last night at the Bicycle Club

At 11:55 I walked past our Dragon Room one last time and out onto the Pavilion floor and I saw between the Pai Gow tables three of the other corporation bankers each carrying three big racks of chips and walking towards where I just was. You going in, I asked? Yeah, one of them said. I said good luck and walked back towards the Freedom Court.

broadway debut

There were a lot of beautiful parts of my week in New York, but probably the most spectacular thing was getting to hear Ms. Katie Holmes live on stage in Miller's "All My Sons" delivering the line, "So, are you still haberdashing?"

near miss

This is a part-overheard, part-pieced-together dialogue between the 20something girl and boy that were sitting in the booth next to my booth at the In 'n Out, where I was eating on my own:

BOY: So you're a player huh?
GIRL: Yeah. I got lots of game.
BOY: Play-a.
GIRL: Do you ever wanna get married?
BOY: (mumbles some inaudible-to-me response)
GIRL: I bet I can get that guy to talk to me.

She maybe indicates me as I am acting like my fries are really interesting. We are in each other's eyelines.

BOY: Wha?
GIRL: When I just went up to get a soda this other guy started talking to me. Look:

She gets up and walks to the soda station, walks around the ketchup 'n napkins station, walks past my booth, sits down again. She's wearing a very cleavagey tank top, jean shorts, and is really pretty. I definitely have been half-looking at her through my entire burger.

GIRL: Didn't work. That guy's smart.
BOY: Wha?
GIRL: Maybe you're my husband. (inaudible) Maybe he'll be my sugar daddy.

Their shaved-head white dude friend arrives.

GIRL: Hey, we're trying to hook up with that guy over there. What should we do?
DUDE: (something inaudible)

And then they all leave.

It would be aces to have Daredevil-level superhuman hearing at these times, because I don't know how much of that I just made up. I'm sure they said 80% of those words. But I don't know if she was also half-looking at me, or talking about some other guy, or what.

And what do you say in that precious, dangerous situation anyway?

I like to think she really said I was smart for not making a move on a stranger at the In 'n Out. I am just smart enough, in that modern way, to keep completely to myself.

Aww. The Olympics are over.

This streak of sentimentality is really going to do me in one of these days.

(I feel I did not contribute much spiritually to my Tibetan friend's boycott/protest of the whole affair.)

haterhead there ever a review of a radiohead concert that goes, "It kind of sucked. They played a bunch of songs I didn't know and they all sounded the same. I didn't understand why everyone was having such a great time. I think they are all in a cult or something. Afterwards I felt sort of sad."

I'm just saying. It's not like they ever, like, throw in a Prince cover or anything. And usually not free, either, those shows.


One of my fondest earliest memories is going to sleep in the back room of my grandparents' house in Fresno while in the living room the adults played mah jongg until deep into the night. The recurring sea of clatter from the shuffling tiles imprinted a preference for falling asleep not in silence, but near comforting noise.

Similarly, I remember falling asleep in my cubicle in Taipei Hostel during the 1996 Olympics, listening to people in the common room watching the live broadcasts of the sports that Asians really care about -- badminton, table tennis, soccer.

Right now there is nothing I'd rather fall asleep to than the ping-pong match between the U.S. Chinese woman and the Korean Korean woman. I hope there is a room in the afterlife where this is always on TV.

the beizhing mystique

As we move forward towards a new global paradigm of intercultural cross-pollination and information exchange between the modern superpowers, the Olympic coverage has this to offer:

OMG! Did you know that the Chinese people eat weird things? And they have pandas there! Also, all their music involves gongs. And you gotta be kidding me with this food. I mean, scorpions. Come on.

10 excellent things said at 2008 ComicCon: me as well as other people....

