Wednesday, December 15, 1999

New Tattoo!

I got a tattoo after Thanksgiving. It has tribal bands and an intricate design weaving through them that looks like waves or a storm or a nebula depending on how you look at it. It wraps around my right arm like a band. It is big, about six inches at its widest. My brother, Jake, drew it custom for me and used his own tattoo gun that he has in his bedroom.

Tattoo Design
It took about fours hours over two separate visits. It hurt a lot, like a miniature sewing machine going over my skin. It really hurt on the tender skin on the underside of my arm. My brother did it for free, but it would have cost about 400 dollars in a tattoo parlor. I may add some color to it next year.

Noah with new tattoo

Monday, November 01, 1999

Sensory Overload - Part I

I love science-fiction novels and I read at least 500 during my teens and early twenties. After reading a pretty lousy book early in 1996, it finally motivated me to try and write one of my own. It seems like perverse logic, but all my favorite sci-fi novels written by talented authors only intimidated me from trying to write one myself. The crappy books though, at the very least I could write one this bad, I thought.

Also lingering in my head all this time was a seed planted by my twelfth grade English teacher, Richard Cunningham, that I had the ability to write a book someday. I had scoffed at the idea at the time, but it never left me.

I started writing my book on May 13th, 1996.  I had no clear direction at first for my story but I was in the last year of my Army Reserve service so I latched onto a idea about a soldier being medically discharged from the military after being injured on a dangerous mission. Since the Cold War during my youth was over, I decided to place the story in the aftermath of a war against a alien race.

As a test for myself, I started out with a prologue of that final disastrous raid and I told myself that if I liked it well enough, I would continue writing.

After some positive feedback about the Prologue, I ended up slowly writing 7 chapters that dealt with the aftermath of the mission and the main character's discharge from the military. In those chapters, I developed the synopsis below.

The Great War between the Terran Race and the alien Durmir is finally over and the newly formed DùrMan Confederation has created peace for the first time in a generation.  For an elite soldier like Jâk Silvestri who spent his whole life fighting in the war, his special forces unit is now tasked with hunting down former war profiteers and crime syndicate leaders.  After a freak brain injury on a mission that also killed his best friend, Jâk is medically discharged from the rapidly downsizing military and sent out into the civilian world he has never experienced.  While avoiding the crime syndicates who recruit former soldiers like him, Jâk vows to go after Tan Sipter, the man he failed to capture on his last mission.

I am currently stuck around 150 pages and I don't know where to take the story next. Hopefully, I will figure it out soon.

Friday, August 20, 1999

Cabin Trip to Big Bear Lake, CA

I went with Jeremy, Chelsea and the rest of the HopStar dancers to the San Bernardino Mountains for the Big Bear Swing Camp. We all stayed at Valena's family cabin right on the lake in Big Bear. It was a big place. The key didn't work so we spent the whole weekend entering and exiting through the dining room window.

Jeremy, Chelsea and the rest of the HopStar troupe are really good swing dancers. They move so fast and perform amazing aerials. I have only been taking lessons for a little while so I can only handle the most simple steps. It is real fun though.

We had a great time hanging out, cooking big meals and playing different games at the cabin. We played one card game where the loser had to lick chocolate syrup off the belly of the winner. Guess who won?

On our last day, we rented three small fishing boats and went cruising around Big Bear Lake. The water was pretty chilly but a few of us went swimming. I have been to Big Bear many times, but this is the first time I have ever been out on the lake.

Friday, June 18, 1999

Surfing at Pipes

I took this picture last Sunday when I went to the beach with Jeremy and Forest to go surfing.

Jeremy, Noah and Forest at Pipes
The waves were pretty small at Pipes that day but I like this photo.

Tuesday, April 06, 1999

Trip to New York, NY

I went to New York at the end of March to visit Mary Ann's sister and mother and visit all the places that she told me so much about before she died.

Noah at top of World Trade Center
I went with Mary Ann's sister, Michele, into Manhattan for the day. It was my first time to New York City. Mary Ann had always told me how great it is and how she wished she could live there. Michele and I rode the subway downtown and went to the top of the World Trade Center. It had a huge elevator that rocketed to the top at an amazing speed.

Noah in Trump Tower Lobby
We had hotdogs from a cart at the base of the Twin Towers afterwards. It was delicious. It was a beautiful sunny spring day. We walked and rode the subway all over the city visiting Wall Street, Trump Tower, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, SOHO, China Town & Times Square.

Noah in Times Square
Besides the city, Mary Ann's sister and mother showed me around her home town and we visited with her other family members throughout the states of New York and Pennsylvania. I am so grateful for Mary Ann's family for their hospitality.

