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Archive for July, 2002
Hey! Can someone figure out why this archive page displays too wide, and the rest (like this one) are fine? If you use Mozilla, you’ll see that this page suddenly fixed itself. It must be something I had in the content, but the content isn’t that complicated. Argh.
Oh, and it (of course) looks fine in IE.
Shoooot. This entry causes the main journal page to render improperly in Mozilla, and even removing it does nothing. Grrrrrr…
Two nights ago, we were sitting around the living room watching a movie, when two brown-outs hit. My computer was not happy. After that, the power in half of the apartment fuzzed out, which we traced to a shorted fuse (!). I have never seen a fuse box in a residence before! I thought only cars and exotic electronic appliances had fuses. So, we couldn’t just flip a circuit back on. In fact, we couldn’t do much, because we discovered that we were out of 20-amp fuses. We ended up pulling one out of socket eight and moved it to socket one (praying that socket eight wasn’t vital). This morning, the power was out again. Yippee! Fun with black-outs. There’s nothing like a blinking “5:33 AM” to spice up your day.
Adam Tow sent me a photo of himself and Rae wearing some of my scuba gear, which I shipped to his place from Florida a couple of weeks ago to avoid carting it to New York and back. It’s HILARIOUS. They put the mask on up above their noses (“Rae and I tried out your diving googles and hat yesterday” -Adam)! HAHAHAHA! I thought it was funny. :)
You can see them here at his site. He also has photos up from trying to go see Vienna sing (it was sold out!! she’s going big time. :). Hmmm. He is a little strange, that boy.
Everyone should go read today’s Mercury News article about Vienna Teng:
Pianist Vienna Teng says pursuing a career in music is the first rebellious thing she’s done.
This second-generation Chinese-American just handed in her resignation to Cisco, recently trading in her engineering career for rock ‘n’ roll. She had worked there since graduating from Stanford in 2000…
[read the rest of the article]
She kicks ass! :) Oh yeah, go see her web site, too: http://www.viennateng.com .
Why is it that it costs $12 to subscribe to Harper’s Magazine if you mail in the little insert found in the magazine, $14 to subscribe from their official web site, and $10.99 to subscribe via another web vendor? I subscribed for $14, online. They owe me $2! :)
After dinner with Victor and his Wall St. Journal friend Elizabeth (Victor’s friend, Erika, was also working at the restaurant. She’s an actress.), we walked her to her subway entrance and said our goodbyes. (“her” = Elizabeth. I’m too lazy to re-word the sentence to make it unambiguous. :)
I have bad Subway karma.
Two ambulances, three fire trucks, and some other emergency vehicles pulled up, sirens wailing. Someone had been electrocuted on the third rail, and was sprawled out across the tracks (according to a witness we talked to on the street). Apparently, it was “all smokey” in the station; I shudder thinking about what may have caused the lingering smoke.
And then, Victor and I went to see Austin Powers and laughed our asses off. A city of extremes, New York is.
While waiting for E train back to Queens, I noticed that the “Blue Crush” chick has a blue eye and a brown eye, and her brown eye has a bit of green in it — just like Gabe! (read more »)
I was on a gentle beach next to a concrete pier, with a parking lot not far away, just hidden by a single row of Eucalyptus trees. I had driven there, and had just used my cell phone to talk to someone (I was clutching it, my hand twisted into a strange position). And so, I decided to get in the water. I swam out, and the water was a nice, neutral blue, but not as luminescent as tropical waters are, and there were sport fishermen everywhere! Except… that these fishermen were fishing with their hands, in the water. They were clutching taut ropes leading off (shallowly) into depths, with large, unknown fish on the other end, and some were also holding ropes attached to boats that I was unable to see. Someone was talking about how it was a a strange sport, and suddenly we were watching a “best of” video summary — must be Jim Abernethy’s influence, as anyone who knows him can imagine — except that I was experiencing the events first hand, and not through a small 2.5″ LCD, hinged out from a camcorder. I saw two people with a baby between them being pulled mildly (but with an inevitability — the smoothed-out power that large things moving through the water have), who were were showing their baby how to fish this way, sort of like dipping your baby underwater to imprint more permanently her instincts that make her hold her breath and kick. Suddenly, fishermen everywhere were being pulled violently along, yelling with the same mock terror and laughter that we (underwater photographers) feel when frenzied sharks come too close. They were being pulled through the water like ski-less waterskiers, sometimes stopping for a second (in involuntary conflict) as their prey and the boats they were attached to pulled in opposite directions. All of the lines shot off to infinity, lines with gentle slopes rising out of the water, unnaturally straight and thread-like. I found myself — twice — in the chaotic area where people’s lines had tangled.
