August 16, 2008

  • school days again

    After returning from a smashing kidnapping event to celebrate my thirtieth year in Lake George, NY two Sundays ago, courtesy of myjellybellys, pinkimoon (in spirit), judgestin, cucumberlove, henryalmighty, and Vivian, I was unusually exhausted and looking forward to a peaceful slumber.

    Of course, my return to the blogosphere would not be complete without a recounting of a strange (but *very* vivid) dream I had that night. I also have a sudden desire to write again, as it’s been ages since I’ve written anything not for work.

    Any names mentioned below represent actual people that I’ve known at some point in my life, though they have been changed in the interest of anonymity.


    As I strolled along the lush landscape of a location unbeknownst to me at the time,  I noticed that the day was blessed with perfection. Although the sun was profoundly blanketing the cloudless blue sky, it was at the same time gentle; I did not feel the oppressive heat and humidity that is often characteristic of a summer day in the New York City metropolitan area.

    After a few minutes of leisurely walking, I noticed the front of a very familiar building, the high school I went to growing up.

    Immediately, my thoughts turned to the class I had to get to, though the streams of subconsciousness flowing in my head did not reveal which class it was. Travelling from class to class, I pondered, was sometimes a daunting task. As students, we always complained about the architectural layout of our school. Most schools at the secondary level are normally housed in buildings of at least two stories. My high school, however, was composed of ten single-story “buildings,” most of which were interconnected. It could take as long as five minutes or more to travel from one class to another, depending on student traffic in the hallways.

    I entered the school, expecting to see a deluge of students flooding the hallways. Yet the hallways were completely deserted, even devoid of the sometimes pesky hall monitors. I stepped into a classroom, which was also empty with one single exception. Karina was sitting a few feet from the classroom entrance behind a large, elementary school style desk, scribbling something nondescript on a sheet of white paper with a wood pencil. She had placed a similar desk against the front of her own, presumably so I would be able to sit facing her. She’s always been so thoughtful, I said to myself.

    I was a bit surprised, however, as I subconsciously thought of the conscious world. Karina attended high school several miles away from where I grew up, and in reality, we were first acquainted well after my high school and college days. It doesn’t matter, I thought as I sat down, flashing a timid smile at her. She smiled back accordingly, but we did not exchange any words. The understanding we had of each other seemed to be enough at the time, and we both knew that we had work to finish before the next class.

    With that, I took out a sheet of paper from my backpack and likewise began to scribble nonsensically. I don’t know why I was rushing to get to a study hall, I thought, chuckling to myself after realizing that I knew exactly why.

    After a few minutes, a bell rang, and while the sound of rustling no doubt dominated the halls, I heard only deafening silence. I instinctively elevated my head until my eyes were able to catch a small glimpse of her lowered head. I surmised at that moment that Karina heard the same silence, since her eyes seemed to detect my ever so slight movement as she delicately lifted her head in the same fashion.

    I froze for a moment, unsure of the next logical step. In a fit of sudden animation, my head, still lowered somewhat, seemed to have a mind of its own as it advanced toward hers. Karina’s head, in an almost perfectly symmetric angle in relation to mine, instantaneously followed suit in her trademark, subtle manner.

    I was not sure whether either of us knew where our heads were going, so they simply continued advancing towards each other.

    And then it happened.

    No, we did not kiss each other, not with our lips, at least.

    Our foreheads collided, ever so gently, and we held that position for about five seconds.

    As our heads gradually drifted away, my eyes caught Karina smiling demurely as she  began to stand up. I likewise returned her smile and waved, watching her walk towards the back of the classroom where there were already students crowding the desks.

    I departed the room with the encounter ingrained in my mind. Originally, I thought that I had a class to attend after the study hall session, but I had realized at this point that the school day was suddenly over. Of course, that would be nonsensical in reality, but I suppose this dream world did not have a solid concept of time.

    Unlike the real world, in this subconscious world, I was without a car. How am I going to get home, I asked myself.

