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Random thoughts

Thursday, June 30, 2005

March of The Penguins

Although some people might argue that this film is a glorified Discovery special, seeing this in the big screen, especially with the amazing footage that the two cameramen took, and with Morgan Freeman narrating (serious, yet somehow endearingly comical at times), I found myself getting fascinated by the life cycle of the penguin. And those little baby ones are just the cutest! Someone said, "I feel like adopting one!" Yeah, if only I could live in sub-zero weather, right?

I found myself not only in awe of the actual subject of the movie, but with the efforts and creativity I imagine it took to capture these images. It was fun to see the footage of the cameramen as they pulled their equipment across the icy ground, set up shop and proceeded to film the little creatures.

Just the thought of being there makes me cold though. Brr!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Tito Monching!

It's my uncle's birthday today, so we had dinner at Tong Dang, the neighborhood Thai restaurant in Brentwood. I feel so stuffed right now, but it's all in celebration of my uncle. He's helped me and so many other people a lot - he makes the world a much better place in his own little ways. Happy Birthday, Tito Monching!

Weekend Recap - Mt. Williamson and Shopping

At long last Saturday rolled around. I had been planning a Saturday trip with climbing friends and family friends (but Danny's kids couldn't make it), and I was really excited. I'm always restless and jittery the night before a trip that I'm really looking forward to, and this was no exception - I think I only slept about four hours. I suppose not everyone can relate to my excitement but it was going to be my first time lead-climbing outdoors. I couldn't wait to get on the rock. The plan was to meet at my place and head out to Mt. Williamson from there, at 8:30 in the morning. I set my alarm to wake me up by 7:00 but I was really awake by 6am.

As it turns out, Danny, Marc and I drove up together. Douglas, Mike and Garrett took a separate car, and we met up with them at the base of Mushroom Boulder. Cecile had called to say she wasn't sure if she could make it, and I was a little disappointed about that.

We warmed up on the rock facing Mushroom Boulder, Marc leading the route, Danny following, and me cleaning up afterwards. After a couple of climbs, we moved on to Mushroom. When it was my turn, I decided that it would be my first lead experience. Mushroom Boulder was a little overhanging, but it looked like a lot of fun to climb. I hopped on.... and flashed it!! I don't think anything could compare to the elation I felt as I was lowered off, knowing I did it, no falls, no resting. Granted, it was a 5.8, and shame on me if I fell since I've been climbing for so long now, but this was a different experience and I aced it. :) Whoopee!

We went to Stream Wall next, and I became a little disconcerted when I spent 15 minutes on a 5.9 climb, and everyone else around me seemed to be doing laps on the wall while I got stuck trying to figure out what my next move would be. I consoled myself with some chocolate (half of which I spilled on the ground), and then spent the rest of the afternoon on other climbs. At one point, I was left on the wall with Danny belaying me, and that was a bad idea - Danny had no experience belaying a climber, let alone a lead climber, so I felt very anxious while I was trying to get to the top of the rock. I knew I didn't have the liberty of falling - I didn't want to take a chance. I'm still alive though so it wasn't so bad. Lesson learned!

We ended the day with a couple of last climbs at Waterfall Rock, where we bumped into Jean Michel and Cecile, who made it after all. Cecile was urging me to get on the wall and do a 5.10, so I did, and I actually almost made it to the top, but I knew I was taking such a long time and it was getting late so I signaled Marc to let me down, and that was that.

After coming home, unloading and showering, Cecile, Marc and I met up for dinner at The Nook in Santa Monica. I had heard about this place from John so I thought it would be a good idea to see what it was like. It was a blast hanging out and chatting with Cecile. The waiters had already been eyeing us discreetly for a good half an hour, waiting for us to leave, when we finally got up and called it a night.

