A Glimpse Inside

an experiment in expression, slight vanity and extreme boredom...
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:: What's New in the World ::

"I hate you."
-Event Staff

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

happiness is...
• Annoying Event Staff
• No More Work
• Night Pictures
• Winning at Poker
unhappiness is...
• No income
• Expensive gear
• Integrating flash and DBs
• Driving long distances

:: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 ::
Pop-Up Fun...
its me twace: gosh dang pop-ups
its me twace: i just got one that froze my browser
its me twace: and it happened to be
its me twace: for a penis enlargement ad
its me twace: wtf?
isamu619: hahaha, feeling a little inadequate these days?

[Ed note: its me twace is a girl for those who couldn't figure that out]

:: posted by Z [10:44 AM] ::

:: Monday, April 26, 2004 ::
A Two-Wheel Weekend Adventure...
Hmm.. a week has gone by and I figured I should probably update the site. That's probably the longest lapse I've had in a while as far as not posting anything in a while, but sadly enough, I haven't been doing very much. I've just been spending most of my time just working, reading and watching the playoffs. But this weekend I got off my tush and actually did something. On Friday, I kicked it with Steve and Jason, who is back on leave till the 1st, at Claim Jumpers during happy hour and watched the Laker game. On Saturday, I met up with Chris and we went riding for the first time since our little PCH trek. This time we decided to go play in east county SD, rode out to Barona, then headed north through Romona, eventually ending up in Escondido, and then back down the 15 to PQ. After spending the last few days just holed up at home, it was good to get out even though it was scorching.

:: posted by Z [9:34 PM] ::

:: Monday, April 19, 2004 ::
Power Overload...
My computer died today; its heart literally gave out. After running for over four years with only a measily little 300W power supply to feed 3 high speed hard drives, a dvd burner, a scanner and my mouse, it just couldn't take it anymore. Luckily I am a nerd and have spare computer parts littered all over the place. I actually have an entire tower system in my closet. So I stripped out its mother of a 420W power supply and swapped out. Now everything is running AOK again. Phew! *lets out sigh of relief* For a second there I thought it might be something major. Luckily the problem was easily rectified. I don't think I could survive long without my computer. I'm just thankful that it's all over now. Hehe. Now to do some stuff before Game 2 of the Lakers Rockets series!

^ the culprit, no one likes a quitter!

:: posted by Z [5:40 PM] ::

:: Thursday, April 15, 2004 ::
Excerpts Part II...
-April 2nd, 2004 -
With everything that is going on, I find it increasingly difficult to find the time required to accurately record my thoughts and memories in this journal. I was under the false impression that with a resort guide, even an uncertified SCUBA diver would be able to venture out into the deeper and more exciting sites. In reality, this type of thing is only done abroad. The US apparently has strict rules regarding what an uncertified diver can and cannot do, much to my infinite disappointment. So instead of hitting up one of the major dive sites Hawaii is known for, Gordon and I were forced into going on two beginner dive sites. The deal was, Gordon and the other uncert would dive first and learn basic skills, while I and the other certs would tour the sites with one of the guides.

We woke up early and immediately started out east. The meetup was in a plaza with a McDonalds and we figured we could just grab something to eat there. After stopping at a Japanese restaurant for breakfast, in the wrong plaza I might add, we eventually found our way to the boat and our guides. We filled out a few waiver forms, you the know the kind that say that they are in no way responsible for your death in case of some freak accident that may occur while you’re submerged dozens of feet below the water, and climbed aboard the boat. Come to think of it, signing waivers seem to be coming up a lot lately. We had just signed a similar one when we went skydiving.

I looked up the sky as the boat started its departure out of the safe harbor of the docks, into open water. The sun occasionally broke through the low hanging clouds, bathing us in bright and warm light, only to disappear a moment later behind another massive cloud like some child hiding behind his mother’s leg, uncertain and afraid to come out from behind her protection. I knew that without the sun’s intense light, the water at even the meager depths we were diving would be dark indeed. Water is not the best medium for light.

