Monday, June 30, 2003
People think I'm crazy.

Nutty. One donut short of a dozen. One bullet short of a full clip. One patty short of a Big Mac. One geese short of a flock. One (blank) ad nauseam

Since I've decided to go to Japan for a year, most of my friends and family have not seemed too keen on the idea. In truth, I wonder if partly I'm to blame for most people's adverse reactions. Despite the Communications/Journalism diploma from the UW that now gathers dust in my room, I think I've failed to really convey my reasons for leaving for a year. I think part of it is the fact that these reasons I have relate very closely to spiritual and personal issues, things that are difficult to articulate into words. After all, when I talk about my own (painful) spiritual journey of self, it's difficult for me to be clear and concise. It's not arrogance, but most people lack a point of reference to understand me - I think only people who share the same experiences can honestly sympathize.

People are right when they say that I have good reasons not to go. After all, the dependable, routine-loving Garrett has a great girlfriend, has a crew of close friends in Seattle, goes to a church he loves, lives rent-free at home, and now is steadily employed. What is he thinking? Those are plenty of good and rational reasons... good reasons at least from a human point of view.

Throughout this whole process of deciding of whether or not to go to Japan, I've tried my best to not give much consideration to a world's view of my situation. Sure, it's only a year, but a year like this past one has been sufficiently hard enough to reinforce a principle that is central to the Christian faith (and hence central to my own): the way God works in the lives of those who follow Him will often defy human sensibilities, logic, or rationality. And don't expect otherwise.

It's not to say that God always works in an unconventional way. However, I think I'm one of those people that has often been caught up in the perspective that God ONLY works in a conventional way. And there's no quicker route to being wrong than placing limits on God.

You read the Bible and you see that God loves to surprise people. He's never a one-trick horse kind of deity when He's out to change somebody's life or help them to grow.

Jacob was on his way to recouncil with his brother Esau when God challenged him to a night-time wrestling match - Jacob wrestled him to a standstill, was blessed, and recieved the name "Israel" as a consequence.

Moses was pushing up like 40 years old, watching his father-in-law's flock when he saw a burning bush and God called out to him. Moses has a long conversation with God, even argues and makes excuses to God, but in the end... God gives him a mission and a purpose. Moses is to bring the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery and lead them to their own homeland.

Even God Himself, as Jesus, began his mission as a prophet, a preacher, and a miracle worker through unusual means. He didn't go to seminary, he didn't attend college or medical school... instead, Jesus goes out into the DESERT for forty days and fasts! Seems odd to us.

Now I'm not saying I'm a Jacob or a Moses... and I'm definitely not a Jesus, not by any comparison. I merely mention them because their lives are a testament to the unusual way that God often changes and shapes peoples' lives toward something greater and more purposeful. Above anything else, I desire that... having reach this latest plateau, this melancholy malaise that intensifies in and out, has made me want to live, not just exist. And a real, meaningful life can only come from Creator of life himself. Humanity is hardwired to that fact.

Having experienced the life I have had, even up to this point - there's been many times I've felt alone, abandoned, betrayed, and constantly tested... I've chosen to try and edge out a hope that things would turn out for the better, even when they haven't always have.

When friends have had the blessing of a Paul-like mentor, or a vibrant church, or being called to seminary, or missions work, or full-time ministry, I used to envy them. It's only in the past couple of years that I've realized the envy was not so much that I wanted to be in their circumstances so much as I wanted that same spiritual richness I saw in their lives to be in mine. Afterall, if God can bless their lives so greatly, why can't He bless mine?

There have been days this past year where I couldn't bear to even get out of bed, because I felt so depressed, so utterly helpless to effect anything positive in my life. Even today I doubt myself... this blog bears testament to every bad day and the ugliness it brings out of me. I look in the mirror sometimes and I don't percieve a 24 year old man, I see a 10 year old boy... the reflection in his eyes, the look of his eyes gazing into a sky whose sun has been crushed and whose light has been put out. It's as if all the misfortune, all my dark feelings continue to flow from that wound I recieved that day 14 long years ago and no matter how much I try to walk away from it, I still am covered in its shadow. The echo of that one disappointment and gaping hole it left is always ringing in my ears.

Every day, there's a fork in the road - one is a broad path of indulgence, willful ignorance, and utter surrender to selfish pursuit of this empty world; the other is a narrow trail of self-denial, love of truth, and a faith in the eternal. I want to choose the latter, but staying here in Seattle at this time will continue to tempt me to fall into the former.

I'm the sort of person who after traveling, appreciates more of what I have been given. When I returned from Brasil three years ago, after spending a month in the Brasilian countryside, serving and teaching English in a tiny 100-member church, I came to love my own church here in Seattle more than I thought possible. Perhaps this time when I get back, God will teach me to love myself and those around me more than I thought possible.

