Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

March 2002 Archives

Hansel And Gretel

Two people stole a Krisp Kreme truck from a parking lot and drove away, leaving a 15 mile long trail of doughnuts (or donuts if you like Dunkin’ that much). Police, being the donut bloodhounds they are, caught the couple of course. The couple might have gotten away if they had left a trail of pretzels, ice cream or even blood. They just had to choose the policeman’s staple diet.

Read the article. Blogger Comments x

Get Ready To Rumble

Star Wars Episode 2

Oh I saw the new Star Wars Episode 2 trailer. It sure gets the adrenaline pumping more than the soppy love-storish one they had running for some time. They showed short clips of lightsaber battles, armies of battle-drones - the stuff dreams are made of. Watch it off Apple if you can. I expect my online poll to swing quite a bit in favour of Star Wars.

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Things We Should Say But Do Not

Seems like we have a movie-fetish this weekend, and the fact that Blockbuster had some special offers didn’t help. I just finished watching Life as a House, and it has provoked some thought. If you’re rolling your eyeballs and thinking that every movie I’ve watched seemed to have resulted in a post on Tribolum, think again. I also caught The Rookie this afternoon at the movies and I must say that it inspired a total of zero brain waves.

Kevin Kline in Life As A HouseLife As A House follows the same formula as American Beauty. Without revealing any spoilers, the movie revolves around a middle-aged man who loses his job and decides that all these years he hasn’t been living. He does radical things and people around him finally start to respond. I’m sure you’re familiar with the formula.

Ever realised how much of our lives is spent keeping quiet about things we want to say? I’m not talking about starting revolutions or rebellions, that’s for another time and place (or movie). It seems an inherent human trait to hit the coffee-house, slump onto the couch beside your close friends, and complain about how people treated you that day, or about how your job’s unfair, or how the weather destroyed your plans. We are so very quick to foist all the things that hurt us or inconvenience us that we forget the many, many wonderful things that we enjoy.

I do not stand upon a soapbox and preach unto you, because I know that my heart contains as little courage as most of you. Being Asian doesn’t exactly help the cause either, because we’re taught to keep quiet and endure whatever comes our way, bearing in mind that any suffering is probably insignificant when compared to that of our parents, grandparents or even some obscure relative.

You think that’s bad? You know…third uncle on your father’s side…

You know how it goes.

I’m just glad that I can sit here and type everything out. In some way this is my soapbox. My little space where I can say whatever I want, half hoping the people I say it to will find it, half hoping they won’t. I’ll say it anyway.

Dad - thank you for loving mum. In all your quiet ways you’ve shown me how to be the man of the house.

Mum - thanks for enduring my entire teenage years. I know I can never make up for the heartache I caused, but I’ll live trying.

Min - you know that I love you a lot, even as a young kid you always had a place in my heart. I secretly (because I dare not tell you face to face) desire so much that you’ll come to church with me. Just to give it a shot. If I had only one desire it would be that you’d give Christ a chance.

Louelle - even though I don’t see you half as much as I would like, you still make me smile, especially when you sent URLs of the Nike shoes you hope we’ll get for you. You’re growing up to be a really good kid. I miss you a lot.

I could go on, but it’s late, and Tribolum’s gonna need material for drier days.

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Fuzzy Logic

Denzel Washington in Training DayJust watched Training Day, the movie that won Denzel Washington his Oscar as best actor. It took a while of getting used to the language of the streets, namely that of the impoverished African-American. It is interesting to note that this form of speech is slowly being adopted as the common language of African-Americans here in the United States.

Denzel has always shone in his roles as the good guy. Crimson Tide, Remember the Titans, The Preacher’s Wife. He’s the guy who has the most “beautiful face”, according to a computer program that had facial symmetry as one of its major criteria. So Denzel, the angel, had to step up in this role as the bad cop with warped (but somehow good) intentions. Ethan Hawke is the rookie who, like us, is figuring out what is right and wrong throughout the movie. All in all, the movie is lacking in plot, but loads up on acting skill by the truckload.

Ethan Hawke in Training DayIt is entirely plausible to imagine that cops actually do what Alonzo (Denzel’s character) does. Abandoning rules in order to make the big catch, bribery, betrayal amongst gang members he considers as friends. We live in a warped world that grows even more so by the day. When we were young it seemed so clear-cut. Cops vs thieves. Autobots vs Decepticons. Superman vs Lex Luthor. It isn’t so anymore. There’s a loss of innocence within society, especially these past few decades.

In the last few months we have seen the integrity of the mega-accounting firms drop as Arthur Andersen shredded evidence in the whole Enron scandal. Child stars suing their parents for mismangement of assets. Catholic priests under investigation for child molestation. It has become harder for us to trust anyone or any institution. Life has become hard and cold. In all honesty, I’m half afraid to bring a child up in a world where no honour is found. The home can only provide this much protection.

Whatever is good, whatever is admirable, whatever is lovely. I hope and pray that there is enough left in this world for our children to survive on.

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Being A Man

For those of you really faithful readers out there who remember Andy and Silas, the two kids who stayed in the next room while I was still at the dorm, I met them again today at the basketball courts. After a little less than two years some things have changed. They no longer live in the dorms. But looking at them I remember my admiration for these two best of friends. If there ever were a real life Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, these two would be it. Batman and Robin, Bert and Ernie…I’d nominate these two guys. Ok…maybe not Bert and Ernie.

