About Me

My photo
New York, New York, United States
"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best and Worst of 2008

I think it's absolutely fitting and representative of this year that I showed up for the last day of work in 2008, still drunk as #!*#...and just now beginning to feel the evil fingers of Herr Hangover poking at what's left of my brain.

Anyway, my roommate and I have been "playing" the best and worst of 2008 game so here are mine:


April - South Carolina. The entire trip...including the 13 hour car journey down from NYC. Highlight was barbecuing on the back porch (bacon-wrapped shrimp, oh yes), and then settling down on the wicker chair with a sweating glass of g&t and my book...the humidity a dense but not uncomfortable presence...frogs croaking...deer rustling through the brush...the palmetto fronds waving lusciously in the dusk.....heaven.


July - Flying back from California, with a stop in Cincinnati...only to have a tornado touch down (yes, an actual tornado) mere minutes after I landed. Everyone in the airport was ushered to the tornado tunnels (!!?) for an hour. Was crying...couldn't help it...but was comforted by a very nice and very cute guy who happened to be from olympia, where I was born. Naturally, he was engaged. After emerging from the tunnels, found out all flights to NY were canceled until late the next day. I had to work the next day. The airlines offered me a flight to Boston. Hell, I like Boston, so I took it. Got in around 4am, crashed at my friend's place, then took a train to NY early the next morning. The next day, showed up at work.....and was laid off.

What are your bests and worsts?

Happy 2009!! Hope you all have someone to smooch at the witching hour ; )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Asian Yellow

AAAAAHAHHAHAH I really don't even need new dishes but I simply have to get these. Asian yellow!! Target marketing, what the hell were you thinking??

Check out these awesome comments from the Target site:

"please include this as a package deal with rice and cat. or an extra bonus gift of msg!!!!!"

"the subtle patterns on the dinnerware are beautiful. reminds me of my days in saigon with its lush rice fields. just before my neighbors and i were treated to that 20th century revolutionary product of napalm in all its glory. i can smell the burnt flesh mingling with rice fields aflame. makes me hungry"

aaaaahahahahah I can't stop laughing

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Zookeeper's Wife

This is a non-fiction account of WWII seen through the eyes of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Polish zookeepers. During Germany's invasion of Poland, this remarkable couple managed to hide hundreds of Jews from the Nazis in the empty cages and facilities of their zoo. Their complex subsequently became known as "The House under a Crazy Star" due to the ever-shifting panoply of humans and animals.

I thought this book was fiction when I first picked it up. Keep in mind, I rarely, if ever, read non-fiction. Don't ask why...I'm weird about it. When I discovered this book was non-fiction, I was about to throw it down in disgust. But I kept on reading and I'm very glad I did. This was a truly lovely story. I know, WWII, Nazis, concentration camps...how can all that be lovely? Diane Ackerman was able to instill a sense of beauty and calm in her descriptions of war-life, drawing on humorous anecdotes about the myriad zoo animals and tying their animal behavior so neatly to human experience. She was able to basically embody Antonina, bringing her to life as the foreman of the zoo, shepherding both humans and animals alike to safety. She and her husband Jan were truly remarkable people. Embodying a fierce spirit and a good will toward people in need. Yes, they shuddered at the danger they were bringing unto themselves and their children but not for a second did they consider abandoning those that needed them most. Wonderful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My mom is a fob

This has got to be my new favorite site. Below is a recent post:

I emailed my mom some pictures from my first snowboarding trip and told her
about how my butt was sore from falling down so much the first day. Her reply:

Sooo…cute but i wonder about those poles are they got sore from all those hit from your butt….haa…haa

I actually threw my head back, I was laughing so hard. Oh asian mothers, we love you for your inability to communicate and your incessant worries about whether your asian friend's kids are smarter than we are.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shows 'n' Shows

I've been to an absurd amount of shows in the last month. And the best part of it is (though not surprising) they all pretty much knocked my socks off. I don't actually wear socks that often but if I did, they'd be lying in smithereens around my ankles.

First up: El Ten Eleven

I saw them at this great venue, 92YTribeca. It's part cafe, part art gallery, part music venue and part club. ETE is purely instrumental...two guys...one guy on electric guitar (with about a grillion pedals) and the other on drums. Great, smooth sound...more uptempo than Explosions in the Sky but not as funky as Ratatat. Thanks in part to the loop pedal, these two dudes provide remarkably rich melodies with danceable beats. Personal favs: My Only Swerving, I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool

Arliss Parker

So this guy (Chris Parker) is actually a good friend of my chum, Manda the Panda, who's in the Eskalators. I saw him and his band play at the Glasslands Gallery in BK. The venue is cool...funky decor, cute bartender and I enjoyed slapping the free peanuts out of my roommate's hands. (seriously people, don't eat bar nuts, that's just foul.) Anyway, back to Arliss Parker. Manda played me some of his stuff and I was hooked. Like El Ten Eleven, it's purely instrumental. Smooth, dreamy and downtempo, Parker utilizes the guitar, synth, glockenspiel (nice!) Big, big fan and I hope he goes far. Personal favs: Taken to Antrim, Oh My

