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Dad and his weather

Feels like writing for a little bit. One of the things about myself is that I tend to think a lot about weather, although I don’t seem to talk about it too often, but I do think about it a lot and I check weather frequently. Is it a good day to go out and play golf? I’d wonder. I probably get that from my dad, probably because he’s a private pilot himself and weather is the first thing on the list to checkmark before you get into a private plane. It’s also one of these topics we can discuss most handily. Come to think of it. Weather is right around us, you can see it, feel it, smell and those with a hearing ability, hear it. So, I’d ask my my dad if it’s going to rain? If he said no, then I go out and do my run or play some golf. My dad watches The Weather Channel as much as I watch the ESPN channel. He’d tell me about the upcoming hurricanes, the northwest jetstream, and what a mess El Nino is causing all these unpredictable weather patterns. Sometimes, I find it a bit odd because my dad doesn’t really have much other interests like politics or elections, which I sometimes find interesting, like on voting projections, electoral votes, or winning delegates. Anything that has to do with weather is interesting to my dad such as next latest natural disaster. “Did you see that tornado!? left 100 people homelessly!” he’d say. Also, my dad seems to attribute weather to almost everything, like maybe food isn’t fresh because of bad weather recently, or when we aren’t getting good data quality in video-conferencing, he’d say it’s raining hard outside, distorting our signals.

Even two weeks ago when I told my dad I’m gonna be flying to Denver for some snowboarding before I go back to work. He said good luck with that, you may have to change your flight plans. Again, he said it’s the El Nino pushing back the cold jetstream across northwest, so you’re seeing warmer weather this season, unlike last year. All I can say, craps that sucks. Two weeks later, I changed my flight.

One time I was in my car driving, with my thoughts idle, I could feel the engine revving, then my thoughts turn to the weather. It was calm, sunny, no wind, cloudless, I was enjoying this weather, then I realize my dad probably has the same idea except he’s dreaming he’s flying his plane. Which is probably why weather’s his favorite topic out of all.

There’s no such thing as perfect writing

“There’s no such thing as perfect writing. Just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” A writer I happened to meet when I was in college told me this. It was a long time before I finally understood what those words meant, but just knowing them was a kind of comfort that put me at ease. There’s no such thing as a perfect writing style. However, in spite of that, the thought of actually writing something always filled me with a sense of hopelessness, because the things I was able to write about were fairly limited. For example, if I were to write about elephants, I’d have had no idea what words to use. That’s what it was like. I struggled on with this dilemma for eight years. Eight years——that’s a long time. Of course, there’s a limit to how much you can try to learn about things, but it’s not as painful as being old. At least, that’s what they say. “ —Hear the Wind Sing

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You were first to come

The Sun was just beginning to touch its horizon and I looked at the clock. Okay, it’s time to head out of work and I made a little quick search into Google. “Seoul metro map.” Images of the metro map quickly appeared and I looked for ones that were the most readable. I clicked on a few images and then let my mind examine the Seoul metro map. There were 9 different lines and each line has a color of its own. Where do I get on? where do I get off? more lines to get on? Seoul station was the one that I wanted to go to. After reviewing a few times, I tried to hold a mental map in my mind and I’d try to depend on my ever reliable memory and I walked out of the office.


Us as readers

As a reader, man is unique among living things. The ability to read—-and, more broadly, the ability to express complete ideas through language——distinguishes human beings from all other life forms. Without language, complex thought is inconceivable and the mind remains undeveloped. The inability to speak and write imprisons thought. In the same vein, sloppy imprecise thinking begets sloppy imprecise language. Language and thought are interconnected, and the written word is the vehicle which best advances both. Therefore, I count reading and its associated skill writing among the most significant of all human efforts. Good writing is simply the result of enormous reading, detailed research, and careful thought. It means studying to gain a good vocabulary and practicing how to use it. These kindred skills should be developed and nourished from the very first for man to grow intellectually. And unless he can express himself well, he can exert little influence on others.

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Writing is thinking

Just feel like writing something here. I realize that writing is simply thinking through our fingers. And that’s great because I myself love to type. I suppose I don’t have much choice because I’m deaf so this is pretty much the only mode I could communicate with hearing people. Unless they know sign language, of course. One friend of mine gave some wise words. She thinks it is actually our advantage that we could write in these circumstances because that means less distractions for us especially and use constraints in an advantageous way. Back to typing, I should mention that I’ve remapped the cap-locks key as a backspace, so whenever I mis-type, I use my left pinkie to do a backspace on the caps-lock key, not the normal backspace key that’s at the top right above the enter key. It’s helped with my typing speed and much more comfortable to reach as well. I should say it’s probably the same reason why I insisted upon working for an employer like Google because pretty much everyone at the company knows how to type and loves to chat on their computers, which puts someone like myself on an even field. Gmail, Gtalk, and now Google Wave. Cool. Writing also feels pretty natural to me that I can compose words like a picture and try to make some points and make sense of my own thinking through my fingers.

