August 31, 2007

If you don't have your metro card or exact change ready before boarding the bus, don't bother getting on. Walk to your right and leave sufficient open space for fast walkers to pass you up if you plan on walking slowly. When there are weights on the bar, it means the bench is taken. Don't act surprised when someone yells at you for trying to take over the bench. There is a sign-up sheet for the treadmill. Use it when the cardio room is filled with people on the machines and those waiting to use the machines. Again, don't act surprised when the nazi gym employees bark at you. Stay clear of people departing the subway train. In other words, stand to the side and only board the train after every passenger departs. Tip the restroom attendant $1 the first time you visit the restroom because you will likely make a couple more trips throughout the night. When jay walking, don't stare at the driver who almost ran over you. You are at fault! If the crosswalk light is flashing its red hand, speed it up or don't cross at all. If there is a tip jar, drop a couple coins in the can to let the employee know you tipped. Those coins add up. When someone e-mails you and asks for a response, respond to the question right then and there. Don't leave the e-mail unanswered because you will end up forgetting about it. Use online billing. It allows you to control your cash flow. Ask someone to do something, don't command! Inserting a "please" after the command does not make it better.

August 30, 2007

Look at your calendar. Have you ever seen a month that has four and a half weeks? I realized it this morning when I looked at my calendar for the month of August. This month has been the longest on record. Well, at least in my book. Thank you for the car service last night. I think it would have been faster if I took the train. Everyone went uptown for whatever reason. Just leave the Trader Joe's goodies there. I'm sure you will resort to eating "bark" when your stomach calls.

August 29, 2007

A few weeks ago, I mentioned encountering a sassy US postal employee. She was very mean and did not provide decent customer service. Immediately after the visit, I completed an online survey with the USPS to describe my customer service experience. Yesterday, I went to the same post office to mail a package. I was in line and saw her again...that same nasty employee. I was praying to God to put me with someone else besides her. Well, Mr. Almighty did not fulfill my request. After she said, "Step down!", I ran straight to her. It was very much like Seinfeld's soup nazi line. I was taken back when she asked how I was doing. I said I am well and asked how she was doing. She said she was doing well too. She told me I can save $4 if I re-package my items in a flat-rate box. I did that and came back to her counter. I thanked her for saving me money. She smiled a lot and even wished me a good night. Did my survey response have something to do with it or did she have a bad day a few weeks ago? I have come to realize that people are allowed bad days every now and then. If that same person is consistently moody, then it's safe to conclude that he/she needs an attitude adjustment or get laid. This week marks two years since Katrina flooded New Orleans and caused devastation along the gulf coast. Jefferson Parish and the nicer areas of New Orleans have recovered expeditiously, while much of the poorer areas remain untouched. I am to return for a follow-up visit with the dentist in a couple weeks. I lost another tooth nerve yesterday.

August 28, 2007

Whatever...that's all I have to say. We are reverting back to how it was a few weeks ago. The free screening had a big turnout. Unfortunately, some fans were turned away. The movie was an MFA requirement for a film student at Columbia. The overall quality resembled that of a non-student. I stood in line in front of three chatty young girls. All they could take about was how they can't get their hair to straighten out in this humid weather. People love to pass out free stuff at Astor Place. A Christian group gave away wallet-size subway maps. On the back of the map contains the church's location and service schedule. NYU gave away mini subway maps with Jewish holidays listed on the back. I gave that copy to Chang when she first moved here. Those maps are very handy, especially when I am on the west side and clueless about the nearest train stop. Last week, a water company gave away free bottles of their newest product. Just make sure to take at least one item. Let's not forget our AMNY and Metro newspaper folks! I have been listening to pandora, thanks to Rob. I am in my "female pop" phase. Some of the artists on my channel right now are Brie Larson, Natasha Bedingfield, Hilary Duff, The Corrs, Mandy Moore, and Clay Aiken. The vocals and cheesy lyrics soothe my tensed mind. They all sound alike, including Mr. Aiken. Polish people love their chocolates filled with hard liquor. I may get buzzed after eating a handful.