Sunday after mass, despite a massive lack of sleep, I took my grandmother shopping in Santa Monica. I haven't been spending a lot of time with her lately so I felt that I should reserve that day for just the two of us. We left the house at 9:00 to hear mass and didn't come back until well past four in the afternoon. Her legs were aching - mine were killing me (that hike out of Williamson did me in! I didn't even make it to the gym this morning and going down the stairs is a nightmare). So it felt so good to crash in the couch that night. Marc and I rented Raising Helen, which turned out to be a very big mistake, and switched to the Scrubs DVD before we lost our minds.

I barely remember getting into bed and didn't even realize it when my grandmother crawled in after me - I was out like a light and I slept through my alarm this morning. But it was a great weekend, one that I would like repeated frequently and very, very soon.

Pics from the weekend

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pampering My Trusty Companion

I've been neglecting my car for the longest time now - no trips to the car wash, no vacuuming, leaving things in there even when they're supposed to be thrown out, dropping things on the floor, etc., etc. - so yesterday and today, I took time out to give it the lovin' it needed so badly.

I really should resolve to take care of it more because he and I are going to be together for a long time, I think. I don't plan to switch cars until 1. it dies on me or 2. I finally get a place of my own. Tall order, I know, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's not too much of a sacrifice for me because, quite obviously, given the time that I take to maintain it, I'm not too obsessed with what I drive, as long as it takes me where I need to go.

So he's all oiled up and ready to go. Tomorrow I'm taking him on a long drive, with lots of winding roads along the way, so he can play.

Cinderella Man

Marc and I caught the early showing of Cinderella Man yesterday, just to make sure that we see it before they change movies today. I was really noncommittal about seeing this movie - I wasn't exactly a big Russell Crowe fan - but Marc had been wanting to see this for a long time so I conceded.

Well, no regrets. Two thumbs up for me, and if I had a third one, that would be up too. Now I'm starting to warm up to Mr. Crowe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

French Women Don't Get Fat

I'm getting more and more intrigued about this mysterious little country called France that my uncle raves about all the time. I remember asking someone once where she got her shirt, and she said, "The south of France," and for some reason the shirt looked even more poetic and beautiful to me. I felt like there was a sudden white glow around her when she said those words.

I also remember speaking to my old college friend who had been sent to Paris on an IT project, and he was telling me how he smoked his first stick in France at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Damn you, Jason! I don't smoke but if I did, I would want to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower too!

It helps too that I've read Peter Mayle's A Year In Provence and I'm curious to experience the little idiosyncracies that he describes in his book. And then all around me, I seem to be hearing French accents more now - Jean Michel, Cecile, etc., etc.

I have a French language course on my iPod that I'm hoping to be able to use one of these days when I don't feel too lazy. I probably won't talk as fast as Cecile but I'd love to just be able to hold my end of the conversation with her.

What's all this fuss about France? Well, they say French women don't get fat.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New Pictures and The Thrill of Finishing a V3

Finally finished downloading and retouching/resizing the pictures from the past weekend. Here they are:

Daisy's June Visit


Did my usual climbing gym visit today and finally completed my first V3! Yahoo! I was getting more and more frustrated as I kept trying and trying, but I finally got it, and so unexpectedly at that. There was one point when I was about to give up, but suddenly with a slight twist of my ankle, everything felt better and I went for the next hold (with the accompanying loud grunt), and made it. Whew! My arms are throbbing right now and my fingers are raw from trying to grip the holds tightly, but I'm happy. Progress, good!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Weekend Recap - Reconnecting with Friends and Marc's Birthday

What a weekend!

I am now two shades darker than normal because I spent a good part of Saturday baking in the sun and frolicking in the waves (and then forgetting to reapply sunblock). Daisy had a conference in Vegas for a whole week and decided to swing by this weekend to spend time with us. Her only request was that we go to the beach since she hasn't had the chance to go to the beaches up north, and besides it's way colder and less conducive to beach activities up there. So Saturday found us in Newport, just kicking back and catching up with each other.

