Thursday, September 29, 2005

Nature can be a pain.

The 6 am morning sky is littered with stars - lots of them. As I head out from Tim's house into my car, I run my eyes from one star to another pinpointing constellations that I know and constellations that look familiar. Big dipper, little dipper...that's about it, but I was never much of a astronomer. I head down Foothill back to my house ten miles under the speed limit because 45 miles an hour feels fast to me when I just woken speed-walking to your friend's apartment right after having a couple beers.

By the time I arrived home, had taken a shower, and had gotten my things ready for class, the sky was illuminated by the sun's rising. There are no more stars, but now there is a deathly brown smoke trail coming from the East. The fires from Simi Valley are still blazing from yesterday's heat. The smoke cakes the lower sky with a cloud of filthy smoke and ash, and it looks like some kind of ancient battle was just fought all night. I drove to school in this atmosphere and mindset, and I couldn't figure out if it was a good thing or not.

The Simi Valley fires is just a reminder of what Southern California gets around this time every year. It is a twisted and humorous thing when I think how natural disasters are always covered one step too late. We evacuate in preparation for Rita only when Katrina came and made us realize how much damage hurricanes can do. Typhoon warnings are covered after news of the disasters in Southeast Asia are reported. Possible landslide occurrences are given after La Conchita is under a giant pile of mud. Is it just me, or are we only obsessed with being ready for certain disasters when the damage is already done?

Maybe I'm wrong, so comments are more than welcome to correct my cynical and bitter stance.

By the end of the day, the brown layer of smoke seeped into the rest of the sky, and Ventura county looks much like Downtown LA on a midsummer's day. The air joins in with the sky and leaves the evening in a muggy lukewarm heat. Sleeping tonight will be more of a task or chore now rather than a natural cycle.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

To rain or not to rain?

Yesterday had some lovely weather. It rained on and off four or five times up here in Ventura, but it was odd because the rain would stop just as instantly as it would start. I haven't seen that kind of weather since I lived in the tropics. The sun also found its way through the rain clouds somehow, so there was a point in the day where I was driving in the high noon sunshine. However, the random rainclouds made for a beautiful late afternoon! The clear blue sky, the crisp clean air, and the golden sunset was wonderful. I swerved a couple times on the road staring at the sky.

I find it pathetically ironic that I enjoyed the view from the front seat of my car zipping down the 101. Usually, one who has any love for nature would have parked somewhere and taken a long walk. Talk about a product of today's society.

Kuya is back East with a group from CityTeam doing some relief and ministry work in New Orleans. He has been appointed the photographer, which is awesome. Check out his separate blog for the trip.

On Sunday I went and saw Corpse Bride with a couple friends. I enjoyed it very much. It has all those Tim Burton qualities to it that is unmatched, but I do have to say that I like The Nightmare Before Christmas better. Nevertheless, Corpse Bride is still a fun movie to watch. Just the visuals are enough to go see it on the big screen, and I laughed more than once just because the characters looked ridiculous.

Speaking of kid movies, don't go see Madagascar. No, don't even rent it. Waste of time, I can't believe I couldn't talk my friends into seeing Mr. and Mrs. Smith instead at the dollar theatre. My friends suck.

This post isn't really going anywhere. I started to jump to a different subject again, but I realized that I'm starting to ramble. So I'll stop.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Never Been Unloved

Michael W. Smith's Live the Life.

Never Been Unloved

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I have been undesirable

Sometimes I have been unwise
I’ve been undone by what I’m unsure of
But because of you and all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I am proud to say that I like MWS. No...I love MWS! Ever since Kuya got into him back in the early 90s, I couldn't help but like his stuff too. To all those who think MWS sucks, you have to face the fact that he was one of the trailblazers for contemporary Christian music today. Bands today owe a lot to those pioneers (SCC, Steve Green, and Steve Camp are other examples). Sure his new stuff isn't that great - who cares!? Old-school MWS is where it's really at!

Anyway, I realize that there is a lot of music on my blog lately. Sorry if that's a bit annoying. I've just been immersed in a lot of it lately - more so than usual.

Here are a couple links to blog entries from my bros that went up while I was on my blog fast.

Souvenirs - Kuya put up a collection of pictures of our family in all their photographic glory. Awesome.

Let's be an ethnographer - A post that Oli wrote on the disaster in New Orleans and the issue of immediate short-term mission trips being sent to the area. Very well, written.

That's just cold!

I was watching some show on Comedy Central that's hosted by David Spade, and this comedian comes up and starts ragging on the MTV Music Video Awards. About Coldplay, he said something along the lines of this:

"Coldplay - the new U2? More like the new U-Suck! You know what's cool about U2? They aren't known as the old Coldplay."

I absolutely love Coldplay and their music, but I thought that was incredibly funny.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Enter the entertainment.

