11/12/07

Pete

Night after night I listen to the curse feast that takes place outside my window.
Night after night the super tears into a man who helps him take out the garbage.

You no good this.
You dumb that.

Night after night I drift off to sleep as these same curses fall upon this man.
Night after night I smile that those same curses do not fall upon me.


Tonight I watched the cursed man walk up to a black car.
Tonight I felt a strange fear in my heart.

For some reason, tonight I talked to cursed man.
For some reason, he told me the man up above would take care of his pain.

Tonight the super was shot.
Tomorrow the super would die.

9/6/07

Three Things

1)
Having finally gained gainful employment, my New York life has gained ground to grow upon. As executive assistant to an executive coach, perks such as lunch, coffee, cookies, and a comfortable office have brought contentment to my working self.

2)
David Letterman tends to be a good host, though his jokes do not always hit my mark and his set is over air-conditioned. (For those of you who watch him, Fridays show will be good, but not great.)

3)
After helping a blind woman across the street today a thought stuck me; she is one of the few people in the city entitled to touch strangers.
Keep in mind this is a city where everyone does his or her best to remain as far away from strangers as possible.

8/22/07

Tumble Weed

A lot of nothing has blown through this New York life over the past month. First I had a stint in ad sales, which provided a great deal of insight into the world of telemarketing as well a killer view of the bay. From there the trade winds directed me to a bar where a freak show had taken up residence. There while sipping glowing toxic cocktails, I watched a man hammer nails into his nose while standing on a bed of shrieking lingerie clad rubber chickens.

Attempting to double my money I spent the following evening with the son of the worlds foremost UFO-oligist. In a nutshell he told me, the aliens are already here and they are going to take control of the earth in five to ten years. The upside to all of this is that the aliens are not violent, so the take over should be nice enough and there is some sort of new mind power, which we all possess to some extent that will be revealed to us when they take over.

Now as cooler weather and grey skies hang overhead, I begin my third job in New York as an Executive Assistant. The job is as comfortable as an old easy chair and leaves me ample time to contemplate where nostril nails and burlesque chickens fall into the alien’s master plan.

8/9/07

A Moment In Time

Two drummers and a family step onto the 3 train together.

After a mediocre jam session one of the drummers walks around the train collecting money. For seemingly no reason he then intentionally incites an elongated argument with one the of the passengers. The argument grows and their voices become louder. Before long some of the passengers begin yelling at the drummer to stop and a little girl begins to cry, causing her mother to join in the frenzy. The train pulls into the station and they all get off. New passengers step on and the incident is forgotten or unknown to all but those who remain on the train.

7/31/07

Epidemic B

The photographer has run off to Berkley.
And
The blogger has writers block.

BBQ anyone?
http://www.oohsix.com/#photos/nyc/bbq:2

ill gains

The line stretched around the park and doubled back on itself; only a fool would have walked to the back. Taking a seat on a bench alongside the front of the line I waited for the line to move then stood up and slipped in among the families.
A ferry ride and an hour later my waywardness was rewarded with a gander up Lady Liberties robe through a glass celling, a postcard view of Manhattan, and time enough to visit Elise Island.
Returning to Manhattan that evening my weary body was replenished by a whole frog deep-fried with rice and a cool daft beer.
ribbit, ribbit

7/26/07

Dinner Down Under

A kangaroo and emu adorn the Australian coat of arms. Last night they adorned my plate in the company of lamb and barramundi.
Cooked medium rare the kangaroo was light with a tendered texture, while the emu carpaccio was tasty, but not memorable.

7/6/07

Uno firedog

On Wednesday the Coney Island hot dog eating contest lured me into ridding the train for an hour and a half to watch contestants gorge themselves on processed meat. After waiting in the crowd and jostling for a good spot for over an hour, the contest finally began. Revulsion quickly turned to amazement as Joey shoved whole hot dogs down, never stopping to chew. When the buns settled it looked like a tie with Joey and Takeru at 63 hot dogs each, but after the judges sifted through the fragments of bun and hot dogs on their plates Joey was declared the champion. If you are wondering what the calorie, salt, and fat content of 66 hot dogs adds up to just look bellow…No a little lower.

Proceeding my voyeuristic adventure my old roommate Bob found me and we ventured over to his picnic. There a number of snacks were consumed and pleasant conversation was exchanged. After many of the guests left a heated game of Uno was ended by the rain; forcing the partygoers back into their own worlds.

