Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chapter 23, Verse 1: Party Like it's Twenty-Zero-Nine

May I clarify something Space Travelers? When Prince so famously sang the iconic "party like it's 1999" he set a really high bar for festivities in the closing days of the last millennium. I mean, don't get me wrong, I did some great things in 99, but I think 2002 ended up being the year I give the bouquet to.

I don't know what adventures Twenty-zero-nine has in wait for me, but here's best wishes to big ones. Currently, I'm working on trips to Chicago, England, and a river adventure down the Mississippi River. Other projects include another blog (to be revealed in the future) and learning guitar so that come summer, I can sit in my apartment's window and play into the alley.

I can't say I have any new year's resolutions. I had so many things I wanted to work on that I recognized last year, so I didn't wait for 2009.

We put such a high premium on new year resolutions as if they have a greater chance of fruition or mean more than any other self motivated change made on any other date. By this logic a resolution made on leap year would be even more special and guaranteed to be successful. Something similar happens on birthdays. We take one day to celebrate the lives of those we care for when we could be celebrating each other's lives any day (or every day for that matter).

Well, here's to 2009 anyways I suppose. May it be better than 2008, let it be worse than 2010. Let me be better now, but never my best (I'll always need something to be working toward right?). Here's to new love, new friends, brothers, sisters, and the first time I write the date and forget to write "09."

Here's to adventure.
Here's to Space Travelers.
Here's to heroes both sung and unsung.

Here we go.

Ice your heads and I hope all Space Travelers had a great night. End transmission.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 10: What's in a Name?

As I leave 2008 behind Space Travelers, I leave behind the era that was college. After 7 years in my undergraduate, I find myself now here in Northern Virginia. I shed my skin, and a new me is present.

countdown: (post grad) 3 days 15 hours 15 minutes

MEMORY 10: What's in a name?

When I was young I didn't know my proper name. Not at least until I was 15. The circumstances of this revolve around my parents having a spelling discrepancy on my birth certificate and my social security card.

One read: Alias Seichi Tagami
The other: Alai Seiichi Tagami

The day that I went to get my driver's learner permit, I saw my birth certificate for the first time. I immediately notices the spelling of my names. Needless to say, that evening, I had words with my parents...

I decided on a hybrid of those two names: Alias Seiichi Tagami

I went by this for years. But mostly, my friends and family just called me "Seich" for short.

When I first arrived at my school, I decided to change my name. Or at least change the name I go by. I had some weird fixation on the idea that my identity was bound to my name and that Seiichi was someone who let others walk on him, and that I needed to reinvent myself.

The first attempt at a new identity was to take my first name Alias, and shorten it to just "Ali." I didn't work. I just couldn't do it naturally. It was too forced. I was simply trying too hard to do the whole reinvention thing.

One of my early college friends I met had a really hard time pronouncing my name. I told her that "Seiichi" is just like "Say Chi". So she just started calling me Chi. I liked it. I kept it.

What I didn't realize then, that is so clear to me now, was that my desire to be somebody new was not something I needed to try so hard for. It was inevitable. The acquisition of a new name was just ironic.

I was named by my Great Grandfather Ikeda. He came from Japan at the turn of the 20th century at the tender age of 16. His ship came into the San Fransisco Bay on April 18th 1906, the day of the great quake. I like to joke that as the fog cleared and he saw a city in flames that he quickly pulled out his brochure and began to complain. The ship would be leave the bay. It landed and My grandfather began to farm in the Salinas Valley.

His family grew and he eventually even bought land. It was a great success for an immigrant.

He gave me my middle name; the primary name I would go by. The name means "Sincerest first born."

Sei - Sincerity
Ichi - 1 (yes, like the number.)

Number names are not uncommon in Asian cultures, and usually symbolize some statue in the family. For me, it was that I am the bearer of name. Only I can carry on the family name, and culture.

(I imagine your wondering how I plan to tie this back into college. I would too. I'm trying to figure it out. Be patient with me. I know where I'm going... I think)

My first name Alias/Alai was a creation by my parents from the word "ally." This was largely due to the fact that racial tension between my families was ended when I was born. My birth granted both sides of my family the perspective needed to come to terms. Hence, I was the bridge; the "ally." I guess they didn't like the spelling or something... Wither way that's the etymology behind those two.

So here I was at college looking for a new identity, a new purpose, a new creed. I think then that it is interesting my new identity was to become a community builder, mentor and student advocate. Interesting because there in the name was the "sincere friend."

I chose my Mentor in my job as an Resident Assistant. We are very close. She challenged me to make a legacy. Every year, at the closing banquet she would close with...

"Live, love, leave a legacy."

I slowly began to understand what a legacy really was. I was not people remembering what your name was, and what you did. It was instead making long lasting changes around you that went beyond your time.

In my weekly lunches with my Mentor, she told me that she was proud of the legacy I had left at the school. I asked her what she thought my legacy was, and she said that her department would fail without the students leading each other. She thanked me for staying involved, and explained how many students I had introduced to student advocacy. She thanked me for being passionate about what I did. She acknowledged the struggle I had through college, and told me that I had I not chosen to engage face first many of those challenges I that I would not have grown into the man I was.

I arrived at graduation an hour before the ceremony. I looked around at the sea of graduates. We were handed a card with our name on it. We were supposed to write out the pronunciation of our name.

Oh brother.

I wrote: Aa-lie-us Say-ee-chee Taa-gaa-mee

I knew it would get butchered. I knew this because of every class and every teacher I have ever had in my entire academic life. I held my card and thought about that fact. That on the first day of every class, I had to speak up and say more than just "here."

As I walked up to the stage, I handed the speaker the card. There was a long pause... then a awkward attempt at my name, then a apologetic shrug. I shrugged back and made my way across the stage. As I shook the hand of the Chancellor, he said "close enough?"

I replied "It's not my name that should be remembered."

I don't believe that because my Great Grandfather gave me my name that I fulfilled any sort of duty, or calling. I don't believe that my name defines me at all. I am proud to be defined by my actions.

No longer addressed by the same name, no longer clothed in the uniform of my youth, I am starting a new life for myself. However you know me...


...I hope you know me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 9: Hero no Maru

There is something a bit recursive about this memory Space Travelers. This memory is about the trip which inspired this blog to even exist in the first place. Like some trips, we now end back up where we began.

countdown: 8 hours 44 minutes

MEMORY #9: Hero no Maru

In my second year in college I began becoming more professionally oriented. I began to care about having a career and I started working on my resume. I remember how my environment made me feel like having an internship was important. More than than important, it felt like it was necessary.

I felt weird that I didn't have a summer internship. I decided to work harder in my junior year.

I began early by attending some programs put on by the career center at my campus. They made it seem easy. The entire thing was odd because in the engineering community, we are constantly being told this line about how important we are and how jobs come to us. To me it was all odd and I didn't really realize what was happening to me.

By second semester I had not had an interview and I was becoming very depressed. I had really applied myself and been extremely disciplined. So by April, it was obvious I would not have an internship.

