Friday, July 30, 2004

Breakfast at Perry's

Tom, Little-T, Art, John

I had lunch with Tom and his boy and Art and John today. It was like a little Tecolote Sector reunion. Cute kid!

Ah, sweet mullet!

After breakfast I earned my keep at the ol' workplace. Then it was Changes That Heal, which went really well. I think it was the best session so far, actually — a breakthrough.

Father and son

Afterwards I made good on a promise to Tom that we would see Hellboy together. We got a pretty late start, around 11pm, so I loaded up on Reeses Pieces to try to stay awake. That was probably a bad decision though, because it seems like I was up all night tossing and turning.

Monday, July 26, 2004

New York Times, 2004

Alan's office at MTV

New York was awesome. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Dan, Scott and I arrived at different times at JFK and met up with Alan at his work. Al had to work a bit on a film he had entered into a film festival, so we goofed off (air hockey and such) while he finished up. Later we found out that two of the three films that Alan either wrote or co-wrote made it into the top fifteen. Unfortunately, the one he worked on so diligently this weekend didn't make it. Quite an accomplishment, nevertheless.

Relaxing at Megan's

We ate dinner at this pub called Teddy's near Megan's place, where Alan fell in love with the waitress. Well, not really; he was just overly impressed with how nice she was. I figured that he's just been in New York too long. What I thought was really funny was when Dan's burger came out, it was on an English muffin, which he didn't order. "Here you go. Sorry, we ran out of bread." As if that wasn't enough, Alan didn't think anything of this. Curiouser and curiouser.

Megan plays drums too.

Friday was uncharacteristically wet and muggy. It was going to be an interesting day moving Alan into his new apartment.

Dan does some on-the-fly photo editing

All moved in

Will, Alan's friend, was also helping with the move, which we finished right on time. Afterwards Alan had an improv gig. His group opened for Will's group, Johnny Lunchpail, also an improv group. I was very impressed. Alan's group did a series of improv sketches based on the book 1984. It kind of makes me want to read the book again. Well, maybe I'll just watch the movie. Anyway, improv seems so gutsy. Alan's group was good; Johnny Lunchpail was a bit more experienced — they were hysterical. We did the after-party thing at a bar for a while, then after that we fulfilled one of Scott's goals by trekking to a White Castle and enjoying some bite-size bundles of burger goodness.

Alan's rooftop view is amazing.

Saturday was our big New York tourist day. After Alan's mattress was delivered, we worked out some personality issues, which was good.

Later we ate at Grimaldi's, a supposedly famous pizzeria. The olives were way too salty though.

This is the Promenade, about a block from Alan's apartment. Notice the Statue of Liberty in the background.

We took a nice stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The World Trade Center Path

Visiting Ground Zero and St. Paul's Church next-door was very moving. There was a bell in the church yard which was donated by the city of London after September 11th that I found particularly thought-provoking. The inscription on it read, "Forged in Adversity." It reminded me that as sheltered as we are, a fierce battle rages. It encourages me to make sure that whatever I do with my life, I do what I can to contribute.

We visited the place where John Lennon was shot.

Close by is a section of Central Park named Strawberry Fields. In there is this plaque with the word "IMAGINE". After I saw these, it was pretty clear to me where John got all of his song ideas.

Around 7pm we started on a two-hour tour cruise. The guide was a great orator with a perfect dead-pan. He was also pretty hard-core about people not standing up in the seated section, blocking other peoples' view. Witness the man in the red jacket, a major offender.

Some fun facts:
New York's water pressure can only push water up six floors. All buildings higher than this require pumps and a water tower on the roof.

Touring jazz bands used to call the cities they toured "apples;" of course, New York was the biggest and brightest apple to play in; hence the nickname, the "Big Apple."

Dan with Lady Liberty

Alan relates our adventures to Megan

We dropped by Rockefeller Center and saw the set of the Today Show. We ended the night fulfilling another of Scott's life-long dreams with some authentic New York pizza slices. Unfortunately they also might have been the source of some authentic New York indigestion.

Alan's new address.

Sunday was pretty chill. We ate breakfast at a nice spot near Alan's new apartment where I think I misplaced $20. Alan hooked us up with MTV car-rides to the airport, and we were off. For some reason my flight had a lay-over in Atlanta which was pretty miserable, but eventually I made it home safe and sound. And today it was back to the grind.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Old School

Vic, circa 1980?

Okay, this picture wasn't taken today. Maybe a new picture every day is a little ambitious. The days I don't take a picture, I'll use as an opportunity to dust off the ol' archives.

Faith, if you're reading this, sorry I didn't call; Changes That Heal went waay over and we finished around midnight. It was a great discussion though. I'll give you a call before I leave tomorrow.

The other night I happened to see the show Family Plots. After a little while, I started to get into it; of course the people on there are really wack. I got the distinct feeling that this family had some significant boundary issues. I started to think, "I wonder where this place is?" As they filmed one of the workers driving by the business location, I read the sign: "Poway Bernardo Mortuary." Go figure. I should have known — people that crazy could only be from San Diego.

Today at work we had an interesting meeting discussing the future of our company. I was having flashbacks of Dan proselytizing eAssist and it's rock solid future. Honestly though, these guys seem a lot more down to earth. It does help to have a bit of vision for what I can contribute. And hey, at least they gave us pizza.

Okay, I'm packed and ready to go. Hopefully my next blog will be from New York.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Picture a Day

I've decided that I'm going to bring my camera everywhere I go and try to take at least one picture a day. Unfortunately I forgot about my idea when I was at Irene's house, which would have been a perfect opportunity. So today I'll have to settle for a picture of Carlos on the sofa watching Big Trouble in Little China, which is where I found him when I got home.

