Saturday, November 25, 2006

Update on my life...

For any of you who may read this blog, and wonder what in the world I'm doing these days...

Here's a list of my current activities, closely related to my obsessions with Missions, India, and people...

*Most importantly in some ways, I'm working two jobs. One at Starbucks, as a certified Barista. The other at a Youth Center with the Salvation Army.
*I also teach children's church at my church.
*I am a volunteer staff member for Biola's Missions Conference in March.
*I am a member of our India Kingdom Band, which meets together once a week on campus to pray for India and each other, worship, and drink chai.
*I go to chapel at Biola when I can. But only about 3 a week.
*I go to events for the International Students Association at Biola, and sometimes help. =)
*I go to events for the Mu Kappa club at Biola.
*I still live with four amazing guys in an apartment near campus. We hang out together, play tennis, Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, watch movies together, and host chai parties occasionally.

Life is pretty much amazing right now. Thank you, Lord!


Many things that are fun and safe in moderation can easily be taken way too far. Earlier I posted about gaming, and would like to revisit that topic using a link to a blog post a friend pointed out to me. It's a rather long post, but it talks about a person who was a key leader in the oldest and largest and most likely well-respected guild in World of Warcraft. But he finally quit, seeing what it was doing to his life, and deciding it was not worth it. When he left, his guild didn't even seem to care, but his life changed dramatically... Almost as much as when he started playing WOW.

Anyway, if you care about obsessions, or about WOW, I'd definitely encourage you to read this article...

It's sad how much this MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) has taken over people's lives. I only pray that others have not become so addicted to it as this person was.

Passions and obsessions aren't necessarily bad. They just have to be focused on God. As the song says, "Give me one pure and holy passion. Give me one magnificent obsession. Give me one glorious ambition for my life: To know and follow hard after you."

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I am now officially an alumni of Biola University. Check out for pictures of grad. It was truly a commencement ceremony to be remembered.

Thanks all of you who've known me over the past 5 years, I owe you all a huge thanks. I don't know how you put up with my... oddities. =)

Update on Chai

I hope you all have enjoyed my complete lack of postings. Hehe.

So I don't use that chai recipe anymore. The one I posted previously. The "Tea Masala" seasoning gets old after awhile, and doesn't allow for a high amount of customizability in the flavor. So I decided to buy the spices separately.

You can put any number of spices in, including, but not limited to....
Black Pepper

My favorite blend is to use fresh ginger root, available at Albertsons or Stater Bros., in addition to cardamom, available at Bombay Groceries. This store is at the Northeast corner of Beach Blvd. and Rosecrans Ave., at 14766 Beach Blvd. La Mirada, CA 90638. Phone number 714-522-7666.

Rather than using the tea masala, I substitute it with my favorite blend of spices that day. For instance, my all-time favorite is grating fresh ginger root in, about 1 or 2 strokes per cup, and then adding some split pods of cardamom, about 1 per cup. Then I add a tiny bit of fresh ground black pepper.

Hope you all have fun with that. If you want to add cloves, I should warn you that they have a very strong taste, and you should only use one clove for maybe 4-6 cups. Cinnamon is about the same.

Happy chai making! (detailed instructions are under the post labeled "chai!!!"

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Maps of the World

So it seems that it's popular now to put up maps of places you've visited. I decided to jump on the bandwagon, and make my own. It's fun, actually. Just go to...

I did not count places I've been in the airports of, but never left the airport. I don't think that counts. Otherwise my list would have a lot more places. =) I feel weird having never been to Europe, South America, or Africa, but that will change one of these days. Yeah, so anyway, here's the map.

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I don't know if anyone really reads this, but if you do....

Many things can waste our time, everything is competing for that most precious of commodities: our time. Some of them are good, some are bad, some can be either. I once heard a chapel speaker say "Everything you have can either be a tool or an idol. Which will it be?" Do you use things to serve God, serve others, and sometimes just relax? Or do you let them control your life?

An example: Video/Computer Games
I know many people who are completely obsessed with one or more video games. They will play it when they wake up, when they get home from school, and through the night till 2 or 3 am. Granted, some video games are fun, especially to play with a few friends in one room. But they can too often gain control over one's life. And I believe that many, such as Halo, by Bungie Software/ Microsoft, seem to bring out the worst in people. I have seen people who are normally mild-mannered, turn into yelling, swearing, violent young men when they play this competitive First-Person-Shooter. Is this the fault of the game, or of their own lack of control, or the fact that they have no other outlet for their anger? I don't know, but I'd like to put forth a fourth option. It's obsession. They have ceased to use it as a way to relax, have a good time. It is now their life, what drives them.

This can also be seen in the more recently-released Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, by Blizzard Software. The characters one builds up in this game becaome a status symbol, something they are immensely proud of. And if anything were to happen to this beloved mixture of colored pixels, megabytes of information, and sound bites, the person would be quite angry. Why? Because they've put inordinate amounts of time into slowly building up this computerized fictional character. Why in the world would a person do that, anyway?

Why am I so against video games? Do I have any idea what I'm talking about? Yes, sadly, I do. I used to be obsessed with computer games of any sort, be they RTS's, FPS's, RPG's, or Flight Sims. I played them so much they became everything I could think about, talk about, laugh about. Rather than what Paul talks about in Philippians 4:8-9, I set my mind on such trivial things as computer games. I regret this horribly, and realize that I struggled with this for years, until I finally got so fed up with it that I deleted every game from my computer, and have stopped playing them almost completely. I have, on occasion, sat down with a few friends for games like Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers, but other than that I try to stay as far away from the gaming world as possible.

