December 26, 2002

Deluxe Deal

The Washington Deluxe bus from New York to Washington, D.C. is a complete bargain at $35 roundtrip or $20 one-way as compared to Greyhound's ever-changing fares of $74-85 round trip and $42 one-way NY-DC. You've got to make a reservation (and arrive 15 minutes before boarding or risk losing your seat to a standby) which is a simple toll-free call 1-866-287-6932 or 1-718-387-7523 from New York. Though you lose the flexibility of Greyhound's every half hour or hour schedule, if the time fits, it's definitely worth using. The trip is just as comfortable on a modern tour bus complete with movie on board. The only drawback is that you're dropped off on one of two stops in D.C. on the street corner -- no station, so when the weather's bad -- be prepared.

December 17, 2002

The Thirsty Burglar

I can't explain any better than Mitch:

I moved in November to a house with an old housemate of mine. It was one of those last minute deals where I was flying by the seat of my pants. We enjoyed living together before so we decided to do it again. It's been fun until we got robbed. Someone came into our house in the middle of the night and took her purse, her houseshoes and some money. They also made a pot of coffee. Then two days later, our neighbors were robbed and they made themselves a glass of wine. The thirsty burglar!

December 15, 2002

this poor girl

From the Washington Post, the story of a Vietnamese immigrant living in Georgia.
Thank Buddha for my open minded parents.


Here are some of the KleinReid pieces I bought:

December 14, 2002

KleinReid Studio Sale

Get your gorgeous gifts (!) at KleinReid's sale on Sunday, December 15, from noon - 5:00 p.m.
475 Keap Street Brooklyn 3rd floor
718.388.9331 for questions

Last chance this season for great samples, one-offs,
and cheap-n-lovely seconds at deep reductions!

Train: L to Lorimer or G to Metropolitan, exit to Metropolitan and Union. Studio is in large red factory building, 1/2 block south on Keap Street, across from gas station - you can't miss it.

Car: Williamsburg bridge outer lane, take second exit as you come off bridge (it comes up fast). At first light turn left onto Havemeyer . Take until it dead ends. Turn right onto Metropolitan. After you've gone under the BQE, turn right at second light onto Union and then veer right onto Keap. And there you are - big red building across from gas station.

If you have one minute

There's something you should see at Conceptually brilliant, and the message, pretty good too. Turn your sound on.

December 08, 2002

Fred Durst has one and so does Tony Hawk

Haven't I ever told you how much I love my Apple?
Read what Tony Hawk has to say and watch his TV commercial.

First-Class design

Just spent the day at the KleinReid studio for their fabulous sale, and then on over to Lisa's for the traditional KR studio brunch. Bought seven beautiful pieces and you should too! The studio will be open again next Sunday, December 15 for the holiday sale -- perfect for classy gifts for everyone you know. Browse the site for photographs of their gorgeous works.

December 02, 2002

Wild Things

I stopped in Books of Wonder and purchased five of Robert's books, and walked out thinking... hey, why didn't I buy more??? Sweetly happy to see me, Robert and I decided we'd want a rematch of Pictionary with the gang we had before... and I was just thinking... knowing Robert puts me one degree away from Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are. How cool.

November 27, 2002

Pop Up Magic

On Saturday, November 30, 12:00 noon - 2:00pm
Go to paper engineer genius Robert Sabuda's book signing for his new POP-UP BEST SELLER, The Night Before Christmas, at
Books of Wonder
16 West 18th Street
New York City

November 21, 2002

Nekkid Customers you say?

I was briefly browsing on Amazon tonight looking at a Pastry Chef book. The page tells me the "Great Buy" deal where if I buy this book and another related one they advertise, I get a special deal on them. Next is the section where they remark on a bunch of other cookbooks under the heading "Customers who bought this book also bought:"

Next section I get what you see below. Uh, Customers who wear clothes... ??? I looked twice, couldn't believe my eyes. Copied their code down and took a screen shot. Sent the link to Kiki, but then it was gone. Nothing there. Refreshed the code... it was gone too. Then, I kept refreshing and it came back! Refreshed a last time and the new text, now FIXED, read "Customers who shopped for this item also wear:" so I guess they're selling to their naked customers too. But really, what does a naked one do with clean underwear (as opposed to what?). Clean underwear at the Gap is still on the amazon site.

Here's the code - the links should work

Customers who wear clothes also shop for:Explore more in Amazon's new Apparel Store

November 19, 2002

Have luggage, must travel

click to enlarge
Samsonite by Starck, can't get any better than that -- except, of course, FREE Samsonite by Starck!!!
What's that I say? Some months ago, Samsonite threw a PR "Samsonite by Starck" game where one had to answer a few questions (I can't even recall what) about the hip Philippe Starck, enter some personal info, and voila -- game entry. I got an email today announcing that "...the Samsonite by Stark game is over and you have won!" which at first I thought was junk mail or a joke, when I quickly remembered I had participated. Lo and behold, I visit the site and there my name is on the winners' list among 199 others from Australia to Zimbabwe indicating the prize I've won, beautifully showcased here.

November 17, 2002

A+ for the A-flat

Moved by Elgar's Symphony No. 1 in A-flat at Avery Fisher Hall tonight. New York Philharmonic. Kaly got Hung and I box tickets where the sound is great (not in one of the dead spots on the floor) and we were in for a true treat. Kaly had actually gone to the Thursday and Friday night performances as well -- it was that good!

November 10, 2002

Professional Pictionarian

Oh, and highlight of the night is that after going to the party, I went to Enrique & Vinnie's for a board game night and played Pictionary with my favorite children's book author, illustrator, and paper engineer, Robert Sabuda and wondered -- is it fair that we had an artist on our team? We won, but I think the team effort was pretty even. Plus, my team won Taboo afterwards too.


Dennis' 30th Birthday party tonight was at The Screening Room, one of NYC's coolest locations where you can combine great parties with movies. Plus, they play Breakfast at Tiffany's every Sunday at 1:30. Every Sunday. Yeah, every Sunday.

November 07, 2002


too much too little
no energy to write interestingly....

October 25, 2002

I am not a barhopper.

Kaly stopped by unannounced tonight and we headed out on the fly to meet with her friend Stewart from England. Headed to Blue Ribbon Bakery but Stewart wanted a "real bar" so we turned down the street a few blocks to Chumley's, one of the last speakeasies in New York City, never having had a sign outside the door. The article forgot to mention not to go during prime drinking hours -- it was too much of a frat house, too smoky and smelly for Kaly so we stopped in a Brazilian restaurant bar where I had my sapphire and tonic, Stewart with his red wine, and Kaly with chamomile and flan. Off again through the neighborhood for a nice little walk along Bleecker to Bank, a charming old block with lots of little single family brownstone homes, to Corner Bistro -- by now about midnight -- for a cheeseburger, fries, and drinks. Funny stories and more meandering to Patchin Place, and then to my house. Late night for me, later night for them -- they went off for another drink! Tomorrow I'll meet them again for my first meal at the famed Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal.

October 23, 2002

What is a Knickerbocker?

Adam and I went to Madison Square Garden to see the New York Knicks vs. Utah Jazz. Always good to see live sports in an arena, but the game was awful, and we left early (who would pay $56 for a pre-season ticket anyway?). We were grateful that we got our tix for free and that having known each other more than half our lives, we were self-entertained for the duration we were there.

October 21, 2002

Breath Control

Entertaining music documentary about the amazing art of beat boxing directed by Joey Garfield with just a perfect amount of humor and part of the RESFest 2002 digital film festival, touring around the world.
Breath Control: the History of the Human Beat Box

My gift from Roy

Times Square Mural © The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

Saturday I window shopped some de Koonings and a Calder mobile, then browsed the special Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at the Mitchell-Innes and Nash Gallery displaying works that inspired his special gift to the city of New York and its denizens -- the bold Times Square Mural -- originally commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit in 1990 and completed by the artist in 1994. The installation was recently completed and unveiled in September of this year.
MTA press release

The best thing about going to work at the Equitable Center is that it owns one of Lichtenstein's ten realized murals, the 68-foot tall Blue Brush Stroke. Not one of my favorites of his work, but the fact I get to see it, or his painting one of the firm's partners owns on our 44th floor makes my life in a law firm a bit brighter.

October 18, 2002

Building Art

Perfect Acts of Architecture, featuring work by Eisenman, Koolhaas, Libeskind, Mayne, and Tschumi is where I spent my lunch hour today. The exhibit, in the AXA Gallery of the Equitable Center has been extended to November 9th (as I was told by the guard there), so if you still want to catch it, you can.