And then I was almost caught in huge trawler’s net. I managed to get out the way, and as dragged past me, I saw numerous hogfish caught within, eyes covered with a white film — a cross between the glassy look fish eyes get when they sit out for too long and the film that comes up to protect an attacking shark’s eyes. This is strange, because you can’t catch hogfish this way. Anyway, someone said that they were “DEMA (pronounced “Dee-Mah”) nets” (which is totally ridiculous, of course), but I knew it to be true. (read more »)
For my birthday a couple of years ago, I was given by Gabe Trop a copy of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (inside the front cover is written, “Celloes Rule” [sic]). I remember seeing him carrying it around, with his trademark pen-as-a-bookmark, gushing uncontrollably about how it was so incredible. (This has to be taken with a grain of salt, as Gabe lives in a warped parallel universe which combines his philosophy background with unrestrained potty humor.) I have given the book three subway-days of reading in the last week, and having turned 180 of the 887 pages, I’m now trying to decide whether I should give up. It’s difficult! Each paragraph by itself isn’t so bad, but string them all together, and I’m not sure where the book is going. I feel like I have been opening up the book at random every time I start reading. Also, paragraphs themselves are often composed of one, long sentence, which sometimes can run on for more than a page at a time.
There is one neat thing I want to relate, however. The following passage had my mouth involuntarily salivating in induced sourness, and still has the same effect when I read it again:
Darlene, pure Nightingale compassion, is handing him a hard red candy, molded like a stylized raspberry … mm, which oddly enough even tastes like a raspberry, though it can’t begin to take away that bitterness. Impatiently, he bites into it, and in the act knows, fucking idiot, he’s been had once more, there comes pouring out onto his tongue the most godawful crystalline concentration of Jeez, it must be pure nitric acid, “Oh mercy that’s really sour,” hardly able to get the words out he’s so puckered up, exactly the sort of thing Hop Harrigan used to pull to get Tank Tinker to playing his ocarina, a shabby trick then and twice as reprehensible coming from an old lady who’s supposed to be one of our Allies, shit he can’t even see it’s up his nose and whatever it is won’t dissolve, just goes on torturing his shriveling tongue and crunches like ground glass among his molars.
Hmmm. Another thing that has me worried: I just flipped to the end, and the book ends with “–”. This seems like a bad sign.
Pat and my sister tried to get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park yesterday, but the weather was so nice that the last of the tickets evaporated before their very eyes, only a few people ahead of them in line. So instead, Pat and I met up with Jean and her boyfriend at The Coffee Shop, in Union Square, which is well known because it is open 23 hours a day and was started by, is staffed by, and gives discounts to models. The food was fine.
Yesterday I watched “Hands on a Hard Body” with Rachel and Joe. That movie is hilarious! Strange that both I and the people in the show are “Americans.” Hard to imagine, for me. I feel more kinship with many international folk I’ve met. (read more »)
It was deathly hot and swampy in the subway last night. I stood around waiting for the E train at 23rd and 8th last night, when it became clear that no uptown trains were stopping there. And so, I boarded a downtown A to 14th, in the hopes that uptown boarding hadn’t been suspended there… but an uptown E train was stopped on the tracks, and NYPD and NYFD were everywhere. They carried a body on a stretcher up the stairs (I heard rumors that a kid had jumped on to the tracks, but I’m not really sure what happened), and uptown service was suspended until further notice.
Anyway, so it took me some time (almost two hours!) to get home. Is it bad that the suicide/injury didn’t affect me, and all I was thinking about was how sticky I was, and about how I was going to get home? I just expect bad things to happen in New York, I guess.
Before the subway fiasco, I had dinner with Wendy, Justin, and Jesse before going to Spark Notes HQ to photograph Justin for People Magazine. They wanted a “zany” photograph. “Zany” seems like it is only used to describe something by people who can’t relate to what they are trying to describe.
