I guess my yearly trips to my parents place are always a bit of a "break" in my usual pattern of daily life. I mean, I basically stop using my brain for anything remotely related to work, and I simply do everything that I normally don't do while I'm in the states: sleep a lot, drink a lot, watch a lot of tv, eat a lot, etc.... Of course all that is intentional as I need to fuel that other side of myself once in a while or I'll only get to live one lifestyle all year long, and that, my friend, would end up being a bit monotonous, wouldn't it? ;) (It would be nice if I could add a ski bum lifestyle in there for a couple of weeks... but I digress ^^) Well, so this time around, though, I guess it did have a bit of a negative impact as I caught a cold, and that made the jet lag hit me even worse, thus effecting my productivity at work. But, it looks like I'm slowly getting back to my usual pattern as my productivity is rising back up and my cold is healing. So that's good. Oh, and my room (including my oven!) is squeaky clean now, so things are really shaping up for the second half of the year 2004! heh heh. ^^. But enough about my cold and my oven... ^^;

One of the things I'm always reminded about when I return from Beijing is anything and everything related to my family. As my mother and I always say, the ideal parent/child relationship is where the parent loves the child unconditionally without ever asking or expecting anything in return, and the child forever thanking the parents always wanting to somehow return the love. Of course, that's the ideal relationship, and as human beings there are always various emotional issues that creep into that ideal relationship. But still, the consensus in our family is that that's what would happen if we were all masters of the zen of parent/child relationship.

A lot of things can happen when you and your parents agree on such a fundamental concept, and one of the things that happened for us was the birth of endless thoughtful conversations about how the child and the parent can live their lives expressing their love of one another, and to make sure all members of the family know that we're all there for one another no matter what. All in all, I must say that this is a great family atmosphere I'm in, and I'm very proud of my family for having been able to foster such a ground for all of us. I know it sounds cliche and cheesy, and I can't object to your throwing up, but hey... When you're done, make sure you clean up your own mess. ;)

So, as I approach my 27th birthday, I quietly remind myself once again that I must never forget to thank my parents for the love and support they have given me all along. At the same time I must also never forget how much strength I am able to give them by just being there for them, and spending quality time with them whenever I can. *SIGH* Here comes the cheesiest part of the entry guys... get your garbage can ready! Mom and dad, I love you guys soooo much!

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I have made my final payment for my dear Bora. That means she is fully MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! So in celebration of my last payment I got her washed and waxed. Look at that sparkle! ^__^ Awwwww zeeeyeah! Live long Bora!

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When you look around it's hard not to come across people who work so hard to portray a certain image of themselves. I'm certainly guilty of the same thing as I find myself trying to explain to others what exactly it is I'm trying to achieve in my life. "What does that have to do with portraying an image of yourself" you may ask.... Well, as much as I'm quite certain of what I like and dislike about things that surround me I can't help but wonder if the actual expression of such likes and dislikes is a projection of my inner desire to create an "image" of myself to the outside world. I'm not saying that it's wrong to do so, I'm merely trying to understand if this is a natural part of character development or if it results from basic human insecurity (or possibly something completely different).

When I was a senior in college I went through a relatively long (6 months) phase of what I call "pursuing the image of a career-driven guy". Somebody who wears a suit, drinks coffee in the morning, takes lots of business trips, stays in nice hotels, works in a name-brand corporate firm destined for early retirment with a hefty sum of money. It seemed like the natural thing to do, it seemed like the right thing to do, and it certainly seemed liked the cool thing to do. I must have flown out every other week doing interviews and such and 90% of the destinations was the wall street on New York city. I wore a black Giorgio Armani suit and played my blend of business and technology side out as much as possible. The funny thing is the more interviews I did the more uncomfortable I got with the idea of doing the natural thing and becoming the suit-wearing "successful" career person. The more times I spent visualizing myself wearing a suit everyday and living the fancy corporate life the more lame it seemed. It happened so quickly I'm still not 100% sure why the whole phase came about.... Then times passed by, and it wasn't that I realized that I was chasing after an image rather than something that really resonated with my heart and soul, nor was it because I predicted I was going to fall in love with studying and doing research in the area of computer science either. Maybe it was out of fear of living a lie or something, but I started turning down interview trips and soon my job search came to a complete halt. It wasn't until a couple months later that I turned 180 degrees and started looking for a job in a completely different industry.

