January 31, 2006


I'm visiting Ottawa, for the first time since.. 2001?

It's been a really long time since I've gone back to visit. And I'm going at the worst possible time -- winter, which is like the last place you want to be in wintertime. But I'm excited to go there. Because it's just been way too long. It's been so long that half the people I'd be visiting now live in Toronto.

The plan is to come weekend of 18-19th, and take either the Friday before or the Monday after off, just mainly for travelling purposes. Monday is probably better, in that case. And I'm still debating on whether to drive there or take the train. I've never driven 4 hours before.

Next: Bulgogi

The next thing I want to learn to make is the marinade sauce used for Korean BBQ ribs. So this time, my cooking expedition will involve something I want to eat, whereas the last one was just a challenge.

Gosh, if I can replicate that taste (and yes, I know you can buy the sauce too), I doubt I'd ever eat a tv dinner again!

January 30, 2006

Recipe #1

On Saturday, I tried my first recipe. Well, I wouldn't say it was my first recipe but rather, my first REAL recipe. I've made other things before but this was the first time I used spices that I never knew existed, with wine, and other "neat" ingredients. I made a beef brisket, and it took me about 6 hours of cooking, including the preparation time.

My entire condo smells like garlic. I used 6 cloves and had my brother mince them while I cut thinly sliced 6 onions. I was quite worried about the onions, figuring that after I got through 2 of them I would bawling and unable to continue. So we went on the web to look for tricks on how to avoid the tears. Some of the ideas were absolutely hilarious:

  • Use a sharp knife. A dull knife will crush the onion cells more than clearnly slicing sharp blade, and the curshed cells will release more of th edeadly spray into the atmosphere.
  • Hold a wooden matchstick between your teeth -- match head out The theory is that the match head attracks and absorbs all the bad chemicals
  • Hold a piece of bread between your teeth
  • Hold a piece of bread in your mouth and chew occasionally
  • Breathe only through your mouth. This may be combined with the bread in mouth too.
  • Don't chop the onion root -- or do it last
  • Keep the outer skin on the onion as long as possible
  • Wear contact lenses to shield eye surface from airborne spray
  • Chop the onion under water or under running water, or pre-soak in water
  • Wear swim goggles or a diving mask
  • Use a fan to blow away or suck up the fumes
  • Place onions in the freezer for 20 minutes before cutting
  • Put white vinigar on the chopping block to neutralize chemicals
  • Burn a candle near the work area
  • Place the cutting board next to a gas range and turn on a burner or two
  • Using a knife, cut a cone out of the bottom of the onion (where the roots come out). The diameter of this cone should be about a third of the diameter of the onion, and about 1/3 deep. This piece contains the part/gland that makes baby Jesus and everyone else in the room cry when you’re chopping it up.

  • It's funny how people have so many ideas. Cutting under water makes no sense -- how do you control it? It would take too long. Vinegar makes it smell worse. The frozen idea makes it difficult to cut the onion. Anyway, the one that seemed to make the most sense was the one you do it next to a fire. Candles most certainly do work, but I didn't have any. I left one burner on (I have an electric stove), while placing a match between my lips. It was hard to breathe through my mouth with that thing sticking out. I turned on the oventop fan. And I cut, 6 onions, slicing thin slices of 1/2 cm each, WITH the grain, WITH a very sharp knife and, without shedding a single tear.

    As for the rest of the recipe, instead of a dry wine, I decided to go with a very sweet wine (I like sweeter meat). Instead of sprigs of thyme (I mean honestly.. sprigs?!), I used regular thyme.

    And.. it turned out AMAZING. It was delicious.

    I cut a few slices to bring to Eric/Nicole's place for hot pot on Saturday, and then my brother and I had it again on Sunday night for Chinese New Year dinner. I bought some crown broccoli, and we boiled it in salt, and then melted Edam cheese on it. We each had a large dinner roll and then several slices of the brisket. It was a pretty good meal :)


    On a side note, I don't understand what cooking means. If you follow a recipe, is that cooking? If I look at cooking as a means to getting food and nutrients into my mouth, then it is really easy. It doesn't take a well-trained person to follow a recipe. All you need is time and the ability to read. Money helps. Did I really cook that brisket? Or did I instead, follow the instructions on a piece of paper. Does this mean that when someone says "That guy is a great cook", what it really means is "That guy is great at following instructions." And who really knows this? What if I told you that I didn't have a recipe and that I made that thing on my own, using my own instincts, chose the ingredients out of the blue and made the thing all on my own, no help of any form of instruction. Does that make me a better cook? What if I read every recipe book out there and memorize them all? Am I then a good cook, or a great instruction carry-out-er?

