Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Your Next Pick-Up Line?

There are two books that I want to share here, one is a biography of the well-known Amazing Grace composer, John Newton and the other one is a journal of a Christian writer, C.S. Lewis. Both individual lived in a different era, but both of their writings share one unifying theme - a crazy and intense love feeling for their wife. One cannot help but notice and feel and shudder in amazement at the passion coming out from the romantic and melancholic hands of these Christian leaders. So, I think it would be interesting to show the other side of them which is too often shadowed by their other glorious life story or achievement. Here are the writings of an ordinary Adam falling helplessly to their Eve.

Describing his initial feeling, he wrote "Almost at the first sight of this girl, I felt an affection for her that never abated.". In his journal, he expressed his feeling as "this violent and commanding passion .... a dark fire locked up in my breast ... in degree it equaled all that the writers of romance have imagined". 

Isn't this the greatest love letter ever?
"The first day I saw you I began to love you. The thoughts of one day meriting you (and believe nothing less could have done it) roused me from a dull insensible melancholy I had contracted and pushed me into the world. .... I think I could run on to a volume, but it would be quite needless, for it is not in the power of words to express with how great ardency I am - Your most devoted faithful admirer, John Newton"

And upon returning to England for six weeks with his wife, he called this period "the happiest part of my life," and continue "I never before had so much of your company in equal space and with so little interruption. Seven such weeks are preferable to seven years of common time."

And on a later occasion, writing to his friend in regards to several people who questioned his wife's excellency to be his partner (as she has no brain nor beauty), Newton wrote "There are sensibilities belonging to a happy marriage that can no more be communicated by description than the taste of a pineapple. They are only to be acquired by experience."

C.S. Lewis - A Grief Observed
Well, this one is different - it's not a book but a journal that he kept after his wife died - detailing his pain and grief at this bereavement. 
"At first I was very afraid of going to places where she and I had been happy - our favorite pub, our favorite wood. But I decided to do it at once. Unexpectedly, it makes no difference. Her absence is no more emphatic in those places than anywhere else. It's not local at all. Eating in general would be different, every day, at every meal. It is like that. The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."

Reflecting back to his marriage and why it was ended he wrote "It was too perfect to last, so I am tempted to say of our marriage. It could mean "This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged. As if God said, 'Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.' "

It's never easy to swallow the hard truth and face the reality. But it is always better to take it at face value rather to deny it by creating a disillusionment or petty comfort  "It is hard to have patience with people who say, 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. .... I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?"

And lastly, such a despondent statement - and I second that. Grief has less to do with sorrow or being forsaken, it has more to do with being fearful of what tomorrow or even the next hour may bring.  And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn't seem worth starting anything. I can't settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Before the Morning - An Encouragement

This song has been such an encouragement for me and I hope it could be to you too. No matter how defeated or discouraged you feel, drag your heavy-heart out of the bed because in God, there is always a reason to sing. Get up and fight the good fight!!

Check out the story behind this song, super awesome - and the YouTube video.

Before the Morning - Josh Wilson
Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning 

"They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory" - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Touch 3G Slide - Part 2

This is the part two of my entry about my new phone (view part 1)

Hate it
1. Battery lifetime
I think people are too busy developing awesome apps and forget to come up with battery that will at least last more than a day. Yeah, the apps are freaking cool and I'm loving all of them but what's the point if you have no battery to run the apps. It's like manufacturing a car, only later to find out that you have no fuel to run it. Pretty pointless don't you think?

