32 to 33

November 21, 2018, 11:17pm

2018 is drawing to a close and I just turned 33 (over a month ago). I'm back in SoCal for the week and in a reflective mood. 32 was a challenging year but also very rewarding. Here's a summary:

Oct 17, 2017

My 32nd birthday.

32 was significant for many reasons. It's 100000 in binary, which meant I could no longer count to my age on one hand. It's also the start of the second year in the prime range of 31-37.


On this day, I also published my first mobile app: an iOS/Android puzzle game called Godai. Godai evolved from a weekly game experiment published exactly one year earlier into a full stack, multi-layered mobile game. I'd continue to work on it throughout the year.

Nov 24, 2017

NYC Hike

I'm spending this Thanksgiving with my family in LA but for the last two years, Lutetia and I had spent the holiday with her sister in Brooklyn.

NYC from the Manhattan Bridge

This time last year, I hiked 29 miles from Brooklyn to Harlem and published a photo blog of the experience. This was a fun day and even New Yorkers have told me they found the post interesting, which to me is the greatest compliment.

Jan 1, 2018

Got engaged!


Designing the ring was a long process but I wrote about that already. The actual proposal was supposed to happen in Lake Tahoe on New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight but I was brought down by stomach troubles. Then, we were supposed to leave Tahoe early in the morning to be back at my parents' house for a New Years sushi feast but our rental car wouldn't start and we were stranded in Lake Tahoe at 4am.


In the end, I pulled over to the side of the road at my favorite spot in the world (Berkeley Marina), got down on one knee and proposed. Despite an exhausting, chaotic night, it worked out :)

Feb 28, 2018

China Trip


Within a few days of Godai's release, I realized that the initial vison as a competitive, precision puzzler was unsustainable. The puzzle gameplay is fun, challenging and holds up well after multiple plays (I still play almost every day) but with a few exceptions, people just weren't that motivated by high scores.

Godai Flower Prototype

I added features for more casual players like a flower growing mechanic. The elements needed to grow a plant -- earth, water, fire/sun and air -- fit perfectly with Godai's elemental theme. As I studied the science of plant growth I also found myself exploring philosophy and history of the elements for inspiration. This is a deep subject deserving of its own post but China was the perfect setting for this exciting exploration period.


Also on this trip, Lutetia captured the top score on the Godai leaderboard: a position she still holds today. I was sitting next to her on the subway as it happened and it was quite exciting. When I released the game, I offered a $100 bounty to anyone who could beat either my best score or speed. As promised, she earned the prize for beating my score. The speed prize is still up for grabs so anyone can earn $100 by passing my record (currently speed 54) on Godai.

Mar 14, 2018

Godai Flower v0.1

I quietly launched the flower reboot on Godai on March 14, 2018: exactly 10 years from the day I left Pixar to work on Equatia. The original plan was to make a big launch announcement but I didn't feel that the flower was ready for wide exposure. Also, I was competing with other events like Pi-day and Stephen Curry's 30th birthday. So, while this was a huge landmark for me, I left it as a stealth launch.

May 28, 2018

Celebrated my grandpa's 100th birthday!

100 push ups

To mark my grandpa's 100th birthday, I did 100 judo-style push ups at Nishi Hongwanji: the temple where my grandpa has spent years tending the garden and doing all sorts of other work. Even at 100, his body is still strong and healthy. His memory isn't great anymore but he still punches my shoulder when I see him and I think he appreciated the push ups. My form will be better next year for 101.

Jun 14, 2018



Trying to do too many things at once in a rush, I balanced my laptop on top of a small surface and it fell. I caught it with one hand, but the screen bumped against the wall and a nasty crack appeared on the screen. I carried this laptop around with me everywhere for four years, including pushing code nearly every day for the past two, before it met this terrible fate.

Coding this past year
The gap is from the broken screen

The computer still runs fine and I still use it to this day by plugging it into a monitor. I wrote a long blog post about the laptop when it happened but accidentally deleted it without saving, because I was in a rush. Bitter irony, lesson learned.