    Strolling outside once again, the sunshine once again calmed my slightly confused nerves. I remembered the infamous activity buses for students who elected to stay after school for extracurricular activities. These buses were parked daily somewhere in front of the building…


    I awoke with a start, remembering exactly what I had dreamt. Nearly two weeks later, I still have a vivid picture of Karina and me touching foreheads ingrained in my head. Of course, I don’t understand at all what it means, but I suppose dreams wouldn’t be what they are without their element of mystery.

February 7, 2008

  • Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

    I’m planning to post another video soon, so stay tuned. “Vlogging” is something new to me, but there’s always a first time

December 29, 2007

  • hehe

    lol, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and belated Happy Solstice to all.

    (Mouth trumpet accompaniment to Josh Groban’s rendition of O Holy Night )

November 27, 2007

  • hmm..

    The night before I received the job offer, I had another strange dream. It was so vivid that I resorted to keying in the entry using my cell phone over the course of several days on the eight-minute train rides to and from work, haha.


    I once again found myself in a classroom, sitting behind a desk towards the far end of the room. This classroom, however, was a relatively large one at least twelve desks in length by eight desks in width, spaced out evenly in a perfect grid. The room was very brightly lit with white fluorescent lighting reflecting off the cream-colored walls, so bright that I was unable to see the students’ faces at the other end of the room.

    Perusing the room again, I noticed that the desks were not of the standard issue variety with the eight inch squasre tabletop that one might find at a high school or university. Rather, these desks were the type that I remember using when I was in elementary school; they had the large, rectangular surface with a wide compartment for books and writing implements.

    The board in front of the room was not a modern-day whiteboard, but the classic, dark green chalkboards also utilized during my elementary school years.

    No one in the room looked familiar to me. I was just sitting there, occasionally stealing glances to my left and right curiously to see if anything interesting around me was happening. That was not the case at the time. A few students were performing the usual pen twirling acrobatics with expressions on their faces indicative of sheer boredom.

    All of a sudden, the student to my left began to speak. “Hi, my name is Joe,” he announced to no one in particular.

    He then spoke with the air of an accomplished orator, speaking as if he were the President giving the State of the Union address. For a few minutes, I listened intently to his voice but for some reason was unable to decipher his utterances and associated hand motions.

    Looking around a third time, I realized that none of the other students were not listening to the banter, simply staring nonchalantly at the front of the classroom as if they were playing the role of department store mannequins.

    Turning my attention back to Mr. President, I realized why the class’s attention was not diverted to the loquacious orator. His utterances were nonsensical streams of words that one might encounter in the vocabulary section of a college entrance exam.

    One of the mannequins, in a sudden fit of animation, apparently saw my bewilderment and turned her head towards me. All I can remember about her was that she was around my age.

    “Hey,” she said as she eyed my confused face. “That guy has always been like that. Every class he goes to, he just starts spewing out random things.”

    I merely nodded at her with an expression of understanding.

    “Yeah,” she continued matter-of-factly. “In fact, every time he starts by introducing himself using a different name.”

    “Well,” I replied, “that certainly explains things.” My expression reverted to one of puzzlement as I realized that her comment did not really explain much.

    She looked at me quizzically for a second but nodded her head as if to signal that she understood perfectly.

    We then heard a loud, exasperated “eh” from one of the students at the other end of the room, triggering the students in the class to leave the classroom. Apparently, the lecturer or whoever we were expecting violated the famed Fifteen Minute Rule, the mantra that we followed in the college days to declare a professor a no-show fifteen minutes after the scheduled start time of the course.

    As the young woman next to me and I prepared to leave, we could not help but notice Mr. President continuing to address his nonexistent audience as he walked out of the room. We both shook our heads as I let out a mild chuckle in response to the sight.

    I woke up, dumbfounded, as I realized that the events occurring during my slumber only composed a dream.



November 24, 2007

  • update

    (Belated) Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I know I seem to have disappeared from this outlet, but things have been relatively crazy until now.

    Big things have happened since the last entry.

    In an effort to move on with my life, I closed on and moved to an apartment nearby where I used to live in Jersey City. Going back to living alone is a totally different ballgame, but indeed, doing so definitely made me realize what my priorities should be. It has made making ends meet much more challenging, but at the same time, I’ve been developing better habits such as cooking more often rather than picking up food.