Today and tomorrow are the anniversaries of George Gurganus' death and birth, respectively. Every year Irene spends time on these two days reading all of his cards, listening to tapes, and celebrating his life. Tonight she had people over and showed a video of his memorial service in 1992. It was quite an inspiration. I had already known that George and Irene, while in their 70s, had decided to leave the comforts of the United States to help rebuild the church in Japan. That's a pretty amazing example, to me. Tonight I also learned that many years before that they had left their all-white congregation somewhere in Abeline, Texas to join an all-black church nearby, to pave the crossing of racial boundaries. A lot of people thought they were crazy for doing so, but they endeared themselves so much to their new congregation that they were later asked to become elders. Impressive, most impressive.

The video was pretty amusing too in that it demonstrated how long ago 14 years really was. Two words: sweet mullet. Business in the front, party in the back, folks.

I've told a couple people today that I am missing the unemployed life. It's funny that just a few weeks ago I was relishing in the fact that I need to be somewhere every "tomorrow morning," 9am. And now it feels like a chore. Really this is the best of both worlds though — it's a short term commitment and the fact that I can't work more than eight hours a day frees me up at a decent hour everyday and is completely a blessing. One thing that George's video helped galvanize in my mind is my desire to go to school. Apparently he had a bachelor's degree, two masters degrees, and a Ph.D. That would probably be overkill for me but I think a master's would certainly be worthwhile. The only problem is, what to study?

List of Things Vic Could Do When He Grows Up
  • Psychology/Psycho-therapy
  • Medical research
  • Bio-informatics, bio-systems, nursing-informatics
  • Teach English and learn Mandarin in Taiwan
  • Teach computer science (probably save for the last third of my career though)
Any other suggestions out there? Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Simple Pleasures

About a month ago Steve Pietrykoski was over at the house because Joel was in town. When he came over he brought this box full of my stuff that apparently had been left at his place since 1996, when I graduated UCSD. It was quite a rush, going through all that stuff from my early years. It's the feeling of finding a twenty-dollar bill in the pocket of your jeans (before you throw it in the washing machine, of course), combined with the feeling of digging up and opening a time capsule. Of myself, no less. I was just thinking about it here at work because I've been listening to a lot of the CDs that were in there — Teenage Fanclub, Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine. I'm tempted to throw a bunch of my stuff in another box and lose it somewhere. Or maybe I'll just set my clock-radio ahead ten minutes.

Yesterday was cool; Sara showed me her snakeboard that she bought on eBay from overseas. Man, I wish I had brought my camera. That thing is so funny. It was pretty fun too; I think I was getting the hang of it. She spent like $160 on it. There's a part of me that always wanted to be a skater. We had a good talk about her life issues and stuff too. I should start charging by the hour.

Alan's just got his apartment, so it will coincide nicely with our New York 2004 trip. Woohoo!

Hm, I guess work is pretty slow right now.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Yosemite Rocks!

Yosemite was so much fun. It's good to be back home though. I'm mostly grateful that I wasn't sick. I was feeling pretty crummy on the drive up, so as soon as we arrived, around 2pm on Wednesday, I slept most of the afternoon. I figured the high altitude had an effect on me too. What was interesting was that I ended up laying in bed for a few hours unable to sleep for all except the last night there. I think I was thinking too much too.

The Enyarts (and Nikki): Steve, Nikki, Sandy, Shelly, Jared

The biggest gripe that Nikki had about the trip was that there are no feats of strength in Yosemite — well, at least, not the kind that have the kind of return on investment that he's used to. The closest thing we came to was horseback riding, which was actually mule-back riding. The most difficult thing about that was filtering out the over-achieving comments of the kid on the mule behind me all the way up. "Don't let your mule eat! Keep your helmet on!" Um, thanks kid. Can you take a really close look at my mule's rear leg?

Our cabin; note Nikki's possibly illegal pocket-racer

I had met the Enyarts before (Jared's parents), but this time I got a little more time to spend with them. I met Jennifer, Jared's sister, her husband Darren, their child Spencer, and Darren's dad (I think) Sam too. Super cool family.

Our typical morning view of half-dome, thanks to the (controlled) fires going on during our stay

Anyway, I ended up thinking a lot about where my life is at with respect to my bible-talk, my household, and my leadership group. I am finding that I tend to really rant a lot about these things, especially when left to the solitude of my thoughts. The thought that kept lingering in my mind is, if I am so smart/wise/loving, why isn't my intelligence/wisdom/love speaking for itself? Why do I feel like I need to explain myself all the time? If I was really leading the way, wouldn't people just feel the results of my decisions through my life, instead of me having to preach it? It brings to mind Matthew 11:19. And, the other thought that formed after a lot of tossing and turning was, Who is the common denominator in all of these relationship circles? *sigh*

Jared's secret map to a secret cave for secret spelunking (P.S. don't tell anyone)

The revelation in all this, I believe, is that I am not a very merciful person. I tend to evaluate people and situations in terms of whether they deserve things — my attention, my praise, my investment. Undoubtedly everything and everyone in creation will eventually fail me or be flawed in some way; therein lies my excuse to deem them undeserving of investment. And that is the way I have felt about nearly all of my relationships — these people don't deserve my praise, my appreciation, my admiration. It feels awful to actually say that, but there it is.

There was a bad fire on the way home, near Magic Mountain

I began to think about the definition of grace — unmerited favor. Man. And I start to realize that here is where the rubber meets the road with regards to real love, real Christianity. Because what all this line of thinking leads to is the fact that deep down, I really feel like I do deserve praise and appreciation and admiration. Double *sigh*.

Another interesting sight on the way home. Probably not a good day for this guy

Anyway, I guess that's what some time away from the typical distractions of life gets me. Next week: New Yawk. Time to hit the sack.