Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hudson River Whitewater Rafting

This would be probably my first and last trip. This summer we went rafting again. It was for the advance level, meaning you got to have a licensed guide with you. We chose to raft with Hudson River Whitewater Rafting located at Gore Mountain, North Creek, New York. The Hudson River Gorge runs through the “forever wild” Adirondack State Park. According to the site, the trip length was about 17 miles and took about 4 hours.

We, 14 people, got there around 9:00 am. We registered and waited for them to load the rafts up to the roof of the equipment buses. School buses took us to the base of operations which is the Inn at Gore Mountain. Unavoidably, drunken rafters were riding the bus with us. They were annoying as hell, yapping all the way to the starting point. I kind of wish they were death by drowning!!!
We were spit into 2 groups, 7 each. We were the first raft to go. Crazily yelling at us, our guide was very cruel at the beginning. He thought we were all Chinese and couldn’t speak English. I, as the oldest person in the raft, had to be his translator. He would hit me with his paddle if I didn’t translate a single word he said. I understood that he was responsible for our lives if something bad happens. However, it’s not necessary to be nasty like that. After a while when he was sure that he could control the raft, he, finally, seemed to calm down and be nice. Mostly, I opted to enjoy the rapids, scenery, sunshine and fresh air. Sometimes you have to let things go and enjoy what makes your life happy as much as possible. Otherwise, your life will be miserable.

We did the barbecue for dinner. The Weber grill was in the backyard of the house. Beautiful weather, nice conversation, decent alcohol and good food were just the perfect combination of the exquisite evening. Thanks to our personal chef, we had a chance, again, to be overwhelmed by grilled beef, juicy fish, chicken, mushroom, burger, to name a few.

The next day we stopped by Lake George to take some photos and, for some people, to buy souvenir. Certainly, it was crowded with weekenders. No wonder why the city has been empty lately.

I came back with a body of an elephant; however, my mind was filled with happiness. Thanks goes to my friend who make this trip possible.

Standing on top: Den, Num, Tong
Sitting in the middle: Bee, Koi, Tong, Aue; Standing in the middle: Mick, Chang
Sitting in front: Pui, Ginggal, Koi's cousin, Ploy, Tee

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Sunday, July 15, 2007


My dream has come true. All Travis five albums have been sitting on my CD racks for several years. DVDs of their shows have been also a great comfort. I, finally, have a chance to see their live performance at Irving Plaza.

Waiting for me at Union Square Park, I rushed to meet my new concert-buddy. The time was 6:30. I thought it would be a good idea to check and see if there was a long line to get in. On our way to Irving Plaza, unbelievably we saw Dougie, the bassist, on his matching golden suit and sunglasses. Undoubtedly, I said hi to him. He was walking with another guy whom I think was the guard. Dougie also said hi back to us with a little bit of the feminine voice and gesture. We were like “Oh wow, this is amazing.”

We got in around 7:15 and waited until 8:00 pm when the opening band, John Paul White, started. There were two guys in this band. One song they played was from the TV show OC which I’ve never seen. However, they sounded great. They finished around 8:30. We waited again. This girl next to us was getting drunk, started dancing for no reason and making a scene. Inconsiderate fan was everywhere. We kind of hoped that she would behave when the show began.

Around 9 o’clock more or less, the light in the hall went dark, couple spotlights went on and also the theme songs were played. Audiences’ eyes followed the spotlights to see what was going on, how the band members would enter the stage. We looked around the standing area and here they were. They were walking toward where my friend and I stood. We were speechless. However, we were crazily screaming. Walking slowly, I had a chance to shake Fran’s and Dougie’s hand and touched Andy’s and Neil’s shoulder. They all were walking pass our face. I thought I was going to faint with the overwhelming feeling. It was just too much in one night. Click to see the clip. If you carefully look at this clip, you could see us.

According to the song list I got, here are the songs played in sequence:

Selfish Jean
Eyes Wide Open
Writing to Reach You
Love Will Com Thru
As You Are
My Eyes
Big Chair
Good Feeling
All I Want to Do is Rock

We were standing not too far from the stage. Our eyes met Dougie’s eyes periodically. We smiles back and forth. My friend seemed to like him and his dancing moves very much. Three were two grandmothers upstairs wearing Travis t-shirt and singing along almost every song. Right next to them, we saw Zach Braff and his girlfriend also having a good time. Fran introduced the new touring pianist, Claus Bjorklund, who was solo on the track “Good Feeling.”

After “Turn” was played and the band went to backstage, we wholeheartedly shouted wanting them to come back. Fran came out with his acoustic guitar and stated that everybody would sing “Flowers” in an unplugged version. Of course, it was lovely and fantastic. They cover this song very well. The next songs were “Indefinitely” and “Selfish Jean.” They intentionally played Selfish Jean twice; however, on the second time they had this guy from YouTube’s clip performed some dancing as Fran sang the song. It was my first time watching this and it was quite creatively funny. The party was almost over. “Rain” was played lastly. Fran said that he would like everybody in the hall sing this song together. We were jumping and singing, “why does it always rain on me? Is it because I lied when I was seventeen…” it was amazing seeing everyone jumped and sang this well-known song.