People who follow Christ often change radically, but more often than not it is a process of time spent - time spent growing in understanding of God, time spent in prayer, time spent reading Scripture, time spent in the company of strong believers.

Metaphorically speaking: The lives of people are often like hard pieces of rock, scarred and beaten, our weaknesses and failings the rough and jagged edges that make us prone to hurting whoever we touch. But choosing to follow God is like being tossed into the river, a constantly moving current. As we live life, as we remain in sincere pursuit of God, as we lay in that river - those jagged edges are smoothed out, until we are shaped and molded into something no longer as rough. But only over time and only if we have courage enough to stay the course, to remain in that river - as fast, and incomprehensible it maybe to us, the current of God's design is shaping us, changing us until who we are is no longer who we once were.

I want to grow. I want to change for the better.

So after all this long rambling... for all the people who are still going to ask me why I'm going away for a year... don't mind me, don't worry.

I'm just jumping into the river to lose some rough edges, that's all.

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Saturday, June 28, 2003
Looking for a breath of fresh air...

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Friday, June 27, 2003
Strom Thurmond dies at 100

When I think of Strom Thurmond, I think of good 'ol Ms. MacDonald. If I can trace a time where my interest in politics began, it was probably in my American Government class back in high school with Ms. MacDonald. Ms. MacDonald was fresh out of college, the typical cool, energetic, young, and idealistic teacher... probably one of the few that appreciated the hidden sarcasm and cynicism that I often laced my essay assignments with.

Anyways, when we studied the senate and the history of senators, Ms. MacDonald made sure to vilify ol' Strom as epitome of both what was wrong and right about the Senate. (a Democrat so liberal, the other faculty probably thought she was a pinko Commie). On a positive note, Thurmond was a dedicated public servant who thought first and foremost of his state of South Carolina - the guy was a master of pork barrel politics. Of course what people hate him for was that Thurmond was the symbol of the South's resistance to civil rights legislation and granting equality to non-whites... his solo filibuster against the landmark equal voting rights bill is still a record, at 24 hours and 18 minutes.

Yeah, and Thurmond was notorious for cop'n feels on the ladies in the capitol. Quote, NY Times: He was also known for fondling women in Senate elevators, including a woman who turned out to be a fellow senator, much to his surprise.

So is ol' Strom burning in hell or singing in heaven?

Maybe I should ask Ms. MacDonald.

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s l e e p

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Thursday, June 26, 2003
Wow... I took a lot of pictures.

I'm still uploading most of 'em, but you can view some from a dinner Shiv and I went to right here. I met a lot of the IIStix / Chopstixs crew that I've known from the "online" world, but I never met in person until this dinner.

Some other highlights from my trip I didn't mention before:

-Finding the old game Star Control 2, installing it, and beating it during the course of 3 days. I've forgotten how entertaining it was to talk to the Spathi and the Orz. Man, what a great game... good memories of my 486. *sniff*

-Watching lots of movies. I introduced my uncle to Memento, and Minority Report... he especially liked Memento. I also saw The Italian Job and 2 Fast 2 Furious with him. Yeah, I know... I flew from Seattle to Oakland to watch movies... =P

-Brought with me and finished reading "Asian American Dreams" by Helen Zia. Great book, I should write more about it later.

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Back home in Seattle... pictures later.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Mistake #1: Eating many Taco Bell tacos.

Mistake #2: Not buying my ticket directly from Alaska Airlines and getting muy ghetto non-transferable ticket from Expedia.

Mistake #3: Didn't double check departure time.

Consequence: Looks like I'm gonna be in Cali another day. I've never missed a flight before... until today. =P

Guess there's a first time for everything...

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Monday, June 23, 2003

Bowling tonight.

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Sunday, June 22, 2003
Winding down...

So yesterday was the big wedding for Sumiko and Dean. Shiv came and picked me up early in the morning so we could bum around Gilroy's outlet malls before going to the ceremony at 2:30pm. Sadly, there wasn't any good deals to be really had at Gilroy, being that most things are marked up 200% and then given a 50% "discount"... do the math and you can see my reluctance to spend any more $$$. Shiv did happen to come across some deals, tho... she's the deal-finding master.

As for the wedding, the ceremony wasn't overtly long or anything... just about 45 minutes. It was held in this pretty nice church out in the country, a church with a huge ceiling and nice glass backdrop. Apparently this church is pretty popular for weddings; it has to be booked at least a year in advance. The ceremony itself was pretty traditional, using old vows, lighting of unity candle, etc.

The wedding reception / banquet was held at this fancy-schmancy French hotel about 20 minutes north, more close to San Francisco. Dinner was OK, but being that I'm not the greatest fan of French food, I'm probably biased. My filet mignon steak was cooked alright, tho. As for the program itself, it was both funny & touching - there was a series of short skits played on LCD projector of the bridal party re-enacting funny scenes from Sumiko & Dean's courtship; a slideshow tribute narrated by both Sumiko & Dean in tribute to their parents; the best man, the maid of honor, and both fathers gave toasts; and several long-married couples gave the newlyweds advice.

