Classic post coming up…in other words, saddle up your horses, ya’ll, this entry is gonna be long!
1. My week in San Diego…back in March!
2. My visit to Irvine Subaru on April 1, 2006
3. Mini-tribute to Hanley Liu whose 25th birthday (quarter-life crisis anyone? j/k!) was back on April 29, 2006
4. The 90th Indianapolis 500
5. Hitting 50,000 miles on “Devoted Dan” on May 29, 2006 and what I was doing when it happened
6. Trying to integrate myself with fellow Subaru enthusiasts and being a light to them while doing so
7. What I did today, June 3, 2006
San Diego…home of my beloved San Diego Padres (they’re coming back!)
I spent the week of March 20, 2006 to March 24, 2006 with my old roommate for the summer of 2002, Warren Den (Xanga: OSUBaller). My place of employment sent me down there for the week for a Crystal Reports training course at Procede Software, the developer of the dealer management system (DMS) software (it’s called Excede…or as I like to sometimes call it Recede…hehehe ) our dealership (Pacific BMW in Glendale, CA) uses.
When we were arranging my “crashing” at Warren’s place, I found out that the person Warren is living with who also owns the house, was Clariss, Donny Chen’s friend from UC Irvine. For those of you who may remember, back in mid-January, I gave Clariss a ride in Devoted Dan as we tore up Buttonwillow Raceway and played a littled cat & mouse with a mildly modded (brakes at least from what I could see) E46 BMW M3 Coupe at the end of the day! Some people say, “It’s a small world.” I believe that’s “hogwash”. It’s God’s world! (Think of the song “This Is My Father’s World”, which Geoff sings very well on his album Every Single One: Part One.)
In hindsight, it’s a shame the money spent by my company to train me on that hasn’t even been put to any use! That, my friends, is a bummer. They could’ve at least installed the Crystal Reports (v8.5 for those of you keeping score…yeah it’s old) software on the computer I use and given me some small assignments. I even had a few things I knew I already wanted to do in terms of tweaking some forms.
I had a nice time staying with Warren, Clariss, and their other roommate, Michael (I think that was his name) for the week I got to catch up with Warren just chatting before we turned in a few times. I slept on my sleeping bag in his room the whole week. It totally reminded me of the summer of 2002 when I stayed in Mike Yeun’s room on a mattress and my sleeping bag the entire summer while I was interning with Sempra Energy. On Friday morning, I tried to leave Warren & Co. some money for letting me stay there, but I didn’t make a clean/quick enough getaway and Warren gave it back to me.
I met up with Lillian To (Xanga: LiLtO) 2x on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Tuesday night, we met up with some other people from her church and tried to evangelize to some of the homeless in downtown San Diego. I met two people, Kentucky and Miles (or Myles). Kentucky didn’t really want to engage in a conversation of spiritual matters. He shared about how he came out to SD and struggled with drugs. Miles on the other hand, talked to Lillian, her friend whose name escapes me, and me for a long time. In the end, I was brokenhearted that he staunchy stuck to his belief that he can earn his salvation by being a good person. Lillian shared Ephesians 2:8-9…maybe verse 10 too with him. Well, writing about this now has reminded me about much of this experience and that I should try to remember him in my prayers whenever I’m reminded of this. Here’s to him being one of God’s elect. God is sovereign. All we tried to do was plant His seeds. By the way, I also meant Vincent Cuevas (of USC’s Asian American Christian Fellowship folklore, Class of 2002) brother, J.R.!!! It’s like Vince was there, but he wasn’t!
On Wednesday night, I had dinner with Lillian at the Souplantation and we got caught up on things for the most part. The next time I’ll see her will probably be at SLow’s (Stephanie Low’s…I also used to call her Grace, because she was so graceful going around the place…fumblin’, stumblin’, etc. (think Chris Berman voice for those of you who are sports fans)…lol) wedding in mid-July. She was my right-hand woman when God allowed me to be core coordinator of USC’s AACF my senior year. I thank and praise God for her friendship and sisterhood.
On Thursday night, I met up with my old elementary, jr high, and high school friend, Wendy. We had dinner at a medium-sized Thai restaurant just to get caught up on things. She shared about her interest in the culinary arts and wanted to eventually have her own bakery. According to the timetable she gave me at that time, she’s moved back up here in the LA area by now.
Later that same night, I also met up with Shellyn Wong, Kellyn’s younger sister. As far as I know, we’re not related, although I think I had her believing that at one point! We had dessert and played catch-up regarding each other’s latest adventures in life.
