There’s a lot on my mind. I am writing this entry right after I finished my last one, so if you want to read that one, you can read it here.
I’m in love.
I spent the weekend with my perfect girlfriend in L.A. and it was absolutely fabulous. I had the greatest time ever. Jieun is just the most perfect girlfriend for me ever. She is the best. I really like her.
But the weekend was interesting for a lot of reasons. I got to see Pastor Harold. He was speaking at a revival at my friend’s church. We (me and Jieun) didn’t go to the revival but we did meet up with them afterwards at a restaurant called Hof’s Hut. Random.
I also saw several people I did not expect to see at all. Joo Pyo, is an old friend from KFBC and he was at CMC, the church I went to this weekend. Random. And I saw Joe and Hayoung Yuhan at CMC as well, which was an unexpected surprise. We all went to Corner Place with Paul Jung, Karen Park and her boyfriend Sung afterwards. I should have taken a picture.
As you may or may not have gathered from mymind, I like doing stuff alone, although I don’t have as much chance to do so as I used to. In high school I would often go to arcades, bookstores, music stores, and movies by myself. It’s just something I did. Anyway, I don’t do it as often any more, but when I can I enjoy it. I would love to do something like Henry’s San Diego excursion but I unfortnately have neither the time nor the resources to do so. But it would be fun.
Anyway, my latest alone time enjoyment has come from driving. I drove alone from Houston to Stanford at the end of last summer and it was great. My original plan was to drive from Stanford to Houston as well, stopping by the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and stuff, but my mom was too scared so I went with my cousin. Which turned out to be great. We hit L.A., Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Tombstone Arizona, the site of the OK Corral, San Antonio and the Alamo, a Taco Cabana in El Paso, and Houston, not necessarily in that order. It was a great trip. But I drove back alone, and although I think I went slightly insane (I’m not joking) on that trip, I throughly enjoy driving alone.
One reason why is because driving alone for a long time really forces you to be alone with your thoughts, which I think is a good thing. Too often, people just live their lives trying to ignore their boredom/loneliness by filling it with mindless activity all the time. Which is fine, it’s just limited and can’t go on forever. Anyway, I repeat these certain themes all the time in myminds, and that Buddhist idea that life is suffering, and that most of the time, people live their lives in an attempt to ignore or forget that fact, is a big influence in my thinking. One of these days, I’m going to make a list of influences on my life philosophies.
Anyway, you really have to think when you drive that long, even if you listen to music. After a while, you just have to think. I was talking to a friend who drives a lot, from Arizona to Houston and he was saying how he thinks a lot about philosophy when he drives those long trips, and he often learns something. That killed me. But anyway, yeah, it’s good to think about things.
But instead of talking about what I’ve thought I’ll instead talk about something I’ve discovered on my drives, both the long ones and the semi-long ones to and from work every day – talk radio. I listen to talk radio for many reasons. One of them is that the clock in my car is broken, and I don’t own a wrist watch since I lost it when I fell skiing at Lake Tahoe. So to find out the time I constantly listen to KCBS 740 news radio “All news, all the time; traffic and weather together every 10 minutes, sports at 15 and 45 on the Bay Area news leader.” It’s pretty absurd, but it’s also pretty interesting. And I’ve developed a pretty good knowledge of Bay Area traffic patterns. Basically never drive in the city near the bridges ever. But anyway.
Another show I’ve been listening to is Jim Rome’s sports show. First some background – I used to be really into sports talk radio. This is starting in like 7th grade, when I was really into baseball because the Cincinnati Reds, my team until I die, were awesome. Anyway, the local radio station for sports talk show was KNBR 68, the sports leader. For years I listened to Gene Washington, “Razorvoice” Ralph Barbieri, Pete Franklin when he came, 2 regular guys, and all the rest. I stopped that later, but I used to be into it.