I might not need great sex for a while after experiences this astounding and overwhelming performance they put on the stage.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday Night at Coney Island

I barely remember last time I went to Coney Island. However, I still remember last year my former coworker told me to go see the fireworks at Coney Island on Friday night. Who would imagine? One year has already gone. So off I go.

Who would have known? Cyclone Rollercoaster have been operated by Astroland Park since 1927. This year they celebrate 80th anniversary. Its tiny seat can’t even fit typical Americans these days. The amazing thing is its steel track, which is on almost entirely wood structure. That first loop almost made me sick!

Wonder Wheel is not just an ordinary wheel. There are 2 types of passenger cars: one is stationary and another one is swinging. Of course, as brave as I am, I got in the swinging one. I have to say this; it was pretty scary because the car rolled along tracks within the wheel’s structure at 150 foot high. And it rolled back and forth…back and forth…like it would never stop. I forgot to enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Jersey Shore and the NYC Skyline. Damn it.

And the highlight of the evening—the fireworks. We sat on the beach next to the area the fireworks were ignited. It was so close. I felt like the fireworks would come down to me. I liked the big one which when it was up in the sky, they would have small fireworks moving around. The screamers were pretty remarkable too. I really enjoyed watching it, better than fireworks on forth of July.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

The End

There's no next chapter
The story you and I wrote
It's almost over
That love song you composed

No doubt how it ends
No questions asked
Life is so short
I'd like to play it hard

Happiness is on the way
It's used to be my enemy
This time I'll let it in
No more dark sky,
my life isn't cloudy

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

First Short Story

POW POW!!! He heard the pounding at the door. BAM BAM BAM!!! He looked at his antique clock on the wall, which said 11:15. He wasn’t expecting anyone this late, especially on a rainy night like this. Actually, he wasn’t expecting anyone at all since he’d been busy with his new job—not to mention three new records he and his band had been painstakingly working on. He had no time to socialize. However, he didn’t care as long as he was doing something he was passionate about. He got up from his computer desk, walked quickly past his kitchen and opened the door. It was Maurine, the girl he’d been seeing for a couple of months. Soaking wet like a little puppy, she pushed herself all the way into his apartment. He was surprised by her appearance and didn’t have a chance to greet her or anything. Apparently, she’d been crying hysterically. He could tell from the black line of mascara on her lovely face. Her eyes were swollen and red. So was her nose. He had no idea how long she’d been weeping. There was no point in asking.

Standing in the middle of his living room in her black coat, she shouted loudly, “Why didn’t you call me? Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for your call? I so desperately wanted to hear your voice, just your voice.” She paused and then continued. “What the hell are you doing? Where the hell are you? Why can’t you make just one phone call? I thought we really had a good time for a couple of weeks. We have so much in common. No one understands me like you do. On the other hand, no one treats me like you do.” She looked at him like he was a murderer. “Yes! You are a murderer. You emotionally murder me!” She was screaming at him. Not only was she vulnerable, she was also a psychic, reading his mind. He kept his words to himself thinking that silence might be the best way to deal with a crazy girl like her. And that was his way of dealing with problems.

She walked into his bedroom, grabbed his towel and dried her long hair. He was going to help her but she moved away from him. “What do you know?” she started. “Meeting and knowing you is the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t care how many girls you have met or you’ve hung out with. I like you the way you are. I like you because you are you. You remember when we first met?” He could see a flash of her smile. “I feel like you own me. My mind and body were covered by your unexplained magic. Suddenly, I am yours!” He, of course, remembered the first night, the night he would never forget. His friend thought Maurine was a crazy girl and told him to stay away from her. There were several girls at the party approaching him and trying to get his attention. But he couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. Something inside his head told him that this girl belonged to him.

“You think it’s easy for me to start a new relationship?” She was sitting on his sofa in the living room and sobbing. “I was in a gloomy world until I met you. I know we are living in different worlds. Your world is always bright and beautiful. You could choose anyone you want. Why would you want to be in my world—the world of darkness? Somehow, I hoped that you would change my world. You would make me feel human again. I am so sorry to say this. But you just killed me.”

She got up and walked to the kitchen. She knew where he kept his facial tissue. She wiped her face, blew her nose and then adjusted her coat. “Ok. I have said what I wanted to say to you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the good times that we’ve had together. Thank you for your warm and comforting touches.” She hugged him and left. It was as fast as when she showed up in front of his door. The elevator had already taken her downstairs when he whispered to himself, “Hi, Maurine. How’re you doing? I just got home and was about to call you.”