Musical Condos and Moving Buddys

For the past 6 months my boys have been talking about moving and planning out the relocation to Austin, TX. Fudge and Chichi accepted offers down there from their company and have set a move date of October 1st, which is fast approaching. Months prior, it seemed like just talk and planning. We’ve been partying pretty hard, trying to get as much done and get as much in as possible before they go for a couple of years. It didn’t seem like a reality though, until maybe a couple of weeks ago when I started looking at condos and apartments to move into for myself. When I stepped into that first place to look at, it hit me that it was going to happen soon, that they were moving, that I was moving and that everything was about to change from my lifestyle that I’d known for the past 5 years. Nobody gives me advice like Cheech does and he’s always got great insight to what I’m trying to do and helps me get there. I’ve known Fuji since high school and I’ve seen the guy probably every 2nd day in the past 12 years. 2 brothers that I would do anything for. It’s surreal these days as reality sets in that they’re moving in a months time.

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1998: Gracie, Me, Shin and Charles @ Jupiter Lounge

As I’d been looking around Burnaby for a place, I found one that I really liked. It was a pretty good sized 1 bedroom central on Boundary. The guy (My future landlord) was pretty cool, young guy who was getting married in a week so him and his fiance had moved out to a place out in the west side. After looking at about 8 different places, I’d settled on this one though it needed some painting. 3 weeks later, a week before I was supposed to move in, he called me and said “Pi, I have some bad news. I’m moving back into the condo.” I was thinking, ok wtf you bastard. You tell me a week before? Great notice. Then he continues with “My fiance walked out on me. We’re not getting married anymore, after 5 and a half years.” Ouch. Weddings paid for, all planned and a week before she walks out on him. What could I say? So my search continued, heavy hearted as I’d really had my thoughts settled in on that place and location. I spent a couple of hours on Craigslist that night and booked about 8 new places to look at and BAM! what was this? A listing for a place in the building next to the one that I’d originally chosen? The next day I went to look at it and it was exactly the same. Phase 2 (where the original had been Phase 3, a little newer, but smaller). So now I get the same location, but bigger place. (Still needs paint though). Within 24 hours, my stress was dissapated. Funny how things work out sometimes.

IMG_9653So now I’m trying to find tenants for my downtown condo and once that’s done, there’s painting of both places, little fixer-uppers, and time to pack and say goodbye to my home and my buddys. Change is good. It kicks you out of your comfort zone and gets you moving, makes you grow into a hopefully better person and makes you appreciate things alot more, especially when you didn’t have a choice for change. I think that’s the biggest lesson that age and experience teaches you, is appreciation. All the things you take for granted before you don’t anymore, but often it’s too late to go back and make things right or different. So now you take that experience and transfer it onto the next venture, the next relationship, the next idea so that this next coming one will be better than the last. With each career that I have, I’m a better worker than I was at my last job. With each relationship that I’m in, I’m a better boyfriend than I was in the last one. Nothing is taken for granted and I appreciate everything.

To my old landlord who will never read this: Don’t worry, she was a bitch for walking out a week before the wedding but hey, now we’re neighbors and you can come party with me.

Two Parties, One Day

Ahh another chill Vancouver Sunday. The sun was out and it was about 25 degrees today. I woke up and mulled around the house for a bit and eventually got around to my friends BBQ at Spanish Banks. It wasn’t hard to find them amidst the massive amount of Vancouverite beach goers, all enjoying the few remaining sunny days left before the 5 straight months of rain to come. I rode slowly across the parking lot and all I had to look for were the 2 door Lexus’s and Mercedes sports cars and the 5 motorcycles parked together. I parked my own bike and hopped off to join the tanned and toned boys and girls, all showing off the tattoos, 6 packs and string bikini summer bodies. I had some BBQ chicken, played some volleyball, laughed with some old friends and made some new ones.

