Dardy at Lucy's Teahouse

Update: Here’s Dardy’s commentary from our night out at Lucy’s Teahouse.

I’ve known Dardy Chang since my days at Stanford, but my memories of him consisted of two facts: (1) he was very tall (for an Asian), and (2) he played Taiko. It wasn’t until I came across his web site on the Rice Bowl Journals that more substance was added to the skeletal mental representation I had of Dardy.

Since I found Dardy’s scribblings, I’ve been hooked, reading his journal religiously. I am often in stiches laughing at the things he writes, where as Eric puts it, “he holds nothing back.” It’s refreshing to see someone be honest in discussing his feelings and emotions at the moment, be they good or bad. Reading Dardy’s stories about people we both knew at Stanford adds greater depth to my own memories. The journal entries transport me back to my days at Stanford, days filled with the sights and sounds of accomplishments and disappointments of a young college student. Has it really been 8-9 years since we were freshman? I look around at the students when I’m checking my mail at the Post Office and think to myself, “Wow, they, they’re so, sooo… young!”

I really wish that I was more of a photographer when I was a student. I wrote in my journal nearly every day, but the memories that I recorded on my computer have become faded over time. I think that my college experience would have been more memorable had I taken more pictures. The only ones I have after all were from my time in France during my junior year. Today, I’ve gone to the completely opposite end, taking my camera everywhere that I go, despite its obvious heft. I showed him my S100 that I carry in my bag, saying that while I take the little digital camera with me everywhere, it usually stays stuck in my bag. I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to the picture quality from the D30. Anything less just doesn’t cut it, I guess.

Being Chow Yun Fat

As I was driving up to meet him in Mountain View at the New Tung Kee Noodle House, I saw him sitting at a bench and remarked to myself, “He is Chow Yun Fat!” In the picture to the right, we see Dardy starring as Detective Nick Chen alongside Mark Wahlberg in The Corruptor. He’s got to get the strut down, have a toothpick omnipresent in his mouth, and practice his double-gun draw, but I think that he’s got a future as a Chow Yun Fat impersonator!

It’s strange how time changes a person. I don’t think that I would have identified him with Chow Yun Fat if I saw him at Stanford 5 years ago. I remember him being a bit thinner. It’s like he went from being a small forward to a power forward in the past four years! Lately, I’ve been feeling a little bloated… time for me to start reshaping my body into a lean, mean machine again; otherwise, I’m going to become Jabba the Hutt, bloated and unsightly! Dardy made a comment about how my hair was really long. For the past three days, I’ve let it down, giving me the Lorenzo Lamas Renegade look. I’ve been wondering lately if I should get it trimmed or just keep letting it grow until it’s long enough for me to cut all the hair to one length. Ah, decisions, decisions!

After we met in front of the New Tung Kee Noodle House, we drove over to Lucy’s Teahouse at 180 Castro Street in Mountain View. I had heard of this hole in the wall venue from a number of my friends, but I never knew where it was until Dardy showed the way. Man, this place had an ambiance that reminded me of the old Stanford Teahouse! Everything from the lighting to the color of the walls to the booklet menus screamed, “Cool!” to me. I’ve been looking for a good hangout ever since I was a manager at the Teahouse, and I think I’ve found it.

Over pearl milk tea and an almond tea, Dardy and I discussed a whole variety of topics, from online journalism to relationships to ESPN Sportscenter. We talked about what makes a compelling web site that keeps us coming back day after day. There are so many people out there on the Net who have online journals, but are only a few are able to capture and sustain our interests over the long-run. For me, Dardy’s journal is so intriguing because: (1) I know the author, (2) I appreciate the fact that he’s honest in writing whatever comes to his mind, and (3) he writes in an easily digestable and fun manner. There are a few authors who match those two criteria, and Dardy and Eric’s web sites headline that short list.

Social Ven Diagrams

The two of us have some interesting social circles that have a surprising amount of overlap. I bet that when he visits Eric’s place next month for the Vienna Teng concert, he’s going to meet some more people that he knows either personally or through his existing social network.

Oliver Miao stopped by Lucy’s for some late-night studying and took a few minutes to chat with us. The last time that I saw Oliver, it was at Justin Min’s 26th birthday party at the beginning of June. Dardy was commenting that he saw Oliver at Shoreline a few weeks ago; he recognized Oliver’s face from one of Eric’s journal entries, but held back from walking up to him and saying, “I know you from Eric’s web site!” Now that would be strange to have someone that you don’t know walk up to you saying they recognized you from a web site. That’s the price you pay for putting your face and thoughts out on the Internet for all to see, right?

Speaking of people that we both know in common, I just realized while talking to Dardy that Clara from Starlit Flashes was none other than the Clara who used to be good friends with my cousin, King Jung, who just graduated from Stanford two weeks ago! It really is a small, small world, isn’t it? I never knew that she was an online journalist since 1996!

Back in the BBS days of the early 90’s, I used to attend these BBS Meets in San Diego. This was a group of people who got together at the local mall or on the softball field to meet, chat, and swap stories and warez. It was fun back then since we were able to identify the faces and names behind the handles. I can still remember meeting people like Killer Klown, Seduction, Fistandantilus, The Evil Master, and The Crypt Keeper for the first time. Meeting up with these online journalists would probably bring back similar memories and feelings, I’d imagine. At the same time, part of me wants to keep a certain distance from them. There’s a certain mystery in being able to peel away the layers of a journalist’s personality simply by reading his or her web logs. After a point, however, I think that I’d need to meet them in person to gain a better understanding of who they are.

Dunno, maybe Eric, Dardy, and I will be organizing a Bay Area Online Journalist Meet with personalities such as Amabelle, Gary Cruz, Stephanie Wong, Rita Lee, Jennifer Wade and many more in the near future!

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed meeting Dardy and hanging out with him this evening. I’m certain that he’ll be posting his thoughts on the evening in his journal entry tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it with both interest and trepidation. Interest in that he’s probably going to write something about me and trepidation in that I don’t know what he’s going to write about me! Whatever he writes, however, I’m confident that it’ll be his honest appraisal and opinion. After all, I’m looking mainly for one thing from people: honesty.

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