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It occurs to me that being an adult is even more constraining than being a child. The concept of freedom only exists when you don't know the boundaries. Once the boundaries are mapped, the endless frontier becomes quite finite. And once you've opened your eyes to the bigger world, you can't go back.
Sometimes I hate being a prophet. I need to trust my instincts more. When I parked for lunch today, I had this feeling that I should take a different spot, but I shook it off. When I came back, I had a $20 ticket for parking. If I have premonitions of the future, why don't I change it? Once the avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
I transferred my data from old laptop to a fresh harddrive. Now to burn it onto CD...
This Saturday was another car day. This time, instead of putting more things on my car, I took it for a drive up to San Francisco to meet with other Celica owners. After meeting with them and going to lunch, we went for a cruise around the city, following all the traffic laws (a group of 40 Celicas moving together is quite noticeable). The weather was perfect for the drive, and the scenery beautiful.
My old VAIO finally died... I didn't use it for much after I got my Powerbook. I'm pretty sure the motherboard is dead. There's no real way to tell for sure, but I took it apart and took out the harddrive. I'll transfer the data over to another computer... but the laptop is completely dead... I just wish I could do something with the rest of it... like figure out a way to keep the screen usable.
My IE is broken, so I'm forced to use Netscape. I've tried re-installing IE, but it still crashes on start up. This is probably my first clue that I should move to Safari (and thus Jaguar) or something.
For my creative writing class, I wrote a poem, which I now present to you:
The garbage truck rumbling
Signals it is time to wake.
Crawling out of bed still groggy,
The sweats and socks are pulled on,
the laces are tied,
the preparation for a morning run done.
The cold air bites against the warmth of my face,
my muscles tightening with each step,
as my feet glide along the grey concrete slabs.
Past cars and houses of neighbors never met,
Past schools and churches never attended,
Past a dog, never owned,
Past parks and stores never visited,
Past a jogger, never greeted.
Forgotten, I pass by.
Always looking forward, never looking back,
the journey of the run is chosen by me,
its life varied by mood and whim,
some things familiar,
some things new,
but always at the end of the run, is home.
Microsoft to buy Vivendi?. Could it happen? Sure. Will it happen? That remains to be seen. I wonder if we'll get bought out. That might be nice. It could be worse. If we got bought out though, would I have a job anymore? Would I need to relocate to Washington? Could be interesting. Could be bad. The corporate wheels turn slowly. Even if it did happen, the things wouldn't happen immediately. Too bad, I was just starting to get settled into my apartment.
I just came back from my 4 hour long tutoring session. Actually, it was a combo tutoring/guidance session. My learner's sister is a high school junior so she had a lot of questions about college (applications, majors and such) that I was more than happy to answer. After a session like that, I always feel like I missed my calling as a high school guidance counselor.
I'm in a deep funk that I can't seem to shake. I've been like that for the past week. I'm sure it's the weather. Nothing but dark gloomy clouds. All grey, not a hint of blue. At least on this side of the bay. I'm sure the storms are coming.
I had this nice long post all typed out, and blogger ate it. So sad. Gone forever.
yesterday, i thought i'd seen it all
i thought i'd climbed the highest wall
now I see the learning never ends
and all i know to do is keep on walking
walking round the bend, saying
somewhere down the road
there'll be answers to the questions
somewhere down the road
though we cannot see it now
somewhere down the road
you will find mighty arms reaching for you
and they will hold the answers at the end of the road.
