as if it couldn't get any worse

I don't quite understand dentists. I completely dread the two days a year when I find myself reclined in a chair with a stranger's hand shoved down my throat. Perhaps the negativity stems from the invasion of privacy (it's my mouth...gross), the lingering odor of disinfectants and what I can only assume is the rotting stench from the pile of collected teeth, or quite simply the pain and torture that is afflicted on my poor teeth. I'm positively convinced the dental hygienist are only one step below serial killers. With some professional training, they could make a career out of their skills with the CIA torturing war criminals. The idea of trusting my dental hygiene to a person with a high school diploma is mind boggling. Guess it shouldn't surprise me that I often walk away from the cleaning with various holes in my gum line from "oops" and "uh-ohs." Lousy sadists.


where's nemo?

Part 2: The Northern Isle
Chapter 5
Day 1

"This place reminds me of the Disaster Transport from Cedar Point." Dave had a good point. The gaudy fixtures and the tacky decorations bore an eerie resemblance to the roller coaster. The similarities stop there though. A strong stench of rotting fish and cheap fog machine air permeated the room. "Is your group interested in the full package?" One of the female workers was asking Dr. T if our group wanted to pose with a giant poster of Emperor penguins like campy tourists. I loved her accent. Ever since I've gotten here, I've been keenly listening whenever a Kiwi speaks. It tickles my fancy. What's not to love? For instance, though I heard her murmur, "Wewld yoa kuds luk to tek e pucture wut t'pingween?" She was actually asking, "Would your kids like to take a picture with the penguin?" OK, I probably butchered that sentence trying to break it down into recognisible Kiwi English, my apologies.

Dave jolts me out of my stupor and we continue moving deeper and deeper into Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World. Apparently it's one of the hot-spots of Auckland and a likely site for our environmental science class to visit. The center offered loads of educational information about the vast underwater domain. I walk over to where a man in a wet suit was talking to a crowd. At first I couldn't understand what all the commotion was about, but then I glanced into the pool and everything became clear. The man was waist deep in a pool with half a dozen sting rays. Those bastards! One of their relatives or cousins killed Steve Irwin. Of course that was in jest. Sort of. Wet Suit Guy was explaining to the gathered crowd about the docile and elegant creatures as they gracefully glided all around him. It's hard to imagine that such a beautiful creature could take down the Crocodile Hunter.

I hopped on board the ride that toured the penguin exhibit. The contraption was a replica snow track that smelled horribly of fish guts and god knows what else. I was accompanied by Dr. T and the other instructors: the graduate teaching assistant and a Professor of Urban Planning, Missy. Dr. T and Missy were deep in conversation about the various species of penguins that lived in New Zealand. GTA and I were simply anticipating the imminent arrival into the penguin habitat.

I'm not sure why I was so keen on seeing the penguin. I'm not a huge penguin fan. In fact that honor goes to this girl in the group, Krissy. I guess paying attention to the penguins kept me from thinking about how awkward it was to be cooped up in a tin box with my professors. This was definitely dropping my social status a few notches. I'll have to do something to make up for this totally uncool moment. Luckily the ride wasn't unbearable. The penguin were quite the stars and I spent my time behind the looking glass, snapping off a few shots of them. Finally the ride ended and I hopped off and away from the professors without another word.

I wandered into the section of the aquarium where they house the fish. All sorts of obscure sea creatures that you wouldn't even know existed unless you saw them yourself. All the usual suspects were there: clown fish, sea horses, sharks, etc. The real treasure was stumbling upon the crayfish exhibit. I was completely taken back by what I saw. Back at home, there was a creek that ran along the park where a few friends and I would go fishing for crayfish. Except, the crayfish that I was looking at was easily two feet long. I couldn't understand how it could grow that big. Steroids anyone?

As we boarded the bus, I was eagerly anticipating the nightlife that Auckland had to offer. Dr. T was giving us the night off to find dinner and explore the city. My mind began to wander while considering all the options that were laid out before me. I could hear the excited chatter at the back of the bus. My thoughts were interrupted as the bus came alive and rumbled down the road.


in pursuit

My eyes dart back and forth, scanning the busy sidewalk as I quietly exit the store, package in hand. The air is crisp as I gulp it in like giant mouthfuls of water. I duck beneath an awning to escape the push of the bustling crowd. With one hand, I deftly wipe away the nervous beads of sweat off my brow. Looking around, I check to make sure the coast is clear before setting forth into the stampede of rush hour foot traffic. My heart pounds quick and skittish inside my chest, mimicking my jittery stride. A large man with a dark black mustache bumps into me. He grunts a quick apology as he continues to shove past my dazed body. Frantically, I check the inside of my jacket. It's still there. I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

A flash of blue catches my eye and my heart stands still, frozen as if caught in the act. The way ahead is blocked by a female officer heading towards me. Her face is a blank mask- all except for her eyes. Her green eyes burn with a fierce intensity like a jade fire that belies her stoic expression. I dart around the corner and start off at an all out sprint, like an outlaw running from the deputies. I weave in and out of the mass of bodies, like a leaf navigating down a rapid stream. I glance behind me and see that she is still behind me. Has she seen me? Did she see what I did? Frightened, I surge forward with renewed intensity. Seeing an alley to the right, I veer into the darken path and continue until my lungs burn red with fatigue. Exhausted, I cast an eye down the route that I took and notice that I am alone.

The hour is late by the time I reach the front steps. Along the way, I stopped by the safe house to gather clean clothes. I stood there with the parcel tucked safely away in my jacket pocket. I smooth the wrinkles out of my shirt and wipe away a piece of lint on my pants. I check my breath. There's a faint linger of my last meal. My last meal as a free man. My finger shakes as I ring the bell. Each second feeling like an eternity weighing down on my heavy shoulders. Finally the door creaks open slowly. I'm greeted by a pair of green eyes. Instead this time, the intensity is replaced by affectionate warmth. My hands fumble as I dig for the precious item. I drop to my knees and look up at her surprised face, those green eyes filling up with tears. My quivering fingers open up the box as I ask with trembling lips, Will you marry me?


final descent

Part 2: The Northern Isle
Chapter 4
Day 1

My eyes scanned the natural beauty of Auckland's skyline stretched out before me. Despite being the most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland reminds me less of New York and more of a quiet bay-side community. Perhaps it's only because from my vantage point, all I could see were rows and rows of quaint colorful houses sprawled out before me. The bustling metropolitan center was across the river, the Sky Tower marking the destination like a beacon in the distance. The scenery was worth the effort I think. All around me, my companions seemed to come to the same conclusion as me. That hike wasn't so bad. I could get used to that.

Earlier that day, we landed in Auckland. Having spent the majority of the flight abusing the movie archive, I set forth into New Zealand with bleary eyes and a groggy mind. I stumbled with every step, struggling with balancing my cumbersome luggage and my own two feet, still asleep from the long flight. We past by a crowd of Maori, the island's indigenous population. Damn, these guys are bred huge. And it's true. Each one reminded me of E. Honda from Street Fighters. Face paint included. Not really. I slowly make my way out of the airport and head towards our charter bus. It's pouring rain outside when we arrived there. Dr. T leans over to me and says, "Get used to this because it will always be raining while we're down here." Splendid. After stowing our gear under what would be our mobile classroom for the next week and a half, we set off towards a number of destinations.

"Argh! My shins are fucking killing me." We just hiked to the top of One Tree Hill, the popular landmark that inspired a song by U2 of the same name. Having spent the last half day cooped up in a metal tube soaring over the Pacific, it's no wonder our legs were having issues dealing with mobility. "Stop whining, just walk it off." A smart aleck remark from someone in the group. While we were making our way up the steep hill, the rain was starting to let up. Now as we were standing at the top, we were able to glimpse the skyline of Auckland clearly. The clouds giving way to the rays of sun, as if like a series of spotlights highlighting the magnificent cityscape before me. "I can't wait until they fucking let us go into the city" Yeah, same here Dave.