1) "Are you going to be here for a while? Can you watch our stuff while we dance? I totally trust you."
2) "Who invited the porn?"
3) At the "Starship Smackdown:" "The Babylon 5 White Star is a star, okay? White. Star. [versus a] Star Destroyer. I think that falls in the category of 'Duh.'"
4) A daughter to father: "Oh no, Daddy, don't get drawn in, you'll be looking at comic books for hours, don't get drawn in!"
5) "Hey do you guys have any free stuff? No? You guys are gay."
6) Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker), singing at the hotel piano bar: "Like Jack Horner/On the corner/Don't go nowhere/What do I care?/Your kisses are worth waiting for.....believe me."
7) "There's no way a movie can do justice to what Watchmen was about." "What was Watchmen about?"
8) Again, at the "Starship Smackdown:" "The Axiom needed corporate sponsors to exist. The Ajax rocket [from Flash Gordon], not so." "Well, it needed one." "What?" "Ajax."
9) "That was the textbook definition of a smattering of applause."
10) "Man, I just want to read my comics. Go away."

don't go soft

That Dark Knight movie was pretty good, I guess, enh, y'know, whateves. Wouldn't Two-Face start to know what he flipped by the texture of the coin's burnt side on his arm? Anyway. As a fan of The Original "The Dark Knight" I was pleased with the part where Joker has the cop by the throat and the cop says, "It's my own damn fault..." which obviously is a reference to the part of the graphic novel where the caged Mutants grab their guard and he says:

"'s my own damn fault....don't go soft...."

...imploring Murray, his fellow cop, to shoot these punk Mutants, and probably him in the process. Good moment. I was disappointed that no one in the whole movie said "Batman don't shiv." Because for me that phrase kind of summed up the whole experience.

glow 08

You can't really tell, but this is two girls fighting with lightsabers next to the Santa Monica pier at 2 in the morning. And it's good that you can't tell, because I didn't ask to take their picture or anything. The "Glow" event turned out to be pretty great. I ran into Miguel, Luis, Susan, Taiho, Mark, and hecksa other fools who I would otherwise only see on Facebook. Thousands of people roaming the beach in the middle of night in Los Angeles....not a bad start.


So we had a big anniversary party for my folks last Sunday and my sister hooked it up with all The Food That Is Good To Eat. Here is the menu card, that is, my attempt at rendering The Food That Sounds Good To Eat:

** Sunday, January 29, 2008 **

Cucumber & Watercress Tea Sandwiches
Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
Mah Family Potato Salad
Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Arugula, Pear, & Goat Cheese Salad
Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp
Carnitas Tostadas with Fresh Guacamole

Lemon Bars
Cherry Almond Bars
Chocolate Mozart Torte
Strawberry Tartlets
Berry Almond Shortcake

Sparkling Fruit Punch with Prosecco

I couldn't figure out how to sex up the Tea Sandwiches, but they were delectable. They should've been called the Ain't Nothing Wrong With Those Tea Sandwiches. My sister has a way of combining mild flavors with decadent ingredients to make food that you really could eat all day. I'm in the school that thinks all the Top Chef fine-dining culture is more a trick of marketing language than actual cookery. If I have to look at one more shellack-shined photo of some Asian-Fusion wok-tossed applewood-seared Napa Valley deconstruction of molecular gastronomy, my eyes will literally vomit. Happy Anniversary Folks!

it must be said i do love my dad

...he gave me a lesson on credit card debt management that may be the more useful piece of advice I've ever received, and which, up until my recent unsuccessful dalliances in real estate, I have dutifully and gratifyingly followed.

What's my motivation?

It'll be weird if the revolution finally comes because of gas prices. Because that's not really what the revolution should be about, is it?

songs the 90's forgot

The music in Applebee's today was amazing. The station ID tagline was something like "The 90' lived through them then... so you'll survive this." They played Celine Dion's "That's They Way It Is," which, after all this time, it still seems to be. They played the Backstreet Boys' immortal ode to their own popularity, "Larger Than Life." They played Vanilla Ice's "Play That Funky Music White Boy" from "Cool as Ice," for pho's sake. I believe they may have played the other song by Marcy Playground. It was that kind of set.