The Blues

Is there nothing left now, nothing left to sing?
Are there any left who haven't kissed the enemy?
Is this the new year or just another desperation?
Does justice never find you? Do the wicked never lose?
Is there any honest song to sing besides these blues?
And nothing is okay until the world caves in.

Until the world caves in,
Until the world caves in...

I must say that Switchfoot has produced their best record yet. Nothing Is Sound is an amazing album, and proves to all that Switchfoot can still make great music. For some reason, I've had a sort of love-hate thing going with Switchfoot the past few years...mainly because they just got so huge in one sweeping year and changed drastically as a band. I thought The Beautiful Letdown had maybe five or six awesome songs (maybe seven), but got tired of it a little too fast; plus I thought it was ridiculous that they re-recorded I Dare You To Move two more times and made two different videos for the same song. To me, it just seemed so lame. However, I'm a big fan of Switchfoot's music, and I knew that the band was Christian and write their music based on their Christian beliefs. I just liked calling them sell-outs in front of my friends because it pissed them off so much. Ha!

Anyway, this new album is awesome! Every song sounds great (if not awesome), and the lyrics are once again amazing. It's nice to actually hear something that is very good through and through; we don't get very many records like that anymore. Last time Switchfoot did something this good was back when New Way To Be Human came out, so I welcome Nothing Is Sound with open arms. Although it is a bummer that they can't be as open about their Christian beliefs like they used to since they got really huge. I'm not really complaining, though. The album is also very serious and quite dark, which is different. According to their Myspace profile (yes, I really did reference their Myspace), the music is based off Ecclesiastes, so it's pretty depressing at first. Wondering why we go through our days, Switchfoot questions the very meaning of life. It does end with the message that the only real hope in life is found in God. I think it's very good for all to hear, especially those who don't share the Faith.

Yeah, listen to the cd if you don't want to buy it.

Onto other forms of entertainment, I watched Just Like Heaven with Oli and Nem. Don't worry guys, the only reason why I went and paid full theatre price for the movie was because Oli paid the full price for me. Plus Reese is hot, and I like watching hot women on the big screen. The movie was pretty good for a chick flick, and I enjoyed myself. It was like Ghost for the next generation! Except for like the murders and freaky scary parts. I thought it was clever that they actually took the "suspence horror" view of ghosts in Just Like Heaven and made it very light-hearted and pretty humorous instead. And Reese's ghost can haunt me anyday. She is hot.

She is.

That's about it. Mark Ruffalo is cool and funny too, but he can't seem to get past his Mark Ruffalo-ness. That's okay, though. As long as he doesn't lead in an epic war movie that also casts Tom Sizemore, Orlando Bloom, or any of those guys from Braveheart.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Band of Brothers is on right now. (Episode 9)

Nah, I'm not going the "one post a month" route as Jon suggested. I just haven't gotten into the cycle of blogging a lot like I used to do. Whatever. You can always call or e-mail me if you are just dying to know what I'm up to. And if you have neither, than that means I don't care about you and you can kiss my smelly armpits.

Now on to things!

I'm taking three classes this session rather than the usual two. I decided to get an extra gen. ed. class done since I'll most likely be gone up in Nor Cal for the Nov.-Dec. session. Kuya's boss from CityTeam is interested in my photography and wants me to work for them. I may be able to get it as an internship and get credit with Brooks, so pray that will work out. If not, I can still do it as an independant study with Brooks, but it just won't have that same flare on my resume like an internship would.

Through my church, I joined this "40 Days of Purpose" thing which is done through Rick Warren's The Purpose Drive Life. Now, I'm not a particular fan of the book (even though I've never read it). Mainly because it just seems too much like a self-help book, and that's just lame. Warren does disclaim that the book is much more than that, but has that whole "improve your relationship with God and know the true meaning of life" feel to it. He just added "within 40 days" at the end of it. Anyway, I mainly joined the whole thing because all I do is sign up, join the college group, and I get a free hard cover copy of the book. I figure that it won't harm me to read the book, and I can meet and talk about God in a group setting. There is always a chance that I'll get something real good out of it, and I don't see how I can get dumber reading the book. Plus the college Bible study group that I go to every Thursday was replaced by this, so I might as well go. Anyway, the book isn't very intriguing and is pretty basic. Oh, well.

I also officially joined the youth band at church. Three of the original members went off to college, so I'm a replacement dude. Coolio. It'll take a bit for us to fully gel with one another since there's been a lot of new people coming in and old ones going out, but we'll be fine. Tim and I stayed up till 5 am last night recording some music we wrote. By the time we got it all figured out, we were way too tired to focus on playing really well for the recording. Heh. Awesome. I love staying over at the Philips. They have cable there. Adult Swim, baby!

