Friday, December 26, 2008

Promise Kept

This will not be a post reflecting on the beauty of Christmas (although you may read into the title of the post however you wish). My intent for this post is more of a housekeeping issue:

I made a promise a year ago (almost to the day!) to upload a crazy wipeout I had on my snowboard on Christmas Day. =]

Today I fulfill my promise.
If you can't do it right, then fail spectacularly!

And my awesome, cool, and amazingly tech-savvy sister made our 2008Choo Family Christmas Video.

The link directly above is High-Def. Here's the normal quality.

Merry (post) Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nevermind then...

Man is a giddy thing.

Turns out I'm not going into Philosophy.


Delightful Irony eh?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dorothy Sayers and Bach

Keep in mind that in her youth, Dorothy Sayers was quite a talented Violinist/Pianist:

"Masters, undergraduates, visitors; they sat huddled closely together on the backless oak benches, their elbows on the long tables, their eyes shaded with their fingers, or turned intelligently towards the platform where two famous violinists twisted together the fine, strong strands of the Concerto in D Minor. The Hall was very full; Harriet's gowned shoulder touched her companion's and the crescent of his long sleeve lay over her knee. He was wrapt in the motionless austerity with which all genuine musicians listen to genuine music. Harriet was musician enough to respect this aloofness; she knew well enough that the ecstatic rapture on the face of the man opposite meant only that he was hoping to be thought musical, and that the elderly lady over the way, waving her fingers to the beat, was a musical moron. She knew enough, herself, to read the sounds a little with her brains, laboriously unwinding the twined chains of melody link by link. Peter, she felt sure, could hear the whole intricate pattern, every part separately and simultaneously, each independent and equal, seperate but inseparable, moving over and under and through, ravishing heart and mind together.
She waited till the last movement had ended and the packed hall was relaxing its attention in applause.
'Peter - what did you mean when you said that anybody could have the harmony if they would leave us the counterpoint?'
'Why,' said he, shaking his head, 'that I like my music polyphonic. If you think I meant anything else, you know what I meant.' "

-Gaudy Night pg. 499

Then it goes on and they construct this beautiful model of marriage which you should definitely, definitely go read. (But read Strong Poison first at least!)

Anyway, that was an awesome description of Bach. More than that, I read that paragraph with a sinking feeling...I've been that musical pretender...I've been that musical moron waving my hands to the beat...gaaaahhh.....

=[ Sigh. Maybe I should just stick to eating and sleeping...?

Either way, Sayers is right, it's the music that's important, not your reaction. Just like everything else.

"The best thing to do is to forget yourself altogether..."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Paradox

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”

-William Blake

Go read those lines again.


Now think them through a bit.

I've been seeing this idea pop up in alot of places. George Steiner first brought it to my attention in his book Errata by pointing out the paradox of language and the written word. There are limits to language in the sense that we use predetermined symbols which correspond to certain concepts or things or ideas, but within those limits, there is a Infinite Universe. Now I'd like to add a quick note here: there are several kinds or types of infinity. If you've ever read the Phantom Tollbooth, you'll remember this one passage where the main character is in either a tunnel or on a staircase(both maybe, I can't remember) and it's a monotonous infinity. Chesterton also mentions this when he talks about lunatics in Orthodoxy, the logic of the lunatic makes perfect sense, but it is a mad sense, a never ending circle, like a dog chasing its tail. Boethius also brings this theme up when he talks about the difference between eternity and mere immortality. The eternal is Presence itself, time only imitates the ever-presence of eternity in the Present. While immortality is merely a sucession of future turning into present which becomes past, eternity is a transcendent Present of all time. (There's ALOT more to be said on that subject, but that's for a term paper) Eliot's line about the "still point" the "intersection" (I'm getting sidetracked here, so I won't go and find the exact quote). What I hope all these examples have done is to give an idea of what I am not trying to describe. The sense of infinity I describe is not the monotonous infinity of a never ending corridor, but rather the infinity of possibility, an infinity rife and pulsing with creative potential. That is the sense in which language (confined as it is by representative symbols used to denote concepts) is infinite.

Another example of this paradox of infinite freedom within tangible confines can be seen in the production of a play (This is a variation on the theme of language). Ms. Card, in the context lecture I attended this evening, spoke of a certain set of restraints that a director is subject to (Which can be grouped into two main categories of Restraints of the text and Restraints of the community which produces the play), yet within these constraints, there is an infinity of variety which makes it possible to see something different every time the play is incarnated.

Once I got started, everything around me started to explode with this theme. Take Western Concert Music, twelve notes...A-B-C-D-E-F-G with their respective sharps and you can get anything! Palestrina, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, John Williams, Coldplay, name any genre! And that's just the beginning, you have different forms: the symphony, the sonata, theme and varaiation, the prelude, the etude, etc. There's a form, and there's endless possibility.

And what about Chemistry? There are only 92 naturally occuring elements on Earth and they form literally everything around us.

Architecture, Sculpting, Biology, Painting, Art, Humans (!) And this last one got me. Each created in the image of God, each an individual. Yet the more we become Christ-like, the more we truly become ourselves. Tolstoy may have been right in saying all happy families are alike, but I think it would be more accurate to say that all happy families are alike in the potentiality for Joy.

Which brings me to The Great Divorce by Lewis. The grey town of the opening stretches to infinity in all directions, but it is so numbingly same. The real shocker is when you find out that all of hell cannot even affect a butterfly of heaven. (Note: As Lewis himself says, the illustrations of The Great Divorce are not meant to be literal ideas about the respective places, just as Dante's Comedy aren't meant to be factual descriptions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven).

If you take anything away from this ramble, take this:

Heaven can never be exhausted. Whatever else it is, it can and could never be merely infinite. All these examples I've listed so far are but the muddy trickles from the Fountain. How great our joy and wonder when we come to the Source?

It is the Good which is really interesting and evil which bores the hell out of a person (or rather, into him).

The sculpture which took an artist a month of 8-hour-a-day carving to complete can be destroyed in 2 minutes.

So there you have it, my long long and still incomplete ramble on the paradox of limits and freedom.

It is through law that we become truly free.

Let's discuss!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh the Humanities!

(Or Why I decided to major in Philosophy)

First off I couldn't resist:

Caption: I just Kant do it!

Okay, okay Horrible, aaah-I-want-to-hit-my-head-against-the-wall pun I know! =P

On a more serious note, here are some main reasons, not all of them, but a good overview I think...

1. It's something that I think I want to do for the rest of my life. Learning to love God with all my mind, is it not a worthy goal? Essentially, I want to wake up everyday, go to work and teach people how to love God. The best thing is, it's a journey that carries over into the next life. Who can know the depths of God? There is no end to His Love.

2. It seems like a good avenue through which I can channel my talents. I'm not spectacular, but I'm not totally incompetent either.

3. It's a great springboard for studies in Theology. Which I plan to pursue in graduate school.

Thinking back, the book of Proverbs has also highly influenced my decision.

My only regret is that with Torrey Honors on top of this major, and all my spare units devoted to Business classes, I won't hardly have any time for music classes. =[

But that will be a moot point if I don't first finish my application essay...haha...

Does anyone know of any people who are affiliated (teach, have taken this major, etc.) with this major at Biola? Is this a wise decision? I want input! (Please)

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Clip on Happiness

Another shameless plug for Pushing Daisies.

They can't touch!

Oh and they're such well dressed Checkities!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reflections on Love

Oh God, I don't love you, I don't even want to love you, but I want to want to love you!
-St. Teresa of Avila

O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess!
I feel too much thy blessing. Make it less
For fear I surfeit.
You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am. Though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish
To wish myself much better, yet for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself,
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times
More rich, that only to stand high in your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account. But the full sum of me
Is sum of something - which to term in gross
Is an unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happpiest of all, is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself and what is mine to you and yours
Is now converted....

-Portia, The Merchant of Venice

Lord, if this be pleasing unto thee, let it be so.
Lord, if it be to thy honor, in thy name let this be done.
Lord, if thou seest it good, and allowest it to be
profitable for me, then grant unto me that I may use this to thine honor.
But if thou knowest it will be harmful unto me, and no profit to the health of my soul, take away any such desire from me...
Deal with me as thou thinkest good, and as best pleaseth thee, and is most for thy honor.
Behold, I am thy servant, prepared for all things; for I desire not to live unto myself, but unto thee; and oh that I could do it worthily and perfectly!

- The Imitation of Christ pg. 19

Need-love says of a woman "I cannot live without her"; gift-love longs to give her happiness, comfort, protection - if possible, wealth; Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all.

