Monthly Archives: January 2007

Iranian History Comix, New Yorker, and Coziness in Astoria

These purely narcissistic entries are bad for readers but great for my own reminiscing. A brief list of some of this week’s pleasures:

* Melanie scolded me on my ignorance of anything Middle East. I guess that’s what I get for overusing the term “terrorist.” I was given thorough lessons on the geopolitical situation of Iraq and Iran, although I still mention Sunni and Shiite with some hesitation. I finished reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, an amazing comic book account of a young girl’s experience growing up in Iran during its period of political instability in the Eighties. For those of you who are iffy on Iranian history but don’t really feel like reading heavy text, this is a quick and fun way to at least become familiar with some of the history, and maybe even a fact or two you can use to fake your way into looking informed at a cocktail party.

* I finally bought the New Yorker DVD set (1925-2005) and have found an endless source of entertainment. My only problem is that printing from the older issues is a terrible waste of paper because you’re forced to print out all the ads with it – and the New Yorker, unlike anything today, used to sell quite a bit of ads back then! Some exciting articles I’ve read so far: Lillian Ross’s profile of Ernest Hemingway (1950), Chang-Rae Lee’s short commentary on Italian food, and Louis Menand‘s review of Tom Wolfe’s Hooking Up as well as his article on “The Iron Law of Stardom.” Hemingway was certainly fond of the bottle, and did you know that stardom can never go for more than three years?

* Started reading Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee – he is truly a master of haunting prose. Watched Children of Men with my sister on a weeknight – well made but nothing special. Left my home office for a matinee screening of The Queen – ate a Starbucks sandwich that I snuck in and almost cried after watching repeated clips of Princess Diana (please watch this movie if you haven’t yet). Bought another Murakami and McEwan – my bookshelf is looking very homogenized.

* Tried to spend more time than usual as a “blogger.” Wrote about “Five Must-Have Qualities of a Club Leader” although I probably lacked most of them back in school. Finally wrote about restaurants not based in Manhattan with a warm nod at Astoria on PK Eats (Mel has a sweeter Astoria mention). Thought about writing something on Top Chef after the exciting penultimate episode on Wednesday, but felt the blogosophere was too saturated with that already.

* I’ve been getting more *in tune* with sounds coming from my computer. I didn’t even have speakers on my main computer until recently. Now I listen to music on the nifty Pandora website and have heard podcasts interviews this week of Sacha Baron Cohen (as himself) on NPR and Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side. Podcasts are great! I’d love to conduct an interview with someone famous and super smart, although I’m sure it’d take a lot of work on my end to prepare.

* I posted a PDF version of my holiday book Recycled Note and Other Entries. I made a few fixes, including a misspelling of “omelette” which was pointed out to me – very embarassing indeed. The American way to spell it would be “omelet,” but I think we all find it more appetizing when seeing it on the menu as omelette.

It’s often chilly in my apartment, especially in my room, but if you put on enough clothes and sit close to the radiator, then things are not so bad. As much as warm weather and beaches sound and look nice on TV, I’m very content to be in the midst of this winter weather in New York, burying myself in blankets when cold and boiling water in my microwave to make myself some hot tea. Cozy.


I’m a huge fan of House, an hour-long show on Fox about a sarcastic, crippled doctor who downs bottles of painkillers and also manages to save at least one life every episode. As a demonstration of fan loyalty, I bought a cane from a party shop that I brandish at each House viewing. After two painful weeks of waiting, a new episode is set to air next Tuesday. Luckily, I came across some fresh House material online:

House, MD spoof on MadTV – this hilarious clip is actually a great primer for those who’ve never watched the show

Hugh Laurie: a real Renaissance man – the man who plays Dr. Gregory House seems to be quite a talent. He’s British, a self-deprecating comedian, a published novelist, and a talented pianist. Also winner of two Golden Globe awards for best actor, TV drama.

(added 1/30) ‘House’ Already Strong, Gets a Boost – even the New York Times has jumped on the House bandwagon, calling it the “the strongest scripted hour that Fox has to offer” and recounting the show’s rise to success from near-cancellation a few years ago.

And though hardly related, I thought of House as I read a New Yorker excerpt (works as its own short story) of Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday, about a brain surgeon whose run-in with shady characters leads to consequences for his family (I ordered the novel online today):

…there remains in a portion of his thoughts a droning, pedestrian diagnostician who notes poor self-control, emotional lability, explosive temper, suggestive of reduced levels of gaba and excessive glutamate among the appropriate binding sites on striatal neurons. There is much in human affairs that can be accounted for at the level of the complex molecule. Who could ever reckon up the damage done to love and friendship and all hopes of happiness by a surfeit or depletion of this or that neurotransmitter?

I imagine House would make a similar medical observation if confronted by a dangerous aggressor exhibiting small physical quirks. There’s something very cool-headed and respectable about a person whose mind seems to stay focused on his practice even during moments of extreme personal stress. Don’t think those doctors on that ABC show would know anything about that.

No One Day is Ever the Same, But…

8:45AM – Wake up and wash up.

9:00AM – 9:30AM – New York Times, AIM with bored friends, make mental list of To Do’s for the day

9:30AM – 9:45AM – Make a fruit smoothie (5 ice cubs, 5 strawberries, OJ, 2 bananas, 2 scoops of vanilla yogurt) and drink.

9:45AM – 10:15AM – Reply to some emails, chat some more, check Google Analytics on key sites, log hours from previous day.

10:15AM-10:30AM – Coffee break (home-brewed Dunkin Donuts)

10:30AM – 1:00PM – Doodle on Illustrator, fiddle on Excel, reply to more emails, read a few design blogs

1:00PM – 1:30PM – Make lunch and eat while browsing for books on

1:30PM – 5:30PM – Take a client phone call, some Photoshopping, think about blog topics, browse more blogs

5:30PM – 6:45PM – Drink a beer while thinking about dinner plans, grocery shopping, make dinner

6:45PM – 8:00PM – Eat dinner, watch TV, digest

8:00PM – 10:00PM – Reply to email, read book or magazine

10:00PM – 11:30PM – Gym

11:30PM – 12:00AM – Wash up, check email

12:00AM – 2:30AM – Reply to emails, more Illustrator/Photoshop, write

Around 3AM – Sleep

Note: I spend many minutes in the bathroom, where I get a lot of reading done.