Of course the reception also had Siobhan's favorite: dancing.

All in all, a nice day, even if my allergies were going berserk too. Like I've said before, going to weddings is a whole lot more preferable than going to funerals...

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Saturday, June 21, 2003
It was a Friday of much man-liness. Hoo-ah.

In the morning, my uncle took myself and my cousin Ryan to the shooting range at Chabot. I've never been there before, but I know my father used to shoot there regularly when our family lived in the BA. Anyways, it turns out my uncle is also a pistol owner, so he brought us to the range to shoot some rounds from his Glock 17and Glock 27. On a Friday morning, you figure nobody's up and out, but there was a fair amount of folks on the range. On the pistol range, we ended up next to a bunch of Asian guys - a pair of Taiwanese guys shooting brand new Walther P99s while this other guy was shooting a H&K Mark 23 (pretty much identical to everybody's favorite CT pistol from CS, the USP).

Oh and the the guy shooting his Mark 23 was bustin' .45 rounds with insane accuracy... he didn't miss the inner black ring once. In fact, there were times he had to stop firing earlier than the regular 15 minute firing period and wait for the next target change interval because he had completed taken out the middle of his target. Those .45 rounds made some big holes.

Funny... a bunch of Asian people, all shooting pistols with polymer frames. I didn't shoot very well, not a very tight spread at all... but then again, I haven't been to the shooting range since junior high and even then, I think I've shot Glocks once. It's a nice, relatively clean working gun... but I think SIG is still sexier. Maybe having handled the airsoft versions more (heh), I prefer the controls on the SIG better like the manual safety and the de-cocking lever. Glocks have a reputation for being generally un-jammable, but today we found out that cheap Russian-made bullets, with this weird coating on casings, jammed up the 17 and 27 good. You might think it has to do with the caliber of the rounds, but since we had both 9mm (for the 17) and .40 (for the 27) from the same manufacturer, we concluded the cause to be the bullets. Some other rounds we fired (with normal, uncoated brass casings) from another manufacturer were fine.

After enjoying our American right to use firearms, we all went to Fry's... man, Seattle needs a Fry's. Ryan bought some games on sale; I ended up not really getting anything but a much needed CD-RW replacement. Hopefully this one won't be fried in two years too. Maybe I just overworked my old 16x speed drive, heh.

For dinner, my uncle and I picked up some pizza and rented some movies. I saw The Transporter for the first time... it was aight. Kinda slow in the middle, and Chinese FOB girl had zero English ability, but I enjoyed the action. The dude from Snatch actually looks like he can fight.

Needed more gun battles, though...

Gun battles... mmm. Makes we wanna watch Equilibrium again. I'm still sorely tempted to buy a copy, but I've spent enough $$$ already just buying my plane ticket down here... oh well, must prioritize and be fiscally responsible. If I'm going to get to Japan, I'm own... gotta save. =P

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Friday, June 20, 2003
Savor a happy day... a glass of fine wine.

Thursday was a great day, I might even dare to say perfect day... thank God. I can't remember the last time I've had a day that was all around... good.

Shiv came early in the morning to pick me up from my uncle's house and she drove us out all the way to Santa Cruz. It was a long drive, but it was worth it... the weather was mild (not too hot or cold) and she showed me around the boardwalk area which was a sort of carnival / amusement park area - rides, those cheesy games with cheap prizes, arcades, etc.

She told me she hadn't visited here since high school, so we rode the biggest rollercoaster in the park - the Big Dipper. Standing in line, we were in the middle of a group of little Hispanic kids (probably 3rd or 4th graders0 all speaking excitedly in a mixture of English and Spanish... I could see Siobhan smiling as she was listening to their conversations, since between the two of us, she's still the only one fluent in Spanish, haha. The rollercoaster was a lot of fun, lots of yelling with the kids... where else in life can you go and just scream like a maniac and not get stared at?

After the rollercoaster we ate lunch - corndogs, garlic fries, and lemonade. Yum.

I think we both ate a lot, so instead of going on more rides, we decided to sit on the beach. The beach wasn't mindblowing or anything, but it was pleasant. It wasn't very crowded or noisy, so it was more peaceful than your typical Seattle visit to Alki, which is always swarming with people on a sunny day. Shiv dragged me out to the tide, but my weak feet didn't like the cold water... after all, it wasn't that hot out. We went back and just sat for awhile, playing around by making a sand castle with a moat using an empty cup from lunch to help dig out sand and shape the sand castle towers.

