Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hi Dave!

As I promised, here is a synopsis of my trip to Washington (11/27 -
11/30/1999). Sorry this is so long, but I had too much fun!

I went on American Airlines on Friday night, because I would like to
reserve the entire Saturday for sight seeing. Since my friend, Mono,
didn't have a car, one of his friends drove him to the airport. I am very
grateful for his friend, Ken, because I didn't know him at all.
Furthermore, he had to wake up very early on a Saturday morning to pick
me up. He also insisted on buying me breakfast, because it was my
birthday :)

Ken knew the area fairly well, because he has lived in Washington D.C.
for over 10 years. He suggested that we visit the monuments, because it
would be easier to travel with a car. The first monument that we visited
was the Lincoln Memorial. It was a very imposing sight to see Abraham
Lincoln. Reading his speech moved me greatly, and I was impressed by his
foresight to abolish slavery.

We then moved to the Vietnam Memorial. In the book, I tried to find
someone my age (23 years old) on the roster which contained all the men
and women killed in the war. In the book, I found a person called John
Morris from Long Beach, CA. It is frightening to think that an entire
generation my age was lost in the Vietnam War. At that wall, I said a
small prayer for his family.

The next memorial that we went to was Roosevelt's Memorial. Roosevelt is
the newest memorial in Washington D.C. They are currently planning a
World War II memorial, but they havn't finished designing it. Basically,
the memorial was divided into 4 parts based on FDR's 4 freedom speech and
his 4 terms in office. Because I took a picture next to FDR, I decided to
take a picture next to Eleanor (that should make him jealous ;).

Lastly, I went to the Jefferson Memorial. Supposedly the memorial was
closed for renovations, but I decided to sneak in instead. There were a
few others there, but nowhere near as many as the Lincoln Memorial. Ken
was a great tour guide, because he knew a lot of factoids and trivia
about Washington D.C.

He dropped us off at the George Washington/Georgetown area of Washington
D.C. I wanted to go there to get a glimpse of George Washington
University School of Medicine. I have an interview there, but the
director of admissions is flying all the way to California to interview
me. One of my good friends from Mudd, Kimmie Bui, is also going to the
medical school there. I didn't get to see her that day, because she is
still in So. Cal. For lunch, Mono and I went to a French restaurant. The
food was pretty good, but food prices in D.C. are generally a lit bit
more pricier than L.A. We walked around the George Washington area for
quite some time, and then we took a break at Mono's friend's apartment.
There I listened to some Jazz music and sorta unwound. We then went back
to Mono's apartment on a Metro. I simply love the metro. The metro has
gotta be one of the best public transportation systems in the country.

In the night time, I went to Bethesda, Maryland. Within a day, I have
traveled all acrross the country and ate in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland.
Since it was a weekend, all the restaurants were packed in the area. We
decided to go to a Thai restaurant, but the wait seemed to be too long.
After some discussion, we went to another Thai restaurant. I chose Thai
food, because I havn't eaten Thai in quite some time. The other Thai
restaurant also had a long waiting time. We decided to go to a bookstore
and browse some books. Afterwards, we went back to the Thai place. The
food there was absolutely superb. I had some of the spicy chicken and a
seafood combo platter. If you ever go to Bethesda and are craving for
some Thai food, make sure that you go to Bangkok Garden.

On Sunday morning, we decided to go to President Clinton's church. Since
there was no security detail, I knew that the President was skipping
church that Sunday :) After church, I heard about some of the history of
the church. They have a stained glass window of Abraham Lincoln (in the
fellowship hall, not the church), because he occasionally visited the
church. But more unusual was that they had a stained glass window of
Madamme Chiang Kai Shek. The wife of the former president of Taiwan.
Apparently she was part of an organization called China Aid which was the
largest aid organization at the time. At that time, she seemed like a
logical choice, but now it seems very strange.

After church, I went back home and went to a Greek restaurant. The food
there was very good as well. I've only tried lamb stew, but I don't think
that I have eaten lamb in any other fashion before. After watching the
football game, I immediately went to Union Station to catch a train to
Richmond. The train was delayed, so I had to wait for a long time.

The train ride was pretty uneventful. One reason was that it was pretty
dark, so I didn't see the countryside. I called my host immediately after
I arrived, and he only gave his address. This was one of my mistakes. I
should have asked him very detailed instructions on how to get to his
house. When I called the cab, the guy got lost, so I had to pay quite a
bit. I figured out that he had a cell phone, so I called my host and got
there safely.

I had a very gracious host that talked a lot about medical school in
general. He told me very good tips about surviving my first year in
medical school. But apparently he was very low on groceries, so instead
of dinner I had 2 nutrigrain bars instead. On the other hand, very few
medical students would be willing to talk for 3 hours about stuff.

