Saturday, December 20, 2008


No, seriously, I was interviewed! You can listen to the smooth sounds of me. I sound like a Jewish man for some reason, but if you want to know the deep inner workings of ill iterate, the translator, here's my two cents.

Disclaimer to those who listen to the interview: I know that "anale" is straight-up French, and not an "Americanism." Leave Annus Itchii alone.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Overheard on the subway

Man in late 40s, whom I always see in my bus-ride:'s called desiccation. With a hernia it bulges out. Mine are all shriveled up.

Man in 30s, talking to a woman (colleague, possibly) who is very obviously flirting with him:

Joe's the kind of guy who thinks every girl who gives him a lap dance is in love with him. I tell him every time, no, idiot. They're doing a job.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brilliance in Design -- Books

A period-red cooked lobster with a hand for a left claw.
Holding a gun.

It's when I see things like this, that life seems O.K.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the Presence of Greatness

So I was at an NPR recording studio yesterday for an interview, which sounds more important than it is, since the interview was about my work with people (and things) that are greater than me (which is still an incredible honor in and of itself, don't get me wrong). But I was clearly the context and not the subject.

What's it like working with Chip Kidd?
What was it like working with such priceless comics from the past?
What's it like handling such rare toys?

How appropriate then, that I found myself in the presence of other greatness, in the NPR lobby.

There I was, waiting for the sound engineer to bring me into our recording studio, when a tall elderly black man walks out of it with a small entourage. One of the NPR kids says, "Roy, you wanna sign our guest book? That way we have bragging rights."

So now I know he's famous. Question is, why?

My curiosity majorly piqued, I stare at him with my vacant half-opened eyes, and my mouth is ajar. You know...the whole nine yards (which I'm going to pretend just happens to be the length of a short bus).

He felt my eyes on him, and after we said "hi" to each other, I waltzed over to the "guest book" to uh... sign my own self in. I see an autograph:

R Haynes
You guys are the best!!

Later after I'd already once forgotten then remembered that this took place, I asked a jazz musician friend about "an old black musician named Richie Haynes? Ronny Haynes? Something like that? Ring any bells?"

Friend drops what he is doing and looks me in my (still vacant) eyes:

You mean Roy Haynes?
me (chewing on an orange slice): I dunno. Yeah?

And his jaw fell to the floor. He proceeded to tell me all about Mr. Haynes, from memory. Googled up some videos of him on the spot and asked a bunch of questions.
What was he like? Did he look old? What did you say to him, exactly?

Apparently, I may not have known who he was on sight, but I actually DID know him by sound. In fact, if you listen to any jazz, you're sure to have heard him too. Roy Haynes played drums with all the greats, not the least of whom are Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The guy is 83 and looks like he's 50. It's amazing to see such a human if for no other reason than that he's so healthy and radically good at what he does even at this age. I am frankly embarrassed that I didn't know who he was to begin with.

So now I have effectively blown my friend's mind.

Then, several minutes later...

What was it like being at NPR?!

Always, in the presence of greatness.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ill iterate is in Neighbor Bee Blog

I love Neighbor Bee. One of the few blogs that covers New York without that "New Yorker" exoticism. Turns out Serena (my interviewer and Managing Editor of this blog), and I are like Oreo cookies stuck on the same splooge of New York culture. I love meeting people that way. You know, like when you have your own organic friendship with someone and find out they were about to be introduced to you at some party the next day.

"You know Andy? No way! We're like soul mates!..You guys are soul mates? NO WAY!!!"

Anyway, shameless pandering, and bookmark Neighbor Bee. Worth reading despite its questionable choice in interview subjects. [Oh, and I'm fully aware of all my typos so don't blame them.]

Monday, December 8, 2008

Two things have just become official:

1. I am drunk.
2. I should never edit drunk...


1. Drinking should only ever be to celebrate and never to mourn (in this case, mourn the hours I spend reading anything other than my own writing or the Dragonlance series).
2. I saw the words "fill in the blank" and thought only of porn.
3. Watching an African-American commentator on "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," I thought of how much more subtlely they incorporate the opinions of black people now that Obama is president. Jim Lehrer should never be accused of racism and there. I just did.
4. I was drunk watching "New Hours with Jim Lehrer," which goes on at 7pm.
4. I'm not done yet.

Yet. Having said all that I have plenty of other things I gotta get done, namely:

1. (Fill in the blank)
Someone else please explain what's wrong with

this article.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

UglyCon 2008, by Anne Ishii, aka "not Sun-min."

Yesterday I participated and worked at the first New York UglyCon, which for the unitiated, is the festival-cum-art-opening-cum-costume-contest-cum-signing event that celebrates The Uglydolls, created by David Horvath and Sun-min Kim.