Of course I ask myself the same question these days wondering if the life I pursue now isn't another attempt at trying to portray a different image of myself. It could easily be that the image I'm going for now happens to be radically different from the one I had when I was a senior in college. I may actually be far from being "real", and I can only answer with a potentially false sense of certainty that I am being honest with myself. :) Well, there's at least one thing I'm sure of now and that's that this image I'm pursuing right now seems to be lasting quite a long time and I'm having a blast pursuing it. ;) I probably just think too much. :P

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I don't think I can justifiably call myself a cinema connoisseur as I certainly haven't enough knowledge of the history of cinema or in any way attempted to find out what all these terminologies like "use of character development" really entail. What I do know is that I watch quite a lot of movies whenever I have time for them. I also happen to have an appetite for "unusual" movies ( no, it's not what you think. :P ) so I tend to dig up foreign films and other independent efforts put out by people whom I get to hear about through words of mouth or simply by looking for movies made by directors who directed other movies I liked, etc... Many of the movies I dig up end up being Japanese simply because they have some really interesting movies that get put out in that country. I guess more often than not the fact that possibly one of the best horror film directors (or at least my favorite) that I know of puts out movies in that country on a regular basis helps quite a bit.

Now, as you may or may not know some Korean people have a very skewed viewpoint when it comes to anything related to Japan. So it isn't uncommon when I bring up some of the wonderful gems of Japanese cinema that I'll be criticized by the more cynical ones about how I should watch more Korean movies. Well, I'm sorry, but most of the Korean movies I come across are slapstic comedies or popular romance stories, and as much as I have enjoyed watching movies like "Number 3", "My Sassy Girl", etc... they're all popular movies, and don't really offer me anything new but warm and fuzzy feelings or a good hour and a half of laughter. Sure there are also those "epic" or big scale action movies like "Shiri" that people go on and on about, but again it's just an action movie with the typical love story that you can watch once, like it, and move on. Don't get me wrong, that's certainly entertainment, and a very good one at that. It's just that for me to actually bring a movie up in a conversation and want to talk about it in depth, that movie really needs to touch my senses in more complicated ways than that. I'm really not trying to sound like some elitist trying to show off how I'm more attunded to art or anything like that. Trust me, I have my own share of movies I simply don't know how to appreciate regardless of the amount of praise they get from people who actually know what they're talking about.

So, you may be thinking to yourself, "Ok, you told us that you like Japanese movies more than Korean movies, is that the point of this entry?". Well, I'm glad to say that my answer is an emphatic "No.". The point of this entry is actually quite to the contrary. My attitude towards Korean cinema recently took a 180 degress turn after I got introduced to a director by the name of Ki-Duk Kim. I first saw "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring" a few weeks ago. It was certainly different compared to other Korean movies I have seen. It was immersed in symbolism and provided enough for me to chew on, but I was neither blown away nor mesmerized. So I started to dig up other moviews made by the director and soon watched "Samaria" and "The Isle". *PAUSE*. Wow... I don't want to go into gratuitous praising of this new found favorite Korean director of mine or go into lengthy details of how impressed I was with these movies as I'm certain that there are fan sites everywhere for him that serve that purpose. Lemme just tell you that I'm extremely grateful for having found a director whom I have utmost respect for for dealing with the themes that he deals with and the talent that he has in being able to express his thoughts through the medium of cinema in the way he's able to. And this feeling is extra special because I'm filled with so much pride about the fact that this person is Korean. No, not simply because I feel the cultural or national connection with this person, but because it bodes very well for the future of Korean cinema and the flourishing of the arts in my home country. That, my friend, is a truly wonderful thing, to say the least.

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