The next morning, I went to VCU. One of the unique things about VCU is
that it has class at 8 in the morning. As a result, I had to wake up at
6:15 in the morning to get ready for school. On the other hand, this is
the only school that serves complimentary breakfast and all-you-can-eat
lunch :) Before the interview I had a good 2 hour long discussion with
the Dean of Admissions. It seemed that I was far more talkative of the
other candidates. When I went in for the interview, I felt very ready.
This was the best interview I have had. The interviewer, Dr. Clifton
(dean of students), said that he wanted me to come to Richmond. He told
me that he will try to persuade the other 28 people on the admissions
committee. It is a pretty good sign, but in no way does this mean that I
will get accepted at VCU. I've already had 2 acceptances so far, so I'm
taking it easy. On the other hand, I left with a very good impression of

I went back to the train station by a cab. The cabbie was very nice and
talkative. I talked to him about his impressions of VCU. He told me that
VCU literally saved his and his wife's life. He told me that he would
always be grateful to the doctors at VCU. When I was at the train
station, I talked to an older African American lady about VCU. She told
me that it had an excellent reputation, and started to try to persuade me
to come to Richmond. She has been in Richmond since World War II and she
absolutely loves it.
I was kinda tired when I went back to Washington D.C.

The next morning, I made an appointment to meet my friend Kimmie. At
first, we were planning on meeting at Ross Hall. But instead we met each
other in the metro station. It was an amazing coincidence, because there
are thousands of people in the station. She told me a little bit more
about George Washington University. I liked the GW campus, but I liked
VCU better.

Please bear with me, I am almost done ... I'll be extremely brief.

I went to the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art. I decided to focus on
the traveling exhibitions instead of the permanent ones. I saw a bunch of
Vermeers, Rembrandts, Holbeins, and Durer's, on loan from another museum.
That was pretty cool. After I toured the Congress, I took a picture in
front of the Whitehouse. I left Washington D.C. with a lot of good

Have a good weekend,

Old email about the Tori Amos/Alanis Morisette concert

As I promised, here is my short review of the concert. It is so much
harder to write about the concert itself rather than the experience of
going to the concert.

After listening to Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink countless times,
I was expecting a more sedate version of Tori Amos. Instead, I was caught
in a whirlwind of drumbeats, basses, and guitar solos. Yet, above it all
I could viscerally feel the intense percussive quality of her piano. Tori
started with the song, God. In the past, I probably would have said that
I knew the song well. But tonight, she morphed the song into a brand new
experience for me. Yes! This is what a concert should be -- transforming
the songs in the CD anew. The highlight for me was her encore, Precious
Things. As usual, I had no idea from the intros which songs would come up
next. But if there were any of her old songs that would fit her new
style, Precious Things would be it. My lone criticism of the concert is
that she didn't play many of her old songs. But this is understandable,
because she has to promote her new CD.

I'm not that big of an Alanis fan, but surprisingly I knew more of her
songs than Tori's. Since she was not captive to the piano, Alanis was
able to prance around on stage. Ah, I am at a loss for words to describe
the concert. But if there was one song that was worth the price of
admission that would be the song from the City of Angels soundtrack. From
the haunting piano intro to the end, it was an awesome experience.

I will come to Claremont soon. If you aren't busy, I hope to see you and
some other friends. Meanwhile best of luck in everything!


I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail ...
he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion
and sacrifice and endurance ---William Faulkner
My very first concert - Tori Amos/Alanis Morisette

Thanks for the forward about the circle of friends, I totally appreciated
it. It is always really nice to hear from you.

I was partly kidding when I said that I would write for the Collage about
the Tori/Alanis concert. I've always wanted to write for a newspaper, but
I realize that I probably can't meet the high standards of your newspaper
:) I've also attached a copy to Dave, so he can vouch for my accuracy ;)
However, I do have some really good tips about Irvine Meadows (see John's
rules), so you could share my report to your friends who might be going
there for concerts.

Anyway, here is my report of my very first rock concert!

Sunday 3:00 p.m.

(Secretly humming Tori Amos tunes, while the sopranos in the choir were
struggling with Handel's Messiah in the background)

Normally I love choir practice, but today I couldn't wait for the
practice to end. First of all Handel is way too difficult for the youth
choir. But the main reason I can't wait to leave is because I will be
going to my very first rock concert -- Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette at
Irvine Meadows.

Sunday 4:40 p.m.

Dave Beydler finally arrives at my church. He is one of my best friends
in college. For the most part we have similar music tastes, but he
prefers Alanis and I prefer Tori. At this point, we knew that we were
going to be 2 hours early so we microwaved some leftover church food.

