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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • December 21, 2006


    Un-Skipping Christmas

    People who know me for years know I'm never around for Christmas--I'll be vacationing at places where the sun doesn't go down before 5, where I can still saunter around in liner pants or shorts, like Thailand, Cambodia, and Bali. It's also a time to visit friends and family in my hometown--Hong Kong. But not this year. For the first time in six years, I'm staying in San Francisco for Christmas. Although my consistent absence during the holiday season has instilled in people's mind an inevitable deception that I shirk (if not skip) Christmas, this year I have been pleasantly surprised by the fact that Christmas cards have inundated my mailbox. Some of you fellow bloggers have sent me warm wishes for which I'm in utter gratitude. Robert sent me a CD like I've never had ever. Greg from Oregon sent me a card with a picture of Eugene from Skinner Butte.

    Honestly when the Christmas shopping season kicked off after Turkey Day, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the whole holiday idea. Not being savvy of the day when Union Square lightened up the Christmas Tree to boil up the holiday spirit, the day that diastrously coincided with the monthly biker critical mass, I was stuck on Stockton Street outside Macy's for almost an hour, stranded in the jostling elbows of shoppers, contrived to shirk and get around the bikers.

    But my qualm of the holiday quickly mitigated as I start writing Christmas cards to all my friends and wrapping the gifts. Today I walked past Union Sqaure again and couldn't help lingering around for a few moments to appreciate the tree. I held the tree, which was surrounded by picture-takers and kids, in a reflective gaze of affection, like gathering thoughts from distant memory. A surge of emotion gradually rose in my body as if some medication is coursing through my veins. The sight of a mother straightening up her son's outfit for a picture provoked a sense of nostalgia in me about my mother. It was just that. The feeling was almost as morbid as if you're being possessed. Sometimes a very small thing will have a tremedous effect on you out of all proportion to the event. It depends on the circumstances and your mood at the time.

    I slowly picked up my pace started walking away when I returned to my usual element. My mind was beaming at the fact that I'm here for Christmas this year because this year is going to be very special. I realize the meaning of holiday is not just the gifts and parties, it's about giving and sharing love with those who are in need and those who are special. Tonight I'm having dinner with a very special person at Slow Club, one of my favorite joints tucked away in an inconspicuous corner in Potrero Hill. Then I'll be celebrating the holidays with my dear bunch who works at Cafe Flore (a.k.a. my office?) on Christmas Day. The tender thoughts of all my friends like Tony, Estrella, Fernando, Maria, Stephen, Bill, Tore, Weizhu, Patty, Matty, Jan Song, Be, O,so many of them...etc. warms my heart and makes me realize this is really the season to cherish. And gosh, it will be another one for indulgence of eating.


    Anonymous Chris said...

    After reading this post, and recalling from the 50 things about you, you're touchy feely. No doubt 'bout it! :)

    12/21/2006 12:11 PM  
    Blogger matty said...

    Oh, Happy Happy Holidays.

    ..are you really spending Christmas at Cafe Flore?!?!?

    ...drop me an email!!!!!

    big hug,

    12/21/2006 5:39 PM  
    Anonymous Peter said...

    Friends, one way or another, make up who we are. I'm glad you've great friends. :)

    I think I told you I'm sticking around for Christmas too. Let's hang out. Just sent you an e-mail.

    12/22/2006 6:19 AM  
    Anonymous weizhu said...

    Merry Christmas Yau1

    12/25/2006 1:09 PM  
    Anonymous Brad said...

    My god you really have conquered, or going to one day, the world. I've gotta head over to the picture sections. I want to go to Cambodia, before it becomes too toursy....

    12/26/2006 5:23 PM  

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