I found a seat on the small and crowded boat, and listen amused as Stu, our main guide, went over the basics of diving with Gordon and the other uncertified diver. I had already explained much of material with Gordon beforehand and I suspect he might be just a tad bit bored. I decide to take out my digicam and snap off a few pictures as we pull farther away from land. As I finished making another panoramic sweep, I noticed for the first time that the smell of the ocean here is different than in Southern California. The scent was light and fresh with only the barest indication of salt. The water was airy light blue with a tinge of green. In San Diego, our waters are deep and dark and the air above them is laden with the smell of salt and the wide ocean.

In the past, whenever I was on a boat looking out to the horizon, with the ocean on all sides and no end in sight, I have always felt a special sense of something old, infinite and somehow forgiving. I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but it’s the right feeling. I did not feel it then. These waters were too safe, too clear, too commercialized. I never forgot I was not in the ocean but in Hawaii.

We suited up quickly and walked off the side of the boat. As the water enveloped me, I gasped at the initial coldness. Even though the water temperature was around 70 degrees, the differential between the air and the water were drastic at first. Then the sea water seeped between my skin and my second skin, a 3 millimeter layer of neoprene, and the wetsuit began to do its function. Slowly I began to get accustom to the new temperature. I bit down on the regulator, stuck my head below the waterline, took a breath and returned to a world I last visited in November. I deflated the air from my BCD and slowly sank into the bottom, some 40 feet below, literally like a deflated balloon returning to the ground.

It took me a few minutes to remember the skills which had been drilled into me for 3 weeks during my certification class, but after I did, I adjusted my buoyancy and swam off in search of interesting things. Underwater, things move differently and in many ways counter intuitive to the way they do above water. Time is slowed down. Thought is drawn out. When I dive, I place all my extraneous thoughts in a jar, seal them tightly and leave them safely back aboard the boat. My most important thoughts are breathing. It’s amazing how simple things become at that point. It is one of the few times I think I effortlessly live in the moment, and this time was no exception. I swam through schools of multicolored fish, hung upside down staring intently at invertebrates clinging to coral, played with an orange octopus and swam alongside a sea turtle. Through it all, I snapped off pictures from the disposal underwater camera we had bought. Gordon and I even manage to pose for a few. I could think of worse ways to begin a day.

:: posted by Z [11:49 AM] ::

:: Monday, April 12, 2004 ::
A Productive Monday...
After working the entire day at work, I came home and spent an hour cleansing my computer and my brother's computer of a ton of spyware. *raises fist in anger* I really hate spyware and with the invasive types being distributed without control these days on the internet, it should really be illegal. After that, even though my bed called to me temptingly to take a much needed nap, I took another 2 hours and posted up pics from my New York and Hawaii trips. Though I still need to collect pictures from other sources, I decided to just added those on as I get them instead of waiting weeks before accumulating all of them. I was suppose to get all this done over the weekend but I got lazy. I guess today was my penance. I hope to have the rest of the Hawaii posts finished by Wednesday, so look forward to them! Anyway, I'm done for now.

:: posted by Z [7:51 PM] ::

:: Friday, April 09, 2004 ::
Last Minute Mini-Post...
The last few posts have been fairly massive, so as a change-up, this one will be short and sweet. I stayed up till 3am reading Atlas Shrugged last night. Like the Fountainhead it's slow going at first, but after the first 100 or so pages, I'm hooked. It's 1100 pages or so, so I should finish sometime next week at this rate. But because I got only about 4 1/2 hours of sleep, I wasn't all too productive at work. That worked out for the best because the system in the lab wasn't working, my computer got a trojan, Mitch wanted to leave early, and all those things I just mentioned made the prospect of leaving early on a Friday afternoon even more appealing than it already is. I got home early enough to go get a badly needed haircut and then watch "Matchstick Men" on DVD. After that, it was a short trip to the gym. I spent the remainder of the night sorting through pictures from Hawaii so I can post them later this weekend. Anyway, I'm sleep deprived and exhausted, so I'm out here.