Returning to planet Harlem I watched fireworks fly between the buildings and the police’s ill fated attempts to quell the madness. But with work the next day I slipped off to bed early having enjoyed my first 4th of July in nearly three years.

Commando

In Sheep Meadow,
A skirt clad buxom blond lay casually upon the soft green grass.

Wandering eyes moved up her unfastened legs,
Into the depths of an open skirt.

Meeting no colored cotton, rayon, or silk within,
The ogle averted in amused shock.

7/5/07

Gastrinoma

Sixty-six hot dogs without the bun contain approximately:
18,480 Calories
9,900 Calories from Fat
1,980% Sodium
1,980% Saturated Fat
1,716% Total Fat
528% Iron

Including the bun the numbers add up to:
36,168 Calories
11,880 Calories from Fat
3,234% Sodium
2,310% Saturated Fat
2,046% Total Fat
528% Iron

Based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day, sixty-six hot dogs could technically feed eighteen people.

On Coney Island sixty-six hot dogs forced their way into the belly of Joey Chestnut, setting a new world record and beating Takeru Kobayashi’s ingestion of 63 hot dogs.
The Americans have relinquished the title from the Japanese for the first time in 7 years, congratulations Joey?

6/27/07

Tourist in the Heat

Sunday:
A modern idol of capitalism produced goose bumps on my well travel skin. After the Station Island Ferry provided old Lady Liberty looks smaller in person; as giants typically do.

Thursday:
The heat of summer has closed in upon the city. Standing next to an odiferous gentleman in a packed subway car made it tempting to curse the heat. Yet before thoughts defaming the temperature became words on my lips I remembered the winter. Memories of its frigid days, the wind assaulting my exposed skin, and modest clothes put the current situation in perspective.

6/26/07

Mermaid Parade

Mermaids have pierced nipples? Of the literature I have reviewed, mermaids enjoy a bra free lifestyle only utilizing clam shells within conservative communities. So why was the Coney Island Mermaid adorning studs in hers? Initially I imagined they could be used as fishing lures, but that sounded rather painful.
Before a resolution could be reach, a number of roller skating mermaids rushed past with a classic car in hot pursuit. Stunned that not only roller skates, but classic cars function in an aquatic environment I quickly rushed back to the subway station to escape the madness and a deepening sunburn.

6/22/07

Strawberry Fields

Homeward bound Central Park yielded an unexpected moment of hippy perfection from within Strawberry Fields. For a moment nothing was real. An odd concoction of humanity shared in a soulful harmony of lyrics I’ve now forgotten; all but a teenager proudly adorning Charley, and the Birdman expelling seed joined in.
Becoming distracted the moment slipped away. I entered bellow where it ended and went about my merry way.

6/18/07

Bodily Needs

In Morning Side Park there is a modest pond where I pilot my twelve inch yacht. While cruising last Saturday afternoon, I looked to the shore. There a derelict woman squatted above the grass, pants around her knees. With a mighty grimace upon her face a golden stream sprang fourth upon the lawn. The gazes and awe of children, adults, elders, and ducks uncontrollably converged upon her. With a sharp defiant look, the transient silently stared back demanding privacy from her audience; all but one trama stricken child averted their eyes.
Having secured her seclusion the derelict squeezed the remaining stream from her loins, enjoying the isolation of the open lawn.

6/8/07

Joe has moved, again

Moving seems to lose its charm after doing so for 10th time in a year. Yet my new residence is ever so nice. Situated on 116th St. next to Morning Side Park where the air is clean I now lay my head in a recently renovated first floor apartment. The only flaw of my new abode is the slamming of a garbage can lid situated outside of my bedroom window at odd hours.
Take a look. Just don’t use that street view option to look in my window…

Daily Commute

Striding to the bus stop,
A child guided by his mother pees upon a garbage can.
Striding into work,
A disgruntled protester holding a tattered sign demonstrates against the medical community.
Striding into the Rockefeller Library,
Dancing Liberians present the studious with bagels.
Striding through Central park,
A spinning violin playing guru topped with a feather sings within the Arcade, while Cyclist’s adorner in technicolor knit outfits peddle about.
Striding to my apartment,
A pink shuttle whisks its passengers off to Sin City.
Striding off to sleep,
I wonder why it’s been such a slow day.

