Saturday, September 15, 2012

Life and Blessings

Praise and prayer on Friday night prompted me to count my blessings. Things can come tumbling down in a blink of an eye. What God gives, he can always take away.

I am thankful everyday that I came to know Jesus Christ. I have no idea what my life would have come to if I never found Christ. My life before I became a Christian is such a blur now. I started going to church the summer before my senior year in high school. My friend told me about a volunteer job at a summer day camp at a local church. He told me to apply since I couldn't find a job for the summer. I slowly started going to church there after meeting some new friends and seeing the love everyone had for each other. It may just be a coincidence, but that following school year was the most fun I had in high school. I became happier ever since I started going to church. I've met irreplaceable friends and the amazing love of God.

I take my family for granted way too many times. They love me and they're always there for me. My teenaged years were a nightmare for my parents. You can call me a mama's boy. My mom did everything for me, much to my sister's chagrin. I saw that. I saw how annoyed my sister got whenever my mom yelled at her for things I easily got away with. I didn't want my sister to keep hating me for something I had no control over. It's not like I told my mom to yell at her. I also didn't want my mom to keep interrupting me whenever I was playing games or IM'ing friends. So I did what every other teenager did. I became rebellious. I would constantly talk back to my mom. I would get annoyed at her whenever she tried to talk to me. This caused a massive heartache for my mom. Years of this has strained my relationship with her. It's been getting slightly better. But the strain is still there and it's made it painfully difficult for me to apologize for all this. Hopefully in the near future, I'll have the courage to talk to my mom about all this. My parents aren't Christian, so that'll be an even more difficult conversation to bring up. I also owe them my income whenever I start working for putting up with my Syracuse tuition.

God, family, and friends. I have been blessed with amazing people and an amazing grace. The material goods I have in my life are awesome, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if I lost it all. But it would be the end if I lost the above mentioned.

Count your blessings every day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rock Climbing and Impacts

He was a tall guy. Fairly scrawny, pretty neat glasses, and a nice haircut. Physically, he wasn't someone who stood out besides being over six feet. But a sense of admiration and awe overcame me as I saw him take steps across a wall I kept falling down from.

I went rock climbing a few days ago. I haven't gone rock climbing since middle school. I used to be terrified of heights (now I'm just scared to the point that I won't make a big deal out of it). "Terrified" is probably an understatement. I remember crying my eyes out when the guy belaying me wouldn't let me down because I "almost reached the top". I remember looking down from the top and fear quickly wrapped up my mind. I cried and put a fit.

Well, I have since made efforts to overcome my fear. Roller coasters were a big help.

There are so many things about rock climbing I never understood. There was this one route I was trying to climb. A trail of pink tape marked which rocks (I don't know what they're actually called) I'm supposed to use as grips and footholds. I got near the top every time but I would fall at the same exact spot. Then the tall guy previously mentioned started the same route I was trying. He gracefully got to the spot I repeatedly fell at. I noticed he was on his toes a lot. He then made a quick cross with his legs and reached the top. I was dumbfounded. I never thought of sidestepping. For me, the only thought I had was up. Not to the side.

Not only did I reach the top the next time I tried it, I had a much more enjoyable time getting to the top of other routes.

It's great how much of an impact you can have on a complete stranger and not even know about it. Thanks "Rockclimbing Tall Guy".

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Atmospheres and Flirting

Everyone should learn how to read situations and atmospheres. By no means am I a professional when it comes to this, but I still have a somewhat decent understanding of it. Enough, at least, to realize the obvious.

I spent the majority of yesterday and today in the initial phases of jury duty. I took a novel off my bookshelf that my sister left there in hopes that I could kill time with some reading. Eighteen pages into the novel and my eyes refused to read another word. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a vanilla sundae. As boring as it gets. A boring novel waiting for my name to be called for jury duty. I spent the rest of the time people watching and napping.

Eventually we got separated into groups for interviews with the defense attorney and prosecutor. This took 3 hours of yesterday and all of today. Anyways, I ended up talking to two asian guys my age because...well, we're asian and about the same age. They talked to me first for the record. Onto reading atmospheres. One of said asian guys talked to me, a lot. (I'll name him Asian Guy #1 in this post) Probably because he's seen me before somewhere and uses that as a premise for knowing me. Besides being a ridiculously messy eater (the guy dropped every sesame seed off the bun and half the lettuce off of his burger during lunch break) and having a rather weird sense of humor, I supposed I didn't mind talking to him.

But I spotted a cute girl in our group and she was sitting alone during breaks. We exchanged several glances in and out of the courtroom. Harmless flirting. Outside of jury duty, I'll probably never see her again. So as Asian Guy #1 kept talking, I inched little by little away from him and towards her. As soon as he averted his attention somewhere else, I escaped him and proceeded to talk to said girl. I honestly wasn't hoping for any type of relationship with her, but I did want to talk to her. In comes Asian Guy #1 not even 10 seconds into our conversation.