The Rub at First Fridays at the Guggenheim

This was my first Guggenheim experience and my first First Friday experience. Definitely a good time but probably not something I'd repeat anytime soon. I mean a) it's pricy and b) the crowd was a little....weird. They were all dressed to the nines and about 10-15 years older than us. And while people were dancing, it was really only a small contingent by the dj booth. I was expecting everyone to get down, PS1-style. (maybe they should have turned off the lights..?) The music in the beginning was great, but then toward the end of the night, they started playing top 40 bs. WHY?? Dj ayres even admitted to it in this blog post but didn't give a reason why. But anyway, besides that, the Gugg is a fantastic place to have a dance party...maybe we went on a sorta off-night.

Melpo Mene, Loney Dear

So this was an impulse decision on my part. These two Swedes played at the Mercury Lounge last week and I am so glad I went. To be honest, the stuff on their albums is kinda...boring. As my buddy Eugene so tastefully put it, they're just plain, acoustic, "vagina-music." Fine. But their stage presence is what really blew me away. They roped in the audience with their wit, charm and broken English. Erik Mattiason (Melpo Mene) didn't even have a backing band...the poor guy used his ipod but he charmed us all with his shy-guy act, the string of xmas lights he wrapped around the mike, and his lovely acoustic rendition of MGMT's "Kids." Emil Svanängen (Loney, Dear) is heartbreakingly guileless. He loves to play his music and he loves for his audience to sing along, to clap, to smile. A couple times I was actually moved to tears.

Tonight, School of Seven Bells is playing Mercury Lounge and I'm debating attending that. Their album, Alpinism, is hands-down awesome. (Personal favs: Conjurr, Half Asleep) Check out the promo video from their label, Ghostly International.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Things I can't do when I've pulled something in my neck

1. Successfully wash my hair
2. Put my headphones on
3. Turn. At all.
4. Flag a cab
5. Laugh
6. Acknowledge the cute guy to my left
7. Lie down without making pained, strangled sounds
8. Acknowledge the cute guy to my right
9. Feed my cats (definitely no good repercussions from this one)
10. Dance like a fool

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I can't stop

...watching these freaking adorable puppies

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We enter the club. It’s explosively hot. Sweaty bodies are pressed against each other, slick and sinuous. The pulsing beat of the music is intoxicating. Instant euphoria. He takes me by the hand and leads me to the dance floor - a writhing, squirming mass of hearts on fire. It’s too hot. My hair is plastered to my neck in perspiring tangles. The music moves through me. Abandon is all around us. Something in me is clawing, reaching, yearning.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is the story of Calliope Stephanides who becomes Cal Stephanides in her early teens. Callie is a hermaphrodite. Due to untold centuries of inbreeding, Callie is the physical outcome of this traditional Greek-American family's...shall we say, unusual inclinations. Eugenides begins the story in Greece, and traces the family's legacy to Detroit where Callie is born...and born again.

I read this book about 5 years ago and fell in love. This is my second time through and I am just as moved. Eugenides writes with a grace that I find lacking in many contemporary authors. He embodies a touch of Dickens and Thackeray, while maintaining the entirely modern essence of his story. One can hardly ever imagine the life of a hermaphrodite but JE manages to convey the painful truths that Cal/Callie must face. Some may call this story depressing but I have never felt more satisfied when coming to the conclusion of this book. In my opinion, this is a genuinely well-written book and I can't think of a thing I'd change.

Well okay, except for one thing. What is Chapter Eleven's real name..??

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


For some time now, I've been trading music back and forth with a number of musically like-minded chums. One day, we discovered the awesomeness that is sendspace (and other like filesharing sites) that allows us to send each other mass amounts of files. Thus, the mixtape club was (informally) spawned. I've now sent several around (as have others) and below is the list for my next aural feast:

(not in this order...or maybe in this order..haven't figured it out yet)

You Me and the Bourgoisie - The Submarines
The Black Keys Work (original) - Erlend Oye
Drink to Moving On - Grand National
Lights Out - Santogold
Loud Pipes - Ratatat
Pachuca Sunrise - Minus the Bear
Little Bit - Lykke Li
Body Language/Interpretation - Booka Shade
Click, Click, Click, Click - Bishop Allen
Connjur - School of Seven Bells
The Dance - Charlotte Martin
If You Want Blood - Matt Pond PA
We Are Not a Football Team - Minus the Bear
Fall Bicycle - Lymbyc Systym
I'm a Lady - Santogold
Hello Benjamin - Melpo Mene
Recurring - Bonobo
You Haven't Told me Anything - Keane
You Don't Need this Song (To Fix Your Broken Heart) - Fields
Feel the Love - Cut Copy

addendum: i use too many parentheses...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

