Sunday, October 29, 2006

Every Day I Write the Book

A recent reader of ze blog said that I had good taste in books, which made me wonder when I last mentioned a book on the blog. And, it reminded me that I've been meaning to respond to Two Timing the Cosmos's tag, so here goes my version of the book meme:

1) One book that changed your life?

Wow. I'm drawing a blank. I'll go with Law School Confidential - I read it when I was in the process of deciding/committing to going to law school. It's not that it changed my life; more like I was in the process of changing it myself.

2) One book you have read more than once?

All of the books that made it through the Great Purge of '05 (i.e. the move from DC to SF) are books that I have read multiple times. It's more than that: I read every book on my bookshelf multiple times during law school. I'm a voracious reader and have difficulty reading a chapter or two and putting a book down. I knew that I couldn't afford the time (or, really, the $$) to read new books in law school, so when I needed a break from caselaw, I would read a few pages from an old favorite.

3) One book you would want on a desert island?

How to Survive Anything, Anywhere. ;)

4) One book that made you cry?

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver. This could also easily fit the book I have read more than once, and book I would want on a desert island categories. I've read it repeatedly, and I've cried every time. This is saying something as I am not a big cryer. Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors - if I could write like someone, I'd choose her. This novel is a little hard to get into as there are multiple narrators, etc. but it is so worth it. The story is of a Baptist missionary family stationed in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s, but really it is an allegory about American foreign policy.

Man, I may have to re-read it again soon.

5) One book that made you laugh?

A Moveable Feast. I feel pretentious having "a Hemingway" on this list, but I have a very particular memory of reading this book on the metro going home from a party and (literally) laughing out loud at Hemingway's memories of living in Paris as a young man.

6) One book you wish had been written?

The book my best friend is always hassling me to write.

7) One book you wish had never been written?

The Celestine Prophecy - highly, highly overrated. So they are making it into a movie.

Oh, oh - even better! Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus!! One of my best friends mind-tricked me into reading it. I yelled "oh fuck off" twice on the first page, and I threw it across the room by page 5. At that point, I had some kind of vendetta against the book and was hell-bent on finishing it. Don't make the same mistake.

8) One book you are reading currently?

Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris. I've been meaning to get to the collected oeuvres of Mr. Sedaris and checked out a few of them during my last visit to my public library. I am loving this collection of autobiographical short stories. Sedaris' tales of learning French are fantastiques!

9) One book you have been meaning to read?

Footprint: South India. I finally ordered a guidebook to South India because I need to get serious re: planning. Things have been so crazybusy. 7 weeks to go? Whoah.

This is the part where I'm supposed to tag peoples. Let's go with the A's: archana, ads, ashvin, and a n n a.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Manifest Destiny*

My Halloween costume of choice wouldn't have taken much effort: I wanted to have a basket of things (candy, maybe?) that I would pass out, wait a few minutes and then gather back up.

Yup, I wanted to go as an Indian giver.

Two co-workers gently tried to tell me that I'm "um, ... not ... that ... kind... of..." Like I don't know!!

Jay-Z was horrified and told me that if I followed through, she would dissociate herself from me. She went so far as to say that she would claim that she "didn't know that cracker." I tried to insist on at least being called a whole-wheat cracker. Her response was, "Oh you've never been called 'cracker' by a white girl?? Yeah, that's what just happened!"

So, my "costume" was offensive, but her response is copacetic?

I think you can guess what I'll be wearing next Halloween.

* Mikie came into my office saying "What is it? Not Roosevelt corollary. Not Monroe Doctrine....." I immediately knew what he was talking about. When I said, "Uh, manifest destiny?", he looked immensely relieved. Working amongst geeks (techie, wordsmith, and more) is the best.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

All aboard!

Weekend update being posted late, late Thursday - wow, if it was much later it would actually meld into the weekend.

Thursday That's right - the weekend starts on Thursday if I say it does! And any time the fabulous Chai comes for a visit, it is a special occasion! Chai expressed some trepidation about driving to my place, so she took CalTrain! How fun is that? I live two blocks from the train station and don't take it often enough. I listened for the whistle and walked up to meet her. As you know, I eat strictly from the Trader Joe's food group, so we headed there and picked up some goodies: olives stuffed with jalapenos, baguette, chevre. Dinner was just what I wanted - gabbing over a cluster of small bowls of antipasti, while Gia scoped out her Auntie Chai. I'm so thrilled to have her local for a little while!