    Friend: Brian, can you cook?
    Brian: Yes, I can follow directions.
    Friend: ...
    Brian: It's the same thing isn't it?
    Friend: ...well...

    January 27, 2006

    Me, Part 3

    "I'll do it later."

    I procrastinate. A lot.

    I have dishes in the sink that have piled up for nearly 2 weeks. I really have nothing left to use. The other day, I cracked open a bag of plastic forks, just so I wouldn't have to do the dishes.

    Sometimes I make excuses for putting things off, like I'll say to myself that it'll be better off if I do it later. Like calling someone for a birthday, or to say hi. I don't like calling people during dinner, because personally I hate that so I avoid it myself. And after 10, no calling after 10. Well, then there's the possibility that they're watching a tv show, so I don't want to call them during the show, because personally I find that annoying.

    I try to rationalize my procrastination, deeming that some things need to be left for the "ultimate" timing, rather than just acting on it.

    "Things need to be perfect first."

    I say that a lot. For a lot of things. I like to do things in one fell swoop. Like say I need more toilet paper. Instead of going down to buy toilet paper, I'll wait until I'm out of soap, or out of kleenex. It seems like a waste of time going down just to buy toilet paper -- I need to have more things to buy to merit a need to go down and buy it, all at once for optimization of time. (For those of you wondering, I'd hold it til I got to work.)

    I also leave things unfinished. I'm not a good finisher. I start good, but I can't finish. I get all excited about something, but by the end of it, I'm sick of it. I get discouraged easily. No wait.. the word I'm looking for is sidetracked. I get sidetracked, distracted easily. Or maybe I do get discouraged, but rather than admitting it, I move onto something else quickly.

    January 25, 2006

    Love Monkey

    I've been watching this new show, which is on Tuesday nights on CBS.

    The show is about this guy named Tom Farrell (played by Tom Cavanagh from Ed), who is a music/artist label/record guy. He's 30-some years old who just got fired from a larger record label company and has joined an independent label. He also just got dumped by his girlfriend.

    The stories surround him and his love life, along with the struggles of dealing with star-artists and new up-and-coming artists, signing them to deals and concerts, etc.

    You can read all about it here.

    Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the show is how they are constantly bringing in new artists. Because it's an independent label, they tend to get all the small-timer artists and you get to hear them play/sing, and it's totally awesome. Aside from that, there are many guest appearances by bigger names as well. And they all know Tom, since he's worked with him before at some point.

    Tom's got this awesome habit where whenever he hears or sees something related to the music industry, whether it be a famous quote, lyric from a song, interviews, album covers etc, he'll point it out. That reminds me of me, I constantly do that too, although not out loud. Maybe I should be more vocal so people will laugh at me and think I'm weird.

    Maybe what makes this show good for me is that I can relate to the guy.

    I've seen 2 episodes and I'm hooked.

    January 23, 2006

    Vote 2006

    I voted today. I didn't think I would vote but I did, not sure why. I know I said that I wouldn't talk about politics but this'll be the last I swear. I'm going to go over why I voted for what I did and why.

    I voted to not vote.

    Why did I choose to vote to not vote? Because it won't make a difference. When I switch to a local Canadian channel tonight after 24, I'm going to see the polls and see that the guy I wanted to vote for lost by several hundred thousand votes. OR, I'll see he won by several hundred thousand votes. The bottom line is, my vote makes no difference.

    And the thing is, several hundred thousand people will look at the TV and say the exact same thing, meaning that we all could have made a difference. But who's wants to be that one sucker who tries to go out and make a difference but ends up not? Not me.

    You all know by now that I would have voted for Blue. Because I couldn't care less about all the other promises and platforms these guys have except for one thing. ONE THING ONLY, something that affects me personally and that is gay marriage. As a Christian, I am against gay marriage. That's the only thing that will affect me out of all the other baloney promises that each guy makes. At the end of the day, I'm willing to sacrifice everything else EXCEPT for my moral beliefs. If I have to pay more taxes, more on travelling to and from work, if I have to start shelling out for medicine, all that is a moot point if God's commands are not followed.

    Okay, so back to my point about not making a difference, and seeing no value in voting. What's the point of voting, then, if there's nothing in it for the voter? Here is how I believe we can get the people to vote, myself included.

    I can guarantee, based on my voting plan, that nearly 100% of the people with the ability to vote, will do so under my plan.

    The Plan: How To Motivate People To Vote

    Now I just sort of thought of another idea, which involves execution by guillotine --- but I think that's a little too extreme.

    My idea is simple. Turn the vote into a lottery. A free lottery. So you vote (by color of course), who you want to win and you hand in your lottery ticket. And here's the kicker, the reason people will vote -- because they know they will make a difference.