5/28/07

400cc NYC

After an 8 month absence from ridding, the modified 400cc Suzuki feels wonderful. Gently popping its throttle pulls the motorcycle ahead at breakneck speed. A conspicuous yellow paint job and deafening muffler draw looks from everyone in traffic.
000
We encounter two bullet bikes.
One rider turns back and nods.
The other waits impatiently.
000
One foot and a hand above the breaks,
the other foot pushing down on the shifter,
three fingers poping the clutch, and
two fingers guning the throttle
The road is no longer three lanes.
.....Its............
...............an
ever
shifting ..........
...........path.
Slipping through a collapsing line
we take the
lead.
Smile, downshift, make a U-turn and return home.
The Suzuki is returned to its owner.
The rider converses with the law.
As always interesting pictures from an equally omoshiro photographer:

5/25/07

a dryer towel

..............................................Dryers
.........Japanese consumers refrain from buying em.
..Philipinnos say the electricity costs too much
Taiwanese humidity means they can take two hours.
......Koreans feel there a winter thing; imagine frozen clothes.

5/14/07

Recipe for Disaster

INGREDIENTS:

4 bicycles
1 girl
3 boys
1 Hudson River bicycle path
2 distractions

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat Manhattan to 70 degrees F
2) Put the 3 boys and 1 girl on bicycles.
3) Position a boy and the girl so that they are ridding side by side. Place the two other boys in an identical position behind the boy and girl.
4) Insert them onto the Husdson River bicycle path.
5) Mix in a mildly inappropriate, yet captivating conversation between the boy and girl.
6) Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated Manhattan.
7) As the inappropriate conversation caramelizes quickly pop in two distractions. Allow the girl to panic stop, crash, and entangle one of the boys behind her.
8) Remove the other two boys for their bicycles and allow the 3 boys and 1 girl to cool on the side of the path for 10 minutes before serving.

Suggested wines: A 1983 Fractured Elbow Vickonnay
Palate: Mild
Nose: Tingling discomfort
Finish: Short, with a hint of blue sling

For a stunning photo explanation of this recipe visit:
http://oohsix.com/photos.html#photos/nyc/random%2008

5/10/07

Tagging the Stonewall

Tuesday nights are typically boring.
Standing in a crowded subway car I watched as a local vandal tagged his name in unreadable charters on the door of the subway car. This upset me, but he put his pen away, so I said nothing.
Then he took out the pen again, possible to do a touch up job on the door. I debated whether I should say something or not. I looked him up and down. He was a big guy, much larger than I. Just look at the size those hands. I’ll bet he could clobber me if he wanted to. Wait, that pen is on the door again. “Stop drawing on the door. Go do that on your bedroom wall,” I burst out. Embarrassed he quickly pushed the pen into his pocket and looked straight at the door. Hmmm that was easy, maybe too easy.

Seconds later the shock of public embarrassment wore off and he started looking around the train trying to discern who had chastised him. Though I could have remained anonymous I took off my sunglasses and looked him right in the eye. Our eyes met, he looked away. I put my sunglasses back on.
He looked back at me again. I took off my sunglasses once more and looked him deep in the eye; never waving for a moment. The adrenalin started pumping through my increasingly beating heart. The tagger looked away again, but I continued to stonewall him; this was all about intimidation now.
Finally he mustered up the courage and spoke. “I do draw on my bedroom wall. It’s a sickness man.” I shook my head and said, “Do that somewhere where people want to look at it.” As the subway door opened he retorted, “Oh you must not be from around here,” and then quickly stepped out of the car. I was glad to see him go, but wait this was my stop as well. What should I do? Hell I am not messing up my commute over this.

I stepped out of the car as the doors shut and walked towards the stairs. The tagger was almost to the top and looked over his shoulder to find me behind him looking right at him. Blessedly by the time I reached the top of the stairs the tagger was out of sight and I never saw him again.
By an amusing coincidence my Tuesday unexpectedly ended at the Stonewall Inn eating stale popcorn.

5/7/07

ER

Emergency Room’s can be such interesting places. When life reaches an impassable level criticality it’s the one place we can all turn. This past weekend I reached such an apex when my right eyelid became extremely swollen for seemingly no reason. While one would assume a Sunday morning in an Emergency Room would be rather slow the presence of three security guards told a different story.

