Partly Cloudy

prerequisite: Dinner and Losers

Betsy's wedding and reception took place at a winery up in the hills of anachronistic Woodside, CA. The reception ended unusually early at 8:00 pm. All the rich people who live up in the hills of anachronistic Woodside, CA set a noise curfew because, you know, seclusion can get so damn noisy.

Le Papillon, an expensive French restaurant, catered the wedding. There was an hour between the ceremony and the reception during which guests mingled and drank and ate hors d'oeuvres. In this time, I developed an addiction to an hors d'oeuvre that looked like seasoned ground meat in a cracker shell. I had consumed at least 20 of them and was about to get more when I heard a woman ask the waiter what this particular hors d'oeuvre was.


I had a flashback to when I discovered I was eating horse sashimi at a restaurant in China.

Along with the guestbook, there was a commemorative plate for guests to sign. As I was looking for a place to sign, I noticed a large sans-serif "signature" in the middle of the plate.


I went to take my seat for dinner and sitting at my table was none other than Mr. So Funny.

Oh joy, I thought.

Earlier in the day, about ten minutes before the wedding ceremony, I saw Sunny approach Tom holding a clipboard.

—Harro. Ah you an Amelican citizen?
—Ah you an Amelican citizen?

Tom was changing his baby's diaper at the time.

—I'm sorry. Can we do this later?

Trying to register voters at a wedding. Un-fuckin'-believable.

Dinner and Losers

My cousin Betsy got married on June 19. The night before, Betsy's father (my uncle) hosted a banquet for friends and family, most of whom flew in from all over Asia for the weekend.

10:00 PM
—You're driving too fast!
—I'm only going 40 mph.
—That's too fast!
—Winston, turn the music down.
—That's too fast!
—house of
—Drive slower!
—jealous lovers
—Drive slower?
—house of
—I'm going 40 in a 35!
—jealous lovers
—That's too fast! Slow down!

9:45 PM
—Jon, your father had a little too much wine to drink tonight. He's in no condition to drive guests back to the hotel. I'll drive them back and you take daddy and Winston home.
9:15 PM
—So how long are you in the Bay Area for? asked Tom.
—About a week. I flew up for the wedding and a…a concert.
—What concert?

In my head, I ran through all the musical acts that played at the radio station festival for one that a late-twenty-something lawyer currently based in Shanghai would be familiar with.

Death Cab for Cutie? No. Dizzee Rascal? No.

—Oh. Um…the Beastie Boys?

At this point, my father turned to me and proclaimed —The BEASTIE BOYS? Wooooow! Why didn't you tell me you saw the Beastie Boys?

This from a man who listens to The Best of Neil Diamond and the last Celine Dion album in his car.

8:22 PM
—Can I get another jack and coke?
8:20 PM
My cousin Judy tapped me on the shoulder.
—You seeing anyone?
—Ha. No.
—Well, you better knock some girl up soon. Heh.
—[sigh] I know, I know. No pressure…
8:00 PM
Tom and Eva arrived late.

My mother had been eagerly awaiting their arrival because she wanted to see their eight-month-old daughter Lauren.

As soon as they entered the room, my mother jumped up from her seat and commandeered their child. Eva's mother literally had to pry her granddaughter from my mother's arms so other people could spend time with her.

While she couldn't have the baby to herself, for the rest of the evening, my mother directed her full attention toward it. It was as if nothing in the room existed besides her and the baby. When she wasn't holding it, my mother would hover over whoever happened to be holding the baby and play with it. I'd never seen her so happy in my life.

7:30 PM
During the third course of the meal, the speaker in the ceiling panel above me started playing a muzak version of the Godfather theme.
7:05 PM
—Give me a jack and coke.
7:00 PM
—Hey everybody!

Mrs. Huang approached our table with her late-twenty-something son Sunny. He looked and talked like William Hung.

—Sunny recently got a job in Los Angeles. He has his own business cards now.

Yes, good ol' Sunny brought a box of business cards to a pre-wedding banquet. He handed me one.

—California Republican Party. Sunny Huang. Office Warden.

Oh man, I thought.

—Jonason. Ah you legistahd to vote?
—Who ah you going to vote foh?

Would you like to know my social security number too? How about my penis size?

—I…I don't know yet.

—Vote Republican! Support the Republican Party! Mrs. Huang interjected.I faked a smile and nodded.