Aug 6, 2018

Joined Lambda School as a Computer Science Instructor

Lambda School is a coding bootcamp. Unlike other bootcamps, which cost beween $12k-20k for three months of instruction, Lambda School is free (!) upfront. Only after seven months of instruction and landing a high-paying job (over $50k/yr) does the school take a percentage of their salary (17% over two years, capped at $30k). If the student doesn't find a job, they pay nothing.

First of all, I think the ethics of Lambda's pricing model are terrific. Unlike typical bootcamps, ALL incentives are aligned toward the same goal: Train qualified students and get them great jobs. In this era of mounting student debt and millenial/post-millenial malaise, Lambda's model is nothing short of revolutionary. Also, Lambda School spends months teaching foundational concepts like algorithms, data structures, time/space complexity, graph theory, memory/pointer management, and many other foundational computer science topics. Other bootcamps may teach a student how to use JavaScript objects (aka hash tables) but at Lambda School, students go as far as implementing them in C.

Lambda School is a special organization that I'm proud to be a part of.

Oct 17, 2018

My 33rd birthday

33 at Dan Sung Sa

Getting older has its challenges but also a few benefits. For example, my metabolism may be slowing down but I've also acquired the patience and discipline to start, and stick to, a regular diet. Moving to Cleveland also helped, since I'm no longer surrounded by the culinary majesty and temptation of California.


By eating mostly eggs, meat, veggies and lentils, I lost almost 30 lbs, which I didn't even know was there in the first place. My blood pressure, which had always been high, dropped 20 points right into the healthy range. I also learned the joy and ecstacy of cheat day.

Favorite cheat day activity in Cleveland:
Kintaro's all-you-can-eat sushi

After two weeks in China and a voracious summer in Los Angeles, I gained about half of the weight back. After summer, I settled back in Cleveland and brought my weight back down but I'd injured my back in LA and wasn't exercising much. The high-fat diet not being burned for energy caused my cholesterol to skyrocket to dangerously high levels.

Cholesterol friendly

I removed red meat, eggs and butter from my diet and replaced them with cashews, chicken and salmon. My back also healed so I was able to start running again. Every Saturday, I ate 70+ pieces of sushi at Kintaro (a very important component of the diet). By October, my cholesterol was back to normal. Just in time for Lutetia and I to eat our way through Berkeley and New Orleans for two weeks.


In Conclusion...

I didn't hit all of my goals this year (Godai update coming soon, I promise!) but it was a productive year, nonetheless. Here's hoping I can top it again this year.

One month in and already destroyed Kefka.
33 off to a good start.

Godai Flower Drop

April 09, 2018, 9:17am

April already? March passed in a whirlwind that took me through China, California and now back to Cleveland. Along the way, I secretly dropped a new Godai feature which has been in the works since November. Did you catch it?

Click the Earth button to plant a seed

Don't worry if you missed it. Like I said, this was a secret drop. If you haven't already, go pick up the latest update: Godai is free on Google Play and iOS and has no ads, low power consumption, lightweight file size, microscopic data usage and tremendous depth.

What’s new?

Check out this iconic CMYK abstraction of water/fire/air/earth from KrisImpossible. Dope, right? Pick up this in-game theme for only 50 coins.

What else?

Question: What are the elements needed to sustain plant life?

Answer: soil, water, air and sunshine.

Collecting elements in Godai allows you to nurture a friendly plant. Properly cared for plants will flower, and eventually bear fruit which you may harvest for gems. Each plant is unique!

How does it work?

Without going into too much detail, plants acquire nutrients via transpiration (a process by which sun and wind evaporate moisture from a plant’s surface, causing it to draw moisture and nutrients from the soil) and energy via photosynthesis (a process which uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen).

What? Too much detail? I’ll make it simple then: Water and fertilize your plant regularly, give it fresh air and plenty of sunshine. That’s all you need to know to grow a happy plant!

Lutetium Ring

January 31, 2018, 4:57pm

Lutetia and I are engaged! I proposed January 1st on the shores of the Berkeley Marina and she said yes. The story of the proposal is pretty fun but this post is actually about the ring.

