grey marble

November 30, 2004

Thanksgiving roundup

I arrived home Thursday night. The train took about as long as it was supposed to; the traffic out of New Haven was heavy, but cleared just outside the city lines. That night my parents made duck and fish and string beans. It was delicious. The stuffing didn't come until the next night.

Friday afternoon we climbed into the car and drove to New Jersey. The traffic was, for the most part, light. My cousin Chang had invited the family over for Thanksgiving dinner. We brought a turkey; his wife cooked a turkey. Everybody else brought a little bit of this and that. By the time the 40 of us had sat down to dinner, I was stuffed on appetizers. But there was the turkey to try (eaten like Peking duck with the meat rolled up in a tortilla) and soup to sample and, later, cookies and pies to sweaten the deal.

Between meals, we had our gift exchange. Ruthless trading abounded. Three Shrek 2 DVDs appeared. At the end I had a $20 gift certificate to Best Buy; and then there was the final trade. I ended up trading for the Citizen Kane DVD that I had brought myself.

The next morning there were chocolate chip pancakes and munchkin donut holes. After breakfast we drove en masse to Chang's parents' house, less than an hour away. The parents had eaten their own lunch; on the table was leftover lobster. Dan and I sat down and didn't get up until the lobster was done. It was fantastic.

Everyone decided to stay another night. We went to a Brazillian restaurant where I learned that rodizio was the type of food they served and not the name of the place. I had shrimp. I couldn't fathom eating more meat.

Later, the cousins 30 and under went bowling. I was the token silverback. In the first game I bowled a 121, though our team lost by 19. Rebecca, after bowling backwards, managed two strikes in a row thereafter. In the second game, I eeked out a 100, and our team lost by a much more significant margin. We were the last ones in the place. They had already begun cleaning the lanes as we bowled.

Friday morning everyone left early to beat the traffic. Still, that night there were stories of marathon delays and bumper to bumper traffic. An interestate in Ohio was closed for 2 hours. Trips that usually took two hours doubled in time. On the east coast rain followed the families home as they drove to Connecticut and Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In New York it had cleared by three in the afternoon and the sun began to shine. But walking the streets of my neighborhood and seeing how restaurants have already enclosed their entranceways, I sense that winter is already upon us.
Posted by eugene at

November 29, 2004


Saturday night after another evening of excessive eating (marking three evenings in a row) my under-30 cousins went bowling. I was the token silverback. We split into two teams of three. In the first game I managed a 121, though our team lost by 19 points in the end. In the second I bowled a 100, but we got creamed. Rebecca, who at one point threw the ball backwards, managed to bowl two straight strikes afterwards. Alas, she was on the other team. Posted by eugene at

November 23, 2004


Last night Kit gave me the soundtrack to 2046 along with a book of stills from the production that came out last week. While I don't want to spoil the movie, I can't help it. I just put the CD on to listen to. I hope I don't hate myself for doing so when I finally see the film.

Last week DVD's of the film were on sale in Chinatown. The soundtrack was dubbed into Mandarin so I passed. Kit said that when she was looking for the DVD a few days ago she couldn't find it at all. Hm. Posted by eugene at

Pina Bausch

On Sunday I called Dennis to ask him what time we should meet at BAM. He had given me tickets to Pina Bausch a few months ago. He called me back and told me he had gone the night before. He had given me those tickets because a friend of his had extras for Saturday night and so he didn't need his Sunday matinee tickets. O.

The C train wasn't running and so I ran late. The performance had just started by the time I ran to the theater from the subway stop. The ushers let me sit in the back. The stage was stark white, with doorways reminiscent of a large empty room. The performance was great, though the first half held my attention better than the second. So now I've seen the two performers who are featured in Almodovar's Talk to Her. I feel the circle is now complete. Posted by eugene at

November 22, 2004

Touching the Void

Yesterday I rented Touching the Void, a docudrama about two climbers who suffer a near-fatal accident while climbing in the Peruvian Andes. Kit and I began the movie. Tulip walked into the living room and stood transfixed. I asked Tulip if she wanted to sit down, but she said no. She had to go. She put on her coat and stood by the door, watching. Soon she took off her coat and sat down.

Today, while flipping channels I saw it running PBS. The imdb notes that the television premiere was today. Would that I had known a day ago. Posted by eugene at

November 20, 2004

Hoop dreams

Thursday afternoon David asked me if I wanted to see a movie. He was playing hooky and wanted to spend the afternoon at the theater. I was meeting George and then going to B&H but I told him I'd meet him afterwards. We went and saw Finding Neverland (note that there are links to my reviews of the last five movies I've seen in the right hand column).