I was originally going to help in something boring, like eying shoplifters and handing out raffle tickets. Carly (the Giant Robot NY manager) and I even discussed me possibly not working at all, if all the staff showed up and things looked par for the course (in GR art openings standards).

All the staff showed up.
Things did not look par for the course, by any standard.

Waiting outside for UglyCon:NYC doors to open, was a throng of families, spotted with handmade Boo and Poe and Jeero costumes. This was at 11am. UglyCon was to start at 3pm.

I went through the line of Uglydoll fans and handed out raffle tickets that would gain them entry. So far so good. One boy excitedly whispered to his dad, who then smiled at me and said:

dad: Are you Sun-min?
me: No. I'm sorry. I don't think she's coming today.

The kid immediately lost interest in me.

At noon we opened the GR store for general merchandise shopping. Things got a little hairy (kids taking vynil displays and my having to grab them by the nape and throw th... I'm kidding. This was just garden variety GR madness).

A line to meet David immediately formed, and kids were stoked to finally have all of life's questions answered.

Kid A, bouncing up and down, fidgeting with a postcard: Um, um, uh, first question. How many Uglydolls are there? Um, um, second question. What's this Uglydoll's name? Um, um...

Halfway down the line was a man looking at me in half-wonderment. We make eye contact and he says:

I'm really sorry if I'm wrong, but are you Sun-min?
me: No. I'm sorry. I don't think she's coming today.

At 2:50pm we sent everyone outside to start the UglyCon raffle drawing. At 2:55pm, the only computer in the store (the computer that functions as the register, the inventory database, the everything)...went blank. More to the point, someone tripped over the power strip and turned off everything plugged into it.

Carly, with a voice from the very depths of Moldor: FUCK.

So now, Jimmy! Mike and I are handing out juice boxes and snacks; asking everyone to be patient while we took care of some technical difficulties.

Fast forward to 3:30pm. A skinny bald man in his late 30s wearing a black leather jacket and jeans, strides up to the building entrance adjacent to GR. He barks at people to get out of the doorway, and the Uglydoll crowd parts like the Red Sea. Very accomodating. This is not good enough for the man. He wants the crowd to part like the hairline he wishes he had (no offense to anyone balding. My insult is dedicated to this single bald jerk.). This bald jerk looks at me and starts yelling, "c'mon! I've had it with you. Your store is a nuisance. This is ridiculous..."

I apologize with my dryest voice, and tell him, "Look. We'll stay away from your door. You don't have to be mean about it. This is a very important day for a lot of kids."

He rants back at me, unable to make eye contact.

me: Hey! They're kids here! Watch your language.
jerk: Yeah yeah. F*** you.
me: There's no need for that! I'm sorry (I repeat this dryly, over and over). You want a juice box or something?

A handful of parents yell at him. They're real close to using bigger nastier curse words. We make do with hating his guts. Man throw up his hands in defiance and goes into the building.

The crowd shares collective disgust at hateful New Yorkers. For a moment we all chastise the jerk in silence. I mean, some people. Not like us. A bunch people standing outside in the freezing cold for the chance to buy something called a Bob n' Beep. (Not hating, of course. I dropped a load of cash on UglyDolls myself.)

I start calling numbers. People are antsy and want to get in. Mostly because it's just cold outside. We've run out of the hot pads I brought for them.

Fast forward to 4pm. Still not a lot of movement in OR out of the store, but not for lack of trying. It's a GOOD thing when people want to stay in your store. We politely asked people to mind the other fans waiting to come in, but hey.

In the midst of the drawing, a middle-aged man comes up to me and asks if he can come in just to look at other stuff. I tell him no. He doesn't like that. We argue. Jimmy takes over and placates him. He doesn't like that either. The parents take over and placate him. He REALLY doesn't like that.

Man: Look at me. I'm not here for the Uglydolls. I promise. I just came in from Long Island to buy other things. Let me look around. I didn't spend 2 hours to be turned away. (etc. etc.)
me: I can't let you in unless you have a ticket right now.
Man: Can I have a ticket?
me: No. We're at capacity.

Man asks people in the crowd for anyone who has a ticket they want to give him. He gets one. His number gets called. Everyone wants to kill him. I'd already told him he'd be going in just to stand in an hour-long line to buy whatever it is he wants, but he really wants to "buy something that's not related to the Uglycon."

Several hours later, I see him talking to David, GETTING UGLYDOLLS AND PRINTS SIGNED. Money for GRNY means we get the last laugh. And I totally believe in karma. He drummed up enough negativity from all of us to last a lifetime.

Back to present.

4:45pm. David has come back from lunch and gotten settled back in so we start the costume contest outside.

There are some wicked awesome costumes. One girl was, I kid you not, wearing a brown polyester laundry bag over her head with two pillows stuffed on top, and the bag was cinched at her chest. This costume had no breathing holes or viewer. Loved it.