Andy is not your normal college kid. He’s a teenage father to a very beautiful daughter named Scarlet. Most guys I know would have run away, denying the enormous responsibility that came with such a role. He chose to be responsible. He now lives with the mother of his child, and her child from another relationship. He has become the father of two young children. I admire the size of his heart. Silas, whom I remember was a brash young American teenager in every sense of the word, told me how he’d go over to Andy’s on Saturday nights to hang out because Andy’s girlfriend had to work night shifts, and that Andy needed to be with the kids. I stand before the immense beauty of it all.

One chose to be a man. The other his friend. I wish them the best in all of my heart for all of their lives. Blogger Comments x

Call For Inspiration

If you come across a picture on the web that is thought-provoking, drop the link in the comments below. We’ll see if we can make a short story out of it. Blogger Comments x

Pipe Dreams

Just when I had deemed the day uneventful and headed to find solace on the basketball court, Poseidon paid my apartment a visit. I came home to a rather “distraught-but-keeping-it-together” sister who had done a great job of strategically placing buckets, containers, cups, pots and pans all over the place. Water was dripping down from the apartment upstairs. According to the hardworking saviour of the apartment, the guy upstairs had a little river running down his hall and couldn’t help but spread the joy of having water in Arizona to us lucky folks downstairs.

The plumber came and was kind enough to loan us his vacumn machine. It was one of those gigantic ones that could possibly create a blackhole if aimed upward. We lent a hand and sucked all the water out of the carpet. I am not one to jump into doing household chores, but it was nice that this was our own little place, and that we were responsible for its upkeep and general dryness. My sister and I make one heck of a team. Blogger Comments x

Null

It’s one of those days. Where you feel like nothing productive was done. The air is thick and insipid, and things around somehow seem to lack their usual colour, smell and texture. I hate those days.

Came home from school, bummed around and got into bed for a nap. Drifting in and out of sleep the only thing I did do today was get into a wrestling match with the zzzz monster. I got k’oed and stayed that way for a little less than three hours. I need to get out of the house and stretch my legs. Think I’ll hit the ball courts later. Blogger Comments x

Of Dreams Past

Computer journals, business magazines, textbooks, homework problems, television. Argh.

I just want to write. I’m glad I did this afternoon. It’s like breaking the bonds that have held my arms an endless eternity, shielding my eyes and denying my soul the very air it breathes. Today I breathe again. I only hope the rust I have accumulated these years doesn’t impede my degree of expression.

Would love to hear your take on it. Just leave your comments below the short piece. Maybe I’ll see if I have what it takes to finally publish that paper my professor once inspired me to try. Blogger Comments x

One

“There is no such thing as too much beauty in this world.”

Her tears ran down her cheek, mascara stains streaking down her eyes as she stood there in the rain. He turned around and left her there, his brown trenchcoat’s rustling growing softer and softer as he walked away in the distance, leaving her standing alone amidst the bustle of the square. The neon lights flickered falsely, reflecting into a million variations of itself in every street puddle, unable to give light in the suffocating darkness of the night.

Her life. It had been a lie. All twenty three years. The clues had always been there - insignificant coincidences, she thought. People would come up to her and tell her how she looked so much like a friend they had, or another someone in another street. Her friends told her that she had one of “those faces”. A face that people found familiar, comforting, like that of someone they knew from a long time ago, or a place far away. She didn’t take heed of these things till the night she saw her own doppleganger. In that one fleeting moment, her existence seemed as if it were ripped in two.

Her eyes. They were blue. Like mine. Exactly like mine.

That began a personal quest that lasted four whole years. Four years of asking questions and not receiving a reply. Until tonight.

Twenty four years ago she was made, not conceived. She was placed, not born into a family. She was unlike any person around her, only because she had had her uniqueness stripped away, one double-helix at a time. She could almost remember the needle piercing into her cells, injecting into her what would be her personality, her looks, her being. Her makers had meticulous hands, not minds. They had not seen her heart - how she would feel being part of their little game. They had not asked her consent. They had forcibly invaded her life, leaving the indelible mark of their fingerprints on every cell. Almost a quarter century later, they had left her on her own to battle the silent ghosts, the dopplegangers that would haunt her the rest of her life.

The headlights came fast and she had little time to react. There was a deep silence in her mind as she fell to the ground. The muffled murmur of the crowd was incoherent to her. She was unlike them. Her pain was beyond their comprehension. Her pain. Hers. She guarded her sole possession fiercely, and as she drifted away from consciousness, she knew that only the skies would weep for her that night. She was no one.

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Be Vewy Vewy Quiet...

Mont Blanc's Meisterstuck CollectionWhen I embarked on my first online journal entry more than two years ago I endevoured to live an open life, and write about whatever I felt, thought and did. I wanted to be honest to myself, and to whoever was willing to plough through my writings, putting aside all pretences and masks. I do not attempt to be cool or an authority on life, I’m as new at it as many of you are.