Afterwards we went back to his house. We played a few games of basketball on his Playstation; he trouned me. Then he wanted to watch the Rockets game and he put the Rockets game beside the computer game on his plasma tv. I said I felt like I was in a sports bar. He said he was amazed that he would sometimes watch my game instead of the live game.

When I left he lent me his Sega Dreamcast. He could only find the basketball game; I said that's all I was interested in. I'm planning on training so I can beat him next time.

Last night I went out with Kit and Eric to see Days of Being Wild at the Film Forum (review tk); it has easily jumped to one of the top spots on my list of favorite movies. After I came home and Tulip went to bed, I started up the Dreamcast. This morning, Tulip said she had had a dream that I was up late playing video games. She was right. I was up until five thirty a.m. Posted by eugene at

November 16, 2004

Sound looping

Kit called me last week to ask me what I was doing on Monday. Her friends were calling in favors they had done for her. They were looking for a male voice to speak Chinese to loop into a scene of a film they were working on. She had offered, but they had wanted a male voice, specifically. She asked if I could help her out. I said, "sure." I was to play a taxi dispatcher.

Last night she told me to meet her on the corner of Varick and Houston. She emerged from the subway and we walked to the studio, just down the block. An original mini was parked outside the building, causing a stir.

The studio slowly filled with people. There were a number of scenes to loop, one being a party scene. A man led Kit and I into a separate room to watch the scene we were looping. I had thought it would be a student film and was surprised to find Michael Keaton on the screen.

He sat in the back of a cab as the driver argued into space. Kit and I listened to the scene a few times to determine what he was saying. The driver complained about working too many hours, and needing to sleep for seven hours before his next shift. He lived in Queens.

Kit and I developed dialogue around what the driver said and then we went into the studio to record. I did a few takes and then walked to the control room. I flipped through the sheet of scenes they were looping and then, since we were there, they asked us to loop a few more scenes. And so Kit and I walked back into the studio and recorded ad-lib a scene between a short order cook and a waitress in a diner, and a scene between two friends crossing the street. We talked about Cherry.

Afterwards we ate at Tomoe. Kit joked that we were now just two degrees separated from Michael Keaton. Or at least our voices are. Posted by eugene at

November 15, 2004

Sunday food fest

Yesterday Guillemette called me to tell me she was still at brunch. We had planned to meet at 1.30 for coffee so that I could give her some things that Ed had left for her. She called at 2.30. The brunch was at Catherine's and so she invited me over.

There were piles of cakes. Catherine had made tiramisu and a pear and almond tart (and apparently a quiche). Pia had made a thin crust tart. Someone had brought a cheesecake from a well known bakery that sat around the corner. Croissants were stacked in the middle of the table.

I had gone with the intent merely to drop off the items for Guillemette. I had to be at Maki's at five, and still had to drop by Borders to buy a book of floral prints. But then Catherine offered me a mimosa and offered to take my coat. I stayed and sampled the sweets before saying my goodbyes. Today Guillemette leaves for France for three weeks. Catherine follows on Friday.

I was the first to arrive at Maki's. She told me that Teru wouldn't be coming until nine and that her other friends were coming around six thirty. I offered to leave and come back. Instead I stayed and chatted and watched as she wrapped bacon around scallops. John arrived and then her brother came home. Gigi showed up just as the scallops were coming out of the oven. They were delicious. Posted by eugene at

November 13, 2004

L.A. to N.Y.

For breakfast Sophia suggested we stop by a Chinese bakery in Alhambra. It was closed. She took me to another and then to a nearby Tea Station for drinks. When we reached Irvine she asked if I wanted to eat first or go to the office. We drove by the Japanese place to find it closed on Mondays. "I guess we're going to the office, then?" I said.

We worked on various projects. Sophia on the company catalogue, me on some Palgrave mechanicals. Her brothers came by and we went out for Thai. On returning to the office, her neices and nephews had arrived. They invaded our office and wandered around while I tried to fix the color balance on their digital camera.

As we left Sophia asked if I minded stopping by their house. Her brother was replacing the headlights in her car for her birthday. She showed me the house and the beautiful Japanese style room that she designed. In her room I admired the carpet she had stitched together from various skins. Soon it was time for dinner and her sister-in-law called us down. They had gone to a local Japanese place and picked up a bunch of things. Her sister had made a soup.

