Sunday, September 30, 2001

i'm not sure if i've ever been less productive on a single day. even as an infant i'm sure i spent time studying the intricate furniture around me or the cute little mickey mouse patterns on my blanket. but today i just feel like an unshaven sloth-- and let me tell you, its no fun.

i think that my inability to get out of my pajamas today is probably related to my unending saturday. i woke up at six o'clock saturday morning and didn't get back to my comfortable bed until 4:30 this morning. it has been a long time since i pulled an all nighter and i am definitely too old for them.

the plan for saturday morning was to get up early and drive to oakland-- with the explicit goal of purchasing the warriors single game tickets that were going on sale at 9:30. now in most years, the warriors releasing tickets to the public would be probably be draw a crowd smaller than most high school football games around this country but this is no ordinary year. with michael jordan's immanent return to the nba, i would not be alone in my desire to see his airness again. when i arrived at the oakland arena at 7 am there was already a collection of 40+ cars parked in front of the closed parking lot. yes, there were cars that had parked on the 880 off ramp and joined them-- stopping my car in the middle of the street leading to the arena.

now this was an extremely unusual sight to me but i've heard that raiders fans will often park their cars in this fashion before starting their tailgate parties within the lot. fearing i would fall asleep and miss the onsale, i started reading and was able to an hour of time before the gates were opened. what happened next was very surreal-- as the gates were opened it was as if i was transported into a demented biathlon. all of the cars that had been parked outside were now racing to the box office, driving through the parking lot gates at speeds exceeding 60mph. car after car parked ahead of me and i could see drivers and passengers making a mad dash to the ticket office to queue.

after grabbing my cell phone (and locking my door) i raced up the hill towards the box office. (ok, racing is a relative term-- I'm much faster when i'm not running UPHILL). as i reached the box office i was slightly disappointed to see that i was probably the 150th person in line.... but as i looked back i noticed that about 400 people were now behind me in line-- and the box office wasn't scheduled to open for another hour and a half. as i looked around i saw three different acquaintances from college who were also in line. larry, a friend from taiwan was actually five spots behind me in line but had been waiting in line since 4:30 in the morning. i guess i just had a faster 'biathlon" time despite starting behind him in the pack. =p

i called my friend, wyman, to detail the madness and he said that he was on his way to join me in our attempt for tickets. misery loves company you know. as we waited the warriors began to distribute materials describing their mini game plans, packages with popular games that are marketed to help increase attendance "with value". as i looked them over i noticed that each package now included the washington wizards when they hadn't previously. uh oh. this was the perfect opportunity for the warriors to sell more mini plans (often with 7 or 13 games) because it was a guaranteed way for fans to watch jordan. i had even bought a plan 3 years ago from the warriors (during jordan's last season) to see him live before he retired. it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out-- the warriors were going to hoard the tickets and force people to buy mini plans.

i just hoped that they would release enough tickets so that i could get some-- i didn't wake up at 6 am for nothing, did i?

after wyman arrived i explained my theory to him and then we ran into morris, an old high school/college buddy who i haven't seen in a year. (yes, i let both morris and wyman cut in line-- the people behind me didn't raise a stink, so i couldn't NOT let them in line, right?) we were able to catch up and i truly enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with him again.

shortly thereafter, the moment that we were all looking forward to was upon us.... the box office was officially open. before you knew it rumors were abound-- there were only 30 wizards tickets available. the maximum number you could purchase wasn't 4 but rather 2... there are only a couple of tickets left. as the line moved slowly i seriously doubted that i was going to be turned away unhappy. they're going to sell at least 600 tickets right? they aren't going to let the 1500 people who had woken up early to get in line walk away unhappy are they?

a friend of mine, tim, was 50 spots ahead of me in line and had offered to buy me some lakers tickets because he had only planned to buy the tix for the wiz. i graciously declined but was severely disappointed when he returned from the ticket window to tell us that he was only allowed to buy 1 ticket for the game. not only had they sold out the wizards tickets but he couldn't even take a friend to the game with him. that sucks ass! he was bummed out but understood his relative good fortune-- the rest of us wouldn't even be able to watch jordan alone-- unless, of course, it was from the comfort of our living rooms. i purchased a couple of sets of tickets for the lakers and was only mildly disappointed. i guess i'll have to schedule a road trip to go see jordan now. =p

after running a couple of errands, i drove into berkeley and had lunch with an old coworker at la note, a french eatery that was attached to a jazz school. i think during the afternoons one can enjoy a cup of coffee and musicians practicing at the same time. that's a pretty cool concept. the food wasn't bad and it was great to catch up with yet another friend. i had some eggs, home fries and some chicken apple sausages... yum yum yum.

