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Random thoughts

Friday, September 30, 2005

Shoop Shoop Shoop

We're having a little bit of an Indian summer right now here in SoCal, but it did cool down a little bit last week. It served as a reminder that fall is almost upon us, and November isn't so far away - November 10, to be exact. It's the opening of ski season in Mammoth! Woohoo! I checked out the website and all those pictures of the snow last year made me jittery and pee-in-my-pants excited. I can't wait to plan a trip out there again.

I think my cousin David is actually going solo there sometime in November. I doubt that I can go, but it will be great to hear of the conditions there. With this new job starting, I can only probably go during weekends. That's one of the perks I will miss about this old job, the flexibility to be able to take a few days off to go on exciting week-long trips. It was good while it lasted!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eat This, Toyota

With all this hype about hybrid vehicles and the realization that they don't actually give the mileage promised by their manufacturers, there's still a desperate scramble to look for other types of fuel, other kinds of cars that will help consumers save on gas, as well as help the environment.

That's why it makes me really curious and it amazes me to hear about new technologies like the one in the CoolFuel Roadtrip website. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My trusty Mad Rocks were on the brink of total dilapidation, so I had to find another pair of climbing shoes. After days and days of research online, I finally decided I was going to get the La Sportiva Venoms, this cool-looking pair of climbing slippers. Well, when I tried them on at Adventure 16, my ankle was just crying out in pain, not the kind that I'm used to getting from my other climbing shoes. I had to take them off.

But before trying them on, we had browsed the sale rack and I recalled seeing a pair of Katanas that seemed like they fit well. So I went back and tried both shoes on, and voila! They fit like a glove - literally, because I couldn't keep them on for longer than a few minutes. So instead of the Venoms, here they are, my new Katanas!

I still have to get used to how they feel, and I still have to break them in. I tried bouldering with them last night but couldn't do any difficult moves because of the way they were cutting into my skin. Ouch! I can't wait until they're broken in, and I gain my confidence in them.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Did It!

I finally turned in my notice today at work. This is it - the beginning of the end, and then it's a new era altogether. Hopefully it will prove to be more rewarding. And hopefully I will have the sense to be more responsible about my actions and the work I will be doing.

It's a huge load off my shoulders though and I'm finally going to be able to sleep better at night. After the transition, I'm treating myself to a two-hour massage just to get rid of all the tension that's been building up in my body. I think I deserve it!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Good Cry

Today I felt the brunt of all the stress that had been building up these past few weeks. And with less than six hours of sleep and a ton of errands I had to run, I just had to break down.

I don't know what it is about crying that makes me feel so damn good afterwards. Perhaps it's because after a good cry, you feel too tired to feel anything else. Or maybe it actually releases tension. Or in some magical way, maybe it gives you perspective.

Nothing has changed and there is still tomorrow to deal with, the proverbial first day of the rest of my life. I am just gritting my teeth and going head-first into it. Heck, one day of torture can't be that bad. I'll have to keep reminding myself that.

Weddings Make Me Cry

I had to go with my dad and grandmother to the wedding of a super-distant cousin that I had only met once before, and I was at first so unwilling to go. But when the first few people in the entourage started marching, I started to feel a giddy sense of anticipation. And then the bride walked down the aisle to her waiting groom, and I had to bite my lip to keep from crying. I barely knew the couple!

I don't know what it is about these occasions, I just get into the moment so much and I feel all the collective emotions throughout the church -- the loss of a daughter, the excitement of new life, the protectiveness of a loyal friend, etc., etc. I don't know how I'm ever going to make it through my own. I'd have to wear waterproof makeup, that's for sure!