This was my first taste of Vladimir Nabokov, and really, by page 4, I was mesmerized. VN is a true master of storytelling...the way he spins the delicate web of his story, interspersing the tale with enthralling jewels of pure thought and wisdom. There were 67 short stories in total and when reading his "liner notes" at the end, every story stood out poignantly in my memory. There were love stories, horror stories, mysteries...they ran the whole gamut. Below are some of my most favorite lines:

All silence is the recognition of a mystery -- "Sounds"

I want to run all my life, screaming at the top of my lungs. Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. -- "Gods"

I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed on us and unappreciated. -- "Beneficence"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Going home today

"Thanks for the inspiring picture, it's life - a single pole with multiple choices."
-- dad

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Did anyone else know that it's pronounced (keen-wah)??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One day

"Every separate day in the year is a gift presented to only one man - the happiest one; all other people use his day, to enjoy the sunshine or berate the rain, never knowing, however, to whom that day really belongs; and its fortunate owner is pleased and amused by their ignorance. A person cannot foreknow which day exactly will fall to his lot, what trifle he will remember forever: the ripple of reflected sunlight on a wall bordering water or the revolving fall of a maple leaf; and it often happens that he recognizes his day only in retrospection, long after he has plucked, and crumpled, and chucked under his desk the calendar leaf with the forgotten figure."

-- Vladimir Nabokov

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Men I Adore in the News

This guy is.....AWESOME. Luis Soriano is a 36-year-old Colombian schoolteacher and for the past ten years, he has gathered up his two trusty donkeys (Alfa and Beto) and journeyed to remote villages to distribute his collection of 4,800 books. This "Biblioburro" is a truly quaint and innovative take on the traditional bookmobile. What's more he faces the dangers of heat exhaustion, not to mention the threat of Colombian bandit groups. This man is truly a modern-day hero.

As for these two, I would marry either one of them in a heartbeat. And for those of you who know me well, I'm so anti-marriage, I tend to get hives when people bring up the subject. Anywho, these two awesomely awesome dudes decided to trek around the US, correcting grammatical errors on public signs. 'Nuff said. I am enamored.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homeless - excerpt

Just a little bit from the "book" I've been trying to write..

Chapter 2

It’s really pretty remarkable the stuff people throw away in Manhattan. Toward, the end of any given month, it becomes a veritable free-for-all for people like me. I remember one afternoon, I watched as a young couple wrestled a queen-sized mattress out the door of their walk-up and on to the street. Arguing, they disappeared inside and momentarily, the girl came out, stuffing the bedding into a trash bag and leaving it on top of the bed. I sat on the stoop across the street until they finished packing up their things. As the moving truck roared off, I ventured across the street. Tentatively, I sat on the bed. My bony ass hadn’t felt such cushiony heaven in months. Not able to resist, I lay fully down on the bed. In moments, I was asleep.
I don’t quite remember what I dreamt of, but I know it was of home.
Fresh fruit in a yellow bowl, birds of paradise bordering a shaded path, the hushed sound of my feet ascending carpeted steps, the medicinal smell of the bedroom. Home..

I was jerked rudely awake. A female police officer stared down at me.
“Yo, girlie, you can’t sleep there.”
I was flustered. Still partly in the dream.
“I’m…I’m sorry. I was tired.”
“Well that’s pretty obvious. You need a place to go?”
“What? No, no. I’m fine.”
I reached for my bag and the trash bag of bedding and sidled away. I could feel the officer staring after me.
That trash bag of bedding lasted me two weeks. I came back one day to the construction site I was holed up in and discovered blood all over the sheets and blanket. I never did figure out whose blood it was. It wasn’t mine. At least I don’t think it was.


I’m walking down 7th with Amy and I can’t help but stop every few feet to examine the stuff people have left on the street. Most of it is furniture which is pretty useless to me; empty bureaus, a nightstand, several lamps, some picture frames. But up ahead, I spy my jackpot. Some fool had left out a stack of books in perfect condition. Lovingly I pick up the top book and sniff its pages. Forgetting I had company, I look over, embarrassed, at Amy, but she has a wry smile on her face.
“I knew I had you pegged for a book-lover. I thought I was the only one who smelled books.”
I smile nervously and look back down at the stack. Most of it consists of pulp reads; some Lehanes, a Janet Evanovich. However, at the bottom, I find what looks like a brand new copy of Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.
“Oh, that’s a good one,” Amy remarks. “Have you read it before?”
I shake my head.
“You should take it. You actually kind of remind me of Becky Sharp.”
“She’s the main character. You’ll see.”