I needed something to feel that void. So I left. I just got into my car, and I drove. My road trip in total was 7,000 miles over two months. There is something very liberating about being on your own. I had lots of time to think. Heal.

I was in San Diego. A friend had invited me to a birthday party. I didn't really know anybody. I remember being approached by some very...


Californian people. Californian youth at least. Out of high school, but still younger than me. Beautiful people. Nicely tan. They seemed interested in me. I was a new person in their circle, so I stood out. I was dressed a lot nicer than normal that night. I could almost blend in.

They were very interested in what I did. Not in Engineering though, just about how much money I would make. They very very certain that I belonged on the west coast, and that I'd need to find a job out there. I said how much I liked the area and mentioned that I had family in the area. However I followed that with how I liked some companies for the projects they worked on. When I told then the cites I'd be in they seemed to turn their nose up at the thought of living in the midwest.

a "fly-over" state

I replied, "Yeah I guess our job is to just make the food. I guess I'm out of place."

I thanked my friend for inviting me, and left. As I left, I was still disgusted by these superficial plastic materialist people.

Then I remembered how I had become so obsessed with some job goal. A goal I didn't even set for myself. It was set for me. I did want a job, but for the experience, the skills. The casualty of this obsession was that I became sadly aware of two truths.

1) I didn't have a single goal in my like that didn't have something to do a with a career.

2) I had stopped doing the things I loved to become a professional.

I spent the second half of my trip just soaking in the beauty of the Pacific northwest. As I drove back east, I remember sleeping on the side of the road in Montana, only to wake up to the most majestic sunrise. It was just for me.

No cars.
No people.

I think the sunset gets all the glory, but sometimes a sunrise can be breathtaking.

It's honestly a shame I'm not a morning person, and it's too common that if I see the sunrise, I'm stuck i a building.

Now I make new goals for myself. I let myself wander. I dream again of new adventures.

Being professional is the just a hobby now. My real occupation is being spectacular.

When I wrote this, I guess I didn't know how true the part about the hobby was. The spectacular part is still a work in progress though.

Friday, December 26, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 8: Late Nights

Konnichiwa Supesu no hitotachi! Ikeyo ne?

countdown: 1 day 6 hours 28 minutes

MEMORY #8: Late nights

I've had many late nights in my college career. However, too few due to late night liaisons. No. Instead I have spent a many nights up late compiling computer code while posting on forums such as A2K and my community blog. I've probably had more sit down meals at restaurants at 3:00 AM than I have had during the hours of civilized society.

However some nights, I'm not awake for any real reason. I sit, and wait. Wait for something amazing to happen. I will wander outside and listen to the silence. No cars, no people. I hope to be the only person to see or experience something special. It rarely happens, but that's fine. If it happened every time, it wouldn't be special.

When the birds start singing, I know it's bedtime. For the sake of pride, I often dive under the covers if I sense a sunrise coming.

Does it really matter what burns the midnight oil?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 7: Losing the Fight Against the Tank

Dear Space Travelers, I had an epiphany today. I can submit all these LOST post right now and have them timed to post at a certain time. This means that I can actually work ahead on the schedule. I'm not the most punctual person in the world, so the notion of being early with posts is kind of an alien one.

So here's the deal, I'm going to post up the last four LOST chapters and set them to post over the next few days. I decided I want to be finished with this part before New Years. I think I should do something special for that. Until then, here's another in the graduation series.

countdown: 3 days 9 hours 8 minutes

MEMORY #7: Losing the Fight Against the Tank

Through high school I was a tobacco educator in a student led program. We would go to local elementary schools and present to 5th graders about the dangers of smoking. In addition to that we would field question about middle school and high school in general. It was something I was very passionate about.

During my two years at my community college, I felt like something was missing, and that desire to get involved is probably what encouraged me to become so active on my university upon arrival.

I put on programming at our school which was need based, and much of what I did was related to wellness education. Later, I joined a group on campus which was specifically designed to address student needs in wellness education.

We were the campus source for said programming. This was more than just an organization though. We were paid for our work and were expected to stay updated on related topics.

We stayed informed because often we would have to field questions related to delicate topics. Examples included unplanned pregnancy, new medications like Gardisil, date rape, and depression (or other mental health related topics).

One of the specific service we provided was related to many of the campus greek houses. Many houses must complete some sort of educational programming to keep their charter. While some houses are enthusiastic about various programming, others seem to try and scrape by with doing just the minimum.

The day of my memory, was in the fall a few weeks before "Greek Week." Greek Week is for those unaware a week of programming put on campus to build community and display spirit for the various fraternities and sororities. It is custom to build a float. For some houses, this is a bigger deal than homecoming or any other large campus event.

The house that shall remain nameless requested that we present to their house on the topics of alcohol and safer sex. We arrived early, as we always did, and waited to be greeted by someone from the house. Nobody came. We decided to simply wait on the porch until we were addressed. We could not set up because we didn't know where we would be presenting.

As we sat on the porch we looked at their float. It was a large wooden tank built with moderate skill. It's paint was a 30 minute spray-paint job of olive green, black, and brown meant to resemble camouflage.

Then we noticed it. In bold yellow letters on the back read the phrase:

"Porch Monkey's for Life."

It was alarming. Being that we still had not been greeted, it was already awkward. Add to that the fact that I was the only non-black member of the group (other than my friend AJ, he was Indian, and a woman Christina). I could tell the other presenters were uncomfortable about going into the house to present, and other's were just upset.

After a considerable amount of time we were finally greeted by the VP of the house. He directed us to the dining hall and told us where we would be presenting.

We began the presentation with a crash course on condoms. We received boos from the crowd, and the girls in the group were whistled at or received cat calls. I was new to the team so I was in a support role at this presentation, but I found myself becoming more and more angry.

Later, we had volunteers from the house come forward and attempt many simple tasks while wearing special goggles. The goggles distort the user's vision in a way that the brain sometimes becomes confused and the user can loose balance. The main idea here being that the wearer is in a simulated loss of motor skills, much like if they were drunk.

Long story short, the volunteers were encouraged by the audience at large to be disruptive and rude.

By time it was over, I couldn't leave fast enough. Once outside, I felt like I could breathe easy knowing that not every other word I heard would be the word "fag."

I was upset. I told my supervisor. I told her that if she had to sign off on anything saying that they had completed the training to not sign it. I was insistent that they learn something.

I posted later a note on my facebook page describing like this my experience. the note raised a lot of controversy. I was called in by my supervisor and told I would lose my job if I didn't take it down. She had been bombarded with phone calls all day from the executive board of the fraternity in question. They like to use words like "alumni" and "powerful." My fellow educators sided with me and were appauled when they learned of our supervisor's ultimatum. I argued with her, but ultimately felt that I loved my job too much. I folded. I felt I had to pick my battles.

because of my note, I attracted a lot of heat and the entirety of the house began addressing me very aggressively. I learned that word of the tank with the "porch monkey" on the back of it had made it's way to their fraternity's national office, and that they didn't like the heat.

I was unapologetic, and after being forced to take the note down, I felt like the gloves were off. I found myself in public debate over the appropriateness of having such a thing on display.