We probably could have just laid there on the beach all day, but Shiv had to pick up her Dad at work at 3:00, so we left the beach and went on one final ride - bumper cars. The bumper cars were kinda weak there, not very fast and you're only allow to go one way (boo, no head-on collisions!). I must have chosen the European Kia of bumper cars because not only did I have to sit on the right side (the accelerator pedal was on the far right), it had the saddest engine ever - on parts of the track it would just die and I'd be stuck there. Of course Shiv had no qualms about ramming my car from behind while it was at a dead stop to help me get going... haha.

Leaving Santa Clara, we went picked up Shiv's Dad and had a light dinner at her house with her parents, her grandma, and her younger sister. Besides laughing a lot at how Shiv and her sister Jaime complete each other's sentences / borrow each other's isms (YO, waddup, YES! with fist clutched), I got to watch some home videos of her dancing in high school in a production of "West Side Story"... fun stuff. Oh yeah, and I took a power nap on the couch too... I'm old. =)

Now if the day ended there, I would still be feeling as good as I do now. But there was more incident-free fun!

Night time, Shiv and I met up with all the NorCal IIStix / Chopstix people for sushi at San Mateo. It was a lot of fun, the sushi (and sake) was great. It was fun mostly because 75% of the people at dinner were people I've never met in person before... I've only known them via online on the message board. After dinner, we hit up a place for boba, sat around, and talked. I got my old standby (almond milk tea with lychee jelly) and half the others followed suit, heh.

Everybody was totally cool, so once again I can say I'm continuing my record of meeting generally normal people off the Internet... haha. Extra props to Kingway for organizing the gig and for Jeanie for hooking me up with a ride back to my uncle's house in the speedy Isuzu. Thanks goodness I took that little walkabout on Wednesday around the area or I dun think Jeanie could have driven me back, haha.

So yeah... it was a good day.

I guess it was that much more enjoyable since these past 18 months, I've pretty much just kept hoping for the best, but kept getting the worst. Nothing tends to color ones perspective of the world than getting repeatedly shafted by random, uncontrollable circumstances.

Now that waters of my little life are looking to calm down a little bit, I think it's helped me to gain a little bit more perspective on things (hopefully). When things in life happen that hurt, and they keep happening, you start to expect that it'll always happen - hence my cynicism. Not that I've lived the worst life possible for a human being to live, but I think I've taken more than my share of hard knocks. Yet when you get caught up in everything that's wrong with your life, you forget about what's right.

I should be less forgetful. Christians I think are especially vulnerable because it's easy for us to get hyped about what we percieve Christian life to be when we forget that Jesus, his disciples, and many other "holy" folks in the Bible lived very difficult lives - heck, 11 of the 12 disciples got martyred. Ouch. Yeah, I should be less forgetful.

I'm blessed with a soulmate who loves me deeply and she sees the best in me even when I can't see it in myself. I have family who never leaves me behind like my uncle who's willing to give me a place to crash for a week on short notice. I have friends who did everything in their power to help me find jobs, just keep busy, and keep me sane in the meantime. Most of all, I have a Savior who loves me and calls me His own even when I choose intentionally to ignore Him, even hate Him.

Lots of good things to remember. I need more days like this to help remind me not to be such a grumpy bastard.

Damn, this was a long entry. I guess I have to make up for the pages of stuff I've written when I've been unhappy.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

So my first day down here was interesting. My uncle left the keys to his old pick-up truck, so after some light reading, I took it out for a little spin to cruise around his San Leandro hood. The night he picked me up he showed me a little bit of the area, so I went off of my memory of what I saw the previous night.

There wasn't anything too out of the ordinary - just a small mall (Bayfair) and Albertson's ended up being on my short tour. I walked around the mall for about half-hour looking to see if anything caught my eye; my wandering Chinese eye caught a "70% off" sign in front of a Champs store, so I stopped in hoping to score a cheap pair of kicks, but no dice. The only things that were cheap were old visors and clown shoes.

If there was a Best Buy, I would have definitely stopped by since it occurs to me now that the most space/size efficient computer to bring to Japan would be a laptop/notebook, but alas... no Best Buy. I think my uncle, some cousins, and myself are gonna stop by Fry's on Friday, tho.

Oh yeah, driving around turned out to be quite a workout since the truck is without power steering... I really had to force that wheel to make tight turns.

The only money I ended up spending was on some groceries to cook dinner for my uncle, who I'm pretty sure lives the typical bachelor lifestyle of TV dinners and fast food. I don't think since my Po-Po passed away, he's cooked much for himself, so I thought that'd be nice.

After dinner, we were originally going to meet up with some of my cousins, but they were all busy. On a whim, we decided to catch a movie... since the only choices for the particular time that we arrived were 1 Fast 2 Furious and Dumb and Dumberer, we opped for fast cars and fast women over Jim Carrey / Jeff Bridges look-a-likes, heh. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought... definitely better car chases than the first, though the acting... sheesh, the Skyline and the Evo in the movie were better actors and they're inanimate objects. Even more funny is how two music stars (Tyrese and Ludacris) were better actors than even Paul Walker! Haha.