    Because what happens next, is that they take all these ballots, all of the ballots in CANADA. Put them in this gigantic tub, spin it around, and pull out one at a time, til they have 100. Count those ballots up, and whoever has the most votes is the new Prime Minister.

    Then for those 100 ballots/people -- they each get a $500,000 cash prize.

    $50,000,000 is not a lot of money when you consider that every capable Canadian came out to voice their opinion.

    So to summarize:

    You vote in order to give your guy/gal the best chance of winning. The more votes that Blue gets, the higher the odds are for him to win. Yes, in this scenario, the Green guy could win if by some luck of the draw, 50 of those 100 raffle tickets has his name on it. But it's highly unlikely. So not only are the people getting this huge opportunity to be THE ONE to make a difference, there's also a chance to win money. And who wouldn't play a free lottery?

    $500,000 -- that's worth voting for.


    January 22, 2006

    New pot

    Haha.. that's a deceiving statement isn't it. No, I have not resorted to drugs.

    I got a new pot today. It's a dutch oven, which is basically a short stockpot but that is normally used for slow cooking in the oven. I was hoping for an 8 quart one but had to settle for a 6.

    I read a bunch of reviews and reports and it seems like I got a pretty good mid-ranged pot. The best seems to be the All-Clad brand, but those things cost and arm and a leg and I can't justify it yet. Perhaps I might get an All-Clad frying pan, since it's something that I personally would use more. I got a Cuisinart.

    The next step probably to a herb rack. I need something like that or something that I can put in the cupboard that turns, like a lazy susan herb rack. My plan tomorrow is to take an inventory of the herbs I have. Mom left me a ton of stuff but I don't know what's in there. All I've ever used is the ketchup, salt, sugar, soy sauce and steak stuff.

    It seems strange but I need to clean the kitchen, like all of it -- clean out all the cupboards and drawers, and reorganize everything. And throw out a LOT of stuff. And the other thing, well actually it's something I dread the most about cooking -- is the part afterwards when you have to do the dishes.

    January 21, 2006

    Filling in the spaces

    Two days into my gaming hiatus, and I'm bored as hell.

    I really am. I woke this morning with nothing to do. Normally I would've logged in and off we'd go, then at 2pm I'd be finished, eat lunch, then likely go out somewhere with friends. Then, dinner, back to the game, bedtime.

    So what do I now that I've gained approximately 9 hours of time?

    I'm going for a drive..

    Today I went to the Sunday School conference at church. I'd signed up for it last year, and the truth is didn't know what time it would be starting. I got there at around 10am and found out it had started at 9, but fortunately they were running late.

    I find that whenever Harding speaks, he's always trying to prove a point about himself, like he's trying to show someone something. Umm.. that's not coming out right. What I mean is that.. I think what it is, is that you get this impression that he's trying to say "i'm right and you're wrong". As if, it's like you're a teenager again, and remember how your parents would be lecturing you about something you already knew, but they would just go on and on about it, and you would start tuning them out? That's what I mean -- that's what I feel whenever Harding speaks.

    So in essence what I'm saying is that 75% of the time he is dead on, because parents are *usually* right.

    Anyway, the purpose for going to this conference for me, was not to hear Harding (who went over his time slot by about 10 BILLION YEARS) but to attempt to better equip myself for my next Longlac trip (and beyond). I want to be able to connect better with the kids and possibly with the older ones that, in truth, I was kind of afraid of last year.

    The workshops I attended were great, starting with Pastor Ian talking about how to relate to teens, then a talk about storytelling and how to make things interesting for younger kids. Finally wrapped things up with a seminar on overseas (40/10) missions for kids, how to get kids involved in missions, and a focus on the 40/10 window and its needs.

    It surprises me to hear that just 1 out of 8 missionaries end up in the 40/10. What are full-time missionaries doing in North America, South America or Europe? Most of these countries are already considerably "reached" compared to the 40/10 countries. SA is predominantly catholic is it not? North America provides the freedom of speech and the right to express one's own opinion. It is so reached that they're resisting it and find it annoying. You mention Jesus at work and people avoid you or turn the other way. "Stop preaching to me" is what they'd say.

    Meanwhile in the 40/10, you mention Jesus they *want* to hear more but are afraid to because they might get shot. Yet, 7 out of 8 aren't going there? And who really wants to risk their life to spread the Message of Life. Right? Apparently one's own life and well being is worth more than 2/3 of the world's population. I don't get that, but then again here I am staying within Ontario so what do I know.

    January 20, 2006

    Lord of War

    Why does Jared Leto always play a messed up drug addict?

    I just watched this movie. It confirmed my earlier suspicion, that I just cannot stand Nicolas Cage as an actor. He annoys me, his voice, the way he smiles and walks.

