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I can't sleep..

Ugh. On the plus side, I can now post from my iPhone, which means I'll be doing it more regularly.

So much to think about..

Posted via LiveJournal.app.


are we that bad drivers?

I awoke to this pleasant traffic map of Los Angeles. First real, sustained rain this winter season and people are crashing their cars all over the place?

Writer's Block: Regrets Only

Do you think that animals feel regret?
I think it depends how you define regret. We humans use the term to means lots of things. So I think a housecat can be sorry that it knocked over your vase (not least if you punish it). But regret and longing for a life well lived? Perhaps not.

cyclers' high

It was such a beautiful and warm day today, I had to get out on my road bike to what has become one of my favorite places since I moved to Baldwin Hills - the Ballona Creek bike path. It's a scenic route that goes from central Culver City all the way down to Marina del Rey in under 6 miles. By the end, you are riding on a narrow strip of asphalt surrounded on both sides by water - the creek on one side, and the eastern edge of the marina on the other.

I finished a tough week (hours wise) yesterday, and getting out really brightened my day. Everyone was out on the marina and at the beach, just enjoying the sun. Sailboats glided by, one after one. The path was actually crowded today - the first time I have seen traffic on any bike path in LA. I just love the fact that I can make it out here, seemingly a world away, in what seems like no time at all.

My only complaint is how quickly I got tired - I guess all that sitting on my butt at work hardly helps. I think it's been a month since I took my bike out for a spin, and close to two months since I really went for a ride. A shame, because I really do enjoy it that much.


there's always next season

UCLA loses yet another winnable game on the hapless arm of Kevin Craft. Today, he was worth 24 points to an otherwise very pathetic Arizona State team. That's right. 3 pick-sixes and a field goal. How do you win any games if your offense not only sucks, but your quarterback is consistently gifting about two touchdowns a game to the other team? Craft really is on a roll, with 12 interceptions and no touchdowns in the last 4 games. He'll have some really great throws, and then follow it up with something really, really bad.

The UCLA defense held ASU to an astonishing low of 120 total yards (including 8 rushing) and two field goals, one of which occurred after a Craft turnover deep in UCLA territory. They should be very proud of themselves. But what might otherwise be a shutout turned into a rout in reverse. ASU won by being sneaky and opportunistic bastards, but frankly, they really suck, much worse than UCLA (minus Craft). Arizona will kick the snot out of them next week.

And really? Have you ever seen anything like that freak play where running back Derrick Coleman picked up the ball after Craft fumbled it (the whistle had not been blown, but he apparently has a hearing disability and assumed the play was over), and the ASU defender walked casually up to Coleman, fooling him, just kind of poked the ball out, and ran it back for a touchdown? That was just ridiculous. And that is kind of how our season has gone.

My memories of this football season have been kind of skewed. The memory of awesome wins in the opener against Tennessee and the Stanford game remained too prominently in my head. (That was Craft too, at his best, and even then he had to overcome his own turnovers.) I missed bad losses against Arizona and Fresno State while in South America. Then there was that frustrating loss at the Rose Bowl against Oregon State, where I took this picture of this jaded little girl.

Yes, there's always next year, which looks bright. But can I shut my eyes and not think about the SC game next week?

I'm turning over a new leaf! Again!

I promise to post regularly again. There is so much to fill you guys in on - Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, the whirlwind of the past three weeks that have been my new job. I'm not quite sure to start.


history in the making

I am tired; I was at work for almost 14 hours today; but I don't want to go to sleep. Not quite yet - I want to enjoy Barack's Obama's victory just a little longer. And I need some time to think.

Credit: Damon Winter for the New York Times

You know, I didn't believe it could happen until it actually did - that all of America (or at least a convincing enough chunk to sweep the electoral college) would turn out in record numbers and vote for a black man. I really didn't think that we, as a people, were mature enough to look past the racial politics that, by and large, still poison our public discourse. Sure, the economy going the way it's going certainly didn't hurt. But the symbolism here runs much deeper than that.

I am excited. I am excited because Obama means so many different things to so many people; and that his appeal is capable of uniting so many diverse backgrounds and viewpoints and demographics. I am enthused by his post-racial, globe-spanning roots; his intellect and deliberative, consensus-building style, heck, even the fact that he has been both law student and law professor. Not surprisingly, when I talk to black people, I see something quite different. I see pure joy in their eyes; pride, approaching giddiness. For African-Americans, this night is something far more visceral, far more indescribable. Colin Powell hailed Obama as a "transformational figure," and that really is true.

But where are we now, at this moment of triumph? In the middle of one of the worst financial crises in American history; mired in two wars abroad that have diminished America's standing in the eyes of the rest of the world; and during a time when our country has never been more deeply divided over issues of culture, race, religion, morality, identity. Certainly, Proposition 8 looks likely to pass, so that is another bridge that we are not ready to cross. The broader prognosis is also grim: our environment is beginning to serious signs of strain, and global courage and leadership are nowhere to be found; while large swaths of our world remain in the throes of political instability, violence, and suffering. And to look to a single man for hope and inspiration - I pray that euphoria does not quickly give way to disenchantment and more of the same.

