Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

November 2002 Archives

Feeding Frenzy

Sunset at Starr Pass

Having browsed through about a dozen editions of Frommer’s Arizona guide, I am glad to say that I finally got down to watching the sunset at Starr Pass. It’s not that I’ve never intended to, its location has always managed to elude me. Truth is, I found it this time only by accident.

It’s almost a novel concept to us city-dwelling folks. Hundreds of people gather around. Each one finds their own little rock to sit on and await the sunset. Though I went alone, the multitude of conversations around me kept me company, and I found it hard not to casually eavesdrop a little.

Families talking about the odd uncle or aunt, friends talking about their latest hobbies. People who came down from Seattle, San Diego to soak in the sun over Thanksgiving weekend. Chinese speaking parents with distinctly Americanised children. Families who drove north from Mexico to take advantage of the Thanksgiving sales. All gathered. All waiting.

The sunset didn’t disappoint. It turned the sky a most brilliant red and lit the mountains. The vast bush-covered plains before our feet catalogued the movements of the clouds, stepping in and out of the shadow. To add to the already Tolkienne experience, there was a small fair in the distance. The large ferris-wheel glimmered in the sunlight, standing in the midst of bush and sand.

The colour of the sky turned deep very suddenly. The luminescence from the lights at the fair stood out like a diamond, and for that moment it might as well have been Disneyland to us.

I would have liked to share the experience with all of you. I only hope my pictures (which I hope to post one daily in the Visuals section) will suffice for now.

Before I get accused again of using Photoshop skills I do not yet possess, I’ll clarify that the picture (save for resizing) came straight out of my Canon G3.

TurboMan

For those of you who remembered the very bad Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Jingle All The Way”, it was in many ways a realisitic documentary of today’s shopping experience.

First stop - BestBuy. We left the house at 5:20am in order to be slightly early for the 6am opening. There was a line longer than that of the local soup kitchen during a famine. It was quite amazing to see so many cars on the road in the dark of the early morning, all headed towards different stores. A returning to the mothership of sorts.

A track meet was held in the store itself. People literally ran from shelf to shelf, sale catalogue in hand. $9.99 for a CD-RW drive. $5.00 for a Microsoft Optical Mouse. That’s on sale? Yeah, gimme ten of those.

Three of us left with three optical mice, five 128mb CompactFlash Cards and a Palm 500 PDA. We got what we came for.

The sky still dark in its infancy, we left for nearby Tucson Mall. Off to Sears to get Min a hairdryer. She made it clear to us all as we stepped out of the car. “Hair Dryer. That’s all we’re getting”. Wenyang and I rolled our eyeballs at each other. We’ve all heard that one before.

It was a rather roundabout route to the elusive hairdryer. Comforters for the bed, vacumn cleaners, digital cameras, dvd players were the few places of rest we stopped on-route to the faraway lands of personal appliances. Even with the hairdryer in hand, we were unavoidedly obstructed by the Gap, the Knife Shop (cool switchblades!), Nine West, Electronic Boutique and a few others on the way to the car.

We then had breakfast at Denny’s, our biological clock now screwed up for the next few days.

Goodnight, or morning, or whatever.

Bliss

There are few things better than waking up and whispering “Good morning, dear”.

Being in different time zones that span 15 hours, I get to do that lots.

Defcon Five

We were told that the day after Thanksgiving would be the largest shopping day in the year. Sales begin at 6am and in some places 5am. Gigantic crowds are expected and we planned to stay far far away from the ensuing chaos.

Tonight, at a casual dinner, we received information about some of the things that would be on sale. My sister’s eyes lit up. My eyes lit up.

We’re going in. We’ll send news from the battlefield tomorrow.

On My Knees

So many mornings I’d wake up and read my Bible, and it brought me joy, sometimes comfort, sometimes encouragement, sometimes strength, depending on what God’s Word for me was that day. It has been some time since it bought me pain.

We live in a world where Christianity sets itself up to be the dominant religion. We live in a world where Christians are the ones who are “entitled”, so it seems, to the good things in life. TV-evangelists ask you to accept Jesus into your heart, so that all your problems will be solved and you will live a life happily ever after.