Write everything down

This man is something. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Men are born to write… Whatever he beholds or experiences, comes to him as a model and sits for its picture. He counts it all nonsense that they say, that some things are undescribable. He believes that all that can be thought can be written, first or last; and he would report the Holy Ghost, or attempt it. Nothing so broad, so subtle, or so dear, but comes therefore commended to his pen, and he will write. In his eyes, a man is the faculty of reporting, and the universe is the possibility of being reported.

I’m trying to write more, on my work blog and this one.

“Back to the Future” – Korean adoption story

Written sometime in 2002., “Back to the Future” was my fave childhood movie about a young guy who goes back in time with a flying car. The best chilldhood movie ever made.

When the 747 Boeing finally put its wheels on the ground, I made a sigh of relief and stretched out my legs, finally moving after 4 hours of immobility. The plane slowly crawled as it looked for a gate to hug. Gazing through the window and thinking quietly, I wondered if this was really where my ticket stub stated. “Incheon, Korea. Arrival time: 3:37 pm.” If so, I had traveled roughly 7,000 miles from the other side of the world, 14 hours non-stop flight straight from Chicago, U.S.A. The plane paused and I waited to see if it finally stopped this time. Indeed, it stopped and passengers started to get up. I got up and reached for my North Face backpack in the overhead and stood impatiently as the line slowly made its way out of the plane. My hands began to sweat as I held my backpack and with almost every step, my heart started to beat faster, then into a pounding rhythm. I took a big breath and focused on where I was supposed to be going.

Any doubts of actually being in Korea were immediately put away when I saw the airport signs in Korean and couldn’t understand any of them. I followed a crowd of passengers as my guide to the baggage claims area and waited for my luggage to emerge. As I looked around the huge void and noticed that the airport wasn’t as crowded as many of the major U.S. airports were. I had expected a full traffic of people but here, only passengers were waiting to pick up their luggage.

My expired coupon from Blockbuster

I was supposed to write about this coupon when I took a pic of it but of course, things had to come up and I lost sight of writing this post. Now, I’m back to this.

While waiting for my flight back to DC, my dad said “Oh, I almost forgot, let me give you this coupon.” and took it out of his thick leather wallet. It was time for me to head back to DC after spending some family time with my parents. Soon enough, my hearing aid amplified my ear, alerting me that the speaker box were making some mumbling sounds and that it probably means it was time to go and strip myself in front of some security officers at the airport. Seeing some people standing up and getting into a line helped confirm this.

For some reason, my dad seems to enjoy holding my mail ever since I left the parents’ house for college and I don’t think I have ever spent more than two weeks at the house after having lived there for more than 15 years. I also should add that my dad is a P.O. worker and he likes to brag that he knows every zip code around the midwestern states. Anytime I get a box from someone, I can immediately tell if it’s from my dad by the way how the box was packaged, taped and labeled. And it would require a good scissor to pry it open, not just your hands. One of these days, I just ought keep the box unopened and re-send it to the P.O. museum and be placed in a glass to show how crisp the box is and its taping.

Now, back to the coupon, since my dad gave me the coupon right when it was time to go, I didn’t really pay attention to the coupon and I just took it right into my wallet. Heh, from his wallet straight to my wallet. After I was decidedly settled into my airplane seat, I took the coupon out and looked at it. The expiration date says “03-14-06” and today is May 14, 2006. So it was expired but stayed in my dad’s wallet for two months. I suppose by looking at all these zip codes has made my dad a victim of hyperopia. I put the coupon back into my wallet and some tears began to form as the plane began to take off the ground.

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Yes, Nathan, admit it, you’re sick.

And I don’t mean it in a manical way or I’m a psychopath. You know, I mean as being sick with flu-like symptoms or common cold. It all started last Friday morning when I woke up and felt an itch or like having a tiny sandpaper in my throat, making it a bit uncomfortable for me to shallow. I can’t lie but admit that I do have a male ego (it’s a good thing that I admit it, right?) so I refused to believe that I was getting a sore throat. It’s probably cuz I was slombering, not keeping my mouth shut while sleeping (how male that was). I figured that a cup of Listerine will clear up everything in my throat and have a little Coke in my throat to fizzle them away. I got ready to go to work and when I got into my cube, the “sandpaper” in my throat just won’t go away and I decided to get myself a glass of water in a second attempt to free up the sandpaper’s coarseness in my throat. However, the sandpaper wouldn’t just get smoothed up and continued to become rough. Now, I was beginning to realize that maybe I do have a sore throat and in the defense of that, I popped a Hall lorengze into my throat and hoped that it’ll melt everything away.

