Friday, March 31, 2006

The Seven Year Itch or Lacking of It

Today, March 31, marks the seven year anniversary of my working in the current company and my moving to New York City.

I have been so lucky to have experienced this city, all it has to offer.

Although a lengthy greencard process has kept me in the current company for too long, I am happy that I did not leave when I got the best chance.

Life had something better in stock for me.

What makes New York Red me? The city, the friends, the places, the streets, the night we spent walking along the streets, and the weekends of Spring and Summer, the galleries, the performances, the world's best restaurants, the world's most diversified faces, the courage and moments of lost, the tears that you never see, the laughter we have shared, and you.

It is the best of the time. It is the worst of the time.

This sentence from The Tale of Two Cities best describes it.

I have not had enough of it, after seven years. So I shall mark the date on this last day of March, begining of Spring, with hope and love.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You Need PhD of Engineering to Figure This Out

As a cost saving measure, I believe, we got a new type of water cooler/heater in the office. It was put near the tab, since it is basically tab water processor with a filter in the back.

The thing is, from the beginning, people think it is broken. For, no one can make it work, that is, when you want hot water. And as a Chinese, I want hot water all the time, for my tea.

So it takes me a good trial and error process to tackle this.

There are three buttons on the side and a flash light. So it looks pretty high tech.

I placed the cup in the proper place, took a deep breath and got started. Usually red button indicates hot water and as the right-handed me, I chose the right red button almost without thinking.

After one push, I waited. Nothing happened. I tried again, and again, still nothing happened.

Ok,I am flexible and smart. I know how to ajust strategy when one path proves to be blocked.

I went for the left button, from the angel of my hand, you can tell this is not the most intuitive position at all. And not surprisingly, nothing happened either.

I counted my fingers and the number of buttons, feeling relieved that my fingers outnumber the buttons to be manipulated. So I looked around, making sure that there is nobody around, and I tried the extreme.

I tried to press three buttons at the same time. You can tell it is akward since my mid finger could not find the blue button easily. Yet, even after that, nothing happened. I am getting anxious.

I thought I am smart girl. I was straight A student. But I could not get hot water out of this little thing. I felt at a loss.

Maybe, I was staring at the ceiling and gave it some serious thought. I remebered some old routine in Martial art film, when the good gal tries to get the eyes of the bad guy, she would do the two-finger trick.

This idea inspired me. My hands almost trembled with excitement when I reached out two of my fingers to the two red button.

Splash! Like a nation was born, like the magic door was opened in the old Arabic tales at the secret code of Alibaba.

Hot water finally came out.

And when I say it came, I mean it really really CAME.

I surely felt lucky that I did not hold the cup while playing this trick, for the other good hand of mine might get seriously burned.

This demonstrates three facts:

I am extremely bored at work and not motivated;

This machine is extremely entertaining;

And our company building service level has reached a new low.

And I almost was not thinking of you, or my heartache.

Now I am off for more tea.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dream Host or Blue Host

I received a note tonight from Blue Host about their new 24/7 web service, about time already.

It reminds me of a little email converstaion we had back in June last year when you were in the West coast and I was in New York:


You know WordPress has a gazillion templates. Where are you hosting? I'm at Dreamhost.

Why am I missing you so much right now? Am I missing New York and you're New York to me?


Mine is on Bluehost. I transferred my domain name from somewhere else. But I think Bluehost sucks. Server has been down.

One thing is certain that you must miss New York. I am here and I still miss it. Don't try to figure out, just keep on missing me.


Dreamhost is great. Transfer there.

Sleep well. Dream well. Switch to Dreamhost because wouldn't you rather dream than be blue?


I paid for a year already for the blue, but I will take a look at the dream, yes, I would rather be dreaming than being blue. I am blue enough already. Plus the server of Blue is like you, sometime they just are non accessible. Better customer support please.... ;-)

As far as I know you are still using the Dream Host, and I am the Blue Host. But I never really use it, since I have the free blogspot.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thoughts from Late Night Gossip

We went back to my apartment after the drink.

I offered both of them Scotch, out of the same bottle you brought me and a bowl of nuts to go with it.

They sat on my couch and looked refreshed and sweet together. B is so affectionate and it makes me a little sad but mostly amused to see him innocently calling out her name. Then he will always comes back to his funny, slow but sincere conversation with us. He is sweet.

But then I decided that I still love you the way you are. I would not do that, you would not do that either. I would rather feel that you stand beside me, very close, almost touching me, but we don't need to look at each other to know that we are there together, in love.

