Stamford, CT – The Piano

comic081907.jpgDowntown Stamford is an indecisive place, flipflopping between a suburb and a city, populated by a mix of people who I feel don’t belong to the same area. Something like Harvard Square, really.

The mall here is gigantic, and one place that struck me the most was a coliseum-esque “theater” with a piano resting on the bottom. People sit on the seats and watch others stride to and fro, and people above watch the watchers in turn from the 5th and 7th floors. I have never yet seen anyone walk down to play the piano, but the picture itself is hauntingly melodic – I can hear the notes even though nobody is playing. The scene itself is a respite amidst a busy display of conspicuous consumption, the flow of which is slowed as one shopping bag after another pass by the piano.

San Antonio

comic0726071.jpg A fiercely Southern state, San Antonio creates an isosceles triangle of unmistakable Texan-ness with its neighbors Houston and Austin. Two years ago I came here to Trinity University as a student doing research, now I return as an alum giving a talk. I chose to stay past my presentation to mingle with the students, which was a great choice.

1) The students are vibrant with character. J.J. has great taste in the visual media, including The Westing Game, Imogen Heap, and The Golden Compass; T. is the all-around cool guy you wish to show off to your friends since he is good at everything; C. is a Linux-toting hacker girl who isn’t afraid to mix it up with the guys in poker. Of course, there are also the assistants: Enrique, one of my poker mentors with a great appreciation for people and life, and Nathan, who sprinkles sparkles of humor in every event and lightens up every gloomy day (great, given the curious fact that it rained basically every day here). Continue reading “San Antonio”

Atlantic City

comic070407.jpg 21 is the magical age where we get to sin legally. My 18th birthday called for buying of cigarettes, porn, and a lottery ticket, even though I didn’t smoke or watch the porn or play the lottery ticket, just because I had the power. My 21st, of course, was for gambling.

MZ drove me and J, blasting loud badass Asian music, up the toll road to the city of Monopoly streets. The first quest was, of course, not getting to the casino, but finding those legendary White Castle sliders that stick to the roof of your mouth and melt, exuding succulent sweetness. Like in the movie, this was the most difficult part of the trip, as the dudes we met kept telling us that a local White Castle had shut down and we had to go out of the way each time we asked for a White Castle. 3 hours of search failed, so we gave up and just headed for AC. This will be a mission we set for another day – hopefully including the hot farmer’s wife part and not including the battleshit.

Continue reading “Atlantic City”

an old man and his weights

comic062107.jpgI tend to be reluctant running on treadmills when there is another person using the adjacent treadmill. This is an extension of the male urinal ettiquete, where every time you enter a public bathroom with more than 2 people in it one dude will be at the farthest urinal and one at the closest one. The explanation is obviously the (heterosexual) man code that forces you to maximize penile distance from other men at all costs.

Today was sprints day and I promised myself I wouldn’t find an excuse to skip my run, so I awkwardly got on the only open treadmill next to the old man pacing leisurely at around 6.5 mph. 50 would be cutting it young, and 60 a bit impolite, so I’ll go for 55 as his age. There was something weird about the way he was dressed, but I didn’t want to stare so I did not notice.

Soon, I discover that the ~55 year old man was totally schooling me on the treadmill. Granted, I wasn’t jogging my 200s, but the guy was there already when I was stretching and lifting, so he already had at least 20 minutes. After 5 200’s, I was ready to die (senior belly), and the old man sped up. I guessed he was starting speed intervals.

If this were a competition, I would have been served like the young unathletic fool I was. When I surrendered after a few more laps, I saw why I thought earlier that he was dressed strangely – the man was wearing (very colorful) weights. Two on his forearms, two on his ankles. Altogether, they added about 20 pounds to his extremeties.

I left to get water and use the bathroom, and when I swung back the only thing I could hear was the machine still creaking “leisurely.” I’m suddenly not looking forward to hitting 55 quite as much as I used to.

-YZ

New Things

People like to refresh at turning points in life, usually flirting with new personalities for a new social circle that does not know your old gossip. I like refreshing; It is sexy and discreet, with that new-year’s resolution feel. So I’ll use college graduation as my excuse to try WordPress as my new blog.

-Yan