Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reflection: Am I too laissez faire?

So about a week ago I was told that I seem to be a laissez-faire person.

Definition of laissez-faire (from the wiki):
...used to describe a policy of allowing events to take their own course

For the most part, yes, I do agree with that statement. I mean, I don't really believe things should be forced. If it is suppose to happen, then somehow some way, it will happen. Ha. for someone who does not believe in fate, it's ironic that I have developed a laissez-faire personality.

Having said that though, this doesn't necessarily mean I would leave everything to chance. My 'laissez-faire' approach I think is more like setting up a foundation and putting the pieces in the right place, then when the time comes, letting them go and let it take their own course. In this model, there are some uncertainties -- for example, I would not know where exactly these individual pieces will go at every point in time, which gives it the possibility to completely fall off the map and never arrive at the finish line. The sad part about this is when it happens, I will have lost - because once you fall off the map, it's pretty hard to un-laissez-faire that particular moment... n'est pas? With this model though, if everything works according to plan, then you accomplish quite a bit more than others -- because now you have effectively saved alot of time governing how every single piece or moving part should behave.

So the question though is, how laissez faire am I? Am I too laid back? When should I not be laid back and chase for things to happen? The answer is really simple: When you see something worthwhile, you should go for it. But the implementation is not. Here's the dilemna - when someone is used to taking the seemingly carefree approach to everything (even important things), who is to say that they would be able to master using a non carefree approach to accomplish a goal? It would just seem forced and out of place... wouldn't it? And then it's bound to fail.

So does that mean I should start expanding my repertoire and slowly try out the 'non laissez-faire' approach in some things? Or should I just continue becoming better at the laissez-faire approach, mastering it so that I would never need to be non laissez-faire - in that because I have planned everything so well, that I can just let things move on their own?

And so here you have it... once again I come full circle. A person living in a life of contradictions...

Friday, June 26, 2009


Another Friday, 2nd week back from TO. Today's main venue was paragliding - originally going on Wed, weather prevented me from going up into sky. So comes Friday, weather is good, so after the last meeting at work, we headed out for paragliding!

What is paragliding you ask? Well, it's a leisurely activity where you go to the top of the mountain, then run off it with a big parachute behind your back. Once you are in the air, you drift around and just sit back, riding on air currents for the next hour or so.

I have to say, the view from up that high was amazing! We got to the top of the mountain at around 7ish - just in time for the sun to set. I saw the Seattle skyline all the way from Issaquah! It was really really pretty. It was a tad chilly (I was steering the entire time almost throughout the hour long flight), but it was worth it because this whole time I was just floating around in the air! Surprisingly though, I didn't feel at peace at all -- usually for these activities I would come back down feeling a sense of togetherness... but not this time. Weird...

Next time I go, definitely bringing the camera. The question is, should I go with the long lens, or just the regular one... hrmmm...

Did you know, supposedly there are less accidents in paragliding than scuba diving. Also, supposedly if you run into a tree, the parachute would actually not rip. Interesting facts eh?

After this, we went to Matt's for some oysters... Mmmm.. Haven't had it for awhile now. It tasted really good! Then headed over to intern now full-timer's place and played some beer pong and flip cup. Just have to say, having not played flip cup in 4 years, I was surprisingly AWESOME at it. I think of all the flips that I did this night, I only missed maybe 10 in total. Beer pong on the other hand... man I sucked.

Another day of drinking... 4th time in the 2 weeks since I've been back. At some point, I should really stop doing this. I am very bordering on the 3+3 limit these days for these nights.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NYC Wkend: Home Time...

Today plan was to check out United Nations, and then walk down 5th Ave before hopping back onto the bus to head to the airport.

As we walked out to go to the bus, we find that the entire street is blocked off and there were booths set up. By the time we walked through them, we were only 5 blocks or so from the United Nations!

So turns out that on Sunday, the United Nations does not have all the flags of the different countries up, nor does it have guided tours :(. So we ended up walking inside the non restricted areas and then heading back out of it.