We continue down the street when something stops me cold. There’s a mirror - grimy but intact - left out on the street. I don’t think I’ve looked at myself in a mirror in months. The shelters certainly don’t have any and store window reflections don’t really do the trick. I step closer. Amy, who is chattering away about her roommate suddenly falls silent.
That just can’t be me. Small, peaked face, blonde hair shorn to neck-length in crazy tufts. I was afraid I had lice last year and finding a pair of blunt scissors, I had cut all of my hair off. It’s now grown out but dirty and matted. I look thin. Painfully thin…ludicrous in my down jacket and baggy jeans. There are smudges of dirt and grime all over my face and neck. The blood on my lip and hands has caked in patches.
But, oh god, it’s my eyes. There’s desperation flickering in the corners, paranoia and insanity lurking just around the bend. I open them wider, bring my hands to my face. Edvard Munch, I think.
I start to cry. Harsh, rasping sobs burst from me and I bend over in horror and nausea.
I feel Amy’s hand tentatively on my back.
I can’t stop crying. My head hurts, my heart hurts. I’m terrified, sick…so incredibly exhausted. I’m mumbling words, I don’t even know what. An endless litany. I feel as if I’m losing my mind. I’m so scared. I want to go home. Please, God, somebody help me. I want to go home. I hate this. I hate me. I just want to go home.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reckoner - Diplo remix


Okay so this is a preeeeetty awesome remix. The "go's!" are a little annoying but overall, Diplo did a great job mixing in Thom's eerie, sultry croon with those classic blips, bleeps and drum beats. HOWEVER, I noticed something that really bothered me. After the first two-minute intro, the song shifts into a 2-step kind of beat that sounded so damned familiar. I sat there and replayed it over and over again and BAM, it hit me. It is the same exact intro to Beirut's "Nantes" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCkT4K-hppE)


(Addendum: just listened to The Deadly Syndrome's remix of reckoner....socks are officially knocked off.)

(Addendum 2: Okay, so the Diplo remix segment isn't exactly the same as Beirut's "Nantes"...it is in a different key but the chord progression is the same...a 3rd to a 6th and back to a 4th...and the rhythm is the same...but the tempo is sped up just a smidge. Don't get me wrong....I really like this remix but I'm just wondering if Diplo meant to take this sample from Beirut, or if he just somehow happened to produce a very very similar chord progression...)

(Addendum 3: Okay, it's basically been verified that Diplo meant to take the sample from Beirut so I'll quit my whining)

Monday, October 6, 2008

iPod fun

1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn't make sense. NO CHEATING!

How do you feel today?
New Soul

What's your outlook on life?

What does your family think of you?
Rainbow Veins

What do your friends think of you?

What do strangers think of you?

What do your exes think of you?
Weird Fishes Apeggi (hahahahha)

How has your love life been so far?
The Way I am

How will your love life be in the future?
I Still Feel

Will you get married?
Vertigo (aaaaaahahah)

Will you have kids?
People Have a Way

Will you be successful in life?
Something to Talk About

What song should they play on your birthday?
Falling Away

What song should they play at your funeral?
Always Where I Need to Be (umm..)

The Soundtrack of Your Life:
The Handshake

You and your best friend are:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snow Crash

Whaaaat a crazy book. I've been telling people (basically anyone who will listen) that this is probably the most fun I've had reading a novel. Hiro Protagonist is a pizza delivery man for the Mafia but that's only a side-gig for him. His real job is a hacker/stringer for the futuristic equivalent of the CIA. He delves around the internet - known as the Metaverse - as a katana-carrying vigilante...scouring the internet for obscure information. One day, he comes across a virus that's destroying not only the metaverse counterparts of his friends, but their physical, animate psyches as well. In other words, their brains "crash" and they fall into irreversible comas. Hiro sets off to discover the root of this virus and is surprised to be immersed in history dating back to the Sumerian ages. His "partner," a spunky 15-year-old, skateboarding courier (her name is Y.T. - short for Yours Truly) aids and abets Hiro in his quest to topple the magnates responsible for this virus.

I loved this book. I've read NS's Quicksilver series as well as Cryptonomicon, and Snow Crash is by far, his best work. It's truly remarkable to me that he wrote this novel in 1992. His vision of the near-future and of the various workings of the internet is spookily on-target. In particular, I loved the idea of cities being divided into "franchulates" or areas cordoned off and run by large corporations. The way things are going right now, that could very well be our reality within the next century.

NS's concept of religion being a sort of verbal virus is an extremely controversial thought. I'm personally surprised this book hasn't been banned, but perhaps they are in certain religious schools. It's a fascinating idea as well as a revelatory one. Clearly, it's not true but it sure helps to explain religious fanaticism and zeal.
"This Snow Crash thing - is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?"
"What's the difference?"

