Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I'm back!

After a long hiatus I've decided to restart my blog. I thought about starting a new one but chose to continue this one and let people see my personal evolution, as it were. 

And a lot has changed in the past year and a bit. I traveled to Asia aboard the Golden Bear and saw many wondrous things (okay, a little cheesy). And... well, maybe not that much. I'm still me, still trying to figure out my life, still in school studying City and Regional Planning, still single (after a brief stint in relationship land), and still spending way too much time reading about interesting things on Wikipedia. 

I've certainly broadened my horizons and learned to appreciate the positive things that religions can offer despite my atheism, and I've grown to appreciate the importance of family and community, particularly in the absence of the built-in friendships of a religious institution. 

I've also come much closer to my graduation date in June. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it scares the shit out of me. Maybe it's the economy or the idea that I'm no closer to having a plan for my life than when I entered college, but my impending release from the university after 6 years doesn't carry the feelings of excitement and adventure that my high school graduation did. I'm trying to be upbeat about it but nobody else seems to be either, which doesn't help. 

On that happy note, something I actually am excited (and a little nervous) about is the Peace Corps. That's right! I'm in the process of applying! They have five "municipal development" positions open for Latin America starting in August. It's quite soon but I was advised by a recruiter that, due to my skill set being in demand abroad, I'd be quite competitive. 

Well, that was a brief update but I'll be adding more soon. Hope all is well wherever you are!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've been tagged!

And now I have to post 5 little-known facts about myself. Way to put me on the spot, Burnie!

Okay, so let's see...

1. As a young child in Washington I was deathly afraid of raccoons, which I called "coon kitties." I'd be sitting in the family room minding my own business when a raccoon would put its paws up on the sliding glass door, and with its glowing eyes it would bare its teeth at me and I'd yell, "coon kitty! Coon kitty!" and be frozen in terror. I even had a nightmare once...

2. I collect books partly for their aesthetic value (I do read many of them!) I mean, what's a sophisticated bachelor pad without shelves full of books?!

3. I tried to be a vegetarian one time, mainly for ecological reasons. I lasted two weeks. Like I told Rachel, going cold Tofurkey can be hard. And In-N-Out was just too hard to resist.

4. I like reading the dictionary. And Wikipedia.

5. I have at least two outstanding "F"s on my transcript from my engineering days, and the world didn't end. I still may retake one of those classes. But, really, I'll just hope any potential employers don't ask to look at my transcript!

So there you go, a few pieces of blackmail for y'all!

Now, as far as tagging someone... Ash, you're it! I guess your Myspace blog will work.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy winter solstice!

Some of us go through the motions during Christmas completely unaware of the origins of many of our traditions. We decorate our Christmas tree, light a fire in the fireplace, hang wreaths of fir on our doors, and maybe even drink mulled wine and go caroling. It may be a surprise to some of you that many of these traditions originated in pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, celebrations which have been around for as many as 10,000 years! As the days grew shorter in what is now called December, countless cultures held festivals to encourage their sun god to return, and the solstice itself marked the day (and moment) when the sun hit its lowest point and was again on an upward trajectory toward another warm spring.

Anyway, I'm tired and my writing is probably hard to follow, so I'll link a wonderful website explaining the history of mankind's solstice celebrations.

Ancient origins: Solstice

So remember, Christians hijacked pagan holidays, and not the other way around.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My cuckoo dream (don't have a whack-attack, dumb-dumb!)

A few nights ago I had an interesting dream:

I was sitting around in a class of mine. Desks were strewn all around and students were sitting on them and being rowdy; the classroom seemed to be open to the elements. Mr. Dell'Orto, my high school history teacher, announced that he was going away on a trip, and that we should behave ourselves and not do any drugs. He left with his 30-year-old and already bald student teacher. My fellow students quickly began celebrating the freedom of anarchy, and I decided to roll a joint and smoke it.

Unfortunately, as always happens in the best of teen movies, our favorite teacher returned early due to some sort of mishap. I was able to discard the Mary Jane, but there was no way I'd get rid of the smell in time to pass inspection. Mr. Dell'Orto quickly noticed the pervasive odor (and probably recognized it from his college years) and began systematically asking students who was responsible.

Sure enough, he pulled me into his classroom (which leads me to believe that our desks were actually outside) and told me this: "When I got back, everyone smelled like marijuana. When I asked them about it, they said it was you who was smoking, AND that you were shooting heroine."