Got to the airport at a decent time, and originally, the flight was suppose to arrive an hour early. However, we ended up circling around for an hour on the ground, and the plane ended up being 30 minutes late. And with that, I am back on the west coast.

Did quite a bit in NYC. But still gotta go back again and do the following...
- Statue of Liberty, actually go inside
- United Nations, actually get on a guided tour (so go on a weekday)
- Walk around Central Park again and not get lost
- See the MET
- See the rest of MoMA (we only saw 2 floors of it)
- Watch another Broadway show

Pics from NYC Weekend

Saturday, June 13, 2009

NYC Wkend: Part II: Culture Day in NYC

Woke up this morning in pain! After a 10 hour walk-a-thon the day before, I was certainly feeling the after effects of it. Good thing today would probably end up be alot of sitting around compared to yesterday - since part of today's agenda was to watch Billy Elliot!

Today's scheduled activities: Guggenheim, Central Park, MoMa, Mesa Grill, Billy Elliot, and then a walk around Times Square/Theatre District. All pretty artsy! :). I keep thinking how funny it is that someone like me - who is so artistically challenged - is always interested in this stuff. I don't know much about the stuff I look at, nor do I really prepare for it in advance and read articles about what I am about to see, but seeing these pieces of art awes me at times, not to mention I swear it makes me smarter!... lol. The other thing I guess I realized that I like about going to 'culture day' events is that I feel very peaceful there, and it gives me alot of time to just let my mind wander and think about stuff... maybe that's the main pull that makes me like having 'culture days' every so often. I find that I don't think enough or reflect enough these days :P. Always going from one place to another, and when I do stop, I am stopping only to rest, not to just think. I gotta watch out for this and set some time aside to think some things through...

At Guggenheim
There were 3 things that jumped out at me. One was the architecture that this Lloyd Wright guy built. Looking at his work, the coolest ones were the ones that did not get built. Some of these ones were really futuristic, others were really great ideas - but none of these ones got built. Don't know enough about architecture to know why that is the case, but interesting nevertheless.

The second was this quote I saw at the entrance of one of the 'sub galleries'.
"Yesterday is not quite out of sight; tomorrow is not yet clear in view. But the atmosphere of vitality is unquestionable" -- James Johnson Sweeney, 1953
The past haunts the future, the future is murky, but happiness was knocking right at the footsteps. I keep looking at this and wonder, is there going to be a chance that things will just be like the way it was before I took this vacation?

The third one was this room where they showed off works of art of students. I think it's really cool that kids at such a young age can create something like this with guidance. This one particularly looked sooo cute. Not quite sure if I was allowed to take pictures, but I couldn't resist. I think my tour guide for Victoria Island would have really liked this section of the museum...

Central Park
With Guggenheim being next to Central Park, we walked around in it. The whole time, I keep thinking, wow, if this was a sunny day, how much Victoria Island tour guide would have liked it here! There was a walkway right along this lake, with the buildings just protruding out from the horizon, yet very much looking like its part of the park. Didn't take any pictures of this though, because it was pretty drizzly today.

Anyway, originally the plan was to head in a southerly direction, so we get closer to MoMa, but being the pure tourist that I am, I decided to not look at the map, and we ended up walking in a big semi-circle. With yesterday's toll of walking, this walk felt really loooong! After getting back onto the east end of the park, we gave up and took the bus to MoMa.

In my opinion, I liked the MoMa in Seattle more than the one in NYC. Even though the NYC is much bigger, I didn't particularly see any 'wow' pieces... there were a few Picassos (I still don't get these pictures...), but for the most part, there wasn't anything that jumped out at me.

Mesa Grill
Busing further down south, we reach our dinner location at 4:45pm. Being 15 minutes early, we left our name and then walked around. Stumbling into a 30% off sale at Kenneth Cole, I emerge out of it with 2 more pair of jeans :D. Finally I have new jeans to wear. My old jeans that I got 2 years ago should have been thrown out weeks (if not months) ago. One had a hole in the back pocket, the other had a hold at the right knee area (that expanded as the NYC progressed), and the last pair - well the zipper broke! For the rest of the night, I would carry this big shopping bag around... lol.