Well, tomorrow's a full day. Should be fun.

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So I'm in the Bay Area now.

Ah, it's nice to have even less to do... chillin'.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Hello, Japan...

Dear N...

Thanks for your patience and the generous extension.
I'm writing now to confirm officially that I'm happy
to accept your offer of a teaching position with NOVA.

I'll begin working immediately on getting the
necessary paperwork and documentation to you.



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Monday, June 16, 2003
A man of respect...

Going off to Cali in about 24 hours. I'm calling up all the family like a good Chinese boy to set up the usual lunches / dinners / visits. Word sorta got out that I came down last time without visiting everybody. Oops.

It's all good... this trip is important, even if it cost me the equivalent of a PS2. I might not be seeing my BA family for awhile.

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a letter...

Dear Dad:

Coming to visit you is probably the most quiet and soothing thing I've done these past few weeks.

My world continues to change, and I find myself always pitted against the events before me - why must things always break apart? It's as if your passing continues to frame my feelings of being alone, the pervasive sense I always carry that no one can ever understand. Even the best of my friends are at a loss to comprehend it's depth... it's magnitude.

No matter how much I want to believe in others, they can never carry my burdens, or even understand them. Just this past week, even as I endeavored to help someone out of mere kindness, those who are supposed to be closest wounded me with their utter lack of sympathy. Even my own kin.

Is my disappointment an inevitable end of trying to trust more fully those that I love?

At times, it feels like I clutch daggers plunged into my chest - daggers whose handles are clutched by those that claim to love me. If only I could forget easier, but the memories of each scar stretch long, across the days, weeks, and even months - the memories never sleep, because there's always a fresh wound to be given. Circumstances inevitably bring forth another opportunity for people to piss on me again.

Of course, human interaction is never ideal. But the disappointments have never been balanced by hope; there is no fount of wisdom, no relief I can seek elsewhere in my life. Instead, there is the gaping void of your absence for me to consult while those sons more fortunate than I turn to a father, an uncle, or a mentor to speak the sage advice that gives clarity, and even lacking that... comfort. There's no balm for the pain I feel, just the numbness that comes and goes as I sit on the edge, peering down into the abyss.

I wonder at times if your absence in my life was meant as some sort of circumstance to force me into a closer relationship with HIM, yet continually, I struggle to maintain even the smallest interaction. Even as great changes loom in the distance, I face daily this silence that has always haunted the steps of my spiritual journey. It seems the faster I try to run to catch the truth, the further it pulls away.

Yet still, this sense of an eternal reality ordained beyond physical senses remains with me and I can't escape it, no matter how much easier I'd imagine my life would feel without it. It's an itch I can't ignore, even as it compels me to do the unthinkable - to leave Seattle for a year. I wonder what you would say to me.

No matter what, I'll be sure to visit you whenever I'm in town. Maybe you'll have something to say to me then.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.


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Sunday, June 15, 2003
"The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him."

Proverbs 23:24

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Saturday, June 14, 2003

[Victor R. Caivano / AP]

U.S. military police officer Brian Pacholski comforts fellow military police officer David Borello near Balad, about 30 miles northwest of Baghdad yesterday. Borello broke down after seeing three Iraqi children who were injured while playing with explosive material.

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Friday, June 13, 2003
Happy Graduation, Moi-Moi...

Freak'n long day.

-going to see my sister in her graduation ceremony (now my family has 2 Communications majors...)
-seeing Shiv
-helping Justin
-eating dinner with my fellow employees at Beppo's
-feeling more at peace deciding about this Japan thang

-mia madre.

I'm salty as hell right now. I swear my mother is the single point of all stress, drama, irritation, and negativity in my world. The Plagues of Egypt pale in comparison to the Plagues on Garrett.


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Thursday, June 12, 2003
I hate stress.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003
one path, many doors...

I'm sleeping awake.

I read some Scripture today (Tues) in preparation for Wednesday's (technically today's) Bible study. I happened to be flipping through some reference verses and stumbled across something that convicted me. Hmmm, now it's sticking in my mind, as if I have no choice but to do what I must do.

Ch-ch-choices... just when I think I have some idea of what to do about this whole business of whether or not to go to Japan, I find myself swayed back the other way. It's as if my apprehension waxes when I look at the consequences of the unchosen alternative.

Giving me until the 30th... bleh, what were they thinking.


Hey, my review for Chen Kaige's new flick Together survived the site firing squad... scroll down to the guy from Seattle.

Move over Leonard Malton... I'm coming for your job next.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003
My life is one big rhyme, I try to scheme through it
Through my shell, never knew what the divine would bring to it
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want millions
More than money saved, I wanna save children
Dealing with alcoholism and afrocentricity
A complex man drawn off of simplicity

-Common, "The Sixth Sense"

It's a new day. Finally got fitted for my tux for Josh's wedding.