Throughout my blogging days many friends have stopped, or comtemplated stopping their blogs altogether. Most of them did this because their blogs came back to haunt them, wielded as solid black and white (depending on the colour scheme) evidence by people close to them in real life. It is in the very nature of human beings to judge others, and those that divulge more information eventually become victims of their own openness.

Though my own experience today seems inconsequential and trivial as compared to my less fortunate comrades, I begin to see why so many unspoken words remain as they are - unspoken. I blogged a few days ago about Duke losing their basketball game to Indiana, and how I didn’t want to join in the nationwide chant of “Duke is dead”, now almost a national anthem at colleges everywhere. Yet today as I was watching the Duke women ballers thrashing another school I mentioned out loud that I wished they would lose. My sister beside me caught me right away, and for that split second I felt betrayed by my open journal. My most secret friend which I had held close to my heart had revealed my involuntary hypocrisy and betrayed me, so it felt. I had gotten carried away with the anti-Duke sentiment going on in basketball courts, and BAM…was shot for it.

Even as I write this I know that I write it openly, and am well aware of the risks I take on with opening sharing my thoughts. Yet I press on almost recklessly, in the hope that some might be spurred on to lay themselves bare as well. I am what I am - not often a pretty picture, nor a perfect one, but I stand before you and just write my heart out, because I know no other way to live.

Hunting season has begun. I stand unafraid.

Mass Media Ain't All Bad

Arthur HillerIt is time for the Oscars again. Though it is a celebration of popular culture, there is a certain sense of idealism attached to the awards. It provides a sense of hope that the general intentions of these artistes, poets and performers are noble ones. Movies, in their truest form, allow us to all live the lives of others, understand pains and joys that we would have otherwise never known. Every year I gain some measure of wisdom in the words of these people who have spent their lives touching other lives.

I remember last year’s shining moment vividly. Roberto Benigni won two awards for Life Is Beautiful. He then quoted the latter two lines of William Blake’s Eternity,

He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.

This year the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was given to Arthur Hiller. He has been active in 45 different charities and movements, and even smuggled books and clothing to US citizens in Russia who had been stripped of these rights. It wasn’t so much what he has done that appeals to me - so many have done so much more and gone unnoticed. It was what he said tonight.

“I am embarassed to receive an award for doing something I should do.”

Things we all should do. If Arthur Hiller affected and changed so many lives, imagine what a world we would be living in if everyone had that same attitude.

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Last Teatime

Tonight is Kieron’s last night here. While most people would love to have an entire room to themselves, I know I’ll miss having him to talk to, to be with. He has been a good roommate, considerate and understanding. I gave him a hard rock Singapore cap, just as a token of goodwill. I don’t know if I’ll see him again, but now I know that whenever I read news on English second division soccer and see Burnley, I’ll be reminded of him. He has broadened my international perspective of things. I guess I used to read Enid Blyton and somehow drawn my own picture of English people from there. I still believe that a chap called Mister Meddle exists and is walking around the streets of some obscure town in England. Or in a land where rabbits talk, and golliwogs hold parties with teddy bears, you find these English people drinking tea. In another extreme, many of us may have put all Caucasians together, not realising the great difference between the English and the Americans. They are as different as night and day.

I had my science test today. I spent long hard hours trying to plough through the textbook. It was work as in I dreaded it, but the same feeling of amazement in discovery was still very much there. It is energy consuming though. This time, instead of Newton, and Copernicus, I wrote about Bernoulli and how he discovered that the air around us was made of molecules and that those molecules obey Newton’s laws. Amazing stuff. Only to be found in an institution of learning.

I watched a few videos over the week, and I must say it has a most rejuvenating effect. I watched Much Ado About Nothing, and my love of Shakespeare was rekindled. It had never left me, and I so thoroughly enjoyed how every word and phrase was perfect for the occasion. Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson’s wonderful acting also helped bring the story to life. The other movie that touched me was Patch Adams. There was a part in it where Patch says “why can’t we study for the joy of discovery, and not for grades?” I find that so true. We have killed the joy of learning in our youth, and I hope that there may be something later in my life I can do about it. I refuse to lead a life that makes no difference, and go silently into the night. The third video I rented was the cartoon Hercules. I’ve nothing intellectual to say about it, just that it was great fun.

Dearest Sarah, thank you so much for the wonderful paragraph you wrote in my guest book. I am constantly amazed by your maturity, despite your tender years. If I were older I’d have you as my god-daughter. If I were younger I’d have a crush on you. Laughs I’m kidding. I am touched by your words, for they hold so much truth, as seen by eyes yet untainted by the world. I’m now staring at the screen, in awe of the wonderful work God has done in you, Sarah. God bless you. He certainly has blest me through you, and through the many marvelous people that surround me. Blogger Comments x

Dear Mom Letter

Riding In Cars With BoysWatched Riding In Cars With Boys on video a moment ago. It was such a splendid experience. It gave me an insight of what my mother’s life was like, what she might have felt, and probably even what she now feels.

I guess in many ways mother has changed quite a bit since my childhood days. She is a now a highly motivated, analytical lady who seems to know exactly what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. Yet I can almost imagine the teenage girl who applied to major in accountancy simply because her friends did. it is comforting to know that at some point in life, she was as clueless as we her children are.