That’s not exactly the truth.

Faith (my fiancee) asked me this morning if it were ok with me that she go to some remote village in China to help build houses under Habitat for Humanity. God had put it in her heart to join some other fellow Christians in this volunteer effort.

I can’t even begin to describe the dilemma that went on within myself. We had both made it abundantly clear that we wanted Jesus to be the focal point of our lives and in our relationship. Yet after yesterday’s break in at my house here in Tucson I felt so frightened and so unsure about everything that I would have thought was safe. I love her more than life itself and it would cut my heart in two should any harm befall her.

And the decision was mine to make: She would go only if I gave the green light.

It all boils down to an issue of submission. Do I risk all that I treasure in her? I had no qualms about giving myself up for my God, but when it came to her and what she meant to me, it wasn’t that clear-cut. After a time what could only be described as spiritual wrestling I chose to let her go.

It will be almost one month of not talking to her over the phone. One month of not knowing how she’s doing in a foreign land. Tears form in my eyes at the thought and my faith teeters on its feeble feet.

I read the first chapter of Colossians this morning. “…that in all things, He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). It was the verse we chose for our coming wedding next year.

Lord, I am of little faith but I know that when I accepted You as my Lord, I gave you first place in my heart. Not only do I pledge my life, I pledge the lives of those entrusted unto me for the sake of Your gospel. That You might have the preeminence.

I look upon His face. I feel free. After all, He’s got the whole world in His hands, right?

Please keep me in prayer.

Thanks Giving

Min and I went to a Singaporean gathering, where we had some turkey, mashed potatoes, almond jelly with longan and long-bean casserole. Yup, we brought the almond jelly.

I dropped Min off at home at about ten at night and left for the Recreation Center to play some ball. I came home, turned on the light in my room and found my drawers open and shelves moved. Min hollered and asked me where I put the remote controls for the television and VCR. Realisation hit me.

We were robbed. I went to the living room and found the DVD player missing, along with all our DVDs and some VCDs of Chinese dramas, namely Meteor Garden. We expect those to be found in the trash by the morning.

Through this all, I am thankful that my sister’s safe. I’d gladly trade everything for her safety. I’m also thankful that I brought my camera with me, so it’s still here.

Of course the nagging doubts arise about the safety of the place. We’ve taken whatever precautions we could have, locking all the doors and making sure the windows are all secure. It is at this time I remember that God is still the God of all.

Nothing happens without His choosing, and I rest in His sovereignty, even though my heart still holds some fear.

Owl Bee Bahk

Click here to popup card. Wait for the animated gif to cycle.

It was so very very good to hear your voice again. Halfway through the one week of silence while you were working in Australia I thought I would have gone mad.

I don’t remember what it is like to be alone anymore, but I know that I want you in my life. Every moment of it.

Dr. Who

Help us settle this.

My sister and I were watching the new James Bond trailer on telly and then she said “Pierce Brosnan’s really James Bond. No one else can play James Bond”. Me, being brought up on Sean Connery as James Bond, challenged the statement of fact. We proceeded to come up with names of currently active actors who could have played the part.

“Richard Gere”. Too old, I said.

“Tom Selleck”. Too tall, I said.

“Dylan McDermott”. Too lanky, she said.

You guys got any ones that we can both agree on?

To Night

Red Sunset, Tucson, Arizona.

This evening’s sunset. I know I ought to keep my bunch of photographs in the Visuals section, but I couldn’t keep this to myself.

Hope you don’t mind.

Global Domination

I think it is now safe to say that Basketball is a truly global sport. While channel surfing today, I found the Rockets / Clippers game on Telemundo, a Spanish television channel targeted at the large Hispanic population here.

Standing 7’5” (or 2.26 meters) tall, China-born Yao Ming looked every bit the giant beside the Telemundo interviewer, who spoke in Spanish. Yao Ming stood there grinning at the ridiculous situation he was caught in. I wasn’t sure if he actually asked any questions, but I managed to decipher one line that went “he speaks Chinese, and I speak Spanish, so all I can say is ‘good luck’”. He then turned to Yao Ming and muttered “good luck”. Yao answered with an almost inaudible grunt.

