Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The things that put a smile on my face these days:

1. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
2. Nina Simone's "Just in Time" at the end of Before Sunset when Celine starts dancing to it
3. Volver
4. Reminiscing Billy Childs' superb piano solos at last night's Chris Botti concert
5. Looking for late night snacks in the Western District
6. Feeling to true school spirit of HKU in the evening on its less crowded campus when Starbucks is closed
7. Reading blogs of others who share similar interests with me
8. Longing for an intimate environment for quality late night jazz
9. Putting a smile on the face of someone who you didn't think they would in the first place
10. Loving the law again
11. Missing playing the blues
12. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington
13. Chet Baker
15. Nina Simone

Knowing that I'm laughing at you because you didn't realize I missed Item #14.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Before and beyond sunset

I have a recurrent theme or two, like the Chet Baker Mood, autumn feelings, taking life seriously yet remaining playful, and the movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I find myself revisiting the last theme as of late.

It's interesting to compare what I wrote on April 2004, and contrast it with my entry in July 2004.

The basic premise hasn't changed, only the location has been altered. Great directors have a way of romanticizing reality, like Peter Chan's Perhaps Love, wkw's 2046, Mabel Cheung's An Autumn Tale. My feelings run the closest to Richard Linklater's, however. This is a great website that discusses happy endings in romance films.

These two movies stayed with me all these years, partly because I grew up with them (I remember first watching Before Sunrise when I was about 16 or 17 and absolutely loved it), and partly because it reflects my 29 years of humble existence. In pursuit of values that are both real and human, sometimes your life is affected by the most insignificant word or thing or moment. It's that ONE SECOND that changes your life completely. It's because YOU CARE. Doesn't matter where you are and doesn't matter what the people around you think.

Life is a waltz. You make it the best of when you strive for some form of perfection. It could be an imperfect achievement, yet finishing it in an art form is essential.

Perhaps I'm rambling because I'm affected by an autumn mood or whatnot. In reality, I'm suffering from sleep deprivation.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Bluesman's comeback

Wow! I just heard from Clarence first hand: his band finally won the blues competition after 4 years of trying. The mundane thing to say is: Clarence's finally got his due. I regret I wasn't part of it and wasn't there to share the joy. But then again, if I were in the band, I don't think the band would've won due to the complicated racial politics in the blues in DC/Baltimore. Well, the two times I backed Clarence in a blues competition, he lost, twice, the second time even at the bottom of the scale, according to Bob Sekinger of the Baltimore Blues Society.

Well, sometimes you have to wait for justice. Think of great people like Thomas Jefferson or Abe Lincoln. The revolution is over. Now we go back to playing the blues.

Most of all, I'm happy for Clarence. I'm so happy for Clarence that I place all my other emotions aside. Clarence deserved to win. He deserved to win four years ago and every time, even in Rosedale. Clarence deserved to win because he understands the blues. He sings and plays in the blues language and feeling. He lives the blues! That's what he is. The real deal.

I was fortunate that Clarence chose me as his harp player after his many years with two of the best harp players in the area, Stephane Themeze and Larry Tapper, respectively. They were hard shoes to fill, but I managed and developed a name for myself (albeit rather notoriously). I got to get up to the top and played with some great names in the blues. All of that was because of Clarence. A big thanks to Clarence for making me the harp player and person I am today.

I learned a lot about the harsh reality by playing the blues. And I learned that it's more valuable to overcome life's obstables than simply to live a life with no excitment or highlights. My life is always full of excitement and surprises. I've had ups and downs and hard times, the blues has taught me to be patient and forgiving.

Clarence has always been patient and forgiving. His patience and forgiveness have paid off handsomely. He not only won the title, he also won his dignity and respect. Well, he earned my respect a long time ago. Clarence once said, "I've learned, over time, some things are best left unsaid." That is Clarence's philosophy and is way of life. It's a very intelligent way to live.

Today I celebrate this day because Clarence won the blues competition. One of the fairest results in recent years, including the U.S. President elections.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hello bloggers!

I wonder if you still read my blog; I hope you do because I still have a lot to say. A lot has happened lately I don't know where to begin. Please drop me a line either by sending me an e-mail or simply comment here. I promise I'll write more.

But first thing first, I'm fine. Don't worry about me.

Hong Kong is treating me well. My luck is changing gradually too. I used to not believe in luck but luck continues to play a substantial part in my life. Yes, hard work is mandatory but luck's intervention will make or break. Therefore, I'm never desperate because I know that when you reach the bottom, you will always get back on track. Sorry I'm being vague again....

The HKU PCLL program is pretty excellent. Good teachers and more importantly, I'm surrounded by a group of very smart people. It's good to be back to school again. At school, you don't deal with the harshness and mundaneness of everyday life. People are more real and down-to-earth. Also, my experience in the real world has made me adapt to school even better. I observe the social etiquette, and I execute it well here. School work is quite manageable. If you do the work, you'll get by. That's a fact of life!

Being at HKU itself is a momentous experience. HKU has a wonderful history. As I live in dorm now, I can clearly experience HKU at night, which is at its most charming and mysterious. A campus looks the most beautiful under the stars. I'm truly a believer of that.

My friends in DC, I truly miss you all. You made the last 4 years of my existence truly meaningful and colorful. I tried to send out individual e-mail to thank everyone. If I accidentally missed one, you know you're in my heart. I have embarked on a new life, but I won't forget you. When I say let's keep in touch, I do mean it.

I may seem cold on the outside, but I'm really warm inside. Those who know me will not doubt have made this observation.

Bless your heart!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Some photos from Greenbelt

These are some photos taken by professinal photographer Linda Siadys. They are from the Greenbelt Blues Festival this July. I really like them, so check them out.

There's more to report. But I'll wait for a better moment.

For those who wonder how I'm doing, I'm doing great. Drop me an e-mail, please!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Ectoplasm revisited

This is just a great picture!!


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