• All About a Boy

    On March 3, 1978, in the only hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I was born into this world kicking and screaming, and my parents often remind me that I haven't changed much since. I choose to take that as a compliment. My kicking and screaming isn't a vulgar retaliation against the injustices of this world that have caused me great suffering and misfortune, for I've lived a truly blessed life. Wonderful parents, wonderful siblings, wonderful friends. I even had a wonderful dog once, but he ran away. And I've had my fair share of wonderful experiences. My kicking and screaming is a celebration of life, a manifestation of the joy I feel for being alive. It's a manic urge to express myself through a number of mediums in loud, bright colors that say "Thank you God for blessing me with so much!" Not to say that I don't paint gloomier themes in darker colors sometimes, as manic urges are just one part of an alternating cycle of highs and lows. I'm sure a graph of my life would alternate erratically back and forth across that central axis that represents "normality", but I can say truthfully that I'm happy the curves of my life have never become lines, especially ones that rest flat on that central axis. I plan to go on kicking and screaming when I can, and when I can't, in those periods of self-reflection and soul-searching that I sometimes desperately crave, I hope to learn how to kick harder and scream louder. Not to lash out, but to be heard. Not to hurt, but to help. To change. And to create.

    That's my deepest desire, my one true driving energy. To create. And a tortuous, sometimes agonizing path it has been to discovering how best to create. It's a path I'll most likely spend my entire life stumbling down, discovering new outlets for my creative urges as I go. I see a lot of Vincent van Gogh in me. Not that I'll ever have his talent (although he'd be the first to argue that talent can be a very subjective thing), or necessarily find that one medium of expression to so faithfully, and painfully, pursue, but I feel that same feverish drive to create at times, and I've seen how it can lead me to both great joy and misery, often simultaneously. And to think I was once an aspiring engineer. Oh, the roads we travel in life. Never knowing the way because we never know the final destination.

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EWC Great Wall Climb

Posted on 09/05/2012

Categories: Asia, China, Hawaii, Photography , Tags:

The 2012 East-West Center Alumni Conference in Beijing wouldn’t have been complete without a field trip to climb the Great Wall of China.  And climb we did!  After a rainy conference morning which looked like it was going to put a damper on our climbing fun, the weather cleared in the early afternoon as participants young and old crammed into several charter buses.  By the time we reached the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall that we would be climbing, the sun was peeking through those pesky rainclouds and luring us up the steep climb to the top with the hope of a spectacularly lit view.

The first leg of the climb gave new definition to the word ‘steep’.  Wow.  Even I was a bit intimidated by the almost vertical climb up the first set of stairs, and here I was surrounded by a number of people in their 60s and 70s who were just sobering up to the realization of what exactly a ‘Great Wall Climb’ entailed.  A number of people climbed halfway up the front face of stairs and plopped down to enjoy the already scenic vista spread out before them.  Others made it several more flights of stairs before calling it quits.  But a surprisingly large number of participants in all age groups (including my wife’s new 6-year-old love interest) ventured onward to the top, climbing over the corpses of less fortunate tourists who had come before them.  And for those of us who made it to the top, we were rewarded by one of those rare clear days in Beijing where you can actually see as far as the horizon allows.  The sun continued to peek through the clouds and offer fleeting moments of Great Wall splendor for our camera sensors to soak up.  That brief window of time at the top was truly one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced in China.  And I was blessed to be able to share it with my brave and winded EWC pals.

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