Category Archives: Random

Winter and Spring Updates

In high school I always hoped for “June Gloom” weather.  Growing up in California, “June Gloom” referred to the cloudy and often times rainy weather during the month of June.  Considering how hot it can get in California, it was a nice break for me especially since I had P.E. as my last class which was particular horrendous when forced to run in 100+ degrees F weather.

Whowudda thought many years later I’d now be living in a country where the “gloom” would extend to most parts of the year.  (Ironically, this week has been quite sunny – isn’t that a record?)

That said, it’s now June, and I haven’t posted a blog since December.  I’ve quite a few blog drafts but just never got around to finishing them.  So I figured I’d write a recap of the last few months.

In January I pretty much hibernated.  Nothing exciting to report.

In February I somehow came out of early hibernation and went to my first poetry workshop.  From the very first confirmation email the organizer was very welcoming and supportive.  The theme was “snow,” and for the first couple of hours we worked on a number of exercises which included jotting down words and phrases from memory as well as from the images that were passed around.  Once the exercises were done, we had an hour to work on our poems before sharing with everyone.

I have to admit, I already had an idea and used that as a starting point.  I was pretty impressed with some of the phrases I came up yet struggled trying to fit them into my poem.  I kept going back and forth with sticking with my initial idea or starting from scratch.  I ended up doing the former but wasn’t completely satisfied with my poem.  One hour was not enough!

I enjoyed listening to everyone’s poems.  There was one I really liked – I can’t recall the poem now but it was very simple yet clever.  I thought that I’d hear a few self-confessional poems, however mine was the only one.  And I decided not to share my poem mainly because it wasn’t finished.  But also because the poem itself was quite personal and it would be like reading out loud a diary entry.  In fact, I actually did bring my journal to use for the workshop.

I definitely want to attend another workshop and hopefully do this regularly.  I need to practice other styles apart from self-confessional poetry.  And I definitely need to share my work in order to get feedback.  I just need to suck it up and do it!

Also in February I started taking yoga classes again.  I figured I’d start off with Hatha Yoga and ease my way back into it again.  Just a minute into class I realized I was in the wrong class, Ashtanga Yoga.  At first I panicked then decided to stick with it and somehow I did alright for my first time.

In March I somehow managed to finish (and survive, unscathed) this monster of a 10k run (and when they mean 10k they mean 15k) at night, in 0°C with snow, mud, streams, and up/down two fairly large hills in Scotland.  In a t-shirt and shorts.  Yep, never doing that again.

I attended Poets After Dark in April, an event at the Hayward Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition, The Light Show.  Ten poets (Mimi Khavlati, Sam Riviere, Kate Tempest, Simon Barraclough, Tamar Yoseloff, Julia Bird, Chris McCabe, Amjad Nasser, Sabrina Mahfouz and Vahni Capildeo) were commissioned to write and perform a poem about one of the works in the show.  It was actually nice to see both the performance and the inspiration simultaneously together.  A more thorough synopsis to be blogged soon!

I accomplished something quite significant in May –  I managed to do a back bend with ease for the first time ever!  Thanks, Ashtanga Yoga!  Next goal – head stand.

That’s it for now.  I’m off to see the new Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designed by Sou Fujimoto, that is, weather permitting.  So much for the sunny weather!

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Snowpocalypse

On, Wednesday, 22 December 2010, I emailed a dear friend reassuring her that although snow is expected on Sunday, it’ll most likely be light and my return flight to NYC will be on schedule.

I received a phone call from American Airlines late Saturday night informing me that due to the coming snowstorm my flight has been cancelled.

What a way to jinx myself.  (Jinx!)

I was understandably annoyed but looking back at it now, I was very impressed by American Airlines’ customer service.  Whereas they called me to reschedule my flight, other airlines didn’t bother doing so.  I had friends who were on the phone for hours trying to reschedule days after the snowstorm, yet I had already rebooked.

