Sobriety Blows: Quitting Smoking and Drinking

“What’s that? You want me to drink you?  But I’m in the middle of a trial!”

Withdrawal is a bitch. I live in a constant miasmic haze.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything as if my brain was surrounded by storm clouds. Strange phlegm emerges from the recesses from my body. My throat constantly itches. I want to punch my neighbor in the face. A cigarette and a drink would solve all at this moment. Except that it won’t.

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Firsthand Research

May is coming to a close, and there were several things I wanted to post this month for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; I may have to cheat into June to do so. The following is a story I wrote several weeks ago that I’ve been tinkering with since. Any feedback is appreciated.


It may just be regression to the mean, but so far it’s been a good day. And, as my friend Pete, an unlikely aficionado of the West Coast hip hop absent from my own childhood, would say, I didn’t even have to use my AK.
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Memories and Remembrances

Two Thursdays ago, I attended the opening of “Natural History,” my friend Jordan‘s solo show at Underline Gallery. The exhibition is a meditation on memory and remembrance that highlights the ephemeral nature of words and experiences, with collages, photographs, sculptures, and manipulated artifacts. The pieces are beautiful, from concentric porcupine quill circles, stunning in their simplicity, to a World War II era duffel bag printed with salvaged photographs of POWs. The exhibition retains the found, weathered aesthetic that I associate with much of Jordan’s work.
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Columbus Park, 2012

Columbus Park {india ink wash on Bristol board}, 14 x 17 inches, 2012

Between Two Hedges with David Johnston

To graduate from Brooklyn Free School, students compile a transcript of the classes and activities in which they participated during their years of attendance, write an essay arguing why they are ready to graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives, and defend their graduation in a voluntary meeting with members of the school community–staff, students, parents, and volunteers. Here, reprinted with permission of the author, is the graduation essay of David Karr Johnston, 17. People often ask me whether Brooklyn Free School “works.” More than anything I could say, this candid essay captures the myths, realities, challenges, and some of the benefits of the school from the perspective of one of its founding students.
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Who is Vincent Chin?

Vincent Chin was born today, on May 18, 1955. He would be celebrating his 57th birthday today, except he was beaten to death in June 1982 in Highland Park, Michigan. His murderers were Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, Ebens’s stepson.
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The Marlins Home Run Sculpture

This Mother’s Day I am sitting at home watching the Mets-Marlins game. In the 7th inning John Buck hit a 2-run home run to tie the game at 2-2. And then this happened:


Rewatching “Ikiru”

Every few years or so, I rewatch the Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru. There is no obvious reason I submit to this biyearly penance. It’s a movie with no violence or nudity. It contains no great love story and says little about liberals or conservatives or the validity of this or that gun law. I rewatch it simply because it is one of the few movies that forces me like a reflecting mirror to face the unavoidability of my death.  As Stanley Elkin once said, “I would never write about someone who is not at the end of his rope.” Similarly, I find it hard to rewatch anything unless it is about people at the end of their rope.
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Some tardy thoughts on accusations of racism in the backlash to Girls

This may be late in the game and no longer topical, but whatever; my timing, in life, love, poker, and social commentary, has always been bad. After wading through all the backlash against the show Girls and all the backlash against all the backlash against the show Girls, I’ve had my fill. Mixed metaphors aside, I’ve somewhat processed my thoughts on the matter.
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