:: What's New in the World ::
"I hate you."
In The Off Hours
Books :: None currently...
TV :: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, The 4400, Entourage
Anime :: Naruto, Bleach, Gundam SEED Destiny, Sousei no Aquarion
Music :: DHT - Listen to Your Heart
• Annoying Event Staff
• No More Work
• Night Pictures
• Winning at Poker
• No income
• Expensive gear
• Integrating flash and DBs
• Driving long distances
:: Friday, November 22, 2002 ::
Static, Shocks, and Stress...
:: Monday, November 18, 2002 ::
I hate dry weather. What’s worse, I hate dry, hot weather which is probably not the best sentiment considering the arid climate of my residence. Normally these conditions, even coming at the end of November, would be bearable if I were at home but unfortunately for me I spend a large portion of my day at work where two factors, namely miles or carpet and metal door handles, make it extremely frustrating. The problem arises as I walk across the floors in my rubber soled shoes, quickly building up a positive charge upon my person. As I progress down the corridor in slow reluctant steps, dread creeps in from the fringes of my mind until my eyes fall upon the focus of my fear: the door knob. It hangs there, all shiny and silent, ever waiting to ground me and neutralize my charge in a fraction of a second. It is not this that grips my heart in trepidation, but the ensuing shock I foresee as a result of such grounding. And in truth, it is not just door knobs. Oh no, it’s also file cabinets, metal computer towers, and even the metallic cones in my earphones which shocked me twice, one for each earpiece, this morning. Neither is direct contact required. Yesterday I passed within two inches of a cabinet and received a nasty little surprise. This happens dozens of times each day. How can I be expected to endure this situation? *sigh*
:: posted by Z [12:41 PM]
:: Monday, November 11, 2002 ::
One quick note, Monday weekend reports will resume once I have some semblance of a life again.
I started reading Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins’ “Left Behind,” the first book in the series which bares the same name, over the weekend. It is a Christian fiction which deals with “Earth’s last days.” To say I am unreligious is a slight understatement, but I do fancy myself an open-minded individual. Since I learned of the series years ago, ten books and over 40 million copies sold to date in all, I’ve been curious to see for myself what all the hype was about. I still had “The Ten Thousand” in my queue and “Gates of Fire” to reread, but after spending three grueling weeks reading “Tides of War,” Steven Pressfield’s soldiers's account of the Peloponnesian War circa 430 BC, I was reluctant to dive right back into ancient Greek historical fiction. I needed a break and figured I might as well sate my curiosity as well. While Christianity in general doesn’t interest me or at least hasn’t in some time, the premise of this book, namely how would those left behind after the Rapture would react and move on, intrigued me because 1) I had never really given it much thought and 2) I would be without doubt one of those left behind.
The first thing that struck me about the book was its style and writing level. To go from Pressfield to this book was like going from doing post-graduate work at the Louvre to remedial art class in elementary school with the kids who couldn’t color within the lines. Beyond this though, the first few chapters in which the disappearances occurred and the ensuing whirlwind of chaos and confusion was enough to keep me reading. By the middle of the book however, the extremely quick conversion of one of the main characters from a by-the-hand Christian to a born again true believer and his drastic shift in thought began to turn me off. What had started as an interesting, though poorly written, Christian fiction that bordered almost on science fiction had digressed into the same rhetoric about our own human imperfections, inherent sinfulness and unworthiness hoping to find our only salvation in complete surrender of ourselves to Jesus Christ and the church that drove me from the religion years ago.
There was sadly nothing new to be learned in this book and I’m afraid to say the entire series. On top of that, the book was decisively marked by its total lack of detail and realism, which leads me to believe that the authors possessed only a superficial understanding of the topics, places and people they are trying to express. One need only read a page or two of Grisham, Clancy or Tolkien to see my point. The only area which did not lack detail was the references to the Bible, which should come as no surprise. The characters started a development which was never completed and remained flat or in some cases became even more flat as the story progressed. Oh well, it doesn’t happen often but once in a while I read a book not really worth my time.