2. Oversensitive screen
It's a neutral ground for this one actually, coz I know I'll be bitching too if the screen is not sensitive. But I just resent it if in the middle of a phone call, it accidentally drops dead simply because my cheek hit the "end call" button. It is also very likely that I dial somebody's number unintentionally. One particular number is this restaurant that I frequently patronize. I put its direct dial on my screen, and I don't know how many times the restaurant's server pick up the call, only to be disappointed and annoyed at the absence of response

3. The not so 'genius' button
This phone takes pride in its newest genius button which promises voice recognition feature. The premise is to make it safer and easier to navigate the phone while you are driving; you can do Google search, type message, dial contact with your voice. However, all of those fail miserably. The genius button rarely catch what you are saying or sometimes it is off due to limited connectivity, and then you have to press "start over" button, look again at the screen if it is ready, say it again, fail again, then your screen is locked, then you have to drag the screen down, check the screen again and the last thing you know is you miss an exit or hit the car in front of you. I think it is engineered in a way that will increase your chances to get into accident - so I would suggest to ignore this genius button, they're far from genius.

4. Inconsiderate to certain skin-type
The screen is huge and if you see it in the ad, it is glossy and clean and clear. But in this perfect real life, this almost never happen. Imagine a typical summer day, it's hot and humid out there, your face is an active oil producer and you are sweaty and filthy, and you pick up a call, gently place that massive screen on your cheek and voila, all you get is an oily and greasy screen; nothing like what is shown in the ad, nothing like a glossy, clean and shiny screen. That's a problem in itself, but the real disaster is if you try to clean it or wipe it. Imagine smearing a butter on your laptop monitor, yeah, that's what you get. No matter how strong or persistence you wipe it, it gonna stay that way until you leave it for couple of minutes and wipe it with clean and half-wet paper towel. That's, ladies and gentlemen, how you do it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My New Phone: MyTouch 3G Slide

After more than a year since my post on Blackberry, I should admit that my old Samsung flip-phone is no longer user-approved (or even culturally-approved). The battery case is missing so I have to tape my battery to keep it intact. And worse....... hmmmmm (thinking hard) ....... , no animation maybe, or no email, and no camera? Well, there is actually not that many valid justifiable reasons to begin with beside the fact that I just want to have a new phone. It's starting to get lame when "ringg ringgg ringggg" is what you hear when you get a call, I want Jason Derulo or Taio Cruz singing for me!

So anyway, I upgraded my old Samsung to MyTouch 3G Slide; quite wordy don't you think? Why can't you say like iPhone, or Nokia, or Blackberry. Why it has to be like "Hey, I just bought a black MyTouch 3G Slide smart phone?" Well, but that's the way you should say it, lacking one word will be disrespectful since every word conveys a special meaning. 3G: Geez, you have a 3G signal, must be blazing fast? Slide: Yeah, it's the new one dude, it actually slides. My Touch: say bye bye to old keypad, touching is the trend now. So, please share what phone do you have, mine is actually (drum roll please) a MyTouch 3G Slide. Hah. 

Well, I applaud you for still persistently reading my hogwash until this point. Of course and as always, I have something better to offer you. Here, I would like to share things that I like and don't like from this Droid phone. Of course as someone who just switched from old flip phone to this smart, touch-screen, camera-capable, 3G slide phone (Oooops, I'm doing it again), it's kinda hard to find the drawbacks, but I'm pretty confident my complaining and criticizing nature will come in handy this time. 

Love it
1. Impressive arsenal of apps. 
From zero application to now thousands of downloadable application in my grip, I am almost estatic. The Google Sky Map is awesome. Planning a romantic date? Just download this app and let your imagination run wild. My favorite is the Coupons App; Go cheap and check available coupons everyday - it's two for one pizza at Dominos today!! 

2. GPS Navigation System
Can we say that GPS is obsolete now? I lost count of how many times I was saved by this feature, especially when I have to travel around Columbus for work. It does feel really peaceful when you are almost hysterical finding your way out and suddenly you hear the all-knowing lady's voice uttering the most melodious sentence "Turn left, your destination is on the right"

3. Link link link. 
Link your friends' profile with their Facebook, Gmail or even Linkedin account. Now you get all their contact number in one place. Their birthday is automatically in, their Facebook updates are only a click away, and the best part is, their Facebook / Gmail pic is incorporated to your phone book. So, it is completely unnecessary for me to take pic of every single contact I have, not that I would ever do it but it certainly makes my life easier. 

(to be continued) ......