Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! And to all of you who aren't Christian (like me), Merry Christmas anyways; it's the thought that counts. This year, I got many wonderful presents from everyone including emails, cards, text messages, books, games, and clothes. This year, however, I got a present in its purest form from someone I least expected: Emma my large white and fluffy dog.

I had just driven down from Northern California and knocked on the door hands full with all my luggage when my mom opened the door for me. I staggered in and began depositing my stuff on the ground when Emma, curious to see who'd come in, came trotting over from around the corner with a large chunk of her dinner in her mouth. When she saw me, she stopped dead in her tracks and just stared. Then as it dawned on her who she was looking at, her eyes got wide and her jaw dropped and the chunk of meat she had just been cherishing a second ago fell straight from her mouth onto the ground. Having completely forgotten about her dinner, she galloped up to me tail wagging and tongue licking my face.

My mom watched the whole thing and we both remarked that it was the cutest thing we had ever seen because we both knew how Emma would normally growl and fight tooth and nail if anyone tried to take her dinner away from her. I guess it's why humans love animals so much, because when we see something like this, we know it is a true and sincere gift of love.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Best Birthday Ever

I can honestly say that this was one of the best birthdays I've ever had. The celebrations started early in the month with a wonderful trip to Yoshi's jazz club where we watched the Taj Mahal Trio perform great music. That was great fun especially because it included friends from many different circles of friends whom I never see together. Then my friends from work took me out to one of my favorite restaurants a week later. Last night, just before my real birthday at midnight, I got the much anticipated annual phone call from my long-time friend Amy. This morning, I woke up to find an email filled with birthday wishes and wonderful life updates from my friend, Andrew, in Russia that I met in 10th grade on an exchange program. Throughout today I was peppered with phone calls and emails from more family and friends all wishing me the best. Finally, tonight, I thought I'd have to celebrate by myself and my chicken pot-pie-with-candle-on-top since everyone was out, yet not an hour later, I found myself surrounded by friends I haven't seen in a month. When it came time to blow out the candle on the cake, for the first time ever, I couldn't think of what to wish for because at that very moment, everything was perfect.

I honestly feel like the luckiest person in the world right now to have so many wonderful people I care about dearly; I feel rather unworthy to have this gift. My dearest friends and family, you've filled my entire December with love and joy. In this season when I'm usually wishing for what I don't have and others do, you've made it completely impossible not to be thankful for what I do have -- all of you.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Color of Rain

I’m sitting in my living room listening to the pattering of the rain on the skylights and watching the pine trees outside twist and sway with the wind. Everything in the house is illuminated by the dim blue-grey glow I call the color of rain. I’m tucked in on the couch under a warm blanket wearing the same hooded green sweatshirt I wore on rainy days over a decade ago in middle school. A lot has changed about the sweatshirt since then; there are loose threads here and there and numerous holes in the sleeves for my fingers to poke through. A lot has stayed the same; it still keeps me warm on rainy days.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rascal Flatts

I just got back from my very first country music concert. At first, when my friend asked me to go with her, I was skeptical, but in the spirit of trying something new, I decided it would be a most fun experience, and boy was I right.

My friend had already forced me to listen to a few songs, one of which is now one of my favorite songs of all time, so I knew the music would be good. But what I was really looking forward to were the people.

I haven't seen that many 4x4's, cowboy hats, denim mini-skirts, and stinky large men outside of Central Valley ever. Instead of pot, there were cigars. Instead of grungy male teenagers, there were blonde girls with cute hats. Instead of filing orderly into the dirt parking lot, there were SUVs and trucks offroading it up the embankments, blazing their own parking spaces. What a riot!

I must admit some of the music isn't what I'd choose to listen by myself on the radio, but it should did make me want to square dance and that kind of thing is always a fun time. Thanks, Julie, for taking me. It was a blast!

Friday, June 9, 2006

Quarter life crisis

My quarter-life crisis is finally winding down after reaching a rather spectacular climax last week. For six months day and night, I asked myself the hard questions: Am I ready to get married? If not, when will I be? What about kids? Yes, I definitely want kids, but seriously, when. In two years? In four? I'm 26 and I want kids before I'm 30 or 32. If i'm married for two years before I have kids, and I date two years before I get married, I've got two years or less to date all the women I need to find The One (or one of The Ones as I like to say). What am I looking for in a partner, in a girlfriend, in a wife? Am I too picky? Am I not picky enough? Does experience matter? Am I done playing? Do I want to travel? Do I want religion? All these questions haunted me to the point of mental exhaustion and I'm so glad that they're finally all answered -- for now.

Perhaps the most externally visible manifestation of my crisis is the fact that after 26 years of refusing to "play the game," I've finally started dating. I started with a single's party and speed dating, both of which were fun activities and yielded some dates, which have kept me insanely busy.

Many have asked me why I started all of this; granted the time was ripe and all that good stuff, but what single-handedly reversed my course and made me overcome one of my largest mental blocks ever; what was the catalyst? What other than a woman could cause a man to question his existence?

I've heard a lot of people say that you "just know" when you've found the right one. I wasn't sure if I believed them or not. I'd certainly experienced this in other more mundane areas of life, like car shopping or house shopping, but I wasn't sure it could apply to something so abstract and complex as a human being. Yet, even though it took me a while to realize it and even more time to admit to it to myself, she was it and I just knew. She was what I wanted. She was The One.

When I say she was The One, I don't mean she's the ideal woman of my dreams. That woman doesn't exist. I've checked. What I mean is that I believe there are certain qualities that are most important to me and many women might have them, each with their own twist, additions, and subtractions, resulting in a range of good matches for me. She just happened to be the first one to fall in this range. But what a splash she made!

I was so excited that there were women out there in the world like her, that what I was looking for was real, I had to find one for myself. Thus the dating like crazy thing. At the same time, the hard questions started. If The One could just show up on my doorstep as randomly as she did, I'd need to be ready for when the next One came along. There was no way I was going to miss another opportunity, considering how rare they are.

You might be wondering now, if this girl was so awesome, why didn't I just go for her? Well, that's what last week was all about and it's a story I'll have to tell another time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And we're back...

Alright! I'm back! The last four months have been absolutely insane. You remember how I changed groups at work and my life was all wonderful for a while? Well, come December, I got pulled back into that evil dark cave known as the lab and stuck there doing stuff I consider far worse than my old job. Basically, in my four years at NVIDIA, I've actually become somewhat useful and have been given some more responsibility. As a result, I found myself waking up, driving to work, and being hours if not days behind schedule the second I stepped in the building. Every five minutes, for the next 14 hours, somebody or some people would need something from me an hour ago. Nobody could proceed without me doing something -- I didn't even have time to go to the bathroom most of the time. That might sound a bit conceited, but it's not that I'm all that important. I just somehow, inadvertently became the hub of this project -- everything went through me.

Anyways, one nervous breakdown later, I've magically popped out the other side of the tunnel and now I stand in the sunlight once again. Since then, I've embarked upon a massive self-improvement project which some might call a quarter-life crisis. More to come...