Asia Tour 2007: Part 2 Hong Kong & Macau


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All journeys have a beginning, middle, and end. My Asia tour had an auspicious beginning in Taiwan, but now my tale was to have some difficulty in its middle.

I landed at Hong Kong International Airport safely in mid-morning and after realizing that I didn’t know how to ask, “Where is the restroom” in Cantonese, and getting the correct directions from the airport staff only after squeezing my legs together and making funny noises, I made a quick trip to the ATM before taking the shuttle into town.

Only horror of horrors, my bank account was over drawn! The only money I had in the world was the twenty or so dollars I had in my wallet.

Now here I was, stuck in Hong Kong, only 1 week into my Asia tour with one more month to go, and I basically was out of money.

I got to my hostel and after logging into the hostel’s computers, I discovered that I had failed to finalize the sale of my stock portfolio. All the stock money that was going to fund my vacation had never been deposited into my bank account. What to do now?

Just like the ending of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, my friends came to the rescue. While I waited for them to wire me some spare cash, I spent the days walking around Hong Kong, window shopping and being a bum. I spent a week in one of the most expensive cities in the world living off of energy bars and instant ramen.



 Hong Kong


Anatole all the money is gone from your bank account.

You just got punked!

This was the view of HK from my hostel, btw. 


Video of the view from my hostel.


Daytime and the storm had broken.

Time to head into HK and peruse the offerings of the city. 


The old Ferry Building in HK harbor.


HK Courthouse at night.


Downtown HK at night.

I’m trying to divine how I will get money to survive on for the rest of my journey.


Remember when this was a thing?

This was the first time I saw one of these signs.

This is Causeway Bay, HK. It’s an upscale fashion/shopping district.


Two shop girls take a smoking break in Causeway Bay.


I came upon this Calvin Klein box display causing a bit of commotion, so I went up to examine why everyone was looking inside.




It was a Calvin Klein Obsession commercial come to life!


I spent my birthday exploring Macau.

Here is the burnt out edifice of The Ruins of St. Paul’s.


Selfie in the then newly open Venetian, Macau.


Harlequin inside the Venetian.


Gondola and gondolier in the Venetian.


In Mongok drinking some bitter medicinal tea.

Next time will be the third stage of my journey through Asia: Shanghai.

That is all for now. Be well.


Asia Tour 2007: Part 1 Taiwan


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2007: it was a year of the Housing Bubble collapse, the Virginia Tech shooting, and the Iraq War “Surge” strategy. It was also the year of the first iPhone, the last Harry Potter novel, and the come back single of Britney Spears.

It was also the year of my first ever trip to Asia. With an itinerary of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, and Tokyo, it promised to be an epic trip.

And it was. 10 years ago, before I left on my voyage, I teased publishing the photos from my adventures… and then life got in the way and I never did.

Now is the time for me to finally release those images. Starting now with the first leg of my trip from Sep. – Oct. 2007, this is my 2007 Asia Adventure: pt.1. A week in Taiwan. 



The streets of Taipei at night. My first night ever in Asia.


In Taipei the major signs are in Traditional Chinese and English.


I can’t remember the name of this garden. I think it was a zen garden.


Taipei 101. At the time I visited it was the world’s tallest building. It no longer has that distinction. Those circles at the top of the building’s entrance are meant to represent gold coins.


Some Japanese tourists I met while getting my ticket for the observation deck of Taipei 101. The elevator used to be the fastest in the world, and my ears popped twice while going up to the observation deck.


View of Taipei from the observation deck of Taipei 101.


This is a 5 story tall steel pendulum that hangs from inside the top of Taipei 101. It moves the opposite way against the winds that batter the side of the building, giving extra support to the structure.


Jake, a friend from work, asked me to take photos of graffiti in Asia, so I tried to get snaps from each place I visited on my trip. This one was from Taipei.