:: posted by Z [6:21 PM]
Contemplation, Chess and Cleaning...
:: Wednesday, November 06, 2002 ::
A full week has passed and I have yet to post the pictures from my latest Bay Area adventure online. It seems lately that my priorities have shifted slightly with this site, among other things, taking a back seat to new or simply revisited priorities. This weekend is a clear example. I found myself on Friday night with no definite plans for the weekend and not especially caring. Gordon made an observation, one which I already knew and had felt for some time, but never transcribed into spoken words. He said of my image gallery simply that it was pictures of all the same things with different settings. This point in and of itself is nothing new. Actually it's a reoccurring cycle I become ensnared in every so often. This cycle being recognized, I am also cognizant of the phase which will follow this one. Most likely, the decrease in the amount of partying I do will continue. Only a few dedicated soldiers remain to carry on the cause, the rest having been swept up by other priorities such as school, work, and, as in my case, fatigue. Snowboarding season will also start soon, and I find myself mentally setting aside money to fund those upcoming winter excursions.
So I spent Friday night with a DVD and Saturday teaching and playing chess with my little cousins who had come over in order to get their malfunctioning computer fixed. As children, each of my siblings and my cousins were taught chess by my Aunt Hue or Uncle Eric, a game which we played often. Later on, as the years drifted by, many including myself lost interest in the game. While others, such as my cousin Mitch, continued to build their game are still active players. Lately my interest in the game has been revitalized by the prospect of competition with my cousins and other friends. It was nice to see something of our relatively new family tradition being passed along to the next generation, though it did carry with it the sensation of being old or getting there slowly.
Sunday turned out to be a spontaneously spawned cleaning day, with everyone in the house, save my brother Tom who, despite being 21 years old, still doesn’t know the meaning of the word “clean.” So after tidying up, organizing my closet, vacuuming and dusting, my room is quite nice if I do say so myself, and I do. Of course such states never perpetuate themselves for very long. The world has this tendency to slide into entropy, or maybe it is we who have the natural tendency.
:: posted by Z [2:59 PM]
The Fellowship of the Ring...
:: Monday, November 04, 2002 ::
I find myself with a small problem, though in truth I already know the solution which I will take. But I get ahead of myself, allow me to regress. Several months ago, I advanced ordered the 2-disc DVD set for “Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring” from Columbia House which has subsequently arrived and been watched times innumerable since. At the time of my order, I was unaware of the existence of a 4-disc DVD set due to be released this month, next Tuesday specifically. The 4-disc set contains over 30 minutes of unseen footage as well as four commentary tracks and hours of documentary material.
It goes without saying that I want this set for my collection. This movie, as I’m sure the next two will also, stands apart in a genre of films often lacking in vision and integrity to the original piece. Any who know my reading preferences are aware that I am enamored with the fantasy genre. R.A. Salvatore’s Drow Elf Trilogy, Glenn Cook’s Black Company Series, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series, countless others, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” To see not a single film, but three, done so well and be a re-creation of one of the most prolific and influential fantasy works ever written is truly inspiring.
Great fantasy writers awe me with their ability not only to create many different characters, but infinitely varied worlds as well. There they create complex histories, rich cultures, full languages, and entirely new forms of life. Some even break the laws of nature, but do so in such a seamless manner as to render it fully believable and at times hardly noticeable. It has always been a goal of mine to one day attempt to write a fantasy novel. Something beyond the short stories that currently makes up some my literary endeavors. But I doubt I have the vision of scope, depth of imagination or even the human understanding to accomplish such a massive undertaking. Regardless of my shortcomings, I suppose you can look for me to have one more DVD in my ever growing collection next Tuesday.
:: posted by Z [3:31 PM]
The Bay Area Breakdown...