-Lewis, The Four Loves

My Song is love unknown
My Saviour's love to me
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
O who am I
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

-Passiontide Hymn

Teach us to care and not to care.
Our peace in His will.

-T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday

What is this face, less clear and clearer
The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger-
Given or lent? more distant than stars and nearer than the eye

-Eliot, Marina

Do not fear the conflict, do not flee it. Where there is no struggle, there is no virtue. Where faith and love are not tested, it is not possible to be sure if they are really present. They are proved and revealed in adversity

-St. John of Kronstadt

Friday, October 31, 2008

Things my little sister has done to me...out of the goodness of her heart

Generally speaking, I love my sister but sometimes...

Mom: Isn't Aaron cute? (That's my two year old cousin)

Me: Awww, he is he is. *squinty eyed smiles*

Mom: All two year olds are cute...they can get away with murder.

Joycelyn: Yeah Gabriel, I mean, even you were cute at some point!


So I was pulling into the garage and Joycelyn opens the door while I'm still driving.

Me: What are you doing! Where's your brain?! Did you lose it?

Joycelyn: Nope, but I was looking for yours...

Oh the Humanity!

You know that wonderful fuzzy moment right before you fall asleep when everything is right with the world and you've said your prayers etc.? Yeah..... imagine me in that moment and then


Yeah....that would be Joycelyn. Hiding beneath my bed. That wasn't a goodnight for sleeping. Nope. Nutin. Nada.

And if that wasn't bad enough, when I woke up....

You know, I don't know about you, but I have a pretty full bladder in the morning. So I stumble into the bathroom that we share all bleary eyed from lack of sleep (plus I don't have my glasses on so I'm legally blind [not really]). So it's pretty standard routine from here on out right? Sigh. Not happening today. To be blunt. Joycelyn had put plastic surround wrap over the toilet. Yeah....

Big. Big. Big. Mess.

I was noooot happy.

And to round out a perfectly horrendous april fools, I found out that my toes were painted glittery pink. Did I mention they GLITTERED.

P.S. Joycelyn says to take notes Talia and Jane...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My parent's rules for dating:

Me: So, what's a good time to start dating?

Mom and Dad: You can't date until after you're married

Me: ..........

Me: ........... O.O

Yeah.... =D

(For those of you who are even slower than I am, that was a joke) ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Numbers 47-100

Okay, I promise this won't be about me...(Don't know any other way to survive it!).

Think of this as a list of things I'm grateful for.

Oh, by the way, for those who have not read the earlier post, go read that first.

47. Pushing Daisies. You have no idea how smarmily romantic, quirky, funny, hopeful, warm and fuzzly this show makes me feel. Blargh! They had better not cancel it!

48. KUSC. The last classical radio station in the LA area. It's commercial free and member supported (which means we donate to keep it runnning). Been a member for 2 years now. =] Where would I be without classical music 24/7? My only complaint is that they keep all the good stuff in the wee hours of the morning from like 1:00 am to 6:00 am...haha but then again that might be because I listen to it at that time most often! One of my favorite programs on the station is Sunday Morning Sacred classics. Oy! Such beauty to make men weep. Go visit and stream from online at

49. What is the purpose of life? Love God and Love man? This is coming up mostly because I'm really struggling with the major in College thing. Philosophy or Pre-med? Ahhhhgg! Main problem: Parental expectation. How do I convince them that Philosophy majors can actually make a decent living? (I'm thinking Proffesorship here). Sigh. I'm also very aware of the expectations that they have had for my future. Curse you Asian stereotype! I want to be able to come to the end of my life and know that I've used my gifts to the best of my ablilities to Love God and those around me to the fullest.

50. Listening to KUSC right now. Dang it, they really do keep all the good stuff for the night.

51. I'm so so grateful for the ability to buy the books I want. There's something about being among my books that gives me a sense of homeyness. What's in a home?

52. I'm actually really sick right now. I haven't slept well for two weeks going to bed way way past midnight. sigh.

53. I'm going to be taking lessons with Mr. Peter Yazbeck, quite a exceptional teacher, this sunday. I am not ready. Sigh. Oh Rachmaninoff, Oh Bach help me unlock your secrets!

54. I know I mentioned it before, but the Trinity and the Incarnation and the Atonement are just such wonderfully awe inspiring doctrines. I'm quite speechless (although I hope that doesn't happen during presentations).

55. I shamelessly collect change from around the house. I scour the gap in the sofa between the cushion and the frame, the countertop, etc. Makes me feel like a pirate...Okay, that was about me, but oh well.

56. Shakespeare is hilarious. Here are some interesting summaries our class came up with:

57. Twelfth Night: Love is a revealer and a concealer of identities.

58. A Midsummer Night's Dream: Love is like being awake and Love is like dreaming.

59. Much Ado about Nothing: Love is like war and Love is like peace. Love is like dying and Love is like Living. "Come lady, die to live this wedding day."

60. Seriously! KUSC keeps the best stuff for this insane hour of night! Dvorak, Bach, Tchaikovsky! Where are they in the day?

61. That was unfair...haha...

62. Tomorrow is Mid Rags. That means a one-on-one interview with my tutor to discuss my progress this quarter. Oy! We'll also be brainstorming for Term Paper topics. I'm thinking The Madness of Love in Phaedrus and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

63. I've got a really bad headache. I flunked my Statistics test today, but I get to drop it. =[ There goes my 102% in the class. Talk about over-inflation!

64. Torrey and Wheatstone Academy are the best things that have happened to me since Jesus.

65. The Life of the Mind requires an integration of a person's entire being which includes the Head the Heart and the Hands. To be a whole soul and to strive to be re-created in the Image of God. That is worth living for.

66. What does it mean to be made in the Image of God?

67. Goodness.

68. Truth.

69. Beauty.

70. The Trinity.

71. Faith.

72. Hope.

73. Love.

74. God is Love.

75. Those were huge huge statements. Let's start thinking about them and living them out.

76. Movies. What is their purpose? Been talking with Christian alot about them. He should meet Joshua Sikora (I've never actually met this director although I've seen him up close).

77. Medival Philosophy fascinates me.

78. Next goal. Read Lewis' The Discarded Image.

79. I hope I can accurately and excellently argue for why it had to be the Incarnation had to be enacted by the Second Person of the Trinity.

80. Oh, I just started driving with a permit last week. Parent's eyes are twitchy to say the least. haha. I like driving. It's very relaxing. Now if only I could lean how to park...

81. I wrote a letter to my future self when I was 12 years old. There was this mind blowing statement, "I hope you become someone I can be proud of." Yikes! Talk about living up to expectations! From myself! (Though not in the way one would think). Am I someone that I would admire? It's hard to think of oneself as a temporal being, how much of my 12 year old self is inside of my 16 year old self? Naomi wrote on this topic a few weeks ago on the Wheatstone Forum.

82. Speaking of which, I haven't yet received the newsletter...

83. I miss Peter Gross. We need to have a good long talk about Music, Bach, Oxford, Life in general!

84. Miss Holly Vanderwall has yet to fulfill her promise! =] I regret that we didn't get to talk further about Oxford!

85. I'm slowly becoming an Anglophile. Mostly because of the Inklings. I must get into the history more.

86. I drink Soymilk. Been drinking it for 7 years now. Non-o-that Dairy stuff. Then my mom switches to Almond milk because some obscure study says that Soymilk lowers male reproductive cell counts. LIKE I'M GONNA NEED IT ANYTIME SOON! Sigh. I miss soymilk.

87. I prepared a sermon the other week. It went well. I learned alot. Now I must work doubly hard on humility. That is true wisdom. Humility is endless.

88. Turn this number on its side and you get double infinity. Speaking of which, the infinity logo for the car, is quite brilliant. It manages to depict a road stretching into the infinite distance within the symbol of infinity. Cool.

89. What is it like to know Romance? Teenage hormonal issues aside, the concept really fascinates me. That a man and a woman (go Prop 8!)would willingly be together and strive to be "one flesh". So united that they become one. Not I, but we. Thy will O Lord be done.

90. Do you think I'll ever get married? Mr. Bartel is getting married. "You're no good to others if you aren't any good to yourself". Must work on that...

91. This whole concept of striving to be worthy of the Goodness, Truth, and Beauty I've been shown. But most of all, the Love that has been lavished upon me constrains me to strive forward to the mark of our high calling in Jesus Christ. To Know Him and His death that I might share in His resurrection. "Who do you say I am?" Go read the reply. Believe it. Live it. (Advice for myself)

92. The year I was born. It so happens that the coming generation will have relegated me to the past century. The really influencial people of my generation will be the 21st centurians. Oh well.