Another ten minute bus ride later and we arrived at our second destination, Mt. Eden. We hike to the top of the tallest natural peak in Auckland. By this time, the sun is high up in the sky and the city is fully displayed before us. Mt. Eden's interesting feature is the steep crater in the middle of the peak. It's almost like a mini valley of sorts. I decide to walk along the edge of the crater, hoping to get close to the resident cows that were grazing on the grass. Each step took careful deliberation to avoid the "cow-pies" that littered the field like cans haphazardly strewn about after tail-gating or land mines eagerly anticipating to "ambush" unwary travelers. With my eyes glued to the ground, seeking out every would be "uh-ohs," I didn't realize how close I came to bumping into a cow. Startled, I take a few steps backwards and wipe out my camera. I've never been this close to a cow before, I wasn't sure if they had a comfort zone that they didn't like puny humans to cross into. I stood there quite still, hoping not to antagonize the beast into a kicking frenzy. I wonder if it knows that I love eating beef. Not exactly the right things to say out loud, but I hedged my bets and figured the cow wouldn't understand English. After avoiding any entanglements, I head back to the class and plop down on the bench with them. We each set our eyes out on sight before us. Each one gazing at what would be our playpen for the next three weeks. I am reluctant to refer to it as home, we were more like romantic wanderers.

Zipping through the city towards our next destination, I couldn't help feeling awkward being on the "wrong" side of the road. I wasn't used to inverting my sense of driving rules. Left turn has priority? Right turn must yield? What was this nonsense? My mind felt like it had gone on an acid trip. Not really, but you catch my drift. Also, I most definitely was not clued in to the point that I had to reverse my method of scanning for traffic. Habitually, I am prone to scan from left to right. If I had continued to do so in New Zealand, I probably would have ended up as road kill after ten minutes.

Why is this climb so much harder than the first two? "Maybe because you're already tired from the last two. Or maybe you're just out of shape." Gee thanks, that makes me feel better about myself. "Oh, no problem." Smart ass. My shins are burning by the time I made it up the steep grade. When I reach the top, I am welcomed by the sight of... Mario Land? Mushrooms dot the top of the hill, each one a tempting target for a well needed rest. It was a comical sight to say the least. "What the hell are these things?" Damn if I know Dave. Your guess is my best guess too. Dr. T is spewing off trivia about how young children would often use this hill to go sledding off of. Then he looked around and shook his head. "I was looking to see if there was any left over cardboard so you guys could try it. Guess you're out of luck today." Guess so Dr. T Lucky us. I start wandering off again, snapping off some shots of the landscape around us. I spot the other study abroad group from Michigan State. I wasn't sure how to react around them. Some of the other people in my group had made some small talk with them at the airport since we were all on the same flight. But Dave and I kept to ourselves during the beginning of the trip. Guess we missed out on bonding experience. I wasn't particularly worked up about it. They seemed like a weird bunch to me; however, appearances can be deceiving.

"WHOA AH SH-" Temptation got the better of us, and someone decided to sled down the hill. DJ somehow found a sign somewhere and used that as a would be sled. Unfortunately, the sign didn't hold up well and he was thrown off after hitting a dirt hill on the way down. Not to be outdone by his friend, Calen simply somersaulted down the side of the hill, tumbling every which way until he was finally stopped by a nasty looking bush. Dave and I stood there marveling at the stupidity of our fellow classmates and laughed. "These guys are fucking retarded. Now I kind of want to do that." Go for it, I'll be right here watching your dumbass hurt yourself. "Good, hold my shit."

Dr. T gave us a break from tramping up hills to grab a meal in Davenport. It was a typical bay-side community with rolling hills and white buildings. Dave and I break away from the group and make our way into town. We were both starving from not eating all day. I spot a local and ask her what's good around the area. She directs us to a few locations and we head off seeking them out. Crickey! The prices were ridiculous. We walked out of multiple restaurants after seeing their discouraging prices. $9 USD for a sandwich? Not quite what I had imagined paying for a simple panini. I stopped another local and asked about cheaper alternatives. The old man looked at me with a smirk and said, "You mean affordable. Cheap implies low quality, son" Ouch! Uh yeah, that's what I meant. Affordable.

We eventually settled for a mid-range restaurant. I ordered a salad with a local soda pop. Dave had a burger and a local brew. "Haha! I'm legal here. Hahahaha." The two of us sat there and people watched for a while. We were seated outside with the sun beating down on our unprotected necks. Despite the heat, the weather was quite nice. Every once in a while, a cool breeze would blow through and give us some relief. After we finished eating and were in the process of paying our bill we hit a roadblock. How much do we tip? I glance around at other tables and notice an absence of tips. "Do they accept tips here?" No clue buddy. I hate when that happens. I always try to go along with local customs and traditions. Maybe they don't tip here. "Yeah, that's what I'm guessing." We ended up not leaving a tip for our waiter. Turns out we were right in doing so. Phew.

On the way the way back to the bus, we spotted a fruit stand. Jackpot. A bag of kiwis for 99 cents NZ? No freaking way. Kiwis can go for $4.99USD back home. This was quite a steal. We both grab a bag and chuckled at our fortune. What a great deal.


confessions of a sleep junkie

I enjoy the crisp weather that we've been having lately. Although it tends to be a bit chilly than my jacket can handle, I still prefer the Autumn weather. I love the changing of the leaves and the splash of color that occurs. I think Hobbes put it best by saying,
"Gee, I like this season best of all! the trees are like nature's own fireworks display."
So eloquent and true. I heard another great quote today from Kiwi. We were talking about the gorgeous weather and she mentioned this to me.
"It's amazing how the leaves are actually dying, but there is beauty in it. I hope that's how it is when we die."
Another thing that comes with the colder weather is the lure of the warm and toasty bed in the early morning. I got to admit, I've fallen prey to the coziness of my blanket shielding me from the cool air and skipped plenty of classes because of that. You'd think I'd learn by now, but apparently it still isn't registering. I love it and hate it. It's like scolding your cute, pouting puppy after it did its business where it shouldn't have. Who are you kidding? You can't scold the puppy, you love the puppy. Who doesn't love puppies? Heartless fiends.

I really need to go out and take some pictures of the scenery before it fades and I have to wait another year.

-Author's Edit-

I think it's hilarious how the day after I write this post, I end up missing all my classes and waking up at 4:30 PM.


messy solutions

The other day while leaving work. I had the unfortunate decision to make: walk like a fool or keep my feet dry. Let me explain. It was raining rather lightly when it came time for me to leave work; however, I didn't have the foresight to bring my umbrella with me. The one day I don't scan through the hourly updates on Weather.com comes back to bite me in the ass. What's the big deal? It's just rain. Well, that day of all days, I decided to wear my favorite pair of dress shoes. I couldn't bear to have them ruined by the rainwater. I told my friend about my dilemma and she had this to offer, "Wrap your feet with trash bags." Wow. Trash bags. I'll admit the idea seemed plausible at first. Plastic is water proof and it'll prevent my precious shoes and pant legs from getting wet. I looked around the office and finally found some clean plastic bags to stuff my feet into. Minutes pass and I still couldn't get the hang of tying the bags properly. They had a tendency to slip off and make a mess of things. After a while, I decided my best efforts will have to do and I boldly left the lobby. That's when everything started to go downhill. The knots started to unravel and the bags started to bunch up under the soles. This caused a lot of unnecessary sliding. Not to mention, I completely looked like an idiot walking down the capitol avenue with trash bags on my feet. My face burned with embarrassment with every step that took me closer to another pedestrian. I quickly duck under an awning and phone my friend. After a few minutes of bickering and "thanking" her for the brilliant idea, I decided enough was enough. I grabbed a fistful of plastic and ripped the ridiculous shell into pieces. The rest of the story is rather straightforward. My shoes ended up getting wet, but not to the point where the leather was ruined. Thank God for that.

