Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Obligatory New York crazy subway encounter story

A.K.A. "Why do I even bother being nice to people?"

Saw Evil Dead: The Musical on Saturday and Sunday I went to go see "The Prestige" (both good stuff). Sadly, I was the row directly behind the Splatter Zone for Evil Dead and they surprisingly stayed only within that splatter zone. Thanks to being out and about I'm rewarded with some sniffling now.

Anyhow, on Sunday I was on the A train on my way to meet a friend when some a guy gets on and sits in the seat one over from me and sets down his nondescript fast food bag that smells of fries and has little grease stains on it on the seat between us. He then takes out the magazine he was holding and begins to read this. I didn't notice anything off or out of the ordinary about him

So about two or three stops after he gets on he jumps up and looks out the windows as if he's trying to figure out which stop it is. Then he starts making his way to the end of the car. I notice something out of the corner of my eye though and it's the brown paper bag.

Now let me explain two things a) If I had noticed this guy exuding any particular "crazy" vibes I would've left him the hell alone, b) also if this bag was empty in anyway or looked like it needed to be thrown away I would've left it alone, but no it had that neat little roll/fold closing it and looked like something was in it. Could've been poop or maybe some crack now that I look back on how the guy responded.

By now I notice the guy's at the far end and it looks like he's about to get out. I could've yelled out "Hey! You left something!" but I figured before he knew I was talking to him he would've been out the door. So after a split second of "Uhoh, what do I do now." I pick up the bag and jog over to him. I say "Excuse me, and he doesn't hear me so I tap him on the should and say "Excuse me," a bit louder.

He turns around so I hold up the bag and tell him, "You left this back there."

He says something but I can't hear him too well the first time around but then realize he's actually mad. "That's not mine, did you SEE me put that THERE?"

I answer, "Uh, yea, I actually did see you put it there."

So then he goes off all "Well why you have to run up on me like that? Huh? Back up!"

I say, "I'm just trying to do you a favor."

Now obviously crazy guy answers, "I don't need you to do nothing!"

At this point I decide either I can stand here and argue with some guy who is having some mental issues that a greasy, brown paper bag is his or I can just go back and sit down. I decide on the latter and just set the bag down anywhere. But no, the crazy don't stop there.

As I turn around the guy actually throws the bag at me. Well, not throw as in aimed it at me purposefully and beaned me, but more like tossed it in my general direction. If the former had happened I would've probably gotten in his face even if he was crazy or whatever, but since it was the latter I honestly could not be bothered with arguing with some crackhead.

I saw a girl once get in an argument with some crazy woman on the train once (coincidentally, it might've been the A train also), and it was weird. I don't know if the girl had issues of her own too. She didn't look like it but looks can be deceiving. My reaction was just, "Why?" I mean what kind of intellectual prowess do you think you're exercising arguing with someone who smells like poop? And do you really hope to win this argument? If anything they probably have a rhetorical leg up on you arguing with all the voices in their head all day. It's like their head is a debate gym and they're Ivan Drago training with high tech debatology machines in the Gym of Batshit Insane all day while you drag a verbal log across the yard once in a while. And yes, Rocky won in the movie, but guess what, your ass isn't Rocky.

This particular crazy woman also won my "most efficient way to scare as many groups of people as possible" award. She kept muttering over and over again to a 10-year-old Hispanic girl with her mom, "Don't worry, child. These white folks aren't going to hurt you today," making sure to glare severely at the 20-something yuppie white couple sitting right across from the little girl and her mom. She'd take a break from muttering that line to go on and on to the girl about how the white people will get her and how she needs to be careful. Especially, it seemed, of the yuppie couple sitting across from her. And no, it wasn't the yuppie girl that got into an argument with this woman.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ireland Travelogue 5

Part 4
Part 6>>

Oct. 10, 9:36 a.m.

(River Lee at night.)

I played Irish Monopoly until 2 a.m. last night. We were loud enough to annoy the guy at the desk. I was doing relatively ok then lost everything miserable near the end.

I was going to go to Blarney today, but it just seemed like too close to try and go to Blarney and be back for a shift that starts at 3 when the last bus that'll get me here on time is at 1:20 and the only other bus after that is after 3. So tomorrow it is. Again I hope for some good weather.

