rocks, and you should totally go out and buy a CD. :) While she was playing, Bill and I were chatting about how we lit things on fire when we were in high school (this was in reference to Vienna writing songs back then that are still worthy of performance — seven years later). When “A Decade and One” was performed, she said something about being 23 now, and Bill promptly leaned over and said, “hmmm. I was lighing things on fire when I was 23, too.” (read more »)
My friend Adam Nash sent me this forward, which made me laugh out loud. (read more »)
My high school friend Sherry has been staying with me for the past few days. She was here last year around this time as well. Amabelle, Sherry, her friends Lori and Brian, and I went out to grab dinner tonight at Papalote Mexican Grill, in the Mission.
I finally started looking through The Journals of Dan Eldon, which was given to me as a birthday gift from my sister. I took an HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) class during my masters degree which talked about ethnography, but the lectures were so shoddy that I came away from it with the cynical viewpoint that ethnography was basically research with the actual “data” thrown away. After reading the book’s introduction (written by Eldon’s mother) and thumbing through the first few entries, I now understand what ethnography is supposed to be about. (read more »)
I went to a concert last night at Davies Symphony Hall. Joshua Bell played Bernstein’s Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, and Ingo Metzmacher conducted Hartmann’s Miserae and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. I loooove Beethoven 7, but I really didn’t like the performance last night. Metzmacher seemed to… well, be a rather poor conductor, and it seemed like the orchestra was just on autopilot trying to get through the concert. He would freeze for entire sections at a time, and every time he raised the baton he would shake it a number of times, making the beat ambiguous. He had no presence, and the orchestra wasn’t playing cohesively. I think it would have been frustrating to play under him — not that I’d ever have the opportunity, though. :) Afterwards, Emile, Zhenya, Amabelle and I walked over to Citizen Cake for dessert.
I finally migrated echeng.com over to CWI Hosting, and got RCN cable modem up and running. I had to reset the cable modem in order for it work normally (it defaulted to some setting that was really slow), but now it’s FANTASTIC, and is a lot faster than ADSL was. Photos –> (read more »)
Steps to more updates and photos:
X – 1) get RCN cable modem installed (it’s FAST!)
X – 2) cancel Earthlink DSL (I hate them. 9 days down is unacceptable.)
X – 3) Sign up with CWI Hosting (current hosting account is full, and I don’t want to deal with have a second storage account. it sucks because I will effectively lose 8 months of prepaid hosting a Speedyweb. grrrr!)
X – 4) Copy echeng.com over
X – 5) Pray it works. (done!)
I went to the rock climbing gym again tonight with Amabelle, and they were playing the slow movement from Brahms String Sextet over the sound system. What a cool gym.
I returned home from Taiwan to find the “DSL” status light on my DSL modem blinking orange/green. So much for DSL. I HATE Earthlink. Curse them!! (Argh — I called support, and the estimated wait time was 167 minutes. Is that not totally ridiculous? Who has THREE hours to sit around on hold?)
Any suggestions for San Francisco area broadband access? I’ve heard good things about RCN Cable Modem service.