All right, folks!
Time for the 20 random (or not so random facts about me). Hopefully, it doesn’t take me too long!
- My parents had a son before me back in 1977. His name was Nolan J.B. Wong (I’m sorry. I don’t know what the “J.B.” stands for off the top of my head. I’d have to ask my folks.). He was named “Nolan” after Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all-time. He passed away 26 years ago to this day. I don’t know why, but if this didn’t happen, my parents (and my whole immediate family probably) wouldn’t have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When this happened, Emily Kam, who was working at the Southern California Gas Company where my mom worked at the time, invited my parents to First Chinese Baptist Church in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. If my brother didn’t pass away, I may have never been born. More importantly, we may have never entered a relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday, my dad, mom, uncle, and I went to visit his grave site at Rose Hills Gate 17 in the cherub section up the hill to the right. We saw three or four deer there! It was a great sight. While we stood there in rememberance, my mom said a prayer and I couldn’t help crying. I will never understand why things turned out that way, but I will continue on with hope as Steven Curtis Chapman’s song so eloquently and beautifully says.
- I might as well get some of the “dirt” out in the air first since I’m a straight shooter. I was accused of cheating on my first ever spelling test by my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Whitesides, after I asked my neighbor, Tommy Larkin, “What are we doing?” The teacher tore up my blank paper (it was a brown one with the blue lines as the upper and lower borders of the line you were supposed to write on with the dashed/dotted blue line in-between) and threw it away. Let’s just say I never forgot and wasn’t ever really tempted to cheat the rest of my life because of this.
- I lost an afternoon recess in “detention” in 3rd grade when other kids accused me of going down the wrong flight of stairs when lunch was done from the Seaver building of Pilgrim School. I had to stay in Mrs. Klein’s (Anna and Jeanne’s mom) class for that afternoon recess for something I didn’t commit. Not cool.
- In 6th grade, I got in trouble for calling a black schoolmate an inappropriate word. This was after I had heard my black friends call each other that. I didn’t think it would get me into any trouble. Pilgrim School was about 40% black and 40% Korean during my life (sentence) there which encompassed K-12th grade except for 7th grade (Punahou School in Hawai’i). Needless to say, I learned my lesson.
- My high school baseball team lost a game 56-0 to Faith Baptist (a school in Canoga Park if I remember correctly – IIRC) during my senior year (when we also went winless). We were mentioned in The Los Angeles Times sports section because several records were set against us in that game that was played at Whittier Narrows diamond #3 in South El Monte, CA. At least I have the “proud” distinction of saying that I broke up the perfect game and no-hitter by leading off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single to right field. Unsurprisingly, I was stranded at 3rd base when the bottom of the inning ended.
- I played high school football my senior year (I begged my folks to let me play that year because the team was actually short on players at the start of the semester) at Pilgrim. I scored 2 out of maybe 8-10 touchdowns our team scored the whole year. My first TD was scored as a Halfback thanks to a great lead block thrown by fullback (Brian Gomez) as I busted through the line of scrimmage. His block allowed me to swing out to the right sideline and blow by everyone including the referee and my friend, Brian In (who was the photographer) for a 60+-yard TD (on an 80-yard field). We only had 11 people on our football team that plays in an 8 “man” league. Two of the eleven were girls. My other TD came on homecoming night when we ran our “UCLA” play. I start the play lined up tight to the right side where I block for like a second or two, run what would seem like a 5 and out pattern while the QB would roll to his right and pump fake. When he would pump fake, I would release upfield. The play worked like a charm just about everytime we ran it (and executed it successfully). I caught the ball and headed for the end zone. The defensive back and safety had good closure angles on me so I cut back to my left (Reggie Bush would be proud) and left them in my dust. I also had an INT on defense and maybe four or five tackles that night. We were only down 22-18 at halftime and then got blown away. Unsurprisingly, we were winless that season and had to forfeit our last two games against perennial contenders in our league because some of our players said they were too banged up. FWIW, the football team the previous year had great talent and most importantly, blocking. We had no blocking ability for the most part my senior year.
- I used profanity very regularly from 7th to 10th grade. In 10th grade, I realized how pointless using it was.
- I’ve done two top speed runs with the WRX, a.k.a. “Devoted Dan.” The first time was in January 2004 the same month I got the car. I made my run on the 5 North just past the grapevine. The second time was in April 2005 on the 5 South quite a bit outside of San Francisco around 2 A.M. Let’s just say the speedometer only goes to 140 mph and I can vouch for every bit of it. Technically, the published top speed is 144 mph or (232 kph). When I made my runs the needle went a decent bit past 140. Note however, that some margin of error may be involved.
