Friday, April 29, 2005

Hoofer Sailing Kickoff

Thursday night, I dropped by Trip Commons for the annual kickoff meeting of the Hoofer Sailing Club. The gathering was a great success with over 300 people in attendance. Anyone who came was given a raffle ticket for the drawing of a free membership and a 14' sail boat. I recognized many of the club regulars and fleet captains including my instructors from last summer, Michelle and Kat.

After paying my dues, I went outside to the union terrace. Apart from the few drinking under the moonlight, it was a wholly somber scene. As I made my way to the boardwalk, I could feel the cool frolic of a lake breeze while gentle waves washed up along the shore. The lakefront was inadequately lit with little going on and even less for passer-by's.

In the short walk to the boathouse, a strange sensation came over me. In the weeks past, this place was a barren of activity and in weeks coming, it will be a furor. Only a year ago, I had one of the best summers on this lake and so much has changed sinced. I felt at the moment an uncertainty of the now and for the summer months. It's an attitude I don't care much for in moving ahead. About the only thing certain is a new sailing season has begun.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Hoofers Boathouse

"The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary."
-Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Tea Master and the Ronin

A master of chado (tea ceremony), Tajima Kozo, was challenged to a duel by an unscrupulous ronin who was confident of winning with ease. As he could not refuse the challenge without loss of honor, the master prepared to die.

He therefore went to call on a neighboring master of kenjutsu (sword art) and asked him to teach him how to die properly. "Your intention is most laudable," said the expert, "and I should be very happy to help you, but first of all kindly serve me a cup of tea please." Tajima was delighted to have the chance to practice his skill, probably for the last time, and so he was totally absorbed in the ceremony of preparing the tea, forgetting what was in store for him. The expert was deeply impressed by his degree of serenity at such a solemn time. "There is no need for me to teach you how to die," he told him. "Your concentration of mind is so great that you can let yourself encounter any sword expert. When you are facing the ronin, first imagine that you are about to serve tea to a guest. Greet him courteously. Take off your coat, fold it carefully and place your fan on top of it, exactly as you have just done. Then draw your katana and raise it above your head, ready to strike when the opponent attacks, and concentrate on this action alone."

Tajima thanked him and went to the place appointed for the fight. He followed the expert's advice and totally absorbed himself with the thought that he was about to serve tea to a friend. When he raised his sword above his head, the ronin sensed that before him was an entirely different character. He could see no way around him. Tajima seemed to him as solid as a rock, completely without fear or weakness.

So the ronin, demoralized by this behavior, threw down his katana and, prostrating himself before Tajima, humbly asked forgiveness for his unspeakable conduct.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 1

Tea Ceremony

Monday, April 25, 2005

Sunday Morning at Sophia's

Coming into the weekend, a rain had brought in cool weather to Madison. What's fascinating about rain is what such an uncontrollable action could possibly mean to you and me. Let's face it, rain has been a force of nature since the dawn of our planet and has literally carved out the landscape of time. For some people it's a ruined day and others, nature nurturing its own. For me, this simple act is a cleansing of sorts leaving old thoughts for the new. It's refreshing how a storm comes through and in the days following, a bright potential.

Sunday morning had such promise. I had awaken to the invitation of a Sunday breakfast. Diana had left only the hour before on the way to the first basketball tournament of her summer league. The house felt rather empty as I set out for the door. A new week had set in with little effort.

I met Stephanie and Sita before noon on the way out to Madison's East side. In a small cafe on E. Johnson Street was the charming Sophia's Bakery and Cafe, opened to visitors for the weekend. Between the coffee, juice, and eggs was the atmosphere of friendly gathering and the affectionate appetite. I got to know my friends a little better between bites and returned the favor of my own story. And as with such traditions, I traded business cards with Steph. When I made my way to pick up the check, the friendly staff had already put us on a first name basis. The dining experience was simply perfect.

After noon had passed, I had made the decision to not go back to bed though it had been on my mind. With hours before work, I spent the day shopping with my friends. I don't usually go out to shop much and it was fun to get out. At Kohl's department store, I bought myself a new belt to replace the old cincture. In the watch and jewelry section...hmmm...let's just say I had the breast of shopping experiences. Ha!