All of the sudden, I don’t feel so good and started to feel a little hot despite I was wearing only a short-sleeved shirt. I had this imagination that my body was collapsing like an old building that was destructed into pieces by a set of intelligent bombs around the concrete columns except it wasn’t that rapid. If you still don’t get it, well, imagine it like the two WTCs crashing down on 9/11 but in a slow-motion and you get the idea what I mean. As I reached for the kleenex right before I sneeze, I suddenly thought—I’m having a dreadful cold and coming down with flu-like symptoms. And my thought said to me, “Yes, Nathan, you’re sick.” So much for my male ego.

While I was going through all that, I was reminded by this short story I read a while ago during in the college. The story is called “The Death of Ivan IIych.” by Leo Tolstoy and you can read all about it at this. It talks about a guy who refused to believe that he was sick till it was all too late and he learns how to deal with inevitable dying. Then he discovered something worse than dying, if that’s even possible, was the frustration that people can’t understand or fathom the pain he was going through. This struck me particularly because the little things you do could have an impact on your life. Here’s what I mean…

The Slip

He was so interested in it all that he often did things himself, rearranging the furniture, or rehanging the curtains. Once when mounting a step-ladder to show the pholsterer, who did not understand, how he wanted the hangings draped, he made a false step and slipped, but being a strong and agile man he clung on and only knocked his side against the knob of the window frame. The bruised place was painful but the pain soon passed, and he felt particularly bright and well just then. He wrote: “I feel fifteen years younger.” He thought he would have everything ready by September, but it dragged on till mid-October. But the result was charming not only in his eyes but to everyone who saw it.

What did he say about his slip

“It’s a good thing I’m a bit of an athlete. Another man might have been killed, but I merely knocked myself, just here; it hurts when it’s touched, but it’s passing off already — it’s only a bruise.”

They were all in good health. It could not be called ill health if Ivan Ilych sometimes said that he had a queer taste in his mouth and felt some discomfort in his left side. But this discomfort increased and, though not exactly painful, grew into a sense of pressure in his side accompanied by ill humour.

The pain prevails

She [his wife] said he had always had a dreadful temper, and that it had needed all her good nature to put up with it for twenty years. It was true that now the quarrels were started by him. His bursts of temper always came just before dinner, often just as he began to eat his soup. Sometimes he noticed that a plate or dish was chipped, or the food was not right, or his son put his elbow on the table, or his daughter’s hair was not done as he liked it, and for all this he blamed Praskovya Fedorovna.

At first she retorted and said disagreeable things to him, but once or twice he fell into such a rage at the beginning of dinner that she realized it was due to some physical derangement brought on by taking food, and so she restrained herself and did not answer, but only hurried to get the dinner over.

The realization of his condition

After one scene in which Ivan Ilych had been particularly unfair and after which he had said in explanation that he certainly was irritable but that it was due to his not being well, she said that he was ill it should be attended to, and insisted on his going to see a celebrated doctor. He went. Everything took place as he had expected and as it always does.

The so-called male ego

The pain did not grow less, but Ivan Ilych made efforts to force himself to think that he was better. And he could do this so long as nothing agitated him. But as soon as he had any unpleasantness with his wife, any lack of success in his official work, or held bad cards at bridge, he was at once acutely sensible of his disease.

The coming of the pain

The pain in his side oppressed him and seemed to grow worse and more incessant, while the taste in his mouth grew stranger and stranger. It seemed to him that his breath had a disgusting smell, and he was conscious of a loss of appetite and strength.

The inevitability of the pain

There was no deceiving himself: something terrible, new, and more important than anything before in his life, was taking place within him of which he alone was aware. Those about him did not understand or would not understand it, but thought everything in the world was going on as usual. That tormented Ivan Ilych more than anything.

Well, read the ending of the story to find out what happened to him!

This is something what I would call a “Butterfly Chaos Theory” that the flutterings of a butterfly in the East (China) can acculumate to a hurricane in the West (Florida). As he had a small slip that led to his dying. So, what is exactly my point? My point is that I realize I’m sick and I’m gonna do about something. Any suggestions?

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How to blog by tony pierce

This link just won the best essay about the blog or web log. Highly recommeded for anyone who regularly blogs or want to make their website better.

Here’s some of the excerpts and my comments to that:

1. write every day.

2. if you think you’re a good writer, write twice a day.

