The following online journal entries are from March 2002.
MONDAY. 11:21 AM. I cannot believe that March is already half-over. I still haven't heard any news from my two remaining grad programs. I guess no news is good news. Though, I'm now re-considering what I'm going to do if I get into San Francisco State University. Do I really want to pack up, ship all of my things back, try to find an apartment, and look for a job in San Francisco? I just don't know.
I'm just taking things a day at a time, a decision at a time.
I am physically tired. I haven't been sleeping very regularly. I guess it's a symptom of unemployment and limbo-ness. I just don't have a schedule to keep. I go to bed too late. I get up at erratic times.
The past weekend was full. Last Thursday, Dustin and I went down to the Mall in Washington, DC. We walked to the Washington Monument (but didn't go in because of the line and the security check and bag search). We walked to the Lincoln Memorial (though the reflecting pool was drained and the area was being renovated or something). Then we had lunch in the National Gallery of Art at their lovely Cascade Cafe in the concourse running underground between the East and West buildings. After lunch, we walked across the Mall to the National Air and Space Museum, which Dustin really loved and spent an hour looking at one exhibit.
There is just too much to do at the Mall. I had forgotten how exhausting being a tourist can be. We'll have to head downtown again.
On Friday, Skinner stayed home from work and we worked on the house a bit more. I finished painting the master bath while Dustin and Skinner worked on the third bedroom. Friday night, we stayed in and invited some friends over to drink and play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.
On Saturday, Dustin, Skinner, and I spent most of the day looking for a table to put in the basement to complete the ultimate gaming chamber. We drove all over the place trying to track a used dining room or conference table of a decent size. We had lunch at Plato's Diner in College Park; it's one of my favorite places and one of the servers, Michelle, still remembers me after being gone three years. Plato's has undergone a renovation is now bright teal and pink with fancy wood paneling, booths, and trendy lighting. The food is still reasonably priced and heartily proportioned. I still love Plato's. Finally, we hit up the big Value Village on University Boulevard and find the perfect table. It's beat up but solid; it's shabby chic Mission-style. It looks like it belongs in a gaming chamber.
Saturday night, I wanted to rally some folks to head into DC for an early St. Patrick's Day ado. We drive to the Silver Spring Metro and train down to Fox and Hounds, a modest bar with decent-sized drinks next to Trio's restaurant in Dupont Circle. The revelers: myself, Dustin, Kate, Skinner, Rob S., Nancy, Casper, and Greg L.. We had a surly waitress. The food was decent. We sat outside underneath the propane heater. Afterwards, we went to The Big Hunt. It's a big place, smoky, with huge spray painted murals of people hunting giant-sized small animals (e.g. giant rabbits, giant lizards). There was more merriment to be had. But age, the long week before, and booze caught up with us and we decided to head home at the meager hour of midnight.
It was good to hang out with Nancy again and to see Casper. It was also cool to see Rob (who'll be joining our gaming group) and Greg, too. It was a very pleasant and friendly night.
On Sunday, we made characters for Tellings. So far my players are Dustin, Kate, Skinner, and Rob. I have a number of friends who want to sit at my table and I am trying to weigh experience, interest, commitment, and personality. I really wish I could let everyone play but I can only handle a group of five (at most six) players.
Sunday night, Kevin came by to hang out. We chatted and watched Alias. So far, we've only been able to grab a couple of hours here and there. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to do something more substantial.
I think Dustin and I are headed up to New York City tomorrow. We're going to stay with my friend Jeff, the actor. Hopefully I'll get to see Will H. and Erik R. while I'm tooling around the Big Apple. I don't know if I want to go see "Ground Zero." I have mild curiosity about it but I really think I just want to move on and really unpack the need to make it a spectacle. I don't know. We're probably only going to stay for a few days and then come home to Maryland. We may stop in Philadelphia to see Adrian and Jen, two friends from San Francisco who moved for school in Philly.
SATURDAY. 10:07 AM. My "vacation" is killing me. Really, I jest. But I am very tired after my trip up to New York, New York. But Dustin and I have returned to good ol' Maryland after a few days in the bright lights and big city.