After dinner Cherry called. She had just returned to New York and was calling to see how I was. She was happy that everyone liked each other at the wedding and was surprised how much fun she had after dreading it for so long. We chatted for a while before she went to bed, and then Sophia and I drove back to Alhambra.

The next day she asked if I wanted to go to the Norton Simon museum. I had toast for breakfast and then we set off. The museum was closed. We toured Art Center instead on the hills of Pasadena and then went to Jimmy's house where he had just finished baking bran muffins. We sat and chatted until his wife came home and then went to dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant.

Wednesday found us back at Jimmy's. He needed help setting up a shoot for a Triple A brochure. He wanted us to move his mattresses from his bedroom to the top of his truck to illustrate the wrong way to load something. It took all afternoon for hiim to shoot and gain approval. In the end they decided to go in another direction.

I read comic books while we waited. A Batman comic book and then a book called Metropolis, about the end of the world. Jimmy made sandwiches and potato salad for dinner. Kelly came home to find us sprawled around her living room. She ate while we chatted and then Sophia and I went home.

We picked up Pakin and went to a bar in Chinatown. One restaurant advertised itself as the place they shot Rush Hour. I wondered where they had shot the Roman Polanski film. The bar was in a converted restaurant. The walls bled red. Laterns that looked like insects hung from the ceiling.

We had a drink and went home. Pakin had to work in the morning and I had learned that my flight was an hour and a half earlier than I had previously thought.

Thursday we got up and went to lunch at a Hainanese chicken place. From the outside it looked like an Italian restuarant, advertising pizza and pasta. We sat on the sidewalk. The day was clear and warm. On board the airplane they told us that the weather in New York would be in the 40s. Not too bad. I settled in and watched the tv monitors, broadcasting television shows and then the movie, I Robot.

Approaching New York, the plane went into a steeper descent than I was accustomed to. The man next to me freaked out a little. The sisters next to me watched him and chuckled to themselves. When we landed, he clapped his hands and muttered his thanks.

The night was cool but refreshing after the flight. I gathered my bags and took the train into the city. Emerging from the Spring Street station, I walked the rest of the way home. Posted by eugene at

November 12, 2004

Wedding day to L.A.

I had thought the wedding would be in the desert, the arid plains surrounding us. In fact it was in an oasis created by the Furnace Creek Inn. From the ranch we could see palm trees rising in the desert, the inn situated on a rise above. The ceremony was short and sweet. Jonathan did a reading; a glass was broken, they were married.

For the next hour we climbed above the gardens for a cocktail hour. I snuck a peek at the banquet room, which was lit with candles. The settings and floral arrangements were beautiful. Dinner was a buffet; a live band played swing tunes while we waited and ate. The band played the hora and Cherry and Eric were lifted into the air. Cherry's head almost hit the chandelier. After dinner, the band began to play some 70s and 80s songs and I danced with Kit and with Cherry.

The evening seemed short. After dinner people drifted away or decided to sit outside. It was warmer outside; air conditioning had turned the room cold. We said our goodbyes knowing we'd meet again in the morning for brunch. Back at the ranch, I asked Ramsey for what time he was setting the alarm. Seven-thirty he told me. He was planning to go horseback riding and asked if I wanted to join. I said yes.

The two hour ride loped up back and around the inn. The horses were old and taught to walk in a line. The day was overcast but warm. The trail was well marked out and the guides told us facts about the area. Upon our return they pointed towards the mountains at a small dark hill. "Looks like a dinosaur laying down, don't it?" they asked. It did.

Brunch was, like dinner, a buffet. We chatted and ate and asked each other when we were leaving and how they were getting home. Kit and John and I said goodbye to Ramsey and Eddie in the parking lot and then headed for the road. Most of the Ferrari's left over from the convention had left. We had noticed the them in the parking lot before and remarked that the clientele at the hotel must be rich before Cherry told us about the convention of Ferrari owners that convened at the inn every two years.

The drive to L.A. was long. It rained off and on as we climbed out of the valley, but by the time we arrived in Los Angeles the skies had mostly cleared. We stopped at In'n'Out by the airport before dropping off John. Then Kit and I drove to Alhambra and to Sophia's house. She was watching Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with Pakin when we arrived. We watched and waited for one of Sophia's friends to arrive before Pakin told us he wasn't coming. It was a joke, he said. He would explain it to us later; he never did.

We went to a nearby pho place. Kit was still coughing and looking for soup. We were the last ones to arrive and were the last people in the place.