My two other favorite walkable restaurants are both closed on Tuesdays, as it turns out, not sure why. So I ended up at Applebee's because I'd never eaten there before, and I believe in trying all chains at least once, because that's what chains are for, right? Anyways, I'm sure the stuff white people like blog will do a piece on this if they have not already, but what is with American food and the extra tablespoon of Salt and/or Sugar that they put on everything? It happens at Applebee's, it happens at Outback Steakhouse, it happens less often at Denny's (where they instead favor grease, bless their hearts). It's like they're afraid the actual taste of the ingredients might leak through if they don't blow up a salt grenade over the food. I dunno what I was expecting out of my sampler plate, but it was definitely....more.

heard in the casino today:

"I bet, doh ma. I found some free rope and I'm going to hang myself with it, because, hey, free rope!"

bopping around LA I took a break from organizing my mp3 collection to go buy printer ink and then eat chicken heart yakitori with pickles and also hang out with Lloyd from "Entourage" and Stephanie from "Better Luck Tomorrow" and somewhere in there I saw a short film with this svelte Singaporean guy masturbating himself, onscreen, close-up of hand on organ, for like 6 minutes as quotes from Allen Ginsburg flitted across the frame, OMG, and I also had some popcorn, and tomorrow I'm going to go get breast implants. J/K LOL that last thing but the rest of it was real.

the best line in "The Sting"....

"You know me. I'm the same as you. It's two in the morning and I don't know nobody."

I'm totally going to say that, at least once, when I'm at the Sundance Lab. I don't care what else happens.

how this guy rolls

Today, while walking from the parking lot into the casino, I was stopped and asked directions by a guy who was in driving in his car while clearly holding an an open 16 oz Budweiser in a crumpled brown paper bag. It didn't look like it was taking the edge off, either.

great acting

The main character in "In Between Days," this very indie Korean-American movie, does the most wonderful performance of being stoned that I've ever seen. She just shuts up and her eyes dart left and right and she looks completely out of her gourd.

thoughts on watching hobbits all day

The "Lord of the Rings" movies have not aged well in the, what, 3 years that they've aged. The whole trilogy was playing on cable the other day, and I was sitting there at work watching them, because that's what was on TV (all around the casino you could find players and dealers significantly distracted from their blackjack games, their eyes wandering off the money to be transfixed by the sight of slavering orcs.... it was really precious). Anyhoo, somewhere in the middle of the 17th hour of the Two Towers, I realized that I had no idea why the heros are fighting evil. It's not even clear why the Urukai/orcs are evil, except that they're, well....dark. It's also unclear what kind of higher ideal Aragorn & Co. are fighting to preserve, except that it has something to do with a White City where all Men of the West are brothers.

The whole story suffers when you don't care for the heroes, and I don't care for them because they come off as virtually indestructible, infinitely regenerating video game avatars, whose main purpose seems to be establishing order by whimsically slaughtering all the dark people with earrings and facial tattoos. Even compared to the Matrix, Star Wars, and the works of Jason Statham, I think LOR ends up the most Aryan and the least compelling.

Don't get me wrong, when you need to see a movie where a dude with bows and arrows fights a giant elephant, you really can't do better. But somehow the rest of it, just enh. I dunno, maybe I'd feel different if I lived on a Shire.

although the poker craze is fading....

....I think, given a little effort, I would be good at poker. I think the whole "tells" thing is totally overrated, and I believe that I could fool everyone. I believe this because in my experience, no one ever knows what the hell I am talking about, much less thinking.

dick's man

Today I played cards with an Armenian guy, maybe 60, wearing a Halliburton baseball cap. Who the hell does that?


I got sad today reading a lighthearted, funny blog by someone who seems to be part of a happy, intelligent couple. And another blog by that person's partner.

I felt better when I realized that tons of people must invent blogs written by imaginary girlfriends/boyfriends. And maintain them diligently, and fabricate pictures, all to keep up the illusion and stave off the abyss.

I mean, that's what "I" would do.

things i like about my neighborhood, which i am making note of now, in case i leave it....