Moral: Never follow through with ideas that involve using plastic bags as shoes.


correct change only

Great ideas like this don't happen very often. I found this while reviewing the list of blogs that I subscribe to. Unfortunately I couldn't fully enjoy the novelty of the idea since I was in class. After taking some time after class to watch the video, I couldn't help but chuckle. They need something like this in the States. Man-Vending machines. What else are the witty minds in New Zealand going to come up with next?

If they had a female version of this, I wonder what option I would pick: Classic, Romantic, Foreign, Rich, Action, Perfect. Not quite sure those categories would translate over into the female realm. Leggy? Witty? Those sound shallow relative to the male categories. I'm terrible at these sort of things.

Ladies: What category would you pick, and why?
Fellas: What categories would you come up with and which one would you pick, and why?


don't tell me to study, you study!

My amazing plan of locking myself at the library and concentrating on my papers completely failed. I ended up watching the football game online and playing useless flash games during the commercials. I FAIL at life. I seriously have no work ethic to speak of. I was reading Cakalusa's Xanga and I thought he had somehow found out about the lack of work that I do at the office. I had a mini panic attack until I realized that was no way that he could find out, unless my life is a television show. Turns out I was right, the post wasn't about me. My vanity loses again! Good thing though, I still haven't decided whether or not to quit the job. I think I might just stick it out and suck it up for the references.

I decided to be bold today and try something that I've never done before. I enabled the shuffle mode on my iTunes. Gasp, I know. It must be the daredevil in me screaming for release. I am both mildly pleased by the automatic song selection and slightly embarrassed by the poor music tastes. Many songs that I used to listen to in high school finally got the chance to dust off and get airplay again. Some songs were as throughly pleasant as enduring a visit to the dentist. The songs that I didn't like, I deleted almost immediately. Good thing too, because for the first time since I got my iPod I am finally coming close to filling it up. I would rather have it contain songs that I enjoy instead of crap that threatens to shatter my ear drums.

In other pleasant news, my friend Kiwi recorded a voicemail with music from the Jason Mraz concert that she attended tonight. That was pretty sweet of her. I miss her and can't wait for her return to Michigan.

Also, I am throughly ecstatic that Michigan State beat Northwestern today. Good job Green. As for Purple, tough break. Glad you kept yourself pure for us.


i'm not a bad guy, i swear

Disclaimer: Before you begin, I want you to know that I'm going to offend a lot of people and create a bad impression. My words are in jest and I don't really mean it to the exact degree that I'm describing. I'm just exaggerating for comical effect. Plus, I was coming off of no sleep when I made these observations. Tread carefully... over my face after you're done.

The other day in my language and culture class, the professor separated us into groups for reading discussions. The prior night, I stayed awake, burning coal throughout the night, to finish the midterm paper for this class. I was completely deranged by that point in the day. Since I spent the whole night writing the paper, I didn't get a chance to do the reading for the class. Instead of participating in the discussion, I just sat off to the side and observed the members in the group.

In my exhausted and sleep-deprived state, I came to a stunning revelation. Why are all the women in my class unattractive? There is not a single girl that I would consider good looking in any way.

Anthropology is one of those fields where you can either find women who have the girl-next-door complex with sexy librarian appeal or think you've stumbled upon the greatest anthropological discovery of the 21st century: Bigfoot wearing women's clothing... after a horrific disfiguring traffic accident involving 56 consecutive blows to face with an ugly stick. [This is the part where I am completely exaggerating. Press Ctrl+W to submit angry replies]

To better illustrate this point, the "girl" that was sitting directly in front of me was the prime example of the graphic description. I say "girl" because a) she totally looked a man with the masculine haircut and facial structure and b) she had more leg hair than I did. Granted, my leg hair is possibly the worst example of a hairy leg possible, but trust me this girl had me considering writing my Nobel Prize acceptance letter for Best Discovery.

OK OK. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the deprivation played tricks with my mind and their "beauty" was lost on me. I'll take another cursory glance during the next session. I'm not holding out for much hope though.


and i thought my jokes were bad

I was humming a tune while walking to class the other day when something completely out of the blue occurred. I think I was singing the falsetto part to some song quietly when the guy in front of me turns away and gives me a funny look. You know the kind of look you have when you observe something that boggles your mind, like a guy making his own sandwich or something.

I felt really self-conscious and had a shifty eye moment for a while. Sometimes I forget that people can hear me when I hum. This one time back in third grade, I was humming while waiting in line to go out to recess. All of a sudden, the teacher whips around and asked loudly, "Who is humming?" OH SCHNAP!?! Up to that point in my life, I never knew people could hear me while I hummed. I wasn't familiar with the whole sound waves and physics of the thing. Who knew?

They need to come up with some sort of invisibility cloak for this sort of situation. Crushing blow to my self-esteem. Plus, I need to stop humming embarrassing songs.


change we can believe in

You know those people who speak with their mouths but not by their actions? I feel like my boss is one of those people. I don't quite understand what she is being paid to do because she doesn't do much of anything. She passes all of the work onto the interns and sits in her office making personal calls. Some snippets of what I've heard include the tale of her dog running away, the boyfriend troubles of her girlfriend and the facade that the office must maintain. She's always away on "meetings." I wonder if a visit to the hair salon counts as a business expense... Ok enough about my gripes with my boss. What I really want to focus on is my thoughts on working in an office that has an environmental initiative.

The irony here is that even though the main focus of my office is to "green" other businesses, we still maintain an unsustainable office space. Plastic ware, Styrofoam cups, mass consumption of paper, and lack of energy efficient appliances. I can't help but feel like a hypocrite when I speak on the phone to business owners who are legitimately working to make the community more sustainable.

That's the issue though. Are businesses doing this to improve the community and promote environmental sustainability? Or are they just looking to improve their bottom line? I've thought about it many times in the office while I spin around in my chair. I think this relates to Noel's sermon about shrewdness. By cutting costs in areas that can be improved, businesses are indirectly offsetting their impact on the environment. That's what I want, or that's the goal of my job. I remember talking to my friend Ray about how "green" is marketing term to promote "eco-friendly" methods of production, consumption and business ethics. Although the true intent may not be to promote environmental sustainability as much as to promote increased revenue shares; the concept still serves a purpose.

I used to be so gung-ho about the environment, but I feel like my views are beginning to shift. Even if there isn't a catastrophic global climate change waiting to wipe out humanity, I feel there are many benefits to living a non-volatile, sustainable lifestyle. There is real beauty in mimicking nature.

Go Green!

coffeehouse spirituality

Sharing thoughts on faith and spirituality over a cup of joe is probably one of my favorite things to do now. The other night, a friend and I connected over a cup of coffee. It was one of those rare conversations, where I was able to lay my cards on the table and talk about anything. I think we both saw ourselves as two guys in the same or similar situation. After talking to him, I realized that there are a few things in my life that I need to work on or change. For example, I was really encouraged by how vocal he was about his faith. I think that was the point that I took away the most from that night. Maybe it's just me, but I often am reluctant to let others that I'm unfamiliar with know that I'm Christian. It has something to do with my fear of being labeled as a close-minded, intolerant, Bible-thumper. It's not an image that I want branded on me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed of being Christian. I just don't think I fit that label because I'm nothing like that in person. In fact, I'm probably more liberal than most Christians ought to be.
I'll just chew on it for a while.