Two costume contestants left, when...


Feces has officially hit the cieling fan.

David immediately calls the cops who never show up. Thanks, NYPD.

Kids are now crying.
Mothers are yelling at me that this was the worst experience of their lives.
I beg everyone to calm down and at one point mutter that we shouldn't reenact Wal-Mart.
Later, one mother said to me, "there were definitely some Wal-Mart families here for sure." I don't think she knew about what happened at Wal-Mart in Long Island.

We finally decide the raffle tickets aren't going to work. There are only fifty people waiting to get in now, so we get a bunch of them inside the store to fill up GRNY to max cap, and Upper Playground is nice enough to let the remaining freezing and now wet ticket holders hang out inside their store till I call them to the gallery.

I go into Upper Playground at one point to check on the UglyCon-ers, and God bless Upper Playground, really (Priscilla, if you see this, you are a saint.), and I know very little about cutting edge hip hop or hip hop culture, but the music playing in their store featured with crystal clarity, an MC describing what I can only approximate as getting the "cheese" sucked out their "Doritos" and then "dipping" the chip into really wet "guacamole" and then smoking something that rhymes with the Lackawanna Canal.

There was one kid, standing completely still in the middle of the store, unsure of what to look at, and so looking straight at the door.

Fast forward to 5:30pm. Most everyone who came out for the event is in, or has now been through. I tally two children who went home deferred, unable to wait any more, their hearts broken. Possibly more adults, but who knows. Everyone else got in. David promises to mail gifts to the especially heartbroken.

Almost everyone stops to say how great the whole experience was despite everything. A lot of people said it made their experience that much more gratifying after all the difficulty. Kids were stoked. One kid said it was the best day of their lives. All the adults looked at me like we'd just gone through Abu Ghraib. We smiled and hugged and promised to keep in touch. One man had a quivering tear waiting to fall from his left eye as he mouthed, "thank you."

One more man comes up to me and I already know what to expect.

Man: Are you David's wife?
me: No. I'm really sorry. I don't think Sun-min's coming today.

7pm. The last of the UglyCon-ers are getting merch bought and signed. The last man, an Asian guy about my age, gets a bunch of dolls signed, then brings them to me and asks ME to sign them.

For exactly one second, my heart soars, thinking "wow. This guy is in love with me and wants to remember this wonderful experience by getting my autogr..." and I interrupt my false-fantasy with the realization that:

me: I'm not Sun-min. I'm really sorry. I don't think she's coming today.

Man drops the hands that are holding Wage and Wedgehead, and stops smiling. Turns around and leaves.

Sun-min, wherever you are, I hope I did right by you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I go Lewis Black on Apple

OK. If any of you wondered why I haven't blogged in a while...


Suddenly I didn't want to (cue the most acerbic, sarcastic, and simultaneously erotic finger-quoting gesture ever) "keep up a blog." I lost a full work day to this theft (thank you, robber-asshole. I hope my shit-core porn and Anal Cunt B Sides make you pissed you ever lifted my greasy machine in the first place). And one day without a computer ended up being more than my mighty labor-threshold could handle this week. And you know what the fuck else? I was so mad at the world after the theft that I couldn't stand to look at this stupid blue and orange bubbly Blogger-interface anymore.

But you know what else this MacBook theft signified?


iPod #1: accidentally dropped part of it in water. (Apple replaced it for free)
replacement iPod (#2): became obsolete after my damned hard drive crashed before I backed up the music. (I did not bother getting another one. Fuck it. I got a car stereo.)
iPhone #1: touch-screen magically stopped being magical. (Apple replaced it for free)
iPhone #2: STOLEN on a plane. (Apple did not replace for free because THEY REFUSED TO REPLACE AN OLDER MODEL IPHONE WITH ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE 3G)
MacBook with Tiger: hard drive committed suicide.
Firelite external hard-drive purchased at Apple Store: crashed. (Had to pay through urethra to retrieve data)
MacBook with Leopard: ENTIRE MACHINE STOLEN.
Apple earbuds: broken, broken, constant static electricity shocked inside of my ears (no, seriously), broken.

We buy Apple products in part to avoid all those PC viruses and pop-ups and bullshit, but you know what? At this rate, the damage and theft that Apple is prone to, make it about as costly as PCs can be frustrating.

And I love Apple. I am saying these things like a doting mother. But! When I go into the cubinomicon at Central Park's Southeast corner during a lunch break, panting, asking how Apple Care can help in my stolen laptop situation, this is not what I want to hear:

You need LoJack to protect your computer from theft (hyuk hyuk), not Apple Care.

Thanks, dickwad. This rectal lint really said that to me. I wanted to remind him right there who his mother was. (Answer: my slave.)
And we're buying the Apple products to be cool. How many mothers can call their children dickwads, right? I AM the coolest.

Fuck you, son.