My luck continued when I arrived at the airport and watched all other flights to NYC, before and after my flight, being cancelled.  I was so certain my flight would be cancelled that I called my dad to tell him to turn back and pick me up.  I mean, stranded in gorgeous weather (70 degrees F) with all the Del Taco chicken soft tacos, In n Out burgers I could possibly eat, didn’t seem like a problem at all.  But sure enough, we boarded and were on our way back to NYC.

After a smooth flight we were told that JFK still hadn’t opened so we had to hover for almost an hour over the city:

From up there you couldn’t tell the snowpocalypse descended upon the Concrete Jungle.

We were literally only the third plane to land once the airport opened, and after a roar of applause, we were then informed that we’d have to wait on the runway for another couple hours because all the snow had yet to be cleared.

I thought my luck had finally ran out once I realized that the Airtrain wasn’t running, and there were no taxis in sight (in fact, no vehicles at all).  I became disheartened when one of the (very few) airport workers informed me that I’d most likely have to spend the night at the airport as most streets if not all have not been cleared therefore there was no transportation whatsoever.   Trying to figure out my next plan, i.e. where exactly in the airport I would camp out (next to the vending machines?), when miraculously the one taxi that did eventually arrived happened to be taking it’s passenger to where I needed to go.  And this passenger was kind enough to let me ride along, and even better, he refused to let me pay half of the cab fare.

Once I arrived in my neighborhood, I was slightly daunted by the amount of snow between me and my apartment.  In some parts we’re talking 5 feet of fresh snow.  None of the roads or sidewalks were cleared, and the wind was beginning to pick up again.  I thought to myself that even though it’s been years since the last time I snowboarded, it would’ve been much easier to get through the snow that way.  But somehow I managed to trudge through the snow, all while dragging my luggage.  And after five hours after arriving in JFK, I finally arrived home.

The next day:

A few days later:

A few days after that:

Even after my ordeal, I am still grateful as there were others less fortunate than me.

Then again, we could’ve had this:

If these people can clear these roads, surely NYC can too.

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David Lynch does Dior

This short clip/long commercial is just as weird as the collaboration itself:

Apparently, it’s inspired by his poem, Lady Blue (like that makes it more clear):

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Filed under Art & Exhibitions, Dreams, Fashionista, Music, Poetry, Random, Uncategorized

Inside a soundproof room

So it’s been over a year since I last performed my words in front of people.  I must admit I’ve been incredibly intimidated about performing in NYC – this city is the Mecca of poetry/spoken word!  Before even attempting The Bowery or Nuyorican Café, I wanted to check out lesser known places.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with going to the deep end, in fact recently I’ve been to the deep end plenty of times, but for this, I wanted to linger in the shallow end.  Unfortunately my lazy ass didn’t even touch the water since moving here.

A year ago I found an open mic night on meetup.com.  The ad seemed interesting – it boasted all kinds of acts, DJ’s, featured performers, and it was free.  I’ve been eyeing it for a year and finally today, I went to it.  Held in a dance studio in Hell’s Kitchen, I could already tell the room was filled with eccentric people just by stepping into the room.

At the start, the emcee, a middle-aged woman, declared she’s not a quiet bird but a Phoenix rising from the flames.  Her widened eyes stared right at me as she said that, and I didn’t know if I should’ve taken it as inspiration or a threat.  She performed twice, and every time someone was standing or whispering, she became passive aggressive with them, calling them “dear” or “honey” yet the tone in her voice was a bit threatening (yet I noticed she didn’t do the same for other performers).  Her second performance consisted of a dance routine and at one point she attempted to give a lap dance to one of the fellas in the front row (who I think had a crush on her).

A woman in the front row kept farting.  I wasn’t sure at first but after the fifth time I saw her sway to one side in her chair.

