Archive for December, 2008

Dreams Of The Long Road

usa-openroadFrom California to Vegas

Shao put up some of the photos from our road trip in August/September and the shots have got me dreaming all over again, filling me with a yearning for the open roads, the hours of driving, where every mile promises new sights and adventures.

I still have my thirty-odd rolls of film from the trip still undeveloped. I think my reluctance stems from a fear that to do so would add some sort of grim finality to the whole journey, but I know that that is not true.

I know that in this lifetime I will embark on something like this again. And this statement is not because I will make it happen, but because Abba knows the dreams and desires of my heart and He will make it so.

AMEN!

usa-venice2
Got burnt to a charred brown crisp in Venice Beach

usa-spacelandAte 7-11 hot dogs outside Spaceland in Silver Lake, LA before grooving to post-rock El Ten Eleven

usa-universalWatched kids play in the fountain during the sunset at Universal Studios

usa-dennysIngested way too many calories with Denny’s Americana portions

usa-sfFroze in the chill & fog on the ferry trip in San Francisco

usa-sf2Snuck our way to a favourite local spot hidden up in the hills that gave us a panoramic view of the entire San Francisco city

usa-mapsUsed maps to make sure our GPS wasn’t taking us to Mexico or Canada

usa-blueridge2Walked in the misty fog in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

usa-blueridgeDrifted on two-lane curving roads in the dense fog in our Cadillac Escalade

usa-krystalsAte more burgers than any normal human being can consume safely in his lifetime. This here is Krystal’s burgers, rival of White Castle

usa-washingtondcMe sporting my Austin, Texas haircut as I ruminate on democracy and freedom on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

usa-times
Joshed and jostled with the tourists in Times Square

usa-openroads2But driving towards the Texas sunset is still the secret love of my heart.

If my 2008 was a year when I travelled to Thailand, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Malacca, turned down an invitation to Kuala Lumpur and also drove the breadth of the United States of America in a single month,I can’t wait for 2009.

Because my Dad loves to outdo Himself, every time. Yes, amen, let it be done!

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Jump Into Puddles And Let The Sun Glow

glosoliSigur Rós – Glósóli

I always kind of resisted listening to Sigur Rós after hearing more of their hype than their actual music. As if listening to their record would been buying into the hipster nonsense and turning me into some sort of sell-out. But I’m glad I have, finally running the album Takk that has been lying in my hard drive for years (yes, years) through iTunes and being suitably blown away.

I think their appeal, for me, is the distinct child-like quality pervading through their music. The keyboards add to that, even contributing to that sense of epic grandeur in the rousing crescendoes of certain tracks. It is lovely to listen to, alone, during the festive season.

Writing now is a brief respite from the unexpected ardour of personalising my Christmas (belated, of course) cards for the year. I was kind of surprised at the time I took to complete even a single one, and really, I am beginning to get  a little worried at how I might not be able to finish all of the cards in time for the gathering on New Year’s Eve!

But it’s immensely satisfying to write all of them, and not a task at all. I’ve given up trying to impress people with depth or aesthetics and instead have incorporated all manner of random nonsense into it, Frankensteining artwork from the internet into the cards in a blatant attempt to disguise my shameless plagiarism.

I arrived at church earlier today to grab tickets and sat myself down at Subway to continue writing the cards. But before I could begin, Coach M bumped into me and asked me to join her for lunch – which was really an answered prayer because I haven’t talked to her for the longest time and have been meaning to catch up with her!

I just love this woman whom God has placed so divinely and opportunely in my life. I probably would have left the ministry and even the church if not for her, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for this woman of God. I would do it with no questions asked. So it was a blessing to be able to sit with her and talk.

And Lord you knew how much I needed it! She confirmed, perhaps not even knowing so, so many things that I was deliberating over within, putting a clarity to my situation that I know could only come from You. I went into the fourth service doing a little ditty in my head, feeling so blessed even before receiving the word for 2009.

And this is how You love me. Catching me by surprise, with moments of delight and pure joy, knowing that I am rich for Your love, and that I can love because You love me.

“Don’t give your heart away so easily. God closes one door because He’s got a better one open for you. Because He has His best choice for you.”

And with the word from today still fresh in my heart, I will say, ‘Amen’.

The Fight For Tomorrow

zombies

Jo & HY recently introduced me to Left 4 Dead – possibly the most awesome FPS to seize my inner game geek since Quake and Baldur’s Gate and transforming me into a ten year old boy all over again, yelling and screaming over the din of the LAN shop as we fought for the survival of the human race.

“Help!! Help!! A Smoker’s got me!!”

“I’ll save you!” (Jonah begins to fire off a shotgun blast)

“I’m coming! DIEEE” (DoOku dashes across Jonah’s line of fire)

“Thanks!” (Giggles shouts his gratitude as the Smoker gets blown apart)

(on screen: Don’t fire on your team-mates!) “Noo! Why’d you run in front of me!”

“Oh. My. God. I just lost 40 health.” DoOku mourns as his avatar begins limping visibly.

“Aaaah! Sorry sorry!”

“OH NO! The Witch! Don’t startle her!”

