Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Thought I Was Gone?!

I'm finally back here in this crazy world of blogging!! Due to the craziness of my schedule and academic demands, I apologize that I haven't been able to compose any entries for the past couple weeks.

Quite a bit has transpired since my last entry of substance. I'll try and reflect on as much of it as I can now!

First things first, our UH Warrior football team continues their season of ups and downs. On Saturday, in El Paso, TX, they suffered their third loss of the year. The Miners of UTEP simply dominated the Warriors all afternoon. The offense sputtered again, usually reliable players made uncharacteristic mistakes, the defense simply got worn down (a defense that was bruised and battered already to begin with), and the ball simply didn't bounce their way. "One and clear." That's how the team must view this. Another game, another opportunity to earn a victory awaits them this next Saturday, October 23rd when they play San Jose St. at Aloha Stadium.

If any game could be marked as a "must win," it IS this game. In order for the team to achieve their goal, which is to win 7 games to become bowl-eligible, they need to win as many home games as possible. Traveling is tough, everyone knows that, but if they can take care of business on their home turf, they'll put themselves in a position to achieve their goal. I have nothing but confidence that the team has the ability to achieve! Everyone will need to come together, and keep working as hard as they can, as they continue on their journey to the Hawaii Bowl.

Earlier on this Saturday, I went bowling. It appears that I might have broken out of whatever slump I had been in. Things started off better than I could have hoped for! Right out of the gates, I bowled a 201. My first 200+ game in a long while! I was ecstatic! My friend, "Jimmy" (name changed to maintain privacy), came to the alley to support me, as we planned to bowl after my league had finished. Usually, I "choke," or fold under the pressure, when I know people are watching me. But, I stayed quite calm and focused at my task at hand, bowling as best I could. I was happy that he could see me bowling at my best. He should have made the 60-player travel squad to Texas, but as things would have it, the Coach decided to take someone else. I know this had an impact on "Jimmy," as he felt puzzled as to what he was doing "wrong," but he kept a positive perspective and was eager to find out what HE needed to do in order to get better. Coming to the bowling alley was a nice "distraction" of sorts for him, and we spoke nothing of football whatsoever.

We were too intent on making sure we would win this tie-breaker of sorts! I would finish off my league play, ending with a 564 series (total score over 3 games). This was probably my highest series score ever. I came oh so close to bowling another 200-game in my final league game for the day, missing it by 1 darn pin, settling for a 199.

"Oh boy, I need to step it up today!" "Jimmy" commented to me. I felt good; I was going to win this final battle! Finally, we got things started. I started off, bowling 5 frames, and at first, things looked to be shaky as I left the first two frames open. "B, you're going down!" Okay, "Jimmy," don't get your hopes up too high!

I'd settle down and have marks in the next 3 frames, a couple strikes thrown in for good measure. Now it was "Jimmy's" turn. He started off the same way I did, but ended his 5 frame set with a strike. This could be interesting after all. I was not going to be denied victory on this day; I was focused and locked in. I finished off my game, ending with a 168.

By "Jimmy's" 8th frame, the outcome had been decided. But, he finished things off as best he could; fighting all the way till the end. 168 to 135. We would have bowled more, but there were much more important things ahead in "Jimmy's" Saturday afternoon, namely a "date." Go "Jimmy," go!

All in all, we had a fun time. In an earlier conversation, I told him to keep hanging in there, even though it's hard to keep going when you feel you haven't been given a fair shot. "Your time WILL come; you're only 1 or 2 plays away from being THE man." "Jimmy" will be just fine and I look forward to watching him do great things out on the field in the near future!

Other highlights that come to mind.....I survived the midterm period for the semester. My first exam happened a couple weeks back, and that came at a time when I was a bit distracted. I was approached by one of my professors to participate in a retreat for one of the sports team at the University, and without hesitation I agreed. A couple factors drove me to this decision, one of which was the idea that if ANY professor asks you to do anything outside of the classroom, you want to be that enthusiastic and eager student who jumps at any opportunity to gain further skills through "community learning opportunities." Secondly, the idea of being involved with a sports team was something I could never pass up. This was an opportunity to do exactly what I've hoped to do at some point in my life...speak to a team with the idea of inspiring them through personal stories of adversity.