Friday We celebrate the birfday of one of my favoritest people. (In fact, my two closest friends have the same bday - how conVEEENient!) The crew gathered at Double Dutch for some beverages and for some shakeage of the boot-ay on the dance floor. Some friends may have had more on the beverages side, some make have done more of the shakeage, and some friends may have been overtimin' it on both. We'll say no more, as it has been adequately discussed in other places.

I went to bed every single night my parents were here, and I thought I'd be compensating with some very late nights after they left. Not so much. Driving to the city, as much as I want to hang with la brim , what I really wanted was to curl up in my own bed and read a book. Maybe light a candle. I headed home early and did just that.

Saturday Bridge School Benefit! I met up with coworkers to see this superfantastic concert for a good cause. Stream-of-consciousness: Death Cab for Cutie - all indie and "Soul Meets Body", Trent Reznor - hawt and working outside his comfort zone because of the acoustic nature of the concert, Brian Wilson - surprisingly, the Beach Boy had the crowd up on its feet and dancing, Pearl Jam - R kept yelling for "Buttermint!!" and Eddie obliged, I relived every dorm party of my first year of university in 3 minutes, Dave Matthews Band - has never really done very much for me (sorry, roonie!) Neil Young kept it "Rockin' in the Free World." The concert truly was a great experience and I may blog about it later (ha!)

I spent 8 hours at Shoreline Amphitheater. It was probably 7 before I found out that the lawn is non-smoking! This is after sneezing every 5 minutes and rubbing my eyes red. Aargh. Even with that (and ensuing phone sex voice the next day), I am planning to organize a gathering for this concert next year.

Sunday The day o' celebratin' the Best Friend's bday. First, we went to Target. I know, right?? Why is she enabling my addicition? Then we went for dim sum. Then we hung out at her house and talked about nearly-impending baby. I pretended not to be hurt that she and her husband decided not to go with [maisnon] as the baby's name.

Then, up to the city to take brimful out for HER birthday. (Lots of eating in the name of births!) First, we walked around and enjoyed the Indian (feathers, not dot) summer in the city. I had been lamenting the fact that I have a gigantic head and can't wear hats. I try to say it is the hair, but really it may just be that I have a freakishly large noggin. I even yelled "HEEEED! PANTS!" in my best Scottish Brogue. I found a hat that fit me! (Shut UP about it being an extra-large!)

B and I then hit the so-called "crack shack" to watch episodes of Lost. She hated on Jack while I tried to defend him. (His self-righteousness is insufferable; I'm hoping he is a more balanced character this season.) My love for the show is waning. As I put it to a friend recently: 1st season - amazing ++, 2nd season - less good, 3rd season - thus far, more worser.

Yeah. So a lot happened over the weekend. Every day had a touch of sweetness - a moment of connection and warmth. Friday's was seeing my homeboy at "my" parking garage, Saturday's was bonding over my choice of water with the chiquita searching my bag at the concert, Sunday's was reading sidewalk graffiti with b. ("Mr. Seahorse knows that men can have babies." Indeed.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How Soon is Now?

There is an exhibit at SFMOMA that has had me thinking for days. British artist Phil Collins (um, not that Phil Collins) went to Istanbul and videotaped people karaoking to the songs of The Smiths. The exhibit is called dünya dinlemiyor, Turkish for “the world will not listen.”

As you’d expect some of the performances are just hilarious – combining drunken enthusiasm, non-native English, and less than pitch-perfection. But even the most drunken has a sweetness about it. He finishes his act and grins boyishly - brown curls flopping into his eyes - at someone off camera, stage left. Another performance to Oscillate Wildly is an interpretive dance of awkwardly flailed elbows and lankiness. Who looks utterly serious when doing “karaoke” to a song with no words? (So serious, in fact, that at times he bites his lips in concentration.) When he is done, he stares directly into the camera, defiant and proud, a striking counterpoint to his dancing. Two drunken (?) girls more interested in their dancing than the lyrics. A slightly sweaty guy shot in an extremely unflattering super-closeup. The guy who muddled his way through Bigmouth by yelling the chorus, and mumbling the rest. The would-be David Bowie, shirt unbuttoned, flowers sticking out of his backpocket (??) who pranced around with one hand high in the air.