October 17, 2002

Haiku Tunnel

Haiku Tunnel is perhaps more accurate to the story of my life though I've not yet seen it -- about a temp who goes perm at a law firm.

What I'm wondering is... how did I go from living in the tropics and traveling for 16 months before ending up in this hell?
The things we do for vacation days.

October 16, 2002

Office Space

The story of my life.

October 14, 2002

start to finish

I happen to be a big fan of maps -- coveting them and reading them, so much so, that my sister just sent me this article. Maybe it has some relation to my maze illustration abilities.

October 09, 2002

I bet I know you

It's uncanny, but I had two more small world experiences in just about six days.

October 06, 2002

in the queue

I always get in the long line of things, and at BBB today, I got caught behind an older asian woman who took a good twenty minutes because she was arguing with the cashier about the 20% coupon she used. Nine of the customers behind me went into the next line and they all got through before me. That lucky bamboo might not be so lucky.

of things asian

I took a trip down to chinatown today to get myself a good delicious banh mi thit -- a vietnamese sandwich. I got to the place on East Broadway and the woman says "het banh mi." Bitter disappointment. I could see it all there -- the vietnamese sausage, marinated bbq pork, pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cilantro leaves, and thinly sliced cucumber.... but no bread.

Going from that end of Chinatown -- the much more authentic end and not at all touristy -- I walked along Canal and down Mott, over and along the little side streets. Got myself some lucky bamboo where the guy asked me out for tea or shopping, and asked me for a kiss (!) but gave me a nice bargain despite my soft rejections, and then I headed onward to Pho Bo Ky on Bayard where the people were nice, the service was quick, and Pho done all wrong.

October 01, 2002

da movies

Check it out. The 2002 New York Film Festival (40th Anniversary). There's good stuff here including an article on Jack.

September 30, 2002

Under the 'hood

Hung and I spent all day Saturday enjoying strawberry smoothies from the street fair in the West Village, coffee at Washington Square Park, a crepe lunch at Le Gamin with Souris & Silvio, onward to Chinatown (the Bowery so I could find a kitchen table), Little Italy (where Hung stopped in a Vietnamese deli and got some fresh squeezed sugar cane juice), and Soho. We topped off the evening with sushi dinner at Blue Fin and bright night lights in Times Square. Sunday we lunched at the dried up Bethesda Fountain (because of the current NYC drought) in Central Park, and after an anti-histamine, I was knocked out the rest of the day as he left for Boston.

September 28, 2002

"Hi, I'm Hung"

That's what my cousin Hung gets to say to people when he meets them. Souris and I were sophomorically amused.

September 23, 2002

Healthy Harvest

Mom's friend's husband decided to plant some corn this year. As his wife had used up all the garden space, he found a small spot to plant his crop, unknowingly planting them over a patch of bulbs... the results are in.

Pathetic crop

This is for real.

September 20, 2002


I love the country but...typical.

September 17, 2002

Pure Light

After a year of red, white, and blue, the Empire State building has returned to its pre-attack plain white. Curiously, the ESB has a special lighting schedule that includes colors as varied as black, yellow, purple, teal, lavender, pink, and green. I get my daily dose of colored lights as I step off the subway every day heading home and noticed that it has gone back to white since last Wednesday.

September 08, 2002

Big Apple Mac

Apple Store, SoHo is open and ready for business. I spent yesterday walking through the streets of SoHo, under the guise of enjoying the beautiful day, but secretly to play with the new titaniums at the packed, recently opened, Apple Store. I spent an hour and a half at a powerbook wherein several people rotated through the laptops beside me, including a mother and her young teenage son (wearing slacks, a jacket and button-down) who was obviously in private (perhaps boarding?) school, telling her that she should buy him the new $3199 800 Mhz G4... and she did. Where do these people come from? Oh, the UES. Seriously though, those G4s are flying off the shelves.

Following Ludwig's performance...

What does one listen to after spending sixty-seven minutes devoting one's ears to Beethoven's tremendously phenomenal 9th Symphony? I can't figure out what to listen to next.


one of my italian favorites:
"caramella, mortadella, mandarino, bacinella" literally mean "candy, cold cuts, tangerine, small basin"

Translating these Italian words strung together, as in a telegram, you get:
Cara Mella (è) morta Della, manda Rino. Baci, Nella.
Dear Mella, Della died. Bring Rino. Kisses, Nella.

September 07, 2002

It's a Deal!

I was browsing through apartment swaps and came across this one in Barcelona:
Medieval Castle-palace built in the XIV Century
9,500 SF, 45 mts from Barcelona, for 3 months
asking $1200/month

...uh, did I mention that's about what I pay for my 150sf (including the hallway square footage) single room studio in New York City? I could be living in a castle!!!

un cafe avec Picasso

Adaptation of Bust of Sylvette
On a small grassy plot at University Plaza lies a 12 meter high enlargement of a Picasso sculpture, Bust of Sylvette (1934, of sheetmetal), reproduced of Norwegian black stone and sand-blasted concrete by Norwegian sculptor Carl Nesjär. It's between La Guardia Place and Greene Streets just north of Houston and South of Bleecker Street among three I.M. Pei buildings built in 1966, two of which are owned by NYU for faculty, and are among some of the ugliest downtown apartment buildings in the city. Having picked up a cup of joe at Rocco's on Bleecker, I headed that way to enjoy my coffee facing Picasso to start my Saturday morning.

September 05, 2002

With or without Bono

Live, from Times Square, the NFL Kickoff Concert & Party, "an unprecedented free football and music festival to kick off the season and celebrate the resilient spirit of New York and America" is expecting a crowd "in excess of 100,000" and note that "U2's Bono will not perform at the event." U2 is so great, they had to put that in there... guess I won't go. My sister who works at the Bertelsmann building in the midst already warned me that she had an "escape plan" and directed me to head east instead of taking my regular route home. City blocks are closed all over the place. A mess.

September 03, 2002

"Live, from New York Ity!"

Passing by heading home from work, I see the "C" in "Radio City" burnt out and I wonder... was it that way for the show?

August 29, 2002


I've been dodging cables, barricades, and walkie-talkie endowed fellows on my way to and home from work as my stop is Rockefeller Center across the street from Radio City Music Hall, where MTV is hosting its VMA awards. Sixth Avenue is closed off today. Over three days of setting up, they've got little tents -- like the kind at street fairs -- where they've got catered food, complete with boxes of blow pops and ring pops. I guess when you've gotta have it, you've gotta have it.

August 27, 2002

b. 1932

Dad's 70th Birthday Cake
Birthday shout-outs to DAD who's gonna be 70!
And to LORI who's the big 3-oh, Bryan (another 3-0'er), cousin Bi (aka Paul Nguyen), and fellow AIDS rider buddy RALPH (also Africa trekker!).
This beautiful buttercream cake, decorated with bamboo to symbolize 'evergreen' and longevity, was deeee-lish.

August 26, 2002

brother bobby?

Souris concluded after debating with friends that Bobby Trendy is Peruvian Mexican... She argued "brooks said he wasn't japanese and i told dennis with fingers waving that there was no way that bobby was vietnamese."
Color her shocked when she found out the truth through Bobby's own words in a fanzine called Mini Celebs We Love from Cable TV.


what's your nationality? i'm vietnamese. both my parents are vietnamese!
how long have you been living in america? 12 years.
how long have you been in business? i've been in the business for 2 years only!
can i get a range in prices for your furniture? sofas go for $700 and $70,000.
how much are the pillows that i can get custom with my image on it? i love those pillows you showed anna. oh those are like $500.
what do you think about design? oh i thought the 80s was frozen yogurt, the 90s was coffee shop everywhere, and in the new millenium everyone has design stores like Donna Karan. everyone was doing conservative and minamalistic shit and i wanted to do something that was visually stimulating to the eye.
do you have a design background? no design background, but honey, i can throw pumpkin seeds and tampons on a rooftop and make a fortune.
really? no design experience? but you make all that furniture? yep.
have a lot of people contacted you since you premiered on the anna nicole smith show? i've received 105 phone calls this week and people are coming in and photographing me. i'm going to be in new york next month for the christopher lowell show .
will you ever open a NY shop? no, i'm staying in LA for the time being.
so you're living the immigrants dream...the american dream! i'm white now, to quote my friend, mark, "bobby you got a cell phone, you got a colgate awesome smile and a convertible, you're WHITE!"
how is it being on the ANS show?! oh next week is exciting. there's fire with me and howard . i said not to talk back to me. i said, there's a fire in my mouth and you're the propane! he's going to learn a lesson!
can you tell me a little about your background? i was one of the first club kids to be in new york. i was on rolanda, beatrice berry, geraldo . i used to hang out at cbgb's, suger dexter's cool.
oh we should do a map of all the clubs you used to hang out with. a where's bobby been tour of new york! oh yeah, that would be fabulous!
what kind of clientele do you have? oh, i didn't recognize carmen electra when she came in.
you didn't? i've seen her in real life and she is what she is. oh, her face was so beautiful. i knew she was very important. but i did recognize jocelyne wildenstein.
who's that? you don't know her and you live in new york? honey you need to go to more clubs ! She's a rich socialite who looks more like an animal than a person.

