Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's just an absolutely fantastic feeling to know what you have to do. Because there's a timer that rings: it's time to move -- you kiss your I'm sorry I shouldn't have overstayed my welcome goodbyes, and say your I'm sorry I was so late hellos.

Hello. I'm sorry I was so late.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

adage for the ages

Dream big.

"Deep enough to dream in brilliant colors I have never seen" - Chris Rice

Sunday, September 13, 2009

a must watch

Especially if you've grown numb to everyday statistics.

"... the problem for me was not ignorance-- it was preconceived ideas."

Monday, August 31, 2009

e.e. #12: finding that elusive white hair and plucking it out

I don't get white hairs often enough to develop a standard procedure for pulling them out. Not like I have for biting fingernails (I fail miserably at pulling splinters). So I find myself fumbling around in my bangs - because they always appear there for some reason - with the level of dexterity one would expect from using said fingernail-type, or say, a pair of short chopsticks.

So it's nice that when I'm sloppily combing through my hair, that annoying white strand sometimes gives away its location with nowhere to hide. I have to really hold my breath so as not to mess up the only chance I'll have for at least another few days. One quizzical look later, I pluck it from my life and go on about my day, feeling really good for all of about five seconds. Five great seconds.

If it were possible that all the stress behind that white hair was plucked right along with it, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing. But that would be cheating, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

e.e. #11: moving walkways at the airport

How can you not enjoy moving twice as fast while walking at the same pace? I also like to look over the other side of the banister and pretend-race with those who've chosen to trudge down the path less automated for reasons I can't understand. Human conveyor belts are fun.

Pretend-race... does not sound healthy at all..

Thursday, August 06, 2009

e.e. #10: learning about how a song came to be

As the story goes. Gwenyth Paltrow's father had died suddenly from complications resulting from pneumonia. Gwenyth, inconsolable, returns from the hospital, completely covered in tears. And Chris doesn't know what else to do but to ask her, desperately, "What can I do, please tell me what I can do for you." She looks up at him and pleads very simply, "Just hold me. Because you're the only thing that can fix me right now."

Chris Martin wrote "Fix You" the very next day. And so it came to be not only one of the most highly acclaimed rock ballads of all time, but a personal anthem to so many of us for as long as we need it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

breaking it down

The level of intensity in this scene from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is right up there with what happens in the end in "Best of the Best" and the screaming-into-Albert's-Abyss scene in "Garden State." I scoffed at most parts in the movie because of the storyline's shameless parallelisms to "Forrest Gump" (that's what happens when you use the same writer for both movies), but this scene alone did it for me.

I still believe that there is a reason behind everything that happens. But we often fail to realize that we also give reason, regardless of the size of the role we play, to everything that happens too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

e.e. #9: when the line gets really long soon after you show up

Could be at a sandwich shop, post office, or a grocery store. The really cool thing being that within a mere few minutes from the time you stood in line to check out groceries, a long line has already formed behind you.. as if you had something to do with it. To be fair, you should first breathe a 'whew-I-JUST-beat-the-rush' sigh of relief and acknowledge that you lucked out from spending any additional minutes waiting in line. But it's still fun to entertain the thought that you - and only you - may have caused this absolutely meaningless, yet amusing, phenomenon to happen.

Same deal when a restaurant fills up right after you get seated. So entertain those thoughts away! Because we've all wished we were superhuman in one way or another. Even if the superpower may be super-lame.

(still makes you super though.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

e.e. #8: when the arcade game is already half-paid for

One of my personal favorites. That instead of paying full price to play "Marvel vs. Capcom," air hockey or that mini basketball hoops game, you realize the guy who played before you either: a) accidentally put in another quarter or two when he/she wasn't supposed to, or b) basically ran out of change to play another game. But God bless you!!

And if you don't play arcade games, imagine a kind of glee that's similar to pulling up to a parking meter with just enough minutes left for you to run into the bank and make that deposit.

Seriously, a quarter can still go a long way.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

e.e. #7: when you get truck drivers to honk the horn

Rewind to childhood. You're going on a field trip with your class. The big yellow school bus is clamoring down the freeway to get to that museum. After having pressed your noses against the windows for some time in search of a big rig, a few of you simultaneously spot one, which is about to pass by real soon...

And, showtime! Many of you four-eyed (but wide-eyed), metal-mouthed (but hugely grinning) kids have now gotten up on your knees on the seats, insomuch as to ensure that the truck driver can clearly see you signaling frantically with flimsy arms, PULL THE HORN!! And most times, he'll happily oblige and make the truck give out a deafening bellow to everyone's delight, as kids scream and hi-five each other for having made this rolling beast come to life.

Aaaand... back to pressing your noses against the windows.

