Another year gone

Well … I’ve finished my first academic year at Fuller; I handed in my take-home exam for Ethics (on homosexuality) half an hour ago. This means that (theoretically) I’ll have more time to blog. I’ll try …

Meanwhile, what’s happened in the two weeks since I last blogged …

Murphy’s Law
Also known as Sod’s Law, this is defined thus: “a humorous axiom stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” An example of this is my blog about not getting seriously injured being followed a few days by a pulled hamstring at soccer. So I’ll be out for a couple more weeks—fortunately, being in California, I don’t have to worry about missing the good weather. ☺

Intramural softball
Pulling my hamstring two Saturdays ago was not particularly good timing, since the intramural softball championship was the following Friday. But I could walk by the time Friday rolled around, so I wrapped my thigh up (as well as my wrists, which were also sore), and toughed it out. Unfortunately, I play softball Ichiro-style, legging out infield hits and the like. Hobbled by a strained hamstring, I could only jog, and so didn’t get on base as often as I would’ve liked.

Anyway, the LA Champs of Los Angeles (my softball team) put up a good fight, but came in second after scoring a season-low two runs and having an uncharacteristic defensive meltdown in the final inning in the championship game. Still, there’s next year …

More tomorrow.

Body politics

[Right: Rock-climbing in Salt Lake City, UT; summer 2005]

Those of you who know me at all know that I like being active. I especially love playing sports—soccer/football, baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, badminton, water-polo—you name it, I probably enjoy doing it. Currently, I’m limited by time to just intramural softball on Fridays and soccer on Saturdays. I’m not even finding time to hit the gym (which I also enjoy … most of the time). I loved surfing when I tried it out, I loved rock-climbing when I tried it out, and I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy most activities requiring physical exertion and adeptness.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with good health and few injuries. However, I am still playing softball despite a sore wrist (from landing on it a month or so ago while playing soccer) and a sore thumb (from landing on it a couple months ago while playing soccer); I also got hit by a softball last week on my index finger and knee (yes, I know I’m supposed to catch it with my glove). And I’m still playing soccer despite various lower body ailments (ankle, calf, knee, hip) caused by fouls, collisions and other side-effects of three-hour sessions.

Some would sigh and bemoan the fact that I ought to be taking better care of my body and not playing 110% all the time, maybe resting once in awhile; in fact, some have. The argument, which makes much sense, is that I could be more physically active for longer if I just calmed down a little bit. But the way I see it (and I’m totally open to being wrong), I have no idea when my body will break down with age or incident (whether I ‘take care’ of it or not), so I suppose I’m going to make the most of the physical ability God’s given me while I still have it. Obviously, I’m not going to kill myself with exercise—at least, it’s not my intention, and God’s been good to me in helping me avoid any serious injuries (barring a fractured leg a few years ago that was completely not my fault). Long may the grace continue.

On a separate note, congrats to Micah and Christie on getting married this coming weekend, to Matt and Sara on their two-year anniversary today, and Daren and Helen on their anniversary tomorrow (I forget how many years it is now—fourteen?). And happy birthday to Christie last week, to Fi (as she turned 21 … again), and to Abi and Mom this coming weekend.

Big love to y’all,

Almost there …

[Ben, Rob and I at Hermosa Beach pier on a less than sunny day (boo) during their visit to CA last month.]

Alright. There are three weeks until the end of the quarter, and the beginning of summer. I’ve been hard-pressed to find time to take a breath, let alone blog.

Lost in translation?
So I had one of the strangest experiences of my time here the other day. I went to get my course notes for my online class printed out and filled in the request form with the page numbers which I wanted printed: “8-15, 22-24, 51-114, 116-147, 159-222.” Pretty straightforward, I thought.

I came back the day after to pick them up. The lady manning the copy shop gave me a sheaf of paper that was ten pages thick. Hmm, something’s not quite right. I quickly deduced that she’d only printed pages 8, 15, 22, 24, 51, 114, 16, 147, 159 and 222. So I explained this to her. Her reply: “No, that’s not what the paper says. It just says ‘8, 15, 22, 24, etc.’”

I was very taken aback by this, being unsure how else I could write down what pages I wanted printing, short of writing down all 140-odd page numbers on one line. In the end … I had to write this: “8 to 15, 22 to 24, 51 to 114, 116 to 147, 159 to 222.”

Totally unexpected. I thought Arabic numbers and notation were (pretty much) universal. Apparently not applicable in my part of California.