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Around 5 I left to go to a housewarming party in Richmond. My friend had just finished 140 hours of renovation in his new home and was excited to show it off. They’d previously lived in OMA in Burnaby, but with a new baby on the way and his first daughter turning 4 soon, they needed more space. It wasn’t hard to find his house. All I had to look for were the 4 door family sedans and minivans. When I walked in through the door, I could hear the pitter-patter of about 10 kids, all under 5 years of age. I was shown the house, the kids rooms and the new piano room and the backyard, where the kids were playing. I had some BBQ chicken, played with some children, laughed with some old friends and made some new ones.

Two parties in one day but they couldn’t be any more polar opposite than Kim Kardashian with and without makeup. The conversations at the beach consisted of the drunken times this past weekend and hockey. We made fun of each other, all beating our chests in bravado and masculinity while playing volleyball with the girls laughing at our goofiness while tanning on the sand. The conversations at the housewarming were of past memories and future plans, career goals and business proposals while the girls exchanged baby stories and how little Timmy was learning his Chinese so fast and how little Tia was getting so big. Funny thing was, all of the people today were within the same age and we’d all grown up together.

How does it happen that some people take one path while others travel down another? It was shocking and I have to admit, for about 15 minutes I sat there in my friends new kitchen staring at his new stainless steel fridge with the warning stickers still pasted on the side and I was tripping out. Here he was, a family in tow and living the domesticated life while my other friends and I were still in the bachelor lifestyle, living single without any responsibilities other than to ourselves. It could have gone either way I suppose. I could have sat there looking at his lifestyle in envy and wishing I had my own mini-Pius and wife and house in the burbs. But instead, I tripped out about how loud it was with a bunch of mini-people yelling in unison and that they were everywhere, like little hyperactive machines running around demanding more donuts and juice.  My friends sister, who has an adorable 4 year old daughter of her own, finally piped up and said “Pius stop panicking, it’s not that bad you know!” I replied “No, not at all! It’s not bad, it’s great! It’s just not for me right now.”

dora-the-explorerMaybe one day I’ll be ready to sell the motorcycle for an engagement ring. One day I’ll be ready to watch Dora the Explorer with my own little kid instead of playing Rock Band on my XBOX and on weekends I’ll sit in my suburbian backyard, BBQ’ing while my friends are over with their own little kids instead of partying until 3 in the morning followed by afterparties til 5 in my downtown condo. One day, but not now.

 I’m still a kid myself.

Nerds are Cool

I was standing in line this morning at Starbucks for my antidote for grumpiness (aka Grande Americano) and there was a guy in front of me with his girlfriend. They were in their own world, quietly conversing with each other, smiling and sweet. When it came time for them to order, he turned to the barista and ordered a tall dark and a tall tea misto. The funny thing was that his voice changed from soft and caring to deep and commanding, confident and professional. His stance changed and even his facial expression hardened as he turned his interaction from his girlfriend to a stranger. Same guy, two hats.
People have many faces, and I don’t say this in neither a negative or positive connotation. One could potentially say that “She’s evil to her brother, but amazing to her husband.” Or “He treats his girlfriend like she’s his bitch but he such a momma’s boy.” Fact is, that all people are many things. You’re a brother, a son, a boss. You’re a granddaughter, a friend, a student. In every situation people act differently to different people. While your core is still the same, your intentions and actions and true heart will never change, but the way you act will. Whether all of your faces are kind, happy and genuine, or evil and spiteful, or a mixture of both, everybody presents different faces to each person. Think about the minor or major differences in the way you interact with your family members and to your best friend. With your significant other or with a police officer who just pulled you over for pulling a U turn on Lougheed Highway. The secrets you tell them, the politeness or lack of, the tone of voice you use. The way you treat each person is both dependent on their relationship to you and the current present situation. Does this mean that there really is no such thing as “just being yourself” because there is no ‘yourself’ as a singular situational context?