The youth oriented open air street shopping area, Xi Men Ding. It was here I met a local, Abby, who would serve as my tour guide/friend for rest of my time in Taipei.

IMG_0056 (2)

Abby and I chilling in an MRT station.


A model old Taipei village jail, with me in handcuffs for being a rowdy lout.


Abby as the head master of an old Taipei school. I think she wore the California t-shirt for me, since I am from Cali.


The main Taipei Railway Station. This view was from the window of my hostel. When I arrived I went from the airport to the railway station, and then walked across the street blindly looking for accommodation. Fortunately the hostel was nearby.


The National Palace Museum. When Chiang Kai Shek fled mainland China, he brought a ton of cultural relics and art pieces with him. They are displayed here.


Entrance to a night market. Inside you could buy snake juice, supposedly it helps with health. Also people would ride their motorcycles through the promenade even though it was illegal, which made for a chaotic environment.


Lungshan (Dragon’s Well) Temple. These dudes were carrying this shrine and motioned me to come over and help them, which is how I got the photo. This was very heavy and they carry them for blocks and blocks. I don’t know how they do it.


My final image from Taipei. I took it at the Taipei Zoo on a beautiful mid morning, my last full day in Taipei.

Next: Asia Tour 2007: pt.2 Hong Kong

That’s all for now.

Be well.

Tokyo Disneyland: 2011 pt.3


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Penthouse photo album: having shown photos of my three days at Tokyo Disneyland in 2011, what could be left? As with anything there is always more to uncover. Disneyland has two faces, one in daytime and one at night. Some locations are very different at night: instead of being seen under the light of the sun, they are revealed in swaths of color — bright splashes of purple, orange, and blue. The contours of trees are draped in tiny lights. Floats come out at night that never see the glare of day.

Also there is the neighboring city of Tokyo: cultural and historical nub of Japan, and the world. Here then are my photos of these other aspects of my 2011 holiday.



TKD 3 Day 12.1

Where’s the Tokyo Skytree #1?

The Skytree has become a new northstar since its construction. It can be spied from many areas in the city.


TKD 3 Day 10

Where’s the Tokyo Skytree #2?


TKD 3 Day 13

Where’s the Tokyo Skytree #3?


TKD 3 Day 14

Taking batting practice in a batting cage in an arcade in Asakusa.


TKD 3 Night 1

Watching the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

They were in playoff contention but lost the game.


TKD 3 Night 2

It was umbrella night and during the 7th inning stretch some kids came out with the cheerleaders and the mascot to do some dancing.

The fans held their umbrellas up during the seventh inning stretch.


TKD 3 Night 3

The Electric Light parade. 


TKD 3 Night 4

You’ve got a friend in Toy Story.


TKD 3 Night 6

Stitch and Pluto in a tiki float. Not sure how these two got together. >_<


TKD 3 Night 5

Procession of electric lights.


TKD 3 Night 9

Nothing like taking a drive on the Autopia at night.


TKD 3 Night 8 The newly opened Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek.

I got a Fast Pass for the attraction because another attraction had mechanical problems. To get the Fast Pass I had to speak, all in Japanese, with a park cast member and negotiate which attraction I could get a pass for. I felt super proud in being able to do it. 


TKD 3 Night 7

Mysterious Island in Tokyo DisneySea. That’s the line for the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction.


TKD 3 Night 10

Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall in Cinderella’s Castle.

I love these dioramas. They are charming to me.


TKD 3 Night 11

View of Fantasyland from the balustrade of Cinderella’s Castle.


TKD 3 Night 12.1

Closing time at the park. Goodbye Disneyland.

That’s all for now.

Be well.

Tokyo Disneyland: 2011 pt.2


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Penthouse photo album: Day 3 of my 2011 visit to Disneyland. Already I had fulfilled life long wishes in my first weekend trip to a Disneyland resort. A ride on the Star Jets. A round at the shooting arcade. 3 days at Disneyland!