The proximity of various excellent dumplings.

The quiet.

That Indonesian place with the beef rendang plate and the avocado shake drizzled with what might be Hershey's chocolate syrup.

That internet cafe with the stunning teenagers that reminds me of cafes on Telegraph in the early 90's.

The deserted nursery next door.

The cheap delicious Vietnamese food.

The clear and sensible positioning of the library, police station, city hall.

The couple that has screaming fights across the street, to break up the quiet.

The neon urban angst of the foot massage parlors along Valley Blvd.

The sunsets framed by the electrical towers.

The things you can find in the supermarkets.

I don't appreciate....

...that when I start pumping my $3.53-per-gallon at the gas station, the little video screen starts playing some nonsense welcoming video and a disembodied robot voice says, "Hi! Welcome to Shell! Nice to see you!"

What exactly do they mean, "SEE you?" The gas station security cameras see you? Some kind of surveillance satellite logs your position? The attendant has you in a laser sight? It's a talking video monitor, for crying out loud. Who is actually seeing who? There's friendly, and there's paranoia-inducing. I'd just as soon take the non-talking small-talk-impaired old-school gas pump myself, I dunno if that's showing my age, or what.

...On an unrelated note, today is one of those exceedingly rare days when I really wish I was in Texas.

this week's funniest casino dialogue that will not make sense to normal people...

SCENE: A California casino. The pan-9 table.

Mama loses a hand.

MAMA (screams): Change Dealer!

The dealer is stoic. Mama loses another hand.


And again.


FLOORMAN: Why don't you just bring your OWN dealer...?


"Because our captain flies much better than he drives, we're asking you to remain seated..."

When you think about it, have you ever heard the same joke from a Southwest Airlines flight attendant? And have you ever heard a really bad joke? Think about it: those people have gotta be doing dozens of flights a week, and they never have to recycle their material. OK, sometimes they elect not to tell a joke. But when they do grace you with that upon-landing one-liner, it always feels fresh and unrehearsed, and is hardly ever groan-inducing. For over 20 frickin' years. That's a commitment to comedy excellence.

And really, think about the razor-thin line their family-oriented comedy must tread; they can't touch on any hot topics like terrorism, race or politics. All they can talk about is your flight experience, in which they may riff on the local weather, turbulence, or the pilot, without ever implying that the captain is in fact drunk, or that you, the passenger, are in actual danger. That is a pretty small and delicate window of cleverness. I'm not saying I've ever busted a gut over one of their bits, but I'll take that human touch over a two-inch TV screen any day.

notes on a trip to Sundance....

- We left Las Vegas with $100 in Keno winnings on the same night the Monte Carlo caught fire.
- Although it did actually snow in San Gabriel last Thursday morning, there's nothing like travelling to Utah to remind you that California is never ever cold.
- I stayed one night at the Treasure Mountain Inn, a.k.a. the TMI on its stationary and signage. Sure enough, there was a lot of TMI going on that night, mainly in the form of excited guests having wonderful times and shouting things like "I'm going to be at the party at 1010 Norfolk" or "I'm wearing a really sexy dress under this coat" just a littttle too loudly.
- Made more trips to Wal-Mart than I saw actual films at the Festival. Not because I am so in love with Wal-Mart, but because in certain places it is the only place to go.
- Saw a dead moose at the side of the highway while driving to Salt Lake City.
- Had a curiously satisfying encounter with law enforcement.
- Sang along to the "Once" soundtrack in the car about eighty times.
- Saw the cohort's film on the big screen, finally, and felt strange pride, envy, and wonder.
- I was recovering from an illness and everyone around me was coming down with something. So there wasn't so much awesome partying as there was moderate drinking and decisive naps. And really, amidst all the anxious film-pushing and random acts of networking, it was enough just to sit and relax and watch the snow fall and flurry.

new year's epiphany

On any given day I am among the last people in the world to go to sleep, insomniac Hawaiians notwithstanding.