The food at Mesa Grill was nice. Had bison for the first time. Didn't really like it too much though -- felt really smokey and just a big too gamy. The service was really good here though, but seems a bit overpriced (especially when compared w/ the prime card specials in the west coast :P).

Billy Elliot
Then for the main venue of the day, it was time to watch Billy Elliot! A story about a kid who stumbles upon ballet and falls in love with it. This part of the night deserves its own entry. In summary though, I really liked this musical... more to come on this in a later entry.

Times Square
Alot of people, even at 11:30pm at night! This whole day, I keep thinking how much Victoria Island Tour Guide would have liked this place. There was a nice buzzing shops area, a nice park right in downtown that has a nice pond and trees.

I have to say, Neko was a great company -- I didn't end up having to plan much for the trip. Good thing this was because when I did try to fit everything we were doing this weekend, I had things scheduled at 8:30am...! Also seldomly did I look at the map, because we had these trip planners map all printed out. My only roles were to figure out adhoc routes to our destinations, and to guide others to j-walk.

Got back to the hotel at around 1am today. Another eventful day of touristy activities. Lots of thoughts going through my head today - among one of them, as weird as it feels, in a way, I was glad that this vacation was coming to an end. This silly 3 hour difference was just very hard to deal with... much harder than I had imagined it to be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NYC Wkend: Part I: Statue of Liberty and SoHo District

Woke up bright and early on Friday to catch a flight to NYC. First time ever being there, so was pretty excited. Just thinking about the stuff we had planned though was tiring! So much to do, in some little time. Today we would see, Battery Park, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Financial District, Ground Zero, Bloomingdales, and Empire State Building - all in the span of 12 hours!

After landing at the airport in EWR, found out neko's plane got delayed. So while waiting, scouted the airport and found some info about NYC, and also finally finished looked and sorted through the wedding pics.

After rendevouzing with neko, we went to the hotel to drop off our bags, then off we went to the subway to head to downtown NYC! Just like with Vanc, the buying of a subway ticket is ever so perplexing. Must have spent at least 5 minutes figuring out how to pay for the pass... First we went to the booth to ask what the best value would be (after staring at the sign for like a minute), then I pull out a credit card -- to be pointed to the machine since the booths do not take credit card. I get to the booth and try to stick the card in, and it does not recognize it. Try to stick in cash, but machine doesn't return change more than $20... So we went back to the booth to pay for the pass... lol. Either I am very dumb with subways, or it's just EXTREMELY difficult to

First stop was getting to Battery Park to hop onto a ferry to the island with Statue of Liberty. So here we were, lining up for the ferry, and we see the audio tour and an ferry ride ticket. Thinking 'oh, it'd be nice to have an audio tour of the Statue of Liberty', here some history, etc., we spent $8 more to get this 'audio' package. WE get on the ferry, get to the island, and then realize that apparently, you can't actually go into the Statue of Liberty unless you book in advance... So we ended up just walking around the island, taking pictures of the Statue outside... all the while with these $8 headsets... Feel so jibbed!

Visited Ellis Island afterwards, and that was pretty interesting. The audio tour was very useful there. Spent a good hour I think there. Returning back to the main downtown island around 6ish, headed up the financial district and saw the bull. Lots of people were taking pictures of the front of it, but not so much the back...

Dropped by ground zero as well -- only to realize that ground zero was no longer ground zero anymore. On top of where it is, they were building the new thing on top of it, but knowing the history and looking at the size of the construction site... can only imagine how scary and shocking it was when the building collapsed that day...

After strolling around, we headed up to the bloomingdale mall area, only to realize most of the shops were closed by 8ish. There were a few places opened though - so we looked at a few. I ended up buying a much needed new pair of jeans from Old Navy for $14.50 w/tax! Loooove half price sales!