What could be left to do? How about photos with many more face and costumed characters?! How about meeting some cute girls who were Disney fans like me?! How about a trip to old school Tom Sawyer’s Island?!

Coming right up!



Day 3: Tokyo Disneyland


Outside the main gate, Pinocchio greets me.



Flashback: I did the same pose at LA Disneyland. Go back to my old post to check it out:



Even the pets aren’t safe at the Haunted Mansion.



Spookyville Halloween Parade, we meet yet again!



I haven’t been on this island since a trip to LA Disneyland when I was 6.



Hi Ho, off to the bathroom I go!

I got lucky during a trip to the bathroom. I stumbled onto the face and costumed characters as they began walking into the park. They are coming from that gate at the back of the photo.



Chim Chim Cheere, it’s me and Mary!



Bibbidi bobbidi boo, Cinderella is with the prince and not you.



An actor’s life for me, low pay and misery!




I finally made it to the bathroom only to find Peter Pan ahead of me in the line. lol



Stitch is uber-popular in Japan.



No trip to Disneyland is complete without Mickey.



Their dance routine is terrible: no BONES about it.

They are skeletons. With lots of bones. See, it’s a pun!



Spookyville Parade yet again. She keeps following me everywhere!



Pluto! Good doggy.



Stage show for children.



Look who made a new friend. 



Hamming it up! Everyone needs to Vogue occasionally.



Where there’s Woody…



… Jessie can’t be far behind.


That is all for now. Be Well.

Tokyo Disneyland: 2011 pt.1


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Penthouse photo album: I was a California child. Birthdays, Grad Night (special night for High School Seniors) and special family outings often meant going to Disneyland. A trip there meant strategically planning when to hit the e-ticket attractions (early in the morning or the last hour of the night) and how to best use the rest of the day to avoid the inevitable crowd in the park. It was a childhood dream to spend a weekend at the park. How great it would be to be able to hit every major e-ticket in the park in a single trip and then spend time doing some of the more unusual attractions there, like the shooting gallery in Frontierland or the arcade in Tommorland.

What could be better than that?

How about 3 days at Tokyo Disneyland instead?

In 2011 for my birthday I took a trip to Tokyo and, for the first time, spent 3 days at Disneyland. Not only did I get to return to Tokyo Disneysea, which I had visited in 2007, I got to go to Tokyo Disneyland for the first time… and during the Halloween season!

Not only is the park well maintained and run, it has a number of attractions that no longer exist back in the states: such as the Star Jets ride. In one trip I got to fulfill 2 wishes – a weekend at Disneyland and a ride on a Star Jets rocket! Pure Bliss!


Here then is my photolog of my first two days at the Tokyo Disneyland Park, October 2011.


Day 1: Tokyo Disneysea


Tokyo Disneysea Maritime Band. It was the park’s 10th Anniversary.



Time for a little drum solo.



Photo spot in Mediterranean Harbor.



Children posing with The Genie in The Arabian Coast.



Max Goof in his South American outfit, and me in my Japanese outfit.



Chip and Dale’s Day of the Dead parade.



Be Magical nighttime show.



Time for dinner: at the Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante.

One of the few vegetarian dinners I’ve found on the menu at the park.


Day 2 Tokyo Disneyland



My new best friend.

Outside the Country Bear Theater in Westernland.



Cinderella’s Castle, World Bazaar.


TKD 10

Busy day, as you can see.

Apparently it was a school holiday, so the park was crammed.


TKD 11

Good old Jungle Cruise.


TKD 12

Swiss Family Robinson Tree.

One of the great things about Tokyo Disneyland is it still has some of the attractions that LA Disneyland no longer has.


TKD 13

My dream is to live in a tree house.


TKD 14

Log riding down Splash Mountain FTW.


TKD 15

Welcome to the Spookyville Halloween parade.


TKD 16

Taking the pole position at Autopia.


TKD 17

End of Day 2: Cinderella’s Castle.