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Sites I Most Frequently Visit
1. Yahoo! Mail
2. My Blog
2. craigslist.org
3. amazon.com
4. steepandcheap.com
5. anthropologie.com
6. Yahoo! News
7. travelocity.com
8. google.com
9. My online banking account
10. My online credit card account

Most Used Gadgets
1. Cellphone
2. Camera
3. Microwave
4. Refrigerator
5. Car radio
6. iPod
7. Computer

Last Five Plane Flights Taken
1. Roundtrip to/from Hartford, CT
2. Roundtrip to/from Chicago, IL
3. Roundtrip from Las Vegas, NV
4. Roundtrip to/from Chicago, IL
5. Roundtrip to/from San Francisco, CA

If I Were Asked To Evacuate My Home, I Would Bring (Given Enough Time)
1. Essentials - wallet, keys(??)
2. Birth certificate and all necessary documentation
3. Burnt CDs of all my digital photos
4. Burnt CDs of all my digital music
5. Digital Camera
6. iPod
7. Photo Albums
8. My "scrapbook" box which contains souvenirs, mementos, letters, etc.
9. Toilet paper
10. Water and some snacks
11. Blanket
12. Jewelry
13. A really thick book that will take me weeks to finish

Places to Visit Before I Die
1. France
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Greece
6. Brazil
7. England
8. Japan
9. Spain
10. Switzerland

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Famous Friends

A group of us went to Hollywood last night to see the premiere of a short movie called Poet Head, produced by Marc's and Charlie's friends Sean and Rawle. We were all excited to watch the end-result because both Charlie and Marc supposedly had scenes there.

Alas, as fate would have it, they found out that they accidentally filmed Marc's scene with a different speed so they had to exclude it since they couldn't edit it into the movie. What a bummer! But it was still amusing to see Charlie up on the screen, adlibbing and emoting his way through. It was great!

The scene that Marc was supposed to be in soon came up; they had used the take with Sean in it instead. Too bad! But all was not lost - Marc's name came up in the credits. I turned to him and said, "Hey, you're still famous!" Haha!

Anyway, they only showed the rough cut of the movie. As Sean and Rawle said, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. I think some scenes could be edited down a little bit more, but all in all, the script was very well-written so it should make for a good movie, when all the finishing touches are done. I think they're entering it in the Sundance Film Festival, so good luck, guys!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Weekend Recap - My 2005 Birthday

For my birthday, we arranged a dinner at Cafe Bizou, a popular French restaurant in Santa Monica. We came up with a good mix of people - old and new friends, from school, church and the climbing gym. The food was great, and the company was even better. We chatted until we realized that we were only one of two tables in the restaurant.

Marc, Marlon, Angela and I then went on to look for a club because our feet were itching to dance (at least mine and Angela's were! haha). But after trying 2 different clubs with no luck, we finally decided to just go to Voda, a martini bar in Santa Monica. The music was good, but unfortunately, there was no dancing there. We had to content ourselves with dancing in our seats (complete with the white man overbite). At 1am, with the knowledge that Angela and Marlon had an hour's drive ahead of them, we called it a night.

The next day after mass, my dad, Marc and I joined Allan and Lois on a sailing trip around Marina del Rey. We came loaded with all kinds of snacks - cheese, bread, chips, dip, dolmas, and the like. Allan had chicken, fruit and some salad. We had a feast in the cabin of the boat before setting off. Once we got out of the boat parking area, Allan turned to my dad and asked him to steer.

So there went an afternoon where my dad actually had the time of his life. We could not distract him from steering. I tried to sit in front of my dad and he pushed me away because I was blocking his view of the compass. Geez, Dad! But I could tell he was really enjoying himself.

After sailing, Marc and I headed down to Angela's for a farewell party for Daniel, who was leaving with his wife to go back to Belgium. Again, there was so much food than we knew what to do with - at least until Mario showed up! ;) We watched a couple of episodes of Criss Angel, and a hilarious stand-up comedy show that I can't remember the name of right now.

Tonight is my birthday dinner with family, and probably the last of this period of gluttony. It will help to have a little fat for some insulation though. It's getting colder now! Outdoor climbing season is almost upon us.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Constant Gardener

We caught the late showing of this movie last night - finally, after a failed attempt to watch it on its opening night. I wasn't sure what to expect because the trailer is some sort of a teaser; it doesn't really tell you what it's about. I knew it was a good bet though, what with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in it.