August 19, 2002

Bello Yellow

What birthday is complete without a Pac-Man cake, Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde cupcakes and sparkling candles? Souris' birthday production came to an end after much spending, logistics, and planning. Held in Urban Myth Media design group's SoHo loft space, there were five DJs set up to spin, 120 helium balloons transported, food cooked, party supplies bought, fab invitation designed and mailed, and a guest list loaded with New York artists, designers, and stylists... With two video game consoles running (one projected on the wall), loads of booze, contraband, and loud music... Souris' thirtieth birthday gig was a NYC bash to remember.

Are you my stalker?

Recently, someone has been running google searches on my name and browsing on all my blogs... shout out a hello, will ya? because otherwise, hey, you're creeping me out.

but we love the movies...

OK, I had a search hit for "cineplex odium theatre" which I personally find extremely amusing. Needless to say, I was the only site that came up on the search as the Cineplex Odeon perhaps understandably would not want "odium" associated with its name in any sort of marketing or write-up.

August 14, 2002

Judy Philosophy

Dinner yesterday at the famed Pearl Oyster Bar, just across the street from my house, with my buddy JK who is a fabulous florist with a gift shop that he decided to be "CLOSED INDEFINITELY." I can't remember where I first met my 6'1" Texan friend, but it was somewhere on a bike ride and it was maybe about five years ago (we both trained for the California AIDS Ride in '98 together). But I'll tell you how great it is that my friends love life as much as myself.

JK's flower shop on Capitol Hill, Through the Grapevine is wonderfully successful and built with his own two hands. Eventually, the floral shop was enhanced with a gift shop, also a grand success. One day, recently, upon evaluating some Judy Philosophy, JK decides, "ya know, I don't need to have the gift shop anymore." Why? Because he was working all of the time, between the weddings, special events, a set of clients and the shop. So what does he do? He puts a sign on the door that says "CLOSED INDEFINITELY." I have to laugh. He keeps the shelves stocked as always, lights on as if open, and a sign on the door. People come knocking, they call the number on the front, and they all want to shop there. But you know what? Life is too short to work it all away.

August 11, 2002

Fine Vinyl

Greenwich Village. Adam's house.
Housesitting while Adam's off in South Africa, the lucky dog. Today I headed to the Van de Weghe Fine Art Gallery with Souris, Kaly, and Silvio to see seven of Keith Haring's tarpaulin paintings which included the very cool Andy Mouse painting of Andy Mouse (think Warhol + Mickey) on the New Coke background. The exhibit ended to day, so to see the images, go back and check the Van de Weghe's site for "past exhibitions."

How lucky, to just walk up off the street into a two-room gallery with works of Haring on the wall, where you can stick your nose right up to the acrylic paints to see which lines he drew first, yet step back 15 feet just to set the full wall-sized painting into your direct line of sight. Only in the great city of New York (ok, a few other great cities too... but this is Haring's turf).

August 10, 2002

Added some caramel color to the hair there -- after hacking a good thirteen inches off last March, I went for another added change.

Earlier in the week, Lisa and I headed for some good Vietnamese food -- the best I've found in NYC -- at PHO BOLSA on Lafayette between Howard and Grand if you want to go. It's the most authentic Vietnamese food my sisters and I have had so far in NY and just opened about two months ago. On my way, I stopped at the new Apple Mac store in Soho's old Greene Street Post Office Building and I'm dying to get an iBook. Later, we headed to a bar in Greenwich Village (where I was carded! And I told the guy I was gonna be 30 next year), to see the premiere appearance of Van Hayride (check for some background) where they did Van Halen covers for an hour. Post Van Hayride was an hour of the Brooklyn Bugaloo Blowout for great live music.

To sear or not to sear?

After martinis at the Royalton in midtown last night, Albert and I set off the smoke alarm [which is wired not battery-operated] in my apartment at midnight while attempting to sear two slabs of New York Strip Steaks for our late dinner. Funny sight it was of me standing on two telephone books underneath the alarm, the Sunday Times magazine in hand to wave the smoke away. Surely I kept the whole building up just for a steak. But a good one it was. Having had steak for dinner last night, lunch today, and dinner again today, I think I'm proteined out. Vegetarian tomorrow.

August 04, 2002

I've lost my riding self. Just went for a 20-something mile ride -- headed around the corner, down Broadway, across the Brooklyn Bridge (again stopping in the middle for a drink and to tip my helmet at the space the Towers once occupied), and met Robert at Prospect Park. He'd finished six laps before I got there and truth be told, my legs felt like jelly, my lungs felt like they'd shrunk, and the humidity made me feel as though I was melting. Though the muscles are there, the strength is not -- neither is my breathing pattern, and I just can't seem to get into my riding groove. It's humbling to be passed by a woman obviously older than me, in leather pumps, on her hybrid bike sans helmet, and carrying a knapsack while I'm decked out in my Sidi shoes and 747 Shimano SPD pedals, 21 gears and the works. Okay, so I'm not used to riding with this extra 12 lbs. or so (I last weighed in at around 99 or 100, which is a huge jump from my 87 a year ago), and it's been 2 years since I've done a century (that's a 100-mile ride for you non-riding folks) and it's super humid in the city today. So much so, that the thought seeing even LANCE ARMSTRONG racing downtown in a 100K criterium wasn't enough to get me off the air conditioned train (I did not ride back from Brooklyn). He must be bored to death riding in this crappy weather doing 50 laps of a miserable 2K stretch along the Financial District's Water Street after the rolling vineyards in France. He's a pro racer, though, and as hard as his job may be, it sure beats sitting in a cubicle.

July 26, 2002

Cingular wireless service has launched a $20 million ad campaign as it enters New York's already saturated market. Subway ads, billboards, bus kiosks, and even entire buses display the trendy orange anthropomorphic logo.

In the West 4th street station, among several, was one that showed the little Cingular logo in the corner and a phone. The text read:

Studio apartment: $2000
Dinner for two: $425
Pre-school: $13,000
Cingular wireless service: $29.99

Somebody went at it with a big black magic marker and printed the text underneath the last line:

Unfortunately, it didn't last more than a week by the time I went by with a digital camera, and they replaced the ad altogether with a different concept. Perhaps they realized the power of Mastercard's campaign?
Kim comes to town this weekend and Saturday we head to the Ethyl Barrymore Theatre to see Tale of the Allergist's Wife. Otherwise, things seem pretty calm in New York and the heat has eased off a bit.

Last weekend, my cousin Chuong from Vietnam -- and my Vietnam tour guide extraordinaire was in town to visit Souris and Kaly, whom he hadn't seen in 21 years. In grand Vietnamese style, Chuong's family is full of doctors, lawyers, and seven of eight kids who went to Berkeley, most with post grad degrees. Surely their parents are proud.
funniest search hit in the last few days?
taco truck new york upper west side

July 21, 2002

The other day Kaly and I ate at a favorite and newfound vietnamese restaurant where we met the nice family from Hue who owned the place and got stuck there in the raging thunderstorm. We saw three people get up to leave and upon arriving at the exit, they scanned the severity, and the one TOOK OFF HER SHOES AND SOCKS as Kaly and I watched in HORROR as we anticipated her next unseemly move - to run BAREFOOT on the FILTHY rotten sidewalks of CHINATOWN. Streets filled with rubbish, rotten food, animal and human excrement -- disgusting. She pulled up in a car and picked up her friends who handed her shoes and socks back which they protected from the rain. Uhhhh... my feet are more valuable to me than ANY pair of shoes.
Today there was a major blackout in the grid below 14th Street and west of Broadway - wherein I live smack center. Turns out there was a tremendous explosion that cut out my electricity. I assumed it was the construction guys working upstairs on the apartment above me (they're renovating it while it's vacant) and I was waiting over an hour for Kaly to come down for lunch. Little did I know she was sadly stuck in the subway between 72nd and 59th. To kill time, I called Julia who lives at Union Square, and Dave, her husband, tells me they're out of power too - "Hey" I exclaimed, what a funny coincidence. But Dave tells me about the explosion at the ConEd plant on the east side. At least I felt better about Kaly being late, but as an hour and a half went by, I was pretty worried. Eventually I heard a knock on my door and realized Kaly was lucky enough to get in while someone else walked out, because the buzzers weren't working either... Ugh. It was an utter mess today below 14th with traffic and pedestrians all about, with no sense of whose turn it is to cross the intersections.

