Sunday, July 31, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 07-31-2005

Your joint financial affairs are uppermost in your mind at this time, Fei. You are thinking very seriously about the whole issue of money, and how you can improve your stock of personal happiness. Saturn in Leo is encouraging you to come up with a strategy that will enable you to make significant progress. But you will have to apply yourself and get on with it. Mercury continues to be retrograde in this section of your chart, which is going to put a wrench in the works if you were expecting faster than normal payments or money from other sources. There could be delays, so you will need to take this into account. Take very special care on Tuesday when Mercury opposes Neptune. Make sure you understand any information you are given if you are thinking of signing an important contract. There could be hidden clauses that you have not previously noticed. It would be better if you could wait until August 15 when Mercury turns direct, as financial dealings will go smoothly and this time of obstacles will be over. There is also a New Moon in Leo on Thursday, which is great for making new plans and setting financial goals for yourself. Your project will blossom with the waxing Moon.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Commodore's Cup '05 Windsurfing Race

By Thursday afternoon, the weather could not be any more perfect. The sun was out under a few small clouds in an otherwise clear blue sky. The air temperature was a light cool with very little humidity. I could not wait to get out of class and run down to the lake.

When I got out to Hoofers, Joe was coming in from a lesson and I took over his board and sail. He had out a large 7.2m sail and a Prodigy. I had never taken out a Prodigy board before and as I started out, Joe suggested I sail toward the hospital where I could see upon the water surface a steady gust of wind. I liked the stability of this board and the large sail gave me a lot of power. Right around Picnic Point, the Prodigy board started to plane. I sheeted in on the sail and began to take off.

The feeling was exhilarating. Unlike some of the other boards, I really enjoyed the level of control I had on the plane. I carved in and out of the wind's path while crossing from one end of the lake to the other. When my arms began to fatigue I headed back in to see a fleet of windsurfers leaving shore. They must be the racing crew coming out for tonight's windsurfing race. I flew back in to get a drink of water before returning to the race area.

Prior to our turn, we sat around on the water to watch the Techs race. Kat, a skilled Tech racer, was going to represent our team. I cheered her on as she came in to take third overall. Shortly after, it was our turn to go. All of us uphauled the sails and took off on our boards around the triangular water course. On one leg, I had a good lead, beating out Eli until another boarder (a non-racer) sailed into my race path and took me down. With a fall and a late uphaul I lost the lead. By the end of the race, I had been out on the water for over four hours. Once in, all of us windsurfers helped each other in putting the equipment away in a shared spirit of camaraderie.

At dinner, my team, the Fantastic 420's, had teamed up with the Disco Techs for tonight's themed party. Some of us served dinner while others were raising a tent for some late night disco dancing. Later, a limbo pole was brought out and the Superheroes and the Disco Dudes took the ever lowering challenge. A point was eventually made that by shedding clothes, the limbo dance could be made easier. Nakedness ensued.

By the time I got down to my boxers, David and Julie stopped by to join the party. Near the end of the night, a decision was made to go night sailing. Mike, the J-boat Fleet Captain, carted us in a motor boat to Tony's boat which was already sailing out on the lake. When all of us boarded, we soon discovered that the ship's cabin was taking in water due to the excessive weight of the overcrowded deck. On that note, some people decided to go home while Mike, Vice-Commodore Jessica and I boarded the keel boat Spray. Though none of us had a skipper rating for this ship, we quickly figured out how to rig and set sail. Eventually, we came alongside the other boat to anchor together out in the lake. When all the commotion came down, a few people were lightly talking while others, like myself, laid out under the stars. Following all the crazy partying was a never more peaceful night below a clear sky. Before shutting my sleepy eyes, I looked up to catch five shooting stars flare in the twilight. The night could not have hardly ended any better.

Commodore's Cup '05

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Commodore's Cup '05

The Fantastic 420's Team Roster

Carolina... Storm
Erik... Invisible man?? Aqua man??
Fei... Quailman
Kathy... Silver Surfer
Kat... Pink Panther
Luke... Spider-man
Michelle... Red Mambo
Patrick... The Thing??
Roz... Wonder Woman

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Commodore's Cup '05 Ultimate Karaoke

Today, I had my midterm for class so I'm pretty tired from studying through the night. I feel as though I did well because I recognized almost all the terms and ideas tested. After class, I went home for a much needed nap. I would forego the day's sailing competition in favor of Kendo practice. We've got the Midwest Kendo Federation tournament coming up and an email was sent out about training early.

Many of the UW Kendo Club members showed up and we had a great practice. I think with so many people training, it boosted my own commitment and I felt like I made good strides in my Kendo play.

I got cleaned up after practice and went directly to the lake front. Most everybody had gone already for the night's event. I ran into Rui down by the boathouse and we talked a bit of windsurfing and using the harness. Of course there was the occasional inquiry about Wingsday. Once I left him, I drove over to Union South where the bowling competition had already started.

While there were no professional bowlers amongst the club, a few of the teams pulled ahead in points. Since it's Commodore's Cup and style matters, it was declared that after a certain frame, an article of clothing had to be shed before throwing the ball. In short, there was a lot of nakedness, all done in the spirit of competition, entertainment and amusement.

Before long, the Union was about to close its doors so the HSC hits up the Stadium Bar for a little volleyball and karaoke. David and Julie meet me there before my duet with Michelle and Kat. Another great night.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 3

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Commodore's Cup '05 420 Racing

For Tuesday's competition, the Cup was host to 420 racing. The storms of the previous day had brought in a cool weather system along with medium-to-heavy wind conditions. Michelle and Patrick raced for our team in the running for middle place. As they went out to compete, I jumped on a board to watch the event.

