Gotta Catch'em All  

Monday, November 26 : 1:06 PM : 0 comments :

Today at 3:03 pm: Attempting to sing songs without using any words from the song's title.

You know what I like most about games? Aside from winning them of course. Games bring people together. In this day and age when there are so many things to suck your time away but every activity seems less communal by nature, it's fun to play games. I can't understand why games aren't enjoyed more (by adults I mean). Perhaps they're tainted by the association that games are for children.

Many people I know insist on throwing money or alchohol into games in order to make them fun. I don't understand why just playing to win isn't stakes enough. Who needs to put money on something in order to take it seriously? I'd play tic-tac-toe and want to cream you just for kicks -- and I'm hardly an ultra-competitive person. I hate it when people add the "...with drinks" to any suggestion of a game. It's so juvenile. Like adding " bed" to the end of every fortune cookie. It's not fun, or funny, get over it.

Richard Garfield, game designer and inventor of Magic: The Gathering, said that any game can become ultra-fun as long as you create a ladder for organizational and competitive purposes. I've long believed this and would like to ladder everything in my life if I could. I'd like to create some sort of meta-game you could play over years and years; one with a complicated scoring system and many different ways to win. I guess that could just be life but that's not really exciting enough. Plus, in real life, as opposed to board game Life, it's very possible for everyone involved to end up losing.

Personally, I prefer trivia games or games where a maximum of strategy and tactics is involved. The more people who can play at once the merrier. Now that I'm thinking about it, I know lots of people who love games. I just don't happen to hang out with them. Maybe I need to move.
Favorite Board Games
Trivial Pursuit

Favorite Group Games
Music Game
Animal Game

Wishing on the same bright star  

Wednesday, November 14 : 11:38 PM : 0 comments :

Today at 7:31 pm: Aiming ten feet high and missing.

November fifteenth was supposed to be my D-Day, instead I've got an extension till Monday. I'm worried a bit. I had always hoped that my first novel would be something life changing, something that said what I wanted to say to the world, something that represented me. I was hoping for an auto-biography or a memoir but to be honest, it's much harder to write a memoir than a fictional work. You gotta be an engaging story teller to write a good memoir, which I'm not. Plus, I don't think my life up to this point has warranted a memoir. Maybe next year.
During my most recent trip to New York, we hit upon the idea of titling personal stories like Bible verses. For example, "Jon 3:14" might be the tale of how a three year old George would bring me my slippers during our childhood visits with each other -- we lived in different cities for awhile. The beauty of this system is that if you've heard a story over and over, you can just exit and not miss a thing. "Oh, it's George 6:2, I've heard this one a million times. I'm going to get a drink." Convenient no?
When this book is finally done -- this is just the first draft -- I think it'll be as close as I get to fatherhood for awhile. It's 100% my words, it's (sort of) my idea, it's anything I want it to be. I'd also have been working on it for almost exactly nine months by the time it's finalized. To make an analogy, I think I'm in the second trimester now. I've just seen the sonogram and I'm worried that the kid will be misshapen and ugly. Will it have a face that only a mother can love? I sure hope not because I'm banking on this thing being very popular with the masses.

Joelle. Isaiah. Ethan. Aubrey. Sage. Nathaniel. These are the names of children my friends have brought into this world. The list is going to grow pretty quickly I'm sure. Notice there's no "Jonathan" yet, but there's still plenty of time. I'll sign your baby's butt if you name your firstborn after me. Exclusive offer.

There was a time when I wished for twenty children. I wanted to have a big house, a wall-sized white board to organize everyone's activities, and make the kids march down for breakfast together every morning. I also wanted Captain Von Trapp's whistle. Tweet tweet. As a teenager, I had read an article about Pat Williams, then general manager of the Orlando Magic. Pat and his wife had 19 children, 14 of whom were adopted from various countries. It was inspiring.

Then reality, economics, and life kicked in. My worst fear nowadays is to father a child. Can you imagine? I think Child Protective Services would just take "it" away at the hospital. Preemptive strike.

I've been blog surfing tonight and catching up on Eric's adventures in parenting. Reading his words is enough to make anyone feel the sheer joy (however derivative) of having kids -- check out the blog Eric and Anna are doing for Isaiah and Ethan, it's such an awesome idea.

I envy the family life that exists out in Michigan. Everyone we know there hangs out together. They go fishing, they have bible studies, they have sports leagues, they have family (in all senses of the word). My West Coast friends are at a different stage in our lives. But when we hit that stage -- the one with wives, husbands, and families -- I wonder if we'll hang out together. Maybe we can fly Eric and Anna out for a seminar when that time comes.

I think I may eventually have to resort to borrowing a kid, sort of like in Hornby's "About A Boy", in order to crash family gatherings. Where's the nearest rent-a-child facility located? Do I just pick one out at the local Gymboree?

Five Alive  

Friday, November 9 : 11:09 PM : 0 comments :

I've been going back through my archives recently, to piece together what I've been doing for the past five years. Last year I was in Fremont, having moved up there about a girl. We were settling in nicely. I was working a steady job, exploring suburbia, and paying some honest to goodness bills. Joining the land of adults more or less.