93. Nine is the square of Three. Dante would love that. I like math and patterns, just not the way it's taught. But that's more my problem...I hope.

94. Wow, I'm actually coming up to it. For those of you who've gotten this far, it feels like slogging through and staying awake somewhere in the middle of Metropolis during the Homer Marathon.

95. Which reminds me, tomorrow I'm going to be dead. Literally.

96. The Jesus Prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

97. Denominations. What the heck are up with those? I don't even know the denominations of any but a handful of my classmates! Why don't we ever at least ask so we can understand where an argument is coming from? Obviously there's the danger of getting into doctrinal squabbles and Torrey is trying to foster Mere Christianity, but I'm surprised by this absolute shyness that we have when it comes to denominations. For crying out loud, one of my closest friends only found out I'm a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church last week! Why are we so shy about this?

98. Ooooh, wrapping up are we. Well that's good because I really really want to sleep. God. Torrey. Piano. Eat. Sleep.

99. Two Squares of 3. The difference between 1 and 2 is infinitely greater than that which is between 2 and 3.

100. It's a wonderful, wonderful Life! =D

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Okay, Pushing Daisies is in trouble! If you haven't watched the show before, do do so. Noooooooo!!!! They might cancel it!

Watch this wednesday at 8pm on ABC.

Now's the time people!

here's a 5 min. Recap.

100 on the 100th

Dear Blog,

Happy hundreth post!

*confetti and streamers and funny party sounds*

So I thought I'd give you a present.

One Hundred things that are in my life now in no particular order.

1. This Poem:

Under the Piano

Kenneth Weisner

For Kit

There is nothing better than listening
to Debussy's Claire de Lune,
under your piano.
Students who are leaving you
go under their last day
and listen to you
play for them.
It's how you say goodbye.

The piano sits in the corner
of the small carpeted front room,
a Baldwin baby grand
next to my Grandmother's hundred-year-old
German side table with lions' paws.
You have them dive right back there
into the dark corner
beneath the bass strings. In a way,

a piano is a horrifying thing;
this black angel's coffin
could come thumping down
and kill someone.
You and a student rode it out there
during the big quake;
a bookshelf full of music
smashed the bench,
stopping inches from the keys.

When I arrived home yesterday,
you were playing Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor.
I don't know why - I didn't even break stride -
just went right under
to close my eyes awhile
after a long day.

I love this part...a dramatic downward run
proclaims its minor key, some triumph in exile, turned
sumptuous, rising back upwards now....

And though I am not your student,
and you are not saying goodbye,
how good it is that you are playing
now for me! sprawled on the old carpet
appreciating every heady consonance
but also every jangling overtone
and percussive distortion,
the hilarious volume and vivid harmonics;
no, not even a kiss can do this.
And as in love,
even the mistakes are glorious,
blunt thunder.

And then when you go a long time without missing a
how marvelous-what a miracle-
transported by virtuosity
into the composer's heart, or is it your heart?
or is it my own?
Oh, terrible exile;
wonderful life.

And such a private place, sacred; the piano
filling the sky.
So the wonder
mixes with the love, music, and privacy
to form
shameless ecstacy,
a fortune so difficult to find these days
in nature, the Church, politics
or even the theater.

It may not be God, but I feel loved,
you feel loved.
All the better because neither
the machine nor the interpreter
is perfect,
but the resulting chaos might be
the best thing in life.

And having married the piano player
many stormy years ago,
now, without sentimentality but in
the presence of
so much meaning-
and hearing the wonderful sense
in the sound, mouth set in its slight smirk,
so used to being disappointed at the world...
I for once do the logical thing:
nothing - just lie there
and weep through the whole recap and coda,
silently, shamelessly, for the ecstacy of it.

2. I feel silly for saying this, but learning to love Bach has deepened my love for Rachmaninoff. They just don't make music like that anymore.

3. Speaking of music, I went out on a limb the other night (er, morning actually heh.) and listened to Jason Mraz. =D "I'm Lucky" and "I'm Yours". Just my kind of happiness.

4. Athanasius and the book Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective. Presentations, presentations, presentations! It's going to be really great, if I can get it down on paper without descending into meaningless mutterings.

5. The Incarnation. The Trinity. The Atonement.

6. All those beautiful and wonderful people who I've been blessed to be friends with. A thousand thank yous for making life so blessed. Where would I be without you?

7. My family. They're awesome. I must work on not taking them for granted.

8. What is music? The problem that I run into when trying to define music is that all my descriptions also apply to other forms of art... Just throwing it out there now.

9. Ever notice how sapped of energy and strength when you go for a few days without devotions? Today I woke up really sick (literally). Didn't want to read Bible. I know this sounds horrible but it's like medicine, it won't always taste good, but it's the only thing that heals you. So far this week I've been able to go through Romans and Collosians. Both are wonderful wonderful letters. I only add the note about them being medicinal because it's my problem.

10. My cousin Aaron. Enough said. Go look.

11. Okay this is going to be a ridiculously long post, so if you've had enough (I have, I'm going to take a break, but you won't know that) go and do what you should be doing. =]

12. I'm not a very interesting person! Yes! Epiphany! I think that's a all-too-common misconception we have about ourselves. I've heard it termed exceptionalism. I want to be normal in the good sense of the word. "Well done thou good and faithful servant..."

13. Loving requires (at least in this state) emotions. There's no off switch. Dr. Jensen has written an excellent post on the whole thing here.

14. Learning to Love rightly is hard!

15. In Christianity it's a religion of paradox. I think Chesterton says a ton about this in Orthodoxy, but just this week, I've been really fascinated by the tension that exists between the equal Persons of the Trinity who also exist in set relations to each other.

16. All those blogs on the side. They're all really great. Go read Mr. Bartel's blog. It's Evanger Fireside. He doesn't post often, but when he does, it's worth 100 of my posts (that's a horrible understatement).

17. Speaking of Mr. Bartel, I need to get into more poetry. I've got two lovely volumes of major British writers. Sigh. I should be working on Presentation outlines.

18. Laguna Beach is lovely and Beautiful. The Zinc Cafe nearby is delicious.

19. I'll just throw in something about Ian in here. Ian is...well, he's Ian. How do you describe someone so uniquely funny and quirkily inappropriate at times? It's not everyday that you meet a name-misprounouncing (although we've gotten better in this aspect have we not?), homer marathoning, titan of heretical ideas who can also kick my bottom in Super Smash to boot! I look forward to knowing you better very much. =]

20. Speaking of Reynolds, I'm afraid to add my voice to the chorus of praise for every person of this wonderful family (it would be very scratchy and out of tune). How is there so much beauty packed into one family?!

21. But love starts with those nearest to you and the first step in loving is to love those around me.

22. This is basically a continuous spew of thoughts broken with random numbering eh?

23. College...AHHHHHH!!! I don't know what I want to do with my life! Tell me! I like how Montesquieu distinguished between two kinds of motivators in a person. The need to be led and the need to lead. I should have a more assertive say in it, since I will be the one living it...

24. I am a singularly indecisive person yes?

25. You can only know a person as much as they choose to be known.

26. Blogs might just be evil in that they seperate me from you, dear reader and give the semblance of intimacy. The trick is to keep in mind that contact with real people and having real conversations is more important than this.

27. I love getting books in the mail. It makes my day.

28. Books I want to get to:

Brothers Karamazov, Esolen's translation of Dante, The Figure of Beatrice, Other Charles Williams stuff, C.S. Lewis stuff, etc.

29. Okay, why did I even say I'd do 100? For the sake of your sanity friend, go do what you need to do.

30. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing myself talk about myself. Maybe that's why I do so much quoting on this blog.

31. Moral of number thirty one? You are not an interesting person, if you want to be well liked, talk to other people about things outside of the self. Friendship is about something, Eros is about someone.

32. Speaking of C.S. Lewis' Four Loves, I need to finish that, I don't understand the Eros chapter...but that's hardly Lewis' fault.

33. So, ideas? Questions? Why do we sleep?

34. Why do I have the complete works of Mozart on CD and yet never find the time to listen to them?

35. You don't own a book just because it's on your shelf.

36. I thought this was pretty funny, "Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it is?"

37. I will fight tooth and nail to get Dante for presentations next semester. Not. even. kidding.

38. What does the lover see in the beloved? Loving involves a who and and why. Who do you love and why? Can you love without answering these?