Passing the time at Old Navy, I checked in with my sister on the progress of the tourney. The team had fought their way to the Championship Game. Unfortunately, with work only a few hours within leisure's grasp, I could not attend. I would later discover that her team took 2nd place to a loss but it's no disappointment--I would have liked to have gone to the game.

I came into work to cover a few early hours of Jenica's shift. As a delightful dessert to an already great day, Newbie had come in and had for us the newest episode of Family Guy, a week before its debut broadcast. The guys and I sat around and laughed at the silly shenanigans in its celebrated return to television.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Sunday Madison Morning

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 04-24-2005

Your social life is looking much livelier at the moment, Fei, with both the Sun and Venus moving through Taurus. Use this time to network and make new friends, so get out and see whom you can meet up with. Mercury continues to move through your career sector, giving you a voice and enabling you to do all the talking you need, to all the right people. If you feel more argumentative than usual, this just might be a good thing. Sometimes it pays to make your point very clear. Mars is moving through the last part of Aquarius and your eighth house, so your joint financial affairs continue to be stirred up until Saturday, when the red planet moves into Pisces. From this point on you will be seeking new adventures and perhaps considering some travel. On Thursday, there is rather a nice energy in the air, great for meetings and for liaising with many types of people. This might be the perfect time to hold a party or a dinner, bringing everyone in your network of friends and associates together for mutual enrichment and sharing. The Sun sextiles Uranus on Saturday, so one meeting in particular may bring great inspiration your way.

A World without a Hero

By midweek, I had read this horoscope upon waking up from an after class nap:

Bizarre dreams might haunt your sleep tonight, dear Cancer, but if you aren't careful, the dreams could disappear as quickly as they appeared. The symbols might be trying to tell you something, so you won't want to forget them. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed, and plant the suggestion in your mind that you'll wake up after you've had an intense dream. Then write the dream down before it vanishes forever.

The cause for my sudden awakening was indeed rather bizarre. Imagine a New York Metropolis with high-rise buildings lining the streets, but instead of pavement, a system of waterways ran along the building sidewalks. I was on a school trip, with friends, on a water cruise throughout the city. A coworker of mine was taking pictures with her digital camera until I had knocked it out of her hand and into the murky water.

In a fit, she made a few of us recover her memory stick and the lot of us disembarked the boat. We had to swim out to find the camera when I wondered off and got lost. As I swam about in the canal, I noticed the road median being split by shelves befitting racks of computer servers, yet they were empty with leftover parts laying about.

In my confusion, I swam on until I reached the Metropolitan Library--a structure reminiscent of Roman antiquity, faced with Ionic columns and grand steps. Over just a short ways was a marble statue, painted in colors of red, blue, and yellow. The monument had erected a crying Lois Lane holding in her arms the lifeless body of Metropolis' Greatest Hero, Superman.

My heart sank to see my hero dead and I awoke from the dream. Whatever it was that the symbolism was trying to tell me has lingered on in my thoughts. Perhaps there's no longer a need for heroes in the world. I don't know....

So tonight, after work, I met up with Steph, Sita, and James at Lucky's Bar for a chance to win airfare to Las Vegas. I had arrived only moments before the drawing but alas, we did not win. The girls standing next to us had won. Oh well.

At the bar, Sita presented me with a gift--a tiny hard cover edition of Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice. I absolutely love it. Then a moment later, I went up to the bar to buy my drink when the lady bartender throws a gift Bacardi t-shirt my way. Lucky me.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Death of a Superman

But most will remember this sad day as the day the proudest, most noble man they ever knew finally fell. For those who loved him -- one who would call him husband, one who would be his pal, or those who would call him son -- this is the darkest day they could ever imagine. They raised him to be a hero: to know the value of sacrifice, to know the value of life. And for those who served with Superman in the protection of all life comes the shock of a failure: the weight of being too late to help. For a city to live, a man had given his all and more. But it's too late. For this is the day that a Superman died.
-Superman #75, 1992

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Wingsday '05: The Book of Job 35:06

I met up with Steph and James at Lucky's Bar after work. They were already there with Terrance from Gold Team. An order had already been placed for another milestone in our everquest for Wingsday 4K. Between the 3 Rockstar friends, Fei and James took Wings 3498 and 3499 with Steph crowning off Wing 3500 and thus, another chapter is closed on the history of Wingsday. I hate to say it but it brought a glimmering hope to my teary eyes.

