Monthly Archives: February 2006

In Dead Winter

February is almost over, which means spring time is just around the corner, although you never know in New York, where winter tends to persist until April sometimes. I guess a little bit of winter-depression release is in order, since I’ve had that knotted dreadful feeling in my stomach for the past month. It’s definitely a combination of things – bleak outlook on future, frustration with present circumstances, and an inability to appreciate what’s already available. Perhaps just some chemical imbalances in the head which tilts the happiness meter towards empty. There are still many things I would like to accomplish and to experience, but I find myself wondering more and more if such things even matter so much or if I’m deluding myself by placing such high priorities on them. Okay, I am being vague. Maybe I just haven’t put as many fond moments in writing lately.

The weekend was swift. On Friday, Sei-Wook, Annabel, and I pulled an all-nighter working on various KASCON-related projects including the conference program, the t-shirt, and other materials. We’re very pleased with the t-shirt, which has that faded vintage Abercrombie look. Wook worked furiously at making the fades look real, and Annabel, who has recently joined our team, did great work with the lettering. The program is going to be a massive headache because it requires a lot of layout work, but I think if I work at it an hour or two a night, it’ll eventually get done in time. On Saturday, Dan Sim came over and the four of us went to Columbia to meet with clients. Dan and Wook went to meet the owner of Golden Sound, an audio equipment vendor. Annabel and I met with a prospective client for our ColumbiaGroups initiative, a nice guy named Matt from the acapella group Nonsequitur. Both meetings went very well, and though I’m sure each of us wondered why we spend our Saturdays this way, there was a sense of “let’s keep at it and see where this goes” in all of us.

I spent the evening looking up Moody’s ratings and industry codes for my VP, who needed them the next morning. I loathed the way the Moody’s website was so slow and also very displeased about my lack of energy and motivation these days. I did enjoy talking to Dan online about some possible business ideas, including a dating website geared towards Single Asian Males, a group I’ve labelled as “most demographically disadvantaged in the online dating scene next to the Single Black Female.” I’m serious, I wrote up a whole plan today, and I think it can work. (Anyone else interested?)

Around 2am, I took a cab down to Circa Tabac, which is right near the Holland Tunnel. I remember how my parents and I used to pass by it every time we drove home from our photo store, which, by the way, is now a Japanese pastry shop. Anyway, Circa Tabac is the only place in New York where smoking happens to be permitted. It’s something to do with a grandfather clause that allows shops dependent on tobacco sales to retain indoor smoking rights. I met up with Brandon, who I hadn’t seen in a while, and we sat at the bar of the smoke-filled, dimly-lit downtown lounge. Over a glass of Jameson scotch and some beers, we smoked a pack of Dunhill Superior Milds and talked about the usual: frustrations at work, girls, and what we want to do with our lives. It was a nice time although the nasty smell of the place made me realize how great it was that most places in New York are now smoke-free.

Today (Sunday) was fairly routine: a sweet conversation with Melanie in the morning (she took a weekend trip to a southern part of Taiwan and was staying at her father’s friend’s place); having to fill out the S&P ratings and industry codes for work – and thank goodness Ratings Direct was fast; wasting time in front of the television; spending a bit of time working on Class Notes and reading Model Behavior by Jay McInerney at Coffee Pot, a quiet but uncreatively lit/decorated cafe on 49th and 9th. On the way back, I grabbed a Chipotle burrito and ate it at home while watching the season premiere episode of the Sopranos with Warren. I’m really full by the way and contemplating going to the gym shortly.

Hmm. Well, I guess taking the time to actually list the things I’ve done over the weekend does make it seem a lot better. You know, maybe this is just it. Life goes by fast and sometimes the speed of it makes it feel aimless and without reason. Well, not that there has to be a reason, but if you find a way to remember, reflect, and organize the things you’ve been through, they seem to acquire new value. You can spend and spend and if you never stop to see what you’ve bought, you’ll never know exactly how much you’ve acquired. Well, perhaps not the best analogy, but in any case, I need to document life on a more regular basis and be a bit more hopeful about things.

A Card I Made Her For Valentine’s Day

note: my fictional greeting card to everyone!

Back when I was in middle school, pimply-faced and voice always cracking, I had a crush on this girl. She was in my social studies class and her name was Chloe. She was half-Japanese and half-Irish, so she had green eyes but dark brown hair. She was very pretty and had incredibly smooth and pale skin. We never really spoke to each other except for the one time when we had to work on a group project together. I remember spending a Sunday afternoon at Seth’s house making a collage of West Africa while sitting next to Chloe and cutting up letters from construction paper. She had great control of the scissors and made the neatest letters I had ever seen. She told me that she had a pet cat named Jiro.