Really, dude? Really?

Atmosphere ruined. Well, the atmosphere I was trying to build up anyways. Asian Guy #2 was much more understanding and struck up a conversation with an elderly woman nearby instead.

Props to you, Asian Guy #2.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pretentious Girl and Lovable Man

I tend to be a very bad initial judge of character.

On the first day of my acting class, there was one girl who always raised her hand for every question and answered with a solemn face. She was an acting major in a class for non-majors. I automatically assumed she was a pretentious know-it-all who was in the class to be better than everyone else. I soon found out that this girl would smile at everything and encourage everyone to be better. She just has that solemn, cool and collective face when answering questions.

I saw a man sitting by himself at a bus stop once. Everyone else waiting for the bus waited outside of the little shelter. The man looked like a bum, but looked like a nice man. I sat next to him at the shelter and he immediately asked me for change. I politely told him I had none. He then asked me for a cigarette, to which I also said I didn't have. He then apologized and proceeded to mutter something every time someone walked by. It was usually a quiet holler at every female that walked by or a derogatory remark to every guy. In short, this man was an asshole.

When I first see someone, it's like I'm given a multiple choice of their personality and I always get it wrong. Good thing I always get second and third chances to reevaluate people I actually want to continue talking to.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Going Green and Capitalism

It's almost 5 AM and I've long given up on my assignment for Thursday. My bed is calling for me, but I'm too stubborn to listen.

My "Design Issues" professor has been going on about sustainability, climate change, and a whole load of green words for the past week or so. How does all this relate to design? Beats me. I've tuned him out since the beginning of the semester and opting to read articles in class on my laptop. Hey, I'm still learning in class right? Surprised I haven't been called out on it, though. Whenever my professor walks by, I'm sure he can see I'm not paying attention or have anything relevant on my screen. I guess it's how I conduct myself whenever he walks around the room. Most people lower their screens or quickly change to a word document when they notice him walk by. I find that ridiculously suspicious. If I saw someone take notice of my presence and promptly lowered their laptop screens, I'd be curious as to what they're hiding. Whenever he walks by, I just shift my head to let him know I know he's there, and then continue on as I was doing.

I have a friend in the class who is an advocate for all that green stuff. She's probably one of the three people in a class of fifty-something people (about 30 of whom actually attend class) who are actually engaging in the material. The rest of us zone out or are on our laptops. Anyways, she goes on about the problems we can face if we don't act. Something like that, I think. I wouldn't be able to recall. I zone out when she talks about it, too.

Should I care? Probably yes. It's an important issue. I recognize global warming is an actual threat that Republicans seem to not understand. Is it because I'm probably going to be dead by the time the Earth is rocked to its core by natural disasters (barring any 2012 doomsday conspiracies)? Or is it because it's not having an immediate effect on my life?

The most I do is recycle. I don't want to waste my time slowing down the inevitable. No matter how small or big the difference I bring to the cause, it won't stop the fact that global warming is still going on. It's like the vegans/vegetarians who protest against the slaughter of animals for consumption. The animals are still going to be killed and consumed no matter how much they protest. It's the sad truth that capitalism is built on. The meat industry is way too big and profitable to concede to some moral issues. The gasoline industry won't go down against however many alternative energy source ideas pop up.

It's all for the money.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Conversationalist and Edward Scissorhands

If there's one thing I have learned about hair stylists, it is that they must be able to hold a conversation.

I got a haircut last week. I checked online for appointment times and noticed my usual stylist wasn't available at all. After walking in, I inform them I am not scheduled for an appointment. The guy working the counter points me over to this scrawny guy who looked like your typical hipster with his wavy hair, black rimmed glasses, neatly trimmed mustache, and checkered dress shirt tucked in. Let's call him Edward Scissorhands. Why? Because the man was so hellbent on doing the entire cut with scissors.

My previous stylist could talk for hours and still have the same pep in her voice as when she began talking. The first time I ever got my hair cut by her, I was humming a song on the radio and she forever remembered me by that. Every time afterwards she would ask me to hum or sing along to the song on the radio. She would always rave on about the shampoo she used because it felt like an IcyHot on your scalp.

Edward Scissorhands seemed like he was afraid of talking. He would ask a question here and there, but I could tell from the strain in his voice that he preferred not to talk. I didn't mind. I don't like being forced to maintain a conversation with someone who doesn't want to talk. I'm more comfortable letting there be a silence. And I'm sure he wanted it to be silent too. So I kept my mouth shut except for the few word answers I would give him to his sporadic questions.

Not everyone is a conversationalist and that's fine. The manager came up afterwards and berated him for not talking more to which I tried to assure him that I was okay with it.