Later, David decides to show up and orders the minimum of exactly 6 more wings. Jenica drops by after practice and even Matt and Adriana stop in. When David's wing order arrives, they serve him the 6 along with a mysterious 7th wing--a neck piece it was thought. Needless to say, it was not consumed. Yuck!

With our wingsday count up to 3506, Matt and I engage in a debate of how many chickens sacrificed their delicious deaths to indulge our dedication. Matt's argument was in favor of the 4 wings per chicken count but alas, he had neglected the following passage from King James:

The Book of Job | 35:06

"The Lord, clarifying confusion among men, declared on Earth for each chicken shall be attributed 2 wings. With such Almightly affirmation, man was made happy."

Wingsday '05

And so my tale of wingsday debate and saucy chicken reckoning comes to an end, but it will continue another day, unabated and proliferate.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Lucky's Bar

"Man is most comforted by paradoxes."
-G. K. Chesterton


The Book of Job: A multiperspectival approach to the problem of evil, the suffering of the righteous, and the justice of God.

Neck Piece: A chicken part between the head and body, bathed in a buffalo sauce.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Wedding of Andre and Katie

I woke up with plenty of time to get ready for the day. This day of April 16, 2005 is the day that Andre and Katie become husband and wife. I have known Andre for about as long as I've known David and have met Katie on several occasions. I wish them the best in marriage. The road ahead will be full of surprises and many great things.

When I got into Waukesha, David was just on his way out to fill his duties as the best man. I stayed at his house with Jenica until the Toy family assembled. In one minivan, the big lot of us made our way to the church on the East side of Milwaukee. We walked in a few minutes late--this time not by my account.

After the ceremony I hugged the couple and gave my praises. With the official part being all but over, it was time for a reception dinner and a time to let loose. The dinner went off with no problems and later I was pushed into singing the new couple a song at their table. At the end of dinner, people began hitting the bar and conversing. Strangely, one of the couples I started talking to was an old acquaintance from Madison East High. She graduated only one year before me but we were in the same band class together, even traveling together to Orlando for the All American Music Festival.

When the dance area began filling with music and dancers all over, the Toy family and I all joined in. Alice was my partner in all of it and I apologize for being a lousy lead. I can't dance, however, I had a crazy bout of frenzied dancing when the DJ played the song Footloose. The last song to play for the night was I've had the time of my life, which pretty much said it all and brought us good friends together in a final dance.

When it was time to close for the night we left happily in being dance fools. Outside it began to rain, refreshing the night. It stopped shortly and I drove home to Madison. It was close to bar time when I made it back but I was feeling good and met up with the Rockstars Steph, Sita, and James at Genna's Cocktail Lounge. My stay at the bar wasn't long after being pushed out at closing. The four of us went back to Sita's place for some Ian's Pizza and the O.C. on TV until falling asleep.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Alice at Andre and Katie's Wedding

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 04-17-2005

Your social life looks more interesting this week, Fei, especially as there are likely to be one or two dramas associated with the Lunar Eclipse on Sunday. Being a Moon-ruled Cancer you will probably notice the buildup of tension from quite early on, so try not to overreact if put in a compromising situation. Issues are likely to involve friendships and disagreements associated with them. But to further emphasize this part of your life, the Sun moves into Taurus on Tuesday, so you are going to be more aware than ever of what your friends really mean to you. On Saturday Venus, also in Taurus, sextiles Uranus, so there is some adventure to be had. A meeting may have something to do with the way events unfold. One association could eclipse other relationships and bring you a taste of something you have been wishing for, for some time. The Eclipse on Sunday may also be associated with a romantic affair, which may need some careful handling. Don't jump in and get deeply involved until three days after the Eclipse ends - then you can make your first move. Mars continues to move through Aquarius and is stirring up your joint financial affairs - take action!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

World Languages Day: Kendo

The morning of the World Languages Day was near perfect. The air was a warm cool, the sky a beautiful blue, and the rising sun made for a good morning. I had left for the Memorial Union with only a few hours of sleep behind me but I was charged with energy. I met Mark early and helped him carry up the bogu (armor) and shinai (bamboo swords) up to the Great Hall on the forth floor.

