Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do something you've never done before

On Tuesday night my friend, who is getting over the breakup of a long, long, long-term relationship, told me her plans for the month of April:

"Do something I've never done before once a week, call someone I don't normally call once a week" and I think there was one other thing, but those were the two things that stood out in my mind.

I was delighted by her plan, because it's the kind of thing I would do, too, although I think it's incredibly ambitious. Once a week, do something you've never done before? But I guess it could be as minor as trying a food you've never tried before, or going to a bar or restaurant you've never visited (although part of her goal in setting these rules is to do things other than go to bars).

But as I uploaded my photos the next day, I realize that I'd already done two things this week that I'd never done before:

1.) On Monday, I went to see Governor Bill Richardson speak at a bar in Hell's Kitchen, Zanzibar. That's certainly something I've never done before. A friend asked me last week if I'd be interested in checking it out, and as I knew nothing about him, except that he is the governor of New Mexico, I agreed. I figured it would be nice to hear from someone other than Hilary and Obama. Plus, it was near my work and only $7. (The talk was sponsored by an organization called Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century of New York, or dl21c.)

We got there early, but the bar quickly became packed. I was able to stand up on a bench and see the governor through the doorway (but as you can see, didn't get great pictures). I liked him--he seemed like a good guy, very knowledgeable, and I was impressed by his experience. He is the first Latino to run for president, and he commented that what was so wonderful about this election was that we could possibly elect the first woman president, the first black president, the first Latino president, and even our first Mormon president (although he wouldn't recommend it). At any rate, I'm looking forward to learning more about him, and all of the other candidates. It's still early, I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet.

2.) Tuesday night I went to a huge party at Webster Hall. I'd never been to Webster Hall before (shocking, I know). I loved the space--lots of different rooms, weird art installations, deejays, great lights. And the party was fantastic--lots of free goodies from Kid Robot, free beer and vodka drinks, a giant dancing bunny and his smaller dancing bunny handler, and the rapper Juiceboxxx who was an incredible performer. Even though he kicked a bottle off of the stage that hit me on the elbow and hurt, I still loved him.

I may have to adopt my friend's plan. Have you done anything this week that you've never done before?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm in DC...

Well, Maryland, technically. Visiting with Amy and Bryan, who had their first child almost six months ago. Baby Samantha is so adorable--a full head of hair; dark, staring eyes; kicking legs. So sweet and calm.

Ashley and I took the Chinatown bus down together Saturday morning. It was an odd juxtaposition--both of us were out late on Friday night (although separately)--till 4 am (which is not an unusual weekend occurrence for me), and so when we met at the bus station before 11 am, we were both in rough condition. After weakly exchanging updates of our night's adventures, we spread out in different rows and proceeded to sleep the entire 4-plus-hour bus ride to DC. In a way, it was perfect.

And now we're in the 'burbs. Amy and Bryan generally go to bed around 9, when they put baby Samantha to bed, and that was perfect for Ashley and me under the circumstances. I went to sleep around 10, woke up at 7:30 rested and ready to go. But it's striking how different our lives are. Having a baby changes everything (duh). Bryan was commenting that even though he and Amy are homebodies by nature, their lives were still turned upside-down, and he wondered how much more shocking the change would be to a couple who goes out a lot.

I love NY and I want to raise city babies. I know people say you never really feel ready, at some point you just have to do it if you know you want kids. I'm so far away from that point right now, but I know that in a few years (okay, more than just a few) when I near 40, and if I'm not in a relationship, I'll have to start thinking about having a child on my own. But I fear how difficult that will be from what all of my friends with children have told me. They can't imagine having to do it all on their own.

But I don't have to worry about that yet. For now, I'll enjoy my visit to the suburbs (we're meeting up with my cousin's family--two kids!--for brunch today), and then return to my city life as I know it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Crying makes me laugh

Just watched American Idol. Yes, I'm a fan. I admit it. My favorites overall are Melinda Doolittle, Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis, and Chris Sligh, in that order. My, what good names they have. And I haven't laughed this hard in a while. They kept showing this little girl with braces who was just crying and crying and crying, and it was the cutest, most ridiculous thing ever. Fitting that the theme was British Invasion because she reminded me of those screaming, crying Beatle fans. They first showed her when Sanjaya sang, then again when Melinda sang, and then they brought her onto the stage at the end. Still crying. Me laughing. Also remind me of that song Smile by Lily Allen, which a friend just recommended to me and I listened to on my iPod this morning.