She had her first kid (yours truly) in her early twenties. I admit to not being anything like a “good” kid. I never did my homework, told lies all the time and seemed disinterested in everything but the books I liked reading. Like Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie, I’m sure she had her share of dreams, and yet they seemed to slip away with every passing minute. Her idea of an ideal home, an ideal life must have changed radically with my existence. I was a free radical, an unpredictable factor that changed plans, hopes and dreams.

Yet like the movie I hope that she has seen the wonderful job she has done throughout these years. I have no doubt in my heart that many compromises have been made on her part, but I hope that she finds fulfillment in knowing that this child, her son, has grown up to be quite the ok kid. I’m thankful for all that she has done and all that she has had to give up. The movie has made me see her as an individual being, on top of being my mother.

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Shopping For Shoes

My Black Nike Prestos

It’s been five, six years since I went out shoppping for clothes. Not the occasional T-shirt type of shopping, but buying clothes to replace the ones that are badly in need of a substitution. Before you think I blew a thousand bucks on an entire wardrobe, I just bought a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, a shirt and two pairs of shorts. The three pairs of jeans I wear were bought in Chicago in my short work stint there back in the winter of ‘96.

I’m dead boring that way. Most people who know me often tell me that I’ve never changed a bit. I wear clothes till they die on me. In some cases they dye on me. That happens when dear old sister accidentally drops a deep red ribbon into the washing machine. My hairstyle has pretty much stayed the same since infancy. I have a pack of Twix and a Dole Apple or Pineapple Citrus juice. I would reveal many more habits, but that’d make it way too easy for anyone to assasinate me.

My old Nikes wore out, so I bought myself a pair of Nike Prestos. They are to feet what T-shirts are to the body. Those are my new shoes up there. Really. The photo was taken this morning on my kitchen floor. $29.95. Quite a steal.

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Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Thanks Eddie, for this list.

Caught sleeping at your desk? Say…

orange bullet“They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”

orange bullet“This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to.”

orange bullet“Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper.”

orange bullet“I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!”

orange bullet“This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!”

orange bullet“I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance.”

orange bullet“Actually I was doing a “Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan”(SLEEP) I learned at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend.”

orange bullet“I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Are you discriminatory towards people who practice Yoga?”

orange bullet“Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem.”

orange bullet“The coffee machine is broke….”

orange bullet“Someone must’ve put decaf in the wrong pot.”

orange bullet“Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won’t wear off!”

orange bullet“Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the workaholic!”

orange bullet“I wasn’t sleeping. I was trying to pick up my contact lens without using my hands.”

orange bullet“Amen.” Blogger Comments x

Doh!

Spanish PM Jose Maria AznarThe Spanish Prime Minister gave a 25 minute long speech to the European Parliament, stepped off the podium, then turned to his neighbour and muttered : “What nonsense I have just come up with”.

The microphone was still on.

Read the article.

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Sanity

Jason Williams after missing the potential game-tying shotMarch Madness is over. Arizona lost to the Oklahoma Sooners 88 - 67. Being a Wildcat myself, I could rattle on about how Oklahoma played rough and wasn’t called for half the fouls they committed, but such is the nature of the game. We’ll welcome our boys home and congratulate them on a job well done. Before the season began nobody even ranked the team in the top 25, yet here we are playing at the Sweet Sixteen. They can lift their heads high.

The consolation for every Arizona fan tonight in the fact that The Duke (Blue) Devils lost to Indiana 74 - 73. Jason Williams had a chance to tie the game with a free throw and missed. Though I feel bad for him as it is the absolute worst game scenario one could imagine in a basketball career, I am glad that the pride of the Blue Dynasty is broken. It was nice to see the wide grins on the faces of the Indiana Hoosier players, rather than the smug look Duke would have given us did they win.

A soft, almost silent cry can be heard over many college campuses tonight chanting “Duke is dead…Duke is dead”. But I will not join them. Much as a basketball buff I am, basketball wins and losses are as inconsequential as a hamster running its wheel. It’s the character one shows when playing the game that counts. The Wildcats showed determination, focus and a lot of class.

I flip through the calendar. There’s March next year as well. Blogger Comments x

A Little Reprieve

I’m thankful that this week is over, and that the weekend is here. It’s wonderful not to have classes on Friday. The sun seems brighter today, the flowers smell better, even the wind has a nice soothing texture as it brushes across my being.

Jason Gardner, University of ArizonaI’m all geared up for the huge basketball game this evening, as number 3 seed Arizona takes on number 2 seed Oklahoma. It’s a match that will determine who will move on to the Elite Eight. While it’s already a miracle that Arizona made the Sweet Sixteen this year despite losing four of its players to the NBA last year, all of us here in Tucson are hoping that this year’s team will make it all the way.

Warning: Baller-speak below.

For all ya ballers out there (though I know the percentage of blogger-ballers ain’t all that high), read what ESPN wrote about Duke star Jason Williams trying to make it to da big-league this June. J Will has been getting all the love in the league, but he ain’t got no D. The media’s slowing figuring out that this dawg may have more bark than bite.

