Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Food, Fun, and Farewells in NorCal

As comfortable as home can be, it's always good to see college buddies again, especially when a few are moving on (and far away) for a while. I had that opportunity this past weekend when I flew up to Berkeley. As with every visit up north, I had a great time, although there was a lot of traveling around the Bay Area to see friends off and it wasn't as chill as my visit in January. But again, like every trip, there were a few surprises along the way that was icing on the cake.

  • While taking a Friday morning stroll around the Campanile on campus, I happened to pass by a graduation reception, and ran into like 20 people I knew! Not just several IV '07 graduates and friends, but also my sophomore year roommate too! It was an awesome chance to catchup, congratulate, and take a picture or two with them at their milestones.

  • Going to Sharon's 23rd birthday dinner that evening @ the Sushi House in the Asian Ghetto. We were a bit apprehensive at first because we had 12 people and the restaurant was quite small with only 2-person tables. But the maitre'd obliged our request, kicked out all customers as soon as they were done, pushed tables together, and sat our party - all in 15 minutes. Needless to say, we were impressed by the show. Happy Birthday!

  • Seeing and saying farewell to Elaine, the former small group leader of "The Commissioned" (loving small group up there). She is off to the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa for the next two years and her family threw a party to send her off. I will always remember the fun times we had hanging/growing/laughing/praying together as well as the Spirit-led leadership she brought to our small group two years ago. God really made a difference through her that overflowed in each of us six guys and gals, and it continues to do so with many blessings. =)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Taste of Summer To Come

Graduations are in the air, meaning that summer is slowly making it's way for each of us.

Much is going down this summertime and I am REALLY looking forward to what God has laid out for me to do. A little preview for things to come:

  • CEFC Youth Camp (June 29-July 2) - my third outing as a counselor and I'm no less than excited in the opportunity to care, support, pray, and have a great time with my church's youth group.

  • Professional Engineering (PE) Exam Preparation (July-October) - time to study, study, study for my 2-day, 14-hour civil engineering license exam in late October. Review classes and homework will resume in my life. It ain't over yet!

  • China Short Term Missions Trip (July 22-August 4) - God responded to my prayers, presenting me an opportunity to serve this summer and asking if I would say yes. And how else can I respond to the Big Man upstairs? =)

But first, a little trip up north for the weekend to kickoff the months ahead...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

My Guide to the Summer's Big "3's"

With "Spider-Man 3" coming out yesterday, the summer of the "threequels" has officially begun and there sure are a lot of 'em. Being the movie guru I am, here are some of my predictions based on what have seen in the previous films as well as on trailers and general opinions of fellow moviegoers.

Spider-Man 3
With the same stellar cast and crew as the previous two tremendously successful installments, I'm confident that you can expect nothing less but awesome, web-slinging fun for this sequel. My only picky concern is the film featuring perhaps one too many villains, and not enough screen time and character depth for all of them. But I highly doubt that will be a good enough reason for people to turn away from seeing the final part of the trilogy. Or is it?

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Despite a great franchise start with "Curse of the Black Pearl", I personally didn't enjoy "Dead Man's Chest" as much as the first, mostly because the producers tried too hard to top the original with bigger stories and special effects (though impressive!) over good acting. But we love these characters, and the addition of Chow Yun-Fat, Keith Richards, and the return of Geoffrey Rush for the final battles is a big hint that the trilogy will not go out without an effects-laden bang.

The Bourne Ultimatium
Let's see - same director (Paul Greengrass), same screenwriter (Tony Gilroy), and same leads (Matt Damon and Joan Allen) - dude, hook me up! After the amazing work on "Supremacy", you can bet your money that I'm more than ready to see more of the fast-paced, good ol' fashioned action, and well-crafted espionage adventures of Jason Bourne. Don't believe me? Check out the trailer on the official website. You'll be counting the days.

Shrek the Third
Although "2" didn't have the freshness of the original, it had enough funny jokes and lively supporting characters (Puss In Boots, baby!) to make up for it. How the producers can keep this up for the third movie (and the rumored finale, "Shrek 4") will make all the difference. Look for Justin Timberlake to play the spoiled young soon-to-be-King Arthur (get the irony?) as well as even more voice casting that makes you feel like anyone can do it.

Ocean's Thirteen
The appearance of Al Pacino in this ensemble cast-driven caper comedy may be one of the main reasons fans will come back for more. After the successful "Eleven" and mixed letdown of "Twelve", I suppose you can't blame director Steven Soderbergh and co. to return for the last third of the story. Expect a decent cash-in for the studios, and a lot of the same ol' fun camaraderie among the coolest con artists as they make their final score.

Resident Evil: Extinction
How this game-to-movie franchise survive two movies, only to come up with a third is beyond me by biblical proportions. Strong fan base? Attractive female lead? Whatever. Nonetheless, a very mediocre director is helming this bit, making you wonder how "Extinction" will really turn out for viewers waiting. Either that or AVP 2.

Rush Hour 3

The cop-buddy comedy continues - six years (!) after its predecessor. Plenty more of Jackie Chan's kicking and Chris Tucker's screaming would probably be adequate to draw old fans out. But with so much time that has passed as well as having the whole movie serve as "one big outtake" (according to 2-movie, 25-million dollar Tucker), I'm not sure what to make of it. Oh yeah - Roman Polanski will be making an appearance in this third movie. I'm not kidding.

There you go. Take your pick(s) and enjoy your summer!

P.S. A warm thanks to those who left comments on my previous post!! I feel encouraged by your thoughtful words. Wanna catch a movie? =)