Life Updates: Entry 3

1. I am at Stauffer Library at Queen's. It is so much bigger, so much more high-tech, and so much less ghetto than Carleton's lib. And, there are actually students who study here. WHAT?
2. I am now 2.5 months post-op.
3. Tupac has carved a bigger space in my heart than previously occupied.
4. So unsure as to where this poetry thing is going to take me... winning slams only gets you so far.
5. CSTL & Smith remind me of snowboarding. I need RK to hurry up and HEAL.
6. I realize I appreciate my family far less than I should.
7. I realize I shouldn't ever have to realize something like that.
8. Budweiser encourages good conversations about God. Always.
9. Is it possible to love and live life to the fullest without faith in anything more? Loaded questions...
10. Ganglion cyst or... ? We will find out for sure tomorrow.


Things learned from January 29, 2010

"Jealousy is simply a perverse form of respect." - John Akpata



Dare to Soar

Twenty years young, and it's still the closest to God I have ever been.


Magic Carpet

When life hands you more than you can deal with, sometimes the only way you can respond is with a little crazy.


Things learned from January 23, 2010

"Bob Marley was a prophet. Ballplayer turned man with a mission, music was just the medium - a way to survive the tedium of small island life. In these times, the blood of our scribes drives us to question the whys, the wherefores, the what do we lose when an artist dies?" - Staceyann Chin

Musical Gold: Installment 4

"I like music. It defines life, love, and everything in between. I also happen to have an abnormally ridiculous amount of music in my possession, most of which I listen to very very rarely because I have a tendency to overplay. As in, overkill. As in, when I'm feeling a song I will play that tuneage over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until I am either sick of it, or it is inducted into my special itunes playlist simply titled LEGENDARY. Many songs have come and gone; only the chosen few have made it to LEGENDARY status. Every so often, because I like to share music that is good, I will post the tracks that I am feeling at the moment - the ones that are on trial to make it to LEGENDARY. Hopefully in this manner, you, my readers, will be able to expose yourself to a broader variety of good music. And who knows - maybe it'll even make your LEGENDARY."


Current Musical Gold: Installment 4 (in no particular order)
1. Yellow - Coldplay
2. Changes - Tupac
3. Time to Pretend - MGMT
4. The Con - Tegan and Sara
5. Le Long Du Large - Coeur De Pirate
6. Hello - Gloria Lee (waddup cuz?)
7. Love Is Here - Tenth Avenue North
8. Guns Are Drawn - The Roots
9. Lions! - Lights

Stay gold, kids.


A Poem for Haiti

As I watch
Breaking news of the earthquake in Haiti
My bottom lip quivers
It’s not that I’m about to cry
Because I
Don’t have any real connection to Haiti
I know it is Haitian
And speaks French
And that Governor-General Michelle-Jean comes from there

But no, my bottom lip quivers
Because I realize in a flash
Just how jaded I really am
And it scares me

See, it wouldn’t hurt to hurt just a little
For the little girl hurting in the midst of the rubble
And it wouldn’t hurt to hurt just a little
For the man sitting blankly surveying the trouble
And it wouldn’t hurt to hurt just a little
For the dirty baby boy with dirt and waste
On his chest and face but no
I don’t want to hurt at all

See, it’s only a plane ride away
But to me, might as well be Jupiter
And as I watch
The look on my face just gets stupider
And more confused as to how and why I should care
About an island in what seems to me to be in the middle
Of nowhere.
They don’t even look like me.

And so I sleep. And forget.

But this morning I picked up the paper and a picture
Of a girl with braids and a pink dress and an eyepatch stare back at me
I read the headlines
Quake devastates island of Haiti
Ottawa pledges to match Canadian support
Security becoming increasing issue for UN
Estimated between 50,000 and 100,000 dead.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 dead.
Now see, that’s a figure that I can’t get through my head.
And because I don’t want to sit around figuring out how that figure fits
I get to work on some classwork shit and then
My friend sits down next to me
“What’s going on in the news today?” she asks
“Nothing big,” I reply. “Just an earthquake in Haiti.”

Do you want to hear the irony?
I’m in journalism class.
See, while babies lie screaming in the streets
For their mothers
Children lie bleeding in the streets
While their mothers
Pleading with aid workers who can’t do much to
Alleviate the dying.
Or the crying.