Recently, this new station has been competing with KNBR, 1050 on the AM dial. They have this great host, J.T. “The Brick” Brickman, who is my current favorite. Razorvoice used to be but he softened up and partnered with Tom Tolbert, bizarre. Anyway, in the mornings from 9-12, 1050 has the Jim Rome show, which is a nationally syndicated sports talk show. Jim Rome was previously famous for getting into a fight with L.A. Rams quarterback Jim Everett during an interview. He kept calling him “Chris” (a play on Chris Evert, the female tennis legend) and eventually Jim got pissed and overthrew the table and started going after Jim Rome. Great stuff.
Anyway, Rome’s show is hugely popular, and totally influential in the sports talk radio world. It used to be the callers and hosts would do a kind of give and take, more like a conversation. Jim Rome pioneered this style where he wants you to give a take, kind of like a soliloquy, uninterrupted. So like people will call, they kind of greet each other, then the caller rants for like 2 minutes interrupted. Rome never interrupts them unless their talking out of their butt. It’s an interesting style. And they all talk the same, namely, just like Jim Rome, who is super harsh or super adoring. It’s pretty funny. He calls his listeners clones, and it’s a pretty accurate description. They’re all the same. So they talk on and on and in the end go, “I’m out.” Then Jim goes, “That was a huge call,” or “Great call,” or when it’s a really good call, “Rack ’em!” Very interesting.
Anyway, on every other sports talk show now, the callers do the same thing. I mean the local talk shows, even on KNBR 68, The Sports Leader. They’ll rant and leave (and hang up, no banter) with an “I’m out.” So yeah, he’s been very influential. It’s an interesting show. It makes my morning commute interesting.
So the last time I came up from L.A. I discovered this show called Loveline. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s with this comedian named Adam and some doctor, Dr. Drew. It’s also a show on MTV. Anyway, they dispense love and health advice. It’s pretty trashy, to be honest. Very explicit, and just trashy. It’s almost like Jerry Springer on radio, except on radio you don’t see how ugly they are. Anyway, I was repulsed but couldn’t stop listening, partly because it was so shocking (not that it’s meant to be shocking, it’s just that I am essentially a prude), and partly because it was keeping me awake. I’ve found that on a car ride, if you’re tired, talk radio is much better than music in keeping me awake. I think it’s because it makes my mind more active.
On the way back, (I left LA at around 9 PM) I stopped by Casa de Fruita, on 152 because I needed gas and a coffee before I died. I ate at the Casa de Coffee, eggs and sausage, with hash browns and toast. It was a very cool experience. Because I got to do a bunch of things I’ve always wanted to do but never did. I’ve always wanted to go to Casa de Fruita, because as long as I can remember I’ve seen their billboards whenever my family went camping or to LA or what have you, but I’ve never been. Second, I’ve always wanted to go to like a diner for truckers. Third, I’ve always wanted to sit at the counter, instead of in a booth. I did all three! So it sounds weird but I had a blast, just sitting there at the counter, eating my eggs overeasy.
It was a little surreal, also, because the house music was this music where they play old hits with a saxophone instead of vocals. You know what I’m talking about. Anyway, one song was Michael Jackson’s The Way She Makes Me Feel. For some reason it just felt very strange. Not the most surreal musical experience I’ve had, though. That would be in China, where me, Wong and either Kenn or Sam ate at this place where we could not figure out the menu so we ate like this vinegary potato dish while listening to Kenny G’s Christmas album in a city so hot it’s called one of the ovens of China. Surreal.
The caffeine didn’t kick in until I got home (at 2, which is excellent time, especially considering my rest stop) so I was tired all the way from 152 to home, but when I got home I stayed up an hour reading Entertainment Weekly. And then had to get up 3 times during the night to pee. I try to avoid caffeine so when I do have it, its diuretic properties are particularly potent on my system. So that was a bummer.