Thursday, March 18, 1999

Rock Climbing in Idyllwild

Rock climbing last Sunday on the West Face of Tahquitz Rock was really fun and a little scary. I took a few pictures. We climbed about 500 feet straight up, stopping for a lunch break half way up on little ledge, conveniently called Lunch Ledge, with a great view of the surrounding forest and Suicide Rock across the valley.

West Face View of the Tahquitz Rock Peak from the bottom
The hardest part of the climb was the Fingertip Traverse, a long section with only a small shallow crack to hold with my fingertips right on the edge of a 200 foot vertical drop. Good thing I was wearing a harness connected to a safety rope. The tricky part in the traverse was when I had to unhook from the rope briefly to get around a small bush that grew out of the crack half way across. My calves started to ache trying to grip the rock face with my sticky rubber shoes and my palms were sweaty when I reached the other side.

Noah at Belay Point on Tahquitz Rock
I felt great when I reached the top of this 5.3 rated climb with Tom and Julie. I love heights and it brought back memories of climbing tall trees as a kid.

Friday, March 12, 1999

Last Day with Long Hair

An hour before cutting my long hair.
After growing my hair long for 2 years, I cut my hair short today. It was nice to have long hair after spending six years with it short for the Army Reserves, but it is time for something new. Snip! Snip!

Thursday, February 25, 1999

Mary Ann Bailey

My girlfriend, Mary Ann, passed away at the end of January a week after we got back from our ski trip to Whistler, Canada. She suffered from an eating disorder and got very sick at the end. Her parents and her sister flew out from New York to see her before she was disconnected from the life-support system and to attend her memorial.

Mary Ann
It was a beautiful service held on the cliff above Fletcher's Cove in Solana Beach. We played the video from Mary Ann's skydiving jump because it was a great capsule of Mary Ann's life and personality. As the sun set we had a moment of silence that held until the sun disappeared completely below the horizon. The mayor of Solana Beach told us that the next town hall meeting would be held in her honor.

Mary Ann
The absence of Mary Ann from my life is intense. She was the first person that I ever loved and she was an amazing person. We lived and worked together so we were together all the time. I was barely able to eat for two weeks afterwards but my family and friends, especially my father, were great in helping me deal with the immediate aftermath when my life seemed like a blur.

Friday, January 15, 1999

Ski Trip to Whistler, Canada

Whistler Blackcomb Trail Map
Mary Ann and I just went on a week-long ski trip to the Whistler Blackcomb Resort in Canada. We almost didn't make it into the country because Mary Ann didn't have her regular driver's license (she only had a temporary paper license) but I think the border officer took pity on us, because she finally let us through.

Noah in front of Whistler Mountain
We flew into Vancouver and took the Whistler Express bus up to the resort in the Coastal Mountains. It was a very scenic trip and we knew we were in for a good ski trip when we hit falling snow at low altitude. We arrived and checked in at the Glacier Lodge. It was a nice place and it was right near the ski lift at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.

Mary Ann on Blackcomb Mountain
This is my second trip to Whistler Blackcomb. I came here before for one day to ski with Jeremy and Peter as a side trip to our Seattle cabin trip in 1994. We barely had a chance to explore this huge ski area in such a short time, but it had made me extremely excited to come back. Whistler Blackcomb is actually two separate mountains right next to each, connected by ski trails and lifts with Whistler Village right in the middle. The place is huge with over 200 trails and tons of lifts. You have to take three separate chair rides to get to the summit of Blackcomb.

Noah on frozen Whistler Summit
I am more of an experienced skier than Mary Ann so we would ski together on the easier trails until lunchtime and then I would go off and explore some of the more difficult terrain for a few hours while she went back to the lodge to relax. There was a lot of heavy powder on this ski trip which we don't see in Southern California. It was pretty difficult to get used to so I had to stay off of the black diamond trails until I got the hang of it.

Howling winds at Whistler Summit
After a week of skiing, I decided that Blackcomb was my favorite of the two mountains. It is the highest at 7,494 feet and I think it is more scenic with tree-lined trails instead of the huge open bowls of Whistler. Blackcomb also has the glacier at the top which is fun to ski on. I got a chance to ski down the backside of Blackcomb which had been closed for most of the trip due to heavy snow fall and high winds. I happened to be at the summit when the back trail was opened for a brief window of time, so I took off my skis and hiked over the ridge with a small group of people. It was a long fun run starting with a large bowl filled with deep fresh powder and then a winding trail all the way to the bottom.

Mary Ann on covered bridge in Whistler Village
Mary Ann and I would have fun in Whistler Village after we finished skiing. It was full of restaurants, bars and clubs, even a movie theater. Mongolian Grill was our favorite place to eat. It was a cool place where you pick all the ingredients you want and put them in a large bowl and the cooks would fry it up in front of you. It was delicious.