30 March 2009

Floating in the clouds from New York

Hello hello from thousands and thousands of feet in the sky! That's right, I'm actually typing this on my laptop on the plane going back to ol' Hong Kong! Boy it has been a sweet 2 weeks in New York! I fit right in (except my inability to differentiate coins unless I take them out, look at them, and go "oh a dime is 10 cents!" :P)

So here I am, with almost 14 hours still to go before I land back home and I figured after this lovely vacation (with some "work" thrown in for good measure), it's time to get back in the groove and have a head start on stuff. And what better time to begin than now?! :) I was watching some stuff on Studio CX which is Cathay Pacific's in-flight entertainment (which I must say has completely blown me away! I'm used to flights with 1 TV screen everyone shares) but figured I can reward myself later on in the night when everyone's sleeping.

For those of you who's managed to somehow get info. about my time in the big apple, you'll know it's been one crazy but fun time. The key features of my trip are all the food I ate! I got to perform in a few real New York comedy clubs! I shopped a whopping 23kg worth of stuff! I've become a master at using the New York subway and of course, I'm exhausted but well rested mentally. Exhausted because I have not had a day during my trip where I've slept for anything over 7 hours combined with the food I've been eating (ranging from pizza to pancakes, to fried chicken, to cup cakes), I can feel my body crying for proper rest and nutrition like before! But mentally, I'm ready to rock! I can't wait to get back and get into the groove of life in Hong Kong!

You know, the odd thing is that New York is really actually quite similar to Hong Kong. As Jami Gong, the founder of TakeOut Comedy says, it's "New York on steriods", which in many ways I admit is true. The only part HK loses to NY is in the artistic side and their variety in food and shopping. The supermarkets in NY are unforgiving! If you go in without a specific shopping list, you're screwed! I've found myself wandering around, looking at the 3503853052820539 types of cereals they carry, thinking "oh my goodness, I'd never get anything done with all these options!" But at the same time, it also means you have no excuse for limiting yourself. Heck, everywhere you go it has nutrition labels attached to it! Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. all tell you how many gazillion calories they contain. Oddly enough, people are probably immune to those numbers and you still see them munching happily away at 29035503 doughnuts each weighing in at 300+ calories. And speaking of calories, they're serving lunch now, so I'll continue this in a bit :)

Ahh and we're back. Dinner alongside the movie "Body of Lies". Another one of those movies that I just can't seem to follow and probably need to re-watch. Oh well, so we've got around 11 hours to go and it's quite odd, seeing as it's 8am Sunday in Hong Kong but I'm still attached to New York time, making it 8pm on Saturday night. I hope I don't get too much jet-lag. It's funny about flights nowadays, especially long flights like these. You find yourself "hanging out" a lot just because you've sat for too long and really need to walk around to get that blood flowing properly again. Oh and speaking of flowing, I never realized they have power sockets for your laptops on the plane! OMFG do you realize what this means? I can have my laptop on all flight long! Woohoo! I went to use the restroom just now and oddly, on the door there's an ashtray. This is of course after they've repeatedly warned us that this is a non-smoking flight and should you be caught smoking, you will be fined up to HK$50,000! But if you're going to do it, at least don't get the ashes everywhere.

Going back to my story about NY vs HK, one thing I liked the most about NY was the fact that you're on your own. You'll have weirdo's, people screaming and dancing in the middle of the subway, literally full blown bands playing, and you know what? No one's going to stop you. It's not so much people don't care, but it's more like no one seems to frown upon that behavior, it's taken as being normal. If this happened in HK, even though chances are no one will stop you, they will give you the stink eye and dirty looks. That's definitely one thing I like a lot about NY, however, what I don't like are things like sales tax (freaking 8.375%! WTF?!), the price of food (I eat on average at least US$5/meal, which makes it like HK$40! I'm used to HK$25 - 35 tops!). But I suppose I could definitely see myself living in New York, for around a year, just to really dig into the "you're on your own, you make your life" vibe.