All in all, a fantastic read and I recommend that everyone read this book.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The right set of headphones

The right set really makes a world of difference when you're listening to your current favorite song. I have the iPod earphones, which for earphones, are pretty remarkable. However, I was sitting here dicking around on the computer and I decided to pull out my old headphones (that I usually only wear in the winter cuz my ears get ridiculously hot) and I was literally knocked sideways. The difference in sound is breathtaking. You can hear every little tiny nuance to a song and the echoes from the voices. It's spine-tingling....especially with the right song. And these headphones are...what's the term... noise-reducing so it's like in my own little heavenly bubble of music. You should see the ridiculous smile on my face.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm not quite sure what this post will be about. I just felt like writing. But I don't feel like writing fiction. I've started a novel (one that I really hope to finish but knowing me, that chance is pretty slim....) Anyway, it's about a homeless girl. Why? I have no idea. I walked into work one morning and sat down and thought, hey why don't I write a novel about a homeless girl. I'm about four chapters in and it's going surprisingly smoothly. However, I can't write every day. I can only write when I get weird flashes of inspiration and then I'll write for about 4 hours. It's like I enter this vortex and to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite heroines, Jo March, I know that "genius is burning." If I were to try to tackle the novel now, I know for a fact I'd write like shit. Mindless inanities that I'd just have to go back and delete later.

On to another subject. My parent's 30th anniversary was on the 15th. I surprised them with a nice dinner at the Ritz in Laguna. I feel bad that neither of their daughters could be there to celebrate with them but honestly, all I do when I'm home is make the poor woman cook for me. Anyway, Loraine is setting up another (extremely belated) surprise gift for them. I got our family friends to write out my parent's names in chinese and big sis is going to work that into a frame for them. Should be very nice.

Mad Men. WHAT a show...it's like popcorn, I can't get enough of its salty, buttery goodness (?) Don Draper is the sexiest enigma. Fringe. Meh. It's good, I'll continue to watch it but it's definitely a dumbed-down Lost. It also tries too hard to be x-files-ish but the goofy soundtrack takes away from it and the dialogue is nowhere near as riveting. Walter Bishop is a fantastic character, though.

Been listening to a lot of electronica. No, not that crazy techno/trance shit but stuff like Hot Chip, Aphex Twin, Milosh, Styrofoam, Fischerspooner. Great stuff to walk around the city to.

Last but not least, Marcos, Suz and I met Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


"I'm jealous of anyone who makes a lightbulb flash on in your head."
"How wonderful. That's love."


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Duma Key

Duma Key is one hell of a story. Edgar Freemantle has it all, a loving wife, two pretty daughters and a successful construction company that has made him millions. One fateful day, his car is crushed by an incoming crane and Edgar is severely injured, losing an arm and apparently some of his sanity. After attacking his wife, she files for divorce and Edgar retreats to Florida to heal and lick his wounds. On lonely Duma Key, Edgar returns to his childhood pasttime of painting and finds that his talent is both limitless and awe-inspiring. He meets some friends who eventually become some of the most important people he'll ever meet in his life. When things start to get- for lack of a better word- weird, those friends carry him through the worst part of it.

Oh Stephen King...you have rocked my world for well over a decade. As an ardent admirer of SK's work, I have been privy to how his writing has matured over the years. Not to say his earlier works such as "It" or "Pet Sematary" aren't great...it's just that clearly SK has refined his brand of "horror" so that in truth, his writing has become an exploration of human emotion. I noticed this in Lisey's Story, but much more so in Duma Key. Edgar's journey to both physical and mental recovery was oftentimes difficult to read about but I found myself so drawn to his character, that I rooted for him every step of the way.

SK's especial talent is how clearly he exposes the roots of relationships. Whether it's a relationship between friends or lovers or relatives, SK has this knack for bringing out the idiosyncracies in a bond between two people...and it's those idiosyncracies that truly bring a relationship to life.

Duma Key now ranks up there with The Stand and Hearts in Atlantis. Lastly, in SK's acknowledgements, he ends by thanking "you, Constant Reader, always you."As if I wasn't already crying hard enough by the end of the book..

Friday, August 22, 2008

oh my...

This cover of the latest New York magazine makes me blush. I had to turn the magazine face down because he was actually making me nervous. (??) Can't wait for the Open next weekend!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


A Star War's wiki site: Wookiepedia.com

A diner in NH: "The Live Free or Diner"

A 24-hr seafood restaurant called "Cod-All-Nightie"

A: "He showed up with a big black eye!"
B: "Wait, what?? He showed up with a big black guy??"

Saturday, August 2, 2008


So I was introduced to Matt Pond PA a few years ago...not personally (I wish!)...and I've discovered over the years that he puts out consistently good and polished music. Yeah some of it can be a bit too poppy but songs like "New Hampshire," "Honestly," "Summer is Coming," and "People Have a Way" are just so compulsively listenable. (that's not a real word but I like it so deal). He's an incredibly prolific musician and he's able to employ a wide variety of tempos and instruments in his songs, which is pretty impressive. Some of the songs from my favorite bands, deathcab, rhcp, etc. all tend to sound alike after awhile. But not Matt Pond PA. At least not to me.