Recently I was going through my old photo albums with a friend. I saw the changes that I’d gone through in my short lifetime so far. I’d experienced everything from racism and being constantly picked on as a elementary schooler, to being MVD* on my high school football team. I was all stereotypes, from nerd, to jock, to thug, to student and now a professional. Unpopular to popular and back again. I’d lived each of those lives and felt the difference in the way people treat you in all of those lives. Within each picture in my album, there was a story, a memory whether good or bad. I’d felt the pain of being ridiculed, I’d felt the pride of winning at sports, I’d felt the belonging when being with friends. Looking at the pictures only presented a snapshot of the physical moment and some of those snapshots were pretty funny looking back at how I used to be. (My friends cheeks and stomach ended up hurting because she was laughing so hard at some of the old pictures.) But because I was all stereotypes, I really was none of them. If you look through your old photo albums or jpeg files, I’m sure you’ll find the same. (Unless you were the same person all throughout, then I apologize my friend, you’ve lived a sheltered and unfortunately uneventful life.)

 
If we were to use an anology, I would use travel as one, because the changes in lifestyle and that of destinations are similar in experiences. Say a person grew up in, say, Edmonton. They were born and raised there and had never traveled anywhere further than 2 hours away. They’d shopped for groceries at the Safeway around the block for 20 years, and went to Stan’s Video Store for the latest rentals, until Blockbuster built a store right next door, causing Stan to go bankrupt and eventually losing his home to foreclosure. Then there was a person who was also born in Edmonton, but had snorkeled the Great Barrier Reefs of Sydney. They’d built houses in Africa, walked through the slums and shanty towns of Brazil. They’d made friends with this girl who was from Germany and this guy from Amsterdam and they shared amazing stories while traveling together. They’d camel-backed across the Saharan desert, silhouetted by the setting sun and stood at the base of the Victoria Falls in Zambia and felt the ancient mist wet them through to the soul.** Who would be a more interesting person? Who would you rather have dinner and share a drink with? To hear their stories and to vicariously live through them by the excitement in their eyes as they retell their tales. While it doesn’t take a $2000 plane ticket and plenty of vacation time to be interesting, it does take stories. It also takes experience to make interesting stories, whether your stories are about world travel or about the many lifestyle changes that you’ve gone through in your life.

I think the many faces that you have are dependent on your experiences that you’ve gone through as those many roles. The more changes you’ve gone through, the better you are in many different situations and the more socially adept you are. Being a chameleon when you were younger makes you a deeper adult and a stronger and more independent person as you’ve already gone through the soul-searching and trying to ‘figure out who you are’ stage and now, who you are, is the pick of your choice, the best of the experiences. You may have gone through the nerd stage onto experience the popular stage. Then onto the rebellion stage and perhaps even lived in the Emo world for a year. Who you are at the end is who you’ve chosen to be because you realize that while you’ve gone through many different experiences, this is the one that suits you the best and the lifestyle is one that you are happy to live in. If you’ve only ever experienced one type of lifestyle, how are you to know that this is the best? In life there are many choices, from flavors of ice cream (which I continue to refer back to because I’m a huge ice cream advocate) to the different colors of shirts that you could buy. You are constantly bombarded with choice and generally, once somebody has been presented with multitudes of choice and experienced them all, they return to the one that best pressed their happy button. The most stable person is one who’s gone through instability, who’s experienced the extremities of life and have now found a niche for themselves out of their wide gamut of lifestyles. These are the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

This is not to say that once you’ve found your stability you won’t change anymore or acquire new ‘faces’. While I’ve experienced a lot in my first 3 decades of life, there are many more hats that I will be wearing in the future. What kind of boss will I be? Will I be a caring father or a strict one, or both? Will I be a good husband or a great one? Those are all experiences that still face me and you have many experiences that still face you. Don’t be scared of change and definitely don’t be scared to acquire new experiences. The more you have, the deeper of a person you will be and the more interesting of a life you will live. After all, you only have one, so make it as amazing as you can.


*Most Valuable Defenceman

** My sister has done all of these things and she is one of the most interesting people I know

25 Random Facts

25. I drive a right hand drive import from japan and now when I piss people off, they think it’s my passenger that did it and people glare at them instead of me. I have random people talking to me about being on the wrong side of the car…to which I reply “no i’m on the RIGHT side of the car.”

24. I’m a clean/neat nazi. Everything at home has a place where it should be and it should be there. My dvd’s are all in alphabetical order, organized by genre.

23. When I was 5 and my sister was 3, I saved her from drowning in a kiddie pool. And now, she’s a better swimmer than I am.