I like a movie that sets itself apart from most other off-the-rack plots, and this was one of them. A very creative story (but one that I hope is purely fictional, even in terms of certain premises in the film), and beautifully translated into the big screen.

It made me realize how lucky I am to be in the situation I'm in now, despite all the convoluted complaints I always have. This certainly puts everything into perspective. Happiness is something that cannot be derived from just money/material things or power. You can always find it in whatever situation. I suppose from my point of view, these people are in dire need of help, and I pity them, and I can't even imagine the pain they go through. But how do you explain the smiles on their faces? I can look at them and feel pity because of the position I'm in. But what if I had been born in Africa, in the exact same situation they're in? I'd find my own happiness, I think, not knowing anything else besides the life that I have.

And who knows, maybe someone else in some other country, in some other planet is looking at us and shaking their heads, saying, "There's a crisis there. We've got to help."

Of course this doesn't mean leaving them to their own devices. I applaud the volunteers who give everything to help these people, and I wish I could offer the same help. I suppose it's just a big realization for me that one cannot be so egotistic as to assume you can give happiness. You can create the situation for it, but it's up to the person to grab the opportunity or not.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Woman calls cops over unreliable hit man
Tokyo police arrest woman who had tried to have her lover’s wife killed

TOKYO - A Japanese woman called in the police after a hit man she paid to kill her lover’s wife failed to carry out the job.

The 32-year-old Tokyo woman was arrested on Wednesday for incitement to murder, the Daily Yomiuri newspaper said on Friday.

The woman contacted a private detective through a Web site last November and paid him $9,000 in cash to murder her love rival, the paper said.

The 40-year-old detective accepted the money and suggested he could carry out the job by chasing the victim on a motorcycle and spraying her with a biological agent in a tunnel.

Police also arrested the private detective and found the alleged target safe and well, the paper said.

Lifted from the MSNBC website

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Since I had a free night tonight, I sat down to watch a double feature of Scrubs, one of my favorite sitcoms. I missed a couple of seasons of it when I moved back from Orange County because it switched time slots and conflicted with another show my uncle and I both liked to watch. Then when I realized that I was really missing out, he really started getting into watching The Amazing Race, which was in the same time slot. Poor me!

Well, The Amazing Race hasn't started a new season yet so tonight I had the TV to myself. Never mind that I'd seen these episodes (actually, I didn't catch the first part of the first episode before so that was new to me), I was still laughing hard enough to make my uncle come out and shake his head at me in a "what am I going to do with you?" kind of way.

I chanced upon some news online and found out that Scrubs is nominated for an Emmy! Not only that, my beloved Zach Braff is nominated for the best actor Emmy too! I'm crossing my fingers for you, JD!


Yesterday was the first day of a transition that I'm going to have to make soon. Times like these are always scary because you're letting go of a good thing in order to do something that's relatively unknown to you. But this is a good step in the direction of what I've been whining about for so long. So all I have to do is take a deep breath, hope for the best and jump in. Nataliya will have a lot of work to do though because this period is proving to be very stressful for me.

In other news, I was finally able to complete a 5.11a. I use the word 'complete' loosely because I did do a little cheat rest, but I know that if I tried the climb again, I would make it. I've been feeling a little less frustrated with myself in the climbing front, so I suppose that's what fuels this sudden burst of power. I've also taken to taping my knuckles so that they won't swell up and hurt so much. That may be part of the reason as well. I still have to do that damn 5.10d that's overhanging though - this one takes you up to the corner of the arch into such a confined space that I inevitably start to get claustrophobic and panicky.

I don't know if those cheerleader people actually help me when it comes to moments like that, that exact moment when I feel my arms getting tired and I want to give up. When I first started climbing, I hated it when people would call up encouragements and advice at me. But then once I got into it, I found that it can help sometimes, and I found myself doing it to other people. But there's such a thing as overkill, and I suppose I've been guilty of that as well. So now I just shut up and let the climber climb. I might utter a word here and there but only when it's appropriate. Some people are like:

Climber gets his hand on the start hold and places his feet on the appropriate places.
Belayer/Spotter: C'mon, let's go, you can do it!!!
Climber (in his head): Shut up, I haven't even gotten off the ground yet!