August 27, 2007

"Our School" documented the lives of high school seniors, their fellow underclassmen, and the school's faculty and administrators. The school is for Korean children in Hokkaido, Japan. The children are fourth generation Koreans born and raised in Japan. Financially supported by the North Korean government, the school has faced criticism from the local Japanese community. The school recognizes the North Korean flag as the flag of its fatherland. However, South Korea is considered their homeland. The high school seniors wish for a swift re-unification. Halfway through the movie, we see students putting up the North Korean flag for their annual Sports Day. It was a shocker! The Korean they speak is that of the north regime. I highly recommend seeing this documentary. Whether you are pro-communist or pro-capitalist, it's always good to see a different viewpoint from those of mainstream media. A big-headed tall girl sat in front of miss thang so she got up and abruptly pushed her way through an empty seat with no obstruction. Joe, good luck with your "first" day! Brad, you did it! The VA should not be so bad. I saw the pictures...scandalous! You also have another set out there.

August 26, 2007

Thank God this month is almost over with. Yesterday, humidity came in full force. When I stepped outside, my shirt stuck to my skin immediately. Cafetasia looked more like a club/bar than a full service restaurant. Everyone enjoyed their meals. The chocolate mousse was light and fluffy. We sang "happy birthday" three times. According to the waitress, they already sang four times prior to the three we heard. The girl next to us became "21". We got on the yellow line and got off at 23rd St. Four avenues later, we met Glenn at Kanvas. He and his bud left a few minutes later due to a guest list that was expiring. We hopped in a cab and went back downtown to the LES. Chang stayed with her Indian crew as we ventured to Stanton Public (a whole in the wall, but good crowd of young wannabes). This is where Joe displayed his plethora of dance moves. Sua did not want to go home. She thought the night was still young. The rest and I thought the night was early (early morning). I was "driving". After dropping Sua off, I made a pit stop at Brad's to change the thermostat to his preference. The bus showed up minutes later. It saved us from taking a cab.

August 25, 2007

I was just about to start dinner without Khanh when he showed up. I had my usual. A man came by to drop off his desserts. I bought a banana and sweet potato pudding from him. Qui and the rest showed up just as I was contemplating on whether to get the desserts. I headed up to 29th and 3rd. I ended up sleeping on the couch. I picked up some sale items from Morton Williams this morning. The best deal was Breyer's 1 pint ice cream for $0.99. The freezer had three vanilla left. I took all three. Sometimes riding the bus is faster than the train. I'm back to Chinatown in a couple hours for a "thank you" lunch. Hope you feel better!

August 24, 2007

The dentist could not perform a root canal or extract any teeth because he specializes in gums. I wasted my time going to the dentist. They could have easily told me not to come. The NYU faculty dentists are out on academic break. They will not return until September. In the mean time, I need to stay clear of sweets and not eat on my right side. Get goi cuon, bo luc lac, and pho tai at Pho Xe Lua! So what do you have to say for yourself? ...ugh, I'm sorry? I am discontinuing my relationship with NYU's dental practice. I found a dentist up the road who can see me on Tuesday. Yes, we Nguyens are out there, Megan! Bhangra tomorrow? Joel, you have redeemed yourself by finally responding to my post. Hoa, I'm not all that. When are you getting that internet up and going?

August 23, 2007

My teeth on the right side of my mouth have been aching for the past couple of days. When I eat hot or cold food, the aching begins. I should run to the dentist. Maybe it's all the sweets I have been eating. Speaking of which, the strawberry buttercream cupcake made my day yesterday. That will be the last Crumb's cupcake for a while. I can see my belly growing one inch bigger for every cupcake. Yello is a nice place to chill in Chinatown. I had a bottle of Heineken for $3. Maybe it was happy hour. Anyways, there are two karaoke rooms downstairs. I could not find Third Eye Blind's "Semi Charmed Life". It was either "Sukiyaki" or "Bug a Boo". I passed. Ujju and her team were welcoming and kind as usual. I learned how to say good night in Japanese, but I forgot it when my beer wore off.

August 22, 2007

For the first time in a long time, I did not have to roll up my sleeves while going home from work yesterday. Mother Nature gave us a preview of autumn. Popeye's chicken here in Manhattan tastes exactly the same as the chicken in New Orleans. Don't get the red velvet cupcake from Crumb's. The cake was very dry. I'm hoping the dry batter was an isolated deal because all their other cakes are consistently moist and delicious. I'm allowed one cab ride a week. If it rains all week, we'll add additional cab rides. Check out!