39. Go read Andrew Murray's book, Humility. It will reshape all your ideas about being a Christian.

40. My idea of a dream home is a cottage in Virginia in the Fall by a lake with lots and lots of books a warm fireplace and a steinway D. =D

41. But don't take that last one seriously.

42. We don't have enough faith in God. He's not just some cosmic key finder "Thank you Jesus! I found my car keys!".

43. Who is God?

44. If your still here, I pity you. Either you're bored stiff or you have no self control. I'm going with the former.

45. I am never ever putting you through this kind of thing again my poor blog.


Moral of this post: The World doesn't revolve around me! THANK GOD!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rachmaninoff's Psychiatrist

I rejoice in the fact that this book exists.

I am excited that I own it.

I feel very affectionate about this poem because 1) it is the expression of another who loves Rachmaninoff as well 2) it puts into words a little of what all Rachmaninoff Lovers feel.

Therefore, without further ado:

Rachmaninoff's Psychiatrist

Diane Ackerman

I'm listening to Rachmaninoff's
Piano Concerto No. 2,
which he dedicated to Dr. Dahl,
the psychiatrist who guided him
through the straights of fever,
not long after Sergei had heard
his own first symphony played.
Horrified by its many defects
which seemed a sewage of noise,
he had fled the hall, ashamed,
a quagmire of self-doubt.

We cannot know all the sounds
Dahl and he exchanged,
but rubbing one word against another,
Dahl gradually restored
Sergei's confidence. History tells
that Dahl used affirmations
and auto-suggestion:
"You will compose again."
"You will write a piano concerto."
"You will write with great facility."
Repeated until the words saturated
His gift from head to fingers.

In truth, nothing can kill a gift,
but it may become anemic
from great shock or stress-
a sprain of the emotions will do,
or a traffic accident of the heart,
or a failure dire as a clanging bell.

For two years, Dahl worked
on Sergei's shattered will.
at last he collected up his senses
in a burst of blood fury
and composed his triumphant
2nd Piano Concerto,
full of tenderness and yearning,
beguiling melodies, raging passion,
and long sensuous preludes
to explosive climaxes,
frenzy followed by strains
of mysticism and trance.

Loaded with starry melodies,
it was a map of his sensibility,
and a wilderness rarely known
-the intense life of an artist
seen in miniature, with rapture expressed
as all-embracing sound.

Will you tell me if you know,
how Dahl might have received
such a gift? I cannot imagine it.
With hugs and shared enthusiasm?
With an austere thank you?
In his private moments, did he weep
at the privilege allowed him?
For a time he held the exposed heart
of a great artist, cupped his hands
around it like a flame, blew gently,
patiently, until it flared again.

For that, he earned the blessings
of history, and soothed millions
of hungry souls he would never meet.
Listening to Rachmaninoff's
concerto today, intoxicated by its fever,
I want to kiss the hands of Dahl,
but he is beyond my touch or game.
Allow me to thank you in his name.

Indeed. Thank you Dr. Dahl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grateful...But Worried

From The Imitation of Christ:

"Thou hast not yet resisted unto blood."

(Thomas A Kempis, Third Book, section 19, pg. 200)

I am grateful that no one is waiting to inflict unimaginably horrible tortures upon me for being a Christian. (Been reading Eusebius' History of the Church)

I am worried over the fact that I would probably deny my Lord if that were ever to happen.

How do we strengthen our faith so that we achieve a state where "perfect Love casts out all fear"?

From Shakespeare:

"Come, lady, die to live. This wedding day..."

(Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV.1.253)

There's so much meaning packed into that line...

The Bloodless Martyrdom.

Actual Martyrdom.

Being a Christian in general.

Needless to say, there are more ways to die than one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pushing Daisies

Is officially my favorite TV show. Ever.

I fell in love with this show since the first episode.

Quirky, Witty, and Wonderfully Romantic.

*Happy Sigh*


It's just so excellently done!

And it's soooo much cleaner than almost anything else you see on TV.

It's hard to describe how endearingly adorable and funny and just plain loveable this show is.

It's like Romantic Pie (with Ice Cream!) for the soul.

It basically goes like this, there's this pie maker who has an uncanny ability to raise people from the dead. But they can only be alive for one minute before something else has to die. What's more, if the person he touches back to life gets a second touch from him, they're dead...again...for good. And so it turns out that his childhood sweet heart gets murdered and he brings her back to life. They pretty much fall head over heels for each other and so he can't bear to put her back to sleep. Which means that they can never touch even though they're madly in love with each other.

Oy! I can almost hear the sappiness running like a faucet! =]

I love this show!

Heres a good review from

Pushing Daisies is many things at once: detective show, romantic comedy, whimsical fantasy and above all, a story about a guy who bakes pies and has the ability to bring dead people back to life. Somehow all of these things come together to make one of the most enjoyable, funny and bittersweet shows to come along in a long time. A lot of that magic comes from the near-perfect casting - Lee Pace (The Fall, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day) as Ned the Piemaker is wonderfully reserved and adorably neurotic; his facial expressions alone provide some of the most moving and hilarious moments in the series. Anna Friel as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, Chi McBride as Emerson Cod and Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook round out the regulars at the Pie Hole and veteran actresses Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene are great as Chuck's eccentric aunts whose passions include synchronized swimming, amateur ornithology and rare cheeses. Pushing Daisies exists in a world where people regularly break out into song to express their feelings, where death is never gory and usually played for comic effect, and where every color on screen is richly saturated and vibrant, creating an oddly timeless Edward Scissorhands-like world.
Bryan Fuller, the creator of cult favorites Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls has perfected his style with Pushing Daisies; this series has a broader appeal than the previous shows. Each imaginatively produced episode has such snappy writing paired with ghoulish sensibilities, heart wrenching romance and classic caper-style crime fighting, making every moment completely un-missable. The DVD release of Season One contains all nine original episodes and a behind-the-scenes featurette. ---Kira Canny

Online Episodes here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Talking and an Arguement

Sometimes I wish I could talk more.


This sounds odd for those who know me (my mouth hardly ever stops moving). Allow me to explain.

There are multiple ways of talking.

Talking for the fun of it: Some would call this wit or friendly banter.

Talking for dialectic: The pursuit of Truth through words.

Talking for emptiness: Words to fill the gaps in our lives.

Talking for instruction: "Let him who has ears to hear, hear this"

And then there's

Talking for communication:

This last one, I rarely (if ever) get to do. I think we've all known those times. The worries and cares of life seem to melt into the background and you are brought (drawn perhaps?) into the presence of another Soul. Where even the words seem to be just barely necessary. And I don't mean those awkward silences where the need to say something seems to overpower the importance of anything said. No, I mean the times when "lifetimes burn in a moment" and even the silences between our words have a life to them. How much more would we love people if we could only communicate with them? When the veils of flesh and speech seem all but transparent, ah, there lies an aspect of Beauty. How much more humble we would be if we could but glimpse the glory of another soul created in God's Image?

But today's a Wednesday, life rushes on like a steady stream. Of course, this communication is entirely possible through the dialectic but I find these moments only come when you don't look for them. When everyone in the house is asleep and we two can stare into the dark and the universe is opened. Or on a long drive back from nowhere and the headlamps of a distant car are all that disturbs the moonlit land scape. Miles upon miles of pregnant silence. Solitude embued with deepest knowledge.

"That was a way of putting it - not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings..."

So, I wish I could talk more. But (oh, oh) how? Ironically, you can't even seek it.

"Where then, are we to go now?
Why, forward of course.
But which way is up?"

"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without Love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstacy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not."

From Ash Wednesday:

"I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce that blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us."

I think it's safe to say that I like Eliot. ;)

"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business"
...Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment...
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning."

"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from a virgin...and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.'
But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.'
'And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end...For nothing wil be impossible with God.' And Mary said, 'Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her."

Can someone please tell me why I just quoted all of that?!
I am so, so weird...=P

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Silliness in Torrey

Heh, we can't be serious all the time! Some funny tidbits:

Me: Nooooooooooo! It can't be! No it's true, Disneyland is EVIL!

Mr Buhler: Really?! Why?

Me: Well the classical underworld was called Dis and it's the name of the city in the Inferno. Dis - ney land? Coinkidink? I think not!

Mr. Buhler: *Chuckle* Silly Mr. Choo, Disneyland isn't evil, it actively combats evil. You see, the archaic form of "no" is "nay" and a variant spelling would be "ney". So it's actually Dis - ney land, the land where we defy evil and say "NAY!" to all of Hell.


Mr. Bartel: Guys (Mr. Chavira, Mr. Diaz, me) if an attractive woman came up to you and said, "God told me to become romantically involved with you, would you believe her? What would you say?

Mr. Chavira and Mr. Diaz: ............