I quickly explained, "Mr. Dell'Orto, I was NOT shooting heroine, but I was smoking pot. But here's the thing, I'm a time traveler and I smoke marijuana because it helps me relax and avoid going to another time and pla-"

Just then, it seems that the stress of the moment overcame me and I immediately transported to a different location a few days earlier, where the dream continued...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I arrived with Sarah on Sunday after a 5ish hour flight from San Jose to Honolulu and a half-hour flight to Maui. Gosh, I don't really have much to say, since I've been reading a lot of the time. I'm about 275 pages into The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which is about Henry, a librarian who uncontrollably and repeatedly travels back in time and develops a relationship with his future and present wife, Clare (kind of confusing, I know). Although for the most part it follows Clare's life chronologically, the story is alternatingly told from his and her perspective, and Niffenegger does an excellent job of portraying the difficulties inherent in Henry's condition and the consequences for his relationships. I was a little surprised by the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll in the book, but I think it's tastefully done and it's not terribly graphic. It's definitely a book that'll make you think (it's written by a Columbia College professor, afterall) and I have no idea where the book is going, despite numerous visits from the Henry of the future.

The Time Traveler's Wife is a very personal book, and really hits home for me in a few ways. First, Henry lost his mother at a young age and must relive that experience a number of times. Also, Henry and Clare both experience a loss of faith at different points in their lives--this seems to be a common theme in modern literature. And I've traveled through time on many occasions myself.

Not really. But it would be interesting, no?

Anyway, I'll try and post another blog or two this week before I head back go California. And a few of you can expect postcards (if I asked you for your address, it's probably a safe bet!) Have a great week, everyone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My new favorite bier

Now, I had previously been under the impression that German beers were limited to lagers and Hefeweizens, neither of which I'm crazy about. That is, until I discovered this gem at my Oktoberfest party. This dark, flavorful meal-in-a-bottle made a big impression that fateful weekend, and I now have a hard time passing up this Oktoberfest staple, which was first produced in 1397! You can pick it up at Trader Joe's at a very reasonable price. Careful though: 7.2% alcohol by volume (I feel it after one beer!)

A painful breakup posts an article by Owen Egerton entitled Jesus and I Broke Up. It's a very personal description of the pain involved in losing faith.

Friday, October 27, 2006

On the human experience

Bertrand Russell was one of the great freethinkers of the twentieth century. Known for his skepticism and devotion to Reason, Russell provides a meaningful view of life despite his agnosticism:

"But the beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which, in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in life. In the spectacle of Death, in the endurance of intolerable pain, and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness, an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the inexhaustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow. In these moments of insight, we lose all eagerness of temporary desire, all struggling and striving for petty ends, all care for the little trivial things that, to a superficial view, make up the common life of day by day; we see, surrounding the narrow raft illumined by the flickering light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling waves we toss for a brief hour; from the great night without, a chill blast breaks in upon our refuge; all the loneliness of humanity amid hostile forces is concentrated upon the individual soul, which must struggle alone, with what of courage it can command, against the whole weight of a universe that cares nothing for its hopes and fears. Victory, in this struggle with the powers of darkness, is the true baptism into the glorious company of heroes, the true initiation into the overmastering beauty of human existence. From that awful encounter of the soul with the outer world, enunciation, wisdom, and charity are born; and with their birth a new life begins. To take into the inmost shrine of the soul the irresistible forces whose puppets we seem to be--Death and change, the irrevocableness of the past, and the powerlessness of Man before the blind hurry of the universe from vanity to vanity--to feel these things and know them is to conquer them."

From "A Free Man's Worship" by Bertrand Russell

Friday, October 20, 2006


One thing that has caused me to pause and think is the large number of genocidal massacres supposedly ordered by God and carried out by the Israelites in the old testament. Many times the Hebrews were ordered to kill every man, woman, and child in a given population, sometimes simply because that group was living in the land promised to the Hebrews. Most Christians never think twice about the double standard this attributes to a supposedly harmonious collection of documents divinely written by God, in which Jesus himself tells us to love our enemy and offer to carry his burden.

Since I'm lazy, I won't take the time to reference all of these instances, but if you're bold enough, take the time to Google "bible atrocities" and read a few of the websites that condense a number of old testament passages, showing how bloodthirsty God's people were.

Then think about it. Some of the prophets decried the bloodshed and greed that Jerusalem was built upon, and Jesus speaks of the desolation that God later brings upon Israel with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Israel finally paid for its warmongering ways and the temple has never been restored.