Tuesday, July 15, 2008

late night crap

I think I'm going to start adding a youtube video of music I like with each post from now on. I know, youtube posts are so overdone in the blogging world, but don't feel obligated to watch it. You may be at work, or just don't care and that's fine with me.

During lunch today, I stepped out with a coworker to get a quick bite. On the way back to work from Chinatown, I stopped into a deli to get some fruit, more specifically, packaged sliced watermelon. I wanted a cigarette at this point, as any smoker or ex smoker knows that afer meal cigarettes are the best! I reached into my cheapy Muji bag and realized that my cigarettes were in the pocket of my blazer, which lay draped over my desk chair back at the office. Long story short, I ended up (reluctantly) accepting my coworkers menthol cigarette. Carrying the sliced watermelon in the plastic bag and smoking the menthol cigarette, I quietly said to my coworker, 'OMG! I'm black! Help a brother out'. Uproarious laugher. Yeah, I went there bitches, deal with it.

I did say that quietly, of course (though I say everything quietly). Race jokes are frequently funny, and besides, aren't I just doing what Obama wants? Getting race out in the open? I know that people have snickered when I've been on the subway back to my apartment carrying a 20 pound bag of Japanese (California grown) short or medium grain rice. But yeah, political correctness has never been important to me. It ruins humor, makes people afraid to ask a question, and is all around wishy washy. I just choose what to say to whom, based on how well I know them and how they might react.

Moving on, I'm now ordering cigarettes online from Indian reservations. I know I should quit, but.... well, yeah. There are so many cheap cigarette online stores, mostly based out of Eastern Europe. I really don't want to smoke cigarettes made for the Eastern European market. The Indian reservations sell them legally, and for a good price by carton. I've also switched brands- I've been smoking Marlboro Lights for a while now, yet never really liked them. I now smoke Pall Mall lights, which I think is quite cool and classic. A lot of the brands popular in the US, like Parliament, for example, I don't really care for. Marlboro Lights seem really popular, but are 'fishy' to me, for lack of a better word. Camels are ok, but I get tired of them. Winston Lights are nice, but I bought a pack of Pall Malls a month ago out of curiosity and loved the smoothness.

Isn't it strange how brands come and go? Pall Mall was THE cigarette in the US in the 60s, but now, probably do to lack of advertising (not to mention the death of the first wave of people who smoked them), the brand just isn't so popular. There are other examples. Lark cigarettes (which I really do love), are also not popular here anymore. They are, however, VERY popular in Japan. What happened? How did Marlboro beat all these other brands? Honestly, I don't think I could smoke another Marlboro Light again after trying Pall Mall.

from the mid 80s album 'Psychocandy', 'Never Understand' by The Jesus and Mary Chain. music for people who are.....numb

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I really can't handle my liquor

It happened again. I didn't faint this time, but I got sick after 2 drinks. How lame am I? When I tell my friends this story, I said it was after 4 drinks, but between you and me, it was 2 :-(

Shigeki was in town Sunday, so we met up late when he was finished with his work assignment. We met last summer when I was in Tokyo and had a nice time, so I was happy that he agreed to meet up, even though he had flown in from Japan that day, went to work, and had an early flight the next morning. Anyway, a late dinner at Yokocho started the evening. I felt a little silly bringing someone who just flew in from Tokyo to a mediocre izakaya, but on Sunday night past 11 PM, there aren't a huge number of options of places open other than diners. Hopefully he found it interesting, despite the annoyingly loud super trendy Japanese early 20s kids sitting near us. But, we made fun of them behind their backs and had a laugh. :-)

I only had one beer with the meal. One. Not 5. Not 3. One. I figured the divey but diverse Phoenix bar on East 13th Street could be fun, so we headed there. It was Pride night, but it wasn't that full. I guess everyone else was in the West Village and Chelsea, and from talking to Shigeki, I didn't feel like it was really his scene. Nor is Chelsea mine. Don't get me wrong, there's a few places there I like, but I didn't want to go and be judged by guys in lycra tops with muscles but no personality. We talked and I had a gin and tonic. Granted it was a strong G&T, but I drank it and we headed to 7A. I was feeling slightly hungry, and was planning on ordering breakfast. The conversation was nice, as Shigeki is quite wordly and easy to talk to. Long story short, I ended up heading to the restroom thinking I was going to puke. I wasn't drunk in the slightest, just not feeling well at this point. It was a false alarm, I couldn't throw up and returned to the table. About 5 Minutes later, I realized I was going to be sick- and slightly before this, I mentioned I didn't feel well. The next time I went to the restroom was no false alarm. Ewwww.