Meanwhile, 3000 kilometres away I’m learning how to tell these stories to you
Without adding feeling or emotion
Feeling motionless and emotionless
But with every passing class I feel less emotion
And with every passing day I feel less emotion
Until my emotions are less than simply feelings in passing

It haunts me.
Because with every lesson I learn, I feel like I am losing my humanity.
And with so many papers to write and so many chapters to read
And so many people to see and so many errands to run
I feel that it’s only right that I run, and blink before I can see
Cause see,
Lately, I’ve been too busy for tragedy.

But then I blink.
And I see China.
Sichuan province, May 12, 2008.
I remember reading the headlines
Western Chinese province rocked by massive quake
Massive relief efforts underway for China
Chinese government lifts one-child policy for quake victims
Estimated between 70,000 and 100,000 dead.

See, it’s half a world away
But to me, could have been home
They look just like me
Underneath all the dust from crumbled houses
And blood streaked faces
Are faces that look like mine
They are my sisters and brothers.
Brothers from different mothers.
That look like mine.

Then I blink back
And I see Haiti
Port-Au-Prince, January 12, 2010
And my thoughts sink
My eyes drop
My bottom lip quivers
As my heart bottoms out
Because it knows that this
This could’ve been home
And they
They could’ve been me
See, they look just like me
Underneath all the dust from crumbled houses
And blood streaked faces
Are faces that look like mine
They are my sisters and brothers.
Brothers from the same mother

I read a story about a mother
In Sichuan
Who, while the roof caved in on her
Shielded her baby with her body
Braving the bricks that bombarded downwards
And before she died,
She left a text message on her cell phone in her
Daughter’s pocket
It said, “Sweet child
Should you survive
You must remember that I love you.”
Days later, the soldiers found her body
Beneath which the baby slept
And sound.

See, we never know what furious challenge Mother Nature will throw our way
As if her divine life mission is to make us pay
For the terrible crimes of yesterday
And in times like this, the only thing we can do is pray
For Haiti
And China
And dusty, blood streaked faces that look just like mine
They are my sisters and brothers from one mother



Today I read that Michael Redd, one of my favorite players and an extremely devout man of faith in an environment that largely looks on faith condescendingly, blew out his left knee on Saturday, the same knee that he hurt exactly one year ago and spent all summer rehabbing. ACL, bam. MCL, goodbye.

But damn... this guy has his head on STRAIGHT.

(watch 3:46-4:00)

It's a good reminder that, despite how much I bitch and moan about my own knee, there are SO many people out there who have it so much worse than I. All I gotta do is keep fighting.

Thanks, Michael.

Things learned from January 11, 2010

Today during the bus ride home, the driver went over a speedbump. Instinctively, I lifted my feet off the ground and imagined that I was manning the wheel of a pirate ship on the high seas.

I can't remember the last time I felt like a child. It was nice.


If you weren't my roommate, I would drop you

I almost punched Shaw and Dylan in the face for beating me at Mario Kart.

Sometimes I am FAR too competitive for my own good.


Blast from the Past #6 - Pride of Canada

BFTP #6 - Pride of Canada
Type: sports cover story
For: Coquitlam Now, Echo sports
Written: January 2006 (grade 11)


I was riding the SkyTrain down to Commercial station when I looked up from my homework for a moment and saw a billboard with a striking message on it: "When one athlete climbs two steps, the whole country stands taller."

I must admit that the slogan was a good one, particularly in Canada, where our funding for elite athletes leaves something to be desired. When I see a Canadian advance past the preliminaries of any sport, I am filled with a sense of national pride. I can list more than a few athletes who have done wonders for this country's off-ice athletic reputation - Steve Nash, Daniel Igali, Perdita Felicien and Tyler Christopher, among others.

Three weeks ago, Canada had, yet again, another chance to stand taller, as from Boxing Day to Jan. 5, the IIHF World Junior Championship took place right here in Vancouver. Yes, I know that I'm returning to hockey, but honestly, in what other sport can Canada claim near domination?

I admit that heading into this year's competition, I was somewhat unconvinced about Canada's chances at defending its title, let alone medaling. But in all fairness, can you blame me? Even analysts such as those from the Hockey News were saying that not only were the Canadians underdogs to win the gold, they were underdogs to make the podium.

When you look at the team, it's easy to see why. Only one player of the 22 named to the final roster was on last year's team that dominated the competition in Grand Forks, and he didn't even play in the final against Russia because of an illness. Offensively, the team was lacking the speed and skill that were required to match up to the Russians and the Czechs.