Chuong is in town and it's almost 4 a.m. (we're already reading the Sunday Times which we picked up at 3 a.m.) so off to sleep now and I'll finish later when I'm more coherent.

July 16, 2002

Untitled Mobile, 1942photograph © Calder Estate
Last Wednesday, Kaly, Souris, Silvio and I attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Summer Exhibitions opening reception. Good food, drink, and art. S & S's friend, David Lee extended the invitations as David's sister, Yvette, was the co-curator for the Joan Mitchell show - one of the five summer exhibitions. Meeting Yvette (whose name is painted on the wall!) was great - she told us how difficult it was to select just 59 paintings out of hundreds to showcase Mitchell's lifelong work. The other exhibit we browsed was Claes Oldenberg's drawings - of which the Whitney has the largest collection in the world. Of course, we quickly browsed Calder's mobiles, a favorite for Souris, David and myself.

Thursday we did the family thing for Kaly's birthday, and Friday I joined Kaly and her friends for a birthday dinner, was out late, got up 2 hours later, and headed to D.C. with Ed for Mike & Sue's Cherokee ceremony and purple and white outdoor wedding in Harper's Ferry.

Busy weekend; didn't even see mom and dad, and I'm back in the swing of work and the NY scene. I've thought of another job for myself - to work as a classroom assistant in a Jewish pre-school. I loved being in school with Mica in Atlanta, running around the playground, learning Hebrew, singing out of tune, and eating afternoon snack (ice cream on Fridays!). I think it suits me much better than working in a law firm...

July 07, 2002

The race has begun.
The 2002 Tour de France is already underway, with the prolog and Stage 1 complete. You can read minute by minute updates of the entire race under the newsflashes on their site and find out other cool info. Of course, with out satellite (heck, I am without TV!), internet coverage is next best. In fact, internet coverage is more interesting than my experience with OLN's coverage (as compared, also, to the former coverage by ESPN2) since they do such a bad job of editing the race for max info and excitement. As such, I'm still not motivated to ever buy a TV.

Just spent an incredibly lazy weekend with Les, who came in on Wednesday night, eating, drinking, and being merry in the Village. Independence Day went without a bang, as it was insufferably hot and we chose to nap over trekking to the East River. Dined in NY staples like Corner Bistro, John's Pizzeria, and Cornelia Street Cafe. I still vote for Lombardi's as NYC's best pizza place (in Soho on Spring Street).

Like I said, lazy weekend. Oh, except for the part where I biked six or so miles across Brooklyn Bridge (and paused to tip my helmeted head in the direction of the WTC) to meet Robert in Prospect Park for 21 more after a 23-month hiatus in the saddle. Though the legs aren't sore, I'm not the same cyclist I was at 23...

July 03, 2002


There's a REALLY bad Vietnamese restaurant at University & 13th Street called Annam. All the waiters are Chinese and only the busboy can speak Vietnamese. I ordered Goi Tom which is supposed to be made with red onions, pickled daikon & carrots (Vietnamese style), sliced boiled shrimp, lotus shoots, peanuts, cilantro and mint. Instead, I got boiled shrimp tossed over romaine lettuce. Uhhhh... they call romaine Vietnamese? BAD. So Kaly and I asked the busboy what dishes were ACTUALLY Vietnamese dishes there and he replied that there were only about four (he actually tried to tell me that the salad I received was, well, "lai" which means mixed culture to which I adamantly replied, "Sir, it is 100% NOT Vietnamese"). So if you go there, the only thing you can order really is the Banh Cuon with Thit Bo Nuong which is the Grilled Beef skewers with rice cakes (or rice noodles). Basically, just DON'T GO THERE. The absurdity is that underneath the word Annam on the door are the painted words, "A Vietnamese Restaurant."

July 02, 2002

Search Hits

I'm noticing that in the last week, many of my hits are coming from Google searches. The things people search!

The funniest search I've had:

and a few more...
for my Asian Pacific Adventures:
ten thousand buddhas, temple, niagara falls, restaurant
chinese lunar calendar 2002 good day to get married "good day to get married"
vietnamese wedding + reception
great gurus that impacted my life
turkeys airways bangkok (on Dutch Google)
names and themes of diners cafes
candy strangers frostbite
"dave eckert", cia
pretty + spider + driving + product -man

for this blog
japanese "locks of love"
"pork taco" dc
bus trips to bush gardens to williamsburg

June 23, 2002

The Film Forum, just four blocks from home (and one of those things that makes New York the greatest city on earth), is showing Mel Brooks' The Producers for an extra week, with a spectacular summer filled with Akira Kurosawa's films starring Toshiro Mifune complete with new translation of Seven Samurai which means new subtitles. Next week I'll hopefully manage to see Luchino Visconti's Rocco and his Brothers (director of The Leopard) starring Alain Delon!

June 20, 2002

Suddenly I find myself triple booked and the options are:
Get my bike from Long Island from Ed who gave the Hoo Koo E Koo a thorough washing, lubing, brand new tires and Mr. Tuffys (which Stella's shop in Brooklyn removed and never replaced afterwhich I received my first (and only) ever flat)...
Dinner with friends who are going to Vietnam and need the low-down on do's and don't's (a comprehensive list will eventually appear on the sidebar here --->). I'm beginning to think I need to write a must-read travel book for Vietnam visitors in correspondence form rather than the guidebook listing type... does anyone know a publisher who wants to publish it?
And, of course, ITALIAN lessons, as over two years has gone by since my last course and I'm desperate to pick it up again.

That leaves me with no choice, really, because Italian is the answer, and so tonight, I tried to plan on doing some last minute cramming of reviewing my notes of two years ago, but alas... I'm blogging. And so tomorrow, we hope that Robert, il mio professore, will not be picking on me too much.

On the subject of blogging, East West Adventures is getting hits from a new site called New York City Bloggers which literally maps New York Bloggers on the subway map - super cool.

June 15, 2002


They took my sign down in Times Square.
Since I've been back (and probably since September), there has been a plain white billboard in the heart of Times Square with plain black Helvetica type that read:

Imagine all of the people living in peace.

Underneath that board ran different billboard advertisements, most recently an ad for HBO's Six Feet Under. HBO's billboard was replaced, in an odd contradiction of communicating a message, with Showtime's network that advertised:

More fights than any other channel on network television.
complete with red image of a sweating boxer with his right arm outstretched, finishing off a punch.

Two weeks after the fight sign went up, my peace sign went down.

June 10, 2002

Just in from New Paltz, New York
Awoke at 6 a.m. this Sunday morning to go rock climbing with Katy, Eric and Damian in New Paltz at the Mohonk Preserve, home of the Shawangunk Mountains (a.k.a. the Gunks) where we gently ascended upon the rocks today. Eric and Katy taught us how to get sticky with the rock, and sore as I am at the moment, I'm addicted. We scaled two climbs, the first named Jackie, which was on a Gunk scale a 5.5 climb (according to our fearless leaders, Gunk ratings are generally more difficult than West Coast ratings) and our second climb, whose name I forget, which was a 5.9+ where I didn't get to the top but tried my best.
i'm in crash mode though, so must write more later.

June 05, 2002


So I have just discovered that my paper engineer IDOL has his own web site. About two years ago, I first met Robert Sabuda on a training ride while we were both training for the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride. I ran into him again in Alaska where I said something along the lines of "oh, hey, are you Richard?" And he kindly replied that he was Robert. Through mutual friends Enrique and Vinnie (whom I met on the airplane between Houston and Anchorage), we all spent our last Ride day having a grand seafood dinner together.

Back in NYC a few months later, Enrique tells me how Robert is a children's book artist (WHOA, I exclaimed, as I am an avid collector of children's books), and then he goes on to say that Robert is a POP-UP ARTIST at which my excitement increased by leaps and bounds as I am an ardent admirer of pop-up and origami. Eventually, Kaly and I went to Robert's book signing at Books of Wonder, one of New York City's most fabulous children's book stores where we were so enthused, we purchased at least a half dozen of his books (including a copy of Cookie Counts: A Tasty Pop-up signed to me). If you only buy ONE book this year, you MUST buy Cookie Counts. It is the most exquisitely beautiful and fascinating book I own. In the winter of 2000, I brought it to the Epstein school's 3-year old class and I read the book to our twelve 3-year olds. They were popping out of their seats and made me read it three times, and then about 3 or 4 parents went out and bought it. My aunt Lori and my sister Kiki went out to buy about a dozen more of Robert's books for holiday gifts, and then their friends in turn, as enchanted by Robert's amazing pop-up talents as we were, all went out to buy copies.