Jason Williams is good. But not as good as the hype surrounding him. When he gets to the league, he’ll have big trouble guarding pro 1s. Not the starting points guards. He can’t guard even the smaller 1s — GP, Mighty Mouse, Snow, Alley I., Alvin Williams, Baron, Nash,Van Exel, etc., etc., — let alone when it’s onions-time and Kobe or T-Mac go to point. Light him up like Christmas. The backups will give him pause. You think beating Troy Hudson or Bobby Jackson or Lindsay Hunter is cake?

Arizona’s Jason Gardner, on the other hand, is “as good or better than Jason Williams”. The normally pro-Duke ESPN has finally awoken to the hoop skillz in the PAC-10 Conference.

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For those of you not

Sony's Version of LassieFor those of you not familiar with the Aibo, stay up a little later and catch those annoying television advertisements that enslave our attention so successfully. Along with the Ginsu knife, countless pieces of fake jewellery, the great wok of China, the Aibo is one of mankind’s proudest technological breakthroughs. According to the fast-talking man in the commercials, that is. Just when you thought the Sony Aibo was sad, our favourite multimedia giant ups the ante.

Sony's New PlaymateIntroducing the new Sony SDR-4X, Sony’s definition of companionship. With the Aibo, you had a robotic dog which you had to literally bring up through different life stages. With the SDR-4X, I guess your search for a friend / child / spouse / parent etc is over. No longer will you have to endure the hassles of organic beings. Sony is also doing its part to reduce the intake of oxygen worldwide with this invention. Feel lonely? Look into its red robotic bulbs eyes and find all you ever wanted in another human being!

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La Vie En Rose

Sabrina - Starring Harrison Ford and Julia OrmondFor those of you who have been reading my blog long enough, you’d know that my favourite movie of all time is Sabrina. It’s finally out on DVD, and much as I would like to buy it, I have two copies of it on VHS. My sister bought it for my birthday, and kept the secret so well that I bought it via Amazon at the same time. If you haven’t caught it, please do.

“Paris is always a good idea. I was happy there. You would be too”. Blogger Comments x

Hardware, Software Going Noware

There’s a new virtual keyboard on show at the CeBIT fair in Germany. I love my Targus Stowaway as it folds into a nice compact size. It’d be sad to have memories of things you never touched, simply because their very nature didn’t allow it. As I type this, my keyboard goes clickity-click. There’s a nice comforting ring to it. Blogger Comments x

Rock (Band) Almost Visits Earth

Asteroid almost hits EarthAccording to this CNN article, Earth was almost hit by an asteroid that approached us from a blind spot. It’s funny how movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact all come about the same time, striking mass hysteria into the general public. Not at all a possibility that lingered in our minds a couple of decades ago, one can’t help but wonder how simple life used to be. I’m pretty sure asteroids have been zipping over our heads for a long long time, and until now the folks in Roswell have been crying wolf.

Everything seems to be happening at light speed and I fear for the generation to come - our children. As it is we already have problems keeping up with the hectic work cycle. Investments, retirement plans, promotions, war, disease and now asteroids. I wish I could just lay on the green grass beside a red barn somewhere and stare at the sky. You know, do the Charlie Brown thing. Hope the rest of you guys are holding up fine. Blogger Comments x

The End Is Nigh

It just came to my attention today that there are only six more weeks till the end of the semester. That means that it is six more weeks before the nice three month long break which I’m absolutely looking forward to. The semester has flown past, and though I know stressful times are ahead (just check out my to-do list) the vision of the finish line before me spurs me on. The scary part about running in order to finish is that life passes you by.

This semester has definitely been one of the more productive. Not in terms of academic pursuit, but community involvement. I’ve been serving actively in the Asian Bible Fellowship as well as the Tucson Chinese Baptist Church. Though the culture of college students, especially that of Asian college students, is extremely goal-oriented and success-minded, I hope that I can help these young people see that there is so much more to life than all that. It is just so easy to get sucked into the system. Before we realise it, it is not six weeks or a year, but a lifetime spent pursuing the illusive dream of gaining respect. I say this now, but I know that I’ll have to muster all the determination I have to see beyond my nose the moment I hit the job market.

20th March, 1335hrs. Update: Just found out that it’s a little more than eight weeks till everything’s over. All of a sudden, the road seems oh so long. Blogger Comments x

Star Wars Fan?

Seems like someone got a copy of The Attack of the Clones. Here’s the review. Not sure if it’s real though.

The Attack of the Clones

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Home Alone

Had a long talk with Min a while ago. She mentioned that Singapore Management University was starting its intake soon, and that recruitment exercises were ongoing. She is in two minds as to whether or not to transfer back home. She misses home, and I think that she would be happier amongst friends and family.

It is not easy to adapt to a whole new culture, or move to an entirely different living environment. Even though we speak fluent English, the little nuances often get misunderstood. It sure took me a while to develop an understanding of the youth culture here in Tucson. There are times when I still roll my eyeballs. Being a few years older than most of the college students here, it is sometimes hard to fathom the undercurrents of the teenage mind. I often see my parents in myself, and much as I vow to never forget the tummultous nature of my own thoughts during my teenage years, I sometimes step across the line, and forget that I too was like that not too long ago. Saying stupid things, doing stupid things. Ah…youth. Heck, I still do all of that from time to time.