I hate games. I've seen some good ones, ones I'd love to play at a party, in community. But most games quickly take over a person's life, drawing them away from authentic community to a lonely life alone, or alone with other lonely people in online gaming communities. Why would a person who lives in a college residence hall or, worse yet, a married man, spend all of his free time alone?

To these people, I say... "Get off your lazy... "seat"... and do something productive for a change!"

This does not only apply to computer games, but I use those as an example because they're closest to my heart, as ashamed as I am of that fact.

There is my rant for the month. One that I've been stewing on for years now. If anyone wants to talk to me about this issue, I'd love to talk to them. They can e-mail me or call me or whatever. But of course I won't post my contact info here. If you know it, good. If you don't, well, um... write me at my junk mail address, which is shoes_kill[at]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


A good cup of authentic chai hits the spot almost every time. Whether it's cardamom, ginger, black pepper, or a combination of seasonings, or none at all, it's my favorite drink.

What, exactly, is Chai? Chai is the term used in India to refer to tea made a certain way. It is not simply a tea bag placed into a cup of hot water. It is much more than that... It is a blend of milk, water, sugar, tea, and spices to create a scrumptuous drink. The process is so easy, anyone can do it, if they know how. The perfect blend of spices, however, is completely up to the person drinking it.

I've made between 200 and 300 cups of chai, I'd estimate, within the past 2 years, since I visited India my first time. After a great deal of experimenting, and confirming with people who make it daily in India, I have come up with my favorite blend. And now I will teach anyone who wants to know, how to make it.

First of all, the list of ingredients. It's quite varied in the spices, but otherwise it's quite simple.
1) Loose Leaf Tea. Preferably from the province of Assam, India. "Taj Mahal" or "Red Label" are the recommended brands.
2) Milk
3) Water
4) Sugar
5) Masala, or seasoning. This is optional. It can contain anything from no seasoning, to a delicate blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, and even black pepper! You can get something called "Tea Masala" at any Indian Grocery Store. "Tea Masala" is a blend of ground up spices often containing all of those mentioned above.

In addition to these ingredients, you'll need...
6) A pot (not a teapot with spout)
7) A tea strainer, usually the size of the inside of a cup
8) A ladle (optional, but helpful for serving instead of pouring from the pot)

Don't worry, it's not that hard...
For making four cups of chai....
Put 3 cups (mugs) of water into the pot, and turn it on medium to high heat as you add...
4 heaping teaspoons of loose leaf tea.
6 or 7 heaping teaspoons of sugar, add to taste.
1/3 teaspoon of "tea masala," which is generally quite potent stuff.
Stir occasionally, if not often.
Allow this to heat up until it starts to boil.
Add 1 mug of milk.*
Keep a close eye on the pot as the chai will eventually start to bubble and foam, at which point you turn down the heat to allow it to settle down. Then you can do this 2 or 3 more times, playing with the heat, or consider it finished. It should look a bit like hot chocolate. It could also have a thin film, or "skin" on top. That's normal, it's just what happens to the milk when it boils up like that.

Now turn off the heat, place the strainer on top of a cup, and ladle the chai through the strainer.
Yeah, it's hot. Some people learn to drink it at that temperature, while others wait awhile for it to cool.

So there you have it. Chai is EASY to make.

*The amount of milk and water is variable. You can even reverse the proportions if you want it very milky, or do half and half if you want a medium amount of creaminess to it.

Let me know how it works! And feel free to play with all of the proportions. For example, you may want to add less masala, if you want a plain chai flavor, or more if you want it spicy. Try adding ginger to help cure a sore throat. Or buy whole cardamom seeds, cut them up, and add one or two to the pot instead of the powdered masala.

If you want to learn more about chai, try visiting
Better yet, go visit India. Each person, and each region, will have their own specific blend of spices, or masala.

Special thanks to Ram, from "Bombay Groceries," for the advice on which brand of tea leaf to buy. If you're a Biola student, try going to his store at the Northeast corner of Beach Blvd. and Rosecrans Ave., at 14766 Beach Blvd. La Mirada, CA 90638. Phone number 714-522-7666.

Oh, and let me know how your chai works out!


This Christmas break from school, I had the distinct pleasure of going to India for a mission trip through Biola. Only by God's grace, His strength, and His provision were we able to go on this amazing trip!

If you'd like to hear more about my trip, e-mail me. If you don't know my e-mail, then you probably don't know me, and you shouldn't be asking all about my trip. =)

Suffice it to say that we saw God do amazing things for and through each one of us, and it was truly a life-changing experience.

Oh, and we got to see the Taj...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My friend "Dua"

Meet my friend Dua. He used to be a child's toy, but the child apparently didn't like him anymore. So his mom gave him to a thrift shop. I found him, bought him, and turned him into a marionette. He loves his new life, and is now called "Dua," which means two in Indonesian. His second life after being a castaway toy.
Marionettes are cool. Picture courtesy of

The Fountain

I love the Biola fountain. The "Fluor Fountain of Faith." It looks best at night, especially, as in this shot, with a slow shutter speed on a camera. It transforms the normal water into streams of volcanic lava against a jet-black sky.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Any time we call someone creative, or artistic, we're just complimenting God. God is the author of creativity, the most creative being to exist.

At Biola we have some beautiful moments, but often people miss them, being too busy with classes and other stuff.