In 2001, Robert curated (or co-curated, I can't remember) the Brooklyn Pops UP! exhibit at the Brooklyn public library, of which I caught the remnants of the show. He worked with renowned Maurice Sendak and many other children's book artists for a project (and pop-up book!) for the show.

One of these days I would love to have a Robert Sabuda book party...I'm sure you guys would buy up a good 500 books, at least. You have GOT to go to the book store and see one LIVE for yourself. Robert's books have a youthful effect on one's mind, the same way as ice cream, only without any of the calories!

June 04, 2002

All Clad pieces are starting to come in. It's true... the way to a Hong's heart is through her stomach!
Still haven't managed to get very far with unpacking as I haven't built my shelves though the more stuff I actually get in here, the better the space begins to feel.

Kiki came into town for Sunday and we gave downtown a good walk through and dined at a couple of good restos in the area with Kaly. Then we hit several hardware stores (I'm eyeing shelving, molding, lumber, s-hooks, power tools, and all that good hardware stuff). Can't be too exciting for some, but I love hardware stores almost as much as stationery stores (I secretly covet power tools and a garage-woodshop).

On Sunday, we all went to the RES party which was at the Eyebeam | atelier space and gallery in Chelsea, "a not-for-profit new media arts organization that initiates, supports, and preserves artworks created with computers and digital tools."

May 30, 2002

Okay, so I opted for the All-Clad over the BED. I'll be sleeping on an aero bed for another month or two till I've got enough to buy myself a bed as I've just made a major pots & pans purchase (rationale is that I will be happily cooking and eating at home and for lunch and it will pay for itself!). Pretty happy about that. Got the stainless steel set and a few accessories too. AND purchased great metro shelving & a butcher's block. We know where my priorities are.

Off to dinner with friends from the AIDS ride who are in town from DC for only a day - Dan and Liz Kohan. Hopefully this weekend I'll get some wood to paint & build my shelves & desk. Met more of my neighbors - have I mentioned that at least half of them are asian? The landlord knows WHO PAYS!


May 28, 2002

Just got invite from Uncle Mike for the RES launch party. NYC at the Eyebeam Atelier on Sunday.

May 25, 2002

I forgot to mention -
Today I stepped in the elevator with Mario Cuomo so I greeted him. At first I thought, "gee this guy looks familiar" and then Maxine whispered "Cuomo!" to me. "oh yeahhhh," I thought. After meeting David Dinkins, I figure I would probably not know Guiliani if he ran smack into me.
Just went to see Star Wars, episode II with Kaly.
Wednesday night celebrated Bruce's 40th birthday and then had a glass of champagne at Serena in the Chelsea Hotel for the ICI Spring Benefit. ICI is Independent Curators International, an innovative nonprofit art organization founded in 1975. Click on the link to read more about it.

i'm still beat. tomorrow will go out looking for shelving so i can dump out a few more boxes.
gradually moving along.
5.20.2002 11:47:18 PM
With the help of my great friends, I moved!
Saturday morning at 6:45 Ed came by to pick me up at home with a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich from a Manhassat Deli for me for our very rainy ride to Arlington. Arrive at Enterprise rent-a-car at 11:30, got the minivan, loaded up from Mike & Eileen's, loaded up at mom & dad's, Shawn brought over my CD collection she had been graciously storing, dinner at Two Chefs (steak & cheese, what else?), stayed up late discussing Feng Shui with mom, picked up Mike at 8:30 Sunday morning with Kaly, drove back to NYC, arrived at 1:35. Bruce waiting at the door, Adam and Souris show up, the 3 of them and Mike shuffle boxes to the apartment while I unload & keep watch on the van, Jonathan shows up 15 minutes later, but we were so quick he only caught the last load. My move took a total of 20 minutes beginning to end. I advertised to my movers that I had NO furniture and that it would be quick. But didn't expect it to only take 20 minutes! Lisa joined us for brunch and all is now well. I have lots of sorting ahead of me (I found notes from Japanese class from tenth grade) and lots to trash (notes from Japanese class). This morning Mike breakfasted with Sor & I before driving the rented car back to Arlington. I love my friends.
5.15.2002 11:24:05 PM
Greenwich Village
Finally, an evening without plans. I am beat, have no food in my fridge, and no pots with which to cook. This Saturday I'll go to Arlington for less than 24 hours to grab all my things in four different addresses and drive it back up to NYC. I am beat.
Tuesday night had a four course dinner at the French Culinary Institute restaurant, L'Ecole. Great dinner. Maybe I can become a chef instead of a law firm marketer. Not a difficult decision.
(put back carnegie story) May 9
5.9.2002 2:09:52 AM
Greenwich Village.
Inaugural blog from home. I have a home. Sure, it's without a mobile phone, but it's a home. It's a hundred and twenty square feet (galley kitchen included) and I get another 20 square feet if you count the hallway to the bathroom and closet. I have a cordless phone, quite unnecessary considering any phone cord could reach every corner of the place. Not quite moved in, but sleeping on the aero bed, courtesy of Souris and Silvio.

Looking for a futon / sofa bed (must be beautiful to look at) and a Verizon mobile phone (must not be ugly). I've gotten to the point in my life when I can't own anything ugly anymore. Even a vegetable peeler. It's just the way it is.
Times Square.
Technology does not stick with me. Last night my cousin Nam-Tan crashed at my new place with me. I got Verizon to hook up my landline within 24 hours (a miracle) but I don't own a telephone so I have no phone. I also own 2 laptops - one with a broken modem and the other without a phone cord to use with the landline. And the palm pilot is of no use since the cat broke it (knocked it off a desk). So I'm left with my fabulous reliable Motorola V60c cell phone which I uh.... lost. Fred Durst's hand me down five hundred dollar phone and I lost it. I was VERY depressed. So now I'm in search of a new Verizon phone, but can't justify replacing the phone with the same model - it's a phone! I could buy 3 DVD players instead. And I don't wanna reprogram 125 phone numbers. Oh, and I lost Ben Stiller's number in Fred's voice recognition recording too. Damn.

I called the Verizon store and said "uh, I lost my V60" and the guy goes "ooooohhhhhh. Do you have insurance?"
"Ooooooohhhhhhhh. [pause] How long have you had it?"
"Two months."
"Ooooooohhhhhhhhhh. You're gonna have to come in to see what we can do for you."
That bad, huh?
Off to the Tokion party tonight in the lower east side
5.5.2002 9:19 PM
Upper West Side.
Moved stuff into the new place and put the A/C in with Uncle Mike today. Mike said to Kaly and I, "I wish one of you would get married and have kids." I asked him "so our kids can play with your kids?" and he said "No, so I can play with your kids! Mine are getting big!" He's like mom!

I then headed to Central Park to meet up with Kirt & Ed to hang out on the lawn; Italian dinner afterwards. The park is such a perfect place for people watching.

Found some gorgeous Italian designed sofa beds / futons today on JocoItalia and compared to the ugly American futons, I thought it might be worth investing. Out of my price range of course.
5.4.2002 9:19 PM
Upper West Side.
Star Wars exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art - very cool, especially the models. Lots of costumes - most beautiful was the red Imperial guard costume. I'm definitely taller than an Ewok, twice the size of Yoda, and half the size of our beloved Wookie Chewbacca. All the main characters & costumes were there, including models of all the fighter jets, ships, and droids.

I also walked around my new 'hood today and Greenwich Village is so fantastic. Can't wait to have visitors (uh... bring a sleeping bag will ya?)...
5.4.2002 1:20:40 AM
Upper West Side.
Several hours later. Spider Man was funny and fun. Go see it. The line was HUGE and there was a 12:45 showing even. Sor and Silvio got in line at 7 for our 9:30 show (and bought our tix 3 days ago on ticket master) and we weren't even first. We saw it at the huge Loews cineplex in Times Square.