He talked about a woman we all know: "I think she is setting up this wall and is trying to protect the secret that she has this huge void in her life. I don't even know her, but that is how I feel about her. "

I was astonished about his accurate observation. Are we women really the slave of our feelings, so obvious that people can just see our pain like a golden fish swiming in the glass bowl?

"I want my hands to be hold in a meaningful way." I remember one of my friends once said in her blog. That is what we all want. I miss the time when we had that.

They sat there admiring my studio apartment, the deco, the furniture and the view. I told her she can shoot her love scene here for her film projects if she think the space is good enough.
Her film is about obession between two couples.

This is the place that still belongs only to us. Our music, our love making, our huge windows with the view of the city. It is a beautiful apartment, but with too much of our memories that I some time have to look away or get out to breathe, to not think of us.

My lease is up soon, by July. By then, it will be two years since I moved here since that summer, with one piece of furniture from my old life and my heart full of hope.

You know that we can start again, much better. And there will be no more dragging this time. It will be it, a real thing. Simple life, warm feelings, unknown grounds but with some courage, it will be fine.

"Is that mask from Italy?"

"No, Paris".

Once I said to you I will put it on while you make love to me. It is a little hard for me to breathe with it on.

I handed M Chong Kong Express, the movie by Wang Kai Wei, since she loved In the Mood for Love so much. She is inspired by his film making technique and style.

We both loved that movie In the mood for Love. We both were in the mood for love. It was and is true and real, and good. Don't blame it for anything.

"I know that film" B said, "two policemen right? The girl sneaked into his apartment." Yes. That is the one. We watched it together in my apartment, first time for you, the Nth time for me.

They left around two in the morning. I asked them to put those two scotch glasses in the sink. I will wash them later. Beautiful glasses. I drank water the whole night.

I then stepped on a tiny piece of broken glasses from the smashing night months ago. You cleaned it as much as you can, but some left there with me. I picked it up and I was thinking, my guests could never have guessed what happened here, our space, our stories, our happiness, and why should they, some memories were just mine and yours, deep in our hearts, drifting in the wind, like whispers that we believe we can hear, when everything else is silent.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It Is Official

Following words get on my nerve big time:

1. From the get go.....

2. Put a stake (And I always thought-a stick) in the ground.....

3. It does not have to be fully baked......

4. How about travel to Seattle next week........

Spring Starts--Hope You are Well

Empire State Building shined yellow and white tonight, for the color of Tulip, since it is the start of Spring. I was watching Magnolia, again, last night, and I was thinking of you. You said you like that movie. I do too. It makes me want to write to you.

So I am writing to you now on this day, on my blog.

The sound track reminded me of our time together. Two years ago today, we were making love at the start of the Spring when the length of day equals the length of night. Maybe we should not have. But I love the way you made love to me. Maybe it is sexuality. What is wrong with that?

Maybe it is wrong when I was asking for more, when I smile to myself when I think of you and miss you when we are not together. I know I love you more than just the love making, so much more. And you loved me, as much as you can. Yet I need reassurance from you, like all woman do.

We don't have to spend rest of our life together, just love now; just make love now. That is why it is not healthy. I conflict myself. I want them all.

Hope you are doing well.

I was going to ask you do you want to come to Asia with me some time in the future. Are you relieved that you were not asked. Your home is here. I am not an East Coast New Yorker like you are; I am not even a West Coast New Yorker. I am a Chinese New Yorker and not from Chinatown, thus the more blunt or foreign, once more fun. The red.

Is the dynamics wrong because I don't process well what you say when you say it, in bed or not in bed, in your own way; and I don't say what I really want, yet cranky for not getting it. What a mess. I am sorry. I apologize like a well mannered boring Asian does. But I don't apologize for wanting to be with you, or being me.

But something never changes, like the day when Spring comes, the length of day equals the length of night.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Reading

Why poets kill themselves young
I hear they led a great life
Having more sex than people with real job
Yet they crave for more

Like this poet form the reading
Putting too many dirty words in his own mouth
He was drunk, almost proudly so
The only thing I like about suckling breast in his poems are
"My lips are pink, like the skin of pig
But necessarily so"
For that slice portion of humor

Why poets dress badly
The woman whose monolog revolves around
Since you left and I am doing fine
Achieves almost amusement, and some echo in my heart
I am almost ready for tears when
her shoes and socks distracted me
They are not matched, for passion
Or I am just not a woman poet material
who are responsible solely for writing words
and reading them

Yes, none of them really leads us from
Point A to Point B
But good poems really kill
Really, like
Since you left, I am doing fine.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Red Angel Looking Homeward

This story will make the point that I am not that smart, put together, or really love New York that much.