I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was playing scales on a piano, and I couldn’t hear the highest octave or so! I’ve been concerned about my ears; the last day on the boat, my ears plugged up from too much diving, and then I proceeded to sit with my head 2 feet away from a loud 2-stroke flying boat engine. Permanent damage, I’m sure. :(
That’s me, in the background! I will soon be posting a trip journal, with 200-300 photos in it. Stay tuned. :)
UPDATE: The site is live! Check it out.
We all swam and played with Atlantic spotted dolphins tonight in 1000′ of water, 40 miles from land, in the Gulf Stream. They were very playful, letting us in for an occasional stroke or belly rub, and Jimmy got some funny footage of four or five of them staring up at a flying fish that was hiding against the bottom of the boat. It looked like they were trying to figure out how to catch it without banging against the hull. :) Finally, a shark showed up… [go to trip log
I just had the most wonderful evening walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in perfect weather. The sky was a deep midnight blue with just enough smog to bring out darkly saturated reds and purples, and a large crescent moon smiled at us (with a pale black disk also visible) from above the Manhattan skyline. Beautiful! We walked across to have pizza at Grimaldi’s (take out — you can sit at tables right on the river), and then went to Cones for gelato. Yum. :) I have to get some sleep now. I leave for the airport in 6.5 hours. Photos –> (read more »)
I’m enjoying living in Jackson Heights with Tony and Ai-Jen. They’re great roommates, and have been very generous hosts. Plus, I haven’t been able to spend this much time with Tony since we used to hang out when we were much younger, and they have a really funny cat, which always makes for a more interesting home life. Wendy and Justin came out to have dinner with us last night at a local Malaysian restaurant, and afterwards we stopped at an Asian market to look for “Neo Neo Pearls” (a childhood favorite!) and dried mangos. No luck. :( Neo Neo Pearls apparently are hard to find in Jackson Heights, and the dried mangos were of the wrong brand.
I leave for a dive trip tomorrow, so I probably won’t be able to update for a week or so. But when I get back, there should be some good photos to share. :) (read more »)
For those of you who are leaning forward on the edge of your seat, wondering what happened to my broken computer… (read more »)
I went out for dinner last night with my sister and Justin (for Korean food!), after hitting B&H Photo as a voluntary errand-boy for Jim and Dave (for our trip next week). Justin caused a little bit of a stir among the book club community with the following quote in the New York Times (Sparknotes was on the front page on June 19, but NYTimes.com is charging money for it, so I can’t read it):
“Nobody’s going to read that 500-page John Adams book, but people still want to know what they missed and what they should retain.”
JUSTIN KESTLER, of SparkNotes, on study guides for contemporary books. [A1]
Published: 06 – 19 – 2002 , Late Edition – Final , Section A , Column 6 , Page 2
A reply, four days later:
For the True Reader, No Shortcuts
To the Editor:
In ”Book-Club Smarts in a Nutshell: Get Notes” (front page, June 19), Justin Kestler, the editorial director for SparkNotes, is quoted as saying, ”Nobody’s going to read that 500-page John Adams book.”
I’ve got news for him. I nominated ”John Adams” for my next book club meeting, and the members voted for it. I’ve taken it out of the library and intend to read every word.
ALICE E. BISK
Far Rockaway, Queens
June 19, 2002
Published: 06 – 23 – 2002 , Late Edition – Final , Section 4 , Column 5 , Page 12
Did anyone out there catch him on TV? He was on CNN and stuff. If I had known, I would have tried to get a recording of it.
I was on a half-full train a few days ago (heading home, bleary-eyed), and at a random stop in the middle of the line, everyone stood up and disembarked, leaving me alone in a deserted station on an empty train. It was a little surreal.