Tomorrow we're off to the Star Wars exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Sunday I meet up with Ed & Kirt if I can, and will try to move a few things into my new place if I have the time.
5.3.2002 6:49 PM
Upper West Side.
All week I've been staying at Kaly's (since Sunday). I've been incredibly busy. Brunch & the KleinReid sale on Sunday, a loooooong week at work (good overtime), Monday looked at some apartments in Brooklyn with a broker, Tuesday signed a lease on a place in Greenwich Village (it's cute, but you can't even imagine how small unless you've ever lived in New York before), Wednesday I worked till midnight, Thursday I did "a very Hong thing and had two dinners" as Lisa would put it. I had plans for Mexican fare in a new place in Brooklyn with Jim, Dave, and Lisa, planned for 7-9. Souris called me at 6 and said "Hani, can you come to Blue Ribbon tonight? We have a reservation for 5 people but one can't make it and we need another person to keep the reservation." Blue Ribbon is one of the best restaurants in New York City (in the USA I dare say) and does not take reservations for less than 5 people and the wait is generally two hours for a table. Their hours are 4 pm to 4 am and Souris managed a 10:30 reservation. After suggesting she knew Kyle, one of my dear old friends, her res was magically bumped to 9:30. Anyway, Sor literally only needed a body to keep the res so I joined them directly from my pork taco, grilled mexican corn, spicy chocolate cake, and lemon cinnamon flan dinner to have an oyster, clam, crayfish, foie gras, marrow with ox tail marmalade, and fried chicken for my second meal. I skipped dessert that time but so did everybody else. Today we had a quick good day at work where our team went out for margaritas that not only cost more, but were larger than our meals. Now I'm off to see Spiderman on opening night (can you believe NY movie tix are $11 a pop?) with Sor's gang (again, filling in to take their extra tix). Last night I was their Pinch Eater, tonight, as Souris says to her friends in today's email
if we need her to fill a spot, she comes and joins.
otherwise, i wouldn't invite her all the time.
cause she's my sister...
but she knows i love her so that ain't a bad thing."

So, I've had keys to my new apartment since Tuesday and I have yet to set foot into it!!! That's how busy I am.
Oh, and 57 emails to read when I get home.
Times square
quick - got an apartment in greenwich village; cool neighborhood, close to all the trains, working fireplace, exposed brick.
teeny tiny tiny studio. but cute. rent stabilized, which is good, but not a steal; it's a fair price by New York standards. Downtown; somewhere around $10/sq foot per month. Oi.

The decision came pretty quickly so I haven't gotten anything together. I've had the keys for two days and tonight I go back up to Kaly's for the night, probably till Saturday when I'll get a few things from Uncle Mike's and Kel's to the apartment. Saturday we go see the Star Wars exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Can't wait.
KleinReid C-thru IceLast weekend went to the KleinReid studio sale and bought lots from Jim & Dave, who also gifted me a beautiful vase. photo © KleinReid
more later
4.25.2002 10:08 PM
Times Square
Working late... logging overtime, and the plus of temping is that I get paid for the OT.
Today is the 2 year anniversary of Ong Ngoai's death and I forgot to eat vegetarian, but then I talked to mom and she said she had fish today. Apparently, the lunar date matters more, and May 3 will be the 2 year anniversary of his death on the lunar calendar. Gotta remember Friday to not eat meat!
[4/24/2002 11:52:17 PM]
New York City.
Just back from Brooklyn - BAM -- the Brooklyn Academy of Music that is. Lisa and I went to see the Chicago Opera Theater perform Monteverdi's Orfeo (1607). Very nice to look at, wonderful interpretation and fun for me to pick out my italian vocabulary from the music. A couple of great performers, although I didn't love the lead, and in general, just enjoyed myself at the Harvey Theatre. Afterwards we went to Junior's, a Brooklyn staple diner where I had fabulous matzoh ball soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, and french fries. Good ol' American diner.
New York City.
This morning at about 10:30 my sister Kaly called me and offered me her pair of tickets to the Murray Perahia concert at Carnegie Hall for the afternoon. I gave her my typical answer - yes - and then she asked me if I knew how to get to Carnegie Hall. "Practice, practice, practice," I said. But either Kaly didn't think that was funny or she was ignoring me so she just gave me directions to take the N/R train to 57th & 7th.

Murray Perahia is a phenomal pianist and a passionate performer. The concert was so amazing and so wonderful, I was beside myself. I sat in one of Kaly's 2 seats on the balcony level where I had a great view of Mr. Perahia's hands on the keys and of the inside of the piano, an awesome spectacle. Then Kaly, who was sitting below in the orchestra seats with her friend David, had to leave at intermission to catch an LSO (London Symphony Orchestra) concert at Lincoln Center, so I got lucky and saw the second half of the show from the orchestra seats. Experiencing the recital from two different perspectives in the red plush seats of the Isaac Stern Auditorium was really a great way to spend my rainy Sunday afternoon. We were even treated to an additional three Chopin encores. If you have never heard Murray Perahia, you ought to. He is absolutely spectacular. I love New York.
[4/20/2002 6:31:06 PM]
New York City. Greenwich Village.
How could I not have thought of it sooner??? On Sunday, April 28, I am going to the KleinReid Spring Studio Sale hosted by the fabulous hostess Lisa and it has just occurred to me to post it in my blog.

Jim and David are two talented artists of beautiful ceramics sold in fine stores across the world (Barney's, Harrod's in London, Tokyo, and other fabulous places). These are fine ceramics that you can buy at BARGAIN prices from the artists' very own studio in Williamsburg, just in time for Mother's Day, Spring Cleaning, and Weddings!

There will be an open house at Lisa's with pastries, coffee, and prosecco! Please RSVP to Lisa to be sure there are enough pastries to go 'round. See you there.
[4/19/2002 1:27:15 PM]
Times Square / Mid-town
New York City
I've got a long term temp gig at the law offices of WF&G where I've been for a couple of weeks now. Though law-firm marketing is far from my life's purpose, it'll help pay the NYC rent. One of these days, I will truly get to be a toy engineer, or maybe work with these guys, get a law degree, and establish public policies for special education. I'm in need of soulful work. Got something?
[4/18/2002 12:52:52 AM]
New York City. Greenwich Village
Just back from a party in Chinatown at Dietmar & nunet's new New York office.

I went up the elevator with Dan Stube who is an architect for Polshek Partnership Architects - the guys who designed the Rose Center for Earth and Space (which houses the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Hall, and other museums and theatres in New York City) and we talk about the glories of bicycling in New York. Then I instantly see dear Dietmar (it has been since September 2000) and he introduces me to an avuncular person who is leaving by saying, "This is my friend Hani. She has just come back from traveling around the world." So the nice gentleman asks me where I'd been and I say "blah blah blah.... and I'm sorry, what is your name?" (as Dietmar had not actually introduced the gentleman to me; only me to the kind sir). And he says "David Dinkins." Heh heh. "Nice to meet you" I say and Dietmar who returned just as I asked David who he is, says to me "David is the former mayor of New York" and turns to David and gives him a kind excuse for my ignorance. Hee hee. I'm amused. It's classic. So David left just after our short exchange, and I moved onward into the crowd.

Next, I was stopped by Aileen and then Artie, both AIDS ride people I trained with for the Alaska Ride. I met a very interesting Japanese American woman from California who is in media and entertainment and invited me to go rock climbing which we planned for possibly the end of May. She had just come back from living in Barcelona (and has also been to Vietnam before!) and has probably been to more countries than I have. Onward, Julie passed through our conversation and with total confidence said "you're a Libra aren't you?" before inviting me to go to a poetry reading on Monday. Then we met Pilar who is a Spanish woman from just outside Bilbao who lives in Miami and does marketing! And before the evening was over, I met guitarist Will, Aileen's best friend and comrade, and while on the elevator down we decided to go to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone this summer only because the industrial smell in the elevator made us think of it.

And that, you see, is why I live in New York City, and truly why I love NY.
[4/16/2002 12:57:05 AM]
New York City. Greenwich Village.
Got a second hand-me down laptop today to go with the ghetto one I was using the last couple of weeks. 28.8 modem connection makes me feel like I'm back in Vietnam.

My next goal is to get a new apartment by June 1 to get a phone line to get DSL. That, and to have Souris furnish the place with her leftover goods. (Delicious furniture)

Last weekend I went to DC and downtown with Les to see the Cherry Blossoms in bright bloom, shortly after their peak, at the point when the flowers have turned white and the slightest breeze leaves you in a Spring snowstorm of petals. You've seen one, you've seen 'em all, but the great thing is, you don't get tired of looking.

This week I go to Dietmar's (fellow Alaska AIDS Rider) inauguration/networking party for nunet. At some point, I'll also meet up with Marcus, who I met at Angkor Wat in January while in Cambodia.

Other plans? Work (which is fun), KleinReid Sale (which grows the art collection), possibly Bike NY (which will be 42 miles of biking in the 5 boros after not having been on the bike since August of 2000) and a wedding at West Point (I know neither the bride nor the groom).
[4/14/2002 4:34:01 PM]
New York City. Greenwich Village.
Am making mushroom & chicken risotto.