as i drove to wyman's place for a housewarming bbq/party i let out a vicious yawn... this was going to be a looooong day. wyman's abode, which he was sharing with some high school friends was a pretty cool place filled with tons of video games and dvds. and i thought that i had a lot of media. aside from having some tasty food and drinks the big goal for me was to get wyman's entire apartment wired to the internet. although i failed miserably i think that he appreciated my attempt at reconfiguring their computers and dsl routers. (editor's note: could i help it that his dsl provider configuration system was different than mine, rendering all of my accumulated knowledge useless?) i as left wyman's party humbled by his network, it was 8pm. boy, i could use a nap.

but rest was not in the cards... i drove to pick up ian (an avid reader of this humble blog) for his birthday dinner at the house of prime rib. we arrived at the restaurant early on time for our 9pm reservation but it appeared from the busy waiting area that they were very behind in seating guests. although i was still a bit full from the collection of desserts at wyman's i was able to enjoy a delicious english cut of prime rib with a terrific wine. (editors note 2: i don't really know how to evaluate wine but i'll assert that any wine over $75 is a fine wine until i learn otherwise.)

after a dinner and a lengthy chat we took our small gathering over to jeff's where we decided to play poker. i don't know about you but i've never been lucky enough to play poker with the "guys" so my grasp of the different permutations and games was pretty lacking. we played hand after hand of different games from the traditional seven card stud to strikeout and heaven & hell but one thing was pretty constant. i wasn't winning. =) thankfully we were only playing for nickels and dimes so my damage wasn't too bad.

we finished up at about 4 o'clock in the morning and i finally got into bed at 4:30. even after getting a good 5 hours of sleep this morning most of my day was spent in naps... i think i earned a day off though. =)

Thursday, September 27, 2001

talk about a great story.... homeless couple wins million dollar contest from mcdonalds... moves from cardboard box to beachside home... but not everyone always lives happily ever after

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

yet another beautiful day in san francisco... i spent most of my day today downtown at moscone center where the annual Seybold conference was being held. the theme of the show was 'designbuildcommunicate' at it was focused towards folks in new media. although i don't really fall into that group i went to go check it out anyways. at the very least hopefuly i'd learn some new things about web design/graphics or get some cool t-shirts, right? =p
the show itself was pretty plain. there weren't really any cool gizmos or software packages that i was particularily fascinated by. adobe was offering some free workshops, which i thought was pretty cool-- but in general too much of the show was dedicated to things like oversized color printers and digital rights management. talk about booooooooring. i guess i'm going to have to find a way to go to comdex or linuxworld-- where the true computer geeks hang out. then i'll get to rub elbows with the true dorks-- not these artsy-fartsy folks.
i guess that it for now. hmm... i think i need to finish my journal of my china adventure... i can feel my memory chip starting to fade...

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

i don't think i'll ever understand san francisco's weather. after waiting for the sun all day sunday (during the alice now and zen concert) to no avail-- scattered applause broke out when the sun finally broke through the clouds, I was surprised as hell when we were hit by a lightning storm yesterday. in fact, just to be extra secure, i turned off my computer and prayed that my surge protectors would keep my modest computer alive.

and today? not a single cloud in the sky... a gorgeous day of awesome proportions. makes me want to quit job hunting permanently and just sit outside in the nice weather and panhandle. which makes me wonder why there are so many homeless folks in my neighborhood, the sunset. i've noticed during my daily strolls that there are probably 5 people residing on irving street now. i think that the city government's downtown clean-up efforts have just pushed the homeless into the neighborhoods. i don't think anyone is benefiting from that.

giants playoff tickets go onsale tomorrow. although i hate to admit that i'm wrong it looks like barry bonds is going to break mcgwire's single season home run record. although my contempt for bonds has decreased with his class handling of his record pursuit-- i can't help but feel for mcgwire. NOT. mac is as big of a prick as anyone and his "about face" when he became america's sweetheart was a total sham. ah, if only i could get away with having the ego of a athlete. =)

not feeling very chatty today... maybe i'll write more later.