Between meeting up with those two people, I roamed around the University Center while I had some down time. Being the cap/hat connoisseur that I am, I walked into “Lids” and browsed for any potential additions to my collection. I looked at a few Padres caps, but none really compelled me to invest in any of them. Then, I noticed some Alpinestars caps and was reminded of one that one of the technicians at work had that I really liked. They didn’t have it there, so I asked the only person working there if they had any more in the back or if there were more I could choose from online. He said they probably should have more online. I noticed that this fellow had a W.W.J.D.? bracelet on and I asked if he was a believer. He replied that he sure is and we started talking. He said he went to The Rock (the church pastored/shepherded by Miles McPherson) and was telling me about their move out of San Diego State University and some other things. By the way, his name is Steve. I told him what I was doing down there. I noticed he seemed to be studying from a notebook and asked where he went to school. I was wrong in assuming he was a student at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He is a student at Mesa College or something like that. As I left the store (no, I didn’t purchase anything), I told him, “God bless,” or something like that and Steve said something like, “If I don’t see you again on earth, I’ll see you again in heaven.” That, my friends, is going to be SWEET/SICK/TIGHT/insert-other-positive-adjective-of-choice-here!!!
On Friday afternoon, I fought traffic up the 15 North to drive back to church. That was certainly not fun! Anyway, the week as a whole was still a nice time away from work. The sound of freedom (F/A-18 Hornets powered by two General Electric F404-GE-402 (18,000 lbs/thrust each) or in the newer ones, F414-GE-400 (22,000 lbs/thrust each) turbofan engines). Praise God for a great week, especially since I had a lot more free time than usual to simply spend time with Him!
The F/A-18E Super Hornet…not quite as cool in my opinion as the ol’ F-14 Tomcats, but still a great precision instrument of our military
Devoted Dan’s 45,000 mile service at Irvine Subaru
On Saturday, April 1, 2006 (ain’t no joke, ya’ll), I took Devoted Dan in for his 45,000 mile service (he was at 46,302 miles). While I was waiting for the work to be completed, I worked on my Sunday School homework for Uncle Jimmy’s class and some of my Bible Study Fellowship homework (yeah, I know…shame on me). A woman sat next to me while her Subaru Forester (the *best* small SUV out there (don’t only take my word for it…try Consumer Reports’ and Car & Driver’s as well)…better recognize, ya’ll!) was being service. She noticed I was working on something church-related and we started talking. Her name is Laura (if I remember correctly) and she was actually getting some maintenance service done on the Subie/Scooby before she moved out to Arizona to be closer to her daughter and her grandkid(s).
As we sat there and kept to ourselves, the service advisor came to her and told her that her rear brakes needed replacement and that the battery was leaking. He said the rear brakes were at 10% left. By God’s grace, my work experience and knowledge of dealership service departments would actually be good for something here. After the advisor left, I told her she easily had a decent amount of miles left on her brakes and shouldn’t have a problem holding off on them until she relocated. At that time, she then could go to her local Subaru dealer or a less expensive independent shop and get the work done. As for the battery, I said it wouldn’t hurt to get that done. I know I took away some money from the dealership, service advisor, and tech, but I felt I should say something after the advisor told her how much it would cost and I heard the sound of concern in her voice when she responded. Anyway, she started asking me about what I was working on and it turns out she was a Bible Study Fellowship goer as well. She had a book called House (More info here) with her that I knew nothing about until I later saw it in a New Life Christian Bookstore or Lighthouse Christian Bookstore catalog. Well, that was that and the work on Dan was finished and I went on my way. I left with a “God bless,” and we’ll see what God does from there!
I think I’ve been writing for at least an hour and a half already if not two hours plus. I’ll try to pick up the pace a lil bit.
Hanley Liu, Talbot School of Theology Class of 2006 Graduate
Photo courtesy Josh Lun (Xanga: zoshyii)
I just wanted to say that this brother has been such a blessing to me in the last couple of years that words cannot explain how much he means to me. It’s amazing how we never really knew each other extremely well growing up. I was a nerd (probably still am…don’t agree with that last statement too quickly, folks) and he was the epitome of cool…Joe Cool…Joe Mom…I won’t go there tonight. Over the last couple of years, I have been personally blessed by his preaching, teaching, and authentic brotherhood through and by God’s grace, love, and mercy. Sometimes when God’s doing His thing through him, I feel like it may have felt similar for the Jesus’s twelve disciples as they spent those 3-1/2 years with the Master. Now I’m not saying Hanley is Jesus-*far* from it. But we can all surely agree God is gracefully making Him more like Christ through the signs of life (think Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Signs of Life” here from the album of the same name). From John 15:1-8 last night we learned about the purification and production that should naturally happen in the lives of Jesus’ followers (God followers!!!) and how removal and retribution will happen in the lives of those who never really knew Him (Matt. 7).