    Speaking of War -- today I formally quit the World of Warcraft. I still have a few loose ends to tie up, like giving away all my stuff -- but it's over. I'm done with it.

    In the end it was lack of interest in the game and just the sheer amount of time I spent on it. I still don't see it as a waste of time but rather I just prefer to spend my time doing something else. So the buttom line is I got tired of the game.

    I'm sad to leave the friends. The friendships I made, the fun we had, we spent so much time together. I met some truly amazing people, some people who are great leaders, while others were complete asses. But they were people that I met, fought alongside, co-operated with. It was a special.

    But it's over now.

    That frees up about 25 hours for me per week. It's like I gain an entire day. There's 8 days in a week right?

    January 17, 2006


    I had the most explosive diarrhea ever. Think Hiroshima meets Niagara Falls.

    That is all.

    January 15, 2006


    Broncos 27, Patriots 13

    This game was a lot closer than the score dictates. I enjoyed every second of it (the first half was a little boring) but that's only because I've always disliked the Pats.

    As I watched this game I kept thinking that the Patriots would eventually win the game, with some kind of fairy-tale comeback win coming from the usually clutch Tom Brady. New England had many chances to come back here, making a few huge plays here and there but they never amounted to anything in the end.

    My feeling is that overconfidence was key in this loss for the defending champions. This team has had 100% dependability in every aspect of their game over the past 2-3 years. A precision quarterback. Staunch defence. Fantastical coaching. A kicker who couldn't miss. What was the main difference though, between this year and last year? I would say overconfidence.

    The Patriots became cocky on their side of it.

    First, how could Vinatieri miss a field goal? This guy has been perfect all year, I think last year too. I can only think it had to be overconfidence. Something his head snapped and instead of focusing on kicking, something must have said to him that "I'm not going to miss because I never miss", so he missed. That was a key play.

    Second, how could you blitz on a punt when the game is still within reach? I could see you doing that if you're in trouble, so you become desperate. I think in this case, Belichick became overconfident and went for the big play thinking that if they messed up they could still make up for it. But they didn't -- Troy Brown had to run back to get it and they fumbled it. Another key play.

    Third, going for it on 4th down in the first quarter. Seriously, who does that besides Bill Belichick? It never amounted to much, or any mistake but I think it just shows the cockiness and balls that this team had become too full of. Not that having balls is a bad thing, but sometimes it gets into players heads that they're unstoppable. There's nothing worse than players thinking they can't be beaten.

    Fourth, throwing into the endzone at one of the best cornerbacks in the league. One thing I truly admire about the Patriots is that 90% of their plays work perfectly and that their target receiver is always open somehow. But in this case he wasn't. Champ Bailey was all over him and Brady threw it right at him. This was a Favre-like mistake (post-Holmgren). It's too big a risk in the 3rd quarter. Again, this game was still within reach. Brady became overconfident in his receiver's ability and made a big mistake.

    I guess my biggest disappointment last night was that the Pats lost because I was really hoping to see them play next week against the Colts if they can pull it out over the Steelers tonight. It would have been the best way to conclude the AFC, the defending champs against the team who couldn't beat them so many times in previous years; but a team who had made huge improvements to their defence.

    Seahawks 20, Redskins 10

    I didn't watch most of this game because I had been at the theatre watching "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Seahawks MVP RB Shaun Alexander to a concussion but they still pulled out the win. Maurice Morris filled in well enough for them to establish some kind of running threat and I guess Matt Hasselbeck was able to capitalize on Redskin mistakes.

    I did see the missed field goal though.. and that was a huge.

    January 13, 2006


    "On a scale of 1 to 3, it was a 4," he said. "It was off the chart. It was pretty badly damaged -- shredded is the better term."

    This is what the doctor said about Cincinatti QB Carson Palmer's injury he suffered last week in his first ever playoff game.

    Carson Palmer's knee injury was "devastating and potentially career-ending," involving numerous ligament tears, a shredded ligament, damaged cartilage and a dislocated kneecap, his surgeon said.


    I've never really been injured. I haven't been to the hospital due to any kind of injury either. I guess it helps that I don't play any sports.

    When I was about 8 or 9, I had an irregular heartbeat and was treated for it. I remember they were putting suction cups on my body and it felt funny, the machine they used to *suck* it on. And then they had wires running out of them into this black box.

    Basically there was a drug they were giving kids, called "Alupent". It was for asthma treatment. I was taking it. But whenever I took it, my heart would go absolutely nuts and I'd have these mini heart-attacks in the middle of the night. At first we thought it was just bad dreams, but as it became more and more frequent, we had it checked out.

    They had me take the box home and take the drug more, just to make sure. Shortly after, I believe they took the drug off the market.