August 21, 2007

If you are reading this before midnight, then you caught me cheating. This entry is a bit earlier than normal. A wise person told me to go get organic milk as the price is comparable, if not cheaper, than regular milk. I'm concerned about the taste. I remembered drinking 2% milk years ago when I was a health freak. If the organic milk tastes like water, I am going to throw it out and revert back to regular milk. I'll look for it this coming weekend. Okay, enough about all this milk. The weatherman said it would rain all day today. He lied. Only a few drops trickled ever so gently on my commute home. My umbrella was of no use. Hoa, stop playing phone tag with me. Two of my co-workers are on the facebook. It only made sense that they are on there because both were born in the 80s. Gosh, I feel old. I will begin studying this week for my upcoming test in November. Wish me luck! I seriously need a haircut. My side and back edges are no longer linear. They have formed their own boundaries between my hair and skin. The sideburns look more like pubic hair because of the endless curls. Ew! "King of Queens" rocks!

August 20, 2007

Instead of going out for some pizza, I ended up making a bolagna and cheese sandwich. I topped it off with a glass of milk. When I moved here last year, milk was $2.20 for a half gallon. Last week it was $2.69. Last night's price went up to $2.79. Since I don't drive, I cannot see the gas price fluctuating. My marker for the current inflation period is my half gallon of milk. To our farmers who grow corn, stop selling your product to those who convert corn to oil. We need your corn to feed the cows! Rihanna took my umbrella! Luckily I had a spare at the office. The "secret" to life is to think and dream positive thoughts. Those thoughts will come to you because you are connected with the universe through an electric beam that originates from your mind to the world. Think of your mind as your own satellite device. I am going to finish that book and share more wise thoughts with you all. IE sucks! Firefox gets me going! I can't wait for Popeye's shrimp poboys!

August 19, 2007

When a restaurant has available tables outside and the wind is blowing, always choose to sit inside. It's very difficult to eat your omelet when your napkin is flying all over the place. It also doesn't help when your table rocks back and forth on an uneven sidewalk. Let's not forget the broken chair. Half of the apartment is clean. What could be more fun than doing errands on a Saturday night! Get the "meat" plate at Cafe Deville. It doesn't get better than a mango smoothie from Vanessa's after a good workout. For the past two days, the gym's channel for MTV has switched to a Christian family network and the Discovery channel. Am I the only one noticing this? Yes, I have an earthlink e-mail account...NOT! Hoa, I'm very excited for you. We can now communicate via e-mail instead of the usual phone calls. It's weird that summer is almost over and we are starting to see some autumn-like weather. Today's high was around 72. Tomorrow will be rainy with a high of 65 degrees. Melanie, I hope you feel better. I'm glad the pain subsided. You are just a phone call away from your on-call doctor. Ronald, I'm going to need some movie vouchers. I'll be in touch to buy some from you. Happy Sunday!

August 18, 2007

After reading "1984", I came to realize that the "utopia" presented in the book does exist in the world. You can find it in North Korea where the streets are clean, propaganda is played throughout the day via loud speakers, transportation is limited, its citizens are on their best behavior, contact with the outside world is non-existent, and loyalty to the great leader is expected. I watched "Crossing the Line" last night at Cinema Village. The documentary will play through Tuesday right before the New York Korean Film Festival begins. I wonder why the documentary was not selected as part of the film festival. The last remaining American defector in North Korea has been living the good life. He has three sons, of which two are currently enrolled in the country's elite university. The defector does not want to leave North Korea for various reasons. He left his impoverished life in America as he jumped from one foster family to another. North Korea is an oasis for him. There are two sides to every story. The North Korean government creates this anti-American campaign so the people will be brainwashed in thinking the Americans are evil. On our side, the U.S. government creates the same sentiment towards the North Koreans. Ladies, do not walk the streets from noon to 1PM because you will be gawked at by construction workers and the like. We will be in the 70s this weekend. John, welcome to gmail! I'm glad you made the jump from yahoo to gmail. Joe, congratulations on the offer! Chang, or should I say Miss BLS, thank you again for eating fast. I hope the dumplings were okay as we speed walked to the theater. Fredy, next time tell your makeup artist and hair stylist to send substitutes if they can't make it. Brad, no more alcohol for you! Thirty year olds have a limit on alcohol.