I also love shopping for Hanley’s birthday gifts! It’s one of the most fun things I look forward to every year! Although, I think I’ve pretty much exhausted stuff from Reformerware.com. Next year will be a challenge-one that I’m looking very forward to!
The 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28, 2006
2006 and 1992 Indy 500 finishes, respectively
What a race!!! The result was the second closest finish in Indy 500 history (0.0635 second)! The closest finish was the 1992 Indy 500 when Al beat Scott Goodyear to the famous yard of bricks (the start/finish line) by 0.043 second. This year’s race sure reminded me of it. It was the first time the lead ever changed hands on the last lap of the race.
My star of the day was 19 year-old Marco Andretti, grandson of Mario Andretti and son of Michael. This kid is going to be awesome to watch in the next few years! Before the dramatic finish even unfolded, when I saw his save exiting turn 4 early in the race, that’s when I knew the kid had “mad skillz” and that I want to be a fan of his. I was torn whether I should root for him or not because Andretti vs. Unser was a big rivalry during the 1980s and 1990s and I usually would cheer for the Unsers. However, this year, I knew Al’s car wasn’t fast enough to challege for the win (FTW!!!), so I kind of wanted Michael to finally win the Indy 500. After all, his misfortune in the 1992 Indy 500, a race he *dominated*, turned into Al’s fortune and first Indy 500 win. By the way, the Unsers have nine Indy 500 victories to the Andrettis’ one. I was rooting for Marco because of what I wrote earlier. I was rooting for Sam Hornish, Jr. because he drove for Team Penske, my favorite open wheel race car team since Al first drove for them in 1994.
Mad props to Sam Hornish, Jr. and Team Penske for being resilient (they had a major miscue in the pits for which they received a drive-through penalty and almost went one lap down) and doing what they do best-winning! I’ve been a fan of Team Penske since Al Unser, Jr. joined them in 1994 and ran with them until the end of the 1999 CART season. With Team Penske, Al won 12 races (including the 1994 and 1995 Long Beach Grand Prix and 1994 Indy 500) and the 1994 CART champ car/IndyCar championship.
Tough break of the day went to my man, Al Unser, Jr. (bottom car in the photo above). He was having a decent race two laps down (far from competing FTW) when he ran over some debris exiting turn 2. That debris punctured his right rear tire or damaged his right rear suspension and he crashed entering turn 3. If you race fans (you know who you are) think about it, the full course caution that came out for his accident set up the great finish we witnessed at the end.
For you Danica Patrick (Car #16) fans, I’m still not convinced she’s all that and a bag of chips. I actually think Katherine Legge in the Champ Car World Series is a more talented driver than DP. DP is just a lot more marketable. Danica struggled all month because the Rahal-Letterman (as in David Letterman) Racing team is the only major team that uses the Panoz (formerly G-Force) chassis. Those chassis are simply slow compared to the Dallaras that the other 90% of the field or so have. You can tell them apart by the angle of rake on the nose. In the photo above, Danica and her teammate, Buddy Rice, in Car #15 are using the Panoz chassis and Townsend Bell in Car #90 is using the Dallara chassis.
EDIT: Scott Dixon just won on Sunday, June 4, 2006 in a Panoz chassis which Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Car #10 driven by 2005 Indy 500 Winner and Indy Racing League Champion, Dan Wheldon and Car #9 driven by 2003 Indy Racing League Champion, Scott Dixon) uses on road and street courses instead of their Dallara chassis. They feel the Panoz chassis is very good on those circuits. They also believe they have good data from the last few seasons they’ve used them that will help keep them competitive.
Devoted Dan passed 50,000 miles on Monday night. He’s been in-service since January 3, 2004 for those of you keeping track.