No sooner had I sat down did the an altercation began when an older gentleman on a cell phone started arguing with a security guard while he carried on a conversation on the phone. I was impressed with the older gentleman’s ability to multitask, but was disappointed that there was no blood involved. Luckily a women holding her boyfriends bleeding hand walk through the door just then. The triage nurses on duty looked at the girlfriend as asked, “Did you do this to him?” With a nevous smile the boyfriend responded, “No, I cut myself while I was opening a box.”

It was about then that I was called into the doctor’s office. “What seems to be the problem,” asked the doctor. I removed my sunglasses to show him my eye and asked, “Is this pink eye?” He glanced at my eye and responded, “No, it’s just a sty.” “Great, some of my friends really had me worried,” I answered. “Yeah too much access to the internet,” answered the doctor unenthusiastically.

I walked out of the doctor’s office pleased with my diagnosis to find another gentleman yelling at one of the security guards. While the security guard was going his best to calm the man down, his kind words were having little effect. Though I wanted to stop and watch the fireworks a $2.95 breakfast at local diner was calling my name.

I reentered the stable world, enjoyed my breakfast, and then ventured off to Central Park for an afternoon of Frisbee. Jie, thanks for the pictures once again:
http://oohsix.com/#photos/nyc/diggers%20day%20out

5/4/07

Chocolate Hills

Imagine a high plateau with perfectly shaped hills resembling Hershey Kisses all around. On each side of the road lie rice fields with water buffalo meandering about. Above a stormy sky, gathers strength and for once your motorcycle is working.

An indescribable green coats everything. The smell of humidity and grass fill the air. In the distance a rumbling of thunder warns you of an immanent mid afternoon tropical deluge. The first raindrop hits your goggles, then a second; the rainstorm has begun. Ahead a small church sits along side the road. You quickly park and run inside. There you sit as the rain washes everything.

A fresh smell begins to fill the air and soon the rain has stopped. Continuing on you find yourself on a now muddy dirt road. You race your friend passing jungle huts and stray dogs. People standing along side the road laugh and wave as you rush past. Trying to take the lead you enter a corner too fast and begin to slide out. This has happened before; you remain calm, let off the gas, and allow your natural reflexes to keep the bike upright.

Needing gas you arrive at a gas station. As you step off of your motorcycle the gas station attendants, customers, and your friend start laughing. You look down at your shirt to find it covered in mud. With out a word you just smile and know you’ll get Travis back later on.

5/1/07

My deepest thanks and complements to Jie for these great pictures of our adventure at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival. Things to look for:
1. A girl posing delightfully in front of a pile of garbage.
2. Joe drinking beer with an amusing look on his face.
3. Jie in the lens of my glasses
Things that will not be seen in these wonderful pictures
1. The three of us attempting to balance beam across the back of a bench on the way home.
2. Jie and I making a mess of Vicky’s kitchen while making pasta.
3. The awesome view from a rooftop pool; which I did several back flips into.
P.S. The life guard at the pool wants to hang glide off of the building. I told him to take some hang gliding classes and study the wind patterns in that area before he tried it.
Cut and paste this link into the address bar to see the pictures: http://oohsix.com/#photos/nyc/brooklyn%20hanami

4/28/07


Well,

What does one do after seeing their roommate naked in film he recently filmed? The mature set would argue in the case of nothing; we are all mature adults here. Among the Colorado suburban conservative constituency a dumfoundment to merely comprehend existing in such a reality where one would be faced with such a dilemma.
Full frontal, hmmm I’ve eaten live octopus, shrimp, lobster, and trout, but I really do not see myself willing posing in a full frontal shot.
I guess we all have our personal extremes, for some bare nakedness and others exotic foodiness. Speaking of which, Golden Sake. A Japanese rice wine with flakes of gold is now a beverage I can add to my list of exotic imbibements, a delightfully way to usher in ones past with ones comings.

4/26/07

Acute Melodramatic Restlessness

Joseph Learned, a rambunctious traveler whose amusing stories and international escapades enliven the lives of his family and friends, expired last Sunday in the midst of his latest expedition to New York. He was 24.

The cause was Acute Melodramatic Restlessness, said a spokesman for Sloan Kettering, where Mr. Learned had been a Temporary Grant Research Coordinator since March of this year.
In the 1980s and early 1990’s, Mr. Learned lumbered through primary school, finding it difficult to focus and remain in his chair for prolonged periods of time. This resulted in a great deal of friction between him and his teachers.