While I was up in the bay this past weekend, taking a much needed break from socal life, my mom's new Dell was delivered. With a free 15 inch flat LCD monitor, and a 6 foot ethernet cable, I find myself writing this update, once again late on Monday, from the comfort of my own bed. For those who know, this has been a little dream of mine for quite some time. Now if I only had a mini-frig within arm's reach. Yes I am that lazy, just kidding. Anyway, without further ado, on with the weekend report.
My flight was late in departing San Diego on Thursday night, a first for me because Southwest flights are regularly prompt. Not that it mattered much because Ed, Kristina and Ida were late in driving to the airport to pick me up. It seems surface street traffic in Berkeley was just a tad bit heavy because of the Halloween holiday. I got picked up around 7:40 and then we were off to Kristina's boyfriend Brandon's place in SF, a fairly ghetto neighborhood named Tenderloin. After a quick bite of norcal Mexican cuisine which was surprisingly good, we met up with Annie, who was decked out as an 80s aerobics instructer, leg warmups and all, and her boys. Unfortunately because we were all lagging, they were unable to accompany us to the Castro. So Annie and friends went to some club and the rest of us headed off to a house party of some girl named Sonya.
We didn't stay at the house party for long and before I knew it, we were literally swimming through the largest throng of humanity I've ever witnessed or been party to. We held on for dear life as the currents of bodies ebbed and flowed around us, pulling in every direction. After about two blocks, the mass dissipated slightly and we were able to walk around without fear of being seperated, crushed or having cigarettes put out on us by passing smokers too inconsiderate to not light up while traversing the sea of people. The cops did manage to jack and trash our alcohol unfortunately. I guess putting mixed drinks in water bottles wasn't quite clever enough to escape the notice of America's finest. Oh well. I must say it was quite an interesting sight and I realize that such an event would never happen in SD, and especially not LA. We ended up walking the whole way back from the Castro to Brandon's place which Kristina assures me is no small distance. After all that walking, all of us, save Ed who basically didn't sleep the whole night, crashed.
The next day, by Ida's suggestion, we got some dim sum in the city before going to the California Academy of the Sciences in Golden Gate Park. I think due to all the walking the previous night in the Castro, my feet started to hurt half way through my museum experience. All I wanted to do was sit down, which I did as often as I could get ahead of the group and find adequate furnishings. After the museum we drove down to Fillmore St. for some shopping and to stop by the Pets Unlimited Animal Shelter. Kristina had an urge to play with some kittens, though she's highly allergic to cats. Can we say self-inflicted condition? Then we had a quick dinner and a car ride back to Berkeley, filled with Kristina's sniffles and sneezes, to meet up with Gordon and shoot some pool. I ended up spilling beer on myself attempting to carry three large drinks from the bar to our pool table down some very precarious steps. Luckily I had all my clothes in Gordon's car and was able to change.
Saturday day was a slight bomb because I had to cancel lunch with Cathy, Yo and Penny. Gordon had to run errands for his computer, an object that is no doubt the subject of his nightmares, both sleeping and waking. I've never seen a computer with so many difficulties. I spent the good majority of the afternoon trying to fix that piece of shit and count myself blessed to be rid of it and some 500 miles withdrawn from its presence. After resisting the base urge to pick up Gordon's PC and throw it with all the force my body could muster against a wall or some other hard surface, we changed and drove out to SF to meet up with Joce at Wish, some bar her friend's boyfriend had rented out for the night. We stayed there for about an hour as Gordon used $60 of my money flirting with an extremely cute Hawaiian bartender named Lelani who we later discovered was married. *shrug* Oh well, those are the breaks as they say. We ended the night with a few very badly played games at Hollywood Billiards.
In the morning, after a quick pho session, a ritual I carried out even though I was in the bay, apart from all my regular Pho Hoa Cali companions, I jumped on a plane and reluctantly came back to San Diego. All in all, it was a much more chilled timed up north than regular, but I think the normalcy of the events made my desire to move up there even greater. It's too bad the job market is just terrible. *sigh* Perhaps in a year or two. Anyway, I should get ready for bed. Later.
:: posted by Z [9:57 PM]