happy place

I wonder if it’s weird to admit this… I’m not anywhere close to having kids or even being married, but I already have the name picked out for a daughter. If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to name her Auburn. Her middle name’s going to be Connie. Auburn Connie Hong. Not bad right? I don’t care what any of the other kids are named. In fact it’s probably better that the future wife, whoever she may be, names any sons; because the only names I can think of are Ding Dong and King Kong. King Kong Hong, at times that’s what I wished my name was growing up…. but I guess unless I’m setting up my future son to be a bully, he should have a relatively normal name.

Anyways, back to Auburn Connie. She’d be named after the Auburn Confluence area, one of my favorite places in Northern California. I have lots of good memories at that place, both in a large group setting and in smaller groups of two and three. It’s also one of the few places where I am happy going alone. All I need there is my mountain bike and my car.

Today I had a day off because of the governator’s mandated furloughs. It was the first Friday I’ve had off in a long time where I didn’t have anything already planned. It was a beautiful day out, so I knew I wanted to get outdoors, but I couldn’t find anyone to play outside with. It was too beautiful a day to waste indoors, so I decided to head out to Auburn Connie area alone.

They say introverts get recharged when they spend time alone. I already knew I was pretty introverted, but today I realized how much I can enjoy time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love being outdoors with people, and always wish I had more friends who mountain bike. And I’d gladly teach someone if they desire to go. But it seems like I’m smack dab in the middle when it comes to ability. There are a few guys that I ride with that go at pretty much the same pace, but none of them were available today. The rest of the times it seems like I’m usually either waiting for other people, or if I go with the BAS group, I’m that one token asian guy that all the hardcore bikers are waiting for. Going alone was pretty nice today. It was nice going at my own pace (slow uphill and tearing down the descents,) and nice when I could stop whenever I wanted. I thought I’d be done around 2 or 3, but I actually finished my run around noon.

I knew a little farther down highway 49 in a city named Cool there were some good trails, so I decided to see if I could find them for future rides and hikes. Unfortunately when I got there I found that neither of my GPSs were of any help. I forgot that when I loaded up my topo maps for Sardine Lake I deleted the Auburn and Placerville topos. I had google maps navigation on my phone, but not enough data signal to load any maps. Dahhhh, technofail. I ended up driving down 49 all the way into Placerville.

The stretch of highway 49 from Auburn to Placerville is one of my favorite drives. There were few cars on the road today, and because I didn’t have to worry about a carsick passenger I was able to go pretty fast on the curves. My Subaru isn’t the fastest car, but it’s fun to drive on mountain roads since it handles really well. I had a blast bumping Neyo, Jason DeRulo and Chris Brown while shifting through the gears and accelerating through curves. Good times.

One of my favorite songs is Chris Brown’s Forever….

It’s you and me…. moving at the speed of light into eternityyyyyyyyyy….. If you didn’t know, that song’s about me and my Subaru….

Anyways I forget where I was going with this ridiculously long, rambling post. If you made it this far you must be really bored. If you’re bored and ever want to visit Auburn Connie just let me know. I’m always down to hike or bike there. It’s a happy place.


Something’s wrong with my stomach today.  It’s only halfway through the day and I’ve had to go take a massive dump three times already. What’s worse is that each time I was sitting there minding my business and then all of a sudden nature called hard and fast and I had to run to the bathroom. Well not really run, more like a painful waddle; the kind where you’re trying to get to the toilet as fast as possible without exploding.  The last one was particularly bad. As soon as I sat down I exploded badly. About 10 seconds later I heard a bunch of clickety clacks in the stall next door to me.  I bet the guy next door was tweeting/texting/fb statusing about how the guy in the next stall over exploded….

At least I learned something today. After that last dump that probably will hit some stranger’s facebook status soon, I caught a glimpse of something nasty and stringy when I turned to flush.  It turns out that it was the enoki mushrooms I ate yesterday. They looked exactly like enoki mushrooms still. So that’s when I learned I need to chew better.

Is that too much information for a blog post?  I think not.  I mean you’ve read this far already you sicko…..

a genuine smile

Last week I saw a smile that somewhat bothered me.  It wasn’t the crooked or yellow teeth in the smile that bothered me.  It wasn’t the wrinkled, weathered face that the smile hung from that bothered me.  What bothered me about this smile, was the fact that from what I could see, this smile was a genuine smile.  Quite simply, it was a smile of simple satisfaction and contentment, the best kind of smile.

I remember that day was pretty hot.  The old Chinese man walked from house to house in the mid-day heat, looking through recycling bins and collecting bottles and cans which he tossed into a shopping cart.  By the end of the day he had collected about two garbage bags worth, a decent haul.  And so he sat on a patch of grass in the shade, a genuine smile on his face, a simple smile of content and satisfaction.  The simple satisfaction of a good day’s work and the simple contentment of sitting in the shade on a warm sunny evening.

My eight hours of “toil” had ended. It had been a slow day, not much to do.  For most of the day I sat at my computer in my cubicle in the air conditioned glass building, reading the news and random tech articles. An easy day. I was not looking forward to the walk to my car, half a mile away in the burning sun, it had hit 100 earlier in the day and it was still close to 90 degrees out now. I lingered at my desk a little longer before finally starting on the long and arduous trek. I dreaded it, a scowl on my face as I stepped out of the air conditioned building and into the blazing heat.

Halfway to my car was when I passed him.  A beaten straw hat on his head, a dirty pair of jeans with a dirty beige shirt, a shopping cart with two garbage bags full of bottles and cans– this man had nothing, but he had a smile on his face as if he was the richest man in the world. In monetary terms he was poor of course. The money he earned from collecting cans that hot day, I probably earned in less than an hour sitting at my comfortable air conditioned desk. Yet for what it was worth he really was the richer man at that moment. He shared that wealth. As I passed him, I didn’t say a word, I actually didn’t know if he even spoke English. But as he looked at me and smiled, I couldn’t help but smile back, but it was a sheepish uncomfortable smile.  It bothered me a bit.

It’s been about a week since then. I haven’t seen that man since. I tend to forget easily. I probably would have forgotten that smile, had I not seen this quote today that reminded me of it.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. — Fredrick Koeing

And so I’m reminded to remember how blessed I am for what I have and appreciating it, for that is when I truly feel rich. That is what should put a smile on my face.