The day I started having a crush on Chloe was when I saw her in class on a brisk autumn day. She wore these very shiny cowboy boots that had high heels and a ruffled blouse that gave her a “Western” sort of look. She stood out from all the other girls, and the more I looked at her, the more I just wanted to have her to myself. I didn’t know or learn much about sex until high school, so my attraction towards her was more akin to the attraction that a kitten might have to a shiny object. I couldn’t stop looking at her and I just wanted to play with her.

I was too shy to do anything about my crush, so I just told a few of my close friends how I felt about her. The rest of the time, I sighed to myself and wrote out her name in bubble letters on my marble notebooks. When Christmas time rolled around, I paid a dollar to some club that sent an anonymous candy gram to her saying, “I wish I got to know you better. Happy Holidays!” I wondered for many weeks afterwards how she might have responded to such a message.

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I decided to finally let her know how I felt about her and started to make an intricate Valentine’s Day card. I bought a thick pack of colored construction paper from the stationery store and tried to be creative, only to realize that I had done nothing more than cut hearts of different colors and sizes. It was hard to escape the prevailing commercial symbol of Valentine’s. A bolt of creativity eventually struck me. I looked through our school yearbook from 6th grade and found a black and white photo of Chloe. I cut out her head and pasted it in the middle of flower petals that I made from paper. The petals could’ve been confused with a lion’s mane, but I added a green stem just to be sure. I then looked for my own school photo and cut my own head out. If you haven’t tried it before, you might want to see how weird it feels to hold a photo of just your own head. I made an oversized bee from strips of yellow and black and placed my head at one end. The card showed a bee, me, hovering around a flower, her. Inside, I wrote: “Catch the buzz? He likes you! Happy Valentine’s!” It was a short and corny message, and I struggled with my decision to address myself in the third person. But the card looked nice by my standards and made me feel a bit confident about my efforts. I put the card into a nice white envelope and took it to school, where I slid it into her locker.

She thanked me the next day when I saw her in class, but didn’t say anything else. That day she wore a white and dark green striped long sleeve shirt with a bright green t-shirt on top. She also had on very bright orange sneakers and dark jeans. I wondered where she got her style. An older sister or a young mother, I guessed.

A few weeks later, she started dating some boy in high school. He would come by our middle school in his Toyota Camry to pick her up after school. I think he was sixteen years old. I thought it was weird because he was three years older, but then I thought that maybe she was too good for boys her own age and needed someone older and more mature. I continued to see her in social studies class but knowing she had a boyfriend made me like her less and less until one day, I stopped paying attention to her. The next year, we weren’t in any classes together, so I hardly saw her around. Whenever I did happen to think about her, I always wondered if she had kept my Valentine’s Day card.

Several years later, when I came back home from college, I caught sight of her at the local supermarket. She was scanning the pudding and yogurt section while I was looking through egg cartons to find the perfect dozen. I recognized her instantly and felt my heart racing at many miles per hour. She looked stunning and more stylish than ever. She turned her head and made eye contact with me, but she didn’t seem to recognize me at all and walked right past me. I didn’t want to embarrass myself so I casually moved on to the bacon section and threw a pack of America’s Choice bacon into my shopping basket. I looked at her backside as she walked gracefully to the checkout line.

Sometimes I wish I had written a bit more in that Valentine’s Day card, maybe telling her a bit about myself and asking her some questions as well. I might recall to the finest detail all of the things she wore back in middle school, but I will never know what kind of books she likes to read, what kind of food she likes to eat, or what kind of music she likes to listen to. I will never know how warm her pale skin feels or how gently she kisses. All I know is that she may or may not still have a card I once gave to her.

Images, Now Available

Ever since my parents closed up their photo store, I’ve become less and less enthusiastic about taking digital photos. I guess there’s something very annoying about the process of having to organize, resize, and label them after going through the trouble of taking pictures in the first place. But as with anything that requires a bit of effort, there’s a lasting value to a nicely arranged set of photos. This weekend, I decided to finally set up a little photo album on this blog to put up selected photos of various trips/events/observations in my life. Hopefully I’ll have the resolve to write interesting captions from here on, but the ones I’ve put up for now do not have any labels, so they’re open to your interpretation.

You can find the link to the photo albums on the right sidebar, or go directly to pk photo albums.