—Will do…

As the two GOP FOBs returned to their table, I noticed a label stuck on the back of Sunny's business card.


6:45 PM
—Winston, aren't you going to eat?
—After I finish this chapter.
—The fuck are you reading?

My brother showed me the cover of the book.

—How can you read that fantasy shit?
—I like it.
—Let me guess. This one's about dragons and fairies, right? You like fairies?
—They're not fairies! [pause] They're elves.


on location in Northern California…

One of my parents' friends bought me a region-free DVD player for graduation, but the box said —This DVD Player is designed and manufactured to play Region 1 DVD discs.

I wanted to make sure the DVD player was in fact region-free before lugging it back to Los Angeles.

Problem was, I didn't know where around Mountain View I could obtain foreign region-specific DVDs. Blockbuster wouldn't have them and my parents and their friends only watch imported VCDs. I knew I could buy them at Amoeba, but I didn't feel like driving all the way up to San Francisco or Berkeley.

My brother referred me to Videoscope, a local mom-and-pop video store with a wide selection, but all the DVDs in the foreign section were either region one or all-region. The manager looked at me funny when I asked if the store had any discs that wouldn't play in DVD players in America.

Exiting the Videoscope parking lot, I decided to stop by the Tower down the street. Tower stocks less mainstream fare, I thought. Maybe it has some foreign region-specific DVDs.

As I approached the counter in the video section of Tower, this teenage scenester greeted me from behind it.

—'Suuuuup dude?

I couldn't figure out how this kid managed to fit into the clothes he was wearing.

—Hi. Do you guys have any non-region one DVDs?
—Hold on.

He went over to an inventory computer and started typing. I found it odd that an inventory computer would list DVDs by region encoding.

A minute later, the kid looked up from the computer and asked —Are those skateboarding DVDs?


Tower sure knows how to hire employees.

This kid had what looked like one of those metal rings used to hold index cards together fixed off-center in his lower lip.

I wanted to yank it so badly.


"Part of [To the 5 Boroughs] is what we're feeling and part of it is hoping that it will affect the political process," says Yauch, drinking a mug of tea in the studio. "I think Bush is terrifying. The guy is a lunatic. We'd be hard-pressed to find somebody worse to put in there. Maybe Adolf Hitler."

This statement makes me wonder how much Adam Yauch really knows about Adolf Hitler.

—Chuck Klosterman, Spin, July 2004


This shirt is teh cool. I want one to wear when if I visit this summer.


My cousin Betsy's getting married on Saturday in Northern California.

Graduation is Friday and Sunday in Southern California.

Betsy's wedding is part of the reason why I'm not graduating until December.

Betsy's father is my mother's brother. Many of my relatives on my mother's side are in town for the wedding. They all think I just graduated. I've received $2,200 in graduation money so far.

Wednesday night, someone decided that we should all have dinner at Hometown Buffet.

Sitting at my table, I looked around at all the patrons and thought —This is my future if I don't succeed in life. I wonder how many people here majored in English.


I once knew a girl who procrastinated on a research paper and ended up turning it in late. The professor told her he didn't accept late papers. The girl started crying and told the professor —I had an abortion!

That's such an ingenious excuse if presented convincingly. A professor can neither confirm nor deny it.

The girl got a B-.


On Father's day, fathers get a free burrito at Chipotle.

After much persuasion, my cousin Eddie agreed to let me borrow his two-year-old son Akira on Sunday. We're going to drive around the Bay Area getting free burritos for Uncle Jon. Akira has a little sister. I wonder if the burritos are per child.


Tim Cavanaugh in Reason Magazine:
—It doesn't matter how much gas costs, how poorly things are going in Iraq, what new torture memos surface, or whether there are new terror attacks inside our borders, Bush is going to kick [Kerry's] ass all over the United States. When U.S. troops are in the field, the candidate perceived as more hawkish always wins. Though I find Bush slightly (ever so slightly) less emetic than Kerry, he's a crook, a stumblebum, and a lazy, mirthless little prince, and any country that would re-elect him deserves every bad thing that will happen to it.



Eminem has more Oscars than Martin Scorsese.

Up until this year, David Arquette held the World Heavyweight Championship more times than Chris Benoit.

Grambo of Royal Oak, MI:
—I've got a memo for Lakers PF "Hot" Karl Malone … hey douchebag, how does it feel to know that Darko Milicic has more NBA championship rings than you?