Hey, this still works.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

e.e. #6: seeing your shadow under a full moon

On a night like this one. Such is the mystery of seeing your shadow without the familiar feeling of warm sunlight resting on your back.

And trust me -- you'll have more than enough moonlight to make silly shadow puppets of rabbits, birds and crocodiles to your heart's content, until your heart's content.

Monday, July 06, 2009

e.e. #5: when someone gets your name wrong but you play along anyway

During my church's VBS a few weekends ago, this little rambunctious 6-year-old girl named Esther had a minor bout with cognitive dissonance. "Roger" was what she decidedly named me. Though we all wore name badges, it didn't help the situation that she most likely couldn't read well, or maybe she just read the "R-O" part of my name badge and automatically assumed the rest of my name, like an eager Hangman player would.

I corrected her at least three times before giving up. She would scream "ROGER!! HEY, ROGER!!!" from across the playground, until I would finally look up after realizing she was calling for me. Funny little girl.

Hey, if you ever decide to call me something different, keep yelling at me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

e.e. #4: the fireworks you see while driving on the freeway

Oops, and how can I forget this one. Illegal in the United States, most likely. But you still silently thank the rogue who had the tenacity to ignite the Roman candles, M-80's, and (insert illegal firework here) to give us drivers a little treat as we travel home, free of charge.

Happy 4th.

(Thanks Knotts, thanks Disneyland, for the freeway shows you give year-round.)

e.e. #3: smiley face fireworks

It's really a pyrotechnic marvel. I remember the first time I saw one. It was around six years ago, when a bunch of us went to Fisherman's Wharf to watch the 4th of July fireworks display over the San Francisco Bay. I was completely floored. How do you form a perfectly shaped smiley face - with the dotted eyes, smile and everything to be all proportional to each other - by chucking a canister hundreds of feet into the sky and blowing it up!

Whenever I watch a parade of fireworks now, the smileys are the ones I wait for. Because a fireworks show isn't really complete without a few gigantic, oddly-oriented smiley faces in the sky, smiling at you and you smiling back.

But the upside-down ones make me laugh.

(taken last year during the Macy's fireworks show in New York)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

e.e. #2: when the light turns green as you're rolling to a traffic light

Driving a stick-shift, I can't tell express how much of a treat this is -- not needing to shift out of gear or use my brakes, but having the pleasure of coasting sraight through.

Or, as you're entering the on-ramp to the freeway, you switch over to the empty lane because lo and behold, there's already a car in the other lane that was patiently waiting for the light to turn green. And you time it just perfectly so that as you're accelerating up the on-ramp, the light changes, seemingly for you.

I must really hate using my brakes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

e.e. #1: When the song you're listening to on the drive home ends as soon as you pull into the driveway

Which is your cue to hit the power button to make that the last song you hear this night.

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I think my most favorite blog to read on the web is 1000 Awesome Things. What an absolute genius of a blog. And while this blogger steadily marches through a thousand different awesome things to share with the world, I'd like to join this cause by occassionally adding to his list with things that personally bring me joy.

And to not be a complete copycat of 1000 Awesome Things (though these ARE awesome too), I see them more as the "easter eggs of life" for lack of a better, less corny term... but will henceforth refer to them as such.

It's maybe not so much the eight hours of sound sleep that you get, but it's the abrupt awakening at 5am and relishing the fact that you have a few more hours of sleep left. Or the lollipop you get at the end of a doctor's visit. Or the balloon that's still tied to your wrist long after the carnival has gone home. These are the kind of whispers I hear.

So. Let's see how this goes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

optima dies, prima fugit

Andy, I'm stealing this from you and never giving it back.

"Optima dies... prima fugit"
(The best days are the first to flee.)

-- Virgil

Sunday, June 21, 2009

today marks the summer solstice

Today will be the longest day we'll have this year... and in certain respects, it already has been.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The smiley story of the day.

After announcing that we had safely landed in Los Angeles, the pilot of the plane must've forgotten to flip the switch to the PA system. I continued reading my book until I heard the same voice, only hushed and affectionate this time, coming from the ceiling speakers. I put my book down, along with a few curious others who also paused in what were doing at the moment, as we all strained, shamelessly, to listen to this homesick voice speaking to the person on the other line:
"... Hi honey... yes, we landed safely... (murmurs) I'll be home in an hour.. (murmurs) ... don't wait up... can't wait to see you.. (laughter)... I love you. Can't wait to see you."

It was all so simple. As we filed out of the plane, I threw a smile over to the pilot for having given us all, without even realizing, a candid reminder of the good life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

should the sun not rise tomorrow

Polaris. The North Star. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the brightest star in the sky. Not even close. It's actually really, really easy to miss because it's so nondescript. And there are hundreds of thousands in the sky more beautiful, more magnificent... all fighting for your attention.