I was supposed to get on a direct flight from Singapore to New York after my business trip. I had an hour to board the plane. I didn't have a watch, I know I won't die without it. But I missed my flight because I was comparing two watches, one was half the price of the other one, in Singapore national airport.

Somehow the decision was really difficult to make. When I FINALLY bought the more pricy one (And I heard I got a better deal buying it in Asia than in the US. ), and run to my gate, it was closed. I missed it by maybe 5 minutes. The gigantic A340 is still there, but I could not get on. My bags were already unloaded and sent back to Lost and Found. I was told.

"Lost and Found"!!

When I was escorted to the exit since I missed an international flight not being a Singaporian, I waved to the persistent young salesman with anger, "You told me I have enough time." Yes, blame him. I felt so silly. He looked like he felt sorry for me.

Yes, I missed my flight buying a watch, you find that ironic. Maybe I was blind. The shameful and desperate tears I burst out was partially for my own stupidity, but mainly for missing my 18 hour direct flight to Newark in Business class. I can not take Coach back to New York from Singapore. It is just too long. And anything else got to be longer since the direct one beats them all by flying over the NORTH POLE.

4 hours later, I re-checked my bags and was on the 15 hour flight to LA. Luckily I still got business class. From there, I will connect via red eye to JFK, so that I can make a meeting on Sunday morning with some Chinese equivalent of Trump but much worse looking (even), for my company, which is eager to find a partner to enter Chinese market.

Only later on, I found out that these two routes are the world's first and second longest flying route ever, both records being held by Sinapore airline.

I felt better, enjoyed the endless food service, hot towels, pretty girls with heartwarming smiles, and went through the 200 something movie selections. Business class seats are super comfortable, But I could not sleep on the plane. When a big plane like that shook in turbulence, I got all worried and imaginative.

The business man sitting/sleeping beside me suddenly began to talk to me when the sign of Hollywood was glistering on the ground 15 hours into the flight: Did you see that? I thought he did not like me all the way. I almost grabbed his arms when the turbulence was too bad. But he was sleeping. Travel alone sucks but I have grown used to it now.

I had 6 hours to wait for my red eye flight. I lost track of time already. I looked at my new watch, that was still Singapore time, 13 hour different from New York time, and 16 hour different from LA.

After clearing the custom, I dragged my 5 bags to the counter of Delta, trying to check in. Yes, I need to take care of my two gigantic checked-in bags as well since I was going international flight to domestic flight.

Delta counter woman was totally confused by the ticket stub I showed her. " This says Singapore airline confirmed you for the China South Flight 850 operated by Delta 1881 to JFK" she gave me a look which I don't know how to interpret. But I almost said: yes, they say this is a global village.

"I can not find your record. You might have to go back to Singapore and let them redo it for you."

I am not going back to Singapore. I got my watch already. I hope she meant Singapore Airline. But I was not going anywhere.

"Plus I paid already. " That is the only protest I can make. I was exhausted, 20 hours after I bought the damn watch, yet I was in LAX. She asked for supervisor and they spent another 15 minutes on the computer and then checked my bags and gave me a boarding pass with no seat assignment. "You will get your seat assignment at the gate."

While I was waiting for them sort through the mess, there was a family of 5, two adults with 3 grown up girls waiting to check in with 10 bags. They seemed to be frustrated as well.

I thought I was good to go. I took my carry on which were 4 pieces of small items: my purse, my red Furla bag with the Thomas Lynch book I carried with me, phones, immigration papers, and IPod, my laptop and a white plastic shopping bag. Did I tell you I bought some chocolate and tea for my coworker in the Singapore airport as well.

I headed to the gate, settled down, asked for a Bloody Mary in the Mexican restaurant, and began to read my book. I called my friends in LA and told them I could not meet this time and I was only passing by. We chatted and hang up.

Around 9 pm, I walked toward the counter to ask for seat assignment. The father of the big family was walking toward the counter too. He was a step ahead of me. If only I KNEW, I should have run.

The blonde lady behind the counter was friendly. She took over both of our boarding passes and said" oh, you are stand bys". Deep breath. Deep breath. I can not blieve it but I gave up fighting already. I accepted the fate and had faith.

We standbys were asked to wait ASIDE while others got their seat or got their seat changed since "they don't like their mid seat". I just want a seat, a whatever. Damn watch. I looked at it. It was pretty, but stupid on my waist.

The screen shows the order of the stand bys: I am the 6th one since the family of five was ahead of me. There were 15 other people after me. Please, people, if you want to go to New York, plan ahead.