Random Thought #1: Saw a guy that looked a lot like Brock Samson the other day. I wanted to get his picture to share the gloriousness with the world, but I didn't think he would've appreciated that even though Brock Samson is AWESOME. Besides, how do I even explain it? "Well, there's this cartoon back in the States..."

12:47 p.m.

(Snapped on my way to the Gaol.)

(Ran into Rex here while he was on his walkies with his owner. His body shape and coloring kind of makes me think he's got some Cardigan corgi in him.)

I just got back from the Gaol. That was a loooooong walk. Well, more like longer than you think it would be. Everyone makes it sound like it's a nice little jaunt, but it's a bit more than that. I've definitely walked longer distances, but you know, if someone says it's a "scenic little walk," just take the "little" part with a grain of salt.

(An interesting shot because you see a bit of Cork City, then the rolling hills beyond it.)

(Flower I don't know that I took a picture of.)

(Looks like the above but in a different color.)

The visit was interesting. I looked at the outside architecture a lot. Though, yes, it's a jail, I liked how it looked. The lawns might be more manicured now or something than it used to be and who knows, maybe it was a bit more decrepit before being open to the public. Either way, took some photos.

(What greets you after the gatehouse.)

(Front of the Gaol.)

(I knew they'd get me sooner or later.)

(Female soon to be inmate being dragged in by lady warden. First tableau to greet you as soon as you enter.)

(The horror. Oh, the horror!)

(Notes from the past.)

(Caught these two on their break.)

("Dude, you totally need to call his bluff...what? No, never played in my whole life. Oh, you're playing pinochle? Well, I still think you should call his bluff.")

I wish they'd elaborated a bit more about how the radio station moved into the prison for a while. Maybe the story's not all that interesting ("Well...they needed some wide space and this was the only thing on the market empty and available...so yea, that's the um, story. And I guess they, uh...moved out when something better that they could afford came up."), but now I'm all curious because they didn't say much about it. Need to research this. They did mention how they had to convert a wide door to allow equipment transfer.

(Back to the city center.)

OK...so I'm havin another fry-up breakfast and I need to ask someone what the deal is with the tomato. It might be a stupid question, but I just need to find out. It's not that it tastes bad, but it's just...half a tomato. Who first thought "Oh yea, I'll throw this tomato in there while I'm at it," and how did this because a tradition? Is it added just to provide some semblance of nutrition? Is it there to balance out the color of the entire dish? Maybe there's some delicate taste balance that I don't know about. My guess is someone got lazy, didn't feel like chopping up all the ingredients for an omelette and just decided to make a regular breakfast. They weren't sure what to do with the half of a tomato they had left over from a sandwich and didn't want it to turn all mealy in the fridge and figured "Whatever, in an omlette, sitting next to the eggs, it'll all go in my stomach one way or other."

Random Thought #2: Brown sauce has a more tonkatsu sauce type of taste to it while chef's sauce is the same with a more pronounced vinegary taste.

I'm beginning to worry that I adapt a little too well to new surroundings. I've only been here a couple of days and I'm already thinking, "I could survive here on my own if I had to live here." I don't even miss New York. It's always been like that whenever I visit a place.

I guess it's incorrect to say I don't miss places. I do after I leave, but I just have no problem picking up and leaving Dodge. Even if I started missing a place, it's not anything like a debilitating homesickness, more like weird nostalgia. If I did want to go back to a place it's more because of memories tied to it than anything else.

2:45 p.m.

Finally caught up with one of those black birds that I'm not sure if its a raven or crow or whatever and took its picture. Wasn't easy though. The thing kept lookin' at me like, "What the hell, lady" and would do the should-I-fly-or-not hop if I got too close for comfort.

The English Market was a nice walk through. I got some chocolate from a chocolate shop. The cherry one was a little to hardcore cherry for me though. There was a pit present and the liqueur part of it almost had me slightly toasted. Good, but very strong taste.

(These looked so pretty sitting in the basket. Also, I'm craving soda bread right now.)

(The fountain in the English Market.)

(The different stalls usually have names over them.)

(Chocolate? Don't mind if I do.)

Oct. 11, 8:42 a.m.
I'm currently on the 224 bus headed to Blarney. I was tempted with trying to fit in going to Cobh, but I'm a little tired and it will depend on when I get back. I hope I get some photo ops of flora and fauna today. Everything's damp and it's probably not wise that I decided to wear the one pair of shoes I have that's beginning to develop a hole in its sole.