This Friday, I'll have more bachelor's degrees than Jon.





Last night, I dreamt that The Streets played a show in my house. After the show, Mike Skinner asked me for something to eat. I asked my mother if we had anything for Mike to eat and she told me there was spaghetti in the living room. I walked over to the living room and there were gigantic spaghetti noodles and sauce splattered all over the place. It looked like someone had heated a massive can of Chef Boyardee in a microwave, only the microwave was the living room of my house. I got a pot, picked a clump of gigantic spaghetti off a plastic bin and put it in the pot.

Then I woke up.

Anyone care to analyze that dream?


I was walking down the hallway and encountered an incredibly strong scent of cologne outside my little brother's room.

I asked my brother why the hallway smelled like cologne.

—Oh the book I was reading smelled really bad so I sprayed it with my bottle of Axe.


Last summer, Tim Castle visited my place in Los Angeles, and instead of taking showers, he would spray himself down every morning with a knock-off bottle of Axe.


I awoke early Sunday morning and saw what appeared to be my father standing completely naked in my room.

I didn't have my glasses on, so I wasn't sure I saw what I thought I saw, but I had sudden flashbacks to my childhood.


I'm sorry. Child molestation is no laughing matter.


Again, kidding.


Sophomore year of college, I awoke early one morning and saw what appeared to be my roommate sleeping on his bed with a giant erection protruding from the flyhole of his boxers.

I didn't have my glasses on, so I wasn't sure I saw what I thought I saw.

Sometimes, I'm glad I have poor vision.


Half my buddy list lives or used to live in the Detroit area.

By now, most of them (as well as some non-Michiganders) have messaged me to gloat about the Pistons.Look, you fuckers, I'm not from Los Angeles and I only follow college basketball. The Lakers mean less to me than my sister.

Hey ABC, I'm lovin' all the reaction shots of Karl Malone.


Ding dong!

I opened the front door and saw a teenage boy who looked like Vinnie from Doogie Howser, M.D. standing there holding a stack of books.

He asked if I liked to cook and handed me a cookbook. As I perused it, he told me all about why I should buy the book.

I told him I don't cook and handed the book back to him and he immediately asked if I liked to read and handed me a book about American history and told me all about why I should buy the book.

I told him I don't like historical reading and handed the book back to him and he immediately handed me a book about religion and told me all about why I should buy the book.

This kid had a stack of like 12 books.

I handed the religion book back to him and told him I didn't feel like buying any books today and he immediately pulled out a "little book" (not a zine, not quite a magazine) about Christianity and told me all about why I should buy the little book.

At this point, I gave him $5 to get him off my doorstep. He wanted me to have the little book but I told him to keep it.

I remember the good ol' days when I could just say "my parents aren't here" and make solicitors leave.


Has anyone else noticed the resemblance between Aaron Carter, the lead singer of The Calling and the kid who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films?

The Beastie Boys made special appearances at two radio station festivals in California this past weekend. I saw them on Friday in my hometown. They played a mix of new and old material, including (to my surprise) "The New Style" and "Flute Loop" (more on the festival later).

Rory saw them yesterday in Irvine. They played a similar mix of new and old material, only with "Paul Revere" and "Brass Monkey" instead of "The New Style" and "Flute Loop."

Those bitches cheated me.

I feel like Rory saw Radiohead too and they decided to play "Creep."

The Beastie Boys are set to make two more special radio station festival appearances next weekend, including one in New York. I'm-a be so mad if they pull out "Fight for Your Right" or "Car Thief."


Random notes before I leave for the airport:

—oh man… i know you don't care, but i have to tell someone
—i just caught the legendary pokemon in my game. WOOOO.

I saw an old white homeless man wearing a faded Every Time I Die (hardcore band) hoodie.

I saw a crowd of black people waiting outside the Mann National to see Garfield: The Movie.

The remake of Around the World in 80 Days cost $110 million.

I, Max is the worst name for a television show I've ever heard.

I saw Garden State.

Afterward, there was a Q+A discussion with Zach Braff.

Before asking her question (Does the name of the movie have any symbolic meanings?), this one girl informed everybody that New Jersey is the "garden state" and that's why the movie is called Garden State.

I'm ashamed to attend the same university as her.


Last weekend, in an apparent attempt to draw a crowd response during his match against WWE champion Eddie Guerrero in Munich, John "Bradshaw" Layfield goose-stepped around the ring and raised his arm numerous times in an Adolf Hitler salute. Such actions are illegal in Germany.