August 17, 2007

I'm like an old neighbor who comes knocking on your door at 10PM and ask that you lower the loud noise. I used to eat really early. I remembered waiting tables back in school. My shift started at 5PM. Between 5 and 7PM, we would get older folks coming in to eat. The younger crowd came in after 7PM and later. I now eat later than normal, but there are occasions when I must eat immediately after work. The size of my lunch determines my hunger for dinner. Most people commute around the same time every morning. We also take the same route unless there is a detour of some sort. I often run into the same people when commuting in the morning. I wonder if those people think the same thing as they carry on with their day. I used to watch Good Morning America in the morning when getting ready for work. I now get my news on the ride to work. Granted the news is a day old, but oh well. I'm a big documentary freak! Yes, today's entry is boring. I had a boring day.

August 16, 2007

We finally ate at JT's restaurant last night. The food was okay. I have had better "southern" food. I ate fried catfish with onion rings, mac and cheese, and tater tots. Fried catfish is supposed to be served with grits and homemade biscuits. Maybe that's the "soul food" version of catfish. I remembered eating some at The Pink Tea Cup in Greenwich Village. I definitely need to go back there. Cornbread stuffed in a glass of milk was surprisingly good. No, they don't have 2% milk. It was whole milk! Nick Lachey and his girlfriend ate a table nearby. According to an unnamed source who worked at the restaurant, JT and 50 Cent were supposed to swing by later in the evening. Justin was performing at Madison Square Garden last night. We did not stick around for the "real" celebrities because I had to be in for work this morning. Chang and Ronald managed to get a couple snapshots with Nick and his lady. As for the service, I am big on having my water refilled. If my cup is filled with water, I am a happy camper. I could care less how the food tastes. My water was never refilled. I asked the busboy for a refill. He said ok, but never came back. I went for the water pitcher at the server's workstation. I brought the pitcher back to my table and filled our own glasses. The waitress came and asked if we needed anything. At this point, my water pitcher was empty so I gave her the pitcher and asked her to give us some more water. She said ok and a water-filled pitcher came back to our table minutes later. I enjoyed the rest of my evening. I do not plan on coming back to the restaurant any time soon. It's nice that the restaurant is a few minutes away from my apartment, but I could do without "ok" food and mediocre service.

August 15, 2007

I left the French Tuesday party early. I expected the venue to be a bit bigger. The rooftop allowed a nice breeze to flow through the crowd. The Flea Market completely changed their early bird menu. The price increased, while the menu offered only a few choices. The mushroom ravioli had a touch of star anis. The dish reminded me of what I normally get at the Charbonne in the LES. I think they served pasta at the "asian" party. Phung, shall I call you Mr. Matchmaker now? "The Last Legion" comes out this Friday. Joel was on the set during the movie shoot. Click on the "Joel" page for a snapshot of him and Aishwarya Rai. Hetal and Z, congratulations on your pregnancy! Khanh, just get some rest. We can do Pho Xe Lua next week when you have fully recovered. Sorry, I can't do Long Beach. I refuse to sit on a train for more than an hour unless I am going to Boston, Philadelphia, or DC. Chin, chin, chong, chang, kim, wong, wang, thuy, thanh, phuong, phuoc, mekong delta, yangtze river, manchuria, kyoto, hiroshima, hechuan, tibet, india, mumbai, kolkata, patel, shah, beijing, taiwan, java, jakarta, bangkok, myanmar, saigon, indochine, pleiku, dien bien phu, nhu quynh, my tam, bao han, mulan, jackie chan, bruce lee, ying yang, zhongguo, meiguo, yuennan, vietnam airlines, seoul, manila, cathay pacific, and margaret cho!

August 14, 2007

I went all the way to 42nd St. and the Hudson River to pick up my Japanese DVD from FedEx. The merchant from Malaysia required a signature to accept the package. I hate it when they do this. If I am not home to accept the package, FedEx takes it back to their pick-up facility (btw, it's located in no man's land). If you are not the recipient, you cannot pick up the package. I also think your license address needs to match the address on the package. It's very complicated. Who is ever home to accept a package? The delivery guy should give it to the management office or a doorman and have them sign it. It sucks if you live in a walk-up with no one at the door. The other option is to have the package delivered to your workplace. The risk here is that too many people work in an office and the package may get lost. My co-worker did not get his FedEx package for almost two weeks after someone in our building signed for it. The package was upstairs in one of the dorms. Alright, I am done complaining for today. I'm just happy I have my DVD. I'm off to the China Club tonight for a French Tuesday shindig. They said to dress black and white or asian. What the hell is "asian"? Do you want me to come with my bruce lee martial arts pajamas and a conical hat?

