grey marble

February 28, 2005

Photographs and memories

My mother is reorganizing her photo albums. She said she pulled them out to see what resemblance (if any) her grandson has to her sons. She didn't find any. But it's still early. She said we all looked fat in our pictures from way back.

Flipping through the stacks I saw pictures of when we lived in Colorado, pictures of when we lived in Texas visiting the beach, pictures of when we lived in California of our back yard and the kid I used to play with every day, pictures of our moves from one place to another, stopping at national parks and attractions. I also saw pictures of my grandparents when they were younger and my father and mother when they were even younger. I saw pictures of the Winnie the Pooh stuffed teddy bear I couldn't be without, and of my father's Dodge Dart, stylin' by some sand dunes. I remember the sand dunes, but not where they are.

On Sunday we attended a memorial service for Georgia's mom. There, there were more pictures in albums and in two slideshows projected in their family room and in their living room. A Buddhist scripture hung in a frame beside a picture of Auntie Lee. There were pictures of the family in China, in Italy, on a Cruise. There were pictures of the family celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations. I saw uncles and aunts I haven't seen in over a year and their children, some of whom I didn't recognize. We all talked, ate, and caught up with each other, meeting as if for the first time.

Leaving the house, my mom wanted to go to the mall. There, we ran into the I's at Filene's. They had left the Lee's moments before we did. Aunt I said there was nothing to buy and they left. David and I made arrangements to take the Chinatown bus back to New York. We strolled for half and hour before going home.

On the Chinatown bus, David said that there's a Cantonese belief that you're not supposed to go home directly after a funeral or wake. You're supposed to go to a cafe and have tea or go shopping or go somewhere else. And then he realized that's why his mother was so adamant that they go to the mall.

We rode home in the dark. There was no movie on the bus. When we arrived in Chinatown we went to XO Kitchen for congee. David wanted to go home and so we ordered take out. I walked him to the train and he said he'd let me know when Lebron James was playing. He said he'd heat up some of his father's beef noodles and we could watch the game. Posted by eugene at

February 25, 2005


Yesterday I had lunch with Ryan at Rice. We sat at the takeout counter facing the street. On the opposite side we saw a small group of people flanked by a camera crew. "Hey, it's Christina Ricci," he said. "Which one?" I asked. "The girl with the high forehead." She was staring right at us. Posted by eugene at

February 22, 2005

No Soup for You!

I had lunch in K-town. The food was great. The panchan was plentiful. Tofu, kimchee, brine shrimp. I ordered and the waiter brought me miso soup to round out the appetizers. I ate and drank and waited for my soon doo boo. Minutes later the waiter was at my elbow. "Sorry," he said. "The soup is for another table." Then he took it away. Posted by eugene at

February 20, 2005


Shinji's in town. We've been working on a project together for the past six months and I've only just met him three days ago. Last night we got together with a bunch of other Lightstalkers at Bozu in Williamsburg. A small combo played funky jazz while we gathered around the bar and drank sake and shochu and ate delicious bar snacks. Everything was fantastic, if the space became cramped. The part-owner's name is also Shinji and as people came in looking for our party, they inevitably met the owner.
Posted by eugene at


Yesterday I had dollar dumplings in Chinatown. I went to a different place than last time. They were ok. Very doughy. The menu said, "Beijing style." Afterwards I headed uptown to the Whitney. I haven't been in a while and realized yesterday that I really like the space.

I went mainly to se Bill Viola's Five Angels for the Millennium. The piece consists of five videos of water, the surface suddenly broken by figures emerging from it or entering into it. The frames are sometimes run backwards, sometimes inverted. It's a seemingly simple idea, but beautifully executed, and resonant.

The rest of the museum proved less engaging. I walked each floor and admired the openness of the museum, even as I thought how much smaller it is than I remembered it. Afterwards I walked through the park to the west side. The gates were in full effect, but I didn't seem to have a camera lens large enough to encompass it. I met Simone at Edgars for dessert and then a late lunch/early dinner. On the way home we stopped at Fishs Eddy where I bought four glasses for four dollars.
listening to: Happy Together OST
Posted by eugene at

February 18, 2005

Asian language support

Last night I went to a screening of Kung-Fu Hustle at the Sony screeening room. It was ok. I'm not a fan of Stephen Chow. One thing I noticed, which Lillian confirmed, is that increasingly people are speaking their own language in Chinese films. In 2046, characters speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Thai to each other, all without blinking an eye. In Kung Fu Hustle they speak Mandarin and Cantonese. So I experienced the strange sensation of understanding the dialogue in the beginning and then suddenly thinking that my vocabulary had left me completely as the words became intelligible.

The film opens stateside in April. But Lillian said that when she returned home, her mom was brandishing the DVD. She had bought an import in Chinatown for two dollars. Posted by eugene at

February 12, 2005

The Gates part deux

I spent a few hours this afternoon in Central Park, walking from 59th up to 100th along the west side and then back down the east side. Jeanne-Claude and Christo's The Gates project was finally unveiled this morning, and thousands of people came to see them finally unfurled. I emerged from the Columbus Circle subway stop into groups taking photographs. Along the way, workers handed out swatches of the material from which the flags are made. Everyone felt to be in a festive mood. I overheard one person ask another if they had ever seen so many people in the park. "Yes," came the reply, "but only in the summer."
Posted by eugene at


My aunt has a huge Mitsubishi HD TV. My cousin was showing me the features. One feature he forgot was the v-chip. I couldn't watch any show rated over PG. I couldn't watch Seven. I asked my cousin what the password is. He said he didn't know. He found out the chip was active when it locked him out of Friends. He said his mother didn't know the code either. They weren't sure how the chip was turned on.