I think I’m moved by how unguarded and genuine they are. Two girls, school friends I presume, sing There is a Light That Never Goes Out. During the chorus, their eyes close as they blissfully sing “to die by your side/ is such a heavenly way to die/if a ten-tonne truck kills the both of us/ to die by your side/well, the pleasure and the privilege is mine.” It reminds me of sleepovers, and listening to the radio to sing into the ends of hairbrushes.

Later on, I think about how or why the works of the Smiths are known in Turkey. It makes me feel like the experience in the U.S. is so proscribed: I can’t imagine us ever really getting into non-English music. I can think of a few, limited examples - such as the odd Tunak Tunak virus, and maybe some Spanish cross-over type stuff. And how sad that is – in many ways, most Americans do not feel their place in the world (or, at least, how small it is.)

I drove home singing along with The Queen is Dead, delighted and charmed – one small star in a vast universe.

Friday, October 20, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Writers' Block edition

Friday just beats the clock.

Sometimes the words don’t come – dammed up like a …. damm. Everything sounds so trite, formulaic and over-wrought. The very process of trying to achieve “flow” seems to result in cognitive constipation. The mind seems to go blank – an utterly windless day while you sit in a sailboat. No secrets to whisper to the page.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A highway with no one on it

Telling some story of my recent parental visit, I was stopped in my tracks when my newish friend said "I haven't met them, but I get the impression that you have your father's personality." In many, many respects, newish friend is right on the money - that's not what took me aback. It was the very fact of his rightness - to have someone figure even a small detail out was disconcerting.

It's not the first time I've noticed that reaction. It's not that my friend is of the newish variety - I am disturbed by insights into my personality, etc. provided by strangers and by close friends.

It's the most human impulse in the world: the yearning to be known and understood, to be appreciated for who you are. And yet, allowing that kind of contact and knowledge leaves you vulnerable. And that's how I feel at those moments: like I am exposing my soft underbelly.

I don't think it is that I don't want to be understood - in fact, I know that isn't true. If I could have things perfectly my way (ha!), friends (and only friends) would slide their observations in obliquely - a thin layer of butter in the croissant dough that allows it to rise and crisp.

To quote the indomitable G.I. Joe, "knowing is half the battle." Now that I see it and have named it (and blogged it), maybe I can move away from experiencing it quite so viscerally. I would hope that in the future, I'll be able to acknowledge what I'm feeling right away and remember that it's okay to be known, that - inevitably - it's a two-way street.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

[Delayed Blogging] The Parental Visit - Sunday

Sunday, I took my parents to the big bad city for dim sum! Mikey, oodie extraordinaire, recommended Lucky Fortune, and he's never steered me wrong yet. (And the name just reeks authenticity, doesn't it?) Members of the crew joined us - I shouldn't be the only one entertained by my parents hijinks.

Examples: My dad kicked me out of my chosen seat next to Sobriquette so that he could talk to my friends because he "can talk to [me] anytime." Nice. I had some kind of an elbow war with my mother - to the amusement of SJM and oodles. But, seriously, she was going to totally take me out! Seven of us stuffed to the gills, $40 tab. Honestly. Why haven't the browns latched on to dim sum yet? (We even had food to take home!)

I took my parents on a meandering tour of SF, culminating in my intended neighborhood - Bernal Heights. (I'm also flirting with Mission Dolores, but what happens on movoto stays on movoto.) So yeah - what I now know about my mother: she *hates* driving on hills. We were driving down a babyish hill and she freaked out. (Kind of made me glad I didn't take her to some of the more "breath-taking" hills in SF!) We walked around and took in the annual Fiesta on the Hill. We went to two open houses - one was so awful that my father, after careful consideration, decided that if the house was given to him gratis, he would accept it.