August 13, 2007

August is almost over with. We have had a couple days of 90 degree weather. At this time last year, I remembered several more days of extreme heat. Let's just keep our fingers crossed. The sun is shining again! The owners of Klong and Room Service are the same. Always use real butter and Land O'Lakes cheese when making grilled cheese sandwiches. I stopped cutting them in half because the cheese melts and sticks to the knife. I'm a grown up now. I think I can finish a sandwich without having to cut it in half. Always buy "on sale" items at Morton Williams. Hoa, welcome to the "4 eyes" club! I am almost done with Mom's ruoc. I'm still waiting on the Japanese TV series, "Attention Please!". I'm a sucker for Japanese flight attendants. I need the name to the My Tam song that is on Charlie Nguyen's "Chances Are" DVD. I googled the movie's title in Vietnamese and matched it to My Tam but was unsuccessful in locating the song. Brad, I am still Asian! Check out Wolf Blitzer's recent interview with Vietnam's current president. Mr. Blitzer did an amazing job in addressing the lack of human rights in Vietnam.

August 12, 2007

I can stay out as late as I want. Sheesh, get over yourself! Soundfest had a good turnout. I did not expect so many families to attend the event. The Japanese group with the weird sounds was by far the best crowd pleaser. They even got the audience involved by doing some Japanese line dancing. Kudos to Ujju, Lillian, and everyone else for making the event one to remember! Denny came through as usual, but he was late. I now know not to expect him to show up on time. Later in the night, it was off to an MK party at Club Element in the LES. Bottle service sucked! We waited for almost an hour for our vodka. To fuel more flame to the fire, we waited endlessly for our check after many failed attempts to get it. The waitress, busboys, and a "manager" kept giving us the run-around. The place was not even packed with people. Never again! Kunjip came through with good, fast food. I should have taken the leftover rice home. I am hungry now as I write this entry.

August 11, 2007

Ronald, you missed out on "Transformers". It was surprisingly great. I'm not one to watch action movies, but the storyline was very entertaining. Optimus Prime and his crew defeated the Decepticons. Because the temperature dropped down to the 60s last night, I had to pull my jacket out of storage. People really do hang out on the UES. I'm not sure if they were locals. I am out of movie vouchers. Should I get some from Ronald and pay $0.50 more so his large supply would dwindle or do I go back to Ticket Central and stock up on cheaper ones? TL, you will be missed. I'll see you out in LA soon! Nathan, good luck on your second part. Chang, good luck on your practice test! Look for me in Columbus Park. Sandrine, I still have your bag. I'm not sure when you will get your bag of goodies back.

August 10, 2007

This morning's commute was a soaker. I made it to the office without any delays. Loan, have a great time in Las Vegas with the family. Thank you again for checking up on me. I guess the rest of America really does care about what goes on in New York. Hoa, glad to hear you got your phone working again. I left a couple messages, but never received a response. Let's hope it does not rain tomorrow at Soundfest. Yah! My website is not banned in China. I wonder if putting pro-democracy links on this website would get the Reds all riled up.

August 9, 2007

The subway system was up and running yesterday afternoon. I had planned on taking the C train back up after my meeting in the West Village, but it was a nice humid night to walk along Spring St. to the 6 train. The benches along Balthazar are good for taking a break. Let's see if the bakery has those sponge cakes today. The girl said she would call me. We'll see. Melanie, thank you for the $10. You'll get your $25 soon.

August 8, 2007

The trains did not run this morning due to this morning's heavy rain. I did not realize this until I got to my train stop. The streets were filled with pedestrians trying to get on buses or hail cabs. The streets did not have one available cab. I left my apartment at 7:30AM and did not get in the office until 9:15AM. Hopefully the trains will be running this afternoon. One year from now, Beijing will host the summer olympics. They have yet to improve on freedom of speech. Part of their olympic bid was to relax restrictions on freedom of the press. I don't think they have changed much other than putting up more massive olympic venues for the games. Howard, where ya at? Oh and I'll make sure to check the MTA website before leaving for work every morning now. Kudos to Hung Huynh and Sara Nguyen for competing in the latest season of Bravo's "Top Chef"!