Two Novembers ago, a friend had just eloped. She did it in grand style too, taking her vows in a hot air balloon while dressed like Minnie Mouse. I was living with James at his condo located not five miles away from my house house. Why didn't I just live at home? Because my mom didn't want to promote my slackerism. I had also just quit a dream job (video game testing) that was more nightmare than memorable in order to write the blog book. It was also the beginning stages of my most recent ex-relationship. That was 2005.

2004, I voted for the very first time. For my participation, I got a celebratory speeding ticket not five minutes afterwards. I gave up my foreign citizenship for this? I think I'll walk to the polls next November, just to be safe. Three years ago, I got my second tattoo. I've averaged 3.33 tattoos a year since. I feel like that means I've been commemorating a lot of things, or maybe I just got bit by the ink bug.

Four years ago, we took a boys only trip to Vegas. Of course, a girl ended up going, since we're hardly real men, but the trip was novel and fun. Since then I've been to Vegas far more times that I'd like to count. I believe I was also about to start my first post-collegiate relationship after a two year girl-iatus. Along with that, I was starting my first real job. Like one with defined hours and you know, pay. Technically, I was scheduled for a quarter-life crisis but clearly, there was no crisis at hand. Other than me being years out of college and just then getting a job. Nope, no crisis at all.

A full five years ago, I was taking classes at UCSD, living at home, and exploring life back in San Diego after four years in Michigan, one and a half in New York, and another year or so split between China and England. Home sweet home they say.

Looking over the lot of it, I can't tell if I'm ahead or behind.

Six Novembers ago, I was presented with the idea of sticking around my father's company (he had just passed away) to learn the ropes and maybe eventually take over. I was twenty two and shown a five year blueprint for my life and future success. If things had gone a certain way, I could have been an integral part of the family business by twenty seven, perhaps even heading it.

That plan would have given me worldly success by any definition. I balked however, because five years seemed like such a long time. I didn't want to lose my mid-twenties. They seemed like they would be the time of my life.

Were they?

I'm now twenty nine, with my thirties around the corner, and clearly not in charge of a globally successful woodwind instrument mafia. I'm a little lost actually, career wise. Then again, what else is new? As a co-worker said to me today (paraphrased), "I don't see you doing this, to be honest." The good news is that I'm working on my second book, the first draft of which is due like basically right now. Five steps back, one step forward?

Hi Dad!

Sky High  

Sunday, November 4 : 11:47 PM : 0 comments :

Today at 11:41 pm: Suffering from a severe case of writer's block.

How does one go almost thirty years without ever witnessing a keg stand? Apparently, I'm not very worldly at all. I had thought that a keg stand described someone literally doing a handstand on a keg. I'm not sure why anyone would do such a thing but I imagined it was an acrobatic feat done while drunk -- thus the raucous cheering. Little did I know that a keg stand involved drinking beer upside down while being supported by your buddies. Frat culture is so weird. Keg stands, beer pong, rampant dating and sex. What the hell is this stuff? All I ever did at frat parties was stand around and try to not look like a loser. Obviously, mission failed!

Do you even remember the first time you encountered all this stuff? There's this whole culture you have to immediately grasp without asking anyone around you, lest you out yourself as a social retard. I had no idea what a keg looked like, much less how to tap one. Is that even the right way to use that in a sentence? I'm so confused and it's not even freshman year.

Actually, I'm a little confused about drug terms too. Can you use "high" in relation to any drug? Like, if someone is on any type of drugs they're high? And is it to "snort" or to "sniff" cocaine? Are they synonyms perhaps? D.A.R.E. didn't teach much of anything did it?

This weekend, I drove home to attend my very first thirtieth birthday party ever. Despite a schedule that demands I put everything aside but my writing (due in ten days!), I had to go down because without Lilly, I would have nothing to write anyway. I know which side my bread is buttered on. Plus she's super special and this was a night not to be missed.

It was probably the best house party I've been to in the past five years. Alchohol, food, music, lots of room to lounge. No chance of cops busting in because it was in La Jolla and totally parentally supervised. In addition, there were a whole bunch of budding couples to watch. It was fantastic walking around and observing the actions of so-and-so to figure out if maybe they were interested in each other, etc. It reminded me of middle school when at school dances -- okay "dance," I've only ever been to one -- me and my friend tried to play Cupid. I feel like we only succeeded in solidifying our dork status but it was quite a magical time as I recall.

In related unrelated news, I saw an ex-girlfriend at Yogurt World this weekend. She was my very first "real" girlfriend, meaning like our parents knew about us. Actually, that's not a good barometer for what constitutes a "real" girlfriend because she was the first and last girlfriend to admit to her parents that we were dating. Hum, maybe something's wrong with me? Nah...

During our mainly long distance relationship (I was in Michigan, she was in Santa Cruz), we racked up huge phone bills, sent each other sweet things in the mail, missed the heck out of each other, and I even got a job to support us. Yes, I took a job to support our relationship; a dime a minute long distance ain't cheap. Anyway, she ended up marrying a friend of ours and they're perfect together and now they have a beautiful baby boy that I didn't even know about until very recently. I, on the other hand, had strawberry tart with white carob chips, lychee, and a mound of mochi.

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