Their defense was that their house had a large porch and that they had some time ago began calling themselves "porch monkeys." I distinctly remember them aggressively telling me how the house has "a black guy."

I tried to reason with them.
I tried to reason with my supervisor, but she signed off on their training.
I almost lost my job.

Sometime later, I learned that several years ago the same house had performed a skit in black face make-up at a Greek week event.

This is my story of defeat. I lost. I sometimes wish that I had not taken down the note, and just quit the job.

Some changes require more than just one person, I hope my former supervisor has the same regret that she didn't support me when the heat came down.

Oh and I guess I should mention it's Christmas or something... I'll begin by noting that I'm working tonight, so wherever you are, don't'cha come a complain'n to me, o-kay?

If I could be anywhere on Christmas doing anything, I think I'd be snowed in somewhere just looking out the window. I would not be trying to figure out a solution to the situation. I would simply be, and by "be", I mean it in the Beatles "Let it be" kind of way. I imagine myself with close friends, my cat(s) (from back in Missouri), and I'd just drift in and out of consciousness all day while listening to the music. The Kink's "Waterloo Sunset", Elliott Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louie Armstrong come to mind. I'd watch the cats play with the balled up wrapping paper and drink peppermint tea.

Perhaps in 2009 Space Travelers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 6: Perhaps I'll Fly Too

This is a particularly personal one Space Travelers. However, as a bonus, this one comes with some video! I become more and more aware as I post these about how much I'm sharing here on this blog. I don't regret it, I'm just conscious of it. This place, my little corner of the interwebs is kind of my intellectual garden. I choose the arrangements of the flowers, and sometimes people wander through and look around. When they do, I wonder if they've been to better gardens, or if they want to rearrange my plants. I guess all I can do is keep planting and hope over time this garden flourishes.

countdown: 4 days 8 hours 23 minutes

MEMORY#6: Perhaps I'll Fly Too

Today was something beautiful. Today was the day my plane flew. College isn't always defined by the nights of drinks with friends, the lack or abundance of sex, or the struggle you encounter.

No. Sometimes it's the feeling that we have when you set out to do something and you do it. You don't always know what you are getting into. You don't always know what is to come. Sometimes it it just better to participate rather than anticipate.

I'm going to share with you what words may not be able to convey.

My plane in flight...

This was a beautiful moment for me. The video was taken by my friend. I took video too, but my video is horrible. The reason being that I couldn't take my eyes off of the plane and I left my arms fall to my side as I was paralyzed in amazement.

I saw in that plane myself. I think I might have seen the future in it too. It's hard to explain.

Engineering is hard, and in more than one occurrence, I've questioned myself. There have been times when amidst the smartest people in the world, I felt intimidated. There have been many times I just didn't feel smart enough or good enough to be here.

You see, I am this plane or it is what I should be. I put in more lonely nights in the lab designing and building it. When you look at the plane from the outside, you can't see all the mistakes; all the repairs. If the plane could speak before takeoff, would it have told be that it too didn't feel like it was good enough to fly?

But the plane can't talk, it can only trust that I gave it everything it needed to fly. So when the pilot throttled up, and my teammate released it from rest, I didn't breathe. I couldn't breathe because I lacked the confidence that I had given it enough.

At first it just rolled along. Then it gained a great deal of speed. It takes one second for a plane to leave the ground, and once in the air, you forget it was ever on its wheels.

My plane was confident.
My plane teared through the sky.
My plane took my breath away.

All of that, and it was still the same plane. It had all the breaks and mends; the last minute design changes and repairs. It was like me. I'm not perfect. I've got breaks and repairs to.

With graduation, I'm on my own runway. Perhaps I'll fly too.

Perhaps I'll fly too.

Thanks as always for reading Space Travelers. Peace to all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 5: The Virginia Tech Shootings

As promised Space Travelers, another installment from the graduation series. This one in particular is of a sensitive nature. Since moving out to the DC area, I've met lots of alumni of Virginia Tech. So I guess this one goes out to you.

countdown: 5 days 6 hours 30 minutes

MEMORY #5: The Virginia Tech Shooting.

Last year, a terrible event took place at Virginia Tech. A student armed with a gun(s) went into a residence hall and then into a academic building an killed several students and injuring others.

My school, Missouri University of Science & Technology offers many parallels to that of VA Tech. In fact in my department, over half of the professors attended VA tech for their undergraduate, graduate or both. My department is not unique in this way. Our two schools for whatever reason, share a certain bond.

In fact no more than 2 months prior to the shooting a lesser known event took place at my university. A student had made a campus threat of bombs and that he had anthrax. In this case, the individual was simply depressed and attempting to make enough violent claims to provoke a suicide-by-cop. The authorities were able to detain him without anyone getting hurt. In the end, all of his claims were false.

The day after the VA tech shootings, there was a campus vigil held out on the lawn. Student gathered, and there were speakers.

A speaker from the counseling center spoke about the importance of mental health and briefly told the students about the services they offered for those students facing severe depression.

The Student Body President spoke about coming together as a community.

The Chancellor talked about how the University always has our safety in mind. He offered us confidence in our school's security protocols. He was very official.

Nothing that these individuals said moved me in the slightest. I felt the entire thing was a show for the students; a way to pro-actively address the hysteria factor.

However, there was one last speaker. A teacher from the civil engineering department. A man that was in no way extraordinary in his presence or title. The only conclusion as to why he was chosen to speak was that he like many faculty had attended Virgina Tech. He had additionally taught there at one point in his career.

When he began to speak, I noticed how he kind of stumbled with his words. He wasn't a confident man, nor did it seem that his public speaking skills were the greatest.

Something grabbed my attentions though. Unlike, the first speakers, this man was not reading from cards. Certainly, he was struggling, but I found the patience needed to focus on him. As I began to pay more attention, I could see him searching for the words he needed to say. It was as if I could literally feel his frustration. I could tell he had something to say, and I could tell it was important.

After some time he found the words, and when he did, he speach smoothed out and his face became determined.

He frankly said that both the incident at our school, and VA tech involved international students, and that many people would use these incidents to make it harder for our international students to come here and study.

It was at first an odd direction for the vigil. I like others were confused.

He continued. He reminded us about the contributions the international community has made to our school and the nation. That they, like us, were here for an education and had found several ways to contribute.

What he said next I will never forget.

"In my life as an engineer, through my good work, and through my research, I have saved more lives than any man can take in one day."

Those words shook me to my core and I sat there on the lawn in tears. I felt in that second for the first time what my duty was as an engineer. I understood why it was so hard for him to find the words, and I understood why he had taken the time to speak in advocacy for our international students.

As a side note, I should explain that in that particular year I had become increasingly aware of the military applications of what I learned. This had been a heavy thought on my mind. I felt conflicted between my passion and the industry it was embedded in.

After hearing that man's words, I've been able to resolve my conflicts. I now feel like a part of the engineering community at large and have a sense of obligation to better the world through science.

If I do my job well, you'll never know.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 4: Home Away From House

Space Travelers, Space Travelers! I hope you've been enjoying the updates with the LOST chapters from my graduation. Nothing wrong with a little walk down Nostalgia Lane right? Well continuing the stretch, here goes.