While making my way out, the Techno shortboard I had taken out was not giving me much stability to just hang out and be a spectator. In fact, the choppiness of the hurling waves was tearing me apart so I made my way in to trade for a trusted Melody board. From the deck, Juan challenged me to keep at it. His words were "if you don't get your butt kicked out there, you're not learning anything." He suggested that I'd be better off taking a Hi-flyer so that I could at least plane in the current conditions.

On the water, I got a few nice rides heading downwind. Out past the mooring field, the wind line grew more intense. In the direction of the hospital, a Tech had capsized and turtled over. When I got closer, I saw an older man being slammed into the windward hull as he tried to climb up the underbelly of the boat. In his struggle to get on top to raise the small yellow craft, he wrangled to keep his glasses on and lessen with his body the constant slam of the relentless force of nature.

Another Tech sailing close by came in but the sailor dared not to help him in fear of capsizing his own boat. I pulled up beside the flailing man and ditched my board and sail in the water--this gave the older man at least some flotation to catch his breath. Like many drills I've had in my experience at HSC, I used all my weight and strength to pull the boat back up. With the waves still pounding both of us, I had the man swim to the leeward side for protection and a better leverage to get into the ship. Success. Once he got in, he first lowered his sail so that Harvey (the Rescue Boat) would get his attention and come rescue him.

I sailed around on the Hi-flyer for some time until the 420 race ended. I saw Michelle and Patrick getting into some roll tacks and they accounted for capsizing twice and still finished the race. Once all the boats had come back in for the night, the windy conditions subsided and were fairly tame by sunset. As dinner was being served, I changed into my Quailman outfit and joined my team of Superhero Sailors, the Fantastic 420's for a night of dancing, drinking, and dare I say it, posing for glamor shots.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Dancing Fantastic 420's

Monday, July 25, 2005

Commodore's Cup '05 Techs versus Windsurfers

I wasn't feeling well at all when I woke up today. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the weather, but perhaps the junk food that I've been consuming. Most likely, it's the strain from hours of back to back shifts at work. On Saturday, following an overnight shift the night prior, I got about 4 hours of sleep before returning for an unprecedented 20 hour shift. Anyways, energy levels were not where they should be.

When I finally got up and about, I started to clear the clutter from my desk. Mail, papers, and to-do tasks littered my computer area and I did things one by one until most of the important things were handled. Then I systematically made myself input all the tasks for the week in my iCal program so that I could have some organization in my life once again.

By early evening, my body started to fill with positive energy so I went to the lake for tonight's Commodore's Cup event. A rain had just passed the area and it was nice enough to go out for the Tech versus Windsurfing race. My team, the Fantastic 420 is in a position that we're out of contention for the Commodore's Cup but in a good spot to take the Half Fast Trophy for middle place. In the windsurfing competition, our Captain Michelle took first in many of the races but because style matters, even she lost out to her rival Laura who had sailed topless the whole time.

After the race, everyone came back in as storms trailed the fringes of the lake. Thunder boomed from the distance as many lightning strikes hit ground around the surrounding area. Expecting rain, the party was moved to inside the tunnel where food and beer were inclusive in the Cup's entrance fee. It's going to be a long fun week of racing in style and social parties along the lake. I can't wait for the karaoke competition!

Activity: 2 | Energy: 1 | Friends: 3

Commodore's Cup '05 Techs versus Windsurfers

Unwell by Matchbox Twenty

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

Hold on
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown
And I don’t know why

But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 07-17-2005

Mars moves out of Aries on Thursday, Fei, into Taurus and the social sector of your chart. He will reside here for some time - a number of months in fact. So from hereon your social life is going to blossom and get a lot more hectic than it has been. You will be encouraged to get out and meet more people than you have in some time. And, now that Saturn has left your sign, you are not quite as defensive. Things are opening up for you, and the more people you meet, the more opportunities will come your way. Venus in Virgo is encouraging you to refine your taste in literature and the arts, and to delve into a few books or novels that will open your mind to new ideas. You are in for a few weeks of cultural enrichment. Saturn and the Sun in Leo continue to put the focus on your personal financial affairs. You are no doubt giving a great deal of very serious thought as to what you can do to improve matters in this area. Mars squares Saturn on Sunday, which may bring about a state of frustration as you try to resolve a conflicting issue.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Let the Commodore's Cup Begin!

Early Friday morning, I went out to the SWAP Shop to browse for computer parts to fix up an older machine. On a rare find, I got a PowerMac G3 for an awesome price. My first thought was to gut the machine and sell the parts but my interest got the best of me and I'll be fixing it up and keeping it as a media center for my widescreen LCD TV.

By early noon, I was already at work because of a shift swap so that I could attend the opening ceremonies of the Commodore's Cup later tonight.

Before getting down to the Hoofer Sailing social, I first met up with David, Julie, and Matt at the Union Terrace for a drink. I then invited them to the social so that they could meet my teammates

Alas, many of the team members decided to sit out on the ceremonies. The only person I recognized on my team's roster was Michelle and it looks like I won't get to meet my other teammates tonight. On the other hand, David and friends were invited for free food. With some time left before dinner, I took Matt and Adriana and a few of David's co-workers on a leisurely sunset cruise. I had Matt help me rig up the Badger Sloop and we meandered about on the water.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Let the Commodore's Cup Begin!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cooling Off

On midweek Wednesday, Madison had just a horridly hot day. Looking to cool off after class, I biked over to the lake. I was hoping to catch up on a little sailing or grab a board but there was not a shred of wind present. As I waited around for the wind to pick up, I ran into Prof. Hallisey down by the lake front. It appears that his daughter participates in the Hoofer Youth Sailing program which by the way is an excellent summer program for kids.