At first when I see you cry
It makes me smile
Yeah it makes me smile

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What will your obituary say?

Actually, I think this is more an epitaph, isn't it?

'What will your obituary say?' at

I shall miss the prince as well.

This remind me of my high school English class--we were told to write our epitaphs. This was roughly mine. I still have it somewhat memorized:

She had traveled around the country, but had never traveled the world
That was how it was throughout her life.
Always the average of the above-average,
Never first, never striving to be.
And then she died, too early,
And she wasn't even first at that.

Depressing, isn't it? I have, of course, now traveled much of the world. But I have to say that some of the way I thought of myself back then still holds true now. I'm fairly competitive, but I don't always play to win--I generally play to not lose. I remember playing Hearts in college with friends--we played ALL THE TIME for a certain period--you know how that is. And yet, I think I only shot the moon one time. I was more concerned about never getting the Queen of Spades (and I apologize for those of you who don't know how to play Hearts), and trying to prevent others from shooting the moon. To be sure, this strategy sometimes resulted in me winning, but more often than not, it landed me safely in the middle of the pack, where I enjoyed being.

I did, and do, want to be special--afterall, I said I wanted to be the average of the above-average, not just average. But there's something about being the best that is scary to me, and I generally don't strive for that. Of course, I've grown, become more confident, and heck, would I like to be the best editor who ever lived? Sure. I want my books to be considered people's favorite books of all times. I do strive for first, sometimes, now.

Thanks for Fuse#8 for the link.

Another unsettling NY experience

My last post reminded me of something else that happened a month ago or so.

I had been at a friend's apartment in Brooklyn for poker night, and as I was walking down Smith street to the subway afterwards, probably around midnight, I witnessed a violent fight outside one of the bars on that street. A vagrant-type person was yelling, threw a guy down on the sidewalk, while two or three woman protested and yelled at him to stop. The man hit the guy on the ground in the head with something--it looked like maybe he was holding a plastic grocery bag, but something else, too. Something harder and bulky. I was on the same side of the street, and so stopped and backed away a bit. The violent man got up and was coming towards me and I saw what looked to be a drill?!?! in his hand. I stepped to the side onto the street and let him pass me, and then I walked around the group to continue on my way to the subway. The guy on the ground was up and looking dazed, holding the side of his head with his hand. He seemed to be okay, just in shock, and I heard a woman ask if she should call the cops. Then they all went into the bar.

Isn't that crazy? It was definitely an unsettling experience at the time, but once again, I completely put it behind me that night. It's startling and scary to witness violence in person, but at the same time, I think New York and the media has desensitized me to it all. Nothing surprises me in this city anymore. It's like that commercial where all of these crazy and horrible things are happening on the streets of Manhattan, and none of the pedestrians even bat an eye. It's so true.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Asian women and gay men. What would you have done?

Last week after playing darts with coworkers, some of my group started hankering for Karaoke. We decided to go to Lucky Cheng's, which is dubbed "The Drag Queen Capital of the World." I had never been there before, but had heard good things about it. We walk in, and they haven't started Karaoke yet, and as we're waiting in the lobby area, one of the "ladyboy" hostesses looks at my coworker J and says, "You look familiar--don't I know you from somewhere?" which embarrasses him because this is the second time he's been out with coworkers where he's been mistaken as being gay. Then "she" looks at me and says, "Is this your boyfriend?" and we both say NO but she continues and says, "Because you know what they say about men who date Asian women..." and I sigh and nod and say, "Yes, I know what they say, but I find it insulting."