Sunday 5:30 p.m.

Stopped by Arby's for food. He ordered a roast beef sandwich, while I
ordered a large cup of water. I know we have food, but leftover church
food isn't exactly the best food in the world. To my amazement, the
cashier gave me a little cup of water. Note to myself: Next time when I
go to Arby's I should order the extra extra large cup of water :)

Sunday 5:40 p.m.

Dave told me that he wasn't sure how to get to Irvine Meadows. I told him
that we're guys, so we should be experts in finding our way. Hmmm ... not
exactly, I actually told him a joke about Moses taking 40 years to go to
Israel, because he didn't know the directions. Dave was totally awesome
though, and we arrived in Irvine meadows without the need to ask people
for help.

Sunday 5:42 p.m.

Finally arrived in Irvine Meadows. I told Dave that I would talk to at
least one stranger in the concert. Lo and behold, immediately after I
came out of the car a woman came up to me and said that she liked my
smile. Then, I was completely flabbergasted we she said that she was
ticketing me for looking happy. (I do joke and laugh a lot, and maybe I
do have a nice smile, but she was completely outrageous!) She then gave a
sticker about smiling in public. I thought I could keep it, but then she
requested a donation.
John's rule #1: Never accept tickets for strangers, unless it says KROQ.

Sunday 5:45 p.m.
We didn't have tickets, because Dave ordered online. We were supposed to
pick up the tickets at the will-call window, but we made a mistake of
waiting in the tickets-only line.
John's rule #2: Ask someone before you wait in line.
We ate our really delicious church food and drank water from our little
Arby's cup. I was actually really envious of the family ahead of us,
because they had cookies, drinks, and a tomato and tuna salad. Behind us
were 2 women who were Tori fans. After my experience with that nut, I
decided not to talk to strangers anymore.

Sunday 6:00 p.m.
Dave spots a Mudder! I can't believe it another person from the 5
Colleges is actually going to the concert. I didn't know her, because she
was only a first or second-year student at Mudd. Dave barely knew her,
because he was about to graduate. To out surprise, she went out and
talked to the two women behind us. After she left, I talked to one of the
women. She told me that she was from Scripps (I think her name is
Lauren), and she also told me that she had terrace seats. Lucky her! I
can't believe she is actually waiting in line, since she had tickets.

Sunday 6:15 p.m.
After drinking all that Arby water, I felt that I had to go to the
bathroom. I asked the attendants if I could go inside to the concert
area, but they wouldn't let me cut the line. Since I couldn't spot a tree
in the parking lot, I decided to quickly run to the Burger King across
the street.
John's rule #3: Don't run on a full stomach.
John's rule #4: Don't leave the line, just before they open the gates.
I was afraid that I would get lost finding the Burger King, so I quickly
darted back to the line. When I arrived, I couldn't find Dave because the
line had moved. I frantically went to the front of the line, and asked if
the line had moved much. Fortunately the line didn't move much.

Sunday 6:35 p.m.
We finally get frisked in front of the gates. Dave then realizes that we
need tickets to get past the gate. He then asks the security guard for
permission to jump over the fence to go to the will-call window.
John's rule # 5: Immediately go to the will-call window to get tickets.
At first the guard said that we would be forced to go to the end of the
line. Meanie! The line was like 2 miles long. We begged him to let us
slide, and he finally relented.
John's rule #6: Be nice to security guards, even if they do make you feel
really uncomfortable when they frisk you.
John's rule #7: Don't bring cameras to concerts, unless you know for sure
you can take pictures.

Sunday 6:40 p.m.
Yessssssss! I can finally go to the bathroom. I noticed that the women's
line was 3 times as long as the guys line. It did seem to me that there
were 3 times as many women for the Tori/Alanis concerts. Hmmmm ...... I
wonder why that is the case.
John's rule #8: Use the bathroom near the lawn section. There is
absolutely no lines for the men and women bathrooms.

Sunday 7:15 p.m.
Some unknown band starts singing.

Sunday 8:00 p.m.
Tori sings.

Sunday 9:30 p.m.
Tori stops singing.

Sunday 9:50 p.m.
Alanis sings.

Sunday 11:05 p.m.
Alanis stops singing.

Sunday 11:10 p.m.
Dave and I get KROQ stickers. They're free!

As you see I'm getting sleepy. I'll write a review of the concert

Yours truly,

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail ...
he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion
and sacrifice and endurance ---William Faulkner
Quotes from my college signature.

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail ...
he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion
and sacrifice and endurance ---William Faulkner

"Good-bye', said the fox. 'And now here is
my secret, a very simple secret: It is only
with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye.'"
Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince, p. 70