Immediately after I was asked to consider participating, I started thinking of ideas. I also envisioned exactly what I would share. I was asked about a week before the actual date that I'd be presenting, so I started working on my presentation from that Saturday already. There I sat in our van, at Aloha Stadium, prior to enjoying the Warrior football team play Nevada. By the time we were ready to go into the stadium, I had completed a very rough draft of my speech.

The Warriors had a great game against Nevada. Everyone played their best; the execution of plays was crisp and precise. This was exactly what the team needed, a dominating performance before heading on the road. After the game, the players' spirits were high; they were ready for the great challenge that lay ahead of them in Texas.

That Sunday, I attended a Mortar Board meeting in the role of a student advisor. Although I could certainly have used the 3 hours spent at the meeting studying, I felt it was important for me to fulfill my responsibilities as student advisor and be present at the meeting, should the current membership want or need my input. I was glad I attended the meeting, as I remained informed as to what their current going-ons were. As soon as I came back home, I resumed studying for my exam.

I'd study for a good 3 hours prior to exam time on that Monday as well. I felt confident going into the exam. After the exam, I had a sinking feeling that I didn't do exactly well. I quickly checked some sections in my textbook and discovered that, indeed, I had made errors. Disappointing and not a fun feeling to have after an exam.

Over the week, I'd continue to tinker and tweak my presentation, trying really hard to prepare as best that I could. I consulted with my professor and he provided positive feedback after I shared with him what I planned to do. Later in the week, I asked if he could meet me prior to my presentation time. He was busy in his own preparations for this retreat, so we both knew time would be extremely limited. However, we agreed to meet on Friday morning; my presentation would occur that night. We met and I provided my professor with a preview of what I would be presenting. Nothing provides one with more confidence than hearing the words, "I have no constructive criticism to share with you on improving this....great job!" With that, my professor hurried off to begin the retreat.

Believing that I had performed poorly on an exam earlier this same week for the professor, I knew that I had to take full advantage of redeeming myself. The professor hadn't checked any exams when we met that Friday, as he had been away on a trip on the mainland. In any case, I was excited about this presentation that was to occur that night. I won't reveal exactly who I presented to, but my presentation would take place after the UH Wahine volleyball match, and my professor, along with his wife, works with the women as well so the retreat with the other sports team would have to wait. My parents and I were invited to enjoy the volleyball game and I had no idea that we would be provided with such awesome seating! We literally sat courtside, close enough that getting nailed by flying volleyballs was a clear and present danger! But, we were prepared, and genuinely excited to be there. The view was simply amazing; it was as if we could literally reach out and touch the action. The volleyball girls are amazing athletes; their extreme power and ability to play volleyball at the highest level possible was a treat to watch in itself!

Around 9:30pm on that Friday night, my professor gave me the heads up that we'd soon head off to the location of the presentation/retreat. Soon, my parents and I were entering sacred territory in the Stan Sheriff Arena. Butterflies began to flutter in my stomach, which is always a good sign. You never want to become too comfortable before a presentation, being on edge provides a heightened awareness and ensures that you won't make foolish errors. My presentation went as well as it could have. Keep in mind that I was speaking to an audience who had no clue as to who I was prior to this night, nor did I have much of an understanding as to who they were, only having seen some of them play on TV in the past. I was able to share both of my video poetry pieces, Seeing Beyond Images and What I Am; if I could fine-tune these pieces just a bit more, I feel that I could have something that would be worthy of presenting on a larger scale. "Don't be afraid to dream big!"

By the time we were able to come home, it was about 10:30 at night; just in time to catch the re-broadcast of the volleyball game. My parents and I were eager to spot ourselves on TV, which may sound silly, but I'm sure anyone else would have done the same!

That Saturday, before attending the football game, I bowled. I believe there was some change in my OWN state of mind that took place after I did my presentation to this particular sports team Friday night. I finally bowled three solid games for the first time in a long time! I focused on having fun as I bowled, and didn't beat myself up if I made an errant shot; I just looked to doing better on the next shot. I averaged 169 on this day, and I left the alley feeling happier than I felt in a while after bowling!