Amy Grant, "Somewhere down the road"
I watched Cannonball Run last night, because it was missing from MSN's list of top 10 car movies. One of the teams in Cannonball Run is supposed to be a Japanese Team, driving a computer-assisted Subaru. We're supposed to believe that Jackie Chan and Michael Hui are Japanese. It's quite an impossible task for me when they speak Cantonese the entire time. This movie was made in 1982. Twenty years ago, we had actors portraying an ethnicity that was not their own. This practice still exists today (see Die Another Day for Chinese actors being Koreans), but at least today they either dub in a native speaker or they try to fake being a native speaker. I guess that's just Hollywood for you. I guess if they can make Schwartznegger American for so many of his action flicks, it's not that hard to turn a Chinese guy into a Korean guy, but ... at the same time, I kind of get the feeling that sort of thing is holding us back by continuing the belief that all Asians look the same. At least we're not having Americans put on eyebrows and squint anymore, so I guess that's some progress.
I'm too American to be Chinese, and too Chinese to be American. And of course, my face is distinctly Chinese. It's not easy being an Asian-American man in this country -- you're never truly accepted, since people fear what is different, and we wear our differences on the outside. Media has this wonderful portrayal of Asian-American men too, as convenience store clerks, martial artists, or Pacific Rim gangsters. Media colors perception, not just of those not of that ethnicity, but those of that ethnicity as well. It makes me really angry when I see something like that. I said last year when the Oscars came around that it'll be at least 20 years before an Asian man get best supporting actor, and probably 30 years before best actor. Why? Because the opportunities and the roles aren't there.
Since it is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday today, I re-read his "I Have a Dream" speech. 40 years ago, he made that speech, making a big difference in the lives of many with those words. I grew up in the post-King world, which isn't as racially diverse as it is now (I had two Asian classmates, one Hispanic classmate and two African-American classmates through elementary school). Although Dr. King's speech was targeted at the African- American community, these days, we've extended the feelings behind his speech to anyone of any ethnicity.
When I was growing up, I got picked on and bullied because of two things -- I was small, and I wasn't white like them. I learned to fight, and I learned the best way to end a fight is quickly. If you can hurt them fast, then they give up very quickly, but you also have to hurt them enough that they won't try it again anytime soon. I was just a child then, and back then everything seemed to be a fight for survival. Instead of fighting on the playground, it's just moved from the streets into the boardrooms and into the political offices. The Office of Homeland Security scares me. America has been this welcoming place for generations, but slowly, we shut our doors, in the name of safety, in the name of anti-terrorism, in the name of security. We take away the rights of people who have a certain look, a certain name, a certain accent. The worst part of this of course, is we can't fight it, since the battlefield is in a place we don't have access to.
We've still got a lot to do to make Dr. King's dream a reality. We were moving in the right direction, but the current administration has set us back a few notches. Dr. King's dream will probably not happen in my lifetime. The children of my generations' children will grow up in a more diverse environment, and slowly, racial prejudice will fade away. But it takes time, and it takes parents who are not afraid of diversity. The dream still lives on, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, in our prayers, and in our children's lives.
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
- Proverbs 23:7
Literally, it means you are what you think. If you can think of nothing but failure, then you will not be able to think of success. That seems to be the theme of my day today. The sermon at church today was on the creation of man, and how God made us the way we are, and how he loves us unconditionally, like a parent loves a child. Then I went to see "Adaptation", which is a somewhat disjointed movie with a Nicholas Cage as Charlie Kaufman, a screenwriter who has major self-esteem problems. He's fat, he's balding, he can't seem to get a date, and he's got writer's block. We hear in voiceover Charlie's thoughts. In fact, the movie opens with a monologue of Charlie tearing himself apart, piece by piece. It was somewhat painful to watch, as some of the issues that he beats himself over is what I do to myself sometimes. I tell myself I'm not worthy of anyone's love, much less God's love. I need to work on that.
It was sunny when I woke up, so I spent this beautiful morning putting in the new taillights. I've been looking forward to doing this the entire week, as the parts arrived on Monday, and although I was hoping to make the installation of the taillights my lunchtime activity, once I looked at what was involved, I realized it just couldn't be done in an hour. You see, the installation of new taillights requires the removal of 3 bolts that hold the taillights to the back of the car. Easy, right? Remove the 3 bolts, put in the taillights, put in the light bulbs, and bam, you're done, right? Wrong. It seems that 2 of the 3 bolts are easily reachable. The third bolt is blocked by the plastic trunk lining.I decided to take all the plastic moldings out, remove the old tailights, install the new taillights and put it all back together again. It was an interesting project. I certainly learned alot about how the car is put together, and I have enough cuts and scrapes to prove it. I think there's just a few more modifications I want to make to the car. Some of it will involve professional painting, but I think I can handle most of the installation of those changes by myself.
