Thursday, November 15, 2007

Updates and observations

I'm feeling very stream-of-consciousness. Here's a series of updates, observations, and thoughts from the last few days, in various levels of detail and coherence. I'll try to put them into vague categories so that things make some level of collective sense.

Visiting Home

- There is no worse immigration process than that involved with entering the United States. I am convinced that we have created criminals simply by treating people like we assume they are. I apologize to every foreigner that has ever had to deal with an American immigration official.

- The goal was to go home to California and come back with two things I didn't have before, a brother-in-law and a commitment to one job. Mission accomplished.

- God, I love California. I love Los Angeles. I know this, and it it is a constant source of joy and comfort.

- My sister's wedding was lovely, thank you for asking. Without exaggerating, it was just the best wedding I've ever been to. She's been planning it actively for over a year, passively since she was 7 years old, and if she was happy, then everyone should be happy. The wedding singer was a former Russian pop star who was the frontwoman of a popular band from Azerbaijan during the Soviet years. Then she moved to the United States and married some guy who my parents say was the Incredible Hulk, but apparently not Bill Bixby or Lou Ferrigno. Kinda cool.

- Best evidence that the wedding was a success: when it was time to do the bouquet and garter toss, my sister looked around, decided that the party was going too well to interrupt with more ceremony, and passed on it.

- I'd been low-level stressing for about a week about my impending wedding toast. I didn't write it on the plane, thought about it throughout my time in LA, and never committed anything to paper until the morning of the wedding. I was called to the stage by the wedding singer with no warning, but just seconds before it happened, I had pulled the printed-out speech out of my jacket pocket and looked at it skeptically. On my way up to the stage, I balled up the paper, banished it to my pocket, and talked off the cuff, using some of the material I had already come up with but reordering everything and mostly improvising. Nevertheless, the speech was well-received, with all of the laughs and "aww"s coming in at all the right times. When I got back to my seat, my already-drunk friend leaned over and said, "Now that is a wedding speech that gets a man laid." Not sure who he was suggesting help with that, but it was a nice sentiment.

- You know, I actually just like weddings. If you like free alcohol and dancing with every woman you see, what's not to like about weddings? Under the right circumstances, even the guy throwing up in the bathroom is charming!


- For the first time in my (generally pretty successful) life, I made a final decision between two options and was immediately confronted with a screaming gut check feeling that I was making a colossal mistake and that, in one to two years, when I was fixing that mistake, I would look back on that moment and think, "I knew." I'm still seeing it through...doing something contrary to what I would normally do was part of the whole point. But damn.

- Odd experience: within an 18-hour period, being told by my father and by a law firm partner with whom I'll be working closely that they're impressed with how well I hold my alcohol. These were in reference to two separate drinking sessions.

- I've basically been in an extended state of deja vu since, oh, last Friday night. I think I will explore this more fully in another post.

- I am forcing myself to memorize the following stanza of poetry and recite it to women as an act of seduction: He bore her away in his arms, / The handsomest young man there, / And his neck and his breast and his arms / Were drowned in her long dim hair. - W.B. Yeats, "The Host of the Air."

Thoughts While Traveling Back to Hong Kong

- Esquire magazine is basically Maxim for guys who think that a joke about boobies is funnier than the word "boobies" itself.

- I am a better writer than the people who write for Esquire (I am looking at you, Tom Chiarella). I am a worse writer than the people who write for the New Yorker. I think that this is an appropriate intellectual balance for the world.

- To buy the New Yorker as an income-less 23-year-old is a willful act of pretension.

- Flying business class has severely damaged by ability to happily fly coach. Luckily, I'm cheaper than I am dainty.

- I've always wanted to be that guy who talked to strangers sitting next to him on airplanes, but for that to happen, I need to start sitting next to people who either look interesting or attractive. I've tried a few times flight to LA worked out alright toward the end, though the guy and I were both sleeping through most of the flight. But I've just never found an airplane neighbor that could command my attention for more than 10 minutes.

- Looking at Hong Kong, at night, from a plane flying overhead, is oddly fascinating. The different parts of the city are so can really pick out every feature, every landmark building, every neighborhood. Playing the "I live there" game is incredibly easy. You can see the way that the city shares space with the uninhabitable wooded hills of Hong Kong Island. You can trace the class distribution across the island so clearly.


andrea said...

I find men who have memorized poetry very hot. Of course, I don't think you were going for the married and pregnant demographic, but I bet it's more than just me.

Even more pretentious: When I was in high school I was subscribed to the New Yorker for a year. I can't believe my mom didn't make fun of me every time it came. At the time I was reading a bunch of Kerouac and Ferlinghetti and thought I was really hot shit. said...

Yeah, we all need to recite Yeats's.