Me: "PRAISE GOD!!" had to be there. ;)

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Few Questions

...That have been on my mind for a few months now:

Most of us don't reach perfection by the time we leave this life. At the end, most of us still have some (or many) rough spots, even if we have been saved and granted eternal life through faith in Christ. Now the whole doctrine of sin seems to be based upon the idea that the way things are right now are not the way things should be. Sin is an accident. And because of that sin, we are condemned to eternal death (we'll get into Eschatology in a bit). The Incarnation somehow (and this will probably be my presentation topic, oh Athanasius! You are very wonderful, checkity.) restores us back to a right relation with God. Now whatever else Jesus does in us and for us, I think it is safe to assume that we'll be free from sin. So this is my question(s):

Even if we are saved, we are still imperfect and sinful at the end of our lives. After death, are we automatically restored to perfection and holiness? And if we are, why the agony of this life if God could perfect us instantly? Why don't we go straight to Heaven after we accept the Gospel as true and binding to our lives?

Could this be the justification behind a purgatory? From what I know, the main objection against purgatory came when wicked men decided to play with hell fire and sell indulgences. Obviously, you can't buy salvation or purification (see the Simoniacs).

So to really, really get to the question:

If we are meant to eventually come into the presence of God which will destroy anything sinful, what happens to most of us who die saved but still ravaged/harrased by sin? How are our imperfect natures developed into being able to bear the presence of the Holy God after death?

I want to lean towards purgatory, but I'm confronted with quite a strong protestant reaction against this. Any Eschatological insights out there? Help?

Secondly, Shakespeare is amazing and Twelfth Night brings up some absolutely amazing questions:

How does love conceal and/or reveal identities?


Another thing that's been on my mind: Is Love a sub category of Goodness or is Goodness subordinate to Love? And what about Beauty and Truth, I'm not entirely convinced that they categories of Goodness, otherwise, why not just have Goodness? Medival Numerology perhaps?

Lastly, How do we Love rightly? What is Love?

I'd be happy to talk about this...


Had a great moment today at the Biola Library while running through the aisles of the BR section looking frantically for a book on Athanasius. Maybe it was the too powerful conditioner or just the endless row of books, but I realized something. Reading great literature, discussing great ideas, learning to love. These activities bring me into the company of a great "cloud of witnesses" who have gone before me and my peers. A community of believers who sought to love God and serve Him faithfully with their whole being. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musical Narration

I might have commited musical blasphemy, but I'm not sure if I have or not. When I listened to Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances exactly one month ago, here's what I wrote in my journal that evening:

Note: Please forgive the horrible butchery of the grammar and beauty of the english language that is to follow. I make no excuses and beg for mercy. (At this point my head says, "drama queen"...)

I listened to The Symphonic Dances. I experienced an image of Love (First great Theme), Dreadful Fear and Sarcastic flippancy reminiscent of the Joker yet different and understood the wailing torture, fear, and despair of the Inferno. Of the frightening power of Death. (Dies Irae) But then comes the Love, this time in old age, the love of Children and Grandchildren where the passion is still there but tempered and drawn into greater things as a lump of metal is smithed into a (or tempered) into a straight, bright shining and noble blade which is both tranquil and fearsome to behold. And again the cruel spite and massive power of Death. But then, a Hero emerges. Small and weak, (in the flesh) and a fierce and awesome battle ensues with the Good dancing blithely where Death can only bludgeon and mock and frighten. Then the Triumph! Christ is Risen from the dead! For by death He tramples death. Alliluya, Alliluya, Alliluya. there is uncertainty and a bit of apprehension in the parting but never fear. Only love and hope and faith and an affirmation of them all. And suddenly! "Well done thou good and faithful servant, Enter and share Thy master's rest."

The Symphonic Dances was Rachmaninoff’s last work before he died.

Oh it's glorious!

He musically quotes a theme from his first symphony (Rachmaninoff Junkies will recognize how significant that is but for those of us who have not been enlightened here's the story:, the Dies Irae which I posted about last year: and the climax from the most beautiful Choral piece I've ever heard, The Vespers or All-Night Vigil which can be described as Russian Orthodox Aural Ecstacy.

But back to musical heresies. Is it wrong of me to have these images/sensations/feelings in my head and heart when I listen? On one hand I know that music exists for its own sake, yet I also know that music is a language and how else can I understand it but through common human experience? If you look hard enough, you can find the transcripts of one of Rachmaninoff's last interviews before he died. Basically he says that whatever he feels, that is what he tries to communicate through the music whether it be love, fear, sadness, happiness, etc. And so I'm not so sure what to do with my little attempt at Musical Narration.

I think we can safely say that Music still remains fundamentally undescribable through words. Or else it wouldn't really be music.

Go listen to Symphonic Dances. But only after you've heard the Vespers and Dies Irae.

"Blagosloven yesi, Gospodi,
Nauchi mya opravdaniyem Tvoim"

"Blessed art Thou O Lord,
Teach me Thy Statutes"

I recommend these recordings:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

An Epilogue

Been reading C.S. Lewis' Grief Observed.

Wonderfully refreshing. Really knocks some sense into you.

He talks alot about what we thought to be true being houses of cards when those assumptions are actully put to the test.

After the initial gut reaction though and the first few days of ridiculously ridiculous emotional body slams, you become sane again.

Anything I've ever lost is nothing compared to what Jack lost.

I have a feeling that I'll be coming back to this book quite a few more times before I will be in the position of sympathizing with it.

It's a treasure trove of courage and the fight for sanity against overwhelming odds. It's encouraging.

Not that I have anything comparable to his. Jack's courage shames me in so many ways I don't even know where to start.

Moreover, the sheer patience and goodwill of my friends, I'm astounded! How is it that I (of all people) should have been so blessed?! Perhaps it is born of love...

It's like coming out from the dim half light of a cave into full sunshine. I'm reminded of the last line of the Inferno

"He first and I behind, we climbed so high
that through a small round opening I saw some of the turning beauties of the sky.
And we came out to see, once more, the stars."

And also of Eliot:

"And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains.
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer."

Each end is a beginning.

How great is the Love of God which redeems all our loves!

I owe a great debt to you, my friends. For your love and patience I will ever be grateful.

Blessings and Happiness as you begin your Journey and thank you for indulging my extended farewell.

"And the dashing and handsome hero gets the beautiful lady and they ride quickly towards the sunset and into Happily Ever After."

Roll Credits.

P.S. That was the Sappiest post ever. ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cyrano de Bergerac...

Was a drama queen. A very good one at that. But reading that last scene is always good cartharsis, even if it is a bit embarassing. It's funny too! =]

Life imitates art and Art imitates life. That's the way things work.

Of course, watching this also helps:

(Watch at your own risk, this is PG ish for some language and relationship humor)

And this:

=] =] =]

These two are my favorite shorts, besides Pixar.

Ahhh, isn't it great being a hormonal teenager? ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking a Compliment

I'm not sure if I'm unique in this area or not. You see, whenever someone praises me for something I've done (genuine praise mind you, not flattery), I redden ever so slightly and mumble something like "erm...thanks" or "praiseGod" or even "no, no it was nothing". After which I shuffle off and try to hide from the next person who looks like they're going to say something nice to me.

Now it's laughable I admit, but I genuinely have trouble taking a compliment. The problem is intensified when someone I respect and hold in high regard praises me. Boy! It get's so bad, "oh, you're just saying that to be nice" etc. In fact, I've been told that I often come across as being falsely humble, which is just a small minded form of pride.

So, as always, Dante and Lewis have something amazing to say about this:

"And when the voice had ceased, and all was still,
I saw four mighty shades approaching us
with neither joy nor sadness in their eyes.

'Behold that shade whose right hand wields the sword,'
my worthy Teacher thus began to say,
'who comes before the others as their lord.

Homer the sovereign poet is that soul.
Horace the satirist comes after him,
Ovid comes third, and Lucan is the last.


So did I see united that sweet school
of the lord of the most exalted song
that like an eagle soars above the rest.

When they had talked together for a while
they turned to me, and beckoned me to come,
bringing a smile unto my Teacher's lips,

And greeted me, and honored me so well
that they included me among their band,
and made me sixth in that academy."

-Dante, Inferno, Canto Four

Keep in mind that when he writes this, he doesn't know for sure that 700 years from when he's writing he'll still be considered one of the greatest if not the greatest poet of all time. For anyone but Dante, this blatant self praise would be at best ridiculous and at worst falsely prideful. This is but the first of many instances throughout the Comedy where he basically praises himself. But he deserves it! But he's only in Canto Four! How does he have the guts (Even if he is DANTE) to compare himself with Virgil and Homer!