Countdown: 6 days 15 hour 58 minutes.

MEMORY #4: Home away from House

This memory may by somewhat unique to me, and not really representative of the college experience, but I feel that it some way it is a story which others may be able to relate to in some capacity.

In the winter of 2006, Missouri was hit really hard with two severe ice storms. In my college town, the ice was intense, but we did not lose power at any time. In my hometown of Springfield, however, the ice brought down many trees. It was declared a disaster area, and some parts of the town were without power in the cold for several weeks.

A casualty of the storm, was that I lost my home. The house I lived in my entire life, was a small house in an older neighborhood shaded in trees. Many of those trees were branded with bald spat where the local children would climb them, and scuff their bark with their sneakers.

I found out from my father that the house had been hit hard in the storm and that the roof/ceiling above my room had been destroyed along with the roof/ceiling above other parts of the house.

By time I had made it home, my father had relocated, and I was able to walk into the house. Without the power, the food in the refrigerator had spoiled and the smell had moved through the house. In addition to that the broken roof had let lots of water in the house. With the moisture, came mold and in many places the floor had become warped.

I salvaged some things from the house that my father had missed in his collections. What I picked up could barely fill a shoe box.

I left my house, and I realized I would never return to it. In the back yard was the plots where I had buried family pets. I would never be able to return to see them again. This may seem odd, but when growing up, my family duty was to take care of the animals. It was a special connection I had to the house.

I was greeted by friends when I returned. While my house was gone, I still had a home.

I don't believe many will experience this kind of thing. However I do think that many can relate to the feeling that the place where they grew up was no longer their home.

It's weird.

Also, I have three new videos complete! It's my election night adventure with Space Travelers Maia and Catherine into DC. I finished it a while ago, but I ran into problems uploading it to You Tube. The video was too long so I had to go back and edit the vLog into 3 parts. I'll be posting them here soon, but if you don't want to wait, just go to my You Tube Page (click the link in the sidebar -->) and watch them now.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 3: Not a Head of Lettuce

As promised my loyal compatriots and statesmen and stateswomen, a short tale of college past of yours truly. This story Space Travelers is one less eloquent but honest.

Countdown: 8 days 5 hours 55 minutes

MEMORY #3: Not a Head of Lettuce

So it had been a dry spell for me. I was (am) a young horny male and quite unapologetic about that fact. For whatever reason things had taken a weird turn and odd new symptoms were appearing.

It's hard to describe, but imagine a cat in heat rolling around making a fuss. That was me, except male and homo-sapian.

It was serious. I was out of control. I felt like the walls were closing in, and madness was making it's siege at my castle gate.

So much in fact, that in the night in question, I was trying as hard as I could to figure out how to fix it. It was in those hours of insanity that my mind made a very poor conclusion.

"I'll just go out and get laid."

It FELT (emphasis mine) brilliant, and it took no time for me to spring up out of my chair. However, reality gave chase, and somewhere between putting my jacket on and the door I realized...

"It's not like getting a head of lettuce."

There I stood with my jacket half on too ashamed and confused about what to do. I stood there just waiting; looking for anyway I could forget how stupid the idea was.

I eventually retired to my desk in defeat.

In my many years in college, I had few chances to be really promiscuous. I met a wonderful girl my second year and we were together for 3 years. Had I not met her, who knows what bedtime adventures I would have had.

Hardly a story, but sex seems to be a large part of college.

Friday, December 12, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 2: The Palace

Continuing in my graduation series, here is the second installment of my favorite college Space Traveler memories.

Countdown: 9days, 15hours, 10minutes until graduation.

MEMORY #2: The Palace

I was a resident assistant for a few years while in college. I'm sure many memories to come will perhaps also have to do with that fact. The second memory is the community I lived in my second year.

I was originally supposed to live in a new building on campus, but when China bought up all the steal back in 2004, the construction stopped and the campus had to find an alternative location to place all the displaced students. Some RAs and their communities were put into a hotel for the first semester. I on the other hand was put into a off campus location for the entire year.

It would become "The Palace." Originally abbreviated as "TP" for "Tenth and Pine," the corner it was on.

It was the second floor of a building in downtown that had been renovated to accommodate extended stay visitors to the area. Below it was a salvation army thrift store. For any college student, living above a thrift store meant an endless supply of vintage clothing and an immediate excuse for putting off laundry another day.

$8 to wash my clothes, or $2 to buy a suit that only my grandfather would wear. The choice was often obvious. We proudly would parade around campus as the most fashionably challenged, but were strangely confident in our uniqueness.

I lived there from August 2004-May 2005, so I was there during the election and I got to see the dynamics of young academics trying out their ideas with each other. I saw them come together to form a very tight knit group.

In January, I was stuck in traffic on I-44 on my way to St. Louis when I received a phone call from my supervisor. She informed me that one of my residents had died. he had died on his way home to St. Louis, and it was at that time I realized that the traffic I was in was the result of his accident. With no real way to exit the highway, all I could do was inch forward in the stop and go traffic, and after some 20 minutes, I was able to see the wreckage. As I drove by I cried and was overwhelmed with sorrow. It would be the closest thing I would get to a "goodbye."

I was sad that day not because I lost a good friend, but because I realized that I had become caught up in the excitement of The Palace and had supported those who were really into the community while perhaps not giving more back to those who were more introverted. You see, I didn't know Ryan that well, and I had not really taken advantage of the opportunities I had been given to know him.

I had not even been that great of a RA to him. He would come by and complain about noise, and I would rarely act on it because the noise was being made by my most active residents; the ones who endorsed my idea of community there.

I was troubled with guilt, and when I returned the next day, I gathered all of the community together and told them what had happened. the guilt I experienced for not being better, was shared amongst the group as many felt similar feelings.

After a few solemn days, Ryan's parents came to collect his belongings. they left his couch and TV because they said that the idea of making room in their house for these items would be too painful. The day after that, a letter appeared on the wall. It was written by Andrew, one of Ryan's roommates. It was an honest and forward letter about who Ryan was for those who didn't have the chance.

For me this letter let me forgive myself in many ways because what I was punishing myself for at the time was that I had not taken interest with him like I had the others until it was too late.

The community came together in a new way after that, and to this day have found ways to live together.

In fact, in May, when I move, I will be living with two of them in Northern Virginia.

Our life in that building was full of many unique things, and I know that I can never look at a Salvation Army Store the same again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LOST Chapter 18, Verse 1: The Yardstick Man

Dear Space Travelers, I'm hard up for new ideas at the moment, but I shouldn't let that stop me. I have left other bits of my across the blogosphere. I decided I'd fetch some writing I did prior to graduation and beam it across the universe. There are 10 in the set, so I'll try and post one every other day until I've put them all up.

In 10 days 7 hours I will graduate from college. As I count down each day, I thought I'd share a memory from college with you each day until graduation. I will try to give you my 10 most significant.