More than it appears


The story of the ring starts when I stumbled across the element, Lutetium (atomic number 71), during a late-night Wikipedia deep dive. This rare-earth metal has some interesting properties, including the highest hardness, density and melting point of the lanthanide series. I was intrigued with this element and sent my friend, Waddie a message:

12/08/2016 12:01PM
Yo Waddie! Long time. Hope this crazy world’s been treating you well lately.
I know you work primarily in silver, but I’m wondering if you have any experience working with rare earth metals. I’m looking to get a custom ring made of lutetium. I did some research and it seems like pure lutetium might corrode and/or cause skin reactions but there are alloys that might mitigate some of these problems.
Is this a project you might be interested in?


Waddie is a super-talented silversmith whose style I was sure Lutetia would dig (check out his gallery to see what I mean). I also knew he'd be down to go deep into the nerdy science and chemistry of this strange metal with me. We discussed the logistics of a lutetium ring but particularly concerning to Waddie was the element's extreme melting point: over 1,200 degrees hotter than that of silver. We explored a few ideas like embedding a chunk of lutetium into the ring (didn't solve the corrosion problem) or casting silver around a narrow band of lutetium (super-heating an unknown metal was deemed unsafe). Waddie ended up referring me to his Stanford silversmithing professors, Amanda and Sara from RedStart Design, who echoed his concerns.

I'd hit a dead end but not for long.

While searching for lutetium alloys, I came across an interesting crystal: lutetium aluminum garnet (Al5Lu3O12). This crystal borrowed many properties from its parent element, lutetium: most notably high hardness and durability, along with some new properties, like a high refractive index and exceptional thermal conductivity. After reading this description from Wikipedia, I was sold:

LuAG is a scintillating crystal that will demonstrate luminescence after excitation.

- Lutetium Aluminum Garnet (via Wikipedia)

Wikipedia led me to a lab in Montana (Scientific Materials) that grew LuAG crystals, whom I contacted about acquiring a small sample. They were quite puzzled by the request, since LuAG's typical application is high-powered laser amplification. Once I explained the significance of lutetium and Lutetia, they happily sent me two samples of their highest purity LuAG crystals.

LuAG, LuAG doped with ytterbium, quarter

I shared these crystals and its physical properties with Amanda and Sara at RedStart and they signed off to design an engagement ring featuring a faceted lutetium aluminum garnet with me. It was June 17, 2017 and this crazy idea floating around my head was on its way to becoming a reality.

Reflections, Elements

By this point over six eventful months had passed since beginning the ring research. It was summer and after finishing up a crazy first year in Cleveland, Lutetia and I were back home for six weeks (Lutetia in China, me in LA). Six weeks was the longest we'd been apart since we started dating (weird to think about) and provided some welcome distance to reflect on the relationship. I also took this opportunity to chat with friends and family about the ring and the monumental decision it would accompany.

If you've had a conversation with me in the past few years, there's a good chance I brought up the classical elements (earth, water, fire, air) at some point. Just about everything I do now is based around the elements, like my recent mobile puzzle game, Godai, concepted around the Japanese interpretation (try it free on iOS and Android!). In particular, as an emotionally insensitive INTP, it helps to examine human relationships through psychographic lenses like elemental affinity and Myers-Briggs type indicators.

Best Case

An examination of a person's elemental affinity generally begins with his or her astrological sign. Lutetia is Taurus (earth) and I'm Libra (air). Not only are these opposite elements, but our secondary elements (Lutetia: fire, me: water), are opposite as well. This means at our best, we represent all four elements and unlimited potential. It also means that we must be extra-careful not to neutralize each other's strengths, lest we end up a lukewarm puddle of mud.

Worst Case

After many deep chats and long walks under the California summer sun, my mind was resolved. I viewed our antagonistic elemental alignment as a portent of potential rather than incompatibility and accepted the inordinate amount of effort that such a relationship would entail.

In late June, I made a trip to the RedStart studio in San Francisco to hand over the LuAG samples and share my vision for the ring with Amanda and Sara. I didn't have too much clarity at the time but knew I wanted to start from the elemental motif. The stone was an ideal representation of Lutetia's earth/fire nature (a rare-earth crystal with exceptional thermodynamic properties) so the band and setting should reflect air/water. The RedStart ladies listened patiently as I shared a jumbled stream of ideas, gently shooting down the crazier ones (like a parabolic base that focused light into the stone) and helping overcome paralysis over details like the stone's size and cut (we landed on one carat, round cut).