Then again, I would rather prefer my hair stylist to be able to hold a conversation than taxi drivers. Holding a conversation with Syracuse taxi drivers is one of the things I abhor the most. I am forced to listen and respond since I'm the only one in the car. That and it's usually in the morning when I miss the bus to the Warehouse and I'm sweating buckets in fear of being late to class. Less chit-chat and more driving.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dream Girl and Years Later

I sat in front of my acting for non-majors class after my improv listening to my professor critique me. He asked me "Have you ever had a girl you liked a lot? A dream girl?" This question was supposed to help me create a more emotional scene without the intention to throw my mind in a frenzy.

I can say I have liked a girl so much to the point where I can identify her as my dream girl. I remember the day I met her. I was playing basketball with my friends at a park during my freshman year of high school when she walked by. My friend called out to her and asked if she wanted to bring a volleyball and play with us. She lived nearby and said okay. That was the first time I met her. Didn't give off a good first impression since I am terrible at volleyball. Lucky for me she went to my school. I happened to walk by her in the hallway weeks later and we sort of recognized each other. We confirmed that we met at the park once.

It all unraveled from there. I remember writing a Valentine's Day card for her my sophomore year. I remember panicking all day before I finally gave it to her at the end of the day. Our lockers happened to be near each other. I knew she wasn't interested in me. But I still gave her that card. We didn't speak much afterwards. I sort of moved on, but she was still in the back of my mind.

I don't recall talking to her at all my junior year. I never had any classes with her (and I never did in all four years of high school). But we did have ninth period free our senior year. We hung out with a group of mutual friends every ninth period on Tuesdays I believe. I was pretty sure she forgot about the Valentine's card or at least didn't care anymore. Though I say I got over her, I still liked her. I remember she was having a difficult time with prom. She was waiting for this guy to ask her. I gathered up my guts and asked her if she would go with me if he didn't ask her. She gave me this amazing smile and said yes. Though I felt bad since this guy is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and I want to apologize to him for the pain I've caused him even after all these years. He wanted to go with her but he didn't want to burden her since he couldn't dance. She's an amazing dancer. Anyways, I ended up going to prom with her and that will probably go down as the biggest highlight of my high school life.

I wanted to ask her out. But she fell out of contact afterwards. Half the blame should go to me for not trying harder. But things happen. We still keep in touch now and then. She has a boyfriend now. And I am truly happy for her.

I can now say I have gotten over her. Sure, deep down in my heart, she will still be my dream girl from high school. I will always hold on to that. Even after all these years. But the clock is ticking and my mom won't stop nagging.

So when my professor asked if I ever had a dream girl, I just nodded.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mornings and Happiness

Not a morning person? Neither am I. I'm impressed by people who can wake up early and not be a grouch. For me, the morning starts when I have to get up (unless it's 3 PM...then my day is just lost). I rarely have good mornings because I try to get in as much sleep as humanly possible. I time everything. I give myself the bare minimum amount of time to get to class (or wherever else I'm going) to ensure I get the maximum amount of sleep that I can.

With that said, it's no wonder I'm a grouch in the morning. I hurry myself to the point that I need to rush to places (habit of a New Yorker?). At those moments, I cannot tolerate anything or anyone inhibiting my journey to said destination.

All that aside, here are some tips I have found to be helpful to myself to have a great morning that carries out throughout the day:
  • Reward your stomach and taste buds. That's the least you can do for wrenching your body out of your nice, cozy bed and into the frigid air outside of your blanket. Normally I don't have breakfast due to the lack of time. I indulge in double the lunch to make up for it. But breakfast is amazing when it's not cereal and milk. I've had the pleasure of having waffles with ice cream today. I apologize Elizabeth for not mentioning this while I devoured my waffles. But a warm waffle goes with ice cream like ketchup on eggs. IT'S DELICIOUS. While the coldness of the ice cream is still fresh in your mouth, drink a hot cup of coffee. You can thank me later.
  • Reconnect with good music. I usually just listen to the same playlist on my iPod while I go wherever I'm going. That's basically just house/electronic/dubstep/anything that makes me want to dance. However, there are days when I decide to just hit shuffle on all my songs. I surprise myself with songs that come up. While I was walking back from class, one of my favorite songs of all time came up: "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson. Instantly made me smile.
  • Listen to new songs. Enough said.
  • Smile. It's free therapy. Someone told me you can improve your mood by just smiling. It's true. I get happy watching other people be happy. When someone else is genuinely smiling, I smile too. I watch videos of soldiers returning home to an unexpected family. Everyone bursts into tears of joy and I'm smiling like an idiot to myself. It makes me happy to be a human being. That or watching Jamar Rogers' reaction when Cee Lo turned his chair around for him on The Voice. Happiness can be contagious, even if it's through a computer screen.
  • Most importantly, don't rush yourself. It's nice to just walk at your own comfortable pace and enjoy the things around you. When you're in a hurry to be somewhere, the journey becomes that much less enjoyable. You're constantly worried about the little things that can delay you. Go to sleep earlier so you can wake up earlier.
I really need to follow my own advice, especially on the last one there. But I'm a procrastinator. I work most efficiently against the clock. Old habits are hard to break.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bro Code and Strike

Blatant violation of the bro code.

