Alcatraz served their poison to the punk and the metal crowd. I’m not sure if the punks came to Tompkins because of this bar or the bar came because of the punks in Tompkins. Read »

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is a great book that incorporates various schools of thought, some very esoteric, like Jung’s Collective Unconscious, Gurdjieff / Ouspensky / Collin’s concept of time in universe, as well as the teachings of more mainstream religions and myths. It even echoes some of the sentiments of the popular happiness peddlers like Anthony Robbins and Alan Watts. The book successfully combines all these ideas into one neat mythical tale. What it tries to ultimately achieve is to shed some light on the eternal question of human race: the meaning of life. Unlike the Existentialists, Coelho apparently believes that each one of us have a purpose of our own called “Personal Legend.” The book illustrates the process of achieving it. Read »

Looking back at my own writings from 1993, I found something that’s worth bringing back. I was depressed out of my mind then. Most of my writings from that period were so bitter and self-pitying. This one seems to show some honesty of my true feelings then. Read »

Yesterday morning as I was walking toward the subway station, I heard a big bang. I had no idea what it was, but I thought at the time that later it could turn out to be something big. Had I looked downtown, I would have probably seen the smoke and the fire. (From Houston Street, where I was walking, the World Trade Center towers used to be clearly visible.) I got on the F train at the station on Second Avenue and Houston Street, and got off at the 23rd Street station as usual. As I walked up 6th Avenue, I saw a crowd of people looking downtown. I wondered what it was all about but didn’t bother to look downtown. Once I arrived at work, one my co-workers, Laurens, told me that an airplane had smashed into WTC. We switched on the TV and there it was; both of the towers were on fire. Read »

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Gulshan opened some time around 1991. Read »

Remember this? This is Sin-é. Read »

Here is what came after Cafe 9, Bel Air. Read »

This is on St. Marks Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. Read »

This used to be my breakfast spot. Read »

Is it just me or have you noticed it too? I now see a lot more couples where the man is Asian and the woman is white. This started happening about 3 years ago, especially among late teens and early twenties. Read »

Nation on Avenue A Read »

Cafe Limbo on Avenue A Read »

The aim of art originally was to represent beauty. That is to say it tried to reproduce the beauty that existed in nature. Abstract Expressionists came and changed that. Their works of art did not represent beauty, but were themselves the beauty. What did not change with the Abstract Expressionism was that it still expressed artists’ subjectivity, that is, it expressed their subjective sense of beauty, their human experiences, pain, sufferings, and joy, which appealed to the viewers’ emotions and feelings. We believed that art represented essence of the artists’ self. Then came Postmodernism where any style of art including those of Abstract Expressionists became a mere vehicle of representation. Pop Art, especially, treated every style and movement of art history to be a mere symbol, or an icon. Representation was back again, but this time, beauty is not in what it represents; it is in its use of representation. What we have lost in Postmodern art is the sense of self, or at least so it seems. Read »

NETABSTRACTION is an attempt at abstracting the dynamic content of the Web in real time. These Shockwave programs will surf the web on their own in order to create continuous random collages out of the texts and the images that they find along the way. Read »

I believe that the best way to learn a different culture is through a specific field of interest. Rather than trying to see anything and everything, I like focusing on one thing, whether music, art, architecture, or literature. I am more interested in depth of things than I am in a variety. In general, when you dig deep into anything, you find the same wisdom. As a tourist, I find that the most effective and convenient way to learn a culture is through food. You have to eat three times a day anyway. (It is not practically possible to see three operas in a day.) Read »

For some reason the name Debbie Gibson became a paradigm of naive music. This has much do with the way she was produced and marketed, as well as what she represented. Marketing in our age is a science, incorporating everything from psychology to semiotics, employed by everyone from the president of the United States to pop singers. We are all suckers for them, and we hate our own vain selves that fall for these clever marketing ploys. If a marketing strategy is sophisticated enough, it works transparently. While we all want to deny that we are suckers, somewhere in our sub/unconscious we are aware that we have been taken advantage of. Read »

Sometimes, in late afternoons, when the sun is about to touch the ground, I find myself standing in some ordinary place, thinking about my own life. I see everything around me tinted orange by the sun. Suddenly the scenery puts me into an introspective mood. I am forced to reflect on my own life. A feeling of guilt torments my body. “Another day just passed...,” I think to myself. No matter how hard I think, I cannot figure out where this guilt is coming from. What else could I have done today? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I tell myself not to feel guilty. Along with guilt, loneliness and emptiness would hit me hard. They are one and the same thing. Read »

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