Interlude: Turkey

In early July, Lutetia and I reunited in Turkey for our friend Mia's wedding. We spent two incredible weeks there, traveling from Istanbul to Gemlik to Cappadocia, then back to Istanbul.

Here are some pictures from the trip:


Although it was a fantastic trip, I picked up a stomach bug in Cappadocia and spent much of the trip's latter half attached to a toilet. After a harrowing 13-hour flight and a few restorative days back in LA, my gut returned to normal and I boarded a flight back to Cleveland in high spirits. Little did I know, the poop-storm had only just begun.

Design, Iteration

Last May, Lutetia and I hurriedly moved into a new apartment then immediately left Cleveland for the summer, leaving all of our belongings in various bags and piles on the ground. In particular, all of the non-perishable foods (flour, sugar, spices, etc.) were in garbage bags on the kitchen counter while the landlords refurbished the shelves. This provided an ample supply of food for the family of mice that moved in while we were away.

I'll spare the gory details for those people who came expecting a cute, romantic story (for those who like gory details, check out this post) but capturing and cleaning-up after the mice was an ugly endeavor to say the least. During this time, I was also exchanging emails with Amanda and Sara about the ring's design.

Concept sketches

They sent me a set of initial concept sketches which incorporated air and water elements into an Embarcadero setting, as we discussed in June. Thematically, I liked E because the top looked airy while the bottom was like water and aesthetically, I liked the symmetry of F and that it resembled the shape of laminar air flow around a cylinder.

Turbulent vs. Laminar Flow

After a couple more sketch iterations, they took a first pass at modeling the ring. At the time, I was elbow-deep in mouse poop but I thought the ring was beautiful. Just to be sure, I sent the 3D render to my sister who shared her approval.

3D concept

The ring was almost done but missing one crucial component: Lutetia's ring size.

Hard Conversations

Iterating on a design is pretty familiar to me and geeking out over science came quite naturally. The hardest part was broaching the subject of marriage with Lutetia. It took ten days to finally bring it up the topic of engagement and when I did, she didn't even know her ring size! Regardless, over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, I casually inquired about her hypothetical requirements for an engagement ring. Here's what she came up with:

  1. No diamonds.
  2. Must be a unique, custom design.
  3. Must contain some asymmetry or irregularity on the band.
  4. Will probably be lost at some point in life, so cannot be priceless or irreplaceable.

I was pretty elated because I knew about the first two, and the second two were serendipitously addressed through the design process. I left that Cheesecake Factory without the sought-after knowledge, but with the knowledge that I was on the right track.

Amanda and Sara mailed me a set of ring sizers and I asked them to add prominence to the water wave in the band since it was now a specifically requested feature (very impressed by their preemptive design insticts!). We also determined that since the exact shape of the water wave wasn't important, it could be utilized for resizing: expanding and contracting without needing to add or remove material from the ring. Among water's chief defining characteristics is its fluid, malleable nature and I was enamored by the simultaneous symbolism and practicality that emerged from this simple little wave.

The design was complete.

Manufacture and Delivery

The Ring

A few weeks later I received notice from RedStart that the ring was done! This was early October and I was crunching to prepare Godai for release. It was launched on October 17th, 2017: my 32nd birthday but also the day I completed the the final payment on the ring. It was done and delivered to my parents' house in LA, and although I wouldn't see it for two months it was now up to me to manufacture a proposal and deliver the ring to Lutetia.


...but that's a story for another time.

NYC Black Friday Hike, 2017

November 27, 2017, 1:01pm

Lutetia and I spent this Thanksgiving, like last year, with her sister in New York City. It's no secret that I love New York so when I found myself on my own this Black Friday while Lutetia was out with her sister, I embarked on a mission to walk from our AirBnB in Bed-Stuy (the Brooklyn borough notoriously home to Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls) to Manhattan, and beyond.

Route from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Harlem

In total, I walked 29 miles from 197 Hull St, Brooklyn to 125th Station, Harlem, then took the A-train 29 stops back to where I started.

Air BnB, 197 Hull St., Brooklyn
11:34 AM

I started the day by sleeping in, watching online GDC lectures and pushing some code for the day. I left my Air BnB around 11:30am.

Fulton St, Brooklyn
11:57 AM

I wanted to visit Prospect Park, so I started down Fulton St.