Dante is certainly worthy of the praise he gives himself, but how was he able to praise himself without sinning?

Contrast that passage with this one from Clement I:

"The humble person should not testify to his own humility, but leave it to someone else to testify about him. " -38:2

"Let a man be faithful, let him be able to expound knowledge, let him be wise in the interpretation of discourses, let him be energetic in deeds, let him be pure; for the greater he seems to be, the more he ought to be humble, and the more he ought to seek the common advantage of all, and not his own." -48:5-6

Dante fulfills all of these, but I'm not sure if he makes a mistake in praising himself, if he is praising himself.

In Purgatory, on the ring of the prideful where the penitent are stooped under huge boulders, Dante also stoops down in order to talk to them. In effect, he participates in the penitence. I think he does this two other times, but I shall have to re-read to be sure. The fact is though, that he knew he had leanings toward being pride ful and yet he included himself in the "Academy". Can a virtuous man praise himself?

Now that I think of it, Paul does the same thing:

But I'm not Paul or Dante, how should I take a compliment?

Here's one from Lewis:

"I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child - not in a conceited child, but in a good child - as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised...Apparently what I had mistaken for humility had, all these years, prevented me from understanding what is in fact the humblest, the most childlike, the most creaturely of pleasures - nay, the specific pleasure of the inferior: the pleasure of a beast before men, a child before its fathe, a pupil before his teacher, a creature before its Creator. I am not forgetting how horribly this most innocent desire is parodied in our human ambitions, or how very quickly, in my own experience, the lawful pleasure of praise from those whom it was my duty to please turns into the deadly poison of self-admiration. But I thought I could detect a moment - a very, very short moment - before this happened, during which the satisfaction of having pleased those whom I rightly loved and rightly feared was pure."

-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I do feel much much pleasure when I am complimented (or as MKR would say, "my ego is stroked" ) But try as I might, I rarely am able to hold on to that first moment of pure satisfaction of having pleased another soul. Which sends me careening to the other extreme of trying to reject praise, which is a problem.

So the question is, how does one take a compliment in a way that glorifies God and allows one to rightly take joy in having pleased someone by good action?

Perhaps I am being too anxious...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sun Soaked Soul

Think of this post as a stream-of-consciousness piece...written at some ungodly hour on a Saturday night.

Okay, I don't remember what exactly he said, but somewhere in "The Joy of Music" Bernstien says that Bach slowly but surely becomes your favorite composer. I think that's true.

Rach and Bach. =]

There was this one moment when I was listening to Rach's 2nd Symphony where I had to go, "STOP!"

Bach, though, is so permeated with beauty, it's like the sun. He gets in all the cracks of my small little soul and warms every nook and cranny of me. He loved God so much, and it shows! Everything comes together when you listen to Bach.

And so after all this CM panel preparation is over (sometime next year). I want to start on Rachmaninoff's transcription of Bach's Violin Partita No. 3. I own a set of his complete recordings and his performance of that particular piece is shot through with such joy and wonder its...its....*happy sigh*. But of course, tomorrow is another day...of work...which means just sticking to it and getting all those fingerings right for the Rach piece and treating Annabelle like a raw machine. There's no other way for me (at least for now). Anytime I try to lay myself into the music, my fingers aren't ready yet. ;) I've also been banned from reading "The Art of Piano Playing".

Enthusiasm must be coupled with action. Good, True and gritty action. haha! Music takes hard work and to shrink from that and be lazy would be acting in a manner that is unworthy of the beauty that comes through it. Strive. Excellence.

I ramble so much....

Take ten minutes off, and listen to the Bach piece on the link above. Don't do anything else. Just listen and watch. And pray. =]

Let's keep praying for one another, always.

I'm decidedly terrible at describing music. =P

Monday, September 8, 2008

"A Symphony of Crisps"

So I was strolling through Vons and all of a sudden the PA comes on:

"Hello Customers, thank you for shopping at Vons! To show our appreciation, the first three customers to come to the bakery will be given a free loaf of French Bread."

And seeing as I was already at the bakery, I got a free loaf. =]

Mmmmmmhmmmmm it was freshly baked and still warm, it was gloriously empty of all nutrition and I was hungry. =]

I guess some things in life are free. =]

Now if only this happened more frequently....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tangability in Music

The thing about great composers is that they each have their own 'voices' that are recognizable if you listen closely. For example, I've come to know Mozart (ah, my first love!) very well (for various reasons) and now whenever I hear him on the radio (which is alot!) I can tell if it's him or not within the first 5 seconds. (About 45 out of 50 times) =] It's quite fun! Certain characteristics and sounds often give composers away. In Mozart's case, it's usually an extended trill that ends with a lower note, a higher note, and then a lower note again.

It starts by being able to tell which period the music is from (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, 20th Century). And slowly progresses to a group of composers. (Haydn and Mozart are sometimes hard to tell apart). Elgar has a voice (Very English!). Beethoven is Mr. Cadenza. Vivaldi is Mr. Concerto. And Rachmaninoff is the Russian Dante. ;) Etc. etc.

But it really really really gets awesome when you can tell what period, which composer, the type of composition, what instruments, AND the soloist playing the piece. (Something I've only achieved once, that was while listening to the Beethoven Triple concerto with Anne Sophie Mutter on the Violin [I own a cd set of her playing all the Mozart violin sonatas, her Stradivarius has a very distinctive accent to it, it reminds me of German] and Yo-yo Ma on the Cello. You know you've crossed over to nerd status when.... =]

But silliness aside when I'm listening to individual pieces, there's a certain mood/feeling/memory/sensory sensation that is almost touch-able. Rachmaninoff for example runs the gamut from overwhelming ecstacy and breathless tenderness of the Second Concerto to the unequaled sparkling joy of his Bach transcriptions. (Especially when he himself plays it!). Oh Bach! You don't know what you do for my soul. When I listen to you, it's like having my soul soaked in sunshine after coming out of a refrigerator.

But seriously though, each piece, I believe, has a memory/feeling that is that piece. The mental/spiritual sensation is burned in. I can sometimes almost taste a piece! It's so hard to describe. =P

Anyone else feel the same way?

Tonight is Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff at the Bowl.

It will be good. =]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good Advice...

This is paraphrasing Ms. Romero from the last class I attended for Foundations of American Thought. Last school year.

"While it's admirable that you've read through these books, you musn't mistake reading a book for knowing a book. You may be farther along than alot of your peers, but never equate more knowledge or raw intelligence with being a better person."

Or something like that...

There's so much soul shaping to do, it's near overwhelming!

To make it harder, the absence of vice doesn't equal virtue! In some cases, you might even be worse off for having less vices.

The Publican knew he was a sinner and went away forgiven. The Pharisee didn't know and therefore did not even ask for forgiveness.

G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy:

"There are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands."

Tell me about it! It's like adjusting a painting on the wall. "a little, no too far......steady.......right a bit......ooooohhhhhh......back up back up........wait........dangnabit it's upside down!"

And this one from the Imitation gave me a mild panic attack:

"Some walk not sincerely in my (God's) sight, but led by a certain curiosity and pride, wish to know my secrets, and to understand the high things of God, neglecting themselves and their own salvation. These oftentimes, when I resist them, for their pride and curiosity do fall into great temptations and sins...Some carry their devotion only in books...some have me in their mouths, but little in their hearts."


Okay, drama queen episode over. =]

While it's okay to be worried about pridefulness and jealousy and the sin of the Pharisees, we should not let our own shortcomings blind us from the goodness of God. Yes I am a sinner, but Christ is better at being a Savior then I'll ever be at being a sinner. =] (sorry for the ridiculous understatement)

Remedy: Keep up daily devotions. (According to Dr. least 1 hour or we're DOOMED. Seriously.) Have friends (and mentors!) who will love you enough to watch and tell you if you begin to stray. (check!)

In sum: Be Holy. Love. That's all. ;)

Here's to a blessed year of Love, learning, wisdom, and holiness!

God Bless you all. =]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Or Faith of Our Fathers.

It's going to be an amazing Torrey year!

I have never been this excited to take a class. It's seriously jumping up and down bounce off the walls kind of exciting.

And what's even better than spending time with some of the greatest minds of the West? Spending time with some of the most ridiculously beautiful people for a whole YEAR of course! =P

There will be Goodness. There will be Truth. There will be Beauty.

...And silliness! =]

Here's to a wonderful, wonderful life!

P.S. You can tell that summer does wonders for stopping that mushy grey stuff in your noggin from growing. =]

P.P.S. La Mirada should definitely take over all the other torrey classes! That way all the beautiful people could be in class together!