:: posted by Z [10:50 PM] ::

:: Thursday, April 08, 2004 ::
Moving Day…
I spent the better part of this morning being moved back to my previous building; my second move in a year. That coupled with all the projects I’ve been reassigned to over the last few months, I feel like a card being continuously reshuffled back into the deck only to be re-dealt immediately, but I guess that’s the price I pay for being nothing more than a cog in the cold corporate machine. I’ve always hated moving day. To date, I’ve been moved probably about five times. The down time between facilities stripping my previous cubicle bare to them moving all my corporate possessions to my new abode feels like purgatory. I have no internet, no phone, not even a chair to sit in as I wait anxiously for them to cart all my things over. Normally I would go to either Mitch’s or Chris’ cubicle and kill time by making them waste theirs, but Mitch isn’t around and Chris is in Vegas. I was stuck in limbo with no company but my own. I wandered the building slowly, drifting from hallway to hallway, looking longingly at other cubicles situated at much more advantageous locations. Envy is so ugly. Oh well, at least its all over now.

I don’t like this new spot much. It’s in too high traffic an area. The walls are much lower than my previous cube, allowing more random onlookers a glance at my doings, which aren’t always the most productive of activities, at least in the corporate sense. But I suppose I will survive. What are these minor inconveniences in the greater scheme of things right? Anyway, I’ve started to post some pics up from New York. Some Hawaii pictures should be up shortly now that I’ve figured out how to do batch process on Photoshop making a tedious task that once took 20 minutes now takes less than 20 seconds. So stay tuned for that as well as more journal entries about Hawaii.

:: posted by Z [11:22 AM] ::

:: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 ::
Excerpts Part I...
I decided to do something a little different for my Hawaii posts. Over the next few days I'll be posting exceprts from my actual journal about the things I did there. That way they have a more real-time effect than the often dry and brief summaries I post on here well after the fact. Keep in mind that these will make the entries significantly longer (yes they can get even longer than they are already) because if you thought I rambled on on the web, you really have no idea hehe. Anyway, these are for the first two days I spent there.

- March 31st, 2004 -
11:50AM (Honolulu Time)
On the flight back from New York, as Ted spent several minutes jotting an entry into his journal, I felt the sudden and all too familiar feeling of inspiration. A desire to form my thoughts into words filled me but having forgotten to pack my own journal, I was forced to surrender all my words back to the ether from which they sprung. After I returned to San Diego, and began packing for Hawaii, I was determined not to have a repeat of the incident. And so I sit here, on a stone bench with my UCSD sweater under me as a make-shift cushion, next to baggage claim carousel E-2, busily scribbling in this journal for the first time.

Around me, people come and go, luggage in their hands, shouldered or following faithfully behind them on wheels. Few pay me much attention, a young man with a pencil and a book. As I look up occasionally to formulate my next sentence, I see most are tired from the long flight but there is an eagerness in their step to finally be at their destination, as all travelers must feel, but especially so if their final stop is Hawaii. Somewhere a child screams in the distance and in front of me, a lady is selling leis from a pushcart. The doors leading to the street slide open and close automatically as people filter slowly out onto the street, flooding the air conditioned airport with gusts of warm air, teasing me silently to step out and play in the tropical climate. But I must delay my festivities until Gordon arrives.

I look up again to find the cart lady wheeling her goods away, all the passengers having long since retrieved their luggage and leaving me alone in a spacious baggage claim. I think I will stop here for now and seek out more comfortable accommodations to do my writing and waiting in.

- April 1st, 2004 -
4:30 PM (Honolulu Time)
Well two-thirds of the way through the second day, and we finally made it to the beach. It’s been quite a day. Gordon and I just scheduled our SCUBA dive for tomorrow but before that all happened, we went skydiving in north Oahu.