That is all for now. Be Well.

The Magic Journey

From the Living Room:

The Magic Journey

 living-room bw


The Princess Wanders the Castle Halls

A long night together. Their first night. A special night?

In the morning, still in the afterglow of last night’s passion, they made love again. Last night was sloppy. This morning was soft… and a little kinky, too?

Afterwards she went into the kitchenette to make some coffee, leaving him sitting on the living room carpet, looking over the books in her dainty bookcase: some volumes of Beckett, some books by Edith Wharton, and other odds and ends. It was a small selection of books in an even smaller bookcase, but they were all significant to her.

What was he to her?

She had wanted to doom and redeem him in one gesture for months. She had talked about him to all her friends. She had written pages and pages in her journal about him; many sentences and paragraphs ending in rhetorical question marks that had no answer, such as:

Does he notice me?

Why do I feel this way?

or simply, What?!?

It seemed incredible that he was now here, in the living room of her all too cramped apartment.

She composed in her head the final question for her journal: was he for one night, or all the nights.

She couldn’t decide.


The Prince Encounters a Riddle

“Which book is your favorite,” he asked when she came back with two mugs of coffee, one each for them both.

She couldn’t tell if he wanted to know more about her books or about her. She sat on the small sofa and took a book from the tiny bookcase. It was a thin, old paperback. She had owned it since she was a young, awkward teenager.

It was a fantasy novel. It was a book he had never read.

Question: did he want to hear her favorite part?

Answer: he did.

She began to read. The soft morning light coming from the window behind her cast an aura all around her. It was beautiful. It was magic.

He had given up believing in magic, hadn’t he?

So many years of hurt and disappointment and now, here he was, faced with something he had stopped looking for.


The Princess and the Prince Face the Darkness

She had opened the book to nearly the last page. It was the last passage in the last volume in a series of novels about a magic prince in a far away kingdom.

Here at the end of his long journey, the prince stood at the shore of the endless sea. The dragon had been slain. All the lost lands had been discovered. The heart of the princess had been granted to him.

He had only one lesson left to discover. He sat down and stayed there in meditation until the sun fell into the sea and moon flew into the sky. He ruminated on the luminescent moon in the dark sky until his final lesson became clear to him.

Without light there can be no darkness; without darkness there can be no light. Both are equal in all things.

The prince then became a man.

The girl stopped reading and stared into the boys eyes. The boy stared back.

In that moment the magic journey truly began.

Late Night: a Love Affair


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Penthouse TV: San Diego: 1985

Around the turn of the 21st century a friend and I had the grand idea of starting our own public access show.

At that point in history, cable TV was the Iron Throne of power in the digital kingdom. In my local fiefdom, Bay Area CA (representin the 415!), there were such hella outré gems as the Viking Wrestling Bonnaroo, the Lesbian Nerds Fantasy Book Club Pajama Party, and the Pirate Indie Music Cavalcade (the views expressed in this sentence are the sole responsibility of the authors imagination and in no way reflect with any semblance of historical accuracy the real programming on public access of the time in question – but come on man, I swear the pajama party… that was a thing).

So a public access show for two Gen X, schlubawamba slackers with too much free time seemed like a no-brainer, kind of like a flamethrower in a zombie cocktail party. We shot the footage for our pilot episode guerrilla-style: with too much perspiration and not enough preparation. The M.O. for our caper was to marshal the troops (our friends) with 24 hour notice and then go out into San Francisco and just starting shooting: grab some remote stuff from Golden Gate Park and the blocks of the Inner Richmond District, do the desk stuff after hours from our job (the views expressed in this sentence are the sole responsibility of the authors imagination and in no way reflect with any misdemeanor activities involving shoe races in high heels between myself and my friend at our work place after midnight – but come on man, I could totally kill it in a nice set of pumps).

In a frantic whirlwind of activity we willy vanilli got anything and everything that crossed our mind onto video. Later we would try to Cuisinart it together in the editing.