But it's the only star in the sky that never moves, never shifts. Unwavering. Persistent. Steady. Faithful.

It will guide you home.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

for what it's worth

For the past year of my life: thank you, new york city.

citilights - Sean McClowry

they're building higher
oh, the skyline looks so pretty from this rooftop
and the walk I take from home to my train stop is fine with me
and music plays
there are dancers on the stage next to the fountain
and statues that remind us of our fathers
so long ago

in this city, we are walking next to millions
in this city, we are walking next to nations
though the city life inspires me, it's hard to see
my name in lights while others fade away

over the river
there are pieces of the past I knew from textbooks
and we separate the boundaries from our neighbors
they're tearing down
and it's a race to get the real estate investment
'cause the land of opportunity's expensive
so hard to be here

oh, look around
on the corner of the street next to cathedrals
there's a colony of men who sleep on sidewalks
it's never equal
and the children are too young to know such sadness
if we mourn with those who mourn it makes a difference
for friends in need

Sunday, March 29, 2009

what we need, what we have.

It is a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people. But the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is Karma. You know, what you put out comes back at you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth... every action is met by an equal or an opposite one... and yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that... Love interrupts... the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I have done a lot of stupid stuff. I would be in trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge... it doesn't erase my mistakes. I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

-Bono, lead singer of U2

Friday, March 27, 2009

many the miles

My mind has been running a lot lately. So I decided to keep up with it.

Central Park is a runner's dream. There's an amazing lake/reservoir there called the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, where a soft dirt jogging path circles around it about one and a half miles. I've been there all hours of the day, but my absolute favorite time is dusk -- our sun's final exhale that soaks all the colors from the sunset with a deep blue as if a flood had broken into the sky. I can't help but think: this happens every single day.

Within minutes, everything's gone. You could watch this performance a thousand times but never notice it leaving the stage. As we should.

Then you begin to notice the bright reflections of lit buildings, even stars, on the lake itself. I'll have to quote Forrest here because he put it best: " was so clear, Jenny, it looked like there were two skies, one on top of the other." And most times, I'll jog to a stop, climb up onto the metal railing and be quiet. I wonder if others do too.

This is one of the more honest things I know about life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

27 on 27

As a kid, I remember that I couldn't wait to turn twenty-seven. For the same simplistic reason why most people chose the day they were born on as their favorite number, I did too. It was during that period when kids were making a conscious effort in establishing what their favorites were, so that in the event someone asked, we'd be ready with a quick answer and a modest explanation for: numbers, colors (red, because it starts with an 'r' and shares the same amount of characters as my name), ice cream (rainbow sherbet) and ninja turtle (rafael.. 'r' again AND for his red bandana!). Note: Narcissism was forgivable at that age.

Evidently, it never once appeared as one of my lottery numbers or roulette picks. But if you're as hopeless as I am, you stick with them and hope it comes around the next time.

Except this time, someone else did the choosing for me and gave me an age that I'm not quite ready for. I feel like I should have made a bigger dent in life by now. I guess the reality is that we're going to continue to complain every single year until one day, we realize that we'd give up an arm and leg to be [insert age here] again.

So I'll give it a shot. A butterfly landed on my finger, and quite respectfully, I will try to squeeze every moment out of this.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

zero nine

At first glance, 2009 is setting up to be a nondescript year. The elections are finally done with. No Olympics of any kind, nor any other significant world sporting events for that matter. As usual, work and school will resume on Monday, and as usual, the sun will rise. Nondescriptly.

Those who look forward to waking up each morning would disagree.

I can't say that I'm there yet. I don't remember the last time I looked back on a year, contently folded my hands and concluded, "You know, this was a great year." Assessing life at the end of the week? Sure, I'll be able to point to a few good ones. But yearly? No way. At least not yet. We are a very forgetful species. And as a result, we're not as thankful as we ought to be.

I think I need to never lose sight of the small, seemingly-trivial things that happen in my life. Because when you add them all up, shouldn't it explain the unrecognizable, unpredictable places we'll be at in five, ten, twenty years from now? That it's usually the small things that bring definition to the big things that happen in our lives. During the years of puberty, no one wakes up one morning and freaks out because they're suddenly five inches taller. It's never like that. It's because of the unseen, daily stretches of growth that occurs on the atomic level... and maybe we've forgotten to give enough credence to the small decisions we make everyday.

I could only summarize all this blabber with this. In the simple yet poignant words said by Brenden Foster, when asked about what he thought were the best things in life, his immediate reply: "Just having one."

Happy new year.