August 7, 2007

Sandrine still has her bag here. It's pretty big. I considered meeting her somewhere, but the bag is way too big to carry around. I think I have a big shopping bag here in the office. Yesterday's movie night in Bryant Park was cancelled. Actually, we cancelled it because of the very hot and humid weather. I also did not bring my bug spray. Those mosquitoes love to bite me. John, let me know when you are settled with a permanent mailing address. I need to send some good ole American goodies. Can three people actually finish a 27 pound watermelon in three days? We'll see when I get home later tonight.

August 6, 2007

The Port Authority is not the same as Penn Station! I'm an idiot for thinking they are the same. When I first moved here, I had trouble distinguishing Union Square from Grand Central. They all sound alike to me. Times Square is in its own category. I'm rarely there. The "japanese-style" mattress was firm and comfy. I prefer foam over spring any day. I never finished "A Millionaire's First Love". I'm on clip #8 of god knows how many. Chang, you needed stickers for the apartment? It's payback time. Congratulations to Xtreme NY! Vuong, I finally looked for "Vietnam Idol" on youtube. It's crazy funny! Below are the funniest moments.

August 5, 2007

Matt Damon's new installment of the Bourne series was good, but not great. The best scene was the fight in Morocco between Bourne and Pesh. Julia Stiles got her butt kicked during the confrontation. The humidity disappeared. It was a nice night to walk. It's off to IKEA today to get that twin mattress. Mama's eggrolls were a big hit. I believe we have a handful left. Costco in Queens was an experience. A "short" walk from the Broadway st. station turned into a mile walk to our destination. The store did not have my gardettos mustard pretzels! I ended up getting coiled light bulbs for the apartment. The cab ride from Costco to the UES metered at $12. 7-Eleven's taquitos are yummy as a late night snack.

August 4, 2007

I had to mail a package this morning at the local post office. The cashier was very nasty. This was quite unusual because I normally run into very happy civil servants. I plan to complete an online survey to report my experience. It's off to Chinatown today to get some pho and some knock-off sunglasses. Then it's off to Flushing, Queens for the dragon boat race. I do not plan on staying very long. I believe the heat index for today will reach 100 degrees. Mama's frozen eggrolls will be thawing today. Hopefully, the eggrolls will be ready for some deep frying later tonight. Cheers!

August 3, 2007

What is the topic for today? I am totally blank as I write this passage. I am almost done with "1984". The book talks about the current administration and its quest to rule the world. America and its remaining allies can be Oceania. Russia is Eurasia and China is Eastasia. I'll see if I can get a copy of the movie on ebay.

August 2, 2007

Kudos to India's new female president! Although the country has had a female prime minister in the past, India has never elected a female president. The president's role is merely ceremonial. China has invested heavily in Africa by installing satellites, probing for oil, refining oil, upgrading roads, building airports, etc. China's influence in Africa will likely improve the conditions of African natives. East Asia had help from the U.S. I don't know where all of this is going. I had an interesting read on the train this morning. There are too many presidential debates with way too many candidates. Whatever happened to televised debates with only a handful of candidates early in the game? Governor Spitzer is now under investigation for using state troops to monitor his rival's activities. Ronald, thank you again for dinner. Don't get too snooty living in your 13th floor high-rise doorman building. The 13th floor is usually removed from the building. Why did they leave your floor alone? A little more summer color would not hurt. We'll do JT's restaurant some other time. We need to get a reservation going first. I have never heard of "charlie horse". I just say cramp!

August 1, 2007

Dancing to cheesy 80's french music on the beach in Long Island City was interesting. Sandrine's Belgian roommate managed to get runner-up prizes for both the limbo and Hawaiian costume competitions. The four of us shared a bottle of champagne. We could not share his IPOD shuffle. I hope he gets that today. The restaurant on 4th St. and 2nd Ave. was closed. Luckily we found an identical place with an early bird prix fixe menu across the street. The white wine made the meal a lot better. Happy Birthday, Mom! Chang, have fun pretending to be an NYU student today! Too bad you might miss out on JT's food later tonight. I have the song below on repeat at work thanks to Vi.