The desk stuff was the easiest and the best: I’d spent most of my college years staying up until the early morning hours watching the late night talk shows. The one that was my jam was, of course, Late Night with David Letterman.

My infatuation with Late Night (later it became The Late Show) began in high school. The show aired at 12:30 A.M. and for a teenager like me who had to be up at 6:30 A.M., it was much too late for me to watch. However, I was able to catch it on Fridays when I would go spend the weekend with my dad and my grandparents. Part of the routine of hanging out with my dad was tuning into Late Night together on Fridays: the NBC years were scrappy and ironic — it was the kind of program your parents weren’t supposed to get. The show didn’t feature glamorous A-list celebrities; it had Andy Kauffman or Harvey Pekar. It didn’t have remote spots from far flung locales; it had watermelons being tossed from rooftops.

The part of the show that I had the most interest in was the interviews at the desk. I was an introverted, socially awkward, radioactive teenage nerd. I was one super power short of being an X-Man and that super power was social skills. I tried to find my solution in comedy.

The old saw among comedians is they became funny to avoid getting beaten up. I am living proof that this is a goddamn lie. I tried to be funny and all it got me were two black eyes instead of one. To my surprise and astonishment my humor seemed to make the beatings worse instead of better.

“You take back what you said about my mother.”

You take back what you said about my mother.”

“Stop repeating what I say.”

Stop repeating what I say.”


I studied how Letterman interacted with his guests. When he was gracious with his guests, and when he teased them. When I got into college and could burn the midnight oil, I watched Letterman every night. I eventually learned about his antecedents: Jack Parr, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett – the one I always like the most was David.

My friend (Brian Gathy) and I never got our public access show off the ground. We were unable to navigate our way out of development hell. In the end it was probably for the best – it left me with more time to work on my writing. However, I did eventually manage to develop some social skills and for that, in part, I have Dave to thank.

So now he is passing into the not so gentle night. No more top 10. No more stupid pet tricks. No more Paul. No more cue cards tossed into the back drop.

For the good you’ve done for me Dave: in being part of my bonding with my father, for helping me develop social skills, for just making me laugh when I needed to laugh… thank you.

مكالمة هاتفية

مكالمة هاتفية

عملت يديه أرقام الهاتف. الأصدقاء وأفراد الأسرة الكثير، كل ذلك بعيدا. لذلك العديد من أرقام الهواتف للاتصال. الكثير من الشكر يوس ل… أصابعه ضغطت على أزرار أضاءت. إشارة مشغول. لا أحد المنزل. لا أحد التقاط. لا شخص واحد للوصول على البارد جدا ومظلمة يوم عيد الشكر.

انه تعديلا في مطبخه وأخذ غلاية الشاي صفير قبالة موقد ساخن. الماء المغلي على البخار في حين يجري سكب في القدح ثم … KACHOO، وقال انه عطست. أولا كان الشهيق في المطبخ، ثم مع أنف تهب في الحمام، وانتهت مع وضع في غرفة المعيشة. لعبت التلفزيون تيار لانهائي من مباريات كرة القدم، ويظهر الكلب، والمسيرات التي لا تنتهي – لكنه رأى أي من ذلك.

وكان الكثير من المرضى للغاية، والكثير وحدها أيضا.

عملت يديه الهاتف. الأصدقاء وأفراد الأسرة الكثير، كل ذلك بعيدا. الهاتف التي تم الاتصال بها والتي تم الاتصال بها دون أي تأجيل، لا أحد لإنهاء له محاولة غير مجدية لنتحدث، له محاولة غير مجدية لتخبر أحدا أن الأمور كانت مختلفة الآن، وأنه كان مختلفا الآن.