MEMORY #1: The Yardstick Man

I arrived at my college as a transfer student with two years already under my belt at a local community college. I walked in to greet who I thought would be a student advocate, my first Advisor. Instead I met Dr. Fannin. I remember how he rejected the math credits I earned at CC and how he made me retake a year of math. I pleaded with him to reconsider. He looked me in the eye and told me the following words.

"Every school gives their student a yard stick in which they can use to reach out to their goals. Your Community College, [name omitted], gave you a 2ft yard stick."

He proceeded to tell me how I would not be successful at this school.

I remember the rage a felt at his smug arrogant look. I felt my nails dig into my palms. I remember the betrayal I felt. I had never met an academic professional who so directly displayed such blatant elitism.

I went to the store that night and bought a yardstick. I hung it in my room by my desk that first year to remind myself of the goals I set for myself and how I would not let a petty old man stomp on my dream. the next day, I filled out the necessary paperwork to get a new Adviser, and met a nice man with a lot of knowledge about my department.

I still have the yard stick, and on next Friday (the day before grad) I plan to go to the store buy him a yard stick. Cut a foot off of it. Then take it to his office where I will proceed to tell him what I think of his yard stick. I worked hard and exceeded my own expectations, I want him to know he was wrong. I'll look him in the face and tell him to "never tell another student that again."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LOST Chapter 20, Verse 3: Eight Days a Week

Well Space Travelers, it's been a weeks since I lost posted. My world has been a work sleep storm that has all but destroyed any chance of doing anything productive. I'm coming off of a seven day work binge with last weekend working two 12 hour shifts. Basically each day began with 5 (yes really) separate alarms at 4:15AM to guarantee I'd wake up, and would end with me returning home and instantly committing a sleep crime only to wake up in the middle of the night still in my work clothes.

I think it's time I get back to the adventure though.

I'd like to comment on the DNC, but maybe it would be better to wait until after the RNC is complete and then just do a special on the whole political landscape going into the last stretch.

I'm feeling like I need to be productive and I've got some rentals I need to take back. Wanna go for a ride?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Something Special I Found

I went to see a DJ spin at the Black Cat in DC and I was given this. I scanned it in, because I thought it was so special. Space Traveler Taylor Park may be the only person I know who can appreciate this as much as I do.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Chapter 22, Verse 5: Images From The White House Election Night

More to come Space Travelers. Plus I'm working on a seriously huge vLog. I tmight end up being like 30 minutes or more long! Check back soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chapter 22, Verse 4: Images From Obama's Last Rally

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chapter 22, Verse 3: Marble Tears

It is a rare occurrence when we see such imagery as this Space Travelers. The circumstances of which we see Barrack Obama in tears is from when he yesterday spoke about the passing of his beloved grandmother. His grandmother who had raised him in his teenage years in Hawaii ended a long struggle with cancer in the last days of the election.

The loss of a loved one is the kind of event that is impossible to escape and yet no matter how we prepare, the weight of such a thing is never subtle, never casual, never small. When we are leaders, people look to us for strength and perhaps somewhere in the evolution of our society, we began to associate tears with weakness. Some perverse notion that allowing the natural course of emotion instead of fighting with every ounce of their will equates to a lack of strength.

It's understandable that we place such a high standard on the office of the president of the United States. I think that perhaps just as much criticism on those who aspire to fill that office. After almost two years of hearing their names used in the daily blend of pro and con, these people begin to lose their dimensions; they slowly atrophy into brands. Obama no longer becomes a man who feels love, anger, or sorrow, he becomes just a 5 letter word, a picture, a soundbyte. "Obama" exists where there is no Obama the man. surrogates supporting and contesting his campaign invoke his name to either strengthen or weaken the brand Obama.

So it is in the final hours of the campaign that we see him on stage, letting go of a few tears. It stops our heart. We are startled and caught of guard. It makes us uncomfortable. We want our champions to be invincible. We don't want them like us: Frail or prone to hurt. We see the President to be a position to big for "people like us" so when we see him in tears, we see ourselves. We are forced to come to terms with their mortality.

We see Barrack in tears and we are forced to relive the loss of our own loved ones. We see their last days in peace or pain. We relive the feeling of helplessness at one of the only known truths of this world. It sobers us.

Perhaps I use "we" and "us" to liberally. Maybe it is just me who can't advert my eyes away from that picture. Perhaps it's just me that finds it profound at all.

Regardless Space Travelers, on this the day of the election, whoever you vote for, I hope that you remember that they are more than a name in a booth. Come the day of January 20th, 2009, please remember that too and for the days to follow.

Take a moment to look.


Monday, November 3, 2008

New Blog Look

Hey Space Travelers,

I did some major remodeling of the blog. I hope you like it. It's inspired by my new fixation with really weird sneakers. Besides the new wild neon color theme, I also updated and reorganized the sidebars. I no longer have the hero blog list, but instead I now have a hero blog roll. I also added a video bar down below which is feed directly by my youtube channel. This is good if I decide to put video up which is unrelated to the blog. You'll also notice I've made banners for some of my favorite sites now too.

Well, here's to hoping you like the new stuff, now it's time to start preparing for what I imagine to be a long day.


Coming Soon:

"Campaign Rally Cross"
"What would you do with a $1000.00? What would I do?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chapter 22, Verse 2: Rhetorical Quest Part II

Hey Space Travelers, I had a thought today on my ride home from work about voting. I've struggled with the thought about making a lot of political rants on this blog for sometime, and trust me I never run low on ammo, but I've felt that this little corner of the interwebs was best to be kept clean of politics and left to be a marketplace of my ideas that were less about brands and more about dynamic concepts. However, when I have a thought such as today that I feel is so independent of political demagogy, I am obliged by a totally annoying sense of duty to share.

Go Vote Early.

Listen, there is nothing magical about it. Your vote will not mean more or less to our country at large, but your actions could mean a lot to your neighbor. Even without the projections of huge voter turnout, somewhere in the dialog we lose sight of people who wake up early just to get to the polls before work and still wait in long lines debating every second whether or not they can gamble standing there the next second. Help everyone make it to the front of the line.

Go Vote Early.

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or a Space Traveler the point remains. I had been so excited to be a part of this election, I think somewhere I put a higher premium on the date, the notion of being a part of history, rather than the act. My voter water drop winds up in the ocean whether I walk it to the beach or whether I drop it in the mighty Mississippi river.

Go Vote Early.

If you've struggled in this election, like I have to fight off cynicism and constantly worry about whether your vote counts, you're not alone. I plead to you, the greatest actions of mankind are not exclusively the ones that result in glory. If you are confused by what I mean, I only aim to assert that there is something noble about acting on your heart out of a sense of duty. That duty doesn't have to be to a country or a flag. For me, my duty is to those who are disenfranchised all over the world. I cannot scoff at the idea of free elections while people in this world truly embody what bravery is just to have a voice in their lives. How can I dare to be so careless? Let it be somebody other than me that says my vote is worthless. I have my own means to measure the merit of my actions.

Go Vote Early.

By voting early, you're not going to make every vote count, but you may make one other person's vote count by shortening the line by one person. The 5 minutes, hell, the 2 minute you spend in the booth may be the difference between somebody choosing to exit the line and rush to work, or leave to pick up their children from work.