22. I like swords. I have a 2 handed longsword in my coffee table. When I was 6 my parents and I went to a ceramics store in chinatown. I played with an intricately carved ivory (yes ivory) sword and broke it. They fixed it, but my dad had to buy it, and it’s been on display at my parents house for the last 20+ years. (He was NOT happy with me for about 4 months)

21. My parents put me in hockey, baseball (T-Ball!), soccer, kung fu and I quit them all after a couple weeks. For some reason, I stuck with piano for 15 years. I am a master pianist. (but I havn’t played since I moved out of my parents house, so I’m a rusty pianist now)

20. I can play any song on rockband/guitar hero first time through in expert. (piano fingers help)

19. I want to be a published author. Everybody has ONE amazing story to tell (some people more, but everybody has at least one) I’m 1/3 done telling my one story so far.

18. I miss my dog Momo

17. I think Kid Carson and Nira Aurora talk about really dumb things sometimes like…who cares about kids date last night and whether or not nira had sex with her husband???? Benjamin rocks though. Amy’s cool too. (and yes, I am a P1 listener lol)

16. I have 2 sisters and 7 brothers from another mother who I can count on 100%: CL (who is this white guy singing Chinese??) SF (he wants to fight me) JW (bandana over the eyes and tank top at high school caf) TL (I’m luvaboy, wanna drink?) CS (futureshop!) CL (shoots a firecracker at me) JH (the token whiteboy) GF (I’m a doctor!!!)

15. I read a lot about everything. I like to learn new things. VALUE! I’m glad my sister is an English teacher because she recommends some awesome books.

14. the majority of my family is in Malaysia and I try to go back every 4 years. I love mee goring and roti canai and chili crab and laksa and bor bor cha cha and…

13. I think I would make a great life coach but sometimes I have trouble taking my own advice.

12. I’m deathly scared of heights. One time I rode “the Revelation” at playland and I shat my pants. My buddy was like “I know the guy who runs it! He’s gonna let us ride for extra long!” and I was thinking “aw fk, get me offfffff…” when I got down my arms were sore cuz I was holding on so tight and my face was white. Never again…I never thought I would die, but at that moment, I seriously thought I would die.

11. if I could, I’d live on the beach and wear only shorts all day long, sit on the sand everynight and drink.

10. I have really bad eating habits. Sometimes I eat once a day, sometimes I eat 5 times after 10pm, I eat whatever’s in my fridge (the bachelor life). I’m a decent cook though, and I love cooking (it’s relaxing) but it sucks to cook for one person.

9. I knew my multiplication table up to 12×12 by the time I was in kindergarten. It took me until grade 3 to learn English though after 3 years of ESL. I was a lonely child.

8. I like to make things happen. I like to organize things, plan things and do things. I’m never really just sitting around doing nothing.

7. Coke (cocacola to clarify!) gives me a killer sugar high. My friends can always tell “you’ve had coke haven’t you?” “Ok time to quarantine Pi.”

6. I grew up in coquitlam and would drive out to Richmond everyday with JW, SF, DY and TC to meet up with everyone at hotshots. Then one day, all the boys came to coquitlam to visit me. ONE DAY out of 8 years. The Paseo had 250,000km on it when I sold it.

5. I have little patience for inconsiderate people. when people are ass’s to other people for no reason.

4. Random strangers come up and chat with me on the streets a lot. In stores, while I’m waiting for someone, outside a change room, crossing the street, in restaurants. There are some interesting people out there (and some not so much…some are just friggin weird)

3. my 2 things that bug me the most are people who are late, and people who sell out last second. I mean…come on!! It’s not like I didn’t tell you what time to meet up 5 days ago.

2. Trevor Linden is my hero cuz he’s a huge giver to our community AND he is captain canuck. But now, I vote kesler for captain. Lu can’t do sh*t from the goal to motivate the team.

1. I wanted to grow up a ninja when I was a kid. I had this shirt with a ninja on it and I wore it for my Grade 4, 5 and 6 class picture. My mom finally caught on and hid it when my gr 6 picture date came. I love ninjas.

The Dating Game

Soooo…I’m single.