But just watch that superb victory speech, the way he connected the past with the future, the victory of the moment with the struggle ahead. What kind of world do we want to leave our children, after all? Will we let our differences stop us from what is ultimately possible? His words, and his story, might just be that catalyst. That spark.

I still don't know how to process, to categorize what happened tonight. Sure, I knew it was probably coming: McCain was trailing in the polls, and gee, he sure sounded wistful already with his talk about "savoring the moment" and enjoying the "memories" of his campaign. But in my mind, this sort of thing, electing a black man to the highest echelon of power, just does not happen in America. Never. There is plenty of talk about diversity, and talk is cheap. We have a multicultural and pluralistic society here that is unique among the world's nations, but those glass ceilings and secret biases, publicly disavowed but privately acknowledged, well, they never really go away.

Or do they? As I drove home tonight I felt strangely adrift, as if all the rules had changed. Yes, we can. Just maybe.

I'm off!

I have been particularly productive with my newfound free time in the last week, trying to get everything done before I leave for Quito. This has been the busiest "time off" I've ever had! I'm leaving for the airport now, more later...

where does the time go?

Eric with Umbrella

I haven't updated this blog in nearly a month and a half. So much has changed since then. Here's what I've been up to in just the last two weeks alone:

  • In gratitude for our help on some patent law issues, Judge Wu (who works next door to my judge) took Sameer and me to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The magic was wonderful and we stayed very late. It really made me feel like a kid again.
  • I finished my clerkship just before Labor Day. It was a race to the finish, trying to get much down on paper as possible before I had to leave. I had been working on large cases with a very steep learning curve, so it was imperative that I leave as much as possible for the two incoming clerks.
  • Over Labor Day weekend, I went to the California Chinese Catholic Living Camp, a retreat for young adults which took place at the beautiful Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. It was fun, exhausting, and has give me a chance to re-evaluate and renew my faith for which I am very grateful.
  • I went to the Rose Bowl to see Rick Neuheisel's first game as UCLA head coach. The ensuing (and totally unexpected!) upset of nationally ranked Tennessee, along with the fireworks show afterwards, already ranks up there on my list of all-time Bruin memories. More on this in a separate post.
  • I had lunch with my judge, Sameer, Pat, and the two clerks that are replacing us on Friday. It's the first time all year that I had lunch with my judge, and it was really great.
  • My friend Delwin got married to his high school sweetheart, Allison, on Saturday. It was fun but tiring, mostly because I helped out at the reception.
  • I have a girlfriend now, for the first time in a few years. (I haven't decided yet how much I want to post about her on a publicly accessible forum.)
There has been so much going on in the last 3-4 weeks that, until today, I was fatigued and exhausted. I literally drove from my last day at work to the retreat down in San Diego, and then up again and straight to the Rose Bowl for the Tennessee game. I am still tired out from all that. In addition, singing in the choir at the retreat (roughly about four hours over 2 days) and then yelling my lungs out at the Rose Bowl left me without a voice for most of last week. I certainly don't feel like I'm on vacation.. yet. But I am going to enjoy these next five weeks if it's the last thing I do!

on getting old

Saturday was my 27th birthday. You know how people always ask, "well, do you feel older?" Most of the time, I just give them a puzzled stare. Why would I?

But this year, the answer was, yeah. I do feel older. And it feels weird.

Twenty-seven has symbolic significance. Unlike the preceding birthday, twenty-six, you can no longer rationalize that you are still in your mid-twenties. After all, twenty-six is only one number after twenty-five. But then you realize that twenty-seven is much closer to thirty than anything else. And thirty is scary.

I've always viewed myself, at my core, as a "young" person, fundamentally immature. For the longest time, through high school and even college, when I wanted an excuse to get off the phone with an unsolicited caller, I would tell them I was just a kid. "May I speak with the head of the household?" "Sorry, sir, he's not available." "And what about you? Would you like to participate in a 15-minute commercial survey on XYZ?" "Well, sir, I'm just a kid. Goodbye (click)." In the past few years, I stopped using that excuse, but some of the mentality behind it still remains.

And where am I now? About to begin my legal career, check. Undergraduate and professional degrees tucked under my belt, check. Not living at home anymore (finally), check. But I still feel so green, in some ways, that i just want to cringe. Every day, I feel like I am on the verge of making some stupid mistake because of my inexperience in life.

Part of this is because my parents have (with the greatest care and affection) supported me for so long. Part of it is because I would probably fall in the category that you call a "late bloomer." But it's this number, twenty-seven, that is forcing me to confront treasured, and previously unchallenged, notions of my identity and my place in this world.

A very interesting birthday, indeed!

P.s. In no way, of course, is this a quarter life crisis. Don't suggest that to me.