If Min does decide to transfer back home, it would mean that I return to Tucson for fall semester alone. I cannot even begin to imagine life without my sister in the apartment. I like to hear the television, knowing that another sentient being sits not too far away from me. Well, somewhat sentient, depending on the state of consciousness. Sleeping in front of the television set has become a habit of sorts in this household. I cannot imagine a quiet house, or not cooking for another person every night.

I don’t know. Right now I can only pray, because He knows all these things. Blogger Comments x

New

I went back to school today. Yes it’s a Sunday and I had some work to finish off. Though I never left on a vacation like most other sane students, coming back to a half-filled McClelland Hall (The Business College here at the U of A) was a refreshing experience. I won’t venture as far to say that I missed school tremendously, or that I was looking forward with all eagerness to hit the books or start hardcoding again, but I was glad to be back.

In Carina’s words, the mood was certainly new. It is not a real adjective of a mood I suppose, but it fits so well. The half-setting sun bathes everything in a bronze-golden tone, and everything seems just so serene and right.

People coming back to the campus. It’s getting hard to find a parking lot again. The reawakening of the college town. It’s a truly unique college experience. I sense Carina smiling. Not a purely happy smile. Just one of familiarity and newness all rolled into one. I know, because I’m smiling the same way. Blogger Comments x

A Glimpse Perhaps?

Welch's Isla NgWelch’s Grape Juice is starting its advertising campaign again, and watching the television advertisement brought up a thought I had the first time I watched it. My sister (Min) looked a lot like the Welch’s kid when she was around that age. They had the same haircut and face shape. The funniest thing is, Min remarked that my future kid if I should have one would probably look quite a bit like the Welch’s kid, given that my girlfriend has those enormous eyes.

I smile, and my reaction catches me by surprise. I never knew it myself, but I think I’d love to have a kid. Go ahead, click on the picture. It might just be a glimpse of the future. For a moment, I am breathless with anticipation.

Blogger Comments x

A Wistful Sigh

Sitting here listening to mp3s of sentimental songs. Kermit singing “Rainbow Connection”, the Sound of Music’s “Edeiweiss” and a few others. My heart’s aflutter, yet again, and as I close my eyes I send out a silent wish that seems to scream in desperation.

I want so much to touch lives, to share a sunrise, to share a tune, to look into another’s eyes. I want to know that my life will be spent falling in love with the things I do, with the people I meet. Sing with me, sit with me, speak with me, listen with me. I want to take you there and just enjoy the moment, and share the rich honey that literally drips from the fabric of our lives.

I don’t want to conform. I sulk. I rebel. Come hope with me. Blogger Comments x

A Hole In One

Just came back from dinner at Johnny Rockets. It’s so very American, down to the jukebox and strawholders. Walking back to the car we passed by a Dunkin Donuts that was closed. Conforming to the stereotype we all have, two police cars were parked right outside. Constant Vigilance! With the kind of security Dunkin gets, it would probably be easier to break into Fort Knox.
Blogger Comments x

Home-made, Half-baked Idioms

“as consistent as a barber’s haircut”.

When was the last time you guys went to a barber’s, gave the same instructions you have been giving for years, and still manage to get an original haircut? That’s my HHI for today. You got any originals you’d like to share? Blogger Comments x

Let The Madness Begin!

University of Arizona logoIt is that time of the year again, the one week in the year where I gain control of the television remote. Welcome to March Madness, ladies and gentlemen, and let the games begin.

Arizona plays UC - Santa Barbara tonight, and the rules are simple - win or go home. The experience of March Madness is akin to roadkill…you know it’s nothing but carnage, you detest the system in which someone has to lose, but you watch anyway. Go Cats! Blogger Comments x

Bruise Lee

Butt is sore from falling down. We went ice-skating today. The last time I’ve skated was about eight years ago, and the experience has made me more down-to-earth, in a literal sense. I’m amazed at how Sarah, Irina and Michelle do it so easily and flawlessly. All in all, it was a lesson in trust. I didn’t trust the skates to support my ankles, my legs almost cramped up. I didn’t dare venture too far from the side walls where it was safe. After twenty minutes, I threw caution to the wind, put on a brave front and hit the ice two meters away from the wall I had so gallantly pushed away from.

Four times. Blogger Comments x

Heart to Heart

Dearest Reader (whomever you may be),

A long time ago a certain English teacher of mine asked me, “Are you well?” I proceeded to tell him that classes were fine. He then clarified the question. “No…you. Are you well?” It struck me deeply back then, and I still remember it today - the intersection of the Modern Languages buildling where we stood, the smell of the halls yellowed with age, the silence of morning. He had spoken to me, not the role I played, but the very core of the person I was. Me.

And my question to you this night is the same. Are you well? I ask, because I care. Whoever you are. Blogger Comments x

Archipelagos

“No man is an island” -Some wiseguy “Better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all” -Some other wiseguy

Had dinner with Anne, Pauline, Helen, Mike and Paul tonight. Though they are not longtime friends from yesteryear, I feel a close attachment has been forged tonight. Friendship would have been too casual a word.