Nearing the end of his 8th grade year Mr. Learned merciless teasing of a fellow student left him facing expulsion, only through the intervention of his instructor, Mr. Meller was he spared. This event marked a turning point in Mr. Learned’s studies. Throughout High School and University he received high marks and maintained positive relationships with his professors and fellow students.

Upon completing University a semester early Mr. Learned left to teach English in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Korea. Mr. Learned deeply enjoyed living in abroad and spent his free time ridding his motorcycle and sampling a variety of exotic cuisine’s and beverages. These untamed encounters lead him to begin writing animated E-mail’s to his friends and family.

Mr. Learned returned to the United States and moved to New York in January of 2007. While he enjoyed the city, at times he found it difficult to readjust to living in the United States. Hoping to resume living abroad Mr. Learned had secured a position in Dubai just days before his untimely departure.

Mr. Learned is survived by his cohort of 24 years, Joseph Learned; his loving family, caring friends, and a toy, Voltron, of Tokyo, Japan.

4/19/07

Colorado Winters

There were radio and TV towers at its peak meaning that though well hidden, this mountain had a service road. For several days this concealed road occupied my imagination. Finally I had to find it.

Not knowing where to start I exited from the main road and onto a road leading towards the base of the mountain. The uneven dusty dirt road conjured a smile and feeling I had last felt on the curvy mountain roads in Taiwan. Wearing only sandals I understood the importance of perfection; one slip and I might loose a toe or two. Skirting the razors edge of perfection and diaster I continued on.

Children living in a hut alongside the road screamed and waved as I rushed past. Ahead I began to see traces of where the road cut into the backside of the mountain. I downshifted into second for more power and pushed the motorcycle up the dilapidated mountain road. Bouncing over rocks and dodging monstrous pot holes I filled the air with dust and exhaust. I could feel the heat from my two stroke pouring out against my legs. Unsure of the ancient engines ability to handle this much stress I caught sight the peak.

It was cooler and the air smelled cleaner up here. The ocean stretched out before me pockmarked with islands and boats. After looking carefully I could even see my house. Memories of cold Colorado winters from my childhood reminded me how I’d once dreamed of living in the endless summer of the equator. Gazing at the uncomplicated beauty of what lay before me I grinned knowing I had finally satisfied that wish.

Several weeks later I returned to the peak while on a date. The sun had long since gone down, but full moon and my headlight guided the way. The view was so different at night. The city bellow was calm and the distant sound of karaoke could be heard in the night air. Fishing boats with their lights spotted the ocean bellow. I looked back at my date, knowing this was all lost on her. She did not like it up here. The night air was cool and her favorite TV show was on.

She had shown me what I wanted to see, it was time to return to the city.

4/16/07

The A Train

I was bored and this cold windy rainy Sunday left me feeling trapped. Even the short walk from my apartment to the subway promised to leave me soaking wet. Hoping to whittle away the day inside I busied myself around the apartment, but that soon grew old.

Why was I inside? Didn’t New York always have something to offer? I dug deep into my over active imagination searching for ideas. Then it dawned on me. The subway would be warm and dry, why not take pictures of the subway. The A train was my artery into the city, I took it into work during the week and when I went out on the weekend; my every adventure, every workday began with the A train.

The walk from my apartment to the subway was unpleasant, but short. For once the train arrived quickly. Still unsure of what I was going to take pictures of I stepped on the train. The first stop after 168th was 163rd. The subway car door opened, giving me six seconds. Standing in door of the car I photographed a graffiti filled billboard. Then my time was up, the doors closed. As we approached the next station I cycled through the photos I had taken, keeping only one.

Before I was ready the doors opened up again at 155th street. Struggling to find a focal point I began blindly snapping pictures. Only when the doors had shut did I find my focal point. In the seconds before the train began to move I snapped a keeper from the rain covered window.

For the next hour or so I rode the A train. When we reached its last stop in Manhattan I jumped off caught a train home. My rainy day had been salvaged and I had a new story to tell.
Would you like to see some of these pictures? http://www.flickr.com/groups/nycsubwayroutesigns/pool/
I have yet to upload a picture of the infamous diaper, should I?

4/15/07

The Diaper

The subway always ran slow on the weekend. With no express service it took me nearly an hour to make it into midtown. Being made to wait an additional twenty minutes for the train was not helping things. Feeling antsy I began to pace back and fourth. Then I realized that I should use this experience to my advantage. Everyday I stood in the same place to catch the train. There was so much unexplored territory to either side of me. Without hesitation I began to walk to the far end of the platform. Near its edge the scent of urine filled the air and a dirty diaper lie on the ground with a rat chewing into it. Startled we met eyes.

