Fanta, For Old Time’s Sake

It’s been a very long time since I’ve made a blog post here, but it’s the start of a new year and a new decade, so might as well make a stab at it again. As in the past, I’ve tried to write a small vignette to mark the new year. As memory fades, writing down things becomes more important.

While I was born in New York, one of my vivid memories was of being in Hong Kong one summer when I was 4. The family had a flat (apartment) in a building across from what was the Jordan Ferry, near the Temple Street night market in Kowloon, and drove around in a VW bus to various sites, including Kowloon Park (see picture above). In the back was a crate of ice-cold Orange Fanta bottles. It was the middle of July, and it was so refreshing.

In the intervening years, I’ve survived through high school, college and graduate school with Coca-Cola, probably way too much. Orange soda, not so much. Somehow, I had early lost the taste for fruit sodas in favor of colas, much in the way I can’t stand the taste of haw flakes or White Rabbit – two staples of the Chinese candy repertoire.

Flash forward to this past year. My daughter is now 6, and we have (re)discovered Orange Fanta. There’s a vending machine in the basement of the apartment complex. She normally prefers water, so she’s good like that, but we’ll allow one as a treat. These days, I have to seriously cut down on my sugar intake, so it’s diet for me, the original for her.

I hear there are new Fanta flavors, including a “Orange jelly fizz” one, which is basically soda with the little jelly bits that they have at boba tea shops. Maybe this is just all about the marketing of colored soda water – after all, the name “Fanta” was derived from the word “Fantasy” – but there is truly value of living these shared moments in real life that we just don’t have as much anymore in our inter-mediated digital lifestyles.

Perhaps this is a little weird coming from a techie that co-authored a book on making websites in the 90’s, but where we can, let’s have some more of those real links, rather than hyperlinks.


I used to have a stats box with numbers about emails, trips, etc., but that has gone by the wayside, because it’s at the point that keeping track of the numbers, as well as the magnitude of numbers themselves, was so ridiculous, it became meaningless. I’ll just use words this time.

In April, I was given a Distinguished Parishioner award from the diocese for the church I got married at, I guess for my tech work. To this day, I think there were many more worthy people who do more and donate more, including my co-awardee from my parish, also named Frances who sadly passed away this Fall, but I am grateful just for being associated with her decades of work and faithfulness in her life.

I’ve been volunteering with an Asian Pacific American legal clinic, which meets in Manhattan Chinatown monthly, and has just opened a every other month clinic in Brooklyn Chinatown. It is incredible what basic needs such as what does this paper say that are not being met. I recently had a Facebook Fundraiser that raised $600 for them. If you have legal or language interpreting skills, find out here how you can help. If you know of people who can use this kind of help, please send them our way.

Also in April of 2019, I traveled to New Orleans for the second time for a work conference with the family. We had more time to see more of the people and culture, and the daily struggles of life. I had the most interesting conversations with the Lyft drivers on how they were striving to improve themselves. The visit coincided with the Spring Fiesta festival, so we were able to see the insides of some mansions in the French Quarter and Garden District. Because I was there on a Tuesday (most people in the city for a conference are not), I got to see the Rebirth Brass Band of Treme fame in residency at the Maple Leaf Bar. We saw several “Second Line” parades, two involving weddings, and one for a funeral, that just passed us on the street. Some have likened Nola to being a French city in America, but from my view, it reminded me of many other Caribbean islands that have to deal with death as a part of daily life.

In November, I visited Austin for the first time for NAPABA, without the family. Austin is basically Brooklyn Texas. Their fabulous BBQ meats don’t require sauce. E-scooters were all over the place. Our affiliate won the affiliate of the year award, so we made a grand showing at the banquet, as well as with a cutout of our executive director, as he couldn’t be with us. Staying awake for our flights out early in the morning, we somehow ended up at the Intercontinental ballroom with a makeshift open bar that mysteriously appeared, shooting the breeze with the gala’s MC, Sheng Wang.

The missus and I marked our 11th wedding/15th dating anniversary – we are growing old together. Our daughter is thriving at an public school in Park Slope where the teachers consider her a joy – she actually mediates disputes between classmates. She has started classes in Mandarin Chinese every Friday – it’s very hard as my Mandarin is completely rudimentary, and I have to get her to the lessons on a late lunch break.

I’m still at the same place, almost finishing my 20th year on the job. I know these kinds of jobs don’t really exist anymore, but I still find new things that come up that excite me. There were some devastating losses, including legendary Prof. Joseph Crea at age 103, and Prof. Bob Habl, who gave me an A in Contracts.

The remaining parents are old and getting older. My mom took a fall in the middle of December, so had a 4 day stay at NYU Lutheran and is undergoing physical therapy at a nursing home to regain walking skills, probably for the next few months. Please keep her in your thoughts.