Speaking of being on your own, I got to do three 5 minute sets of comedy in New York! Do you know how insane that is?! Not only i that almost unheard of because stage time is so darn rare there, but for me, a dude from Hong Kong, having done comedy for around 15 months, to come over, not have to do any street barking (ie. give out leaflets) or work my way in the club, to get a spot, that's hardcore crazy! But boy what an experience, as I've told lots of people, it's like I moved into the big leagues. The guys in HK are great, but in a comedy show in NY, everyone is top notch and polished and boy you do not want to have an off night, especially not for me. And man I was nervous, it'd been a while since I was this nervous really, especially since it was only 5 minutes. I'm used to 10 - 20 minute sets in Hong Kong but being at a whole new place and an unknown audience sure sets your heart beating fast. I got to perform at the famous Comic Strip, Ha! Comedy club and at 5-points variety show :) I also did a friendly bi-lingual show for Jami Gong and his friends :)

I got to explore all over NYC on foot simply because it's all flat land. I mean I would literally come back home with aching feet and sore legs from hours and hours of walking non-stop (with the occasional food and toilet break). Oh, speaking of toilets, NYC really loses compared to HK with regards to the availability of public toilets. But I somehow managed to find one in times of need, or at least I knew where to find one (eg. I could be found going to the M&M's store in time square many times solely for the use of their nice toilet :P).

So well here comes the end of my vacation and I guess I do understand why people need to just "get away". Had I just "taken 2 weeks off" in Hong Kong, chances are I wouldn't be a mentally rested as I am now, nor would I be so charged up to start everything and get back on track. So I guess this is one of those "small step back to take a big step forward" deals where I kinda lost out 2 weeks of getting stuff done, but hopefully I'll make up for it in the coming time. And if I don't, well at least I'll have fond memories of shivering in the cold of New York and enjoying soul food and just witnessing blue skies over and over again. Oh and getting to enjoy graffiti everywhere. Lots and lots of lovely graffiti. Hey, at least I got to smile for 2 weeks :)

Hong Kong, here I come!

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11 March 2009

New York, New York trailer

It's finally registered in my head, I'm going to New York this Sunday the 15th of March! Oh my goodness! I've never been to the USA let alone New York! There's so much I want to do, so much I need to prepare, so much to get done before leaving it's not funny.

I'm actually fighting time now because I'm try to get everything done before I head off this Sunday and well time's just flying. Heck, I'm late for my Day 10 entry here because I've been pushing so hard trying to crank out all the work one by one.

So have you been to New York before? I've heard mixed stories about it, people saying it's dirty but fun, it's full of life but people are rude, etc. I suppose having lived in Hong Kong all my life and only enjoying USA via TV shows and movies, I'd be more than happy to get there and keep screaming (in my head) "Oh my goodness! I've seen that on TV! I've seen that on TV!" I can't wait to just walk around there on my own for a whole day, visit museums, go to Central Park, eat Pizza, have a hot dog, drink coffee, shop (I'm from HK damnit!), look at all the graffiti, hit the comedy clubs, watch street basketball games, take the subway and just generally soak in New York, New York! As one of my friends said, it's so good they named it twice, New York New York!

Any tips? Any experiences you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you as to where I must or must not go.

Back to life here, it's already Wednesday, and I'm charging through my inbox and all my work pending to be completed and I must say, I'm feeling a bit stressed out because I've started to build a certain level of discipline that is enforcing itself, by itself. It's a good thing, but the problem is that darn thing we call time again. I've got a lot of things to do, and I want to do them, but somehow I don't have enough time to do them all. Darn.

Speaking of time, I've finally reloaded my Phantom of the Opera music into my play list and I'm loving it. It's been quite a while since I last worked while listening to this album. I've gotten a bit tired of Buddha Bar mostly because I hate it when I go to a cafe and they're playing it there, it makes me feel like I'm back at work.

For those of you who've been reading my blog recently, you'll notice I talk a lot about different music for different situations. It really works, my mind has been conditioned with certain songs that it shifts into a different mental zone upon hearing different songs. I suggest you give it a shot on days when you feel like you just can't get yourself to focus or get into the right mind-set. I have yet to find music to get my mind at optimum condition for stand-up comedy, then again, I suppose it's better that I just watch the show and all the comedians before me, that'll get my blood flowing from laughter.

There's a long day ahead of me and a long, fun 2 weeks waiting for me on the other side of the planet, so I shall sign off here and continue after my trip (no idea about Internet status while there) so I hope everyone has a great March ahead of them and we're almost 25% done with 2009! Scary eh? :) Well that should get you motivated to live!

New York, New York! :D

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01 March 2009

Red shoes!

I think I have a shoe fetish. When I saw these shoes yesterday, I literally had the same emotional feeling I had when I saw my lovely, dovey pink shoes.
So I figured to stick with tradition, I'd add these to my blog and share them with everyone :)