The rat knew it had been caught performing the most foul of acts, ashamed it retreated to the darkness of the subway tunnel. From there it peered back. Never before had I seen such a wrenched living thing. Even a rotting carcass with its flies and maggots seems more sterile than this perverted act. A faint rumble and thin gust of wind signaled the emanate arrival of the train. The rat continued down the tunnel and I stepped back from the edge of the platform. Stepping onto the train I looked back at the diaper.
The rat would be back and soon the diaper would be gone.

4/12/07

Soup and Salad

Yesterday was a rather cold spring day, making my lunchtime walk to the local pizza shop rather lackluster. Along with regular assortment of people on the side walk there was an old man asking for passers by to buy him some soup. I glanced at him and noticed that he did not look like your typical homeless person. Curious about his story I offered to buy him some soup.

He thanked me and we headed inside of the restaurant. After he set his bags down by a table we walked to the counter and ordered some soup. After we had ordered our soup the old man asked me if could also have a salad. Feeling generous I agreed. With soup and salad in hand we walked towards the cash register. In a submissive voice that old man asked if he could also get a box of almonds. I felting less generous, I agreed yet again and the old man scurried off to get his almonds.

As we waited for a clerk the old man asked if he could have another box of nuts. I looked at him and said, “You are going to have to choose between the almonds and the cashews.” “Oh, all right,” the old man replied. The clerk began to ring up our meal and in a last ditch effort the old man asked if he could also have some cookies. I looked at him dumbfounded and said, “Listen I do not have that much money.” “Are you sure I can’t have a few oatmeal cookies,” the old man asked one more time. Feeling the last bit of generosity slip from my slim wallet I looked him in the eye and repeated, “I do not have that much money man.”

The bill came to $20; half my weekly grocery budget. We sat down to enjoy our split pea soup and I asked the old man about his life. One of the more amusing stories he told me was that he had been sleeping in between two duplexes since he had arrived in New York a week earlier. That was until to someone had “stolen” his blankets from in between the duplexes. As the old man recounted this story I could tell by the look in his eyes that he had no idea why someone would have a problem with him squatting next to their residence.

I walked out of the restaurant having learned a valuable lesson; if someone asks you for soup take them to the dollar store.

4/5/07

Its not that nothing has happened recently, it’s that nothing amazing has happened lately. There was the Friday I ate bull penis and tricked others at the table into trying it. Then there was the other Friday when I ate beef tongue and laughed when one of my lady friends screamed because the prawn she had just pulled the head off of dripped its brains onto her plate. Of course there was also the two Saturday nights I went to speed dating and talked it up with girls I would never have talked to otherwise.

Then there are all the things you learn when you move to a new place, such as if a subway car is empty during rush hour no matter what do not get on it. Twice I have made this mistake and twice I have had to deal with the olfactory consequences. Be it a homeless man that pooped in his pants or a homeless man whose left leg is cover in skin rot, it all smells bad.

At the end of it all I wonder how people are lonely in this city. There’s a group for everyone; even the Devil Worshipers had a meet up last night, though regrettably I did not attend. If the devils not your thing there’s always the Dumpster Divers, Mommy Milk, or countless others having weekly meetings about ideas important to some version of reality.

All this madness has been an adjustment, which I am still in the midst of making.

3/16/07

Lawrence of Nihon

Snow gently fell from the frigid Sapporo sky as I sat in a warm bath drinking a cool Japanese beer. On the vanity sat a miniature television with Lawrence of Arabia on.
I recalled envying Lawrence the first time I had seen this film. How I’d desired to break into a foreign culture as Lawrence had. I wished to gain the same respect necessary to be invited in to live among the tribe, be given their clothing, food, friendship, and respect

Then a realization of having fulfilled these rites of passage crept over me. Though my accomplishments had lacked the cinematic flare of Lawrence’s at times, I too had lived among the tribe. I had been given traditional Japanese clothes. Eaten with families in a traditional Japanese manner and gained their friendship, respect, and love. This very moment was part of that life.

Feeling rather proud of myself, I settled back into the tub and watched the snow outside dance as only Japanese snow knows how.