...And join the tissue box cult...but that's another story. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mood: Vulnerable

After watching myself solo sing for the first time I can safely say that it is decidedly amateur. Ha! You won't believe how much more self conscious I feel watching it than singing it. One would think that it's the other way around huh?

So, if you're not busy and you're ready to laugh at some sub-par singing, I am at your service. =]

Personally, I'd rate myself with a two star (out of five), but then again I always have an exaggerated opinion of myself. ;)

Feel very free to laugh, either at me or with me, or both!

Everytime I feel inordinately boastful, this is definitely gonna be one of those pride bashing tools. ;)

I might as well have been singing in boxers!


P.S. This one's in Russian!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Consolations for the Emails...

Okay, here it is:

Our version of the Jersey boys:

=] (There is a button that allows you to watch it in high quality, if you're willing to wait)

After your done watching (and laughing) you can search for the Tony Awards version on which we based it. =]

Let me know what you think and Enjoy!

P.S. I shall be gone for a week, so this will have to cover for all my computer interactions. =\


While we're waiting for Joycelyn to upload the videos from the Loma Linda Chinese Church's first annual Youth-ical (to raise money for earthquake relief in China). Here's a funny video of my friends (who I performed with this year) doing song and dance for a fundraiser last year. Enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Joke

An original joke by Joycelyn:

What do you get when you cross a chicken with a Wookie?


*applause* *thank you thank you*

As to singing for fund raiser...

There shall be video. =]


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

For those of you who've been wondering...

I'm not dead. Been really busy doing VBS (we just finished taking 40 kids to the California Science Center) and preparing for a fundraising concert. It's my first time doing any onstage singing so I shall be nervous to say the least. Heh. Sorry for all of those unanswered emails. Anyway, just to pacify any fears...

How's everyone doing? =]

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Study in Acute Impracticality

So my Mom and I have this argument. She says all these books are making me impractical. I didn't agree until this happened:

Me: Hi mom!
Mom: Hi son!
Me: I need to mail a letter. Where does the stamp go?
Mom: Gives me the you-had-better-hope-that-you-didn't-just-say-what
-say-then-you'll-be-sorry-you-ever-said-it look.
Me: Uh....does it go here? *sheepish/sheepish/sheepish* *finger hovers over the left side of letter*
Mom: *Flames shooting out of her eyes and steam coming out of nostrils* [in a very elegant sort of way, of course]
Me: Here!....No, Here.....wait, wait, wait Here! AhhhhhHhhh!! *Runs away*

A bit dramatized but it's official. I am an impractical little boy. =P

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stupid, stupid, stupid...ARRGGGG!!! (me)

Today I had the privilege of spending a couple hours with a few of my friends.....

And I think I blew it.

Don't get me wrong! My friends are some of the most excellent and beautiful people I know and the afternoon was wonderfully sweet but my realization is this: a diet of Oreos is going to make a person sick.

It's because they are so excellent and beautiful that I feel so terrible at having let such an opportunity go to naught.

If you're confused, that's okay, I was too. As I was leaving my friends this afternoon, I experienced a sinking/guilty feeling like I had just forgotten something, and I had. I had forgotten that Torrey and Wheastone aren't any good if they are not lived. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with four Christian friends who cared about the pursuit of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty and all I could do was say the equivalent of, "I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me,". I had a great time, but think of all the joy that I missed by not engaging in the dialectic.

Now the last thing I want to do is to offend anyone. I'm not saying that conversational dessert has no place in our lives. I am saying that dessert is just that. Dessert. One cannot be healthy on chocolate cake. Each thing must have its rightful place.

Perhaps this is what it means to feel, "the weight of glory". This sense of urgency, "The West is falling!". And Eliot's, "Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after." There is such a thing as a sin of omission.

But I don't despair. =] My friends and (more importantly) my God blaze with such glory that to miss seeing God's face would truly take willful rejection. However, I have learned a little of what it means to "apply what I've learned" so to speak.

"The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be stronly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner - no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."
-C.S. Lewis "The Weight of Glory"

Forgive me dear friends.

Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Steinways, Steiner, Esolen, Plato, Dante, and Phillipians

How are they all connected? Well they've all been in my day today!

Annabelle is getting a lovely tune up. =] Is exceptionally beautiful. And there was nothing wrong with the action, it was just that my bench was not at the right height and distance and I was killing my wrist trying to play with bad posture. James is getting tuned too. =]

It's funny how things connect because I'm going for my second time through Divine Commedy, this time with Esolen as my guide and translator. And his introduction starts right off with the Phaedrus!!! I was pretty much ecstatic for an hour before I could calm down enough to read on! =] What are the chances that Phaedrus was the Wheatstone text and that Esolen had it in mind when he wrote his intro back in 2001? God is good is he not? And the thing is that Esolen thinks Dante totally agrees with Plato's view of the goal of human life. You shall have to read the intro to Inferno or ask me about it in person, its too amazing for a post!!!

Okay and George Steiner who was this amazingly smart person. And I'm reading through his book Errata and I came across this amazing passage:

"I define a 'classic,' in literature, in music, in the arts, in philosophic argument, as a signifying form which 'reads' us. It reads us more than we read (listen to, perceive) it. There is nothing paradoxical, let alone mystical, in this definition. Each time we engage with it, the classic will question us. It will challenge our resources of consciousness and intellet, of mind and body (so much of primary aesthetic and even intellectual response is bodily). The classic will ask of us: 'have you understood?'; 'have you re-imagined responsibly?'; 'are you prepared to act upon the questions, upon the potentialities of transformed, enriched being which I have posed?'"

-George Steiner, Errata

And Phillipians is quickly becoming a favorite of mine because its just so Jolly. In fact, I was just telling a friend how it may be one of the most Jolly books, if not the Jolliest in the Bible. =]

Okay, stop reading bad grammarful ramble and go read something great!

Happy Summering!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Week in Pictures Part 1

Flickr is an exceedingly wonderful tool. But it doesn't let you upload more than 100mb a month. So this is all I was able to get on before I got cut off. =[


Check back at the end of the month for the rest of them. =]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wheatstone 2008

Okay, so, best place I know of to find a well written post on what Wheatstone is, right here:

Is checkity. =]

As for personal reflections:

My mentor for this week brought up a relevant and scary point. Being a "wheatstone" type person or even a "torrey" ish (meaning lover of books and ideas and great music and great art, etc.) is still not enough. There is even perhaps a greater danger to this. The fact is that Gammaliel (Paul's teacher) was among the best of the best and yet he still missed Jesus when He came. The officers of the Nazi Party listened to Schubert! Christ could be right in front of me and I could very easily miss Him! Western Civilization is on a knife's edge and Western Culture is dying. Lord have mercy.

On the bright side though, there is the example of Paul and Nicodemus, of the woman who washed Jesus' feet with priceless perfume and, ultimately, Christ Himself who promised us all things if we would abide in Him.

Now I'm beginning to see just how blind I am! Expanding our capacity for Happiness in Heaven through art and literature and ideas are all necessary, but they are worthless if one does not live a life worthy of them. They are useless if I find Dante yet miss Christ.

Two things to do to remedy:
1) Deepen Devotions. Start reading through Bible intensively with good commentaries (Calvin's commentary on Romans). And extend devotions to at least an hour a day.

2) Community, community, community. Torrey seems like a good example. Generally speaking, find Christians who are serious (and therefore most happy) about their faith and who love the God and strive to integrate the life of the mind, the sentiments and the acts of apostleship. (Head, heart, hand).

Of course we can never plan our way out of this. But Christ in us, the hope of Glory.

I can't really describe an experience like Wheatstone (because there's just so much it is impossible to distill it except to go there!), but I can say that it changes lives. It changed mine. Lord, I can't do it, but if You live in me, all things are truly possible.

Another life changing thought:

Each and every person is made in the image of God. In Plato's Phaedrus (our text for the week) there is this one part where Socrates becomes ecstatic after hearing Phaedrus read Lysias' speech (don't worry too much if it's not too clear what I just wrote) basically, it isn't the speech that propels him into such rapture, but the vision of the Beautiful which Socrates is able to see in Phaedrus. By not assigning Phaedrus' intrinsic worth to what he says (which is proven to be stupid shortly afterward) and seeing in Phaedrus' soul a vision and reminder of True Beauty, Socrates is reminded of (in the Christian sense) the Face of God. We too must do this. This is the secret to Loving one another. Even in the worst of sinners there is such Beauty and Goodness and Truth that if we could but see we would be tempted to worship. Lord, strengthen my vision that I might see Your face.