With windsurfing out as an option, I decide to go for a swim--just anything to cool off. Out in front of the Union Terrace was an unoccupied swimming pier. I walked out there, put my things aside and swam circles in the protected area. Once I tired of sloshing around, I came up for a breather. There were a couple of cute lifeguards on duty but they had little to do but talk about school. One of the girls lent me her goggles so that I could go for a quick dive of the shallow shore area. The algae was still strong in concentration in this part of the lake and I could see at most two or three feet in front of me. There wasn't much to see but fields of lake weeds and the occasional large rock. I did see, however, a few large carp and a smaller pan fish.

Feeling refreshed, I left for Kendo practice in the early evening. There was a good amount of people at practice despite the heat. Even Kiyota Sensei commented on how hot the practice room was going to exhaust even the lightest of workouts. All of us grew tired, nonetheless, at the end of practice I left with a feeling of accomplishment.

The unrelenting heat finally let out a little by late evening. Since I hadn't heard much from Andy lately, I decide to give him a call to see if he wanted to hang out. He's currently doing his Math Grad work at UW Milwaukee and he's not around a lot of the time. Anyways, neither of us had seen the new movie the Fantastic Four so we go to Star Cinema in Fitchburg where the screens are large and the theaters, I mention, are quite air-conditioned. As with most recent comic book adaptations, I enjoyed the movie and its attempts to stick to the creator's vision for the superhero genre. At the end of the day, there wasn't much accomplished at all but instead another summer's day of relaxation and cooling off.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wingsday '05 Fei's Fantastic 4000 Wings

Even with the anticipation of the night's event, I left no abandon to the beautiful day preceding Wingsday's Fantastic 4000. I went to class as usual, arriving a bit late in the same manner. And though thoughts of what we were to do tonight had entered my mind, I still paid close attention to the lecture in which we talked about the Tao.

The Tao, the very force that governs the world, is unseen and appears to have an almost magical property. In particular, our focus was to try to describe the Tao. But therein lies our fault which the Tao Te Ching openly cautions us that "the Tao that can be named is not the Tao." In our attempts to grasp the concept, we fall into the trap of using language. Once we put to use a word to describe the Tao, we limit it and in one instant all that it is, it ceases to be.

So for the world of the Taoist, it is paradoxical. When the Tao is best described, it is conveyed by its relationship to the world. An example is the comparison of the Tao to water. Like water, it can take many forms and it can appear and disappear at will. Water is soft and blends into its surroundings but it can also be forceful, strong and carve valleys out of rock. It can be both passive and aggressive. And while we can observe these things about water and ultimately the Tao, it is this very same thing that we describe in which there is no description. In some way, perhaps in only one, we can look to the Tao in explaining how is it that we will reach 4000 chicken wings, from a thousand count before, exactly one year ago. The crew may be different, but the venue is the same.

While class was certainly educational and entertaining, I left in a rush. The leaves on the trees had a story to tell and it spoke of activity on the lake. When I got there, a mob had formed at the rigging deck with some people coming in, others anxious to get out--a blue flag day, high winds on the lake. We haven't had one of those in a long time. What made this day great was not just the high winds but its presence in the stunning sky, clouds, and sun above. Brock was there as usual, having been out windsurfing for the early part of the afternoon. He needed a break so we walk a short distance to the Union to get drinks and I grow impatient as I'm ready to just jump on a sail and go. I see Rui out there as well and he's coming in to fix something on his board. Mostly, fans of the sport were all outbound. I grab a Techno and do the same.

A heavy wind was thrashing waves upon the choppy surface. On a shortboard and a large sail, I carved a course out into the fury. It didn't take much time to get planing. This exhilarating feeling of flying on open water was not without respect, because in any moment where there's disregard, nature would punish your afterthought with a plunge in the lake. I loved it and I stayed out there for hours until the fleeing moments of early evening. The wind was dying then and there were only hours until Wingsday night. And if it wasn't enough that the day's windsurfing rocked, I get rated for shortboard heavy upon returning.

When Brock and I get to Lucky's Bar, we run into Sita on the way in. Inside was already a cast of people including Stephanie and some of the scuba gang including Andrea "Diesel" and her friend Keely, Dan the Tiger Woods of Wings, and of course Pardeeville Amber. Headstrong, the small group puts in the first order known as the pre-wings. As they were being prepared, Lucky's management had no objection to cooking some store-bought vegeterian wings for Sita.

Shortly after the arrival of the wings, the rest of the crew start showing up in droves. David and Mik Dr. Wings drop in followed by Green Teamers Metzger, Kevin, Greg aka Fei-2, and Jessica. With the next round put to order, a few non-eaters drop in that included Steph's bro Justin/Dave, Free Range Patrick, and to my surprise, Laura. And even though these guys didn't eat chicken wings, you are all welcome to join us in making history. When only 80 wings were finished and people were getting full, the promised target looked out of reach. Then Greg the Prophet makes his appearance and prophesizes the orders to make our mark. It would be done without falter. The path was set.