Series finales
This fortnight also marks the culmination of a number of TV shows that I watch. Coinciding with the end of the quarter is the freeing up of a few hours in my week: Bones, The Office, Scrubs, 24, and Lost. And Veronica Mars, but I don’t really publish my following of that show. Until now. Doh.

[Yes, watching TV is another factor in my week being busy, but I’ve never watched TV without doing some work or reading at the same time. My grades have not suffered thus far (and I’m going on my eighth year of higher education. Thank you very much.]

Anyway, that gives me another 4/5 hours to my week, which will be greatly appreciated with this summer coming up.

Summer plans
Speaking of the summer, in case you’re wondering—well, you’ve read this far, so you’re at least a little interested in what I have to say …

  • I have two weddings: Micah and Christie’s in Orange County next Saturday, at which I’m the ‘lead usher’ (I’ll tell you when I know what the difference between ‘lead usher’ and ‘normal usher’ is); and Tim and Tiff’s in Colorado in four weeks’ time, at which I’ll be the best man (probably the only time in my life I see myself being a best man).
  • I’ll also be taking a couple of 2-week intensive classes (unless one or both are gone by the time I register tomorrow morning) at the beginning of July and August, respectively.
  • I’ll put in some hours at the Admissions Office (so I don’t go broke when I have to make my next car insurance payment or buy my ticket back to HK for Christmas).
  • And I’ll go to the beach lots, play soccer lots, hang out with friends lots, and spend lots and lots of time with God. Amen.

I’ll let you know how the implementation of this plan goes come September. I’ll also blog again soon. (No promises, though.)

About being in love …

We’re both looking for something we’ve been afraid to find;
It’s easier to be broken, it’s easier to hide

Looking at you, holding my breath;
For once in my life I’m scared to death.
I’m taking a chance letting you inside:

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

The world that I see inside you waiting to come to life;
waking me up to dreaming, reality in your eyes.

Looking at you, holding my breath;
for once in my life I’m scared to death.
I’m taking a chance letting you inside:

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

We’re crashing into the unknown;
we’re lost in this, but it feels like home.

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

Like being in love, she said for the first time;
like being in love, to feel for the first time …

— “The First Time”, Lifehouse

New album coming soon …

In the meantime …

I just watched the latest episode of 24. There are six episodes left until the end of the season, and having finished tonight’s, I was left profoundly dissatisfied. Not because it wasn’t good or exciting (thankfully, it’s picked up in the last few episodes), but because it wasn’t finished. I was tired of the lack of conclusion, of the fact that there isn’t a happy ending for Jack Bauer, at least for another six episodes. (And even then, we know he’s gonna have at least two more crappy days, based on the fact that 24 will be running for another couple seasons.)

I suppose it’s analogous to watching The Lord of the Rings, and having just finished The Two Towers, realizing that, amidst the jubilation following the Battle of Helm’s Deep, there’s still at least another three hours until a happy ending: Frodo and Sam still have a ways to go before they get to Mount Doom, Aragorn still hasn’t claimed his throne or gotten together with the girl (and that’s only going to happen if he survives). Maybe I’m alone in wanting happy endings, things to be all okay, and people to get along. But I don’t think I am.

See, I think it’s in all of us, this desire for a happy ending. It’s even in creation itself, according to the Apostle Paul, which “waits with eager longing, … groaning in labor pains” (Romans 8:19, 22) for the happy ending to come. From that statement, we can note a few things.

First, this desire for a happy ending – for an end to senseless war and violence and killing (yesterday, more than 30 people at Virginia Tech were shot), for an end to millions of people dying in Africa everyday because of lack of clean water and AIDS and other preventable diseases, for an end to dysfunctional relationships, betrayals of trust and heartbreak – this desire is natural; it is inherent in creation itself.

Second, there is a happy ending: it’s not just a pie in the sky theory that might possibly come true; it’s gonna happen, whether we want it or not; Jesus is coming back, whether we want him to or not (Isaac Newton predicted that Jesus would come again in 2060; only 53 years to go …).

And finally, it’s gonna hurt in the meantime, it’s gonna be hard. Now I’ve never experienced labor pains. And I’m glad I never will. But I have many friends who have given birth, and have shared their experiences (one of the wonders of living on a hallway with families). [Episiotomy: enough said.] It’s not going to be easy, being in this place of tension and longing for what’s to come.

But here’s an encouraging final thought: in the meantime, we’re not alone. Jesus said: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (i.e. until he comes back again)” (Matthew 28:20). And life with Jesus now … it can also be pretty good. Go figure.