Finally it was our time. The lady announced that there were 3 seats left. I was relieved. The family of five could not possibly want 3 seats. I was all smiles. But I assumed too soon. The father and mother exchanged a quick look and said: OK. We will take it. One of the girl will come with us.

What, this is not the mission to the moon or Sophie's choice (Sorry for this one, sorry William Styron). A family should stay together. I began to laugh and talk to myself. I was going insane.

So I was turned away after a 15 hour flight trying to catch this plane to go to NYC by 9 in the morning. But that was not the worst. I asked: OK. Where should I get my bags? Loss and Found?

"No, you bags are ON the plane." So I am stuck here with my carry on. What is wrong with this trip. Everything. The damn watch.

"That is not even secure. If you think about it. My bags on and I am not" I tried to gain some ground back by being smart. Why don't they throw my bags off like Singapore Aireline did. "Don't worry. We scanned them already."

Of course you do. I wanted to smash something, if only I was in a bar with glasses....

I went downstairs to the ticket counter asking for next flight out. A friendly male staff quickly searched and said" everything is stand by for tomorrow as well." The word "Standby" traumatized me already. I had been stood by too long these days in my life, no more. When is the earliest flight that you can CONFIRM me on? Monday. OK. Let's do that.

I called my friends again" Surprise! I will stay for a day". I felt like unwanted distant relative. I just saw them back in Oct. So soon, I was back here, totally unplanned. They live in Irvine. My friend instantly got on the way to pick me up. I felt surreal.

I was sitting in the Delta arrival hall, typing messages on my blackberry to apologize missing the meeting next day. When a woman staff walked up, asking me: is that bag yours? I looked around, there was a plastic bag under the seat I was sitting on. No, It was not mine. She looked around and said, ok, I need to call security to remove the bag.

Before the security arrived, I removed myself first, you never know. Giving my luck, I could be sitting near a bomb. As a matter of fact, I could have bought a timed bomb which was on my waist right then.

Stay in friend's place was EVENTLESS and cozy. Just what I wanted. I had to borrow everything from electronic tooth brush to pajamas from the hostess. And I had to get up at 6am LA time to make a conference call. Half the time I could not hear a thing and I could not speak loud for fear of waking up my friends. But at least I showed my effort, I was trying to get home. I was at least in the same country/continent, although different time zone.

Next day I began to have anxiety attack about my bags that went before me. They could have got stolen, misplaced or damaged. They were abandoned and will circulate around the belt forever in some dim terminals of JFK. All my beautiful dresses, shoes and shopping items were inside those bags. I am afraid I will never see them gain.

At least, I have my watch with me. And tomorrow will be a new day.

Damn it! Damn it!

Weather is so beautiful in LA. I am not missing New York, really.

We got up at 5 am Monday morning to make the 8:35 flight. My friend joked about the friend he once tried to send off 3 times, with no success. I looked at him and said: Don't worry. I will live in the airport if they still could not find my record". He laughed loud.

I got into the line this time full of contempt to the stand by passengers, for, this time, I was confirmed. Although I wore the same outfit for 2 days already, I think I still looked neat and charming. Nobody knew my secret.

He tore off the boarding pass, then pointed at my hand: "you got too many bags. Only one carry on is allowed besides a purse/laptop". I know it won't be this easy.

"But they are all small items. Overall I am not exceeding space limit"

"Please consolidate. You stand aside, consolidate", as stubborn as beaucratic communists.

Aside again, I thought I was confirmed. I sighed and put my little black purse in the red Furla bag (A no-brainer consolidation). And from 4 items, I now had 3, red Furla, green laptop and white shopping bag.

Will that do? One more. You need to put this reduce one more.

Even without any indepth geometry knowlegde I can tell none of the bag can get into another. It is not humanly possible. One guy came by and tried to help and gave up. "I can check in this plastic bag." Tea and chocolate, who cares, I can lose them.

"No, it will be damaged." The airline staff was not without sympathy. He finally waved me in after I got all sweaty trying to deal with this bag issue. I was not sure I looked elegant and calm anymore.

There was a conspiracy going on to crush my soul.

A desperate whatever, not Angel, I am sure, looking homeward, with red eyes. That was how I felt all the way from Singapore, from the moment I stared at that A340 with despair. Home was on the East coast of this continent.

The airline turned out to be called Song, operated by Delta. It was pleasant and I liked the fact that captain explained about turbulences coming and leaving and why he asked flight attendant to sit down. Very reassuring. I need to grab arms again.