What I know she's getting at is that some people say that many gay men who are perhaps still in the closet date Asian women to cover up for the fact that they're gay. I know this because I had an incident with a gay friend of mine a few years ago--he made an offhand remark to another friend about how he thought my boyfriend at the time was gay because he was dating me. Needless to say, I had a talk with that friend. And then recently other friends have brought up the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which I own but have not yet read. Apparently, there's as passage in the book where he talks about this "phenomenon" as well. I have no idea if it is based at all in reality. And I'm not quite sure what the reasoning would be for this, perhaps that Asian women are seen as being "exotic" and desirable, so that if a man is seen with an Asian woman, then people will assume that they must be having sex with them. But this is just my guess.

So, as I said, I said to "her" that I found that generalization offensive, but she is oblivious to my protests and is putting on a show, has her whole routine going, and starts strutting around saying, "They walk around in Chelsea with an Asian woman on their arm, saying 'Look at me...I'm not gay! I have an Asian girlfriend!'" and she goes on and on, and I keep saying, "I find that offensive" but it falls on deaf ears and at one point she says, "And the Asian woman is okay with it, because she passive." And finally, what for me was the final straw, she says, "And the Asian girl is happy with it because she gets to say, 'Look at me, I'm with a white guy!'"

Argh. It's at this point I turn to my friends and say loudly, "Let's go somewhere else" and so we all leave. I don't look back.

Anyway, I managed to completely put the incident behind me that night, but the next morning I woke up for no reason at 5 am, remembered what happened, and got extremely angry.

The hostess happened to be black, which doesn't play a role in the incident at all, except for the fact that it frustrates me even more when one minority group is racist towards another. The fact that "she" belonged to two disenfranchised groups made the whole incident even more frustrating.

I keep wondering if I should have done more than just walk out, if in fact I was being passive in my reaction and actions. What do you think? What would you have done in my situation?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

300 and other bite-sized movie reviews

Thanks everyone for your well-wishes in comments and emails, etc. I'm feeling better, although in the last two days, as I've decided to just go about my life as normal, and I've probably regressed a bit. But oh well, I can deal with blowing my nose and an occasional cough.

Last night I saw the movie 300. My friends have anticipated seeing it for a long time, although I only became familiar with it a few weeks ago. I had enjoyed Sin City, although the violence left me nauseated, so I was a little worried by the NY Times review stating, "300 is about as violent as Apocalypto and twice as stupid." And then right before watching the movie I read the People Magazine review that started out with, "Just before raping a woman, the villain of this piece sneeringly tells her, 'This will not be over quickly and you will not enjoy it.' Ditto for 300." Oh, so not only is the movie violent and bad, but there's going to be a long, painful rape scene. Goody.

But when it comes to my movie going habits, I'm a bit of a sucker for "events" and I tend to also tend to just agree to see movies that my friends want to see (like Snakes on a Plane), unless I've read enough reviews and heard enough about a movie to know that I wouldn't like it. With 300, I read some positive reviews as well, and I figured I'd at least find it beautiful to look at, and I set my expectations as to the violence and acting/storyline appropriately.

I wasn't disappointed by the movie. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. (I think I've mentioned this before, and it's sad, but I'm convinced that it's all about expectations. I don't want to have low expectations of the movies I see, but it definitely allows me to enjoy the movies more. For example, I didn't think Little Miss Sunshine was all that great, whereas all of my friends loved it and saw it multiple times.) I would also like to point out that there is no rape scene in 300, and that the scene that the review is referring to is consentual sex, although maybe it would fall under the sexual harassment umbrella, but regardless, thankfully it is not shown at all on camera.

The movie is gorgeous to look at. Grand, sepia-toned landscapes. Incredible CGI creatures. Lovely, half-naked warrior men with strong legs and killer abs. Thousands of arrows darkening the sky. It wasn't too violent for me, because the way the violence was done was also beautiful, a "ballet of death" as it's been described. So much to look at, so much to take in. Great battles scenes. The dialogue is horrible, though, and there were so many scenes/things that my friends and I made fun of after the fact. One of my favorites was an exchange between the king and one of his distraught captains. It went something like:

King: My heart is pained for your loss.
King: (nods) Good.

hahahaha. Oh, boy.