- I’ve had two spins in the WRX without hitting anything. Thank God! The first one was on the 60 West past Crossroads Parkway dodging tire debris. I was traveling about 70 mph driving home from small group on a Wednesday night around 11 PM. The second one was when the front tires hydroplaned on a wet road on a turn and then suddenly regained grip. The drastic change was too much for the rear of the car which spun it around. I was going about 40 mph that time on a (Friday?) morning going to work.
- I raced a go-kart against Al Unser, Jr. (1992 & 1994 Indy 500 winner and 1990 & 1994 IndyCar champion) in 1998 at Speed Zone on the Slick Trax. I was leading until I caught lapped traffic. His kart was faster than everyone else’s (I could totally see him eat people up on the straightaway while I was waiting in line). He gave me a light bump to move me out of the way and passed me. I’m naturally a very competitive person, but getting passed by your boyhood hero is almost unreal!
- Even though I’ve been born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I have a great dislike for the Dodgers and Lakers.
- I am the all-time IndyCar Racing II for the PC (developed by now-defunct Papyrus/published by Sierra Interactive-now known as Vivendi Universal Games or something like that) California Speedway record holder. I ran a lap at 251.191 mph.
- I am 1/16th Hawaiian. My mother’s grandmother was half-Chinese and half-Hawaiian.
- Chinese food is NOT my favorite food. I prefer Italian and Mexican. On a side note, cold pizza ROCKS!!!
- I got my driver’s license after I turned 18. I got it on my first try, but maxed out on errors with 15. The DMV lady must’ve been smoking something. She marked me off for failing to look over my shoulder when changing lanes. I was making it so obvious that I was almost falling out of the seat! Nevertheless, I was just glad to get it the first time! I got a perfect score on the written exam though!
- I got my first speeding ticket on June 3, 2005 on Garvey, East of Atlantic. I was rushing to work that Friday morning. I always thought my first would be courtesy of the California Highway Patrol and not the Monterey Park Police Department. Let’s just say I know I was overdue before I received my first one. The officer name was P. Yung. The first thing I noticed was that he’s left-handed! He was pretty cool other than the fact that he still gave me the ticket.
- I’ve been in one automobile accident in my life and it was not my fault. It was on the early Saturday morning of December 2, 2000 in our family’s “trusty” (I use that word loosely) 1993 Oldsmobile Achieva S sedan. Earlier in the night (Friday night) I watched the movie Unbreakable with Vincent Cuevas and Caleb Yang. I guess you could say that I was later on that night! One car did a hit and run another car (a blue Toyota Paseo) which spun in front of me and pushed me into another car (a silver 3rd gen (I think) Mitsubishi Eclipse) that was on my left rear. We were all traveling a little over 70 mph. The first car that caused the hit and run got away. Nobody was hurt. I was able to drive the car home! The right front and left rear were bashed in, but everything mechanically was fine. The insurance company still totalled the car though.
- The first girl I ever liked was Catie Estrada in 2nd grade. She left Pilgrim after 4th or 5th grade. Ronna Banada from Pilgrim told me that she later went to USC, but I was never able to touch base with her.
- I’ve never had a girlfriend/been in a serious relationship
- On August 15th or 16th, 1997 (it’s getting harder and harder to remember), I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ at the then Edison International Field of Anaheim during a Harvest Crusade. The Harvest Crusade is put on annually at different places by Harvest Christian Fellowship based out of Riverside, CA. Their senior pastor is Greg Laurie. That night, everything spoken through him about being a prodigal son seemed to be intended for me to hear. I felt compelled to respond. Thanks be to God, Timothy Cheng who invited me, Steve Loo who went down onto the field with me, Tiff Ng who said hi to me and made me feel welcome even though I had been away from church for a few years, and Adrienne Lo who looked out for me that night and every now and then throughout my junior year at church as God continually got my bearings straight so to speak.
That’s 20! That took too long! Nobody better tag me ever again! And now I tag…
FIGHT ON!!! BEAT THE (WASHINGTON STATE) COUGARS!!!
1 more thing
USC Asian American Christian Fellowship annual alumni meeting is tonight (Thursday night) @ Grace Ford Salvatori Room 106 @ 7:15 PM
It should be a time of “best friends, God’s love, and great times” as Geoff sings in one of the songs on his 1999 self-titled album!