I guess that works for some people. I don't mean to judge. It just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, after climbing last night, I got home and got ready for bed. When I pulled the sheets over me and reached out to turn my lamp off, for some reason I remembered the show that Marc and I watched on TV the other day - Supernatural. Darn it, I'm weak when it comes to scary things like that. The show was a little over the top but it didn't stop me from suddenly feeling very paranoid.

The end result? Slept with my lamp on again. That's two nights in a row now. Hopefully tonight I can stick to happy thoughts so I can turn out the lights.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Weekend Recap - Flash Weekend

Why do weekends go by so fast? I had barely gotten into the groove of destressing when Sunday came around and I started dreading the next day.

It wasn't so bad actually. Friday night, Charlie, Marc and I put in some lead climbing at the gym. Then afterwards Marc and I hung out at home and watched the DVD of The Brothers McMullen. It seemed pretty good - but in the middle of it, we fell asleep and only woke up to see the ending. But it wasn't that hard to figure out what had happened while we were getting our shuteye.

Saturday morning, I went for my "hour of pure relaxation" at the Santa Monica College of Healing Arts, where my masseuse Nataliya proceeded to dig her elbows into my back. I haven't had a chance to get a massage in over a year, and I could tell that all my muscles were really tight so I scheduled this appointment. There were so many knots all over my back and shoulders and Nataliya was only able to soften some of them. At the end of the session, she shook her head and said that I really needed two hours instead of just one because the knots were really hard, and there were more in my legs. Woohoo! It's my excuse to get another one, a longer one.

Then Saturday night, we had the birthday party for Giok, our neighbor who turns 80 today. Tito Monching arranged for some friends to come over and give Giok a surprise celebration. It was a super success - Giok was gaping at us for about a full minute, in sheer disbelief. She looked really happy, and couldn't stop saying how grateful she was. It gave me a good feeling.

We heard mass on Saturday afternoon, so I had the whole Sunday free. We decided to take a trip out to Malibu for some outdoor climbing. We were only able to do two climbs, but man, was I tired! Marc and I both tried to do a climb that was probably a 5.11 rating, and we were unable to finish it, but since our gear was up there on the rock, we had to figure out a way to take it all down. I had to shimmy up some other way and it took what felt like a full hour - which involved flaky rock that was breaking off the surface and some serious birdshit - for me to finish cleaning up the route. I really need to start working on my climbing technique more. :(

After doing a little shopping, we sat down to watch another Ed Burns film - She's The One, which I liked better than the one we had seen Friday night. I turned to Marc after the movie and said, "Is it just because I fell asleep or is this movie better than Brothers McMullen?"

So Monday is here again and it's back to work. Can't wait for Friday again!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Grizzly Man

Martin, Marc and I caught the 7:30pm showing of Grizzly Man at the Royal Theatres in West LA. I had seen the previews before and was really intrigued by this film. I'm always curious about the lives of people like Timothy Treadwell, people who are so driven with a passion for something that they give up almost everything else for it.

The film features some of the most beautiful shots of Alaska I've ever seen (not that I've really seen a lot), and pretty amazing close-up shots of grizzly bears in their natural habitat. While I didn't always agree with the way the film was edited, it did keep me hooked on the flow of the story.

Very tragic though. I'm half-disappointed and half-thankful that they didn't include the audio of Timothy and Amie being killed by the bear (which they say was probably the one in the picture above). I have this morbid curiosity about it, but at the same time I know that I'll be in tears if I ever do hear it, given the reactions and comments of the people in the film who did get a chance to listen to the couple's last moments.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


There's pain everywhere.

I work out almost everyday, and I climb at least twice a week, but this is ridiculous. Ten minutes in ocean water, bodysurfing and playing in the waves, should not have this effect on me. I haven't spent that much time at the beach this summer, at least not like last year, so when Marc and I jumped into the water on Sunday, I was nervous.