At some point, we decide to receive Rui with a crowd wave when he gets to the bar and thus how he got his nickname "Tsunami". In the last round of 40, Captain Matt, Chen, and Julie swoop in to support the last leg.

By the final five wings, a countdown was started.
Brock, 3996...Rui, 3997...
Chen, 3998...Amber, 3999...
and with Stephanie, the 4000 was consumed.


Joyous, all of us take down a shot. We have done it.

Wingsday '05 Fei's Fantastic 4000 Wings
Chart | Gallery

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Wingsday '05 Fei's Fantastic 4000 Wings

Wingsday Crew Callsigns

Pardeeville Amber
Andrea "Diesel"
Brock "Madmartigan"
Captain Matt
Free Range Patrick
Greg aka Fei-2
Metzger the Closer
Mik Dr. Wings
Rui "Tsunami"
the Prophet Greg

Monday, July 18, 2005

My Belated Birthday Dinner

After leaving from work at the earliest hours of the morning, I dropped by for breakfast where my sister Diana was starting her second day at her first job ever. She was very much surprised to see me stroll in and the ladies training her decided to comp my meal.

At home, I fell asleep quickly from the fatigue of working overnight. Once I got up, I talked to Stephanie about tonight's belated birthday dinner. There had been too much going on in the last few weeks since I spent my birthday in Ann Arbor and we now finally find the time to sit down for a meal together.

I reserve us a tea room at Ginza of Madison and Steph surprises me with the most excellent gift. She had prepared a shirt that had inscribed the mighty words from the Book of Job 35:06. On the eve of a new Wingsday, this was absolutely perfect.

Both of us had the Japanese version of the Surf and Turf dinner and ate almost three meals worth. I wasn't expecting any of this for my birthday and Steph made it happen. I have to reiterate what an incredible person she is. She has done far more for me than anyone has in a long time. For this, I owe you Stephanie all my gratitude and respect. I know that you will always be my friend, through any hard times and will continue to be on my mind throughout the best of all life's experiences.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

My Belated Birthday Dinner

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 07-17-2005

Saturn has now moved out of your sign, Fei, and into Leo, making you much more aware of your financial situation and how you can make it work better for yourself. You should begin to feel easier about things in general and far less pressured over the coming weeks and months. Now you want to improve your work, career and lifestyle situation. This is where you can use the power of Saturn to make concrete plans and to take steps to channel your energy into projects that will be of great benefit to you. But at the same time, as your determination comes to the fore, Mercury turns retrograde in the personal financial sector of your chart, which means this is not such a good time for signing new financial agreements or making major purchases such as cars or computers. It is better to wait until Mercury turns direct on August 15. But this period will work out well for clearing out financial clutter, sorting through old bills and generally researching new options. A Full Moon in Capricorn brings relationship issues to a head on Thursday.

Sarah Skipper

On Saturday, I slept in until noon. There's been so much stuff going on all week that I needed to catch up on sleep. Once I was finally up, I left for the Memorial Union to meet up with Sarah and her mom for some day sailing.

Today, I would play the role of instructor as I took them out on a Badger Sloop and went over the basics of sailing. I covered the parts of the boat and positions on the windclock as I took a course out to and beyond Picnic Point. It turned out to be a leisurely cruise as winds were almost light-to-none. I let Sarah take over the helm several times and she did a great job as the skipper.

Andy was taking out his students for the crazy windsurfing techniques class and we saw many of them tumble as they tried trick after trick. Another of his students got caught way downwind and drifted too far off. He had to be rescued. On the way in, the wind died to a calm which meant I had plenty of space to mount a good but slow landing. I unrigged the Sloop and the three of us parted.

As I went inside to get some ice cream, I heard my name called. It was Metzger yelling from the Terrace. He was hanging out to some Terrace ska music with Caitlin and her friend Rose. Apparently, they had seen me sailing earlier from afar while they themselves were canoing. I had half a drink with them before going into an overnight shift for work.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Sarah Skipper

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Naginata Workshop

I had a great time hanging out with Steph at the social last night. Perhaps I had too much fun because this morning of the Naginata workshop, I'm feeling a little hung over. I get to the NAT as the seminar had already begun and I warm up on my own. I then find myself jumping into the thick of things as I'm quickly swinging around the lengthy Naginata weapon. The two Guest Sensei from California and Colorado correct me since I missed the introduction to this martial art.

Today was incredibly hot. We take several breaks as we work hours on end learning how to strike and block. Before noon, we stop and head out for lunch at Wasabi Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar. The group decides there's no time to change so we're walking around in our Hakama Gi in public and of all days, it's Maxwell Street Days. It's very hot and there's lots of people on State Street. I bet many of them are wondering "hey, who are these guys?" At the Mimosa stand, I say hello to Sita's mom. After the short break, it's back to several more hours of Naginata training.

At the end of our training, we take the Guest Sensei out for dinner at Imperial Garden. I asked Stephanie and Sita to come along for dinner and to meet Kiyota Sensei. We had a family style dinner as each of us ordered and shared around our dishes. I am glad to have finally had the chance to formally introduce Sensei to Stephanie. These two amazing people have been quite the influence in my life and I'm a better person because of them.

Naginata Dinner

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

Naginata Workshop

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hang on Sloopy

What began as an ordinary humid summer morning turned out to be quite the contrary. I sluggishly woke up for an early morning Sloop lesson at Hoofers. As I made my way downtown, I noticed myself running late so I parked in the lot underneath College Library, well aware that there was a two hour limit enforced. I met up with the instructor Raj and my fellow crewmates as they began rigging the boat. I had just barely made it.