After the 10 hours worth of walking, we headed back to the hotel for a quick break, before heading out for some food and the Empire State Building. It was actually a pretty hot day - I felt very sticky and gross, and I keep thinking if it's because of the big city and all the pollution/smog that must be there.We arrived at the Empire State building at around midnight - only in NYC will an 'attraction' be opened till 2am in the morning! Turns out the place we were staying at was only 2 blocks from it. So walking to there was a breeze. There were soo many people still at lined up at this hour. The good thing though was that it wasn't too cold up at the top of the Empire State building -- that or I just was very happily playing with my camera and lens taking pictures of the night lights of NYC. It took awhile for me to find myself a temporary tripod so I could get a nice picture - good thing Neko's camera pouch came to the rescue! With it, I was able to set the camera still on a slightly declining angle, so I could take pictures of the city. More pics of today to come later once I upload them onto SkyDrive.
After I think a good hour or two up there taking pictures... we headed back down, and then called it a night. The plan originally would have had us waking up at 9am or something like that, but with my great persuasion skills, we set the alarm for 10am! wuhahaha!

To be continued...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

TO Week: Wedding Day

Got dressed and put on my tie today for the main purpose of coming back to Toronto - my big cousin's wedding! My first wedding that I can remember going to, I had the role of guiding people to their tables.

Today's venue started with the tea ceremony, then a dim sum lunch, followed by a 2 hour intermission, then the actual wedding. After the rings are put on, it was picture time, and then the dinner (where I guided people to their tables) and after dinner, dancing. A long eventful day that got me home at around the same time as the night before! Strange that even I didn't do all that much, I was pretty exhuasted by the end of it all. Maybe the years working have made me unable to wake up early and last a whole normal day anymore - that or I've just been sleeping wayyy too little these past few weeks :P.

Today I ended up taking about 300+ photos! (Link to them is at the very bottom) I played around with the long lens :) and got some pretty nice photos -- particularly liked the close-up pictures of my cousin receiving her ring from her fiancee now husband! Also, today I played with the new flash that I got just for this event! I am pretty glad I brought it because without it, the pictures would probably not have turned out nice. The flash allowed me to take nice pictures during the tea ceremony, and also inside the tent during dinner. Loooove 100 foot flashes!
Throughout the wedding, for some reason, I can't help but keep thinking of my tour guide on Victoria Day. But I guess it'd probably freak her out more than anything if I told her that. Really wish she was here... On this topic, the bride and groom gift was these pretty cute red and white salt and pepper shakers -- just saw this a couple weeks ago (but they were black and whtie). Maybe it's a sign that it showed up today that things for me are going to work out!

Other notable highlights was that I got 2 honorable mentions tonight (once at the beginning of the dinner, and once during the bride's speech!). Dammmm it was well worth it to fly back to attend.

Congratulations Cous! Pictures uploaded here

Saturday, June 06, 2009

TO Week: Pre-Wedding

Night before had a chat w/ bro in the backyard. It was a nice chat, and put a few things in perspective. There are a few things I would need to see about, but for the most part, I have faith that this could work out. It might have been just a tad colder than I thought it'd be cuz I wasn't feeling too too well today - combined with the hitting the 3 drink limit last night, I was closing in on the upper bound of my 'sick formula' fast...

Had early morning dim sum with aunt (who called at 9.30am) in the morning, then off we headed to my cousin's place for a lunch. Originally we were planning to be there for lunch, but we ended up staying there for dinner. Missed meeting up w/ a friend because of that - and instead, when the ladies went for their manicures, I took a nap on my cousin's couch.

Another interesting note today was that Hermie was drunk by 4pm! lol... aiiiiiiiiiii... such an alcoholic. I wonder if all client meeting office people end up drinking large amounts of alcohol constantly. It is sooo not healthy! Ironic that of all people I would say that - maybe it's because I feel like wanting to be more healthy so that I can do more things w/ my life.

Anyway, got home pretty late, and was really tired. Turned down going clubbing for a 2nd night in a row. And so, with the big looming cloud of sickness hanging over me, I called it a night since the next day would be something similar -- waking up at 9:30am again...