We drove back to the Peninsula and I became more and more snappish. I am not secretive re: needing alone time. This visit, thus far, not a lot of alone time. I ended up taking a "nap" - i.e. a way to sleep in my own bed (as opposed to my" hugely comfortable, but still not my bed" couch) and to get some alone time. We went to a family friend's house for dinner. These people, and some of the guests, have known my parents since their Stanford days. Because I didn't grow up with family nearby, it's always a trip to see these people who look and act so different from my family, but still have stories of me as a baby (and, as I realise now, tales of my parents at my age - OR YOUNGER! My mother was 26 when she had me.)

I've hit the [couch] every night before 10 pm, but I'm exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to be "on" all the time - and that's what I feel I have to do. Maybe just because this is the first visit? One more day, and a pre-dawn trip to OAK and my parents winged their way back to DC.

[Delayed blogging] The Parental Visit - Saturday

Maybe spending many hours in the car with your parents isn't such a brilliant idea. Translation: hindsight is 20/20.

I took my parents to Monterey to visit the world famous aquarium. I was determined to drive at least part of the way on Rt. 1 (aka the PCH.) Saturday was the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin festival, aka clusterscrew traffic-wise - so we headed down Woodside/84. I last drove that road as a summer associate, i.e. over 2 years ago. Weird.

Lunch was hilarious. We had Chinese (my mom's favorite.) I ordered a tofu dish and the waitress explained that Chinese tofu is different from Indian tofu - jigga wha? She meant paneer. Oddly, she kept explaining things to me about Chinese food for the rest of the meal. I turned to my mother and said "Of the three of us, I look like I'm fresh off the boat??" As she cleared the table, my dad said a few sentences in Cantonese (one of the benefits of being Malaysian, I guess.) I managed to say "thank you" in Mandarin and she fawned all over me "Oh! You know CHINESE! That's so good!!" My dad, of course, wondering if he was chopped liver, asked if she knew Cantonese. Apparently, she does - she just straight dissed him.

The aquarium was superfantastic. Watching the sea creatures - fish, anemones, jellyfish - was utterly relaxing. The jellyfish, lit from underneath in fantastical colors, were a modern art exhibit. What was *not* relaxing was the crowd. I'd like to take a mental health day during the week and check it out. (My mom commented on how many Indian people there were - totally true. A lot of them were South Indian. And assumed that no one else could understand them.)

A long day, but worth it. I can still see the school of silverygold anchovies swimming in synch, the kelp moving slowly like underwater tai-chi.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

[Slightly-delayed] Blogging the Parental Visit - Friday

I had threatened my parents with being marched through my entire office - and I followed through! They met most of the people I work with, saw the cafe, kitchens, etc. etc. They like to ask me about the minutiae of my life (like where I shop for groceries) so I thought they'd enjoy it.

Along the tour, we ran into a trial team that was celebrating having just submitted a motion by popping open a bottle of wine. One of the associates seemed really embarassed that my parents had caught them at it - which is funny since she is a mother herself. I wonder if other people's parents are always seen as "the cops." My dad had a nice chat with the partner about anti-trust and economics - all while the partner sipped wine out of a paper cup.

There were a few more hi-jinks, including my mom and I have a giggling fit while my dad sort of argued with a coworker as to where in Kerala my poor colleague had vacationed. As soon as my parents left, people started swinging by to tell me how little my mom is - yup, I've noticed. She can stand under my chin.

I took them to Shiva's in Mountain View for dinner, and we were all safely tucked in by 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

[Slightly-delayed] Blogging the Parental Visit - Thursday

My mom leaves me a message that she has, in contrast to my suggestion, not packed tennis shoes. "Between my tapered jeans and the big white shoes, I look like a smurf."

Two items:

(1) TAPERED JEANS?!?!?! Dear God, this is what happens when I'm not there to take my mother shopping, or at least veto her purchases. Will have to work on this.

(2) I think the market on ginormous, white shoes is pretty much cornered by Indian emigres.

My little brother (LB1) calls me to say that he is trying to get in touch with our parents and that he has left a message on their cellphone. I remind him that there is no way in hell that they know how to check voicemail. (This is underlined by the fact that their message is "You have reached the Sprint voicemail box for [static]", i.e. someone tried to change the option and just didn't record anything.) LB1 agrees with me. When my parents arrive, I tell them that LB1 left them a voicemail and my dad says, "You know, I don't know how to check the voicemail." Mmmmyeah.