Marc and I had to head back before dark to go to Koi, this really hip Japanese place. It's his birthday today but we decided to celebrate last night so we could see all the beautiful people at the restaurant. Koi is a really great place, but since it was a Saturday night, it was pretty noisy and not as intimate as we would have liked. But the food was fantastic! An added bonus was bumping into Bruno and Grace. I took Marc with me to say hi to them, just to let them know we were there.

Me: Hey Bruno, Grace, I just wanted to say hi. This is Marc. We're in that other room, John got us reservations for tonight.
Grace: Oh hi, hi, yeah that's good.
Bruno: Remind me again who you are?

God love him.

Sunday, Marc and I decided to go to downtown LA to do some "shopping" for him. I said, "It's your birthday, you have to get yourself something special! Let's go!" So we drove up there, walked around the men's district, found some luggage (but it was for me, not for him), then walked to the women's district, where I proceeded to take over the shopping trip. The heat was getting to be too unbearable though, so we headed back soon enough, but not before I had purchased earrings and a tank top, aside from the carryon luggage I got.

Then lunch, mass, and a quiet little evening reading. Finally it was time to end the day (at least for him). I still had some phone time to put in with some people for this new venture.

But now it's over and Monday's shadow is looming over me. I'm looking forward to yoga and climbing tomorrow!

...pictures to follow...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Has It Been That Long?

Been so busy that I haven't been able to update my blog. Anyway, I'm still alive!

So much has happened since my last post - I've taken on new responsibilities, finalized plans for a trip, went out to a club where my friend Allan was the DJ, spent an afternoon with Allan's parents (they are close friends of my grandmother so I brought her there to see them) and fell asleep while they chatted, Michael Jackson got acquitted, Phil Jackson might be making a comeback, etc, etc. What a week!

This week will be no different though. With this new venture I'm getting involved with, I find myself getting phone calls from different numbers with strange area codes, getting emails from complete strangers and being forced to talk more than I'm used to.

Then my friend Daisy is flying in from a conference in Vegas, so we're spending Saturday with her at the beach with our other OC-based friends. This will be the first time in a long long time that I'm going to see Angela, Joedie, Daniel and Hedwige too!

Then there's a special dinner Saturday night for Marc's birthday. And then Sunday, which is the actual birthday, will be spent kicking back with him. We were actually thinking of going up to Mt. Williamson with some friends to climb, but as Mike has the stomach flu, maybe we'll go another time.

In climbing news, they redid the whole back wall of the bouldering area in Rockreation so I wasn't able to finish the blue problem I was trying to do. They put up some good ones though so it's alright. Douglas and I did some lead climbing Monday night and finally, I was able to do the red 5.10b/c lead in the corner without stopping to rest. And I flashed a 5.10a. Yay me!

And lastly, in web news, here is a funny Flash clip: Honey, where's the rake?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My List

I try to be faithful when I'm in a relationship, but I do have my list - you know, the list of men that will make your willpower melt away. Here is mine (in no particular order):

1. Michael Vartan
2. Dermot Mulroney
3. Brad Pitt (yeah, I know, he's such a pretty boy that sometimes it makes him un-sexy, but what the hell, it's still Brad Pitt)
4. Hugh Jackman
5. Jake Gyllenhaal
6. Johnny Depp
7. Hugh Grant (just for that accent)

That's what I have so far. There are still 3 spaces left to fill, and I'm screening! :)

The Wedding Date

On the way back from Chicago, they showed the movie The Wedding Date (how do they not edit scenes out when they know there are kids around? Well anyway, it's Dermot Mulroney, so it's totally okay with me! Whew, it's warm in here.). I've been seeing the previews for this movie for the longest time, but it didn't seem all that appealing to me. Well, I was surprised to find that it's actually enjoyable enough - predictable but still cute. And did I mention that it has Dermot Mulroney in it? Okay.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What's Your Longevity?

Here's another one, from an old college classmate:

The Longevity Game

Mine was 88!