It feels almost blasphemic to say those words. For so long, it was pounded into my head that I was not available, that I was in a committed relationship with someone and thou shalt not lookest at other Godesses. After half a decade of being with one girl, I’d forgotten alot of things about being single. Here’s a list of the things I’d forgotten about The Dating Game:

1) The rules havn’t changed…unlike technology, that changes every 18 months, you’d upgrade your PC or risk not being able to support MSFT’s new blue screen, the rules to dating have not changed at all. there’s still the 2 day rule for calling, the weekday date and you level up to the weeknight date. then if you’re REALLY special, you get a weekend date. There’s still the ‘my friend likes you’ the ‘what are you drinking’ and the ‘hi my name is…’ but now, instead of giving phone numbers, everyone’s exchanging blackberry pin’s.

2) When you date, you’re searching. It’s like 510 Flavors of Gelato. You walk in, do you pick the wasabi green ginger ice cream right away? No. You ask for a taste and they give you one of those little tiny plastic spoons with a chunk of ice cream. You taste it and you decide if you like it or not. I decide that I will pass on wasabi green ginger ice cream today. Can I try some lime lemon sorbet? And so on, until you have the flavor that you like and then you say “Give me more of that. I like that.” So now you walk out of the Gelato place, happy as a clam in high tide with the ice cream of your choice. You’re confident that the choice you made is the right one because you’ve tried the rest, now you’re with the best. Isn’t dating the same? You go on one or two dates, figure out that the guy who you thought was soooOOOooo funny was really just drunk that day or that the girl who you thought was really deep because you philosophised about the meaning of life on the first date just turned out to be really not-smart (PC for dumb) and was really just asking alot of questions for real and not just rhetorically.

3) It sucks when one person likes the other person more. The difference with People-People relationships (vs People-Ice Cream) is that it goes both ways. While you don’t think they are a match for you, they might think they are. I had a chat with a friend over dinner tonight and I’d said to her that her relationship is great because they both cared and liked and obsessed over each other in the same ‘level’. While sometimes one liked the other more, it was never a large gap so all that was done, was appreciated. All good things were seen as good. All positive intentions were seen as for what they were. The problem comes when one person likes the other way more, like on a scale of 1-10, one person likes the other 8 and the other just feels a 3. So now, all that was done, is not appreciated. All good things will be seen as annoying. All positive intentions will be seen negatively. The 20 text messages a day turn from “aw he cares about what i’m doing and can’t stop thinkin about me” to “oh damn she’s totally blowing up my phone and being obsessive.” The hour long phone calls go from “i can’t stop talking to you cuz i love the sound of your voice” to “Oh damn. i got so much to do and this is totally killing my time.” It’s funny how feelings can change perspectives, but perspectives don’t change feelings. (booya that was deep. think on that one for a second.)

4) That the grass is always greener. How many times have you heard this one? When you’re in a relationship, there’s times when you just want your own time, your own things, your own life. You feel like a babysitter, a gaurdian, a driver, a call center help line, a therapist. You feel like you have to think for 2 all the time, that you have no say in your own life. You wish for greener pastures, for the wide open space to run around in and do your own thing whatever it may be. But when you’re single, there are times when you long for someone to care for, to cherish. You want to be a gaurdian, you want someone to call you, to open up to you. The time you have now seems too much. The wide open space is too vast, too empty for one person. I guess the perfect relationship would have a bit of everything and not just too much of one. Your life, my life and our life, all proportioned perfectly to both persons liking. I guess when you want the greener grass on the other side of the fence, it means that you’re in the wrong field to begin with. I’m sure there’s a plot of land out there that’s just green enough for me, and when I find it, there will be no greener grass. (I’m sure my future girlfriend would love to see that I called her a plot of land.)

5) That if you don’t look, they’ll come along in their own time. When you find someone who you’ll willingly give up sleep for, want to hang out with all the time and constantly has you checking your blackberry to see if they’d bbm’d you while you were brushing your teeth…all without having to try to get their attention, that’s the way it should be. The law of natural attraction, instead of forced interest or faking yourself so the other person will notice you.