I need to buy a traveler's mug for coffee, but I don't know where I should buy it from. Should I buy one from Starbucks? Biggby? Caribou? I don't know where I want to place my allegiance. I do need one rather soon though. I feel guilty of purchasing coffee in a disposable cup because that goes against my sustainability ethos. Plus the coffee in the office is terrible. I didn't think it was possible to make coffee taste that bad. Even instant coffee taste better than that liquid crap.


i don't want to grow up. take me to neverland peter pan

This reminds me of when I was little and would get excited about the smallest thing. I wonder where that spark and complete abandon of fear went. Nowadays, I'm so afraid of what people would think if I were to raise my hand up with my favorite toy and triumphantly declare its venerated title. I love how Bruno Taylor challenges us to listen to and encourage the child inside us that never grows up.


settled and completely restless

After a grueling three hour ordeal of lifting, sweating and organizing, I am moved in. I still have a few more things to tweak here and there to improve things, but for the most part I am done. The room mate hasn't moved in yet, and I wonder how he'll like the room so far. I tried to follow the rough sketch as much as possible, but I ended up shoving the futon under the bed and moving the shelves on the opposite side of the room. The room is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be and leaves with plenty of wiggle room if I want to make adjustments.

Hung out with some friends and then headed off to a house warming party that a bunch of friends were throwing. I dropped by and just hung out with them, semi-catching up with them and feeling awkward the rest of the time. I don't usually do well in party scenes. Not sure what it is, but I never feel comfortable. I can't relax and thus never seem to get in the swing of socializing in that setting.

I didn't a lot of sleep last night. This is evident seeing that I'm completely awake at this hour. I'm not sure what it was, the futon or the fact that it's the first night at a new place. Maybe a bit of both. My back feels a bit stiff. The futon is not as sleep friendly as I thought it would be. I'm considering investing in some sort of mattress pad to help lull me to sleep.

Despite all my grumblings and complaints about moving in, I'm completely willing to help my friends move in. Weird huh? Not sure how that works, but it does. And my services might be needed today while everybody else begins to move in. Guess this is what I get for moving in early. Bad night's rest and a full day.


caution: volatile contents

After the disappointment of last night, I couldn't gather up the will to start packing for school. Yes, I haven't packed for school yet. Despite the fact that I am planning to move in tomorrow, I don't feel a real sense of urgency. I guess it hasn't really sunk it or a more realistic answer is I'm trying to prevent the inevitable. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow, all my gear will be packed and stowed in the trunk of my car. Not likely.

I drew up a rough sketch of how I'd like to set up the room when I get there. Keep in mind, it's a rough sketch. There's no need to bash on my MS Paint skills, or lack thereof.

I'm sure the setup will change a bit depending on the availability of space and room mate's input. I hate moving in. So much work to be done.

Yet, I'd gladly suffer the labour of moving in just to leave home. Nothing against my home or my family, but it's definitely reached that boiling point where tensions are high. Everything turns into a debate and our indoor voices become booming projectiles of stings and barbs. Distance helps neutralize the hostile situation and lets us cool our heads. Losing my wallet did not go well in my favor. I'm sure to hear about this latest mishap for quite a long time to come. I'm so thankful I have parents who are blessed with impeccable memory.

from better to worst in 5 minutes flat

I intended to talk about something light hearted and cheerful. Probably use 'Tropic Thunder' as a springboard into more hilarity, but the situation took a turn for the worst after coming out of the movie theatre. First off, the movie is ridiculous. In the sense that it's filled with laughs and extremely crude humour. If that's your cup o' tea, head to your nearest theatre and check it out. Now onto the tragedy. I came out the movie all cheerful and light-hearted. We discussed a few topics on the way to the car. After we got to the car, I realized that I didn't have my wallet on me. That instantly plunges me into alert/panic mode. The only thing on my mind is, Crap I gotta find that wallet! in not so eloquent terms. I crawled around on all fours poking every nook and cranny near our seating location for where it could be. I even rooted around in a trash can for the off chance that I or someone else had thrown it in there. No luck. It really sucks to lose something that important. I guess you don't realize it until it actually happens. The rest of the night, I was sick to my stomach. Filing a useless police report did not put me at ease. By the way, I think that was a completely pointless usage of time. Trying to find a lost wallet is next to impossible. I think the officer who typed up the report was trying to convey that notion to me through his uninterested eyes.

I suck at life sometimes. New lesson learned: don't put anything important in gym shorts.


help wanted

Well the time has come for me to start packing up for school. Problem is, I don't know what I need/should pack and I hate packing in general. It's such a chore. I think I would rather mow the lawn, wash dishes and clean out my hamster's cage rather than pack. This year, I'm going to try to bring only the bare minimum: laptop, speakers, casual clothes, work clothes, guitar, camera, etc. Hopefully the list isn't that much bigger than that, but knowing the pack rat mentality that I have, there will probably be a lot more stuff stuffed in boxes. I hate packing.


international waters

Part 1: Can't wait to get out of this hellhole...
Chapter 3

Two hours later, the planes touched down on the tarmac of LAX. The hustle and bustle of the terminal was a welcoming sight after spending the last couple of hours crammed up like a sardine. Dave and I headed out of the terminal to meet up with a mutual friend. She goes to school at Caltech and was spending her Christmas break at school. When I told her that I had a seven hour layover in LA, she jumped at the chance to show me around.

We hopped into her car after exchanging greetings. LA wasn't what I expected. I guess I had the notion that it'd be really posh and affluent, but we drove through areas that reminded of me of Warren or Pontiac. Not all of LA, just parts of it. We drove around aimlessly, Cali-Girl asked us where we wanted to go. Neither Dave or I had a clue what LA had to offer, so we said the first thing that popped into our mind. Let's go see the Hollywood sign. "Alright, now lemme see where the sign is. Hand me that map." Turns out she didn't know how to navigate around LA. After doing a distant drive-by of the famed sign, we decide to head to Venice Beach.

Having no idea what to expect at the beach, I make sure to bring my camera along in case there are interesting sights to capture. Good thing my intuition paid off. As we took a stroll down the boardwalk, we came across booth after booth of eye catching ware. A few locals came strolling up to ask us to hear their "jamz." Dave and I obliged, but we quickly learned that it was the wrong thing to do. We spent the next 10 minutes trying to convince the guy we didn't want to buy his CD.

A little further down, we came across this street performer. I think it's common to find a living statue in just about every major city. And why not? For the cost of paint and incredible patience, you can turn yourself into a attraction for next to nothing. People love taking pictures of living statues. I snapped off a few shots and moved on.

We decide to grab lunch on the boardwalk. After surveying a few locations, we decide to hit up this snazzy looking joint. Let me tell you, I am not a big fan of the California sales tax. No wonder it's hard to afford a living in California. They have a tax for almost everything. Plus the food wasn't even that great. Afterwards, we head off to search for a pair of sunglasses. I figured that it would come in handy while I'm in NZ. We spent 30 minutes trying on various styles before settling on a shape that semi-suited my face. It's always been difficult to shop for lens. It took me three days and four picks for me to settle on my eyeglasses.

We head off towards the beach. I checked the time, we had about four more hours before Dave and I had to be back at our gate. The sun was beginning to set as we walked along the shoreline. Dave, being the water junkie that he is, decided to soak his feet in the ocean. He spent the majority of high school in the pool, involved in all sorts of water sports.

The local scene is alive. There are people participating in random activities. From spray painting a wall to surfing the cold water. My camera barely got a chance to rest as I snapped off shot after shot of the action all around. I got sucked in watching this group of guys surfing. I've always wanted to learn how to surf.

I feel surfing is one of those images that remains me of California. It's such a West Coast thing to go surfing. Grab your board, your suit and jump into a Wrangler to catch the waves. The surfers were just entertaining themselves on the small waves that build up as the water nears the shores. A few times they were able to get decent rides.

We moved further down the beach and started digging in the sand for kicks. Dave got worked up and enthusiastically made a tunnel in the sand. When I was little, we would always make these elaborate system of interconnecting tunnels in the sandbox. Eventually the structural integrity would be breached and the whole thing would collapse on our digging hands, but it was fun while it lasted.

The sun started dipping below the horizon, cue for us to head back to the airport. We had back to the boardwalk and rinse the sand off our feet. On the walk back to the car, we made a pit stop to stare at the people working out on Muscle Beach. There was this one woman who was jacked as could be. From the neck down, with the exception of the obvious, you couldn't tell that it was a woman's body. It was incredibly ripped, each muscle jutting out like a razor edge. My self-esteem propelled me away from the scene, I felt smaller than I usually do. Good sign to leave the beach.