    I guess I'm pretty thankful that it was nothing more than a defective drug, and not a personal condition that I have.

    Anyway, that's about the gist of my own experience in hospitals. Hopefully I'll never have to go there again. I broke my nose once while skiing, back in 2000 in Ottawa. I landed on my face and slid for a few miles. For a week I was able to shift my nose from side to side. The cartilage had broken. But it healed on its own without the need for a bracer of any kind.

    That's the reason I've never gone skiing since then, in case anyone's wondering why I never go when people go. No offense or anything, I just happen to like my nose the way it is.

    I have a chronic knee injury I think, that is from moving large objects that I should never have been moving, at a young age. My dad and I finished the basement of our old house, and then did a lot of moving ourselves to our new house. That was when I was 12-13 years old. And I was a scrawny boy. Haha.. who am I kidding, I'm *am* a scrawny boy. Anyway we moved lots of things, a whole lot of drywall, lumber, gigantic tools with really big blades. Blocks of concrete, bricks, tiles, etc.

    Come to think of it, if I can somehow reach back into my memory at all the things my dad and I worked on, and somehow remember how to do all those things, I could probably build an entire house. We did it all.. from bottom to top. Everything from pouring concrete for a floor, plumbing for bathrooms and kitchens, to nailing shingles on the roof.

    [Yes, Habitat for Humanity is one of the places I plan on checking out]

    Well.. I went off topic again.

    I guess I'm just glad I've never been severely injured. I've spent far more time in hospitals visiting other people. Which.. well I don't know if that's a good thing or not. :S

    January 12, 2006

    Red, Orange and Blue

    When I was little, red was my favorite color. I liked it because of its intensity. Plus it was the color of things you need, like blood, love (for some reason I thought red = love). But anyway, as I got older I started to notice that boys like blue and GIRLS like red. And I didn't want people to think that I thought like a girl, so blue it was.

    And blue it stayed. I liked blue. Blue skies.. and water. You need water to live. And pens were all in blue, that helped a lot. Also when you cry, you are feeling "blue". So there's another one. And the Leafs, they're blue. Not to mention the BLUE Jays.

    Orange is color that I like when it comes to food. Sweet and sour BBQ pork is orange. Mango's are orange. And just about any candy that is orange-flavored usually rocks supreme over any of other flavors. Take orange Skittles for instance, they are by far the best Skittle. Then there's Fuzzy Peaches, they're orange too and are great. Orange popsicles.. Mmmm... Oh and what about Cheesies and Cheetos? Awesome snack.

    But although Orange is a key color in my diet, I still like Blue. And I don't worry, I haven't forgotten about blueberries. Mmm...

    Can you tell that I skipped breakfast today and that I'm starving?

    The sea is blue, and I like to swim -- at least, when I'm not drowning.. because drowning sucks. But swimming is fun, as long as you're not drowning. Also it makes me think of soup.. Lamb stew perhaps.. oh but that's orange and red.

    Also meats are all red, at least, to begin with. And it's the stop light. I like to stop. And greens if for Go. But green isn't the topic of this post. Plus mold is green, and boogers -- Ewwww. Not to mention envy.

    Red hair is nice, although I don't know anyone with it. At least not naturally. Hot sauce is red. And ketchup, you can't forget about ketchup. Some people call it Catsup. And some forms of curry is red.

    Did I mention that I'm starving right now?

    But red is also the color for the communists.. and the confederate flags were red, although also blue. And people say they're red hot from anger. Anger is bad.

    The United Nations flag is blue. And the Leafs, Blue Jays, Argo's, Indianapolis Colts, University of Connecticut, University of North Carolina. Blue is a great color. The lines on lined paper are blue. My mousepad is blue. Plus blue is for boys, although not just for boys.

    Blue is the best.

    Anyway, that is about as much politics as you'll ever see on this blog.

    Blue. Vote for blue.

    January 10, 2006

    NFL Playoffs

    I have been enjoying the NFL Playoffs this year especially because of the big screen and the high definition. So much so that I've watched every game possible (aside from the one I missed because of the Illuminate meeting). I even watched the boring Patriots beat the terrible Jaguars. It wasn't exactly the most exciting game, but something about the quality of the show, mixed in with the wonderful sounds just made it that much better.

    What's more, because I am watching digital, I get to watch the American commercials, which is just a totally added bonus.

    This year, I don't have a particularly favorite team but I am hoping for a more exciting finish, that is, not a blowout per se or a insanely defensive game -- but at least a well balanced game. Although in years past I've cheered against the Patriots, this year Tom Brady is actually earning his previous MVP votes and actually doing something like throwing the ball more than 10 yards at a time. So overall the Pats aren't really that boring a team to watch.