وأعرب عن أمله أن تخبر أحدا، أي شخص، إنه سعيد لوجودي هنا، وانه كان من الشاكرين … شاكرين للتنفس آخر، على فرصة أخرى للحصول على الأمور في نصابها الصحيح، لابتسامة أخرى، تنفس الصعداء آخر، يوم مشمس آخر، أثار الفودكا آخر عيد الغطاس الحلو ، والنشوة آخر، لحظة أخرى حيث الكون يقول بصمت نعم، لحظة أخرى من الحب، فرصة أخرى لأكون معكم.

الكثير من الشكر أبدا قال من قبل، والتي تحتاج الآن إلى أن التعبير عنها.

ومع ذلك، فإن الإشارات المزدحمة تضاعفت، كثفت الاتصالات غاب، ويشهق تضخيم.

وهناك عدد قليل رشفات من الشاي القدح، التحديق فارغة في جميع أنحاء الشقة فارغة، ثم ألقي القبض عليه عينه من النافذة فوق التلفزيون. ذلك التغاضي عن الشارع، وعلى الجانب الآخر كان منزل جاره. في الداخل، جلست سيدة تبلغ من العمر وحيدا في غرفة المعيشة لها،
يحدق في التلفزيون. جلس هاتفها مكان ما إلى جانبها، قتلى ودون مساس.

كان يشاهد لها للحظة واحدة، ومن ثم إيقاف التلفزيون له، أدلى
له مكالمة هاتفية النهائية. النجاح: جوابا، محادثة، ثم وضعت الهاتف بعيدا. والترتيب والتنظيم قليلا حتى، يضع قليلا من هذا وذاك وجبة خفيفة لمونش على، ثم وضع على الأريكة لممرضة أن البرد مستعصية على الحل.

وجاءت سيدة تبلغ من العمر وحيدا للخروج من منزلها، الخروج من الباب الأمامي تحمل
شيء كبير في يديها. وقالت انها قدمت رحلتها مع التقدم بطيء وثابت: أولا القادمة عبر الشارع، ثم يصل له ممر طويل، وأخيرا تصل إلى باب منزله … يطرق بهدوء قبل ان يأتي في الداخل. وكانت تمسك وعاء من حساء الدجاج، ورائحة غزت عجبا له الجيوب الأنفية مسدودة.

ذلك أشياء كثيرة ليقول، لذلك كثير من الأفعال للتكفير عن وانه يريد بطريقة أو بأخرى
بدء، لجعل بطريقة ما هذا الزمان والمكان حيث بدأ كل شيء. وقعت له أن اليوم، عيد الشكر، وكان أكثر من يوم واحد فقط على التقويم، أكثر من مجرد عطلة لتناول كميات كبيرة من الطعام ومن ثم تغفو … كان من السهل جدا أن تنفق كل حياتك تفعل ذلك.

وأصبح من الواضح تماما ما كان ينبغي القيام به.

وقال “شكرا لك”، وقال لها.

كان كما لو انه لم قلت ذلك من قبل في حياته.

“لا”، أجابت بصوت مرتعش. “شكرا.”

– ترجمة من جوجل ترجمة في محاولة لنشر الوعي والتفاهم عبر الثقافات من خلال التعاطف الفن. هي محل تقدير كبير أي اقتراحات لتحسين الترجمة.

– Translated from Google translate in an effort to spread awareness and understanding across cultures through the empathy of art. Any suggestions to improve the translation are much appreciated.

The Shortest Way to be Happy

Dear Madam (or Sir) —

The shortest way to be happy
is to build some long-awaited pseudo physician
his sea lovage a sleeping carriage of world weariness,
his three and a quarter inch Ta Ching four way bending cockatrice
a loose cannon whose curls go off and become new window decorations
whose power is strong enough to cause a gulleting, deck piercing fire
the frost colored smoke a sun-bright modern looking
vaguely menacing fipple flute food package of enormous proportions.

Dear Madam (or Sir)

it is our humble pleasure to offer this happiness
in white, aurora, or tubercular yellow.

Dear Madam (or Sir)

We also sell Cialis… cheap!