Monthly Archives: June 2004

[6.18.04] books.films

i’ve decided to have this new category called inventory after walking through a barnes and noble in new york and looking at a pile of books on display called “summer reading”… i was pleased to see that i had read a great number of those books – i’d say at least 80% of the 15-20 titles there… and i felt that it would be important to write down the titles and authors of books i have seen… as for movies, talking to less enthusiastic movie fans, especially those who “forget what the movie is about after a few weeks,” i have decided to have a list for that also. i kept a running list of books and films last summer, and while the movie collection was full of summer blockbusters and a few gems, the book section was limited to two books, if you count gore vidal’s pamphlet as a book. but all the king’s men by robert penn warner was truly inspiring, so i can’t say that my reading effort was a total failure. anyways, as for june 18th, my inventory of books and films.

aloft by chang-rae lee
the metaphysical club by louis menand
currently: breakfast of champions by kurt vonnegut

troy, shrek 2, mean girls, the cooler, the triplets of belleville, harry potter 3, mystic river, the stepford wives

so much sacred in the month of june

haven’t done much informing (about my life) in my last few entries – i think i am trying too hard to embed messages in my half-assed prose and my ad hoc poetry. just a few updates in case you (or me later on) are wondering:

pk @ work
interning at the NFL has been pretty cool. i work in the human resources department and work on various stuff like resume parsing, helping redesign the employee intranet site, and other tasks that they feel like assigning me. the people i’ve met have been really nice and interesting so far. today i got to sit in a department meeting with the commissioner dropping by to converse a bit. everyone seemed to be awestruck by him and almost intimidated although he’s like 60+ years old with a slight slouch (he’s really tall – like 6’5). i learned that he has a photographic memory and that explains why he’s a smart guy who remembers names and also recites facts and anecdotes with precision – a useful tool for someone who began his ascension as a lawyer. i love the huddle cafe, which is on the 12th floor and available only for NFL employees – it serves gourmet foods such as sandwiches, various entrees, and even a daily ‘international’ menu – all for low, subsidized prices. lastly, i guess in a realm that is part work/part living in nyc – the commute from 116th to 50th and back has been most enjoyable — i read my book both ways and the morning walk from rockefeller to park ave. is always a treat because i get to hear voices from the set of the Today Show and also get to see throngs of people lining up at 8am for touristy stuff.

the pk mind
two books down and i already feel overwhelmed by the ideas/inspiration/pressure that i feel from them. aloft by chang-rae lee was a great read in that it kept me so conscious of the fact that it was a korean american author writing as a white guy but somehow it worked and it was as if chang-rae lee, by taking on an italian american voice, was fast-forwarding eighty years to a day when perhaps korean americans would have such a claim on america — but of course, the question remains: while italian immigrants faced nativist opposition for originating from an “inferior” area of Europe, they were still able to group themselves with white people and ultimately establish their place here; will korean americans, with the yellowness, ever gain (or be granted) such privileges? some will argue that they already do and that i am being ridiculous.

louis menand’s metaphyiscal club was fantastic – i will have more about it in a pkpulpit entry because it deserves a thorough examination. next up – some vonnegut books as well as asian american reading, globalization, hopefully a ralph ellison novel, a crack at said, and a fair shot with ayn rand.

pk fun (?)
the desire to make money has consumed great parts of my break thus far. freelance webdesigning, volunteering for alumni reunion, doing summer RA (for housing), and other ambitious plans to make money have taken up chunks of my time. i guess it’s a continuation of my great insecurity of needing a quantitative figure to prove my self-worth, or perhaps i am just greedy. i like to browse through a thomas pink store and store images in my mind of all the things i can’t afford now, and most likely will not be able to afford in the future except on special days like my birthday.

living in broadway has been great because pleasant people are around and accessible. albert has been an awesome lifting buddy and the best morning wake-up caller ever. we’ve also done a considerable amount of drinking together (mostly beers), and it was great that he came over and stayed for hba reunion, which was a success. having josephine down the hallway has been convenient and an affirmation of how physical location plays a huge role in developing or breaking interpersonal bonds. wook and deum are also on 9th, making it easy for me to knock obnoxiously and barge in at random times. too bad the lakers bailed so early – the nba finals gave all five of us a reason to come together for bball and good times. other alternatives will have to be thought out.