An older man lacking teeth performed as well.  But it wasn’t the poems and songs that were memorable but how he introduced each one.  There was one where he nonchalantly described one of his poems as something he wrote while he was staying at a mental hospital.  Then there was another love poem dedicated to a friend of 35 years but he didn’t write it because he was in love with him but it was a poem about their 35 year friendship and how he was admired the guy (talk about in denial).  He was hilarious though – his dirty jokes won me over especially this one:

“Little Red Riding Hood was getting ready to visit her grandma but her mom said, you can’t head out to the woods because the big bad wolf will find and eat you.  Nevertheless she ventured off to the woods.  Sure enough the big bad wolf did find her – she was wearing her red hooded coat, red bra, and red panties, and the big bad wolf cried, ‘Rawr!  I’m going to fuck you!’  Little Red Riding Hood took out her gun, pointed it at him, and replied, ‘Oh, no you’re not.  You’re going to do what the story says – you’re going to eat me.’”

An oversized middle-aged couple performed an interpretation piece to the song of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue.”  The woman was a statue, the Goddess Venus to be exact, and the man played a man admiring this statue.  I understood why she was naked, she was a statue, duh, but I didn’t understand why he was.  At first the statue was immobile, but halfway through the song both were dancing, and at times, fighting.  I’m all for obscure performance acts filled with metaphors but I had no clue what they were trying to express.

An incredibly skinny and tall woman was next.  She introduced herself as an aspiring singer who used to dance with all sorts of dance companies.  She busted out songs by Diana Ross, Adele, and Amy Winehouse, and sadly, it was bad.  I mean, BAD.  I’m talking nails on chalkboard bad.  I have no idea why I even endured it but I guess a small part of me wanted her to improve or at least admit she was fucking with us and start singing like Beyonce.  Unfortunately this was not the case, and after the fourth song I wished Simon Cowell would come out and chastise her.  At this point the regulars were dancing as she sang along.  There’s one thing about encouragement but in reality, I think it’s in her best interest for someone to tell her how horrible her voice is.  Good thing the room was soundproof because honestly that would be the only place where she would be allowed to sing.

I finally made my way out after a shy duo attempted some sort of Pink Floyd-like jam session.  The only word they would mutter was “Sorry” every time they messed up.  I could tell the audience got bored after a few minutes.  I mean, they were jumping around and dancing to “It’s Raining Men” a few minutes ago.

With “Scar Tissue” stuck in my head, I left the building chuckling at this bizarre experience.

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Taxi!

A two hour delayed flight made me arrive at JFK at 2am.  As I walk into the airport, I seesaw between taking the subway or cabbing it.  In the distance I see a quirky guy holding his notebook as a sign.  Curious, I walked towards him, squinting at his note that says “Want to share a cab – going to Washington Heights.”

“Sure,” I say, and after failing to get a third person, we head outside.  I assumed he was a New Yorker because he began hustling cab drivers for a $40 ride into Manhattan to two stops.  We managed to persuade one, and once we started chatting in the car, I find out he’s from Wisconsin, currently living in Norcal.  And he’s surprising his girlfriend, also from Wisconsin but now residing in NYC.  And of course we start gabbing about our respective long distance relationships and why they can work.  And from time to time I chuckle at his contagious laugh.

The cab driver doesn’t immediately leave after he drops him off as he thought at first he stole my bag.  Chuckling, I reassure him that my bag is not with him.  (Although I did quickly look over at him to check if he did take it.  Hey you never know!)

And as I count the numbered streets from Washington Heights down to the Upper East side, I am reminded that a random moment like this doesn’t always have to occur while travelling around the world.  But unlike 10 years ago where Facebook and Myspace were practically nonexistent, I could reconnect if I wanted to.  But in any case, it was a lovely refreshment to my routine meal.

P.S.  I’m with Coco

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Typical New York Day

Riding the subway can be quite entertaining.  There are those that will serenade you while others will sell you candy.  But today, if you’re lucky, you would’ve witness people nonchalantly stripping off their pants (trousers).  Purpose?  It wasn’t for charity.  It wasn’t for an awareness campaign.  Plain and simple – to make people laugh.

http://improveverywhere.com/

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Dance like no one is watching

Since the follow up to this fantastic T-Mobile advert occurred today I thought I might share this with y’all:

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