3/14/07

Some people cannot hold their Soju

The weather had started cool, hinting at winter’s inevitable arrival. Having just arrived home from work, my good friend Mi Kyoung called to invite me out. In spite of it being a work night I readily agreed to meet up with her. After a short Taxi ride, I met Mi Kyoung and four of her friends whom I had never met before. Being a foreigner and new to the group I was given a proper initiation by being made to drink countless shots of Soju.
After drinking and eating our fill we decided to change restaurants. We drunkenly stumbled outside oblivious to how cold it was. After a short walk we found a new restaurant. Though I did not want to drink anymore, Mi Kyoung’s friend Young ordered another bottle of Soju.
After yet another shot, I needed to pee went to the bathroom alone. Standing in the bathroom, a large smile crept across my face. Here I was in a foreign land having a great time with people I hardly knew.
My day dream abruptly ended when I noticed that a Korean man who had just walked into the bathroom was staring at me. I zipped up my pants and quickly tried to exit the bathroom. “Are you laughing at me?” The drunken man demanded. “No no, I am sorry I was just using the bathroom,” I replied. “No you were laughing at me!” The drunken man snapped back.
Feeling the situation was escalating, I began pushing past the drunken man to exit the bathroom. Not wanting me to leave the drunken man pushed me away from the door and slapped me in the face. “Whoa! Are we fighting?” I asked, just as he took a kick at my balls.
Not wanting to get kicked hard in the balls I took a swing square at the drunken mans jaw. The punch sent him reeling backwards out of the bathroom and out into the restaurant. As we burst into the restaurant Mi Kyoung caught sight of us and screamed for Young to intervene.
With Young between the two of us the fight soon ended. The drunken mans friends came over and made him sit down. As one of his friends began to talk to him, the drunken man grabbed a box of chopsticks and threw it against the wall. As it smashed against the wall countless metal chopstick chopsticks flew in slow motion throughout the restaurant.
The restaurant, not wanting anymore trouble, pushed us out the back door before we could even pay our bill.
Knowing the police might be coming we ran to the front of the restaurant to hail a cab. No sooner had we hailed a cab, did the drunken man burst outside and try to start a fight again. Before Mi Kyoung and I could get into the taxi, it sped away leaving us with the drunken man. Once again Young jumped in-between us as the drunken mans friends tried to pull him away.
Luckily Mi Kyoung succeeded in quickly hailing another taxi and we took off into the night, never to know what happened to the drunken man.

Smoke and Breeze

Sitting at the traffic light and taste of smoke gasoline cut deep into my eyes. My full face helmet did little to quell the noxious air from reaching my face. I began to breath as shallowly as possible, hoping to keep most of the pollution out of my lungs.
Praying that the light would change, I thought back to a time when I had neglected to wear eye protect during rush hour. As I had ridden my eyes had burned from the smoke and exhaust assaulting my eyes. The stink of gasoline had raced through my sinuses making it hard to breath as well. It was an experience I had made sure to never replicate again.
Finally the light turned green and twenty scooters and even more cars revved their engines pushing even more exhaust into the thickly polluted air. With my eyes burning, I pulled back on the throttle and quickly pulled ahead of the pack leaving most of the dirty air behind me.
Heading out of city the air slowly began to clear and the tasty subtropical breeze washed the city from my clothes. Soon the shroud of pollution lifted and the cool mountain air allowed me to open up my visor.
That first taste of clean air never failed to invigorate me. It tasted damp humid and smelled of countless trees and flowers. Each time I found the clean mountain air it reminded me how beautiful Taiwan truly was. Yet I knew so many people who rarely ventured away from the city. Tied to their job or uninterested in taking the time to drive into the mountains, they rarely knew the pleasures that I took for granted several times a week.
Having no idea of where I was going I headed deeper into the dark mountains passing town after town. Soon there were no more street signs and the towns became fewer and fair between. Feeling completely lost I knew it was time to turn around. Down through the mountains I wandered, at times wondering if I would be lost forever. Nothing looked familiar anymore. Hoping to retrace the route I had taken into the mountains I looked for familiar landmarks.
A slow creeping feeling of panic began to eat at me. Then I realized there was nothing to be worried about. I still had plenty of gas and I could always stop and ask someone where Hsinchu- 新竹市 was.
Then as suddenly as I had become lost, I found myself back on a familiar road. Riding back into town, the traffic and pollution had died down. The urban air had begun to balance out as the clean ocean and mountain air mixed with the filth of another day.
Tomorrow morning rush hour would start and the city would forget about beauty for another day.