This past week, I received my exam back and I did okay. After looking at the corrected exam, I was disappointed in myself; the questions I missed really shouldn't have been troublesome. I'll do better next time. On Wednesday, I had a take-home exam due for my other class. That exam involved analyzing a case from the perspective of a vocational rehabilitation counselor. This was challenging, as I really don't think I received adequate preparation to do case analysis based on class instruction throughout the semester. But, I tried as best I could to compose fundamentally sound answers. I look forward to receiving my exam back this week. I'm at a distinct disadvantage, as I'm the only student in this particular course that isn't already in the counseling profession. Personally, I feel that the professor might teach in a way that is tailored to working professionals, as opposed to students who are completely new to the field.

Wednesday brought excitement into Jim's office. The dean of the University's newly developed film school was scheduled to visit our office. When Jim mentioned his name, Chris Lee, I thought the name sounded familiar so I did what anyone else would do, I "Googled" Chris Lee. I discovered that he, indeed, had produced two blockbuster films, S.W.A.T and Final Fantasy! I could sense a heightened excitement in Jim's spirit. After prepping the office as best we could, Chris Lee finally arrived. He was an engaging individual, and actually spent about 90 minutes in our world. He shared his visions for the film school, Jim shared his visions for our studio, and ultimately it was concluded that both parties could gain from building a relationship. Very exciting stuff....I truly believe we'll be working with Chris in the near future.

On Friday, Jim had a function out in Ewa Beach with the Nature Conservancy. I would arrive at the office early on this day, as my football friends had departed for Texas on Wednesday, so there would be no practice for me to watch. I arrived at the office to see equipment laid out all across the room. Very, very unusual and I thought, surely, Jim would have packed up everything on Thursday night. But, Jim would come by the office early Friday before heading out to Ewa Beach, gathering up all of this equipment. I tried to be as helpful as I could in helping him load up everything into the car...there was LOTS to load. After a good 30 minutes, Jim had everything packed and left me with some tasks to work on during the day.

I knew that I'd be left to my own devices for much of the day, so I decided to bring my own entertainment, in the form of DVDs. The newest addition to the studio, music composer, Patrick, came in earlier than expected. I had just put on the Radio DVD, so we watched it together. I've watched Radio a few times already, but it's always an enjoyable viewing and Patrick hadn't seen this movie before so he was interested in it; I know he enjoyed the movie.

Prior to that, I ran whatever errands that needed to be done; I placed phone calls to follow up on funding that Jim could receive, I submitted a form that I had to sign for the Counseling Education department, I retrieved a firewire cable from the College's library, as Jim literally took just about every cable, camera, and laptop possible!

There were some lectures that needed to be transferred to CD and other footage that needed to be poured onto the computer. I accomplished as much as I could, and there's just a couple more tasks left for me to finish up. This makes sense, as I literally spent over 12 hours at the office on this day, but I didn't mind at all; my day was lengthened as my mom had an appointment to go to after work, so I just waited for her to catch a ride home.

Patrick and I worked on completing my latest video poetry piece that I had composed. This piece is titled Today Awaits Me, and describes what a typical day brings in terms of the different societal attitudes that I must deal with as a person with a disability. Patrick composed an original musical track to go along with my piece, and I think he did a wonderful job. I look forward to sharing this piece with an audience soon.

One of Jim's colleagues, Mellanie, stopped by in the afternoon to get help in viewing a video that she received. I was happy to help her, and she wanted to have the video converted into another format, suggesting that she'd leave a note for Jim to do it. It was a neat feeling to take charge of the situation and offer to do the conversion myself. Who would've known that I'd be in a position to even comprehend converting a video on mini DV tape into another format; she wanted it on VHS, but I mentioned that we could easily put it onto a CD, a more portable format. Mellanie agreed with my logic, and before leaving the office for the night, I started the process. Everything should be ready by Monday!

That's about all for now. I'll try and get back into the routine of posting an entry on a weekly basis! Hopefully you'll find this entry somewhat interesting to read. And as always, do feel free to utilize the comment option at the end of this, and provide me with whatever feedback that you feel inclined to leave!

Have a great week and don't forget to vote on November 2!!!!

Randomness for the week:

A rainbow over the UH football practice fields.

Brian prepares part of his presentation while
tailgating at Aloha Stadium.

The sun sets behind Aloha Stadium during
the UH vs.
Tulsa game.

A view from courtside as Victoria Prince prepares
to serve.

"Boyfriends aren't permanent, they're just temporary." Words of wisdom uttered by Jim at some point last week!


  • At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Brian! Can't wait to see your video! I love Wahine vball!


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