Oh, I discovered another radio show – Newsweek on radio or something like that. I love Newsweek, even though Henry hates it. So I read the magazine when I can, although nowadays I read it more online, since the entire issue is on their web site. Anyway, they have a radio show which more or less rehashes the magazine, down to the Perspectives an everything. Very weird.
Anyway, they were talking for a while about this Chinese guy who like started a new religion or something that is huge in China (between 2 and 100 million adherants!) that just had a demonstration in Tianenmen Square that led to the biggest crackdown since that student demonstration whenever it was. The thing I remember about China is how limited the students’ perspectives were. Like, there’s no such thing as free press, or anything like that, so a lot of things that happen, if they hear about it at all, it’s just word of mouth. So like at the campus I was at, there was some rumor about a guy who committed suicide or something, but no one could be sure about it, because like, there’s no police blotter or news bulletins or anything like that. It was all a friend of a friend of a friend type deal.
Anyway, many of them had not heard about Tianenmen, which is not surprising. But in other things also, it was hard to get them to think critically about things they had no reason to think otherwise about all their lives. Like most of them could not understand that most people in Taiwan do not want to be part of China under the Communists. They just could not understand that. Also, I had the privilege of meeting some econ majors, and several of them were members of the Communist party. I could not understand that, nor get them to understand that Communism as an economic system doesn’t work. I would ask them like, isn’t it an amazing coincidence that the capitalist countries are the richest countries in the world and the Communistic socialists are pretty much not? But they wouldn’t go along with me.
I love my DVD player. I went on a shopping spree last week so my collection now consists of Dragon: The Bruce Lee story, Contact, Singing in the Rain, Casablanca, Ghostbusters, A Clockwork Orange, Sleepless in Seattle, Pleasantville and My Fair Lady. Some of my favorite movies. Except for Ghostbusters, which I got just because the special features are cool. I also preordered Titanic, one of the best compelling romantic movies ever filmed. Unfortunately Shawshank is not available on DVD yet. I will get that as soon as possible. The Muppet Movie is also not yet available, nor It’s a Wonderful Life or The Mission. I need those movies.
Anyway, the cool thing about many of these DVDs is that they have these special features, like a director’s commentary track or deleted scenes and stuff like that. For example, I saw these deleted scenes in My Fair Lady; well they weren’t actually deleted, it’s just they used someone else’s voice instead of Audrey Hepburn’s. So I saw the Wouldn’t It Be Lovely scene where Audrey Hepburn actually sings. These things are very cool. It makes even a lame movie interesting. So like I saw a Perfect Murder twice, once for the commentary, even though the movie isn’t that great.
The director’s commentary on Dragon is very cool. Dragon is one of my all time favorite movies. Great flick. Anyway, the commentary really gives a lot of insight in the movie. One cool idea he had was not just to make a biopic about Bruce Lee, but to make a movie about Bruce Lee in the style of a Bruce Lee flick. That’s such a great idea. He reveals a lot of details that show the care that went into the film, and it was just really interesting.
Anyway, one thing he mentioned was how when The Big Boss was released in Hong Kong, the audiences just thought it was the greatest thing ever. It pretty much sucked as a movie, the sound was off, the editing bad, the sound effects terrible, but they loved it because for the first time it was one of their own, they had like an Asian hero to look up to. That was very insightful to me. Because really, we still don’t have any Asians to look up to. Only Bruce Lee. Anyway, it gives some insight as to why Bruce Lee is worshipped even now – he’s like the only truly masculine Asian role model ever. And I loved Dragon when it came out because it gave me hope that an Asian guy could snag a hot white chick.
I’m totally with Dave on how goodbyes are uncomfortable. So in recent years my strategy has been avoiding them altogether. If it’s someone I think I’ll keep in touch with, I’ll say goodbye, but otherwise, I just don’t do anything, and pretty much just leave. For example, at that graduation dinner this year, I pretty much just took off. I guess that’s kind of rude, but I mean, I’m never gonna see some of them again, so what do I say? Have a nice life? I did that with some worship team members a few years ago also. The Susies. It was like their last Sunday ever and everyone was weepy and I just left without saying anything. I guess I’m just a weirdo.