Perhaps another reason I'm so taken with mppa is because his music reminds me of new england. Specifically new england summers. Driving through quiet countryside, the hot, sticky air humming by, glimmers of lakes promising cool dips...nighttime providing a faint chill, tanned happy faces around a bonfire, mosquitoes by the hundreds, inside jokes, laughter, skin still warm from the day's sun...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Sparrow

Wow. What an unexpected find. While this is, in essence, a science fiction novel, the true heart of the story lies in its main characters and the questions of morality they face in the most unusual of situations. A scientist, Jimmy Quinn, at a space telescope station discovers radio signals from a planet in the Alpha Centauri system that turn out to be the ethereal strains of alien music. Jimmy and a crew of his fellow friends: a physicist, her engineer husband, a child prostitute turned computer genius, and four Jesuit priests, including the enigmatic and intense Father Emilio Sandoz, are all sent on a mission to discover and explore this mysterious planet. You learn at the beginning of the book (fifty years after the mission has taken place) that Father Sandoz is apparently the only survivor of the mission. He has been tortured and is near death...as the story progresses, you learn more of what has happened to this poor man and his team.

It was difficult for me to get into the first fifty or so pages of this book. But once Jimmy discovered the music from Rakhat, I was hooked. Without a doubt, the best part of this novel were the characters. The humor and pathos in their dialogue and the love they developed for each other during this exhilarating yet horrifying mission was beautiful to behold. And I say behold because the characters literally jumped out of the pages for me. Imagine facing an entirely new species somewhere that is unfathomably far from home...adapting to the new culture and lifestyle and diet...yet retaining what makes you, in essence, human. And that is faith. I don't mean only religious faith, but faith in yourself, faith in others, faith in that when the bottom seems to drop out of your world, that there's always a bright side, a future.

Beautiful, rich, heartfelt story. Kudos to MDR.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Well you started off, you were flying in the air
Drunk without a care, on the love of somebody out there
And your heart did pound, every time you’d hear the sound
Of your true love queened and crowned, and the flowers were smelling like heaven
There were walks in the park, there were kisses in the dark
And proverbial sparks, that always precede failure
And your heart did fly, and your soul was telling lies
And you never asked why, this couldn’t all last, forever

And there were, granted wishes and heartbreaking bitches
And a world too inanimate to grab you by your britches and say
That you don’t ever want to be in love, again

There were days in the sand, we just kissed and held hands
Dreamt utopic foreign lands, where we’d live together, forever
And time was a blur, punctuated with a stir
It was always cause of her, and always was never enough
You start thinking about, all the times you’ve spent without
It begets a seed of doubt, in the clockwork peach in your soul
And your memories bleed, and your pulse is gaining speed
All these thoughts are a disease, and poetry’s one of the flesh

And there were, granted wishes and heartbreaking bitches
And a world too inanimate to grab you by your britches and say
That you don’t ever want to be in love, again

Now the world seems strange, all your thoughts are rearranged
And you’re feeling quite estranged, oh I hate remembering vacation
Now you’re distorting pictures and dislodging fixtures
And creating mixtures of truth and reality
And your heart’s palpitating, as your world’s disintegrating
You begin to start hating, the things that make life life

And every time you dream of better
All you end up getting is worse
And the ability to truly see the changes in your life
Could be the ultimate encompassing curse
But intrinsically humanity cannot end on such tragedy
So here it is the silvery verse, oh I must sing

That there are prom night dresses and fairytale princesses
And a world too inanimate to openly confess all its sins
Love’s the...


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008


She believes she is in love with him. No, she knows she is in love with him. The dim morning light filters through the curtains and illuminates the dust particles swirling about his face. Oh, his face. Soft lips, sturdy jaw, eyes closed in determined sleep. Hands so powerful but now curled softly in relaxation. She slides a finger into his palm, relishing his warmth. Such intimacy in one's hands!

They met by chance. It was a lonely, stark night along a rural road. She was driving fast, too fast. Sobbing, swiping at her eyes, unsure of her direction and swerving in the road. A menacing patch of ice looms up in the distance. Did she head for it? The next moment, the car is spinning, and spinning. With terrifying slowness, the car turns over. Moments pass in darkness. She is alive, but so scared and hurt. Opening her eyes, she sees a pair of tennis shoes. A man's voice is calling out. The next moment, warm, strong hands are gently pulling her from the ruin of her vehicle. She is on the pavement, head cradled in the stranger's lap. She looks up to a smiling face. Well now, that was a bad tumble but you'll be just fine. She closes her eyes and breathes.

Inseparable since their....meeting, their's has been a physical love. The need to touch one another, to reassure of each other's presence is palpable. He holds her face in bed, she is shivery with the intimacy and eroticism of such a simple act. In public, he takes her hand and kisses it, pulls her close to him in a sudden desire to touch her fragile mouth. She is filled, filled, filled with love.