Fulton Park
12:00 PM

Tom Brady knows that hydration is the key to success and this Brady does too. A side-effect of this is that many of my adventures involve searching for a restroom. I found myself on such an adventure very early in my journey. It proved more difficult than I imagined, as there were not many public restrooms in Brooklyn. This park had some but they were sadly chained shut.

$1 Slice, Fulton St. and Nostrand Ave
12:18 PM

I've had a life-long infatuation with pizza so Brooklyn's abundance of cheap, delicous pizzerias was amazing. I hadn't eaten yet so when I passed this $1 slice joint on Nostrand Ave. I had to check it out.

$1 Slice
12:20 PM

This wasn't my favorite Brooklyn slice (that honor goes to the $2 slice at Kennedy Pizza and Chicken further up Nostrand Ave.) but it instantly triggered memories of elementary school cafeteria pizza. To be clear, the pizza tasted cheap but that's not a bad thing: the childhood flashbacks were worth the price many times over.

Brooklyn Museum of Art
12:48 PM

I still hadn't found a restroom and the situation was gaining urgency. I came across the Brooklyn Museum of Art but ignored it in search of better accessibility.

Empty Wallet
12:57 PM

I passed a couple of cafes but none of them seemed to have restrooms. Also, I spent my last dollar on that delicious slice of pizza.

Chase Map
12:57 PM

Fortunately, I discovered, there are Chase banks and ATMs EVERYWHERE in New York.

Brooklyn Public Library
1:03 PM

Ultimately, my bladder found salvation at the Brooklyn Library, although the bathroom wasn't easy to find.

Library Selfie
1:17 PM

Walking down Fulton St., I felt a little self conscious taking pictures on my phone. There were lots of people walking around who would openly stare with an expression like, "Why's this jerk taking pictures of that sign?" With my bladder relieved, I found a couple of fun art books to flip through while I charged my phone for a bit. I also took a selfie, just because.

Prospect Park
1:47 PM

After the library, I took a stroll through Prospect Park.

1:49 PM

I found a nice spot to sit and finish this book from the Playdom game designers book club which I've carried between four different apartments and across 12 states before finally cracking it open on this trip. WOW, this book is amazing! Very relevant to my current work.

Prospect Park
1:57 PM

Autumn in New York is pretty magical.

Grand Army Plaza
2:03 PM

I still hadn't eaten a proper meal and was looking forward to some chicken over rice from a Manhattan Halal cart so I started walking again.

2:09 PM

First, I had to refill my wallet.

Barclays Center
2:20 PM

I passed by Barclays Center just as the Brooklyn Nets were wrapping up their game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Nets vs Trailblazers
2:23 PM

I'd been following the game on my phone for the past hour and was excited that it was so close. For those who don't know, the Nets are known for their famous owners: most notably Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, and Brooklyn hustler, Jay-Z. They are also famous for short-sighted trades for washed up players like old Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Timofey Mozgov for draft picks that became young superstars like Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma, and Markelle Fultz (whom the Celtics turned into Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving). The Nets have been over-achieving this season and were competitive with the hot Blazers until the final seconds, when they choked away their lead. I sat outside and watched the sad New Yorkers stream out of the stadium, then bought a Nets beanie for $5 from a dude outside.

2:30 PM

Many believe that the the Bay has overtaken NYC as the wealthiest American city and that LA has claimed the food, art and culture crown. I don't know about all that, but I do know that this street art stopped me dead in my tracks and I can't remember the last time that happened. I'm uploading this one at full-res: it's worth your data.

Not all NYC pizza is good -- Avoid this spot on Flatbush
2:35 PM

I've eaten a lot of West-Coast pizza in my life and concede that NYC slices are in a class of their own. I've given a lot of thought to what makes them so exceptional since my inagural NYC trip last year. As a kid in LA, I experienced pizza in four ways:

  1. Delivery: This could be either my parents bringing home a pizza for dinner (rare) or a delivery order with friends (common). Either way, the pizza was generally room temperature by the time it made its way into my mouth.
  2. Party: Pizza is an obvious staple at any kid's birthday party but the low-key hero at community potlucks were the folks who brought pizza. The parents who spent the entire night before elaborately decorating each individual hor d'oeuvre might have looked down on them but they were heroes to all the kids.
  3. Costco: I didn't experience this much since my dad and I would always get the $1.50 Polish dog and fountain drink but I have friends who swear by the $1.99 slices. These massive wedges are characterized by their large size, uncannily consistent toppings distribution and indulgently soggy dough. Now that I'm a grown man, I've been known to get a Polish dog AND pepperoni slice for pre-Costco lunch. Adulthood is sweet.
  4. Birthday: As a kid, I'd get to pick a restaurant for my birthday dinner each year. Until around high school, when I pivoted to all-you-can-eat-sushi, I'd always pick a pizza place. This is notable for being the ONLY occasion I would enjoy fresh, hot, quality slices of pizza as a kid: once a year, on my birthday.

In college, I'd pick up an occasional late-night slice at Blondie's or Fat Slice but by then, my go-to was La Burrita. These slices were always kept warm under a heat lamp and served directly to you on a plate. Also notable is The Cheeseboard Collective, which served local, organic vegetarian pizzas that were quite delicious, but always had a long line and is only open during the day.

Not everyone is a fan of the Bay's veggie slices

In New York, each slice is moved from the display to an oven and heated to perfection while you wait. This result is a crisp, toasted dough (none of the sogginess characteristic of heat lamp slices) with a beautifully thick layer of melted cheese on top. Once handed your pizza, you turn and walk out the door and you're in bustling, vibrant NYC. Strutting down the street with a fresh Brooklyn slice is a wonderful experience and the inescapable reason NYC will remain the king of pizza for the forseeable future.

Manhattan Bridge Entrance
2:52 PM

I've crossed the Brooklyn Bridge twice before so I decided to walk the Manhattan Bridge this time.

Manhattan Bridge Path
2:55 PM

Unlike its westward neighbor with a clear view of Lady Liberty and a glut of tourists, the Manhattan Bridge was much more utilitarian, with chain links and non-descript buildings on one side and girders, trains and traffic on the other. Grimy.

Manhattan Bridge
2:55 PM

After a few minutes, there was a gap in the buildings and I caught a glimpse of a highway. Being from LA, I've seen plenty of highways and I was not impressed.

As an aside which will soon become clear, in Japanese garden landscape design, there is a concept called miegakure, or hide-and-reveal. Here is a description from

Miegakure refers to this aesthetic when it is applied to landscape design. Vistas are artfully arranged so that they may not be seen in their entirety from a single vantage point, but constantly shift as the viewer progresses along designated routes or paths. Since the vistas move in and out of view as the visitor progresses along a route, the term is often translated as “hidden and revealed”. The philosophy behind such an aesthetic concept is strongly allied to the Buddhist belief in the illusory or transitory nature of the physical world, and, in particular, to the Zen notion of the emptiness or nothingness of the universe as experienced directly and non-verbally (mu). Aesthetically, it relies on a manipulation of space and perspective. As Tadahiko Higuchi puts it, miegakure “relies heavily on the principle of overlapping perspective and involves making only a part of an object visible, rather than exposing the whole. The purpose is to make the viewer imagine the invisible part and thus create not only an illusion of depth but also the impression that there are hidden beauties beyond. Miegakure is, in short, a means of imparting a sense of vastness in a small space.”

The "hide" is accomplished in a variety of ways, including leading the guest down challenging terrain (like a rock path through a stream) that draws their attention down toward their feet, then coinciding the terminal moment of relief and conquest with an upward gaze that reveals the most beautiful view of the garden. Why do I mention this? Well...

Brooklyn Bridge via Manhattan Bridge
2:59 PM

This view took my breath away.

Brooklyn Bridge via Manhattan Bridge
3:04 PM

I mean, are you kidding me??

Brooklyn Bridge via Manhattan Bridge
3:11 PM


3:16 PM

Soon, I stepped off the bridge into the heart of Chinatown. What a contrast.

Harper's Bread House
3:32 PM

I was a little hungry so I picked up a pork bun and rice ball from this bakery.

Black Coffee at Stax
3:34 PM

I then walked a few doors down to a fancy dessert shop. Despite being known for their handcrafted ice cream, I only ordered a black coffee.

$1 Pork Bun
3:38 PM

This was a fantastic pork bun and only $1!