I just went to the “Esquires Of Wall St. Gents” barber shop, which has been there since the early 1930s in the lobby of 14 Wall St. I’ve never been to a barber shop with marble walls before! The dude broke out a straight razor, and I was even given a hot towel (over face and neck) and hairwash after my cut — all in 20 minutes. The street just in front of the New York Stock Exchange is now stationed with blockades and police, which I guess is a response to the recent al Qaeda threats, so the little pedestrian channel that flows down it (the street) gets really crowded during the day.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous when I sat down in the chair. I’ve been going to Tang (in Palo Alto) for years and years now, and I don’t really want to have to find a new, uh… “stylist.” I’m glad everything worked out. Although… I am really tempted to lay down on the floor for a quick nap. :)
I was treated this past weekend to a wonderful time with my family and friends in San Diego. For the first time in a couple of years, I returned home to a full house — our entire U.S. extended family on my mom’s side, excluding Wendy (this happened once before, too). Here are some photos (below). There are also a bunch of passworded photos that you can access, if you have the proper family credentials. Other Photos –> (read more »)
My old buddy Andy was happily married on Friday. I’ve posted some photographs of the reception, which was held just a block away from where I grew up in Del Mar. See the photos!
It was worth every bit of the cross-country schlep to attend Andy’s wedding reception. Andy and Carrie both kept expressing their gratitude for my presence, but I don’t think I would have missed seeing them so happy together for anything. Catching up with some of the guys I grew up with was also really great; they’re a very loyal group. I sometimes think about what it is that makes them different than some other friends I grew up with, who (along with me) took off to the ends of the earth pursuing whatever it was that drove them (us). Whatever it is, I’m glad I have both sides to lean on, although I wish I could round everyone up and force them to live in the same place. :)
July 5, 2002 – I decided at the last minute to head out to Boston for July 4th to hang out with Angie, which was especially exciting because I got to sleep in an un-airconditioned space in record heat. :) Both New York and Boston have been nasty for the past few days (but today, it wasn’t as bad). On the 4th we went to New England Aquarium before going to Beacon Hill to meet up with some of John’s friends, who had just moved into a nice place with a beautiful roof-top view of the river. It seemed that every roof-top was packed by fireworks watchers. I had expected an older crowd, but our roof-top scene ended up being reminiscent of a frat party, which was a nice treat (heh). The fireworks were the best I have ever seen — Boston does it right. :) My favorite was one that exploded into multiple strings of suspended, glowing, red lights that floated in the air for almost a minute, defying gravity. They sort of looked like strings of Chinese lanterns.
Just before dinner, we surprised abhi on his doorstep (he had stepped out to get some ice). The last time I stepped foot into his place, he was about to take a sledgehammer to the wall (and ceiling). Now, it is tastefully decorated with 100% abhi-made furniture, which was as nice as any furniture I’ve seen for sale. I stopped by again after the fireworks to have a drink on the roof, and arrived “home” to Angie’s at 3am to get some sleep before my train back to New York at 9:15am. I’m sitting at gate C31 in Chicago now, waiting for a flight to San Diego.
One of these days (or weeks), I hope to sit at home and do nothing but sleep. (read more »)
Kenny is still alive! Here’s a snippet from his online journal:
I have five nights of internship left.
I am on call for four of those nights.
My record for longest work day has been extended to 86 hours. Recent legislation passed by the AMA now restricts resident work weeks to eighty hours per week. Does that mean I don’t have to come in for the rest of the week?
Insane. An 86 hour work day. It was really frickin’ hot today, and it’s like a sauna out in the living room. The street smells get even more exciting in the heat and humidity. Man. I guess people who have lived here their entire lives just get use to the smell of refuse and eventually stop complaining about it. I remember walking home every day from junior high school along a row of acacia trees. It’s sort of like that here, except that the things I walk past are a little different now. :)
2:30PM, The Next Day: I’ve resorted to listening to old recordings of us playing to satiate my need for familiar classical music. However, my machine at work plays mp3s both faster and higher pitched than they were in reality. This, as you can imagine, can drive a person insane.
And now, I present you with some more photographs from Stanford Graduation. There are no captions, and the color is off because Dan had the lab scan the rolls of film I shot for him. Oh well. I hear the prints look very good. :) By the way, this is the first time I’ve exposed a roll of film in over a year. (read more »)
I just discovered why all of my photos look worse on the web than they do on my local hard disk. My current thumbnailing program does not allow for generating HTML without recompressing the final full-sized image! All of the images I have been posting have been compressed twice — once to look “perfect,” and once with BreezeBrowser’s settings. Actually, I guess they have been compressed three times, since they were compressed by the camera initially. I’m tempted to go back and redo all of the previous images. This is horrible. :( update – this was fixed by Chris of Breeze Sys in BreezeBrowser 2.0.2