my goal has been to de-limit myself and actually make the effort to hang out with all kinds of people, no matter how much risk there is of awkwardness/silent moments/boredom. i’ve made a preliminary list of people i need to see because i consider them friends but they are about half a year away from disappearing from my life forever. friendship is, in the end, maintained effort between two parties (sort of like relationships i guess, but without the sexual tension and not as much custom-based behavior). having lunch with finkel in that random waterfall/garden area on 52nd st., going to a rainy dido/john mayer concert with sara, dinner with two white girl interns from work, and other such not-so-everyday social occasions definitely help to color in the summer.

more in store?
that was a corny rhyme, but with June more than half completed, i feel like summer will be gone in no time. i still have big plans in store such as a trip to SF in august, a trip somewhere north during the weekend, a ton of movies to watch, and a lot to make/write/learn — optimism and energy will be key factors. of course, why care so much about how my summer goes? with my academic career (barring any MBA/JD pursuits) winding down, summers such as this won’t exist any longer (unless i become a teacher or just remain unemployed). summers, at least in my life, have been the temporal laboratories during which i give myself the option to “progress” in some way or another. one summer, it was html. another, it was photoshop. i worked out for varsity football, i finished les miserables by victor hugo – the unabridged version – and even wrote a detailed summary to prove to my mom of my feat. it’s not that i necessarily become a “better” person each summer. i guess the idea of “progressing” is overly optimistic and even a bit naive. if anything, summers have allowed me to become more interesting – perhaps not to others – but to myself. the idea of sitting still and relaxing can only go so far until the monotony of it hits you. for me, summers have been about finding ways to tell myself that i am not as empty or boring. not to send off any warnings or anything, but summers have definitely served to renew my interest in life before the thoughtless routine of academia restarts in the fall.

more inane, unskilled prose and poetry to follow… and more of these type of things to let the world know that my summer is moving along.



The summer after fifth grade, I was riding my bike around the quiet streets of my suburban New Jersey town looking to gather up my friends for an evening game of basketball. I stopped by Matt’s house first and found out that nobody was at home. I rode down the hill to Eric’s townhouse and asked his father, who answered the door.

“Eric’s at a farewell sleepover party for Dong,” he told me. I was friends with Dong, and I knew he was leaving. I was puzzled as to why I hadn’t been invited. I went home and ate dinner with my family, and then rode my bike around town until it became dark.

“Eric didn’t want you there because he said you were too bossy,” Matt said, when I pressured him. I tried not to let my disappointment show, and instead, I played it cool.

“I see, I’ll have to talk to him, I guess.”

Eric was my right-hand man, ever since I taught him how to play football and helped him make friends when he first moved into our town after 4th grade. He was stronger and bigger than everyone else, but soft-spoken and generally considered a nice guy. He was also right about my bossiness. I enjoyed controlling the dynamic of our group – made up of around six to eight Korean kids – and it was important for me to have Eric by my side, using his physical presence to keep the rest in line with what I wanted for the entire group.

I met him at the park where we always played basketball. He was shooting by himself, wearing his beat-up gray tanktop and exuding a stale beer odor from his deodorant-less pits.

“Why did you do it?” I asked.

“Do what?” he asked, shooting as if he had done no wrong.

“You fucking excluded me from Dong’s party,” I said.

“Oh,” he said as he picked up the ball and turned his head down to the asphalt court. At least five seconds must have passed.


No eye contact, no excuses. I waited momentarily for an explanation.


“Well, whatever man, fuck this shit.”

I left the park, taking one last glance at him, holding the ball, perhaps wondering who had ratted him out about his betrayal. I dreaded the idea that we would have to address this issue later on, and even make some sort of conciliatory gesture towards each other. I even worried about the possibility of Eric taking over my position, if it hadn’t happened already, and making me the odd one out. Thankfully, my family moved to a different town in New Jersey a few months later. I never saw or talked to Eric again. Last I heard of him, he had become a drug dealer in high school and was soon expelled.