Movie cost $5 and there was great music selection. One album called Plans made me sentimental again.

Song Plane finally touched down in JFK. I saw the river and the familar buildings, the city, I was parted for so long. The city with you, those long corridors I walked through to see you before I left.

I went straight to the luggage service of Delta airlines. The staff asked for my baggage ticket and after some searching, said: we do have your bag, but they are at a different terminal.

So long there were here, not lost. When I finally saw them in a dark room full of bags that looked like being abandoned forever, one black and one orange, I was almost in tears.

You have went through so much: being scanned, opened, insulted, thrown off, separated from me, abandoned, yet you waited for me and we are finally together again.

Good things happen for people who wait and for bags who wait too.

When we (myself, 4 carry on and 2 luggages ) were all on that taxi, heading to Mid town, my Indian taxi driver asked: how is your trip, Miss?

(Which lag are you asking?) "Just fantastic! Thank you!"

And it was only 7 PM, I was looking at that watch again. I realized that I had to adjust it to 6PM, New York time.

I was back in one piece, and alive. I was home, although a good 48 hours later than I originally planed, if only I had not bought that watch.

But now I had a nice watch and everything else does not matter.

And I felt like the following cute and angry dog during my trip going back here, mostly angry at myself. But at the end of the day, I regard this whole exprience as a good journey, for I learned my lesson and found I have capability to laugh at myself. That is important.

And I hope this make you all laugh a little. I think sad blogs, like a sad young woman, should be banned from blog space or relationship.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The "Crime" of Association

It is confirmed, my documentary film maker friend is under house arrest. He can only make 2 phone calls each week, one to his parents, one to his sister.

He is under lots of investigation. I am relieved that he is alive, but I also worry about his situation and his future.

He treads on the gray area: underworld religion, first gay bars in Beijing, concern of industrial usage of farmer's land. But his stories are more bright than angry, although accurate and thoughful.

He was arrested around Feb 22 or later. I was having lunch with him and one other friend, a lawyer, at the World Hotel in Beijing on Feb 17. We might be under surveillance already. He might be followed.

I still remember his smile full of vigor and hope talking about his new project. He carried lots of gears and had to let me help him with one of them while we walked from the lobby filled with foreign business men to the dining hall.

Right after lunch, I rushed to check out and was driven to airport for my flight to Hong Kong. I was wondering maybe my name is on some list already, because of the association. Maybe next time I go home, there will be officers waiting.

Maybe I had a narrow escape the last time.

There may already be records of me somewhere intriguing people, who is she, why is she here? Then I am proud. For certain association is meant to be. You don't bend for it.

While we had lunch, his eyes suddenly lighted up, "I think it is Albright that is at the table behind you." I turned around and saw the famous lady in an elegant red outfit, the former secretary of state to this country.

He said: "This is the place to be. Things are happening here".

I hope he still believes so. I hope they know that is what is on his mind, tell a true story of a country that is full of hope, not of secrets, fear and operession, a country and home that he is proud of.

Why is that a crime?

Our thoughts are with you.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Munch for the Modern Soul

Last night, my friend told me one of the bloggers and prior friend whom I met in Beijing this time disappeared out of any trace. The Friday I saw him in Beijing was Feb 17. He was on the way to shoot his documentary about underworld Christians in the country.

His last blog entry was Feb 22.

He is a freelancer blogger, documentary film maker, gay, having moved back to Beijing from the US. I suppose to meet with him this month in NYC since one of his documentary film was purchased by Channel 13.

I hope he is alright. I hope all is false alarm. He is happy and believes in making a difference for having a voice.

And Munch's Kiss and Melancholy and Despair filled my soul today. I shall not be shamed of the feeling of passion, jealousy, fear of death and despair from loss, since that is what a Modern Soul is all about according to Munch, so vividly depicted in his painting.

I did not expect this much pain and power from a pale and tall, almost slim looking man.

Red and blue are the colors in Munch's painting for anger, passion, torture and melancholy. Together these color are clashing and painful, but perfect in Munch's painting.

I also love the woodprint Kiss in the field and Forward to the Forest. They are having lighter colors. Light green, brown and warm figures of people kissing and hugging, for lighter moments and better memories.

Munch later find better expression of feeling like screaming in Scream than the below painting, but I looked at the below painting much longer than the Scream.

This place, again

I don't believe what is being said, but there is a reason that we say things.
Even in this pain, I think life is worth having, for otherwise, there will just be nothingness.
To be alive is a bliss--I am glad you are here.
There maybe no solution for our riddle, for the heaviness.
Then you shall travel light.