Just went to the Magnolia Bakery and bought a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing and chocolate and rainbow jimmies on top. Took it to the park with my 65-cent deli coffee and enjoyed it on the bench. It tasted a little bit like chocolate and a lot like vegetable oil. Oh well.

Went to the grocery as Mike has nothing in this apartment - he is here so seldomly and the macrobiotic diet does not leave much in the pantry for me.

Alas... cooking my own meals. Joy.
[4/5/2002 11:44:52 PM]
Arlington, VA
Headed to VA today to get a few things together for NY, pay a few pals a visit, and enjoy the museums downtown a bit. What's with all the traffic lately?
Maybe the suspense of the Hanoi stalker? Short version:
I was on yahoo messenger chatting with my friend Xuan Anh in VN and he was in an internet cafe (the only place you can get a cam to work in VN for reasons only the commies can answer) and a kid next to Xuan Anh saw me on XA's monitor. Next day, the kid sends me instant messages telling me he stole my name off the computer and saw me on the screen, and that he would really like to get to know me. Then he asks if i would please put the video cam on again so he could see me. Uh... no. And could he please stay in contact with me and email me. Did I say no??? I was nice. That was about it. Like I said, there is no sense of privacy in Vietnam...
New York City
Today I went to Yves Durif Salon where my friend Patti works and had Yves cut off nearly 14 inches of my hair to donate to Locks of Love (but you can also donate to WigsForKids if you're thinking about it). It's a charity that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children with medical hair loss. We needed 10 inches, thought that's what we cut, but now I'm home and have to measure it (required for the short form I have to fill out), and it turns out we cut nearly 14 inches. Yves, a true master (Aveda calls him a "world renowned master") who makes cutting hair look like mixing salad, worked his magic since Patti was tied up with another customer. So for doing a good thing, I was treated to a cut by Yves - okay, here's a shot of me before and below for the after, at Souris' computer. If you're ever looking for a fabulous cut, you should definitely go there ($110 by Patti [ed. note: updated early 2006]). So grateful to both Patti (who so thoughtfully suggested the donation to me in the first place) and Yves (who was so generous to offer his salon, his time, and his incredible talent).

Here I am from Souris' web cam:
13 inches off!
[3/29/2002 9:37:19 PM]
New York City
Ground Zero. This morning I went to Lisa's new Robin Hood office and then followed her down to the old office in the Financial District. Their old office sat on the 19th floor wherein I was able to view the enormity of the damage and the emptiness left behind where the World Trade Center once stood. It was good for me to be there with Lisa and her colleague Karen, and also to be given the time to spend some time alone and make peace of it. The angle from which I stood gave me an aerial view of the entire area - sixteen square acres, where I could watch the workers - who looked like miniscule figurines - raking through the rubble with hand rakes, and the enormity of their task was weighted on my mind. I watched the bull dozers - they looked like children's play things - strewn about the lot, now about four to six stories deep underground - all shiny and yellow in the bright sunlight today. It's truly amazing, what all these people have done, all of the work they have accomplished, and the extreme gratefulness I feel for everyone who has aided in the clean up of this herculean task. It is moving and sad and well, the sadness just sort of stays.
[3/25/2002 3:20:26 AM]
New York City
So, as of late, have gone to see a play called Voices on the Hill with Lisa, had mexican food, saw Delicatassen, walked Bruce's dog and went to a cool dog run in Chelsea, and worked on my resume and will apply for one job tomorrow. Tuesday, I have MORE Vietnamese food. Must discover decent VN food in New York - it just does not exist. Must learn how to cook like mom is perhaps the only solution.

Oh, and was harrassed by spying Vietnamese fellow in Hanoi. Can we say "stalker?"
more later
[3/17/2002 12:34:55 AM]
New York, New York
Oooohhhh, I am soooo FREE. Just me and Atari (Souris' kitty) and Silvio's cable connected souped up computer sitting on his Aeron chair with the flat-wide-screen HDTV cable channel on in the other room full of DVDs, video games, and well designed furniture including an assortment of godzilla toys and other random objects. Where am I? Oh, catsitting (yes, I am still allergic to cats) for Souris and Silvio while they spend a few days in Rome and then at the family farm in Arpino.

This is the life! Well, their life. But mine for ten days.

Spent the afternoon rug shopping with Kaly and John, stopped over to Celia's for some tea, and walked around downtown in general. Tomorrow I am off to Chinatown for brunch with dear Adam whom I've known about half my life. I have still not been to Ground Zero which is something I may do at some quiet moment alone this week. I haven't even see the area.

I am still waiting for my "calling" re: the job front ... I just haven't been hit with anything yet. Where am I to go? Who am I to help? I am slowly moving forward. Frankly, I've not tried yet. I am still enjoying my vacation in NY. I will let you know when I change that status to "actively in search of very cool job" and in the meantime, will blog whatever I can.
[3/16/2002 12:12:51 AM]
New York, New York
Life is good. Yes, I'm sleeping late, I'm going to see live music, visited the Children's Museum of Manhattan to see the Maurice Sendak exhibit (sadly, I missed the Curious George exhibit), and taught Mica how to ice skate at Wollman rink in Central Park - it's beautiful. Oh, and I also caught an hour at the Children's zoo where Mica named all of the twenty-something penguins for me.

And the H&H bagels - yum.

The subway has changed much since I was last here - new trains, old trains changing routes and colors, and of course, the half dozen stops that are temporarily closed from the September 11 attacks. Another thing? There's a U.S. flag on every subway car and nearly every bus in the city. Not to mention all the flags all over the rest of New York. And even more so, there are public ad campaigns about New Yorkers "In this together" to help people cope. Pretty amazing. I love this city.
[3/8/2002 12:18:29 AM]
Arlington VA
for one more day. Heading to NYC on Saturday morning. Eat lots with sibs. Hang out. Have fun.
Saturday night I go see a jazz band with Lisa in the city - I love listening to jazz live and seriously missed it while in 'nam. Sunday we're having a big family dinner with Kaly & Souris, and Mike & Lori with the kids. Spend the week breathing in the NY scene and, hopefully, finding work and a place to call home.

Now that mom's home, dad is settled - his count of the casualties while she was away: 1 fighting fish and 3 plants - DEAD. That's not so bad. I told her at least there's still one husband - Alive. All's well and I'm over my jetlag.

More news from New York soon. Life has been on the slow side but I am just chilling out - apologies for recent blog content. Seriously, read Australia and New Zealand blogs (links are on the right, under Oz Adventure) for a lot of fun.
[3/4/2002 11:59:22 PM]
Arlington, VA
I am filling up on AMERICANA. I spent one day last week eating nothing but American junk food which included a hot dog, packaged pudding, a croissant, chili, a donut, nachos, and a chicken sub. GROSS, eh? But very American. Just watched Moulin Rouge with Lori and Ori (really) and we were all in for a treat as I had not expectations nor preconceptions of the movie. The other day went to see Harry Potter in stadium seating theatre - enjoyed it. Read the paper nearly daily with dad. Have instant coffee. Who really cares? Well, as interesting as Vietnam was to you all, America is interesting to the folks I left behind in Saigon so you'll have to bear it. The Adventures in Nam have ended, as you can see, and now we're back to the OTHER SIDE of the earth. Gotta make it so.

Going to NYC on Saturday to find a new path for my very exciting and anticipated future. Plus, I need a space for all my stuff.
Arlington, VA
Out of habit, I almost typed Sai Gon - and stopped myself. Much like writing the wrong year for the first week of January on your checks - as if anyone ever writes checks anymore for anything. But you get the idea. It's a remnant of my year spent abroad. The thing is, as each day passes, I begin to feel such odium for Vietnam. Maybe my emotions are running high, but - you know - my body is becoming reacclimated to dry vs. humid, winter vs. tropics, day into night and night into day. Physically, I'm living in my polar opposite. I'm dealing with a bit of adjustment here. Emotionally, I'm thrilled to be home and I'm happy to be out of Vietnam, and those are not the same thing - there is a nuance in those two statements.

Being home is something of a comfort, always has been. I'm in the house I grew up in, hanging out with dad, doing as I please, relaxing, eating, reading, writing, surfing the net. There's nothing pressing, no deadline, no place to be. There are places to go and people to see - when I feel like it. There's the familiar 2 Chefs down the street, the bike path, the things that made home home to me. Deadlines? Nah. Make phone calls? Can do that tomorrow. Life is at my leisure.