On the ride back from the San Jose airport, I am given a running commentary on how the area has changed in the last 30 years.

Friday, October 13, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Sour Patch Kids Edition

Friday tries to fit a theme.

Opposites attract and all, but Friday nights were still a negotiation – he, ardent lover of romantic comedies, she, proponent of action and comic book/superhero flicks. Often, both were disappointed. No amount of popcorn or Junior Mints could salve his desire for a witticism, or her penchant for special effects when what they had was “Jackass.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sleep to Dream

Wednesday is as good a time as any for the weekend update.

Friday. I like to spend Fridays in. It's usually a time for Target, Netflix and my couch. (Mmm, three of my favorite things.) This Friday, I felt .... not so well. And this would be a running theme throughout the weekend. For reasons unknown, I spent most of the weekend feeling like I couldn't keep my eyes open and perpetually forgetting to eat (like ... 2 meals a day. Leading to ravenous hunger somewhere down the line. Awesome.)

Saturday. Had to get serious on the cleaning up for the parentals front. Alternated between cleaning and full-on crashing. I don't much care for naps because I wake up paranoid. It takes me forever to hatch after taking a nap - it's just not worth it. I did manage to get it together and head to SJM's for a little soiree. The idea was that we would go out to dinner, but with 10 people (aka the ones who were approaching being on time), we knew that wasn't going to happen. It ended up being take-out from Chutney - a hugely good thing, as more and more people filtered in.

Sunday. I need to take a break from house-hunting - that much is clear. I procrastinated and procrastinated about getting in the car and driving up to the city. Procrastination is a sign that you are trying to make yourself do something that you do not want to do. I'm burned out on driving from house-to-house and the gladhanding of realtors and the odd, awkward conversations with other would-be homebuyers. This Sunday, I will be skipping the open houses as my parents will be in town. (Next week's weekend update should be .... interesting.)

How are we doing T-minus 1 day until parents? A lot still needs to be done - last night was the laundry extravaganza. Tonight is, well, everything-else-that-needs-to-get-done-anza.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Stephen Colbert? En train de parler français? Mon dieu - quel squee!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Skeet surfin'

On a recent Sunday, I went shooting (shootin' ?) Quick background: I, along with a group of coworkers, won a morning of shooting at our annual charity auction. I had a great time, and would recommend it (and might go again.) The partner singled me out as the person most likely to end up buying a shotgun, but I doubt that very, very seriously.

Here's where it gets interesting: telling my mother. I don't know why I told her - I was afraid that she would freak out about it. (This is the woman who didn't want me donating blood after 9-11 because it involved needles. And therefore, somehow, was dangerous.)

maisnon: So, um, I went shooting on Sunday
maman: REALLY? Were you good????
maisnon: Uh, NO?
maman: Oh, I'm surprised. You didn't hit anything?
maisnon: Well, I hit some....
maman: You know, you have to keep OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON shooting.
maisnon: It's a shotgun - there are only two bullets!
maman: When you aim you need to be a little bit ahead of the target.
maisnon (inner): WTF is up with all of this shooting advice from a woman who has never held a gun???
maisnon: Okay, um, thanks. Wait - why did you think I'd be good at shooting?
maman: Well, you used to play that game on the computer....
maisnon (inner): what the hell is she talking about? Go go Gadget filial ESP.
maisnon: DUCK HUNT. I used to play Duck Hunt on Nintendo and you thought that would somehow translate into some kind of skill?

My mother remains the most hilarious person in my life.

Friday, October 06, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Duality edition


Sometimes I think you don’t understand me at all. And then, you smile at me from across the room at a house party, riffing off something only we would find funny. The left corner of your mouth curved, the barest hint of teeth – it is such a small thing, but it holds me to you.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Future Edens

The feeling I've been having, gnawing at the edges of everything, is that I need to have some kind of master planning session with myself. Some kind of forum, or conference where I drink copious amounts of hot tea and sketch out plans, ideas, targets and goals on lined paper, maybe do some pacing around with shirt sleeves rolled up, and, perhaps, make some Powerpoint slides. I think that being organized and structured about it all would make me feel virtuous - but I don't want to feel virtuous, I want to be productive and actually move towards what I want. Maybe that is what I'm learning right now - how to keep moving in the right direction; to not wait to have the whole course plotted out.