(Giggles/HY sees a crouching, red-haired figure amidst the blackened, charred ruins of human civilisation. He steadies his crosshairs against her, ready to level his righteous, human fury against one of the living dead)

“What?” (Giggles taps his Mouse1 button, pumping the zombie full of buckshot)

(on screen: Giggles has startled the Witch!)

“CRAAAAAP”

“Ahhhh heeelllpppp!” (firing blindly with dual Colts as he lies incapacitated)

“Die! Die! Die!” (consecutive shotgun blasts resound through the air)

“A SAFE HOUSE! Run!!”

“Where?? Cover me!”

“I’ve got your back! Go!!”

“Close the door! Grab the medi-packs! Heal heal heal!”

(all of us breathe a sigh of relief in unison as the screens blurs and fades, signalling a brief respite from the undead, and a time to heal up, restock ammo, and choose weapons)

“I’m grabbing the sniper rifle. You?”

“Shotgun!”

“I’m crap at that. I’m getting the assault rifle!”

“Okay! Wait, let me pick them off from here!” (DoOku shatters the window glass with his Melee attack, and begins picking off wandering zombies from the relative safety of the safe house)

(Jonah can’t wait. He opens the door, charging at the nearest zombie.)

“For humanity!!!!”

(Before he can run towards the zombie in the distance, he is waylaid by a zombie who was hiding outside the door.)

“AAAHHH ZOMBIES! They’re right outside!”

(Three or four more zombies rush him. Jonah puts up a valiant fight, wildly spraying rounds from his M16 and riflebutting the zombies back.)

“HY! Let’s rescue him!”

“Ok! Go!!”

“Noooooooo” (Jonah screams)

“Hey! Where’d you go? I can’t see you on the screen!”

(Jo/DoOku turns to look at me. I am staring at a black abyss from a third-person perspective, which means I’m dead)

“I got pushed off the cliff….”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

Yes, that’s how gaming works. We keep each other alive, protect each other like brothers, but just as quickly we revel in one another’s misery, simply because it’s too funny.

*

It’s been a good, quiet Christmas. Contrary to all appearances, I don’t know what I’m doing. Or rather, I don’t know how things will turn out. Reading what you’ve wrote in the past makes more sense now, even if it’s in a way I don’t like it to be.

A brother was telling me how during this season of the year makes us want to give pieces of ourselves to the people we love or admire, but what also exists is the truth that you can’t take those pieces back. You squander it, willingly, regardless whether you expect anything in return or not.

What did You feel like, when You loved me? Teach me to love like that.

Someone told me that you flutter your eyelids to compose yourself when you’re angry. I wonder how come I’ve never noticed it.

Christmas in 2008

icelandsunset1Sunset in Skagafjörður

Christmas for 2008: in my room, like always, and it’s perfect: the cool weather drifting in through the windows, listening to Sigur Rós’ crystalline magic, book gifts lying on the bed, writing belated-to-be cards. It’s quiet, everyone’s asleep, and I feel Him with me.

It’s more than I can ever want and more than I deserve.

And I want to go to Iceland.

It Was Marzipan

rain“Being in love was like China: you knew it was there, and no doubt it was very interesting, and some people went there, but I never would. I’d spend all my life without ever going to China, but it wouldn’t matter, because there was all the rest of the world to visit.

“And then someone passed me a bit of some sweet stuff and I suddenly realized that I had been to China. So to speak. And I’d forgotten it.”

“Anyway,” Mary went on. “I remembered the taste, and all at once I was back tasting it for the first time as a young girl.

“I was twelve years old. I was at a party at the house of one of my friends, a birthday party, and there was a disco…this boy – I didn’t know him – he asked me to dance, and so we had the first dance and then the next, and by that time we were talking… And you know what it is when you like someone, you know it at once; well, I liked him such a lot. And we kept on talking and then there was a birthday cake. And he took a bit of marzipan and he just gently put it in my mouth – I remember trying to smile, and blushing, and feeling so foolish – and I fell in love with him just for that, for the gentle way he touched my lips with the marzipan.”

– Philip Pullman

I didn’t realise how much I missed these kind of cookies, or how much I liked them. I was surprised that I’d forgotten all about how they were my favourites.

It’s like I suddenly remembered that I had already been to China.

We Are The Reason

whereismycoffee

Oh, man. I am so freaking tired. Headed to Christmas service today at Indoor with only one hour of sleep.

Yep, you read that right. The entire day was a surreal out-of-body experience that left me operating out of muscle memory rather than anything borne out of the full spectrum of my cognitive abilities. My reason is this: I was up last night doing only one card and one gift, which meant my plans of completing ALL the cards were in ruins.

Good thing we’re going to push the gift/card exchange to the 31st, which then gives me ample time (I hope!) to complete the rest.

I’m tired, but happy. Happy that I’ve crossed the most challenging gift/card hurdle, and feel undeserving of the gifts that were given to me.

For all the hassle, the frenetic pace that things seem to take on its own volition, the agonising of what would be the perfect gift or card, I’ll still have to admit this: I love Christmas.

And You are the reason we can celebrate our loved ones like this.

That’s Me

introvert
That’s why.