Being out of Vietnam is almost like I've escaped again only this time, I'm old enough to know it. Twenty-seven years ago, when we first left Vietnam, I was merely 18 months old and probably didn't care where we were going, even if it was on a DC-9 cargo plane, so long as I had a bottle of milk with me. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration in comparison, but really - it's as if I've been suddenly thrust free again. I have a CHOICE! I'm around people who have opinions! I can read whatever I want. Travel whereever without reporting to the neighborhood police of my whereabouts.

I go into a retailer and the music is different than the previous dozen venues, unlike in VN where every cafe, hotel, shop, or office has the same soundtrack playing over its p.a. system. As if the government has distributed a nationwide box set and everyone agrees that it's the best music available on earth. And every book store carries the same books. Why? Because the government permits those books to be sold.

I go to the grocery store and I get to buy a loaf of bread for $2.49. So does the white guy behind me. So does the asian in front of me. No more haggling for Vietnamese-prices since I looked mixed and/or don't speak Vietnamese like a native and therefore must pay double for everything.

I walk into a museum and I am mindful of the personal space of those around me. I step back to have a better look at a painting and the people around me respect that. In Vietnam, a family of five would have stepped right in front of my view and a dozen more would shove me from either side. Then they'll touch the canvas and flash photograph it despite the signs that ask you not to.

I drive down the highway and there aren't young children playing on the street shoulder, nor is there a truck oncoming in my lane to overtake the bus he's passing, and there should be seatbelts in the car, including the back seats, and there is law and order to driving and traveling. There are no educated medical professionals throwing plastic bags and litter out my car window here, and I won't get pulled over by a corrupt cop who wants an extra bribe to help him through the New Year.

When I apply for a job here, I won't have to tell my employer my religion, my age, my health status, my siblings names and ages, what they do, what my mother did pre-1975 and post-1975, what my father did pre-1975 and post-1975, and then include a color photograph of my mug. Yeah, that's exactly what my prospective employees in Vietnam had to tell me on their resume when I interviewed them for positions - by LAW. And I said to them, Look, I don't care what the hell your parents did before the war. Are you capable of learning? And all too often the answer was No - because the education system requires everyone to revere their professors - to worship them and to love them, and above all, to NEVER QUESTION THEM so they are all taught to think inside of the box like their professors before them. To the Vietnamese, life beholds what your professor tells you it beholds.

And though I found these events and actions difficult to tolerate while living in Vietnam, my return to the U.S. has only magnified these faults that I find in the Vietnamese culture - and magnified my love of America, my relation to America, and my self-definition as an American. Of course, offer me Italian culture and citizenship and I'll bite. At least I'll have health insurance.

I'm sure that over time, my love of Vietnam, its extraordinary landscapes, hospitality, character, and tradition will draw me back to re-visit. The explorations and adventures I beheld while I lived there are unique and treasured. It's just that - well, I'm glad I'm back.

Not much to blog about till I get back to NYC on March 8th so for the best things to read, click on my Year in Review Letters (the last three years), the Normalcy Debate among the Hong siblings, and my Alaska AIDS Ride newsletter. That is, of course, if you have nothing better in the bathroom (none of them can be described as compendious so you might want to harm a sapling and print them out).

And for my favorite photo collections, try these:
Phan Thiet
NZ South Island Scenic Drive
although I had a tough time leaving out Sydney (on New Year's Eve) and the Glacier Hiking. Actually, I love all the photos, so just go to the links on the right and start clicking down the list - from Australia to New Zealand to Vietnam and even some shots of our crazy and funny family.

There are many many many photos I still haven't posted from Vietnam, and none of those of which I photographed at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom among the many other temples I visited in Cambodia. Eventually I'll get those up.

Arlington VA
I've been asleep pretty much for four days, hence no blogs as I wouldn't want to bore you to death. I have with Timmi, however, managed to spark a series of hilarious communications between my cousins and sibs and well - it looks like normalcy expands beyond my immediate family. I like to think of it as Family Insanity And I guess for a lot of it, you had to be there - but I find it still fairly amusing.

Tomorrow evening, if I'm awake, Mike is making me a five-course Italian (Tuscan) dinner and Eileen is supervising. We're his guinea pigs, he says, but I'm sure tossing all those things in a pot can't come out all that bad!

Oh, and since we're on the subject of COOL, go to Aural Delight, Lisa's new site related to all things music. And send her feedback! She's just starting it up!

My other brilliant sister (I have a few), Kiki, got written up in Atlanta Business Journal "20 Techies to Know". She's the Cathy Hong from UPS at ATV that you'll read about whose quote about "dodging bullets" is apropos of her personality.

Since we're mentioning sibling press appearances, I should also give a shoutout to Souris who was recognized in January's GQ magazine and Silvio (my super brother-in-law) who was quoted in The New York Times Toy Story. Tokion, mentioned in the article, is none other than the super cool Japanese pop culture mag where Souris works.

Oh, and my brother Lobo is thanked in the liner notes of Puddle of Mudd's first album release. And if you didn't catch it earlier, Kaly published a CD review: here's the blog on it
Do I have a cool family or what?

The United States of America
It is sooooo good to be back on US soil. I nearly cried when I could see the snow on the ground from the airplane. When I arrived at the airport, I was welcomed by Uncle 7 and dad (who smartly remembered to bring me a coat because he knew I was coming from spending a year in the tropics) and temperatures of oh... -4C! That's 21F for those of you who need conversion. I can't describe how good the brisk air felt. I love sitting on the sunny side of the car on a blustery cold day - it just feels good.

So first stop from the airport, I tell dad "let's go have a steak and cheese." And we went to 2 Chefs at about 10:50 and I realize - it's CLOSED! And it's closed because in America, it was President's Day! So dad and Cau 7 took me to ... um... Little Saigon restaurant. Yeah. I just flew in from a year in Vietnam and we go to a Vietnamese restaurant. So I had a seven dollar bowl of duck noodle soup which in Vietnam costs $1.30.

This morning I got up and had to make my own coffee and toast my own croissant and this afternoon I had to cook my own food and clean my own dishes and IT FEELS GOOD. And this afternoon, Dad and I went to 2 Chefs and had our steak and cheeses and it tasted so GOOD. And they were open at 11 yesterday but we had just missed them. For shame.

I'm so happy to be back. IÂ’ve talked to all my sisters, I hear English everywhere, I get to chill out with dad and not get bitten by mosquitos. I could even drink the tap water if I wanted to. I feel FREE FREE FREE. I am happy appy appy.

Yup, getting closer and closer to the end... and the beginning. Everyone keeps asking me what I'm going to do and where I'm going to live and the answer is - who knows? I ask that too. Goodbyes were relatively easy, fairly spaced apart, and thankfully not tearful! In about 3 hours I get on a flight to Japan and then spend another 3 hour layover there where I might check in again. I'm really racking up my number of countries visited with this trip, I think Japan will be the eighth country since January 2002.

All right. Logging off. I have a lot of layovering to do.

February 11, 2002

So the job opportunities seem to be rolling in. At least, a bunch of ideas are. Here's a sampling:

From Mitch: "We did go to the National Building Museum which I had never been to. Beautiful building. Our docent that gave us the tour was really annoying. I told Greg that you would make a great docent at a museum. You love art, you are so smart, you are just so darn likeable and so cute that you would be the best docent in the whole wide world. Seriously, if you have some free time, you should consider doing that."

That one made me laugh out loud.

But more seriously, Lisa sent me this:
don't know what you're thinking of regarding your return to new york -- but there is a nyc teaching fellow program, to recruit successful, non-teachers to join the school system. you make a commitment to teach for two years, get paid full salary, and get a master's in education fully paid during the two years you're teaching, and an extra $4,700 stipend each year to take other classes you're interested in (or put toward your student loan.)

deadline to apply is march 1 -- it's pretty easy -- just filling out an application, sending a resume and writing a letter -- then they screen and have a formal interview process. in case this is of any interest to you, here is the website:

And most glam of all, Albert suggested "If you are able to spend time in paris en route back to the states, stop in at the following three bars: Buddha Bar in the st honoré, Barfly on avenue George V, and Barrio Latino on rue Faubourg St Antoine near the Bastille. It's quite doable to hop through all three in one evening, having some sushi or tapas at the bar at each. Buddha Bar would be the most important of the three. [...] The whole thing is premised on exotica, foreign themes, etc., like high-end hard rock cafés. While the whole thing is kind of vapidly glamourous, you have the background they would need." The best part is that I could live in Paris!

And of course, I can always go to Santa Monica, live with Mica and Ari, Mike, and Lori, and perhaps plant myself back in kindergarten with Mica with perhaps some graduate school on the side.

I live on a lucky star or what because I've got good people in my life.