Culture, travel, sports (Dodger, Bruin and Anteater fan), politics and the life of faith. Random ramblings (but hopefully thoughtful!) on the passing scene by a Christian 40-something single male molecular biologist American of Asian ancestry.So here goes with a bit more elaboration in the odd chance anyone is actually curious!
I see the occasional movie. My four-star rating system (0 = bad, run away! 1 = only if you are really bored! 2 = okay movie with some good moments 3 = solid film making 4 = a classic!). Some films that would be 4 star in my book: Casablanca, Schindler's List, Star Wars, E.T., Dr. Stranglove, North by Northwest, West Side Story, Amadeus, Sound of Music, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Patton, A Bridge Too Far, Chariots of Fire. I tend to favor action-adventure movies. I'll see the occasional drama or comedy.
I enjoy classical music and have a subscription to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. I'll usually make one or two visits a summer to the Hollywood Bowl.
In terms of television, I am a fan of 24! I followed West Wing pretty closely but I don't think I saw every episode. Of old classic TV that I grew up with: MASH, Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Six Million Dollar Man.
It is here, I have to confess, my name is Rene and I'm a Star Trek fan! I grew up on the reruns of the Original Series and eagerly watched the Next Generation. I was much less enthusiastic about Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.
I enjoy travel!
Go here for a list of travelogues with photos.
Future travel plans?
I hope to visit all the Presidential Libraries. I'd also like to visit all the MLB stadiums. I've got 20 more states to visit. Hope to set foot on every continent in my life time. Live in North America, have visited Europe three times, Africa once and Asia once. Where to go in South America? Maybe Machu Picchu? Australia is pretty far but someday! Antarctica is really expensive but perhaps the final one in my sunset years?
Sports - Go Dodgers!
Grew up a Dodger fan in Los Angeles. As a kid, the Dodgers of the 70s got beat in the World Series by the A's (1974) and the Yankees (1977-1978). Finally in 1981, the Dodgers beat the Yankees 4 games to 2 after dropping the first two games.
In 1988, the Dodgers won the championship 4-1 over the A's. Indeed, I was at home watching the game when Kirk Gibson hit the home run! Certainly, one of the great moments in sports history.
I like visiting baseball parks when I have the opportunity.
Sports - Go Bruins!
Been following UCLA basketball actively since 1980 the year before I started attending UCLA. Wooden won his last National Title in 1975 when he retired. I don't think anyone thought it would take 20 years before UCLA basketball would climb the mountain again to win it against Arkansas in 1995.
UCLA football has provided me with two incredible at the game memories. UCLA held on for the win in 1982, 20-19. The final series of plays was at our end of the field when USC drove the length of the field to get the TD but were denied the victory when the 2-point conversion was foild by the QB sack! In 2006, UCLA pulled off probably the biggest upset ever in the history of the rivelry when they held on for a 13-9 win against #2 ranked USC. The game saving interception happened at the end of the field and on the hashmark right in front of the section I sat in!
I also follow the UC Irvine Anteater basketball team as I went to UCI for graduate school. The team is part of the Big West which is a 2nd tier mid-major conference in men's b-ball. I hope to live long enough to see the Anteaters make their first NCAA tournament!
I remember vaguely watching the television coverage of the 1972 presidential elections. That year, President Nixon won a 49 state victory over Senator McGovern. Since then, I've followed presidential campaigns. I cast my first presidential vote in 1984 and I cast it for President Reagan who won a 49 state victory over Vice President Mondale.
Having lived much of my life in California where ballot propositions are a big part of the political scene of the state, I've tried to keep an open mind about issues and not be swayed overly by emotional appeals.
I registered as an Independent voter until 1996 when I wanted to have a chance to vote in the Republican presidential primary. I have to say though I can't even remember who I voted for! I might have cast a protest vote for Steve Forbes who was championing the Flat Tax but wasn't going to win.
Am center-right politically. Am generally skeptical of the ability of government to solve problems (my libertarian instincts) but realize there is a role for government which should be limited. See here for more about my political perspectives.
Life of faith
I was introduced to Jesus when I was in junior high school. The next big step occurred in high school, on Good Friday in 1980. When I was talking with the church secretary about my journey of faith, she asked if I had ever called on Jesus to be my Savior and committed my life to Him to be my Lord. I said, well sort of. She said, why don’t we pray about that now? And, indeed, that night I prayed and it was as if the curtains were pulled open and the light came in and I felt a sense of peace and joy.
I’ve sought to live by Micah 6:8 and Matthew 6:33. In addition to providing practical guidance for day-to-day life, I believe Christian faith provides the best explanation of why humans are the way we are. The creation of God was beautiful and good. Despite the world and humanity being marred by sin, beauty and goodness persists to some degree feeding our sense that the world isn’t quite the way it should be and spurring our longing for restoration. Indeed, because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we have hope.
I’ve enjoyed opportunities to serve others in behind the scenes ways and have participated in Bible teaching in several of the churches I’ve been a part of.
For all the flaws of the institutional church, I am a part of one. I believe God has placed me there to serve and be served so that I may grow into greater Christ-likeness. The church I'm at is honest about the messiness of our lives yet is striving to place Jesus at the center, to hear His instruction through the Bible and to grow in loving others.
I'll periodically add more information in this about me section in the days ahead!
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