It would have been easier to watch life from a distance, given the transitivity of college life. Much as I would have it otherwise, it would be very hard to keep these companions as the lifelong next-door neighbour we all would like our closest friends to be. Coming to America has opened up a new dimension of social interaction to me. I have never had to deal with geographical limitations ever before. Sure, I’ve had friends come and go, but it was more because we’ve all moved on to different stages in life. Tonight I saw in them friends I would have liked to keep in my life for its entire duration, and the almost inevitable prospect of being geographically apart rips at my heart. Its steady beating and the rush of warm blood that flows through it beckons me to dive into the moment and love these people with all the strength that is within, but in my mind’s eye I know that tears will be shed, and pain felt when the time comes for us to end a physical face-to-face relationship. Emails and phonecalls won’t make it the same. They never do.

So I stand here at a new crossroad. Should I avoid the catastrophe that comes inevitably with love, or spend my days here in Tucson not truly knowing any?

I place my chips on the table. I will play. Blogger Comments x

Google This!

Do a search on Google for “develop superhuman strength” and this site comes in at number two. I guess that makes me the guru on how to do just that. Blogger Comments x

Dmaj7

It hasn’t been the best of days, despite it being the last school day before next week’s Spring break. Sitting on my bed strumming my guitar, I hit a D major 7 chord and it seems to reflect the mood of today so well. Not entirely angsty like a minor, yet not full and wholesome like a major, the Dmaj7 has with it a sweet melancholy - a certain twang to it.

I take out the Lemon Pledge and start polishing my guitar. Not only is it therapeutic, in some way it sets my life right, taking me away from the fast, hectic pace of work. Gently shining her soundboard is the least I could do for so lovely a bard. I ought to name her. Gweniviere comes to mind. I know I won’t be allowed to name my daughter (if I ever have one) that, so my guitar will have to do.

Meet Gwen. She echoes my heart’s unspoken feelings. Blogger Comments x

Update

A new post has been added to “Her”. Blogger Comments x

Eye Candy

I added a small photo album to the site. Click the “visuals” button on the navigation bar on top. Warning though, some of the photos are quite large. My photography skills are bad enough without having to pixelate them. Blogger Comments x

Knowledge, Information, Data And Junk

The Internet is supposed to be the wave of the future, the largest collaboration of mankind’s collective brainpower. Many people have been coming to this site looking for the secret to telekinesis. Thanks to Google for sending them over.

What weird searches have led people to your blog? Blogger Comments x

Bittersweet

Sat in my bathtub, warm water from the shower pattering on my head. That’s as close to sitting outside in the rain one can get here in Zona. Today has been a day of sorts.

I had a great time playing basketball today. Even managed to pull off a half court fastbreak pass to my teammate through an opponent’s legs. laughs I guess it took me a good two and a half years before settling into the American style of play. The best part was that I don’t think any of us on the team would have minded losing - we all laid it flat out on the court tonight, and though none of us were Michael Jordans, we shared the ball, and just had a ton of fun.

Yet today I read from a friend’s blog that life isn’t all that rosy for her. It saddens me, yet in a good way, because I know in my heart that I hold a place for this stranger I do not yet know. I do not know the circumstance or the people involved, but I do know that someone far away is hurting, and I feel her pain. I wish there was something I could do or say to change things, but there isn’t.

So to that dear friend, hold on to hope, faith and trust. We hope. We have faith. And we trust that you’ll get on your feet again. hugs Blogger Comments x

Mind Over Matters

A Beautiful MindWatched A Beautiful Mind today and I must say that it made me think quite a bit. I don’t profess to be a genius of any sort, but I can relate to a lot of what went on in the movie. The line between what we deem sanity and insanity is but a hair’s breadth.

Ever ran a song in your head till you were pretty sure you heard it? Then strained hard to hear it again? I guess hallucinations are exactly that, only difference being one has to strain to get that song out of the head. I’m half afraid to analyze mental illnesses too closely as I often go deep into the recesses of my own mind in order to comprehend these matters. It is akin to walking down a dangerous pathway in order to see the huge cliff at its end - one might just fall over, never to return.

I find myself like John Nash (as portrayed in this Hollywood movie) in many ways. I often talk to myself, trying to find patterns in almost everything I see. I strongly believe that almost all things are attributable to some form of reason (not necessarily mathematical) and seek to find them. When I suffer the ocassional ankle sprain I might even walk like Nash did. The only difference between us is probably an IQ factor of about 150.
Blogger Comments x

Thanks

Thank you and you for the encouraging emails you both sent my way. It is comforting to know that there are people out there who are personally moved by words on a screen in this fast-moving digital age. It is easy to become detached and impersonal when there is so much “content” on the web, that we sometimes fail to realise the human heart that expresses the words that we so quickly skim over. So thank you two once again, for being here for me. Blogger Comments x

Calm Before The Storm

This weekend was a harrowing one - in a good sense. Looking my to-do list, I’ve tests and projects all lined up before the peace of Spring Break can be realised, but I spent this weekend in the weirdest fashion yet.

I played soccer with some of the Air Force personnel here in Tucson. It was probably the second or third time in my life I stepped on a field and used my feet on a ball. Ok, so maybe I’m not new to the concept of kicking balls, but that was way back in heyday when I used to get into fights all the time.