Out on the water, a variably light North wind took us in the direction of Picnic Point. Only somewhat semi-awake, I let the other guys skipper first as I sunk myself into the rail of the boat. In the distance, a few fishing boats staggered near the shore but the lake was mostly left alone. Upon approaching the mooring field, a few beginning windsurfers were seen out with one of the UW's Physical Education courses. At only a few hours up from sunrise, Harvey (the Rescue Boat) was not open for business. There would be no rescue if we needed the help.

When it came for my time to skipper, I demonstrated, without hesitation, my command over the boat. I had some excellent tacks and jibs as I navigated my course around the windclock. By the time I took the helm, the variable wind had begin to pick up to an almost consistent light wind. In one short moment, Raj surprised us all by jumping in and then having me rescue him in a man-overboard drill. Again, I felt comfortable commanding the crew to get off the wind to lose some speed and then come about upwind to slow us to a stop in front of the floating instructor--a successful rescue.

Near lesson's end, the lake slowly began to fill with activity. The yellow hulls of the Techs could be seen near shore as we made our way back in. Slightly past the mooring field, we heard yelling from the water. A young girl was splashing around and calling for help. No one had seen her amid the shadow of the boats in mooring. From our Sloop, we were in the best position to mount a rescue. This was no drill. As the skipper, I took action to come about beside her. It was when we neared our approach that we noticed her without a life jacket and desperately fluttering to stay afloat. Another shocker was that she had somehow lost her top and was clinging to a canoe oar. I commanded the crew to close their eyes as I offered the vulnerable girl my shirt. Her story was that she had swam too far from shore and being anemic, she was not able to swim back.

After the success of our rescue, each of us were tested on our landings. I took us in on a close-hauled approach and just softly touched the pier with the bow nose. In one of my crewmate's attempted landings, a rear rope had caught up against the rudder and in the commotion of setting it free, someone trampled my Oakleys. With the lenses intact, I think I can fix them. Once we got on pier, one of the lenses slipped out of my hand, fell in between the wooden planks, and into the water. I immediately jumped in and opened my eyes to the murkiness of the lake. I saw a faint object falling and reached out for it. With sheer luck, I had successfully grasped it as it fell. Boy, this day was just growing increasingly interesting.

At the end of the lesson, I was the only one that Raj had awarded the Sloop Rating. Finally, I had achieved this summer's goal. Already way past the two hour limit of the parking garage, I expected to get back to the car to see a big yellow ticket. There was none. Very thankful of the day's luckiness, I quietly made my way to State Street to grab a quick lunch. There I ran into my friend Gabriel and we sat down to eat at Mediterranean Cafe. There was just enough time to eat and then run to class.

After class, I went back out to the lake for some windsurfing. The wind had picked up enough to enjoy a few nice rides on a 7.5m sail, by far the largest I've taken out. As I was returning my board, I ran into Brock. He was about to take a board out himself but by this late in the evening, Hoofers was closing up. Instead, we get a pitcher of beer and sit out on the rigging deck. Later, I convince him to tag along as we searched for Stephanie at the Scuba Social. There I met a lot of the members such as Amber from Pardeeville and then I invited them all out to the upcoming Wingsday. We drink and we chat as I get to see my good friend Steph to cap off what turned out from the ordinary to the most extraordinary of summer days. Perfect.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Fei and Steph at the Scuba Social

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Way of the World

I never would have thought a summer class could be enjoyable but I'm really liking this Religious Studies class under Prof. Hallisey. Today at Kendo practice, I learned that he's a friend of Mark. The topic came up because the final in class is on the same day I leave for the Kendo Camp in Kalamazoo. With an academic departmental connection, Mark will work it out so I can take the exam at a different time. Ahh, the sweet taste of bureaucracy.

Anyways, the topics we've covered thus far have dealt with patterns in Chinese religion and culture. Prior to tackling the subject of Confucianism, Prof. Hallisey had to go through the school of thought known as the Tao, or the Way. It is only with this knowledge that we can talk about Yin and Yang, the duality that makes up myself and the world; destruction and causation, dark and light, female and male. You see, we are all a part of the world and all of us correlated by this Force, the Way. The nature of the world is in constant change. Our striving for balance within the Way is the pursuit of harmony.

Speaking of Chinese tradition, Julie, an amateur historian herself, has done a study of the Fei. The approach is fascinating and her research reveals how my reputation has preceded me.

Julie's publication can be found at: F.O.B

As much as I'm enjoying class, the high vertical window panes of the classroom taunt me with the summer's good grace. There be sailing weather only paces away and I'm stuck inside. As soon as I leave class, I bike down to the lake to catch what's left of the morning's flailing wind. In Tuesday's outing, I signed on for Stephen's shortboard clinic. The shortboard Techno, compared to the rugged Melody, is smaller, a lot lighter and has no centerboard. These factors along with light wind conditions made for a tiring trip out into the lake. The constant struggle to stabilize my body position on the board (so that I don't sink) and the weight of the sail exhausted the last of my body energies.

For the better part of the day, the cityscape had been shrouded by a stingy cloud cover, allowing small glimpses of sunlight through. On my way back to shore, a rift tore open on the starboard horizon and the grandness of the setting sun came down upon us sailors. Still cloudy in all other parts of the sky, a storm brought in light showers and a rainbow stretched forth out from the distant Rescue Station into downtown Madison. At the other end of the sky, the solid yellowish-orange glow of the sun could be seen through the drizzle of falling rain.