    A couple of the teams I'm really dreading to see in the Superbowl are the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. Those two teams are terribly offensively challenged.

    This past weekend watching the wildcard teams play really helped explain why they were wild-card teams in the first place. Offenses were stalled, defenses were making all kinds of mistakes. It was ugly at times. Although still very nice looking :)

    Stumbling block

    I've got a co-worker hooked on World of Warcraft. He asked me if he should get Civilization 4 or WoW. I suggested he not get WoW because it was too addictive and it would ruin his life.

    The next monday, he comes to work with red eyes like he hasn't slept in a few days. He tells me the WoW is the best game he's every played in his entire life. It's not just a game.. it's like an entirely different world. It's not just fighting.. it's a life.

    Each day since then, whenever "the boss" isn't around, he's asking me about builds, specs, strategies. He's completely obsessed with the game. He comes in every day looking exhausted and the bags under his eyes are getting bigger and bigger.

    Remind you of anyone?

    Yesterday I spent 2.5 hours in Molten Core with my guild. We've come a long way from where we started, when it used to take us 5 hours to get through it. This is far more manageable. 2.5 hours. That's fast.

    Anyway, for 2.5 hours I further confirmed my former inklings that I had very little desire to continue playing. Heck, the only reason I played was because they asked for my help. I wouldn't have otherwise gone. Or is it supposed to be "Otherwise I wouldn't have gone"? Or "I otherwise wouldn't have gone"? Anyway, I am at around 5% desire to play, which is about a 495% decrease from a year ago.

    January 09, 2006

    We had a meeting amongst Illuminate (our post-university early-career fellowship) to discuss the merits of even having a fellowship at all. With the small group movement upon us, everything is small groups, and as such even our fellowship is comprised of small groups.

    We had to determine why we have a fellowship -- why should we meet, as a large group and what could we accomplish as a large group that we normally would not be able to as a small group. Did we really need a large group? Everyone agreed that we should have a vision statement for what we should be striving towards, as a large group fellowship. So we brainstormed ideas/statements that encompassed our large group vision.

    Some suggestions of 'things we can't do effectively as a small group but can with a large group' include: coffee house, evangelical meets, outreach programs, winter/summer retreats.

    One of the things we wanted to get away from was making the large group meets into social events, because if past attendance was any indication, it was always the same people showing up to them. The same people that we hang out with socially. We wrapped our heads around the idea that LGM's should have a purpose, and that each SG should hold some sort of "ownership" for the LGM, in order to encourage attendance, not to mention ease the workload for SG leaders.

    But also not to have LGM's too often because it would disrupt the pace of SG's themselves. So we had to set dates for those.

    And we had to figure out who would be responsible, the need or lack of a need for a coordinator or chair person.

    Although I did get the gist of the entire meeting, I didn't take much part in it. I offered no suggestions or clarifications. I basically took a completely passive approach to this meeting, and I will explain why.

    The reason is because I was completely distracted by other things. Mainly, my own situation and where I fit into all of this. The entire time I was thinking about my mission statement, my vision for this year.

    I kept thinking to myself -- What is Community? Is THIS community? What has kept me from joining a small group? Is it laziness? Pride? Is it what I want? Or is it because it feels like a cop-out from something that I should be doing myself, which is leading my own group? Why are people making fun of me for dressing nicely? Should I join a group or not? And, if I don't join a group, what is the drawback? The drawback is having zero accountability in my spiritual walk. So why I don't I join a group then? Because I'm afraid? Or because there's something more that I want and I feel like if I join a group, I won't be able to do what I want or worse, it will hold me back or occupy my time from doing what I truly want? Or maybe I feel like if I do join one, then my heart will relax and the burden I'm feeling will be relieved just enough that I'll completely give up on my yearning desire to serve the community?

    And that's when it hit me. What I'd been searching for, is to serve the community. To serve others. Not just once in awhile but all the time. And regularly.

    A group of people who get together every week to serve other people who need serving. And then, through that time of serving others, we grow spiritually. And on days we aren't serving others, we are better equipping ourselves to serve others better. And on days we aren't doing either of those two things, we are praying for eachother, looking out for one another, loving eachother.

    And that's just the thought that hit me around the time they were still talking about large groups and the various vision statements. And so for the remainder of the meeting I sort of sat there daydreaming until it was over.

    January 07, 2006

    Chuck Norris

    Lately, Chuck Norris has found his way on the internet, in the form of hilarious exaggerations about him that make him like this super bad-ass. They're an absolute riot. I've come across at least 40+ of these things, and I have shed many tears from laughter. Some of them are just so ridiculous!

    Here's a few of my favorites:

    "The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain."

    "Chuck Norris doesn't sleep. He waits."

    "Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs."

    "There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist."

    "When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down."