True, this will keep your weblog interesting and someone will know that you’re gonna have a new entry into your blog and that keeps drawing your visitors. It also means you’re constantly thinking and contributing your thoughts.

4. cuss like a sailor.

Hmm, can see why as it keeps your weblog humorus and not to be taken too seriously and reveal your true emotions too.

12. link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you’re trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if youre full of shit.

Makes sense, it encourages making connections, :-)

14. remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. similarilly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song youre listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day.

In other words, be yourself and don’t be such a fake-ass.

17. people like pictures. use them. save them to your own server. or use Blogger’s free service. if you dont know how to do it, learn. also get a Buzznet account. several things will happen once you start blogging, one of them is you will learn new things. thats a good thing.

My bad. I gotta put up more pictures here; I even have a brand-new Sony camera. :-(

21. write open letters. make lists. call people out on their bullshit. lead by example. invent and reinvent yourself. start by writing about what happened to you today. for example today i told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.

Be honest and don’t hold back.

22. when in doubt review something. theres not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

Ok, will do more reviews from now on then.

29. dont apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again.

30. read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.

I’ve heard of that blog so many times. Will do my best to read blogs as many as I can and leave comments often. :-)

Hope you’ll do the same. Peace out.

“Around the Block” story

I wrote this story last summer and I thought of this story while I was running. Is that called inspiration? Anyway, I have been meaning to publish this story somewhere because I think it’s one of the better stories I have written by myself. Then I realize, “Why not publish my story on the www? on my website?.” So, here’s the story. It’s about a young guy who went out for a run.

At the far side of the wall, the green LED on the alarm clock showed that it was a quarter to nine o’clock, well, 8:46 pm to be exact. He never really liked that alarm clock because for one, the LED was a tad too bright and two, the green color made him feel as if he’d been abducted in an alien spaceship. But he didn’t really have a choice when he first bought the alarm clock because it was a special kind of alarm that vibrated the bed like a motel bed in Las Vegas, so he could get out of the bed more convincingly. When he saw what time it was, he knew it had already begun to become late…

He’d promise himself that he would do his daily run, not exactly daily but about four times a week and today would be his third of the week. He glanced outside the windows, just behind the alarm clock and he could see the sun separating itself from the blue sky into the horizon. He wondered if he should postpone the run till tomorrow and the darkness crept to remind him that not one but two vehicles had come close to him in the past week and he had to retreat to the gravels on the side to avoid the contact. It wasn’t even dark as it was in a broad daylight, he thought to himself. While he was thinking that, one of his legs was already into the running shorts. He went on to put his Asics and he was still thinking if he should run. A devil on his shoulder told him that he should run so he could burn off the Whopper burger he’d ate for lunch. He could feel his stomach quenched when he thought about that but he told the devil that it’s not really his fault because he forgot to bring his own lunch and he only had three dollars in his pocket and the Whopper was the only available sandwich that both fit his budget and satisfied his hunger as he didn’t even eat breakfast the following morning. He had started a diet a few weeks ago after he noticed the flab hidden in his lower tummy. He tied the last strings on his shoes and felt motivated that he needed to slave off some calories. He stepped out of the front door and tested the humidity to see if he needed a tank top first. He could see the clouds piling up together and it told him that it’d be a bit of a breeze, so he went back into the house and put on his tank top.

There were two routes that he had mapped for himself and he disliked one-way routes in which he would have to turn around and run the same path back. Those two routes were like two blocks that if you put them together, they would be like a rectangle sharing one same street in the middle. One square was a little bigger than the other square, by about a mile. However, the other square had a more steep elevation and would give him a good stability workout whereas the first square has a smooth elevation, testing his endurance. As late as it already was, he decided to take the stability route and his average time was roughly twenty minutes. That should give him an adequate time before it becomes too dark.

When he first hit the street with strides, he felt like he was straddling through the mud water. “Must be the whopper I ate.” he said. As he had been running for some time now, he knows that that feeling would fade away, like a car needs a warm-up first. He got through the first leg of the block rather slow and he told himself that he’d increase his pace when he turned the corner. The corner somehow felt farther than usual but he stayed with it and finally arrived at the corner. The street was going downhill, so he could start a faster pace with longer strides. He imagined he was like a Kenyan running with incredibly long strides and galloped like a deer. However, he couldn’t hold that pace long enough when he arrived at the bottom of the hill and had to shorten his strides as he worked on his way up the hill. He could feel himself panting and had broken up a sweat. At the top of the hill, he could see the stoplights, which showed passing cars. He knows he had to be careful when he got there because that’s where he almost got hit by cars.