Yet, as always, Canada's boys found a way to prevail. And in the minds of many, there was never really even a doubt. Playing on home ice, in front of a home crowd, in the country that calls itself the home of hockey, the so-called "underdogs" came together under coach Brent Sutter, who knew when he took the helm of the team that he had a daunting task in front of him. Yet, he was prepared for it, and took on the challenge with passion. And now he's a national icon. This team, as a whole, will go down in history as a national icon.

Before the tournament began, I was reading an article on the top five teams that have donned the Maple Leaf for Canada's junior team. The top-ranked team was the 2005 team, stacked with talents such as Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby, a team that outscored the opposition 41-7. They were the gold-medal favourites, and they did not disappoint. As I recall that article, I can't help but feel that as talented and dominant as that team was, it has been replaced as the top Canadian junior team ever.

This year's team was definitely not the most-skilled team in the tournament. The players weren't the fastest, or the most experienced, or even the most hyped up. But what they lacked in skill, they replaced with determination. What they lacked in speed, they replaced with tenacity. What they lacked in experience, they replaced with a will to work. And when some doubted a medal, they replaced those doubts with the gold.

This was no Cinderella story. Even as a "weak" Canadian team, these juniors were still considered a very good team, if only because of their homeland, and the well-known fact that in Canada, we don't send crappy teams, ever. But when a team that's not expected to medal goes undefeated, allows only six goals against, and ends up with the gold, that's heart. That's passion.

At the end when the cameras zoomed in on the players with their arms around each other, singing our national anthem completely off-key, as a Canadian, I couldn't help but stand a bit taller.

Congratulations, juniors. You've done Canada proud.



Things learned from January 5, 2010

Tonight as I sat in the Georgetown, witnessing the way that 22 young men held the collective attention of EVERYONE in that bar, I realized once more why I love this game, and more importantly, this country. With hearty cheers, violent swears, and much clanking of glasses, we celebrated every Canadian goal and booed every American one, all the while joining in the legendary camaraderie of which all Canadians partake whenever we watch our team play. Standing in line for the urinals while discussing the American tender's stance, literally shaking the roof when Eberle tied it up at five to send the game to overtime, and witnessing the absolute SILENCE when John Carlson won it for the U.S. three minutes into overtime... win or loss, I now remember why I once played the game with a passion that I reserve only for basketball now. And while I hold no qualms about my preferences, I take great pride in the knowledge that this country, no matter the outcome of any game, will always be home to the greatest sport on earth.


Urbana Day 5 - I've got a river of life

Last day of Urbana... I have to say that the whole thing came and went far too quickly.

It was once again a relatively chill day, but for a few certain things that do stand out.

After morning session, we went to the Arts Lounge for a poetry slam (really just an open mic.) It was exciting for several reasons - I was interested to see if Christian kids actually had skills, and Andi and I thought it would be hilarious to sign Jenna up without telling her. There were about 10-12 poets who just blew me away... I am SO excited to see that God is present in spoken word (especially when I see it so rarely in the Ottawa and Vancouver scene.) Jenna did her thang. I am so proud of her for having the guts to get up there and not only perform, but perform confidently, especially with such a personal piece. That girl constantly surprises me. However, what ended up being the most intense part of the slam was the end when a girl named Demi (Komi's cousin!!) came up and shared an INCREDIBLE message about racial reconciliation. In short, she grew up in Chicago with a deep hatred of white Americans because of all the things that had been done in the past to African-Americans. However, through Antoine's morning testimony about how God had convicted him to finally forgive the Hutus for all they had done to his people (the Tutsis,) Demi realized that in order to truly be a follower of Christ, she needed to give up the hatred that she harboured in her heart. In short, there were a lot of tears, a MASSIVE prayer circle, much forgiveness, and new inspiration.

Jenna, Andi, and I skipped the afternoon sessions, opting instead to digest and reflect upon the events and thoughts that had just occurred. I took a well-deserved nap before we headed back to the AC for the final evening session...

Brenda Salter-Mcneil gave the night's talk, highlighting the extreme importance of truly tearing down all barriers hindering us in doing the Kingdom's work. I didn't realize until then that even I had some things and people in my life that were keeping me from loving fully and unconditionally. I can't list them here, but suffice it to say, it was about time I let go.

We rang in the new year 17,000 strong in the stadium to the tune of some Latin dance numbers (courtesy of the worship team,) and then... Urbana 09 was over.

Check back within the next few days for a final summary of the week... I need to digest some broader thoughts before I relay them back to you. Thanks for reading - see you in a few (most likely tomorrow.)