It’s nice to know somehow that the sport of basketball transcends the barrier of language.

Bondage

Saturday - Movie Day. Since the new James Bond flick hit the theatres, we decided we needed to help line Hollywood’s gold-rimmed pockets.

I don’t know if I have become more cynnical of late, but I find something within me disagreeing with many things going on in our everyday lives.

I don’t like how we treat women. Though I placate myself with the notion that I am there to smooze over the new gadgets and glossy cars, the fact is my purchasing a ticket meant I supported Bond’s attitude towards women as well. It just didn’t sit too well with me over the duration of the movie.

My tolerance has grown considerably shorter. Even whilst watching Friends, I stay aware that Joey’s lifestyle and our laughter sends mixed signals to our children. We loudly proclaim to our sons that sleeping around with women is fine - they want it as much as we males do. The one whispered talk about how a man loves a woman…yadda yadda yadda…that doesn’t even so much as put up a fight to the everyday bombardment in the media and our indirect advocating of it.

I’m at a loss and feeling very disenfranchised right now. I am but one standing against what seems to be an unstoppable force. How will I raise my children? How will I teach them? How will I teach me?

New Eyes

Sunset from Park Garage, University of Arizona, Tucson, ArizonaTook a few shots with my new Canon G3 and so far it has surpassed my expectations. The photos come out of the camera so clean that very little post processing needs to be done except for resizing. I’m really looking forward to toying around with all the features - taking macro shots and portraits.

This shot was taken this evening atop a four-storey carpark, which in Tucson is a relatively high vantage point.

Grin

Two words:

Canon G3. Here.

Or is that three?

Overkill

A girls’ high school basketball game yesterday ended with a 115-2 score by the end of the game. This has enraged many, including the coach of the losing team, as an act of devoid of any form of sportsmanship.

Ironic, isn’t it? In an avenue in which we spur our children to win, winning actually became a bad thing. It is true that sports consists of many good things and that at times competition has to take a back seat to good old humanity. I just find it highly hypocritical that we choose to focus on that after the equilibrium between the need to win and a trampled ego got totally skewed.

MeFi has a pretty good discussion thread going.

Internal Revolt

My tummy’s still suffering from the after-shock of a gigantic tummy-ache a few hours ago. I don’t know if it’s due to a low threshold of pain, or if it’s the same with everybody, but these excruciatingly painful stomachaches mess with my head.

You’re sweating profusely and it feels like your insides are doing cartwheels as your appendix tries to keep up. You’re not sure sitting up or lying down is more comfortable, so you’re in constant flux between the two. You’ve to mentally force yourself to think of something distracting to soothe the pain, and hope to fall asleep so that it’ll all just pass over.

I probably won’t do well under torture.

Longer Distance Relationship

A lot of people have asked how I deal with the agony of a long-distance relationship. Truth is, I don’t know. I don’t even know if I’ve “dealt” with it. There are often times I pine till it hurts, and I have to remind myself to stay busy just for the sake of sanity. There are other times my heart yearns for the warmth of another - any other - in the vague and futile hope that I may find you somewhere within.

Some people say it takes some getting used to, but I can never get used to not being close to you. In fact, it has gotten harder everytime I left you after the summer vacations are over.

Just when I thought that Arizona and Singapore couldn’t get any further you’re now in Australia. Even though the change in physical distance makes no tangible difference, the very thought pains my heart. Come back soon, I can’t wait for your week there to be over.

I don’t know how to survive the next seven months of not holding you.

Street Streaks

So, the leonid meteor storm. I woke up at 2am when my alarm clock went off, held a five-minute debate with my sleepier half, got dressed and drove north, away from the city lights.