Saturday, September 22, 2001

wassup folks... i don't usually reflect or reread these entries after i've written them but i think that i should step back a little on a position that i expressed during the last blogs. i think that the outpouring of support and nationalism that has been shown by our country is an outstanding tribute to america. i only hope that these feelings and the mobilization of volunteer and charitable efforts is sustained. i hope that people continue to treat each other with respect and charity long after the wounds of september eleventh have healed. otherwise we will have lost one of the few gifts that we have found during this crisis.

some links for you to consider:
passengers being removed from their flights because of their nationalities.
greek soccer fans booing during a moment of silence and burning american flags
the federal government's increasing interest in monitoring all email and websites used by its citizens.

some things to keep in mind....

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

i just found this article on osama bin laden... if he's behind the attacks on nyc and dc we may be in for a serious battle...
i got my new driver's license today... with brand new holograms and double-picture protection. I feel so secure now... you can read more about the license here and here.

i have to admit that i tend to be emotionally and philosophically swayed by what i read in "alternative" media. i guess this feeling of distrust of was first taught to me by my middle school teacher, frank foreman, who would constantly encourage us to "question authority". i always took authority to mean the government, big business and the traditional media powers. hammer, my journalism teacher didn't necessarily teach us to think like revolutionaries but rather as journalists, constantly evaluating the world's events and the media's coverage of important issues.

i guess when i had arrived at college i had a good understanding of the importance of critical thinking and i think my focus on economics, business and asian american studies had a profound influence on how i see the world today. this long winded introduction wasn't meant to bore you but rather provide a preface to my reaction as i read this week's issue of the san francisco bay guardian.

the articles inside this issue dealt heavily with the horrific events of september eleventh but with a different, scary angle-- fear of escalation and knowledge that in at least some way-- we've brought these horrific events upon ourselves. from the funded training of terrorist groups to the mismanagement of middle east and international policies-- we can't bear to acknowledge that others around the world hate us for our policies and for our blatant disregard for the international community. (take a look at the chinese after the spy plane incident or america's refusal to pay its united nations dues) i am not saying that we deserve to be attacked but each of us has to look closely at our nation's behaviors and understand the perspective of our enemies.

i know that a wave of nationalism and unity has come over our country but i think that lots of people forget that patriotism isn't measured by the number of flags that you have on your lawn or the candles that you light after a tragedy. i couldn't help but shake my head as i read a full page ad in the paper from the ceo of boys toys, a strip club, who wanted to express his sorrow to the victims and their families. i'm sorry but i think that is a bit much- i like my purveyors of skin and sex to stay silent on most political topics (larry flint is excused, of course).

patriotism isn't something that develops overnight. patriots make it their business to stay informed, to vote and in almost all cases, patriots question authority and encourage debate. now, i'm no revolutionary but i would be hesitant to grant george w. bush-- full authority to declare war on any entity that he deems responsible for this horrific act. this is how wars like vietnam are started-- when the president no longer has to answer to congress or to the will of the country.

the afghan people are used to the brutality and horror of war. although many americans have blood lust-- i doubt they fully understand the costs that we may be forced to pay should we enter a war. we need to find the groups responsible for the bombings and bring them to justice-- but we need to all brace for the rocky road that looms ahead.

Monday, September 17, 2001

its almost been a week since the attacks on our country and it looks like the country is starting to regain some sense of normalcy. the stock market opened today to a predicted drop and network television has moved back to its regularly scheduled collection of commercials and worthless television.

this weekend was probably a challenge for everyone-- each of us trying to remind our brains that smiles are a beautiful part of life and that all happy thoughts don't need to be filtered. i spent saturday evening with a group of college friends and it was difficult for us to think about the lives that we had known before tuesday, september 11th. we had dinner at a popular italian place called buca di beppo's, which is known for its lively atmosphere and family style dining. although it felt awkward at first, the frequent choruses of happy birthday and going to the chapel that surrounded us as we ate were strangely therapeutic. as a group we had an opportunity to embrace and to reflect on the blessings that we shared. the bonds of brotherhood and friendship forged over the past 7+ years meant a great deal to all of us, especially in these vulnerable times.

i've gotten a lot of email about the attacks but none of them have been as important to me as the ones from my friends in the new york area. their well-written reflections and observations of the contrasting chaos and solidarity that they have lived through has been very insightful. i know that each of them has grown in character during the past week. i salute their efforts and their strength during this difficult period.

