john woke up before anyone else to go back to his brooklyn apartment where he needed to pick up a few things before his father arrived from philadelphia with all his furniture. at about 8:30am i got a call from john en route, informing me that he's running late and asking me to let his father into the apartment when he arrived. minutes later, like clockwork, the buzzer rang and it's john's father. dan and i started helping him move the stuff from the station wagon: futon mattress, futon frame, tables, bookshelf, and various other items big and small for the new apartment. it was kind of a tricky move. despite being on the first floor, we had to negotiate through three sets of locking doors everything we came back in (eventually we did wedge them all open). we also had to make sure the car was locked so nothing would get stolen during the move. and to add an extra level of challenge to the occasion, it was cold and raining outside. john arrived as soon as we moved most of the stuff out of the car (perfect timing!). father and son took some time to assemble a few pieces of furniture before we took the now empty station wagon (john driving) to chelsea, where john was scheduled to perform. with an hour to kill, we had breakfast, mister miller treating us all.


with bacons



after a hearty breakfast we walked to the upright citizens brigade theatre, where john would be performing his improv with the other members of his yuck yuck group. while john went to get coffee, deanna (john's betrothed) and her brother jason showed up, with mister miller arriving shortly soon afterwards (he was moving the car). once more, mister miller paid for our tickets ($5/pop). before the performance started i got a call from mandy, touching base to see what we were doing today. mandy, for those of you who don't know, was a former designer at srm before she moved to nyc to go to graduate school. i haven't seen her since the end of august, almost 9 months ago.

three groups of five improv players performed. a suggestion would be taken from somebody in the audience, a few players would give some related monologues, and then the improvisational comedy would begin! john's group was last, they did skits about accordions, aphrodisiac idol, and history teacher. i think of improv as snowflakes, no two are alike, they appear and then disappear, lost forever, only existing in someone's memories. it's a very pure form of comedy, uncut, raw, sometimes you get the bad stuff, sometimes you get the good stuff. what's really amazing is that this is spontaneous comedy, and when someone strikes the right funny bone and you can't stop laughing, it might as well be magic. gut bursting piss in pants laughing kind of voodoo!

afterwards we went to a post party at peter mcmanus cafe. suddenly we were drawn into the irresistable world of funny people! after about an hour, we left. jason had already gone home, deanna went to meet up with friends, and john took dan and i to the metropolitan museum of arts. i called mandy to let her know of our plans and to meet us at the mets. we briefly stopped off at a starbucks so john could indulge in some more coffee, grab a newspaper so we can see when and where star wars 2 was playing, give dan a chance to use the bathroom, and for me to get a warm cup of chai latte. we then took the subway to 86th and lexington, walking a few blocks to the museum.

when we got to the museum, we sat on the steps outside and waited for mandy to show up. john ordered tickets for us to see the 1:30am showing of star wars 2 later that night. it took two more calls to mandy's cellphone before we finally saw her, first as a little dot off in the distance, then slowly getting bigger until we saw the familiar shape of mandy!

the guys and i got free museum admission with our fleet card (mandy got in with student admission, because of her design school credentials). we first wandered into the greco-roman hallway, where we went into a special exhibit of predynastic chinese artifacts. i don't want to brag, but you will probably not find a person who's seen more chinese artifacts than i have. from the art treasures housed in the national palace museum in taiwan, to the forbidden city and lesser ancient chinese architecture in beijing, to the shaanxi history museum (some say to the best museum in all of china) in xian, and all the way to the buddhist caves of dunhuang, i have seen with my very own eyes relics of a glorious ancient china. i'm no expert, but i have a pretty good appreciation for these sort of things. anyway, the exhibit at the mets was something i've never seen before, sanxingdui artifacts, from a civilization in china that existed during the shang dynasty (13th and 12th BC), these people might not even have been asian, judging from the almost mesoamerican style of their artifacts. i'm very tempted to go back to the museum just to see the exhibit again. unfortunately no photography was allowed because it was a special exhibit, so i don't have any photos of these amazing archaelogical finds. it was also in this room that mandy and i discovered that we have the same exact cellphone, nokia 8260 wine red. using people who buy this model get the blue, not a lot of people are brave enough for red!

after sanxingdui we stumbled into modern arts a little bit, then to medieval art, to the suits of armor. the whole time john and i would tag team, taking turns taking to mandy, filling in on the details of our respective lives. it's funny, but a museum is actually kind of a cool place to chat. you walk around and chat, and when you get bored, you can make fun of a painting or admire a statue. our time with mandy would be cut short though, she had to leave for a dinner date with a friend of hers. so we said our good byes, and made tentative plans to maybe get together the next day for possibly dim sum brunch in chinatown. after mandy left, we wandered into the egyptian wing of the museum. i love egyptian art. it's very simple, the figures are posed in a rigid style, yet at the same time it's very sensual, the egyptians really had a way with lines. it's fascinating to see that the egyptian ideal of a perfect body is very similar to today's ideal.

"dude, i am
so stoned!"

we had a little bite to eat at the museum cafeteria (i had a fruit cup and a bottle of seltzer water) before we left and took the subway to national wholesale liquidators, where john wanted to buy some egg crates so dan and i could have something soft to sleep on other than the softness of the hardwood floor.
they didn't carry any, so instead john bought a rug. dan also finally found a place to buy a calling card, a little hole-in-the-wall convenience store that also rented porno tapes in brown paper bags. from there we walked back to john's apartment, taking some time to admire the imported lenin statue on top of a nearby building. back at the apartment, john called deanna and his father, while dan called his girlfriend cymara and his mother. the three of us lounged around on the futon mattress watching television in the dark (that harrison ford movie where he played the president with air force one being taken over by terrorists), resting until we had to leave again to get some quick dinner before heading out to midtown to see star wars 2.

at 10pm we left the apartment to go have dinner at ray's pizza on houston street. while john and dan got pizzas, i had the spaghetti and meatballs. once we finished, we took the subway midtown to time square. everytime i come here, there seems to be even more advertisement than before. if you want to see what drives america, the capitalist mecca of the world, come to time square.

from time square we walked to the zeigfield theatre, where already there was a long time waiting for the 1:30am showing of star wars 2. after picking up our prepurchased tickets, we waited in the cold for almost an hour before they started letting people into the theatre. this was the biggest movie screening room i've ever been in, and with digital projection no less. this was my first time seeing a digital movie and the difference is amazing, like watching regular tv versus hdtv. the prints are so clear and clean, the images almost seem 3D. even the trailers were digital, and we saw a preview for matrix reloaded, that's going to be a huge movie in 2003. i'm kind of embarassed to admit it, but i feel asleep a little bit towards the end of star wars 2. when the movie was over we marched outside, now even colder than before. i shivered all the way to the nearest subway and we took the train back to john's apartment. by then we could already see the sky brightening at the horizon, the start of dawn. at the apartment everyone quickly feel asleep, exhausted from a long day, john and dan shared the futon bed while i slept on the floor in my sleeping bag, half of my body on the new carpet, half of my body on the hardwood floor.