1:07 p.m.

Just got back from Blarney.

I managed to get off the wrong stop (I seem to have a thing for getting off at the wrong stop).

I got together with two girls from the Basque region who also got off the wrong stop with me and we decided to band together to find our way to Blarney Castle.

They told me they were actually college students but from time to time freelanced for a paper back home. That's what they were doing here. Since they were backpacking, they found out about the film festival and decided they'd write a story for the paper about it and were trying to pack in as many movies as they could.

They were especially interested in short films because they said it was hard to catch short films back where they were from and most of it were typical blockbuster fare. They asked how it was in the States as far as viewing short movies went. I told them you could do it, it just wasn't some mainstream thing. Maybe some niche theater or whenever they had a film festival/series (though honestly a special film series happens pretty often). They were kind of surprised by that answer.

Kissing the Blarney Stone wasn't that big of a deal for me. It's more like something you tell folks back home because you know someone's going to ask about it. I personally was more interested in seeing the Rock Close and the grounds around the castle.

(Blarney Castle. Almost feels like some ominous music should be playing for this shot.)

Lots of great photos. Glad my camera's dry and still functioning (knock on wood).

(Now, what I really came for.)

Random Thought #1: Saw a murder of crows today, though after reading some guide books I'm beginning to suspect they are rooks.

Random Thought #2: The toilets here don't flush so much as they deluge the waste away. Like it's more of a, "Just let me pound away at this until I push everything down."

Random Thought #3: There are a lot of girls with the Tara Reid look going on here. It's a whole "this is obviously not my natural hair color" blonde (or red maybe), with orange-y fake tan and old, silent movie spyglass gag style dark eyeliner all around the eyes. Lots of super short skirts too. It almost looks retro.

Part 4
Part 6>>

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oppenheimer at the Cake Shop

The travelogue update gets pushed back once more because I decided to go see Oppenheimer last night.

(Oppenheimer on stage.)

(Rocky rockin' out.)

It was great. When I first started listening to them I thought, "Cool...I wonder how a live show would work out though?"

Well, it works out great is how. I want to go see them on Thursday but I have a sinking feeling tomorrow I may be working late. That's happened way too many times already. It's worse when you're trying to round up friends to go, but when you know people in med/grad school or people with a regular job trying to support themselves it's hard to call people up last minute to go to something. The solution? I need to make more unemployed friends with weird day schedules.

(Front/back of setlist.)

According to Shaun, they actually don't write out a setlist often so grab one while you can...if you do that sort of thing, that is.

Edit: Video for "Breakfast in NYC." Love the "Memento" reference (try to catch it).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worst dream I had for the first time in a long while

Another break from the travelogue to relay to you the horrific dream I had last night.

My home was broken into. In my dream of course. It was weird because it was my apartment that I reside in now, but somehow...bigger, because it managed to accomodate some family members and other miscellaneous folks and random furniture that certainly is not in my house.

Anyhow, I get back home from an outing with said family members and folks only to find the house has been rifled through. This baffled me because I remembered locking the doors (and the dream-door had around 5 deadbolt locks on it), but then saw that whoever broke in used drills and other tools.

I walked around the house looking over the damage trying to figure out what happened and for the most part was happy because it didn't seem like anything was missing, but then to my horror I realized the damn bastards had stolen my DC, Saturn and Genesis (which I do not have with me by the way) and the games that go with it.

I was incensed! I cried out for blood and demanded that we should contact the police though other cast members in my dream were convinced it wasn't that big of a deal and how would we recover that anyway? Most probably not. But I could not be consoled. I cried out that the dirty thieves could've at least stolen the damn PS2, at least you can get another one of those, but what was I supposed to do about my burgled DC and Saturn? Especially the games? A *modded* Saturn mind you...MODDED! Were these fellow players in my dream going to get me a Saturn, then fly my ass to Korea so we can stop by the Electronic Market and get someone to give us the modded hook up under the table? I THINK NOT!

Anyhow I jumped around and fumed a lot and was very beside myself the rest of the dream or at least what I remember of it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ireland Travelogue 4

Part 3
Part 5>>

Oct. 8, 10:01 a.m.

(A view of the River Lee from St. Patrick's Bridge.)

I'm having myself a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, grilled tomato and baked beans. There are obviously several places around the city that serve this in some way or form and I plan on visiting them...because I surely don't see myself preparing this or getting it anywhere back home.