Back to work.

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memories, part ii (previously... part i)

It was my first time on an airplane.

I was sitting next to Dad, and feeling a bit small. At just 5 years old, the memories of feeling small came from two things: my small frame barely able to fill the seat, and my view of the world from the cabin window... how quickly people, cars, buidings, and roads shrunk to the size of toys, as tiny as the pictures I scrawled with my crayons on my makeshift canvas - an unused barf bag I had seized upon from the seat pocket in front of me.

The "little pilots wings" that I got from the nice stewardness were pinned to my shirt. It was quiet, the dull hum of the airplane only interupted by the periodic sound of a page being turned slowly - Dad was reading his Bible, but his brow was furrowed.

Just months ago, my family had loaded up the car and moved to Seattle. Now the ties of blood were calling us back to Oakland and a car trip was not fast enough to get us back.

Grandpa was sick... maybe dying.

Mom was still working, so her and little sister stayed home. My father explained that his father, grandpa, would like to see him and me. I don't think I understood it then... only now do I see that it was the call of the father to the son, now a father to a son.

By the time we got off the plane, my father's pensive mood had become mine as well. When we arrived in Oakland, there was the usual greetings and pick-ups from the relatives, all the aunties and uncles. But every smile concealed melancholy, a heaviness that I had never known before - suddenly, it was as plain as seeing blue in the sky.

The sun was shining, but it didn't seem bright or warm either.

It was the next day after we had arrived and Dad drove us to the hospital. Sitting shotgun, I held onto to Dad's Bible so he could drive. I can't remember Grandpa's room, but I remember him, laying in his bed, slightly upright. He made a slight smile, half of the same smirk my father and I could do, but couldn't do right now. Grandpa's words were whispers, sounds that the air carried away before they even reached my ears. His eyes looked at us, but nothing carried away the heaviness that was in his look. Dad and I just looked at Grandpa before one of the relatives came to take me away while my father and grandpa talked alone. I could hear the low murmur of Dad speaking in Chinese to Grandpa as I was led away.

Uncle Tommy and Auntie Amy bought me a chocolate milkshake. I wanted to eat it all up, but it wasn't as sweet as thought it would be and I had a hard time finishing it. Dad came to get me later and for fun, we drove by our old house in Oakland. The new people in it had painted it yellow. A really ugly yellow.

Weeks later, Grandpa died.

It was my first time at a funeral and Dad taught me to bow down to show respect. It was the first time I had seen a dead body too... Grandpa's face was pale, so fake looking with the white makeup. I was scared, I think I shook and almost fell as I bowed down in front of the casket. We sat down in the front church pew, the pew reserved for family.

The wood of the pew was hard and uncomfortable. But I knew Dad would hate it if I kept squirming, so I just tried to sit there like a rock, until my body became numb to sitting there. It still hurt.

I looked over to see my father gazing outward, into the distance, as if he could see something through or beyond Grandpa's body. As I looked at him, I saw a single tear well up in the corner of his eye and as if stuck in slow motion, it crawled slowly down his cheek, a smooth, short line before he quickly wiped it away.

It was the first time I ever saw Dad cry.


Monday, June 09, 2003
Just chill...

Tonight was nice... homemade fish & chips with the moms, Shiv, and myself.

Oh, and saw another WRX STI on the freeway today... it looked just like this. That's like my 2nd look of one on the road in like 3 days (saw one on Saturday). Mmmm... saucy.

Reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend ve12us who owns a white WRX...

ve12sus: u there
Unseen GC: sup
ve12sus: i went to the subaru dealership today with my dad
ve12sus: we were looking for other cars in that auto plaza
ve12sus: for him to get
ve12sus: and then we came home with

Unseen GC: niiiiice
Unseen GC: is that the STI?

ve12sus: yeah

Unseen GC: phatty... that's so funny
Unseen GC: I was just gonna post an STI pic on my blog

ve12sus: im just kidding
ve12sus: thats my friends
ve12sus: lol doh

Unseen GC: hahaha
Unseen GC: I thought u were gonna have father-son bonding

ve12sus: maybe later
Unseen GC: both of u riding next each other in white subaru
Unseen GC: heh

ve12sus: lol

Funny stuff.

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I just rolled into work about a couple of hours ago.

(part-time) workin. Wh00t.

My extension request for Japan was granted... plus some more. I now have to June 30th to make a decision... wow, they must really want me. Hopefully I won't procrastinate on this... but I really wanted to make a decision soon. Maybe putting it off a little bit more wouldn't be so bad. Hrmm.

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Saturday, June 07, 2003
Warm day.

More Blogger upgrades = weird blog behavior.