Layfield, 36, moonlighted as a financial analyst on CNBC. The network announced Tuesday that he was fired from his job. He was hired last month after serving as a guest analyst for Fox News Channel, which began featuring him regularly last year following the release of his book Have More Money Now. posted an apology regarding the controversial incident and then removed the statement a few hours later. No word on why.

Layfield is a lousy wrestler who spent most of his career on a ring apron while his African American tag team partner got beat up. His trademark move is the "clothesline from hell," which is just a regular clothesline.

He was recently (inexplicably) elevated to a main event position on WWE's Smackdown roster because the show had no viable main event talent after former champion Brock Lesnar abruptly quit in March. Layfield's character was changed from a bar room brawler to a Texas millionaire anti-immigration zealot, with Mexicans usually the target of his prejudice.

Smackdown ratings have stunk ever since Layfield became the top heel, probably because he sucks in the ring and has never connected with fans.

Last month, Layfield posted a column on saying that if you criticize his shitty matches, then you're a fat faggot.

—I am looking forward to Judgment Day at the Staples Center. I believe the pay-per-view will be an excellent show. I look forward to a very exciting match. I have worked my entire career for this match on Sunday. Believe me, I will do whatever I have to do to have a great match. I am in the best wrestling shape I have been in in years. If we got a half an hour, I will be ready. For those of you fat, out-of-shape Internet wannabes who have never done anything more athletic than play checkers, kiss my ass for doubting me, and realize why you hate me. I was the guy in school who made you do my homework and locked you in your locker. JBL will deliver Sunday and you can "report" whatever you want, but you will also realize how little influence you have, except to your little nerd friends. How long has it been since you guys that spend all your time reporting on us have been with a woman other than your mother? After all, when I see you in airports hanging out, you are always with guys. You guys don't have a questionable sexual orientation, do you? Of course, it's 2004, I don't judge.

How uncouth.


Holy shit! I saw a Panera on my way back from Dockweiler Sunday.

Last week at work, my co-worker Greg and I got into a heated argument over which eatery had the best bread. I said Quizno's. Greg, who's from Chicago, said Panera's bread owns all other bread, but the chain only exists in the midwest. I called bullshit on him, complaining that he had to name a place that we both had or have access to. He said that I had my opportunity when I visited Michigan. And so on.

Well well well, Greg.

We shall see just how good your almighty midwestern bread is.


I received an amusing spam-mail from "Nancy Delong":

Subject: Poweeeerful Ereeeections From This Seeeeex Oiiiiil

Hi Haley,
Wannaaaaa feeel like Superman in Beeeed!
Your paaaartner will looooove you for this oone.
Nancy Delong

The best part was the postscript:

Reeeemove Heeeeeree

Ghostface Killah lyrics vs. random spam text
(in case you've been living in a hole)


From the "Vice Guide to Evil" in the Vice Guide to Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll:

—Hellfire Club (old British royalty who would ride around on horses and when they found a homeless person on the side of the road, up to thirty of them would cut holes in the wretched bum's body and then have sex with the wounds)

Why didn't I think of this?


I took a seminar this quarter called The Art of the Interview.

On May 10, our class of 16 interviewed Al Pacino.

Each person asks him two questions and after we go around the circle once, Pacino's attention will be up for grabs.

No one wanted to ask first. I wanted to sit next to Pacino just to say I did, so I said I'd ask first.

Before Pacino arrived, the professor asked me how I planned to begin the interview.

—What brings you out to Los Angeles?
—No! Don't waste time with stupid icebreakers like that. Jump right in. Give me a question you really want answered.
—Um… Why did you agree to appear in Gigli?
—That's good. Start with that one.


Pacino smelled like gingerbread cookies.

He wore a black suit with a black t-shirt and black leather shoes. Chest hair sprouted from underneath the stretched collar of his t-shirt. White specks littered the shoulders of his jacket. A button on the right cuff of his jacket hung loose, while the left cuff had no buttons at all, only a few dangling threads. Orange gunk stained his shoes.

In other words, Pacino looked like a slob. He was also tired. He couldn't keep his eyes open for the first few questions of the interview. Picture a corpse speaking intensely.


—Why did you agree to appear in Gigli?
—I know Marty [the director] and thought I would do a little bit. That's why.