AQ (Adventure Quotient)

My friend Brian sent me this quiz. Here are the results I got:
Honestly, is there anything you won't try once? No really, does your mother know what you're up to? Let's hope not - because she wouldn't get any sleep. Our initial calculations reveal that you are the Aggressive Conquering Accomplisher.

Your craving for adrenaline is practically insatiable. You're the type of person who gets a kick out of doing things that would return most of us to the fetal position. Your passion for life is both infectious and enviable.

Is there any truth to that? I really don't know, but I like my results! :)

Back in Sunny SoCal

I actually got back Monday but haven't had the chance to write until now. My Chicago trip was a blast - I was able to see my friends Jen and Jodee as a married couple, and I got to hang out with my cousins and aunts and uncles there.

It's such a different vibe over there, that it felt so weird coming back to California. I have a million insights that will be best kept to myself, but suffice to say that I could definitely thrive in the Chicago environment. I don't know if I can survive the winter though - humidity I can take, but below-zero temperatures? There's no way. I would probably die even with 7 layers of clothing on me.

Here's the recap:

Thursday. Arrived at 2:30pm. Justin picked me up at the airport and took me to my aunt's (Justin's mom) place in Glendale Heights. I rested for a few hours, then my aunt came home and we had dinner. Afterwards, we made a field trip out to Justin's new condo. I fell in love with Justin's place. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera with me so I wasn't able to take pictures of his pad.

Friday. Went for a walk/run with my aunt at the nearby park. Then we went to David's house for lunch. I brought all my clothes and luggage with me because I was staying there the rest of the weekend. In the afternoon, the three of us went to the mall because I needed to get something to complete my outfit for Jen and Jodee's reception. Afterwards, we went home and my aunt had to leave. David and I spent the afternoon watching Old School in his amazing basement TV room. After the movie, we had dinner with my other aunt and April, my little cousin. Then when Christine got home, we sat down to watch Saw, which turned out to be very graphic and disturbing.

Saturday. Went to Jen and Jodee's wedding reception. It was so nice to be able to catch up with them and Daisy. Afterwards, David picked me up and we went home to rest for a bit and then get ready for Gil's graduation party, which was more like a wedding reception than a graduation party. He even had a grand entrance! Where's the wife, Gil? Haha!

Sunday. Mass. Then lunch at my aunt's house, and an afternoon of shopping with her. Sunday night, we simply rested and tried to catch up on sleep.

Monday. Breakfast then a little bit of lounging around. Then lunch, and then I had to leave for the airport. The flight was delayed but we left soon enough. I had the aisle seat this time so I wasn't so self-conscious about getting up and walking around so much. The plane ride home was a lot smoother too, so it was definitely the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. :)

Here are the pics!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Greetings from the Windy City!

Well, I'm here in Illinois, just chilling at my cousin Justin's place near downtown Chicago. I'm actually staying at my aunt's (Justin's mom) place but we decided to mosey on over here to have a look. Justin just moved into this condo two weeks ago, and I must say, the place looks awesome. I wish I could transplant this place to California and live in it. High, vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, great muted lighting, hooks for pots and pans (much like you see in magazines), nice bathrooms.... the works! No wonder Justin refused to buy anything else but this. I would have done the same.

Silly me that I didn't bring a camera. But maybe we'll come back here and I'll be sure to have my trusty Sony digicam with me.

Airplane ride was okay - a lot of turbulence, but otherwise everything else went smoothly. My poor seatmate though - since I had the window seat, she had to keep getting up everytime I had to get up. Whoops!

More updates on my visit as I go along. There's no internet back where I'm staying though (at least for tonight) so it might be awhile.

Oh, another cool thing about Justin's place? We had the sliding door open and a woman was screaming on the phone, arguing with her ex-husband. Naturally, Justin and I stood by the door and listened. Hey, if she didn't want to be heard, she would've taken the conversation back inside, right? ;-)