It was a gathering of sorts. About ten to fifteen cars parked at the northernmost part of Campbell Ave, looking down upon the more populated parts of Tucson. Some sat on chairs and garden benches the more adventurous ones brought along, and the occasional thermos flask of coffee was passed around. Wrapped in blankets, the bunch of us looked like homeless car owners waiting for scraps to fall out of the sky.

Cries of “oooh that was a good one” punctuated the silence every now and then. There was one particular camper who screamed “I saw one! I saw one!” as her companions slowly and stealthily walked away, disassociating themselves with her. “No, you don’t understand, I’ve never seen a shooting star in my life!” Too late. They were too far up the road. Somewhere, someone in another SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) group muttered, “Pampered girl, that one”.

It was a nice time standing alone in the dark, casually observing the people around me even as I gazed skyward, as we all were.

A thousand wishes were made. We, the homeless vehicle owners of Arizona, stood that night in hope that every one would come true.

Leo

Leonid Meteor Storm showers are forecasted tonight. It’s a dilemma - sleep or stars.

I’ll sleep now and set my clock to go off at 2am. I’ll tell you guys later if I got myself awake to drive out in pitch darkness.

Where to Go?

Looking at Faith and Kristen rattle off their count of how many of BBC’s Top 50 Places to See Before You Die, I feel inadequately behind.

Kristen’s been to 18, and Faith 15. I’ve been to a measly 6. I’m not complaining though. There is so much beauty to been seen in the little things. I doubt the beauty of a place cannot be fully experienced by a week or a month’s stay. A tourist goes home almost as clueless as he or she first came. I’d like to get involved with the community and really live in the place, you know?

I don’t want to glance at a million pretty faces walking past. I just need to look deep in the eyes of one and see the true beauty within.

Bewitched

Caught the second installment of Harry Potter this afternoon. Though my sister firmly believes that the transition to motion picture will compromise the integrity of the written word, I am more pliable in allowing interpretation between the mediums. I just needed a break from a rather long week.

Emma Watson as Hermione GrangerThis is hardly a prediction, but posters of Emma Watson who plays Hermione Granger in the movie are going to be on the walls of millions and millions of adolescent (mostly) males across the globe. Her character is definitely highly appealing to the normal human male. Highly intelligent and yet possessing a down-to-earth girliness puts her way up on the charts.

She’s only twelve, and we’ll watch her as she lives out her teenage years through the (hopefully) seven installments of the entire Harry Potter series.

Sincerely

In my Bible readings I never did quite like the apostle Paul. Though he wrote most of the epistles in the New Testament, it was sometimes hard to relate to how perfect this guy was. Though he had the notorious past of being a Christian-killer in his Pharisee days, he maintained such humility, exercised such authority and seemed so systematic in his approach to problems.

Peter just seemed so much more down-to-earth. Here was a fisherman (not some highly educated elite like Paul) who followed Jesus, proclaimed his loyalty only to deny ever knowing Jesus in the heat of the crucifixion. Not just once, but three whole times. Ashamed when the resurrected Jesus asked him “do you love me?”, Peter admitted his own human weakness.

I feel for someone like that.

But these few days, reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, I find the words speaking directly to me. Paul speaks of his own struggles within. “That which I want to do, I don’t do. That which I don’t want to do, I do”. The internal dichotomy of being and the intensity of the struggle within reflected exactly my life these past few days. Paul, later in his life, writes about a “thorn in his side”, and many Bible scholars have been quick to speculate as to what it is.

His cataracts…his weakness of health. So many guesses.

I know why he was vague. He wrote it for me. So that I, in my own weakness, would remember that he too had his. The Paul that told us all to “fight the good fight of faith” was human, just as I was human. And his words beckons us to look upon the “Author of our faith”, because He alone is without sin.

So tonight, like Paul, I looked. And I realised that He loves me despite myself. His love melts away all my imperfections. I am His child.

Homage

Though I don’t follow entertainment news much or even at all, Stan Lee suing Marvel got my attention. Growing up an X-men and Spiderman fan, Stan Lee and Marvel have always been synonymous to me.