I sense the need for a bulleted timeline:
• We arrived in NYC on Tuesday evening by way of the Lincoln Tunnel instead of the Holland Tunnel (just in case traffic patterns around downtown were awkward due to the World Trade Center site); Jeff has a loft studio in Gramercy Park (close enough)
• Tuesday night, we three wise men walked around the East Village down the bohemian, perpetually pierced and tattooed St. Mark's street; then we decided to have a few drinks at the oxymoronic Big Bar, perhaps the smallest bar I've ever seen
• Three years in the never-never land of California has swung me more left, softened my East Coast edges, and cleared my lungs; I forgot that you can smoke in bars everywhere else in the country--cough, cough, cough
• Wednesday: rain, rain, and more rain; Dustin and I tried to indoor things--the Guggenheim, which looked a bit shabby on the outside ( FLW would probably roll over in his grave) and black on the inside for a showing of Brazilian art and artifacts; Grand Central Station (a la the scene from Hackers); we did venture out to Time Square in the downpour to see the giant (and electric) screens; I ogled up at MTV; we went into "world's greatest toy store," the gigante Toys R Us at Times Square (the store was complete with a ferris wheel); the Chrysler Building
• Wednesday night: I wanted to meet up with Will H. and Erik R., two people I hadn't seen in ages; we meet up at the Apple Bar in the Village near Washington Square; it was too swanky so we went next door to college bar (which I don't remember the name to right now) and had a few pints; it was really good to see both Will and Erik
• Thursday: sunny, sunny, sunny; got up late and headed down to Battery Park; looked at the Statue of Liberty from a distance because the wait for the ferry to Liberty Island was too long; we stopped by "ground zero" to see the huge hole where the World Trade Center plaza used to be--it was totally surreal and strangely calm--at night during good weather, they fire two spotlights straight up into the sky at the site; we headed up to the Empire State Building and looked out over the city on the 86th Floor Observatory; we ended our tour at the southern end of Central Park near the zoo
• Thursday night: Jeff invited us to a gathering of some of the Lion King cast at a swanky, swanky, swanky bar called the Hudson; it was like stepping into a movie; the Hudson is a two-hundred-dollar-plus-a-night hotel with a celebrity-style bar and restaurant in the lobby; the building itself is white accented by fiery sconces and a glass entrance glowing a pale green-yellow like the color of Mountain Dew; you take an escalator up to the front desk; the lobby and restaurant is all in dark wood and chandeliers and candlelight; we eventually found our way to the bar side guarded by a GQ model (think Ben Stiller's Zoolander) and a velvet rope--an actual velvet rope; Jeff says, "Is the Lion King party here?" to which GQ boy replies, "Maybe. Do you know the person throwing the party?" to which Jeff says, "Dawn," to which GQ boy looks at Dustin and I and says, "All three of you?" to which Jeff says, "Yeah"; GQ boy nods and unhooks the velvet rope and lets us through; passing through very heavy drapes we enter the set of a music video; everything is white, the floor is translucent white plexiglas underlit; the furniture is clear plastic and Louis XVI; everyone is beautiful--actors, dancers, models--or rich or both; we have $11 drinks (the rail vodka is Absolut); it was surreal, tres fun, and totally not my life; it was very New York--very very; supposedly the designer is the same guy that designed Studio 54; we danced, we drank (my bartender karma was working only slightly, each round of drinks got a dollar cheaper as the night progressed); it was a sight, sound, sense, style to behold and I felt uncomfortable, underdressed, posing, cool, "in," and priviledged all at the same time
• Friday, we slept, we recovered, we woke, and we had lunch; then Dustin and I headed back to Maryland
Now, I'm home at Kate and Skinner's. I need to rest up a little bit. New York was a lot of fun. I really liked being in the big city again. I guess I have adapted to city living. Jeff, Will, and Erik are all trying to lure me up to the city with promises of fun, booze, friendship, and jobs. It's tempting. I'll have to think about it. Of course, I still really can't do anything until I hear from my schools.
© 2002 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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