$2.25 Unagi Musubi
3:42 PM

This rice ball was tasty but for the price, I'd rather have a slice of pizza.

Williamsburg Bridge from the ground
4:09 PM

I'd walked along West Manhattan already so I turned East, knowing that I'd miss sunset over the Hudson. I came across the Williamsburg Bridge and knew I wanted to be on it. Unfortunately, I was already by the water and had to backtrack half a mile to the bridge entrance.

Williamsburg Brige Entrance
4:23 PM

Finally, made it!

Williamsburg Bridge
4:29 PM

This bridge was pretty ugly and the nice views were all obscured by fences. Hardly any tourists.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:30 PM

The ground was covered by interesting graffiti.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:31 PM

Despite being on the wrong side of the fence and the city, sunset over the Manhattan skyline was still beautiful.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:31 PM

The pink girders were a nice complement to the soft, warm sunset colors.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:32 PM

I love the layers of paint on this sign.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:33 PM

I was disappointed that all my pictures contained garish fence links in the foreground but I realized that they were integral layers to the city view.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:35 PM

Earlier in the week, the sky was pouring rain but the sky was crystal clear this entire day.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:37 PM

I didn't cross all the way to Williamsburg but the East River was quite nice.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:39 PM

It's not clear from this picture, but I was struck by the multiple moving layers as I walked. The fence, girders, trains, cars, lights, pedestrians and skyline were at different speeds and different distances and created a nice parallax effect. Maybe I should have taken a video.

Williamsburg Bridge
4:42 PM

Sunset behind the Manhattan Bridge from Williamsburg Bridge.

Williamsburg Bridge from Ground Level
5:09 PM

I turned around and headed back to ground-level Manhattan and continued to walk along the East River.

East River
5:09 PM

I've always liked walking/running by the water.

East River Park
5:14 PM

I was getting a little tired so I found a quiet spot alone to rest my feet. Between the beautiful autumn weather, I was surprised more people weren't out in the park.

East River Park
5:14 PM

Soon I realized I wasn't alone -- As the sun went down, the rats came out. Still, they didn't bother me so I didn't bother them.

East River Selfie
5:41 PM

This stretch of road was pretty unexciting so I started taking selfies as I walked.

East River Selfie
5:42 PM

Lots of cars, joggers and bikers on this road.

East River Selfie
5:45 PM

My urban style can best be described as Hobo Ninja.

5:56 PM

Picking up a comfortable pair of walking shoes was a life-changing purchase and so was this backpack. On this hike, I carried my laptop, a book, a notebook, a light jacket, hat, gloves, scarf, phone charger and glassses for the entire 29 mile NYC hike and my back was fine. A good backpack is well-worth the investment.

East River Nightscape
6:04 PM

Pretty nice, but I was starting to get hungry again.

The Globe NY
6:38 PM

As expensive as NYC can be, I'm amazed by how much great food you can get for cheap. This burger and beer at The Globe was only $12 and was delicious.

The Globe NY
7:07 PM

I found a little private nook where I had a TV to myself and could stretch out my feet. The usual problem with nooks like this is that the wait staff can never see you. I was impressed by The Globe's use of mirrors, as they gave the bar a direct view of my table and they would swing by as soon as my glass was near empty.

The Globe
8:15 PM

I utilized the mirrors for a quick self-portrait.

Hobo Ninja
8:25 PM

Then I suited back up...

Hobo Ninja
8:26 PM

...faded into the shadows...

Madison Ave
8:42 PM

...and was back on the street.

8:43 PM

I wanted to walk through Central Park and head back around midnight so I set off with Columbia University as my destination.

Coach Selfie
9:02 PM

Walking up Madison Ave. on Black Friday was quite different from Fulton St. in Bed-Stuy. I was the same person, but I went from being a harmless street oddity to a threatening weirdo that the obscenely rich pedestrians would eye nervously as I walked past. In both cases, my trick was to maintain a fast walking pace so I'd be gone before anyone was inclined to give me more than a passing thought.

Rockefeller Center
9:13 PM

I was close to Rockefeller Center so I swung by to check it out. It was a madhouse!

Rockefeller Crowd Walk
9:19 PM

I really like walking through large crowds, contorting my body and slipping through seams without breaking pace. Here's a fun chest-level view of what that looks like.