Here’s how it happened. I was driving Danny, a kid…well, a very big kid…6’5″ 280 lbs…he seemed to fit into the front passenger seat of Dan pretty well…at least I heard no complaints from him…or Dan…from First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, home after David Wong’s (Xanga: eww_itx_david) (belated) birthday party. Danny caught many people’s attention because of his sheer size. The fact that he was wearing an authentic Matt Leinart #11 home jersey didn’t hurt as well! David invited Danny to his birthday party, but Danny didn’t have a way to get there. So how did he get there? He caught the MTA bus from Chinatown to Walnut. Wow!!! I talked to Danny as we consumed some red meat served up by Uncle Joe and asked him to share his story of God’s story and how His story became his story (make sense? ). I shared a little of His story and how it wrote my story as well. Three story evangelism, baby! Thanks Youth For Christ! He shared about how he grew up going to VBS multiple times and receiving Christ multiple times (not really possible, folks). It wasn’t until an aftershool tutor started talking to him and inviting him to Hi Koi that God really got a hold of him (think Geoff Moore & The Distance’s song “Godgottaholdonme” from their Evo-Lu-Tion album). He’s been a God follower for the last year and a half or so. Let’s pray God helps him stay spritiually strong (physically, God won’t need to intervene..j/k) as he walks the trail God marked for him in his life that’s surrounded by things tugging at him from every which way. Dan hit 50k as we drove along the 60 West as I headed to get some gasoline from the Shell on Peck Rd and Durfee and then to his place in Chinatown.
As I drove, it was amazing to hear how “worlds apart” his life is from many of his peers at FCBC-LA. I wish it weren’t the case! The difference between the kids who grow up in Chinatown and those in the middle-class/upper-middle-class/upper-class suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley is crazy. It’s saddening too. Hopefully, the staff at FCBC-LA are well aware of everything and are already addressing it. We can help by taking it to our God in prayer at the very least.
After I dropped Danny off, I thought it would be a cool job to be a shuttle driver for people who simply need to go to church!!! Would anyone like to donate a lot of money to me to make it happen? All I would do is drive all day and all night if necessary!!! God could use me to bring others closer to Himself! That would be awesome!
Lately, I’ve been trying to get to know some fellow Subaru owners better. I’ve been going to meets on Wednesday nights throughout the San Gabriel Valley. My desire is to be a light to this community of mostly unbelievers and simply befriend all of them as well.
I’ve had a pleasure talking to and more listening to one guy in particular the last few weeks. His name is Benson and he drives a pretty rad Subaru Forester. He’s very knowledgeable and is an awesome storyteller. Last Saturday, May 27, 2006, I went to the Streets of Willow Springs (about 1-1/2 drive from Monterey Park…it’s all the way out in Rosamond off the 14) to hang out with Benson and a few others from NASIOC.com’s Southern California Impreza Club, or SCIC. NASIOC stands for North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club. Boy, that’s a mouthful!
I e-mailed Benson and a couple others some photos I shot with my n00b-ish photo-taking skills on Sunday night. In his reply, he ended his e-mail with “btw you go to church?” (btw is “by the war” for those of you who aren’t l337). Wow! Jon Mak says it’s probably because I closed my e-mail with “God bless”. I replied back to him basically asking if he needs help with anything or information, I’d like to try to help. We had our meet this past Wednesday night at The Macaroni Grill on Huntington in Monrovia. He replied later to me on Thursday night saying he noticed the fish emblem on my car (not the plates?! LOL) and that he goes to FCBC-LA!!! WOW!!! Praise God! It’s not a small world! It’s God world!!!
Will all that said, here’s some photos of Benson tearing up the track in his Forester:
And down the stretch they come! We’re on the homestretch, folks!
Today, I went to Irvine Subaru for my 48,750 mile oil service. Of course, I was already at 50,2xx or 50,3xx. I had an appointement scheduled for 9 AM PDT, but didn’t make it there until 9:15 AM. There were still able to do it in under an hour and I also got to see and talk to their Service Manager, Rich, for a lil bit. He always takes great care of me when I’m there!
After they were done with Dan, I went to my barber I’ve been going to since I was a little kid. His name is Dan too. I’ve been calling him “Uncle Dan” for years. His place is called Dirty Dan’s Clip Joint and it’s near the corner of Garfield and Graves.
After I got buzzed (not literally), I went home and ate lunch and showered. Then, I headed up to Vromans Bookstore (sounds like Romans…Trojans!) in Pasadena to buy a couple of cards and wish a friend a happy birthday. Since Vromans didn’t have any boxed cards that I was looking for, I went to New Life Christian Bookstore in Alhambra and picked some up there. I actually bought a lot more there than I had planned.
I came home and spent some time with God and in the Word…not Microsoft Word…God’s Word! And then I began what is probably and easily my longest entry ever (or evAr for some of you ‘Net savvy, folks).