He likes to go running. Hours on end, the slapping of his shoes against pavement and dirt a comforting sound. Watching the morning sun spill its endless rays over the horizon. He rounds the bend of a desolate, rural road. Loons are soaring over the lake and the sight is beautiful to behold. He stops. Who is that there? Light hair, small frame. For a breathless moment, he believes it to be her. The woman turns and it is not her. He walks closer and sees tears are streaking her face in a heartbreaking symmetry. He is drawn. Miss? The woman turns away. She steps into the lake. Alarmed, he reaches to grab her wrist. It is cold, but he feels the pulse, thready but fast beneath the skin. She shudders and stops, one foot in the water. An eternity passes. He steps closer, puts his hands around her face.

--short story--

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I really need a sustain pedal for my keyboard. Without a sustain pedal, songs that are otherwise flowing and graceful sound dinky and chopsticks-y. Point in fact, Ingrid Michaelson's "Breakable." Gorgeous, gorgeous song but on my keyboard it's like I'm just plonking on the keys without any real fluidity.

On that note (haa pun intended) a mute pedal would be handy too. Damien Rice's "9 Crimes" has a heartbreaking piano intro where almost every other note is muted. It makes that intro so subtle and quiet and tender.

To Guitar Center I go!

Monday, May 19, 2008


"Your New Twin Sized Bed"

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
With a single pillow underneath your single head.
I guess you decided that that old queen holds more space than you would need.
Now it's in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says it's free.

And I hope you have more luck with this than me.

You used to think that someone would come along.
And lay beside you in a space that they belong.
But the other side of the mattress and box springs stayed like new.
What's the point of holding onto what never gets used?

Other than to sit and desire for something new.

And I try not to worry, but you've got me terrified.
It's like your some kind of hurry to say goodbye, say goodbye, say goodbye.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.

Unaccustomed Earth

I am now officially hooked on short story anthologies. Jhumpa Lahiri's new book is a collection of 8 of her short stories, all of which feature an Indian family or individual. Each of the stories is an elegy to love, life and loss.

The story that was most poignant for me was the title story. The relationship that Ruma and her father share so perfectly mirrors my own, it was almost frightening. Ruma unconsciously draws strength and comfort from her naturally reserved father. The father, a quiet and independent individual loves his daughter but is burdened with a secret he couldn't possibly share with her. What is left unspoken starts to drive a wedge between father and daughter. However, the unobtrusive strength of their love prevents any true unraveling of the relationship. Beautiful, heartfelt story..

What I enjoyed most out of Lahiri's stories was her ability to portray life as a 1st generation child. You love and respect your parents and your culture however you're faced with the disparate demands of an American lifestyle...something your parents will never truly understand no matter how much time they spend in this country. You feel as if you're trapped in a cultural middle ground, never truly belonging anywhere. Lahiri was able to capture these tumultuous emotions with such poignant precision.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I can't mature. Wherever I am, I always end up thinking there's somewhere else that's so much better for me. When I was growing up in California, I yearned for Boston. When I was in Boston, I yearned for London, now that I'm in new york...I'm yearning for...well, ANYWHERE but here. Why can't I just be content where I am? Why do I always have to romanticize somewhere I'm physically not??

Maybe I read too much...my escapist tendencies get the better of me. But damn, there's really just nothing better than a good book that takes me far, far away.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Falling away

Do you ever listen to the first 10 seconds of a song and you're instantly hooked? For me, it's usually because the opening riff evokes some kind of past emotion or period where I was either inexplicably happy or just plain content. Evermore's "Falling away" is one such song. While the rest of the song kind of blows, it's the opening guitar melody that truly sucks me in. I hear those simple notes picked out and I'm whirled back to california, watching the sun set at laguna beach, driving with the windows down on the freeway, sitting out on my roof gazing at the san bernadino mountains..

Friday, April 18, 2008

Beta Three is the key

Yao Ming and Chien-ming Wang are two of China's greatest contributions to American athletics. In fact, they may be the only two. Now we're not a nation of particularly strong or powerfully built people. What we lack in size, we certainly make up in numbers.

Yao Ming burst on to the scene about five years ago; ludicrously tall at a little over 7 feet (!!!) but with a mean free throw shot. Okay, so 7 feet?? When the average Chinese man is about 5 feet 8 inches!? My firm belief is that the Chinese government genetically engineered Yao to grow to a hulking 7 feet and to weigh an even more unbelievable 310 lbs. Why are they doing this? Think about it. China is quickly becoming the leading economic superpower of the world. The military is also increasing in power but the average Chinese soldier can't really compare in size and strength. Yao (now known as Beta One) is the first of the government's experiments in creating a Chinese supersoldier, if you will. Except, I think they went a bit overboard with their testing and Yao's measurements were exaggerated to a ridiculous degree. (see above)

In comes Chien-Ming Wang...or Beta Two. Now here's a Chinese man that's a bit more realistic. Weighing in at around 200 lbs at just over 6 feet, Wang is one of the NY Yankees' star pitchers. I think the genetic engineering was much more successful with Wang as he's actually at a believable weight and height.