Though the rain had forced some Terrace patrons to seek dry cover, many like myself stood out to marvel nature's awesome beauty. After returning my board, I joined Andy in gazing out at the horizon. There were few words exchanged, only moments held in awe. As most will agree, there is just no capacity to describe the majestic merit that was Tuesday evening. For a short time, my life was in harmony. This is the Way of the world.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Another Beautiful Sunset

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Til the Morning

The awakening came on the dawn of a new day. I awoke without alarm nor morning call but little did I remember falling asleep the day before. I guess I had dozed off on the computer and crawled into bed. Now the morning's here and there's time before my first day of summer class.

I decided on an easy morning and put the finishing wraps on a friend's gift. Today is Sita's birthday but unfortunately, I won't be able to share in celebrating her day. I've got a long day scheduled and there's plenty to do.

Before going into class, I dropped off a present for Sita. With the card, I had written a poem with my apologies and best regards.

Til the morning comes,
A birthday girl's yearly stint.
And when the morning becomes,
Her eyes gleam the early glint.

By half noon,
A party comes soon.
And in the darkness of night,
She'll party to her heart's delight.

At evening's end,
Forgive me friend.

I will miss you.
Your friend, Fei.

My summer class looks to be an interesting one. We'll be covering five East Asian Religions (Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam) under the cultures of China, Japan, Tibet, India, and Indonesia--all in a four week span. There is no doubt that I'll be busy.

After class, I had a bit of time before practice so I stopped in at the Lakefront on Langdon for lunch. There, Prof. Menocal had walked in and unexpectedly joined me at my table. We got to talk about the summer's art history classes as well as the return of Prof. Murray to the department. He tried to get me in one of his upcoming fall classes but I'll have to see how my schedule works out with nightly Kendo practices. Getting to know my senior, I learned he has published several books on Frank Lloyd Wright and all of us fans of Japanese wood prints.

In practice, I went over all the kata that is required for sho-dan (black belt) followed by striking practice. For the rest of the time, I worked strictly on footwork and timing. Feeling good, I got cleaned up and met David for a small dinner before going into my long night of work.

Sita, I hope your birthday festivities went well. I am sorry I could not make it. With friends' anniversaries, a cousin's engagement, new outdoor acquaintances, and yes, birthdays, I would be amiss to forget that we are all gathered here today, to get through this thing called life.

Happy Birthday Sita!

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Happy Birthday Sita!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 07-10-2005

All the pressure and difficulties you have been through recently are about to lessen, Fei, as Saturn leaves your sign on Saturday and moves into Leo. You have probably had enough of battling problems that never seemed to go away. But now they will, and you will emerge so much stronger and able to confront almost anything that comes along. Saturn changes signs on Saturday, and at the same time Venus also trines Pluto. This adds a touch of power and also makes you determined to transform more than a few areas of your life. Don't rush to make any new financial decisions at the start of the week. Mercury and Venus in Leo both oppose Neptune, which means that things may not be as rosy as they seem. Somewhere there is a catch you are not seeing. So wait before you make that big purchase, or before you decide to sign a new contract that involves your money. Mars trines Pluto on Friday, which adds a real burst of power to the events of the week. An obstacle to a certain career decision will be blasted away, and you will be able to forge ahead. Venus trines Mars on Sunday, so you can impress authority figures.

Sea Fever

by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Sea Fever

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Before Midnight

I wasn't looking forward to another long weekend of work but because I had worked on Independence Day, I got the better part of Friday evening off. David had called earlier about making sure I met up with him for Julie's birthday later in the night.

Making the best of my time off, I stopped by the lake front. I got there as the Hoofer Sailing social was getting into full swing. The woman behind the grill was the very same person Brock and I had rescued a few nights before. They were serving a type of turkey burger and a side of spicy potato salad. Yummy! :)

For most of the day, the lake was not graced by any wind but rather delightfully warm weather. It was another great social dinner over a spectacular sunset. I'm the type of person that takes life day by day and the setting sun signifies an end. It's an end to a cycle which will begin again and in each birth is hope for great things. This night would inevitably turn out well.

With dinner over, the social began to wind down. Most people just sat around the rigging deck with a beer in hand and all sorts of ideas on the mind. After taking a call from David, Brock and I headed toward the Capitol Square to meet up with Julie at Brocach Irish Pub. It was her birthday and being a Math Grad student, a bunch of her department friends came along. Though it was kinda fun conversing with them, the party did not really start until David and Matt arrived. A round of birthday shots went around and we followed it down with a pint of Guinness.

The atmosphere at Brocach was good but the group decided to go to the Cardinal Bar to meet up with her other friends. Brock and I were the first to arrive to pay a cover charge for the Retro 80's Night of music and dance. It was here that I got introduced to Julie's friend Sarah. Working in the same math research department, both work with applied mathematics in biological modeling. Yikes, right!?

I found Sarah incredibly fun to talk to and we got down to discussing things from sailing to rock climbing. I suggested that she teach me rock climbing and in return, I'd teach her how to sail and windsurf. Sounds good to me. Later, she brought up paragliding, the exhilirating sport of running off a cliff and flying through the air in a parachute. I would love to fly and I'm totally game for it. When everyone else got to the Cardinal, another round of birthday shots were passed around and dancing ensued. Sarah and I were the first to hit the dance floor as Come on Eileen came through in thumping techno. With midnight approaching, I warned that I would be leaving soon. Sadly, I had to go directly to work after the bar and I said my goodbyes and birthday wishes.