As most other fans are, I am apalled that Stan hasn’t received any form of remuneration, despite the slew of Marvel-character inspired movies that have and are going to continue hitting the silver screen. Truth be told, I was hesitant to watch those movies, but Stan’s approval assured me that they wouldn’t deviate far from the heroes I had grown to love.

It is ironic that Stan, 80 years of age, should find no reward for those who would build upon the world he created. Elsewhere, Walt Disney who has since passed on, still reaps millions as Mickey Mouse stays tucked securely under forever-extending copyright laws.

Walt’s great-grandchildren shouldn’t benefit directly from his work. Stan, through the sweat of his own brow, should.

What Would Freud Say?

Discovered last night that I couldn’t sleep well wearing anything but a t-shirt. I actually gave up trying to sleep with a singlet that was convenient and got up to put one on.

It’s confirmed I guess. I’m a prude. No roaming about the barns with the horses and maidens wearing wifebeaters and carpenter jeans.

Body Language

A picture does say a thousand words. While preparing dinner with my sister, I suggested putting broccoli into the cream pasta sauce. She gave me this look that was utterly hilarious. It was like she was pretending to think about it, but it was evident that she thought it a disgusting idea. Guess she doesn’t have what it takes to be an actress after all.

Homecoming Gone

Mud Wrestling, Homecoming, University of ArizonaAs homecoming (an annual festival welcoming old Alumni back to campus) comes to a close, I’ve posted a few photos of the festivities onto the Visual section of Tribolum. It has been an interesting weekend of mud wrestling, huge tent parties and the homecoming parade.

I’ll come back as an alum some day.

Back to the Future

I was at an open basketball practice yesterday, where the college basketball team is divided into two to play against each other, and seated beside me was this three-year old boy with the bluest eyes and golden hair. He was rolling around his dad’s lap, popping up occasionally to look at what the fuss was about when the crowd wowed at a brilliant play.

He asked inquisitive questions

“Are we the white or the blue team?”

“We’re both.”

“Are we winning?”

“We’re winning…and losing.”

“Is it over?”

He wasn’t the whiny, irritating sorta kid you’d want to beat to a pulp. He had the mischievous grin and it was clear that he was having a whale of a time with his dad, even though he wasn’t watching the game. Then the future occurred to me.

In time to come, he’d grow up and probably become one of the blond guys girls like so much. He’d probably join a frat, get a girlfriend, get married, work, retire and have grandchildren whom he’d then bring to a basketball game.

It was scary to have such a flood of thoughts all run through my mind in so short a time.

Women's Suffrage

Just came back from watching Shanghai Ballet’s Coppelia at Centennial Hall. We got tickets for the whole season of ballet, including Canada’s Royal Winnipeg dancing Sleeping Beauty and the Stuttgart Ballet dancing Romeo and Juliet. My sister’s a huge ballet fan, and I rely on her for information on what to look out for when watching dance. Its nuances are lost on me.

I find it hard to reconcile why the ancient Chinese tradition of bound feet was considered barbaric but not the torture endured by countless ballerina learning point. Not only do you walk tippy-toed, you have to walk on the top side of your toes. My sister assures me that the pain is only temporary, and that it goes away with time. Hah. I bet that’s what the Chinese foot-binding folks told the young girls at that point in history.

It’s all a matter of perception really. If you get the majority vote on an opinion, the rest just stupidly follow.

Gibberish

Was working on the mockup for a website project tonight, and was glad to find the Lorem Ipsum generator. I needed it to produce the gibberish to fill the text, giving the website a populated look, from which my puny ideas of good design can be then shot down.

This is one case in which nonsense words prove highly useful. Any words holding the least amount of meaning would have proven a distraction from the task of critiquing the design.

Googs

Since Faith did her short take on Googlism’s definition of her name, thought I’d do mine.

Lucian is:

Oh, and the last one: Lucian is a unique experience.

I’m not sure Googlism knows anything about me at all. I’m bland as cheese.

Mind Your Language

In his weekly elementary Chinese class, Joseph, a native Tucsonan, decided to consult Zhongwen.com and ask his teacher “Wassup dawg?” in Chinese.