Anyways, it was a warm day today. I didn't do much, traffic sucked, but it was fun night at fellowship with the high schoolers. Since the weather was really warm, we had another night of water games... heh. The joy / mayhem:

Dave gave a lesson a love / dating / marriage. Of course, the bulk of the time was an open discussion panel with the counselors and their significant others... guess who? Yeah, me, Shiv, Josh, and Val... lots of fun sharing our "wisdom", experiences, etc.

Funny pictures:

All in all, a lot of fun. My favorite exchange of the night went something like:

Dave: "So our next anonymous write-in question reads this, 'What if I want to go dating just to gain experience? Is that OK?'"
Me: "Gain experience? That sounds funny to me... what do you kids think dating is, some sort of RPG video game? Gain experience... pshhht. Y'all trying to go from 'dating level zero' to 'dating level one'? It doesn't work like that! haha."

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Time disappeared and came back...

So I guess Blogger is in the midst of moving to a new server / upgrading the software. Funny how whenever that happens, this blog goes all to hell. Eh.

In other news, Dave actually updated his blog. It's filled with lotsa pretty engagement pics, and of course, pics of the ring... bling bling!

I've requested an extension for my Japan decision to moved from the 10th to the 13th... more to mull, marinate, introspect-ificate.

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Friday, June 06, 2003
(Thursday, June 05, 2003)
Turning a new leaf?

So all my archive page says all my old archives are gone... yet somehow they still show up on Google. But still... seeing the archive page spawn pretty much empty is a weird thing.

I've had this blog since early 2001, and it's been the receptacle for my all my angst, rambling, insight, memories, and strangeness. They say life (the journey of life) takes one across many mountains and valleys, but I'd characterize my life more as trudging across the desert, an exodus in search of my own Promised Land. Every once inawhile, I'm blessed to visit an oasis or two, but the majority of my time is spent with a harsh sun overhead and burning sand underneath my feet.

Good movies have their plots mirrored in the small things. When Luke Skywalker has a new lightsaber in Return of the Jedi, it's the symbol of the construction of a new identity and the forging of a new mission: no longer is he the rash farm boy hunting for adventure, he's a scarred Jedi seeking to protect his friends and redeem his father. In Pulp Fiction, when Sam Jackson gives up the money in his wallet, "Bad Mutha F*ck3r", it's his moment where he's consciously leaving behind his life as criminal fixated on cash to embrace somthing different.

So my archives are gone... is it a sign my life might be turning a corner? Has Garrett the cynic died to a new incarnation of himself, reforged by divine forces that still are unseen in the fog?

I think at times, I try to rationalize this upcoming decision about Japan as "no big deal" to help ease my mind. But it's not a small decision... I'm afraid maybe taking too lightly will lead me to making a bad choice. Assuming that there is a "bad" choice and a "good" choice.

/end musing.

The mundane:

So my new part time job is pretty cool. I'm writing professional e-mails, rep'n the company, and generally doing promotions-like work. Once again, the Communications degree gets a work out while my IS degree ironically is still irrelevant. Unless you consider surfing the internet and writing e-mail to be vital skill picked up while studying IS.

But yeah. It's coo. I finally get that "start-up" company experience that everybody was hyped about back in 2000.

(Wednesday, June 04, 2003)

And Wednesday disappeared...

It was a busy day, but going to the AACF Senior Sendoff as an alumni (again, haha) was a nice way to spend the evening. Damn, I feel old...

Warming up some music...

Hahaha... my homie Abe borrowed my digicam to play with it... and he took this artsy picture.

Playing with Photoshop... original pic had some weird blurring.

Another Photoshop filter for fun... this pic had strange lighting.

Riiiight... yeah...

Now for some pictures of some of the seniors and other few remaining folks I know at the good 'ol AACF. Ah... being out of college really does take one outta the loop, heh.

Mel & Gar: Beacon Hill and CBC... represent.

Chong & Gar: Future director / scriptwriting power team. Hollywood will bow down.

Evan & Steph: Hawaii > Oregon. Duh.

Jon & Gar: Gee-Fei Hong and Sifu. Man, is Jon taller than me??? Damn...<

Garett & Garrett: Like twins, but not... I got the extra R. So cool, we have to squint.

Gar & Donnie: Mutual admirers of dark-rimmed glasses & Triumph, the Insult Comic dog.

Note to self: Pick up some beginning photography books / read some FAQs on how to use all my camera's cool manual control features. I came home and although most the pics I took were aight, they lacked... how do you say?

That snazzy professional quality... the little things like lighting, color balance, focus, etc. I'm usually not anal about taking pictures, but since I blew a nice chunk of change on this new toy, it'd be a shame to not maximize all its features. It'd be like buying a brand new comp and only using to write e-mail... haha.

T minus 6 days until Japan decision.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Food is my oracle...

So yesterday, I get a tip from my friend Dave that a friend of his named Wing (who also goes to Steph's church) was looking for some part-time help for his company. Basically, they need somebody who can surf the internet all day, write e-mails, and post on forums... oddly fitting for me, eh?

Anyways, to make it short... I drive down to Wing's place, have an informal interview, and pretty much start working the same day. Ah, gotta love the Asian way of doing business... hook-ups upon hook-ups. =)

So I'm now a proud employee of BoxWave... proud provider of accessories for your PDAs. I don't own a PDA myself, but man... I was surprised how booming the whole area is. BoxWave's products have already won several editor's awards and is doing some seriously business... so if you have a PDA, check 'em out (/end sly marketing pitch). Heh.

All in all, a good day. I guess the sunny weather helps too. Of course there are nagging questions...

"Is this job a divine provision in support of my trip Japan?"
OR... "Is this job the divine way of telling me not to go to Japan?"
OR... "Is this job an excuse I'm using to keep myself from going to Japan?"

Many questions, few answers.

I ate some chicken katsu to help my brain marinate on it all.

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Things Seattle is famous for:

-Boeing Airplanes!
-Ridiculously Expensive Gourmet Coffee!
-The Software Borg AKA Microsoft!
- Crazy Rioting!

Sometimes I really wonder if half the people even know what they're protesting. During the WTO debacle, idiots were running around in the streets looking for a chance to start looting. I guess the problem with many socialist and non-conformist elements is that there's no unity - you have your non-violent folks protesting right next to the violent, rabid anti-government wack-jobs. Too bad the police doesn't really care about the difference... if there's a crowd of people, you can bet the concussion grenades or cans of tear gas will tossed at 'em soon.

Is it just me or do the words "law enforcement intelligence" a blatant oxymoron? As long as the pigs keep pulling me over for looking Asian, it is.

On a happier note, Shiv drove down to see me. Having a specific day of the week always set aside for the two of us... we've had it for a long time. It wasn't always Mondays (that changed with our schedules), but knowing I'll always see her a certain day brings a comfortable routine to a life that's devoid of anything regular except for church stuff.

I cooked chicken curry stew and we ate it over rice. It was a nice day, so we took a little walk around my neighborhood. I guess the advantage of living in suburban hell is relative safety... even if I still get strange looks from my overwhelmingly white neighbors. "Oh my goodness... it's a colored person walking around!"


Oooh, Kicks has a website! What a great store... it's like evil, though. It has the power to suck all my $$$ away... *drool*

T minus 8 days until a decision about Japan...

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Monday, June 02, 2003
"No, I wasn't a hero... but I served in the company of heroes."
-WWII Veteran, E Company, 101st Airbourne Rangers.

So Shiv and I finally finished watching the entire "Band of Brothers" DVD series... wow. After watching 10 hours of gritty combat in WWII's European Theatre, I can still feel the grip of the real-life stories from the series on my imagination. Watching quality stuff like that reminds me of the value of the medium of film / TV... they're instruments that can be used to facilitate mankind's oldest pasttime: telling stories.

That's what it all really boils down to... communicating the experiences of one generation to another in way that marks you, makes you remember. In a way, after watching "Band of Brothers", I feel closer to both my grandfathers, both who fought in the WWII. Both of them died before I reached an age where I could ask them about it. But watching a narrative of another group of men, hearing their memories and recollections of the 20th century's bloodiest war... I can imagine the tales my parents' fathers might have told about it all.

Such a terrible thing they had to endure, at age that is still fresh in my mind. Most of the guys fighting were in their 20s or younger. Instead of being a stupid freshman in college, I can't even begin to imagine how I'd feel instead being strapped with gear, jumping out of a rickety plane in the dead of night... all while flak is exploding and people are dying all around me.

Yet a great many good things came from the experiences of that generation of men... things like the Civil Rights Movement or greater access to a college education have could not have come about any other way in America except for the war. Enduring that war marked a generation of men in way that I doubt will happen it again - it simultaneously made than more mature, wiser, determined, and probably most of all... made them not take life for granted.

Difficult times are often what breaks the ground and prepares the soil for something better to grow.

Something for me to ponder.

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Sunday, June 01, 2003
If I happen to stay up late, it's not wasting time... now according to "experts", it's all education!

In any case, this Saturday was a nice day. I got to visit Shiv in the afternoon, but I had to leave shortly after for BASIC. Since the weather was nice, Josh and I decided to make a quick run to the grocery store to buy some water balloons so the high school kids could have a good 'ol fashioned water balloon toss contest for ice breaker. We went 3 rounds, with Josh and I rep'n the counselors in the finals 3 times... but we lost and I got soaked x2. We had water balloons leftover and you know what happens then... we let the kids go crazy and soak each other. All in good fun, though... heh

Afterward, Dave as usual led worship and Kristie gave a simple but thought-provoking message on money - I suppose it's a very relevant topic for me at the moment. Have current circumstances elevated money to a priority level unbecoming a person of faith?

Something for me to think about.

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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



UnseenGC @ AIM
(myname) @



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