Cali-Girl drove us back to the international departures gate and we said our goodbyes. I told her that I would probably call on her again when I made my return trip to the States. "Sure thing, just give me a call. Have a safe trip." Yeah I will, don't worry. Have a great break. Thanks for showing us around.

We were actually early because the rest of the group was not there yet with a few exceptions. Having nothing else to do, we decided to make small talk with the other group members. Guess you could call it my first attempt to break the ice with the rest of the group. The desks calls out our flight and picked up our gear to line up again. I had to get used to this because I would be doing this multiple times during the trip.

The setup on this flight put the other flight to shame. Not only did we have large cushy seats, we also had personal TVs with a large list of current movies to select from. I started getting excited about the movies that the flight had to offer and made a mental checklist of movies that I simply had to see before the 15 hour flight was over. I figured if I worked in a methodical fashion, I would accomplish everything on the list. If this is what the rest of this NZ trip is gonna be like, I'm already in love. To make matters even better, since we were flying in international waters the drinking age didn't apply. *Mischievous grin* Can't say I didn't abused that privilege.

After gorging myself on all sorts of luxuries, exhaustion finally overtook me. Right before my eyelids won the battle, a thought popped into my head. When I wake up, I'll be in NZ. I could hardly wait.


right'n the kisser

When I was in fifth grade, I sent one of my best friends to the hospital with a concussion. To my defense, it wasn't intentional nor was it entirely my fault. It was a cold winter, back when it used to snow on time; yes it used to actually snow in December. We were outside for recess bundled up in our snow gear, having a great time playing in the snow. Someone said we should make a giant snow man, as big as we could possibly make it.

The tasks were delegated and we set forth on recreating a real life Frosty. The "legs" of the snowman were enormous; it reached as high as my chest. I was given the job of making the 'body" portion. Well one simple thing we didn't take into consideration before making the snow man was how we were going to assemble the monstrosity. We had to take a) a finely packed ball of snow as big around as three watermelons and lift it with b) our scrawny prepubescent, underdeveloped arm muscles. The equation didn't work in our favour. Guess that's why I've always hated arithmetics.

We decided to give it a try anyways. No luck, we couldn't even lift it up with our combined efforts. Then the brilliant idea of rolling it up a human "ramp" was born out of desperation. The idea was to have someone be the "ramp," while the others would gradually roll the body into place. I drew the short straw, not literally, and was given the position of ramp. My friend, Matt, was given the task of being on the opposite side of me to hold the legs in place while we executed this operation. We finally got the ball rolling on this plan [har har har ball get it?] and began to push it ungracefully on my back.

Somehow someone slipped and instead of pushing the giant globe on my back, pushed me. I lost my footing since I was completely off balance and slammed right into Matt's face. I don't quite remember what happened afterwards, but I do recall an ambulance coming to whisk Matt to the hospital. It was a few days before Matt came back, he had a good size goose egg on his forehead. I apologized to him during an awkward encountered, but everything turned out fine and we remained friends. A few months later, Matt and his family moved away and I lost contact with him. Now we both attend the same college. We're not friends anymore, more like friendly acquaintances. Too much time apart I guess.

The snowman was never finished and the dismembered body parts melted into indistinguishable lumps. I never made another snowman since.


flight 355

Part 1: Can't wait to get out of this hellhole...
Chapter 2

Dave and I found an empty bench and plopped down in exhaustion. I looked out the window and saw that it was still dreadfully early, the sun still hasn't peeked over the horizon. We sat near the rest of the group, all jet-bound for New Zealand in less than 24 hours. One of the girls pulled out a giant freezer bag full of cookies and assorted pastries. She glanced over and extended the bag while asking, "Do you guys want any cookies? My mom made me a giant batch so I wouldn't get hungry on the plane ride." Dave took some while I decline the tasty proposition. It's too early in the morning for me to eat. For some reason, eating and early mornings don't mix well with me. "My name is Sally, nice to meet you." We both grunted back a pleasant reply and our names. "Oh, you're both Dave? That's cute." Except she sort of has a sarcastic tone when she said that. The conversation died after that point. Sally pulled out her Mac book and scampered off to a pillar that had an outlet.

I remembered that I forgot to call my credit card company and tell them that I'll be out of the country for three weeks. The last thing I need is to have my credit card account frozen while I'm traveling in a foreign country. I called them up and proceeded to inform the kind lady of my flight plans. She is nice about it and asks me if I am visiting any other country. I tell her I wished and thanked her for her time. That's quality customer service right there.

Shoot. My phone beeped letting me know that I only had half a charge left on the battery. At that moment, I regretted having not brought my battery charger with me on the trip. When I packed for the trip, I didn't think I would need to use my phone outside of the States; however, I completely forgot about needing it in LA. Crap, I am so retarded. I powered it off to conserve as much battery as I can. You'd like to think that half a battery would last me a while and that I'm just overreacting, but I'm not folks. Let's face it, my phone sucks. One charge lasts me about a day and a half...if I don't make any calls.

After a few more hours of waiting, my flight is finally called. I grabbed my gear and waited in line to board the plane. I got the preflight jitters. I have nothing against flying in general, but I detest the ordeal of having to adjust to the varying atmosphere. Plus, the disinfectant smell they use on planes conjures unpleasant memories of dental offices. 17, 18, 19...20A. I found my seat. Great, an aisle seat. Guess that means I won't be getting a comfortable inflight nap. That's the problem with sitting on the aisle. You suddenly have the responsibility of adjusting your seating position whenever your row mate wants to take a trip to the loo. I stored my gear into the overhead compartment except for my camera bag that I tucked neatly under the seat in front of me. The flight crew did their usual spiel about safety. I usually zone out during this, I trust the experienced men and women to handle the logistics. My body is eager to catch up on lost sleep.

Next stop, LA.


wholesome programming

Ever wonder if there is more to life than what you see? Does it seem like some coincidences are too good to be true? Alright, I know the possibility of this being true has the same likelihood of Michael Jackson obtaining rights to open a daycare, but sometimes I feel like my life is a reality show and I'm totally oblivious.

Well obviously I wouldn't be completely oblivious because I've made the connection that it's a show, but you get what I mean. Ever since watching the Truman Show, I've wondered if it's possible for Corporate America to do that to someone, specifically me.

What would my life be like if it was a TV show? Honestly, it would probably be incredibly boring. Take the humor out of Seinfeld and combine it with poor acting and lack of funds to hire additional actors, that's what you'd get. Maybe I'll give it try by starting up a video blog or web-series. Who knows. I will say this though, if my life does turn out to be a TV show, I'm sorry for the poor plot line and distasteful acting.


now i know how lobsters feel

I hit the pool today for 2 or 3 hours. Soaked up the sun and took a nice dip in the cool waters. Unfortunately, I came back with a souvenir to remember the trip by. I hate getting sun burns. They're like a mix between itchy, dry skin and throbbing pulses of heat. My skin is incredibly dry after this affair. I should probably go moisturize before I dry up into a prune. I managed to turn a shade or two darker but no luck on the legs. The legs never seem to respond to any sort of solar stimulation. I've just about given up hope on them because I don't feel like slathering tanning lotion or gradual tan on my legs.


late nights

I miss having late night chat sessions with people. Usually the selection of people to talk to is limited based on bed times, but when I do find someone the conversation is usually worth it. Haven't had a chance to have any recently because my parents usually yell at me when I stay up too late. Plus, it's hard to convince people to stay up and just talk. Luckily that's why I make friends with losers like JGK. Kidding, she's not my friend.

Went to Logan's Roadhouse or Steakhouse or whatever the hell it's called. I can't believe that I've never noticed that it was there the whole time I've lived in Troy. I guess somewhere in my unconscious, I've noticed it but it didn't really register to me. It was a pretty cool place to eat, more of a casual get together. The floor is littered with thousands of cracked peanut shells. I would hate to have to sweep all that up. Although I'm sure the wannabe OCD personality in me would have a field day with it. I thought the steak was decent, good enough for the price.

Afterwards we went to the movies to catch a late show. Ended up watching Pineapple Express. I thought the movie was knee-slapping hilarious. There were a lot of random scenes where the plot didn't really flow and it was completely unrealistic, but I loved it. This movie fulfilled my retarded funny movie quota for the Summer. Good times.


of epic proportions

Well it's finally here folks. The 2008 Summer Olympics hosted by China. I sat down to watch the opening ceremony today and I gotta say I was completely blown away by the spectacle. The Chinese people have really made it hard for the next country to host the Olympics.

I bet the planning committee could have been mistaken for another episode of "Super Sweet 16." Alright for the ceremony, I want a giant TV...no wait a giant LED screen that unfolds. [Insert whining about getting a super expensive car here] Raff out roud.

The story of the kid was touching, completely selfless. Hopefully he'll stay that way when he grows up. Kind of sucks about the missing patch of hair, maybe Rogaine will help? My favorite part of the ceremony was the torch lighting. That was amazing. Props to whoever came up with the idea of suspending a guy in mid air to light the torch on the roof of the stadium. Although, it must have been incredibly tiring to make the guy mock run the whole length of the track. Was it just me or did it seem like he was going to fall out of his harness a few times?

This has got to be one of the best opening ceremonies I've seen so far. Vancouver better have an amazing comeback.


this is an emergency

I remember this one time when I accidentally called 911. It happened a long time ago when I was too young and naive to know any better. My brother and I were sitting around at home alone, my parents used to leave us home alone a lot, and I started playing around with the phone. I randomly dialed in numbers and giggled when strangers would pick up the phone. Somehow I managed to dial in 911 during my sporadic number selection, because the voice on the other line said, "You've reached 911, what is your emergency?" Snap! I hung up quickly, but I wasn't slick enough because the operator called me right back and yelled at me for calling 911.

I bring this up because of what happened recently in Jacksonville. Basically the guy was mad because he didn't get what he ordered and called 911. The cops ended up arresting him for making false 911 calls.

I just wanted to say that I can see where this guy was coming from. There have been many times when I've encountered incompetent customer service and wish I could have "Bruce Wayne'd" it. By that I mean purchasing the establishment in front of the employee and then firing him or her on the spot. What a thrill that would be. Completely a jerk move, but I think certain allowances can be made.

I think I'm introverted too.


the sartorialist in me

The past few days I've been obsessing over clothes. It can probably be attributed to the recent shopping spree a few days ago. I feel ambitious this year. With the mounting pressure of having to balance an internship with school and KCF, it seems like the best time to turn over a new leaf. I've been asking around if I should try to merge GQ with "indie/scenester." They're both entirely different styles and it'll be a bold maneuver. Here's my logic, I figure since I'll be donning a suit twice a week, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to continue wearing clothes of that nature on my off days. On the other hand, I've always had a fascination for the "vintage too-cool-for-conforming" style that is popularly depicted by stores like Urban Outfitters or American Apparel. This is the real challenge, trying to fit my shapely body into skinny pants. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Unlike some guys, I value my crotch space and prefer things to be loose instead of cramped. Balls need to be aired out folks.

Here are a few styles that I like.

Besides just changing my style, I want to undergo a personality shift. I'm reluctant to say "change" because I doubt it would happen. Whereas to "shift" would simply mean emphasizing specific traits over others. There are certain personality traits that I would prefer letting go of. We'll see if that happens or not.


work on the laugh

I recently sat down to watch the critically acclaimed Internet musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and others. At first I was hesitant to watch it but curiosity and a fondness for Felicia Day overwhelmed me. First off, it should be noted that the musical would probably not be what someone would expect; it's not Broadway caliber performances we're talking here. Keeping that in mind, I throughly enjoyed the musical. It was witty, silly and heart-breaking. If you haven't seen it yet, go give Dr. Horrible a try. Plus, Felicia Day is just so adorable in it. Yeah, I would just throw that in there.

In other news, I have to go help out at a local church this Friday. I'm suppose to play a part during their games, I play the role of the Joker who tells riddles. We'll see how that plays out. There's a softball game coming up and I still need to hit the batting cages to work on my swing. Walter keeps hyping me up, forcing me to play good or face rejection. That bastard.

Random side note: I don't tan very easily it seems.



My first crush was when I was in first grade. There was this girl named "Jamie" and she was in the grade above me. I'm not sure if they still do this now, but back then the school district used to have joint first and second grade classes. Usually you would end up having the same teacher for both grades. Anyways, I forget how the whole situation started but for some reason I was mad at this one guy and the teacher decided to pair me up with Jamie. It was her job to try to calm me down and cheer me up. Well needless to say it worked, but I couldn't let on that it did. I had to pretend that I was still mad at the guy so she would stick around. Like most crushes at that age, my attention wandered to the next thing that struck my fancy. However, I did share a "Couples Only" skate with her back when skating rinks were the place to hang out on weekends.


one of those moments

After the life lessons talk that I had with Mr. R today, I've come to realize that I need to plot out my future more carefully. I definitely need to sit down with my counselor and come up with a plan; as well as decide if a path in anthropology is the right one for me. It's frustrating that I'm still so unsure of what I'm going to do with my life, because at this stage I'm already deep in debt. I'm so idealistic sometimes that it gets in the way of actually accomplishing anything. It's easy to say "well I want to help others by doing this, this and this." Mr. R stated things that needed to be said and now I'm back to the drawing board and come up with a strategy that works. Constructive criticism at its finest.

the hamster formerly known as

It's official. My hamster is a lazy ass sack of fur. All he does is sleep, eat and poop. In that order too. Guess he must be getting old or something, because when I first brought him home he had quite a youthful energy. [We "celebrated" his first birthday in May.] Nowadays, I'm lucky if I can get him to use the wheel once every few days. Despite his sloth like behavior, I still adore the little rat. Even though my parents were opposed to buying another hamster after the first one tragically passed away, they've learned to accept Oreo as a member of the family. Quite honestly, Oreo is spoiled. He lives in a giant 172 ounce tub with plentiful food and adoration. My mom practically gushes over this creature with such a fervor that it makes me wonder if it came down to it, would she choose Oreo over me? I sure hope such an occasion doesn't occur.


the day

The plan to go for a refreshing morning swim turned out to be an epic fail. Standing there in front of the pool with my swimming gear, I decided that it was in the best interest to back out. The swimmer to lifeguard ratio was not in my favor. In other words, I deemed it would be too awkward to swim. There simply was not enough people in the pool area. This may just be me, but I feel really self-conscious when people watch me swim. It feels creepy. Oh well, I'll make up for it by going for a dip elsewhere, preferably with the sun blazing down on me. Lord knows I am in desperate need for a tan. Almost makes me want to consider paying a visit to the tanning salon, almost.

Afterwards, I headed to a friend's house for a jam session. One of my guitars needed to be restrung because it was missing its G string. The process was quite tedious and completely not worth the time and effort. I think I'm going to cop out and pay to have my guitar restrung by professionals. It's not worth the hassle in my eyes.

Went to Somerset with a grocery list of sorts. I had to get all the items for my professional wardrobe. I hit up store after store, taking my sweet time deciding which color brown dress shoe I preferred and picking out delicious ties. I love ties and I was like a little kid in a candy shoppe when I stood in front of a table of ties that were marked down 60%. Why are dress socks so big? If I were to put one one, it'll look like it's swallowing my leg. What's the verdict on pocket squares? I wasn't sure if I should buy one or not. I've heard both sides, that it's needed and that it's purely optional. I'm not sure where I should stand on that issue yet. Afterwards I left to go pick up my suits that I had ordered the week before.