11:13 a.m.

Ack, so it's started raining. Some would say sarcastically, "Raining? In Cork? In October? No way!". Not terribly mind you but enough moisture that continued exposure would mean becoming unpleasantly damp.

Whoever works at the hostel must really love RHCP....they've had it on rotation since last night it seems like.

Anyhow, I don't know how sightseeing will go today. I could walk around without an umbrella, but it would mean no pictures. I think I'll wait it out. It's a shame since today's the last full free day I have.

Oct. 9, 11:30 a.m.

Yesterday ended up not being a total loss. I intended to walk to UCC, and ended up stopping by volunteer HQ. I was instructed by volunteer wrangler Kieran to head over to the Opera House and it seemed like they were a couple of people short. I got to see "Death of a President." I had heard about it and was worried it would be a bit hokey based on the premise, but it was well-made. But I kind of thought the effects where people were inserted into the footage wasn't as smooth as it could've been.

I have about an hour and a half until I need to be at the Opera House again so I think I'm going to try and pop into the Crawford Art Museum.

Right now I'm at Kafka's about to have a breakfast sambo (I guess it's a variant of "sammich"). There's another restaurant down the block called "Idaho's." I don't know if they serve a lot of potatoes there or something. But that'd be wrong. The house coffee in this place is fantastic and I like the bread, it reminds me of bread back in Korea. I got to go up to St. Ann's Shandon today. Didn't ring the bell, but maybe I'll go back to do that. I had time to kill before the Butter Museum and was more interested in figuring out what the Firkin Crane and the Shandon Crafts Center were.

(St. Ann's Shandon)

(Firkin Crane and Shandon Crafts Center directly across from the Shandon. The Butter Museum is tucked behind and in between the two of these buildings.)

I kind of figured out that the Firkin Crane is an arts/dance center, but the crafts center threw me off. Did they have people come in to make stuff? Anyhow, the door was open so I just ambled in. I figured if they didn't want people just wandering in, they'd do a better job of keeping it closed off. Besides, there was a cafe for crying out loud.

I ended up running into Mr. Martin F. Maker and repairer of all sort of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars even bouzoukis.

(Where the master works.)

(A cello in its infancy.)

(Violins in various stages of undress. Pardon me, ladies.)

(Other tools of the trade.)

(I really love this picture of the workspace. I don't know, I just like how busy it is.)

(Ladies in waiting.)

He didn't mind me invading his workspace, taking pictures and asking him a million inane questions about his work. I could't help it, I was just fascinated by the whole thing.

The Butter Museum...was a museum about butter. I mean it's a stop for sure if you want to learn about this and that, but yes, it's about butter just as the name says.

9:07 p.m.
"There's only two kinds. Barry's or Lyon's."

Had some damn fine fries ("CHIPS!" as I was reminded by them, more on the "them" later on).

I did manage to go to the Crawford Municipal Art Museum. They had a lot of plaster models of statues that are elsewhere as well as other original pieces.

(The lighting in this room made for some intriguing shots.)

(Laocoon and his sons.)

(I really liked these examples of architectural flourishes.)

(An impressive monument, but I like the detail on the base of this monument pictured below.)

(Interesting lighting on the bust of Michael Collins. Also, this thing is HUGE.)

(The Drunken Faun, by John Hogan.)

Getting to see the work of Harry Clarke was the best though.

The Clarke room is on the second floor and there were several illustrative examples as well as what looked like drafts for stained glass windows. There was also a section of stained glass in that room.

I was almost late for my shift at the Opera House (which is right next door), because I wanted a picture of all of his work.

No flash photos are OK, or so I was told. I tried to grab a lot of pictures of Mr. Clarke's works but they didn't come out too well. It was just tricky in general navigating around the lighting for things behind glass or fighting against the sheen of oil works.

I have another shift at the Opera House...maybe I'll go back there and try to photograph them again.

I just realized I still have seven more days here. That was longer than I thought I had, then again I realize that's not that many days left either considering my schedule here.

Some chick at the hostel here hooked me up with her international calling thingamabob because she's leaving. Speaking of the hostel, the three Italian girls staying in the room with me just left this morning making it the second changeover in two days. They were nice girls too, college students from Perugia. We managed to somehow communicate.