I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest who'd have known?
I traced the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine I didnt think enough
I'm too depressed to go on
You'll be sorry when Im gone
I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn't wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over, I'd survived
I couldn't wait til I got home
To pass the time in my room alone
I never thought I'd die alone
Another six months I'll be unknown
Give all my things to my friends
You'll never set foot in my room again
You'll close it off, board it up
Remember the time I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault
I never conquered, rarely came
Tomorrow just holds such better days
Days when I can still felt alive
When I can't wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I've survived
I can't wait til I get home
To pass the time in my room alone
The video game industry is alot like the tobacco industry. We know games are evil. We know games do bad things to people. But we can't stop, because we're making a living off games. Here's Yet Another Video Game Related Death, and this time, Diablo II is to blame.
I went to IKEA today. I've never been to an IKEA before, and I was awestruck by the unending square footage of the place. You should never ever go to IKEA if your apartment is empty, just as you should never go to a grocery store when you are hungry, or else everything looks good. I was sorely tempted to purchase no less than a half dozen pieces, including tables, shelves, and cabinets. Miraculously, I left IKEA with only one piece of furniture: a glass coffee table.
In church, we talked about what life is supposed to be like, the world that God envisioned before Sin entered the world. It was supposed to be paradise. God gave us stewardship of the earth, and what have we done with it? We've filled the earth, and ruled over it. Has our rule been good for the planet? Not at all. God gave us so many gifts, and we've squandered so many... It makes me sad. But isn't the world a reflection of our personal lives as well? We're given many gifts and opportunities in life, but do we waste it?
I think we all have faith, in something. We have to, to be able to keep going. Otherwise, what can you believe in?
I went down to Mountain View yesterday. As I was eating lunch, an anti-war protest marched past the restaurant I was eating in. I'm all for anti-war protests, but what bugged me about it was one of their rallying cries: "No War, not in our name!" I'm all for the message of no war, but the whole "not in our name" part sends the message that we do want war, we just don't want to take responsibility/credit for taking part in it. I find that interesting. I suppose if it was a UN police action, people would support it more. It kind of makes me wonder about the other wars the United States has engaged in over the last 227 years. We know that the wars since the 60s have all had protests, but did people protest the War of 1812 or the Mexican-American War? How about World War I or World War 2? It's interesting what the history books leave out. How will this war be recorded in the history books? Do you know for instance how the American Revolutionary War is taught in Great Britain, if at all? It goes something like this: Americans dumped a bunch of tea into a harbor, The Brits went in to take in those responsible, the Americans hid in the woods, and the Brits gave up looking for them. History is written by both the victor and the loser... be wary of what future generations learn from history.
I ordered some new parts for my car today, new door sills and taillights. Purely cosmetic modifications. I still want to purchase a GPS, some side skirts, and a condenser grill. Is this the start of a new hobby?
And I'm having the dream again
there's a door and no one will let me in.
but funny when i'm awake, it's no different.
and well yeah, i'd like a partner to hold my hand
give me a reason to believe in something again.
i'm trying but i cant.
cuz lately it's all that i can do
and all that i can expect from you is just to
remember to breathe "Remember to Breathe", Rebekah
Being grown-up isn't
half as fun as growing up
these are the best days of our lives
the only thing that matters is
just following your heart
and eventually you'll finally get it right...
get it right... "In This Diary", The Ataris
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Isaac Asimov
I am a pacifist by nature. I don't believe that violence or war is ever a solution to any kind of problem. As our nation sends our armed forces to the Persian Gulf once more, I cannot help but feel frustrated, that our nation, the so-called example to the world, feels the need to play the part of the bully, picking fights with other nations. We don't need to be going to war, but we are. Why are we sending off men and women of our country to die in a foreign land? Quite simply, we do this for oil. We're doing this for the gasoline that runs our cars, for the plastics we need to manufacture, and least importantly, for pride. Think about that the next time you fill the tank on your automobile. I pray for the safety for those that are being sent off, and pray for their families that they leave behind.