yesterday, i took the written entrance examination for the san francisco fire department. i have heard that approximately 5000 people took the exam yesterday and their seemed to be an underlying silence as we waited in registration lines for 45 minutes. clearly, the sacrifices made by the fallen new york firefighters had an impact on the applicants that had assembled on this foggy san francisco sunday. personally, i don't think that the world trade center deaths have affected my interest in firefighting negatively or positively but it was clear from yesterday's silence that all of the prospective firefighters had new york's finest in their minds and in their hearts.

i don't know if you can measure someone's heroic potential from the personality inventory tests that we were given yesterday-- or if those tests were even necessary after last week's events.

Friday, September 14, 2001

hey kids. i just donated $10 bucks to the red cross relief efforts at my local bank-- courtesy of my unemployment check. how fitting.

i hate cover letters. i'm stuck on one and i can't seem to get over my writer's block. i can't imaging how the working world is dealing with this crisis-- having to do _your_ job and deal with the tragedy seems a bit much to me.

the american flags have started to sprout on my block. my folks even bought a small one from the neighborhood walgreens yesterday. i can't say that i've ever seen them buy a flag before. its interesting to see the solidarity and support that a tragedy can bring.

i've been getting a bunch of emails asking for me to turn on my headlights or to hang a flag outside my house. despite the cause, i can't help but cringe whenever i get one of these "support the cause" emails-- because they seem to accompany everything from gas prices to protesting the winner of survivor. i'll show my support for america and for our great people in my own way, thanks.

i've got a red-white-blue planet hollywood jersey that is perfect for this occasion. as i play a long lost trey lorenz album, i am remembering happy, innocent days and looking forward to restoring that joy in better days to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

it seems like the following events are etched in my mind whenever i think of the world trade center tragedy:

i was traveling to a business meeting and had to take the PATH train to new jersey. as i got off the subway to transfer underneath the world trade center i couldn't help but be overwhelmed with the hordes of business people around me-- walking to their offices, entering their trains-- people everywhere. i would later comment to my coworker that it seemed like i was in the center of a different world. standing still while the world just past by me-- people moving in every single direction, moving with efficiency to their destinations.

between 1999 and 2000, i had been to new york about 4 times and it seemed like during each trip i found myself at the wtc or the neighborhood directly outside the buildings. whether it was walking though the snow to get into one of the tower buildings or cooling off by the courtyard's fountain-- it occurs to me that my new york experiences are tied closely to the twin towers. tuesday's blast has only galvanized those memories. looking over new york from the top of the tallest building in america-- fighting hard to stop from being blown over by tremendous winds... hanging out at the windows of the world bar-- spending $8 for a corona, teasing albert about the friends that he had made in the city...sitting alone in the plaza after purchasing half-priced broadway tickets eating a 6 pack of krispy kreme donuts-- then embarrassingly greeting my cousin, who just happened to be returning to her office after lunch.

now i'll never have to worry about forgetting about those moments.

my mind is also drawn to the late nineties movie with denzel washington and bruce willis called, the siege. an otherwise unexceptional movie, the film deals with a new york that has fallen victim to terrorist attacks. the plot deals with the manhunt for the responsible parties but also deals with the loss of america's civil liberties. i can't help but notice the similarities.

for an exceptional first hand account of tuesday's events check out this log.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

we all have different ways of healing.

right now all i want to do is move on with my life and try to put the horrible events in new york and washington behind me. not that i will not mourn our collective losses or that i will ever forget the terrible events but i need to think about something other than the tragedy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

i cannot remember ever waking up more scared. as i had been sleeping the voice inside my radio alarm had been talking about something but the words did not shake me from my slumber. the words, "plane crash and world trade center" didn't seem to make any sense. only after i got a call on my cell phone did i fully comprehend what had happened this morning-- a terrorist group had hijacked multiple planes crashing them into the world trade center and the pentagon.

my thoughts immediately went to my cousin, patricia, who i had ran into outside her workplace randomly last summer, outside the world trade center. shocked and stunned, i didn't even want to call her home to ask if she was ok. i didn't want to have to ask my aunt if she was safe-- she had to be safe, right? things like this don't hurt those that we love. as i started to watch the television coverage i started to think about all of my friends who had moved to new york. certainly they would not be involved-- they didn't work in that district, right?