It's weird because people having been telling me how hostels are a great way to meet people. And while that's true, I usually leave early in the morning then come back a little on the late side and for the most part out all day so I haven't really been sticking around the hostel too much (and probably a good thing). Also, most of the people seem to be backpackers stopping by for a day or two before grabbing the bus elsewhere. So yea, I haven't really had a chance to sit down and chat people up, but I seem to be getting to know people from volunteering, so that's still great.

Random Thoughts: Because I keep remembering that I forget to write certain things down.

1. People here say "cool." That isn't weird or anything but they do say it and pronounce the "oo" really hardcore "oooo." Like, um, when a cow says "moo." Not that I mean they sound like cows, but that's just the closest sound I could think of. So the double O's are drawn out so not a short "cool" but more like a "coooo-ehl." I notice weird things.

2. I think "Garda" is a cool word for police. I personally have an affinity for "Popo" (5-0 is not bad if need be). In fact, I think it should be introduced to American slang by being featured in rap songs since slang in rap gets picked up by everybody eventually. Even your Bubbe in Boca calls her jewels "bling" nowadays.

3. Everyone keeps commenting on how I have an Irish last name and how maybe we're related. Ok, maybe...maaaaaaaaaayybe, but it would be very barely related considering my background. On one hand you have pure hermetic Asian group of people so no contributions of any Irishness from that side of the family. On the other hand, supposedly I had an Irish great grandfather somewhere on my dad's side. Ok, so either a)some Irish pioneer had a thing for black women and boinked one of my great grandmothers but then there's also possibility b) where a slave ancestor of mine took his slave master's name when he was freed.

Today's shift at the Opera House included "Lila Says" and "Rocket Post."

"Lila Says" depressed me because Chimo and Lila seemed to really love each other and just how things didn't work out was heart breaking. Obviously, they had a connection. Like Lila said (ha), Chimo was different and the life he had been living wasn't for him and she saw that, on the other hand Chimo accepted her for what she was even if he didn't see past her whole facade of being worldly at the time. He just liked her and didn't care about anything else. And the fact they couldn't be together with the person that got them made me feel sad.

"Rocket Post" was odd because it was a cute movie. A little too much for me, but the last 10 minutes of the film took such a random turn in tone that I'm still trying to recover from my "What the hell?" reaction.

I met up with fellow volunteer Sarah who I had chatted with at a previous shift and she was positively nice enough to volunteer to give me a quick tour of the UCC campus since she was headed that way.

We ended up meeting with some of her friends who showed me the Ogham Stones. They also told me all sorts of UCC lore such as where to not step and why...thankfully I don't go there and it's been a little over a year since I've graduated so no worries about me stepping anywhere, I think.

(Scenes from UCC, which is a gorgeous campus.)

Somehow the evening concluded with me at Sarah's friend's house eating chips from Lennox's and watching "Coronation St.," which is quite possibily the least trashiest soap I have ever seen. Then again this was based on one episode.

We were having a regular cultural exchange when one of the housemates Oisin mentioned he would be making tea to which I was pointedly asked if I'd had proper tea. I wasn't sure how to answer. I'd had plenty of tea in my life, yes, but I wasn't sure what was proper. I was trying to figure out what kind of tea they meant by that and was told, "There's only two kinds. Barry's or Lyon's."

I was also trying to figure out how to use "grand" (which I find has now crept into my lexicon...). When asked if the tea was any good I answered, "It's grand."

Oisin sniffed in mock indignation, "It isn't JUST 'grand,' it's fantastic!"

Me: "...OK, now I'm just confused, I thought I had it."

As for the chips? Delicious. They're like fucking deep fried mashed potatoes with a crispy outside that just bursts into a buttery heaven in your mouth.

Other topics discussed in no particular order: accents, cars, commercials, favorite movies and "Braveheart."

Oh, Random Thought #4:...shit, lost it.

Before leaving, I was asked how the chips were. Without thinking I answered, "Oh yea, those fries were ridiculously good."

The group cried out in horror, "CHIPS! CHIPS!!"

Me in a panic answered, "Crap! YES, CHIPS!"

I realized my daytime shifts means I need to figure out carefully how to squeeze in a trip to Blarney.

OH yea! Random thought #4: I can't get used to the fact that the @ is where the double quotes are and vice versa on the keyboard.

Part 3
Part 5>>