A few nights ago, tired of being locked out of everything that was on tv after nine at night, I went online and downloaded a pdf manual for a Mitsubishi TV. After scanning the index, I learned that you can over-ride the chip by pressing "9" and "QV" at the same time. I'm a twelve year old no more! Posted by eugene at

February 11, 2005

The Gates

The gates unfurl tomorrow. Anyone want to take a walk with me?
Posted by eugene at

Week wrap up

I've just returned from the west coast. The flight was fine, though on the second flite my seat back was broken and could not be placed in the upright position. All three flight attendants came by to tell me to put it up for take off.

Back in New York it took two hours to get home from the airport. It's now 2.15 in the morning. I took the Supershuttle, but owing to miscommunication there were not enough seats to go around. I had visions of China and stuffing people in the aisles, but the passengers wouldn't have it. Two people were told to wait.

Colorado was fine. I saw my new nephew, who is incredibly tiny. At times, he reminded me of Wallace Shawn. The parents slept most of the time and my parents, the grandparents, couldn't get enough of holding him. I met the fiancee's parents and found her father very interesting. He was a hog farmer, and we chatted about what it's like to be a farmer. And how to raise pigs.

In California, I found my grandmother more frail than the last time I saw her, but not as bad as I had feared. She seemed to grow stronger by the day. And this morning, after three grey days, I took the dog for a walk right before heading to the airport.

On the plane I watched Shall We Dance and had an ok cry. It's been a long time coming. The original is much better and I remember sitting in an almost empty theater in midtown crying my eyes out. The theater is now closed. Then I wrote sonnets.
Posted by eugene at

February 9, 2005

Where prices are . . . INSANE!

I've just returned from Crazy Buffet in San Jose. I'm not a fan of buffet places. I generally don't think the food is all that great. But the one thing buffet places always seem to have is chocolate pudding. I never eat chocolate pudding anymore save at buffets, and I love it. It reminds me of Idaho and of eating chocolate pudding pies out of the back of my mom's station wagon at the base of ski slopes.

My fortune? "Friends long absent are coming back to you." *thrills*
Posted by eugene at

Pickin' up phones like an overworked secretary

A few months ago, Charlotte gave me one of her old phones. It's a Sony Ericcson T68i. I like it; it reminds me of a fish. But it had been dropped one too many times and the volume was stuck. That, and the camera option comes as an attachment. For all that I still like it.

Today, Yohan got a new phone. We were talking about phones and I showed him my phone. He said he had the same phone that he'd give me if I wanted. I said sure; he said it was in L.A. But then he brightened. He said I could have his newest old phone. And so now I have a Sony Ericcson T610. It's just too bad I can't copy over the saved SMS's from the old phone. Or can I? Anyone out there who can tell me how to download SMS's from a phone? Can I bluetooth it?
Posted by eugene at

Happy Chinese New Year!

I spent the day in San Francisco. I had called Yuki last week to let her know I'd be in town and to ask if she wanted to have lunch. She said this week was fine. I called her from the train and we agreed that I would call when I arrived at Fisherman's Wharf (near her new office).

When I arrived, Yuki was nowhere to be found. I called her cell and no one answered. I walked along the tourist strip to Pier 39 and went to look at the sea lions. Their barks filled the air. A small crowd had already gathered. I bought and wrote a postcard and sent it in the mail. I called Yuki and told her I was going to go to the Legion of Honor. I ate at In'N'Out.

During dinner, Yuki called. She said she was free and gave me her address. She said her new office was in a converted movie theater. I'd know the office by the marquee outside.

Inside, the office was built in levels sloping down to where the screen would have been. I thought it was an interesting way to convert the space; Yuki was nonplussed. We walked around in search of lunch before Yuki decided on a Japanese place nearby. I had two pieces of unagi and edamame. Yuki had nabeyaki udon. I asked her about her trip home. She said it was so relaxing she experienced culture shock when returning to SF.

After leaving the restaurant, she pointed me to the 47 bus. One was waiting on the side of the street. Another pulled up, but the driver pointed us to the one behind him. There was no driver. "That one's leaving in two minutes; I'm leaving in ten," he said.

I took the bus around the northern end of the city and then back down Van Ness. At California I transfered to the 1 and rode almost all the way west to the water. Arriving at 32nd, I disembarked and walked up the stairs at the end of the street to find myself on a golf course. I asked a man in a cart the way to the museum. He pointed straight through the fairways and greens. "It's easiest if you just cut through," he said. "There's not too many people playing, but watch your head."

I took the direct route, walking as the crow flies. There were two special exhibits at the museum, Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet! The Bruyas Collection from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier and Windows Facing East: The Japanese Influence on European and American Prints. I had only 45 minutes to tour the exhibits. I was due to be home by 7 for new year's dinner.

Dinner was a huge spread: duck, fish, noodles, soup, meat, crab. We ate and then Yohan brought out a bottle of ice wine he had purchased in Canada. I'm not generally a fan of sweet wines, but this was something different. We toasted each other's health and left the table sated. Gung Xi Fat Chai!
Posted by eugene at

February 3, 2005

In Denver

I slept for an hour or two last night. A few minutes at home around two in the morning, a quick nap in the car to the airport, a moment or two on the plane before and after Fright Night Lights and here I am in Denver. The air is dry, though the temperature is warm. The mother sleeps and so I'm at an internet cafe listening to the All-American Rejects (on its second or third repeat play) sandwiched between a woman reading from a mimeographed sheet on "The Evangelical Spirit" and a guy playing online poker. For a three dollar cappucino I can use all the internet I want. Posted by eugene at


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