I find that all too often, we believe that the world is ours to take from, that our actions don't have repercussions, that what we do doesn't affect the future, and when we start treating people and nature merely as objects and property, we've seen that tragedy often follows. We can change our future, but it won't be fast. It takes time, it works slowly, but change on a big scale can happen. It just has to begin with small things. But these changes, they go both ways -- one can harm the future through little things, just as one can help save the future. We need to think before we act -- a useful lesson which should be applied on a personal as well as a worldly level.
I hope and pray that we can find a peaceful solution before too much blood is spilled.
It really is a miracle
that i have come this far
without a hope without a prayer
without a guiding star
Inspite of my nativity
and many dreams betrayed
I know i would not be here now
before mistakes i made.
Before mistakes i made
who knows who i might be;
some other heart, some other soul,
some other destiny.
But for the times i took;
a wrong turn unafraid
I might have missed it all
before mistakes i made.
So many times i try to change
things out of my control;
The jealousy and all the rage
that swallowed me up whole.
The years that i spent loving those
who did not feel the same.
At times i didn't trust myself
with only me to blame.
Before mistakes i made
who know where i might be;
some other place, some other time,
some other destiny.
These things have taught me what is real;
how to laugh, how to cry, how to love
when to say hello;
Before I left home, my father asked if I still saw Heidi. I just shook my head and he looked at me, not like he was disappointed, but sad more than anything else. My parents didn't care that she wasn't Chinese, I guess they just figured if she makes me happy, that's good enough for them.
Alias: "Hi, My name is Marshall J. Flinkman and I'm here to rescue you." This is of course yet another Star Wars reference. It's a paraphrasing of the words that Luke says to Princess Leia in the detention cell. The camera shots in the scene also mimic those of Luke and Leia swinging across the corridor in Star Wars.
Yeah, I notice these things... it comes from watching Star Wars dozens of times when I was a kid. Sadly, (or should that be fortunately) I cannot quote the entire movie, line by line, like some people I know. Speaking of Star Wars, here's a Star Wars Personality Test.
Well, I'm back in my apartment now. The drive up wasn't the best, but it wasn't as bad as the drive on Thanksgiving weekend. Whenever I leave for more than a few days, I notice how large my apartment is. I'm thinking that maybe it's not really large, it's just empty. I need some furniture... I've decided that I'm definitely going to fill it out this year. I think I've said that before though...
I'm not going to marry Tami's sister. As a friend reminded me last night, marriage is a sacred covenant with God, and should not be entered into lightly. I wanted to help, but I'll choose love. It's the one thing that I can and should be selfish about. I think sometimes I give away too much of myself. In the next four years I need to find someone, though... otherwise I think that I will feel guilty about this incident, of the time wasted, of an opportunity to help someone lost.
I need to figure out what I''m going to do with my life. I work best when I have a goal, and lately I've been feeling more lost than usual.
I want to take the scenic route back to the Bay Area, but at the same time I want to get back as soon as possible to prepare for the week ahead.
I hate going to the grocery stores on Sundays -- no matter what time you go, the number of open checkstands is exactly 2.
Yesterday, I went to Tami's house to visit her and her son, Dylan. She asked me a question I did not expect. She asked me to become her brother-in-law by marrying her 18 year old sister in order to obtain a visa. In short, it'd be a green card marriage. I'd have to go to Vietnam, become her fiancee and marry her. Then I could be her sponsor and they'd approve the visa after about a year. Then, I'd need to remain married to her for three years. Maybe things would work out and we'd stay together after the three years. She needs someone who she can trust with this, which is why she asked me.