Not the greatest of ideas, considering how being called a dog is an insult in almost all cultures and languages.

Coming Home

Stefie’s finally arrived here in Tucson for homecoming. It’s a festival of sorts that colleges hold over a weekend to milk rich and not-so-rich alums for donations.

There’ll be floats, balloons, parades, kings and queens (both homecoming and drag). If Chris is right, it’s the only day in which alcohol is actually allowed on campus.

So now instead of just the crazy frat guys, we have crazy OLD frat guys. Just great.

Peanuts for Monkeys

Are Teachers Overpaid? We live in a world where the average professional basketball player earns ONE HUNDRED times more than an educator.

Talk about priorities.

London Bridge

It’s almost ironic that we’re currently studying the life cycle of a star in Astronomy class. I feel like I’m all burnt out, ready to exhale my last breath and collapse in a cloud of planetary nebulae.

Test results aren’t great. I don’t churn out papers with the quality I’d like. I need time off. I need a break. It’s just the muddled-up feeling I haven’t had since I was in Primary school and was the only kid who didn’t do today’s homework.

Don’t get me wrong - I never did homework in Secondary school either. I just didn’t care as much. Now when the stakes are higher old ghosts return to haunt me.

I wish I could just not care.

Jekyll and Hyde

The inevitable has started. I’m slowly turning left-handed.

Derelict Lyric

Heard Rod Stewart singing “Sometimes When We Touch” on radio tonight and it reminded me of you back in the days when we were really young. I overheard that you were singing this song with a few other people as a presentation to the student body in your school. I can’t remember the occasion or whom you sang it with anymore, these details have since deserted my memory.

I do remember sitting in the solitude of my tiny bedroom with the song running in my mind what must have been a thousand times over. I memorised the song and its lyrics simply because you did. It was some obscure form of comfort knowing that there was some chance that we might have been quieting singing the same song at the same time. I just wanted so much to be close to you in any way.

Sometimes when we touch the honesty’s too much and I have to close my eyes and hide I want to hold you till I die till we both break down and cry I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides.

It summed up the muddle-headedness I was feeling. The overwhelming desire to connect and its inherent fear all rolled into a single moment.

Now, miles and miles away from you. I sing the song in my head one more time, and I want so much to just hold you.

Half Price

It is a marvel that Dawson’s Creek has survived as long as it has. One would have thought that the combinations of who sleeps with whom would have been exhausted a long time ago. Its survival openly defies the mathematical law of reciprocals.

Alternative Routes

Went grocery shopping at the Asian Market with my sister today. We had already gone to the normal supermarket the night before, but didn’t buy any of the vegetables because Friday vegetables were probably old enough to read. But going grocery shopping two days in a row wasn’t exactly something one would be enthusiastic about, so that sparked a weird interchange of dialogue in which we discussed, amongst other things, different ways to die.

“We need vegetables, or we’ll die of colon cancer.”

“Yeah, let’s get vegetables and then die of pesticide poisoning.”

“Or…we could get organic vegetables and die poverty stricken.”

Kids in Disguise

As a substitute for Halloween (essentially a Wiccan holiday), the church here holds in its place the Harvest Festival. Children get dressed up, though not as ghouls or goblins. There were tons of ninjas, a few Jedi knights, and a rather plump pair of Superman and Batman. The cutest of them all (in my own humble opinion) was a small toddler dressed as Thomas the train.

He just couldn’t be bothered with the fanfare that was going on around him. The game stalls, the waterballoon fights, the endless quest for more candy. He had an eegee (a drink made up of flavoured crushed ice) in his hand, and that held his entire focus. It didn’t matter who carried him, who rubbed his tummy or who messed his short hair. As long as it didn’t disrupt the path of cup to mouth, he was cool as a cucumber.

I had a whale of a time manning the basketball stall. Do the Harlem Globetrotters accept Asian ballers?

Vroom Vroom

Bored? Have a dispute with someone that the both of you can’t seem to resolve?

Scrollbar Racing is the answer to all your prayers!

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