I expected him to say a little more.

—Well… Coppola asked you to play Willard in Apocalypse Now as a favor to him and you declined. Martin Brest asks you to appear in the J. Lo-Ben movie and you agree. Why? Why the J. Lo-Ben movie and not Apocalypse Now?
—They weren't J. Lo-Ben then. They met on the picture.




B-But…but…you said…

This interview was going nowhere slow, so I moved on to my second question.

—The New York Times' A.O. Scott wrote that The Recruit belongs to "a very special genre: the Al Pacino crazy mentor picture," the sort of film in which Pacino is paired with a younger actor "to enact a peculiar generational battle" in which Pacino's character is "gestural and confrontational" and his younger co-star is "cooler, warier." What say you about this assessment of many of your films from the past decade?


—It's a way to make a buck.


I wanted to get something, anything out of him.

—Do you enjoy being paired with younger actors?
—Not particularly. Don't bother me either.


—Um…okay… Thank you.

The girl sitting beside me then asked Pacino about his sense of humor and he spent ten minutes responding.


—What's your political leaning?
—Do you agree with Shakespeare that "all the world's a stage"?
—I have a young daughter. She wants to be an actress. What advice would you give her?
—What does sobriety mean to you?
—Do you think time is linear?
—Can you recommend any restaurants in New York City?

My classmates asked some retarded questions. The same person asked the latter four.


During the open mic round, I asked Pacino why he's never worked with Martin Scorsese.

His response?

—I don't know.


—That's something I don't know, he added.


Determined to make him talk, I secured the last question of the interview and finally scored:

Do you think you deserved the best actor Oscar for Scent of a Woman?
I don't think that particular film deserved an Oscar for anything. I think I got that Oscar pretty much for my body of work. I was nominated eight times, so I think it had to do with the fact that I didn't get it eight times. It's not about deserving. It's about your time and not your time. Every once in a while, a performance stands out so strikingly that even if there wasn't any competition, they would give it an award — Raging Bull, On the Waterfront. Charlize Theron had a performance this year [in Monster] that cut through. Something like that comes along every seven, ten years though. Mostly it's not about deserving.

Don't you think you deserved to win though for Michael Corleone? You lost both times you were nominated for that role, to Joel Grey and Art Carney, no less.
I hate to sound pretentious about it, but it really didn't matter to me, and it doesn't matter to me now.

What was it like to finally win an Oscar?
It was really different for a couple weeks. You become very famous. Everybody knows that you won this thing. It's like winning the…Oscar. I recommend it to everyone. Like Brando said, they should have a category for every single thing we do. The Oscar for Best Doorman. People should have that. We try to have it on birthdays, where we become special and people tell us "We love you, make a speech." I see why. It's like a party for you.


Here are some highlights of the interview:

on being associated with gangsters:
I was once sitting by myself in a disco in Norfork, England. Why I was there, I don't know. I was just sitting there waiting for someone and there was a drunken English guy looking at me and he was looking for a long time and I looked up at him and he just looked at me and said, "Mafia." Well, you know, if it works for you, whatever. I don't care. I just don't care! Certain roles capture the audience's imagination. Those are the roles you get tagged for.

on The Godfather: Part III:
I hated that hair. It was a concept by a director. I resisted it. Diane Keaton, who was my girlfriend at the time, said, "Al, don't do it, don't do it." It was a mistake. It was the antithesis of what that character was and how I saw him and it offset everything. It's funny how that can do it to an actor.

on languages:
It's amazing how difficult it is to act in another language, particularly when you're dubbing. I speak Korean, for instance. I speak Korean very well. I can mimic it really good. But like Russian, I can't, because the tongue is in a certain spot.

on Tony Montana's mouth:
Did you see the way my mouth looked in Scarface? That was a different mouth than I have. That came from constantly exercising that kind of an accent. I didn't need makeup. I had the mouth.

on playing Tony Montana:
I liked the upfrontness about him, the fact that he didn't contemplate too much, the whole idea of being fearless in that character. I admired those traits in a strange way and enjoyed the experience of living through them. A dog once attacked me while I was playing Montana. This attack dog jumped at me and I bounced it in the snout. I couldn't believe I did that. Normally, I would have just ran for the hills, but instead, I did a little pap on the snout.


My co-worker Marsha thinks Pacino looks like a cardboard cutout and I look like someone photoshopped me into the image.