I didn't hear Kit leave the next morning. She left a note for Sophia and I left a message on her cell phone to call me when she arrived in New York. Sophia said she had work to do for her family and so we climbed into the car and set off for Irvine and the promise of good Japanese food. Posted by eugene at

To Vegas and into Death Valley

I am back in New York and somewhat unmotivated. Yesterday the skies were clear in Los Angeles; the day was warm. Today in New York the skies are grey and a cold rain falls upon the city.

I left a week ago for Las Vegas, arriving at night. The city was lit up on the horizon, seemingly built right beside the runway. We taxiied to the gate and the airline attendants made their customary welcoming remarks. In the baggage claim area, advertisements boomed over the speakers as giant tv screens bombarded us with images of the city at its most elegant and debaucherous.

My taxi driver was a transplant from LA. She had been in Vegas as long as I had been in New York. We drove on the highway past the strip to the downtown area of Vegas, the old Vegas. Our hotel was beside that of the Binion's where the poker championships are held. I walked in and found Kit and John huddled in a small Asian restaurant. She was eating soup. They slipped me the key to the room and I dropped off my bags.

That night we met up with some of their friends and went to the Peppermill. Flames danced on a small pool of water. Music videos played on tv screens scattered around the room. A basketball game had taken over one of the screens at the bar. Our waitress brought drinks and Kit caught up with their friends. They missed New York, they said, but not the struggle. In Vegas they could afford a house and two cars. They had moved because he had found work playing bass for the Blue Man Group. Her last gig was doing productiong for the Dave Mathews Band. We rode to and from the bar in their van. They said they felt suburban, but they needed the space for his equipment.

The next morning we had breakfast at Blueberry Hill, a pancake joint off the strip. We met Eddie's mother and sister and sat in a booth that almost could have accomodated one more party of three. We ordered pancakes and toast and omlettes and waited for the food to arrive. Eddie left with his family for the Venetian. We said we'd catch up later. The food took forever.

Back at the hotel we checked out. Kit and John and I followed Ramsey to the Venetian, and then we decided to go to the Fashion Mall. Kit needed a dress for the evening's rehearsal dinner. Ramsey left to join Eddie.

When we left the city we drove north and then east. We trusted in John until he realized we were heading for Utah, having missed the chance to stop by In'n'Out before leaving. We turned around and back-tracked to Vegas before we could turn west for California and Death Valley. Look at the map, I noticed that roads were scarce out in the desert.

We arrived at our hotel nearing six thirty. It was pitch black and the drive down into the valley had been slightly trecherous. At one point I looked out the window and saw a sign illuminated by our headlights: "Elevation, 200 feet below sea level." I could almost feel the weight of the air increase around me.

At the rehearsal dinner we teared as Eric's mom offered a toast to the couple. We drank and ate and chatted amongst ourselves. We left near eleven, too late to make use of the pool. I was exhausted and went back to the ranch with Ramsey and Eddie to sleep. Kit called on a friend to offer her accupuncture for her cold and sore throat. She was losing her voice. Afterwards, John went to the pub.

The next morning we ate at the restaurant at the ranch. Walking in we found the place overrun with wedding guests. We had pancakes and Texas toast and coffee and orange juice and biscuits and gravy. After flipping through the brochures we decided to go on a hike in the desert. The canyons proved too far and Ramsey, Kit, Eddie, and I found ourselves on a short 1/2 mile hike around a dry streambed. Beginning in February, pupfish can be found in the waters, but there was little activity around us save for other tourists. Kit and I talked about going on a longer hike only to hear Ramsey behind us suggest going back to the ranch to soak in the pool.

The water was fed from a thermal spring and proved warmer than the air temperature. It was like swimming in a bath. We sat and soaked. Posted by eugene at

November 4, 2004

Concerts and coasts

Last night I met Sasha for the first time. We had been working together on Sticker shock and just realized how close we were to each other. I had plans to meet Jean later at the Bowery Ballroom to see Colder, but we caught a drink at Double Happiness before the show.

Jean was late. Her train was delayed. But the show was fun, and we each took posts at opposite ends of the balcony to take pictures.

Now I'm frantically trying to wrap things up and pack. My flight leaves at three.

Links: Stickershock, Jean.
Photos: Colder at Bowery Ballroom. Posted by eugene at

November 2, 2004

A change is gonna come

I voted this morning. It took an hour and fifteen minutes. There was no line, however, for the booths at district 18 were empty. Molly appeared just as I was arriving, and later we saw Mike. Mike had moved to Sullivan, one block away, and found himself in district 18. For him voting was a walk in the park.

Links: In the voting booth. Posted by eugene at


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