I awoke dehydrated, as often is the case after a night out, to harsh light from the morning Pacific sun flooding through our window. Mental note: next time, close blinds before going to sleep. We dressed quickly and headed downstairs to eat but several forgotten items caused us to ride the elevators several times.

After breakfast, we started our trek north with nothing more than a map and some hastily recorded directions jotted on top of it. The drive through central Oahu became almost surreal. As the cities fell gradually away, rolling green hills and cloud capped mountains replaced hotels and high-rises. We couldn’t help ourselves and pulled over to the take photos, some with the hope of later converting them to sweeping panoramas. We stood there, on the side of a one lane road, in the middle of an island in the middle of the Pacific, and didn’t see a soul around for miles.

Thirty minutes later, we finally arrived at Sky Dive Hawaii, the place Liz had suggested we go. After some haggling over the price, we both decided to just get the roll of 24 in-flight photos. Gordon went first and left me on the ground anxiously waiting for his return and my own turn to jump out of a perfectly good plane; he took his sweet time about it too. But before I knew it, I was riding a small, single prop airplane climbing slowly up to 8,000 feet with Oahu and all its terrestrial inhabitants growing smaller below me.

Then Shaun, my tandem master, tapped me on the shoulder, signaling it was time. As I sat in his lap, a fairly embarrassing position in any other situation, all I kept thinking was I sure hope he fastens all those straps correctly. A moment later, our feet were dangling over the edge of the plane and my arms were crossed over my chest much like the pose of a corpse in a coffin. As I pushed the morbid thought away, I heard behind me, muffled by the roar of rushing wind, “Ready, Set, Arch!” And then there was nothing.

I realized my eyes were closed for a split second and immediately snapped them opened. But in that brief moment of darkness, I finally felt gravity in its entirety. I had always been aware of it, of course, but the ground had always stood, quite literally, between us. The world below and the clouds in the sky spun all around me in a kaleidoscope of green, blue and white. Being so high up, I didn’t really feel the sensation of falling. The ground appeared to simply be spread out below me; though I knew in truth it was rushing up to meet me with only a canopy of silk and string to break my fall.

Another tap and I spread my arms and legs out. I gave the camera guy, Jake, an enthusiastic thumbs up, as I’m sure he’s used to seeing from many customers and then just relaxed and tried to enjoy the ride down back to sea level.

Without warning, the chute deployed, jerking me violently upward, or at least what felt like upward. The straps dug painfully into my legs and arms, but luckily the contraption held together. By now I had recovered myself enough to begin taking pictures with my camera which I had been grasping desperately in my right hand the whole way down. I also managed to pop off a video of my final descent, though I think the shaky quality of the footage might make some people sick. All in all, it wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated but it was still a worthwhile experience and one I’m glad I undertook. It's probably as close to flying as I'll ever get to experience and besides that, it's one more thing cross off the list of things I've always wanted to do.

:: posted by Z [10:17 AM] ::

:: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 ::
New York in a Nutshell…
Ok this time I’m back for good, or at least until the next adventure. There’s so much I want to post about Hawaii but before I can get to that, I have to write about New York, which now seems like almost a distant memory though it only happened a week ago. Strange how newer memories can just push aside older ones like that, making them seem distant and far removed from the present when in reality they are almost just as recent.

New York didn’t have the most auspicious of beginnings; we missed our flight Thursday morning by a mere few seconds. I wish I were exaggerating. Ted slid his e-ticket into the check-in machine and after a brief pause of computer computation; everything came up as it should. I slid mine into the machine directly adjacent to his a moment later and instead of the expected screen, I got a notice that it was too late for me to check-in. After waiting in the regular line for what seemed like eternity, and then dealing with an airline employee who was in no way interested our problems, we got placed on stand-by for a flight two hours later. Our luggage, regardless if we made the flight or not, would travel to New York ahead of us. Luckily everything worked out and we made both the departing and connecting flight to NY. We got into JFK seven hours later and headed straight to Yumi’s to sleep off the flight.