Go Vote Early.

I won't tell you who to vote for. If you don't feel that Obama or McCain represent you, don't vote for either. Find a candidate that does, and if it means that you vote for a third party, it doesn't mean your vote is wasted. I'll always respect you for following your heart and mind. I loved George Carlin, but their was one thing he said that was wrong. He said that you can complain if you don't vote; that it wouldn't be your fault. I love you George, but you made a false dilemma.

Go Vote Early.

The idea that our vote only matters when the vote we cast lands on the side of victory is all too selfish. If there is a sea change in the American political landscape, let's make it the difference in how we view our own role in society, not merely the give and take of red and blue, liberal and conservative, or soda and pop. I'm resolved to contribute to this country be it Obama, McCain or Zenu running this country. Armchair quarterbacks never score the winning touchdown.

Go Vote Early.

I'm one person that will never tell you your vote didn't count, no matter any outcome. If you can't find the time to go early, Tuesday will come faster than you think Space Travelers, pack a lunch, bring something to read, and bring an umbrella-ella-ella-a-a-a. Remember, lines may be long, people may be grumpy or smelly, but Space Travelers care not of these things.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Here: Return of the vLog


So I have lots more footage from the last few weeks Space Travelers, but I think that too many election based vLogs would be boring. Having said that, here's my summary of the four debates.

Debate 1: Boring + Drunk. Advantage Obama.

Debate 2: Every news source ran two stories. Story 1: Biden won. Story 2: Palin Exceeded Expectations. Story number 2 is better for ratings. However, it's kind of like Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France, and then running a bunch of stories about a person who shouldn't have been in the race to begin with who came in last place and simply didn't fall off their bike.

Debate 3: Awkward & not a game changer. I think Obama gave better answers, but he struggled so much with the format, that I think most of the content was lost. Advantage McCain.

Debate 4: All about the body language. Obama laughs could be conceived as cocky, but when juxtaposed alongside McCain's often junior-high-school-science-fair-volcano rage inhales. I kept photoshopping a line of coke in front of him followed by the words "IT'S SHOWTIME!"

Update: I've decided to be Joe-six-pack-plumber for Halloween. To clarify, this means I have a six-pack of plungers. The funny thing is... did you know that plunger buns come in packs of eight?

Space Travelers, something to think about: What would you do with $1000.00 in one dollar bills? Then ask, what would I do with it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's coming...

Hang on Space Travelers...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chapter 22, Verse 1: Silent Honesty on the September 11th

Dear Space Travelers, I feel the need to share an experience with you. I usually keep this light hearted, especially these days. However, I'm compelled to put my heart on my sleeve today. I consider myself to be quite patriotic. Despite those times I've voiced cynicism, I've tried my best to always contribute to my community and encourage others to do so as well. I have my talents and skills and I try my bet to contribute to a great society, but I know that others will always be smarter or have better fit talents to achieve real change.

I lost a very dear friend 6 years ago. Since then I've pondered the human reaction to loss. I loved her dearly as friend and felt that the world had truly lost a great mind and perhaps a greater heart. It felt so important to carry on, so I assumed her life motto as my own.

"Do whatever it takes to make yourself free."

I've been trying. It's hard, and many times it's been lonely. She was a writer, and she encouraged me to express myself in poems. She helped me understand when that thought in my head was inspiration and taught me how to grab a hold of it.

Last night, I felt it. So to you I share...

I drove back from Annapolis last night around 1:00AM and as I passed the Pentagon in those late hours I found it kind of solemn and honorable. At that moment in the soft blue and white light that bathed it's once wounded walls, I found a certain silent reverence. The calm honesty only meant to be shattered as people would flood in this morning for the memorial service at 8:00 AM. Many words were spoke this morning, but spoken like the words of men who can't appreciate the deafening truth that only silence brings. I had my midnight moment with the building, and I drove home. No person could better tell me what else I should feel on this day.

My ride home takes me past Arlington cemetery. From the road you can't see the fields of white marble, but you can feel them. And for those who fell on September 11th, 2001, they will forever have the company of our beloved armed servicemen and women who have fallen in the wars to follow. Now they rest at a tragically even ratio. There is no soft blue and white light for those in Arlington. Their honor is paid to them at a discounted price. A painful honor which the families are asked to kindly mourn out of view in those waking hours every day.

Arlington National Cemetery

Today as a nation mourns the death of thousands, I join in and mourn for one: A friend, whom the world will never know.

Corinne Rose Cox
Corinne Rose Cox 11-28-82 to 07-13-02 Happy Birthday Rinnie As simple as breathing We picture your face All tangled in daydreams And shielded with grace We feel you beside us again. As certain as sunrise your image unwinds You're clearer than crystal, You fill up our minds Now we have you by our side We can always close our eyes, Take your absence by surprise, Hold our breath and make believe. Love you Rinnie Rose

Rinne's Obituary

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chapter 21, Verse 1: Spore, Evolution, and Computer Reformatiing



I like computers Space Travelers, but I'm about to assert some good old reptilian brain methods of prehistoric violence style solutions to fix mine. By "fix" I mean, to neuter.

So Kit got Spore... You know spore right? The "Sim Everything" universe God simulator where you start as a single cell life form and expand into a galactic civilization. After Watching Kit for some time, temptation grabbed me. I decided to purchase it. Since I also recently purchased a giant terrabyte external hard drive, I figured now was a good time to reformat my computer. I had yet to do a clean install of Vista since my laptop's purchase in December. Other than Spore, I had some additional photo and video editing software I was going to put on the computer so I could make new contributions to the blog and vlog.

It's now day 4 of trying to get this to work...

Blue screen count: 25
Anger DEFCON: 4

Dear Space Travellers, I'm losing my patience. I'm trying to be a well evolved creature of the earth but I'm slowly showing my animal side with this endeavor. Tonight, I am going to have to start from scratch I fear. However, first I will simply try doing a few system restores at various points and/or try uninstalling and reinstalling some software.

It doesn't make much sense. Skype worked just fine, and now if I start it up, it blue screens me.


Well, tonight, I'm going to go eat some righteous Thai food and go bowling to calm my nerves. As always, I'll keep filming, and one day I'll be able to bring back the vLogs.

So in the end, after all the blue screens and hours of computer butt hurt, will Spore be worth it? Space Travelers, it will be worth every second.

Monday, September 1, 2008

OMG Sidebar Addition

I decided that I'd add something to the sidebar today. I thought I'd promote some learning fun in a viral sense. I love to go to Wikipedia and let myself just end up somewhere. I will begin linking to my favorite entries.

To the internets Space Travelers!


I bought a new camera. This means I'll be able to better filmatron the vLogs Space Travelers. I'm working on the next vLog. It's a little harder because I'm learning new software to do it. Adobe Premiere is no joke and many changes have been made since the last time I used it back in 2004.I guess I need to name it... Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I found this on Imagechan, and I thought of you Space Travelers.

Have a wonderful day.

By the way, new vLog is taking forever because of reformatting of the Tanoue (my laptop). I lost some of my stock footage, and I since I'm starting fresh, I'm debating on making the big step to Adobe and away from Miscrosoft for video editing. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

First Ever Space Traveller Challenge!