Now why are they in sports? It's obvious. American sports are so widely televised and broadcasted. The chinese government is using that as a means for the world to become accustomed to the "new" type of Chinese man so that when they start creating more and more of these betas, other governments will be less suspicious. Devious but ingenious. So what's next? We wait for Beta Three. As the saying goes, the third time is the charm.

(I watch far too much X-Files)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rowena O'Hara

So I just spent a very lovely weekend in South Carolina and it was my first foray into that region. Wow, Margaret Mitchell really wasn't joking around. Hot, still days...lush palmettos and jungly sprays, sluggish swamps and lagoons. It was a whole new world for me and I fell in love. I didn't even mind the humidity and the 18,436 different bugs that attacked me (well okay, I did a little). But I could get used to a life like that...exchanging friendly hello's with neighbors, trips into town for groceries, quiet nights on the porch with just a book and a cool drink. Even the intermittent thunderstorm would serve as a welcome break from the languidness. It's just a whole other life that I never imagined for myself until now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not so plain

On the way to see The Little Mermaid musical, (which was fantastic) Irish noticed that girls were walking by and staring at my feet. At first he thought they were checking out the tattoo on my ankle but I surmised that they were in fact, scoping out my shoes. As I tell Irish this, he glances down, then looks back up at me and says with honest confusion, "But they're so plain!" Oh how I laughed...peal after peal of laughter.

Now I'm not a shoe-maniac so I can see how to a male, the shoes I had on were"plain." They're black with a slight heel. However, to the female eye, the height of the heel matters (kitten, flat, stiletto..) the type of black (matte, patent, leather..) the back of the shoe (slingback, full-back..) As I laughingly explained all of this to Irish, I watched as his features crumpled in bewilderment and dismay. He had no idea that shoes were defined with such precision and he really couldn't have cared less. Come to think of it, most of what females wear can be divided into categories, and then sub categories and even sub sub categories. It's ludicrous, yes, but sometimes it's nice to be able to define something - anything - so distinctly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

25 on 25

Happy Birthday to meeee! So I'm 25 today...my golden/lucky/special/whatever birthday. It's only 11am but I'm having a great day so far. Lots of birthday wishes from friends and coworkers and a good sushi dinner to look forward to tonight. But the cherry on my cupcake (or however the saying goes..) is The Little Mermaid musical that Irish is taking me to tonight. That's right. The Little Mermaid musical. Ariel and Flounder and the singing French chef...YES. I was terribly obsessed with the movie as a teeny tot so to see the musical will probably bring me to tears. Laugh all you like! I'll be starry eyed with joy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A good book

It's pretty incredible that a book can do so much to lift my spirits. It doesn't even have to be a particularly cheery story - if there's a solid plot and excellent writing, I instantly feel better about myself. It's like I have something to look forward to at the end of the day when I'm nestled in bed, or on my subway ride home from work. I like taking little dips out of a good book. Read a few sentences here, maybe a few paragraphs there...and then setting it down feeling as if I've just had a cool sip of water on a hot, dry day.

My current infatuation is with My Mistress' Sparrow is Dead, a collection of love stories compiled by the awe-inspiring Jeffrey Eugenides. I'm about 5 stories in, and I've already felt horror, joy, revulsion, compassion. They're not purely stories about love between a man and a woman, but love between families...friends. As Eugenides says, "...love imparts a profound wistfulness, in which the evanescence of love expands to suggest the fragility of life and time and memory itself..."

The production of this book is a wonder. The pages smell crisp and clean, yet somehow with a hint of age. It's hardcover but the artwork is printed directly onto the front cover, foregoing the hassle of a jacket flap. It's just a beautiful book overall and one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My antidote to a grain of salt

So I've posted on xanga.com for years. Probably close to 8 of them. And I don't know why, but I'm now inspired to move my thoughts elsewhere. Isn't that a gorgeous picture? Being a California native, I'm endlessly enthralled by fall foliage. I mean just look at those colors.

Anyway, lately I've been thinking about how to return to a more credulous and innocent age; where I'm willing and able to see the beauty that's in the people and places that surround me. In my teens, I was all doom and gloom, convinced in humankind's inherent hideousness. Now that I'm (presumably) wiser, I realize that there just aren't enough hours in the day to spend it griping. That's not to say that I'm NEVER going to complain about anything. I'm human after all. And I do have my various objections. (Sharks, hippies, chocolate milk - to name a few) I just want to approach life knowing that uncertain terms are the norm. That "a grain of salt" is a cop-out. That surprises can be both terrible and wonderful. That life is, in the end, perishable and for that reason, so indelibly valuable.