Happy Birthday Julie!

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Happy Birthday Julie

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Summer Days

Today, I met an old friend down by the lake to practice my sailing on a 420. Wind conditions were much like yesterday (lame) so we take the boat out, put it in irons, and go for a swim where the water is clear. She, of course, loses her watch in the lake while swimming. With no way to recover it, we watch as it disappears into the deep. On a slow and steady course in, we talk and catch up on life. No surprises here.

The wind picks up a bit going into the early evening hours so I drop her off at the pier and take out a board. It wasn't much to get planing or anything but enough to practice tacks and jibs. At sundown, the wind picks up considerably. I tried some crazy moves such as an uphaul upwind, swinging the sail around and quick starting. Not too shabby.

Once I had my fun, I went back in. Brock had stopped by the lake front as I unrigged my sail. He got his first Tech rating yesterday and was anxious to go out and practice. I joined him and we sailed inline to out past the mooring field. Now a steady wind, conditions were good to play follow the leader.

Not long after, the night had taken over the Madison sky. Only a slim band of light can be seen over the horizon as we made our way back to pier. On the return, we catch a novice windsurfer trying to get back in. She was having some trouble going upwind and soon found herself drifting farther away from Hoofers. I quickly landed my boat and jumped into Brock's to mount a rescue. We sail in haste because it's getting dark.

With Brock at the helm we reach the windsurfer fairly quickly, however, with his inexperience and my weight on the bow, we capsize, almost turtling. Though a bit embarrassing, we recover gracefully and I sail back in the tech with my passenger. I had no problems getting back but the stronger winds made it hard for Brock to take the board in. Once on land, we call it a day.

Sadly, tomorrow is the beginning of a new work week. I start my summer class next Monday so this will be the last of the long days on the lake. There's little doubt that I'll be out on the waters again, but in a lesser capacity. Summer's half over. Responsibility beckons.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Long Days on the Lake

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Tuesday was a day to rest and recover. It's been less than a week since turning twenty-five and I'm already feeling old. The good news is that my car insurance rate goes down. I get to the lake by late afternoon to see that light-to-no wind conditions had discouraged people from going out. A sludge had built up on our side of the lake and the algae had grown in, resulting in a sickening sewage smell. Yuck! :(

There was just no way I'd go windsurfing today. Instead, I join Stephen's Sloop lesson so I might get that Sloop rating which has eluded me all season. I know that I can totally sail the crap out of the Badger Sloop and I do. Unfortunately, the other students in the lesson were all novice sailors so we start at basics and no ratings were given out today. I'll just have to be humble and wait. Another day, another rating.

By late evening, I went home to have dinner with the family. I'd imagine it's the last dinner together for a few weeks since Diana is leaving for a basketball tournament in Menominee and I'll be going to Kalamazoo for a Kendo Camp. After dinner, I get to hang out with my sister and we decide to go see the new movie, War of the Worlds.

Let me extend a congrats to my cousin Chi for getting engaged this last holiday weekend. I wish you and Jerin, the future Zanders, the best!

If you need a wedding singer, give me a call.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 2

Congrats Chi Zander

Birthday Shots!

James and I spent the Forth of July working at the Help Desk. Although the holiday required people to actually go outside to view fireworks, the contrary had led the cause for a busy work night. At the end of the shift, David and Julie had called to invite me out for a round of birthday shots. James came along too as the four of us wondered down Regent Street looking for a bar still left open.

At the end of our search was the Regent Street Retreat. A handful of bar patrons lingered around but the place was mostly empty. Of course David starts us off with a double round of whiskey shots to get the late night going. I finish Julie's because they were a little rough for her. Rough indeed--especially since returning from a long weekend followed by a bustling night of work.

Activity: 2 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

America celebrates its Independence today.
It's the birth of a free nation and democracy in the modern world.

Happy birthday America!

Activity: 2 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 2

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Last Day of Championships

On the second day of competition, the jittery nerves had subsided and all the competitors had calmed for the team competitions. Again, the California team dominated the event and took home all the first place prizes.

During some downtime, I took a stroll through the area where vendors were selling their wares. These shops sold shinai, bogu and other merchandise. I bought a tenugui (a head wrap cloth) that commemorated the 2005 10th Memorial All United States Kendo Championships--a souvenir of the event since it takes place every three years. I also bought an expensive Hasegawa Carbon Shinai because I brake too many of the bamboo ones. I purchased it from the vendor Eguchi USA who let you draw for prizes when making a large purchase. Of the many trinkets that could be won, I luckily drew a prized shinai bag valued at over $50.

Happy birthday me from the fine folks at Eguchi.

At the tournament's end, the All US Kendo Federation hosted the closing ceremonies with awarding the medals and then a closing speech. Before breaking up, most people took group pictures and then parted ways.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

All US Kendo Championships 2005

Weekly Horoscope: 07-03-2005

There is a New Moon in your sign on Wednesday, Fei, which coincides with the movement of Saturn as it transits the final part of Cancer. There is hope and a sense of relief in the air. So use the next two weeks to propel yourself into a brand new future that will be lighter and brighter than you have thought possible. Take all of those plans and ideas that you have had to put on the back burner, dust them off and sort out the ones that really do speak to your heart. These are the ones you'll want to focus on the most. Mercury and Venus are moving through Leo and the personal financial sector of your chart, and this will bring you a chance to enjoy using and spending your money. Find new ways to invest in things that bring you happiness as well as growing in value. On Wednesday, Mercury and Venus sextile Jupiter, which puts the focus on your home and on using your money to enhance and beautify your surroundings. You may be interested in looking out for antiques or works of art that help give a refined atmosphere to your household. Mars sextiles Neptune on Thursday, so you may be feeling in a charitable mood and keen to share your resources with others.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

All US Kendo Championships 2005

The early morning drive to Michigan was fairly relaxed. We made a stop in Chicago to pick up Dominique and then a stop for lunch at Culver's. I kept awake with a good flow of Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino® from Starbucks. It wasn't the most healthiest of morning choice beverages but I appreciated the caffeine rush.