Hey Space Travelers. Games a re best played when everyone can participate.

I've got a challenge for you. It's simple. Just make a video of you telling me how you'd kill hurt or maim me, and put it on Youtube, and then link it to me.


Space Traveler Rexann said: "Chi, I'm going to put a light bulb up you ass and then step on you."

Space Traveler Craig Said: "Chi, I'm going to fill your lungs with glitter."

Just make a video of you telling me how you'd hurt me, and I promise I'll respond. The Space Traveler with the best threat will win a prize.

That's all for today, I'm working on the next vLog, so no need for more emails and IMs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chapter 20, Verse 2: Public Service Announcement.

I was in my living room. The apartment was empty. I was just watching TV.

A public service announcement came on. All Asian and Pacific Islanders. All calling for me to register to vote, speak out, and get involved. Many people of mixed race such as myself often struggle to find their community. For me, I was raised in the Midwest and had no opportunities to see Asian leaders in my community, let alone simple things like role models.

This PSA meant a lot to me. Every face was determined and confident. I felt like somebody cared what I had to say with my vote. Asians will most likely never be a majority in the USA, but they deserve a voice. They deserve dignity. They deserve to be portrayed as all people should: dynamic and important.

I contacted the APIA national office here in DC and told them how I felt. They replied the same day telling me about ways I could get involved in my area. They also directed me to the video, so I could embed it here.

For more information Space Travelers, check out their website.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chapter 20, Verse 1: Maladjusted

Dear Space Travelers, I'm a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. UV Index is moderate with the wind coming from the northwest at 15 mile per hour but gusting up to 24 piles per hour when it feels like it. Humidity is a comfortable 35%, with an atmospheric pressure of 29.83 in Hg. The dew point is 49°F, but I don't think I'll be the witness of any dew that is not in a can. Visibility is 10 miles, but there is a bunch of trees and buildings in the way. They say it's 78°F, and that "it feels like it is 78°F too. That's because it's 78°F, I suspect.

I've been in Falls Church for 2 months now. I somehow thought I'd be more adjusted by now. I thought that I would have met more people; been to more places. I thought after working this long I'd have a better vantage point on my lifestyle.

I don't. I can't see 10 miles.

In the round hole of the well adjusted, I am a very awkward square. Thinking backward though, perhaps this is how I've always been, and I won't fit. I fit in Rolla, but that was more of me carving out my own square hole. Am I ready for a larger world? What is my fixation with that goddamn round hole? Shouldn't I be looking for a square? Why does the peg have to find the hole?

I guess I'm just a rolling stone. My journey; my search to find something worth looking for won't stop here in DC.

It's not all confusing Space Travelers. I've done some thinking about the lives I've lived so far and the lives yet to come. Before I die, I have decided I will have a career in journalism and one as a graphic novelist.

Let's be the peg that fits in any hole.

"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend." ~Bruce Lee

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Dear Space Travelers,

I have been all over the blog world as of late. As many have seen, I'd added several suggested blogs to the sidebar. In my viral search of the blogosphere, I stumbled upon a very interesting blog.

The Raving Prophet

Don't be so quick to judge by it's title. If I can declare myself a hero, then somebody can declare themselves a prophet. Anyways, we all have a sense of humor right? A post addressing the claims that morality could not exist without a outside authority compelled me to reply.

The following is what I had to say...


I've stumbled upon your blog via a unnamed channel. I too am from the Midwest. I'm currently out here in the DC area, and I'm an active blogger.

I read this entry and I thought I'd contribute from the opposing world view.

I wonder sometimes if the Christian world view has made moral and ethic synonymous. Morals are a subjective measure, whereas ethics are an objective measure.

An individuals morals in my opinion (and personal experience) come from within. The short and sweet of it is that Christians too pick and choose which moral absolutes to abide by. As if to see what "fits."

You are correct about the dilemmas an individual will face if governing themselves. If left to our own whims, we would probably bend every rule we create from ourselves. This is where ethics come into play. Ethics are platform independent. They require justification, argument, and distinction. Our ethical codes are enforced and observed by others.

An individual may have morals that are not in agreement with each other. An individual may not have morals that are in agreement with another person or persons. This is why our actions are governed by (or should be IMO) by ethics and not morality.

Objective standards of an ethical code can be reached by a society whereas uniform moral code cannot ever truly be congruent.

Additionally, there is the notion of a social contract. Humans form rules based on functionality as well as beliefs.

Causing someone's death is only morally wrong when applied with context.

a) if it was intentional, be it impulsive or premeditated.
b) if it was an accident by negligence.

There are other ways to be the catalyst of a person's death. It is our ethic code (not our moral code) that takes the time to make such a distinction.

I'm sure you may disagree, but from my close hand experience with Christianity in my youth, the teachings on morals and ethics are blended in a way that could make them seem like the same thing.

I enjoyed reading your post, and I will certainly return. I plan to repost my reply on my site as well as directing my readers to your original post.

Please continue to post your thoughts. I do enjoy reading other's ideas on the world and people.


Remember friends, it's not just about finding people in this world who just agree with you. If our ideas are only good with those who won't challenge them, they mean nothing.

Site Updates

I've added a bunch of stuff to the sidebar. So check it out. You'll notice that, the labels element is now full of stuff. This is because I took the time to go through the blog from day 1 and spell-checked this son of a bitch. In doing this, I added labels to every post for easy reference. More features and content to come soon.

Stay tuned Space Travelers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Freshest Kids

As noted in the last entry, their is a documentary about break dancing called the "Freshest Kids." I found a trailer on Youtube, but embedding was disabled, so here is a link.


The film was really good, and those interested in break dance, hip-hop, or finite bits of American culture can find much to learn and enjoy from the film. Netflix has it I believe.

Rock Steady Space Travelers

Lost Chapter 2: Skills from the Past Rise From the Ashes in Phoenix

I'm doing some house keeping here on the site, and I found a never before published entry from the road last year. I hope you like.

Hey space-travelers. I'm just finishing my stay here in Phoenix and what time it has been. Basically I have been reliving two of my favorite activities from High school: Tekken, and Break dancing.

My good friend Ryan Flores moved out recently and I thought it would be fun to stay here a few days. Days before my arrival, he begged me to get here a day early. He made a promise of many women, scantily clad in school girl outfits and must binge drinking. But I came when I originally said and got to hear about the party post-facto. He even showed me footage from his camera. Judges verdict: A great idea for a single guy, but I come with a ball and chain.

Every day we go to a local community gym at 7:00PM and break dance with the Outcroud b-boy crew. It's been a lot of fun and these guys are seriously talented. Typically after a few hours of total pain, we would relocate to a food spot and chill with the crew, then go our separate ways.