True violations are hard to come by. There are the minor ones that you can just brush off your shoulders. Every guy has these invisible laws known as the "bro code" engraved in their minds as they grow up.

My roommate and I were at the gym. He was playing volleyball and I was playing basketball. As we are being kicked out of the gym, I look outside and it's raining. I had no hood and no umbrella. Awesome. My roommate drove. I double check with him to see if he drove.

"Sorry, I promised the girls I'd drive them home."

My mind was trying to scramble for appropriate words to say. I made a joking effort to get a ride to no avail. In the end, I had nothing to say and turned away. Don't get me wrong. I think it's proper to escort girls back home if you have a car. But I'm one guy. A guy who is going to exact same place as the driver. Unless he was trying to drive the women's lacrosse team in one trip, I don't see how I couldn't have fit in the ride.

This goes beyond the bro code. This should be classified as roommate code.

I get home soaking wet. I check my phone which I left at home to charge. One text message from said roommate. "Do you want to go to Price Choppers?" I literally stared at this message in disbelief. If you are going to bring me to do some grocery shopping, wouldn't it have made sense to drive me back from the gym so you wouldn't have to wait for me to walk home in the rain?

I'm too tired to be upset. I have an 8:30 AM class in the morning and I haven't done the assignment yet.

That's strike 1, roommate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vision and Weakness

What a blessing last week has been. It's been three days since I've come back from Vision Conference. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go when my friend told me about it two months ago. But I am so glad that I went.

The conference featured two amazing pastors, Rick James and Peter Ahn. Rick James blessed us with biblical context which we could apply to our every day lives. Peter Ahn wasn't afraid to show his transparency and shared with us personal stories that rocked our souls. He also shared a lesson in evangelism that answered so many of my questions about the topic. It seemed like both pastors somehow directly answered questions everyone was holding in their hearts which I find to be mind blowing. Every plenary that the pastors spoke at left me amazed at how questions I've long had have been answered.

What's the most important thing I can take out of this conference?

It's that I shouldn't be afraid to be broken and weak. I shouldn't be afraid to rely on God for the times I'm down. I've been a very independent person. Whenever I face an obstacle in my path, I only use my own power to hurdle it. I've only relied on God a few times and those were things that weren't in my control.

There's so much that I've experienced and learned at Vision Conference that I cannot possibly put them down in one blog entry.

The lone bad thing about conference was the lack of campus representation. Most of the people at the conference were there with people from their college campus. There were three people from Syracuse there. I'm all for going back next year at the moment. But I hope more Cuse people will be there next year. Gotta start up a Syracuse group there.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More Highlights and Anticipations

Unlike last year, my end to the year wasn't so memorable. It's not like it was bad by any means, but I don't have the same emotional high as last year. I'm still teetering on whether I should make a resolutions list this year or not. Hopefully I'll get an answer as I type this out.

Highlights of 2011 include:
  • Getting into VPA.
  • Seeing Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.
  • Got my learner permit (about time).
  • KCS 2011 retreat.
  • Got into the Shift Dance Crew.
  • Ddukboogies '11.
  • Going to Stony Brook for spring break.
  • Working at the summer day camp at my church over the summer.
  • "The Rapture" (it was nice for jokes and giggles).
  • Living in an apartment this semester.
  • Cutting off a small chunk of my left index finger on the last day of finals.
It's not that noticeable from far away, but you can (well at least I can) see it when you look closely.

The list of highlights have sure extended from what I had last year. Then again, having a blog and a new Facebook timeline helps in keeping track of the events that transpired. I'm probably still missing things. But as I said last year, if I don't remember it, then it does not merit being a highlight.

Well the new year is here and I'm still adamant on not having resolutions. I still stand by what I've been saying. I don't need a specific day to announce to myself how to improve my own well being.

Instead, I'll do...(drum rolls please)...another list! I'll list out things I'm looking forward to this year.
  • Vision Conference in three days.
  • A whole bunch of movies (The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-man, Snow White and the Huntsman (yep), The Hunger Games).
  • World of Dance: New York (they are moving to a new venue this year. Goodbye hot and stuffy Brooklyn Tech auditorium).
  • Spring semester (I have a feeling it's going to be a fun semester).
  • Hopefully a summer internship.
  • Hopefully my driver's license this summer.
  • December 21, 2012 (I love it when doomsday predictions don't pan out).
May more things spring up as the year goes on.