The stoplight turned green just before he reached there. “Perfect.” he thought. So he didn’t have to stop his run and look out for any passing cars. He peeked over his left shoulder and his eyes said it was all clear, he moved to the left lane and proceed to turn the corner again. The street changed into two lanes with rock gravels on both sides. He didn’t like running on the rocks because it somehow felt slippery and he had to be more careful, which changed his strides. He’d try to stay on the white line as long as he could. His shoes were pouncing onto the white line, and already, several cars were coming at him. He remained on the line, seeing if cars would move a little to let him pass. He could see the first car starting to move away from him and the second car followed the car but the third car didn’t move at all. He jumped to the gravel just before the third car passed him. He tried to look around and see who’s the driver. It was a teenage girl yapping on her cellphone, apparently not even seeing him at all. He shook his head and continued with his run.

The outside suddenly looked much darker after three cars went past him and the sun had already dipped below the horizons and he now only could see the sun’s rays, painting the blue sky orange. Meanwhile, he was relieved to see that he could not see any headlights in the far sight, so that means he could keep running on the white line.

Several minutes later, as the corner came approaching, so was a car. But the headlights looked almost too big for a car. He was right; it wasn’t a car’s headlights—-it was a semi-truck roaring along. He knew…that he would have to step off the line and tiptoeing on the rocks far from the road. His face was illuminated with bright white lights and he used his arms to cover his eyes from the semi-truck’s big headlights. The truck swooshed past him and he could feel himself spinning but that was just the air effect circling him. He closed and rubbed his eyes from the dust. He tried to turn around and catch the driver’s face but it was too high for him to see over the windows. It didn’t really matter because he kind of already imagined that it was an overweight, unshaven man with a cigar, wearing a cowboy hat, and yet worse, it wasn’t even his fault that he didn’t see him because two big fat dices were hanging from the mirror, blocking his marginal view. Finally, the air was back to a calm quiet air, like he was sitting back at the front porch. He wished he was sitting there instead of running like he was right now. His tanktops were drenched with sweat and he wished he didn’t put on his tanktop in the first place. Now, he saw the corner coming and he gladly turned.

This time, it was going uphill and he was really panting now. He wished he hadn’t eaten that whopper; he wished he didn’t run at all. He would give anything right now to be back at the house and be watching sportscenter from his bed. “Stop it, you have started running and you are more than halfway to the finish now.” his mentality told him. “You’ve come this far; finish your run.” He willed himself to keep running, not even realizing that his strides were now reduced to stutter-steps.

In spite of everything, with the stupid teenage girl, the semi-truck driver, and that darned uphill, he was glad to be back on the street and his shoes by the white lines. Now running on the third leg of the block, he tried to stay near the curbs so that the pole lights would illuminate him below. He kept running and he started to realize that he had been running at a slow pace but he needed to be patient if he wanted to finish the run without stopping. He reached the top and that would be the last uphill he had to run. He took a big breath and started to run downhill. His strides becoming longer and longer, like a Kenyan again he imagined during his first leg of the run. There weren’t as many as pole lights on that fourth leg of the block, unlike the previous leg he ran on. He was focused on his fast pace now and his sole concentration was to finish the run strongly. Little did he know, a car had turned the same corner he recently turned and was rolling on the same street as he was. With the heart pumping hard, sweats dripping like there was a rain, he did not see the car coming, so was the car.

The person driving the car was an old lady who decided she wanted to see his husband at his grave. The street was curving and they were coming up on a short bridge over the creek. By the time when the old lady’s headlights saw him, the old lady saw him too and tried her best to steer the car but it was all too late. The physical corner of the 1988 Buick had already caught him and sent his body falling toward the white line on the street. He had no idea what had hit him and he laid flatly on the bridge with his arms open and you could already tell, he looked like Jesus Christ on the cross. The sweats that were dripping like a loose faucet had slowed down to like a tear on Mary’s face. But his heart was still beating, though not as fast as it was a moment ago. His body began to stir and then he opened his eyes. He noticed that the grounds were not under his feet but right under his cheek.

“What in the heavens did just happen to me?” he thought. He managed to get himself up and back on his feet. He checked his body for any wounds or injury but there was none. He had expected something painful would pop out somewhere on his body like a warning signal would flash in the car instrument panel but there wasn’t any signals. He remembered he was running, so he tried to run again. He started slow, testing his body again, but nothing seemed out of place. Now, he could see one more corner, so he ran straight to the corner. When he got there at the corner, he stoop down and panting. Then, he saw an old lady walking in arms with her husband. He thought they looked like nice sweet couple who’s been together for a long time. His attention was turned to this man in robe.

“Welcome, you made it.” He said.

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