Uggs, Manhattan
9:34 PM

In case you're curious about the hottest style in NYC, it's poofy fluffs on Uggs.

Central Park Entrance
9:46 PM

Finally made it to Central Park!

Central Park
9:53 PM

I saw signs saying the park was closed after 10pm but there were some people walking around and the paths were all lit. I was a little nervous that it would be dangerous at night, like say Golden Gate Park or People's Park, but there were no vagrants (aside from a few rats) and I felt completely safe.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Backside
10:10 PM

While walking through the park, I stumbled across the Met.

Ninja Hobo Selfie
10:12 PM

Selfie time!

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Front
10:18 PM

Lutetia once told me she likes that I'm an artist but is sometimes disappointed by what kind of artist I am. What she meant is that she likes to go inside museums during the day while I'd rather creep around and take pictures outside late at night. Hey, relationships are hard.

John Purroy Mitchel Memorial
10:28 PM

If I die without a sculpted bust of my head somewhere prominent, I'll consider it a wasted life.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
10:36 PM

Even late at night, there were many people jogging and walking dogs around this huge lake in the middle of Central Park. This was my last clear view of the Manhattan nightscape.

Central Park Bench
10:47 PM

Foot fatigue was really starting to set in so I took a quick rest on this bench.

Central Park Bench
10:47 PM

Just me and the rats.

Morningside Park
11:05 PM

I made my way out of Central Park but ended up in another park.

Morningside Park
11:16 PM

This one had a lot of stairs and dead ends.

Morningside Park
11:21 PM

Water makes me happy.

Morningside Park
11:22 PM

Finally, I found a non-dead-end exit.

Riverside Park Map
11:43 PM

Columbia was locked up and guarded so I visited the Hudson River one last time.

General Grant National Memorial
11:47 PM

On my way to the subway, I passed Grant's Tomb. Maybe it's more impressive during the day.

Halal Truck
11:58 PM

Outside Columbia was a Halal Truck so I picked up one more meal for the road.

Lamb on Rice
12:02 AM

I usually get chicken on rice but thought I'd try the lamb instead this time. The chicken is better.

Harriet Tubman Memorial, Harlem
12:20 AM

The 116th St. subway was closed so I walked up to the 125th St. station through Harlem.

125th St. Subway
12:29 AM

Once I made it to the subway, it was a direct 29 stops down the A-line back to Brooklyn.

12:31 AM

And so concludes my 29-mile Black Friday NYC walk!

Mouse Tales

August 01, 2017, 12:17pm

I arrived in Cleveland five days ago to discover a family mice had invaded the kitchen of my new apartment — every bag of non-perishable food and every surface was doused in piss and shit. We set sticky traps and have caught 14 so far, with 8 last night alone. It was hard to sleep with the chorus of dying mice squeals echoing up the staircase.

The humane thing to do would have been to drown the mice as soon as they were trapped it but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I listened to existential screams of primal mouse horror all night. Even more disconcerting, the screams lured their family members onto the traps as well — one trap had an adult mouse and a baby mouse, while another had four babies on it. There was a baby behind the dishwasher and one behind the washing machine. None of the mice died immediately — they spent an entire night into the morning stuck on traps surrounded by the screams of their dying kin.

There’s still more mice out there. I hear them rustling downstairs as I type this. I wonder what’s going through their heads as they run around the kitchen with their families decimated and the stench of fear-soaked piss permeating the air.

Our handyman is an old, white-haired man with a hunched back and friendly smile. He bends down to retrieve and dispose of our mouse traps, despite his no-doubt achy joints, with no regard for the terrified mice contorting in his hands. He says he’s never been a part of a mouse hunt this successful and is very impressed by our results.

Embarrassingly, I can’t take any credit for the hunting success — Lutetia places all the traps. I’m having a hard time coping with the mice, which I find revolting. Lutetia said her trick was to pretend she was a mouse and imagine the path she would travel, then put traps at key junctures. It was obvious to her but I found it foreign and baffling. And so, I let the mice wail all night and let Larry break his back to pick up the traps and let Lutetia claim alpha-hunter status in the relationship because I really can’t deal with the chaotic biology of these disgusting creatures.