    The biggest realization I made during the past few months was that my job was hurting me rather than helping me. Healthwise, I was deteriorating. My average bedtime was 2:30am and slowly moving towards 3:00am for no valid reason that I could think of. Moreover, I’ve gotten sick more times over the two years than any other point in my life. My social life, in particular this year, has been hampered by working a countless number of late nights and weekends.

    To make a long story short, a friend of mine from grammar school contacted me via Friendster looking for ASP.NET programmers. Three weeks later, I found myself accepting a job offer for a company that develops educational products in Piscataway, NJ.

    I was very surprised as I am admittedly someone who knows “a little about a lot of things.” The great thing about this company is that they are giving me a chance to prove myself, although I am not as familiar with ASP.NET paradigms as, say, platform-independent C++. The position would give me a chance to specialize in something, which I did not get an opportunity to do at my current job during the past 9 1/2 years.

    Frankly, I still wonder sometimes whether I’ve done the right thing. By accepting the new position, I’m basically throwing away a career in the financial industry, one of the most lucrative industries in this area. But such is a career that I’ve had no motivation to develop actively, so why even bother?

    I have the utmost respect for my father, who has worked at places for ten or fifteen years at a time. Maybe if I were married and had a family, I could stay at my company and fight for my survival even if I wasn’t completely satisfied with my work.

    But that is not the case with me presently. It had gotten to the point where my job was actively hindering progress in my life.

    When that thought comes to my head, it comforts me that I am at least taking a chance and doing something about it rather than letting things be. After announcing my decision to leave the company, I’ve certainly been sleeping much better than I was six months ago.

    December 3, here I come.

June 7, 2007

  • writing

    As the lateness of the night slowly catches up to me, I wonder how much of a zombie this imsomniac will end up being at work tomorrow

    “Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say, ‘I don’t know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down.’ But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.

    “One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.”

           – Henri Nouwen, _Bread for the Journey_, Entry for April 28

May 13, 2007

  • thesentimentology

    Yep, good ol’ procrastination again. I have loads of things to do, but for some reason, I just don’t feel like doing them.


    Q. What is your salad dressing of choice?
    A. non-creamy Italian, or any other vinegarette
    Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
    A. Wendy’s
    Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
    A. In my experience, the only one that has been consistently good around my area is Cafe Michelina
    Q. On average, what size of tip do you leave at a restaurant?
    A. 17%
    Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and will not get sick off?
    A. Noodles of any type

    Q. What are your pizza toppings of choice?
    A. Mushrooms, Eggplant, Chicken
    Q. What do you like to put on your toast?
    A. I rarely eat toast, but I either eat it plain or with eggs.
    Q. What is your favorite type of gum?
    A. I don’t really chew gum. Last brand of gum I chewed was Dentyne Ice.


    Q. Number of contacts in your cell phone?
    A. about 110
    Q. Number of contacts in your email address book?
    A: about the same
    Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
    A. None
    Q. How many televisions are in your house?
    A. 2, but neither of them are mine


    Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
    A. Right
    Q. Do you like your smile?
    A. Sure

    Q. What’s your best feature?
    A. Haha, I have no idea
    Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
    A. My wisdom teeth

    Q. Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
    A. Smell
    Q. When was the last time you had a cavity?
    A. Two years ago
    Q. What is the heaviest item you lifted last?
    A. A bag of rice, 25 pounds
    Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
    A. Yes, a bike accident when I was in high school


    Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
    A. No
    Q. Is love for real?
    A. Yes
    Q. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
    A. I’m not sure. I like my name. A friend of mine says that I look like a Greg though.
    Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
    A. I usually tend towards darker colors, but I’ve been told that lighter colors work better with me.
    Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
    A. No
    Q. Have you ever saved someone’s life?
    A. No
    Q. Has someone ever saved yours?
    A. Yes


    Q. Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000?
    A. It depends on where and when (season and time of night). I wouldn’t do it anywhere in Jersey City.
    Q. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
    A. Not on the lips.

    Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
    A. No
    Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000?
    A. No. Blogging is such a generic term that any type of personal writing could be considered as such.
    Q. Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000?
    A. For non-pornographic purposes (e.g., where focus is on the art), sure.
    Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
    A. It’s not worth destroying my stomach.
    Q. Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
    A. Nope.
    Q. Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000?
    A. Absolutely. I’ve done it before… and of course there is no mention of watching online videos


    Q: What is in your left pocket?
    A: My cell phone.
    Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
    A: I haven’t seen it
    Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
    A: Carpet and wood tile

    Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
    A: Stand

    Q: Could you live with roommates?
    A: Yes, I’ve been doing it for the past 11 years

    Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
    A: 2

    Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
    A: Car accident about 2 1/2 years ago
    Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
    A: A Toys R Us kid, lol

    Q: Who is number 1 on your top 8
    A: I need criteria to answer this question…


    Q: Friend you talked to?
    A: rcheng5391
    Q: Last person you called?
    A. My brother.

    Q: Person you hugged?
    A: A friend who was hosting an engagement party last night


    Q: Number?
    A: 3
    Q: Color?
    A: Blue

    Q: Season?
    A: Fall


    Q: Missing someone?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Mood?
    A: Lazy

    Q: Listening to?
    A: Pitter-patter of the rain on the windows of my parents’ house.

    Q: Watching?
    A: Nothing
    Q: Worrying about?
    A: Nothing at the moment.


    Q: What can you not wait to do?
    A: Break out of my shell.

    Q: What’s the last movie you saw?
    A: I think it was _Back to the Future_ on the big screen, at the historic Loew’s Theatre in Jersey City
    Q: Do you smile often?
    A: It’s a function of how much sleep I got the previous night.. haha

    Q: Are you a friendly person?
    A: Yes, or at least I try to be.

    Q: Now that the survey’s done what are you going to do?
    A: Hit the “Save Changes” button, haha

    Let others know a little more about yourself, repost this as your name followed by “ology”

April 29, 2007

  • “I’ve done 21 stupid things out of 36″

    Just something random… posted as a myspace bulletin by pinkimoon.. heh.

    The more [X]‘s the dumber you are.

    [X] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were talking.
    [] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were NOT talking.
    [X] You’ve run into a glass/screen door.
    [] You have jumped out of a moving vehicle
    [X] You have thought of something funny and laughed, then people gave you weird looks.

    So far: 3

    [X] You have run into a tree/bush.
    [X] You know that it IS possible to lick your elbow.
    [X] You have tried to lick your elbow
    [] You never knew that the Alphabet and Little Star have the same rythm.
    [] You just tried to sing them.

    So far: 6

    [X] You have tripped on your shoelace and fallen.
    [X] You have choked on your own spit
    [] You have seen the Matrix and still don’t get it.
    [] You’ve never seen the Matrix.
    [] You type only with two fingers.

    So far: 8

    [X] You have accidentally caught something on fire
    [X] You tried to drink out of a straw, but it went into your nose/eyes
    [X] You have caught yourself drooling.
    [] You have fallen asleep in class and started to talk/drool, or snore
    [] If someone says “fart” u laugh

    so far: 11

    [X] Sometimes you just stop thinking
    [X] You are telling a story and forget what you were talking about
    [] People often shake their heads and walk away from you
    [X] You are often told to use your “inside voice”.
    [] You use your fingers to do simple math.

    So far: 14

    [] You have eaten a bug
    [X] You are taking this test when you should be doing something
    more important
    [X] You have put your clothes on backwards or inside out, and didn’t realize it
    [] You’ve looked all over for something and realized it was in your hand

    So far:16

    [] You repost bulletins because you are scared that what they say will happen to you if you don’t.
    [X] You break alot of things.
    [] Your friends know not to use big words around you
    [X] You tilt your head when you’re confused
    [X] You have fallen out of your chair before

    So far: 19

    [X] When you’re laying in bed, you try to find pictures in the texture of the ceiling…
    [X] The word “ummmmm” is used many times a day.

    TOTAL: 21

    Now count them up and put “I’ve done __ stupid things out of 36″

April 21, 2007

March 22, 2007

  • more train haiku

    For some reason, I was compelled to write during the short train ride back from Chinese class. I guess I had the weird weather, among all the other weird things that have happened this month, stuck in my mind…

    Wavering branches
    Shrouded in spring Irony
    Only ask questions

           – me