It's the perfectionist's plight: if you never really tried, you never really failed. I feel like I spent the first half of my twenties being a focused, logical, goal-oriented type; and the second half learning to temper that with the benefits of intuition, and a more ... visceral way of dealing with things. Sometimes when pushing won't get it done, letting go and floating will. And sometimes when it makes the absolute least "sense", you have to jump.

Putting these things together, I am going to stop cheating myself. I know what I want and I can progress towards it in baby steps, holding up a finger to test the wind periodically. And, I see it now - that, just as the opposite of love is not hate but apathy, that not trying is the worst kind of failure of all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You're on Notice!

You can make your own here. (h/t to the Happy Feminist.)

Things that nearly made the list:

- the Black-Eyed Peas (shout out to brimful and bollyhoo!)
- FOX "news"
- anyone who says 'I went to high school with an Indian guy!'
- um, SDS (oodles!)
- Napoleon-types (and I'm not talkin' Dynamite)
- and, of course, Deepak Chopra

I'll append to this list as I think of more people/places/things/concepts that need to be put on notice

Pride & Prejudice

Ah, the weekend update.

Friday, I decided I needed to get serious about the impending parental visit. So, I spent the evening at Target (naturally), and then alternating between frantically cleaning and watching episodes of "Pride and Prejudice" (the BBC series) to stave off a major freakout. I've ignored the apartment/life overhaul that needs to happen to sanitize it for parental consumption, and now it will be a full-court press to get it all done. It's the best way, really. (Or at least that's what I tell myself.)

Saturday, I did more "envisioning" of cleaning until it was time to head into the city for BOLLYWOOD NIGHT! That's right, kids! Oodles was our effervescent hostess as she plied us with the food she "slaved over all day" (and it ended on a sweet note - mmmm, Bombay Ice Creamery!) This time the crowd took in a movie with SRK and Madhuri Dixit. But wait - there's more! Salman Khan! Yes, we watched Hum Tumkare Hain Sanam. Yeah, as usual, I have no idea what it means. Although it might mean "SRK as a jealous, bitter newlywed who can't get any is actually funny."

There was one stellar, stellar theater of the absurd-type scene where drunken/crazy SRK is throwing some game and/or consulting a statue of a horse. Correction, statue of a horse's head. "You have such long ears (stroke stroke) You're such a good listener. But you have no legs." Jigga-wha?!?!?! At one point, the scene cut away to a reaction shot from the horse head statue. It just doesn't get better than that.

I headed home and watched the end of the "Pride & Prejudice" miniseries. (Mr. Darcy = the yum.) I realize that 75% of the Bollywood movies I've ever seen follow the same formula: guy and girl would be great together, one or both don't realize it, comitragic series of events, misunderstandings, etc. Both now have "feelings" for each other. All's well that ends well...... aaaaaaaaaand, scene!

Sunday, involved more open houses, this time concentrating on the Bernal Heights neighborhood. The funny thing is Bernal was the first place I ever stayed in the city and I loved it. When I knew I was moving here, I wanted to live there, BUT I thought I should keep my options open and check out other parts of the city. And, now, I'm back to the idea of wanting to live there. I did the same thing with law school - I really only wanted to go to the law school I attended, but decided that if I was serious, I should apply to more schools. Yeah. I could have saved myself about $700.

Bernal Heights is called that because, not surprisingly, it's on a big-ass hill. I skipped cardio Sunday morning knowing that I would be clambering around that hill. Earlier in the week, I met SJM at Little Nepal for dinner (so that I could check out the neighborhood on a weeknight.) We drove around, stalking houses from the outside. At one point, we saw a sign that said "HILL" and I laughed ... moments later we were both kind of screaming as the car slid down a rollercoaster-sized hill. I got my workout in - some of the streets were so steep that I stopped every 3 houses, pretending to admire the view to catch my breath. Some streets were linked by pedestrian stairs (i.e. climb a flight of stairs to reach the next street.) I had a great time, but I haven't found "it" yet. The evening concluded with Vietnamese food and "The Godfather" - a rockstar combination.