but you can never be sure about how cruel fate can be. one by one i received calls from friends asking about other friends-- asking for phone numbers, sharing good news-- it appears that my friends were safe. my dad raised up the courage to call my cousin's home and we were ecstatic to hear her voice. she had the good fortune of being on vacation this week. i haven't felt so lucky in a long, long time.

emails from former coworkers and friends depict scary stories of chaos and damage that are unbelievable. for some reason i don't find myself consumed in anger-- instead i find myself filled with concern and with shock. almost like a child in disbelief. i have been on 7 different airplane flights in 3 weeks-- i could have been on one of those flights. i don't know if things will ever be the same for me again. this really places things in perspective.

Monday, September 10, 2001

hey kids... hope you all had a great weekend. for those of you who haven't seen my first photo album yet-- here is a link to my pictures from shanghai. i've got about 250 pictures from my trip that i've split into different albums. i think that i'll release one or two albums every week just so i don't overwhelm you with my collection of crooked pictures!

this weekend i was lucky enough to have dinner with a bunch of college and high school friends who i haven't seen in about 3 years. it was a total treat to hang out and to catch up with the different folks. after dinner at tai pan on market street we went to a korean bar in japantown. i can't say that my first time trying soju was that awesome but i guess the yogurt/flavoring is an interesting way of masking the alcohol taste.

props to kev and nancy on their good news!

i installed a second hard drive in my computer today and have been making the most of my new storage space by downloading illegal movies.... hmm-- maybe its time for me to start looking for work again. =)

alright... i've got to start working on filling in my china journal. madonna was terrific, bonds is a home run hitting bastard, and i'll write another entry before you know it.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

ah... i'm finally home! i've spent most of the day attending to errands... getting a new driver's license, visiting the bank and the library, unpacking, etc. so much junk mail has piled up over the past three weeks. i uploaded a bunch of my pics to ofoto yesterday but i don't think that I'll be able to attach a generic link to the photos from my site.

to ensure that you get to see my photo albums-- send me an email so that i can send you an invite to my various albums. tonight is the big night... madonna is in town. i've heard good response from the folks who went yesterday so i'm even more excited. totally cool!

Wednesday, September 05, 2001

almost home... i've spent the last few days in vancouver, canada... quite a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of hong kong... have spent the last 24 hours freaking out about the computer problems my uncle is having... home can't come quickly enough....

i guess i should postdate this entry...

reports of my departure from asia seem to be premature... as i type this i am sitting in the brand new hong kong airport at a eatery that has free internet. (was this an important factor in my choosing the spot-- you know it) i've got about another hour to burn before my flight even boards so i need all of the time killers i can get.

i don't even know if i will be able to get on this flight. chances are that i won't be able to get on the plane standby and i'll have to drag my butt back on the airport shuttle in the rain. today there was an 'amber storm' warning which means that schoolchildren don't have to go to school. again, i always seem to bring bad weather to hk. the other night when i visited a family friend alone-- we had a 'black rain' storm which means it was raining like there was no tomorrow. i had to walk though a couple of intersections which were completely flooded-- no fun there. waiting at the bus stop while getting wet from oncoming traffic for 20 minutes was no fun either. i could of took a taxi but then the stories that i would have of the hong kong rain experience would be pretty lame.

i think i took care of all of my gift and postcards finally... steve, you'll have to wait for your postcard-- i forgot to write your address in my notebook. sorry, holmes. the coolest thing about this new airport is the airport express train that delivers you from hong kong island in 23 minutes flat. the best part is that business travelers and passengers can actually check in at the train facility before they get to the airport. that way you don't have to drag all of your bags around the train terminal and you can even drop off your bags early--- imagine going straight from your meeting to the airport-- with nothing to carry. very cool stuff.

in news that is not so cool. the cal bears football team lost its opening game. in other bad news the hoops team's star recruit doens't seem to be academically eligible. honestly, the current state of cal sports may help my decision to move abroad! =p

i really hope i catch this plane. i don't want to have to deal with the whole airport customs stuff again. it is the one part of traveling that bothers me most. i guess that is it for now. with some luck you'll see some pictures the next time i update this log-- pictures and a more complete recap and journal of my china trip.

or i could have to carry my bags home in the rain. =((((((((((((((