That's all.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

That took a while.

I went a whole month with no real update on my blog. I'm so proud of myself. Here are the highlights:


Ten days in Minnesota - I flew out to Minnesota to photograph the wedding of my long-time friend Andrea Olson and her fiance Warrick Hess. They're both Hess' now and very happy together. I spent ten days there (instead of just the weekend of the wedding) because my Travel Photography class required us to go out of town for at least seven days and do a travel piece in a location, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by just extending my stay in Minnesota. Plus I get to hang out with old friends. Wonderful! Of course, I slacked off like any lazy college student did and neglected my work till like the last four days. All in all, the trip felt like a long school break.

The Hess wedding went very well, and I did a fair job with the pictures. My comp. started having problems, though, not too long after I got back, so now I need to wait a little longer before going through my edit. That story comes a little later.

LAN party - If you guys read either Kuya's, Oli's, Mac's, Nem's, OR AJ's blogs, you will know that we had a LAN party not even two days after I got back to Ventura. LAN parties are LAN parties, there isn't much to tell about it. It's a lot of fun, but that's about it. We need get a better system going with the network, though, because we always have a problem getting the network up and running quickly (we usually take a few hours before actually playing full on network games). The coolest thing about the LAN was that all those people I listed earlier in this section came down to Ventura. Kuya needed to drive Oli and Nem down here because they're heading back to Biola. I took them the rest of the way to La Mirada the next day. Mac and AJ came down solely for the party. Now that is dedication to computer/video gaming!

Class Finals - My final projects for both my Travel Photography class and Basic Business class were due Monday after our LAN party weekend. So while we were doing the gaming, I took a large chunk of my day to meet with my Basic Business group to form our business plan to present to class. On Sunday I spent the better part of my day driving Oli and Nem down to La Mirada, and then I raced back up to Ventura to meet with my group again to put together our research. I woke up at 7 am on Monday to work five and a half hours straight to finish my Travel Photography project, then went out to the Salvation Army to buy a nice (but incredibly cheap) coat for my presentation in Basic Business. Since my business group wanted to meet one last time before class at 8 pm, I left Travel early (starts at 4:45 pm) at 5:45 pm to make it to their 6:30 meeting. We were so stressed and anxious once class started that we volunteered to go first to present our business just so we can get it done and over with.

Needless to say...when I flew in from Minnesota, I sort of landed on So Cal with my feet running. Not that I'm complaining at all. I chose to spend my free time at the LAN party, so I just trucked through all the work at the very end since I brought it on myself.

I completely crashed by the end of Monday.

A Week with the Phllips - Somehow beyond me, I ended up spending a whole week at the Phllips (the house that hosted the LAN party). I think I was just so burned out on Monday that I didn't feel like going back to my house. My computer was still at the Phillips from the LAN party, and I was too lazy to move it back to where I lived. For a full week I slept at the Phillips. They didn't mind at all because their parents were gone till next Saturday. I was out of there (along with my computer) by Saturday morning.

Other Misc. Things - My car battery was dead when I flew in from Minnesota. I spent a good part of my day after I got back making sure it was a dead battery and nothing else, and then I finally bought a new battery.

My computer's has been terribly fragmented and cluttered for months now (maybe even a year), so I'm now in the process with Tim Phillips to completely wipe it clean and reinstall my needed programs.

The Nikon D70 that I have owned for a year and a half has crapped out on me. It has completely died, and I don't know why. I sent it in to a Nikon Repair Center for them to take a look at, but I'm hoping and praying that they can fix it before Sept. 12. I need to shoot another wedding then.


I find that work best under pressure. OR...that is the only time that I decide to work at all. Running around when the deadline is coming up and things need to be done NOW is my way of functioning. I'd like to thank procrastination for my newfound way of doing business.

Seriously, when I got back to La Mirada from Minnesota, things just seemed to go wrong for a whole day. The car's dead battery was only the first thing that went bad. My iPod, which I used as a hard drive to store all my photographs from my MN trip, started to act up and ended up locking up. Naturally, I freaked out since I would have been dead if I lost all my pictures. Then I realized that the equipment I checked out from Brooks was due back and I had no way to get it back to them. All this time, I was running around trying to find my friends to get me back into the house so I could get tools to take a look into my car. I had misplaced my keys in MN, so I couldn't get into their house on my own. I later found them buried deep in my backpack.

Anywho, it was all incredibly stressful. However, God was doing wonders in me and keeping me under control and keeping my cool. Through his grace, I stayed calm and didn't snap at anyone or anything. I was a bit on a downer, though, but at least I didn't get angry or hysterical. Just constantly praying to Him and putting very little to no worry on the day since there was not too much I could do. God is good, and He looks after us.

I hope you enjoyed my monster blog; it makes up for the large pause in my posting.