So in summary, I can't say it was a good movie, but I enjoyed the experience.


Other bite-sized reviews of a few I've seen in the past four months or so (both on video or in the theater):

United 93: heartbreaking and educational. You know how it ends, but as you watch you still hope that somehow it ends differently. You'll cry during the whole last third of the movie.

The Departed: compelling. My heart was pounding and I had a knot in my gut during the whole last 30 minutes. Overall very well-acted, especially Leonardo DiCaprio.

Pan's Labyrinth: breathtaking, imaginative, raw, the best movie I saw last year.

Dreamgirls: glorious to look at, powerful music, incredible performances by Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy

The Holiday: great chick-flick, funny, wished the two main characters had healed on their own, without having a new love interest in their lives, but then I guess it wouldn't have been a romantic comedy. Totally unrealistic, but it was great for what it was.

Prairie Home Companion: boring with a few moments of brilliance, hated the whole angel storyline. Was disappointed because I love the radio show.

Children of Men: didn't meet my expectations, felt that too much was explained, but thought it was an interesting and thought-provoking concept and a great-looking movie. And I heart Clive Owen.

Roll Bounce: exuberant, fun, loved it!

Music and Lyrics: Another perfect chick-flick/romantic comedy, extremely fun and enjoyable, I love both Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, hilarious. Even heard the men in the theater laugh out loud heartily.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me

Grace tagged me with this meme a while ago, and I've never answered it. So finally, on Day 4 of my sickness, when I've only left the apartment once to go to the doctor's office, I'm finally getting to it! Here are the instructions:

Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

Okay. Six weird things about me.

1. (I saw this on Bookseller Chick's blog, and since I can do it, too, I'm stealing it) I can fold my tongue so that the tip of my tongue rests on the rest of my tongue, facing the back of my throat.

2. I am grossed out by random clusters of little dots/things. For example, the inside of a bell pepper, with its cluster of seeds makes me squirm. Poppyseeds in a muffin or on a bagel makes me feel weird, although I'll still eat both. Groups of ants. But not caviar. The weird thing is, I can't control what I'll react to and what I won't.

3. I was born "parachuting" or feet first, which I know is really dangerous, but it worked out okay.

4. I'm allergic to mango. Also to nickel, dustmites, cats, and resin.

5. I've probably had 50+ cavities in my lifetime. I don't think I have a tooth in my mouth without a filling. I have a gold cap, non-gold caps, and an implant (fake tooth). I'm so comfortable going to the dentist that I fall asleep almost every time I'm in the dentist chair, even when (or especially when) I'm getting a tooth drilled. I also use prescription toothpaste. And I'm finally flossing.

6. I've never lived in one place for over 6 years. The longest I've ever lived was near Pittsburgh, PA when I was 9 months old through age 6 1/2. In July I will have lived in NYC for 5 years, tying with the second-longest I've ever lived anywhere, which was in Diamond Bar, CA from 8th grade through high school..

Oh, who to tag. How about Felix, Sara, Rita, TS, Eveline, Jarrett, and Pete.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sick sick sick

So, a bug has been going around, and I've seen many a friend and coworker fall, but I always think, "I'm strong! I don't get sick!" Plus, I take Airborne. But Wednesday morning I woke up early with a scratchy throat, thought it wise to go for a run, got thoroughly cold, and by late morning I realized that I was about to succumb to sickness. I made it through lunch, and then went home to rest up. But the happy news is that I still got work done, had a nice chat with a certain author about a certain mysterious manuscript which I ended up acquiring and am super excited about. I had another fun geeky (yes, that's a clue) acquisition last week that I'm also really excited about, and I'm sure both will be made public in the near future.

At any rate, I've been out of the office for the last two and half days. I'm not sure if my thermometer is faulty, but yesterday it said my temperature was 102.2 degrees! I took a lukewarm shower and took an Aleve, and gradually it came down to normal. But this morning, it's back up. I made a doctor's appointment. Let's hope there's a magic drug I can take that will get me up and running in the next few days.