Came home from the exhausting spree and took a phone call from the State Champ. It's not really her name, just something I tease her about all the time. We got to talking, updating each other on our lives and what we've been missing out. The usual protocol for conversing with an estranged friend.

Took off with the 'rents for a late night dim sum in celebration of the occasion. A much needed break from the busy day that I had. I gorged myself on tasty food and only wished that I had my camera with me to document the event. Sadly though I still cannot find my battery charger for my D40. I've pretty much given up hope that it is still hidden somewhere in the house. Probably should go purchase a new one before a dire need for the camera should arise.

That's pretty much how I spent the "day." A rather productive one, I might add. I have a softball game coming up sometime next week. Should probably starting conditioning for that soon. I would rather avoid making a fool of myself in front of my peers. Anyway, there is only a few more weeks until school starts and my social life goes down the drain. I should make the most of it while I can.


new zealand, not australia


In the final week of Spring semester of my Freshmen year at Michigan State University, I made a decision that would forever change my life. Trying to find a cure for my boredom during exam week, I logged on the study abroad website and started browsing around. On a whim, I signed up for a 3 week, 21 day, environmental science and geology course in New Zealand. I didn't place much emphasis on it because I figured I didn't have the qualifications for the program. Just did it as a joke. During the first couple of weeks of my Sophomore year, I received the acceptance letter for the program. I was completely blown away. After giving the proposition some thought, I signed up and this is the result of that fateful decision.

Part 1: Can't wait to get out of this hellhole...

Waking up at 5 AM was not my idea of starting a vacation. Somehow I was able to drag my sleepy, exhausted butt out of my warm and enticing bed and into crisp clothes. I dressed warmly to fend off the chilly weather. I located a few of the items that I forgot to pack and shoved them into my overfilling suitcase. Hopefully, I don't go over the weight limit for the bags. Packing has always been a tough thing for me. Trying to find space for all the things that I need to bring and cramming it into a 2 x 3 container just doesn't strike me as a good usage of my Friday night. I run through the list, double checking that I have everything I need. Toiletries, check. Towel, check. Clothes, check. Camera, check. Etc. The list is rather comprehensive, outlining the essentials and the practical. There are a few random items such as moleskin; what the flip is moleskin for? When am I ever going to need moleskin? I cannot recall a single instance in my past when someone has said to me, "If only I had moleskin..." Needless to say I didn't pack moleskin or other "useless" space consuming items like sunblock or bandages. My philosophy is don't bring something you don't need or something that someone else is bound to have.

It's still dark outside as I tossed my gear into the trunk of the car and took off for Metro Airport. The freeway was sparsely populated that morning and we made good time getting to the airport. I was nervous as I stepped out of the vehicle, and looked around the bustling terminal hoping to see a familiar face. Stood off to the side as I waited with my parents for the professor to arrive. The terminal was alive with passengers headed off to exotic and sunny locations, most likely to escape the city before the first major snow storm hits. This would be the first time I've spent Christmas away from home, not to mention being out of the country. Here I was waiting to catch a plane that would take me halfway across the globe and dump me with 20 other strangers in a foreign country. I could only imagine how that'll turn out.

I spotted some travelers sporting State sweatshirts and unconsciously gravitate toward them. I didn't quite join them in case I mistook them for fans instead of my classmates. It's way too early in the morning for me to recover smoothly from an embarrassing moment. I can just imagine it now... [In hushed tones while stealing furtive looks at my general direction] "Who is that guy? Do you guys know him? Why is he standing near us? He kind of looks Japanese. What if he's some sort of Asian terrorist? Someone should get rid of him" How can I recover from that? Graciously slip away pretending that my presence is a coincidence? It's hard to look smooth with bed hair and droopy eyes.

I nervously checked the time on my phone. It read a little past 7 AM. Finally it dawned on me that I might actually be in the wrong area. As the fruits of this horrid discovery started to sink in, I was saved at the last moment by a familiar face. Amidst the crowds, I spotted one of guys who lived on my floor Freshmen year. We had actually gone to high school together and coincidentally ended up living on the same floor along with two other guys from high school. I said goodbye to my parents. Short and sweet. We're not much on sappy goodbyes and affections. They told me to spend the money wisely and to not be stupid. That's love I guess. I met up with my friend Dave and both he and I are surprised to see that we both enrolled in the same program. "This is going to be a hell of a time." You have no idea, buddy.


I hate...

  • feeling like I wasted the whole day.
  • breaking promises.
  • when people routinely take advantage of others.
  • when I fall for a girl that I know I can't have.
  • the stupid things that I did when I was younger.
  • not living up to other people's expectations.
  • being left out.
  • my inability to back up what I say.
  • getting terrible grades.
  • doubting myself and my abilities.
  • the absurd amount of oil that exists on my face.
  • jealousy over people, objects and activities that I have no right to claim jealousy over.
  • doing laundry.
  • washing dishes in a restaurant.
  • feeling helpless.
  • talking about my spirituality with certain people.
  • watching old friends change into people that discourage me.
  • not knowing what I want to do with my life.
  • getting the chain grease on my bike all over my clean jeans.
  • the harsh realities of life that tend to slap you across the face with a brutal vengeance.
  • injustice.
  • feeling threatened by other guys who I feel are my "competition."
  • finding dirty dishes and utensils in the cafeteria.
  • people being loud in "quiet study areas."
  • pointless homework assignments.
  • ignorance.
  • bad timing.
  • noise when I desire silence.
  • failing.
  • being disorganized.
  • messing up while writing.
  • people who mistreat books.
  • people who mistreat others.
  • bad acting.
  • not standing up for what I believe in.
  • not taking chances when I ought to.
  • sticky movie theatre floors.
  • wet jeans
  • wet socks
  • knowing things that I feel shouldn't be shared.

I love...

  • the spectacular display of colors that come with every sunrise and sunset.
  • biting into a spoonful of carefully crafted tiramisu.
  • mind-numbing warmth that radiates throughout my body after I see a pretty girl flash a even prettier smile.
  • viewing a well taken photograph.
  • spine tingling massages that take me just short of orgasmic heights.
  • reading well crafted and witty blogs.
  • the refreshing feeling that comes after washing my face.
  • helping out others.
  • Indian food about as much as I love Korean food.
  • reminiscing about the past.
  • receiving compliments.
  • getting new clothes.
  • stretching.
  • thought-provoking movies.
  • making the grade.
  • people helping out those in need expecting nothing in return.
  • witty lines and sexual innuendos.
  • long, warm embraces that convey deep emotional affection.
  • the Chicago skyline.
  • learning something new that interests me.
  • pulling harmless pranks.
  • teasing others.
  • sharing music with others.
  • back massages.
  • staying up all night with friends.
  • deep, meaningful conversations that you never want to end.
  • nice, tone bodies.
  • sandy beaches.
  • sweet dreams and restful sleep.
  • jet skiing at adrenaline rushing speeds.
  • gliding through the water underneath the surface.
  • sense of accomplishment.
  • fruits.
  • vegetable party trays.
  • scalp massages.
  • challenges.
  • people who have their act together.
  • cold drinking fountains.
  • not having a care in the world.
  • people who go above and beyond.
  • people who are on fire and passionate about issues.