Washing of hands and rinsing my mouth in their filthy sink in their filthy restroom, I did feel better. Not great, but better, and returned to the table sweating profusely. I sort of had to lean to my side with my head on the glass window, and apologized to Shigeki. Each minute I felt a little better, and after about 20 minutes of leaning to my side and sipping water, I felt 100% fine. We talked some more and people watched- the light rain coating the dirty side walks, the charming yet run down East Village buildings made a good background to the interesting conversation. I was, of course, embarrassed in getting ill after 2 drinks while showing someone from out of town around, but it could have been worse. It didn't last too long, I got over it, and we were able to keep talking as opposed to me having to pass out in a cab. Thanks for the company, Shigeki. Next time I won't mix beer and cocktails, or won't drink at all ;-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Remember me?

Hi everyone. I know it's been AGES since I last updated. I've been fine, nothing wrong with my health, job, and I haven't been depressed or anything. Rather, I just felt I needed a break from blogging, but I'm back.

I have been checking in all my blog links, but haven't been leaving comments. That'll soon change, now that my blog funk is over. Since I last updated, I've been to Hong Kong. I figured I needed a vacation, despite the dismal US economy, and it is amazing the good deals a travel agent can find. I was able to stay at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon at a fraction of the standard rate, and enjoyed the hectic Hong Kong lifestyle for a little less than a week- great food, shopping, a trip to the New Territories, art museums, more eating, Chinese opera, even more eating/ :-) I was amazed at the energy of Hong Kong, as I haven't been there since I was kid in 1987. I also found the changes interesting, such as more immigrants from Guangzho, and the use of Mandarin seemed to be more prevalent, though of course Cantonese is still the standard. Hectic, lots of walking, very few breaks, which is how I prefer to travel. It went by so fast. In the end, I felt slightly overwhelmed by Hong Kong. Sure, I'm used to NY and Tokyo, but Hong Kong is so built up and aggressive that I couldn't help but feel claustrophobic .

More recently, I went to Osaka briefly. It was very last minute- my boss casually mentioned I had some vacation time coming, and I inquired with my amazing travel agent again, and she found another great deal. Osaka is a city I have never been to, other than Shin Osaka Station in transit on the bullet train. It is considered the business capital of Japan, and is much more hectic. While Tokyo is larger, Osakans are more aggressive and direct than Tokyoites. However, the main point of this whirlwind vacation was to see the Miho Museum, designed by IM Pei. It took a while to get to, I had to go to Kyoto, change trains, then take a bus, but it was gorgeous. Since all my Japanese friends and connections are in the Kanto area, more specifically Tokyo and Yokohama, I didn't contact any of them to say I would be in Japan, since I wouldn't have had time to see any of them. I didn't want to be rude, so I just kept it to myself. This was a 4 day trip, and went by in a blur.

Back here in NY, the malaise over the economy is palpable. Sure, NYers still go out and eat, though shopping and what not is greatly cut back by many, with the exception of the mega rich, of which there are many here. Most of the people in the luxury stores are Europeans, and have been for a while now. I can't say I blame them since they are getting a great rate, especially the Brits for whom it's practically 2:1, but I'm starting to get irritated when some of my work clients (Europeans) say things like 'I love NY now since it's so cheap'. I know what they mean, but it's sort of rude and insensitive. I feel like they should change their wording and say 'it's cheap for us'-- it is not cheap if your salary is in US dollars. But then again, Euro trash is Euro trash for a reason.

More updates soon