I'm not a strong swimmer, and I'm not even confident in a swimming pool. Put me in the ocean with more things factored in - riptides, waves, etc., etc. - and I'm probably just an accident waiting to happen. So I guess my shoulders were tense and everytime I dove into a wave, I was stressing out about getting back up.

So Monday morning I was sore. But my cousin flew in from Chicago and he came over with Dean and Vincent. The mission: to go to the beach. Darn. So back in the water we went, and as expected, I was tense. I would dive into the water screaming "no!" in my head (and maybe aloud too haha).

So here I am. Sore from head to foot. I want to climb but can't. I've almost used up the whole tube of Ben-Gay I had here. I feel like I'm getting a workout everytime I move. Ugh.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Funniest Home Video

I went to the wedding of our old neighbor's granddaughter this afternoon. What a memorable ceremony! Unfortunately it wasn't really because of the vows or how emotional it was; there was a little 'incident' at the beginning that woke everyone up.

The bride was walking onto the plastic pathway that served as her 'carpet' when her heel got stuck in her hem. She tried to step forward but couldn't so she turned to her father who had her arm and said, "Dad, I can't step forward, it's stuck!"

The dad, being the helpful father that he was, reached down, grabbed his daughter's ankle and pulled it up for him to have a closer look. Well, Ellen the bride wasn't prepared to be doing yoga at her wedding so she toppled over on her butt, arms flailing. Good thing she had a poufy skirt with lots of layers to cushion her fall, and good thing she fell on grass! One more reason to have an outdoor wedding!

Poor Ellen. But she was a good sport, laughing the whole thing off. It really was worthy enough to be an entry in America's Funniest Home Videos. I wish I had had a camera with me. :P

Friday, September 02, 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Vinnie had told us that this movie was funny enough but not knee-slapping hilarious. So when we went into the theatre I was a little apprehensive about it. Marc and I had planned to see The Constant Gardener at the NuWilshire Theatre but the showing we had planned on catching was sold out. As I couldn't stay out late because my aunt was flying in tonight from Chicago (another aunt, yes), we had to opt for another movie. The 40-Year-Old Virgin fit our schedule perfectly, so we bought tickets to it. I just didn't think it would be a worthy substitute though.

Well we were pleasantly surprised at how amusing the movie turned out to be. I've had mixed feelings about Steve Carell because while I liked his bit part in Bruce Almighty, I didn't really care much for his character in the US version of The Office. But he did really well, he wrote a great script and he played his character so perfectly, that Marc and I were laughing out loud throughout the movie.

Marc thought Catherine Keener seemed a little too "giggly" in the movie, and I kind of agree. She was a bit excitable, as if she was overacting just a little too much. I think calm characters fit her better, like her character in Lovely and Amazing. But it was still refreshing to see her in a comedy like that. I haven't seen her much in movies so movie buffs, forgive me if I make a heinous statement when I say this seems to be new territory for her.

Some funny quotes:

Andy (shouting, while having his belly waxed): Yooooooooow, Kelly Clarkson!

David: Know how I know you're gay? You like Coldplay.

Andy (talking to a girl in a club): I hope you have a big trunk... because I'm puttin' my bike in it.

Anyway, 'nuff said. Loved it. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good laugh.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Family Reunion Pictures

Finally posted the pictures from the reunion last Saturday. Here's a little peek into what my family is like:

Reunion Pics

Please Save Something For Me

I didn't make it to New York before the twin towers collapsed. People keep saying it isn't the same anymore, that it forever scarred the infamous Manhattan skyline. I feel disappointed about that because I always hate to miss out on things.

And now New Orleans is suffering a disaster. There goes my wish to experience a blissful Mardi Gras vacation there - hang out at the French Quarter, listen to some cool jazz music, get totally drunk and flash people to get beads.... whoops! Maybe I should keep some of my fantasies to myself. Haha!

But it's so disappointing. All these beautiful and cool places I haven't seen! No more disasters until I get to travel more, please! :P