The next day, while Yumi went off to work, Ted and I decided it would be ok if we hit up Junior’s in Brooklyn to try their cheesecake while we waited for Yumi to come home. Unfortunately our bad lucked persisted. Armed with incorrect directions, we ended up on the express train from Brooklyn to Manhattan. When the train started traveling over the bridge, I knew something was amiss. Oh well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. We got off around Times Square and walked around. I finally got to see the place that’s shown in all those movies. Kind of cool yet anti-climatic as well. I’ve never been that big of a sightseer. Eventually we ended up eating breakfast/lunch/dinner, by this time it was already 4:30pm, at the Junior’s in Grand Central Station. While we ate, Yumi finished up work and met up with us.

Afterwards, we headed back to the apartment for some much needed rest. While there, Ted and Yumi abused me while I slept on unknowingly. The pictures to illustrate this story will be up shortly, though not without some grave reservations. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

That night, we got a chance to meet up with Yumi’s ex-roommate Natalie and her other friends whose names escape me at the moment, for dinner and wine at Max. There was a little problem because of time constraints, we were on guestlist till 11 at a club, but we decided to just have dinner and pay cover for the club. The dinner, the wine and especially the company were great. I can imagine having a great time living in New York, but after a pricey dinner like that; I realize how expensive it would be to do so. Regardless, I think it’s something that would be worthwhile to do for at least a year sometime in the future. After dinner, we hit up Club Metronome, but unfortunately from there, the night gets fairly blurry. I don’t remember having that great of a time, but then again, I don’t remember much of anything. I did get a huge bruise on my knee as a little keepsake however.

On Saturday, we spent most of the day walking around looking for Ted’s prospective law schools. Afterwards we met up with Aerie, who was recovering from the cold, and watched another Asian movie. This time we watched a Chinese movie, "Infernal Affairs." While not as good as "My Sassy Girl" from our previous visit to the Big Apple, the movie was pretty decent. At night we met up with Jean and her friends for her big 23rd birthday. I have to admit that it was a bit strange that I would be invited to such a small, intimate dinner—there were only 9 people including myself—when I had only met Jean on one other occasion, but after meeting one of Jean’s friend’s boyfriends, who was also from Cali and discovering our common love of basketball, everything was fine. Ah… basketball, what would I do without you? Afterwards, we went to Club LuAhn, the first club that I’ve been to in New York that plays hip hop music at the proper tempo. Unfortunately, the club is more a hallway with low table and stools, than a venue suitable to dance in. Consequently, we didn’t stay there long. We headed back to Aerie’s to finish the movie and then back to Brooklyn.

Sunday, our last true day in New York, was chill. We met up with Aerie and Sam for lunch in Chinatown which ended up being good but cheap, just how Ted likes it. Afterwards, we went to Café Lalo of “You Got Mail” fame. It’s where Tom Hanks arranges to accidentally bump into Meg Ryan after standing her up with his online persona. Then it was back home, where Ted whipped up a mystery chicken dish, and we watched parts of "Ocean’s Eleven" and "My Sassy Girl." Jean also managed to drop by to drop off my book, which I left in her bag from the previous night and to say goodbye.

I think from my two trips, New York is a place that would be more fun to live in than to visit. I just feel it’s one of those places that can’t be fully experienced in small doses. You have to marinate there for an extended period of time before the essence of the place and its people fully soaks in. I have so many simply memories of my time there, but the one that keeps popping up is waiting patiently in the subway terminal, dozens of feet below the streets where hundreds pass overhead going busily about their lives, for the transfer train. I stand out pass the wide yellow line they suggest you stand behind as the train approaches. The approaching train from the back of the station sounds like a giant inhaling deeply before letting out a roar as the training screams into the terminal. In New York, you’re usually waiting, but it’s always waiting to go somewhere or to do something fun.

:: posted by Z [2:23 PM] ::

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