    "If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds till." After you ask, "Two seconds to what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face."

    "When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket."

    "Chuck Norris has two speeds: walk and kill."

    "Chuck Norris can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night."

    "Chuck Norris can divide by zero."

    "Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants."

    Hahaha.. Chuck Norris rocks!

    January 06, 2006

    Huff n Puff

    For those who haven't heard -- I put on 12 pounds during my vacation. All of mom's cooking and eating out while on the road in Los Angeles did me in. I probably got more exercise than usual, but the food.. mmmm.. the food.

    One thing I've found since coming back from vacation, and having put on all that weight, is that I'm always hot. Not by appearance mind you -- but taking a few steps here and there, running up some stairs, and I'm completely soaked in sweat. Flustered, flushed, and red, just from a few stairs.

    So it's like before, I was just tired from it because I was out of shape. But now I'm a little overweight so the result is that I am tired, but also sweating. I've also found that I need less layers of clothes. Now whether that is because the weather has warmed a little, or because I'm fatter, that remains to be seen.

    January 04, 2006

    New sights

    When we started our drive out to Los Angeles from Las Vegas, it was extremely windy and as we drove up the freeway, I saw tumbleweed. The stuff you see in those western movies! It was such a joy, they were rolling around all over the place. We even ran over one of them, it was at least 2 feet tall!

    I even saw one that was nearly 3 feet tall. Cars were afraid to hit it (even though it's just a dried up plant and basicall harmless) and were swerving all over the road to avoid it.


    We saw a waterfall inside an underground parking lot, off the infamous Rodeo Drive. We were looking for parking and we turned in when we saw the big "P" sign. Turns out it was a $20 lot with valet service. There was also a hair salon down there.

    Fortunately one of the valet boys kindly pointed us in the right direction (out of there) and towards a free parking lot.


    Rodeo Drive had chandeliers for lamp posts, instead of.. well, regular lamp posts. Also, I saw at one of those insanely expensive jewellry stores, a diamond-encrusted iPod bag. I have a picture of it which I'll post when I get home (if you happen to read this during the day).

    Loose ends

    And of course there's that wig, I'll never forget the look on that guy who ran to pick up the wig, and then the look on the woman's face when he plopped it back on her head. Still has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen.


    Interesting movie, highly entertaining. I have always liked Matthew McConaughey. He's so good looking and really, who can resist that southern accent?

    National Treasure

    Despite me hating Nicolas Cage, I really enjoyed this movie. It was like a cheap american rip-off of the Da Vinci Code.. but it was good. Very entertaining and very interesting too. And funny. I love sidekicks, they're always so funny.

    Tae Guk Gi

    Great film. Best Korean film ever made, apparently. Probably the most expensive too. You have to see it.. if you can find it. Should be rated R though.. very graphic. If you thought Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan were gross, think again.


    Awesome movie. 3 hours short with amazing cinematic pictures, the computer graphic imagining was crisp and fit very well in the film. The humanization of Kong was great. You could feel was he was feeling, you could sense his unhappiness, his uneasiness, his desires. Naomi Watts -- breakthrough performance. Jack Black can act. Nice to see Hanks' kid in a big blockbuster movie such as this, for more exposure. I thought the worm scene was unnecessary. I had to look away... too gross.


    Loved it. Paz Vega was very different from the previous Latin women we've seen. She was good looking, but not "hot" like some of the others (Cruz, Hayek). She was outspoken yet reserved, gorgeous but not in a gratuitous way. They didn't make a point out of her beauty -- they just let her act like they would with a normal American actress. And it was good. And Adam Sandler proved again that he can be a normal guy and not stereotypical crazy, angry person we've seen so many times. Tea Leoni played the role of the stuck up, oblivious woman. I've met people like her and yes, they are really annoying.

    Love Actually

    After hearing Ina rave on and on about this movie I finally had a chance to watch it. It's a story about love in just about every way you can imagine it. I sat there by myself watching this movie on my brother's laptop (because of the jetlag I was always up 2-3 hours before everyone else) and nodded to myself to situations in the movie, cried when sad things inevitably happened, and laughed when things worked out. I think the great thing about the movie is that it's true. You sit there in agreement because you know that it's all true, that you've been through the same experiences that many of the characters have been through.

    Could anything be worse than the total agony of being in love?


    After just about no sports whatsoever since Vegas doesn't have any teams, I come home to this, a team that was 7-7 in December and now 1-0. And I love it. Just 29 more wins and I'll be satisfied.