As it’s unlikely you’d get to this page unless you actually follow what I’m doing on Facebook, thanks for being a part of my life this past year/decade/lifetime. One quick shoutout to SSW, who has been making the vast majority of posts to Triscribe over the years – thanks for keeping the lights on.

The best resolution I can make is I’m going to try to do better, and I hope that is the same with you.

Happy New Year 2020!

Hey everybody: have a Happy and Healthy New Year! Goodbye 2019; you have got to be so much better, 2020… wait, we made it to 2020?

OMG, it is 2020! We’re living in the future and it’s been 20 freakin’ years since the year 2000? (yeah, kids, back in the day, we thought that Y2K would be scary and weird…. well, the 21st Century kind of has been scary and weird but we have to keep at it to make the world better – right?).

Oh, and a great meme to end 2019 and begin 2020:

The Barbara Walters meme was so great that Saturday Night Live alumnus, Cheri Oteri (who had played Barbara Walters on SNL), showed up as an amusingly bemused Barbara Walters on CNN’s New Year’s Eve special with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. Oteri’s appearance sent Anderson Cooper into one of his giggling fits…

Oh 2020, if only you can just keep us laughing in a good way!

(cross-posted at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

OMG – It’s New Year’s Eve 2019!

Happy New Year’s Eve! I cannot believe that the year went by so fast. I am in denial that there are so much year in review and – gasp – decade in review stuff out there.

Food in 2019 – well, we had the whole Popeye’s chicken sandwich craze, which caused Popeye’s to run out and then brought the chicken sandwich back. That people went that crazy in the first place was — yes, nuts.

When Popeye’s brought back a new supply of chicken sandwiches, I finally had one and I will agree – it’s a damn good sandwich. But, is it worth long lines and violence? No.

But, it is tasty. It’s also Popeye’s. They do a good job with chicken (but that’s my opinion; you can have your own opinion!).

In addition to the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, in 2019, I got into the burekas at Michaeli’s Bakery, which opened on Division St. at the border of Chinatown and Lower East Side (see Eater’s New York City section for coverage on its opening by Stephanie Tuder, and Gothamist‘s coverage by Scott Lynch with photos). Not a 2019 thing (it might have started in 2018?): I’m still into the burekas at Breads Bakery. (It turned out that the owner and pastry chef Adir Michaeli of Michaeli’s was Breads’s opening executive chef; but his burekas are so light and a lovely size!).

Yes, I know the babkas are the thing with Breads Bakery, but I love a savory pastry.

(the holiday markets at Union Square and Bryant Park this year were where I still hunted for Sigmund’s Pretzels! The truffle cheddar one is so good).

Food 52 did a list by Caitlin Raux Gunther of the Best and Worst of Food trends in the decade (date line Dec. 19, 2019). I have some disagreement with the list, but it was a quick and decent overview.

I liked to think that food waste acknowledgment and the desire to eat less meat are good trends; I think food crazes that lead to violence – Popeye’s chicken sandwich – aren’t necessary.

The Takeout did a list of their best stories of 2019 (December 27, 2019). And compiled a list of “quintessential food of the 2010s (date line December 23, 2019)”

I’m still sad that Kevin Pang, the founder and former editor-in-chief of The Takeout had left and moved on from The Takeout for other opportunities in 2019. He had a nice and sweet farewell.

Even if we said hello this year to Hudson Yards (overwhelmingly too much as a luxury spot, even if the food there are fascinating) and the new Essex Market (at least they moved a community to it, rather than developed one artificially? That’s just my opinion), and we saw the rise of food halls (as opposed to just saying “food courts”) come about in the 2010s, 2010s saw a lot of places say good bye. Gothamist compiled a list of NYC spots to miss from the 2010s.

I might get around to a list or post or something on pop culture 2019? Honestly, I haven’t seen the latest Star Wars movie yet; and streaming TV has left me confused, as yet another trend or cultural shift that I cannot follow as it leaves me behind in the dust. Maybe even review my lists of books read in the past decade? We’ll see?

I’m thinking of re-thinking resolutions. Maybe be organized and accountable with them as a long-haul thing. I mean, if I learned anything from National Novel Writing Month, there are ways to reach a goal: having a goal (preferable doable); breaking down steps to get there (whether I’m that organized or making it up as I go); being accountable for the goal; having support to get there; and being okay if you don’t quite get there, because the fact that you made steps is better having made none at all (okay, that last one is still very hard to accept for me, but at least I’ve thought about it!).

If anyone has any bright ideas of how to make 2020 a year that will be good (rather than, say, yet another disastrous year in American or global politics, or how we continue to not find ways to save the Earth from human evils), let me know. I am open to bright ideas! (well, trying to do that, anyway).

See you on the other side of 2020. I’ll try to blog more, at the least, even if my eyesight may never be 20/20 without corrective lenses (okay, that is a silly joke for the new year, but this is the 21 century and it’s all very weird). Have a Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!