Anyway, another tense situation I had is I saw a guy I had not seen for a while, and we talked and everything, and then eventually said goodbye. The thing is, we both kind of kept hanging around (there were quite a few people around; it was like coffee “fellowship” time at KCPC) and so we would run into each other again, and then it’s like, ack what do I say to you? I already said goodbye. So you have to say something witty like, “So we meet again. Ha ha.” and find more stuff to talk about, but you can’t because I mean you haven’t seen each other in 2 years and there really isn’t that much to talk about, which is why you ended the first conversation and said goodbye in the first place. It’s tense. So do you just ignore each other? You can’t do that either. Anyway, sticking around after saying goodbye to an acquaintance is just tense. If I could, I would maneuver myself around the room so that after saying goodbye you’re always a good distance from the person you said goodbye to. As for this situation, we said goodbye to each other 3 times.
I had dinner with some old people a while ago, and I had some great insight. There was a person there who is super passionate, I mean, the most passionate person you’ll meet, not in a romantic sense, but in a spiritual sense. It’s pretty intense. Anyway, another friend there made a comment – “Before, I used to talk to ____ and then after taking to him totally change my life but I realized I can’t do that anymore because his mind keeps changing.” That was just such an interesting comment to me. I guess what it showed to me is if you’re gonna be passionate about something, you better be sure about it or you’ll make people cynical when you change your mind. It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf. Anyway, the insight wasn’t about this principle, but it was so insightful in me understanding the person that it blew me away. And as usual, it’s totally uninteresting to you.
Anyway, one night this weekend I was at my friend’s apartment and we were just kind of chilling and talking and the walls are apparently a little thin, and their neighbors are kind of vocal when they know each other in the Biblical sense. And apparently the get to know each other often. Anyway, we were talking and you start hearing these noises, and my friend is like, “Do you hear that?” And I honestly didn’t, but once you’ve been primed, no matter how hard you try, you can’t help but hear it. It’s pretty disgusting hearing other people know each other, and difficult to have a conversation about praise music, which is what I believe we were doing at the time. I think we had been listening to the OKC CD, and he was talking about this one girl on track 3 that sounds black, so when he said did you hear that I thought he was talking about that girl singing.
I mean, can you imagine it? (I originally had a dialogue here that was interspersed with sound effects but the final result was too vulgar. It’s pretty much too vulgar already.) Anyway, it was repulsive, but pretty hilarious.
Before I leave, two good spiritual things that happened this weekend. First, I read Proverbs 25, and was reminded that the Proverbs are totally great. It really is. It’s just kind of hard to read straight through, and hard to give a sermon on, since you know, it’s pretty short and simple. I mean, you read a proverb like, “Better to live on a piece of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” and it’s like, what more can you say? That’s just true. Anyway, I rerealized that the Proverbs are great.
Second, Pastor Harold said something really insightful during his sermon on Sunday at CMC. He mentioned the story in Luke of the fig tree that bears no fruit and the owner says, that tree is just wasting space, dirt and water. Cut it down, but the gardener says no, give it one more year before you make that decision. So like most people (e.g. me) interpret that as meaning, if you’re not bearing fruit, change before you’re judged. But to Pastor Harold, that was missing the point. His claim is that the better thing is not that, but the fact that if we’re not bearing fruit the gardener is interceding on our behalf, and is promising to care for us and fertilize us. And I’m like, what? So I went and looked at it, and he’s right! The story does say that the gardener will go and fertilize it and do all that stuff. I couldn’t believe I didn’t realize that. I guess because of how I remembered the story, I just remembered His Judgment Cometh. But it’s not like he’ll just see what happens in a year; Jesus inercedes for mercy and then cultivates us. And to Harold, that’s the bigger point. That was quite insightful to me.
Love is all you need – all you need is love.