And I end this jumbled and confusing post with two refreshingly clear and lucid quote:

" abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life or our own, to give up trying to think our thoughts, or form our resolutions, or cultivate our feelings, and simply and contantly look to Christ to think His thoughts in us, to form His purposes in us, to feel His emotions and affections in us. It is to renounce all life independent of Christ and constantly to look to Him for the inflow of His life into us, and the outworking of His life through us. When we do this, and insofar as we do this, our prayers will obtain that which we seek from God."

-Ruben Archer Torrey, 'How to Pray'

"O dear [Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] and all the other gods of this place, grant that I may be beautiful inside. Let all my external possessions be in friendly harmony with what is within. May I consider the wise man rich. As for gold, let me have as much as a moderate man could bear and carry with him."

-Socrates' prayer, 'Phaedrus' (Bracket's mine)

Further up and further in!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

MTAC Piano Convention

Okay, so back from Piano Covention. Recital was standard procedure. =]

Now the really really cool thing was the Piano Concerto Competition. There was a ten year old playing Beethoven's first Concerto. An 11 year old playing Mozart's 24th. (I know!!! It's okay, I feel bad too). A 14 year old playing Beethoven's 5th Concerto and (wonder of wonders) a 15 year old playing third movement of Rachmaninoff's 3rd!!! It was quite amazing to say the least. =] And there was a 17 year old playing Prokofiev's 2nd, a 19-20 year old playing the First Movement of Rach's 2nd. And a 20-24 year old playing Saint-Saens' 2nd. Yeah. Wow.

Here were the demographics:

Asian.....Asian......Asian.....Asian....Asian....Asian.....Asian.......and....(think again!).....Russian!

Of course I've been spoiled by the great performers of these concertos (Argerich, Rachmaninoff, Lang Lang, Richter, etc.) so you could tell that they're performance still lacked experience (I'm just being picky here), but just to be able to even play these pieces is a titanic achievement at such a young age! (They each played a movement from the work). Especially the Rachmaninoff 3rd which is arguably the hardest piece of piano music ever written. (Listz would contend for that). =]

Quite inspiring. *nod nod* Now back to work.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Boredom and Good Friendfulness

Summer's odd. You long for it for most of the school year. Then you can't wait for it to be over so you can go back to school. (at least for me!).

Good thing Wheatstone is coming up! *Jumping up and down doing cart wheels and almost hyperventalating*

Must first conquer piano convention and econ. final. And keep up trust in God.

Friends are good (very good) for this. Extremely kind friends who will graciously bear your ceaseless chatter around midnight (Friday night too!) and not disown you! How I recieved this inexplicably good fortune I do not know.

Thank God for incredible friends. =]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Slightly Better News...

The little flaps of skin in between my fingers are sore but I think if I really really really stretch hard enough I can reach them.

Some words from a master:

"Of course a very small hand will never achieve that feeling of freedom (and of might!), I would say of "mightiness" and "power" which is inherent in large hands able without discomfort or effort to grasp the biggest multipart chords and which is, so to say, their birthright. (Imagine, for instance, Anton Rubinstein's lion's paws, or the enormous soft and powerful hands of Rachmaninov). Small hands in such cases will not be able to forego the subterfuges, the ability to manage in a difficult situation which they acquired over the years by dint of hard work and not without the help of the intellect. In short, they turn their drawbacks into advantages and that is, of course, victory of the spirit over the flesh and consequently particularly precious. But, nevertheless, they will never be able to compare fully with hands which do not need any subterfuge and which, acting by instinct, at once, like nature itself, subjugate the piano and reign over it unchallenged. I know I shall be damned for this discouraging statement, "all wrong from the psychological point of view". But in fact there is nothing discouraging in this. One must reason soberly and not dodge reality. I often preach to my pupils that one plays with piano first of all with the head and ear and ony then with the hands, and that it is possible to play very well with "bad" hands and very badly with "good" hands. This is already a great consolation for those who need it."

-Heinrich Neuhaus from The Art of Piano Playing

I think he (Neuhaus) had even smaller hands then I! (He had problems with his middle [second third and fourth] fingers touching keys when he played octaves) But just listen to him play!

I'm encouraged. =] Besides. There is (Gasp!) more (much much much more) to life than Rachmaninoff.

Isn't God good? =]

Not So Good news...

My hands are tiny...

compared to Rachmaninoffs. (He could reach a 13th!!!)

*sniffles* I cannot practically reach a 10th.

The huge, thunderous begginning chords of Rach 2 have the left hand going from F to A flat with 2 notes in between. That's a 10th....and then some.


This must've been a little bit of what Moses felt when he was barred from the Promised Land.

=[ This is a dark, dark day. =[

What am I to do? sigh.

Treasures Earned

Oooookaaay so, good news. =]

My good friend (who played the Rachmaninoff No. 2 with her friend in highschool) let me borrow the copy of the concerto (with orchestra piano parts). And (Gasp!) offered to let me have it (what a treasure!) if I could play the first page for her by next week. !!! *Many many many smiles*

You can bet I'll get started on it right away...

Oh, and I watched Wicked at Pentageus (Is that how you spell it). It was very well done. I might post something about it... A very thought provoking musical. Liked it very very much.

Its late, I'm tired, Happy Summering! =]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Car Craze

Unlike most boys, I never really liked cars. They were simply pieces of metal and plastic which happened to transport people around from place to place. Most boys have dreamed of the bright red convertible sports car since the day they learned to make the "vroom vroom" sound of an engine. In short, I had thought myself immune to this epidemic of car craze.
But not anymore. That's it, I've gone over the top! I'm quite smitten. =]
Isn't it adorable? It isn't as amazing in pictures as in real life. They've just recently become available on the U.S. market. On the way to class today I passed by a smartcar and oooggled for a good 5 mins. It's like a little puppy on four wheels!

I don't think I'll be getting it for Christmas anytime soon though. =]

My mom thinks I'm weird. =] (For good reason!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Open Question:

Should a (me) person who has a known tendency to become slightly addicted (3-5 hrs. a day) to online personal networks such as MySpace join Facebook?

This comes after about 2 years of 'abstinence' haha.

Friends. Summer's here, I don't see them that much. (Although Wheatstone is coming up)

Pros: Well, I'll get to 'connect' with a whole slew of people and at least stay slightly more in touch with them. Friends are good.

Cons: Eats away huge amounts of time. Especially since I have this tendency to become addicted to this stuff. There are better things to do with ones time.

Ahhhh! I don't know! Probably not though.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

18 years

Weeeeee! Happy 18th Anniversary Mom and Dad! =] =] =]

Isn't it lovely?

We went out for dinner and had a delightful evening talking about stuff.

Here are a few anecdotes:

Some time after they met, my parents went on a college camping trip together with some friends. It so happened that my mom was washing the dishes that evening while my dad was taking pictures. hehe. So my mom asked why my dad wasn't helping and he said that being the camp photographer was a heavy burden of responsibility that outweighed menial labor. Ooooooh boy did that get my mom going! =] She got so fed up with him that she said "I feel sorry for the person who marries you". Haha! She's been happily eating her own words since. (And just in case you were wondering my dad has been reformed. =] )

Most romantic thing Dad ever did for Mom?

12 days before valentines my Dad was overseas and so he wouldn't be around for valentines. So he started sending love cards over beginning with an eansy weensy card all the way to one that was about 4 feet tall (which was delivered on valentines). I'll be honest, I'm definitely using this haha. (when i'm older, of course)

We're going to watch the wedding video now. =]

Have a lovely evening.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


=[ I've committed a horrible sin.

Yes my friends, I did not include my sister in my alphabet. (Gasp!)

So I've been condemned to write a whole post about her. haha.

10 Things I love about my sister:
(If I'm overdoing this list thing, just let me know)

1. Well, for starters she's my sister and I get to live in the same house with her. That's cool. =]

2. She's great fun to annoy. hehe.

3. It's nice to have someone to be silly with on a daily basis.

4. Joycelyn can be hilariously witty! =]

5. Having a sibling is probably a huge factor in the person I am. (I'm not sure it's been good or bad) Haha. Just kidding. =]

6. Joycelyn plays the violin. And although she chooses to torture my dog and I when she's practicing, when she really tries, she's an excellent violinist. (Always room for improvement though!)

7. Memories are not half as fun if you don't have someone to share them with!

8. Well, she's just herself and I wouldn't trade her for any other sister. =]

9. How long must I sing your praises!?

10. In short, I love my sister and I can't imagine life without her. =]

There, will you forgive your mean old brother?

=] Love you Joycelyn. =]