    Fever Pitch

    That reminds me, I saw Fever Pitch too. This was a fun love story about a guy who was completely and utterly obsessed with the Boston Red Sox and had trouble finding women who would be able to put up with his obsession while being in a committed relationship. Much like my video gaming, he watched it non-stop spending the 3-4 hours required to watch a game every day for the entire season. He also wore Red Sox clothes, pajamas, had blankets, bedsheets, pillows, soap dishes, shower curtains, etc. All BoSox. In the end he gets the girl without having to give up his video gam--errr.. I mean baseball. ;)

    January 03, 2006

    I have returned

    I'm baaaaaack.

    I flew in this morning pondering what I should do this year, like, what will define me this year. Last year I was defined by World of Warcraft, a video game that I became addicted to and to this day, have not stopped playing. But over the holidays and my 13 day vacation in Las Vegas, I've given that a lot of thought -- about how I could become so involved with a game, so tuned out to the rest of the world, my friends and family. How could a video game take over my life like that. I can't allow it control me anymore.

    Also, small group has been on my mind.

    Isn't it funny, how sometimes you have this vision, this strong outpouring motivation to do something, and then you just lose all steam, or something clicks in your mind that convinces you that you're not good enough to do it? Or maybe you feel like you just don't have the time for it. I guess that's my position on my small group leadership stint.

    People keep asking me -- "Hey Brian, have you joined a small group yet?" Well, the thing is I was waiting until the groups filled up some more before I decided where to go. But now it sounds like groups have filled up.

    And that's okay I guess. I'm glad that there's been a large pouring of interest in joining groups. It's been really great that this ministry has blossomed.

    And people need it. I need it. I need those people keeping me accountable, the people who provide that togetherness God's family. Once you've tasted that loving community, and then you step away from it, you see how badly you needed it. But until you've experienced it, it just seems like a silly thing or just a group of friends meeting regularly for some bible study. But it's so much more than that.

    If I can't find a group then I guess I'll have to find another source for it, maybe at another church or something. I can't picture going on without it.

    I kinda digressed on my original point, of what could define me this year. I attended Soulstice this past Sunday and was touched by Pastor Alex's talk about TOGETHERness, about community, discipleship and outreach. It gave me a profoundly new perspective on that subject of community, life together in the Family.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I want "community" to define me this year. Whether that's by small group, or by community work, or missions -- it's something that I'd like to strive towards for 2006.


    I bought tons of clothes in Las Vegas. Lots of clothes from various outlet malls, in Prim and in Las Vegas. I bought my first Banana Republic clothes. My first Clark's shoes, my first Skechers shoes (yes, I nearly doubled my shoe collect in one fell swoop). I bought my first Ralph Lauren clothes. It's crazy, looking inside my suitcase and seeing all the brand name stuff that I got for so cheap.

    I discovered that you can pull off a lot of different looks with a shaved head. I cut my hair again after we got back from Los Angeles and all my clothes looked that much better on me.

    On the flight home I thought about why I've never had brand name clothing before, or why I never try to be one of those "well-dressed" people. I think it stems from the fact that I feel uncomfortable around such people -- that somehow, from a person's appearance, I feel like I'm a lower class, or less distinguished. So in turn, I don't dress well either because I don't want others feeling the way I do.

    I like wearing scrubs. It makes everyone around you feel better, and it hella more comfortable. And yet, there I was buying all these neat clothes, and feeling really good about it. Looking in the mirror and thinking, "Damn, I look good..."

    Silly boy.

    January 02, 2006

    Tae Guk Gi

    Today is New Year's Day. But instead of writing about New Years Day, I'm here to tell you about the first Korean movie I have ever seen. It was called "Tae Guk Gi", and it was a great film.

    The movie is based the war between North Korea and South Korea, about 2 brothers who are forced to join the battle (on the south side), and about an older brother protecting his younger brother.

    The movie had everything, the same kind of battle scenes as Saving Private Ryan, same kind of drama and action as those types of war movies but the story itself was really about the struggle between the two siblings. The older brother Jin-tei does everything in his power to try to get his brother discharged so he can go home and take care of their mom. He becomes obsessed and enraged and goes on killing rampages.

    I give this movie a 9/10 (some parts were really, really gross).

    One of the Funniest Things I Have Ever Seen

    Yesterday we went to what my brother described as "the best pho in Las Vegas". Sad to say, but if I were to rate this restaurant "Pho Kim Long" (no kidding, that's what it's actually called) on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is Pho88, then Pho Kim Long is a 3.

    Anyway, in the parking lot is where we saw one of the funniest things ever. It was really windy that day and we this this family walk out of one of the stores in the plaza. Anyway, a huge gust of wind hit them and we saw this black thing fly up and land on the ground. I looked over, and IT WAS A WIG!!!! HAHAHAHA!!! One of the men quickly ran over to it and picked it up -- it belonged to one of the old ladies! HAHAHA.. he grabbed it and put it back on her head!