We arrived in Ann Arbor by seven in the evening and checked into the Holiday Inn Express to drop off our bags. Shortly after getting to our rooms and unwinding, we had to get together again to find the gym where Michigan University was host to the tournament.

The Village of Ann Arbor is much like Madison. Once getting situated with the main streets, it was easy to find our way around. The clubs met around nine for a tournament meeting and introductions. It was also a time to volunteer to take up positions with helping ringside for timekeeper, scorekeeper and other positions--all of it to make the tournament run more smoothly. The volunteers in my group were all fun loving people from places such as Boston, Cleveland, Connecticut and Washington D.C..

The morning of the competition was the start of my twenty-fifth birthday. As hectic as usual was the morning call to breakfast. I always thought to eat light before a long day of Kendo so the continental breakfast was more than adequate. Our team got to the gym early for preparations.

The All US Kendo Championships plays host to all the Kendo Federations in the United States. The winners here will be a preview of players for the World Kendo Championships in Taiwan next year. The Wisconsin team is a member of the Midwest Kendo Federation with many of its members in Chicago and Detroit. Our federation did not fair so well in competition compared to teams on the west coast. In fact, the Southern California Kendo Federation took first places in all the team competitions with many of its individual members taking firsts in their respective divisions.

Today was a fine day to watch all the amazing competitors playing the best Kendo in their respective styles. After a long day of competition, I returned to the hotel for a swim and then a long relaxing dip in the jacuzzi. This did wonders on sore muscles as I lazily got out to head out for dinner. The bento lunches at the tournament were hardly gourmet for anyones besides the hungary kenshi. After getting cleaned up, we met in the lobby and joined up with members of the New York team.

For a birthday dinner, the two teams decided on the Shalimar Restaurant serving fine Indian cuisine. Over beers and spicy dinners shared in the family style of trying a little of each dish, we got to know each other, share stories, and toast to a great day of competition.

Happy birthday Fei!

All US Kendo Championships 2005

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 3

All US Kendo Championships 2005

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone...

Friday, July 01, 2005


I returned home early Thursday morning to sort out the days ahead. There's just a mess of papers and obligations sitting on my desk in chaos. The first errand was to run out with the family and make a visit to Diana's senior photo session. The family took me out to the Olive Garden for a light lunch. On the drive home, I could feel a bustling wind pick up in the area. The weather was just gorgeous--sunny, mostly clear skies, and warm with a strong wind out of the West. I decided to postpone things further and rush out to the lake.

On arrival, I noticed they had put up the mystical blue/red flag, indicating that winds were near dangerous. Techs were capsizing anywhere an inexperience sailor had lost control. 420's had turtled here and there. From the deck, I saw Harvey (the Rescue Boat) dragging in two windsurfers, Brock and Michelle. Brock had literally torn up the sail and had what looked like a hand sprain. As Harvey was leaving, the rescue crew warned of 35-40 mph winds out in the middle of the lake and to use absolute caution. With those words, I simply smiled and grew excited at the thought of flying out there. The problem at hand was that I don't have my board heavy rating--especially the extra high winds of today. In the tunnel, the instructors had cancelled all classes and went as far as not allowing any heavy testouts because of the dangerous conditions.

As I walked back toward the rigging deck, Juan and Andy, the club's best windsurfers, were just getting ready to go out in the rough. I asked them about letting me testout in these conditions because if I could handle this then anything lower would be cake. Juan explained that testouts were hard to do on a day like this because Harvey was already overloaded as it is with rescuing people already out on the lake. I promised that I would not need assistence and swore to make it back. Against his better judgement, he gave the okay and I rigged up. Brock joined me going out with a sprained hand. This is what they mean when guys talk about living and dying for the plane.

I had gone out in light heavy winds before but this was just insane. White caps swelled up all over as I flew off them. Keeping the sail steady was key and its extreme power had no problems tossing my weight around. I was thrown off several times but it deterred me little. If anything is to be said, the falling had made me more determined to catch the good ride. I tacked back and forth past the mooring field several times before returning back to pier. I asked Juan what it would take to get my heavy rating. He smirked and gaily said "You got it!"

Of course I would go back out for more of nature's powerful pounding. I took a beating on several tumbles and had some struggle when I almost got blown into a big J-boat. Out past the mooring field was the wind line and that my friend is where the ass-kicking begins.

With the sun setting in the West, I returned. Brock and I got a pitcher of beer and chilled out on the lake front. Hungary after a rockin' day of hi-flying, we headed to Takara for some sushi and hibachi. I am glad to spend this little time with a friend before I go out to Ann Arbor for the All US Kendo Championships. This year, the nationals are held in the midwest, a homecourt of sorts. Sadly, the first day of competition is on my birthday so I'll be spending it not in the company of fond friends.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 3 | Friends: 3

Helping a Windsurfer out of the lake