As we prepared the area for our Kendo Demonstration, Tyler from the Kendo class came in, followed by Dominique. It wasn't long until a few of the high schools started showing up. By the time we started warm-ups, the Great Hall was filling up quite well. When Eric arrived we were ready to begin.

Mark introduced the UW Kendo program under the direction of Kiyota Sensei. He followed it with a demonstration of the basic strikes and attacks. When we finally decided to engage in combat practice, the audience got into it. Dominique fought Tyler with Naginata, a long pole halberd, demonstrating the graceful combat capabilities of the weapon. My part of the demonstration was to show kirikaeshi (warm-up drill) and a bout of ji-geiko (combat practice).

At the end of the demonstration, a few students came up with questions. I was excited to share with them experiences in my short time with the program. They were equally excited to share the armor I let them handle. In the crowd, I recognized a few people including Laura from the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center. My mom and dad had picked up my sister from school and the three of them dropped by. And although this was not competition by any means, it was the first time my family had come out to see my Kendo played.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

World Languages Day

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Ultimate Fighter

I saw the finale of the Ultimate Fighter a few nights ago. When I first got into the show, I thought it to be just another reality show but this time exploiting the UFC. In actuality, it was entertainment's spin on tracing a fighter's journey and training for the fight of his life. In the end it came down to the fighters with the greatest heart and determination in reaching his goals to fight in the UFC.

Light Heavyweight
Forrest Griffin defeats Stephan Bonnar

Diego Sanchez defeats Kenny Florian

For those not familiar with the Ultimate Fighting Championships, the venue began as an event to pit the best fighters from all sorts of Martial Arts against each other in the octagon ring. There were few rules and the win came at knocking out or the submission of the opponent. In the early wins, it was clear that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the dominant art of submission. As the sport developed and more rules came into place, the UFC evolved into a system of Mixed Martial Arts. The marketing and entertainment value was clear but at the center of it all had always been about which competitor was the Ultimate Fighter.

The finale show was mostly a promotion for the big pay-per-view event, the UFC 52, taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will pit two of the most skilled fighters of today for the UFC World Light Heavyweight title. The current champion, Randy "the Natural" Courture, will square off against the number one contender, Chuck "the Iceman" Liddell, in one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history.

In other amusements I read an article about the 5 Inventions that Change Your Life. Of the five listed technological inventions, three of which I had been using for years including TiVo, the iPod, and even the Sonicare toothbrush.

Activity: 1 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 2

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Happy Birthday David!

Leaving work on a slow Saturday night, I went out for David's birthday. I had called Kelly and was told that they were hanging out at the Karaoke Kid. When I got there David was on the verge of passing out and Jenica ready to go home. Since Andre and Alice had come down from Milwaukee, it was my job to get David back into the party mood.

After listening to a twist on Meatloaf's I would do anything for love, we left karaoke behind to hit up a chicken wings experience. With not having gone there for some time, I chose BW3. The band playing there that night sucked but the wings were great.

With the tournament called off, I will be part of a Kendo demonstration for the UW's World Languages Day.
The details of our session are as follows:

21. Kendo
Presenter: Mark Kenoyer
Featured Language: Japanese
Department/Program: Department of Anthropology
Location: Memorial Union – Great Hall (4th Floor Central Core)
Date: Thursday, April 14, 2005
Time: 10:20am-11:00am

If you've got Thursday morning free and you're on campus, come on by.
Anyone and everyone is welcome.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Kendo Demonstration for World Languages Day

Move On by Jet

Well I been thinking 'bout the future
But I'm too young to pretend
It's such a waste to always look behind you
Should be lookin' straight ahead

Yeah I'm gonna have to move on
Before we meet again
Yeah it's hard
If you had have only seen
Take control
Don't be afraid of me

'Cause every once in a while
You think about if your gonna get yourself together
You should be happy just to be alive
And just because you just don't feel like comin' home
Don't mean that you'll never arrive

Weekly Horoscope: 04-10-2005

Your career continues to be a hot subject at this time, Fei, and at least things have changed for you in rather exciting ways recently. The upheaval associated with last week's Solar Eclipse may have brought you a chance to do something you have always wanted to do - in fact, something you have had on your mind for some time. But it will also mean making changes, and this you are not always comfortable with, as you tend to cling to the known. This time, fate may pry your pincers apart so that you are forced to let go and do something different. Venus trines Pluto on Monday, which is going to bring you more choices and more opportunities to shine. Trying to control any situation to make it work for you isn't going to help; you need to flow with the inspiration of the moment and the relationships you are currently involved with. The good news is that on Tuesday, Mercury turns direct which means you can now make those career moves, sign up for new projects, and say yes to new jobs. Whatever you have been waiting on you can now set in motion. The Sun trines Pluto on Thursday - yet another chance for change.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Spring Cleaning

Hey. Good. Yup.

From the moment I woke up until now, I had set my mind on clearing through the clutter in my room and in my life. It's a lot about deciding what stays and what goes.

By midday I committed to having dinner with friends. Max and Mollie are leaving for Honduras (to visit Zack) in a few days and a plan was made to meet up at Casa Bianca.

Now I have had Casa Bianca before but had never gone to the place out on the west side. It is a completely different experience. The mood was different. And despite the somber surroundings, the group of us were a cannon of controlled obnoxiousness.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Max and Mollie at Casa Bianca

Have a nice trip you two!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Championship Wingsday

In the last few days, I've felt not necessarily sick, but more so weak.

After a long day of class, I went into Kendo practice. I began my warm ups and then practiced kata until others showed up. Weak and out of it, I mustered enough energy to get through the session.

More bad news: I had only just heard that our trip to the Cleveland Open Kendo Tournament would be cancelled because we could not procure a University vehicle. Apparently, the UW decided to sell most of its fleet and we had not booked early enough.

I cleaned up and joined Dustin and his mom at La Hacienda for dinner. It was Mary's birthday and they invited me along.

Afterwards, I met up with Sita and Bart at Lucky's for a Wingsday. David and Jenica were at the bar as I came in and joined us. Steph arrived later after a few laps in the pool.

The NCAA Championship was on all the screens tonight so we drank to a close game as the UNC Tar Heels take the win.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 3

My Fei in Bogu

We all honor heroes for different reasons--
Sometimes for their daring,
sometimes for their bravery,
sometimes for their goodness.

But mostly we honor heroes because at one point or another,
we all dream of being rescued.
Of course, if the right hero doesn't come along,
sometimes we just have to rescue ourselves.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 04-03-2005

An exciting if slightly unnerving week is ahead, Fei, especially as some strange things may happen to your career. Don't panic though, as this could actually work in your favor and may push you into moving out of your comfort zone. There is plenty of emphasis on this part of your chart, and the Solar Eclipse in this section will add to the ferment. As for the start of the week, be sure to focus your attention on your long term dreams and wishes, as on Tuesday and Wednesday Venus and the Sun sextile Neptune. This makes for an ideal time to try out a few affirmations, do some hypnosis, or explore visualization techniques. It is later in the week that things might get more pear-shaped. As the effects of the Eclipse get even stronger, and as the Moon always powerfully affects you, you are best not to make any new career moves unless they are offered to you first. Circumstances are going to be arranging themselves in very fascinating ways, and you don't really need to interfere in this. Keep those pincers to yourself until three days after the Eclipse has finished and you may find you are delighted with your new situation.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Day is Ruined

I read something disturbing....

Activity: 1 | Energy: -1 | Friends: 0

Superman II

This Superman is nothing of the kind. You see, I've discovered his weakness. He cares. He actually cares for these Earth people.
-General Zod