Preparing for the Database test over the weekend was a good experience. It was the first time since Kathryn’s diagnosis that I’ve been able to concentrate on schoolwork. I do not doubt that her illness has affected me on a deeper level than I consciously realise. But life goes on, in the haphazard and almost uncaring way it does, and we learn to roll with the punches I guess. Blogger Comments x

What If Bush And Osama Were Like, 15 Yr Old Girls?

This link is absolutely hilarious. It captures the very essence of instant messaging perfectly. Blogger Comments x

It Ain't Heavy....He's My....

It’s not easy being a brother. I guess I’m getting a taste of parenthood, and it’s not as sweet as I’d have liked it to be. Having my younger sister here in Arizona is without a doubt a blessing which I enjoy daily. Her company is something which I’ve come love and appreciate. But like every relationship, sweat is part of the bargain.

We’re quite different, the two of us. I’ve always felt responsible for her, being six years older. Back in the days when she was a toddler, I remember the pride I had in my heart that I was her older brother, and I would have done anything to protect and watch over her. I changed her diapers on occasion, and took her for walks as she held my finger. We had our share of fun, and deep in my heart even back then I always wanted to teach her well, and watch her grow to be a beautiful and mature young lady.

There comes a time when one has to learn how to let go. I was very proud of her last week when she decided on her own not to go clubbing using someone else’s identification. Yet I feel that she is slowly drifting away from me. I look at my hand and I no longer see the small girl who held my pinkie so tightly.

She has stopped coming to basketball games. She tries to get other people to take her place, but she doesn’t know that I wanted her there, to share the moments with. Yesterday she told me that she didn’t feel like coming to church with me anymore. Like any Asian parent or older brother would do, I pretended not to hear it. But I did. I know that I cannot force her to see what I see, and that she has to find out the Truth on her own, but it hurt that she was starting to reject what I stood for. It meant to me that she had rejected me.

I still pray for her constantly, and hope that somehow we’ll work our way through. There is no friction or disagreement among us, merely a slight resignation from my part. I now know how my parents felt when they couldn’t understand me in my teenage angst, or get me to be the obedient son they had always wanted. It hurts. I only hope that my present gratitude toward them will make up for the years of pain they endured. And I hope that I find the silver lining of this ominous cloud I now currently am in. Blogger Comments x

Baby Names

Just as Muslim extremists give Muslims everywhere a bad rep, deviant “Christian” cults do their share of damage. Check this list of demon-names from Demonbuster.com. Not only is it sorely misguided, it’s hilarious. I’m still trying to figure out how driving is a demon. Guess I’ll have to steal a cart from the grocer’s next time I need to carry my groceries home. Oh wait…is pushcart a demon….or was it grocer….dang…it’s a long list.

I didn’t even look through the entire list. Anything catch your eye? Blogger Comments x

The X-Roads of Our Lives

For those of you familiar with the British education system, the ‘O’ Level results were released yesterday. For those of you unfamiliar, the ‘O’ Levels are a pivotal juncture of a student’s educational future, a set of examinations taken when one is about 16 years of age.

I remember the time I got my results. Not being as hardworking as I should have been back then, I got less than stellar results. Opening that tiny slip of paper changed my life. Before that I had wanted to be a Literature teacher, a writer, a poet, a bard, a Broadway singer (if I had the voice)…you get the picture. Where I once had no problems getting my As for Literature the ‘O’ Level gods at Cambridge decided that I deserved a low C for my literary talents. I would no longer be able to attend a college to learn more about the written word which I had come to love so dearly. I ended up taking a diploma in International Business instead, and now am pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems.

It is hard to say that I do not regret the times I spent studying International Business at the local Polytechnic, for I made many good friends and learnt a great deal, but at the back of my mind I always wonder about the what-could-have-beens. As many of you can tell, writing is an outlet for me, even if it is only the few of you who actually read it. I only hope that my writing skills are not too rusty, and that the blog you’re reading this moment doesn’t come across as incoherent.

I still have dreams of writing and teaching someday. I hold on to it as I would a secret treasure, or a precious infant. Somewhere inside I know that like many of my other dreams, this too may slip away, but I want to live life knowing that my time on earth affected change in people, whether few or many. On a deeper level, I hope that my writings here have somehow had an impact on you,dear reader. One life is too short a time for us to learn what we should, and the exchanging of life experiences is integral to the development of every individual.

So to the younger ones out there who have come to this crossroad of your lives, cherish this moment, for it will be etched in your memory. Choose wisely, pray often, and may God shine on you, whichever way you have chosen. Blogger Comments x

Freedom of Expression

Coming from a rather conservative society like Singapore that ocassionally borders on the point of anal-retentivity, one would expect that my viewpoints on individual freedoms to be less liberal than say, the average American. Yet I am shocked that Heather from Dooce.com was fired because of the ramblings she put up on her own personal website.

We all so often complain about our workplace, our personal relationships with parents, friends, significant others. I’d like to see Heather sue her company’s ultra-oppressive behind and win.

Where does ownership of our own lives and that of the people involved in it begin or end? Like any publication, a website does not force itself on anyone - if it is offensive in any way, don’t read it. The right to express oneself, whether in a written journal or a publicly accessible website should be protected.

I rant, because I can. Blogger Comments x

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