Five years ago, Heidi needed surgery ... I would have married her to get her coverage under my medical insurance to help her out. But that was different. Heidi was my friend, and I knew that even if we did marry, we wouldn't remain so any longer than was required. I asked our HR person at work to see what paperwork would be needed to do something like that, but I never had the chance to ask Heidi. The next time I talked to her a few days later, I asked if she still needed help with the bills, and she said no. It's because of this that I've never been able to turn down a friend in need of anything.
I want to marry for love. I never get tired of telling my parents' story. They were married within a week of meeting each other. They had both dated other people before, but there must have been something magical in that meeting, something that told them that they'd be together forever and that they'd take care of each other their entire lives. Something that made my father propose and my mother accept. I'm not saying that their lives were perfect after that, they still have arguments and heated discussions and there's been moments that I thought my parents weren't going to make it. Looking at their wedding pictures, you can feel the happiness that they both shared, and it's still there today. I've felt that spark with another, that connection, twice in my life. I guess the other person didn't feel it.
Tami showed me pictures of her younger sister, who is cute, but physical beauty means little to me. The things that make a person beautiful to me: Intelligence, Honesty and Kindness. Exhibiting those three characteristics makes them beautiful in my eyes. You could be the most physically attractive person in the world, but without those three qualities, I'm simply not interested. Unfortunately for me, those things are discovered only after time and cannot be seen in photographs. Other things that turn me on: a good sense of humor, a love of reading, an outgoing personality, self-confidence.
I'm torn. On the one hand, I can help save someone. On the other hand, I want to find the one who is searching for me. Four years from now, I don't want to still have not found someone and saying to myself, I could have done some good in four years instead of being selfish trying to find love. Nine years out of high school, and I haven't found anyone yet. Four years from now, will I still be single and unattached? Is my own selfish desire to find love more important than another person's future? Yesterday I told her I'd think about it. If she had asked me this a week ago, I would have said immediately "Absolutely not, there's someone I'm interested in." Damn her timing, when I am the most vulnerable. I can still say "No" today, but the conviction is less concrete, because it weighs my faith in being able to find someone special against helping a human life. Two things that I find myself very passionate about. Either life or love is sacrificed. Which is the lesser of two? Hard questions. Questions I don't yet have an answer to.
There's a sense of relief which comes from closure. I really can't explain it more than that. While I am sad that things did not work out the way that I desired, the friendship survives which is the most important thing. I think that's the most comforting thing about all of this -- to know that I didn't lose a friend.
When I got into the accident, it gave me a lot of time to think, and it made me re-prioritize the things in my life. It made me realize that each day is a blessing, and that each experience we survive is an experience we can learn from. Some of the time we do not learn the lesson right away, but the meaning is revealed in time.
The other important lesson is that life is too short. It can end at any moment and it's best not to leave unfinished business and unsaid things. You have to be able to move on, because living in the past is not truly living. It took me a long time to truly understand what that meant.
Somewhere out there is someone who will love me for who I am, and I will find you someday. Maybe we'll just meet and everything will click together, like two halves of a whole. I need to keep searching for you. Maybe I'll meet you tomorrow, maybe I won't meet you for years, but I know you're out there somewhere looking for me as I look for you.
2002 was a difficult year for me, having to face challenges both in my personal life and my professional life. It was a year filled with changes, moments of calm and moments of chaos. The year is over, and we are left with a new year to begin.
To my friends: I love you people. I know I don't say it enough. I wish we could gather more often. My friends, I know I've made some mistakes in the past. If there things I can do to make things better, let me know. If I'm doing something wrong, tell me. I pray that we remain friends through our lives, and that time and distance does not make strangers of us to each other.