Being in the hip-hop culture reminded be of something... I hate movies like "Stomp the Yard" and "You got Served." They over gansterfy the b-boy scene. They make break dancing seem like a thug thing and this just isn't so. Most b-boys (and b-girls) are really level head down to earth people. I mean think about it. It takes an incredible amount of patience to learn these techniques, does it make sence that the same people would be so rash and violent? I encourage anyone reading to watch a documentary on the subject, I saw it while here, and it's kind of regarded as the b-boy-bible; the b-bible if you will. The movie is called "The Freshest Kids," and I think it is a film that anyone can enjoy regardless of interest in dance.

As for me and dancing, I had a great time. I'm out of shape, but just hearing the music and getting to be creative with people was fun. Why no picture this post you ask? Well, Ryan has some ridiculous camera and it takes really good professional photos, so he made me use his. This means everyone is going to have to wait to see them. Sorry. However, as and added bonus, you will get video when I post it up because Ryan also owns a seriously nice video camera with a super-hip fish eye lens. Be patient.

Tonight as I am packing and getting ready for the drive to San Diego tomorrow, Paul a local Tekken Player came over and played me and Ryan. He was pretty good, but me and Ryan were better, which was sad being that we are so rusty. I'm pretty sure that Ryan is happy to have met Tekken players in Phoenix.

Well, I should finish packing and get some sleep, it will be a big drive tomorrow. Peace, pot, Microsoft.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chapter 19, Verse 3: Why "Hero?"

Happy Friday Space Travelers. I'm getting off a 7 day long work bender which had me waking up at 4:15AM everyday. I am not a morning person, and if you know me, then you can validate this claim. I manage every morning to wake up and make it to work on time. Some people are surprised that I can do it (because they know how much I love sleep and how goddamn lazy I can be). I'm not disciplined, but I am dedicated; I won't let my team down.

So I've been doing some internal reflection lately, and some thinking about the title of this blog.

There Goes Our Hero.

Maybe I never explained fully why I named it that. Perhaps some just assumed I thought very highly of myself. The truth is that I wanted to name the blog something thematic for my huge road trip over the last summer. I think I was listening to the Foo Fighters too that day.

I was severely down on myself around April 2007 after failing to get a internship. I felt somewhat hopeless and I decided that I I needed to rescue myself. Before I left on my trip I realized that in planning my trip I had captivated the interest of many of my friends or school associates. Many of them had similar disappointments in trying to find work. When I became aware of this, I concluded that the adventure was not just about me. I represented to many the ability to take charge of the their own life and make it as exciting as they want. '

As an engineering student, it was too easy to become over concerned with career goals, and not about life goals outside of the job. I had become so obsessed with finding a job, that I didn't even realize that I had stopped doing my art, stopped doing dance, and stopped trying new things. Somehow, I had let myself be convinced that these things weren't important.

They are.

I drew for while the other day. I felt good. I sang the other night. I heard my voice. I played my music loud and danced around in my hall, I felt free. I'll never have those kinds of feelings from any job in my life no matter how much I enjoy it or find it important. It's important to be wild and free.

However, there is another reason. My dear friend Jon Leek, a man I consider a brother, told me that I was one of his heroes. I had heard this once before when I was younger from another friend Eric. Being told something like this moves something in your heart. It's an incredible responsibility.

You can be a hero too. Perhaps you already are. It doesn't necessarily come from great acts of bravery, we can be heroes for many reasons. Think of...

Great acts of Love
Great acts of Compassion
Great acts of Integrity
Great acts of Generosity
Great acts of Forgiveness

What acts will you be remembered for Space Travelers?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chapter 19, Verse 2: West out East

So I went on a brief road trip over the weekend to West Virginia for my Grandparent's memorial. I decided to record the trip to and from halfway there.

Enjoy Space Travelers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Good Die Young.

Hello Space Travelers. I'm feeling pensive right now as I sit in my living room installing kubuntu onto my old machine.

We're told when we are young that our folly is that we think we are invincible.
For years, I simply nodded and agreed that we do "think" that.
It's only as I get older that I am challenged to look back and ask:
"What if we were?"

When are born we are shapeless and with infinite potential.
We love every face we see.
The sky is more blue when it's just magical,
before we learn about refracted light
or because mother says so.

As a child, no dream is too large.
Hours spent drawing the spaceships we'll explore the galaxy in was more than a good use of time
It was our occupation.

When they imply that we think we are invincible,
I know what they mean.
They mean to assert that we fail to grasp how fragile life is,
that bones break,
hearts skip a beat,
and fire burns.

What I'm saying is that there are far worse dangers in this world than injury or death.
And that while life is precious,
It's the not the vitals that define "being alive"

Something truly dies as we age.
We are born trusting and loving,
We learn to fear and hate.
There is always someone there to tell you that your dream is too big.
If when we are young, we think we are invincible,
then when we are old, we think we are weak.
If I have to pick one, I made my choice long ago.

Don't be eager to get old Space Travelers. You don't need someone else's permission to start being invincible today. Live and dream big. Love, and wear your heart on your sleeve if you goddamn please.

Take a chance. Take every chance if you must.
Do whatever it takes to make yourself free.

Anyone can get older on a birthday,
If you want to impress me,
grow young.

You are invincible, and I thought you should know it. You aren't weak, and damn anyone who would even allow you to think it.

Goodnight Space Travelers.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us it's in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~ Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

vLog #2

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chapter 19, Verse 1: From the Palace to the Church

Hello Space Travelers. I thought I'd tell you about the trip out here to DC. First, I should stop and admit that technically speaking I'm not in DC, but I'm in the greater DC metro area. Whatever, we all get our bread stolen by the same guy in the end.This picture of me looking like you did something wrong was taken as I crossed the MO-IL border. Things became very real at that exact moment. The notion that I was not on a trip this time; that I was leaving. As I crossed the river, I could see the arch off in the distance, and I began to wonder when I would again be back in Missouri.
I drove late into the night and stopped in a hotel just after passing through Indianapolis. The long days drive gave me a lot of time to think about what I was leaving behind. Behind me was family, friends, my favorite foods, and the easy comfort that comes with the familiar. However behind me was also the weight of my old habits and the baggage I was so desperately trying to give myself permission to let go of.

I woke the next day and got on the road promptly. I drove with determination to arrive in Virginia and claim my new home. As I entered the area, I feel directly into evening traffic and I was met with the reality that this was now something I would deal with. I began to laugh out loud in my car as I turned my music up and took in every little detail of the area. Perhaps the traffic was the perfect catalyst for me to slow down and welcome myself to the area.
When I got off the capital beltway and pulled into my little corner of the city, I saw the sign above. I was not aware that the artist from toothpaste for dinner also did math and reading tutoring. What an absolutely perfect way to enter my new place.

Welcome to Falls Church.

I had been driving a lot, and I had made good time too. I decided to record my stats for the future, just in case I found myself doing the drive again.
I parked my car, and got my keys from the front desk concierge. I decided to take a walk around the area. Below is a photo of the front of my building. It will be a lot cooler once the stores start moving in downstairs. Right now they are all vacant. My hope is for a mutha-fuckin-badass sandwich place.
Well Space Travelers, more to come in the future. I'm still getting into the swing of things here, but I'll make sure to keep you updated with details as they fill in. Remember to wait 30 minutes after you eat before swimming and don't forget your towel.

Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari