Monthly Archives: April 2007


I love magazines. Many glossy pages are wasted in printing colorful ads that my mind hardly registers, but every now and then, there are some very inspiring articles, photos, and designs that makes up-front yearly payments very worth it.

I’ve been on a subscription binge lately, trying to get a piece of every interesting magazine out there. Here’s a list of my magazine subscriptions:

The New Yorker – finally, I don’t have to waste my laser toner
Time Out New York – this is actually Melanie’s subscription, but I eagerly wait for it weekly

HOW Magazine – expensive and too many ads, but a great resource for everything design-related
The Believer Magazine – a Dave Eggers creation; looks nice, not much of a read
Monocle – a truly internationally-minded magazine that is nearly perfect from cover to cover
Wired Magazine – how ill-timed was their cover, which came out the same week as the shooting?
Portfolio – have yet to receive an issue, but read through some articles online; Michael Lewis supposedly gets $12 a word for his two yearly articles

McSweeney’s – not really a magazine since it’s so funky; not really a journal either
Theme Magazine – a favorite of mine: Asian/Asian American art, fashion, lifestyle, and design
Topic Magazine – non-fiction adventures in finely designed format

I’ve been tempted to subscribe to Dwell Magazine as well as some other design mags like Communication Arts, Step, ID Magazine, and Colors, but getting through the magazines I already get and the blogs I read daily are tough enough. Information overload is a problem more and more people face each day. Although…. I probably should consider getting a men’s lifestyle magazine – something along the lines of GQ or Esquire – to add some masculinity to my rather soft line-up. Any suggestions besides the porn and the lad mags?

Lifting Evokes Old Memories

Today was the first time this year (or perhaps since we moved to Queens) that Andy and I managed to work out at the Astoria Sports Complex three times in one week. This may be a pathetic thing to be proud of, but going together to the gym each night is tough, especially when we have to fend off food coma from overstuffing ourselves at dinner, the temptations of wine and beer, and new episodes of House or a show on Bravo. And the fact that our gym isn’t the most pleasant of places – our $200 a year membership gives us access to rooms lighted in neon red and dim fluorescent bulbs as well as dated equipment, some that seem older than the gym itself (which recently had its 25th anniversary). But we’ve grown used to it, and even appreciated the recent replacement of the free weight bars that used to leave rust residue on our palms.

Andy and I take our pull-ups seriously. Before diving into the day’s designated muscle group, we always do three sets of pull-ups. I taunt Andy each time because I can eke out two to three more reps than him each set (I’m at 15 right now). In just six months, we’ve gone from barely doing five each set to easily doing a dozen – a feat we’ve proudly acknowledged to each other. Today, however, the pull-ups felt harder than usual. It must have been our soreness and the fact that it was the first time we were doing pull-ups more than twice in a week. By the time we moved on to the bench press, we were already tired. We pushed ourselves through our creative sets of bench press (10 reps of barbell and 10 reps of dumbbells per set, using 135 and 50, respectively – yeah, it’s light), we moved on to high pulls with a cable wire to work our traps. At that point, we both remarked to each other that this was probably the most we had worked out together since the summer of 2003, when Andy, Warren, Reggie, and I used to frequent the New York Sports Club in Rahway each night to lift for at least two hours.

“Remember when we did five chest exercises in one night and like four other exercises along with it?” I reminisced. Andy shook his head and recalled how much more we used to lift on each rep. We both agreed that that summer was the peak of our physical fitness.

“I remember when we drove out to Hidden Park afterwards on some nights and ran suicides for fun,” I said.

“Oh man, that was so stupid. Why did we force ourselves to do suicides?” Andy wondered.

We remembered how dark it got at the park since it had no lights, and yet, under the glow of the moon, we would run suicides and even play a game of free throws, each miss warranting another sprint. What difference four years makes. We used to be smoke-free, drank less, and took very good care of our bodies. An age of innocence, we both thought.

There was a time, I tell myself, when I used to run a 4.5 40-yard dash and even scored four touchdowns in one high school football game. I sound like Al Bundy in Married with Children. There was a time when running was a daily thing, and a set of squats at the gym didn’t leave me disabled for the next four days. I’m still young, and if I really wanted to, I could probably will myself back into shape. But the desire for such physical fitness isn’t there anymore. I’m content with keeping myself slim enough to keep my pants and not be too self-conscious about my stomach. I don’t think I’ll stop munching on the cheeses or straddling the moderation line once a week with the wine. I like going for the beer at 6PM each evening. There are numerous vices, but sometimes, I feel like the real vice is denying myself certain pleasures for the sake of vanity (sometimes justified as “health”). And then there are times like tonight, when I wished I was back at Hidden Park with my buddies happily running suicides and wishing we could stay outside in the summer night, sweaty, tired, and extremely fit.

Following Up

Things seem back to normal now that the traveling has ceased.

Photos from San Diego and Spain are available for consumption on pk photo albums.

San Diego was very relaxing and incredibly beautiful. Wook and I drove up to Los Angeles to meet up with Mung. We later met up with John Jung on his turf in West Hollywood. “GAMeboy” – could you figure out what it means? KASCON21 workshop at UCSD went well, although we liked the Princeton audience and setup better.

Spain with Melanie was very pleasant, although Madrid could have been warmer. The city was a pretty and interesting place to walk around. I took the “company” Canon EOS 10D SLR camera and snapped away 800 shots, only to come up with a few dozen decent, non-blurry ones. Wook says he should’ve taught me to use F-stop. The food in Madrid wasn’t that great – not sure if my expectations were too high or we just didn’t know the best spots. Walking through the Prado Musuem with Mel was great. We saw El Greco, Velasquez, Reubens, and Goya among others, and I actually remembered studying a few of them during my few alert moments in Art Hum in college. The touristy highlight of the trip was our visit to Segovia, about 2 hours by Renfe train from Madrid. Segovia is a very old town situated high up in a mountainous region. It is know for the majestic Cathedral of Segovia, the castle Alcazar that inspired the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland, and the Roman acqueducts that frame the entrance of the town. I must have mistakenly called Alcazar “Alcatraz” – how stupid.

I was very pleased to finish David Mamet’s On Directing Film and Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love on the plane ride back from Madrid. I highly recommend both – the first for its clarity and no-nonsense advice about storytelling through films and the latter for its high-intensity drama from start to finish – even more so than Atonement, I thought. Enduring Love was adapted into a movie that starred Daniel Craig (the new James Bond) as Joe, the science journalist who is the object of another man’s obsession. I am guessing that the movie didn’t stay completely loyal to the novel since Joe is described as very big, clumsy, and seriously balding.

And this past weekend was the return of Entourage on HBO. Brandon, Andy, Mel, and I celebrated with sam gyup ssal, beer, and lots of kimchi as we watched a brand new Sopranos and then the premiere of Entourage Season Three. Didn’t realize that its creator Doug Ellin was a Brit. The next several Sunday nights are booked – will keep travel limited for at least the next few months.