29 Year Cycle

Beginning at birth, there are successive periods of about seven years in a person’s life, each one a stage of important adjustments to reality. At about 7 years of age, the first quarter of the transiting Saturn cycle, the first crisis of maturity occurs and self-awareness takes form. At about ages 14 or 15, the change from child to adult occurs. About 21-22 years of age brings another adjustment to the demands of society. When Saturn completes its first cycle at about 29 years, people must come to terms with themselves and the society in which they live. This point in the cycle is called the Saturn return. It is almost always a time of important commitments, decisions, and the acceptance of responsibilities and changes of lifestyle.

I don’t remember much about my first Saturnism at age 7. I remember running around alot, doing my Kumon homework and playing the piano. At the second cycle of 14/15, that was the awkward time. I was coming out of my shell, previously sheltered and protected by my parents. All of a sudden I’d discovered girls! (I’d also discovered that they had no interest in me, a chubby, pimple faced Chinaman who didn’t wear the coolest clothes or say the smoothest things.) At age 14 was also when I realized I could be an athlete and so I did and I excelled at it and thus was my identity for 7 years.

21. Ahh, good ol’ 21. In hindsight now, looking back at the stage of the planets and moons and all that jazz, it makes sense. Or rather, it fits into the story nicely. I had not a worry in the world. The minute responsibilities of a recent university graduate who had every option of the world in front of him. I travelled in packs like hunting wolves, with 30 of my closest boys (not kidding…30…) with me everywhere we went. Big Bamboo, Hotshots, Hong Lok Yuen, No. 9, BP, everywhere. We had girls with us and because we were all gentlemen, they loved us. The weekends and weeknights were spent racing down the highways in our garage made rice rockets with the +10hp stickers, going from restaurant to pool hall to kareoke bar, laughing all the way. It was quite the change from my restricted popularity in high school, going from ugly duckling to swan (albiet a ruff gruff manly swan..argh!) We thought ourselves to be complete bad asses. Brotherhood, blood brothers, if one of us got into trouble, the other 29 would be there with a beep of the pager. (Only one of us had a cell phone so his bill was always the highest: hey Gurt, can I borrow your phone?) We were respected by our peers, looked up to by those younger. Guys wanted to hang out with us, girls wanted to get with us. (Or so that was our mentality, I mean, with a pimped out honda civic with stickers on the door and chopped springs so that you’d bottom out on every speed bump, who wouldn’t want to be with us!) We ruled the world. Those were the days when we had no worries (mortgage? bills? what are those things? responsiblities? ugh, kill the word.) We were in the middle, grown out of the childish restraints that society places on teenagers but not quite at adulthood status yet. We were armed with the positive outlook that our futures were still unwritten, that we could become anything we wanted to be and our destinies and fates were like a fresh jar of play-doh, soft and moldable.

7 years later. 29 years old. Commitments, decisions and responsibilites. Over the years my 30 man crew turned into a 4 man entourage. Our consecutive 4 night party days turned into once a month and the weight of adulthood comes crashing down hard onto our shoulders. How easy is it to manage your own life, while simultaneously attempting to balance those of your friends, family and colleagues? To try to make their lives fit into yours and not become a selfish hermit. Never in my 29 years of life have I faced such a daunting task and a more difficult year. I left my secure job of 3+ years due to changes out of my control. I ended a relationship of 5 years with a girl I loved with all my heart, though was no longer in-love. I bought a 2nd Condo before the market crashed and now am down on the investment. And now, my two best friends are moving away, one of them for good, one of them for 2 years. To those who think they’ve been knocked off of their comfort zone, I’ll join you in the parade. Hell, I’ll organize it. Change is good and it is what I need. This past several years, I’ve been too comfortable, too relaxed and my fire has died down a bit. I remember the ambition and drive I had when I was 21, and I felt alive and motivated. I want it back, and I’ll get it back. But for now, I just want to turn 30 in 4 months, and get 29 over with. This ‘Saturn Return’ cycle isn’t all it’s cracked out to be. The Play-doh’s been left out too long, long forgotten by the first hands that started to mold it. It’s become hard and stiff. Four months to go.