bucket list

  1. go skydiving.
  2. go bungee jumping.
  3. live in Chicago, Portland, and Seattle.
  4. listen to "Boston" while walking through Boston.
  5. run a marathon.
  6. save someone's life.
  7. totally trick a great girl into marrying a loser like me.
  8. give a speech in front of a thousand people.
  9. make it on the Dean's List. [May 2008]
  10. have one of my pictures published in a magazine.
  11. be a good father.
  12. travel throughout Europe.
  13. provide direct aid in Africa.
  14. trek through Antarctica.
  15. facilitate a peace treaty.
  16. run for an public position.
  17. carry on a serious conversation in a not so serious accent.
  18. perform in a play.
  19. write a song.
  20. play in a band.
  21. find a way to stop popping my joints.
  22. buy a homeless guy/gal dinner and learn about his/her life.
  23. max out a car on the Autobahn.
  24. participate in a poetry slam.
  25. win a talent contest.
  26. perform street magic.
  27. go fishing.
  28. learn how to sail a boat.
  29. make a video blog.
  30. paint a contemporary piece of art and sell it for a stick of gum and a back massage.
  31. ride the Millennium Force two times in a row within a span of 30 minutes.
  32. find the love of my life. (this comes before #7)
  33. go horseback riding.
  34. teach a class.
  35. learn how to take better photographs.
  36. fly a helicopter.
  37. write a book.
  38. learn how to ski/snowboard
  39. climb a mountain. [December 2007]
  40. swim with dolphins. [January 2008]
  41. break a world record.
  42. eat anything I want with no regard to my health for one day. [August 2008]
  43. direct and film a video. [April 2008]
  44. win the lottery.
  45. go streaking.
  46. expand the amount of readers of this blog from a meager few to a meager few plus one. [August 2008]
  47. read the major holy books cover to cover.
  48. draw a successful cartoon.
  49. invest in a risky venture and win big.
  50. learn how to play the guitar and piano.
  51. beat "Jordan" on expert.
  52. participate in 'Fight Club.'
  53. perform a hand puppet show for my kids.
  54. paint the school rock before I graduate.
  55. learn how to speak five other languages.
  56. learn how to sign language.
  57. jump off a cliff and into a pool of water.
  58. dance to "It had to be you" by Frank Sinatra with my wife in our darken living room.
  59. sing a song at a karaoke bar.
  60. live in New Zealand.
  61. learn Parkour.
  62. clean out the spare room.
  63. paint the house.
  64. visit Scotland.
  65. visit the wild West.
  66. feed one of the fat squirrels at school.
  67. stargaze in an open field whilst lying on a blanket, telescope near by.
  68. watch a play on Broadway.
  69. make a scrapbook.
  70. be in a movie.
  71. have someone ask me for my autograph.
  72. be a good older brother.
  73. be a good son.
  74. win a stuffed animal from a claw machine.
  75. learn how to harmonize.
  76. be a cop for a day; pull irresponsible drivers over.
  77. buy a store in front of a rude employee and fire him/her on the spot.
  78. speak at a press conference.
  79. visit Iceland.
  80. get crow's feet and wrinkles from laughing.
  81. confront my demons.

things you probably didn't know

  1. People say I look Korean, but I'm actually not.
  2. I learned how to ride a bike all by myself.
  3. I have been courting the city of Chicago for about a year now.
  4. Even though I live in Michigan, I have never seen a ski slope in my entire life.
  5. I have only had one nosebleed in my entire life.
  6. I am unsatisfied with my body.
  7. I always clean out My Recent Documents on my computer.
  8. I love reading memoirs, but will never write one.
  9. I am a sucker for gorgeous smiles.
  10. I don't like to smile for pictures because I think I have an ugly smile.
  11. I have one brother, but have always wanted a sister.
  12. I want to have two children; a boy first then a girl.
  13. My daughter will be my favorite child.
  14. I am a chronic liar, but I have toned down significantly.
  15. I have problems controlling what I spend my money on.
  16. I think 300 is overrated.
  17. I don't know how to talk to girls who I meet for the first time.
  18. I am a terrible dancer.
  19. I am an awkward person.
  20. I talk big, but if you call me out I tend to fold.
  21. I love the feeling that comes after finishing my CAPA assignments.
  22. I am so easily influenced.
  23. I have a pretty diverse taste in music, but emo/punk annoys the crap out of me.
  24. Sudokus frustrate me.
  25. I want to visit Portland eventually.
  26. I am afraid that I won't make it into grad school.
  27. Even though I say money is not a factor, it is.
  28. I think girls that are intellectual and good at video games are extremely attractive.
  29. I get jealous easily.
  30. I am not huge on labels.
  31. I get embarrassed easily.
  32. I love to travel.
  33. I have a competitive streak hidden within me.
  34. I wish I was a better writer.
  35. I am a slob that only cleans up every once in a while.
  36. My cockiness comes out after a few drinks.
  37. I have never been able to maintain a relationship.
  38. I love taking naps, but hate wasting my whole day.
  39. I skip class too often.
  40. My first relationship was a huge mistake.
  41. When it comes down to it, I am as materialistic as a consumer whore ought to be.
  42. I am pretty open minded when it comes to spirituality.
  43. I stand liberal on most political topics.
  44. I have never voted in a presidential election...or any election in general. 2008 historic election
  45. I am attracted to girls that I cannot have.
  46. I have a love obsession with photography.
  47. I have never had my own room.
  48. I wish I knew how to play the piano and guitar.
  49. I love watching foreign films.
  50. I enjoy using cliches.
  51. People who are able to manipulate the English language to form witty comments or observation are totally awesome in my book.
  52. I can be arrogant and stubborn.
  53. I'm not all that interested in sports.
  54. I am self-conscious about my body and features that are related to masculinity.
  55. I have a tendency to show off.
  56. I am not a big phone person.
  57. I hate my phone voice.
  58. I think I am tone deaf.
  59. During praise & worship, I refrain from clapping because I am afraid to be out of beat.
  60. I let people take advantage of me.
  61. I hate going to random parties and clubs scare me.
  62. My first kiss was in seventh grade.
  63. I am afraid of failing.
  64. Every new shirt that I buy is my new "favorite" shirt.
  65. I have watched a movie by myself. It sucked.
  66. I have a nerdy side. Ask me about it.
  67. My brain is capable of storing vast quantities of useless information.
  68. Recently I have been having difficulty retaining information.
  69. I have not vomited since grade school.
  70. I used to be on a cross country team, but I have never finished a 5K all the way through without stopping.
  71. I like Koreans words better than Chinese words.
  72. I am never satisfied with my haircut.
  73. I have a fear of heights.
  74. "Ya'll" should be a word in the dictionary.
  75. My hamster loves my mom more than me.
  76. I lack imagination and creativity.
  77. I have never been pulled over.
  78. I have never smoked a cigarette.
  79. Fresca + cranberry juice=delish.
  80. I usually pick my warm bed over getting up for my 8 am classes.
  81. I collect the Post Secret secrets every Sunday.
  82. I have never cried when reading the secrets, but I have laughed many times.
  83. I have bailed on paying for dinner once.
  84. I have been responsible for a car accident.
  85. I feel guilty every time I buy something expensive.
  86. I can't help but feel sorry for old people and disabled people.
  87. Every time I see a person eating alone, I think about inviting him/her to eat with me.
  88. I like the smell of cigarette smoke, but not on my clothes.
  89. I stay up late on a daily basis and have been known to pull multiple all nighters.
  90. I judge how dirty I am based on the condition of my hair.
  91. I think black looks good on me.
  92. I'm conceited enough to think that people are talking about me when they are ranting about something.
  93. I've become accustomed to drinking coffee black.
  94. I've been in the trunk of a car while it was being pulled over by the cops.
  95. I've snuggled with a dog.
  96. I'm afraid that I won't have a job when I graduate.
  97. I'm having doubts after switching my major from business.
  98. I love my calender and will miss it when school is over.
  99. I currently own a cactus but have no idea how to care for it.
  100. I will never buy another "Freakanomics" daily calender again; total waste of money.
  101. I tend to hold a grudge against guys that I feel are my competition.
  102. I hate filling out job applications and often lie on them.
  103. I think I'm witty when I use British colloquialism directed to people who are currently in England.
  104. I often walk into camera stores just to catch a glimpse of cameras I can never afford.
  105. I like to pretend that I know what I'm talking about.
  106. You could power nations based off the amount of oil on my face.
  107. I want to have crow's feet and wrinkles from laughing.
  108. I have met the Final Boss.
  109. I prefer sleeping closer to the ground.
  110. I don't mind wearing socks to bed.
  111. I tend to come up with the best ideas...in retrospect.